Sunday, November 13, 2016

Election Reflections

Well now. Who would have thought that 2016 would be such a colossal shit show? We should have known that it would be awful when the Almighty came and took Prince, but nooooooo. We decided to press on and last week one more sign of the fucking apocalypse reared its ugly orange head. That's right. These United States of America elected the most unfit, uncouth, ridiculous bastard to be the leader of our country. And honestly, I just want to reach out and slap all the ass backward people who voted for this shit stain. That's right. This liberal is not over the fact that a moron and his cronies are going to be in charge come January. Not over it, ain't going to be over, don't want to be over it. 

One reason I can't get over it is because everyone is now coming out with one of three arguments: 1) not all White people voted for trump (he doesn't deserve capital letters, so he isn't getting any on this blog), 2) for those that did vote for him: "um, I'm not racist, but..." and 3) we all need to come together, love one another and forget what has been said/done for the good of country. 

All y'all muthaf**kas can kiss my ass. Since I have had to hear you "explain" since Wednesday, let me explain why those three sorry ass excuses are weak as hell. Let's go in order, shall we? 1) Yep, I am clear on the fact that not ALL White people voted for Tangerine Dream. I get that, BUT a vast majority of y'all fuckers did. Someone you know did. Someone you are related to did. Someone you talk to on a regular basis, who pretends to be your friend/sister/brother/ally DID vote for him. And you probably knew it was going to happen. And you probably didn't say anything. Listen, I don't deal in "ALL". I know ALL White folks didn't vote for him, just like I know ALL Black folks didn't vote for Hillary. I also know that whenever the subject of the election came up, people knew exactly where I stood, who I was voting for and why... and if they told me that they were voting for Tangerine Dream, I asked them WHY. I am not ashamed to say that I have distanced myself from many acquaintances and I will continue to do so as a direct result of this election. I've deleted some people from social media accounts as a precautionary measure. Not ashamed in the least. My sanity comes before y'all's fucked up feelings any day. 

2) "I did vote for Tangerine Dream, but I'm not racist..." Honestly, I stop listening after you say that you voted for him and my interest in talking to you ever again diminishes greatly. Listen, the majority of folks will show you exactly who they are, especially in times of trouble. Cap'n Cheeto showed us all who he was. He hit the stage running with that anti-Mexican rhetoric and some of y'all ate that shit up. He has routinely talked shit about women-- and that was BEFORE that Access Hollywood tape came out. He straight told y'all that he wants to ban Muslims and make the ones that remain register... like fucking chattel. Over and over again, he more than insinuated that Black folks have been relegated to the ghettos around the country, that we don't receive/take advantage of public education, we are lazy and we can't walk our streets without killing one another (Black folks only... so don't worry poor White people). His outreach to the LGBTQ community has been abysmal and his attack on the media damn near incited riots at his rallies. You saw all of that... and you voted for him anyway. You don't have shit to say to me. I don't want an explanation. You take responsibility for what's about to go down. Let it be known right now: if you voted for Cap'n Cheeto YOU decided that it was in your best interests and you didn't give a fuck what he said about the rest of us because you aren't in any of those groups. You may have a Black friend, sibling or spouse and you chose to fuck us all over. You knew that he was slinging racist/xenophobic/misogynistic thoughts and you voted for him anyway. Do you feel good about that? Of course you do, you inconsiderate bastard. So save the explanation-- your vote did all the necessary talking.

3) "We should all get along. Your candidate lost now let's all get behind Orange Faygo." You can totally miss me which all this bullshit. I know that it sounds good and everything, but that muthaf**ka directly threatens my family's livelihood, so this fall in line, step and fetch routine is not going to happen. One of my best friends is a married lesbian, I am not trying to "fall in line" while marriage equality is reversed. I'm a very pro-choice woman, I will not "fall in line" while Roe v. Wade is reversed. I am Black (and so is my daughter) there is no way I will stand still while Orange Faygo's henchmen try to bring back "stop and frisk" on the national stage. I am ME, there is NO WAY I am going to stand idly by and watch ANY group be maligned because some backwoods rednecks want to go back to 1900 when Blacks were still damn near slaves, women had no rights and White men were the ruling class. Hell no. 

I don't feel bad about my convictions. I will not rest until folks are treated equally. I will continue to be bitter (like I have been). I will not rest until my daughter knows that she should stand up for people, like her parents do. People will know that they have a place in my America. I will stand up as an ally for my LGBTQ friends, my Muslim friends, my Mexican friends, my Black friends, cops, women, liberals AND conservatives. I haven't changed and I will not change... even if we do have a small hand/dick/brain dictator at the helm.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Why I Won't See Birth Of A Nation

The movie Birth of a Nation came to a theater near you two weekends ago... and was promptly declared a "flop". Now there are articles being shared online blaming Black women for this box office flop and I really feel the need to address this. Let me just type this: I am sick to death of the idea that Black women get blamed for all the wrongdoings and downfalls of the Black community. Lately it seems like we are responsible for everything. It is our fault that we get married later in life or that we don't get married at all, that we have children out of wedlock, that Black men are jailed/killed/victims of brutality, That Black men marry outside our race, that our children are not productive, that the sky is blue and fucking grass is green. Now we (as a group) are blamed because a Black man's movie failed at the box office. I wasn't going to see Birth of a Nation. That hasn't changed. After all, I did tell Lefty that I wouldn't take him to anymore Black movies, because we have seen a lot. Date nights in this household... LOL. Seriously, there are several reasons why I really have no need to see this movie, the most glaring being:

**I already know the story. I mean, I am not trying to be too big a dick or anything, but I was a history major. I have studied this revolt. I know about it. I don't need to pay $15 to see it on-screen.**

That seems harsh when I read it. Oh well, that shit is true. If you don't know the story, please feel free to read up on Nat Turner, African American history, U.S. History. Let me just say: because I do know the story I feel comfortable in noting that this film about a slave revolt might not have been well received anyway. In all historical accounts, a large number of White folks were murdered during this uprising. In our current political climate here in America, the idea that downtrodden Black folks (you know, like, folks that are indiscriminately being killed by state actors like the police, or those being disenfranchised during this election season) would ban together and rise against their oppressors, could be seen as problematic. Maybe that is another reason that people didn't rush to see this movie. There is a rumor that Black women did not flock to see this movie because Nate Parker has a White wife. Uh, nope... that certainly is NOT the reason I didn't take my White husband to see this movie.

I don't know, and I don't get paid to guess so I will tell you the number one reason I won't see it: Nate Parker. That dude is so problematic. I get it-- he was found not guilty in the rape case against him. Good for him. A criminal record for an actor/director is not disqualifying for me. HOWEVER, when asked about the rape case and the subsequent suicide of the young woman involved, Nate Parker could NOT have been more repulsive. Listen, I get that the trial was probably a rough time for him, but he had to know that it was going to come up. Google is a hell of a thing-- he knew that it was made public. Why not show some sympathy for that girl's family? Why not show some... good fucking upbringing in your answers about it? I mean, I am not saying kiss anyone's ass. I'm saying that Parker COULD have said "That was a particularly hard time in my life and I feel bad that they young lady has taken her life... now let me tell you about this movie." Or, "that was a rough time for me, that young lady's family is in my thoughts and prayers." The way he (almost) cried for himself in that 60 minutes interview... he could have given some of that sympathy for that girl's family. I mean damn, I am a salty bitch, but even I act like I have feelings when speaking about victims and their families. And it isn't fake concern-- I didn't know that young woman but I feel bad that she was sexually assaulted. I feel bad that she thought that her only option was to take her own life. And that is an outside person looking in on this shit show.

I am many things: Black, woman, liberal, feminist, wife, mother, sister, daughter, etc. I feel sympathy and empathy for many groups and people. Nate Parker could have been better. I think he knows that. I have (almost) moved past yelling at people to get my point across. When the jury in the George Zimmerman trial found that fucker not guilty, I swore off the entire state of Florida. I haven't vacationed there, hell, I don't even buy Florida oranges. I vote with my money-- every day. It may not be much, but it is what I am able to do. Hell, I wanted to see the movie Sully. Tom Hanks is in it and it looked good, but it was directed by Clint Eastwood, who has lost his damn mind, so that was a no go. I want to see Hacksaw Ridge, which comes out soon, but it was directed by Mel Gibson, so... hell no. So, again, I will vote with my money and not see Birth of a Nation, but all the people blaming ALL Black women for the flop can go see it and tell me if it is good. (Feel that side eye action).

Does the story of Nat Turner need to be told? Absolutely. Do I, as a Black woman, need to make sure my daughter knows the story? Absolutely. Do I need to watch a movie directed by a seemingly non-sympathetic asshat? Nah, I don't.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Soulful Saturday - Soul II Soul

Y'all know what? After the last couple of weeks, I needed a pick me up that only old school music could provide. This week I got that from Soul II Soul. I could only think of two songs by this group-- but listening to these two songs gave me life! These Brits were the business in 1990... God, I wish music today moved me like this...

Life is heavy, y'all. Music alleviates some of that heaviness. Happy Saturday.

Back To Life

Keep On Movin'

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Soulful Saturday - Heavy D

I am over here having a party! Today is my brother's birthday and I was looking for some fun music to put up and I came across Heavy D. These songs were in heavy rotation (no pun intended) on my radio when my brother made his debut into this crazy world. Heavy D has since passed away, but he was very representative of late 80s/ early 90s rap music for me. Something great to move to, and even now, 20+ years later, I still know all the words and bob my head along with the music. Happy Birthday to my brother... Happy Saturday to y'all.

Now That We Found Love

Girls They Love Me

**This should be my brother's theme song.**

Got Me Waiting

Somebody For Me

Black Coffee

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fed Up Friday - The Movement You've Missed

This season is chock full of craziness. While some of us have been obsessing about the election, or chiming in social injustice protests, there has been another movement brewing in America. Near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, thousands of people have gathered for months to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline. For those who are unaware, this pipeline would run through four states (from North Dakota to Illinois) and would transverse many waterways. Several Native American tribes have come together to protest the pipeline, which is scheduled to run through some of their burial grounds and waterways.

Many people don't fully know the atrocities suffered by the Native American tribes in the United States. It isn't taught in our public schools and I think that is because the government doesn't want to acknowledge exactly what they did, how many folks died, how the government itself is responsible for cheating all the tribes out of land and liberty, etc. Though I grew up in the Midwest, I can tell you, most of my understanding of tribes was learned because I was curious-- not because it was something everyone learned in school. Most of us have heard of the "Trail of Tears" but what else? The same can be said of African Americans and Civil Rights, the South and the Civil War, immigrants looking for work at the turn of the century, business monopolies.

Well, two weeks ago protesters were attacked by dogs. By dogs. Simply because folks want to live on their land unobstructed... with untainted drinking water.  Land that the United States government put them on. Rewind 50 years and you will see photos of dogs attacking people who wanted to live as equals to their white counterparts.

In the past week, President Obama has halted construction of a portion of the pipeline-- much to the chagrin of some and to the relief of others. But, what is the long term plan? Mainstream media doesn't seem infatuated with the idea of telling this story. President Obama has about 3 and a half months left in office... his successor has not yet been elected, but one of the contenders has severe psychological issues. What will happen after this winter? Will Native American groups be dealt another blow by the government? Will the vast majority of mainstream media continue to ignore this movement happening in the Midwest? Will the pipeline be built?

It seems pertinent to mention that today it is being reported that there is a leak in the pipeline that runs from Texas to North Carolina. Gas prices on the East Coast are expected to rise. Surrounding environment is at risk. Six thousand barrels of oil, leaking in Alabama. This is EXACTLY what the folks in North Dakota fear happening in their area. This is exactly what their movement is fighting. Are we paying attention?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

To Be Black In America

I have learned to let shit roll off my back. Being a new mom and having limited time makes it easy to let fake friends go by the wayside and let stupid politicians openly pander for my vote without consequence. It also makes it easy to overlook most foolishness on social media. Between baby feedings and sleepless nights, I really haven't had the time nor the inclination to engage in the back and forth craziness. From the election to the Olympics, I have pretty much stayed to myself over here (except on Twitter... I always have some shit to say on Twitter). But the silence is about to end because some of y'all are so stupid, I wouldn't trust you to find your way out of a box... even if the lid was open.

So, listen: race in America is fucked up. Being Black/Brown in America is rough times, friends. And if you don't think it is rough to be Black/Brown in America, you are either not Black/Brown or you are delusional. You could be delusional because you don't want to see it OR because you haven't seen it... YET. But let me fill you in on the lowdown: This walk ain't for the faint of heart. It is not. Some people are going to feel bad after they read this post. There are going to be some generalizations about life and people and some of you will not like what I have to say... get over yourself, I am about to type the truth while my baby sleeps.

Here we go:

Folks LOVE Black people, as long as we are giving them what they want. They have nothing to say if we are entertaining them (through sports, music, acting, etc); they certainly have no complaints if we are giving them our money. No one bats an eyelash at Black folks when they need us to win an election or to make their invention that new "hot" thing. Then, they love us. But let US decide to let Y'ALL know when shit ain't right. Some of y'all haven't been right since Dr. Avery (Jesse Williams) told you the get down at the BET Awards. But he is just a flighty actor, right? They get paid to be overly sensitive and shit. Right? Oh. Ok. So when Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the National Anthem... You.Can't.Take.It. How do I know y'all can't take it? Because now he is Black. When he entered the NFL, all stories were about this (supa fine) biracial quarterback who made it out of foster care and MADE IT against the odds. Feel good storyline, for the win. Now he is that disrespectful, Black, hater for taking a stand against the injustices that he sees. {For what it is worth, most biracial folks are deemed "Black" when they piss off large groups of people... examples would be Jesse Williams, Halle Berry, President Obama, Tiger Woods... and now, Colin Kaepernick}.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that people were burning Colin Kaepernick jerseys and demanding that he lose his job. You have GOT to fucking be kidding me. These are the same folks that were so excited when he signed with the 49ers, thinking he was going to lead them to victory. See, if he had just shut his Black mouth and entertained folks like he was supposed to do, then there would be no problem. Right?

The problem is NOT Colin Kaepernick. The problem is that not enough athletes will use their platform to protest. The problem is that once some Black folks "make it" they think they are above the fray... and they don't have to protest to be seen as human. The problem is that injustices are done to United States citizens EVERY day and no one wants to hear about it. Just because you don't want to hear about it doesn't mean that people won't talk about it. We should all be clear on the idea that Black people make up approximately 13 percent of the America population and damn near 65 percent of the prison population. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!? We are not all criminals. Shit, not like that. We need to be clear on the idea that minorities are prosecuted... in the streets of our cities... every day. I mean, how exactly is that not clear? How do you expect ALL of us to remain silent on facts? Better yet, WHY WOULD YOU WANT US TO BE SILENT??? Shouldn't we all fight injustice? Shouldn't we all want America to be better? I'll tell you why people want us to be quiet: they don't care. If it isn't happening to their children or family members then they don't care. If they can still afford to live in the suburbs and send their kids to the best schools in the city, they don't care. They don't care.

If you aren't Black, you don't know. You don't know the lessons I am going to have to teach my biracial daughter. You don't know how many times I have been called a Black bitch. You don't know how many times my law abiding ass has been followed by the police, store security guards, sheriff deputies-- for no reason other than "I didn't belong" where ever I was. You don't know what Colin Kaepernick has seen. If that man is telling you that he has seen some injustices and he feels betrayed in this country that kills folks that look like him... believe him. Shit, more than half of the problem with race relations in this country is that we have to keep having the same conversation over and over again. I am Black. I am human. I have worth. Y'all won't steal MY shine (or Colin's). Stop making me rub it in your face remind you.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Soulful Saturday - Kid N Play

Annnnnnnnnnd, I'm back. It was fun taking the summer off. Baby K is getting big and sleeping through the night... mostly. Thankfully. I was a little crazy there for a while; it was like having a Betsy Wetsy doll that cried and slept in 15 minute intervals. But here I am... hopefully on the other side of that craziness. So what have I been doing this last month? Watching the news, watching the clusterfuck that is politics in America and listening to good music! We have also been galavanting all over the city... and hopefully those adventures will be covered in a "what I did on my summer vacation" post a little later.

Baby K and I were on our way to a meet up this morning and early 90s music was on the radio. Since I still remembered ALL the words, I figured that maybe I should feature some early 90s music on this Soulful Saturday. Here we go... Kid N Play. OMG. It is so weird to post videos from Kid N Play because they are so... mature now. Mature, meaning they are older than hubs in real life. Mature, meaning they are now above the age of 50. Holy shit! LOL Regardless, back in the late 80s, early 90s Kid N Play were EVERYWHERE. They had records, movies (House Party, anyone?), cartoons and clothing lines. I do mean they were everywhere. I had the LARGEST crush on Play. Like, whoa. Mrs. Christopher Martin. HA! Remember when you used to write your name like you were married to someone who didn't even know you? Oh, just me? Moving on...

Their music was fun. The House Party movies were hilarious... the girls were cute, hair was big, lycra clothing was... abundant. Their music (now and then) is exactly what you need to get your Saturday moving along-- and that is exactly what it helped me do this morning. Enjoy!!

Rollin With Kid N Play

Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody

Back to Basix

**Just in case you missed the infamous House Party Rap Battle...**

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Dear America

Dear America:

Hey girl. It is your favorite caramel colored girlfriend. Originally, I was going to wish you a belated birthday, but honey, we have some things that we need to talk about. I am feeling some type of way about you. I mean, you just turned 240 years old on Monday and you are not adulting well. I mean, I really think that you are too old for these ongoing problems that you have. These last few years, our relationship has been strained and so now, here I am, with an ultimatum.

Listen. You gotta stop lying to yourself and others. America, you keep telling folks that everyone is welcome and that you are friendly. Ma'am, nothing is farther from the truth. We all know that everyone isn't welcome. Why do you keep touting that line of thought? History tells us that it isn't true... What you allow in your house shows us, every day, that you don't want diversity here. Within your borders, people (of color) are ROUTINELY marginalized, CONSISTENTLY demonized, REGULARLY disenfranchised and HABITUALLY murdered for simply being. You don't have love for us, girl. And when one of us stands up to tell you just how unfair the treatment that we are receiving is, the clap back is swift. You aren't nice, chick. You allow our children to be murdered; our husbands to be taken. You don't blink when our elderly die in poverty, unable to afford the drugs that could keep them alive. It doesn't bother you that our neighborhoods are falling apart or that we are overlooked for jobs and promotions. You are not surprised and often find excuses for police who brutalize your citizenry. I mean, why do you keep inviting folks to your house if you don't want to straighten up first? You know what I mean? I just don't understand. Why invite family over, only to spit in their faces? That is what you are doing. You are spitting in our faces-- and we have had enough.  

You pretend to love us, but that love is only good if we stay in the boxes that you have picked out for us. You want us to make you look good. You want us to entertain you-- on tv, at the movie theater, through sports and at concerts. But, you don't want us to ever think that we are more than that. We are here to entertain you and the moment we stop, you turn on us like an inebriated spouse. Often you use us for entertainment then for target practice. We are targets for your abuse-- in which you want us to suffer silently. Stay in our place, save face (for you) and do it all quietly. America, girl, that is not how this works. That is not how any of this works.

Look, I want to take this time to let you know that you wouldn't have your house without us. We have been here from the beginning. Actually, darling, now would be the time to remind you that you brought many of us here against our will. And now you are systematically, emotionally and physically, killing the same folks you enslaved all those years ago. America, girl, you are too old for this! Since we just celebrated your birthday, I feel the need to remind you what happened 240+ years ago that brought about your birth. America, YOU are the result of the ultimate protest. Your founders were tired of being shit upon, so they left the game and started YOU. Now, darling, let's use some common sense here... If you have spent all of your years shitting on some folks, what, exactly can you foresee them doing? Are you trying to get history to repeat itself? Are you trying to make an uprising happen? Do you think that we will allow an extermination of certain folks just happen?

America, I am writing this letter because I love you. I love the idea of you. I love being a part of you. Now I want you to love me back. I want you to respect me and other Brown and Black folks. I want to be able to be proud of you when I leave your shores for vacation or business. I want folks to be able to look to you for guidance... not just military or monetary help. I want to be able to tell my daughter that her life will be respected because she is considered a gem in her own country. A gem... not a burden. In short America, I need you to get your shit together, sis. I mean I can't keep writing you warnings about this fucked up behavior. If you keep disrespecting your citizens they will rise up-- it is inevitable. We are not expendable. Our children are not to be used as kindling in the streets, America. Our fathers and breadwinners are not to be brutalized as examples, America. Our mothers and daughters are not here to be assaulted by you, America. We are not expendable. Saying that doesn't make us ungrateful, or selfish or racist. It makes us citizens and it makes you accountable. Stop murdering us. Stop excusing our murders. Just stop it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Soulful Sunday - PM Dawn

Damn, the deaths that have happened in 2016 have been unrelenting. Y'all. I am not going to get over losing Prince and the deaths just keep coming. I think that one of the reasons I am so affected is because these folks are so close to my age. Like, I grew up listening to them... going through formative years TOGETHER with them. Take, for instance, this latest loss: Prince Be. Lead singer for PM Dawn. He was 46 years old. My husband is older than that. I am dangerously flirting with turning 40. These are my peers that are passing away. That shit, by itself, is disturbing. Scary. Add in that his music guided me through high school, y'all can see why I am extra upset.

Most folks know about PM Dawn because they were on the soundtrack to the movie Boomerang. That soundtrack made lots of folks famous. I remember when I heard "I'd Die Without You" when watching that movie... man. I had to find out ASAP who was putting out those melodies. Hearing these three featured songs always takes me back to 1991/1992. I was a freshman in high school... and trust me, that is enough explanation. Fourteen years old, trying to figure out love songs. Hot mess.

Music is funny, right? It allows the musician to put themselves ALL THE WAY out there. You don't have to accept who they are-- that is the beauty of differing musical tastes. Prince Be totally flew his "freak flag." I mean, this was the early 90s, folks were not wearing silk hoodies and lace over their eyes, making slow jams with their brother AND the guy whose music they sampled. These songs are beautiful. This is real R&B. Real hip hop. Here is to hoping that Prince Be rests peacefully.

Set Adrift On Memory Bliss I'd Die Without You Looking Through Patient Eyes

Father's Day 2016

Late night contemplations. It is 4:14 am. As I lie in bed with my daughter, listening to her deep, sleepy breaths while running my fingers through her curly hair, I wonder... what makes a dad? I mean, I know what makes a woman a "mother" - carrying a baby to term and delivering said baby. But does that make her a mom? Does that make her do the job of raising a child? Does it make her do that job well? I had a child, so I am mother, but do I embody the idea of being an active, fully participating/functioning mom? Likewise, what makes a dad? Some people in my family have a saying... anyone can be a father, but not everyone can be a daddy. Being a father seems to be merely biological, while being a daddy-- that is where the work is.

A daddy takes care of his family; wakes up in the middle of the night to tend to a sick kid; breaks his back to make sure his family doesn't go without. A daddy works multiple jobs (if necessary), is a cheerleader in all aspects of life-- on the field and in the classroom. A daddy always wants to see his children have better than he did. Selfless. Hard working. Sensitive (even if it is secretly). A daddy is not faultless. He battles with his demons daily so they don't interfere with his ability to care for his family. He swallows his pride almost daily. And that is not an easy pill to swallow. It is like eating two thick ass peanut butter sandwiches on whole grain bread and then realizing that you don't have anything to drink. But he does it.

A daddy cries when his kids are hurt-- hurt by a bully, a love or by a fall. His heart breaks when his child can't be understood. He would take the pain for his kid, if he could. He teaches lessons that he had to learn the hard way. He takes the memories of all the times he felt lonely or unloved, and tries to make sure that his child never feels that pain. He is there to softly soothe the heartbroken, comfort the crying, discipline the naughty. He is everywhere without being (terribly) overbearing. He gives his all. He gives his all-- over and over and over again. His sons use him as a measuring stick to determine how to be men. His daughters use him as a gauge to determine what kind of treatment they should be looking for. He demands respect... and he has more than earned it.

I know the qualifications... because I have seen them met first hand. There have been times- many times- when I wished I had a dad that would lay off, not be so demanding or at least not demand my best, 100 per cent of the time. But where would I be if he was lax about his expectations? Truly, I would not be the person that I am today without my dad. I may be a heathen, y'all, but I thank God EVERY day for my parents. I thank God that he gave me a dad that showed me that I never had to settle to be in a relationship; that I am in charge of my own life. I am thankful that I have a dad who respects my mom. A dad who taught me that loyalty to family is the most important thing someone could possess, a dad that brags about me when I am not around... but never lets my head get too big. I'd be lost without him. He is an answer to all prayers for a caring dad. I am glad that my daughter has hubs and Pops to look to for an example of good men. I am glad that my siblings know that when everyone else is against them, mom and dad will always be there. Thanks for everything you do, Poppa Hot, Black and Bitter. We all appreciate you more than you will ever know. Love and hugs!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Coddled Children, Horrific Adults

You know, things have changed in my life. Dramatic changes. Three months ago I was a housewife, now I am a stay at home mom of one tremendously adorable, chunky baby girl. I still run a household, but the mother part... the mother part changes everything. As a parent; a new parent, I hold the best wishes and thoughts for my daughter. She is not yet two months old and I already tell her that she can do and be anything. And I believe that for her. Hell, I believe that for me. I will raise her with all the insights that I have picked up, all the grace I was raised with, the sassiness, elegance, etiquette and chutzpah I can muster. I will do all that I can to provide her with a proper example of how a LADY is supposed to act. That being said, you never know how that will turn out. I mean, parents don't have a manual. Shit, I wish we did. There is no way to guarantee that your child will be a responsible, caring, empathetic adult. There is, however, a very easy way to make sure your kid will be a terrible adult... coddling them even when they display despicable behavior. 

By now we have all heard of Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer that was convicted of raping an unconscious woman. This "man" will serve six months in JAIL, not prison, three years probation and will have to register as a sex offender. For RAPING an UNCONSCIOUS woman behind a dumpster. So a judge totally kissed Brock's ass with that sentence... possibly because he also went to Stanford. Maybe it was because he wanted the victim to feel some sort of shame. Most likely the judge gave him that sentence because he doesn't have a daughter and/or he is a douche. Just when you thought that the shit pile was as tall as it was going to get, along comes a letter written by Brock's dad, Dan. Dan says that Brock's "every waking moment is filled with worry, anxiety, fear and depression." As they should be, Dan because your kid violated someone who could not say no or fight back. Dan goes on to refer to the rape as "20 minutes of action" and says that "incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock." He knows this because he is his father. Sir, have a stadium full of seats and shut the fuck up. Immediately. 

Also, much has been made about the amount of alcohol that was consumed by the involved parties. Sincerely, I don't care if a woman or man drinks from sun up to sun down. The act of taking advantage of an intoxicated person is criminal. I don't care if a man is drunk and walking down the street naked, if I proceed to have sex with that man I am a rapist. He cannot consent. If there is any situation which precludes someone from saying (and meaning) "Hot, Black and Bitter I am an adult and I want you to do naughty things to me" then I am guilty of a crime. Point blank, period. And, truthfully, my parents would never let me do something as heinous as rape someone and then give me excuse after excuse after excuse so that I could get out of it. They taught me right from wrong, so, if ever I decided to do the wrong thing, my dad would let my ass sit in jail... and I would deserve it. 

Maybe if Dan was more of a hands on father his son would not think it was ok to rape an unconscious woman. Perhaps if Brock had some "appropriate punishment" at some point in life then he would not be in the situation he is in now. Listen, I said it above, I am going to break my back to make sure that my child has everything she needs to be a productive member of society. That said, I will NOT play the ultra devoted parent when my kid admits that she has done something wrong. I am not going to coddle her when she does something wrong because the world will not coddle your children. Well, if your kid is not a white male or a professional athlete the world will not coddle them. My child is neither, but even if she were... I would need her to know that while I love her, I will not cosign horrific behavior. Now Dan wants his son to be able to "give back to society in a net positive way." How about you raise a kid that is not a rapist? Maybe that is how Dan should have given back to society? Whatever happened to parents being parents? Disciplinarians? Moral compasses? C'mon, y'all- make sure your kids are people that we all want to share space with. Make sure that your kids know that bad behavior equals consequences. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Soulful Sunday - Divas of Rap

I often say that I don't like rap music. That isn't necessarily true... I don't like rap music of today. Because it sucks. The end. LOL. No, really, rap music of today does not hold a candle to rap of the 80s and 90s. As Momma Hot, Black and Bitter would say, I'm just not into that "slap your momma, kill your daddy" music. I also can't be down with music where the n word is thrown around, every other word. Can.Not.Do.It. That isn't just nostalgia or my age, honestly. I like(d) the empowerment of the early rap... and the ability to actually UNDERSTAND the lyrics. It was about beats but mostly artists wanted you to be able to HEAR and get what they were saying. Generally what they were saying was 1. get your shit together or 2. they were the best in the business-- and I can get behind both sentiments. They regularly sampled from GREAT music, often touched on pertinent social issues and (generally) had clothes on in videos. Miracle, right? The window for good rap music was the 80s through the year I graduated from high school (1996). After that, the decline was fast and real (sad face). Here are a few rap divas from a time when rap was played on my discman-- that was not that long ago. If the discman was long gone before you were born, sit back and listen to some real rap!

YoYo - You Can't Play With My YoYo

**So listen to my Y-O, here's my bio and next to me, you're not fly, no!**

Monie Love - It's A Shame (My Sister)

**You've been kissed, dissed, listed as a dumb one-- I hope he likes sad songs, he's gonna hum one** NOTE: I want to post this song for some of y'all after I read your Facebook posts... let it go, girl.

MC Lyte - Poor Georgie

**If you love someone you should say it often. You never know when they'll be layin' in a coffin**

Salt N Pepa - Expression

**I'm not a man, but I'm in command; Hot damn, I got an all girl band**

Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y

**Since he was with his boys he tried to break fly. I punched him dead in his eye and said, "Who you calling a bitch?"**

Sunday, May 08, 2016

To Moms Everywhere

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Death of an Icon - Prince

It's been seven hours and thirteen days... since you took your love away.

Almost two weeks ago the world lost an icon and I have been unable to process that loss or write anything about it until now. I don't use the word icon loosely. I know most people do, but the title belongs to Prince. A music icon that legends are written about. An all encompassing beautiful force. A true work of art. I knew it would happen, but it pisses me off that in less than two weeks most people aren't talking about him anymore. Well, they are talking about the fact that he may or may not have had a will. They are talking about whether he had a drug problem. But not many people are talking about what he would want us to talk about... his music. A catalog UNMATCHED.

On a personal level, it wasn't JUST the music that made me love Prince. It was that supreme confidence that he had. Listen, maybe it was because he was short. Maybe it was because he was so unapologetically himself. I'm not sure exactly what it was but from the first bar of the first song that I heard, I was hooked. Age 8. 30 years...the love grew. I mean how could you NOT love a man that is secure enough to wear eyeliner and mascara (after the 80s)? How could you not love a man secure enough to give whole concerts in heels taller than ones that line my closet/whose hairstyles put most women to shame? How could you NOT love a man that routinely featured women in his groups-- as lead singers, lead guitarists, saxophone players, keyboard players and drummers? How could you NOT love a man that was (by most accounts) a self taught musical genius and was a perfectionist about what represented him? How could you not? A man that gave us the most beautiful love song ever (it is Adore, by the way, and no... you don't want to argue with me about that). A man that exuded self confidence (hello, ass out chaps); a man that was Black... and proud.

You know how you can figure out who a true fan is? It is actually easy-- they know more than just the top 40 (popular) hits by a person. They know more than the first album. They know the B-sides that most people have never heard of. They aren't mad that his songs aren't on youtube because they have already PAID for them. These are the people that will remember exactly where they were when they heard that Prince was found unresponsive at Paisley Park. Those same people will know where Paisley Park IS and what it IS. Those same folks will have silently shed tears for their lost friend. Friend... because the music made you realize some shit about yourself. Friend... because the music got you through some shit. Some tough shit. Some world ending shit. Or some new love shit. Or some new beginning shit. Friend... because we realized a long time ago that all of Prince's songs weren't about sex. And some of the ones about sex were about so much more. Friend... because he helped orchestrate the soundtrack of the life you continue to live. Friend... because he lives on through you and the music he left behind. Friend.

How do you say goodbye to a friend?

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Soulful Saturday - Songs For My Daughter

Ahhh - things around the Hot, Black and Bitter Palace have been in full swing as of late. We are officially on Baby K watch. She will be born during the month of April... like we have 10 days until our scheduled c-section. From today. Holy shit. Ten days, ladies and gentlemen. Say more than one prayer for your girl. And for Lefty. He will need it.

I really haven't been a crazy pregnant lady. I swear. Really. I didn't crave weird shit. Lefty works second shift so when I was hungry (which was not that often) he could pick up food on the way home from work- no biggie. And with the exception of the last couple of weeks, I have been even keeled. These last few weeks though- attitude like whoa. I have not been sleeping well. My feet and hands are swollen and this "little" baby is crushing my bladder like she is in a full blown professional wrestling match. Like, ma'am... I have been offsetting the craziness with music, mostly. Now, Baby K has been subjected to car concerts since her hearing developed (what did you expect) but even now that I have been more house bound she has been getting concerts while I elevate these swollen potatoes I call feet, or shower, or do housework, etc. It calms her down. It does!! I started out with some daughter centric songs-- but I have to say, she is going to have fantastic taste in music. In honor of her birth (whenever it is-- babies don't generally wait... even if they have a surgery date) all of the Soulful Saturdays in April will be songs that I sing to her on a regular basis. There are some classics. Yes!!

John Mayer - Daughters

Note: Generally, I think that John Mayer is a douchebag... but he is a talented douchebag and I like this song (and a few others). I still kinda want to punch him in the face. While singing his songs. Is that weird? LOL

Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely

This was one of the first songs that I sang to Baby K on a regular basis. Every little girl should think this song is about her. Every one.

The Temptations - My Girl What can make me feel this way? :)

Donny Hathaway - More Than You'll Ever Know

Seriously, one of the most beautiful songs ever - and yes, I know it is a love song, not like a daughter love song... I don't care. PS. The Marc Broussard version is pretty fucking awesome. You know you want to hear it now...

Sam Cooke - A Change is Gonna Come

Because in 2016 this song is still relevant. More than relevant. And I have to prepare her... already.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Political Race - An Endorsement

It has been a while-- and that has mostly been on purpose. Things around the HBB household have been in full swing. We are preparing for a baby, including getting a nursery ready, being generally uncomfortable all day long and enjoying (not) extra doctor's visits and tests (that is what happens when you are old... no fun). Most of my social media presence has been on Twitter and Facebook so I have seen what has been going on. And, honestly, most of it I have ignored. Vowing that the last few months of this rough ass pregnancy would be drama free. Ah, but it has all come to a head the day after Super Tuesday, or so it would seem. 

So much has happened in the last week-- and we haven't even gotten to the Ohio primary. It seems like American politics are a dumpster, filled with highly flammable shit, next to a warehouse full of matches, with no extinguisher in sight. People who can't decide what cereal to buy at the grocery store now have social media Ph.Ds on the best route for the American people to take and who can get us there. That crazy uncle that your family routinely hides away at holiday dinners is now front and center, giving you the full extent of his racially/culturally insensitive rhetoric, making you question the gene pool you are a part of. And let's not forget the cute little millennials who are hell bent on telling you how to vote, although you have most definitely been of voting age longer than they have been alive. Dumpster fire, y'all. 

Since I am a voter-- a serious voter, like I do not miss anything; if the polls are open, I vote-- I find all the hoopla surrounding this next election super annoying. Like most gyms the first week of January. People come out of the woodwork, they don't know how the gym works and most of them use the machines wrong and get hurt before they see results. I mean, I get it... for several reasons people are super pissed off and want to see some change in how our government is ran. I understand. But how much of these extreme measures are actually helping them get their points across? How many memes FULL of misinformation will float around and actually change someone's mind? How much physical abuse is going to happen before we say enough? How many shitty debates and false promises do we have to sit through? 

Make no mistake, I absolutely speak my mind. I have a favorite. I know who I am voting for on the 15th in the Ohio primary. But I am not actively trying to change people's minds regarding who THEY are voting for. I have republican friends. Lovely, wonderful, misguided republican friends (I kid, kinda). I have friends who love Bernie Sanders. Lovely, wonderful, misguided Bernie fans (I... am not kidding). I don't lose sleep over who my friends are going to vote for. They have their reasons, I am sure. If they become fanatic about posting misinformation, I just delete them from my feeds-- self preservation is what I call that. So all you social media Ph.Ds, crazy uncles and sweet faced millennials should know... it doesn't matter how long we have know each other, or if we are related or if you are really, really cute... I will delete your ass with the quickness if you bombard me with "my candidate is the best, yours is a liar, America is so bad, only so-and-so can make it great again" nonsense. Just like before. Pregnancy has not lessened my ability to press delete rather quickly. (Yay!!) 

For whatever it is worth, my pick? Hillary Rodham Clinton. Lefty and I were talking about her about a year ago and I told him the one reason I didn't think she was going to get elected: people don't LIKE her. She has never been painted as a likable person. Ever. She has always been seen as a woman who constantly oversteps her boundaries, pushes for more than she should, demands so much from people and thinks she is the smartest person in the room. Essentially, I told Lefty that she sounds like me. I like her-- as much as a layperson can like a politician. She has more experience than anyone in the field and she pushes for improvements (things that can ACTUALLY happen) without blowing smoke up my ass. She is sassy and I don't care if you like her or not, Hillary is BRILLIANT. She knows how to work the system-- and we need someone like that. She is JUST enough of a smart ass-- she is not a self entitled billionaire or a crotchety old man. She speaks to the needs that I want addressed and that is why I am voting for her. 

All that said-- there is a debate for the democrats tonight... sweet baby Jesus, I pray that I don't have to hear anything about the size of someone's genitalia, like I did during the last republican debate. 

Friday, January 08, 2016

Fed Up Friday - Caping for the Villians

Ah, 2016. Here you are, just over a week ago some of us were ringing you in with the hopes and promises of being better people-- more awake to everything that goes on around us. Ah, some of us are liars. Horrible liars. Social media tells all. It lets us know who continues to bring the close minded bullshit from previous years to our mental doorsteps... and let me just say, there are a lot of you assholes. You haven't dropped the shit that holds you back. You still spend your day talking shit about situations/people/places you (still) don't understand. You post memes-- misspelled memes-- that espouse your ridiculous stance on whatever your cause of the hour is. Making me sick. Like, more than morning sickness... making me physically ill.  Prime example: the events of today.

Today is R. Kelly's 49th birthday. How do I know this? Because a radio station in Columbus told me so, several times. Listen, I cannot even pretend that I didn't rock to R. Kelly in the 1990s. He was everywhere and his shit was grand, hear me? Grand. One of my college roommates loved R. Kelly. In the broke days of college, when you actually had to go and purchase CDs at the store when they came out, I am not ashamed to say that I stood in line a couple times. But that, friends, was the 90s. The unnamed radio station in Columbus played some R. Kelly hits AFTER playing portions of an interview where Mr. Kelly got angry at the reporter for bringing up several past allegations of sexual abuse of minors. And THAT is why I don't fuck with R. Kelly anymore. Sexual abuse of minors. Several minors. He has a penchant for young girls. Man, what?

You know who else seems to have a thing for young girls? Some dude named Tyga. I don't know what he does, but I am guessing he is some kind of musician. He looks like a weird underfed rat. Whatevs. I guess that he has hooked up with one of the young(er) KarTRASHians, before her 18th birthday, and has been caught sending direct messages to a 14 year old on Instagram. Fourteen. He has men all up in arms talking about "that girl doesn't look 14..." Tyga claims that he contacted her because she is a musician. She says that in the direct messages he NEVER mentioned music. Uh huh.

And then there is the biggest news story in all the Black world-- Bill Cosby. Cosby is STILL in the news regarding his drugging and raping women for DECADES. Fifty plus women have come forward, with stories that are close to the same, claiming that the man who gave us The Cosby Show takes advantage of women. This week his attorney, who is a Black woman, hit the airwaves to profess his innocence- on a case by case basis it seems. She is leaving all kinds of reporters in her wake, which is impressive to some. Me, not so much, but hey lawyers have to mount a good defense for their clients, right?

Let me tell you WHY these three stories are annoying. R. Kelly is getting praise for his music and people tend to forget his shady ass past. Tyga has been given a built in excuse that the girl he is talking to through direct messages doesn't LOOK her age. Bill Cosby is given a pass because he is supposedly "America's Dad" because of a show that was on the air 25 years ago. I call bullshit. Why can't we just say that while R. Kelly WAS talented but we refuse to compensate him for "musical talent" when he is abusing the future mothers of our community? Why complicate the matter? Why continue to put money in his pockets when some of y'all have seen the video of him pissing on a young girl? Why can't we see this direct message debacle as a pattern for Tyga? Instead of looking at the girl in the situation and giving him a built in excuse, why not just say he has approached and "dated" an underage girl before and he is probably trying to do that shit again? Why blame that little girl and her mama, when the real blame belongs on the grown ass man that is sliding into her DMs trying to get her number?

And then there is Cosby. Sir, I need you to take a seat. A stadium full of seats. I mean, I don't care who you are, if 50 different people come up to me and tell me you are an asshole, guess what I think of you before we even meet? I'm supposed to give you a pass because you had a hit show in the 80s and 90s? And to all the conspiracy theorists... stop it. This is not happening to Bill Cosby because he wanted to buy NBC. This is happening to Bill Cosby because he thought he was above the law and could do whatever the hell he wanted. He has said that in the past he has given drugs to women and then proceeded to have sexual contact with them. He said it. So now that he has a capable Black woman at the helm, I'm supposed to give him the benefit of the doubt? I wonder how he would have treated her 30 years ago if she wanted to be an actor? Ewww.

Why are we so easily tricked into forgiving and forgetting? Why do "celebrities" make us lose our moral compass? Why are we caping for the villains instead of weeping for and helping the victims?

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