I've never been a white person for Halloween. Because I have no interest in ever being white, even for a costume party. And for me, there is a never-ending, exponentially growing supply of amazing black people to impersonate.
Last year, I was Madea. For an entire weekend, I proudly walked around New York City dressed as a gun-toting, "Hallelujer"-ing woman in a muumuu. And I'd do it 10 more times before it would ever occur to me that "maybe this is the year to be Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs."
Because it's just not happening.
There are some amazing white people, though. White people who, at times, I'm a little bummed I'll never portray for Halloween. I've been studying the Independence Day Jeff Goldblum "We just saved Earth, watch me stunt with this cigar until my girl jumps into my arms" strut for years. It'd be kind of nice to be him for Halloween. But then I think, why not let my boy Matt, a wonderfully Jewish fellow with similarly amazing dark hair, be Goldblum? I'm more than happy being Jaden's dad.
So I can understand why you, a white person, might want to be someone black for Halloween. I know what you're thinking: The only thing more fun and carefree than being black is being temporarily black.
During my stay in Austin for South by Southwest, one of my more random encounters was a 10-minute interview with LL Cool J. I had no real reason to talk to him, but the opportunity seemed too interesting to pass up. So we chatted before he hit the stage for his music showcase, sponsored by Doritos. The interview never ran because, quite frankly, I've historically had a great deal of love for Cool James. And what transpired in that interview, and the way he tackled questions, just wasn't the man I was expecting. And, at the end of the day, I simply didn't feel like clowning him.
I didn't delete the interview, however. Even though I felt as if I was doing him a favor, I still wanted some of his answers for my own personal enjoyment. Because they were from another planet.
And then this morning, news broke of a collaboration between LL and country singer Brad Paisley.
Do you ever wonder what the cast of Entourage is up to now? I know I do, every day of my life. Here's how I picture it:
Adrian Grenier (Vince) watches Teenage Paparazzo on Blu-ray on a flat-screen the size of the world's biggest pizza and marvels at how presciently it doused our current cultural maladies. "I am a great director," he mutters aloud, perhaps to the Estonian models strewn around the waterbed sofas, possibly to no one at all.
Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama) works on his deal to turn Viking Quest into a direct-to-web series, pitching it as "House of Cards meets Game of Thrones" to three bags of cocaine, who immediately buy it.
From time to time, Grantland racial issues correspondent Andrew Ti stops by to discuss whatever's been blowing up the inbox at Yo, Is This Racist? Today, the Cloud Atlas epic gets its reckoning.
One nice thing about the film industry is the fact that, no matter how offensive any idea was the first time around, if you wait long enough, there's always someone willing to give it another shot. So imagine the delight around Yo, Is This Racist? headquarters this July when the trailer for Cloud Atlas dropped, featuring a bunch of characters played by actors in, let's call it, "racial makeup." That is, in this sprawling, postmodern collection of scenes jumping back and forth in time (roughly speaking, pirate ship times to rocket-ship times and more!), most of the principal actors reappear as multiple characters, often of different races. As a filmmaking technique, it was likely meant to evoke some kind of loose version of reincarnation that is one of the story's main themes, but in practice, it comes off more like the most expensively assembled improv troupe of all time. ("OK, now you're in ... postapocalyptic Hawaii!")
It should be said at this point that the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer's decision to use all of this race-bending makeup was clearly made with an awareness that this could be a sensitive issue. Thankfully, no one is made up in blackface, but there are no prizes for meeting the bottom-most rung of decency in Hollywood.
But did they do any better than not using blackface? Let's take a look at how they executed their potentially controversial tricks.
Oh boy. In a year where Hollywood was already on extra-thin (and OK, fine, mildly complex) ice with its adulation of the "Why won't anyone think of the white people?" rewrite of history in The Help, the 84th Academy Awards were already going to be a bit of a potential racism minefield. But for that buildup, it's almost impressive that the producers of the show came so correct in the opening minutes of the telecast, barely missing a beat before marching confidently into a cluster bomb no one in the audience even realized might be there, announcing confidently in the show's opening montage, "For real, we might give a couple black people some Oscars tonight, but check this shit out: Billy Crystal in blackface."
Andrew Ti, the beaten-down mind behind Yo, Is This Racist? brings his talents to the world of media to periodically search for the most racist character in TV and movies.
First, let's get the obvious out of the way. After executive producer Michael Patrick King's surly-ass and hilariously defensive performance at the TCA press tour, and overwhelming fan reaction from the readers of YITR? there really isn't any other choice but for me to proclaim everyone's favorite caricature Han Lee of 2 Broke Girls as the most racist character of the week. Which isn't to say there weren't contenders, including a particularly insane episode of the animated Napoleon Dynamite involving a Japanese exchange student, but the people and the news cycle have fairly loudly spoken.
Earlier this week AMC canceled a panel for The Killing at the Television Critics Association press tour. Ostensibly, the reason was “scheduling conflicts,” although everyone assumed the network feared a mob of rampaging critics, hurt and betrayed by The Killing’s non-ending, rising up as one autonomous being to wreak havoc in revenge. Looks like those critics might have just transferred their vitriol over to 2 Broke Girls?