Friday’s Looks, Listens, and Reads (3.21.14)

Friday’s Listens, Looks, and Reads will be published either weekly or bi-weekly most Friday mornings, with articles, essays, videos, and sites that are about the Black experience (which is diverse) for you to check out.

**If you have enjoyed the articles listed, comment below! If you have an suggestion for an article you have read and like to share with us, please email us!**

Articles, Op-eds, and Essays:

Many articles are from For Harriet, an amazing site dedicated to Black women, today!

  • Article 1: on living unapologetically and without regard of limitations placed on Black women. Excerpt: “The person that I am, I always try to speak from my experiences and identity; specifically my salient ones – African American and Female. I am very aware of the messages that are spoken to and by society regarding our actions, thoughts, and portrayals – the world told me who I should be. And for a while I danced to the drums of others. Happiness was not something I knew. I could not keep up with their rhythms, for their beats did not speak to the blueprint of my journey. I could not see past the dissatisfaction that others placed upon me. “
  • Article 2: on how we should eliminate the Strong Black Women archetype that reduces Black women to one monolith. Excerpt: “The exception, of course, is when Black women speak out for issues that affect men, too.  Our outrage is fine as long as we’re marching for civil rights or protesting new voting laws which seek to disenfranchise minorities.  Our wrath is justified when we decry the modern day lynching of our young Black men under the Stand Your Ground laws.  When we’re rallying against these injustices, our tears are celebrated, held up as emblems of the struggle: grieving mothers, clutching the photographs of our slain sons.  But the moment we speak up for ourselves, we become the Angry Black Woman.”
  • Article 3: on how Shonda Rhimes has written her black female characters on Grey’s Anatomy compared to Scandal. Excerpt: “Earlier in the season before the elopement plot twist, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Stephanie Edwards be a happy Black girl in love. I don’t see enough happy Black girls on TV. I see them yelling and scrapping and throwing shade and snatching edges and stealing sperm and miserably loving other women’s husbands–but I rarely see them glowing. I want desperately to see Edwards’ character not be reduced to a rejected girlfriend.”

An op-ed from The Atlantic on the perception of black men in the inner city who Representative Paul Ryan doesn’t believe is pulling their weight in our country. Excerpt: “Getting angry at the individual cabbie is like getting angry at the wind or raging against the rain. In America, the notion that black people are lacking in virtue is ambient. We see this in our vocabulary of politics and racism, which has no room for the decline in the out-of-wedlock birthrate and invokes Chicago with no regard for Chicago at all, but to deflect all eyes from the body of Trayvon Martin. 

An article from Ebony on how vital opening a museum dedicated to hip-hop in New York would be to music, just like the creation of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Excerpt: “Personally, as a person who grew-up in New York City, I would relish the Universal Hip-Hop Museum, and wouldn’t even complain about travelling to the Bronx to pay homage to the innovators that changed pop culture over 40 years ago. Indeed, the city was a vastly different place back then. As seen in cinematic classics like The French ConnectionTaxi Driver and Shaft, the so-called Big Apple was rotting, seemingly on the verge of death. While a few decadent souls danced at Studio 54, orgied at Plato’s Retreat or dined at Elaine’s, most regular folks were just trying to get by without losing their cool, or their lives. “

An piece from Salon on how a conversation with Tyler Perry transformed the author’s perspective on his films and him as a Black male storyteller. Excerpt: “During our conversation he mentioned his newest movie, “The Single Mom’s Club.” And it was with our conversation in mind that I ventured out, with more than a little trepidation, to see it this past weekend. I found myself hoping to see growth, desiring to be able to say something good. It turns out that being a critic is much more difficult when the objects of your criticism are paying attention. Still, I told Perry that as long as his films did harm to black women he could count on me to call him out, because we deserve better than that.”

An op-ed from the New York Times on the necessity of representation of people of color in children’s books. Excerpt: “But there was something missing. I needed more than the characters in the Bible to identify with, or even the characters in Arthur Miller’s plays or my beloved Balzac. As I discovered who I was, a black teenager in a white-dominated world, I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine. I didn’t want to become the “black” representative, or some shining example of diversity. What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me.”

A long read from NPR Music on the BeyHive–the dedicated fan base of Beyonce’, which is comprised of mostly black women. Excerpt: “It is true: There are all sorts of Hive members. But to me the ones with the best language, the ones whose Twitter feeds I couldn’t stop reading, were the black girls. What is interesting is that they are also a part of the demographic of black women who are now also being taken to task and called empty, subjective words like “toxic,” for their use and approbation of a technological space that is supposed to be open to all: Black Twitter. But the Hive, to some extent, and Black Twitter at large, is what happens when you don’t have real access to mainstream media, when there are so few black icons who speak to the realities of black life, and when last year (for the first time ever in Billboard‘s history) no black artist had a No. 1 hit song. It is no wonder then that so many young women and men of color, indeed, take it more seriously.

**FRIDAY’S Looks, Listens, and Reads will be off next week due to Spring Break! Have an amazing one!**

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