Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's Race Got To Do With It?

So, I am mildly obsessed with the HBO Original Series Rome. As with most HBO shows, it's wonderfully done. Great scripts, aesthetically pleasing cinematography, brilliant costumes. But something really bothers me about it. First off, the actress that plays Cleopatra is not African. Now, I consider myself an educated person and I know that the "real" Cleopatra's ancestors were Macedonians and that she supposedly descended from a long line of Greeks, beginning with Alexander the Great.

But here's the problem. No one on the show is of African descent, yet half of the second season takes place in Egypt. There are black slaves, attendants (including Cleopatra's wig woman) and soldiers, but every single principle character is white.

With Italy, Asia and Africa being so close together and the Roman empire being as vast as it was, I find it very hard to believe that no influential person was of color.

White historians say it was impossible for Cleopatra to be black. Impossible for an African woman to rule over African people? I understand. Anything great, beautiful, civilized, cannot possibly be credited to African people. The situation really makes me think about how incredibly subjective history is.
And let's pretend that Cleopatra was not black, but Greek, with no traces of African blood. Hollywood's version of her is completely accurate. Olive skin, silky black hair and blue eyes. Authenticity personified.

What then of the other African women of influence that history and Hollywood have robbed us of? The Queen of Sheba, who readers of the Bible, Torah and Koran know as a dark-skinned African women, but who viewers of the 1959 romance Solomon and Sheba saw as someone quite a bit more fair.

Or Mariane Pearl, the Afro-Cuban and Dutch widow of murdered journalist David Pearl? Angelina Jolie was chosen to play her in the movie version of her husband's life and death **the cynic in me is thinking "Producers will do anything to keep from giving black woman her shine!"**

But what does race really have to do with it? It's just TV! But, I think we all know that it's not just TV. There is a proven link. Suburban girls watch Britney Spears and starve themselves. Models see Tyra Banks and call their plastic surgeons. So what do Black girls do when they see Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie in roles that may have better suited a woman of color? Our subconscious must think that Black really isn't beautiful, intelligent or worthy. Hollywood and history have done us all a great, grave disservice.

Keep Hope Alive!

Whitney :(

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pon De Beating?

I really hate blogs that only post celeb pictures for us regular folk to comment on (i.e. rip to shreds), but I had a physical reaction to this shot that was posted by Reuters (and umm, since when did Ty Ty become a record producer? Whoever writes these captions should be shot...). Rihanna, step away, just step away. As much as Beyonce tries to play up that sweet Southern girl persona, we all know she'd man up and beat a biznatch down for messing with Big Jay. I mean, I'm just saying...

FYI: I just spellchecked this post...why do all the R&B singers have such ghetto names? Can we get one black celeb whose name won't make SpellCheck hyperventilate?

Til Next Time (Which will probably be in about an hour),
Whitney :-D

The Difference Is That Ciara Would Actually Be Mistaken For A Man...

MTV News recently ran down the drag king performances of Beyonce (in Upgrade U) and Ciara (in Like A Boy)...hmmm. Should I say it? Well, I've already named the post...

Ciara ALREADY LOOKS LIKE A BOY! Duh! Beyonce, on her worst most masculine day looks like a really good drag queen (see that overstated Golden Globes frock...)

but Ciara at her most feminine looks like a tranny only halfway through her transformation process.

I guess they didn't get the memo that it's cute for girly girls to dress up like guys (see Beyonce), but when you already have tranny rumors floating around and your sporting really long, uhhh feet, don't risk it.

Toodles (like Regine from Living Single)!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Puerto Rico: El Terre Del Ron

First things first, if you've never heard "Siente El Boom" by Tito El Bambino, download it now and listen to it while you read this post. It is officially the title track to my vacay.

Now, I WENT TO PUERTO RICO!! San Juan to be exact. Of course it was amazing! The papis, the daiquiris, la musica, it was all great. Though they are technically a part of the US of A, it's so different there and I learned A LOT. Here's the Cliff Notes version:

Things I Learned In Puerto Rico:

5: Manicured 'Brows are for Males ONLY:

Y'all, would you believe EVERY guy we met had dainty, arched, waxed brows! It was very weird considering the women probably wished that they were as well-groomed.

4: If You See A Street Sign, Please Ignore:

We rented a car (holla at that Hyundai Brio!) to get around the island and the very first thing that we noticed was the dual lack of street signs and virtual impotency of the signs that were out. To say that folks drive crazy down there is the understatement of the year. We saw people treating red lights like stop signs, backing their cars up for blocks and blocks and NO ONE had two working headlights. Once one of us pointed it out, we all started to notice it. Now everytime we see a car with one headlight we say, "Wink, Wink!"

3: Toned Bodies Are For Suckas:

Close your eyes and picture an island. Palm trees, warm breezes, women with flat stomachs. Well, San Juan has 2 out of 3. No matter how much jelly you have, or what various marks or imperfections reside on your belly and thighs, please have that stuff out. Do not attempt to wear a swimsuit cover up and do not even think about getting all that into a one piece. Buy your bikini and your 2-sizes-too-small booty shorts, NOW you're ready to frolic the beach.

2: Forget DisneyWorld, San Juan is the new Family Vacation Spot:

We saw children everywhere: at the beach where teenagers were openly smoking ganja and whipping up lethal, alcoholic concoctions; at the Bacardi Rum factory where everyone (children included) received two free drinks; at the club, where we saw a 2-year-old in a stroller entering the club around 3am, wide-awake and ready to get his drink on. We fulfilled the dumb tourist quota for the day, since none of the locals batted an eyelash. I'm sure the babies theme song was "Trap all day, Play all night, This is the life of a Go-Getta!"

1: Barcardi Makes The World Go 'Round:

For those of you not privy, Barcardi is the world's premiere rum and originated two of the most famous drinks: the mojito and the pina colada. Founded in Cuba during the mid-19th century, the factory in the suburbs of San Juan, Puerto Rico offers daily tours of the museum and factory. Of course, everyone gets their "Vitamin B," two tickets to drink bevys laced with Bacardi. My recommendations: Bacardi O with Cranberry and Orange Juices and the classic Mojito.

In addition to the factory, Rum seemed to be part of the national culture of the island. We nicknamed the island El Terre Del Ron, The Land of Rum.

Adios Amigos!
Whitney ;)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let's Bury This Word...

Michael and I are self-proclaimed "word Nazi's."I realize this. And, frankly, as a writer, it would be more of a crime not to be. But as a Sergeant for the pen, there are some words that I absolutely abhor. Number 1 on my list right now? Outgoing. I have never liked the word. And as a grown-butt-woman I like it even less. It serves no purpose.
There are at least a hundred words that are more sufficient. Vivacious. Spirited. Luminous. Magnetic. The meanings are slightly different, but they all describe someone with a zest for life and a quality that draws people to her. Outgoing just reminds me of 5th grade. More specifically, my 5th grade campaign speech. "I should be voted President of Miss Ashley's 5th grade class because I will be a smart, outgoing representative for the class."
Let's do everyone a favor and outlaw this least in written communication.
Love You Less!
Whitney :)