Taylor Sparks Racial Microagressions over The Weeknd’s Hair

The Weeknd was a guest performer on Taylor Swift's 1989 tour
The Weeknd was a guest performer on Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour
Oh Taylor. Between her recent dispute with Nicki Minaj and critiques for perpetuating “white feminism”, pop singer Taylor Swift has had quite a year in the media as of late.

Armed with her classic red lip and passive aggressive twitter account, Taylor has yet again got herself into a hairy situation when she “pet” The Weeknd’s hair without permission during a Grammy after party this past February. Known for his unique hairstyle, The Weeknd stated that when he first met Taylor, “‘the whole time she was talking …she was kind of like petting my hair?…she must have been a little gone after a few drinks. And of course I’m not going to be like ‘Hey, can you stop?'”.

the-weeknd-by-sonia-recchia

Whether Swift was too overcome with  her own  white privilege or perhaps celebrity status is still in question. However what cannot be denied is the fact that Taylor Swift apparently does not understand boundaries. Not only does this situation pertain to black micro aggressions but also inconsiderate behavior in general. Inappropriate hair touching is a known annoyance for many black people as being “pet” is often a behavior associated with animals but also displays the lack of control of their own bodies.

Despite what fans think however, T.Swift and The Weeknd remain friendly on good terms- he was even a guest performer on her 1989 tour this summer. So perhaps it wasn’t quite as extreme or uncomfortable the incident was made out to seem. This goes without saying though, that please ask and wait for consent, before touching another’s body.

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Short Skirts and High Stakes: American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy

american apparel

American Apparel, the highly controversial, sweatshop free, teen clothing store filed for bankruptcy protection today. The company, founded by ex-CEO Dov Charney has apparently been struggling financially since 2009. A potential source of the business’ losses can well be attributed to the controversies the company has caused. Known for its incredibly sexual and degrading advertisements, American Apparel was put on the spot a few years back after news that Charney was fired after many accusations of sexual harassment.

Ex-CEO Dov Charney was often criticized for his company's racy ads that display women as sex objects
Ex-CEO Dov Charney was often criticized for his company’s racy ads that display women as sex objects
The company owes more than $500 million dollars while  only worth $200 million. Standard General, American Apparel’s largest shareholder is currently still holding on to Charney’s 43% in the company. Whether or not the company will still be afloat this time next year is still up in the air.

 

 

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Samantha Bee Not Even Mad About Breaking the Comedic Glass Ceiling

What do Conan, Colbert, Wilmore and Kimmel have in common? Two things: late night shows and being male. And while some (ahem Jessica Williams, Chelsea Handler, Kristen Schaal) have begun to penetrate the male-dominated area, the ‘genderization’ of comedy has been dually noted by comedian and long time correspondent on The Daily Show, Samantha Bee.  A photo of the late night comedian cast from Vanity Fair’s October issue was released yesterday. It quickly became a gender controversy when the lack of women became instantly obvious. Although not entirely all male and white as of recently (Thank you Larry Wilmore), it does without a doubt seem that diversity of all kinds is still a major absence.

However with Samantha’s new late night show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airing this year, it seems like Bee will have the last sarcastic laugh on the matter.  Bee responded to Vanity Fair’s feature of the eight male comedians by posting her own photo onto Twitter. The picture portrays Bee as a centaur with red lasers as eyes, dominating the male scene.

But gender, or for that matter racial inequality, is by all means still present, even though a couple more white women have joined the late night comedy crew. However, today I am thankful for seeing these gaps closing with each small triumph and “first”. Although small, its changes like these that increasingly transform society. I’m thankful for the media for being a platform for social change when calling attention to inequalities is necessary. And of course, another thank you goes out to Samantha Bee, for making America laugh at our country’s preposterous antics and for always being, as she puts it, “female as f**k.”

 

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Culture Wars: Alaskan Natives Restore Mt. McKinley’s Original Name

mckinley-versus-denali

What do Alaskan natives and the people of Ohio have in common? A name, Mt. McKinley. It was on Sunday night that President Obama came out saying he will legally restore the name of the famous mountain range in Alaska back to its original name given by the Alaskan people, Denali. This controversy has been debated for decades among the Alaskan natives who don’t seem to understand the connection between their mountain and an ex-president. The previous name Mount McKinley was given as a tribute to the late President McKinley when the tallest peak was first explored in 1917. Although having no other connections to Alaska (The president had in fact never even visited the state) the Mount was given the name to honor the Ohio President.

However, natives of the area have been trying to dispute the name for years as “Denali” was the name originally given by Alaskan aborigines meaning  “The Great One” or “The High One,” stemming from Koyukon Athabascan words.

For some Ohio residents, it is a sign of disrespect for President McKinley. Representative of Ohio, Michael Turner, stated to the NY Times that “The president’s recent actions to remove his name and undermine a prior act of Congress is disrespectful, and I will continue to fight for proper recognition of President McKinley’s legacy,”. Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich as well openly opposes Obama’s decision.  And of course Donald Trump had something to say about it when he tweeted “President Obama wants to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change it back!”

donald trump alaskan natives

 

But to those sympathetic of the native american experience, this is a major win. Although just a name, this is seen as a huge symbol for the Alaskan people reclaiming their own unique heritage.

It is a not just a name but a reminder of their 10,000 year old culture, the culture that was once stripped from them by American colonization. So I ask of a favor from the American public; can’t we just agree that this is the least bit we Americans can do to restore an at risk population that was once decimated by our wrongdoings? It won’t fix the economic and social injustices of the people there, but it’s a start.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #glamorouspaper

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Blackface or a Fashion Trend?

If you’ve read the title of this article and are thoroughly confused and possibly offended, let me first explain. Recently, Black Canadian model Winnie Harlow has been making waves in the media for her unique look: her black and white skin. Winnie Harlow  has a skin condition called vitiligo, one that interferes with her skin pigmentation.

Lately, the look has been captured by the media and in return has been replicated by fans. Now replication of trends on social media is nothing new-except when it starts racial controversies. Many of the fans replicating the look are white and in turn are applying dark makeup.

winnie duplicate

If at this point you’re thinking so what, allow me to give a little recap on the history of blackface. In the 19th century America, it was customary for actors in theatre and later film to wear theatrical makeup when playing a black character. It proliferated many of the horrendous stereotypes such as “coons” and mocked African Americans with enormous amounts of disrespect. Blackface minstrel shows were however quite popular satire in those days yet had prolific effects on the Black community. These effects are still seen today yet fortunately are now a big cultural “no no” to attempt in society.

So is duplicating Harlow’s look appropriation, appreciation, or just racist? Winnie responded to the controversy earlier this week in an Instagram post:

“My response to this is probably not what a lot of people want but here it goes: every time someone wants fuller lips, or a bigger bum, or curly hair, or braids does Not mean our culture is being stolen. Have you ever stop to realize these things used to be ridiculed and now they’re loved and lusted over. No one wants to ‘steal’ our look here. We’ve just stood so confidently in our own nappy hair and du-rags and big a**es (or in this case, my skin) that now those who don’t have it love and lust after it. Just because a black girl wears blue contacts and long weave doesn’t mean she wants to be white and just because a white girl wears braids and gets lip injection doesn’t mean she wants to be black. The amount of mixed races in this world is living proof that we don’t want to be each other we’ve just gained a national love for each other. …It is very clear to me when someone is showing love and I appreciate these people recreating, loving and broadcasting something to the world that once upon a time I cried myself to sleep over #1LOVE”

winnie twitter

Sadly, as always with social media, Harlow received numerous amounts of backlash and hate for her response. And to be honest, I’m on the fence about it. Appropriation and appreciation is always such a fine line I think everyone tries hard to find. However, if a subject as touchy as blackface is being called a “trend”, I know it would be hard to receive general support. It is important to note that Harlow is not the only one with vitiligo and ultimately this is still a sensitive subject for the many dealing with this skin condition. As for my word of advice: tread lightly on social media.  Personally, that line is defined by ignorance or lack thereof. Knowing the historical underpinnings of any trend is crucial if you are going to appreciate it appropriately.

What are you’re thoughts about this debate? Use the hashtag #glamorouspaper or comment down below to add your voice in the matter.

 

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