What is an Urban Chameleon? Someone who, “might enjoy a two pump soy chai latte to digest the bangin’ curry goat with rice and peas they just ate,” according to the new blog Home of the Urban Chameleon. I personally prefer sweet tea with my curry goat. I wonder if that makes me a Southern Urban Chameleon? I digress. The brainchild of editor in chief, HaJ, HOTUC is an extension of the online entertainment and production company Tickles.Tv, of which HaJ is also CEO & President. Here’s how she breaks down the etymology of the Urban Chameleon:
It’s a term that we created to define people of color who seamlessly transition from one unique social and professional environment to another. We realized that there is this emerging demographic of people of color who need to be identified that are constantly holdin’ it down … in BOTH corporate America and “around-the-way”.
A chameleon is an animal that is known for being able to adapt and blend into various spaces by changing its melanin. This ability is a survival mechanism utilized to secure mates as well as provide camouflage when hunting for food, and hiding from predators. Some would argue that being able to culturally code-switch (tailor one’s language or behavior to assimilate into a given cultural context) is a vital survival tool. Others find chameleon-hood threatening because of the extent to which some folks lose themselves as they strive to adapt. The concept of an Urban (city-dwelling and/or “Black”) Chameleon raises some interesting questions about navigating corporate and community spaces, maintaining individuality, assimilating and (in my mind) WEB DuBois’ theory double consciousness. Several of these concepts are addressed and explored on the blog, as well as on Tickles.Tv – where they satirically critique everything from Black Poetry (in the sketch Def Poetry Investigations) to corporate negro shuckin’ and jivin’ (in the sketch Harriet Tubman and an AK-47).