Cleopatra Hollywood Controversy

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Worthy magazine writer XY is a guy who has a lot to say. Some things you may enjoy hearing other things not so much, but either way he is honest and he will make you think. He joins us today to discuss his opinion about the latest Cleopatra cinema adventure, which includes Angelina Jolie. 

Hollywood recently announced that Angelina Jolie will be playing the role of Cleopatra. It is fair to say that Angelina is drop dead gorgeous by any standard of beauty. So why would anyone raise an objection to her playing Cleopatra? Historical dramas are among the most challenging films. Movie makers endeavor to bring antiquity to life and as a result, they are meticulous in their attention to detail. Every costume is rigorously inspected by specialists. Dialog is repeatedly combed through for that delicate balance between historical accuracy and modern intelligibility. Weapons must be accurate. Sets must be perfect. Film makers will expend tremendous energy ensuring that everything in this movie is an accurate representation of history, except their lead character. The problem is simply, that Cleopatra was not a white or fair skinned woman.


Worthy Magazine loves all forms of beauty yet this new role for Jolie seems to be a triumph for those that prefer one particular form of conventional beauty above all others. The name Cleopatra is synonymous with beauty. She is forever remembered as one of the women that epitomizes beauty, along with other notables like Helen of Troy or Catwoman.


In reality, Cleopatra was quite an average looking woman, rather
homely by modern standards. We have yet to reconcile this fact in our depictions of her nor have we wrestled with the fact that this paragon of feminine beauty was a woman of color. In 1917 Theda Bara played Cleopatra in one of the most celebrated silent films of all time. In 1934 Claudette Colbert starred in an Academy Award wining revision. Then in 1945 Vivian Leigh played Cleopatra and then most famously Elizabeth Taylor forever defined the character in her iconic 1963 portrayal. In all of these cases, the actress chosen were a reflection  of a single homogenous appreciation of beauty. Egypt has always straddled this odd fence in the annals of history. It is in Africa and yet it is often seen as defining the Mediterranean.

 In 332 B.C Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, and following his death the Ptolemeic Dynasty of “Greek” pharaohs would be established. Cleopatra was a descendent in this line and this historical fact has always been the basis of depicting her as a very fair skinned European woman, in the middle of Africa! Consider such great films as Night At The Museum 2 and their very european pharaoh. Or the depiction of Cleopatra in the television series Rome. The desire to westernize Egypt and Cleopatra is the result of our collective discomfort with having to define a culture that epitomized civilization and a woman that personified beauty, with “color”. In the explosive racial exchanges of the sixties, Afro centric scholars argued that cleopatra and many others were in fact black, but these “scholars” often lacked any academic credentials and their claims were more politics then historical analysis. 

Therefore traditional scholars argued for their European ideal, and Afro-centrics argued for their Nubian ideal while the truth lay squarely in the middle. As a recent documentary called, Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer recently disclosed, Cleopatra was by modern standards bi-racial! And yet, despite all of their historical experts, film makers will continue propagating the notion that she was a fair skinned woman, living along the Nile in a region where temperatures are among the hottest on earth. The directors of this film are almost assuredly not bigots but they are perhaps bending to the pressure our society still places on artists to reflect myopic standards of beauty. They are also probably still operating under the belief that many in fashion and film still have, that people of color are simply less of a draw at the box office. Numerous magazines and fashion designers shun models of color on their covers and runways because they operate under the belief that consumers don’t buy images they don’t relate to. This is of course industry-speak for black models and black leads don’t move magazines or movies. Yet these industry leaders ignore the fact that one of Vogue’s best selling issue of all time, was an issue highlighting black female beauty. They ignore the fact that we live in the era of Oprah and Obama. Perhaps we have moved beyond the point that people only watch or relate to images that remind them physically of themselves.

 We were so convinced of this that we started a whole magazine around this idea. We’ve learned to identify with each other in ways that transcend race. This is the whole basis of Worthy Magazine. All of this makes the choice of Jolie all the more insulting. It is not only historical revisionism, for the purpose of asserting a purely racial lens for beauty, but it presupposes that society is still locked in those old racial paradigms. Halle Berry would have made an ideal selection. Or Zoe Saldana, Zoe Kravitz, or Alicia Keys. Hell, they could have chosen Rudy for the Cosby Show. Let’s all just hope that
Hollywood finally catches up to the audience they claim to be catering to.


Here are few women that came to mind when I thought of Cleopatra. The list include women who are either African American or mixed with a few different ethnicities.


While I am sure that Angelina Jolie will do an amazing job in the role, I think the issue is that we need to give young girls a wider spectrum of beauty to identify with and choosing the same type of a woman to play a historical role over and over again, is damaging to the youth that we are trying to convince is unique and beautiful. Bottom line, women should be able to identify with the women on big screens and sticking to the traditional archytpe is part of the reason so many young girls of all ethnicities struggle with self-esteem. 

Who would you have play Cleopatra?



You Can Bring Awkward Black Girl Back

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Issa Rae, the creator of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is raising money for her next season of the popular online show. You made the show a hit and only you can bring it back. Issa needs to raise $30,000 and she only has 17 days left to do it.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1996857943/the-misadventures-of-awkward-black-girl/widget/video.html

 If you haven’t heard of Issa Rae, you really should fix that today. She is a Stanford graduate, writer, editor and director. She is also the comedic force behind the increasingly popular online series  The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Watching the title character navigate through those awkward moments from being dumped by her boyfriend for cutting off all of hair, to the dreaded stop sign conversations we are all forced to have when we are cornered by that annoying person we are trying to avoid, is enough to hook anyone in.
Viewers have grown to love “J”. Her misadventures in love, work and life make the comedic character easy to relate to and hilarious to watch. I was hooked from the first episode. It reassured me that it I am not the only person in the world who feels awkward.
The first season, which was intended to be the only season, ended up being a huge hit. So due to popular demand, Issa is trying to film another season. So far, 435 people have donated a total of $15,220. The goal that Issa has set for her second season is $30,000. There are still 17 days left to donate.  Donations can be made at The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl Kickstarter page. So if you love the show as much as I do, you should really consider donating. 
For those who have never heard of the show, do yourself and favor today and meet the awkward black girl and then donate. 

Top 10 Most Influential Bloggers

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Tamanika is back with her list of influential bloggers. Read more to see who made the list.







What started out as something so simple has grown into something complex. Blogging has become a standalone profession. All of the bloggers of the world can agree there is a certain science that blogging requires. Very few people get it and even less actually offer it. My top 10 influential bloggers are “my friends” in my head. They have a strong voice on their blogs, and they keep people coming back for more. Follow me as I share just a few bloggers that I feel have gotten the blogging world down to a unique science.


1. Karencivil.com – Karen Civil is a woman who has a unique voice and a great platform which she uses to express it. She is a great example of why you should never give up on your dreams and exemplifies the importance of hard work. What I like about Ms. Civil is that she has a strong voice and was an influential woman in the music industry, interning for Dipset at one time and now working closely with YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires).  She has worked with Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Diggy Simmons to name a few. If you don’t know who she is I would recommend checking her out because she an influential blogger.


2. Concreteloop.com– Angel Laws has created a huge platform and empire for herself just from blogging. She eventually wrote a book, “Angel’s Laws of Blogging”, to discuss her success and give tips to other bloggers out there in the world.  As a blogger who has been reading concrete loop since 2006, one thing that stands out for me is her yearly post where she “salutes” some of the graduates of that year. Seeing the accomplishments of many African American’s being showcased is what got me hooked on this site.  Presenting something positive and something uplifting dealing with our future is reason enough to praise her as an influential blogger.


3. Nwso.net (Naked with Socks On) – This blog deals solely with relationship issues commonly faced by couples.  The ability to take a common everyday subject such as this one to the next level, as naked with socks on does, is what blogging is all about. In May, two active members of  NWSO who met on the comment board of actually got married. Talk about great relationship advice.


4. Gabifresh.com – Gabi is a style Icon. She recently styled the look book for Wilhelmina’s models (click here), which showcases her incredible eye for Fashion.  Gabi is a rising star, winning MTV’s TJ contest a couple of years ago and now taking the blogging world and Fashion week by storm. Be sure to check out Gabi’s site because she is up next


      5.   Omowrites.blogspot.com-. This New York native style is a cross between Blossom and Denise Huxtable. She is street-style and trendsetting all in one, and has been featured just about everywhere.

  6.     Abelleinbrooklyn.com– Ms. Lucas is a blogger who turned her blog into a book.  As an influential blogger, she has been committed to uplifting young women and helping them build strong support systems.
    7.        NecoleBitchie.com– The first time I went to this site was in 2006. I read a personal letter that Necole wrote on her site. In this letter, she discussed being homeless, living on different couches and the only thing that she had to go by was her computer and blogging.  That was five years ago, and look at her now.  We all know who Necole Bitchie is. She was able to take nothing and make it into something by working hard. Which is why she is one of the most influential bloggers out there.
    8.        TheFashionBomb.com-I think everyone who loves fashion knows exactly who Claire of TheFashionBomb.com is. She is a contributer to Vogue and Vogue Italia and she is a recognized voice in the fashion community. And to be honest, she has the life that you can only dream of. Moving to Paris for inspiration? Now that is envy worthy.  
        
    9.       Stuffflypeoplelike.com– A stylist and a music editor come together to bring you a blog about fashion and music. You can’t go wrong with a blog like this, especially a blog that is not even a year old. 



  • 10.        Ywmmmagonline.com– young women making moves is an on-line magazine that caters to women in their late teens to early 20s.