by The Racialicious Team
Yeah, we know. You can say it– we won’t be insulted: It’s been a pretty quiet few months here at Racialicious. And by ‘quiet’ we really mean dead aside from the occasional burst of entertainment driven genius from our managing editor, Arturo Garcia. Unfortunately (or, fortunately, if you like things like paying rent and somehow living in three major cities) all of us, Latoya, Kendra, and Arturo, have full time day jobs in various fields and didn’t have the time to dedicate to daily posting on The R like we’d had in the past. So while Latoya’s been killing it at Fusion, bringing us things like this mental map with Carl Jones, while Art’s been writing daily at Raw Story, and while Kendra’s been making stupid youtube videos with her college friends, Racialicious has laid dormant.
In an effort to change that –starting with Monday’s post on Netflix’s Daredevil (spoiler alert)– Kendra and Art are happy to welcome Tope Fadiran on board as our new contributing and submissions editor. Tope (@graceishuman) has joined us before for chats on Scandal and protecting white kids from history, and can be found on other corners of the internet like Time.com or her own blog Are Women Human. Your submissions should still go to email@example.com, but for the most part you’ll now be hearing back from Tope. You’re all in great hands.
You’ll notice that I said ‘your submissions’. First, an apology to those who have been diligently emailing us over the past 2-3 months. As mentioned above, the Racialicious Team has been pretty busy with our daily lives and our response and edit rate has been deplorable. We love our readers and our contributors too much to let this go by without acknowledgement and a huge mea culpa. We’re sorry and we’re going to do better.
With Tope jumping aboard we are happy to announce that we are actively accepting, editing, and posting submissions. Again. You’re going to want to check out our submission guidelines (here) before you hit send, but rest assured you’ll hear back from the team.
We’re looking forward to spending the summer reconnecting with our readers, starting with a trip out to C2E2 in Chicago this weekend with Kendra. A con preview post will be up tomorrow, and we’ll be back on a regular posting schedule starting in May– more details to come! In the meantime, let’s all make Tope feel welcome with a hearty applause and a flood of incoming submissions.
If you skipped last night’s ceremony, we certainly don’t blame you. But, Kendra and Arturo were live-snarking throughout the night, and you can catch their recap of the highs and awkward lows under the cut.
This looks amazing, happening in NYC on February 1st at the Museum of the Moving Image:
Do media depictions of African Americans influence the way they are treated by the police, the criminal justice system, and by society at large? In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, protests have once again raised questions about the criminalization of the black image on screen. This program will bring together a group of leading African-American cultural commentators to look at the history of how African Americans are represented in film and television, beginning with D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation.
William Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, is the director of the Africana Studies Institute, University of Connecticut, and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and commentator for National Public Radio.
Mia Mask, film professor at Vassar College, is the co-editor of the recent books Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age, and Black American Cinema Reconsidered. She is the author of Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film.
Greg Tate is a writer, musician, and producer whose writing has focused on African-American music and culture. He was a long-time staff writer for The Village Voice and his books include Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America and Everything but the Burden.
Tickets: $12 ($9 for senior citizens and students / free for members at the Film Lover level and above). Order tickets online.
More information here.
The holiday season began on a distressing note late Tuesday night, when a police officer in Berkeley, Missouri — two miles from Ferguson — shot and killed 18-year-old Antonio Martin at a local gas station.
Authorities have released security camera footage they say justifies the shooting. They say the footage shows Martin pointing a gun at the officer. But the footage is grainy and only barely shows Martin, and was immediately questioned by residents and critics. Not only was there a demonstration within hours of Martin’s death, but protesters took to the city’s streets and a nearby interstate the following evening.
Martin’s death came not long after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged demonstrators in his city to postpone further actions in the wake of the fatal shootings of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu, Rafael Ramos. Their attacker, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, ambushed the two officers in their patrol car after coming to the city from Baltimore, where he shot his ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson.
As Jay Smooth explains in this episode of The Illipsis for Fusion, while there are police doing good work in their communities, the choice by people representing them to adopt “wartime” rhetoric has only exacerbated tensions between them and the people they are supposed to protect and serve.
“People are not angry at police because of these protests,” he says. “People have been angry at the police for decades because the system is broken, and these protests represent people trying, once and for all, to change that system so they don’t have to be so angry all the time.”
Following in the footsteps of trailblazer Melissa Harris Perry, two more braincrushes just launched shows on MSNBC’s Shift streaming media brand.
Maria Teresa Kumar, co-founder of Voto Latino with Rosario Dawson, is now anchoring “Changing America.”
And Janet Mock, the queen of Redefining Realness, is set to launch her progressive pop culture show this week. We will update here when the clip is available.
Something else happened that day. I realized that I really liked being an anonymous kid on a street corner in L.A. I realized that I really liked not giving a solitary fuck about what anyone was doing, not even myself. I realized that in some way it was my natural state.
Two days later, I started dressing differently.
I cut my own hair into a weird nappy mushroom top. I took this goofy trench coat I had and sliced it at the waist with a pair of scissors. On the chest I sewed the patch that I earned in a middle school spelling bee. I wrote graffiti on the sleeve in Sharpie. I took to wearing pajama bottoms and black chucks.
In short, the combination of Parliament and Hollywood had instantly funked me out.
And it worked, because the first time I left the house in this new uniform, I experienced something that I never had before. You might call it freedom. Abandon. Cultural immunity. I had a self. It was adolescent and awkward and trying too hard. But it was my very own self. It was a me that was all mine. It didn’t matter what anyone thought about it. For a brief moment in time, I simply didn’t give a fuck.
And that’s an important thing. When you have come to regard your very skin color as an insufferable disease, when you have to punch other people in the mouth just so you can be ok with who you are, not giving a fuck is the single most divine experience you can ever have.
- Carvell Wallace, “How to Raise Hell in Three Steps: on RUN-D.M.C, Parliament, Blackness and Revolution,” Pitchfork
Eddie Bautista, the longtime environmental justice advocate and director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, was quoted in the article saying about Garner’s death, “There are [a] number of ways that racism plays out … The asthma is just one more example.”
I thought the article used a poor occasion to illuminate racial asthma disparities. Bautista explained the larger context to me, though, saying, “The [article] doesn’t take the cops off the hook; on the contrary, it further indicts institutionalized racism in the U.S. for permeating the very air we breathe.”
I initially resisted this notion, refusing to see the connection. In my mind, there was the cop killing Garner in one hand, and Garner’s asthma in another — unrelated. And despite the millions of words I’ve spent over the years showing natural linkage between environmental problems, health problems, and racial justice, my anger with the Garner tragedy only allowed me to realize the police racism and violence. Just because I couldn’t see, or refused to see, the asthma link, though, did not mean it didn’t matter.
“Limiting the conversation about racism to just about how we’re policed is a lost opportunity,” Bautista wrote to me. “Folks should care not only about how racism kills quickly (via the police), but how racism also kills slowly and insidiously. ”
- Brentin Mock, “Why environmentalists should support the Black Lives Matter protests“