“It’s like Eminem is a great, great rapper. But in part because hip-hop has a different relationship to black people then R&B, and in part because Eminem is the best selling artist of the last decade, I never lose sight of his whiteness. Teena Marie never crossed-over, and never seemed to much care about crossing over. There was no sense that she was—willingly or not—Elvising, and getting extra credit for being white. Part of that is her own aesthetic, and part of it was just the times. I’m sure, like any artist, she would have liked to have won a grammy and sold more. But as it was, Teena Marie sung pariah music for a pariah people. In doing so, she offered testimony, once again, that blackness, like all culture, is not biological.”
“She was lost in her thoughts, so I withdrew in to mine, suddenly remembering how shocking it was to see Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury fall in love and touch each other in ‘Mississippi Masala’, which I saw during my senior year of high school, back home in California. I had cut school to watch it with my best friend, one of the only other brown girls at my overwhelmingly-white school. We stared at the screen, wide-eyed and in shock as the credits rolled, 18 years ago.”
“The growth of online activism targeting blacks and Hispanics has been spurred in part by data showing that minorities are outpacing other racial and ethnic groups in the use of social media. Research by the Pew Internet & Family Life Project has found that minority Internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white Internet users. And in the past decade, the proportion of Internet users who are black or Latino has nearly doubled- from 11 percent to 21 percent.
‘The Internet has ‘become deeply integrated within all activism. It’s not a distinctive, separate area. And it’s become more inclusive,’ said Wes Boyd, a co-founder of the liberal online activist group MoveOn.org where Rucker once worked. ‘You can make these connections for much less money, and [the] technology helps strengthen and extend traditional networks.’”
“Once a purely black concept, its new home is a multicultural America determined to celebrate diverse histories, experiences and cultures. Part of Kwanzaa’s embrace by multicultural America is self-serving. Whereas black power uses Kwanzaa to connect black Americans with the continent of Africa, multicultural America uses Kwanzaa to sell products and consumer goods. Whereas black power expected Kwanzaa to liberate African-Americans, multicultural America has tried to use Kwanzaa as evidence of racial diversity and black inclusion.
We should applaud Kwanzaa’s growth in American society, but we should also remain aware of a cautionary tale so often associated with holidays. Too much variation and too many usages will cause Kwanzaa to lose its original purpose. Just ask its neighbor, Christmas.”
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