WASHINGTON — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t know moderator Lester Holt’s political affiliation before labeling him a Democrat earlier this month, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Monday. Bloomberg Politics’ co-managing editor Mark Halperin repeatedly pressed Conway on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, questioning why Trump called the NBC anchor a Democrat if he didn’t know.… [Read more…]
Here’s why that tweet from the San Jose Mercury News is such a slap in the face to black women in America. To black people in America, period.
This isn’t a commentary on the overall inept Olympics coverage by NBC of African American swimmer and gold medalist Simone Manuel’s historic win— the network missed WHY her win is historic. In fact, journalists everywhere are missing the point. And we won’t even elaborate on that offensive tweet initially posted by The San Jose Mercury News in which the news organization identified her only as an “African American.”
Here’s what is being left out: The racial history of American swimming pools.
Dorothy Dandridge was a beautiful singer and dancer who performed in the most exclusive nightclubs and hotels in the country, but couldn’t get a room in any of them, or even use the pools. Night clubs were happy to have her, and other black performers, to entertain white patrons, but only if they came and went through the back door and didn’t use the bathrooms. Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, an HBO movie, based on her life story, contains a gut-wrenching scene in which Dandridge dips her toe into a Las Vegas hotel pool, which is then drained and scrubbed– by black maintenance workers.
Tell the whole story. Give the context that is the backstory to Manuel’s historic win.
Journalists need to tell this story, and yes, also include her commentary on today’s #blacklivesmatters movement in all interviews a groundbreaking woman of color gold medalist is expected to give knowing that she has a global platform.
Do better, NBC News. Do better other journalists in general. I know you have a gazillion and one researchers, video archivists, journalists and editors who can understand this. <insert snark>
Cynthia Liu is the founder of K-12 News Network, an award-winning civic tech grassroots education website. She is also a political blogger and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
The beauty and fashion site uses the recent “Today Show” hair fiasco as a prime example
Unless you were living under a rock last week, you definitely saw NBC’s The Today Show completely fail in its “60-second Great Summer Hairstyles” segment. During the segment YouTube beauty guru Deepica Mutyala attempted to give three models—one African-American—a trio of easy breezy hairstyles to beat the summer heat.
Yet, when she turned to Malyia Mcnaughton’s already perfectly coifed natural hair into a frizzy side ponytail disaster, it didn’t go over well. Within hours of the broadcast, Black Twitter and the internet unleashed on Mutyala calling out her inability to understand Black natural hair.
And while Mutyala later apologized, promising to “do better,” the damage had already been done. Another day, another example of non-Black experts not understanding Black beauty (Remember Buzzfeed’s abysmal contouring lesson last year?)
— Deepica Mutyala (@deepicam) August 5, 2016
“For decades the beauty industry has been able to get by using a shortsighted definition of diversity—one that only accounts for representation. Traditionally it has been enough for brands to only represent black women in beauty campaigns or TV segments but today that definition of inclusion no longer cuts it,” Dirshe wrote.
“Instead of approaching beauty from a colorblind vantage point, beauty brands should go a step further in addressing the needs and concerns of black women,” Dirshe added. “Our hair and makeup looks are different and should therefore be communicated and treated as such. Diversity isn’t just a marketing strategy; it’s a holistic approach that includes authentically engaging with and understanding the needs of black women.”
So what does that actually look like?
Ofunne Amaka, founder of Cocoa Swatches, told Dirshe that in order for that to be a reality, it’s about rethinking hiring practices across the board.
“True diversity would involve brands supporting the idea of diversity in every facet of their company: From their hiring practices, to their marketing efforts, to their product development, to their communications to their influencer relations,” Amaka said.
And for Mcnaughton, whose tresses had to endure this experience, the responsibility for change also must be on people color themselves, she said.
“There isn’t a reason to hire hosts or producers who can create content that reflect what the consumers want to see. We need to say what’s important and the industry will adjust accordingly,” Mcnaughton added.
The issue of representation not being enough transcends the beauty world.
It’s been a big topic in Hollywood as well, where in television, we have seen a rise in characters of color thanks to Empire, Scandal, Underground and Orange Is The New Black. Yet writing rooms, even on some diverse TV shows, still seem to be very white and male, which can affect the authenticity and humanity of characters on the TV shows.
The website will address news impacting the LGBTQ community.
NBC News has launched its newest website — NBC Out.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 1, 2016
The website geared for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community will consist of breaking news, videos, op-eds and reported pieces. This is the first-ever LGBTQ dedicated site produced by a major news network.
The site’s editor-in-chief, Brook Sopelsa, stressed that the Out team is committed to writing stories that reflect the rich diversity of the entire LGBTQ community.
“In order to fulfill our goal of providing quality journalism for our readers and viewers, while also ensuring our stories reflect our incredibly diverse community, we plan to not only leverage the vast news-gathering resources of NBC News, but to also bring in new voices and fresh perspectives from across the LGBTQ spectrum,” Sopelsa wrote in her first-ever editor’s letter for the site.
Initial stories on the site include:
Opinion: History Repeats Itself With ‘Bathroom Bigotry.’ Written by Dana Beyer, this piece discusses how recent trans bathroom bills convey a bigotry that is not new or rare to American history.
Black, Gay and HIV Positive: This moving video explores Robert Brooks’ struggles living with HIV and how his advocacy with the younger generation has helped him accept himself.
Out Millennial Spotlight: Written by Julie Compton, this eye-opening profile of Chicago intersex Pidgeon Pagonis highlights the grassroots work the 30-year-old queer activist does to empower the intersex community.
On its first day June 2 the site garnered a lot of support:
— NLGJA (@nlgja) June 2, 2016
The comedy show “Telenovela” was picked up by NBC for its first 13 episodes in January 2015. But now, the peacock network has cancelled the series starring Eva Longoria after one unsuccessful season.
Telenovela had a tepid response from viewers; ratings fell below a 1.0 while the show aired. Still, the season finale had a ratings boost, receiving a 0.9 with audiences aged 18-49—but that may not be enough for the comedy to be renewed.
When asked what likely led to the show’s cancellation, New York magazine’s senior editor and television reporter Maria Elena Fernandez had this to say: “I don’t think it’s a matter of what it’s lacking. I think it just might be a case of being too culturally specific for its own good. I like it. I get it. But if you didn’t grow up in that world, you might not be as interested. Where Jane the Virgin has been the most successful is in being culturally authentic but also accessible to others. Even if you didn’t grow up watching telenovelas with your abuelita, you can still relate. Telenovela feels more removed in that sense.” ‘
With a previously weak NBC comedy block, the network had high hopes for the show, a series that could potentially attract a Latino audience to the network. In January, at the Television Critics Press Tour, actress, creator and executive producer Longoria acknowledged the difficulties in finding a show that would do well with Hispanic viewers.
“It’s very hard to program to Latinos. I am not saying African Americans are a monolithic group [because] they are not,” said Longoria. “They are very diverse as well … But Latinos are definitely not a monolithic group, and so, when you have the Cubans and the Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, if you see our cast, we touch all of that and then some. You know, if you tell an East L.A. story, sometimes the New Yoricans don’t get it. And I’m a Texican. So sometimes I don’t get either coasts, and it has definitely been hard.”
About Latino viewers, Longoria added: “I think they want good shows. They want great content. We are lucky that we hit on both of those things. We are a really great big broad comedy that has a lot of Hispanic cues in it.”
Fernandez noted that she didn’t feel the show was offensive or stereotypical, which is always a possibility with satire. “I think it plays with stereotypes and maybe is a bit insider-y in that way. But I haven’t felt insulted and I have seen almost all of the episodes. Sadly, I do not think it will be renewed.”
“Telenovela is spoofing its genre, which if you don’t watch novelas, probably doesn’t make sense to you,” said Yolanda Machado, an award-winning Latina lifestyle and entertainment influencer who runs the blog Sassy Mama in LA. “I don’t find it stereotypical, in fact, I love that it opens up what a Latino is. There’s a blonde Latina, there’s the Latina that doesn’t speak Spanish, there’s the working mom. Really, I think if you’re a novela fan, or grew up watching them like I did, you’ll really enjoy it.”
A recent Paste magazine feature posits that shows like Telenovela deconstruct Latina stereotypes, including the spicy, loud sexpot with a heavy accent or the sassy, obnoxious female clown (also with a heavy accent). “Telenovela avoided pigeonholing Longoria’s character Ana who is Pasión in the fictional soap Las Leyes de Pasión (The Laws of Passion). On the telenovela, Pasión is glamorous with smoldering stares, flowy dresses and fan-swept hair. Outside of the telenovela, Ana is Ana—a neurotic actress who loves her Cheeto Puffs, doesn’t speak a word of Spanish and is awkward on first dates.”
Longoria herself works against type as a Latina woman calling shots, both as executive producer of Lifetime series Devious Maids and Telenovela. “There’s a lot to be done to have more diversity in front of the camera, but it starts behind the camera. I think our show is a great example of it because we’ve done such a great job obviously in front of the camera, but the writers’ room is very diverse. Our crew is very diverse. Our directors who we use are very diverse … I was a producer turned actor. I’ve always had a producer’s mind. I like the business side of things, and so I always knew I would produce. I took a left turn somewhere and became an actress but always knowing and when I was on Housewives I was producing.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Telenovela is renewed. In the meantime, Longoria says she will continue to create and produce other TV concepts, including her successful Lifetime series, Devious Maids, now in its fourth season.
Fox News is the whitest of the Sunday news shows, with CBS’ Face the Nation as the second worst in diversity
Every Sunday morning, the nation’s biggest television networks gather its leading politicians and pundits to discuss the most important issues of the day, helping set the political agenda for the week ahead. However, one thing they don’t discuss—on the air or on the record with Newsweek—is how limited these conversations really are. For the most part,… [Read more…]
Two TV networks this month reportedly rejected a commercial featuring larger women for violating “decency” standards
They’re serving body – big, bodacious, black girl body in its full, round thickness. The four women stand tall and fearless in figures that are rarely seen and celebrated in media, bodies that are large, black and female.
Singers Chrisette Michele and Jazmine Sullivan along with Orange Is the New Black actress Danielle Brooks and plus-size fashion blogger Gabi Fresh all parade their full bodies, curvy hips and thick thighs with pride on the cover of the March issue of Ebony magazine.
Wearing bustiers, military-themed accessories and a whole lot of confidence, the image of the women is revolutionary, a portrayal that celebrates black women of size as sexy, sensual and desirable.
The cover isn’t a close-up shot of their pretty faces beat to the Gods or a headshot of this plus-sized crew. This is a historic celebration of the large black woman’s body by a major publication.
The movement for body acceptance in the United States is resulting in prominent images of larger women in media including the Ebony magazine cover and plus-sized model Ashley Graham’s historic appearance on this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover. But the visibility of plus-sized women in popular culture also comes with backlash including the criticism Gabourey Sidibe experienced after appearing in this month’s V magazine’s 100th anniversary issue in lingerie and two major networks’ refusal to air plus-sized retailer Lane Bryant’s new commercial.
Recent high-profile images of larger women in media are a sign of evolving attitudes about size and attractiveness but many of the images promote dominant beauty ideals that include the hourglass shape, sizable breasts, shapely hips and a flat stomach, says Harriet Brown, author of Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession with Weight and What We Can Do about It.
“It’s progress in the sense that they don’t have to look like Kate Moss anymore but we’re still talking about the shape that appeals to men and therefore the shape that appeals to advertisers because women might want to emulate that,” said Brown, associate professor at Syracuse University in the magazine department.
These recent magazine covers featuring plus-sized women’s bodies are groundbreaking and they deviate from the typical magazine cover representations of larger women, which is often celebrities’ extreme weight loss, said J. Maria Merrills, a fat activist who also writes films and books about women of size. “Usually it’s a diet ad or a before and after picture.”
The inclusion of plus-sized bodies, especially black women’s plus size bodies, hasn’t been happening enough in mainstream media especially considering the fact that more women in the country are larger, and representations such as Ebony’s “Curvy Confessionals” cover story take an important step toward including larger women’s bodies in media says Tomika Anderson, the freelance writer who wrote Ebony’s cover story and who considers herself plus-sized.
“We have so much happening as a community that challenges our love for ourselves. We’re at war, like the image on the cover, to really love ourselves and to look into the fringes [for] those who have not been brought to the table or been included by the media because we matter too,” Anderson said. “Just as much we are having conversations around hair and darkness of skin and all of these other things that don’t promote feelings of inclusion. This is something to add to the conversation, to be inclusive of bodies that haven’t been included before.”
The body positive movement and mainstream media images of larger women often don’t include black women making Ebony’s cover story even more important, said SheRea DelSol, the plus-sized creator of My Thrifted Closet, a brand dedicated to being fabulous on a budget.
“It’s awesome to see black women this way,” DelSol said. “It’s usually represented by white women. To me it is awesome that we have this type of representation of black women. It’s also a spectrum of blackness, lighter-skinned Chrisette Michele to deeper brown Danielle Brooks.The fact that this is created and produced by a black magazine is a step in the right direction because black people can perpetuate types of ‘isms’ including colorism in our own community.”
The Ebony cover is significant because it represents plus-sized black women as sexy, said Merrills, also an assistant professor of liberal studies at Winston-Salem State University.
“This is very different in that it suggests that large is beautiful,” said Merrills, author of Seeing Faith: When Life Throws You Curves. “This is the first time we’ve seen something like this in a mainstream magazine.”
The Sports Illustrated and Ebony covers have received positive coverage from other mainstream magazines including Cosmopolitan, applauding them for these celebratory images of larger women, but those magazines aren’t showcasing plus-sized bodies the same way, Brown says.
“I cannot imagine Cosmo having a cover like [Ebony’s],” Brown said. “I do think there is enough of the idea (body positivity) in theory being appealing because it has gained enough traction. They give a nod to body positivity without having to actually go there themselves. Just imagine a Cosmo cover like that. It is built around cultural body norms … They can praise it from a distance.”
But these images of plus-sized women aren’t praised by all. The commercial for plus-sized clothing chain Lane Bryant’s new #ThisBody advertising campaign features partially naked zaftig bodies including a woman who is breastfeeding. The commercial which boasts that “this body was meant to be seen” won’t be seen on ABC or NBC. Both networks rejected it saying it didn’t meet their decency standards.
The national networks’ refusal to air the commercial illustrates how deeply rooted beauty ideals are in our culture, Brown says. “No one would turn down a Victoria’s Secret ad and they’re almost naked in those ads.”
But, Brown notes, the strides made in body diversity representation in media in recent years is significant. “It’s better than where we were like 10 years ago but we still have a hell of a long away to go.”
Sherri Williams, who holds a doctorate in mass communications, is a post-doctoral fellow at the Anna Julia Cooper Center on Race, Gender and Politics in the South at Wake Forest University where she also teaches in the Communication Department. Williams was a newspaper reporter for 10 years before she transitioned into academia. You can also find her work at Backbonewomenonline.com.
By DENISE CLAY
When I was a kid and we first got cable, I would sometimes catch telenovelas on the Spanish-language network Univision as I flipped through the channels.
For those who don’t know what a telenovela is, it’s literally a book on television. Some of the acting is a bit over the top, and that leads to them looking like soap operas on steroids. But it’s kind of cool to see a book, literally, acted out. Some of the folks you see on television and in the movies here in the States, folks like Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara of the hit series “Modern Family” got their start there doing telenovelas.
Usually, watching a telenovela without a working command of the Spanish language is a pretty unsatisfying experience. You get lost pretty easily and find yourself saying “Huh?!” a lot…
Fortunately, thanks to a dispute between Univision and Donald Trump, a man whose entire existence screams over the top, America is getting a chance to see what an English-language telenovela might look like.
The Trump/Univision story is a story of what happens when a content provider with a history of putting folks in uncomfortable positions, a content distributor whose audience is made up of an ethnic group that is one of the fastest growing in the country, and the parent company that oversees them both find themselves at odds.
And if someone’s not careful, this dispute could lead to someone winding up on the outside looking in.
On June 25, Univision announced that it was ending its partnership with the Miss Universe organization due to some remarks that Trump made about Mexican immigrants during his June 16 news conference announcing his intention to get into the Republican presidential nomination minivan for 2016.
The part of Trump’s stream of consciousness that crossed a line with Univision went a little something like this…
“When Mexican sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people.”
(Nice to know that some are good people, Donald. I was starting to get a little worried.)
It was the so-called “good people” that Univision cited in its statement telling Trump “You’re Fired!”
“At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” according to the company’s statement.
Now because he’s Donald Trump, and he’s not a guy that’s used to people standing up to him, he’s reacted to Univision’s decision with all of the maturity of a 12-year-old whose Xbox was confiscated for bad grades.
After announcing that Univision had dumped him on Twitter, he went on Fox News and promptly doubled down on his remarks, saying that it was “common sense” that Mexico was sending its rapists and murderers to America.
Secondly, he announced that he was suing Univision for breach of contract for severing their relationship, claiming that the network was mad at him for “exposing” just how bad America’s trade deals with Mexico have been for the country.
Trump then sent Univision President and CEO Randy Falco a letter saying that the Trump National Doral resort in Miami–which just happens to be located next to Univision’s headquarters–is now off limits.
Finally, when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos wrote Trump asking for an interview to get his side of the story, The Donald responded to his request by putting the letter—and Ramos’s cell phone number—on his Instagram account.
Now what makes this interesting is that both Trump and Univision have something in common: Comcast/NBC. The company owns Univision and is the home of Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” or as I like to call it, “The Shenanigans of Donald Trump and His Cadre of Z-Listers.”
The company issued a statement to the Hollywood Reporter distancing itsef from Trump’s comments…and everything else.
“Donald Trump’s opinions do not represent those of NBC,” the network said. “And we do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration.”
NBC has also said that in light of Trump’s decision to get into the GOP Presidential Mini-Van, it’s re-evaluating The Donald’s relationship with the network.
That’s what everyone needs to keep an eye on.
While NBC CEO Brian Roberts is probably somewhat used to The Donald making the lives of the company’s executives unnecessarily hard by saying something totally ignorant, Trump may have gone a little too far here.
You see, insulting Black folks, which Trump did the last time he ran for president, is one thing. But insulting an entire nation, specifically a nation that’s the native land of some of the people that make up one of the fastest-growing minority groups in this country, well, that can make life difficult for a media corporation that’s trying to stay financially solvent and keep its stockholders happy.
And the Latino community knows this. Actors Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian DeLa Fuente, the Spanish-language co-hosts of the Miss USA Pageant have both announced their intentions to bail on The Donald. There’s also a Change.org petition asking NBC to cancel the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants and “Celebrity Apprentice” that’s got close to 200,000 signatures on it.
Once NBC gets that petition, the company will listen to those voices. Count on it.
And Trump may wind up learning that while you can say anything you want to under the First Amendment, no one has to continue to bankroll your fruit stand in the Marketplace of Ideas if you keep selling rotten apples…
…which, depending on the story, might be getting thrown at him if this were an actual telenovela…
UPDATE: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has issued a statement:
Our mission at NAHJ embodies grace and dignity. We work toward equal representation in newsrooms so the American people are not blind to the stories of 54 million American Latinos. We work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in the media who deserve the respect and dignity entitled to all Americans.
So when a candidate for President of the United States unfairly and incorrectly characterizes Mexicans and by close association, Mexican-Americans, it’s not only wrong, it’s un-American. NAHJ commends Univision’s decision to cut ties with Donald Trump’s Miss America and Miss Universe pageants and entities connected to Mr. Trump because of his remarks. See the complete statement here.
UPDATE: NBC Universal has just issued a statement announcing that it too has severed ties with The Trump Organization.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue.”
If you don’t see NBC News “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd on Twitter opining on politics, the news or sports for a while, don’t be too surprised.
He and Twitter aren’t getting along too well right now.
Todd has been getting hit by the Twitterverse with both barrels since airing a segment on Sunday’s show about gun control that was notable for two reasons:
One, it was connected to a discussion on the shootings at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, shootings that were allegedly committed by a White man, Dylann Root.
And two, the only people who were featured in the segment, which was shot at New York’s Sing-Sing Correctional Facility, were Black men…something that didn’t go unnoticed in the Twittererse…
— Steve Kanig (@flitedocnm) June 22, 2015
— Marshall C. Bell (@MarshallCBell) June 22, 2015
When the attacks started coming, Todd attempted to justify the segment by saying that the segment had been planned prior to the shootings and that after an internal debate, the “Meet The Press” staff had decided to run it because they didn’t want to have a much-needed discussion on gun violence waylaid by racial and perceptional issues.
“We wanted to show multiple sides of what gun violence does in this country,” the statement said. “We thought the issue of gun violence in our culture and society was an important conversation to continue—too important to put off for another week. The consequences of gun violence should not be hidden. As I say to all audiences, “Meet the Press” should make all viewers uncomfortable at some point or we are not doing our job.”
But all that statement did was make folks who were already pretty angry, even angrier. After a period that led to Todd blocking a lot of his former Twitter followers, and hearing near constant calls that he be fired, he eventually apologized for the segment and admitted that “we clearly got it wrong”.
AllDigitocracy was unsuccessful in reaching Todd for comment.
Now as a journalist, I’m totally comfortable with making people uncomfortable. That’s a huge part of my job. In fact, it’s the part I like the most. But there’s making people uncomfortable, and then there’s making a move like the one Todd made; a move that makes people wonder if you slept through that Law and Ethics of Mass Communication class we all had to take in journalism school.
I say this because there’s a lot of questionable ethics going on here.
First of all, there was a distinct lack of diversity in the segment, something that Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson pointed out, and it played to just about every stereotype of Black men as violent predators possible, two things that are red flags under Society of Professional Journalists ethics guidelines. Sing-Sing is a maximum security prison that’s home to 2,000 inmates. Logic dictates that much of the prison’s multicultural population (13 percent White, 56 percent Black, 30 percent Latino) is in jail for gun related crimes.
So you only focus on the Black inmates…why?
Secondly, Todd took too long to respond to charges of bias. Under SPJ ethics guidelines, you’re supposed to respond to such charges quickly, and responding doesn’t mean blocking people on Twitter who have complained about your reporting. It took more than 24 hours and a whole lot of angry Tweets for Todd and the “Meet The Press” staff to fully respond to the claims of bias, something that might impact the show’s viewership.
And lastly, it might be time for Todd to remember the most important ethical cannon of all: abide by the same high standards you expect of others.
Might help you with the Twittererse…
The social media universe was on fire after the “Today Show’s” Matt Lauer interviewed Rachel Dolezal, the embattled former head of the NAACP’s Spokane, Wash. chapter. After the interview, people began weighing in, saying Lauer didn’t ask Dolezal the right questions. Below is our Storify of what they felt he should have asked her.