Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Sequined hat, tiara with Happy New Year sign, and streamers

Wishing you and your loved ones a Fun and Safe New Year. Thank you so much for supporting this website. I look forward to bringing you new content and fun posts in 2011! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No New Year's Resolutions For Me

Portrait of a young woman sitting on chair and writingEvery New Year's Eve I whip out my journal to scribble down my hopes and goals for the upcoming year. This Dec. 31st I'm not writing shhhh...shiitake mushrooms. I looked at my list of 2010 resolutions and was disappointed that I hardly crossed off anything on my list. Sometimes New Year's Resolutions don't work. Most of the time  resolutions work when people do the work. It took me 3 resolutions to finally lose thost 15 pounds that kept me out of my favorite Guess jeans. Two car accidents and lack of exercise kept the fat on. My will burned it off. Other times resolutions don't work because life happens. Although I've been working toward that big paying job that's been on my resolution for sometime, no luck in this economy.  So I'm doing things little different. I know what I want and need for 2011. Instead of doing the same ol' stuff that wasn't advancing me, I got a head start in 2010. Earlier this month I began to execute changes I needed to make in my life and career. Why wait until Jan 1 if this needs to jump off now? And instead of just writing keep my weight down, boost viewership to my website, etc. I wrote a plan of how I would achieve these goals. I'll still say my prayer at midnight thanking God for another year and sip on a glass or two of Moscato. But I'll still eat up some black-eyed peas New Year's Day for good luck. Hey, a girl has to stick with some traditions.

2010 Bests, Worsts and Just Wrong

Looters run from the Haitian policeman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 19, 2010, after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused severe damage on January 12. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov Photo via Newscom
Looking back on 2010 I can't say it was a perfect 10 of a year for me. Maybe it was for you.  But news wise it was very interesting.

We Can Never Forget
The year kicked off with devastation when a big earthquake rocked Haiti. It felt like we were watching Hurricane Katrina all over again. Bloomberg News reports about 230,000 people were killed.  Now the country has another battle on its hands: cholera outbreak. The world poured in a lot of money to help the earthquake victims. Like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I still question after all of the money, volunteers and aid sent to ease the devastation what's taking so long for a recovery?

Most Inspirational
Chile was also hit with a deadly earthquake early in the year. The 8.8 quake  took the lives of hundreds. I've been in 7.0 quake and I can not imagine the rumble and fear from one that size. But there was a ray of hope later in the year when 33 Chilean miners were rescued after being trapped underground for two months. And you thought spending the snowed-in holidays with your in-laws was bad.

Juiciest Guilty Pleasure News
It rained golf clubs and jump offs in 2010. Oh, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.  The scandal began around Thanksgiving 2009 when rumor was Woods' wife Elin could swing the heck out of a golf club and had good aim, especially if you were caught cheating on her--allegedly.  The number of women claiming to have romped with Tiger kept growing. The man had more side dishes than the dinner buffet at the Rio Hotel in Vegas--allegedly. All of that, ahem, playing cost Woods his marriage, endorsements, reputation and a lot of money.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 08: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and her daughter Sasha Obama arrive at the Marivent Palace on August 8, 2010 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
First Lady and Daughter
in Spain

Most Graceful Under Fire
From her chiseled arms to her initiative to curb obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama gets criticized for the most ridiculous things. But Mrs. Obama still keeps doing her thing.  Earlier in the year some in the media labeled her "Marie Antoinette" after her lavish trip to Spain during hard economic times.  Lady O says she made the private trip to visit a close friend who lost her father.
Most Lame
John Mayer dropping the "N-word" and comparing his penis to a "white supremacist" because he's not sexually attracted to black women. Which is why I denied his bootleg "Hood Pass."

Watch your hands Regis.

Most Disrespectful
Regis Feelbin or Philbin? I didn't blog about this earlier but Regis Philbin patting Nicki Minaj on the butt was sooooo disrespectful. I'm not a Niki Minaj fan and I know her lyrics aren't the most PC. I also know she wore a tight knit dress to her performance on "Live with Regis and Kelly." But that doesn't give Regis the right to touch her without permission. When I saw the video, my mouth dropped open like the time Kanye crashed Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. I'm sure plenty of women have come on the show with tight clothes. Look at the tape. He looked at Minaj's butt like it was a pork chop. Philbin did not apologize for the butt pat.  I think he disrespected not just Minaj, but his wife.  Mrs. Philbin may or may not care. His tasteless act definitely changed my view of Regis Feelbin, I mean Philbin.

Just Wrong
In October, Judge Cassandra Mullen sentenced Tony Simmons,  a New York juvenile probation counselor who plead guilty to raping and sexually assaulting 3 teen girls to PROBATION.  There's debate over whether the judge was too easy or the light sentence came through a plea deal. Still, a confessed rapist of children who abused his powers  is punished with probation. What the...??? The teen, now 20 years old,  who reported the rape 5 years ago was sentenced to a year for a falsified report. Of course, officials now know the accusations were true. Now Judge Mullen may stiffen the punishment because the counselor has shown no remorse and she considers him "a danger to the community."  Apparently he thinks the alleged sodomy, rape and oral sex were all consensual.  Maybe he would've gotten a harsher punishment if he killed dogs.

Made Me Sick

The capture of the alleged Grim Sleeper serial killer who murdered poor, black women in South Los Angeles for two decades. Now pictures of 180 women found in his home have police questioning how many he really killed.

Biggest Mess
BP's oil spill in the gulf. It hurt our environment and small businesses. BP's  cheesy commericals didn't help either.
Elizabeth Edwards

Most Strength
I want boxing gloves like Elizabeth Edwards. Even through the cancer, the loss of a son and her husband fathering a child outside of their marriage, she still held her head high. Mrs. Edwards fought for her life and her family with admirable class and grace. That is an example of true strength.
Teena Marie

Fly Ladies We'll Miss
I ain't gonna let you go that easy you've got to say you love me too
Teena Marie is gone? Teena Marie? I can't believe it. She was only 54 and died day after Christmas. Her songs are part of the roots to my love for music. I remember listening to her records in my uncle and aunt's den with family. She had a beautiful voice and lot of soul.
Leena Horne, Dorothy Height, Rue McClanahan and Dixie Carter are some fly ladies we lost this year.

Favorite Interview

Photographer Saddi Khali
Saddi Khali is just as fascinating as his work. I enjoyed our interview and learned so much from him about survival, pursuing your dreams, self-love and appreciating the chunks and chips of life's pleasures.
Another favorite, Joey Mazzarino, head writer of Sesame Street, heart-touching story about making the "I Love My Hair" sketch that went viral of the internet. Plus it was cool talking to someone who works with Big Bird and Elmo.

Janelle Monae
Best Album
I listened to Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid so much I had to stop for a while. I could hear the songs in my sleep. Take me back to Wonderland.
The woman is super-crazy talented and underrated. If Justin Beiber and Katy Perry are big hits...I'm just sayin'.

Andy Allo's UnFresh

Favorite New Artist
Love, Love. Love ANDY ALLO.  Her album UnFresh is hella fresh. And she has an inspiring story.

Immigration rally in LA
photo cred: Jenee Darden

Don't Underestimate
The Latino Vote. California governor candidate and former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman spent the most money on a campaign and had a strong lead in the polls. Her ratings took a dive when her former maid, a Latina went public claiming Whitman knew she was an undocumented immigrant but fired her after deciding to run for office.

Sarah Palin isn't
going anywhere soon.

Liberals are wishing for Sarah Palin to run in 2012 but don't underestimate this woman. I've said this a million times. Palin is well liked by many and knows how to draw people in.

Most Over Exposed
Speaking of Palin,I need a break from the former governor and her Alaska family. I was done after Bristol's run on "Dancing with the Stars." It was too much. But I know Sarah "Everyday I'm Hustlin'" Palin and her family aren't going anywhere.

Please STOP
If Lindsay Lohan weren't a movie star, but some young woman from Fresno who worked for Walgreens she would still be sitting in a jail cell. I'm tired of her foolishness making headlines.

Just Ridiculous
Airport security pap smears and prostate exams  pat downs and screening photos. There has to be a better way to ensure our safety. Seriously, there has to be.

Don't Mess with Her

Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the use, impact and accomplishments of federal appropriations provided to improve the education of children in the distract, in Washington on September 16, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom
Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee upset a lot of people with her tough approach to fixing Washington, D.C public schools. Voters made sure the Chancellor didn't come back. But that hasn't stopped Rhee. She's taking her passion to a national level with her non-profit Students First. I've worked in public schools and a change is needed. The U.S. will not remain a superpower with the poor-quality education many of our children receive. I'm looking forward to what she has in store for 2011.

Det. Ferris Jones
NYPD Officer Ferris Jones was off-duty and getting her hair done when some fool decided to rob the salon. Officer Jones shot the gun out of the robber's hand. She was promoted to Det. Jones. Don't mess with a woman during her "Me Time."

For the History Books

Pres. Obama signing DADT repeal
 Healthcare Reform passes but it cost the Dems the house.

Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks who can't hold water or top secret government documents.

The UConn Huskies Women's Basketball Team breaking UCLA Men's team winning-streak record

Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone. No questions asked.

If you have 2010 Best Worsts or Just Wrongs speak your mind in the comments.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas Jam! Little Jackie's 'Mrs. Claus Ain't Got Nothin' on Me'

Little Jackie

Target has been jamming with the Christmas jingles this year. My FAVORITE is Little Jackie's "Mrs. Claus Ain't Got Nothin' On Me." It has an old school, Motwown, mama playing records while cooking greens and cornbread soulful sound. You've seen the commerical. Holiday seasons are crazy-hectic for women because we're shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping gifts, attending and throwing holiday parties, traveling and keeping our excited kids calm. This is on top of us going to school, working and handling our regular duties.  Whew, it's too much! But this song makes you pop your collar a bit and feel like, Hey, I got this. "Mrs. Clause Ain't Got Nothin' on Me" is on my top Christmas songs list with the Temptations "Silent Night" and Boyz II Men "Let It Snow. " Can't wait to hear more music from this group. By the way you can download it for free at Target's website.  And aren't you loving Blackalicious' "Toy Jackpot"? You know that commercial with the kids unwrapping their toys after Santa comes but the video is playing backwards. The hook is "Is it time yet? Is it time? I can't wait." Takes me back to when I was a kid and could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve. That song is available on Target's site for free too.  Watch both song's videos below.
There are certain songs/albums I MUST hear around the Christmas season:Vanessa Williams' "Little Drummer Boy," all of Kenny G's Christmas albums, Louis Armstrong's "Christmas Night in Harlem," Boyz II Men and the Temptations, Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas," Bing Crosby "White Christmas," then we stop in the hood with  Snoop Dog's "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto," and of course Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

89! UConn Women's Basketball Team Breaks UCLA Men's Record
What's Up with the Sexism?

It took Huskies to beat the Bruins. University of Connecticut's women's basketball team can play ball, but they weren't playin' (you know there's a difference between playing and playin') tonight when it came to earning the record of  the highest college basketball winning streak. UCLA men's team set their 88-win record during the 1971-1974 seasons.  The ladies claimed their 89th victory, beating Florida State 93-62 in a sold out game. Maya Moore scored 41 points. See what I mean when I said they weren't playin'? 

I've read articles about some sports fans being excited about the team.  Others dismiss the victory because they don't think the women's team could have taken on UCLA men's team anyway.  Then there's the media coverage. UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said recently the team is getting a lot of attention, but with a twist of sexism:   
If we were breaking a women’s record, everybody would go, ‘Aren’t those girls nice, let’s give them two paragraphs in USA Today, you know, give them one line on the bottom of ESPN and then let’s send them back where they belong, in the kitchen.”

Interesting. We know sports fans give women's college basketball  little love. The last time a women's college b-ball team made headlines was when Don Imus spewed, racist-sexist jokes about the women's Rutgers team on air. And if the Huskies trampled over the lady Bruins record would Maya Moore's photo be on the front page of Sports Illustrated and ESPN websites? I doubt it, but I could be wrong. 

Analysis aside, congratulations to the Huskies. They are truly the queens of all college basketball courts. What a great college memory to have. To those disappointed UCLA fans, look on the bright side. Imagine if the USC women's team would've broken the record? Talk about bragging rights for life. Fight On!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Need a Small Favor
Take My Short Survey *Pretty Please*

Retro woman with oversized pencil and notepad Make that,"Pretty please with some chocolate sprinkles, low-fat whipped cream and a juicy, red cherry on top? (batting big brown eyes as I type this?" As I work on making this blog grow I need your feedback. I want to know what works for you on this site and what works your nerves. While you're on the train or the  boss is in a meeting,  please fill out my short survey so I can get an idea of what I need to do to make this website better and flourish. It should take no more than a couple of minutes. The survey is anonymous so just keep it real with the answers. I can handle the constructive criticism. Of course I love a compliment. Whether it's constructive criticism, praise, or somewhere in between it's all love because both will make grow. I want this site better for me and you. Thanks! 
Click HERE for the survey.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brown Betties 'Harlem's Night' Cabaret/Burlesque Will Turn Up the Heat in Atlanta

Remember that man? The one who drove you crazy in a bad way. Then he made it up to by driving you crazy in a good way. You remember loving him with all of your heart? But at times  you hated him to the bone. Still you wanted him. You wanted his time, his lovin', his laughter, his attention. Every piece of him you wanted-- so bad that you thought you needed him. Then he broke your heart and you hated him...again. But that's love.  Right? Well it's also the premise of the show "Harlem's Nights" starring the Los Angeles cabaret/burlesque troupe  Brown Betties. The show is coming to Atlanta for two nights only December 9th and 10th.

"Harlem's Night" is about a woman who is head over heels, can't think straight, in love and lust with a man named Joe. But when you see the show there are four women on stage. Each represents Harlem's conflicted feelings: Love, Hate, Need and Want. I saw the show earlier this year and if you're in Atlanta you MUST see it. "Harlem's Night" sold out in LA and New York City. There's dancing, singing, spoken word and it's tastefully sexy.  I interviewed the show's creator Peppur Chambers and the rest of the Brown Betties at a Los Angeles performance earlier this year. Listen here for a taste of what to expect. There were a lot of couples at the LA show I attended so you may want to take your fella or lady. Keep the kids at home.   Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

What: Harlem's Night Cabaret
When: Thursday, December 9th and Friday December 10th
Where:Paris On Ponce
Ponce De Leon Place NE
Atlanta GA  30306

CALL 770.232.1589 for info and showtimes or click here

Friday, November 19, 2010

Can't Keep My Fingers Out of My Hair

Cocoa Fly is Team Natural and Team
Do Whatchalike with Your Hair
Photo by Jenee Darden
"Don't touch your hair for five minutes. Go!" That's the challenge I give my mother since she went natural earlier this year. Mom loves her hair and constantly touches it (a few times she didn't make it to five minutes). She's not alone. For some of us neo-naturals, our kinks and curls are like new discoveries after years of straightening. And our fingers are itching to explore the treasure on top.  I remember friends in college always twisting their hair during  early stages of their locking journey. And I'm proudly guilty of playing in my mane as well.  Since I've put down the pressing comb, my fingers seem to be dancing in my afro and twists non-stop.

 A few months ago I sent my hot comb and pressing cream on a long vacation. My hair needed a break from the heat and I needed a break from pressing it. I got a few ideas for styles from Prettydimples01 Youtube channel. Her hair is much thicker than mine and she's a professional stylist. When I tried to mimic her styles with my bathroom-beautician skills and semi-thick strands...well, just imagine the catastrophe for yourself.  I had to tweak her styling methods for my own texture. This meant a lot of experimentation. There wasn't much need for a brush and comb.  My fingers were doing the work. I've been using a hot comb for  a least 25 years. That's most of my life.  So while I had straight-hair styling down,  I was in the beginners class of  Natural Hair 101.  The more I played with my hair, the deeper I fell in love with not how it looked, but felt. I noticed its softness through manual teasing to make it poofy. I could  feel its bushiness under my fingernails while massaging my scalp with rosemary oil. Even combing out the little kink balls shedding from my hair ends was fascinating. It was as if my fingers touched my hair for the very first time.

My first natural style were two-strand twists. I overindulged on shea butter and locking gel. The result wasn't pretty, but droopy. My twists looked and felt sad.  I gave the style another go, less gel and no shea butter, and my twists curled up like a smile. I stood in front of the mirror, pulled a twist and boing, it snapped right back to my head.  My little twists have springiness and should I dare say, energy. I didn't know my hair could go boing, but I liked feeling the springiness. Many times when I'm working or doing nothing, I catch myself pulling at them.

Two weeks later I took down my twists and picked my hair in an afro. I noticed it starting to get dry. Although I put the shea butter away after my droopy twists, I rubbed some in my 'fro to give my hair life. My hair turned into cotton candy. It was soooooo fluffy and thick. I let my fingers lose themselves in the meadow on my head. Once again I was pleasantly surprised by the texture and the look. I always thought my hair wasn't thick enough for an afro. Not only is my hair thick enough, but soft with a little bounce.

Since sporting my first afro I've said a little thank you to God. All of these years I've been straightening my hair and not fully appreciating my God-given  texture. That's not to say I'll never press my hair again because I like the versatility of black hair. But it will be a while before I do.  I'm having fun discovering cute ways to style my hair, minus the heat.  Embracing my natural beauty a little more feels good. And so does my hair.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Listen to Cocoa Fly's Interview on the show 'Blogatique With Ananda Leeke'

Ananda Leeke
Last night I was a guest on the Blog Talk Radio Show "Blogatique with Ananda Leeke." I had a great time and again thank Ananda Leeke for inviting me to be a guest.  Leeke is one of my sorority sisters and we have never met. We've communicated online and this was our first conversation offline.  This month she's profiling Sigma Gamma Rho members who are entrepreneurs and use social media in their work . We talked about my career in journalism and blogging. Of course  we chatted up about my experience with sisterhood and Sigma Gamma Rho. If you want to learn something about journalism, or sororities or ME listen below. Next week Leeke interviews Racquel Dozier, editor-in-chief of Sigma Gamma Rho's magazine The Aurora. Dozier has lupus and will talk about the work she does to educate others about the disease.

Listen to internet radio with Ananda Leeke Show on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cocoa Fly Gets Interviewed

Usually I'm the one asking the questions. But tonight, Tuesday Nov. 16th, I'll be answering questions. Blog Talk Radio host and social media guru Ananda Leeke will be interviewing me on her show "Blogatique with Ananda Leeke." We'll be talking about journalism, media, my involvement with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and other good stuff.  Listen in at 9:30 EST and 6:30 PM/PST online. Just click here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Vibrations 'Mommy's Playdate' and Dr. Carol Queen Answers Your Sex Questions

Good Vibrations Berkeley location

  On a recent Tuesday night,  I joined a small group of moms in Berkeley for their kid-free "me time."  No diaper changes, no Barney sing-a-longs. Instead,  brownies, vibrator tutorials and Mommi-tini cocktails. Those are just a few fun things to expect at Good Vibrations' "Mommy's Playdate." The women-friendly sex store hosts the FREE event to help moms, who put sex on the back burner, get the fire blazing again.

For many mothers, sex becomes less of a priority when cleaning runny noses or singing lullabies. I'm not a mom. But from what I hear, after a day of mommy duty, the last thing some of you want to do is get it on with your partner.

"Being exhausted does have an impact on your sex life," said Susie, 39 while holding a basket of adult-goodies she won from the event's raffle.  Susie's six-year-old twins were spending time with their dad during her playdate. "I'd figured he'd be even happier knowing I was coming to get some fun things to bring home."

Dr. Carol Queen addresses our questions
The store's sexologist, Dr. Carol Queen provided the moms with a host of ideas for the bedroom, bathroom, etc. Women followed Dr. Queen on a tour of the store from the Bondage S&M  area to the vibrator section and more.  At each section Dr. Queen explained how certain devices worked while also answering our questions about sex and the body (Did you know there are condoms for vegans?). Good Vibrations is not like the traditional dark, seedy, XXXX adult shops. The store feels more like a boutique with its bright lights and friendly saleswomen behind the counters. The environment along with  Dr. Queen's openness made the mommies comfortable asking questions. We gained a ton of information from Dr. Queen. Some of the interesting points were:

 --Lube, Lube, Lube
Sometimes you need lubricant to help get aroused. Dr. Queen says, "a dry finger touching the vulva may not do the trick like lubricant."

--I never knew the purpose of cock rings until Dr. Queen schooled us. She says, "They firm the penis and make erections more sensitive. Some are designed for clitoral stimulation, especially the vibrating ones."

--Crib liners can serve a dual purpose. For those who see cleaning up after sex as a hassle or time consuming, Dr Queen recommends you, "...use crib liners and sit on them when fooling around. You wont have to worry about your [fluids] or his."

It may look like a rubber
 --Dr. Queen also encouraged we invite our partners to join us during toy play. And contrary to what we've heard about vibrators being only for women, she says men enjoy them too. "Vibration talks to nerve endings...Lots of guys feel the vibrations and go, 'whatever, that feels good.'"

--Sometimes the toys can be your substitute when your partner wants some lovin' and you want some zzzz's.
"It's good to have those toys for the guys too, " said Helen, a  single mother of a tween daughter and attending her second Mommy's Playdate  She said when you're in not in the mood just hand him the toy and say" 'Here you go honey. Not tonight for me.' [laughter]"
-- Of course you don't want your man or woman to run off and marry Duracel. So when you want to have playtime with your partner, without waking the kids, Dr. Queen suggests trying silent vibrators.

Good Vibrations next "Mommy's Playdate" is
Tuesday Nov. 16th
620 Polk Street (at Sacramento Street)
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 345-0400

Dr. Carol Queen Answers Your Fly Questions About Sex and Parenthood

Sexologist and author Dr. Carol Queen was so gracious to answer Cocoa Fly readers'  questions about parenthood and sex. Thanks to those of you who sent in questions.

Q: My cousin has a very traditional husband/marriage. She was a virgin when she got married & had a baby 1 1/2 years ago. Her husband says sex feels different now & she's worried that's she's "stretched out" down there. How much does your vagina stretch after a baby? Does it keep stretching after each baby? Will it ever feel the same for her husband?

Dr. Queeen: Your cousin should learn about Kegel exercises (also known as PCs, for the muscles involved: the pubococcygeal). These are vaginal exercises that tighten it all up after birth, plus they're great for making birthing a little easier -- they make the vaginal muscles more flexible, not just tighter --  and they make orgasms feel stronger too! Hers, anyway, and I am guessing that if she has better vaginal muscle control, his might just feel better also.

Here's information about these exercises:

Can masturbation help a woman get her sexual feelings back after having a baby?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Review of Tyler Perry's
'For Colored Girls'

Oct. 25, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - Actresses KERRY WASHINGTON and THANDIE NEWTON attend the New York premiere of 'For Colored Girls' held at the Ziegfeld Theater. © Red Carpet Pictures

Tyler Perry may have a lot to prove with his upcoming film “For Colored Girls." Perry is known for his black romantic comedies and critics doubt the filmmaker's writing skills are sharp enough for such a poignant drama. The film is an adaptation of Ntozake Shange's award-winning Broadway play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The powerful work is a collection of, what Shange calls “choreopoems,” about the complexities of black female identity and our struggles. The play debuted in 1974 but her message about black girls blues still resonates today: abuse, infidelity, poverty, sexism, defining our sexuality, fighting for respect. The list goes on. I hoped Perry would successfully take on such a challenging project because of his passion for addressing some of black women's woes. As a black woman who loves movies, I've been thirsting for a good drama starring black actresses for a while. I mean real good like "The Women of Brewster Place" or "Soul Food." Perry chose a stellar cast--Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington and Tessa Thompson. His rendition takes place in a modern-day urban America. The acting is solid. Unfortunately, much of the script is not.

The first half of the film tries to connect all of the women through nine storylines. But watching their lives link feels choppy at times as it jumps scene to scene. However it comes together more seamlessly by the second half. Another problem is how Perry incorporates poems from Shange's original work into the script. Kerry Washington plays Kelly, a social worker married to Hill Harper's character Donald. In one scene Kelly explains to Donald she's infertile because of an STD she contracted years ago. She goes into a poem about a lover who cheated on her with one of her college friends: "Three of us like a pyramid. Three friends one laugh, one music, one flowered shawl knotted on each neck..." I read the play prior to watching the film and know this poem. But in this scene the poem doesn’t fit and may confuse some in the audience, especially those unfamiliar with the play. Another instance where prose comes off awkward occurs when Rashad's character Gilda babysits Crystal's (Kimberly Elise) children. Crystal and her husband get into a violent argument next door. Gilda tries to distract the kids and performs a few stanzas about her love for Hatian Revolution leader Toussaint L'Ouverture. It's difficult to pay attention to Gilda while Crystal is screaming and getting pummeled by her alcoholic husband.

The recurrence of dated language is another drawback to the film. The word “colored" appears a few times in the dialogue when actresses perform poetry. Shange wrote the play back in the ‘70s. The film is set in the present and black people don't use the word "colored" anymore. Watching a character type on a laptop then hearing someone describe themselves as a "colored woman" a few scenes later doesn't feel realistic.

"For Colored Girls" isn't all bad. The acting is strong and will not disappoint. Kimberly Elise stirs you as always. Loretta Devine is funny and vivid. Thandie Newton delivers as a troubled, selfish sex addict. She and Whoopi were matched perfectly as a mother and daughter with serious tensions. Singer Macy Gray's eerie portrayal of a back-alley abortionist will make you rethink ever having unsafe sex. It was a hauntingly-good scene and well directed. I felt the nervousness and vulnerability of her pregnant patient. Also, there are instances where Perry effectively integrates Shange’s poems into the script. Yasmin's (Anika Noni Rose) crime report to the police officer, in prose, is almost placid yet intense. Goldberg's and Newton's characters go into a poetic exchange filled with a lot passion and pain. And I enjoyed Devine’s colorful performance about a man almost running off with her "stuff" or her love and self.

"For Colored Girls" is not my favorite Tyler Perry film, but I recommend you see for yourself. Make sure to read the play first. It will help you gain a better understanding of the film. Although I hoped for something better, it was refreshing to watch an ensemble of talented black actresses in non-demeaning roles. Some of the best actresses in the industry are part of the cast. Notice I said not the best black actresses, but the best in general. I appreciate Perry for his effort because I imagine he wanted black women to feel empowered after watching the film. A few scenes moved me. Still, I left the theater feeling a little down because dramas starring black women are rare. A television or movie drama starring a black female cast is about as common as the Texas Rangers going to the World Series. Perry will probably do well at the box office because of the buzz surrounding "For Colored Girls" and his fan following. Hopefully, Hollywood execs will take note and this will be the start of more dramas starring black actresses to come. Hopefully.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Interview with Sesame Street Writer Who Wrote 'I Love My Hair' Song

There's my Muppet girl to the left. Love her!  I called 'I Love My Hair' a song in the title of this blog post, but I've been singing it like an athem. Yesterday I interviewed Joey Mazzarino, the head writer of Sesame Street for the Huffington Post.  He wrote the song to help make his daughter love her curls. It's a touching interview and goes more into depth then some of the stories you may have seen. You never know what impact your actions or work or creativity may have.  Read my interview "Sesame Street Writer Pens "I Love My Hair" Song to Empower Daughter."  And PLEASE share the article with others on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, your blog, etc. I love my hair, I love my hair, la, la, la, la.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Questions About Moms Making Time for Sex When The Kids and Babies Are Around

Overhead view of couple and baby son sleeping in bed together
 A reader and mom of an infant recently told me sex after having baby is a myth. With that, I assume the father in this picture is dreaming of sex and the mother is dreaming of more sleep. I don't have any little cocoas flying around here yet. But I remember working in elementary schools as a TA years ago and KIDS ARE WORK. They're fun and cute but they are a lot of work. How do you moms do it?!  Speaking of "doing it," I hear some of you moms out there are having a hard time working sex back into your life. And I hear some of the dads are having a hard time getting you to bring the sex back.  On Tuesday Oct. 26, I'm heading to adult store Good Vibrations in Berkeley. They're holding a FREE event called Mommy's Playdate to help moms get their groove back. I'll be speaking with with the company's sexologist Dr. Carol Queen. If you or your partner have questions you'd like me to ask Dr. Queen related to balancing kids and a healthy sex life, leave it in the comments section below. Feel free to be anonymous. My LGBT family are also welcome to ask questions too. Thanks to those readers who already submitted questions to me via email and on Facebook!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sesame Street 'I Love My Hair' Video Touches The Little Girl In Me

Don't need a trip to the beauty shop because I love what I got on top.

Maybe I'm too old to be singing Sesame Street tunes around the house, but this one touched my heart. Who would've thought a little brown muppet with an afro could send such a powerful message. Black women all over the internet are buzzing about this Sesame Street video, "I Love My Hair."  I cried the first time I saw it. For centuries black girls have been told our kinky, tight curls are unattractive and not good enough. We've spent countless hours, money pressing, flat ironing, weaving, relaxing our hair. Don't get me started on scalps fried from relaxers and burned ears when the hot comb got too close.  But here comes this video from Sesame Street encouraging black girls to love their kinks and coils. I thought it was so funny how, like many sistas,  the muppet changed her hairstyle a few times in the video.  She went from an afro to a press and curl to braids then locs. LOL!  But that's one of the great things about having black hair--versatility. Hey, I've been known to switch up my style a few times.

I will never, ever, EVA forget a particular moment when I covered an interracial dating seminar for black women in Los Angeles. The issue of hair came up and the men on the panel, all non-black, said they didn't care if the black women they dated rocked natural hair. Girrrl, sistas mouths dropped to the floor. One guy said he didn't care if his lady was bald. I could read the women's minds in the audience. All of the money they spent over the years on $300 weaves and $60 touch ups. But these guys are happy if they're women are nappy. That's not to say there aren't brothas who like natural hair too. But it goes to show, we've been going too long not loving what we got on top.

I've been playing with natural styles too, like twists and roller sets. I have a style I named "The Poof," where I put in an extra volume leave-conditioner after washing my hair. Then I press it lightly. My hair swells up like a mushroom and I don't care. It's poofy and nappy and I love it.  Men, of ALL races, have given me more attention with "The Poof" then when I was swinging the straight and silky.

Kudos to Sesame Street. If you have a black daughter, niece, sister, mentee, etc please share this video with her. We have to plant the seeds of positive self-image in our girls early. I read comment on youtube from women of other ethnicities with similar texture hair to the muppet. They said the video moved them as well. Spread the word.  I LOVE MY HAIR!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Terry McMillan On Love, Forgiveness and 'Getting to Happy'

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  Author Terri McMillan   attends the BET Inauguration Ball on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
Call it a book signing and reading, but a recent event featuring Terry McMillan felt more like a girlfriends get together. Hundreds of women, and a few men, filed into Berkley's Black Repertory Theater earlier this month, with books in hand, eager to have their copy of McMillan's latest novel "Getting to Happy" signed. Fans were ready to hear McMillan talk about love, life and of course her high-profile divorce.  Marcus Books hosted the reading in the packed theater where some guests had to sit on stage. The bestselling author and Bay Area resident was winding down her tour to promote the sequel to the 1992 groundbreaking tale  "Waiting to Exhale." The novel, which also became a blockbuster film,  follows four black female friends in their 30's as they go through their ups and downs in love.  Many black women at that time, felt the book reflected the obstacles black women experience in finding "the one."  "In Getting to Happy" the ladies are in their 50's, but life isn't fabulous. Bernadine is battling a prescription drug addiction. Robin finds her job and life boring, but is still holding out for Mr. Right. Gloria, well without giving away too much, things just aren't good. And the passion in Savannah's marriage is evaporating.

'What I do know is I'm tired of feeling navy blue when I have a right to feel lemon yellow,' McMillan, sporting a fiery, red afro, read from Savannah's chapter. McMillan, 58,  said she wrote the sequel with middle-aged women in mind to "inspire women who have almost become emotionally dead...and have not given themselves more freedom to enjoy the rest of their lives."  She also wanted readers to know that once you hit your 50's, "it's not all downhill from here."

Author Terry McMillan reading to excited fans at the Black Repertory Theater
 McMillan's struggles with her own journey to happiness began several years ago after learning her husband, Jonathan Plummer was gay. In 2005 the marriage ended in messy divorce, leaving McMillan angry and hurt.
"I had become someone I didn't even know, " she shared with the audience.  When asked how she was able to move on from the past she replied, "If you're being robbed and raped of the beauty of the present, let it go."

According to McMillan, 20th Century Fox bought the movie rights to "Getting to Happy." Three of  the original leading actresses from "Waiting to Exhale" are confirmed to reprise their roles--Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon. There's no word yet if Whitney Houston will return.

McMillan's route to happiness is taking her away from the Bay Area.  The Contra Costa Times reports the author plans to move out of her suburban home in Danville and relocate to more lively cities like Los Angeles and New York. As for love, McMillan told the Berkeley audience she has dated since the divorce and is open to marriage.

"Men should be more like a semicolon and not a period. Although I'm looking for an exclamation point."

*Article also available on*

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fly Lady of the Day
Maragaret Cho

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Dancers Louis Van Amstel (L) and Margaret Cho attend the premiere of 'Dancing With The Stars' at CBS Television City on September 20, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Comedian and now dancer Margaret Cho was one of my favorite celebs working it on  Dancing with the Stars. I loved her dance in tribute to the gay community and gay teens who have taken their lives. The rainbow shimmy dress she wore for the routine was so cute and flirty.   But, America voted her off too soon tonight. I was sorry to see her go. So sorry that I teared up with her at the end. But they were also tears of joy because  Cho made her dancing dreams come true. She had insecurities about dancing. Growing up Cho got the "fat girl" taunts and teases in school. She thought her body was too big for dance. But she finally turned off those negative tapes, turned up the music and glided across the floor. And she was great!  Cho blogged a few weeks ago:

I want to do this for myself, the little girl in me who wants to be a beautiful princess – who wants to be seen and heard and loved and praised. I want to do this for all the girls who have been told they are not perfect – who have been told they are ugly and fat – who know deep inside that they are not those things… it’s so hard to face your own insecurity and doubts and fears. I really feel like I am doing that.
I love when a woman embraces her body, takes on her fears and dances to her own tune. Despite the naysayers, haters and her own doubts Cho gathered the courage to pursue her dream. Now that's a fly lady.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Travels Europe to Trace the Roots of Dracula

Vampires aren't my thing. Actually, horror movies period aren't my thing. "Twilight" and other vampire media have unleashed serious fangdamonia (get it?) recently. The obsession is not a big surprise to me because there's been a huge cult-following of vampires for years. Hollywood and the book industry are just now figuring that out. I'm not biting because I'm a scaredy cat. I couldn't sleep in my bed for a week after I saw Fright Night back in 1986. I wasn't crazy about The Count from Sesame Street either.

Childhood fears aside, Cocoa Fly can't resist a good story. Author Steve Unger is a huge vampire fan and actually traveled to Europe to research the roots of the original blood-loving seducer Count Dracula. Unger shares his adventure through England and Romania in his book, "In The Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide."  He writes of his experience scouring graveyards and castles, while also providing travel information to readers also interested in packing up to explore the history and sites that inspired writer Bram Stoker's creation of the Dracula character. I met Unger recently at a random trip to Borders Bookstore. He was signing books and during our chat I became fascinated about his travels. I may not like vampires but I love a traveler. He has bicycled in Madrid and London. During his college years Unger was an exchange student at the historically black college Tuskegee University in Alabama. This was during the Civil Rights Movement and he was the only white student there at that time. Unger worked with other students, teaching farmers how to read. Traveling to dig up Dracula was the cherry on top for me.
Back to vampire stuff...Unger explains Bram Stoker built the Dracula character on real-life Romanian Prince Vlad Dracula The Impaler from the 1400's. The prince lived in a castle, was born in Transylvania and exercised harsh punishment on his enemies. Unger hiked to Prince Vlad's fortress and was a bit creeped out by the auroa:

*But let's get back to Poenari, the real Castle of Dracula. I had traveled to other remote, forbidding places. But never before or since have I felt the apprehension and isolation I did while climbing to Vlad Ţepeş' mountaintop fortress at Poenari. The forest was as quiet as a tomb; I can't recall hearing the song of even a single bird...Of all the places I explored that are associated with Vlad Ţepeş, only at Poenari did I feel that he was somehow still keeping watch. Thousands of boyars and their families had been force-marched there from Tărgovişte to die rebuilding the castle for Prince Vlad... And it was here that Prince Dracula's wife cast herself from the highest window of the eastern tower, choosing a swift death over the torture of the stake.

Fortress Ruins at Poenari*

Kind of eerie and cool. We usually don't associate history with pop culture, but Unger is giving historical context of the origins of vampire mythology. As someone who loves history, I find that pretty interesting. But I'll leave the vampire searching to him.

"In the Footsteps of  Dracula" is available on

If you're in California Steven P. Unger is holding booksigning at the following:

Saturday, October 16th, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Borders, 2765 E. Bidwell St., Folsom CA 95630 (916) 984-5900

Sunday, October 17th, 2010 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Copperfield's Books Petaluma, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma, CA 95404 (707) 762-0563

*Parts of this article previously appeared in Romar Traveler and Patricia's Vampire Notes

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Wedding No Womb:
Sista Stop Settling for the Sperm


No Wedding No Womb is a cyber movement featuring 100 black bloggers speaking out against the high percentage of African-American children born out of wedlock, fatherlessness in the community and to encourages black women to be more sexually responsible. Writer Christelyn Karazin of the blog Beyond Black and White is the brains behind NWNW. Below is's contribution...

R&B singer Kelly Price has a new song I play when my soul needs to vent called “Tired.” Price gives me chills when she belts how she’s tired of everything from lies and paying bills to keeping it real. Well, I’m tired too. I’m TIRED of sistas settling for the sperm. Too many black children are coming into this world fatherless. We’ve bought into this false idea hurting our community that BABY - MARRIAGE = BLACK WOMAN’S FATE. While many sistas desire to be “Mrs. So and So” one day, some of us think the title “Baby Mama” is the best we can do. Instead of setting our sights on true love, marriage and commitment from a man, we settle for his sperm and make babies. We all know the sista who settles for the sperm. She’s working the register at JC Penney and making moves at JP Morgan. She’s our girlfriend in love with the guy who isn’t ready to settle down. But she gives her womb and heart to him anyway. She’s the neighbor who takes out her frustrations from her past mistakes on her child. “You no good just like your daddy!” she yells to her kid over and over. But everyone on the block, including her, knew the guy was a loser. He never had time for his other kids and only made time for her when in the mood. But she settled for the sperm and a swollen belly. Both of these scenarios often have the same ending. She’s due in nine months. He’s gone. As for the baby, he or she may see their dad a few times. It’s no surprise Daddy split. He wasn’t serious nor reliable when they were dating. So why would he be there for his child?

Melancholy Child

I understand things happen. Condoms break and faulty birth control pills work more like Skittles than sperm blockers. Or the baby’s father was supportive in the beginning but did a 180 and vanished. Those cases aren’t settling for the sperm. They’re “oopsies.” I’m not putting all of the blame on this crisis on sistas, nor am I attacking single black mothers. Men who make babies they don’t care for need to be responsible. And not all black kids from single-parent households are troubled. But some of us women are more selective about which shoes to buy for a Trey Songz concert then we are about the men we bring into our lives. We’re so thirsty for love that even when “the one” won’t put a ring on it, we still let him put it in. And the overwhelming consequences in our community are fatherless boys with no map to manhood so they turn to the streets. And Daddy-less girls search for a father-figure in any man who’ll give them attention. Then the sperm-settling cycle continues.


But what really, really makes me TIRED is how the black community accepts fatherless homes as the norm. A girlfriend told me when she attended a family reunion relatives asked when were she and her boyfriend planning to have children. My friend responded, “Can we talk about marriage first?” I’ve shocked people when I told them I’m in my early 30s and have no children. One brotha asked me, “How did you do that?” But he didn’t miss a beat when I said I wasn’t married.

portrait of a groom holding the bride from behind

Some think black women have a better chance of finding a purple unicorn than a man who will say“ I Do” before we tell him, “I’m due.” The media, your family or friends may have implied you’re not marriage material because men don’t like black women. And just be happy that any dude with most of his teeth and enough sperm to give you a few babies is interested in you. All are FALSE. I’m aware when it comes to who exemplifies womanhood, society rates black women toward the bottom. And I know since slavery, black women’s bodies have been seen as “baby-making factories.” But this internalization of ourselves must stop. As Maya Angelou wrote in the poem "Our Grandmothers",” …my description cannot fit your tongue, for I have a certain way of being in this world.”

Couple with champagne embracing and toasting

So sista define yourself as being worthy--worthy of good , stable love and joy. Set your sights for that man who you KNOW will be a good partner to you AND a great father to your children. Until you find him, use a condom. Please. The Black Girls Blues soundtrack of single and lonely with kids is not your destiny. Michelle Obama, Holly Robinson-Peete, Iman and countless sistas around the globe can attest to that. Sista, you don’t have to settle for the sperm.

Fly with Cocoa Fly on Facebook & Twitter

Monday, September 20, 2010

Girrrrrl Tell Him
'No Wedding No Womb'

No Wedding. No Womb.

Have you heard?

On Wednesday Sept, 22nd roughly 100 black bloggers are going to fire up the blogosphere with posts about how 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. The movement is No Wedding No Womb . I'm excited about this. Christelyn Krazin over at Beyond Black & White came up with the idea. This sista has gone all out with the help of other bloggers. There's even a theme song and video you can check out below. Shout out to Lorraine Spencer over at Black American Brides for writing the lyrics. Cocoa Fly is bringing her opinion to the mix. My post deals with sperm...kinda. You have to check back this Wednesday to read my post "Sista Stop Settling for the Sperm."

I grew up in a single-parent home and this one issue I'm very passionate about, especially as it pertains to the black community. My mother did an excellent job raising me. Still, having a good father in the home is important in a child's life. Fathers are a girl's or boy's first example of manhood. I had a relationship with my father but he lived six hours away and wasn't around to do things like teach me how to ride a bike or threaten my prom dates when they came to pick me up. At least I know my father and his side of the family because some kids raised solely by their mothers have never seen their father. Everyone should know where they come from.

Remember: Wednesday, and No Wedding No Womb. You can see both sites for my post. Until then, here's a taste of what to expect:

No Wedding No Womb Theme Song! by LJpress

Dreaming and Hooked on Andy Allo

My blog hasn't blown up yet, but it's getting there. One of my favorite artists who I KNOW is going to blow up is Andy Allo. I don't feature artists on here if I don't think they're special. Andy is super-duper-crazy talented and I play her CD UnFresh when I want to mellow out. Trust me, between hustling a blog and pitching news stories, I need to mellow out often. One day Andy will be touring with the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, Maxwell etc. See for yourself in her latest video "DreamLand" featuring rapper Blu. And peep her earlier-released video of one my favorite songs from Andy's album, "Hooked."

That beauty of Andy's you see on the outside is just as radiant on the inside. Check my interview with her here and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guess Where Cocoa Fly Has Landed?

Here's a clue....

Get It? Mc Hammer. He's a rapper from Oakland. So Cocoa Fly has landed in...

Los Angeles was a fun ride. The beaches, celebs, parties, friends, shopping and the sunshine were hard to give up. But one major thing missing was a J-O-B. I love LA. But being jobless in LA, well, how should I put it? It SUCKED. The recession had a sista packing her bags and heading back to where Cocoa Fly first got her swag--Oakland. Also known as The O, The Town or for those who partied in the 90s, OakTown. But I'm excited to be back and spread Cocoa Fly's wings even farther. In the weeks few I've been home I met a cool author who traveled to Europe to write a book on the history of Dracula (I'll tell you about him in a future post), wrote a blog post about single black mothers for the No Wedding No Womb cyber movement set to happen next Wednesday, Sept. 22nd (the title of my post includes the word "sperm"), hit up a few family parties, got a nice email from London blogger Sober In The Cauldron (Hammer lyric: "I've toured around the world from London to the Bay"), was invited to cover Good Vibrations Indie Erotic Film Festival in San Francisco, made some Hollywood connections (keep your fingers crossed on this one) and got some much, much, much needed R&R. Speaking of rest, I'm sure the victims of the San Bruno gas line explosion could use some rest. My prayers and positive energy are going out to them.

Special shout out to Oakland Voices' project coordinator for helping a sista in her moving process. And another shout out to MC Hammer. Why? Because I'm from Oakland and I love Hammer. Before Puffy, Jay Z, etc., Hammer was one of the earlier rappers to make hip hip mainstream. And he did it while keeping his lyrics clean.

Cocoa Fly is READY to soar in the Bay Area and beyond. Keep flying with me. It's going to be fun.


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