Tag Archives: Intersectionality

Chloe x Halle are #BlackExcellence

Sometimes you sleep on greatness, and then berate yourself for your procrastination.  I have been hearing buzz about Chloe x Halle for at least a year and a half.  The young Atlanta duo’s cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” made them internet sensations.  Then Beyoncé signed them to her label Parkwood Entertainment.  I will repeat Beyoncé, the meticulous show stopper who this year put out one of the best pieces of art I’ve seen in my life, signed them, and I STILL hadn’t heard their work.  Today I remedied the situation. Continue reading

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Neighbors 2 Gave Me Hope About the Future of Comedy Sequels

At first I rolled my eyes.  It is no secret that I am no fan of the Hollywood sequel mill.  I thought the first installment of Neighbors was funny.  I laughed out loud  throughout and found out that there is a hotter Franco (HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?!?!?!?!).  Despite my enjoyment of the first film, I was filled with skepticism about a sequel.  Luckily, during my daily pattern of scrolling through feminist online spaces, I found Katie Barnes’s review in Feministing.  After paragraph two I was set on seeing the film.  What happened in that theatre both shocked and elated me. Continue reading

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Why Didn’t I Learn Any of This in School: WGN’s Underground and My Lacking Slavery Education

Though I live for period pieces, I honestly don’t really like watching slave narratives (not that there are that many to choose from). So when I saw the first advertisements for Underground on WGN America, I was skeptical. I mean of course I was going to watch it, not only was the subject matter important, but we got to see Black people at the center of their own narratives. I started the first episode with both excitement and apprehension. I was immediately hooked. Though there have only been two episodes, I am confident that the show will continue to be riveting. Throughout both hours I’ve watched so far, one thought has been niggling at the back of my head: why the fuck didn’t I learn about this in school? Continue reading

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Black Women Deserve Nuance…Azealia Banks Included

Azealia Banks in Concert

Image by: Dena Flows

Azealia Banks is one of the most complex figures in popular culture.  Because Banks’s Twitter beefs garner so much buzz, many fail to see the shrewd analysis of the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and culture present in Banks’s comments.  In an interview with Hot 97 last year, (which I’ve decided is a must see for anyone who wants to write about Azealia Banks now or in the future) Banks discusses the grit needed to get her album off the ground, her fierce Twitter exchanges, and the harsh reality of being a talented artist in an industry that privileges White mediocrity. Continue reading

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Lions, and Hunting, and Blackness…Oh My.

Palmer and Cecil

Source: Today

I am Black.

I am a vegetarian.

The internet is ablaze after pictures of a Minnesotan, “Trohpy Hunter” dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer posed with his kill “fan favorite” #CeciltheLion. Protests are being staged outside of his practice, which remains closed, opposers have posted horrendous Yelp reviews, and he is encased in an internet shit storm. I have a lot of reactions to this story, outrage, side-eye, and some face palms. What this story has done most of all, however, is made me reflect on my aforementioned identities, and seek to understand how we collectively apply outrage as a society. I have analyzed and re-analyzed this story top to bottom and side to side, so we will break it up into parts:

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BITCH. BETTER. HAVE. MY. MONEY.

Rihanna just released her music video for her hit single “Bitch Better Have My Money”, a song based on a real experience where her previous accountant cheated her out of millions of dollars. I have now watched the video several times, and I’m currently assembling a bountiful offering to leave at the altar of BadGirlRiRi. However, not everyone is as ready as me to praise Rihanna, a lot of feminists (mostly White) are upset; further they are calling the video misogynist. I have read think piece after think piece, and have found some patterns: many feminists do not have the appropriate knowledge base to apply a critical race analysis to their dissection of popular culture, you can apparently try to discredit future backlash by saying you don’t care if people think you don’t understand race, and lastly you can apparently not fully watch a video before writing a critique and then publish said critique in a major publication (the woman they kidnap never dies, why do people keep saying this ???).

There is a lot to unpack in this video, from the subversion of racial and gender power dynamics to violence against women by women. Though I’m a fan of the video over all, it is important to note there are problematic elements.  I mean I am watching a women being tied up, hung upside down topless, being forced to consume drugs and alcohol, and knocked out with a bottle, all this amongst being repeatedly stuffed in a damn trunk. Violence against women is pervasive and a real problem in our culture, so is it right to excuse the violence we see in Rihanna’s video? We shouldn’t excuse it, but we should look at its socio-political meaning.  Further, as Mikki Kendall reminded me in a recent TWIB appearance, sometimes we like problematic media, and that’s ok.  After all we can still critique and analyze the images and narratives we consume, but still tear up the dance floor when “Get Low” comes on.

As we have a dual relationship with the media, our existing power dynamics shape our art; additionally, our consumption of popular culture and other cultural mediums have a broader social impact. So what about the violence in Rihanna’s video? Is she playing into existing social power dynamics that demean and marginalize women or is she subverting these norms? Rihanna is a visionary and the creator of some of the most important cultural artifacts of our time; she showcases her brilliance here by taking a narrative rooted in history (Black women at the service of the White elite) and flipping it on its head.  However, in the end it is still a member of a marginalized group whose pain the audience mocks.

There is conviction and intention in every frame of this video, and unfortunately those within the feminist movement with the largest platforms and microphones are only scratching the surface.  So I have decided to delve deeper and unpack this iconic video.

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