A blog about things we won't shut up about... and by things, we mean ideas and concepts that shake the very nature of our current heterosexist, classist, sexist, ableist, and racist society.
Based on this list See Sources below for more info. View pictures fullscreen to see captions
Lemme reblog again and let you know why casting that white woman as the female lead in “Drive” was so fucking wrong and fucked up.
Director literally gave her the part because she looked like someone he would want to protect (read: innocent, delicate, helpless).
These traits were ones he literally did not consider a Latina for. He picked her specifically because he fit that damsel in distress imagine that’s been coded as white. Latinas were not even given the opportunity to audition for the role.
I posted last week asking people if they knew of some good resources for male victims of sexual assault. Here is the list people came up with:
Lee Michelle’s “Without You” Video: Challenging Colorism and Crafting a Beautiful Message of Self-Love
On my blog I discuss kpop quite a bit, particularly since many kpop idols are some of the worst serial offenders in terms of their antiblackness and cultural appropriation. It was therefore a pleasant surprise for me to watch this video by Lee Michelle (a biracial former contestant on the first season of “K-pop Star”), which breaks this mold.
Before proceeding I would like to briefly note that there have been biracial stars in Korea before. But when we talk about “biracial” or “mixed” children in the context of Korea, it’s so important that we think critically about what we mean when we say “mixed”. When kpop sites talk about “biracial” kpop stars, they default to white and typically mean mixed “white-Korean”. They will go so far as conflating the experiences of mixed white-Korean children with those of black-Korean children in the same article and somehow think that their articles still have credibility. These experiences are simply not the same and conflating them together is not only intellectually lazy but insulting. Yes, Korea has a relative obsession with racial purity which does affect both groups, but global white supremacy, colorism and virulent antiblackness makes the situation for mixed black-Korean children significantly worse than that of mixed white-Korean children.
The lived experiences of people like Daniel Henney (mixed white-Korean) who get widely praised for their features and appearance, and that of Lee Michelle who is half black, dark skinned, has coarse hair and does not have passing-privilege as full Korean are not the same. Colorism already affects darker-skinned Koreans in incredibly damaging ways, and intersecting that experience with racism makes this doubly hard for mixed-black Koreans.
And so Lee Michelle’s presence in the industry matters. Tasha Yoon-Mi Rae has discussed colorism and the discrimination she has faced for her mixed-black heritage eloquently in her song “Black Happiness,” and in a similar way “Without You” has also struck a chord with me.
[image description: a promotional picture of Lee Michelle Photo via 24-7kpop]
“Without you” lyrically is a breakup song directed at one man, but the chorus in particular is significant in which she asserts:
I’m beautiful without you
I’m meaningful without you
I’m still beautiful even if I wasn’t loved by you
And then she continues:
I’m so angry
Everyone treated me like you did, baby
Now I’ll erase you and wipe my tears
So I can receive a love that’s better than yours and different from yours
With these words, Lee Michelle asserts her beauty for herself and for the listener in turn. For a dark skinned, mixed black girl growing up in South Korea to assert this in the midst of a society where light skin and racial “purity” are prized and antiblack sentiments are rampant is a radical act indeed. Without a doubt Lee Michelle typically grew up hearing everything but “you are beautiful.” It is almost certain that like other mixed black children in Korea, she was mocked and teased mercilessly for her hair texture, “black” feature and dark skin. These things in the eyes of many simply precluded her from beauty, she was “ugly”- simple as that.
So in this song, ostensibly directed at one boy, we find a declaration of self-love and emancipation from damaging colorist, racist, societal standards of beauty. If you’re not going to love yourself in a society which doesn’t cherish people who look like you, then who will? Lee Michelle finds this answer within herself, which is a theme echoed by the music video.
[image description: an image still from the “Without You” video of a young biracial [black-Korean] girl]
In the video, a young biracial (mixed black-Korean) girl is shown walking down the street before she lingers on the image of a black graffiti figure. As she peers at the figure, she suddenly begins to run, being chased by an unseen monster. I saw this as representative of the unseen, but pervasive societal pressures pushing her from accepting herself, her blackness and her features, even at that young age.
Being chased into a shelter, she then proceeds to draw many figures with dark features on the wall. Staring into a mirror, she then proceeds to powder her face white and put on lipstick. A white-washed version of Lee Michelle then appears on camera with a light powdered face, red lips and straightened hair to evoke an image of the person this little girl “aspires” to be—an image crafted in the crucible of societal beauty standards that denies her as beautiful the way she is. The little girl begins to weep. There is ultimately no joy or happiness in self-rejection and hatred.
[image description: A screencap from the “Without You” video of the young biracial girl crying with white powder on her cheeks and bright red lipstick on her lips]
This all comes full circle at the end of the music video when this little girl begins to throw paint balls at a colorless portrait of Lee Michelle. This scene evoked for me the acceptance of oneself regardless of your skin color and in the face of interlocking systems of domination which deny you your agency and being. The ecstasy on the little girl’s face as she throws each paint bomb and asserts this again and again is so indicative of this. To complete her journey to self-love and actualization, she then walks through a magical door of light, which appears on the wall she just painted, and approaches an adult Lee Michelle. They look at one another and smile and Lee Michelle sings “Without you, I’m alright” one last time.
A message of self-love indelibly crafted which will resonate with people who suffer from colorist and racist standards of beauty across the globe. A moving video, and I wish Lee Michelle the best with this promising start to her professional career, and I am incredibly glad that YG Entertainment no longer has their hands on her, given their history of antiblackness. Congratulations, Michelle!
I would like to thank all of my followers who took the time to send me links to this video and made me aware of it. You’re the best!
Filipino-American group sets Guinness World Record for most people performing native dance
More than 360 people, including more than 100 East Texans, brought a taste of the Phillipines to AT&T Stadium in Arlington on the morning of January 18 to set a Guinness World Record.
The Filipino-American Association of East Texas coordinated efforts to set a record for the most people performing tinikling, a traditional Filipino dance, simultaneously.
People from East Texas and around the nation gathered to dance, and while Guinness required only 250 people to dance for at least five minutes, more than 360 people graced the turf at AT&T Stadium.
Tinikling involves two people beating, tapping and sliding bamboo poles on the ground, as two dancers gracefully step over and in between the poles.
Proceeds and donations from the event, which asked $25 from each participant and spectator, went to a proposed Children With Disabilities Center at the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in Dasmariñas, Philippines.
Dr. Cecille Licuan, dean of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences at De La Salle, said the wish to build a center for children with disabilities started in 2011, when the school’s alumni decided to advocate for a good cause.
Ramona Santos, vice chancellor of academics at De La Salle, said that she suggested advocating for children with disabilities, because she is a rehabilitation medicine physician.
Dr. Licuan said out of 93 million households in the Philippines, about 2 percent have children with disabilities living in them, and 30 percent of those are age 21 and younger.
Because of poverty, “a significant majority (of children with disabilities) don’t receive the services they need — physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and also education …” she said. “Since we are an academic institution offering these health services, we wanted to raise funds so we can bring down the services to the community’s level for free.”
She said the Leyte province — where tinikling originated — was one of the areas most affected by Typhoon Haiyan. A part of the proceeds also are benefiting typhoon victims.
Ed Santos, an event organizer from Tyler, said the record-setting dance was inspired by an event put on in September 2012, where East Texans broke a world record in Tyler for most people making spring rolls, known as lumpia in the Philippines, simultaneously.
That event was put on to benefit Ross Sajo, a mother of three diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
“It was a team idea, to have something common among the 7,000 islands (of the Philippines),” he said. “This is the national bamboo dance.”
Santos said tinikling was a great way to raise funds, because most people of Filipino blood at least know of the dance, and people trust the money is going to a good place, also no government agencies are involved.
“This way, we know where the money is going and at the same time, we wanted to do it big, and (AT&T Stadium) is a big facility. Everything in Texas is big. … This is our way of giving back. We love the Philippines, but we make our living here, so this is a big deal.”