Lupita Nyong’o is on the cover of People as the most beautiful person for 2014 in their annual “50 Most Beautiful” issue. This is the first time that anyone of her complexion has made the cover and she’s only the third Black woman to make the cover, other than Halle Berry (2003) and Beyoncé (2012).
She shared some insights on beauty in a behind the scenes video for the shoot for this cover. She made some really wonderful statements, some of which I included below:
The first person to tell me that I was beautiful was definitely my mother. She said that a lot, especially when I felt the least bit beautiful which is, you know, as an adolescent you go through times when you feel ugly in general. But my mother always said I was beautiful and I finally believed her at some point.
She’s regularly cited her mother as one of her main supporters in terms of fostering her self-esteem in her beauty, inside and out. She mentioned the importance of being content and I truly believe a part of her allure is her joy. It comes through in her every action and it’s beautiful where it just compliments her glorious dark skin, emotive hopeful eyes, adorable nose, incredible smile, and edges of the gawds, all on a remarkable symmetrical face.
I feel most beautiful when I am content. That for me is more important than my physical presentation because it’s through inner contentment and happiness that I care about my presentation.
In the behind the scenes video, she also mentioned the role of laughter in her adult life and this definitely connects to the previous quote in terms of internal contentment being the origin for feeling beautiful.
I think the older I get, the more I laugh. I think I’ve laughed a lot in ways; I wish I remembered to laugh like that when I was a teenager.
This made me think of the carefree Black girl conception that many Black women talk about and it made me happy to hear her discuss the role of laughter. An internal source of joy and confidence in appearance are radical acts for Black women in a society that regularly denies us joy and beauty. I am acutely aware of how people hate Black women and also want us to hate ourselves. This dehumanization isn’t just emotional and interpersonal but is a foundation on which oppressions such as misogynoir and colourism rest on. There are people invested—deeply in fact—in not only Lupita being invisible but that no one find her beautiful. They’re terrified that the status quo may shift even a little. And it wouldn’t be a complete shift. Lupita is still very well educated, from a Black immigrant middle class two-parent family and is thin in accordance with most Hollywood standards, so there are elements of privilege as well.
Even so, that beautiful dark skin on the cover will be a problem for many. There have been Black men heavily invested in making sure no one believes she’s beautiful. This isn’t completely about the cishet Black male gaze in a sexual context, though a factor, but also about how it shifts some cishet Black men’s worldview where they may have nothing but “at least” they aren’t Black women. If Black women are to be loathed, Black men can justify their misogynoir as simply being what everyone else feels about us, and it is what everyone else feels about us. Black men did not invent the hatred of Black women nor do they enact it alone. However, if Black women are not to be loathed and some are even deemed beautiful and valuable—even the ones who don’t meet every Eurocentric bullet point in terms of what “beauty” is—then it shifts the ground for many Black men whose choices and gaze are shaped by misogynoir that remains unchecked. This presents a conflict for them and some have lashed out because of it.
There’s also the issue of the White Gaze where even suggesting that a Black woman is beautiful upsets Whites who think that then means White women are being called “ugly.” They purposely ignore the structural power and privilege difference and even the exposure scale differences in the mainstream for White women versus Black women. When I wrote Yeah, Black Women Are Great. Fin., I made it clear that Black women need the space to celebrate our beauty (and not just aesthetically, though yes, that matters as well when our exterior and interior qualities are degraded on the hour) without the White supremacist notion that not reifying Eurocentric beauty standards at every moment means Black women are somehow “harming” White women or any non-Black women. (The latter can be anti-Black at times and placed “above” Black women, as non-Black women of colour, in terms of beauty, but placed “below” White women. Then there’s the intraracial manifestation of colourism where some light skinned Black women may also reject this cover or dark Black women being considered beautiful as well.)
I’m also aware of those among us Black people who think this cover is as simple as “White approval” yet do not understand how visibility as fully human and recognition matters in the mainstream even as Black people create our own media. This is not an “either/or” situation but a “both/and” one. Representation among the mainstream—as it shapes media, politics and culture, which means it has a great deal of power—is not the desire for interpersonal White favor. It’s the desire for the affirmation of humanity so that we are not punished for not being viewed as human. We may not need Whites’ “approval” of us in the mainstream but we most certainly cannot afford Whites’ dehumanization of us in the mainstream.
While I am not a fan of People and I most certainly don’t read it regularly, I’m also aware of what representation means. Lupita mentioned the importance of representation for Black girls, especially, in a previous speech at Essence Magazine’s 7th Annual Black Women In Hollywood luncheon:
And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shame in Black beauty.
Representation as human, as beautiful and as relevant matters for Black women, especially dark Black women (in this case; in other cases Black trans women, fat Black women etc.). Lupita can have this moment without the suggestion that it somehow “harms” Black men (as if their gaze has to matter to Black women at all times) or White women (as if they cannot love themselves unless Black women hate ourselves; well…hmm), without the suggestion that it means Black people no longer care about the media and content that we create ourselves (because let’s be crystal clear here, the mainstream pilfers Black creativity and culture anyway) or any other nonsensical or cruel suggestion meant to harm Black women that everyone was taught to hate. Lupita is clearly at a point of a great deal of self-love. A lot of Black women are. And we deserve to be.
I hope Lupita continues to thrive in her career (the acting one); I look forward to seeing her in any visual media (even as small as her Instagram). This People announcement as “Most Beautiful” made Lupita happy, as she tweeted, so I am (and many people are) happy for her. Congrats to Lupita Nyong’o.
Out of all the experiences with racism I’ve faced as a young African American woman, there is one particular incident that still haunts my thoughts.
I was a freshman in high school. It was near the end of the year, so one of my teachers was allowing a relaxation day where we could work on extra credit worksheets while chatting with friends. A multicultural rally had just been held at our school a few days ago, and so I was cheerfully discussing some aspects of African American culture with my friend, when, out of nowhere, this Russian kid whom I’d shared very little contact the entire school year, turned in his desk and told me “you know, slavery was actually a good thing for you people”.
I was stunned. I was speechless. I had never encountered such ignorance in my life. And the scary part was he was dead serious.
If such a thing were to have had happened today, I definitely would have, for lack of a better phrase, “went off” on such an ignoramus, but at the time my fourteen year old self didn’t know how to respond to such overt anti-Blackness, so the only thing I could manage to say was “why do you say that?” which he answered “it brought you to America from Africa.” I didn’t say anything to him after that.
To this day, I still cannot believe that someone would be so ignorant, so racist, so anti-Black as to say that the kidnapping, enslavement, rape, dehumanization, and cultural/literal genocide of “you people” was a “good thing”.
To this day I still beat myself up for not having went off on that Russian kid. I shudder to think of how he will spread that anti-Black mentality to others.
A descendant of the only black family on the Titanic said she is determined to keep the memory of her ancestors alive, giving them their rightful place in history. Marlie Alberts said she is a descendant of the Haitian-born, French-educated black man, Joseph Laroche, whose maiden voyage on the Titanic is well-documented but remains obscure to the general public. Louise Laroche was traveling with his pregnant wife, Juliette Lafargue, and their two young daughters, Simonne and Louise. His wife and chi…
"According to reports, Laroche’s mother had sent the family first-class tickets to travel on a French liner. But before its departure, the Laroches discovered there would be a seating and dining problem for the interracial family. Out of concern for their youngest daughter, who was sickly, they traded their tickets for second-class tickets on the Titanic."
Undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before 2012 and who were 14 years old or younger would become legal permanent residents upon service in the U.S. military under legislation offered by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). That provides an expedited path to citizenship compared with the naturalization process. Separation from the military under less-than-honorable conditions would rescind the new residency status.
The first time I actually believed I was beautiful Was when, at age 20
A trans friend of mine Surveyed my Asian eyes Looking accusatorially at my reflection Staring at my protruding tummy Stretching and poking at my skin As I wondered out loud whether I could wear a midriff baring top Because I didn’t have “that typical skinny Asian schoolgirl figure”
And she whispered to me Her eyes meeting mine in the mirror "I would kill to have a body like yours.”
And I looked up at her tall, strong body And her lovely, wispy ginger curls And with a Jolt of electric epiphany I realized that Society had told her (The exact opposite of me) What Society had told me (The exact opposite of her)
That we were both The very definition of "unattractive"
But maybe Perhaps Could it be? We actually had the power To define ourselves …as beautiful
And my heart broke For the both of us Bleeding invisibly under our skins Living our whole lives Being told to ignore The glorious pleasure of Our own beauties
I’m so fucking over this trend of shitting on China and Chinese people at every opportunity. Especially when it pits another East Asian country against China as being ‘better’. Just because a white person feels more comfortable in one place does not make it more valid or inherently better.
I think I could have just let this go if not for #3 because I am a Buddhist practitioner and scholar and I just can’t….
3. Religion is an integral component of life in Taiwan. Christianity has an obvious presence — my granddaughter goes to a Christian school. Buddhist temples in China are largely filled with tourists. It was the crowds of real worshipers in the temples of Taiwan that struck me. The temples I saw in mainland China were more like sterile artifacts. In Taiwan I could observe the religion in action and began to gain a greater understanding of it. It is a shame that such a rich part of the Asian culture has been wiped away in modern China.
Straight up this is some ignorant shit. Christianity’s more obvious presence in Taiwan is not something worth valuing or being proud of because Christianity was brought over to Taiwan by missionaries who are racist, colonialist assholes who thinks their religion is superior to everyone else’s.
But mostly, I just cannot even fathom wtf she’s talking about when she says that Buddhist temples in China are largely filled with tourists. Like how many temples did she go to? I went on a Buddhist pilgrimage through Southern China and I’ve been to most of the major temples in Beijing. All of the temples were filled with activity from monks and lay people alike. Maybe she thought the pilgrims were tourists???? A lot of Chinese people spend their precious few days of vacation visiting temples because their religion is important to them. Like, I’m sorry that your experience of China was ruined by the Chinese people and that you thought crowds of Chinese people anywhere were automatically tourists? Also, WTF is a ‘real worshiper’.
People practice Buddhism in a myriad of ways. It’s not up to foreigners or non-practitioners to judge what is and is not a valid practice or presentation of Buddhism. Some people go to temple to wish for money and fame - this is part of Buddhism. Some people go to temple to wish for world peace - this is part of Buddhism. Some people never go to temple at all - this is part of Buddhism. There are corrupt monks and there are righteous monks. There are monasteries that profit off of donations and there are monasteries in dire poverty. This is all Buddhism. Buddhism isn’t your orientalist fantasy of people giving up their possessions and meditating all day. Buddhism isn’t all about enlightenment or nirvana or inner peace. (I, for one, wish that everyone would just fucking forget about enlightenment for a second). Buddhism isn’t inherently nonviolent or peaceful and Buddhists aren’t inherently nice people. There are many different Buddhisms and they vary greatly. But all of it is Buddhism and we own up to even the shitty parts of it because that’s how we begin to create change within our own Buddhist community. So fuck that neo imperialist and orientalist gaze, passing judgement on something you know nothing about.
I can’t even deal with the last fucking sentence. “It is a shame that such a rich part of the Asian culture has been wiped away in modern China”. You know what’s really a shame? That both British and Japanese imperialists colonized and invaded China repeatedly and stole a lot of precious cultural and religious artifacts while simultaneously killing millions of people and damaging Chinese culture. You know what else is a shame? That people don’t understand that religious practice in foreign countries is not something for you to observe and try to ‘understand’ as if your objective view of a religion is more valid than those who practice it everyday.
If the author stopped viewing the world as her personal servant that exists to make her feel comfortable and welcome, she might have had a slim chance at actually experiencing China.
Canada’s slave-owning history is being ignored, says expert, as Black History Month kicks off.
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ALL THIS!?!?!?!
'Cause history involving black people is always erased, that's why.
Because a lot of us were taught that once you got to north you were free, but if you could get the Canada you were safe from being dragged back into slavery by hunters. It was like Canada was best place you could be if you were trying escape slavery (per US history classes)
‘Author and historian Afua Cooper has described slavery in the Great White North as “Canada’s best kept secret.” She says that between 1628 and 1833, Canada had approximately 8,000 slaves, but it’s a part of the country’s history that is not well known.
“Canada conveniently forgot its own history of slave-holding, because that would make the country look immoral, indecent,” says Cooper […]
Before the British conquest of 1760 when Canada was still a French colony, nearly 60 percent of slaves were aboriginal and 40 percent were of African descent, Cooper estimates. After Britain took over, the ratio of aboriginal slaves declined as the British brought in more slaves from Africa, the West Indies, and the Caribbean, as well as from its 13 American colonies.
Slave-owners in the American South were largely plantation owners, but in Canada they ran the gamut, from merchants and fur traders to farmers and even religious institutions.
“The slave owners were everybody, in every social class,” says Cooper. “Members of the clergy owned large amounts of slaves.”’
Lejla Cengic, spokesperson for the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said on Thursday that investigators had found a mass grave that could contain the remains of many civilian victims from Prijedor.
“The exhumation hasn’t yet started. We are waiting for the state prosecution’s order. We received the information and we found that there is a mass grave in the village of Oborci. It is suspected that the grave contains the remains of between 100 and 147 people,” said Cengic.
A large number of people from the Prijedor municipality are still missing since the war, said Edin Ramulic, a representative of the victims’ organisation Izvor (Source).
Initially as I was processed in the gym two cops were talking to me. Upon learning I was Muslim and wore my headscarf for religious reasons [one cop actually wrote in my paperwork (headscarf religious reasons) and verbally confirmed that she wrote it down so people would know and I wouldn’t be bothered about it]. The other cop next to her asked me if I was fasting for Ramadan and I replied no and inquired how he knew it was Ramadan. He said it was because they received a diversity training.
After I was done I took five step to the side where they held the other female prisoners and where a female cop badge number 3362 started to frisk me and suddenly started taking off my scarf. This is the dialogue to the best of my memory there were plenty of protestors with me when this happened.
"Whoa, whoa, wait a second I wear my scarf for religious reasons, can’t you just feel my hair through it?" I said as I backed into the wall.
“No. If you want your religious headscarf then you shouldn’t protest,” she said as I was turned around pushed into the wall by her grabbing my neck and ripping my headscarf off in front of everyone. Later another jailer would say the exact same thing when they took my headscarf away for the entirety of being incarcerated.
The others were yelling at her to stop and cops started yelling at them telling them “She’s going to get charged!”
“You wouldn’t do this to a nun,” I told her and another cop who was looking at me as she violently frisked me. And I have been frisked, groped and padded down many a time via TSA since I am Muslim while flying.
My clothes were ajar and were placed immodestly around my hips. Later others would help me fix it as our hands were restrained behind our backs.
"It’s just procedure," the cop looking on said to me.
"God gave you free will and no one can take that from you," I replied.
She threw the scarf back on my head covering my face until the cop looking on told her to fix it and then it was covering my eyes.
Afterward I approached her seeing that she was upset. “Look, I just want to talk civilly with you about what just happened and since I can tell you are upset.”
She got defensive and started talking about procedure. “I understand it’s procedure. See, many faiths and cultures believe in covering the head. You taking off my scarf in public like that is like taking off my shirt in public.”
She replied that I could have been hiding a gun. I looked at her in disbelief. My scarf is made up of a light material and my hair is short. She ordered me to sit down and leave her alone.
Initially I felt upset and mad. But then I felt bad for her. I know system is to dehumanize and humiliate the people who don’t compile with the law but after thinking a long time I realized that when you treat others like beasts you become a beast. But being treated like a beast doesn’t mean I am one, I still have a choice, I can still reflect on the example of my Prophet during this holy Ramadan, I still can cultivate compassion and rise above.
Five same-sex couples challenged a U.S. law that currently bars the federal government from recognizing gay marriages.
The lawsuit challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, was filed Monday by Immigration Equality in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. - From the UPI Article : -
"I’m a citizen of this country just like anybody else," Heather Morgan, 36, a plaintiff in the lawsuit with her spouse, Maria del Mar Verdugo Yanez, who is from Spain, told The New York Times. "I’m very proud of this country. I don’t want to feel like I have to leave here in order to be with the person I love. I shouldn’t have to choose."
Under immigration law, a citizen can apply for a foreign spouse to gain legal permanent residency, experts said. However, federal authorities do not recognize same-sex marriages under DOMA, leaving same-sex couples with the choice of deportation for the immigrant or exile for the American.
[tw/advisory: rape, murder]
The Iraq Babes website shut itself down because of the anti-American use of their images. Sex in War was eventually bought by tamer porn producers. The photographs of fake Iraqi rapes, however, are still available on a number of free Internet sites. In fact, photos from the defunct Iraq Babes site appear now mostly on jihadi websites or in leftist American blogs - some of which repeat the accusation of GIs raping Iraqi women and use the images as proof.
Given the fact that Taguba’s investigation documented various brutal acts, including the rape and sodomizing of prisoners, belief in the fake photographs are understandable. Indeed, in the summer of 2006 five soldiers stationed in Mahmoudiya were charged in the rape and murder of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her family, including a five-year-old girl.
The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go From Here by Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott, p. 151 - 152
The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs will meet tomorrow (March 25, 2014) to markup H. Res. 494 “Affirming the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act.” If you live in the U.S. please go to the ACT site now and tell your member of Congress to support this important bill, it only takes 3 minutes.
While you are there, you can also take action on the other Taiwan related bills. These bills are what we push in the U.S. to help protect Taiwan’s democracy.
According to the nature of this non-economic outlook, Douglas and Go are expected to be fairly self evident. Immigration policy has various roles, which have been captured, by the concept of nation building. There is more in Canada than the GDP index. Besides the logic, they believe that a sound notion of “national success” will go far beyond the economic statistics.
Member for Baulkham Hills, David Elliott, is one of the chairmen of the parliamentary committee looking into skills shortages in NSW.
A state legislative review for the need of skilled workers is yet to be announced from the Australian IT industry, but it has already stated that it will make recommendations to the federal government on 457 visas.
Immigration Minister Mr. Tony Burke states he will look sympathetically at the request for an elderly woman to stay in Australia after an emotional plea from her family. The immigration officials have denied permanent residency for the 75 year-old Ms. Jean Goldblatt, who moved from South Africa to Perth to stay with her three children 11 years ago.
Ms Goldblatt was diagnosed with dementia 4 years ago and placed in an aged-care facility. Her daughter Mrs. Nina Waltman says she has now been declared as a burden on taxpayers and is ordered to return to South Africa.
The importance of getting a visa from a good agency has been highlighted once again this week after it emerged that a group of Muslims in the UK who wished to enjoy a religious pilgrimage trip to Hajj were let down after their visa never arrived.