Tag: A Rich Conscience (Page 1 of 15)

There’s Something About Hillary

Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president, and I think I heard America sigh a collective “eh.” It’s not that she’s awful, or that she’s not capable of doing the job. I just feel that after seeing her in the vicinity of the White House for over 20 years, I still have no idea who the hell she is. 
I would be remiss to not compare the stark differences of the personalities of Mrs. Clinton and President Obama. Through speeches, appearances, and even her own book – her personality comes across as less than flat. She seems blank. But maybe a blank slate is what we need. Maybe America is tired of the celebrification of politics. Maybe we need someone who is more stern and less Snapchat.  But until then Hillary needs some kind of jolt if she wants to get the people rallying behind her, otherwise, instead of shouts, we’ll get pensive cheers:
Hillary? 2016?

#FashionFkUps: APC

French fashion line A.P.C.’s founder Jean Touitou recently launched a collection called Last Ni##@$ In Paris, for his Fall 2015 Men’s Collection. Kanye West apparently co-signed the theme, given its homage to the 2011 hit from his Watch the Throne album. Personally, I’ve always hated that title, as I’ve traveled to Paris frequently since I was a little girl, and the last thing I would wanted to be associated with is the coonery of American rappers. 
Kanye has fallen so far down the rabbit hole, that its become expected that he would give the green light. In fact, the public is so used to his silliness that it we’re not even shocked when he makes ridiculous statements like this

But back to the collection. Touitou made this statement:

I call this one look ‘Last Niggas in Paris.’ Why? Because it’s the sweet spot when the hood—the ‘hood—meets Bertolucci’s movie Last Tango in Paris,” he said. “So that’s ‘Niggas in Paris’ and Last Niggas in Paris. Oh, I am glad some people laughed with me. Yes, I mean, it’s nice to play with the strong signifiers. The Timberland here is a very strong ghetto signifier. In the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain. Not at the same time—never; it’s bad taste. So we designed Timberlands with Timberland…”

I mean, when is the last time this guy was in an actual ghetto? Has he ever been to the ghetto? Hell, when was the last time Jay-Z was at Marcy Projects without security detail? Seems like Black appropriation for profit, without conscience or consequence has the full- on green light in 2015. For shame. At least Timberland had the common sense to drop the collaboration.

Beverly Johnson’s Accusation Against Bill Cosby Touched a Nerve

As I read the social media comments following Beverly Johnson’s article in Vanity Fair about Bill Cosby’s disgusting behavior, I couldn’t help but feel a little angry. Not because I think that Bill Cosby is some innocent man under attack. It is clear that he is a guilty man who preyed upon young women in the entertainment industry who feared and revered his power in Hollywood. It wasn’t because there seemed to be an endless stream of women coming forward with their story nearly 30 years later. That there were many other victims was an obvious conclusion. This story touched a nerve because I was the victim of rape myself. 
As a young adult, I recounted my story, in graphic detail to the police, and to the horror of my parents. When I came forward with my accusations, several other girls came forward too, and our attacker landed in jail, where he still is today. Many women are unable to speak, because of paralyzing fear. They are not famous models, actresses, or celebrities. They are silent victims all around us.
What troubles me about this story, is that it has become so sensational, so gripping, that it has garnered an editorial feature in the glitziest of all celeb magazines, Vanity Fair. Reading the words, I stopped. It was so editorialized, reading like some sort of one-sheet for TV movie, that I couldn’t help feeling appalled and disgusted. Accompanying the spread were photos of the iconic model, beautifully lit, retouched to perfection. And then it hit me. This was not the picture of rape. Rape is ugly, scary, horrifying, and ungraceful.  And this spread was not it. I know, because I have been there. 
I’m glad that Ms. Johnson has finally found courage to take up the cause by donating her time to an organization for abused children.  Maybe she will be the light for so many hopeless victims of rape and sexual assault. I personally wish I could find a glimmer of light in reading her story. But today, it was just another horrible tale, recounted beautifully for a newsstand near you.

On Michael Brown: #BlackLivesDoMatter

I went to bed early last night. One of the last news briefs I saw was that the jury would be announcing their verdict in the Michael Brown shooting. But I somehow already knew the verdict, and the morning news confirmed what I already knew. Once again, one life has been deemed more important than the other, and yet again, another mother lost her child.
With all of the circumstances surrounding this situation, I can only speak as a mother in this situation. I feel for the mother of Michael Brown who will never see her son again. I feel for the thousands of black mothers who have lost their sons to wrongful violence in the name of justice. When I look at my nephew, I can only help this little gentle giant wont be branded as a threat because he was just a little too big or a little too dark to be deemed safe. How many times can we tell our sons to speak a little softer,  stand a little taller, dress a little better, be a little wiser – when we are constantly reminded that life can take a turn for the worse if another person doesn’t see you the same way.
What is justice, if the ones who receive justice are almost never our sons? Do their lives mean a little less than others? We teach wisdom to our children despite the repeated outcomes. Because black lives really do matter. ALL lives matter.
-Tatiana

Michael Brown and White Guilt #Ferguson

Our son, Michael Brown

The riots of Ferguson, Missouri as a result of the murder of unarmed teen Michael Brown at the hands of a cop, are as disturbing as the incident itself. As a black mother, I worry for my future sons, and the sons of others whose innocent lives may be lost at the hands of an organization that is supposed to protect the greater good. Michael Brown, is our son, and I am heartened to hear of mothers across the nation speak out about this tragedy. My heart and condolences go out to the Brown family.

The National Guard is brought in to quell violence in Ferguson

What is sad (but not shocking) to me, is the noted silence among a greater part of America, specifically the white, conservative demographic, over the atrocity that has clearly been seen on videotape. It is obvious that black men are systematically selected for criminal justice, yet a part of the population continues to turn a blind eye. How does a white person answer to that inconvenient truth? One white mom spoke up:

To admit white privilege is to admit a stake, however small, in ongoing injustice. It’s to see a world different than your previous perception. Acknowledging that your own group enjoys social and economic benefits of systemic racism is frightening and uncomfortable. It leads to hard questions of conscience may of us aren’t prepared to face.

We want to claim we have progressed as a nation, but the fundamental ills have been conveniently swept under a rug as we sing a proverbial ‘Kumbaya’ in the age of political correctness. What will it take to get us all to take a honest look at ourselves and our views in a cold, unforgiving mirror?

Maybe this is the mission of a nation’s mothers.

Usher and Music’s Fallatio Ratio

The first time I heard Usher’s latest single “Good Kisser” I was actually shocked that yet another blatantly erotic song catering to male sexual pleasure had reached the airwaves. Shocked, not because of the theme, which have become almost de rigueur for popular radio, but more so that a similar song by a female would be seen as crass and would never receive the amount of airplay as Kisser will inevitably get this summer. A quick scan of Youtube comments shows that the true meaning of the song has completely flown over the heads of most people, but after careful listening, reveals the singer’s adoration for his lover’s ability to perform good oral.
 
 
Despite the open sexual candor of male r&b and hip hop singers, I can’t think of a recent female artist who has created a song devoted to the joys of cunnilingus. Back in the 90’s, Lil Kim sang: 
 “…Tell me what’s on your mind when the tongue is in the P*ssy”, 
 but Big Mamma Thing was more an ode to female braggadocious boss-ness in an arena of male dominance than to female oral pleasure. Girl group SWV had a popular song called Downtown that took charge of the situation, and told the men directly what we women wanted.

At the time, it was seen as lewd, but honestly, Luke Campbell was doing far, far worse things on film and record. 

Despite the open sexual candor of male r&b and hip hop singers, I can’t think of a recent female artist who has created a song devoted to the joys of cunnilingus. Back in the 90’s, Lil Kim sang:

“tell me what’s on your mind when the tongue is in the P*ssy”,

but Big Mamma Thing was more an ode to female braggadocious boss-ness in an arena of male dominance. Girl group SWV had a popular song called Downtown that took charge of the situation, and told the men directly what we women wanted.

 At the time, it was seen as lewd, but honestly, Luke Campbell was doing far, far worse things on film and record. But that was 20 years ago, and today we have Nicki Minaj displaying her variations of hyperbolic, man-snatching sexiness, while Beyonce brags about her semen-covered dress. Kelly Rowland had the most underrated song about the subject, and it won’t ever get the play that Usher will.

 

 Where is the support for female sexuality in music? Or are we relegated to being on our knees?

The Internet is Such a Boob

Before my daughter was born, I alway told myself that I would breastfeed. Knowing that black women in general have a poor record of maintaining breastfeeding, I looked for all the information I could find on the subject and joined Facebook pages like Blacktating to gather encouragement from other Black moms. More recently Blacktating recommended a link from Black Women Do Breastfeed, and I joined in, even though I stopped breastfeeding when my daughter was two. 

I enjoyed reading the stories and advice and gave encouragement to the sisters who posted images of themselves breastfeeding. So when I saw the image of Karlesha Thurman breastfeeding her baby at her graduation, I though it was an awesome pic, ‘Liked’ it, and moved on to the next post.

Who knew that there would be an uproar about the pic from people chastising her about whipping out her boob for a feeding and sharing the moment with her baby? Especially since Rihanna came out at the CFDA’s in a stunning sheer gown that gloriously displayed her breasts for the sake of… fashion. So silly that the internet still thinks that when breasts aren’t for public consumption, then they are vulgar to display. I wish we could just get over it. 

 The second uproar was over a celebrity’s maintenance of a child’s hair and a mock petition that ensued from a recent picture of the toddler. When I first saw the image of the child, I wanted to post something about caring for our daughter’s hair, the techniques used for starting and caring for locks, and the importance of showing self-love through care and maintenance. Speaking from experience, I have been natural for over 10 years, and have worn dreadlocks for four of those years. But I paused in releasing such a post, just to see if the internet would die down. It didn’t.

 

My boo-boo with her little afro puffs 
 I can’t comment on other’s people’s children, but I can give an account of life with my own. It’s funny how complete strangers come to the defense of a celebrity and project their own defenses of a celebrity’s intentions. I had to wonder if these were the same people that give me the side-eye when my daughter decides to pull off her hoodie in the subway on a harried morning when her coils get no love from a comb. All of the Facebook activists for natural hair were really defending what would normally be criticism of a non-celebrity mother. Daily criticism aside, I know how painful it can be when I decide to let my baby’s hair air-dry without properly treating it. The hair becomes matted, tangled and painful to comb. So no, I’m not going to regularly ‘leave it alone’ for the sake of being ‘natural’. It gets combed, oiled with coconut and olive oil, and styled. Since when does natural mean neglected? Basically, I call BS on all of the digital support for someone who has improperly cared for a baby’s tender locks, repeatedly. Because had it been me, or any other mother, on any given day, we would not have gotten the outpouring of support. 
  I also find it odd that no one has mentioned that nobody *has* to know where you are every minute of the day. Nobody has to see you when you wake up, get off a private jet, or have dinner. Celebrities simply keep paps on speed-dial so that photographers know where to snap said celeb, and thus said celeb stays in the tabloids, on the web, and in our mouths. No press is bad press for a celebrity. Keep that in mind.  
 Lastly, I must say that I’m a bit saddened by the Black community’s cavalier attitude regarding how we present ourselves to our younger generations. As a mother, I know my daughter watches everything I do, and I want to be her best role model for what it means to be smart, beautiful and Black. I simply could not live with myself by teaching her one set of standards, while living my own. After a while, a child begins to question things, and philosophy won’t hold water when the walk is not the same. 
 Why have we allowed ourselves to make excuses for our poor appearance, our overweight, unhealthy bodies, and our bad attitudes towards our brothers and sisters, all in the name of modernity and political correctness? We give celebrities a pass, we say ‘oh she’s smart, and talented’, ‘get over it’, and we chastise anyone who calls out a misstep as a ‘hater’. We may be free to be, but with this newfound freedom to feel and be and do as we wish, we have lost something: dignity. As descendants of kings and queens we have forgotten the great pride that these nobility took, not only in their education, but in their civility, and yes, their appearance. When did it become a bad thing to look and act dignified? 
It matters!
Fulani princess
~
 The internet really is a wild west of opinion. But what really matters is how we treat each other once we leave the page. Be well.

The Quiet Ones: NYC’s First Lady Chirlane McCray

“Some people are just quiet—they don’t need to be talking all the time and aren’t extroverted, but they’re not necessarily afraid to talk…”

The New York Magazine article focusing on Ms. McCray really resonated with me, as I consider myself to be one of the quiet, yet strong, intellectual and experienced voices in this Twitter and Instagram era. There is something to be said about the one who is the least flashy, who makes the most impact. At times I have questioned my own career moves, as I look across the pond at other, more successful bloggers who aren’t afraid to get in front of the camera and make themselves the celebrity. That was never my thing; I was always about reporting on what I saw and doing my job very well. This mantra seems the same for Ms. McCray.  

Chirlane has quietly made herself an unlikely star and the voice of the quiet one, and I admire that. As a hallmark of her missions, she even pushes back against the popular corporate climbing theme of the Lean In movement, and instead promotes the foundation of what she believes lies at the heart of feminism: women helping women with the most basic of needs.  It’s not the hyperbolic stance of a Sandbergian manifesto. But rest assured, her voice is loud and clear.
Read the article in New York Magazine.

The Nigerian Kidnappings: Please Don’t Let This Be a Social Media Fad

By now we know the story: On April 14th of this year, nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, a region of northeastern Nigeria by a group of Islamic militants named Boko Haram. The girls were in the midst of taking their final exams at the school. The group claims that they have sold the girls as slaves or young brides in response to their views against Westernized culture and politics and education of women. The sensationalist headlines and theories make for a social media behemoth, with an evil crime and easy-to-hate criminals. So much so that First Lady Michelle Obama has gotten in to release this tweet, with the now trendy handle #BringBackOurGirls:
I am saddened by the events happened in Nigeria. I am a mother, and I honor education. I applaud the worldwide attention to this deplorable event. But for some reason, this current Twitter crusade somehow cheapens the seriousness of what has happened here. I hope that the girls are found sooner than later, and furthermore, I hope that this issue becomes more than just the latest trending hashtag.

Don Sterling Was Fired on a Flaming Stick. But Does it Really Matter?

When I first heard of L.A. Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling making racist comments to his bi-reacial girlfriend about associating with black people, I wasn’t even surprised. I’ve long held a belief that sports franchises, filled mainly with black pro-athletes were mere 21st century plantations, owned by unscrupulous business men who happened to be white. Forgive me for my strong views, but the metaphor couldn’t be more obvious. It is only because of our politically correct culture, that the racist comments and practices have been carefully kept under the lid. 
For centuries, blacks have been the hired help, employed not only for hard labor, but for the entertainment of their masters. Today, its not really that different, save for the torture that the ancestors endured. While Sterling may now be today’s poster-boy for racism, and his subsequent banning may paint a picture of progression, how many more franchise owners hold these same views, yet only reveal them at the dinner tables of their closest allies? We may praise our revered entertainers and athletes for their hard work, money-making skills and media prowess, but we should ask ourselves: who really owns the franchise?

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