2.23.2015

Deja vu all over again

There’s a difference between wanting to be heard and exploitation. When you want to be heard, you recognize the energies that are being exchanged and the consent on the part of the listener to invite that energy into their space. When and if there isn’t that recognition, you venture into the territory of exploitation with the potential to do harm.

As a Black woman, the propensity for others to recognize my humanity is underwhelming. As I do not exude femininity—as it has been characterized throughout history both past and present—people do not see me as a sentient human being, and thus, it is easy use me and throw me away. As of late, in conjunction to wanting to exploit me sexually, people (both men and women) have wanted to exploit me emotionally.

A man I thought I could trust took me for a ride. He promised reciprocity, and in a way I had expected it as I had stuck with him as he “sorted himself out.” He pined about lost love, the one that got away, his past vices and his ghosts, his depression, and suicidal thoughts. I had no problem. I was there. I was searching high and low for myself, I thought he understood, and he did… until it was my turn to talk. He shut me down and carved me out of conversations I laid the foundations for. He gave me nothing, and when I needed him the most, he left. He had gotten better, and didn’t need me anymore.

That’s when I started to set boundaries. I set boundaries for me and the people around me. The more boundaries I set, the easier it became to see the signs....
(Source)
Does any of this sound familiar to some of you?

2.16.2015

Jussie Smollett rises; alter ego Jamal Lyon takes a dive (#Empire)

Well, first of all, here's the thing: I grew up in the business. I know about homophobia in the music industry — not just in hip-hop. Obviously, we're dealing with homophobia in hip-hop, we're dealing with homophobia in the black community. We're dealing with homophobia in the black community and in hip-hop because we're telling the story of a family that is a hip-hop family that is black. But that in no way is to let any other group of people off the hook, as if this is an isolated issue just simply in the black community. I have Jewish friends, I have Middle Eastern friends, I have Spanish and Italian and British and Scottish and German friends and Austrian friends, and guess what? They all deal with homophobia. It's an earthling epidemic, it's not isolated in the black community. So it's definitely a story that Lee wanted to get out there, and it's a story that I'm proud that we're telling. But this is a universal story of people that are not respected and understood, and we all can relate to that, whether we're gay, straight, bi, transgender.

~ Jussie Smollett (Source)
First of all, actor Jussie Smollett totally wins the internet with this quote because in America, we like to racialize, genderize, sexualize - in short, Otherize - problems in order to avoid actually having to deal with them.  Case in point: Misogyny and homophobia are a big problem in the American music industry?  That's okay.  Just blame hip hop and the black community, and business will comfortably continue as usual.

2.11.2015

#Tindia #FTW #Empire

See Also

Black Girls' Night Out: Cookie Lyon 
The Bar Loves Jussie Smollett
Empire was created by two out writers (Lee Daniels and Danny Strong) and boasts showrunner Ilene Chaiken, so it’s no wonder this show is both super soapy and super queer. Tonight’s episode, “Dangerous Bonds,” shows that young pop star Tiana (Serayah) is interested not only in men like Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray), but also in women like India (played by Elizabeth Whitson).

...“Well you know the world of
Empire is a world that absolutely tackles homophobia,” he said. “It’s one of the key concepts of the show,” Danny said. “So exploring that in non-male i.e. female, i.e. lesbian relationships, that’s part of the world of Empire.” ~ Trish Bendix, After Ellen
I like it when TV surprises.  I'm surprised so rarely these days.

When I first started watching Empire I could not stand the character of Tiana.  She was the accurate portrayal of the auto-tuned popstar who lacks talent but is young, and pretty, and skinny, and conveniently not too dark.

When she pursues Hakeem Lyon (offering him sex before he even learns her last name) because she realizes he's an up and coming rapper and spoiled rich guy, I promptly added "gold-digger" to her list of grievances.  The kids start calling them "Takeem" and they become the new It Couple overnight.

*cue stomach churning*

I noticed that whenever Tiana visits Hakeem's family with him, she finds every possible excuse to sit on his lap, straddle him, make out with him - I mean, who does that a potential in-law's house???

She also doesn't flinch when she finds out Hakeem is sleeping with an older woman on the side (Camilla, portrayed by Naomi Campbell for reasons we've yet to figure out).  She flat-out states she's "cool with that" and warns him not to screw-up their live performance together.  Hakeem is elated that Tiana doesn't care about "that other girl", but while he childishly and naively thought he'd struck gold, I was busy tacking "cutthroat" and "opportunistic" to her list of crimes.

2.04.2015

Review: Cristela 1x12, "Hypertension" (@cristela9)

Oh, please.  You totally wish you were me.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Bar, meet Cristela Alonzo, comedienne, goddess, and star of ABC's Cristela, which airs Friday nights.

The character Cristela is a sixth-year law student working her ass off in an unpaid internship for a filthy rich law firm.  Her schooling has had multiple interruptions due to finances and family issues, but she's refused to give up.  She lives with her sister Daniela, her good-looking brother-in-law Felix, their two kids, and her mother all under one roof.  The cramped setting of Cristela's home life is a running gag on the show (Cristela and Felix don't really get along).

The comedy is inspired by the comedienne's life and portrayed in a half-hour sitcom format shot in multi-camera with a laugh track.

1.20.2015

Like...#WTF???

Field Negro is right when he says some black celebrities really need to not speak in public.  To be fair, that goes for a lot of celebrities, but in this case....
The lack of Oscar support for "Selma" has made headlines, but Mackie plays down the idea that the Academy Awards voters were being discriminatory. “People are just tired of being bombarded with race right now,” says the actor. “So everybody is shying away from certain topics and certain movies.”

He goes on to remark, “If you look at all the movies and actors that are nominated, they all gave damn good performances. Me specifically, if thats something I want, I have to step my game up. I have to do better movies and I have to act better.” Mackie does admit that black actors are at some disadvantage for certain roles. “Hollywood believes that there’s no market overseas for black actors,” he explains. “They say that about Denzel Washington, they say they have no foreign value. If we’re not financing and doing our own stories, we can’t expect to see ourselves come award season.”

But Mackie may be generating the most controversy with his take on the topic of police violence against young black men. He tells the outlet, “Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch ‘The First 48′ with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”

“Let’s just say you have locks and you walking down the street,” says Mackie. “The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody. You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself.”
~ MSN: "Anthony Mackie: 'Black dudes with dreadlocks' are part of police violence problem; Actor slammed for comments"
Field Negro theorizes Mr. Mackie's next role will be a butler in the antebellum south. After remarks like these, that's something I'd honestly want to see. *blink*  Like...I skipped over all the other servant-and-slavery flicks (LOL...just made me think of sword-and-sorcery), but I'd actually pay to see Mackie in some shit like this.  I would go to an actual theater and everything.

(Oh, and by the way...I think it goes without saying about the MSN article: don't read the comments.)

1.16.2015

The Bar Loves Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett)


That just goes without saying.

Some of you remember Jussie Smollett from The Mighty Ducks and On Our Own.  Some of you might be familiar with his music.  Most of you, by now, recognize him as the unapologetic gay patron saint of all middle children Jamal Lyon on FOX's Empire.  And if you're not watching Empire, you need to get your life together.


1.14.2015

Nigeria, You Deserve So Much Better (#FestivalofSlaps)

 See Also

The 2015 Baga Massacre

But now you've read about the unfathomable uselessness of President Goodluck Jonathan (seriously, deal with that name for a minute) of Nigeria.  In case you're a bit fuzzy, this is the same guy who not only failed to #BringBackOurGirls last year, but had the whole world wondering how nearly 300 people can all be kidnapped at the same time in the first place.

Now the world is wondering how 2000 Nigerian civilians can be slaughtered out of the blue while their "president" 1) sends his condolences to the victims of Charlie Hebdo without so much as breathing a word about a massacre in his own country, then 2) dances at his niece's grand wedding two days later.

Deal with that for a minute.
Just last year, Jonathan appropriated the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign, and with an astonishing level of crassness, tweaked it to say: #BringBackOurGoodluck2015. It was a vile campaign tactic in the run-up to this year's February elections. The marketing gods surely must have wept, alongside the parents who still mourn for their missing daughters.

Sure, Jonathan has sent Nigerian troops to battle against Boko Haram, but the military have instead used their new-found war to wreak terror on the people they are tasked with protecting. When Boko Haram entered Baga last week, Nigerian troops ran away, yet in April 2013, after coming under attack by Boko Haram, Nigerian troops tore through the town, killing 200 civilians in response to the ambush. They have now called for support from their people in their fight against the latest attacks.

But Jonathan hasn't addressed these atrocities. Instead, he is exploiting his people for votes, and as he does so, their blood is being spilled. Already political analysts have indicated that should Jonathan truly speak to Nigerians about the attacks, it would become an admittance of failure.
~ allAfrica.com: "South Africa: Forget the West, Nigerian Lives Don't Even Matter to Goodluck Jonathan"
Oh, but wait...there's more.
...Here is a man so out of touch with reality that he had the temerity to ask, “How much did Jim Nwobodo stole (sic)?” He also asserted with every seriousness that arresting people “won’t stop corruption, you will even encourage corruption.” The logical fallacy here is astounding; like saying jailing murderers will encourage murder. He goes on to ask ridiculous questions on armament purchases in the past, then makes a very strange comment about Buhari remembering his phone number. To top it all off, he had the temerity to ask about fuel shortages in the country? Where does this man live? Certainly not in Nigeria, because we could have told him that there were at two fuel shortages last year. Now that his shoes and modes of transportation are paid for by our taxes and sovereign wealth, I guess he has no need to keep up with what is actually going on with the people.

...Fortunately the Nigerian public seems to have seen right through the ploy and have ignored the president’s stumbling speeches (filled with grammar that would be atrocious coming from a secondary school student, much less a lecturer), and are focused on hearing about the issues that they care about: corruption, power, education, jobs and welfare.

...It has been galling to watch the lack of focus on issues or the simple acknowledgment of the tragedy that have befallen our brothers and sisters in the town of Baga, Borno State. He has instead stuck his head in the sand like an ostrich and continued on furthering his political ambition. Mr President, silence will not make the tragedy fade from our national conscience. 2,000 men, women and children were cut down without mercy, the ‘deadliest massacre’ by Boko Haram in this country, and all we got was “[Muhammadu] Buhari cannot remember his phone number”? It shows a devastating lack of leadership and direction at a time that Nigeria can least afford to be without a commander-in-chief.

...Instead of a campaign of hope and direction, we have gotten fear and misdirection. Instead of acknowledging corruption is evil no matter the amount, he dismisses a legitimate conviction because it was not enough to buy a car. Nigerians have trusted President Jonathan for six years and have little to show for it. Our president seems to have gone missing. Let us hope that 14 February 2015 Nigerians will choose to find a new one.
~ NAIJ.com: "Is Goodluck Jonathan Saying The Right Things?"
My dear Nigerians, your siblings in America once had our own Goodluck Jonathan, except we called him George W. Bush.

By the way...about Jonathan's wife....
It was the video that launched a million YouTube hits. The first Lady, Patience Jonathan’s private shame was exposed to the whole world when she attempted to do some damage control of her own after her husband’s administration failed to respond swiftly to the tragedy of 276 school girls kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok. Rife with bad grammar, fake tears, shoddy acting and lacking any real empathy, Mrs Jonathan’s viral train wreck of a performance was both comic and tragic. ~ YNaija.com: “Na only you waka come?” “Stomach infrastructure” and 8 of the worst quotes of 2014

1.06.2015

Police Tropes

While reading We are Respectable Negroes today, I found myself drawn this to excerpt from "'Police are Heroes': The Cultural Mythologies that Enable Police Brutality Against Black and Brown Americans" (bold emphasis mine):
Police violence is justified and explained away by the following tropes.

"Police work is a dangerous job." While being a police officer may involve some level of risk, it is largely mitigated by training and equipment. On the macro level, in the United States police work is not included in the top 10 most dangerous professions. Sanitation workers, truck drivers, forestry workers, and professional fisherman are far more likely to be killed or injured on the job than police.

While the mass media and police unions are invested in projecting an image of police work as highly dangerous, thrilling, and adrenaline-filled, the number-one cause of death for police officers are vehicular accidents.

"Police have a difficult job that involves making split-second decisions." As research on implicit bias, racism and police use of force has demonstrated, cops are much more likely to make “split-second decisions” to kill black men. Yet, somehow the perils and fears that loom over police and their decision-making processes are suspended and lessened when they interact with white people.

Cliven Bundy and his armed group of marauders did not face a “split-second” decision by the police to shoot them. White men walking around neighborhoods with guns displayed in plain sight are not preemptively killed by the police. White men who have actually shot at firefighters and police are somehow miraculously taken into custody unharmed and alive. White teenagers who bring arsenals of guns and knives to their high schools are arrested and given bail.

Police selectively make split-second decisions about who to shoot and kill in America. Blackness is a trigger for violence; whiteness and white skin privilege are signals to deescalate.

"Police are heroes." Heroism involves a selfless act by a person who is not trained for such duty, or who cannot be reasonably expected to act in such a manner. Police have chosen their profession. They are trained and equipped for the task. Police officers are also well compensated both on the job and in retirement. They also benefit and receive support from a huge and powerful social apparatus that is designed to protect them from the consequences of their actions.

A given police officer may have a moment of bravery or courage. By themselves, neither of those deeds rises to the level of heroism.

The police who killed Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and who participate in a system that harasses and targets people of color for unjust punishment and harassment are most certainly not heroes in the best and most authentic sense of the word.

Instead of holding police (and others who are empowered by the state to kill) to a higher standard, America’s civil religion deifies police and simultaneously lowers their bar of accountability to one far below that of the average person—in all, what is a perverse paradox.
*bows*