Thursday, October 22, 2009

Come Join Me At Acts Of Faith Blog.Com

Good Day Readers:


I believe this post will redirect (Nope Blogger generates a 404 error) to the new blog address but I'm still working out the kinks. Thanks for your patience. Some brilliant person also suggested I buy a used LCD monitor and connect it to my laptop - which will cost me around $200 as opposed to $2000 for a new laptop. I just love it that I'm surrounded by such intellect and fortitude on the 'net! Have a great day.

Here's today's post on Women's Health Care.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm In A New Wave State of Mind

My usually trustworthy Mac blew a backlight bulb which is forcing me to take a time out. I'm hoping it's that and not the entire logic board. Although I'd love to have a reason to buy a new laptop it's not high on my priority list right now. Fortunately I backed up everything but you know how it is when you have a routine and presets. Remembering all of my 1000 passwords and keycodes is so much fun....not. I scrambled to find a PC which I'm using right now and after considering a switch back I can safely report it ain't happening. Besides all of my software is Mac-based.

Between the lack of a computer and the switch in blogging platforms I remembered I had a few draft posts to spare. **I caught the last 35 seconds of that new vampire show on the CW when I'd tuned in to watch Supernatural and noticed someone did a remake of New Order's Temptation. Nobody can touch the original but as with most groups who've pioneered certain genres it's good for them to find a new (younger) audience even through a cover version of one of their classics.

I went searching through the web and found a live performance on the BBC. You can tell it's old just by the way the group is dressed. It was clearly the days before stylists and handlers took over. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From Homeowner To Homeless, Technical Issues & Why We Need to Deploy "Stone Soup" Techniques

Today's episode is brought to you by DSL service that runs as fast as dial-up and the rivalry between code of two blogging platforms....

Hey All! I'm in the process of moving from Blogger to Wordpress and I'd love it if you'd all come with me. I have a bit of behind-the-scenes technical glitches to iron out such as why my post disappeared this morning. Wow I'm glad I just checked because it was completely blank except for the title and the tags. Anyhoo, the new blog is at:

On a side note I'd already customized my permalinks at the new blog BUT I may need to change them so I can redirect the blogspot site directly without losing the custom features I'd set up. Plus all of you RSS readers are now my bestest friends. See what happens when you decide you can handle more get it. If anyone has any tips feel free to email me privately. In the meantime you can still visit me here and at my new net address. Onto the post from what I remember:

When I read the article "Foreclosures Force Ex-Homeowners To Turn To Shelters in the New York Times yesterday I felt a shudder. Now aside from leveling a jaundiced eye at their decision to feature an African-American woman in peril angle I also took a hard look at how Sheri West wound up in this situation to begin with.

It could be summed up rather quickly. She was a formerly married working class person who lived beyond her means. The divorce wiped her out and once she went from a two-income family to one that was it. Yet there are plenty of people who face financial obstacles and other crises but they don't wind up on the streets.
The first night after she surrendered her house to foreclosure, Sheri West endured the darkness in her Hyundai sedan...The second night, she stayed with a friend, and so it continued for more than a year: Ms. West — mother of three grown children, grandmother to six and great-grandmother to one — passed months on the couches of friends and relatives, and in the front seat of her car...But this fall, she exhausted all options. She had once owned and overseen a group home for homeless people. Now, she succumbed to that status herself, checking in to a shelter.
Now here's a woman who once ran a shelter needing to use the services of one! She has three grown children according to the article. So it begs the question - where's the help from her family? I suspect this is a woman who was very self-sacrificing, someone who went out of her way to help others perhaps to her detriment. When we think of preparing for a rainy day we're not always planning for a monsoon!

That is of course if we plan for that rainy day period. You know how a lot of us women are: we think about family, friends, the neighbors, the entire world before we think of ourselves. It's time to get tough. We must PREPARE OURSELVES FOR SELF-CARE first and foremost. If we've given all we have to others that means there's nothing left for us. People can be fickle once you no longer "amuse" them or give to them and it was un(der)reciprocated to begin with.

There are times we need help. The story of Stone Soup provides a wonder analogy of how people who have little resources on their own can join forces with others to meet the needs of a larger group. There was a village of people withering under the effects of a famine and everyone was hoarding what little they had. A traveler comes to town with a big cast iron pot declaring he's making a stew. People slowly investigate and seeing how sparse the contents are decide to give a few items here and there. Soon it's a hearty amount that feeds everyone.

This is an example of an equal exchange of resources and one we need to deploy more often. How many of you can pool them to help yourself and others to keep someone from sinking the way Ms. West has? Hopefully the added attention will result in a job offer or housing or whatever else she needs but this is something we can all do for someone RIGHT NOW. Let's get out there and make some soup!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Change IS Gonna Come!

Sometimes we get encouragement during less-than-expected circumstances. I say take it wherever you can get it. For example I read my October horoscope forecast - DON'T LAUGH - at Susan Miller's Astrology Zone where it stated (excerpted):

There is more good news! Saturn has been a big part of the problem in your chart...Saturn constricts and shrinks all that it touches...It seemed hopeless, but all that is about to be over! Your Mars period will be the perfect time for you to launch a new endeavor on almost any front. Mars will make you courageous, energetic, and very determined to overcome obstacles. You will have impressive staying power and an aura of confidence and authority - all the right ingredients for success. Astrologic wisdom says that any endeavor or relationship started when Mars is in one's own sign is likely to succeed.

You have no idea how much reading that helped boost my mood yesterday. I had a very productive day as a result. I take astrology with a grain of salt but I do believe our personality traits, zodiac signs and other things have just as much validity as birth order or any means of evaluating ourselves. I think there's much insight that can be learned from understanding the psyche - it's what makes us tick.

Yes, that would make me a believer of Carl Jung's theories on psychological archetypes. I found a rare interview on Youtube.

If you'd like to view the rest, here's Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

So go out there today and GET YOURS!
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Revisiting the Tale of Banita Jacks: How Unsupported Mothers Fall Through The Cracks

I've been getting an uptick in traffic from my original post on Banita Jacks from July. To bring you up to speed, Ms. Jacks is on trial for murdering her four children. Her story could be any woman's story. An average woman living life, with a career who decides to be a mother, loses her job, gets no help from immediate family or from the father(s) of her children, has a bank pursue foreclosing procedures on her home and she loses it. She was found in her home with their decomposing bodies and claimed they were possessed by demons.

Now the judge wants a review of her competency before sentencing.

Of course there were choices made that may not have ultimately been in her best interest that lead to this deterioration. The bottom line though is that she was failed. Failed by relatives and failed by a system. At the time Mayor Fenty said he wanted to go through the records of every agency that she'd been in contact with to made changes in evaluating at-risk women and children. But as usual actions > talk. He's since closed low-income child care centers in favor of dog parks! Yeah some people DO care more about their pets than other human beings (children). These are the same organizations that were supposed to be in place to help women like Banita Jacks. That didn't...and won't now that he's gutted them.

If you are a woman with limited resources a true assessment is in order regarding your life choices. Be it getting funding to attend college or a trade school or whether you bring another life into this world know that these programs are all in jeopardy especially in this current economic depression, recession, downturn. I wouldn't believe any "expert" that claims it has recovered. Maybe for the top 1% but not for the bottom 25%. If you are on your own and surrounded by unreliable people you may find yourself really on your own when you need help the most. Please don't take on any more burdens. If you are already in a challenging situation try to get help as quickly as possible. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can deal with it on your own.

This poor woman broke under the pressure of not having enough and harmed her children. Meanwhile we're chasing after the latest idiot male celebrity mocking us or excusing his past crimes committed against us without ever having made amends. Or some of us are acting surprised when we see the violent acts of youths committed against each other when we've allowed a savage mentality to flourish and influence them. We need to get our priorities straight.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Regarding Tyson: Confessions On National TV Is Not A Substitute For Therapy

I thought the Mike Tyson interview on Oprah earlier this week was a HAM. It's great for her and the ratings but ultimately how does this actually benefit any of us? I wasn't sure there'd be any benefit to watching it as I didn't need that episode to tell me Tyson has serious problems. Since she had him back on yesterday for Fridays Live I thought a discussion was warranted.

Here are some of my thoughts in no particular order:
  • He may be more self-aware but he's still a menace.
  • His limited education (and perhaps capacity for learning) is a huge impediment.
  • We can see yet again the result of letting a fatherless male child grow up in society without guidance.
  • Of course someone should have been concerned about Oprah's safety - he's made a career out of brutalizing men and is a convicted criminal (but she as a security detail).
  • Forgiveness and redemption are not to be doled out like candy. They must be earned and appreciated.
  • He's apologized to Evander Holyfield - again - but is he actually remorseful. Seriously?
  • What amends has he attempted to make to Desiree Washington for raping her and Robin Givens for beating her?
I would not be alone in a room with that man under any circumstance. He seems rather volatile and ready to go off at any second. I still sense his rage and his insecurities just beneath the surface. Who are these women that line up to have sex with this man and have children with him? You cannot convince me money is not a huge incentive. His current wife's denial was even called out by Oprah during the first interview.

Despite his sorrow, his increasing self-awareness and his public display what has he actually learned and how has he changed? Crying relieves stress and looks really good on television. It doesn't guarantee a fundamental shift in one's core. Despite his numerous points of dysfunction he mentions he learned how to treat women from watching pimps. Pimps are criminals who exploit women. At what point did he ever ask himself why he chose to model his actions based on the dregs and predators of society? Do I even need to mention that he was obviously influenced by the rather typical rejection of certain black women by mostly African-American males for one who falls in the lighter-skinned long hair category? There's a rather distinct pattern here.

Finally, I conclude this entire interview is one that belonged on a therapist's couch not a television talk show host's. Ditto for the dad in the audience that said he could relate to the loss of his child from watching Tyson. Some may feel as if they've seen a whole new side that "explains" him better. I have to ask why it would take such an interview that scratches the surface and should be a beginning point for personal transformation for someone to figure out the man has had emotional problems? Many of us have things we must work through but don't substitute the confessional aspects of sharing your dysfunction with the entire world for the real work of intensive therapy.

Nor do we choose to take it out on others we perceive as being weaker or less likely to be protected. Did you get the part where he said he doesn't want the details of what happened to his 4 year-old daughter because he'll "blame" someone?! There was a definite implied threat behind that statement. Someone who's actually changed doesn't constantly revert back to destructive and violent patterns. So as far as I'm concerned he hasn't changed at all. Not where it really counts. Don't spread the message that African-Americans are such a damaged people. Which also brings me to another question for these men (like the dad featured) who have children out of wedlock: if you care so much why aren't you providing an intact family structure for them by marrying the mother of your children?

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Old School Friday - Out Darn Song!

It's Old School Friday time! This week's meme is Songs You Despise But Know the Words To. I had to think about that one for a while. Since the rules are songs must have been released before 1999 that leaves out all of the current music I'd most certainly choose. So I thought of this song because of the obvious street harassment/sexual objectification angles. Before anyone thinks I take this one song very seriously though I don't - necessarily.

Watching video of the Commodores at that time usually made me laugh because they'd be considered so fey in today's hypermasculine/thug culture. Also I look at this song as part of a larger evaluation of the oversexualization that occurs within a segment of the black community where women "let it all hang out" for male approval. Clearly that needs to change if women are going to be empowered. We must be able to relate to men - or have them relate to us - in a manner that benefits us across all strata of society. What may be "acceptable" in some circles would be detrimental in others. Also we all know we may want to be able to be sexy but it needs to be under circumstances and in an environment of our choosing. Ok, that was way more intense than intended but pop culture certainly provides a means of making things more relatable.

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Since When Are Hetero Marriages Under Attack?

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
Wow what a "nice" man letting us colored folk use his bathroom and all. Does this sound familiar? Any person part of a marginalized group can certainly relate to hearing this type of attitude.

A Justice of the Peace (oh the irony) in Louisiana refuses to issue marriage licenses for interracial couples. Yeah I had to check my calendar as well - cuz I thought I was stuck in some weird time warp back to 1959. Before the Loving v. Virginia ruling. He claims to be concerned about any future offspring of these couples. Well first of all people don't have to be married to procreate - so before he breaks out into "The Greatest Love Of All" he might want to remember that.

It sounds as if he's only interested in preserving a racial hierarchy. This definitely reminds me of the refusal of officials to sign and issue licenses to LGBT couples in CA during the height of the Prop 8 war. This is why it's so important to fight for justice across the board - not just for topics of particular interest to you as an individual. Remember love is a battlefield to some who'd like to deny consenting adults the right to choose who they love. Some laws are designed to protect us from discriminatory practices. This should serve as a reminder how important the enforcement of those laws are.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Couple Discusses 1st Time Homebuyer Tips But What's Wrong With This Picture?

Angie and Hawk make an attractive couple don't you think? This show is a follow-up series that revisits home buyers after they've made their purchase. They offer advice and share things they've learned since closing. I really love the decor in their dining room as well. Everything seems to be going well for them.

Let's scratch beneath the surface a little shall we? Angie seems like a nice lady - the type that would do anything to keep her man happy. I'm certain she considers herself a modern independent woman as well.

So despite all appearances to the contrary what's wrong with this picture?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dunbar Village Miscreants Get Life While A New Set Arrested For Setting A Teen On Fire

I was just reading the post at What About Our Daughters regarding the reaction of the family and supporters of those convicted in the Dunbar Village case as their sentences were issued. The relative youth of some of those criminals regarding getting a life-term is up for debate amongst some people. Even after the fact. I understand the defense attorneys fighting it because that's their job but there are still people who think crimes committed by those under the age of 18 solely involve their lack of judgement. While that may be true to varying degrees sometimes a criminal is just a criminal. Some youths are well on their way to being sociopaths. Some boys have been allowed to flourish as if under the direct guidance of Lucifer himself. Everyone cannot be rehabilitated or redeemed. Not when they have no remorse and no conscience.

I used to think prosecutors were singling out youths of color and the push for charging juvenile's as adults was cruel and unusual punishment. Since I didn't work in law enforcement or with youths I didn't realize the accumulation of a population that has grown to be more brutal over the years. It is sad because it means that children are being failed in every way possible. It also means a lot of people who do procreate should not until they learn how to be a parent - of course that's not likely to occur. The more atrocities I read about the more I realize it's open season for many who reside in certain residential areas.

There are still others involved in the Dunbar Village terrorism who haven't been arrested and charged for their crimes. It may come down to them committing some other crime to finally get them off the streets. Now there's another case in Florida getting national attention because of the race of the victim. Five boys are being charged with setting a classmate on fire over a minor dispute. He's white and some (if not all) of those involved in the attack are black. The victim owed one of them money for a video game so they stole his dad's bike. Then the victim reported it and they retaliated. The burning gives me shudders because it's what the other males at Dunbar Village wanted to do to the mother and son to destroy evidence.

I'm sure the background history of those convicted for the Dunbar Village crimes will be similar to those being charged in this incident. The local media offers a bit more information. One of the mothers is interviewed on camera and claims her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps she's correct..but that's the same thing one of the mothers said about her son about Dunbar Village. Is there a "My Son Can't Be A Criminal 101" textbook out there? A lack of sympathy gene? How long until one of the parents of those accused say racism is involved? The response is nearly identical.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will the Perceived Threat of Limbaugh As NFL Owner Ignite Political Activism Amongst the Players?

Since Rush Limbaugh announced his intention to seek partial ownership of the St. Louis Rams certain players have publicly objected. As we know Limbaugh regularly says incendiary things on his radio show. He's a highly paid spokesperson for the continued dominance of white male patriarchy. He's not going anywhere anytime soon either. His perceived power exists only as long as it suits those who pay him and support his career. I say that because once it becomes too burdensome or his ties generate too much publicity that threatens the agenda of those who benefit from his boorishness he will become expendable.

There's a number of black NFL players who object to his ownership and they cite his many racist statements as the reason. They even got their union involved. Now Al Sharpton - and Jesse Jackson have jumped in the fray. Sharpton was doing the cable news circuit yesterday. He was surprisingly nuanced in his approach but as with everything their reputation proceeds them. I can understand why there's concern but this was a time for discipline on the part of those players and the racial ambulance chasers. Why? They have little credibility. Between the wife beating, the groupies, the blowing through money and a host of other less than desirable behavior by certain players we're being asked to ignore all of it and instead focus on one person who wishes to make a profit from them. Is Limbaugh supposed to be the only person in a position of would-be authority who holds self-serving interests? Is racist? Are you kidding?

Also since when do these athletes engage in thoughtful political discourse? Limbaugh is a jerk but he made a point when he referred to the behavior of some players as being akin to the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons. Is he wrong or has he instead brought attention to a negative reputation that should be addressed? No one wants to take ownership of that but who can argue about the criminal activities of numerous players even after they've been recruited? Where's the accountability? Being a professional athlete is essentially a highly visible job requiring a certain skill set. Which is why they are paid handsomely. As long as they bring value to the sports. That job in and of itself does not automatically instill values that override the mentality of those that participate.

The perception of condoned criminality and poor moral judgement is the big elephant in the room and it can't be ignored. That isn't racist. Plaxico Burress went to prison for carrying a concealed weapon that discharged in a public place. Michael Vick was just released. This behavior, as exemplified by Rumeal Robinson isn't strictly limited to the NFL. Limbaugh could also buy into an NBA team or other sports. Just like the White House focusing on Fox News as being the villain when MSNBC has Pat Buchanan in their employ, these players are pointing their finger at the wrong thing. The problem isn't Limbaugh in and of itself. He'd have a minority stake in the team. If he became too much of an obstructionist that threatened the rate of return for the other investors he'd be gone.

It seems weird that the only thing certain players respond to - yet again - involves the perceived threat from a white male instead of the out of control behavior of their fellow players. That has more serious ramifications and occurs with increasing frequency. They're not looking at the big picture. There are so few players that take a stand for social justice nowadays because it's all about me-me-me. This was a wasted opportunity to become actively involved in matters that directly impact others. I'm certain there's a certain amount of malfeasance on both sides that may never see the light of day but that isn't the point. Limbaugh is a hypocrite for bringing it up but that doesn't make him any less correct in his assessment.

Forcing the issue by opposing him because he has differing views undermines them and these players don't get it. Now they will have no more excuses for bad behavior on or off the field. I hope they have plans to take a more active role in fighting against injustice and displaying moral leadership. If the threat of an unsympathetic "dad" is making those that engage in childish behavior uncomfortable perhaps Limbaugh's participation will be of benefit overall.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Follow-Up to Good Hair: Still Being Mocked & Who Went To See It?

I know somebody actually paid money to see Chris Rock's "Good Hair" MOCKumentary. The question is how did it fare? Did your curiosity take over and you simply had to go? The pre-release buzz was so great that even some black men went to see it - which of course tells me there was some serious foolishness going on.

Rock came back to Oprah's couch table Friday so they could discuss the "angry" emails she received. Well there was legitimate critique of this work by numerous writers, bloggers, etc. with the discernment to see how Rock lacks the emotional maturity to cover a subject of this magnitude with the respect it requires. She was very selective in what she chose to read on air. I know she didn't read my email to Harpo that's for sure. The criticism isn't about the subject but about airing dysfunction publicly and who is telling our stories and why.

If you notice Oprah is mocking the very women who objected and seems to be falling into the guard dog, soldier for black men role as she attacks another black woman for not blindly supporting her "man". Some have suggested that Oprah is a wholly divested from the "dead" black community mentality but if her latest actions are any indication she's not removed from "save the black man" mode. From breaking bread with the unrepentant former drug dealer (who glorifies it in his latest song with Alicia Keys) Jay-Z, to her continued support for Rock, Tyler Perry & Steve Harvey I have to wonder who she's trying to reach out to. If it's to others still thinking in terms of race above all personal self-interest then her embracing of them should bring relief to those that have long complained about her "not doing enough". Which is code for telling and expecting black women to run to the rescue of everyone (uplifting black men especially) to their detriment while offering nothing in turn.

Where is her support for projects that don't mock black women or have us in "suffering and struggling through oppression" mode? She can do whatever she likes but this one-sided view displayed of black women really bothers me. Between that limited view and perhaps catering to an audience of those that don't have a problem with these men not offering anything of value to the collective, those of us who want to see compelling yet uplifting stories are left out.

So back to the subject at hand, Regina Kimbell's lawsuit was (predictably) tossed. **I was given wrong information and can happily report the case is a go!!** As it turns out when she allowed Rock and his producers to view her documentary My Nappy Roots they weren't required to sign a non-disclosure agreement beforehand and wouldn't do so afterwards. It makes proving a copyright violation that much more difficult. This hearing will determine whether the case can proceed so let's keep our fingers crossed. This is the first step of a long road and appeals process.

Even the most savvy businessperson can get the shaft in Hollywood. Black women especially, we must be reminded time and time again to know our surroundings and the learn the rules of engagement in various social and business settings. People whose interest lie in making money are not our automatic friends and a person with a recognizable name is not our automatic ally. It would've been a different set of circumstances had they violated an agreement though as some of you may know from previous experience a contract is no guarantee of compliance or protection. Still it's better to have something.

If you're curious about her project though you can view a 15 minute clip here. Password: nappy. There's also a Facebook fan page you can sign up for. If your interest lies in exploring the spectrum of choices black women make in determining how to style their hair AND you want a true cultural/historical analysis (which is absent from Rock's trickle-down version) then go purchase this documentary instead. I'd love to see Ms. Kimbell try to get a distribution deal as the subject is now of interest to a wider audience (i.e. white people). It's time to make lemonade out of lemons. I also think Rock has got enough negative publicity (rightfully so) that less people will actually pay to see him making an a** of himself than he thinks. Those free screenings were packed for a reason.

Now back to the show commentary. When Oprah reads the email (which got a cut off a bit but I'd heard enough) from the woman who discusses how black men like to run their hands through silky hair I felt slightly dirty for listening. This poor woman is stuck in DBR-Ville, wasting her time fighting for those black men who have long left to go pursue their own interests. Predictably I bet we could surmise her life has consisted of giving too much and not getting anything in return or worse continuing to be used by some man for sex/food/shelter but not getting any of the benefits of true companionship. She may even think she wouldn't be found appealing to men of other groups.

What I found interesting was how Rock again tried to dismiss the core issue of what she was expressing by making a joke out of it. He discusses how he used to constantly have his hands in the hair of the non-black women he's dated (and cheated on his wife with as has been rumored) in a different portion of the show but he wants to try to invalidate her complaint. No, black women should not be "competing" with white women over black men. Or any other woman for that matter. Yes, other discerning women do recognize the weakness amongst many black men who seems to delight in the presence of any non-black woman regardless of her caliber. They make it so obvious! There are far too many good men out there looking for their Mrs. Right. Yes...a wife NOT a wifey. It's up to us to discern caliber over trash and how to play to win. That's so much better than what this woman is experiencing.

The other segment has a professional woman discussing how she doesn't want to be open for ridicule or rudeness. Oprah then proceeds to tell whites that seeing this MOCKumentary doesn't give them license to make assumptions about how black women style their hair but the damage has already been done. That ship has sailed. Black women's bodies are already on display and many whites still think they have a right to invade us out of curiosity. As if we're zoo specimens. Also since we've been so callously displayed as degraded sex objects by black men via hip-hop, etc. our image has already taken a huge beating.

It was also very disingenuous for Rock to make some fake moral statement about how secrets destroy people in relation to his documentary. He simply refused to discuss the influence of patriarchy and the desire for certain black men to escape their blackness by rejecting black women as mates as the root cause of this pursuit of "good" hair. It really isn't about white people. For many it's still about finding appeal amongst black men (specifically African American) which is a wasted effort as far as I'm concerned.

**By the way I want to do my own documentary about a subject matter sensitive to some black men: the myth of the giant penis. I can be chased down the street by Vienna sausages because oh my goodness that would be so funny. It's all in "good" humor, right? I'll get a panel of women to discuss how there's no real size difference amongst men of all groups. I would expect the same level of understanding and hands-off approach afforded to Rock.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

How One Man's Journey Led Him to the Esteemed Rock Band

Enjoy a little Sunday inspiration.

I find the story of Arnel Pineda compelling and inspiring! He's so humble. I also observed the gratitude of the remaining band members at being able to continue touring. It doesn't hurt that he sounds a lot like Steve Perry. He isn't "lucky" either: he had to have a minimal skill set coupled with determination (i.e. posting his performances on Youtube) and delayed gratification (working his craft until it paid off) for things to come together. I'm certainly taking notes at how he prepared himself for the inevitable "success" to follow.

Journey is very active at giving funds to music programs especially in the Bay area. Have you noticed lately how their songs seem to be everywhere - like on the tv show Glee for example? I'd love to take a peek at their latest music publishing contracts. They're wielding the power that comes from being a highly regarded established band while not being afraid to embrace new ways. Very clever! If you have dreams..or goals what steps are you taking to fulfill them?

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Design Porn

I'm not above writing a provocative title folks. I love my design shows! Here's a rehab of a master bedroom that has given me so many great ideas.
Since the show doesn't reveal their budget I assume that they're spending a lot of moola. There are those budget design shows but often they have their own staff do the majority of the work. I need a true cost assessment. Here's an insider tip: buying furniture from North Carolina will save you a bundle. It's the outlet capital of the US for home furnishings and often shipping is nominal.

I really like the ceiling lamp featured and immediately thought of Ikea.
IKEA PS MASKROS Pendant lamp
Maskros Pendant Lamp courtesy of Ikea

Since we spend so much time in the kitchen, er those who cook do anyway a well-designed space is a must. It should also be well-stocked but any foodie or budding gourmet knows that. Quality cookware is a must for example. I'm partial to All-Clad. The immediate costs will pay off with longevity of use of these products. For those with kids and those trying to cut back on expenses cooking can be part of your family rituals or at the very least a time to experiment with flavor combinations. Who's up for a savory and sweet exploration?

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Believe It and Live It: Khadijah Williams


Have you read the story of Khadijah Williams? Ms. Williams is now completing her first year at Harvard University in Boston. Her story of determination and mental discipline is not only inspiring but a model for all of us to follow. She grew up living in numerous homeless shelters and obviously around some less than stellar people and circumstances. She talks about spending hours at the public library feeding her mind with things that challenged and uplifted her. I can relate. I used to have stacks of them under my bed that I'd checked out - sometimes forgetting how many I had but I almost always had a book in hand.

She also seems very positive and humble. She didn't let this opportunity slip by either worrying about rescuing other people for had she "drowned" how could she have been of any benefit to anyone else? How many of us have made excuses about the things we could not do? How many of us have had moments we just didn't believe we could do things based out of fear? I know I have! I think she had an angel on her shoulder protecting her growing up...but don't we all in some way? I think we all have obstacles that present themselves in our lives. There's a point where we have the opportunity to reassess and can move on. Don't let it pass you by. As human beings we're far more resiliant than we recognize sometimes. If we seek help and are willing to put the work into things I don't see why we can't achieve things beyond our wildest dreams - especially those of us who live in the so-called developed countries. For the most part our basic needs are being met. We don't have to travel miles for clean water for example.

Let this be an moment of encouragement for all of us as we continue the journey of our lives! There's a very famous expression one of my teachers used to have hanging on the wall in her classroom: TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Believe It and Live It!!
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chris Rock Pulls A Steve Harvey: Stop Stealing From Black Women!

I knew it!!!

Rock is being sued by filmmaker Regina Kimbell for copyright infringement for swiping her film My Nappy Roots with his insulting "make fun of black woman hair angst" rip-off. I hope she has a good lawyer. If he can't get the case dismissed outright he'll probably seek to settle it with a non-disclosure clause attached.

Why is ANYONE surprised? Black men pushing out or outright hijacking black women creators of stories that are supposedly of benefit to us is all the rage these days apparently. Tyler Perry did it to Nzingha Stewart with For Colored Girls. Now here comes Rock with the uppercut! One can argue about access and clout and financing and blah blah blah but the BOTTOM line is these men are out to make money at our expense - and can't even be bothered to come up with an original concept themselves. They think they have the right to sell our stories back to us through their flawed perspectives while erasing us from participating in the first place.

As long as we FOOLISHLY support these parasites we will continue to be fed off of!

Kimbell showed (why Regina why?) Rock her 2005 documentary in 2007 and he's taken her idea and run with it. Allegedly. Much in the same way Harvey is being sued for plagiarism by author Sharon P. Carson over her book, "Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man". Yes it's the same title - but her book has actual empowerment themes. His watered down version doesn't even compare. Rock's nearly 1.5 hour MOCK-U-MENTARY cracks jokes against black women throughout the entire piece - because being chased by a giant ball of hair is so funny.

Nor does his documentary address the core of the issue why so many women suffer the effects of a colorist and sexist black community. He claims it's supposed to be "good" for us but actions speak louder than words. So many black women question their worth because of the self-hate and subjugation of weak-minded black men. It's due to women having to navigate through a patriarchal society where male approval carries a lot of weight. It's because these men as a collective choose to opt out of their blackness wherever they can and ridicule us at every opportunity. Still so many black women are ignoring the obvious. It's due to the lack of boundaries being set and the "go along to get along" mentality.

While it's true hair care products and their ilk is a billion dollar industry so is the porn industry. So is food processing. So are many other industries that seek to chip away at our self-esteem or make us question our worth. The bottom line is intact families with confident parents who want their children and have a solid spiritual practice and values wouldn't be so easily assaulted by some faceless corporation and its interests. Turn off the tv. Don't read that magazine. Stop funding those that tear you down. Remove the oxygen from the leeches and they'll wither away. Don't put race construct above your elevation and thriving. It's all business to them and as long as you are willing to hand over your hard-earned cash they'll take it to bash you with. So the cycle continues.

Other groups of women are assaulted with similar messages yet their communities are not in the state of decline like the dead black community is. They still have a culture that uplifts the women in the group (racial construct). The focus cannot only be sent outward to blame others (i.e whites and racism) for what is at its core an internal problem of hatred of the things that make us uniquely black. It goes from labeling women with certain skin tones as being undesirable to longing for hair that blows in the wind with ease. It goes from some women proudly announcing how they don't "need" a man to the expectation from some men that they should work, cook, clean, raise children, provide sex and other resources all without benefit of marriage. We've been railroaded and run over. Aren't the miles of tire tracks across our backs enough? Instead of seeing the forest for the trees and GETTING OUT too many black women remain, clinging to totems of a by-gone time and battle and belittle each other instead.

More and more are getting it though. These "famous" men couldn't really have that many career opportunities if they have to constantly steal borrow ideas from the black women. If we cut them off they wouldn't have a career in fact - or at the very least would NEVER pull the crap the do. For all their "jokes" there's always certain people they never offer up for laughs. It wouldn't be tolerated. Hollywood (and the corporate world) may be harsh but nobody likes a low-down dirty dog who can't properly compete against other men and shifts their focus to fighting women for crumbs. Oprah may need to reevaluate her ability to stay neutral as this is 0-for-3 to giving unfettered access (and her "sanctioned" blessing) for these projects.

Speaking of that - where is all this "black love" for BLACK WOMEN?! This hijacking of our ideas and cannibalizing the purity of these projects for some messed-up version is going to continue as the bottom-feeders continue to get more desperate. Black women who have creative skills are going to have to get way more business savvy, social media acclimated and STOP ASSUMING ALL BLACK MEN HAVE OUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART!!

They don't.
The proof is in the pudding....and it's dried up and rotten.


Tyler Perry Will Botch For Colored Girls

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NYPD Coverup in Andrew Kelly's DWI Killing Of Vionique Valnord?

courtesy of Gothamist

You know since all the focus has been on one cop, two cop, three cop CYA by the top brass with the subsequent "blue wall of silence" and protecting the brand by any means necessary it's very easy to forget the VICTIM. Who is was African-American woman from Brooklyn. Even I had to look up the name of Vionique Valnord who was mowed over by the drunk cop after attending a wedding. The majority focus has been on the cop(s) involved in the coverup and she's been virtually erased from the conversation. The media could be referring to her as Jane Doe. That cop and his buddies decided to tamper with evidence and give false statements to make it look like an random accident. Allegedly. She died.

This same drunk cop who bragged about trying to save her life is a LIAR. Allegedly. He's been charged with vehicular manslaughter. Even NYC Mayor Bloomberg has publicly blasted them - and you know that rarely happens! Well we have the court system where the prosecutors and police and judges all know each other. Justice is blind. Allegedly. So as the suspensions pile up and the supervisors' attempt at making this go away FAIL MISERABLY (let's hope so) I sense a big fat payout in civil court will be the end result but zero criminal justice. It will never replace the life of a woman SENSELESSLY and UNNECESSARILY cut down in her youth. Cops are supposed to be held to higher standard. Allegedly. Protect and Serve and all that...BS. You don't actually think this is the FIRST time something like has happened do you?

How many other cops pass around water and gum in an attempt to mask drunkeness, blame the weather and REFUSE to be tested for blood alcohol levels - or delay them until they'd be rendered ineffective? How many passengers flee said scene to avoid involvement when they did nothing to stop the drunk person from getting behind the wheel. Oh...they may have been even more intoxicated...but not enough to miss a pedestrian being struck and killed. EVIDENCE TAMPERING and PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT by the cops has occurred. Yeah, I said it!

Otherwise why would they have been suspended? Of course arresting someone for a crime and convicting them requires a specific set of circumstances. People charged with crimes who are GUILTY of said crimes can be found "not guilty" when there isn't enough evidence to prove the prosecution's case. Which brings me back to the evidence "mishandling". Who's actually interested in justice here aside from the family? I won't be holding my breath for the Civil Rights organizations to do anything either. It may be white cops involved in a crime against a black person but it's the "wrong" gender for them to care enough about.

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