So much WTFery in one little flier: an elementary school class in Waxhaw, North Carolina, sent home this grammatically incorrect flier with students asking them to dress in “African American attire” for Black History Day on February 28. What exactly is “African American attire”? Well, that part isn’t clear. A Flava Flav grill, perhaps? Fur-lined Kanye West booties? (Something tells me it this teacher didn’t mean the J.Crew cardigan worn by First Lady Michelle Obama, a noted black person.) However, if students don’t have any “African-American attire” in their closet, the flier helpfully suggests kids come to school in animal print clothing or shirts with animals native to Africa like “zebras, giraffes, lions and elephants.” Nothing says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not die in vain quite like a leopard-print dress or a shirt with a zebra on it, right? Keep reading »
A few years ago my friend Dana and I were volunteers for Minds Matter, a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged kids get into college. Dana, a white Florida hippie who had a thing for rap music, was hoping to boost her resume in order to secure a teaching fellowship in the city. My goal as a biracial fashion executive was just to help underprivileged minority girls get into college. The program was amazing. Every Saturday, Dana and I, along with a hundred other mentors would devote hours to our mentees and help them identify the schools best suited for them, complete their applications, and draft their personal essays. My mentee was a beautiful African American high school senior from Harlem named Jaleesa. She was smart, hardworking, and respectful, and I had come to view her like a little sister. To know that I was helping this young and talented girl into to college made me really proud, and protective. Keep reading »
So we’ve all heard of celebrating the holidays with traditional food items. Thanksgiving has turkey. Christmas has ham. St. Patty’s Day has beer and, uh, corned beef. Black History Month apparently has collard greens and catfish. Rainbow Grocery Store decided to print the dumbest ad featuring “black people food” in what they consider to be an attempt at celebrating Black History Month. The selection of food is supposed to be what the typical black person eats. So pork hocks and frying chickens are what black people eat on a regular basis? Because I know it’s not in my diet. All they are missing in the ad is grits and chitlins. There’s nothing wrong with eating those food items, but why are such items like seafood and ham considered to be black people food? Do white people have white food? A company rep explains, “This ad was intended to celebrate Black History Month and African American culture by sharing with our customers some of the contributions African Americans have made to the grocery industry.” Mm, ‘kay. Click past the jump to see the full ad! [Gawker]
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It’s official: Michelle Obama is a Vogue cover girl. The March 2009 issue, which will hit newsstands next week, features the first lady on its cover wearing a Jason Wu dress (the same designer who created her inauguration night gown). Inside the magazine, Obama is pictured at the Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C., wearing a Narciso Rodriguez dress and a J.Crew ensemble. While a number of first ladies have been featured in the so-called fashion Bible, starting with Lou Hoover in 1929, Hillary Clinton is the only other one to make the cover, in 1998. But perhaps what’s more exciting than Obama being the second first lady to be on the cover of Vogue is that she is the fourth black woman to be featured on the cover in the magazine’s history. Keep reading »
The Academy Awards are less than two weeks away, and with that, and Black History Month in mind, we want to remember Hattie McDaniel. McDaniel was an established radio and film actress before she played Mammy in “Gone with the Wind,” but it was this role that made her career and cemented her as a film legend. Her endearing comedy and ability to scold and scoff her white charges earned her a Best Supporting Actress Award, the first given to a black actor. She was also the first black actor to attend the Academy Awards banquet.
Ironically, however, segregation laws prevented her from attending the Atlanta premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on December 15, 1939. And she, like the other black actors, were excluded from the souvenir program. Producer David O. Selznick attempted to bring McDaniel to the premiere, but MGM cautioned against it because Georgia’s segregation laws would have required her to stay in a “blacks only” hotel and she would have had to sit in a segregated part of the theater away from her fellow actors. Clark Gable (Rhett Butler), who McDaniel had befriended while working on another movie, threatened to boycott the premiere unless she was allowed to attend, but she urged him to go anyway. She did, however, attend the Hollywood debut, and her photo was featured in the program upon Selznick’s insistence. Although, McDaniel received the highest recognition for an actor, her career was not without criticism… Keep reading »