Disability Representation: Media

  1. BuzzFeed, Dating In A Wheelchair, & Representation:  Interview with Lolo

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    Screenshot of the title of the video:  “Thoughts You Have While Dating In A Wheelchair” (Buzzfeed)

    Screenshot of the title of the video:  “Thoughts You Have While Dating In A Wheelchair” (BuzzFeed)

    Buzzfeed is known for creating videos about diverse life experiences, and it has recently produced one that I can wholeheartedly relate to.  The video is “Thoughts You Have While Dating In A Wheelchair” that features vlogger Lolo.  Lolo’s performance spoke deeply to my spirit.  It was the first time I saw a Black disabled woman talk about dating in such a way that resonated with my own experiences.  In her role, Lolo brought the funny with her “heels or boots?” question and gushing about how her date was so strong when helping her in the Uber.  The thoughts and concerns Lolo portrayed are ones that were too realistic – I could not stop laughing at the truth gems dropped in the video.  

    I reached out to Lolo because I had to know who she was, and I am grateful that she afforded me the pleasure of interviewing her for the blog.  In the following interview, Lolo shared with me about how she got the role, why doing this video was important to her, and her ambitions as a disabled vlogger.  

    Without further ado, here is Lolo, in all of her Black disabled girl magic glory:

     

    VT:  Tell me about yourself.

    Lolo:  I am a disability lifestyle influencer and vlogger with my own Youtube channel called Sitting Pretty that is all about my life as a woman in a wheelchair.

     

    VT:  How did you get selected for this video?  

    Lolo:  I met the director/producer, Daysha Edewi, at an event in Los Angeles.  We clicked really well and developed an idea to work together on a sketch and that’s pretty much it.  It was all organic, which I loved; plus she’s an amazing person.

     

    VT:  What insight were you able to provide about the script, which is so realistic to the thoughts I have as a Black disabled woman that dates?  

    Lolo:  I wanted to provide subtle insight on a topic everyone can relate to, like dating, but share my unique experience as a person with a disability.  The “thoughts” were very specific and spoke to those things.

     

    VT:  What was your experience in creating the video?  Were you proud of the finished product?  

    Lolo:  The experience was PHENOMENAL!  I literally had one of the best and most fun times ever on set.  We just worked well together and had the same type of humor and spirits so we just had a great time.  Lots of laughter!!!

     

    VT:  Why did this video matter to you as a Black disabled woman?  

    Lolo:  It mattered to me as a black woman because black women with disabilities are never represented in media.  I made sure that whatever I did for the video, that it was going to be authentic to my personality and being a black woman is a huge part of that.

     

    VT:  How do you want disabled women, particularly Black women with disabilities, to view you in this role, & the message you shared?

    Lolo:  Honestly, I just want anyone who can relate, to love this video.  And anyone who thought it wasn’t possible to date and be desired, to know that you can date and you are desirable.

     

    VT:  Are you hoping Buzzfeed and other outlets produce more of these videos, and do so to include disabled women from all backgrounds?

    Lolo:  Yes I would love for them to.  It’s all about representation and inclusion for me.

     

    VT:  Do know I am very excited to know you and am eager to support your work.  Share with us about your vlog and other projects you are a part of.

    Lolo:  My vlog is on YouTube and it’s called “Sitting Pretty.”  I talk about various parts of disability lifestyle in a fun and fearless way.  I have some more stuff that I’m working on to spread awareness and promote inclusion.

    * * *

    Final Thoughts

    Videos like “Thoughts You Have While Dating In A Wheelchair” is definitely a prime example as to why intersected dating experiences need to be shared – we become affirmed that we are not alone in our love journey.  That video empowered me as I continue my “that’s the way love rolls” adventures and I know that others can say the same.  On Lolo’s YouTube channel, she discusses dating and life as a disabled woman, and I am a new follower to her wonderful advice.  

    We need more of these videos – our stories matter and now is the time to step up and create these bodies of work so that we can be authentically represented.  

  1. Disability, Slavery, & The Call to #PickUpUnderground

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    Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubman (WGN America)

    Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubman (WGN America)

    Social media was abuzz with shock earlier this week when we learned that the critically acclaimed show Underground was canceled on WGN America after two seasons.  I was incredibly upset that this dynamic show and its compelling depiction of slavery would no longer be returning for a rightfully earned third season.

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  1. Black-ish & Speechless: The Night Primetime TV Got It Right

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    Despite the seemingly limitless TV programming options that exist for our entertainment pleasure, very few target the identities I have in a manner that are affirmative and validating.  However, this month, two shows managed to meet this feat.  Black-ish and Speechless aired episodes that touched on difficult topics that rarely are discussed as candidly as they should – race relations and inspiration porn, respectively.  

    Being that the nature of both episodes resonated with me profoundly, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the significance of both, and why we need more shows to be authentic about the experiences and thoughts of marginalized people.  

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  1. Luke Cage: The Black Disabled Superhero We Need

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    Dark yellow mustard background with Luke Cage in a wheelchair. The following words are in the upper right of the image: "I'm just getting started"

    Luke Cage was one of Netflix’s original series I had waited all summer to watch.  Being a blerd and someone who enjoys comics, I was proudly a part of the #Cagetember fandom seen on Twitter.  What excited me was not just Luke’s amazing abilities, but the fact that he was a Black disabled character, an existence that does not receive enough attention or respect within comic spaces.  Luke represents so much to disabled blerds like myself, and I felt that it would only be justly to share why Luke’s existence matters, and the need for more Black disabled characters.  

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  1. “Wilhemina’s War:” Reaction to the PBS Documentary Depicting the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Rural SC

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    AIDS and HIV in cube

    Last Monday, PBS debuted the documentary “Wilhemina’s War,” a film that showcased the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS in lowcountry South Carolina.  Wilhemina Dixon is the caregiver of two family members living with HIV – her daughter Toni and granddaughter Dayshal.  The film revealed the struggles of accessing proper health care in the Palmetto state, due in part to the lack of funding and political supports that disadvantages and compromises the health statuses of those living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those in rural parts of the state.  

    Being someone who grew up during the 1990s when HIV/AIDS was widely discussed, and having interned at a non-profit organization that serves individuals living with HIV/AIDS, this was a film that instantly grabbed my attention, and I knew that I had to watch.  What took place over the 55:31 minutes the documentary aired unleashed a plethora of emotions within me – shock, anger, sadness, and pride.  I had never watched something so powerful and stark before in a very long time; I knew that this was a film that I had to share on the blog, and why it is dire to understand the healthcare plight of HIV/AIDS in South Carolina.  

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  1. Disability Representation at Super Bowl XLIX: Why It Matters

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    Super-Bowl-Ads-1

    There are three kinds of people who watch the Super Bowl:  the fanatics who proudly proclaim that football is their religion; people who solely watch for the commercials; and those who flip the channel just in time to catch the halftime performance.  For Super Bowl XLIX, I had membership within all three groups; I am a budding football fanatic, but I also enjoy the hypeness surrounding the 1-2 minutes commercials that are meant to entertain us as much (if not more than) as the game.

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