Happy Humpday Loves! Take a pause in your day to celebrate the awesometry that is YOU!!! The talented writer that is SistaToldja created "Happy Black Girl Day" several months ago, a Wednesday tribute to honor any and every Black girl (woman), because we're often neglected yet SO worthy!! The irony my first HBGD post falls after a trying Sunday for Black women on television. *le sigh*
VH1's new Sunday night lineup features Chad "Ochocinco"Johnson's "The Ultimate Catch"followed by the "T.O. Show." Neither showcase the glory of Black woman as these "Brothas" search for a "mate"amongst a sea of suspicious mulattos with breast implants and the IQ of raisins (a whole box). I couldn't stomach 10 full minutes as both men seem to suffer from a deep self-hatred, suppressed by fleeting fame, athleticism, and attention. Then there was Boondocks. *Fingers to temple* This week, Grandpa dates the "Perfect Black Woman" yet I found little humor in depicting a successful Black woman as mythological as the unicorn (IMO). Anywho, I was ready to be INSPIRED!!!!
Bitch Is The New Blackby Helena Andrews, grants readers a first-hand account of modern city living and of course, dating, through the eyes of a young witty Black woman. A collection of essays pieced perfectly as a memoir, and she's not yet 30. The soon-to-be classic (yea I said it) hooked me instantly because parts were set in DC, and I too am young, smart, and single trying to find my way in the world. The love affair with the book began however, when soaking up her witty writing and introspective accounts of weightier subjects like kidnapping, homosexuality, depression and even abortion, all with brilliant honesty. A voyeuristic journey of 20-sexxxxy growing-pains, and I couldn't put it down! Any and everyone must cop this book ASAPington!!
Last night I attended the "Bitch Is The New Black" book signing/party at the Bella Vie boutique in Atlanta! The fete was sponsored by the Garner Circle, and featured chic clothing, cocktails, and great conversation. Helena Andrews was stunning in person, and a pleasure to meet (LUVed her Nicole Miller dress). It was inspiring to be in a room full of talented and successful women of varied shades of brown, to mingle and celebrate #BITNB. Oh, and there was shopping... :)
Savy entrepreneur Stacy Diltz of Savida Sangria, treated guests to "Bitch Bubbly" and Sangria... both were ah-mazing! My girls and I OFTEN partake in the spirits and will add her bottles (available near you) when celebrating...anything!
Shout Out to alllll the wonderful women we met last night, and thanks again to The Garner Circle PR for hosting such a great event!! Remember your WORTH ladies!! Happy Black Girl Day Indeed!!!
*TOP photo: MinkaKay, Self, Author Helena Andrews, and @lmturk at #BITNB signing at La Bella Vie*
Thursday, July 8,2010 two major decisions were made and covered in the media. "The Decision" as titled by ESPN, was the much-hyped media coverage of NBA megastar LeBron James deciding his career fate as a free agent. James' epic decision to move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat drew the largest viewing audience in ESPN history ( 7.3% of homes in US watched) Filled-to-the-brim with Vitamin Water advertisements, the hour-long special was an unprecedented display of power, influence, and control in marketing/advertising dollars and the NBA.
Also, Thursday evening, former transit cop Johanes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the brutal 2009 murder of Oscar Grant, an unarmed Black man. The incident sparked national attention as Grant was shot lying face-down and cuffed, on a subway platform, in front of millions, and was videotaped* by at least five people. The prosecution was unable to prove the higher charge of voluntary manslaughter, or that Mehserle's fear of Grant was "unreasonable." Instead, the lesser verdict was issued (carrying 2-4 years in prison) sentencing is set for August 6th. Mehserle's excuse was mistaking his .40 caliber handgun for a Taser. Adam Server's essay credits the historic and deep-felt fear of the Black man as cause for the ruling and explanation of prosecution's inability to push for the higher charge. I agree, but feel the fear is completely misplaced. (Surprised no one pulled a "Time To Kill" on that smug racist cop. I kid. Kinda.)
Young Black men are far too often the victims of (fatal) police brutality, yet the collective American public remains insensitive to the larger issue: Black life is not valued in our society. If an innocent Black man's videotaped murder (still) is not enough evidence for a full murder conviction nor elicit outrage from all races, then I'm at a loss to what must happen to affect our consciousness?!
Oscar Grant is representative of young Black sons, brothers, fathers, husbands and friends in our communities. The lack of value for his life that fateful night in the subway station at the hands of a BART cop, is the same lack that guided the decision of 12 jurors -8 women, 4 men, none Black- to sentence a murderous cop with a lesser charge.
The majority of conversation throughout Thursday centered around "The Decision." Not the Grant verdict, but King LeBron James' decision to jump teams. Seriously?? Everyone became a critic with an opinion, James was publicly ridiculed and several fans in Cleveland took to burning his former jersey in the streets. ERRR?!?! Even majority owner of the Cavaliers Dan Gilbert posted a public letter of dissatisfaction that reads like the bitter slave owner of Kunta Kinte. *Racism just spills out like word vomit sometimes.*
It disgusts me that white citizens from Cleveland, Ohio were more outraged at a Black free agent's decision to head to Miami as opposed to an innocent Black man's murder. Citizens of Oakland protested on Thursday evening too, but the media choose to focus on the few looters and rioters. Careful to associate violence and barbaric behavior with...Black folk.*SIGH* WHATTHEJOEJACKSONHELL?!?!?!
What is unfortunate is that young Blacks have greater odds becoming casualties, statistics or victims of racially charged violence, as witnessed in Oscar Grant's case, than becoming the next LeBron James. What is ironic is that in spite of having the world's attention on Thursday, the plight of police brutality (Oscar Grant) was never mentioned. I never thought it would, but imagine the impact if our public figures and athletes took grand stances against social injustice?! *Too much like right I know, but the thought made my heart pause with joy.*
In the following weeks, what will you do to fight social injustice? Aside from tweeting and provoking conversation, will you organize, register to vote, work to change laws that hold police accountable for murder? In the least, will you make a "Decision", or an effort to avoid the media's distractions and focus on the truth, OUR daily realities? I will surely keep trying.
**Oscar Grant's MURDER. Not suitable for weak stomachs or anyone with a soul.**
Surely you've heard of TVOne's semi-popular new reality TV/dating show titled "Donald Trump Presents: The Ultimate Merger" featuring reality television star Omarosa Manigault Stallworth. Set in Las Vegas, over a dozen men live together and compete in a series exaggerated challenges to win the heart of Omarosa. In spite of having the basic ingredients for debauchery (my fav) on reality TV, popular star, judgemental panel, guaranteed hook-ups, arguments, and clips for E!'s the Soup, there are eerily wrong points about the show that prevent me from watching consistently or becoming a fan.
The Shows Star: Omarosa - This beautiful Black woman popped on the pop culture scene six years ago as the "evil" contestant on Donald Trump's "Apprentice," where she bullied her way to infamy. Playing on the angry Black woman stereotype and voted TVGuide's worst villain ever, she reprised her role over the years on other reality shows while maintaining a relationship with her Svengali, Donald Trump. "Ultimate Merger" finds Omarosa, an accomplished woman in her own right (Howard University Alum) occupying the "Single/Picky Black Woman Looking For A Husband" role made ever-popular by TV programs, bloggers, and the Washington Post. Seemingly perfect timing would pit Omarosa's show with the plot dismissing Black men who can never measure up to a Black woman's needs. All on a "Black" television network. Genius marketing or conspiracy theory tirelessly at work.
"Donald Trump Presents"- Most reality shows (especially on a C-List network like TVOne) require substantial financial backing and sponsorship to secure airtime, so Omarosa has a friend and supporter in owner (oops) producer, Donald Trump. There is something unsettling yet familiar about their perceived relationship that strikes me a bit racist in the least. Perhaps the fact that Omarosa initially auditioned to gain Trump's approval, and on "Ultimate Merger" contestants must be approved by Trump as well. Omarosa appears to capitalize on Trump's blatant attraction to her physical and feminine wilds (Trump LOVES him some Omarosa), occupying her stereotypical role for a payoff. Almost like the chattel slavery relationships of slave master and female slave, or wealthy white man sponsoring the Black female (Bush & Condi even. I kid.). I liken the similarities to the slavery-era popularity of placage. Also, freeborn light-skinned Black women sometimes became the willing concubines of wealthy White southerners. This system, called placage, involved a formal arrangement for the White suitor/customer to financially support the Black woman and her children in exchange for her long-term sexual services. The White men often met the Black women at "Quadroon Balls," a genteel sex market. -Dr. David Pilgrim, 2002
Now, in no way am I saying that Omarosa and Trump are having sexual relations, nor that she a slave, but I found some of the basic characteristics of their relationship similar to those defined as placage witnessed during the days of old. We've come but so far...
Religious Hypocrisy- A small slant on the dating show is the weekly guidance from Pastor Jamal Bryant from the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, MD who sits on the panel as Omarosa's "Spiritual Advisor." To her credit, Omarosa is currently enrolled and pursuing her Doctorate in Divinity, and I've read online that she's an avid church-attendee. I understand where the producers were going. However, participating in a reality show that sets the demands for men to superficially court you with the false hope (who ever lasts or goes through with the romance?!) of marriage, seems to send a mixed message. Also, the close-ups of Omarosa's breasts, hot tub scenes, and questions about sexual satisfaction (Can the Brotha put a ring on it?!) seem to contradict Christian teachings, or at least what I thought I knew. I'm just saying...where's the God in that?
Reality shows are aimed to get ratings by any means necessary. The show was picked up for eight episodes, yet I'm doubtful it will get another season. I support a Black woman's hustle, her ability to sustain what most would call a short run, and to consistently brand in spite of naysayers. Omarosa possesses those characteristics and surely has a fan base that doesn't read deeply into the "Ultimate Merger" messaging as I do. Hence, I'm not employed at TvOne.
A certified superstar, Alicia Keys has been a commercial success since 2001. Keys is blessed with a stunning physique which has garnered attention from the onset of her career. A gorgeous and talented vocalist/musician, she appeals to women through her empowering lyrics, and men with her evident sex appeal. Nine years later, Keys now has acting, songwriting, production and endorsement credits, but prides herself (and BRAND) on her numerous humanitarian efforts and promoting self-esteem in young women. On paper, she reads like the classic Black female role model, but reality is... her character is WEAK.
The facts are rather simple. Swizz Beatz was married to Mashonda and during the course of their marriage he cheated with A.Keys. Mashonda found out, was woman enough to approach Keys asking her to respectfully step aside (as reported by Mashonda), but Keys did not comply. She and Swizz continued with their public affair. Sunday night's *EBTAwards Show placed Keys and fiance` Swizz Beatz in the front row with a permanent camera on the "loving couple", and I was shocked! I was floored when she accepted her first award (she won 2) and was extra affectionate in the camera, as most know the story behind the smiles. Then, she performed. TWICE. *le sigh*
I felt the EBTAwards performances were disturbing, because A.Keys was the physical manifestation of hypocrisy, adultery, and tastelessness. Her desire to perform while 5 months pregnant with a (technically still) married man's child, the decision to rock the Dolce Gabana minidress that accentuates her fetus-bump, and finally choosing to jump atop a baby grand piano during the second set (WHYLAWD), all proved Keys lacks class. It was as if her public figure status or celebrity accolades should omit her from judgement or "Maury"guest status, when in fact just the opposite was clear. Parading your baby by a married man is trifling and lacks noble decency. Period. Keys could care less about the mixed messages presented that evening, and had the support of BET to document the entire spectacle. As a Black woman/ fellow sistah, I don't respect her decisions.
To clarify, I see nothing wrong with showcasing the beauty that is a pregnant woman's body and tasteful representations do not offend or disgust me (See Vanity Fair Pic of Demi Moore-1st marriage, 2nd child). I overstand that (most) marriages don't often work out, and that people move on and find new loves. What I refuse to support however is infidelity passed off as "okay" simply because the couple is famous, rich or attractive. Keys' pregnant image is broadcast the world over, and it only takes a few clicks on the Internet to read the back story of her conception. Keys, who penned and profited of such female anthems as, "A Woman's Worth," "Unbreakable," "Superwoman," and "Karma."As a people, we continue to promote what is indecent, and ridicule what is righteous.
This is further evidenced by the many supporters of Keys' affair and demonization of Mashonda, a wife with a cheating husband that left her. Mashonda is the victim in the situation. If a man cheats on his wife, then commits to leave the marriage for the affair all before the divorce settlement smoke clears, he's not a real man. Sowwwy. Marriage in general is not valued as it once was, but that does not negate that two people were legally joined and a third party aided the dissolve. The media, or EBT rather, would have us all believe that Keys & Swizz Beatz are the new hip-hop power couple. #WHATTHEJOEJACKSONHELL??
Women in general should bond together in an effort of solidarity, to support one another in a world clearly controlled by men. Black females in particular need that sisterhood in order to deal with the daily tribulations and cultural struggles indicative to our communities, relationships, jobs and careers. Everyone (even Keys) knows sisterhood is severed if a married man does not deter you from pursuing a relationship. Only a general lack of respect for one another would allow the celebration of that which is indecent in our community and culture. This sad mentality is popular, folks are quick to critique the Black wife (Mashonda) for not "keeping her man." Few people mention the disrespect shown by Keys on Sunday night. I wish them all the best, but do not believe or support A. Keys' music, "empowerment" message, or relationship. I am my sistah's keeper.
*EBT AWARDS= BET Awards. EBT (Food Stamps) HERscarical slant on the bootlegged representations of US on BET *
**James Hannah-comedian- has a hilarious rant in support of my thoughts. Friend him on Crackbook**
It's that time again, when everyone in Black America huddles around their flat screen, Internet, and Twitter accounts to discuss the performances, hits and misses of BET's Annual Coon Awards! This year, Twitter maven @Freshalina dubbed the event the #EBTAwards. So, per usual I've wrapped up the may-jah highlights in my annual wrap-up! KEY POINTS: Kanye West's Show Opener- Kanyizzle opened with his new single "Power", and rapped the whole set atop a mountain with a staff, 80's chain ( 10 times the opulence & size) around his neck, and a moving background. A DOPE throwback to real MCing, I was thrilled Ye silenced all haters! Queen Latifah Failing As Host-*Deep Sigh* Now, Queen may be talented in acting and singing (no comment, as I remain underwhelmed) but hosting is not her forte. Viewers had to suffer through her awkward readings of the teleprompter, a musical opening that lasted way too long, and too many irrelevant/incoherent costume changes throughout the night, I really wanted to scream, "LA! Sit your ARSE DOWN!!" Diddy's Dirty Money Crew- A surprisingly energizing performance!!! That is, if you could see anything through the excessive smoke... *cough* Yea. Ya boi Diddy went too far demanding smoke and pyrotechnics, so the audience had audio & thick fog for half the performance. Ricky Rawse, draped in all 50 chains owned in life, a too small Hanes that showcased his breasts, and of course a large jacket, lip-synced his verse on the remix. Nikki Minaj came out in a vinyl cat suit and lip-synched her verse (lookin like one of the daum Incredibles). Seemed like Bad Boy circa 1994 was onstage for a min.with all the dancers and the Dirty Money Trannies looking like Total 2.0. Well done Diddy! Held my attention... Chris "BeatHerDown" Brown's Michael Jackson Tribute- With an intro from Jermaine "Crazy Hair" Jackson that omitted Chris' name ("Here "HE" is...") Breezy shut EVERYONE UP with one set!!!! His dancing-flawless, song selctions-perfect, and when he closed with "Man In The Mirror", he was so overcome with emotion that he had a breakdown. In front. of MILLIONS!!! GENIUS!!!! Now staged or otherwise, it was BRILLIANT PR that solidified who the most talented is right now, and inspite of personal feelings... it's BREEZY!!! I'm no longer a cynic, and am on the bandwagon that is C.Breezy's comeback. Surely his career is on FI-YAH this morning. Oh, and I predict this is the last year of Trey Songz' mediocre run as Breezy will eclipse Trey's crossover attempt. Yea. I said it. The Prince Tribute- Um... well, it was for Prince! Janelle Monet opened the set with "Let's Go Crazy" and it was CLASSIC Janelle mixed w. James Brown!!! She danced wildly all over the stage, pompadour-a-flying, screeched her heart out and almost split her lil' tuxedo pants!! LOVED it! Jazz singer Esporanza Spaulding followed, singing, "If I Was Your Girlfriend", but she and her standing bass about put me to sleep. Surely she's better in different venues, but honeychile this was NOT your night. Sowwy. A Keys, dirtying the name of pregnant women everywhere, had the nerve to play "Adore" on the Baby Grand barefoot, then writhe her big @$$ on top of the piano to further gyrate?! Even PRINCE gave her the, "Bish, if your water breaks on MY account," look that should've slowed her down. Oh no. She kept slanging her hair and pumping her belly. She lost all my respect last night. Patti Patti closed the set kicking off her Loubitons (Prince caught one) taking everyone home with "Purple Rain." Prince accepted his award clad in a tunic with his face painted in Crayola watercolors (whatthehellman?!), white bell bottoms, and 5-inch white boots. He's still the most beautiful being in the whole theatre. He did not perform, which was the crushing letdown of the night. I assume he's too good for EBT, and I honestly can't blame him... John Legend's Humanitarian Speech- Most may have overlooked, but Legend, in spite of his elusive hairline, gave one of the most impactful speeches. Ever. Essentially, he said Black celebrities aren't' doing nearly enough in the US or abroad,and that we all should focus on education reform and empowering our communities. I'm looking for the full transcript to post, but it was BEASTLY. TRUST. KU-DOS John!!! (See someone about that hairline please sir, thanks!) Other Perfomances: *Ursher's "There Goes My Baby" -smooth yet he had trouble hitting his falsetto *T.I.'s "Takers" (Motion picture theme song) amped comeback performance featuring Travis Barker on drums. His first time back and the crowd went crazy.
*Drizzle's "Over" featuring a surprise appearance from Jeezy to remix to "Loose My Mind." A great performance that was articulate and fresh! Both artists looked clean in their too-tight jackets.
*BOB rapped "Airplanes" featuring Keyshia Cole- screeching the hook clad in a blond, arse-length mullet.
*El Debarge (MY FAVORITE) *SWOON*- Randomly appeared behind a piano and slayed the house w. a medley of some of his memorable hits. He sounded. The. Exact. Same. DAUM.
* Kirk Franklin's "Haiti Song"- included gospel greats like Karen Sheard and Yolanda "Christian Home wrecker" Adams. Nice job!
*A Keys' solo Performance (and double win) where she sounded great but looked a pregnant fool. I refuse to endorse her rubbing her belly, gyrating across the stage in an attempt to look "sexx-sy". Save it for Swizz, cause aintnobodywannaseethatish. Tacky. In. The. Least.
*Trey Songz "Your Side Of the Bed/ Purple Rain" ERR?? Worst performance of the night. Hands down. Trey sounded like a nervous goat, wasn't entertaining simply standing onstage, and once he tried Purple Rain, Prince shot him the deathly *Side eye* verifying he was stinkin up the stage.
*DJ Khaled "All I Do Is Win"- Closed the night with Busta (overweight & happy to be seen), Ludacris (with violinists & a phantom mask), Diddy (of course), Rawse (One more time for ALL his jewels), and a chunky yet energetic T-Pain. Oh, and Tommy Lee was on drums adding to the spectacle. ***A Full Link to ALL PERFORMANCES (NecoleBitchie.com) *** Random Mentions: *Trey Songz' Mama-proving Black don't crack, looking like a 25 year old stealing all the buzz from other red carpet heaux, and almost having a "Janet" wardrobe malfunction when onstage w. Trey. *Beyaki & GAGA not showing to accept their award for video of the year-*yawn* Clearly they're TOO international for the #EBTAwards. *Rocsi- Just when I thought she could look no worse or smuttier... she trumped my hand last night. There are no words.
*Queen Latifah's homosexual references-From dressing as "Cleo" during the AKward T.I. sketch (anyone catch how TIP mispronounced her name?!) to the random rap where I swear she alluded to her being gay... I swear La was trying to tell us something.
*WHY did they place J Cole to play before the commercials?!?! That brotha was ROBBED!!!! Too fine and talented for BET to play him. ugh.
*Nikki Manaj's fashion choices & Firefox wig. *Fingers to temple* I can't. *#WHATTHEJOEJACKSONHELL did Deborah Lee have ON?!?! EVERY YEAR this broad embarrasses a PEOPLE with her RIDICULOUS fashion choices?!? She has no friends, no stylists, and everyone must hate her as witnessed in her appearance. I can't.
This year's show was chalk-full of decent performances , so much so that I can barely remember who won what (it matters not). Bottom line: several stars had GREAT comeback performances, Chris Brown is BACK, and BET did not totally shame us! In fact, minus a few suspect performances and poor selection of hosts (I won't even START on how embarrassingly drunk everyone appeared at the "After Party"), I'd rate this show a 7.5 out of 10. I'd watch pieces again, and was glad I tuned in last night. Hell, I tune in every year just to critique the debauchery that's the EBT oops! BET Awards.
A Seattle police officer (white) was videotiaped punching a young woman (17-years old) in the face post resisting arrest. Allegedly the officer was in the midst of detaining J Walkers, when the two young Black women were seen J Walking on the exact same intersection. In Seattle Washington, J Walking is deemed a serious offense (#WhattheJoeJackSonHELL) so the officer was performing within his job role when he asked the women to come to his vehicle. When he tries to reprimand them, the ladies curse him out and one tries to walk away. The officer then tries to physically detain them and one young lady pushes the officer. Clearly the officer becomess immediately frustrated and after wrestling with the ladies for a few seconds he punches one in the face. *PAUSE*
The ladies' behavior is rather shocking, as we live in a country where the first offense is simply being Black and teach our children how to "interact" with crazed racist cops on a regular basis. Striking an officer was a bold move that did not end well-as evidenced in the videotape. Granted, the two women were provoking the officer, one arguably violent when she pushed the officer, but were there no other options to gain order? The officer doesn't think twice- he is immediately reactive and punches a minor in the face. Why was that his first reaction?
Had the two young women been white, I don't believe this instance would have ever happened. I imagine the officer would've politely walked over and presented the ladies with a warning as their safety is ultimately at risk when J Walking. The fact that these two women were Black, and *le sigh* unfortunately acting in thestereotypical *aggressive Black girl manor, will only give the officer more validity to justify his actions when investigated...for he felt "threatened." Ah yes, the standby excuse most culturally-limited white people use whenever a Black person becomes "loud", or resists (even if legal and controlled) the status quo as deemed by white society. WE are always the provokers and what happens to US, usually at the hands of law enforcement, is our own consequence.
Unfortunately, I don't subscribe to that bullocks rhetoric as I feel passionately that law enforcement, above all else should seek to protect the people and not act solely on the defense treating minorities like animals. WHERE are the sensitivity training and cultural diversity courses for officers? Where were his attempts to verbally subdue a minor? This instance was in no way complete police brutality, or worthy of NAACP coverage. However, I found it worthy of discussion if only to consider the images we present in public, how they will quickly react and of course...how to properly conduct oneself in the presence of a... (high school graduate that probably wasn't socially accepted now armed with a gun, tazor, billy club & racist thoughts) police officer.
Marinate on it for a min...
**Sapphire-the stereotype designated for aggresive, opinionated, and vocal Black women. If unfamiliar, research, wait for a post, or read my forthcoming book...:) -Nice plug!-**
A young creative-professional, I write to keep my sanity. Vitamin D is the daily dose of information and provoking thought, wrapped in a slightly humorous package.Dawnavette.com provides insights on pop culture, fashion, politics, and foolishness from a fresh, sharp, and witty perspective.