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“I’m Just A White Girl In This World” — On Hip-Hop’s White Girls and Internet Novelty

whitegirlmob

Screen cap of Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” music video.

By Chelsea Upton originally posted at Not A Neophyte

In the “Ay Shawty 3.0″ video, a soft lense captures Kitty’s flower halo as she walks through a field, sundress and all. For the “rap game Taylor Swift” this imagery is not uncommon. The coy femininity — eyes darting away from the camera while she leisurely spits rhymes — are part of what made her breakthrough, “Okay Cupid,” such a massive Internet sensation. “Okay Cupid” was a disconcerting juxtaposition of teenage girl iconography and veiled suggestions, Kitty rapping about receiving three a.m. thirst calls from men, while she and her friends lounge in a room decorated with Hello Kitty and various heart shapes. The success of “Okay Cupid” (and perhaps, Kitty in general) is attributed to novelty, with a young, innocent-looking white girl rapping about cocaine with a carefully-placed bow in her hair. Kitty was 19 when “Okay Cupid” was released, but her refusal to talk about her age led people to speculate that she was younger.

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The Racialicious Links Roundup 9.12.13: The Real Olivia Popes, Florida Foolishness, RIP Demetrius Newton

  • SLIDESHOW:Black Political Operatives on ‘Scandal’ (The Root)

    When it comes to ABC’s Scandal, Johns sees it as one of several shows that attempt to depict life in Washington, D.C. “But there is nothing like being on the ground and influencing the policy that will affect so many American families,” Johns said. “I think we should keep in mind that television often glamorizes the incredibly hard work that so many public servants conduct daily.”

  • Florida man accused of ‘walking on wrong side of the road’ (Raw Story)

    First Coast News reported on Monday that Bobby Wingate was cited by an officer for “walking down the wrong side of the road” during the stop, then punched in the face. When the officer pulled out his Tazer, Wingate called 911 to protect himself.

    “He said do I really want to fight him?” Wingate can be heard telling the emergency dispatcher. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

  • Demetrius Newton Dead: Longtime Alabama Lawmaker And Civil Rights Attorney Dies (Black Voices)

    “Rep. Newton was a true gentleman and I considered him to be a great friend for the 15 years that I had the honor of knowing him,” Hubbard said. He said Newton was “an intelligent, fair, and kind man as well as a respected and knowledgeable legislator who fought for his district. His 27 years of service to the Alabama Legislature and his incredible impact on the Civil Rights movement will forever be a powerful part of Alabama history.”

Quoted: De Blasio deigns to acknowledge his Black wife and children; Bloomberg says that’s racist.

Bill De Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray, and their son Dante pose in a campaign sanctioned picture purposely poking fun at the Cheerios ad controversy. Image via Politicker.com

Then there’s Bill de Blasio, who’s become the Democratic front-runner. He has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign—
Class-warfare and racist.

Racist? 
Well, no, no, I mean* he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about.

But his whole campaign is that there are two different cities here. And I’ve never liked that kind of division. The way to help those who are less fortunate is, number one, to attract more very fortunate people. They are the ones that pay the bills. The people that would get very badly hurt here if you drive out the very wealthy are the people he professes to try to help. Tearing people apart with this “two cities” thing doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a destructive strategy for those you want to help the most. He’s a very populist, very left-wing guy, but this city is not two groups, and if to some extent it is, it’s one group paying for services for the other.

It’s a shame, because I’ve always thought he was a very smart guy.

[Editor's Note from New York Magazine:*The mayor's office asked us to amend the remarks to add an interjection that was inaudible in our audiotape of the interview, which was conducted over speakerphone. In our view the added words do not alter the meaning of the exchange as reflected in the published interview.]

– “In Conversation: Michael Bloomberg,” New York Magazine, September 9, 2013

 

After the rally, where de Blasio appeared alongside Ken Thompson, a candidate for Brooklyn District attorney, his daughter Chiara told reporters she and her mother and brother, 16-year-old Dante, participated in the campaign on their own terms. “My mom, my brother, and I are all capable of making our own decisions,” she said. “Twenty years ago, my dad did not know he was running for mayor and did not seek to marry a black woman to put on display.”

The de Blasios have appeared on the campaign trail with the candidate often, and Dante filmed an effective, much-talked-about direct-to-camera television ad earlier this year. When a reporter asked whether de Blasio has used his family as “a prop” during the campaign, McCray responded sharply. “Do I look like an inanimate object? I walk, I talk, I make my own decisions,” she said.

– “Alongside Family, De Blasio Denounces Bloomberg Comments,” Buzzfeed, September 9, 2013

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!

 

The Racialicious Links Roundup 9.5.13: History, Apps, And Detroit

Lt. Thomas Grosvenor and his black servant Key, by John Trumbull, 1797 or after. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn. Image via The Root.

  • Creator of GhettoTracker.com Surprised by All the “Negative Baggage”” (Gawker)

    “GhettoTracker’s “ghettos” aren’t identified based on mugging statistics or murder rates—or any hard data at all, really. Instead, “ghettos” are determined by the site’s users and delineated by their prejudices. It’s a new, crowd-sourced twist on stop-and-frisk: Just drop a little red dot anywhere you think upstanding folks should stop-and-avoid.”

 

 

  • A Black Man’s Role in American Revolution” (The Root)

    After resigning from the Continental Army, he studied painting in Great Britain with the American expatriate painter Benjamin West. He soon decided to devote his career to documenting the history of the Revolution in pictures, eight of which were to depict the major battles of the war. The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill was painted in London between late 1785 and early 1786.

    In the finished work, Lt. Thomas Grosvenor, the dashing young American officer seen here, stands to the far right. Beside him, a black man holds a musket. Both figures look toward the culmination of the action in the center of the scene. Gen. Joseph Warren, leader of the Revolutionary forces, has just been shot. In the middle ground nearby, British Maj. John Pitcairn, mortally wounded, falls into the arms of his son.

Racialicious Reads: Identity Edition

774276_73489432As we ease into fall, strong pieces are brewing to take us into the colder months.

The Art Of Not Belonging [Guernica]

Dwyer Murphy interviews Edwidge Danticat on her new work, being an immigrant writer, and categorization.

Guernica: Would these be very different stories if you didn’t translate? If you took them down in Creole?

Edwidge Danticat: Oh, definitely. I had that experience with Krik? Krak! I made some of the stories into radio plays in Creole and they become totally different. More alive in some way. More immediate. In the epigraph to Drown, Junot Diaz uses a quote from a Cuban poet, Gustavo Pérez Firmat—“The fact that I am writing to you in English already falsifies what I wanted to tell you.” This is the dilemma of the immigrant writer. If I’d lived in Haiti my whole life, I’d be writing these things in Creole. But these stories I am writing now are coming through me as a person who, though I travel to Haiti often, has lived in the U.S. for more than three decades now.

Often when you’re an immigrant writing in English, people think it’s primarily a commercial choice. But for many of us, it’s a choice that rises out of the circumstances of our lives. These are the tools I have at my disposal, based on my experiences. It’s a constant debate, not just in my community but in other communities as well. Where do you belong? You’re kind of one of us, but you now write in a different language. You’re told you don’t belong to American literature or you’re told you don’t belong to Haitian literature. Maybe there’s a place on the hyphen, as Julia Alvarez so brilliantly wrote in one of her essays. That middle generation, the people whose parents brought them to other countries as small children, or even people who were born to immigrant parents, maybe they can have their own literature too.

Are We Trayvon Martin? [The Margins]

I.Y. Lee at the Asian American Writers’Workshop examines racial space and conversation for the Asian American commmunity in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Some Asian Americans have been Trayvon Martin in the past: in 1975, when Peter Yew was brutally beaten by police and it took the largest rallies in New York Chinatown’s history (some 10-20,000) to secure promises of no further police harassment; in 1982, when Vincent Chin was beaten to death with a baseball bat because his killers, who never served jail time, confused him with the Japanese auto industry; in 2001, when Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Punjabi Sikh, was shot and killed by a man who mistook him for Muslim and conflated Islam with 9/11; in 2011, when Private Danny Chen was driven to suicide by the racial tormenting of his peers and superiors in the army.

But today, the much-publicized “model minority” myth will tell you about the ‘success’ and assimilation of Asian Americans—so much that elite colleges may be quietly capping the numbers of Asians they admit. This is not a compliment. Indeed, it divides Asians from other people of color, obscures the real needs of Asian communities—e.g., between 2007 and 2010, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders had the highest long-term unemployment rate of any group—and marginalizes the experiences of working class Asian immigrants.

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Five of cultural appropriation’s greatest hits

Miley Cyrus neither invented twerking nor cultural appropriation in music. What follows is a crowd-sourced list of some “great” moments in musical cultural appropriation.

“Vogue,” Madonna

Said one contributor to this list, “[Madonna] owes her whole career to appropriation, POC props and GLBT props, too…The idea that people associate her with vogueing is pretty much the textbook definition of appropriation of marginalized cultures, gay and black.”

 

“Waiting on a Friend,” The Rolling Stones

You know what makes New York City look extra gritty? Black people. You know you’ve hit the big time when you can get reggae legend Peter Tosh to serve as a random black extra hanging on a stoop.

 

“Luxurious,” Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani is the patron saint of icky cultural appropriation since that time she tried to keep a posse of Japanese women as pets. Here she kicks it Cali-style with her best Latino friends.

This fuckery committed with her bandmates in No Doubt cannot go unmentioned.

 

“Save a Prayer,” Duran Duran

I was a “Nick girl” back in the mid-80s when every self-respecting teenage girl was a Duranie. It failed to occur to me then how often the band illustrating their jet set coolness by frolicking in front of exotic flora, fauna and, y’know, brown people.

 

“We Can’t Stop,” Miley Cyrus

Would that we could stop this hot mess. If you haven’t read Tressie McMillan Cottom’s piece on the black female bodies Cyrus chose to foreground her whiteness. Do it. Now.