*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?
Uncle Snoop Get Your Apology to Ari Lennox Ready
Apparently, everyone’s favorite uncle likes apologizing. Fresh off of his apology tour for his controversial comments towards broadcast journalists Gayle King, Snoop Dogg decided to comment on Ari Lennox’s Instagram live to instruct her to “grow your own hair.”
Yesterday, the Dreamville songbird took to Instagram Live in true Ari fashion to document her trying on a new lace front wig. Not known for wearing wigs, she struggled with figuring out how much lace to cut and securing the hair as she entertained her followers with hilarious gestures and commentary.
Eventually, a snippet of the video ended up on The Shade Room for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
Moments later, Snoop was unnecessarily commenting under the video.
In no time, women were coming to Ari’s defense, reminding the legendary rapper that his wife and daughter are no strangers to wigs.
You’d think men would know to leave their opinions to themselves when it comes to women’s hair, especially black women, but clearly, Uncle Snoop forgot to read that particular memo.
Once Ari caught wind of Snoop’s comments, she delivered a lovely little shade tree, posting a photo of Snoop wearing a blonde wig with the caption, “Uncle I just…I just thought we had an understanding….”
Following the backlash that he’s currently receiving, I can already envision the apology that’s sure to follow. Perhaps someone should remind Uncle Snoop that the best apology is changed behavior…
DJ D-Nice Has Spun His Way Into the Living Rooms of Thousands
Every day, legendary DJ D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) spends countless hours helping thousands of global citizens forget about the coronavirus pandemic and financial woes with his “Homeschool” parties.
Initially jumping on Instagram Live to cure his boredom while “self-isolating,” D-Nice had an audience of a few hundred, mostly friends. As word began to spread, it grew to a few thousand. By Sunday, over 160,000 people joined his live for a virtual party that included the heavyweights such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett-Smith, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Fallon, and Vice President Joe Biden.
During a CBS This Morning interview, D-Nice shared, “I literally just played what feels good. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted their experience to be lifted through music, just one song at a time.” And he’s done just that. While on live, his comment section is a constant stream of cheers, shout outs, and music-lovers asking, “Where the drinks at?” It feels like the best VIP section you’ll ever experience but from your living room.
“No matter what your problems are, you can put on a good tune and it just takes you away and I was trying to do that,” he explained. “It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole experience and everyone escaping what’s going on today just for a few hours.”
While some of his neighbors have complained about the noise, D-Nice is committed to keeping the party going as the universal language of music is playing a vital role in keeping us all connected.
We have DJ D-Nice to thank for that!
Jay Electronica & Joe Budden Used Their Twitter Fingers to Exchange Insults
It took 10 years for Jay Electronica to release his highly-anticipated album, A Written Testimony. While some are singing his praises, others are incredibly disappointed. One such person is former rapper turned media personality, Joe Budden.
Budden used his platform, The Joe Budden Podcast episode Dry Snitching to express his disappointment. Budden proclaimed, “You’ve been missing for ten years- which is cool, ’cause you’ve been living life. But that confidence that I thought you might’ve been living life with is suppressed…that lens that I’m looking through paints the story of a different MC. And that MC is one that would get smacked around by Hov on every song.”
In response, Electronica took to Twitter and posted a video clip of DaBaby saying “fuck it,” directing the tweet at Rory, one of the co-hosts on Budden’s podcast.
Shortly after, Budden responded referring to Jay-Z’s performance on A Written Testimony, where he appears on eight of ten tracks. “I never got absolutely mopped around on my own project either… @ me, not Rory.”
Here’s how the rest of that conversation went:
The tirade ended with Electronica demanding credit for “lighting up” the podcast episode.
Electronica released A Written Testimony on Friday, March 13th. It’s his first solo album after more than ten years of delays with features by Jay-Z, The-Dream and Travis Scott, with additional production by The Alchemist, No ID, Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy.