Charles Barkley, Gnarls Barkley. Potato, Potahto.

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Funny item from yesterday’s Page Six:

Models are not known for their brain power, but one catwalker showed amazing dim-wittedness at Tenjune the other night. Former NBA star Charles Barkley was relaxing at a table when a blond model approached him “seductively while the song ‘Crazy’ was playing,” our spy giggled. The model “whispered in his ear, ‘Get up and dance, baby – this is your song.’ ” The ditz thought he was Gnarls Barkley, a band comprised of two people – Danger Mouse and Cee-lo. Charles was not impressed.

links for 2006-12-07

Only anti-semites think Padma on Top Chef dresses too skimpily

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

top chef bravoWe can file this one in our “racial satire gone wrong” folder. (Hat tip to The Grinder.)

Andy Cohen, a VP at cable channel Bravo, recently wrote this on his blog, in response to viewer criticisms of Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s skimpy wardrobe:

By the way, I for one am getting a little tired of the griping about Padma’s clothes being inappropriate for the kitchen. We’ve got one of the few models who has written a cookbook and can speak with authority about food, so why not make the best of both situations!? Being Jewish, I was raised to believe that models who know about food should look as white-hot as possible while tasting and discussing food. Thus, I am hereby putting it out there that anyone who thinks Padma looks inappropriate just might be cloaking some form of anti-semitism in their comments and might want to look within instead of at Padma.

Say what?

Turns out it was a lame attempt at satire, as Cohen explained a few days later:

Here’s the deal — I am a very sarcastic person with a sense of humor that is at times a little left of I don’t know what. People have been getting upset by a joke I made on the blog the other day making light of an issue — and it has raised the ire of some Top Chef fans. (See it here.) I was attempting to answer the issue while lampooning the intensely sensitive, PC world we live in today, like a very low-rent, blog version of Borat. It didn’t work and I am sorry.

Dude, leave the satire to comedy professionals, please. And in case you were wondering, Padma is not Jewish.

Guacamole: Corn syrup, check. Food coloring, check. Avocadoes? Don’t need ‘em.

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

avocados - something that Kraft Foods guacamole doesn't have a lot ofEwww… In case you needed convincing that freshly-made guacamole is the best way to go, here comes word that Kraft Foods guacamole, sold in supermarkets, is basically green glue:

No wonder store-bought guacamole tastes like glue: It is glue! Okay, not really, but it certainly isn’t real avocados, either. As Los Angeles resident Brenda Lifsey discovered, the green glop sold by Kraft Foods is primarily composed of staggering amounts of coconut and soybean oils, corn syrup, modified food starch, and food coloring, with a minuscule amount of avocado thrown in. She was so upset that she took Kraft’s ass to court on Wednesday, and her lawyer says other faux-guac purveyors will soon be targeted as well.

Gross! While we’re on the topic, does anyone have a good guacamole recipe they want to share? We’re food lovers here at Racialicious. :)

The minstrel show comes to your toy store

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Buffoonery alert! This is one toy I won’t be buying for anyone. Check out this video about a new line of dolls called Frogz:

I found the company’s web site and the sales copy is even more barf-enducing:

Frogz Hip Hop – Ride Wit Me
These S’up, Playaz?! Check out who’s in the hizzy!! This FROG has got the clothes, the moves, and the style to buss a move on ya! Press the button, and watch ‘em dance to the funky beat.

Hat tip to AllHipHop.com.

If you’re reading this in an RSS reader and don’t see the video, please click on the post title.

links for 2006-12-06

Interview with ‘The Wire’s’ Sonja Sohn: Not ‘Your Typical Black Girl’

by guest contributor Wah-Ming Chang, originally published at Tripmaster Monkey

Like all the characters on the acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, Lieutenant Kima Greggs is a fascinating mix: an ass-kicking black lesbian cop in a department dominated by men. And as it turns out, the actress who plays her—Sonja Sohn—is just as complicated. A husky-voiced woman of African American and Korean parentage, Sohn (who’s straight, in case you’re wondering) got her start in the New York slam-poetry circuit (including the Def Poetry Jam) before moving on to the TV and movie game (check her out in Shaft). TMM’s Wah-Ming Chang recently caught up with Sohn to pick her brain about poetry, gay cops and why she’s not “your typical quote-unquote black girl.”

TMM: One of the things that really distinguishes you is your voice. It’s so sexy and husky. Most of us can sound that way only when we have colds, but your voice is just so sexy. Does it help you get roles?

SS: I think that everyone has a certain kind of energy that places them, and I think that my voice helps me in how people perceive me in the business. So, I guess you can say that it does.

How do you use it for effect in slam poetry? Does it help you in your acting and your performance in having that background?

I think every poet, no matter what type of voice they have, has to use their voice for different kinds of emphasis. I just think that’s a part of performance they should own. When it comes to acting, though, I don’t think it can be a conscious kind of thing, unless you’re just having a problem with projection, unless it’s a technical issue, like working with mikes and in theater. Other than that, it can’t be something that you’re conscious of, otherwise you’re just taken out of the character and out of the moment. Depending on the kind of poet that you are and your material, you use your voice as an instrument, whereas in acting, you use your whole body. But you definitely use your voice as a tool.

You work with the mike when you’re doing poetry, you do have to know your voice, and you have to know how it carries over the mike and how close you should be to it, and how to work with the mike. Because all you have at the end of the day onstage is your voice. If you are someone who uses your body, uses a lot of body language, you have that, too, but I was pretty much just a vocal person. I was very dramatic, which is pretty much how I think I segued into acting. My type of performance lends itself to the craft of acting. Continue reading

Corbin Bleu and Brenda Song bring diversity to The Disney Channel

by guest contributor Karen Gilmore

corbin bleuThe Disney Channel is adding more diverse faces in its program line-up. Corbin Bleu and Brenda Song are ones to watch. Corbin Bleu is one of the stars of the Disney Channel’s break-away hit High School Musical. The half Jamaican, half Italian star has found his stride in the the ‘tween and teen audience. He stars in the upcoming Disney Channel movie “Jump In” opposite of Akeelah and the Bee’s, KeKe Palmer. He recently signed a record deal and has an album slated for Fall 2007 release.

I find it a little sad that a couple of the most asked questions he gets according to his journal are: 1.) What is your ethnicity? and 2.) How does he get his hair like that? In an interview Bleu was aked what are some of the struggles for him in the entertainment business? His answer:

…A lot of times, they’re not looking for your type, especially because I’m mixed, especially. A lot of times they either want to go full on Caucasian or they want to go full on black. They either want somebody who is really black and from the street, and urban, and a little bit ghetto, or they want a Caucasian. That’s probably one of the hardest struggles for me.

Then there’s Brenda Song. The leading Asian-American face on The Disney Channel. She’s Thai-American and Hmong according to her website. She’s a regular cast member on the Suite Life of Zack & Cody and she starred in the Disney Channel original movie “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior”.

Although it’s nice to see her get a leading role, it would have been better if it wasn’t a martial arts movie. Our minds won’t melt if we don’t see a predominantly Asian cast do backflips.

Since The Disney Channel seems to groom its stars the old Hollywood studio style, we’ll probably be seeing Bleu and Song in various Disney related projects. And if they’re really blessed, they’ll get Hilary Duff type success and hopefully more interesting parts will be developed for them.

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World