Friday, July 27, 2012

Black-owned but no Black employees?

So there's a small business that I visit quite frequently in an adjacent neighborhood. I read about it in the local free newspaper and decided to make an effort to visit it because it was Black-owned.

For me, being able to patronize a local Black-owned business is a big deal because I feel like I hardly ever get a chance to do it. Yeah, I know what the studies and surveys say, but I feel like I don't see a lot of brick and mortar Black-owned store fronts in a city that, until recently, was majority Black. Sure, we have our consulting firms and solo practices, but it's different when you see a Black-owned shop on a busy street selling its product to the masses. Maybe it's just my neighborhood and the surrounding area, but I felt like I saw more Black shops, stores and restaurants in Atlanta. However, that's based on only living there for a little over a year, but I digress.

Anywho, after trying out the store's products (I'm not going to name the store for reasons I'll explain later), I started going back pretty regularly, mostly on Saturdays. It's a cute, but small space and the service is good. Butttttttt, something started bothering me about this place a few weeks ago and the feeling hasn't gone away because the situation hasn't changed: Besides the owners, who I see every once and a while,  I NEVER see any Black people working behind the counter at this Black-owned business.

Now, I don't know for a fact if the Black owners aren't employing Black people. I truly don't want to jump to unfair conclusions, and that's why I don't want to name the place. After all, I usually only visit this place on early Saturday afternoons when I'm running errands. If they have Black employees, maybe they don't work there when I visit. Maybe they work during the week or the evenings. However, even as I type that, I'm finding it hard to believe, and I'm wondering if my support is misplaced, not in terms of product quality, but principle.

Maybe the owners just hired friends or friend of friends when they opened their shop. Obviously, that's their right, but it's suspect. If the employees are friends/associates of the owners, then we're possibly dealing with Black people with no Black friends, and that's a side-eye worthy situation if ever there was one. However, if the employees I see simply came in and filled out application then it's still an issue. Now, you can't just hire anybody. The people you hire must be qualified and professional. However, you can't tell me that there aren't any qualified, professional Black folks out there looking for work who aren't perfectly capable of selling their products.

Black people are often strongly encouraged to buy Black-owned as a way to keep wealth in our community, but many of us don't do it for variety of reasons. That's how we end up with people who who don't look like us owning everything in our neighborhoods and then going back their houses in the 'burbs to enjoy the fruits of their labor at our expense, often with no contribution to the communities that freely gave them the means to create a comfortable lifestyle. Call me crazy, but I actually buy into the idea that if we generate and keep wealth in our communities, we can improve our communities, increase our political clout and economically empower future generations.

That's why I struggle with whether I should keep supporting this place. I guess in my mind Black-owned and Black-operated go hand in hand, but now I see that this isn't necessarily the case and it bothers me. I mean, why am I going to support you if people that look like you aren't good enough to work for you? Again, I could be completely wrong about this place. There could be a brother or sister working there right now. But, what if I'm not wrong?

What say you dear readers, could you support a Black-owned business that doesn't employ Black people, even if the business produces a good product, has good service and does everything else right? When supporting a Black-owned business, should it matter what the employees look like so long as the owner is Black?

Yours in randomness,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Have light-skinned brothers finally made a comeback?

Black people of a certain age know that light-skinned dudes were supposedly "in style" back in the day. Guys like El Debarge, Prince, Christopher Williams, Al B. Sure, etc. dominated the entertainment landscape and the fantasies of women everywhere with their high-yellowness in the 80s and early 90s.

At some point, mid 90s I think, dark-skinned dudes overtook their light-skinned brethren on the attractiveness scale and never really looked back. Michael Jordan probably single handily started the chocolate, bald and sexy movement, and Morris Chesnut's dark chocolate sexiness was ubiquitous for much of the 90s (and a little bit of the 2000s).

Since then there's been this running joke about light-skinned brothers making a comeback. In my mind, and probably the minds of others, this was never going to happen. But, I'm woman enough to admit when I'm wrong. I'm probably late, but I think the comeback is in full effect. Case in point:

Michael Ealy

OK, Michael Ealy has been on the slow and steady come up for a while. Now that Think Like a Man has made him a household name, he's now starring a cutesy cop show on USA called Common Law. Common Law is OK, in my opinion, but USA shows are usually successful and enjoy long runs, so it's nice to see the blue-eyed bandit finally getting the recognition he deserves.

President Obama

Ok, obviously what's most important is that a Black man is president of the United States. It wouldn't matter if he was butterscotch, caramel, milk chocolate or dark chocolate. In this case, Black is Black. But, by being leader of the free world, the POTUS is repping for light-skinned bros whether he realizes it or not.

Jesse Williams

I haven't watched Grey's Anatomy since the whole Isaiah Washington debacle, but it's still one of the hottest shows on the air, and ladies everywhere and of all shades are digging Jesse Williams. He's definitely a cutie. It will be interesting to see how he parlays his Grey's success.


I'm not the biggest fan of Aubrey/Drizzy/Wheelchair Jimmy, but when he's not fighting with fellow light-skinner and woman beater Chris Brown, he's still one of the hottest rappers in the game. He's like the hip-hop version of Al B. Sure, minus the unibrow.

Honorable mentions


Yes, I know that Common has been around forever, but since he's broadened his horizons into acting, we get to see his freckled, high-yellowness even more and that's a good thing.

Tyson Chandler

I don't think I have to say anything else. *drops mic*

Ryan Bailey

Who? If you watched the Olympic trials a few weeks ago, you noticed this tall, dimpled dude qualify for the Olympic 100 meter team and possibly the 4x100 relay team. He may  totally tank at the Olympics or he may bring home a medal, but whatever he does he'll be repping for #TeamLightSkin

Now, please don't take this post as a declaration of some ridiculous, problematic "preference" for yella dudes. I like Black men of ALLLLLLLLL shades. Anyone who knows me knows this. But when I notice something I'm gonna speak on it, as unimportant as it may be :)

As far as this "comeback," it's probably not as dramatic as light-skinned brothers would have wanted. I mean, if you ask Black women who's the sexiest of them all, a lot us will probably say Idris Elba. Butttttt, sexy is as sexy does, whatever the shade. UPDATE: This post has a sequel, with more chocolate ;) Check it here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Everything AIN'T for everybody

What's up motherfleckers! (If you watched Suits on the USA network  you would totally get that reference). Sooooo...I haven't written in a while and for that I apologize. I don't really have an explanation. "Life got in the way," sounds dishonest, but "I got lazy" doesn't really describe my absence from blogging either. All I can say is that I'm sorry and that I'll try (emphasis on "try") to do better.


In the words of Jill Scott, "everything ain't for everybody." I've been thinking a lot about these words lately, especially when it comes to my job issues and my relationships. It's finally starting to sink that while things and situations don't work out for a variety of reasons, the reason that's hardest to accept is that some things just aren't meant to be.

Example 1: Jobs

As many of you know, I was let got from my job in June 2011. What followed was pure and unadulterated hell for the next 10 1/2 months. I spiraled into another severe depression, ended a relationship with one of my oldest friends, drained my savings, went on that oh-so-terrible government assistance that the Republicans hate so much, became the victim of both car theft (I still don't have a car) and identity theft (3 cards were opened in my name that I knew nothing about), and just basically experienced the most soul-crushing period of my life.

The "fall" came after I was let go from my job of 3years. I took the job reluctantly and never liked it. I always felt awkward, confused, out-of-place, and just unsure of what was expected of me. Despite all this, I stayed in a position that never felt right because I needed a job and just wanted some kind of security after a challenging period living in Atlanta. 

Fast forward to 2011 and there are new managers who decide to eliminate my position. Obviously I was devastated at the time and wondering what went wrong. I beat myself up something terrible and decided that it was all my fault and that I was a horrible employee. I literally made myself sick with worry over the prospect of trying to convince another employer to hire me.

When I started my new job in April 2012, I was very paranoid about "screwing up." Do I suck? Am I good at this? Paranoia is no way to start a new job, but that's what I did. It wasn't until my boss told me that I was doing good work during two separate evaluation sessions that I finally began to think that I was going to be OK. And if I was going to be OK, that obviously meant that maybe, just maybe, I was actually....wait for it...GOOD AT MY JOB. If I was good at this job, maybe that also meant that what happened at my last job wasn't an indictment of my skills, knowledge, and abilities. Maybe the new managers didn't know what they were doing, or maybe it was God's way of getting me out of a situation that was never right for me. As Jill would say "everything ain't for everybody," and I'm glad that the "thing" that wasn't for me is no more, despite everything that happened.

Example 2: Relationships

I had a close male friend, but I kinda of ruined it by getting feelings and stuff. Things really got complicated when he got a girlfriend. Despite the girlfriend, we still talked on the phone frequently and remained close.

However, at some point, I FINALLY accepted that my feelings would never be reciprocated, that there would be no romantic comedy ending. Consequently, I ended the friendship. If he wanted me, he would done something. He wouldn't  have started dating the next chick, or he wouldn't have stayed in the relationship. If we were meant to be together, we would be, and we are not. Say it with me now, "everything AIN'T for everybody." Hopefully my decision cleared the way for the guy that actually wants me in the flesh rather than just on the phone.  

As I mentioned previously, I lost one of my best friends because of my job loss. How you ask? Long story short: I said something really offensive during a particularly low point, and she decided she couldn't deal with me anymore. I didn't attack her personally, but I did attack something that she believed. My other friends could tell that something was truly wrong when I said what I said and stood by me, but she abandoned me. We had a major flare up in our friendship about 7 years ago, but the fact that certain words said in 2011 in a moment of deep and profound despair prompted her to end our friendship, while other friends expressed concern, showed me that our season as friends was truly over. Did I mention that all of this happened around my birthday?

We weren't meant to be BFFs and that was a painful realization. In my humble opinion, out-of-character and regrettable words shouldn't have prompted the end of a 17-year friendship, but that's just me. I think you know where I'm going with this. If we were meant to be friends, we would have gotten past the situation, but we didn't and our lifetime bond just wasn't meant to be.

As much as I would have liked for all of these situations to have worked out, I'm not in control. God has the final say and He said, "Uh, no" when it came to some things in my life that I thought had staying power. I'm not thrilled, but I've reached a point of acceptance and realization that it all will work out for my good.

With that said, I can't mention the lovely Jill Scott without a video embed. Enjoy and stay random. Also, check ya girl out on Instagram at RealJCarol.