Well, this is awful. A black camerawoman working for CNN was pelted with nuts by two white RNC attendees and told “this is how we feed the animals” while covering the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. Two convention-goers were ejected following the incident, which was first reported by Talking Points Memo.
CNN issued a brief statement noting that “CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.” Later, convention officials released a follow up statement: “Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.” [TPM]
It’s not easy to make offensive jokes about ignorance. One person’s ignorant joke can be another person’s joke about ignorance and even if your comedy has the best of intentions, it’s frequently misunderstood. Offensive humor is tricky to balance, but smart humorists can do it well.
I believe Mindy Kaling from “The Office” is extremely smart and that she deserves all the success she’s garnered from her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and her upcoming sitcom “The Mindy Project.” But after watching the pilot for “The Mindy Project,” which is airing on Hulu Plus, I have to say I was disappointed about several squicky jokes made about race. Keep reading »
When the big news was announced last week that Zoe Saldana would be playing singer Nina Simone in a biopic, black cyberspace (yes, there is a “black Twitter” and a “black Facebook”) let out a collective “Oh, hell to the naw”!
For some it was because they did not believe that Zoe had enough acting talent to pull it off. Nina Simone was an extremely complex woman in real life, and the actress assigned to do this would be embarking upon the role of a lifetime. For others, the statements ranged from “Can Zoe even sing?” to “Wait, I thought she said she was a Latina?” to “Zoe is too skinny to play Nina Simone anyway!”
As the debate continued, it became clear to me that the issues surrounding the casting of Zoe ran much deeper than her acting ability. It was “skin deep.” Once again we were seeing an example of how Hollywood just doesn’t understand black women. To mainstream America, Black is “one color fits all.” But to African-American women, the color of our skin is much more than a random hue. In many ways, it uniquely shapes who we are and how we are treated in the world. For us, body image and self-esteem does not only involve loving your womanly body for the shape of it, but also embracing your complexion, hair texture and other features in a culture that constantly reminds you that thin white women are the standard of beauty. Keep reading »
This piece was originally published on xoJane.com.
When I was a senior in high school [above left], I attended this college prep program held in the sanctuary of a Baptist church across the street from my grandmother’s $1 Soul Food restaurant in south central Los Angeles. High-achieving nerds from all over the city would meet up every Thursday to talk personal essays, financial aid and application fees well past 11 o’clock.
One night the guy I was crushing on gave me a ride home in his mom’s new-but-used white BMW. I think we were debating the merits of the Common app versus the UC app and listening to Tupac at a medium volume when those angry telltale lights began to flash behind us. Jay looked at me and laughed. Those couldn’t be for us.
Of course they were. Keep reading »
Victoria Foyt is the (white) author of a new young adult book series called Save the Pearls. The book chronicles the adventures of Eden Newman, a white woman, or a “Pearl,” whose entire race has been enslaved by the dominant race of “Coals” — or dark-skinned people. Hoping to capitalize off of the popularity of dystopian young adult novels like The Hunger Games, Foyt constructed a narrative in which, she explains, “Solar radiation has wiped out most of the white race whose lack of melanin causes them to succumb to the Heat. The survivors, called Pearls, suffer from oppression under the new majority of dark-skinned Coals.” In the new world, Eden must rely on Bramford, a Coal. As Foyt describes it, Pearls is “a Beauty and the Beast story in which both parties must find self-acceptance before they can discover true love.”
Keep reading »
“Think Like A Man,” the new
Tyler Perry romantic comedy [Update: based on a book by Steve Harvey] about black women and men, has allegedly been banned in France because officials say the film is not diverse enough. According to blogger Fabienne Flessel at the blog Global Voices:
Surprising as it may be, the answer lies in the fact that the film has an all-black cast. French cinema is often pointed at for not fairly displaying all components of the country’s multiethnic population.
It is unclear, though, whether “Think Like A Man” has literally been banned, or if it just is not being screened. But the Global Voices blogger and several other French-speaking bloggers quoted/translated in his article seem adamant that someone in a position of power in France is uninterested in promoting films by and about black folks. One blogger claims “Tyler Perry’s movies are never scheduled in any French movie theaters or are only released in DVDs, even thought he has been used to leading the U.S. box office.” Keep reading »
Sometimes I get worried that we’re progressing too quickly re: women’s rights and race in this country, so it was with some relief that I saw the press release for the Field Guide to Chicks of the United States, which apparently offers “amusing insights into the most distinctive physical characteristics, vocalizations, behavioral tendencies and mating habits of American Chicks from regional and ethnic subculture (or species) across the country.”
Ethnic subculture?! Species? Keep reading »
I have never watched HBO’s new show “Girls.” Not because I don’t want to — I’m actually excited to see a new female-centered TV show that allows actresses to play rich and diverse characters. But unfortunately, the current role I play in real life, that of a struggling comic/actress, does not afford me the opportunity to indulge in the many simple pleasures of life such as HBO. Although I have not seen the show, I have seen and heard much of the praise and criticism the show has garnered — especially around the all-white cast. Keep reading »