The movie “12 Years A Slave” is being heralded as one of the best films of the year, is expected to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and leads the Golden Globe nominations with seven nods. Its star is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is winning accolades left and right for his performance as Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, who is abducted and sold into slavery. It is his image that appears on the majority of movie posters (right) promoting “12 Years A Slave” in the United States and around the world — except Italy, that is. Keep reading »
Frustrating as it is, racism in Hollywood is still prevalent in 2013. When USA Today explored the absence of Black women in Hollywood this week, they highlighted the approach behind the racial diversity that can be found on “Grey’s Anatomy” — color-blind casting. Linda Lowy, the casting director behind the oh-so-addictive hospital drama created by Shonda Rhimes, explained, “When I cast the pilot of ‘Grey’s,’ Shonda didn’t give anybody a last name. She just said, ‘Linda, I want you to cast it the way you see the world.’” Usually casting notices come with descriptions like “White male, late 30s to early 50s, musclar” or “Asian female, any age, must look 15 to 17.” But with little physical description or race tied to the casting of the characters, the opportunities for more equality expanded in a major way. Keep reading »
Earlier this week, Slate.com columnist Aisha Harris wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece arguing that Santa Claus needed a makeover. Instead of always being depicted as a jolly, fat, white man, Santa Claus should be a penguin. Harris wrote about growing up as a Black child and seeing two versions of Santa — on TV and at school, Santa was white, but at home, the Santa who decorated her house (and delivered presents) at Christmastime was Black, just like her. Harris described how this omnipresent white figure made her feel as a child:
I remember feeling slightly ashamed that our black Santa wasn’t the “real thing.” Because when you’re a kid and you’re inundated with the imagery of a pale seasonal visitor—and you notice that even some black families decorate their houses with white Santas—you’re likely to accept the consensus view, despite your parents’ noble intentions.
Depicting Santa as an animal, Harris argued, “could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood.” She continued: Keep reading »
Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, an anti-apartheid peace activist and Nobel Prize winner, is dead at 95. Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his activism on behalf of civil rights for South Africa’s Black people, living in a six-foot wide cell on Robben Island. Mandela had been sick for a long time and died at home. [NBC News]
Hey guys, meet your first black girlfriend! Her name is Akilah Hughes, and she’s a writer and comedienne. Lucky for you, this isn’t her first time at the interracial relationship rodeo — so she knows exactly what to say when it comes to the “unspoken anxiety” and those “cringe-worthy moments” that are pretty much an inevitable part of the “white guy falls for black girl, foot-in-mouth syndrome ensues” narrative. In fact, she’s so familiar with it that she’s gone right ahead and cleared some of the big questions up for you in one brief, hilarious video. So go ahead and get the fried chicken. She doesn’t care! [via Refinery29]
Hey guys, great news. According to a tweet posted to the GOP’s official Twitter account — acknowledging the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus in Birmingham, Alabama — racism has ended. I’m not sure when it happened, but it must have been recently. I was in Pennsylvania this weekend, though, and phone and internet service was pretty spotty up there, so I wouldn’t be surprised if racism ended over the holiday weekend, possibly even during Thanksgiving dinner. Talk about something to be thankful for!
But seriously. Racism has ended? O RLY? The ridiculousness of such a statement prompted Twitter user @FeministaJones – follow her! — to start the hashtag #RacismEndedWhen as a “satirical, subversive response to the GOP suggesting Rosa Park ended it.” You can check out a Storify of just some of the tweets after the jump. Meanwhile, the GOP backtracked and tweeted an update: “Previous tweet should have read ‘Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.’” That’s better. [#RacismEndedWhen via The Daily Dot] Keep reading »
Earlier this week, we fell in love with 12-year-old badass Vanessa Van Dyke (and her supportive momma!) for not letting her private school enforce racist beauty standards on her hair. The Orlando, Florida, student complained about bullying from students over her Afro and school administrators responded by demanding that Vanessa straighten or cut her Black hair or face expulsion. The school’s dress code said hair must be a natural color and not be a “distraction,” but they only said Vanessa’s ‘fro was a distraction after she complained about the bullying. Fuck you, Faith Christian Academy! In honor of Vanessa Van Dyke, EBONY.com has declared today, November 27th, #NationalAfroDay. Women and men rocking natural hair are invited to submit their photos to Ebony, where they will be posted on a special “We Are Hair For Vanessa Van Dyke” Facebook page. Show Vanessa Van Dyke some love for staying true to herself in the face of bullshit. [EBONY.com, Facebook.com: We Are Hair For Vanessa Van Dyke]
Elle France beauty editor Jeanne Deroo has learned the hard way that, nope, dressing up in blackface to “honor” your favorite musician, Solange Knowles, isn’t okay. Keep reading »