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My Recent Good Netflix Picks Featuring Black Actors

I recently watched Our Song (2000), Go For Sisters (2013), LUV (2012) and Yelling To The Sky (2011) on Netflix. All are pretty good films that feature prominent Black characters, and all except LUV feature prominent Black female characters with lots of screen time/script. I enjoyed all of the films because they depicted interesting and complex portraits of Blackness. (Click on the year of each film to see the IMDb page to see all of the Black actors cast in each.)

I didn’t get one-dimensional “positive” character to “react” to the White Gaze, nor did I get one-dimensional stereotype/archetype/controlling images without texture or substance from these films. The characters felt like people. And for each film I might’ve tweeted some critiques and perspectives, but for me enjoying a film isn’t clapping like a seal to each thing that happens, but an experience of entertainment itself, aesthetic adoration/critique (I’m a photographer), and engaging that content with a critical lens, but not doing so in that I cannot simply just enjoy the content like anyone else would. While I’m not going to post an extended film review of each, I will mention a bit about each, though during my live tweets while watching, I got into more detail; click film name to see the live tweets.

Our Song - Beautiful complicated portrayal of coming of age for 3 girls of colour. One is Black, one is Latina and one has one Black parent, one Latina parent (portrayed by a young Kerry Washington, by the way). I love the way friendship, mental health, suicide, gender/sexuality, abortion, pregnancy, and just Black girl interior life was dealt with. I related to a lot of things they experienced. (My only complaint would be that the Spanish in the film felt like it was shaped for a non-Spanish speaking gaze, which made it convoluted at times. Also, they could’ve cast an Afro Latina.)

Go For Sisters - Interesting portrayal of Black and brown relationships. While a few stereotypes surface (of both Black Americans and Mexicans) they never outweigh the depth and richness of the two lead Black female characters and their complex friendship, perceptions of love, motherhood, safety and identity, or the lead man’s role. Also, interesting look at the impact of prison industrial complex on women’s lives.

LUV - Incredible, well-acted depictions of Black men, not all “positive” or flat either. Nuanced. I mean, there’s a series of scenes where the lead character played by Common (he’s great in this) goes from Black man to Black man for help and they’re markedly different albeit clear shared experiences because of their perceptions of masculinity/power, which for many are patriarchal, but it seems almost like a critique of it is occurring. Black man as director, Sheldon Candis.

Yelling To The Sky - Complicated and painful but truly human film. Remarkable. I had to squint at certain parts because the acting is so compelling and so real (possibly triggering for survivors of IPV/DV) that I felt myself tense. Raises issues about familial abuse, partner abuse, colourism, poverty and drugs without thorough degradation of those characters. Also, it conveys the Black mother as vulnerable. VULNERABLE. As a person who is not some “beast” who likes/can take/deserves domestic violence, as Black women are regularly viewed as. As someone who struggles with mental health issues, but still conveyed as a person. Remarkable film; Black woman as director, Victoria Mahoney, and she frickin’ tweeted me! Complimented my perspectives I shared during my live tweets!

I really enjoyed these films; also check out Mother of George on Netflix. I didn’t live tweet that one but it is a remarkable film. Though Octavia Spencer isn’t the lead, I really really loved Snowpiercer (on iTunes). That film is everything, and I live tweeted that one as well. Belle is also on iTunes (though I saw this one in the theatre). If you recall, I shared an essay about it, as it is my favorite film that I’ve seen in 2014 thus far. Enjoy!

TRANSGENDER IS NOT A GENDER

transgender is not a gender

  1. transgender is not a gender
  2. transgender is not a gender
  • transgender is NOT A GENDER

TRANSGENDER IS NOT A GENDER

It is a state of being, a moment in time, a transitioning phase in a persons life.  NOT a gender

I probably just end up sounding nitpicky sometimes, like with the “not only men” earning warbonnets observation. (Especially since I have no connection to Plains cultures, in that case.)

But, I do just get so aggravated sometimes, especially when it’s assimilation and imposed gender BS getting in the way of people knowing their own history. (Maybe not so much in that particular small example.)

I’m from the Southeast. We appalled the Engish in particular with the gender equality and not such rigid prescribed roles, not to mention all the big scary women who kept fighting them. I mean, they were not shy about screeching about any of it at the time. IME things are *still* not nearly as rigid, after all the attempts to change this.

(And honestly we’re still likely to come across as big, scary, and “unfeminine” by current standards. :-| And get less day to day respect in Greater London than I am used to, no doubt for multiple reasons. But, basic misogyny and different ideas about gender and “deviance” are way up there AFAICT.)

But still, I go to look at info about making traditional blowguns out of river cane. And get all of this gratuitous stuff thrown in about “a boy’s first hunting weapon”, and so on. From officially affiliated sites supposedly dedicated to preserving and promoting culture. It’s alienating.

I mean, where I’m from we all learned to hunt and fish as kids, because that can be very handy knowledge for anybody, and you never know when you might need to rely on that. Besides the fact that being a good hunter has nothing to do with assigned gender, and some people just like to hunt. Same goes for a lot of other skills. If a boy can’t cook enough to make sure he and people relying on him get decently fed, he is badly prepared for life to the level of negligence. I never got discouragement from doing anything because assigned gender until I was in school. In my family at least, girls actually got more training in how to fight effectively, because my Papaw knew we were unfortunately likely to need that at some point. And so on.

Or talking about stickball in male-only terms. Or talking like only men were fighting, or honest to Glod referring to Culture X “housewives” in the past. Where to paraphrase one observation, a SAHM in current terms would have been one cold and hungry lady. Because different responsibilities. Not even going to start in on the whole imposed binary thing, as more important than the actual people making your society.

It’s disturbing, it seems to justify more sexist attitudes now, it props up more authorian BS—and it also erases a lot of contributions both now and in the past.

Besides things being less rigid to begin with, with different ideas about social roles, this crap wipes out all the women who did end up going warrior out of felt necessity and helped make it possible for the modern sexist revisionists to exist.

Half your family has gotten killed, your sister and her kids just got caught up in a slave raid, etc.—so what are you going to do? Right. And who’s even in a position to tell you you can’t? *hollow laughter* This shit happened for centuries, and we made it through largely because people did what needed to be done to help their people get through it. We still do, even if the details have changed somewhat in a lot of cases.

It makes me angry to see a lot of these contributions ignored and swept under the carpet. It also helps obscure the fact that change for the better is even possible, and things don’t have to be the way they are. That is kind of built into the imposed ideologies there: that this is just the way things inevitably work, and some people are just inevitably going to end up on the bottom. It turns self-perpetuating.

I know this stuff isn’t just a problem with our specific culture. It definitely is a problem.

A Tech-Based Apprenticeship Focusing on Web Development and Graphic Design for the Trans Community.

GUISE!!! THERE’S ONLY 10 HOURS LEFT TO TRY TO REACH THEIR GOAL. THEY STILL NEED $7000! BLOW THIS UP!!!! This is seriously the most promising program I’ve seen to help trans homeless people learn the skills, and work in an environment, that will help them out of poverty, while enabling their fellow trans people to follow in their wake. Seriously, everyone should be contributing to this!!!!

Okay this is something that has been bugging me for a while because it’s all over my dash. I was going to put this under a “read more” boarder but, I decided that people need a fucking wake up call.

Listen closely Social Justice Warriors. The world is not going to cater to you.

I am pansexual myself and I am Cisgendered. I am also mixed with Black and Turkish. I know that I will have others look at me strangely and judge me because of something as feeble as race, sexual orientation or gender. But I will not through tantrums and yell “CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE” at someone because I know one thing: The world isn’t a perfect fucking place and it sure as hell could care less about what you label yourself as on a blogging website.

Outside of your little Tumblr bubble there is a world that doesn’t have trigger warnings plastered over every single little thing. No one will just walk up to you and ask your gender to make sure you’re comfortable. No one is going to recognize you as being “xenosexual or necrogender” (yes these are both real and people take them fucking seriously on this website.)

You Identify as male, female, or neither? Fine I can accept that. I will however not accept people making up their own genders left and right just to be a special little snowflakes. This is absolutely ridiculous.

I am tired of seeing people get hate mail for gender-bending a female character to male or vice-versa. The fact that you consider a female character being changed to male or the other way around; transphobic is counter intuitive. You’re telling me that to the Tumblr trans community you can be genderfluid in which an individual who can feel male at times but female at times is accepted but, when someone takes a female character and changes them to male by changing a few features it’s “TRANSPHOBIC.” I have never seen one person who claims this give a valid explanation as to WHY and I’m still waiting for one. Now I can understand that a lot of gender bends are quite offensive and I myself cringe at these. But when you take into account the situation and body type you can get a genderswap that is totally justifiable that does not sexualize.

Also stop saying everything is cultural appropriation. I am half Turkish myself and I love to see other people enjoy and learn about my culture regardless of their race or religion. Culture and Religion are not meant to be kept in a fucking box. If you study and appreciate the culture in a accurate and respectful manner I have no problem with you at all. It’s only when you wear something that is inaccurate or as a costume. That is when it becomes offensive. I don’t recall the Japanese population getting fucking butthurt the last time I ate a bowl of ramen or greeted someone from the country in Japanese.

That’s all I have to say. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on anything please. *gets ready for anon hate*

The teaching profession is dominated by women: Three-quarters of all teachers in kindergarten through high school are female, and in elementary and middle schools, women account for more than 80 percent of the educators.

What’s more, more than 80 percent of America’s teachers are white, even though minority students are expected to outnumber white students in public schools for the first time this year.

How can the teaching profession become more diverse in terms of gender and race or ethnicity?

Nine ways women are changing African markets

The African female consumer has long been mischaracterised and overlooked by marketers across the continent. But now, with women continuing to emerge as powerful decision-makers and consumers - they are changing the face of the African market.

**Where applicable data and sources have been included.

#1: The main market

Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and women are playing a big role in accelerating this growth. According to the World Bank, roughly two thirds of African women are now working in either formal or informal sectors. In some countries, like Kenya, women make up a little more than half of all entrepreneurs.

With women starting to dominate the market, brands should keep up by focusing their efforts on the female consumer.

*New York Times, “Women Entrepreneurs Drive Economic Growth in Africa” 10 Oct. 2012 

#2: The new decision makers

With more and more African women entering the workforce, their earning and purchasing potential makes them very important consumers to target. Globally, women constitute about 70% of all consumer spending*.

The growing middle class of African females will buy an ever-increasing number of goods from mobile phones, to cars, entertainment, homes and education.

*Bloomberg, “Women Controlling Consumer Spending Sparse among Central Bankers,” 25 Jul 2011

#3: Amongst the most tech-savvy

Upwardly mobile women need to save time and stay connected; and technology is a central facet to almost every woman’s life. Overall, Africans are willing to spend more money relative to their income on technology than Europeans and Americans.

Demand for tech products like smartphones, household appliances and cars is expected to drive the African consumer market to a value of $1 trillion by 2020*. Brands must capitalise on how central technology is in women’s lives.

*Media Club South Africa, “Middle Class Africa: Meet the new African consumer,” 21 Feb 2014 

#4: Re-defining traditional African values

Women are re-defining for themselves what it means to be an African woman. While many women describe their values as being rooted in more traditional beliefs, such as the importance of being a loyal community member, they are also striving for more independence and acknowledgement for their skills.

This creates a big challenge for brands: connecting where she is with where she wants to be.

“Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught to them.” - Nigerian Grass, 30.


Ed’s note: Read the rest of the 9 ways…

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