Wow. It seems like forever since I did one of these, my many posts about the "secret Negro inside," the not-black-black-peoples of America who straddle in the nether regions of "I don't look black." In America it doesn't matter who you are, it's about what you look like. So this is my regular celebration of the not-black-black-peoples such as major league baseball star Grady Sizemore, insane supermodel Kimora Lee Simmons, flashdancer Jennifer Beals and my favorite not-black-black-person, delicious actor Wentworth Miller.
So after a long hiatus ...
So after a long hiatus ...
Incognergo V: Rashida Jones
Habitual sidekick/utility actress Rashida Jones is the daughter of actress Peggy Lipton and music mogul Quincy Jones. We all know that Quincy loves the white women so no knock on Lipton, but c'mon, his wives are pretty and blond. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's true.
She's sisters with Kidada Jones (left, with father Quincy Jones), also Lipton's daughter. Rashida is primarily an actress while her sister is a fashion stylist and model/actress. Rashida's also the brainy more disciplined one, whereas Kidada was the wild, reckless rebel who got Tupac's face tatooed on her arm. Rashida's technically the more successful actor of the two and she's also the one who looks the least black (but not by much).
I see a black woman when I look at Rashida, but I can see how others don't. I can remember reading interviews with Kidada who talked about how difficult it was to be around her siblings who were all whiter and more Anglo looking than her. Rashida, on the other hand, has dealt with her own form of discomfort around both black and white people.
Rashida is doing pretty well for herself. I always give the kids of famous folk the side-eye at first when they hop into the celebrity spotlight, but Rashida has good comic timing and certain smart, yet wonky charm. I first noticed her as the secretary of the short-lived FOX series "Boston Public." I hated that show, but she was good in it despite being a little wooden from time to time. I remember being a bit struck by the fact that she had blondish hair but didn't look like a white person. Then when I learned her name was "Rashida" I knew it was a slim chance that she didn't have a secret Negro running around somewhere in her blood. After I learned she was Quincy's daughter it all made sense.
Rashida is a Harvard grad. She claims she struggled with her identity there and was "rejected" by some traditionally black sororities. While I feel Rashida on her inability to fit in, I've never met a black sorority who turned down an not-black-black-woman considering that many black Greek organizations have historically LOVED women who can pass a paper bag test and LOVE any women, black or NBBP, who have rich, famous fathers. I'd like to know which sorority this was. The "we hate light-skinned chicks" sorority because I've never met that one before. I don't know of an AKA, Delta, SGRho or Zeta who would not accept your check and the chance to list you on the famous sorors Web site.
I'm not sayin' the ish didn't happen, but I'm just wondering whether they turned you down because they really, really, REALLY didn't like you. And sororities like bitchy. How bitchy do you have to be to get turned down by the top bitches at the school? Really, Rashida? Really?
I'm sorry, I'm going off on a tangent here. Where was I?
Rashida, like her dad, likes her lovers to be pale as hell. She was once engaged to music DJ Mark Ronson and Spider-man/former child actor Tobey Maguire. I don't know how you manage not to marry Tobey Maguire, but I'm assuming Rashida knows something I don't. She's been romantically linked to Josh Hartnett (I guess he's cute), Seth Meyers (he's funny, I guess) and "The Office's" John Krasinski.
C'mon! How do you not make it work with the handsome funny guy from "The Office?" He's Jim! I'd cross over for Jim!
This dating pattern is a stark contrast from Kidada, who, seriously, is like one degree darker than her sister with darker hair. Kidada was most famously the girlfriend of Tupac before he was murdered. I'm not suggesting that Rashida date tatted up rappers, but, you know, consider a black man once in a while. Your mother did!
Unlike some of my other favorite not-black-black actors and actresses, Rashida's been able to remain steadily employed and I don't mean to imply an nepotism in this, but c'mon, I bet its a little easier to break into the business if you're Quincy Jones' daughter rather than Tyronne or Rufus Jones' daughter. Even Halle Berry had to fake her way to the top by convincing casting directors that she was a good actress when she was as dull as cardboard.
But she sure is purrty.
Rashida kept popping up in the most unexpected places, like "Chappelle's Show" (in one of my favorites, the 'love contract' skit), the films "Little Black Book" and "Full Frontal," a short-lived British drama called "NY-LON" and a cable cop show called "Wanted." Then she finally wowed her way onto hit sitcom "The Office" during the second season as Jim's girlfriend, Karen.
She's now on "Unhitched" this horrendous new FOX show that I will likely not watch as FOX makes horrible romantic/comedy shows. I don't know why they can't just remake "Herman's Head." At least that was kind of edgy. But FOX's dramadies tend to be very heavy on the sex and body function humor and lacking in any depth or substance.
That said, I still hope that someday she will end up on another decent show beside "The Office" that I will actually watch to see if her lazy, wonky comic delivery remains or if her serious acting chops have matured. I still don't know how she avoided that not-black-black-person clusterfuck known as "Anne Rice's Feast of All Saints." Everyone from Victoria Rowell to Nicole Lyn to Jennifer Beals to Gloria Ruben to Earth Kitt to Ruby Dee was in that thing. Maybe she and Nicole Lyn went for the same part and Nicole got it.
And how did Wentworth Miller avoid this? He would have been oodles better (and historically more accurate) as the main character rather than little Mr. Peroxide from "Half n' Half." Or at least Evan Ross, another famous NBBP with a famous last name who I'll save for another day.
Suspicious stories about black sorority snubs aside, I still like Rashida as an actress and as a NBBP. She's pretty and funny. But please, keep the bangs. You have a Tyra Banks five-head without the Tyra Banks perfectly symmetrical supermodel face. Bangs are your best friend.