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Friday
May022014

#BringBackOurGirls Rallies Planned in DC, NYC and London to Rescue 200+ Kidnapped Nigerian School Girls

For readers who don’t follow the WAOD Facebook Page, three weeks ago, terrorists kidnapped 234 Nigerian school girls who were away at school taking their final exams. The kidnapping is part of an intentional and organized campaign to close schools in northern Nigeria and I suspect ultimately the entire region. Earlier, this same group slaughtered 69 boys at school.

The Nigerian military initially lied and said that only 100 girls had been kidnapped and all but 8 have been rescued. The true number is closer to 234 and 40 of the girls escaped ON.THEIR.OWN with no help from the Nigerian government.

Reports from the region are that the girls are being taken as child brides and are being sold to other terrorists for $12. That’s a euphemism for saying that the terrorists are systematically raping these children and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

As I stated on the Facebook page, there are so many violations here.

Targeting schools and the mass rape of children is a crime against humanity.
The Nigerian government turning a blind eye to the crime against humanity.
The family units that have been ripped apart.
Girls who were courageous enough to seek out an education in a dangerous world are paying a horrific price for wanting a better life.

My Twitter and Facebook feeds have been filled with Black women who have been agonizing about the plight of these girls for weeks. There is a sense of helplessness because they are overwhelmed by the gravity of the event and the appearance that there is little a Black woman in the United States can do to help. It’s a war zone, the terrorists are heavily armed, the Nigerian government appears apathetic and inept, and the world community appears indifferent. ANd oh yeah, there’s an ocean or two between here and there.

In an ideal world, the internet would organize a Kickstarter campaign to hire agent Brian Mills to parachute into the forest and rescue the girls. But life is not a movie. In real life there are not good guys and bad guys, there are evil guys, slightly less evil guys, the apathetic and the engaged.

I posted about the girls repeatedly on the WAOD Facebook Fan Page. The post is one of the most viewed posts in the page’s history.

The second thing I did was call both of my US Senators and US Representative. I told them that I wanted to know what the US government was doing to aid in the recovery of the girls. I’m calling back today to set one of them straight - a staffer lied and said there was no legislation introduced about the girls and that is not true, the US Senate introduced a resolution condemning the kidnapping yesterday. The State Department gave the kidnapping a passing mention in a press briefing. Susan Rice the White House National Security Advisor is tweeting about how “horrified” she is about the kidnapping. That’s nice, but you are the National Security Advisor, surely you could do more than feel bad :(.

So we have a crime against humanity, an incompetent or apathetic government, little to no resolve from the world community to do anything and a group of heavily armed terrorists hiding out in northern Nigeria.

Just because you can’t do EVERYTHING doesn’t mean you don’t do anything.

This is clearly a problem that must be directly  solved by powerful heavily armed or heavily financed entities. Those tend to be governments and religious institutions. Generally I am not a supporter of online hastagtivism, petitions and rallies - mainly because we never explore other methods of direct action. And I think it is ridiculous that you have to get 100,000 people to sign a White House petition to get the President of the United States to speak about something his National Security Advisor is tweeting about when last week he was commenting on a basketball melodrama.

However, this is one of those times where spectacle is called for.

I am aware of three rallies being held in support of raising awareness about the kidnapped girls and urging civil society to intervene on their behalf.

New York City
Saturday, May 3rd
12pm-2PM
Place: Union Square
Manhattan, NY
at the corner of E14th St. and University Place
It’s called Rock a Crown for #234

Washington, DC
Tuesday, May 6th
10:00AM-1:00PM
Embassy of Nigeria
Washington, D.C. 20008

London - Saturday May 3rd

Oakland, CA - Saturday May 3rd

Philadelphia, PA Saturday May 3rd

Link to Rallies Around the World

I saw a flyer for a rally in Atlanta, but the “promoter” was “problematic.” There are multiple rallies being planned in Atlanta. The flyer I was referring to was discussed in this post on the WAOD Facebook page. An alternative rally in Atlanta is happening on May 3rd ( Saturday) at Woodruff park.

If you know of more rallies, please share.

#BringBackOurGirls

Thursday
Apr032014

Now That Ebony Magazine is Done Apologizing For Jamilah Lemieux- Will #TeamEbony Keep Their Promises From the LAST Apology?

This time last week, Jamilah Lemieux, the Sr. Digital Editor for Ebony Magazine was careening around Twitter like a drunken sailor (as usual) when she slipped on a banana peel. She slid under a bus. The  Republican National Committee boarded the bus along with the conservative media establishment and gunned the engine. Ms. Lemieux’s Employer, Ebony Magazine, hopped out of the way of the oncoming bus, issued a public apology and publicly reprimanded Ms. Lemieux.

EBONY acknowledges Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux's lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account...Ebony


As with all Twitter hashtag hijinks, analytics were captured, cable television appearances took place, Change.org petitions were launched, additional hashtags were launched,Ms. Limieux kept her job and added an extra zero on the book deal her literary agent is probably negotiating right now.  We get our post-Twitter-crisis essay about courageously  surviving the Twitter crisis to which Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer did a collective “Gurl Bye!” from the grave.

 Everybody wins! Increased Page views, Twitter impressions, and name recognition. Until the next Hashtagapolypse which should erupt in the next 56 hours or so.

As my eagle-eyed  readers have pointed out, this isn’t Ebony’s first public apology for the actions of the digital  team. Almost two years ago, I had to interrupt my blogging retirement plans to respond to a post on Ebony.com glorifying a convicted sex predator, Genarlow Wilson.  

As part of their Genarlow Wilson debacle apology, Ebony promised to do a three-part series on rape and sexual assault in the Black community. In a post called "Moving Forward Together:Ebony Commits to Keeping an Important Communty Conversation Going" the editors of Ebony.com said the following:

In addition, we are developing a three-part editorial series to educate Black America about these issues and to provide a platform for the powerful voices of women who have been affected by rape and sexual molestation. We encourage everyone to join this conversation. #TEAMEBONY



Almost two years later.... no series. So much for a "commitment" to keep an "important" conversation going.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar292014

Reason #517 To Delay The Wedding (Ray Rice and Janay Palmer): The Groom Just Got Indicted for Beating Up the Bride

I'm not going to even try to get inside the mind of a woman who chooses to marry a man who beat the hell out of her ON VIDEO and who got INDICTED for doing so. For people who are saying that the only reason Janay Palmer married Ray Rice is for money, you're wrong.

I know of women who stayed in violent relationships with men who were completely broke. Clearly, Janay Palmer has the right to stay in whatever relationship she chooses. Ray Rice, however, doesn't have the right to beat her up.And the Baltimore Ravens are a wretched organization for running interference for Ray Rice.

The Ravens released a statement Thursday that read: "This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident." ESPN

You would have thought you learned you lesson from the Patriots' Aaron Hernandez debacle.

At first I thought they got married th day after he was indicted so that he could invoke spousal privilege and keep her from testifying, but apparently New Jersey has an exception to the spousal privilege rule. They maynot need much testimony if it is true that they have Ray Rice on video throwing an uppercut.

The public will certainly get a clearer picture if the full video reportedly in the police's possession ever sees the light of day. One witness earlier told Deadspin that Rice threw an "uppercut," while another said he hit Palmer "like he [would punch] a guy." Deadspin

Janay, he's going to hit you again. Probably when the counseling sessions and the criminal trial are over. But a man who upper-cuts a woman and knocks her out needs far more than couples therapy.

Janay, make sure you've made out your will and selected a proper guardian for your daughter because NFL players have a well established history of killing the mothers of their children, just ask the families of  Cherica Adams, Kassandra M. Perkins, and Nicole Brown Simpson.

Wednesday
Mar122014

Why Marc Lamont Hill Doesn't Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt on Labeling Lupita Nyong'o a "Fetish"

This is the season of the Pharell Williams defense. A Black man get's called on nonsense and then immediately claims that he has no idea why Black women are offended. 

I appeared on a Huffpo Live segment hosted by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill in response to a segment last week where he waived the flag of caution over Lupita developing a potentially large white fan base. ( She's in the business of selling tickets to fans *eyeroll*) In the context of his concern trolling he used the very loaded word of "fetish."

When confronted with is own words, Dr.Hill took the Scarlett O’Hara “I don’t know nuthin bout slandering Black women” defense. Also known as throwing a rock and hiding your hand. He also pulled out the old “But, but, but I have a Black daughter!” defense. *Typical* As if rapists, batterers and serial killers don’t have daughters too. He claims he had “no idea” that his guest Kamua Bell who he was kee keeing it up with while labeling Lupita a fetish has an entire comedy routine based on attacking Black women. 

His fans have labeled  me as an “Angry” “Hostile” Black woman for not indulging in his amnesiac - Reindeer Games. All of a sudden when confronted with his offense, the highly educated Black professor plays the “I’m confused card. ” Whatevs!

So let me be clear- I am proud to be a Black woman who has the ability to feel anger. Harriet Tubman felt anger, Rosa Parks felt anger, Martin Luther King felt anger, Jesus Christ turned over tables in the Temple and routinely told his disciples that they were wrong. He probably was perceived as angry.   The question isn’t whether or not I’m angry, the question is why aren’t you.

And let’s be precise with our labels - I wasn’t “angry,” I was resolute. I was asked to be a GUEST on a show and while I had no expectation that I would get to speak at length, I certainly expected the other women on the panel to get to have their say and the bulk of the time was taken up with Marc talking about himself and playing dumb. At one point I asked if we were going to get to talk - not so I could talk but so the other two women could get in a word. None of us really needed to be there this morning, he could have just done a monologue. 

Marc Lamont Hill used the loaded word of fetish to scare off young Black women and make them wary of “mainstream” success. Maybe he lacks self awareness and doesn’t understand the words that are coming out of his own mouth. But based on who and what he supports (Lil Boosie and Genarlow Wilson to name two), he really isn't entitled to the benefit of the doubt on issues related to Black women and girls.  

I'm not a fan of 12 Years a Slave. I feel confident saying I'll never see the movie. I also haven't seen Beloved the movie - didn't need to since I read the book. I wasn't invested in any way in whether Lupita won an OSCAR.  The only reason I went on that show was to say that Lupita Nyong’o received the attention she received because she and her team ran one of the most masterful OSCAR campaigns I have seen in my lifetime. Irrespective of the outcome of that campaign,  she is a classic example of what happens when preparation meets opportunity and any inference that s only reason non-Black people like her is because she is an inanimate object is offensive.

To little Black girls watching the public vivisection of Lupita by people like Marc Lamont Hill and his ilk, keep preparing to meet your opportunity. To Black women who are in my generation, we have a moral obligation to create opportunities for these young women to collide with in the future. 

That means middle aged Black women need to be cranking out our own Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, and Marvel Comics so that the next Lupita or Viola, or Octavia, or Jennifer or Whoopi or Angela, or Gabourey, Quevenzhane or Hattie that gets nominated for an OSCAR can leverage OSCAR season to move on to starring in a “4 tent pole” summer  blockbuster if she chooses.


 

Saturday
Mar082014

Reminder: "Attractive" "Handsome" "Sexy" Men Can be Rapists:Darren Sharper Edition

My daughter makes me mindful of how women are treated: undervalued and exploited. Which is why I feel compelled to take advantage of this opportunity to speak up about domestic violence.- Darren Sharper, NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters

Time will tell whether Darren Sharper is a serial rapist.  I was having a conversation over the weekend with one of my real world friends about the Darren Sharper case and she was in disbelief that he could possibly be a rapist because is his so "good looking" and "could have any woman he wanted." At which point I gently explained that rape is not about sex it is about power and control. It appears that one of his patterns was to bring back a girl AND her friend (gives a false sense of security) and then drug them both.

If the statistics about acquaintance rape being the most common form are correct, the average rapist is not some raincoat-wearing stranger hiding in the bushes, he's that cute guy in class or that handsome man at the club, or that FI-ONE guy on the football team.  Rich, handsome, famous - all lures for potential victims - not an exoneration from criminal charges.

This article over at Jezebel makes this whole Sharper serial rapist saga even more horrific because he draped himself in the garb of "women's empowerment." He used his public statements about women to gain access.

Sharper was pretty beloved on a superficial level, too, a regular in Sexiest Players In The NFL slideshows (here he is featured by Essence). Blog posts raved about his dimples (and speculated about his sexuality, on account of the fact that he's so pretty). Pinterest users regularly featured him on their requisite sexy dude boards. He even dated Gabrielle Union for a spell. Despite allegations that, as a Minnesota Viking in 2005, he participated in that team's infamous "pleasure cruise" scandal, his reputation was pretty clean to the casual NFL observer. Jezebel

So clearly we need a refresher course that rape is about power and control NOT sex. The people responsible for rape are the rapists - not women's clothing, or the "situations they place themselves in.." or any other garbage. And "good looking" "non-threatening" people can and do rape. You would think this was common knowledge, but it is always good to remind folks.

What was sad about perusing the internet comments in response to the Sharper story were stories of women who were sexually assaulted who said that they were not believed because their rapist was "good looking."

I was raped when I was 14 by a really good looking guy and I remember telling my best friends older sister and she never believed me. So I never reported it. Good looking people get way too many passes. I was stone cold sober too. You have to be careful as a chick not to put yourselfin compromising situations because just because you are sober, and not out at all times of the night doesn't mean it won't happen to you. And not only ugly guys or fat guys rape. Good looking ones do too Baller Allert

Oh and ESSENCE.com might want to revise this eye candy post about Darren Sharper:

We can’t figure out why New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is single. The 35-year-old footballer has everything a woman needs. That hard body and those cute dimples even sweeten the package. He’s bound to get snatched up soon. ESSENCE.com

I think we have our answer.

Other Sources

Calling Darren Sharper 'Too Sexy' to Rape Is Goddamn Ridiculous

Darren Sharper and the Myth of People Who Are ‘Too Sexy’ To Rape