My online-dating profile was an exercise in what I hoped was witty sarcasm; I opened by noting that people usually just click on the pictures of people they find attractive and hope to find an interesting profile behind them. It was an approach that got me a couple of hate e-mails, but it also helped me meet Taren. Taren opened her e-mail by asking me if I had any additional pictures because, “I’m not sure you’re cute enough to be that much of a smart-ass.”
I sent her back an e-mail asking if she came from a ”wholesome-Midwestern-girl breeding program.” (Mind you, I wasn’t being that sarcastic with my response; she did have the air of the farmer’s daughter who’s hidden in the basement when strangers come a-callin’.) We wound up exchanging four or five e-mails that day, chuckling to ourselves while we sent e-mails from our boring meetings. Keep reading »
A couple of weeks ago, we showed you the GIFs Steven Meisel created as a teaser for this spread, which will be featured in Vogue Italia’s April issue. The usual cover girls are in some distinctly unusual ensembles, poses, and situations, and it seems to have stirred up a bit of controversy. The publication alleges that the shoot was inspired by drag queens, but others, like Vibe, are calling racism. I would say questionable taste, yes, but not racism, especially after reading the accompanying description. What’s your opinion? Mine is that both photographer Steven Meisel and makeup artist Pat McGrath, who did the faces, are complete criminal geniuses. This editorial is all kinds of progressive. [Fashionista]
Earlier this week, xoJane’s sports blogger Daisy Barringer wrote a piece called “Do We Really Think That ESPN Headline Was Intentionally Racist?” In it, Daisy argued that the ESPN headline writer who penned the “Chink In The Armor” headline — after the Knicks lost on Saturday night — might have made an honest mistake when he used a racial slur for Asian-Americans in a story about the player Jeremy Lin. The writer, Anthony Frederico, has since been fired from ESPN; he maintains that he didn’t know “chink” was a racist slur and the incident was completely unintentional. He also has used the phrase “chink in the armor” in other headlines before when he wasn’t referring to Asian-Americans, suggesting that’s just a phrase he likes to use in headlines. So, Daisy gives him the benefit of the doubt because she claims she didn’t know until well into her 20s that “chink” was a racist slur, either.
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“The black artist cannot live in a revisionist place. The black artist can only tell the truth about humanity, and humanity is messy. People are messy. Caucasian actors know that. … We as African-American artists are more concerned with image and message and not execution, which is why every time you see your images they’ve been watered down to the point where they are not realistic at all. My whole thing is, do I always have be noble? As an artist, you’ve got to see the mess.”
– Actress Viola Davis responds to journalist Tavis Smiley regarding their roles in “The Help,” which has been criticized for being a “Hooray, White People Solved Racism” movie. Smiley told his guests, Viola and Octavia Spencer, that “I want you to win [an Oscar], but I’m ambivalent about what you’re winning for.” Whether you agree with Viola’s reply or not, it was earnest and, in my opinion, a refreshing response to the litany of complaints about “The Help” that have dogged it since the film came out. She’s probably sick of people saying this to her face and knowing people are saying it behind her back, too. [New York Times via YouTube]
“In this America led for the first time a black president, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged to its codes [of] streetwear … But if in 2012 the “black-geoisie” has integrated all the white codes, it does not [do so] literally. [There] is always a classic twist, with a bourgeois ethnic reference (a batik-printed turban/robe, a shell necklace, a ‘créole de rappeur’) that recalls the roots.”
– French Elle writer Nathalie Dolivo has fit in oh so much racism into just one tiny snippet of a much larger and equally as offensive article called “Black Fashion Power” (yeah). See, thanks to the Obamas, black people are now starting to dress like white people — but with ethnic flair! Out goes the streetwear! In comes whatever-the-hell-this-chick-thinks-all-fancy-white-people-wear, along with accessories that harken back to, like, Africa, or wherever “they” come from. This new sense of style even gets its own term – black-geoisie! You know, like black plus bourgeois? Sooooo cuh-raaaaazy! Whoever thought we’d see the day?!
All horrified jokes aside, I expect that Dolivo’s pink slip is on its way to her desk as we speak, but French Elle should be held just as accountable for printing this merde. [The Gloss; French Elle]
The rampant white-washing of models, actresses, and musicians of color is not a new concept. Freida Pinto, Rihanna, and Aishwarya Rai have all previously fallen victim to white-washing on magazine covers and in promotional images. Beyoncé’s skin was lightened dramatically in a 2008 cosmetics ad by L’Oreal, where she is the spokesperson. These incidents can be contributed to digital retouchers and the outlets that choose to release the images … but what about your own album cover and promo ads? The photos accompanying Beyoncé’s most recent release, 4, have stirred up controversy and it’s not a struggle to see why. Beyoncé is a fairly light-skinned black woman and she generally keeps her hair lightened to a shade that’s more caramel than chocolate. But these shots have her looking straight up like Lindsay Lohan with a subtle tan. If you showed me this image on its own and asked me who it was, Beyoncé would be my last guess.
Again, these light-skinned images are promotional ads for Béyonce’s own album, which leads me to believe that she absolutely approved the photos. [NYMag.com]