Friday, October 12, 2012

No Country for Brides That Don't Want to Wear Quinceanera Dresses on Their Wedding Day




The following is an email that I sent to my girlfriends a few weeks ago. As of today, less than 2 months until my wedding day, I still do not have a wedding dress. Jesus wept.


Ladies, today was the first day when I honestly felt that I would not find a wedding gown. And when I say, "would not find a wedding gown", of course I don't mean that I'm going to be at the wedding in some jeans. I mean, a dress that I would actually want to wear would not be on my body. After looking off and on since January (or thereabouts) and devoting most of my summer to actively going from shop to shop, trying on dress after dress, I've gone to every place that I know to go. As you probably already know, about 6 weeks ago, I took to the internet and went hard in the paint. I've explored having the dress of my dreams made. None of these things have yielded any desirable results. And the whole time, I thought, "I don't care. I'm gonna get MY dress."

Today, for the first time, I felt completely defeated.  

The thing is, there's this one Nicole Miller dress that I wanted more than that one Vera Wang White from a while ago, and even more than the first dress with the asymmetrical ruffled skirt that I tried on toward the beginning of this year... But I don't necessarily believe in "one dress for one bride". Similar to how I don't believe in one soul mate for one person. I know opinions (especially among women) vary on both of these subjects. And the soul mate thing is a whole other conversation for another time, but I'll just say that as a person that is decidedly more "head" than "heart", I believe that logically, math dictates that there can never be just ONE of any possible match. I could be happy in a number of dresses, I'm sure. I just have no clue as to where those dresses are.

At this point, I am about 97% sure that I'm going to end up in a dress that I don't care about, don't care to see, document, preserve, or think about when the wedding is over. Unless awesome dresses start raining down from the sky. This is sad, because though I was confident that I wasn't going to do the bridal cry when I found the dress that I wanted to wear, I at the very least wanted to like what I would have on. I guess life isn't fair.

All of that is to say, I suppose I'm still looking, 'cause, I can't wear jeans. I mean, I could. I probably should. But, anyway. Because I'm completely over looking for a dress, probably permanently underwhelmed, and just ready for this to be over, I'll probably be asking you for your opinion more than ever. Since my idea of what is attractive clearly isn't shared by bridal gown designers, manufacturers, retailers, and wearers, I have no idea of what "looks good" anymore. It's all ugly, white, and beaded, to me, so I'm just trying to find the least ugly of the bunch. I guess it's sort of like adopting a puppy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Reason [I Suspect] As to Why I Haven't Gotten My Security Deposit Back



As you may recall, my former landlord is an incompetent jerk. You remember that time he acted a fool when my rent check got lost in the mail and that other time when I gave him 30 days written and verbal notice that I was vacating my apartment (per the terms of my month to month lease and in compliance with California state law) and he acted like he had a problem with that? This is the man that often took forever to make repairs, dragged his feet about scheduling time to do a final walk through of my apartment once I'd moved out, and finally, showed up 45 minutes after the mutually agreed upon time. Well, it's been over six months since I moved out, and (SURPRISE!) this fool hasn't returned my security deposit to me.

According to California state law, a landlord must return a tenant's security deposit in full within 21 days of the last day of occupancy. Typically, that 21 day countdown starts on the day of the final walk through. If the landlord is withholding any part of the security deposit, he or she must notify the former tenant in writing with an itemized list of deductions. So, if you kicked a hole in the wall or stole a light fixture, your landlord would have to send you something that basically says, "I'm deducting such and such amount for the repair of the thingamajig." In my case, the apartment was in excellent condition and thoroughly cleaned. Of course it showed of a reasonable amount of wear and tear which is understandable with 3 years of occupancy. However it didn't need much done to it in preparation for the next tenant. Perhaps a coat of paint.

I had paid my final rent, trusting that despite his shoddy track record, he would do the right thing and pay what he owed in a reasonable amount of time. But, as R. Kelly so eloquently stated, "Haters gon' hate. Ballers gon' ball," and true to his character, my landlord did not do the correct and proper thing. I wrote him a nice email, as a reminder that he owed me some good money. No response. This is the point at which I started calling him. And of course, he participated in shade and didn't answer his phone. He didn't respond to my messages. He was a sucka emcee. But I really want to call him something else. But I won't, 'cause my Mama raised me right.

One day, my fiance called him and cursed him out. I think he did it in Spanish. My landlord called me, damn near crying (like a little bi-- Oh... I said I wouldn't call him somethin' else. Nevermind). He was a fountain of excuses. He was offended that I would take such measures and almost went as far as to say that my fiance doesn't know his life. I told him, "Listen. That's the man I'm marrying and currently residing under the same roof with. It is absolutely his business. He doesn't have to know your life. You owe me. So, you owe us. Cough up the dinero, compadre." And then he started with the promises to pay. "Just give me some time," he said. That was back in June.

So, now I have to sue him.

Really, ain't nobody got time for that. But, I have to do what I have to do, mostly out of principal. I've been living without that money for a long time and [thankfully] I hadn't hinged any dreams on it or made any plans for it. That money would be extra. But the point is that its MINES. Not his. So, now I gotta take attention away from things that I want to do to go deal with some foolishness that I shouldn't have to. Such is life.

Here's the thing though. I have a theory as to why he "hasn't been able" to return my security deposit to me. Remember that one time last summer when Ashley Catharine McGinty (also known as "That Girl") came to stay in my spare bedroom and proceeded to make messes and not clean up after herself, try not to pay rent, and finally not return my house key to me once she left? Well, about a week after I had moved out of that apartment, I stopped by the premises to check and see if there were any random pieces of mail for me that may have been mis-delivered to the old address... And I saw that someone had already taken up residence in my old apartment. Hmmm.

This struck me as strange since, as far as I knew, my old landlord had not advertised the apartment as vacant and it was still the middle of the month. Surely, at that point, he hadn't had any time to prep the apartment for a new tenant. For someone to be occupying the place within a week was just...

Hey. I suspect that That Girl (who, as far as we know, still has my keys), let herself into the vacant apartment  once the coast was clear and took up residence. Listen. Stranger things have happened. And with a squatter in the unit [and California laws regarding tenancy being what they are] there would be no way to swiftly order an eviction, physically remove the unwanted occupant, and rent it out to a new tenant. Therefore there would be no way to obtain a new security deposit or collect any rent... And maybe no way to return my deposit to me. With his broke behind. I'm just sayin'.

As you can see [and probably already knew], my life is full of the finest foolery. Now, excuse me while I go write a check to Southern California Edison in the amount of $.57. Good day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

100 Thousand Poets for Change at A Mic and Dim Lights

This Thursday, September 27th at A Mic and Dim Lights in Pomona, I will be performing along with a small but deadly gang of talented poets in 100 Thousand Poets for Change. It's a special night of poetry organized by David A. Romero in conjunction with the grassroots educational organization, 100 Thousand Poets for Change. The organization was originally conceived by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, as a worldwide set of events to take place either simultaneously or at different points throughout the year. Future plans for the organization involve raising funds to help poetry, music and other arts organizations world-wide organize peace and sustainability events.

The evening promises to be inspirational and memorable, thanks in part to an opening feature set from Mic and Dim Lights founder and host BessKepp and music provided by in house DJ, JB. I'm excited to be a part of this event and stand in solidarity with a diverse group of poets around the world, gathered to promote serious social, environmental, and political change. I hope you'll join us.


A Mic and Dim Lights Presents 100 Thousand Poets for Change
300 W. Second St. 
Pomona, CA 91766
Thursday Sept. 27, 2012
9pm
$3



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Cost of Stupidity

I got this out of my mailbox the other day:


Let's talk about this. First of all, I haven't been a customer of Southern California Edison in over 6 months. In March, I moved to a part of Los Angeles that they don't provide power to and therefore had to discontinue my service with them and take up with the Department of Water and Power (who I hate, for good reasons that I don't have the energy to get into). Southern California Edison sent me my final bill, probably in April. I paid it. We're done. Sooooo... what the hell is this?

Second: I don't even have an account with them. It was closed in April. So, again I ask... What the hell is this? Third: Even if I still had an account with them, in the span of six months how would I manage to only owe them .$57? FIFTY SEVEN CENTS. And that is the total that they arrived at after a $.06 discount. Wait a minute. This is a joke, right?

So, wait. Not only do I mysteriously owe them the absurdly minuscule amount of $.57 on an account that hasn't been active for half a year, but they were generous enough to apply a discount to an amount that was so important that they had to generate a bill, utilize good paper and ink, and apply postage so as to collect these funds. 

This reminds me of the time a few months ago when AT&T was sending me bills in the amount of $0.00 for months after I had canceled my internet service. These utility providers are like pushy ex-boyfriends who can't accept that you don't want anything they have to offer anymore. I don't have any energy for harassment from companies in the form of false bills, unnecessary paperwork, and junk mail. Please, go die in a fire.

The most ridiculous part of this entire scenario is that it probably cost Southern California Edison more than $.57 to send me this stupid bill. My plan is to call them up and do a dollars worth of cussin'. 



Monday, September 17, 2012

So... Yeah



Remember when I called myself participating in the "Blog a Day" challenge back in August? Well, forget all about that. [insert sigh here] Listen people, you're gonna have to cut me some slack. I'm getting married in a matter of days and I have no dress, my child done turned 13 and is tryin' to get grown all in my face, my computer has an attitude problem, I ain't got no job and have been going on interviews were I have to wait for 45 minutes! Life is hard! I have waist length yarn braids and a household to maintain. And apparently, according to Southern California Edison, I owe them $.57, though I haven't been a customer of theirs in about 6 months. Admittedly, blogging isn't always at the top of my list of things to do. But thankfully, everyday is a new day.

I actually have a couple of things that I've been working on that I will share with you all in the coming weeks and months. Also, in addition to prepping for a lifetime of commitment to my soon to be husband, I'm getting ready to compete in a slam that will take place 6 days after we're married. Who agrees to cut their honeymoon short to go compete in a slam? *points to self* Clearly, I'm out of my mind. And you know that I haven't seriously competed in a slam since 2007, so I have no idea what I'm actually doing, or what came over me. Is this a mid-life crisis? I need answers.

Anyway, as the year's end approaches, there are some exciting things taking place, and I'm not just talking about my own life. I was telling a friend the other day that I really get the feeling that 2013 is gonna be poppin'. "Gonna be poppin'"... That's probably not an acceptable term in the literary world. But, whatever. That's what it's going to be. Poppin'. Tell ya mama, tell ya daddy. The elections are goin' down, folks are getting married left and right, people are starting businesses, being creative on never before seen levels, and making major moves. It's pretty inspirational. I'm trying to be a part of that particular movement. So thank you for your continued readership (or if you have no idea who I am or how you ended up at this blog, thanks for wandering on over), and thank you in advance for partaking in the ramblings, observations, a foolishness to come.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not Buying What You Sellin': The Curious Case of Chavis Carter


Back in the All We Care About is Chick-Fil-A days, I briefly mentioned an incident in which a 21 year old black man by the name of Chavis Carter turned up dead after a run in with the Jonesboro police in Arkansas. After a routine traffic stop and a search, Carter was handcuffed and placed in the back of the squad car. According to officers at the scene, they heard a thumping noise, turned around, and saw the young man dead in the back of the car, where they had placed him. Cause of death: bullet wound to the head.

Supposedly, Chavis had "pulled out a hidden gun and shot himself". With his hands cuffed behind his back. Yeah. Okay.

We're supposed to believe that the officer that searched Chavis missed an entire gun. And this alleged gun was so inconspicuous, that an experienced, trained officer wasn't able to detect it, however, it was accessible enough that a person with their hands cuffed behind their back could quickly retrieve it from it's hiding place and shoot themselves in the head, with no assistance.

Listen, I may have been born yesterday, but it was early in the day. Jonesboro PD needs to stop it with their lies, fallacies, and fairy tales.

Oh, but they won't. Now, they've created a video to demonstrate how an individual could magically produce a gun and absolutely manage to off themselves with their hands behind their back.



See how far wicked folks will go to persist in evil? They're out here making videos. Who even has time for that? They need to exit, stage left with that garbage.

Based on the re-telling of events, Chavis Carter is some sort of magical negro and apparently, this video is the proof. Because, clearly, a Black man mysteriously dying while in police custody doesn't happen, and if it does, sorcery is likely to blame. Chavis' mother is quoted as saying, "...My son wasn't suicidal." I'm sure she would also argue that her son is not a wizard.

Oh, and did I mention that Chavis was left handed? Why wasn't that reflected in the video? To me, the omission of that very important bit of information in this "demonstration" is further proof that these folks are not interested in telling the truth or enlightening the public. This is some bullshit propaganda, meant to satiate those who doubt their story and quell the community's cries for justice.

Nice try Jonesboro PD. We don't believe you. In the words of Jay-Z, "You need more people". However, even if you had them, I would quickly dismiss your supporters as murderous liars who use race to justify use of excessive force.

When You Wait for 45 Minutes to be Interviewed for a Job


Is it just me, or is it rude as hell for potential employers to schedule interviews with applicants for a certain time, and then be ridiculously late? I've been on 2 interviews lately where I showed up at the agreed upon time, only to experience a significant wait.

This one company was doing the most when they had me fill out all kinds of paper work, answer essay questions, beat the kids and mow the lawn, with these crazy wait times in between all of the activities and obstacle courses. I began to wonder if this was a Fortune 500 company, or if I had inadvertently walked in through the wrong door, into the county building. Honey, I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting. And then, they brought my ass back for a second interview (which was really the 3rd and 4th at this point)... and had me waiting again! And they had the nerve to not hire me. Rude asses.

Yesterday, I showed up to a Beverly Hills adjacent office for a 10 a.m interview, and ended up sitting in the lobby for 45 minutes. Come on, ya'll! The heifer that was supposed to be interviewing me came strutting in at about 10:40 a.m, in bermuda shorts, weave all windblown, sippin' on a Starbucks frappuccino. Ma'am. Meanwhile, I had a parking meter that wasn't going to stay fed forever and a child that needed to be picked up from an early dismissal school day across town. Had I gotten a parking ticket or been late to get my kid, I would've been livid. Fortunately, the interview was pretty fast, the vibe was good, and all ended well.

However, I'm leery of employers that are apparently so disorganized, or so disinterested in the fact that you may have a busy day as well, that they can't honor interview times that they have specified. I understand that sometimes a meeting will run late, or you get backed up with your interviews. I've actually been on the other end and know that it's difficult to manage a regular work day and add to the chaos with a parade of applicants. But, that's not really my problem. Similar to how it wouldn't be their problem if I couldn't get my affairs in order in a way that would allow me to show up to my interview on time. There's no doubt that had I come Naomi Campbell cat-walking into their office 45 minutes late, I would have been informed in a very stern manner that I had forfeited my opportunity to interview for the position.

I understand that I'm trying to get something [a job], and they're providing it [employment], therefore it places them in a position of "power"... But let's be fair. A 10 minute wait is respectable, 20 minutes would be acceptable, 30 minutes is questionable... But 45 minutes is unforgivable.

Whenever possible, I try to arrive early to interviews. It is out of respect for people's time, and also because I want to show that I am responsible and can be trusted to exceed expectations when it comes to reliability. I want an employer to take the same care. Try to impress me. I've turned down jobs before, so this isn't a one sided situation! I'm not only out her tryin' to get chose, but I'm choosing. 'Cause if you can't be on time for an interview, what else are you gonna be late for? I can't have anybody dragging their feet about my paycheck or my benefits. No, baby. In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is It Sexist That We Keep Bringing Up Kim Kardashian's Sex Tape?



I was perusing Refinery29, in the same manner that I usually do on a weekday afternoon, when I came across a little article about Kim Kardashian and the fashion industry. It was entitled, "Will the Fashion Industry Ever Accept Kim Kardashian?" which I thought was a valid question, considering that most of her business ventures have been fashion related. I giggled and answered with a hearty, "NO," before I had even given the article a chance to contribute it's 2 cents. In case you were wondering, I was right, and according to the article, the fashion kids on the couture playground will always, always, always pick Kim last for dodge ball games.

The article's author listed Kim K's many successful business endeavors and punctuated it with, " ...all from the seed of a sex tape." I yelped. Jesus wept.

And then, after I was done being tickled, I thought, "Is it sexist that we keep bringing up Kim's sex tape?"

Understand that I'm usually the first to bring it up, randomly, even when nobody's talking or thinking about Kim or the rest of the K-Klan. Every time I see their show or a QVC presentation of one of their atrocious K-Dash "fashion" attempts, or one of them is interviewed, I think, "They all have Kim and her sex tape escapades to thank for all of this stardom." In fact, there was a brief period of time when I felt like maybe I was the only one that remembered that Ray J and K coitus production ever happened. It seemed like everyone had forgotten and maybe it was lost on the public that this was in fact the way in which Kim had been thrust into the spotlight. And yes, I intentionally used the word "thrust".

But recently, I've noticed that people have been bringing it up in a very random fashion, that often has little or nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. Oprah asked her about it in a recent interview. When she did, I had to get up off my couch and stand in front of the TV like I was at Sunday service and the Bishop was doing his good preaching. I felt gratified that someone had finally addressed it. Then, there was this article. However, I can't help but wonder if it would be a different scenario if Kim were a guy. Like, for instance, if this were Ray J in an interview -- well, assuming someone would ever want to interview Ray J to begin with -- would they be asking him about a sex tape he made back during the paleolithic age? By anyone's standards, 2007 was a long time ago. Is the tape still relevant? Are we (myself included) "slut shaming" Kim?

My guess is that the only reason that there is a resurgence in conversation about the tape is based almost exclusively on the fact that Kim has a va-jay-jay and not peen. I doubt that at this point anyone would care enough to bring it up if Kim were male. No one asks Hugh Grant about Divine Brown, nor has that incident been brought up in mainstream media in years. Kobe Bryant caught a case for rape, and yet, no one feels compelled to ask him about it in post game interviews. It happened and it's over and that's the general consensus among the public and the media.

Maybe we should leave Kim alone about it. She says she was humiliated by it. She says it's her biggest regret. Some have speculated that she or even her manager mom is the reason that the tape was released in the first place, but I choose (at least, initially) to believe what people say about themselves and their own lives. According to her, that's not something that she would have intentionally shared with the world. Honestly, I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to have those images of myself out there for all of humanity to see, for all eternity. And I can't imagine how hurtful it would be to have people bring it up for the rest of my life. I'd be mortified.

It's fun to poke fun at people. And yes, I did use the word "poke" on purpose. But, I guess the more mature, compassionate, and feminist part of myself has to say that there's a point when pointing and laughing can cross the line and turn into something ugly, mean, and in this case, sexist. I can't promise that I won't almost always have flash backs to Kim and Ray J sexy time every time I see Kiki. But I'll try not to judge her for the questionable choices she made in her past.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Problem with Wedding Dresses




The problem with wedding dresses is that, in my opinion, they're ugly. Now, that wouldn't be much of an issue if I weren't getting married at the end of the year, and therefore looking for one to wear to this ceremony my fiance and I call ourselves planning. When I walk into a bridal shop, this is what the conversation sounds like:

ME: Hi, I'm looking for a simple, elegant wedding gown.

CONSULTANT: When is your wedding?

ME: December 2nd.

CONSULTANT: OF THIS YEAR!?!?!

ME: Ummm... yeah.

CONSULTANT: OH! WELL IT'S TOO LATE TO ORDER ONE! We'll have to find something for you off the rack.

ME: That's fine.

CONSULTANT: What do you have in mind?

ME: Something simple and modern. Mermaid shaped, ivory, strapless. No beading, no appliques, no lace, to pick ups, no shiny material.

CONSULTANT: *blank stare*

And this results in me leaving the shop, with no dress. Apparently, you have to secure your wedding dress damn near a year in advance, since they have to give the silk worms plenty of time to get it together. Also, notice that all of the "style elements" I hate (beading, lace, foolishness) are exactly the things that a respectable wedding dress is made of. Factor in my budget, which dictates that I will not spend 2/10 of a down payment for a house on a dress that I will wear for a few hours. Anybody that does, I don't know what to say to you. In my world, rent and a car note must be paid regularly, I have no benefactors, and children in Africa are starving. Not to mention that fact that I want my future husband and I to be able to actually live after this little cute wedding situation. And we're not going into debt to impress anybody. So, there. Where the bargain wedding dresses at?!?!!

But not the ugly ones, though.

Actually, it seems that the less poofy and gaudy the dress is, the higher the price. Does that have something to do with minorities and lower class folks and their love affair with cheesy embellishments? I wonder. I want to look well put together on my wedding day. Not like a mountain of sparkly whipped cream. I'm 31, not 3.

I blame this all on these grown ass women who've only ever wanted to be a princess all their lives. Because of them, every dress I try on gotta have a flock of geese and a gospel choir attached to the back. That's not what my life is about. Wedding be damned, it is never under any circumstances my desire to appear as though I may be smuggling a family of midgets under my skirt. No, thank you.

My current struggle has caused me to reflect on my past experiences with weddings and I recently realized that I've never seen a wedding dress that made me want to slap my Mama. When I see women in wedding gowns, I always think, "Oh, pretty. She's getting married," and it has little to do with the dress itself. It's just that she has the garb on and no matter how well it fits, what the style is, or if it aligns with my personal taste, she's a bride and that's beautiful.

Which means that I could wrap myself in a few rolls of toilet paper and shuffle down the aisle with a handful of somebody's front yard perennials in my fist, and nobody would really think twice about it, which is good. That gives me hope that in this sea of ugly wedding dresses, if I can just manage to secure the one that is least ugly, I'm winning.

Never Good Enough


I watched as Gabby Douglas was ranked dead last in her final two Gymnastics events. Lately, in her interviews, she hasn't seem as bubbly as she had, leading up to and at the time of her victories at this year's Summer Olympics. I think it got to her. And by "it", I mean the media and nasty, ugly acting internet trolls and critics.

By anybody's standards, I think I was a pretty sturdy 16 year old. And yet, I was an emotional mess at times. Despite my confidence and irreverence, I, like everyone else wanted to be liked, congratulated, appreciated, and accepted. I was tough, but plenty of people hurt my feelings, even if I didn't show it. I can only imagine how some of the harsh, careless comments about Gabby have hurt her. I think what makes it worse is that so much of it has come from her own people, many of which are women much older than her, who should know better.

A girl's self esteem is nothin' to fuck with.

Not saying that anyone needs to be coddled and told that every single thing they do is amazing. But, being a complete asshole isn't necessary either.

And this is not to say that everyone in the public eye, regardless of race or gender, male isn't at some point on the receiving end of malicious, ignorant, and mean spirited remarks and critiques, but, I feel like Zora Neale Hurston was on to something. Black women do appear to be the mules of the world. It is because of the combined crushing force of racism and sexism that, often times, at least in the media, it doesn't matter what a Black woman does or how great she is. In the end, it will never be good enough.

Maybe it is because I speak from the unique perspective of a Black woman that I am sensitive to the way this chapter has played out for Gabby and plenty others. Maybe no one else sees it. Maybe I'm making it up and nothing is wrong. But I think that the public has done a little damage to her spirit. It is my hope and prayer that it is not a mortal wound, or even one that will leave a noticeable scar... But that it is easily repaired by all who love her.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Beauty of Gabby Douglas


I'll admit, when everybody started going in on Gabby Douglas' hair, I did take a second glance at her edges. However, I quickly dismissed all of the complaints and jokes, because, let's be real... The girl is a professional athlete, competing in an even reserved for individuals at the very top of their sport... How concerned should she be about how fly her bun is at this point? If you were getting busy on the uneven bars, flying through the air at the risk of breaking your neck with one wrong maneuver, would you really care about how closely you resemble a chick on a relaxer box?

Pretty much, no. That's my answer. And I am the head chair woman of the Keep It Cute Committee. I'm a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California. I don't play games about hair. I once told a friend that he needed to reassess his relationship with a woman who came out of the house with her hair lookin' crazy on a Valentine's Day date to a basketball game at the Staple's Center. No! No! No! Nobody do that where I grew at. I'm gonna plan to like this while giving birth:



Don't play with me. But, blog isn't about hair. This is about the beauty of Gabby Douglas, despite the fact that some of us are small minded and can't see past inconsequential nonsense. I love Gabby for the following reasons:

1. 'Cause her name is Gabby and I had a best friend in elementary school with the same name.
2. Because she's Black. And to me, if that's reason enough to vote somebody into office during the presidential campaign, then surely that is enough reason to think a young girl is awesome.
3. Because she has damn near the same face and smile as my middle niece.
4. Because her last name is Douglas so I can very easily convert that to "Thuglas" which you know will come in handy at some point on Twitter.
5. It seemed no one was checking for her, but she swooped in right under the radar and became an instant icon.
6. By all accounts, she's a sweet young lady and a fierce competitor. She's humble, gracious, and credits God with all of her success.

I haven't kept up with Gymnastics in years and didn't know who Gabby was before. Now, we all know her name and she deserves all of the accolades and medals she's earned. I want to thank her for representing young black women in such a beautiful way.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How Childish Liberals Helped Chick-Fil-A Have "The Best Day Ever"




I don't even know where to start with this Chick-Fil-A foolishness. I'm not sure if I find it more absurd that so many people that consider themselves reasonable and intelligent allowed themselves to get so upset by one person's opinion, or that they didn't see the inevitable outcome of a weeks worth of free advertisement, thanks to their non-stop griping. Thanks to the internet backlash concerning Chick-Fil-A COO, Dan Cathy's statement against same sex marriage [confirming what we should have known about a fast food chain that is so holy and devout that they shut their doors on Sunday to observe the Sabbath], the company, reports that yesterday was a "record making day". I said this would happen.

Listen. This is just as much a "Freedom of Speech" issue as it is a matter of Civil Rights. As a person who believes that same sex marriage should be legal in every state, I think it's ridiculous that we would expect someone to lie when asked about their own beliefs. Was he supposed to shrink back and not express his opinion? His Christian faith dictates that he should be bold. Clearly, he has accepted the popular teachings that interpret several parts of the Bible's scriptures regarding homosexuality to mean that it is a sinful practice. Cathy is only in support of "traditional marriage". It's his opinion. Just because someone thinks or believes something doesn't make it fact... But judging from the way so many people reacted, you would think that maybe they feared he might be right and God's judgement would rain down on them at the next Pride parade. If you ain't scared, then why do you care so much? Why validate the wacky imaginings of someone that doesn't know what they're talking about with a new, snarky status update and clever anti-Chick-Fil-A photos on Facebook every other hour?

People played themselves.

Oh, I know why. 'Cause he's a bigot and a homophobe and should be called out on it and ostracized and driven out of town with torches and pitchforks. Ummm, okay. I'm sure his mind is changed now, thanks to you vehemently disagreeing and refusing to buy a banana pudding milkshake from his restaurant. 'Cause you know how strong, negative reactions always work to change your mind.

I have news for you, darling: There will probably always be backward thinkers and bigots. You're going to need to calm down. Despite what should be a sufficient amount of years separating us from the civil rights and suffrage movements, sexism and racism still go hard. If I got worked up every time someone said something stupid about women or black people, I'd be on my 38th aneurysm by now.

I wish that as educated adults, we would have the maturity to be able to ignore fools instead of giving them a platform and a wider audience. Most folks hadn't even been to Chick-Fil-A before every smarty pants liberal yapped about it for a full week. Now, the place has a line around the corner.

I haven't been to Chick-Fil-A in a decade. Now ya'll got me wanting some waffle fries.

By all means, take your hard earned dollars to establishments that agree with you and your politics. If you can't stomach the stance of a company or individual for whatever reason, feel free to refrain from shopping there, eating there, utilizing their services, or purchasing their goods. It's your right. It makes sense.

But, what doesn't make sense is that most of the same people that rolled around on the floor about Chick-Fil-A will absolutely not stop giving their money to countless other companies and entities that are anti-LGBTQ. I get it. It's too inconvenient to change your entire life to match your beliefs.

Therefore, we will all still buy gasoline to keep our cars running (which comes from oil that comes from countries in which it is common practice to execute homosexuals), and we will all still buy goods that are made possible by the magic of child labor and sweat shop work, and so on and so forth. And we will concern ourselves with intermittent internet powered revolts and continue be good, virtual activists.

I decide not to buy from various companies all the time, for reasons that vary. It's rare that I talk about it, as there is no need for discussion. Do you, boo. We don't always need to know.

What we do need to know is why these sensational news stories and memes come around like clockwork and what it is that the media and government may be trying to distract us from. I wonder how much bullshit has gone under our radar since we've been fixated on one person's opinion. What great injustice went unnoticed as we were obsessing over 1 crazy person on a shooting rampage? In a world of 6,973,738,433, surely something else has transpired. I'd be willing to guess that somewhere, someone has been beaten to de
ath for being gay and perhaps a war rages that just this week, has left a fallen forest of bodies, plenty enough to fill a movie theater to the ceiling. It is not accidental that the media repeats the same news stories over and over again. Chances are, while we're all looking over there, something bigger is happening, right out of our line of sight.




I've heard and read more about Chick-Fil-A than I have about Anaheim PD's attacks on unarmed citizens in the past week. Let's address why it is that Jonesboro Police in Arkansas want us to believe that a young black man shot himself in the head while he was in their custody with his hands cuffed behind his back. Let's talk about why, perhaps in the amount of time it's taken you to read this, 4 people have been sexually assaulted somewhere in the U.S., only 2 will report it, and their attackers are likely to never spend a single day in jail. And while we're tending to larger issues, I for one would like to know how we plan on keeping the Earth inhabitable, since global warming pretty much threatens evict us from the planet in a couple of generations.

Someone suggested that, instead of keeping the name of a company that we hate in our mouths, we give the spotlight to local, struggling businesses that are important to us. I want local shops, restaurants, and community events to experience the "record day" Chick-Fil-A had. I want us to be real life activists and stay busy effecting change, regardless of how popular the cause is. As a writer, I want everyone to express their opinions and beliefs, even if I think they're wrong and don't agree with them.

Because negativity shouldn't be too much of a threat to positive, righteous folk.

You can look around and see that the movement toward marriage equality has gone too far to die out. It is only a short matter of time before same sex marriage is legal in every state, so the thoughts of an individual, or a group are somewhat irrelevant at this point. And they know it, too, which may explain their zeal. It's really desperation. You should relax inside and have a cold drink. It's too hot for all of this foolishness.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

30 in 30




I'm posting 30 blogs in 30 days. 'Cause you know I can't pass up a
writing challenge. So, just like with the 30/30 poem a day writing challenge that I do every year for National Poetry Month in April, I'm going to post a little something everyday. Except, this time, it won't be a poem, it'll be a blog. Exciting, right? And it comes just in time, considering the fact that I've spent most of the summer feeling defeated for lack of blogging. It's not that I have nothing to share... I'm just easily distracted. And lazy. And these daggone days rocket by so fast. And it's so pretty outside. So, yes. You will get a blog from me everyday in August. Enjoy it. I may disappear 'til next August after this month is done. I'm kidding! [insert I'm not all the way kidding face here]

Meet me back here, tomorrow for my first official post. It's gonna be hot like fiyah. Or maybe, tepid like faucet water.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Only Boring People are Bored

Don't know what to do with yourself now that your cable service provider isn't offering up any meth cookin' via AMC's Breaking Bad or hot mess courtesy of EBT -- I mean, BET? Well, since you have all of this new found free time, why don't you go ahead and re-make an entire Beyonce music video, like this young fella did? Or, you could just read a book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No Mo' Poems

I made it through April's 30/30 challenge on time, with my mind in tact, and some really decent poems! That's a big ass deal. Join me in praising literary Jesus. Good lookin' out, homie.





I've been participating in the poem a day challenge every year for the past 4 years or so and I've NEVER finished on time. I'm ashamed to admit that there have been years when I didn't finish at all. I feel very accomplished. Thank you everyone who encouraged me with your comments and your awesome poems and writing prompts. I don't think I would've made it through without you. To celebrate, I'm gonna... delete all of my 30/30 poems from this here blog! Hahahahaha! On Friday, June 1st, my 30 poems are gonna disappear. Some of them may show up again on my website or in my next book or some random anthology in the future. Who knows? In the meantime, feel free to read, ruminate, giggle, sniffle, scowl, think in your head that you're actually a better writer than me and I don't know what I'm doing, say so, or don't. I promise not to love you any less.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Best and Worst Month of My Life

It's that time again, folks... National Poetry Month is once again on top of us, grunting and panting like a sex crazed lunatic. This is the best and worst month of my life every year. Best, because I participate in the Poem a Day challenge, where I (and poets all over the world) obviously write a poem a day. Worst because, well, I'm writing a damn poem every day. I will post them here, so if you want to see the inner workings of my diseased mind, or what I've desperately scribbled on the back of a TJ Maxx receipt in a last ditch effort to fulfill my daily assignment, this is the place to be.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What More Can I Say

My sista in Christ and cut up, Ebony Janice emailed me the link to this video. This brutha made my day with his opinions and observations about Black women which were the perfect balance of over the top silly, and honest. While poking fun at us, he also praised us, and pretty much kept it real, exemplifying the smart ass, quick wit, and loving nature that I enjoy so much about Black men.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Because My [Soon to be Former] Landlord is an Asshole

February 10, 2012

Dear [Dumb Ass Landlord That Shall Remain Nameless],

As per the phone conversation that we just had a few minutes ago, I am sending you this email as written notification of termination of my tenancy at [address]. I was very disappointed to hear that you may have a problem with me vacating the apartment by the 10th of March, instead of the 1st. As I stated, had I known on the 1st of this month that I would be obtaining a residence elsewhere, I certainly would have notified you at that time. Also, I have not noted where it states in the lease that my 30 day notice must be given on the first of the month.

Obviously, it goes without saying that it is tradition that an individual would serve notice of their plans to vacate a property on the first of the month. However, in this case, unfortunately that was impossible. One would think that it would actually be beneficial to the owner of a property to have a tenant vacate within a reasonable amount of time after the first, as it would mean that the unit would not have to stand unoccupied for an entire month. It is extremely realistic that you could show the unit to a prospective tenant on or shortly after the 11th of March and have them move in by the 1st of April! Or even the 15th! That actually means more money for you! And yet, you are unhappy.

Based on our previous interactions and my knowledge of your unyielding affection for money, I assume that you will be charging me rent until the 10th of March due to the fact that I am notifying you on the 10th of this month. If I am correct in that assumption, my rent will be prorated and fill your pockets to the tune of something like $419.30. And yet, you seem dissatisfied. This is nothing short of confusing.

I have found that it is impossible for you to be satisfied in most instances. It appears that we can never have an easy, simple interaction, and that is truly sad. From the very first day of my moving in, our business dealings have been fraught with tension. I look forward to lessening the obvious strain that I place upon your sensibilities, and easing my own mind. I have done my best as a tenant to be punctual, respectful, reasonable, and low maintenance. It is my hope that I have cared for your property well and that the next individual or family that occupies my current home will do the same.

Best,
Nikki

Friday, January 27, 2012

For Tuskegee Airmen Who Considered Suicide When the Red Tails Weren't Enuf

The tagline for Red Tails is "Courage Has No Color". However, after watching the movie, I'm clear that apparently foolishness does. When it came out last weekend, I wasn't tripping over my own feet trying to go see it. Here's how it works in the film industry: If a movie comes out after the big Holiday movie season and before all of the summer blockbusters in spring, it is likely to be trash. It's January. All of the extra terrible movies are being released now. We are currently residing in a cinematic wasteland. I knew better.

But a friend had $5 movie tickets and wanted to go see Red Tails last night, so I went. As the opening credits started, I immediately began to regret my decision. If I started to elaborate on the ways in which this movie was horrible, we'd be here 'til Black History Month, and I'm working on brevity in the New Year.

It's important to note that I'm usually the first person to give movies that are based on books or portraying events based on true life a pass. I say, "It ain't a book. It's a movie. You want the whole story? Read the book. Stop being lazy and ignorant. Educate yourself. It's entertainment." But, in light of the fact that this movie wasn't entertaining, I can't even say that. I think it was 2 hours long. If it wasn't, it sure felt like... 3 hours. Long, slow, pointless.

The characters were actually caricatures. I don't know that in my 27 or so years of watching and understanding movies that I've ever seen such glaring examples of poor character development and stale, illogical plot and sub-plot. There were scenes that seemed to literally just end, in the most abrupt manner, and entire scenarios and conversations that had absolutely no resolution. There were shots that looked like they were mistakenly edited into the movie. The opening credits were obviously produced in the most low-tech manner possible. The acting was disastrous. And what was up with the overly triumphant music at the most inappropriate times? I felt like I was being Punked. Surely, this cannot be a real movie. In fact, I'm gonna just choose to believe that this was an extended Saturday Night Live sketch.

How else do you explain the absurdity? One fighter plane shoots a couple hundred rounds at a battle ship and destroys it? A Black man walks into an all White establishment during World War II, at the height of segregation, and gets angry enough to fight when they call him a nigger and tell him to go home? Sir, were you just transported here in a time machine?

One of my friends said that she heard someone say, "Medea might as well had been flying one of them planes." I agree. Hey, why not?

The inconsistencies and lack of plausibility regarding most of the events in this movie are abundant and embarrassing. Which makes it even more offensive that the love interest in this movie with a cast of 100 Black men was Italian. Now, this is where people have tried to point out to me that they were on an army base in Italy and therefore it's only logical that the love story would be between a Black man and a White woman. However, that holds no weight when you consider how fictionalized this movie was. They could have easily written a Black female nurse into the story as the love interest, and it wouldn't have seemed out of place in the midst of all of the other fairy tales and fallacies. A cartoon unicorn and giant talking squid wouldn't have been out of place in this movie. So why not cast at least one Black woman?

They didn't want to. In a movie where one of the lead characters declares that the Italian woman is "the most beautiful woman I've ever seen" and shortly thereafter, when they receive new planes, another pilot says, "I've never seen a girl prettier than this," the attitude toward Black women is made painfully apparent. I've watched plenty of war movies in which the "sweetheart back home" is talked about, represented through photographs, dreams, flashbacks, a handwritten letter, and even brought into the story by cutting to scenes depicting the soldier's homes in the states. You mean to tell me that none of these Tuskeegee Airmen had mothers, sisters, favorite aunts, daughters, wives, bottom bitches, or jumpoffs back home? To a thinking person, does it really seem all that unrealistic that a love story with a Black woman as the object of desire was impossible to tell?

And while we're on the subject of race and discrimination... Is the movie going audience ever going to get tired of "The Evil German"? I, for one am worn out and wish that sterotype would go away.

I wish Terrence Howard would also go away. I don't think it's his fault that he's the go-to for all things Black Cinema, but he's definitely been over exposed. We need to find other actors to cast. I'm sure there are plenty. Let that man have a seat. And stop digging Cuba Gooding Jr. up out of the ground or wherever we keep finding him at. We should know by now that no good can come of giving him a leading role in anything. In fact, had I known that he was in this movie, I would have just flat out refused to go see it.

You may ask how it is that I didn't know that Cuba Gooding Jr. was starring in Red Tails. My answer is simple: I'm not up on everything. I stay pretty ignorant to most of pop culture and honestly, just about every time I tune back in, I regret it. I hear that this movie was a labor of love for George Lucas and took him a quarter of a century to bring to fruition. That's really sweet. However, Red Tails was terrible. From beginning to end, plot to acting, it was not fit for human consumption. It was similar to Tyler Perry's stabbing and hacking at Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf". No, actually, it was worse. And not for a second do I believe that George or Tyler were being malicious in their attempts to bring these stories to the big screen. On the contrary, I know that their intentions were good. Admirable, in fact. But that doesn't excuse the inferiority of the product.

Come correct, or don't come at all. It is a simple request that I don't think Hollywood is going to respect when it comes to Black films. However, that is my stance. For now, I wash my hands of "Black Cinema". I'm done. I can't bear to subject my eyes to it any longer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thank You, Dr. King



Every morning, during the 7 minute drive to her school, my 12 year old niece, Naomi and I discuss what we are grateful for today. Today, she was grateful for having been born in the United States of America where, as a female child, she is relatively safe and enjoys many rights and amenities that other little girls around the world may not. Today, after reflecting on Dr. King's legacy for most of the day yesterday, I expressed that I have a renewed appreciation for the man that he was. Good Lord, that man was charismatic, brilliant, eloquent, passionate, and dedicated! Often times, we forget about the complexities of his character and take for granted just how bold and outspoken he was on the issues of race and war. But when you really sit down and think about it, watch his speeches, study his life, read his words, you can easily be overwhelmed by his spirituality, humility, power, bravery, and intellect -- or at least I am.

I LOVE ME SOME KING! And in my explanation of why I'm grateful for him, I said to Naomi, "He went hard in the paint for Civil Rights."

HARD IN THE PAINT!
YES!

In fact, if you don't know what going hard in the paint is, look at Dr. King. That man was arrested something like 30 times for Civil Disobedience. A thug for peace! He entered Morehouse College at 15! He won the Nobel Peace Prize at 35. Seriously? You just gon' do the most at all times and be all that you can be, Martin? Oh, okay.

This man makes me want to step my game up in a major way. I'm like, "WHAT THE HECK AM I DOIN' WITH MY LIFE?"

Thank you Dr. King... Not just for the sermons, speeches, and the marches... But for being well read. Thank you for being audacious, tenacious, and determined. Thank you for this picture...





Thank you for marrying Coretta, cause that sista was fly. Thank you for your children. I even want to thank Martin for messin' up and stepping out on his wife, because though I wish he hadn't done that, it shows us that no matter how much you cut up, you can still be about somethin'. Thank you Dr. King for your amazing legacy. And most of all, thank you for your crazy, insane, maniacal mindset... He had to be crazy to pursue peace, love, and justice in such an extreme and unapologetic way. I want that kind of lunacy in my life right now! Don't you?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Something Other than a Dream

I love this video, as a reminder that Dr. King didn't spend all of his time dreaming...


"...Don't let anybody make you think that God chose America to be his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgement and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, 'You are too arrogant. And if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power. And I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name.'"

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church
April 30th 1967

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Remember the First Time Jay-Z Got Knocked Up?


See, this is how I know that ya'll either (A) are not real Jay-Z fans and/or (B) don't listen to music, ya'll just skim through it.* Since Beyonce released Blue Ivy from her sacred womb and Jay released "Glory", the interwebs have been abuzz about the lyrics which tell of a prior pregnancy and miscarriage. Listen. This may have been Beyonce's first miscarriage (which by the way is horrible and tragic. My heart goes out to her, as I can't imagine what that must feel like)... but it wasn't Jay's first. So, why is everyone fainting and doin' the Cry Baby about this "revelation"? This is not, I repeat, NOT the first time Jay-Z rapped about a miscarriage. Everybody sit down.

Remember that time Jay-Z got that unidentified girl knocked up back in the 90's? No? Probably because you just discovered Jay-Z in the past 6 years. But anyway, he mentioned being fearful about impending fatherhood on "For the Fam", which featured Beanie Sigel, Amil, and Memphis Bleek... Or as I like to refer to them, The Peanut Gallery.

"Plus I'm having a child, which is more frightening." -Jay-Z

Shortly thereafter, on the Dynasty: Roc La Famila album, he rapped about the miscarriage of that child on "This Can't Be Life", which was the first track Kanye ever produced for Jay and featured Scarface and Beanie Sigel.

"It get's worse, baby mama's water bursts
Baby came out still born, still I gotta move on
Though my heart still torn, life gone from her womb
Don't worry, if it was meant to be, it will be -- soon"

-Jay-Z


That was back in 2000, folks. Know your hip hop history before you get to yammering on about how "shocking" the lyrics in "Glory" are and asking such probing questions such as "has a rapper ever spoken about miscarriage before?" The answer is: Ummmm... yes. Thanks for joining us.

I'm just sayin'. Ya'll late. Good day.




*That's a lyric from a Jay-Z song. See, you didn't know that, you ole' bandwagoner.