Friday, August 12, 2016

Who the F*ck Do You Think I Am?



When you hurt me, you hurt yourself 
Don't hurt yourself 
When you diss me, you diss yourself
Don't hurt yourself 
When you hurt me, you hurt yourself
Don't hurt yourself, don't hurt yourself
When you love me, you love yourself
Love God herself

--Beyonce
Don't Hurt Yourself
Lemonade

When Beyonce's Lemonade dropped, I prayed to God I don't ever again experience what she's singing about on this album. So many of the songs remind me of someone I dated 10 years ago. But low and behold, I got my heart broken last week. Someone treated it like a hockey puck, a soccer ball. Someone treated my heart like a piece of meat they cut with knife, pierced with a fork, chewed up, swallowed, digested in their stomach acid,  pushed out into the toilet like a piece of shit and flushed it into the sewer. 

I'm not repressing my feelings. I'm feeling them. I'm letting them move and flow.  The sadness, confusion, fear and even the anger. Yes, the anger. And I know anger is an unacceptable emotion for women, especially Black women. We're supposed to just put up with shit and smile. F*ck that. I ain't smiling and I ain't sorry for not smiling. 

Which leads me to this Beyonce's "Don't Hurt Yourself." I love it because it's angry. She yells, "WHO DA F*CK DO YOU THINK I AM???!!!"to her cheating husband. She got some criticism for having angry songs. But like one sista told me, "I'm an angry Black woman and I got a lot of shit to be angry about." When someone does you dirty, don't you want to say, "Who the f*ck do you think I am?! What the f*ck made you think it's okay to treat me like this??!!!" If you're hurt, your anger is justified. 

Anger is just another form of pain. It's okay to feel anger, let it pass but be careful how you handle it. You don't act on anger, you have to channel it. A Buddhist man I interviewed who lost his wife and child in a genocide said, "Suffering is like fire. It can cook the food or burn the house." I think the same goes for anger, especially if it's making one suffer. Don't let that anger make you do a Left Eye (rest in peace). 

The last time I got my heart broken, I was much younger and suffered in my emotions. I'm not doing that this go around. It's a waste of time. Life is too short to let someone who doesn't appreciate you rent space long term in your heart and mind. 

I'll let them stay in my heart and mind a little while longer, because that's part of the grieving process. Then I'll evict them, sip on my lemonade, middle fingers up as they pass by. And I'll resume loving the God herself in me. I still believe there's a great man out there for me. A broken heart won't make me give up on love. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

For the First Time Ever I'm Reading in San Francisco



Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. My heart got broken near Oakland. Yep, I have some sh*t to get off my chest. Tonight, 6:30pm right in the Mission I'm reading at Alley Cat Books. The show is called Voz Sin Tinta. The lineup is going to blow you away. It's free. Come out!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Are You Following Me On Social Media???



I'm all over social media, talking about everyTHANG! And I keep it fun.  I'm @cocoafly on most social media sites except for Periscope. But if you do a search for CocoaFly or Jenee Darden on Periscope, I'll pop up. 

So check me out: 
www.facebook.com/cocoafly
www.twitter.com/cocoafly
www.instagram.com/cocoafly
www.youtube.com/cocoafly 
www.periscope.tv/jeneedarden or search for CocoaFly 


See ya! 








Monday, August 1, 2016

I’m Not Slut Shaming Melania Trump, I’m Speaking the Truth


An old sexy photo of Melania Trump
covers the NY Post. 

Melania Trump posed nude back in the day. SO WHAT? I recall when she and Donald married, there were news stories about her past sexy photos. Some of my favorite works of art are nudes. Melania Trump was a young and gorgeous model in Europe – where people are more open-minded when it comes to nudes. She’s still a beautiful woman. I don’t judge her for taking it off.

Her past life as a model doesn’t make Melania Trump dumb either. Before Trump showed his cray-cray, I watched Melania Trump on the Oprah Show and selling products on QVC and HSN. She never came off unintelligent to me. Which is why a part of me wonders if she purposefully plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech. Was it to get the base behind her early before more nude pictures were leaked? Being FLOTUS has its perks, but I wouldn’t want to be FLOTUS if I was Melania. Leave my glamorous New York lifestyle and penthouse for the White House? Give up my and my son’s privacy to live in a fishbowl and have security around me at all times for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. I could be wrong, but I digress.

Melania Trump posing nude has nothing to do with her morality or intellect. Yet I find it hypocritical that so many conservatives lost it when Michelle Obama posed with bare arms for her first White House photo in 2009. Melania Trump exposed her T & A, did nude lesbian photo shoots (we know how the Christian Right feels about homosexuality). Reaction from the right--crickets. This is not just about a difference in political affiliation, but race.


Source: Instagram

Mrs. Obama’s femininity was under attack from the beginning. We still live in a society where when it comes to who represents what it means to be a lady, Black women are often omitted from that category. This omission of Black women comes from people within and outside of the Black community. For racist conservatives, a tall, darker-skinned, Black woman shouldn’t be considered a lady, let alone First Lady of the United States. Why do you think Sojourner Truth asked, “Ain’t I a Woman?” in 1851? And Black women are still fighting for our womanhood to be respected.

If Michelle Obama showed half a butt cheek, conservatives would have called for Barack Obama to remove himself from the election. And they would slut shame Michelle Obama until she took her last breath. I imagine racist and sexist conservatives reminding Michelle Obama everyday on their blogs, social media, radio shows etc. that she doesn’t deserve the title of FLOTUS because she showed her black, bare body.

Michelle Obama's First Official
White House Photo
When white women are seen as the epitome of true womanhood in a racist, sexist and classist society (I go more into detail on this issue here under the Black Sexuality section), and the voter wants a racist and sexist white male candidate so badly—they’ll look past these photos of Melania Trump. In their eyes, she’s still more fit to be First Lady because she’s white. And they’ll criticize Michelle Obama, an Ivy-League educated black woman, from the tip of her high-heels to the slicked baby hair strands of her edges because she is Black.

This is not the only racial double standard I’ve noticed in this election. If Pres. Obama had children
Posters on the street
during Pres. Obama's 2nd Inauguration
Credit: Jenee Darden
by three women…whew! Bring on the comments about Black baby daddies, Black men not being to control their sexual urges, creating dysfunctional families; single, Black mothers etc. What do many conservatives say about Trump and his three wives? Nothing much. And remember when many conservatives criticized the Obamas for being elite because of their Ivy League degrees? I don’t recall them calling The Trumps or even The Bush family elitists.


The dragging of Melania Trump with these old nude photos is wrong and sexist. The years of Michelle being compared to men, monkeys, and just the overall disrespect are wrong, sexist and racist. Michelle Obama is a great First Lady, and Melania Trump seems like a nice woman. Neither woman deserves these attacks. However, people calling out the racial double standard between reactions to Melania and Michelle is not slut shaming. It’s speaking the truth. And the truth is if Michelle Obama had posed nude, we wouldn’t have a Black family in the White House today.




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hold Up! Before Hillary Clinton, There Was Shirley Chisholm

Art by Kadir Nelson
Source: U.S. Congress and Wikimedia
While many feminists are rejoicing Hillary Clinton's historical nomination for the presidency, I want to remind folks that she's standing on another woman's shoulders. Pres. Barack Obama is standing on this woman's shoulders as well.

In 1972, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first woman to run for president in the Democratic party. She also became the first African-American woman to run for the presidency. And she's the first black woman to serve in Congress. President Obama and Former Secretary of State Clinton were able to reach the ceiling they cracked, because they stand on Shirley Chisholm's shoulders. Pres. Obama honored her posthumously last year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Brooklyn native's campaign slogan was, "Unbought and Unbossed."

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that Clinton didn't mention Shirley Chisholm. She has not received her due props and accolades for the doors she opened for women and people of color in politics. I read that people tried to assassinate her when she ran for the presidency. Can you imagine being the first and only Black woman in the U.S. Congress in the 1970's during Nixon's presidency???

Chisholm didn't get the nomination. But more people will know about her because Anika Noni Rose is starring and producing a biopic about her.

In her public announcement of her candidacy, Shirley Chisholm said she was a proud African-American and a proud woman. I didn't read about her in U.S. history. I read a little about her in Black history. I had no idea she was a feminist because so much discourse on feminist history leaves out contributions by women of color. We would not have the Obamas, Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro,--heck even Sarah Palin if weren't for Shirley Chisholm willing to make people think that women and people of color can lead this country.

"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."
--Shirley Chisholm

"The United States was said not to be ready to elect a Catholic to the Presidency when Al Smith ran in the 1920's. But Smith's nomination may have helped pave the way for the successful campaign John F. Kennedy waged in 1960. Who can tell? What I hope most is that now there will be others who will feel themselves as capable of running for high political office as any wealthy, good-looking white male."
--Shirley Chisholm


Are You With Her?: Hillary Clinton Makes History

Pres. Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Source: Instagram
I hope I'm looking at the photo of the first African-American president and the future first woman president. Like her or not, she made U.S. history this week as the first woman nominee of a major political party.

Every election I think about how I was lucky to grow up in a politically divided family. On my father's side some of my relatives are liberals and some conservatives. Holiday dinners and family gatherings were always something else. But it made me be a good listener to people whose opinions I don't agree with. It made me see where the other sides are coming from. And so I don't get worked up over people who politically disagree with me. I've volunteered for campaigns. I've been to a Republican convention and had a great time.  I'm not a Trump supporter, but people have a right to support him.

This election feels like a long, dramatic Thanksgiving dinner where there's no more sweet potato pie and I'm tired of people fighting. I hate our country has become even more divided. Hatred has always been an issue, but I don't like this rise of overt hatred either.

Hillary is not perfect. I take issues with some things the Clintons have done and their resources. But Trump's xenophobia, sexism, racism and lack of experience concerns me. I've noticed some liberals and Dems say they're not excited about this election like when Pres. Obama ran. And it's because they don't fully trust Hillary. Racism, sexism and class are important issues to me. For me, I know no matter who becomes president, they're not going to end instutionalized racism, stop sexism and our rape culture or give every poor person in America opportunity. They're not. So I don't fall hard for politicians. I need to be extra hyped about a candidate to vote for them. Politicians are not the sole answer to fixing our problems. They're key, but the not the sole answer.

For me, Hillary Clinton is the best candidate. She's smart, experienced, not divisive and a strong woman. Is she perfect? No. Do I support everything she has done in her career. No. But I think she has what it takes to make a good president. This is a very important election. So whether you vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump I hope you vote.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Help! The Photo Library On My iPad Has Taken Up Most of My Storage

Jenee Darden aka Cocoa Fly reading for Lyrics & Dirges
at Pegasus Books in Berkeley

I'm not a techie and I rarely cover tech stuff, but someone in cyberspace saved me.

See that picture above? That's me performing a reading. I had a 10 minute set that I was excited to record for you on my iPad mini. I tested my iPad before I left, and noticed it would only record for four minutes because it didn't have enough memory. I deleted photos, videos and thought the problem was solved. I set up my tripod (I LOVE MY TRIPOD) at the bookstore, hit record on my iPad and performed. I returned to my iPad. It recorded less than four minutes of my performance. NOOOOOOOOOO!

I check my storage under settings when I get home. My Photo Library used up 4 Gigs of storage. How the heck did that happen??? Most of my photos and videos were deleted. I go looking for my Photo Library on the iPad. I can't find it.  Makes no sense.  Now I wonder where the hell is the Photo Library and how do I erase 4 gigs of stuff that I can't find. I know my techie friends are laughing at me, but whatever.

I went online searching for answers. Most articles and people in Apple Support forums said to sync the iPad to iTunes, then unsync or sync it to a empty folder. NONE OF THAT WORKED for me. It worked for some people, but not me.

Finally, after a long night of Googling different phrases for an answer and circles around my eyes, cyber angels rescued me. Thank you SEOMama and TxtForever!!!!!!!

The solution was something I try not do in my personal life, look back at the past. Change the date on the device a few years back and notice that most of your storage is restored. They break down clearing your Photo Library here.

Now I can take photos and video again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Unleashing at Beast Crawl, Getting in Formation & Going Naked: My Past and Upcoming Live Performances


Jenee Darden aka Cocoa Fly performs
at Beast Craw.
Photographer: Ed Shady 
This past weekend I began my birthday celebrations with friends and powerful womanist/feminist prose. It was truly a blessing to perform at Beast Crawl, one of the largest literary festivals in Oakland. Thank you to Liminal for inviting me to join their troupe. The spot was small, many were standing but people stayed. Thank you to those who came out to support us. Thank you to those who stood for the entire hour.  Each of us shared our stories of our experience with femininity. The event was filmed. When I get the video I will post and share with you. It was truly an honor to read with such passionate, strong and talented women. By the way, people loved my dress. I got it at Salvation Army for $5!

The Liminal Troupe
Photographer: Ed Shady

If you missed my Beast Crawl performance, there's more to come. This Wednesday, July 20th I'm reading at Pegasus Books in Berkeley for the monthly Lyrics and Dirges. I haven't seen these writers perform but I've heard of how great they are. Come out, support a local business and local talent. When host/AMAZING writer Mk Chavez  told me the theme is Formation, I couldn't turn down the invitation to read.  I've been seriously feeling Beyonce's Lemonade and it has inspired some of my writing.





Then on Thursday night I take on the challenge of a story slam at Books Inc. in Alameda. It's hosted by the To Live and Write in Alameda. The theme is Naked and the stories are all non-fiction. This is their first story slam where they challenge writers not to use notes. Which is common at slams. I will be clothed. Although I think reading from notes in the nude sounds easier. LOL 
I'm excited to be sharing my story. Come out. These events are free and the writers are amazing. Again, it's a great way to support independent bookstores. The flyers have all of the information you need. 






Friday, July 15, 2016

Playboy Bunny Dani Mathers Needs to Worry About Her Own Body and Mind Her Damn Business

Photo from Snapchat 
Playboy's 2015 Playmate of the Year Dani Mathers is a jerk. A sick, perverted, mean, insecure, arrogant, body-shaming jerk. Trust me, there are others words I want to use to  better describe this woman. You've probably heard the story already. But I'll briefly rehash it. Mathers is in a LA Fitness women's locker room. Instead of minding her own damn business and focusing on her own ass (literally), she secretly photographs what looks to be a nude,  older woman, posts it on Snapchat with the caption "If I can't unsee this, then you can't either. "

Mathers apologized for getting caught, and said she is new to Snapchat. She thought the photo she posted was for private eyes. That's not the point. Why the hell is she taking photos of other nude women?! Why is that woman's body any of her damn business?!

What infuriated me about her actions was that she posted that photo out of arrogance. For many, Dani Mathers is the ideal beauty--young, thin, blonde and white with big boobs. She was Playmate of the Year for goodness sakes!  Whether her blonde hair and boobs are natural or paid for is another discussion. She knows she represents the ideal beauty. She knows there are women around the world busting their ass at the gym and on hiking trails, eating salad and quinoa, putting their fingers down their throats, feeling guilty after eating a sprinkled doughnut because they want her body. And her beauty-privileged, cold-hearted ass insulted another woman's NAKED body on social media because she didn't fit our culture's beauty standard.

Many people don't like undressing at locker rooms because of fear of judgement. Dani Mathers judged this woman in front of the world. She's a pervert for secretly photographing a naked woman in a locker room. She needs to be criminally charged.

I'm glad L.A. Fitness banned her from all of their gyms. She deserves to be suspended indefinitely from her radio gig at KLOS in Los Angles and all of the anger people are throwing at her. As the women elders in my family say, "God don't like ugly."

 I've crossed women like Mathers. They insult other women because inside they don't feel good about themselves. So they put others down to build themselves up. A woman secure in her beauty and life doesn't focus on other people's looks. I lived in LA and beauty is everything there. But this was low. If she truly was confident in herself as a woman, she wouldn't be paying attention to the lady in the gym.

The shade that Mathers threw at this woman backfired. Mathers showed the world who's really the ugly one. And there ain't enough foundation, silicone, Botox, lip gloss, concealer, hair dye, etc. to beautify her repulsive soul.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Black Women Don't Forget About Yourselves #SandraBland #SayHerName



I've noticed Black folks on social media praising Black women activists for what they're doing for Black men in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. I thought BLM was for Black men AND women??? There's a saying about all feminist issues are about about white women and all Black issues are about Black men. Which leaves out Black women and our struggles.


Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the death of my sorority sister Sandra Bland. She shouldn't have been arrested in the first place. In this video I discuss why we can't forget Black women who have been victims of police violence.



Rest in Peace Sandra Bland and the many other victims whose names we know and don't know.








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