Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
|Photo Credit: Polaris|
The following is a post from my collab with "Just Politickin" (check it out). Since this whole Mimi Sex Tape drop, I thought it was appropriate to visit this once again. Enjoy, reflect, discuss and share!
4 Young Black Women on a Couch: The Reality Not Shown on TV
It’s Ladies’ Night. I’m sitting on the couch with 3 of my friends chugging a big glass of Riesling as they recap the weekly happenings of reality TV shows that I don’t watch. I’m just sitting here, listening to plots of these women’s “lives” that seem to have a continuous stream of craziness, unhappiness and drama. From my awesome deductive reasoning skills, I’ve come to the conclusion that the following story lines happen in every reality show dealing with black women:
Story Line 1…
Girl waiting on Guy to realize she is ride or die. She is invested in him because they have a child together. They play tug of war with their relationship and someone’s crazy momma is involved making things way more complicated than they need to be.
Story Line 2…
Girl 1 is trying to make it in some industry but she has a hater (Girl 3), who happens to be besties with their bestie (Girl 2) so they are always around each other. Everyone ends up at some public function, usually a birthday or launch for a weave product/mixtape and Girl 3 starts shit with Girl 1 and drinks/fists are thrown. Girl 2 ends up crying.
Story Line 3…
Girl 2 goes over to Girl 3′s house and they have champagne while discussing the reasons she needs to apologize to Girl 1. It’s decided that Girl 3 will call Girl 1. Eventually all end up at some restaurant and a fake apology is made or another fight breaks out.
Story Line 4…
Guy has Girl 1 on Mon/Tues/Weds and Girl 2 on Tues/Thurs or whenever Girl 1 kicks him out. Both Girls “fight” over Guy but never stop dealing with him.
Intertwined between these story lines, people have sex with people they shouldn’t be having sex with, everyone travels in limos, there is an emotional song made the studio, lunch is always at a restaurant with cloth napkins, at least one person launches a side venture/business they know nothing about, everybody drinks ridiculous amounts of champagne/vodka/cognac (depending upon product placement deals), AND a fight that requires security breaks out. All of this happens with freshly laid hair, exquisite makeup, 5 1/2 inch heels….and their kids NEVER seem to be around to see Mom twerking, crying, drunk, throwing punches or a combination of all 4.
I know that many young black women striving for a dream of love and career success can relate to the over all theme of these shows, (if you squint your eyes and tilt your head to the left), but can we get a better representation of “us” in this world of reality TV? Where the hell in “reality TV” are the stories of the women that look like the 4 of us sitting on this couch? We are all young, stable, educated black women with interesting and colorful lives striving against the stereotypes being discussed right now. Irony, strikes again!
I’m following along with the conversation and stuffing my mouth with home made tortilla chips. After gasping at several ”oh hell no!” events being discussed during the recap, I realize how intoxicating these stories are. No matter how far from realistic these shows are for us, it’s the reality of television today and it makes me kinda sad…
I’m awakened to fact that although I’m not watching this crap, I’m supporting it by sitting here actively listening to these stories, drinking wine like its nothing. If I want the change to happen, I have to be apart of the discussion.
I put my wine down, clear my throat and pose a series of simple questions:
“How do these shows help women like us? Do you really like how we are represented? What would you change if you could?”
From these questions a constructive and heated debate starts. They stop recapping, I stop stuffing my face and we all start having an enlightening conversation about reality TV, responsibility, and the black woman. We talk about the things we like, the things we hate and how it relates to the image of us.
I know my questions will not change my friends’ love of the messiness portrayed in these shows, but they opened to conversation to something greater. I may not have the resources available to tell stories like mine and the women surrounding me on this couch (yet), but at least we are starting to speak them into existence.
As I sit and take tally of the women around me, I begin to wonder how radical of an idea it would be to see a reality show starring all of us: 4 young, black, educated women supporting each other through trails and celebrating our triumphs…while drinking wine at a taco themed Ladies’ Night.
Own Your Light & Love
(P.S. I hope this inspires more of us to have conversations like this amongst ourselves. Also, check out a cool article about reality shows and perception by Erin Harper, entitled “VH1 Protest Organizer Explains Why She is Full of Hate”)
Friday, April 11, 2014
I read an article this morning about Karyn Washington, creator of The #DarkSkinRepLip Project and For Brown Girls committing suicide at the age of 22. Although I didn't know her personally, this really touched my soul. To see all the work she was doing to promote self love for all the brown girls, I know she was a beautiful spirit. There are lots of pressures being a young black woman today. I pray this is a wake up call in our community to talk and seek help for mental issues, and I hope through this tragedy other lives are saved.
I dedicate this to the ladies who shine above us, the rebels and the leaders, like Kay who help us find our own beauty. I want you to know you are beautiful too....
You're Beautiful Too, Brown Girl...
As little black girls we weren't called "beautiful"...
We were scolded for getting scars on light skin;
yelled at for staying in the sun
too long making us extra chocolaty.
Our hair was ruled "wild"
and tamed by the straightening combs;
hand crafted cornrows accordingly.
Our mothers and grandmothers picked dissected our physical insecurities
and justified it as making us better.
We were taught beauty comes from within...
So we digested books
We religiously excelled in classrooms.
On paper we were perfect
But we still felt inequity.
They label us conceited,
By the way we hold our heads high in the mirror
as we practice our "smiles"
not knowing we are analyzing the coffee stains on our teeth
and the discoloration on our neck.
We wear a mask of strong
We glide gracefully in the pain of heels
That give a sense of stature
As we look at a world that steals our beauty
yet consistently wants us to conform to their standards.
And we are supposed to support "our"
men who bruise our souls,
as they defend their preference
for the "exotic" type, the fairer skin,
We stand behind them, feed their egos silently...
Silently we sit
on a chopping block of emotion
wanting to just give up
but remembering what we were groomed to be
Then we wake up and leave
being called out our names for
not staying to ingest all our flaws
being thrown at us once again
We walk alone,
with the knowledge of only our shortcomings;
The scars on our souls
And somewhere between lost and found
We meet our kindred spirit,
A bronzed angel who the beauty in us we cannot see,
And they understand our eternal quest
Just to be beautiful as we are...
Her spirit guides us because like us,
They tried to mold her too
But she never conformed
She only knows rebellion.
The Rebel is the Lonely Light
The most tortured of us all,
She feels the need to bare the
insecurities of all the unbeautiful
And lead them to a place of self love...
She shines brightly, our golden sister
For all to see.
She reigns light on our
journey to beautiful,
And even though we worship her spirit
We forget she needs to know
she is beautiful too.
So today, hug the goddesses in your life
Who built you up,
when the world tried to tear you down
And make you feel unbeautiful too...
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I know, I know I've been gone forever but I'm happy to say I'm back :) I've missed you all and I've missed writing. So much has happened in the last 6 months since I last composed a blog entry. In "Angie" fashion it includes lots of random misadventures but I can truly say I'm on the correct path. I was very depressed, super sick and just overall not feeling happy about life in general. I shut the blog down until I could write about good because I didn't want my pessimistic attitude to spread to you all.
In the meantime, while I was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me, many of you reached out to me to encourage me. Some of you prayed with me, others hugged me, and brave ones smacked some sense into me. I am thankful to all of you!
I didn't even know people read what I wrote...or would even notice that I was gone so it means the world to me that you care.
I'm stepping out of the gray and back into the sunshine because of you, and for that I am grateful :)
We are women that wake up everyday with an internal conflict: contemporary versus tradition. We try our hardest to make our mothers proud by showing them their investment in us paid off, yet we feel a sense of guilt for not having a family of our own. We can conquer the business world, but can't conquer the task of finding that man to start a family of our own with...
And we look back at life and where we are and compare ourselves to our mothers. And we see everything they've accomplished in love versus everything we've accomplished and we start to worry. We start to look at the clock mother nature put on our wombs and ignore the spiritually sound person that we've been taught to be. We start to doubt our beauty, we forget the same blood that gracefully runs through our mothers' veins is the same that flows in ours. We try to mold ourselves into the women that our mothers want us to be. Crazy thing is, we are exactly who our mothers' want us to be.
We are bold, we are strong, we are not afraid to walk this road called life alone. We'd rather be happy with ourselves than miserable and unfulfilled with rushed "love". We've found our voice, our style, our self-definition. We've gotten degrees, traveled the world, roamed far from home and managed to survive with optimism in our hearts. We've done so much yet we still feel inadequate compared to our mothers. What we have to remember is, we are not our mothers. We are who we are because of them. They are proud of us, we are the spitting image of their dreams that were deferred. It's ok to feel defeated and behind in the life, but we must remember that each generations' walk is different. Our grandmothers are not our mothers, and our mothers are not us.
Deep in our eyes is a glimpse of their hearts; their spirit is the beginning of our souls. They are forever a portion of us, their lives intertwine with ours but we were born with our own. We are not our mothers and they raised us to be that way.
Monday, May 13, 2013
30 is not the age where life starts to make sense and you finally start to get your shit together, it's actually the complete opposite; you're shit isn't together, but you know what shit you need to do to get your shit right. It's the number where you start questioning life and your purpose. 30 is the number you reflect on that last decade of life either with joy or regret, it's the space where you know better and try to do better. 30 is not the "New 20" and it is not "old" as the 18 year old you once thought.
You go from buying bottles of Ciroc at the club to budgeting your money for things other than vodka and VIP tables. You drink but you know when to stop, you keep your shoes on and you drink your drinks out of real glasses. Nights of clubbing are replaced with early happy hours and trying to get 5 hours of sleep to look decent for your regular gig.
By the time you've reached this age you've swarn off love at least 3 times but deep down you still believe it in; eye candy is giving you a headache and you're probably ready for someone of substance in your life.
30 is when you start investing room in your closet for the bridesmaids dresses you accumulate, and you go to divorce parties. You go from road trips with 23 of your "best girlfriends" to weekend get aways with your sister-girl crew of 4. You lose many friends to time, life changes and falling outs.
Your friends may be fewer but your bonds are stronger.
You realize your parents won't live forever, you hug them longer, call more often, appreciate your family a little more than you did when you left for college and thought they were evil and trying to ruin your life. You can finally admit to yourself that, "Mom was right.". You've grown up, but you still have lots more to do.
Music played on mainstream radio starts not to make sense with your lifestyle. You find yourself reaching back to the melodies of your childhood. You are starting not to understand pop culture terms but you are ok with it, you still look cool. You check your face for wrinkles and scan your scalp for gray hairs; you secretly get excited when you get carded. You don't fall asleep in your makeup anymore... unless you're trying to relive your 20s, after that one night you come back to the reality you can't hang like you used to...and you are ok with that.
Being called "Ma'am" makes you feel old, the boy at the bar hitting on you born in 1990 makes you feel flattered, and there is still something weird about that man you want to love down that born in the 70s. You feel odd about shopping at Forever21 and you begin to appreciate Anne Klein.
You become ok with eating a nice meal alone and the idea of solo vacations don't freak you out.
You begin to feel comfortable in your skin; you know your strengths, accept your flaws and excude confidence in your worth. You finally see the beauty inside of you.
You quit your job.
You buy a house.
You go natural.
You get out of that relationship that's going nowhere.
You go after your dreams.
You say "eff this!" and you just do it.
Everyone thinks your crazy.
You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
30 is exactly life: It is truly whatever you want it to be.
30 is 30, that's all it is.