A Little Something about Birth Certificates, Choices and Shaun King

Before I begin, I must implore Black people not to allow ourselves to get distracted. We must not be driven by sheep or led by the nose-ringed bull at an agricultural fair by its handler. Make no mistake: when we allow our focus to be lost to petty diversions – of any sort – we are being handled. For whose benefit is only revealed in time, but at the present, we know it is not for our own. In other words, please stay woke.

 

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The most vocal voices of the Black Lives Matter group have found themselves under attack in recent days. The timing couldn’t be more conspicuous, if you ask me. In the wake of the terse encounters with Bernie Sanders and the placing of BLM representatives in “overflow rooms” (read, the Colored Section) at Hilary Clinton’s stops, it would appear that forces and will behind BLM have some folk rattled. There are no clear leaders for the Black Lives Matter movement. As far as I know, no one is on any sort of payroll or has been appointed head. That vacuum is occupied by a cadre of activists who speak with regularity and clarity on the ills of white supremacy and the need for Black liberation. Shaun King is one of those voices.

Shaun King may or may not be white.

Now, why is this important? For the thinking man/woman who has the capacity for foresight, Shaun King’s ethnicity is a nonissue. There is an old adage that says “not all your skin folk is your kin folk.” Indeed, many of the most famous rebellions and great escapes never to have taken place have been thwarted by Black people more beholden to white supremacy than their own freedom. The issue is in the long run, who is our ally? And the fact is, white people have always been an integral part in the struggle for equality and liberation in America. The homes of white Quakers served as stops on the Underground Railroad. White people marched, bled and died during the Civil Rights era. The enemy of Black liberation isn’t whiteness: It’s White Supremacy. This is what gets so many people tripped up when media outlets like breibart.com publish…well, anything. This week, the site just happened to post that Shaun King has deceived Black America and the world by living an impostor’s life as a Black man when he is “in fact” white.

Andrew Breibart. I bet that dude holds morning meetings in full Grand Dragon Klan regalia and lights his cigarettes with a burning cross. Ugh.

Breibart’s report casts suspicion on Shaun King’s credibility by asserting that his birth certificate has the name of a white man listed as his father, therefore not be Black (or bi-racial as he has intimated in the past), therefore he is a fraud and a liar and Black Lives Matter is based – in part – on fraudulent lies! Let me tell you a little something about birth certificates and lies and the American family.

Readers of this blog know that my husband is not my eldest daughter’s biological father. I’ve written extensively about the biological contributions her Douche Bag donor made to her existence while eschewing his fiscal obligations. Douche Bag is and always has been a Black man of the lowest quality…but at one point, I laid down with him and I conceived with him. Two days after my daughter was born, my head still foggy from the near stroke I had suffered, I had a decision to make: Should I put Marshall’s name on the birth certificate or Douche Bag’s?

Douche Bag actually robbed me of that choice (something else I’ve written about) when he slunk into my room after I had been on medication – barely able to make use of my limbs – and refused to leave until I had signed paperwork listing him as the father. He would proudly go on to call it a “pimp move”. When I told Marshall about it later on, he looked crestfallen.

“I thought you were going to put me down as the father,” he said quietly. He implied that it was not too late to ‘fix’ it.

I looked at this man who had just been ordained a deacon in our church, who had lived an upright life for as long as I had known him and yes –had protected and nurtured me during my pregnancy when I most vulnerable. Though I desperately wanted to put his name down as “father” of this child he had helped bring safely into the world, I couldn’t make a liar out of him. The ‘sin’ of having a child out of wedlock was mine to bear and mine alone. And even though I knew it would mean 18+ years of grief, inconvenience and ineptitude, I didn’t alter the document. That’s the only reason Douche Bag’s name is on my daughter’s birth certificate. It would have made life easier to strike him from the paperwork and put the more suitable man’s name on the document, but I decided not to.

Shaun King’s mother did not make that decision. He wrote about his mother’s past and her choices quite eloquently here. Whatever her reasons were, perhaps to save face, perhaps financial, and certainly none of our business, she listed a man who had not sired her son as the father on his birth certificate.

Shaun King’s story is not unique by any stretch of the imagination. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who do not “belong” to their family in one shape or another. I just recently discovered that one of my most beloved cousins was not related to me at all. Her mother was my great uncle’s step child. When I was 15, it was revealed to me in hushed tones that my older cousin Steven* (on the Ghana side) was a foundling but he didn’t know. His paperwork listed my aunt and uncle as his parents, however. I was instructed not to say anything. I did my best to forget.

And that’s the problem with everyone who takes umbrage with Shaun King’s alleged deceit. There are too many people who are prone to forgetting that the average American family has been infiltrated and happily blended with the presence of people who do not share the same DNA, that every Black funeral features a revelation that the man you just put in the ground wasn’t your daddy after all; that if there were birth certificates issued in his day Thomas Jefferson would not have been listed as the father of Sally Hemings’ six children.

Shaun-King

Shaun King is fighting to preserve and improve Black life. That he may have some ambivalence about his genetic make-up is not the pressing question at hand. We have already put too much stock in his mother’s sexual choices and the morality attached to it, which is ironic given the liberties this generation regularly takes with copulation and sexual exhibitionism. Is he using his voice to ensure that fewer Black people are killed in the street and that more get justice from a system built to stand against them? If the answer is yes, kindly shun the Trump shenanigans and worry less about the birth certificate and more ending the hunt and gradual extermination of our people. Stop giving white supremacy a hand. We’re smarter than this.

I’m Absolutely Furious With Shirley, Leila And Nicole

I would have written a 1600 word post about my angst, but I have to run out and meet Akuba Sheen(!) for pancakes in 10 minutes.

Ghana will celebrate 60 years of independence in 2017. In 60 years, no one has dramatized the struggle that our people have gone through. Sure, there are loads of documentaries, but none that tell the personal stories of the selfless men and women who sacrificed life, limb and wealth to give us our freedom.

The time is now. I’m asking women in film to fix this before it’s too late. Lets gather these stories while those who lived to witness the events are still among us! Like I said, I have already volunteered to be the casting director. I must also contribute my quota, anaa?

Do you agree with me? Shouldn’t Ghana have a biopic about its birth done by now? And wouldn’t ANY of these ladies do a fabulous job at it? Look at the mastery Ava brought to ‘Selma’. Shirley is capable of that and more. We are waiting, y’all. Tick-tock, tick-tock!

 

My Husband’s Wallet

Sometimes, my husband leaves his wallet at home. He leaves it lying carelessly on the dining room table or on the brown, felt-covered cube I bought two years ago from Wal-Mart to store extra pencils and exercise books.

For some women, the sight of a wallet lying unattended presents a rare opportunity to spend some unbudgeted cash, go snooping for contraband, or for the truly OCD, rearrange its contents by color and function. In the early days and on the occasions when my husband would have this lapse in memory, the sight of his wallet would cause anxiety to rise within me.

What would he eat that afternoon for lunch if he had no money?

Would he have to forage for food in the company fridge?

What if he wanted to buy something online for Cyber Monday and missed out on an great deal because his wallet was here at home with me, in my lap?

“Babe…you left your wallet on the bed. Do you want me to bring it to you?”

“Nah. It’s okay. I don’t really need it. It’s too far and not worth the traffic. I’ll see you later.”

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His response implies that he will be okay…that he will not be forced to become the office rat who ate up all the left over crackers from last month’s company lunch and washed them down with packets of mustard whose freshness is far from guaranteed. He would be doing no online shopping that day.

But as time has gone on, I have noticed that my anxiety about his leaving his wallet has morphed from merely feeling unsettled at its sight to a full, fretful fever. What if he was involved in an accident and didn’t have his license on him? What if the officer called to the scene made the assumption that the Mercedes my husband was driving – old as it may be – was stolen because he did not have that little plastic 3×5 card to confirm he was who he said he was and that he was Old Faithful’s owner? What if a routine traffic stop became deadly all because he had left his wallet by our bedside?

I had all these fears long before Ray Tensing shot Samuel Dubose in the head last month. Shot him on with a digital device recording the entire incident. Shot him and lied about the sequence of events and got other officers to corroborate his version of events. If not for the recorded evidence revealing how quickly Ray Tensing reached for his gun and murdered Sam Dubose, this nation would have accepted – once again – the false narrative that there was a “struggle for the gun” and that the officer had shot the victim in “self-defense”. America would again suckle and console itself with the warm, bitter lies of fed to it from the blind folded vixen we know as Justice. Sam Dubose would have been painted as no angel, a thug who got what he deserved because…

Well, I don’t know what that because might be. What is the justification for this? All Ray Tensing had to do was run Samuel Debose’s name as he requested repeatedly after explaining he did not have his license on him. Instead, Ray Tensing executed him.

This is what I think of every time I see my husband’s wallet lying on the table, unattended. I yell his name to make sure he’s not too far from the house. I chase after his car or call him back home to get it if he’s left.

The sight of my husband’s wallet left alone, cold on the table, separated from the back pocket of its owner creates a panic within me. It is the same panic I feel with the onset of spring; when warm weather signals the scheduled and anticipated deaths of many an unarmed Black man, woman and child in America. Isn’t it ironic that the much welcomed season that ushers the regeneration of life for flora and fauna is the herald for the termination for so many that look like me, my kids, my husband…

Sometimes, as I’m walking through the aisles of the grocery store or pensively pumping gas, I’ll hear a brother yell out:

“Hey, baby! Why don’t you smile? It can’t be that bad.”

I quickly plaster a false grin on my face in hopes that the flash of teeth will send the questioner on his way. It would take too long to explain that yes, brother, it could be that bad – and here’s why. But I don’t do that.

Instead, I never let me husband leave the house without his wallet.

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I am an African Mother. Why Don’t My Children’s Friends Fear Me?

“Stone! Come and pick up all these strips of paper from my floor. Who did this?”

“Argh! I told Castillo not to do this, but he said he was Sharp Boy. He was using his head to cut pieces of paper.”

I paused and looked at my son, in order to process what I was hearing.

“On my bedroom floor? What in the… You know what? Never mind. Just put it all in the trash.”

 

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Image source: food.com

Image source: food.com

When my children are hungry, I give them rice. When I need to throw on something quick to collect the mail or answer a knock on the door, I throw an enormous bubu over my head. It’s purple and is embroidered with silver thread on the borders. I make it a point to inconvenience my children by calling them from downstairs to hand me something at the foot of my bed. I have all of the trappings of a “real” African mother…and yet I am lacking in one thing: the awestruck fear that washes over my children’s playmates upon encountering my presence!

I don’t understand it. My husband and I are not small people, and as a pair of Big Black People, there is a certain level of trepidation we ought to expect from people smaller – and infrequently, less black – than we are. And yet, when it comes to the snot-nosed, trilling little urchins our children have selected as friends, we are denied that satisfaction. These people do not fear me at all! This is distressing, because we’ve skipped over an essential step in the African parent/friend of the African child dynamic. They are not my co-equals, but they have already assumed the benefits of co-equality. They are comfortable in my presence, and I am not comfortable with that.

There are two children that my kids play with on a daily basis. Castillo* and Carmen* are from Columbia. Castillo is Stone’s age (5/6) and Carmen and Aya are in the same grade. Sometimes the other girls play with them, but Stone and Castillo have made it abundantly clear that they want nothing to do with the sticky, glittery, cardboard universe that the girls recreate day after day on my poor hardwood floors. About six months ago, I got tired of stepping over dolls, bits of cut out paper and rubber bands, and decided I would be safer (and saner) within the confines of my bedroom, watching Crackle. I don’t know what motivated these people to follow me into my sanctum, but a sanctuary it is no longer. Just two days ago, I realized a pattern had emerged because I had failed to be vigilant. Castillo was in my bedroom…and he had brought all of his toys.

Don’t be alarmed. I would never allow a neighbor’s child and I to be in private, secluded company with each other. This is America! Castillo was in my room, and so was Stone…and so was Liya…and so were Aya and Carmen. I was watching Star Trek and Worf had just engaged in battle. Covering his ears and closing his eyes, Castillo declared that the Klingon was scaring him! I picked up my remote and changed the channel to Sesame Street.

worf

I did this while leaned up against my headboard in MY room. He made this declaration while sitting on the ottoman at the foot of my bed. And for the next 20 minutes, we all watched Sesame Street until the collective decided they had had enough of Abby and Elmo counting and went to play in other parts of the house.

Dude. This is really scary.

Dude. This is really scary.

Why don't I stretch out while I make your moms watch Sesame Street? Awww yeah.

Why don’t I stretch out while I make your moms watch Sesame Street? Awww yeah.

 

Now, I don’t know about you, but as an African child, it would never even occur to me to enter the bedroom of a friend’s parent. As a matter of fact – and depending on the friend – it would never occur to me to try to gain entry into their house. And yet, Carmen and Castillo feel perfectly fine coming into my house, eating my popsicles and leaving a trail of Lays chips on the floor without a hint of hesitation. They don’t even call me “auntie” in deference. They don’t even call me “Miss Malaka” in mock politeness. But they are consuming my food like I birthed them.  How did this happen? When did this happen? Do you know how bad it is? Listen to this:

Marshall often gets home around 6 pm. His A/C in his car has been out for well over a year. He hasn’t bothered to get it fixed. We live in Atlanta. People do not live in Atlanta without A/C. By the time he gets home, he is a sweaty frustrated mess of a man. The house is destroyed from where six children have been playing for hours. He takes it all in stride, stepping gingerly over the mess to make his way up the stairs where I am hiding in my bed. Except I’m not “hiding”, because Stone and Castillo are in the room with me. Marshall walks to my side of the bed to salute me with a kiss. Then he turns to greet the boys.

The boys have not greeted him ooo… My husband is greeting these two impudent small boys.

“How was school today, Stone?”

“Fine, Daddy.”

“Castillo…how was school? Do you like your new class?”

Castillo looks at him as though he has asked him to define and explain quantum mechanics. Like Dude. You know I don’t know the answer to that, and you’re a douche bag for even asking me that.

Eventually though, he takes a break from sucking on the popsicle he has retrieved from MY freezer to answer with a single, sullen word.

“Good.”

What is this?!?!?

My sister says I am entirely to blame. She cannot imagine sitting in her bedroom for some kid from across the road to perch in her bedroom and inform her that Matlock is boring, with full expectation that she will change the channel. She says Marshall and I have gone mad.

“It’s not that we are mad,” I reply gloomily. “It’s just that we are tired.”

My sister is disgusted with my explanation and summarizes her feelings with “Humph!”

No, but seriously. Even amongst the many Americans who are reading this now: Could you ever see yourself just chilling in your friend’s parent’s bedroom with your little Hot Wheels and racetracks and doll clothes like it was YOUR house? Like you belonged there? No! You cannot! I only recently got comfortable entering my BFFFL’s mom’s room two years ago, and we’ve been friends for 21 years. Na you 5 year old boy?

I have accepted that these people will never fear me. I have accepted that they consider me their co-equal. By the time they are taking your wrapping paper from your craft box in order to execute the pretend powers of Sharp Boy, it is futile to think otherwise, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

My Great Aunt Was ‘Rosie the Riveter’

(…or she may have been Wendy the Welder. I can’t ask her, because she’s dead.)

The years between 1939-1945 must have been an intoxicating time, fraught with uncertainty, new possibilities and loads of change. The Second World War had changed everything for Americans, and my Aunt Clara was not to be exempted from the alterations that the global conflict would bring.

We-Can-Do-It-Rosie-the-Riveter-Wallpaper-2-ABAlmost everyone is familiar with the image of Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during WW II. It was drawn by Norman Rockwell, who gained mass appeal because of his whimsical (and detailed) depictions of American culture and life. A singular glance at Rosie elicits several emotions (and assumptions) about the type of woman called to serve her country in its greatest hour of need: Young, confident, brave, selfless and of course, strong. This being America and it being the multicultural and racially diverse country that it is, it cannot escape notice that Rosie the Riveter is white. A white woman was chosen to embody all the attributes needed to fill a void created when all able-bodied American men were called off to war. It therefore wasn’t hard for me to make the leap as a child (and admittedly, as a grown woman) that white women exclusively worked in artillery and machine production factories across the country in the service of the war effort.

Black weldersMy assumption has been that during that era, Black women were most likely serving as maids or still in semi-bondage on tobacco and cotton fields, and certainly would not (be able to) answer the patriotic call to duty to work in manufacturing in the war effort. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that my Aunt Clara was an employee at an industrial plant that manufactured airplanes during WWII!

To look at Aunt Clara (who passed away in her 70s in the late 1990s), you would never guess she had ever been anything but a demure housewife whose sole goal was to attend to the needs of my cantankerous Uncle Clarence. As for as I know, she never made any demands of Uncle Clarence, save one: she did not like the name “Clarence”, so she would call him “Johnny”. Everyone referred to him as Johnny from that day forward. My memories of Aunt Clara include her moving slowly around the kitchen making pots of greens, dispensing Uncle Johnny’s meds and wheeling the miserable old man around in his chair at his frequent request. Nevertheless, she smiled easily and had a warm bosom that made for excellent snuggles.

When we were in Detroit this summer, it was my Aunt Cynthia (Clara’s daughter), who casually mentioned that her mother used to work in an industrial plant. I have never known much about that side of the family, and now that I was old enough to ask questions and receive honest answers, I hopped on the opportunity.

“When I was a baby, my mother left West Virginia to come to Columbus, Ohio to work. I used to sleep in a tin wash basin with a pillow in the bottom. I don’t even remember it. Anyway, she used to work making them big airplanes for the war.”

I was intrigued and was motivated to do a little research. As far as I piece together and based on the few facts she provided, Aunt Clara most likely worked at Curtiss-Wright, which became the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States by the end of WWII. Women worked on all points of the assembly line, starting from cutting and sewing the upholstery for seats, to welding the sides and panels of the aircraft together, to finally testing the integrity of the aircraft. Oftentimes, they worked in racially integrated teams per a federal order. I frequently find myself wondering how many good friends women like my aunt made on the assembly line – and consequently lost – when the war ended and life was expected to resume to “normal” with men returning from the battle front to work and women to their kitchens and parlors. It would also mean a return to strictly governed/divided racial interactions in public, especially in the South. I imagine that the memory of working and eating alongside a woman whom you were previously forbidden to by law never really fades.

coworkers riverter life

Stories like this are not told often enough…not in film, not in literature, not even amongst ourselves at family gatherings. When men, closer wedded to the privileges of patriarchy than good sense, puff out their chests and spout off about the “natural order of things” – how men are meant to provide and women are meant to wait meekly for their rations – it makes me want to puke bile. Clearly, as situations such WWII, the Asante-British war of 1900-1 (led by Yaa Asantewa), or as far back as 1588 when the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English under Queen Elizabeth’s leadership, or countless other lesser known events demonstrate, women have as much a mind and ability for defense, tactical planning, engineering, construction and execution as any man; Because women are human.

I wrote a post earlier today about the abysmal soon-to-be-released pop-tart movie called Jem, and how disgusted I am that it stripped the title character of all her agency and power as a young woman. (The film’s creators even embodied her as a waifish teen – and not a woman closer to her 20s – to ensure that the very notion was ensconced in the viewer’s psyche.) There is no hope for that particular film, but the message needs a strong contradiction, also set to film. It’s my sincere hope that a film maker/storyteller will see it as necessary to tell the story of all the Black, Irish, Polish – American – Rosie Riveters and Wendy Welders who served this country when it needed the strength of those women the most. I believe it’s as essential a task as the making of Wind Talkers, Red Tails or Glory. I believe it is vital.

perched

Dear God, please make this post and bird and fly straight to Ava Duvernay!

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.

punky

There was Orange Blossom from Strawberry Shortcake.

orange blossom

There was Shana from Jem.

Shana-

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.

misfits

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.

 

How and Why John D. Mahama Will Win the 2016 Election

I know, I know. I promised a month or two ago that I was unlooking Ghana, never to look back lest I turn into a behemoth pillar of pure NaCl , but this is too exciting to ignore! Indulge me for just a moment and then we can go back to discussing really important world events like the chick who ran a UK marathon with a bloody, soggy bottom or what color the Kartrashians are dying their follicles these days.

John Mahama is going to win re-election in 2016 because Ghanaians are predictable. What’s more important, the president, his ministers, his drivers, his side chicks, his shoe shine boys…anybody who is in his sphere of influence knows this. That’s why they are collectively misbehaving publicly with utter impunity. The NDC knows that no matter what they do, no matter heinous their crimes or how dearly they cost the country, John Mahama – and more importantly, the Ghanaian people – will save their bacon in the end and ensure that they can continue on their campaign of utter ruin uninterrupted.

Let me be clear: I do not want John Mahama to win. I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and totally that dude you want to invite over to your Aunt Maggie’s dull dinner parties for the benefit of his excellent oratory skills and penchant for hyperbole of her accomplishments, but he’s not cut out to be the president. That’s the first problem with the Ghanaian electorate: they cannot separate the person from the performance. Like this guy who jumped all my case on Facebook a few weeks ago when I went on rant about the demonic work of a certain bearded Accra Mayor. You know what this bloke had the unmitigated gall to say on MY wall?

“Hey! That’s my uncle…careful! Speak no evil of him.”

I politely informed him that his uncle was a despotic douchebag on a perpetual ego trip who has done nothing during his tenure as mayor to earn from the people of Accra anything but their eternal contempt. I think he blocked me after that. Shoot, I would have blocked me after that.

Anyway, the point is, because Ghanaians are incapable of distinguishing person’s personality from his/her competence, JDM is an absolute shoe-in. Did you see how social media reacted when he showed up at the site of the Goil explosion after the June 3rd floods? Even Africans from other nations were impressed. Oh how sorry your president looks! You can tell from the look on his face and the tone of his voice that he really cares!

flood

Eish. No. We beg. If the president really cared about the capital city of the first sub-Saharan nation to receive independence, he would make sure that there was proper (and consistent) disposal of waste, he would root out the nefarious elements in the city planning and zoning committees that allow petrol stations to go without proper inspections or who chop funds that are supposed to be used to sanitize the city instead of paying workers, and he certainly would have come into office with a viable plan to curb – or at least lesson – the impact of floods that occur annually. No one was surprised that Accra got flooded on June 3rd…it was the devastation that followed that was so shocking. But hey! The President John Mahama looked sorry, and that’s what counts.

That’s the other reason that JDM is assured of victory in 2016. Say what you will, but the man photographs like a dream. Always has. This is part of the reason he got elected in the first place. Ghanaians wanted a “cool looking” president, for once. So there he was in all his handsome splendor for the ladies, clutching his iPad to deliver speeches for male appeal. John Mahama may not know diddly about running a country, but he knows a thing or two about winning elections. Like Kwame Nkrumah, he understands the limits and appetites of his people. He knows that Ghanaians are visual.

When Nkrumah and the CPP were contesting the highest seat in the land, they crisscrossed the country using loud speakers set atop vehicles painted in party colors to proclaim the details of their manifesto. Few Ghanaians were literate at the time, and this was the best way to communicate with his people. After becoming president of the First Republic, whenever Nkrumah sought to propose public works in any locality, he would take scaled images of those projects to show the locals in order to win their buy-in. His strategy worked. I believe Mahama has studied this and modified it to suit his style. Ghanaians en masse are no more literate than they were 60 years ago, and those of us who CAN read, do not engage in the exercise frequently enough. We look at a headline to surmise the totality of the content of a report.

Look at these pictures here:

free school sandals

President-Mahama-is-joined-by-residents-of-Kumasi-in-cleaning-the-city-at-the-national-sanitation-day

WE know that this is just a photo op and not a remedy for the filth that makes Ghana the 7th Dirtiest country in the world, but remember – it is not the people sitting comfortably in Accra and Tema who determine the direction of the country. It’s those in the towns and villages waiting for their manna who set the trajectory of the nation. That’s where the numbers lie. If they like what they see in pictures, that’s what the nation gets served for the next 4 years.

Oh, but all of this would be easy to combat if some of the other candidates could just get their names and faces in the national dailies looking like they were doing something, right? Ahhh…it would be, if not for the occurrence of the Soli 100. That’s when the sitting NDC effectively bribed Ghana’s entire mass media elite corps with payouts of between $50-333 in order to “improve and normalize relations between the government and the media”. I promise my American friends, I’m not making this up. Google it.

Of course, the government denies any of this ever happened, and those journalists who would dare to name and shame have been threatened (with physical/bodily harm, arson and even death) by their colleagues in the media. It’s like watching a pig take a swan dive in its own shit and then having the impudence to strut through a perfume aisle, convinced of its olfactory pleasantness. Sorry, Samia, Nana Addo and Co. The media’s already been purchased. No coverage for you!

But you know what the best part – and this is the part that has me geeked – is? President Mahama’s “measures” are beginning to work! The Better Ghana Agenda is in full swing! If you just look, the evidence is all around you. Back in 2014, when dumsor (power cut offs) were wreaking havoc on the economy and daily life and therefore the president’s chances at re-election, politically aware Ghanaians predicted that if Mahama could provide constant supply for 30 days…just 30 days!…around Christmas and just before the elections, he would be assured of victory. So what have we seen now? A shift from the Energy Minister telling folks to stop charging their cell phones and to turn off their fridges for the 6 hours that they DO receive electricity to eight solid days of continues light just last week. I don’t think we’ve seen a straight week of light in Accra since Azumah Nelson did a Milo advert. It was a trial run to see what kind of cost and manpower it would take to do this at the crucial moment. Don’t worry. After JDM wins, you will all go back to 3 days off, 12 hours on.

The second part to that is the economy itself. Ghana’s economy has been described as “moribund” by Forbes and other international media outlets. Is there a word for “zombie” in Twi? Because whatever it is, I think that’s a more apt description for what JDM is about to do. Never mind the outright stealing in the GYEEDA scandals and co. He and his cabinet have withheld cash from all these works, projects and schemes for years because it was not prudent to inject those funds into the economy until NOW. Soon, we will all see an infusion into various areas of the economy that’s going to put more cash into people pockets, cause them to spend more and ultimately, cause them to feel better about re-electing JDM…just in time for Christmas. It’s going to be grand.

In her open letter to the president in which she made his performance analogous to that of a kindergartner’s. Lydia Forson wrote that she was waiting for the president to shock her. I hope she is prepared to be shocked, awed and amazed by the scandal that is about to rock this nation: That 26 million people are about to give their lives over to the man and the party that have been the architect of a country’s doom the mandate for another four years.

If that ain’t worthy of a Hollywood flick, I don’t know what is.

I’m excited to watch this all unfold. Are you? I’ll bring the popcorn.

cnn