Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In the News & On the Web: Black Models, R. Kelly, UBO MOvie

On the heels of Vogue's historic and therefore much talked about "Black Issue" that hits newsstands here next week, there is an article in today's NY Times (again) about the lack of Black models in major fashion magazines and runways. Written by Cathy Horn, "Conspicuous by Their Presence," focuses more on the upcoming issue and on Steven Meisel who photographed all the models including Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Jourdan Dunn and Sessilee Lopez. Some interesting quotes from the article:
O.K., so fashion ain’t deep. It looks into a mirror and sees ... itself. The irony in fashion is that it loves change but it can’t actually change anything. It can only reflect a change in the air. But what changes fashion? What would finally move American designers to include more black models on their runways? That 30 percent of the country is nonwhite? That black women spend $20 billion a year on clothes? That an African-American is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party?
Over Ms. Sozzani’s initial objections, he also hired Toccara Jones, a full-figure model, who became known from “America’s Next Top Model.” “I wanted to say something about weight, and I’m never allowed to do that,” he said. “I met Toccara and thought, she’s beautiful. What’s the deal with her? She’s great and she’s sexy.”

Some people think it's agood idea and others don't. I personally think it's fantastic, but I am also aware of how some in our society like to make these grandiose public acts just for show, which don't have any roots in anything substantial or lasting. So my eyes are wide open.

So R. Kelly was acquitted of all charges. Surprised? Nope. I knew it. Anytime it takes that long to bring someone to trial there is a lack of seriousness in the midst. My comrade Joicelyn said it firsts three years ago, the judicial system and our communities at large do not care what happens to little Black girls. I followed up just a month ago when Kila (who is from Chicago) thought Mister Braid-My-Hair would be getting his cornrows done in prison. I told her then that those folks on the jury are probably blaming the girl in the video for being promiscuous and that further more we are not about to lock up the dude who gave us the 2-Step. Jalylah over at Vibe really sums it up nicely.

And lastly Miles Marshall Lewis hipped me to the making of a documentary about UBO (Urban Box Office). Dang near every Black artist/ writer/ "tastemaker" was scooped by UBO—the mega all encompassing, multimillion dollar website with aspirations to be all things for all Black folk. Well needless to say that ish never panned out cause well it would seem that the folks at UBO spent their millions on lavish parties (launch party on Ellis Island), crazy salaries, private jets, Gucci suits, Cuban cigars and Dom Perignon. So typical! Anyway this doc, being produced by the man behind the hugely popular gossip site Urban Expose, should be painfully hilarious. I was asked to freelance for UBO three weeks before they went out of business and am still feeling the affects of their greed and mismanagement today when investors are still crazy skeptical of the urban online arena and it's potential to be highly successful. Thanks UBO for that one! Check the trailer:

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Anonymous Sun said...

This doc looks hilarious, chica! And very nice features this month.

Thanks for updating us on the hotness!

6/21/2008 12:30 PM

Anonymous tyren (tai) said...

it is a shame that no one is acknowledging the wonderful work we did. this doc highlights the errors of a few execs and about 4-6 months of foolish decisions, maybe even some on my part.

but i know i hired a bunch of artists who left better educated about the web, their craft and found new possibilities for their work.

i also know, i helped pay the rents of many people and helped a ton of folks recognize art and commerce can be unified without losing integrity.

where are the panels and images of this? who is going to discuss how this company, and others like it, helped create/finance the art scene?

hell ms. painter i am sure we can trace some of those earlier canvases back to a UBO issued check. and mr. producer who dreamed of the home studio, we helped finance it and showed him the latest software.

vilify us for the errors but recognize the wealth of information UBO divvied; and, the human network it helped to create.

6/22/2008 9:50 AM

Blogger Hot Grrrl said...

First let me say this Tyren. You are my friend and I loves you, so please do not take what I am about to say personally. Okay? Cool.

The facts, (if what you say is true), that only a "few execs" squandered 60 million dollars in "4-6 months" and sabotaged a promising dotcom along with the livelihood of hundreds of employees overshadows the "wonderful work" of some of UBO's staffers because that, simply put, is an atrocity and a historic setback that affected so many of us (even to this current day) in urban media.

And about this "wonderful work" that you say UBO (and yourself included) did: Educating folks about the web? Paying employees so that they could pay their rent? Compensated artists for their creative works? This Tyren is what UBO was supposed to do. Hell, this is what (media) companies with any sense of integrity and business acumen do everyday all across the globe. I'm sure the folks over at Google and AllHipHop get paid and I'm sure some of them even leave their cubicles a little bit more enlightened than when they first started. This is not something we need to applaud UBO for doing. This is Business 101, baby. Creating, compensating and informing-- I'm sorry I cannot give credit to a million dollar corporate entity for doing that. But what I can understand is pointing out and examining the ridiculous ish that UBO did do that most other companies haven't done-- like stage a spectacular million dollar launch party on Ellis Island when, if truth be told, half of their online properties were still in development and not even live and never saw the light of day (aheem likepepper). I think the negatives involved with UBO's demise are so stunningly outlandish and, in some cases, can be viewed as stereotypical, that they make perfect fodder for a documentary. Hey from the look of things there is plenty of footage, may as well put it to good use.

6/23/2008 5:07 PM

Anonymous tai said...

i am tje firs to admint that there were erros, BIG SWOLLEN EYE ERRORS. and, i for one will not act as if we were angels bringing light to the darkness.

yet, to give the one-sided tale is a travesty. becuz yes those points you illustrated, are important and tell a story.

empowerment should be the parcel of an employer but of course it is not. and instruction should be the essence of any company, but again that is not always the case.

and the bigger difference here, interactive was new medium and field. the few of us immersed we nerds in the corner classroom of your HS and the big building in the rear of the college campus.

the new information that ended up in the hands of the non-nerdy helped grow a community.

and i have evidenc of the birth and growth.

so i welcome the criticism, but not sensationalism. and i have told the producers the same story.

hell the producers are my boys, and we have argues this point. moreso, one of the producers is my business partner and constantly remind him: do not let your hurt feelings blind you to the many vantages of this story.


and you never need to waiver when debating me love. i know you loves the kid... even though i get on the cover of okayplayer and other blogs BUT NOT yours.


6/30/2008 12:59 AM

Anonymous Runway Magazine LA said...

For years, Runway Magazine has been America’s cultural barometer, putting fashion in the context of the larger world we live in- how we dress, live, socialize; what we eat, listen to, watch; who leads and inspires us.

From its beginnings to today, three central principles have set Runway Magazine apart: a commitment to visual genius, investment in storytelling that puts women at the center of the culture, and a selective, optimistic editorial eye.

Runway Magazine's story is the story of women, of culture, of what is worth knowing and seeing, of individuality and grace, and of the steady power of earned influence. For millions of women each month, Runway Magazine Inc is the eye of the culture, inspiring and challenging them to see things differently, in both themselves and the world.

james buccelli

1/01/2011 11:54 PM


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