Netflix’s ‘Colin in Black and White’ shows a star athlete reaching toward Blackness

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2021-11-08 04:03Z by Steven

Netflix’s ‘Colin in Black and White’ shows a star athlete reaching toward Blackness

All Things Considered
National Public Radio

Eric Deggans, TV Critic

Jaden Michael plays a young Colin Kaepernick in Netflix’s ‘Colin in Black and White.’
Courtesy of Netflix

If you had any questions about where Colin Kaepernick’s activist spirit originated, a look at Netflix’s new limited series, Colin in Black and White, removes all doubt.

These days, Kaepernick is known as the ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose decision to kneel during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racial injustice inspired others and kicked off years of conflicts. He became a free agent in 2017 and remains unsigned by an NFL team, a situation many analysts attributed to political blowback from the controversy sparked by his protest.

But Colin in Black and White makes the case that he’s been fighting those kinds of battles since he was in middle school, facing down clueless coaches, oblivious friends and well-intentioned white parents who adopted a biracial kid but seemed to have little idea how to handle his desire to embrace Blackness…

Read the entire review here.

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In The Writer’s Room, One Woman Quietly Makes Late Night History

Posted in Articles, Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-17 16:16Z by Steven

In The Writer’s Room, One Woman Quietly Makes Late Night History

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Eric Deggans, TV Critic

How do you write jokes for a TV comedy about race and culture when there are riots over how police treat black suspects, and a gunman just shot down nine people in a black church?

If you’re Robin Thede, head writer for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, you think carefully about where you focus the joke.

“The thing about tragedy, is that it causes people to react in a myriad of ways … [and] some of them are very hilarious,” Thede says, laughing. “You don’t make fun of the actual tragedy. You make fun of the ridiculous ways people react to it.”

Her example: The way some news outlets focused on the involvement of the gang Black Guerilla Family when rioting broke out in Baltimore last April.

“You’ve got people on the news saying ‘Black Guerilla Family’ 4,000 times because they get a kick out of saying ‘gorilla’ when connected to black people,” she says…

…That voice first emerged in January, when Wilmore’s Nightly Show debuted in the timeslot originally held by Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report.

Wilmore made a bit of history then as the only black man hosting a major late night talk show.

And Thede also made history: She’s the first black woman to serve as head writer for such a show. But she’s quick to counter the notion that The Nightly Show is just a parody of Meet the Press centered on jokes about race…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story (00:04:09) here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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CNN’s Soledad O’Brien keeps own story under wraps while exploring colorism in “Who is Black in America?

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-12-10 04:37Z by Steven

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien keeps own story under wraps while exploring colorism in “Who is Black in America?

Tampa Bay Times
The Feed

Eric Deggans, TV/Media Critic

More than any other, one moment crystallizes the confusing, sometimes comically absurd contortions built up around racial identity unveiled in CNN’s latest documentary Who Is Black in America?
It’s not the 7-year-old, dark-skinned black girl who turns to her mother and insists light skin is pretty. It’s not the professor [William A. Darity, Jr.] who cites studies showing dark-skinned black men suffer a 10 to 12 percent income inequality compared to white men.
It’s when Becca Khalil, a Philadelphia-based high schooler who is the light-skinned child of Egyptian parents, feels compelled to identify herself as white on a college scholarship application.
Declaring to CNN’s cameras that she identifies as black personally, Khalil is nevertheless challenged by a friend born of African-American parents, who says she hasn’t had a “black experience.”…

…When most of the youths in CNN’s documentary talk about being black, they mean African American. But [Soledad] O’Brien, who also self-identifies as black, has her non-white roots in Cuba, a Hispanic-centered culture that’s different than the environment for black folks raised in Atlanta or Detroit.
And unlike some of the kids she profiles, O’Brien doesn’t believe anyone gets to choose their racial identity.
“This idea that someone gets to choose seems odd,” added the anchor. “I’m lighter-skinned than the president of the United States, but my mom is black, my brothers and sisters are black, my mom has a short afro. I never thought I had a choice about how I identified … My identity was given to me very early by my parents.”…

…O’Brien’s documentary also doesn’t mention the most famous person navigating issues of race and identity in modern times: President Barack Obama. And the reason Obama isn’t featured is the same reason O’Brien doesn’t tell her story, even though the details — she was raised as an Afro-Cuban/Irish child in an all-white neighborhood where she felt “people like me weren’t attractive” — seems the embodiment of the documentary’s spirit…

Read the entire article here.

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