Friday Open Thread: American Musical Theater – Stephen Sondheim Week

I hope that you have enjoyed this week with Stephen Sondheim.


sweeney todd



sunday in the park with george-1

This entry was posted in Culture, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Friday Open Thread: American Musical Theater – Stephen Sondheim Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Sid Lipsey @sidlipsey
    My favorite press release ever: “Malala will make her first statement on winning the Nobel Peace Prize after school.”
    6:37 AM – 10 Oct 2014

  2. rikyrah says:

    Parents Claim No Choice, No Voice, in Children’s Education
    The U.S. Department of Education is investigating claims in three school districts—New Orleans, Newark and Chicago—that black children are facing discrimination and segregation in school-enrollment programs.

    Posted: Oct. 10 2014 3:00 AM

    The key to success in any industry is innovation. That is at the heart of the reform movement that has overtaken public education over the last few years and shuttered public schools that were labeled failing or underresourced. Many of the reformers likely had the children’s best interests in mind, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $100 million in 2010 to help turn around schools in Newark, N.J. Unfortunately, the reforms have not gone as planned.

    In Newark, students and their parents in the city’s South Ward boycotted the first day of school to protest One Newark, the school-choice enrollment plan that moved some children far from their neighborhood schools. Weeks later, hundreds of high school students walked out of class in protest.

    More than a month after school started, some parents say that hundreds of children still have not been assigned a school, and frustrations over transportation issues, uncertainty about where to send their children and dissatisfaction over closed neighborhood schools have led to many more not showing up for class.

    “For me, as a parent, I know that my children deserve better,” says Sharon Smith, a mother with three children in Newark schools. “And not because they’re just mine, but because every child deserves the best opportunity that they can receive with education. But that’s not happening here. The parents here are stuck with whatever decision the district makes.”

    Smith and other critics have chided One Newark on behalf of families without cars, who, she says, sometimes have to put children on two buses to get them to school. The plan doesn’t provide wholesale transportation, and many charter schools don’t offer it.

    Zuckerberg’s $100 million matched donation has vanished, mostly into pockets of contractors and consultants and given to teachers unions as back pay. As Vivian Cox Fraser, president of the Urban League of Essex County, famously remarked in a New Yorker story about the debacle, “Everybody’s getting paid, but Raheem still can’t read.”

    Schools Being Set Up to Fail

    But it’s not just Newark. Smith, who founded the organization Parents Unified for Local School Education, or PULSENJ, joined with parent organizations in Chicago and New Orleans to file three complaints with the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, citing segregation and discrimination. All three school districts are being investigated by the Education Department’s regional offices, say lawyers for the organizations.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Something Fishy Is Going on With Ferguson’s Voter Rolls
    Political infighting among black leaders could be a reason no one’s calling out St. Louis County over unexplained discrepancies in Ferguson, Mo., voter-registration numbers.

    Posted: Oct. 10 2014 3:00 AM

    Something fishy is going down in Ferguson, Mo.—and it’s not just with the cops.

    While that hint of something not quite right grows with each passing retaliatory arrest and botched grand jury probe, the extent is still unclear. But at one time, political change in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing seemed like a foregone conclusion. And after months of unrest in Ferguson, the next logical step for city officials in the struggling, once-sleepy St. Louis suburb was to do what was necessary—and right—to restore peace and justice … or so we thought.

    Recent reports, along with The Root’s conversations with a number of sources, suggest growing doubt that that will ever happen, with a growing sense in the community that various political and “social justice” players are either deliberately or unwittingly undermining any momentum on the ground. Instead, we’re seeing a destructive convergence of the heels-dug-in white political machine and a largely dysfunctional and fragmented collection of African-American advocates.

    And this week, fresh questions were raised about the political situation in and around Ferguson when the St. Louis County Board of Elections suddenly revised an initial flood of 3,287 newly registered Ferguson residents down to just 128—how did that happen?

    The reasons for the “discrepancy” are unclear, with county Elections Director Rita Heard Days being described on Twitter by USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor as “flabbergasted” and denying any “hanky-panky.” Alcindor then followed up with Missouri Secretary of State Communications Director Laura Swinford, who confirmed that St. Louis County did, indeed, pull the wrong voter-registration report.

    To many observers, that snafu is suspicious because numerous civil rights activists, celebrities, elected officials and black Greeks had hit Ferguson streets in a rapid voter-registration drive within days of Brown’s shooting and the legendary clashes along that infamous stretch of West Florissant Avenue.

    Stunned, sources talking off the record are now sorting out two possibilities: 1) St. Louis County is attempting to pull off an old-fashioned racist okey-doke, whereby thousands of black voters are automatically disenfranchised in a bid to maintain Ferguson’s white power structure; and/or 2) Black advocacy organizations such as the local NAACP and 100 Black Men did not conduct proper due diligence and follow-through.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Jessica Alba’s Tears on Her Way to Building a $1 Billion Business
    8:00 AM PST 10/03/2014 by Kim Masters

    Roles and paydays for actresses are declining, but she was among the first to market with her own lifestyle extension, The Honest Co., as everyone (Blake Lively, Reese Witherspoon) takes a page from her playbook

    Seven years ago, a pregnant Jessica Alba tested a popular mild baby detergent and broke out in a rash. Having been plagued with asthma and other issues that required repeated hospitalizations as a child, she may have been especially sensitized to problems that might afflict her unborn baby. Alba also had noticed the rise of autism rates and ADHD among children in recent years. To her, chemicals and toxins in everyday products must be partly to blame. “I was like, ‘What is going on? What have we done to the world?’ ” says Alba. Stylish but understated in a black jacket and pants at the 6,000-square-foot Santa Monica offices that she decorated herself, Alba makes an impression: a serious, hands-on leader at the company that she labored for years to launch.

    When her search for safer products left her unsatisfied, Alba, now 33, decided in 2007 to create “a trustworthy lifestyle brand that touched everything in your home, that was nontoxic and affordable and convenient to get,” she says. After a four-year quest, Alba found the right business partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom attorney-turned-entrepreneur Brian Lee. Now, slightly more than two years since The Honest Co. launched in 2012, the private company is moving toward an IPO with an astonishing valuation at a little less than $1 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureWire.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Jeff Bell says single moms drive gap in Senate race

    Michael Symons, @MichaelSymons_ 7:43 p.m. EDT October 9, 2014

    Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bell said he is behind in the polls by double digits because single mothers are “wed” to the social benefits that Democrats hand out.

    Bell said his 20-plus percentage point deficit among women in public opinion polls isn’t due to his socially conservative views, such as opposition to abortion rights, but rather the result of demographic boost in the number of unmarried women.

    “I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and looked at a lot of different polls, I think it has more to do with the rise in single women,” Bell told the Asbury Park Press. “Single mothers particularly are automatically Democratic because of the benefits. They need benefits to survive, and so that kind of weds them to the Democratic Party.

    “But single women who have never married and don’t have children are also that way,” he continued. “If you take married women, they aren’t that different from married men. So it’s really a problem with the decline in marriage rates. The Democrats do benefit from that.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama Finally Wore Oscar de la Renta

    Obama toasted the fashion industry at the White House on Wednesday.

    Alyssa Vingan · Oct 9, 2014

    If you follow lots of fashion people on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that a good number of them were sharing photos from the same fancy location on Wednesday — and for once, it wasn’t a palatial venue at Paris Fashion Week.

    Industry leaders like Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Jenna Lyons and hundreds more headed to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to take part in a massive event hosted by Michelle Obama at the White House to celebrate fashion, as well as to teach a new generation of students about what it takes to make it in the industry. This portion was a part of the FLOTUS’s Reach Higher initiative, which is meant to inspire young people to complete their education.

    It looks like Obama is really putting her money where her mouth is when it comes to teaching the importance of fashion education: She wore a dress designed just for her by 29-year-old Natalya Koval, a FIT student who won a competition overseen by the White House, to Wednesday’s fashion workshop (see above). Her design was one of two chosen from 26 sketches, and all of the students who participated received guidance from designer Lela Rose.

    The day kicked off with a panel discussion and intimate workshops — Zac Posen taught aspiring fashion designers about draping on mannequins with real fabrics and Anna Wintour spoke on fashion journalism — and to cap it off, the designers, publicists, editors and other industry folk were invited to a cocktail party in the East Room to mingle with Obama herself. According to WWD, the FLOTUS expressed her gratitude to the designers in the room for dressing her during her time in the White House, and gave special thanks to her unofficial in-house stylist, Meredith Koop, who has helped build many of Obama’s fashion relationships.

    Speaking of relationships, Obama wore a dress by Oscar de la Renta to the cocktail party, a designer whose clothes Obama has famously never worn. De la Renta has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s fashion choices in the press, censuring her in 2013 for not wearing an American designer to a state dinner to welcome the Chinese Prime Minister, and in 2009 for wearing a J. Crew cardigan to meet Queen Elizabeth. Obama chose an embroidered navy dress from De la Renta’s fall 2014 collection (see below). We can’t think of a better peace offering than that.!/2014/10/michelle-obama-oscar-de-la-renta

  7. rikyrah says:

    Shonda Rhimes Opens Up About ‘Angry Black Woman’ Flap, Messy ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Chapter and the ‘Scandal’ Impact
    9:00 AM PST 10/08/2014 by Lacey Rose

    In early August, Shonda Rhimes read a draft announcement for an event where she was set to appear. It called her “the most powerful black female showrunner in Hollywood.” She crossed out “female” and “black” and sent it back.

    As the mastermind of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and the producer of top-rated newcomer How to Get Away With Murder, all for ABC, she didn’t believe either modifier was necessary — or relevant. “They wouldn’t say that someone is ‘the most powerful white male showrunner in Hollywood,’ ” she contends, her tone turning momentarily stern on this morning in late September. She pauses to gather her thoughts and then continues: “I find race and gender to be terribly important; they’re terribly important to who I am. But there’s something about the need for everybody else to spend time talking about it … that pisses me off.”

    For years, Rhimes has kept relatively quiet on such matters, preferring instead to make her statements onscreen, where she has displayed a talent for crafting complex, original characters unconstrained by such singular definitions as “black,” “Asian” or “gay.” But her own race and gender had become an unavoidable part of the conversation a few days before our meeting, when The New York Times ran an essay about Rhimes by TV critic Alessandra Stanley. It began: “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.’ ”

    Stanley went on to make the tendentious claim that Rhimes modeled black characters on herself, among other tone-deaf assertions, including the description of Murder star Viola Davis as “less classically beautiful” than other well-known black actresses. Social media erupted. Vulture’s Margaret Lyons called the piece “muddled and racist”; The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum added “incendiary.” Others were less kind. Rhimes herself jumped in almost immediately, wondering to her 700,000 Twitter followers why she’s not labeled “an angry black woman” when her white characters rant, too.

    When I join Rhimes, 44, a single mother of three, in her homey office at Hollywood’s Sunset Gower Studios, the furor has settled down and she’s reflecting on the positives that have come out of it. “Some really amazing articles were written that had the conversation that I’ve been trying to have for a very long time, which, coming from me, makes me sound like I’m just, ‘Rrrraw!’ ” she mimics a roar, her painted nails clawing the air. Her inbox has been deluged with notes from concerned friends and colleagues, many of whom called for the piece to be retracted. Rhimes would prefer it remain: “In this world in which we all feel we’re so full of gender equality and we’re a postracial [society] and Obama is president, it’s a very good reminder to see the casual racial bias and odd misogyny from a woman written in a paper that we all think of as being so liberal.”

  8. rikyrah says:



    Alabama pastor admits he has AIDS, slept with church members

    by theGrio | October 9, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    t’s an announcement that left members at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, stunned.

    The church’s pastor, Juan McFarland, recently admitted he had AIDS and had slept with church members without revealing his condition, according to a report from WSFA-TV.

    McFarland was removed as pastor last Sunday.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Adam Liptak, in the NYTimes, “Courts Strike Down Voter ID Laws in Wisconsin and Texas“:

    The Supreme Court on Thursday evening stopped officials in Wisconsin from requiring voters there to provide photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming election…

    Around the same time, a federal trial court in Texas struck down that state’s ID law, saying it put a disproportionate burden on minority voters…

    The challengers to the Wisconsin law asked the Supreme Court to block the voter identification requirement for now, saying it would “virtually guarantee chaos at the polls.” Whatever the legality, they said, the state cannot issue enough IDs and train enough poll workers before the November election.

    The law requires absentee voters to submit identification. But forms sent before the appeals court acted did not include that requirement. State officials had said they would not count ballots returned without copies of valid ID…

    Thursday’s ruling from Texas, issued after a two-week trial in Corpus Christi, found that the state’s voter ID law “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose,” Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos wrote.

    A spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general’s office said it would immediately appeal “to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election.”

    Ryan P. Haygood, a lawyer at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, welcomed the decision. “The evidence in this case,” he said, “demonstrated that the law, like its poll-tax ancestor, imposes real costs and unjustified, disparate burdens on the voting rights of more than 600,000 registered Texas voters, a substantial percentage of whom are voters of color.”

    • Ametia says:

      GOOD! As it should be. Why is someone from the Republican party sending me BOUGUS early voting ballots, hmm? GTFOH

      These MOFOS don’t want BLACK FOLKS to vote, because they who they are, and make no bones about not changing their fucked up ideology to serve ALL AMERICANS.

  10. rikyrah says:

    School board proposal ‘white-washes’ history, draws protests from parents, students


    by ‘JeffCo Parent’ | October 2, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    arge-scale student protests and “teacher sick-out” school closures have recently thrust the school board of Jefferson County, Colorado, into the spotlight.

    I am a parent of three students in the district, and I have watched with growing alarm the conduct of the school board. I have asked to anonymously publish this piece due to the fact that several people who are publicly speaking out against the conservative board majority are being subjected to harassment and threats against their families.

    The community reaction is the result of several controversial actions taken by the three conservative members of the Jefferson County School Board: Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams (commonly referred to together as WNW

  11. rikyrah says:

    Calling Justin Bieber ‘black’ is the biggest insult to us all


    by Javier E. David | October 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    On a scale of 1 to 10, how high (or low) would you rate Justin Bieber’s street credibility?

    It’s an odd but pertinent question, given the singer’s meteoric rise to fame, his associates in urban music and sports (which, oddly enough, includes an improbable kinship with the best pound for pound boxer in the world), and the obviously self-destructive bad boy persona the singer has cultivated recently.

    Ready explanations for Beiber’s success, including the legions of loyal “Beliebers” who rally to his defense almost as passionately as they do his concerts, are hard to come by. However, can the Canadian hitmaker’s success reasonably be attributed to his “acting black“? In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, one observer has linked Bieber’s musical ascension to a demeanor that’s become increasingly “urban” – and not just because of his links to black pop culture figures like Usher and Floyd Mayweather.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Raven-Symoné on her race and sexuality: Blind, not bold


    by Blue Telusma | October 7, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    On Monday, I saw the clip of Raven-Symoné explaining on Oprah’s Where Are They Now that she is neither African-American nor gay and prefers to just be labeled as a human being.

    During the one-on-one interview, the former That’s So Raven star explains:

    I don’t want to be labeled gay. I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I’m tired of being labeled…. I’m in an amazing, happy relationship with my partner, a woman.

    I’m an American. I’m not an African American. I don’t know where my roots go to. I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know I have roots in Louisiana. I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person. We are all people. I have lots of things running through my veins. I connect with each culture.

    *insert deep sigh of weariness*

    Now look, I like a good bit of nuanced word play as much as the next person but this is just — tedious. I get what she attempted to do, but her execution was piss poor and came off more smug than revolutionary.

    Making a bold statement like this — to Oprah — on such an epic platform demands thoroughness. It demands thoughtfulness. And most of all, it has to actually make sense.

    But during this interview, I saw none of that.

    Rather than walking away thinking, “Wow, Olivia has grown up to be a fierce badass!” I instead muttered to myself “Oh no. I can’t believe she’s this naïve. Thank God she’s going back to college.

  13. rikyrah says:

    GOP unsure how to respond to Duncan Hunter’s allegations
    10/10/14 08:41 AM
    By Steve Benen
    It’s been a few days since Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) told a national television audience that Islamic State militants entered the United States through the Southern border. Everyone from the Department of Homeland Security to the Mexican government to the Texas Department of Public Safety says the far-right congressman has no idea what he’s talking about, but the Republican continues to claim he has a secret source that has provided him with information no one else has.

    Of course, if Hunter is correct, it’s an extraordinarily big deal. And if the congressman is brazenly lying about a major national security threat, that’s arguably pretty important, too.

    With that in mind, other Republicans are starting to get questions about Hunter’s bizarre allegation. Note, for example, this amazing exchange yesterday between Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a possible 2016 presidential candidate, and CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
    CAMEROTA: Have 10 ISIS fighters already been detained?

    PORTMAN: I don’t know. I saw this morning that Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, said that was not necessarily accurate. But, look, it could happen.
    Hmm. I suppose it’s possible that all sorts of things “could happen,” but that’s not really the issue at hand. A U.S. congressman believes ISIS terrorists have already infiltrated the nation, and there’s a cover-up underway to hide this explosive information from the American public. Either it’s true or Hunter made this up, and “it could happen” isn’t an especially satisfying answer from a prominent senator.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Still upset about the name ‘Black-ish’? Then you haven’t watched the show


    by Blue Telusma | October 2, 2014 at 2:47 PM


    So when ABC started promoting their new family drama Black-ish — my first reaction was “Oh no! Somebody just pulled a Shawshank!” And it appears I was right. Many (myself included) were flat out confused by the name. We wondered: what in the world does Black-ish even mean? And in this tense climate of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown cases permeating our newsfeeds, the use of the word “black” quickly saw that confusion turning into a scapegoat for racial frustrations.

    People immediately assumed ABC had created a platform to mock and disrespect the African-American experience. And before the show even aired, everyone and their mother had their pitchforks ready to protest. Well-read black people all over the country started writing lengthy masterpieces about being indignant; the overall sentiment seeming to be “How dare they!”

    Even here on theGrio there was a piece that pretty much threw out the baby with the bath water, stating, “at the risk of being rash, I’m rendering my verdict before the first show’s credits even start rolling.”

    And for me — in that statement lies my problem with a lot of y’all.

    You ARE being harsh though; disproportionally so.

    When you actually watch Black-ish (sans the pitchfork) there isn’t any of the expected bafoonery. Instead, it’s a pretty PG rated sitcom about the trickiness of raising a healthy black family in a world that appropriates black culture — while still devaluing black people.

    Anthony Anderson plays a father who wants to make sure his success doesn’t rob his children of their culture. Tracey Ellis Ross is a working mom who just wants her kids to be happy. And Laurence Fishburne is the grumpy granddad whose simplistic old school wisdom helps them keep things in perspective. Can the dialogue be a little over the top at times? Of course! But that is literally what sitcoms do. They exaggerate our real lives so that we’re detached enough to laugh at things that usually cause us grief.

    • Ametia says:


      “Instead, it’s a pretty PG rated sitcom about the trickiness of raising a healthy black family in a world that appropriates black culture — while still devaluing black people.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    The little girl is as cute as a button

    Cheerios ad with white same-sex parents, black baby gets positive feedback

    by theGrio | October 5, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Undeterred by previous racist backlash following the posting of a Cheerios ad featuring an interracial couple, General Mills recently launched a new video on its YouTube channel in its Cheerios Effect series featuring a gay couple. The video, which details the story of how André and Jonathan adopted their daughter Raphaëlle, was posted on September 29 and has already received almost 65,000 views.

    It begins with André holding the little girl, stating, “Most of my life, I thought it would never be possible to have a child, given that I’m gay.”

    Acknowledging that their unusual situation might be met with backlash — the two men are gay and white, and Raphaëlle is black — Jonathan says, “People outside, who have problems with [me calling myself her dad] they [are] going to try to put doubt in our head, and you know, we [are going] to have to fight with that.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Meeting to Address Reports of School Safety Officers Rushing Students Out of Neighborhoods
    By: Lindsey Christ

    There’s a town hall meeting Friday at a high school in Park Slope to discuss reports of police officers demanding students leave the neighborhood when school gets out, but it’s not just happening in Park Slope. NY1’s Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

    “Go! Leave!”

    That’s what the mostly black and Latino students hear from NYPD school safety officers at the John Jay High School campus in Park Slope.

    “They’re just like, you know, ‘Everybody move. Everybody move! Leave!'” says one student.

    A local resident recently raised the issue at an NYPD community meeting, saying she’d heard police telling students to get out of the neighborhood. After first reported the story, the four schools in the building called a town hall meeting this Friday, telling parents, in part, “students will tell you they are not surprised by this recent story.”

    It’s not just Park Slope. In the predominantly white neighborhood of Gramercy Park, students leaving Washington Irving High School get the same message.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter is urging fellow senators not to approve the Obama administration’s $1 billion plan to fight the Ebola outbreak, citing the fact that the plan “focuses on Africa.”

    Writing to the members of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, Vitter urged, “I ask you to oppose fully allowing the additional $1 billion in reprogramming requests until previously requested additional information is available for members of Congress to be fully briefed.” Vitter went on to assail the White House plan because, he wrote, it “focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Wal-Mart Advances ObamaCare
    by BooMan
    Thu Oct 9th, 2014 at 10:18:19 AM EST

    Wal-Mart’s decision to kick their part-time employees off their health care rolls and onto the ObamaCare exchanges is great news. There are more younger, healthier people going on the exchanges, which makes the exchanges stronger and cheaper. A bigger percentage of working people are getting their health care from the government. More working class people are getting the benefit of a subsidy to help pay for their health care. The idea that employers should be the providers of health care for their employees is eroded even further.

    I can’t say that this is the beginning of a straight line to a single-payer system, but it’s definitely a blow to the uniquely stupid and accidental American system of providing protection against medical catastrophe.

    And it lets the cat out of the bag. We already subsidize Wal-Mart’s low wages with things like food stamps and heating assistance to their dead-broke employees. Why not just be up front about it? We’ll pay for their health care, too.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Blair Underwood surprises hard-working single mom with home-makeover

    by Chris Witherspoon | October 9, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    The Oprah Winfrey Network is presenting a new season of their Emmy-nominated DIY home makeover show, Home Made Simple, hosted by Soleil Moon Frye (former Punky Brewster child star).

    This season, Home Made Simple boasts some amazing celebrity appearances, including actor Blair Underwood, singer Josh Groban, The Chew host Carla Hall, Shanice from OWN’s Flex and Shanice and renowned chef Ben Ford

  20. rikyrah says:

    3:10 p.m.
    bell hooks Was Bored by ‘Anaconda’
    By Kat Stoeffel

    For those who have been following this conversation music video by music video, it can be a little exhausting. Last week, The New Republic’s Rebecca Traister argued that the feminist scrutiny facing exceptional women like Beyoncé is “unsustainable,” and could discourage other women with big ambitions. But hooks defended the critical attention. We focus on Beyoncé because Beyoncé’s the one who put the word feminist up at the VMAs, hooks explained, and because what a “liberatory sexuality” looks like is a “crisis in feminist thinking.” “I wish she were here,” hooks said. “She and I need to talk.”

    hooks and Beyoncé need to talk about “Partition,” specifically. The song’s lyrics exemplify hooks’s somewhat conservative fear that feminist women might be sexually liberating themselves “against their own interests.” “If I’m a woman and I’m sucking somebody’s dick in a car and they’re coming in my mouth and we could be in one of those milk commercials or whatever, is that liberatory?” hooks asked. “Or is it part of the tropes of the existing, imperialist, white supremacist, patriarchal capitalist structure of female sexuality?”

    This line of criticism tends to undermine female pop stars’ control over their own image. Didn’t Beyoncé and Minaj choose to portray their sexualities this way — and shouldn’t we take them at their word that it is liberating? “They can exercise control and make lots of money, but that doesn’t equate with liberation,” hooks countered. She believes Beyoncé’s greatest allure isn’t her good looks or even her talent, but her youth and her wealth. “There’s a lot of booties out there that are glamorous but not connected to the fantasies of wealth — and we equate wealth so much with freedom.”

    hooks’s criticism of Beyoncé’s self-presentation extends to her appearance. Take her Time magazine cover, with stick-straight blonde hair.“I mean, try to imagine Beyoncé with some nappy dreads. Would she have the money that she has? Is there a kind of blackness that isn’t marketable?” Though hooks says she likes Beyoncé’s music, she would prefer everyone go look at Carrie Mae Weems’s photographs of black women instead. “I wish for black teenage girls that those images were as accessible to them as the images of pop culture that are limited in their vibrancy and are in some way a reproduction,” she said.

    Unoriginality, it seems, is still a greater artistic crime than deference to the patriarchy.

    “That’s one of the things that struck me about ‘Anaconda,’” she continued. “I was like, this shit is boring. What does it mean? Is there something that I’m missing that’s happening here?”

  21. rikyrah says:

    Courts derail voter-ID schemes in Wisconsin, Texas
    10/10/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Voting-rights proponents have run into some judicial roadblocks lately, making last night’s victories that much more satisfying for democracy advocates.

    There were two big rulings, but let’s start at the top, where the U.S. Supreme Court blocked implementation of Wisconsin Republicans’ chaos-enducing voter-ID scheme in a 6-3 decision.
    A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law late Thursday, issuing a terse yet dramatic one-page ruling less than four weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

    The 6-3 vote means in all likelihood the requirement to show ID at the polls will not be in effect for the election. But Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he would seek ways to reinstate the law within the month.
    While GOP officials in the state look for new ways to suppress voter participation, the high court’s ruling (pdf), at least for now, puts an end to the most chaotic voting dynamic in the nation.

    As we discussed the other day, most estimates suggest over 300,000 otherwise-eligible Wisconsin residents lack the documentation necessary – documentation they never had to provide in previous elections – to cast a ballot in their own election. The state also set aside exactly $0 for state agencies to help voters navigate and comply with the new, unnecessary law.

  22. rikyrah says:

    “ABC gives full season orders to ‘How to Get Away with Murder,’ ‘Black-ish'”… via @EW

  23. Ametia says:

    Happy FRYday, Everyone! :-)

Leave a Reply