[When people tell Diddy (photo left) he could treat his artists better, he probably tells them they have a PHD (player hating degree)]
The word ‘hater’ is tired. It’s worn out. It’s lame, and it’s following me everywhere I go. It’s in the music I listen too, it’s on facebook statuses, blog comments…recently, the word ‘hater’ snuck into a conversation between me and my best friend (my mother). She’d come to take care of me after as I recovered from surgery. One night we were sitting on my couch. My mom turns on the Television and says “I got to see The Biggest Loser.” I said “How do you watch this show…it’s so mean to fat people.” She didn’t even look at me as she uttered the words “You’re just a hater.”
That’s when I knew things had gone too far.
The word hater has infiltrated American culture. What started out as a somewhat legitimate way to describe a jealous person who is actively pursuing efforts to negatively impact the career or life of another person has now become the term du jour for anyone who dares to disagree or critique someone or something else.
Using the word hater is a quick and easy way to dismiss opinions and observations. But more than that, it’s a way for people who are seldom thought about by others to feel important…to feel as though they are on the minds of everyone else when in reality, no one is thinking of them. It’s also a way to position yourself as a martyr, someone who overcomes obstacles and sacrifices friendships and relationships with other people all in the name of success.
A perfect example of the “martyr” prototype is Jay-z. Jay-z, who at 40 years old is still debuting at #1 on the music charts, is married to one of the most popular pop singers in the world, and has been one of the top earning musicians and moguls every year for the past 7 years yet still continues to maintain that he is widely “hated on” all the while enjoying the adoration of millions of fans and, as a result, the acquisition of millions of dollars.
I’m pretty sure that Jay-z knows he’s more loved than hated at this point (one look at his bank account should do the trick) and is using the “hater” schtick as yet another popular hip hop ploy to sell records cause everyone roots for the talented underdog right? Hip Hop is full of ploys, (like the other one Jay-Z uses…you know the one where you pretend to sell more drugs than you did), but when hip hop marketing ploys start to permeate ‘regular folks’ lives it leads to disaster. And many of you are taking the idea of having ‘haters’ to heart, and are failing as a result.
Taking every criticism someone provides and attributing it to someone ‘hating’ on you is an impediment to the self reflection required to become an accomplished person. In other words, there was a time in this country, and in the black community, where someone could express their dislike for something, and the recipient of that opinion would actually consider whether or not that person’s opinion was valid. Perish the thought in 2009. If someone doesn’t like your music, no need to improve it! No need to go back into the studio and think about those rudimentary lyrics and the song’s lacking melody. Your music is just fine, people are haters. Beat your girlfriend up in a car before the Grammy Awards? People giving you a hard time about it? Don’t give your legally punishable actions a second thought, ignore the haters… DO YOU.
Do you see where I’m going with this? You can’t become a better musician, a better employee, a better student, a better parent…a better PERSON if you don’t perform self-reflection regularly. You could spend YEARS pursuing a rap career when you'd be happier and more successful as a financial analyst. But you'll never know if you completely ignore all the people honest enough to tell you that you're not good at music.
This is not to say that you have to live your life based upon other people’s opinions, but sometimes opinions are opportunities to consider the choices you’ve made, and, perhaps, make better ones in future. It may surprise some people to know this, but sometimes it's not that you're being 'hated on'...sometimes people actually don't like you. Although there may OCCASIONALLY be people who are jealous of you or who may make snide remarks about you to make themselves feel better, in most cases that's as far as the 'hate' goes. And even then, those remarks might be provoked by the fact that you are, indeed, an asshole.
Many of you simply need to get over yourselves. Most of you are not being thought about as often as you wish you were. I have friends who are convinced that every time someone is looking at them, they are being hated on. Those same friends are insecure and hyper critical of others…so they assume that everyone else is like them. I, on the other hand, tend to assume the positive. Call me delusional, but when I notice another woman looking at me, I typically think she knows me from somewhere, is lost in her own thoughts, or is admiring something about my looks. Or, sometimes, I think I need to check my nose or zipper...other times, I think nothing of it all.
The next time you start to use the word ‘hater’ think about it first. Think about the people in your life that you would consider to be ‘hating’ on you. Then, think about your life. Are there things you might be doing that could have provoked the negative comments people have made about you? I'm positive that the vast majority of you won’t even get that far because when you think about it, you’ll probably find you can’t name any of your haters…because you don’t have any.
I joined twitter in January of this year (I think). I didn't use my account until late May2009. I had surgery in July and spent 6 weeks in the house for the most part with nothing to do but tweet and blog. I became addicted to twitter and now I'm connected to the network for most of the day via computer and mobile phone.
Anyone who uses twitter knows that it is not problem free. The site is often "over capacity" or having "technical" issues. The trending topics (a phrase twitter uses to describe topical words or phrases that are being tweeted the most) are often contrived and offensive. And don't get me started on all the "models" (naked girls) and spam bots that repeat things you say and try to lead you to all types of miscellaneous sites.
Despite the problems, twitter remains a mainstay for many people. And typically, once you get the hang of twitter, you have no desire to return to facebook. My computer history shows ZERO visits to facebook during the month of June when I previously visited the site every day. Now, I am back to visiting facebook but only to update my status. I don't use any applications or any other functions on facebook besides changing my profile picture and status updating. Facebook is a bland wasteland compared to twitter; although, twitter admittedly is more laborious. It isn't easy to gain followers, and twitter is NO FUN if you can't type and think fast.
I recently read that Twitter may be selling access to the site to Microsoft and Google in a manner that would make tweets more searchable. From what I've read so far there aren't a lot of details on what this would encompass...but given the current state of twitter it worries me. Twitter is already TOO PUBLIC. Unlike facebook which has many different privacy options, twitter has one (locked tweets or unlocked tweets). Locking your tweets presents so many challenges, it's often not worth it.
I'll be interested to see how twitter and its users adapt to the inevitable changes the site will have to endure in order to remain relevant and finally turn a profit. I dont think anyone expects privacy on twitter, but the direction in which some of the conversations can go (from sexual to political) makes it harder to advocate for tweet searchability. Not to be alarmist, but I fear this could result in people refusing to use any form of their own identity i.e. a fake picture and a fake name (some people already do), making twitter even more myspace-like than it already is. Twitter already has issues that result from people knowing they can hide behind anonymity to make hateful statements. I'd hate to see that ability grow.
In the meantime, check out the video above. I have a little fun mocking twitter and its many, many quirks! T
If you live in America, hopefully you at least have some familiarity with color complex issues in the black community, and the self-hatred that can be the result of the favoritism society shows people with non-Afrocentric physical characteristics. Knowing this, it's not suprising that every few years, the idea that the dolls black children play with should more closely resemble the little girls who own them comes up for debate.
This time, the debate is sparked by the "new" black Barbie's that Mattel has made available for purchase today. The idea is that little black girls should have dolls that look like them so that they can better appreciate their own beauty rather than aspiring to an unattainable standard. I understand the inclination toward this way of thinking; however, I don't agree with it.
When I was a little girl I always wanted straight hair. I never lusted after any other trait that women of other races had beyond straight hair. I used to walk around the house with a towel over my head, flipping it and swinging it every which way. I used one of my mom's thick office rubber bands to keep the towel on my head...I like to think of this as my very first wig.
I've always had long hair...but it's not straight, it's curly. My favorite thing about my doll babies was the hair. I never wished for blue eyes, or a thinner nose or lips, just swingy hair. I loved my doll's long hair, but eventually I would always cut it and spike it with some jam gel, all the while lamenting my own hair's inability to be spiked.
I remember when the "Kenya" doll came out. It was a big deal...she was marketed toward black girls. There was a light skinned one and a dark skinned one. Me and my best friend both had Kenya dolls...we took them to school. My favorite thing about Kenya? HER STRAIGHT HAIR. And the light skinned Kenya doll had strawberry blonde locks...just like me. Only, once again, hers were straight unlike mine.
In looking at the pictures of the "new" black Barbies (Mattel has been making black barbies for a long time), I don't see much that's new. Although the lips and nose may be bigger, the hair is still SUPER long and mostly straight (albeit with a little more 'texture') and the dolls are still unnaturally tall and thin. They look like a Barbie version of the Bratz dolls that have all but crushed the Barbie market with their exaggerated features and sassy clothing.
Once again, the makers of Barbie have not addressed the main source of little black girls' distress...the hair! And, increasingly the secondary issue of weight. And, honestly, I'm not sure if this is Mattel's job to do. Dolls do not create or even impress society's standard of beauty, they imitate standards that have been set. In other words, if Mattel made a Barbie that looked like a real person (black or white) no one would buy it because the doll is a manifestation of fantasy that's already been created.
This is why "thicker" dolls weren't introduced until "thicker" women became popular. and dolls with bigger lips weren't introduced until women with thinner lips started paying to make their own lips bigger. Dolls very rarely break ground, and when they do, we remember - the first introduction of Barbie, the rise of Bratz, the American Girl craze etc.
Finally, let's not forget that beauty is determined less by individual features and more by how those features all fit together. And most little girls will never have features that fit together as perfectly as a doll's will. This fact sets yet another unattainable standard that is independent of race or sociological factors.
The new Barbie line will most certainly capitalize off the black community's desire to be included in America's beauty standard, only we still won't be included. We will be buying our little black girls dolls that are created based on a standard that we did not set nor can we meet--this is not unlike the feeling that white mothers have toward white Barbies.
Society creates lots of image issues for both males and females of all races, but none more than black people. Pretending these issues can even begin to be addressed via a few changes to a shapely piece of plastic is ridiculous but profitable nonetheless.
Luckily, little girls tend to see dolls through their own filters. I've been told by countless little girls I look like a doll. When the Bratz reached their peak of popularity a little girl pointed to me in the grocery store and said "Mommy, she looks like Jasmine." I do not! But I do have big eyes and long hair which is all that little girl needed to see in order to make the connection. I feel very comfortable in saying that whether or not dolls do or do not look like 'us' is not going to make or break racial progress so much as it will determine whether or not certain features are marketable.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to the release of the dolls, rather I'm challenging their portrayal as "a step in in the right direction," (or any direction, for that matter) in racial terms. That being said...if someone would be so kind as to send me the black Barbies included in Vogue Italia, I would be ever so grateful!
What do you think about Mattel's new line of Barbie's...are you happy about this?
I couldn't resist making at least one little joke about Lil Wayne's fertility. As you know, he got two semi-celebrities pregnant this year (actress Lauren London and r&b singer Nivea who is not to be confused with the lotioin). But now Lil Wayne's DNA is up for debate (and jokes?) for a different reason. Apparently, according to Associated Press reports, DNA testing was used to tie him to a gun found on his tour bus during a police search prompted by the stench of marijuana authorities claim was wafting from the vehicle. Authorities are debating the validity of the test.
This reminds me of a lesson I learned a long time ago. It's called "Break One Law At A Time." If you're going to drink under aged, don't drive. If you're going to smoke illegal drugs, don't possess guns illegally. If you're going to speed, wear your seatbelt. Nothing worse than charges piling up. In fact, lots of people aren't even punished because of the main crime but because of an associated issue i.e. drug dealers who are acquitted of drug charges yet go to jail for tax evasion. I would love to impart this wisdom to every rapper on Earth. If TI would have met me a couple years ago, he wouldn't be in his current predicament (incarcerated on weapons charges).
Random, I know...but I help where I can. Read the entire AP story on Wayne here.
(Photo to the left: Gwen Verdon/Photo to the right: Beyonce)
If you liked Beyonce's Single Ladies video as much as Kanye West did, you will love the inspiration for the video "Mexican Breakfast." Growing up I was a HUGE Broadway fan. I'm sure my mom still has nightmares about me walking around the house singing Eileen Stritch and Judy Garland songs and dancing like I was on a stage with Fred Astaire. Bob Fosse, one of the most famous Broadway choreographers and directors, was married to a great dancer named Gwen Verdon, pictured at the top of this post to the left of Beyonce. She and two other ladies performed a dance routine called "Mexican Breakfast" back in the 60s.
Many of Beyonce's moves in the "Single Ladies" video (not to mention the basic concept) were taken directly from this routine. I was soooo happy to have run across this clip, it brings me back! Sometimes I wonder what happened to my performance dreams...reality, I suppose?
Anyway, as you can see from the similarities in Beyonce and Gwen's outfits, everything old becomes new again! I love this video because it creatively mixes the old with the new. Below, view the mashup of "Mexican Breakfast" and "Walk It Out Remix" -DJ Unk feat. Benjamin Andre 3000.
For the mashup of the Single Ladies video and "Mexican Breakfast" click here:
TotalBeauty has listed the American cities with the ugliest men. Ugly, apparently, isn't just about looks...the site also took into account education and physical fitness. Once I heard that, the list made a lot more sense.
I hate to insult the lovely people of Miami and Philadelphia, but having visited MIA frequently since 2002, and having lived in Philadelphia for four years, their inclusion on the list does not surprise me whatsoever. Other cities include Detroit, Houston, and Greensboro, NC. El Paso, TX made the top of the list. Here's a funny news story on TX making the list twice.
Now, onto the best part...the HOTTEST MEN. Those cities include Los Angeles (no surprise there), San Francisco (I'm shocked *sarcasm*), a couple cities in Utah and Colorado! What did suprise me is the #1 city was Bethesda, MD. I live in the DC area and have honestly never seen a 'hot man' in Bethesda! Unless of course, by hot you mean PAID!
for more of Total Beauty's fun rankings (cities with the most cellulite) visit Totalbeauty.com.
Interesting photoshop work on Tia Mowry and Wendy Raquel Robinson...)
Today, BET announced that the 2nd season of one of my favorite TV shows, "The Game" will be released on DVD January 19th! BET is the future home of the series which has been off the air for a year after being cancelled by the CW. It saddens me to think that now that The Game and Everybody Hates Chris have been cancelled, there's only one predominately black sitcom on network TV and only two on cable, both Tyler Perry productions. Sidebar: I will never understand how those mediocre and embarrassing Tyler Perry sitcoms, can easily find and keep an audience and a TV home when quality shows like "The Game" and "Chris" struggle.
Bitterness aside, this is good news for all the many fans of the show.
Get the scoop on the DVD here.