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.

The Viral Video, EBT: We Have Failed You, Chapter . . . An Open Letter

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzspsovNvII&feature=youtu.be

Dear Chapter,

Once upon a time when I was a little brown girl and the economy was really bad because of Reganomics, my “employed” and single black mother received food assistance to help feed her two daughters because her minimal wage check could not fully cover rent and the daily luxuries of milk, eggs, meat, beans, and rice. Yes, we were the working class poor. Yes, we were on food stamps. Yes, we needed help. And, yes, we received the EBT though I prefer to call it the Electronic Benefit Transfer because EBT sounds like some viral disease that must be stopped instead of something that has helped to feed many families including a large majority of white families.

To say the least, I found your video deeply troubling. And, not necessarily for the reasons people have listed in your YouTube’s comment section about displaying stereotypical images of black people. Chapter, I found your video troubling because it shows how we as a community of black women have failed to educate you. We have failed to tell you about your history, dearest. We have failed to tell you about National Welfare Rights Organization which was founded in the 1960s and lead by poor Black women who understood the interconnections between food justice, a living wage, racism, and poverty. You see, Chapter, our foremothers, as my grandmother would say, “fought tooth and nail,” to ensure that we would have access to federal assistance because it was our right not only because we were citizens, but because we were human. And, based on our god-given humanity, we deserved the option of being able to seek help when needed.

Is Nicki Minaj In An Abusive Relationship?

These days, it seems like all Nicki Minaj does is win, win, win.

Pink Friday is still selling like hot cakes, “Super Bass” is currently the number 3 song on the Hot 100 chart, and (by most accounts) she nailed her supporting slot on Britney Spears’ massively successful Femme Fatale Tour. Even today, news broke that Nicki has signed on to provide vocals for a character in the upcoming animated flick “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” alongside Jennifer Lopez, Joy Behar and Young Money cohort Drake.

Nicki Minaj is the definition of a rising star right now. And that’s only made the persistent rumors regarding a violent, July 12th confrontation with (alleged) boyfriend Safaree all the more disturbing and distressing.

Nicki has denied repeatedly that any abuse occurred. But a 9-1-1 tape that leaked yesterday tells a very different story.

An Open Letter To Chris Brown

Dear Chris Brown,

I get it. The public eye isn’t always fun. People watch every move you make. They scrutinize your every word.

You’re only 22 years old. Everyone makes mistakes. I get it.

But here’s the problem. Back in February of 2009, you left your then-girlfriend Rihanna bloodied and beaten on the side of the road.

That was a really, really big mistake, Chris. On many levels.

“Ooh, I’m gonna tell My Daddy what you did”: My Father my Imagined Black Superhero, The Black Texan

What happened this week that made me imagine my father a superhero:

This week, I went to the doctor to check on my blood pressure. A couple of weeks ago it was a tad bit above the normal rate and so my doctor wanted to monitor it. So, I scheduled an appointment to come in this week. So, I go in and the nurse takes my blood pressure and it’s perfectly normal. So, upon hearing this I thought I could leave, but the nurse said I still had to see the doctor. To make a long story short, I saw a white male doctor who I had have never met before and instead of checking on my heart, he felt it “appropriate” to discuss my sexuality, to make racial innuendos about black women’s hypersexuality and STD rates, to discuss my “pear” shape of a black derrière, and to slide his ungloved hand under my shirt to touch my belly without cause or provocation.

Yep, this is what happened to me this week. And, of course, I felt silenced throughout the entire ordeal trying to figure out how my sexuality and the need to touch my belly had anything to do with my perfectly normal blood pressure reading. Nothing it had nothing to do with it. This older white male doctor, who appeared to be congenial, in a matter of moments, stole my ability to breathe, and, honestly, after it happened all that I could think about was, “If my father was here, he would whoop his ass.” Yes, in that moment, I wished my recovering alcoholic father who I know can fight (i.e. Evidenced by my mothers’ many blackened eyes growing up), was present to punch the white doctor in his eye Superhero style with BAM, WHAM, and a Whoosh.

Rihanna's "Man Down" Video, and the Irrelevance of the Parents Television Council

A couple days ago, Rihanna released the music video for her latest single, “Man Down,” a pop-reggae song that tells the story of a young woman’s guilt and regret after murdering a man that deeply wronged her. Check out the video below.

The cinematic clip fleshes out the song’s storyline, conveying that the root of her actions is a harrowing sexual assault in an alley after a house party. The video is expertly directed and paced for maximum impact; Rihanna is effervescent and gorgeous, interacting with friends and neighbors in her small, island town. She is innocently enjoying her life until tragedy literally emerges from out of the darkness and forces itself upon her, utterly breaking her spirit.

“Man Down” is a heartbreaking, complicated and brilliant music video.

And so of course the Parents Television Council and other useless, opportunistic, media-watchdog groups are “pissed.” Go figure.

The Stank Eye Woman Syndrome and how Black Male Privilege is to Blame: Are Black Men Really Ignorant of how they “Compartmentalize” their “Female Friends”?

So, in the traditional way in which black people begin their stories, “What had happened was . . .”

I attended this event where one of my best male friends was hosting. Upon arriving my best male friend comes and says, pejoratively and with great amusement, “Your friend is over there,” hinting to a black woman who every time I see her she gives me what I can the “stank eye.” And, if you are a heterosexual black woman you are quite familiar with either giving the “stank eye” or receiving the “stank eye.” Long story short, my best friend decides to play what I call, “The Great Black Male Conciliator.” He decides to prompt the “stank eye” woman to reconcile with me. I should state at this point in the story, I am somewhat hazy on why every time I see this woman she gives me the “stank eye.” Anyways, she comes over and tries to be nice to me and, of course, it comes across as completely disingenuous.

So, after leaving the event, it came to me why this woman continues to give me the “stank eye.” And, it has everything to do with my best friend. The “stank eye” woman romantically likes my best friend and perceives me as competition. Because she only gives me the “stank eye” when I am with him. So, I call him up and tell him this. And, of course, he denies it and says in the way black men say, “We are just friends. We worked together to get Barack Obama elected. We spent a lot of time together doing that, but we are just friends. I know for a fact she does not like me in that way.” And, all I could say was, “Bullshit, you are completely impervious [let me use a smaller word, ignorant] of the privilege patriarchy gives you as a heterosexual man.”

Which brings us to the current discussion, “Are black men ignorant to how they engage their many female friends?”

On Rape and the Media Politics of Libya: “There’s a Stirring in the Pot…Stirring in My Soul”

As a young black girl like most children I told lies. I told big lies. I told small lies. I told white lies. I told lies. And, even had the audacity to argue with my “all seeing all knowing” do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do black grandmother about the usage of lie over her usage of “telling a story.” What does telling a story have to do with telling a lie? I tell you, this infuriated me. I prefer the word lie. Even though my grandmother and I had many disagreements over the terming of untruths often leaving my backside sore with resentment, she had a remarkable almost supernatural way of knowing when I, her precocious granddaughter, was telling her a lie. She would say with a type of black woman resolve, “There’s a stirring in the pot . . . there’s a stirring in my soul,” and before she could finish her statement I knew she knew that I had lied. And, boy did my sore backside know it too.

And, so in the tradition of my no nonsense black grandmother, I say, “There’s a stirring in the pot . . . there’s a stirring in my soul that something is not quite right about the media’s framing of the rape of Iman al-Obeidi by Gaddafi forces.”

Women's Herstory Month: Do You Know Any Border-Crossing Black Women?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uon9CcoHgwA

On the last Friday of Women’s Her-story Month, I want to honor black women who are what I call “border-crossers.” Border crossing is centered in the margins and “what moves people” . . . the fluid transmissions and the mergers. It comes out of womanism and black feminism. It comes out the frustration with borders and boundaries. It comes out of the need to build sustained and people-centered movements.

A Letter to Lil'Wayne From Three Black Girls

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-T-FVR0WZw&feature=player_embedded

“Letter to Lil Wayne” is a direct statement of justice from Watoto From The Nile. Growing tired and fed up with the constant degradation of Black women inside of Hip Hop music, they voice their views and opinions on this melodic track.

In solidarity with other bloggers, I must share this video entitled, “Letter to Lil’ Wayne.” The video features three young black girls speaking out against famed rapper Lil’ Wayne in the hopes that their viral video will force Lil’ Wayne to retract his stance on drugs and objectifying black women. Honestly, as of late, I have been inspired by black girls like Willow and even the brown skin Muppet from Sesame Street singing about loving her nappy hair. I like how new media and media is being harnessed to tell a black girl’s story on her own terms.