By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual
The New York Times’ recent article on Hollywood’s “whiteout” about the lack of black nominees for the Oscars has caused some controversy, mainly for forgetting to mention Whoopi Goldberg. But there may be an unintended consequence to Hollywood’s race problem — if we concede there is a particularly recent one, which I’m not sure is true:
Are more A-list black actors moving to television?
By Site Lead Arturo R. García
DC Comics went back to the racial well this week in an interview with Comic Book Resources, which featured this exchange between CBR News Editor Kiel Phiegly and DC co-publisher Dan Didio:
CBR: There’s been a lot of discussion – and a lot of angry discussion, I’d say – coming out of some of the recent DCU storylines, specifically the death of Ryan Choi in the “Titans” Brightest Day launch…
Didio: And if I could jump in here for a second, I’d ask “What past that?” There seems to be a concern about us pulling back in diversity, and we identify Ryan Choi, but we don’t identify what more than that. If you’re talking about a single character, we can’t run backwards from the way we act and behave with our characters because we’re afraid of addressing characters of different race or putting them in stories that are bigger or more exciting, I’m sorry to say. This is an interesting thing to me, because since I’ve been here, we’ve been extraordinarily aggressive in trying to bring racial diversity and diversifying our cast of characters as much as possible. That’s been part of our agenda for the last five to eight years since I’ve been here. We’re talking about a single character with Ryan Choi, but I’d love to know about examples past that, because at the same time that we’ve got Ryan Choi, we’ve got a Great Ten series running. If you look at every team book and everything we’re doing, we go to extraordinary lengths to diversify the casts and show our audience in our books.
by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said
Neo-soul singer and actress Jill Scott is taking some undeserved heat (IMHO) for her opinion piece on interracial marriage that appears in the current issue of Essence. Now, let me state for the record. I have NO PROBLEM with interracial relationships. We would all do better to evaluate people based on our shared values and interests rather than skin color. Back in my single days, I was an equal opportunity dater. Despite arguments to the contrary, I’m not so sure Jill Scott is opposed to interracial dating either.
In this month’s Essence, Scott writes an opinion piece attempting to explain the outrage expressed by some Essence readers when Reggie Bush appeared on the magazine’s cover. At the time, some black women were offended that Bush, who is dating a white woman (Kim Kardashian), would be lauded on the cover of a magazine for black women. While I don’t agree with this sentiment, I understand where it is coming from. And so does Scott. She writes about “wincing” when a new friend–an accomplished black man–revealed that he is married to a white woman:
Was I jealous? Did the reality of his relationship somehow diminish his soul’s credibility? The answer is not simple. One could easily dispel the wince as racist or separatist, but that’s not how I was brought up. I was reared in a Jehovah’s Witness household. I was taught that every man should be judged by his deeds and not his color, and I firmly stand where my grandmother left me. African people worldwide are known to be welcoming and open-minded. We share our culture sometimes to our own peril and most of us love the very notion of love. My position is that for women of color, this very common “wince” has solely to do with the African story in America.
When our people were enslaved, “Massa” placed his Caucasian woman on a pedestal. She was spoiled, revered and angelic, while the Black slave woman was overworked, beaten, raped and farmed out like cattle to be mated. She was nothing and neither was our Black man. As slavery died for the greater good of America, and the movement for equality sputtered to life, the White woman was on the cover of every American magazine. She was the dazzling jewel on every movie screen, the glory of every commercial and television show. She was unequivocally the standard of beauty for this country, firmly unattainable to anyone not of her race. We daughters of the dust were seen as ugly, nappy mammies, good for day work and unwanted children, while our men were thought to be thieving, sex-hungry animals with limited brain capacity. Read more…
Yes, the days of slavery are long past, but this view of black women as less desirable, less beautiful, less feminine and less valuable than white women persists. It is illustrated by the women who are featured on mainstream magazine covers…and those who are not (Vanity Fair anyone?). It is confirmed by the missing and exploited women that are covered 24/7 on cable news…and those who are not. It is underscored by statistics that reveal who is likely to marry…and who is not.
Black men are not immune to the message that black women are “less than.” Black women know this. We know this because we live it.
by Latoya Peterson
On Sunday night, I sat down to watch the premiere of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency after catching two or three specials on the making of the series while browsing HBO.
Now, let me just put this out there: I approached the series with some trepidation. First, I have never read the books. The novels, written by Alexander McCall Smith, are generally well received but knock up against some very strong views I hold about the narrative and stories of people of color. Since the voices of both women and PoCs tend to be marginalized in mainstream publishing, I try to seek out and support authors who would not otherwise be heard. So, instead of buying McCall Smith’s story about a woman from Botswana, I’d rather track down a book written by a woman from Botswana. I’ve written about this before in White Authors, Ethnic Characters and fleshed out my thoughts about times when it goes right and times when it goes wrong, but have decided to err on the side of supporting smaller authors (and smaller publishing houses).
However, the series was tempting to me from the get-go, as I love Jill Scott and like to support her work. In addition, the series is on HBO with a predominantly black cast in a time when diversity on television declines with each passing year.
Jill Scott stars as Precious Ramotswe, a kind hearted “woman of traditional build” with a penchant for mysteries and bush tea. Anika Noni Rose is Grace Makutsi, Precious’ quirky secretary. Lucian Msamati (J. L. B.Matekoni) and Desmond Dube (B K) round out the cast. Continue reading