She's known in countries throughout the world, and plays with millions of young girls each day as the image of womanly perfection, with her "perfect" features and hair. Her name is Fulla, the Arab world's version of Barbie.
Instead of blonde hair and blue eyes, Fulla has dark hair, caramel skin, and brown eyes. She also embodies many Arab values; you will never see Fulla in a bikini on the beach, hanging out with boys. Oh no, this modest doll prefers instead to spend time with her parents, cooking, and praying.
Fulla, whose name is a type of flower, is joined by other Muslim dolls like Sara in Iran, and Razanne, who is targeted to Arab-Americans, but none are as popular. Arab fans of the doll enjoy the fact that Fulla is a doll that is relatable to them and their culture, and that she is a "safe" toy for children.
While it is laudable that there are dolls out there that are more culturally and physically relatable than the "blonde one," the common theme between the two is how it tells girls a very narrow viewpoint of what they should be and act like. So are dolls such as these really shining examples to follow, or are they sinister brain-washing of female youth?
This whole crayon story came to mind when coming across MySkins, a lingerie line with a goal to provide the widest range of skin tone colors -- currently at 20 shades of nude. MySkins unique color system was developed over a one-year period after they visited multiple cities across the U.S., surveying over 600 women.
The MySkins lingerie line includes 3 bra-styles (T-shirt bra, Convertible bra, and Plunge bra) and 3 panty-styles (full-cut brief, girl-short, and thong). A wide range of nude colours and a cut that insures smooth and invisible lines under your clothes...well, finally!Posted by Tamiko | March 23, 2009 | Comments (0)
Cool article from the New York Times: "This Band Was Punk Before Punk Was Punk" .
Call it Death, resurrected. The re-release of a record by Drag City Records deemed "for the whole world to see" from a mid-1970s Detroit power trio called Death is considered to be the "missing link between the high-energy hard rock of Detroit bands from the late 1960s and early '70s and the high-velocity assault of punk from its breakthrough years of 1976 and '77." Death even "...preceded Bad Brains, the most celebrated African-American punk band, by almost five years." Detroit's own Jack White of the White Stripes is a big fan.
Death was formed by the teenage Hackney brothers (David, Dannis, and Bobby). They began to play their punk-rock "on Detroit's predominantly African-American east side, but were met with reactions ranging from confusion to derision. "We were ridiculed because at the time everybody in our community was listening to the Philadelphia sound, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers," Bobby said. "People thought we were doing some weird stuff. We were pretty aggressive about playing rock 'n' roll because there were so many voices around us trying to get us to abandon it."
Back to present times, the story goes that the Hackney brothers had never told their kids about Death, but one of the kids heard a Death single at a party in San Francisco, recognized his dad's voice, and currently plays Death's music with the band Rough Francis, named after his Uncle David's nickname.
A self-professed "Taiwanese Halfie" from Houston, now living in Cincinnati, Kristan Hoffman is a gifted and entertaining writer (read her web series "Twenty-Somewhere") whose excerpt from her novel The Good Daughters has made it into the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Here's what the story is about:
...Madeline and Grace Chen have recently found out their mother Ruo Mei is suffering from dementia. She had to be let go from her job at Lucky Supermarket, a job upon which she raised her daughters in a one room apartment. Grace, a successful marketing executive and the 'good daughter' who dutifully learned domesticity from her mother while avoiding confrontation with her, has moved Ruo Mei into her home in Houston to live with her family including her husband Jack and son Evan. Madeline, an artist and the 'bad daughter' whose marriage to Charles (now dead from a car accident) caused her mother to disown her is invited to move in with them. She and her mother haven't spoken in three long years....
As for reviews on Kristan's writing?: "The writing is assured, the dialogue believable, the subject tragically prescient. Save for the unnecessary chapter titles and the unexplained switch from first person in the prologue to third in the first chapter, "The Good Daughters" is a polished and satisfying read."
Okay, now rate and review The Good Daughters to advance Kristan into the next round (here)!
Hot, hot, hot. The song and the tee. Yum. What exactly? Have a read:
The internationally known, Los Angeles based hip-hop group -- The Far East Movement (FM) who have reached national radio success with their hit singles "Lowridin" and current single "Girls On The Dance Floor," have teamed up with street wear company Orisue Clothing and mobile electronics giant Alpine Electronics for an innovative collaborative music video and limited edition t-shirt project titled "LOWRIDIN x FETISH".
This project showcases a recent fusion that has taken place between the lowrider/import culture, the ever-popular streetwear phenomenon and the indie music scene and how these 3 industry leading brands are finding new avenues to expand their reach in new markets.
Produced by Iron Brothers Entertainment, the videos commemorate FM's 1st major radio single titled "Lowridin" and street wear anthem "Fetish" off of their sophomore album entitled 'Animal'. Featured in this video campaign are Alpine Electronics' one-of-a-kind concept show cars equipped with their newest mobile electronics and Orisue's 2008-2009 clothing lines along with the limited print "Lowridin" t-shirt from the Far East Movement and Orisue.
The video will be released through international music video channels and websites in April 2009. View "Lowridin x Fetish."
Read an intriguing article where writer Natalie Nichols poses the question: "Where Have All The Black Models and Designers Gone?" in Clutch, the only online fashion-beauty-lifestyle magazine for the African-American woman that is updated daily with a full issue released every Monday.
"[...] in fashion, an industry that prides itself on diversity, openness, innovation, inclusion, there has been a major failure, by the powers that be, to embrace Black models and designers in greater numbers. Think I am wrong? Models of color-all ethnicities: Asian, Latino, African and so on, make up 26% of the American population [...] Hell, so-called minorities actually account for 82% of the world's population. Yet, within the fashion world, the total of working Black models equates to less than 10%. You mean to tell me this is an unintentional coincidence? I think not [...]"
Why? Nichols offers this:
"Potential talent is out there, however the financiers, fashion houses, and other potential backers are not. Fashion houses often use quotas when it comes to how many Black faces will represent on their runways, and modeling agency heads swear designers are not looking for Black girls [...]
Released this month in Thailand, Power Kids is about 5 kids who grow up in a martial arts school. When one of the kids' heart condition relapses, he's urgently sent to get a heart transplant at a hospital that turns out to be held by terrorists. The kids fight off the bad guys with some crazy-ass thai-boxing kicks, twirls, and punches that make all those Hollywood movies seem like claymation.
Her music has been called "a sophisticated blend of indelible pop smarts, hip-hop edginess, and world-music spice, topped by sultry vocal stylings." Sultry, and Canadian. Her name is Anjulie, and although this may not be fair, her sound is reminiscent of vocal sirens Nelly Furtado, Duffy, and Lily Allen.
Although now L.A.-based (or as she calls it, "Los Anjulie"), Anjulie was raised in Oaksville, Ontario by immigrant parents from Guyana, a South America nation edged by the Caribbean Ocean. This explains why her music blends Afro-Caribbean calypso, South American Latin music, and the pop, rock, and hip-hop she grew up with.
Her debut self-titled album is expected to be released this year, but for now you can download Anjulie's music at most online places. Notable songs include the slinky '60s-inspired-Nancy-Sinatra-esque Boom (listen); the steamy Heat; and the candy-pop charm of Love Songs.
You may have already heard a bit of Anjulie through her songwriting, since she penned the song "Don't Call Me Baby" by Kreesha Turner. This time around, Anjulie's doing the singing, backed by producers and songwriting collaborators Colin Wolfe, who has worked with Dr. Dre and Monica, and her longtime collaborator Jon Levine, keyboardist for Toronto's funk-pop combo The Philosopher Kings.
Behind Shanghai Restoration Project is Kansas-raised Dave Liang -- a former producer for artists on major labels Bad Boy and Universal. His music is a fusion of traditional Chinese instruments with electronica, jazz, pop, and hip-hop. In Liang's words:
"I think when I make this music, the most important thing is to be true to myself. ... I want my music to be a very honest reflection of who I am, and that is a combination of Chinese culture and American culture."
Watch a preview of Zodiac @ YouTube, and listen to Zodiac at the Zodiac site, Shanghai Restoration Project website and its MySpace. The release is available on Amazon, iTunes, and other digital retailers.
In Italy, a Vending Machine Even Makes the Pizza. The title of the article alone is intriguing, no?
In short, 56-year-old Claudio Torghele, an entrepreneur from Rovereto, a northern Italian city two hours shy of Milan, has developed a vending machine that cooks pizza...and he calls it "Let's Pizza." The machine doesn't heat-up frozen pizza; rather, there's a window where the customer can watch -- after pressing a button to choose 1 of 4 varieties (Margherita; Bacon; Ham; or Fresh Greens) -- flour and water mixed together to form dough that's pressed into a 12-inch disk; then tomato paste is spread onto the dough and cheese is sprinkled.
The pizza is then baked in an infrared oven for 3 minutes. When done, the pizza is slipped onto a cardboard tray and popped out into the customer's hands. All for the equivalent of $4.50.
It seems to be a common belief nowadays that reaching out and pushing a button has become much too troublesome for the average human being, and such tireless tasks should be reserved for athletes in tremendously good shape, or robots.
Because of this new phenomenon, Japanese inventor Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Osaka University has come up with the Mimi Switch remote, which will be able to "turn on room lights or swing your washing machine into action with a quick twitch of your mouth" as well as "starting or stopping music" on your iPod by "sticking out your tongue."
"The Mimi Switch can also store and interpret data and get to know its user...[It also] can be programmed to run with various other facial expressions, such as a wriggle of the nose or a smile."
Jeez, what's next, robot servants? Oh wait, nevermind...Posted by Matthew Tsang | March 16, 2009 | Comments (0)
International Women's Day (March 9) is one of those days, like Valentine's Day, that makes you wonder why just one day? And really, why wouldn't the celebration and recognition of the incredible contribution and impact of women all over the world be given at least a week? In reflecting on which significant women have subverted the public imagination, Schema Magazine salutes author, feminist, and social activist bell hooks, one of the first American intellectuals to make academic blah-blah about race, gender and class accessible to everyday people.
In the spirit of International Women's Day, Schema Magazine would like to recognize the women who have been key to bringing "ethnic cool" to the web universe. At every stage of Schema's being, from its inception to the soon-to-be launched expansion of the webzine, a group of dedicated and talented women have been at the heart of Schema.
Jen Sookfong Lee (author of End of East and literary aficionado on CBC Radio) has ensured Schema was a top-notch read since its inception in 2004. With her, film-expert and graphic designer, gloria wong has fiercely directed four years of coverage of the Vancouver International Film Festival. In those years, Schema has been inspired by the ingenuity of Sandro Lo (whose uber-witty fashion spreads will soon be shared online). Driving Schema's daily updates are the talented web-writer-editors Tami Ogura and Michelle da Silva, who have really shaped Schema's online voice. Behind the scenes, one of the brightest young minds in Canada, Ivy So has been the glue. Our previous web designer Loretta Hui (now based in NY) made Schemamag.ca possible, and current designer Rachel Thompson (Blue Muse Media), will bring Schemamag.ca into the future. Our current list of sophisticated writers, designers, interns and brainiacs includes Anu Sahota, poet Nikki Reimer, graphic designer Leah Yin, aspiring journalist Geraldine Anderson, Valerie Chin, Andrea Wong, marketing innovator Tammy Tsang (My Loud Speaker), filmmaker Yu Gu, one of Schema's newest contributors, blogger extraordinaire Jordana Mah (who's blog, Being High Maintenance, not Bitchy is always a fun read), and social entrepreneur and super-mom Lara Honrado (Mango Communications). Each have shared their intellect, personal style, perspective and passion for life -- making Schema so dang interesting and worthwhile. Without this core group and the ground-breaking contribution of women like bell hooks, Schema Magazine, as a platform for the most diverse generation of Canadians, would not exist.
From all of us in the webisphere you touch, thank you.
Tags: Current Events
There is a little town called Obama that's located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. You may have seen fans from Obama cheering on Barack Obama with cheers of "Yes, we can" (in a Japanese accent, of course) during the election. It looks like the Japanese, in general, really like Obama Daitouryou (President).
So it's almost no surprise that in Japan, there lives a creative sushi-master named Kawazumi-san, who's created Obama Sushi --- sushi rolls in the likeness of President Obama. Wait 'til you see the whole platter, complete with yellow smiley-face sushi rolls and "Yes, we can!" (check out the pics @ Tofugu). Obama sushi is made from rice and ingredients such as shrimp, black sesame seeds, and processed fish paste.
Probably the closest you'll get to the President at this rate.
Don't miss out! Last two performances today (Saturday, March 21st)!
Turns out the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics does have more to offer than a huge debt and cute mascots. It's also hosting what they call the Cultural Olympiad 2009, which promotes multidisciplinary "contemporary imagination," which includes what sounds like a great theatre experience in AISHA N' BEN.
This play grapples with issues of identity and the perils of success:
"When a young Indo-Canadian starlet (performed by Anita Majumdar, who also wrote the play) obsessed with skin whitening flees to Bombay to shoot her next Bollywood film, her values are turned upside down by a dark-skinned Filipino-Canadian fellow actor (performed by Leon Aureus, who wrote the theatre production of Banana Boys) Through their relationship, she is forced to confront what it means to be true to one's self."
Anita n' Ben
When: March 19-21 @ 8:00pm | Matinee March 21 @ 2:00 pm
Where: Studio Theatre, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
Ticketing information line: 604.280.4444
Price: $20 to $25 | $20 for students and groups of 10 or more
Yeah, this was originally released in the spring of 2008 and is now considered old news, but it's just so gosh darn juicy that time shouldn't be a restriction, right?
Natalise is an American singer-songwriter of Chinese-Burmese descent, and after graduating from Stanford with high honours, she came up with this eyebrow-raising music video (no judgment -- yet) to her single China Doll.
After releasing this song (that incidentally pushes Asian Americans back 10 years), Natalise defends her case by claiming that many of her friends think her music video is "funny," as well as stating things like "if you can laugh and make fun of the stereotypes against your race, then you have risen above it." However many believe there are better and funnier ways to poke fun at your own culture, and reinforcing stereotypes in such a narrow-minded, simple, and tasteless manner is nothing new. Perhaps Natalise used this song and accompanying video as a means to get some much-needed publicity -- no?
The China Doll chorus includes this gem of a lyric: "If you wanna quick, boogie boogie bang bang -- you're gonna have to find another tang tang." For real.
Posted by Matthew Tsang | March 1, 2009 | Comments (0)
As Black History Month comes to an end, the recognition of the historic contributions of black Americans and Canadians shouldn't stop. In fact, if the acknowledgment of "black history" or Asian heritage were limited to February and May, respectively, the efforts at integrating this diversity into the mainstream American and Canadian history will have failed. It might even be considered a form of segregation. According to Pulitzer Prize winning Cynthia Tucker, editor of the opinion section at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Black History Month has outlived its usefulness in contemporary America:
Suffice it to say that the nation of Tiger Woods, Oprah and Barack Obama no longer needs a Black History Month.
Tucker's commentary is, by far, one of the most articulate and well-thought out commentaries on the relevance of Black History Month.
The history of America's black citizens cannot be segregated from the nation's history because black people have been here from the very beginning. The nation's past is one huge tapestry woven from the threads of many peoples, many cultures, many lives. From Crispus Attucks to buffalo soldiers to Tuskegee airmen to Ralph Bunche to Condoleezza Rice, the story of black Americans is America's story.
> Read Cynthia Tucker's commentary at ajc.com.Posted by Alden | March 3, 2009 | Comments (0)
How do you maximize on your bottom line and cash in on the Oscars? Well, just go to one of the poorest slums in the world, select two desperate children for large roles, pay them a pittance, and then reap the rewards once production is completed. The important lesson in all this? Cinematography and a feel good story are crucial elements for Hollywood.
Oh, and the other lesson? Imperialism hasn't really disappeared. It's just dressed in a different looking cloth of capitalist exploitation. Ever since 1876, when Queen Victoria declared herself "Empress of India," Western imperialists have used India as a cultural and political playground. It's ironic that the main theme of Slumdog Millionaire is rags-to-riches as as Jamal wins it all in India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which is based on Kaun Banega Crorepati, popularly known as KBC, an Indian reality/game show -- when in real life, the rags go back to being rags. Even before its release in Indian theatres on 23 January, Slumdog Millionaire had become the biggest film about India, to be filmed in India.
So what about two young Indian actors? While the small boy Azharuddin Ismail has fallen gravely ill, the little girl Rubina still refuses to take off the dress she had worn at the Oscars. Although director Danny Boyle and the producers have promised to relocate them to an apartment complex, nothing's been done as of yet.
Neighbours -- to console the two children who are essentially under mental stress since their return -- have built a 2.4m x 1.5m metal structure for him to sleep under out of the sun. What does director Danny Boyle think? Boyle says the film's child stars don't need a big bank balance because they have learned to speak English, proposing: "The difference it will make to their lives is unbelievable and it's already made a phenomenal difference because they speak English. If you speak English in Mumbai your employment chances go up a hundredfold." Nice.
Hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos of The Hour, this is the first special filmed in Toronto, and the theme is different ethnic backgrounds. In the show is the hilarious Nigerian-Brit Gina Yashere; the Japanese-American K. T. Tatara (pictured); Italian-Canadian musical duo The Doo Wops ; Filipino-American Jo Koy; the Indo-Canadian Sugar Sammy; and Mexican-American Al Madrigal.
Just for Laughs even as the mind to mention their "selfish favourite moment: Gina Yashere's version of Nigerian CSI, for the way she uses pop culture to lampoon a twist of her own ethnicity / culture." True, it's hilarious!
Power Kids (Haa Huajai Hero) | Kids kick the asses of the bad guys