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Blame It On the Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo man

Posted by JD on Thursday, November 19, 2009 , under , | comments (0)

I heard about Usher’s song “Papers” a little while ago. I had no intention of listening to it because, although I love artists who put their lives in to their music, I felt like I’d already been too involved in Usher’s life as it is. I don’t even keep up with celebrity gossip and I know the ins and outs of his relationship (or at least I think I do).

I got in the car this morning and “Papers” was on the radio. I happened to turn it on as these lyrics played:

"For you I gave my heart and turned my back against the world
'Cause you were my girl, girl, girl
I done damn near lost my mama, I done been through so much drama
I done turned into the man that I never thought I'd be.

I'm ready to sign them papers, papers, papers
I done took all I can take but u leave me no options girl
I can't deny how much I love you, I done gave up errthing I had to
as hard as it is I'm affraid I gotta say"

Basically, Usher is saying that he gave up a whole lot in order to be with Tameka, that she should be grateful, and that she is the blame for… because…umm…? I listened to the rest of the song and I don’t see where he describes anything in particular that Tameka, err, the woman in the song did wrong.

I’ve heard this same sad tune over and over from my male friends. Every time they go through a break up they are filled with misplaced resentment. They go on and on about all the things they purchased, the time they spent, or like Usher said, the fact that they stopped hanging with their friends and compromised their relationship with their mother/family. All of this for someone so ungrateful that they had the nerve to turn out to be incompatible! (By the way fellas, giving up your friends and staying in the house with your girl is NOT a requirement to being in a relationship. You’re welcome.)

Men, I need you to know that if you ‘changed yourself’ and stopped going out and living life because you got into a relationship, you won’t get any sort of sympathy for me. In fact, the most you will get is me laughing and pointing a finger while *singing* “pussy whipped” to the tune of 69 Boyz “Tootsie Roll.”

Not only do men blame women for the ‘investments’ that THEY CHOOSE to make in their relationships, I’ve even heard men blame women for the fact that they were in a relationship in the first place. One guy I knew told me that he was sleeping with his girl and the relationship just kind of happened, cause, well “we were spending so much time together already” and “she wanted too.” Not to mention countless men who say they were pressured or tricked into having a baby or getting married.

When I talk about the fact that I’m frustrated with dating and that I am starting to notice that there are some pervasive mentalities that men, particularly black man have, men always jump to their sex’s defense by saying, “you’re just hanging around the wrong men. Me and MY friends aren’t like that.”

Once again, totally my fault as a woman that so many men do not behave appropriately.

The other day, a male friend of mine was complaining about how a girl he liked kept going back to her ex who treated her badly. My friend said that the girl’s ex was ‘trifling and a liar” and he didn’t understand why she would go back to such a “bad person.’ I asked him to name some of the things her ex had done, and he named a few things. I said….well didn’t you do the exact same thing to _____ (insert his ex girl). And he said yeah but...that was in the past, plus “it wasn’t even like that.” I just rolled my eyes. Here was this fool going on and on blaming HER for dating a bad person never once thinking that he’s a bad person too. I guess he figures if she’s going to date a bad person it should be him and not the other dude.

I don’t know if some of you are lacking self-awareness or what the problem is, but it’d be nice if every once in a while you considered the fact that you play at least a minor role in the outcome of your relationships.

Dear Lady GaGa -- You Got "Kellied!" Is it too Late to Destroy Video Phone?

Posted by JD on Monday, November 16, 2009 , under , | comments (5)

Dear Lady GaGa,

I love you. I love your style. I love your lyrics, your video concepts, and the originality you bring to music. You are one of many white girls that have won me over…from Lisa Stansfield to Amy Winehouse. You have a big voice, you support the gays, and no one is doing things quite the way you are doing them. You sent me over the MOON when you followed me on twitter (along with 100K other people). It is for those reasons that I forgive you for compromising your artistic integrity and generally embarrassing yourself by doing a remix to and video with Beyonce for her ‘song’ “Video Phone.” (By the way, I would love to know what a video phone is, but you know what, that’s neither here, there, or at my momma’s house. And it wasn’t your song anyway, so why am I asking you?)

Oh yes, I watched it the video. Don’t look away! I know you’re embarrassed by the outfit that Beyonce’s team of onesie-making elves forced you squeeze across your tiny pale hips. I know you’re humiliated by the “hood Barbie” routine Beyonce made you imitate, you know, actin’ all “how you doing girrrr and shit.” And I know, that looking back on it (hindsight being 20/20 and all) you realize that you don’t need Beyonce’s star status to amplify your career. You are doing fine…or at least you were before you popped and locked and nearly dropped it in Check up on it Déjà vu Get me Bodied parts 3, 4, and 5.

In future GaGa, budding stans like myself would like to see you be true to yourself. The GaGa we all know and love. The semi-sexy, panty and heel wearing, slightly morbid, over-the-top trashy yet classy super duper white girl that flits across stage backwards on a motorcycle and refuses to deny that she’s not hermie because quite frankly, you probably don’t give a fuck what we think because if you did you wouldn’t have “killed” yourself on national television, now would you? *deep breath*

I wish you wouldn’t have cared what Beyonce thought either. Next time a pop star asks you to sing with them and do an accompanying video, you might want to contribute some of your own ideas. If they don’t let you, walk the fuck off. Lest you risk wearing hood-face again—its similar to wearing black face, only it’s offensive when black people like Beyonce do it too. So its doubly offensive when white girls do it and bitch you tried it. But like I said, you are forgiven. Just don’t let it happen again. Cause I’d have to write you another letter. And I know you don’t want that.


An Adoring Fan

Sarah Palin has NOTHING in common with Black Women

Twitter was all abuzz today about an article published in which the author, a black woman, argued that Palin has a lot in common with black women. Specifically, Christian faith, being the breadwinner in her family, balancing work and commitments, working in a male-dominated field and having a teen daughter with so-called “baby daddy” drama.

This is almost too easy for me.

It doesn't surprise me that someone who leans conservative would seek to draw a link between candidats and "regular folk." The GOP likes to promote the idea that their candidates are just like “us.” They make entire marketing campaigns around the idea that their candidates (no matter how extraordinarily wealthy) are just like the average American. But we in the public know that his not true. And most of us don’t want people in office like ‘us.’ We want people smarter, better, more intellectually agile. What made Palin so different, is that she is one of the few candidates who actually was like ‘us’. And by ‘us’ I don’t mean black people, I mean the average American.

The average American isn’t qualified to run for President or Vice President, doesn’t have a complete grasp of the totality of political issues and would look like a fool debating someone who does, has plenty of family drama (baby-daddy or otherwise), and, probably does espouse some form of Christian views all the while living a life that may contradict it. It’s interesting that an author who claims to be a black woman would jump to claim all of these problems as “black” issues. I don’t know whether to accuse the author of the article, Shamara Riley, of being self-hating or simply uneducated about life in America outside of the black community—or possibly her own doorstep.

In fact, I wonder if Ms. Riley is educated at all. In the article, she calls Palin tenacious and worthy of admiration for her ability to deal with adversity. Right before she does, she says she wasn’t strong enough to deal with the heat she faced as Governor post-election and so she “took the easy way out” rather than “withstand withering attacks.” She lists Palin’s lack of strength as “a significant strike against her” for her vote. Furthermore, the author mentions that she “agrees with Palin on 65% of policy issues,” I’m curious to know where she found these policy views. During the campaign, Palin danced around answering questions, that is, when she wasn’t outright refusing.

Riley's wheels really fall off her cart when she says that Palin is inspiring conservative black females to become more active in community and campaigns and quotes one of her conservative black female associates as saying that she admires Palin’s “common sense.” What is baffling to me is how black women can be inspired to work on community and political activism by a candidate who repeatedly mocked President Obama for his lifetime commitment to such activities. And furthermore, common sense would tell any black woman that, unlike a white woman, they shouldn't expect to win a gubernatorial election with little grasp of the issues, abuse their position, and go on to get picked to run for higher office and make millions off a book in which she blames everyone but herself for her failures.

Any black woman who was fortunate enough to be considered as a token running mate would have been run out of dodge right after (if not before) Palin found herself unable to answer Katie Couric’s question about which magazines she reads.

In other words, black women have NOTHING in common with Sarah Palin. We don’t have the advantages that she has and wouldn’t be given the pass that she has been given. If Sarah Palin were black, she’d wouldn’t be on Oprah today, she’d still be at her house in Alaska admiring her view of Russia.

BET's Obesity Special: A Hearty Mess that Missed the Point

Posted by JD on Sunday, November 15, 2009 , under , | comments (3)

I will admit that my natural inclination is to doubt the BET network’s ability to do…well…anything. I tuned into its highly anticipated obesity special at 10:01 and promptly tuned out at 10:35. I lasted longer than I thought.

Let me just say that from what I saw, BET made an honest attempt to deliver a message of the importance of health to a community getting unhealthier by the second. And as usual, BET will get the benefit of being compared only to its previous work, a massive curve that the network doesn’t even begin to deserve. I’ll let someone else praise BET for what it TRIED to do. I’ll use my time to criticize the network for what it didn’t do and should have done.

However, in the 34 minutes that I watched, I found that there were too many facts and statistics bandied about and too many characters to keep straight. One second they are talking to a woman on dialysis, the next minute they are in a gym talking to some sisters about their competitive efforts to lose weight. In a sense, it was more like an evening news segment than a focused 'special.' I quickly got confused about whether any of these people actually knew each other. TLC and PBS are two stations that have released documentaries on obesity that used personal stories as illustrations of larger points. Unlike BET, the TLC and PBS docs limit the amount of stories which assists the viewers in relating to the people who are profiled allowing them to draw parallels with their own lives.

Production quality aside, BET’s goal with the documentary appeared to be driving the point home that obesity is an issue in the black community. At this point, I wonder how much of BET’s audience doesn’t already know that. I would venture to say very little. Didn’t Cousin Jeff do a similar series four years ago? Anyway, I think that obesity in America has been solidified as an issue that most of us are aware of however in denial we may be about our own individual timeframe and motivation to get healthy.

BET's audience would be better by documentaries that show people of all income levels and lifestyles how to make appropriate changes. The TLC network has done this many times. They’ve even taken families and given them eating and exercise plans and showed the viewers the dramatic difference in their weights and vital signs. That is the sort of motivation and inspiration black viewers need.

Being told over and over that you need to exercise and eat right is not helping. I want someone to show southern people how to cook using healthy substitutions. Show black folks that the food we love so much is actually addictive physiologically. Teach us the history of our eating habit. Most black people don’t realize that we eat largely the same way we did during slavery—when all we had available was salt, oil, and trashy cuts of meat (trust me, chit’lins look that much less appetizing when you find out why black folks actually started eating them!).

Help us understand how to count calories and grasp that we are typically eating more than DOUBLE what we should consume often unbeknownst to us. We need to be educated about how to cook good food with a limited budget and limited time. We also need to know how to support political changes such as getting more grocery stores in neighborhoods and better urban planning so that walking to do things is safer and more feasible. Obesity didn’t happen in a vacuum in the black community or in America as a whole, it won’t be solved in one.

In other words, we know obesity is a problem, now what??

Please share your thoughts….did they offer any solutions after I turned away?? I’m sorry, but I simply cannot rewatch and finish it. I am happy to amend this article if solutions were given.

Also, I’d like to mention that there is something VERY unseemly about having Star Jones narrate a special on weightloss given her sordid history on this topic. She was on the Mo’Nique show the other night and it struck me that both ladies have previously CAPITALIZED off their weight and are now seeking to capitalize from their weight loss. I would have liked to see someone like Queen Latifah narrate the special (if it must be done by a celebrity). Queen is a good example of someone who has always promoted healthy body image but she’s never promoted being fat. Over the years Queen has been very honest about her weight challenges unlike Jones who created a rift on the Set of “The View” by forcing her coworkers to hide the fact that she’d had gastric bypass surgery in order to experience such dramatic weight loss. Queen is losing weight the natural way, and probably would have been a good example and a more trusted voice.

Dating Discrimination: Why a Dude from New York Shouldn't Even Bother

Posted by JD on , under , | comments (6)

Dating is difficult for me for lots of reasons, but none more than the fact that I have been living in the Northeast ever since I left Southern VA to go to college. No matter how long I’m outside the South I simply cannot get used to Northern men. Their accents, cockiness, attitude, biting sarcasm— major turnoffs! I guess some people would call it swagger (vomits), I call it annoying.

I don’t want to lump all Northern men in together, there’s plenty about them that is individual to their home state in particular. And I also don’t want to give the impression that there is anything “wrong” with Northern men because that’s not the case. There are great men all over the place, but your regional roots can have an effect on your compatibility with other people.

Below you will find a few things that are generally true about Southern men that makes me love them.

1. They admire women – If you were standing beside two men who were picking a woman apart because she was overweight or didn’t have on the right shoes for an outfit or her track was showing, I can promise you neither of those men were southern. Men from the south love women, all shapes and sizes. They don’t care where you got your clothing, they just wish you would take it off. They don’t care if you’re big or small as long as you are comfortable enough to get naked in front of them. They’re not concerned with whether that’s your hair or some you bought as long as you like it. Unfortunately, sometimes southern men love women too much and they become unselective and whorish and too flirtatious. Still, there’s nothing like the attention southern men show to you and your body. It makes a woman feel like a woman.

2. They appreciate women – Southern men can tend to have traditional expectations i.e. a woman’s role is to warm their food and their bed, take the lead in raising the kids and in return they will make sure the yard is clean and think of something thoughtful to do every now and then, mostly on holidays. Because southern men want and expect to be routinely fed and bedded, they’re more likely to get married and more likely to get married young. To that I say yes and damn yes. I also think that southern men are more likely to appreciate how comforting it is to be with a woman and what women bring to the table emotionally. Once again, this makes them more willing to settle down.

Southern men also strike me as less bitter about relationships and women. This may be a point of contention. But in my experience southern men may have conversations about all the bad things women do and have done to them, but they are less likely to allow that to impact the way they are with women going forward. They are certainly less likely to allow it to prevent them from settling down. "Et da en' ah da day" southern men just love women too much.

3. They’re still chivalrous—To me, chivalry isn’t just opening doors and walking on the street side. It’s more than that. Southern men believe very strongly in white lies and have no issue swallowing their pride and apologizing even when a woman is wrong. I appreciate both gestures. If you didn’t like the dress I wore last night, there’s no point in telling me once the pictures come back and I am complaining. The best thing to do is tell me how beautiful I am in general. Or say you get into an argument with your country boy and, you, as the woman are TOTALLY in the wrong. But he says, “you know what, I’m sorry.” See, a northern woman would probably find that to be condescending and may respond by saying “You don’t mean that! Don’t just say things to get out of the argument!” But a southern woman like myself will say “I forgive you.”

Southern men understand the benefit of keeping peace. They respect traditional roles, and they understand that you shouldn’t be arguing with me like I’m one of your homeboys. I’M A GIRL! JUST GIVE UP! I know I’m wrong, I’ll make it up to you later. Honesty is really not the best policy. Country boys typically know to withhold any critical comments about their girlfriend’s makeup, hair, or anything else they’d like to see me improve that isn’t really all that important. Even when a woman asks your opinion, no good can come out of being critical. If you gain weight, the closest a southern man will come to calling you fat is making a polite offer to go walking with you. And then, if you got a good man, he will.

Southern men are less likely to use feminism as an excuse NOT to do chivalrous things. If I hear one more man from the north talking about "well, YALL said yall wanted to be equal," I will SCREAM. What the fuck does that have to do with you killing this nasty spider near my foot???

4. They know how to have fun—No one knows more about eating, drinking, and being merry than southern men. They dance at the club, they will still buy you a drink, they are usually friendly as all hell, and there’s nothing like listening to a conversation between a bunch of southern men. They can be loud and funny and raucous and randy. They pull up in a loud truck, charm you, and drive away with your phone number (and maybe more). How many of you know a girl from NY or NJ who went to school at Norfolk State or North Carolina A&T only to get caught up with one of the local southern boys. It can happen…easily.

Feel free to use the comment section to agree or disagree. I know the Northern girls will want to come out in support of their men…why? I don’t know. Hahahaha JUST KIDDING. I love all men…but not “in that way.”