Month: February 2013

February 26, 2013 / / fashion

By Guest Contributor Darnell L. Moore; originally published at Feminist Wire

15037_10151311871680791_1210328814_nEnter Scene: I am walking in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn—where we do more than die, by the way—rocking a close fade with two parts on the side, a full beard and mustache lined up perfectly, eyes protected by a pair of fresh chocolate browline frames (I was two blocks from Malcolm X boulevard, after all). I am donning a fitted button-up white shirt, closed off with a pink and gray striped bowtie, form-fitting charcoal gray blazer, dark blue kinda-skinny jeans, and a pair of hot pink and silvery gray kicks.

Passerbyer 1 checks out my footwear.

Passerbyer 2 offers up the obligatory, “Yo, son, your kicks are hot.”

Passerbyer 3 is looking at me like I’m way off, as if to say, “Really, you got on pink sneakers, sucka? That’s gay as hell. You are doing way too much!”

Passerbyer 4, my neighbor repeats, like he always does, “You cool, brother.”

My representation as a certain type of black man often transgresses the accepted boundaries of black masculinity. The ways I cut my hair, shape–or refuse to shape–my beard, style my clothes, walk, talk, and gesture tend to confound some folk and, on occasion, anger others because of my seeming transgressions. Sinning ain’t easy.

Indeed, some will stare at me as I make my way down any street rocking a beard, frames, “man bag,” and a little less than loose clothing because my gender presentation seems to be read as a sign of non-heterosexuality, deviance. In fact, most folk are okay with what they “see” until they notice that I am wearing something like hot pink (!) sneakers. According to some, a black man wearing hot pink sneakers, like a black woman wearing a suit, ain’t at all “cool.”

The notion of “black cool,” in particular, seems to be limited, limiting, and quite “straight” (as in hetero and rigid). I am thinking, for example, of one of the inspirations that motivated Rebecca Walker’s investigation of “Black cool.” She mentioned during an interview on NPR that an image of then-Senator Barack Obama exiting a black Lincoln Town Car during the 2008 campaign “was really, at that moment, the epitome of black cool.”

She went on to say that she was “drawn to that image because [she] wanted to decode it and to see where it fit into this Afro-Atlantic aesthetic.” And while that image is but one of Walker’s inspirations (and while her book, Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, actually includes critical and beautiful essays that think through the gendering of “black cool”), that particular picture of Obama locates the quotidian “black cool” in a male-bodied, masculine, straight black man and leaves me to wonder: does coolness exist anywhere beyond black masculinity, maleness, and heterosexuality? As some of the writers in Walker’s Black Cool argue, I think so.

Read the Post Black Freaks, Black F**s, Black Dy**s: Re-imagining Rebecca Walker’s “Black Cool”

February 26, 2013 / / beauty

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

Quvenzhane Wallis and Halle Berry bond at The Oscars. Image via Buzzfeed.

We’re trying something new here at The R. In coverage of awards shows I’ve noticed fashion writers tend to completely ignore people of color, since there are so few nominated for the big awards. This holds true much more so for white-centric awards like The Oscars–less so for The Grammys. Unless you’re Halle Berry (and even then), beautiful people of color have to clamor for the spotlight. That’s where I come in.

There’s so much beauty in the world and, while I love Jennifer, Anne, and Jessica, I would like to shine a light on Inocente, Quvenzhane, and Octavia–some of the best dresses of the night. Beauty in color, under the cut.

Read the Post Beauty In Color: Oscar Highlights

February 25, 2013 / / Entertainment

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joe Lamour

Image via Spinoff Online and AMC.

Lots of moving chess pieces this week. I tend to dislike these discussion-heavy episodes, but a lot happened. So, let’s get straight to it, shall we?

The breakdown: Each week, a Walking Dead roundtabler or I will provide a recap the day after the newest episode airs. The next Friday morning a roundtable discussion of the episode is posted hosted by me, Joe, and a variety of guest commenters.

Spoilers for The Walking Dead 3.11 “I Ain’t A Judas” are under the cut.

Read the Post The Walking Dead Recap 3.11: “I Ain’t A Judas”

February 25, 2013 / / Entertainment

By Arturo R. García

We are not running The Onion’s tweet involving the misogynist slur about Quvenzhané Wallis here. Because she’s a nine-year-old girl and we’re not reprinting that language. (A screencap of the tweet can be found here.)

But for many fans and supporters of the Best Actress nominee, Sunday’s Academy Awards turned into a horror show.

Update: The Onion has posted an apology for its actions Sunday night. A transcript is available under the cut.

Read the Post Apparently, People Have Beef With Quvenzhané Wallis

February 22, 2013 / / activism

By Andrea Plaid

Via jonathanjphalperin.com
Via jonathanjphalperin.com

 

Taking a break from the Crush column to review one of my favorite kinds of movies–documentaries–but I promise to include a Crush alum to keep some continuity!

So, let me keep my promise: I saw CrushR Raj Patel in a celebrity-powered version of Food, Inc., the well-regarded exposé on the effects of agribusiness and the US government subsidizing it on people living in this country and Latin America, the other night. The documentary, called A Place At The Table–as powered by Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio (and co-directed and produced by Colicchio’s spouse Lori Silverbush), actor Jeff Bridges, and musicians T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars–takes Food, Inc.‘s initial nugget of criticism on how agribusiness and its federal subsidies helps create food insecurity to create a solid framework on exactly how it’s done, from the Reagan-era dependence on food charities to fill in the needs of food-insecure USians as the administration cut federal spending on food programs (the film states that the US had 200 food banks in 1980 but now there are 40,000 food banks, soup kitchens, and pantries) to pricing many people living in this country out of being able to get healthy food (according to the film, the relative price of fresh fruit and vegetables has gone up by 40% since 1980, while the price of processed foods has gone done by about the same percentage) to business policies (like the fact, says the documentary, that we subsidize the basic ingredients in processed foods but don’t subsidize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because the producers tend to be small producers as well as food suppliers and business owners determining that it’s simply not cost-effective to make fresh produce available to certain locations because they’re considered “out of the way”).

Read the Post Racialicious Review: Who And What Really Has A Place At The Table?

February 22, 2013 / / Entertainment

Hosted by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joe Lamour

TWD_GP_310_0829_0208
Gene Page. Via AMC.com.

Ghosts, psychosis, and the undead. As I outlined in my recap on Monday, things are completely normal here on The Walking Dead. Let’s take a look at the roundtablers’ thoughts. Ken Hwynn, Jeannie Chan, Kiki Smith, and NIkki Urban join me to chat about the episode.

The breakdown: Each week, a Walking Dead roundtabler or I will provide a recap the day after the newest episode airs. The next Friday morning a roundtable discussion of the episode is posted hosted by me, Joe, and a variety of guest commenters.
Read the Post The Walking Dead Roundtable 3.10: “Home”

February 22, 2013 / / Entertainment

By Kendra James

Kerry Washington in ABC’s “Scandal.” Image via Examiner.com

This was one of the more bearable (and by bearable, I’m only half-sure I mean “better”) episodes of Scandal this season. Meaning that, with that came the exposure of one of the major weaknesses secreted away in the show’s Writer’s Room: they’re having trouble seamlessly weaving in the procedural “Scandal of the Week” cases (that they, for some reason, feel obligated to produce) with the show’s main political intrigue-driven plot.

You can be a procedural-run NCIS or you can be a plot-driven Nashville. It takes a lot of talent and a primetime cable slot (or a neglected Thursday night 8pm blackhole on NBC) to pull off multiple genres. I’m not sure Scandal is there yet. Last night’s offering felt like two different episodes: one that dealt directly with the story and characters at hand and one that they just threw together to settle up whatever was left of Eric Maibus’ ABC contract from Ugly Betty.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT

Read the Post Scandal Recap 2.15: “And Boom Goes The Dynamite”

February 21, 2013 / / links