A friend of mine asked, two days before the theatre premier of Straight Outta Compton, what impact I thought the N.W.A. biopic would have on the Black Lives Matter movement. My answer, since I had not seen or read much about the film, was insufficient and characterized by stock hip-hop feminist answers: white viewers and critics of the Movement may very well use the film to say, “See! They’re advocating violence, glorifying it even!”; hopefully it’ll give historically contextual backing to the legacy of violence visited upon Black bodies to which Black Lives Matter is speaking directly; and, of course, as with all things venerating hip-hop, I worry about the gendered violence and erasure of (Black) women.
This last point — the violence and erasure of Black women in particular — is what the conversation in the car ride with a few other Ph.D. students at my graduate school revolved around. And rightly so.
If we are to allow the film to speak to the plight of Black bodies in contemporary America and use it to do the work of Black liberation, then we must honor the aims of the Black Lives Matter Movement—and the three queer Black women who founded the movement—by critiquing the normalization of violence against Black women. Continue reading →
Well, it’s that time of year again. As this posts Arturo and I will be gearing up for the five day sprint of geek culture (and alcoholic beverages) that is San Diego Comic Con. Like our past two years of tag teaming the giant convention you can expect our preview posts, con observations and panellive tweets from @aboynamedart, @wriglied, and @racialicious), possible tumblr updates, and –new this year– daily updates from our Instagram account, also @racialicious.
As usual, Art and I have taken a moment to highlight a few panels that spotlight diversity, Creators of Colour, and any POVs generally marginalised in fandom, entertainment, and creative spaces. These are also the panels you’re most likely to find us livetweeting from over the next few days, so tune in and if you’re attending, don’t be afraid to say hello! I’ll be cosplaying (Peggy Carter on Thursday, Rey from The Force Awakens on Friday and Saturday, and Margaery Tyrell on Sunday), but we’ll both be recogniseable by our haggard visages and overly caffeinated shaking limbs.
Panels for Thursday and Friday are listed below, with Saturday and Sunday soon to follow! The official schedule is also posted here.
While San Diego Comic-Con has become linked with the city’s economy, it’s worth pointing out that one reason other cities probably feel they have a shot at wresting it from San Diego’s grasp is, there’s very little inside the event that actually reflects the city.
Over the weekend, the Chicano-Con exhibit began putting more of the “San Diego” back into this sphere. The event, a pair of two-day art exhibitions inside Barrio Logan, a neighborhood less than a mile from the convention’s high-rent district that formed its identity in the early 1900s with the infusion of refugees from the Mexican Revolution. Brent E. Beltrán, highlighted this disparity in the San Diego Free Press:
Comic-Con International recently bought a building at 16th and National in Barrio Logan. Yet no official events are scheduled to take place here.
There’s not even a shuttle bus stop yet there will be Comic-Con buses running every twenty minutes down Cesar Chavez Parkway heading towards the freeway. And there will also be countless attendees using this community as a parking lot to escape the outrageous parking fees.
Yet no official activities take place here. No outreach has been done to incorporate a low income, mostly Latino community impacted every year by Comic-Con. And that is unfortunate.
We love comics and the popular arts as well. We’re even known for our art. Yet, Comic-Con ignores us.
There are more events on tap in the area during SDCC weekend, which we’ll highlight in our upcoming convention preview. But this past Saturday, we went to Border X Brewing for the Chicano-Con exhibition, and you can see most of the artwork on display under the cut. Continue reading →
What’s supposed to be a romantic moment in Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope ends up being one of its more problematic: we see the protagonist, Malcolm, tell his love interest Nakia, “Don’t sell yourself short” when she explains that, should she get her GED, she plans to attend a community college before, hopefully, moving on to Cal State Fullerton or a school in that system.
Malcolm’s remark is meant to be encouraging, to spur her on to defying expectations. But there’s also a touch of unwitting condescension, of classism in play in that response. And the vexing thing about Dope is that it’s a coming-of-age tale that won’t let him see that other side even as it insists he’s maturing before our eyes.
How do you imagine a life you could never live? Though not really a theme, this problem is at the heart of Netflix’s new original series Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, and heavily influenced by Tom Tykwer. Like many fantastical or science fictional premises, Sense8’s premise is a wish fulfillment: not — as is typical of this genre and the Wachowskis’ earlier work — the wish fulfillment of the disempowered middle school nerd stuffed into a locker, but rather the Mary Sue desire of a mature, white American writer/auteur who has discovered that an entire world is “out there,” one that the maker doesn’t know how to imagine. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World