All posts by Andrea

Goodbye, Racialicious!

By Andrea Plaid

After being here for five years, it’s time for me to move on, Racialitizens.

Longtime readers remember my starting here as the Sexual Correspondent after my very first post, “What Color Is Your Orgasm?” Then, one of my most talked-about posts had

That's me and Sady Doyle Tiger Beatdown, In These Times) at a Harvard panel for Feminist Coming Out Day.

That’s me and Sady Doyle (Tiger Beatdown, In These Times) at a Harvard panel for Feminist Coming Out Day.

nothing to do with sex, but racialized gender stereotypes, namely about First Lady Michelle Obama as a big-afroed Black militant and President Obama (who was then a presidential candidate) outfitted in gear suggesting that he was a Muslim on the cover of The New Yorker.

Since then, I’ve written about Montana Fisburne’s foray into porn, multiracial swingers cruises, race play (including interviewing the inimitable Mollena Williams!) and John Mayer’s getting into his racism in Playboy, among other topics.

With staff restructuring behind the scenes, I took on the title of Associate Editor and with that, created and co-curated the Tumblr, as well as wrote the Racialicious Crush of the Week column. With that I got to write about such fabulous folks like porn star Keni Styles and filmmaker Mira Nair, as well as interview some extremely cool people like rosa sparks, Scot Nakagawa, and Profs. Blair L.M. Kelly, Tamura Lomax, Heidi Renee Lewis, and Jakeya Carruthers.

Thanks to the incredible opportunities provided by my writing here, I’ve written at other media outlets, like RH Reality Check, Bitch, and On the Issues. I’ve also gotten to give my opinions about race, sex, gender, and pop culture at places like In These Times and Melissa Harris-Perry. Oh yeah! And at Ebony.com, which named me one of the “8 Dynamic Black Women Editors in New Media.”

So, where am I going and what am I doing after this? Well, a few places and things:

1) I’m starting a new blog with Racialicious’ Senior Editor Tami Winfrey Harris called Squeezed Between Feminisms! With our target audience of Gen Xers and a crew of 40- and 50-something feminists of color writing with us, we’ll still be posting about pop culture, but also about race, gender, parenthood, sex and sexualities, and other topics as they intersect with feminism. We already have a Facebook page and will be tweeting very soon (@sbfeminisms), and check out our debut on Sunday, 9/15! To say that we’re excited about it is an understatement!

2) The aforementioned Mollena Williams and I are co-producing an co-directing a documentary about the intraracial politics of Black people and “ashiness,” as some Black folks call dry skin. We started filming back in June and just shot a great segment with fabulous love and life expert Abiola Abrams in Brooklyn! Check out our FB page, stay tuned for our tweets (@ashydocumentary), and please feel free to submit a video about your own “ashy” story at ashythedocumentary@gmail.com!

3) I haven’t completely walked away from progressive writing collectives. I’m now hanging out with said Dr. Lomax and the rest of the incredible collective at The Feminist Wire!

4) I also compiled some of my posts from Racialicious–and from RH Reality Check and Bitch.com–into an e-book, coming out before year’s end.

5) I’m the featured “lady ” for this month’s episode of Ladypoints, a web series about women doing the creative life on their own terms.

6) I’m an associate producer for Black Folk Don’t!

With all that said, I take my leave, and I leave a bouquet of gratitude to Owner/Editor Latoya Peterson and Racialicious  co-founder Carmen Sognonvi, who let me do my thang with some great guidance and belief in my writing talent, and to you, the Racialicious community, for being the engaging folks you are.

It’s been real, y’all. Take care!

 

Quoted: David J. Leonard On “Frat Rap” And The New White Negro

 

Image via act.mtv.com.

Image via act.mtv.com.

In 1957, Norman Mailer spoke to the existence of the “white Negro,” an urban hipster whose fascination and fetishizing of blackness resulted in a set of practices that reflected a white imagination: part cultural appropriation, a subtle reinforcement of segregation, and a desire to try on perceived accents of blackness. “So there was a new breed of adventurers, urban adventurers who drifted out at night looking for action with a black man’s code to fit their facts,” he wrote. “The hipster had absorbed the existentialist synapses of the Negro, and for practical purposes could be considered a white Negro.”

As the Princeton University professor Imani Perry has noted, “there is a sonic preference for blackness, the sounds of blackness, but there is a visual preference for whiteness in our culture.” It should come as no surprise, then, that white rappers are slowly beginning to dominate the college music scene with the ascendance of a genre that can loosely be called “frat rap.”

While similarly embracing hedonistic pleasures, the idea of frat rap positions these artists apart from those other artists, those of color, who may offer a similar style and performance. Akin to going uptown during the jazz era without having to leave the confines of white spaces, frat rap is nothing new. Whereas the other rap purportedly celebrates violence, sexism, and materialism, and pollutes hearts, frat rap is fun. What happens in college stays in college.

Historically white colleges remain immensely segregated. The growing popularity of frat rap, which has seized upon the power of online technologies and the stigmas associated with (black) hip-hop, continues not just a history of appropriation and the idea that blackness is merely a culture or an aesthetic that can be borrowed or purchased at the local dollar store; it also continues the American tradition of segregation that is a cornerstone of American colleges and Universities.

–From “Frat Rap And The New White Negro,” The Chronicle Of Higher Education: The Conversation” 8/29/13

Meanwhile, On TumblR: Another Look At The Interracial Casting Of Romeo And Juliet

Imae via dailymail.co.uk.

Image via dailymail.co.uk.

I know that that there was some excitement of seeing the interracial recasting of Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. Then I read this interesting comment from Tumblrer ultraliberalwordmeister:

I get really frustrated when people decide to make R&J “relevant” by casting the two families as members of modern ethnic [groups] that are experiencing conflict. Not just because it’s boring and overdone and never as insightful as the directors and producers think it is.

It’s because the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets is explicitly a stupid bullshit pissing match between two powerful families that no one else takes seriously (and that even some members of the family think is silly).

So anytime someone decides to make R&J “relevant” by making those families black/white or Israeli/Palestinian or something along those lines, they a) undermine the seriousness of those conflicts by implying that a little kumbaya can prevent the deaths of young people, and b) erase the fact that, unlike the Montagues and Capulets, one of those real world groups is invariably guilty of violence and oppression against the other.

See who and what else is giving us Racializens something to think about on the R’s Tumblr!

Announcements: A Mural Goes Up In Harlem And A Goddess Walk

Photo courtesy of Picture the Homeless.

Photo courtesy of Picture the Homeless.

Just got this last-minute invite to a really great event going on in Harlem, if you’re in town later today.

Picture The Homeless (PTH), a grassroots social-justice organization founded and led by homeless people advocating around the issues of housing, police violence, and the shelter system, reveals their new mural based on those themes today at 4pm at 138t Street and Adam Clayton Powell. The mural is on the side of Epiphany Bar. (More details here.

According to Shaun Lin, one of PTH’s community organizers, the mural was a 6-month collaborative effort of people of all ages living in the community.

“This mural itself is actually the conclusion of a 6-month collaborative process between Picture The Homeless, Peoples Justice, and artist Sophia Dawson. We started with a few study sessions–of “Broken Windows” theory, “quality-of-life” policing, and resistance/organizing around these policing practices–which guided a collective visioning process in which particular images drawn directly from study and conversation. And finally concluded in the painting of the mural, which included 2 community painting days and over 80 volunteers [sic]. The mural itself is beautiful in itself, but the process of creating and painting the mural has been one of the most engaging, collaborative, and community-oriented projects I’ve personally worked on.”

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Meanwhile, On TumblR: Junot Diaz Goes Graphic Novel

"Nilda," from the upcoming deluxe edition of Junot Diaz's "This Is How You Lose Her." Image Credit: Jamie Hernandez via Entertainment Weekly.

“Nilda,” from the upcoming deluxe edition of Junot Diaz’s “This Is How You Lose Her.” Image Credit: Jamie Hernandez via Entertainment Weekly.

Y’all know we crush hard on author Junot Diaz around these parts. Well, this bit of news from Entertainment Weekly’s Tumblr makes us crush even harder: comics legend Jamie Hernandez (of Love and Rockets fame”) is reworking Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her as illustrations for the upcoming deluxe edition.

If you’re a fan of one or both of these giants, then save your money now–the edition comes out October 31!

Friday Fun: Ava DuVernay Makes Fashion Fair Cosmetics Look Good–And Relevant!

By Andrea Plaid

Via chaudmag.com

Via chaudmag.com

I’ve always given side-eye to Fashion Fair Cosmetics ever since I started wearing make-up. To be a part of the Johnson Publication empire–the people who bring us Ebony (and its online equivalent) and Jet–their make-up was not only too rich for my wallet but never quite fit my skin tone. (You’d think, of allllll the companies, Fashion Fair would have a shade that fit the full spectrum of Black folks and well, right?) And, to be honest, the brand itself made me think of its relevance to my mom’s generation–the fresh-off-the Movement, up-the-corporate-ladder Baby Boomers–not mine.

Of course, it would be award-winning director Ava DuVernay who would make Fashion Fair relevent to my mom, me, and younger generations.

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Meanwhile, On TumblR: “Serving Up Black Frida Kahlo Realness”

By Andrea Plaid

It’s the second time I’ve seen a photo like this.

One of my favorite Tumblrs, black beauty, featured photos submitted by Tumblrer Indigo, who dressed in an homage to legendary artist Frida Kahlo. (The headline comes from the caption she wrote to describe her picture.)

Serving Up Frida Kahlo Realness

She isn’t the only African-descended woman to get gussied up as the iconic Kahlo. Guest tweeter Minna Salami, a.k.a. Ms. Afropolitan, did a similar shoot back in March of this year:

tumblr_mjayfgEflh1r9qbgqo1_500

Image credit: Bumi Thomas Photography.

Not saying that it’s a trend or anything. I just find it really cool to see women of color are showing love to women artists of color like this, like speaking back to the elders with gratitude.

See what and who else we find cool at the R’s Tumblr!

Friday Fun: Shanola Hampton Teaches The Sexy To The Real Crew

By Andrea Plaid

Not my Crush of the Week yet–I’m planning to catch up on the US version of Shameless when I get a chance–but I had to share this bit of hotness from one of the show’s stars, Shanola Hampton, from a couple of weeks ago. She teaches the co-hosts of The Real how to make just about any sentence sound like a bit of seduction.

Enjoy this, and enjoy your weekend!