Coffee Rhetoric: Brain Matters
Showing posts with label Brain Matters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brain Matters. Show all posts

July 13, 2012

Spilling Open

Paul Gauguin, "Brooding Woman"

Sullen Girl

 

I’ve neglected this blog long enough, but I’ve been working on editing a project that I’m expecting (or at least hoping) to pan out with some relative success. Also to be frank, I haven’t really felt compelled to update Coffee Rhetoric, contribute to any other platforms, or do any writing in general, as of late. None of the human interest stories I’ve been reading across the web, has incited me to chorus. Sometimes, I want a break from deconstructing gender, racial discord, intra-racial dysfunction, popular culture, and just the cult of personality in general. 
And while I don’t really feel the need to share that much of my own personal goings-on anymore, as I plod my way towards a break-through of some sort;  I will disclose that I am lamenting over many aspects of my being, while simultaneously celebrating my self-imposed solitariness… if that makes any sense. In other words, I miss being social, yet I have no desire to be around most people right now. 

It could be age—and me becoming while a grumpy old woman— or maybe it is just plain ol’ cynicism; but the thought of socializing or building with people doesn’t interest me as it once did… and neither does dating. My patience with certain personalities wears thin in a flash. Waning friendships and/or associations?  Bye… I’m not interested in trying to rekindle any of them; new connections? No longer interested in making any, save for a few rare exceptions and depending on the level of interest I have in the situation or person. This is not me having a pity-party and it’s far from self-flagellation… I’m not quite sure how to pinpoint my current state. It’s an amalgamation of feelings and a lack thereof.  I’m frustrated that personal goals aren’t panning out the way I need them to. I’m feeling like I’ve reached an impasse and want to buy a one-way ticket someplace faraway. I am struggling against the pull of “That Dark Place”, because I don’t want or like residing or visiting there. Essentially, I just want to be left alone… literally and figuratively; which I pretty much am, for the most part. I’ve learned to hide this particular brand of dismay well, because I've had to and quite frankly, don't really have a choice. Warding off encroaching demons that prompt me to shut down completely-- where I'm almost robotic, detached and somewhat cold-- is daunting though.  
Thirty-five is on my heels and I don’t care; as the last several Born Days, were uneventful and stark reminders of … many things, so I don't make much them... I prefer to spend them alone... with wine if I have access to any.   

Anyway, this is my attempt to write through the blockage as I continue to claw my way out of my funk, because I'm mentally worn out. At times I wish I “indulged” in other, otherwise I’d just smoke or pill-pop my way towards an epiphany… but then I doubt I’d ever get anything productive done, I’d be existing in some delusional state of being, and it’s not really a viable way (for me) to reach a resolution.  I’m just a bit overwhelmed from being underwhelmed.

“I still consider myself to be my own best friend though, and there's no company I'd rather keep than my own. Aside from my immediate family, there are very few people I care to spend more than a few hours (tops) with. Parties and particularly long "hang-outs" leave me feeling stir-crazy and most of all, self conscious. I don't really like myself much around other people. After the initial charm of my niceties wears off, I feel awkward and annoying. I long to be alone, to be with myself. It's a bit odd, simultaneously loving and hating yourself like I do.
And so I retreat back into my world of loner-ism, and I perk up. I start to feel better about myself. I shed the feelings that others are judging me and I go shopping, I treat myself to lunch, I take a bath, I read, I paint, I watch a movie (no interruptions from the peanut gallery, thank you very much). I do the things I wouldn't want to do with anyone else, and I become a better person for it.” 

Me, almost to a T. I'm working my way through the woods and towards clarity, though.  

December 06, 2011

Love Rain...


I fancy myself a pop-culture pundit of sorts and so am not ashamed to admit that this includes my succumbing to the Reality TV/Celebreality machine. Likewise, I also try to stay abreast of social media buzz and peep what blogs, cyber-mags, and social networking forums are on about. The two mediums seem to go hand-in-hand, particularly when the "Black Twitter" collective is concerned. Black tweeters bring the LOLz and they come, guns blazing, when skewering Black celebrities for some foolish infraction. Black politicians, especially of the Conservative-Republican variety, aren't above Twitter reproach either... (Herman Cain-kabob anyone?).

Perhaps the best, below-the-belt barbs and Twitter hash-tags come during the hours reality shows such as Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Braxtons, Basketbell Wives, Love & Hip Hop and shows of that ilk are on. Some of the more snarky Black tweeters hit their mark with their quips during some of the more ridiculous, off-the-cuff scenes. Then there're those who incite the rest of us to chorus and ask "Huh?" after they’ve tweeted something... well... dumb or misguided.
Per usual, folks did not disappoint during Love & Hip Hop, which was followed up by the premiere of T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle, VH-1's latest reality offering, which documents the lives of rapper T.I. (fresh from a second prison stint) and his long suffering girlfriend-turned-wife Tiny, of Xscape and BET's Tiny & Toya fame.

Surprisingly, Black women on Twitter seemed to saturate their chonies with crème-de-la-lady leche and began espousing the virtues of  true  love during some of the more pivotal scenes on Love & Hip Hop (when rapper Jim Jones finally implored his  mother to stop antagonizing his embattled and always battling lady-in-waiting, Chrissy Lampkin. Jones later pledged his undying affection for Chrissy by placating her o’er top of a roof for a Moroccan inspired dinner with all the decorative fixings). T.I's - (who makes it known under no uncertain terms, that he wears the pants and bankrolls day-to-day operations in his relationship with Tiny) - obvious loyalty to his blended family and wife is undeniable. In fact, seeing it played out on TV caused a collective genital quake across Twitter however; the relationship has been fraught with well-documented legal troubles and alleged cheating. But this did not stop some women from christening Jim and T.I.'s dysfunctional relationships with their women as the blueprint for Black love. I’d be willing to wager that some of these admirers of dysfunctional love, were some of the same detractors of single-motherhood who suggested single moms should aspire to be like Beyonce and Jay Z, shortly after her pregnancy announcement. They lashed out, calling all Snarky McSnarksteins jealous haters who can't get a man or sustain a relationship ...  ...  ...  OK.

One writer for the popular online publication, Clutch Magazine, posted a whole article citing these two televised relationships as heartfelt and wrote:

"Say what you will about Tiny and T.I.’s hoodrich love, but theirs is the type of relationship many long for: Loving, affectionate, fun, respectful, and supportive. Just like Jim and Chrissy, watching T.I. and Tiny interact on screen made it clear that they are genuinely in love and they want the world to know."  

Much to the chagrin of some commenters, who cyber side-eyed the piece... 

"T.I and Jim Jones… you have to be kidding!  What I don’t understand is this constant need to look to celelbrities [sic] as role models. I mean I really don’t understand it. I would like to hope these old a$$ men would want to settle down. T.I with all those d@mn kids! Jim jones and Dipset with the way the [sic] talk about women…"

Listen, while no one deserves to be crucified for their past and everyone has the right to err, love, and be loved; Why is it that some in our community put these dysfunctional "ride or die" relationships on a pedestal (especially when a man of questionable character is at the helm, trying to overcompensate for having put  his paramour or wife through years of hell), yet will belittle others (usually when a woman *read unwed baby mama* is the crux of the conversation)? While it's undoubtedly love that they're feeling, it just isn't the standard for Black Love like some people are trying to suggest. Relationships riddled with drama may work for some, but doesn't for everyone else, and if that makes me sound like a bitter, single, jealous hag then... that's the ignoramus, narrow view of a naysayer. 

This comment from the aforementioned online magazine sums it up: “You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife, but you can turn a drug dealer into a husband?” Well, I guess you should ask Beyonce and Tiny.  Apparently thugs can grow into men, probably an exception and not a rule though. While it’s cute, sweet, and seems genuine, don’t get wrapped up in the love and hip-hop thinking it could be you."




October 06, 2011

Hartford Politicking


ATTENTION HARTFORD RESIDENTS: I'm currently collaborating on a story about this year's voting process in Hartford, in response to the current campaigning and to perhaps gauge current voting trends in the Hartbeat. I'm wondering if you could PLEASE answer a few questions for me in the comments section or on the Coffee Rhetoric Facebook fan page.  I would greatly appreciate it and PLEASE be candid with your answers. This is an opportunity to have your voice heard! I would love to be able to feature some of your answers in my article. You'll be helping me out a lot! Thanks in advance! 


  • Are you currently registered to vote? Why/Why not? 
  • How do you feel about politics? And did you vote in the recent primary? Why/Why not? 
  • Two candidates ran for Mayor of Hartford. Did you vote for either? Why/Why not?
  • No Democratic women were endorsed for city council. Thoughts? 

Photo by Merle Davis


August 22, 2011

Uncivilized Afros and Slave Earrings

Twitter... My timeline makes me cry with laughter, furrow my brow in consideration, and mutter "hell no" whenever anyone re-tweets a link to something questionable or highly inappropriate. The latest marketing and media missteps caused me to exclaim just that when this past week, several re-tweets exposed skincare brand Nivea running afoul of folks with their Look Like You Give a Damn campaign geared towards men. The featured ad that ran in the September issue of Esquire Magazine presented a clean-cut Black man gripping a scraggly, brown rubber mask, with an unkempt beard and Afro with the tagline: RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF. The general consensus was that the ad was racially insensitive, particularly since people of the African diaspora have historically been judged as being uncivilized and not entirely human. Twitter's Black community took Nivea to task, prompting the company to issue an apology, in which they admitted: "After realizing that this ad is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn." The company further reinforced Nivea as a company that promotes diversity and tolerance. "This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again." They promised.
While Nivea quickly retreated back to the drawing board for a more presentable, less contentious marketing campaign, Vogue Italia incited the Twitter masses to chorus again with their online editorial titled: "Slave Earrings."   
"If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom." They advise. 
Apparently the Trans-Atlantic slave trade featured a ship packed with sexy, flirty, and fashion forward folk sporting killer hoop earrings. While some people want to push "post-racial" propaganda as a way to trivialize and not have to deal with racism and bigotry while whining that we're becoming a society that's riddled with excessive political-correctness, it seems that racially insensitive quips are on the rise. Political pundits want to glorify the good ol' days and regale the masses with tales of how wonderful slavery and racial oppression supposedly was and marketing heads seem to not have at least one or two people on their staff with some semblance of common sense, before putting ads out. People can't help but react when their communities are still... in 2011... being marginalized and exploited and then told to stfu, stop over-reacting and just deal with it. 
Vogue Italia could have taken a different approach in explaining the decorative customs of women from the African Diaspora and how tribal jewelry has influenced today's versions of hoop earrings... and NOT title the feature Slave Earrings. I can't help but have an impending  feeling of dread now, when I consider which pair of large, funky hoops to wear. I think we co-exist in an age where people are (or should be anyway) highly-evolved enough to have gotten a clue about respecting people's differences and understanding the fundamentals of what's acceptable versus what isn't, regardless of how far-removed they may be from how the rest of society lives or how politically correct they think we're becoming. It's not about stifling speech, forcing folks to like something about somebody, or thinking how much a group of people are overreacting... but about reaching a place where we actually consider someone's feelings when we tackle certain aspects of their culture and truly understand what place we're coming from before we engage in discourse about their lifestyle or history. 
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July 06, 2011

Shea Butter Exploitation

I write about the myriad of topics as I see fit on Coffee Rhetoric. Many of those posts may feature local people, places, and things I'm stoked about introducing readers to, issues having to do with race and gender, my lackluster dating life, and vanity. Basically hot-topic issues that are important to the Committee of Me, Myself, and I. That being said, I've written a few posts about my obsession with relatively old-school DIY beauty regimens and moisturizing with oils and butters... especially raw Shea Butter. 
Today, I read an interesting article on The Atlanta Post's site, detailing how Shea Butter production is a multi-million dollar industry that virtually never trickles down to the women who harvest the Shea nut, subsequently making it into the butter many of us swear by and that many cosmetic and hair care companies use in their products. 
Despite so called Fair Trade methods of exporting Shea Butter, the women of sub-Saharan Africa still live in poverty... virtually never seeing a dime for their labor. Fortunately ethical  cooperatives and businesses such as Shea Yeleen and Shea Butter Cottage (based in Sonning, Reading UK) help African countries such as Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mali to empower women and teach them the actual value of their hard work.  
I'm an avid user of unrefined Shea Butter, that I usually get from a distributor or vendor. The fact that many so-called Fair Trade NGO's aren't doing the ethical work to help women in Africa earn a fair wage for their work is disheartening and definitely will prompt me to be more mindful of how I acquire the product. I think folks should also do a little research (beyond "old wives tales" as stated in the article) before using Shea - (if they've never used the product save for the filtered, unscented version sold for a grip at L'occitane En Provence) - especially unrefined Shea Butter, to ensure they aren't getting swindled and being sold a rancid product. I think it's also beneficial to know the difference (although they work similarly) between actual, unrefined Shea Butter and Kpangnan (also called African) butter--> which is the yellow butter most commonly sold and marketed in the U.S. as being from the Karite tree. And is best explained in this video, in case anyone is as intrigued and obsessed with the production of African and Shea butters as I am...  In any event, I'm a firm believer in women in sub-Saharan Africa being fairly compensated for their hard work and not being exploited by greedy exporters. 

Read the Atlanta Post article HERE

June 18, 2011

Reading Is Fundamental

I have MASSIVE amounts of reading to catch up with! I feel as if I haven't read for pleasure in forever due to being busy. I'm looking to resolve this today! But... but... Where to begin? 



February 14, 2011

Black History Essentials: Reading Is Fundamental

This month is as great a time as any to catch up on noteworthy books to read. Whether they be staples from authors of yore or present day provocateurs with something powerful to share... Here're a few books that shook me to my core after I read them. 
Wench by  Dolen Perkins-Valdez made me privy to a part of Black... American history that I was completely unaware of... This article over at Racialicious sums it up really well..
I was also rather struck by the late Chester Himes' searing and controversial (especially for its time) "race novel", The End of A Primitive, which charts the slow disintegration of a heated and alcohol fueled interracial relationship between a, as Himes describes, "sexually frustrated American woman and racially frustrated Black American male" where he allows them to "soak in American bourbon." The result is ... intense to say the least. Himes' own story is interesting in and of itself. 
Another novel of note is Walter Mosley's The Man In My Basement. I believe I read this in two nights... An intense  and philosophical study about race, identity, and impressions. Also seemed to tackle moral dilemmas about evil, redemption, power, and punishment... 
Check them out! 

 

January 11, 2011

Monstrous

Urged on by friends who seemed overly excited by Nicki Minaj's fervid verse, I listened to Kanye West's all-star collaboration on the track, "Monster." Notoriously particular about the music and artists I listen and pay attention to,  I found myself nodding along in spite of my reluctance.  I'm not a hardcore Kanye West fan (I'll never forgive him for bestowing fame and fortune on the mute femme-bot known as Amber Rose)- or detractor (I think he's talented, enjoy some of his work, and even defended him during Taylor Swift-gate, when he Mic-snatched the annoying and saccharine country singer and did the infamous shrug seen 'round the world, elevating his douchery to epic proportions)- but in keeping with his current Avant-garde projects, controversial album art for his latest (and awesome) offering, My Dark Twisted Fantasy, and modernistic fashion choices, I found the dark, macabre lyrical quips right on track in keeping with this re-branded,  douchier more artistic than usual version of Kanye. I also found myself more impressed by Nicki Minaj's contribution to the song as well. She proved to be more than a one-trick pony with a dubiously luscious ass. She held her own, and then some, on an all-male track, and seemed to deviate from her whole "Harajuku Barbie" schtick, showing the breadth of her lyrical skills. Plus Jay-Z helped bring up the rear with his talk of vanquishing bitter vampires, ungrateful interlopers and such. In fact, Monster is heavy with horror movie tropes. I was in. I couldn't wait see the video... 
Um, so then I saw the video... *insert blank stare here* ... While I'm not sure what the inspiration was, I was a bit taken aback by the visuals. The video begins with a dead-eyed, limp model hanging by her neck, from a chain... Then the subsequent wide shot shows several other dead models hanging from chains in little else but their underwear, flanking rapper Rick Ross as he casually sits amongst their dead carcasses, puffing on a cigar... Next up? Kanye West... lying in bed... next to two dead models with broken necks, their eyes open but vacantly staring off... The video just goes downhill for me from that point on... 

Listen, I'm no prude. I'm known for seeking out obscure, off the cuff Art House/Experimental films that would cause the vast majority of the population to doubt my mental stability. I'm a fan of Richard Kern and Catherine Breillat. I've watched and grimaced my way through several films from the Torture Porn genre, so this is not a holier-than-thou rant arguing about the perverse nature of pop-art and rap videos. I'm all for seeing a little cutting edge perversion in art, and any rumblings disclaiming that admission would be b.s. because I suspect we all harbor curiosities when it comes to exploring perverse behaviors that're within some semblance of reason. However, there's imagery and ideas that are even twisted enough to make me squirm... which is a difficult feat...
During many aspects of the video, there seemed to be no discernible message connecting the dead, decapitated women with the crux of the song other than for shock value... and therein lies my issue. While I still enjoy listening to Monster, watching Kanye West lying in bed with two dead, broken necked models, as he re-positions them to touch one another reeks of necrophilia and it just makes it difficult for me to remember that I enjoy the song. There is a LOT going on in this video and none of it is particularly enjoyable to watch... including Jay-Z rapping his verse as yet another dead model lays splayed on a leather couch behind him. The visions of decapitated model heads and entrails offered no further hope or high expectations for the duration of the music video. I was over it by the time the Nicki Minaj, Dominatrix vs Nicki Minaj, Barbie (tied up in a chair) scene came up. 
Duncan Quinn ad
This video expounds on this disturbing trend of women featured in compromising situations... namely dead and dismembered ... or as zombies. It sort of reminded me of this movie I wrote about a while ago, that shook my core and prompted me to make haste and return it to Netflix. And in likening Monster's video to Dead Girl, perhaps the most chilling aspect or the one thing that bothers me about it rather, is the apathetic way in which Kanye, Jay-Z, & Rick Ross drift amongst the carnage of limp and dismembered female parts. While I understand the nature of the song itself and perhaps the video is a metaphor for... for... something... It always unnerves me when the female aesthetic goes beyond the usual titillating pictorial of T & A (which can also become problematic when done horribly wrong) - and manifests into something way more sinister and malevolent. And so enter the birth of films like this, this, and videos like this to counteract that victimization, much to the chagrin of many men, who are quick to deem it man-hating propaganda ... I'm just speculating.  Seeing women as tortured, mutilated corpses within the context of a music video is unusual and dare I say trumps the disturbing nature of Eminem's Stan video, where its antagonist places his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car. Are women, hanging by their broken necks from a ceiling not hateful, misogynistic visuals? I suppose dousing some video vixen with a bottle of high-end champagne or swiping a credit card down the crack of her gyrating ass isn't humiliating enough.  Please weigh in.

January 04, 2011

Hair Raising Tale: The Beauty Supply Store


Warning: Gratuitous use of personal pics showing the versatility of my natural hair. Deal.
Anyone who reads Coffee Rhetoric or who knows me personally, understands that I am vigorously passionate about issues having to do with women of the African diaspora; Especially how we're portrayed, exploited, "fetishized", oppressed, suppressed, trivialized, marginalized, and perceived. Image, body types, and of course hair. The struggle will never get old with me. I won't ever stop negating the stereotypes and foolery continuously projected onto Black women. Whether media pundits sans a clue (with Steve Harvey's help) continuously resurrect a dead corpse, struggling to analyze the reasons why they think we're ALL hopelessly single to being told our brand of beauty doesn't suffice unless a bunch of prerequisites come before it, or it be someone staring at us with their mouth agape when they realize our features are in fact diverse and not as homogeneous as they think... And so this story goes... 
About a month 1/2 ago, my best friend The Notorious C.A.T. came for a long overdue visit. Of course lots of fun and foolishness ensued. Anything less wouldn't make sense. I introduced her to haunts new to her since her last foray into Hartford... we visited some old, familiar ones. Per usual, Cat insisted on making her annual pilgrimage to a certain beauty supply store downtown to stock up on the must-haves lacking in her adopted northern New York town of Plattsburgh. 
As the Korean woman behind the counter rang her purchases, I noticed her animatedly speaking in Korean to her daughter, who was also behind the counter reading. The conversation seemed to be directed toward Cat, whose unrelaxed, curly hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck, in a puffy ponytail. We both looked at the woman and her daughter quizzically. 
"Oh, we were just talking about your hair." The daughter said to Cat. "It looks really nice. Is is real?" She asked. 
While I struggled to not express a serious case of WTF-face, Cat, in an amused voice, answered, "Oh! Yes. It's real!" 
"Oh wow! Okay." The girl answered incredulously as she and her mother nodded their shocked approval. 
Cat and I exchanged looks, smirked, and thanked the inquisitive Korean woman for ringing our purchases and went back out into the cold... laughing that all-knowing laugh. We reflected for a brief moment outside the store... 
I told Cat what'd just transpired reminded me of the scene from Chris Rock's eponymous documentary 'Good Hair,' where he visits several Korean-owned beauty supply stores, afro-textured wigs in-tow in a humorous attempt to sell it to them and measure its worth against the more popular and preferred 100% Indian Remy brand, beloved by Black women who get their hair weaved. "They don't wanna look... Africa... like this! They wanna look the style!" one heavily accented Korean store owner exclaimed, stretching his hands out on each side of his head for emphasis. "Nobody walks around with nappy hair nomore!" his Black employee sneered. Other beauty supply stores had similar reactions. Alas, Chris Rock concluded that our afro-textured hair wasn't worth a damn, apparently. 
I presume to think that Korean-owned beauty supply owners are probably so accustomed to seeing Black women walk in, with their need-to-be-done hair wrapped up in scarves, to purchase Indian Remy- (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that)- that the mere idea that one or two would walk in with derring-do, their natural, neatly styled kinky/curly hair on display on a mission to buy Cholesterol conditioner to lovingly maintain and care for it, came as a complete shock to them. 
Perhaps the store owner (and many other shocked and awed of the like) couldn't ever fathom soft, healthy, thick hair sprouting from the scalp of a Black woman scalp or grasp the fact that many of us would rather wear it instead of what's sprung from an Indian woman's... or that, quite possibly, a head of healthy hair lay protected underneath the weaved heads of many Black women, who're merely giving their own hair a breather from styling and maintenance. 
On a few occasions, I've been asked if my own pulled back, 70's inspired natural hair was a textured ponytail piece or bun pinned atop my head. 
While I maintain that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Black woman experimenting with her hair and wearing it however she sees fit, our hair and bodies along with our dating and sex lives seem to pique the curiosity of many and becomes a topic of debate amongst those not in the know or who think they do. However, I'm left to wonder if the minority of us who aren't merely just trying a different look and who do truly despise our features and resent the texture and depth of our hair, don't shoulder some of the responsibility for the reactions of those outside our community.
The hair issue is a perpetually complicated one.. and there are a number of beleaguered Black women who are downright indignant about the texture of their hair, as illustrated by the beauty supply clerk in the 'Good Hair' clip, who co-signed her employer's disdain for "Africa hair."  I'd be remiss if I also didn't call out so-called natural hair wearers who follow rigid, multi-layered hair regimens and live by that blasted hair typing chart popularized by Oprah Winfrey's long-time hairdresser, Andre Walker, in an attempt to monitor and alter the texture of their natural hair... perhaps to mimic a Bi/Multi-racial woman's hair type
Black women undoubtedly seem to be under a constant microscope. Other people outside our community pick up on the conflict that rages within the minority of my sistren who dislike themselves, and they run long-distance marathons with it... formulating these grandiose ideas about our appearance, particularly that somehow we all want to mimic a uniform look based on a euro centric aesthetic
I'm often quite dumbfounded and somewhat disgusted when other Black women, who aren't attuned to the actual texture of their own hair, express the same type of surprise at the versatility of my natural hair. As if they, themselves came out of the womb relaxed or be-weaved. It's akin to a clear case of mental conditioning (read: brainwashing).  
Listen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting with hair as a personal form of expression, but once Black women become that far removed from themselves that it extends beyond a personal aesthetic and simple vanity in a way that causes them to disconnect from what and who they really are, then it's damaging and it perpetuates the growing list of ignorant rhetoric about us. 
Be mindful. Why on earth would you co-sign someone else's virtual (read: distorted) sketch of your image and allow them to wage a totalitarian ideology of how they think you should look? 
That is all. 

March 24, 2010

Bus Tales: Umm, Er... I'm not sure

Today's society illustrates that we not only live in a multifaceted world complete with racially ambiguous people, political fence straddlers, and omnisexual revelers, but gender ambiguity factors into this ever increasing equation as well... 
This afternoon, while en route to my mother's house, my interest was initially piqued by the intimate yet loud details of a petite young woman's cell-phone conversation...
"Yeah! I know she's mad I left the apartment on Sumner Street, but I'm sorry, that shit was just disgusting! It smelled like pure DOG! I was like HELL NO! I really don't care!! She has such a nasty attitude. I don't know how she got my fucking cell phone number!! I changed my number for a reason! Don't let me have to give her baby's father her number!! And she wonders why he doesn't wanna deal wit her ass! ... " 
When two teenagers, shoulders bogged down with book-heavy backpacks stumbled onto the bus. Initially I thought they were both young teenaged boys, They both had on the uniform and look typical of most young men living in urban areas... trendy, yet baggy jeans, Timbaland-lite footwear, large polo shirts, caps pulled down low over their heads, and mouths hanging open...thoughts laden with the superficial... no doubt. Bored with petite woman's conversation, I began to listen to the two young men sitting across from me, until I noted the heavier set guy's voice...  His? voice was husky and deep... almost as if its tone were contrived. Intrigued, I looked up and noted he? had extension braids pulled back into a bun at the nape of his? neck and a baseball cap pulled down low... his? eyebrows were also groomed into an arch. He? spoke about girls to his? smaller boned friend... "Yeah, I saw her sitting in class. I was trying to talk to her... It's a good thing there's a such thing as Twitter! " she? laughed to her? friend... who was looking down and busy punching away on his? phone's qwerty keypad. 
Small boned friend wore a striped tube cap pulled down over his? head... and noticeably sparkly studs in each pierced ear. He? was undoubtedly a boy... until he? looked up and out the window and proclaimed in a high-pitched teen girl's voice... "Oh look! That's *insert girl's name here* walking down the street! The one in the pink boots!" 
"Who is that?" his? husky voiced friend asked, looking towards the object of his friend's attention. 
"That's the girl I was telling you about! I was trying to talk to her earlier!" 
I grew more confused, and tried as best as I could to study their features without being overt and rude about it... Small boned went back to busily typing on his... um, her? phone's keypad... on Twitter. "How do you spell 'committed'? Does it have one 't' or two?" 
"Com-mi-TED... One 't' " the huskier one offered, after sounding it out. I cringed and was tempted to interject and say "There're TWO 't's' in committed." but opted to mind my own business. Still intrigued by the fact that I had no clue whether or not either of them had been born girls, I listened to them giggle about their female classmates... notably the ones they thought were the cutest... Then they pulled the wire that rings the bell to stop, for Albany Avenue and departed. 
The moral to this little anecdote is that I guess it doesn't matter. They're being who they choose and want to be... However, I'm still bothered that 'committed' was tweeted incorrectly. That is all. 




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February 12, 2010

Hathor Take The Wheel

I did not want to bat an eyelash over John Mayer’s recent FAIL interview with Playboy Magazine, but the more in-depth I read it- (in its entirety, because I did not want to comment based solely on the excerpts that got everyone in an uproar)- the harder I blinked and the more perplexed I became. I will not comment on the obvious homophobia or misogyny and ageism he displayed whilst commenting on his former girlfriends (‘right made the acid in my stomach gurgle with displeasure), nor on the lack of confidence he has in his manhood for he spoke at length about his sexual prowess and technique as well as his need to prove himself and be better than the former flames of his conquests. 
What I will rant and rave about however, is John’s proclamations that he has a “hood/nigger” pass, suggesting that having one somehow justifies his never ending, assholish behavior, asinine public comments and Twitter rants. He said he was "Very" just like Black folks. "V.E.R.Y." and so it absolved him of stupid behavior. Man, I guess (not).  John also name dropped Kanye West, a fellow partner in lame grappling with his own P.R. issues and who in 1996 (publicly creamed his trousers over the splendor of biracial women or “mutts” as he affectionately called them, Jay-Z, and other rappers, who, shall I add, seem color-struck and enamored with all things lighter-skinned and/or non-Black themselves, and will never miss an opportunity to bash dark-skinned Black women or to drape themselves with the finest of racially ambiguous vixens. But I digress... 
John Mayer… who always manages to fellate his foot hungrily, deep-throating it with gusto whenever he has the media’s attention… felt his scrotum swelling with douche water after waving his “nigger pass” in the air... going on to gloat, after being asked if Black women threw themselves at him  (a stupid question in and of itself), that while he has a Benetton heart he just couldn’t open himself up to the possibility of entertaining Black women, due to his having a David Duke cock.”
insert record screeching to an abrupt stop right here
Correct me if I’m wrong, or perhaps I’m out of the loop, but I had no idea Black women were drowning John in a river of crème de la coochie. I was completely unaware that this rather uninteresting and bland musician was the stuff that makes Black women swoon with unbridled desire. John also went on to make vulgar remarks about noted Black actress Kerry Washington’s hotness and how she might possibly suck a dick and say, “Yeah, I did it, so what?” for she’d undoubtedly break a Caucasian cad’s heart because she's "crazy like a white girl," or some such nonsense to that effect, his love of porn, and how every White dude bulged out of their boxers for sitcom character Hilary Banks from the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Additionally, while John Mayer is entitled to his preferences, why do it at the expense of Black women by suggesting that we are somehow not worthy or significant enough for someone as inane as he is? Listen, at the end of the day, I don't need John's racist penis to validate me as a Black woman or any other White man with a "nigger pass" or otherwise for that matter, so I'll sleep well this evening, but imagine the shock and furor had Halle Berry stated she had the heart of Coretta Scott King but the vagina of Minister Louis Farrakhan ... Mmm hmmm... Think, think, think... famous people. THINK before you spew. 
To the assholes who gave Mayer a “nigger pass,” Therein lies the problem, jerks. You make it OK for dumb-asses to engage in hipster racism because you’re giving them the go-ahead to do so…ofttimes at a Black woman's expense.  And then you’re the same jack-asses who want to mollywhop your White buddy, because he said,  “Nigger please!” Um. No sir. You can't have it both ways. Good for the goose but not for the gander??
John Mayer or any other wanna-be down chav gets no “hood pass” from me EVER. I don’t care how many BLACK friends you collect, I don't care how many close White friends I happen to connect with, and I don’t care how many of your BLACK FRIENDS said it was OK to make stupid statements steeped in bigotry. It is never OK to wallow in ignorance because you think it's the hip thing that will get you an *in.* Real talk. I don't hand those types of passes out. Null and VOID. 
Mayer, choked up and regretful (because his publicist told him to be ), issued a tearful apology onstage in the middle of a performance in addition to taking to his Twitter page yet again to partake in some major damage control. I refuse to stroke his ego by saying, “Awww, he made a mistake.” A mistake is something that’s unintentional and not predicated on arrogance and one’s privilege. He's sorry, because folks got pissed and his statements were not well received, because just like many White people who share Mayer's sentiment(s) about being "down", it's always cool to smile proudly and proclaim how much Black people love you, as a way to justify making ignorant (regardless of one's intention) statements out loud. And to co-opt the cool parts of being a racial minority, while rejecting the difficulties of being one. 
In the grand scheme of his stupidity, self-loathing, and narcissism however, I do not believe that Mayer is a racist. And I don't care if his David Duke cock wants to burn a cross at my window, because I am personally not, nor have I ever been rubbing myself raw over John Mayer. He is a bigot who hates women, however... and is a sad a victim of his own delusions of grandeur, arrogance, and sexual inadequacy. And to those Black folks who think it’s cute for some "others" to trash-talk your mothers, aunts, dads, brothers, uncles, and sisters (yes, those of you issuing out the free "nigger passes" to your White buddies)… stop perpetuating the disrespectful behavior. Enough is enough.  
Perhaps Mayer's attempt to fumble towards ecstasy and understanding will help us mull over the topics of race and gender a little more closely, and think before we open our gobs... trying to be clever. And a simple, "No, Black women don't throw themselves at me. Not at all." would've sufficed, John.

Read more about Mayer-gate 2010---

February 03, 2010

Just Drive

I feel like I've reached an impasse. A never-ending maze with an elusive exit. So many decisions, so many things to nibble away at, but I'm completely deadlocked. People, places, and things never cease to perplex the hell out of me. And at times, it's overwhelming. I've had moments where I've attempted to check out, but alas, to no avail, because worries, my thoughts continue to plague me. I manage to be aloof in certain aspects of my life i.e., dating; wishy washy suitors, and an endless supply of assholes. In other aspects? Not so much; opportunities, my livelihood, my future. 
Ofttimes I think I have a dubious guardian, who loves toying with me and seeing me grapple with the worst luck! Or perhaps I'm an unwitting contestant in some twisted reality television program, where the masses are watching me wrestle and fight my way to the top. I don't know, but I continue to shadowbox. To bob, weave, sidestep... dance... twirl my way to what I feel is rightfully mine! I'm at a loss right now. I don't know how to plot my next move but I do know that I'm ready for my turn. I'm thinking. I'm pondering. I'm pissed. Intense game of mind play at work. Please do not disturb!
The fight continues. This is round 20.

November 08, 2009

These and Those

... This, that, and the other. Much of the same. In the meantime, I'm researching how to create my own opportunity, implementing the things I truly enjoy doing, while these tired feet continue to pound the pavement. Yes, perhaps I'm tardy for this party, but sometimes it takes the rug being snatched out from under you for an extended period, to light a fire under one's ass. It's an ample ass... so I have a lot of brainstorming to do.

July 13, 2009

These and Those

In the midst of job hunting, relaxing, and re-focusing, I've been trying to engage in activities that keep me, well, engaged. Free Jazz in Bushnell Park on Monday evenings, The Cipher themed night at local micro-lounge Cloud 9, catching up on reading and activities of the like. Being productive allows no room for sulking or having a pity party about my sudden turn of events. Besides, my spirits are still high and that's not the type of party I relish attending. Socializing allows me to be around people of my ilk... creative and relevant types. More importantly it offers a chance for some networking! The Cipher inspired me to dust off and revisit unfinished projects, to READ again. To FEEL again. Being a working stiff, sometimes I lose sight of my creative core. Granted, being a working stiff is vital to my livelihood, but next time around I won't let it encompass me to a point where I don't write... where I'm too tired to write, to get inspired. To seek opportunities outside my job, in hopes of parlaying my craft into something exciting and lucrative.
Additionally, I finally got my hands on a copy of Sapphire's "Push." Very difficult novel to swallow about the effects of poverty, physical/verbal/emotional and sexual abuse, and illiteracy. By far, this has got to be one of the most gripping passages I've ever read in a contemporary piece of fiction written in the character's (16 year old mother to be Precious Jones) voice (upon going to register for an alternative learning, pre-GED program):
... There has always been something wrong wif the tesses. The tesses paint a picture of me wif no brain. The tesses paint a picture of me an' my muver- my whole family, we more than dumb, we invisible. One time I seen us on TV. It was a show of spooky shit, an' castles, you know shit be all haunted. And the peoples, well some of them was peoples and some of them was vampire peoples. But the real peoples did not know it till it was party time. You know crackers eating roast turkey an' champagne and shit. So it's five of 'em sitting on the couch; and one of 'em git up and take a picture. Got it? When picture develop (it's instamatic) only one person on the couch. The other peoples did not exist. They vampires. They eats, drinks, wear clothes, talks, fucks, and stuff but when you git right down to it they don't exist.
I big, I talk, I eats, I cooks, I laugh, watch TV, do what my muver say. But I can see when the picture come back I don't exist. Don't nobody want me. Don't nobody need me. I know who I am. I know who they say I am- vampire sucking the system's blood. Ugly black grease to be wipe away, punish, kilt, changed, finded a job for.
I wanna say I am somebody. I wanna say it on subway, TV, movie, LOUD. I see pink faces in suits look over top of my head. I watch myself disappear in their eyes, their tesses. I talk loud but still don't exist.
That passage rocked me. I had to re-read it several times, especially that last bit. Not since Toni Morrison's Sula and Saul Williams's prose in She, has a book made me swallow hard.
Anyway, the beat continues and this one-woman band plays on. Without a doubt, I'm sure I'll have my moments, but I'll continue to shadowbox with the force.

January 24, 2009

These and Those

Another boring and quiet Saturday. Actually, I'm starting to develop an affinity for quiet, boring days. It gives me time to think about a myriad of things, people, developments, etc. It also seems as if I'm conserving my energy for Spring and Summer.
In any event, being able to mull things over has led me to the following conclusions: Some people are naturally miserable and bitter. There needn't be any justification or circumstance for or behind it. Until recently, I don't think I've ever met a person who is just rotten to the core for no apparent reason. Most of the assholes I've come across have been hurt in the past in some way and use it as a defense mechanism, or have had rocky upbringings and dysfunctional relationships with one or both of their parents. Never were they just simply allergic to being personable and genuine. I'm not a cheerleader nor would I classify myself as one of those "nice people." I'm simply me. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am genuine, and while I'm not "nice," I'm personable enough that people actually want to engage me in conversation or hang out with me. While I don't have a huge crew that I pal around with (I prefer small, intimate groups or solo), I think it's safe to say that I'm not a social pariah.
It's absolutely fascinating (and somewhat amusing) watching a person struggle to be polite to others. I've never seen or experienced anything like it. An adult person conflicted over whether or not they want to continue on with being a small-minded, uneducated jerk versus acting like someone with sense and social etiquette. I'd be willing to wager that they wake up in the morning jumping up out of the wrong-right side of the bed, rush to the bathroom, splash tepid water on their face, and then look in the mirror at their reflection thinking aloud: "Now yesterday I was a first-class, Grade A cunt! Good job me! How on EARTH am I going to top THAT today though?!" Insanity.
I've also come to the conclusion that debating a point with someone who is set in their particular way of doing things and have already determined they're right in their assessment, and will talk all over you to drive and park their point on home is useless. Better to say, "but, but, but..." shrug, and let them get the last word, because the jockeying back and forth becomes a fruitless effort on your part. Find the comedy in their smug, know-it-allishness- because you know you're open minded and knowledgeable enough to bow out gracefully. Why exert energy on someone who hasn't a clue, even though they think they do? Not worth it.
Lastly, I think Bobbi Brown's Limited Edition Brights Eye Palette is simply beautiful, but I can't justify spending $70.00 on eye makeup when I can go to the drugstore and buy Loreal H.I.P. eye colors for just a fraction of that cost. It's better to stare at Bobbi's palette longingly and wonder, "What if I COULD afford it though, and wasn't in the throes of financial trials and tribulations?" That there is grocery money. Spending it on eye makeup would be cause to get dildo-slapped. I also want a block of this for my natural hair. More attainable than the $70.00 eye palette, non? Oh, and shout out to the brotha who tapped me on the shoulder, beckoned me to unplug my earphones in the middle of a great song, and who opined, "You look like a VERY elegant Black woman. I gotta learn more about you." and sauntered away. He probably will never learn more about me, but thanks for the compliment anyway, oh, and two middle fingers to my older sister who commented, "Oh, was he wearing glasses? Ohhhh, I know, he must've been retarded." When I relayed the story to her last night ...
That's it.
**Updated to include: How about that Inauguration Speech? Very thrilling. It'll be interesting to watch how our new President tackles the mess at hand. Hopefully with fervent determination and grace. I for one am proud that a person of color has galvanized a nation to embrace change (kicking and screaming in some instances), allowing him to break the class ceiling and hold the highest politial office. One thing to inspire hope... another thing to carry through and see that message to fruition. At this juncture, I'm over the "We have a Black President" mania. I'm more interested in what our new President, who just happens to be Black, will do to help mend the damage done to our country. He has an arduous task ahead of him and seems up to the challenge. Many of us are still caught up in the rapture of change, but I think it's time to move past Obama's skin color and focus on his politics and what he has in store for us. **

December 29, 2008

Start the New Year Off Right...

As I stated two posts below, I'm not one to compose an extensive list of New Year's Resolutions, but I do try to start the new year right, as best as I can. I hope you all do the same. Please, don't be a "Jump Off Bitch Trick Freaky Dick Suckin' Cum Drinkin' Dick In the Booty Ass Young Bitch." Seriously.
To each his and her own, but it's just not a particularly sophisticated or classy way to act. You can't really expect to meet a man of worth or value displaying such overt and gratuitous sexuality in this way. It's not pleasurable and it's painful and disrespectful. Trust this. I try to keep it classy at all times. I suppose this is why I'm okay with being 31 and still single. So start 2009 off with some class. Don't be a "Jump Off Bitch Trick"... oh read the rest above and more importantly listen to Alexyss K. Tylor! She's raw and uncut, but her messages are oh so right. In fact, her words are pure poetry (see "jump off bitch trick..."). Take care of and respect your body, cervix uteri, vaginal cavity, uvula, and intestines. If you don't, no one will. Allow and demand that a man acquaint himself with your intellect and your true visage, not your "pussy face."

August 23, 2008

Pondering

While I wait- (still)- to learn the fate of whether I'll be renting the cute condo I covet, a few random thoughts have crossed my mind. Firstly, as of a few days ago of my follow-up, the Cooooondo Assosheashon <-- (this is me being antagonistic and petty, because I'm anxious and hopeful)- is apparently "still processing" my application. Hmm, I wonder if they've even actually started that process, because considering it has taken the bulk of this month, I'm starting to wonder if I have a looong criminal rap sheet that I'm not aware of. Perhaps some miscreant has taken over my identity, and went on some sort of whirlwind crime spree. If this is the case, I wonder if this imaginary criminal has been caught, and if they have... I wonder if they're smiling with their eyes, in the mug shot???
The birthday is done and over. It was nice and it was plentiful. I'm officially 31, even though those of middle age scoff and still say, "you're just a baby." I beg to differ, but whatever. I've no desire to regress back to being a girl, and do fancy myself a still relatively youngish woman. Every year is a learning experience and imparts wisdom or something revelatory to my sanity and growth as a better person. Within the matter of a week, I've learned that it doesn't matter how old a person is, they enjoy wallowing in negativity and will shun anything that may contribute to their own growth. That some people need, look for, and find reasons to act malicious or petty. Ah, the beauty of being agitated for the briefest of brief moments in time right before deciding not to give a flying fuck.
Anydumbass, I've been mulling the possibility of taking on a second job. Something unconventional that will earn me a little extra pocket change. ... Something that'd keep me even more preoccupied while I inch my way ever so closely toward stability. I have to figure out what it could possibly be.
P.S. I swiped the "thinking woman" image from this website. I don't know who the artist is.