Barack Obama has it. What is it? Some call it swagger, some call it panache, and others say that it is uncanny composure. Nonetheless, it is an intangible characteristic that helps him appeal to the masses (obviously excluding politics). However, it seems as if today more than ever, Obama is in a class by himself when it comes to politicians with personality. By personality I don’t mean the ability to come up with cutesy retorts and one-liners to make the news cycle. I mean the ability to embrace their individuality without buying into the stiff suit cohort. Where are the politicians who enjoy spoken word, ride Harleys, and who are unashamed to say they listen to rap music? To be honest, many in mainstream America are uninformed. A lot of the electorate casts their ballots based on issues completely unrelated to candidate’s voting records and credentials. For some it’s race or gender, but for many it’s relatability. When Barack Obama said that he had Jay-z on his ipod it resonated with many people who weren’t necessarily entrenched in the political sphere. When Sarah Palin talked about her time as a hockey mom, many middle-aged mothers rejoiced that they could vote for someone just like them.
Note: I know this post is mad long. I’ll be more succinct in the future. I know you have better things to do.
Last week, I didn’t take the opportunity to blog about Maia Campbell, something that I had fully intended to do. Instead, my only significant output was a blog about Tyler Perry taking over command of the for colored girls film. I worry that not allowing myself time to post my thoughts about Campbell was an implicit, unspoken participation in the suppression and dismissal of her situation, her struggles. I want to correct that. Further, I want to make a connection to both events, which is something I haven’t seen folks do, but I find especially necessary at this juncture.
Last week we all had the opportunity to watch Barack Obama’s healthcare speech.
A couple of weeks ago I asked, where is Obama’s Political Saavy? And in the above speech I believe not only did he find it, but he remembered what the people who voted him into office [overwhelmingly] mandated. So needless to say I was happy…
I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way in which liberals/progressives managed to lobby Obama to get the kind of healthcare plan they wanted from him. Not even a couple of weeks ago, Obama was seriously wavering on the public option, but in the above speech, he was clear about his belief that it should be included in whatever health care bill was passed.
But I couldn’t help but wonder… why don’t we see this kind of political pressure from black activists and lobbyists? Everyday I get another email from a liberal/progressive group asking me to email/fax/call my representative/president, asking me to change my facebook status or asking me to attend (fill in the blank) rally.
WE DONT NEED NO WOMEN LOOKIN LIKE NO MEN. So slap some lipstick on, curly ya hair, let da finger nail polish sparkle, and finish it all off wit a brand new face of makeup!!!
THIS IS RIDICULOUS! After the controversy last month about Caster Semenya’s gender, to me it is quite apparent that this “new look” was forced. Is the world THAT afraid of a woman who doesn’t fit the traditional “wear a dress, sit down and speak when spoken to” stereotype. I’m not against women having the choice to add to their bodies. I think if they like it, then they should wear as much makeup and other accessories as they want. What I am against is changing an 18 year old girl, to fit into the little box of what others feel more comfortable with.
However, I must caution my words a little bit because even though I don’t believe her, the fact still remains that Ms. Semenya went on record and said that she liked the makeover. Semenya told the BBC: “I’d like to dress up more often and wear dresses but I never get the chance. I am who I am and I’m proud of myself.”
I am glad that she is proud of herself; however, I think she should have said that she is proud of her new self. I have neither read nor seen anything from Semenya’s past that suggested she would want this type of makeover. The headline on the Magazine “We turned power girl, into glamour girl—and she loves it” still annoys the hell out of me.
Then again, if I was trying to keep my career, future endorsements, and continue to do what I love, I might drink a couple protein shakes, turn on a sports game and put a little more base in my voice. (*joking)
All I can wish for at this point is that I am wrong in my assumptions, and that it was Caster Semenya’s choice to have this makeover. I hope that the ignorance of the world has not (once again) triumphed over another persons individuality. I pray that Semenya did not allow the world to change her natural self because she didn’t fit into the right image of what the media or anyone else wanted her to look like.
If so, this day is another step back for all of mankind. The gender struggle continues.
When we talk about interracial dating in the new millennium, we are facing a new reality in America. In the above clip at UNC Chapel Hill, we see how youth feel about interracial dating. Unsurprisingly we find that many are open to interracial dating, except for the two black women Litesha and Ally. Additionally, Si-on lm, an interviewee, admits that her parents would be concerned especially if her chosen partner was black. Yet the prevailing feelings (or at least the director’s closing statements) were that the “deciding factor” should be about love between two people regardless of race.
Like most Facebook addicts, at least the “honest” ones, I am member of Facebook because I can “stalk” people. Instead of rifling through neighbor’s trashcans and mail, I simply click on their photos, view their relationship statues, and see what events they’re attending to know all about their daily lives. To say the least, Facebook makes stalking easy and creates major obstacles for domestic violence advocates. I know at this point many of you are expecting me to launch into a tirade about protecting domestic violence victims on Facebook. However, this is not that post, perhaps next week. This post is about the addiction and the debauchery of Facebook’s Honesty Box. I know many of you reading this post are good wholesome salt of the earth tell me to my face people who are completely impervious to this application on Facebook. So, perhaps I should tell you about it. The Honesty Box is an application people can add to their profile pages. It allows people to post and respond to various questions with total anonymity. For instance, someone could write, “What do you honestly think of me?” on their honesty box and people within their friend network can respond with nice comments or not so nice comments under the guise of A-N-O-N-Y-M-I-T-Y.
I must say, I thoroughly enjoy writing in people’s honesty boxes. It is this delicious if not downright scrumptious idea of total anonymity meaning I can say anything I want to without retribution or consequences. And yes, I have written things in people Honesty Boxes that I would not dare utter publicly for fear of losing them as friends or for fear of appearing evil—ha, ha, ha (my sinister witch’s cackle). But, I will say my honesty box sin of choice is to write things to people I have crushes on. It is so exciting and almost orgasmic the feeling you receive from being able to say anything to your crush. I won’t detail the conversations and things I’ve written because they’re private, but I will say I have an uncanny knack of making my crushes wonder who I am and when can they make my acquaintance.
But of course the Honesty Box is not all fun and games. I have been hurt by some of the things people have written about me. In particular, there was this guy who wrote in my honesty box, “I have been waiting a long time to fuck your strong black feminist ass to let you know who’s stronger.” And of course, the guy signed his message with his initials and I immediately knew who it was. So, I called him out on his profile page and blocked him from my profile. And of course, this episode should have soured my delight in writing in people’s honesty box, but it didn’t. Later that day, I still sent a message to an old Spelman sister about how conceited and Barbie like she was and how she needs to grow the hell up. Yeah, I enjoy the Honesty Box borderline addicted to it. At this very moment, I know what some of you are thinking, “You’re so passive aggressive just say it to their face.” And my response to you is this, “Do you always tell people what you think, probably not, if you’re honest.” Perhaps, its passive aggressiveness or perhaps it’s the thrill of doing something risky that’s so alluring. Who knows.
But, recently the thought has occurred to me what would happen if Facebook decides to make all Honesty Box’s comments public knowledge? Can you imagine the cyber anarchy that would ensue if Facebook decided to deactivate their privacy’s settings letting people know who said what and when? I guess I would be a visible target of many people’s anger and surprise. Given this likelihood one would assume I would shy away from posting comments in people’s honesty box, but hey I am full time grad student and I need a risky, but safe outlet to release my grad school frustrations, why not the Honesty Box. So, are there any other Honesty Box’s addicts out there in cyber space? Don’t worry about being exposed on this website, just make sure you use a good moniker and never sign a comment with your initials. Now, let me get back to writing my honest box message for today.
Uh oh. It’s a code red (black and green). The bat signal is out. bell hooks has started spelling her name in all CAPS. Call up your elders, pray to your ancestors; conjure up your inner fairies, spirits, and goddesses. Tyler Perry is turning your favorite play, excuse me, choreopoem into a movie.
I am a proud Floridian. I love of our orange groves. I enjoy sunbathing on our pristine beaches that kiss the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, I love Tampa Bay Buccaneers football and Tampa Bay Rays baseball. Alas, the recent comments by Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer made me want to banish him from our great state and revoke his “Sunshine state license”. Politics aside, lies are lies. While, I’m not necessarily upset or surprised that a political leader would fabricate a story to give his party leverage, I’m appalled that he sparked off a frenzy that used our nation’s children as political footballs.
A few months ago i watched the TVOne documentary Black Don’t Crack: The Cosmetic Surgery Debate. It disturbed me, to say the least. It mostly chronicled the stories of Black women (and i believe, one man) who choose to undergo cosmetic plastic surgery, noting that in the past, cosmetic procedures have been stigmatized in the Black community. However, since 2005 there has been an increase in the number of Black men and women who undergo elective cosmetic surgery. Most popular amongst patients of color are rhinoplasty (nose jobs), breast augmentation and liposuction of the buttocks and thighs. And indeed, this was mirrored in the subjects of the documentary, the gorgeous women who were convinced that they could “finally be beautiful” if their noses or lips were a little thinner.
It was the news heard around the world, heard in every black café, posted on every Facebook mini feed, screamed in abject horror in every black theater class, whispered in body stealing tones in every black feminist mind that Tyler Perry also known as Medea also known as He Who Has Oprah’s Seal of Approval meaning it’s safe for white suburban soccer moms will direct, produce, and perhaps even star as the woman in red in a film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.
When I heard the news a part of me laughed and said, “Seriously you’re kidding right. How can a black man who always portrays black women as prostitutes (i.e. Madea Goes to Jail), drug addicts (i.e. Diary of Angry Black Woman), controlling spouses (i.e. Why Did I get Married), abused women, psychopathic black mothers (i.e. Family Reunion), and emasculating black women (i.e. Daddy’s Girls) direct and produce a film about black women finding and owning their voices?” And of course, the answer to my question is that unless he works with Julie Dash or Aishah Simmons his work is doomed to silence black women.
Okay, I will admit I’m no saint. I’ve watched some of Tyler Perry’s movies because I can’t afford HBO so I watch TBS the home of all things Tyler Perry. And sometimes family gatherings entail a Tyler Perry’s Marathon where my great aunt proclaims in her best evangelist voice, “You can talk about my Jesus, and perhaps my momma, but nobody better talk about my Tyler Perry.” I say all this to say I’ve seen his movies to know their limitations. Meaning, I cannot fathom let alone imagine how Tyler Perry can cinematically enrich Shange’s play whose very origin was a critique of black male violence against black women.
Perhaps, he has not read the play therefore he’s unaware of this critique or perhaps he has read it and assumes that the character, Madea, can throw hot grits on all the violent black men in Shange’s play and that will end violence against black women. If it was only that easy then Quaker Grits would be in every domestic violence handbook around the world. So, once again I ask the question, how can Tyler Perry produce and direct a film that speaks to the souls of black women? And the simple answer is he can’t. To say the least, I am pissed. Furthermore, I find myself ruminating on how he will adapt my favorite line from the play, “I found God in myself and I loved her I loved her fiercely.” Perhaps, it will become Vickie Winans’ gospel song, “I found King Jesus and I don’t need nobody else.” Perhaps it will become, “I found da lorde in dis good black man and I loved him, I loved him fiercely.” Or, perhaps it will become, “I did not find enuf in myself as a colored girl so I committed suicide.” Yes, the last translation is wee bit dramatic, but given Tyler Perry’s track record it seems quite probable. So, for those who love the play, For Colored Girls what are your sentiments about Tyler Perry producing and directing the play?
So, I decided to end this blog with pictures from various performances of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Sucide When the Rainbow is Enuf to show how powerful this play is and how Tyler Perry cannot do it justice.