Assata Shakur, an ex member of the Black Panthers who escaped from prison and fled to Cuba in 1979, has officially been added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, making her the first woman ever. Shakur — born JoAnne Byron (married name Chesimard) — was a member of the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army when she was convicted of killing a New Jersey police officer in 1973. In 1979, she managed to escape from prison and fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum and has been ever since. Since 2005, the FBI has classified her as a domestic terrorist and has offered a $1 million reward for her capture. Yesterday, the 40-year anniversary of the New Jersey Turnpike shootout, they upgraded her to the 10 Most Wanted List. Keep reading »
You might have been sitting at your desk at work wondering to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if it’s a good idea now for fashion magazines to hire Caucasian fashion models and smear their faces in blackface paint.” I am here now to put your mind at ease. No, it’s still not a good idea. You got that, Vogue Netherlands?
The magazine’s May 2013 issue depicted light-skinned, Dutch model Querelle Jansen wearing a dark black face as she poses in homage to dancer Josephine Baker (right) and model/actress Grace Jones (left). (Both were inspirations to Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton collections, fall 2008 and spring 2009 respectively.) Yet instead of hiring actual, you know, black models, the magazine used a white model in blackface.
Vogue realizes that actual black models do work in the fashion industry, right? It’s not like they are unicorns. [Clutch Magazine]
The South. It’s a beautiful but haunted kind of place, filled with the vestiges of the Civil War, slavery and romantic longing for a “different way of life.” You may ask, “What does this Jewish girl living in Brooklyn know about the South?” but I actually lived there as a kid, in Fort Worth, Texas. It is something of a different world down there. And later, when my parents moved us to Southern New Jersey, I experienced a different kind of south — because the tip of New Jersey is below the Mason-Dixon line, there is a contingent of people who live in New Jersey who consider themselves southerners. They have “southern pride.” Is this crazy? Perhaps.
But whether you’ve lived there or not, it’s clear that there are still some rather mighty problems when it comes to race and the South. I mean, there are still segregated proms in Georgia.
Enter Brad Paisley’s new track, “Accidental Racist,” featuring LL Cool J. Keep reading »
Fresh off a week of the Internet wondering whether singer Indie.Arie lightened her skin on the artwork for her new single, there’s a new Black woman looking awfully light-skinned. “Scandal” stars Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn posed in flagrante on the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly and if you aren’t distracted by Goldwyn’s chest hair peeking out from underneath his shirt, you’ll notice Washington’s looking a lot lighter-skinned than her usual gorgeous chocolate brown skin. The reason, I suppose, is probably the same reason as it was for Indie.Arie: the set lighting and camera flashes wash her out. Given all the attention paid to magazine covers by an art department staff (and trust us, there is a ton of attention paid — covers are what move magazines), we know the choice to leave it that way is deliberate. I think Kerry Washington looks gorgeous no matter what. But I also think women of color are beautiful no matter the darkness or lightness of their skin. I wish our culture, including our pop culture, didn’t privilege the light-skinned and lighten darker women. [Entertainment Weekly]
Has India.Arie been bleaching her dark skin to a lighter color?!?! That didn’t sound right to me when tongues started wagging last week that the famously self-accepting singer behind the song “I Am Not My Hair” might have either used skin bleaching creams — which is notoriously terrible for skin — or purposefully been lightened through the magic of Photoshop a la Beyoncé or Freida Pinto.
The alleged evidence was the artwork for her new single “Cocoa Butter” off the album Songversation, in which Indie.Arie is leaning against a beige wall and her normally-Serena-Williams-colored skin is more of a Kim Kardashian hue.
But Indie.Arie responded on Twitter on Friday and told us all to chill: Keep reading »
As most people already know, the ubiquitous Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are expecting a baby. I’m happy for them. Unlike most people, I don’t mind Kim Kardashian. She makes an obscene amount of money for being herself (or the version of herself she wants us to see). I’m someone who’d be happy to make an obscene amount of money the same way.
Despite being here for the media blitz surrounding the Kimye bebe, a recent statement the mom-to-be made gave me to pause. And, no, I’m not talking about that weird fake tweet.
In an interview with BET, Kim Kardashian said, “I have a lot of friends that are all different nationalities, and their children are bi-racial. So they have kind of talked to me a little bit about it, what to expect and what not to expect. I think that the most important thing is how I would want to raise my children, is just to not see color. That’s important to me.” Keep reading »
The always-inquisitive Jada Pinkett-Smith recently posed a question that has many people scratching their heads and some folks outright upset. In short, she’s wondering if black women ask to be represented in mainstream media, on the covers of magazines like Vanity Fair, shouldn’t white women be represented on the covers of traditionally black magazines like Essence, Ebony and JET?
The answer? Yes and no. Keep reading »
Pediatric dentist Dr. Misee Harris of Kentucky is petitioning to become the first ever Black “Bachelorette.” This prospect means a lot is surfacing for me regarding the harmful stereotypes reinforced by women of color on reality television. How would she be received? If she did get an opportunity to be on the show and chose a non-black man, what would the social implications of that be? But more than that, I feel disheartened because I know that this reality reflects how America feels about who deserves to be happy and who doesn’t. Keep reading »
We’re more than a decade into the 21st century. I’d hoped — in vain — that some basic understandings of how non-Black people should interact with Black people could be something I could take for granted. But no. Somehow there are “those people” who remain entirely clueless, so much so that they will call a 9-year old the c-word, or paint a white model bronze-Black, or not even, as so-called, journalists, bother to learn the pronunciation of an Oscar nominee’s name. This is unacceptable.
Recently, I read the comments section of a post on Clutch where a male reader was baffled as how to initiate a conversation with Black women and asked for some rules. Several helpful women obliged. In the same spirit of combating ignorance, I offer rules for non-Black people to engage Black women without causing offense. If you can manage NOT to do the following, you can probably come across as a decent human being.
Humbly, I submit a basic list, my rules of engagement, and ask you NOT to do the following (and encourage Black women to add to the list in the comments)… Keep reading »