Black Magic At The #MetGala: Manus X Machina

The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala and also known as the MetBall, is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. This year, the event was held on May 2nd and was cleverly themed “Manus X Machina”, a name referencing fashion in the age of technology and innovation. Beyonce, Zendaya, GuGu Mbatha Raw and many more showed up to the event in stunning fashions that made their melanin the envy of the evening. The event was hosted by co-chairs Idris Elba, Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour. Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada served as honorary chairs, and the gala and accompanying exhibition was sponsored by Apple.

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For Black Girls Who Got In Formation When Hot Sauce Wasn’t Enough: On Beyonce, Formation & The Black Panthers

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BREAKING NEWS: Beyonce is Black. Not only that, but she has also just given us the Third F of Feminism: Flawless, Feeling Myself and Formation. With the video release of her new song, Formation, Beyoncé denounced the “exceptional negro” image that has been placed upon her by mass media in order to give Black people, specifically women, an empowerment anthem worthy of several covers, marching band renditions and majorette team performances. The moment she sat on top of the New Orleans police car & submerged into the abyss, we knew that Bey was determined to make a statement. Beyonce has informed the whole entire world that she too, is a Black woman who is dealing with the subconscious effects of racially motivated hatred and violence. She has taken it upon herself to remind everyone that despite her mysterious aura and respectable success, she is still Black, proud and conscious of the world she lives in. The recent discourse surrounding Beyonce has made me proud to be a member of the #Beyhive and above all, a Black woman. The hatred for Beyonce, and consequently all Black women is sickening, palpable and just frightening. Everyone loves to scream about supporting Black women “at all costs”, “no matter what”, until that Black woman is such a huge celebrity that her humanity is questioned and she is stripped of her agency.

 

 

Continue reading “For Black Girls Who Got In Formation When Hot Sauce Wasn’t Enough: On Beyonce, Formation & The Black Panthers”

Black Excellence: The Wiz! (+ The Best Memes from Black Twitter)

The Wiz! live premiered on NBC last week and simply put, it was amazing. Between the cast, the costumes, the set, the graphics, the music, the makeup and the hair, all I can say is…

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tumblr_nyt6w6PQnT1tf70vho1_540I started working on this post during the premiere of the production but I found myself fixated on the screen. It was brilliantly done.Before going any further, I NEED to say that I’m not going to do what has already been (unnecessarily) done and compare old and new. The new production had a cleverly modern twist but still managed to pay homage to the original groundbreakers.

 

tumblr_nytbdahGSi1rl5evlo1_1280Queen Latifah (the Wizard), David Alan Grier (the Cowardly Lion), Uzo Aduba (Glinda), Elijah Kelley (the Scarecrow) and newcomer Shanice Williams (Dorothy) headlined the warmly received production, which followed in the footsteps of the 1978 film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson and its 1975 Broadway predecessor. The show also featured Amber Riley (Addapearle), Common (The Bouncer), and Mary J. Blige (Evillene). Stephanie Mills returned to act as Aunt Em.


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Amber Rose, The Slut Walk & The Walk of No Shame

Amber Rose is a feminist and just know, that by saying Amber Rose’s version feminism is too one dimensional is as revelatory as saying she dated Kanye.

Recently, Amber Rose (and her best friend, Blac Chyna) have been making headlines all over the nation following the announcement of Amber Rose’s SlutWalk and the release of her free-spirited skit in collaboration with Internet sensation, “Funny or Die”, entitled “The Walk of No Shame”.  Amber Rose made an announcement on Twitter this past summer, that she’ll be leading her very own SlutWalk. The SlutWalk concept is not one created by Rose. SlutWalk is a transnational movement of protest marches, which originated on April 3, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario. There were subsequent rallies following the initial march, all over the world. During a SlutWalk, participants come together to protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance, and the ultimate call for an end to rape culture. Overall, the goal of a SlutWalk has grown and thrived and Rose is now using it to promote the provocative, unapologetic movement for total Women’s empowerment. The Website for Amber’s SlutWalk states that proceeds and donations will go towards ” bringing this event to life with on-site services such as HIV testing, sexual awareness booths, food vendors, merchandise vendors and a host of other services. But most importantly, your donation will support our foundation and groups and organizations of women who have been subject to slut shaming, a lack of double implication of double standards, sexual assault and even rape.” 

While researching Amber Rose’s latest business venture, I see that there have been so many articles, tweets and videos shared in regards to Amber’s latest work. I must say, reading the comments is a real downer for me. The slander is atrocious, obnoxious and just damn evil. I think regardless of how you view the role of a woman, the fact will always remain that people live alternative lives and should be respected regardless of another person’s individual beliefs. All the name calling and demeaning phrases are just ruthless for no reason. Every time I’ve heard this woman speak it has come from what I perceive to be a genuine, real place. I don’t understand the angst. I agree with Amber and I interject by saying: Have your “real” woman, but let me live without your constant ridicule of how I see that world in comparison to how you see that world.

Check out this video:

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In this video, a young woman mercilessly slams Amber Rose and condemns her efforts to do what she describes as “promoting whorism”.
After sharing the video on my Facebook page and adding that I disagree with the woman’s sentiments, one of my Facebook friends asked me to elaborate on exactly what I disagreed with.
My answer?
Everything.
I responded with:
She completely misunderstood what Amber Rose is trying to do. Personally, I feel like before you can agree and/or disagree with a movement, you need to understand it. You can’t slam and belittle what you don’t understand. I also disagree with her “Only in America….” comments. We only focus on the fact that “Black women are sexualized & degraded…” but neglect the fact that some women choose to “sexualize” themselves. Amber Rose’s mission wasn’t to promote “whorism”, it’s her form and her method for female empowerment. Regardless of how I personally feel about her execution, this woman has it all backwards.. I support Amber’s goal but I myself would go about it differently. However, I wouldn’t slam her either way. The woman in this video spoke on how Amber Rose perpetuates a certain stereotype but fails to realize that she’s perpetuating and adding to the myth that black women are “competitive” and “can’t get along”.
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It is imperative that in times like these, black women stick together. If we feel the urge to speak on something involving another black woman, it should be done in a sisterly manner, meaning that is should be out of love, true compassion, and genuine concern. I believe that blacks need to keep in mind that issues regarding the black community need to be handled within the black community. It should not be available for white people to agree and/or disagree or co-sign with. It has NOTHING to do with them.
I must say this: we must understand that no one concept exists solely on it’s own. The connotation of slut will always be negative considering that it has been a form of oppression for women for years. No matter how sexually liberated I may be, I don’t want to be called a slut. I am not here to police Amber’s method of female empowerment. I support her GOAL to the fullest extent. However, I’m not sure if it’s the most progressive movement happening right now.
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The SlutWalk in itself is a movement I can’t rock with due to the pitfalls in its philosophy and the way it, like most movements, tends to alienate the universal and incomparable experiences of sexual oppression faced by Black women every where, every day. On Sept. 27, 2011, the members of Black Women’s Blueprint (BWB) published a letter to the organizers of SlutWalk that essentially served d as the relentless read of a lifetime. In the writing, the author breaks down all the parts of SlutWalk’s ideology that are problematic for Black women.
This is why I consistently stress that we need our own units of…everything. I am proud of Amber for taking on such a large platform to combat an even larger issue. This is a woman who has been living her life in the same manner that some “regular” women have but is subjected to so much scrutiny and disrespect because she is living her life in the public eye.
What I would like to see happen is for Amber to really educate herself on the deeper history of black women. That encompasses African women, African-American women, Afro-Latina Women, Caribbean & West Indian Women, Afro-Asian, Afro-Russion and so many more women that are living horrors as a direct result of the diaspora. A platform that is solely for this would mean so much more. But, is Amber even interested in creating a platform and an organization that focuses on these issues and black women in particular.

Winnie Harlow & The Evolution of Blackface

“Just because a black girl wears blue contacts and long weave doesn’t mean she wants to be white and just because a white girl wears braids and gets lip injection doesn’t mean she wants to be black.” – Winnie Harlow

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How do I start this post? I’ve been on a short hiatus while transitioning into college and during my break, so many “noteworthy” things have occurred. I’ll start here with 21 year old Canadian (nationality) model, Winnie Harlow. Winnie Harlow was a contestant on cycle 21 of the hit TV show, America’s Next Top Model. Recently, a few of Winnie’s fans, particularly, her WHITE fans decided to pay tribute to her in a very large, controversial manner.

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Sadly, Winnie simply does not understand and in addition to being uninformed, she doesn’t realize the deeper implications of actions such as these. After reading through comments on her Instagram posts and numerous articles, I can not even begin to fathom why some black people are okay with condoning the objective use of blackface as a means of “celebration” and “tribute”. In addition to blackface, there was also a faux-artistic mockery made of a skin disease that these girls do NOT have. I would like to sit Winnie Harlow down and ask her, “Girl…. what the HELL is wrong with you?” Blackface was not an “art form” that derived out of “appreciation.”. It always has been and always will be disrespectful and racist. There is a reason the term is culture appropriation and culture appreciation. Winnie didn’t respond well to her people saying that what was taking place was disrespectful and down right racist. Painting vitiligo on your skin because it’s ‘trendy’ is weird and ableist regardless of race.

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Winnie has a lot of things tragically misunderstood. I understand that she has a multiethnic background. Kudos to you, Winnie. But from reading her interviews and tweets, she seems to believe that her vitiligo makes her biracial. Honey, if that was the case, albinos are white and skin color always equates to race. Winnie somehow also brought segregation into the conversation by relating it (or not relating it) to her not condoning blackface. Truthfully, I don’t know what the HELL this girl was talking about! The only people supporting her right now are misinformed blacks and eager, racist white girls! Winnie, to view deliberate blackface as love is a sickness, my dear.

I wont’t speak too long on this topic because, truthfully, I don’t know what to say. To see a vast amount of blacks deny the historical relevance of blackface to support a misinformed young lady is frightening.

Miley, What’s Good?

Sunday, August 30th, 2015, The 2015 VMAs aired on MTV and in short, it was nothing less than disappointing and utterly disgusting. To summarize it in ones short sentence: Miley Cyrus is racist, Rebel Wilson made an even bigger fool of herself, Kanye has my vote in 2020 and it was clearly a very, very long night. Because the night was so…. “eventful” and there is so much to talk about, I’ll end my introduction with this: Take this information how you want but always think about it.

Miley Cyrus:

She’s racist. Competently racist. And she knows exactly what she’s doing. She paraded around on the MTV VMA stage wearing fake deadlocs,  shamelessly evoked the Mammy stereotype in her skit with Snoop Dogg and got crazy reactions all night, into the following week. But that was her goal. She’s taking her racism and white privilege ideologies and using it to make a profit and to fuel her career, because relevancy through real talent is not an option for her. Miley Cyrus knows that the media is going to take her side in EVERY case because she’s a young, white, rich racist.

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In one night, Miley Cyrus managed to demean and dehumanize the ENTIRE black race & culture by:
– culturally appropriating Black culture and then being praised for it
– making a cissexist joke directed at a cis man who played a Trans woman
– constantly joking about weed when Black people are being thrown in jail for it
– exposing her nipple (when Janet Jackson was harshly reprimanded after her infamous Super Bowl “nip slip”; Miley, your white priviledge is showing)
– using LGBTQIAP+ people as props
– calling a Black man mammy
– disrespecting Nicki with “congrats Nicki, but I lost and I got over it”
– lying about the media twisting her words
– joking about weed (okay… we get it… you smoke) but when Kanye said one thing about it, he was nearly criminalized
– becoming the victim even though she made Nicki’s discussion of racism her place to silence Nicki

Now, I know Miley claims to be a feminist and okay, that’s cool. But what needs to be understood is that Feminism should be more than celebrating your period, accessing birth control, wearing what you want whenever you want, and making the same wage as your male counterpart…oh and freeing your damn nipples. While all are important issues we as feminists should address if we please, it is simplistic, dated, and naive to believe that they are the sum total of the needs of all women. As a feminist, one must recognize that both intersectionality and inclusivity are two major components in the struggle for women’s rights. That means recognizing that the narrative of feminism must include a space for the experiences of women of color, LGBTQ women, low-income/poor/homeless women, urban and rural women, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, and so much more. So if these new wave “feminists” are going to focus on Nicki saying “bitch” to Miley, you really don’t care about the issues.

Rebel Wilson: -_- I have no respect for Rebel Wilson.

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Rebel Wilson used police brutality and the murder of Black lives as a weak ass punchline. Not only did she make light of the serious issue of Police Brutality, but she somehow managed to oddly sexualize the oppressive topic. Definitely NOT a good move, especially when a Black woman recently had her vagina forcibly searched for weed. Now, there was a lot about the VMAs that rubbed me the wrong way this year but the thing that probably bothered me the most was her joke. The joke was awful and then, to turn around and have her present the hip hop award?! It’s not a joke and it’s not funny. Let me say it one more time for the people in the back: AINT SHIT FUNNY ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY. I am pretty sure the families of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, John Crawford, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and so, so, so many others dont think there’s anything funny about it either. Many may read this and think that I am overreacting. Take a moment, sit there and think about why so many people would be pissed off about her “joke”. I don’t just sit here and get mad for fun. There are just some things you don’t try to joke about. There are just some things that you don’t laugh about.There are some things that just aren’t funny.

Nicki Minaj: I saw a post on Tumblr before writing this section and she said something that truly sparked my interest (in other words, pissed me off): “Nicki Minaj  was the one who rapped about nappy headed hoes (Song: Did It On Em), portrayed black women as chimpazees who eat bananas, disrespected Malcom X (Single Cover: Looking A** Ni**as), and made homophobic comments. So this is why I will NEVER stick up for her in all these taylor/miley marketing beef ! This girl used the “ I’m a black people activist “ card mostly because she was mad about the fact that her greedy ass wasn’t nominated for an award for which Kendrick Lamar was !!!! Stop the hypocrisy and the double standards and let’s fight for our real black people activist ! They need it ♥”

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Black people, and other people of color, are constantly expected to ‘wait their turn,’ or ‘wait for the right time.’ And coming as a shock to no one, the ‘right time’ never seems to come. Is it any wonder, then, that they speak angrily and at the “wrong time”?

Nicki Minaj did just that, and in response to Cyrus’ casual dismissal of her concerns by focusing on how ‘rude’ she was about expressing them, called Cyrus out at a live awards show.  No, it’s not ‘nice.’ Yes, she is a woman calling out another woman angrily. But if you’re looking at how Minaj handled the situation, rather than looking at the injustice of the situation in which Minaj and other black women in the music industry constantly find themselves, then you’re part of the problem. Black women are constantly written off as “angry” or “irrational” or “defensive” when we speak out about racist double-standards. When a black woman boldly expresses her opinion, she’s often automatically deemed the aggressor – usually toward a presumably fragile, meek, white ‘damsel in distress’.

Enough is enough. Instead of brushing off Minaj’s anger, people need to listen to what she has to say. As a black girl with a big butt, I understand her frustration. I understand what it’s like to be shamed for your curves while also fetishized. Minaj has every right to be upset. This is infuriating.

If you didn’t watch the VMAs, it’ll be on every channel, every day until the 2016 VMAs airs in 11 months, but until then, think on this: We do this every year. We watch an awards show, and of course, something unjust happens. We then get on social media and complain, yet we continue to watch their shows which is therefore supporting the channels. I know it isn’t fair , and it’ll be hard, but I feel like we need to do more. There’s power in numbers, and we need to show these companies that we’re not having this anymore.