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LA Complex Mid Season Finale: Is Kal & Tariq’s Relationship Just Entertainment Or Reinforcing Racist Stereotypes About Black Gay Men?

                       

I am concerned about the representation of Kal and Tariq’s relationship on LA Complex. I am cognizant that Kal is a rapper in the closet but why does Kal and Tariq’s relationship have to be abusive? Why does Kal beat Tariq that’s not love that’s domestic violence!

Why are black men being depicted as violent? I think violence at the end is weird and abhorrent!

Why does Kal have to be a rap artist? I think that’s just lazy writing so a black gay man has to be on the down low? Give me a break!  Why couldn’t Kal and Tariq be country western singers or something else? I don’t know but the whole hip hop industry thing reeks of racism.

One argument is the writers of LA Complex are illustrating gay relationships can be toxic and violent just like heterosexual relationships.

However, since there is a paucity of black gay men on television aren’t the LA Complex writers reinforcing racist and sexist stereotypes about black gay men?

Are the writers of LA Complex trying to say black gay love is violent? Would the writers of LA Complex write a white gay couple in this negative light? I doubt two white gay guys would have a violent relationship on Canadian television.

White homosexual characters in films and on television are depicted as loving and romantic. By contrast, a black gay couple’s relationship is depicted as abusive which makes me sick!

I abhor violence and to see Tariq in a pool of blood at the end of the scene makes me want to vomit!

CD Review: E=MC2 Is An Outstanding Album

Is Mariah Carey just a dizzy moron with a big voice? Is Mariah just a flake with no emotional core or center? If you pay attention to the news articles you would swear there is a tinge of anger mixed with jealousy after Mariah shattered Elvis Presley’s record. Thank goodness Mariah surpassed Elvis. I am a bit sick of Elvis Presley to be honest I just don’t think he’s as talented as the media claims. Mariah Carey is much more talented then Elvis. It is wonderful that Mariah Carey a woman of colour shattered Elvis record this is an incredible achievement. Mariah Carey is here to stay and if people don’t recognize they better wake up now and get with the program.

What is so special about Elvis Presley anyway? Elvis wasn’t that great a singer he had a couple good songs but that’s it. Why are some music critics so bitter? The negativity towards Mariah Carey is pathetic and immature. Mariah has surpassed Elvis with the most number one hit singles for a solo artist she currently has eighteen number one hits. Mariah is currently in second place behind the Beatles they have twenty number one hit songs. The Beatles were huge long before my time I just can’t relate to them. I think in terms of cultural resonance and importance the Beatles are superior to Elvis. Elvis is supposed to be considered a huge legend. I view Elvis a bit differently he was at the right place at the right time.

Part of Elvis popularity is the fact he appropriated African American rhythm and blues sounds to make it palatable to a mainstream audience. Justin Timberlake’s popularity is similar to Elvis he’s a white male singer that had some soul. Elvis was attractive and indeed talented. So why the scorn against Mariah Carey? The fact is many music critics are also middle aged male snobs. The hypocrisy is some of these male music critics have a problem with Mariah Carey because she is a very beautiful and very talented woman. Mariah isn’t just a pretty face she knows the music industry she has worked very hard for her success. In fact, Mariah has also survived numerous lawsuits by frivolous people attempting to discredit her songwriting skills. Mariah Carey has the skills she knows how to write radio friendly hit songs.

Mariah has gone through an evolution some fans complain about Mariah working with hip hop artists. Where have these people been? Mariah has been working with rap artists since 1995! Mariah is a shrewd business woman she knows hip hop is the music that young people gravitate towards she’s not messing with a winning formula. On E=MC2 Mariah mixes the ballads, with the club bangers and mid tempo songs. In the early days of Mariah’s career she was considered adult contemporary pop music but that wasn’t the real Mariah Carey she loves hip hop. I will admit when I was younger I wasn’t a Mariah Carey fan I just wasn’t interested in the elevator music she used to sing in the early 1990s.

Mariah Carey can actually sing really sing she has a multi octave range. When Mariah started her music career in the early 1990s she was criticized for being a technically proficient singer without the emotional core. It is true in the beginning of Mariah career she she simply had a huge vocal range and that’s it but Mariah has changed for the better. Now Mariah is a lot smarter she has more restraint on her voice she lowers the range when necessary to convey the lyrics. There is no need to shout a song lyric that’s not good singing that’s just being stupid.

Being a good singer isn’t just about a big vocal range, a singer is an artist that can convey emotions to the audience transcend the lyrics and make the words have meaning. Christina Aguliera and Beyonce Knowles are good technical singers but they haven’t matured and learned how to really sing. A good singer doesn’t just scream a lyric at the top of her lungs to convey emotion to make a point. A talented singer can twist the words make certain lyrics have an emotional core.

For instance, Billie Holiday may not be considered the best technical singer but she was an incredible emotive singer because she had the ability to discern how take turn the lyrics and make them magic. Words are just words they mean nothing if the singer doesn’t provide some “feelings” behind the words. Mariah Carey has progressed in her career she doesn’t feel the need to belt out multi octave songs because she is now concentrating on the emotional aspect of singing.

On the track “side effects” Mariah sings about waking up at night thinking about the “violent times” with her ex husband and she still feels the “side effects”. I was shocked when Mariah sings the line “the private hell we built”. Mariah doesn’t just write songs for herself she writes for her fans letting people know you can get out of a difficult abusive relationship. On the track “I’m That Chick” the song has a disco groove it is just mellifluous and wonderful. The song “Touch My Body” the current number one hit is about Mariah letting her lover know she prefers her love life to be private. The lyrics are playful, sensual, without being trashy.

“For The Record” is a song about wanting to go back in time dreaming, thinking about a lost love and wanting the lover back. Anyone that has ever loved someone but secretly thinks about their former flames can relate to this song. We always told to not talk about “ex lovers” because it is viewed as a sign of weakness.

Mariah Carey has dealt with sexism in the music industry and judging from the reviews I have read the sexism continues. From the beginning of Mariah Carey’s career she has always been a songwriter and she resents the fact she doesn’t get respect for her songwriting skills. Why is it so hard for the public to believe a woman can write incredible songs with Mariah’s remarkable consistency? Mariah always has a number one hit for every single album she released in her career with the exception of her two year slump.

Some people forget the movie Glitter and the soundtrack was released on 9/11 this is not an excuse people simply weren’t interested in watching movies or purchasing CDs that week due to the terrorist attacks on New York City. Mariah has more substance then people give her credit for. Mariah Carey is clearly a romantic she believes in love and she sings about the good side of love and the dark side of love. Love is a recurring theme in Mariah’s music but on this album she also sings about forgiveness, death, resentment, and there is a bit of anger on this album too.

On the track “I Wish You Well” Mariah quotes from the bible this gospel song is about moving on from pain. Another incredible track is “bye bye” it is mainly about Mariah’s deceased father but is also a song for anyone that has lost a loved one.

What’s Going On With Janet Jackson?

My goodness,it is amazing how fast things change. Janet Jackson is so talented, intelligent, sultry, and vivacious. I love Janet Jackson and I will always be a fan. I do wonder why the media is still so anti Janet Jackson? Janet Jackson is an icon but she’s also a Jackson. Janet is also Michael Jackson’s younger sister.

The North American media attitude against Janet Jackson is deleterious. Since the Super Bowl incident Janet’s music career hasn’t been the same she has been punished. For instance, Janet has been banned from pop radio. An artist needs radio to reach specific demographics. The Jacksons are a legendary family. Now you have white artists such as Justin Timberlake copying Michael Jackson’s sound, dance moves, and image. Britney Spears has admitted Janet is one of her idols she mimics Janet all the time. Beyonce, Ciara, Rihanna, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera, have all copied Janet Jackson.

I hope Island Records gives Janet a second single and video at least. Janet deserves a chance to shine. I am very disappointed with the promotion of “Discipline”. Janet is being treated so unfairly by Island Records. It appears to me Mariah Carey is getting all the publicity attention and money from Island while Janet is being treated like dirt.

I don’t have a problem with Mariah I am a fan of her work. I just feel so bad for Janet right now its got to hurt that Mariah is doing so well and her career is fading into dust. I own “The Emancipation Of Mimi”. I don’t understand why Jermaine Dupri works so well with Mariah and not Janet? Mariah and Jermaine just click with their music. Why isn’t Jermaine able to duplicate the success with Janet? Jermaine ruined Janet’s last studio album 20 Y.O. all the crunk that’s not Janet’s sound. Janet is a mixture of R&B and pop that’s her signature sound.

I honestly believe Discipline is a solid album I love this new album. I don’t get it? Why is Janet not connecting with the public? Perhaps it is radio maybe radio stations aren’t playing Janet anymore due to ageism? I don’t know what’s going on? Also I think sexism is the culprit here. R Kelly is 40 years old he’s an R&B legend he sings about sex and not one newspaper or magazine has criticized R Kelly for singing about sex. So why are men allowed to be sexual but women cannot?

I remember at the beginning of the decade Janet Jackson was on top of the world. The Velvet Rope world tour was a huge smash and the All For You album and tour was very successful. Mariah and Janet are both signed to Island records. Mariah has her 18th number one single “Touch My Body” surpassing Elvis for second spot in the rock era. Meanwhile, Janet Jackson’s new album “Discipline” isn’t doing well.

Discipline isn’t selling very well in North America. Janet is hot if she wants to sing about sex more power to her. I just think perhaps now even I can admit maybe Janet needs to change her image a bit? Maybe Janet needs a complete image make over she needs to try something original and different. I don’t mind Janet talking about sex but she needs to do something contstructive with her talents. Perhaps Janet should continue acing again?

I Love India Arie!

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I love India Arie her third album “Testimony Vol 1: Life & Relationship”! India Arie’s third album debut at the number one spot on Billboard in the summer of 2006. “Testimony Vol 1: Life& Relationship” has been very successful reaching platinum status and selling close to two million copies worldwide. The high debut and solid sales are very important. It demonstrated India Arie is a force in the music industry and a black woman doesn’t have to change herself to obtain record sales. India Arie is very important not just to black women but everyone and the music industry. India Arie proves you don’t have to lose your integrity or dignity to have a successful career.

Some people have tried to insult India Arie by calling her the “Oprah” of music. So what if India Arie is positive? Sometimes when I feel depressed and miserable I listen to India Arie she makes me feel better. I admire India Arie for her courage to actually think outside of the box. The music industry is all about paradigms and following trends. India Arie has found her own niche and it works for her. India Arie has her own path. I also love the fact India Arie can play the guitar she reminds me of Tracy Chapman but she is less melancholic. I wonder if India Arie will move beyond a mixture of folk and R&B and release a full length folk album?

Don’t we have enough grief in our lives and this world? What’s wrong with a little bit of love? India Arie’s music is very positive and why not? Why should music always be depressing all the time. India Arie is all about helping the public to realize we should be thankful for being alive. Since we are alive we can make changes to our lives to make it better.

There is nothing wrong with examining ourselves and questioning how we can help the world. India Arie is all about exploring the internal side of ourselves the side some people refuse to share with other people. We have feelings of darkness, pain, sadness in our lives. What’s wrong with trying to overcome the unhappiness and grief?

Another reason why I love India Arie is because she is proud of her blackness. So often in pop culture we see black women such as Mary J Blige, Tyra Banks, and Beyonce Knowles with their lace front blonde weaves. The question is what messages are these black entertainers sending to the public? Mary J Blige talks about “real love” yet girlfriend has been rocking the same blonde weave since 1992!

Its like girlfriend get a new hair style! India Arie is all about natural hair but she says its okay to wear a weave and she’s right. Everyone has a right too style their own hair anyway they want to. I am just glad India Arie exists because she is demonstrating to black people and the world that black is beautiful.

I love Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson but I must admit I don’t feel they have dealt with the internal struggles with their blackness. Why did Janet get the unnecessary nose job? Janet Jackson’s original nose is beautiful. Why has Michael had multiple nose jobs and bleached his skin yet continue to deny the truth? My sister says Janet’s nose looks jacked up. Michael Jackson is a completely different story this guy needs a therapist. India Arie is heading to Broadway this summer in New York City she will be in Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”.

Blair Underwood Is Still A Hunk! Watch Blair on HBO “In Treatment”

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My crush on Blair Underwood started in the late 1980s when I was just a kid. I remember watching L.A. Law and I was mesmerized in a trance with Blair. I love Blair so much. I imagined one day Blair and I would be married. I can picture our wedding in Los Angeles because Toronto is just so cold right now. The wedding would take place in June on a bright Saturday afternoon. The sunlight would shine on us during our moment of true happiness. Our glorious day would take place in a garden with violins, cellos, violas, playing softly in the background. We are wearing matching tuxedos and Blair kisses me gently on my lips our destiny sealed forever.

Fantasies are always fun and Blair is so cute, so talented he was amazing on L.A. Law. I mean look at this man he is so sexy with his sweet chocolate lips. Blair never did have another breakout role although he does work consistently. I always wondered why Blair never became a superstar like Will Smith or Denzel Washington? Smith and Washington are definitely attractive but I find both to be kind of bland and boring. Blair is just so sexy and kind of mysterious too. I kind of wish Blair had taken on more complex roles when he was younger.

Blair is back on television on a new HBO show called “In Treatment”.For most of Blair’s career his characters have always been the perfect black man. I must admit there was a time when I was sick of Blair Underwood because he simply wasn’t choosing the right roles. I understand Blair wanted to take on positive roles but every actor needs some diversity. I think for a while Blair was typecast as the noble black man.

I am so pleased that on Blair’s new show “In Treatment” his character Alex is more layered, complex, and not perfect. Blair’s character Alex is a navy fighter pilot with a troubled past. The format of the show is Gabriel Byrne the psychiatrist meets regularly with five patients and Blair’s character Alex is one of his patients. I sincerely hope Blair continues to take on more challenging roles.

Why Is Playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s Lesbianism Still A Secret In 2008?

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The ABC television movie, “A Raisin In The Sun,” will be broadcast on February 25th 2008 at 8:00pm. The television film fulfills the black quota for “black history month”. Pop star Sean Combs. is the protagonist Walter Lee Younger. The title of the movie refers to black gay poet Langston Hughes poem “Harlem”.

African American lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s legendary play, once again, will be brought back to television to reach a new generation next week. Hansberry was the first black lesbian playwright to have a play produced on Broadway in 1959. “A Raisin In the Sun” was a huge success for Hansberry and launched her career.

The general public of course does not know that Lorraine Hansberry was a lesbian due to homophobia. Why is black lesbianism considered “private” yet “heterosexuality” is a part of the public domain? Although Hansberry married a white Jewish man, Robert Nemiroff in 1953, the couple separated in 1957 and divorced in 1964.Hansberry was conscious of her lesbian identity and she negotiated between the public and private spheres. Black lesbians encountered racism from the mainstream, white gay culture, and also persecution from heterosexual blacks.

Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbian identity emerges from the articles she wrote for the lesbian publication “The Ladder” in the late 1950s. Hansberry did not use her full name when she wrote articles for “The Ladder” she used her initials L.H. instead. In the 1950s, in America, gays and lesbians lived in fear due to witch hunts against homosexuals. Black lesbian women encountered a triple form of oppression in relation to their race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Can you imagine the difficulties black lesbians endured in the 1950s? Homosexuality was still considered a mental illness that can be cured. The topic of human sexuality was still taboo in the 1950s. America was sexually repressed due to heterosexual male domination and male supremacy. The racial and sexual apartheid existed in the United States and black lesbians lived in constant danger due to racism, sexism and homophobia. The civil rights and gay movements did not gather strength until the 1960s.

Black lesbians encountered racism from white lesbians and were barred from entering white lesbian bars and establishments during the 1950s. Black lesbians also endured gender discrimination due to being women and unwanted sexual advances of dangerous, violent, and hostile heterosexual men.

Hansberry was indeed a lesbian but this important component of black queer history should not be erased by the homophobic Occidental world. Heterosexual black publications always ignore the important fact Hansberry was a lesbian. I didn’t know Lorraine Hansberry was a lesbian until I read lesbian activist, feminist, poet, and writer Adrienne Rich’s incisive essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”. Rich’s analysis is correct society attempts to erase, diminish, and destroy the contributions of lesbians in many ways. I believe the silence about Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbianism is due to the negative attitude that still exists against homosexuals.

Why is the term lesbianism treated like a scatological word? One argument is some straights believe “it doesn’t matter” and if people discover that Lorraine Hansberry was a black lesbian it might “scare people off” from watching the movie. Why is there this invisible code and this silent barrier? If black lesbian emancipation is to occur why is black lesbianism still a social taboo? Society appears to have a love and hate relationship with lesbianism.

The political, cultural, social, and artistic merits of black lesbians such as Lorraine Hansberry must be celebrated and not treated as some shameful abhorrent secret. It is the year 2008 so why are we still reticent? Why hasn’t this final chasm been shattered and the truth still shrouded in silence? Lorraine Hansberry proves that black gay people care about the black community.

Often heterosexual blacks believe black gays and lesbians only focus on sexual orientation and ignore race. Lorraine Hansberry proves through art that she was cognizant of the racial, social and political polemics blacks endured during the civil rights era. “A Raisin In The Sun”, is about a fictional story about a black family struggling to survive in 1950s Chicago at a time when America’s social and racial apartheid was at full strength.

Virtually all the articles published about “A Raisin In The Sun” always mentions Lorraine Hansberry’s race and her gender but excludes her sexual orientation. The question is why? It appears in the year 2008 homophobia reigns supreme. Lesbianism is more then just a sexual act there is more to lesbianism then just sex. Lesbians are women that are not sexually attracted to men but there is an illogical fear of lesbianism in society that lesbians are anti male.

Lorraine Hansberry lived a double life a life where she constantly was in fear that the heterosexist matrix would discriminate against her since she was a black lesbian. The real Lorraine Hansberry is blurred between the printed lines of “A Raisin In The Sun”. The sentences, paragraphs, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and doubt, lives in Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking play. “A Raisin In The Sun” is about emancipation and personal determination I believe this also relates to the struggles gays and lesbians encounter. Perhaps Hansberry used her play as a metaphor to explore the internal struggles she endured during her own life?

Lorraine Hansberry’s incredible groundbreaking play proves that black gay and lesbian people were cognizant of the struggles blacks endured in the mid 20th century. Hansberry wanted to bring a greater awareness to the incredible racism, sexism, and economic discrimination African Americans experienced in the United States.

Lorraine Hansberry is very important she shattered an artistic and cultural barrier in the performing arts. It is such a disservice to ignore Hansberry was a lesbian. Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbian identity should not be concealed in the shadows and be treated as an afterthought. I believe it is imperative, and crucial that there be a dialogue about how Hansberry’s play relates to her lesbian identity. It is simply disgraceful that the mainstream press to ignore and attempt to erase the importance of lesbianism in Lorraine Hansberry’s life and art.

The articles Lorraine Hansberry wrote for “The Ladder” are very passionate and powerful she wrote about the struggles she endured as a black lesbian woman in the mid 20th century. Legendary African American actors Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier were the stars of the original stage version of the play and the 1961 feature film. Sadly, Lorraine Hansberry died in her prime at the tender age of thirty four in 1965 due to pancreatic cancer. Lorraine Hansberry died at a very young age she was such an incredible talent.

The press have showered the movie with a lot of praise saying the three hour film is a testament of Hansberry’s incredible talent. The cast includes Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, Audra McDonald, and the omnipotent Sean Combs. I will admit I might take a peek at the movie. However, I am not impressed that Sean Combs or P Diddy or whatever that guy calls himself is the star of the film. I wanted a younger black male actor to be the star of the movie.

The crisis in black Hollywood is the paucity of film roles available for young black actors. I am sure some black actors are seething right now that Sean Combs is the star of the film. In white Hollywood you rarely ever see a “singer” attain a prestigious movie role these days. Can you imagine Jon Bon Jovi as the star in a movie about Elvis? So why is there a double standard for black Hollywood? Why do untalented bottom feeders such as Sean Combs get to the be star of such an important movie?

I really feel for the talented young black male actors that are training hard at various universities, colleges, theater programs, across North America and the world. The only reason Sean Combs was hired is due to greed. The producers and director behind the television film believe Combs can generate huge ratings for ABC television. ABC television will hype this movie to the maximum I just believe a talented and much younger black actor should of chosen for the male lead.

The lead in “A Raisin In The Sun” Walter Lee Younger is a young black man and Sean Combs is thirty eight years old. Since Combs in thirty eight one argument is he can bring “maturity” to the role. However, I believe the feeling of naivety and optimism is diminished for the character Walter Lee Younger due to Combs advanced age.

A younger black male actor possibly someone between the ages of twenty five to perhaps thirty two should of been chosen for the role. Combs is simply not talented enough and too old for the part. Combs is also a rap artist he’s a wannabe actor he is not a serious dramatic actor. I have so much sympathy for the talented black actors that want to become stars in Hollywood but are not given the opportunity.

Why does Hollywood continue to insult the audience and cast these talentless flakes such as Sean Combs in such prestigious roles? The barriers for black actors in Hollywood are incredible there are limited opportunities to advance up the Hollywood star system. Twenty five years ago perhaps an unknown black male actor would of been chosen for the lead role. Hollywood is profit driven and the ideology is since Sean Combs already is successful in various demographics his fans will fans will flock to watch the movie. However, does talent not matter anymore?

Why do young blacks in Hollywood have to always be singers or dancers in order to breakthrough and get the big movie roles? Beyonce just won the lead role in a biopic about the legendary singer Etta James. I cringe because Beyonce is not an actress she needs acting lessons. Beyonce cannot act she requires an acting coach and numerous hours to learning the craft of acting.

Young talented unknown black actors are being disrespected and ignored. A young black male actor with talent would of been electrifying in the role of Walter Lee Younger. A young black actor could of brought pathos, complexity, sensitivity, and range to this very important role. Unfortunately, Hollywood is now all about profit margins, ratings, and the craft of acting is now secondary. The only glimmer of hope is that young people will learn more about Lorraine Hansberry and gain an appreciation for her incredible talent.

I Hope Neo Ned Is Released In 2008?

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I have heard some rumors that the controversial independent drama Neo Ned may be released on DVD in 2008? People are constantly complaining that black actresses never get serious dramatic roles. I think it is very sad that such an important film hasn’t found distribution. According to some discussions on the internet the controversial issue about the “Hitler factor” and the interracial romance theme is the reason “Neo Ned” hasn’t been released. I guess I am waiting in vain perhaps? Oh well, I hope I can see this film on DVD one day hopefully sometime this year?

Gabrielle’s character Rachel is a complex, intelligent, and depressed young black woman she believes the soul of Hitler is trapped in her body. Rachel is a survivor of sexual abuse and she only actually “pretends” that the soul of Hitler is in her body.

Yes, Neo Ned is a bit out there but this is a thought provoking independent film. Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union have both received incredible reviews for their outstanding performances in Neo Ned. Neo Ned has received some glowing reviews from the Los Angeles Times, Variety, International Herald Tribune, and other publications.

Neo Ned isn’t just a film about a white male Neo Nazi falling in love with a black woman that believes the soul of Hitler is in her body. The film appears to be challenging and thought  provoking.  Visit http://www.neoned.com and read the reviews for yourself. Neo Ned is about two damaged souls, two people that first meet in a mental institution and fall in love. Although in the end Ned and Rachel realize they may be too different to make the romance work.

If Neo Ned is only released on DVD then I will purchase the movie anyway. I just think its a sad that Neo Ned hasn’t found distribution yet? I have hope that Neo Ned will hopefully be released this this year.

DVD Review: My Beautiful Laundrette

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Monday afternoon my friend suggested I borrow his DVD copy of the film “My Beautiful Laundrette”. I was hesitant at first because I thought the film was going to be another classic white savior movie. I notice a theme in a lot of interracial films that the person of colour always needs empowerment from the white person. Some interracial films present the false notion that interracial relationships are fighting racism. However, some interracial relationships are based on racism because of the racist assumptions one race has about another.

Whiteness is depicted as better in many interracial movies and as superior to communities of colour. The subversive vein of racism is in order for people of colour to have better lives we need white partners.

The person of colour’s family life is often framed as originating from an oppressive culture and the European culture is presented as the only solution. White culture is depicted as open minded and perfect. “My Beautiful Laundrette”, challenges this racist notion that communities of colour are always oppressive. It is so wonderful to actually see the reverse in “My Beautiful Laundrette”.

In “My Beautiful Laundrette”, the South Asian families are actually just as prejudiced as the white British people. The  Pakistani family in the film view lower class white people as inferior and lazy unwilling to work hard to move up the social ladder. I am happy to announce that “My Beautiful Laundrette” is definitely a forward thinking kind of movie.

The film is about a young Pakistani man Omar he lives with his father on welfare in 1980s London. The movie is set in Margaret Thatcher’s England where the racial tensions between the white British community and South Asians are intense. Omar dreams of a better life. his father is an alcoholic and his mother is deceased. Omar’s uncle Nasser introduces him to a new life and his ambition grows he wants the capitalist dream of material wealth. Omar believes money will give him happiness.

Omar first starts out washing cars but persuades his Uncle Nasser to let him run his own laundrette. One evening, Omar meets up with an old friend Johnny a young white British man. Johnny is unemployed, unhappy, and homeless. Johnny hangs out with a bunch of street punks that get involved in crimes, use drugs and are disillusioned about life in London. The young white men are upset that their lives aren’t better and make South Asians the targets and scapegoats for their own unhappiness.

The South Asian community in London are working hard and to rise up the social ladder in British society. The young street punks feel left behind and have a sense of entitlement due to the fact they are British.

Omar’s  Uncle Salim he is the villain in the film he gets Omar involved in dirty deeds and is emotionally abusive to Omar. Omar persuades Johnny to help him fix up the Laundrette and gives Johnny a job. Johnny’s self esteem grows he now has a purpose in life and he is conflicted about hanging out with his punk friends that are miserable, racist, and anti social. Omar and Johnny’s feelings for each other grow and they fall in love.

The aspect of the movie I loved the most is  the gay romance is not viewed as a social problem. It is still so rare to see a movie about a South Asian gay man that is the star of the film and being gay is not a source of conflict. “My Beautiful Laundrette” just presents male homosexuality as a part of life. Omar just happens to be gay he doesn’t make a big deal about it and neither should the audience. Gordon Warnecke gives a confident and strong performance as the protagonist Omar. Daniel Day Lewis shines as Omar’s lover Johnny.

The gay romance is tame by twenty first century standards there are a few romantic kisses to illustrate Omar and Johnny are lovers. I love the fact that Omar and Johnny have intimacy to their relationship. Far too often gay movies either conceal the gay romance or are too explicit that it destroys a film. “My Beautiful Laundrette” has a balance that is so charming and cute. Omar and Johnny have a sweet tenderness to their relationship you can tell they are in love just by the way they gently hug or look intensely at each other.

I believe “My Beautiful Laundrette” is indeed superior to other so called big budget gay films that have been released in the last few years. My perspective is if “My Beautiful Laundrette” was made in North America the whole movie would of been worse to treat homosexuality as a social issue. It is simply incredible that “My Beautiful Laundrette” was released in 1985 because the movie is so current and so real.

The main themes about the movie deal with cultural clashes between the South Asian immigrants and white Anglo Saxon population, identity politics, and also class. Class is a main theme in the movie. Omar begins to rise in the class system and starts to become a bit arrogant as well.

Meanwhile, Uncle Nasser is having an affair with a white woman Rachel and his daughter Tania and his wife know about this. Tania is depressed she doesn’t want to live in a patriarchal family and she wishes she had more to do with her life.My only criticism of the film is, I think the Tania character should have more screen time.

The issue of sexism and misogyny was explored to a certain extent. I wanted to know more why Tania was so unhappy? I wished her character was more developed. I feel Tania is just a plot device in the film but maybe this was in the intention of the screenwriter.

Tania confronts Rachel at the opening of the Laundrette and Rachel dumps uncle Nasser. I think Tania is a catalyst for change in the film. Johnny’s friends attack him in the third act of the movie because they feel he is betraying them by trying to become a productive citizen. Uncle Salim is also attacked by the street punks. Tania leaves her family and moves on with her life she wants Johnny to go with her. Johnny refuses Tania’s advances and says he loves Omar and he will not leave him.

Uncle Nasser confronts his fears that his ephemeral relationship with Rachel was doomed because he is so unhappy with his marriage. Omar’s father wants Omar to attend college. Omar and Johnny make it out in the end and remain a couple. I absolutely love this fact that neither Omar or Johnny died.

I cringe every single time a gay movie is released and one of the protagonists has to die. Of course, in real life relationships don’t always work and this has to be explored on film. However, in cinema there is a predilection that gay romances are doomed because the subliminal message is gay romance is inferior to heterosexual love. I recommend “My Beautiful Laundrette” to anyone willing to give a movie a chance that deals with gay love in a funny, clever, intelligent, and serious manner.

Disgraced Track Star Marion Jones Sentenced To Six Months In Prison

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Well the hard times for disgraced track and field star Marion Jones are not over. After Jones admitted to lying she not only has been stripped of her medals. I agree that Jones should be punished but isn’t this a bit extreme? Jones the mother of two young children is now sentenced to six months in prison. My goodness I think that’s kind of harsh. Hasn’t Jones had enough humiliation? However, Jones lied under oath and this is the price she is going to pay. It looks like the USA judicial system really wants to make an example of Ms. Jones.

I wonder will the USA sports media turn up the heat on golden boy of USA cycling Lance Armstrong? I am guessing now Lance Armstrong is always going to claim his innocence. I just do not believe a human can have the super human results Lance Armstrong had in cycling without doping. I don’t think it is possible for a guy coming back from testicular cancer to win the Tour De France seven times in a row. Lance’s friend Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 title. Landis and Armstrong are friends. Landis and Armstrong pledged their allegiance to each other in the media. Suddenly, Armstrong is distancing himself from Landis. I wonder when will Floyd Landis  spill the dirt on Armstrong? I think Landis knows a lot about Armstrong and I think time will tell how much longer Landis will be loyal to his so called friend Lance Armstrong.

The one thing about Marion Jones that kind of makes me have less sympathy for her is that she was so adamant that she wasn’t taking steroids. My mother says you cannot be “wrong and strong”. Marion knew she was wrong nobody forced her to cheat she made that choice and now she must face the consequences for her actions. I remember watching the press conferences and seeing a defiant Jones insist she wasn’t cheating. I knew back then she was lying but my family and friends told me I was wrong. Now this isn’t about what is wrong this is about the system. I saw Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes and I just don’t believe him. I wonder if the USA media will go after Armstrong and Clemens with the same intensity they went after Ms. Jones?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080111/ap_on_sp_ol/oly_run_marion_jones_doping

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