The LA Unified School District is in trouble and three teachers have been suspended over a controversial Black History Month celebration which encouraged students to honor OJ Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul. The general assumption is that the choice to honor these three rascals was a “stunt” pulled by insensitive teachers who thought the whole thing was very funny.
But um, what’s so funny about RuPaul? And why are we comparing RuPaul to a man who stood trial for the murder of his ex-wife and a hard-partying basketball player who we just saw last night on Celebrity Rehab? RuPaul has released multiple albums, been in a ton of movies and TV shows and now hosts a show on Logo and she has done all of this without ever compromising who she is. She’s never gotten embroiled in any kind of controversy and she’s a successful businessperson and entrepreneur who’s built quite a brand around herself.
“I am shocked and outraged by the actions of these teachers at Wadsworth Elementary School. These teachers undermined the school’s well-intentioned celebration, and they did so at the expense of elementary school students. Their actions were not only cynical, but did a terrible disservice to the students, their families and all of the teachers who work hard on a daily basis to build trust and a productive learning environment.”
Leon Jenkins, the president of the LA branch of the NAACP:
“I just can’t fathom what these teachers were thinking of except to make a mockery of African American history.”
Calpernia Adams objects to RuPaul’s inclusion in this troubled threesome and has a great piece on it in Psychology Today which you should all read:
‘LGBT or pre-LGBT kids need role models, people to whom they can look when they need to understand that success and strength can come to even a little boy who feels like “a little black girl in the Brewster Projects”.
Including people like RuPaul and other minority LGBT success stories in celebrations like Black History Month could provide that crucial element. Instead, children in LA are seeing RuPaul’s image tossed into the bin alongside OJ Simpson with great wringing-of-hands by parents and authority figures. What a terrible, insulting shame. So how dare you, LA Unified School District, Mayor Villaraigosa and everyone else who can include RuPaul alongside the other two without even understanding the difference! GLBT community, I hope you speak out about this.
Et tu, New York Times? Indeed!:
The suspended teachers chose O. J. Simpson, the imprisoned former athlete; Dennis Rodman, the retired basketball player and controversy magnet; and the transvestite entertainer RuPaul, district officials said. Many other teachers chose conventional role models like President Obama.
“Transvestite Entertainer” = “Imprisoned Former Athlete” = “Retired Basketball Player and Controversy Magnet.”
But even if that’s not good enough for a school Black History Month celebration (athletes & entertainers are sometimes excluded from these things, if I recall elementary school correctly), that doesn’t explain why 250 newspapers didn’t blink when throwing RuPaul into the Dark Pit of Offensive along with OJ Simpson and Dennis Rodman. [Sidenote: at least Black Gay Gossip honored RuPaul for Black History Month!] What do you think?
HAIRICAINE SHILOH: The stylist quoted in Life & Style‘s cover story was mis-fucking-quoted, and he’s pissed (rightfully so). We pasted some of it in today’s Society & Culture fix, or you can read the whole thing at Jezebel. (@jezebel)
AMERICA’S BEST DANCE CREW:
The Lady Gaga Challenge! (@ontd)
On the recent suicide of Marie Osmond’s son, Roseanne has spoken: “Yet the Osmonds still talk lovingly about their church [MORMON], saying nothing about its extremely anti-gay Crusade. Marie also has a gay daughter! Hey, I want her and all the gay kids in the world to know that they are just fine being gay and that they deserve love and respect instead of insults and rebuke! I have gay people in my family and my circle of friends and I am kicking bigot ass and taking names!” (@ontd)
I think Lindsay’s Dad sold some footage of Lindsay’s 16th birthday party to Radar Online or something. Highlights: Lindsay seeming totally disinterested in her date Aaron Carter. Other thoughts: why is Michael Lohan still talking about how sad it is that Lindsay is so fucked up when he is the one who has fucked her up. Also she’s better now right? (@radaronline)
DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION:
The 35 Best Dance Sequences in Films will keep you busy all night long, promise. Hey speaking of Flashdance did you read Autostraddle’s interview with Jennifer Beals?? (@flavorwire)
Johnny Weir Talks to Movieline:
Regarding Be Good Johnny Weir, you’ve talked about how you want your audience to see how lonely the life of an athlete is. But did making the show — and having cameras around you all day long — make the experience any less lonely?
No, because when you’re in front of a camera, no matter how comfortable you are, you’re always working and you’re always “on.” It’s work. It’s not like I’m relaxing in front of the camera really. The life of an athlete does have to be lonely and you have to be focused on your craft and what you do. Loneliness is just a sacrifice you make as an Olympic-level athlete.
Runaways new trailer starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning