Author Archives: Malaka

What Do You Mean You’ve Never Heard of ‘Sex Shoes’?

I stared at the bride-to-be in complete astonishment. I repeated the question once more.

“Ah. What do you mean you’ve never heard of ‘sex shoes’?”

“Miss Malaka…I don’t know what that is!” she half wailed. She looked at her maid of honor for support. The young woman shook her head to indicate that she was also ignorant on the subject.

Children. I blamed the bride’s mother. She had not prepared the girl properly. There were only 2 hours left before she was scheduled to walk down the aisle to meet her groom, and not only did she not have a pair of sex shoes for her wedding night, she also had not purchased any bridal lingerie! We were in the store to buy her shoes to go with her gown (which she had managed to forget to purchase as well), but I was less concerned about that. The girl did not have sex shoes! I felt power leave me. I felt weak. Something had to be done, and fast.

sex shoeIt’s not often that I get to play Fairy Shoe Mother, so I took duties very seriously that day. After picking up a pair of pink ballet flats for the flower girls, some wedges for the young bride’s little sister, some strappy sandals for the mother of the bride and 2 pairs of heels for the woman of the hour, I felt life return to me. I had done some good in the world and I could enjoy the wedding knowing everyone was properly shod. Still, I could not ignore the fact that no one had prepared my young friend for life leading up to the moment when she would lose her virginity. I mean, it’s big deal right?

Zoe-Saldana-Bed-HeelsIt’s not like Bambi (that’s the name I’ve decided to give the bride) was going to be losing her virginity on the boys’ quarters floor in Accra with four strokes of a teenaged penis like someone else I know. She was going to have a hotel room with candles and clean sheets and the works! Losing one’s virginity is not like going to the supermarket. It’s not a mundane event. It only happens once in your life (not including the Lord’s miraculous repairing of hymen after some traumatic sexual encounter). It’s an occurrence that should be prepared for and celebrated!

Bambi does not wear heels. She has plantar fasciitis. I didn’t care. Sex shoes are not meant to be worn for an extended period of time. They are made to elicit a sense of fantasy, and are completely impractical.

“Sex shoes are to be worn from the bathroom to the bedroom,” I explained carefully. “I slide into them/strap ‘em up, strike a pose and take them off. Or he can take them off…whichever you prefer.”

Bambi looked at me with furrowed eyebrows as she slipped off her orthopedic shoes and planted her feet into the creamy satin and lace platforms that her maid of honor had picked out. Bambi wears a lot of black, we decided it would be a good idea to depart from the norm. We never got a chance to make it to the bridal lingerie shop. I saw the child leave her wedding with nothing but a shoe box, so I can only assume she improvised with a sheet (or nothing at all). You go, girl!

sex hairI took my query to the internet a few weeks ago and was appalled to discover that quite a few people had never heard of ‘sex shoes’. It is important to distinguish between a ‘sexy shoe’ and a ‘sex shoe’. Like ‘sexy hair’ (which is precisely barrel-curled and gently tousled) and ‘sex hair’ (which is often flat on one side, frizzy and disheveled), there are peculiar distinctions. Sexy shoes are practical. You can wear them to work – and with the right outfit – possibly to church as well. You will get compliments on a sexy shoe if worn in public. These will range from:

“Oooh… GIRL! Those shoes are hot!”

“Where did you get those shoes?”

zoesaldana107952119-419x591

And

“Oh. My. Gawd.”

However if one wears a sex shoe is public, reactions will likely be a bit more tepid.

“Don’t those hurt your feet?”

“Where you headin’ in those bad boys?”

sex shoe3

And

“Wow… Okay.”

A disapproving sneer may accompany these comments.

Finally, sex shoes should not be mistaken for stripper shoes, which due to their plastic/Lucite nature are ideal for pole climbing and vaulting. Remember, just because a woman strips for money does not mean she sells her sex for it.

stripper-shoes-dancer

I firmly believe every woman in a committed relationship should own a pair of sex shoes, even if shoes aren’t your “thing”. It’s always good to be prepared! Women love adornment, and it’s just as important to adorn your feet as it is your hair, writs or neck.

I owned a pair once. They hurt like the torment of hell itself, but my Father, were they beautiful. They were a round toe, topaz colored affair adorned with the plumage of some unknown arboreal creature. Gem stones dotted the straps. What outfit could I wear that with? And to where? It’s the bedroom alone, innit! My husband says he’s never seen them, and he’s right. They were a half size too small and I gave them away before I had a chance to use them for the occasion for which they were purchased! It’s hard to find sex shoes in a size 10.

Now that you know what a pair of sex shoes looks like, are you inspired to buy yourself a pair? Do you own a pair (or several)? What is your favorite store to shop for fantasy shoes? And if shoes are not your necessary accessory for the boudoir, what is? Discuss! ↓

 

 

I Need A Pediatrician Who Understands Black Bodies

Since our doctor’s visit on Friday, I have been oscillating between titles in my head.

My Kids’ Pediatrician is a Blooming Idiot would be unfair, because no one gets a medical degree by being an idiot. In the same way, My Kids’ Pediatrician is on CRACK has a nice ring to it, but I can’t substantiate those claims. That’s not to say that I don’t think that this woman is an idiot who might be smoking crack based on her claims about my children’s health, but neither of these titles addresses the issue as I have come to understand it.

I don’t know if medical doctors understand how much faith and trust their patients put in their utterances and opinions. I didn’t see a gynecologist until I was 25 because I didn’t want someone I didn’t trust peering into either one of the holes I hide between the folds of my buttocks. (That, and I didn’t have insurance until I began working a job that offered benefits.) In the same vein, I did not select a pediatrician for my children until I had completely vetted that person.

My search for a pediatrician began when I was five months pregnant with Nadjah. I had a list of nearby practices, calling on the phone first and assessing wait and hold times and listening for friendliness in the office admin’s voice. After weeks of searching, I found Dr. Leonard who greeted me with a no-nonsense attitude and rarely smiled. I was hooked. I did not want a goofy doctor looking after my offspring.

Dr. Leonard cared for the physical and developmental needs of all my children for six good years. We developed an understanding with one another. She once told me that I was one of the best moms she’s ever worked with.

“You’re just so easy,” she said. “There’s no drama.”

I smiled sheepishly in appreciation. I might have muttered my thanks. What does one say to that? She made it easy as well. I remember how she would coo over Stone when he was born, and pointed out all his best attributes.

“He’s in the 90th percentile for height and weight,” Dr. Leonard told me at his one year check-up. “He’s big for his age, but he’s been plotting like that since he’s was born.”

She described his physical development on the chart as ‘perfectly square’.

Then a month later, Liya was born and Dr. Leonard came to see her in the nursery in order to evaluate her and do her doctor-y things. She popped in to visit me as well. I brightened when I saw her and she smiled back, which of course was rare. Liya was doing well, she said. She was a perfectly healthy baby. We chatted for a bit and then she left. I didn’t see her again until I went for Liya’s first official in office check-up. That’s when Dr. Leonard dropped the bomb on me. She told me she was leaving the practice. To go where, I asked.

“Out of state,” she replied.

I felt my knees weaken. What was I to do? I didn’t like any of the other doctors in the practice. One looked like a pedophile and the other had shamelessly flirted with Douche Bag on the ONE visit he had come to when Nadjah was born. (She also no longer sports that enormous rock that was crushing her ring finger that day, which tells me her wanton flirtation had led to other less innocent events.) The other I had not taken time to get to know at all. How could she do this to me?!

“How could you do this to me, Dr. Leonard?”

“Well, I told your husband. There was no way I was going to tell you while you were in the hospital having a baby…”

And then she was gone. She left no contact information. It was a clean break. Sometimes I look her up on the internet to see what she’s up to. I hope she’s happy. Because I’m not… I got stuck with the one thing I never wanted: a goofy doctor.

In order to preserve our new pediatrician’s ‘integrity’, I will not mention her by name. Suffice to say she is young, bubbly, blonde and just began practicing a few years ago. She is literally “practicing” medicine with my kids! If I was a new mom, she’d have me in a corner curled up in a fetal position convinced I was doing horrible wrong by my kids. Our sticking point is my children’s weight…or their individual BMIs, more precisely.

MOM Squad, we’ve discussed BMI in the past. Marshall and I are overweight. We know that. Our children (crosses body) are NOT. They’re just Black. Now, what do I mean by that?

Remember when Jimmy Snyder said these words – words that left mouths agape – in 1988?

“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade … the slave owner would breed his big black [man] to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.”

As crude as his words were, they were true. African Americans were bred for specific attributes on plantations. The topic came up at my in-laws’ house just last week as my mother-in-law spread her huge hands…hands that would be most useful to field work. Because like it or not, that’s what Africans were brought here to do: hard labor and field work.

Well now, de Lord and Lincoln dun gave us freedoms, but dat don’t erase fo’hunned years of genetic engineering. My children are tall, thick and muscular because some white guy decided that body type would work best to support his plantation’s goals. So excuse me if my youngest baby isn’t a willowy nymph flitting through the lines of your government issued bio chart. I wanted so desperately to snatch this woman and her files as she went over Liya’s stat sheet.

“She’s in the 98th percentile for height,” Dr. Dumbass said with a silly giggle, “but her BMI is way off. She was normal last visit, but look how much she’s sprung up here.”

This sinewy blur you see hurtling towards you is "overweight".

This sinewy blur you see hurtling towards you is “overweight”.

I looked at her plot line, and then I looked at my child, and then I looked in her face. WTH?

With a half giggle, half frown she went on to ask “Is she eating a bunch of sugar and carbs?”

“She doesn’t really like bread,” I said pensively. “But she does love french fries. She…”

“Oh, no!” Dr. Dimwit said, cutting me off, gasping as she interrupted. “She can’t have any more fries. Ever. That just means not going to places that don’t serve those things. Mkay?”

I looked at her and nodded silently so I wouldn’t have to cuss her out. She was already snapping up her Brighton pocket book shut and readjusting her stethoscope on her neck before exiting the door with a guttural Hahum! See you later!

Ohh I was offended. I was offended on an ancestral level! How much thinner did she want my baby to be? She didn’t say. She just made a playful quip about not eating anymore potatoes. The Irish mother in me would have hit her with a camogie stick if I could have. Instead, we left her office and went straight to Chick-fil-a.

I’m vexed; but not for the reasons you may suppose. I’m annoyed because I have to begin the search for a new pediatrician all over again! It’s a time consuming, mentally exhausting task. I need a pediatrician that can make independent assessments about my children outside of the box of what a form says. Who can look at my daughter and say:

“On paper, you’re not the ideal body type, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a prima ballerina like Misty Copeland. They told her she didn’t have the right body for ballet either.”

misty-copeland-feb14

Or

“Did you know until the Williams sisters came around, muscular girls on tennis courts were almost unheard of?”

Serena-Williams-img16902_668

Or

“You are built just like Surya Bonaly, an Olympic medal winning figure skater who was so daring and lithe that she would do backflips on the ice! (She was later banned for it too, after defying an order not to.)”

Surya

In short, I need a pediatrician for my son and daughters who understands Black bodies, not this doe-eyed recent graduate who has lived out her entire existence in some suburban bubble somewhere reading Teen Vogue and lulling herself into the belief that every body should look that way.

Do you like your pediatrician? Do you live in North Fulton? Care to make a recommendation? ↓

Hunting for Happy Twitter

Good Lord. I’m suddenly struck by the First World Problem-i-ness of this title. They are shelling babies in Gaza. Some people are hunting for food and shelter, but I’m hunting for “happy Twitter”? Like that’s a real thing?? Moving right along…

Fans of Dave Chappelle might remember a skit he did back in ’09 about what the internet might look like if it was a real place. For those of you who don’t remember or (gasp!) have never known, click here: http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/2p5u

All manner of bizarre things happen in Chappelle’s virtual search engine world – from questionable encounters with goats and negroid fawns that spontaneously break out in song. At that time, Twitter was pretty much in its infancy, and Facebook was approaching the height of its popularity. It was hard to imagine that the internet could be a real, actual place that one could visit. But like the emergence of Super Gonorrhea and no bake cheesecake, if you give time enough time, your worst/best dreams can come true.

As we hit the apex of 2014, we now have a new macrocosm known as the Twitterverse. The Twitterverse exists within a celestial body known as the Innanets (or the Interwebz, to some), and has numerous distinct fields of thought and realities. No, I’m being dead serious.

I have visited or heard of these different social media colonies. I’m an active member of African Twitter. I seldom visit Black Twitter, but will only of drawn in. A friend of mine resides on Russian Twitter. A good number of my friends live on White Reddit. Old people and religious groups dwell within the barren land of Facebook. And of course, there is Chinese Twitter…which is actually made in China and known as Weibo. (Those dern Chineses can’t stand to be like the rest of us. Gotto go and have their own ‘made in China’ Twitter n’ such.)

A friend of mine attended a conference a few months back about communications in the 21st century or something like that. Part of the meeting was to discuss what a feminist internet might look like. Not just a community within the Twitterverse ooo…they mean a whole new Feminist Innanets! I wondered what that might look like as well, and decided that it’s not a place I’d like to remain permanently. The feminists that I encounter on Black Twitter aren’t particularly nice or happy people. But then neither are the Africans on African Twitter and so forth.

Imagine if Happy Twitter looked like this...

Imagine if Happy Twitter looked like this…

Is there a Happy Twitter? If so, I want to find it.

When I first opened my Twitter account, I was completely baffled by how it worked. I took some advice from Kobby Graham who said (and I’m paraphrasing) “Your time line is like a garden: you have to cultivate it”.) I took that to mean that you can’t just let anyone and anything into your precious space. You have to be selective. So that’s the rule I’ve followed… And I have tried very hard over the last few years to be attentive to who/what I allow my eyes to see on my TL. Despite my best efforts, my TL isn’t the most inspiring place. It’s usually full of rage/outrage/disappointment and recently booty cheeks. I follow this one guy who is ALWAYS posting nude pics of girls. Ugh.

If you spend as much time on social media as I do, you run into all sorts of people. I think we all like to think we’re “good”, but those 84 keys on our laptop/PC brings out a brand of boldness in us, and that brand isn’t always particularly HAPPY, you know?

I have a ritual every morning: I wake up, check the time on my phone, enter in my passcode, check my email (which is a deathscape of spam), check my Facebook (which is a deathscape for ads promoted by Facebook) and then finally I check my Twitter account for some real, authentic human interaction. It’s always so…depressing! Kola Boof has dedicated the last 8 hours to talking about how women in Arab nations have to sip a man’s pee to demonstrate their subservience, YNaija often has stories about raped toddlers or rappers who are breaking women’s hearts, and everybody else is RT’ing the very most shocking news of the day. And then I jump in and contribute my portion to this mess. Once in a while there is a skirmish with some random stranger who has taken offence to a stand or statement I’ve made or retweeted and then my mentions become a battlefield. Was I alone? I asked an e-buddy of mine.

sad twitter

Ah-ah! Things can’t go on this way. If I am to exist in this Twitterverse within this here Innanets, there has to be a happy place I can retreat to…like the Bora Bora of the Twitterverse, if you will. That’s why I created an @LaikaHappy account last night and asked for suggestions on who to follow. The criteria was simple: I wanted all my currently followers to send me the handle of any particular person or group who was perpetually positive and happy with their tweets so I could follow them back. So far, the response has been abysmal. I only got 5 recommendations. Could it be that most people on Twitter are just unhappy? Again, my e-friend confirmed my suspicions.

happy tweets

So here’s my question to you:

Are the people you interact with on social media primarily negative? Are you comfortable with that? Is happiness in the e-universe an important pursuit, particularly in the face of Ebola, rigged elections and all the other ills that are plaguing our planet and taking up so much of our attention? Are we as a race more devoted to outrage than to the pursuit of joy? Discuss! ↓

 

Oh, and if you are a happy tweeter, holler at me so I can follow you! :)

happy laika

 

Why I Grossly Dislike Tithes and Offering Messages

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. – Malachi 3:8

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

If you’ve been to church – pick a church; ANY church – you’ve heard these two scriptures read, quoted or paraphrased at the all critical offering segment of the church service. It is the most wearisome portion of church to me.

Do you know what I just realized? In all my days, I don’t think I’ve ever heard any pastor recite the first portion of II Corinthians “You must each decide in your heart how much to give”. Typically, they encourage you to give more! Give abundantly! Give according to the blessing you want God to bless you with! I can’t tell you how many Sunday’s I’ve had to check the bile swelling up in my throat to prevent myself from puking all over a church pew.

I don’t want to sound like a disgruntled Christian. I am not, I assure you. I actually look forward to giving my tithes and offerings in church. I look forward to showing the Lord my gratitude with my gift. My little white envelope and check is my way of saying “You know what God? You got me up every morning, kept me employed, kept me healthy, and saw that all my needs were supplied. I can’t repay you (after all, what price can you put on good health?), but I can bring you this gift to say ‘thanks’!” I come to church READY to give, and I think that any serious Christian should as well. After all, you go to work ready to do your job, don’t you? Does your boss have to come by your desk every morning to give you a 30 minute exhortation about all the wonderful things that will happen if you put your 40 hours in? Then why in Christ’s holy name do we have to suffer through an offering message about how God will “Open up the windows of heaven” if we give?!?

I sincerely believe offering messages are for new converts/believers. We are trained in Western society to get all we can and keep as much of it as possible. This thinking has seeped its way into the church, and because the church was instrumental in the (neo)colonization of Africa, this stingy mentality festers in African congregations as well. That’s why you can have a church where the members are dirt poor and the pastor honks for them to clear the road in his air-conditioned Benz on his way to Sunday brunch. Ekene Onu calls them “church-preneurs”. (But that’s another topic for another day.)

As I was saying, it is the duty of a Christian to give his/her tithes and offerings. It is the least of your reasonable service. How are you going to call yourself Christ representative in the earth if you can’t give money? Common money o! Can you really be expected to give of your time, talent and love – nontangibles which are far more valuable – if you have to be goaded and coerced into your reasonable service? Explaining things at this level are for folks who are babies in the things of God. If you’ve been a Christian for 15+ years and are still struggling with giving, you might need to do a spiritual check-up.

The other thing that absolutely makes me violently ill where offering messages are concerned is that I sometimes feel like I’m being sold a bottle of snake oil. This typically happens at big conferences and retreats, which is why I no longer attend big conferences and retreats. Offering messages in these arena sare typically manipulative.

cheerful-givingI remember when I was in college and just newly born again. A big named Prophetess who was very popular at that time had come into town. My friends and I were giddy with excitement because we’d watched her on VHS in our dorm, and by virtue of the power of her words and worship ON TAPE, found ourselves prostrate on the ground in prayer. Her arrival in town heralded the first conference I would ever attend. Before she came on stage, there was the typical business of praise and worship (four fast songs and two slow ones), some introductions of some other leaders who were profiling on the arena stage, and then the offering message which was, without exaggeration, 40 minutes long. By time he was done, he had convinced me that God would double (or even triple!) my blessing “but only if I gave big”. God would perform a miracle! He had a $50 line, a $100 line and a $1000 line going. I was working at Walmart on minimum wage at that time, and had a little less than $19 in my account. I knew this. But the man had spoken with such urgency, and I didn’t want to miss out on the blessing that the anointing THIS prophetess would bring, and despite the niggling voice in the back of my head wrote a $50 check…which then proceeded to bounce, and bounce and bounce like a jilted lover. I made the same mistake two more times in my life before Bank of America taught me the lesson that Darwinism could not.

This scenario repeats itself all over churches across this country, every Sunday and sometimes on Wednesdays during Bible study. If you are reading this and find yourself pressured into giving something you don’t have (be it time or money), STOP. Don’t do it. It’s only going to create bitterness in you. That is why I believe there is a special part in Hell for all these preachers and pastors who have had a role in creating hard-hearted, bitter Christians.

Instead of offering messages, many churches (particularly Black churches) would do well to have a financial literacy class. This is the other reason I despise offering messages. They keep people at a need-based, subsistence level. Let’s say I and everyone in the congregation in already walking in financial freedom: we have no debt and no lack. What would the “blessings of God” look like in that case? Why can’t we then begin to think and operate in THOSE terms, rather than “Gawd gonna pay yo’ bills if you open up yo’ heart and yo’ purse my sistah!!”. Is God a pimp? No really.

Is.

God.

A.

Pimp?

No one should be goaded into giving; and besides, no one wants to receive a ‘gift’ reluctantly given. If it’s not of your free will, it’s ransom money…and last I checked, the Lord wasn’t holding any of us hostage. We all have free will.

What about you, Reader? You might not be a Christian, or have any religious tendencies at all, but if you’re human, you probably have some method of organized giving. How do you feel about “offering messages”? Do they bother you? Motivate you? Or not really matter at all? Discuss! ↓

 

 

Fame

fame-298x300

(Fame) I’m gonna live forever

I’m gonna learn how to fly (High!!!)

I feel it coming together People will see me and cry (Fame)

I’m gonna make it to heaven

Light up the sky like a flame (Fame!)

I’m gonna live forever

Baby remember my name (Remember, remember!!! x 10,000,000)

Do you remember that show from the 80’s? I believe they made a remake of it a few years ago. It’s not nearly as popular as the original, of course. It was folly to remake Fame, just as it was foolish to remake the Karate Kid. Why ruin perfection?

Anyhow, I have been giving quite a bit of thought to the concept of fame – or rather how much importance society has put on it – for the last few weeks. It’s as if there is a gnawing, growing hunger and thirst that cannot be satiated with each passing generation. It’s like a virus or a famine, devouring everything in its. We haven’t escaped it our house, what with my oldest daughter stating repeatedly that her only quest in life is to be “famous”.

Like thousands of other children across America with the same goal, the girl has some talent, but not enough to compete with the likes of Quvenzhane Wallis or one of the Smith babies. We just can’t afford to divert the resources to get her to that level just yet…and that is what has me concerned about this Plague of Fame sweeping the country.

I visited with my sister-in-law a few days ago. She asked me how things were going with my book. I told her sales were slow, but that was because I hadn’t devoted a lot of time to marketing. Marketing, speaking, and all the accoutrements that go hand-in-glove with becoming a “famous author” are the things that many writers hate doing. I don’t want to market my books: I just want to write something people will enjoy and repeat that process 35 or more times over. This is why I will probably not become a “famous author”, at least in my lifetime. There is a possibility for fame after death, but we’ll come back to that.

As I was saying, I was chatting with my sister, and I asked her what was going on in her life in turn. She told me about a kid in her neighborhood who had done the unthinkable.

“He was a really sweet kid,” she said half way through our conversation. “He was a straight A student, had a ton of friends in his high school, and was well-liked in our neighborhood. He never did anything, except study, go to his after school clubs, and came home.”

“What do you think drove him to it?” I asked. My mouth was dry and my heart was heavy with sadness.

“Well,” she said slowly, “I think it was because when he went off to college, he wasn’t the biggest fish in the pond anymore. He was just another guppy in a huge lake.”

“He became a number…”I murmured.

“Exactly. And because everything had come so easy to him at home for so long, in his classwork…he had a set method of success that wasn’t working in this new environment…he couldn’t handle it. He wasn’t doing well in his studies. No one knew him. So he came home during Spring Break…”

And shot himself in his bedroom with a rifle, from lungs to neck. He didn’t survive. His life was cut short so soon, mostly because he didn’t have faith in the person he might have become.

This is one of the more extreme examples of the lengths young people will go to in order to reconcile the sense of failure they feel with “fame” or “renown” eludes them. I imagine there is no small amount of depression that precedes or accompanies these feeling as well. I distinctly recall scoffing when I read the story about Danny Bowman, a young teen in England who became suicidal after repeatedly failing to take the perfect selfie. It seemed silly – asinine, really – at first, but then you realize that this need to capture the perfect image of one’s self has less to do with self-obsession and more to do with how you think the world views you. (Please feel free to disagree with me on this point in the comments section.)

I think many of us Generation Xers who suffer from our own brand of Peter Pan Syndrome have done a piss poor job of preparing our kids for disappointment. In a way, I understand why. We still think we’re invincible: we rode bikes without helmets, lived in homes swathed in asbestos and lived to tell the tale, so why shouldn’t our children be just as unbreakable? Because our kids don’t/will never have the benefit of having the strength and intelligence of our Baby Boomer parents. We have cushioned our kids from any semblance of dissatisfaction, minimized almost every opportunity for them to experience delayed gratification, and set them up expect success with minimal effort on their part. One has only to go to Chuck E Cheese and watch an eight year old fall to pieces because he can’t get his balls in the skee-ball hole and retrieve his tickets!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be famous or to be exceptional and what you do. I wish more people would pursue exceptionalism, rather than mediocrity. (Maybe we would have evolved to grow wings by now, who knows.) My concern is how we have been conditioned to experience fame; i.e. when it supposed to be valuable to us.

zora-neale-hurston_sSome of the most famous people in popular culture today only became so because they died. John Keats died a penniless, depressed dope head and gave us some of the most amazing poetry in English lit today. Johann Sebastian Bach might have fallen into antiquity and forgotten memory if not for Amadeus Mozart, who was an ardent follower and admirer of Bach and popularized him as a composer. Similarly, Alice Walker revived the work of Zora Neal Hurston when Walker reintroduced the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God to a new generation who had no idea about of Ms. Hurston. The examples are endless. Could any of these people have imagined in the depths of their drudgery, when all their work seemed as though it were in vain, when they received little or no recognition for their brilliance that 200, 100, 15 years thence they would be celebrated for their work?

In months when I haven’t sold a single unit of my book, it’s hard to imagine. For the kid who can’t figure out how to make his app work or get that technical dance move just right, it might feel the same way. This is when it becomes oh-so important that you – as an individual – recognize your worth and your brilliance and your beauty first. Don’t wait for the world to validate you. The world is fickle: they will sing your praises one day and call for your head the next.

Just ask President Obama.

What do you think, Reader? Do you think the timing of fame is more important than its achievement? Would you rather be a celebrity in your lifetime or have a legacy that outlived you? Do the spoils of your toil matter if you are not there to witness or enjoy them? Discuss! ↓

 

Red Friday Installments: Apathy Doesn’t Count

Malaka:

I would add something, but I think she’s said it all. *Stretches*

Originally posted on My Nostalgia for the Future:

“So are you going to the protest?”

“Nah… I have meetings”

-_____________-  “But you work for yourself… like, you set your own schedule and it will all be done by like, noon.”

“Meeehhhhhh… I just feel like, there is no point really. I mean, they know the issues, they just don’t care. And if they cared, we wouldn’t need to protest! I don”t see what marching and standing around is gonna do anyway”

“But for every single person that says that, we lose that much momentum and brute force for agitation…. and… well— nevermind, you suck. And I hope all of your meetings fail tomorrow”

“Wow… I suck? really Amma?”

“Yes.”

“So are you ordering fish or chicken at Chez?”

“Fish, girl!”

photo (4)

This is essentially an amalgamation of conversations I had with friends on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Conversations about protests, civil unrest, complaining, civil rights, agitation.

Conversations

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US EmbassyGate…Ghana Edition!

Ho-ho-ho-ho!

Santa? Is that you? Did Christmas come early?

Since this is Ghana politics, let me rephrase:

GAGAGAGAGGAGAAAA! HEIII!!!!

AH-JEISH!

I think that’s more in line with Papa Bronia’s merry chuckle. In time, we will figure out to combine the two for the benefit of all. After all, isn’t that why the US is in Ghana? I couldn’t find an official mission statement their website explaining why the US has an embassy in Ghana, but I’ll hazard a guess and say it has something to do with President Nixon’s agenda when he first visited Ghana during her foray into independence. His goal was to kill Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan African agenda and keep us darkies in check for the benefit of the superior Western World. (Of course, this is a coarse translation of events and ideals that on paper would include charming words and phrases like ‘bilateral cooperation’ and ‘mutual progress’.)

Did you see the US Embassy’s tweet about President Mahama this week? If you haven’t heard about it already, it will certainly be in Monday’s newsreel. It was a fantastically glorious example of hoof in mouth disease. I never would have heard about it at all if not for the BBC’s Akwasi Sarpong retweeting it.

USEmbassy tweet

Now, let me go ahead and say that I am not disagreeing with this tweet. It’s no different from the sentiments that I and many other people in my camp share. The average Ghanaian holds this view. (Save, of course, the diehard NDC sycophant who can’t seem to see the water for the ocean, even though s/he is drowning in it.) It was just odd that such an utterance – so utterly lacking in finesse – would emanate from the Twitter account of the Embassy of the United States of America. So odd, in fact, that most people took it for a joke/hoax/photo shopped prank and moved on.

Until someone apologized for it. Apparently, one of the staff who manages the USE twitter handle tweeted from the wrong account, inadvertently using the Embassy’s account to express their personal views.

Ahhh…so it was true? Now things were getting interesting.

I predicted that the NDC would attempt to use this tweet as fuel for propaganda and deflect from their role in ruining the existence of Ghanaians. Before I even had a chance to prove myself a soothsayer, Ghana’s Sarah Palin – and poster child for attractive, powerful, yet breathtakingly clueless women of influence – Miss Hannah Tetteh herself, lobbied an attack on the Embassy saying:

hannah v america

Now keep in mind, this is the SAME Hannah Tetteh who mocked the very same people who fund her cushy lifestyle with their taxes just a week ago during the #OccupyFlagstaffHouse protests. So derogatory and inflammatory were the tone of her tweets, that many were quick to assume that an intern/assistant had to be responsible for them. Her words were beneath the dignity of her office. However, since her tagline on twitter says “Opinions are my own & retweets are not endorsements”, it’s fair to say that she is personally tweeting in her own capacity. I am thunderstruck therefore that she would come out with such vehemence against the one tweet of the US Embassy when she sent SEVERAL far more offensive tweets.

The woman has the memory of a goldfish.

But there is a larger lesson here, and it has everything to do with how we use social media as public and private individuals. Oh! Forget Hannah Tetteh and the US Embassy. Just a week and a half ago this jolly woman was being feted by the Embassy at some event while her constituents were starving. And as for the Embassy? I remember when they were a mere office building in Osu with high gates manned menacing looking watchmen in blue shirts. Now, thanks to decades of denied visa fees at $500 a pop, they have purchased white amounts to entire New York city block of prime real estate, complete with plush housing for their staff.

As contemptible as I have always found the Embassy’s dealings with the Ghanaian public, I hold our ruling government in much lower regard. It is the Americans’ job to shaft us. And now we have to deal with that and the ruling government’s failure not only to protect us, but to fleece us in the process.

But as I was saying: the lesson.

Ghanaians somewhere are jubilating because they got the US Embassy to issue an apology.

usapologyWhat the Embassy actually did was apologize for the TWEET, not the sentiment behind it –which was bloody brilliant. We all know that JD Mahama’s presidency is one big apology. Now some guy called Ras Mubarak, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Youth Authority (talk about a phantom position), wants Hannah Tetteh to call on the US Ambassador to lay prostrate before the good people of Ghana and apologize for the errant tweet. Excuse me while I piss myself in laughter.

One of those groups/persons is Food Sovereignty Ghana, an anti-GMO organization that seeks to keep Monsanto and co out of crop production in Ghana. I was tempted to unlike and unfollow their page on Facebook, but I know one of the organizers, so I know she has better sense than to condone the foolishness that the person behind their twitter account is hell bent on pursuing. Look at this series of tweets:

foodtweetfoodtweet2foodtwwet3

Now, their first mistake was to come for my BFFFL. If anyone is going to come for my BFFFL, it’s gonna be ME…and then I will apologize for it because I never want to hurt my bestie for life.

Their second (and third, and forth) mistake was to keep the feud going, and to make it personal. See the portion where Food Sovereignty Ghana shames her for arrogance for stating that Hannah Tetteh is “making a storm in a tea cup” over the matter. The individual manning the account for today clearly has no savvy. S/he has either forgotten that in tweeting these personal attacks, they are doing so in the FULL CAPACITY of their grassroots organization…or they don’t care. Are we then to surmise that this is how Food Sovereignty Ghana treats all persons who disagree with them? Does the organization routinely seek to shame private individuals in this manner? And if so, are they REALLY an organization we want fronting the anti-GMO movement in Ghana? Isn’t Samia Nkrumah linked to this group as well? Wait a second…I thought she had presidential aspirations? Are THESE the types of folks she is going to have in her cabinet? We already have a crop of Deputy Ministers, MPs and what have you that treat the private citizen with scorn. Why replace moldy rice with spoiled yam? It’s all rotten, isn’t it!

Sadly, as of typing this blog, the person(s) in charge of handling the official twitter account for Food Sovereignty Ghana have not stopped their silly tirades, ironically proving Nana Darkoa’s very point!

*Sigh*

You see this?

photo-2

This is the screen I have to bypass every time I send a tweet. I have two accounts: One for Adventures, and the other is my personal. Can I understand how the kid at the Embassy sent personal views from his/her bosses account? You bet your sweet cheeks I can. I’ve done it. Nana Darkoa has done it. You may have done it. Corporations don’t do social media for themselves; people –with private lives and views – do.

The lesson therefore is to be more cognizant of what you are doing and how you’re doing it, and if you can’t figure your device out, maybe it’s best to keep your work data a separate device altogether.

Me? Unlike some folks who are determined to have angst over America “dissing” Ghana, I’m looking forward to the photo ops of Samia, Hannah and Ambassador Gene Cretz sucking on organic hotdogs and singing Kumbaya in Accra this Labor Day weekend. They are all robbing us and we’re stupidly snarling for crumbs like the peasants and pee-ons they presume us to be.

Alliteration, bitch!