Tag Archives: millennials

Lupe Fiasco and the Radical Messiness of Black Male Feeling

Get More: Lupe Fiasco, Music News

 

I wonder if people – black people especially – really appreciate how beautiful it is to live at a time when black men are allowing themselves to feel so openly, to be emotional in public.

Lupe Fiasco articulates something that black men have been saying for a long time: that black men are dying, killing themselves and each other, that we live in a society where black male life is disposable. And he’s eloquent on the substance of what you see in this clip.

But what is truly remarkable is that he lets himself feel something more than just frustration and anger at the plight of black men. This is a display of profound, deep sadness. It’s love. Pure. Messy.

It takes Lupe Fiasco a minute to find the words. Those precious, awkward moments before he starts to find the words are wonderous, awe-inspiring, and deeply affecting.

And yet, when I watched this I was uncomfortable because I still don’t really know how to respond. This is not my vernacular. My reference is the 90s’ cold, hard grip on “keepin it real,” even as I never felt fully a part of that. My language is 2pac’s righteous indignation and anger, even it left me in so many ways illiterate.

I struggle with deep emotion. Still.

Artists like Drake, J. Cole, Frank Ocean, Kanye West and others are playing in space that is quite new. And while I think they often confuse narcissism for reflection and miss the mark in communicating what they are genuinely feeling, I appreciate so very much that the range of emotion that black men can feel publicly – and be successful and lauded – is so much broader now than it has been in the past.

Millennials have so many more colors to play with than previous generations allowed themselves. We should celebrate that.

Beauty Unqualified

This open letter from model Leomie Campbell to the Sunday Times about racism in the fashion industry is fascinating. Not so much for the tales about the racism.

Nope, what is most striking to me is how Campbell equivocates throughout the entire piece and then ends with:

I don’t think talking about racism in fashion will change anything. Even if fashion changes, it’s not going to change the world. I’d rather just have a positive attitude. If I were feeling discriminated against, I might go into a casting thinking I’m not going to get this job. It’s negativity that will disadvantage me.

Well, what's the point of writing this open letter if not to "talk about racism"? Lawd!

It's interesting to watch the millennial generation – Campbell is 19 – tie themselves in knots trying to talk about race in a world where they have been told that it is not something that we need to talk about anymore. Clearly they want to. Clearly Campbell wants to talk about what it is really like to be a black model, but she knows she can't just call the entire industry racist — even though the primary goal of the fashion industry is to reinscribe whiteness and white beauty standards around the world, i.e. racist.

If anything, despite her prostestations, Campbell's letter makes the need to address racism in the fashion industry more critical than ever.

(H/T The YBF)