Colorlines

Hari Kondabolu Knows How to Fix the Most Racist Team Name in the NFL

Hari Kondabolu Knows How to Fix the Most Racist Team Name in the NFL Play

Funny man Hari Kondabolu took on the R-word controversy with a new satirical video. He swaps out the logo of Washington, D.C.’s pro football team from an indigenous man’s head to a severely burned white person. Kondabolu even asked for submissions from the internet and posted them on Tumblr. In an email, he told Colorlines: “My logic is that if human decency won’t lead to them to changing it, then perhaps some creative public mockery will, at least, devalue the brand!”

Premiere: Alsarah & The Nubatones on ‘Songs of Return’

Premiere: Alsarah & The Nubatones on 'Songs of Return' Play

Sudanese-born, Brooklyn-based singer Alsarah and her band The Nubatones have already gained a good amount of critical acclaim in the United States. Alsarah’s previous album “Aljawal” with French producer Débruit earned a spot on NPR’s list of 10 Favorite World Music Albums of 2013 with a sound that’s been described as “East African retro pop.“ 

But it’s impossible to talk about East African music without touching on the violence that’s torn the region apart for decades. Earlier this year, Alsarah & The Nubatones released ”Silt,” an album has its musical roots in the Nubian “Songs of Return” after mass displacement and resettlement due to political conflicts and flooding. Now, they’re releasing “Silt Remixed” on October 21. Here’s the world debut of the video for the track “Habibi Taal.” 

In an email to Colorlines, Alsarah had this to say about the new version of the song:

This is a traditional song from Central Sudan that is a part of the women’s musical tradition, Aghani Albanat, performed at weddings and other social gatherings. Traditionally these songs are written and performed by women and are one of the few spaces that allow women to publicly express their feelings towards a romantic interest. And so, they have a tendency to be very simple flirty love songs with the sole purpose of making you dance. I think its very important to honor the simplicity of these lyrics and these songs because they express an important section of Sudanese society that is often ignored by practitioners of ‘high brow art’ (which tends to be arab, male, and muslim-centered) deeming it artistically lacking.

The release is out on October 21 and will be available for purchase on Bandcamp.

Translation of the lyrics:

My love come lets be one
so long as love has mixed in with the blood,
where is the fault, how could they blame me
oh my love
my love is like mangos and apples,
my love is honey, all else are bland
my love is honey, all else are bland
I would migrate just to be with you
oh my love
I will wait for you by the sea
where the birds have migrated and traveled to
that place where the birds have migrated and traveled to
are you from here, or from Saturn
oh my love
my love come lets quench our longing
and live up high in the sky-towers of london
lets live up high in the sky-towers of london
for the sake of love and decorum
oh my love
I’ll wait for you on Elgash road
my love is gold, the others are copper
my love is gold, the others are copper
love should be like this or not at all
love should be like this or not at all
love should be like this or not at all
love should be like this or not at all

Misty Upham’s Family Says Cops Taunted Actress About Mental Illness

Misty Upham's Family Says Cops Taunted Actress About Mental Illness

It’s been less than a week since Misty Upham’s body was found at the bottom of a steep cliff in Washington state. The 32-year-old actress, who was Native American and a member of the Blackfeet Nation, was known for her recent roles in popular films like “August: Osage County” and “Django Unchained,” but also made her mark in memorable performances in “Frozen River” and “Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian.”

Upham’s family reported her missing on October 6 and at first feared that she had committed suicide after a change in her medication for anxiety and bipolar disorder. After her body was found on October 16 by a search party made up of family and friends, those closest to the actress said publicly that they believe that she died accidently while trying to hide from police, who didn’t do enough when alerted that she was missing and was possibly in danger due to her illness. According to them, she had good reason to hide. In a statement posted on Facebook last Friday, family members recounted disturbing details about a previous run-in with local cops:

Misty was afraid of the Auburn PD officiers [sic] with good reason. In an incident prior to her disappearance, the Auburn PD came to pick up Misty on an involuntary transport to the ER. She was cuffed and placed in a police car. Some of the officiers [sic] began to taunt and tease her while she was in the car. Because it was dark they couldn’t see that we, her family, were outside our apartment just across the street witnessing this behavior. They were tapping on the window making faces at her. Misty was crying and she told them
you can’t treat me like this I’m a movie actress and I will use my connections to expose you. Then another officer walked up to her asked “are you a movie star?, then why don’t complain to George Clooney!” After Misty arrived at the ER we went to see her and she has a swollen jaw, black eye and scratches and bruises on her shoulder. I asked the ER staff what happened and they said Misty was brought in like that. Misty said she couldn’t remember what happened but thats why she feared the police.

Family friend and spokesperson Tracy Rector told the Washington Post that tension has been especially high between local police officers and Native Americans near where Upham’s body was found, on tribal land near Aubrun, Washington that’s interspersed with areas under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

“The family pleaded for the police department to look for her; they pleaded for dogs,” Rector said in an interview with The Post on Friday. Long-standing tensions between police and Native Americans on the Muckleshoot Reservation might have played a role, Rector said.

“Unfortunately, it feels like 1950′s racism in many ways,” said Rector, a Seattle-based filmmaker. “The family is concerned that Misty was considered just another Native person and treated as such. Even that is unacceptable. Native lives matter. It doesn’t matter what her skin color was.”

It’s a shocking and mysterious end to a remarkable young life. Just after her critically acclaimed  performance alongside Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County” earned her a Screen Actor’s Guild Award Nomination, Upham wrote about the day she got the role that would change her life in an essay for The Daily Beast.

At the time when I received that life-changing phone call, I was paying my bills as a housecleaner…That’s what I hoped to convey when I landed the role of Johnna in August: Osage County, a young Native American woman who answers an ad for a housekeeper and caregiver for Violet Weston, a troubled matriarch played by Meryl Streep. I wanted to bring the humanity and dignity of this woman to the big screen.

In the interview below, Upham talks about being on set of the film and getting to “believe in the magic.”

Her family has set up a crowdsourcing page to help raise funds for her memorial. 

‘Dear White People’ Courts Younger Audience, Has Big Box Office Weekend

'Dear White People' Courts Younger Audience, Has Big Box Office Weekend

“Dear White People” grossed $344,136 at the box office this weekend. Amid all the chatter about the film’s national debut at 11 theaters around the country, there’s this interesting tidbit from Indiewire:

“We created an event with ‘Dear White People’ via continuous social media engagement, complemented with traditional PR and college outreach that attracted a young and diverse audience to theaters,” Roadside’s Howard Cohen said. “Exit polls showed 77% of the audience was in the 21 to 39 age range, with 29% between the ages of 21 to 24 — younger than the typical specialty-film audience.”

The film is based on the experience of college students and has a plot that’s literally ripped from any number of race-fueled campus headlines in recent years, so the fact that it attracted younger viewers is no surprise. It expands to 350 theaters in the top 75 markets on October 24th. Stay tuned for more. 

(h/t Indiewire)

Watch ‘Dear White People’ Director Justin Simien on Colbert

Justin Simien, the director of “Dear White People,” stopped by to chat with Stephen Colbert this week to talk about his debut film, which is in theaters nationwide this month. It’s a fun segment — Simien talks about the premise of his film and is noticeably unimpressed by Colbert’s black friends.

Erykah Badu Performs in Times Square, Earns Less than $4

Erykah Badu Performs in Times Square, Earns Less than $4 Play

Erykah Badu, who’s known for doing silly things in public, performed incognito last Friday in Times Square. It wasn’t quite silly, according to the artist. “I kinda always wanted to see what it would be like to sing for money on the streets,” she said in the self-made iPhone video.

She wound up taking home $3.40. New York City just ain’t right.

‘Kalinda’ Has the Best Possible Reason for Leaving ‘The Good Wife’

'Kalinda' Has the Best Possible Reason for Leaving 'The Good Wife'

Archie Panjabi, the actress who plays the gun-toting, ass-kicking investigator Kalinda Sharma in the CBS drama “The Good Wife,” has signed on to headline a new pilot with 20th Century Fox TV. From Deadline:

Panjabi had been thinking about moving on from the show for a while. “Archie is an amazing actress who helped build Kalinda from the ground up as an enigmatic, powerful, and sexy character,” The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King said in a statement. “It’s been a pleasure to write for her, and we’ll be sad to see her go; but we still have her for the rest of Season 6, so let’s not exhaust our good-byes yet. We look forward to meeting all the wonderful new characters Archie brings to the screen. But either way, we’re keeping the boots.”

Panjabi won a 2010 Emmy for her role on the show, becoming one of the most recognizable actress of South Asian descent in Hollywood. The new pilot is tentatively set for the spring or fall of 2015.

Actress Elizabeth Peña’s Nephew: ‘She Was Our Star’

Actress Elizabeth Peña's Nephew: 'She Was Our Star'

Elizabeth Peña, the Cuban-American actress who starred in several treasured films and on the hit show “Modern Family,” died on Wednesday in Los Angeles of natural causes. She was only 55 years old.

Before “Modern Family,” Peña was known for her memorable roles in “La Bamba,” “Tortilla Soup,” and as a voice actress in “The Incredibles.” In a moving memorial at Latino Review, Peña’s nephew, the writer and director Mario-Francisco Robles, remembered his aunt’s accomplishments:

I didn’t call her Elizabeth, or Liz, or Leechy. She wasn’t Aunt, Auntie, Tia, or Titi. To me…she was Ñaña. That was the name I assigned my aunt when I was just a baby, and it’s the name I continued to refer to her as when I visited her in Los Angeles last week. She was our star. She was my star. We celebrated her triumphs. We sweated through her struggles. As a family, even when we didn’t always talk, we would all do whatever we could for one another. When I got married 3 years ago, despite their being some logistical hurdles, she flew herself, her husband, and both her kids to attend my special night in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Dancing with her, my uncle, and my cousins under the stars that night is a memory I’ve always cherished, and it’s now one that I’ll have to hold onto for the rest of my life.

My Ñaña is gone. 

Read more at Latino Review

 

Watch Michelle Obama Turn Up for Turnips

Watch Michelle Obama Turn Up for Turnips Play

This Vine is by far the most hilarious thing Michelle Obama’s ever done to push her campaign against childhood obesity. Watch and laugh!

Here’s What to Read for in the National Book Awards

Here's What to Read for in the National Book Awards

The finalists for this year’s National Book Awards were announced Wednesday morning and a handful of writers of color — and books about issues important to communities of color — made the list. Here are six to watch out for, running the gamut from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and young-adult literature.

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In fiction, Rabih Alameddine’s “An Unnecessary Woman” follows protagonist Aaliya Sohbi who lives in Beirut and is caught in a mid-life crisis. She’s unconventional — no husband, no kids and not particularly aligned with any religion — but she’s haunted by memories of the Lebanese Civil War. Author Alameddine, is a Lebanese-American writer who was born in Jordan and migrated to California in his teens. 

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America is rife with war stories from Afghanistan, but reporter Anand Gopal’s debut book, “No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes,” provides an intimate account of the conflict from the Afghani perspective. Gopal previously served as an Afghanistan correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor and is currently a fellow at the New America Foundation. 


poetry_rankine_citizen_f.jpgIn “Citizen: An American Lyric,” Jamaica-born poet Claudia Rankine recounts everyday microaggressions to document the stress of being black in America. Rankine is currently an English professor at Pomona College and she’s previously won fellowships from the Academy of American Poetry and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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In his latest collection of poetry, Fred Moten tries to umpack the the musicality of James Brown and William Parker. Currently a professor of English at the University of California at Riverside, Moten is also the co-founder of a small press called Three Count Pour.

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Steve Sheinkin’s “The Port Chiago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights” revisits the 1944 case of 244 mostly black sailors who protested unsafe working conditions and the 50 who were later charged with mutiny. The men had good reason to take a stand: On July 17 of that year, more than 300 sailors at the segregated Navy base of Port Chicago, California, were killed in a massive explosion. 

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With “Brown Girl Dreaming,” a series of childhood poems, author Jacqueline Woodson offers up a searing take on growing up in South Carolina in the 1960s and 70s. Woodson has also won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults and the Coretta Scott King Award. She lives in Brooklyn.

The awards will be announced on November 19 in New York City. You can also listen to NPR’s announcement of the finalists here:

NFL Player Arian Foster Wears T-Shirt to Support Mike Brown

NFL Player Arian Foster Wears T-Shirt to Support Mike Brown

Houston running back Arian Foster decided to make a statement before Thursday night’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. During pre-game warm-ups, Foster wore a T-shirt that read “Stand Strong St. Louis” on the front and “RIP Mike Brown” on the back. 

It was one of the few on-field statements made by NFL players in the aftermath of Brown’s killing and protests in Ferguson. During the NFL’s pre-season, members of Washington, D.C.’s NFL team made the “hands up” gesture that’s become synonymous with protests in the St. Louis suburb. 

Cornel West Explains Why He Won’t Stop Criticism of Obama

In the latest public discussion as part of her scholar-in-residence series at The New School, bell hooks talked with Cornel West about what it means to be what she called a “dissident intellectual.” At about the 46:11 mark, West says, “When I called [Obama] a black puppet of Wall Street oligarchs, they didn’t accent ‘Wall Street oligarchs,’ they just talked about the puppetry.”

Watch Laverne Cox and bell hooks Talk About Feminism and Pop Culture

Watch Laverne Cox and bell hooks Talk About Feminism and Pop Culture Play

Feminist theorist bell hooks is back at The New School for another week-long residency that includes public discussions with high-profile folks of color. On Tuesday, she sat down with actress Laverne Cox for a wide-ranging conversation about feminism, pop culture and Cox’s hit series, “Orange is the New Black.”

Watch Will.i.am, Questlove in Jimmy Fallon’s Teeny Bopper Spoof

Watch Will.i.am, Questlove in Jimmy Fallon's Teeny Bopper Spoof Play

Jimmy Fallon just keeps winning. In a new installment of his popular segment “Ew,” in which he pokes fun at teeny bobber culture, Will.i.am joins in on the fun. 

You may remember Michelle Obama’s guest appearance from earlier this year. Another classic:

TV on the Radio Gets Fans Excited About New Album

TV on the Radio is getting ready to drop a new album later this fall, and this week the band released a couple of new videos for the tracks “Happy Idiot” and “Careful You.” The new album is called “Seeds” and will be out on November 18. It’s their first project since their bassist/producer Gerard Smith passed away in April of 2011. And it’ll be their first since singer Tunde Adebimpe confirmed the band had left Interscope (their label since 2006’s “Return to Cookie Mountain”), according to Pitchfork.

“Happy Idiot”

“Careful You”

Childish Gambino Sends Fans on Scavenger Hunt to Uncover Secret Track

Childish Gambino is known for using the Internet in unconventional ways. He rose form being an actor and comedian to a well-known rapper largely thanks to a few well-recieved mixtapes, but from there it gets pretty experimental. Last year he dropped a film that played in a continuous loop on Ustream months before releasing his second studio album, “Because the Internet.” In an interview, he said that motivation for the album came from the fact that “now that we have the internet it’s easier to [communicate] than ever before, but it’s also leaving us really lost and afraid.” 

So last Friday, when Gambino released a new project called “STN MTN/Kauai” without any real warning, fans were thrilled.

The first half of the project is a free mixtape named after his hometown in Georgia. The second part is available on iTunes. But he also left it up to fans to find a secret track, a remix of his song “3005.”

The version of the song on “STN MTN/Kauai” was largely instrumental, but fans later learned that the vocals were hidden in Gambino’s becausetheinter.net original screenplay, buried within the coding on the page. Long story short, one Reddit user did the work of untangling the mystery. Here’s the finished product: 

Watch: Flash Mob Demands Justice for Mike Brown During St. Louis Symphony

Watch: Flash Mob Demands Justice for Mike Brown During St. Louis Symphony Play

Fans of the St. Louis Symphony got quite a surprise over the weekend when a flash mob interrupted a performance on Saturday to demand justice for Mike Brown, the 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in nearby Ferguson on August 9.

Just as the conductor took the stage after intermission, a middle-aged black man sang, “What side are you on, friend; what side are you on?”

The St. Louis American, the city’s African-American newspaper, captured the scene on video: 

Acts of civil disobedience have continued in the St. Louis area, with local and national organizers planning several weeks of resistance through a project called Ferguson October

Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar Explore Death in New Video

Flying Lotus’ new album “You’re Dead!” comes out next week on October 7. This week, he dropped the video for his song “Never Catch Me” with Kendrick Lamar, which chronicles the gripping tale of a young black boy and girl who emerge from their caskets and dance away from their own funeral. It’s dark, but eerily hopeful. Watch. 

In an interview with Pitchfork, Flying Lotus talks about how his preoccupation with the afterlife informed his latest project.

With this album, I was trying to come in at that moment and navigate the different thoughts that might go through your mind. Maybe being in disbelief that you died. Maybe having regrets about things that you’d done in the past. Maybe finding comfort in dying and coming to grips with the fact that we never die—that’s the overall message in the end. 

Read more.

(h/t Pitchfork via The Fader)

Andre 3000 Talks Jimi Hendrix on Letterman

Andre “3000” Benjamin paid a visit to David Letterman this week to talk about his starring role in the Jimi Hendrix biopic “All is By My Side.” The rapper/actor admitted to doubting himself during filming. “Who plays Hendrix?” he asks Letterman. But by most accounts, Benjamin did a superb job in the role. 

(h/t Okayplayer)

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Griselda Blanco? It’s Happening

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Griselda Blanco? It's Happening

Catherine Zeta-Jones has been cast as Griselda Blanco in “The Godmother,” an upcoming biopic on the life and death of the Colombian*-born drug queen, according to Deadline. News of Jones’ casting has kicked discussions about brownface into high gear, with many observers wondering aloud about why a Latina actress wasn’t chosen for the role instead.

“I’m sorry but what part of this casting makes any kind of sense? Come on Hollywood. AreThere NO LATIN actresses???” actress Yolanda Ross tweeted in reaction to the news.

Soraya Nadia McDonald sifts through the controversy over at the Washington Post, writing:

Casting isn’t just a problem with biopics. Plenty of people were angered when Rooney Mara was cast as Tiger Lily in the new Warner Bros. “Peter Pan” remake — more than 23,000 signed a petition telling studios to stop casting white actors in parts written for people of color. In 2013, Johnny Depp in redface as Tonto in “The Lone Ranger” elicited a similar reaction. And earlier this year, Comedy Girls Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia playfully asked “Saturday Night Live” showrunner Lorne Michaels to hire a Latina or two instead of subjecting viewers to castmembers in brownface.

What’s more, according to McDonald, is that there are plenty of Latina actresses in Hollywood who could have been better fits for the project:

Zeta-Jones is called upon to be Colombian when there are more visible Latina actresses working in Hollywood than ever — thanks in no small part to executive producers such as Eva Longoria and Salma Hayek. Hayek was responsible for bringing “Ugly Betty,” the show based on the Colombian telanovela “Yo soy Betty, la fea,” to network television. And Longoria has really taken charge with her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.

Read more at the Washington Post

 

*Post has been updated since publication to change the incorrect spelling, Columbian

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