*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?
Rolling Ray Undergoes Surgery After Wig Catches On Fire
Social media star Rolling Ray underwent surgery Tuesday morning to treat serious burns on his body after his terrible wig accident last week.
In a series of IG stories, he let his audience follow along as he prepped for surgery.
Last week Rolling Ray announced he was hospitalized after his wig caught on fire! During a January 13 Instagram Live session hosted straight from his hospital bedside, he showed his severely burnt and damaged face telling viewers his “whole skin, legs, arms, feet, and everything” were burned.
In a more recent Live, Ray explained the incident that led to his whole wig catching on fire: an unfortunate smoking accident. “It just, like, lit on fire when I tried to light the cigarette,” he recounted. “So I get to trying to snatch the wig off. B***h, the fire goes to my f*****g shirt, to my feet, to my legs, to my back. It’s a fire everywhere, it’s a fire in the whole room.”
Of course the internet trolled him in a disgusting display of ableism and heartlessness. Comments like “Rolling Ray should have stopped, dropped, and rolled” and “karma’s a b***h” had social media conflicted in its feelings about his accident. His sensation comes from his harsh and, often, below-the-belt reads (just last month he told Yung Miami to “dig (sic) up” her dead baby father. However, the criticism didn’t stop him from responding on Twitter.
Rolling Ray might be problematic as all get-out, but we do not tolerate ableism here. We wish him well as he heals.
Fantasia Reveals Gender of Baby On the Way!
On Tuesday singer-songwriter and “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino took to social media to reveal that she is having a baby girl, her first child with husband Kendall Taylor.
In a series of Instagram stories, Fantasia showed pink fireworks being shot off during a gender reveal party, to her and her hubby’s excitement! She continued by sharing what her daughter-to-be’s name will be: Keziah London Taylor.
The news comes after the couple revealed they had struggled to conceive since their 2015 marriage. During a November episode of her IG Live show “Taylor Talks,” she described continuously praying for a child with her husband. Fantasia, a deeply devout Christian, was obviously elated when she shared the news.
“God I Want To Thank You!” she said in an Instagram caption. “You Gave Us A Seed even when the Doctor said that one of my Tubes [was] Closed you said Different. @salute1st I Love You King and I can’t wait to see who He or She acts Like.”
We can see Fantasia and family are all super excited to be welcoming a baby girl into their lives. All congratulations to her.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Are Getting Divorced, Report Says
In a story published Tuesday evening, Page Six is reporting that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are getting divorced, with the two already in settlement talks. The news comes after the couple spent the holiday season separately – Kanye at his ranch outside Cody, Wyoming, Kim and the kids with her famous family in southern California.
A source close to Kardashian was quoted saying, “Kim got Kanye to go up there so they could live separate lives and quietly get things sorted out to separate and divorce. She’s done.” Kardashian, 40, and West, 43, are said to be splitting because of marital problems directly related to Kanye’s very public mental health struggles.
For several years the rapper’s various antics have caused fans to worry. After coming out as a Trump supporter, West then announced his own 2020 presidential bid under a new political party: the Birthday Party. At a campaign rally in South Carolina, he was seen rambling, debating individual audience members, and at times, crying. In various interviews, he has rambled on almost incoherently, and his tweetstorms are now infamous.
For her part, Kim has always supported her husband and has openly discussed the difficulties of their marriage. Back in June, she shared on social media, “Anyone who has [bipolar disorder] or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand… People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual (has) to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
It appears she has finally reached her limit in the union with the unnamed source saying, “She is serious about taking the bar exam and becoming a lawyer, she is serious about her prison reform campaign. Meanwhile Kanye is talking about running for president and saying other crazy s**t, and she’s just had enough of it.”
Separately, a source close to Kanye alleges the rapper is sick of his wife and her family, which might have some truth to it since he has tweeted some pretty nasty things about them in the past. “I been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf [sic] for ‘prison reform,’” he said in a now-deleted July tweet. Recently, he hasn’t been featured on his wife’s Instagram and has largely remained out of the public eye.
With the news yet to be confirmed, the “divorce is imminent” reports are just rumors for now. We’ll be following the news as more information comes out.