Media misses the mark on race


Some of the biggest brands in the world failed to understand the intricacies of racism, white privilege and police brutality this year.

Popular culture got a lot of things right in 2017. So much of the music was incredible, television was mostly on point, and resistance to President Trump punctured every arena of popular culture in important and poignant ways. But let’s not forget significant missteps, especially when it came to addressing race or failing to acknowledge racism.

This year’s shortcomings are a reminder of just how far we are from equality, according to Salon’s Rachel Leah and D Watkins, who discuss this year’s biggest pop culture misses on an episode of “Salon Talks.” All of the events they spotlight have one thing in common: race.

One of the most intricate pop culture fails included Eminem’s freestyle at the BET Hip Hop Music Awards this year. Hip-hop fans, athletes and mainstream media all praised the lukewarm freestyle as urgent, necessary, powerful and genius. The over four-minute video trashed Donald Trump. "After 27 years of doubts about rap I am now a fan," sports and political commentator Keith Olberman tweeted. "Best political writing of the year, period."

But Leah and Watkins were not impressed. Watkins said, “I don’t think his intentions were in the wrong place. But you don’t hail him king of anything, or the best rapper ever, or the most powerful freestyle ever when there’s no consequences. A white man talking about Donald Trump is kind of like, it doesn’t really mean anything.”

“Let’s dedicate 2018 to not missing the mark,” Watkins added. To see the full list of pop culture fails of 2017, watch the full episode above. Tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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