If there's nothing else I’ve learned over my decades plus time in Poliwood, aka Our Nation’s Capitol, it's that everything in life is inherently political. From the smallest issue like where to sit in the cafeteria in high school to who to befriend in your new office, everything is about politics—the politics of friendship, sex, love, work etc.
So it should come as no surprise that after the devastating derailment of Amtrak train 188 that the issue would move swiftly from grief and outrage to blame. Namely whom should we blame for the millions of dollars that have been cut from Amtrak by Congress and why we’ve allowed America’s infrastructure to crumble right beneath our feet? Let’s just hope that a round robin of debate and blame doesn’t postpone any real action that is needed to stop another tragedy from happening.
Pop Off of the Week: Director Lee Daniels vs. Hollywood. In an interview conducted by The Hollywood Reporter several prominent writers and show runners dish on what it’s like to be at the helm of a show that becomes a prominent part of the zeitgeist. It wasn’t long before the conversation turned to Hollywood’s constant elephant in the room—diversity. Daniels asked all the writers present how many African American writers they had in their writing rooms and the response was paltry at best. Then he went on to say, “I don't know what gives me more pleasure: watching my story unfold or going in and watching a room full of black people talking for me and writing words for black people. I hate white people writing for black people; it's so offensive." Seriously, how many times have you watched a show and said, “Clearly there were no black people around to write this”?
Poliwood Round-Up: Trending Topics in the #BlackTwitterverse This Week
Trend of the Week: #DontDoIt. In what was seen as an incredibly incredibly insensitive move by many - sneaker retailers Nike and Converse, announced a sale in celebration of law enforcement this week. In the midst of heightened scrutiny regarding police departments and the killings of too many unarmed black men, women and children, compounded by the fact that these companies make a substantial amount of their money off the black community, their promotion is ill-timed to say the least—Twitter thought so too.
THREE: Queen Bey Enters 2016 Race: This week Beyoncé joined presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton at a NYC fundraiser. Bey was just one of the high profile guests at the $2700 per plate event for HRC which included Sharon Osborne and Meghan Trainor. Bey first dipped her toes in the political waters when she and Jay-Z came out in strong support of President Obama. I for one am excited to see that she is continuing her interest in politics by backing HRC. Could Beyoncé be the first person to sing at two presidential inaugurations? Will Baby Blue Ivy be rocking HRC shirts? As the race begins to heat up we'll just have to wait and see.
TWO: FLOTUS Gets Real: Over the weekend First Lady Michelle Obama gave a commencement speech at Tuskegee University. In her speech FLOTUS departed from her usual lighthearted comments and got real with the graduates about race and the perception that society has about them based solely on their skin color. She also gave us a glimpse into the "daily indignities" and micro-aggressions she has faced throughout the presidency.
Mrs. Obama remarked, “The world won’t always see you in those caps and gowns. They won’t know how hard you worked and how much you sacrificed to make it to this day—the countless hours you spent studying to get this diploma, the multiple jobs you worked to pay for school, the times you had to drive home and take care of your grandma, the evenings you gave up to volunteer at a food bank or organize a campus fundraiser. They don't know that part of you.” In response she urged each and every one of those graduates to stay true to themselves and ignore the noise.
ONE: Off the Rails: In a tragic turn of events Amtrak train 188 derailed in Philadelphia this week killing 8 passengers and injuring hundreds more. On a curve that requires a speed of only 50 MPH the train reached a speed of over 100 MPH turning the commuter rail into a twisted pile of metal. Among the deaths was Medgar Evers Dean and Ph.D. candidate, Derrick Griffith, who had defended his dissertation last month and was set to receive his PH.D later this month. His is just one of the many tragic stories that came out of this weeks disaster. As with most things the issue of America's crumbling infrastructure has turned this tragedy into a political one since just recently millions of dollars were cut from Amtrak. Hopefully once all the details are released there will be serious policy changes that are made to avoid another disaster.