Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Fire Challenge: Why I'm Not Having Children

As a single woman, there are times when I imagine being a wife with kids: cooking dinner for my family, walking through the park with baby in stroller,   beaming with pride as I watch my little girl in her first dance recital or my son’s first T-Ball game.  But then I get on Facebook and I’m reminded why there might not be in little Ebonys running around anytime soon. 

The reality is I’m scared crapless to have kids because apparently it’s the “in thing” to set yourself on fire, film it, and post it to Facebook for the world to see.  What I have just described is the Fire Challenge.  These are videos where the world’s dumbest adolescents rub some flammable fluid on their chests and then set a lighter to it.   No, I’m not talking about some rite of passage in a tribe documented by National Geographic.  This is Man Man and Pookey in the bathroom giving themselves 6th degree burns while some idiot is standing on the side using his phone to record instead of calling 911.

My mom use to say “If you think things can’t get any worse, just live a little longer.”  Well, I never thought I would live to see the day where someone sets fire to their own limbs.  Don’t they know being on fire is ranked the worst pain you can feel? Right up there with labor pains with no epidural.  So on top of parents having to make sure their kids don’t join a gang, get pregnant at 16, and don’t do crack, now they have to lock up all the lighters and lighting fluid because of a new trend?  Does Obamacare even cover self-inflicted burns? I can’t. 

We are becoming a society that is controlled by the number of likes on a post.  And honestly, I’m not sure if I want to bring kids into a world like that.  The day I hear my child say she set herself on fire because her friends were doing it is the day she learns to eat through a feeding tube because every tooth in her head is being knocked out.  I get that peer pressure can be something else but really?  Being popular can’t be that serious.  When a child has set his/her mind on causing bodily harm to themselves for a few hundred likes, who is to blame?  I’m not even sure how to start a conversation with someone who has that reasoning or logic. 

I fear for today’s youth.  There is already another challenge where kids are causing themselves to pass out.  I try my best to not imagine what the next challenge is going to be.  If any kids read my blog, please put the lighter down, it’s not worth it.  While I’m pretty sure that procreation is not for me, I pray that our youth will get it together soon.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spoken Word: N.W.A Casting Call

Source: Todd MacMillan/Universal Pictures
Last week, a casting agency caused a lot of uproar in the interwebs.  The Sandi Allesi Casting posted a casting call to their Facebook page looking for women for the new N.W.A Biopic.  In this decade's most racist casting call, women were broken down into 4 categories: A, B, C, and D.  The A-C category requested women who were the hottest of the hottest, mixed race, medium to light skin with long hair, natural or weave.  Being of the darker shade myself, I had a bit of a problem with Category D.  Category D asked specifically for dark skin women who were not only out of shape but poor looking.  Because as we all know only dark skinned women are out of shape and poor.

To express my disgust for everything in this casting call, I decided to find my inner Love Jones and come to you with this post in spoken word.  So turn down the lights, light a cigarette, and snap as I approach the stage and give you


2014, but it might as well be 1943 
Too dark to be "the hottest of the hot"
But just right to be a rag, wearing mammy

I can be cast to be the loud mouth baby mama or
The girl twisting her neck at the corner store
Shaking my hand as I talk
Oooooo, maybe I get the part as Dr. Dre's Compton whore

Hair not long enough for Category A
Skin not medium enough for Category C
Dark skin, short hair, chubby stature
Just right for Category D

Why can't I be the love interest?
Why can't I be the woman that Ice Cube strives for?
Why is that light is right,
But dark gets ignored?

I thought this dispute was over
This way of thinking was in the past
But I'm still having to defend my dark shade
All my childhood insecurities coming back fast

My mom repeatedly having to tell me I'm beautiful
Giving myself pep talks before I left for school
Being intimidated to wear vibrant colors 
And only clear lip gloss was the rule

But the pep talks are few
I wear every color on the spectrum
I embrace my dark skin 
Rather than view it as an incurable infection

Casting call agent 
I have some words for you
The next time you mention my shade
This is what you should do

Pair it with strength, perseverance,
Vulnerable, charming, and beauty,
Funny, smart, sarcastic,
And maybe a little snooty  

Casting call agent,
Listen to my plea,
Do not shame my black women and black girls
With Category D

*Snap, Snap Hope you enjoyed the flow of my words.  What did you think about the casting call? 

Update: The casting agency and N.W.A has made a public apology for the ignant casting call.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nicki MInaj & Iggy Azalea: Why We Need This

Hip Hop has always been competitive: who has the better lyrics, who has the biggest chain, who’s rocking the cleanest sneakers, or who has the biggest bank account.  This competitive spirit is what makes Hip Hop stand out from other genres.  Admitting that the East Coast, West Coast beef got a little out of hand, some of the greatest moments in Hip Hop came from friendly competition (Remember Jay-Z and Nas?)
This is why we need both Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea to be great.  There have always been complaints about the woman’s place (or a lack of) in the lyrical realm.  At times, we have gone as long as a decade without strong female MCs.  We have gone even longer without having more than one female rapper on the charts at the same time.  With both Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea on the scene, it shows a promising future for females in Hip Hop.
I know some people are bothered by Iggy Azalea’s presence.  Not I.  If she is good at what she does, let her shine.  Don’t hate, congratulate (yea, I know that's from 1997).  Forbes wrote an article about the Iggy’s surprising success and needless to say some African Americans were not here for the article.  For me, her success is not a slap to black women in the genre but a chance for us to see how Nicki Minaj is going to handle the competition (and possibly see other women bust onto the scene).
Let’s keep it real: who has been Nicki’s competition (To be honest, I wasn’t expecting Nicki to last past her first single)?  For the past 4 years, the female rapper category at the BET Awards has been a joke.  This was the first year that I wasn’t sure if Nicki was going to take the award home or not.  Nicki has had the freedom to experiment with different sounds because she didn’t have to worry about anybody snatching her wig.  Now that there is someone else on the scene it’s makes  me wonder how she is going to deal.
At this year’s BET Awards, shots were fired when Nicki made it known that she writes her own bars. She has said that this was not shade towards Azalea.  However, I can't help but wonder why she felt the need to explain the authenticity of her work?  Is it because Nicki knows that play time is over and a rumble is getting ready to start?  Whatever the case may be, Nicki wanted us to know she is a force to be reckon with.  Will Iggy be the one to reckon with that force?
This was me when Nicki was giving her acceptance speech
As long as there are no real shots fired, beefs friendly competition is a good thing in hip hop.  This separates the rappers from the lyricists.  I’m ready for the females to get a piece of the action and I feel that Nicki and Iggy are the ones who are go to do it. 

What do yall think?