Published (VII)

Okay, so, really exciting news…

I am a contributor for The Tempest, a platform ran by millennial women on a global scale sharing diverse stories. Their former target audience was Muslim women, and then they expanded it, and it’s pretty awesome that they did!

They truly are an open platform. The first article I read of one of their contributors was about how she studied Islam and recognized her Christian privilege. Since then, I have read stories on their platform from contributors outside of this country, trans women, Middle Eastern women, black women, a couple of mixed race women, and more.

I’ll be writing for their Politics and Race Section, mostly on mixed race identity. We’ll see where this goes and see what else I’ll write about!

I am so honored to be a contributor. My first piece will be live tomorrow!

You can either stay updated on their website http://thetempest.co/ or their Twitter handle @WeAreTheTempest.

Yay!!!

Published (V) and an Awesome Update

This year is my second year published in my university’s Expressions Magazine, a literary/arts magazine representing minorities on campus. The issues keep getting better and better, and I have more pieces in it this year! Yes! There are some pieces you guys may recognize, such as “Girl at Mirror” and “Enough.” I decided to submit those two poems. I also submitted a poem called “Living with Depression” that I will upload on here eventually, and a short story called “What Are You?” which I will upload as well. It’s a really good semester, being published a lot. I’m really proud of myself.

I’m also proud of being part of an ongoing project called The 100% Mixed Show. It’s a YouTube channel that accepts video submissions about various people from around the world growing up mixed race. Other videos on there about questions about mixed race heritage are on their channel as well. Here is my submission, if you would like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxzcxsLHRpc. Also, check out other people’s stories! And, if you would like to submit, the guidelines are right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVRQ4g2YU98 (if you’re worried about editing, they can edit it for you).

I’m gonna make a post about another publication, which you will have to find out more about by reading that post once it’s out.

It’s been a pretty good few weeks.

Whitewashing in Entertainment

My friend Adriana made a blog post about this topic a while back, particularly regarding the Pan movie if you’d like to take a look at it, it’s great! Here’s the link: https://thecinemasoloist.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/why-is-hollywood-not-understanding-that-whitewashing-is-bad-for-business/

Before Thanksgiving, I went to go see my university’s production of Rent. It was well put together, it moved me to tears. However, one of my critiques was how the characters Joanne and Mimi, African American and Latin American characters, were portrayed by Caucasian women. It also didn’t help that the actress who played Mimi had an accent in the first act, just to drop it in the second act.

Were they good actresses, yes, but that’s not the point. The point of the matter is that theater and film departments tend to lose sections of their audience by not making their material diverse, or if a minority character is taken over by a member of the majority. And the audition process and the mentality of “maybe they were right for the part,” not when there are people of color auditioning as well as they are.

I recently listened to the whole soundtrack of Hamilton, a musical that has songs, rap, and spoken word about Alexander Hamilton’s life during the Revolutionary War. Ninety percent of the cast is African American, Biracial, Asian American, and Latin American even though this is a story about white men who are dead and gone. People don’t understand how exciting that is to find a way to display people of color’s stories without realizing it through the lens of this particular white man who was poor, an immigrant, lost his parents, and became a powerful man’s (in this case, George Washington) right hand man. Most importantly, it drew so many people in because of the diverse cast for a more contemporary audience we have today.

I look forward to more films and plays like that to come out in the future. Hopefully there would be more people color being a part of the majority and not the majority taking a piece of what minorities have in entertainment.

Poem: Alternative Music

Thumping through my earbuds

Are the musical notes that paraphrase

My state of mind.

They clutch to my eardrums

To hang and play upon,

Hoping to reach low enough

To play my heartstrings…

And they do.

Awakening me in awkward, nerdy, slightly emo

Middle school,

I learned all of the lyrics to a new Paramore song

Each day.

While questioning the concept of prayer,

Their Hallelujah was my meditation.

When questioning afterlives,

Coldplay was my Paradise.

They got me.

So why did friends and family say they weren’t

For me?

Was it because bands were bringing me out of

Certain depths

And not the people in front of me?

No.

The fall was deeper when someone explained how

Strange it was,

Me liking white music.

For music that was a mosaic

Of my emotions,

They did have a point.

Those musicians weren’t exactly the

Same shade as me.

But when I attempt to defend my tastes

Through history of blacks giving birth to

Rock & Roll,

No one wants to hear it.

It’s still seen as white.

Hozier couldn’t Take Me to Church

But he could take everyone else

In this particular context.

I don’t appreciate the oreo complex

In explaining why I should like more

Hip hop or

R&B ,

And I do like a few of those genres

In my playlist,

But it did make me ask:

Where were the sisters?

Where were my mocha to chocolate covered Muses

To soothe me

Through my adolescent sorrows?

If rap could welcome Eminem

And Macklemore,

Why couldn’t alternative

Invite anyone to the brand?

Where was the proof of people of color

Being able to sing about

Depression and exclusivity?

Because it does exist for us.

A lot more than people

Make it out to be.

Where was my proof that not every

Black singer sounded like

Jennifer Hudson?

To my white people, I’m sorry,

I’m not very skilled in gospel singing.

Lyrical storytelling and strong production

Still gets me weak in the knees,

And I still have yet to purchase

A Paramore t-shirt,

But I would love to see more of

My face somewhere.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Poem: Enough

Dear conservative media,

I understand you guys get a bad rap at times,

But this time,

You went too far.

Tired of hearing from angry minorities?

Then you shouldn’t be hurting our own.

You’re the reason why kids like me felt

The obligation of choosing one facet of myself

Over another.

A game of Connect Four on the concept of

Race if you will.

“Which color goes through which slot?”

When did you choose Shaun King

As your new target?

Apparently your outlets are knowledgeable enough

To talk about people of color well.

Apparently you’re validated in comparing

Shaun King to Rachel Dolezal.

Weren’t you just defending her last week?

You’re part of the reason why mixed people

Don’t feel welcome to the table to stand up

For black lives.

You’re the whole reason why the One Drop Rule

Is still a thing.

A rule ingrained in unwritten social textbooks that

People forget need to be closed.

Shaun King’s voice is needed in this movement

You try so hard to be rid of.

He can speak on why majority and minority

Must collaborate in order to live in the free world

You attempt to call “post racial.”

Conservative media,

What the heck is “post racial”?

In terms of Team Color Blind,

Just because you see no evil,

It doesn’t mean there is no evil.

It regurgitates the need to compartmentalize

Our identity by saying we’re not enough.

Black enough, White enough,

Mixed enough, This enough,

Enough is enough, dear outlets.

Enough!

Dear Shaun King,

Your blog on growing mixed

Moved me to tears.

And you’re amazing for fighting against

Police brutality after false accusations

Tell you not to.

Thank you for pushing people like me to join

The conversation.

Thank you for not excluding anyone from this

Great roundtable of knights people only hear about

In fairytales.

Social justice can soon no longer be a fairytale.

So, dear conservative media…

Nice try.

Season 1 Review: Sense8

My mother told me to watch Sense8 on Netflix, because it reminded her of the show Heroes and how that was our family show when it was still on. I heard it will be returning to television soon.  Yes! However, in the mean time, I decided to give Sense8 a shot.

Sense8 is about eight people (Will, Kala, Capheus, Sun, Nomi, Riley, Wolfgang, and Lito) around the world referred to as sensates, who belong in a cluster, and their cluster can feel the emotions and surroundings their fellow sensates feel. However, there is an organization out there to destroy and lobotomize them and other sensates.

It definitely exceeded my expectations, which is a great thing. I like how there will always be a philosophical element in The Wachowskis’ work. I also appreciate how diverse and well rounded the characters are.

One critique, or what my mother preferred to call a “suggestion,” was the angle used in the first episode during Will Gorski’s segment as a cop. They talked about “us” verses “them” regarding the police verses gangs, which eventually turned into a scene where Will became a white savior for a black teen in a gang. And for a show trying to be diverse and be controversial in talking about society and politics, it was a missed opportunity to realistically talk about racial tension and police brutality. If a second season is confirmed, it would be great to flesh that out some more in Will Gorski’s story as a police officer. They tried to make up for it in a later episode for how Will always feels the need to save everyone, but that area of the first episode still could have been executed better.

Moreover, I wouldn’t call their cast a form of cosmetic diversity, since they do delve into certain global issues and how the characters connect through their senses in order to help one another out. Especially for Nomi, a white trans-woman hacktivist in San Francisco helped by Will in Chicago, and for Capheus, a black driver in Nairobi helped by Sun in Seoul. However, the need to choose a form of beauty standard for each area of the world for casting is a bit noticeable. That doesn’t make the casting horrible, the cast is all wonderful and they got the job done in their respective roles.

I never got bored when watching the sensates interact in their romantic and platonic relationships; their dialogue and actions were always engaging. I understand that Nomi’s relationship with Amanita, who is not in any cluster, and Lito’s relationship with Hernando, also not in any cluster, are fan favorites, and rightfully so. Strong LGBTQIA relationships are always nice to see on television, especially when delving into issues such as abuse and coming out. If there is a second season, I look forward to seeing how Sun’s relationships with people unfold in terms of violence and how Kala’s relationships, particularly with Wolfgang, unfold in her perspective of nonviolence.

Finally, it was shot beautifully, and they shot on location, which is a difficult but amazing plus.

If we’re doing a rating scale, I would give it a four out of five. Hopefully I get watch another season!

My Response to Pirate Rants Today

The East Carolinian have a section titled “Pirate Rants” in their Opinion section, where students can anonymously comment on whatever they please online to have published the upcoming issue of the paper.

Today, on February 24th, 2015, there have been Pirate Rants on the renaming of the Aycock dorm. Click these following links for more information: http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/CHANCELOR–Aycock-name-should-be-removed-from-ECU-dorm-292096921.html#.VOdoKUDIitI.facebook  http://media2.newsobserver.com/content/media/2010/5/3/ghostsof1898.pdf    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/duke-aycock-hall_n_5511580.html

The majority of the rants made me uncomfortable. Not because they were opposed to renaming, but because there was ignorance regarding the Black Student Union, the Board of Trustees, and why there were people for the renaming of the dorm.

These are my responses to some of the rants. This is not to make anyone angry, this only to bring light to the current situation on my campus.

“I am still confused on how the White Student Union Rant caused so much sh** but the BSU [Black Student Union] can push for something that renames a pirates home and people celebrate.”

The White Student Union Rant last semester was because East Carolina University is a predominantly white university. Because White people are the majority, that is why it was offensive. Maybe the person who wrote that rant did feel underrepresented as a White individual, and I am sorry if he or she felt that way. However, a White student is granted more opportunities at ECU and in other places in this country more than people of color. For example, when minority organizations ask for funding from SGA (Student Government Association), the first thing SGA asks is whether or not they have asked for funding from the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center. Majority organizations are not asked this question. Although affirmative action has been in effect for quite a while, a White person is still more likely to get a job than a person of color. The majority of the staff, the Board of Trustees, and even SGA are White. Although it is growing, there is still not enough representation for minorities on our campus, and other places off campus. The Black Student Union, other minority organizations, and members of the majority regardless of which organization they are in,  have been standing up for the renaming because it is a step in moving forward. It is a step for minorities to feel welcome in their dorms and throughout the college campus.

“Is it possible for students of other races to join the BSU? If not I don’t think they should be allowed on campus.”

Yes! Of course students of other races can join the BSU! Students of other races can join the Student Association for Latino Spanish Affairs (SALSA)! Straight students can be a part of the GLBTSU (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Union), hearing students can join Silent Pirates, the list goes on and on! In my experience, I am not speaking on behalf of all students of color, cultural organizations have been more accepting of other people, including White students. That is because there is excitement in getting to know people who want to truly get to know you after experiences of rejection and being ignored. In my experience in majority organizations, I felt the need to change my way of thinking and change my mannerisms in order to be accepted, in order to avoid being a token, if you will. I have a tendency to be aware of whether or not certain mannerisms of mine are “too black” or “not black enough” regardless of who I am with, whereas most people of Caucasian descent do not have to worry about their mannerisms or their color until they are in a room where they are the minority.

“I’m proud of ECU’s history, so I erased the uncomfortable parts–Everyone who was for the renaming of Aycock.” “The Board of Trustees have no backbone.”

The Board of Trustees made an effective compromise on behalf of all ECU students. They did not just make the decision to rename the dorm, they also made the decision to represent Aycock and his contributions inside Heritage Hall, along with other contributors of the school. They do have backbone, and no one is erasing parts of history here.

I hope my statements have been taken into account. Thank you for taking the time to read them.