Dame Dash on Race and Media

I am loving how he turned the tables on the reporters. People don’t do this enough, and his points about racism in the media are valid.

But, there is a but. I’m sorry guys, I have to argue this one a little bit.

(This is just for discussion’s sake, because this video straddles both racism and media conspiracies, both things that I hate.)

1. Reporters don’t have to be Republican to be racist. Though Republican reporters do exist, the truth is most reporters aren’t even remotely conservative (though the owners and/or editorial boards of their publications might be). In fact, you can pretty much guess the reporters in this video are socially liberal because Dame was able to shame them into silence. (Conservatives, especially in conservatives in a city as liberal as New York, would probably have been conditioned to defend themselves in these types of situations.)

For the record, I consider myself neither Democrat nor Republican. I don’t believe in blindly aligning myself with any group or point of view.

2. To that effect, Dame is probably wrong that it’s “killin” these reporters that Obama is in office. They probably voted for him.

3. Reporters are people, though, and most of them are white. Even those who aren’t white grew up in a white-dominant society like the rest of us, and are working in a white-dominated industry. So they are just as susceptible to the forces driving all the racial stereotypes and attitudes in our society as everyone else. They’re ignorant and privileged, but not necessarily part of a conservative conspiracy or agenda.

The REAL problem here is there needs to be more diversity in the newsroom, and in the upper echelons of society in general. That is an ongoing battle. It would have been cool if Dame said something about that.

4. Reporters, whether consciously or subconsciously racist, or not racist at all, are not in the business of printing press releases about anyone. They may not be writing about all the wonderful things that Dame Dash has done with his life, but let’s face it–they’re not in the business of writing wonderful things about anyone. “I employ at least 10 people at any given time” is not a story. Not a story anyone would read, anyway.

The fact they care about his court case is actually acknowledgement that he is someone, and that he means something. He’s in the public eye. He’s achieved success and notoriety, and in that sense, he is part of the establishment. The media is supposed to serve the public by informing them about things that people with influence, money and power don’t want to talk about. That means you, Dame. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if Apple’s very white CEO Tim Cook walked out of the same court house five minutes later with the same kind of case, he’d be followed by reporters, too.

This wouldn’t be the first time a famous person tried to hide behind the ‘why do you vultures always circle around the bad news?’ argument. No one cares when you’re having a good day! Sorry. That’s what advertisements are for.

4. Let me also take a moment to cringe at people who think reporters are monsters (see the comments below the video) for giving people an opportunity to comment. The whole point of getting someone’s comment on a bad situation is to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. If he really wanted the media to write about the good stuff, he should have given them an interview about it a long time ago.

To be fair and realistic, though, I do not have faith that all reporters are that genuine and fair. Even if they want to be, it’s not always easy to do when those who know better can be so good at working you over. This is actually another real problem causing a racial slant in media coverage–people who are part of groups with established influence in society are much savvier at manipulating the media to their advantage.

5. Though they didn’t really have a choice from a public relations standpoint, some credit should be given to the Daily News. We don’t know who else was there, but it appears they were, and they published this even though he’s criticizing them. I don’t know if everyone commenting on this video realizes they are watching it courteous of the evil editors they hate so much, or that those conspiring journalists actually agree with them and saw some value in what Dame was saying.

(…as I write this, though, I’m wondering if maybe they really just had no self awareness and published the video thinking it made Dame look like a raving lunatic without realizing so many people would agree with him.)

So yea… just something to chew on. All that said, it’s about time someone tells reporters to take a hard look at themselves and why they are covering what they’re covering. From the stuttering in this video, it’s pretty obvious they don’t have a clue.

More kicks!

I … couldn’t … resist …

I have long loved the way Nike Dunk Sky Hi’s looked on other people, but alas that style was never for me. I have proportionally short legs, so while wedge sneakers technically make me look taller, covering the curve of my ankles with high tops pretty much negates that added length. For this reason, I almost always avoid high top sneakers, though I love them. And while I own a couple pairs, they mostly sit on my shoe shelf like museum pieces because they’re beautiful–just not on me.

So along come the Lunar Elite Sky Hi’s … which were tempting because they feature a wedge, adding length like the Dunk Sky Hi’s, but don’t add bulk to the ankle area. On top of that, Nike launched a version with their triangular “metric” design in six colors inspired by different cities, and I fell in love. I was torn between the darker “Sao Paulo” design, which has such a striking iridescent and purple color way and of course features the name of my current city, and the gold and white London design, which needs no explanation … I mean, it’s gold.  So I was bad, and I got both.

If you like the gold ones too, bad news–they’re sold out from Nike. But this seller on eBay has several pairs left: http://www.ebay.com/itm/301151967845  Let me know if you get them, too!

PS: comment if you want to see a video on my sneaker collection!

What Would Rihanna Do?

I just wanted to belatedly point out that the nouveau chic-princess herself, pictured in my post on breaking fashion tradition, took it a step further with some serious nipple exposure last month at Paris Fashion Week.

Unsurprisingly, the media jumped on it immediately. But in a sign of changing times (and perhaps Riri’s growing influence), instead of immediately condemning her they left it up to readers. “Is it seriously sexy or way too racy? Did she go too far this time?” one blogger questioned. (A narrow majority voted in support of the nipples.) A quick scan of my Facebook feed the following day showed that the majority of my friends loved the fashion statement as well.

If you are reading this blog with interest, chances are you agree with that majority. So my question for you guys, then, is not whether you support nipple exposure. It’s how do YOU push fashion boundaries? Or do you leave it up to those in the spotlight? Who are your modern-day fashion icons?

On Beauty

I was watching this fashion video from one of my favorite Youtubers, Beautycrush, and a comment from another user caught my eye:

Hi Sammy, i’ve been feeling really really down for the past while lately and I was getting worried about it as I feel like theres no hope for the future because of some boy that wont like me, and I dont feel comfortable with my body or looks and I just watched this video and I got hope for the future and that maybe just maybe one day I could live my dream like you and have a loving boyfriend and be comfortable in my own skin looking after myself like you, so thank you so much for being alive Sammy! I’m 15 and I just realised theres so much more to life because of you, keep shining like you do xx

Firstly I should point out that it’s amazing that platforms like Youtube have enabled self publishers to create content that people like this young woman can really connect with. It’s just amazing that someone’s videos can have such an impact, even if they’re mostly just about makeup and clothes. And I’m not surprised that it’s Sammi–I personally started watching her videos because I was drawn to her personality and how positive energy just shines through in all of her videos.

Secondly I wanted to highlight this girl’s comment because it raises issues about beauty (and boys) that many of us have struggled with. When something goes wrong related to our love lives, or even with our careers and friendships, we often question our own adequacy. And more often than not, the question goes straight to our looks. Is it because we’re not pretty enough?

It isn’t our fault we think this way. From the day we’re born, society teaches us the importance of beauty through all the aunties and uncles who coo over how cute we are. A natural compliment to give a little girl is to tell her how pretty she looks in her new dress or new shoes. Then, we bombard her with fairy tales about how those pretty dresses are going to help her get a man, that getting that man should be the purpose of her life, and that all her problems will magically disappear once she achieves that purpose.

By the time we grow up, we’ve had a lifetime of bad training that being beautiful earns us favor and joy.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything bad about loving aesthetics and style, or wanting to be pretty; I mean, come on–I made a whole blog about just that. But there is something very wrong with our inclination to feel that any of this is the key to life.

The truth is, in the world we live in, beauty may open a lot of doors. But beauty isn’t the only way we can get what we want, nor the only reason why we don’t. The hottest women in the world have been rejected. They’ve been cheated on. They’ve felt heartbreak. They are not above or beyond anything that anyone else goes through. So it’s safe to assume that when something doesn’t go your way, looking like Halle Berry or Jennifer Anniston is not going to change a thing.

I would be lying if I said boys won’t ever reject you for girls they think are more beautiful–they will, and it will suck. But boys will reject you for lots of other reasons too, which have nothing at all to do with your looks, and there still won’t be anything you can do about it. AND THAT’S OK! We all go through disappointments, it’s part of life. Surviving disappointment not only makes you a stronger person and better prepared for future setbacks, they make the upside of life all the more sweet. As for relationships, the simple truth is that we are not meant to have successful relationships with every person we like, and that’s why it’s so rare and so special when we DO find a mutual connection.

Until then, it’s important to learn to be strong and to love yourself–and by that I don’t mean some cliche about convincing yourself you look like Beyonce. I mean, never give up your quest to discover all of life’s joys, because they can come from so much more than just boys. When you discover the things that make you truly happy, whether it’s a life partner, a family, a career, or a hobby, you will discover the real meaning of the word beauty.

I will end with this beautiful message from Lupita Nyong’o: