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Friday
Nov152013

Friday Side Eye:When White Women Use Black Women's Bodies to "Make a Point" ( Lily Allen Edition)

Lily Allen is back and she can crawl back to wherever she came from. Apparently Lily wanted to critique Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke- what better way to do that than to have Black women jiggling their rears while Lily smacks them and pours champaign on them. In case you haven't heard about it, Lily Allen has a new edgy video called It's Hard Out Here [for a b*%&%]. Behold!

Because Lily couldn't jiggle her own rear. And Lily couldn't have Black men and White men dressed scantily while jiggling their rears. No- in the world of entertainment, if you want to be edgy using the human body - that body has to be that of a Black woman. They did it with rap music now they are doing it with pop music. Except Lily and Miley get to walk away when they finish playing dress up. 

No. A parody would have had men or non-Black women dancing- this is just immitation. 

Wednesday
Nov132013

Readers Who Write Wednesday ( Paranormal): Roslyn Hardy Holcomb 

So over on the WAOD Facebook Fan Page, we were discussing why Black women have a really difficult time accepting a narrative where we are not long suffering victims. Roslyn, a longtime reader who also is a writer mentioned that she's noticed a similar resistence in the response to some of the paranormal fiction that she's written -> IE out limited views of ourselves. 

My two previous shifter historicals haven't sold well at all. I think people assume they're more of the same, but there are no downtrodden or magical negroes in my books. One heroine is a cat shifter and a hero is a bear shifter. They kick much booty rescuing enslaved people. I get comments that folks are tired of reading about slavery. *shrugs* I thought people would enjoy seeing slavecatchers get their throats ripped out. Apparently not so much. Roslyn on the WAOD Facebook Fan Page

Well we can't have that!

So if you're interested in some alternative narratives about Black women, consider checking out Roslyn and Lisa G. Riley's Given

She also has a book called Stolen, but I couldn't find it on Amazon. 

Monday
Nov112013

Why Bethany Arceneaux's Story is Resonating: Thanks to Derrimetria Robinson for NOT Being a Bystander

Happy Veterans Day! To all of you who have bravely served our country, thank you for your service to the nation. 

Over the weekend I posted a story on the WAOD Facebook Page about Bethany Arceneaux:

Bethany Arceneaux's family didn't rely on law enforcement to find her when her violent ex kidnapped her after repeatedly violating restraining order. They found her in an abandoned house, police missed. They confronted her kidnapper and shot him-he's dead. There is also a video interview with a woman [Derrimetria Robinson] who rescued Bethany's 2 year old son during the kidnapping. We've covered countless stories over the years of bystanders looking on as Black women were victimized or law enforcement taking a less than proactive stance on looking for missing Black women.Protective orders only work in cases of SANE people. This man repeatedly declared that he was going to kill her. Sending light and love to Bethany.

 

Get full details of the Bethany Arceneaux story at the website for the local newspaper. 

So far the Facebook post has over 100 likes ( which only happens when I post about Gabby Douglas, Beyonce, or Amandla Steinberg) and 12 shares.

The narrative of a Black family searching furiously for a Black woman and then kicking down a door to go rescue her just doesn’t fit into the narratives in some corners of the  blogosphere with large audiences of  Black women. I’ve already read on post by a Black feminist that began by wondering whether Bethany is “Cajun.” (* 1000 eye rolls and  pause to hand over the link to the Wikipedia page on the Acadians* and Creole peoples- neither of which apply to this case.).  Bloggers want to celebrate a Black woman being rescued, but they might have to confront a departure from the “party line” in certain corners of the Black blogosphere. 

The standard line is often A) NO Black men  care about ANY Black women or girls, B) EVERY community of Black people is inherently inferior and dangerous and you should avoid/flee them and most important C)There is no cure. Give up! ALL hope is lost- but if you follow me, I will lead you to paradise.

And yet, this story is clearly resonating with Black women, men, and people of all races around the World. Why? 

  1. We love the image of a family, any family, doing what we think families should do- love, protect, care for each other- particularly when times are tough. 
  2. We recognize that the protections of the criminal justice system for victims of intimate partner violence are a JOKE and often times the only way one of these violent relationships ends is with death and we’d prefer the violent aggressor be the one to die. 
  3. We like the idea of vigilante- do-it-yourself justice when law enforcement/ judicial system fails.
  4. We’d like to think that if we were imperiled, we’d be rescued.
  5. We want to be important or viewed as valuable/worthy. There’s nothing worse than thinking your life doesn’t matter or that you are unworthy. 

Broad declarations writing off entire communities make for awesome blog posts, but in reality- most Black women and girls live in Black families. A large number of them will marry and/or have children with Black men. And many of them will live around other Black people.

Navigating and combatting internal issues of violence, misogyny and sexism takes more effort than throwing up your hands in exasperation and walking away - but for the vast majority of Black women and girls, combatting these cancers in Black institutions like the Black church, the Black family, Black Elite Establishment, Civil Rights Industrial Complex and Black entertainment is necessary.  You have two options when facing danger- fight or flee.  Some will FLEE all things Black and others will fight. Flight and fight are both legitimate options. When you're dying on a deserted island, you patch the boat you have.

And so this is your reminder that life is often more complex and nuanced than blog posts allow.  You are not a movement- you’re a human being. Taking an ACCURATE inventory of the resources available to you requires some amount of precision. 

One reader on the Facebook Page posted this:

 

It used to be that families protected their own like this. Black women today could use families like this. Imagine BW and BG being valued en masse like this.

 

I responded:

 

We still have Black families like this. When I heard this story, it sounded familiar to me. What we see foisted on us on television, radio, print and in movies is just ONE version of the Black family. The image of the Black family has been held hostage by a small group of people. Which is why I am so aghast when I read about people acting indifferent to the suffering of others. But like these people, I grew up in a relatively small city where you would have a family, friends, and neighbors rolling deep through fields looking.

 

It is important to maintain a distinction between “blog life” and “real life.” In real life, there are lots of dysfunctional families ( Bethany's might be one of them). But there are also families who will hunt for a Black woman and risk their lives to rescue her and her child.

Black women and girls have access to more resources than we sometimes acknowlege. 

Friday
Nov082013

Creative Friday: Ava DuVernay and the Coat of Desperation, National Novel Writing Month, and ESSENCE Short Film Competition

Still recovering from last weekend so no hellfire and brimstone this week. Next week- I promise :)

I watched this last week and it really spoke to me. It is Ava Duvenay's Keynote at the 2013 Film Independent Forum. She talks about using what you have write now to create.There is no  success fairy running around who is going to grant you your creative wishes. She also makes a strong argument for not playing the Hollywood "get green lit" game and letting your work speak for you.  Skip the first 5 minutes or so to get past the introduction. Do the work. Its a really good, heart-felt talk.

National Novel Writing Month

It is an annual tradition on this blog to encourage you to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Well it has arrived. Don't worry if you have not started yet, you can catch up. 50,000 words by December 1st. I recently pulled up a novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo five years ago and its a pretty good first draft. Even though I'm not participating in the challenge, I plan on attending the local write-ins. If you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website you can find other writers in your area. 

 

ESSENCE Short Film Competition

Yes it is ESSENCE :( but I'd love for one of y'all to win this one. And give me a shoutout from the mic. They would just LOVE that :)

The film competition is in response to a study ESSENCE conducted about images of Black women.

Unsurprisingly, the results were dispiriting. The 1200 respondents reported seeing twice as many negative portrayals of black women as positive ones, with most images of black women falling into one of a handful of stereotypes: "Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies."

In response, Essence is encouraging filmmakers to counter those demeaning images by creating their own in the form of a short film competition. Submissions should feature "an image of a Black woman in a unique, refreshing way" in twenty minutes or less. 

Here are the rules. You basically give away rights to your film without compensation for use in advertisments. 

 

Wednesday
Nov062013

Meet the New First Lady of New York City: Chirlane McCray

Meet the new First Lady of New York City: Chirlane McCray. Some are erroneously reporting that she is the first Black First Lady of New York, ummm I believe David Dinkins was married to a Black woman- was he not?

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