Friday, July 31, 2009

Why Didn't Los Angeles Social Workers Save Dae'von Bailey?

Dae'von Bailey, 6, told his teachers someone was beating him. The schools reported it to the Department of Children and Family Services. The boy still remained in his South LA home. He lived with his little sister and the mom's boyfriend. She wasn't caring for him because she had some "issues" to take care of. None of her children were in her possession. Over the years, people called social workers and the child abuse hotline multiple times suspecting the boy was being battered by the boyfriend. The allegations of abuse were investigated. Social workers reported the evidence was lacking. No action taken despite the phone calls and the kid having broken nose. Sounds like red flags to me but Dae'von's case was closed.

Last Thursday, Dae'von Bailey was found beaten to death. The boyfriend is suspected of the murder. He is on the run.

When Dae'Von's mom decided to handle her "issues." County authorities gave the okay for Dae'von to live with mom's boyfriend. The LA Times reports that the LAPD are stumped by this decision because the b.f. was convicted of narcotic crimes and rape.

As I said yesterday the novel Push is a never-ending tale. I am so angry about this story. This little boy did all the right things telling grownups that someone was hurting him. And NO ONE rescued him. NO ONE. I'm tired of these women having babies they know they can't care for. That's what condoms and birth control are for! I'm tired of reading about pathetic women who allow their lovers to abuse their kids so they can keep a man. I'm sick and tired of people taking their rage out on children because their defenseless. I'm tired of our jacked up system where social workers are understaffed and overworked. A system that allows a 6-year-old child to live with a rapist, drug user and possible batterer. I'm tired of social workers who see kids like Dae'Von as just another case. Because of neglect he's not a case anymore, but a corpse. A poor, black boy from South LA cries for help and what does the the system do? Leave him to die. I'm tired, tired, tired of these stories. But I better save my strength because I know I'll probably be reading the same story in a day or so. It will just be a different kid.

The only good I see out of this madness is maybe little Dae'Von, who didn't ask to come to this world, and lived a hell on Earth for all of his short 6 years, can finally rest in peace.

Watch the ignorance news story here


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reflecting on the Novel
'Push' by Sapphire

I will never forget Claireece Precious Jones. Her words and spirit have a piece of my literary heart like Celie, Pecola Breedlove and Sethe. In a way, I feel bad that's all I could give her.

It took me 12 years to pick up a copy of Sapphire's Push. I didn't want to read the book when it hit shelves back in '97. The novel was put under the Street Lit category and that's not my thing. The black elite criticized the book for it's heavy use of urban vernacular and misspellings. They said it made us look bad. But a lot of people loved it for it's grit and rawness. I wasn't ready to read a story about a black Harlem teen who is impregnated by her father at the age of 12 and has another one at 16. The second child was by Daddy too. I was a teen when the book was released and the content seemed too deep and real for me. So I pushed Push to the side. Now the movie Precious, which is based on the book, is coming out Nov. 6th and I want to see it. I can stomach this heavy subject now. I think. Yesterday, I finished the book in hours.

Precious Jones. Young, overweight, poor, illiterate, dark-skinned, black girl. And she's a dreamer. Her parents physically, mentally and sexually abuse her. Even her mother sexually abuses her. Her mom was sick and it made me sick. Some scenes tossed my stomach to the point I could taste a little vomit crawling up my throat. I cried through paragraphs and carried anger throughout the chapters. She's just a kid. How could you do that to her? During breaks between reading I asked God, "Why would someone do this to a child?" I was uncomfortable, as I should be, but hopeful. I read every word of that book even when the sentences were so painful I wanted to skip a page. I owed it to Precious. All she wants is to be safe, heard and loved. Thank God for the teacher who gave her a voice through writing.

Push is hard, gentle, innocent, evil, dysfunctional, helpless, hopeful, loud, silent, prayer, a vent, love. For Sapphire to tell such a story is amazing. How ironic the author creates this character hurting for love, but as a reader you can't help but love Precious. You see things in her she doesn't see in herself. Like her honesty and strength. At times I love her foul mouth. I admire how she the takes control of the vulnerability her parents prey on. Then uses that vulnerability to empower herself, tell her story and be heard. I admire her will to learn and be open minded. Still I couldn't read the book without thinking there's a Precious Jones all over the world. From Beverly Hills to South Africa--somewhere, some woman or child doesn't have autonomy over their body. Someone's being harmed, molested, mentally abused and can't communicate the evil done to them. So they stay silent.

No, Precious' story did not stop when I closed the red and black cover. It began all over again the next day when I picked up the LA Times.

. The tale that never ends.

Photo Credits
--Images from Precious Facebook Fan Page

Monday, July 27, 2009

Enough of Skip Gates
Can We Talk About Health Care Now?

Sick and tired of our health care system? Me too. Around this time last month I sat in an ER waiting room for about four hours to be checked out after a car accident. Across from me a man's back was covered in blood. Then the police came and took him away. Weird. A young woman also across from me hugged a bag of ice, complaining of dehydration and wanting to throw up. Kids were crying and I wanted to cry too. Get me out of here. Once I was called I waited another 30 minutes in the hospital room before a doctor saw me. The doctor finally came in apologizing but they were sooooo busy today. Busy? That area of the ER was so quiet it made the library sound like a rock concert. Maybe he was busy with dead patients. Why did I wait so long if there were hardly any patients back here? All of that waiting only to released after 45 minutes. Mind you, I had to REMIND the doctor to give me a prescription for Motrin before being discharged. When I get to the hospital's pharmacy more "good" news. The dude behind the counter tells me they're out of Motrin. Out of Motrin? What the He--? How in the world is a 24 hour pharmacy at a large hospital in Los Angeles out of Motrin? Glad to see my monthly insurance payments are being put to good use.

What I experienced was the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Americans are suffering with crappy, bootleg health care. So why are we still talking about Pres. Obama's comments about Henry Louis Gates' arrest? The president saying he didn't know the facts of the case and then calling the actions of the Cambridge officer who arrested Gates "stupid" wasn't a good idea. Explaining the history of racial profiling to America--excellent and much needed. If you read Pres. Obama's second book he talks about his experience of driving while black. One time I felt I was pulled over because of my race. So I can understand the President's frustration. But hey, all heads will be cooled once the cop, Gates and Pres. Obama get together for a Beer Night at the White House. There's nothing like tossing back a few cold ones to get some racial healing. I guess.

Wait, I'm getting off topic here. Pres. Obama spent nearly an hour going over his health care bill and America is stuck on the one comment he made about Gates. Pres Obama says he has one of the best health care plans in the world. I'm sure Harvard is hooking up Gates with a fine plan too. But many of us aren't so fortunate. So America let's move on from Gates/Obama Drama. Think about the parents who are going bankrupt paying for their kids' cancer treatments. Or the man who can't get medical coverage because he has high cholesterol. Put some thought into my aching back and why my doctor told me to call her in TWO WEEKS if the physical therapy dept. doesn't contact me to schedule an appointment. Our health care "system" is jacked. I don't think a bottle of Heineken of will ease the pain.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TMZ's Harvey Levin Calls Fights Against Malt Liquor Ads "Stupid"

This weekend I caught up on some celeb news and watched TMZ. One of their camera men saw actor and Colt 45 spokesman Billie D. Williams. They asked him about a controversy in Detroit where the city council is trying to regulate the high number of Colt 45 ads sprinkled throughout the city. Of course this isn't a problem in the suburbs. According to The Detroit News, the ad features a cartoon of Billie D. holding a can of Colt 45 and to his left in big red letters "Works Every Time." Cut back to TMZ host and managing editor Harvey Levin in his usual production meeting and he's unclear of why people in Detroit are angry. The one and only black female producer on the show tried to explain this has been an ongoing battle in the black community for decades. And people feel these liquor companies are racist and specifically target minorities. Harvey still didn't get it. So he used the "S" word we all learned in grade school was bad. The same word that has Pres. Obama making beer nights to abate public outrage over his Skip Gatesgate comment--"stupid." Props to the sista for keeping her cool on camera because I can tell she was taken aback by his comment. I sure was. I like hearing Harvey's legal analysis on TMZ and People's Court, but this comment was wrong. He called our objection to liquor ads "stupid" because advertisers should be able to advertise in communities where they think people will buy their product. Okay, the right to advertise is true. Sorta.

Alcoholism is a serious problem in the black community. Compound that with heavy marketing of liquor in our neighborhoods and the problem worsen. A 40 oz of malt liquor contains 6-8 1/2 percent alcohol per volume. Compare that to the 4-5 percent per volume found in regular beers. Already Tyrone is consuming more alcohol chugging on a 40 than Todd is downing his Budweiser. Also malt liquor is cheap in price and made of cheap ingredients. Last year MPR reported that studies have connected consumption of malt liquor with heavier drinking and aggressive behavior. I hang out in places like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, etc and I have NEVER seen an ad for poison malt liquor in those communities. I have yet to see 40s in those areas' bars, convenient stores, etc. Why aren't these liquor companies marketing cheap, garbage, bottom of the barrel beer in white areas? Like Harvey said, advertisers should be able to promote in places where they think people will buy their products. Well white folks like to get their drank on just like black folks. Why aren't they being marketed to? Maybe Colt 45 and other liquor companies should expand their buyer base and take some of their ads out of Compton, Southside of Chicago Harlem, Detroit. Then spread them around the burbs, or the hillsides of gated communities, oooh and even near schools like they do in our neighborhoods. Pop stars like Fergie or Justin Timberlake could be right on those billboards with bright smiles holding a cold 40 oz. Just like our favorite hip hop stars endorsing 40s. You know, reel in the customers early. Okay reality check, that would never happen. Nor should it. And it shouldn't be happening in black neighborhoods.

I feel the people of Detroit. Black America is battling serious health problems--alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, etc. I don't want to see liquor , cigarette, fast food ads littered throughout my neighborhood. They fuel the problem. Many of us in the hood have to shop in mini marts because grocery stores are scarce. Buying a 40, no problem. Looking for some fresh apples for the kids? Good luck. We pay too much money in rent, mortgage and taxes to be surrounded by negative ads. It wouldn't be such an issue if there were a few here and there. Harvey suggested people just ignore the ads. Someone needs to take trip to South Central. Ignoring those ads are kind of hard when they're on damn near every corner. If I had a penny for every time I saw Whole Foods ad in America's ghettos I'd be broke. Give me a dime for every Schlitz ad I find and Bill Gates would be hitting me up for a loan.

Maybe Harvey would have a change of heart if one day while walking his dog around his ritzy neighborhood he saw Colt 45 and Old English billboards sprouting out of the ground every couple of blocks like palm trees. I imagine Harvey would be disturbed if St. Ives and King Cobra posters were plastered across the doors and windows of his mini mart and the others nearby. Maybe he'd feel uncomfortable about the young men hanging in front of the store, guzzling that bootleg booze one after another. The same booze studies show drinkers usually consume them in more hazardous amounts than standard beer. The final straw would be spotting a few littered on the sidewalk as he headed home. He'd probably get on his cellphone right away and complain to a rep in his district because the neighborhood is changing. On second thought, Harvey would conclude those liquor companies have the right to drown his affluent neighborhood in ads promoting cheap booze. And complaining would just be plain stupid.

Photo Cred:
Photo of Colt 45 ad from Detroit

Friday, July 24, 2009

What Was All the Fuss Over CNN's Black In America Series?

This time last year much of the black blogosphere was going off about CNN's Black In America 1 series. Folks thought the reporting wasn't in depth, the series reinforced stereotypes of black people, it focused too much on poor black people and not enough of the black middle class, CNN put a cloud over the experience of black women in America, coverage of the black woman was thin, Soledad O'Brien isn't "black enough" to be covering this series. I could go on but check a blog post on Racialicious from last year to read some of the critiques. Honestly, I didn't feel it was as bad as people thought. Cocoa Fly wasn't born yet so I didn't have a space to counter people's complaints. Black In America wasn't on an Eyes on the Prize level but it wasn't horrible. It was educational and real about some of the plights black people are facing 40 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Black In America 2 aired this week. No cyber beatdown like last year. It seems people feel better about the series this round as it shows future leaders and pioneers in the black community. I found it inspirational and uplifting while still looking at some of the plagues in black America--poor education system, poverty, health, etc. But I've still heard complaints about shallow reporting, too much focus on poor blacks, lacking variety in the black experience, yadda, yadda, yadda. Okay let's be real, CNN's Black In America isn't just for black folks. CNN is trying to target all people so they're not going to get 9ft Black Studies deep in their coverage. Does that make it right? No. But they're targeting a general audience and I believe trying to start a national discussion.

Another issue, CNN can't cover every black experience in an eight hour, two-part documentary. Like Fredric Mitchell said over at Jack and Jill, "The dismissive snark that seems to be evident about the piece because it lacks a depiction of your personal experience is not the point. The point is to cut a swath as large as possible to provide perspective, ultimately countering the generalizations that derail progress in our country." Speak on it Mitchell. Hey, most of the stories took place on the East Coast. What about the black experience on the West Coast? That was missing but it's cool, CNN couldn't get it all. Still a lot was covered in little time. Each story in part I and II were so captivating that they could be flushed out into individual documentaries. Maybe that's why some people felt the reporting was lacking.

The bigger issue is not CNN but BNN, Black News Network. Never heard of it? Me neither. That's because it doesn't exist! We don't have a news station to explore what's going on in the black diaspora. I'm not just talking about reporting in Harlem and Oakland. There' s black news in Europe, Canada, Central America, etc. But those stories go untold. If we had a bigger black press to really dig up stories and shine light on Blacks in America and across the globe, maybe CNN would not have ticked people off so much. BET cut it's nightly newscast. My old show NPR's News & Notes got whacked earlier this year. Our stories are underrepresented in mainstream and minorities as a whole are underrepresented in the newsroom. So where are black folks supposed to get quality broadcast news?

Well, Soledad isn't tripping off of the complaints because she's going to keep it moving this October with CNN's Latino In America. Hmmm....I wonder if my brown people will share similar complaints with black folks.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Nice For A Black Girl

"When the world gets in my face I say have a nice day."
--Bon Jovi

My soror came to LA to celebrate my thirrr...thirrrt...*cough, cough* birthday. You get the point. Anyway, I stopped at the post office to pick up my mail before heading to Santa Monica for dinner and drinks. I'm in the car looking over my birthday cards with the window rolled halfway. My soror nudges me and quickly whispers, "Roll up the window." This older dude, about 50, rolls up on his bike to my car. He looked rough around the edges. Not the kinda rough where I thought my life was in danger, but I could tell he's lived a hard life. He notices I'm in a brand new car.

Dude on Bike: Your car so shiny and bright.
Me: Thanks. Then I go back to reading my mail hoping he'll go away.
Dude on Bike: I wash cars.
Me: Okay.
Dude on Bike: Can I wax your car?
Me: Not now.
Dude on Bike: Well can I wax that ass?

Yes girl he went there. I could've told him to take his left handle bar and stick it, but I didn't. Without thinking I replied, "You have a nice day" and went back to looking at my birthday cards. Out the corner of my eye, I saw a look of embarrassment bloom on his face. I could tell he felt real small. He apologized a number of times. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to disrespect you. I'm really sorry." Then he rode away. What did he expect me to do? Drop MF and N-bombs, move my neck and talk about his mama? Afterall, that's what us "angry black women" do. He deserved to get cussed out after what he said to me. But my reaction didn't fit the stereotype he was after. I didn't get all Shenaynay on him and he didn't know how to handle it. Even if I was hood, I still deserve respect. His nasty comment bothered me a bit because, if you read this blog, you know I can't stand to see brothas disrespecting sistas.

Sometimes I feel that the negative stereotypes of black women has been endorsed more within the black community than mainstream society. How many times have we heard some brothas say they don't date sistas because we're all mean, gold digging, bad-attitude carrying women? Not all sistas are mean. Just like all Asian women aren't docile and all Latinas aren't firery and highly-sexed. A few years ago I was in Oakland checking out jewelry from a street vendor. The vendor was a brotha, looked to be in his 50's. We started talking about news, life, etc. At the end of our talk he says, "You're nice for a black woman. If I had met a black woman like you years ago I wouldn't be dating Asian women." I can't remember what I said. I'm sure I was thinking WTF?. I don't know who he dated to make him jaded about sistas but what's sick about his comment is I think he saw it as a compliment.

That incident was not the only time a black man has said that to me. That belief about black women, I think, is one reason why so many of us have been pushed over to the unmarried category. It's probably the same reason why this white dude I met at a bar was shocked when my soror told him she was a doctor and I had a master's degree. He probably would've had a stroke if I didn't have rhythm. LOL. Seriously, it's frustrating that I'm automatically labeled Miss Bad Attitude or Miss Baby's Mama before opening my mouth. It's bad enough when it's coming from someone non-black. But even worse when you're own people are prejudging you.

It's funny. The older I get the more I really understand why people like James Baldwin and Josephine Baker sought out places where they just could be themselves. A place where they could just be Josephine and James and people didn't automatically make assumptions based on their black skin. I'm not saying Europe is a raceless heaven because I know from experience that's not true. But why can't I just be a cool lady instead of a "nice black woman"? In our "post-racial" society when can I just be? Me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tyler Perry's Act of Kindness and
New Film Trailer

I'm really, REALLY, loving Tyler Perry right now. Remember those black and brown kids from Philly who were kicked out of a suburban swim club because of their race? How shocking in our post-racial society. Well, Tyler Perry writes on his website that he was so furious by the story, he's treating all 65 of the kids to a trip to a three-day trip to Disney World. He writes:
"...on Aug 1st thru 3rd I'm sending these kids to Disney World, and then to a Disney water park. I want them to know that for every act of evil that a few people will throw at you, there are millions more who will do something kind for them."

He also said that these children should not be discriminated for the color of their skin and they should know they can do anything in life. That was generous of him to treat those children to some Mickey Mouse time and send a message of kindness to them. Those kids are from the inner city. Who knows what impact Perry's generosity may have on them.

Also in Tyler Perry news, the trailer for his upcoming film "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" has hit the internet. You can see it below. Taraji Henson stars as a selfish woman who is taking care of her sister's children. Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight are also in the film. I hope there's a soundtrack because it's going to be fire! I'm hyped about this one. I love me some Mary J! Plus Taraji is a great actress. It looks like Taraji's love interest is CSI: Miami hottie Adam Rodriguez. Gasp, he's Latino. Cuban and Puerto Rican to be exact. You mean a non-black man can be interested in a black woman? "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" looks like a good flick. I will be in the theater on Sept. 11 for my dose of Madea. Check out the trailer below...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Feelin' So Good, but Missing J-Lo

I miss pre-Marc Anthony J-Lo. I know we all have to grow up, but I miss the Fly Girl, Jenny from the Block Jennifer Lopez. The sista could bust a serious move and sang over hard hip-hop beats. A great singer J-Lo is not but I loved her music. Since being Mrs. Marc Anthony and a mom, J-Lo has toned things down.
I'm still celebrating my birthday with some R&R. But I wanted to take a break from my break and post J-Lo's video "Feelin' So Good." I used to bump this song in college when I was getting ready in the morning for class and work. I was part of the 1% black population at UCSD and that was a heavy load to carry along with studies. But this song made me feel extra good about myself and got me through the day. I still play it today. "'Cause not one thing can bring me down. Nothing in this world, gonna turn me round

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's My Birthday!

This week I'm celebrating my birthday, but mildly because I'm still recuperating from a car accident. Which is why I haven't blogged at all this week.
Life is too short and I try to celebrate it every day. Even if it mean just dancing in my living room. One of my favorite tracks is Madonna's "Holiday." And for me my birthday is my own personal holiday. A day to thank God that I'm still here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Goodbye Black Pearl

The Black Pearl was my first car. She was a coal-colored 1999 Honda Civic gifted to me from my family in the Bay. I am a huge Batman fan and wanted to drive a Batmobile since I was a kid. I'm not a billionaire, nor a resident of Gotham City. So the closest I could get to having a Batmobile was owning a black Honda Civic. I took two driving tests before I brought her down to San Diego my junior year in college. I loved the Black Pearl. She wasn't a luxury car but I didn't care. The Black Pearl was an answer to my prayers. No more waiting at the bus stop and having to rely on people for rides to the grocery store. Finally, I could hit up the college parties of my choosing and leave when I'm ready. As Shanaynay from Martin would say, "Heyyyyy." It was on like popcorn.

I couldn't complain. The Black Pearl got me from point A to B. She didn't ask for much so the high gas prices weren't too hard on my wallet. My girl rarely broke down. And she always kept me dry in the rain.

A few years later I moved to LA. For Angelinos, our cars are like second homes because we're in them so much. So my car was more than four wheels. Some days it was my favorite lunch spot. Other times it was my prayer closet when I was out in public and needed a space to chat with God. If I had cramps and wanted to recline on my breaks, the Black Pearl became my bedroom. I cried, laughed, jammed, chilled, you name it, in my car.

A few weekends ago I was coming home from a play in Hollywood. I was two minutes away from my apartment when I was driving through an intersection and BAM! I wont go into details but let's just say somebody ran a red light and it wasn't me. Michael Jackson had just died a few days prior. As much as I love his music and Luther Vandross, I am in no rush to see them perform at the big concert in the sky if you know what I mean. By God's grace no one was killed. Unfortunately the Black Pearl didn't make it. She was totaled. My car was in such good condition it probably could've lasted another five to 10 years. She didn't even have 50, 000 miles.

After the accident my pearl was unrecognizable and undrivable. I had her towed away to a salvage yard. while cleaning out my car I spotted a dead red rose underneath the front passenger seat. I have no clue where it came from. I laid it on the back seat. I'm unemployed and this accident couldn't have come at a worse time. But I looked at the rose with thanks. Thankful because it wasn't resting on my headstone. And thankful God blessed me with a good car that lasted 10 years.

The next day one of those big, long, two-level trucks used to transport cars came for my pearl. She stood on top of the steel bed of the truck blacker than midnight and glistening in the sun. Just like the first day I got her. I stood on the curb and watched the truck tow drive away a piece of my youth. My Black Pearl.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fly Lady of the Day
Teen Pilot Kimberly Anyadike

Kimberly Anyadike is so fly because she can fly. The 15-year-old wonder became the youngest black woman to fly a plane transcontinentally. She left Compton, CA on June 29 for Newport Beach, VA. She was joined by another pilot and a Tuskegee Airman. Anyadike trained through Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM) in Compton. TAM has broken other youth pilot records. I met the founder a few years ago and he is very passionate. Go here to learn more about this organization. They really teach the kids that regardless of race and class, they can achieve sky high dreams and beyond.

We're proud of you Kimberly Anyadike. Keep soaring sista. Keep soaring.

Photo Credit:
For more go to NBC LA.

It's Not Worth Dying Over A Broken Heart

What's up with people nowadays? Why do some folks feel they have to bust a cap, or two or four in somebody if they can't get what they want? According to TMZ and the NY Daily News police say McNair was a victim of a murder suicide. Cops say his 20-year-old mistress, Sahel Kazemi shot him four times while he was asleep. Then she pulled the trigger on herself.

Let's keep it real. Homegirl was a waitress at Dave & Busters driving a Kia. And friends say she was having financial problems. She meets this handsome, rich ex-athlete who laces her with a SUV and other nice goodies. Her family also said Sahel had a hard life but seemed happy with McNair. The brotha promises to leave his wife of 12 years for her. Sahel's 20-year-old heart believed him. Rule #1: They RARELY leave their wives. But Sahel was naive and thought she was Steve's number one. Until she suspected he had another jump off. Friends say she thought Mcnair was cheating on her with someone else. But she hadn't lived long enough to connect the dots. If he's cheating on his wife with you.... So McNair's behavior along with her money problems makes this young girl, who had her whole life ahead of her, goes to the glock for answers. Because guns are always the solution.
Too bad Sahel didn't know broken hearts heal. Too bad she didn't have the faith to understand life ain't no crystal stair but it can get better. Or that there a lot of people in this country right now who are one check away from a homeless shelter. This is a sad situation for both families of the dead. But I absolutely don't excuse Sahel Kazemi's actions. She was senseless and selfish.

I don't understand some people. If the girl or guy doesn't want you anymore just MOVE ON. Trust me, I've had my heart stomped on, kicked around, thrown on the dance floor for some dude to do the stanky leg on it. A broken heart hurts like hell. But he wasn't worth my life or prison time. There's someone better out there. And Sahel would've met a better guy too if she hadn't chosen the Fatal Attraction route.

Steve McNair doesn't get a pass from me for cheating on his wife and toying with this girl's feelings. But he didn't deserve to die. Five bullets, two young people dead, four children left fatherless. For what?

Photo credit:
NY Daily News

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Ceremony Fit for a King

On Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 10:30am PST the world stopped. Whether you watched the memorial or just thought about the service, people all over the globe took a moment for Michael Jackson. The service was beautiful. It wasn't a concert or even a memorial. The program reminded me of a traditional black funeral. Despite the thousands of people in the Staples Center and the estimated 1 billion people tuned in, it felt intimate. Everyone who set foot on that stage did a great job. Mariah Carey's voice was shaky but her performance was passionate because you could hear the sadness in her voice. John Mayer's "Human Nature" performance--simple and moving. Jennifer Hudson was stunning, Stevie Wonder put it down with so much soul and both Lionel Richie and the choir turned the arena into church. Rev. Al Sharpton's eulogy reminded me of a sermon in a black church. And Usher singing to his mentor's golden coffin was heartfelt.
But one of my most favorite moments that people aren't talking about was Queen Latifah reading Maya Angelou's poem "We Had Him." That poem summed up how the world has felt over the last week.

"Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind. "

Magic Johnson's story about eating a bucket of KFC on the floor with MJ at Neverland was priceless. I'm sure Colonel Sander's people are overjoyed too. I will never eat a 2-piece and cup of coleslaw from KFC the same way.

And of course little Paris Jackson who gathered the courage and heart to tell the world her daddy was the best. I noticed when Rev. Al told the kids that nothing was strange about their dad, she instantly got on her feet and started clapping. Her tearful expression at the end of the service is going to be one of those memorable moments in history like when John John saluted JFK's casket. I hope the media leaves the MJ's kids alone so they can have somewhat of a normal life.

It breaks my heart MJ is gone. Listening to his music and watching his videos this past week has been such a great journey back to my childhood. Berry Gordy was right on. Michael Jackson is the greatest entertainer ever. When I look at so much of the garbage music that's out now, I'm so happy that I grew up during his prime to witness what real music is all about. He was magical to the end. The international community is dealing with wars, a worldwide recession, dictatorships, faulty elections etc. In the midst of this world chaos, only Michael Jackson could make people all over the globe put their problems aside for a few minutes on Tuesday, join hands and sing "We are the World."

Michael Jackson may be gone, but the magic in his music is eternal. And my ears and dancing shoes will always be under his spell.

Go to the U.K's Telegraph for great pictures of the Jackson Family.

We Had Him
by-Maya Angelou

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Williams Sisters' Wimbledon Wins

Go 'head Serena! This is the third Wimbledon win for the tennis diva who beat her big sister Venus today. But Venus still has some Wimbledon bragging rights because the sisters won doubles title, beating Rennae Stubbs and Samantha Stosur of Australia. That's two wins for the U.S. What a nice July 4th treat. Venus and Serena are like Wonder Woman--beautiful, strong, smart and talented. Love 'em!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Exploitation and Ignorance, BET Awards' Biggest Winners

If I had to use a Michael Jackson song to describe Sunday night's BET Awards it would be "They Don't Care About Us." By "us" I mean my black people. I am embarrassed by what I watched the other night, especially Drake and Lil' Wayne's performance. The world is mourning Michael Jackson and these fools get on TV rapping about sexing women all over the world. "Every Girl," has so much profanity that most of the performance was bleeped. Check out the lyrics:

I like a long haired thick red bone
Open up her legs then filet Mignon that pu**y
I'm a get in and on that pu**y
If she let me in I'm a own that pu**y
Gon' throw it back and bust it open like you posed' to
Girl I got that dope d**k

But the foolishness and disrespect didn't stop there. The dancers on the stage appeared to be black girls in their teens and tweens. You can see it here. I'm not easily offended by things but this performance was disgusting. You don't rap this kind of song on an awards show, especially when it's dedicated to the legacy of an international icon we just lost days ago. On top of that, Drake and Lil' Wayne exploited and disrespected these young GIRLS. What they did was SICK, SICK, SICK. Obviously these cats don't care about us black women or black girls. Once again sistas are told the best thing we got going is between our legs. Why didn't Lil' Wayne and Drake perform something more appropriate? Better question, why didn't the producers of the show tell them to try something else? That song was not appropriate for television whether Michael Jackson had passed away or not. Hold up. I forgot we're talking about Buffoonery Black Entertainment Television. If it makes black folks look uncultured, you can guarantee BET will give it airtime.

In between the crude lyrics, Lil' Wayne and his crew shouted RIP to MJ. I'm sure MJ rested peacefully as "P-bombs" echoed through the Shrine Auditorium, reminding everyone why he broke racial barriers in music 25 years ago. So Lil' Wayne can rap about "fillet Mignon-ing" women's vajajays as middle- school girls snap their fingers and twist their hips. That's way more romantic and sophisticated than Ne-Yo's version of MJ's "Lady in My Life" performed earlier that night.

So Listen To My Heart
Lay Your Body Close To Mine
Let Me Fill You With My Dreams
I Can Make You Feel Alright
And Baby Through The Years
Gonna Love You More Each Day
So I Promise You Tonight
That You'll Always Be The Lady In My Life

The BET Awards was the first program to honor MJ, but they dropped the ball so hard it shattered. They don't really care about us black people. Because if the powers-that-be truly had an interest in the image of black folks, most of the programs wouldn't glorify ignorance and incompetency. Between T-Pain coming on stage with a necklace the size of his chest that read "Big Ass Chain" and Ving Rames' coonish "Baby Boy" skit with Tyreese I was done that night. There seemed to be a problem with host Jamie Foxx being cued to read the teleprompter. Many times he was staring at the cameras for a few seconds before saying anything.

Michael Jackson deserved a better salute. Hip Hop journalist Davey D made an excellent observation, noting that there wasn't even a moment of silence for the King of Pop. At least Ne-Yo and Jamie Fox gave moving tributes to MJ. I understand the BET team had to make last minute changes but the Drake and Lil' Wayne's act should've been axed. And I wanted to see more quality tributes to MJ. Chaka Khan and the O-Jays were there. Why didn't they sing a couple of MJ hits? Like my friend suggested, Ginuwine could have busted a few MJ moves since Usher wasn't there to perform.

So the big losers of Sunday night's award show were the people BET doesn't seem to care about, us. While Exploitation and Ignorance were the reigning champions.


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