Colorlines

New Las Cafeteras Video ‘Mujer Soy’ Celebrates Everyday Struggles

East LA band Las Cafeteras just released a new video for the song “Mujer Soy” and it’s a pretty incredible homage to the everyday work and worth of women:

Here’s more from Remezcla

The video made by Elefante Collective features the dance remix collaboration with Yukicito, member of Los Angeles DJ Crew La Junta Sound System. The song carries consistent melodic hymns combined with the traditional folk sounds of flute and jarana. We asked the female members of the group, Leah Rose Gallegos, Annette Torres, and Denise Carlos about how the song came about. Denise said, “I introduced the words and stories to Leah and Annette during a “mujeres music” session we had at my home a few years back. They loved the idea of singing for and about womyn and the three of us created the melodies of the song, which we then presented to the other members of Las Cafeteras.” The end result of “Mujer Soy” is an homage to their fellow sisters and each other.

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5 Things We Know About Kendrick Lamar’s New Album

5 Things We Know About Kendrick Lamar's New Album

Kendrick Lamar released the cover art and album title for his new project, due out March 24. Here’s what we know about it so far:

1. It’s called “To Pimp a Butterfly. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he stopped short of explaining the meaning, but did say this: “That will be taught in college courses someday.”

2. It’s “unapologetically black,” according to Pharrell, who listened to the track “King Kunta.”

3. He’s angry. In the interview with Rolling Stone (due out on newstands this Friday), the rapper opened up about grappling with depression and self-doubt after the success of 2012’s smash hit “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” Those emotions are a driving force behind the new album. “It’s just him expressing how he’s feeling at the moment,” producer Mark “Sounwave” Spears told Rolling Stone. “And right now, he’s mad.”

4. He gave his sound engineers really emotive directions.He would say, ‘I want it to sound eerie,’ or ‘I want it to sound like you’re driving past something.’ Or he talks in colors: ‘Make it sound purple. Make it sound light green,’” Derek “MixedByAli” Ali told the magazine.

5. The song “u” was the hardest one to write. Lamar describes the track as a counterpoint to the self-love anthem “i,” and details how the song tackles his struggle with depression.

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Empire Star Jussie Smollett: ‘There’s Never Been a Closet That I’ve Been In’

Empire Star Jussie Smollett: 'There's Never Been a Closet That I've Been In'

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett plays one of the most compelling characters on television. He stars as Jamal Lyon, the immensely talented gay son of hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon. But Smollett, who has signed a real-life artist deal with Columbia Records, proves that art can sometimes imitate life. 

During a recent appearance on “Ellen,” Smollett put to rest rumors about his sexuality and came out publicly. “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in,” he told Ellen DeGeneres backstage, according to Entertainment Tonight Online

“So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life,” he continued. “But there is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear. But it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at.”

Read more.

 

TAGS: Empire LGBT

This Afro-Feminist Coloring Book Will Inspire You

This Afro-Feminist Coloring Book Will Inspire You

Whether you’re looking to make a political statement of connect with your inner child, this “afro-feminst coloring book” from artist Makeda Lewis just might make your day. Here’s how Trina Young at Blavity described it:

Titled Avies Dreams, the book’s description reads, “The images in this book are illustrations of dreams had by a girl named Avie after she saw the world for what it was and was subsequently institutionalized due to her lack of motivation for living conventionally. These pages explore themes including feminism, afrocentricity, death and rebirth, gender identity and power dynamics.”

Read more at Blavity.

Some of Your Favorite Writers of Color Earn Lambda Literary Award Nominations

Some of Your Favorite Writers of Color Earn Lambda Literary Award Nominations

The finalists for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards were announced this week and some Colorlines favorites made the list. The awards celebrate literature for, by and about the LGBT community and this year’s nominees include MSNBC’s Janet Mock, BuzzFeed’s Saeed Jones, New York Times Columnist Charles Blow and many more. The awards ceremony will take place on June 1, 2015 in New York City. Check out the full list of nominees below.

BISEXUAL FICTION

Best Bi Short Stories: Bisexual Fiction, Sheela Lambert, editor, Gressive Press, an imprint of Circlet Press
Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin, Ron J. Suresha, Lethe Press
Finder of Lost Objects, Susie Hara, Ithuriel’s Spear
Give It to Me, Ana Castillo, The Feminist Press
She of the Mountains, Vivek Shraya, Arsenal Pulp Press

BISEXUAL NONFICTION

Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Charles M. Blow, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming, HarperCollins Publishers/Dey Street Books
Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men, Robyn Ochs & H. Sharif Williams, editors, Bisexual Resource Center

GAY EROTICA

Bears of Winter, Jerry Wheeler, Bear Bones Books
Incubus Tales, Hushicho, Circlet Press
The King, Tiffany Reisz, MIRA Books
Leather Spirit Stallion, Raven Kaldera, Circlet Press
The Thief Taker, William Holden, Bold Strokes Books

GAY GENERAL FICTION

All I Love and Know, Judith Frank, HarperCollins/William Morrow
Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas, Hogarth
Bitter Eden: A Novel, Tatamkhulu Afrika, Macmillan/Picador USA
The City of Palaces, Michael Nava, University of Wisconsin Press
I Loved You More, Tom Spanbauer, Hawthorne Books
Little Reef and Other Stories, Michael Carroll, Terrace Books, an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press
Next to Nothing: Stories, Keith Banner, Lethe Press
Souljah, John R Gordon, Angelica Entertainments Ltd/Team Angelica Publishing

GAY MEMOIR/BIOGRAPHY

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, Sean Strub, Scribner
Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance, Brent Phillips, University Press of Kentucky
Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army, Rob Smith, Blue Beacon Books by Regal Crest
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, Edmund White, Bloomsbury
Letter to Jimmy, Alain Mabanckou, translated by Sara Meli Ansari, Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press
The Prince of Los Cocuyos, Richard Blanco, HarperCollins/Ecco
Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, John Lahr, W. W. Norton & Company
Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe, Philip Gefter, W. W. Norton & Company/Liveright

GAY MYSTERY

Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery, Katie Gilmartin, Cleis Press
Boystown 6: From the Ashes, Marshall Thornton, MLR
Calvin’s Head, David Swatling, Bold Strokes Books
DeadFall, David Lennon, BlueSpike Publishing
Fair Game, Josh Lanyon, Carina Press
A Gathering Storm, Jameson Currier, Chelsea Station Editions
Moon Over Tangier, Janice Law, Open Road Media
The Next, Rafe Haze, Wilde City Press

GAY POETRY

[insert] boy, Danez Smith, YesYes Books
Clean, David J. Daniels, Four Way Books
Don’t Go Back To Sleep, Timothy Liu, Saturnalia Books
ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness, CAConrad, Wave Books
The New Testament, Jericho Brown, Copper Canyon Press
Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones, Coffee House Press
This Life Now, Michael Broder, A Midsummer Night’s Press
This Way to the Sugar, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Write Bloody Publishing

GAY ROMANCE

The Companion, Lloyd A. Meeker, Dreamspinner Press
Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Four Tales of M/M Romance, Barry Lowe, Lydian Press
Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction, Timothy Lambert and R.D. Cochrane, Cleis Press
Like They Always Been Free, Georgina Li, Queer Young Cowboys
Message of Love, Jim Provenzano, Myrmidude Press/CreateSpace
The Passion of Sergius & Bacchus, A Novel of Truth, David Reddish, DoorQ Publishing
Pulling Leather, L.C. Chase, Riptide Publishing
Salvation: A Novel of the Civil War, Jeff Mann, Bear Bones Books

LESBIAN EROTICA

All You Can Eat. A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance, Andi Marquette and R.G. Emanuelle, Ylva Publishing
Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire, Cheyenne Blue, Ladylit Publishing
Lesbian Sex Bible, Diana Cage, Quiver Books

LESBIAN GENERAL FICTION

Adult Onset, Ann-Marie Macdonald, Tin House Books
Last Words of Montmartre, Qiu Miaojin, Translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich, New York Review Books
Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, Francine Prose, Harper Collins/Harper
Miracle Girls, MB Caschetta, Engine Books
New York 1, Tel Aviv 0, Shelly Oria, FSG Originals / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Palace Blues, Brandy T. Wilson, Spinsters Ink
The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters, Riverhead Books, Penguin Random House
Yabo, Alexis De Veaux, RedBone Press

LESBIAN MEMOIR/BIOGRAPHY

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks, with Barbara Smith, SUNY Press
Cease - a memoir of love, loss and desire, Lynette Loeppky, Oolichan Books
Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger, Kelly Cogswell, The University of Minnesota Press
The End of Eve, Ariel Gore, Hawthorne Books
Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America, Terry Mutchler, Seal Press

LESBIAN MYSTERY

The Acquittal, Anne Laughlin, Bold Strokes Books
Done to Death, Charles Atkins, Severn House Publishers
The Old Deep and Dark-A Jane Lawless Mystery, Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books
Slash and Burn, Valerie Bronwen, Bold Strokes Books
UnCatholic Conduct, Stevie Mikayne, Bold Strokes Books

LESBIAN POETRY

Haiti Glass, Lenelle Moïse, City Lights/Sister Spit
Janey’s Arcadia, Rachel Zolf, Coach House Books
Last Psalm at Sea Level, Meg Day, Barrow Street Press
Like a Begger, Ellen Bass, Copper Canyon Press
MxT, Sina Queyras, Coach House Books
Mysterious Acts by My People, Valerie Wetlaufer, Sibling Rivalry Press
Only Ride, Megan Volpert, Sibling Rivalry Press
Termination Dust, Susanna Mishler, Red Hen Press/Boreal

LESBIAN ROMANCE

Christmas Crush, Kate McLachlan, Regal Crest
The Farmer’s Daughter, Robbi McCoy, Bella Books
The Heat of Angels, Lisa Girolami, Bold Strokes Books
Jolt, Kris Bryant, Bold Strokes Books
Nightingale, Andrea Bramhall, Bold Strokes Books
Seneca Falls, Jesse J. Thoma, Bold Strokes Books
Tangled Roots, Marianne K. Martin, Bywater Books
That Certain Something, Clare Ashton, Breezy Tree Press

LGBT ANTHOLOGY

Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call, Charles Stephens and Steven G. Fullwood, Vintage Entity Press
A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships, Bruce Gillespie, TouchWood Editions
Outer Voices Inner Lives, Mark McNease and Stephen Dolainski, editors, MadeMark Publishing
The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South, Douglas Ray, editor, Sibling Rivalry Press
Understanding and Teaching US Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, Leila J. Rupp & Susan K. Freeman, University of Wisconsin Press

LGBT CHILDREN’S/YOUNG ADULT

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Susan Kuklin, Candlewick Press
Double Exposure, Bridget Birdsall, Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing
Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, Tim Federle, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before, Karelia Stetz-Waters, Ooligan Press
Lies We Tell Ourselves, Robin Talley, Harlequin Teen
Pukawiss the Outcast, Jay Jordan Hawke, Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press
This is Not a Love Story, Suki Fleet, Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press
When Everything Feels like the Movies, Raziel Reid, Arsenal Pulp Press

LGBT DEBUT

Death in Venice, California, Vinton Rafe McCabe, The Permanent Press
Kill Marguerite and Other Stories, Megan Milks, Emergency Press
A Map of Everything, Elizabeth Earley, Jaded Ibis Press
The Music Teacher, Bob Sennett, Lethe Press
Nochita, Dia Felix, City Lights/Sister Spit
Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea, Dan Lopez, Chelsea Station Editions
Unaccompanied Minors, Alden Jones, New American Press
The Walk-In Closet, Abdi Nazemian, Curtis Brown Unlimited

LGBT DRAMA

The Beast of Times, Adelina Anthony, Kórima Press
Bootycandy, Robert O’Hara, Samuel French
A Kid Like Jake, Daniel Pearle, Dramatists Play Service
The Whale, Samuel D. Hunter, Samuel French
Wolves, Steve Yockey, Samuel French

LGBT GRAPHIC NOVELS

100 Crushes, Elisha Lim, Koyama Press
Band Vs. Band Comix Volume 1, Kathleen Jacques, Paper Heart Comix
Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag, A.K. Summers, Soft Skull, an imprint of Counterpoint
Second Avenue Caper, Joyce Brabner; Art by Mark Zingarelli, Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Snackies, Nick Sumida, Youth in Decline

LGBT NONFICTION

An American Queer: The Amazon Trail, Lee Lynch, Bold Strokes Books
Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS, Martin Duberman, The New Press
The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality, Julie Sondra Decker, Skyhorse Publishing/Carrel Books
Nevirapine and the Quest to End Pediatric AIDS, Rebecca J. Anderson, McFarland
Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor, Hilton Als, Ann Temkin, Claudia Carson, Robert Gober, Paulina Pobocha, Christian Scheidemann, The Museum of Modern Art
Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange, How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos, Robert Hofler, It Books/HarperCollins
The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future, Aaron H Devor, University of Victoria Libraries
The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-Two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar, June 24, 1973, Clayton Delery-Edwards, McFarland

LGBT SF/F/HORROR

Afterparty, Daryl Gregory, Tor Books
Bitter Waters, Chaz Brenchley, Lethe Press
Butcher’s Road, Lee Thomas, Lethe Press
Child of a Hidden Sea, A. M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone, Tor Books
FutureDyke, Lea Daley, Bella Books
Skin Deep Magic, Craig Laurance Gidney, Rebel Satori Press

LGBT STUDIES

After Love: Queer Intimacy and Erotic Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba, Noelle M. Stout, Duke University Press
Charity & Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America, Rachel Hope Cleves, Oxford University Press
Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture, Vincent Woodard, Ed. Justin A. Joyce and Dwight McBride, New York University Press
Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela, Marcia Ochoa, Duke University Press
The Queerness of Native American Literature, Lisa Tatonetti, The University of Minnesota Press
Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings, Juana Maria Rodriguez, New York University Press
The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, Susan S. Lanser, University of Chicago Press
Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene, Bobby Benedicto, University of Minnesota Press

TRANSGENDER FICTION

Everything Must Go, La JohnJoseph, ITNA PRESS
For Today I Am a Boy, Kim Fu, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Moving Forward Sideways like a Crab, Shani Mootoo, Doubleday Canada
Revolutionary: A Novel, Alex Myers, Simon and Schuster
A Safe Girl To Love, Casey Plett, Topside Press
Transgender Non-Fiction

Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man, Thomas Page McBee, City Lights/Sister Spit
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More, Janet Mock, Atria Books
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community, Laura Erickson-Schroth, Oxford University Press

Taraji P. Henson’s Big Year Just Keeps Getting Better

Taraji P. Henson's Big Year Just Keeps Getting Better

Not only is she the star of this season’s smash FOX hit “Empire,” now Taraji P. Henson has been named the 2015 American Black Film Festival Celebrity Ambassador. Here’s more from Shadow and Act:

The Oscar-nominated actress will wear a different hat later this year, as the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced today that Ms. Henson will be the 2015 celebrity ambassador, for what will be its 19th edition, set for June 11-14, 2015, in New York City at the New York Hilton, AMC Empire 25 and the historic Ziegfeld Theater. 

“I want to thank Jeff Friday and everyone at ABFF for the honor of serving as your 2015 Ambassador. It is a privilege to join my fellow filmmakers to celebrate and support Black artists and the artistry that resides in all of us,” Henson told the media.

Read more

Janet Mock to Anna Holmes: ‘I Am Completely In Tune With Myself’

In the second installment of Fusion’s “Self Evidence” series, Anna Holmes talks with Janet Mock about the incredible journey she’s had since coming out in “Marie Claire” back in 2011.

“So much of my journey, specifically growing up as this young trans girl, was about fighting other people’s expectations of how they expected me to kind of be or to perform gender or to perform self,” she tells Holmes. “I knew that that was the first step in being able to free myself from, I think, a self imposed silence that I put on. Once I stopped being silent I don’t think it’s a surprise that I was able to free myself, right? Be more authentic. And tap into, as Oprah would say, my inner greatness.”

(h/t Fusion)

New Nina Simone Film Will Be Available on Netflix This Summer

Mark your calendars.

The highly anticipated new documentary on Nina Simone called “What Happened, Miss Simone” will be available on Netflix starting on June 26.

The film (which, no, is not the controversial one starring Zoe Saldana) made its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Made by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, it charts how deeply interwoven her politics were with her music. Here’s a look at the trailer:

(h/t Shadow and Act)

ICYMI: Watch This Adorable Little Girl Recite Maya Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Woman’

Black History Month may be over, but we try to celebrate black folks each and every day.

(h/t Makers)

Michelle Rodriguez Defends Her ‘Stop Stealing White People’s Superheroes’ Comment

On Friday, actress Michelle Rodriguez broke a lot of people’s hearts when she shot down rumors of a starring role in the “Green Lantern” franchise. In response to a TMZ reporter’s question about diversity in Hollywood, Rodriguez said: “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard, I think it’s so stupid because of this whole minorities in Hollywood thing. It’s so stupid. Stop stealing all the white people’s superheroes. Make up your own. What’s up with that?”

Over the weekend Rodriguez clarified her comments. “I stuck my foot in my mouth once again,” she laughed at the camera. “Instead of trying to turn a girl character into a guy, or instead of trying to turn a white character into a black character of Latin character, I think that people should stop being lazy and people should actually make an effort in Hollywood to develop their own mythology.”

Oakland’s Answer to Hipster Fixies: Scraper Bikes

Meet Tyrone “Baybe Champ” Stevenson Jr., an Oakland native who for years has been changing the way youth of color ride in the city. In this video from Grit Media, Stevenson explains his passion for “scraper bikes” — tricked out bicycles named after the infamous cars of the Hyphy era of Bay Area music and culture.

Doc Film Wants Trans Women to Shout: ‘I’m Still Here!’

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, who goes by “Miss Major,” has spent her long life at the intersection of struggles around race, gender and sexuality in the U.S. Born in 1940 in Chicago, Griffin-Gracy came out as transgender during the nascent LGBT rights movement in the late 1960s. She was at Stonewall when New York City police raided the bar in 1969, setting off what became known as the Gay Liberation Movement. And she was incarcerated at Attica in 1971 when riots broke out and inmates demanded better living conditions. Those two seminal events inspireddecades of activism. These days Miss Major is executive director of the Gender Variant Intersex Project, which works with imprisoned transgender women.

Griffin-Gracy’s life is now the subject of a new documentary film called, “Major!”—and filmmakers Annalise Ophelian and StormMiguel Florez are asking transgender women to participate. They’re using one of Griffin-Gracy’s favorite sayings — “I’m still fucking here!” — and putting out a call for video selfies in which trans women boldly repeat the line (Or, “I’m still here” if you don’t curse). Those video selfies will then appear in the film. The deadline to submit is April 15, 2015. You can also read more about the call and the project. Here’s a trailer of the film:

MAJOR! Trailer from StormMiguel Florez on Vimeo.

The impetus behind the project is clear. Trans women, particularly those of color, have been murdered in cases that have made headlines in recent years. There have already been six documented murders of transgender women in 2015 — and it’s not even March. Last year, the deaths of women like Aniya Parker in Los Angeles and Yaz’min Shancez in Florida led to a national discussion about an epidemic of violence against trans women

You can also check out an example of what the filmmakers are looking for over on the film’s website.

Watch How a 25-Year-Old Helped Revive Oakland’s Turf Dancing

Meet Johnny Lopez, a 25-year-old Oakland native who was recently profiled by Fusion’s Ingrid Rojas in a look at that city’s rich legacy of turf dancing:

Turfing is a mostly black artform that’s existed in Oakland for years. In 2009, it went viral because of video of one group, Turf Feinz, dancing in honor of a recently slain friend:

Marshawn Lynch Wants to Trademark ‘I’m Just Here So I Won’t Get Fined’

Marshawn Lynch Wants to Trademark 'I'm Just Here So I Won't Get Fined'

Marshawn Lynch’s future with the Seattle Seahawks may be up in the air, but he’s still proving to be a very savvy businessman with a bright future away from the field. The controversial running back, whose standoffs with sports reporters at press conferences included such memorable phrases like, “Thanks for asking” is seeking to trademark his most memorable line: “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”

Here’s what that looked like during the run-up to the Super Bowl:

The Seattle Times reports that Lynch isn’t so much trying to make money off of the phrase so much as trying to prevent other people from doing so. He’s previously obtained trademark protection for “Beast Mode” and “About that action, boss.”

Remember Chinese-American Rapper MC Jin? He’s Back (Sorta)

Remember Chinese-American Rapper MC Jin? He's Back (Sorta)

It’s been nearly 15 years since MC Jin burst onto the rap scene. In 2000, the fresh-faced recent high school grad from Queens broke out on BET’s “106 & Park.” But Jin’s was an uneasy type of fame. He proudly called himself “the original chink-eyed MC,” playing up stereotypes of Asian-Americans that were pervasive in American pop culture. He wound up getting signed to Ruff Ryders, where he released the deeply problematic song “Learn Chinese.” 

“I’m at a point now where I don’t cringe if I hear ‘Learn Chinese,’” he told Jeanho at BuzzFeed. “But I don’t think there was ever one point when I was genuinely, genuinely proud of that song.” He adds, “I definitely still cringe at that video.”

As Jeanho writes:

The video for “Learn Chinese” is a study in the hackneyed stereotypes of Orientalist fantasy. Jin plays two characters in it: the villain in an eye patch and thin mustache who leads a gang of karate-chopping henchmen, and the hero who rescues the sexy Asian girls from some den of iniquity deep in the bowels of a glamorized Chinatown ghetto. The concept is intercut with shots of Jin in a maroon jogging suit rapping underneath an arched, neon-lit Chinese gate, a diamond-encrusted “R” chain swinging from his neck, the famous logo of the Ruff Ryders.

His music has predictably evolved since then, and so has his political consciousness around what his work means:

The first single is “Chinese New Year,” a revelatory celebration of Jin’s Chinese-American identity, the story of his family’s immigrant, working-class roots, and a candid acknowledgment of the failures in his rap career thus far — including regret over “Learn Chinese,” the first single off The Rest Is History, and probably still the most recognizable song in Jin’s oeuvre.

[snip]

Jin blames his youth and industry naiveté for the misguided execution. “I look back, and I had this opportunity to make a statement. That was my first single to the world that the label was going to get behind. My criticism of it now is: You had this opportunity, Jin, and that was the statement you made?”

Read more at BuzzFeed

 

TAGS: hip-hop MC Jin

Actors of Color Slayed the Fashion Game at This Year’s Oscars

While it’s true that this year’s Oscars were dominated by white actors, actors of color showed up in full force and looked stunning on Hollywood’s biggest stage. 

The Jokes Were Mostly Bad And Sometimes Racist: #OscarsSoWhite Recap

Here’s how Twitter took down #OscarsSoWhite during the actual ceremony: 

John Legend, Alejandro González Iñárritu Won The Night With Their Oscar Speeches

You knew John Legend’s acceptance speech for Best Song at the Oscars was going to be good when he quoted Nina Simone and said, “It’s an artist’s duty to relflect the tmes in which we live.” From there, he called out the attacks on voting rights and racial disparities in incarceration. His performance with Common of the “Selma” theme song “Glory” was the night’s most moving moment, but his speech really brought down the house.

First, here’s Common and John Legend’s powerful performance:

 And here are the speeches that followed:

 

Alejandro González Iñárritu, director of “Birdman,” which closed out the night by winning the award for Best Picture, managed to overcome Sean Penn’s racist “Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?” joke and called for “dignity and respect for immigrants” in his speech:

 

Watch Janet Mock Interview ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Issa Rae

On her MSNBC show, So Popular, Janet Mock sat down with actress and writer Issa Rae to talk about her new book “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” The book, of course, is based on the popular Web series that shot Rae into stardom and onto Pharrell’s radar. The book is out now and just made the New York Times bestseller list. In the sit-down, Rae says that writing the book was therapeutic and remembers the days of AOL chat rooms. Take a look.

‘The Reid Report’ Canceled Amid MSNBC Shake-Up

MSNBC is shaking things up at 30 Rock. The network announced on Thursday that it’s canceling Joy-Ann Reid’s “The Reid Report” and Ronan Farrow’s “Ronan Farrow Daily.” The hosts will still reportedly be involved with the network, but each show struggled with ratings over the past year.

Reid has been a longtime contributor to the network and has been so popular that fans even began a petition to get her show on the air.

Reid, along with Melissa Harris Perry and Janet Mock, was one of only a handful of black female cable news hosts in an industry dominated by white men

These infographics from Media Matter show the race and gender imbalances in cable news: gender-diversity-cable.jpg ethnic-diversity-cable-3.jpg

Here’s a look at an interview with Rep. Barbara Lee that represents just some of what Reid accomplished:

TAGS: Joy Reid MSNBC
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