Race and Authenticity: A Film Study on Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-02-10 17:27Z by Steven

Race and Authenticity: A Film Study on Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life

Drunk Monkeys
2020-05-18

Ilari Pass


Image © Universal Pictures

“It’s a sin to be ashamed of what you are.”
—Annie Johnson, Imitation of Life

Literature helps the reader travel inside the skin of the character—the mystery of another human being—and this understanding unsettles the reader’s received notion about the ‘other,’ a person who might be otherwise judged. The same can be applied to studying a film, allowing us to enhance our appreciation of subject matter that depicts a range of human experience by carefully looking at the artistic systems, such as cinematography, lighting, costume, and acting, that produce a rich and textured work of art. Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodramatic film Imitation of Life, which depicts the lives of four different people living in a world that is beyond their control, is a film that operates at the level of art. The first half of the film deals with a question from a feminism perspective, about what it means to be a woman living in a male-dominated society, and the second half addresses the perspective of how women of color are affected by racism. It is a story about imitating, pretending to be something that isn’t true. However, what is true is what the characters literally see—gender and race—something no one can walk away from…

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Understanding the Legacy of Nella Larsen’s Passing

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-02-10 16:24Z by Steven

Understanding the Legacy of Nella Larsen’s Passing

The Mary Sue
2021-02-04

Princess Weekes, Assistant Editor

Right now on the Sundance circuit is the Rebecca Hall-directed film Passing, starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. It is an adaptation of the Harlem Renaissance classic Passing by Nella Larsen. Embedded into the text is a rich powerful narrative about the Black American experience and the lengths people go to survive in America.

Nella Larsen was both in 1890s Chicago as the daughter of a mixed-race Afro-Caribbean man and a white Danish immigrant woman. Larsen didn’t grow up with her father and in 1891 the Great Migration hasn’t happened yet, so the Black population was less than 2%. After her mother remarried, they moved to a mostly white neighborhood filled with German and Scandinavian immigrants. As a result, Larsen did not grow up in the usual world of Black Americanness. Or Blackness period…

…While it would be easy to dismiss Passing as a typical “tragical mulatto” story, I have always felt that it was more Larsen reflecting on the ultimate tragedy of those who have passed.

In A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life by Allyson Hobbs, the author explains that this is a narrative of loss. “I started to realize that writing this history of passing is really writing a history of loss,” Hobbs told NPR….

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Brazilian butt lift: behind the world’s most dangerous cosmetic surgery

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Women on 2021-02-10 02:23Z by Steven

Brazilian butt lift: behind the world’s most dangerous cosmetic surgery

The Guardian
2021-02-09

Sophie Elmhirst

The BBL is the fastest growing cosmetic surgery in the world, despite the mounting number of deaths resulting from the procedure. What is driving its astonishing rise?

The quest was simple: Melissa wanted the perfect bottom. In her mind, it resembled a plump, ripe peach, like the emoji. She was already halfway there. In 2018, she’d had a Brazilian butt lift, known as a BBL, a surgical procedure in which fat is removed from various parts of the body and then injected back into the buttocks. Melissa’s bottom was already rounder and fuller than before, and she was delighted by the effect, with how it made her feel and how it made her look. But it could be better. It could always be better.

On a recent afternoon, Melissa visited the British aesthetic surgeon Dr Lucy Glancey for a consultation. Glancey had performed Melissa’s first BBL at her clinic on the Essex-Suffolk borders, a suite of rooms boasting shining white cupboards, a full-length mirror and drawers stuffed with syringes. As she waited for Melissa to arrive, Glancey showed me a picture of Melissa on the beach in Dubai, wearing a palm-print bikini and posing in a kind of provocative crouch – arms, breasts, thighs and buttocks all arranged for optimum effect. “Look how good she looks,” said Glancey, admiring Melissa and her own work. “I said to her, I don’t see what else we can do.”

When Melissa walked into the room, she didn’t exactly resemble her digital self, but then, who does? She’d swapped Dubai-luxe for Suffolk-casual – blue jeans and a pink sweater. After a quick chat, Glancey – dark blue scrubs, coral toenails – asked Melissa to take off her clothes. Together, doctor and patient stood in front of the mirror and stared.

…Like anyone inspecting their own body, Melissa could see things no one else could see. She wasn’t seeing just its current form in the mirror, but multiple versions: her former body, her desired body, her digital body. In her teens, nearly a decade ago, when Cara Delevingne’s thigh gap had its own Twitter account, Melissa had wanted to be thin and flat like everyone else. Then fashions changed. Explaining why she got her first BBL, Melissa, who is white, said she had wanted to fill out a pair of jeans and appeal to the kind of men she liked. “I felt attracted to black men and mixed-race men, and they liked curvier women,” she told me…

…Not everyone can achieve the Kardashian body. As with much of the Kardashian West oeuvre, her bottom has its own attendant controversies, not least because it appears to want to be an idealised version of a black woman’s bottom. Kardashian West, who has Armenian heritage and has always denied having had bottom surgery, has long been accused of “blackfishing” – mimicking and appropriating black culture to enhance her brand. “It’s completely constructed, a kind of fiction,” said Alisha Gaines, professor of English at Florida State University, and the author of Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. “She’s made an empire on appropriating blackness and selling it to all types of people, including black folks.”…

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Camila Pitanga on people questioning her blackness: “It’s as violent as if I was barred from a restaurant or a hotel because of my color.”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Media Archive, Women on 2021-02-09 17:38Z by Steven

Camila Pitanga on people questioning her blackness: “It’s as violent as if I was barred from a restaurant or a hotel because of my color.”

Black Brazil Today
2012-02-11

Marques Travae

Having captured the hearts of millions of Brazilians with her portrayals of several memorable characters in Brazil’s ever popular novelas, Camila Pitanga has earned her wings as a top actress and one of the most visible black actresses on the air. Her success is the fruit of hard work, an early start (appearing in the film Quilombo at age 6 in 1984) and having a famous father couldn’t have hurt (father Antônio Pitanga is a long-time actor). Of her role as Rose, an ex-domestic in the novela, Cama de Gato, Pitanga says: “I identify myself with Rose because she is a fighter and I have this reference in my family. My father is a man of humble origins from Bahia, he was a mailman and it was the arts that created his identity. Rose will not become an artist but she has a dignity that I identify with.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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The True Story of Jess Krug, the White Professor Who Posed as Black for Years—Until It All Blew Up Last Fall

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-02-05 01:24Z by Steven

The True Story of Jess Krug, the White Professor Who Posed as Black for Years—Until It All Blew Up Last Fall

The Washingtonian
2021-01-27

Marisa Kashino


Photograph courtesy of YouTube

She fabricated harrowing personal backstories, peddled gross caricatures, and spoke from perspectives she had no right to claim. And nobody stopped her.

“Iam a coward.”

Jessica Krug’s confession started ricocheting across screens one brutally muggy afternoon in late-summer Washington. “For the better part of my adult life,” it began, “every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.” Krug, a faculty member at George Washington University, had taken to Medium, the online forum, to reveal a stunning fabrication. Throughout her entire career in academia, the professor of African history—a white woman—had been posing as Black and Latina.

“I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics. I know right from wrong. I know history. I know power. I am a coward,” she wrote. “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.”

The statement, posted September 3, 2020, went viral immediately, unleashing a tidal wave of Oh, my Gods across the text chains of Krug’s GW colleagues and other academics. “We were all blindsided,” says GW history-department chair Daniel Schwartz. Distraught emails from Krug’s students—less than a week into a virtual semester already upended by the coronavirus pandemic—began piling up in faculty in-boxes. Meanwhile, an online mob went to work churning up old photos of Krug and tanking the Amazon ratings of her book. By the end of the day, a now-infamous video of Krug calling herself “Jess La Bombalera” and speaking in a D-list imitation Bronx accent was all over the internet….

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‘Passing’ Stars Talk Rebecca Hall’s Directorial Debut and the Complexity of Racial identity

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-02-02 04:05Z by Steven

‘Passing’ Stars Talk Rebecca Hall’s Directorial Debut and the Complexity of Racial identity

Variety
2021-02-01

Angelique Jackson

Rebecca Hall’s feature directorial debut “Passing” dives into the nuance of racial identity and the complex realities of racial passing, with Variety’s Sundance review touting Hall’s work: “This radically intimate exploration of the desperately fraught concept of ‘passing’ — being Black but pretending to be white — ought to be too ambitious for a first-time filmmaker, but Hall’s touch is unerring, deceptively delicate, quiet and immaculate.”

Intimate is a particularly choice word to describe the project, as the film’s story holds personal significance for all its cast — including stars Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, both of whom are mixed race — but the project is particularly connected to Hall’s personal story. Hall is the daughter of famed theater director Peter Hall and legendary opera singer Maria Ewing. And though the British actor presents as white, Hall in fact comes from a mixed-race background, with a generational history of passing on her maternal grandfather’s side.

“I don’t think that I really had language for passing. It was such a difficult area of conversation in my family,” Hall recalls, explaining her personal connection to the material in conversation at the Variety Sundance Studio presented by AT&T TV, just hours ahead of the film’s Sundance premiere…

Read the article and watch the video here.

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‘Passing’ Review: Rebecca Hall’s Subtle, Provocative Directorial Debut

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-02-02 03:38Z by Steven

‘Passing’ Review: Rebecca Hall’s Subtle, Provocative Directorial Debut

Variety
2021-01-31

Jessica Kiang


Eduard Grau

A superbly performed study of racialized longing and feminine dissatisfaction in 1920s New York, lit by searing intelligence and compassion.

t starts in sweltering heat; it ends in freezing weather. And in between, as the temperature gradually drops, Rebecca Hall’sPassing,” based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, calmly brings the diffuse racial landscape of prohibition-era New York City into crystalline, gorgeously shot focus. This radically intimate exploration of the desperately fraught concept of “passing” — being Black but pretending to be white — ought to be too ambitious for a first-time filmmaker, but Hall’s touch is unerring, deceptively delicate, quiet and immaculate, like that final fall of snow.

On a hot summer day, Irene (Tessa Thompson) is downtown on an errand. Her visible discomfort, the way she tries to retract into herself, to hide behind the gauzy brim of a hat that cuts her eyeline in two, is a silent evocation of how uncomfortable she is under the gazes of the white people around her. This time, anyway, she is mostly projecting: No one takes much notice, nothing too alarming happens. But then suddenly, stepping into the full beam of all that projection and sometimes catching the light, there’s Clare (Ruth Negga), a childhood friend visiting from Chicago, now unrecognizably glamorous, with a perfect swoop of blonde hair and arched, lightened brows framing silent-movie-It-Girl eyes…

Read the entire review here.

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MGM/UA Television Acquires Rights To Rebecca Carroll Memoir ‘Surviving The White Gaze’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-11-20 02:41Z by Steven

MGM/UA Television Acquires Rights To Rebecca Carroll Memoir ‘Surviving The White Gaze’

Deadline
2020-11-17

Dino-Ray Ramos, Associate Editor/Reporter


Courtesy of MGM/UA

EXCLUSIVE: MGM/UA Television has acquired the rights to Rebecca Carroll’s upcoming memoir Surviving the White Gaze in a competitive situation ahead of its release. Simon & Schuster is set to publish the book on February 2, 2021.

Carroll is set to adapt her memoir as a limited series and serve as an executive producer on the project. The project was brought to MGM by Killer Films, and represents the first series to come out of the company’s first-look deal with the studio. Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler will also serve as executive producers.

“The opportunity to work with both Killer Films and MGM is an absolute dream collaboration, and to be able to adapt my own deeply personal journey under such fiercely creative leadership is incredibly thrilling,” said Carroll…

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Understanding Kamala Harris, the Great Multiracial (Black) Hope

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Women on 2020-11-03 22:13Z by Steven

Understanding Kamala Harris, the Great Multiracial (Black) Hope

Bitch Media
2020-11-02

Dr. Shantel Gabrieal Buggs, Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology, Program for African American Studies
Florida State University


Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris poses for a selfie during a Thurgood Marshall College Fund event at the JW Marriott February 07, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Though the last few months of political theater have certainly been terrifying, they’ve also provided ample material for those interested in engaging with the construction and perception of multiraciality in the United States. The race discourse surrounding Senator Kamala Harris arose in August when Democratic candidate Joe Biden selected her as his running mate, and it has quickly morphed from a mainstream conversation about the possibility of a Black woman president to a resurgence of the hope and change narrative that characterized President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Multiraciality is a central component of Harris’s candidacy in ways that it wasn’t for Obama: After all, being a multiracial child of immigrants bolsters a narrative of “futurity.” But others have observed that perhaps the only way a nonwhite person could make it onto a major party ticket is to be multiracial and therefore considered racially palatable…

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Olivia Ward Bush-Banks: Anchored in Her Ancestry

Posted in Articles, Book Giveaway, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2020-11-03 21:47Z by Steven

Olivia Ward Bush-Banks: Anchored in Her Ancestry

Three Village Historical Society
Setauket, New York
2020-07-12

Tara Mae

Everyone is influenced by their cultural background, either through acceptance, rejection, or some combination of the two. Olivia Ward Bush-Banks was a writer, journalist, historian, and dramatist. Her relationship with her Black and Montaukett lineage, and her ties to Long Island, informed and inspired her work. In her writing and much of her other work, Bush-Banks amplified her cultural identity.

During her life, Bush-Banks was a respected and valued figure in Black and Indigenous communities. Throughout her many travels, her ties to her heritage kept her grounded in her history even as her writing and outreach relayed it to a larger audience. Sustained by her familial ties, her work was driven by the need to provide for her family, and it elevated the effort of her pursuits.

Born on May 23, 1869, in Sag Harbor, she was the youngest of three daughters. Her parents, Eliza Draper and Abraham Ward, were each of Black and Montaukett descent. It was not uncommon for Blacks and Indigenous people to intermarry: such unions and their resulting families faced racism and discrimination. Her mother died when she was around 9 months old, and her father moved the family to Providence, Rhode Island. Upon Abraham’s remarriage, he gave Bush-Banks to be reared by her maternal aunt, Maria Draper, who raised her as her own. She studied nursing in high school but, encouraged and supported by Maria, developed a passion for drama and poetry…

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