Queen Bey turned 33 on September 4, and hubby Jay Z put together an adorable happy birthday video for her. Even better: the video is exactly 33 seconds long.
Queen Bey turned 33 on September 4, and hubby Jay Z put together an adorable happy birthday video for her. Even better: the video is exactly 33 seconds long.
As the Packers take on the Seahawks tonight in the NFL’s debut game, pressure is building for Washington, D.C. team owner Dan Snyder to change his franchise’s racist name. This week, Change the Mascot, a national campaign launched by the Oneida Indian Nation, released a letter signed by more than 100 partner organizations (including Colorlines’ publisher Race Forward) protesting the team’s name. They also released a letter to broadcasters to stop using the derogatory slur. In part it reads:
…We are writing to ask you to join other media organizations in refusing to broadcast the Washington team’s name on the public airwaves. The team’s name is a dictionary-defined racial slur. As of 2014’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling, it is also a government-defined racial slur. Those definitions are correct. Throughout history, this term has been used to disparage Native Americans. It is the term used by bounty hunters to describe bloody Native scalps, and it was the epithet screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands. No doubt, the bigotry of this word is why the team was originally given the name by its longtime owner, avowed segregationist George Preston Marshall.
The group, along with the National Congress of American Indians, are also leading a social media campaign that coincides with the start of the season. They’re asking users to use the hashtags #ProudtoBe and #SacktheRWord to join the discussion.
As Yahoo! Sports has noted, the campaign is making an impact:
Some mainstream media broadcasters who will call and report on NFL games this season — such as NBC’s Tony Dungy and ESPN’s Lisa Salters — have said they might not say “Redskins” on air. CBS has said it will leave it up to its broadcasters to make individual calls on whether they choose to, and Phil Simms is one who has said he might not.
t’s clear that some people’s opinions on this story are changing. Not long ago, support for keeping the Redskins nickname — depending on the survey cited — hovered in the 80-to-90-percent range. But recently, other surveys, such as ESPN’s recent poll of 286 NFL players shows that the number has come down.
For now, they’re still the Redskins. But for how long? The league has been quite quiet on the issue largely, and there are marketing and promotional considerations that likely will keep things status quo for this season, and perhaps beyond. But if that support continues to dwindle and the Native American groups involved in this plea have their voice heard, we could see even more action and impetus for chance.
HBO Latino is launching an original series this fall that’s based on the lives of Brazil’s high-end sex workers. From their press release:
This fall we are promoting a new and exciting series from Brazil named El Negocio and our team is looking for influencers to support our promotional efforts. …
The series tells the story of Karin, Luna and Magali, three beautiful and intelligent women who come together with the idea of revolutionizing their profession, high-end escorts. Given the limited prospects for professional growth they face, they have a vision: if behind every product there is a marketing strategy, why not apply the same techniques to the oldest profession in the world. Karin, Luna and Magali are ladies of a luxury company, ready to become true business women.
It’s hard to tell at this point if the show will be a worthwhile look into Brazil’s sex trade or just another way to exploit women’s bodies. But the trailer (NSFW) is in line with a study that found that Latinas are more likely than women of any other ethnicity to appear on camera naked.
The topic of sex work in Brazil has gotten a lot of attention lately as the country played host to the 2014 World Cup. Curiously, this new show doesn’t appear to include any sex workers of African descent, though race and poverty often play a big role in who enters the industry.
(h/t Latino Rebels)
Kendrick Lamar is doing a lot of guest verses, which hopefully means that his rumored new album is still on track for this fall. Here’s a remix of his “Holy Ghost” track with Jeezy. (K.Dot’s verse begins at 2:49.)
Actress Rosie Perez is joining “The View” along with Republican media operative Nicole Wallace. They’ll appear alongside Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg on the ABC daytime show starting on September 15.
Here’s how we’re celebrating:
Xiomara is a San Francisco-based Bay Area native whose soulful renditions of hip-hop classics caught my ear a while back.
She also works with newer artists like A-1, a San Francsico-based emcee.
Gene Luen Yang delivered a moving speech at the 14th annual National Book Festival’s award gala in Washington, DC last weekend. In it, the comic behind “American Born Chinese,” “Boxers and Saints,” and “The Shadow Hero” talked about the fear that keeps writers from exploring characters of different ethnicities:
We have to allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes, including cultural mistakes, in our first drafts. I believe it’s okay to get cultural details wrong in your first draft. It’s okay if stereotypes emerge. It just means that your experience is limited, that you’re human.
Just make sure you iron them out before the final draft. Make sure you do your homework. Make sure your early readers include people who are a part of the culture you’re writing about. Make sure your editor has the insider knowledge to help you out. If they don’t, consider hiring a freelance editor who does.
Also, it’s okay if stereotypes emerge in the first drafts of your colleagues. Correct them - definitely correct them - but do so in a spirit of generosity. Remember how soul-wrenching the act of writing is, how much courage it took for that writer to put words down on a page.
And let’s say you do your best. You put in all the effort you can. But then when your book comes out, the Internet gets angry. You slowly realize that, for once, the Internet might be right. You made a cultural misstep. If this happens, take comfort in the fact that even flawed characters can inspire. Apologize if necessary, resolve do better, and move on.
Let your fear drive you to do your homework. But no matter what, don’t ever let your fear stop you.
Read the whole thing over at the Washington Post.
(h/t Angry Asian Man)
Flying Lotus has a new album called “You’re Dead!” dropping on October 7 and he just released a new track featuring Kendrick Lamar called “Never Catch Me.” Listen:
CeeLo can say goodbye to “The Good Life.”
The singer’s reality TV show has been canceled, according to Entertainment Weekly:
A network insider said the show was canceled was due to poor ratings. Before news of the cancellation came out, however, a petition from women’s rights group UltraViolet had called for TBS to get rid of the show in light of Green’s tweets.
The Good Life had a short run earlier this summer and focused on Green’s reunion with his hip-hop group Goodie Mob. The TBS webpage for the show has been replaced by an error message.
The cancellation comes amid backlash after the singer tried to defend rape. Last week, he pleaded guilty to giving a woman ecstasy that she claims led her to black out for hours before waking up naked in CeeLo’s bed. There wasn’t enough evidence to bring rape charges, but the singer foolishly tried to argue on Twitter over the weekend that an unconscious woman can’t be raped.
Mary J. Blige is gearing up for the release of her new LP “The London Sessions” later this fall, and in a widely circulated interview with The Guardian, the reigning queen of hip-hop R&B opened up about working with new-kid-on-the-block Sam Smith, paying homage to Amy Winehouse, and the differences between making music in London versus the United States:
The sound in London at the moment is house music. That is what the majority of people are producing their songs like. But the ones that get truly successful are the ones using proper songwriting. Rudimental for example - they write proper songs and then produce them like dance music. And that is exactly what we’re trying to do, along with a few other people. But that applies to any genre, not just dance music. You could take the songs off Sam Smith’s album, produce them in a completely different way and they would still be a huge success - you could produce them like acid jazz and I still feel like they’d get somewhere.
Of course, Blige isn’t the first black American artist to find success over the pond. There’s a long history to it that includes Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and dates back to the 1950s when African-American artists escaped the segregated South’s chitlin’ circuit and made money in the United Kingdom. What Blige’s move suggests is that the legacy of artistic freedom is still very much alive in London.
(h/t Pigeons and Planes)
1994 was a big year for hip-hop. Nas dropped “Illmatic,” Biggie released “Ready to Die” and Outkast burst onto the scene with “Southernplayalistic.” But, two decades later, how do you judge that year’s best albums? Grantland’s Shea Serrano put together this handy matrix:
CeeLo Green decided to make a bad situation worse on Sunday when he took to Twitter to talk about his rape case. The singer pled no contest to supplying a woman with ecstacy; the victim claims that she doesn’t remember anything about her date with the singer except going out to dinner and then waking up naked in his bed. His lawyer insisted that the two had consensual sex, and rape charges weren’t filed due to lack of evidence.
But on Sunday night, the singer tried and failed to make his case with the public. His tweets:
If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent”.
“When someone brakes on a home there is broken glass where is your plausible proof that anyone was raped.”
He later apologized to his followers: “I sincerely apologize for my comments being taken so far out of context … I’d never condone the harm of any women.”
But the damage was done. The singer has since deleted his account.
Chris Walker at L.A. Weekly takes a look at Daddy Kev, a co-founder of Los Angeles’ popular Low End Theory. The party is a weekly that served a proving ground for acts like Flying Lotus, who’s signed to Kev’s Alpha Pup Records:
In a way, Low End is as much talent incubator as performance space. It has paid big dividends for Alpha Pup, whose roster includes noisemakers (literal and figurative) Nosaj Thing, Free the Robots, Dibiase, and Jonwayne.
…Kev himself is 40, and his “Daddy” nickname is fitting considering his reputation as a mentor, drawing upon his decades of experience navigating the industry. That has included a corporate stint at Sony, as well as running late 1990’s indie label Celestial. He admits he made some rookie mistakes. “On our first record advance, we blew through a cool ten grand at Guitar Center in a day, and then spent the rest on rent, weed, Pizza Hut, and a lot of beer. We had a keg going for about six months straight…which was awesome, but I learned from that.”
Although Carolina covers a myriad of topics -from Islamic Art exhibitions to video game documentaries- she is also playing a major role in helping put a spotlight on Latino and Latin American art. For example, in one of her first articles for [Los Angeles Times blog] ‘Culture: High & Low’ she discusses the work of photographer Ricardo Valverde, arguing that he should be considered “a critical part of the L.A. artistic canon.” In another article for the blog, Carolina writes about what the 9/11 museum can learn from two memorials in South America.
Read more and listen to the interview here.
Yuri Kochiyama, who recently passed away, inspired generations of activists, including a young Tupac Shakur. Hyphen Magazine has the story:
One of my favorite stories about Yuri is also about Tupac. In an event curated by the late Fred Ho in celebration of Diane Fujino’s 2005 book release of the biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama, Laura Whitehorn spoke of the activist harbor that was the Kochiyama house. Dubbed “Grand Central Station” or the “Revolutionary Salon,” this Harlem apartment and Kochiyama family residence was a hub for activists, artists, students and other community members for much of the last four decades of the 20th century. Whitehorn recalled a then 11-year-old Tupac Shakur speaking eloquently and passionately about the need to free political prisoners at a meeting in the Harlem State office building. This 11-year-old Tupac was, of course, not just talking about abstract historical figures, but members of his own family — his stepfather Mutulu Shakur, his godfather Geronimo Pratt, Sundiata Acoli, Sekou Odinga, and others.
Read more at Hyphen.
There are things to know about Oakland in the 1990s: the Ebonics debates, the crack-era violence, 2pac’s emergence, the Raiders’ homecoming. Souls of Mischief, one of the city’s stalwart hip-hop groups, made the classic “‘93 Till Infinity,” a song whose rhythm and cadence perfectly encapsulates the era. Now they’re back with a concept album called “There Is Only Now,” that looks back at the decade to make sense of the present.
It’s the group’s fifth studio album and boasts some of the decade’s most influential artists, including A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and 70’s legend William Hart of The Delfonics.
Tajai Massey, one of the group’s four members, told San Francisco Weekly that the new record is meant to celebrate the city’s head-scratching contradictions, which include high crime rates and some of the country’s most distinctive multicultural communities. “We’re not walking around saying we are from big bad Oakland,” he told Gary Moskowitz. “People condemn the violence, they make it too much of a topic, but it’s part of living here. It’s not a constant daily thing for us in the band, thankfully, but for some people here, it is. And dealing with violence is traumatic.”
The record was recorded over the course of three months in Los Angeles with producer Adrian Younge. You can stream it below.
For years, Benjamin Booker thought of himself as someone who did interviews, not someone who gave them. The 25-year-old Virginia native spent his college years in Florida training to become a journalist, performing occasionally and recording songs in his spare time. When an AmeriCorps job brought him out to New Orleans to work at a local non-profit, he knew his heart wasn’t in journalism, so he took it to the stage. “I was doing both,” he told Consequence of Sound about his first year in the Bayou. “Playing shows around town and working for the non-profit. I stayed there for a little bit, and then I went back to Florida and got Max [Norton] who plays drums and then brought him back to New Orleans.”
The storied home of black American jazz and blues became fertile ground for Booker to build a base. Now, on the heels of the release of his self-titled debut LP and after heightened buzz following a performance at Brooklyn’s AfroPunk festival, he’s got more fans than ever interested in the raspy voice and guitar riffs that have become his signature sound in detailing life in contemporary black America.
Like most good art, Booker’s album was influenced by pain. He’s got a history of addiction and mental illness in his family, he told VICE’s Kyle Kramer, which has undoubtedly left its mark on his songwriting:
Well, I first started writing the album when I was living with that girl that I was talking about who was like addicted—this was at the point where I had been like high for basically four years of my life like 24 hours a day and drinking and not taking care of myself. And she was worse than that. I have a history of schizophrenia in my family, and I was afraid that—I don’t know, that’s like the age that that stuff happens. II was afraid that I was like losing my mind because there was a couple of nights that I had some crazy visual hallucinations, and I wasn’t even—I thought I was insane. It was just like a getting my shit together time. Just like ‘I can’t be a kid anymore and getting fucked up all the time.’ And I guess also [I was] just ready to accept certain things about myself. My parents were super religious and conservative and not the type of people that you could go to and talk about things. So I think it’s just communicating the things that I hadn’t been able to say for my whole life. All the pent up things that you want talk about to people but you don’t know how to say it.
That girl, there’s a song called “I Thought I Heard You Screaming” on the record. This was around the time that I thought I was losing my mind, and I was like constantly worried about her all the time. And one night I was in my room, and I heard this blood-curdling scream, and I thought it was her. And I walked in, and she was fine. Like all the worrying manifested into this crazy hallucinating thing. That kind of stuff. Just, like, the people around me, there was so much happening. I was seeing this girl whose father had been murdered in a home invasion, and that was going on at the same time. It was just like a lot of shit happening. And I guess it was me just trying to make sense of that all happening.
You can also listen to a full album stream on NPR.
Around fourth grade, CeCe McDonald realized that she was trans. “There was this fierce little diva inside me and she wanted to be free,” McDonald recently told a crowd at the Gay-Straight Alliance Network’s (GSA) national gathering.
But that diva had to fight for her freedom.
McDonald detailed the intense bullying and harrassment that drove her away from the classroom. “I felt like I was robbed of my education by other people’s ignorance.”
She shared her story in order to bring attention to the need for more inclusive school settings for queer and transgender children. “We must keep stories like CeCe’s at the heart of our work in GSAs. We must keep working for justice. Commit your GSA to working against criminalization this school year,” wrote Mustafa Sullivan, director of national programs at GSA Network.
Last year, The Atlantic’s Nanette Fondas reported on the harsh reality facing LGBT students of color:
In one study, more than half of LGBT students who are African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and multiracial said they had been verbally harassed at school in the past year. Another reports nearly half (48 percent) of LGBT students of color experienced verbal harassment from both their sexual orientation and race or ethnicity, and 15 percent had been physically harassed or assaulted. The physical, emotional, and mental health impacts of a hostile climate at school easily encourage avoidance behavior, and students often skip class or stay home. This has deleterious effects on their school performance and college entrance prospects. Serious long term effects of harassment at school emerged in one study: 32 percent of transgender people who were physically assaulted at school reported a history of work in the underground economy, including drug dealing and sex work, compared with 14 percent who had not experienced violence at school. In a different survey, a staggering 51 percent of LGBT people who reported being harassed or bullied at school also said they had attempted suicide.
Because black women make great accessories for folks basking in too much white privilege, Lifetime has announced a new show called “Girlfriend Intervention.” From the looks of it, the show — featuring four stereotypically “strong” black women (Tracy Balan on beauty, Nikki Chu on “home and sanctuary,” Tiffiny Dixon on fashion and reality star Tanisha Thomas) — will bring out the “girlfriend” in timid white women.
From NPR’s Monkey See:
Like so much of makeover television, this is shaming dressed up as encouragement (they actually call the segment where the makeover candidate shows them how she currently dresses the “catwalk of shame”). It’s conformity dressed up as individuality, and it’s submission to the expectations of others dressed up as self-confidence.
Only now, with obnoxious racial politics slathered all over the entire thing!
It is not like those politics need to be introduced by the viewer, either: They are the premise of the show, and they are repeated over and over. Black women, we are told in so many words, are unerringly confident, gorgeous, stylish, unflappable, and — ah, yes — better at pleasing men, especially black men.
The show’s already one episode in and the reviews are terrible. Take this scathing piece from TV columnist Brian Lowry at Variety: “Loud, brash and filled with stereotypes, it’s hard to know what’s most irritating — the sweeping declarations about black women as if they were monolithic, or the forced remodeling of women who are perfectly comfortable with their looks and style, after subjecting them to a ‘Catwalk of Shame.’ If indeed there’s cause for shame here, the producers should start with a mirror.”