Friday, October 22, 2010

Jawn Murray/Don Imus: Two Sides of the Same Disrespectful Coin

When did disrespect become differentiated into categories of severity based on who it comes from? When did we get to the point that it's acceptable for us to demean and disrespect one another? Jawn Murray, a gossip columnist for the Tom Joyner Morning Show and AOL Black Voices put a post on Twitter stating that "militant nappy headed angry black women" need to get a life and get a perm. I could not believe my eyes when I read it. I was wondering where all of that venom for black women came from. It was reminiscent of Don Imus' comments about the Rutgers women's basket ball team when he referred to them as "nappy headed hoes". In fact it was the equivalent. Using their platforms, Jawn and Don took a group of women and categorized them in a negative light. The only difference was the way the black journalists handled it. When Don Imus made his infamous remarks, everyone including Tom Joyner called for his dismissal from his show. They called for African Americans to boycott the sponsors of Imus' show until he was fired. With regard to Jawn Murray....they did and said nothing. Jawn Murray works for media outlets whose target audiences are African Americans. It was not addressed by any African American media outlet or African American media personality. There was no outrage by the African Americans in the media. In fact many have posted Twitter posts to Jawn showing their support. Jawn Murray posted a half hearted apology on youtube where he essentially said, "I'm sorry if you were offended". Not once did he acknowledge that it was wrong and that he shouldn't have said it. He put the responsibility onto the people that he offended.

Why is this? Why is it ok for Jawn Murray to disrespect black women but not Don Imus or any other non black person? Why am I as a black woman expected to just let it roll off of my back and keep it moving? Why should I accept a hollow apology from him? I don't know when and how these decisions were made but they are completely without my consent. Disrespect is the same no matter whom or where it comes from. I and many black women have not "consented" to being disrespected by ANYONE. If the African Americans in the media are truly crusaders of the equality and well being of African Americans, they should crusade regardless of whom or what color the transgressor is. If it was necessary for Don Imus to lose his job, I believe the same punishment should be leveled against Jawn Murray and anyone else who dares to do this again. It's disappointing to see how passively this situation is being handled. I was and still am outraged. Because it became obvious that I couldn't rely on the African Americans in the media to step up and address this, I forwarded his tweet to every conservative station and media personality I could think of. My hope is that they will be so intrigued by the hypocrisy of it all that they won't be able to help jumping on it like a dog with a bone. If the African Americans in the media have to be shamed into addressing this....then so be it.

And I will make NO apologies for that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Natural Hair: No Limits

I was at the track this morning doing my daily walk/run. Shortly after I arrived, it started to rain lightly. Determined to stay on track with my exercise routine, I did not let the rain deter me so I continued on. There was one other person at the track doing sprints. As I continued on, it started to rain harder. It wasn't heavy rain but enough that it would have sent some people running back to their car. As I continued my laps, I came up on the guy doing sprints and he stopped me and asked me, "Aren't you gonna mess up your hair?". The question threw me off at first because I haven't worried about my hair in the weather in years. I laughed and replied, "Sweetie my hair is natural so the rain won't hurt it one bit". He smiled and went back to his sprints. As I continued to walk, it got me thinking about when my hair was relaxed. There were so many things I wouldn't do because I didn't want to mess up my hair. Things like swimming, outdoor exercise, tennis and softball. These are things I love to do. It's so crazy that I was allowing my hair to dictate what I did or didn't do. Every since I went natural, my hair has never come up as a reason to not do something. It's like India Arie's song, I am not my hair. Now that my hair is natural, my hair frees me rather instead of limiting me. What a wonderful revelation! Running with the rain coming down on my hair and face was just wonderful this morning and is definitely something I would do again.

Natural Hair, No Limits....

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I went to the funeral for my close friend's mother today. I couldn't help but think about my mother who I lost 6 years ago. It's hard to believe it's been 6 years. In a lot of ways, it still feels like it happened yesterday. Fortunately the overwhelming sorrow and pain that I initially felt has over time been replaced by the loving memories I have of her. I don't think it's something that you ever get over, you just simply get used to it. Wounds do indeed heal over time. There is still a huge void in my life that will never be filled. Truth be told, I don't want it to be filled. No one can take the place of my Mother. She is too special, too beautiful and too precious to me for anyone or anything to take her place. Even though she is no longer here physically, I feel her presence all around me every day. It feels like she is watching over me, still protecting me from all things, most of all myself.

When I saw my friend today, I was hurting so much for him. I knew exactly what he was feeling. It's something I wouldn't wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy. I was thinking about my initial struggles. The hardest part was I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone because I didn't have any peers who understood what I was going through. People like to throw a lot of cliches at you at a time like this...."she's in a better place", "she's not in pain anymore" blah blah blah. Even though I knew these things to be true, they didn't help at the time. I couldn't even fully wrap my mind around the fact that she was gone so how people expected me to reach such revelations so soon. I could intellectualize it but I couldn't internalize it yet. I just needed and wanted people to listen. But people toss those cliches at you and go back to their own lives and that's when it really hits you. That's when the walls close in and you struggle to cope. That's when the sleepless nights, the endless tears, the random and spontaneous breakdowns occur. Sure everyone tells you to call them anytime if you need them but realistically you can't do that because every day of your life is a struggle. Tears are shed every day, sometimes all day. People have their own lives and they can't allow them to be overtaken by someone else's grief. I did have friends that I thought could have done better about being there for me initially. I realized it's an uncomfortable subject. No one really wants to explore something like this so deeply for a long period of time because it makes them think about the mortality of their own Mother hence the cliches to try to cheer you up with a quick fix. At the time I thought this was selfish and had a lot of anger about it but now I understand. Among my peers, I was the first to lose her mother and I really resented being first, not that I wished harm on any one's mother. It was hard because I didn't have anyone I could really talk to. I didn't have anyone who really understood, who was able to face the subject because they had already been through it. I resented it because since I went through it first, I would have to provide my friends with the support and comfort that I really needed but never really got. Anger on top of grief is a lethal combination. I was a ticking time bomb ready to explode. I vowed I would not help anyone by reliving the worst thing that ever happened to me so that I could provide them with insight. It wasn't fair, I didn't get the benefit of any one's insight, why should anyone get the benefit of mine? I wanted someone to listen to me and cry with me and hold me while I cried. I was pretty far gone for several years until I finally went to counseling and I finally got what I needed - a safe venue to talk and say everything I was thinking and feeling with being interrupted with idiotic cliches that don't help and without fear of judgment. It felt like a tremendous load was lifted off of me and I was able to live again without guilt. I always felt that if I stopped grieving, it was a betrayal to her but I finally realized that to continue grieving was a betrayal to her. She loved me and wanted me to be happy and wanted me to be OK. In my spirit I could feel her telling me just that so I was able to let go of the grief. Do know that I still grieve at different times like on special days or it could just be a normal day where it just hits me like it just happened but it's not continuous. I'm able to think of her and smile and sometimes even laugh. She was a pretty funny person.

With regard to my friend, I am happy to provide him with my shoulders, my ears and my insight. I'm so glad to be free of resentment. If I weren't, it might have kept me from truly being there for him and giving him what I know he so desperately needs.

Mama, thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for teaching me right from wrong. Thank you for continuing to guide me, even from the beyond....I love you with all my heart.....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dancing A Jig??? Seriously???

Apparently the shenanigans continued at the Braves game that my department went to. The guy I mentioned in my blog titled Are We A Multi Cultured Society Or Are We Faking the Funk was apparently having a good time at the game and was dancing. I don't think I mentioned that I am his manager at work. To protect his identity I will him Patrick. Anyway, another manager came up to me today and said and I quote, "Patrick was having a good time at the game. He was dancing a jig" Dancing a jig? Seriously? In the year 2010, he tells me that someone was "dancing a jig"? How do you not know that reference is offensive and totally inappropriate? I was so taken aback, I was speechless. When I regained my ability to speak, I really didn't know what to say. There was no way for me to know what would trip off of my tongue so in the interest of maintaining professionalism, I didn't say anything. I really wish I had said something now. But based on what I know about this person, he would have simply pleaded ignorance which would have only pissed me off more. Dancing a jig.....It's not the damnedest thing I've ever heard but it's the damnedest thing I've heard today. For as far as we've come in some areas, we've travelled as far backwards in others. We will simply file this under #youareadumbass

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Are We Really A Multicutural Society Or Are We Just Faking The Funk??

So I was at work today and some people were talking about the Braves game that the department is attending tonight. A couple of people were talking about doing the "Tomahawk Chop". For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a motion that the fans make with their hands simulating a chopping motion with a tomahawk in hand. Someone mentioned that it was offensive to Native Americans. That person happened to be Native American and he said that in the past at Braves games, he has asked people not to do it because it was offensive and would do the same tonight. Everyone laughed and completely dismissed this. One person even had the audacity to say that they were still going to do it and there was no reason for anyone to find it to be offensive. I was outdone and incensed. Although I am not Native American, I am African American and am all too familiar with symbols that offend an entire race of people. I asked them how dare they tell him what he should be offended by. I said it was totally inappropriate to tell someone who's ancestors were basically annihilated what he should find to be offensive. A young Latino woman said that she's not offended when bars serve chips in sombreros on the Cinco De Mayo. I told her, just wait until the racial profiling laws concerning Latinos catch on nationwide, then she might feel differently about symbols that are offensive to her culture. Her people have not been oppressed like Native Americans and African Americans but the writing is certainly on the wall that we are headed down that road. What galls me about this whole situation is how this society thinks they don't have to respect or recognize the culture and struggles of others. Society doesn't want to acknowledge how those past struggles have spilled over into today and affects how people are treated and how people are thought of. Nobody wants to call a spade a spade. Native Americans had their land stolen and were damn near obliterated by the so called "founding fathers". African Americans were kidnapped from their home, brought to a strange land against their will and forced to work for free building a country in which they have not had all of their inalienable rights for the overwhelming majority of this country's existence. They were raped, beaten, hanged, murdered and every other atrocity you can imagine. What people are most unwilling to acknowledge is that these atrocities were perpetrated by the government, not some random renegades carrying out their own agenda. We are all expected to not only revere these people but also allow these crimes to be swept under the rug while the same mentality continues to run amok in a still pervasive and lately not too subtle manner. I don't expect white people and/or the government to apologize for the sins of the past. But I do expect it to be acknowledged as the greatest crime against humanity and that it still has its effects today. I would also like for it to be acknowledged that white people benefit from slavery. I don't expect them to relinquish the "white privilege" because I'm sure I wouldn't if in their shoes. Why would I reject something that makes my life easier? All I'm saying is just acknowledge it....acknowledge it. Racism is still here contrary to popular belief. Remember we are only one generation removed from Jim Crow. The Civil Rights Act is less than 50 years old.

I guess when you live in a society that gives you the luxury of believing your culture is the only one that matters, it's easy to get tunnel vision causing you to be dismissive of others but that doesn't make it right.........There are other people living here too, open your eyes and your mind....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Has Become Of Music???

I normally only listen to CD's and MP3 player because the music of today just doesn't do it for me. Today on my home, I decided to turn on the radio...BIG MISTAKE!!! I just can't believe this garbage passes for music. Nobody really sings anymore, everybody sounds the same and have any of these artists ever heard of instruments? Must everything be combined with tracks? Can I get a piano, a guitar, some horns, some strings something???? Music is no longer a's a money making machine. Back in the days of real music artist didn't make as much money as they do now but they put out a quality product. Music had passion and meaning. More importantly, it made the listener feel something, be it happiness, sadness, in love, out of love and more. You can tell the artists truly loved their craft and not just the perks that came along with it. When I hear the music today, I don't hear that love and passion for the craft, only love of money, fame and sex. I've heard some music (which shall remain nameless) that any self respecting artist should have felt ashamed to let it leave the studio. I would even steal any of the music let alone buy it. Now I do not condone bootlegging. I believe we should pay artists for their contribution, especially when it has true value. When I'm listening to my old school music I often find myself asking what has become of all of our true music heroes? Have they been completely ousted from the industry for which they laid the very foundation? Does the rest of the world miss them at all? I know I do. When I'm listening to Whitney, MJ, Aretha, Chaka, Donny, Marvin, Debarge, Tevin, Billie....just to name a few, I realize what a tremendous void there is in the music industry today. These are voices that move me and shake me to my core. We need real singers again and stat..... I am encouraged to see some of our artist returning to the scene but I wonder if they will be embraced as much as they should be. They deserves all the accolades that these so called artists get and more. I for one am going to do my part by being first to buy their CD's and being front and center at their concerts. I hope everyone else will do the same. We have to show all these artists that we love and appreciate them and their truly valuable contributions they've made to the world of real music. Old School Forever and hoping the Old School will finally take over the new school.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Henna....How I Love Thee, You Keep Away The Grays

I have been obsessed with my hair since I went natural a little over four years ago. I have enjoyed becoming reacquainted with my hair. I was constantly lurking natural hair sites soaking up every piece of information I could. During the process, I became a serious product junkie. All I needed was to hear about a product and I was off to the store to try it out. I had so many hair products that I had to keep them all in a separate bathroom. LOL! One product that I read about from time to time but never thoroughly was henna. For the most part, I read that it was for the purpose of coloring the hair. Despite being lured by so many other products, I didn't take the bait about henna right away. I was still using a commercial color for my gray hairs so I never felt compelled to use henna.

In recent months, I started moving away from a lot of commercial hair products and more toward natural products such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba, etc. When I noticed my grays starting to come back, I decided this was just as good a time as any to start using henna. With the help of my friend, Cassandra, I did my first application. When I rinsed it out, I was pleasantly surprised!! My hair felt strong and thicker. I've always wanted really thick hair so I can have big afro puffs as my hair gets longer. I finished styling my hair and was very pleased with the results. The henna gave me beautiful brownish auburn color and is even more enhanced in bright light or sunlight. I also noticed my hair had a beautiful shine to it as well. I was so hooked at first, I was using henna every two weeks! Now I only use it once a month. As a result of the strengthening qualities of henna, I have been able to eliminate yet another commercial product from my collection of products - Aphogee Protein Treatments. I'm actually glad about that because Aphogee stinks all to be damned.

I strongly recommend henna for any woman who wants stronger, healthier hair. You won't be disappointed.....