All Articles Tagged "Lena Dunham"

Did Y’all See? This Is What Happens When Insecurities Rise To The Surface

September 9th, 2016 - By madamenoire
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On this episode of Did Y’all See? we’re talking about what happens when insecurities rise to the surface, a la Lena Dunham’s misdirected attack of Odell Beckham Jr. and Adrienne Bailon’s attempts to make sure everyone knows her new relationship with Israel Houghton is on the up and up.

We’re also discussing whether being cheap when it comes to dating is a character flaw and if Black women should’ve been bothered by Kanye’s multiracial casting call. Get into all this tea on Did Y’all See?

Odell Beckham Jr. Responds To Lena Dunham’s Comments

September 8th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Odelll Beckham Responds To Lena Dunham's Comments

Earlier this week, we wrote about Lena Dunham and her feelings of rejection and dejection because Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t want to talk to—or have sex with her. It was a huge mess. And even though Beckham’s name was trending all over the internet all because of a perception, he hadn’t spoken on the incident.

Until now.

After a recent game, a reporter asked him what he thought about the entire thing.

He took the high road.

“I don’t have enough information to really speak on it. We’ll see what happens from there. I never want any problems with anybody in this world. I don’t really know much about the situation.”

Then Beckham said that he had other, more important things to worry about, like his career.

You can check out the video of him below.

Odell Beckham responds to Lena Dunham.

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

I Really Want Lena Dunham To Stop Representing Everything Wrong With White Feminists

September 5th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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"Lena Dunham pf"


I really want to like Lena Dunham. I like what she’s trying to do with body positivity and her attempts to show young women finding their own. I watched a couple of seasons of “Girls” and even without a single substantive character of color, it wasn’t a bad show. I like that she takes risks. That she’s ballsy and in your face with her feminism. Still, as much as I’ve tried with Lena, her White privilege and general tone-deafness when it comes to Black keep people, rising up and smacking me in the face, with blatant disregard and disrespect.

If you haven’t heard, the most recent comments that have Lena in the new come from an interview she conducted with fellow comedian Amy Schumer. In Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, she told Amy about her experience, sitting next to NFLer Odell Beckham Jr. during the Met Gala.

Dunham said,

I was sitting next to Odell Beckham Jr., and it was so amazing because it was like he looked at me and he determined I was not the shape of a woman by his standards. He was like, “That’s a marshmallow. That’s a child. That’s a dog.” It wasn’t mean — he just seemed confused.

The vibe was very much like, “Do I want to f*ck it? Is it wearing a … yep, it’s wearing a tuxedo. I’m going to go back to my cell phone.” It was like we were forced to be together, and he literally was scrolling Instagram rather than have to look at a woman in a bow tie. I was like, “This should be called the Metropolitan Museum of Getting Rejected by Athletes.”


First of all, Dunham was supposed to be interviewing Amy Schumer, this trip down memory lane was not only, in the context of the piece, completely unrelated, it was not about Amy and it certainly didn’t help to advance the conversation. Honestly, in the final edit of the published piece, it most definitely should have been nixed. Then we would never know that Dunham had made yet another racially insensitive gaffe. But that’s not the way the cookie crumbled.

As you might imagine, it wasn’t long before Twitter came for her, with a vengeance. People accused her of being privileged. Simply because, as a White woman, she felt entitled to Beckham’s attraction. They called her pretentious and self centered assuming that he even knew who she was in the first place. Furthermore, people brought up a ton of theories to suggest that even if Beckham knew who Dunham was, he might not have been interested for reasons that have nothing to do with her looks. He might not have been a fan of “Girls.” As a Black man, he might have found her lack of representation on the show to be problematic. He may have read some of her other comments over the years and concluded that she just wasn’t his type of person. There were those who suggested Dunham was even hypocritical for accusing Beckham of being shallow but not stating whether or not she herself tried to engage him in conversation. Then there was the deeper issue of her view of Beckham as merely a sexual object. Feminism is about the equality of women and fighting for men to see us as more than sexual objects, and while Dunham seemed upset that Beckham didn’t view her in this way, she wasn’t willing to offer him the same respect. And with the history of Black men being hyper sexualized and portrayed as more animalistic than human, Dunham’s comments were not only off, they were problematic. And homegirl was dragged.

So much so that after reading the tweets, she took to Instagram to apologize.

I owe Odell Beckham Jr an apology. Despite my moments of bravado, I struggle at industry events (and in life) with the sense that I don’t rep a certain standard of beauty and so when I show up to the Met Ball surrounded by models and swan-like actresses it’s hard not to feel like a sack of flaming garbage. This felt especially intense with a handsome athlete as my dinner companion and a bunch of women I was sure he’d rather be seated with. But I went ahead and projected these insecurities and made totally narcissistic assumptions about what he was thinking, then presented those assumptions as facts. I feel terrible about it. Because after listening to lots of valid criticism, I see how unfair it is to ascribe misogynistic thoughts to someone I don’t know AT ALL. Like, we have never met, I have no idea the kind of day he’s having or what his truth is. But most importantly, I would never intentionally contribute to a long and often violent history of the over-sexualization of black male bodies- as well as false accusations by white women towards black men. I’m so sorry, particularly to OBJ, who has every right to be on his cell phone. The fact is I don’t know about his state of mind (I don’t know a lot of things) and I shouldn’t have acted like I did. Much love and thanks, Lena

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on


Like I said, I want to like Lena. And I do appreciate her apologizing since she screwed up so badly. Still, her comments and ignorance when it comes to race represents a larger issue. It’s the problem women of color have with White feminists. It’s the centering of themselves to the point that the perspectives, experiences and even humanity of anyone unlike themselves gets completely erased. Ima need her to do better.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” 

What Does White Hollywood Have To Say About Diversity?

January 26th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Jada Pinkett Smith at Golden Globes


Ever since Jada Pinkett Smith announced to the world that she (and later her hubby) would not be making an appearance at this year’s Academy Awards, the mainstream media has been scrambling to find out what the rest of Hollywood thinks about it.

And while most are keeping tally on how many Black stars will or will not attend the event, the most interesting responses to #OscarsSoWhite have come by way of White Hollywood.

So in the interest of keeping tabs on them (so we know whose films to support and not support in the future) as they do on us, I have decided to create a list.

I know: It sounds like a Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel sketch. And while I can’t guarantee that it will be as funny as a Kimmel sketch, let’s not act like Kimmel is really that funny to begin with…

“Once You Let People In, They’re In” Kerry Washington Covers Marie Claire Talks Privacy, Her Daughter And More

March 13th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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kerry covers marie claire 1

Source: Marie Claire

We all love Kerry Washington. But we’re not the only ones. Apparently, Lena Dunham is quite the fan as well. And recently the two power players in the entertainment industry sat down together for a piece published in Marie Claire. 

Check out some of the highlights from their conversation.

On why she’s so private

“Earlier in my career I was much more super-sharey. There were moments when I wanted to process things that were happening to me more privately, and I didn’t have the space to do it, because once you let people in, they’re in and you don’t get to say, ‘Oh, I want this for myself.'”

On working with Shonda Rhimes 

“I’m very respectful of Shonda’s vision of who Olivia [Pope] is, but she has said that she is informed by the choices I make. If we were waltzing, she’s definitely leading. And she picked the song, and she probably dressed us, but it is a waltz.”

kerry washington covers marie claire 2

Source: Marie Claire

Growing up feeling not so pretty 

“I didn’t grow up thinking I was pretty; there was always a prettier girl than me. So I learned to be smart and tried to be funny and develop the inside of me, because I felt like that’s what I had.”


“I just want [daughter Isabelle] to know that she’s heard. Really heard, because I feel like that is what we all really want. When I think about any of the missteps in my life that I’ve made, all of which I’m grateful for, it’s because I just so wanted to be truly seen and heard for who I am and was afraid I wasn’t or wouldn’t be. I see you, I hear you, I’m with you as you are.”

How Olivia Pope has helped her

I don’t think I consciously say, ‘What would Olivia Pope do?’ but there’s a new thread of belief in my own capacity that I think comes from her. She makes it happen. She figures it out. She fixes it.”

Check out the video from Kerry’s cover shoot below.

Well This Should Be Interesting, Lena Dunham To Guest Star On Scandal

February 21st, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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I’m sure, I’m not the only one, still stuck on last week’s episode of Scandal.

The return of our beloved Stephen is one of our FAVORITE moments of this season thus far. Now, we have some new casting news to tell our gladiators.

According to Variety, Lena Dunham will appear in an episode of Scandal. Lena will star as a guest cast member in one single episode. The details of the episode have not been revealed. However, Dunham once the website Grantland, “My life’s great passion is the idea of being a guest-star on Scandal. I want to be like, a senator who did something wrong.”

We can only hope Shonda granted Dunham’s one wish. As for the show, we’re excited to see where things go. After last week’s episode, we can only wonder how long Liv will stay away from Fitz. Also, will Poppa Pope make a reappearance? Sigh, only time will tell.

Did Lena Dunham Really Molest Her Younger Sister?

November 3rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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A couple of the ladies over here at MadameNoire have been pretty open about our admiration of Lena Dunham and her show Girls.  But our appreciation is not blind. And recent excerpts from Lena Dunham’s newly released book Not That Kind of Girl have us all calling foul.

In her book, Lena Dunham describes what reads like a mild obsession with her younger sister. But it’s the way she expressed this obsession and the way she describes in it retrospect that literally have our mouths twisting and our stomachs churning.

Recently a website called Truth Revolt published this excerpt about a 7-year-old Lena and her 1-year-old sister Grace.

“Do we all have uteruses?” I asked my mother when I was seven.

“Yes,” she told me. “We’re born with them, and with all our eggs, but they start out very small. And they aren’t ready to make babies until we’re older.” I look at my sister, now a slim, tough one-year-old, and at her tiny belly. I imagined her eggs inside her, like the sack of spider eggs in Charlotte’s Web, and her uterus, the size of a thimble.

“Does her vagina look like mine?”

“I guess so,” my mother said. “Just smaller.”

One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.

My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”

My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just got on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.

And then Glamour pulled this quote.

‘As she grew, I took to bribing her time and affection: one dollar in quarters if I could do her makeup like a “motorcycle chick.” Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Whatever she wanted to watch on TV if she would just “relax on me.” Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying.’ 

Lena also included another story where she masturbated while her sister was in bed beside her.

If you know Lena Dunham’s brand of art, you know that there’s a lot of shock value involved, a lot of pushing of the proverbial envelope. She’s naked all of the time, in an attempt to challenge people’s perceptions of a what a normal body looks like. She’s different and quirky. And I’ve understood most of it. But there’s a difference between sharing a quirk and putting what sounds like family dysfunction on display of the world to read and pretending like it’s normal.

First, I don’t want to label Dunham as a sexual predator or liken her to Woody Allen as others have suggested. Lena recounts her mother explaining the female anatomy to her. So she was curious. I get that. My mother owns and operates a daycare. I’ve heard plenty of stories. Children do those types of things, unsettling things. There’s this whole thing about children “playing doctor” and sons asking their mothers about their sister’s lack of penis. Most of the time it’s innocent. As I believe Lena’s exploration may have been. But there are so many  troubling elements in the retelling of this story. First, there’s the fact that she wrote her sister “didn’t resist.”

Ummm…she was a one-year-old.

And then there’s this business about a one year old being cognizant of not only the location of her vagina but having the motor skills to insert six or seven pebbles into it.

It sounds virtually impossible.

But what strikes me more than anything is Lena’s mother’s response to all of this. “My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did.” 


10 Celebrities Whose Careers Were Rocked By Sexual Abuse Scandals

November 3rd, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Nothing will rock a celebrity’s life–or headline–quite like a scandal. What can we say, today’s society loves getting the tea on notable figures. Unfortunately, not all gossip and allegations revolve around the type of drama we consider to be entertaining. There are certain scandals that are so appalling you hope they aren’t true. Here’s a look at 10 celebrities involved with claims of sexual abuse.

I’m Proud To Be Me: Celebs Who Embrace Their Flaws

June 26th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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With so many people going under the knife for plastic surgery to fix a flaw or starving themselves to death to conform with Hollywood’s super skinny standard, it’s refreshing that these celebs embrace their flaws.



Uzo Aduba

We don’t consider a gap a flaw but at one time “Orange is the New Black” actress Uzo Aduba did. Thankfully, her mother set her straight about her look and the fact that it’s connected to her Nigeria roots and she never thought twice about it again.

Where Is The Sexually Liberated Black Woman In Film And Television?

June 17th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Television has been pretty “ratchet” for years, it’s just that some of the supposed ratchetness gets called out and others get Emmy nominations…

What I’m talking about is the fact that recently I lifted my ban on HBO’s “Girls,” which was instituted because of Lena Dunham. (I detailed my concerns a while ago here.) During season three, I watched somebody ejaculate on somebody else. On television. More specifically Lena Dunham’s ex-boyfriend Adam made his new girlfriend Natalia, crawl to his bedroom on all fours before aggressively having sex with her and relieving himself on her chest. While we didn’t see any peen, we definitely saw its handiwork. The entire scene was awkward and, considering that the girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it, slightly degrading.

With that said it wasn’t pointless. Any former and current sexually active woman probably can tell you that it ain’t all great sex. Once in a while, particularly when you are younger and exploring boundaries, there are some really awkward and flat-out sexually humiliating moments, which makes us feel bad afterwards. Therefore being honest about what women experience during sex in itself is not inherently bad and can present itself as a learning (or unpacking) opportunity. My question though that knowing how prudish we sometimes tend to be about these sorts of discussions, how did it even make it on television?

According to this Slate piece from last year entitled, A Seminal Moment, Aisha Harris writes that it almost didn’t make it. In fact:

“The biggest fight we’ve ever gotten in with HBO was about a cum shot, a money shot. They thought it was really gratuitous,”Jenni Konner tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They begged us not to do it. We said, ‘OK, fine.’ Then the next year, we had a story-motivated, emotional money shot, and they let us keep it. It really felt like we all grew together.”

In the same piece, Harris also writes about how the “money shot” has been performed on television before, albeit it’s still quite rare. The short list includes: a late 90s, BBC documentary; HBO’s other hit show about sexually active women in New York City called “Sex and the City”; and on the Showtime series “Californication.” So in retrospect, the “Girls'” sex scene is not the groundbreaking television we might have thought it to be. At least not for white women.

Black women have yet to experience a true sexual awakening in film and in television. There I said it.

And it’s not like there hasn’t been a black woman in the history of black people, who hasn’t tasted semen? I mean, sex (if done right) is pretty out there. But in film and television, our sex lives are pretty conservative, if they exist at all. Sure, we may allude to it; and we may even have a scene or two where we see our ebony lovers intertwined and rolling around together in the sheets. But there are always sheets – you know, to hide all the secret parts. And the closest the viewers actually get to their actual love making is the follow-up scene where they awakened the next morning with hair tussled.

On television and in film, we are only supposed to be respectable people. At all times. Even in those instances when the show itself is produced by a black person, we are only supposed to show black relationships, which resemble Claire and Bill Huxtable, who never had sex even though they had a gang of children. Even with the majority of real life dark skinned consenting adults engaging in sexual relationships outside of the confines of marriage and/or procreation, on television the most we allow is a kiss with mouths closed and the family lip syncing about taboo topics around the Thanksgiving table. That’s what “Reed Between the Lines” was. That what “For Better or Worse” was supposed to be too. And then there was “The First Family.” You get no more Cosby-esque than that. And for the most part, those shows are boring, and they don’t last long. Mainly because the real The Cosby show is on Netflix…

And while the vast majority of television is swimming in large vats of debauchery and mayhem (also known as shows with plots and drama, which is normal of television), black folks’ scripted cinematically are still trying to maintain a morally righteous image of ourselves. Of course the exception are reality shows. But we shun those for the very reasons that many of us tune in to watch shows like HBO’s “Girls.”

And at whose expense does this happen? And how do we limit ourselves creatively if we shy away from images of ourselves, which are slightly perverse and subversive?

Often times it means that black centered film and television lacks the same level of openness and diversity meanwhile our mainstream counterparts’ with their vast expression of real life experiences become television shows, which everybody enjoys including black folks. Then we lament how black centered film and television lacks the same level of openness about human behavior. And realness. As such black folks can’t be “Breaking Bad” because that is just promoting crack. We couldn’t be “The Sopranos.” Nope that’s like promoting gang culture and y’all know we have that bad incarceration rate. We can’t do “Game of Thrones” either because…well don’t be disrespecting the ancestors like that. Even our beloved “The Wire” was created and scripted from outside of the community. It’s no wonder those shows, written and produced for mainly non-black audiences, become the stand-in for all, meanwhile our stuff becomes more niched to the after-church service crowds.

And it is not necessarily the fault our black filmmakers and writers, although folks could be a little braver in their own storytelling. But in spite of our political and social advancements including the election of the first black president, and proclamations by this younger generation of colorblindness, culturally “we” still care very much about how white folks see us – even when the odds are they can’t tell most of us apart. Even with the odds that since slavery, black women had to endure contradictory stereotypes like Mammy and Jezebel and no matter what we do, they still persist. To me that sucks and it is not how we should be forced to live.

Not just for film but because why are white girls the only ones who can f**k and suck on television while also maintaining legitimacy as feminine, good mothers and virtuous women? Why did we cheer for Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big in ways that we can’t for Mary Jane or Olivia Pope? Why must normal and healthy sex on black skin be seen as depraved?

And this is not a matter of doing something because white people do it. This is acknowledging that there is a remote possibility that someone black might do those things too. And white folks don’t have the monopoly on freaky sex. And this is also about the resentment, even envy, which comes from other women being able to publicly talk about all the joy and confusing proclivities around sex without having to worry about how such representation would affect her credibility, professional or romantic prospects. At some point we have to realize how much we (yes, including other black women) have become the guardians and gatekeepers of some of our own oppression.