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Amandla Stenberg & Colorism: Problematic or Nah?

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*Note: Amandla Stenberg reportedly identifies as non-binary. Although I do not know her chosen pronoun, I will use they/their/them. I hope this is sufficient and respectful of their gender identity. 

A few days ago, Teen Vogue posted the article entitled, “Amandla Stenberg Reportedly Stepped Away From Black Panther Due To Her Beliefs About Colourism”. Stenberg is known for their vocal ideas on gender, race and identity. They have starred in The Hunger Games trilogy, and the 2017 movie Everything, Everything. They will also star in the upcoming film The Hate U Give, which is based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Angie Thomas.

In a nutshell, Amandla says they went through the process of auditioning for Black Panther and got pretty far, but then decided to not proceed. Their reasoning: ‘These are all dark skin actors playing Africans and I feel like it would have just been off to see me as a biracial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same colour as everyone else in the movie.’

Personally, I have two problems with Amandla’s method of “saving and creating space for dark skinned black people”. First of all, there are lighter skinned people who live in Africa, so that was a pretty ignorant comment. Secondly, if you truly value and want to legitimately save space for people who are oppressed, why mention it? Their discussion of it seems to actually overshadow the ‘goodness of the act’.

Some people were glad that Amandla acknowledged colorism and their privilege as a bi-racial person and praised them for speaking so candidly about it. On the other hand, some people are calling it a backhanded compliment. It can be interpreted as Amandla saying the person who portrayed the role she auditioned for was chosen as a second best since they dropped out of the running.

Here’s one of my favorite tweets about Amandla’s statement. The person responded to a tweet by Now This News that mentioned the Teen Vogue interview (the tweet has since been deleted):

All in all, people with privileges often try hard to demonstrate that they are an ally. Often times, they/we fail to realize that being an ally is not about calling attention to yourself as an ally. It’s about giving space and using your privilege to elevate marginalized and oppressed persons. As a cisgender, heterosexual person, going to a Pride parade and holding up a giant neon green poster that says, “Hey, I’m straight and I’m here to support you and give you space” does nothing for the movement nor does it elevate the LGBTQ+ community in any way. I know it’s not exactly the same, but hopefully you understand where I’m going with it!

What do you all think about Stenberg’s comments? Do you think it was commendable or tasteless?

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Kanye Feuds with Drake

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Drake Kim Kanye

A flurry of tweets erupted from Kanye West’s Twitter account. Alleging Drake threatened him, Kanye says Drake has gone too far.

“No tough talk either”

At 10pm EST, Kanye began his tweet streak, calling out Drake’s shady behavior. In the 4-hour-long tirade, he implied Drake was responsible for the hospitalized Pusha T concertgoer that rushed the stage. He also credited Drake for the death of XXXTentacion and arrest of Tekashi69. Saying “I got a family and kids”, it seems Kanye may fear for his safety.

“I need my apologies now!”

Calling him “disrespectful to all people with mental health conditions”, Kanye implored Drake to work things out. In the past, Drake has held an extensive feud with Kid Cudi, who famously struggles with depression. Going for the low blow after being name-checked for having ghost writers, Drake said this in “Two Birds, One Stone”:

“You stay xanned and perc’d up, so when reality set in, you don’t gotta face/Look what happens soon as you talk to me crazy/Is you crazy?”

The track, released while Kid Cudi was seeking care in a rehabilitation facility, sent him into a tizzy, promising retaliation upon release. But Cudi would need to aim twice if he wanted retribution, as Kanye was credited as a writer for the diss. Despite championing for the normalization of mental health care discussion in recent years, Kanye does not have clean hands either.

While no one is entirely sure what caused the beef, tweets about 2 hours into Kanye’s rant hinted why. Blaming Travis Scott, Drake drew his ire for dissing him in “Sicko Mode”. Claiming “Trav is my family and let this met throw sneak disses at me for clout”, Kanye says he heard there was more to Drake’s verse insulting him.

Drake Ki Ki-ing

Through it all, Drake seemed to be amused by his meltdown, allegedly sending “purple emojis” to Kim. He even requested clearance for “Say What’s Real”. Kanye ultimately denied the request for the sample.

Kanye West Drake Beef

Upcoming Diss Track?

Never one to stand idly by when it comes to family, Kim eventually popped out to defend her man.

Kim Kape Kardashian

Completely sidestepping Lil Wayne’s discovery of Drake, many said Kimberly should’ve just sat there and ate her food.

Kim Ray J

This whole thing is just so messy!!!

While there’s no indication there’s been a resolution to their disagreement, Kanye says “don’t sneak diss or diss at all”.

What do you think about this situation? Is the King of Calabasas really about that action or is he bluffing?

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Michelle Williams Quits Broadway Show

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Michelle Williams Erzulie

It has been a difficult year for Michelle Williams. Having ended her engagement, per doctors’ orders she now has to end her Broadway career.

From a statement provided to People magazine, the Destiny’s Child alum has orders to take it easy.

“Effective immediately, Michelle T. Williams has been advised by doctors to take a leave of absence from performing.”

The 38-year-old  singer and mental health advocate had the role of Erzulie, a goddess, in “Once On This Island”. She had only been performing in the role for two weeks.

Sources say her understudy, Cassondra James, will take over until December 26th. From that point, Lea Salonga, the original lead, will resume her role until the finale January 6th.

Rocky Road

With no further explanation given regarding why Michelle must take a sabbatical, its tough to say why she needs a break. Her ongoing struggle to conquer depression, the recent stint in a mental health care facility, and toxic relationship may have taken their toll.

Hopefully, Michelle is taking some time to mend herself. This summer she stated, “Take one step at a time! Don’t overwhelm yourself.” We’re all hoping she’s following her own advice.

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Kodak Black Walks Out Hot 97 Interview After Ebro Brings Up Sexual Assault Case

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Kodak Black

During an interview with Hot 97, Ebro asked Kodak questions about his criminal past. Things went smoothly until Ebro mentioned the seriousness of sexual assault allegations.

At the beginning of the segment, Ebro posed an interesting question to Kodak for which he had no answer.

“When you look at all the stuff that you’ve got on your rap sheet, everything that you’ve been charged with, how much do you take accountability for?”

“Everything that you’ve been charged with.” At the time, Kodak may have only been thinking about misdemeanor drug charges. Ebro had specifically mentioned marijuana possession and alluded to “different things” Kodak had been going through.

Kodak was obliged to answer the Hot 97 crew’s questions, but it wasn’t until the focus was shifted to sexual assault that he got uneasy. Ending the interview, in a huff, Kodak said:

“I feel like sometimes when n*ggas like me going through sh*t, like, y’all be entertained by bullsh*t.”

Indicted on sexual misconduct charges, Kodak could face 30 years in prison if convicted. He stands accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in a hotel. Allegedly biting her neck and breast before the assault, prosecutors claim he also pushed her into a wall. With the trial tentatively scheduled for April 2019, Kodak is avoiding any discussion surrounding the case.

Far to go

Following the release of the interview, many of Kodak’s fans took to social media to support the artist. Showing that the hip hop community is not prepared to call out misogyny and abusive behavior, his fanbase began attacking Ebro. Still, many stood in Ebro’s defense. Despite the rise of the #MeToo movement, hip-hop is still ages behind in terms of inclusive progression. Twitter users echoed the same sentiments with statements like these:

In his defense, Ebro had this to say in regards to the touchy subject:

Do you think Ebro was out of line? In what ways could Kodak have responded better?

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