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Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event, anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.
When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions. He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.
Brian Lord.org  (via boysncroptops)

(Source: gypsy-hip)

foreverbeingmadebeautiful:

crimsoncord:

ras-al-ghul-is-dead:

A silent protest in Love Park, downtown Philadelphia orchestrated by performance artists protesting the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The onslaught of passerby’s  wanting to take photos with the statue exemplifies the disconnect in American society.  Simply frame out the dead body, and it doesn’t exist.  

Here are some observations by one of the artists involved in the event:

I don’t know who any of these folks are.

They were tourists I presume.

But I heard most of what everything they said. A few lines in particular stood out. There’s one guy not featured in the photos. His friends were trying to get him to join the picture but he couldn’t take his eyes off the body.

"Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’m going to sit this one out, guys." "Com’on man… he’s already dead."

(Laughs.)

There were a billion little quips I heard today. Some broke my heart. Some restored my faith in humanity. There was an older white couple who wanted to take a picture under the statue.

The older gentleman: “Why do they have to always have to shove their politics down our throats.” Older woman: “They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.”

One woman even stepped over the body to get her picture. But as luck would have it the wind blew the caution tape and it got tangle around her foot. She had to stop and take the tape off. She still took her photo.

There was a guy who yelled at us… “We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!”

"One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’

Standing in front of the sign that screams LOVE.
And this is how people act? So extremely insensitive. Where is their compassion?

This is especially symbolic when you consider the history of the US. We have basically “cropped out” an entire era of our history built on slavery and hate.

theorlandojones:

As we wrap up this terrible week and weekend some final thoughts before I get my black ass back to work tomorrow to fight fictional demons instead of feeling powerless against the real ones —

Although he wasn’t by any means a close personal friend, the death of Robin Williams affected by greatly. Working with him and David Duchovny on the film House of D was a privilege and seeing how he treated everyone he encountered regardless of race, class, gender or orientation remains a hopeful reminder that genuine kindness and empathy does exist in the world. Whatever the ultimate reasons for his decision to take his own life I pray for him, his family and all who suffer from the unrelenting grasp of depression and substance abuse. By shining his light on us all for the period of time he did, I am 100% certain that Robin left this world a better place than he entered it with a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

That said, if we spent even a fraction of the time given to the tributes about Robin and the late Lauren Bacall also remembering the lives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford or Dante Parker (the 5 unarmed black men killed by police just in the past month) or honestly looked at the data about how often police shoot unarmed black men and women in this country we would all hang our collective heads in shame.

In the midst of thousands upon thousands of peaceful protesters who came out demanding answers and marching for justice with the powerful and heartbreaking refrain Hands Up. Don’t Shoot. the actions of a small few in Ferguson (many of whom were anarchists that intentionally came into the city to stir up trouble and perhaps a few others from the community who had simply reached their breaking point in the face of racial, economic and social injustice) gave the white power structure the cover to quickly change the narrative to one about the violence in the city (in reality almost entirely perpetrated by the militarized police rather than the demonstrators) instead of the murder of an unarmed teenager by a cop who “never meant for this to happen" (and don’t even get me started on that fuckery which should instead read "a cop who never meant to be held accountable").

In this way, a PROTEST became a RIOT. Images of demonstrators THROWING BACK tear gas canisters launched at them became stories of rioters throwing molotov cocktails AT THE POLICE (and yes I am aware of media reports showing that molotov cocktails were in fact used by protesters in some instances but not in the way that it was ultimately spun). And the police released incendiary and ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT information about Michael Brown that the media lapped up because it reinforced the all too familiar trope that “the violent black dude was a thug who got what he deserved”.

Black victims are regularly eyed with suspicion and contempt (and ultimately deemed responsible for what happened to them) while the media too often generates headlines that exhibit an air of disbelief at an alleged white killer’s supposed actions.

Even in our outrage at what happened at this week and the necessity for our voices to be heard so this story is not swept under the rug, we all know something like this will happen again. And again. And again.

Until each of us (black, white, brown, etc) demands accountability from our elected officials we will get the country we deserve. Tweeting is not enough. Feeling bad is not enough. Acting like we’re overreacting and it can’t really be that bad makes you an accessory after the fact (not to mention an asshole). 

Which is why, as the GIF above shows, I’m giving America a down vote.

So how can we stop feeling powerless? What can we actually do?

Honestly, there are people much smarter than me who can do a better job of answering that question.

But trying to answer that question for myself is a large part of why I do what I do for a living. Because representation matters. Because being in control of our own stories empowers us to show a wide range of depictions of blackness and “otherness” (shockingly, not only do we not all LOOK ALIKE but we also don’t all THINK ALIKE) that are far more interesting than what we’ve been spoon fed in the past. I’m the first to admit that we’ve still got A LONG WAY TO GO and that’s where you all come in.

Although my engagement in fandom is embraced by some and side-eyed by others, these spaces of interaction may in fact play one of the most significant roles in the future of media and representation as we know it. At the very least it will create a future generation of professional storytellers (and social justice advocates) who were raised in the trenches of Live Journal, Tumblr, ao3 and other platforms currently in use or yet to be created.

I know this is your turf and even though there are times some of you wish I’d go away I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to interact with you here.

Together, we can make a difference.

Trollando out.

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