Racialicious

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
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Posts tagged "Black men"

Mr. Anderson and Mr. Brady were also in stark contrast to my father and many of the working-class black men I knew in my neighborhood or saw on TV, characters like Redd Foxx’s Fred Sanford and John Amos’s James Evans Sr., who was much closer in spirit to my own dad.

That all changed in the fall of 1984, when America was introduced to Bill Cosby’s Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, who quickly took on the unprecedented role for a black man as America’s “favorite dad.”

There was a need to celebrate a character who challenged historic stereotypes of black men as fathers — often portrayed as absent, shiftless, unemployed and overly chauvinistic. But was an upper middle-class professional not dramatically different than his white male peers really what black audiences were looking for? Where were the black male characters who represented the complexities of what it means to be a black in contemporary America? Would we even know them if we saw them?

In my recent work researching the intersection of African-American and pop cultures, I have been examining the ways that black men are legible to us in the popular imagination. In the ways that seeing a black man on television with a basketball or on a newscast about crime is terribly familiar to us, more complex images of black men as fathers seem few and far between. Indeed, the recent Samsung Galaxy II commercial — featuring basketball star LeBron James engaging with his sons over breakfast — seems almost revolutionary.

Mark Anthony Neal, “On Occasion, TV Captures The Complexities Of Black Men As Fathers,” The Herald-Sun 6/12/13

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, the NBA’s Jason Collins became the first active player in any of the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) to announce he was gay. His opening sentence: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

Toward the end of his must-read story, Collins, a 7-foot, 255-pounder who has played for six teams in his 11-year pro career, ponders the fallout from his announcement:

I’ve been asked how other players will respond to my announcement. The simple answer is, I have no idea. I’m a pragmatist. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The biggest concern seems to be that gay players will behave unprofessionally in the locker room. Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn’t an issue before, and it won’t be one now. My conduct won’t change. I still abide by the adage, “What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.” I’m still a model of discretion.

Here’s a look at what some people—some NBA players, some not—had to say about Collins on Monday…

Ian Gordon, “14 Awesome Reactions To Jason Collins Coming Out,” Mother Jones (mobile) 4/29/13

No, seriously. Check out the reactions and from whom!

Space shapes.

In fact, masculinities, including black masculinities, are performed partially in response to the various external conditions present within the geographical spaces, like NYC, where they emerge. In other words, masculinities are shaped by skewed conceptions of gender, a sexist culture, and the range of structural conditions that impact black men quite negatively.

Consider, for instance, what type of black masculinity might emerge in response to a city funded teenage pregnancy prevention ad that pretty much tells black teen females that black boys ain’t shit in a city where police use tax-payer funded guns to shoot its residents? And how can we encourage black boys and men to resist the need to perform power (that hurts), toughness (that victimizes), and swag (that boasts chauvinistically) when, in fact, demonstrations of power, toughness, and swag might be performed by black boys and men to counter state violence? Thus, we should ask how we might re-create masculinities that do no harm and also consider the forces at work that tend to shape black male gender performances in destructive ways.

Black masculinities are created within heteropatriarchy and tend to be overdetermined by misogyny, sexism, violence, and rape culture. It is our responsibility as black cis and transgendered men to name and disengage caustic masculinities, but we should also consider why black men would fight so damn hard to perform the “strong black man” caricature in various spaces in the US, like NYC. Indeed, we black men must consider how our senses of self and the masculinities we perform are shaped by the conditions present within the spaces that we move through.

Darnell Moore, “The Shaping Of Black Masculinities,” The Feminist Wire 3/14/13

Black men occupy an interesting place in the popular imagination. Their superhuman sexuality is an integral part of American lore. It’s most prominently on display in the titles of pornographic videos that market the ability of big black men to ravish young, innocent white women. It’s more subtle in the white women who walk past with their eyes firmly locked on my crotch, undoubtedly pondering the question that the bold will occasionally whisper in a dark corner of a house party: “Is it true?” And the misguided among us will certainly whisper “yes” through a sly grin, unaware that entangled with the superhuman lore of the black penis is the dangerous specter of dehumanization. This strange combination of fear and fascination reveals the superhuman-subhuman duality that black men embody.

The very same superhuman virility fuels fear of black men. It’s why white women run from us in the hallways, scream when they see us jogging toward them in the street, tell us we look dangerous, and clutch their purses in elevators if they get on the elevator at all (these are actual anecdotes from me and a friend, some of which occur occasionally, others, regularly). A few decades ago, these fearful reactions would be enough to put us in danger of mob violence, regardless of how benign our presence may have been. Even now, racial hoaxes are an ever-present danger. When white people claim to have been victimized by a fictitious black man, hundreds of innocent black men are endangered as law enforcement officials search out the supposed assailant. While perceptions of hypermasculinity elevate us to the superhuman, they simultaneously reduce us to subhuman status.

Robert Reece, “White Women’s Gazes, Black Men’s Bodies: Superhuman-Subhuman Duality,” Still Furious, And Still Brave:Who’s Afraid Of Persistent Blackness 1/27/13

**TRIGGER WARNING**

…The Central Park Five revisits New York City’s recent past to tell the story of a pack of ruthless predators.

Two packs, actually: Gotham’s prosecutors and police officers, and its reporters and columnists. Both groups went feral in 1989 against five innocent Harlem teenagers accused and then convicted in a rape and assault.

If the case doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps this word will help: wilding. That’s what police and journalists claimed was the kids’ term for what they did the night of April 19, 1989. In this film, all five former defendants reflect on what happened — one of them, Antron McCray, is heard but not seen — and none utters that verb. It’s just one of many words that were put into their mouths.

McCray and four other boys — Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond
Santana and Korey Wise — were in the north end of Central Park when a jogger was brutally ambushed. But there was no evidence that they attacked the victim, eventually identified as Trisha Meili, or even that they witnessed the crime. The five’s clothing was unbloodied, and DNA found on Meili’s body did not match any of theirs.

The lack of proof didn’t seem to matter. Five years into the crack wars that roiled American cities in that era, New York wanted a quick resolution, not logic or ambiguity. “In those days, there were probably six murders a day,” notes New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer, one of the film’s expert witnesses.

Historian Craig Steven Wilder discusses the role of racism in this and other miscarriages of justice, while social psychiatrist Saul Kassin explains why people come to accept blame for things they didn’t do — and how bystanders come to believe them.

The most devastating commentator, however, is Dwyer, who details the weakness of the evidence and explains how the prosecutors seduced the press simply with a tidy narrative. “Newspapers,” he drolly observes, “love chronologies.”

—Mark Jenkins, “Rape, Race, And The Press Entangled in ‘Central Park,’” NPR 11/22/12

Maysles Cinema is premiering The Central Park Five tonight and through next week! If you’re in the NYC area, please check out the special screening on Sunday, 11/25! The deets below:


SPECIAL SCREENING OF THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE:
@ the Oberia D. Dempsey Center Auditorium 
127 West 127th Street

(between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell) 
Sunday, November 25th, 4:00pm
The Central Park Five 
U.S. Theatrical Premiere 
Dir. Ken Burns, David McMahon, Sarah Burns, 2012, 119 min. 

Film followed by a Q&A with dirs. Sarah Burns and David McMahon and members of the Central Park 5 - Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise. 
 

For more information and where to buy tickets for The Central Park Five, check out the org’s website!

Subway stories:

Brooklyn bound on the ‘A’frican Xpress—a.k.a. the A train—yesterday. Sardines have more room than rush hour commuters on day 1 of regular traffic post Sandy’s wrath. Young brother to his co-worker. ‘You votin?’ Brother shakes his head: “Nah, son I ain’t vote. I could, ain’t gonna. My vote ain’t count no-ways.” His co-worker tries to persuade him he should vote, especially because it is his first time. Young brother not convinced. Behind me, packed train I hear a lady’s voice. ‘Xcuse me, pardon me sis, xcuse me’. Elder with a walker trying to manouevre her way through a packed subway car. Everyone’s pissed, only her elder status & the fact of the walker stops out-loud comment. Much side-eyeing instead. “Young man!” Elder to the young brother who just said he wasn’t voting. “Me?” “yes, young man you. You’re not voting?” Young man shakes his head. The elder lady starts. She explains it is not his right to not vote, that neither she nor her friends and family stood and faced danger so he could shrug his shoulders and just decide not to vote. She tells story after story. Everyone is quiet. Young man waits for her to finish, he tries to explain he doesn’t agree with President Obama’s policies. Elder stares at him. “You’re not voting because of him, you’re doing it for me and every woman who took a beating so you can. You need to wake up, xtra early, get down to them polls and vote. You hear me?” “Yes’m”. Am thinking about the young man today and that elder.

Esther Armah, from her Emotional Justice Facebook page 11/6/12

harvestheart:

Green Mile’ actor Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan was best known for his role in “The Green Mile.” 

Michael Clarke Duncan, the actor who earned an Oscar nomination for his role in “The Green Mile,” has died after complications from a July heart attack, his fiancee says. He was 54.

Publicist Joy Fehily released a statement from Clarke’s fiancee, the Rev. Omarosa Manigault, saying the actor died Monday morning in a Los Angeles hospital after nearly two months of treatment following the July 13 heart attack.   

“The Oscar-nominated actor suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered.  Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time.  Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date,” the statement said.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Duncan appeared in dozens of films, including such box office hits as “Armageddon,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Kung Fu Panda.”   

According to The Associated Press, Duncan had a handful of minor roles before “The Green Mile” brought him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. Duncan played John Coffey, a convicted murderer, in the 1999 film, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, that starred Tom Hanks as a corrections officer at a penitentiary in the 1930s. 

HH: “Coffey like the drink, only not spelled the same.”  I found him to be a great addition to Two and a Half Men.

(via share-biyuti)

iamabutchsolo:

stopwhitewashing:

fromthemargintothecenter:

tobiasfunkes:

How ya doin’? I’m Brody.

omg where is this from

(Better Off Ted)

Yo that’s some black-Asian solidarity for ya.

Racializens, for your Monday.

(via daughterofmulan)

If Tony Scott had a muse it was Denzel Washington, who starred in many of the director’s best films. More often than not, Washington portrayed a guy who did his job even when circumstances called for extreme measures, someone who stepped up when the life he saved would not be his own. “Crimson Tide,” “Man on Fire,” “Déjà Vu,” “The Taking of Pelham 123,” and “Unstoppable” were all anchored by rugged individualists who understood only too well the cause and effect that came with any decisive action.

He was at his best when Washington was in the picture. The characters the actor played are the archetype of the kind of men Scott made. At their core, and what guided all the actions that followed, was a fundamental decency. They were flawed men to be sure, some more than others, but men who accorded dignity to anyone who deserved it.

Washington and Scott would do five films together, but it was their collaboration on 2009’s “The Taking of Pelham 123” that remains my favorite. It is an extremely interior piece of acting by Washington. His subway dispatcher, weary and wrung out by his job, his life, becomes the perfect counterpoint to John Travolta’s crazed kidnapper. It’s impossible not to be mesmerized by Washington’s face in the film — it is where Scott kept the focus — and the reward is one of the most finely attenuated studies of a man in a moment of crisis as you can find in film.

Betsy Sharkey, “Tony Scott, A Man Of Action Who Brought Out The Best In His Men,” L.A. Times, 8/24/12
I’mma need some of my brothers to stop thinking that when women can claim a space to affirm the pleasure of their sexuality (and sex) that it is not frivolous exercise; it is, in fact, “political” in a society that cares very little about the sexual lives of women (especially Black) and what my brilliant sisters Joan Morgan & Treva B Lindsey call the “Pleasure Principle.”
Mark Anthony Neal, from his Facebook page, because some dude derided Heidi Lewis’s post on Lil Wayne, Black masculinity, and cunnilingus as “not political.”