Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pop Culture Awards 2013

As the year comes to an end, you will start seeing a lot of the "Best of 2013" lists. Some might be annoyed by these lists but I love them.  It reminds you of how much can happen in just 52 weeks.

I could not call myself a pop culture critic if I did not give you the best of pop culture in 2013. And boy, did 2013 give us something to talk about!  From rape lyrics to guys with beards making the gays mad, we had a little bit of everything.  For my last post of the year I would like to present Pop Culture Awards 2013:



Lip Syncing for Your Life Award goes to Mrs. Carter aka Beyoncé.  Some of you might have forgot about this.  President Obama invited Beyoncé to sing the National Anthem at his inauguration.  Beyoncé performed and you know the stans were on Twitter giving their "Yaaasssssssss!!!"  Just a few days later, news hit that Beyoncé lip synced her performance.  Even the Beyhive was ready to come to her defense.  The always tight lipped team of Beyoncé was ready with a excuse reply.  Even though we never got a straight answer it was eventually blamed on the cold weather (Do I need to add that Kelly Clarkson sang live?).  Later on, Beyoncé would perform the National Anthem at a press conference to get back at her haters. 

Rapping about Rape Award goes to the double Ds having Rick Ross.  Rick Ross can't claim most infamous lyrics of all time but he can for 2013.  Back in March, Rocko put out a single titled U.O.E.N.O.  While nobody probably remembers the rest of the song, everyone can remember Rick Ross saying 
“Put molly all in her champagne/She ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/She ain’t even know it.”
For some odd reason this verse was able to bypass all record executives to all major radio stations.  Needless to say, when the controversy hit this version was pulled from the radio.  When asked about it Rick Ross said he was not meaning rape in the verse but he never cleared up what he did mean.  Mr. Ross, I was born at night... not last night.  You do not have to be an English major to interpret what you were saying.  Simple Rick, you can rap about gold chains, fancy cars, or your favorite fried chicken restaurant but let's leave rape out of Hip Hop.

Wanting to Bring Back the Old South Award goes to the butter loving Paula Deen.  During a trial where Ms. Deen was being sued by a former employee for.... well I can't actually remember what the lawsuit was about (apparently the case was dismissed) but it was what was said during the court proceedings that sparked a national conversation.  While under oath, Paula admitted to using the N-word in the past (heck, at this point who hasn't?).  Believe it or not, it's gets worse.  For an event that Paula and her brother, Bubba, were catering, Paula came up with the bright idea to have the black men dress up like slaves.  Because you know, what would a southern wedding be without slaves shucking and jiving and entertaining the white folks?  To add salt to the wound, the southern chef was dropped by her 11 year employer, Food Network.  Even after a very emotional apology,  she was dropped by most, if not all, of her major sponsors.  Paula has been able to make a little of a comeback on a couple of shows, but only time will tell if Ms. Deen will be able to make a full comeback to TV.

Hip Hop's First Public Mental Breakdown Award goes to Kanye West. Mr. West has always been known for being outspoken (Remember the Taylor Swift incident?).  But this year Kanye wanted us all to know that he isn't just the best rapper alive but a creative genius that should be compared to only Shakespeare and Walt Disney. Kanye released an album titled Yeezus. He claimed he named his album this because he is the Jesus of Hip Hop. Major side eye.   He started doing these interviews where it seemed like he was having a dialogue with himself and cameras just happen to be on.  He would go on these passionate rants about how the fashion industry was trying to keep him out.  He even said that him and Kim Kardashian were more influential than the President and the First Lady.  While during Sway's radio show things got really intense when Kanye decided to holler the infamous line "YOU DON'T HAVE THE ANSWERS, SWAY!" at Sway.  The Compton Native let Kanye know that he needed to calm his voice down and Kanye did just so.  I know we haven't seen the last of Kanye's antics.  I can't wait to see what he going to do in 2014.

The Murder of Twerking Award goes to Miley Cyrus.  At the 2013 VMAs, Miley performed her hit single We Won't Stop.  During her performance, she decided that she wanted to single handily kill twerking for everyone.  Nothing or no one was safe from Miley's behind, not even the married 40-something singer, Robin Thicke.  After this performance, the news became obsessed with the new (but really old) dance move.  ABC News even came out with a news story titled (and I'm not joking), The Science of Twerking.  Later, twerking (along with selfie) would be added to the Oxford Dictionary.  I'm not even going to talk about how black women have been "twerking" for years.  Then when Miley's does it (horribly), it makes headline news.  Nope, not going to talk about it.  Anyways, Ms. Cyrus, do your thang.  Ride that twerking train as long as you can.

The Justice System is a Joke Award goes to the state of Florida.  What will be seen as the case of the decade started a conversation around the world about race, gun laws, and hoodies.  George Zimmerman went to trial in June 2013 for the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.  It was an emotional case and had the country divided.  One side was disgusted about how a grown man could shoot an unarmed child and the other side saw Trayvon Martin as a thug who should have went along with Zimmerman's questioning.  What made this case even more bizarre and complex was Florida's Stand Your Ground law.  Under this law, anybody who thinks their life is in danger (even if they follow the so-called dangerous suspect) can shoot first and ask questions later.   Zimmerman was found not guilty.  This was the first time I found myself ready to cry for a family that I have never met.  And this leads me to another award. World's Strongest Women Award  goes to Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother.  Throughout the whole trial, Ms. Fulton never uttered a curse word or anything vile to the public about her son's murderer.  Even when the verdict was given, Ms. Fulton kept her cool.  I will never understand how she was able to remain so strong but she has my complete respect.

Crazy doesn't even begin to explain what 2013 has been.  It has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least.  And  I have enjoyed sharing my perspective with you all.  I want to take a moment to thank you for following my blog.  I know there are thousands of blogs out there but you choose to come by and read this one and I really appreciate that.  This year I have gotten to do some cool things with my blog and I promise to keep it going in 2014.  Again, thank you!

What was your fav pop culture event in 2013?

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beyonce, a Feminist?

Source: thegrapejuice.net

December 13, 2013, Beyonce dropped an album with no promotion.  This took the world by storm.  The self-titled album, Beyonce, is different from anything that Beyonce has ever done.  One of the main differences is it's sexuality.  Beyonce no longer just wears sparkly onesies to show off her feminine figure.  In this newest album, she paints you a picture of her sexuality. 

Don't believe me? Here is a snippet from the single Blow:
"Can you lick my skittles?
That's the sweetest in the middle
Pink that's the flavor
Solve the riddle"
And let's not forget what will soon become a classic verse:
 "I can't wait to get home so you can tear that cherry out, turn that cherry out, turn that cherry out."
Tear that cherry out?  Sounds extremely painful.

My favorite place to find out what is going on in the world, HuffPost Live, recently had a segment about Beyonce being a feminist.  I was surprised this conversation even came up.  Beyonce is a lot of things: performer, business woman, mother, so on and so forth.  But feminist? 

I feel like the segment I reference above didn't really answer the question about her being a feminist.  I felt like they just praised her for 30 minutes about her being able to drop an album without promotion and about how they didn't want white feminist talking about her.  But they did say some interesting things:  they said her album is "sexually liberating" and it represents "loving your body". 

Why in the last 10 years has feminism been about getting naked in public?  Why is posing nude or doing a video semi-nude feminism?  How is that really helping me as a woman?  How is that helping the younger generation of women? 

Earlier this year when Miley Cyrus twerked (and I use that term loosely) she became a joke on every late night talk show.  No one said that she was taking back a woman's power to choose by rubbing her rear end on Robin Thicke.  But when Beyonce sings about oral sex being performed on her, she is liberating women everywhere?  When rappers choose to put willing naked women in their videos they are demonized.  When Beyonce bares flesh she is teaching women to love their curves?  Nicki Minaj shows her curves and apparently she's setting women back a few years.

In an article for Vice, Kara Brown writes that feminism might mean different things for different women.  I do not recognize myself as a feminist, but I can get how one woman's fight could be against sexual harassment in the workplace but another woman's fight could be about rape culture in the military.  Both of these issues effect women tremendously.   However, can someone please explain to me how Beyonce showing off her curves in every video or singing explicitly about the activities in her bedroom with her husband helps me?  The fact that Beyonce has no problem singing about how she puts its down on Jay-Z is not helping me break the glass ceiling in the business world.  What I'm saying is I always thought that feminism was about moving women further.  How has the album, Beyonce, moved women as a whole further? 

Before the Beyhive attacks me let me just say this post is not to bash Beyonce or her album.  Beyonce has really stepped out of her comfort zone for this album.  And it would be a lie to say that she is not one of the most influential artist right now.  But as much I love to work out to her music, it's hard for me to see her as a feminist even if she herself identifies as one.  I think we have to ask the question how has Bey moved women further and the answer has to be more than dropped an album without promotion.

What are your thoughts on Beyonce being a feminist?







Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beyonce: No Marketing Team Required

By now you have probably heard about the album that Beyonce dropped on Friday: WITH NO PROMOS.  And this ain't some 10 song album, either.  This self-titled album has 14 songs and 17 videos.  She even has a song featuring her year old daughter, Blue Ivy.

It has been hard for my brain to process how an artist can put out an album with zero marketing.  And mind you, this album is number one on iTunes in 100 countries. Homegirl didn't do any late night talk shows, award show performances, or radio singles.  She used the power of Facebook and Twitter.  She made US her promo team and we didn't get a dime for it.



Let's just talk about Beyonce's influence for a minute.  After Beyonce's hit half-time show at the Super Bowl, she announced her world tour.  This tour sold out within days.  Beyonce didn't even have a new single out and people were spending rent money on tickets.  But this shouldn't be that shocking because Ms. Bey doesn't have just any type of fan base. She has STANS.  These are fans that attack people for talking about their favs.  These are fans that would buy jars of air because Bey told them to.  They don't need to be told through commercials to buy Beyonce albums, like Nike, they just do it.

This top secret album also brings up other questions.  When did Bey have time to do these videos?  Did she make everyone working on her album and videos sign contracts to not say a word about the album?  Did people have to sacrifice their first born if they did say a word about her album?  In this age of the world wide web, it's hard to believe that a celebrity can do anything and keep it under wraps.  Also, how did this make other pop artists feel?  While they are spending millions of dollars in marketing, all Bey did was send a link out on Facebook.  Even though a lot of artists have sent their congrats on the new music through Twitter, I can't help but feel they are butthurt. 

Regardless if you like Beyonce or not, you have to admit that her influence is strong... Or maybe scary.  I'm not sure if an artist has ever had this type of following before.  Could Michael Jackson do this?  Madonna?  The Beatles?  Rather this album goes platinum or not, she will go down in history for this epic move.

Have you bought the album yet?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Momma Joyce and Her Goons

Source: realityfatty.com 
I could not let this week end without me writing about Momma Joyce and her antics.  Unfortunately, I couldn't do it sooner because I was on a mini vacation and not near free wifi.

While at the hotel, I was in the lobby watching television.  Out of nowhere I see that Real Housewives of Atlanta is getting coverage on Headline News.  For two Sundays in a row, Momma Joyce (Kandi's mom) was a trending topic on Twitter.  Not surprising considering how she has been acting lately.  It is no secret that Momma Joyce is outspoken.  When Kandi made her debut on RHOA she was with her now deceased fiance A.J.  Momma Joyce was not too  crazy about him, but she was chill about it.  She spoke her peace and let it go.

Apparently, Bravo must have threaten to give Momma Joyce the boot because she has up the ante.  It all started when she told Kandi that she doesn't like Todd (Kandi's fiance) and that she felt he was an opportunist.  Momma Joyce even pulled her grandbaby, Riley, into the drama and told Kandi that Riley didn't like Todd either.  But Ms. Joyce isn't the type to talk behind your back.  She tells Todd to his face that she thinks he is using Kandi, accused him of messing around with Kandi's friend, Carmen, and roasted the engagement ring he bought for Kandi.  Even with all of that, Ms. Joyce still had more to give us.

This past Sunday's episode, Kandi went shopping for a wedding dress.  At first it was just Kandi, Carmen, and some random guy.  While Kandi is trying on a dress, Momma Joyce and her goons, I mean her sisters, walk in.  You can tell by the looks on their faces that came ready to rumble.  The random guy was talking about how Kandi looked in the dress and Momma Joyce blurts out that Kandi won't be wearing a wedding dress anyway.  This causes Carmen to call her out on her rudeness and that's when crap hits the fan.

Momma Joyce goes off on Carmen, asking her why she is even there and stands up like she was ready to throw hands.  Then the random guy starts holding Momma back.  This is where I give a huge eye roll.  If somebody is having to hold you back you are not really about that life. Even her sisters get up like they have the strength to fight somebody half their age.  They get Momma Joyce to calm down but not for long.  Ms. Joyce gets going again and this time Carmen calls her a fool.  That was the fire Ms. Joyce needed and she does the most ratchet thing you can do in a public place: take off your shoe and threaten to throw it at somebody.

Again, random guy is holding back Ms. Joyce and the other sisters stand up like they about to do something.  I don't condone violence but don't take out a weapon unless you are going to use it.  If Ms. Joyce wanted to throw that shoe, she could have.  However, she ain't that crazy.  She knew Carmen would jump across that bridal shop on her if that shoe had even came close.

I'm not sure what has gotten into Ms. Joyce.  Maybe she saw how quick Bravo will drop you if you are not colorful (no pun intended) enough.  I have a feeling this is not the last of Momma Joyce and her goons.

What did you think of Momma Joyce and her actions?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Evolution of the Video Girl

While driving to get something to eat, an oldie came on the radio, Da Butt from Spike Lee's movie, School Daze.  Usually I would be in my truck jamming to this song but because of ice on the road I decided that it would be safer to jam in my head and concentrate on avoiding ice patches.  When I got back home, I Youtubed Da Butt and had a jam session.

During my jam session, I couldn't help but notice how the girls were dressed in the video.  Even though the song is encouraging women to shake their large rear ends, these "video girls" were wearing over sized t-shirts with biker shorts.  Extremely different from what we see today in music videos.

I was so intrigued by this that I have decided to explore the evolution of the Video Girl:

Lets start with Soul Train.  I know these women were not considered "video girls" but the show did popularize women dancing on TV.

ogsoultrain.tumblr.com

superseventies.tumblr.com

Dresses, pant suits, and bell bottoms: it was not uncommon to see women wearing these items on TV.  Women of Soul Train were hip, trendy, and most importantly, classy.  They managed to look beautiful and respectful perfectly.  Who knew you could dance with clothes on? 

Now lets fast forward to the 80s.  With the 80's, we got MTV.  Unlike American Bandstand and Soul Train, women were used in a different way.   These women were no longer seen as talented dancers but more as a prop.  Their purpose was to tell a story or to express sexuality.  But even in the early 80s "video girls" were still wearing clothes.
LL Cool J "I Need Love"
A Ha "Take On Me"

These were videos you could watch with your folks.  No cringe worthy moments.  They made their point and yes, they had clothes on.  One might say the above videos were telling a love story and that is why the women are dressed conservatively.  Well, let's take a look at videos that were exclusively about jamming.

Salt n Pepa "Push It"

EU "Da Butt"
This brings me back to the "Da Butt" video.  All the women look like they were called out of a college class and asked to be in the video.  They are not overly made up or in expensive clothing, yet they made a very memorable video.  Now let's examine Salt n Pepa's "Push It video.  We got two women rapping about partying wearing body suits with large jackets.  Even with a lack of skin, they are giving us sexy with a side of funky.  

While the above artists proved that you can make an epic video without baring it all, we still saw a shift in the music video.

Van Halen "Hot for Teacher"

2 Live Crew "Me So Horny"

When we examine the above videos we see a stark difference between these and "Da Butt".  Instead of just singing about the butt, artists like Van Halen and 2 Live Crew had no problem showing women's back side. Using women as a sexual prop has now become the norm and shows no signs of stopping.  Women are no longer seen in pant suits but short skirts and skin tight dresses.  In just two decades, there has been a major change in the definition of "video girl".  

I don't know what caused this dramatic change but I think I know the "why".  When up and coming artists saw more risque artists getting higher sells with raunchy lyrics and even raunchier videos, they realized to stay relevant they had to follow suit.  In the late 80s and early 90s, the music business was about making millions.  Unlike artists like Stevie Wonder and Issac Hayes who live to make music, the newer artists lived to make money.  And to make money meant selling sex.  And selling sex meant you had to have sexy videos.  And sexy videos meant you had to show scantily dressed women. Getting the point?  The "video girl" was now a part of a marketing scheme to sell a product.  

While these men were getting more respect, women were being demeaned at a level that had never been seen before.  BET even had a program called Uncut that showed videos too adult for prime time.  These videos showed nearly (if not completely) naked women dancing provocatively or acting out sexual acts.  Even with videos shown on 106 & Park, women can be seen doing overly suggestive dance moves.  Women are no longer chosen for their trained dance talents but for the curve of their hips.  

Sage the Gemini "Red Nose"
Women are showcased doing the new "twerk"

Artists like Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Rick Ross, Nelly (do not get me started on Nelly), R. Kelly, and T.I. have no shame in showing women half naked.  The hottest song this past summer, "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, went as far as showing women topless.  "Blurred Lines" is nominated for three Grammys and I'm pretty sure Robin has made a couple million of dollars off of it.  Forget the fact that women were running around topless in the video and let's not even discuss the fact that the song is about the blurred lines between consensual sex and rape.  

Will they change? Why should they?  Artists don't have a reason to change how they portray women in their videos. If anything they are rewarded for it.

Video girls have come a long way.  Unfortunately, they have not gone in the right direction. They have went from being talented showcase dancers to mere sex objects.  It is of great importance that we teach our younger women what it means to be a respected performer.  We must take back the image of the the video girl.  We must instill in them to not let men use their bodies for their own selfish gain.  I'm not saying we have to teach them to wear skirts down to their ankles.  I'm not even saying that we demonize the men of the music industry.  We can't expect men artists to do better on their own initiative but we have to stand up and say no.  The more we say no to being demeaned the sooner they will have to find new concepts for their videos.  



  

Monday, November 25, 2013

American Music Awards: Wraps and SANGING

Hey everybody!!! You know it just wouldn't be right if I didn't do a recap for the most recent awards show: The American Music Awards.  I'm not going to lie it was hard to concentrate because there were other things I wanted to watch, in particular Carol Burnett receiving the Mark Twain Prize (I'm a huge fan of hers).  But the pop culture guide in me would not let me miss the show.  Here are my highlights:

Pitbull's Opening Monologue I am assuming that everybody else in Hollywood was booked Sunday night and Pitbull was the the only one free.  His opening monologue was very stale.  He was trying to ride the "twerking" train and at this point, I think everybody is over it.  Honestly, not sure why they even had a host.  I think he was on stage for an overall 5 minutes the whole 3 hour show.

It was the Justin Timberlake Show Let's all take a minute to give JT another round of applause. Even though his performance was giving me Mumford and Sons, I was totally feeling it. Not only did he make an awesome comeback after like 7 years (20/20 is that sh*t), but apparently, he has taken over the R&B genre.  This leads me to another point: why is it that JT can cross the color lines into R&B but Rihanna can't cross those same lines into Pop.  There is no way you would consider Suite and Tie Pop, but for some odd reason Found Love in a Hopeless Place is the epitome of R&B.  I will never understand this, but yeah, whatever.



Shine Bright like a Diamond Studded Bobby Pin When African American women wrap their hair, it means it's time for bed. But in Rihanna's case, it's time to leave for the American Music Awards.  I am not sure if her hair stylist ran out of time or what but she wore that wrap with the most confidence.  However, it didn't stop there.  When she performed she decided to take it up a notch and added diamond studded bobby pins.  You read that correctly. Diamond. Studded. Bobby. Pins.  But what makes me really mad is that I know that all the teens and 20 somethings will be wearing wraps and bobby pins in the next few weeks.  You remember when Solange wore those box braids and then the next thing you know everybody was wearing them?  The beauty supply stores are going to be selling diamond studded bobby pins in all colors by mid-2014.  But I ain't made at you Rihanna and congrats on your Icon Award.

TLC Performs with the help of Lil' Mama If you go back a couple of posts you know that I love me some TLC.  So I was excited about their performance on the American Music Awards show.  But what took this performance to another level was having Lil' Mama stand in for Left Eye.  If you saw the movie you will know that Lil' Mama hit it out of the park with her portrayal of Left Eye so it was fitting for her to do the rap on Waterfalls.  Some people on my timeline was not feeling it but she gets two thumbs up from me.

Ariana Grande Can SANG If you had any doubts about Ariana's talent, those doubts were squashed Sunday night.  Homegirl can SANG as we say in the black community.  She really has a Mariah Carey feel to her.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for her.

The American Music Awards Show was underwhelming and long.  But like any other award show, there is always going to be that one thing that stands out.

What were your feeling about the show?




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christianity: The New Reality TV Moneymaker

If you do not know by now, reality TV has taken over.  For the last decade, regular people have become stars from doing regular stuff.  From housewives, to bakeries, to weight loss competitions, to dancing, to singing, to bad girls: these things plus more have found its way into a reality television program.  But the American audiences are not the only ones that love these programs; cable networks do too.  As they should. These programs are crazy cheap to make compared to scripted shows and they don't have to worry about dealing with celebrities with huge egos that want a million dollars per episode.  Even with the popularity of reality TV, you would think that some subjects would be too sacred to touch.  But as my mom use to say, "If you think this world can't get any worse, just wait a few minutes." 

[Disclaimer: I am not trying to convert anyone to Christianity.  This is just strictly my opinion of the shows mentioned.] 


Source: www.theblaze.com


In the last month, the cable channel, Oxygen, has premiered Preachers of L.A. and now Bravo has launched Thicker than Water.  Before that, TLC had Preacher Wives.  All of these shows showcase pastors, bishops, reverends, first ladies, or whatever they want to be called living lives as lavish as rappers and ball players.  You see them in the big fancy homes (or mansions to be more specific) and luxury cars.  They can all be seen with flashy jewelry draping their wrists and necks.   If I was just flipping through the channels I would think I had stumbled upon a repeat episode of MTV Cribs.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), they have no shame in showing others how God has "bless" them.

I don't even know where to start.  Like I'm dead serious; the blasphemy in these shows gave me writer's block for a second.  All that keeps coming to mind is that working class members of mega church congregations have funded these "men of God" with multiple homes and thousand dollars suits.  These so-called shepherds make millions off book deals, movies, and music using God's word.  Some of them boldly preach: someone has to have this stuff, why not me?

For centuries, religion has been seen as sacred.  Even when you are in a place of worship you conduct yourself a different way because of it's sanctity.  Now religion is being shown on TV as casually as pageant girls.  It is now considered weekly entertainment.  Some might say that those who are not a part of organized religion are getting exposed to Christianity.  But can you honestly say that Preachers of L.A. and Thicker than Water are bringing people to the good news?  People who are already skeptical of religion are not going to watch these men in Armani suits and  run to their local place of worship.  These shows do the exact opposite. 

What about the excuse that God wants them to have these things?  Well, preacher man let me introduce you to a king.  King Solomon to be exact.  The thing about King Solomon was that he was the richest king of his time.  In in his words:
"I accumulated silver and gold for myself, the treasures of kings and of provinces.  I gathered male and female singers for myself, as well as what brings great pleasure to the sons of men-- a woman, yes, many women.  So I grew great and surpassed anyone prior to me in Jerusalem..... But when I reflected on all the works that my own hands had done and on all the hard work that I had toiled to accomplish, I saw that everything was futile, a chasing after the wind."  --Ecclesisastes 2:8,9,11 New World Translation, 2013
Now what moves me the most is the last part of verse 11: a chasing after the wind.  King Solomon compared all his riches to chasing after the wind.  Some people might see material things as a reward of hard work but Solomon refer to these material things as futile.  Yes, futile also known as useless, unimportant, or frivolous.  God could have inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) anybody to write this in the Bible but He chose to have the richest king record this verse. 

Now rather you believe in God or not this is such a beautiful scripture.  You see, Jehovah God knew we would not all be able to acquire riches.  He also knew we would be surrounded by people with many things and because of our imperfections we could easily become envious of those who do have many things.  Jehovah wanted us all to know that riches were not important and does not define our lives.  However, how we live our lives is what define us. 

You will not get a weekly recap of the previously mention shows because I can't stand to watch more than five minutes.  These shows will not be getting anybody to wake up early on Sunday and visit a place of worship.  The men who choose to partake in these shows need to  take a look at their instruction manual (the Bible) and see what it has to say about their lifestyles (Matthew 6:24). 

What are your thoughts on Preacher of L.A. or Thicker Than Water?




Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nelly, Hip Hop, and Charity

 I am a huge fan of HuffPost Live. They have interesting segments from interviews with various celebrities to debates on  rather college athletes should get paid.  This week HuffPost Live interviewed the Show Me State rapper, Nelly.  During Nelly's interview he was asked about the tip drill incident that happened circa 2004.  Nelly gave his honest thoughts on the incident. 

If you don't know about it, let me bring you up to speed. 

BET use to have this program called Uncut.  Uncut showed videos that could not be seen on the teen targeted 106 & Park.  Nelly had a video on there called "Tip Drill".  Now I have to admit that the song is very catchy and most definitely a club banger.  As far as the video is concerned, it was almost too X-rated for Uncut, leaning more towards softcore pornSomething else I should point out about this program is that it was mostly underground/unknown rappers.  It just seemed out of place to have such an established, mainstreamed artist like Nelly doing an uncut video.  Some time after the video had been out, Nelly planned a bone marrow drive event at Spelman College, an all girls institution.  Some woman at the event chose to protest the event because of the "Tip Drill" video.  Needless to say, Nelly wasn't too happy.

Nelly said in the interview that the bone marrow drive was not the time or place to do the protest or have a discussion about the infamous video.  Nelly was trying to find a bone marrow match for his sister and that should have been the priority.  Nelly further goes in about how others have given hip hop a bad rep and notes that every rapper he knows has a charitable nonprofit.  When asked if he would change anything about the Spelman incident, he boldly says that he would "kick somebody's a**."  Yep, that's right Nelly.  How dare people give hip hop a bad rep after you make a statement saying  that if you could redo the event you would whip somebody at an all girls' college.  Very honorable.

First let's get into the Spelman incident (I won't spend too much time on it because it is about 10 years old).  Nelly was asking the same women whose image he had tarnished to support him.  He wanted these woman to put their differences aside to possibly save his sister (who has now passed).  I, too, have lost a close family member because of cancer so I can understand his pain. The problem was Nelly's audacity.  He didn't realize the caliber of women he was approaching.  These woman did not aspire to be "tip drills" but lawyers and doctors.  These women (like most college women)  are being challenge to examine the world around them and make some sense of it. For them, it didn't make sense for an artist, who had a popular video with woman being hit on the behind, to have the audacity to approach them to aid him in his efforts.  You can't bite the hand you are going to later ask to feed you. 

He also says in the interview they [women of Spelman] are no longer protesting his song.  We as black women are always protesting for our image.  I agree that "Tip Drill" was not the first degrading video nor will it be the last.  However, hip hop artists need to understand that we are tired of our black bodies being seen as merely sex objects.  We are tired of seeing the played out concept of rappers throwing dollar bills at black strippers.  And we are tired of the only attire you see a woman wearing in a rap video is a fur bikini (that's not even practical).  I'm sorry that Nelly lost his sister, but it needs to be made clear that you can't ask for our support when you do not support us where it counts.  (It has been noted in the comment section of the interview by Spelman alums that were attending the school during that time that the bone marrow drive went on as planned but the women were disappointed that Nelly would not have a conversation with them about the video.)



The other bone I have to pick is the whole "I give back to my community so what's the problem?".  The problem is you can't crap on our image on a national level and then expect us to ignore it because you gave toys to poor kids during Christmas.  It just doesn't work that way.  Doing good deeds does not excuse you from taking social responsibility.  If I'm caught stealing on my job, I can't say "Well you know, I always bring doughnuts to the office for breakfast." No! I will be fired.  That how it works: you do not-so-good stuff and you suffer whatever consequences follows. 

I hate Nelly lost his sister, I really do.  Nelly might have thought it wasn't the time to discuss his risqué video but if not when he is on a campus full of black women then when?  Rappers might be donating millions of dollars to Boys and Girls Clubs but are they really doing that community justice  when the same girls they are "helping"  are seeing older images of themselves gyrating on the TV screen?

What are your thoughts? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Style and Fashion with Korto Momolu

Hey everybody!!! I proudly present to you the first interview for my newest blog, EBONY, The Stylist: Project Runway's designer Korto Momolu.  Ms. Momolu made her debut on Project Runway during season 5.  She can be currently seen on Project Runway All Stars that comes on Lifetime, Thursdays 9/8c.  Tune in to the interview as Korto discusses what inspired her to be a designer, her experience on Project Runway, and the fashion industry.

 
 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#PebblesTriedIt

Hey everybody!!! This past Monday VH1 premiered Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story and it broke network records with 4.5 million viewers.  If you read my last post you know that I was excited about this movie.  But I had no idea how much tea this movie was going to spill. 

I had watched their Behind the Music some years ago so I know that TLC was dragged through the music business.  However, it is one thing to have them talk about their struggles but it's another thing to have it portrayed in a movie.  We were shown in 2.5 hours that TLC most definitely climbed mountains while trying to rise to musical greatness. They overcame cheating boyfriends, abortions, life threatening diseases, and bankruptcy.  When I was listening to "Creep", "Waterfalls", and "What about your Friends?" I had no idea these sistas were barely holding it together.  But what really gets me is their shady manager, Pebbles.  Pebbles makes Joe Jackson look like a Disney princess.  She was ruthless.

 
The first side eye that Ms. Pebbles gets is when she told the girls they would get a $25 stipend a week.  Now I know that this was 1990 but what exactly were you getting with $25 dollars a week? Scrunchies?! Then her inner Joe Jackson came out when she was tripping about Chilli talking to Dallas Austin and then threw her out the group. I almost thought she was jealous but then I realized that she was protecting her investment because these girls were a product to her.   Every time these girls asked about their money (which they were entitled to) she would start throwing them these out of the world excuses.  These girls had #1 hits and selling millions of albums but didn't have anything to show for it but the scrunchies they were buying with their $25 stipend. 

Now let's talk about where Pebbles got bold.  Pebbles informs TLC they have a platinum selling album and instead of presenting them with fat checks she instead presents them with Rav 4s from a used car dealership.  Like, seriously?! The girls later find out that these cars was brought with their own money.  But Fruity Pebbles doesn't stop there.  T-Boz collapses at one of their shows and she is rushed to the hospital.  This is where Chilli and Left-Eye find out that T-Boz has sickle cell disease.  Instead of Pebbles showing a little compassion, she is concerned about the money that will be lost from cancelled shows.  That was her inner Ike Turner. 



The girls get fed up with being broke and go to their lawyer.  And just when you thought Fruity Pebbles couldn't be any worse, you find out that the lawyer that is representing TLC is actually Pebbles' lawyer too.  At first the lawyer tells them that he can't even talk to them about their business without Pebbles' permission.  But I guess he feels sorry for them and proceeds to school them about their "standard contract".  Money from their albums is going back to the label to pay for studio time, rehearsal time, travel, gifts, LA Reid's label, Pebbles,  Pebbles' label and apparently those raggedy Rav 4s.  TLC decides that Fruity Pebbles has to go but, unfortunately, will have to pay a heavy fee  just to keep their name (apparently they paid a million dollars per letter). 

According to Rolling Stone, Pebbles' kids were none too happy with this portrayal of their mother.  Well, I bet TLC wasn't too happy having to file for bankruptcy.  If you didn't learn anything from this movie, you better learn these managers are not your friends.  Take your contract to a lawyer (not your manager's lawyer) to make sure every thing is on the up and up. 

What are your views on the portrayal of Pebbles?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

#ForeverTLC

Hey everybody!!! Next Monday (October 21) VH1 will be premiering Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story.  Ever since I heard about this bio movie I have been excited.  Why, you ask?  Not only are they the best selling girl group but they were my introduction to R&B and hip hop.  I was four the first time I heard Baby, Baby, Baby.  It was on BET's Video Soul hosted by Donnie Simpson.  I had no idea what I was singing about but I was walking around the house singing the lyrics nonstop.  I still can't believe that my mom thought it was a good idea to buy this album for a preschooler. 

Yall remember those cassette tapes!!


I can remember playing this tape over and over again.  I played it so much that the words on the cassette faded.  I fondly remember listening to What About Your Friends, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, and Hat to the Back.  I would make up dance routines to every song on that album and sing to the top of my voice.  My mom stayed yelling from the front of the house for me to shut up.  This album is so nostalgic for me. 

TLC were my first favorite artists.  What amazed me the most was how unique each girl was.  Unlike other girl groups, TLC was not about having all the attention on one girl while the others held it down in the background.  When you watched a video, you got to see a glimpse of each girl's personality.  And even though some of their songs were very adult, they were still good role models to young folks.  They didn't dress overly provocative and they advocated safe sex (Left-Eye actually wore a condom as an eye patch).

As stated before not every song was about bumping and grinding.  They sang about real issues.  Everybody remembers their smash hit Waterfalls.  The song was about making good choices and not taking unnecessary risks.  They were not gimmicky but genuinely talented.  They didn't have to prove they were grown women by bearing all their flesh or pulling crazy stunts at award shows.  They let their music do the talking.  I long for the days of real grown women in the music business. 

TLC most definitely has had their bumps in the road: bankruptcy, a life threatening disease, burning houses, and a tragic death. But they have shown through it all that they are classy and strong as iron.  I love these ladies and I'm amped to see this bio pic.  I hope that Keke Palmer, Drew Sidora, and Lil' Mama do these ladies justice because they deserve it.



Will you be tuning in? What is your favorite TLC song?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

#ASitDownWithKanye

Hey everybody!!! You may already know about the famous (or infamous depending on who you ask) interview Jimmy Kimmel had with Kanye West.  The interview took place after Kanye threw an all-caps fit on Twitter because Kimmel mocked an interview he [Kanye] did with BBC.  The two sat down and talked out their beef.  What followed was an interesting interview.  Kanye goes on a 40 minute rant about everything.  It was all over the place and exhausting. 

I knew I wanted to write about it, I just didn't know what angle to attack it.  I had to even go back and watch the interview to really get a hold of it.  Then I had an intense debate with my work BFF about the interview.  I even took mental notes of different parts of the interview.  I don't think I have ever had to think that hard about the context of a post before I actually started typing.  So with all that said I will try my best to convey my opinion on what historians will be calling the most famous late night interview: A Sit Down with Kanye

What I Agreed With
Kanye discussed how celebrities are in the zoo and how their realities are often made fun of by others.  As I stated before, this all started because Jimmy mocked Kanye in an earlier episode.  Jimmy even admitted that sometimes he doesn't think about how his comedy skits might effect celebrities' feelings.  I can't imagine my life constantly being under a microscope and then having it mock in a late night sketch.  Your every word is dissected and then some comedian basically calls you stupid for it.  Celebrities have a constant battle: money and fame versus no longer having a private life.  It explains why a lot of them go crazy.  Would you be able to keep your sanity?  But then Jimmy spitted some truth when he told Kanye that some of his negative reviews are because of his own actions.  That at times, he comes off as a jerk.  You can't act like a douche bag and then get mad when others call you a douche bag. 

Kanye said that he is not a politician and so he doesn't do publicity stunts.  Now I could be dead wrong here but I believe him when he says this.  When Kanye announced on live television that President Bush didn't care about black people, that was not a cheap shot for attention.  When Kanye would show out at awards shows when he didn't win, that was all him.  When Mr. West interrupted Taylor Swift to say that Beyonce had the best video of all times, he wasn't doing that for album sales.  I believe that it is just his personality.  Now it ain't cute but that is just who he is as a human being. 

Where the Side Eye Begins
If I hear Kanye call himself a creative genius one more time I will literally burn every Kanye CD I have. Now this is what caused the debate between my work BFF and I.  She believes that he is a tortured soul and I believe that he is his own hype man.  Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash have all been considered musical geniuses.  Not one time did any of these artists say it themselves but let others say it for them.  For some reason Kanye believes that no one respects his talents and so he has to continuely tell us how great he is.  The whole reason College Dropout was so successful was because it was so different from everything else that was on the scene.  On his first album and every album since, he has proved that he is a contender in the rap game and probably any other industry.  Why he thinks he still  has to prove that puzzles me. 

Where the Side Eye Completes
Kanye says that when people think of fashion they think of him.  I will give it to him that he has his own swag and even has the potential to do great things in fashion.  But he needs to recant that last statement. 

When he said that Kim Kardashian deserved a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame I was wondering how Jimmy was able to keep a straight face.  The only thing that Kim Kardashian has proven is that you can have absolutely no real talent and stay relevant for 5 plus years.  You have TV legends and Academy Award winners who share a spot on the famous walk.  These are people that broke down barriers and have received all types of accolades in the entertainment industry.  What has Kim accomplished other than having a cameo in a Tyler Perry movie and a clothing line in Sears?  Kanye can be proud of his baby mama all day long but a star she is not. 

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this interview but maybe I never will.  If it did anything it started some good office conversation. 

Have you seen it?  What are your thoughts?

#IsCatfishForReal?

Hey everybody!!! Last night I watched Catfish for the first time in a year.  This has to be the most absurd reality show on television.  In 2013 with access to Google, Skype, and Facetime, it is hard for me to believe there is even a need for this show.  Like seriously, how are people still getting tricked in online relationships?

This past week we met Keyonna (spell check).  Homegirl thinks she online dating Bow Wow.  If you think you read that last line wrong, you didn't.  She thought she was talking to Bow Wow aka Lil Bow Wow aka Shad Moss aka Mr. 106 & Park. And apparently "Bow Wow" was sending homegirl money; $10,000 to be exact.  Then when they finally meet "Bow Wow" it is some girl named Dee Pimping that looks like a boy but not Mr. Moss.  And Dee didn't have NO remorse about what she did.  She at ease talking about how she turns out straight girls.  Nev and his personal camera man start asking her how she is able to send Keyonna all this money.  Dee tells them that she borrows the money from family and friends.  If "family and friends" means drug customers than yea, okay I believe her (or him).  Catfish and MTV get a huge side eye for this episode and this show as a whole.



I think I have blogged about this before but what is the point of Catfish?  Why does Nev have a job googling other people's love interests?  Let's break this down: Person A talks to Person B over the internet for 2 or more years.  Person A only gets 2 photos of Person B within that 2 years that obviously look like they were stolen from a professional website.  Person B will not Skype or facetime with Person A.  Nev talks to Person B for 10 minutes and gets them to meet Person A. Stevie Wonder could see something ain't right. 

I cannot take Catfish seriously.  And I will not take anybody seriously that makes the decision to go on that show.  If you fall for someone you have only texted (Facebook chat at the most) then you deserve that " swimsuit model"  to really be a man who is living in his mom's basement.  Let's not be stupid, people.  Do your research before you let your heart get involved.  If after talking to someone for a month they refuse to meet you in a public place, this should ring all the alarms.    It's not rocket science, it is simply common sense.

What are your feelings about Catfish?

Monday, October 7, 2013

#LawAndOrderTooSoon?

Hey everybody!!! Last week Law & Order:SVU premiered their third episode of the 15th season.  Even before it premiered there was some buzz around it (there are currently over 200 comments on this episode on Hulu.com).  As you may know, the Law & Order series takes from real news headlines.  Well, this season they have chosen two of this year's biggest cases: Paul Deen's N-Word Mishap and the George Zimmerman Trial. 


Jolene aka Paula Deen played by Cybill Shepherd
Source: atlantablackstar.com


I'm not surprised they based an episode around these cases.  I'm more surprise they chose to do it so soon and all in one episode.  They added more fuel to this controversial fire by adding New York's unpopular "Stop and Frisk" law, which allows law enforcement to stop people at random on the street and frisk them if they think they might be a potential criminal (Majority of the people stopped are black or brown males).  Yea, the writers were doing the most.  

Cybill Shepherd plays Jolene (Paula Deen) who shoots a black kid (Trayvon Martin) who she thinks is going to rape her because there is a black serial rapist on the loose.  Come to find out, she shoots the wrong black guy and now Jolene is on trial.  Like the real life case, the question is was it self-defense or some white lady shooting black people because she's really a racist and assumes all black men are trying to harm her?  SPOILER ALERT (was this disclaimer really needed?): Jolene is found not guilty. 

Like the original trial,  I felt my blood boiling.  I have written prior posts about my feelings for the George Zimmerman trial so it is no surprise I felt my inner Malcolm X coming through.  Every emotion I had during that trial came rushing back.  But one thing that L&O added was this serial rape case.  In the George Zimmerman situation, there was no ongoing investigation that made Zimmerman feel he should approach Trayvon.  But in this situation, there is a black rapist on the loose.  Was Jolene really wrong for making this assumption?  Now do not get me wrong.  I do not agree with shooting people because you think they are criminals.  But as a woman walking by yourself to your home, how do you not live in fear when you know there is a serial rapist on the run?  Also, Jolene felt she was being followed and so felt it necessary to defend herself like Trayvon Martin did with Zimmerman.  But unlike Trayvon, Jolene was painted as a racist for defending herself.  There are a lot of angles to this episode which make claiming self-defense even more complex. 

I'm not sure if Law & Order tackled these two cases too soon or not but what it did do was make you realize how tricky race is.  They even made Fin (Ice-T's character) admit that protection could be miscued with racism. How do you make a prompt decision to protect yourself but not come off as if you are targeting someone because of their race? There has been times I have been out running and I see two dudes walking on the sidewalk.  Do I assume they are no threat to me or do I cross the street at the risk of stereotyping? Decisions, decisions. 

Even with my synopsis I recommend you watch this episode.  You see that race isn't always black and white (sorry for the corny last line).

Monday, September 30, 2013

#SNLSeason39Recap

Hey everybody!!! I deeply apologize for leaving you guys so long without a post.  I am in the midst of moving so things have been crazy for the last month. This past Saturday was the season premiere of  Saturday Night Live and even with all the craziness going on in my life,  I wanted to do a recap.  About a month ago, I wrote about my disappointment with the show's lack of diversity.  Unfortunately, SNL has kept up their track record.  For season 39 they added six new cast members (five males and one female) and they were all white.  In 2013, it is unthinkable that a legendary show like SNL is the least diverse program on television and has been for most of its almost 40 year run. So I guess Keenan Thompson will have to continue to put on a dress to play every black woman in pop culture.  But, I digress. 


Source: en.wikipedia.org
Let's start with the opening sketch.  It was about Obamacare and how complicated it is.  This sketch was dead on because I, like most Americans, am very confused about the Affordable Care Act and  clueless about what is going to happen on October 1.  I have to add that Jay Pharaoh does an excellent Obama impersonation.  Even though SNL takes a lot shots at conservatives, it was nice to see them poke fun at President Obama and his policies. 

Tina Fey hosted the show and she gets two snaps and a twirl from me.  During her opening monologue she introduced the new vanilla cast members and had them do a crazy dance number since they are newbies.  I was not a regular watcher of SNL during the Fey years but I can see why she is a beloved alum of SNL.  She didn't have any well known characters but her comedy timing is perfect.  She always says the right line at the right time which leads me to some of my fav sketches of the season premiere:

GIRLS Parody Somewhere between early September and now, I fell in love with GIRLS.  I know there is a lot of criticism about the show but I am still a fan of it and SNL's parody had tears in my eyes from laughing.  Tina played the new "Girl" Alberta and had me cracking up.  She basically made all the Girls' problems seem petty to her third world problems.  And new cast member Noel Wells did an awesome Lena Dunham impersonation.  Can't wait to see future parodies!

New Cast Member or Arcade Fire?  Not only do I notice that SNL has no color but Lorne Michaels (creator and executive producer) does too.  During this sketch Tina had to guess who were new cast members and who were members of the band Arcade Fire.  Out of nowhere Lorne Michaels comes out and tries to help Tina guess who's who.  In the sketch, he refers to Keenan as the "black guy".  As funny as it was it just reiterated how vanilla the show really is.

 1st Used Car Commercial This sketch had me laughing out loud... literally.  Mike O'Brien (new cast member) and Tina stole the show with this piece. Mike's character is filming the first used car commercial and his wife (Tina) keeps saying all this weird, creepy stuff ("I fed my kids to a well").  As I said before, her timing is perfect.   

Former Adult Stars Selling Shoes As stupid as this sketch is, it cracks me up every time.  These two former adult stars (Cecily Strong and Vanessa Bayer) make these absurd commercials because they are trying to get free merchandise.  Basically, their brains are fried from years of drug use and it shows from their inability to put together a simple sentence.  Tina shines in this piece also by playing this crazy aggressive former adult star.  Like I had to pull out my loud obnoxious laugh for this one.

The season started on a good note and I look forward to the rest of the season to see who is going to be the new Bill Haders and Kristen Wiigs. 

Did you catch the new season?  What was your fav sketch?




Thursday, September 19, 2013

#GIRLSGetsMe

Hey everybody!!! With my lack cable television, I have had to resort to other forms of entertainment.  This has lead to more reading, writing projects, and buying TV shows on DVD.  The latest series I'm watching is GIRLS.  This was the first time I bought a series on DVD and had never seen an episode. What initially fascinated me with the series was Lena Dunham.  She is the director, writer, and creator of Girls (and she is just 27). With all the hype around the show, I wanted to see for myself was it really deserving of it.

Honestly, ten minutes into the first episode I thought I was going to be selling the DVD on Amazon. In the first episode, Hannah (Lena Dunham's character) is having dinner with her parents and they drop a bomb on her: they will no longer be supporting her.   At this point, I thought that I would not be able to relate to the rest of the series.  Personally, after I started working for the housing department at my university, I was basically living on my own at 21 years old and have ever since.  So the whole "parents cutting you off" thing was foreign to me. So I had made up my mind that this show was about rich girls who complain about  their "hard" lives.  But as I kept watching I realized that I could relate to this show more than I thought.


You have more in common with these "girls" than you think
Source: sabotagetimes.com

Here are some things that made me say "Been there, done that":

Every woman has dated an Adam Does not matter if you are black, white, green, or purple, all women can relate to man problems.  Specifically, many women can relate to dating an Adam.  Adam was Hannah's friends with benefits turned boyfriend. Adam is the guy you should've never gave your number to.  Adam is the guy that texts you in the middle of the night and you immediately reply.  Adam fools you into thinking he is your true love  but in reality, he just going to break your heart.  It is something about him that keeps you coming back even though he is simply just not relationship material. 

Graduated, now what? When you are in college, your dreams are limitless.  Your eyes are wide open about your future.  Then you graduate and real life slaps you in the face and nags you about paying back your student loans.  All the plans you had for post college are now distant dreams.  More than likely you have a job you  had to take and you feel like you never have enough money.  And did I mention those pesky student loans?  Martie discusses in one episode that she feels she has done everything right, yet nothing is working out for her.  I share her feelings. You feel jaded. You work hard but no return on your investment.  Life after college is not so great, which leads me to my next point...

Some of your darkest days will be in your 20s As the last point brought out, you live your early 20s through rose colored glasses.  Then you learn adulthood is not all that fun.  You get a taste of adversity and it is bitter.  When I graduated I had the worst luck finding employment.  My first 3 post-graduate jobs  all paid minimum wage.  I very rarely ate out with friends or did any other recreational activity (because of my lack of funds).  My life sucked.  I felt myself becoming depressed and ashamed.  My self-esteem was shot because of my  inability to find a good paying job.  I felt like walls were closing in on me.  And at one point, all I wanted to do was lay in bed.  Towards the end of season 2 of Girls, Hannah has a nervous breakdown.  Her OCD returns and she lets a junkie give her a hideous hair cut.  Yep, she definitely has a breakdown.  As I watched her slowly fall into a deep dark hole I had a flashback to that time I was unemployed and depressed and could understand every emotion she was feeling.  I, fortunately, never let a junkie give me a hair cut but I can certainly understand being ready to throw in the towel and say "forget it."

Girls gets me.  As a writer, I share Hannah's aspirations for wanting to be this generation's next big thing in writing.  No, I don't live in a big city nor do I stay in a cute studio apartment but I can relate to the not-so-awesome early years of adulthood.  With that said, I am so amped for season 3!

Have you watched Girls? If so, what did you think of it?

Why are you not watching this show??
Source: www.pitchfork.com


Sunday, September 8, 2013

#CurvyAndHealthy

Hey everybody!!! First off, I want to thank you for tuning in this past August as I did my #31WriteNow Challenge.  I did not write for everyday in August but it is the most writing I have done in a long time.  It really pushed me to be creative with posts and just WRITE, even when I was not in the mood.  I know that I gained new readers and I welcome you.

While having a conversation with a friend about being proud to be a curvy woman, an issue came up.  He questioned rather being proud of being curvy also meant being proud of an unhealthy lifestyle.  I could not get offended right off the bat because this is commonly misunderstood.  So I have decided to try to break down what it means to be a proud full-figured woman.

Let's get something straight, not every woman that is curvy is lazy.  Not all curvy women sit around and eat Twinkies all day.  Most thicker women I know are quite active.  There is this thing called genetics.  If the majority of the women in your family have wide hips and thick thighs, it is more than likely that you will have it too.  If you see the women on my dad's side of the family you will see that I never had a chance of being a size 2 (not throwing shade because I believe that I come from a beautiful family, regardless of size).  Other physical problems can play a factor like having a not-so-great thyroid gland.  The thyroid gland controls a lot of your body.  If this gland is not working properly it could cause you to gain weight.  There are many factors why a woman might be carry a few pounds so it is best not to judge in the first place.
 
Hating my body? Ain't nobody got time for that!


When curvy women embrace their bodies this does not equate to embracing an unhealthy lifestyle.  Embracing your body means that you have love for your self at that current stage.  Even if you are in transition you should still have love for yourself.  Why should a bigger girl hate her body? Heck, there are skinny girls who hate their body.  Also, us thicker girls have overcame some serious hurdles in the last decade that has caused for celebration.  When you walked in a department store it was difficult to find fashionable clothes for the thicker girls.  We do not want to only wear big moo-moos or baby-doll blouses.  We also do not like to only wear floral prints.  Thicker have started to break the "big girl" attire rules.  At one point in time, voluptuous women were encourage to wear black, baggy clothes and stay away from horizontal stripes.  Thick girls are now wearing all patterns and colors and even embracing crop tops and bikinis.  Our style options have become limitless. 

Curvy women are making breakthroughs on the runway, too.  Modeling use to be a skinny girl's game.  Now we are seeing size 14s, 16s, and 22s on the catwalk.  I made a post back a few months ago about my first experience being a model.  It was so empowering to be around women who had mad confidence.  The public was receptive too.  Every time a model stepped on the runway the audience went wild.  They LOVED our confidence.  Even on BET's Rip the Runway the curvy girl segment is the most anticipated part of the show.  People love the fierceness the full-figured models exuberate. 

So, do not get it confused.  Loving your body does not mean not exercising.  Loving your body does not mean eating Doritos by the pound.  Loving your body does not mean advocating hypertension.  Loving your body means embracing yourself throughout your transformation.  The journey to a healthy body (physical, emotional, and mental) is not easy but there is no room for self-hate on that journey. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

#MileyCyrusTwerks

Hey everybody!!! It's the night after the VMAs so you already know what this post is going to be about.  Lately, the last few music awards have not been that great but there has been that one moment that leaves a conversation piece for the next day. The 2013 VMAs did not disappoint us for a conversation piece.

Miley Cyrus wanted us all to know that she is no longer Hannah Montana.  If you thought that for one second, Ms. Cyrus killed that thought with her performance.  I have no idea what I was suppose to get out of it.  There were huge teddy bears, girls twerking, a really big booty girl twerking, a foam finger, and a plastic bikini.  I wish I could have been in on the creative team's meeting when they discussed this "idea".  I actually wish I was on the creative team so I could have backhanded everyone that came up with this concept and then came up with a better one.  But unfortunately, for Miley Cyrus. I was not on the creative team and her performance was a hot mess. 

I agree, Drake, I agree
Source: blog.zap2it.com 

You knew from the get-go it was going to be a disaster.  The moment she stepped out of that fuzzy teddy bear with her tongue sticking out for the world to see, you just knew it was going downhill.  Then for the rest of the performance she felt impelled to continue to show us her reptile-like tongue. She was also doing this weird crump dance and groping herself.  She officially ended the popular dance formerly known as "twerking."  She twerked towards the audience, she twerked on the teddy bears, she put her face on someone else's booty while they twerked; there was just too much twerking for one performance.  What made her twerking  worse was that she was terrible at it.  Like, she wasn't even that white girl that surprises everyone with her dancing moves.  Her dance moves were horrific.  There was nothing graceful about her performance.  Dancing is most definitely not one of her strengths, twerking or not.

Some have said that this was her moving into womanhood moment.  Well, it was not a smooth transition.  Madonna, Brittney Spears, and Christina Aguilera all had their coming of age moment, but I don't remember it being uncomfortable for those watching.  At one point, Miley was bent over in front of Robin Thicke.  He is old enough to be her cool uncle.  I get that she wants to shake her Disney image but this was the worst way to have done that.  It felt like she had watched a marathon of videos on BET and thought she was a bonafide video dancer.  And apparently, she thought hanging with black girls would automatically make her "down".  Were these the black girls she was speaking of in "Party in the USA" song? Probably not.

Miley, this performance was not lady-like.  You will now be the butt of every comedians jokes.  I can only imagine the SNL sketch that is going to be done in your behalf.  If your goal was to have people talking about you then you succeeded.  But honey, I do not think you got the attention you wanted. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

#RacisimIsEveryWhereApparently

Hey everybody!!! Yes, I fell off with doing the #31WriteNow challenge and I am sorry for that but I am going to try to finish out the month strong. 

One of my fav past times is watching HuffPost Live.  It is Huffington Post in live news segments.  Along with their segments, they have panels where anybody can join.  They recently had a panel about the new Netflix series, Orange is the New Black.  They discussed the fact that a white woman had to be at the center of the show for the show to even get past the producer's desk.  In the show, not only do we get the main character's story but we get subplots from the other prisoners.  Some folks (black woman that writes for the Daily Beast) were mad that the black prisoners were just subplots and the fact that minorities have to be a part of the series for a prison show to be believable. 

As I was watching this segment, it was apparent that homegirl was reaching for racism.  And this seems to be a recurring theme: find the racism.  Now if you have ever seen Orange is the New Black you will know that it has a more diverse cast than most shows and all characters are treated with respect.  So if you find racism in this show then that is because you are looking for it.  But why have we become the type of society that is always looking for racism?  To be honest, it is exhausting.  Racism is bad and takes you through a lot of emotions.  Who has the time and energy to look for racism everyday?

 By always looking for racism in every situation that does something dangerous: desensitize others to race issues.  I was reading an article called "Is Food A Race Issue?".  In the article, the author tries to make a correlation between the Trayvon Martin case and a lack of healthy foods in minority neighborhoods (side notes: there are a lack of grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods regardless of race.  They are called food deserts.).  Two problems with that: 1.We do not know if there were not grocery stores nearby Trayvon's neighborhood. 2. He was just wanting snacks to watch the game, not needing to go on a full grocery store trip.  The author was really reaching to make this connection.  In the comment section, a lot of people were fixated on the poor connection between Trayvon and lack of grocery stores instead of the issue of the article and thus started to mock the article.  The readers of this articles just see this as another case of "the boy (or girl) that cried racism". 

Yep, I have coined the term, "the boy (or girl) that cried racism".  This is the direction we are going if we do not start picking our race battles.  There is no reason for a March on Washington every time a show has a black character we do not like.  There is no reason for a public apology every time we do not like a Youtube video.  Racially insensitive people are amongst us.  We can't change all of them.  I don't know about you but the world is depressing enough.  Some battles aren't even worth the time.

Friday, August 16, 2013

#SlaveryAintFunny

Hey everybody!!! If you have not heard, Russell Simmons had to issue an apology for a video that was uploaded to his new Youtube channel, All Def Digital.  Considering the vast variety of videos that are on Youtube, you are probably wondering what is the problem with this video.  The title alone might cause outrage: Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.  This is a sketch where Harriet plans to blackmail her master by making a sex tape with him. 

In a society where we can make a scene where a baby is punched in the face (The Campaign), a comedy sketch about Harriet Tubman is crossing the line.  Tweeters made the argument that Harriet Tubman is too sacred to make her into a spoof.  When making a video like this, we are making ourselves desensitize to this horrible time in history.  But my question is, should we be that offended by a Youtube video that was made to be funny?

Comedy is just that, comedy.  Comedy is used to make fun of the real world.  Comedy is used to show the absurdity of a bad situation.  Comedy is used to help people get through difficult times.  I am not saying that certain comedies cannot offend but I believe we are becoming too sensitive when we start asking people to take videos down and give public apologies.  There has been times I have been watching something that was consider "funny" but I found it offensive.  Let's take multiple episodes of Family Guy, for example.  For awhile, I stopped watching the show.  There was a joke about child molestation and that was just too much.  So I stopped watching it.  As simple as that, I turn the channel and watched something else.  I did not need Seth MacFarlane to write me an apology for the episode nor am I going to change.org to start a petition to get the episode banned from television. 

At some point, we became a hyper-sensitive society, especially when it came to race.  To a degree I can understand.  The entertainment industry has a history of taking cheap shots at minorities.  Even in 2013, black actresses have to fight to get roles besideds stereotypical roles in movies and TV shows.  In the 21st century, black women are still cast as the sassy sidekick and every couple of decades, Viola Davis and Halle Berry will get a shot to play something other wise.  So yea, I get it,  this video most definitely is not helping the movement for good roles for black actresses.  But do we have the right to demand apologies every time we are collectively offended?

That brings me to another issue.  I have a huge problem with public apologies.  I have just never seen one done right and they never come off genuine.  It is understood that the accused celebrity is only apologizing because their publicist advised them to do so. When Rick Ross apologized for his infamous rape lyrics, I think I was more offended by his apology than by the lyric.  I gave better apologies before I was about to get a whooping than this correctional officer turned gangsta rapper.  Russell Simmons' apology was definitely forced by a publicist. 

Was the video funny? Not at all.  Not only because of the subject matter but the video was just not funny, like how The Other Guys was not funny.   Do I feel it should have been taken down? No.  We as a people need to learn to do what I do when I don't like something: Turn the channel.