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April 2014
18
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Solange and Beyoncé warmly embraced after Beyoncé popped on stage to perform Solange’s song “Losing You” at Coachella with her, doing those cute dances. Adorbs. 

April 2014
18
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If you blame Native American communities for their poverty, remember that the entire continent was stolen from them.

If you blame Black American communities for their relative poverty, remember that Black Americans were stolen from a continent, trafficked, and enslaved for nearly 300 years.

Tell me again about how your family ‘started from nothing’ when they immigrated. Didn’t they start from whiteness? Seems like a pretty good start.

The American Dream required dual genocides, but tell me again about fairness and equal opportunity. Tell me about democracy, modeled after the Iroquois Confederacy. Tell me your proud heritage, and I will show you the violence that made it so.

 

Kim Katrin Crosby (via xuron)

Keynote Speaker for LGBTQ History Month at Dartmouth, on September 30, 2013, where quote is from.

Important. Especially the phrase “dual genocides.” Because clearly using Black bodies as tools to rebuild stolen and settled land from Native people who are dehumanized and killed via genocide as rationalized by the State makes the relationship between dehumanized stolen bodies without structural power on stolen land a different one from White bodies with structural power occupying land that is not theirs.

April 2014
18
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christel-thoughts:

"only Nigeria has a larger Black population than Brazil"

yet when you hear “Brazilian”, is this who you think of?

Boom. 

April 2014
18
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janetmock:

Proud to be ELIXHER’s cover girl! In the Body Issue we create a space to celebrate our bodies, our narratives and our truths.
I’ve written about my experience shooting the cover and helping shape the theme of the issue with ELIXHER editor in chief Kimberley McLeod.
Lastly, I will be joined by Kimberley and the other queer women of the Body Issue who bravely bare all — Kim Crosby, Mia McKenzie and Tiona McClodden — on Thursday April 24 for a LIVE conversation via Google Hangouts at 3pm ET/12pm PT.

janetmock:

Proud to be ELIXHER’s cover girl! In the Body Issue we create a space to celebrate our bodies, our narratives and our truths.

I’ve written about my experience shooting the cover and helping shape the theme of the issue with ELIXHER editor in chief Kimberley McLeod.

Lastly, I will be joined by Kimberley and the other queer women of the Body Issue who bravely bare all — Kim Crosby, Mia McKenzie and Tiona McClodden — on Thursday April 24 for a LIVE conversation via Google Hangouts at 3pm ET/12pm PT.

April 2014
18

My Scandal Season 3 Master Index

I made a Master Index post for Seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal, so I decided to do the same thing for Season 3, though I won’t be writing essays or heavily posting about the show anymore, as I mentioned in my final essay about the show. If there is a Season 4, I most likely will still watch and live tweet as I did for Season 3. (Also, some of the posts below were written between season 2 and 3.)

Direct Analysis Essays:

Related Essays:

Episode-specific posts and thoughts:

Videos:

Photographs/GIFs:

  • "Maya Pope" being a BAWSE [X]
  • Kerry Washington and Lupita Nyong’o [X]
  • Kerry Washington and Leo DiCaprio at The Golden Globe Awards [X]
  • Kerry Washington at The Golden Globe Awards [X]
  • "Maya Pope" in the trenchcoat [X]
  • Photographs of “Olivia Pope” in THE DRESS [X] [X]
  • GIF of “Olivia Pope” in THE DRESS [X]
  • Ava DuVernay after completion of filming of Season 3, Episode 8 [X]
  • "Harrison’s" dance [X]
  • Kerry Washington looking fabulous in white [X]
  • Kerry Washington in carefree Black girl mode [X]
  • "Huck’s" family [X]
  • Good moments of Olitz [X]
  • Kerry Washington on November 2013 Essence [X]
  • Kerry Washington on October 2013 Glamour [X]
  • Throwback to when “Olivia” and “Fitz” became Olitz [X]
  • Kerry Washington’s love note to fans after losing at The Emmys [X]
  • Kerry Washington at The Emmys [X]
  • Season 3 premiere photos [X]

Answers To Ask Box questions:

  • Race and media representation; re: minimal Black women in network dramas mentioned [X]
  • Examining false equivalence between Monster’s Ball and Scandal [X]
  • Early thoughts on “Eli Pope” [X]

Tweets + text and misc posts:

  • Kerry Washington and Gregg Henry tweeted me and post episode thoughts [X]
  • Response to vitriolic misogynoir from Uncle Luke towards Black women and Scandal [X]
  • Excitement about Ava DuVernay directing Season 3, Episode 8 [X]
  • Wishful thinking about Amandla Stenberg playing a young “Olivia Pope” [X]
  • Humor about being a Scandal fan [X]
  • The first time Kerry Washington tweeted me [X]
  • "Nobody Cares Boo. Scandal Is About To Come On Anyway.” [X]
  • The days when I did watch Scandal religiously [X]
  • Scandal crossword puzzle with neat show trivia [X]
  • Fun with Scandal and Sherlock hashtags [X]
  • Throwback to my original Scandal tweets in 2012 when it premiered [X]
  • Scandal cast supports Kerry Washington after her Emmy loss [X]

General information:

  • Shonda Rhimes appointed to the The Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Board of Trustees [X]

Related tags on Gradient Lair:

External links:

Please note that essays and posts are chronology-sensitive. The date they were posted matters since it can only cover up to episodes I’ve actually seen, and as the show is episodic and not a static film, my views on things can change or evolve as the show changes by the episode. I say this because Tumblr and many Tumblr users are not chronology-focused and I am really really not interested in arguing about old episodes on opinions of mine that may have changed. 

It’s been a good ride for Scandal; I’ve never taken on a show to write about and analyze with such detail, though I’ve done so with music and films for a long time. It’s been a fun experience and even though my original excitement about the show has waned over the 2 years, as to be expected with most shows honestly, I enjoy the live tweet conversations on Twitter on Thursdays and wouldn’t mind doing it for one more season of Scandal. 

April 2014
18

Sunset On Scandal

Last night Season 3, Episode 18, “The Price Of A Free and Fair Election,” the season finale episode of Scandal aired. I live tweeted as I have done for the entire third season. Overall, I feel underwhelmed by the season finale and by season 3 as a whole, though early in season 3 I thought it might be better than seasons 1 and 2. It isn’t. While Scandal still remains in my current top 10 favorite shows (House of Cards, Sherlock, Scandal, Chicago Fire, The Blacklist, The Mentalist, Chicago PD, Crisis, Royal Pains, Californication), the fire and interest that I felt in Seasons 1 and 2 definitely has dwindled.

I have found that what I love is the live tweeting and talking/joking with my favorite mutual followers on Twitter when Scandal airs each week. That is just way too much fun. The experience of sharing the show is more exciting for me than the show itself. Even so, the show remains among my favorite shows because very few current shows are better than this one (and only a handful cast Black women), because I still enjoy many of the actors on the show and because the way the chaos is conveyed means that even when I don’t enjoy it, I still want to find out what happens next. 

But about that chaos…back in early 2013, I wrote this about how the characters were developing in the show:

The characters on Scandal work because they’re excellently flawed in a way that at times is truly uncommon and at times is recognizable. Their presence drives the situations and plot and temper the calm and loving moments with the chaotic ones. This dichotomy makes watching each episode worth watching.

However, I no longer find this to be the case. In Danielle Henderson’s recent article Has Scandal Lost The Plot? in The Guardian, she mentions:

Scandal has moved towards being event-based instead of character-based, and the model just doesn’t work.

I agree. While some of the chaos makes for great heat of the moment tweeting, and off the cuff jokes as well as started out interesting for “Fitz” and “Mellie”, for example, as I wrote about early in the season, chaos is not always pleasurable or memorable. Memorable is powerful script, not just whistle terms (i.e. “the help,” “lean in” and “young, gifted and Black” were used in season 3 episodes, clearly breaking the 4th wall and purposely exist to drive conversation offline); memorable is character development that allows me to really connect the way I did in seasons 1 and 2; not random events that has me rooting for certain characters to die off. Most of all, I have disappointment about  the way “Harrison” was handled; terrible. Truly. He was never developed in season 3 as promised. He is the least developed character among the main cast. And literally nothing…I mean nothing makes me angrier than sexual assault as a plot device to “humanize” “Mellie Grant.” I despised that angle throughout the season and wrote about it when it happened in episode 7 in Scandal: The Sexual Assault Scene Was TERRIBLE.

Certainly there are moments I enjoyed during the season and I’ve written essays explaining those moments (so stay tuned for a Season 3 Master Index post as I created for Season 1 and 2). This includes getting to see vulnerability and humanity for “Olivia Pope” on screen, which I wrote about in Scandal: “Olivia Pope,” Fear and Black Women’s Humanity On Screen, part of “Fitz” getting read for filth by “Eli,” as I wrote about in Scandal: The Patriarchal Chess Match, and includes how in seasons 1 and 2 and early in season 3, the politics of Washington were conveyed in a fascinating way, as I wrote in The Serious Politics of Scandal. In the latter I explained that many Black women who are fans watch the show for many reasons, not the misogynoiristic one that surmises that adult Black women need “role models” on television (um…the desire for adequate representation is not thirst for a “role model” and such a suggestion is misogynoir and infantilization based on the anti-Black myth that Black women are inherently “immoral” and need “guidance”) or “only” watch for interracial relationships. These dehumanizing suggestions have primarily come from Black men who seem to ignore every other race/gender of fan except Black women. These suggestions are ones I reject. And even as my interest in the show is starting to shift, it most certainly is not because of this misogynoiristic petulance. It’s because of the reasons I stated. 

Everything sort of “wrapped up” in this season finale with power being restored to the original Command, “Olivia” leaving the country with the one she’s with since she can’t be with the one she loves, “Huck” rediscovering his long lost family again because of “Quinn’s” help and just as season 2 ended with a pathetically saddened “Fitz” crawling back to “Mellie,” he’s just as miserable with an election win and remains with “Mellie” out of “pity” and guilt about learning that his own father assaulted her. Even so, I felt underwhelmed and partially disinterested.  

What do I want for season 4 if there is a season 4? Back to the better writing of season 1 and 2. Memorable. Depth. More character development and character-driven rather than chaos-driven. The show has always had a tempo and a chaos that made it exciting. But chaos for the sake of chaos gives me fatigue. There was a time I could remember an episode almost word for word and action for action. I watched every episode more than once to tweet, to write about and to enjoy. I no longer do this. I no longer miss episodes. I only look forward to the next Thursday of tweeting with friends. And maybe that is enough. 

This is in no way about throwing shade at Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes. I also like that Debbie Allen and Ava DuVernay were guest directors. I adore Black women making art. Anything I fiercely love I fiercely critique. The latter two did provide great direction. But direction isn’t the writing and character development. I miss weekly cases and clients. I miss “Olivia’s” moments alone where she’s introspective without fear of introspection. I miss the show being about her and not so much about “Mellie” though I like “Mellie” as a character. I miss a lot of things. But shows change. Things change. It’s actually pretty rare for me to enjoy any show past season 3-4. I’ve bailed on many shows; so many. 

I’ve had so much fun (well most of the time when I wasn’t being trolled by a few overzealous stans who seem to think Olitz is a real couple [versus critically thinking fans who I tweet with weekly for fun] nor trolled by incredibly violent and vitriolic miserys [opposite of a stan] of the show who use Scandal as a tool by which to voice already existing misogynoir) writing essays and blogging about Scandal. I’ve never created this type of writing for anything. This is new to me—to regularly critique a show. I’ve done so with films and music, but a television show and for so long? Nope. I’ve enjoyed the experience, appreciated most feedback and learned a lot about myself and my perspectives on media itself, not just on Scandal. And while I do look forward to a season 4 (hopefully better than season 3) and most likely will live tweet a season 4 as well, the end of writing and most blogging (beyond on Kerry herself; I adore her and of course I will still post things about her) on Scandal is here, so this is my last essay on the show. 

I am not sure if I will ever write about a show the way I did Scandal. Loved the experience. We’ll see. Cheers to the season close and if there is no more seasons, I can still say that overall, I enjoyed the show. If there is one more season, I hope it is a great one that blows season 3 out of the water. 

April 2014
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rs620:

"Being black is not a crime." South Sudanese and Eritrean refugees protest against prosecution in Tel Aviv, Israel 

rs620:

"Being black is not a crime." South Sudanese and Eritrean refugees protest against prosecution in Tel Aviv, Israel 

April 2014
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fashizblackdiary:

Celebration of natural hair. Photos by Aurélie Flamand and Hairstyle by Sephora Joannes.

Peak Black womanhood. So epic. 

April 2014
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Blue lipstick + beautiful brown skin = WINNING. (I’m gonna try this maybe…)

April 2014
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correens:

Nikki Giovanni talked to Sway, and it was great. 

Ok, so this is so epic. I really love the part when Nikki said "I think the most exciting history in the country—and I mean no disrespect to anybody else’s history—is the history of Black Americans because we are the people who re-created ourselves." And also: "Europeans came to America but really they remained Europeans, they just transformed it here. We’re the only people that came to America and became Americans because we had to completely re-create ourselves. And it’s a fascinating history. We did that mostly with song. And it’s one of the reasons that we still dominate no matter what else it is, the Black American sound dominates. Everybody wants to sound like us. They don’t want to look like us most the time but they want to sound like us." Then Sway pointed out how Black Americans’ look is co-opted whether via fashion, tanning, or other appropriation, which Nikki concurred with.

Also her points on Mae Jemison, Tupac, Beyoncé, her critique of President Obama and her comments on Nelson/Winnie Mandela’s past marriage are really important. 

I definitely want to check out her new book Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid.

Great video. 

April 2014
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yonceinlove:

Beyoncé + The Walk 

Yaaaas Bey! Yes, please make the Black woman superhero film with this walk. 

April 2014
16

Interview Responses On Womanism/Black Feminism And Social Media Relevance

A few weeks ago, I shared some images of an article in Ebony titled “Black Feminism Goes Viral” by Jamilah Lemieux (and an excerpt is on Ebony's blog) where I am quoted and where Gradient Lair was listed in the “Black Feminist Tool Box” section. The quote:

Trudy, 34, whose blog, Gradient Lair, is known for razor-sharp cultural commentary, recognizes the web as a powerful part of the feminist toolbox. “While social media cannot unravel the most persistent hierarchies that oppression maintains,” she says, “it does allow small voices to gain traction … We’ve created important conversations and content and have altered the shape of modern social justice by letting people know that small voices still matter.”

Neither social media alone nor any one tool alone will change all oppression. But I duly note the relevance of social media for the oppressed. It’s important to recognize the role of social media and why some people claim it’s irrelevant yet want us silenced and cannot think beyond what they will pilfer from Black women next. It’s also important not to get caught up in false dichotomies between asphalt activism and online activism.

Usually to create such articles, several questions are asked and excerpts taken as needed versus posting all of that content since articles do have size limits for press. However, I think that some of the questions that I was asked back in November for this March article that were not included in the article for press are great questions that I answered and gives a surface view of what matters for Black women who are womanists/Black feminists and use social media.

"How have White feminists worked to erase/marginalize Black women in the online space?" White feminists have engaged with Black women in social media in the same way that they have before it existed. Speaking over Black women. Gaslighting. Ignoring our pain, perspectives, pleasures and passions. Interrupting our conversations. Accentuating how we can never be feminist “enough” based on standards that only we, not them, have to meet.

"How has social media given Black feminists opportunities to connect and create spaces for themselves? How do you use that landscape?" While social media cannot unravel the most persistent hierarchies that oppression maintains, it does allow small voices to gain traction and for little to no cost. Black women have made their mark on Twitter, via personal blogs and for a few, mainstream spaces. We’ve created important conversations and content and have altered the shape of modern social justice by letting people know that small voices still matter and should not be silenced and no longer allowing silence on issues critical to Black women, specifically. I use this landscape as a place to have great conversations with Black women and other people who face marginalization—at times as an educator (but not by force) and as a writer. My work has been referred to in everything from conversations to dissertations and I like to think that my small voice is heard loudly at times.

"What do you think are the greatest challenges facing Black feminists today?" The challenges that Black feminists face are the ones that Black people face, honestly. Adequate and truthful media representation. Fighting poverty, voter disenfranchisement, anti-choice legislation, poor education, school-to-prison pipeline, criminal justice and extrajudicial murder of Black people, intracommunity issues such as street harassment, domestic violence and rape. These are challenges for Black feminists since mainstream feminism seeks to silence issues that do not cater to middle class White women’s needs. Black feminists have to bring the same perspectives from daily life into our feminism as praxis.

"What inspired you to start Gradient Lair?” A quote from Toni Morrison, "if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it" actually inspired me. I created the blog that I would want to visit as a reader. I wanted something that could be intense with Black feminist and womanist scholarship in a traditional sense but also reflect the fact that I, like many Black women, enjoy art, social media and media and examine them with a feminist lens. Also, I wanted a place where consistent affirming images of Black women would be shared, unapolegetically. Black women are almost 100% of all images of any type there. I wanted it to feel like home for Black women.

Related Essay Compilation: Womanism, Black Feminism and Race In Feminist Discourse