MonthDecember 2014

2014’s Best and Worst Media Moments

As this year comes to an end, I wanted to share with you all my top best and worst media moments for minorities in 2014. A lot has happened this year, so if something didn’t make my list, add to it in the comment section!

Here goes!


The Best

5. Forest Hills Drive

2014ForestHillsDrive

I wasn’t a fan of “Born Sinner,” but since receiving J.Cole’s newest album for Christmas, (S/O to Smitty <3) I’ve fallen in love with his music all over again. What I love most about this album is the very clear message bumping through the speakers: “the grass is not always greener on the other side.” Jermaine encourages us to appreciate what we have. He warns us to filter what’s mediated to us and  to limit our feening for what glitters and gleams on tv and the radio.

On his track “Fire Squad,” J. Cole’s jab at white artists like Elvis, Iggy, Slim, and Macklemore, brings to the forefront the issue of black cultural appropriation. J kindly reminds us that white people are making money off of our sound, our culture, our bodies, so do we really own our own image…hmmm, now that’s deep.

lupita

4. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita made us all go “awwww” with her very heart-felt acceptance speech at this year’s Oscar Awards. She won Best Supporting Actress for the movie “12 Years a Slave” (the first film from a black director to win the Academy Award for Best Picture). No doubt, the beauty exuded from her award speech and that gorgeous blue dress, lead to Lupita being deemed “Most Beautiful” by People magazine.

3. “The Colbert Report” Coverage of Mike Brown and Eric Garner

Colbert was almost taken out by twitter this year when #CancelColbert started trending, but thank god he wasn’t because “The Colbert Report” writers seem to be the only ones who get it [racsim].  Colbert landed this #3 spot when he slammed conservative news outlets for complaining about people turning the shooting of Michael Brown into a “race issue.”

“You’re tired of hearing about it [race]? Imagine how exhausting it is living it,” Colbert said, ending his segment.

Here’s the clip if you are interested in watching it:

2. Dear White People

Dear White People was my favorite 2014 movie hands down! The fact this movie, that addresses white privilege, systematic racism,  and the black experience on a PWI campus, made it to the big screen, warms my heart.

1. FCC Cracks Down on White-washed TV

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Under the leadership of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and other law makers, the FCC was pressured into increasing media diversity in programming, ownership and executive leadership roles. This resulted in an outpour of fall TV shows debuting minority families. This year we were introduced to the Johnsons from “Blackish,” Cristela y su familia, and “Jane the Virgin,” just to name a few.


The Worst

5. Exodusexodus

This year we were blessed with yet another biblical story on the big screen. This one recounts the life of Egyption Prince Moses and his brother Ramses. This was the perfect opportunity for a nice brown or black actor to make a debut, but instead, the movie casted all white actors to play the main characters. Now why is this a problem? Geography lesson #1: Egypt is in Africa where black and brown people live. But no worries, some blackies appeared as slave extras in a few background scenes.

4. Elevator Videos

If there is one thing we learned this year, it’s that what happens in the elevator does not always stay in the elevator. From Ray Rice knocking out his fiancé, to Solange throwing hands at Jay-Z,  these videos made for a nice discussion about domestic violence and family counseling.

3. Sony…SMDH

interview

North Korea was not happy about Sony’s The Interview,” a movie with a plot based on killing North Korea’s president Kim Jong-un. So how did North Korea retaliate? They hacked into Sony’s executives’ emails and exposed all their dirty laundry. From racially insensitive comments about my President, to slandering several different actors and actresses, let’s just save Sony’s execs may be establishing new email policies for 2015.

2. Angry black People

At least that’s how we were depicted in the media. There were riots and protests in response to the recent police killings of  Mike Brown and Eric Garner. However, these national and local, peaceful protests were strangely under reported when compared to the numerous stories I saw about rioting, looting black people… -____-

1. Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is on the verge of losing everything he has built his career on…that is,  if he hasn’t already. After a slew of rape allegations from women from his past, Bill has probably had the worst year out of everyone.


bill2Now, if you read my top five best and worst media moments of 2014 and are disappointed because something didn’t make the list, add it in the comments below. I look forward to reading what you all come up with 🙂

Cheers to 2014!

#Justice4AllMarch Memoirs

This past weekend, I attended the “Justice For All March” in Washington, DC, that was lead by Rev. Al Sharpton. As a self-proclaimed citizen journalist, I found it fitting that I share video, audio, and photos from my experience. Enjoy!


To start off, I want to share my friend’s song called “Aggression.” It perfectly describes the aura exuded from the thousands of protesters that marched on Saturday. Take a listen.

 

“It’s just my pent up aggression,

even when it’s over and I’ve learned my lesson,

I fucking lose control and let go of my blessings,

is it in my soul or am I just stressing, pent up aggression,

it’s just my pent up aggression.”

On December 13, 2014, I watched as my fellow Americans released this aggression in a positive, non-violent protest in front of Washington, DC’s Capitol building.

Anastasia Mebane, a recent graduate from UNC Chapel Hill and now a high school teacher in Charlotte, NC, shared why she was protesting.

I happened to stumble upon Chris Redd, a comedian, writer and actor from St. Louis, MO, who also shared why he was marching.

It was refreshing to see white Americans acknowledge their white privilege and  march among their fellow brown Americans.

“I want to stand in solidarity with all the people who are fighting for justice. I want to move beyond ending oppression and violence against young black men and boys and look at the responsibility of white people…how are they contributing to the system that causes the conditions that lead to this violence in the first place.”

This guy made sure to make one thing very clear: racism STILL exists. He also said something that I thought was powerful:  “Cops think they are above the law…they ain’t nothing but criminals with permission.”

Some audio…

I put together a collection of popular chants shouted during the march. Take a listen.

Here’s what Al Sharpton had to say to the people. Fast forward to 3:33 for his list of demands from the American justice system.

“When you bury us, we sprout up and start blocking traffic. Our seed grows into civil disobedience. Our seed grows into non-violence. Bury us if you want, but we’ll grow stronger…” -Al Sharpton

Photos:

crowd of protesters

Thousands of people came out to support the families who have lost children at the hands of police officers.

Kids with Parents

It was nice to see younger kids participating in the march.

protester sign

Out of the three posters I made. This one was, by far, my favorite!

DC sign

Some local art added a nice touch to the march.

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After a long day of protesting, marching on Washington and shedding a few tears, I will never forget the love, strength and camaraderie I witnessed on December 13, 2014. United we stand, divided we fall.

Dear Black People: Stop Complaining

These last few months of 2014 have been an “interesting” time for black people in the media.  I anxiously waited for the premier of  “Blackish,” the first major broadcast network comedy in almost a decade to revolve solely around a black family. The documentary series,  Hidden Colors, came out with its third installment, and Shonda Rhimes apparently challenged beauty standards when she chose Viola Davis to play the main character in her new series, “How To Get Away With Murder.” Dear White People was everything I had hoped for, and I’m hoping MLK’s biopic, Selma, will deliver on the big screen as well.

Then there were the not so happy moments for black people in the news. Police killings of young black men have prompted a number of celebrities to speak out on this issue, including Charles Barkley, who we will get to near the end of this post.

Despite these awesome media moments (excluding the riot news and police killings), black people still found something to complain about!

1. “Blackish” isn’t black enough.

MARSAI MARTIN, MARCUS SCRIBNER, YARA SHAHIDI, ANTHONY ANDERSON, MILES BROWN, TRACEE ELLIS ROSS

For some Black people, “Blackish” was not “black enough,” meaning it did not depict the “average” black American family. Can we just bask (for a moment) in the fact that we have a TV show that depicts us doing well for ourselves? Can we get a church clap for the fact there is a TV show airing during prime-time that explores blackness and how three generations experience it differently? Nah, we are too busy being mad because apparently low-income black people can not identify with a middle class black man experiencing racism in the work place or having the “sex talk” with his son.

2.1 All the actors in  Dear White People are light skinned.

dear white ppl

So… the Dear White People cast didn’t have enough skin tone variation, and this somehow took away from the effectiveness of the movie? Then there were those upset that the darker light skinned people  in the movie were stereotypically casted in militant roles, leading the black student union’s protest against the randomization of student housing. Yes, let’s completely overlook the fact that this movie, that calls out white privilege and explores blackness on a PWI’s (Predominately White Institution) campus, even made it to the big screen.

2.2 How dare Dear White People show a black gay man on the big screen?!

lionel

Lord forbid there’s a movie that not only calls out systematic racism, but also sheds light on an issue in our (black people’s) community– homophobia. Tyler James Williams from “Everybody Hates Chris” played a gay black student juggling his blackness and homosexuality– two identities that don’t always mix well.  So it didn’t come as a surprise when a fair share of black people complained about his character in the movie. But why? I think Tyler put it best in an Huffington Post interview when he said:

“For so long there was so little, I guess, portrayals of the average black American, that the average black American male associated himself with whoever was on TV,” he said. “So in this way, there’s still this mentality of, ‘Okay, you’re a black male on TV. I am you. Wait, you’re gay? I’m not gay! No, no never mind, we’re not the same thing. Forget you. We shun you now.'” -Tyler James Williams

3. Charles Barkley should just stick to sports. 

Charles Barkley has a history of having controversial opinions, and he had no problem voicing his opinion about the recent police killings of young black men and riots in Ferguson; however, no matter how controversial Charles’s opinion is, he is entitled to it. I’m not saying Kenny Smith was right or wrong for telling Charles to stick to sports in his open letter to his co-host, all I’m saying is… I’ll let Stephen A. Smith take it from here:

P.S. The fact that we have black men in positions of media power that allow them to openly express their opinion on racial issues is a plus in my book.

And so I end this blog with a simple request: Dear black people, stop complaining. We’ve had some great media moments. Not saying that your concerns or qualms are not valid or that you shouldn’t voice these, I’m just saying in the midst of pointing out where things can improve, show some appreciation for the great media plays we’ve had this year!

Dear White People: #BlackLivesMatter

Ever since I saw the movie, Dear White People, I’ve wanted to write about it on my blog, but I wasn’t quite sure what to say. There were so many issues raised in the movie that I could’ve honestly written  about four or five different topics, but I wanted to write something that would stick with my readers, so I waited. I waited for the perfect moment, which is now.

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UNC Senior, Mariah Monsanto, expresses to onlookers why black lives matter. (Image Source: Daily Tar Heel)

Last week, I watched as students at my Alma Mater (UNC Chapel Hill) came together in solidarity to protest in the Pit following the release of the grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson for the shooting of unarmed black teenager, Mike Brown.

As I scrolled through my social media timelines and saw pictures from the UNC protest, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was proud to see students I know, leading the protest, speaking out and joining together to mourn the loss of another black American male at the hands of a white police officer. I was filled with joy when I saw not only black students, but white, Asian, Hispanic and other ethnicities participating in the protest. And I was surprised to see such a large demonstration for a slain black teenager on a PWI’s (Predominately White Institution) campus. But this surprise quickly turned into sadness when I realized, not too long ago, I was part of a UNC campus protest demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.

So you may be asking yourself, what does protests demanding justice for Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin have to do with Dear White People. Well…

dear white ppl

When I first saw the protest that had taken place on UNC’s campus, I immediately flashed back to Dear White People and its exploration of blackness on a PWIs campus. Underlining the plot was the black student union planning to protest the randomization of housing that would get rid of a historic black housing unit on campus. Flash back to the present and here I am, almost three weeks later, watching my peers say to the world “Dear White People: black lives matter.”

Although disturbingly intrigued by how Samantha White (my favorite Dear White People character) used her blackness to hide her own insecurities, I admire how she was able to vocalize how systematic racism plays out on a day-to-day basis. And it is within this system of racism that Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman were able to walk free after killing an unarmed black teenager.

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Students “Die-in” for four and a half minutes to represent each hour Mike Brown’s body lay in the Ferguson St. (Image Source: Daily Tar Heel)

In this “post-racial” world, people in this country often try to self-diagnose themselves as color-blind and turn a blind eye to the byproducts of our nation’s racial history. But it is media moments like Dear White People and RIP hastags followed by the names of dead black teenagers that  force us to take our blinders off, if only for a few days.

Race is alive and thriving in this country, and I was reminded by Sam White and the student leaders who orchestrated the protest on UNC’s campus, that my vote matters, that my protest makes a difference,  and that my voice can be heard.

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