Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Response to a facebook status:

"let's discuss: race relations in the entertainment industry. minorities have come along way in film and tv. but is it enough? should minorities settle? revolt?"--(Damone Williams)

i would say it depends on how you look at it because recent movies such as surrogates, avatar, the princess & the frog could technically be seen as stereotypical, and we haven't really "gone" anywhere...

surrogates touched on the history of the rastafari movement and how dread locks originated out of revolt against colonialism--the movie had "dread areas" and they were in revolt against the surrogates, Ving Rhames played the dread locked "the prophet"and people of color in movies and books are often seen as mystics or some wise witchdoctor...In the end it was revealed he too was a surrogate--you could go far as to say he was used as a puppet, an unlce tom of sorts lol but that would be too far in my opinion

(this is more of playing devil's advocate) avatar--which i thought was really beautiful btw--Zoe Saldana played an "indigenous" alien, they were even referred to by other characters as a "race" or the epithet "blue monkeys"

also in Avatar, Dileep Rao played Dr. Max Patel, Patel is a popular Indian surname and most of the time, Indians are usually seen as lab technicians or some sort of scientists

princess & the frog from my understanding a very light (if not white) prince brings a black girl out of the slums of louisiana from rags to riches

so i don't think this is enough and minorities in the entertainment industry should not settle

as far as tv, they always give black women attitudes--whether it's a show or commercials, but since Obama came into office, there have been more commercials w/ "loving" black families....i think there's one commercial w/ a latino family, i do not recall seeing any asian families in any commercial--or soap operas for that matter....

Commentary: Blackface is never okay By Mark Sawyer, Special to CNN

 Click 4 Link--->Commentary: Blackface is never okay By Mark Sawyer, Special to CNN

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Response to the many claims of certain white pple who say black pple look for racism...uuugghhhh SERIOUSLY???

As I was reading through comments on news articles and blogs about “The Princess and the Frog” lacking a black/Afro-American prince, I saw many written by white people basically claiming that black people need to stop looking for “disparate moments,” or things to be racist against us and to quit “playing the victim” because if we quit looking for something to be wrong then everything will be all right. (Excuse my french.) NOW HOW IN THE HELL DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE??? If I am blinded in one eye, but I decide not to point out my disadvantage to everyone does not make me any less blind in that one eye.
                Saying that black people have to LOOK for “disparate and racist moments” is preposterous.  First of all the previous claim is a generalization because people keep saying “black people.” GEEZ! THEY COULD AT LEAST PUT IN THE WORD “SOME.”  Second of all, just because some people—namely SOME members of the majority—have to look for racist situations and moments of intolerance does not mean that the members of the minority have to do so.  Furthermore—even if people do have to look for something does not mean it is not there in the first place.  In fact, according to Christia Spears Brown and Rebecca S. Bigler (2002) one of the psychological effects of being an adolescent of color in an American classroom is earlier development of group awareness and identification.  In other words, minorities notice they are minorities because they are minorities.  Therefore, most black kids in America notice they are black, and everything that comes along with that, before most white kids notice they are white with privilege.

So, if a black boy already notices he is black and “different” at an earlier age, do you think he will not notice the prince in “The Princess and the Frog” is NOT black?  Besides, no one is saying the Disney movie is racist; however, everyone is making hoopla about the first black PRINCESS—which they rightfully should given this nation’s history—but I feel like black boys are always hung out to dry. And what is the latest image of the black male in the media? TIGER WOODS. Which was the last one? CHRIS BROWN. What do they keep saying about Mr. President—as of lately? OBAMA’S POPULARITY RATINGS AT ALL TIME LOW. So outside of the run-of-the-mill football, basketball, and baseball stars—WHERE ARE THE POSITIVE BLACK MALE IMAGES IN THE MEDIA? I know they are out there, but the media chooses what they want to highlight and cover.
And I’m sorry but somebody has to say this: the only reason Elin (Nordegren) Woods has not been put to the fire is because she is a white woman. The media keep saying “she had a mental meltdown” and is thus excused with beating Tiger with a club and causing him to crash his car twice in a row. Had that been a black woman—they would have paraded her as “a mad black woman,” brought the Chris Brown/Rihanna case back up, and blown up domestic violence in the black community AGAIN.  SN: I realize domestic violence is a prominent issue in the black community—however there is a difference between raising awareness both within and for the better of the community as opposed to “outsiders looking in” and displaying it as “look-at-those-dysfunctional-black-people.”  Plus, young black males run the highest risk of being shot and killed (look at the situation in Chicago, namely).  My point is, black men never get any love in this country.

NPR: "Still Waiting For Disney's First Black Prince" by Deana Bass

 Click 4 Story--->>>NPR: "Still Waiting For Disney's First Black Prince"  by Deana Bass

Deana Bass is managing partner of CS Corporate, a public affairs firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, Del. Her occasional blog can be found here.

**I obtained this information from NPR. There is no copyright infringement intended.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Disney's First Black Princess: The Princess and the Frog


Carrie Mae Weems, Ain’t Jokinseries, 1987-1988

           I encountered this Weems’ photograph during the second to last lecture of my History of Photography class, the class right before Thanksgiving break.  Of course everyone being antsy with anticipation of being on a break—no matter how small—and eating all of the wonderful good America food we would be eating, people, including myself, were hardly paying attention.  However, when the slide containing this photograph came up, I had to stop and stare.  My ears all of a sudden honed in on the professor’s lecture—his voice was no longer just a drone in the background.  How he treated the subject matter was really important to me.  He even briefly referenced the movie that were to come out later when he mentioned, “Yeah, I think Disney’s FIRST black princess is FINALLY coming out this year, and it IS a big deal—even though I think it’s WAY past due.”  Even though he had moved onto another series done by Weems, my brain had not…I thought about all those times when I was little favoring princess Jasmine just because her skin was slightly tan but nevertheless darker than the other Disney princesses.  Although, Jasmine really isn’t a big deal though because prior to 9/11, Middle easterners bubbled in “white” just like white Americans—go figure.  Additionally, I remember never having a Disney princess doll because my parents made it a point for my sister and I to always have black baby dolls…so we wouldn’t grow up with a complex I suppose.  I am so glad the “youngions” in my family will have a black princess and black prince to watch for their entertainment.  Too bad throughout the history of America, in both White and Black communities, being the darkest, most ebony, never equated with being the “fairest of them all.”  In fact, when I was little, I used to want to be darker—and look at me now with dreads and all…I joked around with my family and said maybe Disney got its act together so Obama’s little girls could have something relatable to watch.  I have not seen the movie yet—I don’t like the crowds of opening weekend, but when I do see it, I will be putting another post.  It’s been a long time coming, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are rolling over in their graves, and I am glad.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reflecting on "Monster" by Skillet

Romans 7:21-25 (New International Version)

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

I know we're all human and no one is perfect, but I feel like if people were to know the "real" me sometimes--the side of me that can be downright mean and somewhat nasty--people would think I were a monster.  People would perhaps not think of me as an evil one-eyed people-eater, yet I think they could see a side of me that they would never think could ever be there. I am not by any means saying that people put me on a pedestal; in fact, I constantly remind people I am far from perfect. Yet when conversations of the past do come up, most people always gasp and say, "You did what??? I don't believe you--you're lying!!!" I am not talking about Christians either, I mean everyone has that reaction: agnostic, atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist--you name it.

I actually find this happening quite hilarious, but at the same time I feel trapped because it makes me feel as though I can never tell anyone what I may possibly be struggling with at the moment. I tell God everything...I would just like to have a sounding board sometimes that I can actually see.  Not that people always give sound advice, and we're not to put our trust in them, yet everyone could use someone they can put their confidence in every once and a while.

These feelings are probably just a part of the season I am in currently--I mean everything is all gravy, but unless you're a schizoid, being alone--in terms of friendships--is tough.  I have friends; however I find myself being the sounding board more often times than not, and when I do have something I need to talk about, I never know the words to use--so just talking to God works out because I never have to try to explain things in the coherent way I have to with people--sometimes I don't even have to use words.  That's the beauty of God. Anywho, I am kind of just rambling now...

Kay Rich, out

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reflection Paper 3 for my African American Literature Class

“The Family That Preys” & Clotel

At first, I had just planned on writing a reflection on Tyler Perry’s “The Family That Preys,” but as I was watching it, I realized there were many parallels between this movie and William Wells Brown’s novel, Clotel.  Perry’s movie, “The Family That Preys,” is about the interaction and intermingling of two different families from two different worlds. One family consists of the wealthy widow and business owner Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) and her son William (Cole Hauser) and daughter-in-law Jillian (KaDee Strickland).  The other family consists of Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard) and her daughters Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) and Pam (Taraji P. Henson) who are married to Chris (Rockmond Dunbar) and Ben (Tyler Perry) respectively.  The two families intertwined initially because Charlotte and Alice became best friends after Alice refused to move out her property when the late Mr. Cartwright wanted to buy an area of land to develop himself and he sent Charlotte to talk her into moving.  The families become intermingled when Andrea and William have an extramarital affair together that lasts for a few years because they even have a son together of whom people think Chris is the father.  In Brown’s novel Clotel, tells the story of a mullato Currer and her two daughters Clotel and Althesa who are rumored to be the president’s daughters.  As far as the characters between the book and the novel, Alice is like Currer, Andrea is like Clotel, Pam is like Althesa, and William Cartwright is like Horatio Green.
In the beginning of the movie, Pam alludes to the fact that she and her sister, Andrea, were raised by their mother in the same household in the ghetto.  Pam goes on to say their mother practically “broke her back” to put her through college so she could have the life she has today.  Alice did the best she could, yet Andrea still ended up prostituting herself out to get to where she is the first part of the movie.  Brown’s Clotel, in order to comment on the tragedy of the mulatto woman, shows that the best even the president’s daughter could do to be “successful” was to be a prostitute because that is all Currer saw as her best option to raise Clotel and Althesa to be.
In a certain part of the movie, Abby (Robin Givens) expresses her disappointment to Andrea that Andrea is sleeping her way to the top.  Andrea counters that she does have the skills she needs for her position in the company, yet they are not needed because she is in fact “screwing the boss.”  This scene in the movie reminds me of the part in Brown’s novel where during the auctioning of Clotel, the auctioneer lists characteristics and attributes that really do not matter for a prostitute to have because her purpose is purely sexual.
When the truth of Andrea’s extramarital affair with William finally comes out to Chris he hits her and then leaves her at Alice’s diner.  Andrea shouts after him that she is going to marry William and they have a child together, however Pam agrees with Alice when she tells Andrea, “William is from a different world, honey, and he will not marry you.”  Andrea does not want to listen to this advice, however she finds out the hard way that it is indeed the truth.  Throughout Brown’s novel, Clotel is under the illusion that Mr. Green will come back and marry her so that they could be a family for real as opposed to her being his slave in a hidden-away cabin.  After Charlotte talks to her daughter-in-law Jillian about the way things work in the Cartwright family, Jillian makes William leave Andrea for good and have nothing else to do with her despite their biological child they had together.
The movie really made me think about how some black women, or women in general for that matter, today may choose to either be a prostitute or “screw their way” to the top.  Yes, sex trafficking still occurs and not every woman has or has had—when they were a child—a choice, but I am still baffled by the ones who do genuinely choose to go into that profession, and I use the word profession lightly.  Not only did I really like the character, Abby, Robin Givens played, I really agreed with a point she made to Sanaa Lathan’s character.  She said something along the lines of screwing you may get you to the top, but it will not keep you there.