Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
You can't help but fall for the heroine. Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is beautiful and embodies the American dream. She's a hard working girl, taking on a few waitress shifts to help fund her and her father's dream of owning a restaurant. She believes in the American principle "with hard work comes success." Tiana isn't like other Disney damsels waiting for Prince Charming to rescue them (sorry Cinderella). For Tiana, men can wait. Business comes first. This is completely opposite of Prince Naveen's (Bruno Campos) life philosophy. The spoiled, lazy royal is cut off from mommy and daddy's fortune. He travels to New Orleans looking to marry a rich woman (Now I ain't sayin' he's a gold digger...). Instead he meets the Shadow Man (Keith David), an evil Voodoo doctor, and is turned into a frog. Tiana gives the froggy Naveen some sugar to break the spell, only to be turned into one herself. During their lily pad adventure, Naveen shows Tiana it's okay to make room for love and fun in her life. While she teaches Naveen the gift of responsibility and independence.
I love Tiana for her determination and heart. I love her because she's a woman from a lower-class neighborhood with a lot of class. I love her for being a good daughter and a big dreamer. I appreciate how her character redefines the notion of "princess" through her independent spirit. The little girl in me loves Tiana because she looks like me. Full lips, wide nose, brown skin just like me. Tiana could be my mother, my little sister, a friend, a cousin, you. I was so proud of her image I teared up. I couldn't help myself. As a black woman, I've wanted to see a movie like this for so long. Media are powerful whether we like to admit it. Images have an effect on how individuals see others and themselves. I was absorbed into the storyline but I still had my racism/sexism radar on and Princess Tiana passed the test for me.
I enjoyed the film. However, it does not wow me like Beauty and the Beast or Lion King. The writers should have given Voodoo Priestess Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis) more scenes. She is so much fun to watch. The face off with the Shadow Man is not very climactic, compared to suspenseful villain showdowns from movies like The Little Mermaid or Sleeping Beauty. But the Shadow Man is wonderfully sinister and creepy. I liked how Disney writers made New Orleans a central character. The movie tries to represent the soul of the city with bright colors, food, people and of course music. Jazz and gospel gave vibrancy to the story. The charachters' Southern accents made the setting feel more authentic. One of the shining co-stars is Tiana's friend Charlotte (Jennifer Cody). She is a wealthy socialite and obsessed with finding a prince. She is hilarious and reminds me of a girlfriend always on the prowl for a man. We all know someone like Charlotte.
I am disappointed Tiana stays a frog most of the movie. I wanted to see more of her pretty face and poise, but Disney made the amphibian storyline work. She and the frog prince are able to see past their slimy bodies and fall in love. True to Disney canon, we're reminded to love someone for what's on the inside and not the exterior. I relearned that lesson during the movie because I had prejudgments about the Bayou firefly Ray. His missing teeth and ragged whiskers screamed "coonery" when I first saw pictures of him on the web. I had a change of heart during the film. The snagga-tooth insect is adorable. I still think the Disney artists should have given the brotha a dental plan, but Ray is one of my favorites.
This a fun movie for the young and old. Although Disney is one of the largest media companies in the world, save some of your bootleg money for popcorn. Brave the cold and take the kids to a matinee. It's worth the fun and Disney magic in a theater is priceless. Speaking of Disney magic, true story, my mother told me she opened her front door yesterday. There was a little frog sitting on her porch. How did a frog end up in the hood in East Oakland? Either this was a coincidence or Disney is taking their marketing to another level. In case you're wondering, my mom didn't kiss it.
If you saw the movie, SPEAK YOUR MIND and share your opinion.
Norma Fox Mazer wasn't just a good writer. She was a great storyteller who cemented captivating tales in our hearts for more than forty years. The young- adult novelist died from brain cancer in October at 78.
I met Mazer in 2003 at Bennington College in Vermont. We were there for the National Book Foundation's summer writing camp. Mazer was a writing mentor and I was a fellow. I've had some cruel writing teachers in my career, but Mazer was fair. She sat in one of my workshops to offer feedback. Reading your work in front of strangers to be publicly critiqued is not easy. I don't care how long you've been a writer. Mazer gave honest criticism that didn't put you down, but made you a better writer.
Another thing that struck me about Mazer was her humbleness. I remember two girls and I were eating lunch and she asked if she could join us. An award-winning writer asked to sit with us newbies? She was not cocky, but I imagine self-assured. A woman with true self-confidence doesn't have to brag about her successes. Mazer asked us about our hair and complimented our styles. One had locs, the other girl and I sported cornrows. I remember her saying something about her hair being thin and she couldn't wear our kind of styles. I told her that's why fake hair exists and I had extensions. She was amused. As we all talked about writing and her career I noticed Mazer was filled with wonder and a youthful spirit. That energy kept her looking young because the girls and I were shocked when she told us her age. Mazer didn't look 72 at all. The photo posted is how I remember her and that does not look like a woman in her 70s. Young-adult literature was her calling.
One of the girls I lunched with that day told me Mazer passed away. We are both still writing. Mazer's stories and words ignited the imaginations and hearts of many young people. She wasn't afraid to touch upon heavy themes like death, secrets or divorce. The special thing about being a writer is long after you're gone, your words still have breath for generations to come. I have a tween sister and I can't wait to introduce her to Norma Fox Mazer.
Read New York Times Obituary here.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Here's the lesson from Tiger Gate: Don't judge a brotha with a non-black woman because you don't know what's really going on in their relationship. I know some of my sistas are disgusted with Tiger because he doesn't seem to date black women, nor sleep with them. I've even heard people complain, "Damn, he couldn't have had an affair with at least one black woman?" Hell no and I thank him for not sleeping with a black woman. Black, white, brown, purple--why would any woman share a bed with him after this? I remember when Woods first married his wife. Go to a black beauty salon back then and many sistas shared the same feeling: If only he married a black woman, made pretty black babies and took the Huxtable family dream into the stratosphere. Fast forward to today and some of you have a different stand. The grass isn't always greener in Cablasia. Money, fame and influence can't heal their family. Woods has a problem keeping it zipped. There's an international AIDS epidemic going on and black women are at high risk for so many STDs. The last thing a sista needs to do is make a visit to the clinic because Tiger allegedly sleeps with any thing who winks at him. I pray for his wife's sake he used protection when romping with these women. Then there's the embarrassment factor. What wife, aside from Kate Gosselin, wants their rocky marriage discussed all over the world? If Tiger never jumps on the black side of love, that's fine by me.
Tiger Woods has been inducted into my "Brothas I Wouldn't Date If They Went Back To Black Club." Other members include O.J. Simpson and Wesley Snipes. All successful, rich, handsome black men many of us would have loved to be their Mrs. But, wife batterers, killers and tax evaders just don't turn me on.
Sistas next time you see a handsome black man with a non-black woman don't give them the evil eye. He can date who he wants and you don't know the circumstances. The man could be husband of the year or no good, lying dirty dog of the year. Do yourself a favor. Drop the evil eye. Instead, look for the men around you who seem available and are checking you out. Or be thankful for the good man you have at home. Hopefully Tiger Woods does ALL women a favor for a while and keep his strokes on the golf course.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I'm not going to spend an entire blog post shaking my finger at Tiger Woods. He's a grown man and knows sleeping with multiple women while married is wrong. But I have to call him out on two things. Tiger you married roughly at 28 years old. Dude, you're young, make a gazillion dollars and have women from here to Antarctica throwing panties at you. Why in the world would you get married so young? Obviously, you still like swinging your golf club on other courses. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Another thing, why in the world would you leave a digital trail of text and voice mails on your jump off's (that's slang for someone used strictly for sex) cellphone in this media-frenzy age? Plus you said your name on the voice mail message?! , "Hey it's Tiger....my wife may be calling you..." Come on T. LOL You act like Tiger is as common as the name Harry.
Enough of Tiger. The problem I have with this scandal are the jumpoffs. I'm ready for a ban on fame whoring. I'm tired of women having sex with famous men and blabbing about their home wrecking. They disgust me. Remember the days when the other woman slept with the married man, kept it to herself, then maybe wrote a book about it after he died? Oh, I miss the 80s. If you're going to creep around with these married keep it to yourself. Self-pimping to get a taste of fame is W-R-O-N-G. People today are so obsessed with fame because you don't need talent to be a leading story on Entertainment Tonight. Either lay down, make a sex tape and get peed on, crash a White House party, cheat on your wife and 8 kids or all of the above. Then you're rewarded with a reality show or a book deal. Something isn't right about this. Is Jaimee Grubbs, the LA cocktail waitress who released the voice mail, proud of herself for sleeping with a married man and father? If she does shoot to stardom after this scandal, all I'll see is a woman who sleeps, tell and sells... her story. Media prostitution at its finest. Then there's Rachel Uchitel, a VIP nightclub manager who denies an affair with Tiger. She's the alleged mistress we first heard about. What does Miss Rachel do to stay out of the limelight? Fly to Hollywood, hire high-profile attorney Gloria Allred and wear sunglasses to popular restaurants where paparazzi scope out stars. It's fame phenes like Grubbs, Jon Gosselin and other women claiming Tiger pounced them, who are desperate to walk the corners of TMZ Blvd and Enquirer Drive for any attention. They may be able to charge thousands of dollars for a 15-minute romp with fame. After the tabloids leave the money on the night stand, these "fame walkers" will probably spend up their earnings in a Gucci minute. If they're not smart. Then it's on to the next hi-profile Joe Blow.
Tiger pays the biggest price in all of this mess he started-- possibly ruining his family. He's lucky. On the night of his car accident, Tiger could've paid the same price as Steve McNair. Will they ever learn?
More troops, huh? I'm not shocked. Mr. Obama did say on the campaign trail that the war should be fought in Afghanistan. I'm no war expert so I'm a bit torn on this issue. On one hand we need to find the terrorists. But, I'm tired of young people dying over old men's war as they say. Al Qaeda has terror cells all over the world. We can't even keep some wannabe socialites with bootleg formal wear from crashing a White House party. How effective are we gonna be in stopping Bin Laden and his followers. A lot of American and Afghan lives will be lost in 18-months. But there are plenty of wars here we need to fight. What about the war on drugs in poor communities? How about declaring a war against the rising HIV/AIDS infections? World AIDS Day just passed. There are some cities right here in the U.S. whose infection rates nearly match those in African countries. What about the war on poverty and poor education? Poverty and bad schools are damaging our children and their future. If they don't have skills how will we stay a first -world nation when I'm a grandma? President Obama's speech last night left me with more questions than answers. What did you think?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I love the romantic gaze between our First Lady and President. She looks good, he looks good. Hmmm, wonder what they're thinking? I bet there was a Luther Vandross CD playing in the President's private quarters later that night. ;) What a gorgeous couple.
First Lady Michelle Obama looked stunning at Tuesday night's State Dinner. India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur were the guests of honor. Designer Naeem Khan, an Indian-American, created the dress. Khan told CNN's Larry King the dress is made of silk and crystals. Forty people worked on this beautiful handmade gown. Khan's father and grandfather design luxurious clothing in India. This is my favorite look for the First Lady so far. Thumbs up to Khan for this fashion masterpiece. Macy's needs to hook up with him so us girls who aren't on a First Lady budget can wear his clothes.
Monday, November 23, 2009
"People are scared and it's really sad, I just wish people could open their minds up and enjoy things, it's all for a laugh, it's really not that big of a deal."
Adam Lambert tells Rolling Stone and Access Hollywood
Its nights like this I wished I lived on the East Coast. I had to check YouTube to see all the raunch from Adam Lambert's closing act on the American Music Awards. Fitting the song is called, "For Your Entertainment." Thanks to editing and censors, we here in the PST zone missed the simulation of a male dancer performing oral sex on Lambert. We missed the groping of the pole dancer and the flip off too. But they allowed the kiss with the male keyboardist ( Ma, I told you he was kissing a guy). Lambert's show was edgy, raw, unforgiving, overly-sexed, inappropriate, sounded awful, outlandish and I LOVED IT. The performance resembled some underground, S&M sex dungeon/night club. Lambert's yelling and theme reminded me of 70s and 80s rock--David Bowie, Madonna even George Michales. You know a sexy, in-your-face, I don't give a s**t this is who I am, vibe. I appreciated the erotic. Only problem is the AMAs wasn't the right place to act out a BJ, give the middle finger, etc. Adam, your ass may be grass with the FCC on that one. According to Rolling Stone, producers didn't know about the male make out part. Not sure if they were aware of the other parts, pun intended. Adam should've saved this show for the MTV Awards. Many parents are angry and disappointed. A viewer wrote on YouTube they were going to contact the FCC. One woman on Adam's Facebook page commented her daughter ran out of the room crying during the performance. Tonight's Adam was not the good, cute boy teen girls fell in love with on American Idol. Adam could have lost his mainstream appeal because of this. Of course many people are heated because Adam put his gayness out there for the whole country to see and some Americans just can't handle it. Would people make such a big fuss if he were straight or a woman? Madonna and Britney kissed on stage... but at the MTV awards. Some fans were turned off because he sounded bad. At least he didn't like lip synch like
Kris Allen should be seeing dollar $igns tonight. Remember him? The guy who actually beat Adam and won American Idol, but isn't getting the promotion he deserves being that he won. Well, he can come out like Glenda the Good Witch in all of this. He's opposite of Adam--married, boy-next door looks, doesn't appear to be a crotch grabber, etc. People offended by Adam could give Kris more attention.
I'm still on team Adam. Based on the quote up top, sounds to me he's not trying to be a bubble gum pop star and he made that clear tonight. Adam is cute, sexy and the fact he wouldn't do me even if I came to his hotel room wearing only whipped cream makes him more appealing. I wonder if the FCC found him appealing? In case you missed the unedited version:
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Janet also opened up about issues with her weight and low self-esteem. I nearly dropped my homemade bowl of turkey soup when she said she didn't like her smile. She compared it to the Joker's sinister, wide grin. "Girl are you crazy!!??," I yelled at the TV. Janet Jackson has one of the most beautiful smiles in Hollywood. Her smile is signature and one of her best features. She has one of those smiles that make you feel good because it's so bright and warm. I started flashing big smiles because of her. I also wore long, phony-ponies and keys on my hoop earrings because of Janet too. Miss Jackson is 43 and looking 25. For decades many of us wished we could look like Janet Jackson. And all that time she didn't recognize the beauty we saw. Interesting. She's a pop phenom but, Janet has her issues just like the rest of us. I love her!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
You can buy your hair if it wont grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the makeup
That M.A.C. can make
But if you can't look inside you...
I'm so thankful I didn't carry the childhood teases and insults of my dark skin into adulthood. When I saw Sammy Sosa's whitened skin and read reports he may be endorsing a skin-lightening cream the first word that came to mind was "sad." Sosa was a nice looking man before dipping in the bleach. We already associate him with corking bats and rumored steroid-use. Now the Cork Batter is the Bleaching Batter. I know my dark skin falls on the bottom of the mainstream beauty totem pole. And so what. I love my skin and wouldn't trade it for anything. The best thing about being on the dark side of the spectrum is my skin takes its sweet time aging. Melanin is keeping my behind out of the Botox chair. My grandpa is 75 and his midnight face has just a few wrinkles. Thanks grandpa!
Sosa's color complex is not just a black thing. Dark skin carries a stigma all over the world. It's an issue of race and also class. Traditionally, darker skinned indicated one worked outside and performed manual labor. Whether it's Southeast Asia, Africa, Brazil or right here in baseball country--many see darker skin as a negative.
It's sad that so many of us buy into what magazines, television, movies and peers say how we're "supposed" to look like. I watched a young lady on Tyra cry last night because she hates her ears. Know why? Years ago her grade school classmates taunted her, saying her ears were abnormal. Instead of eventually saying to herself "F*ck what they think, I look good," she's insecure. Her ears look just fine. God forbid if she were hit by a bus tomorrow, I bet her ears wouldn't be in her final thoughts. All of the hairstyles or a lover's ear nibbles she passed on because of what some ignorant, foolish kids thought of her years ago. You know I'm shaking my head right now. Girlfriend is missing out.
If you have big ears, big feet, post-baby belly pouch, wide hips, big butt, flat butt, dark skin, light skin, freckles, moles, small boobs, big breasts, wrinkles, cellulite, acne, wild hair, thin hair, tall stature, short stature, all of the above or don't qualify for America's Next Top Model -- you're beautiful. To the women who fall in the ANTM contender category--you're beautiful too. Life is too short not to love yourself because of what someone thinks or said. Mediate on this. Time is passing you by because you believed when someone, some video, etc told you God's design, aka YOU, isn't pretty or good enough. While you hold on to those insults, that person or thing has probably gone tearing someone else down. As my mama always says, "Don't let people rent space in your head." That includes ideas and images in society.
Sammy can have his colored contacts and facial creamy crack. I'm too busy lovin' the dark skin I'm in.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Look Sarah, you can keep it real with me. You resigned because you're an opportunist. We all saw that during the election. That's not a bad thing from a business standpoint. But from a leader position, you let your Alaskans down. Right now you can taste the $$ and power. Isn't it sweet? Book deal, rumored talk show--you're jumping on it while it's hot. Smart move. You have a big following. Some members in my family pre-ordered your book Going Rogue and can't wait to eat up every wordy, anti-gotcha media word. But what I want to know is:
--What in the world were you thinking signing a $1.25 million book deal? You could've got way more than that.
--Did Bristol's pregnancy make you rethink your position on sex ed for minors?
--Explain your theory on the "In God We Trust" coin conspiracy, now that you've learned Pres. Obama wasn't the one who moved the words on the coin, but that the change was made when the Bush administration was in power?
--When was the last time you and John McCain spoke to each other?
--Can you promise me if you do have a talk show and it's on Fox that it'll be more interesting than Huckabee?
- You dodged Oprah's question about running for president. Just answer this: what's your campaign slogan for 2012?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
One of the main reasons why I sought membership in this great sorority was because of the HERstory. Picture it: the year is 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Or as some people called it Klandiana because the highest concentration of Klansmen lived in the state. During this time racial lynchings are prevalent around the country. Seven black school teachers, all friends, attend Butler University, a predominately white school. According to a campus historian I spoke with, one of the Klan's leaders lived blocks from Butler. For years the school wouldn't even put pictures of black students in their yearbook. Don't forget, this was way before the Civil Rights and Womens Movements. Yet, Mary Lou Little, Dorothy Whiteside, Nannie Mae Johnson, Bessie Martin, Hattie Redford, Cubena McClure and Vivian Martin defied race and gender restrictions. On November 12, 1992 these teachers had the courage to start an organization for black women that uplifts the community and serves those in need.
More people need to have this type of attitude when looking into Black Fraternities and Sororities. There's more to these orgs than parties and step shows.
EEE-YIP! to my sorors all over the world. Have a blessed Founders' Day.
Monday, November 9, 2009
En Vogue are like the Supremes of my generation. I grew up during the height of Destiny's Child also, but the Funky Divas had a different effect on me. When my fellow Oaktown sistas debuted 20 years ago ( Can you believe it's been that long?), the city was hyped over the group. All the boys in my 5th grade class wanted to marry them. En Vogue were a refreshing representation of Oakland and black women. They illuminated sophistication and sexiness. Add their heavenly voices topped off with flawless style-- and this black girl from East Oakland wanted to be just like them. I couldn't wait to be "grown" so I could witness their fierceness live in concert. By the time I was old enough, girl-group drama arose. Dawn left because the group was underpaid and had a bad contract (she explains in a revealing Essence.com interview). They were down to three members. New girls filled in but it wasn't the same. Then family stuff--Cindy's son became terribly ill and Maxine took a break to spend more time with her children. Before I knew it they were off the map.
My girlhood dream finally came true when I won tickets for the show. I sang and danced last night like back in the day when I watched En Vogue videos on BET's Video Soul. I even caught myself using my fist as a fake microphone last night. Sorry, in my head I'm the fifth member. I've read on the internet they're working on another album. They didn't mention anything about an album last night. I hope they put out new material. If they do, I'll be standing in front of my computer, watching their videos on YouTube and singing off key into my reporter's mic.
Check for En Vogue and Ginuwine on tour near you.
Get Fly on Facebook and follow Cocoa Fly HERE!
What' s you're favorite En Vogue joint? Here's mine:
Thursday, November 5, 2009
-What happens out there stays out there.
-What happens in here stays in here.
Unlike Cheers everybody doesn't know your real name, because you go by an alias. Even singer Billie Holiday reluctantly plays along when she stumbles upon the spot while on tour. Oh but the great thing about rules is they're meant to be broken. That's where the drama jumps off in House Rules, written by Peppur Chambers. When I say drama, I mean juicy, mouth- dropping scenes that makes you turn to your friend and say "oooh girrrrrl."
House Rules is about eight people. Some carry secrets, all are looking for love and respect. Joe serves an array of people. There's "Boogey Man," a driver who leaves his chauffeur jacket at the door and taps into his inner strength through growls. Sounds weird, but trust me it works in the story. Even life's troubles drives the devout, church lady "Precious" in for a swig of brandy. What better rule-breaker to be in a fictional bar with rules--Billie Holiday. Although she rebels against the guidelines on bar's chalkboard Holiday blends right in. It's not not overt in the play but we know she held dark secrets like the other patrons. And the customers are so caught up in their own mess that Holiday's presence isn't such a big deal.
House Rules is a fun, reflective and unpredictable ride. Chambers unmasks her characters through a clever script and solid actors. The audience relates to play because in the grinds of our everyday life, we need a space to be our true selves or the person we want to be. Like the eight characters, we desire respect and love. The play shows love and respect doesn't come easy, especially when we cover up who we really are. Trust me, this play sucks you in.
House Rules is playing at the Lounge Theater in Hollywood through Nov 6th-8th. That's this weekend ya'll. Learn more here.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I died and went to Wonder Woman heaven. I loved every feminine and thought-provoking moment. But someone was missing.
Can Young Women Kick It?
Where were my young sistas? Not just black, but young women of all backgrounds. I'm in my thir, thirrrr, third decade of life. As a young, professional woman this conference was right on for me. But there should be programming at this conference for girls in their late teens and early 20s to dialogue and figure out how they can be, as the theme was, "an architect of change." Girls are having sex at younger ages. Teen pregnancy and high school drop out rates continue to be a problem. And this generation of youth are infatuated with the idea of fame. Little Stacy needs exposure to women who became successful without making a sex tape. The more "seasoned" women could inspire youngins' with their stories. Shriver held the conference on a Monday and Tuesday--school nights. That could be a deterring factor. Also the price, I believe was $25 just for the Night at the Village. It's more for the next day's event.
I also expected to see more women of color. Women of various races showed their support. Being that this was Long Beach, the black/brown/yellow turnout was a little low.
Regardless, California First Lady Maria Shriver and her team gave 25, 000 people an amazing experience. Ladies, mark your calendars for next October so you can attend.
Below are a few shots from the conference....
Woman to Woman
Ariana Huffington interviews author and psychologist Cheryl Saban
Giant Puppets created by artist Michelle Berne
Bling in the City
Candace Bushnell rocking a gorgeous ring during her book signing. There are too many diamonds to count. Can't wait to see the new Sex and the City movie next summer.
Glam Me Up
Make Up artists giving free makeovers at the Target spa. If you look real close you can see the Giorgio Armani booth in the back.
Now Polish Me Off
Ladies getting their nails "did" for free courtesy of Target.
One Cup at a Time
Now you know if you get women togther we're gonna talk about our bodies--including our boobs. Good thinking Loma Linda University!
1. Maria Shriver/ http://californiawomen.org
All other photos taken by Jenee D.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Gymnast Kayla Williams recently made our country proud winning the world championship title in the vault competition. The 16- year-old athlete from Huntington, West Virginia is the first U.S woman to bring home the gold in the category. She wowed the world with her strong and smooth landing at the competition held in London. Just five months ago Williams competed in the level one notch below the elite level. Williams not only proved she could play with the big dogs, but beat them. Not bad being this was her first international competition. Don't you love a good sports story about trial and triumph? According to the USA Gymnastics website Williams is in the 11th grade and her favorite TV shows are "House of Payne" of "Meet the Browns." I can't wait to see Kayla set it off at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Other shows on the CANCEL list include: CW's The Good Life, ABC's Hank starring Kelsey Grammar and NBC's Parks and Recreation. Go here to see more shows on life support. I want America Ferrera, Vanessa Williams and the cast to keep getting a check so make sure to watch Ugly Betty, Friday nights at 9/8pm central on ABC. If you don't have Tivo catch the new season of Ugly Betty Thursday Nights at7 pm on the TV Guide Channel. I hear TV Guide will air the show in FULL screen. Or when you're bored at work and the boss isn't looking watch it on ABC.com. Not that I ever watched TV online in my office when I had a job. Oh no, not me. Well, I better go now.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Take a breath
Take it deep
He says to me
If you play, you play for keep
Take the gun and count to three
I’m sweating now
No time to think
My turn to go
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
I know that I must pass this test
So just pull the trigger
Say a prayer to yourself
He says close your eyes
Sometimes it helps
And then I get a scary thought
That he’s here means he’s never lost
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test
So just pull the trigger
As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I
Ever see another sun rise
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test
So just pull the trigger
The song literally ends with a bang. Of course the question remains: is she referring to Chris Brown here? Staying in a violent relationship is playing with your life because you don't know when your abuser will take it one step further and kill. Then there's the line
"And then I get a scary thought. That he’s here means he’s never lost." Which also means the people he plays with lose, their lives. See the single for the cover above? She's bound in barbed wire, hanging on to a chain with an open-patch over her eye. She's in pain, constrained but not blind to what's going on. Which says to me to chose to play this dangerous game, she chose to deal with the pain.
Another interpretation is "Russian Roulette" is publicity bait that we've been sucking on like a good neckbone. The hype will make us listen to the song repeatedly to figure out the meaning behind the lyrics. Then the song will grow on us and we'll buy the album. I'm not crazy about the song because it's so bleak and clearly someone dies at the end. As a writer I like the flow and Ne-Yo's use of storytelling. In light of what happened earlier this year, putting out a dreary and mysterious song was not a bad move. Releasing it near Halloween was also clever. It's definitely not a song for kids. Hopefully, some of these crazy teens don't romanticize the song's story and try to play Russian Roulette. I love the sexy and edgy single cover. It should be the cover for her album "Rated R" which drops Nov. 23rd. Bring the pain RiRi.
Do you like the song?
Friday, October 16, 2009
I don't buy their story and it's time to turn the cameras off on the Heene's. According to Blitzer police say the ordeal was real. Yeah right and pigs fly. Or should I say kids?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tony Bennet may have left his heart in San Francisco. But, Benjamin Bratt's La Mission will leave your heart and soul stirring. Bratt delivers a stunning performance as Che Rivera, an OG low-rider/ bus driver living in San Francisco's tough Mission District. A single father, Che abandons the thug life and raises his college-bound son. Life is good until he discovers his son Jess (Jeremy Ray Valdez) is gay. His rage and homophobia shatters the relationship between he and his son. Che is one of those brothas on the block you don't mess with and everyone respects. But he wrestles with looking inward to learn about love, acceptance and forgiveness. A budding romance between his pretty neighbor Lena (Erika Alexander, Living Single & Cosby Show) also brings out the tough's guy tender side. Watch the trailer here.
La Mission is so far the best film I've seen this year. It shines light on homophobia in the Latino community and causes us to reflect on prejudices within our own cultures. La Mission steps away from the tired inner-city script centered on gangs and drugs. This story is about community, family, love, tolerance and so much more. Benjamin Bratt's brother Peter directed and wrote the film. The two collaborated back in 1996 for Peter's first feature "Follow Me Home." Bratt says working with his brother Peter was an ideal experience. "He knows what my emotions are, what my strengths are," said Bratt.
Peter masterfully takes heavy subjects and turns them into a raw and beautiful feature.
"The story is about spiritual transformation," Peter said.
The Bratt brothers grew up near the Mission and it's evident in the film. I'm a Bay Area girl and the movie's portrayal of the Mission is authentic. The slang, clothing, accents were on point. Tricked out low rider cars and the array of music added to the film's vividness. I even heard a little William De Vaughn and E-40. The diversity and images of characters were absolutely refreshing--Latinos, blacks, whites, Asians, Native Americans, gay and straight. Now that is real San Francisco.
Jeremy Ray Valdez's portrayal of the closeted son is amazing. Valdez was ready to take on the serious subjects when he learned about the project.
"I was overjoyed because as actors it's seldom that we get to tackle subject matters that are important and well written."
The casting was right on also. Erika Alexander is delightful and moving as Che's granola, hipster neighbor. Playing Benjamin Bratt's love interest must be difficult...not. One of the many things I like about the film is the brotherly interaction between black and brown characters. Black and Latino tensions are always in the news. Rarely we hear about the communities getting along. I asked Alexander if the film creators were looking specifically for a black woman to play her character Lena. She said, "I think they were open to any woman. The Bratt brothers aren't racially biased. They were just open to whomever fit the role."
That's what I'm talking about.
La Mission is not available to a larger audience yet, because the producers are looking for a distributor. Check their Facebook page to find out where the Bratt brothers will be traveling next to show the film. Spread the word. We need more films like this. Peter Bratt is an amazing talent who isn't afraid to take on controversial subjects.
By the way, one of the perks to Switching It Up is standing a few feet away from Benjamin Bratt.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Supermodel Lara Stone got in Jazz Singer mode and posed in blackface for this month's French Vogue magazine. Excuse me, this is actually referred to as "contemporary blackface." That's according to the blog for fashion agency Confidence Models Management. When did racism go chic? In case you're wondering Stone is Dutch. Vogue should have gone all the ways and included a DVD insert in the magazine where Stone is tap dancing and singing "Mammmmieeeeee!" If Vogue's photographers wanted a dark- skinned woman wouldn't it make more sense to hire a woman of color? Of course not! Hiring a model of color wouldn't sell magazines. Offending people is where the money's at. Like I always say there's one color that trumps black, white, brown and yellow--green as in $$$. In this case we're talking Euros so add pink, gray and orange.
At this time that I'm blogging I have yet to find a statement from Vogue. If any of their reps say they were unaware the photos would offend readers or the pictures are art, I'm not buying it. I believe many of these magazines, shows and movies are featuring black face characters because they know controversy generates attention. French Vogue has my attention. I buy international magazines but I'll be passing up this one on the stands.
As for supermodel Lara Stone, smearing on burnt cork or whatever makeup used for "contemporary blackface" was a super ignorant move. Did even question this might be offensive? There are so many models of color who can't get work because of race discrimination within the fashion industry. Yet, French Vogue would rather paint a white model black than hire a real sista. Wow.
Monday, October 12, 2009
This week I'll be covering the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival for Cocoa Fly. Yay! The festival runs from Oct 11-Oct 16 at Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. Steven Spielberg and Quentin Teratino aren't the only people out there making good films. This week Switch It Up and look at movies from Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, etc. I've said this before, ladies there's a whole world out there. Step out of your comfort zone and explore it. Going to a film festival is a small step that can be a lot of fun. For more info click here. Adios.
Rock takes his film crew to beauty salons, hair shows, even India. That's where 100% Indian hair comes from. And he journeys to a science lab to show how damaging chemicals in hair relaxers (hair straightening creams) can be to the skin and lungs over time. I was shocked when I learned some mother's relax their daughters hair as early as 3 years old. The film is funny, educational but a bit sad. Sistas, we spend billions of dollars on our hair and other's people hair we sew into our hair. But the black community reaps little of it. Most hair production companies are run by Koreans. They run the full mane of the billion dollar black hair biz and we only get a few clipped ends. See Aron Ranen's documentary for more. But this is an issue of beauty and being accepted in the mainstream culture. And what's considered beautiful: the closer to white, the more it's right. Think about it. How many black women with a natural or locs report the news on TV? At the moment the only person I can think of is Michele Martin, formally of ABC News now on NPR. How many black women with braids, aside from the singer Brandy, made it big in Hollywood? Have you ever seen a lawyer or woman in corporate America with locs, braids or a 'fro? No, because she won't be taken seriously so she has to assimilate her beauty to climb to the top
On the flip side the great thing about black hair is it's versatility. We can rock straightened hair, weaves, braids, locs, twists, wigs etc. I think women should wear their hair however they feel. But, why is Tasha, who makes $8/hr at Best Buy paying hundreds up to $1K for a weave?
A couple of things were missing in film. Where was Malaak Compton-Rock, Chris' wife? She wears hair pieces. I want to know her opinion about the subject and what she's teaching her daughters about black beauty and hair. The film lacked in telling the experiences of sistas who wear their natural hair. India Arie, Whoopi Goldberg, Kim Fields, Meshell Ingeocellio would've been great.
As for me, I straighten my hair with a pressing comb. For my non-black readers, it's a metal comb you heat and carefully comb through the hair. I've had a weave before and didn't spend nearly as much as some women. At the time I was full-time news producer so $200, including hair, didn't hurt me. Plus I kept it in for about 2-3 months. I tried the weave just for the heck of it. I don't like relaxers because they do burn and like Rock shows in the film, those relaxers should be a health care. I don't know what they're putting in that sh*t so I'll just stick to heat.
And contrary to what some said in the film about black women not allowing men to touch their hair, that's true for SOME. I don't care. If my man wants to run his fingers through my head, it's cool. That's what a brush is for.
Don't give your money to the bootlegger at your local hair salon. Good Hair is worth going to the theater. And speaking of hair....
Cocoa Fly Hair Journey
Here I am unbeWEAVEable. The process took about 4 hours and $200 bucks TOTAL. That's including hair. You don't have to spend $1,000 on your hair to look good. That $1,000 some of you are spending on your weave could be used to pay for your kid to go private school or a 401K or a down payment on a house.
Look at me rocking the cornrows with extensions. One of my sorority sisters braided my hair. It cost me $40 and about 3 hours of sitting. Time flies when you're gossiping and watching Oprah while getting your hair braided. Doesn't that mojito look good?
I'll always be a press, curl and flat iron girl. Two hours, once a month $50. Normally sistas go every 2 weeks to "get their hair did." I go every 3 weeks because of the recession.
Friday, October 9, 2009
All three winners are Americans. Yay! This was the first time two women won the prize in the medicine category.
I am excited about their win because their research may save lives. Also, we need American scientists. American students have lost an interest in science. We need home-grown, U.S. scientists to develop technology so we can compete in the global economy. Of course women making an impact in underrepresented fields always gets the thumbs up from Cocoa Fly. Ladies, tell your little girls about these women and teach them girls can kick butt in science too. Shout out to all my Cocoa Fly readers making moves in math, science, medicine, engineering, etc.
And who said science wasn't for girls?
Pres. Obama definitely can't blow up stuff now. I was surprised, like many of you, by the big news from Norway. Pres. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Sometimes it seems like our president gets more love overseas than here in the U.S. People are either thinking "Way to go Mr. Prez" or "Way too early Mr. Prez." Usually presidents are awarded the prize after their time in office. Maybe the Norwegian Nobel Committee is happy Pres. O hasn't started any wars early in his term like his predecessor Pres. Chaney, I mean...you know what I mean.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a released statement:
"Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts."
Okay, true, true. Still, that's a lot of pressure on Pres. Obama especially as he ponders over how to handle the war in Afghanistan. I think this a great honor, but the timing of this award is too early. No, I didn't put any Haterade in my tea this morning. The president hasn't been in office long enough to have earned it. That is not to say he isn't working hard and won't prove he deserves it at the the end of his presidency. On the other hand, maybe the world is beginning to love the U.S. again. Rush and Glenn Beck must be elated because this gives them something else to complain about.
What do you think about the president's win? Too early or right on time?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Picture it...Thursday night at the W Hotel. My friend and I are at a party for a guy launching his campaign for Congress. It's Buppie central. Suits and cocktail dresses are on and business cards are out. The dj is spinning old-school Michael Jackson slow jams and I'm feeling real good with my glass of Chardonnay. Don't worry I'm not driving. A few guys walk over to our sofa and chat with us. Minutes later, their friend who's been looking for them comes over. Oh, the friend. He was 5'9, muscular, bald with bright ivory teeth and dark-chocolate skin. Godiva couldn't make candy
Confidence and intelligence are HUGE turn-ons for me. Chocolate Drop turned me off when he appeared intimidated by my credentials. He seemed like a nice guy but I felt he was trying to lower my expectations of him. Why would a man tell a woman he's not a leader, not smart and makes bad decisions? That's sad and UN-sexy. I definitely don't want a man who feels inferior to me because of my credentials. Some men have told me I'm single because guys find my educational background intimidating. Well, I don't want those guys. I'm proud of my education and if a guy can't appreciate my success, he's not the one for me. Even if his body is chiseled from a Hershey's bar. Yep, life is like a box of chocolates....