Tag Archives: Sesame Street

Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!!!

I. Love. Christmas music.  I start singing jingle bells in July.  But I recently realized that there are tttooonnnnsss of non-religious Christmas songs (Who doesn’t love Bing Crosby?), and then tttooonnnssss of religious Christmas songs, and like 2 Hanukkah songs (Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel and Adam Sandler’s song).

Much less, Kwanzaa songs:

You might not even know what Kwanzaa is, which is understandable.  Let Sesame Street tell you how it’s done:

Yes, the silent boy is from Everybody Hates Chris.

So I was listening to NPR yesterday night (shocker, I know), and heard Matisyahu, a Hasidic reggae musician from Brooklyn, speaking about the shortage of Hanukkah music.  Here’s an excerpt from his NPR essay on Hanukkah music:

Amazon.com has 48,322 Christmas albums for sale, but only 212 Hanukkah CDs. That’s 227 Christmas albums for every one Hanukkah album. Even taking into account that Christians outnumber Jewish people 76 to 1, there is still a huge lack of Hanukkah music. Over the past 100 years, there have been thousands of Jewish singer-songwriters. Where is all the Hanukkah music?

Jewish musicians might feel more inclined to make Hanukkah music if they knew that someone would actually want to listen to it. Until the holiday music market shows it can support Hanukkah songs, it’s highly unlikely that we will ever hear Jewish holiday music at the mall, or the gas station, or the DMV, or on every radio station that Santa currently rules.

Is it possible that one day the tide may turn, that Jews and Christians will come together in the studio and start making Hanukkah music? Will we ever get to hear Drake and Rihanna’s hit single, “Hanukkah’s Sexy Love Lights”?  Maybe, but it would take a real Hanukkah miracle.

Listen to the interview with Matisyahu and NPR, in which he discusses his choice in reggae and, at the end, performs his song “Miracle” acoustically.  It’s really amazing.

All in all, I’ll definitely be looking for ways to make my expansive holiday playlist more diverse this winter.

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Do the Emmys Have a Race Problem?

Re-post from Movieline by Kyle Buchanan.  Embedded links from author.

Until Archie Panjabi’s surprise win this year for The Good Wife, only eight people of color had ever won an Emmy in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy. It’s a sobering statistic about the racial inequality that still persists on television, and after watching the Emmys this weekend (and being mistaken for another black actress), it has Southland’s Regina King ready to speak her mind.

The actress (who really should have merited Emmy consideration for the first season of Southland) vocalized her concerns in a Huffington Post essay:

Since the Emmy ceremony, I have been going back and forth about whether or not I should compose this letter. I try hard in my daily life not to engage in uncomfortable situations regarding race. But sometimes it’s very difficult to find other reasons that better explain why certain events play out the way they do. It is impossible for me to ignore the published statistics regarding the number of people of color mentioned, celebrated or honored in the history of the televised Emmys. Up to and including this year, there have been only 53 non-white actors nominated for emmys out of nearly 1,000 possible nominations in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy.

I’ve worked in television nearly all of my professional life, and that statistic is quite sobering to me. And to add injury to my already sensitive nerve endings a picture of Rutina Wesley from True Blood, who attended this year’s Emmys, had a caption that read: “Regina King enters the 62nd Emmys.” No, I wasn’t there. Mistakes happen, right? Well after a few “mistakes” of how people of color are portrayed in the Hollywood media, I decided it was important to say something about how things go down in Hollywood.

The initial pull on my heart strings was not seeing the veteran Sesame Street actress Alaina Reed Hall included in this year’s memoriam […] I am assuming other actors have lost someone close to them who weren’t recognized during that segment of previous Emmy telecasts. So I will take the stats about people of color out of my complaint and pose an essential question on behalf of any television artist of note working in our business. What is the process in determining who will and will not be recognized during the Emmy memoriam?

We wish we knew. But what do you think: Does King have a point?

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