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Thursday
Jan302014

New York Readers: "Belle" is Premiering in New York February 6th at the Athena Film Festival- Someone go see it for me :(

Why does New York get to have all of the fun? We've already told you about the movie Belle, about the life of a Black woman raised in the British aristocrisy. What a refreshing change of roles for Black women in historical films. Plus, I love British period films especially if they feature a young Colin Firth ( who is swiftly being replaced by Tom Hiddleston). 

Anywhoo, those of you in New York are going to have a chance to see Belle before all the rest of us next Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Athena Film Festival which is being held at Banard. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for the rest of us. 

Here are the deets:

Date: Thursday, February 6, 6:30PM

Location: Diana Center Event Oval, LL100

Director Amma Asante will join the audience for a post screening discussion.

I need some New York readers to go and then send me an email telling me about it. I will have to wait until May.

Someone at Fox Audience Strategy needs to contact me :) I can totally see a WAOD movie screening featuring scones and clotted creme and gloves- long white gloves. HA!

Wednesday
Jan292014

If Beyonce Was a Proponent of "Gender Equality," Jay Z Would Have Performed in a G-String at the GRAMMYS

We'll continue to be an island of sanity in a world dominated by Beyonce stans demanding that we view her latest hijinks in awe. Continue to NOT bow down my sistren. Beyonce performed at the GRAMMYS some parents are unhappy. 

I think when you saw her straddling the chair at the start of the performance, that was your sign that this musical number was NOT going to be an episode of Dora the Explorer.  The outfit was about what you'd see on an NFL sideline and the dance moves although provocative, didn't leave me as shocked as some of the descriptions would lead you to believe. She actually didn't dance as much as she lounged around on a spinning chair. 

The appropriatness of any parent allowing their child to watch the GRAMMYS aside,  I think the performance is a great teaching tool about gender equality- something Mrs. Knowles Carter claims to promote. 

I intentionally skipped the discussion about the essay that Beyonce's publicist submitting in her name to be included in The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes back from the Brink. The essay was entitled Gender Equality is a Myth. A) I doubted Beyonce actually penned the essay and B) she isn't a proponent of gender equity. Here's a quote from her ESSAY[my comments are bolded]:

So why are we viewed as less than equal? [Because your husband gets to wear a suit while you run around in your under garments] These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. [Like on the GRAMMY Awards] We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. [By signing up to be objects while our husbands get to retain their full humanity] And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible. [As long as they do it in fishnets] Beyonce Knowles-Carter

I agree. Which is why I am incredibly shocked [NOT]that Beyonce did not practice what she preached during her opening act at the 2014 GRAMMY Awards.  She danced around in lingerie while her husband (unrepentant drug dealer and domestic violence proponent) Jay Z was fully dressed in formal wear. 

If we really wanted to TEACH boys and girls something, Jay Z would have performed in a g-string, jock strap, boxers or briefs. He would have been flouncing around parading his manly bits in front of the world while Beyonce looked on bored. That my friends would be progress!

Beyonce Knowles is not raging against the machine. She IS the machine. She's not breaking down barriers for women, she's reinforcing them with concrete and barbed wire.

Beyonce fans can't make up their minds. She does things to get people talking and when they talk, the stans say "its just music." When critics reply that "all of Beyonce's chatter about feminism and equality is just music and a marketing ploy," the stans rage NO! Her music is symbolic of a larger struggle for women. When her critics point out that her actions hinder the larger struggle for women, her stans say "But what about Miley Cyrus? Double standard!" 

The latest attempt to silence Beyonce critics and those merely pointing out her hypocrisy is to latch on to a newspaper headline referring to Beyonce as a "whore" to try to paint anyone who objected to the GRAMMY performance as a promoter of sexism, misogyny and racism. No one should have called her a whore. 

For the record, they called Miley Cyrus a "whore" and a skank. 

None of which has anything to do with the fact that Beyonce promotes and profits from reinforcning a system of sexism and misogyny, no matter how many essays she's writes. 

Don't bow down!

Monday
Jan272014

Kevin Hart Has a Message For All of You Black Women Lining Up to Go See "About Last Night" and "Ride Along"

Let's see it's January. Kevin Hart has a new project to promote. Right on schedule he has something NASTY to say about Black women.

He can't Black women out of his little mouth:

On the rumors about his girlfriend and ex-wife: “I read so much stuff that Black women say, especially about my relationship. ‘Oh, he left his Black wife to go be with some exotic chick.’ First of all, my girl is Black. She’s Jamaican. But they say it as if they know what me and my ex-wife’s problems were. When we first got together, our relationship was amazing. We got married young and our s*** got rocky. In my divorce, I stood up and said to my ex-wife, ‘Hey, I messed up. This had nothing to do with you. I didn’t understand what marriage was. I cheated. I was wrong. We couldn’t fix it, it got worse. I stepped away because I didn’t want it to get any worse. You’re the mother of my kids, I don’t want to hate you. And the only way that’s gonna happen, is if I’m the bigger man and I leave.’ I think that was a very mature thing to do.” The YBF

Never have I seen an actor repeatedly go out of his way to insult a very large portion of his fan base - but he isn't the one we should be looking at sideways. The people who appear to be off of their rocker are Black women who are basically fueling his career. He is a Black movie star. Meaning- he is the star of Black movies with Black audiences. USA Today would call them race themed movies. HA! He can't open a movie aimed at a mainstream audience. We know this from the poor showing of Grudge Match.

And how does he repay your blind loyalty, by insulting you over and over again. Y'all gon' learn.

 

Friday
Jan242014

How 20 Somethings can "Get Out"- No, You Probably Shouldn't Let Your Stepfather Harvest Your Eggs

Welcome to the conclusion of 20 Something's Week. We'll have to do a 60 Somethings Week as well because that would probably be a hoot  - turning the blog over to readers in their 60s.  We kicked off this week in response to 20 Somethings trying to figure out how to be empowered. On Wednesday I talked about building your own support network.  Today I'm going to talk about how to get disentangled from dysfunctional and destructive environments. This came up in last week's comments thread.

I know things are confusing in this part of the blogoshpere, afterall, you've had people present themselves as your very own personal Empowerment Messiah, yet after reading their blogs for years, you're pretty much in the same place and if you question these Empowerment Messiahs about why their sketchy adivice isn't working- they scream "Get out of Blackistan!"  Or they call you a “race woman” or a “Mammy” or a saboteur.

Life is not a piece of Ikea furniture. You can't  dump all of your disjointed pieces on the ground and expect someone to hand you a set of directions to figure out how to put it together. You ultimately are in charge of your own life.  Being a grownup means making difficult decisions.

Over at Dear Prudence, a college student writes in asking for advice because her mother and step-father are pressuring her to let them harvest her eggs so they can have a child.  She lives with them and is financially dependent on them. She is also receiving pressure from other family members who are telling her that if she doesn't give up her eggs, she is destroying her mother's marriage because her mother won't be able to have a child with her current husband. Its a pretty good example of familial dysfunction.

Now my grandmother is calling me a "home-wrecker," saying that my mother and stepfather will get divorced if they're incapable of having a child. My family refuses to go to a donor outside the family because it wouldn't be "their" child, and they say my genes are 50 percent from my mother. They also won’t consider adoption because they say "those kids are disgusting and messed up." They plan on having my eggs harvested and raising my child as their own. I am a university student who lives at home, though lately I have been crashing on friends' couches in order to avoid going home because the situation has gone from hard to ridiculous. My family has been controlling and emotionally and verbally abusive all my life, and until recently I didn't realize that normal families aren't like this. I have no way to escape because I can't afford to move out—I have a job that doesn't pay that well, and I'm also a full-time student. What can I do? Dear Prudence

Unlike some empowerment bloggers who scream at the top of their lungs to LEAVE dysfunctional and destructive environments, Prudence actually gives very detailed advice about how this girl can get out of this situation. I would go so far as to say that this is some of the most specific advice that I've seen Prudence provide recently and I think it is applicable to our current discussion about people who tell you that your life sucks in general, you're in danger, you need to get out, but omit any details on how to do that.

1.Sometimes other people’s problems are other people’s problems. A great skill is to master letting other people’s problems remain THEIR problems. You don’t need to “fix” anything. Sometimes you just need to watch...from a distance.

2. Take an honest and brutal assessment of your resources. All of them. You've been brainwashed into thinking that NOTHING good can come from an environment of people who look like you. However, you probably have access to far more resources than you've realized. Even if someone can't help you directly, they may be able to direct you to someone who is able to help.

3. Ask for PROFESSIONAL help. If you're a college student, there are DOZENS of middle aged woman and men who have budgets allocated to help you become a well-rounded productive citizen. Your goal should be to seek those people out and make them earn their salary. The money's sitting there, staff meetings are held about what to do with that money. If it isn't used, sometimes they lose it OR it goes into the pot for bonuses.

4.Once you seek out help, when a disinterested third party offers you advice, be willing to consider trying it. You might think it will work, but you never know. Something I started doing last year was taking people's advice on low risk issues based merely on the fact that they'd been sucessful. I didn't analyze it or run scenarios, i just did what they told me to do and trusted them. Almost 99% of the time they were right. My racing coach is the best example. I just made the decision to believe that after a decade of coaching she knew what she was doing. I remember the first time she told me to keep running through a walk break over a freeway overpass and I thought my chest was going to explode. I ignored my "you're gonna die!"

5.Expect and prepare for sacrifice.

6. When it comes to your own self defense, don’t substitute someone else’s judgement for your own. Not even your mother.  People don’t like conflict or change. They would rather you suffer in silence to make them feel more comfortable.

Again, your life isn't a box of Jiffy Cornbread mix, following someone else's instructions will never meet your specific needs, but they are a good jumping off point.

Enjoy your 20s. Take LOT's of non-lethal risks and a few potentially legal risks ( swimming with stingrays, skydiving, driving cross country surviving on Mountain Dew, running with the bulls.).  You're not supposed to have it all figured out. That's part of the fun. And if you make it out, you and your friends are goign to have an amazing time in your 30s laughing at all the things you overcame in your 20s

Wednesday
Jan222014

I Have a Dream That 20 Something Black Women Don't Have to Give Up Their Blackness to be "Empowered"

"The black community is dead and has been for decades!" -- BWE Battle Cry!

One of the great byproducts of last week's bizzare BWE blogger attack on WAOD is that some of you felt safe to question anti-Black woman BWE propaganda in an open forum.

 Sugarcakes left the following message on our post from last Wednesday. She’s a 20 something Black woman:

 

Hey, I'm new to this forum. I'm a black woman in my mid 20s and I've been following the BWE movement for two years.

When I first discovered the BWE movement I thought I found home because there were so many other like minded black women who were going through the exact same struggles as I. I seriously thought I was the only woman of color suffering the abuse in the black community but obviously other women were just being quiet about it.

[quote]BUT these problems are IN NO WAY the whole BC, plus the "exit" "solution" is the least realistic, most unlikely and most ridiculous conclusion to come to. To exit or escape obviously means that you have some place to "escape" TO - somewhere to go, per se; some community willing to take you in.[/quote]

This is the biggest obstacle I face with the BWE movement as well. The only way to escape the BC is by escaping your blackness, and that just isn't possible. Wherever you go, we are still Black, and will still be treated accordingly.

I went off to college, and was the only minority in many of my classes and had a very difficult time navigating the other world. Many white women were very cautious around me, and were not willing to let me into their social circle. Perhaps they saw me as a threat? it was incredibly hard. So when most of the BWE sites suggest black women to leave, I get a little uneasy because of the lack of acceptance I faced inside and outside the black community. Sugarcakes

 

Thank you Sugarcakes for defining the central problem in the Titanic Empowerment Theory -> Jump in to the iceberg filled waters surrounding a sinking ship instead of taking an available life raft because it is being steered by a Black person.  They always present escape as having one of two options, jump into ice cold water and freeze to death or stay on the sinking ship - either way, you eventually drown. they never consider option C) build your own community which might happen to be Black.   Luckily there are a broad range of options available to you that don't involve abandoning "Blackness." (And what is Blackness anyway?)

 Congrats on having some well developed critical thinking skills. Bloggers are not you parents or your goddesses/gods. Despite all inferences to the contrary, they are fallible and they do not know everything. And while bloggers can offer opinions, tools, and challenge your beliefs, you shouldn’t substitute your own judgment for that of a blogger. Plus, you are going to miss out on all kinds of blessings by judging people based on the color of their skin. You never know where your help comes from. 

I never went to a majority Black school until I was in High School and even then I was in a school within a school because I was in honors classes. In middle school, I was the only Black kid in my entire grade that was in the Individual Honors Program ( for three years).  I went off to college and was often the only Black person in the room in school activities. In addition, I have a tendency to challenge authority and tradition which makes it incredibly difficult to function in traditional Black organizations where asking "Why?" is often frowned upon. 

In other words, I’ve spent a great deal of time in some of the situations you described in your comment. 

Build Your Own Tribe

It sounds to me as if you are going to have to build your own tribe and that tribe may be comprised entirely of like-minded people...who happen to be Black(or not). And you will probably run into those people in settings outside of the institutions of the Black community.  That’s what I’ve done. 

Most of my social circle is made up of highly educated ambitious Black women. Because friendship and alliances are often based on what you have in common.  Some of my friends are single. Some are married. The ones with kids are all married. Almost all of us have passports and use them. Almost everyone has an advanced degree and a side hustle or two or three and none of them have ever brought foolishness to my door or let me bring foolishness to their door. Under the logic of many of the bloggers you are likely referring to, I should run from this group of honorable decent, compassionate, smart, funny, kind, encouraging Black women because they are Black. 

Your tribe is out there looking for you. They are waiting for you to find them, you just have to put yourself in a position to be found. You get foundby living your life and pursuing things you are passionate about- not because of who you will meet, but because of your passion and interests. And guess what? Other people with that same passion and interests are going to show up and usually you’ll connect with at least one of them. Work on developing good internal energy and people will be drawn to you. 

Meetups and locality-based Facebook groups are always a good start. So are classes and other organized activities. 

 If for any reason you were not born into a functioning tribe and haven’t been adopted into one, then you are going to built your own.  You are going to be entrepreneurial about the support network you build around you. And you are going to have to leverage the resources you have available to you -- in other words, don’t block your blessings by judging someone because they have brown skin. It sounds crazy for me to have to type that, but things have gotten THAT outrageous. Millions of Black women are living abundant lives surrounded by support networks made up almost entirely of other Black women. You can have that too. 

Above all, your main obligation in life is to yourself. To accept yourself. To love yourself. To befriend yourself. Part of who you happen to be is a Black woman. 

Here's some more advice from WAOD Readers

 

I don't know your background, sugarcakes, but I can relate to straddling two "worlds" and residing in neither. Don't give up! It's okay to seek out black and non-black spaces that you've sussed out, and they don't need to be perfect. As long as they benefit you, go for it. And you can have multiple groups that fulfill different needs. No single community has to be all things for you. I learned that the hard way, but that's okay, it's a well-earned lesson.Daphne


@sugarcakes, I have reiterate Daphne's point. I know what it feels like not to belong. I am connected with my family by blood but we have very few things in common. When I was in corporate America, I was isolated and made few real friends from among my work acquaintances. I think one part of the problems is I'm not interested in the middle class ethos (perhaps I never have been) and I will not be a part of victimology that sometimes characterizes the culture of people who are poor. Please note that I didn't say anything about race. Most of the time people are people. There are some people you will not like just because and there are people who will not care for you just because. That's life. I've found that when I pursued my interests, the people I needed in my life (regardless of color) found their way there. Monica

Here is more helpful advice

 

Go out and build your own tribe!

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