Thursday, October 13, 2016

Brunch, Bloggers and Books in Atlanta: The Literary Experience

If they're serving champagne at this event, I might have to catch a flight to Atlanta!

One of the many reasons why I love Atlanta is because so many Black entrepreneurs have emerged from that city. This event is one example. The Literary Experience is a collaboration between the African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) and Blogging Beauties. Book lovers can interact with authors, major bloggers, meet new people and nibble on some goodies. Plus there will be a panel of women from various media professions and one of the topics they will cover is entrepreneurship.

It looks like a fun and inspirational event. Tamika Newhouse is founder of the AAMBC and Jelisa Raquel heads up Blogging Beauties. I love these kind of events. And the tickets are super reasonable. I'll be missing all of the fun on Saturday Nov. 5th, 2pm at The Haven. Get your tickets here. If you go, let me know how it went.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pussy and Politics: Enough of Donald Trump and This Reality Show Election

I hate this election. I really, really hate this election. It's a joke. It's sensational. It's a cross between a rowdy reality show and a long episode of Scandal. Now a tape has leaked where Donald "Coochie Monster" Trump said to then Access Hollywood Billy Bush, that when he likes a woman he "grabs them by the pussy." And he likes to kiss women too. All of this without consent. Enough is enough! This election has exposed so much of what is wrong with America: racism, sexism, xenophobia, ableism,  greed, class discrimination, lack of support for our veterans, division, and our FAILING EDUCATION SYSTEM. Here are a few points and observations I'd like to make all of this craziness:

  • I've been groped. I've been touched by people without their consent since middle school. These people have been students, relatives, men and women, strangers and people I know. I didn't like ANY OF IT.  Groping is sexual assault. Donald Trump basically said on that tape that he assaults women he's attracted to. And he knows he can because he's a wealthy, powerful, famous white male. He's one of the most privileged men on the planet. And since we live in a society where so few sexual violators are punished, even if Trump weren't rich he could practically do whatever he want. That's male privilege for you. 
  • On the tape Trump made comments about trying to get then Access Hollywood host Nancy O'Dell in bed. Trump has made offensive sexist and racist comments from the beginning of this campaign. But it took crude remarks about a thin, successful, wealthy, famous, Southern, married, straight white woman for more Republicans to be repulsed. It took his insults of that type of woman for more Republicans to call out Trump. It's okay to talk about Black folks, call Mexicans rapists and killers, disrespect a fallen soldier's family because he's Muslim, talk about women and their weight. But the line was drawn Nancy O'Dell. And that's no disrespect to Nancy O'Dell because I love her on Entertainment Tonight. But had Trump made a comment about grabbing Black pussy, Brown pussy, poor women's pussies, etc. I don't think there wouldn't be such an uproar from the conservatives.
  • Not to my surprise many of Trump's supporters aren't calling him out on that video. I don't care if you support Trump. What he said was wrong. And people labeling his comments as "locker talk" are disturbing. Bragging about assaulting women is what men say in the locker room? 

  • Did you see all of those men get off of that bus? I wonder if any of them heard what Trump said. If only Billy Bush had said, "That's not cool Donald." Instead he laughed at Trump's lewd and violent comments. What disgusted me most about Billy Bush is that Trump said he likes to kiss women without permission, and Billy suggested to the actress on the set that she let Trump kiss her. GROSS!
  • I don't usually cover politics on this blog. I could go on but this election is a circus. I miss boring, presidential elections where people disagreed but still had respect for each other. America has come far, but has a long way to go. And it's not coincidence that Donald Trump has become a strong contender for president during a time where the quality of our education system is declining. He doesn't even carry himself in a presidential manner. He's boorish. He cuts of Clinton during debates. A hot-headed bad ass is not what we need in to be the most powerful leader on the planet.
  • I've said on here before that my family is made of conservatives and liberals. I've met a lot of conservatives. I've met people who worked with Pres. Reagan.  This behavior, is not the GOP I remember as a kid. They had class and were educated. Trump lacks class and spews misinformation. The fact that he appeals to so many people says a lot about the state of this country. When this election is all over, how do we address that? 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Nate Parker Doesn't Have to Apologize

It seems like every time a big story breaks about some famous person doing something wrong, people demand an apology. Sometimes an apology is not enough.

People want Nate Parker, star and creator of the Nat Turner film Birth of a Nation to apologize for the gang rape he was found not guilty of being a part of. People honestly think he's going to apologize for something that not only he says he didn't do, but the justice system said he didn't do? Seriously?

Hell no he's not going to apologize. And what's an apology going to do? It's not going to bring the victim back. This is an example where an apology is not enough.

Nate Parker was either so arrogant, or stupid, not to have media preparation for, if and when this rape trial story broke. He saw himself more as a victim and showed little remorse for the whole situation. You can tell he learned very little about rape culture in his earlier interviews.

I don't want an apology. Actions speak louder than words. He should take some of that FOX films money and donate it to programs that help rape survivors. Or, hold events for boys and men to talk about respecting women and consent. And I think he should share what he tells his college-aged daughter about sexual violence to the public. Right now it looks like he don't give a damn and just wants to push this movie.

People can see Birth of a Nation if they want. I really don't care. And I'm not judging people who do see it. I'll wait until it's on video. With so much violence and racial tensions going on I'm not comfortable going to see that movie in the theatre. Also, I am sitting out on this because I do think he and his friend/college buddy/co-writer of this film raped that woman. I'm also disturbed that a historian of Black history said there are a lot of inaccuracies in the film, including a gang rape scene that supposedly moved Nat Turner to rebel. Apparently that's not true. Two men accused of gang rape, write a fictional rape scene in a historic film. I'm cool. I'll go see Lupita N'yongo's Queen of Katwe.

Update: There's a rumor going around that Oprah offered to help Nate Parker with some media strategies when his rape trial came to light. And he declined. If this is true, he made a stupid mistake. I always said that Hollywood would never greenlight a Nat Turner film. And from what I understand, others have tried to get his biopic made. I wonder why Nate Parker was able to do it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Let Go Of Your Enemies and Focus on Your Blessings

I woke up yesterday to the news that Brat Pitt and Angelina Jolie were done, over, a wrap. I'll keep it real with you, the first person I thought of was Jennifer Aniston. Brad Pitt would publicly make jokes about Jenn since leaving her. And now his behind is getting dragged. Whether we treat people wrong or right, we reap what he sow.

But instead of wishing for those who hurt me to have hell in their life, I put that energy into wishing for my life to be beautiful, full and blessed. I talk about that in this video that you can watch here.

Trust me it makes a difference when you allow yourself to be mad, release what those people did to you and convert that energy to blessings in your life. As my mama always says, "Don't let people rent space in your head."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'm Reading at Get Lit TONIGHT

I'm reading at Get Lit tonight in Oakland at the Jingletown Jazz Room, right across from Fruitvale BART Station. I will be reading with a heavy heart after hearing another unarmed, Black man has been killed by police. This man was sitting in his car reading a book. Tonight I will be reading in a literary space, with people who love words.  And I'll hold in my heart a dead man who did something that I do everyday, for enlightenment or comfort--read.  He was killed and all he had was a book. This must stop. Black people don't deserve to live in fear like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I'm Hyped About The Emmys and The People v. O.J. Simpson

Photos provided by FX

 It's Emmy Sunday! I love awards shows but this one is extra special because actor Sterling K. Brown was nominated for his supporting role in The People v. O.J. Simpson. Brown played my father, former prosecutor Christopher Darden. The show received 22 nominations! Only second behind Game of Thrones.

I'm also rooting for Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran) and Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark). The entire cast were amazing. Brown is up against his fellow cast members John Travolta (Robert Shapiro) and David Schwimmer (Robert Kardashian).  Despite the competition the entertainment press report Sterling K. Brown is the favorite.

Tomorrow night I will be ready with my glass of Stella Rosa and popcorn. This is so exciting!

The Emmys air live on ABC, 7pm EST/ 4pm PST.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cocoa Fly Podcast Update

My heart is in radio and podcasting. That's where I'm planning to shift the focus of I love writing, but I love audio storytelling too. Video is starting to grow on me.

I'm still working out the logistics on iTunes. But feel free to listen to Cocoa Fly interviews already on iTunes. I'm also working on getting it on the Libsyn Podcast Source app.

I'll have more updates soon!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Battle for My Black Womanhood

I broke up with spoken word about 12 years ago. Or maybe spoken word and I took a break. I was more focused on news writing and I felt the scene became so cliche. I felt like I heard everything before and people weren't original. The spoken word scene is smaller in LA compared to Oakland/SF.   Just trying to write a poem was hard for me.

I moved back to the Bay Area and met all kinds of people in the literary scene. New people and and a re-emergence of violence against people of color and women inspired me to write creatively again. It feels really good.

This reading was special because the night before was my surprise breakup. I hadn't slept much, but I wanted to be there. I told the audience that I felt awful and why I felt awful. They were ALL so supportive. I joked that I wished he had broken up with me sooner so I could have better breakup poetry. LOL

 I love this piece because it speaks to my journey to loving myself and the woman I have become. I'm prissy and girlie and hella feminine. Many times it was an internal and external to accept that because society looks down on the feminine, while at the same time try to deny femininity to Black women.

By the way, I filmed this in early August. I have on a leather jacket and a head wrap in August. That's San Francisco for ya.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Feeling Your Feelings After a Breakup

Photo by Kiomi from FreeImages
Today I saw a meme on Facebook that said sensitivity is a super power. It is a super power. And like  a superhero coming into their powers, they have to learn how to release and control them.  They have to learn when it's right to use their power. They must learn how powerful they really are and not be afraid of their powers. But having superpowers isn't always easy. And as the hero learns their strengths, they also learn their weaknesses.

I love and appreciate my sensitivity because it helps me connect to people. It also helps me disconnect from toxic people. My sensitivity, has a Spidey-like sense, that's pretty good at telling me who I should engage with and who I should stay away from.

My sensitivity keeps me in touch with my own feelings. Right now I'm really in touch with my own feelings. Right now I'm hella in my feelings. And I don't like it. But I know I have to feel them to get through this.  I'm drinking an emotional cocktail of disappointment, anger, hurt, nostalgia, but I have to finish the glass. One day I'm mad at the person. The next day I miss them. The third day I'm mad that I miss them. The fourth day I have compassion for anger and hurt for missing them. I HATE THIS! LOL And a breakup raises other questions in my life like, "Why is it so hard to meet the right guy?" or "Are all of the good men taken?" or "Who can I trust?"

My sensitive superpowers got me feeling
some kind of way. 
I know allowing myself to feel without letting emotions overtake me is how to get through. It's a balance of controlling and releasing my superpower. But it doesn't feel good. This is one reason why people turn to drugs, booze, sex, shopping addictions,  etc. They numb their feelings. Feeling your feelings can be torturous. Ooooh when the feelings are good, they're sooooo GOOD. But when you feel like sh*t, it's baaaaaddddd. Those of us with torn hearts have to go through the tears, hating Facebook because it feels like everyone is booed up except you, analyzing what went wrong and what mistakes you won't make next time, missing and hating your ex at the same time, feeling bad because you miss and hate your ex at the same, horny from no sex or having no interest in sex, feeling sad when places you went on dates resurrect memories, wishing you had done something different, and fear. You have to face whatever fears that came out of that broken relationship, so you can move on and trust someone with your heart again.

Not enough booze to drink away these feelings. 
Some years ago I got my heart broken real bad. Like Jazmine Sullivan, Carrie Underwood, Waiting to Exhale Angela Bassett pissed off, bad. No cars were damaged or burned, but I understood why that goes through a woman's mind. Still, ain't no man worth me going to jail over.  Thank God this breakup was not on that level at all. But that other Jazmine Sullivan-angry breakup left me hating my ex. I hated that guy for a long time and wished all kinds of hell on him. Until I realized it did more emotional damage to me than him. I couldn't open my heart to anyone else until I let go of how he hurt me. You know what I did? Instead of wishing him hell on Earth, I began to wish for blessings in my life. The greatest revenge is success. Or as said in the Book of Formation, the best revenge is your paper. I would rather be blessed with a great life and a good man, than for that jerk to suffer. Think about it. If you hate the hell out of your ex and could have one choice, which would it be? Would you rather them be in so much pain and agony that they regretted the thought of hurting you? Or would you choose to be so blessed and happy that he or she did doesn't even matter to you anymore?

In my Wonder Woman shirt with
my superpowers of sensitivity. I'm smiling
because I'm at SF Comic Con.  
I've grown up because I don't hate the person involved in my latest breakup. I hate how they made me feel. I hate that I'm going through this emotional roller coaster. But I learned in the past that I have to deal with this in order to heal from this. I have to feel the rawness and let it pass.  I know this bumpy, emotional ride will end. I've been on this ride before. I've gotten off of it and straightened myself up. I'll open my heart and mind with the intention that the next ride with a special person will be so pleasant, neither of us will want to get off. Hope and faith are good superpowers to have.

*Sorry for the ramble. I just felt like rambling. And I just came back from SF Comic Con which is probably why I'm on the superpower kick.*

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Get Into the Writing Groove Workshop

I'm teaching a writing workshop! I'm so excited to be hosting my Get Into the Writer's Groove workshop on Saturday Sept. 10th at Liminal. The workshop is for writers, new and experienced, who are struggling with writer's block or in a creative rut. I have been there. And thankfully I was able to pull myself out. The workshop I created is what I needed when my creative juices weren't flowing. 

This daylong workshop will be filled with discussion, activities and writing exercises to help you get back into the writing groove. Learn more here or sign up here

Space is limited. This will be a very intimate workshop. There will be NO onsite registration the day of the workshop so make sure to sign up early. I look forward to helping you get into the WRITING GROOVE! 


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