December 18, 2013 | contributor
By Rula Al-Nasrawi
When I first found out that I had gotten into Columbia for graduate school, a family member told me that they didn’t realize how smart I was, and it was truly meant as a compliment. That definitely wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me before. Being a California girl and in part because of the people surrounding me, my vernacular ends up sounding like that of a Valley Girl. “Oh my god” is a household staple for me, and I don’t even feel bad about it. When it boils down to it, I’m certainly nowhere near being an idiot, yet people around me have felt compelled to let me know how much I’ve surprised them with my intelligence.
What is less condescending than letting someone know that they’ve surprised you like that? Oh, so glad I surprised you, I make sure to surprise at least one idiot a day, it keeps me healthy. Believe it or not, I live my life not for the expense of anyone’s excitement but my own. So yes, you sound like an ass when you say that I’ve shocked you because I don’t speak like a walking dictionary at all times. Unlike you, some of us are articulate for a living so please, let me live with my girly girl twang for a damn minute.
The other day, I posted a mini rant on this same topic and the responses were staggering. A 100+ comment thread began on my own wall, grazing topics like “rich white dudes” inventing the meaning of intelligent language and what would happen if “females minorities pushed for the advancement of terms like baby’s momma.”
What ultimately shocks me the most is that some people still find nothing wrong with correlating intelligence with vernacular. And what the separation of vernacular comes down to is less about gender and race, but actually a separation of the classes. If you have made bold assumptions based on someone’s language patterns, than for you, someone with a hick-sounding accent living in a shack is nowhere near as intelligent as you are.
Because if you were an elitist jerk, you’re biggest fear is that the people at the bottom of the socio-economic food chain could rise up one day and convert all libraries into dirty dive bars, and the pages of books into toilet paper to wipe their asses with. You don’t want to give those people half the chance they deserve because they could be the ones to change language in a way that doesn’t suit you.
The point is that while I am perfectly aware and understanding of social coding and changing your vernacular based on where you are, you should never feel forced to do that. People should feel free to slide in and out of their own vernacular when they see fit. And it certainly shouldn’t be to surprise or impress anyone else.
In order to keep a society growing and changing and learning, we cannot go on with this depressing belief that people that don’t talk like us are unrelatable and unintelligent. Think twice before you judge a woman for “axing you a question” because she might very well have a PhD in Biochemistry and then you’ll just be left with a degree in Ignorance. Language is not a privilege, but somewhere along the way it became labeled as such, in an effort to put people in their place. Well, for any of you who think you can put me or anyone in any kind of place based on a five minute interaction, you’re already so lost you’re gonna have to GoogleMaps that shit, like oh my god.
Follow Rula hurrrrr @rulaoftheworld
November 22, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
Yesterday a guy came up to me while I was working and said “you have a beautiful smile. Nice dimples. But you should smile more,” I replied, “I will smile when I want to smile” which, to be honest, is not what I wanted to say. What I wanted to say was, “I FUCKING HATE YOU FUCK OFF WHAT IF SOMEONE HAD JUST DIED DONT TALK TO ME YOU PIECE OF SHIT.”
But unfortunately this did not happen because I do indeed live on planet earth, and on this planet there aren’t many opportunities where this retort would be acceptable, particularly when I’m in a working environment. I have screamed at a random man in the street before who tried to pick me up in broad daylight, to which I said, “I’M GONNA SLAP YOU IN YOUR FACE.” So just so you know I am capable of being a socially unacceptable angry bitch.
Back to smiling. Men tell women to smile as if they do it for a living. They recommend it like it’s a job opportunity. If that’s the case I’d be more inclined to smile on demand, but it’s not the case. I LOL at the idea that men just walk around smiling all the time and get a check at the end, “we’re suggesting you smile because we do it all the time and it pays great.” Even if that was the case, the point is us as women don’t want to do what your telling us to do. On second thoughts, smiling is definitely a job that many people get paid to do, coming in many different forms i.e. modelling, food service, retail, etc, so we’re very aware it makes people money.
However, there are of course many reasons for not smiling; for starters being a woman who has to interact with a man who asks you to smile is a good enough reason not to, as well as all the other bullshit that ALL people have to deal with.
Men, as a conglomerate group of people, really need to stop. Because if they don’t my freedom on this earth is limited, as I might have a violent backlash at some point and do like Odd Future and Kill Them All. Unless of course it’s testament to the fact that men never experience grief and don’t understand how anyone could be sad. I like this point a lot and wish I could revel in its potential truth. But I know that men can suffer. In a similar vein tom “I know racism, my closest friends are black,” I know male suffering, my closest friends are men.
But real talk though, why do men ask women to smile? It all boringly comes down to women being on display, assessed purely on our looks. We should always present ourselves like we want to be hired for something every moment of the day. This is a reality, particularly in NYC. But being told by a man to smile is always a shit reminder that this is what’s still going on.
I don’t have the time to convince anyone that I have more going on than they think I do. They can only convince themselves. Just don’t tell me what expression to make on my face.
October 8, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
Nicki Minaj is not my idea of an ambassador for fashion, unless of course you are striving to personify an anime character. Whenever I hear of a celebrity designing a fashion line for a store, a wave of cringe comes over me. Remembering J-Lo by Jennifer Lopez, I was a mere 14 years old and even at that age I could tell that purchasing her clothes did not bring me closer to Jennifer Lopez or make my friends think that I was Jennifer Lopez.
But as corny as a velour tracksuit made by Jennifer Lopez may be, people buy it. It was largely successful. So with the knowledge of previous celebrity lines and how they appeal to the masses I’m taking Nicki Minaj’s with a pinch of salt which is very kind considering it’s sold at the corporate devil headquarters K-Mart. Honestly, people who complain about people shopping at K-Mart are equally as bad as people who shop at K-Mart. We all suck. Nicki Minaj working with K-mart is a little sad as a branding duo but hey rappers have told me that making money is the only important thing to do on this planet, so fuck it and sell out.
To my surprise Minaj’s line, available October 9th, appeals to me in a big way: crop tops, leggings, denim suits, mini dresses; the kind of clothes that one finds at boutiques which bodes the question why can’t one just get these clothes at the boutique? Well one can, but now one can get it in K-Mart too. There’s nothing actually wrong with that as far as i’m concerned. I personally love repeats, so I really don’t care that the same clothes are in the same stores. Stop trying to be original; just buy clothes you like.
As for Selena Gomez for K-Mart: this shit is ugly. But I think that’s an appropriate review from someone who’s 26. I’m too old to buy a fashion line named “Dream Out Loud” that’s the kind of thing you say to insecure teenagers: YOU CAN MAKE IT IF YOU DREAM OUT LOUD (and buy Selena’s clothes). The thing is I would hate this whole campaign more but the clothes are so cheap I kind of feel bad hating on it. It’s kind of sad to be honest. Not that being affordable is sad but K-Mart is such a transparent corporation that’s notorious for raping the world everyones fully aware of why it’s so cheap. They make it so easy for you to participate in their crimes.
I’m sure the same price point will go for Minaj’s too, but the difference between them is Minaj’s is something i’d probably buy. It’s also objectively better which is proven by the fact that Minaj wears it herself and Rihanna is wearing it too and we all know if Rihanna wears anything it’s better than anything than anyone else is wearing SO I guess buy it, accept defeat and be a slave to fashion and celebrity brands.
October 4, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
Never did I think I’d be writing something in defense of Miley, and never would I have thought that Sinead O’Connor of all people would have pushed me there. But it is what it is.
Yesterday Sinead wrote an open letter to MIley. Firstly this is odd because I’m pretty sure Sinead could easily get in contact with Miley if she really needed to tell her what was on her mind. Secondly the very point of an open letter is that it’s for the public rather than for the recipient to praise or humiliate. (I wrote one to Waka Flocka and he actually responded which threw me off because that was not at all my intention.)
The letter basically says: Miley you’re talented but you’re a pawn in this industry put some clothes on and only show your naked body to your boyfriend. Now, I don’t negate Sinead’s sincerity but the execution is so awful. I actually couldn’t finish it.
My issue with Miley surrounds her racial appropriation which honestly I’ve rapidly lost interest in and as much as I cringe at her weird facial expression and uber tradge outfits and performances, these are not reasons to hate her. Sinead fails to bring up any kind of racial analysis, which I believe to be the only serious point of contention with Miley but rather attempts to humiliate her by describing her as a label puppet with no autonomy, and warns her that she will never be empowered if she continues down this road.
I’m sorry Sinead but these comments suggest that you’re sitting on a throne of empowerment which i’m sure you’d be the first to dispute you’re not sitting on. In fact where has Sinead been for the past years? Honestly, this is not attempt to discredit Sinead, but I only know that one song by her so her popping up to “get real” with Miley just doesn’t fit. Miley is in a whole other tier of fame. She’s so famous, like SO famous. I don’t think Sinead really has much to offer Miley in terms of career advice. Also I think generally people are used to solid, compassionate advice coming in the form of an email or a phone call or a one-on-one chat so it teeters on the malicious.
But this rather embarrassing altercation is rather boringly part of something bigger. As usual there is always a context that produces things like this to happen. Honestly it’s so repetitive to write about but it’s annoying so I cannot help myself. Women who are scantily clad, or just fucking naked ARE ALLOWED TO BE NAKED BECAUSE IT’S THEIR BODY. I’m not a complete hippy, i don’t think being naked is freedom of sexuality, it can be but it also can mean something shit too.
But my issue isn’t with nakedness but with peoples reactions to it. It’s so audacious for Sinead to tell Miley “Your body is for you and your boyfriend” that is definitely not for her to say, that is only for Miley to say. And I know in this case Sinead is making the point that the labels own Miley body or whatever. Whether that be the case or not, she’s naked and methods of support for women should NEVER come in the form of “stupid little girl people are taking advantage of you because you’re naked” how about instead “be naked we have your back”. I know, still a little tradge but it’s definitely better.
I dress half naked all the time and if someone wrote me a letter telling me that i’m prostituting myself i’d firstly be pissed but eventually wouldn’t care. This kind of “feminism” doesn’t resonate because it’s is so inaccurate. Sinead’’s words have no glue because it’s clearly not how Miley feels about herself. If Miley feels in charge of her body and what’s she’s doing, isn’t that exactly what we should be celebrating?
August 9, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
In the past months/years whatever since the term “outchea” has sprung into popularity, it seems the term has been used to describe pretty much any kind of photo. It technically means “out here” it really means look at where I am and look at who I’m with and look at who I am and look how fly I look. It suggests some kind of sense of achievement and you want people to recognize this. I think if one is unsure then one should express some ambivalence about the term. For example in a recent Instagram of myself I state “I think I might be outchea”:
Here’s an example of a more traditional usage of #outchea:
And here we have a collection of photos that are not so fitting:
Below is particularly not #outchea
Yours truly (“yours truly” is tradge),
August 7, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
Firstly I hate you.
Secondly if you stare at the grill where your food is cooking it doesn’t cook faster
Thirdly to quote Kendrick Lamar “I can feel your energy from two planets away” I said this to one of your kind once and it wasn’t pleasant. We always know how mad and frustrated you are that your raw burger doesn’t cook in 10 seconds. It seems you continually neglect to think about how fortunate it is to eat.
Fourthly we’re not burning your food. Ever. You’re neurotic, we’re not bad at our job. Don’t pin the fact that you are an impatient motherfucker on our supposed negligence. That’s not what’s happening. The customer is barely ever right,
Fifthly be honest with yourself. You clearly have issues that you need to deal with so give us a break and deal with them before trying to deal with us.
Lastly don’t make jokes about “ethnic” food. You’re never the first to make that joke and you’ll never be the last. But you could be the first to shut up and not be offensive.
July 30, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
I went to a Phish show a few weeks ago, and prior to me going every single person I know said “you’re going to hate it” or “why are you going”. Phish has a predominantly white following so based on this information it’s safe to assume that something racisty might happen. And the only reason why I say it’s “safe” is because every time I assume shit like this it’s nearly always validated.
In defense of Phish (and I will only defend it once and this is barely a compliment) there was only one racially thing that happened: on the bus a woman grabbed my hair and started stroking it and being like this is awesome. Was she tripping? Probably. But it doesn’t change the fact that I was the black sacrificial lamb getting felt up by a white hippy. Was I tripping? I don’t do drugs.
Here’s a seemingly less predictable situation. I was in a bar visiting my friend working and this couple leaned over and stroked my hair. To quote Dave Chappelle,”I dodged that shit like the matrix” and they ended up getting scared. I was on edge so I decided to leave, but I went outside and ran into my friends both of which are of color and one of which is Vietnamese. I explained the scene inside the bar and warned them in good humor that something racist might happen. I joined them for another drink and as soon as we sat down this woman comes out of nowhere and says “ARE YOU KOREAN? KOREANS LOVE TO DRINK”. Our faces were like thunder and she went on to ask facetiously “ARE YOU OFFENDED?”
We went outside and some guy asked the same friend “WHERE ARE YOU FROM? ARE YOU FILIPINO” he replied, “No. I’m Vietnamese”, “I WAS GONNA SAY EITHER FILIPINO OR VIETNAMESE BECAUSE THEY HAVE LARGER FEATURES”
Courtesy of @FrankieFatGold
July 16, 2013 | contributor
Photo from GQ Magazine
In this week’s NEWS at 10 on the BBC Asian Network I discussed the story surrounding the publication GQ as they conducted a list stating the 25 worst rappers of all time. Number 8 on the list was ‘Everybody from the UK’ with the exception of Mike Skinner. I caught up with the Cash Money artist, Jay Sean and asked him about his new album ‘Neon’. Also, I brought in a record courtesy of So Solid Crew as my Record of the Week.
In light of the recent Paula Deen fiasco the following, if nothing else, was brought to light: white people get really sad when they find out they’re racist. Paula Deen wasn’t sad that she’d been racist. She was sad that she was now deemed a racist. There’s a huge distinction between the two and two different ways to deal with it. The first way is recognizing what you’ve done wrong, taking responsibility, and apologizing. The second way is half-accepting the “accusation” people have made about you, defending your character and crying on national television.
This made me think more broadly about accusations of racism and by accusations of racism I actually mean someone was racist. Talking about racism is not enjoyable so if someone is racist and they apologize I’d rather just move on. BUT in this case where Deen is looking for sympathy for racist remarks they’ve made that shit so annoying. How can someone say they want a slavery themed wedding and expect people to feel sorry for them >>> THAT IS FUCKED UP. I don’t believe in accusations of racism. It either is or it isn’t. The person who judges whether its racist is definitely not the perpetrator. It something feels racist it is racist.
And When White Folks Find Out They’re Not Racist They Get Really Excited.
This past weekend George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin when he very obviously is guilty. So finding this out, I was scared of going on social media for 24 hours. But I did. And it’s ugly. So much racial twitter beef. It scares me so much. There’s this gross excitement when something is legally discounted as a racist attack. White people get mad excited like “LOOK WE’RE NOT RACIST GUYS THE JUDGE SAID SO”. Followed by extremities such as this:
Anyone can be racist, but racism is something only people of color experience. I’m sorry if you may feel left out from this experience and once maybe got sad when your black friend (maybe me?) called you a cracker and mulled over whether that was racism or not. It wasn’t. See Gawker’s article on the word “cracker” for more on racism and how it relates to white people.
Nuff love. Love you.
June 20, 2013 | Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson
Not this photo, the one below. We all have questions for 2 Chainz. He’s grown on me in that “I swear I never liked you but Hot 97 has forced me” kind of way. And now I’m all about 2 Chainz. He looks like he’s walked straight out of a Chappelle Show skit. But really though. He sort of looks like Dave Chapelle. Anyway, it’s a trip.
So as a way of questioning the anomaly that is 2 Chainz I’m using his seventh mixtape cover “T.R.U. REALigion” as a reference point.
Why is 2 Chainz in the bathroom? To use the urinal in front of him, one would guess? But his trousers are up and he’s staring at his phone. He could be taking a selfie but he also could be just hanging out. Also I don’t want to pretend to have no idea what happens in a man’s bathroom, like when some men play stupid when it comes to make-up and ask annoying shit like “how do you use mascara?” That said, I do want to ask this: are there typically mirrors above urinals? Because it looks like he started taking a selfie, but has just realized either his phone has no front camera or this urinal has no mirror above it. OR none of this could happening
I have a soft spot for acronyms that are not acronyms at all. Like even if “T.R.U.” is indeed an acronym, I’m pretty sure most people have no idea what it stands for. Its not a traditional acronym like A.S.A.P (well done Rocky). Also acronyms are generally created after the phrase has already been coined. A modern example of this is Y.O.L.O.
The True Religion wordplay, if you could an even call it that, is really really really really fuck I have no idea. But please don’t do it again or do and I will probably write another piece about. He loves playing with words:
“She got a big booty so I call her big booty” <<<<< THIS
His suitcase suggest he’s in an Airport bathroom. There are few places you’d bring a suitcase into a bathroom, thus my thorough detective skills bring me to this conclusion. Sorry that’s all I’ve got.
There is next to no narrative for this image: and the pathetic one that I have tried to created “2 Chainz is at the airport maybe taking a selfie and maybe texting his friend” is not exactly riveting. Sorry 2 Chainz, please don’t be offended by my boring narrative more I find it hard to place it in your wealth of creativity. But it fits perfectly into the narrative of how 2 Chainz is a successful rapper. At age 35 he’s late in the game, which endears me to the industry because they accept late comers too. (But let’s not kid ourselves there’s NO WAY in hell a female rapper could do the same.) Whilst songs like “Bandz Will Make Her Dance” definitely age you, songs like “I’m Different” actually still age you too.
I think the point i’m trying to make is 2 Chainz just does what he does and this mixtape cover is testament to this.