All posts by Kendra James

Race + Television–The Vampire Diaries 4.20: “The Originals”

Promo shot for The Originals. Via the CW.

Last week The Vampire Diaries (TVD) aired Episode 20, ”The Originals,” a “backdoor pilot“ for a spin-off series coming this Fall of the same name, which will (finally) remove the Original Family of Klaus, Rebekkah, and Elijah from Mystic Falls, VA, and send them even further south to New Orleans. I know, I know–at this point we need more Southern vampires on television like we need another summer superhero movie. But here’s the surprising thing: If TVD showrunner Julie Plec weren’t also in charge of this show? It could be very, very good.

There hasn’t been much to be excited about this season, so this was a game-changer and it was more than just a change of scenery (TVD has had a lot of that this year). Admittedly, you can’t go wrong in erasing the ridiculous part of the plot where the 1000+-year-old vampires have to pretend to be teenagers, fitting in with small-town Virginia life. The new chosen city for the show isn’t overly inspired; New Orleans is hardly original when it comes to vampire storytelling, but with it comes an instant change to the mood and tone of the show.

“The Originals” steps back from the teenage shenanigans of TVD, and thank goodness for that. This is show about family–the family you’re born into vs. the family you make for yourself. With that, plus the introduced cast members, there’s some serious potential here.

The problem is it is Plec’s show–and a lot of the potential it has won’t ever see the light of day.

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Quoted: A Potential Pioneer, Just Looking for a Job

Alan Gendreau would seem an unlikely pioneer. He is a former kicker for Middle Tennessee State, the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history, a little-known 23-year-old who wants a shot at the N.F.L.

Alan Gendreau, a free-agent kicker from Middle Tennessee State, could become the N.F.L.’s first openly gay player.

Middle Tennessee State’s Alan Gendreau (38) after his kick beat Maryland in 2009. He is trying to land a tryout with an N.F.L. team.

And he is gay.

Recent attention on the sooner-or-later milestone of an openly gay male athlete in a major American team sport has been spurred by a presumption: that the first will be a current professional athlete.

But those who have long tracked the issue have thought the more likely situation would involve an already-out athlete climbing through the college ranks to reach the N.F.L., N.B.A., N.H.L. or Major League Baseball. They thought it would be someone like Gendreau. And it might be, if and when he can secure an invitation to try out for a team in the coming months. Gendreau’s motivation is not to become the first openly gay player in the N.F.L. It is simply to play in the N.F.L.

“I’m a kicker that happens to be gay,” Gendreau said Tuesday. “It’s a part of who I am, and not everything I am. I just want to be known as a normal kicker.”

Gendreau’s story was detailed in a substantial feature and video released Tuesday by Outsports, a Web site devoted to the intersection of gays and sports. Cyd Zeigler, a co-founder of Outsports who wrote the story, said Gendreau was not looking for a spot in history.

“His goal is not to be the first,” Zeigler said. “His goal is to be who he is.”

– “A Potential Pioneer, Just Looking For A Job,” The New York Times, April 23, 2013

The Racialicious Entertainment Roundup: 4.8-14.13

Scandal may be on a three-week hiatus, but that doesn’t mean we’ve turned off our televisions here at the R. Click in for news on from  Arturo Garcia and me on Idris Elba, Project Runway, and more.

Psy Returns:1,525,247,746 YouTube viewings later, the man behind “Gangnam Style” now attempts to escape One-Hit Wonderville — at least, outside of South Korea.

As Jeff Yang pointed out at The Wall Street Journal, the video for Psy’s new single, “Gentleman,” made its public debut before a crowd of 50,000 in Seoul. So he’s probably not going to be hurting for work, no matter how it’s received in North American markets.

Regardless, at least give Psy some credit for not completely resting on his last hit’s laurels. Because while the video for “Gentleman” revisits many of “Gangnam’s” elements, this is a different kind of parody track. Namely, Psy’s character is a more active–and more unsympathetic–figure this time around, as he trolls virtually everyone around him until meeting his match in Son Ga-In from Brown Eyed Girls. Even if it is a little off-putting at first: Psy’s willingness to make himself an anti-hero, if not an outright villain, is also interesting–the vision makes more sense after reading a translation of the lyrics from PolicyMic:

Hey there

If I’m going to introduce myself

I’m a cool guy with courage, spirit and craziness

What you wanna hear, what you wanna do is me

Damn! Girl! You so freakin sexy!

Yang also notes that the centerpiece dance move is taken from her group’s single, “Abracadabra.” But the question remains: What will “Gentleman” mean for K-pop’s collective commercial fortunes in America? If it gets Psy another hit, great. But will “Abracadabra” and BEG as a whole get more radio play out of it?

How many people are going to start screaming “WestSIIIDE” during the bridge and not the actual lyric, “Wet PSY”? AG

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To (All) the White Girls Who Didn’t Get Into The College Of Their Dreams


To (All) the White Girls Who Didn’t Get Into the College of Their Dreams,

I’m not gonna lie. When I applied to Brown University back in 2005, I was positive that I was getting in. I didn’t care what my college counselor was telling me. “Reach” my ass.

I was a legacy. An African-American legacy. An African-American legacy applying from a New England boarding school where I was also a legacy. My academic record wasn’t perfect, but I arrogantly told myself that “not perfect” at boarding school basically equated to public-school excellence. I had fantastic SAT scores, and I had great extracurriculars. In addition to varsity sports and stage crew, I was a Black competitive figure skater!

As far as I was concerned at the naive age of 17, I was a freakin’ unicorn.

As far as Brown was concerned, I wasn’t even worth the wait list. Continue reading

Scandal Recap 2.17: “Snake In The Garden”

By Kendra James



Fatherhood was the theme of the night on this week’s episode. Fitz is horrible at it; Hollis wouldn’t know his own daughter’s ear from a clay prop; Quinn’s dad is having a birthday; Cyrus is most definitely not being cheated on by the co-father of his child, no matter how poorly he’s phrasing it. It’s just another week on Scandal.

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