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Pop Culture Rag Vol. 19

BEYONCÉ STANDS WITH MOTHERS OF GUN VIOLENCE VICTIMS AT THE VMA’S


Does it come as a surprise to *anyone* that Beyoncé completely slayyyed the VMA’s? Her Lemonade medley has been credited as the best performance of the night, and was followed by a whopping 7 Moon Man awards for the stunning visual album. While we could all easily deem the 2016 VMA’s The Beyoncé Show (sry, Kanye), Queen B made a point to highlight her special guests: the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant.


Gwen Carr, Lezley McSpadden, Sybrina Fulton and Wanda Johnson stood beside Beyoncé and Blue Ivy on the red carpet before the award ceremony. The 4 women lost their sons to gun violence, and have been vocal supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. These women were not just attending as guests, they too were featured in the best visual album of the year. Beyonce featured the women in Lemonade holding framed pictures of their sons, creating one of the most powerful moments of the video.

 


Beyoncé has been an active supporter in the Black Lives Matter movement. In the wake of Alton Sterling and Philado Castle’s deaths, Beyoncé penned an open letter on her website. “We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities. It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us,” the beginning of her letter read.


Lemonade was not just an album about the reincarnation of a marriage, it is about the importance of black lives. On a night of celebration, Beyoncé stood next to 4 strong women and activists and reminded everyone watching that while there is time for celebration, there is lot’s to be done-- and we’re not even close.

CHARLIZE THERON RECEIVED CRITICISM FOR HER SONS CLOTHING


Charlize Theron is been receiving a lot of opinions (like, a lot) about her sons clothing this week. 4 year old Jackson was spotted wearing a dress with an Elsa hat on. The hat had a long blonde braid attached to the back, and is well, a hat. It seems that Jackson is an avid frozen fan who is being encouraged to dress the way he wants (much like one of our favorites, North West) but naturally, because Theron lives in the public eye, it’s created some unfortunate Twitter buzz. Her parenting methods have been criticized, she has been threatened, and accusations that she “forced” her son to wear a dress have bounced around the Twittersphere. Theron has yet to comment (probably busy working/being a mother/living her best life/etc), but we’re guessing she doesn’t need the advice being thrown at her.

 


In an interview with Jimmy Fallon in May 2015, Theron talks about Jackson's love for Frozen. “Last time you were here we talked about [Jackson] and he was really into his Frozen dolls.” Fallon said to Theron.


“He calls them his “Girls,” Theron replied. “ He’ll say to me “Mom, where are my girls?”  It sounds like Frozen has been one of Jackson’s favorites for quite some time.


Theron’s encouragement to not limit oneself to the gender binary seems like excellent parenting to us. If Jackson is happy and health and exploring his creativity and just plain ‘ol being himself, that should be all that matters.




LESLIE JONES CONTINUES TO BE A VICTIM OF MISOGYNOIR


Leslie Jones should have had an amazing summer. She co-starred in one of the most talked about movies of the summer and she was asked by NBC to go to Rio and commentate on the Olympics based on her funny and patriotic Tweets. Jones should have had the opportunity to enjoy her well-earned success, but instead, she spent the summer receiving racist comments and death threats on Twitter, fake Twitter accounts making homophobic Tweets in her name, and most recently had her personal website, JustLeslie.com, hacked. Not only was her personal information leaked, but naked photos were posted on the website as well. Images of Harambe the gorilla were posted, clearly a racist act. The summer of Leslie Jones has been a prime and devastating example of misogynoir-- misogyny directed at black women.

 

 


As The Daily Beast, Katy Perry, and others have keenly pointed out, the harassment and torment thrown at Leslie Jones is not “trolling”, a word we use so often it’s lost it’s edge and is ultimately hard to overall define. What has happened is a form of sexual violence, revenge porn, and blatant aggression. Continuing to call these destructive acts “trolling” is simply downplaying its impact. “Trolling” is a word that now gives men and women who commit damaging cyber acts a free pass--but not this time. Not anymore. Terms like “misogynoir” are important when defining aggressive acts such as these, because they signify just how despicable it is.

As this summer rolls into Fall, we hope to see better for Leslie Jones, and for her online hackers to receive the proper punishment for their crime. Jones deserves headlines, but let’s hope in the future it’s for her work and talent.  



RIHANNA WINS VANGUARD AWARD


Rihanna won the Michael Jackson Vanguard award at the VMA’s on Sunday (!!!), solidifying her as a music video maven. With music videos like Umbrella (shoutout to summer ‘07!), We Found Love, BBHMM, and most recently Work, Rihanna has been gracing us with entrancing music videos for almost a decade.

 


The award is well deserved, and her maybe-possibly-whoknows boyfriend and frequent collaborator Drake presented her with her with the notorious VMA Moon Man. While it’s clear that Drake absolutely Rihanna (because he literally says he’s in love with her in his speech) and takes his introduction role seriously, his adoration and attempts at PDA have taken away from a moment that was really and truly hers.


While we *love* Drake (Hotline Bling could be team THINX’s most watched video to date) and don’t believe he intentionally tried to steal her moment, his speech has been the story. We have all crowded around computer screens to decipher what it all means, and try to confirm whether they actually kissed or whether Rhianna gracefully rejects it.  Drakes speech has been watched 4x more times than Rihanna on MTV’s youtube channel, which is profoundly disappointing but the speech is so. darn. good.


We hope you’ll watch Rihanna's speech below, a speech that celebrates Barbados, black women, and most importantly, herself.


 

AZIZ ANSARI REFLECTS ON HIS NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE

 

Self proclaimed master of none Aziz Ansari sat down with the Daily Beast this week and opened up about the reactions he has received regarding his New York Times piece, Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family.

 

The opinion piece was released in June, and expressed Ansari’s fears for his Muslim immigrant parents and the Muslim community in general. His piece came shortly after presidential candidate/professional idiot Donald Trump made xenophobic statements about the Muslim community. “Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels. It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray,” Ansari wrote. “ It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.”

 

 

When Melissa Leon asked Ansari about the reaction to his piece, Ansari shared the powerful feedback he received. “You know, I put out that article and I thought like, “Maybe this will resonate with other brown people,” he said. “But it ended up being like the most-emailed, most-viewed article on the site for a couple of days. People come up to me of all different races, all different religions like, “That’s really cool that you wrote that. I really liked that article.”

 

Ansari went on to share his current feelings about Trump, who he said had a campaign that centered around "xenophobic rhetoric" in the NYT piece.

“I think with Trump, that’s just ultimately how he treats everyone that isn’t someone who looks like him. Blaming them for something, misrepresenting them, making them some sort of strange character that they’re not, not giving them the depth that he would give other white people,” he said.  “I think that’s what people responded to. And what gives me hope is that I think sometimes the people that are more negative, kind of troll-y type people, they’re very loud, but I think they’re a loud minority. It’s a strange juxtaposition, but I think there are still plenty of good people. I have hope.”

 

As do we.

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