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 »
Last night, a Black man in Los Angeles was fatally shot by police officers for carrying a Swiss Army knife. Before I proceed, I want to be clear that someone called the police for assault with a deadly weapon. Perhaps he did assault someone, and in that case, it would be reasonable to arrest him. A bystander said that the man was his friend, and that he liked to “wave a knife to scare tourists.” That’s stupid, that’s possibly arrestable, but there’s no reason that man should be dead.
It’s a Swiss Army knife. One man with a Swiss Army knife against what looks like it could be up to 10 cops has no chance of actually hurting them. The cops shot him not because they knew for sure that he had done anything wrong, because they didn’t, but because he was carrying a knife. And h was Black. Keep reading »
Art has never imitated life so disgustingly.
One of the biggest pornography companies in the world has launched a webseries called Border Patrol Sex that features American border patrol agents catching undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrant women attempting to cross the border, arresting them, handcuffing them, raping them, and then sending them back to Mexico. Keep reading »
At this upsetting and frustrating time in American history, it’s important to consider how to be a good ally in the movement for equality. Thankfully, the amazing Franchesca Ramsey is here to clarify a few ways for allies to back up their fellow humans. No matter who you are or what walk of life you’re in, there are things in this video that just about every one of us can learn or benefit from! [Bitch]
Peaceful protests are flooding New York City — along with Boston, Washington, DC; and other major cities across the country — in reaction to the non-indictment of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner in a chokehold while Garner gasped that he couldn’t breathe. Yesterday, NPR captured this 25-second clip of Eric Garner’s stepfather, Benjamin Carr, attempting to console a protestor in New York City. Nothing sums up the desperation and determination that’s fueling the protests quite like this. There’s a lot I could say about Garner’s death that plenty of others have already said — that I’m furious, that I’m devastated, that I’m scared for the lives of innocent Americans, that it’s once again painfully obvious that the fabric of this country is still deeply racist and unjust — but the audio speaks for itself. 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 »