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?

Is Hollywood Limiting Black Actors….To Dresses?

Martin= Shenenah (Martin), Big Momma of ‘Big Momma’s House’
Jamie Foxx= Wanda (In Living Color)
Cedric The Entertainer= Mrs. Cafeteria Lady (Cedric The Entertainer Presents)
Eddie Murphy = Rasputia, ‘Norbit’
The Wayans Bros=’White Chicks’
Tyler Perry= Madea, The Madea franchise

 

I could have went on, but by now I take it you get the connection. It seems America loves black men in dresses.Why is this a trend? If the loud, obnoxious and angry black female is the typecast role for black actresses, then the funny drag role is that for black actors, especially black comedians. You have to question the image that Hollywood Execs want to portray black men when these projects are always getting green-lighted over projects that reflect black men in positive roles, as MEN. As far as the actors who take on the roles, you have to question, when enough is enough- the drag role is quite cliche’ to me now. All the ‘greats’ have done it, let’s move on. While roles and general opportunities were very limited for black men in the ’60s, ’70s and even ’80s, the roles that black men played were strong, inspiring, heroic, and masculine and these men, (e.g., Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Lou Gossett Jr., etc.) played these roles with dignity.

When was last time a black actor played a hero? I’m thinking late ’90s- Will Smith in ‘Independence Day.’ If someone comes up with a current role, please let me know. The fact that I can’t recall a recent role says a lot. Also, when I learned that my future husband, Idris Elba (ya’ll know), lost the role as Alex Cross (think “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider” movies, originally played by Morgan Freeman), to Tyler Perry of all actors, I wanted to start a revolt.  Excuse me movie execs, but NOTHING about Tyler Perry says: 1) Hero/crime-solver 2) Cross-over appeal, non-Madea. In addition, with the exception of a Star Trek, the only roles Perry has taken on was in his own films, which are notoriously known for being stereotypical. Hey, I’m just being honest. In comparison, Elba has experience in crime dramas, he was nominated for his role in the Luther mini-series, in which he played a Detective! Quite honestly, Elba encompasses everything that embodies a hero. Ok, so enough stanning over Idris, for the sake of this post, let me get back to my point—-> While its good that Perry is stepping out of his Madea character, I must give a side-eye to the movie execs for  the sudden drop of Elba for Perry. Will audiences really take Perry seriously, or will we see a more comedic version of Alex Cross à la Madea solving murder cases?

 I began to think about this recently when I saw a Youtube clip of Dave Chappelle on the Oprah show, (ignore the title, which will be discussed in a future post). He begins to talk about black actors in drag and his stance against it at the 1:41 mark.

So there are some black actors who refuse to go the “drag route.”  Is there really some “conspiracy” in Hollywood to emasculate black actors, much like the early 20th century minstrel shows, to which many in the blogsphere are referring to this phenomenon as such.  Furthermore, what are these portrayals of black women saying about the image of black women, particularly plus size women? Most of the roles played by these actors in drag are in fat-suits, not to mention that they are loud, obnoxious,and unattractive. Speaking of which, why is it that Keenan Thompson is the go to guy on Saturday Night Live when it comes to playing black women (i.e. Oprah, Star Jones)? Just some things to get you thinking.

Bottom line, its time for Hollywood to start taking black actors more seriously and give them more compelling roles such as action heroes, and love interests, etc.  As far as black comedians, as Dave Chappelle pointed out, your material will speak for itself, a dress and a fat-suit is not needed to induce a few laughs.

Our President Is Reponsible For This Country, Not Just One Race…

This topic has annoyed me ever since President Obama has taken office, and clearly after almost two years into his presidency the issue still remains. Why do black people feel as though Pres. Obama owes us special treatment because of our race? While browsing online I came across an article mentioning Diddy, who believes that Pres. Obama could be doing more for black people, hence the reason why he campaigned so hard behind him to win his presidency.

“I love the president like most of us. I just want the president to do better. There’s a difference between us voting for somebody and us believing in somebody. He’s the person that we believed in so I pray night and day that he understands how God ordained his presidency. I feel there was a promise made to God to look after people that was less fortunate, and [many] of those people are African-American…”

So let’s dissect this quote right here. First off I believe that the our president is doing a pretty good job considering the obstacles he has had to face. He has had opposition from the Republicans and Tea Party on just about every issue he has tried to resolve. Granted he has made mistakes, but no person is perfect; but clearly this country believed that out of all of the competition he was the best person for the job.

I absolutely don’t believe that God ordained his presidency just to save black people and I think its ridiculous and ignorant to make that assumption. He was not born to be the black messiah. Being president means that you don’t show favoritism but you do what you can to save the country as a whole. Also, to make the assumption that black people are the most people in need in this country is also crazy. There are rich and poor black people, and the same goes for every other race. Every race has an issue, and just because Obama is black doesn’t mean black people are suppose to come first.

Why do we as black people always believe that we are owed something? Slavery ended a long time ago. Although racism still exist today, we have the ability to change our outcome. Stop blaming shortcomings on someone else and just continue to work harder to get the things that you want. President Obama doesn’t owe me anything except for doing the best he can to run this country.

Lastly, how can I have respect for a person who supposedly spent 1 million dollars in the club with Rick Ross. Come on Diddy, you really have no credibility with me. If you really think that something you say will change the president’s agenda, you might just be called an asshole off camera too.

If you want to read the full article, hit the link below:

Diddy On Obama: Calls Out President, Asks To ‘Do Better’ For Black People

How do you all feel about Diddy trying to call out Obama?

Whatever Happened To Being Black???

 

The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.
Marcus Garvey

In high school, I would often get ask, “Are you Indian?” and I would often assume they meant Middle Eastern, although a classmate took it upon himself to refer to me as “Pocahontas,” so I guess it was open to anyone’s interpretation. There always seemed to be great interest in having me classify my ethnicity, so when “No, I’m black” slipped from my mouth, I noticed either two reactions. Either a comfortableness settles in as to say, “Oh cool, she’s one of us,” OR, there is a sense of disappointment, as if to say, “Oh, she’s just black, ain’t nothing going on around here.”

In college, I remember the question changed from “Are you Indian” to “Are you African?”  I would get invites from African organizations to attend events, but never remember giving out my email to anyone A level of disinterest rose when I informed them that I wasn’t, but I still supported them and did attend a few of their events, but here’s my proclamation:

I.AM.BLACK. POINT.BLANK. My momma black, her momma black, my daddy black, his daddy black, etc., etc.

Quite honestly, I don’t feel comfortable classifying myself anything else other than black or black American.  I honestly don’t care for the formal title “African-American.”  Do you ever really hear white people going around labeling themselves, “European-American?” Furthermore, being a descendent of slaves, I do not have the luxury of pin pointing my existence right down to a specific country like Japanese, Italian and German immigrants.  And unless Henry Louis Gates Jr. plans to visit my house and take a DNA sample to tell me which African country my ancestors were snatched away from, please refer to me as black, that is totally fine.

Yet, it seems more and more today my black people love everything “non-black.” We love the exotic, we love the ethnically ambiguous, but what’s wrong with just being BLACK??? While there’s simplicity in the name, let’s be clear, just being black means in no way I am taking from the complexity of the race. However, when it comes to appearances, why is it that we as black people associate all our good physical attributes with our European or Native American ancestry? Everyone has heard the line before, “Oh, I have some Cherokee in my family.” Or have you noticed that in commercials where a black family is featured, the daughter is always multiracial, biracial, something other than black?  I can’t list all of the songs in which the “baddest chick” is half-Spanish, half-Trinidad, “or videos where the main video girl is exotic looking.  Imagined as I watched the latest Jadakiss video, “By My Side,” and juice almost shot up my nose as I realized that the main girl was rather lily of the valley white. By far, that was worse video casting in hip hop history- I couldn’t help but to side-eye the entire video. The bigger question at hand here is what message are we sending to one another as a people and especially our youth when we’re constantly glorifying everything that is not black?

While I know and accept openly that America is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, when will we be able to accept that there is uniqueness to our race, our features, to who we are in general without any need for other cultural and ethnical additions????

* Cue, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m PROUD”

Reactions To “For Colored Girls”..

If you were one of the millions who saw “For Colored Girls”, take the poll and tell us what you liked and didn’t like about the film. Did Tyler Perry do the play any justice?

 

Poll: Is all discrimination equal??

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