Link Lupita Nyong'o Is People Magazine's Most Beautiful and Has Great Perspectives On Beauty Politics

gradientlair:

Lupita Nyong’o is on the cover of People as the most beautiful person for 2014 in their annual “50 Most Beautiful” issue. This is the first time that anyone of her complexion has made the cover and she’s only the third Black woman to make the cover, other than Halle Berry (2003) and Beyoncé (2012). 

image

She shared some insights on beauty in a behind the scenes video for the shoot for this cover. She made some really wonderful statements, some of which I included below:

The first person to tell me that I was beautiful was definitely my mother. She said that a lot, especially when I felt the least bit beautiful which is, you know, as an adolescent you go through times when you feel ugly in general. But my mother always said I was beautiful and I finally believed her at some point.

She’s regularly cited her mother as one of her main supporters in terms of fostering her self-esteem in her beauty, inside and out. She mentioned the importance of being content and I truly believe a part of her allure is her joy. It comes through in her every action and it’s beautiful where it just compliments her glorious dark skin, emotive hopeful eyes, adorable nose, incredible smile, and edges of the gawds, all on a remarkable symmetrical face. 

I feel most beautiful when I am content. That for me is more important than my physical presentation because it’s through inner contentment and happiness that I care about my presentation.

In the behind the scenes video, she also mentioned the role of laughter in her adult life and this definitely connects to the previous quote in terms of internal contentment being the origin for feeling beautiful.

I think the older I get, the more I laugh. I think I’ve laughed a lot in ways; I wish I remembered to laugh like that when I was a teenager.

This made me think of the carefree Black girl conception that many Black women talk about and it made me happy to hear her discuss the role of laughter. An internal source of joy and confidence in appearance are radical acts for Black women in a society that regularly denies us joy and beauty. I am acutely aware of how people hate Black women and also want us to hate ourselves. This dehumanization isn’t just emotional and interpersonal but is a foundation on which oppressions such as misogynoir and colourism rest on. There are people invested—deeply in fact—in not only Lupita being invisible but that no one find her beautiful. They’re terrified that the status quo may shift even a little. And it wouldn’t be a complete shift. Lupita is still very well educated, from a Black immigrant middle class two-parent family and is thin in accordance with most Hollywood standards, so there are elements of privilege as well.

Even so, that beautiful dark skin on the cover will be a problem for many. There have been Black men heavily invested in making sure no one believes she’s beautiful. This isn’t completely about the cishet Black male gaze in a sexual context, though a factor, but also about how it shifts some cishet Black men’s worldview where they may have nothing but “at least” they aren’t Black women. If Black women are to be loathed, Black men can justify their misogynoir as simply being what everyone else feels about us, and it is what everyone else feels about us. Black men did not invent the hatred of Black women nor do they enact it alone. However, if Black women are not to be loathed and some are even deemed beautiful and valuable—even the ones who don’t meet every Eurocentric bullet point in terms of what “beauty” is—then it shifts the ground for many Black men whose choices and gaze are shaped by misogynoir that remains unchecked. This presents a conflict for them and some have lashed out because of it.

There’s also the issue of the White Gaze where even suggesting that a Black woman is beautiful upsets Whites who think that then means White women are being called “ugly.” They purposely ignore the structural power and privilege difference and even the exposure scale differences in the mainstream for White women versus Black women. When I wrote Yeah, Black Women Are Great. Fin., I made it clear that Black women need the space to celebrate our beauty (and not just aesthetically, though yes, that matters as well when our exterior and interior qualities are degraded on the hour) without the White supremacist notion that not reifying Eurocentric beauty standards at every moment means Black women are somehow “harming” White women or any non-Black women. (The latter can be anti-Black at times and placed “above” Black women, as non-Black women of colour, in terms of beauty, but placed “below” White women. Then there’s the intraracial manifestation of colourism where some light skinned Black women may also reject this cover or dark Black women being considered beautiful as well.)

I’m also aware of those among us Black people who think this cover is as simple as “White approval” yet do not understand how visibility as fully human and recognition matters in the mainstream even as Black people create our own media. This is not an “either/or” situation but a “both/and” one. Representation among the mainstream—as it shapes media, politics and culture, which means it has a great deal of power—is not the desire for interpersonal White favor. It’s the desire for the affirmation of humanity so that we are not punished for not being viewed as human. We may not need Whites’ “approval” of us in the mainstream but we most certainly cannot afford Whites’ dehumanization of us in the mainstream. 

While I am not a fan of People and I most certainly don’t read it regularly, I’m also aware of what representation means. Lupita mentioned the importance of representation for Black girls, especially, in a previous speech at Essence Magazine’s 7th Annual Black Women In Hollywood luncheon:

And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shame in Black beauty.

Representation as human, as beautiful and as relevant matters for Black women, especially dark Black women (in this case; in other cases Black trans women, fat Black women etc.). Lupita can have this moment without the suggestion that it somehow “harms” Black men (as if their gaze has to matter to Black women at all times) or White women (as if they cannot love themselves unless Black women hate ourselves; well…hmm), without the suggestion that it means Black people no longer care about the media and content that we create ourselves (because let’s be crystal clear here, the mainstream pilfers Black creativity and culture anyway) or any other nonsensical or cruel suggestion meant to harm Black women that everyone was taught to hate. Lupita is clearly at a point of a great deal of self-love. A lot of Black women are. And we deserve to be. 

I hope Lupita continues to thrive in her career (the acting one); I look forward to seeing her in any visual media (even as small as her Instagram). This People announcement as “Most Beautiful” made Lupita happy, as she tweeted, so I am (and many people are) happy for her. Congrats to Lupita Nyong’o. 

Related Essay Compilation: On Beauty Politics

Related Post: Black Women Do Not Have To Reject Any Mention Of Beauty To Be Womanist/Feminist

(via ttfkagb)

Image
angelaannn:

Where was this when I was studying for my college placement tests

angelaannn:

Where was this when I was studying for my college placement tests

(via anastasiajeanettemarie)

Text

satisfysez said: Do you guys have a twitter?

Yes! It’s @blktechies.

It’s mostly Tumblr stuff tho. Don’t forget I work here. :)

Text

Something’s been biting at me…

Can I make a confession?

When I started the Black Techies, it was because I didn’t even think there were that many black nerds.

You have proven me totally wrong. Over and over again. There are so many more nerds and geeks and whatever self-ascribed terms we choose than I ever expected to meet.

I feel like I need to pivot what the Black Techies is about. I feel like the change needs to make sure our culture sustains itself.

I started the group to try to get more black people interested in programming. But now, I want the group to be about building technology and keeping that wealth in our community. I want the group to grow more businesses and to fund our interests. BUT, this means moving from an educational focus to an action-and-economics-based focus.

Honestly, I’m terrified because it’s changing our “core mission”. But I don’t think anyone is addressing that need (of economics and taking action).

Am I way off base here? Please let me know what you think.

kylewpppd

Photo Set

cpshoes:

March 20th Should Be International Shoe Day. 

I pronounce March 20th to be International Shoe Day because I love shoes, and it’s my birthday, and making pronouncements is the kind of thing one can do on their birthday…

Really though, in addition to being my birthday, March 20th should be International Shoe Day because it is the day that Jan E. Matzeliger received a patent for his shoe lasting machine in 1883 and soon completely revolutionized the shoe industry.

Jan Matzeliger was a black immigrant to the United States from the Dutch colony of Suriname. He arrived at age 19 speaking no English and having very little education. He settled in Lynn, Massachusetts and got a job doing maintenance work in a shoe factory. By age 30, Matzeliger had invented and patented the machine that allowed for the rapid production of high quality shoes - the shoe lasting machine.

Prior to the mid 1880s, most shoes were made entirely by hand. A shoe “last” was a model of a particular person’s foot, and these lasts were made so that shoes could be made to fit well. Shoe lasters were individuals who shaped the shoe and put the upper and lower parts of the shoe together. Such detailed and tedious work was commonly thought to be the toughest part of shoe making, and, of course, such work could only be done with human hands. Before the introduction of Matzeliger’s innovation, shoe making was a specialized skill, and expert shoe makers produced approximately 50 pairs of shoes per day.

Matzeliger’s shoe lasting machine held a shoe on a last, pulled the leather down around the shoe’s heel, set and drove in the nails, and then pushed out the finished shoes. With this new machine, 700 could be produced in a day. 700. That’s a 1300% increase. Forget incremental change, that’s a game-changer. In addition to drastically increasing high quality shoe production, the shoe lasting machine cut shoe prices in half, and it created tremendous opportunities for the employment of more unskilled workers.

So, when you go into a DSW or a Payless or check out Zappos.com and see what seems like endless low-cost footwear possibilities, thank Jan Matzeliger and his shoe lasting machine. Though the shoe industry looks much different than it did  when Matzelinger’s invention was popularized in factories, many of those more current innovations would not have been possible without his machine. One machine that made shoes available to people world wide. I am telling you, March 20th should be the International Shoe Day.

Image
If you’re in NYC this stuff is for you!
nycedc:

This Week in NYC Tech is a NYCEDC weekly series that features interesting happenings in the New York tech community. Events are curated from what we see around the Internet. Get plugged in!
Tuesday, March 18
NYC Tech Breakfast, 8 am
At this monthly breakfast get-together techies, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs share learn from their peers through show and tell / show-case style presentations.
Getting Started with Wordpress, 6:30 - 8 pm
Beginner to intermediate course for those seeking an easy, user-friendly way to set up and maintain a website. Held at the Made in NY Media Center, this class will walk through the basics of getting your site live quickly.
NYEdTechStartup Showcase 2014, 7 - 9 pm
Come and hear what New York Ed Tech startups are working on. See the community demonstrate how they’re solving some of education’s challenges with innovative and scalable technologies. Presenting companies include Credly, MakerState, MarcoPolo, Mediathread, and Pear Deck. 
Brooklyn iOS Developer Meetup, 7 pm
Join Etsy, TENDIGI, and Ultravisual for a night of iOS tools and tips. 
Wednesday, March 19
2014 New York City Clean Tech Open Northeast Kickoff Party, 5:30 pm
Entrepreneurs, students, savvy technologists, investors, professions, and other interested parties welcome! Join for an amazing night of clean tech community networking with a special focus on the upcoming Cleantech Open 2014 Accelerator program. 
Hardwired NYC #8, 5:45 pm
Join the Hardwired NYC Meetup group at Digital for this month’s speakers including Raymond Velez, the global CTO of Razorfish and Bein Einstein, creator of 3Doodler, the world’s first 3D-printing pen. 
NYC Pyladies Coding Potluck, 7 pm
Tipping Point Partners has invited PyLadies to hang out and code. Female python coders can bring their laptop. Everyone who comes will be working on a tutorial or their personal projects. 
Building a Brooklyn Network: Resources for Every BK Entrepreneur, 7 pm
The Brooklyn Entrepreneurs group invites entrepreneurs to join them at the Huge offices in Dumbo for a chance to Build Your Brooklyn Network. The event will consist of high-energy short presentations and free drinks. This time, they’ll be showcasing the best of BK networking resources: a handpicked group of the best co-working spaces and city-wide resource centers from across the borough. 
Thursday, March 20
Silicon Harlem Tech Talk, 5:30 pm
For Women’s History Month, Silicon Harlem is celebrating Women in Tech. Featured guest is Andrea Taylor of Microsoft.  Tech Talk will hosted by The Honorable Charles B. Rangel, who will be on hand to support the efforts of Silicon Harlem and help transform the community into a Tech and Innovation hub. March 20, 2014.
March Demo Night- NYC Media Startups, 6:30 pm
Join CUNY for March Demo Night, featuring exciting new media startups: 29th Street Publishing, The Howler, BKLYNR, RebelMouse, and Camayak
Startup Strategies - Asian Women on the Forefront, 6 pm
Asian Women In Business will be focusing on Asian women entrepreneurs who are at various stages of business development, some are self-funded and others have received multiple rounds of funding. Join us at Google to meet and listen to a panel of startups, women with undeniable passion and fortitude, who are in the midst of it all.
Friday, March 21
DUMBO Tech Breakfast Meetup, 8:30 am
Grab some food and talk tech.
Techstravaganza NYC 2014, 8:00 - 5:00 pm
The New York City Techstravaganza event is an annual IT Pro TechEd-type event being held at the NYC Microsoft office on Friday March 21st, 2014. The event will run from 8am-5pm and will include breakfast and lunch for attendees. $10 charge for attendees.

If you’re in NYC this stuff is for you!

nycedc:

This Week in NYC Tech is a NYCEDC weekly series that features interesting happenings in the New York tech community. Events are curated from what we see around the Internet. Get plugged in!

Tuesday, March 18

NYC Tech Breakfast, 8 am

At this monthly breakfast get-together techies, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs share learn from their peers through show and tell / show-case style presentations.

Getting Started with Wordpress, 6:30 - 8 pm

Beginner to intermediate course for those seeking an easy, user-friendly way to set up and maintain a website. Held at the Made in NY Media Center, this class will walk through the basics of getting your site live quickly.

NYEdTechStartup Showcase 2014, 7 - 9 pm

Come and hear what New York Ed Tech startups are working on. See the community demonstrate how they’re solving some of education’s challenges with innovative and scalable technologies. Presenting companies include Credly, MakerState, MarcoPolo, Mediathread, and Pear Deck. 

Brooklyn iOS Developer Meetup, 7 pm

Join Etsy, TENDIGI, and Ultravisual for a night of iOS tools and tips. 

Wednesday, March 19

2014 New York City Clean Tech Open Northeast Kickoff Party, 5:30 pm

Entrepreneurs, students, savvy technologists, investors, professions, and other interested parties welcome! Join for an amazing night of clean tech community networking with a special focus on the upcoming Cleantech Open 2014 Accelerator program. 

Hardwired NYC #8, 5:45 pm

Join the Hardwired NYC Meetup group at Digital for this month’s speakers including Raymond Velez, the global CTO of Razorfish and Bein Einstein, creator of 3Doodler, the world’s first 3D-printing pen. 

NYC Pyladies Coding Potluck, 7 pm

Tipping Point Partners has invited PyLadies to hang out and code. Female python coders can bring their laptop. Everyone who comes will be working on a tutorial or their personal projects. 

Building a Brooklyn Network: Resources for Every BK Entrepreneur, 7 pm

The Brooklyn Entrepreneurs group invites entrepreneurs to join them at the Huge offices in Dumbo for a chance to Build Your Brooklyn Network. The event will consist of high-energy short presentations and free drinks. This time, they’ll be showcasing the best of BK networking resources: a handpicked group of the best co-working spaces and city-wide resource centers from across the borough. 

Thursday, March 20

Silicon Harlem Tech Talk, 5:30 pm

For Women’s History Month, Silicon Harlem is celebrating Women in Tech. Featured guest is Andrea Taylor of Microsoft.  Tech Talk will hosted by The Honorable Charles B. Rangel, who will be on hand to support the efforts of Silicon Harlem and help transform the community into a Tech and Innovation hub. March 20, 2014.

March Demo Night- NYC Media Startups, 6:30 pm

Join CUNY for March Demo Night, featuring exciting new media startups: 29th Street Publishing, The Howler, BKLYNR, RebelMouse, and Camayak

Startup Strategies - Asian Women on the Forefront, 6 pm

Asian Women In Business will be focusing on Asian women entrepreneurs who are at various stages of business development, some are self-funded and others have received multiple rounds of funding. Join us at Google to meet and listen to a panel of startups, women with undeniable passion and fortitude, who are in the midst of it all.

Friday, March 21

DUMBO Tech Breakfast Meetup, 8:30 am

Grab some food and talk tech.

Techstravaganza NYC 2014, 8:00 - 5:00 pm

The New York City Techstravaganza event is an annual IT Pro TechEd-type event being held at the NYC Microsoft office on Friday March 21st, 2014. The event will run from 8am-5pm and will include breakfast and lunch for attendees. $10 charge for attendees.

Video

joeacollege:

FREEDOM ACCORDING TO NINA SIMONE: One of my favorite clips of Nina! I love how she allows her epiphany to baffle her. This is Nina just being herself, Eunice

Thought of the day from Nina Simone: what is freedom?

Are we free now? What do we need to do to get free?