CategoryGender/Sexuality

Three reasons #TheWizLive was amazing:

Unfortunately, I missed The Wiz Live Thursday night on NBC and had no intentions on watching it later until my best friend texted me Thursday night: “You should do a blog post on The Wiz live airing on NBC.”

When I asked her why, she proceeded to text me six paragraphs about why The Wiz airing live was a big deal. I told her she should be a guest blogger on Media Whistle and write about it. She politely declined, claiming she didn’t want to “think deeply” about the show, but that I should. So I took her up on the offer, and after further investigation (i.e. actually watching the show), I came up with three reasons why #TheWizLive was amazing and, indeed, deserved a post on Media Whistle.

http://www.nbc.com/sites/nbcunbc/files/files/styles/nbc_show_about_cover/public/images/2015/10/27/2015-1026-NBCU-The-Wiz-About-Image-1920x1080-UG.jpg?itok=YjIK2z7v

  1. An all black cast took up a three-hour slot during prime time television.

Any time an all black cast is on television during prime time, it’s a big deal because it is a rarity. My co-worker reminded me on Friday that the last time NBC had an all black cast on television during prime time was in the 90s when “Fresh Prince” aired.

And if that fact doesn’t convince you that having a mostly black cast on television during prime time is a big deal, just ask the people who complained about The Wiz’s “lack of diversity,” as if The Wizard of Oz never happened.

But all haters aside, it wasn’t until I saw this tweet, that the gravity of having The Wiz air live on NBC finally hit me: the power of representation was being broadcasted to millions of people and it was changing lives.

  1. A timeless black story received a millennial make over.

http://cdn01.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/wiz-live/nbc-debuts-first-look-at-the-wiz-live-cast-03.JPG

The Wiz is a timeless black staple. And  Thursday’s live showing helped to keep a legendary story celebrating black culture relevant to today’s generation. The characters’ lines were full of today’s Black Twitter vernacular. It was hilarious hearing Dorothy refer to her friends as her “squad” and hearing the word “shade” tossed around a few times. The characters’ upgraded vocabulary, combined with iPads and subtle whipping and naeing during dance sequences, drizzled new-age sauce on a timeless storyline recipe.

  1. The Wiz Live made a big statement about today’s standard of beauty and gender.

https://tribzap2it.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/shanice-williams-2-the-wiz.jpg

Dorothy gets all the snaps in the world for rocking natural hair AND for being slightly bigger than a toothpick. I applaud the show’s directors for casting women of all shapes, shades and sizes, showcasing the array of diversity within the Black community.

Then there was Queen Latifah casted as The Wiz, who Dorothy and her friends consistently referred to as a “he” until they discover that the Wiz is a fraud and a “she.” Adding this little twist to the plot challenged gender roles, allowing Latifah to act across the gender spectrum and her character to test the conners of the binary gender box we have been socialized to play in.

http://rack.3.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE1LzExLzI5L2FiL3F1ZWVuMy41MDRkZi5qcGcKcAl0aHVtYgkxMjAweDk2MDA-/f9721142/f4a/queen3.jpg


If you missed #TheWizLive like I did, go to nbc.com and watch the show. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

 

Blowing the whistle on dog whistling ?

Last night, Shonda Rhimes did the damn thing. No, it wasn’t the jaw-dropping moment when Fitz went OG on the press and showed up at Olivia’s doorsteps, proclaiming he was gonna take his girlfriend out on a date. Instead, it was the unapologetic way Shonda addressed racial and gender microaggressions executed by media outlets.

There’s been plenty of “preach” moments on Scandal – two in particular stand out in my mind. There was Abby’s monologue that single handedly dropped the mic on the sexist double standards women face in positions of power.

Remember this?

“Every article about me has your name [Leo] somewhere in it because apparently, there’s this rule: In order to mention my name they also have to report to the world that there’s a man who wants me. My work, my accomplishments, my awards — I stand at the most powerful podium in the world, but a story about me ain’t a story unless they can report on the fact that I am the girlfriend of DC fixer Leo Bergen. Like it validates me, gives me an identity, a definition.” -Abby

Then there was the “The Lawn Chair” episode, inspired by current events in Ferguson, Missouri, that addressed institutionalized racism and police brutality.

"The Lawn Chair" Scandal episode

Now I have a third episode to add to my list of Shonda Rhimes mic drops.


SPOILER ALERT: proceed with caution.

Olivia and FitzAfter Olivia confessed to being the President’s mistress in last week’s episode, Abby was forced to play her big joker – slut shamming Olivia Pope – in order to eradicate the issue. Of course, the media happily ran with this story because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good sex scandal?

For days, Olivia sat in her apartment while media outlets tore her apart, showering her with a storm of insults, portraying her as a power-hunger slut and conniving, angry black woman. While some Americans were offended by Olivia’s audacity as a black woman to feel entitled, others praised her for pulling herself up by her bootstraps out of the ghetto. Without question, Olivia’s blackness defaults her privileged background to roots in the “hood.”

Marcus Walker from ScandalTo help  Pope & Associates stay above water, Marcus Walker, the activist from Scandal’s “The Lawn Chair” episode, was recruited as a gladiator. While Quinn and Huck wanted Pope & Associates to lay low, handling calls, denying allegations, Walker insisted on pulling out his boxing gloves to square off with the media. He cited news outlets for broadcasting coded racialized and gendered language  that perpetuate a white noise of unwarranted negative stereotypes about people of color and women.

For example, a reporter commented on Olivia’s ability to articulate well. On the surface, this may seem like a compliment, but in Olivia’s profession, being able to articulate to the media is not news worthy, it’s expected; however, the reporter felt Olivia’s ability to speak well, coupled with her blackness, added news value to the story. ?

Viola Davis holding Emmy awardWhat’s truly news worthy is Shonda’s ability to not only create opportunities for black actresses (I’m still snapping for Viola Davis’s historic Emmy award), but also to use her gift to tactfully blow the whistle on how women and people of color are portrayed in the media. I see what you are doing Shonda Rhimes, I see you. ???

Coloring Outside The Lines

Friday morning I received a notification from my Twitter app, alerting me that several people I follow were tweeting about #RachelDolezal. Unfamiliar with the name and curious as to why it was trending, I opened the notification and unknowingly stumbled upon the topic for this blog post. Ready?

WARNING: UNPOPULAR OPINION, PROCEED WITH CAUTION


This week, the term “transracial” became a trending hashtag on Twitter thanks to Rachel Dolezal, head of Spokane NAACP, whose race came under question on Thursday. Dolezal identifies as an African-American woman but was born to two white parents. A confused public, is now questioning if someone can be born one race, and claim another? My argument is yes.

During my senior year, I took a semester-long course called Making and Manipulating Race in the United States. It was in this course that I was first introduced to the idea of “race” as a social construct, a human invention experienced psychologically and emotionally. Race is a construction that has been repeatedly mediated and ingrained in our human psyche; however, anything constructed can be deconstructed, reinvented, and that’s exactly what Dolezal has chosen to do with her racial identity. The fact that Dolezal was even able to pass for black undermines the validity of race as a static concept.

rachel

Race is a choice. We choose to accept the racial box society places us in. We choose to psychologically and emotionally validate our race by how we act, talk, behave and live. No, you can’t choose how other people identify you, but you can choose whether or not you accept the box people place you in. Rachel Dolezal chose not to.


caitlyn-jenner-vanity-fairRachel Dolezal isn’t the only person transcending socially constructed categories. This month, Caitlyn Jenner completed her transformation from Bruce Jenner into this beautiful woman who will grace the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in July.

After hearing Caitlyn’s story, I am inspired by her courage to fully embrace who she is, flipping two middle fingers to the world, screaming

“SCREW YOUR SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS. I WILL CHOOSE WHO I WANT TO BE AND WHAT I WANT TO BE.”

So kudos to both Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner for mind-f*cking the world this month with their audacity to color outside the lines.

#MediaQuickies 9

I’m a little late with last week’s media quickie post, but I couldn’t let last week’s juicy news cycle pass by unrefereed. So here goes:


1. #HomeIMG_6528

Last weekend, DreamWorks hit the big screen  with a double whammy. We saw their first 3-D animated movie with a black lead character, AND she had natural hair!

Without giving too much of the movie away, the storyline goes as follows: There is an alien invasion, and all the humans are relocated to a specific part of the world. The aliens’ intentions are to civilize the humans, but after one alien befriends the movie’s female heroine, Tip, he realizes it’s not the humans that need civilizing, it’s the aliens. The moral of the story?  Just because someone is different from you doesn’t mean that they need to be fixed; it means there’s something you can learn from them. And if you happen to be a social outcast, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you; it means you should embrace what makes you different.

This DreamWorks picture couldn’t have come at a better time.  When racial tensions in our society are reaching old heights, DreamWorks gives us “Home,” a movie about two social outcasts from two different races (people and aliens) who join together in an unusual union to save the world. Kudos to DreamWorks for a job well done.the-prince-of-egypt

SN: It’s worth noting that DreamWorks’ first animated movie was “The Prince of Egypt” in 1998. Unlike the white washed cast in “Exodus: God’s and Kings” (released in 2014), DreamWorks chose to give its animated characters some color.

2. #Indiana

indiana copy

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been in the headlines for the past two weeks and has the LGBTQIA community up in arms. The Act is intended to ensure Americans have the right to exercise their religious freedom, thus allowing millions of “courageous conservatives” to act on their conscience when it comes to deciding whether or not they want their business/organization to serve gays and lesbians. For a clear, cut explanation of the law and the politics behind it, check out this NPR article.

Religion is tricky. Who am I to tell someone what they should believe? If, for instance, a Christian fundamentally believes gay and lesbian couples should not be married, should their food company be forced to cater a gay/lesbian wedding? With that said, at what point would Indianan’s discrimination law override its Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

The more I delve into this law, the more blue and red perspectives become a gray area of politics.

3. #UVA April Fools

satire?Last week, UVA’s student newspaper, Cavalier Daily, thought it could get away with  publishing a pair of stories for April Fools’ Day titled “ABC officers tackle Native American student outside Bodo’s Bagels” and “Zeta Psi hosts ‘Rosa Parks’ party.” The backlash that followed this poor editorial decision lead to the paper issuing this apology the same day and removing the satirical stories from their website.

According to the Cavalier Daily, it was attempting to “provide satirical commentary on important issues.”

confused_black_girl_vector_by_flyingsandwich-d84igqaThis is why diversity is so crucial in the newsroom. I highly doubt there was a colored person represented when the decision was made to print these two stories.

By making fun of Martese Johnson’s misfortune, Cavalier Daily poured salt on an open wound that had not yet scabbed over. If  Cavalier Daily wanted to contribute constructively to the conversation of race, the satirical articles should have been accompanied by a story that provided context behind the satire.

4. #DukeNoosenoose

So while UVA’s student newspaper made fun of Native Americans and racist frat parties, a Duke student was busy hanging a noose from a tree in one of Duke’s plazas.

I’m not sure what is going on these days, but  neo-racists are getting bolder by the minute.

#MediaQuickies 3

I’m a little late with last week’s installment of #MediaQuickies, but better late than never, right?


#SOTU Address (1/20)

Last week, President Obama reminded us all of this fact:

Not only did the State of The Union (#SOTU) address make the #MediaQuickie list because my President straight shitted on his haters, but also because, for the first time in the history of the #SOTU address (according to this Huffpost article), Transgendered individuals were directly recognized.

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened…That’s why we…condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or TRANSGENDER. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.” –Barack Obama

#AngelaTaughtMe (1/19) IMG_5317

I was first introduced to Angela Davis when my mother hosted a documentary screening of “Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners.” I was inspired by her intellect, her drive, her passion; these things lit a fire in me that encouraged me to speak up, speak out, and take action on issues I care about. So when I heard Angel Davis was going to be the keynote speaker for UNC’s annual MLK lecture, I was beyond excited.

But not everyone was excited for Angela’s speech entitled: “Racism, Militarism, Poverty: From Ferguson to Palestine.” Being that the U.S. is butt buddies with Israel, this title did not sit well with the Jewish community and other pro-Israel groups. This lead to the omission of Angela’s speech title  in The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s college newspaper, and the University’s announcements concerning Angela’s lecture. As people waited in line for the doors to open the night of her lecture, protestors passed out flyers for an upcoming speaker who would lecture on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Pro-Israel Legacy.

Needless to say, some people were salty about Angela coming to speak, so she opened her speech by defending its title, which she says was chosen simply to acknowledge the global intersectionality of social justice issues. Angela ended her speech with a call to action, encouraging the audience to attack the institutions that make up the structuralized racism in America,  instead of seeking individual indictments.

american sniper

 #AmericanSniper (1/16)

I went to see “American Sniper” on its opening weekend (contributing to the January box-office record it set), and I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty good movie. I definitely gained a greater appreciation for the women and men who defend this country with their lives.  But this movie was troubling as well. It was oozing with American propaganda, perpetuating anti-Muslim and Middle Eastern sentiments.

A friend of mine sent me this article after we went to see the movie together: thewrap.com.  This article addresses the recent controversy over the film’s subject, Chris Kyle (the American Sniper), which I think is  great because it asks movie goers to think critically about how the movie portrays Chris Kyle, the war, and Iraqi people. After seeing the movie and reading this article, my friend wrote to me:

“I just felt bad that I never once thought about the effect that [the war] must have had on innocent Iraqis at any point during the movie. I started seeing them all as bad too and that’s kinda scary…,” –My anonymous “American Sniper” movie date 😉

With this said, #AmericanSniper made this media quickie list because it’s a great example of pro-American media propaganda and how easy it is to fall for the hype.

#SororitySisters (1/16)

I didn’t find out about this coonery until after VH1 pulled the show only one month after its debut. “Sorority Sisters” follows the post-collegiate lives of sorors who are alumni of historically black colleges and universities. The black Greek community went up in arms over the mockery this show made out of its organizations. Threats of advertising boycotts quickly followed the “Sorority Sisters” debut, undoubtedly resulting in VH1 quietly airing the last three episodes of the show on Friday, Jan. 16, and the AKA’s and Deltas not so quietly suspending their members featured on the show.

But my question is, how can the black community allow reality shows such as “Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love and Hip Hop” to exist, but not this one. kermit


 Okay,  #ImDone.

© 2017 Media Whistle

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

css.php