Last month, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a Cleveland police officer who was responding to a 911 call about Rice playing with a BB gun at a park. Surveillance video of the incident shows that Rice was shot mere seconds after Office Tim Loehmann and his partner arrived on the scene. Rice died the following day, yet another example of the police using excessive deadly force against a Black person. Today, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s report ruled Rice’s death a homicide. Keep reading »
I recently got into a interesting conversation with a few White women I know, who happen to date Black or minority men, and it really highlighted a need to explore the complexities of such unions in greater depth. Though I do support the right to love anyone, regardless of color (or gender/gender identity), I also believe that the challenges of interracial relationships are often obscure and infrequently discussed. To put it bluntly, many White people simply have no idea what they are getting into when they begin relationships with people of color. To raise awareness of the issues such individuals may encounter, I decided to write this list. I hope it can be helpful! Keep reading »
Most people don’t protest. Hell, even a lot of the people who want to protest don’t protest, and there are a lot of valid reasons for that. But if you haven’t done it, it’s easy to look at demonstrations from the outside and see people who are rowdy, disruptive, entitled to any kind of behavior, who’ve bought into outdated rhetoric and worked themselves into a tizzy about “the man.” It’s especially easy because that’s the narrative the news media tells about protests, especially when the news media confuses protests with riots all the time.
Take this, for example: Do you assume that the same people who have been holding candlelight vigils and die-ins in Ferguson and Saint Louis were also the people who burned cars and shops on the night of November 24, when Darren Wilson’s non-indictment was announced? If so, why? Where did you get that impression? Personally, I assume there’s some overlap, but I also know that experienced protest organizers know better than to destroy things or direct people to do so if they care deeply about their issue and want to keep organizing. Keep reading »
Google the term “Strange Fruit” and the first result is the Wikipedia page for the infamous Billie Holiday song, originally written as a poem by Abel Meeropol, about the lynching of Black Americans. “Strange fruit” literally refers to Black bodies hanging from trees. This is a fact that seemingly went over the heads of Ali Slutsky and Mary Mickel (above), the (white!) gals behind the two-year-old Austin-based “hospitality” firm Strange Fruit PR, whose Twitter bio completely seriously asks, “Are you a strange fruit?” Or it did up until today, when the Twitter feed, as well as the company’s entire internet presence, disappeared after they were called out about the offensiveness of their name. They also released a statement of apology, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Keep reading »
Dear Iggy Azalea,
I was a Black child of the ’90s who grew up on hip-hop and R&B. Some of my favorite adolescent memories were set to the soundtrack of the likes of Toni Braxton, Tupac, Sade, Lauryn Hill and Nas. I may have only been seven-years-old when DJ Kool announced, “Let Me Clear My Throat,” but I was always right on time with the chorus as the beat dropped. I Hammer-timed and sang along to “Baby Got Back” while shaking my booty in the mirror. These “Black” music genres gave me an identity to be proud of. It taught me how to display and be proud of my culture and heritage. These “Black” genres were dominated and represented by people who looked like me — and those “Black genres” were at the top of America’s music charts. It was a true phenomenon to behold; a very recent freedom acquired by Black Americans after a long history of musical and cultural theft by Whites. I am the byproduct of that freedom: confident, strong and unapologetically Black. Sadly, today’s Black youth will not have the chance to see themselves in the music created by their people — a cyclical, unbreakable White tradition of theft and appropriation has once again taken that from them. And you are part of the problem. Keep reading »