No Apology Necessary, @KevinHart4real

A metaphorical tale

Imagine a scenario:

You decide to have a barbecue and extend an invitation to everyone on your block; some you know well, others not so much, but if they want to come, great! The more, the merrier. You make calls, send e-vites and even go so far as to make flyers, so that as many as are able will come and have a good time. The date of the barbecue fast approaches. You make all your preparations: Ribs? Check! Burgers? Check! Hot dogs? Check! Sides, condiments, entertainment; you have beyond covered all your bases and spent a pretty penny along the way, but that’s not the point, enjoying yourself is.

The sun rises on your big day and you can’t wait for your guests to arrive and when they do, you greet them warmly and make sure they are well fed.  You spot an unknown sour face in the crowd and watch as they make a beeline into your personal space. They shove a plate of food under your neck and demand to know what it is. Confused and unwilling to state the obvious, you reply, ‘what’s it look like?’

‘I can’t eat it’, they snarl back, ‘It could kill me! I’m allergic! I could have gone into  anaphylactic shock.’ You take a moment to process; surely they don’t think you went out of your way to serve them something poisonous.

‘I didn’t know it was a problem.’

‘Well, now you do. Throw it out!’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Now you know it’s a problem. You should throw it out.’

‘But I like it and so do my other guests.’

‘Well, I’m a guest too! And since this stuff could kill me, you shouldn’t have it around.’

‘I got a better idea. I’ve got other stuff. Why don’t you try that?’

‘Good point. You have other stuff, so you don’t need this!’

‘This is a barbecue. Why are you surprised that this is here?’

The conversation didn’t even have a chance to go left because it already started there. You watch in a combination of awe and horror as they throw out their plate, others’ and, with the lightning quick reflexes of a professional athlete, grab the serving tray of the offending dish and pile drive it into the grass. It’s bad enough they’re making a scene, but they’ve also made others so uncomfortable that, though they’ve enjoyed the festivities thus far, they’d rather be away from all the noise and aggravation.

‘All of this for one dish’, you think to yourself as they parade around your backyard, unwilling to leave despite the fact that the threat is now completely inedible, covered in grass and mud.

Eight years later, a stranger comes knocking on your door inquiring about the infamous barbecue. You decided some time ago to avoid serving that dish. It makes life easier and you have more than enough to work with, so it was easy to cut from the menu. Irritated, the stranger condemns you for daring to serve a dish that could kill someone and are stunned by your inconsideration and callousness toward the guest. You remind them that years have passed since then and you’ve had numerous barbecues, with little incident. And either way, what does it matter now? You weren’t there.

‘That’s not the point! I could have been.’

You sigh.

The next thing the stranger sees is your closed door.


Author’s note:

Freedom of speech is a complicated right, but it’s a right nevertheless. I’m an advocate of removing myself from situations where the language is not to my liking or in circumstances where I have a relationship with the person, I make a comment/request. I don’t demand from strangers, famous or not, that they keep my sensitivities in my mind when they speak.

Random thought:

Has anyone ever considered that the jokes being called ‘homophobic’ now, weren’t really making fun of his son, but were really making fun of his fear? His out of proportion reaction is what made the joke funny, and in an exaggerated way, points to how ridiculous he was being.

Chris Rock kills, but bias lives on

The Oscars were on last Sunday and Chris Rock put on a clinic of how to show grace under fire. Despite calls for a boycott and suggestions that he should step down as host, Rock delivered an edgy, mostly funny opening monologue. Not everything landed (who’s fault was that Stacey Dash bit?), but a lot of it was fly-yes, that pun was very intentional- (‘Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties – I wasn’t invited’;  black folks ‘were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer’; the clip featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan inserting themselves into nominated films – great sfx btw!) . At one point, he soften a bit, simply saying that all black actors want is opportunity. It was in that moment, I realized something…that’s not going to happen.

There is something uncomfortable in 2016 about any group of capable, creative people asking peers for a chance. People are designed to protect their own self interests; it’s all about survival, so in an industry where it’s incredibly hard to succeed (white or not), we’re asking those who work the most to give up a piece of the pie? Why would they? They know how lucky they are to work AND they know how quickly it goes (especially if you’re a woman of a certain age), so what motivation do they have to diversify (i.e, increase an already crowded playing field)? And please don’t say fairness because nobody cares about equity when it comes to money unless you’re talking about ownership. And please don’t say justice because Hollywood is not the government or law enforcement (and you can see how well those institutions have done by people of color).

We’re asking for people to change what they do and not what they think and that’s a waste of time. Ok, so you throw a couple of nominations out to black folks. Is that the answer? A bigger problem becomes watered down to something superficial and ultimately, can’t be taken seriously. It’s not about how many black actors get nominated. That’s a worthless discussion if we’re not talking about minority writers, directors, crew, producers or the fact that Asians and Latinos have it worse. We’re asking white people to give us a place at a table where nine times out a ten, we don’t like the food they serve!

Enough with that. While I didn’t agree with Jada Pinkett regarding an Oscars boycott, I do agree with her statement via her Facebook page that ‘we must stand in our power’. It’s not self imposed segregation to create films and shows with our own money; It’s called community: a collection of like minded individuals working toward one goal. So, while the solution isn’t knocking on doors, it’s not kicking them down either. It’s going back to your house, inviting some friends over and getting the job done.

No Apologies (The End of ‘Fashion Police’)

Maybe we need to start encouraging people to ignore foolishness

So Guiliana is forced to apologize to a well spoken teenager who takes her hair (and self) too seriously. Everyone was focused on what Guiliana said, but they should have paid closer attention to what Ms. Coleman said. Toward the end of her Instagram post (in response to the weed comment) she writes, ‘My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.’ Really? When I was 18, my choice of hairstyle was a fashion statement not a visual exhortation to the masses. Her reasoning strikes me as pretentious, an effort to add gravity to what is essentially hurt feelings. Hair is not sentient; we’re talking about dead skin cells! This isn’t life! Fashion Police talks about people’s hair, clothes and accessories ALL THE TIME. That’s the point. Apologizing for the core element of the show nullifies it. It kills the show because it sets a precedent that what’s said, will be taken back if someone cries foul or racism. Joan must be rolling over in her grave. And speaking of the late Ms. Rivers, Guiliana shouldn’t have to be her in order to crack off color jokes. Free speech doesn’t belong to just comedians, or to the really young or really old. Fortunately, that’s not how the Bill of Rights works. To those who feel Rancic’s comments were racist, remember her comments were singular, referring to the specific looks of a specific person. Broadening her opinion to apply to a whole race of people is flawed logic, and the means for the severely sensitive to mount social media witch hunts.