This is a topic that has been alive amongst my fellow black performers pretty much since I began my career. In fact, once I'd been in the business about five years and had decent credits to my name, it became a constant companion to the usual actor repartee; so that: "Are you working?" was quickly followed by: "When you going over to America then?"
Thank you for your speech Mr. Umunna but unfortunately you do not speak for me. While there is some merit to your remarks, I, for one am, quite annoyed and not having any of it. While its understood that the media should portray an all-encompassing image of black people in hopes of dispelling negative perceptions, your call to action will simply not work.
Isn't it funny how every language, country and nationality has a reputation, and more often than not, said reputation really is true? Apparently, the French are romantic wine-drinkers, the Italians are sensual pasta-fanatics, the Spanish are laid-back party-goers, and the Germans... Well, most people think Germans are just sensible sausage-eaters.
All publicity is good publicity. Well, in the case of the recent controversy surrounding the 'mental patient' costumes on sale at various supermarket chains in the UK, that may well be the case. It is rare that an organic, natural opportunity for fighting stigma arises - most of the time we see well planned-out print campaigns or dedicated charity efforts. But today something incredible happened.
A few days back, I published a piece right here titled: What's in a Word, and Who is the Addict? I really only dealt with the first part of the question: semantic pros and cons pertaining to word usage. This time, I wish the address the second question - a far more difficult question than the first.
So I use the term 'addict' to describe a certain type of person. Many object to this designation. For one, there is stigma attached to it. Practically everyone you know has been carried away at some point by some poison - exercise, love, sex, gambling, tobacco, coffee, food, booze, dope, work - some object that everyone is (or has been) an addict. Hence, according to some, the label is meaningless.
The real issue is that publishers make some terrible assumptions about what men and women like to read (or ought to read). In an attempt to capitalise on the dwindling 'mass market' they have carved the reading population up by demographic and crudely assumed that each 'segment' is a homogenous group with similar tastes.
18 months ago, I walked out on my publisher, HarperCollins, because I was sick of seeing my novels getting packaged as frivolous, girly 'chick lit'. This week, eminent British children's author Jacqueline Wilson spoke out about the pink covers assigned to her books, which 'pigeonholed' girls and put off boys. And now, young adult author Maureen Johnson has come up with the #CoverFlip challenge in which she encouraged her 78,000 followers to take a well-known book, then imagine what that cover might look like if the author's gender were flipped.
The individual at hand insinuated that Hip-Hop was indeed "black music, that's all I'm saying". Whether this was to suggest my friend was less of a black individual because she didn't enjoy this music, was something to consider. He quickly turned his attention back to me, but did drop heavily the mention of 'white rappers' who may take my interest more.