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Category Archives: Gender

What I Learned From Oscars Tweet Coverage: Actions Speak Louder!

So I am trying to write a paper that I should have started a month ago but I am also checking my Twitter feed periodically.

What I have learned tonight via Twitter is that Precious/Mo’Nique won some Oscars tonight. I also have read a series of complaints about the film winning surrounding these victories perpetuating stereotypes about Black people and or women. I do not disagree with most of these complaints and I did re-tweet some of them. I also acknowledge that when Denzel Washington and Hallie Berry won Oscars a few years back I was VERY irritated for the same reasoning. How Denzel did not win for some of his other performances where he played characters that uplifted Black people i.e. Malcolm X (love him or hate him he did help wake up Black America to action against decades of discrimination and self hate) but won for being a corrupt cop highlights SO much of what is wrong with Hollywood. Additionally, the same can be said of Ms. Berry, she won for playing a strung out, deadbeat mother who was “hoish” in some of her actions and choices (I take full acknowledgment of the controversy of the term “ho” but I do have a paper to get back to so…just know that “ho” helps perpetuate the stereotype that women are to act angelic and not express their sexuality openly and men are free to put it where they can fit it whenever they can fit it. Take a feminism or sexuality course to dig into that!).

So moving from the controversy over films like Precious, Training Day, Monster’s Ball with a splash of all the push back I have read over the last year over Tyler Perry’s films and TV/TBS takeover, this is what I am reminded of this evening – the old adage “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

Sounds simple and it is easier said than done (no pun intended) but if you did not like what you saw this evening at the Oscars or in previous Oscar years don’t just tweet about it – do something about it. Some suggestions include:

  1. Find out your gift and then work it (related to film or not).
  2. Support independent films (most of the good cinematography that does not perpetuate negative stereotypes about people especially black and brown people will not show up at the megaplex).
  3. Make a film or support an organization that encourages historically marginalized groups to do so (check out Black Girls Rock or Reel Girls)
  4. Get into the industry or support those with such gifts to do so (The Oscars are decided by a committee/The Academy. The more diverse this body becomes the better  the nominations and the higher the probability that films like the ones listed above will not win).
  5. Stop supporting “garbage” however you define it. Now this is where the idea of Catch 22 comes in because on some level some may feel that its best to support something so that something does not turn into nothing. Some “garbage” I no longer support is mainstream hip-hop music, the Big 6 mainstream media (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC)  and BET or Black Exploitation Television as I like to call it. I like to plug TV One, NOW on PBS, Grit TV and Democracy Now as much as I can as to date these programs do a better job of representing Black America (US) or the news than the programs I now boycott).
  6. Educate someone/share with someone one of the above actions. Now, do so with the spirit of love and openness and not with a spirit of superiority or as a lecture. Dale Carnage said it best, “criticism puts people on the defensive,” so share with a smile. An example of this is share a link to an interesting news story like this one: Hundreds of Thousands Take Part in National Day of Action to Defend Public Education)

The six items above should get the ball rolling. Do you have other suggestions? What is the “garbage” you no longer support?

Finally, my hope is that this wave of dissatisfaction with the status-quo of Hollywood and the films by people of color that get mainstream recognition turns into something more fruitful than a great tweet or a trending topic. Now, back to that paper I’m supposed to be writing…

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Smorgasbord of information…

So a lot has been going on with me lately so I decided to do a quick, I hope, smorgasbord of information.

“Lenting” for the First Time
So this is the first year I have decided to actually participate in Lent, one of my best friends has done it in the past but I just kinda looked at her like she was crazy. But this year I decided why not..I’m up for the challenge. It took me awhile to think of what I could give up. I more or less eat healthy, I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink too much. Finally it dawned on me what I could do- give up Facebook and MySpace. It was something that would be a sacrifice and something that was CLEARLY a large part of my life, I can barely go 24 hours without checking one or the other most times both. So to Facebook and MySpace see you on April 6th =)

Lent Day Two
Its only day two and I can sense that I will be getting a crackhead itch sometime soon. Basically this evening I have done replacement activities instead of going on Facebook or MySpace. I went to blogs of friends and associates and made comments, an idea that was stressed by someone on the Facebook referring to how people will complement his notes but not comment. So I did what I normally don’t do and I commented- so what if the entries were old…if anything maybe it will encourage them to post another blog.

In an ideal world: My Presidential Candidate Selection Committee
Between all of recent talk about the committees assessing if politicians should run for president in 2008 and reading Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, a must read I may add, I thought about what if I could have a committee to look at who I should vote for and why. A group to get to the bottom of what is the deal with Hilary, to figure out if Obama’s inexperience is an advantage or disadvantage, to decide should I take Biden’s “articulate” comment in the spirit of it or literally and to even explore if I should even look at Giuliani. This committee would also look at candidates voting records to see how they have developed over time (my heart would go out to the team or intern that would look at Biden’s 34 year voting record). I am assuming that some of the people that may read this are thinking isn’t that what political action committees, political parties and other organizations are supposed to do? For me I get that but these groups are not personally catered to me they are catered to their interests some of which are important to me but I am concerned about the environment but I am not a tree hugger or I’m a democrat but I’m moderate. My Presidential Candidate Selection Committee would take these things into account and help me decide Biden, Clinton or Obama– a hard decision considering all three candidates represent some part of my identity. Biden is a Delawarean, Clinton is female and Obama identifies Black.

What is currently playing on my iTunes/iPod
I recently bought The Evolution of Robin Thicke and the Dreamgirls Deluxe soundtrack. Both I highly recomend. Robin Thicke’s album is SOOOO good. He has so many songs that I can relate to. “Lost without You” is one of those songs that always make me want to dance, no matter where I am. Moving to Dreamgirls the soundtrack is a greatway to re-live your favorite parts of the movie, if you have seen it. I was listening to this one all day at work today and I was cracking up the whole day at my desk. I also had, “Got me a Cadillac, Cadillac, Cadillac, got me a Cadillac car,” in my head all day- both versions. I would say more but I think I have said enouph for one day…so much for quick.

 

Female Chofer

Ok so today I was on my way to Mr. Movies to return some movies and so as usual I went to the corner of my street to catch a concho, the taxi bus things that are the norm form of transportation in Santo Domingo (Sto Dom). But inside the concho was a surprise….a female driver. My friends had mentioned the concept and I have seen like 2 in my four months here but I have never had the luxury of actually riding in one, a concho with a female driver that is. I was so happy I was cheesing and I felt like shouting good for you…fue un placer/it was a pleasure. But of course I didn’t, but I wanted to. I was on this I don’t know maybe it was a feminist high or something but I almost forgot about what has been bothering me lately. Either way…here is to female concho drivers and man if I wasn’t a Fulbright scholar or I didn’t have this Spelman degree I would be a concho driver or better yet a cobrador, which are the guys that collect your money when you ride in the private busses or guaguas.