Dear Ernest Baker,
In your recent personal essay on Gawker titled “The Reality of Dating White Women When You Are Black,” you stated unequivocally that you are not a “sell out” because you are a Black man who chooses to seriously date only White women. As a 24-year-old Black woman with very similar life circumstances, I can assure you that after reading your piece — although you may not believe that you are a “sell-out” or that you are riddled by “self hate” —the man who wrote that piece is both. Keep reading »
Maya Angelou, a poet and civil rights activist, has died at 86. Angelou is most well-known for her memoir I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings about growing up poor and Black in the South and she leaves behind a trove of poetry, plays, and other books. Angelou was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King and James Baldwin. She was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for a book of poetry in 1971, read a poem at President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2011, and a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in 2013. In her later life, Angelou was an educator at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her death was confirmed by her literary agent this morning. [Charlotte.TWCnews.com; New York Times]
Karyn Washington, the founder of the site For Brown Girls and the #DarkSkinRedLip project, has died at age 22, Clutch Magazine is reporting. On the #DarkSkinRedLip website, Washington posted photographs of Black women proudly wearing red lipstick; the project came about after the rapper A$AP Rocky said that women of color can’t wear red lipstick. With her site For Brown Girls, Washington sought to fight colorism within the Black community by embracing women of all complexions. In an interview last year with Jane Thang Productions, she called herself “empowered by other strong women and girls, even those who don’t know they are inspiring.” Washington continued: “Women who are doing what they can to uplift others around them and make a difference in their community motivate me to do the same. I think it is so important for women no matter what complexion, race, or religious background to be united in making sure our voices are heard – that we are being leaders and positive role models to the younger generation.” We are sad to hear about Karyn Washington’s death and hope she knew many women looked to her as a role model. [Clutch Magazine] [Image via AliyahMonea.Wordpress.com]
The first time I asked my boyfriend if he had ever actually dated a black girl, we had not even met yet. It was during one of our online Skype sessions that the conversation came up.
“I’ve never really lived around too many black people,” he confessed.
“So have you ever dated a black girl?” I asked half-jokingly.
“No,” he responded simply.
Crickets… Keep reading »
“I remember being really conscious of not wanting to fight with another black woman on camera. I did an interview and the producers were like, “Well, this [other black woman on the show] said this about you. What do you have to say about that?” And I said I’m not fighting with another black woman on TV. Even during my elimination episode, when it came down to myself and another black woman, my mother — after watching — said, “Why didn’t you defend yourself?” And I just didn’t want to give television the satisfaction of seeing two black women going at it. We see that so much.”
“Orange Is The New Black” star Laverne Cox is the subject of a lengthly profile over at Buzzfeed, where she gives a fascinating walk-through of her long road to stardom. After moving to New York City to attend Marymount Manhattan College, Cox worked in nightclubs and acted in student films. Then, in 2008, she got cast on P. Diddy’s reality show, “I Want To Work For Diddy.” Believe it or not, reality TV was a positive experience for her. She credits Diddy for giving her exposure on national television, although she is very realistic and measured about what “a dubious distinction” it is to be “the first black trans woman to appear on a reality TV show.” One matter of principle for Cox, she explained, was refusing to play into the “angry black woman” stereotype that reality TV producers tried to coax out of her and instead held her tongue in situations where she otherwise might have spoken up. In a pop cultural landscape with brats like Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan making headlines, it’s refreshing to see a thoughtful, principled actress succeeding. [BuzzFeed]
Yetsreday ESSENCE magazine bestowed Lupita Nyong’o the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at their 2014 Black Women in Hollywood luncheon for her Oscar-nominated performance in “12 Years A Slave.”
While receive this honor, Lupita gave an acceptance speech which was both heartbreaking and inspiring. She spoke about Black beauty and the times as a young adult that she felt unattractive for being so dark-skinned. She only saw lighter-skinned women on TV; as a child and adolescent, Lupita shared, she used to pray to God to make her skin lighter so she could be as desirable as them. Today, as a successful actress, she hears from young women who feel that same way right now.
Here is Lupita Nyong’o's full speech from last night, via ESSENCE. It’s extremely touching and well-worth a read: Keep reading »
Whitenicious, a cosmetics line created by California-based, Nigerian-Cameroonian pop star Dencia touts its ability to help customers even out their skin and get rid of discoloration. The product is essentially a skin bleaching cream in a golden jar, sold for $150 a pop– well, at least that is what anyone would gather from Dencia’s “transformation” as seen on the advertisement, from a mocha beauty, to a caramel, Beyonce look-alike, to a washed-out corpse.
So why is this never explicitly stated? More importantly, why is the purpose of Whitenicious — to make a dark skinned person have lighter skin — intentionally concealed? The advertising campaign for Dencia’s product leads consumers to believe that the function of her “cosmetic” is to “nourish your skin and lighten dark knuckles, knees and elbows.” Keep reading »