When the big news was announced last week that Zoe Saldana would be playing singer Nina Simone in a biopic, black cyberspace (yes, there is a “black Twitter” and a “black Facebook”) let out a collective “Oh, hell to the naw”!
For some it was because they did not believe that Zoe had enough acting talent to pull it off. Nina Simone was an extremely complex woman in real life, and the actress assigned to do this would be embarking upon the role of a lifetime. For others, the statements ranged from “Can Zoe even sing?” to “Wait, I thought she said she was a Latina?” to “Zoe is too skinny to play Nina Simone anyway!”
As the debate continued, it became clear to me that the issues surrounding the casting of Zoe ran much deeper than her acting ability. It was “skin deep.” Once again we were seeing an example of how Hollywood just doesn’t understand black women. To mainstream America, Black is “one color fits all.” But to African-American women, the color of our skin is much more than a random hue. In many ways, it uniquely shapes who we are and how we are treated in the world. For us, body image and self-esteem does not only involve loving your womanly body for the shape of it, but also embracing your complexion, hair texture and other features in a culture that constantly reminds you that thin white women are the standard of beauty. Keep reading »
This piece is presented as part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re focusing on mental health issues.
I have five fingers on each hand. I use them like this: I hold up my thumb and whisper, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.” Then my pointer finger. “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.” Then my middle finger, my ring finger, and my pinky. I give small kisses in between each “Thank You.” I do this five times for a total of 125 “Thank Yous.” Then I say “Thank You” for specific things, like how bright the sun is today or how soothing it is to feel my wet hair on my back. These I repeat just once for each finger. Then I thank G-d for his infinite wisdom, infinite grace, infinite compassion, forgiveness, and honesty—one accolade for each finger.
This is the prayer I say when I get on the subway in the morning. I have to say it.
“Or else…?” asks my therapist. Keep reading »
It was two short years ago that I was moving from Texas to “Yankee territory” as a college freshman. Almost 2,000 miles from home, my goodbye was filled with unexpected waterworks from not only my Dad, an emotional man and frequent crier, but also from my thick-skinned mother and 16-year-old brother. While I was sad to leave my family, the first year of my college career would turn out to be an unexpectedly defining time for myself.
Now heading into my junior year, I care to tell you things I wish I had known when I was a little fish in this vast and treacherous sea of college. Keep reading »
The kingdom of Kim Kardashian has been denounced more frequently and more publicly than any other celebrity name in recent history. There’s something about this family — their wholly public lives played out on screen like a strange, awkwardly scripted melodrama? Their unrepentant groveling for fame and media attention? The sex tape reportedly executed to the very hilt by mom? — that coaxes other people into the belief that they are simply fodder for negativity, as if any and all malice and disapproval has been well-earned. Forget turning a blind eye and the tired adage of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” (what a bore), because what else can we come to expect as a general reaction to a family, converging upon one woman, at once grossly infantilized and boorishly sexualized, who has made fame itself its trade? Keep reading »
Yesterday, I finally did something that I had been meaning to do for awhile: I walked into a Crunch Gym and canceled my membership. Which I had been paying for, for a year. And have never used once. Like, hadn’t even picked up my membership card. Pathetic.
When I think about how much money I completely wasted, I want to punch myself. Alas, it’s not the first time I’ve practically flushed my hard-earned cash down the toilet. I have made some truly stupid spending decisions over the years, and in an effort to never be so frivolously lazy again, I am going to share them with you. Feel free to make me feel better by the ways in which you have completely wasted money in the comments! Keep reading »
One of the more annoying things about dating is being given unsolicited advice by the smug couples of the world, the most offensive kind being played out platitudes about love. Thanks. I’m sure “my time will come” but when? How? At least say something helpful if you’re going to shove your advice down my throat. And by the way, just because I’m not currently in love doesn’t mean I’ve never experienced it before. I have, thank you very much. And here’s what I learned from my experiences: Falling in love is a wonderful, mystical, magical thing, but it’s complicated and nuanced and rare. Every time you fall in love it’s as unique as a snowflake, so it’s absolutely impossible to generalize with some stale old saying. I humbly request a ban on the following love adages on the grounds that they’re stupid and untrue. Oh, and I give you permission to close your ears the next time you hear these phrases … Keep reading »
For the last few months, as I’ve been trolling paparazzi sites for pics to post, I’ve seen a woman name Rita Ora photographed dozens of times and had no clue who she is. Am I that unhip? I wondered. Yes, probably. Turns out, Rita Ora is a British pop singer who is on the cusp of being huge. With her bleached blonde hair and over-the-top style, she’s sort of Britain’s Rihanna. Here are 10 things to know about her, that way when she does break out in the States, you can be all blase about it.
Happy Saturday, folks! Did you hear? Mitt Romney has announced his running mate for the presidential election — Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Let’s get to know him, shall we? Keep reading »
I’m one of the hundreds of people signed up to go to Planned Parenthood’s Youth Organizing & Policy Institutes this fall. Here are the top five reasons I hope you’ll be joining me there. Keep reading »
This morning, as the dull ache of cramps woke me from my slumber, I realized something kind of momentous. I have had my period for exactly 20 years. I mean, almost exactly, because I don’t know the exact date or time that my Aunt Flow first came to visit, but I do know it was at the beginning of the school year, before I turned 13. I turn 33 in November, so, yep, that makes for 20 bloody years. That’s a lot of tampons. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about myself specifically in relation to tampons and their usage. Let me share them with you. Keep reading »