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The past few months writing on this blog has definitely changed how I view many social justice issues. It has made me grow as a thinker, a writer, and as an individual. I have learned as well as read a lot in which I owe to many of the writers that wrote about things that interested me enough to post about it on this blog.

This is not a goodbye but more of a see you later. I want to take a quick hiatus before writing any more posts about social justice. I want to give myself time and actually learn more about it and what I actually want to do with this.

Diverse TV Shows: Actor Idris Elba

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media, Social Justice

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing, producing, even acknowledging diversity in their networks. This is the final part of an ongoing series. You may read part 1, part 2, and part 3

For the final part of this research I would like to leave you with a powerful speech that actor Idris Elba made about diversity in TV. I’d rather not share my thoughts on the final part of this series because I want this video to speak for itself and be the conclusion and answer to why there’s a lack of diversity not only in Hollywood movies but also TV. I hope that my past posts have given you something to ask and think about. 

And the News Reporter says: “Jesus is White”

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media, Social Justice

Here, I leave you with this video, slam poet Crystal Valentine recites a very powerful message referring to when Megyn Kelly, Fox News host, declared during a broadcast that the historical Jesus Christ and fictional Santa Claus are both white men.

As I listened to Valentine’s voice, spitting words that gave me chills, the sadness and anger I felt when she said, “How can she say Jesus was a white man when he died the blackest way possible? With his hands up? With his mother watching? Crying at his feet?” It reminded me at how much change still needs to come our way.

I don’t want to say much on this post because her words are enough.

 

Thoughts?

Diverse TV Shows: Beyoncé sips her “Lemonade”

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing and producing television shows that include diversity. For part three of this ongoing series I will be focusing on Beyoncé’s visual film, LEMONADE. You can read part one, and part two.

The whole world tuned onto HBO Saturday night to watch Beyoncé’s film, “Lemonade,” which turned out to be a visual album.

The film was 60-minutes long and it featured music videos tied in with spoken word. This film has allowed Beyoncé to express issues from her personal life, especially her marriage to husband Jay-Z, in a way that she has never done before.

I’m connecting this as part three to my ongoing series is because she spoke and explored the issues of an ordinary black women in today’s society. She included a very famous and powerful line from one of his speeches in her song “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” Malcom X says: “The most disrespected woman in America is the black women. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.” As he says this, many beautiful scenes of black women in America are shown, you can see their struggles and deepest emotions on their face.

Another powerful song is “Freedom,” which talks about blackness in America, Bey sings:  “Freedom, freedom, where are you? ‘Cause I need freedom, too, I’ma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves,” in the film an emotional scene was shown with black mothers who have lost black men in their lives due to police brutality including Gwen Carr, Sybrina Fulton and Lezley McSpadden, the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

Although this film doesn’t really have much to do with the lack of diversity shown on television, it does spark a change by having one of the world’s biggest superstars use her platform by making a film that spoke about issues that individuals are experiencing in their everyday lives, black lives and black women.

The Poverty Cycle

Black Cool, Social Justice

 

To this day I feel like not many individuals are aware of this. The picture above shows the poverty cycle which at times it may be called the “ghetto” cycle. It has been proven that minorities, especially black women, are most likely to become trapped into poverty. One of the reasons why these black women are usually trapped into the poverty cycle is because they are usually evicted from their household and that’s how the cycle begins. 
How The Eviction Epidemic Is Trapping Black Women In Poverty,” is a article I read on HuffPost Black Voices. Harvard University sociologist Matthew Desmond is publishing a book titled Evicted, in which he follows eight of his neighbors from his younger years as they try and fail to find stable housing, as well as the landlords, property managers, eviction movers and judges who decide their fates. 

Desmond says, “Eviction is fundamentally changing the face of poverty, one way we can interpret eviction is like, ‘Oh, it’s a result of irresponsibility, it’s bad spending habits.’ But if … you’re spending 80 percent of your income on rent, eviction is much more of an inevitability than an irresponsibility.”

  
Eviction is something very common from where I come. I am from the South End area from Springfield, Massachusetts which some people might call “Little Puerto Rico,” because that’s where you’ll find the biggest population of Latinos, you’ll see many Bodegas up and down streets as well as Spanish restaurants and so much more.

One thing that intrigued me from reading this article is that it was not surprising, I felt like I was reading something I already knew. It’s obvious that the government makes sure minorities in general are trapped in this poverty cycle. They make sure we are all trapped in the same projects and neighborhoods so we won’t feel the need to actually leave because if we do we won’t be with “our people” anymore. We’ll be in a different world where you won’t have the same culture or ethnic background as your neighbor or manager. 

The fact that black women are in a high risk of being trapped in this cycle for being evicted is quite heartbreaking. In Desmond’s book he goes into great depths of research. While he observes the neighborhoods he once was a part of he met children and their families of whom were evicted or were going through horrible struggles. 

One question I’d like to ask is why do you think black women are at a higher common risk of being evicted rather than white women?

Diverse TV Shows: ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing and producing television shows that include diversity. This is part two of the ongoing series, you can read part one here, part two

If you keep up with Netflix you should know that ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘ is now available with its second season. The point of this ongoing series is to examine and analyze the diversity in which we are offered in television shows.

In part one of this series I spoke about why there’s a lack of diversity within television networks and the shows they produce. Netflix has recently became more successful by creating, producing, and streaming their own original series. One of those original series being ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ Most of these original series I have realized actually tackle many stereotypes and social justice issues even if it’s in a positive or negative light. I always found it interesting as to why shows like these aren’t on actual television networks.

In this second season of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidth,’ we see a lot of issues involving race. Of course as to why a white actress was cast to play a Native American woman? In the first season she was hiding from her ethnicity and was portraying herself as a typical caucausian housewife, but with this new season she has decided to embrace her culture. Yes, it is refreshing to see this type of controversy involving race but at the same time why couldn’t they actually cast an actress that was not white in the first place? This is the lack of diversity that I mean to talk about.

In part one of this series I used a quote from Wilmer Valederrama’s interview in which he said, “I think [networks’] intentions are in the right place, to try and develop as much diversity as possible, but unfortunately I think a lot of networks lack a bit of that mojo, that courage to actually give those shows a real shot and allow audiences to really find themselves within the leading stories and the leading characters.” The white actress portraying a Native American women is a great example of what Wilmer was saying.

A lot of television shows and even movies are really trying to include diversity in their work but most of the time they don’t get it right. That’s why people still get mad, and they have the right to. Another example, Zoe Saldana, who is a Latina and was cast to portray Nina Simone an African American women. My question is, why can’t they cast actors who would more easily fit the mold of the character they’ll be playing? Instead of getting an actor who is going to have to change their appearance to fit the role?

Diverse TV Shows Are Going Nowhere

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing and producing television shows that include diversity. Wilmer Valederrama currently did an interview with HuffingtonPost and says that “networks lack the ‘courage’ to give diverse series a real shot.

In the past we have seen a lot of television shows come and go, usually lasting up to one or two seasons and suddenly being cancelled due to ratings and lack of audience. If you look at most of these shows you wouldn’t have a hard time noticing that it lacks diversity.

“I think television has become a lot more ambitious when it comes to conceptualizing a show — the tones, the universes, the characters, the premises, the stories, but I also have to admit that as much as they’re developing a lot of these pilots and as much as they’re developing a lot of vehicles for Latinos and African Americans, we’ve yet to see how many networks and how many studios are really willing to pick up these shows to series, and really get behind those shows and truly help them become a success,” Valderrama told HuffPost.

Although there is a visible gap between television shows and diversity, there are still current TV shows that have found success and have been breaking that mold by having people, stories, and problems in the show that include diversity. For examples, there’s Orange is the New Black, Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, Power, Black-Ish, The Fosters, Becoming Us, Girl Code, Key and Peele and so much more.

Yes, these shows are diverse but why did it take this long for these type of television shows to become successful? I really agree with a point that Wilmer made in his interview, he said, “I think [networks’] intentions are in the right place, to try and develop as much diversity as possible, but unfortunately I think a lot of networks lack a bit of that mojo, that courage to actually give those shows a real shot and allow audiences to really find themselves within the leading stories and the leading characters.”

The absence of diversity is not just in television shows, it’s in movies, magazines, commercials, and so on. Up to this day you can pick up a magazine that has a black celebrity on the cover and there’s a pretty good chance that the black celebrity is only either the second, third, or fourth black celebrity to be featured on the cover of that magazine.

This is part three of an ongoing series, read part one and part two.

Let’s Talk About — Mental Health Equality

Social Justice

In our present day society there are many who refuse to people that mental illness exists and that it is something that warrants much attention. When something is not acknowledged or physically seen  it is easy to pretend that these issues are imaginary, but the truth of the matter is that mental illness effects those all around us in very real ways.

Because a vast majority of mental illnesses do not present themselves in physical ways it is easy for them to be swept under the rug. Those who do speak out about their problems are highly stigmatized and experience backlash instead of receiving the care that they need.

Mental health and issues relating to it are not frequently discussed, but if there is one thing that is discussed even less than that, it is minority struggles with mental health illnesses. It was not until writing this post that I discovered that there was a National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (NMMHAM) every July, and I believe that a significant number of people are not aware of this too.

It is important to note that mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any time regardless of age, gender, or race.  In addition to the everyday discrimination that minorities face, minorities with mental illness experience higher levels of stigma, less access to treatment, lack of mental health literacy and information, bias and discrimination in treatment setting, and more.

There has been a significant amount of research conducted by the American Psychological Association that helps demonstrate the lower quality mental health services that minorities experience compared to whites. In addition to struggling with a mental illness, minorities are almost guaranteed to face extremely poor quality treatments when they seek help.

An open platform must be established where people can talk about their issues, and we need to ensure equal quality treatments for everyone.

What do you think about mental illness? Do you think it is something that should be discussed?

Connection in #BlackLivesMatter: Is it an Overreaction?

Social Justice


Although my blog is about social justice, you can tell by all of my posts that I have been focusing more on the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s not because I feel like it’s more important but I feel like I can connect with a larger group of people about it.

Black Lives Matter became a huge hot topic this past year and when it did I connected to it because for one I come from a very diverse city where my high school was filled with only colored people and caucausians were the minority. For second, race issues have always been present with day to day activities but once Black Lives Matter came about I feel like it woke us all up.

The Black Lives Matter movement has definitely created a merge between all people from different races. It has shaken the country to be honest. With this movement a lot of things have been changed.

This movement has let us ALL not how hard it is for colored people in general to create  a successful and manageable life for themselves without facing stereotypes and that’s why so far my focus on this blog has been the Black Lives Matter movement. I will be focusing on more social justice topics throughout my journey with this blog.

How do you feel about this movement?

A Day in the Life…

Social Justice


I actually want to share two articles that I feel fit perfectly with what my blog stands for, I found these articles at a site that I visit almost daily called New Pittsburgh Courier Online. These two articles are recent and show you an example of what Black people are currently going through in today’s society which is why I decided to title this post ‘A Day in the Life..’

 In Cincinnati, Charles Harrell, 29, was followed and arrested by a white male police officer for supposedly “jaywalking.” Harrell actually recorded the whole thing and told the officer that he was scared because he was following him. The video has gone viral and it has brought up more questions and concerns about Black people and people of color in general being stopped, harassed, and arrest by police officers.

Down in Greensboro, Georgia at Greene County High School,  a black student, Shaniaya Hunter, was called “the dumbest girl I have ever met” by her own male teacher after Shaniaya missed school for a couple days due to a health issue and asked the teacher for help to catch her up with schoolwork. Shaniaya was able to record this conversation on her iPad.

The reason why I felt the need of sharing these articles is to show how powerful the internet is. Both incidents were recorded and shared online. There are also common themes with both accidents. They both involve black people and white men. And on top of that these civilians are being arrested and verbally abused for what good reason? For being black? Is this okay? It’s clearly not but this isn’t the first time any issue like this has come up… but nothing is changing.

And this ladies and gents is a day in the life… What if this was you?