Friday, August 26, 2011

Are black men not allowed to be sexy on film?

Back in May of this year when Psychology Today published an article by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa that stated black women are "less physically attractive than all other women" based on his "objective" research, there was understandably and rightfully huge backlash. Nevermind that physical attractiveness is purely subjective, the "study" failed to take into account that part of the reason those interviewed would rate black women lower in attractiveness is because eurocentric ideas of beauty dominate the culture and shape our perceptions what is and what isn't attractive. Black women, by-and-large, are not going to fit that criteria.

Less discussed, however, is how eurocentric standards of beauty effect black men. It's for good reason: black men are not constantly under attack for their looks in the same way black women constantly are. Still, there are certain ways in which black men are viewed and categorized that differs from their white counterparts.

In a recent interview, actor Idris Elba, best known for his acclaimed roles as Stringer Bell in the HBO series The Wire and Detective John Luther in his latest BBC crime drama Luther, had this to say: "Black men, we're never called sexy. We're called athletic, intense, we're described as being the strong type, the silent type. But we're never really described as being sexy... in general the word sexy doesn't apply to black men, particularly."

I personally know of a lot of women and quite a few men who believe Elba to be sexy. And he's not the lone black man exalted for his sex appeal. I hear Boris Kodjoe, Blair Underwood, Lance Gross, Will Smith, Laz Alonzo, Michael Ealy, and others constantly praised for their physical attractiveness. The caveat, however: most of those doing the praising are also black.

In mainstream (read: white) America, these same men do not receive the type of adoration they're accustomed to in the black community. There is a very particular relationship mainstream America has with the black male body, and it doesn't lend itself toward sexual gratification.Sidney Poitier was one of Hollywood's great leading men in his prime, but nearly every character he played was de-sexualized. Even in the critically acclaimed film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, who's plot revolves around a married couple, Poitier is more strong and defiant than suave and debonair.

billy-dee-williams1.jpgBilly Dee Williams is perhaps the most suave and charismatic man to ever grace the big screen, but you would have to be familiar with the films that didn't produce great fame for him to know this. Williams is portrayed as the epitome of cool and male sexiness in his roles in Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues, but as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies he takes a backseat in sexiness to Harrison Ford's Han Solo. Where he is appreciated for his exceptional good looks in a predominantly black cultural context, when presented in a multi-racial ensemble Williams becomes simply another non-sexual actor.

In the moments where black men are allowed some sexual expression, black male sexuality is typically portrayed as Othello-style forbidden fruit, as in the case of Sean Patrick Thomas in Save the Last Dance, or terrifying in a King Kong type way, where a 50 foot tall savage gorilla (a stand in for black men) attacks a helpless white woman. There is little in the way of honest and true black male desirability.

There are a few exceptions, such as model Tyson Beckford and singer Lenny Kravitz, who have transcended and become sex symbols in mainstream America. Most recently, the "Old Spice guy" Isaiah Mustafa, through a series of absurdly funny commercials that often featured him shirtless, became a national sex symbol in a way most black men don't.

But these men are exceptions, coming few and far between and hardly garnering the same press as a George Clooney or Brad Pitt, both of who are two-time winners of People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" award. As a matter of fact, in the 25 year history of People's "Sexiest Man Alive" honor, the national barometer for male sex appeal in pop culture, there has only been one African-American honoree when Denzel Washington was named in 1996.

There are very real cultural differences in what makes for attractive features. In a recent print ad, Nivea for Men grooming products shows a clean cut, clean shaved black man holding in his hand a head with a large afro and goatee.

In bold letters across the page, the ad reads "RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF" and in the upper right-hand corner "LOOK LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN."
There are other ads that feature two white men as well as a black man, but this one in particular is culturally insensitive and reveals much about what it would take for a black man to gain recognition as physically attractive in mainstream society: a denial of quintessentially black features and an acceptance of eurocentric standards of male grooming.

So long as these ideas persist, Elba is right, and there will continue to be a segregated application of the word sexy. But in the black community, these men will find no shortage of folks ready to defend and revel in their sex appeal.

Census: Marriage, divorce rates higher in the South

(USA Today) -- Where you live may influence your attitudes and actions toward marriage and divorce more than you think, suggests a federal report out today that gives the clearest picture in 20 years about the evolution of marriage and divorce across the USA.

The report, from the U.S. Census, finds distinct regional differences, with states in the Northeast having the lowest marriage rates and lowest divorce rates for both men and women, and states in the South having the highest. New Jersey is among those with the lowest for both sexes; states with high rates for both men and women include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

"This does not mean you should move to the Northeast if you want your marriage to last," says sociologist Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who has reviewed the data.

MORE: Census report on Marital Events of Americans: 2009 In the South, people tend to marry earlier and often have less education, both of which increase divorce risk, he says. Those in the Northeast tend to have more education and marry later. "The lesson here is that a higher level of education leads to more stable families. Sometimes the data surprises people because regions we think of as socially conservative have higher rates of divorce, but that's largely because people have less education and marry younger."

The analysis is the first such comprehensive look at state and national data since a 1991 report based on 1988 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, which then stopped collecting such data. After a 20-year gap, Census began collecting the data reflected in this report, based on 3 million households in the 2009 American Community Survey.

"It's been such long time since we've been able to paint regional and a state-by-state picture; it really shows different marriage philosophies and how we have different marriage cultures in the same nation," says Census family demographer Diana Elliott .

Because data were collected during the height of the recession, it's possible they might even understate rates, Cherlin says. "Single people have postponed marriage; married people have postponed divorce."
Nationally, though, the most striking finding is a continued clear pattern toward later ages at first marriage, which have been inching up for 30 years. "We're at the point now that it's higher than before the turn of the century," says Census family demographer Diana Elliott. In 1890 it was 26.1 for men, 22 for women. The new data put men at 28.4, women at 26.5.

"What is interesting, I think, is that it continues to be delayed," Elliott says. "I read articles in the 1980s when they were noticing this change in the age of first marriage and they didn't know where it was going to end and we still don't know. If you look historically, it hasn't reached the apex yet. It hasn't started leveling out."

Experts say this upward trend isn't likely to end just yet.

"I think it will peak no higher than around 30 for women," says psychologist Howard Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, University of Denver. "Most of us in the field think it has to do with dramatic increase over time in cohabitation - not as an alternative to marriage, but for most people it is a developmental stage toward marriage," he says. Markman says young people now focus on their careers and economic stability more than in the past and he expects that to continue as more women than men seek higher education. "It will level off at the point where women are starting to feel like they want to be married and start having a family."

Cherlin agrees that the median age could rise by a few more years before it peaks; in Spain and Italy, for example, the ages at first marriage are around 30. "It's not going to go up forever," Cherlin agrees. "There are biological reasons why the marriage age is not going to rise by more than few more years - namely men and women need to have time to have children."

Written by USA Today | Original Post by whatshotatlanta.com

US seismologists: At least 7 aftershocks registered after East Coast quake; more likely

RICHMOND, Va. — The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast this week has produced at least seven aftershocks.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the aftershocks around the central Virginia epicenter ranged in magnitude from 4.5 to as little as 2.2, following the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Two of them hit early Thursday.

When the number of aftershocks was still at five, geophysicist Amy Vaughan with the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, said the aftershocks so far had been remarkably few.

Vaughan said the agency isn’t sure what to expect, but it’s likely there will be some more for days, if not weeks. Typically, the larger the quake, the longer and the greater extent of aftershocks.

By Associated Press, Published: August 25

4 Skills that Give Women a Sustainable Advantage Over Men

Who Run the World? GIRLS!!

Oprah welcomes Halle Berry and Tina TurnerIn a recent study by Pepperdine University, women in top positions reported beating the industry average in terms of productivity and profitability.  Beth E. Mooney, CEO of KeyCorp, just became the first ever woman chief of a top 20 US Bank. In fact, nearly 52% of managerial or professional positions are now held by women, according to a Catalyst, July, 2011 report. More women are obtaining MBAs than ever before in history. Yet, although major strides have been made by women in every industry, there are only 28 female CEOs in the Fortune 1000 companies according to the Catalyst, August 2011 report. 
Nonetheless, it is clear that women are reshaping the landscape of business.  Women are naturally wired to think, act and innovate like immigrants.  Women, more than men, have the ability to see what others don’t, do what others won’t and keep pushing their ideas and ideals when prudence says quit.
These skills taken together mean that women are better than men at earning serendipity! Here’s the breakdown:

File:Beyonce cropped.jpg1.     Women are Opportunity Experts
Women see opportunity in everything and everyone – their neighbors, friends, family, business associates, strategic partners, etc. Women have the ability to see opportunity and give their ideas life and inspire others to do the same. Women, when given the opportunity to be themselves, are natural leaders! I have seen time and again how women are much more strategic, focused and keep their eye on the prize.  They are not easily distracted and don’t get their egos in the way.  That is why women just don’t see opportunity, they seize it.   Look at the list of the top women CEO’s world-wide.  Impressive!   Review this list of the 50 most powerful women in America.  Pay attention to these women:  they are reinventing America’s enterprises.

2.     Women are Networking Professionals
Women are masters of navigation and putting their ideas to the test is their gift. They do this through networking. They follow-up and make sure they sow their seeds of ideas in the most fertile networking ground. Additionally, their inherent ability to be creative allows for the discovery of opportunities that most miss.

The ROI of your business network is only valuable if those in it are willing to risk in your growth.  Unlike men, women stick together and protect one another (though many would equally say that women also fiercely compete against each other too).   At the initial stages of networking, women are gracious and generous in their ability to give and open doors for one another.   They want to feel as if they are making an impact, helping to make a difference in the lives of others.

3.     Women Seek to be Relationship Specialists Women are specialists at cultivating relationships that are purposeful, genuine and meaningful. They focus on growing healthy, long-lasting relationships. Women don’t quit. They thrive at creating and sustaining momentum for both themselves and others.

*Images courtesy of google images, Article Courtesy of Forbes.com

Thursday, August 18, 2011

See what makes Atlanta's Kenny Burns the ULTIMATE PLAYBOY...

Lifestyle Specialist Kenny Burns has turned his ambassadorship duties to the wide screen for the upcoming NBC show, “The Playboy Club”…

Kenny Burns on The PlayBoy Club Mystique from KENNY BURNS

Whew! Kenny Burns is the weekend afternoon announcer on V-103, The Lifestyle Specialist and NOW the just-named ambassador for the new NBC show “The Playboy Club.” Starting at the Essence Music Festival he will be hosting a number of events to promote the new show co-starring Naturi Naughton (“Notorious”).


Check out the preview for the new NBC show

Jadakiss Speaks on his Lil Wayne/Drake Collabo

Jadakiss talks to XXLMag.com about his new record on Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV & how he uses the blogs to gauge the fans’ reaction to his new material…

“I feel like Kobe [Bryant] or Mike [Jordan],” Jada shared with XXL. “Not with the 45 on [the Jordan jersey] either. But when he wasn’t dunking as much and when the turnaround was just as efficient as when he was kissing the rim, flying against people. I feel like it still don’t matter who you throw me in there with and I’m gonna shine like never before.”

LL Cool Kiss is still working on his next LP, Top Five Dead or Alive, but he’s also keeping his name out there with plenty of guest spots. One cameo he’s especially looking forward to coming out with is a Lil Wayne track called “It’s Good.” The song also features Drake and will be on the August 29 release of Weezy’s highly anticipated album, Tha Carter IV.

“I see myself as unstoppable,” the Black Babe Ruth boasted. “Especially joints like Carter IV. I gotta do [a song for] Jeezy’s TM 103 too. I read blogs and all of that. The majority of the comments are good. Some are bad. But just to feel I murdered stuff with the newer generation, it makes me feel great. I already know what it is, but when my point gets across to the outside listener or consumer, a blogger or just little Billy from Illinois, that makes me feel marvelous; opposed to some money or getting an award or anything. When I can read a blog and they said ‘Holy shit, Kiss just murdered this song wit Lil Tunechi,’ I’m like ‘Yeah, y’all recognize now.’ Like a professor who’s been trying to get that one math problem across to his students for an entire semester then they get it at the end. It’s a beautiful thing.”
The Yonkers legend remarked that it was humbling to be such a seasoned vet and get requested to appear on a LP as highly anticipated as C IV.

“I feel blessed to still be here,” Jada added. “To get called for Tha Carter IV, for him being able to recognize that I can help on one of the songs on his album with my mechanics is a beautiful thing. I respect his ear. Some shit he does is far out to me, but I still love him as a lyricist. For me to be apart of that is a beautiful thing. Especially coming out of jail, he could have called anybody.”

Shaheem Reid - http://www.xxlmag.com/