Welcome to Black Friday, y'all!
It’s not your one-stop shop for black news (prioritize black people all the time), but do check in for a corner of black-centric news—preferably of the queer and femme nature.
MTV Awards Best Gay Ass Kiss
At this years MTV Movie & TV Awards, Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome took home the award for Best Kiss. The iconic scene from Moonlight adds yet another award to the movie’s belt and with it another milestone for gay black excellence. This win is very important as an identifier of social precedence and shows the profound impact of this film.
The Best Kiss award represents the power and pure emotion of human connection behind the iconic lip lock, but this is usually expected/used/reserved to preserve heteronormative romance structures—boy meets girl, hero saves damsel, etc. With this, a level of acceptance and validation is given to LGBT youth—especially so for black gay youth—on a mainstream platform.
In a heartfelt acceptance speech, Ashton Sanders, who plays Chiron, said: “This award is bigger than Jharrel and I, this represents more than a kiss… This represents the kids who feel like others, the misfits.”
….AND NO I’M NOT CRYING OK.
Miley’s Done Culture Vulturing
Wow Miley you really tried it.
In an interview with XXL Mag, the young popstar states that she is distancing herself from hip hop. Cyrus said that she feels hip-hop oversexualizes women. Yet, during her stint of foam penises, tongues and hand vaginas, and hypersexual onstage displays this was all used as a display of empowerment. In the words of my favorite Oprah gif “What is the truth?” The problem with this decided distancing is that it is a direct result of privilege that actively seeks the use and disposal of identity in the name of personal betterment. Especially identities and experiences that do not belong to you.
While anyone can dabble into a culture, they are easily able to shed that old skin and evolve into what they see as more pleasant or beautiful at a whim. This commodification of identity and experience can be dangerous, and perpetuates a lofty level of moral aggrandizing and superiority—a tour de force in the scheme of white supremacy.
A knee-jerk rebuttal to this is that she’s young and learning, so of course views change and mistakes are made. This still does not explain or excuse the extent of exposure and idolization given to her while performing her minstrel show. It’s just another example, in a long line of Igloo Australia’s (Iggy Azalea), Rachel Dolezal’s and even that Dr. Phil girl, that shows white women playing black cards get way too much attention. After that, spinning a social justice movement on its head repeatedly to justify her actions and beliefs is also reckless. It really shows what is and is not held to high standards in mainstream pop charts. She used a culture as a costume, and in line with current practice in the entertainment industry, plastered her white face all over black mediums of expression. I guess the hoes really are laughing at this point huh? This culture vulture moment was brought to you by white feminism.
Matt Jones is your average carefree black boi, community worker, and sensei. As an Atlanta based artist he dreams to foster community and advocate real change for issues involving but not limited to mental health, queer life, and POC disparity.