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The Curator: Risk, Meritocracy and Casual Racism: An Honest Discussion on Race in Silicon Valley

So, I skipped last week in my curation line up and I heard about it. And I got the message. So, I’ll just profile a few interesting articles that came across my eyeline today. Beginning with this one. From Tristan Walker (founder of Bevel and formerly of Foursquare and Andreessen Horowitz) to Erin Teague (Director of Product at Yahoo!) this was a pretty dope article about cultural differences, breaking down how culture of risk averse clashes with the “fail fast” mantra of Silicon Valley and a lot more in between.

black ppl in SV

“Just Being Who We Are Is Extremely Risky”: An Honest Discussion on Race in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley doesn’t do enough to talk about race and racial diversity. But this Fast Company article gathered a group of  extraordinary Black people that are working in tech today to talk about just that. From challenges facing Black founders, engineers, designers and others in the tech space, it was an especially frank conversation in an industry not known for having hard conversations about race.  Kenyi Maqubela (a venture partner at Collaborative Fund) brought up an interesting thing that we need to talk about in the tech sector: The “culture” fit. As he puts it, “The meritocratic glow of Silicon Valley is so frustrating. It creates a pass for people who use things like the “culture” filter. What’s the culture filter? An easy excuse to be prejudiced. It’s culture bias, like [not hiring someone] because they didn’t like Animal Collective as much as you do? Seriously.” Because what does that mean, a “culture fit” when in the beginning, you’re still trying to create that?

And then there’s the conversation about “failing fast”. Failing fast works when you don’t have people that depend on you to make it and when you can raise a small round with friends and families. The “meritocratic glow” is not true for those that can’t afford to fail at all. If this system is a meritocracy, how do help people afford the room to fail as they go through the development process or iteration process?

Perhaps more than a curation piece, this deserves its own article.

This is an excellent article worth reading and sharing, especially for those in tech.

Blue Ivy Hate — Stop It.

Were you kind of disgusted when Fat Jew (his self-described name) posted on his Instagram about why Blue Ivy looked like a hardened criminal lesbian, instead of a “caramel colored” princess? Look here. That’s a think piece for another day, but this was a thought or two by an up and coming young writer that should all be on radar. Stay woke y’all.

Rebel With a Cause

Ignorance in a Screenshot

Imagine you are a child, about 3-years-old, living a fulfilling lifestyle with two parents who love and adore you. You are as equally unaffected by how you look as you are unaware, totally unconcerned, at 3-years-old, with what that means. Imagine that one day, you discover that since you were born, people you don’t even and won’t ever know have been criticizing you, your hair, your skin tone, your facial features, calling you ugly, saying you look like a crackhead, comparing you to other toddlers, insulting and attacking you without ever knowing who you actually are, projecting their social and cultural insecurities onto you, since you were born. How would that make you feel?

So why the fuck are we doing this to Blue Ivy?

Simply put, amongst many other things, our society is particularly misogynoiristic, meaning that because of our deeply rooted hatred for black women,due mostly to slavery, colorism, and…

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They All Count

So.

It’s been a while, but it’s been because I’ve been shooting. The web-series that is. To prove it, there are two pictures below from set. (In case you were wondering, it was 93 degrees.)

me on the left, directing an actor.

me on the left, directing an actor

Maroon family living room and Jorge, Consuela's estranged husband, outside and none to pleased at not being allowed inside...

Maroon family living room and Jorge, Consuela’s estranged husband, outside and none to pleased at not being allowed inside…

 

And I promised, somewhere on this blog when I began, that I would share the journey of getting this created. And that means the hits and the misses. We had a miss – a pretty big one in fact. In fact, I’m changing the direction of this whole thing and a making a number of creative changes. It wasn’t what it could’ve been. I made mistakes. We made mistakes. But, ultimately, as the creator and producer of Maroon Colony, it’s my job to make sure that what we created is something that is the best that we can do. And it wasn’t.

Sharing failure is something that we don’t do enough, not in our generation, not publicly and especially not in the film and television industry. This shit is hard y’all. It’s hard. You’re not going to get it right all the time. You’re probably not even going to get it right the first time. It’s important to share that and break that down; I know too many people in this industry who feel that they’ve failed at life because they didn’t get into the writing program that was supposed to jump start their career, because the web-series that they’ve created was dragged across Twitter and the YouTube comment sections, etc etc. And not even just film. I have had way too many conversations with friends in whispers (no, really) over the phone or even in person about failure. And that’s not to say those sentiments aren’t real. I mean, I was on the floor last week. The floods at UCLA could’ve been me sobbing in the basement of the film school. No lie y’all.

for real though.

for real though.

I wrote a letter to my cast and crew owning the failure of our shoot. A friend of mine who works in tech said, “That’s a very Silicon Valley thing for you to do.” I suppose so. But, I felt that I owed all of the really brilliant and hardworking people in my crew who ride for me and this project – and me for them – the honesty and the courage to own that fail. I owed it to them to acknowledge their work and that though we worked extremely hard, we can do better. Whatever the reasons. When it’s your production, you gotta own it. You gotta embrace that “L” the same way you would a Win. They all count.

So, Web-Series Wednesday should be fun. I’ll be thinking of something meaningful to add about this part of mine and the Maroon Colony’s journey. I’ll add what I’ve learned and where we’re going. And there are a lot of people out there that are creating, not just a web series, but what they hope to be their life’s work. And it’s important to know that failing or not living up to your expectations/standards/tastes is okay – so long as it inspires you to get back up and try again and again until you knock it out of the damn park.

Because as Winston Churchill said, “Never, ever ever ever ever give up.”

yaaaaaasssss.

yaaaaaasssss.

This Is The Real Reason Why You’re Mad Your Ex Is Dating Someone New

Because we’ve all been there.

Thought Catalog

hansvandenberg30hansvandenberg30


You’re laying in bed at night and decide to check up on an old fling. Because honestly, what could be more satisfying than to see your ex is still single like yourself? But instead, when you reach their About Me, you’re greeted with the unnerving title, “in a relationship.”

At first you laugh it off, and say, “well, there’s no way this new person is better than me.” So in order to validate that thought, you start scrolling through pictures of them with their new squeeze. Picture after picture. Smile after smile. You even see pictures that the new squeeze has tagged your ex in. You can’t even convince yourself that they’re miserable, when clearly their love is resonating off of these pictures like some sort stinging mist.“Well, okay, fine. They’re happy. Whatever.”

It almost feels like you’re admitting defeat when you say that. That gut wrenching feeling you…

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Best Solange/Jay-Z Commentary from Black Twitter

In case you missed it, Solange made more than an attempt to kick Jay Z’s ass in an elevator after the Met Gala. One might even say she was, “coming for scalps.”

Needless to say, given the fact that the Beyhive headquarters in the ebony towers of Twitter, Black Twitter had Christmas morning and reparations all in one day. And that’s where the real elevator action began. Here’s some of the best commentary seen since this all rolled out:

Image

robust resumé though.

Screenshot 2014-05-12 12.33.40

3 sides to every story: he said, she said and the security audio.

shejuststoodthere

Partition, please.

FIGHT!

tears.

Song Cry.

Song Cry.

Solange_nothere

Fuckwrongwithyou

Pretty Hurts.”

Screenshot 2014-05-12 12.33.32

well then.

Screenshot 2014-05-12 12.33.10

everybody got deal with the bullshit of in-laws. Errrrrrrybody.

Supervised visitations.

supervised visitations.

Black Twitter diplomacy and philosophy

Black Twitter philosophy and diplomacy

soO2u0GEgLwY9Xf-0swgfTMC522YddqBSrbFOZ7gr8g

#byeFelecia

i see you bruh

shook ones

security dude reaction

And because you can’t forget Kanye at a time like this….Screenshot 2014-05-12 12.34.55

UPDATED:

fatality.

fatality.

Beyonce already told y'all she drinks "watermelon"

“I be drankin…watermelon”.

no chill. Whatsoever.

no chill. whatsoever.

Old man Jay

"no thanks, I'll fast instead."

“no thanks, I’ll fast instead.”

#staywoke

#staywoke

Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege

Because of course, America is “post-racial”.

TIME

There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. “Check your privilege,” they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.

I do not accuse those who “check” me and my perspective of overt racism…

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics

TIME

Moral outrage is exhausting. And dangerous. The whole country has gotten a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome from the newest popular sport of Extreme Finger Wagging. Not to mention the neck strain from Olympic tryouts for Morally Superior Head Shaking. All over the latest in a long line of rich white celebrities to come out of the racist closet. (Was it only a couple days ago that Cliven Bundy said blacks would be better off picking cotton as slaves? And only last June Paula Deen admitted using the “N” word?)

Yes, I’m angry, too, but not just about the sins of Donald Sterling. I’ve got a list. But let’s start with Sterling. I used to work for him, back in 2000 when I coached for the Clippers for three months. He was congenial, even inviting me to his daughter’s wedding. Nothing happened or was said to indicate he suffered…

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To the Woman Behind Me in Line at the Grocery Store

If this doesn’t make you feel some kind of way, you don’t have a heart. Such a great story of compassion, paying it forward and being kind. Thank you for sharing this story and paying it forward.

True Stories of a Midwest Yankee

Dear woman behind me in line at the grocery store,

You don’t know me. You have no clue what my life has been like since October 1, 2013. You have no clue that my family has gone through the wringer. You have no clue that we have faced unbelievable hardship. You have no clue we have been humiliated, humbled, destitute.
You have no clue I have cried more days than not; that I fight against bitterness taking control of my heart. You have no clue that my husband’s pride was shattered. You have no clue my kids have had the worries of an adult on their shoulders. You have no clue their innocence was snatched from them for no good reason. You know none of this.

What you do know is I tried to buy my kids some food and that the EBT machine was down so I couldn’t buy…

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Eo Ire Itum

That is one year of Latin for, “Works in Progress, Stealth Mode, etc etc.” 

Over here, we’re really working hard in sunny Los Angeles on the shooting schedule of the web series which will commence next month in mid-April. Of course we’re going to share our process! We thought about kind of hiding under the covers until it was ready, you know, hiding the messy work, but then we realized – it’s never ready. And from the emails that I’ve gotten, that’s kind of the point. That’s what you guys want to see. And given who the characters are, they’re chronically un-done. So yes, it makes sense to share the journey, the follies, the mistakes and all that.

So, we’re going to share that stuff, the process of creating The Maroon Colony, in addition to the blog articles. If you would like to contribute, please shoot us an email. We can be found at themarooncolony [at] gmail dot com.

Gracias and Grazie!