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Saturday, August 28, 2010

What Happened To Black-On-Black Love?

What’s happened to Black-on-Black love?

Seriously, what’s wrong with a Black man loving a Black woman? Why is it considered a bad thing to see two people of the same race in a loving, caring relationship nowadays? What is so wrong with wanting to love someone of your own race? What’s wrong with wanting to see a picture of a black couple holding each other? Why does that image disturb and upset so many? More importantly, why does it disturb and upset so many Black people these days?

Seems like everywhere I go the Black folks want to have a relationship with anyone but each other. Black men want White women, Hispanic women, or Asian Women. Black Women want relationships with White men, Hispanic Men or Asian men. When Black men speak of their experiences with Black women they call sistas bitches and hoes and say a having a relationship with them is the most horrible thing that happened in their lives. When Black women speak of their experiences with brothers, they call them lying cheating dogs and say there’s nothing worse than a relationship with a triflin’ no good Black Man. I’m wondering why is there such enmity between Black men and Black women these days? How did this rift happen and where did all the love go between brothers and sisters?

Relationships between Brothers and Sisters are in a sad state of affairs. When it comes to black-on-black love, it seems it’s not about how much love two people can share with each other, it’s more about how much abuse two people can endure from each other nowadays. Instead of seeing love as an beautiful experience that brings people together, brothers and sisters these days seem to see love as a game of humiliation and one-upmanship. Lying and manipulating seem to be the basis of a romantic relationship instead of open honest communication. Cheating between partners is considered normal and acceptable. Black people nowadays seem to say I love you with contempt for each other. Even basic social interactions between black men and black women are so adversarial and confrontational now. Smiling or paying a compliment to a brotha or a sista in the street is likely to get met with a scowl or a profanity filled response. I’m wondering where all this hostility came from and why can’t black people can’t show love towards each other.

I know it wasn’t like this a generation ago. I hear stories from older brothers and sisters talking about old school Black-on-black love. They tell their stories with pride and passion about brothers and sisters coming together and sharing their hearts and souls. They talk about how black men found Black women beautiful and how Black women found Black men handsome. They talk about remaining together throughout the good times and the bad. They talk about loving black and having long-lasting lifetime relationships where love grows stronger as times and people changed. They talk about how black people were kind and civil towards each other; how a kind word was often met with a smile and thanks. Those days feel like a different age.

Today black-on-black love feels like it’s an endangered institution. It’s sad that a lot of Brothers and Sisters don’t care for each other the way we used to. Truly it’s a tragedy that we don’t see value in a human being who has the same skin color as us. That we don’t care enough about our brothers and sisters enough to see them as someone who we’d like to share a relationship with. That we don’t love ourselves enough to see each other as attractive, desirable partners and companions. When black men and women can’t see black love as beautiful it weakens the integrity of the Black community and undermines the structure of Black America.

Love can’t grow out of the seeds of hatred. Rooted in the corrupted fruits of this growing animosity between brothers and sisters is a poison that is slowly destroying the soul of Black America. If Black people can’t find love of themselves amongst themselves, then they won’t find it elsewhere. No one else can love Black unless Black loves itself.

While it may be bleak right now, I’m not giving up on black-on-black love. I want to find love with a black woman. To me, Black is beautiful and nothing gives me a greater joy than the sight of a beautiful black woman. It makes me proud to see a black man and a black woman sharing black-on-black love with each other. The image of a Black man and a black woman together warms my heart. To see someone who looks like me sharing an intimate moment such as holding hands, in a warm embrace or a passionate kiss, to me is a beautiful thing. I know it’s out there, and I know one day I’ll discover it.

There’s nothing like Black-on-black love. The energy shared between a black man and a black woman who loves themselves and loves each other is indescribable. It’s an aura of that radiates and glows so brightly; the only way to understand it is to be a part of it. Black-on-Black love is a beautiful experience that every black person should have at least once in their lives. Unfortunately so many brothers and sisters hate each other nowadays they’ll never know the joy of Black love like their grandmothers and great-grandmothers did.

So I ask again: What happened to Black-on-Black love? And why can’t more brothers and sisters find it?

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Happened To Black Pride?

What happened to Black Pride?

I’m still trying to figure it out. When did it become okay for a black man to call himself a nigger? When did it become okay to for a black woman to refer to herself as a bitch and a whore? When did black men stop loving black women? When did Black women stop loving Black men? When did Black stop being beautiful?

I don’t know, somewhere between the O.J. Simpson trial, the Million Man March, and Barack Obama getting elected as President, African-Americans lost their sense of direction. Worse, African-Americans lost their sense of community and unity. Black America, once a proud group of strong independent people, are now lost confused individuals trying to figure out who they are and where they want to go.

The self-image of Black America is in shambles. African-Americans no longer take pride in being Black. Brothers and Sisters no longer want to see black movies, read black literature, or study black art anymore. When African-Americans look at their reflections in the mirror these days, they no longer see intelligence, beauty, grace, courage and character inside themselves like their forefathers did. That’s now considered “Acting White”. Instead, being black is viewed by many now as something hideous, something ugly, something to hide in shame.

As brothers and sisters turn their back on their history and their culture, an identity crisis is forming within the African-American community. In a mad quest to redefine “Black” brothers and sisters are trying on new caricatured identities made up by White Corporate America. Prison culture, street culture, Thug culture, gangsta culture, Hip-hop culture, intellectualism, Poverty culture, and hedonistic sexual culture are competing to supplant the traditional progressive African-American identity and putting the Black community at a cross roads. In all these individual faces it’s hard to tell who is the real “Black”? What is truly “Black”? No one really knows anymore, and no one can figure it out.

All I know is that as a result of all this confusion Black people don’t take pride in being Black anymore. It’s tragic that young brothers and sisters don’t see being African American as something positive in an age of Black college graduates, multiple African-American Oscar winners, African-American CEOs, African-American executives and an African-American President. When I see the shameful behavior most African-Americans participate in these days it deeply saddens me to see how much the Black community has regressed in the face of so much progress. Among the masses in the Black community it’s like the clock has turned back to the Jim Crow period. Instead of working towards a way to uplift the race like protecting and preserving African-American institutions for the next generation, African-Americans celebrate and glamorize the worst behaviors such as committing crimes, African-American entertainers and athletes embarrassing themselves, or people participating in degrading acts equal to Jim Crow stereotypes. It’s like Coon is the new Black.

Sadly many brothers and sisters these days are taking their freedom for granted in this age. In their complacency they don’t understand how valuable the opportunities we’ve fought for and continue to struggle to achieve are. Maybe if they were aware of how many people died and sacrificed to establish those freedoms they have, they’d appreciate the privileges they waste.

It hurts my heart to watch as the most independent and affluent generation of African-Americans in history throw away chances people even twenty years ago would kill for. Every day I read about how young black men and women throw away opportunities at High School, college, multimillion dollar sports contracts, and well-paid jobs to become prisoners, criminals, and glorified prostitutes. How brothers and sisters who achieve financial success squander their riches on riotous living instead of using that capital to developing their resources into wealth. How little brothers and sisters value their lives and the lives of each other that they continue to murder each other over sneakers, jewelry and just for a look. Because Black people don’t love being black and value themselves as human beings they can’t appreciate how blessed we all are to live in this era.

In 2010 African-Americans have all the materials to build the black America into one of the most powerful institutions in the United States. Unfortunately, because African-Americans don’t see Black as beautiful they can’t come together as a community. Without a sense of self, a love of self and an understanding of self, brothers and sisters continue to wander aimlessly without direction and without focus. If the blind, lost and confused continue heading down this self-destructive road, I have a feeling that the entire Black community is going to wind up in a ditch.

So I ask again: What happened to Black Pride?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Determination, Hard Work, & Support Equal Success

Remember that Commission project I blogged about a few months back? Well, this is the finished product of that project:

Determination, Hard Work and support Equal Success

ISBN 978-0-557-46774-7
Retail Price $13.00

Determination, Hard Work, & Support Equal Successthe memior of the author on her journey from the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis to college graduate. Very powerful, very moving, and very inspiring. We need more stories like this on the bookstore shelves. I'm doing what I can to get the word out about this story.

Kimarah is a smart hardworking sista who has come a long way to achieve her goals at Monroe College and as a self-published author. I'm asking everyone to support her first book with a sale.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The tragic story of Montana Fishburne- This Sista NEEDS an INTERVENTION

A few months ago when I was promoting All About Marilyn, I wrote about the differences between Hollywood in Black and White. I detailed how there were actually four Hollywoods, and how each was separate and unequal. Sadly, even some brothers and sisters in Hollywood don’t understand this, nor is this information being passed down to the next generation.

Reading Montana Fishburne’s story about how she hopes to achieve fame, it’s clear her famous father Lawrence Fishburne didn’t teach her about how color taints the perceptions of people in the entertainment industry, or how the porn industry destroys people’s lives. This poor child has no idea her quest for fame and success is over before it even starts.

Rather than take the time to learn the craft of acting and paying dues in college, off-Broadway theater, and bit parts in low-budget films the way her father did, 19-year-old Montana Fishburne has decided to take what she thinks is a short cut to fame like her idol Kim Kardashian. Too bad she wasn’t told about the reflexive properties of Institutional Racism and White Privilege in the entertainment industry and how these principles will prevent her from achieving her dreams of instant fame.

While Montana Fishburne and Kim Kardashian come from similar wealthy Hollywood backgrounds, Kim Kardashian has advantages she doesn’t have. First off, Kim Kardashian has White Privilege. This means, no matter what degrading acts she participates in such as starring in sex tapes, she’ll always allowed a second chance by society because she is a White American. If Ms. Kardashian tomorrow decided she wanted to become a moral upstanding person, White society would embrace and accept her because White Americans are allowed second chances.

However, as an African-American Montana Fishburne does not have that luxury. By participating in a pornographic film she’ll be seen as another black Jezebel, a lascivious woman with an insatiable appetite for sex. At 19 her reputation will be tarnished in the eyes of both black and white in society, and she’ll be branded a whore by the American Public.

Second, the racist institution that is the entertainment industry embraces Kim Kardashian with open arms because she has white skin and perpetuates the “ideal” standard of beauty. In spite of her irresponsible behavior, and lack of talent or skills, she’s going to get the reality shows, press in tabloids and media circus because she’s a rich White female and other white females aspire to have her wealth and fame.

A sista like Montana Fishburne on the other hand will receive a short burst of infamy like Karrine Steffans and former child star Jamiee Foxworth did for their work in pornographic films, and will quickly fade into obscurity. At 19, Fishburne doesn’t understand that the institutionally racist entertainment industry does not view Black women in a positive light, nor does it have any interest in making an African-American woman famous or successful. Since the Antebellum South, African-American women are either categorized as one of two stereotypes by the media: The Mammy or the Jezebel. Neither of these racist ideals is what any black woman aspires to be, and participating in a pornographic film just further reinforces the Jezebel stereotype in America’s eyes regarding her and other black women. Sistas who participate in pornographic films don’t get the reality shows, press in tabloids, or a media circus like the white girls who star in the sex tapes. Instead of fame and success, all most black women get for their fifteen minutes of scandal-ridden fame is ignored. Seriously, when was the last time anyone talked about Karrine Steffans or Jamiee Foxworth? How many tabloids were they on recently? And how famous did either become a year after their scandals hit the press?

Poor Montana Fishburne probably also hasn’t been told about the short shelf life of an adult entertainer. The fame and success she thinks she’s going to get with this pornographic movie will be extremely short-lived. Usually, the average porn actresses’ career lasts only three to six months, and talent is routinely turned over for new fresh faces coming off the Greyhound Buses on 7th Street. By the end of December, Vivid will probably release Chippy D and by February she’ll be completely forgotten by everyone. It’s the nature of the business.

But there is a light at the end of this tragic tunnel.

Like Vanessa Williams and Jayne Kennedy, Montana Fishburne can turn this around and be a very successful at whatever she chooses to do.

Right now, I believe Montana Fishburne needs an intervention. At 19, she doesn’t know much about life. Her immature statements comparing herself to Kim Kardashian and her decision to sign a contract with a pornographer like Vivid Entertainment show that she’s is in desperate need of guidance from Black Hollywood. Montana needs to be taken aside by strong black actresses like Angela Bassett, Taraji Henson, Tyra Banks and Queen Latifah and talked to about the ramifications of what she’s doing to herself and how her actions will affect how other black women will be seen. She needs to be mentored by sistas who have endured sex scandals like Vanessa Williams and Jayne Kennedy so she can learn firsthand how they overcame and persevered to achieve success later on in their lives. She also needs to be educated on the racist images of Jezebel and Mammy by older wiser, sistas like Maya Angelou on how these stereotypes are perpetuated in our community and how they are used to destroy a sista’s self esteem and give all black women a negative self-image.

I really feel someone needs to give her a copy of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God so she can understand how Black women are the mule of the world.

Seriously, At nineteen, Montana should be thinking about college, not being a celebrity. If sista wants to have a career as an actress, she should be working on her craft in a college theater or work in low-budget films. She shouldn’t be focusing on trying to be a no-talent tabloid celebrity like Kim Kardashian. She should be focusing on being the best Montana Fishburne she can be.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dying on The Edge- A Romantic Voodoo Murder Mystery

Sharing a great book I just read written by Francine Craft.

Dying on the Edge

ISBN: 1604943378
ISBN-13: 978-1604943375
Suggested Retail Price $ 13.45

Dying on the Edge is a solid murder mystery with lots of great twists and turns. I’m hoping this is the start of a series; Carroll City’s multi-cultural detective squad is a great cast of characters. I’m looking forward to reading another story featuring Frank, Hux, Boots, and Yee.

Actress Maggi French has been found dead in her loft. Detective Frank Ryman is under pressure from Politicians and police brass to solve the murder. As he continues his investigation we learn about Maggi’s involvement in Vodoo, and an affair with prominent Carrol City Citizen and movie mogul Kurt Wilder. As Frank and his squad sifts through a menagerie of suspects, readers will have no idea who the real killer is until the last chapter!

Dying on the Edge is a gritty hard-boiled detective story which reminded me of my favorite TV police drama NYPD Blue. The multidimensional complexity of Frank Ryman reminded me so much of Andy Sipowicz from that show; I loved how Craft explored Frank’s relationships with his his detectives as they worked on the case in and out of the stationhouse. Throughout the story I got to know Frank as a person and loved the character development as he interacted with his ex-wife Sofia and Jaysa, his current love interest. Frank had a lot of sensitivity, compassion patience and understanding, along with a drive to be fair, that’s not something readers see in most detective characters.

I really enjoyed this story; Craft writes a solid mystery with a diverse and unique array of suspects and numerous surprises. Her research into Voodoo and police work is meticulous and blends seamlessly into the storyline. The way she describes Carroll City it’ a fascinating place I’d definitely like to learn more about.

I highly recommend Dying on the Edge. It’s a top notch murder mystery!