Vanity Fair To Who?

February 6, 2010

I know I’m late on this – and by late, I mean that the cover was just effing released this week and I already feel that by writing about it, I’m making points someone somewhere has already proudly and originally made – but that’s the (*through clenched teeth*) beauty of the internet, right? Be nimble, be quick.

Anyway, Vanity Fair debuted it’s Hollywood 2010 issue and everyone’s up in arms that there are no women of color being honored this year. Which makes sense. But I’m not surprised. And I don’t think you should be, either. (This is where I start to play Devil’s Advocate to avoid being redundant.)

Everyone’s wondering where the hell Gabourey Sidibe from “Precious” is but, be honest, had they done that, people would now be complaining about something entirely different. When placed side-by-side with Hollywood’s size zero’s whose, as seen above, calves seem to be the same size as their ankles, someone would begin to wonder aloud if Sidibe was silently being made a mockery of, being built up just to be knocked down. And then everyone within earshot would’ve nodded and grabbed a soap box to stand on top of. And then asked to be handed a bullhorn.

That’s not to say she doesn’t deserve a coveted spot. She absolutely does; so does Zoe Saldana, but she’s already appeared once (so stop sucking your teeth, see it below) and apparently, as history has shown, you can only be a Hollywood “It” Girl multiple times if you’re white.* (Kidman, Danes, Paltrow, Moore, Thurman, Dunst, Connelly and Watts have all appeared twice, while Winslet, Blanchett and Johansson have covered the issue three times.)

*Well, damn, Cruz and Dawson disproved that statement, but still?!

Let’s take a look back:

1995 - “HOLLYWOOD HIGHEST—THE CLASS OF 2000” Jennifer Jason Leigh, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Patricia Arquette, Linda Fiorentino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Angela Bassett, Sandra Bullock.

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Tennis champ Serena Williams posed for Vibe magazine this month and her body looks a little different than usual.

We’ve seen this happen before. Women celebrities often fall victim to evil Photoshop culprits who, using digital tools (and their own personal preference apparently), can alter every body-type and blemish that grace the pages of magazines and websites.

A few months ago, we saw Kourtney Kardashian, only six weeks after her son was born appear on the cover of OK! Magazine – without her consent. Headlines promised readers all the “hunger-free” “diet secrets” to losing her “baby weight” and, in a clear display of false advertising, used a slimmed-down figure of the new mom to “prove” it. But that image came courtesy of Photoshop. And Kourtney made sure to clear her name of the magazine’s mess.

Why, though? Shouldn’t women be thrilled at the sight of their new-and-improved body – belly bulge, stretchmarks, and cellulite be-gone? Not necessarily, because “improved” implies we were worse off before, not good enough, and in need of some serious rehabilitation. And as much as those editors think they’re doing women a favor, what they’re really doing is putting unwanted pressure on us, both celebrity and non. And that’s on top of what we may have already self inflicted.

(OK! even claimed Kardashian only gained 25 pounds during her pregnancy, when she’d really gained 40. There’s nothing quite like a well-documented piece, sold nationally, to remind you that you’ve actually got 15 extra pounds to lose before the world is ready to accept you again.)

Now, we know that Serena Williams isn’t pregnant, but why did VIBE magazine feel the need to slenderize her hard-earned tennis champion-made body?

For someone whose muscles have assisted in her becoming a record-breaking player (for both African-Americans and women), why would editors be ashamed or uncomfortable in displaying them as such? In all their award-winning glory?

Is it because solid isn’t synonymous with “sex-symbol”? (After all, she is rocking the “Single Ladies” ‘do, first seen on Beyonce, who is, inarguably, the people’s choice for “ultimate” woman – must be all the curves, class, and sass).

But at what point, does strength become less attractive and more intimidating?

It seems that when it comes to being a woman living in the public eye, there are a few stipulations: always appear womanly, but not matronly. And make sure to be strong, but not physically.

Women AND men, which body do you prefer on Serena? The all-natural or the sleek, slender, and soft? And why?

Or at least, they shouldn’t.

As bad as my Spanish is – and believe me “not fluent” is like an understatement – I don’t think I’ll ever feel such the strong need to overcompensate (and prove my Boricua-ness) that I buy this hoodie. Nope, not me. Not for a penny. And not for $413, either – which is what Dolce & Gabbana actually priced it at.

Because you know what I can get with that kind of money?

Rosetta Stone. Both the Latin America and Spain editions.

And I’ve got an inkling that that will assist in being a bit more convincing than this ass-pink sweater.

Quote me.

Ha!

Kenyon Bajus is the shit. I interviewed him for a student-run magazine back at Temple a few years ago and even though it wasn’t promised that anyone would ever even read the article, therefore garnering him no more publicity as an artist than he already had, he was nice enough to send me a limited-edition print afterwards. He had no idea we both shared a hate for Bush.

“I like to be right on the edge of funny and offensive. You either love it or hate it, but if you don’t like it, you’ve probably got your head up your ass.”

But it wasn’t seeing C3PO’s face on a jockstrap that people found offensive, because that contributed to his works reccurring theme that the characters’ actually gay – it was more so the illustrations for his now defunct clothing line, Future Relic. Graphic tees featured drawings of bullets replacing similarly-shaped crayons, of unfinished Connect-the-Dots games outlining a gun, and of a child innocently pulling an artillery behind him instead of a Radio Flyer wagon. His explanation: “It’s what we hope not to see in the future.”

Oh, how I’ve missed his work.

Kid Cudi Kick

December 8, 2009

So, this is the sixth time I’ve re-written this opening sentence and it’s only because I’m so nervous about sharing my ridiculous affection for the Kid.

Cudi, that is. If you know me at all, than I think I’ve made you endure more than enough of my rambling regarding the duder. But I’m on a Cudi kick today, receiving double my daily dose – in my own mind, that means something different, but here I’m referring to music.

First, Shakira (I don’t discuss girl crushes online) made this ill ass video for “Did It Again” (or “Lo Hecho Esta Hecho”), doing some “contemporary dance that was produced in Iceland.” I plan on learning this style of dance by Christmas and putting on a show, most likely inappropriate for family and/or dangerous by a chestnut-roasting fire, but at the very least, a good fitness routine. And she’s smart…not smart enough to marry the son of the President of Argentina after 8 years of dating…but smart enough to enlist Mr. Solo Dolo to drop a few lines on it for her.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

P.S. All couples should fight like this.

And then, Cudi releases a video for my anthem, “Pursuit of Happiness.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

1. HUH? to having Josh Hartnett produce it.

2. FAIL for not including MGMT or Ratatat in it and replacing them with Drake and Consequence (why?)

3. PASS for implying that happiness can be achieved with champagne and glitter. Cuz it’s true. Clearly this guy is some sort of Boy Wonder.

And I’m already working on my opening line: “So, I hear we’re both one-dimpled freaks.”

In there.

Steph Jones, I Approve.

December 7, 2009

I used to confuse Steph Jones for Michael Whats-His-Face…another light-skinned dude with an afro. He sang a song about how we should all love each other…because, you know, he was mixed and was probably subject to ridicule during his childhood. And I think he was Wyclef’s protege. I don’t feel like Google-searching him, but he existed. And then I started to confuse Steph Jones for Beyonce because he dressed up like her for Halloween and the likeness was uncanny.

But then, a month after its release, I happened upon his mixtape…or “lifetape” as he calls it (he loses 2 points for that)…and was more than pleasantly surprised, because he’s more than just Jordin Sparks boyfriend. And DeRay’s brother. And a model turned singer (because those usually go wrong, like here and here.)

Artist.Album.Song.
StephJones.Gravity.SouthernLove.
StephJones.Gravity.UpUp&Away.

Learning about politics is hard, so I propose that watching and listening to this is the equivalent of reading the wordiest part of a newspaper. After all, Marina & The Diamonds do in 3-and-a-half minutes what frustrated New York Times writers do for a lifetime, and that’s conclude that America, is in fact, a mess. Prepare yourself for earth-shattering material.

And yes, always be advised on national issues by those who are Welsh-born and London-based. They know best.

Ok, so maybe not. But she’s dope.

Some people really know how to ruin a good time. Like Andre Dimino.

Who?, you ask.

He’s the guy trying to ruin my Thursday nights.

As the President of UNICO, the national Italian-American service organization, he’s asked MTV to pull their new show “Jersey Shore” off the air because it’s offensive and contributes to stereotypes and [add more bad things here]. But, per the press materials, all the network is really trying to do is lift the veil off “one of the Tri-state area’s most misunderstood species … the guido.” And I think that’s necessary. And not at all out of the ordinary. I mean, if “True Life: ‘I’m A Girlfriend'” (no, really) can get past execs and onto our tv screens, then, damnit, so can this. I mean, there are sooo many stigmas of being a girlfriend, it was only fair that the young ladies, so complex, so silenced, so misunderstood, got the opportunity to tell their story and debunk the myths! And so the guidos (and guidettes?) deserve a fair chance to speak their minds, as well. Because when I hear that term, that godawful term, I think of Oompa-Loompa tans, blow-outs, rave parties, sunglasses while indoors, french manicures, fist-pumping, and well, these gems. And I’m ready to be proven wrong.

(Couldn’t upload the episode because MTV runs shit and there are copyright laws, so watch it here.)

And, LOL @ Dereon being the “hottest” heel (:28). Who knew? Seeeee, learning things already.

Best Invitation. Ever.

December 5, 2009

Period.

Maybe I will get married. But only if I can have this. And the dress. And that’s it.

December 1, 2009