Michael B. Jordan Goes in on Racist Trolls

Michael B Jordan

Michael B. Jordan has a few words for the racist trolls upset that he will be portraying Johnny Storm in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” film.

From Entertainment Weekly:

You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. But after taking on Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. Turns out this is what they were saying: “A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president” and “It’s not true to the comic.” Or even, “They’ve destroyed it!”

It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, “You’re good. I’m okay with this,” who am I to go against that?

Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.

This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.

Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.

To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.

Photo:  Monica Schipper/Getty Images/IMDB

Azealia Banks to Star in RZA’s ‘Coco’

azealia

Azealia Banks is set to play the tile character in the RZA directed film, “Coco”. Banks’ character is described as “an aspiring twenty-something rapper who wants a career in hip hop, but is torn by her parents’ dreams that she finish college. She gives in. While in the classroom, she experiences the true calling of the power of the spoken word, which helps her goals as a hip hop artist.”

Jill Scott, Common, Hana Mae Lee, Lucien Laviscount, and Lorraine Toussaint round out the cast.

Photo: Azealia Banks/Facebook

 

 

Are Hook Up Apps to Blame For Rise in STDs?

Tinder

A new report from the Rhode Island Department of Health links an uptick in STD cases to the use of social media hook up apps such as Tinder.

According to the report, the number of infectious syphilis cases increased by 79%, gonorrhea cases increased by 30% and the number of newly-identified HIV cases increased by nearly 33%. The researchers linked these increases to “high-risk behaviors include using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

The increase in Rhode Island follows a national trend according to the report.

When using Tinder, don’t forget to practice safe sex.

Photo: Tinder

 

Racism 2.0: How the Internet Reminds Us Things Ain’t Changed

Deray CHuck

By Jay Dodd

Earlier this week, Arrogant Internet White Man #456 or Chuck C. Johnson used Twitter to fundraise a “taking out” of community organizer and movement curator Deray McKesson. The threat spread quick and many mobilized to hold Twitter accountable for allowing such threats. While Black Twitter was critical in the quick response, McKesson’s high profile status signaled a larger issue around threats and harassment on the platform.

In the days following, news broke that Twitter permanently suspended Johnson from the site and many rejoiced. Johnson, however, is allegedly trying to sue stating, “Twitter doesn’t seem to have a problem with people using their service to coordinate riots, but they do have a problem with the kind of journalism I do.”

This case study in Arrogant White Man self-victimization is commonplace from academia to entertainment and seems to have found a complex home online. While Black folk experience threat and harassment in a variety of forms online, social media, Twitter especially, has provided a critical space for folks to claim identity and combat erasure. These are seemingly new tactics in Black survival and socio-cultural resistance; keeping up with the modernization of White terror.

We are undoubtedly not living the world of our parents or grandparents’ racism. As technology, wealth, and power continued to shift, strategies of systemic or covert racism has become standard. Erasure and silencing now gag the throats of Black resistance and scholarship. Overt actions of racism, like lynching and fire bombing are easier to shame but those, too, are still happening.  The false outcry of many (white) millennials is that we are living in a “post race” utopia with President Obama as a beacon of that cultural shift. However, consider his welcome to Twitter.

Red-blooded American spoke to the President of the United States with the most vitriolic racism. Whatever you want to say about patriotism, or the lack of surprise, consider how quickly American pride is proven as a fallacy. Any reverence that POTUS would be afforded is lost because of his Blackness. Not only is there the disrespect of alleged nationalism, but with the prevalence of threats and harassment on Twitter, are these trolls unbothered by potential repercussions. (by the way, threatening the president of the United States is a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.) Only racism’s arrogance can reveal such disparities in cultural codes or standards.

While technology and social media a multitude of ways to communicate and build, technology does not undo or minimize intergenerational racism. New media has unfortunately also meant a lack of ethics, accountability and safety for many Black folks online. There have been concerted efforts to defame, silence, and threaten Black/Indigenous (Trans) Women online. Government and news organizations vulture social media to co-opt/disable resistance movements.

While Black folk have truly begun mastering the digital landscape as a new world for us to connect through, we (unfortunately) are still vulnerable to White threat. It is on us to build our digital literacy and demand safety for our voices and narratives.

Photo: Jay Dodd/Twitter

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Jay Dodd is a writer and performance artist based in Boston, originally from Los Angeles. After recently graduating Tufts University, Jay has organized vigils and protests locally for Black Lives Matter: Boston. When not in the streets, Jay has contributed to Huffington Post and is currently a contributing writer for VSNotebook.com, based in London. Jay Dodd is active on social media celebrating Blackness, interrogating masculinity, and complicating queerness. His poetic and performance work speaks to queer Black masculinity and afrofuturism.

Chance the Rapper Stealthily Released a New Track Over the Weekend

Is Surf on the horizon? Over the weekend, Chance the Rapper stealthily released a new track, “Hiatus (Broadcast)”. The song is short and sweet and cuts off just at the minute mark leading us to believe there’s more where that came from.

Hopefully this is a sign that the much anticipated Surf LP is dropping very soon.

Photo: Chance the Rapper/Facebook

 

 

Chimamanda Adichie Wants Girls and Women to Stop Worrying About Being Liked

ChimamandaAdichie

Last week, Chimamanda Adichie was honored at the Girls Write Now AwardsHer message to the attendees was simple: Do you and don’t worry about what others say.

“Forget about likability. I think that what our society teaches young girls and I think that it’s something that’s quite difficult for even older women, self-confessed feminists, to shrug off is this idea that likability is an essential part of the space you occupy in the world. That you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable. That you’re supposed to kind of hold back sometimes, pull back. Don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy … because you have to be likable. And I say that is bullshit,” Adichie told the audience.

Words to live by:

 

Photo: Girls Write Now

#SayHerName: The Black Woman Is the Mule of the Earth

rekia

By Samantha Master

During the era of legalized, extra-judicial lynchings of Black people, there are almost 150 documented cases of Black women being lynched. Their crimes ranged from registering to vote to being the daughter or partner of someone accused of murder.

While the United States is still processing the murders—and subsequent acts of resistance—following the deaths of young Black men like Michael Brown and Freddie Gray at the hands of law enforcement, Black women are left wondering why when the similar fates befalls us, there is all-but-silence.

In the face of continued state and law enforcement violence via death, physical and sexual assault, Black women—who have largely catalyzed and organized movement strategy and actions in the aftermath of these tragedies—are declaring that our lives are valuable and sacred and our names deserve to be spoken alongside our fallen brethren.

To date, 11 known cisgender women—assigned female at birth and identifying as women—and at least 1 transgender woman has been killed by law enforcement. Black women are most likely to be victims of police sexual assault. Almost 40% of Black transgender people who had encounters with police reported harassment. Black girls are suspended six times the rates of white girls in primary and secondary schools.

State and law enforcement violence have created a state of emergency for Black women and girls, and we cannot sit idly by while our sisters are being—to quote Kimberle Crenshaw—“pushed out, over policed and under protected.” All of the women are not white. All of the Blacks are not men. And some of us are still brave.

It is not enough to simply know and speak the names of our sisters, we must commit to ending the racist, hetero-cis-patriarchal policies and practices that endanger our lives and our communities. We must commit to centering Black women, girls and femmes in our analyses by ensuring that our anti-racism is not sexist, our feminisms are not cis-sexist, and our work is inclusive of the whole of Black experiences.

Black women birthed intersectionality, and we need their brilliance now, more than ever, if we are to ever be free.

Black women and girls have existed—invisibilized and ignored—at the margins of narratives and organizing against state and law enforcement violence for far too long. Today, we say, “No more.”

In honor of:

Mary Turner, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair, Assata Shakur, Tyisha Miller, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Miriam Carey, Rekia Boyd,  Yvette Smith, Tyra Hunter,  Anna Brown, Sheneque Proctor, Renisha McBride, Tanisha Anderson, Nuwnah Laroche, Mya Hall, Yuvette Henderson, Natasha McKenna, Janisha Fonville, Monique Deckard, Megan Hockaday, Alexia Christian, and so many more whose names may escape our tongue but whose stories live within our hearts, we #SpeakHerName.

Samantha Master is a writer based in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Rekia Boyd/Sandra Khalifa 

Powerful Photos From #SayHerName

say her name

Yesterday, BYP100, Ferguson Action, Black Lives Matter, along with dozens of community organizations and organizers, lead #SayHerName demonstrations across the U.S. Here are some powerful images from rallies across the country.

“My baby sister was full of love.” #RekiaBoyd . Murdered by Chi PD. we won’t let them get away. #SayHerName pic.twitter.com/LRSBTNOfBy

— BYP100 (@BYP_100) May 20, 2015