Why Can’t Zendaya Play Aaliyah? It All Goes Back to Cotton.

Hey there, Reader! Do you have any idea what this is? No, no. Not the white fluffy stuff. That’s easy. We all know that’s cotton. I’m talking about the big wooden thing it’s sitting in. I’ll give you three attempts before I tell you.

WhitneyCottonGin

That, folks, is Eli Whitney’s cotton gin…or a replica of it, at least. Did you know that just before this invention, slavery was on its way to being phased out in the South because it had become so unprofitable to grow and harvest cotton? The overhead cost of housing and feeding slaves was blowing cotton planter’s margins so abysmally that they nearly gave up on the enterprise! But then came Eli Whitney (and his Black apprentice too) with his witty invention that separated cotton fibers from their seeds and *POOF!*, Black people found themselves in bondage for another hundred years!

Most White folk don’t use cotton gins any more, seeing as there aren’t that many cotton plantations dotting this country’s landscape. The once useful cotton gin – this innovative tool that tied Black folk in bondage – has become a relic of the past. That’s what White people do: they develop tools and discard them when they have no more use.

That’s what they did with colorism.

We all know colorism was a tool used on the plantations to create social hierarchies that would pre-determine what benefits every person of color would receive. At one point in time, there were about 285 designations of Black color based on pigmentation, hair type and features, as well as accompanying tests to determine where an individual fit in the spectrum. Some of the more famous ones are the “brown paper bag” and the “pencil” tests. Colorism, just like Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, was yet another effective tool that the white ruling class used to keep Black people in bondage. But they don’t need it anymore so guess what? It became too became a relic.

Oh, please. Make no mistake. To the average Caucasian of a certain age Black is Black is Black. I work with a particular (white) gentleman named Will* who routinely calls my other (black) co-workers by wrong names. He is always quick to apologize.

“I’m sorry so!” he said with a chuckle once during a break. “It’s just that Mark and Kevin look so much alike!”

I snorted in contempt, replying “What are you talking about Will? Mark is four shades darker than Kevin, and Kevin was a bodybuilder. Even their frames are completely different!”

“Well,” he went on the explain, “to the average white man like me, they look pretty much the same…”

And THAT folks is how Mark could do the crime and Kevin could end up doing the crime. The idiotic nature of his view aside, Will unwittingly revealed something about how people who are not black see blackness: and that is that it is universal. It’s just “Black”. And why should it not be? After all, whiteness comes in peaches n’ cream, chalk and olive, but it still has the ‘benefit’ of being just plain ol’ white skin. There is no more stigma to having a creamy complexion than there is to having a copper colored one. This dynamic does not exist in the Black community, and I’m here to say it needs to!

zendaya-instagram-musicMy Twitter timeline has been alight for the last few days about a little girl named Zendaya. Zendaya Coleman is a Disney star: she sings, acts dances – you get the picture. Zendaya has also been tapped to play Aaliyah in an upcoming Lifetime biopic. This has certain Black folk – who are still stuck with a plantation mentality – very angry indeed. They say Zendaya is “too light” or “not black enough” to play Aaliyah.

zen and dadThis is where it gets complicated and really political. This is Zendaya’s dad. He’s about as dark as my dad, which is pretty darn dark. Zendaya is biracial – her mom is white. It is no fault of Zendaya’s that she was not born darker. She’s half black, and according to what society has been telling us for years, that makes her “all” black. However, because she is not an “acceptable” shade of black, she is unfit to play Aaliyah (God rest her soul). Looking at these two pictures of the pair side-by-side, I’d say she’s an afternoon in the sun away from matching Aaliyah’s complexion.

Zen aaliyah

But who cares? Seriously! Is this something to be miffed about? Zendaya has the talent to play the role, so why are some factions so eager to keep her from an opportunity based on the circumstances of her birth? Isn’t that what the whole Civil Rights/Lunch Counter/Bloody Sunday thing supposed to be about? So that mainstream society would judge us based on our abilities and not on the color of our skin? Why are we still holding on to relics from the past that our former oppressors themselves not only no longer use, but don’t even recognize?

On a certain level, I get it. Hollywood has long used lighter skinned Black people as the standard of “good enough” in marketing and film-making. I had a lengthy discussion with a friend about this last night, who is herself very light skinned. She was incensed. She talked about how hard it is for black women beyond “this” shade of brown to get any major roles, and that light skin is the only Black face white Americans feel comfortable seeing on screen and in print.

“That may all well be true, but we’re the ones with the power to change that, and we haven’t,” I pointed out.

Any one of our top producers and directors could have chosen to make an Aaliyah biopic and cast Keke Palmer (which would be absurd) or Raven Symone (even more preposterous) who both have the benefit of being born to two black parents to satisfy this ridiculous self-hatred that pervades our culture.

So there you have it: Zendaya can’t play Aaliyah because deep down inside, despite all of our progress, some Black people would still really rather be picking cotton.

 

Be honest: does Zendaya’s mized race heritage make her unsuitable to play the tragically departed singer? Halle Berry is biracial, but her skin is darker than Zendaya’s. If Ms. Coleman had been born “darker” would it make casting her in this role “better”? Are there larger political implications of a mixed race girl playing a Black girl that I’m ignoring? Just raise your hand if you think the whole thing is just asinine. Discuss ↓

Hairenemies – part 2

Originally posted on Hairvolution:

I present the concluding part of Hairenemies. If you haven’t read it, do check the previous post.

6. This is truth; trimming does not make hair grow. Of course if your ends are weak and damaged, they will have to go but regular trimming in itself does not increase the hair growth rate. Pay attention to the ends of your hair and trim accordingly. Don’t allow that scissor – happy stylist, to chop off those tresses unless they are absolutely necessary.

7. Relaxer ills; there are some stylists who spread the relaxer over already processed hair which weakens the hair more than it already is. If you want thick healthy hair, ensure that your processed hair is coated with Vaseline or shea butter. I mentioned Vaseline because its stifling properties are what we need to shield our already processed hair against the relaxer-attack. Your hair does not have to cook…

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Hairenemies (part 1)

Malaka:

Yes! We are talking about HAIR again. But instead of all the negativity, this discussion is about loving your locks to length. It’s a two-part series, written by my friend Lady Adwoa.

Originally posted on Hairvolution:

Today, I present to you part 1 of what I’ve titled, ” Hairenemies”

So you’ve never gone past a certain length when it comes to your hair…is it neck length? Or shoulder length? Or just because you think your hair does not and cannot grow, you really do not care anymore? How about if I told you that you and your hairdresser/hair stylist may be the reason why your hair does not grow out? Is it true? Let’s see

  1. Heat. Everyone wants to look fly all the time and I do not begrudge you but honey, please put the flat iron down. Put the curler away. Many of us use these items on a regular basis without a heat protectant and we damage our hair badly.  A heat protectant is a product that protects your hair from potential damage from regular use of direct heat such as flat irons, curling irons…

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Hot Cars

I wasn’t going to discuss this story because it hits so close to home, but now I feel like I have to. Before I became a parent I was extremely judgmental. I never knew why people with kids houses and cars were so dirty, and why moms couldn’t make themselves look better when they went outside. Now that I am a parent I am less judgmental, but I still find myself frowning upon the antics of other parents.

So today, I am here to tell on myself, and to do so in support of a man I have never met.

****

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, must have been a day for forgetting. Wednesday is the day the trash man comes to collect our garbage. It is my husband’s duty to take out the garbage every week. He has done this for 11 years, and I can only recall one other time – years ago – when he forgot to do it. My husband was preoccupied with trying to get “frisky” that morning, and I wanted none of it. I wanted to keep reading the news, so he got up to go to work. As he made for the door, I called for him not to forget to take out the trash.

“I won’t,” he called back.

Then I heard him make his breakfast, grab his backpack, and walk out the door. There was no rustling of plastic bags or metal scraping concrete. Had he taken out the trash? A trip downstairs 5 minutes later confirmed he had NOT. I called him immediately to make him aware of his folly.

“Don’t worry,” I said dryly. “I have already taken it out.”

That was a lie, but I didn’t want him turning around in Atlanta traffic to do something that although I am loathe to do, am very capable of doing. I muttered obscenities as I dumped soaked pull-ups and sticky yogurt containers into the larger bin for collection.

Later that day, I was driving with the kids to go get some lunch and was reminded of how annoyed I was with my husband for making me perform this menial task. Then I was distracted by something a prickling in my armpits. Gosh it was hot. My phone said the high was 93*. My car said it was 97* outside. I turned on the A/C, but that hardly had any effect on the suffering my children and I were enduring. How ironic that unbeknownst to us, another child was going through a thousand times a worse agony.

On Thursday morning, my husband sent me a text at 8:48 am. He usually waits to call me at lunch so I knew something exciting must have happened. When I read the message and felt sick.

“My co-worker left his son in the car yesterday…”

I gasped in horror. He didn’t even have to finish. The sensation of that extreme heat we all felt in my own car on that Wednesday flooded my body.

“The baby didn’t make it,” I typed frantically. I waited for him to tell me I was wrong.

“No,” Marshall confirmed. “He died.”

I inwardly and immediately forgave him for forgetting to take out the trash the day before. Without warning, I was overcome by anger and fury. I typed a cryptic message.

“If you ever leave one of our kids in the car, I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you and then I’ll divorce you.”

A few hours later Marshall called to tell me he’d be coming home. He couldn’t take it at work, and he wanted to be around his kids. He had held the child who’d passed away not too long ago.

“Malaka, he was THE cutest white baby ever,” he said in amazement. “He was perfect…like a little Gerber baby.”

His face had a blank, drawn out look. His eyes were devoid of life. I’d seen this same look before. It is the same vacant gaze that clouds his co-workers mug shot. The look that internet trolls have described as “unfeeling”. Perhaps they are right. Some things hurt too much to feel….

ross

I suppose Marshall wanted a distraction from all this horror, which might explain why he announced on Friday that he wanted to take me out. With four kids in our arsenal, there is no room for spontaneity. I informed him that i he wanted to go out, he would have to make the arrangements. I certainly was in no mood to try to secure a babysitter, figure out rates,  go to the ATM to get cash to pay her, etc. Fortunately, we had a willing party who had no plans of her own that evening. She lives in Norcross, which meant a 40 minute drive to her house, coupled with another 40 minute drive downtown to have our outing, and then the same journey in reverse just to get home.

I was exhausted by the time we pulled up to our driveway and fell asleep in the car while Marshall and the kids got out. When I had rested enough I got out, locked the car and the front door and went up to bed. Marshall was putting on Stone’s pajamas as I groggily slipped off my shoes.

“Did you get Liya out of the car?”

“What?!”

All sleepiness abandoned me as panic took over.

“Liya,” he repeated. “She asleep in the backseat of the car.”

I raced down the stairs and went to retrieve my child; but the car door was locked. I growled for Nadjah to have her father unlock it from upstairs. She casually went upstairs to relay the message as I had my hand on the handle waiting for the mechanical *click*. Why wasn’t the door unlocking?

Nadjah suddenly materialized and handed me the keys saying, “Here you go, Mommy.”

Those were not my instructions! Whatever. I thanked her and told her to head for bed as I opened the back hatch to pull Liya out. She was completely knocked out, sleeping soundly and silently. I never knew she was there.

*****

And that folks is how I too could have left my kid in a hot car all night. If my husband had not asked if I had gotten her out, we might have been living through our own Hell this weekend. We try to be good parents, but we are neither perfect parents nor do everything perfectly as people. I do not know what was going through Ross’ mind that morning when he left his first and only child in his car. I don’t know if he saw him. I don’t know what changed in his routine that morning. All I know is that I believe he did not intentionally leave his kid in there to die such a painful death.

“Ross is a good man,” Marshall lamented. “He was a good father who loved his son very much.”

That this tragedy occurred so close to Father’s Day is something that Ross will have to live with the remainder of his life. I hope and pray that his wife can forgive him, that he can forgive himself, and that the AJC, Yahoo and other internet trolls will realize that it is only by the grace of God that similar tragedies do not befall us all more often. One slip up, one lapse in attention for a moment is all it takes. You are NOT perfect.

Just be vigilant, my people. If you have kids, remember to look twice. Look out for one another and if you see something amiss, please say or do something.

Discuss ↓

 

 

 

Open Letter to My Broken Heart: Requiem for the Black Stars’ Loss

Dear Broken Heart,

How is it you are still beating? I marvel at your strength. To endure such a blow and to choose to carry on…My; that that is a testament to your tenacity indeed.

I suppose you’ve been here before though. You’ve had a lifetime of being ‘swerved’ and have come back from it. Remember when I was in primary school and my parents told me I’d be travelling to America for the long vacation? The dates that they gave me coincided with part of the final exams, and I gleefully skipped around Soul Clinic smugly informing my classmates that I not only would I not be on campus while they were figuring maths and social studies questions, but I’d also be in the air eating fine airplane food which would most likely include some sort of pudding for desert.

Do you remember the devastation when my parents informed me that my trip had been postponed for another month? Oh the shame…the shame of it all! In my heart I would rather die than go back to school to take an exam (which I had foolishly not studied for) and face my friends who would undoubtedly shame me. And shame me they did. Joanna Aryee had asked me to bring her Jehri Curls upon my return from America, and there I was – sitting by her in my beige and brown. Still, you kept beating, insisting that I carry on living.

My parents did this to me once more before I learned to shut up and stop bragging about events that had not come to pass and that were not certain for the future. From then on, whenever I got news of a big event, I kept quiet until it had come and gone. It was too stressful for you, my dear and one and only heart. I forgot that lesson and look what I’ve done to you again!

Do you recall how we spent last night? It’s not as though the memory is not fresh. I dug up the archives of all the old love songs – or gnashing ballads, as I like to call them – in an effort to soothe the pain of the loss to Team USA.

Team USA.

Kai! How can a whole Ghana lose to a marshmallow team like the Americans? (And this is not a racist quip ooo. I mean marshmallow as in ‘soft’, not ‘white’!) A team whose country neither prays for them, thinks of them, knows a single member of their squad and whose scoring average is similar to that of a Li’l Kickers soccer league? How, how, how?? It is because we were over confident. After all, they haven’t outmatched or outplayed us in 12 years. But it was that over confidence rendered me weak and curled up in a fetal position playing and replaying End of the Road, Where do Broken Hearts Go?, and Naija Baby until the pain went away. The remedy didn’t work. Still, it persists. Even Boys II Men can’t fix this one!

It’s not even so much that Ghana lost oo. It is specifically that we lost to America. When your day starts with reading articles such as this gem from the WSJ whose opening line consists of this string of despicable wording:

Of all the possible nemeses in world soccer, the American national team is haunted by a team from an impoverished West African nation with a population less than one-tenth the size of the U.S.

it kind of puts a sting in your bum. Who told him Ghana was ‘impoverished’? What an odd choice of words when the Appalachian Mountains are just a few hundred miles away from where this post was written. Now that’s real poverty!

And then when this same soft American team goes on to score in the first 40 seconds of the game, it boggles the mind. But even that vertigo inducing moment isn’t nearly as bad as when Ellen dissed my homeland with this tweet:

ellen tweet

You stupid wench. Do you know where the slave labor and chocolate that you give to your guests in your greenroom come from? No? Ahhh…okay. You are just all the way ignorant then. Your nyass, wae?

Finally, as the game came to a close, another titan of American industry took a swing at my beloved Ghana. Delta airlines, which has weekly flights from JFK to Accra posted this image on twitter to congratulate the US team.

delta-airlines

Hei?!!? How?!?! Has any Delta pilot seen a giraffe walking around Kotoka International Airport as he’s landed? Why would Delta Airlines make America look so unyieldingly ignorant when Google could have provided a myriad of images? Even if they had used a crocodile, I couldn’t have been offended. After all, we used crocs in our adinkra symbolism and as tourists’ attractions. In addition to that, our climate isn’t even hospitable to giraffes. You want to kill one of nature’s most majestic beings with your ignorance? Delta, Delta, Delta…

Anyway, I believe the Football gods didn’t want Ghana to prevail, though we prayed desperately. Yes, we would have loved to have won, but a win would only serve as a distraction to the real issues we are facing. We can’t print passports because the only passport making machine in the country is down and has been for nearly 3 months now. We are borrowing power from our neighbors just to ensure every citizen has the assurance that he/she can watch the Cup (come July, it’s back to erratic supply, so charge your appliances while you can!). Parliament is going to pass the Plant Breeders Bill while our noses are fixed on our TV and enslave the nation to Monsanto while MPs line their pockets with kickbacks. And then we have also forgotten the Chibok 234, which is why Nigeria found herself in a scoreless tie against Iran and Ghana was late to lend her support for Nigeria! The Football Gods are punishing us for being foolish! And back to the WSJ journalist’s point: Ghana is not impoverished, but it certainly is mismanaged.

But where does that leave you, dear Broken Heart? What can I say to comfort you? Nothing. This is a pain that neither Coke, nor chocolate, nor ice cream, nor sex could cure. We must wait until Saturday when Ghana plays Germany and pray for a win…this time with humility and silence. Continue to beat as strong as you can.

With all my love,

Malaka

African Literature: The New Dark Continent

Don’t you just hate the use of the phrase ‘Dark Continent’? C’mon, admit it. It’s become such a pejorative. Those two words smashed together have so many implications. What are you trying to say? Is Africa dark because we that dwell therein are primarily dark skinned? Is it dark because we’re lagging in technology (and sanitation and health and press freedom…)? Or is it dark because there is still so much to discover – little gems that the West and the Rest have yet to explore and exploit, just waiting to be brought to the light?

Let’s go with the lattermost assumption. I like that one to best.

There are worlds within Africa that we Africans ourselves have yet to discover. There are micro-universes that would make all our lives infinitely better if we could just figure out how to access them. Because most of our stories are still told by the international media who still carry a prescribed spin on how it tells African stories, these universes remain “dark” to the rest of us. There are advances in science, technology, social engineering and medicine in various parts of the continent that still remain unknown to us. You Ghanaian reading this: did you know that it is possible to attain an agreeable existence without plastic bags? We don’t NEED plastic in our society. Rwanda has proven that and saved their ecosystem. As I type this tonight, hear there will be a slight drizzle and Accra is bracing for flooding.

We’re not sharing knowledge, people, and I for one am here to repent. Forgive me! I have not held true to some oath I’m sure I took years ago to uplift and educate my co-sojourners in this life. I am here to make amends.

When Chinua Achebe died, I ran across an article entitled Beyond Chinua Achebe: Five Great African Writers You Should Read Right Now. Of course I was intrigued and dove into the list. Ah. But what was this? Save one person, everyone was born before independence from colonial rule! Are there no contemporary African writers one must read not just now, but right now? The list was published on the Smithsonian’s website, so I suppose it made sense that all the notables would be fossils. (Wole, you know I love you! I couldn’t just leave that punchline sitting there. Tell me you understand!)

Anyway brethren, I am here to help you with some names that I think you should watch for. Here are five contemporary African Authors you should read RIGHT NOW!

  1. Number one and most obvious is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who has usurped Oprah’s position for the most quoted woman of color in the world. I hear “Chimamanda says – “ at least twice a week, which is fabulous. That a woman so young should be so quotable is no mean feat. If you haven’t read Chimamanda, you don’t know what you’re missing! That being said, let me confess: I have never read any of Chimamanda’s books, and that’s only because I don’t want her writing style to influence my own. When I hit it big, I don’t want to be accused of fleecing her flair and art. I’m looking forward to finishing these two manuscripts so I can dig into Americanah; eventually.Chimamanda-Adichie
  2. Kwei Quartey is a Ghanaian crime fiction writer. Actually, Kwei is a hybrid Ghanaian like me, which is why I probably feel such a kinship with him. He went to Howard, I went to Hampton and neither of us can speak Twi – which doesn’t matter, because we are neither of us Akan anyway. Have I met Kwei? No! But it’s good to know a little bit about an author’s personal life. It helps you hear their voice a bit better. And no, it’s not stalking until you make some form of personal contact. *whispers* I love you, Kwei…Kwei Quartey
  3. I have always wanted to write historical African fiction à la Pride & Prejudice, but now I don’t have to because Kiru Taye has been doing it, and doing it for years. Did you know there’s a whole genre and squadron of contemporary African romance, replete with published authors just waiting for your beady eyes to discover their work? The group is called Romance Writers of West Africa. You didn’t, did you? I know. I’m here to bring you the Light! You can read about the group here: http://rwowa.wordpress.com/ kiru
  4. Africa has its share of geeks. Don’t you think for a second that we’re not here for that African Bambata, futuristic ish. Never consider for a moment that we are unfamiliar with flux capacitors, warp core breaches/stabilizers, plasma containment fields or the dangers and wonder of inter-species mating rituals. We are here for ALL of it! That is why Nnedi Okorafor was such a wonderful discovery for me. Nnedi has penned several African Sci-Fi novels, most notable Lagoon and Akata Witch. I spent two hours on her blog, and I never have two hours to spare. Her mind – good heavens. She’s so creative and OUT THERE. I have nothing else to add about Nnedi Okorafor.Nnedi Okorafor
  5. I couldn’t figure out whom to put on the last of the list, as there are so many more talented authors out there who deserve their spot in the lime light: Boakyewaa Glover, Nana Malone, Nnenna Marcia (whom I’m convinced is insane) and a host of other writers who we are all yet to discover. I’ll just part with modesty and say read me. Ehhh, yes. Read my books. I’ve written two. But you wouldn’t know that, because I keep my light “hidden under a bushel” as my elder sister Nana Ama often laments. You can find/buy my books by clicking here and here!malaka2

Hopefully, this will serve as a guide or at least an oar for your canoe ride into Darkest Africa’s Literary Rivers. I chose these authors because I like the pace of their writing: it’s quick, the story telling is excellent, and there’s something for everyone.

Who are your favorite contemporary authors? You know who else I love? Amy Tan. The woman is just wicked with the vocabulary. You know who else I love? Jemila Abdulai. She makes words bend and form in ways unimaginable. I can’t wait for her to write a book so I can put her on number one of my list!

 

 

 

Blue Ivy and Black Boobies

First of all, let me give praise and honor to Friday, whose sweet elixir I’ve been waiting to taste has come at last. Though you tarry, Friday, you come faithfully every week, and I just want to thank ya! Happy Friday, one and all!

Caution: Rant Ahead

 

Life is interesting. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever find myself sympathizing with Beyonce! You all know how I feel about her. The fact that I’m more acquainted with her crotch than I am with her music is telling of the nature of our relationship. (I’m talking about her ever present leotard uniform, guys! Get your minds out of the gutter.) Beyonce and I have no kinship. She makes in half an hour what I will make in a year. She’s tall, I’m short. I have a great command of the English language, she doesn’t. She has the boisterous Bey Hive, and I have the reserved and largely silent MOM Squad. What therefore could Bey and I possibly have in common?

Plenty, it turns out. We’re mothers of Black children…Black GIRL children. That makes Beyonce my sister, for better or for worse. *Sigh*. What a burden.

Any woman who has had or is raising a Black girl child in this country has one common struggle: and that struggle begins and ends with the roots and tips of their daughters’ hair. If you have not seen it already, there is a petition going around called Comb Blue Ivy’s hair. As of this morning, it has 3000 signatures. That’s 3,000 idiotic dolts who have nothing better to do with their time than concern themselves with the maintenance of the tresses of a child they didn’t birth or care for, and more importantly, whose existence is so far outside of their cipher that the only way they can reach her is to make poorly worded pleas to compel her parents to make their child look more acceptable in THEIR view.

beyonce-blue-ivy-2014-1If Beyonce is reading or has read these comments (which I doubt, as she probably spends her spare time diving off her yacht into a sea of sparkling blue diamonds – ouch! – rather than giving heed to the whining of internet trolls) she might be feeling some kind of way. I know exactly how she might – but again probably doesn’t – feel. When all of my girls were born, I had a cabal of worrisome women at my ass questioning why I wasn’t doing anything with their hair. When Nadjah was born, I was a first time mom dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. She was born premature; I had no financial support from her Douche Bag sperm donor; I was living in a loft apartment with little space for myself, let alone a baby; I was working full time and trying to beat the clock to daycare to avoid the $1/minute late fee in the midst of Atlanta traffic. Suddenly, I was thrust into a world of endless laundry, new bills and sleepless nights. And on TOP of that, I did not know how to do hair. That was not a skill my mother passed on to me.

You would assume another Black woman would see all that I was dealing with and offer to lend a hand, but all they wanted to know was “when I was going to do something with that child’s hair”. Nadjah’s hair was curly and beautiful, but lord was she tender headed! I would wash it, oil it, brush it and be done with it. A clean, well-fed baby with clean hair was of course was not good enough for the aforementioned cabal. They wanted more, and I simply couldn’t give it! Ultimately I was compelled to snap; to threaten to slap the next person who asked me about some hair. Violence is never the answer, so I switched tactics and I kept a comb and brush in my purse at all times, offering it and my child to all those “concerned”. I was generally met with indignant silence.

I’ve written about one of the White mom’s at my kids’ school who adopted a Black child. Now she ACTUALLY is ruining her daughter’s hair. She’s afraid of and intimidated by it, and I approached her about it and offered personal help. (She declined.) There is a distinct difference between not touching your child’s hair at all and not binding it in cornrows and ponies, as is Blue’s case.

Who knows what kind of day Blue Ivy has had when we see those candid shots of her? Who knows if she’s tender headed? Who knows what kind of hair care regime Beyonce is employing? When all you petty Black women become platinum selling multi-millionaires (and these are the petty concerns ONLY of Black women, trust me) you can ask her, since you will finally be in the same league! In the interim, help a sister in your local ‘hood out and leave Beyonce and her husband alone.

 

Black Boobies

The female form has always fascinated humanity. There have been odes written to it, sculptures created of it, paintings commissioned for it. Almost every woman holds some secret fantasy of having a nude image drawn or photographed of herself. Our bodies have many uses: to bring life, to bring peace, to nurse presidents and clowns (and clownish presidents) and to provide a comfort that the male form cannot. The female form is many things: beautiful, terrifying, intriguing, alluring, resilient, strong, powerful.

Is that why we’re so concerned about boobies? No seriously.

boobsI saw this meme floating around on social media a few days ago, and I can’t believe how many negative things were said about Karlesha Thurman. (Rihanna courts controversy, so this new stunt is nothing remarkable.) I haven’t been following Ms. Thurman’s story very much, because I come from a continent where bare boobs are common place. You never know when you’re going to encounter an areola. You could be buying eggs in the market and a boob could come flying out. You could be in a salon and have the madame pause in mid-braid to feed her child. What you will NOT find is African women hiding in the stinking, dirty toilet or covering their babies’ faces in the hot sun to feed their kids. You learn to get comfortable with the utility and presence of breasts in Africa.

Do you go to the toilet to have your lunch? Do you use a towel to cover your face when you eat? Why should you compel another human being to do the same? Seriously, Americans need to get over their weird Victorian Era shackles and let our babies just LIVE. Ms. Thurman, unlike Rihanna, had her breast out for a reason: she was maintaining life. The fact that she was doing it while getting her degree is all the more remarkable. How many of us in the “community” have eschewed higher education by reason of the presence of an unwanted/unexpected/inconvenient child. Where is YOUR resolve? If nothing else, Karlesha Thurman has proven that she can multitask and thrive under less than ideal conditions. She should be hired immediately and then promoted soon after.

Hopefully, if we’re all so lucky, she’ll concede to touring the country giving seminars on topics like

No Excuses

Just Get It Done

A Baby is Not the End of the World, but the Beginning of a New One

Cambodian Breast Milk is Delicious, But this Chocolate is Pretty Darn Good Too

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