Monthly Archives: July 2010

Maury’s Most “Unthinkable” Guests Alicia, Swizz, Mashonda, and Jahna..(A Hypothetical Daytime Talk Show)

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This is a topic I’ve been trying to avoid for months. Soul music’s “Superwoman” Alicia Keys has wowed the masses with her artistry, creativity, and powerful messages of love.  Her body of work stands out amongst club friendly party anthems and half-dressed sex sellers that seem to dominate R&B’s ranks. When Alicia sang “Everything means nothing, if I don’t have you..” or “This love is unbreakable…” who would have ever guessed she could have been singing about smashing a married man? Swizz Beatz, a prolific hit maker who has crafted hits for everyone from DMX to Beyonce, to her husband Jay Z, traded in his family and four-year marriage to another R&B singer, Mashonda to do the unthinkable with Alicia after a year long affair. All of this could have been fine and dandy- except for the fact another R&B singer, Jahna Sebastian has come forth with another Swizz baby. If you have been living under a rock, Alicia Keys is currently pregnant by Swizz. Am I the only one that’s started to think the life of A.Keys is becoming an episode of Maury?



Maury: Welcome back. This is Mashonda. She’s been a previous guest on our show with her cheating husband Swizz Beats who failed a lie detector test and got another woman pregnant. Not only was Mashonda publicly humiliated, she was shocked to find out her husband wanted to throw the towel in on her and their family, look at the picture of Kaseem Jr, isn’t he adorable?

The audience coos.

Mashonda: Yes Maury he is adorable. I love my son. He misses his father so much….

Maury: Has Swizz been taking care of his child?

Mashonda: He’s in and out. He sends money. Kaseem needs more than that, he needs his father. I never thought I would be a single mother raising a family…

Maury: Well I know that’s hard Mashonda. We do have another guest Jahna, who claims that Swizz is the father of her baby girl. Come on out Jahna….

the audience applauds

Jahna: Thank you Maury. Hi Mashonda…I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you Mashonda. I know how hard this is for you but my baby needs diapers, clothes, formula… look at the screen. This baby looks just like Swizz he won’t acknowledge my child, he won’t see my child. He sends me $1500 a month Maury. He’s a millionaire!!


Jahna screams at the screen showing Swizz backstage

Swizz: I’m a millionaire not you!!! Get outta here you bust down!!

the audience boos

Maury: Well Swizz says that both of you are causing drama in his life and won’t accept the fact that he’s moved on to be with his pregnant fiance. Do you two still want him?

Mashonda and Jahna: Hell no!!!

Swizz: They lyin Maury. They both want me and they both still love me. They just mad cause I’m with Alicia…

Jahna: Don’t nobody want you!! You need to take care of your child!! That’s all I want…!!!

Maury: Do you want Swizz back Mashonda?

Mashonda: He is a great father and our family doesn’t feel complete without him there…

the audience boos

Maury: Let’s bring Swizz and his pregnant fiance Alicia out. Swizz and Alicia come on out!!


the audience boos LOUDLY, flashing thumbs down signals at the couple

Swizz: Haters! Haters! Haters! Y’all don’t know me haters!! What’s up Maury?

Alicia quietly moves her seat away from the girls and Swizz follows her lead

Maury: Now in a twist to the story, Swizz did admit to our producers to being the father of Jahna’s daughter and has admitted that he was sleeping with all three of you women at the same time…

Swizz: That was before me and Alicia was serious Maury. I take responsibility of my children but I no longer want to deal with these psycho *beep* that are trying to ruin my life with this *beep* and Jahna, Jahna… tell the truth… You was a one night stand and you was just tryin to get some tracks from me and…

Jahna: What married man just sleeps around with other women and he’s married? And you need to just look to your left to see who’s really trying to get tracks from you, please!! *Beep* you, pay me!! How’s that Swizz?

Maury: Alicia- you are kind of quiet…

Alicia: I just know both of these women are thirsty and desperate and Swizz is a wonderful, great man. We are truly soul mates and we just want to be happy together without all this drama these women have caused in our lives. We are together. I am pregnant with his child. We are unbreakable…

Maury: Well Alicia- yesterday we set up cameras in our green room with Swizz backstage with a sexy decoy.. Do you want to see the tape…..??

the audience roars…

The image of the angelic songstress Alicia Keys is slowly being replaced by allegations of homewrecking and selfishness. We don’t know if she is truly in love, or just another naive woman who accepts the “unacceptable” just to have a man in her life. Truly I hope Alicia is aware of the “ruff ride” she’s signed herself up for by getting involved with a married man, that had no qualms about being involved with her, or any other woman for that matter.

one of the MANY songs Alicia has thinly veiled as an ode to her love, Swizz. You may not go crazy, but you most definitely look crazy right now Alicia.







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You Act Like You’ve Never Seen a White Person Before, Essence Readers

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In hindsight, maybe they could have broken everybody in with a Fergie cover. Ellianna Placas in September will become the Little Rock Nine of Essence Magazine when she begins her stint as Fashion Director for the prestige “black” magazine. Some black women are sweating through their Fashion Fair make up, fuming at the decision to hire Ellianna. Clutch Magazine released a statement saying

As the publication unofficially deemed “Essence’s little sister”–a growing young urban women’s online brand for news, critical commentary, lifestyle, fashion and beauty–it felt like our Mom walked us hand in hand to the center of the biggest shopping mall in the state, turned around, and left us. But we are no longer the little girls eyeballing the glossy giant who taught us how to love ourselves.

Really? Are people still so obsessed with race that they feel a white woman isn’t competent or “black” enough to add insight to fashion editorials for a women’s interest magazine? Who would they rather have, “tacky” Tina Knowles as fashion director? Would it be fine with the black consensus if Kimora Lee stamped her Baby Phat kitten emblem alongside the Essence name? These are the same readers that flipped their lace fronts when Essence featured Reggie Bush on the cover of their February Valentine/Love issue because he was dating Kim Kardashian at the time. These black women show their insecurity, hypocrisy, and jealousy by harboring on old stereotypes and actually becoming stereotypes by their disapproval of interracial dating and social integration. How can these women in good conscience reject a white fashion director when our fellow (and mostly white) Americans have elected a black president?

Exclusively associating with people of your own race is not only detrimental to your development in a multi cultural world, it truly excludes you from wonderful experiences and friendships. I personally share a Cher and Dionne-esque vibe with my best friend, a white chick from Memphis, TN who is my soul sister. We have many more similarities than we do differences, yet the differences we share have never negatively affected our relationship. If not anything it gives us a soundboard to air our cultural differences and questions about the opposite race. Racial exclusion is cosigning the ideas of extremists who practiced and promoted Jim Crow laws and advocates of separate but equal establishments for blacks and whites. Funny how these prejudiced blacks forget about the white people who had dogs sicked on them by police, marched with blacks on Washington and in Selma, and pushed for legislation to change the laws in this country. Are these black women so angry because they are not attracted to white men at black men for dating white women that they have adopted unjust racial bias against the fellowship of sisterhood?

I am sure that Ellianna Placas, a former O Magazine staffer, is more than capable of handling her new job. I hope that she is welcomed by the staff and readers as a contributing member of a team and brand that has taught women of all colors beauty, class, and elegance. Clutch Magazine should be taken to task for race baiting unnecessarily in these times volatile racial climates. Their feelings of being threatened by the choice of Essence Magazine to hire a white fashion director seems like attention whoreism more than a legitimate racial gripe.

Say black versus white, we off that
Please tell Bill O’Reilly to fall back
Tell Rush Limbaugh to get off my balls
This 2010 not 1864
Yeah we come so far
So I drive around town hard top and its off
And my Tribeca loft with my high brow and my high yellow broad
And my dark skin sis and my best white mate say whats up to Chris
Hows that for a mix
Got a black president, got green presidents
Blue prints in my white iPod
Black diamonds in my Jesus piece, my God
We ain’t tripping off that
This is a Benetton ad, (we) been up off that

Off That- Jay Z

Benneton

Jolynne and I, the 2010 Cher and Dionne

The Mirror is Your Friend (When Good Looks Go Bad)

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..Oh you FANCY, HUH??

30 seems to be that magic age when women become the new 20, or a hot ol’ mess. Reaching this milestone of b’days signifies a change in a woman’s life and she truly comes into her own, honing in on her mistakes and reinventing them as learning experiences. Women reach a point of comfort with themselves that flies in the face of their eager pleasing twenty something years. In the midst of this newfound freedom, we tend to let go of other people’s expectations for us and do our own thing. As our faith grows in our independence, some of us may be stuck in a time warp- secure in our direction yet still banking on yesterday’s glory. As our age increases, so must our attention to our exterior appearance as beauty regimens aren’t just something we do “special” for ourselves, but regular maintenance.

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Most of us just glance long enough to make sure we’ve got all the toothpaste off our mouths and the eyeliner is straight on our eyes. You deserve more attention that that from yourself. Notice the brightness of your teeth and the clarity of your skin. These will be the first tell tale signs of your age. Whitening toothpastes and bentonite clay masks can perk up your look. Do not forget that regularly drinking water (not frapps) will shave years off your appearance that all night partying and drinking have added on you. Since you’re not 21 anymore, you do require at least seven hours of sleep at night. If you look at your nails and see uneven claws with dirt underneath them or the airbrushed name of your boyfriend, please immediately after reading this go to your nearest shop and get a mani and pedi PRONTO. Choose a short, manicured look and a color that compliments you. If you are still wearing weave in 2010, you have zero excuses for not maintaining it. Your weave should never look like a rabid animal is holding your head hostage. This is the type of I don’t give a fuck-ness that reflects how you truly feel about yourself. Even if you’ve gained weight over the years, that’s fine. Dress to compliment your body. Don’t torture a poor innocent dress or jeans with your bursting hips and bulging muffin tops. Either work out and get your former body back or replenish your wardrobe. Nothing says Hello I’m pathetic I’m 30, but I stillll got it like dressing out of your little cousin’s closet, especially when you’re popping buttons off of clothes. The 30’s mean work outs and exercise regardless of weight are a mandatory part of life for health and wellness issues. Go to the sauna and get massages so the stress can melt off your body. Go easy in the tanning booth and actively take care of your skin.

Looks aren’t everything, but as we age, looks do reflect our personal care about ourselves. Is it so shocking that Foxy Brown is still getting arrested and Britney Spears doesn’t seem quite right just yet? Too many women refuse to see the truth in the mirror that says enough is enough. Changing your outlook and mindset are great first steps in being the best woman you can be, but so is being honest with yourself about beauty. If you don’t have one friend in the world that would urge you to change a shiteous outfit or hisses at you for your chipping nails, you yourself should know. Women like Foxy and Britney look like caricatures of their former hot selves, either or oblivious or just plain out say fuck it when it comes to presenting themselves to the world. Although everybody can’t still look 23 while approaching the 30 mark, you shouldn’t look like these two. EVER. Be careful not to allow delusions of grandeur trick you into thinking that you don’t have to work at being beautiful, you’re not in high school anymore.

the good ol’ days

The Truth is Louder Than a Soundbite… Maybe…

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What you hear isn’t always the truth, just ask Shirley Sherrod. A speech she gave about equality for all races and the needs of the less fortunate class was chopped and screwed into the roasting of white people, and released to the world by Fox News, a beacon of “fair and balanced” reporting. While Shirley did indeed say the comments that got everybody from Glenn Beck to the NAACP up in a tizzy, the context of her statements were unbelievably misconstrued in order to point the reverse racism finger back at the black White House and its supporters.  To everyone’s chagrin the unaltered tape actually showed Shirley Sherrod as kind of race hero- a woman whose own father was murdered by the KKK, facing a choice to provide aid to a white farmer that felt “superiority” over her and she actually helped him. In an age of hoopla over what someone says context gets lost, and doesn’t always come back to vindicate.

People are receiving more information than ever. The production of information just in the year 2000 was 37,000 times more than all the information in the Library of Congress. Mail, telephones, and the internet bring us more information than previous generations could ever imagine. All the cool people are blogging their most intimate thoughts on Twitter (in 140 characters or less) and updating Facebook with their problems, rants, and observations. Cellphones allow us the ability to pass notes in the classroom of life without even saying one word. We seemed to be obsessed with information gathering, but maybe we are more obsessed with gossip. Facebook has turned people into private dicks combing their “friends” profiles for suspicious pictures, comments and statuses. What you may be using as a tool for self promotion expression may be interpreted as your last will and testament to the readers seeing your updates. Twitter whose chat room esque elements (minus the anonymity) thrives off of the information and gossipy nature that we have to share information not just about ourselves, but each other. The result is an electronic version of the “telephone game” we played as children, a morphing of facts and truth that blazes through our wi-fi connections with lightning speed- with only remnants of the original details.

Shirley Sherrod could never imagine that words she said about someone she met in 1986 would cause such a national uproar, then national apology. She is one of many people who the flame of wild-fire words has scorched and burned. As a writer, its damning for me to write that tone is very difficult to interpret via text (words alone) and coupling that with the sophisticated technology that can manipulate speech to serve its audience makes deciphering the real truth like finding a size 8 shoe during a Nordstrom’s clearance sale. Fox News has replaced journalism with the same authenticity that we see on reality shows, and internet addicts shoot up all the gossip and info that they can- commenting without caring about sources or validity. The story is what we are after- and the truth may or may not fit with that. As the same folks that demand that the Obama administration rehire the same person they demanded he fire talk out both sides of their faces, its is our responsibility to police our need for that gossip fix by not running with speculation as the real deal. You never know when that speculation could be running after you. If you have time to care about truth and the manipulation of the truth, check out the “facts” about Shirley Sherrod below:

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous issued the following statement today after learning of the resignation of Shirley Sherrod of the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Since our founding in 1909, the NAACP has been a multi-racial, multi-faith organization that– while generally rooted in African American communities– fights to end racial discrimination against all Americans.

We concur with US Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in accepting the resignation of Shirley Sherrod for her remarks at a local NAACP Freedom Fund banquet.

Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race.

We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.

Her actions were shameful. While she went on to explain in the story that she ultimately realized her mistake, as well as the common predicament of working people of all races, she gave no indication she had attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man.

The reaction from many in the audience is disturbing. We will be looking into the behavior of NAACP representatives at this local event and take any appropriate action.

We thank those who brought this to our national office’s attention, as there are hundreds of local fundraising dinners each year.

Sherrod’s behavior is even more intolerable in light of the US Department of Agriculture’s well documented history of denying opportunities to African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American farmers, as well as female farmers of all races. Currently, justice for many of these farmers is being held up by Congress. We would hope all who share our outrage at Sherrod’s statements would join us in pushing for these cases to be remedied.

The NAACP will continue to advance the ideals of America and fight for freedom, justice and fairness for all Americans.”

Benjamin T. Jealous NAACP President and CEO July 20, 2010

We have come to the conclusion we were snookered … into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias,”

 NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous.

damn those snookerers!!!!

 

The Mel Gibson in Your House: When Words Become Sticks and Stones

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What are we really listening to when we hear Mel Gibson’s unrelentless verbal buckshots at his former flame Oksana Grigorieva? Drunken frustration at its heights, racist and anti-Semitism, or something more? Ms. Celie Whoopi Goldberg, who has come to the defense of womanizer Jesse James, black face joker Ted Danson, and mad ass Mel is trying to persuade women that maybe we are all wrong to be disgusted by the crude language and remarks of Mel Gibson, and we have misunderstood him by what we’ve heard in the media.” He’s not racist,” Whoopi insists, but one thing he is for sure is an intimidating misogynist that was/is verbally abusive to his girlfriend.

Context and intent are measuring tools to help determine whether an argument or discussion is getting out of hand. When mean words are tossed  like rice at a wedding with the intent to shame and dismiss, you may be dealing with your own Lethal Weapon. Mocking of your feelings and sarcastic put downs are classic signs that this exchange is more than just a rant and actually an expression of abuse. A fight is not fair when your self-esteem is more beat down than unemployment legislation. Emotional cruelty is not a right of passage in normal relationships and should not be condoned or tolerated. Hiding the impact of these confrontations from friends and family increases the shame that verbally abused people endure. The abuse is successful when the victim feels totally alone and isolated because of the constant eruptions of anger they experience in these relationships. The emotional collateral damage is immense and so is keeping the peace between you and air for a temper. Add that to putting on a peaceful face for the world, and there leaves no peace inside left for you. Personal disrespect is not a precursor to getting a point across. Criticism and humiliation are not normal, and neither is getting the third degree about socializing with friends or wardrobe choices. The toll is heavy being subjected (or your children) to talk that makes Hell’s Kitchen seem like The Martha Stewart Show.

The hardest thing to peg about verbal abusers is that they are often difficult to peg. Lots are charming and successful people who most wouldn’t suspect of such cruel potty mouthery. This can make coming to terms with the abuse even worse because it’s hard to call a nice person an abuser. Miss Celie’s Mister. in The Color Purple, comes to mind, a complete tool that everybody hates. This isn’t always the case as verbal Tasmanian devils come in all personality types. Remember there was a time when people looked at O.J. Simpson as the epitome of good guyness, so just because someone may have good qualities doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of taking situations too far.

 Hot headed douchebags don’t think about the implications of their actions, so why protect them? The responsibility of the victim is to stop being the victim and get out of the out of hand situation. A relationship can keep many secrets but this kind of controlling and depressing behavior shouldn’t be hid behind closed doors. Nobody wants to be alone, but love doesn’t call names Orbitz Gum couldn’t clean up, intimidate like a pack of pitt bulls, hurt self-esteem like a punch from Laila, or make you question if you are safe in your own home. Covering the verbal spewers ass (this means you Whoopi Goldberg) only reassures the abuser that they are doing nothing wrong, and this kind of domestic terrorism authority is justified, and their victim is being too sensitive. Anyone that advises you to stay with a Hitler of emotions is just as confused or messed up as they are and are undoubtedly compensating for personal inadequacies. Trust your instinct and bail out, threats can become vendettas. Maybe the threat hanging over Osana’s head about being buried in a rose garden didn’t seem too unbelivable from a guy who verbally lashed her out the same way he lashed out Jesus Christ.

What Is It With These Bitches? A Cultural Intervention

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The tongue is mightier than the sword. The power of words and imagery in popular culture has undoubtedly sparked movements of empowerment and social climate change. Words define who we are, and images define what we identify ourselves with. Long gone are the days of Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis educating females on what is it to be a woman in society. Josephine Baker, who of course danced for dollars butt naked, was also an instrument of social equality and international political clout. Today women who by all media accounts are shopaholic party girls, wine drinking, independent types that can’t catch a man even with Flo-Jo’s legs could be rallying to change the stereotypes of music and club culture that says that they are bitches, have instead chose to embrace women that actively promote the same negativity that embodies the worst of who we are.

Nicki – the Mary Magdelene to Lil Wayne’s Jesus, has made it her business to capitalize on being a bad bitch and lil freak. In her songs she boasts of “taking Cassie away from Diddy”, “being a five-star bitch”, “having the fattest pussy”, and “only fucking ballers”. Nicki has allegedly has had her face and body surgically altered in her quest of being the baddest “Barbie” she can be. Are her ever-changing looks and sexuality a nod to her feminist predecessors as her individual expression of freedom, or a not so sophisticated way of mainstream marketing designed to increase her fan base and sales?

Books like Bitch is The New Black have coined the word bitch as modern feminism with a twist of controversy. Bitch is embraced not just as a term of endearment but as an expression of power and independence. Funny since we all know bitches as female dogs and dogs survive by the grace of their masters. We are persuaded to forget the scathing truth of what bitch really is and what the bitch represents. In King Lear, one of the great works by William Shakespeare the Earl of Kent refers to Oswald as “..nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch…” It doesn’t sound like ol’ Billy was saying Oswald’s mom was an independent, empowered woman. Even prior to Shakespeare, the word bitch was used to describe promiscuous women that were like “dogs in heat”. Back in the day even whores didn’t want to be called “bitches”. Fast forward to today, when using the word bitch is more popular than calling a woman lady. The current bitch is a male pleasing, beautifully weaved out, money-getting, bottle poppin’, good time girl. A great guise for somebody that is too confused to be who they really are.

Why do women feel the need to become a bitch in order to become popular, successful, and beautiful? It can’t be our common sense- as the word bitch connotes offensive stereotypes and is meant as an insult. So why has popular culture recently bashed women into bitch submission? Why is the most prominent female hip hop artist the “baddest” self-proclaimed bitch of them all? Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy has bought the film rights to Bitch is The New Black and is bringing bitches to big screen a’la Sex and The City style. While a whole generation of women have been indoctrinated into bitchdom, the women behind the curtains are heading straight to the bank, only the at the expense of the labor of the feminist movement and the future of our women.

This article was inspired by Amanda Anderson at www.urbanbellemag.com and The Hip Hop Effect: The Bitch Complex

Soul Connections and Your Ex….

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Who do we love to hate more than our Federlinin, emotionally unavailable, wack ass exes? These are the people we’ve experienced our most intimate moments, feelings, and sex acts with and simultaneously hold the most contentment in our hearts for. This is the best friend that turns into a stranger in the blink of an eye, and takes a lifetime much precious time to get over. Love and hate battle for their existence in our lives even after the relationship is over. It is so much easier to just say fuck em to hold on to the feelings of emotional betrayal, anger, and distaste for our exes, but is it ever possible to be loving to your ex despite the dramatic highs and lows of the former relationship?

An ex can be like a spare tire or a flat tire in our lives, depending on the role this person plays. Exes understand our bi polar relationships with family and friends. They can offer insight into the person we are and the person we were. However getting to a level of trust with someone who evokes sentiment and resentment is as difficult as drilling a relief well to stop millions of gallons of gushing oil from the sea. Before reaching out to an ex give yourself and your ex time to heal from the relationship. If you are stalking strolling around on Facebook and see a pic of your ex with someone new or out at a club looking a little bit too sexy, you may not be ready to bridge the gap between you. Seasons cycle, and maybe the need to reach out eventually dies. If it does great. Why fix what’s not broken? Entertaining a throwback is a delicate emotional manuever that can easily go wrong. If a pining sensation in your heart commands you to seek your former motorboater put the Blackberry down before you get your feelings hurt. Getting back and being friends are not the same thing. Make sure that both people agree that a friendship is wanted and not a relationship. Be ready to talk about things that may make you uncomfortable in order to move forward into this new friendship territory.

Why even make nice with this asshole person? Why hold on to negativity for somebody that you obviously at one point loved? No one is perfect, and many people would have made better friends than lovers anyway. With all the madness in the world, authentic soul connections are rare and shouldn’t be discounted because a relationship didn’t work out. We don’t have to be in love with somebody to love that person. To show love to someone who has hurt you is the ultimate grace and compassion that signifies a full circle refinement in a woman. Being bigger than the major or the petty issues that sever soul ties is prudent because soul ties are never broken. An ex is always an example of what not to do next time, but an ex is also a part of your past, and your past dictates your now, and your now dictates your future. Playing with fire is dangerous, but freezing on the island of misdirected anger is as well. If genuinely you believe your ex isn’t a bad person, why deny your soul the connection that was built between the two of you? Let love come from your soul, not the fickle heart or the trippy mind.