Friday, February 26, 2010

There's No Crying in Step Shows!!!

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So, by now I'm sure you have heard of the Sprite Step Off that took place this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. If you haven't, basically it was an event for Greek organizations to showcase their talent and become Top Flight Stepper of the World. However, what was supposed to be a celebration of culture, quickly turned into accusations of appropriation, when a Zeta Tau Alpha, a white sorority, took home the championship and $100,000 prize. This decision caused an uproar, characterized by claims that had ZTA been a black sorority they would not have won the competition. Yes, straight whoddickery.

Although, apparently the people at the Sprite Step Off didn't think so. In a text book case of Affirmative Action,  they made up something about there being a scoring discrepancy and declared the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a black sorority, co-champions. Malarkey.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am the most militant of the militant and that I will jump at the chance to talk about my irritation with the appropriation of Black culture by the mainstream. As a matter of fact, I actually went searching for the clip with the mindset that Zeta Tau Alpha did not deserve to win. I was biased for no reason. I had heard people complimenting ZTA's performance, but I thought it was akin to that pity "Sing for Jesus, baby" that we give little kids on Easter Sunday who can't hold a note worth a darn. However, after watching the clip, there was nothing negative that I could say. ZTA definitely brought it. Even the audience thought so. The level of excitement for ZTA was undeniable.

UNTIL, they won.

See, Black people don't mind when white people want to be a part of our culture. Matter of fact, if you do it well enough, we'll even give you a black card o__O (See: Bill Clinton, Robin Thicke, Eminem, Justin Timberlake, and John Mayer... wait a minute). BUT, there is one unwritten rule and that rule is, if we let you in the club you better not come out on top.

A similar situation occured last year when Hampton University crowned their first "non-black" Miss Hampton University. The sad part is, I can bet that young lady was friends with a lot of Black people at Hampton, UNTIL she won.

On some level I can understand. Black institutions, inclusive but not limited to Black universities and Greek organizations, were born out of exclusion from white institutions. As a result, there will always be a level of protection and concern when those institutions are infiltrated by outsiders.

Nevertheless, crying foul everytime a white person wins is getting tired. Hell, they just gave us Obama, you don't think they are seeking reparations in any way they possibly can? Kidding. But seriously, I think it's sad the win of ZTA was reduced to reverse Affirmative Action, which in turn gave the AKAs a win I don't believe they deserved or would have pursued had ZTA not been white. See black people, white people aren't the only ones that believe they are entitled to something when they are in the majority. *wink and the gun*

Here are the performances from the step show:

 So... what do you think? Who should have won? You can tell me *doll eyes*

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poetry Slam with Poet Black Ice

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So in case you didn't know, I am a huge lover of spoken word. I've been known to dabble in the art a little bit and although I haven't really pursued it personally, I still enjoy hearing it. Well, on February 25th, the University of Illinois at Chicago will be having a Poetry Slam featuring Black Ice. If you don't know who Black Ice is, let me tell you... Well, see for yourself...



Clawd, I could listen to this man ALL day... *daydreaming*

I remember back to my college days, curling up on the couch at 10:00pm on Wednesdays and watching Def Poetry Jam. That's when I was introduced to Black Ice... again *swoon*. iLove him. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see him tomorrow. My class schedule won't let me be great. However, if you are interested and can make it, put in a good word for me to the homie Black Ice... Thanks.

What:   Poetry Slam with Black Ice
When:  February 25, 2010, 7:00pm
Where: UIC, Student Center East, Room 302, 750 South Halsted
Why:    Cause he's the bomb!

Some People Never Change...

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"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not."

I'm the type of person where if you do wrong by me, I won't automatically cut you out of my life. This goes directly against my nature as a Gemini/Cancer, but what can I say besides I'm a sucker I've learned over the years that people not infallible. Captain Obvious right? You would think. However, it's not that simple. Throughout my life, I have messed people over and had people mess me over. As a result, I tend to feel hypocritical when I remove people from my life that have made a mistake.

I have had "friends" that I've distanced myself from because they never keep their word. I have had guys that I delete from my phone because they lie without a conscience. Yet often, with no provocation, these people resurface in my life with promises of being a better person and I tend to believe them. Why? Well, because I've had to do some groveling before. I've had to reevaluate myself and make a change for the better and when I do, I tend to want to right the wrongs I've made. 

But not everyone thinks like me. Unfortunately. There are people who will simply try to come back into your life because they are, well, they are sadists! Okay, either that or they are just at a moment in their life where they are incapable of change. The reason why they try to come back into your life is not because they really want to make up to you. Instead, they need someone who enables their inadequacies. 

I had an ex-boyfriend once and when he would do something out of control, we would break up, he would apologize, swear that he would change, and I would take him back. The cycle continued until I realized as long as it came to me, he would never change. Now, that's not to say that it wasn't possible for him to grow up and become a better person outside of our relationship. However, based off the things he'd done to me, and the times I had forgiven him, I had already set the standard for how he would continue to treat me. He needed me to enable his inadequacy.

In the end, it's never really about you. It's about them. While it's almost cliche, especially now that life coaches are popping up on every Twitter page and Facebook profile near you, the quote "when someone shows you who they are, believe them," is so true. If you must give people another chance, don't do it blindly. Do not allow someone or yourself to guilt you into accepting them back into your life, especially before they've shown they are capable of changing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

When "Him" Is All You Can Talk About...

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Okay...let me preface this post and say "I am not a hater," but if you are one of these women I'm about to talk about, then I do hate you, think you're stuck on stupid...Uh... yeah, nevermind, I can't come up with something politically correct to say.

Anyways... *smiles curtly*

Hey, gurl, hey....are you that someone who cannot talk about ANYTHING else, besides "Him"? I mean don't get me wrong, I've been there before. When you're so infatuated that he comes up like word vomit. However, blessed be to me that I don't have enabling friends that encourage this behavior. After about the third reference, I usually get an o__O, a bbm with one worded responses, or an "ummm, lemme call you back."

So, yeah, either ya'll don't have friends, or they're enablers. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

More importantly, maybe you've never had it done to you. You've never been the friend on the opposite end of the spectrum. Never been the friend who REALLY tries to be supportive, all the while screaming on the inside "Okay chile! I get it!"

I understand if you are conversing and mentioning his name would be a relevant and pertinent asset to the conversation. However, if I say "Girl, what color is the sky?" Your response should NOT be "Well, girl, until the other day I thought it was cotton candy blue, but I was looking at this shirt that HE had on the other day, this shirt that brought out the Spackle in his eyes, and I asked him what color it was and he told me cerulean and so, I would say the sky is cerulean."

O__O Bish! NAWL!  Okay, maybe that was dramatic, but what about this:

You: "Man my stomach hurts..."
Her: "Girl speaking of man and stomach hurting... Girl last night, his was hurting...turns out he just had to go take a dump tho."

Really??? I mean what part of the game is that? Again, I know some of you will say that I'm hating, perhaps in some alternate universe I am and just don't know it yet. However, until I get some concrete evidence that I am a hater, I will continue to believe that some of you are just SO happy to get a man, that you are determined to make everyone else be UNHAPPY about what should be your good news. Ya'll not happy just being happy, and I think your braggadocio is an attempt to create the "hater" that never existed. I mean as a woman, I congratulate other women who are getting their cakes beat. Good for you girl, but some of ya'll be doing the most. So allow me to say that it is REALLY irritating. Sat down and SHAT up!

That.Is.All. *curtsies*

Friday, February 12, 2010

If You Only Knew...

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 "People have moved on. The AIDS community has moved on and the Black community is in denial."

On February 11th, I had the immense pleasure of hearing Emmy Award Winning HIV activist Rae Lewis-Thornton speak at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Encouraging an honest dialogue about the disease, Rae discussed everything from denial and disillusionment in the Black Community, the Down-Low Myth, and even Diarrhea.

Before then I had never met Rae. I had heard her story, but had never witnessed her testimony. Yet, after yesterday, I will NEVER forget the indelible impression she has left on my life and my desire to do more to continue to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. Greeted by a solemn audience, Rae encouraged us to loosen up in order to become more receptive to what she had to say. "AIDS is so deep and heavy, but you have to have laughter," she stated.

Diagnosed with HIV, in 1985, Rae was just 23 years old. The survivor of sexual abuse as a child, and a tumultuous relationship with her mother, Rae believed that if she had conquered those horrible experiences, she too could conquer HIV. However, Rae made conquering synonymous with avoidance and she drew "an invisible dividing line between HIV/AIDS."

Seven years passed and she had only told five people she was HIV positive. It was in that seventh year she was diagnosed with full blown AIDS. It was at this time, she began to take control of her situation. In 1994, two years after she became public with her diagnosis, she was approached by Susan Taylor of Essence, who featured Rae on their cover. Voice breaking, Rae noted how she would "go down in history as the first Black woman to tell her story of 'Living with AIDS' in a national publication."

However, "being on the cover of a magazine is not going to save my life."
The most truthful and straightforward moment came as Rae attempted to dispel the dismissal of the effects of AIDS, simply because of her outward appearances. Similar, but in no ways identical, to Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Rae believes that her outwardly healthy appearance has led people to downplay the disease. However, the symptoms are something that she learned cannot be ignored or controlled, and they can come in the form of something so embarrassing as uncontrollable diarrhea.

Sitting in a restaurant, eating dinner, Rae recalled a time where she began to feel the diarrhea run down her leg. Dressed in expensive garments, and undergarments ($125 La Perla underwear), and Chanel Pumps, her clothes could not save her from her condition. Excusing herself to the bathroom, Rae cleaned herself off, removed her undergarments, rinsed them off and threw them away. That was the last pair she ever bought. Once, after telling her story, Rae was asked why she went through the trouble of washing out her underwear if she were just going to throw them away. Her response, was simple to her, yet profound to me:

"I respect public space...even in my pain...I considered the discomfort of others. AIDS is about "How one maintains one's dignity when their back is against the wall."

Throughout her journey, Rae has struggled to deal with the misconceptions and the stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS. Initially, it was her fear of rejection from potential partners. However, now her main concern is that people have written HIV off. "AIDS is like diabetes," is something she states she often hears and she hates that comparison. AIDS, like diabetes has "become a joke in the black community. People have moved on. The AIDS community has moved on and the Black community is in denial."

Our denial, Rae says is "historically wrapped into who we are as a people." Aware of the ramifications of 'blaming slavery,' Rae insists that not only was the damage done, but it has been carried on throughout the years.

"Black men made babies, Black women were raped. Black men were hung and their sexuality was used as social control... We have fought the 'buck' and 'whore' our entire life and it has paralyzed us to talk about sex."
From spirituality to sexuality, the interwining of religion and relationships makes it so that we are not prepared to have a serious discourse on HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, we do not address issues such as homosexuality, and this too destroys the Black male gay community. "Black Gay Men aren't prepared to admit that 1 out of 2 Black gay men have HIV."

Throughout all of the conversation, however, the message is clear. Personal accountability. "You have to make your own choices," she says. She drives this point across especially to young black women, who are now 72 percent of all new HIV cases amongst women. And in her own candid way, that captivated my attention at the beginning of her lecture, Rae warned "unless the penis is in your pocket, you don't know where it's been. If you are not married you should be using a condom 100 percent of the time." I agree, Rae.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

But I Don't Want You Either...

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Today, when I logged into Twitter, it was ablaze with discussion surrounding John Mayer and his "racist" comments. Now, my use of quotations is not a concession in claiming that his comments weren't racist at all, but more so because there are two sides to every story. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can be just downright militant when I want to be militant. However, for this one, I'm just going to back up, look at this statement and provide a clear objective analysis. I'm LAH'N ya'll!

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?
MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My d*** is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f**kin’ David Duke c*ck. I’m going to start dating separately from my d***.

*blank stare*

The question that many people have been debating is, whether this is simply a preference or if it the manifestation of a racist heart. I say both. We all have preferences, I'll be the first to admit that I have my own preferences and well, white men just don't fit the bill. As a result, I understand where Mayer is coming from. However, my issue comes in with the likening of his genitals with a white supremacist. Bad analogy much?

In any event, why are we as black women so upset? John Mayer doesn't speak for the entire population of white men. Not only that, but most of us who are getting upset at him, weren't even checking for him in the first place. I never wanted to have sexual relations with John Mayer and if I did, then quite frankly after hearing his comments, he would have just gotten etched off my list. Your reaction to his comment should be no different than when I see a man who I MIGHT be interested in, only to learn that he doesn't know his homophones and that he can only quote Gucci Mane lyrics all day.

Moving on. If you think that was the only side eye worthy thing Mayer said in his interview, let me enlighten you...

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a n****r pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"
Now John...Oh John. I was rocking with you when you made "Dreaming with a Broken Heart," but you're starting to do the most. What is this 1962? Or maybe I'm just not up on having a hood pass and what it means. I'm black and I've never been in a restaurant that told me they were too full to seat me. This comment is just way too reminiscent of Blago's thought that he was blacker than Barack, because he's shined shoes. Sorry, but being black is not a monolithic experience, which is why I don't dabble in generalizations.

Then some people are getting mad because he used the word n*gger.

*Deep Sigh*

Not to excuse him from saying it, but we say it too. Matter of fact, until we began to commodify the word, it was HIS ancestors that had the monopoly on it, so what do you expect? In my opinion, his usage of this word, doesn't scream racial connotations, as much as commodify the word in the sense of a "hood pass" or "n*gger pass" has little value to him. 

All in all, I'm over his comment. Over people getting up into arms about every little thing. Know this: we are NOT living in a post racial society. I know they want you to believe that because we got our first black president and our first black princess (who wasn't even a damb princess, I digress) but it is not. Honestly, I believe it is part of some bigger plan. We get hyped over every little thing, people make big excuses for it and why it wasn't racist, we'll tired ourselves out, and when something racist does come along, we'll be too tired to even recognize it. 

Matter of fact, Americans are so consumed with BS that is handed to them on a silver platter, that we don't go investigating important things like laws that are being passed. I bet right now as we're debating Mayer, there's a bill being passed right now that limits our civil liberties more than any other racially insensitive statement. 

In any event, it was a horrible thing to say, but blame that on the First Amendment.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

To the Left, To the Left

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 Ladies...are we dispensable??? Are we replaceable???

Yesterday on Twitter, someone that I follow brought up the issue of, if a man could pleasure himself, through oral stimulation o__O then there would be a lot less women that could get a man. Apparently, she had gotten this idea from, get this, one of her guy friends. Coincidentally, the day before I had the exact same thought which made it interesting to see that this could possibly be a reoccurring thought amongst the male population. That, if men could sufficiently pleasure themselves, there would be no need for his female counterpart.

At first I chuckled about it, but then I begin to seriously wonder. I don't know, maybe this concept wouldn't necessitate such a Socratic methods from you all, but it got me thinking and questioning. If there are men believe who they don't need us, purely based on a hypothetical situation where they could sexually gratify themselves, then what does that say about the state of the union between male and female?

Of course, I know this is a patriarchal society, where women are often reduced to commodified objects to be consumed by their male counterparts. However, there is something very homoerotic to me about a man reducing a woman to simply her "holes," to the point where she would no longer be needed if he could indeed pleasure himself. (This is one of the issues I have with hip-hop but that's a WHOLE other blog post.) In any event why wouldn't a woman be needed for the emotion connection and intellectual connection that could be forged? If a woman is no more than simply a hole, then wherein lies the distinguishing of holes? O__O

Now I realize that there are a small minority of men who have pondered and accepted the belief that women wouldn't be necessary if they could please themselves...BUT... If you have ever been a man who has reduced women to simply a hole, then this I pose the question to you as well. Are we disposable?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black History Month: Is There a Need For It?

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As we all know, the month of February is Black History Month. Started as "Negro History Week" in 1926, by Carter G. Woodson, this week was to commemorate the impact of blacks in this country. Started in the second week of February, this week boasted the birthdays of two people Woodson believed to be very influential to African American History, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. (Now that we know this month was not given to us but was created by one of us, can we all agree to retire the 'Shortest Month of the Year' Joke? Thanks.)

Well, here we are 2010 and people are questioning the importance of Black History Month. There are those who believe the significance of this month is infinitesimal because we should be making Black History every day. One point for them. I agree. However, there are those who believe indeed it is still relevant because like W.E.B. DuBois prophesied some hundred years ago, "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line" and it is also the problem the Twenty-First Century. So I believe we are at a tie.

I am honestly perplexed. I mean it just seems that Black people have become so concerned with breaking away from what they believe to be social confines that we don't want to embrace anything. There are some African Americans who say Black History Month restricts us to our history in this country. On the other hand, there are blacks who refuse to accept the definition African American because they feel no connection to Africa. It is all too much.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating Black History Month. Especially when there is an Asian Pacific Heritage month, a Hispanic Heritage month, and a Native American Heritage Month. Quite frankly I think in an effort to redefine ourselves we have created a mess. Furthermore, I believe if we aren't careful we will end up destroying our reverence for the past and where it has brought us. What do you think? Is Black History Month still necessary?
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