*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):
This is so rude and disrespectful. Coogler already wanted Letitia Wright for the role, so all this grandstanding by Miss lightskin was unnecessary. Even if she tried her best she would've lost. Stomach that L instead of acting like you GIFTED other hard working actors their roles https://t.co/P8Y40Pvqcl
— Flightbae™☻ (@justcallmeBABA) March 3, 2018
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?
DJ Envy Gets Clowned On Twitter For Walking Out On Breakfast Club Interview with Desus & Mero
DJ Envy was not here for Desus And Mero during their ‘The Breakfast Club’ interview… and Twitter wasn’t feeling him either. Envy thought it would be a good idea to check the two for joking about his wife only being interested in him because of his checks.”You owe my wife an apology when you insinuated that she was there for the check.”
Poor Envy was pressed boots!! For a situation that he put his wife in. Bish whet?
— THE KID MERO 🇩🇴 (@THEKIDMERO) March 15, 2018
Now, this is a man on a show that is literally known for not caring about how people feel about their often ignorant comments. So what makes Envy special? Check out the video below if you haven’t seen it.
Desus & Mero handled this perfectly. They held their composure, apologized and Envy still walked off on his show. His show!!!
So you know they had to clown him on their show and when I tell you they clowned him.
DJ Envy kicks off this morning's Breakfast Club by demanding an apology from Desus and Mero. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/9PA1D7Zgm5
— DESUS & MERO (@desusandmero) March 16, 2018
Envy didn’t take this laying down
unlike with Erica Mena he had a couple of words for them for not having that same so-called “energy” in his face.
energy” in his face.
*gets sincere apology*
*stays in room for for 90 seconds*
"I wish they had the same energy to my face….." https://t.co/gpodN2BupF
— DESUS & MERO (@desusandmero) March 16, 2018
DJ Envy explains his decision to address Desus and Mero on air and why he decided to leave. pic.twitter.com/0zUmhrS4b0
— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) March 16, 2018
This only made this situation worse because Twitter went to task on his ass.
*DJ Envy on the Breakfast Club clowning other celebrities, black women and other men cheating on their wives*
*Desus & Mero make a light joke about DJ Envy's wife*
DJ Envy: pic.twitter.com/Oreq6Jgiwd
— Willie Bad Fotoshop (@badfotoshop) March 15, 2018
DJ Envy: Don’t talk about my wife.
Desus: My bad, man.
— Katrina (@punslikepizza) March 15, 2018
Is This Cultural Appropriation or Nah?
Recently, the Grapevine TV caused quite the sensation online for its content related to cultural appropriation and Bruno Mars. In my humble opinion, this has been the best discussion about appropriation/critique of Bruno Mars that I have seen across the internet. Whether you call it appropriation or not, I think we all can agree that at the very least, Bruno absolutely swagger-jacked the entire New Jack Swing sound prevalent in 1990s music. Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis should definitely be cashing in on Bruno’s recent fame.
But I digress.
I will be honest, while I agree that cultural appropriation exists, I really don’t understand why some people are appropriators and some aren’t? It’s like our faves are appreciating and our not-so-faves are appropriating. What are the rules and regulations?
Here is my question – what do we call it when a major media outlet (usually owned and operated by the racially dominant group) inserts themselves in some Black shit and tries to spin it? Is that appropriation?
Recently, The Washington Post published this article online – “How White Nationalists are Trying to Co-Opt Black Panther.” Even though Black Panther is Blackity-Black, the Washington Post has managed to marginalize the beauty of that, while centering White Nationalists in a moment that distinctly ignores their existence. The fact that this is published in the Washington Post, which is still considered a “legitimate” news source, gives credibility to a ‘thing’ that I honestly don’t think is a ‘thing.’ They reference some “research study” but there are no statistics, no methodology, and nothing that even remotely feels like a fact. But, it’s on The Washington Post, so it must be real, right?What do we call it when a major media outlet (usually owned and operated by the racially dominant group) inserts themselves in some Black shit and tries to spin it? Click To Tweet
What is cultural appropriation? It is the representation of cultural practices or experiences by those considered cultural outsiders; this representation or cultural borrowing is usually performed by members of the dominant group. Appropriation usually comes in one of three forms: the performance of culture by cultural outsiders, the cross-cultural borrowing of artistic styles (as in Bruno Mars doing the wop to his 1990s New Edition-esque song), and the possession of cultural objects by outsiders. Cultural appropriation strips away the cultural autonomy of marginalized groups. The morally objectionable quality of cultural appropriation lies within the disregard of the rights of the cultural group to share and shape the origin and history of their culture. Within this context, cultural appropriation is only morally objectionable when the dominant cultural group appropriates from oppressed groups because the very nature of the dominant group is to dictate and force its culture on others while oppressed groups are often required to assimilate for protection and acceptance.
So, the question is – Is this Washington Post article cultural appropriation?
Think of it in terms of Beyoncé. Remember when she broke the internet announcing her pregnancy and subsequently, several articles popped up all over the internet (written by White women) critiquing her pregnancy announcement – ManRepeller, NY Post, and Refinery 29? In this way, they leeched off of Beyoncé’s media power, and profited it from it. Even though they don’t belong to the culture and they clearly don’t understand it, they all, in some way, inserted themselves and took ownership over the narrative. It’s exploitative.
I feel like this Washington Post article did the same thing. But again, I have to ask – is this cultural appropriation too?
Best Music You’ve Never Heard – Terrorrism
In recent years, Soundcloud has solidified itself as my go-to for all good music artists unknown.
No surprise it’s a goldmine of artists awaiting their lucky break. I appreciate radio, but sometimes untouched and raw talent can be refreshing.
Which brings me to an artist I discovered called Terrorism. That’s T-E-R-R-O-R-R-I-S-M, with four R’s. Granted the name may appear agressive upon first impression. But in actuality it’s a fair warning: your soul will be fed yet assaulted with well mixed sounds and low-key heartfelt words.
So far, I haven’t managed to get enough yet. Kobe is the mastermind and hails from Indianapolis. With tracks like, “Loverboy”, and “Delete My Number,” Terrorrism initiate us into his world and point of view of a romance that can’t manifest.
My personal favorite song is the title track off his EP, “Bru.”
His personal lyrics, lightly haunting synths, and simple hip hop beats let me know I’d found unique music.
It’s very apparent Kobe has a clear and unique stylistic direction. What I appreciate is his cool attitude yet willing vulnerability in lyrics and vocals.
You can relate to him and bob your head at the same damn time.
His singing is very easy in the ears and very reminiscent of early 90’s R&B. His songs are thoughtful, well mixed, and easy on the ears.
It’s easy to find any artist that can do what he does. But not just anyone can do it the way he does.
His special sound signature, soul-bearing lyrics, and chill vibes makes for a hidden gem. Glad I personally discovered his music.
Be the first among your friends to know about Terrorrism. Play him while you’re cooking, studying, or driving to work, You’ll wish you’d heard of him sooner. He will give you an ear wig and tug it too.
Check him out over at https://soundcloud.com/
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