Follow Up to Chapter’s EBT Video: Why Single Black Women Have Babies

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG_Gvd4PFFo&feature=related

As a follow-up to The Viral Video, EBT: We Have Failed You Chapter…An Open Letter, I want to talk about a comment that I received frequently about Chapter’s character in the EBT video. Many people have emailed me saying that they agree with my blog, but that they also know black women who do those things. Those things . . . as if those things that they do are so vile that the actual act must not be named for fear of its appearance. Those things. What types of those things? Getting pregnant in order to qualify for general assistance?

It has been my experience as a mentor that when a young woman tells me she wants to have a baby it is because she wants someone—the baby or her boyfriend—to love her, and, of course, this rationale comes with its own set of consequences. But, my young mentee’s rationale is not far removed from why some single privileged or married privileged women decide to have babies. They too seek love or at least commitment from the men in their lives. The difference between my mentee and the privileged women is that their class privilege absolves them of blame.

I say all this to say that perhaps the reason why young women decide to have babies is not to “swindle” the government, but to secure that which all women are taught to desire in this society, what bell hooks refer to as the “male gaze.” And, the male gaze includes having the man’s baby or performing your feminine gender of being a mother. So, perhaps, the larger issue is not about “those things” single black girls do, but more about who they are doing those things for.

Hip Hop's Smoking Section: Room for Collective Dreams

 

Does anyone else find it so cool that Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa show love to each other on their songs? Every now and then, you can hear a Taylor [m/] joint beginning with “shout out to my brotha Spitta”; or, on the low, you can catch Spitta quoting Wiz like, “we aint trippin’ cuz we’ll get there in a minute”. And get this, these songs were not features, each a solo on their popular mixtape and album! Even seeing Big Sean and Juicy J in Wiz’s “Reefer Party” video contributes to this thematic change in the perception of Hip Hop. I’m talking about collectives here, the rhythmic equivalent of the Justice League. Normatively, Hip Hop heads, young and old, are used to the politics of beefs, but nowadays, with the help of video journals and marijuana legislation, us heads experience our favorite artists as a community.

How Racism Is Destroying America's Political Discourse

A few years ago I had an internship at the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, where one of my chief duties was to spend hours looking through microfilm for newspaper clippings that dramatized the racial climate in Philadelphia throughout the years.

One article that stood out was a poll of Philadelphians that asked, “How would you describe the state of racial equality in America today?” The vast majority of whites (something like 60-70%) answered “Good.”

The year was 1968.

These people had no idea how dire the state of race relations was in America at the time because all they could compare it to was a not-so-distant past marred by lynching, sharecropping and segregation. But today we can see quite clearly that things were bad. Racism was alive and well.

And that’s why race is such a tricky issue in America. Racism grows classier and more refined every day, but it never goes away. How else can we explain the American people tolerating the unprecedented disrespect, racism, obstruction and outright legislative terrorism being perpetrated by the GOP?

NEWS FLASH: Rick Perry Kills 'em With Crazy, Slavery: The Game, And Mos Def's Name Change

September 8, 2011

So that crazy, ragtag squad of Republican Presidential Candidates actually debated last night. And we live-tweeted the whole thing. And it was hilarious. And the media seems to have chosen Rick Perry as the night’s clear victor, which is even more hilarious.

Perry’s unique brand of crazy was in full force last night; like when he somehow blamed the Federal Government for the fact that 1 in 4 residents of his state (Texas) are uninsured. Or when Perry essentially called President Obama an “abject liar.” Or how about when the audience responded to the fact that Perry has had 250+ people executed…with wild applause? Yes, Perry was the clear winner. The losers? I don’t know, Santorum? You? Me? The world? Time will tell….

In other distressing news, we’ve got an exciting new video game for all you gamers out there. How do you feel about Slavery: The Game? You can buy, sell, exploit and beat your slaves. You can even choose a weapon of choice, including a rifle, a whip, and maybe even a spiked club.

Excited? I didn’t think so. And if this sounds too utterly repulsive and sickening to be true, you’re probably right. Word on the internet is that it’s a hoax.

Shaunie O’Neal, producer-extraordinaire of that hyper-addictive VH1 shitshow called Basketball Wives, is finally seeing show-related ire turn from Tami’s ugly weaves, and quick left jab, to herself. In the wake of a recent episode of the series’ LA spinoff, celebs and fans went off on twitter, condemning Shaunie for exploiting the wives, setting a terrible example for young Black women, and using shady business practices. Even Sherry Shepherd got into the fray. And while they make some good points, is it really Shaunie’s fault that the women on this show can’t keep their hands to themselves?

This past January, during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane,WA, a homemade bomb was found inside of a backpack that had been strategically placed on a park bench along the parade route. It was a horrifying development at what should have been a peaceful, joyous day, and fortunately for all of us, the man behind this horrible act is being brought to justice. 37 year-old Kevin Harpham has pled guilty to charges related to the bomb planting, and he’s expected to spend 27-32 years in prison. GOOD.

And in case you haven’t heard already, Mos Def is seriously changing his name to Yasiin. And I guess that’s cool, but I’m a little disappointed. There are just so many other rappers in serious need of a name change. Like Baby or OJ Da Juiceman, for example. And I kinda liked the name Mos Def. Check out the classic Mos Def…err, Yasiin video for “Umi Says” below….

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsihHoyqwWY

New Documentary: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

If a more interesting documentary comes along this year, I will be shoc ked.

Check out the trailer for a new documentary called The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 below.

The film largely consists of hundreds of hours of previously-unseen footage shot during the height of the Black Power Movement, including interviews with Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many more. These searing images and fascinating interviews are coupled with poignant and insightful commentary from the likes of Talib Kweli, ?uestlove, Harry Belafonte, Erykah Badu and Bobby Seale.

This is a must see, people. If you actually shelled out $10 to see The Help, consider this your chance at redemption. Just sayin…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1InB3YB6vM&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcolorlines.com%2Farchives%2F2011%2F09%2Finterview_with_goran_hugo_olsson_director_of_the_black_power_mixtape_1967-1975.html&feature=player_embedded

 

Check out a fascinating interview

with the director of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 at Colorlines.com

Nightmare Football

I’m going to try something new this football season. I’m going to actually try to understand football. I’ve always been a casual fan, and way more interested in the business of football but I’ve never taken the time to learn the nuances of the game. Since the NBA has divorced me, I figured now is the best time to learn.

I’m resolved to the fact that I may never know football as well as I know basketball. A friend gave me a book to help me learn the basics, Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game! It’s a fun, clear guide to the game of football. It covers the history of the game, the job of each official and the responsibility of each player on the field.

After reading the book, I felt ready for football season, confident in my knowledge, prepared for any football situation. And then the clock started for our fantasy football draft. And then I panicked.

News Flash: Racists Still Think Crosses Are Scary, Lil Wayne Opens Big, and Joe Walsh Backtracks On "Idiotic" Obama Comment

September 7, 2011

Idiotic Senator Joe Walsh has apologized for calling President Obama “idiotic”. He then somehow both downplayed and stood behind statements he made earlier this year asserting that President Obama was only elected because he’s black. Without question, Barack Obama has got to be the most disrespected President of all time. I wonder why….

The Grio’s Karen Hunter might be on to something in an article written last week, detailing the truly historic level of utter disrespect levied at President Obama:

“Some may call this obstructionism. But I think there’s something else going on here. Now I’m not saying it’s racism. But if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck…”

Speaking of the fact that racism is alive and well in our post-racial America, A Black family in Newark, DE woke up Monday morning to find a white cross placed on their front lawn, complete with the phrase “Burn In Hell” and other racial slurs written on it. I know racists essentially want to go back in time, but how anachronistic and cowardly is putting a cross on someone’s front lawn? Pathetic. Go read a book.

 

Of course, some racist have an updated, more timely approach. Case in point: a white supremacist website has used a little web savvy and online trickery to get a higher SEO ranking than the official Martin Luther King, Jr website. It is both infuriating and sad that they would directly target TheKingCenter.com, but obviously it is not surprising. Bigotry may manifest itself differently these days, but it’s no less cowardly and repugnant.

 

In happier, relatively unimportant news, multiple industry sources are reporting that Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV will debut with the second highest first week sales of 2011, moving 850-900,000 units in just seven days. Hilariously, C4 will also set a new iTunes download record, garnering 300,000 downloads in just one week. The previous holder of this record? Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne. What was that about baby money, Jay?

Update: According to MTVnews.com, Weezy’s Tha Carter IV will top the Billboard albums chart with a reported 964,000 copies sold. Dayuuum!

 

Meanwhile, in a fairly telling study, Psychologists at the University of Toronto showed a group of men and women photos of straight and gay black and white men, and asked that they rate their likability. And Black gay guys sort of won.

 

Which brings us to Game’s recent well-intentioned, yet hopelessly ignorant comments on Gay men, Beyonce, and AIDS:

“”I don’t have a problem with gay people. Like, Beyoncé should’ve said, ‘Who run the world? Gays,’ because they’re everywhere and rightfully so. Do you. It’s a free country. Be gay, you can do that…Game don’t have a problem with gay people. Game has a problem with people who are pretending not to be gay…The number one issue with that is that you could be fooling somebody and you could give them AIDS and they can die and so that in the closet shit is real scary. So, we’ve got to get into the real seriousness of it and it’s just not fair to other people…”

I don’t even know where to begin….

"His Name Was Shawn"

In my last blog I spoke about the movie Leave It On the Floor, an independent musical that highlights the perils, pageantry, and prominence of the ballroom scene in the minds of many marginalized predominately black gay youth. I again hasten to stress the importance of this movie as a valiant—though imperfect—launching point for conversation about this misunderstood and academically neglected subculture. But it is at this time I want to turn to one of the most poignant scenes in the film—a funeral scene, in which strife erupts over the identity of a black transgender youth.

Eppie Durrel is the name of a trasgendered female within the film. Arguably one of the most thought provoking characters in the film in that not only is she transgender, but believes herself to be capable of giving birth to a child—despite the skepticism of many of her friends. I will keep the spoilers to a minimum. Through her complexity, viewers ultimately find themselves in the midst of a funeral scene, where Eppie lies in her casket while her “house mother” (see my last blog for an understanding of this term), Mother Queef begins to speak over her.