Elle Magazine (I’m not going to call you dear); I’m shaking my head at you. In what you say is your well-meaning attempt to battle PeopleMagazine’s biased taste in men, you have compiled a list of gorgeous men of color. But, as with Allure’s lame attempt at celebrating natural Black hairstyles with their article, “You (yes you) can have an Afro,” your writing leaves a lot to be desired. Your headline alone, “30 of the Sexiest Men Alive Who Aren’t White” was cringe worthy and insulting in and of itself.
I told my parents and they immediately began a debate on the complexities of Peruvian race relations. I found the linked Suzanne Gamboa article but it only added to the conflicting thoughts I have.
This morning, I have seen the more recent pictures of both Zimmerman and Martin. I feel bamboozled, fooled, naive. Like millions of people every day, I have accepted what is presented in the news as fact. But as my own class discussed, fact is not always truth. Now I have a less menacing yet fuller picture of the real George Zimmerman, not the boogeyman the court of public opinion would have me dismiss.
As for Trayvon Martin, I no longer only see the memory of a baby-faced child but a more honest picture of a real teenager. Unlike Geraldo Rivera(why does he have to be Latino? somebody take him back), I am not quick to judge Trayvon. Wifebeaters, grills, and tattoos have no bearing on this case. A young man is dead, another man has lost his reputation and safety, possibly his life, and two communities stand to lose common ground over this case.
On a more personal level, I can’t help but wonder how many people will ponder this case in depth. I am saddened and moved by this case to be more analytical and reflective. I can’t let the media or even my own first impressions be my guide.
All weekend long, I have held my tongue. It’s my own fault, really, choosing to be Facebook friends with folks young enough to be my children(they were my children in a sense, before I became a biological parent); I should have known that their opinions and feelings are a generation apart from mine. Still, it has been jarring having to read and therefore “listen” to the voices of the strong, intelligent, articulate young people who feel that Chris Brown has been wronged. Chris Brown?!?
Count me in with Oprah and Nikki from my radio morning show and all us old school feminists. I don’t feel sorry for Chris Brown. He wasn’t on the receiving end of a beating. He can apologize and pick up garbage in Backwater, Southern state until my daughter can vote and he won’t get any sympathy from me. True, he’s lost his endorsement by a chewing gum company and cute white couples are less likely to dance into the church on their wedding day to one of his songs. But he’ll be gracing the cover of the resurrected Vibe magazine next month and is currently getting lots of media attention now that Rihanna is making the talk show circuit. And plenty of smart young people of color are defending him on Facebook and MySpace and Twitter and in conversations across high school and college campuses everywhere. That makes me sad.
“She must have gotten him mad.” “She shouldn’t have been going through his phone.” “He was stressed.” It’s amazing how insidious abusers are. They get into our heads, convince us that the victim is at fault, that they deserved that slap, that slashing, that gunshot. Rihanna has owned her part in the tragedy, admitting it was unhealthy and obsessive on both sides. But that does not make it her fault. No one’s daughter/sister/mother/friend deserves to be abused.
Perhaps Rihanna would be wise to avoid the limelight, to express her pain through writing a memoir or creating an autobiographical song/video, rather than going on national TV. But she is young and healing from deep wounds. She won’t even truly realize what she has survived for several years. Right now, she is trying to do what is right for other young women, even as some of them turn on her.
A lot has been made of Britney’s recent breakdowns. Everyone from E! to Dr. Phil to the average Joe or Maria has something to say about the latest casualty of kid fame. But I knew Ms. Spears was on the verge when she donned a sweatsuit to marry Federline. I hadn’t yet learned the term borderline or recognized it in myself but I was alarmed by Brit’s under-the-influence YouTube rant and her pattern of impulsive behavior. The girl needed help, not publicity. Now a possible 5150, Ms. Spears has truly lost control.
Mental illness isn’t fun or glamorous. It is ugly and tragic. I feel for her. Losing your mind is painful without the addded stress of constant flash of camera bulbs and microphones being thrust in your face for soundbites. The woman has lost her children and dignity yet the media blitz doesn’t seem to be letting up. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dr. Phil and his ilk helped push Brit to the edge of the edge.
I hope she heads home to Louisiana. She doesn’t need the luxury cars or the Hollywood home or her paparazzo boyfriend or her manager/producer. She needs time and love, real love, not the fish food America has been feeding her since her “Oh Baby, Baby” days.