CategoryRace

Get Out made me laugh at my pain

“Get Out” validated my innate suspicion of white women dating Black men. But that’s not the only reason I was disappointed with the movie. With an initial 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the movie being deemed “a new genre of horror film,” I expected an extraordinary movie. Instead, I left the theater feeling that “Get Out” had been overhyped.

Don’t get me wrong, I think”Get Out’s” director, Jordan Peele, brilliantly displays what it’s like to be Black in a post-racial America. From racial profiling to off putting comments about Black physical traits, Peele skillfully captures the real stresses I experience as a Black individual in the U.S.

I racked my brain for the longest, trying to figure out what I was missing – what was it that made people marvel at this movie? And then I thought about the white guy who kept turning around trying to laugh with me and my friends. No, our laughter was not meant to be shared with you. We were laughing at our pain because what you found entertaining, was a reality for us.

Get Out photo from movie

The concept of racism disguised as white liberalism is not new to me and it is not something I want to laugh about with a white stranger. I navigate a matrix of micro-aggressions on a daily basis. So much so that in 2017, Merriam-Webster added it as a new word in the dictionary. For some, this was their first time being exposed to the social critiques that “Get Out” depicts. For me, I found the movie to be an uncomfortable accurate reflection of my life.

“Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.”

–Rotten Tomatoes

Yes, this movie was horrifying. But not because of hypnotism, missing Black bodies, or unorthodox neurosurgery. This movie was scary as hell because it hyperbolized micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation and modern-day slave auctions that eerily reminded me of the NBA and NFL drafts.

Although I feel “Get Out” was overhyped by white liberals overcompensating for their whiteness, I highly recommend going to see the movie. As you watch, remember that art imitates life. Recognize “Get Out’s” imitations and think about how the issues raised in the movie affect real people’s lives. That’s just some food for thought that I would have loved to pour into the random white guy’s popcorn bowl.

Lastly, laugh. There are some really funny parts in this movie that keep it from being too dark. But don’t be so quick to laugh with strangers. Their laughter may have a different meaning, a different purpose.

2016: What a time to be alive

What can I say, it’s been a tough year, but these top 10 Black media moments made 2016 worth reminiscing.

10. Kanye proved not to be as liberal-minded as we thought ??

Donald Trump & Kanye West

Black Twitter and liberal news outlets lost their minds when Kanye West confessed to not voting, but if he had, he would have voted for Trump. Not long afterwards, Kanye was spotted at Trump Towers with Donald discussing “life.”

In 2017, let’s accept that Kanye is that family member you love but no one likes to claim. Let’s acknowledge that Black celebrities are not obligated to support democratic candidates. Lastly, let’s not judge our people for networking with president elects in hopes of fueling their own political ambitions.

9. Beyonce put up two middle fingers to the world?

In 2016, the world discovered Beyonce was unapologetically Black when she released her single, “Formation.” Then she blessed us with her visual album, “Lemonade.” I never took the time to write about it  because this video said it all :

Combine “Lemonade” with Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance salute to the Black Panthers and appearance at the Country Music Awards (CMAs), and you get a boiling pot of #BlackGirlMagic that exploded in 2016.

8. #OscarsSoWhite…but its host wasn’t ?

At the 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock hovered a magnifying glass over white privilege in front of 34.4M viewers.

7. Moonlight shed light on Black masculinity?

With very little words and amazing cinematography, “Moonlight” explored Black masculinity and identity. It has received high praise, alluding that #OscarsSoWhite may not be as white in 2017 #WishfulThinking?

6. Colin Kaepernick got down on his knees?

America is all for having black athletes make it money until black athletes use their sports platform to make a statement. This year, Colin Kaepernick outraged America when he had the audacity to protest unjust police killings of black folks. He kneeled instead of standing during the National Anthem and all media hell broke loose.

5. A history lesson you won’t find in the books?

In the documentary 13th, Ava Duvernay schooled us on mass incarceration in the United States, which dates back to 1789’s 13th amendment.

4. Netflix showed us how being Black is superhuman??

In a time when one in three Black men are incarcerated and countless others are murdered by police bullets, “Luke Cage” gave me a breath of fresh air. He fought to serve justice in his community that was governed corruptly and policed unjustly.

Beyond Marvel’s fictional world, in reality, Luke Cage interrupted the constant mediated stream of negative Black male stereotypes and inserted a powerful, positive image of a superhuman Black man.

3. BET said farewell to Obama ??

Love and Happiness poster

Although I missed this televised celebration – I didn’t have the endurance to sit through 15 minute commercial breaks – from the clips I saw,  BET gave Obama one hell of a going away party at the White House this year. 

2. Black Television reflected my reality ?

What a year for Black television! “Black-ish” brilliantly addressed several touchy subjects. From police brutality and racial profiling to color-ism and interracial dating, the show stepped up its political commentary in 2016.

“Atlanta FX,” arguably one of 2016’s realest Black television shows, effortlessly addressed the affects of hip hop in the Black community, concepts of race and gender as human constructions, the criminalization of social issues and much more!  

Issa Rae’s “Insecure” shoved self-doubt down our throats and I loved every minute of it. She reminded us all that the path to self-discovery is no smooth ride, especially if you are black. In a smart marketing move, Issa universally presented  the insecurities associated with adulting in a way that anyone, no matter their race, could identify with.

  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture ✊?

National African American Museum

In September, after more than a century of Blacks petitioning for a federally owned museum showcasing Black history, President Obama led the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). This display of Black history, culture and accomplishments was long overdue, and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in my culture as soon as I walked through the museum’s doors. With rich multimedia at every turn and six floors of history to explore, it’s worth carving out a day to visit. 

Cheers to 2016! ?

Beyonce flipping the bird

P.S. I’m still waiting on my Harriet Tubman $20 bills ?

Haha…not funny ?

When I first heard Hillary Clinton made a “CP time” joke, I didn’t believe it. Although there may be a general consensus in the black community that Bill could have nailed the same joke, Hillary does not tote the same honorary Black Card as her hubby. For my readers who are culturally unaware, CP (colored people) time is a well known joke (exclusively reserved for black execution) that pimps the following stereotype: people of color are never on time… EVER! In this instance of misguided antics, once again, black culture was misappropriated to make a joke at the expense of a historically marginalized group. Not cool Hilary, not cool. Take a look.

“There’s no way a black person saw this script during the approval process,” my boyfriend said after we became aware of this deplorable attempt at comedy. I smiled within because I was successfully brainwashing my love bug to see how lack of minority representation in the media results in the bull shit embedded above.

Did this comedy script get a stamp of approval by a token minority? Beats me, but it is situations like these that help strengthen this blog’s three-year soap opera about the importance of having a minority seat at the decision making table. We help offer up a  “oh hell nah” when culturally insensitive ideas are conjured up.

RIP Hillary Clinton’s name on Black Twitter and the African American vote she’s been campaigning. Also, to the black man on stage who was in on the joke, please return your black card to your local NAACP office …okay I’m done✌?

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.

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