“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 »
I am a 23-year-old black woman who, for a long time, tried to have discussions with white people about racism in America. I went to a white, liberal college in New York City where I thought such exchanges were welcomed. I actually believed there could be such a thing as a productive conversation on the matter, some type of engagement, a debate. I wrote speeches about the wealth gap between black and white families (a staggering $100,000 difference), the unforgivable incarceration rate of black men, the discriminatory education system. I even made a video about the misrepresentation and misuse of black women by pop culture and the media. Most of my revelations were met with silence and blank stares by my class of mostly white peers. Eventually the professor, typically a white man or woman, would clear his/her throat and ask, “Well, any questions for Tiffanie?” The students would whisper amongst themselves, but oddly, I was never asked to elaborate. It was understood, in their opinion, that I was the overly sensitive, angry black woman. The racist; a race baiter. Keep reading »
Putting to rest (for now) a controversy over why the iconic comedy show has not had a Black woman on the cast for five years, Sasheer Zamata has joined”Saturday Night Live” as a featured player. According to Deadline Hollywood, Sasheer graduated from the University of Virginia three years ago and trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. You might even recognize her from her appearances on “Inside Amy Schumer” and in a number of viral YouTube comedy videos, including “How To Politely React To Your Friend’s Terrible Engagement.” “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels had promised to add a Black comedienne to the cast after the show was criticized during the fall following remarks by Black male cast members, Keenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah. Keenan had suggested there weren’t enough Black women who were “ready,” while Jay said the show needed to get with the program and be more diverse. Sasheer will appear on January 18th, with Drake as a musical guest and host. Looking forward to it! [Deadline Hollywood, Sasheer.com]