Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Can't Breathe. We Can't Breathe: Indict the System that Killed Eric Garner

What can I say about the lack of indictments in the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown that hasn't already been said? We live in such a sick and hateful society that a father of six can be killed on camera and a grand jury can still decide to believe the murderer's lies rather than the video's veracity.
All because the hatred and fear of Black flesh is so deeply ingrained in the hearts, minds, systems and power structures of this country that Black lives simply don't matter. I don't know how we're going to overcome this, but after these recent events all I know for sure is that: 

How To Get Away With Murder‬ is not just a TV show. I mean how do you not indict when you have the video evidence right in front of you? How do you not indict when the medical examiner rules the death a HOMICIDE? Eric Garner didn't resist and repeatedly said "I can't breathe!" after being placed in an illegal chokehold. HOW DO YOU NOT INDICT?!! It's simple: Racism. White Supremacy. Indifference. Malice. Pick as many as you want. They all fit. 

Words Matter. Use Them Wisely. President Obama is often caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to speaking about race. Additionally, his perspective on race, no doubt shaped by his unique upbringing, has frustrated many who want him to speak truth to power about police brutality and the lack of law enforcement accountability. Many Black people want Obama to go Malcom X and condemn the police for their criminality. However, his lukewarm responses to the Michael Brown non-indictment are proof that we will probably NEVER get the "race man" that some of us hoped for. With all due respect to our president, who is disrespected constantly for the crime of being a Black man, if he won't call this thing what it is, then I'd rather he not say anything else on the matter at all. More action and less talk. A Ferguson-esque speech will absolutely not cut it this time. 

Out of tragedy comes opportunity. If the recent protests prove nothing else, they show that people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. They hurt and break down piece by piece with every new story that follows the same script: Black. Existing. Shot and Killed. No Accountability. When people are pushed to their limits, they push back with demands for change. That's what these protests are all about. People are listening and change is slowly starting to happen. Too bad it's coming too late to save Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and too many others to name. 

Stay woke,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Reasons Why Bill Cosby’s Downfall Hurts

That's a wrap, friend.

After decades in the public eye and reaching icon status, 77-year-old Bill Cosby is being erased from popular culture for possibly being a sexual predator.  Some are asking what took so long, given that rape allegations from more than a dozen women have been around since Andrea Constand filed a lawsuit against Cosby in 2004 for sexual assault.  Thanks to comedian Hannibal Buress calling Cosby a rapist in a stand-up bit that went viral (because rape allegations are only taken seriously when a man co-signs them), questions about the rape allegations were revived, and Cosby’s downfall is now just about complete. Others are asking, “Why now?” even going so far as to suggest illuminati-level conspiracies are at work to “take down” Cosby.

Here’s what we know: Bill Cosby has never been charged with a crime, has settled lawsuits brought by his alleged victims and has never addressed the allegations. However, none of that has stopped Netflix, NBC and TV Land from abandoning his shows, pulling his reruns and giving other entities ample reason to keep their distance.

Bill Cosby, up until recently, was considered America’s “dad” and when dad effs up, it sad and shocking for so many reasons. For example, you realize that: 
Bill Cosby really isn’t Cliff Huxtable

The Cosby Show changed the game by showing African-Americans as something other than the tired stereotypes people were used to seeing on their TV screens. Also, given that the Huxtables were loosely based on Cosby’s own family (Theo, in particular, was based on Cosby’s only son, Ennis, who was murdered in 1997), it was hard to separate Cliff the character from Bill Cosby the man.  The humor, the sweaters, the music…who didn’t want Cliff Huxtable as their dad, uncle, grandpa or third cousin? But, that’s why they call it acting, and even though we knew intellectually that Cliff was a character, many of us put that minor detail aside and got comfy on the couch on Thursdays to see “dad” do his thing. Even dads can have a dark side.

When a lot of people who don’t know each other say the same thing …something in the milk ain’t clean

I try not to take much at face value, so when allegations seemingly come out of nowhere about someone whose record is “clean,” the side-eye is automatic with me.  Everybody has skeletons, some obviously more sinister than others. However, when it comes to serious allegations like sexual assault, and once the number of accusers starts to grow, you start to wonder:  could this person, that I don’t know from a can of paint, but who I like, admire, etc., based on a carefully crafted image really be what he or she is accused of? Unfortunately, the answer is sometimes a resounding “Yes.”

Take for example former NFL player Darren Sharper. Who? He played for the Saints and Vikings, is ridiculously handsome and used to date Gabrielle Union back in the day. He’s also in jail, accused of drugging and raping multiple women, just like Bill Cosby. A single accusation is one thing, but when you’ve got multiple women in different parts of the country saying the same thing...bruh, you did it. Go directly to jail. Shouldn’t we be saying the same thing about Cosby? See, that’s where it gets tricky because when it comes to dads or father figures, even fictional ones, the thought that they could be the opposite of what we believe to be true is unfathomable, even when the number of accusations and their consistency say the opposite.

Actions have consequences, even for the innocent

At this point in time, the women at the center of the Cosby controversy have been and will continue to go through it. Not only are they Cosby’s alleged victims, they’ve also been victimized for decades by powerful people who buried their stories each time they tried to speak their truth and a public that refused to believe them. They’re also being accused of engaging in some sort of sinister plot to ruin Cosby. Rape victims either don’t report or wait to report sexual assaults for various reasons, so stop with all the shaming. Rape culture is real, and it’s terrible.

Lisa Bonet be knowin'
What’s also terrible is that people that had nothing to do with Bill Cosby’s alleged crimes will be judged, scrutinized and punished just for being in his orbit. The cast of the Cosby Show will lose residual income because of the TV Land decision to pull the reruns. People will judge and criticize Camille Cosby for staying with Bill Cosby despite the accusations and known womanizing.  Supporters who tried to ignore the allegations will be put on the spot about their relationship with Cosby and whether it will change. Many people will no longer be able to watch Cosby Show reruns (wherever they can find them) and their positive depictions of Black love and family without feeling “icky,” while others will struggle to separate Cosby’s situation from his sitcom. 

I mean, how can you talk about the greatness and beauty of The Cosby Show without thinking about the ugliness of the rape allegations? As such, the legacy of The Cosby Show and its unique place in pop culture will be either greatly diminished or destroyed because of all this. Basically, everyone will suffer because “dad” wasn’t who we thought he was.

Well, this is what happens when we put people on pedestals and put fingers in our ears when someone tries to tell us something we don’t want to hear. How about we stop doing this so that we won’t be so shocked and hurt the next time this happens? And best believe, this will happen again.

Stay random,

Monday, September 8, 2014

Goodell Has Got to Go

OK, now that I've had time to think about this...Roger "Protect the Shield" Goodell needs to go. It's one thing for a sadistic abuser like Ray Rice to lie and convince himself and his poor wife that what he did was justified. However, for Roger Goodell to 1) see the horrific video, 2) give Rice a slap on the wrist for viciously attacking a woman while talking out of the side of his neck about integrity and codes of conduct, 3) lie to fans, media and everyone about not seeing the full video until today --and just for the record, NO ONE believes that for a second -- 4) and to only do what should have been done MONTHS ago because people finally saw the video takes a special kind of callous indifference towards the women who make up nearly 45% of the NFL fan base. You don't have to punch a woman multiple times like Rice to be a misogynist. In my mind, Goodell is just as twisted as Ray Rice, and if Rice has to go, so should Goodell. Oh, and please ‪#‎PrayforJanay‬ and all women who haven't yet found the strength to get out of abusive situations.

P.S. Keith Olbermann told y'all a month ago that Goodell needed to go, y'all didn't want to listen. Will you listen now? 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Quick rant: Brothers, can we talk about your nasty habits?

First, Happy August! Second, brothers, can we talk? Your public displays of grossness are not acceptable just because you're a man. I know that may come as a shock, but it's true. Hear me out.

Seriously, all the spitting on the ground, blowing things out of your nose, picking your nose (SERIOUSLY????!!!!) scratching yourself down there, not washing your hands after you take a piss, just STOP IT. STOP. IT. NOW. There's no excuse for it, especially if you're a grown ass man. Yeah, I know that someone, maybe even your parents, told you all the things I'm talking about are just things that men do. While that's unfortunate, I'm here to tell you that somebody lied to you. There is no biological reason you have to be gross in public. Therefore, stop being gross. It's really that simple.

We're all going to have to do gross things every now and then because we're human, and there are fascinating yet disgusting things happening in our bodies all the dang time. However the difference between men and women, at least the ones with good home training, is that most women will keep their grossness out of sight. If we absolutely have to do something gross in public, we try our damnedest to do our business quickly and discretely.  Men, not so much. Too many of you don't care where you do it or where it lands. Being gross is more than stomach churning, it's disrespectful and unnecessary. It shows how little you care about yourself and those around you. I can't speak for all women, but that kind of selfishness and disregard is not attractive.

Anywho, glad we could have this chat, and I really hope we don't need to have it again.

Stay random,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chemo, you can take my puff, but you can't take my JOY!

This past weekend, I made the "mistake" of getting a blowout and the flatiron treatment. I say mistake because it's June, and my hair is defenseless again anything over 48% humidity (yes, I check). Anywho, of course my hair stayed straight for about a day before starting its journey toward cotton candy-like puffiness. In the earlier stages of this transition, I actually got compliments on my thick, puffy hair from colleagues who weren't used to seeing me with anything other than a tightly coiled 'fro. 

Obviously I appreciated the compliments, but the kind words also made me reflect on a time a few years ago when the chemotherapy I needed to treat my Hodgkins lymphoma took my puff away. 
I compensated with hats, wigs and heavier makeup. What a difference three years makes. I don't need hats or wigs, and my hair drives me nuts just like it did before The Big C. Today I'm exceedingly grateful to God to be healthy and in my right mind, puffy hair and all. 

#ButGod WontHeDoIt #Survivor #TeamNatural #IamNotMyHair #Grateful #EffCancer

Stay random, and don't let anything take your joy, including cancer and chemotherapy,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Think Like A Man Too: How ESSENCE Got it Right and Some of Y'all Negroes Got it Wrong

Sorry for taking such a long break, but life happens. Anywho, let's  get into the latest foolishness, shall we?

I'm looking forward to seeing Think Like a Man Too, but I'm seriously considering giving up reading anything about the movie on social media because the more I'm online, the more I'm starting to realize why we as Black folks can't advance as a people. Case in point: A lot of Black people are mad about Black people being on the cover of ESSENCE. Yes, I'm serious.

Let me explain. So I'm scrolling through Instagram when I see pics of ESSENCE's July double cover featuring the cast of Think Like a Man Too.

Lovely covers, right? Well, apparently a lot of people, most of them Black, were in their feelings about the exclusion of non-Black cast members Gary Owen and Jerry Ferrara and vented about it on ESSENCE's Intstagram account. Here's sampling of what I consider to be bewildering comments:

iamtyrenee @zonia0087you're grossly misguided! So if Vanity Fair or some other mainstream "white" magazine featured a movie with a diverse cast on the cover but EXCLUDED all the black people, would you be okay with that? Segregation is a two way street and Essence who constantly preaches "inclusion" should be called out for this huge omission....

 kbranche This cover needs to be done over to include @jerrycferrara and @garyowencomedy. Shameful!

aakeynnsnillocshow @essencemag that's made shade for excluding the whites

I saw similar comments on another entertainment blog. Um, to the folks that actually have an issue with the cover featuring the fellas: You do realize that ESSENCE is a magazine that caters to BLACK women, right? God forbid a Black magazine highlights Black people on the cover, like it does EVERY MONTH. This isn't Entertainment Weekly or People. ESSENCE is not obligated to highlight every non-Black cast member in a movie, TV show, etc., given it's purpose and audience.

Mainstream media outlets do an outstanding job of excluding us on the regular, so the fact that we have magazines, blogs and other outlets that highlight our beauty and accomplishments is something to celebrated, not the other way around. Criticize the content of Black mags? Sure, but getting upset because they didn't include a white person you like in a movie on the cover? Nah, bruh. That ish does not compute. I wish Ebony, ESSENCE, Uptown, etc. would put some white folks on their covers. I would be tight and if you had a sense of history and understood the power of media imagery, you would be too. 

I seriously doubt that media outlets geared toward other people of color worry about highlighting anyone else other then their own. Maybe I'm reaching, but these seemingly unimportant comments on Instagram bother me because it reveals a deep-seated need for white approval and validation. In other words, some of us want white approval so bad that we'll fight and fuss for white inclusion in "our stuff" in the name of diversity when we aren't extended the same courtesy. Seriously, what world are some of y'all living in? That post-racial one? You do realize that world doesn't exist, right? If you don't, then you haven't been paying attention.  

I really hope ESSENCE doesn't address this foolishness and doesn't change the way they use their covers to highlight beautiful BLACK people. As for the rest of you, quit worrying about white people. They will be OK and don't need you to fight their "battles." TRUST.

Ironically, I got the ESSENCE cover with the TLAM2 ladies today in the mail. I would have preferred the version with the guys.

Stay random,


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adam Silver did the right thing, but he's no hero

So NBA Commissioner Adam Silver brought the hammer down on Donald Sterling. Boycotts were averted and we can all get back to enjoying the NBA playoffs, right? I guess, but while I understand why everyone is applauding Adam Silver, let's not forget that he was former NBA Commissioner David Stern's deputy. He's been with the NBA since 1992, so he's known about Sterling's ugly racist ways for a loooonnnnggg time. He bears a certain amount of responsibility for this mess. 

Let's not forget that Chris Paul, the key to the Clippers recent success, originally wanted to play for the Lakers, but couldn't because David Stern forced Paul to the Clippers, essentially rewarding Sterling's deplorable behavior.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Silver took a hard line against Sterling, but heaping all this praise on him still doesn't feel quite right given his long tenure with the NBA. Oh, and if the NBA is successful in forcing Sterling to sell the team, he'll make at least $575 million, if not A LOT more, so forgive me if I don't rejoice about a truly awful human being making an enormous return on investment. Yeah, this still all feels kinda off to me, but I'm glad something was finally done.

Also, if you think Sterling's racism just impacts basketball, allow ESPN's Bomani Jones to disabuse of that notion. In this radio segment, Bomani breaks it down to the WHITE MEAT why Sterling's housing discrimination cases are far more sinister. 

Yes, the awful, gross racist is gone, so to speak, but if this is a victory, it rings hollow. What's more important is what happens moving forward.

Stay random,

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Donald Sterling is awful and so are the LA Clippers

UPDATE: So the Clippers took the subtle route today in taking a stand against their racist owner after supposedly nixing the idea of any kind of protest because they didn't want to look like radicals.
I'm still calling weak sauce on this and here's why:

Everybody (President Obama, Lebron and even Michael Jordan) is rightfully condemning LA Clippers owner and legendary racist Donald "Massa Epps" Sterling for his latest bigoted ramblings and the NBA for tolerating his history of hatefulness. But you know who else deserves some scorn? The men who play for the LA Clippers, especially Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, as well as their coach, Doc Rivers.

Why the scorn for the players who just seem to be caught in the cross hairs? Because they had an opportunity to stand against Sterling's vitriol and send a message to the NBA and the world that people like Donald Sterling have no place in the NBA in 2014. A stand by the Clippers could have been the catalyst for removing the cancer that Donald Sterling is and always will be from ownership of the team. They could have boycotted the game they're playing today against the Golden State Warriors, but according to various reports and interviews with Clips coach Doc Rivers, that idea was quickly dismissed during a team meeting when the story broke on Friday night. It's not like the NBA couldn't reschedule a game or two, but the players gave the NBA a pass, the same league that put Sterling in a position of power in the first place. All the Clippers want to do is play basketball.

I'm sorry, but just wanting to keep your head down and play basketball is the mentality of a child, and the last time I checked, the Clippers roster is composed of men in the their 20s and 30s. By not using their collective power to affect positive change for their team and the NBA, the Clippers have basically said that as long as they get their millions and the Larry O'Brien trophy, nothing else matters, not dignity, not self-respect, not being able to look their children in the eye and say that daddy thought about more than just himself when he had the opportunity. Without protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, etc., the Civil Rights Movement wouldn't have happened, and I shudder to think where we would be without it. However, I guess the Clippers missed those lessons in school because all they want to do is play basketball.

The picture above has been making the rounds recently and while tragically funny, it also takes on a new meaning, at least for me, when I digest this ridiculous situation: At least Solomon wanted to be free from Massa Epps. It's hard to read the Clippers' feelings about their plantation owner.

Stay random,

Back in the day