Monday, March 29, 2010

Erykah Badu's Nude Video and
Embracing the Black Derriere

Erykah Badu In Concert - Montreux


People are praising and criticizing Erykah Badu's new video "Window Seat." All the hoopla is over Badu stripping nude. I've been reading other blogs to see how people are feeling. Some say it's art others say she's just trying to sell records. If you haven't seen her video, it takes place in Dallas, Texas were President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. You can watch the video below. She's addressing this term we hear at the end of the video called "groupthink." She explains groupthink to the Dallas Morning News, "It’s human nature for a person to be afraid to express his or her self in fear of being ostracized by the group or general consensus. A lot of times people are judged unfairly because of that." Basically, she's going against the "norm," by baring it all.

The part of the video getting the most attention is one of Badu's body parts--her butt. Badu caught us off guard. We didn't know the slim soul singer was carrying all of that junk in her trunk. But I'm looking at the whole picture. As a woman with a bubble bum, I appreciated Badu's curves because black women's derrieres don't always get love. Black women's buttocks have been objectified since before the days of the Hottentot Venus. Our curvaceous rumps were considered "odd" and associated with sexual easiness back then. Outside of communities of color, big booties were deemed as unattractive or a body part that made people look fat. Sir Mix-A-Lot expressed admiration to the black boo-tay in "Baby Got Back." Since Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez have come along, bootyliciousness is "in"--for now. Women are padding their jeans and spending thousands on butt enhancement surgery. In music videos, the black woman's booty has become a exploited and disposable thing. A thing that shakes for anyone. Even the rugged dude at the club with the gold tooth gets a free rump shake on camera. With "Window Seat," here we have a black behind in a music video that isn't jiggling for men's pleasure. Badu is walking through a Dallas park like a woman on a mission (when she recorded this, Badu went without a crew nor permission from the city). You can see the strength and fearlessness in her stride. Also you get this sense of liberation. And yes her bum is round and full and beautiful. It sits high just like her head. No gyrating on mens' laps or credit cards sliding down strippers' behinds in this video. Badu, in her naked and true self, strides with pride and commands respect. She's defining her body, her art and her self. I've written about women, black women in particular, reasserting their identity and bodies. Badu tells the Dallas Morning News she was petrified about this project because she says of, "Not being in love with my body, not being secure about being vulnerable, the police coming to take me to jail." She challenges groupthink by breaking the law, being nude, displaying her body that's not glamorized, nor embraced by the mainstream.

Badu is an artist and artists push us. Nudity doesn't always equate to something being demeaning. I'm more concerned about mess like this where the women are scantily clothed. She stepped out of the pop box to express herself and that's what true artists do. I respect Badu's project and see a bit of myself in her. She's shaped like me, brown like me and like the bold word on her back, I'm "evolving" too. But, I'm not skipping through the Santa Monica Promenade butt-naked anytime soon.



P.S.--Badu got the video idea from punk duo Matt and Kim. Watch their video here.




Photo Credit:
PicApp

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Pres. Obama Puts His Stamp On The Health Care Bill

Well there you have it. The president's own signature on the Health Care Bill. I'm still in a bit of shock that after decades of trying to change health care, something is being done. There are some things in the bill I like and some I don't like. I'm sure things will be added over time.

Two posts ago I wrote about Nancy Pelosi's role but President Obama recognized another Nancy who he called the unsung hero in their push for reform--Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform. Read about her in a Time magazine article from last year. She studied at Harvard and Oxford University. During the Clinton administration she was the administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, overseeing Medicare and Medicaid. And she has worked with corporations. From Nancy DeParle to Sarah Palin and Diane Sawyer who should have been anchor for World News Tonight years ago--women are doing it.

Photo Credits
1. Pres. Obama's signature on the Health Reform Bill (Chuck Kennedy)
2. Pres. Obama and Vice President Biden speak with White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle following historic signing. (Pete Souza)
*All photos from White House Flickr Photostream

Box Office or Bootleg?
Ben Stiller in 'Greenberg'

Watching the dark comedy Greenberg feels like spending two hours with one of the most obnoxious, woe-is-me and forget you, self-centered, person you've ever met. That's not a bad thing, just good acting. Ben Stiller plays Roger Greenberg, a 40-ish New York carpenter whose musical career tanked years ago. Just out of a mental hospital after having a breakdown, Roger house-sits in his brother's Hollywood Hills home while he's away on a family trip to Vietnam. Greenberg constantly rants the world is a crappy place and is the first to call out someone on their issues. He spends time writing complaint letters about mundane things. Such as the letter he sent to the New York mayor about the high-frequency of car horns blowing in Manhattan. Also don't expect him to listen to your problems, because his are way heavier than yours. What's funny is Roger doesn't realize society is not the problem, but himself. And he's blind to his own privilege. The world can't be too bad if he can afford "do nothing for a while," and recover from his troubles in his brother's sprawling home with a pool. I can't stand Roger Greenberg but I love Ben Stiller. Stiller subtly injects his comic skills and does a wonderful job of projecting Roger's narcissism to the point where I was amused and annoyed by the character. READ MORE

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pelosi Power and Health Care Reform

Pelosi And House Leaders Sign Senate Health Reform Bill
President Obama keeps making history and proving me wrong. I never thought in my lifetime I would witness an African American elected president. And I didn't think the Democrats could get a health care reform bill passed. Looks like it took some Pelosi power to get it done. I'm talking about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She reportedly worked behind the scenes real hard to make it happen. This woman is not to be underestimated. The passage of this bill means there's a lot of work to be done. With 30+ million people granted access to health care within the next four years, there's the issue of building more hospitals, patients practicing preventive care, medical schools graduating more doctors, taxes and the list goes on. We're living in historic times. On one hand, it seems like we're moving forward. But with SOME teabaggers shouting racial and homophobic obscenities at legislators, I question how far we have moved.

Moving on...Madame Speaker Pelosi has a lot to celebrate. She turns 70 on Friday.

Photo Credit:
BlogHer PicApp

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Check My Article About UC San Diego on Huffington Post

Please go to Huffington Post to read my response to the campus climate at UC San Diego.

Just click here

This is my first piece for the Huffington Post. And the picture to the left is one of my favorites shots of the protests. Photographer Don Barletti snapped it. You can see more at the Los Angeles Times website.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cocoa Bits: Go Mo'Nique!
Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin Win Best Oscar Hosting Duo
Why Screenplay Writer Geoffrey Fletcher Gave Me Hope

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room
The Mo'Nique I'm used to seeing is the raw comedian always picking on skinny girls and dropping four-letter words. I like the funny-girl Mo'Nique but I've enjoyed seeing a sophisticated side of her this awards season. Her acceptance speech was short, sharp and memorable. I loved how she saluted the late Hattie McDaniel by wearing a royal blue dress and white gardenia, just as McDaniel did 70 years ago when she became the first black woman to win an Oscar. Mo'Nique gave an amazing performance in Precious and deserved to take home statue.

Steve Martin+Alec Baldwin= F.U.N.N.Y
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Show

Whomever had the idea to pair Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to host the Oscars is brilliant. Those two men were hilarious. They are now in my top 5 favorite list of Oscar hosts. The others are Chris Rock, Ellen and Whoopi Goldberg. Martin and Baldwin have great chemistry. I cracked up when they pointed to each other and told Zac Efron he was going to be just like them in five years. They kept the Oscars fresh and edgy. I want to see these guys at the Kodak again next year.

READ MORE

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cocoa Fly is Sick

Woman sneezing
I am not feeling well and need to take a day or two off from my blog. My allergies have been kicking my behind the last few days. When I return, let's talk about Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz on Tuesday's Oprah. They're an example of true love. In the meantime, catch up on my series about black erotic literature until I return. It all starts here.

Peace, Love and Benadryl!













Photo Cred:
Image from Picapp.com

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