Introducing: Culturelicious [The $2 Challenge]

by Latoya Peterson

Culturelicious

When I first described the idea to Arturo, it took me close to ten minutes to relate my frustration with our limitations, the problems with our ever growing inbox, the desire to expand our content mix, and the ultimate goal of creating a space which showcased the work and creations of artists and creators of color.

Arturo thought for a minute, then summed up the entire project in one sentence:

“So, if Racialicious is the adversary, Culturelicious is the advocate.”

Racialicious focuses on pop culture critique and essays on identity. This tends to serve us pretty well. But over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed a huge glaring gap in our content – arts and culture reviews. This is partially because a volunteer blog relies on people to volunteer to review/write about a piece and that can be a pretty lengthy commitment.

For example, a series I would want to cover is Sons of Anarchy. But to cover the racial politics of a show like that is complex, and I came to the show late – 3 seasons in and there are all kinds of racial politics between gangs and the centering of Irish/American identity, as well as a white supremacist politician. To do the show justice, I would have to go back and watch the last 26 episodes, which represent about 20 hours of television viewing – if I were to just watch the episodes. However, doing critique requires a lot of rewind, fast forward, and note taking, so the time can easily double.

Remember that review I did for “My Mic Sounds Nice?” An hour long show means about four hours on the back end, gathering quotes, finding media, and writing the actual post. Even things you have to do on the fly – like the fifteen minute short “Irish Twins” I reviewed a while back – take hours to turn the experience of the film into something readable and engaging for the audience.

There’s also the issue of books. We come across some amazing reading material at Racialicious HQ, things that we want to write about but have to somehow carve out the time to do so. On my desk, I have the following books that are waiting for me to do something with them:

  • Brainwashed, by Tom Burrell, on the marketing of black inferiority
  • Extraordinary, Ordinary People, by Condoleeza Rice, a memoir dealing with race, history, and identity
  • Screaming Monkeys, an anthology edited by M. Evekuna Galang, which critiques images of Asian Americans
  • The Men Who Would Be King, by Nicole LaPorte, which analyzes the fall of Dreamworks – and Stephen Spielberg’s Jewish identity in the context of The Color Purple and Amistad
  • Drifting Towards Love, by Kai Wright, a coming of age tale for young gay men of color
  • The Color of Wealth, by Meizhu Lui, et al, to seriously discuss the wealth gap in the United States
  • Conversations with Octavia Butler, edited by Consuela Francis, which is full of so much win I have to find a way to make Madame Butler the patron saint of this blog
  • Mind of My Mind, by Octavia Butler, since I am thinking of starting a reading discussion club for all her novels after reading Conversations
  • The Rise of Islamic Capitalism, by Vasi Nasr, which purports to explain why the new Muslim middle class will defeat extremists
  • Unburnable, by Marie-Elena John, since I was in the mood for a good novel
  • Reggaeton, by Raquel Z. Rivera, et al, since she sent it to me last year and it’s an amazing mix of race, geography, culture, language, and identity
  • The Post American World, by Fareed Zakaria, which looks at the sunset of American power and the rise of China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Kenya
  • Post-Black, by Ytasha L. Womack, still sitting in my review pile
  • Coethnicity, by James Habyarimana et al, which sets out to explore why diversity begins to undermine the idea of working for the collective good, still sitting in my review pile
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry, by Rebecca Traister, which I am quoted in extensively and illuminates some of the hanging social chads from the 2008 elections
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, which explores the impact non profit status and foundations have on shaping social movements
  • Working (Graphic Novel), by Studs Terkel, to see how the graphic adaptation holds up to the book

And that’s just what’s on my desk.  I haven’t talked about comics, music, video games, television shows, art exhibits, plays or movies.

I haven’t talked about all the amazing culture creators who come to us with things to promote, which we struggle to keep up with in a timely manner, if we can get to them at all.

I haven’t talked about why it’s important to show that there is alternative media being created and position it against mainstream offerings on a regular basis.

And we haven’t talked about the challenges inherent with creating rich, complex works that fall outside of mainstream narratives.

But we would like to do all this and more.

As part of the $2 challenge, we will create some posts around Culturelicious, which take a deeper look at art and media, and create a different type of content dynamic for the site.

If you’d like to see more, please help us by pledging your support.  We’re asking everyone for $2 – but feel free to give more! – which will go a long way in helping the blog reach its goals.

Stay tuned for the beginning of the Culturelicious content, and, as always, thanks for your support.