Bye-bye racist Halloween costumes

Just about every single blog that covers race tried their darndest to break down why some Halloween costumes are offensive (e.g., this and this). Nevertheless, I saw three “sexy Native Americans,” a sombrero- and poncho-clad “Mexican,” a “geisha” in a bathrobe and at least two guys who thought blackface would help make their costumes more realistic. I couldn’t even tell you what they were supposed to be.

Comedian, vlogger and natural hair blogger Franchesca Ramsey (of “[Stuff] White Girls Say . . . to Black Girls”) made a video explaining, yet again, why some costumes are offensive, no matter how you spin it. Because some of us are visual learners.

She covered all of the basics, from “blackface is bad” to “appropriating someone’s culture for the sake of Halloween is not honoring that culture.” 

Of course there’s backlash, mainly because Ramsey busted out the same blonde-wigged valley girl shtick that made “[Stuff] White Girls Say . . . to Black Girls” so effective. It may have been easier for viewers to wrap their minds around her message if she’d had a white actress step in for that part. Her parody of a racially-insensitive-but-well-meaning white woman worked much better in the first video.

Also, she provides a link to a handy “Is my costume racist?” checklist.  Yay, for hands-on activities!

Kanye West apologizes to photographer he blew up at a few weeks ago.

Kanye West (Brad Barket/AP)

Of course there are some nay sayers, hissing their teeth and calling this a Kris-Jenner-orchestrated-photo-op, but that’s not the point. The point is: Look at all of that humility.

Creflo Dollar urges his congregation to donate to shooting victim’s family.

After the tragic shooting death of a volunteer staff member at World Changers Church, Pastor Creflo Dollar is requesting that his congregation raise $234,000 to support the victim’s family. The plan is to pay all of the family’s bills. It’s a lofty goal, but hopefully the megachurch can pull it off.

Queen Latifah set to get her own daytime talk show

“The Queen Latifah Show” is set to debut on CBS in 2013 and will be produced by Will Smith. According to Shadow and Act, the talk show will feature “celebrity interviews, human interest stories, comedy, pop culture and musical performances.” That sounds too awesome for words.

Seventeen-year-old Rochelle Ballantyne is out to make history

The Brooklyn teenager is on her way to becoming the first African American female chess master. Ballantyne will compete at the 2012 World Youth Chess Championships in Maribor, Slovenia, this month. She’s also one of the five chess team players from I.S. 318 middle school who is featured in the new documentary “Brooklyn Castle”. The film follows the students over the course of an entire school year, documenting their personal lives and intense chess training, as well as the financial troubles that have threatened their school and chess team.

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