Archive for July, 2015

White Silence = White Consent: The Necessity of MTV’s ‘White People’ [By Raqiyah Mays]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 22, 2015 by Raqiyah Mays

White people MTV pic

Thanks to social media and the #Blacklivesmatter movement, the phrase “White Silence = White Consent” has circulated Twitter and Facebook among many of all races who believe that the key to curing racism in America begins with an honest conversation among those who make up the country’s majority – White People. It’s the name of MTV’s upcoming documentary airing July 22 which will hopefully take this conversation off social media and onto to the small screen for a demographic that needs it the most – white millennials. “The construction of racism has benefited white people, not people of color,” says Jose Antonia Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning filmmaker and journalist behind White People. “What I hope this film does is get us closer to the fuller reckoning in history of this country which has yet to be really told.”

According to a 2014 study among millennials, provided by MTV’s public affairs campaign “Look Different”, more than three in four (79%) admitted being friends with people with biases. 72% said that their generation believes in equality more than older people. Although when asked if the government pays too much attention to the problems of racial minority groups, 41% of whites answered “yes,” compared to 21% of people of color. But in the age of a modern civil rights movement led by mostly millennials, the government’s responsibility in addressing race has become a hot topic seen in the Department of Justice’s investigations of police brutality murders of unarmed black men, women, and children to the #TakeItDown confederate flag debate among southern senators. 54% of millennials polled agreed that it’s “hard to have a respectful conversation about bias in

person or online.” This seems to mainly be the issue of white people, who have been historically uncomfortable discussing racism.

In a news article written by Marc Snetiker on MTV’s upcoming film, the headline reads; “Watch the uncomfortable trailer for MTV’s documentary White People.” After breaking it down the story finishes with the line, “Watch the trailer—did we mention it’s uncomfortable?—below.” While in a piece by Lauren Le Vine entitled “Why Did MTV Make a Documentary Called White People?” Le Vine, like, reminds readers “The discussions in White People are bound to make some viewers uncomfortable.”

But isn’t that the point? When has an honest conversation about racism ever been comfortable? And when has avoiding a difficult topic ever been healthy for a relationship?

Racism is a people issue, a family issues, and a (lack of) love issue. Like being in any of these relationships, ignoring a lingering problem and not discussing it because it makes someone “uncomfortable” has always led to deeper complications. Hence network producers and people in charge of mainstream news media – who are mostly white – mimic the historical habitual silence of those in their culture by nervously choosing to not cover race related stories. That is, until a millennial, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, shoots dead nine African American elders at a Charleston’s Emmanuel AME Church bible study while proudly representing white supremacists who wave the confederate flag. Finally, after these disturbingly violent deaths the country cannot deny that we need to discuss racial bias. And thanks to the loud power of social media, ignited long ago by injustices in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, LA, and countless cities nationwide – ignoring the skin color issue can no longer persist. America has officially been forced to admit to this country’s age old embarrassing racist sickness proceeding the 1787 enactment of the three-fifths compromise counting slaves as three-fifths of a human in the United States Constitution.


Jada Pinkett Smith Talks Love and Feminism [Interview by Raqiyah Mays]

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2015 by Raqiyah Mays

Jada Pinkett picture

The fascination with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith makes sense. She doesn’t wear a wedding ring. She candidly speaks of their “open” relationship. And sleazy tabloid stories occasionally ooze with slimy “sources” sadly whispering of impending doom for the duo. Paparazzi and reporters have gotten so thirsty for dirt that before an interview with Jada promoting her must-see film (for all ladies who like to see a man strip)—Magic Mike XXL—publicists send email reminders to press: “As a reminder, please no personal questions about her children or family, and no jokes about stripping as she supports charities tied to human trafficking.”

The problem is that speaking to a sister like Jada Pinkett Smith is like talking to an intellectual girlfriend. Clearly conscious, proud to be black, and outspoken in enunciating publicly on everything from race and Hillary Clinton to the Baltimore Riots. The down-to-Earth comfort of her vibe makes it difficult to not, at some point, naturally discuss topics women like to share, such as men and love.

As a black woman, I enjoyed seeing Will introduce you at Black Girls Rock and talk about his fear of losing you and then the two of you kissed. We need to see that as black people. We need to see black love.

“That’s so funny you say that. Because that was one of the reasons. You know, sometimes I’m very leery,” she says huffing. “I’m like,Last thing people want to see is the Smiths doing something else together.’ Even I get sick of it like, ‘Aaaah!’” Jada screams with a laugh. “But I really did feel like that too. I felt like it was important that we all, young and old people alike, see that black love is alive and strong. No matter what people try to say, you can’t fake the funk when it’s right there in your face. You can’t fake it. So I felt like that was an important component. And so did he. And I said, ‘I think this is one of those moments we can put aside the, ‘Oh God, here go the Smiths again.’”

A solid, respected career, pretty babies, and a long, eighteen year and counting marriage to an equally successful, wealthy, handsome man who’s unafraid to provide passionate displays of attention in public. Imagine if all women could have all of that.

“Let me tell you something. First of all it’s a journey. I think we as women have to get out of thinking that we have to find someone that can make us feel the way we haven’t learned how to feel about ourselves yet. That we cannot depend on a man to buoy us up to be loved in a way in which we’re not willing to love ourselves,” says Jada, dropping knowledge. “And I know it sounds cliché. But in the deepest moments when I felt the deepest love for my partner is when I was in the deepest love within myself and with myself. I just realized it is my responsibility to love me. And it is his responsibility simply to support it. But he cannot love me enough to replace it. And I think we might come across really great men that we don’t recognize because we are asking for the impossible. Which is, ‘Please love me more than I’m willing to love myself.’ It doesn’t work.”