Does Netflix Fail Creators of Color?: raceAhead

July 26, 2019, 5:49 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.

Is economic
anxiety getting you
down, “n-word Nancy?” 

Professor Mueller
wonders why no one did the
reading assignment

Would you rather get
cash from Equifax, or have
Facebook broken up?

Ballot boxes breached:
The pravda dies in darkness
Also, the country.

A new King is here!
Lions in formation at
the paws of a Queen

Have an anxiety-free and happy weekend.

On Point

'Tuca & Bertie' RIP: But why, Netflix? The show was the popular adult cartoon voiced by Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish, playing two female birds who live in the same apartment building. As my colleague Isaac Feldberg explains, the show “had drawn acclaim for its colorful animation, unique style of surrealist comedy, and sensitive exploration of trauma and everyday ennui told from a distinctly female, non-white perspective.” What’s not to love? But for reasons unknown, Netflix failed to order a second season, launching a wave of online protest, including a petition. Part of the issue is the algorithm feed that recommends shows for viewers, and which critics charge disfavors quality content from non-white creators. An important read. Fortune

Emmett Till’s memorial vandalized for the 'Gram The three white men posed with smiles and smirks, but also guns, one an AR-15 semi-automatic. It was night. They stood at the very place where Emmett Till’s battered dead body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. Except it’s 2019, and the Till memorial plaque they stand by is riddled with bullet holes, and why is this still happening? The three men are fraternity brothers at the University of Mississippi, now suspended. The photo, posted to a private Instagram account and obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica, has triggered a possible probe by the Justice Department. The photo received 274 likes. Emmett Till would have turned 78 this week. ProPublica

Can Democrats entice black voters without Obama? You can’t have a “multi-racial coalition” of voters without black people, who make up the loyal foundation of the Democratic base. But turnout among black voters dropped seven points in 2016 from its record high in 2012. There were many reasons why, but current candidates need to demonstrate they understand and will fight for their issues, explains Nicholas Riccardi and Errin Haines Whack. “What I hope comes across in this story is that black voters, particularly young black men, are also disaffected, disengaged, and disillusioned. With black unemployment still double that of whites, they are the face of ‘economic anxiety,' too,” Whack tweetedAP News

New Jersey school board member wishes Rashida Tlaib 'would die' Dan Leonard, a member of the Toms River Board of Education member is spending his day deflecting calls from the New Jersey governor for his resignation, after he posted a Fox News article about U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib with the comment, "My life would be complete if she/they die." And that’s not even the worst of what he posted! Leonard is an Army veteran and retired official with a county workforce development board. "We are disheartened by the racist comments made by a school board member in Toms River. His hateful language is counter to the best interests of our students and does not represent our values," said New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver in a statement. NBC News

On Background

The art of escaping your privilege Escape rooms are all the rage, a live-action group experience in puzzle-solving within a dramatic scenario. But what if the scenario was social inequality? This is the fascinating premise behind a new public art project by Risa Puno called “The Privilege of Escape,” which exists in the atrium in a corporate lobby on Fifth Avenue, and is framed as a fake institute designed to study behavioral science. As in real-life inequality, sometimes the game is stacked against the players in invisible ways, an eye-opening experience for anyone who is expecting a level playing field. Puno was the winner of the first open call by Creative Time, an organization that supports interesting and socially provocative public art projects. New York Times

Today’s Essay: Fat girl on top, but with too much flan Natalie Lima is a 2016 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, and an MFA candidate in creative non-fiction at the University of Arizona. And she is very, very creative. In this alternatively funny and bittersweet essay, she shares the anxiety she feels about the changes in her big girl self, brought on by time, gravity, and lifestyle. “Sometimes my body is on the smaller side of large, more Queen Latifah in The Last Holiday, that movie where she’s told she only has three weeks to live so she jets off to Europe, eats caviar, and falls in love with LL Cool J. And sometimes my body is closer to Chrissy Metz in This Is Us,” she explains. But it’s also a history of her relationship with her own body. “When I was growing up, my mom used to tell people that my excess weight was baby fat,” she recalls in a particularly memorable section. She excels at thinking out loud, to describe the "inherent loneliness of living in a large body, of having to navigate the world in a body that is often stigmatized, made invisible, or hyper-visible at any moment. A multilayered loneliness." Longreads

Four writers on being 'on their meds' There are some 44 million people living with some sort of mental illness, and some 19 million are being treated with a combination of medication and therapy. The stigma associated with medication remains profound, and the casual way people talk about psychiatric states—are you crazy?—can further isolate people with mental illness. “I was a 26-year-old undergraduate who could barely manage to eat or shower once a day. I eventually admitted to myself that I was not well,” writes Anthony James Williams of his. “But I did not know anyone black who was on medication for their mental health and asking for any form of assistance made me feel weak.” It also means making it work at work, depending on your needs. “It’s awkward to bust out a pill bottle in the middle of a small office or classroom, but it would be more awkward to have a bipolar episode at work,” writes Diamond Sharp. The Outline

Tamara El-Waylly helps produce raceAhead.


Your destiny is comin' close / Stand up and fight / So go into a far off land / And be one with the great I am”

—Beyonce Knowles, Ilya Salmanzadeh, and Timothy McKenzie, from "Spirit"

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