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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Olympic Athletes Not Giving Up On Their Country

"I will row through shit for you, America."

Who is Megan Kalmoe?

Before today I probably couldn't tell you. And if you ask me at this time next year, I cannot say I could answer that question. But right now, I can tell you.

Megan Kalmoe is one of those athletes whose absolutely dream is to be put on Team USA and compete for her country.

She's not one of those golfers ducking out because they have bigger tournaments, and a much more lucrative career ahead of them. She's not one of those NBA players that will take time to rest and recover this offseason instead of getting on that court in pursuit of ending careers... err gold medals.

You see, Megan Kalmoe has an amazing story. She was a walk on at the University of Washington after not having any knowledge of competitive rowing. She is now 18 days away from rowing in her last race after a 10 year career that has included three total Team USA Olympic stents.


What she wants all of you to do, though, is to shut up. She has poured her heart and soul, her blood and tears, and most importantly her time and effort into a sport almost none of you will watch. But all the media and critics can do is complain about the poor conditions in Rio and how it's a disgrace and blah blah blah.

Megan knows this. I know this. We all know this. But for some reason not everyone is taking the perspective of the athlete. And not the NBA player or soccer star, but the rowers of Team USA. The Team USA athletes that nobody knows about. The Team USA athletes who maybe weren't born into a freak body like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. The Team USA athletes who "will row through shit for you."

Rio is what it is, but because someone else fucked up, should athletes like Megan give up on their dreams? Think about the dedication these athletes competing have for not just competing, but competing in the conditions that Rio has left them with. Because, as we all know, it isn't for everyone.

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Why The Office is Still the Best Show on TV

If you haven't seen it...start binging.

1. You'll never feel embarrassed again.

The amount of secondhand embarrassment you'll have for certain characters *cough Michael Scott cough* is enough embarrassment for an entire lifetime.

2. Dwight Schrute

I love him. Dwight is the least self-aware and most righteous character you will ever encounter. He's a Pennsylvania Dutch beat farmer when he's not at work selling paper and scheming to become Regional Manager.

3. Jim and Pam are the cutest.

You watch two people fall in love season after season and how that plays out. They are SO cute. If you're as soft as me, you'll cry a lot of times.

4. Pranks.


5. The random weirdness:

6. What show can exist without its protagonist?
The Office. Sorry to spoil the last two seasons - I'm sort of assuming you already know this - but Michael Scott leaves Dunder Mifflin at the end of Season 7. Seriously what other show could pull that off? The power struggle for the role of regional manager propels the plot forward, introducing these two amazing weirdos.

7. It's incredibly binge-watchable.
You can watch 10 episodes in a row; they're fast, light, and incredibly witty. (Also, if you're like me and can get caught up texting, you can miss moments without it having any major impact.) It's on Netflix... and, best of all, there are 201 EPISODES!!!

8. It has shelf value.
It started in 2005 and ran until 2013. That's a long time. It's been three years since the last episode, as well, but it's still on TV all the time. People still watch it all the time. I actually didn't start it until THIS year. Finished it in a month. Savage.

9. If you're really sad at the end, you can watch it again...
Well, the British version. It's also hilarious and just different enough. Wipe those tears and restart that shit.

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I Hate That I Love the Bachelorette

It's just too entertaining....

Every Monday night I find myself in the same spot. I lock myself away, I ignore all other obligations, and I watch the Bachelorette. I count down the days until I get to tune in and watch a total stranger's quest to find love. It's not just The Bachelorette. I'm obsessed with the entire franchise; The Bachelorette, The Bachelor, Bachelor Pad (when that was still a thing), Bachelor in Paradise, all of it.

I can say that I am genuinely, emotionally invested in this show. But I never speak of these feelings to others. If asked if I watch "that stupid show" I scoff with the rest of them. I say, "oh my gosh no way. It's sooooo unrealistic." I try to be cool while I'm silently crying inside because of shame and sadness. I'm not only upset that people think the show is shit, but because it actually is shit. And yet, I still watch it every week.

The Bachelor franchise has been on television for about 15 years. The Bachelor has 20 seasons, The Bachelorette has 12 seasons, there has been three seasons of The Bachelor Pad, and two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise. You would think after that many years, that many seasons, and hundreds of relationships, the success rate of this series would be pretty damn good.

But it's not. Probably seven Bachelor/Bachelorette couples have actually gotten married. Which shows that the system of dating 20 people at once just doesn't work. But I still watch and I still cry when my favorites get eliminated.

So the system doesn't work and they almost NEVER end up together. Then why do I tune in every week and watch hopelessly as they try to find love with twenty other people? Maybe for the drama? Who knows.

I follow every one of these people on Instagram; stalking their every move, trying to figure out who is still together and who's broken up. And every upcoming season I think I won't watch, but I get sucked right back in. I'm trapped in this horrible cycle of trash tv and I can't get out.

So if you're thinking about starting the show, just don't. You'll watch every week and this man or woman will try and (inevitably) fail at love. You'll get sucked in and you'll hate yourself, just like me. So skip watching The Bachelor and dream of a better time when Tila Tequila was still on MTV.

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Forget Deals and Join #GivingTuesday

...a global movement of giving!

It's no secret that we're a society who loves a great deal. Black Friday has, over recent years, provided us with some seriously sketchy situations stemming from the throngs of Americans who participate each year.

And Cyber Monday has grown so rapidly that we're setting sales records with each passing year. We like stuff. And we really, really like it when that stuff is on sale.

And after a weekend of splurging on some retail therapy, it's refreshing to know that a global movement for giving back has begun to trend. Back in 2012, Henry Timms, the executive director of a community center for Jewish life on the Upper East Side in New York, came up with the idea for "Giving Tuesday".

Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday has grown into a world-wide movement of fund-raising for nonprofit groups. It's also spread to encompass, "Collection drives for food, blood and clothing banks; and even random acts of kindness."

Check out some of these celebs who are Tweeting about #GivingTuesday:

Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda:

Kerry Washington is down to give!

MLB's Texas Rangers:

Soccer's Landon Donovan:

There are many non-profit organizations who are involved with Giving Tuesday. If you're looking to give, donate to your favorite charity, drop a few bucks in the Salvation Army bucket as you head into the grocery store, or give your time by volunteering.

Either way, give back what you can, and you'll find that you've received something in return - and it's the feeling of knowing you made a difference.