Today, there exists a podcast about white people dancing. My life is complete.459 listens (download link)
genna. the city on a hill. archivist, grad student, writer, activist, curmudgeon.
Today, there exists a podcast about white people dancing. My life is complete.459 listens (download link)
This is what Mozart actually looks like. The image was found in a radio station in Belgium. Fact - the Moors (Black people) brought Classical Music to Europe.
Not only that but when you read the REAL bios of him, he’s described as having brown skin, “negroid features” (broad, wide nose, etc) and wiry hair. There was a post going around back in February that was very enlightening.
Wasn’t Beethoven part Moor (Black) too? There was a book written about his hair because Europeans were so transfixed with it!
Yes, Beethoven was Black.
Real history returns.
Never heard about this but I read about Beethoven. He was referred to as “the black boy” and people were awed by his afro.
I know I’ve mentioned this a million times before, but upon being presented with this information, white people will often flip the fuck out, act offended, and insist that there is no possible way that either of these groundbreaking composers could have been black, or just non-white. Ain’t that a fucking bitch? White folk get to have Bach, they get to have Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Schubert, Schumann, Vivaldi, Handel, Hayden, and basically every other classical composer ever. But the MINUTE there’s evidence that even hints at two out of many hundreds being black, shit hits the fan.
Right? And because it’s two of the most well-known classical composers, one of which is lauded as being a mad genius, it’s an issue.
You guys, I was on board with learning that two highly-regarded figures in music are of African descent, but this is an advertisement for a “jazz on your classical radio.” And it’s literally a famous portrait of Mozart in blackface. So I’m not denying the possibility, but let’s look for historical evidence. (There seems to be documentation of Beethoven being described as a Moor.) Meanwhile, let’s think about what’s lying beneath the presentation of this ad, because I’m not sure what it says or if I’m okay with it.
Today is the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to sit in the back of the bus in Montgomery, Ala. And this photograph of President Obama sitting on that exact same bus 57 years later is a poignant reminder of just how much America has changed in half a century. The image was taken at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., where the humble 36-seat General Motors bus is on display. Like this simple picture of the president, the bus is an ordinary thing that represents extraordinary progress. [Source] [x]
America has still a long way to go… I want to say only two words: Troy Davis
no one talking about the yellow face/black face.
people really don’t give a shit, do they?
This reminds me of the line in “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls” that goes something like, “Is it racist to do black face? Like, is that still a thing?”
A lot of people don’t “get” the culture of oppression and hatred in the history of black face, and they refuse to “get” it.. I didn’t understand it (and by this I mean intellectually understand, because I’m white and so I’m never going to understand what it is like to be another race) until my cultural theory class in college. However, there has been some discussion of black/yellow/red face all over the Internet for awhile now, especially every Halloween, so I think most people have heard or readsomething about it. (Billy Crystal and Jon Hamm have both been in black face on network TV within the past year.) Most people know that it’s offensive, and need to do their homework to figure out why. At the very least, people, watch Bamboozled. No one’s even asking you to put a couple of days into reading a book to figure out why black face is awful.
The ~racebending~ in Cloud Atlas, I think, comes out of a desire to believe we live in a post-racial society. If directors decide to break down the barriers of which race of actor can play which race of character, then that seems creatively freeing. And it would be if humanity did not have a horrible history of racial oppression that included mockery through imitation and appropriation. I think the Wachowskis + Tykwer really believe they are doing something revolutionary in film by racebending. They don’t get it, because to get it would require addressing the sins of the past perpetrated even through entertainment and film.
In an industry that overwhelmingly whitewashes roles, it would have been more revolutionary to hire a cast of minority actors for Cloud Atlas. We have to own the past and rectify its injustices somehow rather than pretend that everything is fine and that race is something that can be “bent” creatively. The rhetoric surrounding race, particularly in the election cycle here in America, shows that this is anything but the truth. Race may be a social construction, but racebending in film does not deconstruct it.
I just started watching The Secret of Kells and it is quite interesting that within the first few minutes we meet characters representing many races. Instead of whitewashing history, it recognizes that there were people of color in Ireland in the Middle Ages. Besides, if you are going to create an animated fantasy film, why not make it one in which children now can see themselves?
Django Unchained Trailer
How are feeling about this? I feel like a wildly successful white dude trying to talk about race in America could be disastrous, but Quentin Tarantino is also willing to say and do things in his work that no one else will. We’ll see.
this man needs to be the next james bond. like. he just has to.
I am blown away by this man’s talent and gravity. If the 007 powers that be have any intelligence at all, they will cast him.
How did a kid armed with Skittles and an ice tea get gunned down by an over-eager neighborhood watch captain? And why didn’t police detain shooter George Zimmerman?
I somehow can’t bring myself to feel grateful Johnny Depp’s Tonto is wearing a taxidermy crow (I think? Maybe it’s a live crow that nests in the mess that is that wig?) on his head instead of a headdress. The face-paint is also just…ugh. I was happier when this whole movie thing wasn’t happening.
Edit: just so I’m clear, this is structural racism at play - the entire Lone Ranger franchise, the concept behind it, the need to hold on to offensive parts of culture, the original Tonto character, Depp’s iteration of that character resplendent in a mishmash of stereotypical fashions, so on and so forth, etc.
The casting also raises of the question, I think, of how much Native American (or any race) an actor needs to possess in order to play a character. I think this is a related, but not analogous, question to the problem of Ziyi Zhang, who is Chinese, playing a Japanese woman in Memoirs of a Geisha. Johnny Depp says he has “some” Native American in him “somewhere down the line”; his intentions might be noble, but I don’t see how he is going to “fix” the way Native Americans are portrayed in cinema by participating in the reboot of a franchise that marginalizes Native Americans and reduces them to a series of cultural signifiers.
We can call it right now — this film isn’t going to fix anything. The most we can hope to get out of it is the beginning of a conversation, and more people asking what prevents more Native Americans and other people of color participating in film.
First of all - YES. Meryl Streep is a great actress. Let’s set that straight.
But her long, varied career has been made possible because she is a blonde, white, reasonably attractive woman who is afforded the access, the luxury of having the pick of the litter when it comes to meaty roles. That, coupled with her obvious talent, has built up her career.
The tragedy of Viola Davis losing is not necessarily because her performance was better that Streep’s. To say that any one film or director or actor in a category is better than another is just really not realistic. That being said, Viola has been robbed. Because unlike white, blonde Meryl Streep Viola does not have access to a myriad of meaty roles to show her talent. She is limited, and it is that limitation which bars black actors and actresses from shining. Meryl Streep has been nominated 17 times. How many times do you think Viola Davis is going to be nominated in her career? As a black, dark skinned woman out of her 20s? How many Margaret Thatchers are out there for an actress like her? As meaningless as the Oscars themselves are, to an actor’s career they are everything - you’re already at a disadvantage when you’re black, older, and female - even winning an Oscar doesn’t always necessarily mean great roles (look at Halle). The Academy has basically stared over 80 years of ignoring black talent in favor of the starlets and leading men they build up for nothing and I, for one, am horrified. Maybe I’ll feel different in the morning but right now all I can do is pray for Viola who I’m sure is absolutely gutted right now.
Hey guys! My new Afropunk piece is live! You can read it at the link above and, if you’re not an Afropunk member and want to contribute to the discussion, you can comment on it here at the Facebook fanpage (feel free to share it as well if that strikes your fancy ahem). Let me know what you guys think! Disagree? Agree? Indifferent?
I’m an Australian so ‘the N word’ isn’t even a part of my culture so it’s easily avoided and I’d never say it, but if it’s part of a song title then is it still inappropriate to say (or type, and is there a difference between the two)? I’m coming at this from a place of complete ignorance so please let me know.
The first time I considered this was a few weeks ago when I was quoting a line from Dave Chappelle’s infamous ‘Fuck your couch’ skit, and I said “They should have never gave you… Money”, and decided to skip the offensive word even though it was part of the quote because I felt too uncomfortable to say it.
To add some clarity and background to why I give a shit about this issue, my father is an incredibly racist man and he was raised in South Africa and when I was younger I actually believed that various ethnic slurs were the appropriate terminology for those ethnicities and it’s been something that I’ve taken an interest in ever since.
What are your thoughts?
Isn’t there a Tim Minchin quote about people who are victimized by a word being the only ones with the right to decide whether it’s offensive? I try to be sensitive to that. It would be awful if someone happened on my blog and was hurt by the “Paris” post, so I wanted to give a disclaimer. It’s not a word to be tossed around and is loaded with a great deal of hate and history. While some might say it is being “reclaimed,” I am a white person and don’t have the right to try to reclaim that vocabulary as my own.
It’s the Huckleberry Finn conundrum - can something still have value when it deals in racially offensive language? It’s good that you brought this up, Marx, because I think we all need to be cognizant of the words we use even when quoting. I had a similar experience watching the finale of “Awkward Black Girl” when J thinks, “I hope White Jay doesn’t mind me rolling up like a …”. Her delivery of the line was quite funny but it’s not something I would feel comfortable saying even in quotation.
Discourse speaks through us, and operates in exercises of power. We can operate in a discourse filled with offensive words used carelessly, or we can avoid them, altering the systems of the language we use and hopefully altering the racialized social structures as well.