Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Amber Rose Gives Kanye West the Greatest Twitter Clap Back of All Time

How did it come to this? I reluctantly logged on to Twitter today after being so OVER #OscarsSoWhite, white girls in Arizona spelling out the N-word with their t-shirts, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and the last thing to put me over the top--a white actor being cast to play Michael Jackson in a film. JESUS BE A FENCE AROUND MY MIND. 

Leave it to Kanye West's hugely inflated ego to take my mind away from the woes of the world. Kanye West got into a Twitter beef with Wiz Khalifa. Wiz didn't approve of the title of Kanye's album. Wiz thought Ye's title was biting off rapper Max B's brand and style. Max B is doing 75 years in jail. Clutch explains it all here

Wiz Khalifa is the father of Amber Rose's son. You know Amber Rose and Kanye used to date. Kanye thought Wiz Khalifa was insulting Kim Kardashian in a tweet, so he went after both Amber Rose and her kid. Check out the foolishness below. 

Amber didn't just respond to Kanye, she got in his ass (pun intended).  

Amber Rose won! Yes, Amber Rose not only came out victorious in the Tweeter beef between Kanye and Wiz Khalifa. But she holds the crown for the Greatest Clap Back of All Time. She shut Kanye up and shut him down. The lesson today is don't come after someone with a large social media following who has nothing to do with your beef, but has literally been up in your behind. 

Kanye acts like he never had a relationship with Amber Rose. Why does he slut shame her? Especially since she has never spilled the tea on their relationship. They broke up and she pretty much kept quiet. Other women would be putting Kanye's business out all over the globe. As for Amber Rose stripping, how is she different from Kim Kardashian who got famous for a sex tape and has posed nude?  Kanye's wife/mother of his child and ex-girlfriend are both famous for their sexualities and who they dated. I'm not shaming Kim K. nor Amber Rose. But why is Kanye shaming one over the other? Clearly he has a type. Is it because he married Kim instead of Amber? Remember his 30 showers comment?  Men like him crack me up, because they sleep with women call them all kinds of names. But if he slept with Amber, dated Amber  and looks down on her because she was a stripper, what does that make him? Mind you, he raps about sleeping around.  Kanye, Kim and Amber are all kinky, and that's okay. Shaming your equals is not okay. 

The major differences between Kim K. and Amber are race and class. Kim has way more money than Amber Rose. And although Amber Rose doesn't identify as black, she is seen and treated as a black woman. I can't think of any black women who built an empire near the level of Kim Kardashian from exposing their bodies. Pamela Anderson (love her), Jenny McCartney are examples of a few white women who made it big after posing nude. Karrine Steffans, a black woman,  got the title Superhead for her fellatio skills in porn. She wrote bestselling books but did not achieve the level of success as Kim K. Part of that is Kris Jenner' genius and Kim K. not being a black woman. Although she and her family have appropriated black female culture and sexuality. Black female sexuality carries labels that aren't ascribed to white women. Kanye's misogynoir  comments about Amber Rose reflect that stigma and idealization of white female sexuality as opposed to black female sexuality. Kim K and Amber are both sexualized celebrities, but Amber is the one he sees as the dirty bad girl undeserving of respect. 

Kanye West needs to leave Amber Rose alone. I wouldn't be surprised if he stops mentioning her after this information was dropped. The fact that he still brings her up tells me he hasn't moved on. Maybe he misses Amber's magic touch. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Get Out of My Ovaries and Off My Ring Finger
Why Do Single Women Get Asked About Marriage and Kids?

Cocoa Fly giving side-eye to
people who judge single women
with no kids 
Check this out. I don’t have a job. But you know the question I get asked most at family gatherings? “When are you going to get married and have kids?” Not, “How are you keeping a roof over your head, paying for healthcare and keeping food on the table?” Not, “Do you need gas money?” No, I get asked when am I walking down the aisle and getting knocked up.

My cousin, who is a few years younger than me, announced during a New Years Day family dinner that he proposed to his girlfriend. I was so happy and excited that he found someone to spend the rest of his life with.

Not too long after the hugs and congrats the topic of discussion turned to my fertility and ring finger. My uncle, who is divorced by the way, asked me when was I having kids and getting married. I responded, “When I’m ready.” Then he asked, “Do you feel like you’re losing?”

What kind of question is that??? I know he was trying to be sincere, but ...what kind of question is that??? I replied with all of the strawberry-daiquiri fueled assurance in my body, “No I don’t feel like I’m losing.”

I am in good health, live in a great neighborhood, travel, have wonderful friends and family, working on a book, have overcome obstacles, etc. I’m BLESSED. But being a single and childless woman is equated to failure in our society. Something is wrong with her. She is not desired if a man hasn’t wifed her up. She needs to lose weight. She needs to gain weight. She doesn't know how to get a man. She doesn't know how to keep a man. She’s gay and hasn’t come out yet. Blah, blah, blah.  Single women get stigmatized for not having a man. 

My uncle isn’t the only one who asks this question. Oddly, the men in my family ask this question the most.  I have a grandfather who is cool and charming like Pres. Obama. One day my grandfather asked if I was dating. When I told him no, he damn near threw a toddler tantrum, stomped his foot and yelled, “I want great-grandchildren!!”

I bet if I were a man, people would call me a “playa” and give me a fist bump. My singleness would be celebrated and childlessness encouraged. They would tell me to play on and use a rubber so hoes don’t get me caught up.

Credit: Byron Solomon

While schmoozing at a dinner party, a grown and married man, who didn’t know me, fired off questions at me with shock and judgment, “You came here alone?” You don’t have any kids?” “You’re not married?” "How old are you again?"

No married man should be concerned about who is fertilizing my eggs and putting a ring on it. He has a wife. He needs to be worried about her vagina, ring finger and their babies.

Folks need to stop worrying about single people. Some people need to be single. Some people choose to be single. And some people just haven’t found the right one. Having a mate doesn’t define you. I know a lot of people who are very, unhappily married. Some of them are the same people who want to know when am I walking down aisle! The hell I know?  That’s like asking when am I going to win the Lotto.

If your single family and friends want you to hook them up, then look out for them. If not, mind your own business. If they need help in the dating department, offer it. If they say yes, go for it. If not, mind your damn business. If you want to know when a single person is having kids, mind your damn business.

Do I want to get in a serious relationship? Do I want a family? Yes, but being single with no kids doesn’t diminish the BEAUTIFUL, BOLD, BRAVE and BLESSED woman I am. If I did marry just anybody and got pregnant by just anybody, people would be talking shit then.
The only person who needs to worry about my fertility
and love life is the blessed person pictured...ME! 
I could jump into a relationship with a sperm donor and have a baby. What good does that do me? I’m not going to be miserable just to please people.

No matter what you do ladies, people are going to talk shit. So do you!

As for when am I going to get married and have babies? One day. Until then, my ovaries and ring finger are nobody’s damn business.  

As for if I'm losing, well, I haven't stopped winning since I took my first breath. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Remembering Natalie Cole
Unforgettable and Inspirational

Natalie Cole and Jenee Darden
at NPR studios in LA
I met Natalie Cole about 8 years ago when I was a producer NPR. She rolled up to the studio in a Hummer. She was nice, but very quiet. Maybe she wasn’t in  a certain mood or didn’t feel well. But she was kind enough to take photos with my colleagues and i. Once she got in the studio and behind the mic for her interview, Ms. Cole lit up.

I spoke with her and noticed she had on really cute sunglasses. I got so comfortable with her I asked her where did she buy her sunglasses. Ya’ll know damn well I don’t have Natalie Cole money. LOL She was very polite and said she couldn’t remember. She was probably thinking, “What is with this girl?”

Natalie Cole left us on New Year’s Eve at the age of 65. The family said she died after a long  battle with an illness. According to NBC she received a kidney transplant in 2009. She contracted hepatitis from her previous years of substance abuse.

What I love about Natalie Cole, aside from her gorgeous voice and gowns she wore, is that she got her life together. She was a heavy drug user and pretty open to sharing her story. She wrote in her memoir that she began using drugs in the late 1960s because she was still struggling with the death of her father, the great singer Nat King Cole. The pressures of living in his shadow also got the best of her--temporarily.

But she got the help she needed and became a classy, respected musical artist. I remember back in the ‘90s when she recorded a type of duet album with her late father. Before holograms, producers took Nat King Cole’s voice from his songs and spliced it with Natalie Cole on her Unforgettable album. It’s a beautiful album that received many awards. People gained a whole new respect for Natalie Cole. From there she became a classy, jazz songstress.

Natalie Cole died on New Years Eve, which is a time of year that people reflect on what they want to change in life. We think about what we want or need to be better, do better and live better. While I hate that she left us so soon, I think her passing on New Years Eve is symbolic. She is a great example of someone who changed their life for the better. Addiction to anything is not easy to stop, which also involves getting your mind right. Getting clean and getting her mental health together speaks to the testament of her strength and courage. I appreciate her for sharing her story and inspiring others. If she can change and heal so can we.

I am going to miss watching her on stage in beautiful gowns, while the orchestra plays on and as she blesses us with her beautiful voice. 

Miss Natalie Cole is simply unforgettable.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

See It. Believe It. Soar!
How to Make a Vision Board

The first vision board I ever made
Photo by Jenee Darden

When I ask successful people what has been key in making their dreams come true, often they tell me they constantly envisioned themselves reaching their goals and/or they kept telling themselves they were going to make it. “Success” is not limited to fame and fortune. I’ve heard this from people who kicked addictions, lost weight, started small businesses, got their home and family in order, bounced back from mental health and emotional challenges, are excelling in their careers, etc.

I believe that seeing an image of what you want to achieve can encourage you to make that reality come true. Which is why I love vision boards. Vision boards are displays that reflect and represent your dreams and goals. For example, if learning how to fly is one of your goals, you may have a picture or drawing of an airplane on your board. I’ve gone to vision board parties, facilitated vision board workshops and created some of my own. Some people make digital vision boards. I prefer the arts and crafts route. 

I began making vision boards about 10 years ago. I don’t make them every year, but just when I feel like my journey needs to take new direction. Seeing these posters with collages of what I hope for myself inspire me to work harder. When I’m down, my boards remind me of my purpose and that my dreams are bigger than anything or anyone trying to hold me back.  They empower me.  Some things on my vision board have come true. You can make vision boards for any area in your life that needs change and growth. It can be for personal and/or professional reasons. Some people make vision boards with their families and partners.

Vision boards are a spiritual process for me. I really check in with myself to see what I need and want out of life. I get a glass of wine, put on some India Arie, gospel, jazz and get to it!

Making vision boards are fun and easy. All you need are:

--Poster Board (The size you want is up to you. I’ve made very big boards and smaller ones)

--Old magazines

--Art materials if you want to be extra creative (i.e. paint, stickers, markers, crayons, fabric, buttons, etc.)

--A photo of yourself (optional)

--Music to play during creation (optional)



Step 1: Meditate on Your Vision
I center myself before I make a vision board.  It allows me to clear any negative thoughts and give myself undivided, loving attention. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and think about what you envision for yourself. What do you want out of life? How do you see yourself in the near future?
You can also write down what comes to mind.

Step 2: Start Clipping and Designing
Now that you have some idea of your vision, start flipping through magazines for images and words that reflect your dreams and goals. Or draw and paint whatever you want to reflect your vision.

 I always include a photo of myself on my vision board. I like seeing my own image among my vision. I have a photo of myself giving a speech because I want to be a professional public speaker. Many people don’t do this, but I do. Again, your picture is optional.

A vision board I made last year. Notice I have a few photos
of myself included--a fake photo with Oprah, real photo with Ava DuVernay and me speaking 

Step 3: Don’t Hold Back! 
There’s no rule to how to design and organize your vision board. Have fun, paste the images to your heart’s desire.  Don’t resist pasting a goal because you think it’s unattainable. If your dream is to travel overseas, paste a picture of that trip to Belize. Cut out that picture of a woman on a college campus if getting your degree is your dream. A dream come true starts with believing in yourself.

Step 4: Be Mindful During the Process
Notice what you’re posting or drawing onto your board. Are other goals arising for you’re pasting clips and flipping through magazines? What’s coming to you that’s inspiring the image you’re drawing? I’ve made vision boards that started off with professional goals, then noticed I started being drawn to images and words that reflect spiritual and personal goals.

Step 5: Hang or Place Your Vision Board Where You Can See It
Your completed vision board should be somewhere that you can see it often and is easily accessible. I have one above my desk where I do much of my writing. I keep another in my living room above my television. It’s one of the last things I see before heading out of the door for the day.  One of mine is framed as well.

Or take a photo of it and keep it on your phone and computer. 

Step 6: Add more images if needed
Sometimes things happen in my life that inspire me to add a few more dreams to vision board. I have added words and pictures to image boards that were completed. 

Vision Boards are a great activity you can do with kids and teens. You don’t have to do them in the beginning of the year. Make a vision board whenever you’re in the mood. Good luck and I hope your dreams become reality.


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