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 »
We were far from the only ones to be seriously stunned by Rick Owens’ above-and-beyond runway step show — it’s being called “one of the most innovative and exciting fashion shows” of recent recall. New York-based singer-songwriter Arin Lawrence, who performed as part of The Soul Steppers (just one of four groups featured in Owens’ show), regaled her story of the show, from its very germination last spring until last week’s ground-breaking performance, in an exclusive interview with BuzzFeed. Keep reading »
My sincerest apologies to those designers who were scheduled to show on the last four days of Paris Fashion Week. You’re all going to need to go home now; Rick Owens just killed the damn thing. The avant-garde designer, beloved for his “luxury gothic” sensibility and his most glorious leather jackets, eschewed all traditional runway stalwarts in favor of a cast of plus-size “steppers.” The ladies first marched out looking hella mean, then burst into what I believe to be a fascinating if somewhat alarming — and very, very unexpected in the context of Paris Fashion Week — dance routine. Check out live clips of the performance after the jump… [via The Fader] Keep reading »
Another Fashion Week, another heap of headlines reaming out the industry for the lack of diversity on the runway — it’s not to suggest that the conversation is overplayed, but rather that the long-standing issue remains an issue, season after season. Most designers, as a general rule, in a notoriously judgmental climate, cast black and Asian models in “token” slots — as novelties, as gimmicks, as a statement. Prada, for example, went a decade without placing a single black model on a catwalk, and 19 years without a black woman in an editorial campaign.
German designer Philipp Plein, who showed in Milan this week, is no stranger to headline-grabbing statements: he sent male models down the runway with assault rifles earlier this year, and has collaborated with such erstwhile figures as Terry Richardson and Lindsay Lohan. For his Spring 2014 collection, Plein cast exclusively black models, including popular faces like Alek Wek and Liya Kebede. Of the influence behind his decision, Plein reasoned, Keep reading »
It’s weird: A recent Wall Street Journal op ed by embittered high school senior Suzy Lee Weiss — an open letter to all the colleges that rejected her — reads like an April Fools’ Day joke. Except it’s not, and Ms. Weiss seems to believe that it’s everyone else, not her, that’s responsible for her failure to get accepted to her preferred schools.
Writes Weiss in the lengthy screed, “Had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. ‘Diversity!’ I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.” Keep reading »
“Think Like A Man,” the new
Tyler Perry romantic comedy [Update: based on a book by Steve Harvey] about black women and men, has allegedly been banned in France because officials say the film is not diverse enough. According to blogger Fabienne Flessel at the blog Global Voices:
Surprising as it may be, the answer lies in the fact that the film has an all-black cast. French cinema is often pointed at for not fairly displaying all components of the country’s multiethnic population.
It is unclear, though, whether “Think Like A Man” has literally been banned, or if it just is not being screened. But the Global Voices blogger and several other French-speaking bloggers quoted/translated in his article seem adamant that someone in a position of power in France is uninterested in promoting films by and about black folks. One blogger claims “Tyler Perry’s movies are never scheduled in any French movie theaters or are only released in DVDs, even thought he has been used to leading the U.S. box office.” Keep reading »
After watching Ben Flajnik flip his hair and stare off into the distance for an entire season, we are desperate to see something different on “The Bachelor.” We have been desperate for a good “Bachelor” since Charlie O’Connell. And that was like four seasons ago. And he wasn’t even that great. It’s about time that “The Bachelor” franchise diversify. Word on the street is that Lamar Hurd, a Portland-based sportscaster may be the first black “Bachelor.” Hot, humble, kind and looks amazing with his shirt off. Oh God yes, please. “Bachelor” franchise, hear our plea: cast Lamar! There is room for all types of Bachelors and Bachelorettes on your show. Some of our suggestions after the jump. [EW] Keep reading »
After a rocky, anorexia-accusation-laden beginning, London Fashion Week is now offering us a glimpse at runways not peopled with white, pre-pubescent stick figures. PPQ followed in the steps of Carlos Campos in casting an entire runway of black models; knitwear designer Mark Fast sent three “plus-sized” (read “averaged-sized”) girls down the runway in his uber-clingy dresses; and Sykes pulled a Charles Nolan, marching models up to 70 years old down its catwalk. Keep reading »
If you haven’t heard already, the July issue of Italian Vogue was unprecedented. All the models in it were black. Amidst the buzz that followed, the much-hyped “Black Issue” became such a popular success that distribution was increased by 40-percent, an amazing feat. Some (including me) saw the concept — race as an “issue” — as a gimmick, an attempt to shush critics who frequently point out how little page-time the fashion industry gives to anything other than white faces. But, without a doubt, the issue got people talking about the issues. Now, let’s hope their attention isn’t squandered.
Keep reading »