COLORBLOCK Magazine-April 2016

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Makers: advancing the Fight for equal representation

April 2016


Editor in Chief Monique Jones

JUST ADD COLOR ( and COLOR BLOCK Magazine is owned and operated by Monique Jones. JUST ADD COLOR and COLOR BLOCK Magazine is a site focusing on critiquing and commenting on Hollywood and general entertainment’s levels of racial, sexual, and gender inclusion or exclusion. JUST ADD COLOR and COLOR BLOCK Magazine are not affiliated with other sites or magazines with the word “color” in the title and/or sites or magazines focused on race and culture in entertainment.

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EDITOR’S NOTE It’s time for another issue! We’re now well into April, and with April comes spring and new beginnings. One way JUST ADD COLOR is having a new beginning is by focusing on more of the positive initiatives and moments that are happening in Hollywood. There is a ton of bad things that’s going on in Hollywood, but it’s also sometimes too easy to focus on the negative and forget the positive.

This issue is part of that new outlook. In this issue, you’ll read about quite a few #difference makers, people who are going beyond the call of duty to further the cause of more equal representation. Some have been featured on JUST ADD COLOR before; the links to the original posts are included in this issue. Do you have difference makers you’d like to highlight? Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #differencemakers (and make sure to (at) me at @colorwebmag and @moniqueblognet!) I hope you love this issue,

Monique Jones


Makers There’s so much discussion about what’s going wrong with representation in the media, but what about what’s going right? There are tons of difference makers in society, so we should honor them every chance we get. This issue recognizes just a few of the difference makers out there. Whether they are in film, fashion, or other fields, they are helping change how we see others and how we see ourselves. They’re helping us become better, more open-minded world citizens.

Difference maker Profile:

Freddie Harrell Screencap of Harrel from the "What's Underneath Project: London"

Fashion blogger Freddie Harrel combines her love for style with her passion for helping others gain self-confidence because of her own past struggles self acceptance. Her story reminds me of the stories many women of color, black women in particular, have when it comes to accepting their hair, being told by others they were pretty "for a black girl," and consistently being put down by the mean-spirited and well-meaning alike. Her story is also familiar to me because, like me and many other women of color, she went to a

school where she was the minority. Being put in a situation of being the only black person in an institution is stressful enough, but having to deal with both outward and unspoken discrimination is even more taxing on a teenager's mental growth into adulthood. Her moment of clarity came after years of trying to fit in. "Before I am a woman, before I am black, I am Freddie," she said. "...In a really non-arrogant way, I think that's amazing. I can't believe I've missed

that in so many years." Instead of me describing her story, just watch this video, created by Stylelikeu's "What's Underneath Project: London." You can follow Harrel at her site. You can also follow Stylelikeu and see more amazing stories of self-acceptance from people of all walks of life.

Before I am a woman, before I am black, I am Freddie. 窶認reddie Harrell

Difference Maker quick looks:

Eight snapshots of coolness Photo credit: Lane Bryant

Disability Visibility project The Disability Visibility Project was started by Alice Wong, MS, as an “online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture.” The site is also partnered with Story Corps, “a national oral history organization.” “Staffed by one individual (see below) and supported by the community, the DVP aims to collect the diverse voices of people in the disability community and preserve their history for all, especially underrepresented groups such as people of color, immigrants, veterans, and LGBTQIA people with disabilities,” states the site. Read more: “#DifferenceMakers: Disability Visibility Project”

Janice Rhoshalle littlejohn & Barrington smith-seetachitt Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, journalist and co-author of Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate, Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed, and Barrington Smith-Seetachitt, screenwriter of Children of Others, are the minds behind Lovers in Their Right Mind. The film takes a look at the relationship between a black Southern woman and an Iranian man. The film, part of DreamAgo’s 2016 Plume & Pellicule screenwriting atelier in Switzerland, adheres to ‘DreamAgo’s goal to ‘choose scripts that transform, provoke and entertain while dealing with issues vital to us all.’” Read more: “#DifferenceMakers: Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn andBarrington Smith Seetachitt”

April reign April Reign, managing editor of Broadway Black, created #OscarsSoWhite after become aggravated with the Academy’s lack of awarding stories featuring representation. In its second year, #OscarsSoWhite created a ripple effect in Hollywood, leading to several major changes in the Academy voting and inclusion process and inspiring others in the industry to do their part in incresing representation. “[The votes] should always be merit-based, but make sure the net is cast wide enough so all the films that are great in that particular year get a shot at a nomination,” she said. Read more: “Exclusive Interview: April Reign Discusses the Effect of #OscarsSoWhite”

Madeline Stuart Madeline Stuart is a model who is making a name for herself by representing an non -stereotyped look at people with Down Syndrome. Her modeling work aims to destroy biases against people with Down Syndrome as well as offer representation to a neglected demographic. Stuart’s latest campaign involves a wedding-themed photo shoot for Virginia’s Rixey Manor. “...I think that being a bride is a life experience that every woman should be able to see herself doing, and definitely not stressing about the fact that they won’t look ‘perfect’ on their wedding day,” said Isadora MartinDye, Rixey Manor’s owner, who commissioned the photo shoot. Read more: “#DifferenceMakers: Madeline Stuart and Rixey Manor’s Bridal Photo Shoot”

Black Lives Matter


Black Lives Matter, an activist organization created by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors, wants to uplift black voices and reaffirm the black diaspora's humanity to the world. "Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks' contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression,” states the site.

The Council of AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIR) is a national organization that wants to be, as its site states, "a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding." CAIR aims to promote understanding about Islam as well as "encourage dialogue, protect civil liberities, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." CAIR is the largest Muslim civil liberties organization in the U.S.

Medieval POC

The Radical Monarchs

Medieval POC, otherwise known by its official Tumblr fan of "People of Color in European Art History," aims to fix the racial biases in art history by showcasing people of color as they existed in famous or little known works of art. "All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia," states the site. "Sometimes it's just about really looking at artworks you've seen many times before, with a fresh perspective."

The Radical Monarchs is a new type of civic engagement, focusing on young girls. The Girl Scout-esque group is comprised of 12 girls and their leaders Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest. The group was created to give girls of color opportunities to express their feelings about racial and social inequity and give them a blueprint to become a changing force within their community. According to Ms. Magazine, the social justice group allows its members to earn badges for attending and participating in protests and marches, showing acceptance to all, battling beauty standards, and other forms of empowerment.

18 Million Rising


18 Million Rising, led by Pakou Her, Cayden Mak, and Tanzila Ahmed, as its site states,"to promote AAPI civic engagement, influence,and movement by leveraging the power of technoogy and social media." The organization has worked to raise awareness about AAPI issues and represenation. "Our vision of engaged AAPI communities began with, but doesn't end with, the ballot box," states the site. "[I]t also includes year-round civic activity locally and nationally, holding corporations accountable, building interracial coalitions, and developing our shared identities."

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), is led by President and CEO Janet Murguía and works to "improve [Latinos'] opportunities for success in achieving the American Dream." The organization has been around since 1968 and uses its nonpartisan point of view to serve Latinos, as the site states, "through our research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts, as well as in our programs work in communities nationwide." NCLR aims to keep civil rights of Latinos intact and alert America to immigration, economic, education, housing, and career issues facing Latinos.

Lane Bryant

Dream Defenders

National clothing chain Lane Bryant has championed the beauty of plussize women and challenging the size beauty standards the fashion industry places on women. Their #ImNoAngel campaign, states the press release, "personifies the notion that sexy doesn't come in one form; sexy is unique, real, and personal for each and every woman." Their most recent campaign, #ThisBody, featured a commercial showing plus size models unapologetically showcasing their bodies in lingerie. Read more: “#DifferenceMakers: The Banned Lane Bryant #ThisBody Ad”

The Dream Defenders defines itself as "an uprising of communities in struggle, shifting culture through transformational organizing." The organization includes an advisory board that is multiracial and multi-faith, and works to disestablish, as the site states, "the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Imperialism as well as Patriarchy." Immediate goals include ending the murder and policing of black people and other minorities and oppressed groups and releasing "the 2.5 million prisoners of the United States' War on the Poor," an end to all wars, funded education, and a working democracy that functions for all people.

Difference maker Profile:


Photo courtesy of Angela Giampolo

after theWindsor decision and knowing

Ever since marriage equality became the law of the land last year, there have been many celebrations (and rightly so), but there’s also a sense of “what’s next?” that’s beginning to come into play. With some states still resistant to handing out marriage licences and political hopefuls running on the platform of religious freedom, some might be wondering just what’s the next phase of the LGBTIQA civil rights fight as far as the right to marry is concerned. I was excited to speak with Angela Giampolo of Giampolo Law Group earlier this week. The Philadelphia, PA-based law group focuses primarily on LGBT law, family law, business, real estate, and international law. Along with her work as an attorney, Giampolo has written several columns for notable sites such asPhiladelphia Gay News, Edge Media Network and Philadelphia Business Journal, and has been featured as a guest on radio and television (including the likes of Fox News and WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station). In this interview, Giampolo gives her reaction to the ruling as well as what people can expect now that the ruling has taken effect. She also discusses her hopes for America when it comes to minority issues in general. (Interview originally published on JUST ADD COLOR , July 3, 2015)

How do you feel about the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality? It was a momentous occasion, a momentous event in the fight for LGBT equality. My clients are jubilant, I had chills the whole day. I anticipated it, but when you anticipate something and it happens, it’s still unbelievable. It was one of those moments in which I simultaneously had a sense of dread. You don’t want the community to become complacent, thinking we had won the fight. So while I was reveling it and enjoying it, at the same time, I know that there’s still so much to be done. If anything, the LGBT community has become more and more complacent and feeling like we’re winning all these victories and we’re fine, when it’s just not. We’re far from it. It was sort of a bittersweet moment, unfortunately. That gets to the next question I was going to ask—Did you expect for the ruling to come down that day? Yeah. Everybody says “Don’t predict what the Supreme Court’s going to do” because those would be the one odds you’re never going to get. But

that for 10 years now, same-sex marriage has been legal in one or more states, what was the Supreme Court going to do? Say, “Hey, Angela, even though you’ve been married for 10 years, we’re going to undo that. I know you became the parent of your spouse’s child, but I’m going to undo that”?

We knew it was going to come, it was only a matter of time…If I drive from here to Tennessee, and we leave out of states that recognize me as married, for four hours, we’re married. We’re just going to get through this state in two hours where we’re not married and you’re not the parent of my child in these two hours. What if we get into a car accident in those two hours? It just wasn’t sustainable. It’s not what this democratic society was based on, and that’s what we’ve been dealing with. You get a job offer somewhere and you transfer jobs, and you end up in a state that doesn’t recognize you as married, now we’ve lost all the protections in the state that we were in. This legal quagmire was not sustainable. We knew, especially after Windsor, I knew we were going to have a successful outcome. To what degree we were going to be successful, I didn’t know. But I knew it was going to be a momentous day re-

gardless. Many places in the US have started issuing marriage licenses, and other

places, like in the south, I’m particularly

And [the ruling] is eviscerating our liberties

Even when we do gain full equality, we’re

annoyed to say, have been lagging. What’s

First Amendment rights.

still going to have homophobic people out

the holdup?

there. I don’t know when this next round of And some elected officials, as you already

The holdup is the same as the holdup has ev-

cases will go up because they haven’t even

mentioned, are already figuring out loop-

er been, right? After Brown v. Board of Edu-

been lodged yet; we’re looking at around five

holes to avoid giving people marriage li-

cation, the National Guard had to come in…

to seven years before the next round of litiga-

censes. You kind of already touched on

In some states in this country, if the Supreme

tion gets dealt with by any sort of courts.

this, but do you expect for tons of legal

Court hadn’t made a decision, we [women]

More important than that, instead of focusing

cases to come out?

on that, I truly believe that all human emotion

wouldn’t be allowed to vote and slavery

boils down into love and fear. [With homo-

would still exist. That’s real. At a certain

Absolutely, absolutely. …[T]his is the next

point, the Supreme Court’s job is to come

30 years of litigation—the next 30 years of

and say, “Listen, we’ve given you [states]

litigation not just of [old] cases. On Friday, I

enough time to get it right.” Interracial mar-

was granted a 14th Amendment right in the

riage—the first time it went to the Supreme

Constitution. The Supreme Court gave me a

Court, it was 1952. By the time Loving v.

Constitutional right to something. For hun-

Virginia was decided, it was 20 years later,

dreds of years, religious people have had a

and the Supreme Court gave the states as

First Amendment right to something, to reli-

much time as they needed, but there will al-

gious freedoms [and] liberties and beliefs.

ways be those stragglers who will never get it

The next wave of 30 years of litigation is go-

right. The Supreme Court has to come down

ing to be my 14th Amendment right to live in

and say, “Listen, you’re wrong. You’re

a society as everyone else does and to have

wrong. Women are allowed to vote, slavery

the same benefits and privileges as anyone

When it’s all said and done, what do you

is wrong, get rid of the Confederate flag, and

else does versus an archbishop’s right to their

expect from America in the long run? Do

gay people can marry.” It’s all part of the

First Amendment right. When does my 14th

you think America will come to its senses

same [thing] and…Mississippi and Texas,

Amendment right begin and end and when

and accept this?

they’re not going to get in line.

does his or her First Amendment begin and

phobic people], when you really boil it down and pepper them with questions and really boil it down to why they’re anti-gay or racist or sexist, [you discover] they’re fearful. Until we deal with the fear of all of minority issues, not just gay, the whack-a-mole will always find some rational reason to exist. Even though I’m a lawyer and should be worried about how this is going to get settled in the courts, I’m more worried about grassroots [efforts] to make this okay with people.

end. That’s never been decided by a court

…I’ll tell you what I want from America. I’m

What’s going to happen in the next 25 days

ever; it’s unprecedented…This is going back

Canadian and I’ve lived here half my life.

is up in the air; how they’re going to circum-

to the Supreme Court.

Whenever I go home to Montreal, they’re al-

vent this is still up in the air and we may be

ways like, “What are you guys doing down

talking two to three weeks from now about

What a lot of us are concerned about is…if a

there?”…Even hearing what Donald Trump

how they figured it out. But ever since Wind-

Jeb Bush wins, the next President could elect

had to say about Mexicans, it’s so dishearten-

sor, conservatives, religious conservatives,

three to four new justices…The next presi-

ing. We were founded on a melting pot. We

right-wing organizations and states, have

dent that gets to elect the next round of judg-

were founded when William Penn [founder of

been planning the next move.

es, will singlehandedly decide women’s is-

Pennsylvania] came over here after being per-

sues, race issues, voting issues, abortion is-

secuted for his beliefs. He ran away and took

sues and gay issues.

all the prisoners with him because those were

The argument they brought to the courts with Windsor was procreation, marriage is only between a man and a woman, what have you.

If this is the next 30 years of litigation with

Religious liberties wasn’t even an issue.

it going back to the Supreme Court to de-

Then they realized they were going to lose

cide between religious and marriage is-

Windsor when the Windsor decision came

sues, when do you think that will parse

out, and now they’ve been planning this new


phase, if you will. It’s not shocking. A couple of months ago, the governor of Louisiana drafted a bill called the Marriage Conscience Act in preparation for today. They’ve been preparing, they’re digging their heels in, and we’ll see what happens. The visual I get is the whack-a-mole game…every time I think I’ve won and we hit the mole down, another [one]…pops up, and we’ve got to hit that. So, they’ll come up with something.

The way that I would answer that question is with what I tell my clients; full equality does not equal full acceptance. We can still be fired for being gay, right? In Mississippi, you’re not even allowed to adopt. So now we have marriage nationwide, if you tell your employer you got married, you could be fired and you’re not even allowed to adopt. We’re not even close to full equality. Here in Pennsylvania, you could be fired for being

We’re already seeing some Republican

gay. I could be denied an apartment, I could

presidential candidates saying they’re

be denied a hotel room. At the end of the

running on religious freedom or

day, we’re far from equality. Let’s just say


we do win equality—full equality does not equal full acceptance[.]

the only people who wanted to come. When you look at what we were founded on, and look at where we are now, I do not know where we took a left turn, but we definitely did. Again, I’m Canadian, and there’s no apparent or dominant religion…In Canada, we truly live by [the phrase] “it is what it is” and whatever floats your boat mentality. Everyone in Canada is either a Canadian or a French Canadian. You never hear about an African Canadian, Italian Canadian, Irish Canadian or Asian Canadian. They’re all the same. They only divide is between Canada and French Canada and that’s because of language and it dates back to hundreds of years. In the US, people pride themselves on being Irish, African American, Chinese American, Italian American. We have different classes here because of that. Canada really ended up being the melting pot

that we were founded on. That’s what I hope for for the US—that we don’t have presidential hopefuls talking about Mexicans like they’re terrorists, like what Donald Trump did…and think it’s okay to do so on a national network…We’re still so divided, but we’re supposed to be the melting pot. What I hope we get to is that we’re truly homogenized, that we’re all one, that we’re truly the melting pot, that there’s truly a separation between church and state, and just live. If I’m not hurting you, then what do you care what I’m doing? Why does it physically bother you?

I truly believe that all human emotion boils down into love and fear. [With homophobic people], when you really boil it down and pepper them with questions and really boil it down to why they’re anti-gay or racist or sexist, [you discover] they’re fearful. —Angela Giampolo

Four new racial/gender representation initiatives Queen Latifah att The W iz press junket.. Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The #OscarsSoWhite controversy has shaken up Hollywood in one of the best ways possible. While there’s something that can be said for the lack of focus on other forms of representation in Hollywood (the media has been mostly focusing on the outward racial aspects and not other aspects of representation such as characters with physical or mental disabilities), Hollywood is trying to show that it can change, at least little by little. Four new initiatives tackling gender and racial inclusion have been created since #OscarsSoWhite; these initiatives have a bright future ahead as the pioneers of Hollywood’s new inclusion renaissance. • We Do It Together: Variety reports that Juliette Binoche, Queen Latifah, and Jessica Chastain have joined together to create We Do It Together. The production company procudes film and television “that boost the empowerment of women.” “The nonprofit is planning to develop a slate of ‘inspiring’ films by and about women to ensure future opportunities for known and emerging voices within the industry,” wrote Variety. “The first film will be announced in May at the Cannes Film Festival.” • JJ Abrams’ new Bad Robot diversity quota: Bad Robot founder and film director JJ Abrams told the Hollywood Reporter that he decided, in the midst of #OscarsSoWhite, to create a serious outline of goals to meet when it comes to addressing inclusive casting and hiring practices. “We’ve been working to improve our internal hiring practices for a while, but the Oscars controversy was a wake-up call to examine our role in expanding internally at Bad Robot and externally with our content and partners,” said Abrams, according to the Guardian. “We’re working to find a rich pool of representative, kick-ass talent and give them the opportunity

they deserve and we can all benefit from. It’s good for audiences and it’s good for the bottom line.” • Zoe Kravitz’ collective: Zoe Kravitz has told the Associated Press about how she has had to turn down stereotypical role after stereotypical role, and how she feels a lot of the onus is on the actors themselves when it comes to choosing roles and breaking casting stereotypes. Kravitz has also decided to create a “creative collective,” states Hollywood’s Black Renaissance. Her collective includes “Hollywood filmmakers, actors, writers, and cinematographers and their goal is to meet each week to write a script that reflects the diverse world in which we live.” Kravitz is also going to “write, produce, and direct her own projects.” •Half: TV producer Ryan Murphy has launched Half, an initiative that will start “outreach efforts at colleges and universities,” states Forbes. Murphy “will pair candidates with mentors from his production company.” Murphy’s also creating “a database of names and contact information so other showrunners who want diverse directors can join the movement, as well.” “I personally can do better,” said Murphy to The Hollywood Reporter. “[Publicist Nanci Ryder] said [at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast], ‘People in power, you have a position and responsibility to change the industry,’ and I thought, ‘She’s right.'” (Originally posted on JUST ADD COLOR, March 23, 2016)

Four MORE INITIATIVES CHANGING HOLLYWOOD: Nate parker opens film school at texas’ wiley college to nurture new wave of diverse filmmakers (Source: Variety)

John Boyega becomes patron to alma mater, london’s identity School of Acting (Source: Essence)

Viola Davis, husband Julius tennon, and kaylon hunt launch juvee productions to promote stories by established and upand-coming creators (Source: JUVEE RODUCTIONS)

Ryan coogler , Michael b. Jordan, ava duvernay and others form blackout for human rights to address human rights and social issues in America and the world(source: blackout for human rights)

Difference maker Profile:


Loren on the set of The Ridiculous Six. Set photo courtesy of Loren Anthony

Remember Netflix and Adam Sandler’s big problem film, The Ridiculous Six? The film courted controversy by including offensive jokes about Native Americans, and their gamble resulted in several of the film’s Native American extras and the film’s Native cultural consultant walking off the set. Loren Anthony was one of those extras. In this interview, you’ll read more about what happened on set that fateful day as well as Anthony’s heartbreak over the entire situation. Anthony and his fellow actors’ walkout goes down as a moment in Hollywood’s civil rights history, making him and his acting group difference makers. (Interview originally published on JUST ADD COLOR, April 29, 2015)

The day in question—there have already

I’m okay with that type of thing.

been people who have talked about it and there’s now video of what happened, but in

That’s when it raised to a boiling point, when

your words, what was that particular day

it came down to it. It just kind of just hit at one

like when everyone came to the producers?

time for everybody, causing our cultural consultant to leave and then, you know, at the

I think there was a heaviness throughout the

same time, we want[ed] to voice our con-

day. I know, for me, there was. That day,

cerns…about what we thought was wrong and

Wednesday, I really took some time to myself

things we thought were not appropriate or dis-

because we had a lot of downtime for most of


the day; we were brought to the set in the morning and we didn’t do anything, really,

What, to you, was the most offensive or

for most of the day. We just kinda hang out

hurtful part of the whole experience?

and wait until we’re going to be ready to shoot because a lot of the main actors were doing their scenes so they didn’t need us at the time. We were just hanging out.

I can’t just pinpoint one thing. The media, right now, when this came out and people picking it up when it broke on Indian Country Today, a lot of people kind of just went with,

How did you get involved with The Ridicu-

I really took some of that time to reflect on

like, “Everybody’s mad; these individuals are

lous Six?

what happened the day before and what had

just upset because of two character names.”

happened on Monday and how I felt about

Those character names, they are offensive and

I got hired on by a casting director. They were

everything. When things came together, it

disrespectful to women, but there was a

basically looking for people to be a part of the

just all escalated for quite a few of us and I

[plethora] of different things that were taking

movie. Because I worked with this casting

can’t speak for everybody, but there was that

place that I just can’t pinpoint just one because

director before on other productions, when

heaviness in our hearts to the point where we

it’s a majority of things.

she asked me before, [she said]…it was Adam

didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right. I wasn’t

Sandler doing a comedy, it was going to be a

going to be proud of it and I knew because of

Western here in New Mexico and he was

the things I do with my family, my youth

looking for some people to be a part of it.

work, the things that I talk about, they would

That was basically it; there wasn’t much more

totally contradict one another and the things

than that.

that I stand for. It would make it seem like

Going from the representation of the costumes that we were told to wear, to the respect and the appropriate use of the feathers [which] were not used the right way, [and] looking at the tipis themselves and how they were mis-

represented and how they had things on them

not in the joke,” and that’s true.

sexism and tearing down a whole world of

that shouldn’t be on them. And the tipi part—

We’re weren’t in the joke.

women. We have Mother Earth. It’s our

a lot of our Native American people use those

mother. We should take care of our women

for cultural or spiritual, religious ceremonies.

When we got hired on, they didn’t give us

To desecrate that—that would be a big no-no

those scripts, they didn’t have a sit down…

in American society, if someone were to des-

and tell us what’s going on. It was just a play

When it comes to Netflix saying the satire

ecrate a regular church, like a Catholic

-out of different things that went on and we

part, satire is all about bringing out preju-

Church or a mosque or Christian churches.

found out. We found out what the dialogue

dice. If you were to do Blazing Sad-

You go to jail for that kind of stuff. So those

was about. So, it’s not just one thing. I can’t

dles today, it would not fly. It would not

things were violated.

just pinpoint one thing. it’s a number of

work. Even Mel Brooks has said that. For

things. It’s tearing apart who I am as an indi-

them to say that everyone’s in the joke—

You’re looking at things that we use for cul-

vidual and what I believe in as far as my cul-

that’s the thing everyone’s asking, if we

tural purposes or have cultural meaning and

ture and heritage and traditional values and

knew it was going to be a satire—the thing is

value to them and are misrepresented and…

my [religious practices] and spirituality. So,

that nobody said it was going to be a satire.

were used as props and given to people or

when you tear a person down, and tear a

used on set as an idea that that’s how it

bunch of others…down as a people, it’s not

When we talked to the directors, they said it

works. Many of us didn’t say anything—we

funny. It’s not comedy. You’re ostracizing

was going to be respectful to Native Ameri-

said things to ourselves and among each oth-

one person or a group, and it’s not comedy.

cans, it was going to be funny and tasteful

er, but we just kind of went with it. When it

It’s not even satire. Satire is supposed to

comedy. For me, I’m all about comedy, and

[came] to the costumes, we figured “It’s a

bring out the prejudice in things. This just

Native people are all about laughing and

Western. It’s part of the Hollywood stuff

brought out [the opposite].

having a good time. But when it came down

and not put women down.

to all the things I was talking about, tearing

that’s been going on forever so I guess it’s okay.” We just kind of felt, “We’ll just roll

When I read the leaked page, I was blown

down a whole group of people, [then] we’re

with it.” But at the same time, it just didn’t

away by how awful it was. I thought I’d

not in the joke. If we were told prior that this

feel right and as time went on with the stuff

read some awful stuff, but personally

is what was going to be happening, then def-

on set and the things that were going on in the

speaking, I don’t even know how it’s con-

initely, I would have stepped out. But once I

scenes, with the dialogue.

sidered comedy. I wouldn’t go pay to see

found out what was going on and had an idea

that in a movie theater. It was the worst

of what the dialogue and characters’s names

[W]hen that came into play and the things

thing I’d read in a long time. And to go

were, I knew at that point that I’m not going

that were going on, like a female urinating

back to what you were saying, the jokes

to be proud of this.

and using a peace pipe…there’s a lot of mis-

really aren’t funny because they do play

understanding as to what the offense is and

on stereotypes that play out in crimes

It hurt me. I probably went [through], like,

what’s not, what’s disrespectful and what’s

against Native Americans. Like, the female

four days of stomach-turning and heartbreak-

not with Western society and not seeing that

character named “Smoking Fox,” that

ing feelings. It was just bad. I had to make

we really value our women. We have ceremo-

goes back to the sexual stereotype of Na-

that decision. That’s what I thought the

nies for the coming of age for a female. When

tive American women, which relates back

whole day; if I go, am I going to be work? If

she becomes a woman, there’s a certain cere-

to the fact that, sadly, they are targeted in

I go, am I going to be blackballed? If I go,

mony that’s done for females to say she is

these sexual assault and rape crimes. That

what are people going to say about my ca-

special, she should be honored, she should be

was one of the things I found totally tone

reer from there? I just had to put a lot on the

sacred. Those types of things aren’t seen, and


line and say my dignity is not for sale and have more respect for myself and my people.

when [the scenes and dialogue] are taking place, that’s disrespectful to our mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, people who should


If it is that way [that something happens], so be it, but I feel really good about this deci-

The other thing you said about them ex-

sion I made. I can sleep, I don’t have to feel

pecting you to go with the joke, to roll with

guilty about staying on and having my kids

So [with] the names of the characters…like

it, it seemed like that was the pervasive

and future generations say “Loren didn’t

“Sits-On-Face” and “Beaver Breath” and

tone of what the producer said in the video

stand up,” but I did, and I never thought it’d

“Wears-No-Bra,” these may seem harmless to

and what Netflix said, that the film is sup-

get to this level, honestly. People keep tell-

them [the filmmakers], but they don’t realize

posed to be ridiculous, etc. What do you

ing me to just get over it, but you wouldn’t

that our Native people are struggling with a

think about Netflix’s response and the re-

tell a veteran that [laughs]. People just don’t

lot of healing with historical trauma that has

sponse in general from people working on

see why it’s so hurtful and what’s going

gone throughout the years…that makes self-

the movie to how you guys responded to

on…It hit the world so hard that the whole

esteem among our youth and our people very

the offensive material?

world is listening now.

You know, it goes back to that word “satire.”

I just wish there was more awareness like

They’re hiding behind the word “comedy.”

this for a lot of issues in Indian country, be-

They’re hiding behind the words “It’s just a

cause there’s so many things. There are peo-

joke” or “It’s just names.” It’s not okay to

ple living in poverty…missing women, the

tear somebody down and then say, “It’s just a

sexual assault of our Native women, the high

joke,” especially when you’re disrespecting

rates of suicide. These are caused from low

not only Native people, but you’re looking at

self-esteem and our people not having an

be taken care of and protected.

low, to where we have the highest suicide rates in the country. Our women are more likely to get involved in some kind of sexual assault and rape and murdered. These things are real to us and people don’t understand. They’re missing the point. They’re just focused on those…character names, saying, “They’re not getting the joke or we’re

identity anymore and people having an as-

more work and try to be a part of that[.]

sumption that this is how Natives are.

not sure if there will ever be an apology because [to] people in that ring of the industry or

[The producers talked] to our women elders

even politicians, the word “I’m sorry” doesn’t

I’ve experienced that first-hand; I travel

and said [that] there’s stuff about the dia-

seem to be in their vocabulary. Or “I’m

around the country and people ask me what

logue about the women…it’s just all fun, it’s

wrong.” It’s more about “We’re losing mon-

nationality I am and I tell them I’m Native

in the movie, it’s pretend, it’s okay, it’s just a

ey, we need to make money.” We’re all

American. They sometimes question me and

joke. So I personalized it for [the female pro-

taught…to respect people’s beliefs and I think

say, “Really?” because they have this assump-

ducer] and said, “If your granddaughter

they forgot about that.

tion that Native American’s don’t exist any-

came home crying to you saying some kids

more or that we still live in tipis or walk

at school called [her] ‘Sits-On-Face’ or

What do you hope people can learn from all

around shirtless with our hair down and that

‘Beaver Breath’ or ‘Wears-No-Bra,’ how are


we can turn into werewolves [laughs]. So the

you going to handle that? Would it be funny

stereotypes continue. In the film, they had a

to you?” She said, “No, I wouldn’t think it’s

I think…that we need to know that we’re all

character who was portrayed as a Native

funny.” And I said, “Why would you think

human beings and that we should respect each

American woman, who was on the ground,

it’s funny now and why it would be okay?”

other as human beings and see each other as

passed out, and they through alcohol on her to

She didn’t have any answer. It’s when you

people and not as commodities [or] money.

wake her up so she could start dancing

personalize it , and that’s why it hurts.

We need to come together as people and unite,

again [sic]. What kind of messages does that

You’re tearing away at a person and their

not only just Natives, but everybody. We need

send to people? Not only for our Native peo-

beliefs and who they are.

to search for healing and do things positively [and] if we could change that mindset of the

ple, but for everybody? That’s not comedy. Along with Netflix saying what they said,

negativity. That’s the purpose of speaking

With that joke, to me, it shows that they

several outlets have tried contacting Ad-

out…hopefully there can be some change be-

knew what they were doing when they

am Sandler’s camp [Happy Gilmore], but

cause if there’s not, then this whole thing can

wrote it. Why would you make that a

they haven’t gotten a response. What do

continue. It’s just going to keep on going.


you think about the fact that on one side,

Exactly. —and then say “It’s just a joke! We’re

there’s Netflix’s response, and on the oth-

No one’s ever said “No” in the movie industry

er, there’s no response from the Happy

about this and I think that’s why it impacted

Gilmore camp?

the media world so much. Our issues have been long forgotten, to me it seems that way,

making fun!” No! You already know that’s

There’s the whole media game and there’s

but now they’re rising and…people are com-

a stereotype.

the political game and the business game. So

ing together and speaking out again, saying

they’re looking out for their best interests. A

that this is wrong. We need to come together

lot of time when issues come up, especially

and start doing things positively and negative-

with Native American [issues], there are sto-

ly. Those riots in Baltimore—it’s a sad situa-

ries that need more attention, like the 57 kids

tion. People are not getting the idea again…

who got alcohol poured on them because of a

you see it in that situation, too. There are so

racial thing that was going on. That deserves

many people [who are] just oppressed and

attention too, but it doesn’t and that hap-

looking for healing, and just a simple “I’m sor-

pened at the same time. The same week. But

ry” could just do wonders for people. There

there was nothing but a little article and

are generations of people hurting.

Exactly. When we talked to the producers and director about it, even in the video, they’re like, “If you’re so sensitive, why don’t you just leave?” But not only that, they weren’t willing to change anything. They were able to say “We didn’t mean it to be disrespectful,” but now they know…but yet they’re going to do it anyway. For us to go through that, it was very heartbreaking. It was like going back in time, then and there, with the costumes on, and we’re talking to a different ethnicity, and they’re trying to show their dominance and oppress us and tell us how we should live and how the rules are going to be. It was just ironic that we’re still living this way in 2015.

that’s it. I do want to say that y’all speaking out—I When the [Ridiculous Six] story broke

had read that you started getting death

through Indian Country Today, it was more

threats and awful things like that—

like, we need to take care of this story, we need to get it out, so that’s how it came [out], but this time around, [the filmmakers] weren’t expecting a script to come out. They weren’t expecting a video to come out.

When I tried to personalize it with one of the

So they’re [taking] time to think and figure

producers, who is an older female, I just as-

out what to do. I think that’s why they’re not

sumed that maybe she had a grandkid and

responding. But I hope to hear from them

used it as an example. She was talking to our

and that there can be some sort of resolution

elders there that were on set. For them,

because there are ways to be funny. There

they’ve never seen an Adam Sandler film.

are ways to be funny without tearing people

They were just there because they needed


work, just like everybody else because on the reservation, there aren’t any jobs at all. For them to be there, they’re excited because there’s big names there and…they see that glitz and glamour and maybe hope to get

Like I was saying, Native people love to laugh. We love to joke around. There are ways to be super funny, using satire, without disrespecting people. It can be done, but I’m

Yeah —For me, y’all walking off set is a form of being an activist, so congratulations to all of y’all for doing that and I’m glad that you did that because, like you said, you have to stand up for your beliefs and people and culture. It’s like the saying “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I’m proud. I appreciate it, thank you. It does mean a lot because there is a lot of negativity out there and it gets to you now and then. But you gotta think about the bigger picture. You think about the bigger purpose. Things just fall into place, somehow. We’re given opportunities and we

have to choice to take or not take them. With this, I feel it’s a blessing. I didn’t ask for it, it just happened. It was me…and the rest of us speaking from our minds and our hearts. It’s not about the money; we’re denying all money. We’re picking and choosing with these interviews…we want to keep this positive and that a story of positivity goes out there, just to be a caretaker, just like how a lot of us Natives are caretakers of our land, our people, our elders and our women. So right now, it’s just protecting what’s going on right now and making sure awareness goes out and using this time that the world is listening now to see if we can do some change and some good.

These things are real to us and people don’t understand. They’re missing the point. They’re just focused on those…character names, saying, “They’re not getting the joke or we’re not in the joke,” and that’s true. We’re weren’t in the joke. —Loren Anthony


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