All Articles Tagged "offensive"

Lisa Lampanelli And Her ‘N****’ Lena Dunham Need To Have A Seat

February 20th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Lisa Lamp

You know how some argue that people who swear lack the vocabulary necessary to have an intelligent conversation? I’m starting to think comedians who rely solely on racial epithets to cause controversy lack the comedic talent to garner that same attention otherwise.

Lisa Lampanelli the same comic — term used loosely — who famously — term used loosely again — commented on Larry the Cable Guy’s catch phrase “Git R Done, during a 2009 roast,” saying “You’ve beaten that concept so hard it’s now dating Chris Brown,” again has people’s PC panties all in a bunch, and for good reason in my opinion. Two days ago, she tweeted the above photo with the caption:


Me with my n*gg* @LenaDunham of @HBOGirls – I love this beyotch!!

(Oh and FYI, the asterisks are ours, she shamelessly spelled the n-word out)

I don’t know much about Lampanelli outside of her routine comedic controversies that always seem to involve black people for some reason and, truthfully, I don’t have much desire to. I honestly wouldn’t care if Lampanelli really did look at all black people like n*gg*rs, in fact I’d probably prefer that she was a 51-year-old Connecticut-bred racist. See racists, I can deal with. What bothers me here is Lampanelli isn’t talking about black people at all, she’s referring to a white girl of all people, and asserting her white privilege to refuse to be banned from using the n-word like all those other n-words, I mean black people do. You mean we’re back on the rules of the n-word debate again? Yup, I’m taking it back there.

Firstly, though, I should explain that I’m sure all that didn’t go through Lampanelli’s head when she captioned this pic two days ago — evidence of white privilege itself — I’m quite certain, disappointingly so, that at 50-plus she still thought being able to type the n-word and post it on social media was cool like a 13-year-old smoking a cigarette for the first time. But her refusal to take the caption down and the boastful nature of her Twitter timeline as it relates to the controversy that has erupted as a result screams, “now I’m even more cool because black people and socially conscious whites who otherwise wouldn’t care that I was breathing are now googling my name, go me!”

I guess — not. The only thing funny about Lampanelli’s move is that she thinks she’s winning, when in reality her name will soon fall to the bottom of Google’s analytics very shortly and once again no one will care about her or her n*gg* whom she enthralled in this mess with her. And considering the drama that has already plagued “Girls” and their lack of diversity, Dunham might want to reconsider who she associates herself with. But then again maybe not, after all in the infamous words of Jen the Pen, she’s white and it will get done — it possibly being the Golden Globe she won just a few weeks ago.

You could say why even dignify Lampanelli with a response, and I would half agree with you there. Except I feel it’s only right to spread the message of just how much her antics prove she’s really losing, that is before she fades into obscurity once again and another white person who wants to be down — or try to come up — goes the “lets offend an entire race of people to gain fame route again.” Honestly guys — and gals — it’s played out.

Oh No They Didn’t! Super Bowl Ads Try To Profit From Controversy

January 30th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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A still from Kate Upton's Super Bowl ad for Carl's Jr.

A still from Kate Upton’s Super Bowl ad for Carl’s Jr.

The Super Bowl is more than a football game. During commercial breaks and on YouTube, companies are playing a Super Bowl of their own, competing to capture the world’s attention without embarrassing themselves. Any Real Housewives Of Atlanta fan can tell you how difficult that game is to master.

First possession of 2013 goes to Volkswagen. If you haven’t seen their ad featuring a proud Minnesotan talking like he works weekend shifts at the Jerk Pit, you clearly don’t work in a cubicle. Catch up, so you can engage in one of America’s favorite pastimes, a round of “Is That Racist?”

Does it matter that 100 Jamaicans are okay with the ad? Would it make it better if White Jamaicans existed? Do they exist? (FYI, they’re 3.2 percent of the country’s population. Yes, I Google’d and YouTube’d it. I was intrigued.) None of this really means anything. Some people find the commercial offensive. They may or may not be Jamaican.

Volkswagen knows their happy little commercial has a little edge to it. Edgy enough to talk to 100 Jamaicans. And make a back up ad. But standing out this time of year sometimes requires taking a little more risk. Success is determined by a simple premise: If the controversy outshines the product, you lose.

When the controversy puts an ad at the top of the news hour across the country, and the world collectively says, “Oh, that’s not so bad.” Companies like Volkswagen win. Bonus points if a few people say, “I love this ad” or “That’s a nice car he was driving.”

Here are a few attempts from Super Bowls past where companies have pushed the envelope to varying degrees, with varying levels of success. Is it a touchdown, or did they fumble the advertising budget?

I’m Sorry I Don’t Fit Into Your Stereotypes About Young People

August 23rd, 2012 - By Valerie J Charles
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Over 2 once-filled glasses of much needed margaritas, an old friend and I started weighing the pros and cons of having older friends. Being mellow and chameleon-like creatures, she and I are able to comfortably fit the mold of whatever group, scenario and environment we find ourselves in. Having found ourselves constantly in the company of those who are older than us, it’s quite the feat to deal with the ongoing ageism that runs rampant in such relationships.

Exceptions: Such weird mechanisms we use to discriminate, and yet we barely realize it. When someone labels us as an objection to a general groups’ stereotype, it’s usually meant to be tinged with good intent but ends up taking root as a back-handed compliment. “You’re the only person in their 20’s I can stand.” Oh. How does one even respond to such a comment? This is not a rhetorical question, please leave an answer in the comments section for my friend and I, for this is a comment we hear at least once every time we’re in the presence of older friends.

Every generation watches the next one come up with disappointment, hesitation, dread coupled in hope and good-intentions. The negatives stem from the initial reaction that those who are older respond to what they deem as the failures of their successors. Plainly, Millennials are known to be a spoiled, rotten bunch. Before our accomplishments and capabilities are acknowledged, all of our mistakes and missteps are presented. From the “exceptional” statement, it’s quite facile to assume that many believe we are to be the generation who is burning everything that has been gained just because we can.

Knowing what I know, and who I know, it’s hard not to become offended by these thoughts. On the contrary of the ruling preconceived notions of my generation, we accept and welcome the tutelage and friendship of those who have come before us. We know we have much to learn and to experience. What we do not welcome is the belittling and condescending nature in which advice is packaged to us. And what we will not accept is being painted with the same brush stroke that our class has been colored with due to the inflation of media and miscommunication between groups. After analyzing all the times I’ve heard this comment and those similar to it, I’m not even sure I can call those who use it friends.

What about you dear readers? Has there been a time you’ve been offended at someone trying to label as you as an exception?


More on Madame Noire!

Ashton Kutcher, “Brown Face,” And Why These Images Persist in Media

May 7th, 2012 - By Charing Ball
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Thanks to the never forgetting archive of YouTube, you can now watch a number of banned cartoons from the golden era of overt racism in America. According to Wikipedia, the cartoons are part of The Censored Eleven, which is a group of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons that depicted black people in an offensive manner.

One of my favorites is “Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs,” a tongue and cheek take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which features classic darkie minstrelsy by way of So White and Prince Chawmin, a big lipped, gold tooth, Cadillac driving, jive talking suitor. Despite the obvious Blackface, the cartoon was revered at its time for the incorporation of African-American-inspired jazz and swing music. Likewise, Bob Clampett, the creator of the cartoon short, has claimed that the cartoon was a homage to some jazz artists he once knew.  Some of the musicians were involved in the creation of the music and voices of the characters, even though they never received credit, and they concluded that there is nothing racist or disrespectful towards blacks in it. He attributes the controversy around his cartoon to a changing attitude towards black civil rights.

There is something to be said for how obtuse some folks are in regards to the idea that just because something is not offensive to you, that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable. Recently, Aston Kutcher, best known for punking celebs with stupid pranks and being the husband of Demi Moore, got in a little hot water for his eyebrow raising portrayal of an Indian. Kutcher appeared in an advert for Popchips where he donned ‘brown face’ makeup and put on a badly imitated accent (think Apoo from “The Simpsons”) to play a character named Raj, a 39-year-old Bollywood producer looking for love in a series of spoof dating videos.

Of course, the advert has drawn the ire of some in the Indian community, who deemed it racist. Others, like Anil Dash, didn’t call the company racist, but said they made a racist ad because, “they’re so steeped in our culture’s racism that they didn’t even realize they were doing it.”  In response, the advert has been dropped and Popchips CEO Keith Belling issued an apology, saying the following:

“Our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.”

Not sure what an Indian has to do with chips – in fact, I’m not even sure what Popchips are – but the fact that the Hollywood star saw fit to dress up in stereotypical garb and put on an Indian accent without even thinking, “Hmm, this might be a tad bit offensive” speaks volumes of how deep the pathology of stereotyping and “othering” goes.

Too Much or Too Funny?

February 16th, 2011 - By Veronica Wells
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An all black, female comedy ensemble (with the help of Wayne Brady) created a spoof of The Real Housewives of Atlanta called The Real Housewives of Civil Rights. The cast includes Coretta Scott King, Winnie Mandela, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Betty Shabazz, and Marilyn Monroe is the obligatory white woman. The women play off the events of the time period, character exaggerations and stereotypes, while simultaneously highlighting the foolishness associated with their TV predecessors on RHOA. Check the video below:

Do you think the spoof accurately and effectively mocks the RHOA or does it cheapen the seriousness of an important time in our country’s history? Check out Black Voices/The Root for their analysis of the video.

Pepsi Max Ad- Is it offensive or hilarious?

February 7th, 2011 - By Veronica Wells
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If you were paying attention to the Super Bowl ads last night, one of them may have caught your attention. Pepsi sucked us in with one ad featuring an African American husband and wife. Check out the commercial below:

If you didn’t laugh at that one…check your pulse. Pepsi did a good job. But this morning, Boyce Watkins wrote a piece for Black Voices questioning whether the ad further perpetuates the “angry black woman” stereotype and makes light of the very serious issue of domestic violence. After watching the commercial, do you think Pepsi played on stereotypes to make a few (million) dollars? Or does the ad send an accurate message about female/male relationship dynamics in a humorous way?

Oh, Claudia. Is Blackface Ever Cool?

June 3rd, 2010 - By madamenoire
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Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld compiled 20 years worth of photos of supermodel Claudia Schiffer for the 60th issue of Stern Fotografie, a German coffee table style quarterly, according to SassyBella. One of the photos is stirring up a bit of controversy.

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