I promised myself that I would not let Roseanne and her racist-baiting antics elevate my blood pressure. The racism, xenophobia, and bigotry jumped out of Roseanne around the time President Obama got elected (the first time), so nothing she’s done in 2018 surprises me. She’s not new to this, she’s true to this. I had every intention of letting this moment go by without adding my two cents, but then I hear that they are planning to bring back the Roseanne show – minus Roseanne – and calling it The Connors. Make no mistake, bringing Roseanne back to primetime television is obviously part of a larger agenda to make us forget just how harmful and violent bigotry is. Let’s take a trip down bigotry lane.My humanity and my right to exist in peace in this country that y’all brought my black ass ancestors to, who by all accounts were minding their black ass business, is not fodder to make bigotry lovable. Click To Tweet
In the early 1970s, writer and producer Norman Lear introduced the world to Archie Bunker on the commercially successful, 10-year-long show All In the Family. This show was considered groundbreaking because it was one of the first American shows to feature a (white) working class family. Prior to this, most family-centered situational comedies featured more affluent (white) families (think Leave It to Beaver).
The show’s main draw was Bunker’s “conservative” (a.k.a. racist) views and the inevitable clash with his liberal, hippie son-in-law. To be clear, Archie hated blacks, gays, women and consistently threatened violence to his wife, Edith. If we think about this time in history, Black people were just coming off a few short-lived wins of the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBT movement was starting to expand, and the early stages of the second-wave feminist movement was gaining momentum. Then, here comes Archie because God forbid we forget about the white man, even though, the whole world is yours, but okay.
To Norman Lear’s credit, this show opened the door for Maude (the first time we see a 40+ feminist woman on television), The Jeffersons (the first time we see a wealthy Black family on TV), and Good Times (by way of Maude, was the first show that featured a two-parent Black family). Despite this show’s groundbreaking history or whatever, it started a precedent which normalized explicit bigotry and reaffirmed the connection of racism, homophobia, and sexism with working-class values as if bigotry doesn’t exist at every class of Whiteness. I mean, the 53% of white women that pooched down to the voting booth and pulled the lever for Trump can attest to that, but I digress. The Roseanne show is a direct descendant of All In The Family and plaid-clad Roseanne was supposed to be our new Archie Bunker – our lovable bigot.
Norman Lear had this to say about Archie Bunker in a 1971 article: “Archie is a lovable bigot. Most bigots are human….Most people are bigots because of fear, of apprehension, not because of hate. They hate what’s different. There’s a little bit of Archie Bunker in all of us somewhere. If anyone is not like Archie, they can recognize in him someone they know who is, even though most won’t admit it”
According to Lear, the lovable bigot is just scared of change, y’all. This is the thing though – why does my humanity induce anxiety? Why is my right to exist in peace stoking anyone’s fear of change? My humanity and my right to exist in peace in this country that y’all brought my black ass ancestors to, who by all accounts were minding their black ass business, is not fodder to make bigotry lovable. Since Trump has been in office, mainstream media have worked overtime to turn Trump supporters into lovable bigots. If I read another puff piece about a Nancy or Dale Gribble living in some old tired, dusty town who pretended like they voted for Trump out of some patriotic grandstanding to see this country become great again, I promise I will scream.
And then ABC announces they are bringing the cast of Roseanne back. This announcement happens to coincide with a number of articles about Roseanne’s tearful apology. Do a google search using the keyword ‘Roseanne’ and look at the titles of these articles — “Roseanne Barr tearfully breaks down in interview” on CNN, “Roseanne Barr gives tearful interview after scandal” on NBC, and “Roseanne Barr Opens Up about ABC firing in tearful interview” on Hollywood Reporter. I haven’t read the articles so maybe they do expound on her 10-year history of internet bigotry, however, judging from the titles, it looks like more of the same: Feel sorry for the rich, white woman who took her rich, white ass online and decided to share 140 characters of stupidity. Because the other thing is, if Roseanne would have just sat there and ate her food, her show would still be on and she would continue being the 2018 lovable bigot of primetime television.
Imagine if they had all this empathy and worked this hard on the equitable media representation of blacks, Latinos, transwomen, women, Muslims, immigrants, etc. You know, the people who have historically been misrepresented and rendered invisible. That’ll be the day.
Jada Speaks on August Alsina Drama in Latest Red Table Talk
In her first “Red Table Talk” since the infamous August Alsina-Jada Pinkett-Smith drama began, Jada admitted that she did in fact have a relationship with singer August Alsina.
In response to Alsina’s claim that he was involved in a romantic years-long relationship with the actress, Jada said their relationship began “4 and a half years ago” at a time when both her and August were going through an immense amount of change in their lives.
“You and I were going through a very difficult time,” Jada said, speaking to her husband Will Smith. “You kicked me to the curb.. We basically broke up.” Will agreed that he was “done with her ass” while commenting that “marriages go through that.”
When her husband asked her why she chose the relationship with Alsina, she replied “I just wanted to feel good. It had been so long since I felt good, and it was really a joy to help heal somebody.” Since news of the relationship broke, much of the criticism Pinkett-Smith has faced revolved around her possibly wanting to heal August as he had recently lost his sister and taken on custody of her children. In an interesting comparison, she likened her need to help broken people – such as August, at the time – to an addiction.
She argued that she “was really able to do some really deep healing” before he suddenly broke communication and hadn’t had any contact with her since then. According to both Jada and Will Alsina cut the Smiths off “years ago” and that’s why Alsina even mentioning all this now was so “strange.”.
The actress then went on to thank her husband for being such a good companion that both of them “could make mistakes without fear of losing [their] family.” They both expressed gratitude in each other for sticking around especially when, according to Will, Jada messed up so badly he wasn’t sure he was even going to speak to her again.
The two shared laughs then reaffirmed their marriage some more by talking about how whatever Jada did that had Will so pissed off wasn’t enough to scare him away.
In all, this latest installment of “Red Table Talk” was interesting to say the least. Check it out below.
Simone Biles Stuns On Vogue Cover
Stop everything! Simone Biles, possibly the greatest living gymnast in the world, on the cover of Vogue. She’s giving power. She’s giving sophistication. She’s giving ballerina. She’s giving praise dancer. She’s GIVING YOU LIFE.
We’re all here for it, too. And why wouldn’t we be? Simone is adorable, kind, and the future of Black athleticism. To make this shoot even more iconic, people have also pointed out that her shoot is aesthetically similar to the shoots Annie Leibovitz, who is also the Biles’ photographer, has done for Serena Williams in the past, and I can see it.
One interesting, and sad, parallel here, is that Biles has come under racist fire in the past for her appearance. Leibovitz’s work captures the musculature in the bodies of her subjects and glorifies them. These photos don’t hide Simone’s body or make any effort “accent” them. They center her body, which has been scrutinized throughout the years, in a way that Black people have seen only occasionally in the past. These earth tones? The softness of the focus? The high fashion? You can’t deny any of it!
As you might remember, Serena also did a maternity shoot with a similar aesthetic. (Same photographer) So, I’m interested to see how she if she might do the same if that time ever comes.
Kanye West Isn’t Your Father
Disclaimer: This is the opinion of one young writer, and does not reflect the views and opinions of KingOfReads.com or its proprietor.
I’ve spent a lot of time with Kanye West’s music. I was born in 1994, so Kanye arrived on the scene at a time when I was a developing Queer boy. I had so many feelings, these uncontrollable hormonal emotions, that Kanye’s music really spoke to in some ways. That said, he was trash. Like most of our heroes, he was trash. But we ate it up, didn’t we? Now, some of us have outgrown him. Some of us need to grow up.
Kanye has, yet again, let his ego do the talking. Whether you believe he is serious or not, he wants us to believe that he is running for president. He also wants you to believe he loves Black people. It’s dangerous for you to believe either. Kanye has a non-Black wife, whom he has allowed to scold and threaten the Black people running the foundation named after his Black mother. Kanye was (is?) an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. Kanye implied that slavery was a choice. Kanye’s given you every indication that his interests lie with his current state of mind and y’all (spelled: Black cishet men) ignore the fact that said interests consistently cause harm. That makes you complicit. So let’s talk about it.
As JustLatasha once said, “I’m sorry your fathers never came home.” Kanye is not your long-lost Daddy. Neither is Nas, Jay-Z, J. Cole, or Robert Kelly. These men are businessmen. Their allegiance is to the money they make. Don’t get me wrong. I’m anti-capitalist, but I understand that Black people need money to survive, and in order to leverage capital for progress against oppressive systems. All these men have enough money to survive for several hundred years. Yet, instead of redistributing it or supporting the work of people who have been fighting toward Black liberation for decades, they sprinkle a few tax-deductible dollars into organizations that may or may not actually appropriate these funds correctly, or give you a soundbite that makes you think they’re on your side. Then, they turn around and say things like “we’ve moved past kneeling” and “400 years?! That sounds like a choice.” They spew rhetoric, not backed by facts or even well-thought-out opinion, that undermines people who have done the reading, who have done the research required to participate in the discussion. The problem is, at every turn, Black cishet men want to believe that they’re “playing chess not checkers” when it’s clear they aren’t even on the board.
Y’all have this faith in these men, as if they somehow are providing something substantive in your life. Let’s take a look at a few of the “chess” moves Kanye performed today. He told you vaccines were “the mark of the beast”. He said one of the police officers who aided in the murder of George Floyd didn’t deserve to be in jail. He implied that God was punishing us with COVID-19 and that prayer was all that was needed to stop it. But when he was asked about taxes, this man who’s worth more than some small countries said “I haven’t done enough research on that yet. I will research that with the strongest experts that serve God and come back with the best solution.” And the worst part is that he doesn’t have to answer for any of this. You’ll all do it for him. You’ll defend him until the day he dies because you see him as a patriarch, a father-figure, here to guide you through life in the way your father never could. Guess what, Tiger, daddy isn’t really out for a pack of smokes. He’s in Wyoming with his White wife and a whole lot of money he doesn’t want your dirty little fingers to touch.
Do you feel attacked? You should. Toyin is dead. Tony McDade is dead. Trans women are dying at such a rapid pace, I have lost track. George Floyd’s gasping death is still playing in my mind, and Breonna Taylor’s killers are still not answering for their crimes. These are our chess pieces. You, not Kanye, should be moving them, but your fingers are too preoccupied defending a man who doesn’t know you exist and never wanted to.
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