Category: thinkpiece

The Race Card

america, politics, society, thinkpiece April 8, 2020

In this episode, I’m chatting with Saira Rao, an attorney, author, activist, and former candidate for Congress in Colorado’s 1st district.

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Saira Rao and Regina Jackson. Photo: Rebecca Stumpf

Saira is also Co-Founder of Haven Media Organization, a radical digital platform by and for women of color, and Race 2 Dinner, which holds dinners with white, liberal women to help them confront their privilege and racism.

Here’s my conversation with Saira, and how you can connect with her:

Spotify Podcasts

Apple Podcasts

Google Play

Stitcher

Race2Dinner

Haven Media

Saira’s Twitter

Born In The GOP

america, news, podcast, politics, society, thinkpiece February 19, 2020

In this episode, I’m discussing GOP policy, student loan debt, and the Constitution with Gregory Cheadle, formerly a Republican, now running as an Independent for Congress in California’s 1st District. Gregory made headlines with the president when he was referred to as his “African American,” at a 2016 rally.

Here’s our conversation:

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Google Play

Listen on Stitcher

The More Representation, The Better

business, know, society, thinkpiece, youtube January 14, 2020

“I think it’s very important for people to be celebrating all these different types of people because you never know who your customer is going to be.” – Christian Siriano

Historically, the “tried-and-tested” formula in advertising of what’s sexy, smart, or overall, just good, has been very, very white, young, heterosexual, and able-bodied. We see this in the years-long lack of representation of minority groups within media, as well as the perpetuation of stereotypes about women, as docile, overly-emotional sex objects, and men, as powerful, emotionless, head-of-household’s.

Before “taking a chance” on ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘Roots,’ Hollywood’s white, male executives often believed that putting Black people on television wouldn’t be of interest to most Americans–yet, both sitcoms went on the have two of the most viewed episodes in TV history. When it comes to female misrepresentation, feminist activist and advertising researcher Jean Kilbourne has tackled the perniciousness of these beliefs throughout her career; and though improvement has been made since she began her work in the 1960s, gender stereotypes in advertising remain, and creep into our society in much bigger ways. 

Off of TV screens and billboards, we see proof of this in education, wherein history textbooks and leisurely reads alike facilitate the erasure of important events for POC and LGBTQ+ people by the lack of coverage. In 2016, POC accounted for a measly 22% of children’s book characters, though making up more than 40% of the US population in thirteen states alone.

It’s no surprise then, that the lack of representation of all of these groups is also apparent within corporations and the cultures they cultivate. The many fiascos, involving major players like Victoria’s Secret’s former head Ed Razek, celebrity brands, like Kim Kardashian with her now-defunct ‘Kimono’ shapewear, and ubiquitous brands like Nike that represents women in their advertising while facilitating the mistreatment of female athletes within their running program, shows the power of having a diverse chorus of open, and well-informed minds at the head of an operation.

Marketing Exec. Sekinah Brodie points out that “different perspectives and including a variety of people can only help bring out the best in a product or service. When you decide what type of culture you want, listening to your team will help to cultivate that.”

In today’s hyper-social market, wherein your next loyal customer is only an Instagram scroll or soundbite away, what is the point of not creating a team that reflects society as a whole, and has the know-how to inform the brand in a way that widens its reach?

*The author of “The Building of Luxury” is Kyojira Hata

Be You, Unapologetically

love, society, thinkpiece, youtube December 31, 2019

Of all the lessons I’ve gained this year, being ridiculed by those once closest to me taught me the most.

A former friend criticized me for my aspirations. A few scoffed at my choice to be areligious. Others tried to slut shame me, then shame me for regarding the slut shaming as grounds to end the relationship; apparently, belittling by “friends” is something to be accepted. Somehow, even the music I like listening to was brought to question.

Someone I dated tried to tell me I wasn’t doing enough in my career–while knowing that I had been booked to film a TV show for MTV. Even the thought of being featured on an MTV show was ‘trashy’ to them. I could probably write a book about the litany of things they generally disapproved of, but I’m trying wholeheartedly to stop self-shaming for ever having dated them.

Another, tried to pressure me into getting a tattoo, over and over again, unsuccessfully. Needless to say, they’re still blocked.

Family members often expressed wanting me to have a traditional career with “security.” Apparently, staying the course, while living out your passion isn’t impressive.

All of these things happened this year, and I found most of them to be laughable,  but a few of them really hurt me to the core. But, it helped me to realize that whether you know the person or not, the second that they can’t wrap their head around something that you like, are passionate about, or are aspiring to, they will ridicule you.

I laugh at how none of the things on their laundry list of critiques is harmful to me or them. I laugh at how any of them truly believed that they had enough power over me to change what I wanted to do. But I’m hurt by the notion that, me simply being me, and liking the things that I like, was rejected.

And though some of the things honestly made me cry, I’m happy that their ugly words taught me the beauty in simply being who I want to be, and no one else.

I’m happy that this year has taught me to not be afraid to be different, after I experienced a barrage of “you should do this,” “or be more like that,” and saw it as nothing more than bullshit. The strength I’ve gained in being myself has given me the strength to tell you this:

Creating Your Happiness

happiness, lifestyle, mental health, society, thinkpiece December 18, 2019
"What would your younger self not believe about your life today?"

A simple question from “we’re not really strangers” spurred a thought within me. And though the occurrence could’ve struck me as mundane, given the mass of thoughts I bombard myself with on a regular basis, I found myself in awe of my answer:

“…how much happiness I’ve created for myself.”

It wasn’t what I had found–as I might a passion, or, hell, even a soulmate, but, how much happiness I actually self-manufactured day-in-and-day-out. It’s a bizarre revolution–one that both uplifts, and saddens you, because all around you, powerful propaganda asserts that happiness isn’t self-created. Society has worked for centuries to make us feel as if happiness has to come from some outwardly source: we’re made to want jobs, disposable things, and partners, that make us look and feel more important, until we’ve screwed over just about everyone to get it, and everything. still. fucking. sucks.

The only cure, it seems, is challenging ourselves to make the happiness we want to feel; to create it for ourselves, one step at a time. And on our darkest days, to feel that happiness is the strength to believe that the rain that’s pouring is only part of the sunshine.

But how can that sunshine be created?: