What makes for a great neighborhood bar? To me, its main quality exists in comfort.
Are the drinks priced well? Are the seats comfortable? Are the people more than decent? A great neighborhood bar — a great dive bar in particular — is especially enjoyable on weekdays, when raucousness is abandoned for quiet and a night cap. Expressions like 'pleasant,' 'decent' and 'just right' should be used liberally.
In college, I lived in Chicago's Lincoln Park. I remember going to a bar a block away from me once, hoping to find an alternative to treking to other parts of the city for a night out. I handed the doorman my ID, but what should have been a quick once-over became uncomfortable. His stare was equal parts lascivious and questioning, as if saying, ‘You don’t belong here, but I’ll let you in if you’re a good girl and ask nicely.’
I never went back.
“All we’ve got in Chicago is a bunch of TV screens and dive bars,” I once said to a friend while leaving the Belmont 'El' stop. “And I hate it.”
Fashion is one of the last major industries to publicly and profoundly act as a system of discrimination and exclusivity. And Kanye West – despite his strange and inaccurate comments comparing his fiance, Kim Kardashian, to the FLOTUS, Michelle Obama – has recently come out with comments that touch on the industry's perpetual exclusion.
In an interview with Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM, he said, “What I want to create isn’t about black and white, but the reason why I’m not able to create what I want to create is about being black, and is about classism.”
The music industry works differently. It is not less racist, but it is more inclusive. It is driven more by profit (allowing for a more diverse array of voices) than by inclusiveness or exclusiveness.
One thing I know for certain is that nobody faces scrutiny like a black woman. Or at least, that is what I have gained from personal experience. The scrutiny comes not just from non-black people. It also comes from within. Growing up, sometimes the harshest criticism came from women who looked just like me, who were expecting me to act or think or especially look a certain way.
When I first tried to go “natural” a couple of years ago, it was other black women, random strangers I met on the street who had the most to say. Granted, the acceptance of “alternative” black hairstyles has progressed rapidly within the past few years, but back then, the situation felt like a shaming from those I expected to offer the most amount of support.
I thought about this when media reporter Robert Feder announced that long-time FOX 32 anchor Robin Robinson would be leaving the station.
I won’t say that the only reason why I first tuned into "Scandal" was because there was a character – the lead character – that looked like me, but that was certainly a major factor. Television, despite its fluctuating ratings and successes from network to network, has become a larger medium. Its influence and storytelling capabilities have become more influential and more important than films.
In fact, as the film industry moves closer and closer to a formula that avoids "risk" (whether risk means original storytelling, romantic comedies, or stories featuring women), television – with its abundance of channels and numerous options available at any given moment – has become more experimental in its presentation.
On the surface, it is ridiculous to say “adding diversity” is a risk. With ensemble casts, it is easy to throw in a black or East Asian face and call it a day. Whether or not the character is interesting or relevant to the show’s structure as a whole matters little.