CULTURE

Exclusive Interview: Snitchery Discusses Her Blackness, Transparency & Beauty Diversity

Snitchery talks black-fishing accusations and what her Blackness means as a biracial influencer.

Like many beauty enthusiasts, 23-year-old beauty influencer Eleanor Barnes (widely known as Snitchery) found her love for make-up in middle school— "maybe a little too early," she joked.

She continued to foster her interest and skills over the years, though in private. During her suburban North Virginia upbringing, she wasn't focused on building follower counts, not even on MySpace. It wasn't until she attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts in 2014 that she innocently discovered social media and its ability to create connections and friendships.

She said, "Okay, if I want to make friends in college...this is the way to do it—I'm going to do the social media route." As a make-up lover and early selfie queen, Eleanor began posting aesthetically-pleasing looks on her Instagram, with perfect lighting and solid background color tones.

"Because I didn't grow up with social media, I didn't know being an influencer was a thing; I didn't know [this] job existed," she said. "I kind of thought people on Instagram who had a lot of followers were just really popular. I didn't realize they were actually making money."

Understandably, this was the thought process of many early users on the Internet. Social media marketing really got started in 2010 when Amazon partnered with Facebook and began using algorithms to suggest products and services to "friends."

During the summer of her sophomore year at Emerson (majoring in Media Studies and Art History), while working in the crafty aisles of Michael's, Eleanor first realized her influencer aspirations and decided to turn a passing hobby into a full-time career. She quickly began making more money than any average 20-year-old college student.

By 2017, she was completely financially independent, creating make-up looks, tutorials, and eventually (as a self-proclaimed "nerd at heart") leaning into cosplay.



The Cosplayer

Dating back to the beginnings of her well-curated Instagram, Eleanor posted make-up looks that were heavily inspired by brightly-colored animated characters.

Eleanor's early talent for dramatic make-up routines naturally collided with her other loves: anime and Disney. She grew interested in cosplay as an outsider, not actually wearing full-blown outfits or going to conventions. However, she took the spark of her small interest and ignited it into a unique make-up style.

Her shift to cosplay was "natural progression," she said. She began stepping into more outfits (including props) in her photos, while still keeping her approach make-up focused. In October 2018, she began doing costume make-up, and her followers' positive reactions were more than what Eleanor expected. Thus, she became an active part of the cosplay subculture of the beauty industry.

She channeled her inner anime enthusiast into creating characters from Studio Ghibli and classic Disney princesses with a modern twist. Her passion and love for anime can easily be seen through her tutorials and detailed looks. When we spoke about what anime means to her, she reflected that many beloved series (HunterxHunter being a fave) returned adults to near forgotten lessons we learned from fables and even religion, like "friendship is important" and "don't underestimate yourself."

"I kind of treat [anime] as modern-day fairy tales, in a way," she said. This love translated to another business venture. Eleanor created her first merchandise collection of hoodies, sweatpants, beanies, and dad hats inspired by Japanese lettering and designs.



The Activist

Eleanor's follower count jumped from thousands to tens of thousands in just a couple of years, helping her solidify fan bases in both the beauty and cosplay communities. But, as the old Hip-Hop adage goes, "mo' money, mo' problems." During her rise, Internet scrutiny rose and an infestation of self-appointed cancel culture police searched for names and profiles to include in popularized buzzwords, and all this eventually caught up with Eleanor.

"Blackfishing" accusations quickly circulated around late 2018, pinning white beauty influencers as perpetrators of using deeper-toned foundations or tanning for longer than necessary, leading them to be regularly mistaken for ethnic women. If this phrase is new to you, look at any Kardashian sisters' early social media photos compared to those of today. More recently, Kim has reawakened the blackfishing conversation with her unveiling of her controversial skincare routine.

Eleanor soon received her own mix of accusations. Given her sudden growth and notoriety and the public's very limited knowledge of her personal and family life, beauty enthusiasts accused the biracial influencer of blackfishing.

"It was weird," she remembered, not understanding the initial accusations. Growing up in a predominantly white suburb of Northern Virginia with her white mother and Black father, Eleanor's experience as "the Black family on the block" was profound.

"I was always the token Black girl," she confessed. Reminiscing about her childhood as a darker-skinned, curly-haired kid, she remembers being asked by a soccer teammate if she was adopted when she was picked up by her white mother. These moments gave context to her experiences of being racially ambiguous in white spaces.

"I was obviously read as Black for 18 years and [realized in college] for the first time I was going to be read as completely white," she said.

In college, Eleanor surrounded herself with Black people and those who looked like her by joining select clubs geared towards Black students and Black women specifically. "For the first time, I felt I was having the culturally Black experience just because I hadn't had the opportunity to have Black friends before," she said. She joined Black and brown organizations on her school campus and attended many protests and rallies surrounding Ferguson and the unjust gunning down of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

"I was approaching these issues as a Black woman because that's how other people saw me and that's how I saw myself," she said.

The accusations of blackfishing eventually prompted the YouTuber to take to her visual platforms to discuss the conversation around her Blackness, and also to open up about her biological background.

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As a racially ambiguous woman of color, Eleanor makes it apparent that she understands the nuance of identifying as a Black woman, while acknowledging that her Black experience is a story that thousands of other mixed people identify with.

"I never want to take more up space than I feel is appropriate and I never want to talk over people, but there is a lack of biracial stories in the media," she shared. After sharing her background, she received literally thousands of direct messages from biracial fans who also felt displaced from their communities - not being Black enough for the Black spaces and being too Black for white spaces.

As part of an industry that favors racially ambiguity, fuller lips, and deeper tanned skin, Eleanor is not ignorant about her position in beauty and makeup spheres.

"I own up to every way that I move through life so privileged in a lot of ways to be read as racially ambiguous and white, but that doesn't change the fact that I wasn't read that way for 18 years," she said. Opening up these conversations, helping some find comfort, and educating others about the nuanced experience of ambiguous Black bodies was not an intentional move for Snitchery, but it was a necessary dialogue that received overall positive reception.


The IG Baddie

The beauty industry is a $600 billion machine that feeds on physical insecurities. Beauty influencers are glittery cogs in this massive system, and they do their part accordingly without deviating too far from the demands of advertising agencies and corporations. While many influencers are choosing to take the "safe" path, participating in dramatic disputes ("We're talking about makeup and [the industry] is 80% drama and 20% tutorials," Eleanor points out) while being coy with their followers about their beauty additives, Eleanor has attempted to be completely transparent with fans about what she does and does not do to enhance her looks.

"Everybody's face is starting to look the same, which is a little scary," she said. "For the average person who is interested in beauty, [there] probably is something damaging about having all of your influences having a very, very similar face, that they've all built and that they all paint on everyday. I don't know if that's the healthiest thing in the world."

While the "IG Baddie look" looks great on camera and video, at one point, Eleanor noticed that the look that she'd been doing for years was no longer fitting her face. The almost plastic-looking aesthetic of being flawless no longer served her.

So she began diving into styles from other time periods and from other countries. On her YouTube channel, which has over 300,000 subscribers, Eleanor began experimenting with what worked best for her face terms of eye shape, cheekbone contouring, and highlighter.

"I think it's silly to think one particular makeup style can be universally flattering on everybody. And we've gotten to a point in Western make-up where only really one style is being presented to us," she said. Through her personal expansion beyond Western beauty norms, Eleanor was able to find more of what works for her; she's dropped almost 50% of her "IG baddie" makeup routines.

"I'm never going to knock anyone's makeup style, but I just realized wearing that much makeup [daily] was not for me," she said. By teaching herself how to do her makeup intuitively, instead of checking Instagram to see what's trending amongst the beauty girls, Eleanor found new looks and trends that fit her face and daily routine more organically and fluidly.


The Future

Eleanor and her Snitchery brand have come a long way from simply using social media as a way to find friends. At only 23-years-old, she is financially independent, an entrepreneur, a caring and compassionate human being and, above all else, a self-aware adult using her platform to spread awareness of mental healthcare, climate change, the importance of voting, human rights and much more.

While there seems to be a standard, popular look that's generally considered normal in the industry, Snitchery is working her way to changing this for the better, allowing everyone to live their truth. More influencers are moving away from fully-covered, face-tuned selfies and are getting back to loving their natural faces (or at least something close).

Thanks to all this, Eleanor has a major future in the beauty industry. With aspirations of reaching the million follower mark on Instagram (which is only months away); she's also in the early stages of development for her own product line.

"[There are] a lot of big holes in the makeup industry that product is not necessarily filling, and I'm going to be the one to do it!" she said.

We can only hope that popular influencers in all industries, from make-up artists to our favorite gamers, can understand and respect their position like Snitchery does, making transparency a requirement instead of an option.

Netflix's You created a phenomenon for binge-watchers everywhere, sparking a conversation around our societal understanding of what we consider inherently good and evil.

You's first two seasons follow bookstore clerk Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley) as he uses murder as a means to get closer to the women he fixates on. This is a major departure from Badgley's earlier roles.

Penn Badgley was born in 1986 in Baltimore, Maryland. He first gained notoriety in 2000 on The Young and the Restless, where he played Phillip Chancellor IV. After that, starred in the WB series Do Over, The Mountain, and The Bedford Diaries.

That was all before he become a household name, starring alongside Blake Lively in Gossip Girl on the CW, based off the popular book series of the same name.

Each of these characters were far more conventional heartthrobs than Joe Goldberg.

In 2006s John Tucker Must Die, Penn played John's brother Scott, rather than the Tucker that "must die." In 2009 Penn Badgley starred in The Stepfather a remake of the 1987 horror film. Even in this thriller he played a sympathetic hero, rather than a killer.

In 2014 Badgley had a minor part as the Prince of Monaco in Adam Green's Aladdin. Apparently he's a natural at playing royalty. You allowed him to show off a new side of his acting skills.

In the latest 10-episode season of the show, viewers follow Joe from New York to California where he ultimately meets Love, the latest woman he sets his mind on. Joe finds himself in another calm, calculated, yet clumsy murder spree as he tries to win her affections.

On the promotional tour for both seasons, and particularly on the tour for this latest release, Badgley discussed his connection (or lack thereof) to his character, who is adored by thousands.

In many interviews, Badgley is refreshingly aware of the white male privilege he shares with Joe. In numerous soundbites from the press run, the 33-year-old actor can be quoted probing the question, "How far will we [as a society] go to forgive a white man?"

1. Calling Out Male Privilege on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he expounds on his point. "How patient and willing to forgive we are [as a society] someone who inhabits a body that inhabits mine, [has] the color of my skin, my gender, these sorts of things, these sort of privileges," he said. "And how less forgiving [we are] of those who don't fit those boxes."

Using many press sit-downs and interviews to raise foundationally similar questions, Badgley is clearly utilizing his platform to bring awareness to these privileges and to further examine ideologies that question society's understanding of love and morality.

When speaking, Badgley is noticeably careful not to support the alarming attraction his fans already have to his character. Fans across social media platforms and live show tapings have displayed an overwhelming attraction not only to Badgley, but his sociopathic and narcissistic Netflix persona.

In the Colbert interview, he described his struggle to play such a likable person, especially someone who provokes such a "thirsty" reaction in so many people.

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2. Responding to "Thirst Tweets" at Buzzfeed

Because of the open affection for Joe, Buzzfeed invited Badgley to read "thirst tweets" from fans. The tweets ranged from lustful declarations to murderous desires.

Aside from tweets aimed to ask about the plot of the show or the potential of a season three, Badgley gave quite a few of them short responses and passed on many entirely.

While Badgley makes it clear in repeated interviews that his responses to probing comments may seem tongue-in-cheek or downright snarky, the Gossip Girl actor has a clear discomfort with the open commentary.

The widespread attraction that many viewers feel for Joe brings to mind similar affections targeting the 1970s serial killer, Ted Bundy. Young woman were also unreasonably attracted to his charismatic charm and smile, even during his trial for the murdering of over 30 women across seven states between 1974 and 1978.

Then his story was reimagined and romanticized in 2019 when all-American High School Musical star Zac Efron reawakened the allure of the famed killer by playing Bundy in Netflix's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

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3. Killing Off Joe on Entertainment Tonight

Badgley didn't mention Bundy (or other romanticized serial killers, for that matter) in his press run; perhaps he didn't want to offend Zac Efron.

On Entertainment Tonight, Badgley was asked what he would like to see happen to Joe, and Penn immediately responded with "death" (which he, of course, laughed off politely).

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4. Talking Justice on Buzzfeed's AM to DM

During his sit-down with Buzzfeed's talk show AM to DM, Badgley elaborates on his realization that Joe is "irredeemable." He toys with the notion that there needs to be justice in Joe's story but not for the fictional character—more so for "the rest of us in the world."

Given Badgley's hope that Joe will receive a fair punishment for his murders (whether it be jail, a mental institution, or death at the hands of a failed conquest), the audience should also feel hopeful that there may be a just ending to this story, which ultimately is a tale of a man using today's advanced technologies to invade women's privacy.

As viewers, we deserve to see a righteous end to this technological dystopian nightmare.

Badgley shared that he was constantly conflicted when he was not in front of the camera, even though he was essentially doing his job. "I'm a full puppet," he explained with a laugh. "That is the job of the actor, you're a vessel for these things."

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Badgley has been more publicly outspoken during his run as Joe than he was during his five-year run on the hit series Gossip Girl.

With age, Badgley has become more self-aware and understanding of his position and platform, and he seems to want to utilize it only for the greater good.

Performing a fictional, but also realistic, character like Joe gives him the space to share his understanding of morality and justice. While Joe is seemingly difficult to play, hopefully Badgley will find peace in knowing that his performance has sparked difficult conversations about how society views predatory (white) men.

Many people outside of the hot girl tribe are confused about the actual definition of the now popular mantra.

The term went viral after being rapped at the beginning of Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion's single "Cash Sh*t" featuring the equally charismatic and bubbly rapper Da Baby. Megan has turned her carefree, fun-filled lifestyle into a blueprint for forward activism for the Gen Z generation and has made it look so effortless in the process.

The 24-year-old rapper has exemplified what it means to be a hot girl in her day-to-day social media antics and sightings in various cities. The hot girl lifestyle has very little to do with sexual exploration (while that can be up to each hot girl's prerogative) and more to do with a continuous upward trajectory of positive energy and growth. The mantra boils down to a concise concept: having fun and living your best life.

A Real #HotGirlSemester

While the Houston-native climbs up the music charts, she still wants to have as much fun as possible while doing so; but Megan makes it apparent that it's not always playtime. With Generation X and Generation Y (AKA Millennials) understanding student debt all too well, Generation Z (including Megan) are also feeling the blunt force of debt more than ever. Currently, the student loan debt now stands at a staggering $1.41 trillion, according to Investopedia.

As a college student herself, the Gen Z artist understands the weight of getting classwork done at all costs. Megan empathizes with what it's like to cram those final papers and exams in at 11:59 PM on their due date, doing the same in between photo shoots and after parties. She majors in Health Administration at Texas Southern University, where Meg Thee Stallion has been transparent about simultaneously being a student and a nation-wide superstar. In an interview with Billboard late last year, she humbly discussed one of her professors pointing out "The Stallion" alter ego.

"Only one of my professors right now knows that I'm like a whole rapper. She followed me on Instagram, and when I came to class she was like, 'Megan, so you got a little alter ego!' I was like, 'Oh my god. Don't follow me!'"

The Vegan Lifestyle

Since she's been in the spotlight, Megan has spoken openly about her dietary choices. She initially transitioned to vegetarianism but became a vegan after researching the treatment of factory-farmed chickens and cows.

In an official report released July 2019, the Plant-Based Food Association (PBFA) and the Good Food Institute reported that plant-based vegan foods have increased in popularity over 11% in the last year, turning veganism into a $4.5 billion industry. "The plant-based meat category alone is worth more than $800 million, with sales up 10 percent in the past year," the report reads. "Plant-based meat now accounts for 2% of retail packaged meat sales."

This increase can be partially attributed to Millennials and Gen Zers being more health conscious of the environmental benefits of veganism and plant-based diets than their predecessors. Megan, along with many other vegans, are doing their best to get others to join in on the movement. She even tried to convince fellow rapper, Chance The Rapper, to make the change by challenging him to eat more broccoli (which he struggled to do) after losing a bet.

Eco-friendly Hottie Movement

Following her veganism movement, Megan began to advocate for a more holistic, environmentally-friendly lifestyle. She often tweets tips, helping her followers become "eco-friendly hotties" with simple life hacks, including using recyclable bags, reusing water bottles and food containers, and pushing followers to stop eating meat (or at least less of it).

Last June, the "Sex Talk" rapper put her words into action and hosted a beach clean-up in California with fans. She posted a now-deleted Instagram live urging fans to "come in y'alls bikinis and we gonna go clean up some sh*t, you know what I'm saying?"

Hundreds of fans attended the beach clean up at the Santa Monica Pier. This event was a powerful use of platform and display of community that more celebrities should embrace, especially because causes such as climate change and environmental destruction will affect our Earth for years to come. While these events may seem minuscule in the face of mass, corporate-level disasters we're facing, it's hopeful to see the next generation (including the popular celebrities) caring enough to do something about it.

Respect Thee Stallion

Megan is still new and is already becoming a recognizable name in music, standing her ground alongside other male and female artists in her genre. With her infectious smile and joyful approach to life, Megan noticeably gets along with everyone from fellow rappers and Hip-Hop moguls to political voices.

Artists who stand for their causes and understand the intersectionalities of their platforms will be able to influence the next generations much more significantly than politicians who are talking "at" them and not "to" them. The fact that artists such as Cardi B, Beyonce, and Megan Thee Stallion are standing by important, generation-shifting causes will motivate young adults and politicians alike to pay attention to societal issues which can hopefully spark greater change.

TV Features

Netflix Adds a Little Haitian Voodoo to "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch"

It's a major step towards including Black spiritualism in TV storylines.

As far as Netflix original series go, The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina The Teenage Witch is a well-curated playlist of supernatural entities, occult practices, and teenage angst.

The third season delivered all the demonic drama we've been waiting for. Viewers reconnected with Sabrina, who is somewhere between being the Queen of Hell and just a "normal" teenage witch in Greendale. In Hell, Sabrina must defeat Caliban, who (if you didn't have to read The Tempest in high school) is the son of the witch Sycorax. Back in Greendale, the witches, mortals, and summoned hedge witches come together to fight a war with the pagans.

In episode one, we find Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) being led on a wild goose chase around the world as they look for Faustus Blackwell. Their latest chase brings them to New Orleans, where Ambrose begins to give up hope, but Prudence realizes there is witchcraft in the world that their former high priest does not know of.

The Introduction of Voodoo Priestess Mambo Marie

To search for Faustus in a more efficient manner, the pair make their way to a shop owned by a mysterious yet enticing Voodoo priestess. We meet a Black woman who introduces herself as, "Mambo Michele Marie Le Fleur, Priestess of High Haiti, Daughter of the Tiano people, faithful to Guinee" and informs the witch and warlock that she "don't do none of this watered-down New Orleans Voodoo Hoodoo bullsh*t." It's inferred that Mambo Marie is a descendant of the famous Voodoo queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau, though the show has yet to confirm this theory. When Ambrose and Prudence tell Marie their dilemma, she guides the duo through the recipe of a locator spell by working with blood magic.

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This scene, while small (and overlooked in many recaps of the season) is a major step in the right direction towards including Black spiritualism in TV story lines. Mambo Marie (Skye P. Marshall) is the first introduction to Voodoo in the series, prompted by Prudence's (another Black woman's) intrigue and interest in a new spiritual practice. A later scene shows Ambrose and Prudence performing the blood magic ceremony over a map of the world, subsequently leading them to the location of Father Blackwell. Mambo Marie states that the ritual requires something belonging to the person they're searching for, and they end up using Prudence's blood. Altogether, the scene evoked the origins of Voodoo.

Voodoo, also Vodou, was brought to French Louisiana in 1719 by captive West Africans through their various ethnic groups from (what is now recognized as) the Republic of Benin, east of Nigeria. These groups (Bambara, Mandinga, Wolof, Ewe, Fulbe, Fon, Yoruba, Chamba, Congo, Ibo, Ado, Hausa and Shango) continued their spiritual practices and ancestral worship through the use of herbs, their native tongue, song and dance, charms, spells, amulets and more. Each group is recognized as having an integral part of the growth of Voodoo as a faith, combining elements and knowledge through the generations.

It is heavily documented that the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was powered by allegedly possessed slaves guided by the Yoruba orisha (or god) of war, blood, and iron, Ogun, during a Voodoo ritual in Bois Caïman. This ritual is famously known as the Bois Caïman Ceremony and is historically the reason Haitians were victorious against the French in this war.

Mambo Marie's Contribution to the Coven

The Voodoo priestess makes a return appearance in episode 5 after being presumably summoned by Zelda Spellman in an open call for all hedge witches (or witches not belonging to a coven) to help in the war against the pagans. Episode 6 opens with a sister circles of witches from diverse backgrounds, including the Icelandic cannibalistic Christmas witch, Gryla; the Norwegian witch of disease and plague, Pesta; and Sycorax, an evil witch from the city now known as Algiers.

Out of anger and confusion, Pesta attempts to attack Zelda for summoning them, only to be stopped by Mambo Marie, who reminds them all, "We do not need to fight each other, that is what men do. But we are women, n'est-ce pas (isn't that so)? Witch women. We can do more than fight, can we not?"

Later in the episode she introduces the girls of the coven, formerly known as The Church of Night (later named The Order of Hecate), to a traditional Haitian Voodoo dance of protection. This unknown ceremony being performed within the Academy is not initially welcomed by Zelda Spelman. After a private conversation with Marie, Zelda realizes that she's nonthreatening and a potentially beneficial presence in the church (in more ways than one).

With powerful performances in just a handful of scenes, Mambo Marie has solidified herself as a recurring character in the show, not only as the love interest of Zelda's but as a solid representation of Louisiana Voodoo (Sorry AHS: Coven) that fans are ready to see.

TV

"American Gods" Doesn't Understand the Importance of Black Spiritualism

"American Gods" committed an unnecessary diversity fail.

American Gods, the TV show based on Neil Gaiman's award-winning novel of the same name, premiered in 2017.

At the beginning, the show focused on Shadow Moon (played by Ricky Whittle) who was recently released from prison. Shadow is quickly pulled down a rabbit hole of bizarre experiences thanks to Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), who we later discover is the Germanic mythological god Odin. Mr. Wednesday is trying to build an army of "old gods" to pit against the "new gods," and he enlists Shadow's help. The new gods are Mr. World a.k.a. globalization (Chirpin Glover), Media (Gillian Anderson)—who is replaced by New Media in season two (Kahyun Kim)—and Technical Boy (Bruce Langley).

Odin/Mr. Wednesday, with his bodyguard Shadow in tow, embarks on a cross-country journey to recruit gods he personally knows to fight against the new gods to gain back the faith and worship of the masses. Odin recruits the Slavic god of "darkness and evil," Czernobog (Peter Stormare), Hindu goddess Kali/Mama-Ji (Sakina Jaffrey), he Pagan goddess of Easter, Ostara (Kristin Chenoweth), and many more. Also on his team is a character from West African folklore, Anansi, who in the material world is known as Mr. Nancy, played by Orlando Jones.

Anansi (pronounced uh-naan-see) is a storyteller and a prominent character in season two (with few scenes in season one). On December 14, 2019, Orlando Jones took to the Internet to reveal that he was let go from the show in September and would not be returning for season three.

Fans of the show were (and still are) outraged. Since he was one of the few characters of color that appeared in season one and two, fans of Anansi/Mr. Nancy were confused as to why the showrunners would make their show less diverse. During an exclusive one-hour interview with The Blerd Gurl podcast, Jones explained the full timeline that led to his firing.

The Removal of Anansi

Jones detailed conversations he had with the new showrunner, Charles (Chic) Eglee (the third showrunner thus far), who felt that the Anansi character was "not good for Black America." For those unfamiliar with Anansi in the show, the West African god made a powerful first appearance in season one, episode two. We meet Anansi on a slave ship, where he first says his mantra, "Angry gets shit done," which urges the captive Africans on board to burn down the ship transporting them to America.

However, the scene that created waves was in episode four, season two, in which Anansi made a speech stating that "slavery is a cult." In this conversation, Anansi, goddess Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), and Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes) discuss the current state of Black people in America and the global epidemic of human trafficking of Black and brown bodies. According to the new showrunner, this scene (and the overall "angry gets shit done" perspective Anansi maintains throughout the show) was not what Black America needed in the current political climate.

During The Blerd Girl interview, Jones even recounts hearing that Eglee (a white man) said to other executives that he "writes from a Black male perspective" better than Jones himself.

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While this is already a solid slap in the face, it's particularly offensive given the minimization (and frequent nonexistence) of traditionally Black faiths and beliefs in shows and movies. Anansi was one of the few Black characters in mainstream television centered around spirituality and religion as he discussed the Black experience in a real and raw manner. As Jones explained in his interview with Blerd Gurl, fans flooded his DMs with messages telling him how important the Anansi character was to the landscape of television and what it meant for them to see that kind of representation.

During the TCA tour earlier this month (Jan. 7-19), Starz network president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch addressed the situation with Jones, simply stating, "Orlando [Jones] is a tremendous talent and is a great actor and person. The book is rich in story and [Mr. Nancy] doesn't have a prominent role in the story… that's where we are."

Hircsh also added, "Chic and the team decided to be in [an] area where Mr. Nancy doesn't play a prominent role, so that's where we are." This blanket statement, while extremely diplomatic, entirely ignores Eglee's previous statements.

The State of (and Demand for) Black Spiritual Representation

Given the current uptick in themes of spirituality and faith in popular shows (CC: Good Omen, The Chilling Tales of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, October Faction, The Path, and even SYFY's The Magicians), it is a terrible move to remove important Black representation.

While we know shows take creative liberties regularly, it would make sense within the world of American Gods to include a character that speaks for the Black experience with urgency. Referring back to the aforementioned mortuary scene between Anansi, Bilquis and Mr. Ibis, what makes the scene powerful is seeing three Black actors portraying African gods and goddesses having a conversation about current Black America. This moment of thoughtful representation was applauded by viewers of all backgrounds, but it fell on (tone) deaf ears when it came to the current showrunner.

In a media climate where diversity is praised but not fairly executed, keeping the character of Anansi could have been a slam dunk for a show that sees trouble in the writers' room and prominent characters exit (or suddenly let go) for unexplained reasons.

In a wider sense, there have been limited examples of people of color in the mystical and spiritual space as it relates to popular shows and movies. We can point out Rachel True as Rochelle in The Craft, Jasmine Guy as Sheila Bennett in The Vampire Diaries, Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau in American Horror Story: Coven, and more recently Tati Gabrielle as Prudence Blackwood in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Because of this lack of diversity and open call for more relatable characters, we turn to shows from independent filmmakers. Web series such as Juju Web Series, created by director and screenwriter Moon Ferguson, have a growing fanbase consisting of those looking for binge-worthy shows with mystical Black and brown representation. On the creation of Juju, Ferguson writes, "I wanted to experience supernatural beings who look like me. Blacks and People of Color are very underrepresented in the fantasy genre. I think it's time to start writing our stories in the fantasy realm. We are long overdue for Black witches, vampires, werewolves, sirens, soothsayers, fauns, etc. We hold an abundance of history which includes magic stemming back to Africa."

The Future of American Gods

During the TCA tour, Hirsch did mention that Anansi is not prominent in the chapters that the show is covering from the original novel. However, Anansi is relevant in later chapters (if sticking to the canon is really that important).

American Gods' third season is currently set for a 2020 release date, which will see the debut of the standard 10 new episodes. With all the changes in actors, debacles in the writers' room, and overall drama surrounding the show, is it even worth watching? The world will have to wait and see.

Cardi B has proven herself to be much more than a funny personality on social media or another reality TV star.

Born in the Bronx as Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, Cardi B is an international mega-star. The "Bodak Yellow" rapper has accomplishments that far exceed her predecessors, including being the first female rapper on the cover of Vogue Magazine (along with her one-year-old daughter, Kulture). From her record-breaking and award-winning albums to her successes in the fashion industry (because her stylist never misses), Cardi has become a household name. To quote her own lyrics, Cardi's "little 15 minutes lasted long as hell."

Cardi has used her platform to expressed her political standings, most notably on Instagram. Her animated speeches denouncing #45 after the government shutdown at the top of 2019 was the first widely known instance of The rapper speaking not only passionately but rationally about American politics.

In fact, the queen is loud and extremely vocal about her decisions and where she stands on major issues. She has tweeted about her position on social security, supported Cynthia Nixon during her race for Governor of New York, and stood firm in her stance against performing for the Super Bowl in support of Colin Kapernick's peaceful protest. Time and time again, she’s demonstrated where her personal and political values lie.

So, Cardi’s tweets about running for Congress earlier this month shouldn't have been an entire shock. On January 12, Cardi tweeted, "I think I want to be a politician. I really love government even tho I don't agree with Government." This was followed by, "I do [feel] like if I go back to school and focus up I can be part of Congress. I deadass have soooo much ideas that make sense. I just need a couple years of school and I can shake the table."

The following day (Jan. 13), she continued discussing her political aspirations with fans (and haters) who responded with questions, some intrigued by her interests and some denouncing her desires altogether. She replied to negative comments from conservatives and supported "friendly debates" with opposition to discuss their differences. Cardi even responded to questions about her potential policy on gun control, promoting evaluations and training for gun holders.


Cardi has received support from Senator Bernie Sanders and her fellow Sanders protégé and Bronx-native, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or as she should be nicknamed, The Notorious AOC).

Last summer, the rapper strived to educate young voters on the platforms of the presidential candidates. She sat down with The Bern to discuss current societal issues and the future of America. Before this meeting, Cardi asked her followers to submit questions they wanted to hear Senator Sanders answer; she chose the most popular, giving constituents a closer and more personal understanding of Sanders' platform and ideas. Afterwards, Sanders wrote in an Instagram post, "We had a great conversation about the future of America. ‬And let me tell you: Cardi B is right.‬ ‪Together, we'll get millions of young people involved in the political process and transform this country."

As a public figure, she already also has the support of much of the millennial and Gen-Z generation, which many current presidential candidates are trying to gain. With her relatable public image, social media popularity, and access to many major figures in politics and entertainment, she has a fair shot of winning more votes than one would first assume.

To run for Congress, Cardi B has to be 25 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and living in the state she's looking to be elected in. Cardi B is definitely within the age range (currently 27 years old) and, from public records, is a U.S.citizen currently living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Assuming Cardi takes the time to study constitutional law, as she promised, in a world of Kardashian lawyers and celebrity presidents, she has an extremely fair shot of winning a congressional seat. From her many political tweets, Instagram story rants, her love for government and its history, and sit-downs with political figures, Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar could not only win, she could make (dare I say) a difference.