Friday Open Thread: Music, Media, Musings

by Latoya Peterson

I think every other Friday I’ll do a random open thread just to see what’s going on with y’all.

Here’s what I am heading into the weekend with:

Music

Something compelled me to listen to the Cruel Intentions Soundtrack while I was at work yesterday. While cubicle-jamming to Skunk Anansie’s “Secretly” I realized I had never bothered to look up any of their other stuff – even though I’ve been rocking this song for the last six years.

I checked out the YouTube video and was in for a shock:

Who is that? Wait, wait, wait! The black girl is singing?

And I spent the rest of the day rocking to Skunk Anansie and the lead singer’s – Skin – solo effort, Fleshwounds. Favorites: “Weak”, “Faithfulness”, “Brazen.”

I’m loving Skin – she’s the kindred spirit of Shirley Manson (of Garbage), who I also adore. So, some posts will probably come about black rock (and yes, I’m going to talk about Me’Shell Ndegeocello) defying boundaries, bias against black lesbians, something. I’ll figure it out a bit later. Continue reading

Introducing the Announcements Thread!

by Latoya Peterson

After much discussion, Carmen and I have decided to start an announcements thread that will run every Friday.

The thread will serve two purposes:

If you are a promoter/publicist/event coordinator, please send us information about your event (preferably with an event flyer) to team@racialicious.com before noon on Thursdays. Please include “Announcements Thread – ____” in the subject line.

If you are a reader and would like to highlight specific blog posts you have written or events that you are attending, please feel free to leave a message in the comments section.

Please note: Racialicious reserves the right to refuse any promotions/delete any comments that we deem are not a good fit for this site or for our audience.

And now…


    FRIDAY PROMOTIONS

Continue reading

Fair and Lovely Ad: Lighter Skin = Better Job Prospects

by Latoya Peterson

Deesha sent in these two ads for the skin-lightening product Fair and Lovely. Targeted to the Indian market, the ads promise job advancement (and the perception of beauty) after you lighten your skin by a few shades.

This ad is in English:

Notice, when the actress mentions that four is her lucky number, they show her skin lightening by four shades.

This ad is not in English, but the meaning is clear enough:

Not only does the ad show the model lightening six shades, but the emphasis in this commercial is working with a “modern beauty company.” So modern beauty equates to fair skin? Fascinating.

I am also amused by Fair and Lovely’s marketing to women in Indonesia:

Inspiring women

Since 1993 until today, we have been committed to transforming and inspiring the lives of women through beauty. We also believe in the economic empowerment of women to improve standards of living and contribute positively to the quality of life of all Malaysians.

What we offer

The products we offer are dedicated to the beauty of women everywhere. Our range comprises Fair & Lovely Fairness Cream, Fair & Lovely Herbal Cream, Fair & Lovely Facial Facewash, Fair & Lovely Under Eye Cream, Fair & Lovely Fairness Soap and Fair & Lovely Fairness Body Lotion. Our Multi-Vitamin Fairness Cream is yet another innovation to make your skin naturally fairer and radiant in a mere 4 weeks – harnessing the goodness of 4 essential vitamins, namely Vitamin B3, C, A and E.

How noble.

links for 2008-05-30

Manga Mania: Muslim Manga’s Reach

by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch

Asia Alfasi is a talented manga artist in the U.K. The BBC covered a talent competition she’d won (barikallah!), but managed to irritate me through mislabeling Ms. Alfasi’s drawings and misuse of the word “Arabian.”

Ms. Alfasi won a competition given by the International Manga and Anime Festival for her character “Monir,” who, according to the BBC, is a “feisty young Arabian from the Muslim Abyssinian times who draws strength from his faith to fight injustice and battle for his family’s survival.”

Does the BBC follow AP guidelines? Even if they don’t, I’d assume they’d know that an Arabian is a horse, not a person. Hmph!

Ms. Alfasi’s characters are beautifully drawn, but I’m tired of the “exotic” angle. She says, “I wanted to introduce some Arabian mysticism to the market.” A Muslim character from the Abyssinian times would be interesting enough, considering the fact that there is no such thing in Islamic history as the “Abyssinian Era” (unless they’re talking about when the Prophet and his followers went to Abyssinia…? Confusing!) Perhaps they meant Abbasid?

Anyway, a Muslim character from the Abbasid era would be interesting enough without exoticizing him. You could learn history and ancient culture…the nerd in me screams for more! What’s so mystical about him? What’s with the Aladdin outfit? Too close to Disney for comfort, personally. Continue reading

Dexter: Bloody Good

by Guest Contributor Merq

As much as we clamor, beg, and plead for minority representation in the mainstream media, when we get it, it seldom seems to work out as we’d hoped. Many people of color can attest to squirming uncomfortably in front of their televisions, praying for that character of color to finish up and skulk offscreen, so we can return to the idyllic white utopia we enjoyed only minutes before.

Do not adjust your monitors – I really did just say that. While I appreciate the need for children and teens still defining their identities to have (at least) the occasional protagonist who looks the least bit like them, I never quite bought that argument as applied to adults. I (like many consumers of U.S. media) have never had a problem consuming all-white narratives for three reasons:

    * It’s a fucking story. Any fully-formed adult mind should be able to identify with a properly written protagonist. (Hear that, white folks who “can’t identify” with predominantly POC casts?)
    * As we all know, white is presented as the norm in all media forms and general discourse in the U.S.
    * With the disgraceful way Hollywood depicts people of color, the all-white cast offers the least-painful viewing experience.

It was with all this in mind that I began to feel some apprehension when I noticed the first traces of melanin in the first episode of Dexter. Continue reading

I Colonize

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

Taigi Smith, in the brilliant essay “What Happens When Your Hood is the Last Stop on the White Flight Express” in the book “Colonize This: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism,” describes gentrification like this:

Gentrification: The displacement of poor women and people of color. The raising of rents and the eradification of single, poor and working-class women from neighborhoods once considered unsavory by people who didn’t live there. The demolition of housing projects. A money-driven process in which landowners and developers push people (in this case, many of them single mothers) out of their homes without thinking about where they will go. Gentrification is a pre-meditated process in which an imaginary bleach is poured on a community and the only remaining color left in that community is white…only the strongest coloreds survived.

and this…

For poor single mothers, gentrification is a tactic “the system” uses to keep them down; it falls into the same category as “workfare” and “minimum wage.” Gentrification is a woman’s issue, an economic issue and, most of all, a race issue. At my roots I am a womanist, as I believe in economic and social equality for all women. When I watch what has happened to my old neighborhood, I get angry because gentrification like this is a personal attack on any woman of color who is poor, working class and trying to find an apartment in a real estate market that doesn’t give a damn about single mothers, grandmommas raising crack babies or women who speak English as a second language.

Urban gentrification is like global colonization. An advantaged people decide they fancy an area and use their advantages to push into it with, at best, disregard, and at worst, disdain, for the people already living there.The invaders use their might to erase the culture of current residents, and eventually, to erase the residents all together.

I know this, and yet, my feelings about gentrification are ambivalent: a blend of concern and guilt. Yes, guilt. Because I have been an urban colonizer. Continue reading