Race

bell hooks Called Beyoncé an Anti-Feminist Terrorist

Beyoncé has not always identified publicly as a feminist. But somewhere between the release of “Run the World (Girls)” in 2011 and the birth of Blue Ivy the following January, she started opening up in the press regarding her belief in feminism — still, sadly, a term her pop star peers mostly try to circumvent. But as celebrated as Beyoncé’s light-touch, low-pressure brand of female empowerment has been by some high-profile feminists like Sheryl Sandberg, Ms. Knowles apparently does not pass bell hooks’ high feminist bar — this week, hooks shocked just about everyone by branding her an “anti-feminist terrorist.” Welp. And there ain’t shit the Beygency can do about it — bell hooks remains a leading voice on intersectional feminism. … Read More

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Sky Ferreira’s “I Blame Myself” Video Subverts the Gender Dynamics of Gang Culture

Look at the image above. One of these things is not like the other. Some may say it’s another example of a pop star “accessorizing with black people,” but hold on a second, there’s something redeeming here. In her new video for “I Blame Myself,” Sky Ferreira plays with gender dynamics in gang culture, a context in which her punky pop has likely never been considered. The juxtaposition, as it turns out, speaks to a larger message about power and vulnerability. … Read More

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12 Television Writers of Color You Should Know

After recent widespread criticism about Saturday Night Live’s lack of diversity, prompted by the hiring of six new cast members (five men and all white), Lorne Michaels woke up and added three African-American women to the SNL family. Sasheer Zamata is the show’s new featured player, while LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones (vetted from the recent auditions) will join the writing staff. … Read More

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Are Black Female Casting Stereotypes Actually Gross Misinterpretations of Archetypal African Goddesses?

The Huffington Post ran a piece, a few weeks ago, on a recent Essence survey that revealed that most of the magazine’s readers feel the portrayals of black women in the media are not fair representations of who they really are. … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Kerry Washington

SNL wants you to know they messed up. The lack of diversity amongst the cast was addressed in last night’s cold open — due to the appearance of Kerry Washington, who not only contributed a great energy to the episode, but also played Michelle Obama for the first time since 2007 (when Maya Rudolph took on the role of the First Lady). SNL has always been Captain Obvious when it comes to their African-American hosts. Race is always at the forefront of the sketches — if not in subject, then in terms of which players the writers feature (last night was the most we’ll probably see of Jay Pharoah all season). It’s usually uncomfortable, heavy-handed (someone is patting themselves on the back for inviting Eminem and Al Sharpton to last night’s show), and unfortunately, nothing ever changes. But hey, SNL is great at underlining the show’s limited scope. There will be umpteen more episodes of Kenan Thompson in drag, featuring four of the six new cast members (all male and white) hogging the spotlight, and exhausting jokes about women being hormonal and crazy. If last night’s semi-lame cold opener actually leads to something, we’ll be surprised — but we’d like to believe that SNL will one day join the real world and expand its horizons. … Read More

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Where ‘The Walking Dead’ Fails Viewers When It Comes to Race

This was our first week without a new episode of The Walking Dead this season, and we know it can be hard to get through Sunday’s doldrums without it. So let’s use this break to consider the bizarre racial politics of a show that continuously draws millions more viewers each season. Utilizing Slate’s Lorraine Berry’s premise that the series is a “white patriarchy” as a jumping off point, what interests me is putting the popularity of the show in conversation with its problematic aspects. I don’t have any statistics about the demographics of The Walking Dead’s audience, but I do know that when I discuss the show with friends and acquaintances who are also people of color, I find that we are engaging in a particular way with a show that we both love and hate. … Read More

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Vanity Fair’s Neverending Hollywood Issue Race Problem

Tomorrow’s February 1st — which means it’s time to dig out that yearly “Is Vanity Fair racist?” headline. Yes, the magazine has unveiled its 2012 Hollywood Issue, and the cover isn’t pretty. No, strike that. It’s a lovely photo, filled with gorgeous, talented starlets. But while there are two women of color —… Read More

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Photo Gallery: City Chase 2010

On Saturday, September 25, City Chase returned to NYC, sending hundreds of competitors scrambling throughout the city in a race to complete challenges, throw inhibition out the window, and generally confuse passersby. Billing itself as an “urban adventure series,” City Chase takes place annually in cities across the nation, with the winners from each one moving on to the national finals. Teams of two are tasked with undertaking everything from knife throwing and magic tricks to karaoke and parkour, with a maximum of six hours to finish ten challenges from a list of 40. After taking part last year, we could resist the chance to do it all again. Check out our exclusive photo gallery from this year’s New York leg of the event after the jump. … Read More

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Stuff White Online Daters Like

Online dating is big and only getting bigger. One estimate puts it at a $932 million market next year, and a BBC poll from February says 30% of web users are looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend. With a wealth of personal information now online, these services can also serve as a great sociological tool. OkTrends is a blog that conducts original research from OkCupid, an online dating service. Their posts range from advice on how to use the dating service to graph-chalked, census-like studies on their customers. Yesterday they posted a comprehensive survey of what online daters write about themselves in their profiles. … Read More

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RIP: Photographer Roy DeCarava, 1919-2009

y DeCarava, a key figure in postwar photography, died Tuesday at his home in New York City. DeCarava (pronounced dee-cuh-RAH-vah) turned his lens on the neighborhood of Harlem during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, depicting the everyday African American experience from an insider’s perspective. His work, painterly studies of shadow and darkness, transcended racial boundaries, juxtaposing stark black-and-white tonality with highly impressionistic composition. Click through to view some of DeCarava’s most iconic images and hear what the media and art establishment have to say about his… Read More

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