“Buppies” Review: Drama With a Light Touch

By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, originally published at Televisual

I’ve written and spoken a lot about Buppies for this blog and elsewhere, but that’s only because I think it’s a significant development within the history of original web shows.

Buppies is upon us; the BET-distributed, CoverGirl-sponsored scripted web series premieres this Tuesday, Nov. 24th (Hopefully. BET has already pushed back the premiere once to expand its marketing).

The show is a “mad-cap romp” through a day in the life of Quinci, played by Fresh Prince’s Tatyana Ali, a socialite and publicist enduring lots of drama amidst L.A.’s black upper crust. During this very bad day, she and her friends face issues of sexuality, pregnancy, dating, race, and careers and, most importantly, handle them in fabulous clothes!

Among the many web series by and about people of color released in the past couple of years, Buppies is the highest profile and most heavily marketed. It’s slick and humorous, light and heavy. The production values are great, the acting  and writing where they need to be. In other words, it’s a well-told story and perfectly pitched for this moment when representing race is vital but necessarily contingent.

Buppies,  created by filmmaker Julian Breece and produced by Ali’s HarzaH Entertainment and Aaliyah Williams, will engender comparisons to Sex and the City and has been compared to 1980s primetime soap operas, as I learned in my interview with star Ali. The comparisons make sense, but, being made for the web, the show really has an identity all its own.

Continue reading

John Cho is one of the sexiest men alive (again) [Cho-licious]

By Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Look who made People magazine’s annual “Sexiest Men Alive” list… again. None other than John Cho, star of FlashForward, Star Trek, and of course, Harold and Kumar. You did it again, John. He previously made the list in 2006, and he’s still apparently hot enough to grace the pages of People again:

He’s gone from stoner hero in the Harold and Kumar movies to hot FBI agent in FlashForward – a role that comes with a sexy walk “if you’re carrying a real gun. When it’s on your hip, you lead differently; your hands go to different places,” says Cho, 37.

Yippee. Very insightful. The gallery’s only a sampling of guys who made the “Sexiest Men” issue. Don’t know if any other Asian American dudes made the list this year, so I guess you’ll have to pick up the physical issue to find out. All I know is, if Daniel Henney is not on the list, that’s a damn shame.

By the way, have you been watching FlashForward? The show has its flaws, and it ain’t no Lost, but I’m definitely committed this story and the characters. John’s character Demetri Noh easily has the most compelling, interesting story line, and he’s pretty damn good in it too. Catch it Thursday nights on ABC.

Why Hate Crimes Legislation Is A Terrible Idea: A Reminder

By Guest Contributor Yasmin Nair, originally posted at The Bilerico Project

We’ve seen a number of posts supportive of hate crimes legislation. The widespread perception is that only hate-mongering Republicans are against it, but in fact a lot of queer radical activists and groups are against it for entirely different reasons. Below are excerpts and links to just two examples of dissent. The first is a Sylvia Riviera Law Project Statement in April of this year that addressed the addition of hate crimes legislation to NY’s Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the second is a piece I wrote for Bilerico some months ago. Note that the SRLP statement was co-signed by FIERCE, Queers for Economic Justice, Peter Cicchino Youth Project, and Audre Lorde Project.

I’m working on collecting statements from a number of grassroots queer radical groups that are also against HCL; if you know of one in your area, drop me a line. I don’t want to give the impression that queer resistance can only be counted if it occurs within the framework of the Non Profit Industrial Complex. There’s a lot of amazing and usually unfunded queer radical work being done on prison abolition work, for instance, and I know those folk are against HCL as well.

I know this is likely to incite, shall we say, intense discussion. My point in providing the links below is to simply offer an alternative perspective on the issue, one that a lot of people may not have encountered or considered, given the way in which the gay media in particular portrays HCL as a progressive and much-needed reform. I’m writing a much longer critique of HCL, and I haven’t yet revisited my own earlier piece as I collect more data and analysis. I’m happy to have questions and critiques addressed to this post, and would be especially happy to be pointed to other critiques of HCL, or sent updates in relation to specific pieces of legislation. My hope for this piece is that it will encourage people to debate the matter in civil terms. Or at least to reflect on why we’ve invested so much hope in HCL.

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Toward A More Colorful Queer Future

by Guest Contributor Alex Niculescu


Over the last few years mainstream gay advocacy groups have focused their efforts on one issue, a panacea to seemingly solve all forms of inequality that gays are faced with: marriage rights.

With the passage of Proposition 8 this summer in California, many people’s hopes that gays would achieve full equality in this country were dashed. What was even more distressing, however, was the wave of racist backlash against people of color in California, who were accused of being the cause of Prop 8′s passage (this is a completely unfounded claim, as studies have shown). When I look at the actions of HRC, GLAAD, and other mainstream gay advocacy groups from the past years, they make me sad to call myself queer. In particular, their perpetual focus on marriage rights as the most pressing issue facing queers, the only obstacle blocking the road to full equality, is an awfully myopic and misguided claim. To assume that marriage is the main issue all queers should be organizing around automatically constructs an essentialized version of a gay person, when the very existence of queer people should enough to  contradict and confront any attempts to standardize our lives.

As anarchists say that “our dreams won’t fit in your ballot boxes,” queer bodies and experiences are too, well, queer, to fit in the state’s centuries-old definition of marriage. For queers to appeal for marriage is to desire assimilation into a heteronormative conception of sexuality, gender, and relationships, things which the government should have no business regulating or legislating in the first place. What scares me even more about assimilation is that it compels us to ignore the structures of power and interaction of power dynamics in this country.  Supporting marriage is supporting a means of institutional oppression. Historically, marriage was never rooted in religion, but rather it was a way for the state to regulate the transfer of property from a womyn’s family to her husband. This effectively bound the wife into a slaveholding document – she too became part and parcel of the man’s life possessions.  Consider the language that we use to describe when a womyn weds -  Mrs. is a possessive form of Mr.  For queers to appeal to an institution that has historically oppressed womyn (as well as non-whites – through miscegenation laws and the inability of slaves to exercise the so-called ‘human’ right of marriage, because, of course, it would humanize them in the face of their oppressors) baffles me. Continue reading

Memo To Tim Kring: You Are Who You Work With

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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If you think that Racism and Sexism are thematically integrated in HEROES then you may want to check your intelligence before worrying about it being insulted.
- Jim Martin, Heroes writer and assistant to Tim Kring, on a (since-deleted) tumblr post

Dear Mr. Kring,

It’s been about a month since I stopped watching your program. As you’re no doubt aware, my friends and fellow reviewers at this site and myself are far from the only ones who have left Heroes behind; just look at the ratings, right?

But I’m not writing to gloat about your commercial and critical misfortune. I’m writing to suggest that your staff isn’t helping the problem. Consider the statement from Mr. Martin’s tumblr. Sure, he deleted it, but you know us sneaky internet people – we’ll save things when you’re not looking and remember them, and share them.

So consider this a tip for your future endeavors (because Heroes is almost assuredly ending this season, isn’t it?): You want to continue engendering good will from your fanbase? How about you work with people who won’t issue statements like this:

* Anyone who thinks they can do better… I dare you. Go ahead. :) I’d love to see it.
* Look up the diversity programs for writers in tv. Ask anyone in the tv world. There is a distinct disadvantage to be a white male when trying to be a staff writer.
* I’m fully aware of what you are referencing, but I don’t think its a problem on Heroes and I don’t think white privilege is an issue in Hollywood at this point.

Clearly, Mr. Martin hasn’t been reading Fade In Magazine. Continue reading

George Lopez “Races” Late Night

By Guest Contributor Tomas, originally published at Latino Like Me

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Comedian George Lopez debuted “Lopez Tonight” on Monday, November 9.  A veteran of the stand-up stage, Lopez’s foray into late night does little to mess with the familiar format honed by Johnny Carson and tweaked by Leno and Letterman: it includes a monologue, video-taped comedy segment, celebrity interview, and musical guest.

The primary difference, as pushed by Lopez, is the “color” of the show.  “¡Oralé!” he exclaimed as he walked out on stage.  “The revolution begins right now!”

It’s an odd role for Lopez, the man who carved out his niche in prime time as a Mexican Bill Cosby.  His eponymous sitcom featured a middle (maybe even upper-middle) class family struggling with the same kinds of life issues faced by any family.  Its lack of depth and specificity relating to Latino life was deliberate.  It didn’t evade “race,” but it rarely let it mean more than we’re slightly different but still the same. Continue reading

It’s Not All About You, or The Case for Empathy

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Back in 2004 when I first started speaking and blogging about race, I was invited to facilitate a phone discussion with a group of parents who had adopted children from outside the United States.

One of the mothers in the group was white and Jewish. She adopted her son from an African country, and was raising him in her faith. She told me that she wanted my advice on a situation she was dealing with.

Her nanny was a Jamaican woman. One day, the nanny came home and the mother noticed she looked upset. The mother asked her what was wrong, but the nanny just shook her head and said everything was fine.

The mother was concerned, so she kept prodding, but the nanny was still reluctant to say anything. The mother was persistent, and told her that this was a safe space for her to share. She said there wouldn’t be any judgments, no matter what it was about.

Finally, the nanny broke down and said, “You people don’t know how to act!”

She explained that anytime she took the child for play dates in their mostly white and Jewish neighborhood, parents would treat her brusquely and avoid eye contact. Whenever she went to a store, salespeople would follow her around to make sure she didn’t steal anything. When she went to pay for items, the cashier would treat take great pains not to touch her hand when giving her change back.

She had been putting up with this kind of discrimination for a long time now because she loved working with this family, but she didn’t know how much longer she could go on as it was wearing on her emotionally.

“Can you believe that?” the mother asked me, her voice shaking with anger.

I was about to respond by expressing how sorry I was that this level of prejudice existed in her community, when the mother continued.

“I’m going to fire her! How dare she call Jews ‘you people!’ I’m Jewish and my son is Jewish. I’m just going to have to fire her because I don’t feel safe around her anymore.”

I was stunned.

Not only did the mother completely ignore the very real discrimination her nanny was dealing with; she managed to turn the entire situation around so that she became the victim.

In subsequent years, I’ve come to realize that this kind of behavior is not at all unusual.

If anything it’s the norm, not the exception, for people to be pre-occupied with their own suffering and supremely uninterested in hearing about the oppression others face.

This lack of empathy is one of the biggest roadblocks we face in dismantling racism.

If we’re serious about social justice, we need to recognize that when one of us is discriminated against, it’s an affront to us all.

Quoted: Resistance on Club Membership

I talk to white people about being “kicked out of the club.” It’s the moment that they realize that speaking up about race or racism distances them from other white people.  It’s when they find out that other white people won’t necessarily support them when they raise issues of racism.  I have tried to be empathic with them as they struggle with the perceived loss they suffer when doing what’s right means being ostracized.

I try to have compassion because the Now Me knows how the Then Me felt.  The Then Me often didn’t speak up.  The Then Me was somewhat passive aggressive.  The Then Me would quit a job rather than deal with repeated acts of racism, even when those acts weren’t directly aimed at me.

Then Me realized this was suicide.

Then Me knew that typically nobody would speak up if I didn’t.  And Then Me knew that I couldn’t live a lie.

So what are the risks and rewards of being anti-racist?  I feel funny writing “risks” (I was “taking a risk”),  just as I wrote “perceived loss” a few paragraphs ago.  I wrote that white people suffer a “perceived loss” when they are ostracized by other white people, because I would like to believe that it’s not a loss when you find out who other people truly are.  Or when you find out who you are yourself.

Then Me was a silent person.  Now Me has a voice.

So now I know., by Resistance