Category Archives: crazy+racism=cracism

Connie. Gabby. Work!!!



Yesterday, as I was writing about Constance Jablonski’s blackface-with-a-random-Black-baby shoot, deja vu struck. Hard.

I was all like, “Is it that this chick looks like ‘fro’d out Claudia Schiffer on the cover of Stern Fotographie? Like French Vogue‘s shoe-polished Lara Stone? Al Jolson freaking “My Mammy”? Marsha Ambrosius?”

Then it hit me: Under the frankenlights of an ignorantly conceived and poorly executed photo shoot, the ruddy Frenchwoman Jablonski and a dark brown, Senegalese-American superstar by the name of Gaboure Sidibe are about the same complexion—chestnutty, with newborn baby poo undertones. Fashion magic!

Pantone, MAC, Sherwin-Williams: If you’re looking for a color-branding specialist, I’m available.

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Filed under Blackface, crazy+racism=cracism, Shady lady stuff, Should be embarrassed, the devil's work, Uncategorized, Vogue

High fashion is confusing to Ak

a White model named Constance Jablonski. A Black child. Grass, ostensibly African grass..

This is a swipe from a recent Numéro magazine shoot. The French model, Constance Jablonski, usually looks like this:

Constance in her natural habitat

Now, if you’re a pedestrian size 8-to-10 like me, you may not have heard of Numéro before. According to its website, what may look like litter pan liner to you is actually an “international” magazine that offers “an avant-garde view of the worlds of fashion, art and luxury.”  Apparently, “both today’s icons and tomorrow’s master talents” contribute to Numéro.

In comparing the magazine’s stated mission to the clichéd, colonialist-porn pictured above, I got confused. I hate being confused. So for my own clarity, I jotted down a few questions:

1. What is Constance doing in this picture? Why is she wearing an afro wig circa Foxy Brown and brownface circa Soul Man?”

2. Why is that baby standing in dried grass damn-near naked when Constance is layered and aggressively accessorized?

3. Of the 17 covers crawling atop Numéro‘s homepage, why is there a White person on every single living, loving, motherfucking one? And of some 60 back issues for sale, why are there just two people of color on the covers? I mean, the White woman with bangs, the White woman in orange eyeshadow, the White woman in green eyeshadow, Kate Moss in turquoise eye shadow, the White man with black fishnet on his face, the White dude spitting water into the air, and Jude Law are perfectly lovely. They are. But doesn’t this seem strange to the current icons and future masters and avant-garde-y people of all stripes who rabidly consume high fashion and images of it?

If I come up with some sensible answers, I’ll let you know.

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Filed under Blackface, crazy+racism=cracism, Shady lady stuff, Should be embarrassed, stream of consciousness, Uncategorized

Hurt people hurt people: The Jimi Izreal and Ak incident

Please listen to yesterday’s Micheal Eric Dyson radio program. I’m on there trying (unsuccessfully) to reframe the dialogue about Black women’s love lives with The Denzel Principle‘s Jimi Izreal without losing my ish.

It starts at about 33.01.

Juxtaposed with the preceding segment–an interview with Simeon Wright, who witnessed the August 28, 1955 kidnapping of his 14-year-old cousin, Emmett Till–my and Jimi’s exchange sounds so silly and cynical. To borrow a phrase from Raiyshe, a commenter from the Precious post, my spirit feels dirty.

I hope Jimi’s does too.

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Filed under Choosing love, crazy+racism=cracism, double standards, Faux empowerment, the devil's work, Uncategorized

An aside about that Black women with jobs cain’t git a man show

Since no one signed on for the guest post (you know who you are!) I was going to try live-blogging about Nightline’s “Face-Off: Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?”

Sadly, I kept falling asleep.

The part I did see featured a very unmarried Hill Harper using Barack Obama as an example of the Black Everyman’s potential—you know, the stuff Sisters of the Big Shoulder Pad Tribe ignore because they’re too busy chasing upper middle class pipe dreams and Sapphiring out on blue-collar brothers.

Anyway, I was gonna wake up early and watch it online then do a catchup post. Except I was working on a bill-paying, old media assignment–about what men like in bed. (Ha!)

So now I’m  too late. Everything good to say about this essentializing, divisive, ahistorical, overly general fra fra has been said by the Crunk Feminist Collective and the Facebook pop-Womanist massive.

One teeny scrap I can’t resist riffing on:

The headline for the online version of the broadcast reads like this:

Nightline Face-Off: Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?

Sparks, Sincerity, Sass Fill Atlanta Auditorium in Seventh ‘Nightline Face-Off.

I understand the impulse to abuse alliteration (see?). But if you’re using the odious “sass” in reference to Black women–financially successful or otherwise–you don’t need to be selling ad space on our backs. Keep our romantic lives, our hair, our sexual health, our income, our weight, our desires, our souls, our fate out of your greedy, hype-riding mouths. You don’t really mean us well. So just stop it.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Choosing love, crazy+racism=cracism, Faux empowerment, Should be embarrassed, stream of consciousness

Precious

I saw Precious on Saturday. Two days later, I’m still traumatized and overwhelmed by the sheer degradation of the thing.

This film is marketed–by Oprah and Tyler Perry–as a story of individual triumph over savage abuse. Thanks to newcomer Gabourey Sidibe’s excellent performance, I somehow believed that Claireece Precious Jones—a morbidly obese, illiterate, often greasy incest victim with skin the color of soil–reflected some form of reality. And to me that’s what’s so dangerous and seductive about this fucking thing.

Precious heaps so much context-free, visually engaging emotional and physical abuse on its 16-year-old protagonist that I couldn’t think straight. When her nasty, faceless, AIDS-infected daddy rapes her, when she gives birth to her second child by said daddy, when her sexually abusive, sadistic, welfare cheat of a mama beats the shit out of her, I was so fucked up, so fucking sad, so at a loss for any word or thought besides fuck! that I forgot that this fucking film was an overwrought throwback to Reagan-era tall tales of urban savagery and Black maternal neglect.

Sure, Mo’nique’s fat, evil, proudly unemployed Mary hunkered down in front of an antiquated TV all day wearing a Unitard, smoking cigarettes and sucking down the pig’s feet she forced her daughter to cook. Sure, Mary later reveals that Precious’s father suckled milk from her breasts and began fondling their baby who slept in their bed as they had sex. Sure, Precious masturbates her mama for food money. Sure, she boosts a 10-piece bucket of fried chicken from the neighborhood greasy spoon in an act of fun and mischief. Sure, 9 out of 10 of the heroic characters are white, biracial or very light-skinned professionals while the overwhelming majority of villans and victims are fat, dark and poor. Somehow, amid all of this pornographic pathology, I was trying to find something new or clever that would justify why Oprah, Tyler Perry and so many critics were salivating over this freak show.

Only when I left the theater, got some sleep and relayed this flick to my sister, was I able to grasp how cartoonish and exploitative the whole thing is. I can’t prove that there aren’t Black girls in Harlem who have daughters by their own daddies whom they name “Mongo” because they’re born with “Down Sinder.” Maybe their mamas do throw their 3-day-old grandsons born of incestuous rape to the ground in a fit of jealousy then go on to throw a TV down several flights of stairs almost killing their fleeing daughters who are holding their grandbabies. Perhaps these daughters run to a storefront church that just so happens to be next door to an animal shelter with the words “spay” and “neuter” emblazoned on it. If all of this does happen, and this movie was made to honor and humanize them, why does it fail to reveal the roots of their mamas’ psychosis? The only motivation Mary seems to have for allowing her man to rape and impregnate her daughter is her fear of being alone, without someone to squeeze or love her at night. The impoverished backdrop ostensibly fills in the blanks. That’s a problem.

One could argue that Precious should be evaluated as an individual work of art, a faithful adaptation of Sapphire’s problematic Push. But the same way I won’t laud the technical accomplishments of Birth of a Nation or blissfully ignore how Breakfast at Tiffany’s features Mickey Rooney as a bumbling Chinese neighbor who enters each scene with a gong, I won’t allow the transcendent performances in Precious to distract me from what it says and repeats about my folks. I insist on asking questions like, “Why the fuck does this film show Precious’s mother railing at ‘White bitches’ and tricking the welfare lady when it doesn’t bother to tell us what it is about the system and White authority that has her so pissed in the first place?” “Why does director Lee Daniels do so many closeups of revolting, unhealthy food in Precious’s household?” “Why does Lee Daniels make a slimy simmering pot of fatty eggs and meat the visual prelude to Precious’s father’s fat stomach gyrating over his daughter as he rapes her from behind?” “Why does he have the fine, trim male nurse played by Lenny Kravitz eating organic fruit when the movie is supposed to take place in 1987?” “Why are all of the abusive people fat?” “Why are both of Precious’ kids light skinned when she, her mama and her daddy are all the color of Ham?

I kinda think I know why. Because somewhere in the pockets of the filmmaker’s mind, being dark, fat, poor and Black places you at greater risk of acting like a fucking animal. And it’s his job and the job of middle class do-gooders and ticket-buying gawkers to humanize said animals with our pity.

That my sisters and brothers is BULLSHIT. Even if fashion houses sell neon leggings this season, they’re not new. They’re more 80s than a motherfucker. So is Precious, and that’s not a compliment.

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Filed under Choosing love, colorism, crazy+racism=cracism, Little Black girls, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, Uncategorized

“Good Hair,” Yani and Tyra B.

From Ak:

Yesterday Yani and her Hair Story co-author Lori L. Tharps rocked an episode of the Tyra Banks Show.

Given that Yani and Lori wrote a unique, widely bitten respected social history on African American hair, Ms. Tyra invited them to weigh in on that ooooolllllldddd, Antebellum, white supremacist, seemingly intransigent and overall pesky phenomenon we know as “good hair.”

Although I didn’t see my homies on TV–shademeister Yani didn’t deign to tell anyone the ep was airing and Lori even forgot that it was coming on–I’m thankful that they were on deck to provide some context and analysis. After all, without context, seeing little Black girls choose a dusty-ass Hannah Montana wig over their African coils, curls and kinks doesn’t do anything but break your heart and make you ‘shamed.

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Filed under Choosing love, crazy+racism=cracism, Little Black girls, Uncategorized

I got called a n**ger b**ch!

From Ak:

Tonight as I sat on the subway reading a book and minding my business a crazy, stinky white man called me a n**ger b**ch! His bizarro commentary was the result of my glancing to my left and meeting his unmedicated eyes. For that transgression, Funk Massa No Home thought it made sense to take it back to the days of Ms. Jane Pitman.

Now this New York story should end here with me musing about the apparent failure of the city’s homeless and mental health services. But I’m too prideful, Leonian and unhinged my damn self to let some filthy alabaster roach get one off.

So right before I moved to the next car to escape his krazy stare and eau-de-somebody-died, I explained how ironic it was that he hated bitches when he was wearing sheer knee-highs clearly manufactured and marketed to BITCHES.

He responded with a forceful “Fuck you, n***ger b**ch!”

I responded with an equally nuts “No. Fuck yooooU, you FUCKING BITCH!

Of course I’m not convinced that my response was effective. But in lieu of a loaded gun or a higher level of Jesusness, counter-crazying this fool hit the spot.

Maturity is overrated.

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Filed under crazy+racism=cracism, subway, the devil's work