Donyale Luna Gets Her Due

Growing up I felt I was not of this time, that I was from the bygone era’s of the 60’s and 70’s. I was meant to be a groupie, with the band, dating Mick Jagger (ha did that), consuming copious amounts of drugs with art icons of all fields. Gripped by obsession of mingling with the greats, I delved into the counterculture, gaining what I now realize is an esoteric knowledge for someone my age. I don’t confuse stars with spectacles (I don’t affiliate with people who do, I’m a goddess, standards, levels).
At some point I came across this ethereal creature, the only black model walking a show. Upon finding her name in the caption I began researching her, Donyale Luna. There she was again at The Rolling Stones Rock N’ Roll Circus (side note what the band did for her after she was rejected, is why I idolized the Stones, and Jagger’s kids are an embarrassment to him), I stayed up watching a late broadcast on some cable channel as a teen. It was magnificent, the hair on Mick Jagger, Donyale standing behind him just as beautiful, topless, taming tigers. She was it. I couldn’t get enough of her, except there weren’t that many photos. She was practically erased from history. Finding new ones was a rarity I delighted in. Those too stopped, until Zendaya and stylist Law Roach resurrected her, thanks to my blog.

As I said, everyone who’s anyone reads this blog. Out of all the things to come from it, this touched me the most. I wrote this piece Supermodel 101: Donyale Luna on March 19th 2020. Reporting facts is important to me. Beverly Johnson gets all this credit when Donyale was the pioneer. This obscure, otherworldly being you wouldn’t know existed, unless you were extremely cultured and art obsessed. Giving her due was a necessity. Eight month after I wrote my article about this forgotten star, Queen Z and Law paid tribute, recreating her photos on November 19th 2020.

I couldn’t believe it. Gobsmacked, I was gobsmacked. These were the early days of Saint Twenty, the covid shutdown had them not only reading my work, but inspired by it. I was honored. Unlike with Hailey Bieber, who along with the other racists and Uncle Tom’s, thought it ok to bully me, then copy my personality and work. Read Hailey Bieber Copied My Post. Don’t take from me if you’re on some appropriation, hate crime shit. That’s when we have a problem.

Watching the doc this weekend I wept deeply; Donyale’s story was finally being told.
It was being told because three black people- Zendaya, Law and I, revere our ancestors. All the abuse they endured for us to be free, to prosper beyond their wildest dreams, giving their contributions light, and not allowing their sacrifices to be in vain. Our ancestors lived and died in hatred and oppression, they did hard things to be our stepping stones, so we can have what they never got to experience. We owe them everything.
Donyale wished to be a blonde hair, blue eyed woman, because society told her that’s the only acceptable beauty. They punished her for not being it. Treated her subhuman for it. Taught her, reinforced in her, that black isn’t beautiful. Blonde and blue eyed was the only thing worth being. You have no value, because you aren’t white. The subtext of her wish is to be seen as human and treated fairly. If she possessed these aryan features she’d be seen for her immense talent. Instead of being continuously rejected from American Vogue, for being a n*gg*r.

I will never take my foot off your necks. White supremacy will not be tolerated by I, the only divine. Donyale Luna was gorgeous the way she was, as was Lil Kim. Black is beautiful, which is why you appropriate our shit, from music, to facial features with your lip fillers, our bodies, our style, from hair to clothes. We are the culture. And me, a divine, I’m your karma. It always comes. You will pay for the hate you give. Zendaya, Law, I love you. Thank you.Via: HBO, People & Duchess International Magazine

Masculin Féminin Ménage À Trois

Spoiler Alert

However I actually want you to watch after reading this to see if I’m bugging out, because no one seems to be mentioning the things I’m searching for. A cinema nerd, an art fanatic in general, I often research articles after finishing a book, or film. I spent the better part of an hour doing the same for Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece Masculin Féminin, brilliant, fortifying my belief that French New Wave is the best.
The premise of the movie being Paul, the protagonist, is about to turn 21. After serving time in the army he’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He meets Madeline, a budding chantress, falls in love, moves in with her, Elisabeth, and Catherine-Isabelle, colocs. Now while the latter is secretly in love with him, the former seems to be having an affair with Madeline. Therein lies the confusion for Madeline from what I saw. Except no one even references it. Am I nuts?

Elisabeth and Madeline’s romance is alluded to multiple times, explaining her hostility towards Paul and possessiveness of Madeline:
-When they are waiting on Madeline for lunch, Paul informs Elisabeth that the aforementioned party is pregnant. Elisabeth gets angry, telling Paul he doesn’t know Madeline like she does, that she’s lying to him. The viewer is left dubious, as Madeline starts the film admitting she lies to him. Paul gets angry and asks her, “What’s it to you?,” several times while banging on the table. Probably the only time you see him vexed. Elisabeth doesn’t answer.
In the same scene when Madeline does arrive, she empties the rest of the wine into Paul’s glass, but pours half of Elisabeth’s cup into her own to share. Intimate. Then when Paul is lost in his whistling of Bach, eyes closed, immersed in sonic memories, Elisabeth strokes Madeline sexually. After getting angry with Paul for touching Madeline’s chest to feel her heartbeat. Madeline herself telling her not to get jealous, he has a right.
Tracing her face with her finger tips twice, they stop when Paul opens his eyes. Dramatic irony. The viewer knows something a character doesn’t. Shakespeare’s forte.
– When they go to an erotic movie, Elisabeth makes sure to sit next to Madeline, who leaves a space for Paul on the other side. Seeing this Paul sits next to Catherine-Isabelle instead. Madeline makes Catherine-Isabelle switch with her, upsetting Elisabeth who was practically necking her before Madeline confesses her love for Paul, to Paul.
-Finally, in the last scene the audience finds out Paul dies, mysteriously falling from his new apartment window. Elisabeth and Madeline went to see it, because no one believed him. When Madeline wanted to move Elisabeth in with them he objected, then met his end.
The police question Madeline and Catherine-Isabelle, was it suicide, an accident, or murder? I figured Elisabeth was missing from the interrogation as she was a suspect, since they got into an argument about her moving in. Also she told Madeline to abort the child with a coat hanger. Yet still, absolutely no one mentions this relationship regarding the movie. Which is crazy. Leaving me to wonder why? It’s essential to plot, yet everyone talks about Catherine-Isabelle’s unrequited love for Paul. Did the allusions go over everyone’s head? Am I making it up, or am I just super nerdy and observant (I was a film minor, a focal point of my relationship with Serge Becker, read: Who Is Serge Becker? )?

You watch and tell me. I’ll probably write more on this film, it’s so damn good. There’s so much to discuss. Godard also wrote the amazing script. Urgh, a fucking legend. Three panoramic shots left me breathless (pun intended). I ceased to breathe, memorized, replaying them over and over again. Can you guess which three? Are you going to watch? Did you see what I saw too? Via: Serendipity.TD

MA: A Comedy Classic

“Don’t go upstairs.”
The only rule at Ma’s house and what an ominous warning it was. When I saw the preview I knew it was going to be about b.s., but I’m always up for a good scare. Right? It’s so hard to be genuinely terrified, we are the most desensitized era ever, been there, seen that. Gone are the days of The Exorcist, where a spinning green head, the devil and a ton of vomit paralyzed one with fear. Gone are the days where the blurry first hand footage of The Blair Witch Project was enough to send the world in a tizzy, was it real? Are these actors?

Jordan Peele’s psychological thrillers are Hitchcock worthy. Ma coming from the same wheelhouse, Blumhouse Productions, ensured me that it would hold up to the same fear factor. Every horror Peele makes leaves me feeling eerie. I missed Ma in theaters, so I was ecstatic when it became available on HBO GO.

Where do I begin?

Ma is asked by a group of high school kids to buy booze. Around the second time, she invites them to party safely in her basement. As usual nobody listens to the black one, who said we don’t know this woman, we shouldn’t go to her house. This is why black people in scary movies are misrepresented. As a culture we are easily spooked and know when some shit don’t feel right. Out voted, they proceed to follow her through the woods to her home. From hang one sis exhibited off behavior, forcing one of the kids to strip while holding him at gunpoint, after he called her a loser. This was Ma’s way of handling the slight. Still they continue to hang out at her basement, as she displays increasingly erratic behavior.

The scenes in this film become progressively bizarre. Ma becoming angry with the teens for attending high school, rather than party like rockstars with her, sets sinister plans into motion. I mean truly, so strange, I spoke to the screen aloud several times with jaw dropping commentary “what…what is happening?…I’m SO confused.” Never in my life have I been so genuinely perplexed by a film. Even when the motive behind Ma’s actions is revealed, it still doesn’t make sense. Best described by my friend Tanisha as “the script must have been missing some pages.” Accurate. The fact that Octavia Spencer and Allison Janney, Oscar winners, partook in this boggles the mind.

A scary movie it is not, psychological thriller nope, unintentionally one of the best comedies I have ever, EVER seen in my life, accurate. If you want to cry from laughing, Ma is the ticket. Underrated comedy cult classic.