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Summer Book #1: Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

Okay, I promised summer reading suggestions. The first book on the list is “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America,” by Melissa V. Harris-Perry.   I got the book today from the library  (so it should be at your local branch, if it isn’t, demand for it to be 🙂  I will start reading it tomorrow. I’m a fast reader, so I should be able to give a review soon. I’m encouraging folks to read along with me. Hopefully, we can have a conversation about the book.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a good read 🙂

Exhale

I can’t believe just a few posts ago, I had renounced talk shows. It looks like I will have to eat my words. It’s all because I saw a clip of this upcoming show:

Wow, go head ladies! I am feeling this show more than The Real, the talk show that made me shrug my shoulders.  I feel there is more diversity of looks/backgrounds of black women on “Exhale.”  It’s also an opportunity to see black women celebrities that have been underrepresented in mainstream media (AJ Johnson and Malinda Williams).

I have to admit I am also biased towards the show, because Issa Rae will be one of the hosts. Issa Rae is the creator of the hit web series “Awkward Black Girl.” As a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) artist, I love that someone like Rae (who developed and wrote her own show), will be given more exposure. It’s an opportunity for other black women to see, (that one doesn’t have to be an established celebrity), to be successful.  Whether it’s creating a show or any other business interests, it is doable. There are so many resources out there and people who will support you. It’s why I heart DIY culture!

I’m crossing my fingers that this show lives up to its potential 😉

The show premieres June 27th on the Aspire Network.

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

If  you consider yourself an avid reader, yet have never read or heard of Octavia Butler, for shame! No, but seriously, Octavia Butler should be on every reader’s book list. She was a gifted writer (sadly, Ms. Butler passed away in 2006), who used her talents to tackle issues on race, gender, class, sexuality, etc., within science fiction books. I understand everyone doesn’t like sci-fi, but I challenge folks to read at least one book by Octavia Butler. You will not be disappointed. I think a good starting point would be Butler’s “Kindered.” It’s a quick and easy read.

My favorite books by Octavia Butler:

Kindred

Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Sower

Xenogenesis

There are two young black women writers, working on a book, in honor of Ms. Butler. In the writers own words:“It’s an anthology of radical science and speculative fiction written by organizers and  activists.” If you can, support their Indiegogo campaign….

Happy reading!!  I will be sharing other summer book recommendations. Keep an eye out 🙂

Black Actresses & Colorism

I am starting to forgive Viola Davis for “The Help.” Lawd, I know it’s hard out there for black actresses (especially darker skinned ones), but it  sucked seeing such a classy woman play a maid. Not there is anything wrong with a film looking at the history of black maids, if it’s done with respect. “The Help” was typical white romanticizing of an exploitative/oppressive time.  White America loves to see black women play Mammy:

In this clip from Oprah’s upcoming Next Chapter, Ms. Davis (who looks GORGEOUS) speaks about the reality of colorism in Hollyweird.

No, you can’t say the N-word

There are about 40 million black folks in the U.S.   Black folks aren’t monolithic (although white America tries their hardest to make us one), so trust me when I tell you that out of that 40 million, there is just a small percentage that say “nigga.”  Of course, something like this is hard to quantify. But it’s not far-fetched to believe, that more black folks than not, don’t use the N-word. I mean, there are  40 MILLION OF US!!

Yet, many white folks/non-black folks like to justify them using the word, because some black folks say it. I tend to have mixed feelings about the word. I rarely use it, and feel it’s tacky to do so. However, I do understand  that for some black folks, it’s just another form of slang.  It’s  somewhat  similar to how I  call black folks negro, sometimes. I don’t mean it in a derogatory way, it’s just a way for me to emphasize my point  (“Negro, please”)There are other groups that have flipped language that has been used to  dehumanize them,  but folks outside of that group, still understand it’s an in-house thing  (or don’t assume everyone in that group has embraced the word).

But there seems to be an obsession with white folks/non-black folks that want to say nigga. Because of our country’s racist/white supremacist history, and because some other communities of color have jumped on the anti-blackness bandwagon (hey better them, than us!), many folks think they should be able to treat black folks any old kind of way. Even when there are 39 million of us saying please don’t say nigga,  these folks will fixate on that 1 million. It’s because it gives them the  excuse to act how they really want to act towards black folks–racist.

The View discussed this issue recently on their show. I agree with Whoopi,  when she stated that  non-blacks can go ahead and say the word, but to be prepared for the consequences. I strongly recommend that non-black folks don’t us the N-word, but if you insist, that’s on you.  There are 39 million black folks that will clock you in the jaw, and keep it moving.  I don’t want to hear nobody begging for help or crying when it happens.  If you trying to be about that life, you best suck it up.

Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones’s Blackademics Talk: “Sista Docta”

In Blackademics talk #1, Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones combines poetry, dance and drumming to illuminate her experience as an African American woman professor in a predominantly white and male academy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SJlR34S8L8&feature=player_embedded

Black Girls CODE – Summer of CODE 2013 – The Remix

Help fund the next generation of tech and expose 2,000+ girls to coding during our expanded CODE summer program. Donate Today!

Check out their Indiegogo campaign to learn more:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/black-girls-code-summer-of-code-2013-the-remix?browse_v=new

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Serena’s Controversial Statements

Sometimes, it’s easy to believe that an extremely talented person,  is probably also brilliant in other areas of their lives. But, this is not necessarily true. It’s the cliché of the book smart person who lacks common sense.  This tends to be a running theme for many celebrities today.  They might be able to sing, rap,  toss a ball, etc., but take them out of their bubbles , they usually pop.   It’s amazing how out of touch many of them are.  It can be dangerous, as they are often given a larger platform to spew their (uninformed) views.

Yesterday, Serena Williams, made some disturbing comments about the Steubenville Rape Case, in a Rolling Stones interview:

“Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

I guess she noticed (or her PR) the growing backlash to her comments, because she posted this  response on her website:

“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame. I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.”

I always like to scroll the Internet to see what other folks are saying when celebrities commit a faux pas. On one blog, a poster made a good point about Serena. At 16-years-old, Serena was on her way to becoming a top tennis player.  She had to work hard and devote her life to achieving her dream. Serena’s family made sure she had high standards/structure, so she wouldn’t become distracted by negative peers. Serena has lived a sheltered life. It was needed for her to accomplish all that she has. So, for the now 31-year-old,it probably doesn’t make sense that teenagers would be in situation like the Steubenville case. In her mind, 16-year-old’s should know better, because at that age she was winning championships. She  was never an average teen girl. This is not to say all teen girls party, drink, etc., but sometimes they do. It doesn’t mean they deserve to be assaulted.  It’s interesting that she doesn’t criticize the boys for their underage drinking.

I won’t event touch the virgin comment…

I guess with her response,  she is insinuating she was misquoted in her interview. Perhaps, but I fear there was a bit truth to what was reported. Of course, she wants to clean it up. As mentioned in her statement, she has always championed for women’s rights, makes her look bad to blame a rape victim.

I like Serena, so hoping she was horribly misquoted, otherwise another one bites the dust. 

Say it ain't so, Serena!
Say it ain’t so, Serena!