Whitelicious/Skin Bleaching

I was shocked when I saw this new picture of singer Elle Varner:

Elle-Varner-from-black-to-blonde
Photo from: http://necolebitchie.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why in the blue hell would she downgrade her look from a cute brown-skinned/naturally curly-haired quirky girl, to another cliché blonde haired/skin bleached black female singer.  I find it amusing as black women celebrities are doing this, Hollywood’s current love affair is with a dark-skinned/short-haired African woman (Lupita Nyong’o). This is why women of color should never listen to the Hollywood Industrial Complex.  It will have you all f*cked up.

Recently, Cameroonian/Nigerian artist Dencia, was criticized for promoting her skin bleaching line–Whitelicious:

image-12-620x775

*sigh* In an imperialist white supremacist patriarchal (thank you, bell hooks) society, there is an agenda to keep darker skinned people oppressed/and to make lighter skin people feel they have an advantage. The point is to make folks of color feel bad about ourselves so that we (1) buy products, and (2) don’t question/keep the status quo in tact.  It hurts my heart that so many folks of color have fallen for the okey-doke and/or contribute to the problem.

This is not just an issue with Black American women or African women, but a global problem. All across the world, folks of color have bought into light/white is right:

It’s disturbing how pervasive this has become… It takes a lot of strength to resist this brainwashing.  It’s hard for many folks of color, as they are browbeaten/bombarded 24/7 with images that light/white is better.

Here are some folks whose mission is to deconstruct the rigid beauty standards of women of color/women in general:

My Black is Beautiful:  https://www.myblackisbeautiful.com/#home

Love Your Body Campaign: http://www.loveyourbody.org/

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PBS Black History Month

It’s almost that time again…In our so-called “post-racial” society folks have challenged the purpose of still having a Black History Month. Personally, I think it’s still an important and needed month. Especially, for our black youth (and hell even some adults).  Yeah, yeah black history should just be considered American history. Yeah, yeah most black folks have made significant strides since the Civil Rights Movement. Yeah, yeah we have a black President, Oprah, Beyoncé etc. Black wealth/power is at a level it has never been before (too bad most of our black celebrities do absolutely nothing with it, but I digress  😦

YET,  there are  just as many black folks struggling. Many black folks live below the poverty line, highest rates of unemployment, targeted for the Prison Industrial Complex, shot in the back while walking from the store, etc. We still have a long way to go. It’s important we know our history, so we can’t be bamboozled into thinking we deserve our mistreatment. We don’t ever want racism/oppression to be normalized or thought of as “that’s just the way it is.” There’s a rhyme and reason for everything in our imperialist white supremacist patriarchal society (thank you, bell hooks).

Any who, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has an amazing line up of shows to celebrate Black History Month. Check ’em out, if ya can:

“ARLINGTON, VA – January 16, 2014 – In commemoration of Black History Month and as part of its year-round commitment to provide diverse programming and resources for all Americans, PBS today announced new shows and online content celebrating the African American experience past, present and future. From an AMERICAN MASTERS profile of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, to an INDEPENDENT LENS documentary about the secret spy agency created to maintain segregation in 1950’s Mississippi, Black History Month on PBS will provide programs that educate, inform and inspire viewers to learn more about the rich culture of our nation. The lineup begins on February 3 at 10:00 p.m. with “American Promise,” a powerful coming-of-age documentary from POV that follows the journey of two young African-American males from kindergarten through high school graduation as they attend a prestigious Manhattan private school. Confronting challenges from typical childhood growing pains to cultural identification within a predominantly white environment, the young men and their parents push toward success and discover their own individuality in the process.”–http://www.pbs.org/about/news/archive/2014/black-history-month/

“12 Years a Slave” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Speaking of the fascinating Lupita Nyong’o, she gave an amazing performance in “12 Years a Slave.” I can see why she is getting major Oscar buzz.  It took me a minute to see this film..I was very excited when I first heard about it. But as usual, I got busy and had to put it on the back burner. I also had mixed emotions about seeing the film after reading a scathing review about it   (Armond White’s “Dud of the Week: 12 Years a Slave”).  I think he just recently heckled the director…lol.

I understand where he was coming from

The portrayal of slavery in films can be a very thin line. Of course, you want the violence/brutality shown, as it was the reality of being a slave under white supremacy. But, when does it goes from showing truth to just becoming exploitative/ torture porn? Black women’s bodies are always degraded in the media. We are constantly mocked, abused, beaten, and battered. I understand that it was important to show what happened to black women during slavery via the character Patsy (played by Nyong’o).

Actually, what I loved about the film was that is showed white women were just as culpable/cruel slave masters. I loved those parts of the film, as many white feminists like to create revisionary history of an imagery sisterhood between black women and white women during slavery (rolls eyes). So, much props for the director showing that. BUT, I did feel uncomfortable that the main black female character was only portrayed as beaten victim. I am still waiting patiently for the film that shows the rebellion of black women slaves (e.g. Harriet Tubman). And for God’s sake, please don’t let that goofball/black woman-hater Russell Simmons direct it. Blah….

Otherwise, I recommend this film just on the fact it did try to show day-to-day life of being a slave.  I liked that it showed the monotony of slavery. You woke up, picked cotton, probably got abused in some kind of way, got feed scraps, and went to bed. You woke up and did it all over again the next day.  For the rest of your life. Damn. Black folks must never forget this, and always give honor to our ancestors who suffered for us to be here.

twelve-years-a-slave02
Our white sister…

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I haven’t read The Hunger Game books. I was surprised to learn the books were for young adults.  I always tease my best friend because she loves reading young adult literature. She claims they have the best stories. Hell, I guess she’s right, because I love The Hunger Games movies. I caught the second film in the series “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” during the holidays. I actually thought it was better than the first film. I liked the fact this film had a few more folks of color in it. This has been my one beef with the films/all future based films. I don’t know how futuristic films barely to never having folks of color in them. It’s a fact that folks of color will dominate the United States, much sooner than later. So, I never understand why main characters in sci-fi films are usually white. As a matter of fact, there has been controversy over the portrayal of Katniss. I won’t even get into the hostility/racism that was spewed at Amandla Stenberg (who played Rue), as many white fans didn’t want the character to be black.    

Yeah, well f*ck you too…

The second film still lacked badass black women in it. I’m hoping they get it together for the third film. I want to see some tough women of color fighting in the revolution!

Rue-District 11
Rue-District 11

Ani DiFranco #FAIL

So, peeking in from my blogcation to post about the fail of Ani DiFrancoLong story short. white female indie singer DiFranco wanted to hold a feminist/social justice event on a plantation in New Orleans. Blah..well, of course, folk of color and ally white activists pointed out why it would be  wrong to hold this event on a plantation (slavery/symbolic of black oppression, you know).

Also, folks were offended that a supporter of the event basically did a “digital black face,” in which they pretend to be black and use a stereotypical dialect (there’s actually nothing wrong with not speaking “proper” English, but white racists usually use it in an exaggerated way/degrading way).

I would also say it would’ve sucked to hold it on a plantation, as black folks in the N.O. have been pushed out of the city after Hurricane Katrina. The plantation is  a reminder of the continued oppression of black folks.

After the RIGHTFUL outrage, DiFranco (an hour or so ago)issued a statement. I thought she was going to say “my bad, i was wrong to continue forward. i apologize. I understand how this could be offensive to people.” Instead, she was rude, offensive, and patronizing.  Double blah. And white feminists wonder why they continue to get the side eye from many women of color.

#fail

Dark Girls Rock!

Years ago, I remember complaining on a blog that light-skinned black women singers were the new standard in r&b/mainstream music. At the time, Beyonce was at the height of popularity and record companies were following suit with their own “light girl” copies of Bey.  Another poster responded “Don’t worry, dark girls got next.” I guess things do work in cycles, because ten years later, it looks like dark-skinned black women are back in vogue again (how I hate saying that).

Whatever the reason why darker-skinned black women are making a comeback, it’s still exciting to see these women getting shine in black and mainstream media. I can only imagine the damage that has been done to little black girls with the constant white washing of black female images. I’m a grown azz dark-skinned black woman, and have to fight daily to keep my mind decolonized. The media works hard to make us all hate ourselves (they need us to buy products), but the hostility towards darker-skinned black women was getting  out of control. It’s refreshing to see a variety of images again in the media. This is not to say, all is better for darker-skinned black women. There is still an agenda to erase us, but we  are pushing through. Whether they like it or not. Heh.

The main person setting it off, is actress Lupita Nyong’o. Nyong’o is currently starring in 12 Years a Slave (I still haven’t seen this yet, for some reason):

Photo from: DuJour Magazine
Photo from: DuJour Magazine

Besides being gorgeous, Nyong’o received her Master’s degree from Yale School of Drama.  Nyong’o is seriously giving Anika Noni Rose a run for my new girl crush.  Man, I hate break ups 😦

Next, is my favorite new singer Laura Mvula. If you haven’t heard any of her music yet, you better ask somebody! She caused a bit of controversy with her music video “It’s Alright.”   In the song, Mvula scolds folks who criticize her for not being light skin.  On the cover of Pride Magazine, Mvula stated she was “proud to be an ambassador for darker skinned women.”

Photo from: Pride Magazine
Photo from: Pride Magazine

And last (but never least), is my girl Danai Gurira. She plays Michonne on The Walking Dead. So, that’s enough reason alone to give her props. She’s another babe rocking it for dark-skinned women. And she can wield a mean sword:

Photo from: atlantablackstar.com
Photo from: atlantablackstar.com

Shout outs to Adepero Oduye, Kelly Rowland, and Sevyn Street as well. Dark girls got it back on lock and we rocking it. It’s about time. it’s not like we went anywhere, anyway 😉

African Native American

The other day, I went to the local community college to use the computer. My laptop has been on the fritz. As I strolled into the library, I was pleasantly surprised to see a photo display about the lives of African Native Americans. I know it’s often a joke in black families about having “Blackfoot” blood, but the display showed there is a true connection/lineage between black folks and Native Americans.  I wanted to share this because tomorrow we will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  The myth is that the pilgrims and Native Americans peacefully had a meal together. This myth white washes the brutally used against Native Americans, literally the slaughter of millions of people It also negates the reality of Native Americans today, many who are still dealing with a legacy of oppression.   So, as folks prepare to grub tomorrow, don’t forgot the truth about what this holiday represents. As black folks, we especially have a responsiblity not continue the lie. We know how it feels to have the reality of slavery/racism sugar-coated. This day was not about love, hope, and community. It was about the colonization and destruction of a people. As you give thanks for the turkey on your plate, also give honor to Native Americans.

Photo from: blog.nmai.si.edu
Photo from: blog.nmai.si.edu
Photo from: nmai.si.edu
Photo from: nmai.si.edu
Photo from: www.atheistnexus.org
Photo from: http://www.atheistnexus.org
Me and Andrea Smith
Me and Native/Indigenous activist Andrea Smith