Friday, December 16, 2011


When I was about 4 years old I had to go to a work meeting with my mom.  I can remember it was my mother's pay day and that meant that we were going to eat at McDonald's.  Like any 4 year old, I was impatient and not looking forward to sitting in an hour meeting.  So I chose to express my dislike of my mom's work meeting by throwing a temper tantrum.  My mother had a way of dealing with temper tantrums...a belt.  My mother looked down at me and told me in a calm voice "You just wait to we get home."  At that point, I knew that our bi-weekly trip to McDonald's was cancelled. 

I want to point out that my mom chose to discipline me when we got home.  There are some parents that need to take note of this.  Lately, parents have had the bright idea of disciplining their children in front of a camera and posting it online to sites like Youtube.  Back a couple of months, a young man who had taken on the role of playing father figure decided to punish his "play" son on video.  He did not whoop the child on camera but you could hear the child crying off screen.  The "father figure" then shaved the boy's head and made him run physical drills outside.  In another case, a man recorded himself whooping his nephew after finding out the young man was in a gang (Unfortunately, in this case the young man was found shot to death, possibly linked to his gang affiliation).  I feel in both cases the men's hearts were in the right place, but the execution was poor (I purposely chose not to post the videos on here because I do not agree with their tactics).

There is a difference between discipline and humiliation. A child learns from discipline and becomes a better person.  Humiliation can be damaging to a child, especially if this humiliation is put on the Internet (what is put on the Internet stays on the Internet forever).  No person should have to be repeatedly humiliated after they have initially been punished.  Note to Parents: Discipline your child when needed but the rest of the world does not need a front row viewing of it. 

Monday, December 5, 2011


Have you ever said the words: "Why are men so sex crazed?", "Where are all the good men?".  Or let's not forget this classic: "He's a dog!" We, women, have been using these lines to describe the opposite sex since  our attraction with them began (Even though it has never been recorded I am pretty sure Eve had some choice words for Adam every now and again).  When our delicate hearts are broken we call our girls, order some Chinese take out and have an all out word brawl about the men that we once loved and now despise.  We talk about how he's a liar, cheap, cheater, sex fiend, and any other negative thing we can think of. 

But during this bash session do we ever take responsibility for the role we played.  Singer/songwriter Duffy has a song titled "Hanging On Too Long" Lyrics include (and yes I'm singing it as I type it): "It was just my mistake thinking you cared; My mistake it was false hope thinking we'd last."  Sometimes we get so caught up in what the douche did we forget what we did. 

Emotions can cause temporary blindness.  We do not see the obvious lies.  We act as if we do not see the text from the other girls.  We act as if we do not see his inconsistencies or the other numerous things that made him a "dog".  We turn a blind eye to the disrespectful comments he makes.  And we do all these things for way longer than we should have (in other words, the first time he did these things we should made a dash for the door).  We committed the ultimate relationship crime:  Hanging on Too Long.  When the relationship becomes stressful, painful, or a crime to our self-worth it is time to let go immediately.  We are naturally emotional and forgive way too easy at times.  We are optimistic and like to think that the man will change and be the prince charming that we want him to be.  Too often, the frog never becomes our prince but stays a slimy bloated amphibian.  So instead of calling the girls for that weekly bash session, throw away the Chinese takeout (or keep it, Shrimp fried rice is always good.), put on your big girl panties, and show the dog, frog, or whatever your animal of choice the door.  It might be difficult but your heart will thank you for it later. 

For your listening pleasure, here is the song I referenced in my blog:

Monday, November 21, 2011


Turkey Day is approaching and the next biggest day is approaching as well, BLACK FRIDAY!  This day has been deemed as the biggest shopping day of the year.  This is a time when you can get iPads, flat screens TVs, laptops, etc. for the low low.  People camp outside starting at 10pm the night before to be first to get the lowest deals.  And depending what state you are in you could be camping outside in ice and snow.  As we study the sales paper and make detailed plans of which stores we want to hit at 3am to get that special deal, employees are fighting back about this year’s Black Friday Event.
Instead of opening at 3am or 4am in the morning, some stores have chosen to open at midnight.  There are even some stores opening at 9pm that Thanksgiving night.  Employees are outrage at these opening times.  As someone who has worked in retail before (Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret), Black Friday is no day at the theme park and I truly feel for these workers that will be working on Dooms Day as I prefer to call it.  A Target employee has started an online petition ( urging other retail employees to sign it.   These workers feel as if their holiday is being shortened because of the early opening times. 
As far as I am concerned this whole Black Friday rip off is a mess.  A lot of new channels have done news specials on this particular event and have reported that you can get just as many good deals two weeks after Black Friday as you can on Black Friday.  Also, it’s funny how the people that make the decision about the opening times are not the ones who have to be there.  The Regional Mangers, CEOs, or whoever makes these decisions are really not considering their employees’ family time but thinking about their POCKETS.  As of November 16th, 100,000 people have signed the petition that the Target employee created.  Not being pessimistic but I doubt that this petition is going to change the opening times.  But I hope those of you that read this blog that are planning to participate in Black Friday events will be sympathetic when go shopping.  If they are out of the item you want think twice before you pop off at the mouth at the sales associate; they have probably been there since 9pm the night before.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


So the last post gave you substance (#thefoodstampchallenge) but now I want to discuss some of the madness that has been going on in this crazy cheap entertainment factory we call Reality TV.  Apparently, when it comes to Reality TV women are #winning (or maybe not).  Just about all the major reality television shows are made up of predominately women.  I guess we as women never shake that overly dramatic, “My life is coming to an end because the guy I’m in love with doesn’t want me” mindset we had as teens.  Whatever the reason, women in the last couple of years have made for good television. 

Just in case you have been living under a rock or, like me, just got cable in the last couple of months and have missed all the prime time drama,  let me update you on the Ladies of Reality TV (Disclaimer: there is not a great deal of lady-like behavior, unfortunately). 

Basketball Wives L.A. Season 1: I really don’t have much to say about this show other than Jackie is ratchet and I am mad that it took the ladies 10 episodes to realize it.  And once again we have another “Wives” show with no wives (now that I think about it there are only 2 wives of 6 on the Real Housewives of Atlanta).
Love and Hip Hop Season 2: I really don’t have much to say about this show other than Chrissy and Nene Leakes have the same requirements in their contracts (Fight.) and Nancy Jones (Rapper Jim Jones’ mother) should never rap again and she needs to stop shopping at Citi Trendz.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 4:  Out of Bravo’s slew of The Real Housewives… series, this one takes the cake, or peach, and rightfully so (Atlanta is the highest rating of The Real Housewives series if I’m not mistaken).  And the season opener did not leave thousands of fans disappointed.  Nene Leakes lets us know episode one that she is “rich” and that she just got done cashing a “Trump Check” (Nene was on last season’s Celebrity Apprentice).  She [Nene] also opens up the season with loudly getting into it, publicly like only Nene can, with Sheree over a business deal.  If you are a long time watcher of the show you know that Nene gets into it with one of the wives every season (I think it is in her contract to do so).  Some other highlights are Kandi Burgess is opening an adult toy line, Kim Zolciak is pregnant by Atlanta Falcon football player, Kory Something, and Phaedra Parks wants to open a funeral home.  And Cynthia is as far as I’m concerned Nene’s “Sweetie”.
Braxton Family Values Season 2: I am that this show came back for another season and boy is it going to be a heck of a  We got a glimpse during season one of who Toni Braxton (Grammy award winner R&B singer) and her sisters were.  Last season ended with the question will there be an album with all the Braxton sisters on it.  It was obvious at the end of season one that Toni was not feeling it.  Traci (the second crunkest sister after Tamar) really wants to start her singing career with her sisters, going as far as to uproot her family in Maryland and move to Atlanta.  But her sisters have other ventures in mind: Towanda wants to start acting, Trina and Tamar are working on solo projects, and Toni wants to do what she’s been doing, being an award winning solo act.  Two other highlights are Mother Evelyn is going to “slap the piss” out of Tamar if she ever gets disrespectful with her again and Trina thought it was okay to move Towanda, her loud kids, and Towanda’s soon-to-be-trifling ex-husband in her house without consulting her [Trina] husband first.
I hope that I did not overload you with all the hot messness that is reality TV.  Stay tuned as the drama unfolds. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I am so sorry to my loyal readers for not putting any posts out in awhile.  Things have been crazy! (Got a new truck and trying to think of a cute name for it. Any suggestions?).  But I want to come back with a post with some substance (then the next post will be about the hot messness that is going on in entertainment).  At the beginning of the year I was working with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program formerly known as Food Stamps) Outreach.  After working with this program for 8 months (and also being a participate in the program for a short while) it became an issue that was close to my heart.  So I became very irked at the possible cuts to be made to SNAP.   Just as a reminder I am not a political science major so when I speak about politics I keep it very simple.  So the short of it is that the super committee (a committee that was put together to figure out how to solve America’s huge debt problem) might consider cutting funding to SNAP to solve the debt problem.  Because that’s how you fix America’s debt, kick the neediest in the stomach (literally). 

news clip of me discussing the issue

Some Congressmen, student leader groups, and other groups around the country are participating in the SNAP Challenge to prove just how vital this program is to those that need it.  Some groups have even started Facebook groups and encouraged others to share their experience on the page.  The challenge is this: Spend $28 a week, which is about $4 a day for food (this is what some SNAP recipients have to do on a regular basis, maybe lower if these cuts happen).  Then share your experience in a blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.  I especially want people who think SNAP is wasteful spending to take this challenge and experience what someone who has recently lost job has to endure on a day to day basis. 
If you are willing to take this challenge please let me know.  I will be more than willing to let you use my blog to tell your story. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


For those of you who are reading my blog for the first time or if you do not know me personally, you might not know about my love/hate relationship with Beyonce.  It has taken me awhile to jump on the “Beyonce is the Best Performer of Our Generation” bandwagon.  It was never because I did not believe she could sing or dance but for me it spans back to the early years of Destiny’s Child.

If you were a preteen or teen in 1998 you remember Destiny’s Child first single “No, No, No” (Part 2 to be exact).  It was a catchy tune and it alright on the Billboard charts.  Without any other single I was won by this young R&B girl group.  During this time I was impressed by everything Destiny’s Child did: their outfits (designed by Tina Knowles), their videos, and there was not a song I did not know.  I even had the chance to see the original Destiny’s Child in concert in Memphis, TN in 1999.  By the summer I had Writings on the Wall and knew every song.  Then one day in 2000, I was watching 106 & Park and there were two new members in the “Say My Name” video.  I felt hurt and betrayed (Sounds dramatic but as I said I was a preteen during this time).  A couple of singles later, the group would be down to 3: Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams.  And this would begin my love/hate relationship with Beyonce. 

This infamous video

I blamed Beyonce for breaking up the best girl group since TLC.  I seriously did not like her.  As we all know Beyonce sang lead on every song.  Every now and again Kelly got to sing on a hook and Michelle was stuck in the background (I think she was just happy for the exposure).  It was obvious that Beyonce was getting ready for her solo career and she just used this girl group as a stepping stone.  My friends called me a hater for blaming Beyonce and told me that it was her father, Matthew Knowles that had caused this drama.  But I was convinced that Beyonce knew all along that her father’s main interest was her career and the other girls were casualties in this war we call the music industry (apparently I am just as dramatic as I was in my preteens).  So it was my goal to continue to NOT support her solo projects as revenge  for the former members of Destiny’s Child. 

I have stuck to my goal…kinda.  Even though I bought Beyonce’s first solo CD, Dangerously in Love, I did not buy the second one B-Day (I swear she re-released that CD 16 times).  I do have to admit that my fav Beyonce song is “Upgrade You” which was on B-Day, but I digress.  Every movie she was in, I judged her acting…HARD.  I criticized her immensely for the roles she chose (most of her early acting jobs she portrayed singers.  Way to branch out Beyonce).  As far as I was concerned she had a long way to go before she would be at the Academy Awards accepting an award for Best Anything.  Then I Am Sasha Fierce came out and I had to wave the white flag on my war against everything Beyonce.  I was in love (no homo). 

For a year straight, I played I Am Sasha Fierce on my Iphone and can probably do the dance backwards and forwards to “Single Ladies”.  Yes, I anticipated the video for each song on the CD and even started trying to catch her performances on all talk shows and award shows.  I hate to admit this but I almost cried when she announced her pregnancy at the 2011 VMAS.  I will admit that I have mixed emotions about her latest album, 4.  In an interview on The View, concerning her most recent album she said that she was not concerned about radio hits but wanted to make classics ( I digs that).  As of now I respect the artist that she has become but please believe I will continue to throw shade every now and again. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


I HAVE to write about last week's episode of Glee "Asian F".  It was so good!  It had some of my favorite songs, a part from my favorite movie and we got to see a new side of Mike Chang.

RUN THE WORLD: Who run the world? BRITTANY!! So Brittany has decided to run for student council president and for those who watch the show regularly probably laughed at the idea.  But Brittany performed Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce and showed Kurt, her opponent, that she is truly a contender.  Brittany is the best girl dancer on the show (she use to dance back up for Beyonce).  I love it whenever she has a solo performance.  She seriously makes me want to start taking up dance again.  But not only did Brittany kill, but the rest of the girls that were a part of the performance did a killer job too! It was a very energetic performance

DREAMGIRLS ON GLEE:  If you know me, you know that Dreamgirls is in my top 5 musical movies (right after Footlose, the 80's version).  So when Glee did "It's All Over" I almost fell out my chair.  That song and "And I'm Telling You" is the reason why I became a huge fan of Jennifer Hudson.  And I'm pretty sure that if Jennifer Hudson did not get the role, Amber Riley would have been runner up.  She is Effie White on Glee, under appreciated.  I am proud of her for standing up for herself and not being second best to Rachel Berry (by the way, I'm so over her over the top performances.  Seriously, every time she sings I get on twitter until she's done with her 10 minute Broadway ballad.)  I get so tired of Mercedes having to share the spotlight.  Honestly, it would have been cool to see a black Maria (I would go see it.)  Also, I think Mercedes is pregnant.

MIKE FREAKIN' CHANG: So we finally get to see who Mike Chang really is.  I'm ecstatic  how we are getting to see another side of the characters (For awhile it was the Kurt, Quinn, Rachel, and Finn show).  We all know that Mike is the best dancer on the show and Tina's boyfriend but that was as far as his character went.  We are now seeing that his dream is to be an artist.  But like the typical Asian parents we see on all TV shows, his dad wants him to go to an Ivy League School and be a doctor or a lawyer.  Also typical, Mike chose instead to try out for the school musical, West Side Story, and follow his dream. 

Asian F gets an Ebony A+ (sorry for being so corny).  The storyline was good and fresh.  It's always a good episode when the show explores other characters on the show (I love Sue but I get T-I-RED of seeing her trying to destroy the New Directions every week).  I think the next new episode is November 1st but I'm so ready to see it mostly to find out if my prediction is right about Mercedes being pregnant. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The title of this post is actually a trending topic on Twitter today.  Troy Davis was convicted in 1989 for shooting and killing an Georgia off-duty officer.  The gun was not found but the bullets that were recovered were found to be shot from the same pistol that was shot by Davis in another charge.  There were 10 witnesses that claimed that they saw Davis shoot the officer.  Later on 8 witnesses recanted their testimonies, saying they were coerced by officers to convict Davis.  Davis still claims that he is innocent.  His execution is scheduled for today (Sept 21) at 7pm.

I am not writing this post to make a claim that he is innocent.  When I first started this blog I promised myself I would never write a post on a high controversy issue unless it was a story I had followed or I knew all the facts involved (hence why I did not write a post on the Casey Anthony Trail).  I am not a journalist major but I know the importance of writing with accurate facts.  So I will not go into detail about his case and how the evidence and witness accounts have been shady.  But what I want to write about is how a death penalty law should not exist when a flawed justice system does exist. 

There are a lot of gray areas in Troy Davis' case.  I have read that the actual gun was not found.  I always thought that if the murder weapon was not found the prosecutor did not have a hard case.  But yet in this case a potential innocent man will die tonight without a murder weapon being present.  I stated before that 8 of the 10 witnesses have recanted their stories.  One witness has even named another person to be the killer.  But yet a potential innocent man will die tonight. 

I cannot say this man is innocent nor can I say that he is guilty.  I'm pretty sure the DA cannot say 100% that he believes that Davis did it and because of this doubt he [Troy Davis] should not be receiving the death penalty tonight.  I cannot understand how a man can be put to death with so many gray areas in the case.  Humans are imperfect.  For a second I am going to sound a little preachy.  The Bible says that vengeance belongs to God.  Well if you think about it, it is rightly so that vengeance belongs to Him.  He is perfect, sees all, and knows all.  He does not need DNA evidence or eye witnesses.  When He gets His revenge on the wicked, He will never wrongly convict someone.  Because we [human beings] are imperfect and did not create life, we certainly do not have the authority to take life from someone else, especially when there is doubt behind their crime.

If we ever find out after his execution that Troy Davis was innocent, it will truly hurt my heart.  But for me this case brings me closer to God because He is ultimately my judge, my flawless judge. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Once upon a time, there was this girl who attended an university.  She worked hard in her classes and was friendly to everyone that she met.  She was not the most popular girl but she was not concerned with that.  Giving an earnest effort in her classes and being true to herself meant more to her than popularity. 
During her sophomore year she decided that she wanted to be a part of a sorority.  Even though she did not know anybody personally in a sorority she had heard good things about women who joined them.  That these woman put emphasis on their education, worked hard to make a positive impact on their campus and in their community, and had high standards when it came to the subject manner of womanhood.  This impressed the girl because she also valued her education and wanted to make an impact on others.She find out, though, that it took more than being a good  person to be Greek.
As said before she did not know any Greeks personally.  So she did not know the "not on the sorority's website" rules.  She had to learn these "rules" from other friends.  She made sure to be discreet and not to go around telling people that she wanted to be an AKA.  She made sure that she went to their programs and got involved in other campus activities.   And she did what she thought was most important and that was to keep a good GPA, which was a 3.0.  (By the way, she kept this GPA all 4 years of college and was even on the Dean's List.) But this would still not be enough.
She would be rejected not once, but twice, from this organization.  Each time wondering why she was not good enough for their organization.  (She would realize later that it was their lost, not hers.)  As far as she knew she had follow their "rules".  But in actuality she did not follow all their rules. 
The first rule she broke was not looking the part.  Even though this girl was not popular, the last thing she had was low  self-esteem, nor was she coming to them seeking self-esteem.  It didn't bother her that she was not considered the prettiest girl on campus.  She knew she was beautiful because she was made in God's image and no sorority could tell her different.  Second rule was that she was not popular or known by a lot of people.  When this girl came to college the last thing on her "to do before I graduate from college" list was to be popular.  That had not even been a priority when she was in high school.  She was more interested in learning to be a grown woman.  Lastly the most important "rule" she broke was she did not kiss behind, stroke egos, or make these women feel like royalty. She did not want anything that bad. 
The only thing this girl regrets is that she was interested at all in an organization with such juvenile rules.  By them not picking her she has something more valuable than their membership: she has her dignity.  She has this because she refused to play by the rules and chose to instead play by her own rules.  If she had the time, she would actually write a letter to these "women" and tell them thank you for not picking her.  It seemed to be these "women" still had a great deal to learn about womanhood.  The girl can only hope that that these women learn to see someone not only from their outer appearance but learn to see someone for their character.
By the way, this is a true story. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I know it has been awhile since my last post but thanks to one of my followers I have an interesting idea for a post.  This past weekend my girls and I went bra shopping.  And believe me this trip was long over due.  As embarrasing as it is to admit, the bras I had been wearing I've had for years.  They were worn, stretched to the max, and barely holding anything up.  My bras were a disgrace to bras everywhere.  Victoria's Secret would have wanted me commited for the condition of my bras. 

In my new bra!!!

So as I said this trip was long over due.  My girls (not the girls on my chest) and I ended up at Lane Bryant, the thick girl's heaven.  As an unofficial spoke person of Lane Bryant, if you are a 38 C or above this is the store for you.  The associates were freaking awesome!  They sized my friend and I and both of us were in the wrong size, not uncommon for women who are not sized often.  But yeah, I was waaaaaaaay off concerning my bra size.  Thanks to the associates not only did I get my right size but they also told me what category of bras were right for me.  Unfortunately, Lane Bryant associates do not get commision but if they did, I would have made sure that the women that helped me would have gotten their full commision. 

I did not realize that a bra can really make you feel like a brand new woman.  My posture is better, the girls (the ones on my chest) are no longer sitting on my knees, and I feel so much more sophisticated.  For me this is a start of my new womanhood.  Before it was nothing for me to go to Walmart and throw a bra in the basket along with my debbie snack cakes, toothe paste, Doritos, and Hawiian Punch.  Nothing against Walmart, but it is time that I go to real bra stores for the ta-tas.   As a young professional woman, it is time that I start looking for quality not just in bras, but in all aspects of my life.  It hit me that it is time that I update my style, not to be concerned about the current styles but to more of a classic timeless look.  Stores like Rue 21, Forever 21, Rainbow, and Citi Trendz cannot make up most of the clothes in my closet if I am looking for a timeless style or wanting to be taken serious as a professional woman. 

This bra has also reminded me how fun it is to be a woman.  Later on that day, we decided that it was time to maybe update our other personals: panties.  This turned into an hour laugh session about granny panties, thongs, and other coversations that should probably be had in the privacy of your home and not a public place.  This was another reminder of my new womanhood.  I do not want to sound old but as you grow as woman you worry less about cute panties and more about comfort.  Are this panties going to give me a wedgie? Are my panty lines going to show? Should I get the hi-cut briefs over the string bikinis?

Sometimes I cringe about getting older but other days I truly embrace it (yea I know, I'm only 23).  I love this new womanhood hood and I love what it is going to offer me in the future  (maybe pregnacy, but not looking forward to the change).  If you have chance to go bra shopping (not a Walmart) do it and you will find your new womanhood too. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I know it has been awhile since I have done a post but I could not wait to do a post about The Help starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis.  I had the opportunity to read the book first (written by Kathryn Stockett) and I knew then it was going to be an instant hit.  If you have seen the movie but have not read the book, I do recommend that you read the book.  Even though the movie kept close to the book, the movie does leave out parts from book (which is common when a book is adapted into a movie) that helps you get an even deeper understanding of the characters.  I understand that even if a movie is flawless there are still going be some critics who not going to care for a movie.  But what urks me is when critics pick the smallest, non-significant detail to make a big deal about.  Unfortunately, a lot of the negative feedback for this movie has come from the black community. 

A major criticism that I have heard about the movie (and the book) is that it is a white woman telling the story of black maids.  What made me mad about this criticism was that it was obviously made by someone who had not read the book.  I agree that no one can tell the story better of what it was to be a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi in 1960's better than someone who was a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's.  In the book and the movie, Skeeter, a young, recent college graduate white woman, says it plainly: "It's not about me."  The Help made it very clear that this was not going to be a story about making it seem like it was a walk in the park to be a black maid during a time when just expressing your opinion about Jim Crow laws would have got you lynched, another point brought out in the book and movie. I actually respect Kathryn Stockett for telling the ugly truth of her people to bring to light an unfortunate part of our history. 

Some other criticism that I have heard is that the movie left out some facts, like the sexual abuse some maids endured from the men they worked for.  Again, if these critics  had read the book they would have seen that this issue is discussed.  I'm not sure why this was not discussed in the movie but Hilly Holbrook gave us enough bigotry for us to get the picture of what it was to be a maid in Mississippi or anywhere in the South for that matter.  I just love how the critics and historians (mostly black people who did not grow up in this era) are calling the move out for not being accurate.  I had the privilege of going to see this movie with my mother, who grew up in the 1950's and 1960's.  It was very hard for my mother to enjoy the movie because it was an hour and 40 minute flashback for her.  She expressed to me that she felt like she was going to have to walk out because of just how accurate it was.  May I also note that Myrlie Evers, Medgar Ever's wife who is mentioned in the movie, had high remarks for the movie. 

I get that not everyone is going to like the movie.  We are all entitled to our opinion.  But not only do I think this movie is accurate but it was beautifully portrayed by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who I hope both get Oscar nominations.  But before you (rather you are black or white) develop an opinion about The Help,  read the book and see the movie.  I promise you will not be disappointed. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Let me start off this post by saying that I have nothing against natural hair.  It is the way God made it and everything He makes is beautiful. I have seen some women who have made the natural look look so stylish that I have considered taking some clippers to my own head. Because it has made such a comeback (the last time natural hair was a big deal was in the 1970s), I feel inspired to write about it. 

Hair, especially in the black community, has been away for people to express themselves.  Rather it's hair color, braids, a weave, or now, thanks to celebrities Tyra Banks and Beyonce, lacefront wigs, black women have been doing creative things with their hair for centuries.  Even styles that I would not want to be buried in, I still respect the creativity of it.  But I think one thing that has irritated me when it comes to the whole natural look phenomenon is how black women become so offended when those of other races (and sometimes other black people) admire their hair or want to touch it.  You ask the wrong black woman to touch their hair and you could be getting yourself into a brawl.

I read a blog recently that said that this is a way of white people making black people property again because they can just reach out and touch some one's hair without asking.  I agree I would be a little creeped out if someone started touching my hair without asking but PROPERTY?  That is a  little extreme.  Why is it that every time someone of another race admires or comments on black culture, black people have to make it this huge race issue?  Some white women makes a comment or wants to touch your hair, tell her thank you and you prefer people not to touch your hair but don't bring it back to slavery!  When we get our panties all in a bunch about simple things, that to me is a bad look for our people.

This makes me remember an incident my freshmen year of college.  I was working in a group for a class project and I was the only black person in the group.  One day while working on the project, a member of the group (a white girl) said, "Please do not take this the wrong way, but I like your hair.  It's not like other black people's hair."  It took me back for minute but I said thank you and continued to work on the project.  I did not feel this need to give her a "what do you mean it not like other black people's hair?" speech and then make her feel like she was the biggest racist since the Ku Klux Klan.  As far as I am concern, she made a statement and I gave her a reply.  No need for the second Civil Rights Movement. 

Some people feel like natural hair is a political thing or breaking away from white standards.  I see it as one who is tired of paying $50 or more every 6 weeks for the creamy crack (relaxer).  Whatever your reasons, remember it is hair. No reason to start another war over it. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


 Ealier today  I watched the interview between Lil Mama and DJ Charlamagne from The Breakfast Club Radio Show in New York.  On the radio show DJ Charlamagne called Lil Mama out for having in an "old looking" face and the "Jay-Z and Alicia Keys MTV Awards" stunt.  *Side Note: DJ Charlamagne is not even a little attractive.  To check out the interview you can click on this link Lil Mama Interview.  Lil Mama gets two snaps up (in my Men on Film voice, In Living Color refrence for those of you wondering where that came from) for keeping her composure and holding her ground.  She gave a perfect example of how to deal with ignorance. 

That leads me to the main purpose of post: there is nothing bold or funny about being out right rude to people.  The sad thing is this is becoming more acceptable in our society.  If you watch the interview DJ Envy basically tells Lil Mama prepare to be disrespected.  At no time did the other DJs on the show defend or stop Charlamagne for disrespecting this young woman but thought it was fine (and we wonder why suicide among young women is high).  Mind you that one of the DJs on this show is a woman.  

Now we can expect to see people being rude to celebrities, but regular people do it all the time to each other.  I hate this phrase "I'm not rude, I'm real."  If your words hurt other people, you are rude.  There is a scripture in the Bible (and I apologize for not knowing the exact book, chapter, and verse) that says the tongue is like a sword.  The scripture is saying that the tongue can cut like a sword and harm those we are addressing.  Even when we are being funny, we can be seriously hurting someone.  What I hate most is unnecessary rudeness.  What is the point of DJ Charlamagne telling Lil Mama that she has an "old-looking" face?  What was gained out of that? 

There is an old saying that says "If you do not have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  There are some people out there that needs to get this tattooed to their body so they are repeatedly reminded to follow that rule.  I have cracked a joke or two in my past but I hope that I have never made anyone feel less than human. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Today I watched a documentary on the first all black cast tv show 'Amos and Andy'.  This past June the show turned 60 years old.  If you have never heard of the show, it's excusable.  The show has not been seen in syndication since 1966.  The NAACP had it banned from tv forever because they felt it portrayed black people in a "negative light."  Well, I got to see an episode and I have to admit that I did not share the same conclusion with the NAACP.  So I have to ask, was it really necessary for the NAACP to ban this show?
Let's remember that the show was made in the 1950's, not the most political correct era.  The premise of the show was Kingfish was always doing these get-rich-quick schemes and most of the time he would dupe Andy in the scheme.  Amos was the narrator in the show.  Let it be known that none of the actors or actresses in the show ever felt degraded while playing these characters. They were actually proud to be on a show where black people were being depicted as professionals rather than maids and butlers.  Were they being silly and exaggerated?  Well of course, it's a comedy!  Ernestine Wade, the actress who played Sapphire, brought out the point that you don't watch a comedy to be educated.  Marla Gibbs, best known as Florence on The Jeffersons and Mary on 227, also brought out that it was a good show and the show was not saying that this was how all black people acted.  But that we all knew someone who acted like these characters. 
Which brings me to my next point: was it really necessary to ban the show from tv forever? As stated before the NAACP fought CBS from the show's premier to get the show off the air.  They saw it as an extreme negative portrayal of black people.  What they did not see was a show that was making it possible for future shows like 'I Spy', 'The Cosbys', 'Family Matters' and 'The Game'.  They did not see a show that broke the stereotypes by providing roles to black performers where they were doctors, lawyers, and businessmen.  All they could see was black people being silly on television ( as I stated before the show was a comedy). 
When I watch television today I'm more appalled at what we allow on tv to represent black people ( Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives, Soul Plane).  All these shows set our race back a whole lot further than 'Amos and Andy'.   What the NAACP did was ban a part of black history.  I think the NAACP needs a sense of humor. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My last couple of posts have been mostly about what's going on in entertainment.  But if you follow my blog, you know that a few months ago I said I wanted to include a portion of what I do at my job in my blog.  Just as a reminder, I work at the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance with the No Kid Hungry Campaign.  I assist with increasing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program formerly known as Food Stamps) participation and increasing summer feeding sites.  Even though the work is sometimes a challenge, I enjoy what I do.  But I feel there is going to be an even bigger challenge in the years to come concerning SNAP and WIC (Women Infants and Children).

This is my sad face if these programs are cut

For the 2012 Budget, Congress is considering cutting funding to nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC.  This could mean a harsh blow to low-income families, especially with unemployment being high.  Before I go any further I do want to mention that I am not a political science major, that I'm not that up on my politics, and not even really that interested in politics.  I say that to say this, starting a political debate with me is a waste of time.  All information is this blog post is me just stating the  facts and not arguing for one party or the other.  If I am arguing for anyone it is for the human party (was that corny?).

But I digress.  If this budget is passed, there will be drastic cuts to not only SNAP but also TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistant Program) and a $700 million cut (The Chicago Times, 2011) to WIC.  WIC provides foods high in nutrients(beans, peanut butter, milk) that are critical to infants and children during critical growth and development.  Most mothers are eligible for this program.  This program saves billions of dollars in health costs that could be accumulated by these children if they do not get these foods. But yet, this is the program that could be potentially cut.  

In the 2012 Budget, SNAP will not be cut completely. Each state will be given a block grant for SNAP benefits (Public News Service, 2011).  If this happens it could mean that either the Department of Human Services (DHS) would have to change the eligibility for participants which could mean decreasing the resource limit (In Arkansas, you can own a home and still qualify for SNAP benefits) or lowering the amount of benefits a family can have.  Either way more people could possibly go hungry. 

What puzzles me is that programs that help families be at ease because they can feed their families are being cut while billions of dollars are spent on wars and the rich get tax cut after tax cut.  Have those making decisions concerning the welfare of our country become so removed from those they serve that they cannot see how these budget cuts could put low-income families in a deeper hole of poverty?  As I stated before I am not into politics but a blind man can see these potential budget cuts are unfair to those who desperately need them. 

Monday, June 27, 2011


Nicki Minaji hitting on Justin Bieber, a tie between the Smith kids for Best Young Talent, and Rick Ross feeling a need to show the his C-cup breasts to the world, these were just a few of the highlights of this year's BET Awards.  This year's award show, as far as I am concerned, did not let us down in performances (Chris Brown and Kelly Rowland were awesome) and foolery (Tiffany Green).  I also fell in love with Kevin Hart (again) as this year's host. Just going to hit a few high (and low) points of the show. 

High Point: Kevin Hart as the host.  The BET Award Show has had a few hits (Monique and Will and Jada Smith) and a whole lot of misses (Damon Wayans and some other forgettable people) when it has came to picking a host for the show.  But Kevin Hart redeemed BET Award producers' ability to pick a decent host.  Kevin started the show off with a step show (Kevin Phi Kevin) with little kids that were so cute! In his opening, he informed everyone that "No one is safe" and that more celebrities need a "No Man" in their entourage.  He became their  "No Man" by  making fun of celebrities about their outfits (Busta Rhymes' Brain Vest), how some of them need to stop taking their shirts off (Trey Songz' beige greyhound chest), and that certain celebrities need to wear a sports bra (Rick Ross).  Every time Hart was on stage, he was bringing the laughs.  Congrats to @KevinHart4real for a job well done.

Low Point: The first low point I want to discuss is the opening.  As much as I love Mary J. Blige, I do not think she should have been the opener.  Do not get me wrong, Mary doing her greatest hits was awesome (I showed out when Real Love came on) but Mary did not have the energy to start off an award show.  The opener sets the tone for the rest of the show.  BET producers dropped the ball on that.   

High Point: There were some really good performances this year.  Before I go any further, shout out to Ms. Kelly Rowland for that Janet Jackson inspired performance.  Her notes were on point, she had her dance moves down, and you could tell she put her everything into the performance.  Even though I was not that crazy about the outfit Chris Brown had on when he accepted his first award, he made up for it with his performance.  I love to see him dance and he did not disappoint me.  His performance was fun and kind of scary at the same time (the huge eyeballs behind him during his performance) and Busta Rhyme coming out to do his signature super speed verse was a good touch too. 

Low Point: Team Censorship and Tiffany Green.  Apparently, BET is as scared of the FCC as much as Rick Ross is scared to zip up his jacket.  Team Censorship was bleeping everything.  There was certain times when I was quite sure that words they were bleeping were not even curse words.  When a rapper was on stage, all I heard was BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.  I get it BET...FCC fines are way out of your budget.  I would be hitting that bleep button too. The most famous name out of this show and still a trending topic a day after the show is Tiffany Green.  I put absolutely no blame on her.  But I do find fault with her fellow presenters, Terrance and Rocsi.  These two host a LIVE show Monday through Friday and they could not even help this girl read a teleprompter and a tablet.  Then she was blamed for being messy.  After the incident Tiffany went backstage and tweeted that she was crying backstage and that BET did it on purpose.  BET, two words: Do Better. 

High Point: Cee Lo being a part of the tribute for Patti LaBelle.   When he came out in that wig, I almost hit the floor.  For a man, he does a pretty good Patti.  Marsha Ambrosa did a beautiful job herself.  Even Shirley Caesar with her fairy godmother, Cinderella, ice princess dress did a good job taking Patti back to church. 

I give this year's award show 6 out of 10.  It was pretty balance with it's greatest moments and foolery.  BET, you doing better but you still got a few loose ends. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

#ManDown-Rihanna's New Video

Rihanna's video for Man Down premiered this week.  Before the video premiered I had heard talk about it's subject matter on the radio.  At first I thought "Oh Lord, Rihanna has went back to her dark side." I was really hoping we were past this whole dark thing and she was back to singing upbeat pop tunes, the Rihanna we all love and know.  But then this video comes out and the first scene is Rihanna shooting a man in a crowded Jamaican market place. 

Let's start off with Rihanna's thoughts on the video.  Rihanna is using this video to address rape issues.  To her this will help girls to be brave enough to do something about their sexual abuse.  Rihanna was not just trying to make a graphic video about rape and murder but was trying to make a video that get issues like rape to the mainstream.  And we all know Rihanna is as mainstream as it gets.  She makes a video about it, people will be watching and talking about it. 

Now let's discuss the parents point of view.  The Parents Television Council did have a problem with the video.  Not because of the rape subject matter but because of the fact Rihanna kills the man who violated her.  The PTC is not too happy that the video promotes killing the violator instead of the victim seeking help for what happen to them.  Others have also bashed BET for showing the video primetime, especially on a show  that is meant for teens (106 and Park).  Rihanna has responded on Twitter by saying that she is a "23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS." (, 2011) and doesn't understand why everybody expects her to be a parent.

I love how the PTC and others are making a big deal out of this video as if Rihanna's other songs are children appropriate.  Her song titles include  "Rude Boy", "S&M", and "What's My Name" just to name a few.  Yea....none of those songs are exactly made for teens, or at least they shouldn't be.  Parents need to take back the role of being the MAIN role models in their child lives or at least put their children in an environment (after school program, youth group, sports team, etc) where they can have role models that they [parents] would prefer and won't have time to watch Rihanna's video or anyone else's that might be inappropriate for children.  At the same time, I do believe in social responsibility.  Rihanna needs to understand that a good portion of her target audience are teenagers and teenagers are impressionable.  They are easily influenced and are quick to follow the crowd.  Hell, I know some adults that are easily influenced and quick to follow the crowd, but I digress. 

In a nutshell, Rihanna is not a parent to the world's youth but it was a poor choice to put a video with such violence on primetime on a teen show.  This is a situation where everyone involved needs to #dobetter.

Friday, May 20, 2011


This week has been an exciting week in entertainment.  There has been controversies with hip hop and the White House, Bey hit us with a new video, and Lil Kim has manage to start beef with someone else.  Without making this too long I am going to try to cover all these events.

"Thug, raunchy lyricist, promoter for cop killers" these are just few of the terms being used to describe Common. Common was invited by the President to the White House for a Poetry Slam.  There was some controversy surrounding it because Common wrote a poem years ago about a convicted cop killer who escaped from prison and now lives in Cuba.  It also did not help it was Police Appreciation Week at the White House.  Some say (especially those who works for Fox News, not a fan of them) that Common should have not been invited to the White House because of this one poem.  After attending his concert in North Little Rock, hearing him speak at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, and being a fan of his thought provoking, positive lyrics, I could not disagree with the critics more.  Common's only crime to me is that he has stayed true to himself as an artist.  He has chose not to degrade his music with dumb, childish lyrics to stay on the charts.  Whenever he makes public appearances, he is encouraging people to do better in their communities.  He is someone people need to hear, especially these so-called informed critics who think that Common makes "gangsta music."

Next on the agenda is Beyonce's new video "Run This World (Girls)".  I will admit that it took me a couple of listens to like this song.  But now I love it! I have my own routine (in my head) to this song and it has  officially been made my theme song for 2011.  Apparently, this song has not been doing too good on the charts.  But my sources tell me that this was not suppose to be the first single off her upcoming CD, "4" but that it was leaked. So Beyonce did not do a lot of promotion for it.  But since it was leaked I guess Beyonce said "The heck with it, let's go head and make a video for it."  Now I am not a hardcore Beyonce "Stan" (stalker/fan) but I heard that she put a lot teasers of the video out to get everyone ready for the actual video premiere.  This past Tuesday, Beyonce premiered her video on American Idol.  My mixed emotions are this: it is a good video but it is typical for Beyonce.  In the last couple of years I have become of a fan of her dancing so I did enjoy the dancing in the video.    I'm not surprised by the girl dancing army or the concept at all.  It was very Beyonce-ish.  In a nutshell, I hope that this album brings it because right now things are looking a little predictable.

Last on this entertainment agenda, is Lil Kim.  So we know about the ongoing beef that Lil Kim keeps fueling with Nikki Minaji.  Well, I guess she has gotten bored with her cause now she has decided to go out for Keisha Cole.  Earlier this week Lil Kim attacked Kiesha Cole saying that Kiesha is not "loyal".  Kiesha responded by saying that they were never "friends" because she takes that term very seriously and that they just came together to make a hot record.  It seems to me that Lil Kim is doing everything she can to make sure she is still relevant.  Here's some advice Lil Kim: if you spend as much energy on your album as you do on your beefs, you would be platinum right now. 

That's all that interested me this week in entertainment.  Excited to see what's next in the crazy idustry we call entertainment. 

Monday, May 2, 2011


There are somethings that I refuse to give my attention too.  I refuse to give my attention to the Kardashians because they are famous for absolutely no reason.  I refuse to give my attention to the Royal Wedding.  I don't mean to sound like a sour pus but I could not find enough interest for it.  But what really irritated me this past week, was this birth certificate hot mess going on in the news.

I am now convinced that money can make you stupid and arrogant.  And thank you Donald Trump for proving the truth in the previous sentence.  Is he so bored with all his money that he has to go around demanding birth certificates, driver's license, social security cards, green cards, and whatever other documents he can think of from public officials?  Am I the only one that thinks this is childish/stupid?  At some point, someone has to say this is foolish and I am not going to put up with some spoiled millionaire making stupid accusations.  The point is Donald Trump is a rich, stupid racist and a lot of his actions should be ignored rather than glorified in the media, unless we are glorifying the fact that he is a rich, stupid racist.

Now I know I am going to get a lot of lip for this because when you black you apparently have to agree with everything President Obama does.  I didn't find it necessary for President Obama to show his birth certificate to Donald Trump.  Like really, you are the President of United States, why
are you explaining yourself to anyone?  That is your whole tag line "I'm the President of the United States" and you instantly get extra cool points.  You make major decisions (kinda) that affects the whole country.  When did he even find time to find his birth certificate with all the problems in this country (government almost shut down, there is still a good amount of unemployment, and all those tornadoes causing major damage).  My advice to President Obama is to ignore foolishness.  There is this thing called the *side eye* and I need the President to catch on to it.  The sooner Obama realizes that he doesn't have to respond every time a hot mess says something the better off he will be.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Okay I know this post is not about poverty (once again) but I feel the need to write about this.  So I just finished watching the latest episode of Glee title 'I Was Born This Way' and it was beautiful and awesome.  I don't want to give way the episode but the subject matter was loving everything about yourself including the things you wish with all your might you could change.  The whole episode made me cry and made me remember when I was in high school. 

I would like to think that I had a pretty cool high school experience but like any other teen girl I had my insecurities with my looks and body.  I was an honor grad, on student council, class treasurer, participated in the plays, was a part of the competitive speech team, participated in the plays, and voted by faulty and staff for Outstanding Standing Senior, and voted Most Unique by my class.  But at the same time I was very insecure about size and looks.  I was chubby and dark skin.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw an average girl, nothing special.  Even though I had many friends and have memories from high school that will last me a lifetime, there were many times I went to bed frustrated that I couldn't lose weight.  I felt that if I could lose at least 15 to 20 pounds I could get the guys of my dreams (which I saw on facebook not too long ago and could not for the life of me figure out why I liked him) or maybe I would feel prettier. 

It would take a lot of encouragement  and long conversations from my mother and sister to help me realize that I'm not average....I'm BEAUTIFUL.  It took my sister telling me how we are all made in God's image and if you are calling yourself ugly then you are calling a creation of God's ugly.  This has stuck with me until this very day.  Whenever I would start to tear myself down I would think about what my sister told me.  But just like the sneaky person that the Devil is, he will always try to use your weakness against you to knock you back where you use to be.  So even though I'm in a place where I love myself (both the good and what others might not find attractive), I have been tested.

There is an event in my life that very few people know about me.  At first I was ashamed to tell the story because I felt that it said something bad about me.  But I'm strong enough in myself to tell the story.  When I was in college I went out for a sorority.  I would find out a month later that I did not get it.  It would be the first time that I went out for something school related and did not get it.  I could not understand for the life of me why I did not get it.  I always felt like I was a good asset to any group.  I soon felt myself going back to those feelings of insecurity.  Thinking that maybe I was not pretty enough to be in a sorority.  That maybe if I looked different that would have chose me.  I quickly got rid of those feelings because I knew there was not a thing wrong with me.  I instead turned it around on them.  It was their lost that they could not see how awesome I am.  The love I had for myself help me bounce back for something I realized later that I did not need in the first place. 

I LOVE myself.  If I never lose one pound and even if I am as dark as a chocolate bar, I was born this way and I embrace it, just like everyone should.  What I thought was bad about me actually was what made me unique.  I hope this post reaches someone who really need it and also go look at the latest episode of glee, it will inspire self love also. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Every now and then I feel I should take a break about just blogging about poverty.  Even though I do feel it is an important issue and I do continue to keep writing about how I am tackling the issue at my job, I also want to write about lighter things too.  These posts will be called #OffTheRecord and will cover whatever is on my mind.

This #OffTheRecord is about my new apartment and my on and off and on again 5k training.  Some of you might now that I got a new apartment.  I LOVE it.  I am rooming with my bestie again (we roomed together in college for 3 years).  Our apartment is so modern and just has a fresh feel to it.  The neighborhood is nice and its affordable.  But most of all, I love the fact that I am rooming with my bestie again.  It was cool having my own apartment but there were times I would come home and wish someone was there to talk too (and believe we talk about EVERYTHING lol).  I have finally got everything moved in but now it's a matter of unpacking boxes and getting the other boxes thrown away.  We don't have a cable yet so basically I have been either reading or watching DVDs particularly Martin season 3 and 4.  It's nice to come home to a place of your own and relax. Yep, I think I am going to like it.

As I stated before, I have been training (kinda) for the 2011 Women Can Run 5k.  I signed up for it last month and have been able to attend a few of the running clinics.  Because of moving, traveling for work, and other random life mishaps I have not been able to go to all the running clinics.  But I have tried to do some running on my own.  Unfortunately, because of the rain I have not been able to run too much after work but I hope in the next week I can get a couple of practice runs in.  My ultimate goal is to finish the race, rather I run the whole thing, run some walk some, or walk the whole 5k.  I just want to be able to say that I finished a 5k.  I know that this is possible. 

Well, that is all I have for now.  I will keep you posted on more of my apartment, training, and most definitely my work and how we are fighting hunger issues.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hi, all!! I know it been a long while but I have been trying to think of a good topic to write about.  I hope this is a good one.  This particular post has been on my mind for awhile.  One thing that irritates me is how people judge and dictate so harshly to those living in low income families.  Those who live middle class or above at some point thought it was their place to tell those who can barely make it how they should live, how they should spend their money, and what they can have and not have.  Now I do not condone living beyond your means.  But let's be honest, those who are considered middle class spend their money on useless things all the time (full price name brand clothes, multiple flat screen TVs throughout the house, breast implants).  Low-income families deserve the pleasures of having things also even if they are not necessary, right?

I'll give you an example.  Some people feel that low-income people should not have cable.  Cable is not a necessity.  You do not need it to eat, to live, for shelter, or to have clothing.  So those who are barely making ends meet certainly should not have it.  Well, those who are low-income do not need alcohol or drugs but they choose to consume them because it eases the stress (if only for a little while) of their problems.  Some people use TV for the same purpose.  I don't know about you but I rather someone who is having financial problems use Full House reruns as a stress reliever than a bottle of Captain Morgan. 

If you have not been keeping up with the latest on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) news, there might be new restrictions on what recipients of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) can buy.  As of right now they can not buy alcohol, some prepared food items, and items for the house like detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.  But the new restrictions would stop them from purchasing sodas and some high calorie foods.  For those of you that know me know that I studied nutrition in school and so I know it's important to make sure children are getting properly fed.  But why is that low-income families have to stick to a strict diet and those who can buy their own can eat whatever they want.  All people need to eat better, not just those that are low-income.  Sodas, candy bars, and chips are okay if it is in moderation, as with any food.  The problem is not the Snikers or the Doritas, the problem is making them a regular part of your diet.  The kids of low-income families deserve a treat once in awhile too.  Parents (of all incomes) just need to watch how much of these treats their children consume.

People who judge those on Food Stamps (SNAP, I'm using the term Food Stamp because that is what it is most known as) or any other assistance programs really needs to educate themselves first.  A lot of people do not know that Food Stamps is an entitlement program, like social security.  Their tax dollars pay into that program [Food Stamps] just like social security so when they are found eligible, they are entitled to those benefits.  A great deal of the people on Food Stamps work.  Unfortunately, they do not make enough money to buy food and meet other financial obligations.  So they are not just "living off the system" because the Food Stamps program does require them to register for work. 

It burns my blood when I see low-income families getting jumped on so harshly by others.  They are just trying to do the best they can to make their household as close to comfortable as possible.  If that means treating their kids to a candy bar and chips every once in awhile and having cable then so be it.  They have the same right to bring some extra happiness into their homes as anyone else.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


These past few weeks, we have been doing a lot with SNAP Outreach: leading trainings, developing some sort of a follow-up plan, having to reschedule some trainings due to low attendance, and calling around to other SNAP Outreaches in other states to get some ideas. SNAP Outreach is quite new to Arkansas.  Because of its newness of the program, we are still having to wrap our brains around how best to implement the program.

I want to put a disclaimer on this post: this is my opinion.  I'm not saying that my site is not doing the best to implement a great program but these are some thoughts that are going through my head.  Again I repeat these are my thoughts in my head and not a reflection about how I feel about my site.

With that said: When we do our trainings, we basically teach them about the online and paper applications and  we leave it at that.  Now we are developing a follow-up plan where we are going to try to help them in anyway possible to get started.  After they get a good start with SNAP Outreach we hope to assist them with the progress of their SNAP Outreach program.  But what I hope to see in the future is that these hunger relief agencies move from just assisting with filling out applications and do both application assistance and education.

When I speak of education I mostly mean nutrition and budget education.  Even if you are not into health studies, you know of the childhood obesity epeidemic that is sweeping across the United States.  Studies are showing that the rise in childhood obesity is due to decrease in physical activity, the increase in fatty and sugary foods and the lack of vegetables and fruits in a child's diet.  I bring this up to say when the parents get these benefits they should have information about the right foods they should buy to be sure that their child has the most nutritious meals possible.  A part of this program is not to only make sure that children are eating but eating nutritious foods.  If a parent takes their benefits to the store and buy already prepared meals, high calorie snacks, and little to no produce, it seems the child is still starving; now they are starving nutritionally.

This leads to my next point.  We live in a generation where cooking has turned into a "hobby."  Young women are no longer in the kitchen with their mothers learning the fundamentals of cooking.  Because of this we have a lot of younger mothers who do not know how to cook from scratch or how to prepare fresh produce.  These mothers instead buy already prepared meals that are high in calories, sodium, and full of preservatives.  They also shy away from fresh produce because of a lack of knowledge on how to prepare them.  As much as I love to cook there are only a few vegetables that I know how to prep and cook (I stick to frozen or canned vegetables).  If these mothers had access to a cooking class that concentrated on preparing fresh produce I would like to say that more mothers would not be intimidated to buy produce. 

From our knowledge about SNAP benefits, we know that these benefits are not to cover the whole grocery budget.  But if we are being realistic about this whole thing, a great deal of those on benefits are having to use their benefits for the whole grocery budget because of an insufficient amount of funds.  Having some sort of budget class could help the families that are having to depend heavily on their SNAP benefits make their benefits go far.  This class needs to help them make those benefits stretch: how to use unit pricing, what is a deal and what is not, how to use coupons efficiently, etc.

As I stated earlier, SNAP Outreach is new to Arkansas.  We (VISTAs) are learning just as much as our food pantries.  Right now our main goal is to get the food pantries learn about the application so they can help their clients.  But as soon as we get the application assistance down, I hope they could consider creating education classes to go with application assistance.  The way I see it, helping them get the benefits is only half the answer to the solution. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Okay I stole my title from another VISTA but it does fit the subject matter of this blog post.  One part of my job is to do SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program) Outreach.  For those of you that might be asking "What the heck is SNAP?", it is the new name for Food Stamps.  The point of SNAP Outreach is to increase SNAP participation so more people and especially children can have access to food.  In Arkansas, the SNAP participation is 77%.  This might seem but there has been increase in those seeking food pantries in the last couple of years and less than 30% of those going to food pantries are signed up for SNAP benefits.  So we are starting at the food pantries with our SNAP Outreach and catch those who are in need of food. 

A lot of people have their reasons for not wanting to sign up for SNAP benefits.  They feel it's a "welfare program", they do not want to get stimatized when they go to the grocery store, and some have had bad experiences at the Department of Human Services offices.  We want to educate these families that they are entitled to these benefits.  No one is stimatized for filing for their social security benefits. Well, it is kind of the same concept when it comes to SNAP benefits.  Your taxes support this program so you are bascially getting what you been paying for for years. 

Through SNAP Outreach we hope to overcome these barriers and get more families signed up on SNAP.  We want these families to understand that this program is to not to hinder them but to help them while they are going through those hard times.  A lot of families on SNAP have jobs but unfortunately they cannot meet their financial obligations and buy groceries. 

So far we have traveled to Fayetteville and Texarkana to do SNAP Outreach training.  At both trainings, the attendants seemed very interested.  We hope to have these groups starting SNAP Outreach in their agencies soon. We will be going to Mountain Home this week, which is like a three hour drive from Little Rock but its worth it if we are going to be helping families.  If you have any questions about SNAP Outreach or SNAP benefits, please ask me. I would love to get the word out about this program. 

Friday, February 25, 2011


So sorry about the long time between blogs been kind of busy working (and when I do have down time, I'm too tired to write).  As I have stated before I am changing the direction of the blog.  The focus of this blog is poverty and how I am helping to fight this issue.  But before we get into fighting poverty, I think it is good to discuss “What is poverty?”  First, lets paint a picture.
When most people think of poverty they think of third world countries where resources are scarce.  These countries where children have bloated bellies or children have ribs that can be seen clearly through their chest.  We have all heard of undeveloped countries where children cannot afford to go to school because instead they have to work to still bring home next to nothing for their families.  When we are up late at night, we see the commercials asking us to send $20 a month to help a family that has to walk miles to get somewhat clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.  This picture might make poverty seem like it's in a far away land.
Then there is the picture that portrays the reality of poverty: it is not far away but it is right here in the U.S.A.  Believe it or not, there are third world-ish countries in our backyards. Yes, right here in the “Land of Opportunity” there are people who go hungry most nights of the week, live in houses without indoor plumbing, and because of a lack of education will only be able to get low-wage paying jobs that will only keep their heads barely above water.  In undergrad, I remember watching a video on just how bad poverty is in the U.S. (if I can find I will post it).  In the video there was a man hunting “swamp rats” in his backyard just so his kids could have protein with their meals.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about him having to do this in one of the richest countries of the world. 
So after reading the past two paragraphs, one might define poverty as lacking necessities as in money, food, livable shelter, and other material things.  Some might say that it is deeper than that.  While attending training in Philadelphia, PA for AmeriCorp VISTA, we learned that poverty could be mental, emotional,  or lack of role models.  I guess one can have a lot of money but if they do not have common sense they could be considered in mental poverty.  According to this definition, you could have money, mentally and emotionally stable, but if you are lacking those in your life to help you make good decisions it could be seen as that you are living in a poverty. 
Now this is where poverty gets confusing.  I have heard someone say "I was an adult before I realized that I had lived my life in poverty."  So how is this possible?  It could mean that their families did not put a lot of emphasis into material things.  Instead this particular family could have put emphasis on spirituality, values, morals, or in some cases education (public libraries offer numerous classes for free to anyone that wants to takes them.), things you can obtain without a large amount of money.  In that case, poverty can be define as a state of mind: if you think you are in poverty, then you are.
After really thinking about it, there is really no exact way to define poverty but there is something that holds true: No one should have to go hungry where there are resources available for them to eat.  These resources could be going to food pantries, government programs that provide access to food (i.e. food stamps), or we as a community can start looking out for one another (this could mean starting a community garden).  However you define poverty, know that it does not exist in some far away land that you can detached yourself from but it is in your community.