BEYONCE IS BACK, But Does She Still Rule The World?

She’s baaaaaaaaaack.

This past week, the hype machine went into overdrive with news of the coming storm that is Beyonce’s next album. Said to be released in June, this is a crucial moment in Bey’s career; she’s got some fierce competition for the Pop throne she once ruled with impunity.

But judging by the brief snippet of her new single, titled “Girls (That Rule The World),” and images of her ridiculously fierce get-up for the song’s highly anticipated music video, I’m thinking she’ll be alright.

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.

The Real Problem with the WNBA

This summer, the WNBA will tip off its 15th season. Some are surprised that it has lasted this long. Most whine that women’s basketball isn’t entertaining. There are few dunks, very little high flying. The players aren’t as big, aren’t as strong and they aren’t as fast. The WNBA isn’t for those people. Unfortunately, those are the people it’s being marketed to and there’s the issue.

Everything from the logo to the inaugural slogan (“We Got Next”) played on the league’s inextricable connection to the NBA. There was such a concern for the league to succeed financially that little attention was given to marketing the WNBA for what it is, basketball.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YrbWTL9hQw

An Open Letter To Lil' Kim….

Dear Lil’ Kim,

I actually like you. Hard Core was dope. I even kinda liked La Bella Mafia, and I agree with The Source; The Naked Truth is classic material. I thought it was sad that you went to jail in order to protect so-called friends that wound up testifying against you in court to save their own asses. Hell, I wouldn’t even vilify you for being Biggie’s side jawn; I believe you when you say that what you and Biggie had was special. You probably didn’t deserve to be marginalized or portrayed unfairly in a certain biopic chronicling the Notorious one’s life either. You are undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential female rappers of all time. You are a Hip Hop legend.

But enough is enough.

Your beef with Nicki Minaj is illegitimate on multiple levels, Kim. But you know what? So was LL Cool J’s tiff with Canibus. So was KRS-One’s legendary war with MC Shan. Hip Hop is littered with rap battles founded on shoddy evidence. The difference here is that your behavior over the past 6-8 months has come across as jealous, immature, and incredibly desperate. And you’ve taken it to another level of absurdity this week. Releasing a low-budget, entirely unnecessary Nicki Minaj diss fest of a mixtape called Black Friday, charging ten dollars for it, and then falsely claiming it sold 100,000 copies in 28 hours? Not a good look, Kim. In the words of Karen Civil, “If I wanted to buy a whole mixtape about Nicki Minaj I would just buy the Pink Friday LP again.” Such behavior is entirely unbecoming of a Hip Hop legend. And for the sake of your legacy, it really needs to stop.

Adele's "21"

Incredible debut albums are fun because they catch the music industry by surprise.

 Amy Winehouse’s Frank, D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar and Erykah Badu’s Baduizm are just a few examples. The brilliant debut album is truly a gem, exciting both in its musical achievements as well the ways in which it reflects a young artist’s potential for something even greater. But of course, it takes an artist’s entire life to write their debut album. The heavy lifting begins when that damn second album comes around. Rarely does a promising new artist release a sophomore album that actually lives up to this aforementioned potential. But when they do, the feat is all the more remarkable.

An outstanding second album reflects an unprecedented growth, depth and creativity that takes the artist’s music in a direction that feels both reassuringly natural yet thrillingly unexpected. Like Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, D’Angelo’s Voodoo, and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun, Adele has most certainly achieved this near impossible balancing act with her sophomore album, 21.

I don't do organized religion. What does that mean?

So, yesterday I had a conversation with a good friend who is a self-appointed scholar activist about the political repression and protest in Egypt. During the course of the conversation I happened to mention in passing that President Obama prayed for the Egyptian protesters at the National Prayer Breakfast. At the mentioning of this, she went into one of those self-righteous activist tizzies about how organized religion is the root of the problem and ended her soliloquy with, “I do not do organized religion.” Of course, I looked at her and said, “What do you mean you do not do organized religion?” And, she said, “It’s oppressive and I am more spiritual.”

All I could say to her in that one moment in the tone of my tell-you-like-it-is godmother is, “Is that so.”

But, the more I think about it her response and the many conversations I have had over the years with activist of all kinds (i.e. feminists, Marxist, non-conformist, progressives, liberals) about organized religion infuriates me.

And all I want to say is this:

The Rubin Stacy Story: A Meditation on lynching in a Post-Racial America

 “The faintest ink is better than the best memory” was said to me by a friend’s uncle at Christmas lunch in Barbados. If ink beats memory, then pictures beat the self-induce fantasy of a nation, right?  For this black history month, I question the existence of a post-racial America.

Yesterday, I began to stare at the photos of Rubin Stacy, a man born between 1899-1907 in Georgia. He left Georgia to go to Florida where there were more opportunities. Unfortunately, he was murdered July 19, 1935 in Fort Lauderdale. He was murdered because he was falsely accused of trying to harm Marion Jones, a white woman. She later reported that he came to her door begging for food.

On the Use of "Honor Student": Phylicia Barnes’ Disappearance

A gifted student from North Carolina who was visiting family in Baltimore over the holidays, Barnes was scheduled to graduate early from high school. She did not have a history of running away or being a troubled child.

The Phylicia Simone Barnes’ story is one of profound sadness and injustice on many levels. We know that when our brown and black children go missing they go missing without any national attention from the media. We also know that courageous black parents keep the search alive through their sheer determination to find their children. We also know that there is both a racialized and gendered media double standard.

We know these things.

But, do we know how to write a story—a news article—about black women’s and black girls’ disappearances or stories of violence without having to highlight how good they are, how perfect of a mother they are, how good of a student they are, and how good of a wife they are?