Trophy What?

I love Art. Always have. I understand that art is what the viewer interprets it to be which makes art even more “funner”(thanks Kathryn and Maia). I don’t think you heard me,

I-LOVE-ARtBut today I was reading an article (http://mic.com/articles/94798/this-artist-is-wearing-white-women-as-scarves-to-send-a-controversial-message?utm_source=policymicFB&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social) that really just made me laugh out loud about the intentions of a specific artistic piece.

 

Trophy 4The article brings to surface the works of an “artist,” 36 year old Nate Hill, and his project “Trophy Scarves.” The project depicts Hill in various stages of selfies while he has a white woman draped across his shoulders as a scarf. He believes the project to be “a satire as a social critique to desire and power.” Said Hill, “I wear white women for status and power.”

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What most surprises me here (out of all the wrongs being done) is the fact that this “artist” is allowed to make a satirical exhibition of an act that teeters the lines of a racist one. This act, I understand and can in some lowball train of thought relate to how humorous it may be to his audience, remains akin to the same reigns of reverse-racism that African-American comedians employ in their comedy acts. They are allowed to blatantly refer to whites in derogatory terms but in no way is that same leeway given to white comedians when they use the “n-word” in their acts (see Michael Richards career crash and burn). Hill says, “I’m half black and half white, but wanted to pretend to be a ‘black man’ [with] which I have never identified.” So maybe if Richards had appeared on stage “pretending” to be a black man, then his message would have been duly received. Oh no, that would have been Richards in black face, which would have opened an entirely different can of worms.

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The wearing of a white woman across the shoulders of a black man, regardless of whether he is biracial or not, is simply deplorable. Earlier in 2014 there appeared a photo of Garage Magazine editor-in-chief Dasha Zhukova perched atop a piece of “art” conceived by Norwegian Bjarne Melgaard (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/20/dasha-zhukova-black-woman-chair-buro-247-editorial_n_4633544.html)

DASHA-ZHUKOVAsupposedly to provide a much needed “commentary on gender and politics.” Ahh, not so much. The piece also available in “white woman” was not received well by the public, as it should not have been, because it was not art that served as a positive beacon for audiences home or stateside. But, as questioned before, is it truly satirical and laughable (because it is performed) when portrayed by an African American, or at least the black half of a biracial artist? That isn’t right.

If one is to perceive that they are serving a message to the masses by promoting discourse of gender and politics, then serve that message on a platter with ingredients that are able to be cooked, served-to and further digested by all patrons because of the sheer genius of forethought and deep intent. Not because it involved a spoilage precipitated by contrast of color and deemed superior and rich in class-climbing nutrients. As offensive as it was for Zhukova to have ensconced herself in such a non-secret position atop the chair, so is it for Hill to be slinging a scantily clad representation of “a white trophy” atop his shoulders.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I understand that art is art and is to be interpreted by the audience in whatever manner in which they choose. Muck like poetry, art is subjective to the thoughts and ideas of those that share the same love of the medium, but have walked different roads, therefore being able to relive and/or draw upon their own extremely different perceptions of the piece. But when your ideas are centered around the uncomfortability of race and gender specifics, a satire or retro furniture is not the way to go.

What’s next, satirical pieces supporting and glorifying the “rape culture,” or BuzzFeed Top 10 lists of the best domestic violence, drug dealing, prison inmate roles for the African American male actor? Oh wait, they may have already been done. Art is meant to uplift, not downgrade. If an African American male desires to “up his status,” as Hill expounds as being motivation for his piece, then shouldn’t his self-esteem do that for him alone? Shouldn’t the opportunity to have his art seen by the world be enough to motivate him to design art that takes more talent than a mirror, a cellphone and a willing alabaster complexioned Millennial who clearly doesn’t understand that she is adding to the “problematic topics… specifically concerning the portrayal of white women in the media,” instead of reducing the negative imprint that has already previously been stamped?

Keep Your Enemies Close? Nope, Off With the Heads

Off With

There are times in your life when you seriously question the motives of those around you. Sometimes their actions are out of character, or their decision-maling is askew juuuuuuust a bit. When this happens, naturally you as an upright walking and higher capacity thinking individual then begin to wonder, “why the hell did they just do or say that?” Nearly 90% of the time you will NEVER figure it out because you don’t think in the same manner as the other. But then there are those 10% of the times that you can read the coming action before it even happens. It is a bit scary. For me I have seen the actions coming for quite some time with a particular individual.

Many times when you are abroad in a new setting and you sort of feel like the dangers that may affect you will more than likely come from those that are strangers to you. When in reality, it is those most closest to you that will get to you first. Why individuals have the need to feel superior to another is beyond me when their is so much wealth in the world, by means of status and/or academia at the very least; which ever is your pleasure. But once and a while you run into that individual that is believed to be in your corner and they are steadily fighting you like lobsters in a cage to get above you. But what to do when it happens?

A wise man (Michael Corleone in the Godfather Part II) once said, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” When I first heard it, those were words of wisdom that I figured I could utilize in life to my advantage to make things run smother because if you know what those that don’t particularly care for you are doing then you have the market cornered on any harm that they can bring you.

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You are like your own Trojan Horse in the interaction. But then I wondered, what could make this crime boss (son) think so outside of the box? WOW! Research time. As I went into the 21st century stacks (the internet) I would soon find out that Corleone borrowed and built upon the phrase, adding his own spin to it. Originally spoken by Italian Machiavelli in “The Prince,” in his treatise on how to be a great ruler,

Machiavelli

his words are as follows; “Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious.” Again, DOUBLE WOW! That sounds even BETTER than what Corleone spit out. So then I began to analyze the words as they stared at me off the screen. It had nothing to do with keeping an enemy closer, but all to do with using your mentality to understand them, as well as continuing to know your true self. Understanding someone that intends to bring you harm (enemy) prepares you for what may present itself in the future. You already know that an enemy/opponent does not appear before you with the best aspirations for you or your future, so you are already mentally prepared to accept them. It’s the not-being-prepared part that gets in the way and makes you feel like shit when they say or do something to you that you didn’t expect. And that’s where I run into issues because overall, I generally like people. It’s when they say/do something that isn’t positive that causes me to feel like “grumpy cat” with wishes of them to go along their way and fuck thyself better than it has ever been done and never to return. I don’t hate and that draws me in to them.

I place a lot of stock in people because I believe in them, regardless of what others say. I’m the first person to accept the one that others say is hard to get along with, an asshole, out for themselves, etc. I am the one scenic, when it comes to the gossip of people, to think opposite about them because I think it has to be a communication problem, so I can get along with those that others say is impossible to be able to. But once in a while there comes that one individual who jut has and keeps an attitude that you just cant overlook.

I recently have encountered an individual that clearly has to be the center of EVERYTHING (conversation, meetings, online activities, get-togethers around town). They are the Kristen Wiig character from SNL, Penelope the One-Upper, to the extreme. If I say I have a new pair of Nikes, they have a new pair of Prada….if I had a great nights sleep, they slept FABULOUSSSSSS, spock-leornard-nimoy-star-trek-tosif I say I am hungry, they are famished.

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Get the drift. So as this one-uppance has continued, so has the level of how it has been constructed. It has recently gone from the aforementioned to mentioning me in conversation when I am not around. As the information has began to get back to me I have nothing to really say about. I figure if they feel the need to speak about me or compete with me, then they must be in awe of how FUCKING AWESOME I AM!! Which brings me to the Machiavelli quote.

I totally understand it and respect it’s usage when needed, but I disagree with the act of keeping up with one that does not have your best interests at heart close to you. I think it’s best to feed them with kid gloves. Put as much space as you can between yourself and them and you will be a more well rounded individual. It only causes heartache, disgust, and the occasional self-doubt of oneself. I will be the first one to defend the actions of another as I continually play devils advocate because I know how it feels to be an outsider, whether because of a financial situation or because of a mental or personal positioning. But when those actions become so terse that they make you feel less than who you know you are, then it is time to cut the cord and move on. Your own sanity is not worth allowing another to beat you up mentally and destroy your well-being.

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In the words of another great “illogical thinker,” Miser Spock,  “Live long and prosperous,” and fuck the haters. They come a dime a dozen and exist only because they are unhappy with who they are and where they are in life.

22 Signs You Went To A Small Liberal Arts College In The Middle Of Nowhere

As if it came out of my own mind…

Thought Catalog

1. Everyone was over-involved to the point of not being able to effectively get anything done and really proud of that for some reason.

2. There was a subculture of people lurking around the hallowed gates of your campus and you called them the townies. Sometimes, when you wanted to look like one, you wouldn’t shower for two days and wear sweatpants that were tight around your ankles and to go the diner.

3. Speaking of, there was basically one diner that everybody ended up at around 2-4 am, and about two bars to choose from before that. But always a really hip coffee shop nearby, because liberal arts.

4. The joke was entirely on you at the end of the day, because when you chose to attend this school, you thought you were entering a community of open-minded people who were also there to sit in small classes and thoroughly…

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Language and Italian Conversations

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Buon pomeriggio,

 So today we have begun to get deep, deep, deep into the Italian language and let me tell you, it has been kicking my ass. Attempting to conjugate the verbs and adverbs is just insane to me. The good thing is that I have been able to chat with my house mother and her daughter a bit more. The words that are taught in class have definitely been more helpful to me and I am grateful as hell for that. I left class yesterday and was in a “language-fog” because I was soooo overwhelmed with the language that we learned. Let me tell, we have this class first thing in the morning (9am) until midday at 12:15 and to have to learn language when I am not a morning person has been the hardest for me. While at Guilford I have always made it a point to NOT have any classes that began before 11am, just because I know how long it takes me to wake up and get my brain going. But here….Naw Son

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..no such luck. You wake up at the crack of dawn, normally about 6:30, have breakfast and then hit the bricks en route to The Scuola.

    I have enjoyed the class as a whole though because it allows me to understand the host family and the people that pass me on a regular or those that ask me about Lil Wayne (why I am the authority on Lil Wayne I will never know; lmao) I’m not gonna lie I do get a chuckle inside when I’m approached by Italians and they begin to question me about the state of hip hop back in the States. I told a group of them yesterday after class, when approached while walking through the Campo, that I felt that hip-hop was placed on life-support in 1996 after Tupac was shot and finally died along with Biggie in 1997.

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   Of course they took it hard and looked at me like I had said something derogatory about the Pope, but I broke it down for them and they finally got it, and seemed to agree to an extent. The problem is that they are not feed the minutia of what Americans call “hip-hop” here so they don’t understand how “watered down” the industry has become. Anyway it was a great chance to have a conversation with them about one of my many passions and also to see how they relate or have the lack thereof of the music that we listen daily. As I told, “right now, somewhere in the United States, there is a man cleaning out his garage and starting his own new label named No Cars Allowed Records, it is that plentiful when it comes to rap in the States.

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They laughed. I laughed. So we all then laughed together. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding more things in common to laugh about than not? I think so. Anyway, I shall return soon….same Black Channel….same Black time

Glad to help, young Italians,

TCBM

Ciao

Siena, Italy sunrise

Siena, Italy sunrise

So, I have not been able to blog for the past ten to eleven days because I have been getting my act together to study abroad. YAYYYYYYY!!  At the moment I am in Siena, Italy. I have been here with a group of 15 other students from Guilford College and if i must say so myself, it’s not going bad.

I thought when I arrived that I was going to be an outcast (not the cool Big Boi or Andre 3000 type) and not have any interaction with the locals and would stick out like a sore thumb. I did something that I normally don’t do when I haven’t experienced something prior to “making the trip across the pond,” and that is going online and reading blogs and other spontaneous posts in reference to being a person of color abroad amongst Italians. The information I read ran the gamut from Blacks being hated and thrust to the curb to only Black women being accepted. Not true at all. I have not had any issues with being outcast, although I may be too busy loving the scenery and exploring the city at my leisure to notice and then give two fucks about what others around me are thinking. I have always been one to be able to be a loner and still have fun (thanks to my solo upbringing) so this has been a total gas, Bro. Maybe if I was the type of person to worry about what others thought about me I would agree with the posts I read previously and believe that I should just become a hermit inside the luxurious apartment that we have been so graciously afforded, keeping my blackness to myself hidden between four walls with no opportunity to enjoy my surroundings. BUT NO! That’s not me.

I am enjoying the stay thus far and will share the experiences of The Clarified Blackman (TCBM) abroad as I have the time.

Buon giorno,

TCBM