Who doesn’t love Jennifer Lawrence? She’s the modern-day Joan of Arc who calls out Hollywood and its sexist pay structures while still headlining some of the biggest films of the year. Well, Chris Rock, like many people of color doesn’t believe Lawrence is the great light for equality. Rather, he suggests that her focus on pay differences for women misses how race also plays a factor.
I will admit: one of the major draws for me to go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the fact that Lupita Nyong’o would be in the film. In trying to avoid spoilers, I didn’t realize that she would not be appearing as her physical self but as a little red-skinned alien with thick goggles named “Maz Kanata.” I let out an audible “aw nawl” when I heard Nyong’o’s voice but didn’t see her gorgeous face and skin. I immediately thought to myself, “Of course. There are only two prominent Black characters in the movie and the Black woman ends up invisibilized and made into an alien. This is Princess and the Frog all over again.” But, in a recent interview with Buzzfeed News, Nyong’o said that she wanted a role where her body would not be front-and-center, a perplexing assertion which left me conflicted about my initial reaction.
As a graduate student in Race Politics and Black Feminism, I am entirely too familiar with what it means to be silenced and excluded from feminist theories and narratives which have historically been focused on middle class White women.
In my academic career at private White institutions (PWIs), I have had liberal White students – usually young women who consider themselves feminists – say things to me like “sorry we’re not all from the ghetto” and “this conversation is about women, not Black people.” These experiences are precisely why the Politicizing Beyoncé course at Rutgers University is so vital. But, it’s been cancelled. And, it is simply a travesty that the institutions meant to educate this country’s next generation of leaders and scholars do not use courses like these to disrupt the racist tendencies of mainstream White feminism. Instead, they reinscribe a status quo which ostracizes Black feminism and its most prominent members, namely Beyoncé.
Forty years later, the creative retelling of the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz was revitalized when the The Wiz Live! aired on NBC on December 3rd. While watching, it wasn’t hard to connect with the familiar songs like “Ease on Down the Road” and “Home.” The live musical kept the same soul and excitement that made The Wiz a classic. However, The Wiz Live! added some flare the past adaptations did not have. There were ipads, dabs, superfly munchkins, vogueing in the Emerald City, but most importantly Dorothy, our all American girl, had natural hair. In essence, this new production gave us the prime time representation we have been waiting for.
Everyone is freaking out after Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant on Sunday evening. This is probably the first time that ever happened. This year was also the first time a contestant wore dreadlocks in the Miss World competition. Suffice it to say, it was an exciting weekend in the pageant world.