Category Archives: Madness

There is only one person who brings drama and madness into my life, and that is my douche bag baby daddy from a previous relationship, whom I am tasked to deal with, courtesy of the Georgia Judicial system. I hope he DOESN’T get hit by a bus this week…

How About a Little ‘Madness & Tea’ for Your Christmas Morning Treat!

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merrrrr’ Kritmah!

christmas-story-bunny-suitThis is a special time of year for most people. For others, the holidays can be very hard for myriad personal reasons. They are a reminder of people whom have been lost, or of broken relationships, or that one crazy aunt who handcrafted pink bunny pajamas and who truly expected your mom to share photos of your miserable middle-school-self clad in said pajamas on all her social networks, effectively guaranteeing your public humiliation for decades to come. Maybe your mom was one of such wicked women. Maybe that’s why you hate Christmas now. Whatever Kritmah means to you, I personally wish you the very best the season has to offer!

If you’re on the blog today, color me surprised. I figured most of you would be settling down to a cup of Christmas pudding, roast goose sandwiches or cow foot soup (for my West African people), not hanging around on the interwebs! But now that you’re here on M.O.M. today, I say welcome and I’m glad you decided to stop by…because I have a gift for you. Yes, YOU! (But you knew that already, because I’ve been gabbing about it for almost two weeks.)

I have just completed my fifth book, ‘Madness & Tea’ – a book I wrote just for the MOM Squad.

…and my dad. (Who has never read my blog, although he’s heard it’s very popular.)

…and DK Yaw Osei. (Who challenged me to a literary duel when he dared me to write a book without approaching the work with an “agenda”. Humph. That bruh doesn’t know the depth of nonfa I’m capable eh? This is an agendaless agenda book if there ever was one!)

But outside of those two anomalies, this book and the stories therein were written and compiled just for YOU, my faithful, silent readers! I love your creepy little ways ever so much. I never know if you’re really there even though I know you’re there. You know?

My goal was to have this work available for free on all platforms, but the enemies of progress would not have it be so. Nevertheless, I did manage to beat the prices into submission depending on the platform. There’s something here for everyone! Just pick whichever price range and reading experience works best for you!

Google Books: Free (May be best viewed on a PC or laptop)

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Barnes & Noble NOOK: $0.99

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CreateSpace: $9.05 (50% your print copy when you use discount code DAEJN3HM)

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Amazon/Kindle: $2.99 (e-book) $9.05 (print)

Amazon UK: 1.96 Pounds

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‘Madness & Tea’ is a pet project I started working on almost two years ago and tabled in order to focus on other pursuits. I’m glad I postponed its completion and release, because I believe the timing works better now, where laughter and frivolity are so sorely needed and probably better appreciated. There’s that and the fact that if I’d released it in 2013, I wouldn’t have been in a position to capture and place that awesome picture that graces the book’s back cover…a picture I took in the fall of 2014. See? It’s like I always say: Eventually, everything comes together – like butt cheeks.

Oh, and a couple of things by way of warning: This book contains vulgarity, bushness, insensitivity and juvenile humor, which are essentially the reasons that the Madness group come to the blog anyway. As for the rest of you, please don’t say I didn’t warn you. :)

Merry HanuChrisKwanFestivus, my friends! Make sure you alert me to any issues, feedback, or uncomfortable stares you’ve received from strangers on the train because you’ve been snort laughing!

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All Your Favorite Christmas Songs is NasTAY!

There are two types of people in this world where Christmas music is concerned: Those who love it, and those who don’t. You can’t be “neutral” about Christmas music. It’s just not possible. As for me, I happen to fall in the category that loves the hokeyness of holiday tunes and like millions of other Americans, I look forward to the day after Thanksgiving when Top 40 radio plays all Christmas, all day long until December 26th. So, as you might imagine, I have dedicated innumerable man hours to consuming the genre.

For many years, I have sang merrily along with artists who have put a country, rock and/or hip-hop spin on classics such as ‘Mary Did You Know’ and ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’. I have my opinions on whether Mandisa is actually a better Christmas carol crooner than Mariah. I have spent a lot of time pondering whether CeeLo Green is an evil genius for releasing an album of carols or just desperate for public acceptance after being ousted from his job on ‘The Voice’ following his outrageous assertions about rape. (I have to admit, it is a very fun, well produced album. You should check it out.) However, this is the first time in my life that I have dedicated the effort to actually analyzing the lyrics of some of my most favored carols. In doing so, I have discovered that a number of them are just downright debauching. You may find this hard to believe, but let’s just take a look at these four songs which are played in heavy rotation year after year. Given the sexually driven climate of pop culture, I don’t think that this is by mistake that these four get so much air time. Let’s deconstruct them.

Santa Baby

If you were looking for a manual on how to manipulate Santa Clause by appealing to his primal nature, this song is it. ‘Santa Baby’ is a song purred by a gold digging floozy who has corrupted the good Mr. Clause and encouraged him to take leave of his senses. This is a song about seduction and financial coercion using sex as a weapon. She doesn’t hesitate before she pounces with:

Santa baby, just slip a Sable under the tree for me;
Been an awful good girl, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a ’54 convertible too, light blue;
I’ll wait up for you, dear; Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I’ve missed;
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed;
Next year I could be just as good… if you check off my Christmas list…

Herh! Who should hurry down “your chimney”? And because you haven’t been thot bopping around town with unemployed scrubs, you think that entitles you to a new drop top? Filthy slhore! This is a married man. Let him have peace!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

This song is a duet about date rape. It just is. There is no denying it. We’ll be better off once we all accept it.

My husband has always been uneasy about this song, and I never understood why. Now I do. I can see this poor girl pleading to leave this man’s house while he peppers her with rebuttals like a door-to-door sales man trained in the ninja arts of overcoming customer objections. It’s like he can’t hear her “no”, and could care less about the emotions her family might be going through while waiting up for a daughter/sister out later than normal. I cringe every time this song comes on.

(My mother will start to worry) Beautiful, what’s your hurry
(My father will be pacing the floor) Listen to the fireplace roar
(So really I’d better scurry) Beautiful, please don’t hurry
(Well, maybe just half a drink more) Put some records on while I pour

He even spikes her drink to lower her inhibitions:

(The neighbors might think) Baby, it’s bad out there
(Say what’s in this drink) No cabs to be had out there
(I wish I knew how) Your eyes are like starlight now
(To break this spell) I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ has been performed by numerous artists over the years. And as disturbing as the lyrics and the intent behind this song are, I am even more perturbed by the fact that there now exists a female-to-female version of the song.

I don’t know… it just seems anti-feminist for one woman to drug another with the intent to get into her panties, all the while employing the sorry excuse that it’s cold outside.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause

This is a song about a poor kid who has witnessed his mother’s infidelity and is uncertain about what to do next. He tries to use humor as a shield for his mixed up emotions. The boy is able to recount – in great detail – the series of amorous events that take place between his mother and this deity underneath the mistletoe. This woman thought her son was fast asleep and therefore felt free to invite this man to “slide down her chimney” while in the confines of her martial home.

She is tickling Santa.

She’s kissing Santa.

And meanwhile, all this young chap can think about what his father’s reaction would be to seeing his wife nuzzling with a man 300 times her age.

Then, I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

No, baby. Daddy would not be laughing. Nobody would be laughing. This song chronicles the events leading up to a broken home, and potentially, a domestic violence situation.

Look at them boots. Look at that cape. Santa is a freak.

Look at them boots. Look at that cape. Santa is a freak.

Let it Snow

This song. This song is the most subversive of them all! But me, I have seen through it! Look at this:

When we finally kiss goodnight
How I’ll hate going out in the storm
But if you’ll really hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm

The fire is slowly dying
And my dear, we’re still goodbying
As long as you love me so
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Yes, I know it looks innocent enough, but it’s not. This song is about two virgins dry humping at either one’s parental home…and in front of the fireplace, no less. A place where people gather to find peace and enjoy the calming crackling of burning wood. Ohhh, there’s wood alright!

Whereas the protagonist in ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is a seasoned sexual predator who roofies the drinks of his quarry, the young man in this song has brought popcorn with the hopes of gently snuggling with the object of his affection. Popcorn and his penis.

What else could “goodbying” be a synonym for but crotch contact? Yes! The only way he’ll be warm all the way home just from this young woman “holding him tight” would be from the heat generated from friction of dry humping!

Shocking, isn’t it? I should say so! Just remember my warning as you listen to Christmas carols with the kids tomorrow night. All is not as innocent as it seems! What is your favorite Christmas song/carol. Leave the titles in the comments and let me ruin it for you. :)

 

I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT!

No, I’m not pregnant. And I’m not adopting (yet). Every time a woman hollers about having “an announcement”, folk assume a baby is involved. DAG. I mean, just because I look like I ate a baby doesn’t mean I’m having one.

Okay, so yeah. I AM having another baby… but not the sort made of flesh and blood that poops all over your fresh sheets or vomits on your favorite silk blouse. This baby is made of bits and bytes!

MOM Squad: A labor of love has finally reached it’s zenith. A body of work I’ve been marinating on (for almost two years!) has at last come bursting through the uterus of my mind. I’m proud to announce the delivery of ‘Madness & Tea’, a delicious collection of the most lowbrow tales I’ve ever written here on the blog and beyond.

I couldn’t be more proud of myself. In order to complete this task, I had to clear my mind of any and ALL logic, giving myself over to unparalleled foolishness almost to the point of becoming imbecilic. Still, I soldiered on and pushed through. Just as we have pushed through together the dark times together.Yes, yes! This is a triumph for you as well. I may be the placenta, but YOU are the oxygen that has given this baby life.

*Sniff*

I want to thank Kim Kinzie, Adj Jetski, Tee Wilder and my co-worker, Deborah, for their contributions to this work. With you, this rare moment wouldn’t have been possible.

Look at it. Isn’t it beautiful?

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CLICK HERE

I will entertain questions now, if you have any.

Allow Me to Explain Why Your Retail Worker Looks so Dour This Month

It’s the holiday season at long last! Yes, sir! It’s that time of year that children all over the world have been looking forward to for the past 11 months. It’s time for parents to PAY UP! They’ve been good at school and in the grocery store with the promise of that new Lego set, or Barbie dream house, or whatever other Made in China trinket exhausted, fretful adults pledge in return for good grades or just ‘normal’ human behavior in public. Which I find ironic, considering we have adults that act like this:

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We thought Christmas was commercialized before? Pshaw! The last five years had seen Christmas fed a steady diet of capitalistic steroids. You can’t turn on the TV, the radio – your phone – without getting some sort of prompt to buy something… anything(!) to “celebrate” the season. And like any carnivorous, marauding occurrence that involves a multitude of any sort, there must exist a vector to host the carnage. There must exist vessels to facilitate and oversee the boorish behavior of the multitude; in this case, the shopping public. Of these two entities, I speak of the Big Box store (your Walmarts, your Targets, your etc), the ubiquitous Mall and your humble retail servant, of whom I find myself numbered.

I have worked in retail in some capacity since I was 15. My mom owned a small shop in La for a short time selling cement and a hodgepodge of building materials. A few weeks into the project, she left it for my sister and I to manage. After all, market women leave their koobi and tomato stands for their 6 year old children to manage. What would be the harm in leaving a “hardware store” under the command of two girls just barely into their teens? It was in that month that I learned a valuable lesson very early: the public SUCKS. To that point, I had been better treated by watchmen and kubolor boys who cat-called me on the way to and from school.

In just a few interactions,  I learned that because the responsibility of hauling and packing cement and taking payment for the items fell on me, I was seen as a non-entity. A person of NO importance, not even worthy of disdain. I was now part of the “trader class”. And if you are part of the shopping public who has never had the fortunate experience of working in retail (or any service industry) chances are you suck too. You just don’t know it.

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Here’s the thing that shoppers never want to admit. There is a certain prejudice that 99.9% of you hold against people that work in service. Yes! Even you faux charitable,  bleeding heart liberals. Many of you assume that because an individual works in a merchant environment (where associates are often lowest on the totem pole) we are not “qualified” to do anything else. Y’all think we either:

  • Flunked out of school (and therefore have no special skill sets).
  • Are still in school (and therefore have no special skill sets).
  • Never went to school (and therefore have no special sets).

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People work in retail for myriad reasons. Some do it because they enjoy interfacing with the public. Others do it for the meager benefits that come with retail work. Some are strictly seasonal worker. And yes, some do it because they don’t have any other skill set and therefore have been trapped in a cycle of working one retail job to the next. Nevertheless, retail workers are a vital cog in the wheel that keeps the Big Box shopping experience functioning and we are not worthy of the treatment meted out by what is often an ungrateful, condescending and inconsiderate public.

Can I be honest for a moment? Let me tell you why I hate my part time job. I just realized this last nigh. It’s because it makes me the worst version of myself, every time I step through those glass doors. I walk into my job and I have to become a LIAR. I have to smile when I don’t want to. I have to tell the customer who has asked my opinion and is gleefully prancing in those bedazzled blue pumps that she (or he) has made sound a fashion choice in what is obviously a hideous item. I’m not allowed to break any woman’s heart by admitting that she looks like a rabid Smurf who ran through a blueberry patch with them blue shoes and that blue dress on. Why? Because the customer is “always right” and we live in a day and time where there are so many shopping options that retailers are fighting for dollars. I’m a liar because we live in a time where easily offended people LIVE for an opportunity to report you to management in hopes of the ultimate revenge: seeing you out of a job. A job that may feed your family or keep a roof over their heads, or facilitate the purchase of trinkets for the holiday.

Because the shopping public sucks.

They are abusive and almost inhuman.

They are barely tolerable.

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Do you remember the campaign the airlines had to roll out a few years ago in defense of their flight attendants? Oh, it was huge! How could you miss it? There were posters of mournful little white kids staring into the camera with big, blue puppy dog eyes pleading with the public to treat flight attendants better.

“My mommy isn’t a punching bag.”

“A flight attendant is here to keep us all safe. She is not just an ‘air waitress’.”

“My mommy just flew 1500 hours between today and Sunday.”

“Please don’t be mean to my mommy!”

Now, why would the airlines have to embark on a nationwide campaign of this magnitude if folks weren’t acting like entitled jackasses? When I have the opportunity to fly and see a sourpuss flight attendant, I find myself identifying with her. I know she’s probably just come off of a long leg with that ‘one family/group/man/woman’ and has had to (try to) reset. Yet, I know she’s not a machine, and I give her some latitude if she doesn’t hand me my peanuts with gushing enthusiasm. Why? Because I have the capacity for basic human decency and no small measure of compassion. Everyone should! Too few of us do.

The frequent advice often shelled out by an unfeeling, unsympathetic shopping public for retail workers who are generally fed up with their antics is this: If you don’t like it, then quit! Why make MY shopping experience so miserable?

Oh, saa? Do YOU just quit your job because you had a bad day, or because your co-worker/manager pissed you off, of because you’ve got a sick kid you can’t attend to, or whatever life event might be the cause of the nonchalant attitude you’re experiencing that day? Are YOU always happy on your job? Not to worry! Hoards of folk have taken that very advice to heart and SHUNNED retail. Walk into any Big Box store in America and TRY to find some help. It’s like going on a quest for a cherry pit in a bushel of walnuts. Retail hardly ever anyone’s first career choice, making the positions even harder to fill. Now ask yourself: has not being able to find someone get your items from the top shelf or ring you out made you happier? Did that sage advice to “just quit” work better for your shopping experience?

As far as staffing is concerned, the turnover rate in retail is astronomical. ‘Now hiring’ signs are ever present. Why? Because no one wants to put up with the public’s crap! Even you don’t want to put up with your own crap. Look at how you walk into a store and just drop sh** everywhere. Who do you think works at that store? Your long suffering  grandmammy? And if you DO treat Nana’s house the way you treat an H&M or Walmart, you should be beaten, and mercilessly so.

Trust me: I’ve tried quitting my job on several occasions, only to see my manager plead with me to stay. It’s so hard to replace workers (with good sense) in retail. Finally, I cut my hours back to eight a month because that’s about all I could stomach with y’all. The average human being does not have as many interactions with other people – sometimes numbering in the hundreds – on a daily bases that a retail worker has in a typical 6-12 hour shift. That’s a lot of energy to be subjected to, and not all of it is positive.

Look atcha. There are days when people actually act like animals at the store.

So! If your friendly neighborhood retailer looks a little down in the mouth this month, there is probably a good reason why. Chances are, public misbehavior is it. But please bear in mind, we are doing our best with the resources we have. We don’t set the prices. We are not in charge of ordering merchandise. We do not get to decide what is displayed where. We’re just to get you what you need and get you out of the store with a smile on BOTH our faces wherever possible. :)

Did You Participate in #ThanksgivingClapback at Your House This Holiday?

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It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving has officially gone global. Millions of people representing the gumbo that is our humanity celebrated the holiday that marks the apex of an American genocide and land grab in their own unique ways. Twitter entertained and enthralled us with various versions of Thanksgiving with families of different ethnicities including – but not limited to – Black Families, Greek Families, Asian Families (the funniest, in my opinion because it was so unexpected) and White Families.

As humorous as all of these hashtags were, none rivaled #ThanksgivingClapback. The hashtag, and sentiments exposed therein, were forged from savagery, fiendishness and hilarity. It was predicted that if implemented in real life, relationships all across the country (and the globe by extension) would be left irrevocably damaged. For those unfamiliar with the term “clapback” see below. This is clapbackery at its zenith:

I spent Thanksgiving with my sister and like many transcontinental/Atlantic transplants, it meant spending the holidays with adopted family and friends. There were no elderly aunts and uncles to meddle in our lives, no cousins to compare our accomplishments with and therefore feel inferior to. There was no overbearing, disapproving grandmother at the head of our table nor a weathered patriarch silently observing the melee that is known as a holiday dinner. Thus missing these vital ingredients, we could not participate in a Thanksgiving Clapback…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to. For one, we’re too cerebral and too polite as group to want to do each other such harm with our words. Secondly, my husband, Mr. Decency and in Order, was present. He would have stopped the assault after the first grenade was launched.

For instance, I woke up Thursday morning and spread a Noxema mask on my face. Upon seeing me and the encrusted substance as he walked into the kitchen, my sister’s boyfriend, Chris, had the following query:

“Why is your husband’s seed all over your face?”

I paused to consider what I should say next and IF I should say it. I looked at Chris. I looked at Marshall. I went for it.

“That’s not my husband’s seed…it’s YOURS. Remember? Last night I was laying on the couch, exhausted from our long drive. You stood over me and skeeted all over my face…despite my protestations?”

Chris’ face twisted in revulsion. Marshall announced that the conversation was over; but I was just getting warmed up. However, for the rest of the night, I was forced to quell my inappropriate comments and potential clapbacks for the sake of the strangers amongst us. It was utter agony.

Among our dinner party was Chris’ aunt and uncle (by marriage), my sister’s co-worker and her boyfriend and a woman who has been a friend so long that her relationship has been categorized as “cousin”. As all of these people live and work in the DC area, each has strong opinions about government and a sense of superiority about what they do for a living. The aunt is a network admin. (Or manager. Point is, she doesn’t work with machines…she merely manages the process.) The couple does something novel in IT. Our cousin works with NIH/CDC/things to do with viruses. Nobody really has their stuff together outside of the office.

As the evening went on, the conversation shifted to politics, because Donald Trump. Scandal also became a topic of real debate, because Olivia is a “real character” who represents “real women”. And what holiday conversation in DC would be complete without mention of 9/11? Oh, and we must never forget to disparage Christians at a family function!

By the time we were about to serve desert, the aunt – who considers herself an authority on everything – had managed to monopolize the entire conversation. By this point, satellite communication, a topic on which she claimed she was well versed because she “spent time in the military”, came to the fore.

“There’s no way the government can shut down all of our communication without shutting down theirs,” she declared.

“That’s not true,” the vet retorted. “There are separate systems that exist for…”

“No. There is no way they can do it. Because beams and craft and towers and…”

She flailed her arms for emphasis. The aunt droned on and on, making absolutely no sense. It pained me not to be able to point out the flaws in her pronouncements, especially when a plethora of information abounds concerning the unused bandwidths and radio waves that aren’t available for public consumption. I wanted to clap back!!! Had her long term career as a military typist made her such an authority on the matter? But, you know…. Decency and order. I kept silent.

It went on like this all evening, with one person postulating an idea and she rudely interjecting or divining how/what they were thinking and making it a point to declare the results of her telepathic inquiry to the group. She had found an ally in the female half of the couple who had joined us for dinner. Let’s call her Becca. Becca cheered the aunt on at the least opportunity. Finally, by the time Donald Trump became the focus, I had had enough.

Aunt: He is just a horrible man! If he becomes president, I’m going to leave. I’m moving to Costa Rica.

Becca: Me too! I’m witcha! Girl…I’m moving too.

They give each other high-fives.

Me: You ain’t going no where. People have been saying this since Bush was in office. White people been talking about how they was gonna leave if Obama won. Where they at though? They right here.

Aunt: Yes I am! I’m going to leave and go to Costa Rica and be about that vacation life…

Me (shifted my gaze between the pair with every word): You. Ain’t. Going. No. Where. You are going to sit in America and you will DEAL.

Aunt: I…

Me: You. Ain’t. Going. No. Where!!!!!!

 

Oh my GAWD. Can I tell y’all how good that felt? It was at that point that the Vet – also weary from being shut down in mid-sentence – swooped in with aerial support, hammering in how difficult it is for Americans to adjust to life in developing countries because of erratic utility supplies, the lack of accountability and the lackadaisical attitude of governing officials towards solving any of these problems. My sister swooped in from the other direction with laughter, declaring with each cackle that it was preposterous for either woman to think they could survive anywhere else but the United States of America. The aunt stared at us helplessly and conceded defeat. I trained my eyes on Becca for a follow up assault, but decided it would be too cruel to point out the obvious. She wouldn’t even leave the man who refuses to marry her and won’t entertain the thought of having children. How was she going to gather the guts to leave America if Trump becomes president?!?

Why was I even entertaining such wicked thoughts? I know why. It’s because the roots of this holiday are wicked!

I know one of you has to have a great clapback story from Thanksgiving. No pressure to put it in the comments! I’ll just wait for you to tell me in an email. We’ll share the delicious details away from the prying eyes of the public. :)

 

 

How the POTUS’ Pop Off Remix Landed Me on a Cold Tin Roof

music-for-babies-226x300We are introduced to the power of music from our infancy, cautioned about it in our religious lives, rendered mesmerized by its power in our private moments. “Scientists” have long convinced expecting mothers that by exposing their babies to classical music from Back and Brahms, they will exponentially increase the intelligence of that child. Pastors have warned many a congregation about the type of music they allow to penetrate their psyche.

“Your ears are a gateway to your soul!” they spit.

And of course, anyone who has spent a week fed on a steady diet of R&B (the old school sort, not this dishwater they are peddling today) knows the draw and power of baby-making music.

Yes indeed! Given the right circumstances, music has the ability to exert a certain kind of influence on any living soul. I ascribe to the notion that it’s important to discern what genre of music you submit yourself to; and if I had stayed true to my own convictions, I never would have ended up on my neighbor’s roof and breaking into her house.

A few days ago, VSB published an article recounting President Obama’s use of the term “pop off” during a press conference about his cabinet’s proposed response to the ISIS attacks on Paris last week. They coined it “the Blackest thing that happened this week.” The incident gave birth to one of the greatest moments in pop culture and Black internet history. Within hours, a POTUS Press conference playlist had been compiled featuring every crunk anthem that’s ever been the cause of street brawls, bar fights and Springer showdowns. And THEN, JX Cannon upped the ante and crafted this… Well, I don’t know what this is. For once, I’m at a loss for words and am not quite sure how to describe this piece of auditory magic.

All I know is that the POTUS Pop Off crunk remix had an immediate effect on me and I was ready to face my day with spurs on!

Here’s the thing about crunk (and trap and all related genres): It will have you convinced you are darn near invincible. I am a 37 year old, 225 lbs woman. I am the antithesis of “invincible”. And yet when L’il Jon interrogates humanity with rhetorical questions like “Turn down for what?!?” I find myself wondering the same thing. What, in fact, am I turning down for?

It was in this spirit that I approached my neighbor, Ms. Phoebe* on Tuesday morning. Ms. Phoebe is my 60-something year old Jamaican neighbor I’ve mentioned in the past. We trade favors for one another, as good neighbors are wont to do. On this occasion, she was standing outside with her Chihuahua looking quite perplexed. Marshall and I reached her at almost the same moment.

“Ahhh, I locked myself out of my house again,” she groaned. “I don’know what I’m gonna do…”

The wheels in Marshall’s head were turning but to no avail. He admitted he had no solution either.

“Can you open the door with a credit card?” Ms. Phoebe asked hopefully. “The last time I did this, a friend was able to do so fuh me.”

“No. I don’t know how to do that,” my husband admitted.

I snorted, disgusted by the spirit of defeat that had enveloped the pair. This was NO problem at all! I knew exactly how to get Ms. Phoebe back into her house!

“I see your bedroom window is open just a crack. I can get up on the roof, crawl through and let you in.”

Ms. Phoebe looked at me in surprise…and a good bit of concern.

“Oh, but you’re so well dressed. I don’wan yuh to get all dutty…”

I waved away her disquiet with my confidence. “It’s just jeggings. Marshall, retrieve the ladder! I have climbing to do!”

Knowing better than to argue, Marshall did as he was bid and got the ladder. I skipped over to Ms. Phoebe’s house and eyed the distance I was to eventually scale. Doubt overtook me, but just for a moment. Recalling the magical melody from the POTUS Pop Off mix I felt recharged, instantly.

Pop off, pop off, pop-pop-pop pop off…

As it turned out, the ladder was too short. We’d need another solution.

“I’ll have to climb on top of my car to get up there,” I announced.

Ms. Phoebe began to call on Jesus and the saints for my protection. I appreciated her prayers, but at that moment I didn’t quite need them. I was fueled on a presidential crunk/trap mix. Adrenalin was coursing through my veins!

Pop off, pop off, pop-pop-pop pop off…

Now that I was safely on the top of her garage, I gingerly made my way across the flimsy tin sheeting to her window. I was confronted by a glass pane that wasn’t securely set in place. Every time I slid it up, it came sliding back down. I imagined myself being impaled by the dusty glass in an attempt to shimmy through the 2’ high opening. I heard Ms. Phoebe bark her encouragement from below.

“Girl, jus’ break that sh*t if yuh need to!”

Pop off, pop of, pop-pop-pop pop off…

No need for that. I found a few pieces of wood on the roof, propped the window open, knocked over a side table and a fan on my way in, and made way down the stairs. Ms. Phoebe was overjoyed when I turned the knob and let her in. She thanked me profusely, and I told her not to mention it. This is the same woman who gave me a bottle of homemade pepper sauce not three days before. How could I NOT climb her roof and reunite her with her belongings?

Now, this is the part where you point out that we could have easily contacted one of the 12 locksmiths that work and operate in the Roswell area. And yes, you are right to note this. But in my defense, I was under the influence of crunk and cannot be held responsible for my irresponsible actions! Un-crunk Malaka would have done just as you suggested: Called the locksmith on my phone, waited for him/her to arrive with my neighbor, offered her words of encouragement and assured her she was not “stupid” for locking herself out.

But these aren’t the decisions one makes when you’ve got Pop off, pop of, pop-pop-pop pop off… on repeat in your head. Turn up ALWAYS wins.

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Is Rae Dawn Chong the Only Black Woman to Pilot a Plane in the History of Film?

“I think Rae Dawn Chong is the only black woman to fly a plane in a crunch time situation.”

“Who?”

“Rae Dawn Chong. You know…with the curly hair?”

“Is she Chinese? Her last name is ‘Chong’…”

“Babe. Tommy Chong is her dad. Cheech and Chong?”

Marshall grabs his iPhone and sets about Googling. He has no idea who or what I’m talking about. Had this conversation transpired between Sami/Adwoa Gyekye and I, or any person who spent their childhood watching the same 15 films repetitively because migration to Africa in the 80s necessitated it, we would have gotten much further along in the exploration of this question and perhaps even arrived at some alternate conclusion.

But this conversation was NOT carried out with someone of  with an underprivileged movie viewing background. This conversation was between me and someone who had unlimited access to Nickelodeon and NBC after school specials and a plethora of disposable content. Someone who will never know what it’s like to pine for those weekends that stretched into months in anticipation of a new VHS sent from a sympathetic cousin in the US filled with never-before-seen cartoons and blow man films like Commando. I can quote Commando, and Rae Dawn Chong is the reason. She was simply amazing.

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I used to be in love with Rae Dawn Chong. I loved the sound of her name, the color of her skin, the curl of her hair. I think I mostly loved her because I frequently confused her with Irene Cara, who for me was the epitome of youthful Black woman cool. Rae Dawn Cara could do anything. She could sing, she could dance, she could fly a plane, she was quick with the witty comebacks. At some point in time – probably the late 90s – I separated the two women’s identities in my mind, much to the relief of all concerned. Rae and Irene were free to be their individual selves again.

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Marshall and I were watching Modern Marvels: Glass, when Rae popped into present memory. One of the scientists over at Corning was explaining how they made glass for the shuttles that launch into space that had to be strong enough to withstand a temperature of absolute zero. Everyone in each of the frames – from the men fitting the panes into the shuttle holes to the experts interviewed to speak about the company’s and industry’s history – was white and with the exception of one woman, male. It left me mired in a feeling of dread. What would happen if there was a situation that needed an individual with a unique set of skills (not necessarily of the Liam Neeson sort) and there was no white man present? Would we survive? Could someone drive a boat or pilot a plane if necessary? Has a Black woman ever been capable of this? I  only think of one: Rae Dawn Chong.

We have long bemoaned the representation of Black women in film. Until the Magic of Shonda touched our television screens, we were always cast in a box: The sassy best friend. The mouthy security guard. The crack whore strung out on the street. The ‘strong black woman’ who raised her kids on roach infested Raisin Bran and tough love until a benevolent white hero(ine) rescued her son(s) and made him a football/basketball star. If it weren’t for Foxy Brown and the Blaxploitation era, we may never have had the opportunity to see a Black Blow Woman portrayed in film… even in the 80’s when the genre guaranteed a box office hit. It was always Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Chuck Norris or Van Damme. The closest we ever got was Rae Dawn Chong.

Marshall disputes this. He says that Halle Berry as Storm is Rae’s counterpart in this unique category. I disagree.

“No. Storm is a Yoruba goddess. And she was trained at a facility specifically kitted out for combat. Storm is not at Starbucks slangin’ coffee right now. She doesn’t count.”

And that’s my point. If you had a room full of 20 people of various races and there was a crunch time situation – say the room began flooding – who would you assign certain tasks to?

  • The white guy to lead, for sure.
  • The Asian (it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. ALL Asians are brainy) to calculate how much oxygen we had left before any imminent escape.
  • If there were zombies outside, (just to up the ante) the huge Black dude would fight them off with his brawn as heroically encouraged everyone to “Go! Just get the f*** outta here, y’all!”

Once safely on the coastline, perhaps the troop happens upon a World War II era plane, long abandoned; its hull covered in seaweed and  lapped by the waves. Who might be qualified to fly this plane, or at least get its propellers rolling? You’re not looking for the Black girl, are you? No…she’s either dead by now, or sent on some fool’s errand like gathering firewood or rustling up some fried chicken. Unless that Black girl is Rae Dawn Chong, the only non-superhero Black female civilian to ever pilot a plane on demand in the history of film.

This is why I will be not only be looking into the cost of flying lessons for my girls, but scuba and equestrian training as well. Because should an oily man rippling with muscles suddenly appear and need them to dive into the water to retrieve the key of a speed boat to ferret them to safety, I don’t want my babies losing their lives because they were afraid to get their hair wet… or unfamiliar with horses or intimidated by knobs and switches. I don’t want my daughters dying an ignoble death while rustling up some fried chicken at the end of the movie.

So! Have you come up with any alternate names yet, or am I right about Rae? Honestly, I can’t think of anyone else who has rivaled her ability to date. Man, Commando got lucky the day he picked her out of the crowd and used her for bait. Look at that poise.

Ladies and gentlemen…Rae Dawn Chong.

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