3 Times the Media Failed When Discussing Black Culture

by Meghan Pryce

As a 20-something proud black woman and journalism student, I feel there are plenty of times when the media, such as TV, newspapers, magazines, websites and social media, discuss issues pertaining to the black experience are spot on. The BuzzFeed listicle “27 Things You Had To Deal With As The Only Black Kid In Your Class,” for example, was laugh-out-loud hilarious. As someone who grew up in a white, middle-class neighborhood, I could relate to every word.

But I think media have fallen short lately when it comes to discussing pop culture and trends surrounding black people. Luckily, we have Black Twitter, a collective community of Twitter users who have no problem calling out the media when its coverage regarding black culture doesn’t sit well with them. Although I’m sure these stories have the best intentions, I think they show zero regard for black people’s points of view. The following three media mishaps illustrate what I mean.
1. Shonda Rhimes
The New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley referred to Rhimes as an “angry black woman” in the first sentence of her article. Black women are often stereotyped as angry, unhappy or even crazy, and I think NYT reinforced this stereotype by publishing the column.

In my opinion, the term “angry black women” insinuates that black women can’t have strong emotions. And if we do get upset, we’re categorized as excessively angry when that’s most likely not the case. This piece was meant to praise Rhimes’ new show “How to Get Away with Murder” but came off as “tone-deaf and out of touch,” as NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan said in her blog.

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2. “Bae”
When I stumbled upon the TIME article “This is What ‘Bae’ Means,” I literally rolled my eyes. I found it to be a lengthy, unnecessary description about a word simply used to describe someone’s significant other. As explained in CBC News’ Storify, “Many on Twitter laughed at the idea of a legacy media outlet attempting to define a term that’s already been well-established in some communities for years.”

Twitter users decided to mock TIME by tweeting sarcastic titles. The tweets didn’t tease the story itself but rather the effort taken to write it in the first place with such poor execution. At least one good thing came out of this article: one of the best Twitter hashtags I’ve ever seen, #TimeTitles.

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3. Booty
Breaking news: Butts are now in! Vogue recently stumbled upon this trend, although women of color have been known for their curvy, big-booty figures for years. According to Perez Hilton’s blog post, the article failed “to mention and give proper credit to the countless black women who have historically been judged… for their naturally large butts and voluptuous bodies, while using mostly white or non-black women, such as JLo, Kim Kardashian and Instagram belfie queen Jen Selter, as examples of the big booty ideal.”

Vogue may not have been the worst offender, but I think this is another example of the media taking something that has been prominent in black culture and portraying it as something new. This article inspired yet another hysterical, thought-provoking hashtag: #VogueArticles.

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These three articles aren’t the only ones that missed their mark. No matter your opinion, dialogue is needed to find concrete ways to improve media’s coverage of black pop culture and trends. Otherwise, prepare yourselves for the wrath of Black Twitter.

5 Uses For A Pumpkin You Never Thought Of

By Rachel Kurland

Orange you glad it’s not burning hot outside anymore? I think we can all agree we deserved a break from the Florida heat and humidity. Fortunately, the temperature has cooled beautifully this fall. Now it’s finally pumpkin season. Pumpkins have taken over stores, food brands and Facebook profile pictures, and even though Halloween is over, this season staple isn’t going anywhere. Fortunately, you can do a lot more than just eat, carve or pose with a pumpkin.

Try these Pinterest-inspired, do-it-yourself decor ideas to add some pumpkin spice to your life without driving to Starbucks. I used my own miniature pumpkin so don’t be afraid to design your own creations.

Pumpkin ice bucket

People seem obsessed with pumpkin-flavored everything — wine, beer, liquor and more. But have you ever considered chilling your beverages in an actual pumpkin? Cut off the top and remove the gooey contents. You will need a large enough bowl to fit comfortably inside. Fill the bowl with ice, and pop in your favorite spritzers.

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Image Courtesy of Rachel Kurland

Pumpkin party platter and dip

Instead of a bland container of French onion dip, add a seasonal twist to your party by using a pumpkin as the dipping bowl. Cut a wide enough hole at the top so a container of dip can easily fit inside without falling through. Hollow out the gourd, set the dip in place and surround it with your favorite veggies.

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Image Courtesy of Rachel Kurland

Paint your centerpiece

Smaller gourds accompanied by randomly sized pumpkins create a festive centerpiece for your table. Be modern with metallics or traditional with fall colors. I think spray paint gives the most polished look, but get creative because the possibilities are endless.

Candleholders

There are several ways to go about this craft, but mini pumpkins or small gourds work best. Make a small hole at the top — snug enough for a candle about 1 inch in diameter, which can be found at Michaels for $3. You can let the wax drip, or opt for a cleaner option with LED candles.

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Image Courtesy of Rachel Kurland

Pumpkin drink dispenser

If you’re making a big batch of pumpkin brew, pour it inside a hollow gourd for the optimal party experience. You can buy “The Pumpkin Tap Kit” by KegWorks for $30, which includes a brass tap made for dispensing from large fruits. The tap is also a good investment: save it for a watermelon during the summertime.

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Image Courtesy of Rachel Kurland

Picking the Perfect Roses for Holiday Gifts

by Noelia Trujillo

Courtesy of Noelia Trujillo

Courtesy of Noelia Trujillo

When the temperature starts to cool down, you know it’s that time of year: gift-giving season. With several holidays coming up, it’s never too soon to gather ideas on what to give friends and loved ones. A gift that will never steer you wrong? Roses.

You may think it’s cliché to give someone roses on a big day, and I admit, I used to think so, too. But the truth is, there’s so much more to gifting this elegant flower than you think. Centuries ago, people used floriography, the gifting of different colored flowers, to convey secret messages that may have been taboo or forbidden to say aloud. Nowadays, we have our own form of this language where we use various flower colors to express different emotions.

Learn the meanings behind these colored roses so you can pick the perfect shade for your occasion:

Red – This classic color isn’t just for Valentine’s Day or TV shows like “The Bachelor.” Its bold message of love, romance and desire can be expressed year-round. If you’re handing out ruby roses, make sure you have passionate feelings for the person receiving them.

Yellow – Often associated with brightness and sunshine, it is no wonder this color means joy and friendship. Stick to reds and pinks for lovers, but opt for yellow roses when gifting to your friends.

White – Traditionally, this color means spirituality and purity, which is why they’re often associated with weddings. These flowers also mean honor, sympathy and remembrance and can be the perfect gift to honor a veteran or give to someone who lost a loved one serving our country.

Pink – Though this flushed color also symbolizes love, it’s meant to be less intense than red. It also expresses admiration and gratitude. There’s no sweeter way to show your gratitude for someone this Thanksgiving than with pink roses.

Lavender – Just because this color isn’t a common flower choice doesn’t mean it’s not a good one. Lavender roses express enchantment, royalty and elegance. Aside from telling someone they are your princess or Prince Charming, these might be a good New Year’s gift for wishing someone riches in 2015.

Blue – This color doesn’t grow naturally, so it often symbolizes dreaming or reaching for something hard to attain. You wouldn’t want to tell someone they’re seeking the impossible, but you can use this beautiful color to encourage someone to pursue his or her aspirations, no matter how difficult the journey ahead. If you know any graduating seniors this season (especially orange and blue loving Gators), these roses are a thoughtful gesture.

(Sources: theflowerexpert.com, Sensational Color)