It’s less than two weeks into 2015, and already the year is too much. Let’s look at the news.
The biggest story of last week (in a week CRAMMED with news) was the Charlie Hebdo attack, which is tragic and horrifying but also led to conversations about islamaphobia, free speech, satire and the nature of comedy. While people were quick to offer support through social media via #JeSuisCharlie, what was lost in this quick affirmation was the complicated discourse around expressing grief while not supporting the racist, homophobic acts of Charlie Hebdo writers under the guise of satire.
Hey, speaking of Islamaphobia and fear-mongering, Don Lemon is still the worst.
Last week, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto visited the White House amidst protests all over the country against Mexico’s president. President Obama continues to show his support for Peña Nieto, ignoring most of the problems plaguing the country, including the continued protests over the disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43.
A story not getting as much media attention as the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is the bombing of a NAACP office in Colorado. Frustration is mounting (and expressed through the viral #NAACPbombing on Twitter) as coverage continues to be slim and answers are lacking. The continued quiet coverage of the bombing is just another in the long line of silences around violence committed against people of color, particularly against black people.
In 2015, can we all agree that social media is not lazy activism but an integral part of spreading awareness, support and information?
It’s also time to turn social media activism into policy.
Eric Garner’s family has released a song titled “This Ends Today” calling for the end of police brutality. Listen here.
Cleveland released extended video footage of Tamir Rice’s shooting death at the hands of police. In light of this, Cleveland Public Safety fiscal manager Shawn Gidley resigns, citing his inability to continue to work for the city in good conscience.
President Obama has announced a proposal for tuition free two-year community college. However, there is a still a lot of work to be done on all college campuses to create safe spaces for all students.
There was a generational divide over the new Kayne West/Paul McCartney collaboration, and rather than use this as a moment for music sharing and collaboration, Beatles fans made fun of young music listeners for being… young.
Icon Geena Davis is starting a film festival to focus attention on women and minority-led and created films. Geena Davis is wonderful.
Speaking of women and minority-led films, have you seen Selma yet? Here are some of the many reasons you should see the film, other than it being an exceptionally beautiful, powerfully acted, and amazingly directed film:
- Star David Oyelowo talks about the parallels between Selma and Ferguson.
- Selma producer Brad Pitt is here to help journalists not embarrass themselves with pronunciation jokes with David Oyelowo’s last name.
- Ruth Carter’s costuming in the film is a look at activism and the types of conscious representation needed to create a successful movement. It’s the same conversations policing blackness that have happened in the wake of Ferguson, where black activists have been labelled as thugs because of their race, their class, and their clothing.
- The Hairpin sits down with Ava DuVernay to talk about her previous work and her experience at the helm of this important, large-scale film.
- The controversy around the LBJ portrayal in Selma is just representative of white audiences’ anxiety over feeling excluded from the film.
- NYC middle school students can see Selma for free!
David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o are in talks to join the Mira Nair-directed Disney movie Queen of Katwe.
Phylicia Rashad broke all of our hearts with her support of Bill Cosby and seeming dismissal of the victims of sexual assault. Many people rightfully criticized these statements, which prompted a quick clarification from Ms. Rashad.
Maulik Pancholy (aka 30 Rock’s Jonathan) is making his Broadway debut, replacing Rupert Grint in It’s Only a Play.
Margaret Cho has a new TLC show in which she will talk about queer identities, sex, race, comedy, and everything else.
New documentary The Search for General Tso highlights the ways Asian-American identities (Chinese-American, in particular) have been created, adapted, packaged and commodified in order to exist and appeal to an America that continues to essentialize and exoticize. Check out the hilarious trailer below:
In “Scarlett Johansson doesn’t understand representation and orientalism” news, Johansson was cast as the lead in the extremely whitewashed Ghost in the Shell movie. I’m sure there were simply no other actresses that could’ve fit the part.
Online dating: still ridiculously terrible for Asian women.
This video calls out Bollywood actors for their endorsement of lightening creams, which further horrible beauty standards.
Flavorwire has an article asking where are all the movies about Latino experiences, pointing out that only one film featuring Latinos is being released next year. That’s not entirely accurate, but the sentiment stands.
Who else is ready for Salma Hayek: action star? (Everyone who’s seen Desperado and has been waiting anxiously for decades, that’s who.)
Feministing’s Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah spotlights Familia TQLM, a queer and trans Latino activist group working towards empowering all Latino youth.
Viola Davis is still amazing and wonderful and even better at throwing shade at misguided statements than you could imagine.
We’re ending it on the desire to enjoy ’90s nostalgia and dismantle white supremacy while doing so.
Celebrate some of the amazing wins at the Golden Globes (Gina Rodriguez!) in the comments below!