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Your Week in Pop Culture: Celebrate Halloween responsibly - don't drink and drive or 'blackface'

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Say 'yes' to Halloween, say 'no' to 'blackface' and other offensive costumes. (Source: MGN Online) Say 'yes' to Halloween, say 'no' to 'blackface' and other offensive costumes. (Source: MGN Online)

(RNN) – Happy Halloween, ghouls and goblins!

I hope everyone has their candy handy and your trick-or-treaters are in their favorite costumes. For you adults who choose to celebrate this spirited cultural phenomenon, here is one thing that you should know: don't dress up in blackface.

It's like Nancy Reagan's motto - just say no.

My colleague Kim Wright wrote a piece on the subject since it has resurfaced in 2013 with celebrity Julianne Hough darkening her skin to portray an Orange is the New Black character. Add the viral photos of two people dressed as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman that ranks as this year's most tasteless costume, and there's your dumpster fire of controversy. 

What takes second place? Three young men dressed as injured airline pilots from the Asiana Airline plane that crashed in San Francisco this summer. What's worse – the incorrectly leaked names of these pilots were also a part of this tacky and tasteless ensemble.

If you don't understand why blackface is offensive, here's the long story short: from its origins, blackface was first a theatrical device developed in the mid-19th century by white men to portray slaves. Often in those roles, the darkened fellows would act in a boorish and uncivilized manner – as many whites saw blacks at the time - and the actions were taken to theatrical levels of outrageousness.

From there, the actions of minstrelsy are perhaps one of America's first big popular culture themes, as authors to presidents enjoyed minstrel shows as entertainment. With the advent of film and television at the turn of the 20th century, blackface reached its peak, but by the time of the Civil Rights era, whites stopped portraying blacks in such a manner. But other themes, such as the "magical African American" characters in film, television and books have become the modern, but obvious minstrel.

Other costumes that may be offensive to others – Klansmen, Native American costumes and their "sexy" variants, something tacky in a sombrero or a turban, geisha girls and Nazi costumes - you know, things you know will bother the people you're around.

It's more than having a sense of humor and being politically correct - if your desire is to create a little shock value, is being offensive an intricate part of that?

So, if you have to ask yourself, "is this offensive," it is. Dress up like a Disney princess or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or something not questionable, or go to this website. If that's not enough, Darth Vader has your answer.

Movies: Johnny Knoxville passes ‘Gravity' as ‘Bad Grandpa' floats to No. 1

Who would have thought one of the funniest skits from MTV's Jackass could not only become a full-length movie, but knock the juggernauts that are Gravity and Captain Phillips from the top?

Johnny Knoxville. For all of those who laughed and said "that will never work" – Knoxville is laughing all the way to the bank where his accounts already runneth over with frat boy money.

Here's last weekend's Top 5, according to Box Office Mojo (listed next to previous week's ranking and weekend gross):

  1. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (NR) $32,055,177
  2. Gravity (1) $20,135,387
  3. Captain Phillips (2) $11,642,040
  4. The Counselor (NR) $7,842,930
  5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (5) $6,275,325

In theatres: Nov. 1

Last Vegas – Think The Hangover with AARP memberships and dentures. A few weeks ago, I was asking someone I worked with "Where in the hell is Kevin Klein?" and I felt so bad for Wild, Wild West slowing his career down. But just when you think Hollywood has slowed him down, he's back with a killer older man beard and is cast alongside Morgan Freeman, Robert DiNiro and Michael Douglas as a crew of lifelong friends celebrate their playboy friend finally getting married.

Ender's Game – A young boy is picked to become a highly-trained super soldier, and is Earth's greatest chance to be saved from further alien attacks. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kinglsley and Viola Davis and is based on the popular 1985 science-fiction novel by Orson Scott Card.

About TimeROMANTIC COMEDY OF THE WEEK – A 21-year-old Tim Lake learns that the men in his family are time-travelers and can dictate the directions of their lives. But Tim learns that his gift is a lofty responsibility, with the outcomes not as great as they seem. Directed by Richard Curtis, the current rom-com king (Love, Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and stars time-traveling storyline queen Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy.

Music: Halloween isn't complete without ‘Thriller'

Are these on your Halloween party playlist? Here are the Top 5 jams you have to play at your shindig.

  1. Michael Jackson, Thriller
  2. Bobby "Boris" Picket, Monster Mash
  3. Ray Parker, Jr., Ghostbusters
  4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Time Warp
  5. The theme from Halloween – because it makes everyone want to pee their pants when it's dark and you hear it.

Jam of the Week: Ariana Grande ft. Big Sean, Right There – For the star-crossed lovers on Halloween, take a hint from this pop princess's video wardrobe in her latest single featuring rapper Big Sean – Romeo and Juliet is a classic costume theme that never dies.

And how long has the Terminator's son, Patrick Schwarzenegger, been this cute? Forever?

Sports: The Return of Uncle Drew

The return of the NBA brings the return of the league's greatest dramatic and commercial saga – the story of Uncle Drew.

Uncle Drew is an elderly man with mad basketball skills, crossing over these young boys on the court in pickup games in random locations.

Uncle Drew is also Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in old man makeup. The series of advertisements are sponsored by Pepsi MAXX, and the each one disguises Irving perfectly.

Chapter one of the extended commercial series was released in May 2012, following Uncle Drew filming a documentary of his nephew at a New Jersey pickup game. Chapter two stars NBA legend Bill Russell explaining that the game is about "buckets" and wants Uncle Drew to explain the game to the "young bloods" playing today, and gets Minnesota Timberwolves forward-center Kevin Love to don the grandpa costume with him.

Chapter three, released Oct. 28 on YouTube, features Denver Nuggets' Nate Robinson and WNBA star forward Maya Moore, further channeling what the game is about – getting buckets.

App of the week: Duolingo

Love your smartphone and want to learn a new language?

A new app called Duolingo is perfect for you. The app, now available for in iTunes for the iPhone, iPad and iPod and in the Google Play store, breaks up learning a language into fun trivia games and different levels, constantly tracking the user's progress.

The app features lessons in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English. The website Fluent in 3 Months called the app "addictive" and said it trumps Rosetta Stone. Given the price of Rosetta Stone, downloading Duolingo is a good inexpensive option.

I would remiss if I didn't thank my fiancé Sir Pop Culture (because obviously I am Lady Pop Culture) for introducing me to this app. Once we have mastered conversational Spanish, we can start talking about people and no one will ever know.

A little something from YouTube: Don't mess with a kid's candy, just make sure they brush their teeth

There are some folks out there who want to hand out letters instead of candy this Halloween. Those types of people should just turn out all of their lights and hope their homes aren't egged.

If you've ever gotten apples, oranges and toothbrushes for Halloween, then you will understand these kids in a focus group setting presented with "healthy" alternatives instead of their beloved candy.

The video and social media campaign by Crest and Oral-B lets parents know as long as your kiddies have healthy brushing habits, a little candy never hurt anyone.

Honorable Mention

Nation's most creative special teams coaches design 2-point play that incorporates a fake monkey, called the 'Wrecking Ball'Yahoo! Sports

'Scandal' actress Kerry Washington pregnant with first child - E! News

Emotional baby reacts to mother's singing with joyful tears – Raycom News

Sea lion snatches fisherman's reality TV catch of the day – Raycom News

Saying goodbye: Allen Iverson officially retires from NBA - Associated Press

The 10 Dumbest Fan Bases in America: No. 1 - the Alabama Crimson TideOutkick the Coverage

Beyoncé stars in the most fabulous, pretty photo bomb ever takenBuzzFeed

15 slang terms you should be embarrassed to useVH1

Tom Brady is the most whipped man ever, dresses up like lion for HalloweenBuzzFeed

(Dis)honorable Mention

Kim Kardashian will take Kanye's last name – CNN

Woman plans to hand out letters to overweight trick-or-treaters – CNN

Chris Brown to enter rehab following latest arrest – CNN

'Creepy Uncle Sam' is back in Halloween-themed anti-Obamacare ad – Raycom News

Follow me on Twitter @TanitaG_RNN.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Do you think blackface is offensive to African Americans?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes - and it should be understandable why.
    21%
    45 votes
    No - if Dave Chappelle can dress up like a white man in a comedy sketch, others should be able to dress up as black characters/persons.
    79%
    170 votes
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