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Hot Takes: Princess Meghan & Her Husband with Oprah

Meghan never said “they were racist” but we got it anyway.

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1. Princess Meghan looks so cute pregnant — I loved her outfit.

2. Okay. I was tweeting all last night, so these are just more fleshed out observations to my gut reactions but basically it all boils down to the fact that Meghan Markle is a woman of color who was treated differently by the institution that is the monarchy (The Firm) because they’re not ready for brown folks in their dusty palaces. There are welcoming individuals in the family, but even they shouldn’t be given a pass because if you are warming to Meghan one-on-one but still allowing the antiquated “rules” of the British Family dictate your lack of response in defending her against the press, you are still at fault for what happened to her — I’m looking at you, Elizabeth.

3. The number of times Meghan (genuinely!) expressed her affection for Queen Elizabeth while she ain’t have say boo to say about anybody else? Yeah. She hates them. Phillip, Charles, William, Kate. She hates them all. But Meghan is way better than I am. The the British press said she made Kate cry, and nobody inside The Firm (what they call the institution of the monarchy) corrected them. In actuality, Meghan cried because of something Kate said leading up to the wedding. Everybody knew what happened, but nobody — including Kate — corrected the narrative for the press. Meghan wouldn’t say what the comment was to Oprah because she said Kate apologized, took accountability, and is a good person so this would only serve to damage her for no reason. I repeat: Meghan is better than me! I don’t care if you apologized later. If you let an entire country drag me for something you did, we are not on good terms, ever. I don’t care if The Firm told you not to say anything. I’m not protecting you to Oprah.

4. Meghan spent a lot of time not saying the thing we wanted her to say, that The Royal Family and/or The Firm treated her differently because she’s Black, but it all came out eventually anyway. This was the moment Black Twitter was ready to dump the rest of the tea in the harbor: the security detail. The royals get security detail, which makes sense. They’re vulnerable to wackos who want to kill them or criminals who want to kidnap them for ransom. Harry especially is vulnerable because he brought a Black woman to Buckingham, so his death threats were laced with racism toward his wife. While Meghan was pregnant with Archie, they told her Archie wouldn’t have security detail. This was essentially the conversation.

The Firm: Archie won’t have the title of a prince.
Meghan: Why not? Kate’s babies do.
The Firm: He just won’t.
Meghan: Well, I don’t really care anyway. That’s fine.
The Firm: And he won’t have security.
Meghan: What? Why!
The Firm: Because he’s not a prince, so he won’t need it.
Meghan: But he’s a member of the royal family and we are particular targets.
The Firm: Yeah but only princes and princesses get security, and since he won’t be a prince, he won’t really need that.
Meghan: Okay then make him a prince! Do the thing that gets us the security detail!

For some unnamed reason ::cough BLACK cough:: The Firm decided that Archie would not be a prince which not only canceled the security but also removed the need for other things Diana and Kate had done. When Meghan and Harry had Archie and didn’t do the whole “leaving the hospital photoshoot” the British press dragged her for refusing to do it, but she wasn’t even asked, because Archie wasn’t a prince. That photo-op is only for princes and princesses, but the Firm decided Archie isn’t a prince, so she wasn’t asked to do it.

Little things like that kept adding up. The Firm kept setting her up to be lambasted by the press but then refused to issue the most basic statements to defend her against criticism when The Firm created the situation for which she would be criticized!

5. The Firm is a jealous institution that doesn’t have the best grasp on its function in the modern age. The Royal Family only exists at the pleasure of the public. If public opinion in the UK ever dropped to such a level where there was widespread and vociferous animosity toward the monarchy, they would cease to exist. So, it would behoove them to try and be as popular as possible. The Royal Family needs to make people like them and its basically every member’s job to engender goodwill. They’re bad at it because of their archaic upbringing so far removed from the public. They can’t relate to regular people because of all the royal protocols that The Firm won’t revise because they’re more concerned with tradition than changing with the times to keep a positive relationship with the public.

Enter Diana. She was so naturally good at it and the Royal Family couldn’t take it. Charles was extremely jealous of the way the people responded to Diana and he tried to downplay her natural talents at relating to people. She would have wildly successful tours of the commonwealth and he would nitpick some inconsequential event that no one else cared about. Before Diana came along, Charles was seen as the most normal of the Royals and relatively well-liked, when compared to the rest of the family. Diana showed them what a popular Royal should be and they neither had the ability to thank her for making them popular nor the humility to follow her lead and seek her advice to make themselves more popular.

Enter Meghan. Same. Thing. Another “normal” person who was naturally warm and empathetic, who was not raised within the strict confines of an outdated institution, but she was also a marker of modernity: a divorcee with a career who wasn’t white. She was all over the press, so they kept her in the house for months at a time. They were warm toward her initially, and then she went to Australia on a tour and they saw how the public responded to her. Jealousy crept in and they couldn’t bear to be upstaged by a commoner who wasn’t an inbred white person.

6. The Diana parallels kept coming, but definitely when Meghan discussed contemplating suicide and how she felt like she couldn’t go to Harry because he had enough to deal with. She tried to seek help through the proper channels and she was denied. She felt like she should be a help to her husband, not a hindrance, and she felt embarrassed that she wasn’t strong enough to adjust to this new life or take the criticism from the press. It finally came to a head when she was to accompany Harry to an event and he said she wasn’t well enough to go. Meghan however felt she wasn’t well enough to be left alone, so they went, both of them holding on by a thread, white-knuckling it through the event with fake smiles plastered on their faces.

I’ve read, watched, and listened to so much about Diana (the single best series is probably by You’re Wrong About)  and Meghan’s mental health struggles mirror Diana’s so closely. She too sought help and didn’t receive it. She was ashamed and no one was there for her.

The difference is Harry. Charles is a terrible person. Harry is the husband Diana hoped he would grow up to be. Diana went through it alone while her husband was having an affair with the true love of his life. Meghan went through it with Harry, who eventually gave it all up for her.

7. Harry said Charles stopped taking his phone calls. And that’s for the best because, I repeat, Charles is a terrible person. When Diana died, Charles forced Harry and William to walk in the funeral procession with him because Charles was afraid the public would boo him if he went alone. He used his children as human shields to protect him from a public who hated him. He’s never been a father to those boys and Harry will do better thousands of miles away from him. Harry also repeatedly stressed his admiration and affection for Queen Elizabeth — not a single word of praise for anyone else in the family. Oprah did her best to find out what was said and by whom on the topic of Archie’s skin color and how brown it would be, and Harry refused. This morning, Oprah said Harry didn’t tell her who it was, but he stressed that it was not Queen Elizabeth or her husband Phillip. So you know it was Charles, Kate, and/or William.

8. A lot can be said for marrying into a family and knowing what you should expect, but I believe Meghan when she said it wasn’t something she gave too much thought to, because she grew up in Los Angeles around celebrities. A lot of Americans figure the Royal Family is famous the way celebrities are famous, and it’s no big deal. Plus, celebrities don’t usually google each other when they’re dating, because they’re celebrities, and they know how gossip and tabloids are built on half-truths and outright lies. Harry was just another celebrity to her. Meghan would learn about and get to know Harry through Harry, not through what the public says about Harry, because that’s how she would want someone to find out about her.

Not until she was unexpectedly meeting Queen Elizabeth did she realize how wrong she was. Harry asked her in the car if she knew how to curtsy and she thought he was joking. Surely curtsies were for public appearances, and behind the scenes she was just Grandma Lizzy. No, she’s always The Queen. The Royal Family isn’t just a family that happens to be famous. They’re a thing wholly unto themselves that she really had no frame of reference for.

9. Meghan realized the bad press (with no correction from The Firm or the Family) would be her life from now on. The loneliness of being shut up in the house all the time because The Firm didn’t want her saturated in the press would be her life. The brand new treatment of her babies in contrast to Kate’s would be her life. So they asked to step down. There are Senior members of the Royal Family who work full time and Junior members who work part time. They still draw a salary and live on Royal properties, but they have a more private life and are only called upon when needed. As Meghan put it, “We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel” because the positions were already there and other people were living those lives, but she was seen as wanting new and special treatment. They weren’t allowed to be Junior so they left. What other option did they have? She fell in love with a celebrity, who happened to be an entirely different type of famous person in a family she would never fit into living in a country that hated her with a child who wasn’t even getting security. So they left.

10. Harry really loves her and they look happy and comfortable together.  Good for them. Best wishes to them and their new baby girl on the way.

11. We stan Queen Doria Ragland in this household and I’m mad she wasn’t invited to at least say hey or something.

 

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Hot Takes: LuLaRich

Compared to NXIVM and Scientology, this is a much calmer Escaping the Cult documentary.

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1. Not to get on my lil Atheist Soapbox so early on the Lord’s Day or anything, but damn. Y’all really do ruin a lot of stuff by randomly throwing religion into things where it simply does not belong whatsoever. There’s no reason to quote the Book of Mormon to women who just wanna sell ugly leggings.

2. The girl who designs the ugly leggings is such a stoner and I’m obsessed with her. I’m one-thousand percent sure she hates 98% of the LuLaRoe customer base, so she’s great in my book.

3. Last night when we watched it, my main takeaway was that Money Corrupts. This perfectly wholesome maxi-dress company for stay-at-home moms ballooned into a cult-like pyramid scheme where the owners took zero responsibility for problems within the organization all because of greed. I was actually very impressed with the startup story of how DeAnne created LuLaRoe and I honestly believe she and her husband only had the best of intentions. I don’t think they set out to defraud anybody or steal money from anyone at all, and then the company got away from them and they couldn’t admit their failures or own up to the things they were doing badly.

4. This morning after I’ve slept on it, I’m walking that back, because money can’t corrupt you out of nowhere. All the seeds where already there in the Stidham’s belief system: patriarchy, bootstraps, and unacknowledged white supremacy. If DeAnne and Mark ran LuLaRoe the way she ran it when she had 3 sellers, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about how disgusting they are. But they also wouldn’t be sitting on a billion dollar business.

5. The pot-selling nephew is a joke. The whole family is a joke but he’s such an obnoxious piece of human.

6. MLMs are pyramid schemes. It is what it is. I grew up in the Rural South. I am so *so!* familiar with pyramid schemes. I can’t tell you how many “meetings” I went to with my grandma, held in some small conference room of a Howard Johnson or Holiday Inn, where the scammer of the month rolled through with a new product to “sell” based on a structure that was essentially just a money tree. You put $10 in this week and get $100 back in three weeks! Some are worse than others and LuLaRoe is definitely toward the crappier end of things, but I wanna make a lil sidenote about MLMs — not everybody goes into it wanting to be a seller. A lot of them are structured just like LuLaRoe, where you make more money by bringing in people under you than you make from selling the clothes, but whereas LuLaRoe worked on this massive startup cost of thousands of dollars with a truckload of clothes you would never personally use, some MLMs have more reasonable startup costs and a small buy-in of product that some “sellers” use just for themselves. If you’re in a pyramid scheme selling fancy coffee beans and you try to sell me some, maybe I like the product and I buy a couple of bags for $20 a piece. Then you say, “you know, you could make some money and be a seller too. I buy these from the company for $10 a piece, so I make $10 profit on each one. It’s only $100 to sign up.” Well to me that sounds like I can become a “seller” and get these beans for half off, and now I have ten bags of coffee. If I sell it, fine, but it’s really just for my household. So many MLMs have a huge “seller” base that never intends to actually sell anything. LuLaRoe isn’t one of them, but I kinda wish that point had been made in the documentary because it shows LuLaRoe is even more unscrupulous by comparison.

7. I don’t think we’d be watching this documentary after 50 lawsuits if they hadn’t let the product quality slip while also refusing to acknowledge the product quality slipped. If you send me stuff that smells, stuff that’s wet, stuff with holes in it, etc. and then cop a smarmy little attitude when I can’t sell it or complain about the merchandise, I’m gonna assume (rightfully) that you’re a pisspot little human and I no longer care about your company. You’re a crook and I want you to go down for taking advantage of me and everyone else. LuLaRoe expanded too quickly to keep up with quality control. If they had just admitted that and taken the loss (which they could absolutely afford to do!) they would still be as big as they were three years ago

8. I wore a pair of the low-quality leggings and they ripped after 30 minutes of walking. My Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were just out of control on 8th Avenue for everybody to see. I had to run into a shop and buy some shorts.

9. To reiterate! LuLaRoe is a cult of patriarchy and white supremacy, but they would still be a wildly successful MLM if they had handled the quality control issues with any amount of grace and empathy. It’s hard for me to feel bad for women who got in over their heads with a company that is so clearly exclusionary from all of the promotional materials and advertisements they make. You joined a White Jesus Cult. I don’t really care about the consequences of that terrible decision.

10. Y’all were buying ugly clothes off FACEBOOK! I just have to laugh.

11. LuLaRich doesn’t have the same kind of forward motion that Fyre Fraud did (the same team did both documentaries). I wasn’t quite as engaged over the course of the 4-episode series as I was with Fyre Fraud, but it was still interesting to watch it come together and fall apart. It’s not an absolute Must-See, but still enjoyable, especially if you like to see people talk about cults they were in. As far as the genre of Escaping a Cult goes, this is a lot easier to watch than the ones about NXIVM and Scientology, because the stakes are more along the lines of ruining your credit as opposed to ruining your entire life.

12. How long has this lady had braces? That’s not a read, because she is so cute and fun, but I’m genuinely curious.

Score: 6.5 / 10

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Watch: LuLaRich Trailer

Let me get into this MLM documentary. Y’all know I love white mess.

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LuLaRoe makes trash leggings. Know how I know? I swiped a pair from a girl I was hooking up with, and after about thirty minutes of wear, my ham candle came right on out to light up the world and say hi to the people.  Now, I’m aware that women’s leggings are not exactly shaped to hold a penis, but I have many, many, many pairs of women’s leggings (I wear then fairly often in the winter under jeans or under some of my flowy summer outfits I still want to wear in cooler weather) and all of them lasted more than 30 minutes.

So that’s point one. I’m invested in this documentary as a person who is confused about how this company got so big selling a garbage product.

Point two is, I don’t know why, but I love a White Fraud Exposé. Fyre Festival, Theranos, WeWork, Caroline Calloway, Anna Delvey — inject them all directly into my veins. As far as a I know, LuLaRoe has not risen to (or been exposed as) a fraud on the same scale as some of the others, but any business whose model is based on white women drumming up business via Facebook Messenger is not a business planted firmly on good practices and ethical treatment of its sellers.

The documentary comes out on September 10th via Amazon Prime, and I think I’m gonna have a ball. Plus, look at the trailer.

“I did turn down the cruise….I love white people to death. Just bein on a boat in the middle of nowhere? I’ll see y’all when y’all get back. ”  

LuLaRich sounds like appointment viewing!

 

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Hot Takes: Bob Ross – Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed

A cautionary tale about being careful who you go into business with.

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1. It never occurred to me that people were painting along with Bob Ross? I thought we were all just watching The Joy of Painting like we watch cooking shows. Unless y’all be cooking from them shows too???? Let me re-examine everything I know about life and get back to you.

2. LOL @ Bob Ross talking like that trying to be sexy! I thought he was trying to put me to sleep, not trying to make the lunchlady wet.

3. Speaking of sleep, it actually took me three tries to finish this documentary because I fell asleep the first two times. Something about it just didn’t grab me the way most Netflix documentaries do, and I think it’s because there are no personalities to hold my attention. Everyone featured is a calm, measured, everyday kind of person. No one really has the energy to make it compelling television, so you have to be wholly invested in the story instead.

4. I’m not invested in the story. Bob Ross got into business with greedy, unscrupulous people. That sounds like An Average Day In America, but it can definitely serve as a reminder to have a lawyer draw up your wills, contracts, successions, etc. in such a way that every contingency is planned for. If you don’t want one person to be able to sign away your rights without input from the other people, plan for that.

5. Affairs really do happen in the unlikeliest of places, and y’all want me to care about marriage or monogamy! Tch!

6. You don’t sue people all the time if you have nothing to hide. The only people who file lawsuits all the time are people who are trying to use the legal system to intimidate and silence others who would expose them for the crooks they are. The Kowalskis who own Bob Ross’s name are crooks. If you have stolen a man’s name and it’s making you millions of dollars but you haven’t given that man’s son any of the profits, you are an amoral human being.

7. Unfortunately, this is probably a skip. The most interesting thing is honestly learning that his wet-on-wet oil painting style is a very old technique called alla prima that they first started using centuries ago to depict hair and fabric. You don’t need to spend 90 minutes watching it — just read a synopsis.

8. Imagine a white man today perming his hair so he could have an afro on TV. I’m hollering. 🤣🤣🤣

Score: 5/10 

 

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