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Charlamagne the Colorblind, Colorism Ain’t Dead

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Recently, Amara La Negra, an established Afro-Latina musical artist, graced The Breakfast Club with an interview (watch here). Instead of being able to focus on her new contract and her thriving career, she was dragged into discussing colorism barriers for the umpteenth time.

If you let Uncle Charla tell it, he’s woke. He’s aware of the systems of oppression that are in place to keep disenfranchised minorities in the lower echelon of society. He even supports several movements that stand for the preservation of black lives, black businesses, and a strong black economy. Despite all of this, he’s unable to see how colorism effects Afro-Latina women because of Cardi B’s success. If he can’t see how it divides the Latin community, he isn’t going to see how it divides the Black community, but why? Having directly benefited from the success of Cardi B, who earned a platinum plaque in December 2017 for Bodak Yellow, you’d think Charlamagne would have discussed colorism with her. She’s easily navigating the Latin/US entertainment markets. We’ll save why Amara has to continue to champion for her people for another day, but let’s get to what we know.

Colorism is real and it affects everyone that's a product of the diaspora, including Charlamagne tha God and Cardi B. Click To Tweet

Say It Loud!

Colorism is real and it affects everyone that’s a product of the diaspora, including Charlamagne tha God and Cardi B. However, it impacts her positively because she is racially ambiguous. Whether she appreciates that or not is debatable. She’s gone on record to say that she thinks her natural hair texture is “fucked up” and she hopes her future children don’t inherit it. Cardi has called dark skin women roaches, which is another indicator that she was raised to think negatively of African features. She’s admittedly unable to stop saying the n-word although she identifies as Latina and not Afro-Latina. Colorism is what prompts Cardi to be ashamed of her blackness while simultaneously benefitting from its culture. She had the opportunity to accept her Afro-Latinidad heritage and proclaim it loudly but chose to separate herself from blackness, exploiting her racial ambiguity to make herself appealing in foreign markets. These same markets are often heavily laced with anti-black imagery by featuring predominantly fair-skinned people in positions of beauty or authority and dark-skinned people as criminals like Amara says in her interview with The Breakfast Club. Jamaica is on the list where this is an unfortunate truth.

Ozuna’s La Modelo, a Spanish collab that features Cardi, was set in Jamaica which has been in the center of a bleaching epidemic. Inhabitants of the aisle were the subject of a telling documentary in 2013 that showcased just how “fairer” skinned people were finding better wages and more reputable positions as dark-skinned people were relegated to work outdoors and frequently lived in slums. This also takes place in the Dominican Republic, Amara’s homeland, where 90 percent of the island has black ancestry. Perhaps Charlamagne’s newfound colorblindness is because he too lightens his skin. Let’s all hope that someone decides to put the flash on Cthagod so he can see we still live in a world where whiteness and everything that mimics it is still celebrated before he finds himself in the Sunken Place.

Charlamagne the God Bleaches his Skin

50 Shades Lighter

 

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High School Students Stage Sit-In Protest Against Racism

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Students Protest

In response to how school faculty have handled a racist video, students of Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx have staged an overnight-sit-in protest. Dissatisfied with faculty’s response to demands to address racism on the school’s campus, students have rallied and locked staff out of the administration building until they reached an agreement.

Outrage Lead to Action

More than 200 high school students of the K-12 academy occupied the building to demand action. They were outraged by the response to a video which featured White students counting down before blurting racist, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs. The video gained attention after circulating Twitter and eventually being reported on by The New York Times. However, school administrative officials did the bare minimum by only condemning the video without stating a plan for disciplinary action. Knowing only one of the students involved had withdrawn from the exclusive academy, students developed a plan to hold staff accountable. Thus, Students of Color Matter was born.

The standoff between students and staff lasted for 72 hours before an agreement was met. Each day the students, who developed a Twitter, Instagram, and petition, posted demands to their accounts. March 11th, the students began with a statement on Instagram:

“We are here today in light of recent events imploring those who desire to see out institution more forward to stand in solidarity with the students of color and white allies of the Ethical Culture Fieldston Community. Today a lockout will take place in the administration building (the 200s) as a means to force our administration to acknowledge the concerns we’ve been bringing to their attention over the past several years”

After outlining the reason for their cause, Students of Color Matter organizers detailed updates as well as their demands.

All or Nothing

The administration was sent an email by students which resulted in the head of the school, Jessica Bagby, alerting parents and students that “Fieldston campus will operate on a normal schedule.” The students also integrated a hashtag, which added pressure due to its discovery by major media sources. Despite the non-violent protest, there were two physical altercations which involved a history teacher and a parent attempting to enter the closed facility. Jessica Bagby’s inadequate response to the students’ demands and inability to commit to change is what ultimately caused the 72-hour standoff.

As of March13th, the students had roughly 3,000 signatures on their petition. Housed on their Students of Color Matter website, the organization calls for the following:

The use of racist and bigoted language are symptoms of systemic and institutional racism that plague educational institutions across the country. For this reason, we command the implementation of structural reform, such as long term curriculum changes, the admittance of more students and faculty of color, and racial sensitivity training for all community members.”

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Jaden Smith Brings Mobile Water Filtration System to Flint

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Jaden Smith Water Box

Flint, Michigan has been ravaged by a bad city-wide deal that resulted in tainted water for nearly five years. Now, Jaden Smith’s startup may provide a solution to the city’s needs water needs.

Called “The Water Box”, Jaden’s mobile water filtration device was unveiled in Flint at First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Able to produce 10 gallons of clean drinking water per minute, the actor-rapper turned philanthropist hopes the invention will help the community. Housed within the church, which previously distributed over 5 million bottles of water to the community, residents will be able to fill any container of their choice with clean water. However, they are required to do so during distribution times.

After Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ended the free bottled water program initiated by the state, Jaden and crew stepped up through JUST Water. JUST Water is a company that Jaden Smith became a partner of at just 12 years old. The company, which “combines for-profit energy and non-profit motives,” began from a desire to develop a filtration system to benefit poorer areas and nations. Making clean water more accessible, the company first launched in August 2018 in the UK.

Speaking about his community effort, Jaded remarked, “This has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences for me personally. He added,” Working together with people in the community experiencing the problems and designing something to help them has been a journey I will never forget.” Jaden Smith plans to continue deploying more filtration systems across the city to benefit those in need and looks forward to aiding more places experiencing similar issues.

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Jussie Smollett | In The Middle

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