With the recent news of Pyer Moss founder and creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond's plan to premiere a film aimed at police brutality and institutionalized racism during Moss' New York Fashion Week presentation, the desperate need for infiltrating elements of so-called high society with bold statements of truth once again became strikingly clear. The self-constructed bubble facing many members of America's top tier is conducive to little else but classism-affirming isolation, a reality once again made clear by the baffling series of events that inspired #LaughingWhileBlack.
The Napa Wine Train, a popular tourist attraction which includes an 18-mile journey through Napa Valley, angered droves on social media after booting all 11 members of a mostly black book club from the tour due to supposedly disruptive laughter. For the record, the Napa Wine Train features fine dining and wine-tasting, a combination generally associated with audible enjoyment. "It was very humiliating, very degrading," book club member Dininne Neal tells KTVU, "and it made my mom cry, which made me cry."
The women, all but one of whom are black, were "paraded through the train" before being greeted with police upon discharge. "When we get off the train, the police are just standing there," 85-year-old member Katherine Neal describes. "They're looking at us like, these are the unruly people?" The group demanded an apology and a public promise to initiate much-needed policy changes. Napa Wine Train spokesperson Kira Devitt initially issued a statement insisting that the group was removed "to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all our guests," but ultimately admitted they were "100% wrong":
#LaughingWhileBlack, in addition to placing national heat on Napa Wine Train, has also inspired a lively conversation on racism at large: