Tag Archives: Black Folk

a thought on Tiny & TIP

After dropping T.I. off at the prison, Tiny lays out in the towncar

While watching BET’s Tiny & Toya, I thought to myself, “geez, I hope we don’t spend the rest of the season listening to Tiny whine about T.I. being in jail.” Shortly after having that thought, I started to think about it outside of a reality show context. To me it’s just another “storyline” in a television show I watch occasionally. To her, the head of their family and the love of her life is gone for a year and a day. While she’s trying to maintain a normal life down in Atlanta, GA, T.I. is on ice up in Forest Hills, Arkansas. Normal life might be a bit of a stretch. She’s in front of the cameras on her own reality show. She’s dealing with a father who is steadily losing it due to Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s struggling with resurrecting a singing career. Those things alone would be enough to stress out any one of us. Tiny, though, is shouldering a burden that many women of color carry at some point in their lives… losing a man to prison/jail. Continue reading


Filed under Celebrities, I'm Judging You (reviews & criticism), Now I'm pissed, relationships, Routine Ramblings

The 4th of July

Every fourth of July, Black folks pull out their soapboxes and give their best Frederick Douglass impressions.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour. – “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” 7/5/1852

Okay. Now, I understand where Douglass and my opinionated Black folks are coming from. In 1776, people of color were very much NOT apart of the American identiry as far as the colonists were concerned. We were their slaves and considered less than human. While the newly independent Americans danced in the streets and pat themselves on the back for a job well done, African slaves and their descendants were breaking their backs to keep the baby country running. It would be almost one hundred years before Blacks were free and even longer before we could touch some of the trappings of real freedom. Trust, I get it. I majored in African & African-American Studies for goodness sake! Some of my best friends are bourgie negroes and no one is more opinionated and militant than bourgie negroes sometimes.

Still, I don’t think we ought to completely ignore the significance of the 4th of July. Think about it, a group of people who, for their entire lives had only  known the rule of a monarch, came together under a common goal to fight for what they believed in. A bunch of scrappy, young colonials versus the history and power of His Majesty and they won. It all culminated in the signing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most significant documents in US history. If that’s not your basic David and Goliath, good versus evil, fight for what you believe in type of allegory than I don’t know what is.

Recognizing the “fantasy” of it all, one can’t deny that the 4th of July and the fight for independence is a romanticized story but it’s the kind that nations and movements are built upon. Sure, the story isn’t ALL good because among the things they were fighting for was the prerogative to continue perpetuating the chattel slavery that brought many of us here AND to keep all of the profits for themselves instead of being bled by the Crown. (If you remember, Britain had at least taken a stand on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and cut out the taking of Africans from Africa.)

Y'all ain't fire up the grill yet?

A good story like the Revolution if important to our history. OUR history as a world community and Black community. Other nations have been inspired by American independence like France, for example. When civil rights activists were fighting for equal rights and partiy, they did so based on their claims as Americans and cited many of the same principles the revolutionists clung to back in the 18th century. While his criticism was warranted and justified, even Douglass had to give credit where due,

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

So I can’t really clap to all of the “Fuck the Farce of July” stuff floating out there today. If for nothing else, I can’t take folks seriously if they can so easily put aside their principles and conviction for a BBQ, some sparklers and a day off from work.

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Filed under Routine Ramblings


When speakers use the phrases “baby daddy” and “baby mama” in non-colloquial contexts, do they mock African-Americans or do they embrace one way that the American vocabulary has been enriched by the contributions of African-Americans?  Both?  Neither?

The above query comes from the post “White People’s ‘Baby Daddy'”on the Feminist Law Professors blog and I must admit that I’ve often wondered the same thing – do the terms ‘baby daddy/father’ and ‘baby mama’ take on a different meaning or carry a different connotation when used by white people? I want to say no because I don’t want to think that any particular group has ownership or privilege over certain words. Yet regardless of what I want to believe, I know that’s not true. We only need to look at the ‘nigga/nigger’ debate to understand how a word can have different meaning and impact depending on who is using it. For the most part, Black people own that word and, until recently, have been able to say it without being demonized or called racist. Bridget Crawford continues… Continue reading


Filed under Swiped

While it’s 3pm in Philly…

It’s 5am as I type this and I can’t sleep. That’s probably because we all passed out at like 9pm. Why? Well Hello Leslie (HL), our third roommate, she had been traveling ALL DAY. See, she was on a different series of flights than we were and she ran into some cancellations. Oh, she lost her luggage too. HR and I spent all day walking around the city. My legs are shot, yall.

The first thing that sticks out in my mind about yesterday is the fact that the Japanese are really really nice. Like, freakishly nice. So nice, that folks leave their bikes outside without locks. So nice that they’ll tell you “thank you very much” about three times when you’re the one who ought to be thanking them.

We’ve had to do a lot of adjusting in terms of the simple cultural things you don’t really pay attention to. For instance, when me, HR, and DKLA (Dave & Khoa from LA) walked down the street together, well we like to talk. Somewhat loudly. Folks in Japan don’t really run around being boisterous and calling attention to themselves in that way. When we got on the train (which is like 4 levels underground) for the first time, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Take that SEPTA and NYC MTA! Did you know that everything was oriented to the left here? What I mean is that folks drive on the left side of the road and walk on the left side of the sidewalk. They ride the left escalator up and when they get on, everyone stands ALL the way to the left right away. Ever want to walk up the escalator and have to navigate around people all spread out? Not here. Once, I forgot where I was and stood out to the right of the escalator. HR was like “Girl! Get in line!” LOL.

I bet you already heard this, but until you’ve been here, you won’t believe how clean many of the streets are. Compared to Philly and NYC, hell… even Raleigh, the folks here keep things extremely clean. I guess that’s why the caretaker at our apartment spend like 20 minutes talking about garbage disposal procedures, complete with a colored poster he suggested we hang next to the refrigerator.

Speaking of the apartment, HR and I moved in yesterday morning. Moved in consisted of dragging our 3 suitcases a piece from our hotel to the apartment. Our caretaker is this cute little old man named Amayahi. He greeted us with a big smile then told us he could speak a little English. After which, he immediately proceeded to speak in Japanese peppered with 3 or 4 English words. LOL. We did a lot of nodding and saying “Hai/Yes”. However, we got through it and he showed us how to use the gas water heater (which we must turn on every time we want to use hot water), how to use the heating/cooling units, and of course, how to dispose of trash. Click for more of this very long post

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