Back in 2004, when Carmen and Jen ran Mixed Media Watch on Xanga, and when I had just abandoned the boards on Bolt for Otakudom, Sepia Mutiny was forming like Voltron. A search for their first post leads me to this:
i’m brown irish, actually. Posted on July 30, 2004 by A N N A there once was a group of brown nerds who spent all their time toying with words they all loved to blog (some from a city with fog) b/c let’s face it, a social life’s for the birds.
(mc sharaabi, out)
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And so it went.
For the last eight years, Sepia has brought an unapologetically brown view on politics and pop culture, with amazing insight and fresh perspectives. Sepia Mutiny was regular reading over here at Racialicious – even though either Abhi or Amardeep totally played us when we asked them to cross post content. (The exact wording was something like “If you guys were CNN or something, sure, but you’re too small so we don’t see the point.” Yes, I’m still a little salty four years later.)
Bruised ego aside, we kept on reading anyway because you just can’t ignore that type of talent. And they assembled an amazing crew, especially with women like Anna, Taz, and Phillygrrl rocking the mic. But unfortunately, it’s the end of an era. Continue reading →
BROWN GIRLS BURLESQUE BRINGS “SOUL TRAIN VS. SOLID GOLD” FROM NYC TO DC!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—The tantalizing New York-based Brown Girls Burlesque makes their DC premiere at the Red Palace with Soul Train vs. Solid Gold! On Friday, March 30, the BGB lovelies will shimmy, shake and rock your soul with a tribute to two of the most beloved music shows ever! Hosted by the Def Jam poet Regie Cabico with DJ Natty Boom holding down the sounds of the 70’s and 80’s, making strippin’ history in the Chocolate City at two back-to-back shows at the Red Palace (1212 12th St. NE), one at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.
The striptease art form has a remarkably rich past and present as noted by Chicava Honeychild, creative producer of BGB, in the Ebony Magazine article “BLACK BURLESQUE: Live Nude Girls!” After their 2007 debut, BGB has become a staple in the burlesque community keeping the art form alive in communities of color but also creating a space for other women of color on the burlesque stage. BGB has packed venues and created shows at some of New York City’s finest venues, and around the country, continuing the legacy of dancers like Tina Pratt, Toni Elling and Lottie the Body.
Brown Girls Burlesque has graced the pages of publications such as: Bust Magazine, The Advocate, The Village Voice, TRACE’s “Black Girls Rule” issue and $pread Magazine, and were also featured in a video on NYPost.com entitled “Burlesque in Color.” The ladies of Brown Girls Burlesque are: Akynos, Chicava HoneyChild, Essence Revealed, exHOTic Other, jazabel jade, Miss Aurora BoobRealis (co-founder), SisterMoon, and Sunshine Fayalicious.
Don’t miss this funky trip back in time! Ticket information is available here: http://redpalacedc.com/calendar/brown-girls-burlesque-presents-soul-train-vs-solid-gold/
This week, we step outside of genre boundaries to have some fun with something that, personally, has helped revitalize my music fandom: mashups.
For a lot of folks, the term might be synonymous with Girl Talk. But actually, there’s a phalanx of DJs and producers specializing in the art of the mash – and rest asssured, it’s as much an art as it is a matter of lining up beats. After all, one wouldn’t think that hearing Bob Marley’s vocals for “Is This Love?” would mesh with Daft Punk’s “Digital Love,” but MadMixMustang, to borrow a phrase from the fashion industry, made it work. Continue reading →
The stories that Invisible Children create in their media put children at the front and center of them. And, indeed, as Neta Kliger-Vilenchik and Henry Jenkins explain, youth are drawn to this type of storytelling. Watch Kony 2012 from the perspective of a teenager or college student. Here is a father explaining to a small child what’s happening in Africa. If you’re a teen, you see this and realize that you too can explain to others what’s going on. The film is powerful, but it also models how to spread information. The most important thing that the audience gets from the film is that they are encouraged to spread the gospel. And then they are given tools for doing that. Invisible Children makes it very easy to share their videos, republish their messages on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr, and “like” them everywhere. But they go beyond that; they also provide infrastructure to increase others’ attention.
Invisible Children knew that it was targeting culture makers and youth. And Twitter users no less. Indeed, check out the list of “culture makers” that they encouraged youth to target. It’s an interesting mix of liberals (George Clooney, Ellen Degeneres, Bono), conservatives (Rick Warren, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly), geeks (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg), big philanthropy names (Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Warren Buffett), and pop stars (Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber). Plus others. They also recommended contacting political figures. (Interestingly, they start with G.W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice and don’t list Obama at all.) As Lotan points out, these celebrities got pummeled with thousands upon thousands of messages from fans, predominantly young fans. And many of them responded.
The recent study found that participants who had initially viewed a series of magazine ads for alcoholic beverages made more errors indicative of racial bias in a subsequent task than did others who had initially seen ads for non-alcoholic beverages, such as water or coffee.
Test participants were shown a series of ads for either alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. They then completed a computerized task in which pictures of white and black men’s faces were shown for a split second, followed immediately by either a picture of a handgun or a tool. Numerous previous studies using this same task have shown that people often mistakenly identify tools as guns following presentation of a black face, a response pattern attributed to the effects of racial stereotypes. The fast pace of the experiment kept participants from thinking about their responses, which allowed the subconscious mind to control reactions.
In the real world, snap decisions in which one object is mistaken for another can be deadly.
The documents were marked “confidential” by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which was formed to support the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. NOM has gone on to campaign against laws recognizing same-sex families in some of the nations biggest fights, including efforts in Massachusetts, Maine and New York.
According to the internal documents NOM raised $3 million for California’s Prop. 8 campaign and was its “largest single contributor.”
“It is likely no overstatement to suggest that without NOM’s early leadership, the Prop. 8 campaign would have never gotten off the ground,” read the notes from the 2008-2009 board update.
It is Not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Race is the past. Black people can vote. One of them is president. Nothing Is About Race anymore. Just ask Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum — and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick that guy is? — and they’ll tell you that the president “injected” race into the tragedy. It wasn’t there before the president — who is (shhh!) black, you know — put it there. Ask Joe Oliver, this “friend” of the gunman who insists that Zimmerman might have said “fucking goons” and not “fucking coons,” because the latter is an obsolete racial slur and the former is a “term of endearment,” according to Oliver’s daughter. This is enormously believable because, if you’re an armed 28-year old gunslinger in pursuit of what you believe is a dangerous burglar, the first descriptive that would leap to anyone’s mind is a term of endearment used by high-school girls. Yeah, sure. Whatever. As if. And it is enormously believable because This Is Not About Race.
It Is Never About Race. All those people arguing down through the years that the Civil War was about dueling conceptions of nationhood, or a clash of incompatible economic systems, or the ramifications of the 10th Amendment were all arguing, after all, that It Was Not About Race. Massive Resistance in the South in the 1960’s was about resistance to overweening federal power because It Was Not About Race. The Wallace campaigns, and the politically profitable adoption by modern conservatism of the leftover tropes and trappings of American apartheid was about the embattled white middle-class in the North and not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Ronald Reagan kicked off his campaign talking about states rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, not far from where they dug three civil rights workers out of a dam, because he wanted to show that a new paradigm had been established in American constitutional history, and it was not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Amadou Diallo was Not About Race. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, which tracks such things, dozens of children are currently serving sentences of life without parole, of whom two-thirds of them are children of color, as a result of laws passed by legislators wanting to look tough on crime, and those statistics are not skewed because of race because It Is Never About Race. George Zimmerman saw a black kid with a hoodie and gave chase with his gun in his hand. But that was not about race, because Joe Oliver and the Sanford police and the oh-so-very fair-minded media are telling us, hell, don’t worry, It Is Never About Race.
But it’s not like I ever asked to play the piano. If I could have asked for something, it would have been to dance. When I was six or eight I’d stage my own dance performances for hapless cousins — doing god knows what without training or music of any kind. A classmate who lived next door saw me doing a private ballet in my living room one night, and asked me about it the next day. I was so mortified it’s as if she’d seen me with my pants down.
Somehow my parents never noticed. Each year at Christmas and in June my elementary school held student shows, with skits and songs and dance numbers. From third through fifth grade, I was asked to solo on the piano, or man the xylophone for the group bells number, and after each show my parents would preen with false modesty in the envy and praise of other working-class parents. Such a talented daughter! Such lovely posture! Such great wrist position! Okay, maybe nobody complimented my wrist position, but I thought they ought to have.
Clearly, these were moments when the sacrificing was Worth It. But in sixth grade the music teacher held an audition for two boys and two girls to dance the Charleston. I tried out. The popular girls had told me I should. In hindsight, they hadn’t meant it; they probably figured it’d be a hoot to watch the nerdy kid with glasses try to dance. But I had no social skills so I thought they had my best interests at heart.
You think we’re being racist, my Mom said so many times as I was growing up, when we went round and round about these weird books and movies. I heard an accusation. But what she and my Dad were trying to make me hear was their question: Why do you love a thing that won’t even let you exist within their made up worlds? – Pam Noles, “Shame” (via Racebending)
The debacle this week surrounding some fans of The Hunger Games made it painfully clear, once again, that geekdom has a major problem with many discussions–or even acknowledgements–of race as part of our day-to-day existences. One would like to think that the new ventures of geek celebrities Felicia Day and Chris Hardwick can, eventually, help with that process.
It was one of those rather nice plane rides where the passengers all felt like friends, particularly in our little corner in the back of the plane: I slept; the woman next to me knitted; the people in front of us chatted and got to know each other.
It was an all-around good time. As the plane touched down, two people in the seats behind me struck up a lively conversation like two friends who hadn’t seen each other since elementary school. My knitting neighbor and I exchanged a look as if to say, “Geez, these two are getting along so well, why didn’t they start talking several hours ago?”
We shrugged and got back to listening to them. The woman in the conversation had what sounded like a Spanish accent, and the man spoke working-class New York. Every so often the woman searched for a word in English. The two were both dog lovers, and the man pulled out a photograph of his dog to show to the woman. They both seemed so excited that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I craned my head a bit to see if I could catch a glimpse of either them or the dog photo, but no luck. The man was in the midst of explaining all the things that make his new puppy great a companion when the woman enthusiastically interrupted him. I heard the woman grasp for a word.
“What–uh, what–um–what race is your dog?” She asked.
By Guest Contributor Jen Wang, cross-posted from Disgrasian
I sat down to write about the fallout that’s ensued since ESPN editor Anthony Federico wrote that “Chink In The Armor” headline a little over a week ago, and I ended up with a bunch of stories about myself. In some ways though, I think these notes better articulate my frustration and anger over many of the conversations that have taken place about Jeremy Lin with regard to race than explicit words to that effect would have. Or maybe I just really like talking about myself.
For most of my life, I’ve been a sports fan. I was born and raised in Texas, so it was mandatory. More to the point, I was born and raised Chinese American in Texas. I couldn’t look like my peers, I couldn’t be accepted as an equal by many of my peers, but I could root for the same teams as my peers. And somewhere deep down, I probably figured that if I could demonstrate the same devotion to the idols of my peers, they would eventually come around to the idea that I wasn’t all that different from them, and perhaps even accept me as one of their own.
My father arrived in College Station, Texas from Taiwan in 1965 on a student visa. He was one of several students from Taiwan who went to Texas A&M to pursue graduate degrees in the sciences that year. They all lived together. They all had nothing. Only two years before my dad began his studies at A&M, the school admitted its first African American students. My dad recalls that was right around the time the school shut down its campus chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. He and my mom met a few years later when she came over from Taiwan to attend a nearby women’s college. I have to think the cultural climate of small-town Texas was what put their relationship in fast-forward. They met one Thanksgiving when all of the American students from their schools were home with their families, married a year later, had my brother less than a year after that. My mother has stories from that time of being told to sit at the back of the bus; my father, who only had a bike in those first few years, used to get run off the road by other students in cars who thought it was funny to see a Chinaman in a ditch.