Entertainment

An Image Of Ballerinas In Blackface Has Surfaced And It’s Extremely Disturbing

There’s no denying that the world of ballet has a race problem. The classic style of performance dance has cultivated a reputation that is lily-white and throughout its history has cascaded its performances in the white shades, white tutus and white ribbons. The glorification of ballet’s lack of diversity is so deeply threaded into the genre that the list of accomplished and world-renowned African-American ballerinas has up until the past decade been considered a rarity. In fact, it wasn’t until 2015 that African American ballet dancer Misty Copeland that the American Ballet theater, known as the national ballet company of the United States, named an African American woman as a principal dancer. 

Copeland knows the problem of race in the ballet world runs deep and has talked extensively about discrimination in her career world of choice, sharing how difficult it was for her to rise and be considered the serious ballet dancer she is today. In fact, in a recent post to her Instagram page, the ballerina shared just how much of a problem it is in the ballet world.

In a recent post to her Instagram page, Copeland slammed Russia’s Bolshoi Theater for contributing to racial discrimination in ballet after performers had used blackface for a production.

In a post to her Instagram page earlier this week, Copeland share an image of two white female ballerinas in black body paint rehearsing for a show. The image, which was reposted from a Russian ballet dancer in Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet theater, depicts to dancers who performed in the theater’s production of La Bayadère, a famous classical ballet which is set in India. In the image two dancers can be seen posing happily while wearing blackface. “This is the reality of the ballet world,” she wrote in the post which sparked a wild debate on racism in  ballet.

Copeland’s post received over 65K likes and almost 6K comments. As well as some intense and insane backlash from Bolshoi Theatre director Vladimir Urin.  In response, to Copeland Erin told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that she was reading too much into the piece. “The ballet La Bayadère has been performed thousands of times in this production in Russia and abroad, and the Bolshoi Theatre will not get involved in such a discussion,”  Urin replied before going on to say that “

“Finding some sort of deep insults in this is simply ridiculous,” Urin added. “No one has ever complained to us or saw … an act of disrespect.”  However, as the Cut points out, in 2007, when Bolshoi first brought its production of Bayadère to New York in 2007, the New York Times as “too ludicrous to be even grotesque,” saying “white children dressed as blacks (black-wrinkled tights, black-gloved sleeves and black curly wigs, but with faces lightly daubed in various pale coffee hues.”

In response to headed discussions about the blackface incident online, Copeland replied that she knew the topic was “sensitive.”

“I get that this is a VERY sensitive subject in the ballet world,” she wrote to fans on Twitter. “But until we can call people out and make people uncomfortable, change can’t happen.”

Throughout her career, Copeland has been extremely vocal about the ballet world’s lack of diversity and failure to break from racist stereotypes in performances.

In 2018, Copeland spoke to her experiences as a Black ballerina and the decades of racism in her ballet world. “A lot of dancers in my generation have been told the same things she has been told,” Copeland told TIME. “The one difference is that the world outside ballet has changed. We won’t be told to leave the company because our safety is at risk, but I had a similar experience being told to pancake my skin a lighter color to fit in with the rest of the company. I’ve talked to so many dancers who have had it even worse than [what] I’ve experienced. Raven and I both have a light complexion, but darker dancers have experienced much worse.”

In the large and expansive country of Russia, Afro-Russians– or people of African descent– make a very small portion of the population. According to the Metis Foundation there are about 50,000 people who identify as Afro-Russian in the country. Still, a lack of access to ballet dancers in Russian ballet isn’t the true problem The true rot at Russian ballet core is that it used to hire dancers of color and would instead opt out to use blackface. Here’s hoping we see some of the Black Girl Magic that has been taking over the world of beauty pageants this year.  Clearly Russia and its ballet company need all that they can get.

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Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

Things That Matter

Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

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We know LGBTQ rights, birth control, and race are under threat as Amy Coney Barrett as President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. We know that that conservative judge has been evasive in answering comments about her beliefs which, if appointed, would steer her in making fundamental decisions that could affect American citizens’ lives for decades. Still, though we knew things are bound to go sideways as most things under the Trump administration have, we didn’t realize that an educated woman living in today’s world would refuse to acknowledge a basic societal fact: that “systemic racism” exists in the United States.

In written responses submitted Tuesday night, Barrett repeated her refusal to say whether “systemic racism” exists in our country.

After Sen. Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii asked her to explain her view of the existence of “systemic racism” in the United States, Barret refused the opportunity to acknowledge its existence.

“At the hearing, you acknowledged that racism persists in our country, but you refused to answer where there is systemic racism, calling it a ‘policy question.’ You also refused to answer other questions based on your view that they are ‘policy questions,’” Hirono wrote in his questions. “What makes a statement a policy question rather than a question of fact?”

“I believe that racism persists in our country, but as I explained at the hearing, whether there is ‘systemic racism’ is a public policy question of substantial controversy, as evidenced by the disagreement among senators on this very question during the hearing,” Barrett replied. “As a sitting judge and judicial nominee, it would be inappropriate for me to offer an opinion on the matter.”

Barrett’s approach to the question is not totally uncommon. Previous Supreme Court nominees have avoided answering questions concerning precedent. Barrett clung to the approach during her confirmation hearing last week while sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett used this as a standard and repeatedly cited it as a reason for dodging questions.

Systemic racism exists within our country without question.

It persists in our academic settings, workplaces, as well as in our court and judicial system. The fact is that when a certain group dominates a majority of positions of decision-making power, others struggle to exist and get by let alone get ahead. For generations and right now, white people have been the dominating group with decision-making power and people of color have suffered as a result. Acknowledgment is a vital part of making this change. Particularly from our leaders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Barrett’s confirmation on Thursday afternoon.

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JLo Is In Hot Water For Her Lyrics In New Song With Maluma After She Calls Herself ‘La Negrita’

Entertainment

JLo Is In Hot Water For Her Lyrics In New Song With Maluma After She Calls Herself ‘La Negrita’

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One of the few highlights we’ve had amid this unprecedented year of trauma has been the music industry. From Maluma and Cardi B to Bad Bunny’s surprise albums, we’ve been blessed with some of the best songs ever. Plain and simple.

Despite the global pandemic, many singers have managed to stay busy and put out new tracks. Maluma and Jennifer Lopez are no different as the duo are working on music for their upcoming movie project, Marry Me.

However, the one of the tracks from the upcoming film isn’t getting the type of reception that JLo had likely counted on.

Jennifer Lopez is facing criticism for calling herself a “Little Black girl from the Bronx” in her new track with Maluma.

Despite the pandemic putting the breaks on so many aspects of the entertainment industry, Jennifer Lopez has managed to keep herself busy with new projects. One of her most hyped projects has got to be her collaboration with Maluma on the upcoming film, Marry Me.

In anticipation of the film’s release on Valentine’s Day 2021, the pair have released two new tracks that will also be in the movie’s soundtrack. However, the most recently released song, “Lonely,” isn’t getting the attention that neither JLo or Maluma had likely hoped for.

In the lyrics for the song, which JLo sings with Maluma, Lopez sings “yo siempre seré tu negrita del Bronx” (I’ll always be your Black girl from the Bronx). Obviously, that lyric is causing loads of controversy and fans and critics alike are letting Lopez know they’re out OK with it.

Many are taking issue with the lyrics because “Jenny From The Block” has never really claimed or referenced herself as Black in the past. So why now? And why use an outdated term that’s incredible insensitive to the Afro-Latinx community.

Negrita is a questionable Spanish term that should definitely be phased out amid Spanish-speakers.

Many people are taking issue with the lyrics because they include the controversial term negrita, which is really an outdated Spanish-language term that’s often used as a term of endearment to describe people who are dark-skinned.

It’s a common nickname among Spanish-speakers but it should be phased out of the Spanish language as it’s extremely insensitive to Afro-Latinos.

Both fans and critics have called out Lopez on Twitter.

Fans were obviously confused as to why Jennifer would describe herself as ‘Black’. 

‘Maybe if she said brown girl she coulda gotten away with it,’ one fan said.  Another commented on social media: ‘This is so insulting as an actual black woman.’ 

‘I heard the song and I was like “what she just say? Rewind that. cause she definitely not Afro Latina,’ one fan said. 

However, many others from the Latina community weighed in to explain that while the translation of ‘negrita’ literally means ‘black girl’, it’s not used in that sense. 

‘If your hispanic or latino you know what she means. yes it sounds weird asf the literal translation but that’s not what she means,’ one fan explained.  They continued: ‘As far as I know it’s like a term of endearment for darker complexion within the community. I think she should have not used it being that not everyone would get it and in my opinion her skin isn’t even considered dark. Plus with the times we are in like let’s do better.”

This isn’t the first time the singer has come under fire for insensitive actions around race.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Jennifer Lopez has been called out for appropriating Black culture, but this is the first time that she’s facing such a major backlash.

Jennifer Lopez has proudly claimed her identity as a Puerto Rican woman but she’s never claimed Black ancestry or self-identified as an Afro-Latina – so her use of the term is troubling.

In the 2001 hit remix of “I’m Real” with Ja Rule and Ashanti, JLo sang along to the N-word slur and faced a similar backlash then. She ended up going on The Today Show to claim that the lyrics were written by Ja Rule and were “not meant to be hurtful to anybody.” She went on to say that “for anyone to think or suggest that I’m racist is really absurd and hateful to me.”

Then there was the whole debacle from this year’s Super Bowl halftime show (which feels like a lifetime ago!) when many criticized her and Shakira for performing for a franchise that didn’t support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hopefully, this incident on JLo’s part will bring with it a discussion about the term negrita and we can finally eliminate it as a ‘playful nickname’ in the Spanish-speaking community.

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