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…

Why Aren’t Black Women Considered Funny?

Greetings, saints. I won’t be keeping you long today because I actually have to work on a book of short stories exclusively written for a certain sister of mine, so brevity will have to be the order of the day.

Do you consider Black women to be funny? No, seriously…think about it. Can/are Black women considered comedic “geniuses”, and why/why not? I ask because of several events I’ve witnessed unfold on social media.

Between 2008-2010, I used to run a blog called It was a breaking news website, wholly devoted to satire. My cousin Ms. Naa used to read some of the stories on her radio program to rave reviews. By chance, she revealed to a certain mutual acquaintance in the entertainment industry that I was the sole entity behind all of the writing on the blog. (I had one guest post during its entire run.) His reply?

“What? I know guys have humor like this…but a chick? Nah!”

I was young(er) in those days, and foolishly took his surprise that someone of my gender could be capable of such a feat as a compliment. Much like when white people mark with (pleasant) surprise that Africans can grow their own crops or know what a rolling pin is. Nevertheless, his remark troubled me: Why wouldn’t I be considered funny because I am a woman? Why would anyone not expect me to be?

Black women the world over are expected to conform to a specific set of stereotypes, and even when we refuse to, that roguishness must not extend beyond a certain margin. In Ghana just this week, Nana Aba Anamoah discovered the hard way what the repercussions are for evoking humor in a society that:

  • Doesn’t understand a particular genre or brand of humor
  • Doesn’t anticipate women being capable of that brand of humor

AnneBeing an African comedienne in this day and age is much like being a Vaudeville performer thrust into the 21 Century. Women who are deemed “funny” are expected to perform tropes that depict them as clueless, humble, struggling to navigate even the simplest of tasks. Ugandan actress and comedienne, Anne Kansiime, is one of the few women who has been able to break the dependence on these tired tropes for laughs to great success. And then, there’s Luvvie No-Last-Name-Needed-Nuff-Said-Ajayi.

In Nana Aba’s case, she shared a picture of a football match and implied that she was present in an attempt to prank her followers. Only she and her followers know what kind of rapport they share, so it was for them to get the joke. If I photoshopped an image of myself perched on the edge of Prince’s guitar for instance, with the caption “Haters will say I was never here” every faithful reader of MOM would understand what was implied. The rest of the clueless world would not, and then accuse me of madness. (But you know… actually mean it. Not in that “ha ha, Malaka, you so crazy kinda way.) Image manipulation is a tool widely used in the realm of humor in this age of technology. Some have suggested she not venture into the realm of comedy again. (A woman actually said this to me.) Why the hindrances and false outrage that eventually cost her her job?

Someone shared this video with me earlier today and instructed me to “listen to this buffoonery” that better be a joke.

OF. COURSE. IT. WAS. A. JOKE. How could anyone take this seriously?

Like fart jokes or geek humor, this type of humor isn’t for everyone. It’s a parody of real life events that are a result of the global phenomenon “Netflix and chill”. It’s commonly accepted that if a guy invites a girl over for “Netflix and chill”, he really is gunning for sex in the long run. And it is also a rebuke to Netflix to update their title selection – which does, save for a few exceptions – is really antiquated and does suck. Even as I type, I’m watching ‘Murder She Wrote’ because it is one of Netflix’s better offerings. Also, note her interjections during her speech. This was my favorite:

“I’m sorry… I’m 16 and I have heartburn from this Netflix baby and the lemon pepper wings.”

WHAT?!? #Dead

But of course, because Black women are ONLY perceived as ratchet, unaware, bumbling hood rats with no common sense, it would be impossible to see this as one of our own poking fun at herself or the stereotype she’s been made to bear.

Bassey Ikpi, whom I think is one of the funniest African women breathing life, often makes references to her imaginary relationship with Chiwetel Ejiofor…and has gotten a lot of us to buy into it. I have appointed myself as the plantain prefect for their wedding. (Bassey doesn’t know yet. It’s my wedding gift.) And STILL, there are enough clowns (not of the delightful sort)that jump into her newsfeed to ask – without irony and no shame – if she should seek professional mental assistance.

Again. IT’S A JOKE.

Ms. Ikpi has quite a firm grasp on reality, people.

So what’s the deal? Why aren’t Black women expected or allowed to explore these facets of their personhood? Why must we be constantly reduced to raging, furious caricatures of who we actually are? Anyone?


NB: If you’re trying to Google MaizeBreak and coming up empty, it’s because I stopped paying on the domain. I could have told you that in the middle of this post, but I wanted to watch you run in circles.

NB: And before you mental Oompa Loompas swoop into my comments about Nana Aba, I am aware she was fired for  “copyright infringement”, not for a joke. She denies this claim, and until it’s proven otherwise, I believe her.

How I (Presumedly) Became Ghana’s First Female MC

This is one of those stories I was going to wait to tell my grand kids to serve as a moral or a fable, but I guess I’ll tell it to y’all now. Just hold on till the end.


As a teenager, I frequently found myself the subject of rumors – the quality of which varied from the outrageous to the plausible. Some where laughable and others really hurtful. Being subjected to rumors is the price of admission into certain cliques and even certain academic institutions in Accra. I have slept with people I’ve never met, been on vacation to places I’ve never heard of, bombed exams I never took. I’ve survived the onslaught almost unscathed.

There are so rumors so ridiculous that it belittles one to even address them. These are the type that earn an “Ahhh? Is that what you heard?” coupled with a side eye and a sucking of the teeth. Then there are others that are amusing at first, then flattering, then potentially lethal to your street cred if left unaddressed. The rumor that I am Ghana’s FIRST female MC is one of those.

Yes. You read that right. It’s rumored that I am Ghana’s pioneer female MC. Mic Checka Malaka in the hizz-ous!!!

This is something I’ve heard before, but never really took seriously. If not for a respected member of Ghana’s music industry asking me to tell him how it all happened it last night, I wouldn’t be addressing it all! But if it has reached THIS person’s ears, then the rumor has grown teeth and wings and is auditioning for a part in Game of Thrones. I would let the rumor persist if not for the fact that I may be called on stage one day to “spit bars like I used to back in the day” for an expectant crowd and then find myself staring blankly into a sea of Accra’s finest looking like this guy:

riakWhat I am about to tell you is going to confound you. It may change your opinion of me forever. I am willing to take that risk. The truth must be known!

In the early 90’s, hip hop was HUGE. It was bigger than anything that had come before. Bigger than jazz, bigger than ragtime, bigger than Koo Nimo. This was the era of Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, Biggie and Pac. I had just completed my O’levels and my imagination, potty mouth and I were ready to fully engage in all the musical glory that the genre had to offer. I entered and performed in several talent concerts in the city, ready to show off my rap skills.

People used to say I looked like her. Humph. Wish I looked like her MONEY!

People used to say I looked like her. Humph. Wish I looked like her MONEY!

Well, it wasn’t “several” really. More like 1.5. And that’s exactly what makes this rumor so hard to believe if you were there and SAW what happened.

In those days, everybody in secondary school had a rap/rhymes/lyric book. We would all write down the lyrics to songs in exercise books and perform them later. Some people were better at it than others, usually those who painstakingly scribbled out the words to genres as divergent as country is from high-life.  The person with the best compilation of lyrics won. Won what, no one knows. Lets say they won honor…that honor being bestowed the mantle of being the go-to person for verification of lyrical content. This is how a whole dormitory in a certain unnamed school could perform Fresh Prince’s ‘Summertime’ with the intro going “Hegediz kukum hedediz…” (Here it is…) with gusto and without apprehension.

The first time I rapped was with my classmate Akua. We performed Pharcyde’s ‘Passin Me By’ at a show in GIS. I was the dude with the high pitched, nasal voice…or at least I was supposed to be. On the day of the actual show, I chickened out at used my regular speaking voice in the performance. Akua hardly spoke to me after that. We’re Facebook friends now, so I guess she’s forgiven me.

The next time I was supposed to rap (the .5 in this equation) was at Labadi Beach during some event during the long vac. I had been invited by Wos, Ben, Eddie and Jake to join their group. I didn’t understand why, but it was something to do so why not? I asked my mom for permission, she gave it, and I practiced for the show. I didn’t even write my own rhymes – something that it is critical for any person claiming MC status to do. I think the name of the group was NFL, I can’t remember. All I know was Das EFX was big at the time, and every other word Ben and Wos rapped had an “iggity” at the end. I was going out with a guy named Joe at the time. This is where you’ll want to pay attention.

On the day of the even, your humble potty mouthed thug miss arrived at the beach in all white. I wore white baggy pants, a fitted white shirt, cornrows and combat boots. I also had a baseball bat in my hand. You know…to up the hard core effect and to let people know I meant bidness. I had such a hard life living in a 5 bedroom home in Labone, naw’mean? The presenters of the show instruct us to step out on stage so we could be introduced to the crowd later.

“Oh look! They even have a girl in their group!” he trills.

The crowd goes wild. I grip my baseball bat tighter, cock my head to the side and deliver a 5 point mean mug. We descend from the stage where Joe is waiting for me. I feel exhilarated.

“You’re not going to rap today,” he said flatly.


“No girlfriend of mine is going to stage to rap,” he sneered.

My sister was disgusted. I was confused. What was this gibberish this boy was talking? As it turned out, I couldn’t perform that day because our set was too long. Each performance had to be no more than 3 minutes. Ours was between 5 and 6. I volunteered to step back. The boys debated and Jake was next on the chopping block. Somehow, later during the show, Jake and I got into it. I think I told him his breath was stank, his body was stank, something or everything about him was stank. He threatened to shoot me because “you don’t know I am carrying a gun eh?”

My sister, always ready to come to my rescue swoops in with this challenge:

“Shoot her! Shoot her! I want to see if you can shoot her!”

Jake backs off and my sister hurls a string of insults as his retreating silhouette. Joe and I broke up shortly afterward. He’d left for the States to go to college, and I was grateful for his departure. Ladies: don’t ever let some boy waltz into your daughter’s life and control or quell her creativity. Did he born her? No. He did NOT.

If you can suss out from this series of events how I became Ghana’s female first MC, please let me know and come for toffee!

At What Point Does One Cease to be African?

There is an article on Medium that has been floating around the internet for almost a week now. It deals with one African woman’s (country of origin unknown and unclear) umbrage with African/Black Americans “appropriating” African culture. As a blogger, I am reluctant to participate in a public pile-on as I’m sure I’ve written my fair share of provocative articles which unwittingly or unintentionally caused harm. Though I vehemently disagree with every syllable she wrote, I wouldn’t want to refer any of my readers to her domain for the sole purpose of setting her comments section aflame. Plus, I don’t know if it was this author’s intention to be as inciting and divisive as the language and tone in her article would suggest.

In her piece, the author writes:

“I’m not trying to start a war, but I would just like you all to realize the hypocrisy of seeing someone wearing a Fulani septum ring, rocking adjellaba, painted with Yoruba-like tribal marks, all the while claiming that this is meant to be respectful. It’s a hodgepodge, a juxtaposition, a right mess of regional, ethnic and cultural customs and it screams ignorance and cultural insensitivity.”

She then goes on to compare African/Black Americans wearing tribal accessories and African prints to the Australian guy rocking dread locks. Surely by now, I have given you enough clues to find the original article. Got it? Eh hehhhn. Now we can discuss!

Most people who read the assertions levied in this piece – and indeed, this line of thinking – replete with pig wind. The only way to take any part of the idea that Black people can appropriate themselves seriously is to ignore or somehow magically erase the fact that we in the Diaspora are from West Africa. A recent shipwreck discovery revealed that the trans-Atlantic slave trade extended as far as South Africa. Black people are Africans, and that’s the end of it. Time and circumstance have robbed us all of aspects of our identity, but the fact remains that our genomes will never be snuffed out. Our skin, lips, hair, the visceral connection to one another that compels us to nod “what up?” as we pass total strangers of the Black variety will always tell the truth. That is why I found this article so hurtful and unnecessary. It is just another spoke in the wheel that keeps tempers between Africans flared and takes us that much further from the unification we so desperately need!

One of my favorite pastimes is to study people, particularly African Americans. There are some that have so much of the continent in them that I could tell them what village they came from. In fact, MX5’s husband had an encounter recently with a Ghanaian who worked at Best Buy and struck up a casual conversation with him based on the same observation/assuptions. Eventually, he asked him where in Ghana he was from.

“I’m not from Ghana,” FX5 replied.

“Okay…so where in Ghana are your parents from?” the man pressed.

“My parents are from Norf Cah’lina (no one from NC pronounces it NorrrrTH Carolina!). I’m from North Carolina.”

Shocked, the Ghanaian retail worker informed him that the only reason he treated him with such familiarity was that he was sure that FX5 was a Ghanaian! He shouldn’t have been, because FX5 is essentially an African.

Image from Dex R Jones' Envy of the World. I believe the caption encapsulates the experience of many.

Image from Dex R Jones’ Envy of the World. I believe the caption encapsulates the experience of many.

I understand the writer’s need to police African-ness. We have all either policed or been policed by other Black folk who have formulated a measure of Blackness by which to judge all other Black folk by. Those who are found wanting are ridiculed and ostracized until they are compelled to conform to that standard. However, we who have had the pleasure of living on the Continent know that her indignation is neither righteous nor founded; not truly. Most of the things we hold dear as “African” weren’t designed on the continent at all. The most recent may be the furor over Louis Vuitton’s rebranding of the Ghana-Must-Go bag, which has many Ghanaians on social media are in a veritable tizzy.

louis-vuitton-africa-styleThis “African” bag was (and still is) mass produced in China. When Ghanaians who had migrated to Nigeria in search of economic opportunity. Like all economic migrants, they were seen as parasitic on an economy that could not sustain the entire population. In 1983, they were given mere days to pack their belongings and leave the country. The cheapest and fastest way for the expelled to stow and carry their possessions were in these cheap plastic bags. Many people died during the forced migration. There is no pride or symbolism to be found in this particular bag – practical as it may be – unless you’re a sadist.

Secondly, if we’re truly honest, the things that make us “African” are the things we often despise the most. It has taken African Americans to help us find pride in them again, foremost of those would be the darkness of our skin. The neophyte globe trekker would be surprised for example to discover just HOW many Africans hate the darkness of their skin. The proof is in the billions of dollars spent annually on bleaching and toning creams.  Rappers of African descent come to the continent to shoot music videos and request only “light skinned, pretty girls” come to casting calls. Pupils are frequently called “black boy” where black is used as a pejorative. If you can’t be black in Africa, where can you be? Up until a few years ago – and I mean three – it was virtually impossible to find a hairdresser in Ghana who had in-depth of how to style and maintain natural hair. Every salon I visited would scrub my hair with detergent laced shampoo, take a step back to look at the matted mess they’d created and ask me in Twi if they could ‘put some small perming cream inside’.

“Just to soften it a little,” the beautician would say encouragingly.

No plix. I’ve have enough breakage to know what putting small perming cream can do to one’s follicles. If it wasn’t for African American women pushing through the ridicule, stigma and backlash for wearing their hair as it grows naturally out of their hair, threading, afropuffs and twists would not be as trendy on the continent as they are today. There would be hundreds more women wearing weaves or those slicked back, oily coifs resulting from poorly relaxed hair.

And let’s not forget, this is still a continent where folks ask you, without irony, what your English or Christian name is after you’ve introduced yourself as Kobina Owiredu Boateng. The inquirer is confused by the contents and finality with with you’ve delivered news of your moniker. They query further.

“Oh…but that’s what they call you in the house, isn’t it? I’m asking of your English name.”

“I don’t have one.”

“So…you use Kobina in the office? Ei.”

Why? Because in the mind of the every day African, a professional African must surely have an English name! In many ways, our concept of African-ness is counterfeit koraaaa. A lot of the concepts and ideas we hold fiercely to in the name of tradition are eerily Victorian and frankly, anti-black.

I could have supported the author’s assertions about Black American’s appropriating African culture if she could say definitively when someone stops being African. My children are mixed Ghanaian and whatever else is in their African American father’s bloodline. Are they not African? If my daughter decides to do dipo rights at the appropriate time, will she be appropriating Ghanaian culture? What about her great-granddaughters who may want to participate in the ceremony? Will my descendants four generations hence be denied their right to be called African because one group says so? Will they not be allowed to wear kente or kaba and slit because their great-great grandmother was Ghanaian – and just as Black as they are – they have not earned the right to wear the clothes of her Ghanaian ancestor because she may have never been to Ghana, therefore it’s “disrespectful”?

I swear, we are the only people who do this. Indians don’t do that to other Indians. It doesn’t matter if you live in New York or on the moon, you are expected to participate in your culture and know your roots! Why do Africans mock and shove and deny people of African descent the right to connect and more importantly heal the wounds of being robbed of identity? Instead of prohibiting “everyone at Afropunk” from wearing Fulani septum rings, hold a seminar and educate those who are clearly thirsty to connect on the use or significance of these items! But you can’t, can you? You yourself as an African barely knows what it means to be African or understand the roots and origins of your traditions! And honestly, if we are going to insist that African Americans stop “appropriating” African culture, then we must also insist that Africans stop doing this:

It’s only fair.





African Rappers Who have Tried to Kill me But will Not Succeed in de Name of Jesosss….



Timbalands in 100 degree weather and humidity at 140%.

An NY “kep” tilted just to the side to indicate that you are saturated with that certain “I-don’t-care-ism”. (Or perhaps your African head is too big for the kep, who knows?”

These are just a few of the trappings of the African hip hop artiste grinding on the internet streets must acquire and perfect if he/she has any hope of raking in all those nairas and rands. The goal is to murder a track and by extension, murder “the game”. Some of these hip hop boys have also tried to murder me in the process, but like you, I have stood firm and stayed strong! I refuse to allow their trickery and roguishness bring me to an early grave in the name of all that is holy!

Oh…who are these boys? Allow me introduce you! I hope you have a strong pair of ribs and 15 minutes to spare. These videos are a doozie.

First up is RIAK, Sudan born, Minnesota bred round the way rapper. You know who else is from Minnesota? Prince. You know who Minnesota swerved when it was time to receive talent? RIAK. Please watch:

When Drake and Meek Mill began their Twitter spat which quickly devolved into a diss track rap “battle”, ‘Legendary’ top-top Nigerian rapper Vic. O promised to “murder” both Drake and Mik if he got 5,000 retweets. Within 48 hours, he accomplished that goal and one of the worst (and most hilarious) African rap videos was born:

Now, there are times when an African rapper will intentionally use his craft to make a mockery of the aberration  of Western culture that has become pervasive in sectors of African society. Ghana rapper Wanlov the Kubolor is one of those rap-smiths. Here is his contribution to near heart attack:

And what list of Africans who have caused near car crashes and the death of a thousand fairies and babies’ dreams be without acknowledging the contributions of songstress Berenice? Though she is not a rapper, she is certainly worthy of honorable mention on this list. It’s been a year since this video went viral, and it’s still as delightful as the first time it almost killed me:

In fact, my sister and I were so inspired by Berenice that we made a video emulating her while we  were on vacation in the Islands earlier this year:



You. Yes, you reading! There is a video of a girl screaming “Eddie Woking”. You know the one I’m referring to! Feel free to drop it in the comments section. It is only THEN that this disastrous list can be deemed complete. It’s okay! It’s time for the world to know that the Continent is not just inhabited with warlords and greedy governors. We have other ways of killing ourselves…chiefly with laughter.

Slattern in a Red Hat

It is no secret that I love Gyedu Blay-Ambolley. I’ve written consistently about my adoration for the Simigwahene over the years. In fact, meeting him was on the list of things for my ChaleWote Envoy to day this past weekend.

That is why I don’t understand why one Ayawuku would do what she did to me.

She stalked my man. She invaded his closet so that they could play Twinsies dress up. Then she took a picture and SENT IT TO ME on Twirra, just to taunt me. Oh, but she’s not alone! Poetra Asantewa was also en force, dressed up in yellow like a dandelion trying to attract the Ambolley bee. There is no evidence that it worked, so I’ve left the spoken word titan alone for now.


Squealing indeed.


But this Ayawuku? I haven’t spared her for breaking my heart. Where is the solidarity amongst sisters? How could she taunt me in this way? I needed an outlet for my pain and rage. That is why I have penned this sonnet/poem/spoken word thingy and sent it into the ether.

Slattern in a Red Hat: Succubus…this one is for YOU!


Who Wants to be my Envoy for #ChaleWote2015?

Keep in mind, I can’t pay you ooooo. If I could pay you, I’d be there myself.


Man. I prayed. I prayed and asked God and the Universe to allow me to go to ChaleWote2015. I even asked some of you to send vibrations to the Universe. Did you vibrate, or did you forget me? I didn’t even ask you to pray! Prayer is difficult. I know. You think you have to find a closet somewhere, creak to your knees and mutter “Ha! I wanna Hyndai!” repeatedly to get results. That’s why I didn’t request prayer…just mere vibrations. Even that kraa, you couldn’t do for me. It’s okay. Darris gawd.


Needless to say, I am NOT attending this year’s street art festival in Accra though my heart and soul are in Jamestown. I am gashing in Atlanta. As rumor and Twirra tell it, the festival got off to a great start with Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women’s very on Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah participating in a juicy panel discussion alongside Akosua Hanson and my cyber-sister-friend Nana Ama Agyemang. I should have been there to watch…but it’s okay! The Universe and its smaller brother, Jesus Christ had other plans for me.


That is why I am in search of an envoy…someone to do and see all the things that my present position has made impossible. Envoys are an important part of the social fabric, you know? They represent royalty and governments. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk up to a stall or exhibit at ChaleWote and declare that you are sampling their fares as an envoy?

“Oh! On envoy for who! Who do you represent? Japan?”

“Errr…no. I’m an envoy for Malaka.”

“Who is Malaka?”

You might scratch your head before you sheepishly admit, “Some chick on the innanets gabbing on about vibrations and cupcakes.”

The purveyor of fine Ghana made good may then have pity on you and offer a sample for free. After all, you must be equally mad to walk up to a stranger and announce with pride that you have chosen to represent an online enigma for free. Speaking of cupcakes, here is a list of tasks I’d like my envoy to complete in the next two days:

  1. Visit Totally Baked and pick up a red velvet cupcake. Then sniff it. Then take a picture of you sniffing it. Then tag me. You might have to buy it after all that nostril contact…but you’re good for the money. The Almighty will reward you in the end.
  2. Find Wanlov the Kubolor and give him the biggest hug ever. Then sniff him. Report how he smells immediately. I bet he smells like garden gnome essence and magic.wanlov
  3. There’s a guy that makes jewelry out of copper. Copper makes me itch, so you don’t have to actually try on his stuff. Just get a selfie with him.
  4. Yo. There’s gonna be a street parade…And. It’s. ALWAYS. Dope. Though you’re probably not dressed for it, hop into the procession and dance agbadza. It doesn’t matter if the drums are playing adowa or borborbor. Agbadza and agbadza alone is the official dance of Malaka’s Envoy.agbadza
  5. There’s this new tiger nut drink out now. Feel free to sip on that. Sip on that ALL DAY if you want to. You know what they say about performance and tiger nuts. Heh heh heh…. What’s that? You don’t know what they say? Humph. You’ll find out by the end of the night.
  6. Oh my Gawd. If you see Ambolley, lick his face. Whisper something unintelligible in his ear. And then run.Ambolley
  7. Oh yeah! Get a picture of you and Yaa Traps Death in a Basket! It will be at the street fest with @AmaTuffet. Tweet at her ’til you find her. That’ll annoy the crap out of her, but part of your job as Malaka’s Envoy is to be a bit obnoxious. People expect that.Yaa Traps Death Cover
  8. Someone is bound to be selling chale wote at the Chale Wote street festival. Camp next to them and take quick shots of all the feet that slide into them. We’ll need those for later.
  9. Don’t forget to eat kenkey.
  10. Have fun, eh? Dance. Dance with total strangers. Laugh like a rich woman. Show ridiculous enthusiasm for everything. Like “Oh my gosh, is that ice water in a kalabash? I LOVE ice water…especially in a kalabash. Do you mind if I try some?” Then drink the ice water like it’s the first time H2O has ever entered your mouth.

Okay Madam or Mister Envoy! I’m waiting for your report. Number 6 is of paramount importance. That’s our coup de gras. No one will EVER believe we pulled that off. Muahahaa!!! Twipic or it never happened!

WTF Did They Do to Jem in #TheJemMovie?!

This is not MY Jem.

That’s been the common refrain – nay, the battle cry – among lovers and true fans of the original 80s cartoon classic ‘Jem and the Holograms’. We are pissed…but moreover, we are hurt. There are certain things that should be left untouched and untarnished if you cannot afford to or have the decency to treat with care.

Don’t screw around with the Coke formula.

Pepsi was never meant to be clear.

Don’t freaking ruin Jem and the Holograms for legions of women and girls around the globe.

The iniquities that the creators of the Jem movie are guilty of are numerous and unforgivable. There is absolutely no redemption to be found in this movie from any angle. This is the first problem: Take a quick glance at this and in 2 seconds or less, tell me which of these girls plays Shana Elmsford.

jem cast

Couldn’t do it, could you? See? See???? You see why I’m so upset? Oh…you don’t? Well let me spell it out for you.

I grew up as a Black girl in the 80s. As a Black girl in the 80s, we had THREE identifiable Black female characters on the cartoon and children’s television after school/Saturday morning circuit.

There was Cherie from Punky Brewster.


There was Orange Blossom from Strawberry Shortcake.

orange blossom

There was Shana from Jem.


That’s it.You have to understand.

Although I adored the cartoon, there were no Black people on Etheria where She-Ra lived. There was only one Black Thundercat, but he was a male mechanic with a temper, so I didn’t really identify with him. Apparently, there were no Black female soldiers ready to fight and die for their country on G.I. Joe. And save Storm, there are no Black women with superpowers in the X-Men…and she wasn’t even a mutant. She was a Nigerian goddess. As a Black child, I couldn’t even hope to acquire a rogue gene to give me superpowers…I had to be born of the divine!

So yes, I and millions of other Black women are understandably upset by the blatant erasure of a true representation of Shana Elmsford. Aurora Perrineau, who is the bi-racial actress who portrays Shana, is light enough to pass for white. Even my 9 year old  (who shies away from discussions about race because she thinks it makes her a ‘racist’) was visibly upset by what she say in the trailer.  “They took out the brown girl from the movie Why would they do that, Mommy?” she asked.

There is a whole other political and cultural discussion to be had about colorism and race in Hollywood, but we have to get into the other follies that Universal Pictures and Jon M. Chu have exacted against the viewing and paying public and save that for another day. I mean, sweet Holy Jesus who died for the sins of the whole world…did they even watch a solitary episode of this cartoon before they began scripting and taping??? Who is this phantom of a character they’ve created?

  1. They stripped Jem of ALL her power

Jem lives a double life as Jerrica Benton, an orphan – now a grown woman – who runs a girls’ home for orphans and foster kids under the Starlight Foundation started by her parents. She is also part owner of Starlight Music, a record company also launched by her parents. She and Eric Raymond have equal shares in the company. Part of Jem’s weekly battles are not only to perform to the best of her ability, but to keep Eric from ruining her band’s career (and cutting off funds to keep the home running) in his greed-fueled quest for full control of the company.

In the movie version, Erica is replaced with ‘Erica Raymond’ (played by Juliette Lewis) who discovers Jerrica on YouTube and turns her into Jem. This is some bull.


  1. They turned Synergy into a webcam

Remember those V-Tech webcams from the early 2000s? THAT’S what the creators of the Jem Movie turned Synergy into. Synergy is a holographic image created by Jerrica’s father that provides Jem with the ability to project illusions and transform her personal appearance. Synergy is the freaking reason Jerrica CAN become Jem at a moment’s notice. But what did these rat bastards over at Universal Pictures do? Cast EVE from Wall-E to play this iconic character. In this age of CGI and all the things that technology can do, this was the best they could come up with? George Lucas wasn’t available to lend some 70s tech to fix this shambolic mess?

How Sway? How this Synergy??

How Sway? How this Synergy??

When the Cecil the Lion biopic comes out, are they gonna get Garfield to play this majestic lion? No…no they would not. They wouldn’t DARE. The only reason they’ve dared to commit this atrocity is because it’s a movie about girls, targeted to girls, for girls (and women).


  1. There are no Misfits

You can’t have Jem and the Holograms without the Misfits. You just can’t. The Misfits MAKE the Holograms. Why? Because they constantly push them to be better, sing harder and strive for perfection. The Misfits had better songs. The Misfits had edgier outfits. The Misfits were maniacal, scheming b*tches who prepared young many girls for real life. Every woman has a Misfit on her job, in her church or in her family and thanks to that trio’s wacky antics, we are more aware for it. The Misfits contributed to every woke woman’s wokeness in America today.


But what did Jon Chu do? He erased that dynamic so that he could portray Jerrica/Jem as a simpering, self-doubting little cream cake. Her only battle is with herself and her struggle over whether to choose personal fame over family. Again, the real Jem ran several businesses, one focused on charitable giving. She was the very definition of selflessness! And this douchebag Mr. Chu, who has never obviously watched the cartoon has the unmitigated audacity to turn Jerrica into her own personal Misfit?! Dishonor on his progeny forever!

  1. One Direction is the background music for the global trailer

Selah. Just pause and think about that one.


My girls have no interest in watching this movie, so guess what? We will not be watching this movie. Not even when it goes to Redbox. Not even when they release it on Crackle. It ought to be sent directly to the $1 DVD bin at WalMart and be done with it. And that’s saddest part. Because once Jem flops (oh, and it will flop), the assumption will be that girl focused franchises are not as lucrative as ‘boy-geared’ ones, such as Transformers, Spider Man, etc to produce. This in turn will make studio execs less likely to fund projects like Jem…or Jem as it should have been.

Jon Chu should have just left it alone if he couldn’t do it right. Fcuk you, Chu.