Blog Archives

Community Talk Back: Orange Is The New Black



In November of 2013, FAAN Mail held a community talk back about the Netflix show, Orange Is The New Black, a drama series set in a women’s prison. Community members who are personally affected by and concerned about mass incarceration shared their perspectives after watching episode 12 from Season 1. We explored the following questions and more…

Does this show offer any value in the movement to end mass incarceration? What aspects of the show are realistic or fantasy? What do people need to know about mass incarceration?



(watch a shorter recap here.)

Attendees were invited to bring books to donate to Books Thru Bars, which sends quality reading material to prisoners and encourages creative dialogue on the criminal justice system, thereby educating those living inside and outside of prison walls.

This event was CoSponsored by:


Talk Back: Our Conversation with CLEAR CHANNEL about Misogyny, Balance & Diversity

225227_587260824634583_223237697_nRecently, two members of  FAAN Mail joined the Director of News and Community Affairs at Clear Channel  for a taped interview to discuss our concerns about the onslaught of misogyny and lack of diversity and balance on mainstream urban radio.  The interview aired last Sunday on POWER 99 in Philadelphia.

Tune in to the 10 minute podcast HERE.

Special thanks to Loraine Ballard Morrill from Clear Channel and Women’s Way for helping to facilitate this first step of dialogue. We hope to have more opportunities to continue this conversation with Clear Channel about what steps they will take to counter their misogyny with a more diverse and balanced reflection of our community, supporting their commitment to “treat people with respect, fairness and humanity”.

Check out our community dialogue on radio politics to learn about the barriers independent artists face and how we can change this by taking collective responsibility. Yes, audiences, artists and radio industry professionals have a role to play if we want to see change.

So please join us and tell Clear Channel your concerns in the comments below or tweet your concerns to @ClearChannel. We will keep you posted about our efforts and progress.


Talk Back: Lil Wayne and the Corporations Behind Him

Rapper Lil Wayne’s music is in heavy rotation on most urban radio stations in the US.  His misogynistic lyrics are generally (not always) tolerated and celebrated.

But when he released a track last week with the artist Future that trivialized the violent killing of civil rights icon Emmett Till, the misogyny and disrespect sparked public outrage. Although L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic Records (Future’s label, not Wayne’s) has apologized and promised to remove the offensive content from the track, Lil Wayne has been silent.  The family of Emmett Till is demanding an apology from the artist.


We believe Emmett Till’s family and the black community deserve more than an apology — from Lil Wayne and the corporations that back him.

We want answers and real action from Epic Records, Cash Money Records, Sony Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Clear Channel, Radio One, and Viacom —  media corporations that consistently provide a platform for misogynistic and hateful messages about black and brown communities.

We encourage others to join us and talk back to these corporations. How? Here are some ideas:

Share or create your own memes.  Express yourself in an Open Letter and post it to your blog.  Talk about this with your friends, film it and upload it to youtube. Make a PSA. Create a remix or mashup that gets people thinking. Use satire to critique what you see. Organize a petition. Organize direct action. Do something totally creative and unexpected to get people talking about this. Support the media that is reflective of who we are as a diverse people.

And use twitter to call out not only @LilTunechi, but @epic_records @UMG, @SonyEntNet, @ClearChannel, Radio One and @Viacom.

Together, let us TALK BACK – through our words and actions-  and be heard.

Collectively, we are strong. The question is —  are we willing to act?

Talk Back: On Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad”

Lupe’s latest video is causing a stir and lots of people are “talking back!” Check it out:

Media Literacy Questions for Bitch Bad:

What is the message of this song?
What values & points of views are represented?
Who is the target audience?
How may different audiences interpret the message differently?
What is omitted (left out) from this message?
In what context was this song created?
What messages do we hear about race and gender?

FAAN co-founder Nuala Cabral compiled a range of twitter reactions to the song/video in this storify. And then there are a series of pieces analyzing “Bitch Bad.” Here are some we recommend:

Blogger daintyblackpegasus wrote a sharp gender critique of the song on Tumblr:

Overall, the issue becomes one of reinforcing patriarchy by making it a man’s place to “protect” a woman by defining her. The surface message is that Lupe is trying to elevate his Black sisters by teaching them to be beyond reproach and more than a regurgitation of what they’ve seen. However, what it really does is place significant blame on women for ever internalizing these images while ignoring patriarchal issues like the men who support the internalization of being hypersexual by women while simultaneously shaming it.  (More here)

Ebony’s Jamiliah Lemieux’s had this to say to music critics who dismissed the song as “half-baked conscious hip hop”:


Ádìsá Ájámú  offered his concerns about men instructing women on their empowerment:

“I love the message in “Bitch Bad” more than the song. And I applaud any brother … But here’s my discomfort: With so much work for brothers to do on themselves within this patriarchal order I am still a bit uncomfortable with men instructing sisters on the finer points of womanhood, no matter how well intended.” (Read more.)

See Lupe discuss his intentions for “Bitch Bad” here:

What do you think? Weigh in. Talk Back. Comment here or go to twitter and tell @LupeFiasco what you think using the hashtag #BitchBad.

Talk Back: Team Light Skin v. Team Dark Skin Party

Check out these responses to today’s Light Skin v. Dark Skin Party at Adesso Night Club in Philadelphia. Feel free to circulate these memes. We want to provoke critical dialogue around this issue.

Adesso Night Club: 215-640-6000
Party Promoter: @BurnaNewPhaze

When we called  Adesso night club, its manager asserted that the theme of the party is a “prank” and hung up the phone. But as one ally of FAAN noted, “If people are coming based on the promotion of the flier, than it’s more than just a ‘prank’. In the face of opposition, calling it a “prank” is probably their safety valve.”

These memes were created by FAAN Mail friends and allies. Special thanks to Race and Gender Studies scholar Dr. Yaba Blay of the (1)ne Drop Project for contributing insight as well as the  Fuller quote pulled from her essay:  Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy.

Watch this Talk Back video featuring high school students analyzing the memes above:

Talk Back: “It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT”

In this talk back, FAAN Mail responds to “It’s Free- Swipe Yo EBT” a controversial music video produced by emerging artist, Chapter. The music video has reached over 400K views and received over 3,000 comments on youtube, including many charged reactions.

In this conversation, we consider key media literacy questions about this piece:
What is the MESSAGE?
How might different audiences INTERPRET this message?
What TECHNIQUES are used to attract audience attention?
In what CONTEXT does this message exist?
What are the EFFECTS? (i.e. who benefits or is harmed by this message?)

We also ask– is this music video an effective attempt at SATIRE?

If you would like to hear artist Chapter’s commentary about her piece, see here.

We have developed questions to send the artist Chapter in order to get a better understanding of her motives and point of view. However, in response to our interview request, Chapter’s PR Representative wrote:

“Chapter is an College Educated young woman. I reviewed your FAAN Mail Project -I found it to be misleadng being that you never had any reseach done about Chapter background, nor have you took the time to read the above post- The music video “It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT is Satire Chapter is playing a role in her music video-Keywanda. Please look over her web-site she has also been on the news NBC ABC – please look under news on her web-site to gather facts about the artist. Please also watch her interview. Chapter is from South Central Ca, her mother was a Welfare Queen, she was abused as a child. Her mission is in her music.”

Join the conversation by leaving a comment under the video, on our Facebook page or here.

Talk Back: Consuming Reality TV

Is it possible to enjoy reality shows like Jersey Shore and Basketball Wives, while keeping a critical eye? We explore this question and more in this living room conversation.

FAAN Mail is a media literacy and media activism project based in Philadelphia.

TALK BACK: Jay Z Regrets Past Misognistic Lyrics

So several of us from the FAAN Mail Project want to start filming our informal conversations about pop-culture, media, intersections of race/class/gender/sexuality–and put them online.  Through these dialogues, we are modeling media literacy and making feminist discourse accessible to a wider audience. We are talking back.

So… here’s our first talk back. It happened after coming across a blog post about a recent Jay Z interview about his new book “Decoded” where he admits that he regrets his lyrics that disrespect women.

Now, goofiness aside, some interesting questions are raised.

We wondered… is this sincere or is this about publicity for his new book? does his regret matter? what does his growth mean for hip hop?

Click here to visit our FAAN Facebook Page.

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