links for 2007-09-29

Celeb round-up: Paris, Oscar and Adrienne

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

As is probably evident by the sparser-than-usual postings, I’ve been a bit behind this week with my blog/news reading. But I wanted to just note a few racialicious celebrity news items from this week.

1. Paris Hilton, like, totally cares about Rwanda

paris hilton goes to rwandaShe’s going over there in November, she told E! Online because “There’s so much need in that area, and I feel like if I go, it will bring more attention to what people can do to help.”

As Lauren over at Stereohyped said, let’s hope she realizes Don Cheadle won’t be there. That was just a movie, Paris.

2. Oscar de la Hoya likes fishnets

oscar de la hoya fishnetsSome photos have turned up of Oscar de la Hoya wearing fishnet stockings. The jury is out on whether the photos are real or not (to me the head looks very photoshopped on, but I’m not an expert).

Let’s assume for a minute that they are real. So what? There are definitely some interesting gender assumptions at play in the reactions. As far as I know, it’s not uncommon for men to have fetishes for wearing women’s underwear, or for engaging in cross-dressing of some kind. It doesn’t mean they’re gay, or trans, or anything, really.

Back when I actually had a social life, I went to Lot 61 once (um yeah that’s how long it’s been) and saw a man there wearing a red crushed velvet spaghetti-strap dress, with black sheer stockings and heels, and a cute chain-link purse. But other than the women’s clothing, there was nothing to set him apart from other dudes. Full-on beard, no make-up, hairy arms and chest, bad posture, sat with his legs open. I guess he just enjoyed wearing women’s clothing once in awhile.

3. Adrienne Curry hates Black History month

adrienne curry on black history monthAdrienne Curry was the winner of the very first season of America’s Next Top Model, and has since done the VH1 reality circuit. On her MySpace blog she pulled the whole “why should there be a BET when there’s not WET, that’s racist” crap, but with Black History Month.

Among the many stupid things she said: “Yes, I get it. Black people were slaves here once. You know what? That does suck some major balls, however, it is time to move the f*ck on.”

Got it, Racialicious readers descended from the African diaspora? It’s time to move the f*ck on.

(Thanks to all of you who wrote in about this! I haven’t gotten so many emails about one story since Michael Richards! And yes, the paragaph above was sarcastic.)

Don’t Major in Public Relations at Columbia University

by Racialicious special correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s appearance at Columbia University on Monday was quite a to-do. There were protesters, mean headlines and caricatures from newspapers, as well as a refusal from NYPD to let Ahmedinejad pay his respects to the victims of 9/11 at Ground Zero.

Well, New York City isn’t known for being friendly.

But at Columbia University, they pride themselves on culture, learning, and civility. Until you disagree with them.

Columbia U. President Lee Bollinger implied that Ahmedinejad’s presence was there to honor the “longstanding tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues”. I suppose President Bollinger’s idea of a forum is name-calling.

Bollinger skewered President Ahmedinejad in his introduction for the president. He called him a “petty and cruel dictator,” and implied that he was either a drama queen or an idiot for his statements about Israel.

Now, I understand that many people disagree with President Ahmedinejad, especially about Israel. I happen to think he’s wrong on a lot of different levels. But I’m sure that President Bollinger has heard the saying before that goes “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” And I’m sure he’d realize that if he didn’t want President Ahmedinejad at Columbia, he wouldn’t invite him to speak there. And I’m sure he’s aware that inviting a president of a country to speak at his university and then insulting the president is seen as more than disrespectful, not just to the president, but to the entire country he represents. And I’m sure President Bollinger is aware of the intricacies of Iranian culture, which dictate that President Ahmedinejad act courteously in the face of such a huge insult from his host.

But maybe it’s President Bollinger who is the idiot. To a country that hears nothing but bad about the West, this is seen as yet another insult by Iranians. Many Iranians don’t like Ahmedinejad, but it’s sort of the same rule that applies to your family. Yeah, we can make fun of our siblings as much as we want. But if you make fun of them, you’re insulting all of us, and you’re a jerk. So President Ahmedinejad actually gets out of this mess looking better than his host.

links for 2007-09-28

Making Africans Human, One Video at a Time

by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse

Yesterday morning I was a bit reluctant to get out of bed and start my day.

Okay, VERY reluctant, so much so that I had to rely on the luscious sounds of early-morning video wakeup via the channel that only plays music between 4 am and 8 am before it mentally assaults you for the rest of the day with reality shows despite having the word “music” in its name.

Anyway, I was trying desperately to find something cheerful to wear in order to distract my co-workers from the less than excited expression I was most likely to bear for the rest of the day due to poor sleep when I noticed there was a very dark-skinned black woman on television with natural hair who was over the age of 40. I thought to myself, “Am I dreaming? A black woman in a music video who is fully dressed, whose face I see instead of her ba-donk-a-donk, and completely sans 10 pounds of extensions? Something must be wrong.” I then noticed more beautiful brown-skinned people in the background listening to the woman speak and thought for a moment, considering that I heard no music, that I had somehow switched the channel to CNN without realizing it.

But I hadn’t. I pressed the “info” button on the remote and the screen read “MTV: Video Wakeup 7:00 am – 8:00 am.” Hmmm…what was going on? A few seconds later, I was greeted to the sounds of Fall Out Boy, the quasi-emo-pseudo-punk-hipster-teenie-pop band of “Dance Dance” fame and whose lead singer Pete Wentz has apparently been showing his pinga all over town. Despite all of the skinny-jean dropping, it looks like the group has been up to some good. Their video for “I’m Like a Lawyer with the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)” does a shockingly good job of what Bono and the Vanity Fair crew seem to have a few problems getting right: humanizing black Africans.

Fall Out Boy does a few things many other celebrities cum activists sometimes neglect to do (either out of ignorance, a bad publicist, or total lack of care…I can’t quite put my finger on it) and that an equally concerned American audience tends to forget:

1. They establish that Africa is a continent in which there are many countries
The video takes place in Uganda, to be more specific, the Gulu Township in Northern Uganda, which, according to the film Invisible Children, a documentary that focuses on the forced conscription of children into the Lords Resistance Army, has become a place of refuge to avoid being kidnapped into military service. By taking two seconds to note the specific location in which the video takes place, F.O.B. (or the really smart people who did the research for the video) avoids falling into the trap of the “hey look, there are problems in the country of Africa!” camp. Thank goodness for that. Maybe now some of the kids who watch MTV on the regular will be more likely to pull out a map and locate Uganda or maybe “the South Africa, such as.” Continue reading

links for 2007-09-27