Category: Uncategorized


Rainbow flags at the end of the gay, lesbian, ...

Image via Wikipedia

I always have a problem finding an image that represents bi-racial pride. There is no one iconic image that represents pride in this culture/subculture. Are we still a subculture then? We have no country as our ascendants come from various countries. The face of our culture is so varied, with many hues and origins. We don’t have an agenda other than recognition as a race, so would I call us an institution? Not really? It can be argued that we have a political gain in challenging the U.S. Census Bureau and winning the battle for “Black” and “White” only boxes to the option now to check “all that apply”. This is a political nightmare. Districts, funds and resources are allocated on race through the data collected by the U.S. Census bureau. With the racial lines becoming less distinct, what will this mean for the government in the decision-making process in the future?

This week we discussed John Fiske and his views on popular taste as it relates to art. I would like to use the lack of or the future representation of a logo for bi-racial pride for my example. Seeing as there is not one right now, I found a few that are circulating.

Boo.

So vanilla.

So plain.

No umph.

Next…..

I guess….

Fiske would want this graphic to be historically specific. So how would that apply here? Must we incorporate the history of miscegenation born from slavery in this country into somehow?

blah….

Fiske says to selectively pick out what you need and like, and I’m not impressed with any of these.

The above rainbow flag is already taken….

I remember seeing Black Pride patches on jeans and denim jackets in the Seventies and thinking “Yeah man!”….

with these bi-racial bland tees…….not so much.

The art has to be functional according to Fiske, so I think it safe to say that for today, right now, there is no brand, icon, image or logo which, to me, represents the bi-racial community.

Something to consider….

Advertisements

This week we watched footage on how major corporations learn what teenagers like and then regurgitate it back to them in the forms of “The Mook” and “The Midriff”; two gender-based caricatures of what they feel are the aspirations of teens today.

As it relates to my blog, I have a somewhat similar feeling concerning mixed-race women, specifically, and the sudden wave of desire for them in music videos.

I am not a fan of Kanye West the person, he makes good music but he’s an attention whore who is seemingly working through some things psychologically. But even before his mother died, he was an asshole.

“If it wasn’t for race mixing there’d be no video girls. Me and most of our friends like mutts a lot. Yeah, in the hood they call ‘em mutts”. – Kanye West

How appalling.

Then he goes on to “discover” stripper-turned-video-chick Amber, who he names Amber Rose. They begin a torrid lust affair and jet set around the globe and to various award shows, etc, etc. She is one of the “mutts” he adores so much, being half Cape-Verdean and half Italian, she is as exotic as they come. Over the past two years he has molded her into Amber Rose and she has been a willing participant in the transformation from stripper to video vixen to Kanye’s jumpoff to “model”.

Kanye’s mother Dondra West was a professor of English at Clark University. I KNOW he was raised better and I’m sure his mother equipped him with better social skills.

But we are individuals of free will.

I grew up when watching BET afterschool was the thing to do to get the hottest videos and styles. Watching Donny Simpson and Sherry Carter was a treat. The videos “back then” were more of a narrative to compliment the song, a mini-movie in a sense. Over the years, especially after Nelly’s Tip Drill POS (Piece of shit) where he swipes a credit card down a video chick’s ass crack, I stopped watching music videos like I used to.

As of recently, I would say within the past ten years, a growing trend has come about of looking for exotic women to grace the misogynistic mini-movies which no longer have story lines but show men surrounded by fancy cars, plenty jewelry and these so-called “mutts”. This is the new tend in hip-hop culture. So much so that to see a dark-skinned sister or more, or placed as the Feature Girl, the one who is rapped to”, is pretty uncommon. Black women have voiced their disdain for it. Spelman College sent representatives on Oprah to speak on it. It is deplorable.

I think of the dark-skinned African-American women who were highly sexualized in the early part of this country’s history. They were “the forbidden fruit”, their shapely bodies made them easy targets of objectification by both black and white men. There is an African woman whose body was put on display at either a museum or a carnival (I forgot but will find it) for those who had never seen a “phat ass” to pay money and gawk.

“Video Hoes”, as they have come to be called, since after Superhead’s tell-all book about her life as one, are known for hooking up with the artists on set. Mostly in exchange for expensive gifts like shoes, handbags, and/or money.

I hope this “trend” ends soon…right along with asses hanging out of/over pants.

Just my thoughts……

Mildred and Richard Loving

Image via Wikipedia

Dick Hebdige in his book Subculture: The Meaning of Style touches on the black community’s growth in
Britain during the Fifties among their white counterparts. With the black community being at the time a subculture, the white resistance/white flight and overall concern of the infiltration of these “others” was of great concern. However, as the white masses of London began to listen to black music, it was instantaneously contagious how the white British community found themselves bumping and grooving to the latest sounds.

My parents know about this first hand. My father was an almost jet-black,  U.S. Air Force GI from Savannah, Georgia and my mother a lily-white nursing student fresh from Dublin, Ireland. On Saturday nights the GI’s would gather and the nursing students would descend upon the local dance hall and cut the rug to the sounds of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and any other Motown greats as the barriers to their differences would melt away. The two would marry in London and later come to the States, where I was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

I would take it a step further and say that, for the sake of my blog topic, the interracial couple was at one time a subculture. It was of course illegal to inter-marry in the U.S. until the Loving vs. the State of Virginia case. So up until the Supreme Court ruling it unconstitutional in 1967, it was against the law.

17 year-old Mildred Jeter just wanted to marry her man, 23 year-old, Richard Loving but their home state of Virginia busted in on them on the  morning of July 11, 1958 with interrogating flashlights demanding “Who is this woman you are sleeping with?” , “I am his wife” she replied, and they produced the marriage license they had just gotten from the state of Maryland. “That’s no good here”, said the sheriff.

Well, today this subculture has amassed into a full-blown community with individuals who can freely and confidently profess their love for each other and marry. More and more race-mixing is occurring in the U.S. and around the world, which as I stated in the initial entry in this blog, will culminate in a more racially ambiguous society in the future.

I cannot place any symbols with mixed-race couples or bi-racial pride but the attitude towards inter-marrying and “mixing blood” has certainly changed over the centuries. This is evident now in the prominence of multi-ethnic/bi-racial individuals in pop culture, literature, the arts, and politics for instance. There is still an issue amongst the black community between Light and Dark-skinned individuals. There is still a portion of the white community who believe it is wrong. Either way, surely but slowly, we have come to find a place in this society which no longer results in becoming “The Tragic Mulatto”.

Anti-Miscegenation Laws Poster

Meet Hans Massaquoi. He was born in Germany during the rise of the Nazis. His mother is German and his father is African. In grade school, Hans wanted to join the Hitler Youth Corps but he was never allowed to fight due to his “impurity”, or race. He would always be considered a second class citizen which, kept him out of the war and alive on the streets.

Look at the swastika on his sweater.

He has an interesting story to tell.

He later came to the United States and became a journalist and writer, working for JET magazine.

His book is titled Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany.

UNDERCOVERS

Let’s discuss the fineness that is Boris Kodjoe for a sec.

I’m about to eat and get nestled in for the premiere of NBC’s new show with BLACK PEOPLE since The Cosbys!!!

UNDERCOVERS is about a married couple who are spies. That’s all I know. I’m there.

Boris is of German and Ghanian decent. He is the business.

I will find out more about his lovely co-star but for right now……Boris is “that dude”.

Loving father, devoted husband and just over six feet of delicious.

Gotta run…

The Princess and the Frog: Original Songs and ...

Image via Wikipedia

The film “The  Princess and the Frog” garnered both accolades and criticism regarding the portrayal of their first animated feature film with an African-American in the lead role. A Princess, no doubt, to add to the bountiful everything-else-but images we have been inundated with up until this time. Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, and they even had Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine thrown in for good measure but until this film, all the little black girls did not see their own likeness reflected in these movies. 

I had heard some grumblings from my friends who were going to boycott “The Princess and the Frog” saying “why she gotta be the Princess of the Swamp?” lol. But I dressed my daughter up like the princess she is and we happily bought our tickets to this historical event. 

One thing is certain though. How white was John Smith to the Indian Pocahontas? And Prince Charming from Cinderella? There was no mistaking the “whiteness” of these male protagonists who epitomized the alpha male which all young girls came to idealize as the archetype for the “man of their dreams”. 

Let’s look at Naveen, the Prince of Monrovia. 

He’s in-between..Racially ambiguous.  

And most other Disney covers feature both the love interest and the Princess, yet her cover is her kissing a frog. 

Perhaps the marketability of this film depended on whether, what Disney perceived, as the general public not being ready to accept a full-on love story between a black woman and a white man. In regular, non-animated films we still have yet to see a variety of films which include a black woman and a white man since Jungle Fever. 

Hopefully, we can get there one day as in real life this is not the case. 

At least my daughter can see herself represented in the Disney Princess collection now. I guess we have to take it one step at a time.

“Oye Como Va”

I was listening to mi musica salsa and I always wondered about the first line of this song by Santana :

Oye como va? Mi ritmo, bueno pa’ gozar, mulatta”

I found this website upon looking for a translation and here, it becomes a discussion about “mulattas”. Interesting.

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=4651

A girl in an ad says “People can relate to me because I am racially ambiguous”..

What does that mean?

It basically means your ethnicity cannot easily be determined upon first glance.

“What ARE you?”

Some examples…

I’m late….

I’m JUST finding out that KAREN….

isKidadaJones.

Used to hang tough w/ Aaliyah back in the day and is, of course, Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton’s daughter….

Aaliyah

Aaliyah

 

I have YET…to see an episode of “Mod Squad”…

It’s on my list…..(Netflix shud have it).

Quincy Jones at Consumer Electronics Show 2006

Quincy Jones

Tige Andrews with Mod Squad co-stars, Michael ...
Image via Wikipedia