Nothing is Black and White in Monochromatic Trailer for ‘Passing’

Being “white-passing” comes with a certain kind of privilege. One that can mean the difference between a life of discrimination or a life of luxury. Such a privilege is the topic of discussion in Passing, the brand new film based on the book by Nella Larsen, coming to Netflix and select theaters later this year.

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Activision Blizzard’s Toxic Culture is Part of a Larger, Ongoing Conversation about Video Games

This week, employees at Activision Blizzard plan to walkout in protest over work conditions and leadership’s poor response to workplace treatment of women — particularly women of color, transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups, according to a Kotaku report. On July 20, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit alleging that the company cultivated a toxic and sexist, “frat boy” workplace environment, and since the bombshell news dropped, scores of former and current employees, reporters, and gaming leaders have voiced their concerns over the lack of accountability on the part of Activision Blizzard.

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Number One Son: Tarantino’s Bruce Lee Disrespect is Not New in Hollywood

In a survey conducted by The Asian American Man Study that asked “Who is the Asian American man you most admire and why,” the person with the second most votes was Bruce Lee.

The most votes went to “I don’t know/can’t think of one.”

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Appreciating the Diversity of Late-Generation ‘Pokémon’

When I first caught sight of Pokémon Neo Genesis cards being sold on the Home Shopping Network as a kid, I almost took my mother’s credit card and picked up the phone to put in a few hundred orders. I remember on one such occasion using the spare change from a trip to the gas station to buy a single booster pack. I came home with a gallon of milk and yet another holographic Machamp, all while receiving the admonition I knew was waiting for me at home.

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The Middle Geeks Interview: Amin El Gamal of ‘Breaking Fast’

For Pride Month, we are so excited to have on Amin El Gamal, who plays Sam on the amazing queer Ramadan rom-com Breaking Fast, which is now on Hulu! We dig into what drew Amin to acting, the experience of filming Breaking Fast and working with Mike Mosallam, their thoughts on the current landscape of MENA and queer stories in film and, what he’d love to see more of in the industry, and much more!

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A Review of ‘Across the Tracks’

Greenwood, Oklahoma aka “Black Wall Street,” dubbed so by Booker T. Washington, was a once thriving Black community. Thoroughly segregated from the rest of white Tulsa, nevertheless it boasted entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, entertainment venues, and markets, everything a town would need to sustain itself. To be happy and self-sufficient. That is until 1921 when a mob of deputized whites burned the town to the ground. Not only were the murderous white mob deputized to engage in the massacre, they were given weapons by officials of the city government. The even used an aerial bomb.

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Southern Fried Asian: Old Dominion University’s #StopAAPIHate Panel

This episode of Southern Fried Asian features a special panel organized by community members from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Keith, a graduate of Old Dominion, joined the panel alongside, Dr. Francis Tanglao Aguas, Dr. Kim H. Nguyen, Dr. Melody D. Agbisit, Veronica Salcedo, and Tracie Liguid.

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I Am Captain America: Get Used to It

by Thaddeus Howze

While Marvel Comics has never allowed Sam Wilson to remain Captain America, it is good to see they have decided to allow him to hold the title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the comics, they engineered an excuse for him to become Captain America and when they were done with the story arc, Steve Rogers reclaimed his title and his shield.

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NOC Interview: ‘Selma’ Star Corey Reynolds Talks SYFY’s ‘Resident Alien’ and More

SYFY’s comedy-drama series Resident Alien has been a hit with fans of the graphic novel, and newcomers to the series as well, sitting pretty on Rotten Tomatoes at 93% as of writing this. Corey Reynolds (Selma, Straight Outta Compton), who plays Sheriff Mike Thompson in the series, said that the personalities of fellow castmates Alan Tudyk (Devil May Care and Raya and the Last Dragon) and Sara Tomko (3022 and Sneaky Pete), and series creator Chris Sheridan (Family Guy), are what most likely led to its positive reception.

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Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Comes at a Poignant Time for Asian Americans

There’s no question the global pandemic has affected the lives of many within the United States having the highest COVID-19 cases and death rate. The previous administration under President Donald Trump blamed China for the deadly coronavirus, labeling the disease as the “China Virus” and, more broadly, putting targets on the backs of Asian Americans by fellow citizens who are angry by the economic and social impact of the pandemic. Since then, there has been a rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes throughout the U.S. After multiple attacks on the elderly Asian population, the media started to notice, thanks to the help of Asian American advocates and allies pushing for these stories to be shared. Multiple brands, including Disney, Nike, and Apple, began releasing statements condemning the attacks on Asians and where people can donate and show support.

It seems like the perfect time to release Raya and the Last Dragon, a Disney film inspired by Southeast Asian cultures and traditions. Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the fantasy world of Kumandra where humans and dragons lived together in harmony. That sadly ends when the Druun, an evil entity, threatens the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, the Druun have returned and Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), the lone warrior princess, must find the last dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina), to stop the Druun and save the world. The film’s theme is centered around trust and how Raya must learn to trust in order to achieve saving the world.

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Southern Fried Asian: Dr. David Surratt

On a new episode of Southern Fried Asian, Keith is joined by Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at the University of Oklahoma Dr. David Surratt to talk about growing up Black and Korean in Tulsa.

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NOC Sundance Review: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

While the details of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ are debated, Judas goes down in history as one of the most infamous traitors — all over 30 pieces of silver. Maybe Judas didn’t like the fact that the people hailed Christ as a “Messiah” — a title the FBI used as code names for Black radical liberators in the 1960s to the late 1970s. One such “Messiah” is the young Black Panther activist and Chicago native Fred Hampton, mercilessly killed thanks to Black a panther Party (BPP) infiltrator and informant William O’Neal, FBI Agent Roy Mitchell, and J. Edgar Hoover.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 22: ‘Breaking Fast’ Review

We are joined by our friend Tariq Raouf to discuss the upcoming film Breaking Fast, which features a gay Arab-American Muslim as its protagonist! We discuss what we enjoyed about the film, what director and writer Mike Mosallam was trying to say with this delightful rom-com, how well it does with representation for Arabs, Muslims, and Ramadan, and where it could have been better. Before that, in our MENA news segment, we have some GREAT news to discuss with Ramy’s May Calamawy being base in Marvel’s Moon Knight! And another of our faves, Rami Malek, has been cast in a lead role in David O’Rusell’s upcoming film! Enjoy listening!

Spoilers for Breaking Fast begin around 26:06

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The Middle Geeks Episode 21: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and its MENA Issues

We are joined by the wonderful Hanna Flint to discuss Wonder Woman 1984 in this special bonus episode! We discuss the various ups and downs of the film, how well we thought the actors did with the script and story they had, and whether this movie did Diana Prince/Wonder Woman justice. We also discuss the many racist and Orientalist aspects of its depiction of Egypt and Egyptian people, and how detrimental it is for MENA representation. There’s a LOT to discuss, and we go through it all. Enjoy listening!

Spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984 begin around 11:26.

TW for discussion of rape and sexual assault 11:44 -12:57

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NOC Interview: Sharlene Whyte Talks About the Significance of ‘Small Axe’ and Her Role in ‘Education’

Amazon Prime Video has released the official trailer for Education, the fifth and final film in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology series. Small Axe premiered with Mangrove starring Letitia Wright and Shaun Parkes on November 20, followed by Lovers Rock on November 27 featuring Micheal Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn.

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DC FanDome: How ‘Watchmen’ Explores the Issues of Corrupt Power and Systemic Racism

“When the police masked [in the events of the show], it raised the question of accountability, because at some point, [it becomes a question of] who’s the good guy/who’s the bad guy” — Christal Henry, Supervising Producer of Watchmen (2019)

This quote, which kicked off the most fascinating panel/segment in the DC FanDome for Watchmen: Unmasked, embodies more than just what was going on in the narrative of the show. It’s a quote that fully embodies what we’re seeing in our society today. When you replace the metaphor of a mask with a badge, we understand that Watchmen is, as the graphic novel was too, an absolute reflection of the sins of society told through the lenses of both the empowered and the powerless. And therein is why Watchmen is perhaps one of the best television events in the past decade.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 16: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’ Review and DC FanDome

We’re starting spooky season a bit early this year with a review of Iranian-American film director Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 horror classic “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” What makes this film so unique in its abstraction and commentary, and how effectively does it pull it off? But before that, we have a heavy news section discussing police violence and brutality in the US, the recent explosion in Lebanon that has exacerbated the country’s numerous problems, and, on a much lighter note, we discuss the plethora of entertainment news out of DC Comics’ online convention DC FanDome!

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Shawn Went to ‘Lovecraft Country’ and Came Back with this Endorsement

[This review is based on the first five episodes of Lovecraft Country. The ADR nor the VFX were complete, so I won’t comment on those.]

If you’ve been reading The Nerds of Color for any length of time, you know that I routinely eschew the traditional review format. I don’t find it terribly interesting to read and I’m not a really big fan of writing that way. As I only cover the things I enjoy, I write endorsements instead of reviews and I am endorsing Lovecraft Country, with a few caveats.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 15: ‘The Old Guard’ Review and Cancel Culture

We have a PACKED episode this month. After discussing some excellent and exciting MENA entertainment news, Mae and Swara review Netflix’s The Old Guard, which is directed by the incredible Gina Prince-Bythewood and stars one of our favorite MENA actors Marwan Kenzari! But before that, we have an open and frank discussion about “cancel culture,” why it scares powerful and privileged white people so much, and how if they just actually devoted themselves to be better people they wouldn’t have to worry about being “canceled.” Enjoy listening!

Spoilers for The Old Guard being around 1:12:00.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 14: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in MENA Communities

In this episode, we discuss systemic Anti-Black racism, how it crops up in MENA communities, and how we should address it. We discuss how we can start important and difficult conversations with friends and family, and how we should show solidarity with the Black community in the fight for racial justice.

We’re joined by Nawal Rajeh, a community organizer and activist who co-founded and runs the non-profit By Peaceful Means, which works with youth in East Baltimore, MD around issues of peace and justice. 

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They Are Still Killing Radio Raheem

In just over a month, Spike Lee’s masterful Do the Right Thing will be 31 years old. Me and a group of friends skipped out of our summer work program to see the film. We were budding Black and Brown cineastes who marveled at Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and begged our caretakers and school counselors to help us apply to HBCUs after viewing School Daze (and A Different World) — well, those of us who could activate our dream machinery enough to believe we could escape the projects and could make it in university. It was the summer before our senior year and we all knew that in a year’s time, things would be different. Some of us would be off to the military. Some of us would go to either a four-year college or a junior college. Some of us would go directly into the workforce. And there was me. I had no idea what was waiting for me after high school. All I knew was that as soon as I graduated (if I graduated) I was running as far away and as fast as I could from my abusive mother. I didn’t care where. I just needed to get the hell out of that house. All this was bouncing around in my head as the lights dimmed. Continue reading “They Are Still Killing Radio Raheem”