Unpopular Opinion:Demi Lovato,Social Justice Warrior

According to Seventeen Magazine, 17-year-old Vladimir Serbanescu is a self-taught artist from Romania who started drawing portraits of celebrities and posting them to Instagram at age 14. He is also the Artist who drew and posted this picture of Demi Lovato as a mermaid:1a8.png

Pretty cool huh? I thought so too when I first saw it! Apparently, Vladimir’s muse Demi Lovato didn’t think so. On her Instagram, the star shot down the drawing stating:

“Is that how my boobs should look? It’s gorgeous, but that’s not my body.”

This statement left me and many others in a bit of a daze. Yes, Demi we know this is not your body…because you aren’t in fact a mermaid.

Like many artists from the beginning of time, Vladimir used his imagination in order to create a work of art. The seventeen-year-old used classic iconography and artistic freedom to turn his subject (You Demi) into a mythical creature who lives in the ocean and breathes underwater. This wasn’t a statement on how your body looks or how he believes that your body SHOULD look, it was merely an artist creating a work of art which was part of a collection. Don’t believe me, here’s what Vladimir had to say about his work of art.

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I couldn’t agree more….

Not to knock Demi (or dismiss her feelings regarding a piece of are where she is the subject) and other stars who are under the constant struggle to appear perfect under tremendous pressure from society, but much like my Vindictive Protectiveness where I stated how in American society today we are all constantly trying to be politically correct all the time and appear to be as socially versed in social justice issues, that we sometimes drop the ball and lean away from uncomfortable subjects which would help us to learn and grow as a society and individuals, thus missing out on amazing opportunities.

I believe that this is one of those moments. I know that Demi likes to use her platform to encourage others to be who they are and to love the skin that they are in, but this work of art was not the time, nor the place to use one’s platform as a celebrity to make a statement.Especially since he used this image a a model. In this picture, neither Demi’s breast or full waist are seen. This means that the artist had to use his imagination and design eye to create the rest of the picture.

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Now if her breast and the rest of her body could have been clearly seen and the artist purposely drew them out of proportion or in a more idealized way, I might have been able to get behind Demi and be like. ..so…this isn’t cool kid! BUT, in this picture, you can see her general body shape and position which IS how the picture looks without the interpreted other bits.

So in my professional opinion (Pff professional…yeah right!) I would suggest that people stick to the correct times and places to call someone out on a social justice issue. Not everything needs to be a heated battle. Sometimes things really are just face value….

Beyoncé: Lemonade (Is She Sour Or Is She Sweet?)

On April 23, 2016, in true Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter form, our Queen B dropped another visual album entitled “Lemonade” virtually out of nowhere. Yes, we have been waiting for a release date since Beyoncé’s “controversial” Superbowl performance where she debuted the first single off of her Lemonade album entitled “Formation”. The day before the Superbowl performance, Beyoncé also released a music video for the single as well. In this music video, Beyoncé addressed many social issues plaguing the United States and where she stood on these matters. Many people felt like the Superbowl was neither the time nor the place to perform such a politically driven song….My question to them is, why not?

screen-shot-2016-02-06-at-1-39-02-pmArtists throughout history have always been the ones to call change to action, regardless of the medium they chose to use in order to get a point across. So why should Beyoncé be any different? If Donald Trump can use his celebrity platform to run for President of the United States, why can’t Beyoncé use her music to speak about her experience here in the US as a woman of color? Honestly, there is not answer…..So let B be free to express herself in HER art.

Besides the political aspect of this visual album, Beyoncé opens up about her relationship with he husband   Jay-Z, and BOY did she have a lot to say! over the last few years, rumors about the couples splitting and Jay-Z’s infidelities have been circulating. Flashback to 2014, when Beyoncé’s sister Solange assaulted Jay in an elevator at the Met Gala. Gossip magazines at the time suspected that Solange found Jay-Z flirting and getting a little too close to a fellow Gala goer and decided to do something about it (Via a few quick hard blows to the head. Remind me not to mess with her sister!)

On Beyonce’s first self-entitled visual album, Beyoncé touched upon some of the rocky roads she and Jay had faced. Little did we know that this sneak-peek into the couple marriage was just the tip of the iceberg. On the Lemonade album, each song seemed to be different aspects of her 12 step self-healing process. Each song paints a picture of what Beyoncé was thinking as she began to take a cold hard look at her relationship with her beloved husband. Many of the lyrics left us all side-eyeing Jay-z and questioning our loyalty to the rap mogul.

Don’t take it from me, check out Lemonade on Tidal today and decide for yourself.
Would you put up tumblr_o67yte8iKe1r51by8o1_500.jpgwith Jay-Z’s BS or would you take your smexy self and more on to greener pastures?

 

Diet Diversity

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Since entering the world of education some twenty something years ago, I’ve always noticed that there has inherently been something taboo when talking about diversity. This was even truer once I entered high school and beyond. One of the reasons people have always been so wary of addressing the elephant in the room is the fact that many people feel like discussing diversity is “hard” or “uncomfortable.” My question is how are you ever supposed to learn anything if you learn away from discomfort?

My life thus far has been all about dealing with adversity and overcoming it. This is never an easy thing to do when you feel that the world is against you. At every turn, I have had individuals tell me how “lucky” I am or how great it is to see someone like me succeed. Now I know that not all of these comments were intended to be rude, but they are. What I’m gathering from these comments and other like them is that I am an anomaly. That I am a unicorn in a field of horses and that because of the color of my skin in addition to the perception that come along with my melanin, that I am somehow less than.

This has become even more so as I began working at a private preparatory school. As I have been traveling for work and making connections with people, I have started to recognize “the look.” When I say the look, I believe that any person of color who has ever been the only minority in the room knows what I mean. For me, it initially causes a moment of panic that I cannot manage to control.

I have noticed that since my name is Edwin, people do not expect that a 5’5 black man will answer to such a name. When I make appointments to meet with potential marketing opportunities for the school, I have seen the surprise on people’s faces when I extend my hand and introduce myself as the director of communications. Part of me believes….or wants to think that some of this surprise derives from my age. Not many 24-year olds can say that they are a director of communications for a non-profit such as the one I work for.

It isn’t until I start speaking that people fully realize that I am who they have some to meet with that the look of dumbfounding leaves their face, yet I find them questioning anything that I say. The same was said for coworkers and other individuals I interact with on day-to-day basis at work. Other young people work for this organization, yet I do not see them questioned in such an accusatory manner. One of the girls I work with who is the Director of the Annual Fund, she is greeted with smiles and warm welcomes because she is a non-threatening Caucasian female. Yes, she is often questioned because of her perceived age, but when people question her, they choose their words very carefully. When it comes to questioning the decisions I have decided to make, I feel like I am met with hostility and smart comments. I have overheard people talking in the halls about how I was only hired to fill a diversity quota. Since I am a black gay male, many of my coworkers feel like I am not equipped to do my job, which baffles me because the person who had my position prior was a female.

At first, I thought all of this was in my head, but when my boyfriend came to visit, he quickly picked up on this dynamic. “Why do they speak to you like that,” he asked, genuinely curious. All I could do was shrug and say, “I don’t know.” Now if a seemingly cisgendered white male is picking up on these micro-aggressions, something has to be wrong. (No offense baby) The students have even picked up on these exchanges, yet I do not feel like I can voice these concerns to the other members of the administrations for fear of being labeled the “angry black guy.”

This is why I make the case that most of the world, especially in corporations or educational setting always likes to refer to their efforts surrounding diversity and inclusion, but do little actually to provide a safe and inclusive environment. I call this the diet diversity effect. Yes, a place may look diverse, but so many minorities within these environments still feel like they are being left out of the diversity conversation.

I also would like to clarify that diversity doesn’t just mean one’s race or ethnicity. There is a whole slew of diversity representations that never get noticed by mainstream media.

Just some thoughts….

Until Next Time…

Take Chances, Make Mistakes….Get Messy!

My Life as of right now….(2 weeks after grad school)

I’m having one of those lazy Sundays where I’m laying in bed feeling guilty that I have Nothing to day…..like NOTHING to do!

Am I the only one who has these weird moments? I guess I should explain a little more of what I mean. So every day for the last 23 years of my life I’ve had to be conscious of some homework or assignment that I have to complete, either to get into a school, maintain my standing in a school or plan my next big adventure in my education. Now that I have a masters degree, I feel like I can just sit back and breath a bit.

I already have a full-time job of which I will be starting in July. I have a place to move, for the most part, I’m financially sound and….I don’t have to do anything for the next month besides work a few events for my new position in Pennsylvania and go to a conference. All of which are things that I love to do and don’t feel like they are “work.”

My stress levels are at an all-time high; I’m losing weight without even really having to do much and yet I’m feeling guilty because I’m relaxing….What is wrong with me? hahaha

I think its crazy that I live in such a society that if a person isn’t constantly on the go, then they are seen as lazy and unproductive. This mindset is what is making me feel like I should be ashamed of actually having my life together right now to the point that I can take a break and work on getting to know myself better.

I also think it’s pretty sad that It’s taken me 23 years to come to a point in which I feel like I have time to explore myself and discover what I like to do and what I can’t stand. For instance yesterday my boyfriend and I walked all around Boston exploring different neighborhoods, petting random dogs and taking pictures of things we didn’t even know existed in…..who knew there was a pond in the Boston Common? I’ve never really had a chance to step outside of Emerson’s library during grad school…..

So with this! I am dedicating June to myself! Which is fitting because it is LGBTQA (Alphabet soup) month. I’m taking a stand to be proud of myself and of the thinks of which I have accomplished so far in my life.

I’m going to live my Motto and take chances! Make some mistakes AND GET MESSY!!

(And No I did not reread this….so if there are mistakes. Take it with a grain of sand because this is the messy part of my life)

Holi Festival: Boston Edition!

  • “Holi (pronunciation: /ˈhoʊliː/; Sanskrit: होली Holī) is a spring festival, also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival that has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia”. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi) [Not a credible source for academic papers <3]continued to celebrate into the night
  • 11150398_886329041426639_5932586874109736769_nYesterday a couple of people from my graduate program joined the BU Hindu Students Council for the largest Holi celebration in Boston! Let’s just say it was amazing! I met so many amazing people, and we danced to awesome music for hours. Even After the celebration ended, many people continue to celebrate well into the night.

This celebration got me thinking about how blessed I am to be in the position in which I am. I have a loving family, amazing friends and A bright future ahead of me. (I recently got a full-time job offer to be the Director of Communications at a private boarding school in Pennsylvania, and I’m going to take it)

I know I have been a little down in the dumps lately, but this festival and the company of my friends turned my frown upside down. I’m happy and ready to tackle any challenges that come my way.

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Holi is a time for celebration and a time to be thankful! So let’s get you out there and start making our mark in this world!  WORK HARD PLAY HARDER!

AND REMEMBER! Take Chances! Make Mistakes! Get messy! (Oh and we did get messy!) 11148642_10153146425456047_849437838667275732_n 11121766_10206717553725394_7492169911893553196_n

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