Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Black Barbie Petition July 4, 2015

Filed under: activism,culture,education,girls — lizzloves @ 1:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Photo courtesy of Change.org

Photo courtesy of change.org

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find change.org petitions addictive. I get a few of them a week via email and, let me tell you, they can be a bit hard to ignore. There are so many great causes and the people behind them pull you in with their passion. But I like to be genuine and committed to things I sign, so I’ve managed to resist the urge to become too sign-happy. However, when I saw this recent petition about bringing diversity to the Barbie line, my mouse finger instantly started to itch to join the others who believed in this cause.

This new petition really resonated with me because I felt like Tessa, the young woman who started it, was telling a little bit of my own childhood story. I, too, was a little brown girl who grew up searching for dolls and images that looked more like me. Not only was I a Latina growing up in a predominately white town, but I was also adopted by a white family. My mom recalls me constantly looking for dolls that looked like me — the closest matches became Snow White with her black hair, a limited edition Hawaiian Barbie, and a “My Child” doll who looked like me…save for her green eyes. Needless to say, especially in the ’80s, it wasn’t easy to find a doll that looked like Little Lizz.

So, in some ways, it shocks me that this petition brings to light that diversity is still an issue with the Barbie line. How can it be, with such a long history and large profit, that Mattel has not made their dolls more ethnically diverse? While it could make a lot of little girls very happy, and that should be the priority…wouldn’t it also make them a lot more money? Even the “American Girl” line is way ahead of them. Come on, Mattel, get with the times!

I happily signed this petition for the little girl in me, and for all of the little girls who deserve dolls that look like them so their playtime imaginations can feature women of color in successful, adventurous roles. Will you sign, too?

Did you have dolls that looked like you when you were a little girl?

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LizzLoves Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine July 22, 2011

Lately, I’ve become aware of so many incredible documentaries being made, but when my friend sent me a link for “Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine,” I knew I had to bring it to LizzLoves readers.

 

“Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine” not only touches on the historical journeys of some of the first black female doctors to break ground in our country, but also chronicles the present-day success stories of black women in medicine today.

 

The film is the brainchild seasoned director Crystal Emery, who has been nurtured by notable filmmakers such as Bill Duke and Lloyd Richards. She also has several other films under her belt that uplift and educate communities. Crystal was inspired to make “Present and Unaccounted For…” after she met Doris Wethers, one of the first black women to attend Yale Medical School, and Beatrix Hamburg, the first woman to graduate from Yale Medical School.

 

Unfortunately, as Crystal and her nonprofit production company, URU The Right To Be, started shooting footage, a significant backer pulled out of the project, bringing production to a halt.

 

But, if you’re like me, you don’t want this reel to end up on a dusty shelf somewhere. Crystal has launched a Kickstarter campaign where people can make donations, large or small, to help this project reach completion.

 

So, be part of showing our daughters, nieces, sisters and all young ladies who aspire to careers in medicine, that not only can they accomplish what they set their minds to, but that there is a sisterhood that has laid the ground for them!

 

Click here to watch a piece of some of the inspiring footage and to find out how you can help this empowering story be told!

 

LizzLoves the Debate Over Colored Girls November 15, 2010

So, I finally saw the movie For Colored Girls the other day. (*don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers in here)

It had been more than a decade since I saw Ntozake Shange‘s choreopoem (For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf) performed at Bryn Mawr College, so it was like I was watching it for the first time.

I’m glad that I didn’t delve into the criticism of Tyler Perry‘s adaptation until after I saw it. I heard a rumor here and there, but mostly relied on my sister network to send me to the theaters to form my own opinion.  And I will allow you the same.

So, before I tell you a little bit about what the the blogosphere is saying, I have to say that despite how heavy and heartbreaking For Colored Girls was, I have to give props to all of the actresses. Each woman’s performance was powerful, moving. I particularly liked Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton and Phylicia Rashad. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing black women in the spotlight; there were no secondary roles here. The ensemble consisted of several generations, creating a diverse and accessible portrayal of women of color in today’s society.

Now to the critics. I won’t ruin the movie for you, in case you haven’t seen it yet. So I will give a quick summary of a few reviews, good and bad:

  • The Nation: writer Courtney Young said, “What is the price paid when a director widely considered to be anti-feminist interprets a beloved black feminist text for film?”
  • The Root: Salamishah Tillet opens with, “In the hands of Perry, one of Hollywood’s most conservative black evangelical voices, Shange’s feminist message of gender equality, reproductive justice and sexual liberation has been seriously compromised.”
  • NPR: S. Pearl Sharp talks about how women of color face new challenges in society since the original text was written 30 years ago.  “Now…what is different about a colored girl’s anger, love, her  rainbow?”
  • NPR: Jimi Izreal defends Perry’s interpretation of the choreopoem, “..his adaptation is fearless in a way we haven’t seen in black cinema for years.”

I also heard Ntozake Shange interviewed on NPR last week and she seemed pleased with Perry’s product. She expressed that if it brought women to the forefront and made young girls and women everywhere think about their identities, then she was happy. (Unfortunately, I can’t find this interview online for some reason)

I have to agree: whether completely true to the original work,  this production has the power to make a contribution by presenting some of the voices, faces and messages of women of color on the big screen.

And, better yet, if it makes women everywhere go out and buy the groundbreaking work, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf, for the first time, then Ntozake Shange’s true message will never be lost, regardless of how spot-on the Hollywood adaptation was.

Most of all, I love that all sides of this debate are an effort to push the growth of representation of women of color to the next level, honoring their struggles and  triumphs.


his adaptation is fearless in a way we haven’t seen in black cinema for years.