Played-Out!!

 

FYI, played out has been “played out” since Curtis Blow said it in Christmas Rap back in the ‘80s, but it serves my purpose here. Lately, there have been trends going on that have quite frankly gotten numerous side-eyes from me in the past few months. Why you ask? I’m quite tired of them, I’ve either seem or heard about it too many times. Cue Jay-Z’s “I’m Off That”

  1. Colorism- It is sad that practices and beliefs that originated centuries ago still resonate with our people in 2011. Granted, some of us have preferences, but are we still going around still judging folks and refusing to associate with and date people based on the hue of their skin?
  2. Overworked-Sex Appeal– Sex appeal is one of those things that should come naturally, but if you’re overdoing it (*cough, Trey Songz) then it’s not so attractive. You need more people.
  3. Amber Rose– Yes, she’s a beautiful woman with the make-up and bleached caesar and I’d kill to have her body on call whenever I’m traveling to the beach, but I’m quite tired of home girl and her laying it low and spreading it wide, literally. It seems as soon as we go a week without Amber Rose related gossip/news, she finds someway to make herself blog-relevant again.Chile, go sit down.
  4. African-Themed Fashion Collections– It seems as though if you compile khaki, African-landscape, elephants, zebras and cheetahs and some made-up “tribal-looking” textile and not to mention ‘exotic’ looking models, you have yourself an African-themed collection. It has become quite boring, unoriginal and quite honestly a bit offensive that the only thing ‘fashionable’ that comes out of Africa are the animals and the jungle landscape.
  5. Mediocre Jobs after College– Let’s see, you go to school for 13-14 years being conditioned to believe that college is the key to success and a stress free life. You believe it and take the loans in order to get the degree only to graduate with a less-than pleasing job struggling to make ends meet. All the while Sierra, the C average class clown, is student loan free, now making $25 an hour right out of high school.
  6. Moscato- Ever since Drake said, “Lobster, steak and a glass of Moscato,” black folks who were never on wine have been running in droves to the sto’ for this sweet libation. Never mind the fact that it is a dessert wine, people drink it with whatever and whenever. So much so that it has become the ‘40’ of the new millennium. Broaden your horizons if you haven’t already, its more wine out there!
  7. Black-Female Bashing– Sigh….I don’t have the energy to sit here and give my thorough two cents on the issue. We saw the Psychology Today “study”, we heard the countless remarks from black entertainers and athletes, the YouTube videos and we read the comment sections of our favorite blogs daily. ENOUGH ALREADY! If you don’t consider us desirable, datable, attractive and/or wife-material, that’s just YOUR opinion. Don’t put us down to justify why we don’t want you you date outside your race or don’t associate with us.

So CT readers, what have you become ‘off’ of? What other things or people have become played out?

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Urban Beach Week, Bike Week, FreakNik and the “Young Black Folk Event” Syndrome

If you haven’t already been made aware of the events that occurred Memorial Day weekend, “Urban Beach Week” brought thousands of young people down to sunny South Beach Miami for the hip-hop festivities. By Tuesday morning, what most of us heard from many media outlets was only the chaos and tragedy that ensued from the weekend. One person killed and four others injured by the bullets of police officers and hip-hop artist, Sean Kingston severely injured from a jet-ski accident, which left him fighting for his life. SouthBeach residents are now calling city leaders to replace “Urban Beach Week” with a less rowdy themed event, such as a “Jazz and Blues Festival.” Ironically, “Urban Beach Week” is technically not a Miami promoted event, through word of mouth and tradition, people just flock to the area.  Let’s look at the following quotes:

“There isn’t a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens and property,” activist Herb Sosa wrote in an open letter to the Miami Beach City Commission. “Make the difficult, but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach.”  

And another one:

“I think we need to take back the city for the residents,” said the President and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just not right that people live in fear.”
Source  

Doesn’t this all sound familiar??? It’s what I like to call, “the young black folk event syndrome.” To clarify this, it is when an event that attracts young African-Americans is held and the heightened suspicions from the public and police leads to tension amongst the attendees, public and police. We have seen it at any and every event that attracts large groups of young African-Americans. FreakNik anyone??? Let’s face it though, at any event that attracts young people, white or black, there will be some rowdiness and there are always a FEW bad apples in the bunch. This is always the case at many events that young African-Americans attend, and the reality is, unlike the events that attract majority white attendees, the bad apples and their actions are what make the news and ultimately affects future events geared towards us in the future.

Now I can’t end this post and say this only has to do with race, because it doesn’t. It also deals with age and class as well, because it is these events that make many city officials reluctant to hold other events that attract large groups of African-Americans in general, which is why so many of our ‘elders’ show concerns  and animosity too. Ever heard them say, “this why black folks can’t have nothing”?

I also can’t end this post and not once say that all these events are holy-sanctified and there aren’t any hot messes and side-eye attractions either, because I’d be lying. SEE ABOVE PIC. In fact, you couldn’t catch me at any urban beach week, bike week, etc., etc., First, I don’t have the money it’s not in the budget and secondly, women are too often sexually objectified and/or objectify themselves and I wouldn’t want to have a Queen Latifah “U.N.I.T.Y.,”  “who you calling a bitch??!?!” moment walking down Ocean Drive.

Nevertheless, I can understand SOME of the reasons why the South Beach residents are upset and want to do away with the event that’s not really an organized event, but as far as their complaints about the trash, noise, and traffic-isn’t that expected at any large event? I think so. Should the event goers be blamed for that? I believe that is the problem though, Miami city officials should make Urban Beach Week an actual event and provide more organization, more accommodations and structure and not just throw in police when commotion erupts.

Let’s discuss! Are events centered around young African-Americans getting too much of a bad rap? Are the police to blame? Why?

Is It That I’m Bougie, Or People Need To Do Better?

Maybe it’s just me. I guess I’m wrong that I like the finer things in life and I refuse to settle for anything less than that. I don’t want to go to every hole in the wall and I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. I want to be more than just street smart but educated also. I tend to talk differently than my peers or act a certain way that’s not identifiable with my culture at times. Does this make me bougie?

Sometimes I think people are quick to call others bougie when in all actuality, they just need to do better with their lives. Let’s face it, they’re hating! They see someone in the position they want to be so they try to bring them down to their level. Just because someone doesn’t tolerate the same things you do doesn’t make them any less of who they are.

We all have those family members that just can’t seem to get ahead in life. Matter of fact, they probably could but choose to stay where they are and just aren’t proactive. They see you doing well with all your nice things so they try to hit you up for money, a car ride, a place to crash (live) etc knowing that as a family member you have their back. As soon as you no longer want to be a personal ATM, they think you getting all “bougie” on them by not wanting to help because you got so much to go around. In reality, they just need to be trying to get to where they want to be.

Don’t get me wrong, there really are some bougie people among us. They are so high on their horse that they can’t see anyone that’s not on their level. Anything lower is just unacceptable. You know I just had a thought about Janet Jackson’s role in For Colored Girls. If you’ve seen that then you know what I’m talking about. That fits the characterization I’m trying to portray here.

Bougie seems to have different interpretations that vary through different social and class levels.

What does bougie mean to you?

The Great Oprah Debate, Tyler Perry, and “The Obligation”

 “I got the hook-up, holla if ‘ya hear me, uhhhhhh,” Master P circa 1998. Everyone loves a hook-up, or being “put-on.” For those who aren’t sure what these terms mean, they reference a beneficial act done for you by someone else and usually it’s done at no cost. For example, my bff hooks me up with a grande white chocolate mocha, (three expresso shots, four pumps of white chocolate, hold the whip), any day of the week when its just one of those days I can’t function on my own. Another example, which leads to my post, you may know someone who works at a company you’re vying to get a position, so you ask that person to “put you on”- “let me know when someone is available and put in a good word for me.”

I thought of this post idea when I recently read that the head of Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, Christina Norman, was dismissed from her duties. Now, if you don’t know, Ms. Norman is formerly the President of MTV Networks, and she is also a sista. I immediately thought, “well damn, she didn’t last long, did she?”  

When one thinks of Oprah, they think, modern day Midas, the ultimate entrepreneur, talk show Queen, etc., etc. Despite her multitude of success, Oprah has had her fair share of controversy, some of which has left many in the black community off the Oprah fan train. In general, there has always been the idea floating around that Oprah has a “disconnect” from the black community. Some say that her pioneering talk show, as well as her magazine, only caters to middle-age, stay at home white women and many in the black community cannot relate.

I’ve often heard many in my family and my circle of friends who’ve expressed either their disdain or love for the talk show Queen. I personally love Oprah, I think she is a genius. However, I do understand the sentiments of those who feel that Ms. Winfrey can do more to connect to her black audience. There have been episodes of her talk show when an artist is performing and Oprah is dancing like her family didn’t get down inMississippi, like where is this child’s rhythm? But off my stereotyped-laced rant, ultimately, these sentiments really boil down to the question of, do blacks in power have the obligation to support their own?

 I do believe that at a certain status as either an entertainer, politician, etc., at some level of clout, one should consider how can they help to contribute to the betterment of their people. I am not saying that Oprah should have a black guest on her talk show everyday, but if you were to look at her magazine, there could be some more women of color thrown in the mix, fo sho for sure. Sure, she hired Norman as the head of OWN, but she was quickly dismissed from the position. And I couldn’t help but to wonder if she had any more black staff members as I watched her behind the Oprah show episodes. Without question, Oprah Winfrey represents the epitome of African-American success, but can we REALLY say she’s paving the way for anyone to come behind her and do the same? Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, Suze Orman, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus, Dr. Iyanla Vanzant.….need I say more?

In opposition, we may have our love/hate relationship for Tyler Perry, (Spike Lee), but you can’t say he isn’t putting his people on. While his movies may be considered sub-par to some, and some characters are stereotypical, at least Perry knows his demographic and in general has helped many black actors and actresses get more work in Hollywood, in addition to hiring black writers. Since the success of Tyler Perry, we have seen more black faces on the big screen and small screen, which is always a good thing, and as his success increase, the task that lies ahead is producing better work as his demographic grows. And not just in the case of Tyler Perry, but in all films that feature black actors.

So CT, what do you think of this issue? Should blacks in power have the obligation of supporting their own?

America, the Beautiful Still?

This post was inspired by a tomato. YES, an effing tomato, a $2.49 hothouse tomato to be exact.  You see, I have been trying my hardest to eat “healthier” and live a better, healthier lifestyle in general. Yesterday I went to the store to get some produce and as I checked out my hothouse tomato, the register read $2.49….

**scratched record sound**

$2.49!?! For a tomato?!??! “Um sir, you can take that tomato off my bill, thanks.”

I walked to my car defeated and disappointed. I had plans for that tomato, it would have been an aid in the beginning of my new healthy living lifestyle. Instead, it would spark a firestorm of thoughts and emotions. The truth is, I couldn’t afford a $2.49 tomato. I had to choose between eating healthier or paying bills, and I had to choose the latter.  At that moment, I felt like many Americans who want to eat healthier, but can’t afford the rising costs of produce and other nutritious foods because they have bills to pay.  More so, I thought about so many African-Americans in this country who are bombarded with statistics of our demographic having the highest rates of heart disease, high cholesterol, etc.,etc. Yet if you go in most of our neighborhoods, I bet that you cannot find ONE decent supermarket with adequate produce. If you do, I am sure you will be paying a load of money. However, the selections of alcohol and junk food is phenomenal…much to choose from and very inexpensive (insert sarcasm face). While the media and the First Lady are off promoting healthy eating, the problem is most Americans are not and cannot follow suit. 

From there, I thought about the high school and college graduates itching to go college or back to school to obtain post-graduate degrees, but are apprehensive due to the economy. For fear they’ll be in debt for the rest of their lives and no job to show for the years of hardwork and the ton of student loans.

I thought about how hypocritical and full of sh*t America can be sometimes. Don’t tell me to eat healthy or that I am not eating healthy, but you do nothing to assist in the problem. Don’t tell me to get a master’s degree, but then turn me down for jobs and I’m left paying off student loans. Don’t tell me to be all that I can be, but fail to pay for my family’s well-being and my medical bills when I’m injured in your wars. Don’t tell me that there are too many teenage pregnancies, but then try to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Don’t go over our President’s presidency with a fine tooth comb, but when the last one was off effing up the country that put us in this predicament in the first place, you turned your head, or worse, failed to vote.

Yes, I am talking to you America, get it together.

Ticked,

A disappointed citizen

Poll: Is the F* Word Worth $100,000?

By now we’ve all heard about Kobe Bryant’s homophobic outburst and subsequent $100,000 fine. Let’s not delude ourselves: we’ve all said hurtful, mean, or spiteful things out of anger–often times things that we don’t mean. But Bryant’s fine has more to do with proving a point than anything. Derogatory slurs–whether racial, homphobic, or otherwise–are simply unacceptable. And while many agree that he was wrong in his actions, they are some that don’t see the point in punishing him for words simply said in frustration. Here at CT, we want to know where you stand on the issue.

Gender Hierarchy: Men First, Women Second..

One issue I have always wavered about is the dynamics of the roles between men and women. Please excuse me now if this turns into a rant but I can’t believe it’s took me this long to actually bring this topic up on CT. Relationship talk gives me headaches so you have to know that if I’m talking about it then I feel strongly about it LOL. I have a major complex with men being the “head” of a family/relationship only because of the way it affects the communication area which leads to other things. In no way am I about to go on a feminist rant because honestly I would love to hear how men feel about this topic; so I’ll give my opinion first.

I believe that the man should be the stronghold of the family; essentially making sure that a level of standard is maintained within the household. I absolutely have no issue with this. My problem comes around when decisions aren’t made together between a man and woman because he feels as though as the man, it is his right and duty to make the decision without informing his partner.

Example: In one of the real housewives of (insert whatever city it is), the husband got in a little too over his head with expenses and therefore his home went into foreclosure. The wife had no idea the family was in this much financial trouble until the actual foreclosure notice came in the mail. Because of this mistrust, it cost them their marriage if I’m not mistaken. He wanted to protect his family so his intentions were good, but because he felt that he was the “man” and therefore held all the responsibility, he made all the decisions without informing his wife that led to bankruptcy.

Nowadays men feel as though they have to hold so much responsibility in a family to the point where the decisions they make often aren’t what’s best for the family in general; but what sounds good in their head at the moment. What’s wrong with being equal? If you’re not alone in a situation and the decisions you do make affect not just you, why wouldn’t you want to consult your supposed better half?

Don’t get me wrong. I want my man to be a MAN. Therefore, if there is something you feel strongly about, just run it past a sista so I won’t be feeling stupid or deceived if something goes wrong. I’ll trust your judgement if it doesn’t sound completely ridiculous; and honestly when we make big decisions it’s always good to have a second opinion.

I think gender hierarchy is one of the leading communication issues between men and women. We as two different genders feel entitled and are almost conditioned by society to act a certain way; and when we don’t hold up that standard we become seen as less than our perspective gender or different in a way the other gender wouldn’t want to be bothered with.

My apologies if I am a bit all over the place; it’s only because the situation is difficult in itself.

I could get deeper into this but the headache is coming on…

How do we find that balance?

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