The 2016 Oscars

I will preface this post by reminding everyone I am a feminist. I am a mixed black and white woman who believes in equality. I would agree, The Academy Awards this year was unnecessarily white washed.

I watched the Oscars at an event in New York City called Every Single Word: The Oscars at the Bowery Ballroom. The event was a live commentary featuring: Franchesca Ramsey (MTV’s Decoded; Creator of “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls”), Danielle Henderson (creator of Feminist Ryan Gosling), Sean Rameswaram (WNYC Host), Crissle West (co-host of The Read; Drunk History), Naomi Ekperigin (writer for Broad City & Difficult People), and Bowen Yang (Broad City). The event will be hosted by Dylan Marron (Welcome to Night Vale; creator of Every Single Word). It was awful.

While I have not read or seen most of the work of these writers or comedians, I understand they are all pretty accomplished and well known in their fields. What I saw of them last night makes me not want to read or see any of their other work, frankly. I understand the need for dialogue and debate about the racism at The Oscars and the systematic issues at play—this event was not that. It was unproductive heckling.

I can’t remember the last time I was in a room full of so much hate. The host opened the show with a lot of sarcasm about what we were about to watch, and an explanation why we were all here to watch it. He asked all the straight white men in the room to identify themselves so everyone could laugh at them. He handed out tally cards for people to count the times certain inevitable things happened such as “the word ‘diversity’ is mentioned.” He even handed out confetti poppers to be exploded every time the camera shows “white guilt.” I understand the point, sort of, to uplift people of color in this space, because we have been put down in the world’s arena. I did not feel uplifted. I felt uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because my “white side” was feeling the “white guilt,” but I think it’s more because the whole event was overkill.

I went to this hoping for a respectful conversation about the real issues reflected in the Oscar nominations. What I got was a room full of hatred towards anyone not of color, or maybe in the LGTBQ community. I don’t think that was the point, but that is what I felt.

The panel hated Chris Rock’s monologue, exclaiming he “sold out” and felt he made a mockery of the situation. I felt he did a good job as a black comedian hosting essentially an all-white party. Someone just said to me earlier in the week “We make jokes about the things we feel most uncomfortable about. It’s how we cope.” That’s how I felt about Chris Rock’s jokes, but apparently was wrong.

My ~favorite~ part of the evening may have been when Vice President, Joe Biden, came out and the panelists talked about how sexy he is and how they would or would not sleep with him as he spoke about sexual assault. Yet every commercial break the host showed clips of past acceptance speeches where men were sexist because they said the women were sexy. Joe Biden was one of many figures who made the panelists ask each “would you or would you not do?”

If we take out the fact that I was very hungry and physically uncomfortable in my plastic folding chair for four hours, we still have the same result. The event was a screaming match between these panelists and a screen, and it had little positive effect in my opinion. My colleagues seemed to enjoy it, and I’m glad they did, but I did not. I think screaming about how much you hate white people is not going to get us any further towards equality. You cannot beat hate with hate.

xoxo,

Kam

In Retrospect…

I recently started binge-watching an iconic American tv show from the late 90’s, and I noticed something. First, there are no characters of color. Every once in a while one will pop up in some exoticized fashion, but will never stay for more than an episode. Second, there is only one recurring homosexual character, and he is so minor, he doesn’t even have a plotline. Finally, in one episode a group of transgender women are verbally harassed and called “trannies” and made a spectacle of. And I keep thinking, “How did they get away with this?”

Then I thought about the history class I’m taking this semester. We had a discussion about Christopher Columbus and the horrible genocide he committed and all the atrocities he brought to this land in the name of discovery. My class got into a bit of a heated discussion about whether or not Columbus knew what he was doing was wrong. Slavery was acceptable and normal in those days. And racism wasn’t even a term it was just the brown natives who weren’t really “people.” But we read an account of someone who saw what Columbus was doing and said it was horrific. So arguably, Columbus was capable of seeing his actions as what they were- horrible.

I compare the two events because I want to talk about hindsight. We look back at the past and say “Wow slavery was awful,” and “Man Columbus was a terrible man.” While both of these statements are true, very few people would have agreed with us in 1492. And now watching this 90’s TV show I think, “So whitewashed,” “Ugh so transphobic,” when in reality the creators likely didn’t know any better. The race thing, I mean, they did know better, but it wasn’t as big of a talked-about issue back then. Of course, that doesn’t make it okay, but to my knowledge Viola Davis wasn’t a household name back then.

Either way, my point is: change takes time. I have seen posts on tumblr and places about how terrible 90’s television was because it was homophobic and all white cast. And while I’ll agree it sucks Danny Tanner never made it out of the closet, it was a different time. We should have known better, but we didn’t. We do now. It’s getting better in some areas- TV casting at least a little bit.

Today’s society is changing every minute. It feels like every second there’s a new gender identity I have to recognize or a new social justice issue I have to be sensitive to. I’m not complaining, I just want the victims to know that I’m trying. I can’t speak for everyone because I know there are and always will be people who aren’t willing to change. But for those of us that are trying, give us a break, and help us to learn. I’m gonna make mistakes, I already have. But correct me, and help me learn from it and I’ll know better next time. Acceptance is a learning process, not a permanent engraving on the brain. For those of you not willing to change, try it out. You might like what you find.

xoxo,

Kam

Boycott Taylor Swift

Here we go.

If any of you know me personally, you know that I am not a fan of Taylor Swift. For me, it started with the music. I am not a fan of country music, so I wasn’t really into her at first. Then she got into a more pop sound so I kind of liked her okay. Who didn’t jam out to “You Belong With Me” in 7th grade? Then something changed for me. I don’t know what, if I just got tired of her music and then full on didn’t like her or if something actually happened. I don’t remember. Either way by the time she was working on her plot to destroy America, I was over her.

Let me tell you about my issues with her now. First of all, I’ve always kind of seen her as a sellout. She’s from Pennsylvania, which can be a little hick-y in some parts, but not so much Reading, her hometown. So when she decides to go into country music, I personally see that as kind of fake. Like you’re singing with a twang, but you’re from the Northeast… Alright. THEN she sold out of country music into her transitional period. Where she was still winning country music awards but her music was basically pop. Again, I couldn’t care less about country music and who gets awards, but it’s kind of sketchy that she couldn’t pick a side and it seems to me she was trying to capitalize on the music industry. And now, she’s moved from being a pop princess to trying to rebrand herself as not only a pop singer, but a New Yorker city-loving girl. Again, she’s from Pennsylvania. Who is the real Taylor Swift?

No matter where she’s pretending to be from, she’s just a money hungry selfish businesswoman. I get it. We’re all trying to make a living here. But most artists in the industry are in it for the music, and I question Taylor’s motivation. She pretends to be this All-American sweetheart with a group of perfect little minions, but she’s evil.

What other artist sues their own fans for creating their own memorabilia? I can’t think of anyone. She does this. I’m all for artists making money off of their work. I think it is hard to make it big in that business. But she has made it big. She’s worth $200 million. Yet she sues her own fans for creating paraphernalia with her face on it, and has even sued the man who allegedly taught her how to play guitar. These are everyday people with probably everyday jobs, and she will not allow them to make a cent off of her. You can’t even play her music on Spotify EVEN if you pay for it.

But it’s not all about the money. If Taylor Swift is such a good and sweet girl, what is she doing for this world? She throws money at some charities here and there, so that’s nice, but easy. Her most public cause I think most people would argue is her feminism. This is problematic.

Taylor Swift is only a feminist when it is beneficial to her moneymaking schemes. A majority of her hits come from break-ups. That’s like her MO. And she eventually took a lot of heat from that. She was teased about dating a lot of men, being a crazy person, etc. And that was all funny until she started bringing up the point that men like John Mayer, whom she dated, are notorious womanizers and serial daters, yet get none of the attention like she does. As soon as she said it, everyone was like “Yay super feminist Taylor Swift!” but that was it.

NOW she has started all this beef with Nicki Minaj (BIG mistake), and not only made a statement about her stance on racism, but also contradicted her whole mantra. While unnecessarily defending herself, Taylor made a comment about “women putting down other women.” This is not the first time she has taken this stance. Back in 2013, about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poking fun at her, Taylor said,

“You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.'”

YET, in the tweet, Taylor Swift was defending her music video for her song, “Bad Blood.” “Bad Blood” is a song that Taylor admittedly wrote about another female artist. She wrote a song about how much she was hurt by this other artist, and created a whole music video where she gets her girl gang together to destroy this other FEMALE artist. Idea for her next song: “Foot in Mouth Syndrome.”

Leaving out the whole part about Nicki Minaj talking about racism, and Taylor Swift thinking it’s about her… Taylor Swift is a monster.

Check Your Privilege

Trigger Warning: if you live a charmed life, this might offend you.

Let me start off by saying I am very happy with my life. I don’t think I’d pick another one any day of the week. Of course, I might change some variables if I could, but I love the person I am and most of that is shaped by the life I’ve been given.
That being said, if you are someone who hasn’t really had much of a struggle, I invite you, no I beg you to please check your privilege. Take a good hard look at your life, and cherish blessing you have received. In suburban America, I do not consider myself privileged. On a world scale, even on just a more macro scale of America, I do consider myself privileged. So I can also use this pep talk every now and then, but let me talk to those above me on this privilege scale.
Let’s not even talk about material things. Let’s talk emotions. Disgusting confession: I hate when people my age (19) are devastated by the loss of a grandparent. I know it’s such a horrible horrible thing to say, but it’s the honest feeling I get in my gut when people talk to me about like that specific thing. It’s so messed up, and I know that but I can’t help it. I send my condolences and move on with it. I know, some people are super close with their grandparents, I’m not really one of those people, and I won’t say it’s not a sad thing, but to me, it’s just so minimal on the emotional damage scale. I know I’m really messed up in the head, but can you blame me? I lost my dad when I was 12. Yes, I’m playing the dead dad card, but that’s my reasoning. I started losing grandparents when I was 5 I think. Will I be sad when I lose my remaining grandmothers? Absolutely. But I don’t predict it rocking my world the way losing a father did. To me, you’re supposed to lose your grandparents. It’s like the circle of life. You’re supposed to lose your parents too. Hopefully not when you’re 12, but hey! That’s life. So that’s my horrible thought of the day. Back to privilege though.
What I’m trying to get at, is this idea that we all have something that is the worst thing that has ever happened to us. For me, it’s losing my father. For some people, it’s losing a grandparent. For some people it’s losing a dog. Literally. I’m not teasing or trying to cheapen your pain, but that’s when you know you have a charmed life. Like, I sometimes wonder what those kids write their college essays about. I feel terrible just putting these thoughts onto a screen, but you know what? I’m not sorry. Because what I’m really trying to get at is more on a world scale.
When Caitlyn Jenner first appeared as Caitlyn Jenner, I thought, “Great!” I didn’t see it as a win for the Trans community or a huge step in equality or anything like that. I really saw it as “Great! Another celebrity has the ability to accept herself and has the financial ability to change her physique to accompany that and the social status to still have some respect for it.” However, her speech at the ESPYs last night changed my mind a bit. My favorite quote was,

“If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it,” she said. “But for the thousands of kids out there, coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”

That’s when Caitlyn Jenner started to matter to me. I know a speech seldom makes an actual difference (that was a little bit sarcasm), but I’m glad she said it. I wish her youngest daughter could take a lesson from her @ Kylie Jenner. That quote is what it means to check your privilege. Mean things said about celebrities might hurt them, but for every mean thing said about them, they still make money and 12 nice things are said about them. That’s not true for kids growing up in adversity.

I think that’s all I have to say. Another whirlwind of a thought-piece by yours truly.

xoxo
Kam

Kylie Jenner’s Lips

Well, well, well. It looks as though the truth has finally reached the surface. Kylie Jenner came clean on last week’s episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians that she has temporary lip fillers. I for one, am not surprised. I am however, a little pissed off.

There are all kinds of opinions out there about how Kylie’s lips have influenced young girls to try dangerous stunts to look like her, how they perpetuate cultural appropriation or something, etc. And while those may be somewhat valid issues, they’re not the ones that bother me.

What bothers me first, is the fact that she lied about it for this long. We all knew. We saw the pictures. She claimed it was make-up. And for a while, apparently it was make-up, but then it wasn’t just make-up. Why didn’t she come clean then? Because of her insecurity.

Listen, I can understand an insecurity. We all have at least one. I get it. It’s also probably hard to have insecurities when you grow up in the spotlight and millions of people tell you you’re perfect every day. That’s the thing about insecurities, you still feel them even when everyone else disagrees with you. I get that. However, I cannot condone this message she is sending that says if you have money, you can fix your insecurities.

This girl is 18. She is barely legal. And she has already had work done. Fine, it’s not permanent and if she wanted to, she could stop the injections at any time and the effects would wear off. But she is paying hundreds of dollars to alter her face because she’s insecure. What kind of message does that send?

I’m not in favor of parents yelling at celebrities for being bad influences. I think it’s stupid, really. If you can’t raise your kid well enough for them to know the difference between celebrities and real people, then you have bigger problems. But that doesn’t stop kids from looking up to celebrities. And it’s a cool thing nowadays for celebrities to embrace their insecurities. They show them off or just talk about them because at the end of the day they’re human. What I cannot get down with is the fact that now Kylie Jenner is saying yes I have an insecurity, but I can afford to get rid of it. That’s just ridiculous.

Guess what kids? I know you may be insecure about your face or your body or your hair, but if you make millions of dollars a year, you don’t have to deal with it. I think I would have less of a problem if Kylie Jenner had earned any of her money on her own, but she was actually just born into the right family.

Consider this a rant about me being poor, or hating on celebrities, or whatever you want, but that’s my opinion. Shame on you, Kylie Jenner.

xoxo,

Kam

Ode to Joan Rivers

Last week the world lost one of the best comedians of all time, in my opinion, Joan Rivers. If you’re an avid reader of my blog it shouldn’t take you long to figure out why I love her so much. She was a bitch. I’m a bitch. We could’ve been great friends, I’m sure of that. Hearing the news a fews weeks ago that she had gone into cardiac arrest was shocking, and watching the news unfold- medical induced coma, life support, death, was devastating.

I’m not one to get emotionally attached to celebrities, but I did feel very sad at this loss, especially the reactions that followed. All the celebrities that gave statements had very kind words for Joan. They joked about how it wouldn’t be the same wearing silly outfits if she wasn’t around to mock them. They praised her career and the impact she had on comedy for women and for the whole world. You could tell these friends of hers were deeply saddened by her death. Then there were the people who didn’t know her.

I saw horrible posts on tumblr and twitter about how Joan was a homophobe, racist, transphobe, who deserved to die. These posts were from people who constantly post about feminism and wanting equality. They were celebrating the death of a “bully.” This enraged me, not only because I worship Joan, but also because of how wrong these people are.

Joan Rivers made a lot of jokes. It was her job. She was a comedian. She made people laugh. Yes, a lot of her jokes were offensive, but they were jokes. That does not mean she hated people. How could she be a homophobe? She ran Fashion Police. Without gays she would hardly have had a job. That’s not true, but you see my point. She made a lot of jokes about plastic surgery and we ALL know she loved that.

Not only was she making jokes, but according to all her peers, she was full of kindness. I believe that. Not one celebrity who knew Joan had a mean thing to say about her. She had love in her heart for her family and friends.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, I’m just getting started. Joan knew pain. She did not have it easy coming into the business. Sure she gained success fairly quickly early on, working for Johnny Carson. But as soon as she was offered her own show, a huge career advancement, she was blackballed by NBC for leaving Carson. 25 years she was hardly able to show her face on the network because she chose to have her own success. That didn’t stop her though, obviously. she built her own empire without them. If that’s not an empowered woman, I don’t know what is.

Beyond that, she knows pain. Her own husband killed himself. Sure, there are obviously people who have had it way worse than Joan Rivers, but she is undeniably a fighter, and a hard worker, and has paid her dues for the respect she deserves. And she can laugh about it. That’s why I love Joan is because she laughs through the pain. She makes jokes to get through. That’s what I do. Sure, that’s not everyone’s style, but it was hers, and the attacks people are making on her are uneducated, ridiculous, and rude. Forget everything I just said, and think about her family that is dealing with her death. The loss of a mother, a grandmother. Think about them reading tweets saying “Ding dong the bitch is dead.” have a little class, people. Let the woman rest in peace. I love you, Joan. Rest easy, you crazy bitch.

xoxo,
kam

Die Young

I am writing this tonight following the tragic death of actor Paul Walker of “Fast and the Furious” fame. I want to start by saying I have never seen any of those movies but may he rest in peace and his and the other passenger’s family and friends are in my prayers.

So whenever something like this happens- a famous person dies suddenly and the whole world seems to react. People tweet, Facebook, Instagram, whatever else just to express condolences and our own sadness. Then there’s always this other group of people who freak out because everyone “cares” when someone famous dies but no one thinks about the other million people that died that day- most of the time these people are talking about soldiers, but in general they’re pissed. Can I just say, calm down.
Let’s look at the facts. Apparently about 155,000 people die every day. Today, one of those people happened to be a famous actor. Is it fair that 1 person out of the 155,000 got thousands of tweets about him? No. But is that to say none of the other 149,999 people got their respects paid? No.
What I’m trying to get across is that when someone famous dies everyone reacts because they have a connection to him or at least they feel like they do. Of course most of the people reacting don’t know him on a personal level, but in a way he was a part of their lives. We don’t tweet about every single person who dies because we don’t know they’re dying and we have no connection to them. Yes it is very sad. But we can’t spend our days crying for the thousands of people that die everyday. If you’re related to all those people yes then by all means mourn, but since you don’t, be thankful and be respectful for those who are related to them.
Think about what you’re saying. No it’s not fair that te men and women dying for our country don’t get all this attention when they die, but would they want it? Being famous is kind of a choice. If you want the world to cry for your death you have to be someone everyone wants to pay attention to. But even if this still angers you, do not disrespect the loss of a famous person. They’re still people with the same loved ones as the soldiers. Does this make sense? Just realize what you’re saying, and please just let people rest in peace.
Xoxo
Kam