BLKWRAP: Apologies, Apathy and Artifice

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Danielle Moodie-Mills

“I’m sorry some people were offended.”

Just to be clear, this is not what an apology looks like. Nonetheless it seems to be the wording of choice for celebrities and politicians alike that suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome. The latest patient to fall ill from this stubbornly persistent disease is Hollywood favorite Matt Damon.

In a scene on the HBO show Project Greenlight which seeks to fund aspiring directors, Effie Brown an African American producer, was commenting on a group of white filmmakers' decision to have only one person of color in their film who was playing a prostitute that gets hit by her pimp.

In the midst of Brown asking for more thoughtfulness from white contestants, Damon saw fit to interrupt her in an attempt to school her on where diversity is utilized best. "When we're talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show," Damon said.

Once news of the exchange broke, Damon issued the non-apology above to quiet social media backlash which included the #Damonsplaining trending for hours.

Here’s my prescription for foot-in-mouth syndrome—think before you speak on issues of great complexity, and if you can’t manage to say anything thoughtful that drives the conversation forward instead of shutting it down, then say nothing and just listen.

Take three times a day with food until symptoms of your foolishness decrease.

Pop Off of the Week: Amber Rose vs. The Haters

In a culture that is so sex obsessed that we use it to sell everything from shampoo to yogurt it’s almost laughable that we cast judgment on anyone, but women especially, that admit to actually enjoying it.

In her continued attempt to end slut shaming, model Amber Rose teamed up with the comedy site Funny or Die and the results were hysterical.

As Rose struts her stuff down the street she is met by everyone including the mil-man and the mayor, whom all give her props for holding her head up high after a one-night stand that leaves her strolling home in the morning. As the saying goes, “haters gonna hate,” the best you can do is keep stunting with your head held high. Bravo Amber!

Poliwood Round-Up: Trending Topics in the #BlackTwitterverse This Week

Trend of the Week: #IStandWithAhmed

This week Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year old student at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas was arrested. His crime? Doing extra credit.

In an attempt to impress his science teacher Ahmed brought in a homemade clock to show her. Generally when a teacher is met with a student that is ambitious enough to do work at home that hasn’t been assigned they’re delighted—well, his teacher was terrified.

She thought that Ahmed’s homemade clock was a bomb and alerted school authorities who interrogated the 9th grader before placing him in handcuffs and arresting him. To say social media was outraged is a profound understatement.

Wonder what his teacher would have done if his name was Tommy and he was a Christian? Following the news Ahmed did receive a hail of support.

IRVING, TX - SEPTEMBER 17: Ahmed Mohamed (Front), a Texas Muslim teen arrested after taking his homemade clock to school, poses with his sister at his house in Irving, Texas on September 17, 2015. A Texas Muslim teen arrested after taking his homemade clock to school, on Wednesday accepted an invitation by President Barack Obama to show off his invention at the White House. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Getty Images

THREE: An Afro Apology

Two years ago on CBS’s The Talk comedienne Sheryl Underwood made a terrible joke about natural black hair saying, “Why would you save afro hair? You can’t weave in afro hair! No one walks into the hair place and says ‘Look here, what I need is curly, nappy, beady hair.' That just seems n*sty.”

She caught a lot of flack for her insensitive comments and now she is seeking redemption. On the show this week the Underwood took off her wig to reveal her natural afro and share her journey to natural hair and offer her sincerest apologies to the black community. Do you forgive her?

TWO: Taking a Stand

Fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of Pyer Moss, left the audience of his recent runway show during New York Fashion Week with much more to ponder than his clothing. Jean-Raymond was contemplating not doing a show at all given the real issues he sees facing the black community.

He decided to do the show but included a 10-minute video opener, shot in black and white, which opened with the killing of Walter Scott. The video followed other high profile killings and brutalization of black people.

Not only did Jean-Raymond make his thoughts known through his video but also with his clothing. The show was startling and thought provoking and in an industry known for frivolity he brought the realness. "If I'm going to be the black designer," Jean-Raymond said, then "I'm going to tell it my way."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: A model poses on the runway during the Pyer Moss fashion show during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week at the Altman Building on September 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images for Pyer Moss)Fernando Leon
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: A model poses on the runway during the Pyer Moss fashion show during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week at the Altman Building on September 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images for Pyer Moss)Fernando Leon

ONE: Planned Parenthood Under Attack

If there was one thing the Republican presidential candidates agreed on in their second debate it was their shared hatred for all things Planned Parenthood. They made it clear with Carly Fiorina leading the pack that the idea of a woman having agency over her body makes them uncomfortable—so much so they continue to discuss the care that Planned Parenthood offers women—free of facts.

"I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes," Fiorina said. "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill [to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood] shame on us."

The character of our nation rests in the respect we have for all of our citizenry to have autonomy over their bodies—not be dictated to and lied to by an oppressive and overzealous conservative class.