You should’ve asked

Published May 25, 2017 by descantdeb

An empathic breakdown without talking down….


Here is the english version of my now famous “Fallait demander” !

Thanks Una from for the translation 🙂

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Violence of the oppressed

Published May 25, 2017 by descantdeb

Emma includes the problem of passive aggression, aka Devil’s Advocate, in my book. It can be hard to recognise, which is when it does the most psychological damage to the person targeted – lashing out, suffering low self esteem, anxiety in social/work gatherings…. without really understanding why.


Thanks Ewcia for the translation !


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The Case For Black Women On Screen in Science Fiction and Fantasy Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4: October-November 2015 #TBB Feature

Published November 8, 2015 by descantdeb

tbb_black_women_in_sci_fi_part_1 Part 1 The Shockingly Current Truth Last year, The British Blacklist’s 2014 ‘Optical Illusions of Black Characters on Film’ series [] examined the depiction of black movie characters and found that, at least in mainstream Western cinema, the character in the black character was often inadequate… under-developed, if you will.

Even in movies based on real people or historical figures, measures of mainstream popularity and excellence – the Academy Awards, for example – seemed to recognise black actors in stereotypical roles more often than in non-stereotypical roles, inferring that, in the eyes of mainstream consumers, there was an ‘acceptability’ or a ‘ring of truth’ to black stereotypes. READ MORE…

tbb_black_women_in_sci_fi_part_2_2Part 2: Black Women in SFF Film Back in 2014, award-winning Nosa Igbinedion released a casting call for the 4 main characters in his short sci fi film project, ‘Oya: Rise of the Orishas’,  required – Tanit, a cold assassin; Rebecca, rebellious young girl; The Leader, a manipulative cult leader; Mot, a muscle-bound destroyer. It is a superhero movie based on West African mythology and used the description Black/mixed race as acceptable for each [Read TBB’s interview with Nosa here]. The final cast, in the February 2015 release reflected much of the unique beauty of West African genetics in Ethosheia Hylton as Oya, Prince Shoyelu, Jayde Stedford, Quincy Okpokpor, Luiana Bonfim and Orwi Imanuel Ameh. In our opinion, this is an empowering start!

Generally, it is clear that African-American actresses do better than black British actresses in SFF film. Of our 40 actresses in largely kick-ass SFF characters featured here, 28 are African-American, 11 are black British and 1 is Jamaican. Since the 30th anniversary of the Bechdel-Wallace Test (BWT) [2] partially inspired this article, it is interesting that most of these movies fail in that regard. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, because a good story doesn’t necessarily need more than one woman in it. Plus, there is so much more up for discussion in SFF than arguing over a man… though we will concede that Princess Ardala did some pretty extreme things to lure Buck Rogers from Col. Wilma Deering, but it was the 70s… Female SFF characters generally do better in terms of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Sexy Lamp Test – SLT (2012) i.e. if the female character was replaced by a sexy lamp would the story still work? We really like this test, as it adds weight to her as a non-stereotypical protagonist – something that talented black actresses are crying out for! READ MORE…

tbb_black_women_in_sci_fi_part_3_4Part 3: Black Women in SFF Television British actresses do slightly better in SFF TV, though, in terms of episode appearances, the Queens are still American. This is usually due to landing multiple single roles, multiple recurring roles or becoming a series regular in a long-running series. There is a huge difference depending on which side of the Atlantic you land on – one season can mean 12-22 episodes in the USA (usually the latter) vs 6-13 in Britain (usually the former). Again, interestingly, these roles do seem to pass the Sexy Lamp Test more often than not. SFF genre TV has had surges and resurges and is currently enjoying an exponential rate of production. Thanks to the casting of Nichelle Nichols as Uhura1 in 1966, black women in SFF television have a slightly longer history than in film at 51 years.

Excluding animated productions, we found 29 black British, 2 black World (Jamaican and Ethiopian-Irish) and 25 African-American actresses – a total of 56 women of colour in notable SFF TV roles. We also felt the need to highlight the contribution of one particular British sci fi TV series for, at least in its modern incarnation, taking unprecedented strides in regularly featuring black British female talent… for a while. READ MORE…

black_women_in_sci_fi_part_4In all, we found 58 actresses with noteworthy roles and we discussed 36 of those with multiple character credits. Here, we continue with the remaining 22, plus a couple more we discovered along the way, and we share some thoughts. So, now TBB presents the concluding…

Part 4: Black Women in SFF Television – Single Character Credits. The Tomorrow People – 1973-79, 1992-95, 2013-14 – Elizabeth Adare, UK, as Elizabeth M’Bondo, was arguably the second black female character on UK SF TV after Carmen Munroe’s Fariah, but before Josette Simon’s Dayna Mellanby in Blake’s 7 (1980-81). Adare appeared in 50/68 episodes of the original series between 1974-79, from the second season. She was one of a group of young adults who ‘break out’ when they develop paranormal abilities, watched over by an alien organisation. She was a student teacher renowned for her compassion and strength of character who went on to become more involved in the affairs of the Galactic Trig, overseeing the well-being of all telepathic species. She was followed by Naomie Harris, UK, as Ami Jackson in 16/26 episodes of the first revival of the series between 1993-95 from the second season. She experienced visions and her mother repeatedly tried to stop her association with the others. It was considered ‘more cosmopolitan,’ since it featured American and Australian actors… The most recent reboot (2013-14) departed from the formula in that it did not feature any black female Tomorrow People. It did feature Madeleine Mantock, UK, as Normal, Astrid Finch, who nursed an unrequited love for main protagonist Stephen whilst also being his best friend in 22/28 episodes (2014). He had only sisterly feelings toward her and she ended up growing close to the first ‘break-out’ John…. when he loses his abilities. READ MORE…


Optical Illusions of Black Characters on Film Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4: August 2014 TBB Feature

Published November 8, 2015 by descantdeb

James-Baskette_uncle_remus_song_of_the_south_sdmn Part 1 Mainstream Characterisations of the AfriCarib In general, the depiction of AfriCarib people in the movies is a little more complicated, or maybe simpler, than you might think and we should think, because, especially for Diaspora peoples, the process of assimilation for progressive generations naturally means the gradual adoption of mainstream attitudes [See Part 3 TBB’s Caste As Black Series]. An unfortunate and insidious side effect can be the unconscious acceptance of detrimental stereotypes which can start as self-deprecation but lead to low self-worth and self-hate. The same can be said of many groups who find themselves in the minority, such as sufferers of mental illness.

The irrepressible and, some say, perpetually bad-tempered, Spike Lee threw a new ember on the diversity fire in 2001, whilst leading a discussion on film with Yale and Washington State University students. He described the ‘Super-Duper Magical Negro’ (SDMN or the PC Magical African-American Friend, MAAF??)- a saintly, respected, or heroic black character, possessed of special insight or powers used solely to mentor or help the (usually) white protagonist (who may have a period of ‘going native’) to get out of trouble. [1]. ‘Popularisation’ of the term has been attributed to Lee’s statement, but what he actually did was bring the world’s attention to an idea which has been developing in literature since the 1600s and which remains a startling standard in (especially) the American-influenced film and literary worlds. READ MORE…

whoopi_goldberg_ghost_sdmn Part 2: Since the 1980s, as all ethnic groups in western societies have gained access to higher education, occupying wider ranges of jobs, pursuing broader ranges of careers and living in more locations within and outside of major cities, the absolute number of working black actors and film making professionals have also increased.

Life has, therefore, produced characters and film makers which, in comparison to the previous stereotyped examples, must be considered as non-stereotyped. Some have even been accepted as examples of film making excellence…

Non-Stereotyped Fictional Roles

These have generated no (Academy / Oscar) wins from 7 roles. The gender spread is 5 male to 2 female roles: READ MORE…

naomie_harris_tia_dalma_pirates_of_caribbean Part 3: Fantasy Both science fiction and fantasy genres are considered to be excellent vehicles to air and discuss contemporaneous social issues of inequality like race, gender, sexuality, religion, physical ability, psychological state. The use of an alternate setting of time, species or place (including planet or galaxy) is thought to make candid examination of the human condition more palatable to the society at large: vampires have been used as a metaphor for sexuality (especially repressed females and same sex), balances of power (class, racial, financial), the decay of morality (addiction, disease) and, currently, society’s obsession with eternal youth (Science Fiction, Science Feminine [1]).

A logical expectation, then, would be that as the 20th century progressed, the freedom afforded genre film makers would naturally generate more diverse roles for black actors. The very nature of ‘fantasy’ as a hope, dream, fancy or desire, should have suggested so-called ‘colour-blind casting’ as a given or, better yet, to dare the Diaspora to dream of a celluloid black superhero. The science fiction genre has significantly expanded since the wonder of Star Wars in 1979.  George Lucas’ Space Opus showed on a grand scale that traditional stories could be just as effectively set in space, in the future, with tech and robots, alien landscapes and exotic beings of all kinds. More importantly, Lucas founded Industrial Light and Magic in 1975, the visual effects company from which advanced special effects and eventually computer-generated imagery and motion-capture owe their origins. READ MORE…

negro_comics Part 4: Science Fiction With all of the possibilities of science fiction, it should not have been too far beyond the realms of reason to hope for a black superhero. Pre-2000, the science fiction movie genre gave us Abar, the First Black Superman in 1977. Tobar Mayo played Abar, made mentally and physically superhuman after drinking a serum made by black scientist Dr. Kincaid  – so bad it’s good? Maybe.

Then, we were introduced to the awesomeness which could not be denied – Billy Dee Williams, who almost upstaged Han Solo in giving us charming hustler Lando Calrissian, a trickster archetype, in The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Having proved his loyalty he got to pilot the Millennium Falcon as an Ally in The Return of the Jedi (1983). Williams then followed with Gotham City DA Harvey Dent in Batman (1989), before Dent became Two-Face (The Dark Knight, 2008, when he also became white – Aaron Eckhart). READ MORE…

Cannes Oui? Parts 1 & 2: June 2014 #TBB Feature

Published November 8, 2015 by descantdeb


Part One: Sub-Saharan African Cinema at Cannes. Cannes-Present, 2014.

This year, the 67th Cannes Film Festival caught our eye when the main Competition Jury was announced. The Palme d’Or’s only female winner (The Piano 1993), Jane Campion was announced as president and her fellow 8 jurors were a triumph of gender equality (not since 2009 – lauded); representative of many aspects of cinema creativity (appropriate);and, as arguably the most influential international film festival, a shining example of world cinema…

… Oh. Wait. READ MORE…

Part Two: African Diaspora Cinema at Cannes. African-America at Cannes.

Two black actors have been awarded Cannes Best Actor, which run parallel to, but separate from the Cesars. The first was African-American actor John Kitzmiller in 1957, as Sgt Jim Miller in the Yugoslavian war film, Dolina Miru (1956, The Valley of Peace). He made Italy his home after serving there in WWII. He subsequently appeared in more than 50 European films, often as a man angrily fighting racism, until his death in 1965. In America, he was best known for his single performance as Quarrel, the local who sails James Bond and Honey Ryder to the Dragon’s Island in Dr. No (1962). READ MORE…

International Nurse’s Day: May 2014 #TBB Feature

Published November 8, 2015 by descantdeb

Nurses-Day-logo“Each year, nursing organisations and governments around the globe celebrate International Nurse’s Day as a means for the public to thank nurses everywhere. It is held on May 12th, the day of Florence Nightingale’s birth in 1820, as celebrated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) since 1965. It has been themed since 1988, this year’s being Nurses: A Force for Change – A vital resource for health. The IND Kit 2014, containing educational materials and public information, can be downloaded from the website.

In the UK, usually on the Wednesday before May 12th, a Service of Thanksgiving is held in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the life and work of Florence Nightingale and to celebrate the works of qualified and unqualified nursing and midwifery staff. Beginning at the Abbey’s Nurse’s Chapel, a lamp, signifying the collective knowledge, is symbolically passed from one nurse, to another, to the Dean, who places it on the High Altar. This year, the service will be conducted on May 7th. The Royal College of Nurses has organised events around the country between 8th-23rd May; the UK’s Cavell Nurse’s Trust will hold a 2-day event between 12th-14th May; and in the USA, during Nurse’s Week (May 6th-12th), National Nurse’s Day and Student Nurse’s Day celebrations are also held.” READ MORE

Caste As Black: April 2014 #TBB Feature

Published November 8, 2015 by descantdeb


Part One: Awarded a Lesson in Perception: As a proud black actor, you should strive to be an informed professional. Possession of a little situational awareness can enable you to own your social and professional circumstances, to make conscious, conscientious decisions about your own destiny, and travel that road with serenity and authority. TBB is here to help.

A Lens to Perceive Through.

The 2013-14 Movie Awards Season is just about over. Through it, I came to realise that the results could be used as an interesting lens to focus on the fortunes of our awards hopefuls. READ MORE…

Part Two: Perception and the means to adjust the lensCan Black be perceived as British? The answer is, of course, YES. I mean, in the world of international film, TV and theatre, YES.

Just as the UK repeatedly honours ‘exotic‘ or American black actors (see Miss Nyong’o/Mr Abdi’s awards records), UK black actors are honoured abroad. And you are getting really good at it – even the serious press are having their say. Back in January, Hugh Muir, of The Guardian, penned, Why do black actors like Idris Elba have to go to the US for success? In March, The Japan Times ran, Black actors leaving for Hollywood worries British government. READ MORE…

Part Three: Lens Change and Cultural Assimilation. Automatic Lens Change: Markers of Cultural Assimilation. It might be 2014, but this article should at least cause you to suspect that race can affect an individual’s job prospects. Sociologists have been measuring degrees of cultural assimilation for centuries and have grouped them into 4 major markers – socioeconomic status, geographic distribution, second language attainment and inter-marriage. READ MORE…