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As a wave of sighs, boos, hisses, and expletives flooded various homes and social media platforms in the wake of Beyoncé losing every major category at this year’s Grammy Awards, a familiar sentiment surfaced just as swiftly: “What did you expect?”

The rhetorical question is rooted in the history of the most celebrated music awards show we have. It is a history that has long highlighted the fact that the Recording Academy has little interest in amplifying black art outside a few designated genre categories.

When Beyoncé’s Lemonade lost out to Adele’s 25 on Sunday night, some suspected vote-splitting was behind the upset. I think it was just white people being white—like they always have been.

Here is a list of the 10 black artists that have won the night’s biggest honor, Album of the Year, since the show’s inception in 1957:

Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1974), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1975) Songs in the Key of Life (1977)
Michael Jackson: Thriller (1984)
Lionel Richie: Can’t Slow Down (1985)
Quincy Jones: Back on the Block (1991)
Natalie Cole: Unforgettable With Love (1992)
Whitney Houston: The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack (1994)
Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1999)
Outkast: Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2004)
Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company (2005)
Herbie Hancock: River: The Joni Letters (2008)

It is a shockingly paltry sum, especially since many were basically handed the award long past their prime and for works that arguably catered more to the taste of the Grammys’ suspected older white male voting body. In more recent years, innovative works from the likes of Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and, of course, Beyoncé, have lost in this category to artists such as Daft Punk, Taylor Swift, Beck, and Mumford and Sons. It therefore was not surprising to me that in a world in which Taylor Swift has two Album of the Year Grammy Awards and Prince has none, Lemonade lost to 25, a far more palatable album (to white people, anyway).

What’s even more frustrating about the Grammy Awards is that it purports to be more evolved on race than the Oscars. Last year, Neil Portnow, CEO and president of the Recording Academy, was asked about inclusion in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign. In his comments to Variety, Portnow projected a certain moral superiority:

The music community really is much more inclusive because of the nature of the collaborations. Also because of the nature of the proliferation of influences of one genre into another over time. It’s the history of how music has evolved from the very beginning.

Portnow sounds like a member of the Democratic National Committee touting the inclusion of the party while promoting the DNC. Sure, they present splotches of color in primetime, but the reality is that even though black women keep the Grammys alive, they don’t have enough of them in real positions of power. Because the organization don’t value them as much as claim to. Because they celebrate diversity only in superficial terms. That’s just how it’s always been.

That said, something did feel slightly different last night—largely because someone white at least alluded to the blatant biases that consume Grammy voters. Adele, who basically runs the British wing of the BeyHive, used her acceptance speech time (twice!) to profess appreciation for Beyoncé and Lemonade. “I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humble and very grateful, but my artist of my life is Beyoncé,” she explained. “This album for me, the Lemonade album, was so monumental.”

Some took issue with this comment of hers: “The way you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering. And they stand up for themselves. And I love you. I always have.”

Those folks need to be quiet.

Read the rest at Fusion.

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Fresh from a 1999 sugar high sparked by the quick downing of a grape-flavored Fruitopia, I turned on TRL and saw my imaginary boyfriend Carson Daly (whom I dumped two years later for Quddus) introduce the video for a song called “Candy” by some artist named Mandy Moore. When I first saw Mandy, I thought, “Who cloned Britney Spears?”

I mean, I know not all white people look alike, but in the “Candy” video, Mandy gave me Britney Spears, if Britney Spears had longer legs that she didn’t know how to use—much less on a sickening pop beat. No shade. Sometimes a good spin and hair toss is all you’ve got in you. But even though Mandy couldn’t dance, “Candy” was a bop. By the end of the video, I was hooked. She wasn’t necessarily an instant favorite, but now I was paying attention.

 “Candy” may sound a little dated now, but the second you turn it on, I bet you instantly remember how good it is. Just try.

Another stellar single from the Mandy Moore catalog is “Walk Me Home.” It’s one of those cute tracks that recalls some romantic scene in a teen drama. Or, if you were a gay boy in a certain era, a very sentimental instant messenger exchange with a boy you hope really did delete those pictures like he said he would…Whatever, you get it. It’s romance.

As a bonus, I adore Mandy’s aggressive lip quiver in the “Walk Me Home” video. We know she’s lip syncing. All artists lip sync in their videos. So for Mandy to give us such forceful mouth movements just confirms her true artistic commitment. Yes, girl. Sell me the song!

 Then there was “Crush,” which I actually forgot about until I was digging up the YouTube links for the first two songs. However, as soon as I heard the opening bars, I remembered all of the important words (i.e. the chorus) and started swaying at my desk. Hashtag Mandy’s impact.

“I Wanna Be With You” is there for when I want to feel sad, but not like Mary J. Blige’s old hits sad, because I don’t feel like crying in public so early in the day.

As you can see, Mandy’s music career yielded some success: There was a platinum debut and two gold-certified followups. Still, she could easily have set sail for the Island of Lost Pop Acts (I assume Willa Ford and the remaining members of LFO reside there on a villa) after the release of 2004’s Coverage, an album of cover songs from the 1970s and 1980s. If white people had an answer to TV One’s Unsung, Mandy Moore might have had an episode for sure.

But Mandy shrewdly segued into acting, though she kept releasing music over the years. And she really can act, unlike many singers turned thespians. My favorite of her roles is in the 2004 film Saved!, which dealt with religion, homophobia, and teen pregnancy, and co-starred Macaulay Culkin. Hell, I still sometimes fight off the urge to shout “I am filled with Christ’s love!” while lobbing a bible at one of my haters.

Read the rest at ELLE.

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Editor’s note: During Black History Month, the focus is usually on historical figures who loomed larger than life, paving the way for the progress we experience today. But black history isn’t just about telling stories of our past. History is being made every day and has been made throughout our lives; it’s not just in books. It walks among us. So this month, The Root is asking a group of writers to tell us about the personal and pivotal events from their own lifetimes in a series we call My Black History. Writer Michael Arceneaux is 32 years old but moisturizes and listens to Beyoncé regularly.

My Mama, the Heavyweight Champion of the World

I didn’t grow up with a lot in terms of money, but my mother never raised me to think I couldn’t be anything that I wanted to be. She made sure I went to black doctors and black dentists—something that I didn’t realize was a feat for some black folks until college. Even if she couldn’t afford to put me in the black private school she hoped to, I still went to public schools that had smart black teachers who pushed me to reach my fullest potential.

I didn’t have the language at the time, but I was affirmed in my identity for my entire life. I may have been screwed up in other ways, but in terms of how I saw myself as a black person, I never thought of myself as less than. I never let white people define me. Frankly, I was never raised to give that good of a damn about what white folks made of me.

So, thank you, Mama. I’m sorry I don’t like vagina and have yet to produce additional grandchildren for you, but hey, I am not a self-loathing black man. Praise the Lord.

Black Night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

I am from Houston, so even if that’s majorly just West Louisiana to much of my bloodline, there is no escaping the cowboy sprinkles spread across the city. For those unfamiliar, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is exactly as described—plus a carnival outside where you can get turkey legs, fried shrimp, lots of barbecue, and diabetes-inducing treats like fried Oreos, fried Twinkies and fried cheesecake. Don’t make that face: Fried cheesecake is worth the insulin.

Although Negroes attend the rodeo on various nights throughout its duration, we have a very special night on which we not only honor the tradition of the black cowboys but also feature entertainers who speak directly to us.

Talk yo’ shit if you want, but I have seen the following over my life: Luther Vandross, Monica, Brian McKnight (actually, we left early, but still), Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, Kool and the Gang, and Beyoncé.

You have not lived until you’ve congregated with 70,000 black folks watching cowboys, bulls and other wildebeests while shimmying with aunties to black-ass performers.

The Ruff Ryders-Cash Money Tour

N-word with an a!

This was the most amazing tour ever. Well, besides the Lox, who were cool and all, but I didn’t want to hear all that East Coast rap back then. That aside, shoutout to my big sister for taking me and her other little brother to the greatest show on earth (at the time). Also, if you’re the woman who covered my eyes when the women were brought onstage for the “Back That Ass Up” contest, you wasted your time. I was looking at your little brother.

Howard University

I wish someone had told me when I started high school that there was a way to leave the state of Texas for higher education if I really planned for it. But I didn’t think it was possible. After all, I wasn’t nobody’s Huxtable. However, a very attractive man who was a recruiter from Hampton (think light-skinned, ’90s-R&B-singer bae) convinced me that I could, in fact, leave my senior.

So I won 17 outside scholarships and got private student loans and left for the real HU. Sadly, private loans are the worst pain you can self-inflict besides voting for Habanero Hitler, but even as I curse my lenders every day of my natural life, I will always be grateful for what I learned at Howard.

It was the most diverse place I’ve ever been as I got to see every inch of who we are as a people.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Like anything else that involves communication, your president’s recent interview with fellow belligerent white man Bill O’Reilly was a clusterfuck. Most of the fallout from it, though, focused on Bankruptcy Batista taking issue with O’Reilly’s categorization of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer.”

“There are a lot of killers,” 45 shot back. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think, our country’s so innocent?”

When your new boyfriend is an authoritarian who may or may not have video of you being pissed on in a hotel, it’s unsurprising to see that you continue to serve as the Bonnie to his Clyde, the Bell Biv to his DeVoe and the eager bottom to his aggressive top. That’s what love is. Well, that’s also blackmail, but same difference, in this instance. As frustrating as it was to hear him say that, you’re not going to get my black self to rally too hard for the country that just allowed Attorney General Segregation Now, Segregation Forever to happen.

So while critics were correct in assailing a false equivalence slow cooking in a Crock-Pot of asininity and outlandishness, there was another declaration made by 45 that still slips and slides up and down my last nerve. It is a sentiment that 45 has hinted at before but never flat out said until now.

As he and O’Reilly discussed American Horror Story: The 2016 Presidential Election, 45 had the honeysuckle-colored gall to assert that former President Obama actually likes his bigoted ass. Of Obama, 45 explained to O’Reilly, “It’s a very strange phenomena. We get along. I don’t know if he’ll admit this, but he likes me, I like him.”

Any sensible soul has long been aware that 45 is too many fallen fries from a full order, too much ice for a satisfying full cup of strawberry soda and one nugget short of a worthwhile late-night drive-thru run. Still, how much is this man out of his rabbit-ass mind to think that Barry fucks with him? How could he possibly believe that the man against whom he lodged a dehumanizing, racist-conspiracy-theory-riddled campaign finds him anything other than a village idiot who’s lucky that bigotry and white mediocrity can always take you far in America?

When asked what convinced him that Obama genuinely liked him, 45 responded, “I can feel it.”

Bankruptcy Batista says he can feel it, y’all. Total, help me sing. Total, help me sing.

He continued:

We had a rough campaign. He was fighting better for Hillary then she did. He was vicious during the campaign towards me and I was vicious towards him. We said horrible things about each other. And then we hop into the car and we drive down Pennsylvania Avenue together and we don’t even talk about it. Politics is amazing.

See, 45 is acting like those co-workers who don’t understand that when their colleagues—namely, the black ones who don’t really fool with them like that—are being cordial, they’re simply being professional. In the case of Obama treating his successor with the dignity he doesn’t deserve, that speaks to Obama’s sense of duty. That is not the same thing as sincere affinity for a basket case who ought to be relegated to social media and reality television.

During the campaign trail, Obama repeatedly laid into that man over his bad business dealings, divisive rhetoric and terrible character. Those feelings didn’t suddenly dissipate after Obama was compelled by duty to engage him. Of course, 45 doesn’t know much of anything, much less about matters related to basic social skills.

In the article “For Donald Trump, Friends in Few Places,” Alan Feuer explored 45’s lack of friendship in the “failing” New York Times. “He doesn’t really have a lot of friends,” Billy Procida, a financier from New Jersey who served for years as one of Trump’s top lieutenants, was quoted as saying. “Pretty much all he does is work and play golf.”

And, you know, bash people who don’t align with his warped view about a given topic or affect his frail ego.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Long before there was a racist, practically brainless, U.S. president whose previous greatest claim to fame was being the host of a reality show, there was Sean Duffy.

For those of us who remember MTV’s The Real World before season 97 or whatever number they’re on now, Duffy was on season 5 of the legendary reality series. There, Duffy, along with six other strangers, were picked to live in a firehouse in Boston while working together with children at an after-school program. Even then, Duffy told us who he was: a conservative Republican who competed in lumberjack competitions and dreamed of becoming an attorney. Duffy may have appeared to be a decent human being in select scenes, but like many of his ilk, both his biases and his unwillingness to see things outside of them were all too apparent—just ask his former roommate, the black and left-leaning Kameelah.

To Duffy’s credit, he not only managed to extend his television career by doing additional MTV shows like Road Rules: All Stars and The Real World vs. Road Rules Challenge, but even worked a little bit with ESPN more than a decade ago. As far as his legal dreams, Duffy did indeed become a lawyer and ultimately served as a district attorney in his home state of Wisconsin for several years. Then in 2010, Duffy was elected to Congress along with so many other Tea Party and hard-right Republicans in the midterm elections.

A newly minted status as congressman returned Duffy to national television by way of consistent appearances on cable news. It also reminded me of one very important tidbit about the Real World alum: This jackass still has the intellectual curiosity of a dead rat. The most recent example of this was his interview on CNN’s New Day, in which Duffy actively swept aside white terrorists in favor of co-signing Sweet Potato Saddam’s boneheaded, xenophobia-fueled obsession with “radical Islam.”

While discussing 45’s Muslim travel ban, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked of Duffy a fairly simple question: “Why isn’t the president talking about the white terrorists who mowed down six Muslims praying at their mosque?”

“I don’t know,” the waste of airtime responded. “There’s a difference.” He then added, “You don’t have a group like ISIS or al-Qaida that is inspiring people around the world to take up arms and kill innocents. … That was a one-off, Alisyn.”

Camerota did provide some examples, though it’s unfortunate some producer didn’t talk into her ear and highlight a 2015 report from the New America Foundation that, based on its research, states that since 9/11, white, right-wing terrorists have killed almost twice as many Americans in homegrown attacks than radical Islamic extremists have.

Not that Duffy truly cares about whether or not data can dispel his prejudices. Since that interview, Duffy has tried to clarify his stance, i.e., restate the sentiments in less overtly racist phrasing. That is all at the root of Democrats in his home state admonishing him and columnists calling him an “embarrassment” and asking that he apologize to his constituents.

To those suddenly discovering Sean Duffy, welcome to the bashing party, y’all, but what took everyone so long?

Last year, Duffy addressed the Black Lives Matter movement only in the context of abortion, claiming that if members of the Congressional Black Caucus valued all black lives, they would speak for the “unborn child.”

There are many other instances of crazy, unsexy, fool with Duffy. Say, the time he falsely claimed that Donald Sterling was a Democrat after he was found to be using the slur nigger. Or when he told Wolf Blitzer that George Soros was rigging voting machines.

There’s also that time he claimed that Madison County, Wis., was a “communist county.” Duffy loves a false equivalency. Mere months ago, he did it again with another CNN anchor (Jim Sciutto) when he responded to questions of why Sweet Potato Saddam took so long to condemn hate groups supporting him by rationalizing that President Barack Obama didn’t do that with Black Lives Matter, which Duffy placed on par with white supremacists.

Read the rest at The Root.

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After 22 years of marriage, Gayle McCormick was suddenly no longer caught up in the rapture of love with her husband. McCormick is 73, a retired prison guard, and a self-described “Democrat leaning toward socialist.” In other words, she is Bernie Sanders with a vagina.

So, when the ultra liberal Dorothy Zbornak found out that her husband had taken shelter in the basket of deplorables last November, she told bae:

I gotta go. I gotta leave.
So please don’t make it hard for me.
I’ve gave enough, I’m tired of love,
I gotta let it go

Or whatever the elder statement vanilla latte with almond milk (which is tasty, so no shade) equivalent of this is.

“It totally undid me that he could vote for Trump,” McCormick explained to Reuters. She went on to add that she felt “betrayed” by his support for Sunny D Zedong. I couldn’t imagine laying in bed next to anyone who felt that marginalized people could benefit from a Sunny D Zedong administration because it would “awaken them,” much less the fool who would make a willful choice to play the role of Smithers and unleash the hounds.

Then, McCormick shared a word:

I felt like I had been fooling myself. It opened up areas between us I had not faced before. I realized how far I had gone in my life to accept things I would have never accepted when I was younger.

There are a few white women whose words can send me on an emotional roller coaster: Fiona Apple, whatever the song; half of Mariah Carey, especially when singing about loving someone like a holiday Duncan Hines yellow cake; Kelly Clarkson on like two or three tracks; Bonnie Rait when she is singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” I’m adding Gayle McCormick to the list.

Typically, we only think of McCormick when at the grocery store and deciding on seasoning, but this shit, this shit right here, is a guide to life. I’m not sure what the dating scene is like at 73, but if it’s anything like Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, she ought to be fine. If not, there’s always masturbation. Don’t make that face. T-Boz told y’all in 1996 that ain’t nothing wrong with making it feel good.

McCormick understands what support of 45 means. Unlike some people, she did not try to humanize the inhumane act of voting for that wretched, imbecilic man who surrounds himself with the axis of evil: bad suits, KFC and white supremacists. While many have tried to duck the moral quandary being associated with a deplorable presents, it’s becoming increasingly harder to.

Reuters reports:

The rancor has not dissipated as it has in the aftermath of other recent contentious U.S. elections. A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows it has worsened, suggesting a widening of the gulf between Republicans and Democrats and a hardening of ideological positions that sociologists and political scientists say increases distrust in government and will make political compromise more difficult.

Sixteen percent said they have stopped talking to a family member or friend because of the election—up marginally from 15 percent. That edged higher, to 22 percent, among those who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Overall, 13 percent of respondents said they had ended a relationship with a family member or close friend over the election, compared to 12 percent in October.

Ended things with people like this fool, as Reuters reports:

“It’s been pretty rough for me,” said Rob Brunello, 25, of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, a truck driver who faced a backlash from friends and family for backing Trump.

He can drive his truck to hell.

Now more than ever people need to draw a line in the sand when it comes to support for a man who is more or less special education Adolf Hitler wrapped in cantaloupe coloring. That said, based on the readership ’round these parts (but hello, new white readers—I see you, and in some cases, block you), only a handful of y’all likely have to face a 45 voter. No worries, I have other tips.

Like, people who follow Dr. Umar Johnson: Block them.

Read the rest at The Root.

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On its surface, when news hit of Beyoncé leading the 2017 Grammy Awards with nine nominations, it read as nothing short of a win for the behemoth pop star. The Houston native has scored nods in the three big categories: Album of the Year, for her sixth studio offering, Lemonade; and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for its lead single, “Formation.”

Beyoncé will compete in other categories, such as Best Rock Performance (“Don’t Hurt Yourself,” with Jack White), Best Pop Solo Performance (“Hold Up”) and Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Freedom,” with Kendrick Lamar). The end result is that Beyoncé has become the first artist ever to earn nominations in such an array of categories in a single year.

On that feat, Neil Portnow, CEO and president of the Recording Academy, told the Associated Press in an interview: “Artists are feeling emboldened and courageous and just wanting to step out of the predictable boundaries of what they have done. Of course, [Beyoncé] is the poster child for that.”

With these new nominations, in addition to already winning 20 Grammy Awards, Beyoncé has become the most nominated woman in Grammy history, with 62 nominations. Yet if we are to believe that Portnow is sincere in his description of Beyoncé, it ought to be made clear that despite her historymaking news, the Grammys have failed to truly honor her artistry beyond very predictable boundaries of R&B and “urban contemporary.” The Negro League subcategories, if you will.

That is not to negate, diminish or even place an asterisk near Beyoncé’s Grammy history. Hell, I’s a Negro and very happy with Negro-centered celebrations. However, it does speak to an overall pattern that this show has long had with honoring black art, especially if it is crafted by a black woman. Of all Beyoncé’s Grammy wins, the only major category she has ever won in is for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which won Best Song of the Year in 2010.

In 2004, “Crazy in Love” lost Record of the Year to Coldplay’s “Clocks.” In 2014, “Drunk in Love,” a massive hit, was not even nominated in that category, though works from the likes of Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift were. And of course, this was the same year that Beyoncé’s eponymous fifth album notoriously lost in the Album of the Year category to Beck’s Morning Phase. Headlines pointing to a glaring snub were seen far and wide, but no one was as vocal about it as Kanye West.

Read the rest at The Root.

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When I saw the image of former President Barack Obama in flip-flops, shorts and a backward cap, along with his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, in the shortest of shorts, walking across the beach, I was relieved for them. They served this country well for eight years—even when millions of its citizens blatantly disrespected them for no other reason than that the hue of their skin made them antithetical to the virtues of their America. So much so that Obama’s successor is the most unqualified president in U.S. history; a man who is small by every measure who won, largely, because he sold his supporters the notion that he could restore the nation to the lily-white land of yore.

 So, mere days into 45’s administration, the same mediocrity and monstrosity that followed him in his private life and professional dealings have unsurprisingly followed him into the White House. The man told the electorate exactly who he was, and they chose him anyway. Now that the sky has cracked and pieces have begun to fall, political journalists along with average citizens have been calling on former President Obama to speak up. So he did, 10 days after leaving office—which, in some respect, felt hasty—to disavow the travel ban targeted to immigrants from primarily Muslim nations.

The statement was appreciated, but make no mistake: Obama may speak out when it suits him as promised following the election, but he owes this country nothing. Not while on vacation. Not after eight years of service to a sizably ungrateful nation. Not less than a month after leaving office.

To quote DMX, “What these bitches want from a nigga?” Feel free to pour bleach to remove the stain of misogyny, but after you do, wrap yourself around the sentiment. Squeeze it tight.

Similarly, on the day of the Women’s March on Washington and subsequent days after, quite a few called on former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to also engage and help the resistance. Typically, after an election, the losing presidential candidate goes off and finds some business. While we are undeniably living in unique and increasingly dire circumstances, not only do I question the push for Clinton to more aggressively speak out against the antics of this amateurish administration, but I also worry about its ineffectiveness this early.

If she were to level stronger statements against Tropicana Jong-il, all that would do is invite comment from a man who can’t seem to escape campaign mode for the kind of needless public feuds he’s known for courting. No. 45 would foam at the mouth at the chance to continue assailing her as if he had another chance at losing the popular vote and winning on technicality. So, America may be calling to sing, “Pick up the phone, baby/I know you’re home, baby” to HRC, but I would label that number “Do Not Answer.”

Read the rest at The Root.

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Midway through reading Boluwaji Ogunyemi’s New York Times essay “When ‘Black Like Me’ Means ‘White Like Them,’” I needed to find a napkin. I had to wipe the drool from my mouth after falling asleep from reading yet another essay that centered on the age-old myth that black people are betraying their cultural identities when they dare to care about academic achievement. It’s just another sad love song wrecking my brain like crazy. I’m all torn up because that story needs to be taken out back, shot and buried in the backyard.

There are a lot of people who make the unfortunate mistake of using their anecdotes to assess an entire community, and sadly, Ogunyemi is one of them. You get that sense very early into the piece when he writes, “Being the single black student in a school of 600 had been immaterial to me. I had not developed a sense of black identity because, simply, I did not have to.”

Black-red-and-green flag on the play. The problem here is that Ogunyemi’s parents made the mistake of not informing him that no matter where you go—even in Newfoundland, where he attended school—you are black. It doesn’t make you less than, but it doesn’t mean you are eagerly welcomed into the majority, either. The Canadian government may often like to tout its progressive stances in comparison with, say, the United States, but much has been written about the country’s issues with racism with respect to the racial profiling of blacks and its treatment of indigenous people.

When you are raised to know who you are, you develop a confident sense of racial identity—one that can’t be easily dismantled by the ignorance of others.

Case in point: Ogunyemi recalls a moment when he and his classmates eagerly learned the results of an exam. Ogunyemi, who netted the highest score, recalls: “Most of the others donned looks of approval or surprise, while one, an Indo-Canadian business student, was notably shocked. ‘Are you trying to be white, Bolu?!’ he jeered. The others laughed boisterously at the question.”

This moment should not have been as impactful as it was, but because having a black identity was “immaterial to him,” he’s over being a cliché-cliché-cliché. (If you didn’t hear Beyoncé’s voice now, you, like Ogunyemi, ain’t real.)

 Ogunyemi does then try to lend credence to his sad story by citing John U. Ogbu, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, who has spent far too much time trying to legitimize the notion that black people don’t value education.

Last month, in “The Myth About Smart Black Kids and ‘Acting White’ That Won’t Die,” Jenée Desmond-Harris at Vox took an extensive look at this fairy tale, highlighting in varied ways how thin the research behind “the acting white” theory was to begin with.

Read the rest at The Root.

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When I first read that Queen Latifah had signed on for a new music-themed show helmed by Lee Daniels, I was intrigued. But shortly before Star was set to debut, I balked at watching it—and the blame for that falls squarely on the creator. You see, while promoting Star, Daniels claimed that he selected a white woman to be the lead singer of the fictitious girl group because in lieu of the recent presidential election, “the country needed to heal.” Daniels also claimed that he doesn’t “embrace racism.” In his mind, I suppose, others that do acknowledge the realities of racism do so out of sheer will.

Even worse was another goal Daniels expressed: “We are in a very dangerous state right now in our country and I wanted white people to feel good about being white because right now, there’s a lot of hatred going on.” A dumb demagogue won the presidency after several displays of racism and xenophobia, and vows to “Make America Great Again,” and yet Lee Daniels, a Black man, thought white people needed a pick-me-up? I just couldn’t support such lunacy.

But, while trying to avoid real life over inauguration weekend, I gave in to my curiosity, despite these misgivings about Daniels and his intentions. It wasn’t so much about giving him a chance as it was being worn out from too many Law & Order: SVU marathons. That, and I assumed I wouldn’t make it past the first few scenes.

When I first read that Queen Latifah had signed on for a new music-themed show helmed by Lee Daniels, I was intrigued. But shortly before Star was set to debut, I balked at watching it—and the blame for that falls squarely on the creator. You see, while promoting Star, Daniels claimed that he selected a white woman to be the lead singer of the fictitious girl group because in lieu of the recent presidential election, “the country needed to heal.” Daniels also claimed that he doesn’t “embrace racism.” In his mind, I suppose, others that do acknowledge the realities of racism do so out of sheer will.

Even worse was another goal Daniels expressed: “We are in a very dangerous state right now in our country and I wanted white people to feel good about being white because right now, there’s a lot of hatred going on.” A dumb demagogue won the presidency after several displays of racism and xenophobia, and vows to “Make America Great Again,” and yet Lee Daniels, a Black man, thought white people needed a pick-me-up? I just couldn’t support such lunacy.

But, while trying to avoid real life over inauguration weekend, I gave in to my curiosity, despite these misgivings about Daniels and his intentions. It wasn’t so much about giving him a chance as it was being worn out from too many Law & Order: SVU marathons. That, and I assumed I wouldn’t make it past the first few scenes.

The show follows Star (Jude Demorest), a young girl raised in the foster care system who decides to take control of her life. She seeks out her sister Simone (Brittany O’Grady), a half-Black girl also in foster care, and Alexandra (Ryan Destiny), who is described as her “Instagram bestie.” I know what you’re thinking: People converse online, meet in real life, and become friends, but—that’s not really a thing.

On this show it is, though. So much so that Alexandra leaves her rich parents—who, we’ll later see, are played by Lenny Kravitz and Naomi Campbell—hops in a stolen car with Star and Simone, and drives down to Atlanta to link with Carlotta (Queen Latifah), who plays the role of surrogate mother (just moments after meeting them). Why? Well, back in the day, Carlotta was in a girl group with Star and Simone’s mama.

Read the rest at ELLE.

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