My Black Lives Matter post last week was weak; an expansive gesture hiding behind art and it’s many interpretations. Part of the reason is because for me to talk about racism is to hold extra large cartons of organic ducks eggs, one in each hand, whilst attempting to ride a unicycle for the first time; it’s bound to end in a privileged mess. Instead I have watched and listened, and it seems to me, the strongest way forward is through education, re-education, thinking, reading and more listening. Below is a list of available resources, the first three being personal to me – articles and documentaries that first opened my eyes.
Jane Elliott is an American schoolteacher, anti-racism activist, and educator. She is known for her “Blue eyes–Brown eyes” exercise. She first conducted this famous exercise for her class on April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated; she wanted her pupils to feel the pain of racism. I don’t know when I first watched this documentary – maybe it was shown in a social science class at my secondary school – I do know I have carried it with me ever since. It wasn’t just the shock of segregation along seemingly inconsequential lines, it was the shock that people (in this case children) would not only go along with it, but it would influence their behaviour outside the classroom. It was a brilliant and brutal showcase of human failing, exposing our ever constant need to conform to a perceived power source and the contagion of group think.
White Privilege, ‘Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ by Peggy McIntosh, first written in 1989, is an article I only read in the last couple of years. Again, it had a profound effect. Whilst’s Jane’s exercise was about conscious discrimination, this was about the unconscious discrimination we allow without thinking because we just don’t see it, because to notice has been conditioned out of us. She informed me, the word is not equal and there is no thing as meritocracy.
Notice anything about my education? White and female…
There’s not enough space to fill the books, words and videos of Maya Angelou. But with her brilliance, strength, wit and wonder, she remains a huge influence. My Grandmother gave me my first copy of a book by her – I know why the cages bird sings – and I can see it as I type this.
For the following list, I want to thank the High Low podcast, it is the result of their research combine with others such as the New York Times. Please refer back to this link if any of the links below don’t work:
Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
The Good Immigrant compiled by Nikesh Shukla
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Women Race and Class by Angela Davis
White Rage by Carol Anderson
Brit-ish by Afua Hirsch
My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay
Slay In Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené & Yomi Adegoke
A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
Taking Up Space: The Black Girls Manifesto For Change by Chelsea Kwakye & Ore Ogunbiyi
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
Aint I a Woman: Black Women & Feminism by bell hooks
Why You Need To Stop Saying “All Lives Matter” by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle for Harper’s Bazaar https://bit.ly/3gG8rgq
Ibram X. Kendi’s reading list for The New York Times https://nyti.ms/3gKL8lH
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
On Beauty and White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Citizen: An American Life by Claudia Rankine
I know why the caged Bird sings by Maya Angelou
George Floyd’s Memorial Fund
Black Lives Matter
Black Protest Legal Support UK
Stop Hate UK
The Stephen Lawrence Trust
The Innocence Project
Show Racism The Red Card
Black Visions Collective
Girls Out Loud
Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Can Change The World series on Rosa Parks & Harriet Tubman
A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Petition to update GCSE reading list https://bit.ly/2U6foOl
1619 podcast by The NY Times
With thoughts and positivity, Kate x
A few of my personal faves from the 2020 red carpet. In my dreams, the gorgeous Billy Porter is giving me deportment lessons and teaching me how to walk in heels. I managed to see Parasite, the winner of the best film award last week, and whilst I enjoyed it – there are some gasp aloud moments, I actually preferred the subtler but brilliant Chinese, ‘The Farewell’ which didn’t even get nominated. Life will always remain a conundrum.
(Love this dress, the shape, the pocket, the colour. I always like the ones that subvert just enough. But the shoes? Is it just me or do they look like something from the geriatric aisles of a pharmacy??)
A love it or loath it dress. With the suggestions of a squid in flight, it’s love it from me.
(All pics Vogue)
So Mr Pitt, nobody could persuade you to go the extra mile and just trim the mullet? Shame on you.
Laters, Kate x
Oh. The Joy! It’s award season again – and it appears the uncertainty in the world is translating itself into unusual dress choices, pushing the boundaries and the return of colour. Thank you Jodie Comer for these sleeves, this colour, that face. Not sure quite what happened on the boob line, but I’ll forgive you for proving flashing flesh isn’t a necessity.
Not a miss in the classic sense, but a darker red would’ve been so much more flattering Nicole. But the reason this is in the naughty list is Keith’s shoes. You know what they say about big feet…unless this is the armour for a Napoleon complex…
All that money, that body and Salma looks like she stepped out of a C&A advert Circa 1982.
Sacha Baron Cohen. Designed so his wife could find him in the crowds? Just. No!!
Saoirse Ronan. Don’t be blinded by the label – it’s a sack.
Dear Michelle, Your large blue bra strap is showing.
What????? I wonder if there’s a recognised Hollywood affliction that’s the opposite to body dysmorphia where top level actresses think they can pull off any dress, including slime and a bin liner. Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture. Heads should roll.
Quentin Tarrantino looks like a scary man so I’ll only say this in brackets (Did he dye his hair and eyebrows to match his tux?)
This year, it’s my proud pleasure to give the Tara Curtain Award to Taylor Swift.
Kate Blanchett, normally impeccable, gets the Canape Award, sponsored by crinkle chips.
It’s not quite in Bjork Swan category, but I’m impressed JLo decided to wear her Christmas wreath down the red carpet.
I am, and will always remain a Phoebe fan……………………………………………………
(but……..the hair. Who decided that the way to go was to give her a bald man’s combover???)
But drum roll please…….for consistently trying, but generally failing…and even having the chutzpah to repeat horrific mistakes…the lifetime achievement award goes to Gwyneth Paltrow!
We know, with the right help, she can do it.
But nine times out of ten, something else happens.
The Golden Oldie award goes to Zhao Shuzhen. Loved the film. Love her elegance. A beautiful choice.
Closely followed by Lucy Lu. I want to be these women when I grow up.
(They both put Helen Mirren and Glenn Close in the shade: Old fashioned, uninspiring.)
Toni Collette gets a pat on the back. A difficult choice, pulled off.
This is beautiful: Cut and colour. Zoey Deutch in Fendi.
Another winner, in both sense of the word, from The Farewell, Awkwafina. Loved this fun, understated, fashion forward look.
( All pics Elle and Pinterest)
This is how you do it. Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Gucci.
Roll on the Oscars.
Laters, Kate x
Has property porn ever been this good? Let me show the ways…First an eyes on stalks glimpse into the warm, inviting, unpretentious Brooklyn home of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard which proves that true integrity is more than skin deep.
But there’s more…there’s a video too…in fact, blank out time somewhere warm and cosy..this is PP on tap…be prepared, then click here.
And the final cherry? The house is for sale.
Time to buy a lottery ticket. And dream.
Laters, Kate x
And I’m not talking about myself or diet plans for 2019…Gladys ‘Fatso’ Bentley was the gender nonconforming lesbian superstar of the Harlem renaissance born 100 years ahead of her time we have never heard of. She was outrageous – even at at a time when Harlem was legendary for its nightlife. She’s also credited with wearing the first tuxedo in public – so you can add style icon to the list of her attributes. Her later life was not without drama – she took on the persona of a straight life due to the McCarthy era witch hunt against gays in the 1950s, a visual example of how scary that time must’ve been.
Because one of the joys of the Christmas period, to hibernate against the cold and the dark, reading, looking, thinking, researching and just plain vegging: we need to do more of this, discover more things, be proactive rather than passive.
Another guilty pleasure was watching back to back episodes of Project Runway on Netflix: How much do I love the ‘ skip intro’ button? Only a smidgeon less than the ‘skip recap’. Being submerged in couture gown making, talent and taste making it was therefore a bit of a shock to see Heidi Klum’s dress for the Golden globes. What happened?? It’s a cross between Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2002 Oscar dress and a primary school project..
And then there was Timothee Chalamet – robbed last year for an Oscar for ‘Call me by your name’ (fab, fab film) he at least stepped out of the male uniform and I for one loved it. Looking back, ‘Call me by your name’ written by Andre Aciman was also one of my favourite books of the year – rare that both genres are knockout. The other stand out book was ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover – powerful, poignant and unforgettable: This year has a lot to live up too..
Wishing all a very happy 2019!
Laters, Kate x
We saw Cinderella last week..
There’s an undeniable whiff of cheese..but Cate Blanchett’s costumes were honest-to-God-totes-amaze..
vibrant colours…wicked jewellery
All thought up by three time Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell..
A south of the River London lass who still lives in Brixton.
Who says fairytales can’t come true?
Laters, Kate x
Well the 2017 Oscar night was a one to remember. Maybe not for all the best reasons….But Emma Stone, resplendent but slightly safe in gold Givenchy obviously didn’t let it ruin her evening.
Always a treat for the eyes, The Oscars is like watching a living shooting range: Ruth Negga in Valentino…miss..
Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive: Boring colour..but hit.
Janelle Monae: Wrong era…miss.
Dakota Johnson in Gucci: What IS that thing at the front? Miss.
Jessica Biel in Kaufmanfranco: For some this was a winner..maybe you needed to see it in the flesh. For me, moth eaten and mangy. Miss.
Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton. Why?
Emma Roberts proving that black and cream is never the way to go.
Scarlett Johansson gets the grannies curtain prize.
Whilst the sack prize(As in looks like rather than would be good in…) goes to Felicity Jones in Dior.
The doing-something-different-and-succeeding award goes to Sofia Boutella.
Proving that simplicity works: Sting and Trudie Styler.
And best dressed award of the night goes to Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford..
I’m sorry, that was a mistake. Best dressed award goes to Karlie Kloss in Stella McCartney?
Damn it. Best dressed award goes to Halle Berry in Versace for being sassy, hot and totally in the zone.
Laters, Kate x
Top prize: Emily Blunt in McQueen. Does everything a great dress should – of particular note are those clever shoulders and beautiful embroidery – not too much, but just enough.
Close second: Hannah Bagshaw with husband, also in McQueen…could there be a theme?
Taylor Hill scores points for vintage Hollywood glamour.
Daisy Ridley: A winner for not taking it too seriously.
Isabelle Huppert in Chloe: Those sleeves and sheer elegance.
Penelope Cruz: For shaking it up.
(All pictures Pinterest)
Anya Taylor Joy in Gucci: Because it shouldn’t work, but it does.
Roll on the Oscars hey. And the odd dead swan.
Laters, Kate x
Oh! How this made me chuckle. I think The Husband was laughing with me…but I’m not entirely sure they were tears of mirth: The Employment by Opusbou, as seen at Dismaland.
We’ve come back to our very own grotland..the builders have moved in…
There’s nothing left but to embrace the chaos…Mwha-ha-ha…
Laters, Kate x