This week made us feel like we were walking on, walking on broken glass.
Annie Lennox went on The View to explain what she meant when she called Beyoncé feminist lite. She claims that for her, there is a spectrum of feminism and Beyoncé falls on the lightweight end of the scale. The issue here is that Beyoncé’s feminism shouldn’t be framed with a white feminist perspective. Beyoncé’s feminism is one framed with that of a black woman. We must remember that for black women, embracing their sexuality is a form of empowerment and protest, one that Annie Lennox simply can’t understand.
Noah Berlatsky of The Atlantic hits the problem square on the nose:
“In contrast, black women have to negotiate a different set of expectations and stereotypes. Beyoncé’s ultra-femme, sexualized style may seem retrograde to Lennox, who has an easy cultural access to femininity. But in a culture where black women often aren’t perceived as women, and where black women are still mostly excluded from the fashion industry, putting on high heels might be more meaningful than getting a crew cut.”
The rest of the article is great at pointing out how Annie’s comments are racially motivated and a direct critique on black women’s sexuality.
Then Annie Lennox made more headlines when she went on Tavis Talks, where she was asked about her cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” Smiley asked her why she chose that song and Annie calls it a protest song that can be about any kind of violence and bigotry. Except it’s not about any kind of violence, it is very specifically about lynching. When Smiley asks her what she hears when she hears Strange Fruit, she sidesteps answering and instead focuses on Billie Holiday’s addictions and self-destruction. Oh Annie.
Professor Kevin Allred of Rutgers University might have a class for Annie Lennox to take. Professor Allred offers a class all about Queen Bey: “Politicizing Beyoncé: Black Feminism, US Politics, & Queen Bey.” Allred pairs Beyoncé’s music with readings of black, feminist texts. He says, “That way, students are getting an education in the history of black feminist theory in the US, just using Beyoncé as the focal point.” Where do we sign up?
Police in Trenton, New Jersey removed a mural of Mike Brown last Monday. The mural, which depicted Mike Brown’s face with the quote, “Sagging pants is not probable cause,” was removed because police feared that it sent the wrong message about community and police relations.
There was an open carry rally in St. Louis recently and Twitter took this as an opportunity to highlight the disparate reactions of the St. Louis police in dealing with this armed “rally” versus the “riots” post Ferguson. It’s possibly the clearest example of how internalized and structural racism is enacted in real life.
— deray (@deray) October 25, 2014
Since Halloween is later this week, let’s talk about the worst costumes this year, which may belong to these assholes:
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 26, 2014
It’s a Halloween no-go winner, with healthy servings of racism, sexism, and yes, blackface. Pro-tip: just because its topical, doesn’t mean it would be a good costume.
Hey, did you know all brown people look alike? Mindy Kaling was mistaken for Malala Yousafzai at a bar at the New Yorker Festival. You know, where Nobel Peace Prize winners in their teens are usually gathered.
Last week, we brought you the questionable debate about diversity in comic book movies. While we have yet to see the finished products, Jason Momoa talks about what his being Aquaman means to him, especially as a Polynesian man with strong cultural and spiritual ties to the water. His joy at being cast, and his desire to use his cultural roots to ground the character, seem like a positive step, but we’ll see how it goes.
Speaking of Polynesian influences on film, Disney has announced their upcoming project, Moana which will follow the teenaged protagonist as she joins the demi-god Maui on an adventure to find a fabled island. We don’t want to get too excited, but we’re always here for adventure stories featuring young women of color as protagonists. (Ed. note: I know someone working on the film, and from what she’s said off the record, GET EXCITED!! ~Hillary)
Dear White People has expanded to more theaters this past week, so check it out if it’s at a theater near you!
To end this week on a high note, we have a few fun videos:
Dean Thomas/How to Get Away with Murder star Alfred Enoch talks about his Harry Potter experience and generally wins hearts. Let’s start that letter-writing campaign for him as Newt Scamander, since he already has the wizard knowledge.
Here’s FKA twigs Google glass concept video, featuring voguing, ribbon dancers, and general excellence:
And lastly, for inspiration, watch this short documentary on Mo’ne Davis directed by Spike Lee.