A Matter of Tactical, Practical Brilliance or: How to Listen to Hamilton as an Oreo

The musical Hamilton is an amazing, wonderful, terrific…conundrum for an Oreo.

How does a belter Oreo daughter of a hermit and a
an alto dropped in the middle of a
confusing spot in the zeitgeist by providence,
with confidence in her voice
Grow up inside this moment and make the right choice

I’ll tell ya, it’s tricky.

One one hand, Hamilton is a Broadway musical–a totally Oreo-Approved genre of music. I think the only thing typically whiter than a Broadway musical is my singer/songwriter station on Pandora (don’t you take my Rich Voisine away from me). This is the same genre that gave us anglo tastic pieces like Spring Awakening, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Jazz Singer. Hamilton fits squarely into this genre, so for that reason it’s a great listening choice for an Oreo.

I would enter every room like this if I could.

I would enter every room like this if I could.

On the other hand, Hamilton is mostly made of rap.

But on another hand, Hamilton discusses some nice, dry Waspy dinner conversation topics: the Founding Fathers, the Treasury, best practices in shipping and receiving.

On the other hand, it’s mostly made of rap.

On yet a different hand, Hamilton is a totally hipster hero. He’s angsty, he got wealthy, but was still all bitter about shit. He had a great wife, but also dumb commitment issues. And look at that long curlyish hair. He defs rocked the man bun.

 

"What? You've never had a pickleback? Ugh. Yea, it's small batch craft beer followed by a shot of homemade dill brine. Which you have, right?"

“What? You’ve never had a Pickleback? Ugh. Yea, it’s batch craft beer followed by a shot of small batch homemade dill brine. Which you have, right? No? Whatever, I’ll just have this absinthe.” –Alexander Hamilton

On the other hand, remember how much you loved loved LOVED Rent when it came out and you sat at home with your CD and ripped the book out of the jewel case and learned all the words and cried every time Mimi said “Goodbye Love!” and then you saw it like 15 years later and even though you were super stoked that Adam Pascal touched you on the shoulder when you met him backstage, you were like “this play isn’t as great as I remember and why don’t these folks maybe just get a part-time something at The Container Store or Chipotle or sign up with a temp agency until they can get back on their feet?” Yeah, think about that and the fact that Hamilton is mostly made of rap.

 

It was a special time, Adam, but you know the rules. One and done. We can no longer speak of that glorious day.

It was a special time, Adam, but you know the rules. One and done. We can no longer speak of that glorious day.

 

But Hamilton is also catchy, it’s fun, it’s infectious, and it’s not going anywhere. And since you love showtunes, you have no choice but to listen to it constantly. So an Oreo’s got to figure out a way to listen to it without being all RBP about it.

Because let’s be real a second. –for just a millisecond. Let your guard they’ll see you spit a million beats per second. And that’s gonna change how they see you. No longer will you be a very special unicorn, you’re gonna be just like Leticia over there. With her braids and self-confidence. Hashtag, uncomfortable. So here are a few ways that you can enjoy this moment in musical history, but still keep yourself in good standing as an Oreo.

Alone

Look, we all have those things that we do when no one else is looking. And we’re totally okay with it. You’re not mad that no one sees you cut your toenails by using your other toenails. So there’s no reason not to play dumb at Karaoke and stick to your Carrie Underwood and Disney Princess songs instead of jumping in when the group goes all Guns and Ships on you. When you get back in your car, and far away from they prying eyes of people who know you, you can crank up Ten Duel Commandments in case you need to remember what to do if anyone claims they think you know how to flow.

Via King George or Eliza

There are a few songs in this show that don’t involve rap. If you must quote the show in front of other, do it with these tunes. That Would Be Enough or the many reprisals of You’ll Be Back capture great moments in the show without having to be all ethnic with their wordplay. An untrained ear might even think you’re singing Sondheim or Schwartz. Choose these songs and you won’t feel so embarrassed that you wonder if your hot blushing cheeks will buuuuuuuurrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnn!

Live

If you can afford the $15,002,389,047,208,093,790 dollar tickets, you are 1%ing the shit out of life right now and have definitely achieved some serious Oreo status. Also, please be my best friend. I don’t love touching, but I’m a bangup pet sitter!

 

Ohmygod, let’s talk about Hamilton! What’s your favorite song? Where were you the first time you heard the show? Do you think it’s cute and just a tiny bit scary the way Lin-Manuel squeezes his elbows into his ribs every time he gets on a roll.

 

Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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[Insert Obligatory Pun about Hair Here] or: This Oreo is terrible at coming up with titles for things she writes

Earlier this week, folks were bummed that this one particular episode of a show called Winx Club aired on Nickelodeon. Wink Club is a cartoon made in Italy back in the 00’s and Nickelodeon apparently airs episodes of it today. As far as I can tell from the very minimal amount of Wikipedia-ing I was willing to do, Winx Club is the fever dream of a very old gnome wherein he sees his soul separated from his body and dispersed into the forms of four orphans who belong to a you-can’t-cut-your-hair cult who escape their pain by taking psychedelic drugs so that they can escape into an allegorical world of their dreams where they exist as fairies.

That or it’s a bunch of girls who discover they have superpowers and train at a facility for gifted youngsters. But not ~that~ facility for gifted youngsters. They’re in a different district and they don’t have a voucher program.

Anyway, Winx Club became facebook-relevant this week when an episode aired that featured this scene. Please do enjoy:


In the event that this video expires or you don’t have audio or you just want to get to the point, here’s what happens in the clip.

The brown colored Winx sobs uncontrollably because her normally straight hair puffed up into the shape of an afro and she can’t get it to be straight again. Her friends poke at it a bit. It bounces. They all agree that this is the worst thing that could have happened and I can only assume they spend the rest of the episode getting this girls’ hair to straighten out before the Old Gnome wakes up and discovers he is still paralyzed inside the cave and that his life has not changed and never will.

People were upset about this clip because they said it promoted the idea that natural black hair isn’t acceptable. That this few minutes of Italian animation is suggesting that you can’t be attractive if your hair hasn’t been drybarred out within an inch of it’s life. They think that this show is sending the wrong message.

But look, that girl probably spent a crap ton of money and like hours of her time in some chair to get her shit straight. I’d cry, too if it all went back overnight. Tears are a totally reasonable reaction when your $200 afternoon gets thrown away because someone decides not to air out the humid bathroom after a hot shower. You’re not getting those 4 hours of your life back, so you know what, be in your truth and allow yourself to feel a wee bit miffed if a sustained session of pain turned out to be for nothing because the sky decided to rain that day.

That being said, I do the show is sending the wrong message…or at least a wrong message. This clip suggests that upon seeing your natural hair, people will make like a few snide comments and then walk away. I beg to differ.

Recently, I failed to time my hair regimen properly and for two whole days, my hair was as grey and natural looking as it gets…and I had the audacity to leave the house.

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During this time, two grown men interrupted me during meetings–at work where we are employed–to tell me and everyone sitting nearby that “awwww, they liked it better before.” And I had to tap dance around people who were basically strangers saying: “Okay, listen… I’ve alllllways wanted to know. What IS the deal with your hair?” several more times before the half week was out.

(And as you know, Oreos do not like tap dancing. We much prefer an Allemande, a promenade, or a Cheshire Cat Life if you have a partner handy.)

Those two days reminded me that upholding the Oreo standards of straight hair isn’t just a way to look nice in the obligatory Women In The Workplace!!! photo your company forces you to be a part of because publicity. Nor is is just a neato way of making sure you’re at least not one of the first ones into the camps during the Trump presidency. Keeping your hair unnaturally straight also allows you to move through your day relatively unnoticed. You blend in, so you’re able to pull those schedules off the copier in peace. Stand out by having statement hair and it can make the day just a lot longer.

But let’s say that you’re like me and you make an honest mistake in scheduling so that you do in fact have to force people to look at your natural looks. First, apologize. Then, take this quiz to see how you would respond to the most common things you’ll get asked should your hair get all Roots on you.

 

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They say: Sooooo is this like your natural, natural hair. Like your hair how it really is?
You say:

A. Yes pal-o-mine, this is the hair that God gave me growing in the way God intended in the country that God wove together with his bare hands.
B. Ugh, it is and I hate it.
C. Did you get your ticket yet to The Little Mermaid Live at the Bowl?

 

06-Cynthia-Hair-Flip

 

They say: Have you seen that Chris Rock documentary Good Hair? That was really amazing. I was like blown away. Totally shocked.
You say:

A. I did see Good Hair and I am happy that you are bringing it up now during this production meeting.
B. Why would I need to watch Good Hair? It’s about black hair. I have black hair. Not exactly news to me.
C. Who’s Chris Rock? Would you say his documentary style is more like Herzog or Brakhage?

 

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They say: You know, if I could have black hair, I totally would. It’s so cool and fun!
You say:

A. That is a sincere compliment that doesn’t make me feel like a weird fettishized object at all.
B. Would you also like the higher statistical likelihood of being profiled on NextDoor or getting a worse rate on an auto loan that goes along with that cool and fun hair?
C. Could you hold my ballet slippers for me one sec, I just need to score the soles and I dropped my nail file.

tumblr_na8b0uUo8d1slj24go1_500

They say: Wait, so, your hair right now… it’s real?
You say:

A. Are your boobs?
B. Are your teeth?
C. Should I wear my Members Only jacket or my Eddie Bauer fleece to the Coldplay concert at that craft cocktail and tapas bar tonight?

beyonce-curls

They say: Do you really not like it when people touch your hair? I love it when people touch mine. So relaxing. Feels like childhood
You say

A. Yaaaas Kween! I am so happy that you are soliciting my opinion and I shall reward with with one free pet.
B. This isn’t really about you. This is about my boundaries and personal space. And frankly, I don’t really like it when anyone touches me anywhere ever.
C. When I buy the title at auction, do you think I should choose the Lordship of Pitstone Neyrnut or the Barony of Duleek?** The Baroney comes with better mineral rights, but holy goodness, is just so beautiful this time of year.

249812_original

 

Results! 

If you answered mostly As, you might think you’re being a good Oreo as you’re not fighting back or running from the conversation, which helps make people feel comfortable. (And Oreos are nothing if not pleaser). But you’re also allowing the conversation to continue. A skilled Oreo can both let people feel OK with their awkward questions, but also shut that shit down toute suite.

If you answered mostly Bs., you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog as you are super comfortable with your blackness and that’s not really what we do here. Nothing against RPBs, but I just don’t have any 40s on offer. Month-old gin is about the closest thing I can pour.

If you answered mostly C, congratulations! You are Oreoing perfectly! Such a deft little dance we do, smiling and laughing, while gently escorting the conversation away from company and into the library for brandy and a subject change.

 

What do you think about the clip above? A harmless episode of TV not many people probably watched? Or a few minutes of film that could actually do damage to young self esteems? On a scale of 1-10 how fast would you change your hair if something tragic happened to it–rogue gardening shears, torrential downpour of tar, roots?

Let us know in the comments!

**Real titles that are actually available at auction right now! If you’d like to sponsor an Oreo’s life long dream of titledom, I have a copula links I can send you. Just let me know! 

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For Mor-eo Oreo:

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How to Say Uncomfortable Things

Look, we all have to say or hear things that are uncomfortable sometimes.

A doctor might have to look someone in the eye and say that there’s nothing to be done.

A supervisor might have to look someone in the eye and tell them that they’ve been made redundant.

A partner might need to look their lover in the eye and say “I love you.”

The point is,  life can get real awkward real fast.

And right now, people are saying uncomfortable things all over the place.

Whether it’s refugees saying “please remember that we’re human beings,” or college students saying “please let us be treated fairly,” or liberals saying “please, let’s not bring back the ideals that the Nazi party espoused,” conversations are getting weird.

Now sure, it’s important that people be able to look someone in the eye and say “Hey, I think what you’re saying is going to lead to a lot of people being treated unfairly.” But ohmygod, no need to embarrass yourself and everyone around you by just being all weird and honest about it.

So the following is a handy guide to help you figure out how to say all those icky truths in a way that’s more palatable to your peers. If you’re having a hard time saying what you want without forcing everyone to get defensive defending their indefensible positions, try getting it off your chest:

Through Interpretive Dance

You remember that Chandelier video. What on earth was happening? Maybe that nude tween was saying: “Hello and I hope you’re having a good time.” Or maybe she was saying “In the event of an emergency, all minorities will be moved to the back of the aircraft.” Who knows? That’s the beauty of unclear artistic expression. You can say whatever you want and no one can really get upset because they have no idea what’s going on. You get some exercise and stretching in and they get to walk away assuming that you’re on the same page…or that you’re weird enough that they don’t really want to continue talking to you anyway. Win win!

chandelier

Over Drinks

Everything’s easier to take after your third Manhattan. So just get in there.

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Via Haiku

Hard to write these things
Finally figured it out
But everyone is dead now

With a relaxing meter and few word to work with, you run little risk of upsetting someone with a politically charged short poem. Plus, you’ll spend more time trying to craft this thing than you do trying to find new abbreviations to make your latest Tweet fit into 140 characters. By the time you’ve figured out how to say what you want to say, everyone will have forgotten what you’re talking about and will be on to new issues anyway.

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With The Help of a Carrier Pigeon

After you’ve tied your message to its cute little legs, you’ll be so caught up thinking about how you can turn this little gal’s adventures into a charming Pixar film that you’ll forget all about your very salient point.

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To the Tune of $80+/hr

As much as we all love TED talks, there are some boring ones, but poll those audiences and they’ll say it changed their lives! All these rallies where political candidates say crazy things? People pay big bucks to get a seat at one of those tables and then they clap politely and pretend like everything’s cool. So just start charging top dollar for your opinion and you’ll find you have a lot more fans.

tumblr_n7uj3tw8oo1tedlifo1_500

 

How do you like to express yourself for minimum impact? Let us know in the comments!

And for more help saying awkward things, check out:

Because, what’s more important, really? Self expression or self preservation. Remember, that which does not kill us gets us invited to better parties.

 

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What Will Happen When You Hire a Diverse Staff (a primer for Matt Damon)

The Martian, Good Will Hunting caused quite a stir this week on an episode of Project Greenlight. The incident in question occurred when white Damon interrupted Effie Brown, a prolific producer who also happens to be black, as she was suggesting that diversity was important.

Truly, how dare she try to blacktalk during this very generous piece of whitesplaining.

Etiquette always states that you do not blacktalk during a whitesplain.

Brown was suggesting to a roundtable of other people whose faces you’d recognize that they should consider considering that a diverse filmmaker would be well-equipped to handle direction of a a script where the only person of color seen on screen is a black prostitute who gets slapped by her white pimp, lest the finished product have some uncomfortable undertones.

Jason Bourne interrupted Brown and said that simply wasn’t necessary. Brown tried to interject, but Ocean’s 10th interrupted again and said that it was absolutely not necessary to cast a diverse director because:

“When we talk about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not the casting of the show,” he said, intimating that having one person of color in an entire film is plenty, thank you very much. And that since that role has been filled, it really doesn’t make any sense to have any people of color working anywhere else on set.

Later, in a talking head segment, Private Ryan said directors should be based on merit and that “all other” considerations should be taken out of it.

The implication being that diverse directors cannot stand on their merit and that “other” considerations must be considered in order to make a diverse candidate viable.

And The Uncredited Baseball Fan at Fenway Park could not be more right.

Because when you choose a diverse director, you really are asking for trouble. Here’s what will likely happen if you pick a not white to direct your movie.

  • The chosen director will express thanks and gratitude for the opportunity.
  • The chosen director (TCD) will plan, schedule, research and consider
  • Someone will bring Tom Ripley a coffee
  • A PA will start to re-consider their life choices
  • A producer’s child will have their resume fast-tracked and be well on their way to becoming a VP
  • TCD will work with the AD to try and make their day
  • An intern will make some copies
  • Everyone will get really excited about crafty, no matter what they’re serving
  • Many takes will go well, some will end up in the blooper reel
  • Some fan will give out and everyone will get all hot and cranky
  • This pattern will repeat itself for a few days until everything is in the can
  • Editors will work many nights and weekends to cut the piece together
  • Executives will weigh in
  • The PA will have given up and resigned themselves to a life less glamorous, but no less lived
  • An unnecessarily expensive wrap party will be planned
  • Oh, and the movie will be ruined. Obviously.

I mean, you can’t, as Rannulph Junuh articulated, just hire diverse directors willy nilly or who knows what will happen. Just look at these examples of horrible mistakes made by directors of color.

Selma, Ava DuVernay

Left to right: David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King, Jr. and Carmen Ejogo plays Coretta Scott King in SELMA, from Paramount Pictures and Pathé.

You call that tying a tie?? A real tie tyer wouldn’t let themselves be groped during this very important bit of work. There’s no way you can tie a proper Eldridge knot with that kind of distraction…What?! She was having her tie a simple windsor?! Fail.
F. Gary Gray, The Italian Job

theitalianjob10

Oh for fucks’ sake. When you are done with your meal, you don’t put your fork on its side like a goddamned animal. You put it with tines facing down!!! This movie, ruined.

King Arthur, Antoine Fuqua

arthur-6

Hello?!?!? We’re on a horse, that means our heels go DOWN guy in the back!! If you can’t afford to get your crew some calf-stretching exercises so that they don’t look like absolute asstoots on film, then you’re obviously an Affirmative Action hire who has no business working in this business.

Thank you, Guy Who Played Owen on Will and Grace That Time for holding us to some g-damned standards.

 

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What other horrible things have you seen happen on screen because there was a diverse cast behind the camera? Let us know in the comments!

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I (Might Actually) Stand With Kim Davis

Kim Davis: Hero, a handy hashtag...or something more??

Kim Davis: Hero, a handy hashtag…or something more??

Everyone is so up in arms about Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to perform a very important function of her job as a County Clerk. Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious beliefs. Gay couples, she says, are unbiblical, and supporting them (read: following the law by giving them the marriage certificate they are legally entitled to) would cause her to violate her religion. And because we have freedom of religion in this country, she posits, she should not be legally compelled to violate her beliefs…even if that means that she gets to violate the legal rights of tax-paying citizens of the county she is legally obligated to serve.

People are calling her a bigot. They’re saying she’s prejudiced. They’re saying that we really need to honor the separation of church and state. They’re happy that she’s in jail.

But I think people are looking at this all wrong.

 

 

Let’s take a gander at some facts:

  • Kim Davis cannot keep a man. She’s been married 4 times.
  • She’s not married to her baby daddy.
  • She doesn’t want to work.
  • She has a record.
  • She’s getting a paycheck from the government despite not wanting to work.

Based on these behaviors, Kim Davis is basically a black person. Certainly an RBP. And she’s managed to become a right-wing hero. This could change everything.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Kim Davis isn’t a white anti-gay government official. She’s just some black dude performance artist in whiteface.

Well played, anonymous blacktivist. Well played indeed.

If it were within the rules to be seen in the same room together, I’d come by and say congratulations.

 

If the right starts applauding RBP behavior, what’s next in this new world order? Cornrows at the office? Driveby Fridays? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Is There Room For Both of Us?

You guys! I don’t know what kind of Affirmative Action shitshow is going on right now, but there is a whole ‘nother black person in my department!

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I know!

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It’s like they’re trying to stress me out.

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Okay, I appreciate the empathy, but can we get back to me now?

Yes_of_course

Thank you

The worst part is, she’s… really nice. And kind of funny. And super sweet. And has this amazing breakfast taco recipe that sounds amazing and she totally invited me over to try it. And–

What? Oh! Hey Tiana! What’s this?? Ohmygod, thank you!

Holyshit, she brought me coffee. She brought me coffee just because.

It’s like she doesn’t know the rules at all.

This is terrible news. Partly just because I kind of want to hang out with her sometimes and that’s just not okay. Two or more of us together and soon we’ll start talking about that amazingly heartbreaking This American Life from a couple of weeks ago about how truly segregated schools still are and then we’re basically a gang.

But it mainly sucks because now that she’s here, how am I supposed to stand out at the office?!

When I was the only one of me, I was special and unique and yes that led to some really annoying questions, but it was all because they noticed me. I was being noticed.

Now that I’m just a part of a crowd, how will I stand out?

I’ll have to…actually be really good at my job or something. I’ll have to contribute something other than adorable quips. I’ll have to stop making my resume a liar and learn Excel.

Thanks, Obama.

 

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It’s Hard To Pick Just One Thing…

…But I think what I like most about racially motivated police violence is how inspiring it is.

I’m not saying there aren’t good cops. I am saying that fully half my facebook feed these days is full of images of cops not being good cops.

And it’s just so inspiring.

Every time I see one of these images or videos or articles, I think “Wow! The world needs more empathy. Something needs to change. I need to contribute to change!”

And that’s where some people say that my thinking goes off the rails.

Because my next thought is always:

“So here’s what I’m gonna do. One, I’m gonna dig up that pilot script I stopped working on 5 years ago. Two, I’m gonna join a writers group and get that third act under control. Next, I’m gonna shop it around town for a few seasons. Then, I’m gonna get it picked up by a cable network. Five: gonna get a good lawyer so I can stay on as show-runner and have 2 producer credits. Six, I’m gonna get that bitch into syndication. And finally when those sweet sweet rerun dollars start rolling in, I’m gonna start a charity.”

 

It's a pretty good plan.

It’s a pretty good plan.

 

My friends point out to me that there’s a children’s hospital, a Planned Parenthood, a Habitat For Humanity, and a kids’ after school program walking distance from my house.

Look, sure, those would be great things to get involved with. And some people are reallllly good at things like getting up and out of the house in the morning, interacting with other people in an empathetic way, and managing their time so that they can make important events.

Some of us are ideas people.

So look for my charity circa 2045. It’s gonna be life changing. You can all be on the board.

Speaking of being on board: Save the Date, y’all! The Oreo Experience is going live.

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What do you like most about current events? And what are you going to wear to the show??? Let us know in the comments!