Coffee Rhetoric: sayitloud
Showing posts with label sayitloud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sayitloud. Show all posts

June 08, 2010

LOL Cat

It's a wonderful, sunny morning. The air is dry (humidity and rain be damned) and comfortable, and I'm sitting here sipping on coffee mulling over what to do, checking my email, reading the news and chuckling at the latest and greatest in popular culture. Things seem par for the course as usual, lately; The Marginalization of Black Women.To further drive the point on home that we're the LEAST favored- especially (it seems as of late) considering all of the media coverage and news specials about why we can't find love- is a rapper who calls himself Slim Thug; - (insert smirk here)- who poked his head from behind the cloak of irrelevancy- (Read: from underneath a moist rock)- to eloquently offer his two cents on the plight of The Black Woman's Love to Vibe.com, because nothing feels as uplifting as a Black man stepping on our throats to keep us down, never mind the fact that the majority has and does already. I wasn't going to dignify this foolatry with a blog post, but I'm far too amused and tickled not to weigh-in: 
"I have a brother that dates a White woman and he always be fucking with me about it saying, “Y’all gotta go through all that shit [but] my White woman is fine. She don’t give me no problems, she do whatever I say and y’all gotta do all that arguing and fighting and worry about all this other shit.”
My girl is Black and White. I guess the half White in her is where she still cooks and do all the shit that I say, so we make it."...
are amongst some of the sparkling gems of wisdom Slim Thug shares with Vibe online. Quite honestly, I'm not offended; particularly when one considers the source. I think I was more taken aback by his un-cited comment about successful Black men being "extinct."  Since I don't have a "White side" like Slim Thug's current girlfriend or choose to cater to a man's every whim just because he thinks I should, I can only opine from a solely Black side and say that I am getting bored with this growing divide between Black men and women. Many Black men have been espousing Slim Thug's antiquated rhetoric for the past 50 years or so.  Slim Thug outlined a lot of what he wants done for him, but didn't outline how he'd reciprocate those gestures to his biracial girlfriend's "White side." (I didn't mind mentioning her "Black side" because he doesn't seem all that keen on that half). I'd like to think that relationships are a little deeper than merely cooking, cleaning, and catering to someone who feels self-entitled, can't stand a woman who does more than nod or blink, and doesn't think he should do something to nourish his partner. Slim Thug also presumes to think that EVERY White woman is a passive doormat with no aspirations other than to wait on someone hand and foot, as if they're 2 dollar concubines.
His ramblings about Black women being nothing more than gold-diggers with no drive (has he noticed the media attention on infidelity and the rise of the groupie lately?? None of them are Black women) - speaks volumes about his own pathology. As a rapper living the lifestyle it entails, I'm sure he runs amongst a certain circle, undoubtedly meeting a specific brand of woman on a consistent basis. Notwithstanding the fact that Slim Thug and his ilk perpetuate that type of behavior, braggartly promising to take women on shopping sprees and lavish trips, while having genital spasms over how much money they make from hustling  ... but will be angry when they're held to that particular standard.
I don't knock anyone's right to fumble towards affluence or a comfortable life or to date who they're attracted to for that matter, but his obvious issues with American African have nothing to do with me or most other Black women for that matter. He chose to engage a certain type of bird... that's his problem and his demon to slay. He should upgrade his intelligence and think outside his box... because any woman who graduated from Columbia University and chooses to nourish this man's ego and allow him to dictate to her, may have some soul searching  to do herself.  
While the latter part of his interview had some valid points about where our community's priorities are based, the bulk of what Slim Thug outlined in his interview spans a wide spectrum and is not behavior exclusive to just Black women. ALL women and men have the capacity to hurt someone or be jerks. The energy you put out is what you get back; bottom line. If you go looking for drama or looking to find flaws or pick a fight with someone, then guess what? ... the relation-SHIP will sink faster than the Titanic.
The same way his brother relates to his White wife, is probably different than how he tried to get on with a Black woman. Respect is a two way street. It's not rocket science. Slim Thug seems to be scarred from a prior relationship, so I'll forgive his irrational generalizations and ignorance. As long as Black men like Slim Thug continue to have a laundry list of ridiculous demands written on the palm of their hands like the next groupie's phone number, Black women will and should continue to have a list of reasonable ones folded neatly into a small square, at the bed of our purses. Otherwise, the word is COMPROMISE. That is all. 


 

April 02, 2010

The Persecution of Ms. Badu

I don't have cable. The delectable bits of trash I do get to watch are courtesy of my mother's digital cable box, when I have the pleasure of visiting for the weekend.
Ofttimes, I shake my head (while still watching) at the train wrecks colliding on the screen: Young women on "reality tv" jumping into hot tubs... obscured nudity jiggling in the wind or clawing one another's eyes out in a fit of rage as their boobage and delicates burst through the seams of too tight clothing for all the world to see. Thonged asses and commando-ed vaginas (aye-aye captain) flap free amidst the chaos. Not a problem. Ratings booster!
I also love to watch music videos, most of which are par for the course... The grandiose donks  (read: big butts, fake or otherwise) gyrate and twerk in the camera, struggling to stay contained sheathed behind dubiously fitted hot pants... some parts of their bikini-ed bottoms distorted just enough to make it past the network's Standards and Practices department. All of this current comehither lasciviousness notwithstanding, I am reminded of the furor Janet Jackson caused during her performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII when her adorned breast popped out for the briefest of brief moments. After which she found that same dirty pillow branded with a piping, hot scarlet letter. People were not pleased, despite her pleas for forgiveness, regardless of the fact that the media and the very network looking to air her immodesty out at the public square took a blink and you'll miss it moment, slowed it down, and played it repeatedly, despite being offended by the moxie of the act: A tit breaking loose from its harness for the briefest of seconds.
Flash forward a few years since Ms. Jackson's "Nipplegate." We've seemingly evolved even more where the grandeur of the female form in all its voluptuosity,  is par for the course...  considering several petulant nipples, butt-cheeks, and vaginas have cried out in protest since that incident in a united front in public under the glare of public scrutiny, and for pop starlets who are taking a queue fromn the Video Vixen book of trickery... succumbing to re-marketed aesthetics at the suggestion of male record executives and managers... winding their hips and carefully manicured poontangs in nothing more than a skimpy top, taut thighs, and heels in an effort to sell more records. Pants be damned! We've evolved... or perhaps not, since creative mind, beautiful eccentric, keeper of the 'izm that snakes upward like a cobra ... allegedly causing men to swoon, and accomplished musical artist Erykah Badu's new video for her single, 'Window Seat,'  has incited the public to chorus. Erykah cites guerrilla filmmaking as a method, as she methodically walks through downtown Dallas, stripping away layers of clothing until she's completely naked, in the name of art and near the same location JFK was assassinated ... but some naysayers aren't feeling it.
Please get into my argument....
Why is it when a woman (especially a Black woman) takes charge of her image and body, and projects it in a way she sees fit... particularly when it's in the name of art, the public finds it obscene? Lest rappers are asking challenging questions and making demands like "How Low Can You Go?," and  "Gimme that Becky!, or the likes of Hugh Hefner doesn't put you on the cover of Playboy or make you 1/3 of his harem, a woman's body will never be beautiful, unless the rules are dictated by the patriarchy and the media.
I'm still struggling to find the obscenity in Erykah's message and visual: Which essentially, is to break free from societal norms and to formulate your own thought process.
Perhaps if she were stripping within the subtext of Playboy or King Magazine ... bent over in a teeny-weeny bikini... hands placed over bare breast to titillate and cause massive erections for the male populace and/or being violated/beaten/brutalized on film, she wouldn't be facing charges for "public indecency." America seems to be okay with the exploitation and violence shown toward women, but we're damned if we dare have orgasms on-screen (see the documentary 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated'  or express the splendor of our bodies via our own visions, on our own terms, shouted through our own voices.

That is all.
*Perhaps due to its controversy, video links are no longer readily available. 

















March 04, 2010

Leave Me Alone!

Black women. We've been labeled as Mammies, Jezebels, Golddiggers, Undesirables, and now Tragic Figures?  Yes, 2010 seems to be The year of years to bash Black women, in yet another redundant cycle of trash talk about why we are, the way we are. Some might read this post and disagree, but then those of you who do probably aren't Black women and are whispering under your breath for me to shut my gob because, Michelle Obama is this country's First Lady. It's just that simple, really. *insert side eye here.* 
It seems as if every publication I read, or program I watch has an article or segment discussing why Black women are single. Forget the construction of the pyramids or the Bermuda Triangle. ... Black women being single in high numbers seem to be the mystery du jour! To hell with finding a cure for AIDS or getting over this country's health care, job, and economic crises. Black women are single and it's our own fault. The world needn't be bogged down worrying about the important issues... but should mull over my love life instead. You see, Black women... we're just too driven and unyielding. We're difficult to please and our need to find our place in the world and plant our flag is off-putting... apparently. How dare we try to better ourselves or even entertain the notion of having (insert danger music here!)... EXPECTATIONS. Not to mention we aren't trying nearly as hard enough to look like the vixens in the rap and R&B videos. 
According to these articles, newsreels, blogs, and public forums of the like, seems like the only, and I mean THE ONLY way Black women can reconcile being tragically single is to date White men, and ONLY White men. This White Knight In-waiting, will apparently salvage what's left of our lonely years, and is a last resort to prevent us from dying alone with nothing more than a house filled with cats, all of which would undoubtedly nibble away at our rotting corpses. To hell with dating someone who has mutual interests, regardless of his skin color or ethnicity. Who cares if you like various types of men from all walks of life, with GREAT PERSONALITIES, or if you're even interested in going that route? Racial/Ethnic fetishization is definitely the solution to our habitual singledom! Non?  *shrugs*
Listen, I don't know why my sex and dating habits have become public fodder for the media and various other men and people to pick apart and scrutinize. I guess the fact that many Black women aren't rocking back and forth in a corner or curled up under the covers in a fetal position, because no one has "put a ring on it"... or aren't bemoaning the fact that we're single or unmarried doesn't occur to those of you doing the judging and marking ticks in your little notebooks. We aren't the only group of women who live singly, however, our White counterparts are merely single, looking, and living footloose and fancy free a la 'Sex And The City.' They're simply exploring their options and building their careers until Mr. Big catches their eye and having a great time playing the field in the interim. Why can't this simply be the case for Black single women as well? Why are we scraping the earth for scraps, clucking around like confused chickens... looking for any remnants of a good man... rather than just exploring infinite possibilities and having fun too? 
Everyone's an armchair anthropologist or sociologist these days, especially when it comes to Black female sexuality. Our femininity... our desirability is constantly up for debate. Men (especially) have mucho jokes and take low brow swipes for days talking about our appearance, our attitudes, and our personalities. Residents holed up in their glass houses, throwing stones. Black women aren't good enough because we want better... or at least according to Black male comedians and social critics turned dating experts, with dubious track records of their own.
I've grown tired from reading these statistics about the numbers of Black women who aren't hitched. Why is this even newsworthy? Why is anybody still single in this complex era of love and dating rules? Moreover, why am I being told to date this type of man or that type of man... do *this* with your body, but not *that* by critics who can't even fathom... who don't even know my core and all of its wonderful complexities? 
Men, the media, and so called experts on Black female sexuality can tout off a long list of reasons why Black women are single and the primary, b.s. song is that our standards are too high. The last time I checked, having standards (within reason), is a common thing to expect. Men also are notorious for having outlandish standards, and those very same standards could also be indicative of why many of them are hopelessly single and are prompted to fly overseas to woo desperate and eager foreign women. Most of those who're anti-standards seem to be sub-par to mediocre at best and so complain the loudest about a Black woman's high standards.
At the end of the day, I'm single because I've chosen to be. Because I'm preoccupied with various other things in my life that fulfill me or keep me too busy to lament over such nonsense. Perhaps it's also attributed to my impetuous and overly sophisticated bon-mots and risqué coquetries... perhaps not. I'd like to think I'm a little more multi-layered than most would have me be. 
No one has the right to dictate the reasons why so many Black women in America are single, and claim it as fact. There is no one, fundamental reason why. It just is, what it is. We aren't some abnormal sub-species. And anyway, mind your own damn business. That is all.

May 16, 2009

The MYTH of Good/Bad Hair

This Saturday has been spent lazily drinking coffee, massaging my hair with coconut oil, twisting it, and pinning it up. While doing so, I caught up on some of my favorite "natural hair" blogs and YouTube videos, when I stumbled across this rambling discourse courtesy of this young woman who was adamant why she went natural, and how it wasn't to placate those of us women she deemed "Pro-Black" who are Happy to be Nappy. She flung her hair (she says it's natural, but it looked like a wash-and-go relaxer to me) to and fro, the whole time, much to my annoyance, "Becky" style. She said she went natural after she discovered that her own texture was "pretty" *insert side-eye here*. Then she railed against women who "denied" that there was such a thing as "good" and "bad" hair. "C'mon now, we all know the difference, so stop acting like there isn't a such thing as good hair and bad hair" she spouted off annoyingly. The rest of her rant, more or less emphasized how much she still enjoyed wearing hair weaves and she continued to perpetuate the Good vs Bad hair struggle Black American women can't seem to come to terms with. (There are three parts, but pt. I was more than enough for me. A commenter also took her to task over a few of her remarks). I agreed with most of what the commenter said... namely that Pretty Hair needed to visit this woman's YouTube page before she continued to toot her own texture's horn. Listen, I've worn my hair natural for about 10 years. My journey en-route, didn't come without a few bumps. When I first came back home from school, with my newly UN-RELAXED hair, I got some major side-eyes from other Black women whilst walking down the street. I was happy. I was proud. More importantly, I felt FREE. Going natural (while it can be just as high maintenance as maintaining straight hair) has truly be a LIBERATING experience for me. Initially I was a bit confused by the shade being thrown in my direction from other Black women. Eventually I stopped caring. I took this trip to please one person. MYSELF.
Listen, I love everything about my being (I have insecure hips and thighs days just like the next person), overall there is NOTHING about my Black-ness or self I regret, hate, or curse. I enjoy my complexion, I love that we span such a vast and wide spectrum of ethnicities, shapes, sizes, countries, languages, and shades, and I LOVE my hair existing in its natural-ness. I would never chastise another woman for choosing to relax, be-wig, or be-weave her tresses just like I wouldn't expect her to begrudge me my right to be who I am, NATURALLY... however, I think we need to get over this Good hair TEXTURE vs Bad hair TEXTURE debate, because essentially all it is, is a MYTH!!
Yes, I said it. It is a MYTH... at least it is, within the context of texture and length. Everyone has the ability to have GREAT hair, despite its length or texture. I've gotten nothing but positive feedback from people, who compliment me on my hair and the way that I style it. I get so sick to death of OTHER BLACK WOMEN who feel the need to validate WHY they straighten their hair or sew/glue in weaves, spouting off rhetoric and propoganda generated by the media about a specific STANDARD when it comes to beauty. Beauty is universal. There IS no standard as far as I'm concerned. Often, while browsing these hair forums and videos in search of new ideas and styles for MY type of hair, I'll come across the video of some poor, misguided soul talking about how unattractive, matted, uncontrollable, ugly, and unmanageable "nappy" hair is. While this way of life isn't for the faint of heart, I've seen some busted, bunk ass relaxers in-need and weaves myself, so the grass isn't always greener. Trust, I've been there! (On the relaxer side). I've also visited forums that showcase perfectly coiffed and well maintained natural Black hair.
We need to get off this kick already... "Oh my hair is sooo pretty, cuz it's sooooft and curly. It's not kinky and nappy and it straigtens with the flatiron so easily..." So effing what? The only person concerned with the texture of our hair is US. It's JUST HAIR. If you want to burn the life out of your hair follicles keeping it straight or wear weaves, it's your prerogative, but don't think for a minute that there is ONE SPECIFIC way that is BETTER than the other. It's neverending. I would actually die from shock, if we all sighed a collective, "fuck this" and decided not to give this issue a second thought. To stop letting men, insecure women, one dimensional hairstylists and experts tell us we aren't worthy if our hair isn't straightened or cascading down our back, because trust, most MEN won't kick a woman out of the sack bald, natural, or weaved!
While I didn't see this episode in question featured on Tyra Banks' talk show recently(thank goodness), I did find a clip and commetary regarding the themed What Is Good Hair? The woman who opined that her relaxed hair had a "white girl flow" was an ignoramus and I feel sorry of her ilk, because they're obviously grappling with coming to terms with loving and living for themselves and quite frankly, I don't want or desire to have a "white girl flow" thank you very much, and KUDOS to the loc'ed woman in pink! I also feel bad for and am amused by Black women who think wearing your hair loc'ed or natural doesn't translate to the corporate/working world successfully and that it's inappropriate. Many of the Black women I work with are loc'd and natural. Their hair is braided, puffed, worn in buns, and curly. The textures are different, the styles are well-maintained and we are glorious. My hair is hot. I take good care of it. It's clean, and I keep it neatly done in all its grand kinkiness. Natural hair is just as versatile as relaxed or weaved hair.

We need to figure out how to get over it and learn how to care for our natural hair (whether you choose to straigten it or not). At the end of the day, having "good hair" is the least of our worries as Black women. Please yourselves and stop trying to feed into the B.S. and flagrant smear campaign against us, telling us our beauty isn't universal, multi-faceted, and vast... straight and nappy. Give it up! Because if we don't start accepting who we are, the others are going to continue to dictate (successfully) how we should look, and they're going to continue to tack on prerequisites when describing Black beauty, telling you that you aren't bad looking for a "DARK girl" or "She's pretty for a BLACK girl"also, "I'd date a black woman if she looked like Halle, Alicia, or Beyonce" ... as well as my personal favorite (usually from my own),

"Your hair is so cute! Even though it's natural, it's not all nappy and matted. It looks soooo cute!"

and foolishness of the like. My older sister, who has a relaxer, has always kept her beautifully coiffed hair short. And it suits her wonderfully! I couldn't imagine it any other way. In the past, she has heard some backhanded comments from other Black women, who aren't confident enough to wear there hair short, so they made stupid remarks about sporting short or closely cropped hair. If you want to wear your hair a specific way, do it without apology or explanation because at the end of the day, when European and White-American women are bleaching the hell out of their hair, they aren't giving a DAMN What WE or their folks think, they're solely doing what pleases THEM and theirs. Just let it GO ladies!

*Smoking woman painting by Sandra Knuyt