omg I just got the petition for someone “blacker” than@zoesaldana to play Nina Simone.. Reverse racism at its best
Easy A, cute lil movie right?
So here I am browsing through my after work dinner movie choices and Easy A is on. Seen it before, cute lil red head, scarlet letter, the idea of slut-shaming and what that means our mediocre minds…
I liked the idea of toe-touching around the subject of slut shaming, because lets face it-Slut Shaming when done to its rotten core can ugly as hell, you hear of kids offing themselves because the bullying gets to a certain point of emotional destruction. I suppose a little white washing and not so heavyheavy on the subject made it easy to swallow for the masses. I understand, sides its cute.
But here I am thinking, What if the main character was Black. How would that change the dynamics of the movie and the idea of it, who would they cast? A light skinned chic like Jurnee Smollett Bell, or the chic from Akeelah and the B. Would it have been as funny or cute.
Would she even be alike this cute, witty intelligent red head, who’s kinda above and beyond the bullshit, that dreams about the ideal mate approaching her like an ole 80s movie. Hey black folk, besides the Color Purple and Love and Basketball, we’ve seen the classics too right? Didn’t we think of that too in high school? Or is our view skewed and more limited, cause we’re not the cute red head with a smoky voice?
Also, a thought came across my mind-so the family that the main character is a part of is quiet normal…except for the adopted black kid. Was that to represent how progressive and intelligent the family was compared to the others? Even though this kid barely had any lines and kinda just…was there…token black kid much?
The issue of diversity in the media/Hollywood really kills me. Imagine how different these shows, movies, commercials, stories would turn out differently just because of skin tone difference.
Though I enjoy this movie for its cuteness and attempt at tackling some issues, it painfully reminds me that a normal movie, like 500 Days of Summer, Pretty Woman, or even 16 Candles will never show brown folk (and I mean all brown folk)-its kinda a way of saying, “Hey ya brown folk, ya’ll ain’t meant for these kindsa happy endings”
Always gotta make our own right.
She Matters: From the Emmys to fashion-show runways, black people are still ignored in mainstream America.
(The Root) — I don’t hate many things. I’m pretty good at keeping that emotion in check. But here’s a short list of things I hate:
3. Terrorists, including American terrorists, here and abroad, and especially the ones who stand on street corners harassing women who pass by
4. The willfully ignorant
I reserve a special place in my mental hell for anyone who ever utters out loud, “Why do black people need [insert whatever separate-but-equal thing, including award shows, TV channels, magazines, history month]? Isn’t that reverse racism?”
This usually comes up after I’ve had some epic-level social media meltdown about the lack of black people at one of the above-mentioned mainstream places. I wrap it all up by saying, “And this is why we need [the NAACP Awards, BET, Essence, February].” One of those willfully ignorant people inevitably sees that last tweet and comes crying about reverse racism and colorblindness and postracism and Obama.
It makes me want to scream, like that one time Janet and Michael Jackson collaborated for the video "Scream" and they, well, just screamed the whole time about how they were so annoyed with people. Yes, that sums it up perfectly.
The far reaches of institutional racism never fail to amaze me. And I guess this is easy to ignore unless you’re intentionally trying to find places that don’t affirm you, your desirability, your culture, etc. I think about this — essentially white privilege — all the time because in some way I’m reminded daily of not having said privilege.
I thought about it again most recently while watching the Monday-morning reaction to Kerry Washington’s loss at the Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night, which I didn’t bother to watch because no one I want to win ever does. My favorite show of all time — The Wire — ran for five seasons and is widely considered one of the best shows ever made. It never won an Emmy.
Anyway, over at Clutch magazine, they wondered if Washington was robbed of an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Columbus Short, who is Washington’s co-star, just flat-out tweeted that she had been robbed. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks even posted a picture of the Emmy audience with the message, “Well hello white people!” because the crowd was just so overwhelmingly white. That let me know it was really bad, because that’s the only time white people notice something that people of color have always noticed.
There was plenty of fuss on Twitter, of course, where people expressed that they had really been rooting for Washington. I thought, “How sweet,” in that same way I think of kids who still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny.
A black person winning at a mainstream awards show? I mean, it happens, and sometimes it’s televised. But that’s still an event, and everyone talks about it for years because that’s how long it’ll take to happen again.
Washington is the first black woman to lead a series on network TV in 40 years and the first to be nominated for best lead dramatic actress since Cicely Tyson in 1995. This is why we need the BET and NAACP Awards and black-owned networks.
I’ve thought about this essential whiteout before when I was searching for wedding gowns. I actually (and finally) caught wedding fever after putting it off for a long while, and I created a Pinterest page and bought reams of wedding books. By the end of the first day of pouring through images and magazines, I realized that I was hard-pressed to find a black bride on a mainstream site or in a mainstream magazine. I could flip through an entire magazine and find nothing, or I could go to one of the bridal salons mentioned in the directory and scroll through 100 dresses from the last few years of collections, and there wouldn’t be a single black bride.
I know that statistics for single black women are a little high, but the majority still get married. Don’t they buy wedding dresses, too? Sheesh. I finally put a picture of a black Barbie in a long dress that may or may not even be a wedding gown, just to have some color on my page on principle. This is why we need Munaluchi Bride.
This infuriates me to Naomi Campbell-level anger back in her phone-throwing days because there are few mainstream places where black people are present, whether we’re talking about fashion designers who just refuse to use black models, despite the buying power of black people; business sites that just forget to include black women on their lists of who is smart on Twitter (that means you, Fast Company); black people being virtually ignored by companies except in February — or December, when they trot out Kwanzaa ads (and I don’t even know anyone who practices it); or studios green-lighting so few black movies that when you say on Friday night, “I’m going to see the new black movie,” everyone knows what you’re talking about because there is only one.
It’s continuous and institutional and annoying and wrong. And it’s all a summary of reasons that black people need their own [insert “separate-but-equal thing” here]. We’re ignored or overlooked or disregarded (or, worse, our contributions are horrifically appropriated, but that’s another essay) in the mainstream. Black studios, magazines, designers, network award shows and anything else black aren’t examples of reverse racism — more like a reaction to plain old racism.
ah the now so inviting Rebel Wilson-
Yes I have fallen into the media frenzy about this female, okay not really but I’m glad she’s broken into Hollywood. First time I saw her was in Bridesmaids, short role but well played.
I was watching her on Ellen and all of a sudden went
"What happened to Monique, or that chic from Precious?"
I will say her role in Precious was a harsh diddy to take in and yeah it was along the lines of “For Colored Girls” in terms of the theme. My question is what happened to them? Rebel’s getting air time like no other but these guys? Monique’s been around for ages talking about “fuck skinny bitches” constantly trying to reach out to women of larger body types.
Maybe she was too aggressive and only appealed to the other angry women who shared her pain; Rebel is a hilarious actor to watch I do admit.
Just another example of what hollywood wants to see. They could’ve taken the chic from Precious and done the same thing ya know…she’s seemingly nice.
OH and can I shortly discuss how I dislike that Jennifer Hudson lost weight. She was nice looking before what was wrong with her? Nothing I tell you. In Dreamgirls, she was fine! In that movie with Sex and the City thing, she was fine?! Fuck off Hollywood.
and that is my rant for the day.
aright, here’s my response to Django, by Yazzy
I like Quentin Tarantino. I like Inglorious Bastards and I liked Kill Bill- yeah sure it’s a lot of glorifying Americans and all that jazz…but it’s Tarantino! At the end of the day its all about the exploration of the gore, the vulgarity and the Shit. Tarantino is great with pushing the boundaries about that Shit.
So I-Yazzy Asha Boiragee was excited about Django Unchained. Yes indeed I played into the Shit because:
A) it’s a crude white dude who’s done numerous movies involving different races and isn’t an offensive asshole prick when he does it
B) I knew that he wouldn’t water down the violence and vulgarity of SLAVERY that people are afraid to touch in the Media/Hollywood-even if it isn’t historically based he still added the harsh realities of that time period. He is in no way being sensitive or glorifying Slavery. (if anything the Lincoln def screwed up that aspect)
C) of course he got shit from Spike Lee and Black America, we get offended a lot, about a lot of things why not add to the pile. Yes Black America we get offended a lot-okay right to rage I know, because someone’s making a mockery of this, someone’s not properly portraying this etc etc. Here’s why I’m not offended or angry with you…
Django, in my eyes, is a piece of visual art that creates a Black Hero. I am looking at Jamie Foxx’s character like a Hero, and you can’t tell me that he doesn’t have the Hero qualities. The side-kick white guy who helps him out, the Evil Leonardo DiCaprio, the damsel in distress, the rising of the stakes in the story, the savior quality etc etc. (I’m a theater major, I study this shit, he’s a damn hero by theater definition)
How many Black Heroes do we have Black America? Storm, Hitchcock? Come on at least this one is more intriguing and isn’t a drunk or severely underplayed character.
This isn’t a “Hey let me make a film about slavery and historically make it accurate and make it powerful because I’m representing something.” It’s a film, it’s a story by Tarantino of all people. I’m not a fan of the harsh criticism on him and the film because it’s unnecessary. If it was supposed to be based off of something like oh I don’t know the Nina Simone movie was (I’m sorry and why aren’t we bashing that movie/director/writer and Zoe Saldana? Are we not outraged by that as well or was that long gone and forgotten?) then yeah I’d be angry, yeah I’d be all “RAWR RAWR wtfuck Tarantino you’re misrepresenting us and the struggle, our fight. Fuck you.”
Honestly guys. Look at Kill Bill, Inglorious Bastards, that one vampire movie…based on Tarantino’s film career: He makes Great stories about Great characters (sure Django isn’t a fully developed character but it’s a white dude writing about a black guy of course it isn’t), throws in a lot of blood, guts and gore, cuss words and sometimes sex.
And there you have it folks a Quentin Tarantino joint.
It’s a story. Get over it and stop trying to over-analyze into something it’s not. There’s always something to rage about and for once I ain’t raging, I’m loving it. He didn’t hold back in the dog scene, in the usage of language, all the uses of “nigger”. Nada.
And that’s my argument and I’m sticking to it.
you know how reality TV sometimes is annoying and frightening to watch because it’s supposed to be “reality” thus it’s supposed depict how people really are, and when it comes to “reality” TV shows they’re mostly racially based?
well how bout this!
In a piece at Clutch magazine, Tami Winfrey Harris writes a sharp rebuke of the media and the African-American community for buying into black dysfunction in light of the impending spring premiere of Oxygen’s All My Babies’ Mamas, about Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 children and their 10 mothers.
Sometime this spring, the Oxygen network will air a program called All My Babies’ Mamas, featuring someone called Shawty Lo. You probably already know this because a press release and video leak last week (video since removed) caused the heads of good black folk to explode all over the interwebs. You could hear the pop from space. The one-hour special documents Shawty, 31, whose mama named him Carlos Walker, and his relationships with his 11 children, their 10 mothers, and his newest, a 19-year-old girlfriend. Oh, and in the spirit of Flavor of Love, the women on the show will have their identities erased in favor of nicknames like “Fighter Baby Mama,” “First Lady,” and “Bougie Baby Mama.”
Lord, pass me my smelling salts.
The impending debut of All My Babies’ Mamas has been met with some predictable responses: A petition urging Oxygen to shelve the special and a whole lot of people vowing never, ever to let their eyeballs see this shitshow. But two reactions I find troubling: black shame and a heap of demeaning talk about single-parent and nontraditional families.
The “Ban All My Babies’ Mamas” petition, which, as I’m writing, has 73 signatures on Change.org, calls for the Oxygen show to be canceled for demeaning black women, girls, and children and stereotyping black men. I have no doubt the show will do all these things. And — make no mistake — the show’s creative team, Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, mean for this to be so. Nearly every reality show, from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to Love & Hip-Hop, is built on the exploitation and promotion of bias and stereotype.
clip from Not Another Teen Movie, where the Token Black Guy talks about being the Token Black Guy. I really appreciated his character…which leads me to the topic of…the Token Black Guy!
the controversy behind Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone and what that means for darker skinned black women and how we're seen in the media...
I think that the role is a challenge for Zoe Saldana and sure that’s good for her career, but what happened Hollywood, ya’ll ran out of darker skinned black women, did they go extinct?
Also Nina Simone was a fighter against white supremacy and racism…having a lighter skinned, petite young mixed woman playing this Idol…how does that look exactly?
Personally I don’t agree with her playing that role-BUT as an actor I can see that it is a challenge for her to undertake and brave of her to do so.
This article best articulates how we should better look at the situation and why most of us are a tad angry at Zoe…
Before I begin, please know that the majority of my disgust is reserved for Cynthia Mort and Jimmy Iovine. They hold primary responsibility for your casting in the upcoming film “Nina,” and that choice symbolizes the utter disregard the film industry has shown for telling the stories of Black women faithfully.
But you’re a grown woman, Zoe, and you made the decision to participate in this film despitepublic objections from Nina’s daughter Simone. Of course you owe nothing to me or thethousands of other people of African descent who find your choice to portray Nina disturbing and offensive.
I do wonder how it must feel to research Nina - to read and watch her critiques of racism and white supremacy in American culture - while preparing for a project that reinforces those very things. Quite simply Cynthia Mort, Jimmy Iovine, and yes, you, are not tributing Nina Simone’s legacy. You’re disrespecting it.
I know enough about the history of Black performance in America to understand that it’s not as easy as “just say no” for Black artists. Zoe, I realize that artists, particularly Women of Color artists, must sometimes be opportunists to survive. But artists must also assume culpability for the work they produce, and this work is damaging.
I’m afraid you lack self-awareness. And in truth, feigning ignorance of colorism doesn’t help your case. I still can’t believe you retweeted this.
Perhaps you’re just trying to hold on to whatever you can to justify your decision, but no, Zoe, this is not reverse racism. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. Black women are not discriminating against you because you are a light-skinned woman. We are expressing our frustration at a racial hierarchy that renders us too unattractive even to represent ourselves. And if we’re being honest, you got this role, in part, because of the privilege you’ve been accorded as a light-skinned Afro-Latina.
That’s not to say I don’t think you’re a talented actress. You most certainly are. In fact, I think you could surprise us with your performance in the film. That doesn’t change the fact that you are contributing to the ongoing invisibility of women who cannot remove their deep brown complexions, broad noses, and kinky hair every day after work. This project is a testament to the unconscionable arrogance of white supremacy. By taking part, you’ve condoned that arrogance.
But ultimately, Zoe, you’re just a single actress. Despite your privilege, you’re working within a system that exploits you and your image without acknowledging your existence. As the face of a project with many collaborators, you’ve unfairly become the fall girl. I’m not mad at you. I don’t think any of us are. Frankly, I feel more pity than contempt. It’s the same way I feel toward minstrel performers who donned black face at the turn of the century or black women actresses who embodied steretypical mammies 60 years ago. Artists do the best with the opportunities they are given.
Few dark-skinned actresses in Hollywood could open a film. That’s not your fault. However, in the future, I would caution you from making statements like, “..why the f— would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there’s a Black president in my country?” Because even in the United States where Barack Obama is the president, dark skin, kinky hair and African features are still loathed.
I offer this critique in love. I can’t say that I hope your movie will be a success; however, I do hope that you will use your growing influence to speak up when confronted with obvious inequality in the future. You don’t owe that to us. You owe it to yourself.
the media’s making people of color look bad? No! No! I don’t believe it!
Joking: no really, does anyone else feel uncomfortable that the Treyvon Martin issue was blown out of the water in an Emmit Till fashion? I mean kudos to that issue being brought to light but…you have to wonder why. The recent breakout story about the woman who was attacked by the KKK and set ablaze-there are now reports that this might have been fabricated.
And he’s right, what famous names do we have right now, let’s go through the list just at the top of my head: Beyonce, Rihanna, Oprah, Al Sharpton (even he’s lost some of his recognition), Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Obama (of course), umumum…ohwait what about inventors, activists, artists, playwrites, successful CEOs who haven’t “sold out to the man.” Right…we don’t hear about them…coincidence? Neverrrrr.
I’d hate to become one of those Al Sharpton types, the type who believes he is a freedom fighter for the black cause and who wrangles about the most trivial of altercations among African Americans and other groups.
But sometimes, it seems like I might be heading down this path.
On Oct 21, Louisiana native Sharmeka Moffit, 20, called police claiming she had been set ablaze by three men wearing hooded attire at a park in Winnsborro, La. She said the men also sprayed her car with the letters “KKK” and a racial slur.
On Tuesday, however, Franklinton Police reported the incident may have been fabricated by Moffit, stating her fingerprints were linked to the cigarette lighter and lighter fluid was found at the scene of the incident.
The media went wild. People from around the state and country, including media personalities, blasted Moffit. They called her names ranging from liar to deranged to foolish.
Some older people I spoke with, though, thought the facts of this story were a bit sketchy. Maybe Moffit was crazy or maybe this was a cover-up to protect white supremacist men in a rural town about 60 miles from Jena, the scene of another racially charged conflict back in 2006 and 2007.
Though much information is still desired, this story is a classic example of the distrust between older African Americans, the media and law enforcement.
The media refers to mass communication in its entirety, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio and social websites such as Twitter and Facebook. According to Umar Bey, author of “We are The Washitaw,” this influential and inescapable entity maintains negative stereotypes attributed to African Americans.
“The media has been destroying the image of people of color, particularly black people, since it came into existence. Look at the first 11 minutes of the nightly news,” Bey said, referring to the usual crime segment at the beginning of the program.
Bey added that the media is a complex propaganda distributor fed to the masses.
Though I disagree with some of Bey’s views, the media does distort African American images.
We rarely hear of the contributions of black inventors and intellects to American society. The popularity of black entertainers and athletes trumps that of scientists, astronauts, professors and other intellectual people of color. We see more of Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Lebron James, rather than the likes of President Obama, Cornel West, and Saundra McGuire.
We idolize the ones with the gold chains, but sometimes these entertainers sport the other types of chains –as witnessed by the recent arrests of former LSU football players.
The distrust between African Americans and law enforcement in this country goes back to the time of segregation when police helped white supremacists maintain Jim Crow Laws. In the South, many of the law enforcers themselves were part of these white supremacist groups who tortured black communities.
In some instances, such as in Bogalusa, African Americans had to take up arms to defend their communities — a role that should have been played by law enforcement.
Even still, cases such as Emmett Till and Rodney King remind the community of the one-sided hand of justice in this country. This may be the reason why black parents go to lengths to sternly discipline their children so they would stay out of the legal system.
I can vividly remember my frequent whoopings from my mother. She said “I do this because I love you,” and then went on to punish me. Child abuse? Maybe. Successful implementation of discipline? Yes.
Today, people of color have more of a presence in media than ever before. Personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela are adored across racial lines. The trust in the African American community for the media is better than it has been in the past.
But in the case of law enforcement, I see no love gained. It is not a white and black issue, but an issue of prosperity.
As long as there are have and have not’s, with many of the have not’s being blacks, law enforcement will continue to be an enemy to the black community.
In capitalist America, we are to love and pursue money. If your education is mediocre and you lack the discipline to work 9 to 5, then get-rich-quick schemes become more appealing. Too often, members of the black community fall victim to this quest.
As the saying goes, “Never bite the hand that feeds you.”
But sometimes, it is necessary to examine the hand and ask where the food comes from.
at an open mic I hosted dedicated to Hood Week, we stumbled upon the discussion of how women are portrayed in the media, a topic I’ve discussed many times on this blog…and I said, “Well look, Hollywood needs an acceptable skinny, mild looking, light skinned, “nice haired” person to play the black female roles. Zoe Saldana is that one. She’s the cute one that they turn to for black roles.”
Well word on the street is she’s undertaking the role of Nina Simone in a new biopic of her…and the response has not been positive and rightly so. She looks nothing like her, she’s not dark skinned she doesn’t look like your average black woman…Nina Simone is a b-l-a-c-k woman with dark skin and a fro with a lil more meat on her bones than our dear Saldana has. I mean don’t get me wrong she’s an interesting actress and is okay, I’ve enjoyed some of her movies no doubt but I don’t think this is a role that is for her. Here’s an article that more covers this:
“Rumor has it, Zoe Saldana is gearing up to play Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic. This surprising news has been garnering a lot of debate amongst some of Nina’s biggest fans. We turned to our Twitter and Facebook family. Here’s what we asked.
The response was overwhelming… and not very happy. We got a lot of suggestions for who our followers would prefer to see play Nina. Most notably, Adepero Oduye came up repeatedly. You can see a few of the suggestions below. Share your own thoughts in the comments! What do you think? Is Zoe Saldana the right pick to play Nina Simone? If not, who?
Editor’s Note: One of the more disturbing trends in the feedback about this casting wasn’t that Zoe wasn’t black enough (that definitely came up, just not very frequently), but that Zoe was too “pretty” to play Nina.
Just so we’re clear, Nina Simone was beautiful. Please keep that in mind when posting your own thoughts and comments below.
does everything have to revole around something severely dysfunctional when it comes to Tyler Perry?
Here’s Tyler Perry’s new tv show “For Better or For Worse.” Recently I’d posted a video about how African Americans are portrayed in the media. One of these images is the Always Anger but sexual black woman. Like the ones from The Flavor of Love, Basketball Wives, etc. It’s an image I’ve never really covered or though of.
But I think this does it. Are we always angry and if so what about?
History of Racism on Television.
speaking about Homophobia in the black community, my Boondocks trip that I’m on at the moment. The episode that goes over Tyler Perry as a whole is interesting,
how can homophobia exist when you condone Tyler Perry’s character that involves a cross-dressing man?
The episode is good satire and good commentary and we do need more of this…
'Dear White People' Tackles Identity Issues Filmmaker Justin Simien satirizes the awkwardness of blacks who are not black enough.
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is a film coming out that is a satire on identity, black identity to speak of. The trailer is also out on Youtube. Please check it out.
“Justin Simien doesn’t mind the possible comparisons to Spike Lee. Since the recent release of the trailer for his film Dear White People, a satire about black students’ experience at PWIs (Predominantly White Institutions), many have noted the similarities between its take on race relations and Lee’s own joints. (The clip already has more than 600,000 views on YouTube and has raised more than $41,400 on Indiegogo, surpassing its $25,000 fundraising goal.)
But, Simien says, the film is not just about race. “The movie to me is really about what it means to your identity when you are a thing that everyone around you has a preconception about,” he explained. “And how that can really limit you, your potential, and in some ways, honestly, help you find yourself.”
Simien used his own college years as inspiration, with the first few drafts culled from experiences such as when his suitemate was disappointed that the filmmaker couldn’t teach him how to Crip Walk, or how people were obsessed with his hair. He talked with The Rootabout how Dear White People came to life and how he hopes it will spark much-needed cross-cultural conversations.
The Root: Why do you think it’s so important for a movie like yours to be released now?
Justin Simien: We are coming out of this fantasy that we are postracial, and I just think … we have to challenge ourselves a little bit. There are a lot of people in the world who are just comfortable not really considering things from other perspectives. This film, what it hopefully will accomplish … is to put some very new perspectives out there about race and identity. It’s important for black film. It’s important for film, and it’s being talked about in pretty much every format except for film right now. You have it in music, with comedians. You have books coming out about it — How to Be Black [by Baratunde Thurston], Who’s Afraid of Post-Racial Blackness? by Touré.”