Update: This evening there is a rally for Renisha McBride in Dearborn, Michigan. Details at the link. [Clutch Magazine]
Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old Detroit woman, was shot and killed early Saturday morning in an incident her family says was racial profiling.
According to police, McBride’s car broke down in the neighborhood of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. She went up to a house, presumably asking for help because her cell phone battery had died. Instead, a 50-something man at the home pulled out his shotgun and killed McBride, a Black woman, on the front porch. Keep reading »
After weeks, nay, months … nay, yeaaaaars of complaints from critics, viewers and cast member about the lack of any Black female cast members on “Saturday Night Live,” the comedy show final addressed its diversity problem on last night’s episode, hosted by “Scandal”‘s Kerry Washington (the first Black woman to host the show since early 2012). In the cold open, Washington played both Michelle Obama and Oprah, requiring her to change off screen in a direct nod to cast member Kenan Thompson’s recent refusal to continue playing any Black female characters in drag. The opener cheekily made use of the show’s bounty of white male cast members, sending out six of them as a bunch of Matthew McConaugheys. It was a funny start to what was otherwise a lackluster and at times cringeworthy episode. While Washington did her best with the material, the episode underscored “SNL”‘s need not only for a more diverse cast, but a more diverse writing team as well. Never was it more painfully obvious that the writer’s room at “SNL” is stocked with thirtysomething white dudes. That pageant sketch? Lord, help me. Keep reading »
“It’s interesting how much people long to fill in the gaps when someone in the public eye doesn’t share their personal life. I understand their frustration. I like how people will post pictures of me with other women that I adore, hugging on red carpets, and say, ‘See?’ Are we so uncomfortable with love between two people of the same gender that we immediately label it as sexual? But I’ve never been bothered by the lesbian rumor. There’s nothing offensive about it, so there’s no reason to be offended.
“Scandal” star Kerry Washington is notoriously private about her personal life. She married in secret in June and has not publicly commented on the rumor, according to Us Weekly, that she is pregnant with her first child. And, she notes on the Advocate‘s blog, people are all too happy to speculate that because she isn’t showing off her man all around town, it must mean she must be a lesbian. Being a lesbian is fine, of course, but don’t people realize there’s more than one reason a celebrity might ask for privacy?
After the jump, here’s Washington on reaching African-Americans about issues facing gay couples through “Scandal,” as well as the similarities between ‘passing’ as white and being in the closet: Keep reading »
Earlier this week, Kenan Thompson from “Saturday Night Live,” spoke to TV Guide and explained why he puts on a dress and plays all the roles of Black women on the show instead of, you know, hiring one. The lack of Black women is a “tough part of the business,” Thompson said. “Like in auditions, they never seem to find ones that are ready.”
Comedienne Nyima Funk, who is a Black alum of Second City, could not agree more. So, here is she getting ready to be on “SNL.” I hope you’re watching, Lorne Michaels. [Jezebel]
Warsan Shire, 24, has just become London’s first ever Young Poet Laureate. The Kenyan-born Somali poet writes about both English and African culture, exploring war, sex, culture, love, and everything in between with a great depth and sensitivity. She expresses her worldview with an honest vulnerability that most would shy away from. Her first book of poems, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth, was published in 2011. She has a BA in creative writing and even teaches workshops on using poetry to heal trauma – and she’s not even halfway through her 20s yet. Warsan was chosen from six young finalists, and she will now undertake a residency at the Houses of Parliament and spend the next year creating work that reflects on London. Carol Ann Duffy, London’s current poet laureate, announced Warsan as the winner as part of National Poetry Day. Her willingness to be candid and speak her truth in her work is something we could all stand to learn from. ”It is our vision for east London to be a thriving cultural district,” said chief executive Dennis Hone, “and Warsan as the first Young Poet Laureate for London will play a key part in that transformation.” Congratulations! [BBC; Well & Often; Warsan Shire]
What kind of racist bullshit is this?! A charter school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sent a seven-year-old Black girl named Tiana Parker home from school because her dreadlocks were considered “unacceptable.”
But dreads aren’t the only hairstyle that’s not A-OK with Deborah Brown Community School: according to Raw Story, the school policy states that “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” Keep reading »
For the last several years, natural hair “trends” have been on the rise for African-American and other women in the U.S. Just last week, Oprah graced the cover of O Magazine donning an enormous Afro, much bigger than the one she wore in the late ’70s when she first started on primetime. Oprah’s gesture pays tribute to the millions of women who have tossed relaxers and weaves to the side and embraced their own hair — their natural hair.
As I wrote last spring, women of African decent, and some others too, sometimes use a product called a perm to make their hair “more manageable.” These began as a trend in the 1920s so blacks (both men and women) could more readily assimilate into white culture and evade the detriments of racism. If you’ve ever read or watched The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you’ll remember the scene in which he dunked his head in a toilet bowl to find reprieve from the smoldering “conk” (what a perm used to be called) he was using to straighten his hair.
Oprah’s hair was a wig designed by lock guru Andre Walker but the idea of it still persists – Afros, and other natural hairstyles are here to stay … or are they? Keep reading »