White Washing The Girl with all the Gifts: Why I’m Pissed Helen Justineau Is Being Played by a White Actress

I just finished, The Girl with all the Gifts by Mike Carey and I am floored by how wonderful the book was. The suspense, the character complexity, the pace, the fracking content were all AWESOME!

The Girl With All The Gifts M R Carey

I thankfully saved my in-depth Googling for after, and was pleasantly surprised to find the powers that be were adapting the film into a movie, “She Who Brings Gifts.” It took hearing the news of a pending film for me to realize that, on a subconscious level, I had been dreaming of setting eyes on THEE Helen Justineau.

There are so few females of color in scifi, and though Carey’s characters are (thankfully) so much more than their gender or racial designations (especially since the zombie apocalypse leaves you with way more important things to think about), I am left deflated by the fact that (though lovely) Gemma Arterton is playing MY Helen Justineau!

angry surprised black response

Homegrown Pictures / Via youtube.com

Read for yourselves how the narrator describes her:

“Miss Justineau’s face stands out anyway because it’s such a wonderful, wonderful colour. It’s dark brown, like the wood of the trees in Melanie’s rainforest picture whose seeds only grow out of the ashes of a bushfire, or like the coffee that Miss Justineau pours out of her flask into her cup at break time. Except it’s darker and richer than either of those things, with lots of other colours mixed in, so there isn’t anything you can really compare it to. All you can say is that it’s as dark as Melanie’s skin is light.

I released a large squeak when I read this, a warmth spread throughout my brain! My imagination created a darker skinned Helen of Troy! I felt chills when the novel described her long coiled and curly hair. My sense of loss for hair diversity alone is so deep! WHY GOD!

I know that there is an ongoing complaint-fest on social media about white washing (look it up) in the entertainment industry and I know those leaked Sony emails have confirmed the rumor that industry executives believe non-white leads won’t sell. I simply don’t care. I don’t fracking care. This was a great opportunity for me, as a black female and lifelong scifier, to not have to resign myself to being underrepresented even in fracking fantasy worlds! This was a deliciously selfish dream of mine.

Now mourn with me, for all the lovely female actors of Sri Lankan, Indian, and African decent that could have had (near) top billing for a scifi film.

JESUS WEPT!

Post Scriptum

When I told my friend, who I convinced to read the book, that they were making a movie, her first question was: “Are they leaving all the diverse characters intact?” Her response to my no:

angry friend

(throws book)

F*#K-it I’m not finishing it.

(Picks up book while groaning in defeat)

We brown girls are tired of groaning in defeat while we give you our fracking patronage! This is just part of the frustrating struggles of a black nerd.

(Whimpers, she could have been any ethnicity in the world, but they choose under-representation even when the character is written otherwise! DAMB IT! I thirst for diversity in scifi and the casting agents keep saying NO, you don’t matter!)

Religion Without Love is Effing Scary as Hell!

Religion without love is effing scary as hell!

Last week, I read 1984 and this week I am almost done with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. For those who have not read these books, read it my people, read it and improve your life!

I’m a Christian, I roll with Jesus, he is MY DUDE, but I’ve just lived the eradication of hope and individuality through what could be defined as the militarization and politicization of religion! Now I am destroyed by the clear notion that words that have been so freeing and inspiring to me can be twisted and systemically leverage to commit acts that are not of God!

A Handmaid's Tale MArgaret Atwood Amazon ReaderProcessed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

If you ever go to a southern or Baptist church, you have heard the saying that “Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.” He will NOT force himself upon you. In other words, you have a choice and no means no! Then, why do men try to systematize what is meant to be personalized? Did we miss all of the teachings about the Pharisees, I don’t read my bible often enough (work in progress) and I got the message loud and clear when I was just a skeptical college pseudo-Christian.

Whilst reading Atwood’s book I laughed out loud, I cried, I threw shit (please forgive my language, I’m emotional)! At times it read like poetry, at others, a private diary; a truth narrative of a woman from a distant past or another country, or even a possible future. That’s what made The Handmaid’s Tale brilliant and frightening, that a group of people’s quest for power or skewed ideology could take away the beautiful things.

THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS! The ability to choose whom you could love. The ability to communicate and even have an identity all your own! To be a woman and beautiful, to be a woman and creative, to be a woman and industrious, to be a woman and boisterous, to be a woman and sexual, the “big brother” of Atwood’s world brought the hell dimension to earth and viewed it as a mother effing improvement. I am not okay, this book has summarily effed up my brain.

This isn’t exactly a book review but an excited knee jerk communication and request that you read this book, because election season is upon us, and stupid crap exhibited in this piece of literature should not even remotely be allowed to fester in our political system! A kajillion generations of women, activists, missionaries, freedom fighters, and prayer warriors did not live/die/endure/suffer for us to be lackadaisical with our individual and collective freedoms to be informed and involved!

Now I am going to read my bible to calm my mind and give me hope!

Side note: Don’t let the reader fool you, I love the smell and touch of real books, and I still partake in them.

Black Girl Reading books Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

A Nerd’s Guide To Parenting Styles And What Works

What type of parent are you?

According to many learned and well qualified psychologist, there are essentially 4 parenting styles that I’ve clarified for those who enjoy comparing life to art (and yes comics count as art):

Darth Vader (Authoritarian): Vader parents, much like their namesake, are givers of no intergalactic dambs. They aren’t warm, are very controlling, and aren’t afraid to punish their spawns for the slighted of infractions to ensure their status as ruler of their universe household remains intact. There is no discussion, there is no explanation, and you obey the rules of their starship or face laser marks across your buttocks and/or endless nights in the dungeon of their own financing. (more…)

Oklahoma Fraternity’s Racist Chant Video Is About More Than Just Bigotry

On the coattails of the 50 year anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday, a speech and epically beautiful march retracing those historic steps; members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon make headlines for a ridiculously racist chant. The video emerged Sunday, inciting protests on the University of Oklahoma campus and leading the expulsion of the gentleman from their Greek lettered organization as well as suspension from the university pending investigation.

Though I didn’t watch the video myself, I don’t need my week sullied by bigotry; this incident begs the question why this kind of behavior endures in organizations similar to SAE? Throughout undergrad I’ve had more than one roommate that dated a fraternity guy (including myself), and have many close friends of various ethnic and racial backgrounds that proudly wear their letters (still). Though historically White-only Greek organizations and the historically Black or Latino fraternities (born from initial exclusion) can be very culturally different, I’ve personally observed the power struggle that happens amongst boys and young men that yield similarly disastrous outcomes.

Though predominate discussions about this chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s behavior is race focused, racial dialogue alone only scratches the surface. Rosalind Wiseman, the writer of Queen Bees and Wannabes, which inspired the movie Mean Girls, also wrote a book on the topic of boys called Masterminds and Wingmen. Her analysis of interviews with boys of various ages adds some necessary clarity and understanding. Beyond race privilege, add the narrative of gender privilege and herd mentality: (more…)

International Women’s Day

Motherhood The Huntington Library

“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”

Ban Ki-moon

 

Why You Should Watch The Walking Dead

Why aren’t you watching The Walking Dead? Let me ask again, Rick Glenn Judith The Walking Deadwhy aren’t you watching The Walking Dead! If you’re a TV watcher, heck if you’re a consumer of awesome media in any form — books or radio, your ass (forgive my language) should be watching The Walking Dead!

Based on the comic book series by the same name, The Walking Dead (TWD) is at the highest tiers of quality TV or film for that matter. When you experience (you can’t just watch) an episode, you live it. TWD doesn’t feel manufactured; it doesn’t seem like actors surviving in a faux post-apocalyptic reality. The writing is pure, the delivery is authentic and the acting is superb.

Sometime in the past, maybe during season 3, my love for the show was etched into the finest of stone. TWD is a show that can be enjoyed by Sci-fi aficionados, those whose tastes may have been refined by reading Frank Herbert’s Dune or watching BattleStar Galactica (2.0), and casual observers who might enjoy the Hunger Games series and an occasional episode of Orphan Black. But The Walking Dead is epic television happening RIGHT NOW, so if your not watching, you maybe literally missing out on participating in history.The Walking Dead Cast

The show’s consistent praises from both the populous and the professional TV/Film industry, as well as its massive and growing audience is only some evidence of why TWD is great television. It’s a show that isn’t afraid of diversity, from ethnicity to identity, it’s a show with characters anybody could relate to!

Alanna Masterson The Walking Dead

Zombies freak me out to my core and I too turn my nose up at gore for gore’s sake. You abhor gore – you avoid scary shows! Again, I do too, but in stark and overwhelming contrast: I love the well written characters, am a sucker for precise story-lines that aren’t afraid to evolve, and I am willing to pay money (per episode to Amazon.com) for clear, authentic, and often unpredictable writing. Somehow an entire show built on the premise of the world being destroyed by a zombie virus became so much more. Instead, it matured into a thoughtful analysis of what it is to lead, to survive, to endure, to love, to be loved, and ultimately to be human and not the walking dead.

One bored summer I started Season1/Episode1 of The Walking Dead to fill a void left by my inability to decide on a good book to read, four years later I await each episode with anticipation, watch each episode with a buzz of exhilaration, and leave each episode with a sense of awe and an unquenched thirst for more. That, in a nutshell, is The Walking Dead and you should partake in it!

 

The Magic of a Kidproof Car

Chevy Kidproof

There’s nothing like a multi-state road trip with two small toddlers to help young parents understand the intrinsic value of kidproofing. Those who aren’t parents or are regularly subject to the whims of small children, really don’t understand how a being less than 50 lbs. and smaller than many full sized pets will secrete, spill, and literally leave an often unmovable mark on the things you love most. I’m not speaking of those priceless metaphorical things, I mean your new cell phone, the car you just bought with your hard earned money or that couch that you’ve waited most of your adult life to afford.

Back to the road trip from Dante’s Inferno

A few years back the husband and I had the bright idea to drive from Florida to visit some relatives out of state. Our kids, then 2 and 3, naturally required regular feedings and did not posses full control of their physical faculties. In other words, they nearly decimated our brand new car! Think permanent juice stains and the forever-faint stench of toddler pee. Think the pain of our FIRST NEW CAR (not a hand me down from Dad or a used clunker with a mystery 100,000 miles on the odometer) receiving the wear of a vehicle years into its existence.

While we treated our prized possession with the love of a newborn birthed from our loins, these creatures children we spawned dashed a dagger into our hearts with every wandering sticky finger or premature release of toddler urine. If there was any moment in my life I yearned with every fiber of my being for kid proofing, it was this.

Thank you magical creator of life, the GM engineers knew that kids are vicious heartless beings hard on cars and thought to kidproof their vehicles. Though we couldn’t afford the fancy leather interior of our dreams, our Impala’s fabric interior is incredibly durable and stain resistant—we were even able to remove the stench of human urine (YAY).

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.