Thursday, May 26, 2011

Protect your energy...

View Comments
As I sat watching the final episode of Oprah, tears ran down my face. Although there were many affirmations in this farewell, I saw nothing cliche about the words being spoken. They were life lessons for me. Some confirmed what I already knew. Others sowed new seeds into my life.

Particularly, I was drawn to Oprah’s discussion of energy. Over the past few years I’ve worked very hard to change how I interact with people and who I let interact with me. However, I admit that I’ve not by any means perfected the golden rule. There are times when I’m so thrown off by people’s energies, I let it affect the way I deal with them. If I believe you're a negative person, there's often nothing short of amazing you can do to inject yourself into my life.

I often get criticized by people who claim “I don’t like anyone.” For as long as I can remember I would walk into a room and automatically retreat or gravitate towards those few people who made me comfortable. It took me awhile to understand why I did this, but I later realized I was protecting my own energy.

As a result, I’ve been labeled standoffish by some, inherently evil by others *shrug* I take grave offense to this, especially from those who don't know me. What I am is a person who will give you the shirt off my back. However, if you start complaining about how itchy the material is or the color not complimenting your skin, I have no problem snatching it off of you. I know what it's like to be tricked by people who didn't need my help, but were using me to get out of helping themselves. I know what's it's like to offer up my friendship and struggle to dissolve relationships, even when people have proven my hurt was the least of their concerns. Nevertheless, as my granny told me "Baby, you've got to cut that umbilical cord."

No longer do I deal with ungratefulness. Nor do I deal with people who take without giving back. Life has taught me to be respectful of people’s kindness. Regardless of how I feel about the way people are “supposed” to act, I have to acknowledge kindness is a choice. Each time people choose to exert kindness they are agreeing to share with you a bit of their positive energy. Respect their choice, hold it in high regard, and do not take advantage. An individual's humility is not your infinite resource.

Also, understand you may not be the sole recipient of someone's kindness. Each time you use someone for your own self interest you deplete them of their energy. You deplete them of the blessings they can sow in the lives of others. Furthermore, you inhibit yourself from developing and sustaining your own positive energy. You can't constantly receive and not expect it to have negative effects on your growth. Too often people get caught up in their egos. It's easy to believe the great things people do for you is a direct result of how wonderful you are as an individual. That somehow they're rewarding us, for simply existing. Thus, we place more value on what we receive, as a testament to our character, rather than what we give.

As I stated, I'm not by any stretch of the imagination the best at reciprocation. However, my goal is to continuously acknowledge my faults and constantly seek to improve. My energy may not be perfection, but it is potent and it is pure.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Anita Hill Tells Virginia Thomas "I Don't Owe You Jack."

View Comments

Yesterday, as I was minding my business doing some work on my new site ( #shamelessplug I overheard the news stating that Virgina Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called Anita Hill and asked her to apologize for accusing her husband of sexual harrassment. The alleged incident almost cost Thomas his seat on the highest court in the land. In a voicemail Virgina Thomas requested Hill, "consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband...give it some thought and certainly pray [...] and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did."

Girl What?
Seriously, I have a huge problem with this. Twenty years ago when Anita Hill went in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and to report Thomas of impropriety, people watched the confirmation hearings and the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill situation divided Black America. Thomas even referred to his trial as a "high-tech lynching." Thomas successfully made this case about race and class, in which a black woman of a lower status was used by white society in order to bring him down, and not about gendered violence. Of course with the sense Mother Nature gave her Hill refused to give an apology, stating "She can't ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive."
Black men have become conditioned to sexually harass black women based on stereotypes that label black women as “morally obtuse, openly licentious, and having no immorality." It happens when you walk down the street and get greeted with "Hey Sexy," instead of "How are you doing, my sister?" It's why you had slave masters perpetuate those stereotypes to reduce their own culpability when it came to the rape of Black women. It's why you had the wives of Slave owners, blame Black women and girls for seducing their husbands. It's why you have Virginia Thomas coming back twenty years later asking Anita Hill for an explanation.

Within this entire situation there is an emerging politic in which the intracacies of sexual harassment, black femininity, white femininity, and black masculinity are intermingling as social constructions. Hill is being contrasted with Virginia Thomas and the historical dynamics of white women being seen as the moral opposite of Black women come into play. If Thomas believes she is on the good side of right, then of course it would make sense for Anita Hill to owe her an apology.

Or maybe I'm going to far with this. Afterall, there are plenty of wives who seek out explanations from those who interfere with their happy families. Maybe it's the racial dynamics at play that have me gassed up. Perhaps it's the fact that Thomas is requesting this apology twenty years later during a time she has garnered a prominent role in Republican and conservative politics, as the founder of a group that is linked to the Tea Party. Like a mistress using a slave girl to nurture her children, maybe she is using this situation with Hill to expand her role within the Tea Party.

I may not ever understand this situation beyond the realm of my own assumptions. What I do know is that to ask Anita Hill to apologize for a situation she believed made her powerless, despite the fact Thomas' husband still became one of the most powerful judges in the country is baffling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shut Cho Ass Up, Jesse!

View Comments

Yesterday, the internet was all ablaze with news that Reverend Jesse Jackson called Cleveland Cavaliers Majority owner Dan Gilbert out, in regards to Gilbert's childish open letter to Lebron James. James who left the team after seven years and no championship was blasted in Gilbert's letter and warned that:
And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
In response to that, Jackson offered the opinion that Dan Gilbert's "feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality." Yesterday and today, people are criticizing the Civil Rights activist, accusing him of using the race card, and yelling "Shut Cho Ass Up, Jesse!"

But now that I have your attention, and tricked you with the title, here's why I DON'T think Jesse should shut his ass up:

We live in a society that is seemingly one dimensional and incapable of broad interpretation. Although we desire to live in a post racial society, we cannot help but to interject race into various facets of our lives. Contradictory to our ultimate goal, when race is interjected, we feel obligated to  dispel it at costs. However, the irony of this particular situation is that we see race in Jesse's comment even when race hasn't been mentioned.

Enter Dan Gilbert, a white team owner, Lebron James, a black basketball player, and Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader. The composition of these characters present a situation where even in a self proclaimed "post-racial" society we cannot help but ignore the racial dynamics in play. Yet, the interpolation of race and racist connotations come more from our inability to expand the context from which we draw our assumptions than the actual statement.

What if Jesse Jackson wasn't talking in terms of race at all? The institution of slavery as we know it in the United States was the first system of slavery predicated upon the use of race. The social construction of race became the mode for which and through class was lived. If you were black, you were a slave. Bottom line. However, predating chattel slavery was that of bondage, serfdom, indentured servitude, etc.

Slavery simply meant a system in which people were the property of another person. Yet when we think of slavery we tend to automatically equate it to the middle passage, forced labor, and inhumane treatment. On the other hand, outside of the system of slavery in America, most slaves were debt slaves under bondage by their lenders. The betrayal felt by Gilbert comes from Lebron not winning the city of Cleveland a championship. In other words he feels Lebron has not paid out his debt.

Also keep in mind that in addition to Jackson being a civil rights leader, he is a Baptist preacher. The Bible talks heavily about a system of slavery that is not predicated upon race. Furthermore, while the Bible also does not condemn slavery it does regulate it. Particularly this one scripture:
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. Exodus 21:2
First, the Bible uses the term ebed which has a much wider meaning than the English term slavery. More accurately translations define it as a servant or hired worker. Secondly, Manumission, the act of releasing a slave after working for six years was a condition offered by the Covenant Code. However, even with these commandments slaves were often kept longer than they were supposed to be kept. Furthermore, if a slave was unable to find waged employment and make more than what he made previously, if he made anything at all, the Covenant Code gave him permission to renounce his manumission and opt to stay a slave forever. Or the property of his current master. Despite his "manumission," or the expiration of his contract Gilbert expected that Lebron stay with Cleveland. I'm sure it was a slap in the face that he also took a pay cut to be with another team.

When I first read the letter, I honestly did get the feeling that Gilbert's comments came more from a place of "How Dare You N*gger, I Made You." I made a comparative analysis between that of Gilbert's letter and the historical relationships of white and black owner/boss and worker, respectively. James as a multimillion dollar maker quite possibly heavily blurred the lines of worker and commodity. That was a luxury I could afford with my own comments. Perhaps, I am just as surface deep. 

However, with Jesse Jackson's comments, I particularly thought this time around there might be more to his opinion. I don't think it's that far off to believe Gilbert saw some part of his relationship with James as that of owner and property. The bottom line, which I believe fueled Jackson's comments is, in a world where the relationship between Gilbert and James was an "owner employee relationship -- between business partners -- and LeBron honored his contract," Gilbert's feelings of "betrayal" are particularly disturbing.

With that said, I think Jesse has a point. I also think that in an effort to move into this post racial society as well as demonize the messenger, we interjected race without looking at the complexities of the message.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where There's A Will, There's A Rae...

View Comments

When I met Rae Lewis-Thornton, this past February, I NEVER could have imagined that I would be so fortunate to build such a lasting relationship. I walked into a room at The University of Illinois-Chicago, where she was scheduled to speak, so I could deliver some collateral. In celebration of our one year anniversary The Red Pump Project was hosting an event and honoring Rae as the "Ultimate Red Pump Rocker." I walked up to her, what I'm sure was timidly, and began introducing myself. Quicker than I could say "Red Pump" she had opened her arms, given me a hug and returned the pleasure of meeting. Then the moment that had me stuck like glue, after she placed the flyers down I gave her, she turned, looked me straight in the face and said "You're staying to hear me speak right? Cause if you don't I'm gonna tweet how one of them Red Pump girls just came and left!"

During her speaking engagement, I remember her speaking on the growing usage of social media to address HIV/AIDS. Around that time Rae also began heavily using forms of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Rae also launched her blog about a month later. Since then she has become somewhat of a social media expert, especially as it relates to spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS. So what more appropriate than for Rae to host a social media event around this cause?

Next Thursday, July 15th, from 6:00pm - 9:00pm, Rae will present her first event "An Evening with Rae: A Meet, Greet & Tweet" at Encore Liquid Lounge, 171 West Randolph, Chicago, Illinois. Dubbed "A Social Media Event, For A Socially Conscious Cause," it will also be the official celebration of Rae's blog, "Diva Living With AIDS." Additionally, "An Evening with Rae," will be the official launch for The PROTECTED Project(TM), which was created by Rae to bring attention to HIV/AIDS and promote prevention through personal responsibility. PROTECTED also emphasizes open communication among sexual partners to change the course of HIV/AIDS.

 An Evening With Rae," is a chance for all of us to show our appreciation for the awe-inspiring work of Ms. Rae Lewis-Thornton. I have witnessed first hand the hard work Rae is putting into this event and I know for certain it will be a success.  Hope to see you there!

For More Information or to RSVP, please visit:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You've Got Some Balls...

View Comments

There is no doubt that we live in a patriarchal society, where there is a perceived sanctity of manhood. Particularly, the culture of white masculinity is portrayed as the normative for which others should adhere to or assimilate. I suggest within this hierarchy underneath white masculinity is that of white femininity. As a result, white privilege extends to their women, as they are able to benefit from the protection of the construct of whiteness and their masculine counterparts. It is this privilege, along with just ignorance of politics, that lead columnist Kathleen Parker to write an article entitled “Obama: Our first female president.”

She begins her article by attempting to placate her audience, saying:

No, I'm not calling Obama a girlie president. But . . . he may be suffering a rhetorical-testosterone deficit when it comes to dealing with crises, with which he has been richly endowed.
While I would love to appreciate this sentence in its contradictory glory, the rest of her commentary articulates her desire to emasculate Obama, through quoting studies she doesn’t tie into her theories and assertions she cannot intelligently defend. In order to label Obama as the first female president, Parker borrows from author Toni Morrison’s claim that President Clinton was the first Black President because:
Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.
As a result, she proposes that if Clinton was the first Black president, then Obama is the first female president. In order to dub Obama, the first woman president, the author purposely misunderstands the context in which Toni Morrison makes her statement. What Parker fails to realize is that in Morrison’s characterization of Clinton as the first Black president, she is linking the socially constructed phenomenon of race to some associated social classifications, commonalities, and constraints. Unlike Morrison’s statement, where there is long standing correlation between what it means to be Black in this country and Clinton’s lifestyle, Parker relies on fleeting gender stereotypes.

In a society where 70 percent of African American homes are headed by women there is a commonality with his single family upbringing. From the days of slavery, race was the modality by which class was lived. What this means is the legacy of poor, working-class has long been a social constraint associated with African Americans. Needless to say, the reference to the saxophone pays homage to Jazz music an art form created and perfected within African American culture. As far as McDonald’s, you should just be able to look at their commercials today to understand this comparison. McDonald’s has begun a series of advertisements specifically targeting African Americans through cultural expressions, because it is no secret the cheap fast food chain infiltrates lower-class, urban areas.

As a Black woman to see Parker take the statement of Toni Morrison and transpose it to fit her agenda is insulting. In a thinly veiled way, what it does is suggest that the comparison to Clinton as the first Black President, is so damaging, that the actual first Black president must be denigrated in some way to make atonement.

Racial and gender implications aside, Parker also cites a lot of inaccurate information in her article to support her claim. Specifically, she points to the BP Oil Crisis which has been inaccurately weighed against Hurricane Katrina. She argues that Obama’s inability to immediately act on the crisis made him passive and thus feminine. While I have my own criticisms of the Obama administration and its handling of the crisis, there is no doubt Parker ignores some facts in order to support her theory.

For instance, she stated Obama waited 56 days to address the nation. Doing so, she leaves her readers to assume that from April 20th, the day of the explosion, to the day he addressed the nation, Obama did nothing. On the contrary, within ten days, Obama had ordered a hold on new offshore drilling leases. An investigation of what caused the disaster was underway, and he sent a wide array of officials to assess the damage in the Gulf. Additionally, he secured an agreement with BP for over 20 billion in clean up funds.

Even in the midst of his passivity and inability to be an effective leader, since elected Obama has granted more funding to stem cell research, confirmed the first Hispanic woman Supreme Court judge and soon to possibly confirm another woman in the highest court. He has made huge advances in laws designed to protect individuals from hate crimes. Not to mention the success he had in passing the Economic Stimulus Package and Health Care reform, which were two of his biggest campaign platforms.

Parker also fails to mention for the first time in six years the economy expanded to its fastest rate, because of Obama. Let’s also not forget Obama’s accomplishments regarding domestic relations. Unsurprisingly, many of her assessments of President Obama are the consequence of living in an Attention Deficit Democracy. Basically, as stated in an article I read the other day, “the media views policy through the lens of politics.”

All in all, Parker premeditates the usage of gender to assess that Obama is incapable of doing his job. The insult is NOT in calling President Obama a woman, as women are great in their own right, the insult is that she insinuates he is less than a man. To suggest the perceived inadequacies of President Obama come from political effeminateness, should force the author to understand how her juxtaposition of gender capabilities maintains the status quo of patriarchy. Meanwhile, her desire to emasculate President Obama does so at a damning expense to the capabilities and success of women. Additionally, it ignores the fact that in terms of policy and legislation his portfolio already surpasses that of his predecessors.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kanye DEED That: His 2010 BET Performance...

View Comments

I have to admit, there are times when I take the artistic genius of one said Kanye West, for granted. It is no secret this is a man who is uber talented and can produce some great songs that can make you bop
your head and two step. Around a month ago when Kanye released his single “Power” I made the same mistake. Upon first listen, there appeared to be a surface deep meaning to his lyrics. However, on a second, third, or even tenth listen within his aesthetic expression is the conundrum of hip hop: 
While many of us claim to want thought provoking, subconscious music, mainstream culture has so diluted the art form that we need “deep” lyrics spoon-fed to us. 

That was the position I was in when I watched Kanye West open up the 2010 BET Awards this past Sunday. So… he’s just going to stand on a mountain, wearing a Jesus piece around his neck, hold a microphone stand and rap this song? Ok den. I even openly admitted on Twitter that I was underwhelmed.

That was until yesterday afternoon when I watched the performance over again. Turns out Kanye was not at all rocking a Jesus piece, instead his chain boasted the head of Horus.

The depiction of Horus.

Egyptian history suggests that the Pharoahs of Egypt descended from the incarnations of Horus and his father, Orsiris, who was killed. Horus, himself was said to be from the lineage of Atum, the creator god. Like the other gods produced by Atum, Horus became representative of the cosmic and terrestial forces in Egypt. This degrees of separation Horus had between these forces, Atum, and the Pharoahs of Egypt decreed Horus to have dominion over the entire world. No one man should have all that power...

In addition to being connected to the Pharoahs, Horus is most notably known for being the god of the sky, as well as the god of war and hunting. The eye of Horus is also linked to the eye of time and synchronicity… The clock’s ticking I just count the hours...

The sky backdrop playing during Kanye’s performance raised a lot of eyebrows. However, knowing that this performance centered on Horus, it now makes sense. Then, to me it got deeper. In addition to being the god of the sky, Horus was known as the god of war and hunting. It was this mythological role that catapulted him as the symbol of power and majesty. Enter the mountains, to represent that of our purple majesty, a creation so widely recognized as being captivating and powerful. It is also important to note one of Horus’ identities, Ra-Haremkhuti, would spring from the mountains in the morning and return to the mountains at sunset.

People then commented on whether Kanye was supposed to be Moses at the top of the mountain. While there are similarities, I’d like to think there was more to it. Particularly, the lyric “no one man should have all that power” refers to an incident from the motion picture Malcolm X. In one scene, the black leader stood before a crowd of protesters, raised his hand and hushed the crowd. After seeing this a police chief commented “that’s too much power for one man to have.” In the beginning of his performance, while standing on the mountain, Kanye extends his arm and points above the crowd. This stance is similar to that of one of the leader's most popularized photographs.

However, if we were to explore the Moses parallels, Kanye speaks of “living in that 21st century, doing something mean to it.” In the latter part of the song, he talks about being the “abomination of Obama’s nation.” As we know, the first Black president of the United States has been lauded as the Dr. Martin Luther King of our time, who we know was also compared to Moses. With that being said, I believe his presence on the mountaintop also serves as a visual metaphor for Dr. King’s speech in which he articulates having “been to the mountaintop.” The microphone stand could also depict a staff, which goes back to the Moses reference.

PhotobucketI also believe that within this performance Kanye developed an alter ego and took on the persona of Horus. Kanye Afterall, this wouldn't be the first time that Kanye has pretended to be a deity, the Taylor Swift incident? Jesus Walks anyone? The image on the farthest left is that of Kanye West's Horus Chain. The second image is that of the pyramid ring Kanye wore. As shown in the picture of Horus above, the staff is in the same hand that is adorned with jewelry. Kanye imitates this on stage. Additionally, in his performance West rocks a red suit resembling the color of the Horus. As mentioned, the microphone stand is symbolic of a staff. This time, the staff of Horus. In this performance, Kanye appears to be channeling the likeness of Malcolm, Martin, and now Horus. West can also be seen flapping his arms in the beginning of his performance. This is important to note in a comparison, because Horus has been referenced as a falcon. 21st Century Schizo man...

The introduction of Horus certainly added depth to Kanye's performance. If applied, the Egyptian god also revealed a depth in his lyrics, which is another blog post entirely. The fact is, I have always excused Kanye West for being arrogant, because of in my opinion even if he never said another word, his work speaks for itself. Now? Even, if I am TOTALLY off mark with my assumptions, Kanye West has done with this performance what hip-hop is supposed to do: lead me to think outside the box.  

Good Ass Job, Mr. West...

Monday, June 28, 2010


View Comments
"I let ya'll down before, but I won't ever do it again. I promise" - Chris Brown
There is something overwhelmingly calm about being perfect. Never having to deal with disappointing yourself, those you love, or those you admire. You never have to say that you're sorry and you never have to admit that you are wrong. Being perfect affords you the privilege to judge the mistakes of others. Unfortunately, I have never been perfect, so everything I wrote is simply an assumption. 
On the other hand, what I have been is a person who has made foolish mistakes. Particularly, one mistake (which I am not ready to admit yet) that IF I was caught, would have undoubtedly landed me in jail. However, that's a story that I will tell from beyond my grave. My emphasis on "IF I was caught" is very important. Too often, we do things for which if we suffer no consequences, we trick ourselves into believing because our faults haven't been broadcast, they somehow don't exist. Selective memory breeds arrogance, allowing imperfect people to weigh their faults against those of another.
As a result of Chris Brown's MJ Tribute on the BET Awards, the prerequisites for forgiveness are once again up for debate. Public sentiment has clouded what it means to forgive and the action has long moved from being a personal decision to a political one. Furthermore, in situations such as Chris Brown's the perceived interconnectedness we have with our celebrities breeds a contempt of familiarity in which we are quick to feel personally wronged in the event of a transgression. We fail to recognize the uniqueness to a situation. Circumstances surrounding actions are perceived the same, and out of laziness and spite we dub one action or inaction as the panacea to the problem. Nevertheless, forgiveness is multifaceted. Thankfully, it is also less shallow.

The recent phenomenon causing us to believe forgiveness is the approval of wrongdoings is inherently flawed. In no way does forgiveness justify a person's wrong(s). The actual beauty of forgiveness is, it does not assuage egos. Unfortunately, as flawed beings we are the ones who pervert its intent. If anything forgiveness should emphasize accountability. If the offending party requests forgiveness, they have taken the step to acknowledge their actions and its adverse affect on the life of another. Yet, even if they haven't asked forgiveness is the commitment you make to change your mindset and loosen your grip on thoughts of resentment, revenge, and even hatred towards that person.
To be honest, I'm actually not sure what brought about the fear we have when it comes to forgiveness. Instead of just doing it, we constantly apply stipulations. A gift that is unconditional has been left in the hands of a people dependent upon conditionality and fickleness. Humility has been replaced with the desire to humiliate. Furthermore, we wait for the moment in which "what we won't do" or more accurately, "what we haven't got caught doing, another person will." Our code of morality has been reduced to a hierarchy of egocentrism and we hold out on forgiveness for a chance to use it as a trump card.

As a person who has just recently even forgiven myself for things I've done, I know how hard it is to let go of things for which I have a vested interest. In these past few years I have had to truly focus on this little thing called forgiveness, asking myself what it means. When I hear people say "I'm not ready to forgive someone," it has begun to hit me that these are people content with feeling hurt, resentful, bitter, etc. These are people that subscribe to the culture of victimology. Unless you are one of those perfect people that I talked about earlier, you have made a mistake and you will make one again. Forgiveness is a boomerang, what you put out you get back. Be careful.
Copyright © Black Is Breezie
Blogger Theme by BloggerThemes | Theme designed by Jakothan Sponsored by Internet Entrepreneur