Link Lineup – October 2020

Hey friends and assorted nerds, I come bearing some links to things that have held my attention since last time we did this! Go read, watch, or listen to them right away!


John Boyega: ‘I’m the only cast member whose experience of Star Wars was based on their race’

“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” he says, holding my gaze. “Let’s just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”

2020 has been a year where I have consistently been proven correct about things. Case in point? I knew that the Star Wars fandom’s unending racism absolutely was impacting how John moved throughout the world. I knew it was taking a toll on him across his time as Finn. And I mean, he confirmed it. He also talked about how antiblackness in the industry – from the people working around him and from casual oversights – left him essentially wounded. Star Wars should’ve been a positive and affirming nerd experience for John, but it really was not.


BTS Break Down Their Albums, From DARK & WILD to MAP OF THE SOUL : 7 | Pitchfork

I really love getting to hear artists talk about their creative process and the things that lead to where they are now. In this video from Pitchfork, the guys go over their albums and drop some really fun and interesting thoughts about what they created then and how they feel about it now.

I’d honestly pay for more insight into their creative process and them reminiscing over their past projects because this is honestly is incredible and really just… the sort of insight I crave.


Writer Elizabeth Méndez Berry On Protecting the ‘Inconvenient Women’ in Hip-Hop

One of the biggest political life lessons that I’ve learned, that I believe everybody should learn, is that those inconvenient women, the people who you have been taught not to believe or who you’ve been taught not to value, those are absolutely the people you most have to listen to because they are the people who experience the worst. While I mourn all the hip-hop publications of that era, I also think that the space that has opened up on social media is so important and necessary.

This interview is a hard read but a must-read especially as we look around and realize that the world still hasn’t stopped turning following Tory Lanez shooting Megan Thee Stallion several months ago. She is one of the biggest voices and presences in rap now and she is a legend in the making. I didn’t even know who he was or what music he’s made – despite several consecutive top hits I’ve never heard.

So who did hip-hop journalists and whatnot stand behind? Not Megan. Folks said she had to be lying. They accused her of “snitching”. They continue to mistreat her to the point of buying Tory’s shitty new release where he lies about harming her until it hit the top of the charts. They needed to “hear his side of the story” when we had photographic proof of the physical harm that he did to Megan. They continue to blame her for what he did – not that they believe he did anything, of course.

I’m so mad, y’all…


PCU Sept. Pt. 1

The PCU crew discusses the loss of Chadwick Boseman and Dianan Rigg, Black voices speaking out against systemic Hollywood racism, and the coming of the next generation consoles.

Do you like podcasts? Well check out Pop Culture Uncovered! They’re a new-to-me podcasts with excellent coverage of recent pop culture news and controversies! I’m happy to know them and I hope y’all enjoy listening to them!


South Auckland To South Korea: Why the Jawsh 685 x BTS Remix Means So Much

Siren beats have an illustrious history. In the suburbs of South Auckland, Polynesian youth would ride around the streets with elaborately rigged car batteries, AUX cords and siren speakers strapped to bicycles, blasting their music. It gave way for ‘street battles’ where the loudest music with the highest treble won the day, where booming a song from the islands was putting respect on the name of their country. It’s since taken off nationwide.

That’s where Jawsh 685’s beat comes in. It’s an amalgam of Polynesian music that characterizes the youth of Pacific Islanders and classic reggae.

I’ve been listening to the BTS remix of “Savage Love” since it came out. It is, in a word, fantastic. I talk a big game about wanting cultures in conversation and y’all, this is what this song is. I love this song and this piece talking about why Jawsh 685 and his beat are so important just solidifies that even more for me.

And oh, don’t forget to actually stream the song, folks:


A Brief Guide to 21st-Century Blackface

These instances present the white characters donning blackface as the out-of-touch butts of the joke. Kirk Lazarus, for instance, is a sendup of self-serious Hollywood actors — many of them white men — and their unflappable belief that they can play any role, as long as they’re “method” enough.

By one measure, this winking self-awareness is a measure of Hollywood’s progress; by another, it’s a mark of where its evolving understanding of blackface has fallen short.

I thought I was done thinking and talking about blackface, but uh… nope. I’m not. This is a really solid piece that unpacks modern blackface (primarily in the US, I believe) following how in June everyone pretended they cared about us and had to take all the blackface out of their old tv shows from like… whenever Community was still on the air.

Logically, I don’t understand blackface. I can sit with it – and I mean, I did – and try to figure out if all that work is worth it. I can try to research why people around the world are still doing it and if they get that it’s harmful and horrifying to see. But at the end of the day, I still do not understand why it’s everywhere.


How a Fake Baby Is Born

Modern theories about “fake” celebrity babies come with a cocktail of resentment toward the hypocrisy of celebrity, the dishonesty of the media, and the unflappable confidence of the elite, who get away with whatever they want.

This piece about folks in fandom believing conspiracy theories about celebrity babies has lived in my head rent free since July. I cannot stop thinking about it. I am no stranger to caring way too much about celebrities and what they’re doing at any given moment (hello BTS!), but the extreme thinking these fans are going through is… concerning.

I was around for most of these fandoms – in that I was in fandom, their nonsense got spread and mocked in my orbit, but I didn’t go looking for it – but it’s kind of… a lot to see it all laid out. These are all different RPF-adjacent fanbases – because even if they don’t ship the celeb in question with another one, a common aspect of RPF, they’re essentially writing fic of that celeb’s reality – where folks come to the same conclusion that… that baby must be fake.

Please go read that article and join me in screaming.


White People Are Faking Anti-Racism…Again

And don’t get it twisted – we know you won’t listen even when you hire outside consultants. This dance is NOT new but the least you can do is stop harassing Black co-workers, friends, and the other random Black people you interact with but don’t actually know with your guilt cleverlessly disguised as anti-racism mobilization. You aren’t willing to give up shit to make things better; you just want to feel better so you can go back to doing the same racist shit that made you feel special all your life. Black people should not be forced to play your lying game for free.

2020 has been a trip.

From June on, as Talynn points out, a lot of people have publicly pretended to care a whole huge ton about anti-racism… again. The issue is that they have no intention of doing the work or being better and the only people who ever experience a consequence for that are the Black people tapped to educate. The Black people whose attempts to turn the boat away from the icebergs of white fragility are met with anger.

Talynn also points out that another consequence we get for talking about anti-racism – even when asked – is that we legitimately lose opportunities. She references Munroe Bergdorf being fired for her statement against racism back in 2017 and talks repeatedly about how even when we are asked to do the thing we get fired. We get harassed. Our livelihoods are at risk.

And all over something y’all weren’t going to listen to us about in the first place??

About Zeenah

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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