Aaron McGruder is not shy about tackling racial issues within his work. As the creator and head writer of the Boondocks series, he has shown a consistent knack for creating controversy through his content — from his feud with the BET Network after labeling them an evil empire to his claim that Ronald Reagan was responsible for funding the terrorist plot behind 9/11. However, his criticism to date will surely pail in comparison to the backlash he will receive for his new project, Black Jesus — set to air Thursday, August 7th on Adult Swim.
It was announced yesterday that Keke Palmer will be joining the cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as it’s leading lady — becoming the first black woman to play Cinderella on Broadway. “It’s honestly one of those things that I can’t believe is really happening,” Palmer told the AP. “I’m very excited. Very excited and nervous as well — a bunch of feelings all at once.”
As a rapper, Bay Area artist Lil B the Based God can be enigmatic, controversial and polarizing. And when he chooses to, he can also be conscious and insightful — as is the case with his latest song and video “No Black Person Is Ugly.” Read More
The What’s Underneath Project, developed by multimedia platform Stylelikeu takes a unique approach to show that style is deeper than the clothes you wear. Set in a 1-on-1 interview format, the series highlights different people from different backgrounds as they share their unique style and what makes them unique. The striking aspect? These people strip off their clothes as the interview progresses, leaving them sitting only in their underwear at the end.
ABC will be pushing racial diversity in their Fall 2014 line-up. Paul Lee, President of the ABC Entertainment, addressed the media at the Television Critics Association on why ABC green-lit three ethnic family comedies (Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish, Cristela Alonzo’s Cristela, and Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat. Read More
And they say the Tea Party isn’t race motivated. That may be too broad but this hilarious incident goes to show how breathtakingly unaware some Republicans can be when it comes to race or geography. Freshman Congressman from Florida Curt Clawson confuses top U.S. government officials with a delegation from India. Watch the video of the gaffe and read on at The Washington Post.
Those words spit by the Geto Boy’s Brad “Scarface” Jordan have never rang truer than right now. It seems like a day can’t go by without another visage of someone, mostly minorities, getting hammered by the police. After the jump, Vice takes a look at the recent highly publicized case of Eric Garner and the legacy of police brutality on black men. Read More
Say what you will about the size of her waist, but Barbie is one of the most professionally accomplished toys in existence. Since her debut in 1959, Mattel’s ubiquitous doll has tried her hand at more than 130 careers, from ballerina to astronaut to zoologist.
But is Barbie’s resume inspiring the next generation of real girls to attempt similarly diverse careers? It doesn’t look like it. A new study published in the journal Sex Roles that suggests playing with Barbies can actually stunt little girls’ career aspirations.
It looks like feminists were right all along: Barbie is bad for girls, regardless of the uniform she’s wearing.
The study, conducted by the psychology lab at Oregon State University, gave girls ages 4 to 7 one of three dolls to play with: Barbie dressed as a fashion model (which was, in fact, her original incarnation), Barbie dressed as a doctor, or Mrs. Potato Head. Those who played with either of the Barbies later viewed themselves as having fewer career options than boys do, and espoused a preference for more “pink collar” jobs like teacher or flight attendant. Those who played with Mrs. Potato Head, on the other hand, were able to envision themselves in more varied — and less gendernormative — roles, like firefighter or pilot.
When drawing attention to these types of studies, the goal is not in any way to disparage traditionally feminine roles, which have long been undervalued and under-payed by a society that continues to place a premium on masculinity. Rather, this is about recognizing the limiting effect that playing with heavily gendered toys can have on children’s ultimate ambitions. Of course little girls can — and absolutely should — dream of becoming teachers, librarians and nurses. But they also should know that they are not beholden to these careers by virtue of their gender any more than the boys are.
So where does that leave us? The study concludes that it may actually be the image of Barbie herself that hems in career imagination; Barbie is one of the only toys marketed to little girls that has a mature female body, and was modeled after the German post-war, erotic doll Bild Lilli. Being confronted with her impossibly tiny waist, big boobs and long legs conveys “a sexualized adult world to young girls” that can unintentionally limit their imagination about their future professions.
Mrs. Potato Head obviously isn’t an accurate representation of the average female body type either (because, well… she’s a potato), but apparently even a root vegetable with detachable facial features sends a better message to little girls than do Barbie’s unrealistic curves.
It’s important to note this trend isn’t new. Barbie’s figure has been a source of controversy for years. One recent study showed that girls who play with skinny dolls may eat less afterwards, and Sports Illustrated turned the kids’ toy into a very adult sex object for its 50th anniversarySwimsuit Edition in February.
This really is a shame — as the former owner of at least 13 different Barbies, I can attest to the fact that playing with them can be a lot of fun. Companies are starting to discover the market for empowering toys, with dolls like the more realistically-proportioned Lammily potentially hitting shelves soon. But as long as Barbie maintains her sexualized silhouette, Mattel’s efforts to pass her off as a role model may always fall flat.
Last week, the Trans 100 list went public, celebrating those who have raised the public profile or made a difference for transgender people. This list was read live two weeks ago, at the Trans 100 gala in Chicago. The event also featured keynote speeches by author Janet Mock and Laverne Cox of Orange Is the New Black.
Cox’s speech hinged on the saying, “Hurt people hurt people” and the “revolutionary action” of trans people loving each other, and touched on issues of oppression, kindness, and healing. It’s a powerful, emotional speech, especially when she speaks of the crowdfunding effort for the documentary about CeCe McDonald, a transgender activist who served 19 months in a men’s prison after defending herself from an attack in 2011.
“So often, trans people are told that our lives don’t matter,” Cox says. “Particularly black trans women. And tens of thousands of dollars were raised for this woman CeCe McDonald to prove that our lives do matter.”