Colorlines

Is Your Halloween Costume Racist? Check This Flowchart

Are you worried that your Halloween costume may be a little bit racist? Don’t be this person. Or these folks. The good folks at College Humor found this handy little flowchart so you don’t make an asshole out of yourself this year. And, if you’re wondering, there are ways to dress up as a person from a different race and not be a jerk

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(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Powerful Short Film Captures High School Football Team in Oakland’s ‘Kill Zone’

East Oakland has a reputation as one of America’s most violent neighborhoods. It’s where a great deal of the city’s murders happen every year, a trend that’s earned it the dubious name the “Kill Zone.” Castlemont high school is in this area. It has a proud football tradition that’s taken a big hit in recent years due to the violence that’s kept many of the neighborhood’s kids from enrolling.

But Grit Media caught up with Ed Washington, a proud Castlemont alumn who’s trying to rebuild the program and, along with it, students’ committment to their community. Already, Washington’s team is meeting some success: After going winless over the past three season, the team’s overall record currently stands at 2-5.

TAGS: Oakland sports

Rapper Bambu Tackles Minimum Wage on New Album ‘Party Worker’

In the middle of touring with Brother Ali on the “Home Away From Home” tour, L.A.-raised, Oakland-based Filipino rapper Bambu just dropped a new album called “Party Worker.” He raised nearly $40,000 for the album on Kickstarter and kept fans connected to the production process throughout most of last spring. The new video for the track “Minimum Wage” was directed, edited and animated by filmmaker Paco Raterta in Manila and shot by “Welcome to the Party” director/editor, Kevin Vea. It looks at everyday life in the Philippines and follows one group of workers as they try to make ends meet.

Diverse Casting Leads to a Wildly Successful Fall for Network TV

Diverse Casting Leads to a Wildly Successful Fall for Network TV

From “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Black-ish” and “Jane The Virgin” and “Cristela,” racial diversity on network television is paying big dividends for industry execs. According to Deadline:

Both ABC’s HTGAWM and Black-ishare helped by strong lead-ins -Scandal and Modern Family, respectively. Still, HIGAWM has excelled, surpassing Scandal as well as NBC’s The Blacklist to rank as the highest-rated drama on television by a wide margin, averaging a 5.7 rating among adults 18-49 through three weeks of Live+7 numbers. That should be gratifying for star Viola Davis, who recently lamented the marginalizing of darker-skin black actresses like herself who usually are relegated to bit parts in movies and TV.

Read more at Deadline

J-Live Drops Song Against Police Brutality Called ‘I Am a Man’

Brooklyn-based M.C. and high school teacher J-Live just dropped what Okayplayer called his “most meaningful and heartfelt track ever.” The song is called “I Am a Man” and takes aim at police brutality. It’s also the latest song from his new LP “Around the Sun,” available on Bandcamp. Check out the new track below.

 

Watch George Clinton Talk to Questlove About Funk Music

Funk music pioneer George Clinton will be in conversation with Questlove tonight at 6:30pm at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.  From the Schomburg:

The funk musician George Clinton shares stories about his life and career on the occasion  of the publication of his new book, [“] Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? A Memoir.[“] Clinton will be in conversation with the Roots’ drummer, DJ, writer, and producer Questlove.
Grammy award-winning artist George Clinton was the mastermind behind Parliament and Funkadelic, the two bands that virtually defined the funk genre. Clinton began recording solo in 1981, and has earned widespread recognition for his contributions to the music world. 

New York City Mural Honors Mothers Who Lost Sons to Police Violence

New York City Mural Honors Mothers Who Lost Sons to Police Violence

New York City visual artist Sophia Dawson decided to pay her respects to black and Latino mothers who lost their sons to police and extra-judicial violence. In a new mural called “Every Mother’s Son” on the Lower East Side, Dawson honors Kadiatou Diallou, Mamie Till, Constance Malcolm, Margarita Rosario, Gwen Carr, Lesley McSpadden and Iris Baez.

Dawson told Ideal Glass:

My art is a tool to bring people from different ethnicities, social statuses, beliefs and backgrounds together, to educate them and to develop a dialogue between them and the characters I depict. I want to highlight the significance of these figures and the relevance of their struggle today. They have been intentionally excluded from mainstream American History and their stories must not be forgotten… I always start working from black, as a conscious artistic exercise but also as a statement: it represents my opposition to the art education I received in institutions where I was taught that art had to begin on a ‘pure and white’ surface.

 

Every mother’s son. Complete. Made possible by @idealglass

A photo posted by Sophia (@iamwetpaint) on

(h/t For Harriet)

New Video Series Shows How Comedians of Color Turn Pain Into Laughter

Tanzina Vega and Channon Hodge of the New York Times launched a new video series today called, “Off Color.” It takes a look at how some today’s hottest comedians of color use race in their material. In Hari Kondabolu’s words, “It’s incredible how we recycle pain and turn it into laughter.” He’s featured in the new series, along with Kristina Wong, Issa Rae and Lalo Alcaraz.* Check out their interviews below. 

Hari Kondabolu:

Kristina Wong:

Issa Rae:

 

Lalo Alcaraz:

*Post has been updated to correct spelling of Lalo Alcaraz’s surname. 

Russell Wilson Doesn’t Care What You Think About His Blackness

Russell Wilson Doesn't Care What You Think About His Blackness

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson really isn’t moved by this newfound fascination with whether he’s “not black enough.” Amid reports of locker room strife and alleged complaints from other black teammates that put his racial identity into question, Wilson told reporters:

“I think it was people trying to find ways to knock us down, but we just keep swinging and keep believing in each other. We keep believing in the people that we have in the room and we keep believing in the coaching staff. We keep believing in our fans, we keep believing in each other and there is no doubt that we are together. There is no doubt that we are more together than ever before.

“And so, in terms of me, the ‘not black enough’ thing I think you are talking about, I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know. I believe that I am an educated, young male that is not perfect. That tries to do things right, that just tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to wins games for this football team, for this franchise. And that’s all I focus on.”

That didn’t stop NBA legend and current sports analyst Charles Barkley from blaming black folks in an interview on Philadelphia radio. “For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.” 

But as Gina Torres writes at For Harriet, “there is no single definition of  ‘black people.’ Torres continues:

“Black people—including African-Americans and other descendants of the African Diaspora—are not a monolith. We are all shaped by our various experiences, socioeconomic backgrounds, and geographical location. But given the fact that mainstream society often uses the behavior of one Black person to represent us all, Barkley’s broad generalization is extremely myopic and disappointing. His statements allow for non-Black people to sign off on this highly problematic sentiment.”

Whenever a premiere NFL team hits a rough patch and loses a couple of games, there’s talk of trouble in the locker room. Obviously, this attack on Wilson seems deeply personal, but chances are, if his team keeps winning, the talk will die down significantly. 

Erykah Badu Talks ‘Completing the Cypher’ With Childish Gambino

Okayplayer TV caught up with Erykah Badu after a recent performance with Childish Gambino at Berkeley’s Greek Theater. She talks about intergenerational artistry, calling Gambino one of her “frequency heroes.” Watch the full interview below. 

Palestinian Vocalist Merna Has New Song Produced by Ali Shaheed Muhammad

Born in Palestine and raised in Toronto, singer Merna made a name for herself by creating music for other artists including DJ Jazzy Jeff and James Poyser of The Roots. But now, she’s breaking out on her own with a new album, “The Calling.” 

“Musically, I always aim to break my own ground and delve a little more into my history and things that I’ve been influenced by,” the singer said in a press release. “For example, there are sounds and rhythms on this album that are African and Arab inspired. Not a lot of people know that my first ever band in Abu Dhabi was a rock band, and that I’m classically trained in piano.”

Below, check out live performance of the song’s lead single, “A Little More,” which was produced by Ali Shaheed Muhammad. 

San Francisco’s New Spray-Painted Carlos Santana Mural is Amazing

Long before Dropbox’s tech bros invaded San Francisco’s Mission District and made headlines for picking fights with neighborhood kids, legendary guitarist Carlos Santana called the historic neighborhood home. Over the weekend, the city’s art commission paid respect to one of its most beloved sons by unveiling a new spray-painted mural by fellow hometown artist Mel Waters at the corner of 19th and Mission. Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mindy Kaling Is Not Malala Yousafzai

Mindy Kaling Is Not Malala Yousafzai

Mindy Kaling is a 35-year-old Indian-American writer and creator of the hit show “The Mindy Project.” Malala Yousafzai is a 17-year-old Pakastani activist who just won a Nobel Peace Prize for championing girls’ education. They’re not the same person. But the New York Times unearthed an embarassing episode from this month’s New Yorker Festival:

As she stood by the banquettes, a tipsy man in his 80s cornered her and showered her with compliments, apparently mistaking her for Malala Yousafzai. “Congratulations on your Nobel Prize,” he said, before expressing wonder at how well she had recovered from Taliban gunshots.

Ms. Kaling was speechless. “Did he really think I’m Malala?” she said when he was safely out of sight. “And that if I were, I’d be at the Boom Boom Room?”

Still, she thought it was pretty funny: “That’s the best thing that’s happened all night.”

But, you know, this sorta thing happens all the time. Casual racism — guess there’s not much to do but laugh it off, right?

(h/t Vox)

TAGS: Mindy Kaling

Janay Rice Speaks Out About Those Racist Domestic Violence Halloween Costumes

Janay Rice Speaks Out About Those Racist Domestic Violence Halloween Costumes

Over the weekend, some awful human beings decided to dress up like Ray Rice — blackface paint and all — and poke fun at his brutal assault on his then-fiance, Janay, that got him kicked out of the NFL. Here’s one that appeared on TMZ:

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Keith Olbermann has since started retweeting others:

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Janay Rice, the woman at the center of the controversy, spoke out on Twitter:

Watch Spike Lee’s Documentary on Mo’ne Davis

Watch Spike Lee's Documentary on Mo'ne Davis Play

Spike Lee directed a documentary on 13-year-old pitching phenom Mo’ne Davis for Chevrolet that gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the teenager’s path to stardom at last summer’s Little League World Series.

Lupe Fiasco Releases New Track ‘Haile Selassie’ Feat. Nikki Jean

Lupe Fiasco Releases New Track 'Haile Selassie' Feat. Nikki Jean

Lupe Fiasco is gearing up to release a new mixtape called “Lost in the Atlantic.” He dropped the track “Haile Selassie” on Friday featuring singer Nikki Jean, who fans may remember from 2007’s “Hip-Hop Saved My Life.”

(h/t Hypetrak)

Roxane Gay: White Men Don’t Get Same Level of Online Harassment as People of Color

Roxane Gay: White Men Don't Get Same Level of Online Harassment as People of Color

Culture critic and English professor Roxane Gay sat down with the Chicago Tribune’s Christopher Borelli to talk about the whirlwind of a year she’s had since publishing her first collection of essays, “Bad Feminist.” Gay talks about the delicate line she walks between engaging online audiences and facing tons of racist and sexist harrassment. 

White men don’t receive the same level of (expletive) that women and people of color do online. They don’t see the harassment. Of course they see a yes-man culture. They’re not having their physical appearances — “You’re ugly,” “You’re fat” — brought up. They are not even aware of the real world. It’s adorable. Writing about literary culture, they seem to be protecting literary truth. They have good points: Critical rigor is important, what the Internet is doing to rigor is not small. I would just to like to see an awareness that others live in this world, that the subject is about more than a notion of literary integrity.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune

Racial Diversity Among America’s Working Artists Virtually Non-Existent

Racial Diversity Among America's Working Artists Virtually Non-Existent

It’s hard to make a living off of your art, but that’s especially true for artists of color, according to the Roberto A. Ferdman at Wonkblog:

Nearly four out of every five people who make a living in the arts in this country are white, according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by BFAMFAPhD, a collective of artists dedicated to understanding the rising cost of artistry. The study, which surveyed more than 1.4 million people whose primary earnings come from working as an artist, represents a broad population of creative types in the country, and reveals a number of troubling truths.

The study digs a bit deeper, finding that 80 percent of people with art school degrees are white. That’s important when you’re talking about gaining access to the institutional structures — faculty connections, business direction — that are often pre-requisites for a successful professional career. So as the country grows more diverse, its crop of working professional artists remains stubbornly white. Read more at Wonkblog

Smart People Listen to Radiohead, Dumb People Listen to Beyoncé, Says Racist Study

Smart People Listen to Radiohead, Dumb People Listen to Beyoncé, Says Racist Study

Software developer Virgil Griffith set out to see if there is a correlation between the type of music people listen to (based on the most “liked” performers on Facebook at more than 1,300 American colleges) and their SAT scores. The study’s been making the rounds, on and off, for the past five years, but it popped up again recently because Griffith posted a new chart. And, as Emma Silvers points out at SF Weekly, the findings aren’t just unscientific; they’re racist.

Let’s see, T.I., Lil Wayne, and the entire history of gospel, hip-hop, and reggae are all the province of morons? Whereas people who listen to Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, and Guster are the folks you should want in the operating room should you ever need brain surgery? Nope, definitely not a giant, racially loaded can of classist assumptions and privilege-worms to open here. Absolutely no correlation between the dominant ethnic makeup of America’s most exclusive private schools and the fact that apparent hordes of the country’s most promising minds — actual young people, presumably — have listed Counting Crows as one of their favorite bands on Facebook. 

Here’s Griffith’s latest chart:

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Did ‘Dear White People’ Miss the Mark on Casual Racism?

Did 'Dear White People' Miss the Mark on Casual Racism?

Justin Simien’s debut film “Dear White People” has won over plenty of fans with its satirical approach to race, an approach that depends heavily on showcasing outrageously racist acts. But what about the subtle microaggressions that happen every day? Carimah Townes writes at Think Progress that it’s a major oversight of the film:

The film would’ve been more interesting if microaggression carried the same weight as explicit racism, given the nation’s ongoing discussion of race relations. Many argue that we live in a post-racial America, and that argument is largely predicated on what racism looked like in the country’s past. No, slavery doesn’t exist any more, and Jim Crow laws no longer keep black people from occupying public spaces. But to say that racist attitudes no longer color American society, a microaggression in and of itself, ignores casual acts of racism that occur every day. The purpose of the film was to highlight the experiences of a lot of black people, but aggressive, in-your-face racism overshadowed — and minimized — the profound effects that microaggressions have on them.

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