Being Barney And Black
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Being Barney And Black

Giving the paintbrush to America.

In all of Barney & Friends' climb to becoming a household and childhood staple, the actor inside the Barney costume was a black man. I playfully smile inside with every mention of this little-known fact. David Joyner was the original actor of Barney from 1991-2001.

So, that means Barney was originally black and we can say "we made it" in our best Drake voice. Who can really say "I knew it?" For one, the voice was completely offsetting. It was hard to determine much of anything from such a unique voice.

As it comes to be, Barney was in fact voiced by a separate actor. The original voice actor of Barney was Bob West, who voiced the dinosaur from 1991 until 2000. Although, as a child the race of the actor inside Barney was irrelevant and the idea that he wasn't an actual dinosaur was not a thought to ever cross my mind. Hence, for many years, Bob West was the narrator and soundtrack to the lives and imaginations of children all across the nation.

Now back to the original actor that taught us the how to love and fathom the unfathomable. Joyner manifested an amazing sense of unity and love that was showcased through Barney. Barney was a gentle, loving, giant, full of knowledge, and creativity. Not to make Joyner's role as Barney all about his race, but if we seriously take a look at the social grammar and social norms we can come to the conclusion that it was most likely assumed that Barney was played by a white man.

Our current social grammar revolves around a normative whiteness. Social norms are what society has decided is traditionally "normal," such as heterosexuality or patriarchy.

To a certain degree, normative whiteness has permeated society so deeply that a person concealed completely under a purple and green dinosaur suit was imagined as a white man. That is a huge slap in the face because of the idea that many had never imagined Barney to be black.

Honestly, I too reveled in the discovery. But, the idea that it was possibly unthinkable in our current moment in time, as many of us are adults or entering our adult lives, is cause for a discussion of social normatively and social grammar.

Perhaps Barney's role was a part of destiny, as he claims that the fact that he was cast as Barney was no mistake. His role has the power to alter the way in which black people, and most directly black men, are assessed. Turning Barney political is not hard to do. However, the indirect impact of David Joyner's role as Barney is significant for challenging prejudices of society.

So, with a "great big hug and kiss from me to you, let's all say" America needs to recognize every person regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity. We're all normal.

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What Your Favorite TV Girl Squad Says About Your Friend Group

Are you the Blair and Serena of the group?

Goals are arguably one of the most important things to posses in life. And no, I'm not talking about your career ambitions, your hopes of setting up a non-profit organization, or where you want to retire after forty years of hating your job in consulting. I'm talking about squad goals.

Chances are, you've been Netflix-and-chilling (probably by yourself, because no guy actually wants to sit down and watch an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and thought to yourself "these are my girls". So here are just a few examples of what your favorite girl squad says about you and yours:

The girls of Sex and the City.
Your lives pretty much revolve around sex, and that's totally OK. When you're not at Sunday brunch recounting last night's exploits (and disturbing the families trying to enjoy their food without hearing about your friend's awkward pillow talk), you're laughing to get each other through the tough times because you have a real bond with one another. Just don't fall into such a pattern of talking about sex and nights out that you lose track of what's really going on in each other's lives.

Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica of Friends.
Despite being quirkily high maintenance individually, you're collectively a pretty chill group. You can talk about anything and nothing, see each other more than you see your own co-workers, and even keep a standing date for coffee. You can hang with the guys, but they don't come between your friendships. And the fact that you're so involved in every aspect of each other's lives is a good indicator that you'll be there for all the boring moments in life later on.

Serena and Blair of Gossip Girl.
You and your BFF are the Serena and Blair of your circle. Everyone wants to be you, guys want to be with you, and you're always the center of attention. People associate you with one another.

Only problem is that your friendship is pretty competitive. You probably talk about how she has to constantly get her roots touched up so people think she's a natural blonde, and she knowingly posts pictures on Instagram where you look 10 pounds heavier saying "you look cute!" You've definitely thought about hooking up with each other's love interests (if you haven't already) and your lives will likely be a low-key battle to the death over the title of It Girl.

Ann and Leslie of Parks and Recreation.
You are those girls who your parents and people on Facebook are proud of. Your gal pal activities include being involved in the same organizations, helping out the people around you, and being in serious, mostly stable relationships. Despite the fact that your lives are a little lackluster, you'd do anything for each other and have a friendship that will likely last a lifetime.

The girls of Orange is the New Black.
You don't have a single sober picture together, the bouncers and sober monitors have you on a watchlist, and there's a 33 percent chance that at least two of you will try to fight each other on any given weekend. But you love and put up with each other anyway, because who else will?

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Is Left Wing the New Black?

There's been a total shift on college campuses.

I would like to start by mentioning that this piece is in no way meant to reflect my personal political views.

You have to be paying absolutely zero attention to the world around you if you're missing the huge shift that our millennial generation is making towards the left wing side of politics. Bernie stickers flood college campuses and just about every issue has to be turned into a political movement.

Identifying as a republican in college was once a common thing.

I'm perfectly willing to admit that a lot of those republicans tend to be kids who are lucky enough to have their college education paid for and stereotypically come from upper middle class families. However, more and more of those kids are shifting away from conservative views, both social and financial, and supporting far-left democratic ideas and policies.

But why? What's the attraction? What is pulling even the most republican bred millennials to the liberal side?

Now I'm by no means stating or even suggesting that anything is wrong with being a democrat. To each their own. What I'm trying to get at is that there seems to be an underlying factor to why everyone all of the sudden wants to be a democrat and I'm not 100% sure is has to do with genuine political views.

More than ever being a democrat seems like it's the "cool" thing to do. Politics aren't supposed to be cool, that's not the point. Politics are supposed to be based off informed opinion. Maybe that's just where millennials are falling into the trap of siding with parties because it's what their friends are doing.

Are we convincing ourselves we agree with political parties just because it's what we see our friends flooding your Facebook feeds with?

I'd argue that which political party you side with has become less of a personal opinion and more of a characteristic used by millennials to judge each other. We're starting to wear our political views as an accessory and being a democrat seems to be the hottest one.

Unless you can have an intelligent conversation on why you consider yourself to belong to a certain political party--you aren't a part of said party. Politics aren't meant to be a trend.

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This Woman Made A Sex Joke on TV And The Reaction Is Priceless

Carr may or may not be down.

It's always great when someone makes a sex joke on TV.

Fox 2 Detroit was airing live Monday with a guest, Kelly Schafer, who's the owner of 7 Greens Detroit Salad Company. Apparently, it's National Salad Month. I didn't know either.

Anyway Schafer was on Fox showing new recipes on how to make salad taste less terrible. The co-host of the show, Jason Carr, came on set to have a look at how the cooking was going when the awkward encounter occurred.

"Everybody loves a yoga girl, right Jason," Schafer asked Carr. "That's right," Carr responded, confused as hell.

Shafer then dropped the bomb, "Now I know you want me to toss your salad, too. Don't you?"

Co-host Deena Centofanti quickly jumped in by changing the subject, while Schafer admitted that it's the joke that just never gets old.

This is the face of someone who isn't opposed to the idea.


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Pick An Actor To Play Lestat In "The Vampire Chronicles" TV Show

Who would you choose?

Interview with the Vampire is the first novel in Anne Rice's gothic vampire series The Vampire Chronicles.

Originally published in 1976, the book was immensely popular and eventually became a wildly successful film. The movie starred Brad Pitt, Kristen Dunst, Antonio Banderas and Tom Cruise as vampires in a time long before cellphones and Twilight. The film catapulted Brad Pitt and Kristen Dunst into stardom and helped Tom Cruise solidify himself as a serious actor.

The most recent novel in The Vampire Chronicles series was released just last year, and the author has hinted at even more. Anne Rice has created an incredible world of the undead and an incredible history behind each character, particularly Lestat.

A dark and flawed character, Lestat de Lioncourt is the narrator and anti-hero of most of the novels. He's been portrayed on screen by both Tom Cruise and Stuart Townsend, but both renditions received backlash from fans and critics for not following the novels' description of the character. But all that may change.

Last year, Anne Rice regained the rights to her vampire characters and has publicly spoken about her interest in creating a TV show based on the series. In a recent post on the author's Facebook page, she requested that fans of the series give suggestions on who they'd like to play the character on television.

As a fan of the series I definitely have a few ideas.

Alexander Skarsgard
The Swedish actor is a bit "up there" in age when it comes to playing an immortally young character, but he's still looks good. His recent stint on HBO's Big Little Lies proved Alexander has some amazing acting abilities. And when you put his past playing a vampire on True Blood into consideration, he certainly has the experience to play Lestat.


Jared Leto
As an actor with a reputation for taking on interesting roles and going through unbelievable physical changes, Jared Leto could bring an interesting spin to Lestat. And as a member of 30 Seconds To Mars, Mr. Leto would easily be able to take on Lestat's musical career.


Gaspard Ulliel
The character is bold, brooding and dripping with sexual charisma, three things Gaspard Ulliel definitely has. Lestat speaks both English and French, which just so happens to be Gaspard's native language. Could it be fate?


Toby Regbo
Just because he's the youngest on this list doesn't mean that Toby wouldn't have the ability to play this role. He previously starred in the critically acclaimed movie Mr. Nobody - which funnily enough, also starred Jared Leto - showing off his acting chops. His role on the period drama Reign also proved that he looks good in clothes from the past.


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Why I Hate Black Friday

I will not be busting any doors, thank you very much.

Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Being 400 miles away from home for the majority of the year is hard on a girl who puts a lot of value on family and family time. On top of that, I'm an athlete in a fall sport, which takes up all of my weekends.

Thanksgiving is usually the first time I get to go home during the school year, and I get to see my entire family at my aunt's annual Thanksgiving dinner. I love the feeling of giving thanks, and I get to be thankful for a ton of things. For no school, for my family being together, for seeing my little brother for the first time in months, and of course for my uncle's amazinggg turkey. It's what the holiday is about.

Until the next day, when the sentiment of Thanksgiving disappears faster than the iPhones on sale for Black Friday.

I never have been a huge shopper, but I don't think that contributes to the fact that I simply don't understand, and pretty much loathe, most things about Black Friday. Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful for the things that you have, and being happy with, and about, those things. That's of course something that should stay in our minds all year long, but I'm sure it slips all of our minds sometimes.

Either way, let's break down the door to Target at 3 a.m. and spend hundreds of dollars on all the things we don't have...RIGHT after the day we've dedicated to being grateful for all the good things we have going for us. Naturally.

Call me incredibly old-fashioned, but it blows my mind. What bothers me even more is that some Black Friday deals begin on Thursday, the actual day of Thanksgiving. Sorry there Uncle Drew, could you box me up some turkey? Gotta cut dinner short. There's an electronics blowout at Walmart and I need me a Bluetooth speaker. #thankful

It makes my head hurt. News stories will float up the next day about how many people were injured (or killed...) on Black Friday because of overly-competitive shoppers. I remember seeing videos of people practically breaking down the doors to retail centers and poor employees nearly getting trampled. People buy stuff simply for the fact that it's on sale.

In my opinion, this "holiday" basically provides shoppers with an excuse to cause massive traffic jams, storm storefronts like armed soldiers attacking a fortress, and behave in a deplorable manner to other people. It's a bloodbath. May the odds be ever in your favor.

My family shares my resentment towards Black Friday shopping, so we've never been among the queue of campers lined up outside Best Buy at 4 a.m. A few years ago, on Black Friday, my mom and I went out shopping on a whim at around 11 a.m., long after all the good deals were gone. We hit Macy's at a big mall near my house, and when we walked in, we stopped and surveyed the women's clothing department - or rather, the wreckage that might have once been the women's clothing department.

Racks were picked over, sometimes bare, clothes and hangers were strewn everywhere, and a few employees looked genuinely exhausted. I was mildly terrified for my and my mother's well-being. I nabbed a pair of leggings, Mom found some reading glasses, and we walked out in less than 20 minutes. We've never gone again.

Now, I realize some families have Black Friday shopping traditions and make a whole day out of waking up early, grabbing coffee, and waiting, shivering, in line to grab some holiday gifts a little early. They make it about togetherness, focusing on spending time with the family and having fun together. I think that this aspect of Black Friday genuinely reflects the idea of being thankful for the people in your life, and spending a fun (and maybe a little dangerous) day with them.

But when you start knocking people down to grab the last Keurig, screaming at employees that they're all out of the advertised Beats, and otherwise making a shame-worthy fool of yourself in the name of Black Friday deals, then I begin to have a problem.

Enjoy the Thursday with your loved ones, or with whomever you decide to spend the holiday. Enjoy the whole day, and don't cut it short and prioritize shopping over being thankful. Instead of shoving people aside to grab yourself that aforementioned Bluetooth speaker, relax yourself and get it as a Christmas gift for your brother.

Make it a day spent with your mom, whom you probably haven't seen in a while, being away at school. Or make a different tradition! Decorate the house for whatever holiday you celebrate. Make hundreds of cookies. Spend the day watching movies with your family.

If you do go out on Black Friday, keep in mind the spirit of the holiday, which is one of giving, and of thanks. Aha!