44 Years Since His Assassination: MLK’s Words Still Need to Be Heard By Nightlife World

It was on this day in 1968 that Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered. His life is celebrated on the third Monday of January near the date of his birth, the 15th. This is a nightlife column and I will deal with that narrow window in regards to Dr. King’s legacy. Despite a black president and a supreme court justice and many milestones, black youth are still snuffed out in random acts of ignorance and/or hate, and black role models mostly play with some sort of ball. Again, I’m just a nightlife blogger so I will keep to what I know. I know Martin Luther King’s birthday falls on a Monday and so clubs usually make much-needed loot off the 3-day winter weekend. For most operators, rememberance stops there.

I see an industry where it seems that there are even less black people in power than, say, 10 years ago. Racism in upper management, the job market, and at the doors of top-notch clubs is still rampant. The answer from one player was that his joint is not racist at all – the motivation for entry isn’t really black or white or yellow, just green. If a person is buying bottles his money is, within reason, good. There is always the qualifier: those if’s, and if he is within reason to justify what really happens. The percentage of non-whites in the perceived best joints does not reflect reasonable racial policies.

Out in Bed. Stuy. this past weekend for the Awards Ball, my companion and I were two of possibly half a dozen "white" people among the thousands. Although those kind of ratios are rare, I have been in supposedly chic NYC spots and seen only a handful of non-whites amongst the crowd. Of these "lucky" few, most were models or well-known atheletes or musicians with very small entourages. As far as staff, a handful of non-security personnel keep it from being obvious. One dude told me that "they" aren’t turned away; "they" just don’t show up. I wondered if "they" knew not to show up because "they’ were denied entry when the place first opened. "They" probably talk.

It was refreshing to see a black doorman at Southside, a place I visited once a few years ago with a beautiful, 6-foot, educated black woman. On that night, it was just her and a couple of promoter-types that were non-white inside. She noticed and was taken aback. In a column around the holidays that year, when I was giving out gift ideas for club operators, I offered them "Brotherly Love." Brotherly Love is still mainly missing around town and It just isn’t cool. I think club operators should take a minute or three on a day like this to remind staff of their obligations to move off these disgusting norms. They may want to practice their speech in the mirror before…and after.

From Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech:

"All I’m saying is simply this: that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

Forest Whitaker Frisked, Accused Of Shoplifting At NYC Deli

The actor Forest Whitaker was accused of shoplifting and frisked in public at a deli in Morningside Heights on Friday morning and received a humiliating pat-down from an employee. The actor, who won an Oscar for The Last King Of Scotland, is in New York City currently filming Black Nativity

A witness who happened to be in Milano Market on Broadway and 112th told the blog Gothamist that she saw Whitaker — whom she did not immediately recognize — being frisked and even when nothing was found on his person, the store asked the actor to leave. She told the blog that Whitaker said:

"No, I want to speak with someone. You can’t just touch me like this." Everyone in the store was quiet and in shock. As it was happening, I finally IDed him.

Whitaker’s rep told TMZ he did not call authorities, because the employee at Milano Market who frisked him was afraid of losing their job. The rep added: 

"This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli. What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment. Frisking individuals without proof/evidence is a violation of rights."

Milano Market declined to comment to both TMZ and Gothamist.  I guess somebody’s feeling a little racist today, huh?

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

‘NY Times’ Dares To Suggest ‘Scandal’ Is ‘Post-Racial’

In a piece about the success of ABC’s hit show Scandal — it ranks first in its Thursday, 10p.m. time slot — the New York Times dares suggest the Shonda Rhimes creation might be popular because its "postracial," "cast members are ethnically diverse but are not defined by their race or ethnicity."

The reporter is presumably referring to how the show’s interracial relationship is scarcely mentioned. Black actress Kerry Washington plays Washington, D.C. scandal "fixer" Olivia Pope, a former White House employee who left the Administration following a long romance with the president, President Fitz Grand, played by Tony Goldwyn, who is white. The Times quotes black feminist author Joan Morgan, who said,  “It’s not about this being a black show. It’s about seeing the show where black women and other women are represented less about race and more about who they are.”

That’s true, in a sense. But "postracial" is always such a squicky term because it suggests on some level that we’re past the point where race matters — which, of course, is naive. And simply not true: Pope’s character may not be defined on the show by her race or ethnicity, but the very fact Scandal is such a hit with African-Americans suggests its a huge draw for the program. The Times reports that over 10 percent of black households tune in for Scandal. Even if the show is breaking racial barriers by not addressing race directly — perhaps because it doesn’t have to — it is still meaningful that Oliva Pope is black.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Brace Yourself For “Obama’s Civil War”

As a hurricane swamps the GOP convention in Tampa and even the dimmest college Republicans realize Mitt Romney has not the ghost of a chance to win the presidency, we can expect to see a lot more red-state hysteria. And as we all know, there is nothing more coherent than a conservative who feels cornered!

Texas in particular has already taken the paranoia and dog-whistling to new and exciting places. Last week, the latest in a long line of politically execrable highway billboards—really, the highest form of communication—caused a stir when it went up alongside I-95 in Gainesville:

The ad … depicts two men in camouflage holding weapons. The text next to the picture, in a military style font, says “The Seals removed one threat to America,” a reference to the killing of Osama bin Laden. It continues, “Remove the other in November.”

The bottom of the sign says it’s a political ad, paid for by TJ Schad, and has a Gainesville address.

At his home Monday, Tom Schad said he’s not acting for any political party, committee or candidate. He simply saw a similar picture in an email, with an accompanying note that said it should be on every billboard across the country.

That’s right: this guy orchestrated a repulsive public allusion to Obama’s otherhood and dire need for a bullet in the head not for any ideological reason but because a chain email told him to. I’m willing to bet the offhanded suggestion he followed was punctuated by a winking smiley face. Because who can say no to those?

But Mr. Schad is just a vocal civilian laboring under the yoke of a brutally collectivist government. Perhaps someone highly placed inside the power hierarchy has the ability to sabotage Obama’s nefarious designs. Someone like Lubbock County Judge Tom Head, who has requested a tax increase to pay for more deputies for the "civil war" that is bound to result from Obama’s reelection. Said Head:

"He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the [United Nations], and what is going to happen when that happens?," Head asked the station during a Monday interview. "I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy."

And there you have it! Government wants more money from you so it can take up arms against itself. Don’t ever accuse end-times Republicans of being inconsistent.

Ryan Lochte’s Sister Is a Terrible, Racist Human Being

Now that Olympians are, like, super hot superstars and not just people we forget about every four years, it seems appropriate that their siblings also become famous. The Olympics: it’s like The Hills, only with academic talents. Anyway, gold medalist Ryan Lochte is all over the place and, likewise, soon shall his sister, Megan, who is, unfortunately, a total idiot asshole racist human being.

Props to Jezebel for uncovering this video of Megan Lochte doing some laff-’em-ups on some cable access show in Baltimore, Maryland, after she returned from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. What was her multicultural takeaway from the trip? Well, it involves the frequent usage of the word "chink." 

Sorry, but no one should be shocked that someone wearing that hat would turn out to be a shitty human being.

Is ‘Bunheads’ The New ‘Girls’ (In Terms of Racism)?

Yesterday Gray’s Anatomy director Shonda Rhimes set in motion the Hollywood hand-wringing game show  "is this Racist?"  Ms. Rhimes called out Bunheads, an ABC Family drama about ballet which premiered last night: 

“Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?”

But of course, Bunheads isn’t alone in its segregation. In fact, since the days of black and white television, television has been mostly white and white. Recently though, a slew of shows have come under fire for their monochromaticism. 




Having come under fire as a show about “white girl problems,” the highly rated HBO comedy Girls had to do some damage control after tweeters criticized the show for being about “whiny, spoiled white girls.” –

“Thanks to HBO’s Girls I now don’t have to travel to NYC to know what it’s like. It’s just all white people,” read one tweet.

“HBO’s Girls, summarized for you to save you the trouble: White girls, money, whining. There now; that’s what all the fuss is about,” read another.

The show has also done a great job of showcasing the endless talents of those “other” races. Joy Lin, the lone Asian girl shown in the first episode is chosen over Hannah for a job because of her superior design skills and a homeless black guy tells Hannah to smile as she makes her way back to her Brooklyn apartment, both seemingly a sort of annoyance or obstacle.



Game of Thrones

HBO just can’t catch a break, can they? Since the beginning of the acclaimed TV series Game of Thrones, questions have been raised as to why the show has a predominantly white cast—sure, it’s set in medievalish-Europe, but it’s also a show about fantasy… which should open the door for all different kinds of people—but it seems only white folk are stepping in.

Even worse, the sole ethnicity token in the first season of the show consists of a barbaric tribe called the Dothraki: smelly, loinclothed, hairy Arab-looking men who wear enough makeup to put RuPaul to shame. And guess what? The main plotline involved the king of the barbs raping a small, blond, innocent white girl in his animal-skin tent. If that isn’t racist, then I’m a white wolf’s uncle.


The Bachelor

No love for the non-white: the sleazy ABC reality show, The Bachelor, was slapped with a class-action lawsuit in April by two jilted African American applicants, Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson who claimed the show “denied the equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race.” “I only wanted a fair shot at the part,” said Claybrooks, 39, a college grad who owns several small businesses.“Looking back at how I was treated at the casting call last year, it was clear that that wasn’t possible. I never even had a chance.” Warner Horizon Television, the production company for the show, released a statement saying:

“We have had various participants of color throughout the series’ history, and the producers have been consistently — and publicly — vocal about seeking diverse candidates for both programs. As always, we continue to seek out participants of color for both ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette.”

Until then, keep handing out the white roses, ABC!

Contestant on MTV’s ‘The Challenge’ Puts on Blackface, Wonders Whether It’s Racist

MTV’s The Challenge is some real O.G. schadenfreude-driven reality TV, one of the first excuses couch-bound audiences ever had to watch drunk, sad people run around being drunk and sad while participating in embarrassing challenges for money they’re unable to make by holding a regular job. Imagine being a professional reality TV game show contestant for the rest of your life, and try not to throw yourself into a ravine. With all of the arrested development on display it’s only sort of surprising when the idiocy ratchets up to another level, like in last night’s episode when contestant Emily donned blackface in order to make fun of her ex-boyfriend (who just happens to be black). "Are you sure this isn’t racist?" Emily asks another contestant, who, uh, responds in the negative.

I mean… I mean. Pointing a finger and laughing at/condemning the stupid person is so not good for karma, but really, the mental levels that have to be missing to slather Nutella on one’s face and "talk black" for the point of a "prank"… well, damn. MTV knows what it’s doing by including this in the episode, but consider ourselves sufficiently trolled because it’s just so painfully awkward and offensive to watch it unfold.

Apparently, Emily grew up in a cult which is why she doesn’t have any understanding of regular social norms — not quite an excuse, but more explanatory than, "Well, I guess she’s just a big fat racist." It makes you wonder, though. New episodes of The Challenge are on every Wednesday, but why would you do that?