Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Erykah Badu: Creative or Socially Irresponsible?

Any true fan of Erykah Badu would expect nothing less than her video for her new single Window Seat. The video exhibits walking through a park her stripping her clothes off piece by piece until she is naked...then she is shot. This video can be interpreted in a number of ways. However, most simply we are often criticized most when we are honest and show who we truly are. The video ends with her saying that people assassinate what they do not understand. Sure, her being shot sounds a bit much but she is an artist that takes on social issues and I anticipate creativity.

What I did not know was:

1. This was not a production site but a real park with real unsuspecting by-standers and

2. She did not have a permit to shoot such a video or any video at all.

3. She is "shot" next to or close to where JFK was shot.


I am all for being provocative but first, there are laws. Let's not break them. Second, the JFK issue is a bit sensitive, but aside from the fact that there was no permit (geez!) then this is no different than any other musical artist making some sort of political statement.

Social responsibility suggests responsiblity for society and with the recent health care reform debate we know that a number of folks want that responsibility to be as little as possible. I say chillax.

Erykah Badu: Creative or Socially Irresponsible?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jill Scott on Black women feeling stung by Interracial Relationships: Part 1

People have taken to the blogosphere to discuss Jill Scott's recent commentary in Essence Magazine about what she describes as a "wince" or a "sting" that Black women feel, particularly herself when they see, hear or realize that a successful Black man is married to a White woman. There are a number of comments in agreement and there are many comments of disdain and finger pointing. I find that interesting.

For Black women, admitting that you may wince when you see a Black man with a Black woman is like admitting that you have peed in the pool before. Some will condemn you and scream "you're nasty !" but I would be hard pressed to find someone that has never peed in the pool before.

Many are calling her racist and that what she says is disgusting (kind like peeing in the pool right?). Many of them are Black. What's surprising is just how many are "SO disgusted". It's common knowledge within the Black community that Black women harbor this sentiment. It's a topic at comedy shows. My White girlfriends have all experienced the fiery stares of Black women as they walk hand-in-hand with their Black male partners. So if this is news to you, trust me you are of the last to know.

Jill explains that Black women and men in American history weren't valued, suffered a harsh existence and struggled together. They were a team.
[...] what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It's frustrating and it hurts!

She forgets to mention how that wince rarely occurs when the situation is reversed. I literally have to hold myself back from running up and giving a Black woman a high five when I see her married to a "seemingly together" White man. Furthermore, Black women complain about the number of homosexual Black men just as often as they do about Black men dating White women. It isn't just about race, it is also about the numbers.

Black women outnumber Black men. Period. If you are by chance selective and would like a Black man say, without criminal record, to be a college grad, heterosexual AND gainfully employed you have reduced that number drastically----- Not considering whether the two of you have chemistry or if he is even nice to you. If you want him to have good credit and no prior children well--you are looking at my man and you need to back off!! (Kidding. I'm just kidding.)

To better illustrate I will relax the issue of race. As a child of African immigrants my parents pressured me to marry within our culture, common to many first generation Americans. If Black men are hard to find imagine restricting yourself to a subset of them. Finding a "successful" one was not as difficult (immigrant parents usually push their kids really hard) as was finding a nice one. "Successful" Black man? That's a collectors item! He's holding out for the highest bidder and you-member of a subset of Black women-don't even have a paddle to make a bid with. Of the Black American men I know with my cultural background, I don't know ONE that married within their culture. I'm sure there are some but the fact that I don't know of any speaks volumes. You wait for him though that effort is not reciprocated. I know plenty of well-educated women (and their parents) still waiting for their 0.0000019% chance. That is betrayal.

Are we justified? This is where I depart from Jill Scott and explain in Part 2.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

A Model Hazzard

Reason number 897 why I was not encourgaged to become a model (in addition to only being 5'5, of course) is my strong adversion to public embarassment. General embarassment really. This line of work would likely include free designer clothing, access to exlusive parties and travel in it's bundle of benefits. Unlikely to be included however, is health insurance.

Modeling is a dangerous job! Now let's consider those who's occupation is just as dangerous yet they earn a fraction of what models earn and don't have the ability to purchase private insurance... just saying.

View just how dangerous modeling could be. It's even funnier the second time around.

It's Friday. Sue me.
A Model HazzardSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Has Facebook Become a Legitimate Presence in Our Everyday Lives?

Today it was announced that the social-networking site Facebook had more hits than Google, the mega search engine. Am I surprised? Yes, but I do not find that hard to believe. What people often describe as an addiction, what students (grad students for sure) describe as the ultimate procrastination tool, Facebook has somehow become a legitimately functional part of our lives. I for one am not the Facebook's biggest fan. I believe the social-networking site has single handedly undermined the privacy of the average person everywhere. It has taken the high school bathroom wall to the worldwide web. And what was once a scotched-taped Polaroid and dirty words written on the bathroom wall is now a jpg. file and a video captured by ones iPhone for the whole world to see. And God-forbid someone actually tags you.

Facebook blurs the lines of impropriety as my students find no issues with sending me friend requests. I mean, would you ask your teacher for their cell phone number so you can send them texts later? Facebook transforms your life into a glass house visible for those merely passing by. Details of your summer vacation or office party are available for those you wouldn't call up on the weekend to tell. Past relationships are suddenly and surprisingly current, even with those in which it is probably best to lose touch.

I have had a Facebook account for 5 out of the 6 years of its existence. Of course the level and nature of content has changed over the past 5 years. There are a number of events that are forever present because of the connective nature of the site. I can't simply delete photos. By best friend begged me to tag her. And it seems that no one believes in email anymore. Instead people send Facebook messages, which I am quite hesitant to check. Privacy settings change constantly making it almost impossible to conceal yourself, without taking yourself out all together. Which I have done before.

Most concerning is that Gmail and Pandora are blocked in my workplace, but Facebook conspicuously is not. Google powers my life; I use Gmail, Google chat, Google maps, Google Calendar. I have the G-1, the first Google phone. The idea that an invasive procrastination tool is more valuable in the work place than personal email (most likely the account used on your resume!!!) and visited more than the site that is the vehicle to answering all of your most random inquiries is disturbing to me, at the very least.
Has Facebook Become a Legitimate Presence in Our Everyday Lives?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend