Why Non-Black American POC Can't Get Their Own #BlackPanther

Dear Y'all:

In typical fashion, the staggering success of Black Panther has some non-Black people in their feelings, especially non-Black people of color.  You see them on Twitter; after countless White-as-hell movies (not just from Marvel), they waited until Black Panther came out before asking when they're gonna get their representation.

And I'll be perfectly honest: Never.

Reason #1 - Black Panther is a byproduct of Black anger.

Like it or not, agree with it or not, but Black movies in general get made because Black people are "loud", "angry", and "pushy".  Hey...angry get shits done.

The Bar Still Loves Mo'Nique

Anyone who's been following this blog (in its various incarnations) knows how much I love actress and comedienne Mo'Nique.  I find her brand of comedy refreshing, I love her style, her swag, her trademark giggle...I watch her movies, her stand-up, I've seen her perform live, and I love, love, love the ever-living hell out of this woman.  Because I get her.

She's back in the headlines, this time asking Black people to boycott Netflix due to pay discrepancies caused by race and gender.  Will I be boycotting Netflix?  No.  Does her presentation and framing of the problem need some tweaking?  Yes.  Does her husband need to be subtracted from her publicity equation and replaced with a real team?  Hells, yes. Should we be focusing on the fact that she's right about Black women in Hollywood being lowballed?  Of course.  Are Black people doing that tho?  Of course not.

We heard "boycott Netflix" and nothing else.

SyFy, Kindly #RenewDarkMatter. While You're At It, #BringBackNyx

Melanie Liburd as "Nyx Harper"

I will gladly concede that Season 3 of SyFy's Canadian space drama Dark Matter was not their best work.  But I don't give a shit.  It wasn't a massive disappointment.  To quote someone else, it "meandered" at times, like the writers were trying to do too much.  But it certainly didn't warrant being canceled.  Dark Matter introduced a really cool universe and a lot of entertaining characters.

Fans of D&D's Planescape: Torment will recall the infamous Riddle of Ravel, in which the ancient night hag asks, "What can change the nature of a man?"  According to Dark Matter, it's memory loss.

In Season 1, we're introduced to six crew members who emerge from stasis with no idea of who they are.  By the end of the very first episode, they recover records from their ship showing that they are a group of infamous, cold-blooded mercenaries currently assigned to wipe out a colony of unsuspecting miners.

Horrified by the discovery, they reject the pasts they can't remember and instead become heroes...sort of (they're not really good at it, but at least they try).

CBS, WTF have you done to Star Trek?

**The following contains spoilers**

Wow...that was a letdown.

1 - ST:DSC feels NOTHING like Star Trek

For those of you are who are fans of Star Trek (from before the reboot movies), if you thought you were going to kick up your heels and pick up from where we left off back in the 1990s, you are sorely mistaken.

Aside for names, symbols, and other general references to canon lore, there is nothing "Star Trek" about the new show.  It's just a lens flare-heavy extension of the new movies that so many die-hard Trekkies already hate.

Here's my theory: The Powers That Be behind this disappointment wanted to pitch a science fiction show.  But the story was so weak, so basic, so meh that they had to latch onto an iconic franchise just to get it off the ground.

Meanwhile, CBS needed to get people to give a shit about their ain't-shit streaming app, so what better way than to launch the first new Star Trek show in over a decade exclusively on their ain't-shit app? (yes, I paid the money...no, it's not worth it).

Does anybody else remember when it was supposed to Bryan Fuller running this show on Netflix (where it belongs), not Alex Kurtzmann laying waste to it on CBS? Remember when this was supposed to debut back in January, not this fall?  Are we really expected to forget about all the switch-ups and delays, and how that basically spells tragedy for a TV show?

2 - I hate what they've done to the Klingons

Let me be clear, children: just because something is older doesn't meaning automatically needs to be revamped.  Ever since the end of Star Trek: Voyager, all the wrong people have been getting their hands on this franchise and they've been doing their damnedest to make it look, feel, and sound nothing like what made it great in the first place.  I know some people don't want to hear this, but the Klingon look was perfected back in the 1990s.  That's right, I said: makeup artists and stylists (and writers) in the 1990s knew their shit.  By the time Season 4 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rolled around, in addition to their look, Klingons developed a rich, beautiful culture on the show, and an array of awesome characters.  I felt nothing of that when I was watching Discovery.  Imagine my annoyance upon learning the Federation-Klingon Cold War was going to be the central plot to the new show which, by the way, won't have any standalone episodes.  We're going to have a whole-ass season of Klingons who WON'T look like this:

 3 - The show is overwhelmingly "White"

Trekkies of color have a joke that goes: "Humans are the White people of Star Trek."  This latest incarnation takes things a bit further and makes White people the White people of Star Trek, and it is horrifying to behold.

You can tell the masterminds behind the new show have probably been called "mayo" one too many times.  For a franchise known for its diversity, the current regime is not only heavy on the vanilla casting, but vanilla writing (which was expected, seeing as these are the same people who gave us a White Khan Singh).

Anyways...you've got a dark chocolate Klingon leader named T'Kuvma trying to unite the houses of his planet and he's joined by some orphaned albino Klingon whose named I didn't bother to remember.  Upon meeting each other, T'Kuvma promptly says he can tell by the color of the other dude's (pale) skin, he knows he's suffered, been discriminated against, etc. - I'm dead serious.  This is actual dialogue from the show.  By the end of Episode #2, T'Kuvma lies dying, conveniently presumably leaving his Random White Klingon golden boy in charge.

Anyways, it turns out our shero (portrayed admirably by the glorious Sonequa Martin-Green) was raised by Vulcans, specifically the Vulcan Sarek.  During a standoff with the Klingons, while the humans are tripping themselves not knowing how to act, sis is like, "Uh...Vulcans have been dealing with Klingons a lot longer than we have.  And Klingons don't fuck with Vulcans.  How about we just ask them what they did?"

When Sarek lets her know you gotta shoot Klingons first and ask questions later, the dutiful Commander tries to tell a blindingly White Admiral.  She explains that Klingons are not interested in eating ice cream and braiding human hair - they are here to fuck humans up, they're a warrior society, and "it's in their nature."

To which the White Admiral basically tells her that someone with her Black-ass background ought to know better than to make judgments based on race.

I'mma be real with y'all: shit like this (and that God-awful Darwin scene in X-Men: First Class) makes me wary of present-day White folks writing science fiction and trying to provide social commentary.  It's not their forte.  So when the Klingons promptly fucked up the Admiral's ship (aptly named the USS Europa, no less), I damn near burst into applause.

Side note: I do like the idea of having a Black shero raised by Vulcans.  I hate that her name is Michael Burnham.

Moving on...the vanilla writing continues with the White obsession of 1) being at war instead fun episodes about exploration, First Contact, conflict mediation, Shakespearean political intrigue, and commentary on morality and ethics (you know...Star Trek).  And 2) not only are we treated to this sociopathic obsession with war, White people are painted as the civilized explorers who "come in peace".  Now...let's stop and think about this.  You're a Klingon (or a Vulcan).  You are familiar with humans, you've learned English and studied their history (while they haven't bothered to learn any of your languages or study your history), and you've noticed a certain...pattern of behavior.  Now these same assholes who couldn't get along with members of their own species, have the gall to come to you talmbout, "We come in peace."

Uh, hell no!!!

White people are probably watching this thinking, "OMG...why are the aliens sooo mean and sooo unreasonable?"  Meanwhile, POC are nodding and going, "Yeah, mm-hm, sounds about right."  After all, they're not from Earth.  They don't have to put up with this bullshit.  They ain't going out like that.

4 - CBS owes Michelle Yeoh a formal apology

Sis gets stabbed in the chest at the end of Episode #2 and left on a heavily damaged Klingon ship.  Um...why?

I could easily see her as a series regular, commanding her ship.  As Captain, she had the grace and poise to rival that of Jean-Luc Picard, and the no-nonsense grit of Kathryn Janeway.  Her charisma was simply off the charts.  I would not have been pissed if this had ended up being her show.  I would have been ecstatic.

We've talked about this before, this tendency to use famous POC to attract audiences to basic White bullshit and/or launch the careers of relatively unknown White people.  Sleepy Hollow, anyone?  How about Marco Polo?

Michelle Yeoh better not be dead, is all I'm saying.  I plan to stick this out for the one season I'm sure it's gonna get, but don't expect glowing happy skippy reviews from me.  This was a fail.  And the fact that they tried to exploit Black Girl Magic to draw a wider audience for this blasphemy is deeply insulting. #SonequaDeservesBetter

What's next...Misty Knight's gonna hook up with Danny Bland in Season 2 of Incompetent Fist?

(Quick shout-out to actor James Frain as "Sarek"; I was skeptical at first, bruh, but your Vulcan handling of your obvious affection for Michael won me over.  Also, I've always like your face for some reason.

Also...I like that the Klingons spoke to one another in Klingon.)

The Bar Pops Pink Champagne for Chloe Bennet

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actress Chloe Bennet took to Instagram to praise Ed Skrein for exiting the Hellboy reboot after a whitewashing backlash, but one commenter decided to put the focus on the Chinese-American actress, criticizing her for changing her name to Chloe Bennet from her birth name Chloe Wang. (Source)

Y'all...Asian America is not here for Hollywood's bullshit. Whether it's Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park or Constance Wu and Ming-Na Wen or BD Wong or Garrett Wang calling Hollywood out - or in the case of Kim and Park, actually walking out - the message is clear...they are not here for this bullshit.

#WorldOfDance on some bullshit

In case you haven't been watching the show or didn't even know this new dance "competition" even existed, here's everything you need to know.  This past week, NBC tried to convince us - with a straight face - that these guys:

were just so good that they had to send these guys home:

Let the whole bar say say, "Mm" and roll your eyes.

Some commenter on the World of Dance Facebook page had the gall to say that while the Jabbawockeez were legends and all, it was time for a new generation of dancers to take the stage.

Well, sure...in Rigged White Privileged World.  If I recall correctly, isn't a successor supposed to prove itself worthy before it can take over from its predecessor?  Isn't that the whole point of a competition - competitors bring their A-game and compete against one another, may the best one win?

The Jabbawockeez are legends, y'all, and this was one of their weaker performances.  The Young Lions are coddled cubs who couldn't even measure up to the Jabbawockeez on an off day.  So as much as I love Kinjaz Crew, I'm done watching this bullshit, because now I fully expect them to be eliminated by some snorefest down the line.

The Bar Pops Pink Champagne for Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim

By now you've heard of how actors Grace Park and Daniel Bae Dae Kim asked for equal pay to the White actors on Hawaii 5-0, an CBS gave them the usual bullshit.  So Park and Kim said, "Fuck you, then," and quit their jobs at the same damn time.
It’s “Hawaii Five-0” creator Peter Lenkov’s turn to speak after the show’s stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park left last week, posting on Twitter that CBS offered the pair “unprecedented raises”.

“The truth is this: both actors chose not to extend their contracts,” he wrote. “CBS was extremely generous and proactive in their renegotiation talks. So much so, the actors were getting unprecedented raises, but in the end they chose to move on.”

Kim and Park, who have both been on the show for seven seasons since 2010, negotiated to be paid as much as their costars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan but were unable to reach a deal with CBS. It would almost seem that despite those “unprecedented raises” and CBS’ generosity, they chose to leave and that’s that — the entire issue and principle of equal pay is entirely dismissed!

A source from the TV network told The Hollywood Reporter that the pay dispute had nothing to do with Kim and Park’s race.

The source added the money CBS offered to Kim came within 2% of what his white costars make, minus getting percentage points on the show’s back end that pay O’Loughlin and Caan even more money.

When Black Success is Considered a "Glitch"

I posted this article on Facebook a few days ago and I find this news to be very timely.  Take a gander:
Prince George’s County, MD is home to 7 out of the 10 richest African American communities in the United States. More African American wealth is gathered in the county than anywhere else in the US. It is also home to the best educated in the nation as well.

So it came as a shock when Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, requested an investigation into data showing increased graduation rates in the county. The governor claims that grades and credit counts are being altered to increase the rate.

...If graduation rates in Prince George’s County were rising, but other indicators were worsening, an investigation would certainly be worthy. But the effects of increased graduation rates are clearly apparent in Prince George’s County.

Perhaps Governor Hogan should turn his attention to Carroll County, first in the state in graduation rates but with a troubling rise in crime. But he probably won’t, given that the 91% white county voted for him in the 2012 election.
Bar Patrons...how many times have Black people - African Americans in particular - been told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps?  How often are we compared to other communities of color in America?

"Don't speak to us that way" #AngryGetsShitDone

Over the past couple of weeks, we've read about the deaths of non-Black men of color.  The Bar pours a sip for Tommy Le, Zachary Bearheels, and for the unnamed youth referenced in the above video.

And whenever I post this sort of news on Facebook, Black people are empathetic (cuz Lawd knows we understand), but we are wary at the same time.  We want to know: what will this particular non-Black POC community do?  One commenter was concerned about the expectation that Black people should be the attack dogs, and go fight their battles for them.

So you can understand why this video makes me feel so damn proud right now.  Aunt Jocelyn did not come to play with these reporters.  She went all out.  She checked off every point on the list - the condescending tone, the privilege, the fragility, the damsel in distress, the disregard for historical as well as recent events - she laid them them out.

"I don't like [women who are] my complexion"

Rewatch and focus on the bodyguard's face.

So I recently posted this video in a private group of Black women who are fed the fuck up with seeing this man-child's face on their timelines (hence why I'm posting this at the Bar). Some sistas were amused, some were unbothered, but some were triggered, and I want to focus on that for a minute.

Many sistas were upset at this display of such obvious self-loathing - laid bare for all the world to see - because they immediately felt it somehow was a reflection of them, or the Black community as a whole.  As though his failure is somehow our failure - no, it isn't.  We have got to stop thinking that way.

I structured the title of this post deliberately, because I feel like this video is the equivalent of a breakthrough in therapy.  When Polaroid Negro said he doesn't like Black women who are his complexion, I was like, "ThereThere it is.  Thank you for saying it out loud."

The word "preference" currently carries a connotation of racism, colorism, fatphobia, transphobia, etc., but I want to add that it's a shield word used not only to deflect criticism, but to avoid any kind of soul-searching or self-examination.  After all, why bother to admit that I feel like shit when I can simply try to make others feel like shit?  I mean, misery loves company, right?

Dark-skinned sistas everywhere...it's not you, it's them.  Sure, you're aware of this on a conscious level, but we all need to be aware of this on a deeper, instinctive level.  We need to stop asking, "Well, what about his mother, his sister, etc.?" - fuck all that.  It is not our job to educate and heal every Black man who displays signs of self-loathing.  At best, this is dragging fodder to be used for our amusement and then discarded when someone else comes along and says something even dumber.

So if this video troubles you, I need you to watch it few more thousand times and really pay attention.  This man-child doesn't like women who are his complexion.  He thinks people who are his complexion are "gutter".  He prefers light-skinned women because they are "easier to break down."  (And his bodyguard is looking at him like, "Negro, is you crazy????")

If you want to feel sorry for him and express regret that whoever raised him didn't do their job...fine.

If you want to use this as an example of the toxic effect of colorism on our society...fine.

But what we're not gonna do is endanger our own mental health and overall well-being by stressing over the fact that this self-loathing, misogynistic, soon-to-be has-been is somehow Black women's problem - no, ma'am.

Black women, we have got to reach a point where men like this don't bother us.  If dark-skinned Black men don't want to learn to appreciate the gift that is their ageless and wondrous melanin, that's on them, not us.  Black women have to got lose that knee-jerk reaction of feeling and thinking like it's always on us.  It's not.  Our due diligence is to simply not raise men like this, and to boycott every public figure who talks like this.  The only Black woman in his life who should be feeling any shame, regret, remorse, and/or insecurity right now is Kodak Black's mother*.  We are not his mother, and we should not be trying to date guys like this.  We should not be shedding any tears or wasting any time over men who subscribe to a colorist view.

We can do better.  We deserve better.

*I am not mother-blaming here, I'm just saying that if there's any Black woman on Earth who should feel anything about his comments, it should be his mama (or grandmama, or whichever Black woman who had a hand in raising him).

A World Without White Privilege



POC across social media have been having a field day with the news of Otto Warmbier's death.  Now, for those of you who are like, "Um...who dat?", Otto was the White dude who went to North Korea, stole a government poster, and was sentenced to 15 years hard labor.  Come to find out, he spent his first year and some change in a coma, and was medically evacuated, only to die once he returned to the States.

And the White tears haven't stopped flowing since.

First of all, people need to stop talking about the poster.  This was never about the goddamn poster. Otto's crime was not theft, it was traveling to a country where he wasn't really wanted in the first place and then flexing his white privilege.  He assumed nothing could go wrong and if it did, nothing bad could actually happen to him, because he was White and an American citizen.

It just so happened that North Korea didn't give a fuck.