Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vanity Fair's "New Hollywood" Cover... Does the "Fair" Stand For "Fair Skin"?

The cover of Vanity Fair's March issue celebrating "New Hollywood" has caused a bit of a stir over its lack of diversity. The issue features (from left to right): Abbie Cornish, Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan, Amanda Seyfried, Rebecca Hall, Mia Wasikowska, Emma Stone, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Kendrick. All reasonably attractive, all with promising careers, and all white. Unless Vanity Fair's definition of diversity is throwing a redhead (Emma Stone) into the mix, they need to do better in 2011.

Now I'm not saying that Vanity Fair should have included minority actresses on the cover just for the sake of diversity, but come on... they can do better than this. For one thing, Vanity Fair already had both Stewart and Seyfried on an August 2008 cover heralding "Hollywood's New Wave." As you can see, this cover is also diversity-free!

Even though movie roles for minority actresses continue to be scarce, women of color are managing to make an impact in Hollywood. Here are just a few who were worthy of being featured on the Vanity Fair cover:

Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe: Up for an Academy Award for Best Actress In A Leading Role for playing the title character in Precious, Sidibe will next be seen in the 2010 film Yelling To the Sky. As a side note, Sidibe does have an interview with Vanity Fair that's included in the issue. For her take on not being a part of the cover, click here.

Freida Pinto: One of the stars of the Best Picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, Pinto will be back on movie screens this year in the Woody Allen film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and is also starring in Dawn of the Gods (which is scheduled to be released in 2011).

Charlyne Yi:
In addition to co-starring in the 2009 rom-com Paper Heart, the multi-talented Yi also co-wrote it, co-produced it, and helped write the soundtrack!

Zoe Saldana: She only co-starred in two of the biggest blockbusters of the past year... Star Trek and this little movie called Avatar. Slacker! Admittedly, Saldana isn't exactly new (she made her film debut in 2000). However, featuring her on the Vanity Fair issue would have been justified when you consider that Evan Rachel Wood (who's been around since the late 1990s) got a spot on the cover.

Update: Zoe was featured on the 2008 "Fresh Faces" cover of VF:


Let me also add that I knew Vanity Fair had done previous "Hollywood" issues that featured a diverse mix of actors/actresses on the cover. This is why I was surprised when I saw the cover of the March 2010 issue. In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, here is a partial list of minority actors/actresses who have been featured on the cover of Vanity Fair's "Hollywood" issues in the past:

Angela Bassett

Benicio Del Toro

Will Smith

Jada Pinkett

Jennifer Lopez

Djimon Hounsou

Thandie Newton

Penélope Cruz

Samuel L. Jackson

Don Cheadle

Dev Patel

America Ferrera

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All Is Fair in Love...and Stepping

Stepping, a form of dance that uses your entire body to create rhythm and sounds through hand claps, footsteps, and spoken words, originated in the Black culture. It is a staple among Black Greek organizations, and for years, it has been exclusive.

Not any more.

On February 20, 2010, the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority captured this year's Sprite Step Off championship. Take a look at the video of their performance:

From what I can discern, this is the first time a non-Black sorority has won the championship. I fully believe in the tradition of stepping and understand the value that it holds in the Black Greek organizations. I admit to feeling a little uneasy about a non-Black team winning the competition, but simply cannot deny their performance. The argument is that anyone can learn how to step...but does it mean that much to them? Does it hold a significance that is steeped in emotion and history?

On the other hand, in order for us to become this "post-racial" society I keep hearing is upon us, we have to acknowledge that there are elements of Black culture that are going to be stolen and used for different purposes. I think the evolution of music in general should tell us that. How then, do we connect the dots between the two? How can we, as Blacks, hold onto our traditions without them being used as a foundation for something that focuses away from the history?

I don't have the answers, just lots of questions. I do admit though, the Zetas brought their A game. If stepping is to maintain its cultural relevance, then Black Greek organizations need to step their game up. They can no longer arrogantly believe that they are in an exclusive club.

The door to everyone else has been opened...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Ego Of John Mayer

I was on another site that asked if black people and women in particular should be offended by what John Mayer said in his Playboy interview that sparked some debate.

The highlights of what he said (and mind you dude had a whole lot to say in that piece).

“…it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”

“…it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”

Now let me be put on record as saying this dude's ego is GARGANTUAN!!!

The balls on this dude are a sight to behold!

I thought I could be a grade A douche but this guy right here..........

But that at worst is all he is in my eyes, I looked at the context of what he said with the N word and I can not bring my self to be offended.

You can argue if he should have used the word, which he shouldn't have, but you cant argue about his "pass" black people have been handing out black cards to anyone of another race who acts like he can sit in a room full of black people and not squirm.

Remember Bill Clinton was the first "Black" President, I didn't give him that title but there was some sorry black who did because he gave off the appearance of addressing the needs of black people and acted like he listened.

Mayer has been cosigned by black artist who have appeared on his records and he vice verse, giving hime the street cred he wants so he can be hip and they getting a door open to "white" money.

No that is a symbiotic relationship right there.

The black women part....ehh here is the whole little bit he said on the subject,

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don't think I open myself to it. My d**k [penis] is sort of like a white supremacist. I've got a Benetton heart and a fu**in' David Duke c**k [another word for penis]. I'm going to start dating separately from my d**k (penis again).

PLAYBOY: Let's put some names out there. Let's get specific.

MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." And Kerry Washington. She's superhot, and she's also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she'd be like, "Yeah, I sucked his d**k [penis yet another time]. Whatever." And you'd be like, "What? We weren't talking about that." That's what "Heartbreak Warfare" is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.

This is t a little tough for me because unlike a lot of people out there I do not believe who you sleep with is a litmus test of your racial tolerance because you are attracted to your own kind does not mark you as the Grand Wizard of the KKK in my mind.

And because you like to give it to someone of anther race does not make you the second coming of MLK.

I think history has taught us that much.

So I cant work myself up to give this dude even a half a scowl.

No the real problem here isn't Mayer it’s black people, there is such a thing as a hood pass and there are fools giving them out with out vetting the person there giving it too.

There the ones cosigning and allowing the use of the word by whites because their buddies and everyone acts shock when things are taken too far.

There the hypocrites who call out a white dude for saying what some BLACK men have been saying, black men who they sit with and chat it up and call friends.

I didn't hear jack out their mouths when Young Berg came out his neck with I don't like dark Butts crack, or when Dave Chappelle talks side ways with the N word, ?uestlove genius ass sparked a race debate at the studios he worked for that got blamed on white people.

Naw, John Mayer ain't got jack to apologise for as usual it’s certain black people who keep throwing shade on themselves who need to be saying sorry.

John Mayer just has a big ego and I thank him for speaking his mind.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Glenn Beck Plays the Name Game With President Obama

Proving yet again that a certain famous phrase isn't necessarily true, Glenn Beck let his buffoonery shine as only he can. On his 2/4/10 radio program, Beck gave his theory (which you can hear in the clip below) as to why President Obama decided to start going by Barack instead of Barry during his collegiate years.

First, the suggestion that one can't have a name such as Barack and still identify themselves as American completely misses a key aspect which makes this country great: the U.S. is inclusive and one doesn't need to have an Anglicized name to be an American. I wonder what fellow Fox employees Bill O'Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, and Alisyn Camerota think of Beck's assessment. I guess Beck would be happier if President Obama was named Jack Armstrong.

Beck also foolishly plays a portion of the audio version of Obama's bestselling memoir Dreams From My Father to suggest that when Obama started going by the name Barack, he began to seek out fellow college students who were radicals. Although Obama doesn't really address the reasons why he chose to go by Barack instead of Barry in Dreams From My Father, he did offer the following explanation in a 2008 Newsweek story:

"It was not some assertion of my African roots … not a racial assertion. It was much more of an assertion that I was coming of age. An assertion of being comfortable with the fact that I was different and that I didn't need to try to fit in in a certain way."

A real bright 3rd grader could have looked this explanation up, but not Glenn Beck.

Note: Although Barack is his birth name, I'm going to let Beck's "he changed his name from Barry to Barack" business slide because that could just be a question of semantics.

When referring to Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann often uses the name Lonesome Rhodes. I wonder if there is a Marcia Jeffries in Beck's life with the ability to expose him for all the world to see. Sadly, even if it's proven that Beck is the maniacal fraud that many think he is, there would probably still be people in his audience who will refuse to believe it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Doritos Ad Causes Some Baby Mama Drama

While listening to the radio on my way to work this morning, the show hosts were discussing the commercials that aired during Super Bowl XLIV the previous night. One man called in to say he felt the Doritos ad featuring a black man visiting the home of his date (a single mother) was racist. The caller thought the commercial implied that the single mother was a "baby mama". I was like, "caller say what?!" because I saw the spot and didn't see the racist connotation.

As a matter of fact, I found the commercial to be very funny. When I did some research on the web once I got home from work, I discovered that other people felt the same way as the gentleman who called into the radio show.

To assume that the woman's son was born out of wedlock is a reach to say the least. For all we know, the single mother could be a divorcée or a widow. She could also be a single mother via adoption. In jumping the gun and calling the spot racist, detractors are overlooking a couple of things. The performers are free of stereotypes (thankfully, the single mother did not look or sound as if she stepped off the set of B.A.P.S.) and the woman's home is immaculate.

By the way, props to the woman's son in the Doritos ad. Although I don't condone kids delivering smackdowns to adults, you have to respect a young man who protects his mama... and his Doritos!

Is the ad racist? You make the call.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The 1949 Movie Pinky Airs On TCM!

Jeanne Crain and Ethel Waters

On Wednesday February 3rd at 8 pm EST, Turner Classic Movies airs the 1949 classic Pinky. Starring Jeanne Crain in the title role, Pinky tells the story of a light-skinned black woman who returns to the Southern home of her grandmother after passing for white while living in the North as a nursing student. In addition to facing the everyday problems that came with being black in the South, Pinky also has to deal with such complications as the return of the man she loves (a white doctor she met while studying up North) and a nasty courtroom battle.

Although I would have liked it if Lena Horne (who campaigned for the role) was given the chance to play the lead, I understand why 20th Century Fox went with Jeanne Crain instead. Money talks and Crain was one of the studio's biggest stars at the time. Also, it was 1949 and a majority of moviegoers weren't ready for a film that featured love scenes between a black actress and a white actor. Having said that, Crain does a fine job as Pinky (earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress). Along with being believable, Crain also demonstrates fearlessness and dignity in the title role. Also earning Oscar noms were two Ethels (Waters as Pinky's wise grandmother and Barrymore as a sickly rich woman who is cared for by Pinky). In addition to these three, the cast is solid throughout. Some of the standouts include Frederick O'Neal as a shady character who lives near Pinky and her grandmother, Evelyn Varden as a racist relative of Barrymore's character, and Dan Riss as an attorney.

Although I've seen Pinky numerous times, I am really looking forward to checking it out again because it's been several years. If you've already seen Pinky or plan to watch it Wednesday night, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Below is the opening scene of Pinky.