#BackChannel: Cancel Culture, Black Women And #MeToo And Trans Representation In Media

Jul 9, 2020

Has cancel culture gone too far? That question has echoed throughout American society for several months. 

And this week a letter published by Harper’s Magazine and signed by over 150 prominent writers and intellectuals — including Margaret Atwood, Wynton Marsalis and Salman Rushdie — argues against a “stifling atmosphere” that they say restricts public discourse.

The reason why cancel culture was important [was] because people who did not have real cultural power and didn't have a platform could utilize social media in order to hold people accountable.

Host Anita Rao examines the origins of cancel culture and how it is applied today with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal. They also share their analysis of “On The Record,” a new HBO documentary about the women who came forward to accuse hip hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual assault. Music executive Drew Dixon is one of them and one of the first women of color to participate in the #MeToo movement.

Three women featured in 'Disclosure': Mj Rodriguez, Laverne Cox and Candis Cayne.
Credit Courtesy of Netflix

Plus, Brown and Neal review “Disclosure,” a Netflix documentary exploring the ways trans people are represented on film and TV; look at how higher education institutions are responding to the racial reckoning in the wake of the police death of George Floyd; and examine a new docuseries from PBS on the historic campaigns of women of color during the 2018 midterm elections. Natalie Bullock Brown is a filmmaker and teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University. Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke Professor and chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University. He is also an author and host of the webcast "Left of Black."

If you solve for Black women's issues, you're solving for everyone's issues, because there is a way that the hierarchy of our culture puts Black women at the very bottom.