‘De Ting Go Skrrrr Ka’ Guy is a Ghanaian. Here Are Some of the Clues I Purposely Ignored.

De ting go skkrrrrr ka has made its way into and took over the zeitgeist of September 2017. Very few pop culture moments have staying power beyond 3 weeks, and as the interest in this one begins to wane, we give thanks to the BBC, Charley with the blue eyes, MC Quakez and Shakez and Roadman Shaq (aka Michael Dapaah) for bringing so much joy to our timelines, newsfeeds and WhatsApp groups. Ayekoo!

Unless you’ve been on a total tech sabbatical, there’s very little chance that you haven’t heard de ting go skrrrr ka in some part or capacity. The verse (hook?) is so powerful that it made its way to the pulpit of the church I was visiting this Sunday. Hand on my heart, the visiting pastor – who happened to be a Nigerian – broke away from his message to pray in tongues and instead of the accepted “robo shatata” actually cried out “ka ka ka ka kaaaaa!!!”…repetitively. You’ve been going to church 30 years and I guarantee you’ve never heard ANYONE – not on the intercessory team, not the ushers, not the kid who just got saved – speak in tongues and say kakakaka…. Poom –poom. That wasn’t a touch from the Holy Ghost. That was a nudge from Roadman Shaq.

And my eldest daughter was there with an impish look on her face, looking at mine for a reaction. Humph. You think I’m new to this? You think this is my first rodeo? I hollered my laughter through “heys” and “hallelujahs”.

After an initial viewing of the Roadman Shaq video and all its subsequent memes, it is only natural to ask oneself where this guy comes from. What are his origins? Yeah, he’s English, but something in his accenting betrays origins from elsewhere. Deep in my heart I could sense his true ancestry, but the foolery of the Fiya in the Booth video was too much for me to bear responsibility for. Alas, there is no way to deny it any longer. Roadman Shaq IS a Ghanaian. Here is a short list of the many clues he left.

5. The fake Jamaican accent. There’s only one thing Ghanaian rappers love more than sunglasses, and that’s an opportunity to put on a Jamaican accent. Even if it’s one executed poorly. It always baffles me that more Ghanaians don’t travel to Jamaica, especially since a visa is not required…but why travel to a country to immerse yourself in a culture you hold most dear when you can just spare the expense, sit in the comfort of your compound listen to old Shabba Ranks CDs for an equal effect. Plantain in Kingston is just as sweet in Accra, abi?

4. The winter coat in summer. Nothing excites the Ghanaian mind like the prospect of winter. We fantasize about it. At Christmas, we sing In the bleak meek winter and memorize poems about the blowing of winter winds and the crunch of snow beneath our feet. Yet the average Ghanaian has never experienced a chill below 55.4*F. That’s why finding oneself in a state of inescapable hypothermic conditions is the ultimate marker of success. Cold = travel abroad. You ever been to Kotoka in November/December and seen the throngs of African passengers who alight swathed with alpaca and grizzly bear coats? A winter coat is not just an accessory to keep you warm. It’s a token, an emblem that says you’ve made it. So yeah, when Roadman Shaq was in the studio sweating his balls off, it was only natural to declare, “man’s not hot!” We are in Lenden, righ’? And in Lenden, we wear a COAT, no matter what the thermostat says!

3. References to gardening equipment and fauna. “Look at your nose. Nose long like garden hose.” Only the child of a West African can understand the subtle impact of this simile volleyed at your person. And yes, it’s generally our parents doing the volleying. It’s only by Heaven’s grace that we don’t all require therapy. Our upbringing otherwise would have us out here going quack quack quack. 

2. The Fuse ODG intonation of certain words. What is “asnee”? What is “skunoo”? What is an “ukuss”???? And where have I heard this speech pattern before? Lord. Is it not Fuse: that same man who raps like he has marbles in his mouth and is struggling to maintain control over the saliva? (Love you Fuse!)

1a. De ting go skrrr ka. This was the dead giveaway. I have written before about the Ghanaians love of onomatopoeia – the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. ‘Dumsor’ (the sound of a power outage and its reinstatement), ‘Kpakpakpa’ (the apparent sound a hustler makes) and the like are all nouns and verbs that are permanent, accepted fixtures in our vocabulary. So when Roadman Shaq finished his fiya in the booth session by imitating and reenacting a Chuck Norris war film in his mouth, it solidified it for me: the man was a Ghanaian and there was no more denying it.

Yesu. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal and this man was on radio trying to slay every named and unnamed demon in the universe. How many assault rifles did he execute in those few seconds?

AK 47.

9 MM

Bazooka

Beretta.

Whatever weapon goes poom poom upon implosion.

1b (for extra credit) is the sheepish way he was looking into the camera, fully aware that he was disgracing his family, but confident in the knowledge that his papers status means NO ONE has the authority to deport him anywhere! We rep Croydon, not Cantonments, and Michael Dapaah is far beyond the age of anyone threatening him with boarding school if he doesn’t sit up and pull up his socks. I love ungovernable boys!

As it turns out, Mr. Dapaah (and I only just discovered his real name last night) is a comedian who is well-known and loved in London. The whole Roadman Shaq thing is a gag, which means Nigerians have no cause to come and laugh at us for executing wanton bush behavior on the Internet. Nigerian mockery is the only thing I feared, which is why I purposely ignored all the clues about Roadman’s potential Ghanaian ancestry.  *Safe!*

Also: Can you believe this song is being played in clubs now? People spend months pouring over lyrics to songs, and this gibberish is about to chart the Billboards. We are living in marvelous times.

 

What’s your favorite evolution of De Ting? This is mine. Link yours in the comments!

 

There Are No ‘Bro Code’ Discounts in Entrepreneurial Families

My husband and I are entrepreneurs. He writes code for a living and I sell any and everything. I’m not saying that to be funny. From essential oils to smutty books (and I think I just came up with an idea for a combo pack!), I am a basically an e-market queen. It is just remaining tomatoes and my portfolio will be complete!

Any entrepreneur will tell you that though this life is rewarding, this life is not for everyone. We live project to project, from one sale to the next. Entrepreneurship requires much mental dexterity (and a sprinkling of magic) in order to be successful. You have to be an actor, a counselor, an expert (or at least be able to BS the façade of expertise), a quick decision-maker, a pensive decision-maker, a soothsayer and a prophet in order to turn a profit. Oh, and a product – tangible or otherwise. This bizarre matrix of skills is why women – and a subset called ‘mompreneurs’ – make such good entrepreneurs. In common parlance, the endeavor is called a hustle.

There are no guarantees in the world of employment. 28 years at a “stable” company can suddenly cumulate in an unexpected lay off and a decimated 401K. Your job could be outsourced to China or Vietnam. Inflation could necessitate a cut in your salary and/or benefits. These are all very real possible perils when working in a structured (read: comfortable) corporate environment. Working for yourself is no less perilous, which is why entrepreneurs, more than anyone else live by this ONE code: Leave no money on the table.

You would think that other sole proprietors and small business owners would honor this code, this one rule that binds us all. But in a little country called Ghana, at the confluence of business and gender, protocol flies out of the window. Read the experience of Naa Oyoo Kumodzi in a recent interaction with a would be client.

Sounds crazy, right?

Like, could you ever see yourself negotiating salary – for instance – and having the HR rep or interviewer pause the interview and ask if they could get your husband on the phone.

“What? What for?”, you would certainly ask.

“To see if I could get him to talk to you about taking a smaller… more “reasonable” salary, of course!”, the rep says with a benevolent laugh.

Your next actions, up to and not excluding throwing his/her Stellar Award against the wall would be completely justified. Table flips are acceptable in this scenario.

There’s not a way that this interaction concludes peaceably; without someone’s feelings getting hurt. Oh, you’re gonna make a call alright, but it’s not to your husband. It’s gonna be to the EEOC and then there’ll be real hell to pay. Essentially, this is Naa’s potential client was asking her to do: voluntarily take a cut in salary after she’d determined her worth and set her prices.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with negotiating and bargaining for a better price. That’s the other paramount rule of entrepreneurship: Get as much as you can get for free and turn it into income/a profitable asset. But we aren’t talking about knocking off a couple of bucks on a service. We’re talking about erasing the service provider from the negotiating process merely because she is in possession of a vagina and therefore, limited capacity and wit and an excess of “difficulty” as a woman. A man would be better suited to negotiate with.

I relayed Naa’s story to my husband for a reaction. His reaction was, of course, to burst into hollow laughter.

“There are no bro code discounts in entrepreneurship,” he said flatly. “If that had happened in our house, I would’ve increased the asking price. You always sell yourself too short anyway.”

(I ignored the rebuke in his short tirade because it is true. I can’t resist giving something away, which violates another cardinal rule of entrepreneurship: Heaux! You ain’t arrived yet. You making Orpah money yet? Then you can’t be giving all your products away!)

As bizarre as all of this sounds, it should alarm you, yet certainly not surprise you, to know that men – and only men – are going out of their way to defend this wayward prospective client online. The circular reasoning ranges from “it’s just a part of our culture” to “he wasn’t being sexist, you are reading too much into what was said”. It is true that is a repugnant part of our corporate culture for men to dismiss women in powerful positions and bypass them in favor of interaction with another male, particularly in male dominated industries like tech, waste management and publishing, but I dispute that this is an acceptable part of Ghanaian culture…to sidestep a colleague in order to parlay with their husband/wife/father in matters of business as has been asserted.

I welcome anecdotal evidence to the contrary. A number of people have tried to spin this incident as consequence of traditional customs, and you know how disappointing it is whenever an African woman abandons her traditions.

Sir. Please. Sit down. We are talking about making money, not whether to salt your plantain with pink sea salt before or after frying.

In conclusion: Asking to speak to the husband of a female entrepreneur can only backfire on you. You know why? Because they share bills, that’s why. And if she can make more money it takes more pressure off of him and helps the entire household to prosper. Don’t do it. Whatever devil inspires you to make such a misstep much be exorcised immediately!

Out, simple sexist! Out in the name of common sense!

 

Have you had or known anyone to have a similar experience to Naa Oyoo Kumodzi’s? How did you handle it? And since it’s cuffing season and I mentioned that combo pack early on, you should really feel unashamed about picking up some lavender and lasciviousness. Check out these online bargains on both!

How Do Our Vets Feel About Seeing Nazi’s Thrive on American Soil?

My grandfather (may he party in eternal peace) served in the United States army for 3 years. He was stationed at an air force base in Georgia where he worked as a cook and received distinction for his prowess as a thespian. (Now I know where I get my flair for the dramatic from.) He was discharged as a sergeant, but never saw combat overseas. World War II was after all a “white man’s war” – and though Great Britain and France reluctantly conscripted soldiers from their colonies in Africa and India to serve among their ranks on the front lines, America was even more reluctant to do so. America has a long and well-documented unease with arming people of color, Negroes in particular. It fact, it had taken 25 years of effort before the first Black military pilots, now famously known as the Tuskegee Airmen, would be activated in 1941.

A copy of my grandfather’s discharge certificate, issued in Indiana, 1946

That my grandfather served in a menial capacity does not surprise or shame me. He was a farm boy, a strong man and a hard worker. However, in numerous studies sponsored by the United States military, Blacks were classified and deemed unfit for combat. They said we were cowardly, unruly, couldn’t swim and lacked the cognitive abilities required for soldiering.

Source: fdrlibrary.org

I doubt these long-held attitudes had changed by the time of my grandfather’s honorable discharge from the 2109th Army Air Forces base unit in 1946. The majority of enlisted Black men at the time served in support capacities like this and when they did serve overseas, it was in racially segregated combat units. Jim Crow was very much alive, well and the order of the day in 1946, so I imagine that it must’ve been difficult to understand what his role as a Black man was fighting a war to end fascism and xenophobia in one continent when the country of his birth was entirely wedded to those same ideals where he was concerned. Given that his base- the 2109th – was just south of Albany, GA, there can be little doubt that he witnessed (and very possibly experienced) the very finest that Southern racism had to offer. At the end of WWI, fewer than 30 Black people were registered to vote in the city. If Montgomery, AL was the “cradle of the Confederacy”, Albany, GA was its play yard, a city that took pride in controlling its Negro population.

Albany was important as a shipping port and later became an important railroad hub in southwestern Georgia. When the war ended, it was a major disembarkation point for service men returning from overseas. About 500 German prisoners of war were kept in Albany, and whether my grandfather encountered them or not, I will never know. What I DO know for certain is that many people of color, men like my grandfather who served faithfully in the armed forces and many of whom were discharged with honor, were treated with less respect and more contempt than captured enemy combatants from a nation that the USA had expended thousands of lives and millions of dollars to vanquish. The contemptible Nazi (and ideologies to match), in effect, was certainly not as detestable as the law abiding and long-suffering African American citizen; whiteness being the only ‘virtue’ that separated the two and gave societal preference to one by default.

Source: Pintrest

 

The film Hart’s War highlighted the bigotry that was rife in American culture during WWII. Arnold Krammer is a historian at Texas A & M University who has written several books on the prison camps in the U.S. He said:

There were numerous occasions when German POWs, especially from the many camps located in the Jim Crow south, were allowed in stores which denied access to black Americans. When buses filled with German POWs went south, the occasional black MP guards had to move to the back of the bus, while the German prisoners remained in the seats of their choice. German POWs, debating with their guards, regularly used the issue of segregation in America to defend their treatment of the Jews. How tragic.

A handful of Black American soldiers have documented their experiences in memoirs following the Second Great War. The details are damning to the values of equality and brotherhood that to United States has long espoused over the centuries. So hypocritical was the United States position on race and racism that Albert Einstein was compelled to address the scourge in a scathing essay entitled The Negro Question. He called racism America’s ‘worst disease’.

 

Looking at the events in Charlottesville, at the sitting president who refused to condemn the acts of neo-Nazi fascists and avowed white supremacists, and the responses from online commenters who comfortably side with the idea that “both sides” are responsible for the unrest following the horrific events that took place in Virginia over the weekend, one has to wonder just how much has changed in America over the last 71 years. There can be no denying people of color have made significant advances in American society, but fundamentally, America remains a nation that abhors the presence and existence of Black people. From perceptible micro-aggressions to flat out discrimination, we are made to feel a sense of spurning, daily. Still, I had to wonder what veterans might feel about seeing the flags and emblems of an eternal adversary proudly marching through a historic American city.

 

As you might expect, there was outrage among some in their ranks.

Excerpt from an interview on the CBS News

Nevertheless, there are some who feel that these neo-Nazis have a right to express their “opinion”.

This is the heart of the matter. These are the people ought to be the most horrified by what unfolded in Charlottesville (and will continue to unfold in the coming weeks) as those we have entrusted to uphold America’s truest values. But when citizens – such as Harvey Lentz and the current POTUS think that demonstrations of racial bigotry that inspire and call for violence in the form of extermination are mere “opinion” that has a right to be expressed- how America ever cure itself of this disease? The short answer is, it can’t. I cannot explain it, but too many people are comfortable living with this bane. Like King Henry and his festering wound, America is not yet ready to have a serious and honest look at wait ails it. It stinks. It’s too horrid a sight. But we are forced to ignore it because America has anointed itself the “shining city on a hill” and like that mercurial British monarch is (supposedly) above reproach.

But there’s no hiding from this. There’s no denying that this cancer is eating away at the body of the country. Loving and wishing it away is not going to solve a centuries’ old sickness. The sad part is, none of this surprises people of color. It’s what Dara Mathis called the nightmare we never woke up from, a thousand yesterdays on loop, always reoccurring.

America, the America that has chosen blissful oblivion, you should know that your slip (or sheet, rather) is showing.

RompHims Are the Next Logical Step in Men’s Fashion

Let us be honest with one another: Where men’s fashion is concerned, it’s been a race to (and in many cases, from) the crotch for a very long time. I don’t generally keep a keen eye out for male fashion – primarily because it’s so repetitive and boring – but I did note when hemlines on men’s trousers began to shrink and raise about 3-4 years ago. The look raised many eyebrows, but seemed fairly innocuous.

It’s not as though we expected the look to go from the runway to the mainstream, right? So few of these trends actually make it from the glitz of Fashion Week to the racks of Old Navy.

And yet…this one DID.

Your younger brother’s trousers are now considered “formal” wear.

Nevertheless, we ignored what was up until 2014 considered a faux pas in men’s fashion. The hem of a man’s trousers ought to fall on the bridge of his shoe and that was the end of the discussion! If a few men wanted to disgrace themselves by tossing out this hallowed rule of professional presentation, we’d let them. They were probably slackers who didn’t deserve society’s concern anyway. Now, look! They’ve upped the ante and made as an addendum a close cut to these suit pants. They are called “skinny suits”.

It went mainstream, y’all!

This look was crossing the line of what is acceptable presentation of the male body in public, but we have endured the presence and penetration of the saggy jean for a quarter of a century or better, so perhaps we could make an allowance for this overcorrection in terms of fit.

And then – while we eschewed diligence – along came men’s jeggings…commonly referred to as “meggings”. I have nothing intelligent to add to this point of discussion. Does “GAH?!?!?!” count as an intelligible remark? The picture speaks for itself.

I mean. Really. This is just BEYOND.

Still, the denizens of fashion were not through with us yet. The spring/summer season of 2016 was dominated by the chino: those crotch-hugging trousers with elastic in the ankles. Not to be confused with the utility of a sweat pant which can also feature elastic at the ankles, the chino affords the wearer the respectability of a coffee filter sales man, coupled with the carefree whimsy of a professional skateboarder. When my son’s luggage was lost in transit last year, we were obliged to purchase this item of clothing in several colors including khaki, camo and grey. These were the only cut of trouser available for boys his age, the only other alternative being school uniform pants. However as a boy of stocky build, these booty-hugging trousers made him look more like a frustrated Musketeer than a happy-go-lucky ramp rider.

These “baggy” chinos only work of you have no butt.

And that brings us to the RompHim: rompers for men. People are conflicted about how to take this new sensation, primarily because unless you’re a rock star named Prince, or a tiny English prince, or a dude named Mr. Brown, there’s really no protocol for grown men in rompers.

On one hand, a group of people wholeheartedly reject the idea of RompHims (or BropHims, coming in LV and Gucci print in a ‘hood near you) because it represents the next wave in the deterioration of what many consider definitions of masculinity. On the other, there are many who are excited about all the thigh meat and man bubble that will be on full display as the weather warms up. While we may not be able to agree on whether or not this trend is to be embraced, I think we can all agree that we are all intrigued. And by intrigued, I mean utterly mesmerized. Have you been able to stop thinking about BropHims since you first heard about them? No. Me neither!

So yes, given what has been happening in men’s fashion under our very noses for the past few years, it makes perfect sense that your uncle and/or prospect boo would aspire to show up at the family reunion or graduation in a onesie. This is metrosexuality run amuck. Gone awry. It’s gobbling sixteen different types of steroids. And I am here for it.

Next time we convene, we will discuss what’s new in men’s grooming. In anticipation of that conversation, check out this video of a brother sealing the cuticles of his beard hairs with a flat iron.

I know you *think* you’re ready but you’re not. None of us is.

 

So! What colors will you be wearing your RompHim in this year? I hear there are already ankara prints available. You know Nigerians will never carry last…

Even God and Your Daddy Know #MenAreTrash

Beloveds: I won’t be keeping you long this morning. I just stopped by to share a word that God confirmed in my spirit late in the midnight hour.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and the occasion was nearly overshadowed by the kvetching of a certain group of people who have taken great offense with a hash tag that has been trending on Twitter for several days. That hash tag is #MenAreTrash. The source of their consternation (‘they’ in this instance being emotional men and the patriarchal princesses who enable their melodramatic tendencies) is that the proclamation that men are trash sweeps all men with a broad stroke.

“Is your daddy trash?” they ask rhetorically.

“My boyfriend certainly isn’t trash!” another exclaims indignantly.

Soon to follow, as always, is an attack on feminism. “You feminists say you want to be equal to men. And yet here you are today saying men are trash!” The idea behind this pseudo Socratic line of thinking is that feminists – and all women by extension – are ultimately trash because they want to be equal to men.

Please.

No one is interested in “equality with” men. What all people of good sense want is equal access to the privileges, resources and rewards that men routinely enjoy simply for the sake of their gender. No feminists that I have encountered has the slightest interest in partaking of the behaviors that led to the genesis of this hash tag in particular: that behavior being the routine and accepted violence against women, the economically disenfranchised and other marginalized groups. If you are unfamiliar with the birth of the hash tag, it gained groundswell after the discovery of Karabo Mokoena’s body in a veld. She was beaten to death, her corpse singed with acid and finally ‘necklaced’…the process of putting a car tire around a human body and lighting it aflame. It leaves the flesh nearly unrecognizable. Women all over the world have been sharing horrific stories about the physical, sexual and emotional violence that they have faced at the hands of men with whom they share close proximity, and the almost dismissive attitude from members of the communities in which the attacks have taken place.

I will agree with those who quake with fury that #MenAreTrash paints all men with the same brush. It does…because men (and many women) have facilitated as system in which men are rewarded – and even expected – to behave with trashy tendencies. The hash tag is broad sweeping because the problem is systematic. Therefore your loving uncle and doting father are outliers and do not operate within the expectations of typical male behavior. Men are unpredictable, and women have been socialized to police ourselves based on that capricious nature. A user online explained it in a way that should be simple enough to grasp with this illustration using snakes.

Yes, yes. I know! Not ALL men. But when an issue becomes systematic and has a high(er) likelihood of occurring, anthropologically we speak in broad terms. Like:

  • People sweat when it’s hot, or
  • White women don’t age well, or
  • Africans love rice

There are always exceptions, however these events is what history and experience have taught us to expect. Even the Bible shows us this is the case.

 Boaz and Ruth

Ruth 2:5-8

Then Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?”

And the foreman replied, “She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter.”

Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.”

As we see, Boaz had to command the young men not to harass Ruth. In other versions, Boaz says, “have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee?” We can see that as a matter of routine, men in that district made life difficult for women either by verbally debasing them, touching them without consent or both. Boaz had to give than command because he knew men were trash.

Jesus and the adulterous woman

John 8:3-9

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

The woman was brought for condemnation before Christ specifically for the act of sex outside of her marriage. Not for stealing. Not for blasphemy…for having an adulterous affair. That Jesus would then refuse to look her accusers in the eye as they challenged his authority meant that he was already confident in his knowledge about the types of lives that these men led. Why did they not also drag the man with whom this woman was having an affair with before the Christ? Because doing so would incriminate them as well, possibly setting a precedence for being drug into square when they might find themselves in the throes of adultery. Not a single accuser stayed to throw a stone, because they inwardly knew that they were trash. The difference is, that had the consciousness of mind and integrity to admit that.

You and your own father

“Akos! Make sure you are in this house by 6pm.”

“But, Daddy! Why? You never tell Kofi to come back in at any specific time.”

“Herh! Don’t argue with me. Insolent girl! In fact, you can’t leave the house at all. Go and sweep the hall.”

Your father wants you back in the house by 6pm, before the sun goes down, because even he fears what men lurking in the dark could potentially do to his daughter. He’s a man, and he knows men are trash.

Not convinced? Then ask yourself why you would never take your young daughter into the men’s bathroom, but have full confidence that your young son is safe in a public toilet full of women. Why do we expend so much energy on telling girls how to dress to avoid rape, rather than driving home the message in men that they have no right to access to anyone’s body…not even in marriage? So many factors contribute to the base (or trash) instincts that men harbor and exhibit. The entitlement that men feel is a direct result of global society’s refusal to demand responsibility from men.

Boys will be boys.

That’s just how men are.

Because, biology.

If more men were really honest, they would admit that they are equally afraid of their fellow men. Rather than admit this, they permit sexist behavior to continue and endorse misogyny with their silence. I’ve had a man admit to me that he was in a room when a girl was being raped and did nothing because the other men around him threatened to beat him up if he intervened. She was sexually assaulted and he got to live with the guilt of being a coward, but lives unscathed nevertheless.

I’ve had a man admit that he sat silently while his homeboys plotted on how to ruin a woman’s reputation because she did not acquiesce to his unwanted advances. They would proclaim her to be a slut and that would be the end of it. Rather than risk the ire of his friends and look like “punk”, this guy sat by and let the scheme unfold.

I’ve had a man confess to me that he was at his friend’s house as he was punching his wife and did not intervene beyond a “Come on, man. She said she was sorry!”

This is all trash. And while you as a man may not be guilty of exhibiting trash behavior personally, you are not innocent if you do not call out trash when you see it. Now the challenge becomes not only to unlearn this thinking and abolish this fear of challenging the status quo, but also to raise a generation of men who will not find themselves victims of trash influences and eventually become trash themselves.

If you’re sitting there condemning #MenAreTrash because it offends your sensibilities, build a bridge and get over it. This is not the time for respectability. Not when women/girls are being burned with acid for refusing marriage proposals, or shot in the face because they want to get an education. Not when presidential candidates can grab women by the pussy and become leaders of the free world. You like hash tags like #MasculinitySoFragile because of its vagueness and because it provides no immediate provocation to inspect an issue or force introspection. But you do recognize that at the end of that conversation on fragile masculinity is the conclusion that men are trash. The former ruffles your feathers on the onset, and that’s what has you unsettled. That, and not the fact that 70 year old women in India now have to learn how to use swords and staffs to defend themselves from marauding young men in their communities.

And you patriarchal princesses: For you to sit there and demand a “better hash tag” because you’re thinking of the one guy who gives you orgasms or the other that sent you a couple of dollars to get you onto a flight is insane, frankly. It beggars belief. You are as asinine as the folk who demand peaceful (read: quiet and convenient) protests in response to police brutality and other forms of systematic oppression. All you are doing is enabling the perpetrator at the expense of the victim for the sake of nicety and for the benefits of patriarchy.

Girl, you trash too.

 

James Comey Discovers White People Behavior Can Have Black People Consequences.

Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey this week. What is unclear is if Comey’s firing came on the heels of a recommendation from the Deputy Attorney General or – if as Trump announced on Lester Holt’s interview on Thursday – he had made the decision to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation. Prior to this on Tuesday, Kellyann Con-all-the-way went on Anderson Cooper’s show where she spun her lips into a lie that would have us believe that Trump’s decision to fire Comey had nothing to do with Russia.

We all know that the FBI Director’s termination had everything to with Russia. Who asks for extra resources to do an investigation into Trump’s links with Russia and then loses their job a day later? What’s worse, who loses their job and finds out not from their employer, but from some third party…like TV? This is not treatment that powerful white men – particularly not men in high profile positions such as director of the freaking Federal Bureau of Investigation! – are accustomed to. I tell you who is accustomed to this maltreatment, however: The rest of us.

How many of us know a co-worker (or have been that co-worker) who lost their job for asking too many questions? Surely you’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with that woke brother that caused way too many waves by challenging the status quo at the office? How long has that employee lasted in the corporate world? Not longer than the affable, porn watching, coke-snorting sales executive in the corner office, I assure you. Tristan O’Brien the exec is going to last a heck of a lot longer than Tyrell Brown in customer care. I’ve chanced on the backroom meetings where Tyrell’s firing was being discussed.

“Tyrell just doesn’t seem to fit in with the corporate culture here,” says a team lead.

“Yeah…he really struggles to understand basic concepts like why we don’t pay for sick leave or why we reuse the coffee filters in the office,” adds another.

Nodding his head in agreement, the department head confirms that Tyrell and his incessant questioning are bad for employee moral. It is decided that Tyrell is to be terminated on Monday morning.

“Why ruin the weekend?”

The room agrees. Everyone skips off for margaritas after work, Tyrell included. He doesn’t know it, but this Friday happy hour is actually his going away party, sans cake and kudos or nary a word from his co-workers. It is only on Monday morning when his futile attempts at swiping his badge to gain access to the building that he discovers the awful truth: He no longer has employment with CareerMaster.com.

Frantic and confused, Tyrell calls his team lead to find out what happened.

A voice on the other end of the phone says calmly, “You were let go today. Didn’t you get the email? It was sent out on Friday after work. Don’t worry… your personal affects will be mailed to you, along with your severance check. Ah…Ah! Tyrell! There’s not need for that sort of language!”

The rest of the office surreptitiously listens in on the call that the team lead “happened” to be taking on speaker. I hear one of the new hires say not quietly enough, “Gosh…I hope Tyrell doesn’t come in here and shoot up the place!”

“I know. He was SO militant. He always made me a little uncomfortable.”

“He was nothing like you, Malaka!”

“Yeah! You’re so easy to get along with! And you know how to say ‘ask’. It always grated on my nerves when Tyrell said ‘ax’ when he wanted to ask a question.”

“Three cheers for our magical African Negro!”

Naturally, I was disgusted by this display of liberal white benevolence for my benefit, but Tyrell, and all Tyrell’s like him everywhere, also happened to harbor deeply sexist beliefs. And while I was sad that the brother lost his job, I was not sad to see him go.

What makes James Comey’s ouster so stunning is that white men aren’t typically punished for asking questions. Asking questions shouldn’t get an FBI director promoted to private citizen. The effort ought to catapult you to minor deity status. It’s a trait that is encouraged in that particular demographic. Pop culture bears this out. Who is the last person often standing in a horror flick? A white male. (Get Out being the most noted exception that comes to mind.) Who’s always the first to die? The Black guy…and he ain’t even want to know what that strange rustling in the bush was in the first place.

Questions guide white male existence. Questions like:

  • “What’s that noise?”
  • “How many guns would it take to colonize an entire continent?”
  • “If I poke this lion in the nose, will it really try to bite me?”

So when a powerful white man like James Comey asks questions like, “What are the Trump’s family links to Russia and what – if any – involvement did Russia have in this election”, I’m sure Comey did not see his sacking coming. In fact, he probably expected Fuhrer Trump to commend him for his queries. After all, it was only a few months ago that the Orange Fuhrer praised Comey for the “guts” it took to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Questions are not supposed to lead to a public humiliation for white men. Seeking truth and accountability is a noble calling – one that minorities are frequently punished and reviled for. Who can forget how we were all disparaged for calling for investigations into the mysterious and unexplained deaths of Sandra Bland, Edward Crawford and Sheila Abdus-Salaam? When Black people ask questions, we are being difficult. When White people ask questions, it’s an admirable effort. I imagine it must have come as a shock to Comey and his team when he received this untoward treatment that is generally set aside for the lower castes of American society.

Welcome to the other side of the tracks, James! Now that you’re down here with the rest of us, let me tell you where you went wrong: You were too visible. You were too flashy. You were literally the Flo Rida of FBI directors: all over everybody’s’ tracks. Every time there was a television broadcast, your name and face where on it. Every time there was a discussion about the election and the influences, your name popped up. Real Gs move in silence…like gnomes. Consider your predecessor, J. Edgar Hoover. The man shaped much of American history, and we’re still discovering all the nefarious deeds that are attributed to his decisions. But you? You left yourself too open. You were too exposed. You were too often caught in the crosshairs of a camera! That has consequences, bruh; People of color consequences.

The wages of working on Donald Trump’s behalf to influence an election is an Apprentice style firing. That ho ain’t loyal, James! I bet you never, ever thought…. But you gone learn tuhday! *cackle!!*

How To Survive Those Terrifying Moments When An Airline Won’t Let You Pee

The airline industry is just out of control. There hasn’t been a week that’s gone by this month that hasn’t featured some form of passenger abuse.

As a rule, I do not to travel by air. Unless the chances of reaching my destination are absolutely impossible unless by flight – say from Atlanta to Johannesburg – thereby forcing me to plunk down my hard-earned money in order to purchase an airline ticket, you can count me out of Team #FlyTheFriendlySkies. I would rather bathe in pig guano than take a domestic flight in the United States of America.

Everything about journeying by air is made to make your trip unpleasant, starting from before you enter the airport. Actually, it starts at home; with your wardrobe. Unlike traveling by car where one can dress for comfort, traveling by air requires one to dress in a manner that attracts little attention, while still achieving the goal of attracting the right kind of attention. Will wearing this hijab earn me a ‘random extra security check’? Will this afro puff serve as a magnet for those dreaded blue gloves to be run through my hair? Should I have taken the extra hour needed to straighten my hair to avoid those 15 seconds of humiliation? Am I going to get kicked off a flight for this “Smash the Patriarchy” message tee because the flight crew finds it offensive? How suspicious would I look if I just said to hell with it all and rocked up to the airport in a suit made of bubble wrap?

But you finally decide on a basic pair of jeans, flip flops and an oatmeal colored tee, all which should meet the snobbish airline’s approval. To your horror, you discover it’s not good enough. You CLEARLY look like you’re flying economy and are treated as such…like chattel. Despicable, budget shopping chattel. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you get to the check-in counter, you actually have to GET to the check-in counter. Before you can pass’ Go’, you have to get by that omnipresent militarized police manifestation at the loading zone. This is where you hurriedly hurl your farewells at loved ones who simultaneously hurl your luggage from their vehicle in order to avoid a telling off by that one beefy officer who is just looking for a reason to make someone else’s life as miserable as his own. It is only then that you have the opportunity to have your presence tolerated by the overly made up, wretched ticketing agent who after assessing the girth of your hips takes perverse delight in placing you in D5 (center seat, middle row), where you are guaranteed to have no leg room and no joy for the duration of your journey.

“Have a pleasant flight,” s/he chortles, baring fangs like the viper they were hired to be.

Next, you journey on to TSA. The less said about the TSA, the better. It’s a desolate place. It’s the only place on Earth where Christ’s light, life and redemption cannot touch. Every man and woman working for the TSA is Pharaoh, and we are all meek Hebrews, submitting to their coarse touch, dancing and bending and undressing at their bidding. I despise the TSA as much as they despise the public.

But you’re nearly there. You’re nearly home free. Soon you’ll be seated on the plane and on your way to your great aunt’s 85th birthday party in Washington, DC as I was in April of 2016. The stress of the pre-boarding horror show has made you thirsty, and you quench that thirst with a $6.50 bottle of water. To your shock and delight, you find that the exorbitant purchase was unnecessary. The Delta stewardess – the one with the frosty blond hair and turquoise eyeliner applied with the intensity of an artist determined on perfecting his frottage – has been handing out bottles of water for the duration of the flight. You gulp down your water AND hers because free is better and tastier, especially when its plentiful.

Suddenly, you find yourself relaxing, almost losing yourself in the hum of the engine’s jets. Maybe Delta Airlines wasn’t as bad as the last time you swore off them in 2001. Maybe things had actually gotten better with air travel since you last flew domestic. Perhaps the airlines were listening more and harassing less. And maybe – just a glimmer of a possibility – all the mayhem surrounding ticketing agents and that TSA hellhole was just in your mind. But there’s no time to think about that now. You’ve imbibed quite a bit of water and now you have to shimmy your way out of your cramped center seat, past your equally uncomfortable co-passengers and make your way to the equally cramped bathroom. Relief is swift and sweet, and you are comforted in the knowledge that there is only an hour and a half left in your journey.

Just go ahead an make these in adult sizes!
Image source: Pintrest

Finally, you land. You’ve had no more water, but you can feel that tingle in that space beneath your abdomen. You pinch your knees. Everything will be fine. It only takes a few minutes to taxi to the gate and if you play your cards right, you can leap into the aisle and be one of the first people to dash off the plane and into the terminal. But to your horror, you hear the pilot announce that there is some sort of disturbance on landing fare and it will be about another half an hour before you can taxi up to the gate. Thirty whole minutes?!? Panic begins to set in. The tingle has turned into a blaze and your bladder feels like it is alight. Still, you steady yourself. You are a full grown, 39 year old woman with a degree and you will NOT pee on yourself in the middle – the veritable center – of an airplane in economy class. However, six minutes into your ordeal, you discover that while you may be able to do all things through Christ, holding back this deluge in your guts isn’t one of them.

You turn and look helplessly at the stewardess, who sees you, but looks away.

You meekly raise your hand this time, trying in vain to make eye contact. Still, she gives you the side-eye, but stares off into the distance, likely dreaming of the trailer park that Delta lifted her out from.

Finally, it happens. You know it’s risky, but you have no choice. You unbuckle your seat belt and grin sheepishly at her. She picks up the telephone/intercom and makes the following announcement:

“Ladies and gentlemen,” says the same frosty haired whore who’s been drowning your innards with Aquafina, “in the interest of safety, please remain in your seats until the fasten seat belt sign has been turned off.”

“Yes,” you whisper as you advance cautiously, “but I have to pee.”

“Ma’am,” she says over the intercom, “please re-take your seat.”

“I can’t,” you whisper a bit louder and with much more harshness than you intend to. “I HAVE TO PEE!”

Your co-passengers are looking at you with a mix of amusement, compassion and disdain. You’re sweating and clearly desperate, and everyone is waiting to see what will happen next. Will you be allowed to urinate? Will you just piss on yourself for all to see? It all comes down to the whims of the frosty haired wench sitting primly in her stewardess’s chair. Finally, she alerts the pilot that there is a passenger who needs to use the toilet on the stationary plane and nods you by, but not without giving you one, final contemptuous look. As you exit the lavatory, you mumble your thanks like a placid school kid and retake your seat in the center aisle, humiliated. You vow once again never to fly the “friendly skies” and haven’t done so since.

But there is a solution to all of this, don’cha know? Since the aim of the airline industry is to shame, humiliate and inconvenience paying customers, I say we assist them in their goal. As fate would have it, Facebook filtered onto my feed the tale of Kima Hamilton – a Milwaukee resident who found himself in circumstances similar to the ones I experienced – as well as a corresponding memory from 2013.

Yes. This really happened.

Unlike Mr. Hamilton, my experience did not end with FBI involvement (for which I am grateful), however we did share a mutual uncontrollable urge to go right now. If the airlines can’t trust thinking adults to know when we need to use the bathroom, then I say we behave like the toddlers they think we all are.

Go ahead and pee on yourself.

No. I’m dead serious.

Every traveller carries essential items with him or her, those generally being ID, a cell phone, gum and reading material. Throw a pull-up or two in the mix. That why, when Frosty Haired Wendy won’t let you pee, you have the satisfaction of 1) Urinating in your seat while 2) fully complying with both the pilot’s and federal guidelines and best of all 3) leaving the plane knowing full well that Frosty the Snow Bitch has to pick up your soaked sack of Huggies.

I’m a big kid now!

 Nah. For real. I’m tired of these domestic airlines. Who are they taking notes from? The Amistad?

Have you ever had to pee and been denied access to the toilet on the plane? Are you toying with the idea of taking some Depends with you on your next flight? Admit it…you are. What shall we call our movement? Something catchy…Like the AirKelly: Piss on you in B2.

Let’s work on it.

Jidenna’s Appearance on the ‘Good Morning America’ Vexed Me

Jidenna and his shiny pocket watch. Image source www.billboard.com

You see what happens when you underestimate a man with a conk and a pocket watch? You think he’s innocuous and then one day: BOOM! You are sitting on your sister’s sofa with your heart in your throat, swallowing, breathing and pumping blood through your veins, simultaneously failing at all three. Why because the shiny conk man is pulling words from the spiritual realm to trouble your bohdi.

Oh Jidenna! Why?!? Is your father Yoruba? Are you one of the Yoruba Demons my Naija sisters have been complaining of on Twirra? Because if you are not, you are certainly displaying the tendencies of those dreaded heart breakers. Chai!

I know, I know. You’re sitting here wondering what has Malaka in such a tizzy today. What is it THIS time? Surely by now you’ve seen the video of which my title speaks? Here. Let me help you. Just watch it.

 

 

Ahaaaa. Now, aren’t you also angry? As a fellow lover of beautiful men, are you not also in the throes of vexation? Who sent Jidenna on a fact-finding mission today? It was Satan. It had to be Satan. Who else roams the earth as roving lion looking for whom he may devour, if not Lucifer himself? And did not Jidenna himself warn Bambi (i.e. ME) that there were lions out here? He did! You heard it, and so did I.

But what was this fact-finding mission that the Lord of Darkness commission and Jidenna happily accept? It was to prove that women DON’T LISTEN. But he kraaaaa, who asked him to go and pull this evidence? We were all happy in our state of inertia and now Jidenna has gone and set a forest fire of confusion in motion.

First of all, let’s discuss this coffee mug that he entered the stage with. See his face. Like he is advising me like he is my father – my father who has called me to the living room to give me a strong warning. But does my father look like Jidenna? Does yours? Then why is he giving me advise to stay away from sweet things like we share a filial bond? Just gerrarheah mehn! Just walking around under purple lights, sipping the drink he didn’t finish before he left the green room like the whole Good Morning America was his personal pool hall and he is the God Father or Heartbreak.

Oh Bambi I won’t lie

If I weren’t in this spider web of mine

If grandfather never had seven wives

Then darling you would be love of my life
Oh Bambi it’s my design

To run the jungle I must be a lion

Or be a cheetah but neither is fine

Don’t wanna hurt my dear love of my life

 

WHO

ASKED

YOU

JIDENNA?

Maybe I want my heart broken. Maybe we like it like that. After all, there is nothing that God and a little E6000 together can’t fix. Isn’t this pain you are trying to keep me/us from feeling the reason the Japanese invented kintsukuroi? I mean, sometimes the heartbreak is worth it. Something beautiful can come from a broken heart. But only if YOU break it for us, Jidenna. It’s those fiyanga boys that come into our lives as a destabilizing force that we don’t care for. But when a man such as yourself enters our romantic realm, Jidenna, there is confusion from start to finish. So issorai. You can’t tell me there is a woman you’ve ever dated who has been in her right mind from introduction to break up, where you are concerned. So please, this your Bambi cautionary tale is unwarranted. Believe us, we know. We have counted the cost from the beginning and we are okay with the price. But instead of you to be secure in that knowledge, you’ve gone to put pen to paper to craft a song revealing our proclivities for self-destruction for all to see.

Jide (pronounced Ji*day), why have you lied to us? You know the video you shot didn’t end that way in real life? Please, if you arrive at any red-blooded woman’s wedding in a cream suit and ostrich shoes, crying as you make your way to the bridal vehicle, you know very well that she’s not going to willingly just drive away fwah lydat. Tears? From Jide? Oh no, no, no, no… At least the three people involved: the bride, the groom and you will have some discussion. Who will leave fine Jidenna to sit outside of a cathedral to weep and be held back by common area boys? No one with a heart and conscious!

And that is why your appearance on the television annoyed me so greatly. Because you have been taking advantage of my heart and the heart of my sisters since the release of that single. Just causing confusion and inner turmoil. “He’s telling me he’s no good for me, but I still want him! I want him like I want a fever dream! I want to feel this delirious always!” This is a dilemma 98% of women will face in her dating life. It’s something we don’t talk about, and now you and your Merry Band of Acapella instrumentalists made us FEEL it….are still making us FEEL it at unscheduled hours for these sorts of things. Do you know how many times that performance has been shared on my newsfeed alone today? Spirit of the living God! This is not the season for skin pain! When we are ready, when we are ready…

Sir. Please. Enough. Go and wear your Ankara shorts and sin no more. Stop making songs about American antelopes and let nature take its course. And you… Next time you want to make a woman analogous to an animal, please choose something more representative of our shared West African heritage. Warriz ‘Bambi’? Dem get Bambi for Nigeria? You are a lion. I am a goat. Just devour and stop this plenty talk. Have you not read your sister Nnedi Okorafor’s book, ‘Who Fears Death’? You think we fear to die if e go be you wey you go chop us? I say again, your cautionary tales are not welcome here!

I’ve warned you for the last time.

See his face. Heartbreak Police in Chief. Tseewwww

Post Carnival Relief: These Are My Confessions

You guys are probably going to see videos of me on ratchetblackness.com or World Star – but before you judge me, allow me to confess and explain how all of this happened.

 

Before he was struck by an illness that has kept him housebound, a friend of mine used to go soca parties every other weekend. Not only did these parties keep him connected to his Virgin Island culture, they gave him veritable LIFE. There aren’t words rich enough in the English language to describe the light that emanated from him in the wake of his post soca party euphoria. I determined then that I would attend a soca party one day and promptly added the activity to my bucket list.

Why a bucket list for a mere party, presumably that would be held in a warehouse in Any Metro City near you? Because of one detail – that little hiccup that would make my presence at such an event unseemly: I was married to a deacon, now a pastor. ‘Going out’ for us is dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and/or catching a movie, not getting sweaty to samba and certainly not shaking it to Caribbean tunes. Saints don’t participate in those forms of debauchery: dancing yourself into a molten hot puddle. But as I mentioned on Facebook a while back, my decision making post-surgery can generously be described as questionable, so when my sister (now a soca fanatic since her return from Carnival in Trinidad) said that she wanted to take me to a soca party before my return to South Africa, I did not refuse the opportunity! That’s how I ended up on my back in the middle of the club with a stranger dry humping me.

So, what had happened was this:

I spent two weeks watching soca videos in order to do research on how to conduct myself at this club/party. We only play worship music in our house, if ever at all, and I needed to familiarize myself with soca protocol. Nothing in any of the handful of videos I watched looked anything like what my body was capable of, so I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to rely on some old faithful boogies, namely azonto, cultural dancing and the running man if it came down to it.

Next came the question of attire. As the mother of four human beings sporting a belly that looks like I’m about to deliver a fifth, there was no way I was going out looking as though I was going to a soca club. I opted for jeggings, high top sneakers and my Cobra Kai Dojo tee from Walmart. As I applied moderate make-up, I felt and looked comfortable…until I started sweating.

“Are you hot?” I asked Adj.

She was fanning herself vigorously, replying in the affirmative. She scuttled off to her bedroom and turned on the standing fan to cool herself down. It was at that moment that I toyed with the idea that the spontaneous burst of heat we both experienced was probably due to the fact that I was going to hell, and had not warned my sister about the ills of club life as a good Christian ought. But whatever. It was too late and the plans had already been made.

At 6:30pm, my brother-in-common-law prepared dinner for the house; oven fried chicken and broccoli. He doesn’t salt his meat, so I loaded up on the broccoli and reluctantly nibbled on the chicken. Adj (my sister) had announced that we’d be leaving at 8:30 to drop the kids off at an auntie’s house before heading to the party.

“It starts at 10pm, and I do NOT want to open the party,” she said.

When we arrived at 11:15pm, the party looked like this.

Where the people at???

But that’s not even the worse part. The worse part is the drive to the event. We had to take my adorable niece and nephew aaaaaall the way to Bowie, MD for the evening, and for the duration of the 45-minute drive, I was subjected to an inane line of questioning from a 3-year-old wanting to know who was driving the car and why were the street lights on. In addition to this, my sister did not want to listen to music because it was “too loud”, which meant there was no ambient noise to drown out the sound of my niece’s voice. I sat in the back seat yawning, contemplating how different this pre-partying experience was from my college days when I used to go out. I thought fondly of my bed and yearned for it.

“I don’t see how people go from parenting to partying so quickly,” I mused. “Especially when the lead up to your night out is the ride we just took.”

Chris agreed, adding, “You just gotta push through that hurdle and commit!”

So commit we did and on to Karma we went for the post Carnival relief party! (Side note: there have been relief parties all over the city, since revelers tend to experience withdrawal after leaving Trinidad/Carnival so severe that it can lead to depression.) After a 10-15 minute jaunt from our parking space down the road, we were greeted by security at the doors who asked for ID (which I proudly remembered to bring with me) and subjected us to a vigorous pat down. I gasped as a husky woman sporting box braids lifted each of my breasts and pressed into my sternum.

“You ok?” she asked.

“Yeah…it’s just that that was the most physical contact I’ve had with anyone in two months,” I replied.

The other members of the security team howled with laughter, and she muttered something that might have passed for an apology. I told her not to worry about it.

“I’m sure it was just a precursor for what I’m about to experience in there!”

Laughter ensued. We ducked into the club. We sat and looked at each other for what seemed like an eternity. The music was NOT good, although the set up and décor was very pretty. There were a lot of people at the bar just standing there, giving a creepy voyeur vibe. And then there was this guy running around covered in flags with a whistle around his neck. The whistle indicated the nature of his employment – Mister Floor Opener, Dancing Facilitator or Winding Orchestrator. I’ll send a box of Cheerios to anyone who has correctly guessed that this is also the individual who would end up dry humping me into oblivion. We’ll get to that.

Bored and quickly becoming aggravated that my first soca party was clearly destined to be a dud, I stood to my feet and began to sway to beat with Chris – a man who needs NO excuse to party and had already committed to winding his waist against the raw atmosphere. Sensing my disappointment, he told me not to worry and promised that things would really start humping at 1 am.

“1 am?” I thought to myself. “You mean, I won’t be back hom and in bed by then? Crap!”

I began to wind atmosphere along with him.

Woman dancing borborbor. And yes. I made that same face. Image source: For God & Nation

At this point, my other “sister” had joined us at our perch and was scanning the room. She recognized two women that she’d gone to school with and they formed a part of our circle for the night…and number that would eventually swell to 11 women, plus Chris. Now that the music was getting slightly better and that I had committed to having fun no matter what, I began to dance in earnest, twirling my towel and doing borborbor or whatever other move came to mind. That’s when I felt someone behind me.

I braced myself for the impact that was coming, remembering Chris’ clarion admonishment about Carnival/soca: “You must accept the wyne.”

So when a man’s paw pushed my neck towards my kneecaps, I submitted and let him push up on me. Ah. But he was so aggressive! Why? It seemed to go on forever, and it was only until I resurfaced for air that he released me…but only momentarily. By this time I was in a playful mood, so I shook my wobbly bits to the beat, which he took as an invitation to jump on my back.

Yes, you read that right. I had a 6’3” nigga on my back in a darkened club lit up only by fluorescence and the roaming spotlights. But that’s not the worst of it.

As time went on, more folk began to trickle in and we few were determined to make the most of the scene. By now I was dripping in sweat (which is not unusual) and I was just happy to be amongst such happy, unpretentious Black people. I sat on the edge of a sofa and The Facilitator popped out of nowhere. Since I was seated, I figured there was no way he could force me into any sort of position where I would be compelled to ‘accept the wyne’.

WRONG.

He grabbed me by my feet and lifted them around his waist. I immediately pulled a move I learned from my 6 year old and went limp. Dead weight. All 245 lbs of it. It didn’t matter. He hoisted me onto his hips and began to pump/wing/grind aggressively. I held on for dear life, fearful that he’d drop me in the middle of this club and burst my still-healing cranial stitches. When our interaction exceeded the threshold of comfort and reason, I bucked and tried to get down. It was at THAT point that he laid me on my back, parted my legs, and began to simulate the act of dry humping. There was never any pelvis-to-pelvis contact…just the appearance of it. Over his shoulder, I saw a woman pull out her pink iPhone and begin filming. Why? My sister sprang into action and tried to get this massive, and deceptively very strong man off of me, but because I was laughing hysterically at the absurdity of it all – ME, a pastor’s wife in a Walmart t-shirt, struggling to hold in explosive flatulence brought on by the broccoli eaten hours early, on the club floor at her first soca party – she assumed I was enjoying the experience and walked away. As in she left me there. The wave of hysteria passed quickly though, and I scooted away from under him and sought refuge on the sofa again, breathless and bewildered. (Honestly, I was really unnerved by how quickly and efficiently he was able to maneuver my body into such a compromising position. I’m no willow.)

If you see me on some ratchet Black website, please know that it was not my intention to disgrace my family or myself. It simply just went down that way! I thought about all of my friends who work in entertainment and who so carefully guard their public persona; People who I admire. I relayed what happened to one such woman early this morning.

“Oh girl, please,” she said. “I had something similar happen to me when I was in New York!”

I told her that it felt good knowing that we would both be in soca hell together when Judgment Day came. How will Saint Peter allow us into the pearly gates after exhibiting this level of no behavior?

And speaking of no and worst behavior, boy did I show it all.

I jumped.

I ducked.

I wyned.

I even stood in place and marched.

We jammin’ still!

I had THE best time I’ve had in a long time. There were no egos, no women were fronting on each other and apart from the crazy man with the whistle (who I spent the rest of the evening avoiding), the men were respectful. And as promised, by 1:30 am, the place was packed, the dance floor was covered in puddles of sweat and a guy impersonating PM Dawn was gliding through the crowd, like an apparition after a fever dream.

 

This morning I got home at 5:30 am with no regrets.

 

 

PS: Just so you ladies know, it is only mandatory to accept the wind at Carnival. In America, you can shoo a man away with a flick of the wrist or a waggle of a finger. I only learned this after the rottweiler had had his way with me. This was a great experience, but it will certainly be my last. I need to redeem myself with prayer and fasting and Hillsongs…

Vicki Yohe Unleashes Peak Beckery On The Church

When I saw a former co-worker refer to Vicki Yohe as ‘Tricky Yohe’ as a result of some foolery she had allegedly executed, I bristled. I challenged him to show me evidence of what the warbler had done to earn the moniker ‘tricky’. Surely this was a case of mistaken identity! I’ve seen Vicki Yohe perform live on at least two occasions, and on both she was all sweetness and light, sprinkled with a little bit of thunder. That’s how the church likes its worship leaders – saccharine; yet ready to rally the troops to war with a melodious battle cry if necessary.

Maybe that shield maiden spirit had momentarily overtaken Vicki, compelling her to publish this meme on Instagram just a few days ago.

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*Blink*
*Double blink*
*Siiiiggghhh….*

As if the meme itself weren’t abhorrent enough, Yohe doubled down on the disparaging posture behind it by appending her own, unambiguous thoughts, challenging those who oppose (now) president Donald Trump, his VP, his cabinet pick of unqualified dolts and his abhorrent taste in furniture by saying that they could “march all they want and protest all they want, he’s your president now!”

And then had the nerve to add a hash tag: exciting times ahead.

Exciting times for whom, exactly?

This is what postmodern, history revising Christians/Evangelicals like Yohe need to understand: This was a not a normal election and Donald Trump is not a “normal” president, let alone human being. Trump’s campaign was run – and won – on fear and hatred, which last time I checked did not constitute as fruits of the Spirit. The day after he was announced the winner, a number of college campuses suspended their classes in order to provide grief counseling for students, and elementary-aged children in with dense minority (and Muslim) populations went to class feeling a LOT less safe. In my own house, all the way in South Africa, my eldest child felt compelled to call up her immigrant and first-gen friends to make sure they wouldn’t be separated from their families in the wake of this new presidency. THAT’S the kind of president Yohe, Dobson & Co. support and helped get elected: A pussy-grabbing, tax-evading, offspring-lusting, adulterous cad who haunts the dreams of children. We haven’t even gotten to the bit where he promises to unleash ‘law and order’ (read: stop and frisk, which also happens to be a constitutional violation) on communities that are populated with people that look just like me and my family, rather than like Vicki Yohe and hers.

But about that…

vicki-yoheIf you’re sitting here wondering just WHO the heck Vicki Yohe is, don’t feel bad about your ignorance in the least. Vicki Yohe is a blonde, Amish-looking woman with a decent set of pipes. Performing on Church Chitlin circuit has buoyed her career. You see, Yohe sings Gospel, or a form thereof. She’s very much given to runs, and when no one else in the industry would really give her a chance, we took her in. “We”, meaning “Black Folk”. Because that’s what we do. We are constantly extending the hand of reconciliation. We take in everyone’s orphans, fix ‘em up, encourage them, put ‘em on and then the moment they get on, they leave us for a white girl. Or in this case, a tiny-handed, anus-mouth-shaped Tang Aberration that happens to occupy the highest seat in the land.

For Vicki Yohe to suggest that Jesus is excitedly sprinting His divine self – with luggage in tow – back into the White House because godliness is hallmark of the Trump administration is not only laughable, it’s insulting. Her suggestion smacks of the sort of idiocy that has so many people disgusted with the church body at large, and it makes a mockery of God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The only reason Joshua the Messiah would be running to the White House at that speed would be so that He could bleed all over it with the hope of redeeming it; not because He approves of any the shenanigans going on in there. Now, as you might imagine, the Internet grabbed a hold of her digitized foolishness and drug Vicki for filth. I can’t say she doesn’t deserve every word of verbal chastisement lobbed at her, and when the Sable Saints drag you, it’s bound to leave a mark.

It is in the realization that she’d been marked that caused Vicki to go full Becky on us, rather than leaving it be and letting time heal all wounds. Check out her ‘apology’:

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Right? You read that, right? Like, why is this in the third person? Because that coward couldn’t even craft her own “I’m sorry”! Oh, you were all big and bad when you told women all over the country – women who have survived assault, or had to comfort a friend in its aftermath, or who fear its impend for themselves or fellow woman/girl – that they could ‘march all they want’ because their voices didn’t matter, right? And then aren’t you the same woman, insulted by both your white AND Christian privilege who assured Donald Trump that if so many oppose him, he must being doing something right? Then why you running scared now? After all, you got all these people on the Internet streets opposing you…surely by your own logic… you’ve said and done something praiseworthy? But you’re scared, because now your livelihood and reputation is at stake.

As insulting as it was to insinuate that the Obama White House was devoid of God’s presence, it is even more repugnant that Vicki Yohe, through her publicist (who is clearly another white woman or a very, very young, very naive white man) would attempt to cause division among Black believers by putting the blame for her idiocy on the feet of Shaun King, a vocal voice in the BLM movement.

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All Shaun did was read your filth for what it was. That she would now try to cause a rift between Black Lives Matter and the Black church by alleging that “they” are trying to destroy her is some slimy white damsel in distress raggedy-ness that only deserves one place: the trash can. To now ask Christians – ostensibly Black Christians – to rally behind God’s will (i.e. her protection) while putting aside their Blackness and/or womanhood (i.e. our identity) is not just mischievous; it’s cruel. More so as I have yet to see an overzealous officer/sexual deviant/oppressor alive who takes the time differentiate if a potential victim meets any of these criteria before exacting their terror. Now we are being asked to choose between the two identities for her sake? Is this ever asked of white believers? In the words of Sister Whitney Houston the departed, Hell naw!

No one is trying to ‘destroy’ Vicki Yohe. Vicki Yohe played herself. Yohe posted that meme, Yohe added her comments, and now Yohe got herself uninvited from the Church Chitlin circuit, which happens to be populated by people that look like me, and which also happens to butter her bread. That’s what’s got her shook right now. She’s staring at red in her ledger with a potential loss of cheddar.

Unfortunately for her, most people have read write through her pathetic attempt at pivoting and punting, and true to their word will never buy another Yohe album or have her invited to minister to their congregation(s) again. And yet fortunately for Vicki Yohe, she insulted the first Black president’s administration, disregarded the safety of children of color, and rubbished the feelings of women. The spirit of patriarchy is strong in the Black church, and there will certainly be those pastors who invite her back to unload her warbling alto on their members. She won’t even have to repent. All she’ll have to do is weep some pretty white tears, brood over her “trials” (never mind that they were brought on by her own doing) and all will be forgiven. The elders of the church will be called to form a prayer circle around her so that “no weapon formed against her shall prosper”; when in reality they need to be praying for the spirit of self-control to come over that mouth. They will serve as Charlamagne to her Tomi Lahren.

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I could just vomit.

The American church – and all who emulate it – is in really bad shape. As we sit, the only two requirements needed to qualify as a godly person/government are tied up in opposing two concepts: Gay marriage and abortion.
That’s it. That’s all! As long as you oppose gay marriage and abortion, you get a cape and a certificate from the Evangelical/Charismatic movement that reads Super Saint.

However, these aren’t the only issues that are dear to God’s heart and it’s disingenuous to propose that they are when someone as prominent as Yohe says, “Barack Obama introduced policies that Christians did not agree with”. What you are saying is that the Obama administration made it easier to gain access to safe abortions and paved the way to legalize gay marriage.

But what was the Father’s mandate to Adam in the Garden? Was it not to watch over its protection and proliferation? And yet we have a climate change denier who removed all references to the phenomenon that is harming Earth. Is that a Christian policy?

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Or what about when God instructed His people to ‘make the alien welcome you, for you were once wonderers in the land.’ Do Trump’s attitudes towards immigrants and his policy on immigrants sound vindictive or godly to you?

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What about training a child up in the way that s/he should go? Have you seen Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education? Is this the way you want our future to go?!?screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-3-21-28-am

 

Ma’am! Vicki Yohe! Go have a seat somewhere. It’s going to take you a while to come back from this – not because of what you’ve done – but because of who you are. The Blessed Auntie Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Today, we believe you to be Becky, Choir Leader of the Bedraggled and of the Highest Order of Messy.