Even When White People Finally Get It Right, They Still Get It Wrong » VSB

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Even When White People Finally Get It Right, They Still Get It Wrong

In one of the most entertaining “spontaneous” bits I’ve ever seen performed at the Academy Awards, Jimmy Kimmel allowed a group of flabbergasted and starstruck tourists into the Dolby Theater to walk past the audience. This, of course, introduced the world to #GaryFromChicago and his wife — computer generated composites of every Black uncle and aunt ever — who both then introduced themselves to Denzel, Ryan Gosling, Mahershala Ali’s Oscar, and then finally Mahershala Ali. It was an ingenious and inspired addition; one that added a welcome bit of levity to a show that can’t seem to help how boring its middle always is.

And, of course, the same Jimmy Kimmel who presumably thought of this idea and also did a great job ushering the tourists through and asking the right questions, couldn’t help but remind us of the subtle racism lurking beneath and infecting his otherwise nimble and capable performance, as he intentionally mispronounced the name of one of the Asian tourists; one of several instances of him using a “foreign-sounding” name as a punchline last night.

Last year’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign called for an Academy that better reflected America’s diversity. And while you could argue that the number of Black-dominated films and actors and actresses honored this year is just a result of there being an unprecedented number of outstanding Black-helmed movies and performances this year — too many for the Academy to ignore — even the staunchest cynic has to admit that the Academy seems to be making some progress. Unfortunately, not only did the Oscars reflect America’s diversity, they reflected America. Where even each bit of halting advancement is accompanied by the stink of pervasive bias and privilege.

Even as Moonlight and Mahershala and Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney and Hidden Figures and Fences and Viola Davis and Halle Berry’s hair received due recognition, it happened during the same show that men like Mel Gibson and Casey Affleck were also honored. Reminding us all that the standards of acceptable and laudable behavior for White people, rich White men particularly, are just different. They’re allowed more leeway, more opportunities, more chances, and a greater benefit of the doubt. Which exists in direct and obvious contrast to the controversy surrounding Nate Parker and Birth of a Nation. Although he definitely deserved every single bit of criticism he received — and seems firmly ensconced in unapologetic aintshitness, so fuck him — the only way he’s ever going to make it to the Oscar stage now is if Jimmy Kimmel invites some more tourists. Aint no Hollywood redemption for Black women and men.

It’s apropos that all of this would happen on the same night of the La La Land/Moonlight mix-up that instantly became the most insane thing I’ve ever seen live, beating the Malice at the Place with a bullet. (When Moonlight was announced as the winner, I just jumped up from my couch and stared at my TV, mouth agape, for 30 seconds. And then I ran upstairs to the third floor to get my laptop because my phone had died a half hour earlier. And then I tweeted HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT DID NOT JUST FUCKING HAPPEN because I had nothing else to say.) And, after  has gone through 12 hours worth of forensic investigations — and will likely be discussed for the next 1200 years — it seems like what happened just happened because of human error. No conspiracy, no racially-inspired chicanery, no Russian influence. Just humans fucking up. Which happens. It’s just funny how when they finally got it right, they still found a way to get things wrong.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • mochazina

    can i feel somewhat vindicated that #envelopegate went in favor of the melanin?

    • Doug Chu

      I know I was.

  • Tears Of A Tiger

    As I saw Faye’s lips form the “L” in La La Loser, I turned my tv off and sat in pissed silence, scrolling through Twitter on my phone on is disbelief. When my TL rapildy changed from Trash to I can’t believe it, I scrambled for my remote to turn the tv back on and catch the end of Barry’s speech. I hate that the story this morning is the mixup and not the triumph of a Black queer film which beautifully layered the complexities of love. I’m super annoyed that white folks are caping for ol dude who announced that they lost. He did nothing special except what he was supposed to do.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      I just ignored the media because at this point I kinda expect the obvious bias.

    • Cleojonz

      I didn’t find out until this morning because the minute La La Land came out of her lips the t.v. got turned off. DH reads the news on his phone every morning and I really didn’t believe him at first. Crazy. It’s really disappointed that the people of Moonlight didn’t really get to celebrate such a monumental win and they truly deserved it. This isn’t a case of supporting a film because black people were in it I really thought this was a magnificent film.

      • Tears Of A Tiger

        It really was a beautiful film. I’ve seen it 3 times and still want to see it again.

  • Moderate Democrat

    You’re nothing but a racist Damon. Just admit it to yourself and stop with the charade.

    • Damon Young

      no charade. i’m definitely racist.

      • miss t-lee

        Bwhahah.

      • Wild Cougar

        Stands behind Damon. Also racist. Proudly

        • Doug Chu

          Me too thanks

      • MsSula

        Zing!

      • Moderate Democrat

        Well, at least you can finally admit it. It’s a good thing that you’ll lose in the end, right? Even though there are plenty of people who will try every tactic that there is to throw you cover.

        It’s all falling down.

        • Wild Cougar

          Get back on your meds, troll.

          • Moderate Democrat

            I’m not the one brainwashing people into believing this garbage. That would be Damon and his programming that he got from his alma mater. And you can’t figure out why nobody wants to deal with people who think the way you do.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Even if it does chalk up to human error regarding the best picture mix up you could tell that they were not only pressed but also didn’t want to make the correction. I saw the full clip this morning there were several hesitations with announcing it in addition to Kimmel’s comments saying they should still keep it.

    The Pacific Ocean sea salt was apparent.

    Also black twitter let Halle and her wig have it and I cackled https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ce558056fe5f1335ec4f1aee09d860c313dd560926082a79cc15e53120a3a7d.png

    • MsSula

      A friend on FB said Halle Berry “is wearing the Naija Aunty’s hair style who sells stock fish and jewelry!”
      ????

      • HouseOfBonnets

        Stock Fish

        *Flatlines* lmaoooooooooooooooo

        • MsSula

          And it is so accurate though! Like them bad weaves yo! Loll.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            it’s like she took 4 packs of corkscrew milky way and said let have lol

      • HouseOfBonnets

        Then somebody said she told someone it was natural lmao

        • MsSula

          She needs to quit playing herself. Lol.

          • HouseOfBonnets

            Whoever gave her that 10 dollar clearance cosmo beauty wig needs to be fired immediately. lol

      • Cleojonz

        Audible Cackle. Crying.

    • Brother Mouzone

      Her head is the adult version of the little mixed girl whose whtye mama don’t know what to do with her hair…lol.

  • RaeNBow

    was really hoping *that* wouldn’t be brought up again. even if it was relevant for contrast. but moving right along… we can blame that announcement on a white woman. faye didn’t read.

    much like the fate of the free world, the result for Oscars Best Picture was flubbed because, white woman. SMH

    • MsSula

      “much like the fate of the free world, the result for Oscars Best Picture was flubbed because, white woman”

      This is excellent.

    • Jennifer

      Faye effed up and then she exited the stage (and, probably the city) and left Old Man Beatty to clean her part of the mess.

  • Wild Cougar

    I a

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Also……will Sheather be discussed? I feel like Shamira and Panama should lead the charge :) .

    • Cleojonz

      Shamira said on twitter she was giving Onika until today to respond and then she was writing about it. Something might be in the works already.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        YAAAAAAAASSS.

        Somebody gotta tag me because this is right up my alley.

    • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

      Remyyyyyy all day.

    • Nicholas Peters

      Or that Kyrie Irving (the guy that every time he breathes there is a 1000 think piece on here about how the world is a better place) thinks the world is flat and that there aren’t any other planets.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        All of the points brought up by VSB and The read for BOB can also apply here because once again if the earth is flat……..honestly where is the edge?

        Bless his heart.

      • Brother Mouzone

        I think Kyrie is just trolling the press. He doesn’t really believe that, he comes from an educated background.

  • Brina Payne

    That was NOT a mistake! They stole the shine/immediate ovation/the glory that comes with getting your name called out initially! I don’t know how ppl can believe that it was a “human error”.

    I feel like it was payback for the #oscarssowhite protest.

    • Leggy

      Lol. How do you conspiracy theorist live your day to day life please?

  • miss t-lee

    Human error. The wrong envelope and that nutria pelt on Halle’s head. Playas f*ck up.
    Saw that sh*t live and still don’t believe it. The part that killed me ever so softly was the folks in the background in a frenzied hurry to recollect them trophies. One dude looked like he didn’t wanna unhandled it for a while sec.
    Cold game for “whole foods jazz” movie as a tweet I saw this morning so eloquently called it.
    Definitely seeing Moonlight this week.I’m so behind.

    • mochazina

      nutria. pelt.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        because it applies.

        • mochazina

          yes. it’s so funny seeing louisiana-ish humor out in the gen pop, tho. LOL

          • miss t-lee

            One of my best homegirls is from the boot. I love y’all something serious.

      • miss t-lee

        You know what it is…lol

      • Brother Mouzone

        I heard they eat dem thangs.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Same especially since t-mobile giving out 4 dollar tickets tomorrow good for the week,

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        yup, T-mobile gave out a $5 credit for Fandangonow last week. I purchased and downloaded Moonlight to my tablet.

      • miss t-lee

        OH?!
        Good look.
        I’ll probably end up streaming it on Amazon anyway for about the same price.

    • LogicalLeopard

      Re: Halle – I got my hopes up, thinking tghat they were making a Star Trek Voyager movie, and she had her hurr did to play a Kazon warrior. http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081026043118/memoryalpha/en/images/f/f2/Culluh.jpg

      • HouseOfBonnets

        The is unnecessary but appreciative.

      • miss t-lee

        She makes too much money for that clearance bin beauty supply number.
        They didn’t even thin it out or try to make it look the least bit natural.

        • HouseOfBonnets

          No styling just slapped it on lol

          • miss t-lee

            Straight out the pack.

        • Brother Mouzone

          Black folk wouldn’t have let her leave the house like that..she is a cautionary tale, that’s how you can tell she haven’t been around her peoples in a looong time. lol

          • miss t-lee

            You see it.

          • Mary Burrell

            LULZ?

      • Val

        So wrong and so funny. Lol

    • I must be the only person who liked Halle’s curls. It looked like a rod set to me.

      • MsSula

        I like big hair myself. So I was not too mad at that. But it didn’t look Oscar-Night to me. She could have pulled all the curls in a free flowing updo

        • Nah. That was perfect. She looked like a black woman last night. I support it.

        • miss t-lee

          Agreed. It wasn’t Oscar worthy.

      • miss t-lee

        Possibly.

      • Cleojonz

        It wasn’t the curls so much as how it was sort of mishapen in the back and askew just a how like your old church auntie might wear it.

        • miss t-lee

          And it looked like it was on backwards.

        • I liked it. Idk what else to say. Had a nice touch of color as well.

          • Cleojonz

            Viola has the cutest little natural afro but she RARELY wears it like that for events. I wish she would more because it looks really good. So for me it’s not thinking curls aren’t formal enough, it just wasn’t executed as well in this instance.

            • Oh ok because from what I’ve been gathering people don’t like it when black women don’t wear their hair a certain way to formal events.

              • miss t-lee

                I loved Issa’s hair at the GGs.
                I also loved Teyona Parris’s look a few years back.

            • miss t-lee

              Also.
              She’s worn it out a few times, but not nearly enough. I think it’s cute.

        • MsSula

          Exactly. The whole set up was askew.

          These tweets have me rolling.

          http://www.bet.com/lifestyle/2017/02/26/the-internet-hates-halle-berry-s-oscars-hair.html

        • HouseOfBonnets

          Like aunt Mabel rolling with her best church sisters to the boat on a Saturday.

          • MsSula

            Hilarious!!

            • HouseOfBonnets

              You get it friend lol

      • HouseOfBonnets

        It gave me wig fresh out the packing. Halle makes too much for us to clock her wig.

        • Maybe I’m just far too deep in the natural hair culture to see it looking like “church auntie” as you all have described. I suppose it could’ve used more fluffing but overall I am a fan

          • miss t-lee

            The thing is…as someone who occasionally wears wigs, and is also natural- we’re not supposed to be able to know you’re wearing one off top. There’s always supposed to be the illusion that it’s yours. She failed that miserably.

            • I’ll be sure not to wear wigs in the presence of VSB/VSS. Y’all are a tough crowd :-(

              • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

                I liked her hair.

              • miss t-lee

                I’ll just pull you aside and counsel you privately.

      • Valerie

        At first I didn’t like her hair but she looked so beautiful on stage with it. It actually framed her face. I think if it was a solid color like a dark brown it would’ve looked better.

        • Maybe that’s what it was, the highlights made it look funky.

          • Valerie

            Yes I think it was the highlights :-)

          • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

            She looked fantastico

      • PriceIsRightHorns

        I like the curls too. I wear a rod set 90% of the time, so there’s that.

        • I live for a rod set! I hate waiting on them to dry but hey are a go to style for me when my hair is long enough.

          • PriceIsRightHorns

            The dry time is terrible, but it’s such an easy style.

      • Val

        Yes, I think you are, AP.

    • Jennifer

      I thought it was more like the Starbucks jazz movie, but it’s probably the same thing.

      • miss t-lee

        Bwhahaha.
        I’ll never see it. The clips alone and the whitesplaining of Jazz was enough for me.

        • Jennifer

          I saw it so you don’t have to. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good “YT folks fall in love and randomly burst into song” extravaganza, but this wasn’t the one.

          • miss t-lee

            Ha!

    • Mary Burrell

      Ugly cackling at “nutria pelt” Even beautiful people make fashion faux paux.

      • miss t-lee

        Yup. It happens to us all.

  • Dani

    Loved how Gary from Chicago held his fiancee’s purse the entire time!

    • miss t-lee

      Gary is a legend.

    • Who is this man?? And why was he there?

      • miss t-lee

        They did a bit where folks who were on a tour bus were surprised and brought into the oscars. Him and his fiancee were just out sightseeing and ended up at the show.

        • Oh ok. That’s very nice of them to do.

          • miss t-lee

            It was a rando moment that actually worked.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Low key wanna look him up in the chi and see if we related lol

      • Who is this man????

        • HouseOfBonnets

          Let he find the clip if I can it was a bit for the show.

    • Valerie

      Even let his wife get her shine with Denzel. He did not care for the white actors lol

      • Who is this man??

      • miss t-lee

        I loved that he said he was ignoring them. I died.
        Jimmy tried to set him up, and he knocked that sh*t out the park…lol

        • Jennifer

          Jimmy thought he was a going to play an old, black man. Tuh.

          • miss t-lee

            TUH
            Indeed.

      • Dani

        I loved it! I thought the entire thing was funny and that even the celebs were cool about it.

        • miss t-lee

          He was kissing folks hands, his wife was kickin’ it with Gosling, I loved it…lol

          • Dani

            I would’ve had the same reaction. Ryan Gosling is in my top 5. And even though Mahershala Ali was the villain in Luke Cage, I loved his character. I would’ve fan’ed out too lol

            • miss t-lee

              I’m not a fan of Gosling, but trust I ain’t mad at her.
              I would’ve been over with Dwayne Johnson getting them selfies off.

              • Dani

                Ok!! lol

      • Darren Nesbitt

        Uncle Gary hit Nicole Kidman with the “Hey Gurlie!” don’t really know you but I know you’re somebody.

        • Valerie

          Hi Darren :-)
          I think he kissed her hand.

    • Val

      I was nervous for the tourists, especially the Black ones knowing Kimmel, at first. But Gary was totally doing what Gary wanted to do despite Kimmel trying to play him for jokes. And so was Gary’s fiancee

    • LogicalLeopard

      I didn’t even otice it! I was too busy watching him kiss people’s hands *LOL*

    • BrownKitty289

      Loved how he kissed the ladies hands! Such a gentleman <3

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