Incognegro V: Rashida Jones

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 …

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.

21 thoughts on “Incognegro V: Rashida Jones

  1. First, I have fallen in love with your blog. You now have a Stan in me…Rashida or Kidada was also on the very first Chapelle Show in the Roc-a-wear Maxi Pad skit…Loved Hermans Head.

  2. I am also another stan. you are too funny especially when you said ” I’m not suggesting that Rashida date tatted up rappers, but, you know, consider a black man once in a while. Your mother did!”rashida and kidada are both pretty although i would say kidada is much prettier. i would say you are right that they have received their brakes because their dad is a mogul for sure.I won’t even get started with my views on the black of celeb black-on-black lurve LOL.

  3. I am the biggest advocate of “have you ever considered a black person?” campaign.Unhappy with your love life? Have you considered a black person?Need a better employee? Have you considered a black person?Need someone to take to the Oscars? Have you considered a black person?I plan on starting a whole “Think Black” campaign for the race, like those travel ads you see for countries you ordinarily wouldn’t think of visiting like South Africa or Turkey.Only my commercial would feature nothing but attractive, successful black people smiling as they got to work and relax at play.Ads that would read “You could date a blond, but a black girl would be more fun.”

  4. Nope.Men From The Mothaland rarely line up to meet me. For years, I let this upset me. What a complete and total waste of time.I mean, I spent thousands of dollars on hair extensions. I frequented more hiphopitty clubs than I care to remember. I joined black clubs, many of whom didn’t think I “fit” in. I now feel it was part of my black-in-a-white-society-who-is-rarely-appealing-to-other-blacks-and-is-an-oddity-to-whites identity crisis.Nothing I did seemed to work. First of all, the best look for me is a really short natural (which I dye a natural red) or else, tiny nonuniform twists pressed down flat against my head. And I rarely want to go to dance clubs anymore. If I do, it’s to a latin club for an hour or two at most. Or else, jazz, world, or blues.I mean, it did take a few years to accept the fact that a black man with a black woman is NOT the norm anymore–and hasn’t been for eons. Once I did though, I stopped letting grass grow under my feet and got busy with people who were interested in me. I mean, come on folks. I’ve literally got about 5 years left to have kids(!). Nope, I’m not waiting for you bud.Actually, one strong black guy I know (who’s married) felt that it’s a matter of me meeting someone who’s intrigued by my strength instead of only meeting people who want to run from this strength. Yeah, watch me hold my breath… No more folks. I don’t have time. And my tears are all dried up.Certainly, living in a less-blacks-than-whites society means that I receive interest from all kinds of other people.At the moment, there’s a years-younger Jewish South African on my horizon. Try telling that to black friends and family! See how well it goes over.=D

  5. Yes.Rashida Jones is busy and not usually of interest to the bloodthirsty paparazzi. This is Good. I mean, this is Really good. Of course, growing up as Quincy’s daughters, she should have learned to deal with it by now. Unlike Ms Spears whose parents Lynne & Jamie appear to have played an extremely heavyhanded role in making their daughter a star, and we now see the bipolarized outcome of their extreme overzealousness.I find your black and white comments interesting because I’m always reminded that Quincy chose Really Black names for his daughters. On paper, they will never be mistaken for what they are not. And ass we are well-aware, this is not necessarily a good thing when looking for work in largely white American offices.I’m not saying that I would or wouldn’t choose a black-sounding baby name. My point is that as much as people want to harp on Quincy for prefering blondes, he remembered his race in his choice of baby names. ~Herman’s Head???? Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor. LMAO!

  6. @ Anon – go with whomever asks you, respects you, and go while you can. Don’t look back, don’t apologize, don’t feel you need to explain. I waited years for the black man who would not be “intimidated” by little old 5’3″ me and he didn’t show, still hasn’t shown. Instead a reproduction-ending case of fibroid tumors hit me and now my options are down to adoption or surrogacy. I feel a little silly I turned down so many attractive offers, concerned over how I would explain THAT to kin.Follow your joy and if leads back to a black man, great – if not, so be it.

  7. those ads sound like exactly what some black men here in England need. the question is, with all this assimilationist talk that keeps being spewed, do we black people still care about ‘thinking black’ like you said ?Besides Halle Berry & Nicole Ari Parker, I can’t think of many light skinned famous black celebs who have been with black men in the past. Most seem to be following Rashida’s pattern of not being with black men.

  8. All thee above: I think it’s good if people follow their heart and date people who best fit their personality and background. Because I raised in an college educated household in an upper middle class suburb I tend to relate best with other college educated, driven men.When I was younger I was not interested in dating outside my race. My parent are not down with the swirl in any kind of way and I’m almost positive when I was a teen they would have preferred me to be gay rather than be with a white guy.The problem I always ran into was the guys I liked were either too intimidated or too shy or just weren’t into me when I was into them. On top of that, the men I dated were often too fixated on the fact that I was light skinned with long hair. That always disgusted me. I wanted to be found attractive but I wasn’t interested in being some black dude’s light-skinned girl fantasy fetish exoticism.Also, there always seemed to be some backlash at a certain point. If the man I was dating was very dark skinned often there was this combination of jealousy, possessiveness and resentment towards me. And the light-skinned men I dated were often from different economic situations from me and resented me for that. In turn, focusing obsessively on my looks and demanding that I look ravishing all the time and never wear my hair curly because it turned them off and disgusted them.So sometimes I just wish they would date a white woman and leave me the hell alone.I dated one really great guy once back in Bakersfield who was black. I think if we had kept dating I would have fell in love with him, but we decided to stop seeing each other because he was a strict, devout, church four days a week Christian and I was a lazy Christmas-Easter Christian. As much as he liked me he really wanted to be with a girl who was fully committed to Christ. So we broke it off before we got in too deep.I think there are nice black men out there. I also think there are nice white, Asian, Arab, Punjabi, Hindu and Latino men out there. Good looking and smart are attractive qualities irregardless of race. But my heart still skips a little with the prospect of marrying another lazy Christian buppie who is gregarious and likes movies and is happy with himself and not all psychologically fraught with low-self esteem like a lot of black people.I know that at some point I want to get married again. I’d love for it to be someone like Aaron McGruder, but if I meet a Harry Connick Jr. I’m not going to complain.Moody’s: It cracks me up that Qunciy gave his daughters such “black” names too, but it’s not surprising. Many black people tend to assume that black men or women who marry white people are rejecting their blackness. I think that’s a little silly. While some may be, most are aware of their blackness and just happen to be attracted to white people. Folks can read that any way they want, but that doesn’t make Quincy or Tiger Woods or Halle Berry or even the actor I loathe the most, Taye Diggs, sell-outs.Folks really need to get out of that mindset. While some black/white pairings reek of racial fetish, most aren’t sinister and are not a repudiation of blackness.

  9. Since she’s beautiful, smart, and independant, and black Derek Jeter wouldn’t be interested. Seriously, that is too bad because they would make a beautiful couple and a woman like her might finally fix that “incognegro” man’s clock.btw – your blog is a new favorite

  10. “I see a black woman when I look at Rashida, but I can see how others don’t.”Oh please. I see a BIRACIAL woman when I look at Rashida.

  11. anon: I did mention how that was my POV, not all and that I understood how others couldn’t. Some things are relative. I’ve had friends and family members who have looked like Rashida and some who could have passed for white. They all identified themselves as black because that was how they saw themselves. So that wasn’t an effort by me to deny Rashida’s diverse background.

  12. I guess because of the (erroneous & non-scientific) “one drop rule”, it’s understandable why many still stick to a one-race label, but more and more people are identifying (or will identify) themselves as mixed-race because of the growing young mixed-race population, and even more so with Obama in the spotlight.The old issues of race are things that people will continue to fixate on. — the questioning of whether someone is “black or white enough” or is “too black or white” will persist, as will the question “What are you?”Ultimately, however, with the visible rise of a young mixed-race population along with a possible mixed-race president, the goal now is to be able to not have to choose, but give equal weight and value to all of the races of mixed people.

  13. I reall do see a Biracial women in Rashida… I mean, that’s exactly what she is. As a Canadian who is also mixed, it boggles my mind how this One Drop Rule is still so pervasive in American society… up here, you are free to be and love all that you are– all that makes you YOU. Yay for Canada!I like Rashida, I agree with you Snob– she has that lazy, quirky humour… it works. Much success to her.

  14. Moody’s comment about black names us very relevant to me! Infact I can seriously relate to what she says.My name is Natoya and I have a similar resembalance to Rashida. My mum is Jamaican and Irish (she says she is black, due to the absense of her Irish family, she classes herself as black,period) and my dad is English(with a cypriot grandfather) I am from London. From a distance people would just say im white, but as they get close they see that Im not quite ‘white’ and have ‘something’ in me.This black name thing, in America/Carribean Natoya is a popular name amongst black people, over here not so.So they always get it wrong (Latoya anyone?), and say things like ‘thats a strange name’ STRANGE?but then I also get people saying how its lovely,unusual,original,different etc…The ‘black’ community generally look at me and try and squint the blackness out of me or not……Anyway I was just struck at how that applies to me, I mean when people see my name they must think of someone completely different to me, in a sense I like that, standing out is cool lolMy partner is Colombian, his appearance is similar to me,tall, dark hair and his skin is slightly darker than mine! I always say to him that our kids will just be little olive skinned replicas, but I probably will give them either south american or ‘black’ names or at least not English names, to me that would not display wh othey really are, and as I came out white as snow with blonde hair my mum kinda made sure i didnt forget by naming me Natoya, I mean yeah she can do that other ways, but it was definately trying to prove a point.This thing about dating black guys,why should you date black guys to prove a point? yes she may not find them as attractive, but so what? she aknowledges her blackness all the time. I have dated a few black guys and I have never had a ‘type’ someones personality usually screams at me more so than the look, having said that I found a guy so attractive the other day and he was mixed/green eyes/light brown hair. I guess it just depends. It was harder when I was younger because I had a varied mixture of friends and because the black girls usually stuck to themselves, I only have/had a small number of black friends, everyone else was mixed, white or just foreign !

  15. I have always found it easier to be friends with ‘black’ guys than girls.Well now I reckon I can push my way in anywhere i just dont care, but for a while when I was growing up I was quite intimidated by the black girls in my school. They had more of a sense of ‘blackness’ than the boys did, for some reason. Even now at university, we have the Afrco Carrieban Society, which is now predomanantly filled with West Africans. They have never said to me you ‘cant’ join our society, but the atomosphere between is wierd. Once in a lecture hall, in one meeting someone made a comment about how racist white ppl are and EVERYONE looked at me lol i was the whitest there.These things are to be expected. I felt uncomfortable sometimes and the girls would give me attitude, but what I have learnt now is that you have to speak out and say ‘look it was the europeans who made you so obsessed with colour and race, so give them the benefit of the doubt’. I will go to there parties with my black friends and be who cares?, eventually they stop staring lol I am so used to it now I dont even notice. sorry im completely procrastinating here. What my point was that some people in the ACS society at my university have issues, but most are accepting. The attitude problem they have (and me to an extent) is a defense mechanism and once you just ignore it it gos down. Those who continue with the ‘your white’ bullshit thats htere problem.Even if I consider myself as white, why wouldnt it be good thing that I wanted to ‘join’ in someone elses culture. Stop seeing it as a threat. When black peolple go to ‘white’ things whites dont see it as a threat (wel not the liberal middle clases anyway)Big up Rashida anyways x

  16. The comment about Rashida not being accepted in the sorroity is sad. You claim that probably was to do with them just not liking her, but then why would she say that? do you think shs just assuming?As I have just described with the ACS, it can be a little intimidating. When I feel comfortanble around the black people, but they dont feel comfortable with me being there. Same when i went to a party with my mum, it was a revival reggae and 80s soul night with predominatly carrieban black ppl over 40. so apart from being really young, I was the only ‘white’ person there without a black man by myside. Stuck out again. When I was younger I would of felt embarssed, but now I just dont care….I accepte people for wh othey are, I NEVER judge them (or at leats try not to) there people cant place me in just one group and I can see that in Rashida. x

  17. natoya: It’s true that black people can be stand-offish towards black people who don’t seem “black enough.” But my statement about black sororities comes from experience. Skin tone is rarely an issue, if at all. And having familial ties to Quincy Jones would only make her more desired.So I can believe that the girls came off as stuck up, but I doubt it was because she was half white. That’s all. If anything they were being A) bitchy or B) they may have thought she was bitchy.Usually, someone is bitchy in these sorts of situations. Everybody probably had their guard up, so what she said happened could have happened. I just don’t think it had much to do with her being half white. There are plenty of black people who grew up with mostly white friends and who “act white,” but can get into a sorority. And they don’t even have celebrity lineage.The “consider a black dude” was a bit of a joke. That wasn’t meant to be taken serious (I’d argue that none of the column was to be taken too seriously as it’s all tongue in cheek).And I can believe that some black people might make false assumptions about you based on the fact that you don’t look “black,” but some of it has to do with socialization and comfort level. Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable around some black people and I have two black parents but that has more to do with class or education rather than race.But by-and-large, a I get a long with most people despite class, education-level, gender and ethnicity. I’m pretty easy going and accepting.

  18. Hey thank you for replying,I was seriously procrastinating and typed alot more than than my actual essay.I can see the humour you have, I kind of do the same thing myself.But this subjet is very interesting to me, probably will do some research into it, who knows?I dont know much about sororitys, but i do know the acs in my university tends to like their own’kind’ in the group, that is now the west africans, so really it started with carribeans and now dominated by africans..they do have a shared ‘blacknes’ i suppose, but my jamaican family dont really like them lolanyways its amazing how many ‘black’ celebrities have had ‘white’ kids. just shows.

  19. Rashida is the most beautiful woman on the planet… to me. I’d convert to judaism for her.

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