Thursday, February 28, 2013


Hey everybody!! And welcome to the last Black History Month spotlight of 2013.  I have enjoyed bringing bits of Black History to you all this past few weeks.  I hope that maybe I taught you something new. 

For my last spotlight I want to highlight my mom.  In some of my past posts you might have heard me talk about my mom having cancer.  Even though her condition has gotten worse in the last few months, she has lived courageously with her cancer.  If I can have  a fourth of the strength she possesses, I will be able to do anything.

Exnor Marie Read (she goes by Marie) was born September 27, 1948 in Memphis, TN.  She was born into a world where everything was segregated: schools, bathrooms, bus seating, water fountains, parks, and so on and so forth.  For us born years later, this was abnormal but for my mom this was the only world she knew.  At the age of 6, my mom was called a nigger by a streetcar repairman because she was looking at him.  When this happen there was no Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton to protest this happening.  Nope, she had to live with it.  Even though she lived in a time where racial  tensions were high, she did not hold any harsh feelings towards any race or raise her children to only think that our race was superior.  Marie would make friends of all races. 

Later on as child, my mom would go on to live with her teachers because of my grandma's mental illness.  Her foster mothers were not very supportive or nurturing towards her.  Whenever she wanted to do anything, her foster mothers would down play it.  Even when my mom tried to get involved in social justice her foster mothers vetoed it.  Marie wanted to do a sit-in with her fellow students.  She rushed home from work to get all her chores done before she asked for permission.  Her foster mothers refused to let her go (But after seeing how the folks were treated at the sit-in, she wasn't all that disappointed that she didn't go).

Only my mom would think it would be a good
idea to smoke with her oxygen tank.
After high school, she would have my older sister and three years later my older brother.  And then 17 years later, me.  She would join the military, become a nurses aid, work in a Chinese restaurant (I told you she made friends of all races) and later run her own business.  Despite not always having loving guardians, she gave nothing but love to her children.  She would raise three beautiful, independent children all by herself.  She would make friends all over Jacksonville, AR with her wit and humor.  And even with living with cancer, she would impress family, friends, doctors, and nurses with her strength.  I love my mom for every lesson she taught me.  I think about her and pray for her daily.  I will never be able to repay her for what she did for me but I can at least share with others how awesome my mom is!!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Hey everybody!! Today I am bringing you my review of the Academy Awards.  This year's award show was hosted by Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy).  If you have ever seen the show, you know that Seth is not the most family-friendly guy.  ABC certainly took a risk having him host the show.  Even though there were moments that reminded you of an episode of Family Guy (the Boob song), the FCC will not have write ABC any pricey fines. 

Was it just me or did the opener go a little long?  Usually, the host comes out in the beginning and tell a couple of jokes, take some shots at the audience and that's cool.  But I felt like Seth's part went a little long.  It was a cool concept (William Shaftner coming from the future to tell Seth how he was going to do as a host)  but went a little long for me.  Also, the Chris/Rihanna joke?  4 years too late. 

As I do with all my award review posts, I will just hit some highlights:

Cartoons I've Seen Won: Even though I watch the Oscars every year, I do not always get to see the movies nominated.  This year I saw both the winners of the Best Animated Short and Best Animated Movie: Paperman and Brave, respectively.  Paperman is a cute short about a guy finding girl.  Brave is about a girl who does not want to be a princess.  This is very different from previous Disney movies.  It not my fav Disney film but congrats on the win.

Best Actress: Best actress was competitive this year.  You had the oldest woman to be nominated and the youngest lady to be nominated.  You also had someone nominated who was in a movie that you do not expect to be nominated for an Oscar.  I was rooting for Quvenzhane Wallis (not only because she is black but also because she is crazy talented) but I had a feeling they would not give it to her.  But I have no problem with Jennifer Lawrence winning.  She seems like a cool chick.

My SISTAH and 1ST CUZ showed out: Anybody that knows me knows I was waiting for my SISTAH to perform... and she did not leave me disappointed.   Effie White, I mean , Jennifer Hudson, showed us why she won the Oscar back in 2007.  I felt that pain that Curtis caused her through my television screen.  Some people say she is loud but I say she sings with her whole mind, body, and soul.  She might be loud but you will never doubt that she is singing live.
My SISTAH recieved a standing ovation

Also my first cuz, Adele, won an Oscar and performed.  I am not a huge fan of Skyfall but I love to hear her voice (another artist you do not doubt about singing live).  I loved her sultry look while performing Skyfall.  She is pure talent, not relying on over sexualized clothes or stripper moves on stage.  Nope, just pure talent. 

Lastly, the show was soooooooooo long! But I guess that is the complaint every year.  Seth, overall, did an okay job.  As far as I am concerned, if it was for the musical tribute, this show would have been hella boring.  Basically, it was an okay award show.

Stay tuned for the last Black History Month spotlight!


Thursday, February 21, 2013


Hey everybody!! And welcome to the third installment of my Black History Month spotlight.  This week's spotlight is actually on an particular issue in the black community. 

This particular issue has come to the surface again thanks to a casting director.  A biopic of Nina Simone, jazz singer and activist, has started production.  And the actress playing her will be...wait for it...Zoe Saldana.  Now you might not think anything of it until you realize that the real Nina Simone is...wait for it... a dark skin woman.  This has caused some uproar in the black community.  The main question being asked is why didn't they just hire a dark skin actress?  Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, India Arie, Jennifer Hudson.  According to those close to her, Ms. Simone said before she died that she wanted Whoopie Goldberg to play her in her biopic. 

Really Hollywood? Were all the dark actresses busy?

Now I have nothing against Zoe Saldana and I usually do not get caught up in race wars concerning movies but I have to say that I am none too happy about this choice myself. Dang, Hollywood, you keeping dark skin roles away from dark skin women too!! This is just outrageous!! Especially since in this case the lead role, Nina Simone, was proud of her dark skin and kinky fro.  Hollywood has a long history of not being too fond of dark meat.  When you see dark skin women on screen they are playing maids, prostitutes, and very seldom the love interest.  Hollywood has helped form the idea that darker woman are at the bottom of the beauty totem pole.  And this leads to my next point.

We must stop looking to the media to find pride in our dark skin.  As a chocolate baby growing up, I do not remember seeing many women on TV that looked like me.  Princess Tiana was not even a thought.  I grew up with Belle, Areial, and Pocahontas was the closest thing to a black Disney princess.  It would not be until Moesha and Parkers premiered that I would see women the same shade as me.  Luckily, I had a mother that told me regularly that I was beautiful.  I had to make myself believe that my dark skin was just as pretty as fair skin (not always so easy when most of the women in your family are light skin). 

Now I do not think anything of it.  I love my Hershey Kiss skin.  I wear bright colors to highlight it. I am no longer afraid of lip sticks on my dark skin.  I love how my name even means dark.  Whatever your shade, embrace it and love it! And Hollywood, do better.  What's next? Beyonce playing Harriet Tubman.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Hey everybody!!!  This week's Black History Month spotlight is on Mosaic Templars of America.  At this point you might be wondering who or what is the Mosaic Templars of America.  Well, for those of you who live near Little Rock, Arkansas are living next to a priceless piece of history.

Mosaic Templars Headquarters, circa 1924 Source: Encyclopedia of Arkansas
Picture it, post-Emancipation Proclamation, black people are free from slavery but life is still hard.  Jim Crow laws are put in place to keep whites and blacks separate in all aspects of life: schools, restaurants, buses, etc.  Black people decide to open their own businesses in the 9th St. area of Little Rock, which becomes a city within a city.  This becomes the social and economic boom of the black community.  Something else comes from this booming area: the Mosaic Templars of America, a fraternal organization offering aid to black families. 

Souvenir Program 1925
Source: Mosaic Templars Building Preservation
This organization was founded during a time when both black and whites were joining fraternal organizations for insurance and camaraderie. Since white fraternal organizations would not issue charters to black groups, some created their own.  And this is how Mosaic Templars of America (MTA) came about.  The MTA, who get it's name from the biblical character Moses, was created by two former slaves,  John Edward Bush and Chester W. Keatts.  During a time when white insurers refused to treat black customers fairly, MTA assisted with illness, death, and burial insurance.  The MTA not only provided insurance but included a building and loan association, the Mosaic State Hospital, and the Mosaic Guide newspaper.

Ninth Street 1941
9th Street circa 1941 Source: Mosaic Templars Building Preservation
As stated before this was a area of black businesses.  One could look down 9th Street and see barbershops, restaurants, hotels, dentists, and physician offices all owned by black people.  This area also offered a night life for the black community.  During the Great Depression, there was a decline in businesses but there was some growth during the 1940's and 1950's.  Due to urban renewal and construction in the 1960's, there was, yet again, a decline in businesses in the 9th street area. 

It is hard to believe how much history there is in this area.  If you want to learn more, take a visit to the Mosaic Templars Center on the corner of Broadway and 9th in Little Rock.  The admission is free and you will not be disappointed. 

Monday, February 11, 2013


Hey everybody!!! And a Happy Black History Month!! For this post you will be getting a 2 for 1 combo.  I will be reviewing this year's Grammys and discussing someone for Black History Month. 

This year's Grammys was pretty good.  I felt like I had front row tickets to 12 very different concerts.  Taylor Swift opened the show with her hit "We are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together".  I am not a huge fan of hers but she did a good job.  Some wins I was excited was my homegirl's Adele winning for "Set Fire to the Rain" in the Best Pop Vocal category and Kelly Clarkson winning for Best Pop Vocal Album.  Her [Kelly Clarkson] thank you speech was everything.  When she said "Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are but I want to work together." I bout fell out my recliner.  Had a few drinks before the show, Ms. Clarkson?  I also enjoyed the Bob Marley tribute even if it did include a Bruno Mars song and only one Bob Marley song.  The performance had a lot of energy and you need that in a 3 hour long show.  Oh, and shoutouts to Jay-Z for putting The Dream on blast for wearing that swatmeat hat to the Grammys.  It was like he woke up 30 minutes before the show and just threw on the first thing he saw laying around the room.  Get it together, The Dream.

Fredi Washington (right) in Imitation of Life
I know I missed the first week but I want to try to spotlight someone or something in Black History for each week in February.  This week spotlight is on Ms. Fredi Washington.  You might have never heard of her.  If you saw the 1934 movie Imitation of Life then you know that she played Peola, the fair skinned girl who was ashamed of being black and wanted to pass as a white woman.  If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it.  You can probably catch it on Turner's Classic Movie channel.  Ms. Fredi Washington caught some controversy for role in the movie.  Because of her convincing performance some black people thought that in real life she wanted to pass for a white woman.  In reality, she was an civil rights activist fighting to get fairer policies for blacks in the entertainment industry. 

Washington was told often if she wanted to be successful in Hollywood she should pass for a white woman because she was so light skin.  As a proud African American woman, she firmly refuse to do such a thing. 
Ms. Fredi Washington on passing, "I have never tried to pass for white and never had any desire, I am proud of my race."
 Because of her choosing not to "pass" and not wanting to be stuck with stereotypical roles,  there was limited work for her.  She decided to work in the theater and continued to speak on racial issues.  I admire her for her bold choice during an era when just being black could get you killed.  Let this serve as a reminder to be proud of who you are regardless of your color, size, or shape. 

Stay tuned for next week's Black History Month spotlight!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Hey everybody!! Now, you all know that I was going to review the most anticipated half time show in a decade.  And as Beyonce's biggest hater/fan, I would like to give her three snaps and a swirl for that performance.  Some have said that it was the best half time show ever and yea, I am not going to agree with that but it was better then they have been in last few years (Because of Janet's nipple slip, networks have been playing it safe ever since). 

I can't really break this performance down in highs and lows because it was truly good from beginning to end.  I love how she gave us overview of her 16 year career in 12 minutes.  When Bey did the "Uh, oh" part in the Crazy in Love song I seriously almost got up and started dancing myself.  Then the reunion with Destiny Child's was awesome.  I was a huge DC fan back in the day (still am) and so was really excited to see them back on stage together.  That all girl band was killing it.  It really made me wish I still had my saxophone so that I could join the band but I'm not even sure if I could remember the fingering for a G flat.  A Youtube blogger brought it to my attention that King Bey even had thicker girl dancers on stage with her.  As a follow thicker girl, this warmed my heart.  Then she ended the performance beautifully with "Halo".  All in all, she gets an A for this performance.

Now as Beyonce biggest hater/fan you know I had to find something.  Is it just me, or was Kelly and Michelle's mic turned down when they were singing "Single Ladies"?  I'm just saying.  And I also wish that Beyonce would have gave us a preview of a new single from the album she has been working on.  This would have been the perfect occasion for it. 

On another note: apparently, Keisha Cole came for Michelle Williams on Twitter.  Back some time ago, Michelle had some bad words for Keisha and Keisha is still pressed about it.  At this point (mostly because of Chris Brown), I need some of these celebrities to hand their Twitter accounts over to their PR people. 

Oh, I cannot forget that my SISTAH did an awesome job singing with the children chorus of Sandy Hook Elementary.  She did a flawless job but who was doubting that she wouldn't?

For your viewing pleasure here are both J Hud's and Beyonce's performance: