After the 83rd Academy Awards, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel quipped that the only African-American nominee at the Oscars was Black Swan. "Happy Black History Month," he added sardonically. Kimmel's far from the only one bemoaning the dearth of black Oscar nominees this year. Clearly, the producers of this year's Oscars recognized the omission as well and took measures to ensure the telecast at least featured entertainers of color.
Which one is uglier: Halle Berry's custody battle or the public's reaction to it? The more comments I read on the web about Berry's fight for custody of daughter, Nahla, the more I'm convinced of the latter.
Make no mistake. I'm not saying that the battle between Berry and her ex Gabriel Aubry over Nahla isn't a nasty one. After all, Berry's camp insinuated that Aubry was an unfit father. The French Canadian model has also been accused of hurling the N-word at Berry. These racial allegations have resulted in all sorts of mudslinging—with commenters on mainstream (or non-black owned websites) calling Berry vicious names, and commenters on black sites using the allegation that Aubry hurled slurs at Berry to justify why interracial relationships should be avoided.
Whenever I opted to play "superheroes" with neighborhood kids, I was often assigned Catwoman, since other gals had already called dibs on Batgirl, Superwoman, Mary Jane (didn't realize she was a superhero) and Wonder Woman. Backyard rules apparently dictated there could only be one of each female superhero, but had no prescriptive on the number of Batmans, Supermans and Spidermans battling the faux forces of evil in one backyard at any given time. Initially, I would rebuff the assignment, opting instead to battle the forces of evil as Chaka Khan. While being a superhero in my own personal world, Chaka Khan was not recognized as such by the Neighborhood Children's Superhero Committee - a governing body with chapters all over the universe - and therefore was prohibited. Despite its rather sexist and draconian guidelines in the case of female superheroes, the Neighborhood Children's Superhero Committee was rather flexible with male superheroes. Anyone - and I mean anyone - could be Batman, Superman or Spiderman. Though the first one calling dibs on Superman was the leader and free to restrict the number of Superman also-rans under his/her command. As Catwoman I was tasked with reconnaissance and retrieval; as children we were well acquainted with the naughtiness of theft, but not acquainted with the concept of moral ambiguity. My job was to find object and information - by any means necessary, even a tap dance (the "sexiest" interrogation tactic we knew) - and report back to the primary Superman, who often ate cookies and stabbed holes in his spent Capri Sun drink.