Getty/Jonathan Aprea

If you spend as much time on the internet as I do, you’ve probably heard of the term “cancel culture”. For the uninitiated, defined “canceling” as a means to “to withdraw one’s support for someone (such as a celebrity, or something, such as a company) publicly and especially on social media.”

This withdrawal of support usually pertains to a situation in which someone (often, a public figure) has said or done something unethical, discriminatory or abusive which causes people to reconsider their support. …

L-R Television personalities, Emmanuel Acho, Kevin Frazier & Van Jones

Ever since large numbers of white folks collectively decided to acknowledge the existence of racism in 2020, there has been a prevalence of “The Conversation”.

You know the conversation I’m talking about, the race conversation, also known in some spaces as the diversity/inclusion/awareness conversation that many companies, academic institutions and media outlets have seemingly decided to prioritize in the past year.

I’m all in favor of The Conversation… in theory. In fact, I’ve spent much of my career facilitating these kinds of discussions with college students, faculty and staff. …

A large group of Right-wing protestors at the US Capitol Building (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Chris Rock once told a joke in his old stand-up special from 2004, Never Scared, about the trained tiger that attacked Vegas performers Siegfried and Roy during a performance back in 2003. Rock said, “Everybody was talking about ‘the tiger went crazy’. That tiger ain’t go crazy, that tiger went TIGER!”

When I saw the footage of the right-wing mob storming the Capitol building in D.C. on Wednesday, I thought this was another case of the “tiger going tiger”.

During the frenzy, President-elect Joe Biden made a public statement, saying that the actions of those individuals didn’t reflect the “true…

An “End Racism” message in the end zone at Arrowhead Stadium | Jamie Squire | Credit: Getty Images

The NFL is really trying hard to clean up their image, apparently, they aren’t trying hard enough.

When I first heard that the NFL was going to have National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman perform at the Super Bowl, something felt off to me. It felt off in the same way that it felt when I first heard that they put the phrase “End Racism” in the end zones of various NFL stadiums.

To me, it felt like the NFL just had to find a convenient way of saying, “Ah yes. I, too, love the Blacks”.

Similar to the Presidential…

George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Barack and Michelle Obama | CREDIT: TASOS KATOPODIS/GETTY

On Wednesday, January 20th 2021, we saw Joe Biden become the 46th President of the United States. In his inauguration speech, he spoke of “Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.”

The word “unity” has been a heavily echoed theme, not only through Biden’s rhetoric, but also in the discourse of the media and many Americans seeking some respite in the aftermath of the Trump administration. In just the past year, we’ve witnessed countless protests for racial justice and widespread social unrest which causes some to believe that we’re a country more divided than ever.

Yet, such an…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a Chicago pool hall in 1966 (AP Photo)

In the midst of the out-of-context quotes, old video clips and photos and historical amnesia that we usually see on Martin Luther King Day, it can be easy for us to interpret him as being a distant, nearly-mythological figure.

Mainstream media narratives tend to portray him as a one-dimensional, platitude-spewing, peace-loving “magical Negro” who was distinctly different from the rest of Black folks. However, that narrative is often ahistorical and does King’s legacy, and Black folks, a disservice.

It’s important to remind ourselves that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Brother. I don’t say “Brother” just in the sense…

People in a park look at a graffiti-covered statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee on a horse.
People in a park look at a graffiti-covered statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee on a horse.
A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia. | Zach Gibson/Getty Images

In recent weeks, following the anti-racist protests of the past month, there has been a dramatic increase in people, companies and institutions working to distance themselves from racist legacies and figures of their pasts.

Commercial products have been renamed, some university buildings are undergoing name changes, and of course, we’ve seen the removal of confederate monuments, and statues of controversial historic figures like Christopher Columbus.

It’s not exactly the systemic change that activists have been demanding, but it’s not a bad thing either.

Critics of these changes have responded, “Well what’s next, you want to take down statues and monuments…

Kristen Wiig, Gal Gadot and Pedro Pascal (From Gal Gadot’s Instagram)

Imagine, in the midst of a global crisis, a bunch of rich, famous people sing a song about “No possessions” and “A brotherhood of man” while many people struggle to figure out where their next check is coming from.

Well, no need to imagine it, it’s real.

Recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wonder Women actress Gal Gadot and a bunch of other celebs (like Will Ferrell, Amy Adams, and Jimmy Fallon) released a compilation video of them singing John Lennon’s 1971 song “Imagine”.

Gadot said, “Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from. We’re all in this together.”

Like many people, I’ve been processing the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, who passed away Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of 9 other people, including his daughter Gianna. Seeing the words “Kobe Bryant” with “death” next to them still doesn’t sit right with me. It still feels like a mistake.

On Sunday night, comedian Quinta Brunson tweeted about Kobe’s passing, comparing it to the scene from the movie “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse” where the world went into mourning after the death of Peter Parker, the man behind the Spider-Man alter ego. …

Eddie Murphy, Getty Images for Netflix

This month, Eddie Murphy hosts Saturday Night Live for the first time in 35 years. His recent comeback, with films like Dolemite is My Name, plus his development of a sequel to his 1988 film Coming to America, led me reflect on his legacy all over again, not only his career but what he means as a cultural figure.

For people born 2000 and on, Eddie Murphy might simply be seen as the guy from films like “Norbit” and “Daddy Day Care”: A goofy guy who makes corny, PG-13 family films with a few fart jokes in them. …

Marvin DeBose

Philadelphia, born & raised. Writer, reader, part-time runner. Edinboro University, Class of 2011. Bylines: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavity, Philly Tribune.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store