Monthly Archives: February 2010

What a Steppin’ Conundrum!

This week, the internet and the airwaves are abuzz with angry Black folk over the issue of Zeta Tau Alpha and their victory at the Sprite Step Off. Some folks are angry because a white sorority won. Others are angry because they feel Black folk should not discriminate against the Zetas because they won a show featuring an art that was created, and until recently, performed exclusively by Blacks. The latter are crying reverse racism. For my part, I found myself part of the first group when I first heard news of the “controversy” on the radio.

“Daggonit!” I yelled at the radio. “White folk have done it again! First they stole mac n’ cheese, collard greens and gumbo from us and are making millions selling “soul food”, and now they are taking step from us. What’s next??”

Fuming, I walked into the house and began doing searches on YouTube to see just how good these white chicks could actually be. I mean, how could they outstep the Alphas? The Deltas? The AKAs??? My anger soon turned to admiration. I mean, these Beckys could step. They stepped so well, they looked like dudes. I was impressed! Even host Ryan Cameron noted “If you can step, YOU CAN STEP.” Skin color didn’t matter; and I found myself a bit ashamed of myself.

So why was everyone so upset and felt like the AKAs were robbed of the competition? The answer lay in their performance. As to be expected, the AKAs were tight. I however had to agree with all the criticism online though: They flipped their hair way too much and took to many pauses between routines – like the were tired. The Zetas on the other hand stepped all the way through, and that takes stamina. In comparing the two shows, something seemed off to me. Like I said, the Zetas stomped like dudes. I can only speculate that some Sigma somewhere thought it would be cute to teach his little Anglo-Saxon beauty how to step and she, being an enterprising young woman, shared the art with the rest of her sorrors saying “Look guys! Look what I can do!”

The rest, as of February 23rd, became history.  This user on YouTube summed it up best:

betadeuce

Pledged APhiA @ Howard in 1990. The first thing I noticed about ZTA’s show was that every step was borrowed. They were dope, but, one critical element of stepping is your own style…reminds me of what HipHop in its former life….Step’s gone pop…….

When it comes to technical prowess and the fundamentals of step, the Zetas took it: hands down. But if you factor in style and originality, I mean honest to goodness innovation? The sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. should have come out the original victors. It was like watching a  basketball game where the Zetas were throwing 3 pointers and the AKAs came out dunking on every move.

In the end, what I or anyone else thinks is of no consequence. Sprite caved in to public pressure and opinion and both organizations are $100,000 richer and 1st place winners. The world is a-changin’, my people; the world is a-changin!

*Shaking my head*

White girls steppin’.

What Would White People Say?

Sometime last week I let my mind wander from the needs of the day and asked myself

“Self? What do White people say in their private moments when none of the Us’s is around?”

“I dunno,” said Self. “Maybe we should ask ‘em.”

I contemplated sending out an email to my white friends and colleagues to ask them what kind of language they use when minorities are not around.

Be honest, the email was going to say. Do you call blacks “nigger”, Hispanics “wetbacks”, and Asians “chinks”?

I’m no hypocrite. I can confess here and now that I myself have called White people whitey, cracker, cracker-ass-cracker and so forth. I’ve called certain Black folk niggers. I just wanted to know if the White people in my life could be honest and tell me what really goes on in their private thoughts and conversations when it’s safe for them. Before I could type of the email, John Mayer answered the question for me in a Playboy interview. Turns out John is pretty comfortable with the word “nigger”. I’d like to thank John Mayer for saving me a lot of research time and trouble. I’m going to infer that other White guys his age are comfortable with the word too.

As a Black woman, I can’t even be mad at John Mayer. Was he not a guest on Chappelle Show on which Paul Mooney wildly proclaimed “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger—it keeps my teeth clean” ? If all the Black people around you are comfortable cleaning their teeth with the word ‘nigger’, why should you as a White guy feel some ways about it?

‘Racist’ labels don’t bother me very much. I know that the measure of a human being, regardless of color, is in the merit of their actions. What offends me more is the hypocrisy surrounding ‘racist’ utterances. Mayer came out later and apologized for using the offending word during a concert. I for one do not accept his apology. It’s not needed – Because until every other ball player, rapper, record exec and black man in a barber shop or on a corner apologizes for blurting out the word, or using it as a greeting. or looses comfort with it’s presence in their vocabulary, I don’t believe any crackers should be sorry for using it either.

55* Degree Weather

I’ve been in a funk for the last 3 months. The weather has been awful, it’s been ridiculously cold by Atlanta standards, the heat went out in our house, and I haven’t felt like leaving my tiny two-bedroom house – a two-bedroom house inhabited by five (count ‘em, five) people.  To boot, I’ve had to contend with the punk-ass, bitch-ass, nigga-ass antics of my eldest child’s sire (getting a theme here? He’s an ASS) and his incessant court filings, so I admit I have not been the most pleasant person to be around.

This morning, as I was preparing my oldest for school, she asked “Mommy, is it going to be warm today?” (She just wanted to know because she’s been forbidden to wear dresses or skirts to school during these Nordic-like conditions.)

“I don’t know. Let me check the weather.”

What was going to be different? It had been bone chillingly cold since November. I flipped open my cell, checked the forecast, and to my eyes’ surprise beheld a beautiful sight: Sunny, High of 55*.

Wha-whaaa??

I raced to the kids’ bedroom and pulled out the pinkest, prettiest skirt I could find, complete with off-white tights.

“It’s gonna be warm today, Na!” I exclaimed. We danced a little jig and didn’t have a tiff on the  drive to school for the first time in weeks.

I resolved to take the younger kids to the library this morning, and that’s precisely what we did. We read books for an hour, had a snack and enjoyed the sunny ride home. If one of my little ‘angels’ hadn’t hidden my camera, I’d take a shot to show what I see outside: Clear blue skies, a bright golden sun, and a gang of black crows feasting on a dead squirrel in the yard.

Spring? Is that you??

Fun Weddings vrs Sucky Weddings

I’ve never cared much for weddings. I don’t cry when couples exchange their vows, or when the bride comes down the aisle, or at any of the typical moments when it’s appropriate to show sappy emotion. I’ve only been to 5 weddings in my entire life (including my own), and 3 of those have sucked big time. My wedding, unfortunately, was included in that sucky 3.

So when we were invited to a wedding yesterday (2-14…how original!), I was hardly in the mood to go. But the groom was a good friend of my husband’s and his mom was well respected, so I felt obliged to make an appearance.

Let me just be plain: I HATE going to Christian weddings. I’ve been saved 11+ years now, so I don’t know if this brand of folks are Evangelical, Charismatic, Orthodox or what, but the 3 sucky weddings I attended (included my own) were all members of my church. The folks who got married used to attend our church as well, so I had a good idea of what to expect: dignity, comportment and boredom. Boy was I wrong!

The wedding took place outside, on an usually cold February day. There was snow on the ground and Father Winter blew gusty winds to ensure every guest had a chill in their bones. The wedding  party marched down the aisle as though it was a beautiful Spring day. I admired their pluck. After the exchanging of very sweet vows that the couple had written themselves, we were instructed to enter the building post haste, because we were on a tight schedule. I’ve never seen Black people move that fast!

“This poor couple,” I thought, as we were served puff pastries. “They can only afford h’ors deurves for their guests.” I ate as many as I could in anticipation that we’d have to vacate the premises within the hour. I looked around and saw grabby Black folk thinking and doing the same. Wrong again! We were summoned by a chime to indicate that it was time to go upstairs. Upstairs for what? For a brilliant reception, that’s what! The bride had chosen a luminous shade of blue to accent the standard white chair covers, and the center pieces could only be described as romantic. Everyone knows people only go to weddings for the reception, and the bride set the tone when it was announced that this as a celebration, and that she was going to be very upset if she didn’t see people on the dance floor! Now that’s what I’m talking about! The dj was nothing short of a master, skillfully blending the best of old school with new. I would have loved to join the young ones on the floor, but I had pregnancy gas and was certain I could clear the floor if I let a silent one loose. So I was happy to dance in my chair…far in the corner of the hall.

I watched the bride and groom dance joyfully, their family and friends joining in. Their wedding was a success because they had made it their own. I wondered if they’d had to face any of the compromises and criticisms I had to during my own wedding plans. Hmmmmm….

*Insert sparkly dream dust here*

My wedding sucked because NOTHING went according to my desires/plans. My brides maids got to wear saris, and it’s a wonder I even got away with that. Ever since coming to America, I’d always dreamed of being serenaded to “She’s your Queen to be” while coming down the aisle. Marshall dashed those hopes when he said he would never let that happen.

“You can have your brother sing it at the reception though.”

But the “dj” (whom I had NOT hired to play for our wedding) would not hand him over the mic.

A friend of mine came all the way in from NY to play hip-life for the reception. As I waited patiently for a switch from the boring traditional jazz this guy had been playing all afternoon, I saw Eugene walk over with his laptop to indicate he was ready. Mr Old Head dj shook his head and informed him he was the maestro for the event. Eugene sat down, and so did the rest of us. My very boisterous aunt from Detroit loudly proclaimed that she had some liquor and Tahitian grooves in the car and that she was ready to get this party started! My best friend who’d come in from London said “Why don’t we move of these tables and chairs so that we could dance!” I sat sullenly, trying to look happy, but all I could think of was the series of “nos” I’d suffered through during the planning of this sham.

No, I could not have a water fight after my reception

No, I could not have a bar-b-que instead of a standard reception with white linens and white chairs.

No, I could not have any contemporary music played at the reception, because my husband was a deacon.

No, we will not have a first dance.

No, there will be no father-daughter, mother-son dance either.

No, you cannot play “Ribbon in the Sky” because Stevie Wonder is not saved.

No, you cannot have Chinese acrobats perform at the reception because we cannot afford or find them.

No

No

No

By the time it was 2:30, I was ready to leave my own wedding because even I was bored! I felt sad for my guests who had traveled from London, Ghana, Ohio, DC and Michigan to participate in butt-glued-to-your seat event. The only folks who seemed happy with the whole dignified event were my husband, his mom, and the church leaders whom I felt were there to make sure nothing got out of hand. I could have said my vows and gone home afterward. I wasn’t needed there.

*Sigh*

If it sounds like I’m bitter, I AM. Five years later, and all I can recall from my wedding is the disappointment and the need to flee when it was all over. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but my wedding day was not the “happiest” day of my life. My marriage has been great, but the wedding sucked.

When Pregnant People Fart

Unless you have been pregnant or lived in a house with a pregnant woman, there is no earthly way you’re going to be able to relate to what I’m about to say here. All the same, I’m going to attempt to usher you into a side of pregnancy that very few books and fewer women are willing to open up about. And that my friends, is pregnant flatulence.

When a pregnant woman cuts the cheese, there is an unimaginable, almost indescribable stench that follows in its aftermath that is almost ungodly. To put it succinctly, it’s as though 40,000 items of food died in her bowels and were stored there for 40,000 years only to be released in a torrent of gas so thick, one might be tempted to whip out the closest Samurai sword to beat back the foe from whence it came. A pregnant woman’s fart is a monster. A green, gassy, gross monster.

I guess I’ll have to do a little self incrimination here to show you the magnitude of what we’re dealing with.

I’m what, 19 weeks preggers? The farts came on me about 3 weeks ago. And since, then, my poor husband has been assailed and affronted with smells he has not had to confront for years. Febreze is a staple in our home. Lysol, quite frankly, can’t cut the mustard.

Four night’s ago, Marshall went to church for Friday night prayer. He returned home a little after 1 o’clock in the morning, high off the Spirit and revitalized to tackle the challenges of this world. When he got to the bottom of the stairs leading to our bedroom, he paused.

“Dear GOD!” he thought to himself. “Did a sewer main break? What is that smell??”

He walked up the stairs cautiously, fearing whatever mess he’d have to clean up. Upon entering our bedroom where I was slumbering peacefully, he was struck by the realization of what had happened when he got close to our comforter.

“Malaka!” he whispered harshly, rousing me from sleep. “Have you been farting??!?!”

“Mmmm?” I replied sleepily. “Yes.”

I rolled over and let another one rip, confirming what had been taking place all night.

Marshall frantically turned on the ceiling and box fans, which are generally dormant till summer. The whirl of these electronic appliances was followed by three hurried “shhh, shhhhh, shhhhhh’s!!!”. I’m guessing that was the Febreze. He undressed, got into bed and cried “Dear GOD!” one more time before turning his back to me to go to sleep. Lifting the sheets and comforter had released the brunt of the flatulent material hiding in the dark, like a coiled viper waiting to attack.

My sister, who is also halfway through her pregnancy, has shared what it’s like for her boyfriend when she cuts loose.

“His eyes water and he gasps for breath,” she told me with great pride.What else is there to say? That’s essentially possessing the power to render a man immobile with one squeeze of your butt cheeks. I chuckled with pride and admiration too.

I’d say the only gaseous substance that can even come close to the dreadfulness of  preggo-fart is sulfur. And I’m willing to get into a fart off with anyone who’d like to prove me wrong.

My Life is an Offence

I understand that by simply being born and making certain day-to-day decisions my life is a complete offence  to many extremist groups. And yeah, I said it: Y’all are EXTREMISTS. How have I harmed thee? Let me list the ways:

1. I love meat and I wear leather – Suck on that PETA (oh, and by the way, I don’t think Vick shoulda spent a day in jail over them dogs, when cops are shooting up Black men and everybody gets to go home scot-free).

2. I have 3 kids and one on the way. I reject the idea that abortion is a way to lift women/Blacks out of poverty. I love ALL my kids and am a better woman because of them – So kiss my fat Black arse, Planned Parenthood.

3. I have absolutely NO problem with letting my husband be a man…be MY man. We are not all created equal. He has a penis. I have a vagina. That’s not equal, and it’s not rocket science – So screw you N.O.W, you crazy feminist loons.

4. I love Jesus. I fear God. I want to live a life He’s pleased with. Period – Go to Hell, you clueless (and judgmental) aheist S.O.B’s. I suppose this would have been the time to offer prayer and love to all of y’all, but you don’t know how to receive either, so I’ll just save my energy for eating CHRISTmas cookies.

5. I watch and more importantly, like, Fox News. Bill O’Reilly is brilliant. MSNBC sucks. Keith Olberman is an imbecile. I can’t buy the liberal agenda. – Sorry Black folk. Heck, I lie. I’m NOT sorry.

6. I’m Black and to boot, I’m half African. I’m in this country legally. I have received a quality education and graduated from university with high honors. – Makes you mad, doesn’t it, you evil scum bag skin heads? My birth and my heritage is also an affront to regular whites, Hispanics, pretty much all Asians, Indians and even some Black folk. But I’se here! :)

The Terror Strikes Again

My sister Adwoa’s boyfriend has proclaimed her the second worst stripper/dancer on the planet. He has identified me as the first. The details as to why he would think my younger  sibling is such a horror in the art of seduction via dance have not been made clear to me. Therefore, I can only assume the following:

After a hard day of work spent coding, building websites and deliberating on what is more gangsta: Star Trek or Star Wars, Chris W. enters his one bedroom apartment to find his girlfriend in the kitchen, making grits and fried plantain.

“I’ve got a special treat for you tonight,” she says in her most sultry voice.

“Oh, I can’t wait,” he says, feigning breathless anticipation.

She is now 6 months pregnant with her first child. Her body and taste buds are going through things she has never experienced before. Plantain and salty grits seems like a perfectly reasonable and delicious dinner. Washed down with ice-cold water, it makes a filling and tasty meal – romantic even.

After watching Chris choke down every bite, he forces a smile of appreciation and dreads what’s going to come next. He knows it will either be very good, or very bad. It turns out to be very, very bad.

“You’ve been such a good sport about the emotional and bodily changes I’ve going through,” says Adwoa coyly. “So tonight, I’m going to show you my gratitude. Tonight, I give you Pre-Natal Naughtiness/Pre-Natal Pleasure – but you can call me Delyshush.”

Adwoa lumbers over to the CD player, all 200+ pounds of her once taunt body convulsing along the way. She hits ‘play’ and the smooth tenor of Robin Thicke and Pharell’s Wanna love you Girl blares through the speakers. Her skin is already beaded with sweat from slaving over the stove. The smell of grits and fried plantain oil is thick in the air. Chris swears he’s going to be sick, but holds tightly to his composure.

There is no pole in their apartment, so she must improvise and do floor work and dance around their household fixtures…like the cheap plastic floor lamp from Wal-Mart. Her huge, dimpled posterior looks enormous as she bends over and looks behind her suggestively. Unfortunately, her stomach is in the way, so she can only hold this position ever so briefly. She recalls a move from Carmen Electra’s workout video promo from TV, and vainly attempts to throw her leg over one of the dining room chairs. This causes both her calf and thigh muscles to cramp, and she drops to the floor in pain. Chris rushes over to help his poor hapless girlfriend.

“Don’t touch me!” she screams. “I’m going to finish this dance!”

With the thick odor of grits in the air and Pharell and Robin encouraging her, she rises like mountain from the sea and bravely finishes her routine. She pushes Chris to the sofa and grabs her now very full breasts, engorged as a side effect of the life growing inside of her. She shakes them vigorously in his face. He fights the urge to grimace. A full 2 1/2 minutes have passed, and she cannot make it through the entire track. Exhausted, she completes her dance of seduction by grabbing a fist full of glittering “booty dust” (courtesy of a local sex shop) and tosses it in the air above his head. A glimmering cascade of sparkly powder settles on the shoulders of his lifeless body. He is mortified and she is delighted. She has rendered him speechless with her seductive physical prowess!

The music has died and Adwoa towers above him. She grabs him by the hand, and like a little lamb to the slaughter, leads him to the bedroom for another round of horror/delight.

Yep.

Sometimes Being a Mom Means Giving Up

The other night one of my best friends from college came over to visit the family. She’s seen me go from svelte, clueless Ghanaian to overweight, guarded ‘American’ in the 12 years that we’ve known each other. She’s seen me at my best and my worst during our college years and beyond. However, because she lives in Riverdale, GA and I live in Roswell, we haven’t had the chance to spend much quality time together. Perhaps it is because of our limited time together that she was appalled and confused by my personal physical state upon entering my home last weekend.

The house was clean (for a change) and the kids were all asleep after church. When I am at home, I REFUSE to wear a bra. I have enough discomfort carrying a baby in my belly and a baby on my hip to be constricted by wire and fabric. All the same,  when I heard Toyah’s knock on the door, I threw a singlet on under my tent shaped African dress; to reduce floppage.  We didn’t have much to chat about. I’ve found that true old friends rarely have the need to chatter aimlessly unless completely necessary. We sat and watched the Matrix and made foolish commentary. I pulled off my bonnet to reveal my birthday weave.

“Wow,” she said. “That’s quite a weave.”

“Yep.”

We sat in comfortable silence until the baby woke up, crying for attention and milk. Toyah, the good aunt that she is, fed him his bottle, burped him, and spoke to him while I watched the film. When she was done, he squirmed away signaling that he was ready for his mom to hold him. Suddenly, I felt something warm and slimy on my back. This being my third child, I knew instinctively that I’d been thrown up on. I handed Toyah his bib.

“Hey, can you wipe my back off? He threw up on me.”

“Ewwww!!!” she cried.

Ewww? It was baby throw-up. What’s the big deal?

“Oh yeah, and some of it is under my arm pit. Can you get that too?”

Toyah sighed with disgust and delicately wiped my back and right pit.

“It’s in your bra too,” she announced.

I didn’t bother to inform her I wasn’t wearing a bra.

When I’d been cleaned up to some degree, I sat back and continued to watch the film. Then I heard a disbelieving:

“Ummm…you’re not going to go upstairs and change your clothes?”

“Huh?” Now I was confused. “Change for what? He’s just going to throw up on me again at some point.”

After giving this explanation, I mindlessly flipped the baby over to discover he had a massive yellow booger in his nose. I struggled with him to fish it out.

“Ewww!! Ohhh!! Malaka, that’s gross!” Toyah cried.

“What? It’s just a booger.”

I held it up so she could get a closer look. Then I pretended to wipe in on her jeans…However I misjudged the enormity of the booger and a piece of it lodged itself onto her pants. Her panicked look told me what I’d done before I saw it myself. By the time my other two children woke up, got a cheesy snack and gave big toddler hugs to their Aunt ‘Yaki’ (consequently putting cheese on her jeans), she announced that she had planned to wear those jeans to work the next day, but now she couldn’t.

Oh well, my friend. I guess you can’t. Welcome to my universe.

On a personal note, it has been rough watching my slow and steady decline from this (hot 20-something with a flat belly and light in her eyes):

to this (worn out 30-something with an enormous fro and dimming eyes):

…but sometimes the cause of motherhood compels you to give up certain things – such as your dignity and your appearance.


Is China Pissin’ on U.S.?

This morning I woke up and read the news like usual. Suddenly, I caught a by-line that had me doing a double-take “China warns US against meeting Dalai Lama”. The meeting could cause “serious damage to Sino – US relations” a Communist official warned; and left it at that.

What the heck?!?!?

When did China have the authority to warn the US against anything? And then it struck me: Since we owe them several billion dollars, and since they are carrying 52% of our national debt. The reality that America is on a steady track from shark to shark bait became glaringly stark. If anyone thinks that America can maintain its position as the world’s “only remaining super power” if things continue this way, they are either sadly mistaken or have been asleep under a rock for the last 15 years.

I’ve seen this somewhere before…Aha! Did you ever see the movie “Shogun”? Very few people have. It was made in 1980. Anyway, the protagonist in the film is an English explorer who finds himself on the shores of Japan. As soon as he hit land, one of the feudal lords instructs him to bow to the ground – lay down on the ground in fact – and proceeds to urinate on him in greeting. Everyone knows the English were the world’s super power in that era; but did that stop that Asian man from pissing on our Anglo seafarer’s back? No indeed. Because that gaijin was on his land.

So if the Chinese want to give a directive to the good ol’ US of A that says “don’t talk to this guy or that…ever”, they hold the purse strings that says they can. And no matter how much posturing or big talk the White House tries, nothing is going to change that fact.

I need America to get her balls back, because it’ll be a cold day in Hell before I’m walking around THIS country wearing pig tails and a red Communist arm band. I’m just saying.