It is not so difficult, overcoming. You need only have ancestors whose flesh was cracked open like melon rind and torn from their limbs by hounds. You need only have children who can continue to smile when adults, hiding behind anonymity, call them the kinds of names they are never allowed to repeat. You need only have the grace to accept “heartfelt remorse” from people whose ability to produce such was made suspect the moment they thought to offend your children, in such particularly callous ways to begin with.
We’ve grown good at it. It is the one thing privilege cannot buy.
Wow. Read this.
one of the most eloquent pieces i’ve come across re: the onion/Quvenzhane drama. an amazing and necessary read.
So glad I got here with the first kid, lol.Tweet
Happening Now: Black Breastfeeding Blog Carnival
Passionate about breastfeeding, or just want more info? The Blk BFing: Making HERstory Blog Carnival is happening right now. Go read real stories of moms who have chosen to breastfeed, and the challenges they had to overcome to make it happen.Tweet
Oh ‘Appy Day: Find Black Businesses On Your Phone
I was raised by a beret-wearing, fist-raising, gun-toting (before I was born) Black Nationalist. So the importance of spending my money in my own community—as all other groups in this country do, naturally—was instilled in me from an early age. It’s hard for a community to rise together when its wealth flows outside its walls and isn’t reinvested.
Which is why I unabashedly seek out Black service providers when all things are equal when it comes to quality. Our Realtor? Check. Our vegan dinner spot? Check. Babygirl’s pediatrician, who was recommended by every midwife of every race at our practice? Check.
But it can be hard to find folks, and know that they actually deserve your cash. Enter an awesome app my girl recently told me about. Around The Way (free for Apple and Android devices), uses your phone’s location based services to find Black-owned businesses nearby. This is especially helpful for us, as we transition to our new house; we need a new dry cleaner, a shoe repair guy, and a mechanic that doesn’t require a 40-minute drive. And this app can find them all, plus barber shops, banks, lounges, hotels and more.
More importantly, each merchant has customer reviews, so you don’t have to learn the hard way if they suck. I also love that you can add your favorite businesses for everyone to discover.
Try it out and let me know how it works for you!
All women speak two languages:
the language of men
and the language of silent suffering.
Some women speak a third,
the language of queens.
They are marvelous
and they are my friends.
My friends give me poetry.
If it were not for them
I’d be a seamstress out of work.
They send me their dresses
and I sew together poems,
enormous sails for ocean journeys.
My marvelous friends, these women
who are elegant and fix engines,
who teach gynecology and literacy,
and work in jails and sing and sculpt
and paint the ninety-nine names,
who keep each other’s secrets
and pass on each other’s spirits
like small packets of leavening,
it is from you I fashion poetry.
I scoop up, in handfuls, glittering
sequins that fall from your bodies
as you fall in love, marry, divorce,
get custody, get cats, enter
supreme courts of justice,
argue with God.
You rescuers on galloping steeds
of the weak and the wounded–
Creatures of beauty and passion,
powerful workers in love–
you are the poems.
I am only your stenographer.
I am the hungry transcriber
of the conjuring recipes you hoard
in the chests of your great-grandmothers.
My marvelous friends–the women
of brilliance in my life,
who levitate my daughters,
you are a coat of many colors
in silk tie-dye so gossamer
it can be crumpled in one hand.
You houris, you mermaids, swimmers
in dangerous waters, defiers of sharks–
My marvelous friends,
thirsty Hagars and laughing Sarahs,
you eloquent radio Aishas,
Marys drinking the secret
milkshakes of heaven,
slinky Zuleikas of desire,
gay Walladas, Harriets
parting the sea, Esthers in the palace,
Penelopes of patient scheming,
you are the last hope of the shrinking women.
You are the last hand to the fallen knights
You are the only epics left in the world
Come with me, come with poetry
Jump on this wild chariot, hurry–
-- Mohja Kahf: The Marvelous Women (E-mails From Scheherazad)
Seth MacFarlane made a whole bunch of sexist, reductive jokes at the Oscars last night. It’s frustrating enough to know that 77 percent of Academy voters are male. Or to watch 30 men and 9 women collect awards last night. But MacFarlane’s boob song, the needless sexualization of a little girl, and the relentless commentary about how women look reinforced, over and over, that women somehow don’t belong. They matter only insofar as they are beautiful or naked, or preferably both. This wasn’t an awards ceremony so much as a black-tie celebration of the straight white male gaze.
MacFarlane’s opening musical number, “We Saw Your Boobs,” might as well have been a siren blaring, “This isn’t for you.” Come on, everyone likes boobs, right? No. The answer is no. They’re not something I hate, and heck, I have a pair to call my own, and yet my takeaway from The Accused was not “Finally, I’ve seen Jodie Foster’s breasts.” My lasting memory of Boys Don’t Cry is not “Hey, free breasts!” At least there was that super timely and relevant reference to Kate Winslet’s many nude scenes.
Jeez, the song was a joke! Can’t you take a joke? Yes, I can take a joke. I can take a bunch! A thousand, 10,000, maybe even more! But after 30 or so years, this stuff doesn’t feel like joking. It’s dehumanizing and humiliating, and as if every single one of those jokes is an ostensibly gentler way of saying, “I don’t think you belong here.” All those little instances add up, grain of sand by grain of sand until I’m stranded in a desert of every “tits or GTFO” joke I’ve ever tried to ignore.
Then came the joke about actresses getting the flu to lose weight. “It paid off,” MacFarlane said. “Looking good.” Well, thank God, because what matters to all women is that we look good for Seth MacFarlane. How many women did he introduce over the course of the night by mentioning how they looked: “Please welcome the lovely ___ ,” “the beautiful ______”? How many men?
Uh, those are compliments! Now he can’t even give women compliments? Compliment away, friends. Let’s compliment the shit out of each other. But let’s be really cognizant of what we compliment each other on, and what that says about what we expect from each other, and what we consider valuable and worth mentioning. It doesn’t matter what Salma Hayek says, because she’s so pretty!
You just don’t like Seth MacFarlane’s sense of humor. What did you expect? Actually, I do like Seth MacFarlane’s sense of humor. (Sometimes. No one likes everything all the time!) I’ve been a loyal Family Guy viewer for almost fifteen years. I’ve been to — and adored — Family Guy: Live. If MacFarlane had sung “Shipoopi” all night, I’d be writing a really different story right now. Instead, there were jokes about how Rex Reed would probably call Adele fat — because that’s what’s important about her — and how someday Quvenzhané Wallis will be old enough to date George Clooney — because that’s what’s important about her — and how sometimes, gasp, a woman might have body hair — because that’s what’s important about them. Women are nags, and Jews run Hollywood! Thank you, Seth MacFarlane, for this cutting-edge humor. Like Mark Wahlberg said, the party’s at Jack Nicholson’s house. You remember, that place where Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl. Ha-ha, ha-ha, ha.
I dream of someday watching women win all the non-performance categories, of women making as many films as men do, of women and men being nominated for a comparable number of awards. There are a lot of reasons why that day is far, far in the future. But I’ll tell you what’s not helping: the biggest night in film being dedicated to alienating, excluding, and debasing women. Actual gender equality is a ways away, but I’d settle for one four-hour ceremony where women aren’t being actively degraded.
—-Why Seth MacFarlane’s misogyny matters
So why again did Eddie Murphy have to drop out of hosting the Oscars in 2012?
whiteness is a hell of a drug
Studio Museum, Harlem.
Need a Kick in the Butt? There’s An App For That
Like most mamas I know, “overwhelmed” is an apt descriptor for my life pretty much every day. And with a fabulous beach wedding trip planned for next month (yay Sherika + Mae!), I’m acutely aware these days that my crazy life is getting in the way of working out.
I want to work out. Truly. I used to do it at least five days a week, and I had a body that I definitely didn’t appreciate enough at the time. I’ve had a few false starts since Babygirl was born. Just a few weeks after she was born I got on the floor for postpartum yoga while she slept. The result: popped vaginal stitches from the delivery. Ouch.
A few months later I tried again. Things were going well for a few days, then: too busy. Wash, rinse, repeat, never getting up enough momentum to make it happen. And because I’ve lost all the pregnancy weight and then some, I haven’t felt an extreme sense of urgency, despite knowing that moving your body is about so much more than keeping your weight in check.
So I was excited when I heard about this new app, Fig, which aims to encourage me to do better by myself (free for Apple and Android). I love that it’s actually not really about working out—though I need that push—but it’s about nurturing your whole life, and the lives of those around you.
Just set up an account, then pick from suggested goals in several categories, like eat (drink water eight times a day), move (exercise), refresh (take a moment to breathe deeply), connect (call your mama), feel (start and write in a gratitude journal).
My daily goals are modest, and reflect what’s most important to me right now: drink water, take a multivitamin, tell my hubby I love him, breathe deeply, read with my child and affirm her, too. Though I certainly don’t remember to check in with the app to confirm that I’m meeting them (but it sends me emails every night to encourage me to rally!), I find that the very act of setting the goals is helping me be more mindful. My water consumption is up, I reordered my prenatal vitamins, I read with Babygirl several times a day and look deep in Hubby’s eyes at least once. :-) I chose not to share with my network, but you can invite friends to join you and hold you accountable for your goals.
Try it out and let me know if it helps cut through some of the crazy of your day.