Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dr. Dorothy Height Laid to Rest

Mourners Attend Funeral For Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Height

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC was packed today with people coming to pay their respects to civil rights leader Dr. Dorothy Height. President Obama delivered the eulogy where he said, Height, "deserves a place of honor in America's memory." And he described her a leader of "quiet, dogged, dignified persistence." You can watch the President's eulogy below.

I enjoy (and maybe "enjoy" isn't the right word) watching funerals of influential people. Of course I like the lavishness, but also it makes me look at how this person's life influenced me. And depending on the life they led, it's my own way of paying respects. One of the most beautiful services I've watched are those for Princess Diana and Ronald Regan. And one that recently moved me to tears was the funeral for the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

I have not seen Dr. Height's funeral but you can view it on C-SPAN. Watch it with your daughters. Our children are enjoying the benefits of struggles from decades ago, but have no clue about the struggle. More and more and more our daughters are getting the message that the power lies between their legs. NO. Teach your girls about women like Dr. Height so they'll see the source of their power is between their ears and in their hearts.

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Photo Credit:
1. PicApp--Photo shows poet Maya Angelou reading beside the coffin of Dorothy Height.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Switch It Up!
Hiking and Hanging With Mother Nature

"Switch It Up" is a Cocoa Fly series encouraging women to step out of the box, break it down and put it in the recycle bin. It's time to have fun and live it up!

Can you believe I took this picture just 15 minutes away from smoggy Los Angeles? I've been craving nature for about a year. The concrete was getting to me and I had this longing to see trees. The last time I was around a lot of greenery was when I went to Vermont for a writing camp in 2003. My last hike was in the 8th grade. It was time to Switch It Up. I've been wanting to go hiking for a while, but had trouble finding someone to go with me. You know how it is: bad timing, people were busy or some of my girls didn't want to sweat out their hair. I found a group on Facebook and got my hiking boots ready.
The spot was Temescal Canyon. I had a rough start. I got dizzy going round and round up the mountain. All I kept thinking was " I want to stop and puke." READ MORE

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Are Because You Were
Dr. Dorothy Height 1912-2010

We are free, because you were not afraid to fight.

We are scholars, because you were passionate about equality in education.

We are lawyers, entrepreneurs, doctors, writers, scientists and more, because you were about the advancement of women.

We are powerful and beautiful because you were a warrior that had style (work that hat sista) and heart.

We are First Lady and one day POTUS, because you marched on Washington and met with presidents to demand change.

We have civil rights, because you were a leader of the movement.

We are praying for your family, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the NCNW, because you were their gem, their sister, their leader.

We are not going to stop striving for justice, because you were a woman who didn't know the word "surrender."

We are here, because you were fearlessly, woman.

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Photo Credits:
See picture and bio at

Rest In Peace Guru of Gang Starr and
Designing Women's Dixie Carter

Dixie Carter
I've been meaning to say something about Dixie Carter. As you may know she died a few weeks ago from a form of uterine cancer, according to Entertainment Tonight. I loved, loved, loved Dixie Carter on Designing Women. Her character Julia Sugarbaker is one of those female characters from my girlhood I would watch and think, "I want to be just like her." She was sassy, funny, smart, strong, pretty and her own boss. Oooh, but don't make her mad. Julia's best moments was when she had to check someone and tell them off. No one can give a tongue lashing like Dixie Carter's character. What's interesting is that Carter reportedly was opposite from the liberal Julia and believed more in conservative right-wing values and politics. That's good acting. Carter was 70.

Hollywood lost a Southern belle and a Starr has fallen in hip hop. I can't believe Gang Starr's Guru is gone. When he went into the hospital a few months ago, reports made it seem like he was recovering. But Guru was reportedly battling cancer. So sad. I grew up listening to group Gang Starr and always put him in the category of real hip hop. Not like this fast food, microwave popcorn mess that's out today. Guru was innovative and took a chance by combining rap and hip hop in his music. CNN reports he was only 43.

Photo Credit:
1. PicApp

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Can You Tell If He's Courting You?

Young Man with Bouquet

Last week I posted my interview with Don't Bring Home A White Boy author Karyn Langhorne Folan. We had a nice, long interview. One thing that came up was courting. Folan shares in her book that she wasn't sure her husband Kevin was into her when they first started dating. Kevin drove 30 miles every weekend to see Karyn, took her to pricey restaurants, paid for everything and was great company. Usually the dates ended with a nice hug, maybe a handshake. No, kissy, touchy or feely was going on. We're not talking the 1960s but just six years ago. Race aside, Karyn, like many of women, was used to guys feeling entitled to the VIP bedroom pass because they spent money on her. Yep. Some men equate movie tickets and dinner with getting the panties. I went on one date with a guy who thought a glass of wine and a few appetizers meant sexual healing was on the way. Well, it dawned on Karyn that she was being courted. Here's what she told me in our interview: READ MORE

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Goodbye Ugly Betty, It Was A Beautiful Run.....Now What's This About a Movie?

Last night the final episode of Ugly Betty aired. Sniff, sniff. I think the show could have gone another 2 years if ABC wasn't playing musical chairs with their time slot. And I was loving my Wednesday night lineup with Modern Family, Cougar Town and Ugly Betty. But I don't want to make this a bitter post. Ugly Betty was a great show that pushed boundaries in a clever way. So to executive producer Salma Hayek and the crew I thank you. Thank you for giving America one of the most diverse casts, probably, in television history. I can't think of too many shows that has featured white, black , Latino, Asian, gay, transexual, transgender, wealthy, poor, characters in one show. Thank you for a great cast. Thank you for showing us a family who embraced their gay teen. Thank you for reminding us our spirit is more important than what we wear. And you also reminded us looks don't matter because Betty always had a guy drooling over her. Thank you for showing us to never give up, even when it feels like the world, or magazine staff, is against us. Thank you for the melodramatic, shocking endings. Thanks for giving us Vanessa Williams every week ( I met her in person and she is BEAUTIFUL). She was delightfully cunning. Oooh and thanks for casting Eric Mabius as Daniel Meade--yummy. And thanks for casting Judith Light as a villian because she rocked it. Thanks for the bright clothes, cool models, scandals, murders, fake deaths, mayhem and love triangles. Thanks for Tony Plana who played Betty's father because I don't think he got his deserved props. Aww and I'm going to miss the sassy sister Hilda. In the midst of all of that drama, thanks for reminding us the importance of family. Thanks for the laughs! And finally, thanks to America Ferrera for being a hell of an actress and cracking the ceiling in Hollywood, so hopefully, we can see more shows with women of color as lead characters. And thanks for showing us every week to stay true to ourselves.


Didn't you love the ending when Daniel followed Betty to London and told her he's been giving everything his whole life? Now, he says, he needs to learn how to work for things. I think he was talking about working for Betty's love. Supposedly in the original Spanish version of the show, Betty and Daniel end up together. Daniel dipped his fountain pen in too many ink wells for my taste, but if you want him Betty, girrrrrrrl make him work for it. Maybe we'll get to see if the two hook up because Ana Ortiz told there may be a movie in the works! And supposedly America Ferrera is hustling to get it on.

“It’s something that we’ve been talking about and it’s something that America Ferrera would really love to do," said Ortiz. That woman has so much determination that I can’t imagine anything she puts her mind to not getting done.”

America Ferrera and Salma Hayak are making moves. Love it!

Photo Credit:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Part 1 of Interview with Karyn Langhorne Folan Author of 'Don't Bring Home A White Boy' On Huffington Post

I got the chance to interview author Karyn Langhorne Folan about her book Don't Bring Home A White Boy: And Other Notions that Keep Black Women From Dating Out. Interracial dating is a touch topic so her book has received praise and criticism. Read the first part of our interview on the Huffington Post. Jump back to Cocoa Fly to read part 2.

Photo Credit:
Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Part 2 of Karyn Langhorne Folan Interview
Author of Don't Bring Home a White Boy


You wrote, “Although black men married to white women certainly face their problems with acceptance in our race-conscious society, black women and their white spouses seem to face even greater disapproval.” I know some black male relatives and friends who would strongly disagree with you. Sometimes brothas get dirty looks from black women and other races.

Some of the black women that I interviewed have had some really tough times with family reaction, stranger reaction. People seem to feel more comfortable saying stuff directly to black women than they do to black men. I think it’s harder always for the woman in an interracial relationship. I think our society does tends to be much more forgiving and more accepting of men doing whatever because it’s a patriarchal society still. When a man grows up, picks his mate and moves on, well he’s “ a man.” But women are…always protected, somewhat, by their family’s relationship. So…when they make a choice of a partner outside of the race in particular, there’s that sort of “Well, does she really know what she’s doing?” Or “That could be a bad choice for her.”

Do you feel there’s more disdain in the black community toward women dating interracially, than men?

I don’t know if there’s necessarily more disdain. You’re right, there are a lot of black women who are really mad at black men who marry outside of the race. But some of those are the same women who are not in relationships right now. I think when women are in relationships and are happy they don’t care as much about what black men are doing or what anybody else is doing. So it just points to many for the need for us to all be looking more at our own state and our own relationship, who we’re cutting out and why.

There is such a high interest in this topic. You were even interviewed on Russia Today. There’s international interest in this issue?

I correspond with some black women who live abroad, read my book and actually see it having a lot of relevance outside of the United States, which surprised me. A lot of this black/white dynamic in this country is unique to this country. The relevance it seems to have abroad is there a lot of Africans migrating all over Europe and all over the world. In the first generation of that migration, there’s an interest in staying in the community…an intermarry with each other. Second generation tend to rebel against that and because those are children growing up in this multicultural Europe. And there’s a generational tension between the parents’ old world values and the children who see themselves as Dutch or French, for example. The book presents that same tension of “Don’t bring home a European boy.”

So it’s more a cultural issue than a race issue?

Many black women are understandably frustrated with this topic. I've even seen women comment on blogs that they're tired of people trying to tell them who to date. Are you trying to tell black women who they should date?

I’m not telling anybody who they should date. I think certainly any woman should be free to date whomever she wants to date. I think some of these women saying, “Don’t tell me who to date” or who are angry about the book might be the same women who are complaining about how they don’t have anyone to date. You can’t have it both ways. Either you want to date and you’re lonely...And you’ve only looked at a certain type of men or a certain race of men. Then maybe it is time to think differently. If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten. It’s just that simple.

This encouragement of black women to expand their dating options really took off on the internet with what are called “black female empowerment bloggers”. It’s growing. You have a book. I reported a story about one woman who organized a conference teaching black women to date interracially. Is this a movement?

Certainly I hope black women’s empowerment is a movement. I think interracial dating doesn’t have to have real empowerment beyond choice. But choice is powerful. If that’s an entree into greater attention on the issues that face black women and to our unique contributions to the race and to the struggle, then by all means call it a part of the movement. I do think there are big changes underway right now. I think what’s happening is that a lot of black women are getting tired of being defined by the lowest common denominator. And [they] really don’t see themselves and their concerns being reflected in what passes for the current black leadership politically and romantically, psychologically, in entertainment and all of these other venues. And we have to do better.

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Photo Credit:
Simon & Schuster

Monday, April 5, 2010

Benjamin Bratt's Film 'La Mission' Opening April in LA, NYC and San Fran

I loooovvveee La Mission. It is my favorite movie of 2009. Benjamin Bratt stars as an old school low rider from San Francisco's Mission District who discovers his son is gay. Erika Alexander (Max from "Living Single") plays his hippie neighbor. You know how opposites attract--*wink, wink.* Check the trailer here. Benjamin Bratt's brother Peter Bratt directed the movie. You can tell he has a strong sense of community because in this film he reconnects "neighbor" and "hood." The great acting and scriptwriting is worth a trip to the theater. Read my review here. La Mission opens April in San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles at select theaters. Check La Mission's Facebook page for more info. UPDATE: For more movie locations and times go to

New York, starting April 9th

Clearview Chelsea
260 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011-2301

Los Angeles, starting April 9th
Laemmle Sunset 5
8000 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, 90046

San Francisco, starting April 16th
Kabuki Theatre
1881 Post St.San Francisco
CA 94115

AMC Metreon
101 4th St San Francisco
CA 94103

Friday, April 2, 2010

BlogHer Features Cocoa Fly
On Front Page

The BlogHer 2009 Conference is Held in Chicago
I've always wanted to be a cover girl. One of my posts on black erotic literature was featured on the front page of BlogHer. Click here to read about my love and appreciation for black erotic literature. Okay, making the front page of a website is not quite the same as being a cover girl but that just means I'm one step closer. Thanks to BlogHer for running my post and thanks to my Cocoa Fly readers for your support. This blog is steadily growing. I'm excited about the new ideas I have for this website.

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