**Originally published by Blavity at Blavity.com**
Black, African American, West Indian, African, Black American, Afro-Latinx. These and the myriad of other ways that individuals of African descent have come to define themselves and each other come packed with a host of unspoken/underlying meanings. They house myths, hidden assumptions, stereotypes and declarations about who we are, how we see ourselves and the identities and communities that we hope to create.
This month, conversations and controversies have been ignited about the meaning of Blackness, the salience of ethnicity over race (and vice versa) and which members of the diaspora have ownership over what parts of the Black experience. While some individuals have assuaged this conversation entirely for a host of reasons, these discussions can be fruitful and serve as a learning opportunity if we use these moments wisely.
WASHINGTON, DC-- Last Saturday, an estimated 500,000 people descended upon the nation's capital at the Women's March in Washington DC. While official estimates of the attendance rates were released periodically throughout the day, it did not require a crowd scientist for both DC residents and visitors to know that attendance at the March far outweighed attendance at the Presidential Inauguration of the day before. For many, these numbers pointed to the power of the millions who stand in opposition to this new administration and they feel that the success of this moment will be a harbinger for a sociopolitical revolution. Others however, remain skeptical if not outright disappointed in the event, fueled by the controversy surrounding the March’s inception and the racial homogeneity of its demographics. Regardless of where one stands or whether they marched at all, it is an undeniable fact that this particular call for women and their allies to stand up against the Trump administration unearthed deeply heated debates surrounding feminism, race and privilege; and posed the uneasy questions of whether female ¨solidarity¨ across racial lines is feasible and what revelations and sacrifices must be made in order for such solidarity to come to fruition.
For as long as I’ve had a Facebook page & a smart phone I have known that on February 14th, all social media must be avoided like the plague.
Valentine’s day for obvious reasons has become the most popular day of the year for posting, sharing and commenting about all things related to your own personal romantic life. Before you assume that I’m just single and bitter let me assure that I believe everyone regardless of their relationship status are equally culpable. While those who are coupled up celebrate their significant others, the single crowd often works overtime to express their disdain for the holiday…while simultaneously (and quite impressively) use it as an opportunity to make sure that their followers are aware that they are still, in fact, on the dating market.
However, the behavior demonstrated on this holiday is present on these social media platforms all year round albeit less concentrated and thus less noticeable. What on the surface are just websites and cellular apps meant to provide entertainment, news, and a link to friends both old and new, have now become tools for aggressive self-promotion that may have singularly transformed our collective attitude and approach towards the dating game.
***Originally published by Blavity at Blavity.com***
Every year a must-see film comes out starring some of the most popular members of Black Hollywood. Selling out box offices, these films gradually generate Oscar buzz and become subject matter for a handful of online thinkpieces that are shared within seconds throughout the Twitterverse.
While the presence of more Black films is praised by many as a sign of progress, these recent hits such as The Help, Django and 12 Years a Slave, all share a striking similarity— they are what Roxanne Gay coins “struggle narratives” in her latest book Bad Feminist. Struggle narratives are typically set in a historical time period and tell the story of a Black protagonist who experiences extreme oppression. Surprisingly however, even those Black Oscar contenders that are not period pieces still portray a painfully narrow view of Black life.