Jussie Smollett Was Attacked For Being A Gay Person Of Color — Period

Jussie Smollett Was Attacked For Being A Gay Person Of Color — Period

As a gay man of color, Smollett is unfortunately a prime target for hate crimes.

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Jussie Smollett is an actor and musician, best known for his role of Jamal Lyon on Fox's "Empire" and in "Alien: Covenant" as Ricks. He came out as gay in a 2015 interview with Ellen Degeneres and also portrays a homosexual man in the character of Jamal Lyon. However, there's more to Lyon than his sexual orientation, just like there is more to Jussie than his own preference.

Lyon is a dedicated performer with obvious talent, the son of a CEO of a major music label and music tycoon Lucious Lyon. He dressed in his mother's clothes when he was a child and even though his mother defended him, Lucious threw him in a trash can, saying that he did not want a son like that. Cookie Lyon was eventually arrested for dealing drugs and Jamal grew up with 17 years without his mother, regularly dealing with abuse from his father as if he would somehow magically not like men anymore.

Jussie Smollett received a letter with MAGA imagery and a threatening message, portraying a picture of Smollett hanging from a tree with a noose around his neck.

"You will die a black fag," adorned the white paper, letters cut out from magazines. He denied any security and was attacked on January 29th early morning in Chicago by, according to Smollett, two men wearing ski masks and shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett says they inhumanely tied a rope around his neck and doused him in bleach — a modern-day lynching. He walked himself to a nearby hospital and was released later the day in good condition. It sickens me to my stomach that this is the America we are living in today.

News media is calling the attack a "possible" hate crime. It's not a possibility, the assault was full of hate.

Chicago Police Department has said that they have footage of Jussie walking alone, but they do not have video of the attack. Some suspect that Smollett created this ordeal of his own making, that it is a "convenient" time for a liberal agenda with the denial of Trump's wall or even to raise "Empire" ratings. What did he do? Beat himself up? Ask one of his friends to do it? Maybe the assailants dragged him to where there were no cameras or he simply walked out of shot.

People of color and those in the LGBTQ+ community are terrified to experience the same on a daily basis. Can you imagine being deathly afraid of being possibly killed just because of the amount of melanin in your skin or who you love or perhaps you choose to be yourself? If you can't, then sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you have privilege! I am a white cisgender heterosexual woman and fully aware of my privilege, but consider myself to be an ally of those targeted against.

The number of hate crimes in this country rose a shocking 17 percent from 2016 to 2017.

It is the third year in a row that the numbers have risen and the way that 2019 is going, I suspect it won't be the last. There is also suspicion that local law enforcement does not report the correct number of hate crimes and the total is far greater than the FBI annual reports. Smollett and Alicia Keys recorded the song "Powerful," about putting a stop to hate crimes against all shades of color. There should be a time where no one is afraid to walk around in fear of being assaulted for something they cannot control. Smollett now has a security detail and the filming of "Empire" has halted until he is ready to return.

Making America great again is not this. It is not hate and attacking one another for being their most true selves.

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Allegations Of Domestic Abuse Against Johnny Depp Turn Out To Be False

Johnny Depp was framed and it turns out that his now ex-wife was actually the abuser, not the other way around.

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You might have heard last year that Amber Heard, leading female actress in "Aquaman," made allegations over domestic abuse against her then-husband, Johnny Depp. This caused Twitter to "cancel" Johnny Depp, compelling people to boycott his movies, including the latest film from the Harry Potter universe, "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them." He was even dropped from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise following those allegations.

Recently, however, Johnny Depp has filed a lawsuit against Heard for a whopping 50 million dollars on the counts that the abuse allegations she made were false. In addition, an overwhelming amount of evidence has been presented, including 87 surveillance tapes and 17 sworn eyewitness statements, showing that Heard was the perpetrator of the abuse, not Depp. She even became a "darling of the MeToo movement", a Human Rights Champion of the United Nations Human Rights Office, was appointed ambassador on women's rights at the American Civil Liberties Union, and was hired by L'Oreal Paris as its global spokesperson, as a result of the false allegations, according to the lawsuit from Depp's legal team. Reports say that she even confessed that they were a hoax as well.

It is truly a shame, and I am utterly disgusted at the level of sheer hypocrisy being demonstrated here. Imagine trying to propel your career based upon a mountain of lies and not only that, lies about the abuse that you committed. I honestly don't know how Heard can live with herself, having knowingly ruined someone's life by spreading lies, let alone causing a person such high levels of physical harm on multiple occasions (and on top of that her performance in "Aquaman" was EXTREMELY subpar). What Amber Heard did is just going to be used in favor of those who oppose the MeToo movement, because now there is clear evidence of a female celebrity lying about the abuse. Heard's lies could be used to discredit every woman telling the truth, and especially now we want to and SHOULD believe women. Instead of making things better for women, she has just magnified the damage and has made it increasingly difficult for women in the future to report their abuse because now there will be more speculation.

However, I do also think that it is crucial to think about the double standards we often hold here. Just because women tend to be the victims of abuse more than men does not mean that men do not also suffer abuse. Women should not be blindly believed on every occasion because of that statistic as well. We want so desperately to believe women, yet when Amber Heard claimed to have been abused she was believed without intense further investigations and even put on pedestals for her bravery, despite the fact that Depp's ex-wives had never suffered abuse by him. Perhaps every claim of abuse really should be investigated equally, regardless of the gender of the victim.

I am extremely glad that Johnny Depp was not the abuser because I have always admired his incredible acting and talent. I am glad that my impression of him can remain as good as it was before and that I can give him my full respect again. However, Amber Heard must be treated the same way Depp was when he was accused - full "cancellation."

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Lighter Skin Doesn't Automatically Make You More Beautiful, Colorism Is A Real Issue

No matter how dark or how light you are, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

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South Asian communities are keen on the image of beauty having relation to being "fair and lovely." Eurocentric beauty standards and traditions have often led to a vast statistic of young brown teenage girls to feel insecure about the melanin they were born with. I've never unraveled this concept of relating paler skin with more beauty. Growing up, I've had the "privilege" of living beneath a light colored complexion, as relatives, family friends, and even strangers, have often glorified the color of my skin. I was introduced to a concept called "light-skinned privilege."

A dark-skinned girl would write about the adversity she faced as she tackles a society that shames her skin and worships European beauty features. She'd recount how she overcame this shallow mentality by learning to love and accept her dark skin. To provide an interesting twist, I am writing from the perspective on the other end of the spectrum, as a "light-skinned" brown girl, to acknowledge the fact that my skin gives me privilege in a society that has been internalizing colorist values for generations on end, and why this toxic mentality is harming brown communities.

In a metaphorical and comprehensible sense, it may be simple to compare "light skin privilege" to "white privilege," or colorism to racism. Both are systematic preferences for individuals who are of a superior trait, color, or race, giving those people societal advantages in regards to their possession of the ideal physical attractiveness standards. Colored men and women are systematically oppressed by colorist or racist means; sometimes, unfortunately, by both at the same time. But colorism, compared to racism, is an anomalous social issue that occurs every day, something I've recognized since I was nine years old.

It was nearly 100 degrees. The concrete of my backyard burned the soles of my feet and the air was laced with intensified humidity. But still, it's summer. No one stays in their house; folks practically lived in the outdoors. We cooked, conversed, slept, and ate right on our own property. The people of my culture spend every day living in the ambiance under the sun, so why is colorism such a normality?

It's because my people want to embrace their sun, but are pressured to hide in the shade. My nine-year-old charismatic self completely ignored this. I played freeze tag, rode my bike, and played games under the sun all day, until one day, my mom said to me:

"Melissa why you run in the sun all day? Your skin will turn black!"

She expects me to spend more time in the shade than in the sun. If I am in the sun, I must be fully clothed, even in 100-degree weather. Wearing a tank top and shorts while being in the sun is utterly scorned upon. It is dangerous, detrimental to my well-being, not because of the fact that I'm exposed to an excessive amount of harmful UV rays that can potentially cause skin cancer, but because my skin tone will become darker, and my "beauty will fade."

To avoid any misinterpretation of all this, I'm not whining about how "difficult" it is to have light skin. I'm not saying that those with light skin can be oppressed just as much as people with dark skin. Because they can't be. It's not the same. In reference to my racism analogy previously mentioned, saying people with light skin can also be oppressed in colorist communities is like saying white people can be oppressed in colored communities. This is completely false. The concept applies both ways; the same way minorities cannot systematically oppress white people is comparable to dark-skinned people not having the privilege and power in society to discriminate light skin people.

When a girl is shamed for her dark complexion, encouraged to bleach her skin, buys foundation a few shades lighter, invests in the popular "Fair & Lovely" skin cream, idolizes magazine cover models who are only of light skin complexion, learns that men in colorist communities prefer light-skinned women over dark skin, this is known as real, systematic oppression. This is a problem that is highly underrated.

However, there are no creams used to make a person of lighter complexion darker. No one is pressuring me to stay in the sun so I can be darker. What my mother had said to me was not systematically oppressive at all. It was said in a tone of admiration and caution, not a tone of distaste and discrimination.

I've read works addressing social injustices such as racism and police brutality, sexism, and homophobia, but can barely recall one that touched upon colorism. Today, I've used my "light skin privilege" as a platform to speak out against colorism and to raise awareness on the problematic cultural notions instilled in the minds of young girls in colored societies.

In other words, love your skin! Love the color of it, please. No matter how dark or how light you are. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

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