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 »
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]
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 »
Who could blame you if on Sunday night, after Miss America was crowned, you wanted to quit America for a little bit — or at least Twitter? Nina Davuluri, an aspiring med student, performed a Bollywood dance, charmed the judges’ hearts, and took home the coveted, glitzy Miss America crown. She also poked the bear that is racist morons on the Internet. The Syracuse, New York-born Davuluri was called everything from an “Arab” to a member of “Al-Quaeda” to “Miss 7-11″ … despite being from the good ol’ U.S. of A suburbs.
Well, this story gets even more depressing. Miss America Nina Davuluri might be too brown for some racist twats to consider her “American.” But, some people have noted, Davulauri might be too dark-skinned to be considered pageant-worthy in India, a country that has been known to privilege fair-skinned women who lighten their complexion with dangerous skin-bleaching creams. Keep reading »
When the big news was announced last week that Zoe Saldana would be playing singer Nina Simone in a biopic, black cyberspace (yes, there is a “black Twitter” and a “black Facebook”) let out a collective “Oh, hell to the naw”!
For some it was because they did not believe that Zoe had enough acting talent to pull it off. Nina Simone was an extremely complex woman in real life, and the actress assigned to do this would be embarking upon the role of a lifetime. For others, the statements ranged from “Can Zoe even sing?” to “Wait, I thought she said she was a Latina?” to “Zoe is too skinny to play Nina Simone anyway!”
As the debate continued, it became clear to me that the issues surrounding the casting of Zoe ran much deeper than her acting ability. It was “skin deep.” Once again we were seeing an example of how Hollywood just doesn’t understand black women. To mainstream America, Black is “one color fits all.” But to African-American women, the color of our skin is much more than a random hue. In many ways, it uniquely shapes who we are and how we are treated in the world. For us, body image and self-esteem does not only involve loving your womanly body for the shape of it, but also embracing your complexion, hair texture and other features in a culture that constantly reminds you that thin white women are the standard of beauty. Keep reading »