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Member since: 2002
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Why Won’t Hollywood Let Us See Our Best Black Actors?

By Kyle Buchanan

Idris Elba is in four major studio films this year, but you won’t see his face in any of them. Three of those high-profile jobs are voice roles: In addition to playing Chief Bogo in Zootopia and Shere Khan in The Jungle Book, Elba has a supporting part in Pixar’s upcoming Finding Dory. His only live-action role in the lot is playing the villainous Krall in Star Trek Beyond, where he’s buried under so many facial prosthetics that he’s more than unrecognizable — he’s a different color entirely.

I can’t fault Disney for wanting to cast Elba in all of those cartoons: The man’s got one of the best voices in cinema, rich and insinuating. And now that Elba has become something of a sci-fi staple in films like Prometheus and Pacific Rim, perhaps it was inevitable that he’d don makeup for a franchise like Star Trek. But as one of the few black leading men in Hollywood, Elba means something. So what does it say when we see so little of him?

I wish I could call all these castings a fluke. I worry they’re not. Look at Lupita Nyong’o, whose most notable roles since winning the Oscar for 12 Years a Slave have been playing the orange alien Maz Kanata in Star Wars and the white wolf Raksha in The Jungle Book. In this summer’s video-game adaptation Warcraft, Paula Patton is slathered in green paint as the half-human, half-orc Garona, which makes me wonder if she consulted Zoe Saldana for advice before taking the role: After all, Saldana has already played green in Guardians of the Galaxy and blue in Avatar. (It’s become so common for Saldana to play a different color on film that they even gave her another skin tone for the controversial clusterfuck Nina and thought nothing of it.)

You don’t see Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Cruise painting their faces to win roles, but this color-changing gambit has practically become required of black dramatic actors who want to appear in big-budget movies. Of our A-list movie stars, the only white one regularly tinting her skin is Jennifer Lawrence, who signed a three-film contract to play Mystique in the X-Men films well before she was an Oscar-winning superstar, and whose latest go-round in the role is her least blue yet. Fox was savvy to put Lawrence’s famous white face front and center for X-Men: Apocalypse, since they now know it’s a face that sells movie tickets and magazines. So, too, could Lupita Nyong’o’s, yet since her Oscar win, no white director has cast her in a live-action role that lets her live in her own black skin.


"You lost your stick, dude."

Putting Racism on the Table: Robin DiAngelo on White Privilege

Predator Jam!

We're about to transition into General Election mode soon, or as I like to call it:

"Anti-Republican season."

Yes, yes, I know that, technically, the primary is still in full swing and we have yet to officially endorse our nominee. Frankly, regardless of not naming an actual person at this point, I really can't wait until we face the GOPer opposition full on. I would feel exactly the same way regardless of who we'd name. In my particular case, I detest winger GOPers more than I even like Democrats. That may not be an all too common sentiment around these parts, but I refuse to apologize for it.

Because, if we're going to struggle so painfully in an internal way on the left, what would be the entire point of it all anyway?

Anyhoo, there's one of our side's particularly common notions that I'd like to address: The one that depicts the white poor, working class and middle class Republican electorate as voting against their own best interests and not really knowing what they're doing.

I'm calling bullshit on that.

They know EXACTLY what they're doing, and frankly, I think that it's insulting and patronizing to not consider the idea that they've made a conscious, deliberate decision to support, regressive, right-wing, incompetent and malfeasant asshole Republican politicians and positions. Give them enough credit, will ya'?

Sure, would most of them support the very same genuinely ideological neutral governmental policies, if they were offered by GOPers, instead of completely losing their shit whenever a Democrat offers the exact same thing?

Of course, they would, and that's because most of the GOPer electorate is made up of blatantly hypocritical assholes. They're enamored with watching people, whom they believe to be morally superior to, suffer and in spite of the fact, it would create some self-inflected harm. President Obama proved that very point time and time again.

So rather than simply calling GOPer voters stupid or misinformed (in spite of the fact of how many times they seem to perform the living embodiment of those words every time someone sticks a video camera in front of their slobbering maws,) consider for one moment, by the sound of the sincerity in their grunts and groans, that these people have made a conscious decision to be piously judgmental, ill-tempered, misogynistic, sexist, white supremacist asshole know-nothings who carry around chips on their shoulders so large that you could chalk a B-52 with it. When it comes to the fact that they wish nothing but harm on people that they don't like, even if by doing that they will harm themselves, try to look at that as something that an asshole or a bully would do.

Yes, these people are assholes and bullies, being whipped into a selfish and hateful frenzy by GOPer crooks and their well paid agit-propagandinsts in the media. And there's only one way that you beat a bully; you recognize who they are, what they're trying to do you and you come together to take away their power to bully over you.

The ultimate goal for any Democratic voter should be to beat the living shit out of GOPer candidates in elections. And yes, yes, I know that Democratic politicians are at times problematic themselves, but agonizing over our own internal issues should never take the place of beating the living shit out of GOPer candidates and winning elections.

I don't know about you, but I want this to be MY activity once again come November:

"I Dub Thee, 'Sir Hippity of Hoppity.'"

7 years!

And to think that the RWNJs were afraid that Obama was going to destroy America!

Fundies everywhere...

Yeah, Dude. Whatever.

Flashy Thing...

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