Aladdin Casting Discourse And My One Wish To Rectify It. 

On July 15th, its as announced that the leads of Aladdin had been found, after much scrutiny and uproar over Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel being passed on. Mena Massoud is our delightful titular character of Aladdin and is of Egyptian descent, his casting was met with generally positive comments, however with Naomi Scott as the Arabian princess jasmine, fans and Internet trolls alike were angered. 

 

Let’s get the facts and my personal opinions on the matter straight. Naomi is half English, and half Indian according to herself and most sources. Her mother was born in Uganda and emigrated to the United Kingdom. Do I believe the role of Jasmine should have gone to an Arab? Hell yes, be we can’t solely blame Naomi for the casting decision and we need to have an open discussion on Disney’s problematic  Portrayal of middle eastern culture in the film. 

Setting and culture: 

The backdrop to the famous tale which in early versions is of Chinese origin is the fictional city of Agrabah. Conveniently located near the Jordan river and has a large Taj Mahal-Esque monument at the city centre. Jasmine is the daughter of a Sultan, which also existed in India and had a pet tiger named Rajah. Tigers are predominantly found in India and a symbol of the county and the name Rajah means Indian prince or king. My point is, for a movie set in Arabia, there is a ton of South Asian influence, with these being only a few examples. 

Brown skin 

Both Aladdin and Jasmine are undoubtedly PoC and displayed brown skin in the animated classic. As a kid with brown skin, surrounded by white princesses, they meant a lot to me and how I felt represented. However, as I grow older and hopefully wiser, I understand now that brown people are NOT interchangeable, now matter how included I felt. When the live action film was first announced, the Internet raced to draft their fancasts and at the forefront were Desi actors and Bollywood stars. Avan Jogia with his tousled brown locks and Zayn Malik with his melodious voice were amongst the most popular contenders. Keep in mind, the Internet had no issues that both these gentlemen are in fact, mixed(in an almost identical way to Naomi)

In Hollywood, when you’re brown, the only acting jobs available to you are that of the taxi driver or terrorist variety. There’s no discrimination in terms of your exact shade of brown or your ethnicity,  that tinge of melanin makes you perfect to mutter incoherent Arabic or have no lines at all. 

Dear Disney, I’m giving you one request. Grant me one wish with your magic lamp. It may seem like a big one, but I think it might solve some problems. You’ve already made the mistake of confusing cultures, so rectify it. Address Naomi’s heritage in the film, address the mix of cultures present at the time in the hustle and bustle of a busy city filled with travelers and merchants from different nations.  It might make a world of a difference. 

In light of the casting of Naomi, she’s received a ton of hatred and backlash. Her ethnicity is being picked apart and rumours are floating around that her mother is also mixed, making her “3/4” white. She herself, has contradicted this statement. When power rangers released, she was lauded as a PoC rep, but as jasmine, she’s suddenly too white. It must be slightly horrifying to have your identity butchered by strangers on the internet. I don’t defend her choice to take on the role and deny an Arab actress, but I do understand it. It’s the role of a lifetime for any PoC actress, who is already limited by Hollywood’s Eurocentric standards. 

Disney executives made the choice to include south Asians when it came to casting, and the same behind the scenes team chose Naomi for the iconic role, yet they aren’t vilified to the extent that she is. If the past decade is any indication as to Hollywood’s treatment of PoC culture in film, we got off mildly. I’m not saying that we should accept their decisions, but it is a small step forward in terms of representation. If we look at the Prince of Persia, we had the Jake Gyllenhaal parading around with fellow spicy white, Gemma Aterton. In addition, we have two-timer Ben Kingsley( mixed English and Gujarati heritage) featuring in both Imposter of Persia and Avan Jogia’s (Indian and European ancestry) King Tut. Avan and Ben are both very much not Egyptian, yet proceeded with the projects anyway. With Aladdin adding South Asian elements to the film, it gave Disney the loophole to cast someone much like Naomi as Princess Jasmine. 

 If we take anything from this, it would be that there’s still a long way to go in terms of PoC representation. We should fight for our causes but think about people who are taking on those roles and who let them take on the roles. For now, I just hope the rest of the cast is mainly Arab, we know Will Smith as the genie is not, but considering that the genie was a magical entity voiced by Robin Williams, I am going to let it slide. Be mindful of the hate you spew, and let’s just hope for the best. 

Then again, a friend did tag me in this hilariously accurate meme. Same name and almost exact age, DRAG ME.

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2015 in a nutshell

It’s that time of the year again where we are so close to the end that we can finally round all the good and bad that occurred in this short but relevant space of time. These choices will be based on obviously my own biased opinion and strenuous research ( I TAKE MY POP CULTURE SERIOUSLY).

SONG OF THE YEAR

This is a tough one for obvious reasons and sadly , after much deliberation , I CHEATED and chose two.

Watch me (Whip/Nae Nae) – SILENTO

It is beyond me how this became as popular as it did despite being created by a 17 year old , but hey it defined an entire year and that is pretty stank-ing amazing.

naenae

Can’t feel my face – The Weeknd

This song was only played on every radio station about 499 times per day naturally, having links to cocaine , it sure is an addictive tune.

BEST/ WORST/ ANIMATED MOVIES

BEST: Mad Max : Fury Road

I personally have no idea what goes on in this movie and haven’t watched it yet but if ratings are something to go by this sure was a winner. Look out for badass females ,  magnificent explosions and Tom Hardy.

WORST : Pixels

It stars Adam Sandler , need I say more?

 

ANIMATED : Inside Out

The movie that proved Pixar could be great again . It was wonderfully imaginative , featured a talented voice cast and literally brought THE FEELS.

BREAKOUT ACTOR/ ACTRESS

ACTOR : Eddie Redmayne

Slightly ginger , dashing British accent  and has killer cheekbones . This guy is hot off the heels winning both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his perfomance in The Theory of everything and facing a new wave of nominations for The Danish Girl . He is also set to star in the Harry Potter prequel of sorts Fantastic Beasts and where to find them and I for one cannot wait.

ACTRESS: Alicia Vikander

I see you wondering who the heck I could be referring to ,but trust me you will want to remember this talented Swede’s name . She starred in the critically accalimed cyber thriller Ex-Machina , garnered a Golden Globe nomination for The Danish Girl and happens to be dating the uber sexy Michael Fassbender . She is going to do big things with her acting career , I guarantee it.

VIRAL SENSATION : The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge

The youngest Jenner is infamous for larger than life , albeit fake lips and many tried to recreate this look and the results were terrifying. The entrepreneur Kylie , used this publicity to launch a lip kit but I can’t help but wonder if she decided to include her plastic surgeon’s number in there too.

THIS YEAR BELONGED TO : Gigi Hadid , Catlyn Jenner and Taylor Swift

I would be more than okay never having to hear these names again after being bombarded by them all year.

BADASS :  Akon

He made it possible for 600 million Africans to have access to electricity . YES , I DO BELIEVE HELPING PEOPLE IS BADASS.

GREATEST COMEBACK : Justin Bieber and Adele

Me :Hello , it’s me

you : what do you mean?

Justin’s image was on the road to redemption before releasing his new album Purpose which is surprisingly catchy and now we have new beliebers floating in , when they previously hated his music. Adele , however smashed in effortlessly blowing us away with her incredible vocals and of course obliterating Taylor’s vevo record.

 

 

 

SCANDAL: Zayn Malik leaving One Direction

Tears flooded timelines , lives were potentially destroyed and this occurred all before the much awaited concert in South Africa ( we don’t deserve nice things) . The 14 year old directioner in me was deeply saddened but I do wish him the best of luck in his solo career.

 

2015 , you have been emotionally harrowing , crazy and also rather beautiful . You will forever-more be immortalized in this post and I hope 2016 is a heck of a lot better.

Thank you German measles

One dreadfully mediocre night a 15 year old girl disease ridden and shunned for having German measles, tried to sleep and yet as usual she was plagued with thoughts and ideas she never dreamed she could share but perhaps in order to put her mind at ease , it was time to start a blog . Then came the 17th of November 2013 , and the rest of the madness had followed.

If you haven’t figured it out by now , today my beloved blog turns one year old , and it has  been by far one of the most surreal experiences in my entire somewhat puny life. Here’s a little backstory , mid way through exams I felt an itch and no it was not one to start a blog but rather I was devastatingly told that I had … you guessed it German measles , and so this meant I couldn’t write exams and was expelled into the depth of a lonely room with a laptop and some food , while others made something of the 10th year in their schooling careers. Writing had always been of great solace to me and what most people don’t know is that this is not my first blog . 12 year old me ventured into the blogger world , depressing bio and all and then completely forgot all about , next was 14 year old me and this blog was a secret , never to be told but like all secrets they have a way of coming out and I was far too afraid about what others had to say about me and so I regrettably deleted it never to be heard of again on cyberspace. Lastly came the caffeinated elfling , a very lame name I might add but just roll with it , it started off being anonymous but I quickly decided it was time to let go ( such a rebel I know).

With this blog I promised to keep updating the world on things they already knew about pop culture and natural disasters and yet I have made it the all about me show , feeling the need to express my irrelevant opinions to the masses and praying you can relate. In honour of my one year in this commited relationship , I want to give you what i promised , some pop culture bites and a short look as to WTF the world is up to now.

Kim breaks the internet but not by sitting on it (close enough though)

In all honesty it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone who got famous by having a sex tape , is willing to bare it all , even if we believed she was reformed as a mother , I salute you Kim for removing your clothes for money , craving more attention and not giving a shit about the hate.

how does one do that without breaking their back ? trust me I attempted it (This is the only decent one I can allow on here)

Wake me up when the world doesn’t suck this much

Oh hey there didn’t you hear there’s am epidemic called Ebola that all the rich people are deathly afraid of and now the world wants to cut off Africa from the world . What most people fail to realise is that yes while Ebola is a deadly disease more people have died from other causes here in Africa like malaria and lack of access to clean water , but no one creates such a frenzy or uproar over that now do they? However I am guilty too for jumping of the Ebola hype bandwagon here in South Africa , where it’s most likely a new rumour will surface daily , the freakiest thing is in the midst of all this news coverage I started reading ‘The Fifth wave” by Rick Yancey about aliens who take over the earth and one of their “waves” was using Ebola to wipe us out .. yes I was left in complete and utter disarray as this was published mid last year . But I urge people to get educated about the virus and watch the news before making ludicrous comments on that which you do not understand.

Of course there is much more going on the world than just that but I must away and stop procrastinating seeing as measles hasn’t gotten me out of final exams this year. Thank you to any soul who have visited this page even by an accident , and more so if you liked what you read bad grammar and all , also to my friends (that includes you Shekha) for their unwavering support and for being my inspirations.

Here’s to many more years of me entertaining you with my delusions

My journalistic attempts

When I was about 13 I told I expressed an interest in becoming a journalist to my mum , who politely told me to forget this dream and focus on things in the real world . Oh yeah I am from a so called practical family , nevertheless nothing is stopping me from blogging about news on this platform , so I’m going to take a break from my pathetic advice giving and boring detailed explanations about my life to supply you with some much needed world news ( celebs are of course included , pssht it wouldn’t be me otherwise)

1.Paul Walker’s tragic death

If you haven’t already heard about this , I am assuming you don’t have twitter or in other words no connection to the outside world. The star aged 40 , was involved in a fatal car accident and was believed to have been the passenger , now I know what you’re thinking ” hah a the guy from fast and furious died in a car accident , oh the irony” I did the exact same thing before realising he’s still a person and not a character. He left behind a 15 year old daughter . Sources also state that despite the tragic loss “Fast and Furious 7” will still go on but remain delayed and not scraped completely. I for one grew up watching the billion dollar franchise , whilst also seeing Paul star in some of my favourite 90’s teen movies. He will be missed and always be in the hearts of those he touched with his charity work and talent as an actor.

I had tears in my eyes

On to a lighter note yet still equally as heartbreaking to teenage girls everywhere

2. TOM DALEY IS GAY

yes ladies the sexy British gold medallist is playing for the other team . The diver came out in a heart felt youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJwJnoB9EKw) and at the same time left string of hopeful girls heartbroken. I don’t know about you , but lately all these famous hot guys are ending up gay and it brought up all my buried feelings of Troye Sivan’s coming out video. All I have to say is that guys , you are damn lucky.Dayum

I thought it best to brush up on my world and local headlines in order to continue this blog post but at the same time I was completely and utterly mortified. We certainly do live in a completely messed up world. I was almost reduced to tears reading up on how many people were murdered in this past week , and I didn’t even know them. So I decided I was going to end of with something that makes me happy : technological innovations

3. The PS4

I am not a boy or a video gamer thing but apparently the PS4 is beyond amazing  seeing as it is the fastest selling console in the UK. Now I’m not usually very picky when it comes to looks but I like pretty things and I’m sad to say I was disappointed with this fat black box. Maybe the specs make up for it ? I am not gonna pretend to understand anything and all I have to say is “cool , yeah the graphics seem cool and oooooh internet and movies , yay!” Any techno-geeks out there , I am sorry that I am so completely uneducated on the topic but I do hope you have fun playing

the features:Power To Perform

And thus concludes my journalistic attempts. I probably won’t attempt another one of these anytime soon but I do want my typewriter so I can feel all vintage and reporter-y. Have a good week 🙂Google Image Result for http://www.tocadacotia.com/wp-content/gallery/maquina-de-escrever-que-pinta/maquina-de-escrever-que-pinta-15.jpg