Tag Archives: black women

Real Talk: On Debra Harrell’s Arrest, Motherhood & Race

Real Talk: On Debra Harrell's Arrest, Motherhood & Race

In last week’s Mommie Dearest column, I wrote about Debra Harrell, a South Carolina mother who was arrested for “abandoning” her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she worked at a nearby McDonald’s. (Just yesterday we learned that Harrell has been let go from her job.) I had mentioned in my post that Harrell is Black, prompting a few folks to ask why I needed to note her race. Instead of penning my own response, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from women of color who are mothers. We gathered for a virtual roundtable to discuss Harrell’s situation and  explorehow race impacts motherhood in the United States today. Meet:

Our conversation begins after the jump: Keep reading »

Clueless Casting Director’s Casting Call Ad Tells Us All We Need To Know About Racism And Colorism

Clueless Casting Director's Casting Call Ad Tells Us All We Need To Know About Racism And Colorism

I previously wrote a piece for The Frisky that briefly detailed the racism I discovered while working on a research thesis on prostitution in New York City. I explained to readers that in the sex work industry, White, Asian and Hispanic women receive higher payments than their Black counterparts and often times, many Black women are blatantly discriminated against. I also stated that the racist reality Black women face in sex work simply offers a glimpse into the world of racism that women of color face daily, in mainstream society. Many rushed to criticize that piece, claiming that such disparities in pay are as a result of “individual preference,” not because of racism, since we are after-all, “post-racial.”

However, as I stated previously, sometimes racism rears its head in such an ugly way that it can no longer be denied. Such an instant arose recently when Sande Alessi, a White female casting director posted this casting call (which has since been removed) or a new upcoming film “Straight Outta Compton.” The ad read:

SAG OR NON UNION CASTING NOTICE FOR FEMALES-ALL ETHNICITIES- from the late 80′s. Shoots on “Straight Outta Compton”. Shoot date TBD. We are pulling photos for the director of featured extras. VERY IMPORTANT – You MUST live in the Los Angeles area (Orange County is fine too) to work on this show. DO NOT SUBMIT if you live out of the area. Nobody is going to be flying into LA to do extra work on this show – and don’t tell me you are willing to fly in. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Ciara’s “Inelegant” New Hairstyle And The Politics Of Black Hair

The Soapbox: Ciara's "Inelegant" New Style And The Politics Of Black Hair
Soapbox: Natural Hair
The Soapbox: Natural Hair, Like Recycling, Is Not A Lifestyle Choice For Everyone
It's not a lifestyle choice for everyone. Read More »

Saturday evening on her Instagram profile, R&B singer Ciara debuted a new hairstyle: waist-skimming loc extensions. The style, a temporary version of the loc-ed hair many Black people of all genders sport, sparked discussion both among fans and style outlets.

One in particular, People magazine’s StyleWatch section, posted a story Tuesday about Ciara’s newest mane and stirred a dialogue about far more than trendy summer hair colors. Associate Style Editor Brittany Talarico noted that Ciara is set to wed fiancé Future in a “very elegant affair,” then said immediately afterward in parentheses that the wedding was “another reason [People thinks] she’ll ditch the dreads.”

While the phrase has since been removed, the undertones of Talarico’s words were not lost on some Black readers. YouTube comedienne, natural hair guru and Upworthy curator Franchesca Ramsey pointed out People’s words on her blog shortly after the article was posted. A Black woman with dreadlocks herself, Ramsey noted that the article suggests Ciara could not possibly want to keep her loc extensions for an “elegant” wedding—meaning the locs extensions themselves cannot be elegant. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Black Nerds, Escapism, & Why We Need More Diverse Books

SB girl reading

“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all.” — Junot Díaz

As a kid, I never tried to sneak out of the house. It’s not that I was a stickler for the rules (sorry, Mom) — it’s just that all the wonders I could ever want to explore didn’t exist outside the confines of my home. They were waiting for me when I woke up each morning, tucked neatly into the hallway bookshelves whose ever-expanding ranks housed J.K. Rowling, Leo Tolstoy, Judy Blume, and Sarah Dessen. Keep reading »

An Open Letter To The Louis Vuitton Manager Who Allegedly Said “Black People Are Slaves Who Eat Dirt”

louis vuitton

I understand that an employee at the Louis Vuitton Townhouse in London’s Selfridges department store, after being subjected to many of your humiliating, infuriating, racist rants, recorded one of your many outbursts. In your recently outed diatribe, you allegedly state: “Black people are slaves who eat dirt off the floor.” I’m hopeful you’ve come to realize the gravity of your predicament, considering your actions on behalf of Louis Vuitton will be tried in court on the grounds of racial discrimination and harassment; restitution for which could cost your employer millions of dollars. It’s hard to imagine you’ll work in the industry again, but my concern for your future work-placement is less pressing at this particular moment. Your hate and ignorance is also of lesser importance.What is more deeply troubling is the prevalent racism found in the high fashion industry of which you are a representative — well, were, anyways. Keep reading »

Women Of Color Ask To Be Included In Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Program

todays lady news
  • Women and girls of color are asking to be included in President Obama’s new program “My Brother’s Keeper,” which is aimed at young men of color. Over a 1,000 women and 200 men have signed letters saying young girls should be targeted in the program, too. [Washington Post]
  • The New York Assembly passed the “Boss Bill” yesterday, which updates anti-discrimination laws by forbidding employers from discriminating against employees over their reproductive health decisions. Just another reason why I love New York! [RH Reality Check]
  • Hillary Clinton believes America should have federally mandated family leave (ya think?) but doesn’t expect that “politically, we could get it now.” Sadly, I think she’s probably correct. [The Atlantic] Keep reading »
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