Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I hate, hate, hate, hate moving. Boxes, tape, bubble wrap, ugh--can't stand any of it. Having PMS while moving doesn't help either. I scheduled my move around my period but Aunt Flow may visit earlier than expected (perfect timing Mother Nature). When you have PMS everything in life is amplified. The weather seems warmer than what the weatherman reports. Your boobs are sweaty and tender. Everything is crashing at once and everyone wants to mess with Y-O-U. When you're going through drawers and cabinets it seems like you have more junk in your apartment than you ever realized. Okay that's not PMS. I really did have too much stuff. Some Goodwill shopper will benefit from the tiger ears and tail I wore last Halloween. My junk pile probably would have been worse if I had a fulltime job. Where will Cocoa Fly rest her wings? I'll let you know when I get there. The process has been fairly smooth, with the exception of a little drama here and there. I'm moving soon and will not be blogging for a few days. Until then enjoy the Labor Day weekend. Mine will be super-absorbent busy with Always wings, Motrin and bubble wrap ;)
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The reason why I ask is because I was watching an Oprah episode where the question of, "When did you first realize you were a man?" came up. And it made me question when did I first feel like a woman.
You become a woman when you start your period. The first time you have sex makes you a woman. Womanhood really begins once you get married and have children. You're officially a woman at 18. When you move out of your mama's house and start paying your own bills, that's when you've become a woman.
These were some of the milestones I was told growing up that takes a girl from ponytails and baby dolls to womanhood. Most of them missed the mark. I did not feel like a woman when I first started my period. The only things I felt that week were stomach cramps. As for losing my virginity in my 20's, no "Welcome to Womanhood" bells there. It's hard for me to pinpoint one significant moment marking my womanhood. College courses on black feminism and the black female body had a major impact on how I felt the world perceived me as a woman of color. I've said it before, Dorothy Roberts Killing the Black Body was a life-changing book for me. Through those courses I gained a greater appreciation of women's rights. Also in college I learned to embrace my prissiness which is a part of my own femininity and womanhood.
My relatives were right about leaving home and paying your bills makes you feel grown. I left home for college, but finishing graduate school and working as a news producer made me feel even more like a woman. My wardrobe went from Forever 21 to the INC dept at Macy's. I bought suits and a spiffy Samsonite garment bag suitcase for business travel. You know you mean business when you need a garment bag for your suits. I was making money, paying my bills, getting my hair and nails done regularly, dating and loving the the night life--ahhhh womanhood tastes great. A few years later the big R crashes my party--Recession. No job, barely making my bills and the Samsonite luggage is collecting dust because the business trips are on standby. Now I'm in the "Ain't got no" phase. "I ain't go no man. I ain't got no money. I ain't got no job." NOOOOOOO! This is the phase of womanhood where I really learned how much strength I really had inside. I also had to learn being a woman means allowing people to help you when they offer. It was also a reminder that things and lifestyle don't make the money. I learned how to do my own hair and walk past the Coach bag store without looking in the window. Oh and I can stretch a dollar from here to Venus. Womanhood is tasting like bitter medicine. My face scrunches up after taking every tablespoon, but I'll feel better in the end.
Which leads to me to what I think is a very, pivotal moment in a woman's life. A moment that really shapes you as a woman. You don't give a sh*t what people think. It's the best feeling. For some it happens in their 30s, others as late as their 80s. I'm 31 now and the older I get the less I care what people think. If she doesn't like me, so what. They have a problem with my hair. Well they're not paying for my salon visits so forget them. Can't handle how I live my life? Like Sinatra said, "I did it my way." Putting yourself first and ignoring those who judge is one of the best and most liberating feelings. We women put ourselves last. Tuning out the nay-sayers or saying no to someone who asks you to do something you know you don't want to do--ahhh womanhood is tasting sweeter again. I'm not arguing to not take into consideration people's feelings or hurt them, but if your decision is not the end of the world then live your life. Since holding this freeing belief, I've felt more and more connected to myself as a human and as a woman. And I appreciate that woman in the mirror a little more.
When did you first feel like a woman?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Dr. Laura Calls It Quits
She Should Use The Down Time to Get a Counseling Degree and Take Ethnic Studies Classes
I'm super busy right now packing so I'm going to make this post about Dr. Laura "Drop The N-Word Like It's Hot" Schlessinger short. I spent many rides home from high school listening to physilogist, no counseling degree-having Dr. Laura in my mother's car. She loves Dr. Laura (not sure how she feels now) but I'm not a big fan of hers. I often thought she lacked compassion with her guests and talked down to them. And I can't respect anyone who sits on a pedestal of morals, rips people for their mistakes, yet their past includes taking nude pictures and reportedly having an affair with a married man. None of us are perfect, but do not pretend you never got wild or made mistakes. I was really done with her when she compared homosexuality to pedophilia. Still her N-word tirade was a bit shocking. I read the transcript from this infamous call and what annoyed me was not just the N-word, but how she treated the caller thta came to her for help. The caller, a black woman named Jade, was upset because her white husband's family and friends say racists things to her and her man does nothing. Instead of helping this poor woman, Dr. Laura throws it in her face and told her she was being too sensitive about the matter. That's how you treat someone looking for help and trusts your opinion? And then she kept rubbing it in with the NAACP comment and says she doesn't understand why she can't say the N-word because rappers and comedians on HBO say it all of the time. Like I've said many times on this blog--BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT A MONOLITH!!!!! BET, LIL' WAYNE, JAY Z, CHRIS ROCK, CHRIS BROWN, OJ SIMPSON, R. KELLY, ETC. DO NOT REPRESENT ALL BLACK PEOPLE. There are black people who find the word offensive and don't use it to describe themselves. And what does that say about where Dr. Laura gets her information on culture? She refers to foolishness from comedians and rappers for information on the black community. She writes books, but has she read any on black culture? I guess Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Bill Cosby, Audre Lorde, Dorothy Height, Cornell West and others of that caliber are resources that are out of the question because you can't learn a lot about them just by clicking your remote to HBO.
With that said or shouted, I hear Dr. Laura is "quitting" her radio show at the end of the year. She says she's not going away but wants to do something else that will allow her to exercise her rights of free speech and say what's on her heart. Hmmm, she gets flack for saying the N-word, but says she's leaving the airwaves for more freedom of speech? So is she going to the internet to drop the N-word and the spread homophobia at her leisure? She'll probably do an Imus and sign a radio deal with another company. Don't be surprised if she returns with a more political conservative show because I've she talks more about politics than gives advice. How funny that on her blog she says she's been receiving hate-filled letters. Well, like attracts like. You speak hate and then you draw it to you.
I will not miss Dr. Laura, nor her homophobic and racially ignorant beliefs. Although I shouldn't be complaining because according to Dr. Laura black people have no more hardships now that our U.S. president is black. Although, we have three women sitting on the Supreme Court and last I checked when sexism is still alive and thriving. I didn't hear women were getting paid as much as men since a third woman was appointed to the High Court. And I didn't get my 30 acres after Pres. Obama's inauguration. But I digress.
On the last day of her show I think gays, bisexual, lesbians and interracial couples all over the country should have off the chart love making. And black callers flood her lines singing the Black National Anthem. Or you can do both at the same time if you really want to express yourself. No seriously, I think Dr. Laura should actually study counseling since she likes dishing out advice. And while she's at it, take a few classes on race and cut down on watching Mel Gibson. Sounds like she needs it.
Friday, August 13, 2010
For those who've never been to Malibu, it's very beautiful with a lot of cliffs, canyons and of course the ocean. The Malibu sheriffs released a young woman, who we later discover is bi-polar, late at night with no cellphone, ID, car nor money. I prayed she was alive but authorities announced Thursday they found her remains . What really upset me was LA County Sheriff Lee Baca's press conference. The family reportedly found out Mitrice's remains were discovered FROM THE MEDIA. How dehumanizing and inconsiderate. When a reporter asked him why wasn't the family informed properly( you can watch the exchange here), Baca frustratingly replied, "I just get informed a half an hour ago. You expect me to tell the father immediately?"
YES Sherriff Baca you call the father immediately when you find his daughter's body. God forbid if that were your loved one, would you want to learn their remains were discovered in a canyon at the same time as CNN??????? Since when is the family of a missing person not given time to grieve before the news is released to the press?
The family has complained about how authorities have handled this case. I shed tears when I heard Mitrice's body has been decomposing in a ravine all of this time. The sheriffs say Mitrice wasn't drunk or high so they let her go. The girl was bi-polar, how could they not have detected something was wrong? If they held her until her mother came the next morning, she would be alive today. Then there's the issue of press coverage. Mitrice's story didn't hit many TV news channels outside of Los Angeles. When women of color go missing we don't get the same coverage as an Elizabeth Smart or a Jon Benet. Some think Mitrice is getting more coverage than other missing women of color because she was a beauty queen.
Mitrice had three strikes against her that night--she was black, female and mentally ill. Dumping the mentally ill onto the streets is a big problem in LA. Then the question becomes if Mitrice was a white woman would the sheriffs have released her out into the night alone? Did they see Mitrice as some crazy black girl from the hood and didn't consider her safety? I bet if there was a serial killer targeting white women in Los Angeles, I would see it on the news everyday until the killer was found. Is every missing white woman the top news story? No. But when the news media do cover a missing person, often she's not of color. Sojourner's question still hold's today, " But ain't I a woman? "
Between the serial killers targeting black women in LA and Cleveland, the NAACP throwing Shirley Sherrod under the bus, domestic violence and HIV in our community and so much more--I feel black women have a lot of battles to fight. By battles I mean those inside and outside of the black community. Slavery ended over 100 years ago, but this idea of the black female as disposable still exists. She's sick and diseased, she's promiscuous, she's overweight, she's unmarriageable , she's black, --she's not important. And it's a idea held with non-black people and black people.
My heart hurts for the Richardson family. Another black woman left defenseless. Another black woman left to die. Rest In Peace Mitrice Richardson. Your life didn't deserve to end this way.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
In the words of Flo Evans from Good Times, "Damn, Damn, DAMN." Once again Fantasia is making headlines over her personal drama. This time, she allegedly tried to kill herself by overdosing on aspirin and sleeping pills. I wish her the best so she can overcome whatever is going on with her. Fantasia has had her ups and downs with money, record sales, family and love. I think Montana Fishburne can learn something from Fantasia's alleged suicide attempt. Laurence Fishburne's daughter is so thirsty for fame that she's willing to follow in the
bed sheet prints footsteps of Kim Kardashian and have sex on tape to get it. And who cares porn=unprotected sex=3 letters (sometimes)? Montana's looking at the bigger picture--magazine covers and endorsing diet products. Why didn't she use daddy's connections is beyond me. I don't know if they have a close relationship. But this is the kind of thinking we have in a society where people with no talent become famous:
I'll just screw some dudes on camera, get people to like me and have a TV show and launch a clothing line.
What Montana and other youngins' like her don't get is fame isn't always diamonds, Cristal and yachts. Ask Kelly Clarkson, Janet Jackson or Miley Cyrus. They all have phenomenal careers but are open about the drawbacks. Just from living in LA and meeting people in the business, I see the entertainment industry is just as merciless as it is glamorous. I'm not crazy about the idea of Montana's sex tape. But I'm more concerned about how she's using the stuff between her ears and not necessarily her legs. Can she handle the criticism and gossip from writers and bloggers? Will she differentiate between people who care about her and those wanting to use her for money, fame, access to the glam life? Will she choose trustworthy managers and accountants for her team? What about surrounding herself with people who won't sell her out to the tabloids for a few grand? I'm just scratching the surface because there's a whole lot of other stuff she needs to know that I have no knowledge about.
Now let's look at Fantasia. The girl has talent but I question her judgment. And I'm not saying this to be harsh on Fantasia but I'm just telling it like it is. She almost lost her home because she didn't make good financial decisions. When starring in the "Color Purple" musical, she didn't tell Oprah, OPRAH of all people, that she was skipping performances because of a growth in her throat. Then there's the family/ money drama I saw on the few episodes of her VH1 reality show. And now she's dating a married man, who she thought was separated, and the wife is suing her for splitting the marriage. Plus there's a rumored sex tape. See Montana, sex tapes can break you. Fantasia has gone through a lot in her life with rape, abuse, becoming a young mother, and illiteracy. And then her world changes overnight with American Idol. And so she's not making the right choices and it's hurting both her personal life and career. This is what I mean about having the sense and brains to handle fame. Rule #1 When he says he's separated, RUN like Coach is giving away free purses to the first 50 customers at their stores. IF HE'S SEPARATED THEN HE'S STILL MARRIED. Rule #2--Don't mess up a good thing with Oprah.
But the big rule overall is get help when you need it. People joke in Hollywood about having shrinks but I hope Fantasia is getting counseling.
What Fantasia could really use is a Kris Jenner. Kim's mom is one of the reasons why Kardashian is a household name. Judging from what I see on the Kardashian's reality shows ( my guilty pleasures, especially Kourtney and Khloe's show) Mama Kris calls a lot of the shots and makes the business deals. She and her team figured how to spin Kim's image away from Ray J and The Magic Shower Show. Now when we see Kim K we think of Reggie Bush, her beauty and curves, the reality show and her sisters. Why? Because Kim K. said she was a victim in the sex-video scandal and was unknowingly recorded. That's different than Montana's plan of "I'm gonna intentionally have sex on camera so I can blow up."
Contrary to what Montana may think, it wasn't just the sex tape that made Kim Kardashian a celebrity and business woman. Kim K. and Mama Kris had enough sense to find the right people to help them captialize on the scandal. Don't forget that rumored pre-nup Khloe got out of her marriage to Lamar Odom. I bet Kris made sure her girl was taken care of. Forget Kobe, Mama Kris is who you want on your team.
Montana can shake it, slap it, flip it and rub it down all she wants. But if she doesn't have the sense and the tools to survive in the biz, her fame won't last longer than 15 minutes and a 1-900 sex line commercial. Depending on how she plays the game she could end up like a Fantasia or a Kim Kardashina. You don't need to make a sex tape to make it big. Sure it worked for Kim and Paris. But Oprah, Tyra, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce seem to be doing just fine without one.
Enjoy my food journey at the Orange County Fair which ends this weekend.
The fair organizers are smart because the food was very close to the entrance gates. The instant I walked into the fair, the barbecue aroma danced right into my nose. There were about six cooks lined against the walkway over enormous pits grilling chicken, ribs and shish kabobs. I've been in LA six years and that was probably the best barbecue I've had since living here.
My friend ordered shish kabob because she wanted some veggies. You know, to make herself feel better about how we were eating. I even took a few bites of her veggies. But look at those huge pieces of chicken. LOL
I can't believe people were buying deep fried butter. Check out the "Widow Maker" garlic butter fries special at the bottom of the photo. It says, "Fried in oil with bacon drippings & drenched in garlic butter." One Cocoa Fly reader asked me if there was anything not fried at the fair. I told her the paper napkins.
This little guy ate much healthier than everyone at the fair. For once, I should have been eating like a pig. I'm sure hay and grass is better for you than fried Twinkies. Oh, but he doesn't know what he's missing with those Twinkies. And out of respect to him, I didn't eat the chocolate covered bacon. FYI that little piggy is three months old.
This ride is crazy. At the other end of the beam is another cluster of seats. The beam goes around in a circle really fast. And as it's moving, the cluster of seats at the end is rocking back and forth and spinning upside down. This ride was one of the tallest at the fair.
I must say that the fair has gotten really expensive. That funnel cake at the top of this post was $8.50 and my BBQ with fries was $11. Plus admission is $1o. Maybe that's just how it is in California. If you're going to the fair on the weekend, expect to spend about $50/person, especially if you plan on hitting the rides and playing carnival games.
So I may have redeemed myself with this chocolate dipped, peanut-coated frozen banana. This frozen treat was probably the healthiest thing I ate all day. And it was good.
How did Cocoa Fly end her long day at the fair? A shot of cherry flavored Mylanta with a few, "What was I thinking groans?" and a smile on my face.
Now that I've shared some of my junk food favorites tell me yours. What are some of the MUST HAVE treats you eat when going to the fair? And if you've had the fried butter, chocolate bacon, etc. do tell how they taste.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
So you think I'm alone?
But being alone's the only way to be
When you step outside
You spend life fighting for your sanity
This is a cold war
You better know what you're fighting for
This is a cold war
Do you know what you're fighting for?
"Cold War" is kind of along the lines of the "Group Think" theory Erykah Badu addresses in "Window Seat." I recently turned 31 and the great thing about getting older is the less I care about what others think. And the more I realize I can't make everyone happy. When I first decided to name this blog Cocoa Fly, some people thought I should name it something else. But I followed my heart and most people tell me they like the name of my blog when they first hear it. And I'm so happy I ignored a professor at my journalism school who told me I didn't have the right voice for radio. Thank goodness I had enough sense to do what I KNEW was right.
That's not to say I don't take others feelings into consideration. I know my actions, big or small, can affect many. But as my grandmother says, "Child, you can't always listen to folks because they'll have you running." Think about it. What if Prince, Barbara Streisand, Terry McMillan, Cosmo magazine founder Helen Gurley Brown, Jospehine Baker and others followed the crowd? Ask yourself are you living to please yourself or others?
Check out the "Cold War" video below. The whole video is closeup of Monae. She actually dropped the tux in this one. I wish more people would look past her signature tuxedos because she's really beautiful. Notice her rich brown skin and the angles of her facial bone structure. Makes me want to use my Mary Kay mask tonight ;)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
As you can see at the NABJ conference you never know who you'll bump into. While heading to a recruiter's booth at the convention's job fair USDA official Shirley Sherrod walked past me. My apologies for the quality of the photo. Cocoa Fly needs a new camera. A group of people were following her and snapping photos. It's amazing how one incident can change your entire life. Three weeks ago people would just walk past Sherrod probably trying to get in line to be interviewed at the ESPN booth. Now she has some fame. Andrew Breitbart may have been the best thing that happened to her.
But the true stars of the weekend were the ladies of the Red Hat Society. Those women know how to par-tay. Not party, but par-tay. Their national convention occurred in the same hotel as the NABJ's conference. When I first arrived to the hotel, I took a wrong turn and ended up in this sea of red hat, purple feathers and fierceness. The women in the org are 50 and up. I must say 50+ never looked so good and so much fun. When I asked Patti Lannen from San Diego (far left) if her organization puts on events or does community service she said, "We don't fundraise, we raise fun. " I love it! They're women of a seasoned age spicing up their lives. (L-R Patti Lannen AKA Queen of Sunshine, Debra Granich, CEO; Mary Ann Palmore AKA Queen Moca Latte)
These ladies were participants in the fashion show. I didn't get their name or chapter. Anyone reading this know that info, please let me know. But don't they look fab? I'm telling you the Red Hat ladies know how to work it.
It's always nice to meet someone who opened the doors for people like me. Here I am at a BET News reception with Bay Area radio talk show host Ray Taliaferro. Mr. Taliaferro was honored with a Hall of Fame award from the NABJ. His show comes on 1am-5am. When I was a kid his voice would drive me crazy at night. Some people sleep with the TV on. My mom slept with the radio up high, listening to Taliaferro in and out of sleep. I hated that darn radio because Taliaferro's voice woke me up in the middle of the night. Who would have known years later I'd be working in news radio myself. And my mom makes it a point to frequently remind me.
Of course there were menz at the conference. My friend who came by to visit me at the hotel said she hadn't been around this many professional black men since we both took classes at Morehouse. Shout out the brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity from Delaware. I met a lot of brothas who are doing all kinds of great things in media: anchor and reporter DeMarco Morgan from NBC New York, Greg Gross at I'm Black & I Travel, and Omoyele Sowre is uncovering ground breaking stories from Nigeria on SaharaReporters.com. Many people I met at the convention were laid off journalists who launched their own news sites...
and are getting back on their feet. Some with style. I took this picture with a reporter and two women from Canada. Richmond-Times Dispatch Sr. Editor Sundra Hominik snapped our feet candy ;) for her column "In My Shoes." She and her colleagues are telling great stories and having some good girlfriend conversations over at her column.
And that was my time at NABJ. Workshops, networking, spotting famous people, some partying and I forgot to mention hanging out with friends. Shout out to my friend C for letting me crash on her blowup for a few days. After all of that ripping, running and driving, I'm gonna kick my feet up for a while.