What’s the Greatest Act of Love You’ve ever Witnessed?

Some dude a long time ago once said “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I believe that to be true. It’s the reason grown men are reduced to blubbering, weeping heaps following strategically choreographed scenes in football and war movies. Remember when Chappy died in an aircraft explosion in ‘Iron Eagle’? He sacrificed his life so that Doug could save his dad. It was devastating, heart rending, and moving. Fortunately, Louis Gosset Jr’s character also doubled as the Magical Negro, so he popped back up from the dead at the end of the movie, fresh as a daisy.

Outside of the silver screen how often do we get to witness acts of true, selfless love in real life? Can you recall the last time you witnessed an act of true love? This summer, I was fortunate to be in a front row seat to observe such a phenomenon…and it was absolutely terrifying.

This summer my Somali friend Ameera* brought her girls over to our pool for a swim. Aisha and Aaliya are Nadjah and Aya’s best friends, which makes Ameera and I BFFs by extension. (It’s part of some motherhood code, I’m sure.)

Ameera's coat was similar to this one.

Ameera’s coat was similar to this one.

Ameera’s daughters are the sweetest, skinniest things you’ve ever met. Clad in their hijabs and modest swim wear, the girls looked around to make sure there were no prying eyes before they dove into the pool. I cut my eyes at a group of brown-skinned, mean girl teenagers who hopped out of the water as soon as Aisha and Aaliya jumped in, grunting their disdain and muttering words about the family’s attire. Ameera had on a brown and black hijab and a black overcoat.

“It’s too hot for alladat,” one of them snorted.

If I could have kicked her teeth in, I would have. This is the same breed of micro-agression that Black people have fought against for decades: White people leaving establishments when people of color walked in and so forth. How far we haven’t come.

Ameera and I took the time to catch up on our personal lives. Although we’ve known each other for years, our relationship has consisted of “hellos” and “have a nice day” for almost its entirety. We talked about how we got to America, how education was so different here than back home, and our plans for our respective families. She had her eyes hawkishly fixed on the pool.

“Aya is such a good swimmer,” she complimented.

I thanked her, but told her it was not my doing. Although I had paid for lessons, it was Aya who had put in the real work. Nadjah was too afraid to get her hair wet, which is why she huddled near the edge of the pool.

“The only reason Nadjah is being more adventurous is because your girls are here,” I informed her. It was my turn to compliment her kids as well, so I pointed to her eldest and said.. “Aisha is really good in the water!”

“Yes, but she takes too many chances,” Ameera said with exasperation.

No sooner were the words out of her mouth, I saw two little hands flailing from beneath the surface of the water from the center of the pool where the water was deepest.

“Oh my God!” I screamed.

Ameera was in the water like a flash of 200 lbs brown lightening. Still dressed in her modest clothing, she sprinted along the pool’s floor, grabbed her struggling daughter and pulled her to the surface. Meanwhile, I was running along the pool’s edge, my mind clouded and wondering what to do next! Ameera emerged from the water, drenched and hijab still intact. She hugged and scolding the shivering child at the same time. Finally, she released her into the company of her friends.

“Stay in 3 feet,” she commanded. “That goes for all of you!”

The girls nodded obediently. We were still in awe by what we had witnessed. Ameera was muttering to herself in her local language, peeling off her coat and head covering so that she could give them a squeeze and hang them to dry in the summer sun.

“Ei. Ameera, I’ve never seen anyone move so fast!” I gasped in admiration. Suddenly, I was gripped by terror. A vision of how the pool scenario could have played out differently hit me. Given the conservative upbringing she described earlier, a thought occurred to me. “Can you swim?”

“No,” she replied curtly.

“Then…”

She answered my unasked question with emotion choking her throat. “I love my children SO much. Of course I will jump in the water to save them.”

And that was all there was to it. Love – true love – makes you do crazy things.

Have you ever seen such an act? Or have you ever put your life on the line so that someone else could have a shot at survival? Was Ameera a fool to jump into the pool without thinking? Discuss! ↓

Women Who Defend Misogyny. Ewww.

Warning: Rant

I have been advised in the past to carefully consider the things I say and to determine whether they are necessary. I sat on this for three days and have concluded it needed to be said. Let me lead with this: Some of you need your wombs destroyed, so that you cannot further contaminate the earth with your brand of idiocy. You are literally setting humanity on a course to destruction, and enabling the imminent primate take-over with your refusal to elevate your thinking.

There is a pecking order on the Scum of the Earth scale. It’s different for every individual. Some people cannot abide politicians, used car salesmen or snake oil peddlers. For other’s still, I – with my disdain for con artist pastors who misapply/misquote/abuse the verses of the bible to suit their personal views and agendas – may represent the scum of the earth. Everyone has their non-negotiables and un-abidables.

My list consists of the following in this specific order:

  • Child molesters and predators
  • Black white supremacists
  • Women who defend and enable misogyny
  • Cyclists who refuse to move to the right during rush hour traffic

Number three on this list is a recently added item on my scum scale, as I had an inkling that these women existed, but never had any proof. Ever since I wrote that post about the vile utterances from the Archbishop Who Shall Remain Unnamed, this brand of slime for sense came oozing out of the woodwork and pooling into the comments section. I was shocked, dismayed and eventually disgusted. I have never seen a group of women so invested in their own destruction as this lot, and though I am underwhelmed by their logic (or lack thereof), I somewhat comprehend why they exist in this state.

A few months ago, maybe even close to a year, some members of the African feminist cadre were having a chat on Twitter about a woman who was the recipient of a monetary award/loan from a feminist organization to. The money was to be used to burgeon an enterprise she had begun – basket weaving or shea butter processing. I don’t remember. I followed the conversation with keen interest until its conclusion. In the end, the woman ended up giving the money to her son so that he could leave their village and start his own enterprise in the city. I was dumbfounded.

She was a silly woman, said I, and a patriarchy enabler.

The feminists piled on quickly, saying I should not be blaming the victim (the mother) and that I was being unfair in my assessment.

Now, I had no business dipping into their mentions, so I apologized and informed them I’d see my way out. Besides, how could I really make my case in 140 characters? Anything of meaning was bound to get lost in translation.

The point is, this mother in question is part of the problem where women’s rights and perceptions about women are concerned. Her actions, though I’m sure were borne of love, only go further to cement misogyny in our society. First of all, she used the loan dishonestly. The money was meant to increase HER business, not to buy tickets and pay for lodging. Second, she willingly put herself at a disadvantage by remaining stagnant in her business endeavors or possibly even risking setting herself back. Finally, she sent a message to her son and anybody else watching this interaction. That message was “I have more faith that you as a male will execute better business acumen with this money then I will. Remember your mother when you make it big.”

Haram!

Wouldn’t it have been a more powerful message to grow her business, increase her profits, and then set her son on his way with a personal load from her eventual gains? That is what a strong minded woman who believed in herself would do, but the problem is Africa – or in this case Ghana as I am referring to a select group of women I have recently come to encounter – is not populated with strong minded women…and they are willingly giving their power away.

Oprah WinfreyThere is no way I will ever allow any woman or girl in my circle to receive messaging that says that their intelligence untethered to a man will lead them to rot, or that their lives are meaningless as females without marriage. That’s preposterous messaging of the highest order. You mean to tell me that someone like Wiyaala, who has given back to her own community in several ways and is affecting performing arts in Ghana is rotten? Or that Nana Darkoa who has built a house with her own income is decayed? Or how about the empress of all single, childless women: Oprah. You really want to compare her standard to the woman who opted for a convenient marriage just to appease her family/society/church and is living a marginal life and contemplates suicide at least twice a month? But there are women who do, and do it with utter vehemence!

I understand them though. These are girls who have grown up believing they are not smart, that they are not capable, and more importantly, are not complete on their own. These women are godless servants of Lucifer. They have a form of holiness and no power therein. How dare you insult the work of the living God? You were fearfully and wonderfully made, and now you have relegated yourself to the status of a man’s trinket. House, car, wife…that’s where you fall on his list. Swine.

You know these women, Reader! These are the women who look you in the mouth and ask another woman “But what did you do to provoke him” after their battered friend has come for solace. These are the women who pay for their sons to go to football camp and withhold money or supplies for their daughter’s class projects. These are the women who clap in church when the pastor says a woman’s place is not to think, but to allow her husband to make decisions for her. The bible says the man is the head, and the brain dwells in the head, not in the body.

These women seem harmless enough, but they are a cancer. They are a disease being spread to the next generation, and they must be rooted out and neutralized!

A key part missing in the conversation about women’s issues is the issue of the mind. Misogynist messages and patriarchal patterns dominate global culture, and I am of the opinion that it is only because too many women have allowed it to be so. Women’s organizations have thrown money and resources at the issues plaguing the female populace, but how much time has been invested in changing women’s thinking? This is the only way to win this war against women, and that’s by destroying any notion that a man is altogether better than a woman, simply because she lacks possession of a penis.

Please. If you know you are one of these women who sees yourself as inferior and seeks to promote your inferiority complex and all its accompanying issues, be prepared to lock horns with folks like me. I’ll be damned if my daughters are dealing with this same brand of crap in 20 years because of you’ve got cum for brains.

Rant/

Did I Just Write Ghana’s FIRST Choose Your Own Adventure Book?

No, seriously: Is ‘Sally and the Butterfly’ Ghana’s first choose-your-own-adventure book for kids? I don’t know. But if I did, it was totally by mistake, and pretty frikkin’ awesome!

The story of how ‘Sally and the Butterfly’ (SATB) came into existence is one that is really special to me. A little over a year ago, the kids and I were reading the same stories again and again at bed time. Everyone had their favorite books and every night there was a prizefight about who would get to read what book or what story book should be read. I felt like Picard at the helm of a Klingon battle ship navigating our way along the Romulan border. It was nerve-wracking and exhausting!

Finally, I decided to draw on an experience from childhood to solve the problem: we would all tell toli in the evenings. I don’t know if there is an official definition of toli, but at its essence it is simply act of story-telling using the height of one’s imagination – sort of like tall tales in American folklore. I would introduce the beginning of the story and give each child 3-5 minutes to tell everyone how they think the story should end. Our heroine’s name was Salimah, or Sally for short.

Stone loves trains, so Sally’s town has a train depot.

Aya loves butterflies.

Nadjah loves adventure, so she introduced several dangerous scenarios for Sally to overcome.

Liya was only just 3 at the time, so she would just repeat everything that was said.

We did this every night for about a month until some holiday or trip got in the way (I don’t remember) and then we stopped. Sadly, we don’t even do story-time at bedtime anymore because the kids do homework until about 8pm and then have to have baths and rush to bed. Marshall used to sit in the adjoining room listening to the stories and eventually suggested that I turn it into a book. I didn’t see how it would work, so I muttered something about “considering it” and then tabled it for months. I finally started writing a linear version of the story and sent portions of it to Nana Darkoa (BFFFL) so she could keep me on task. She loved it, which is why my BFFFL encouraged me to submit it to Golden Baobab for their prize in children’s literature this year. I sent it without proofing or formatting it properly. It was an absolute MESS.

Secretly, I was hoping I wouldn’t win the prize and I think I subconsciously sabotaged my own efforts. I read something about Gold Baobab owning the rights to the book or something-something and I’m too protective over my work to just let any ol’ body own it. My books are my babies, conceived and birthed from the womb of my imagination!

In the middle of writing SATB, I gave up trying to force a linear progression of Sally’s adventures and began writing alternate endings for each chapter. The book is only 9,887 words long, but it was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever written or cobbled together. Every time I changed the font size the page numbers would be displaced and I’d have to figure out where poor Sally was supposed to be going next! But a year and some change later, it was done.

As I said before, story-telling is a strong African tradition, not just a Ghanaian one. Our history and traditions were handed down by oral convention before the European colonial invasion. (At least the Arabs didn’t destroy our griot societies when they brought written Arabic to West Africa!) I want to encourage that practice in young readers, so the end of the book has a special surprise for those who happen upon a copy of SATB. Each reader has the chance to choose their own ending for Sally or any of the other characters in the book if they didn’t like the way it ended!

drowning orbeastThe book was illustrated by Ogidi Laja who is based in Nigeria. I wanted every creative aspect of the book to be touched by an African, and though neither he nor I had attempted anything of this sort before, we muddled through it and got it done. Ogidi is a comic book artist, and he struggled to draw Sally’s cornrows. We fought about her wearing a hat for weeks, but I wanted there to be no doubt that this was a story about a brown girl somewhere on the continent that any boy/girl on the continent could see something of themselves in. (SATB was edited by 13 year old Arianna Murray who has roots in North Carolina…which is basically Africa with constant supplies of water and electricity.)

Sally and the Butterfly’ is available on CreateSpace  and Amazon , and will be on shelves at iSpace in Osu after the New Year. You can get copies of my other books at iSpace right now too!

I hope parents and kids will enjoy this new piece of kid adventure literature and share their own versions of Salimah’s story with their friends!

BookCoverImage

Persona of the World’s Paranoid Manifestations: When Africans Cease to be People

Imagine with me.

Imagine you’ve invited your favorite person to lunch – your dad or you mom, perhaps – and you’ve invested a lot time into executing the endeavor. The reservations at the restaurant your mother has always dreamed of going to have been booked. You go to pick her up from her door and she takes your breath away. She’s standing there in a demure floral frock, a hint of color on her lips and the most beautiful smile on her face. Your mind transports you back to those sun filled afternoons when she would take you to the park or for ice-cream and you realize she’s still the center of your world.

You arrive at the restaurant and are seated by the maître d’. She’d like to start with some hot tea. He pours it and walks away. Suddenly, you realize there is no sugar on the table, so you ask the gentleman at the table next to yours if you could borrow his. He studies the pair of you briefly.

“Is this your mother?” he asks.

“Yes,” you reply, beaming with pride.

Without another word the man strides over to your table, clenches his fist, and punches your mom dead in her face.

There. You see that face you just made? That’s how I feel when I’m engaging certain people on the topic of Ebola. These people tend to be American – whom the world ridicules to scorn for their general ignorance – but Africans can’t escape this one either. Some of you are just as guilty.

Sangi_EV

My friend Sangima posted this meme on Facebook about a week ago and gave permission for me to share it with the MOM Squad. I’m sure you have seen other similar images on social media. The first one I saw was of a very statuesque woman draped in black. She was holding a sign that said “I am a Liberian, not a virus.” It is poetic and melancholy that Sangima and so many people feel compelled to make such a prosaic statement. Of course you’re “not a virus”. We can plainly see that you are bipedal and warm blooded like the rest of us…but are you like the rest of us?

The unique thing about the African experience on this earth is that it is indeed unique. As diverse as the continent is, with thousands of languages and innumerable ways of living, we somehow all get lumped as “African” once one travels/resides outside of the continent. In the best of times, like during the World Cup for example, we gleefully participate in this charade. The World Cup is the only time we are “One Africa”. Calamity compels us to do the same in the worst of times as well. Ebola, like HIV/AIDS did in the 80s, makes it necessary for us to force the world to see us as human; not a cause, not a disease…just human.

When you consider that all the most effective western fundraising campaigns of the last century or more have used some image of “Africa” to promote their causes, it’s not difficult to understand why an American slurping their spaghetti over dinner would fail to identify with an African’s humanity.

Pick a global campaign and compare the images you find online. Nearly 100% of the time, the face of hunger is Black. The face of abject poverty is Black. The face of disease is also Black, all set against a backdrop of dust, flies and rubbish. No many how many glossy images we put of a Rising Africa out there is going to change that for far too many people, which is how and why I found myself embroiled in two very unique conversations surrounding Ebola in the last seven days.

The first involved Douche Bag, who can always be counted on to say something completely imbecilic.

Nadjah came home from her weekend visitation and flounced on my bed. She had a very concerned look on her face.

“Mommy? Douche Bag says that if we move to South Africa, I’m going to catch a disease.”

I put down my magazine and inspected her more closely. There was no melodrama, only sincere alarm.

“What disease did he say?”

“I don’t know. E—e—“

“Ebola?” I finished.

She nodded and I blew out a breath. Marshall was in bed with me and rolled his eyes. Enraged, I explained that her father was an idiot. (I shouldn’t have said that, but the words tumbled out.) I then set out to draw a picture of the world, demonstrating the distance between the countries where the Ebola scourge is most rampant to South Africa and their distance to America.

“You would have to travel 7-8 hours at a speed of 500-600/mph to catch Ebola,” I explained. “And if he brings up the topic again, let him know that he has a better chance of catching Ebola down there in Dekalb County and so close to the CDC and Emory Hospital. At a speed of 60/mph and a time of 30 minutes, he could be exposed to the virus!”

I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. Of all the preposterous things to say to a child!

In the midst of this, the scientists at Fox News and some other choice outlets had been proposing that we stop all flights out of that country until the “virus was contained”. How do you stop a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans by stopping flights? There are 104 things wrong with that suggestion, but I was content to chalk it up to the drivel of well-paid talking heads until a GOOD friend of my proposed the same.

The kids had been invited to the park by my Somali friend Ameera* (the one I told you jumped in the pool with her hijab and overcoat to save her daughter) and our mutual friend April* had met us there with her daughter. When Ameera got up to walk her toddler around on the other side of the park, April turned to me excitedly. Her eyes were wild.

“So how’s your dad with all this thing – this sickness – that’s going on?”

My dad wasn’t sick. What was she talking about? “What sickness?” I asked.

She was exasperated. “Ugh! Ebola! He’s in Africa ain’t he?”

“Yes,” I laughed, “but he’s in Ghana. Hundreds of miles away from the nearest Ebola case.”

Her mood turned pensive. “What about Ameera? Where did she say she’s from?”

“Somalia…”

“She near Ebola?”

Now I was beginning to get vexed. This woman had a bachelor’s degree and had traveled. That was supposed to mean something. I pointed out that Somalia was even further away than Liberia and Sierra Leon…and irrespective of that, Ameera lives here in Alpharetta like April did.

I could not believe that this woman, my friend, had just equated this woman’s nationality to a disease. I didn’t have much time to ponder it further, because she was still going on about how she didn’t understand why the world couldn’t end flights out of Africa until Ebola was contained. Surely I misheard her.

“Are you saying ALL flights out of ALL African countries should be stopped?”

“Yes,” she confirmed. Ebola should stay in Africa.

Well, yeah. Because Africa is a country.

I explained that unless she was planning on kissing, screwing or swapping fluid waste with anyone in or from Africa, she was in no danger. And then I told her she sounded like a Republican. You would have thought I’d called her sainted mother a whore.

The danger of what happens when the world Africanizes a disease or catastrophe has already been experienced by two boys in the Bronx this past weekend. Two brothers aged 11 and 13 who just returned to America from Sierra Leon were brutally attacked by their classmates as they chanted “Ebola, Ebola” under a hail of punches and kicks. It would not surprise me if the perpetrators were Black themselves, since the only time I or any other African has been called an “African booty scratcher” or other derogatory names stemming from my African heritage has been from Black American children. Because really, what those bullies did to those two little boys with their fists is no different from what April did to Ameera.

Africans don’t do ourselves any favors by feeding into the stigma and fear. According to a recent report my own president, John Mahama refused to shake hands with the heads of state of the three Ebola-stricken nations he visited on Monday September 15, over fear of contracting the deadly Ebola virus.

*Face palm*

How are we going to expect common cordiality from the rest of the world when we treat ourselves in this manner? How can we collectively demand to be treated with dignity when heads of state like Mahama – who are paid to know and do better – behave in this manner?

Discuss! ↓

 

Either the Devil is a Liar, or Archbishop Duncan Williams Is

Before we even get started, please let me say to all my non-bible believing, unchurched, Not Christian friends that I am SORRY. I am sorry there are so many lunatics out here in these streets (or gargantuan cathedrals/auditoriums rather) mis-modeling the kingdom of God, the essence and order of creation, and telling flat out lies. The same hell that these charlatans profess to attempt to deliver you from is the very one they would have you live on earth. When a “man of God” gets in his pulpit and uses his words, his iPad and his limited understanding of the bible, human social interaction and statistics to hurt people, it’s never a good thing. How is this a demonstration of the power of the “loving and living God” these men profess to know?

That being said, today we are talking about the latest batch of nkwasiasem (foolishness) from Duncan Williams and his sect.

Hey, you unlearned zealot! I have already said it for you! Look here:

“Touch not my anointed ones, and do my prophets no harm.” – 1 Chronicles 16:22

You people like to quote this scripture when your spiritual heads say something just completely off the chain crazy, like is an omen or a warning but have you read the rest of the scripture? Hehn? “Touch my anointed” was warning to the people in the land not to interrupt the Ark of the Covenant’s return to Israel. Please. Is your pastor carrying a golden Ark on his shoulders? Then please find a seat.

I would love to give a background about Duncan Williams and his ministry, but darris God and Google. You have the power to learn more about some of the insane things he and his ministers and bishops have said about women. You may recall Dag Heward-Mills and his demented parable of the apple message. Well this week, his spiritual head took it a new level when he said the following:

“It’s a privilege to be married. It’s a privilege in the time we live in when it’s seven [women] to one man”, he told his congregation Sunday in Accra.

“Sister when you get married, be thankful and stop misbehaving because it’s seven to one. It doesn’t matter how pretty and beautiful and intelligent you are; until a man proposes to you, you are going to stay beautiful, pretty, intelligent, nice and whatever, and rotten”.

“That’s what it is, and somebody needs to tell you because there [are] so many women out there misbehaving. You got to be told the truth. And the reason why a lot of marriages are not working is because everybody is afraid to offend women to tell them: ‘Come on girl, you got a good thing going, hold fast onto it, don’t misbehave and don’t lose it’”.

You can read the rest of the story by clicking here.

DWAh. What is his biblical basis for this? Doesn’t the same bible he reads say when a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing? (Proverbs 18:22) It doesn’t even stretch the imagination therefore that it is the MAN who is privileged to have scored a good wife, not the other way round. And if you take it all the way back to Genesis, God A’mighty Hisself said that it is not good for man to dwell alone, and then he made a woman for the man. Because why? We’ve all discussed this before, so say it with me: to be a helpmeet for him…because dudes need help.

Let’s just go ahead and put the obvious out there. For centuries, women have been the biggest targets for the Man of God Cadre’s scorn. Women have been characterized as the weaker sex, the less intelligent sex, the bringers of destruction and doom if anything goes wrong with the crop or a child gets sick. (Now it’s not so PC in progressive society to blame women for the ills that plague the planet, so we just blame it on gays. Yay for progress!)

Where women are concerned, western preachers have largely moved on from this line of thinking and have even gone on to create massive movements that empower women based on the bible. Proverbs 31 and Luke 8 are usually the scriptural foundation for conferences and conversations around Christian women empowerment. Part of the messaging is while you wait for a mate, improve and better yourself (get an education, take care of your health and finances) for God…not for a man. You are the great prize to be won and are precious because you are created of the Lord. No man has the power to build a woman…so what on earth is Duncan-Williams talking about when he says “women will rot in their beauty and intelligence until a man proposes”?

One can only draw a certain number of conclusions:

  1. Duncan-Williams doesn’t spend enough time in his bible
  2. He’s a misogynist
  3. He’s reading the bible and spinning it to suit his message…which would make him a liar
  4. Someone else inspired this message. That person may be The Devil

When I used to have friends, they occasionally ask me about my faith. How could I reconcile being a Black/African woman with being a Christian? After all, wasn’t the bible used to justify slavery and colonization? The interesting thing about the bible – like the constitution – is that you can use it to justify just about anything if you put your mind to it. Pick a little bit here, paste a little bit there, and voila! You have your own doctrine. And let’s be clear: what Duncan-Williams, Dag Heward-Mills and that guy down in Zambia that has his congregation eating grass are preaching is a doctrine, not the inerrant word of God.

There’s SO much more I want to say, but let’s hear from the Squad. Discuss ↓

 

How to Type Your Way Out of a Blessing

Before we get into that, let me say…

My Dear Mom Squad: You don’t know how much I’ve missed you. I love our relationship. We have had SO many topics to discuss, and yet I’ve had no time! Reinaneh Jabbari, Reeva Steenkamp, The Natural Hair Show, Americans vs Ebola…so many things to yap about and no bandwidth. This saddens me.

And now:

Pastors and other spiritual guides are always waxing on about the power of the tongue. The tongue holds the power of death and life; you can call blessing or prosperity to you by the words that you speak and so forth. This is all true. Your words can and do create your reality – however I think it’s time to retool this message for the digital age. It might help some folk.

I read an article a few years back in which the authors explained in detail how we speak fewer words today than we did a mere 30 years ago. We ‘communicate’ more, but we speak less. The authors were referring to the advent of email and increased access to online resources in this country. That article was written before Tumbl’r, Instagram and Twitter really took off. Most of the communication we participate in is digitized in some form. Our relationships are digitized. We have our Facebook Fam, Twitter Husbands/Wives and Lord knows what else on snap chat. And because we live in this 140 character, pixel by pixel reality in which we hastily dash off any number of messages or retweets, it is easy to forget that there is a real world around you when you look up from the soft glow of your iPhone screen. I’m assuming this is what happened to a particular candidate this weekend.

ipad-keayboard

Quick background: You all know I’m back in recruiting for the moment. Part of that job is scheduling interviews between managers and candidates. So that’s what I did. I scheduled an interview between a manager and a job seeker, and the manager didn’t show up for the interview. More precisely, he left the office before the interview took place and didn’t tell me. The candidate was upset – livid, to be honest – and made no bones about letting me know. (Privacy laws prevent me from republishing his email, so I’m paraphrasing.)

This was a complete waste of my afternoon! They told me to come back Monday, but I don’t know if I can make it!

Number one: niggro, youse unemployed. When I called you, you were working in the yard. Yes, you can make it. But I didn’t say that! I said:

Please accept my sincere apologies. I’m so sorry the manager was not available. Give me some time to investigate and I will see about rescheduling the interview. I will be in touch shortly!

Reader, what do you think his response should have been? Silence would have been optimal. Acknowledgment of the email and an expression of anticipation about rescheduling would have been permissible. Firing off an email about how pissed you are, and not wanting to work for a company that doesn’t keep up with its schedule is unacceptable. Oh you guessed it. Mr. Candidate did the lattermost and said:

Hey, (Yes. He addressed me as “hey”)

It’s ok I understand. I’m gonna be honest though. As a *job title* when and if something prevents me from making a on time delivery or missing a delivery no matter the cause I give immediate notification. 

I’m baffled as to why the manager did not notify anyone if he wasn’t going to be there. I know there is another location in Gotham do they have a opening? I’m interested but I don’t think I want someone so unorganized as a route manager or route supervisor. I hope you understand and I hope I’m not stepping on any toes. 

Yes, Mr. Candidate, you did step on toes…many, many toes! You are the CANDIDATE, and I respect your position as such. You want to work for a good company, and my client wants good employees to fulfill their vision in return. But dude, you have to at least get your foot in the door before you go lambasting the manager’s character! I was willing to give him some wriggle room on the matter until I got a third email from him saying he hoped we could “work something out” and that I “understood his concerns”. Keep in mind, this was all before I could investigate what had happened to said manager and where he had gone so I could report back to Mr. Candidate. But he was doing ‘the most’ on his iPhone, and now he’s typed his way out of an interview.

I refuse to reschedule him, and here’s why.

  • He has shown a lack of self-control. If you can’t stop yourself from firing off a series of emails at this stage in the employment process, you probably can’t be trusted to handle client interactions when things don’t go as planned.
  • He has exhibited poor judgment and proven to be very judgmental. No one wants to work with a douchebag who thinks he’s better than everyone else and believes he would never make a mistake.
  • He admitted in his third email that he has always wanted to get on board with my client. Given his desire to work for this company, you would think he would exercise a little more decorum. His behavior in this short term has indicated that he is not interested in the long term success of the company. He immediately suggested that I look for opportunities for him in other branches. That made me chuckle.
  • The manager completely supports the decision not to reschedule based on his erratic and belligerent behavior.

Mr. Candidate is not the only person this week who has or will type themselves out of a relationship/job/blessing. Somewhere on a smart device near you, some doofus is doing the same thing, and the results will be just as devastating or far worse. The McCann Troll (the woman who killed herself after she was outed for trolling the McCann family in Scotland) comes to mind.

Death and life, curses and blessings are in the power of your fingertips my people! Choose life.

 

Of Course Iggy Azalea Became a Rapper; She’s Australian

Let me start by saying: I love you, White People. I’m going to say some things that make it seem like I don’t…but I do. I love you.

But let’s be honest. Y’all are the most thievingest people on the PLANET. Oh sure! Black people steal. Of course we do. We steal things like cigars and name brand clothing. Y’all, on the other hand, steal whole continents. You went to India and stole all their sapphires. You went to Asia and stole all its silk. You went to Africa and stole all its people. Is it any surprise that you would therefore go on to steal rap (and jazz, and blues, and crumping, and twerking, and collard greens)? I would compare you to the Borg, but I don’t think that’s quite accurate. The Borg assimilates cultures for the good of the Collective. You lot merely appropriate culture for the benefit of your legacy. And that brings us to today’s topic – Iggy Azalea, a child I had never even heard of until Snoop started some sort of social media spat with.

Iggy Azalea, for those who like me did/do not know, is a white female rapper from Australia.

Selah.

IggyAzalea-2014Hip-hop purists have been dismissive of Iggy for a litany of reasons, but primarily because she is in the same vanguard of entertainer as your Nicki Minaj and company. She is the latest flavor of the auto-tuned, pop tart Top 40 stew which has gobbled up every genre you can think of, making each almost indistinguishable from the other. Think of Iggy Azalea as the $0.99 box of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese trying to pass for your Big Momma’s mac: her music is commercial, accessible and heavily marketed, but it doesn’t mean it’s good. There. I believe you have the idea.

Iggy Azalea has been in the headlines for the last few weeks, first for getting into it with Rah Digga (another female rapper of historical note) and now for her conflict with Snoop. Of course, all the media attention surrounding these run-ins has been engineered, for what better way for a rapper to earn her “street cred” than to have a battle with some of hip-hop’s greatest names? Nonetheless, Black people aren’t really checking for Iggy Azalea. Her music is rarely (if ever) played on urban radio. Her support comes from the bubble gum Bieber-Believer crowd, which is the only reason she has grossed as much wealth as she has to date. And good for her! She is following in the tradition of a proper White Australian.

You historians may recall that before Australia – that country/continent sitting on the edge of the Earth – became the tourist destination that it is today, it was inhabited by some people now known as the Aborigines. They did some pretty cool things, those aboriginal folk, like making boomerangs, pipes and those long flute things that create a haunting sound. And then one day, a boat full of English people showed up on their shores and the rest was history. Literally. The aboriginal race was nearly wiped off the map in a near genocide. Australia was to be a penal colony, to be re-populated with crooks, thieves, sinners and debtors. And now, almost 250 years later, you all think the boomerang is some Western invention, possibly created in the Nerf Labs. That is appropriation…and it is from this stock that Iggy Azalea hails.

Some of the most famous “American” entertainers are actually Australian. This list includes, but is by no means limited to, Mel Gibson, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger (RIP!) Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and of course, Iggy Azalea. These people had to co-opt American culture in some form in order to gain any sort of international success. Let’s take Keith Urban for example. The dude is a country singer…from Australia. Fundamentally, there should be something wrong with that. Country’s roots are in the Appalachian foothills, a cross between Scottish melody and African instrumentation. (From the banjo.) The fact that Keith Urban – a man with NO ties to this art form’s roots – is country’s biggest artist is a head scratcher. I went online to find out how country music fans feel about a non-American leading the pack on this genre, and the response I found was that it “didn’t matter”. Keith Urban makes good music, even if it does swing towards pop. Of course, there is the possibility that this nonchalance towards an “outsider” taking over country music may have something to do with the fact that Mr. Urban looks and sounds a lot like his fan base and the majority adopters of his chosen genre.

Iggy Azalea don’t look nothing like original hip-hop. Could it be that the hostility towards her has something to do with her race? Or does the upward turning of the hip-hop community’s nose have everything to do with the fact that she’s a crap rapper? The answer to that will have to wait another 20 years, the test of truly good music’s staying power.

Selah.

I’m surprised we haven’t seen a White female of Iggy’s notoriety rapper before now. By this time in the rap game – when the genre had really exploded – Vanilla Ice had jumped on the scene and stolen (literally stolen!) MC Hammer’s entire act, right down to his baggy pants. Then of course there was Eminem who “saved” rap and now we have the faux depth of Macklemore. The last group of truly great female rappers was around the Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Lil Kim/Lauryn Hill era, which was about 20 years ago. And no, I don’t consider Nicki Minaj a great rapper. She’s good for a summer anthem or two, but like Iggy, she’s using a lot of words without saying much. I’m shocked that it’s taken a white woman this long to capitalize on this area of Black innovation. Shame on Iggy. She’s almost 30 years too late!

I can’t be mad at Iggy Azalea for her success, and I wish her more of it. She is just doing what an Australian was meant to do: steal from others. Quick! What original Australian music form can you think of? None. The only original Australian musician on the planet is worship singer Darlene Zschech, and her music isn’t ‘Australian’. It comes from

GOD

I am truly mystified by Iggy Azalea’s success, and I think more Black people should emulate her methods. We must seek out European art forms and hijack them. Perhaps we might look into river dance or the bagpipes? Ahh, now that would be something to see: A kente cloth wearing bagpipe player. You lot go and pay big bucks to see the White girl rap, and I’ll spend my wages to see Kofi get down with Celtic Thunder.

celtic