Category Archives: youtube

“The Help”: Is it just me or…

…are black people not feeling this movie trailer?  I’ve witnessed a very conflicted reaction to the trailer of the new movie “The Help” recently, in a movie theater that was filled with black folk.  Conflicted is the best way I can describe the mix of disgust and curiosity.  Am I surprised? No. It’s 2011, but the subject matter and images still sting.  Nothing like a dark-skinned black woman serving white folks in a maids uniform…in a period movie…set in the deep south.  Sigh.  Especially when it centers around a classic white savior character.  Since it takes place during the Civil Rights era, I think the author could have done a better job of developing the black lead character.  However, would Hollywood even make such a movie if it didn’t have a white lead?  I don’t know.

Unlike a lot of people I know, I read the book last year.  I can see how the movie trailer is off-putting without the book as reference.  I had some problems with the book, but overall I thought it was a decent read given the full context of who wrote it and the back story presented.  At times, reading it was heart wrenching for me as a black woman whose family is from Mississippi (mom’s side) and who’s great-grandmother was a maid for several white families.  Parts of the story were plain old scary, as racism sometimes is.

I don’t know for sure how this movie is going to be received by the black community.  I think Michele Wallace’s recent review in Essence is dead on (if they post it to the site, I’ll link to it).  In my opinion, this is not going to be a celebrated movie (like “The Color Purple”), but I’m glad that great actresses like Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson are taking on the roles in this film so that they are played with dignity.

One more point that doesn’t help: A Maid Sees Herself in a Novel, and Objects – Yep, a black maid, named Ablene, that worked for Kathryn Stockett’s older brother is suing her.  Dag! At least name the main black character in your book something other than your brother’s REAL, black maid’s name.  Come on!  To add insult, the woman says that part of the storyline was taken from her life.

NY Times | “Ablene Cooper, a 60-year-old woman who has long worked as a maid here, has filed a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett, the author of the best-selling novel “The Help,” about black maids working for white families in Jackson in the 1960s.

In the complaint, Ms. Cooper argues that one of the book’s principal characters, Aibileen Clark, is an unpermitted appropriation of her name and image, which she finds emotionally distressing.

It is more complicated than that. For the past dozen years, Ms. Cooper has worked for Ms. Stockett’s older brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Carroll, and still does.

“Ain’t too many Ablenes,” Ms. Cooper said at a law office after a day’s work at the Stocketts, for whom she has helped raise two children. Ms. Cooper also said that she had their support in her legal quest.

“What she did, they said it was wrong,” Ms. Cooper said of the Stocketts, members of a prominent Jackson family. “They came to me and said, ‘Ms. Aibee, we love you, we support you,’ and they told me to do what I got to do.””

Quote from Viola Davis in the August issue of Essence magazine:

”Of course I had trepidations. Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multifaceted and rich roles you’ve ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel like in some ways it’s not a good message to send to Black people? No. The message is the quality of the work. That is the greater message… As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences – experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.”


Filed under african american, black, black women, celebrity, civil rights, history, hollywood, media, opinion, race, racism, society, women, youtube

Ninja, Pleassse! You sho is crazy, Ninja!

Black people, I have to say that I found this “Ninja, Say What?” video to be very informative.  As I watched it I said to myself, mmm…Black folk must really, really sound crazy sometimes depending on who is listening in on us using the one word we don’t want others to use.

Tell me what you think.


Filed under art, culture, funny, n-word, race, society, stereotype, video, youtube

Erykah Badu: We love your nakedness

I was really, really shocked at the negative response that many Black people have had to Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat” video.  Outside of the fact that filming was done without a proper permit (which could bring some legal heat from the City of Dallas), I really didn’t understand the drama.   Then I remembered that she’s a black woman.

  • She is a black woman who has not allowed her image to be over-sexualized in the media.
  • She is not Trina or Lil Kim.  She’s not a video vixen
  • She is a “natural sista” and “earth mother goddess” whom many have put on a royal pedestal to be held up as an example of truth and light
  • She’s done something shocking and many are not comfortable with it.

How dare she make you uncomfortable?  How dare she try to do something different and strange?  How dare she be so “out of the box.”  Right?

This is all about the boxes that Badu is metaphorically evolving from in the video.  The boxes that say in the Black community only video hoes, strippers, female rappers and the like can take their clothes off in public.  It’s ok for them right?  The boxes that are at work right now telling us that we should not THINK that this video is ok.  We should think what THEY say we should think, right?

Of course, sisters with wisdom and truth, who wear their hair without chemical straighteners and understand mathematics would never expose themselves to make a point, right?

If you agree with that, I’m sure you’d  agree that Black people don’t do performance art anyway?  We can’t possibly understand all of the symbolism in the video because we are so caught up in the “groupthink”.  The same groupthink that says Waka Flocka Flame and Soulja Boy make good music.  Isn’t that right?

So let’s all just take this video at face value and join in the chorus of people who don’t get it and can’t accept it.  Let’s stay on the surface and not dig deeper.  Let’s assassinate the character of the beautiful black sister who is trying to speak to us from a place of vulnerability in her art.  Let’s do to her what she’s already symbolically done to herself…strip down her motives and assassinate her character.

“As soon as the thought came to my mind, I decided to assassinate myself as a gesture. Because it was going to happen anyway. The video is a prediction of what is happening now. […] I would like to say that it was a protest to awaken a term called ‘groupthink.’ It’s a term that was coined in 1952. It’s the recognition of a state of being for humans. It’s human nature for a person to be afraid to express his or her self in fear of being ostracized by the group or general consensus,” the singer explains.  – source

I don’t know about y’all, but I’d rather see a video like this, something risky and artistic, than 90% of what I usually see in the media.  I’d much rather see nakedness with a point than random booty shaking and bikinis.

Erykah Badu, I love your nakedness, your vulnerability, and your strength.  I hope you sell lots of downloads and CDs.


Filed under african american, art, beauty, black, black women, booty, celebrity, news, opinion, race, sex, video, women, youtube

Health Care Bill Passed! Hallelujah

FINAL VOTE-HR 3590: 219 Yea 212 Nay

History has been made tonight.  Health Care is a right, not a privilege.  That is something that WE the people can be proud of.  Thank you goes out to all of the Yea voting members of the House of Representatives, most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Thanks also goes out to President Barack Obama.

I’m going to take it to church to celebrate this one.

And a lil funk too.


Filed under government, health, music, news, obama, society, youtube

Health Care Bill Protesters Call Rep Lewis the N-word and Spit on Rep. Cleaver

I went down to the National Mall on Saturday and witnessed the Health Care Bill Protesters first hand (posting photos soon).  They were in rare form, but thank God no one spit on me or called me “nigger”.  I was spared, apparently.   Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Barney Frank, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver were not as lucky. On Saturday, as a small group of protesters jammed the Capitol and the streets around it, the movement’s origins in white resistance to the Civil Rights Movement was impossible to ignore. Here’s only what the mainstream media is reporting, ignoring what I’m seeing on Twitter and left wing blogs:

  • Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis was taunted by tea partiers who chanted “nigger” at least 15 times, according to the Associated Press (we are not cleaning up language and using “the N-word” here because it’s really important to understand what was said.) First reported on The Hill blog (no hotbed of left-wing fervor), the stories of Lewis being called “nigger” were confirmed by Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones and Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, who was walking with Lewis. “It was like going into the time machine with John Lewis,” said Carson, a former police officer. “He said it reminded him of another time.”
  • Another Congressional Black Caucus leader, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, was spat upon by protesters. The culprit was arrested, but Cleaver declined to press charges.
  • House Majority Whip James Clybourn told reporters: “I heard people saying things today that I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to try to get off the back of the bus.”
  • There were many reports that Rep. Barney Frank was called a “faggot” by protesters, but the one I saw personally was by CNN’s Dana Bash, who seemed rattled by the tea party fury. Frank told AP: “It’s a mob mentality that doesn’t work politically.”
  • Meanwhile, a brick came through the window at Rep. Louise Slaughter’s Niagara Falls office on Saturday (the day she argued for her “Slaughter solution” to pass health care reform, though it was rejected by other Democrats on the House Rules Committee).

On Thursday MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews grilled tea party Astroturf leader Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity about supporters who taunted a man with Parkinson’s disease at a tea party gathering in Ohio last week.

That video of the guy with Parkinson’s is HORRIBLE.  These Health Care Bill Protesters and Tea Party members should be ashamed of themselves.  Everyone has a right to protest and let their voice be heard, but racial slurs, spitting on people and mocking the sick is mob mentality.  How is Fox News going to spin this?  I’m sure they will find a way.


Filed under abuse, activism, african american, angry, black men, civil rights, d.c., government, health, n-word, news, opinion, politics, racism, society, video, washington, washington dc, white folks, youtube

Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now

Shoppers at a southern New Jersey Walmart store were shocked Sunday night when a voice came over the retailer’s public-address system announcing: “Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now”.  The male voice who delivered the announcement has yet to be identified.  Since the racist announcement was made the store has vowed to change its access to the system.  Not all of the phones are in the view of security cameras, and some are accessible to the public.

Other than just having a lax policy regarding the PA system extension and access to phones on the job, Walmart should not be faulted for the actions of some crazy employee or random shopper.  This is a prank.  Racist overtones, yes I see them.

There are tons of things that people could be up in arms about with regard to the way Walmart does business.  If you’re still mad about this incident that happened Sunday, perhaps you would consider re-directing your attention to things like this:

Family Business Shut Their Doors When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

Work For Wal-Mart? You May Need Welfare

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Filed under african american, black, community, news, opinion, race, racism, society, video, why, youtube

Once Upon a Time, You Were Not White

Once upon a time in America; Italians, Jews, and Irish people were not considered White.  Yes, it’s surprising.  Some people who are classified as White may not consider themselves Caucasian.  Many people consider the concept of race to be an illusion, a construct to be defined and re-defined.  For example, you may consider yourself white until you find out that your great-great-grandfather was a Louisiana born Black Creole who passed for white in the north.

Last night I saw author  and Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter was on “The Colbert Report” discussing her new book  “The History of White People” [Read some of it for free on Google Books].  She talked about how race is not permanent, how definitions of race are affected by education, class and sex, and the history of the definition of whiteness.  The interview was a lot of fun, but I [like Colbert] had no idea what the book was really about at the end of the segment.  Her interview with NPR provides A LOT more information.

Painter is the author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (1996) and several other scholarly works on the history of slavery and race relations in America, most recently Creating Black Americans (2006). Her latest selection examines the history of “whiteness” as a racial category and rhetorical weapon: who is considered to be “white,” who is not, what such distinctions mean, and how notions of whiteness have morphed over time in response to shifting demographics, aesthetic tastes, and political exigencies. After a brief look at how the ancients conceptualized the differences between European peoples, Painter focuses primarily on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There, the artistic idealization of beautiful white slaves from the Caucasus combined with German Romantic racial theories and lots of spurious science to construct an ideology of white superiority which, picked up by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other race-obsessed American intellectuals, quickly became an essential component of the nation’s uniquely racialized discourse about who could be considered an American. Presenting vivid psychological portraits of Emerson and dozens of other figures variously famous and obscure, and carefully mapping the links between them, Painter’s narrative succeeds as an engaging and sophisticated intellectual history, as well as an eloquent reminder of the fluidity (and perhaps futility) of racial categories. –Brendan Driscol, Booklist

Video –

Here is part of an awesome documentary that aired some years ago on PBS that deals in detail with the evolution of race


Filed under african american, black women, history, opinion, race, sex, slavery, video, white folks, youtube

Blog Rewind: Teacher calls student the N-Word – Real vs. Boondocks

I posted about this back in 2007 when the story came out.  I know most of you have seen the video of the teacher who thought that using “Nigga” was different than the “er” version.  I must admit…he did have one or two valid points.  It was also painful and hilarious at the same time.  That must be why the folks at the Boondocks adapted the story and made Riley the victim. Haven’t seen these two videos…here ya go.

“Can a nigga borrow a pencil?!?”  That’s the quote of the night, folks.  Black people, we really need to consider retiring the n-word.  Mixed signals.

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Filed under african american, black, n-word, opinion, race, slang, video, white folks, youth, youtube

Surprised That I Love Fonzworth Bentley’s Fireside Chat

I’m so surprised that I really, really love Fonzworth Bentley’s Fireside Chat.  This brother has “some sense” as my grandma would say.  He is underestimated.  He is also signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music.  His debut album, Cool Outrageous Lovers of Uniquely Raw Style or C.O.L.O.U.R.S. was slated to drop in 2008, but was delayed.  Wonder why they are sleeping on this Morehouse alum.

Oh the apologies that he gave out need to be given out so so so so bad.  I know all those artists were like, “Yes!  Finally!”.  Come on hip hop A&R people.  Yall got to stop giving deals to people who sound like they read and spell on a 3rd grade level.


Filed under african american, art, black, black man, culture, hip hop, hollywood, music, video, youtube

Sunflower: The hoof polishing black centuar from Disney’s “Fantasia”

Cracked Magazine put together a list of Disney’s 9 most racist characters.

  1. Boy Thursday (1948)
  2. Uncle Remus in “Song of the South” (1946)
  3. The Indians in “Peter Pan” (1953)
  4. Sunflower the Centaur in “Fantasia” (1940)
  5. The Siamese Twin Gang in “Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers” (1989)
  6. King Louie in “Jungle Books” (1967)
  7. The crows in “Dumbo” (1941)
  8. Sebastian in “Little Mermaid” (1989)
  9. The Merchant in “Aladdin” (1991)

Oh Lordy, I remember dem Crows.  Who doesn’t remember those doggone crows.  Sigh.  However the standout for me is the little known Sunflower the Centaur.  Many are not aware of this character who was banned (removed) from the 1960 re-release of the film.

Cracked tried to link to the video below showing a clip from Fantasia.  It’s sense been removed.  You know Disney isn’t having that.  Never fear, I found a clip on YouTube that includes Sunflower (about 1 min in).  It’s crazy to see all these lovely white centaurs and all of a sudden…Bam… a shoe shining “jigga boo” black centaur.  SMH  It’s even sadder to me when the male centaurs come on the scene and all the white female centaurs are having their heads adorned for their dates, around 2:17 you see Sunflower again, with a sunflower in her hair, putting flowers all over someone else’s tail.  The portrayals of black beauty that our foremothers had to deal with…shame.  View it now before they take this one down, too.

I love what Cracked had to say about this character:
Lesson Learned:
Even in Fantasia‘s beautiful, magical landscape, African centaurs are hoof-polishing handmaidens for prettier, Aryan centaurs. Also, 1940 was a great year to be a centaur fetishist and/or Don Imus.

Best (Worst?) Moment:
It was insulting enough for Disney to include the smiling servant stereotype to begin with, but, to make matters worse, they started categorically denying Sunflower’s existence with the Fantasia re-release in 1960. How does that possibly make things better? “No, you misunderstand. In our perfect, Fantasia world, Africans aren’t servants. They don’t fucking exist.”

Ouch.  I’m sure a black person wrote that last line. :)  I actually wish more films were released on DVD with their racist content as a special feature.  When this stuff is removed the public doesn’t have a chance to witness the kind of blatant racism that was so common in the media 60 plus years ago.


Filed under african american, black, black women, culture, hollywood, media, opinion, race, racism, stereotype, youtube