Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Police Reform NOW: McKinney Pool Party Goes Awry

If you Google 'pool party' the first thing that will pop up is a video of a cop violently throwing a 14 year old black girl to the ground and putting his knee in his back after an end of the year pool party goes awry.   I'm over here like "Is this really happening again??"

It all started in McKinney, Texas when residents of a suburb got upset about outsiders swimming in the neighborhood's private pool. Some party goers had been given passes to the pool.  At some point, the party got out of hand.  One of the residents thought it was a good a idea to tell one of the black teens to go back to her Section 8 housing even though the young lady lived in the neighborhood.  Soon after those shots were fired, fists went flying.  Needless to say, cops were called. 

In comes fake 007 Officer Eric Casebolt with his wack parkour moves. Seriously, if you haven't seen it check it out.  It was the most unnecessary ground roll in the history of police patrol.  While trying to get  control (if that's what you want call it) of the teens, he yanks a girl, wearing nothing but a bathing suit, to the ground.  He forces her face into the grass and proceeds to  sit on her.  Literally. sits. on. her.  We also see on the video  the only ones being asked to get to the ground are the black teens.  Even the young boy recording the whole incident (who is white) said he felt like he was invisible.  Officer Casebolt has been put on administrative leave.

I'm not here to discuss what the details of the day were.  I was not at this pool party and can't say without a shadow of the doubt if the kids were suppose to be there or not.  However, I will say  I'm petitioning for a new lesson plan for police academies and as well as follow up police training:


I don't only want this to be put into the curriculum but I want it to be taught on the first day. On day one of police training, every student should have to write the above statement 100 times and then a 100 times more on a piece a paper and then turn to their neighbor and tell him/her 100 times.  After the first day of training, each trainee will recite it every morning to the end of their training.  On the day of graduation, along with the pledge they give to protect and serve their community, they will again recite: BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT SUPER HUMANS AND THUS DO NOT NEED TO BE SUBDUED WITH EXCESSIVE FORCE. 

On their exams, there needs to be questions like:

1. If you are trying to get control of a pool party that has gone bat crazy and you come across an unarmed, black 14 year old girl wearing nothing but a bathing suit is it necessary to slam her face first to the ground and then sit on her back?

A. No
B. No
C. No
D. All of the above
E. The answer is No.
2. At what point do you need to pull your gun out at unarmed black teens?

A. Never
B. Never
C. Never
D. Seriously, Never

3. If you are easily threatened by unarmed People of Color, what should you do immediately?

A. Not be a cop
B. Stop taking this exam right now and not be a cop
C. Whatever you do please do not be a cop

Some might say, "Ebony, don't you think these questions are a little much?"  No, not at all!  For the last 6 months the news has been filled with reports of cops killing unharmed people.  The only good thing about this particular incident is that no one was killed.  Even so, it's hard to ignore what has happen in the last year.  But what really makes me go 'hmmmm' is the fact it keeps happening.  When students continue to flunk out of school what do they do? Reform.  When trends showed that children were more obese now than ever before? School lunch reform. When studies showed  cigarettes were actually a danger to users' health? Reformed the way they were sold.  It's clear that humans know how to notice trends and make needed changes.  So, it blows my mind there hasn't been a more drastic shift in how police patrol people of color when every 2 weeks we are having to rally in the memory of someone who has been shot down by a cop.

What breaks my heart even more is that some white people truly don't understand what we are saying when we say #BlackLivesMatter.  On one of the segments on CNN a woman said this cop deserved a medal.  A medal?! Let's not act like he was breaking up an act of terrorism.  He was dealing with a teen pool party.  I think if it was changed to #BlackLivesMatterToo they would get it.  We are not saying that we want to be held  above the law.  We just want to be able to do simple things like walk to the corner store, play at the playground, take the trash out, and yes, swim and live to tell about it.  

UPDATE:  Officer Casebolt has resigned. Thank God. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Women Entrepreneurs

In the celebration of Black History Month and me opening my new business (www.etsy.com/shop/EbonysKitchenSpa ) , I want to dedicate this post to some women who came before me and decided to do it for themselves. 

Annie Turnbo Malone:
Source: blackpast.org
Whenever people think of black women entrepreneurs in history, the go to person is Madam C.J. Walker, who many believed single handedly started the black hair industry.   What if I told you there was someone who came before her?  Four years before Madam C.J Walker, Malone launched her hair care business made for African-American women.  During the early part of the 20th century, Annie ran hair care products and cosmetics like a boss.  Decades before Carol’s Daughters, Malone had the hair product game on lock. 

Annie Malone is the definition of overcoming.  Inspite of being a sickly child and not completing high school, she had the entrepreneur spirit.  It was during this time that black women were getting away from cornrows because of its connection to slavery.  They were turning to soaps, bacon grease, heavy oil, butter and other methods to straighten their hair.  In some cases, these methods were actually damaging to the hair.  Working with her aunt who was an herbal doctor, she developed a solution to straighten hair safely or as safely as you could get in the early 1900s. 

Along with her product The Great Wonderful Hair Grower, she opened a beauty school in St. Louis that trained other women to be hair stylists and employed women to sell her products door-to-door.  At some point Madam C.J. Walker worked for Annie and then decided to do her own thing.  I’m not saying there was tension between these two ladies but I can only imagine the side eyes that were probably exchanged between them. 

For more information on this incredible woman, go to www.anniemalone.com

Sarah E. Goode:

IKEA might be the go-to place for convenient furniture, but Sarah E. Goode was making furniture for small spaces centuries before the Swedish.  Sarah was the first African-American to receive a U.S patent.  Goode was born into slavery and moved to Chicago, IL after the Civil War. 

With her husband, Archibald Goode, a carpenter, she owned a furniture store.  Many of her customers were working class black people living in small, cramped apartments.  To help with their situation, Sarah invented a “folding bed” that could be put up when not in use and also be used for storage.  Not much is known about Sarah outside of her invention.  Nonetheless, she is worthy of a mention for an accomplishment that has had an effect on how furniture is made today.

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley:
Source: blackpast.org
First Lady Michelle Obama is known as one of the most fashionable First Ladies ever.  It’s nothing to catch her in a designer dress by the world’s most acclaimed designers.  Before Michelle was gracing the State of the Union Address in Prada, the designer to wear was Keckley.  Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave, would go on to be a dressmaker and confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s wife).

After being born into slavery, impregnated by her owner, and being married for a short time, Elizabeth learned the art of dressmaking.  Her dresses were so popular with her clients that they offered her a loan to buy her freedom.  Elizabeth dresses stood out from the dresses of the time and she was an expert with fit.  She would eventually become the dressmaker for the political elite including Mary Todd Lincoln.  She would become very close with Mary Lincoln even being there for her when Lincoln was assassinated. 

Unfortunately, due to her tell-all memoir (Apparently, she was the TMZ of her generation)Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.

she would lose her friendship with Mary and also her high-end clientele.   Even though she was offered a faculty position at Ohio’s Wiberforce University teaching sewing, she would have to discontinue because of her health.  She died in May of 1907 impoverished.  Her story was revived in 2013 in the book

It is an honor to follow in their entrepreneurial foot steps.  Today I open my Etsy shop, Ebony's Kitchen Spa selling homemade body butters and body scrubs.  From today to the end of February you can get my Body Whip for $9.50 and Body Scrub for $8.50.  Do not miss this store opening sale!

As always thank you for supporting this blog as well as my new business venture.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Yo Beyonce, Fowl Move for Stealing Ledisi's Moment

If you watched the Grammy's last night, you know that Beyoncé was the main attraction.  And in true star power fashion she was saved for the end.  My main problem with that is it shouldn't have been her on the stage but Ledisi.

Here's why:

Ledisi played the late great Mahalia Jackson in the highly esteemed, Academy Award nominated Selma.  Even though she was only in the movie for a few minutes she did an extraordinary job of conveying the emotions of the Civil Rights Movement through her rendition of "Precious Lord".  She even sings the song for the soundtrack. And she was going to be at the Grammy's.  So you can understand my befuddlement when it was announced that Beyoncé was going to be performing the song.

At first I was annoyed with the Grammy's for asking her to sing the song.  I thought it was a power move and because Beyoncé was the bigger name, the producers of the Grammy's thought she was the better pick.  However, when I learned that she [Beyoncé] approached John Legend to sing the song I. WAS. DONE.  Not only was I done with Beyoncé but I was done with John Legend and Common for agreeing to it.  John Legend's reply was he couldn't say no to Beyoncé?  Did they even have the courtesy to phone Ledisi and say "Hey girl, Bey asked us to do the song. So no disrespect but we going with Bey."  Still not cool, but it's better than nothing.  Ledisi didn't even know why she was snubbed. I'm calling fowl on the play on Beyoncé, John Legend, and Common.

The delusional Beyhive wants to say we are hating on Beyoncé and not giving her props.  This is not about hate.  It's not even about if she did a good job or not.  This is about doing the right thing.  As far as I know, Beyoncé has no connection to the movie.  She's not a financial backer, actress, or sang on the soundtrack.  It's the equivalent of Christina Aguilera singing And I Am Telling You from Dream Girls but you got Jennifer Hudson sitting in the audience waiting to belt it out.  It's ludicrous. 

I wrote a post questioning Beyoncé's claim of  being a feminist.  Rarely do I feel bad about things I post, but I felt a certain way about that one.  I felt like I was questioning something I shouldn't.  Some could still make the argument that I don't but I now stand by that post.  Correct me if I'm wrong but a huge part of feminism is women supporting each other.  When Beyoncé allowed Taylor Swift to finish her acceptance speech at the VMA's during her win because Kanye stage jacked her, we applauded her because it was a noble moment.  Why couldn't she let Ledisi, who has only been able to perform at BET and Soul Train Awards, have this moment? No shade, no tea but Ledisi needed this moment more than Beyoncé.

If Ledisi could have had that moment to blow on stage, can you imagine what that could have done for her?  We complain all the time about how these award shows do not give black people their fair due.  Kanye almost had a Kanye moment when it appeared he was going to interrupt Beck, who won Best Album of the Year, to tell us that Beyoncé should have won.  But the one opportunity we had for a dark skin, poised, and beautiful woman to grace the Grammy stage and instead it's given to an artist who's biggest hit this year could have been written by a 13 year old? (I jams out to 7/11 but let's not act like your lil' cousin couldn't have produced that) Nope... not here for it. 

Common and John Legend share the blame as well.  There was a time when both of these artists were considered Neo-Soul and not necessarily mainstream.  This would have been a good time to allow a fellow Neo-Soul artist to be on the come up.  The fact they chose a lack-luster introduction from Beyoncé instead is very disappointing. 

I know I have spent the last 7 paragraphs going in on this catastrophe but let me praise Ledisi on how she handled it.  When asked on the Red Carpet about the snub, she honestly answered that she was disappointed but said that she was excited to be in the movie and happy for the publicity that the movie is getting.  You go girl!! I love a person that can be classy and graceful after being done all the way wrong.  I'm going to be honest, I haven't listened to much of Ledisi but she has gained a new fan because of her character. 

What did you think of the infamous snub?  Comment below.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fresh Off the Boat is HILARIOUS

Tonight was the premiere of Fresh Off the Boat.  It’s about a family that moves from D.C. to Orlando, Florida in 1995 so the dad, Lousis Huang (Randal Park) can open a steak house.  But what makes this show stand out from other family sitcoms is that it’s an all Asian cast.  Check me if I’m wrong but I think that is a TV first.  I’m pretty sure most people were worried about how this family was going to be portrayed.  Well, no worries… it was hilarious!!!

Source: imdb.com
First, off let me just give a huge shout out to Hudson Yang, who plays the oldest and most gansta, hip hop listening little boy ever, Eddie Huang.  Eddie cracks me up.  His idols are Shaq, Snoop Dog, and Biggie Smalls.  He has no fear and you can’t tell him that he ain’t the baddest dude on da block (sorry, had to get hood for a minute).  He actually reminds me of this Filipino guy I went to high school with.  He wore more South Pole and short sets than any black dude I knew.  Another thing I loved about this kid was his acting.  He was so natural.  He wasn’t corny like those new-age Disney show kids.   The boys that play his little brothers are just as talented: Ian Chen and Forrest Wheeler. 

The show is superb because it doesn’t spend 30 minutes making fun of Asians.  Being Asian is not the punch line.  They have real dialogue.  Anybody who has been 12 before can relate to Eddie and his mom, Jessica (Constance Wu).  For example, in the first episode, Eddie no longer wants take Asian food for his lunch because the kids make fun of the way it smells.  He tells his mom that he wants “white people food” so the kids will stop teasing him.  At first his mom plays hardball and tells him to suck it up.  Then, like a mom, she gives in to him, takes him shopping for white people food better known as the staple food of the 90’s, Lunchables. 

Jessica and Eddie are the best mom and son duo
Who can’t relate to being 12 and not wanting to stand out?  I remember back-to-school shopping and wanting Crayola crayons because that’s what the cool kids had.  My mom, on the hand, wanted to purchase Rose Art crayons because they were cheaper.   Not only did the cool kids not use Rose Art crayons, they were basically crappy.   Like Eddie, I would pout and whine until she finally gave in and bought the Crayola.  I look forward to seeing the two of them grow together.

Living in such a sensitive society, I was surprised there wasn’t any outrage about the show.  I do want to make the point that the show is based off the real life of Eddie Huang, restauranteur, chef, food personality, and former lawyer.  So these aren’t just a whole bunch of white writers in a room coming up with these storylines.  Yet and still, I just knew there was going to be rants on social media about how racist this show is.  After tonight’s premiere, I hope not to see any think-pieces dragging the show through the dirt.  If there is, I will petition to get the author of the think-piece banned from the internet.  Take your negativity somewhere else and let me enjoy the show.

I’m excited for this show and can’t wait for next week’s episode.  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend watching it on ABC Go or wherever it’s streamed.  It will have you laughing from the first line to the last.  Can I also say a big thank you to the Universe for giving us such good TV in the last year: Empire, Black-ish, How to Get Away with Murder, and Broad City.  For the first time in a long time, I have a regular TV schedule that I can be proud of.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Can We Talk about Empire?

What happens when you mix a sassy ex-con, a pompadour wearing CEO, 3 fine sons, a bib, and a banging soundtrack?  You get Empire, Fox's newest primetime drama.  After one episode, I was hooked.  After an increase in viewership with the second episode, Empire has already been renewed for a second season.

In case you missed it,  Empire is about Luscious (played by the talented Terrence Howard), rap star and CEO of Empire Entertainment, who finds out he has ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and has 3 years to live.  Since he is dying he has to figure out who between his 3 sons will take over the family business.  The three sons consist of Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem.  Andre (Trai Byers) is the oldest and the more business focused one so of course he wants to be the new CEO.  Jamal (Jussie Smollett), the middle son, is sentimental and musically gifted.  He is also gay.  Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is the youngest son, up and coming rapper, and  the resident bad boy.

But the real star of the show is the most fearless former drug dealer you ever met, Cookie played by the beautiful Taraji P. Henson.  Cookie goes to jail for 17 years for dealing drugs and is back to get what she's owed.  She owed because it was her drug money that started Empire Entertainment.  And Cookie has no shame in busting into business meetings to get what is her's.  However, not only does she realize that it's going to be harder to get her half of Empire but she comes to the hard realization that Luscious has moved on to some basic chick with a bad haircut from 2003.  Let's this be a lesson ladies: These dudes ain't loyal.

Through flashbacks we find that Luscious isn't too keen on Jamal being gay.  Like, he literally tried to throw him in the trashcan when was a kid.  He refers to Jamal's boyfriend as his roommate and refuses to allow him to come out the closet to the public or else Jamal will lose all financial support from his dad.  Another lesson: have your own and you can do whatever you want.  But who Jamal is sleeping with should be the least of Luscious' problems.  Andre is bipolar and will stop it nothing to be the next head of Empire.  Even causing tension between his brothers who are both about to drop albums.  Hakeem is a spoiled brat who needs the back of a hand to his face.  Well, he did get a broom to the head when he called Cookie out of her name but unfortunately it didn't do much.

The singing in the show is pretty good.  According to Taraji, all the actors do their own singing and rapping.  You could say it's the ratchet Glee.    There are also some corny moments like when Luscious was "on the phone" with President Obama cleaning up his youngest son's mess.  I don't think even Jay-Z has Obama on speed dial.  But even with that very unbelievable moment, the show keeps me wanting more.

To get you up to speed for tonight episode, here what you need to know:

  • Cookie's has signed an agreement that she will not let anyone know that her drug money started the company
  • Luscious kills his closest friend because he was about to snitch about the Luscious' thug past
  • Andre and his girlfriend are working together to get his brothers to sabotage each other
  • Cookie is signed to be Jamaal's manager
  • Hakeem has no self control and is self destructive
  • Cookie's assistant, Porsha, can't walk in heels
  • And Cookie is being pressured by federal agents to talk to a grand jury about some pass events which could possibly get her killed
Hope that helps and be sure to tune in tonight on Fox to watch the newest episode.

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Theme: Perseverance

I know we are 19 days into the New Year but I feel compelled to let my readers know about my excitement/plans for the upcoming year.  I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions; instead, I will have a theme: Perseverance.  

Perseverance is defined as a steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.  In other words, continuing to pursue your goals even when life is kicking you in the face.  I will be the first to say that being an adult is nowhere near as fun as I thought it would be.  I would give my right arm to go back to college being an RA and my sole responsibility being to get to my 8:00 class on time.  However, until time travel is invented I’m stuck being a bill-paying, traffic fighting, student loan loathing adult.

But being an adult is not all bad.  Being able to choose your path in life and how you get there is exciting.   While on that path life is going to throw you curve balls, so perseverance is a necessity.   A necessity I’m going to need on my major venture in 2015.

Some weeks ago, I told you all that I was taking a break from blogging to work on another business venture.  I’m finally ready to let you all in on the news.  Starting late January, early February I will be bringing you my beauty product line.  It will offer body butters and body scrubs.  I have the most sensitive skin this side of the Mason-Dixie line.  As a teenager, I was close friends with acne and eczema so I had to be careful with the products that I used.  Thanks to the powers of Pinterest, I discovered coconut oil and all its many uses.   After dibble and dabbling with some recipes, I have come up with products that you and your skin will enjoy.  Stay tuned for more details.

And you better believe that I will get back to blogging.   I know that I have missed out on a lot of juicy pop culture events but I look forward to getting back to basics to the craziness that makes up our pop culture.  I will admit that it will be challenging considering that I work full time and starting a side business plus other responsibilities but hey, that’s what perseverance is for

I didn’t get a chance to say this in 2014 but I want to thank all my readers from the bottom of my heart that read each post, share it, or retweet it.  It means a lot that you all tune it to each post and see what I have to say about the latest antics in our world. I will continue to give you my best.

What’s your theme for 2015?