Coffee Rhetoric: race politics
Showing posts with label race politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label race politics. Show all posts

February 11, 2016

Getting In Formation: Representation, Race & White Tears



Unless you’ve been unplugged and living in the woods as a hermit, you’ve probably seen Beyonce’s surprise video for her new single Formation—quietly coyly released just a day ahead of her scheduled Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show appearance, and in preparation for her upcoming Formation World Tour—have already viewed said SB50 performance this past Sunday, have read the numerous think-pieces (either questioning her political motives and song lyrics or praising her efforts), and have heard the angry call to arms by white conservatives, insisting that folks boycott Beyoncé, 'cause she's suddenly enemy #1 and a threat to 'Murica's values. You've probably also seen the ire from white feminists who are hellbent on reminding us that #solidarityisforwhitewomen.  
Most commonly recognized as the quintessential crossover darling and purveyor of catchy pop-music and dance routines, this year Beyoncé decided to extol the wonders of her Blackness by releasing a song and video, and performing a SB50 set, that’s undeniably Black without the burden of respectability, Single Lady-friendly hand gestures, or Flawless soundbites preferred by the mainstream; the better for them to thrust and sing to, or co-opt as part of their YouTube reenactments or cabaret acts. I mean, this go-round, Beyonce went balls to the wall, and described herself as a Texas bama who loves to hoard hot sauce in her handbag, and white folks are like, 'Quoi? What does any of this even mean?'
I don’t want to make this solely about Formation—(more than enough essays have been cranked through the pipeline already)—as much as I mean for this to be about the push-back against Black self-love and representation, but the video and song are decidedly political (for Beyoncé); and much of the Melina Matsoukas-directed offering seems to be a love letter of sorts to New Orleans and the Black southern aesthetic often derided by the mainstream (when they aren't pilfering style and music trends from it), featuring clips of New Orleans bounce culture; Beyoncé and her dancers (all Black women) strolling; the pop star singing about the love she has for her baby’s afro and Negro noses with ‘Jackson 5 nostrils’; voice-overs by New Orleans-born comic and rap artist Messy Mya (who was shot and killed in 2010) and ‘Queen of Bounce’ Big Freedia; Beyoncé draped atop a New Orleans police car submerging herself underwater over voice clips about Hurricane Katrina; graffiti that reads “Stop Shooting Us”; and a Black little boy in a hoodie, dancing in front of a white police squad while they stand with their hands up. 

October 10, 2015

Thats So Raven: Raven-Symoné Won't Hire You If Your Name is Too 'Ghetto' Despite Her Own

I been gone for a minute, now I’m back with the Jump off.  And what better way to dive back in than through unfettered snark aimed at a short-sighted celebrity’s misguided ways?

The last time I expended energy on our, now be-cockatooed , friend Raven-Symoné, she engaged Oprah Winfrey in a bold (and awkwardly worded) ramble about her identity, and how she’d rather be considered as American rather than African-American. Despite Oprah offering Raven an opportunity to clarify her comments, she stood her ground and let her awkward, hippy-dippy b.s. ride the wave of stupidity.

Since my aforementioned post, Raven has been christened as the latest co-host on ABC’s The View (another in a revolving door of hosts), and her newly minted position has enabled her to curse us with several gaffes in-between being an American with a "nice, interesting grade of hair" and now. Perched on a nationally televised platform, with the Blackety-Black name Raven-Symoné, our sad clown has seemingly committed herself to playing The View’s resident Supreme Troll… a crown she quickly made haste, and snatched from Whoopi Goldberg--'cause let's be real, despite intermittent moments of clarity, Whoopi says some simple-minded shit too.

June 16, 2015

Notes on a Scandal: Rachel Dolezal and the ‘Trans-Black’ Con

By now, you’ve probably heard the sordid and bewildering story of world class Decepticon, Rachel Dolezal, explode across your social media timelines. Each day since her cover was blown Rachel's alternate reality shatters in a million little pieces, as more information is revealed about her real identity. In the event you’ve been luxuriating on a remote island, off the coast of I’ve Got Fancier Shit to Worry About, here’s the gist of the situation: Rachel Dolezal—a White woman, and (now former) president of Spokane Washington’s NAACP chapter—has been living a good chunk of her adult life masquerading (with the help of slightly darker makeup, box braid extensions and Afro-textured wigs) as a biracial woman with a Black father, and reaping the benefits of colorism’s complexion hierarchy.

In an elaborate 21st century minstrel tale that probably makes Vijay Chokalingam envious, Rachel was able to craft a highly derivative life, as if she’d taken her cues from the scripted pages of a psychological thriller.

March 17, 2015

Dark Roast, Flat White … Race 101? Why Starbucks’ #RaceTogether Campaign Lacks Steam

If there’s anything I love swilling more than red wine and vodka, it’s coffee. A delicious, highly-caffeinated, bold, dark, unflavored and unsweetened with just a splash of creamer cup of coffee. Frequently, I’ll amble into the nearest Starbucks… a place I have an ‘it’s aight, I guess’/ hate relationship with, to get my fix.

But now that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has rolled out a new campaign called #RaceTogether—an initiative that’s meant to encourage dialogue about race between baristas and customers—I can now tack on ‘thoroughly amused yet perplexed’ to my feelings about the coffee chain.

While I recognize that Shultz shamelessly and openly expresses progressive ideas about equality, appreciate his willingness to 'go there' with shareholders and consideration for employees, understand the sentiment behind ‘Race Together,’ and get that employees’ personal stories, anti-racism and anti-police violence protests are what prompted this effort, Starbucks would be doing the national discourse on race and inequality an even bigger solid if they examined whether they, themselves, pass muster when it comes to diversity and race among their corporate staff, as opposed to launching a public, jingle-filled campaign their busy baristas are expected to broach in-between making frappuccinos and soy lattes. Particularly since Starbucks serves as something of an emblem for gentrification and high real estate prices.  

May 07, 2014

Saturday Night Jive: Leslie Jones’ Story Matters Too

I’m a black woman... and racio-misogynist trespasses and general anti-blackness are constant and relentless at times. And since social media has made the gnarled reach of racism and sexism easier and more visible, it comes from all directions and the volume of discontent against black women seems to have been dialed up. Whether it’s from white men constantly finding reasons to further pathologize us; from black men utilizing every opportune moment to publicly belittle us and blame us for the ills of the world; or from white feminists seeming to find solace in disparaging black female audacity and womanhood (when they aren't vulturizing aspects of it to much acclaim and dissecting or using our bodies as rhetorical devices to prop up white womanhood); it's a Möbius strip of bullshit and flailing against constant assaults against black female person-hood is exasperating.  And make no mistake about it, our anger is warranted, but the origin and continued perpetuation of what causes the anger is burdensome.

May 02, 2013

'Black Twitter' Takes on #BlackPrivilege

Written for and orig. published on Intersection of Madness and Reality


When racism rears its ugly head on social media, leave it to ‘Black Twitter’ to clap-back and upend rhetoric meant to denigrate black folks, and turn it into a clever and teachable moment steeped in the type of sardonic satire meant to make perpetrators of said racial insensitivity, feel stupid for having ever tried.

Last week, the #BlackPrivilege hash-tag gained momentum on Twitter, reportedly created as a response to the discovery of a (neglected?) tumblr blog and, perhaps, just being plain tired of having to ward off cries of "reverse-racism" whenever black people speak out loud about the lived experiences and daily microaggressions many of us have to navigate . “This Is Black Privilege” ... an anonymous tumblr blog comprised of a jumble of murky, awkwardly written non-facts that seem as if they were culled from the library stacks of Ignoramus University.