Wednesday, July 24, 2013


What sickened me most about the George Zimmerman verdict, besides the fact that a murderer profiled an innocent child and wasn't held accountable for his death, was the message that the verdict sent to Black boys and Black people everywhere: You are worthless. Your lives, little Black boy and Black girl, don't matter. Kill dogs? You're going to jail! Kill a Black child? Is that all? Man, go home and go to sleep. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell,Amadou Diallo,and countless others going back to Emmett Till and beyond. Yep, the message from your country is clear: We care about our pets more than we care about you, even to the point of death.

Well, that message can go to hell, and thankfully in the midst of this tragedy people are trying to drown it out, whether it's the Dream Defenders protesting Stand Your Ground laws in Florida, the NAACP's push for civil rights charges against Trayvon's killer, the multiracial coalition that's taken to the streets nationwide to protest the verdict, or the faith, strength and courage of Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.

Here's another example, a beautiful example of art as advocacy, advocacy for the worth and value of Black boys who too often are targets because they dare to Black, young and male in America. Written and produced by actor Omari Hardwick, Little Black Wonder is a tribute to Trayvon Martin and other "Little Black Boy Wonders" through spoken word. The piece features Hardwick and other notable actors including David Oweloyo, Eriq LaSalle, and Gary Dourdan.

I watched the video twice and had to hold back tears at my desk each time. The fact that this video doesn't have a million views surprises me, so that's why I'm doing my part to spread this beautiful message. Black boys and Black girls, please know that you matter and that we will fight for you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

From Being Mary Jane to Scandal and Olivia Pope: Cheers to the Flawed Black Woman


Like many of you, I watched the premiere of BET's "Being Mary Jane" starring Gabrielle Union, and I really liked it! The writing, acting, plot and direction were all compelling to the point where I limited my Twitter checks to the commercials (and boy were there a LOT of commercials). Did BET actually do something right? Who knew? I kid, sort of.

"Being Mary Jane" (BMJ) is another positive example of the evolving image of Black women on television, and I don't think it's a stretch to thank Kerry Washington's "Scandal" for all this. If women of all shades couldn't relate to Olivia Pope's fabulous messiness in her love life, in addition to aspiring to be an 'Olivia Pope' in their own lives, I don't know if we would be seeing the complex and wonderfully flawed characters that we saw in the premiere.

If I can steal from the Good Book for a second, it seems as if Scandal begat Meagan Good's "Deception" (RIP), Kimberly Elise's "Hit the Floor," Tika Sumpter's "The Have and Have Nots" (she deserves so much better, but I digress) and BET's "Being Mary Jane."

Yes, I know that there have been positive Black female role models before, but something happened after Claire Huxtable and her ilk left the scene. With the rise of reality TV, we got a whole lot of ratchet that you know, didn't cast us in the most flattering light.

Unfortunately, Ratchet will be around for the foreseeable future, but now that there seems to a resurgence of balance in our portrayals, I'm definitely breathing a sigh of relief.  I mean I can only sign so many petitions to keep the spawn of "All My Babies' Mommas" off the air.

What I liked the most about BMJ were the surprises and how I could relate to so many of Mary Jane Paul's issues, quirks and struggles. In the first scene alone we got sexy sex with Omari Hardwick (Lawd!), vomit by Omari Hardwick (ewwwwwww!), and Gabby, uh Mary Jane, giving Omari a good  hosing for not telling her he was married. Yeah, I was not expecting all of THAT. I will also never look at a box of baking soda the same way again, but the I-want-a-family struggle is real for so many of us

Beyond the "Whoa!" moments there were also the moments that had me and Black Twitter co-signing in agreement. Whether it's taking a "ho" bath, Facebook chatting with the ex, enabling trifling family members, taking care of a sick parent, hooking up with dudes who don't recognize our worth, or fighting for what's for right at work, I think a lot women could see themselves in Union's Mary Jane.

Heck, even little things like the quick clean up before the boo comes over and reading on the toilet (because as Union noted on Twitter, "everybody poos") were a breath of fresh air because they're real and honest moments. That's all we ever wanted, authentic representations of Black women in all our complexity. We're smart, fabulous, successful, but we're also a mess in other aspects of our lives, and that's OK because it's REAL.

I hope "Being Mary Jane" stays true to what I saw last night. If it does, and we continue to support, it will be successful.  We wanted more realistic portrayals of Black womanhood and we're finally getting them. "Scandal," BMJ, and the works of Issa Rae and Ava Duvernay are blazing trails, but hopefully this renaissance won't stop with them.

P.S. Kerry Washington got married! You betta go head girl and keep your life private! Celebs, take copious notes. You ain't got to have your business all out in the street, unless you want it that way.

Stay random,


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Show some freakin' appreciation! Pretty please :)

Folks are always talking about love, and how we all need it, want it, and gotta have it. But you know what we really need to do? Show some friggin' appreciation sometimes! Yeah, I know that doesn't fit neatly into song lyrics or Instagram philosophy, but hear me out..

I started thinking about appreciation in the waning days of the 2013 NBA season when my hometown NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies, fired coach Lionel Hollins.

All Hollins did was guide the team to their most successful season in Grizzlies history and the team's first-ever appearance in the Western Conference finals. I mean, is a pink slip any way to treat someone who more than exceeded expectations? Yeah, I know there were other issues, but I tell ya, no appreciation.

You know this is effed up, right?
Well, after I ranted about this on FB and Twitter, I decided NOT to pull a Memphis Grizzlies and show some appreciation for just a FEW things that have impacted my life for the better.

1) Friends: I have my own special brand of crazy. Well, we all do, but mine is like Ciroc, ultra premium. Therefore, I appreciate the friends, both new and old, that have embraced me, without judgment, and have helped me learn more about myself and hopefully become a better person.

2) Family: I have extremely difficult relationships with certain family members for various reasons. However, I'm finally starting to realize that they always wanted the best for me. Consequently, they really tried, in their own misguided way, to do what they thought was the right thing. Problems arose with their ideas, the execution, etc. But, when I think about the times that my family helped me in my darkest hours, I can't be anything but appreciative, despite the dysfunction.

3) The week in racial and legal crazy: Anyone who believes in the fallacy of post-racial America, I appreciate this past week for blowing up the "race doesn't matter anymore" argument to bits, again. Between the George Zimmerman trial, Paula Deen's racist/non-racist (depending on who you ask) shenanigans and the Supreme Court destroying the Voting Rights Act, racism, white privilege and all that goes with it are alive, healthy and ain't going nowhere anytime soon. I mean, Kerry Washington gets it, so why is this difficult for your cousins to understand?
4) The Have and The Have Nots: No, not the TV show (God, no. That's a whole different blog post). What I have, I appreciate it that much more because I didn't necessarily always have it. What I don't have, I'm starting to realize that I'm doing OK without it.

6) Maturing Musical Tastes: I don't have a car which means I don't listen to the radio anymore. Therefore, I listen to Pandora
A LOT and learn about new music from friends and other sources. When I do find out what's hot in the streets, I'm usually disappointed (not always, but enough). Yeah, I may be out of the loop, but at least I have a better appreciation of good music as opposed to...this other stuff. #noshade

5) Something bigger than myself: God kept me out of some things (even though I wanted in sooooo badly), and put me in some things for a reason.

There are obviously other things that I appreciate, but it's a long list, and I know you've got to go grocery shopping for your 4th of July potato salad. So, I'll end by saying, what about you? Who and/or what do you appreciate? Show some love in the comments!

Stay random,