27 December 2010


I've known my daddy to leave town and stay overnight for three events: 1. His yearly trips to Las Vegas, NV, 2. My sister's wedding, and 3. A Rick James concert in Indianapolis.  As my father recalls, I was in utero when he and my mom took that 2-hour drive south for the Rick James show. As a toddler, I rocked my mom's boots to achieve the Street Songs look.  I have learned many things from my father.  I understood credit default swaps by likening them to craps.  Anyone splitting anything higher than a pair eights is stupid, selfish, or both.  The musical legacy my father passed on to me was a great love for Morris Day and The Time and the aforementioned Rick James.  The latter musical gift meant that I eventually became fluent in all things Teena Marie.  I was hanging out in Black Twitter when the news hit my timeline.  (It was quite some time before CNN or HuffPo confirmed, by the way.) Our remembrance of Teena Marie's life began right there--electronically, collectively.  

Perhaps my mourning leads to more hyperbole than usual, but the term "blue-eyed soul" does not apply to Teena Marie.  Hall & Oates? Yes. Lisa Stansfield? Sure. Amy Winehouse? Yep. But Teena Marie?  Nope.  I'm not the one to deny that 'hood passes have been issued and/or revoked--because they have.  But Teena Marie was never issued one.  'Hood passes are for those just passing through, for those appropriating aspects of black culture for a hit or two, in search of some "street cred" and nothing more but a side-eye from the natives.  Not Teena Marie.  Teena Marie lived there, with us, and she never left. (Which is probably why some of my white readers--if I have any--may have had to employ Google by the end of my first paragraph.  There are no hyperlinks to biographies in this entry, you either know or you don't.) Square biz.

I don't want to reduce Teena Marie to the seeming disparity between how she looked and how she sounded or her cultural tastes.  This morning I celebrate the life of an incredible singer and musician whose work provided the background music for my childhood.  In my mind, there are few more vivid images than me rolling through Fort Weezy in the passenger's seat of Daddy's Seville with Rick and Teena in the tapedeck.  I don't pour out a lil liquor for anybody, but you best believe some libations will be spilled in honor of one Miss Lady T.  I will find a party somewhere in this great city where the DJ will play a Teena Marie set as I two-step my ass off.

I look forward to seeing how the BET Awards will honor her.  Those jokers have a six-month head start.  They better get it right.  We will miss her terribly.

20 December 2010

Ask, Tell

I opened my eyes and abandoned my nihilist reveries to learn that Christmas came early for many members of the LGBT community.  Last weekend, the Senate repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell," a policy that banned gay and lesbian from openly  serving in the Armed Forces.  Established in 1993, DADT was a compromise by President Clinton, who had pledged to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military during his first presidential campaign.  By signing the bill, President Obama will make good on his own, similar promise.  In other words, he won't stop making war, but you best believe that gays and lesbians no longer have to be closeted while fighting it.

As a pacifist who is committed to equal rights for everyone, it is difficult for me to congratulate the folks who worked so hard for this repeal without a tone of equivocation in my words.  DADT, to put it mildly, was an incredibly flawed policy.  And at this momentous occasion, pats on the back are in order, I suppose.  Yet my inner cynic/hater/pacifist won't allow me to ingest this information without pause (no-nohomo).  The cynic/hater in me wonders about how the fact that over 13,000 troops had been dismissed from the military since 1993 and countless others who perhaps refused to join because of DADT affected the importance of repealing the policy at this juncture.  We are, after all, at war.  And there are American troops seemingly everywhere.  What Hurricane Katrina showed, among other things, was how thinly servicemen and -women had been spread; fighting two wars left an anemic number of troops to handle such domestic issues.  My question becomes, then, how does the repeal of DADT not only satiate certain segments of Obama's supporters, but also address the bodies needed to continue an American neoimperialist agenda?  How important is freedom--even the liberty to "defend" that freedom as an openly gay person--if it is contingent upon the marginalization of others?

Above all else, I think about how such victories reify structures of domination we should be working to disrupt.  I know, I know.  Never want to become a member of a club that would have people like you as a member.  Yet, we're celebrating a feat that will allow folks to serve openly in an inherently violent institution instead of attempting to explode it, if you will.  To be sure, I am an advocate of equality for everyone, and generally support positions that argue that everyone should have the same access to and be allowed to participate in every institution which constructs our society.  Yet I also support the effort of interrogating the structures of which we seemingly wish to become a part.  I fear that the desire to belong to cultural bastions that construct our society thwarts efforts that might otherwise amplify how fraught such institutions are.  Perhaps instead of fighting for the right to marry we should work to abolish it and/or seriously consider the logic of state sanctioned and recognized compulsory monogamy.  And maybe we should think similarly about what it means to serve in the military--openly or not.

So yes, one may now ask and indeed tell about one's sexual orientation without the risk of dismissal from the military.   In the end, though, the same bombs and the same wars are waged in the name of a corrupt freedom that bothers neither to ask nor tell its victims' names.

P.S.  On a much lighter note, I've decided to nickname Michael Vick, "Fantasy Jesus."

P.P.S. Happy Chrismuhanukwanzakah to you.

06 December 2010

All I Want for Christmas -- Celebrity Edition

Lately, I've been getting mail I'm pretty sure isn't mine.  Still, I thought I'd share it.  Tis the season.

Dearest Santa,

How are you?  Hopefully absolutely phabulous--just like me.  I hope you have had a wonderful and restful year.  I'm sure you are prepared for yet another phantastic holiday season.  I know I am.

I must confess.  Frankly, Santa, I have been naughty.  (Did I show up on your list?)  I'm not sure if you all have digital cable at the North Pole, but it was revealed during an episode of my show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, that Apollo and I had too much egg nog and got a little carried away under the mistletoe before we were married.  Although my uterus is, first and foremost, my business, my mother, the Minister Parks was none too pleased to learn that her daughter, heretofore the apotheosis of southern femininity, had conceived out of wedlock.

29 November 2010

Fa la la la Fail

I've been nursing a lemon pound cake jones by going to Starbucks a bit more often than I'd like.  I know it is not a business that I should patronize with my graduate student funds, but a craving is a craving.  Anyway, I'm standing at the counter listening to the Starbucks employee recite my order for clarity because 1. N's order is always complicated and leaves me tongue-tied, and 2. I refuse to employ Starbucks' asinine ordering language.  I say "small," "medium," and "large."  As much as I pay for tea at Starbucks, I pay for that right--or perhaps Starbucks justifies their prices because they have fancy names for sizes on their board.  But I digress.  As I was standing at the counter waiting for the employee to hand me my luscious and fresh slice of pound cake, I look down and notice that the first mate has its holiday gift cards on display.  And, what do you know, but Starbucks has Kwanzaa gift cards.

At that moment precisely, I heard Maulana Karenga say, "Brooklyn, we did it!" all the way from Floss Angeles, California. 

22 November 2010

Forgiving Michael Vick

Last week in my hodgepodge, I mentioned that I needed Michael Vick to score at least 33 points to win my fantasy match-up (because I know you care).  Otherwise, I would look like an idiot for benching Tom Brady, who had already had an impressive day against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Well, Vick came through for me, scoring 54 points in what will probably always be known as "The Michael Vick Game."  Vick threw four touchdowns and ran for 2 more, finishing the day with 333 yards passing and another 80 yards rushing.   The performance drew comparisons to Steve Young, engendered some MVP talk for Vick, and even warranted a patronizing-ass "I'm prouder of his work off the field," comment from NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell:

15 November 2010

The Monday Morning Hodgepodge

Hopped up out the bed, turned my swag on...  And realized that I had a list of things I've been meaning to mention here on the blog. Here goes:

Now that I've conjured Soulja Boy, I must admit that "Speakers Going Hammer" makes me rock out a little bit.  I might love that song.

Not as much as I love athletes doing The Dougie, though.  It's as if they don't realize how "girlie" the dance is and the homosociality it engenders.  Or maybe they do.  Either way, carry on, lads, carry on.

08 November 2010

Roy G. Whiz Redux

One of the greatest phrases I've learned in graduate school is "not being bound by the text."  Essentially, the term serves as a euphemism --and excuse--for not reading the assignment while simultaneously validating whatever jargon-soaked comment(s)  one might offer during class discussion, because the folks who read have had their thinking narrowed by the words one was supposed to read.  I am not bound by Tyler Perry's cinematic rendering of For Colored Girls.

Early projections indicate that For Colored Girls will finish third in the box office race for the weekend of Nov. 5.  I am not one of the people who helped the film earn an estimated $22 million.  As a postscript to last week's blog, I stated without a hint of equivocation that I had no intention of paying for a ticket to see Perry's latest movie.   Since the only color that counts is green, I understood purchasing a ticket as an act that would be interpreted as one of support for Tyler Perry and his work.  How else can we adequately explain Perry's role as director of such a project when nothing in his oeuvre even remotely suggests that he has the capacity to execute Ntozake Shange's phenomenal work with a modicum of respect?  Moreover, movie revenues are not reported with asterisks indicating which dollars came from folks who saw the film in question to (negatively) critique it.  No scathing blog or movie review can counteract the $9.75 + snacks one spent to see Tyler Perry's latest cinematic disaster effort.  I'll put my recession dollars in someone else's pocket.

01 November 2010

The Ballot is no Silver Bullet

Dear Diddy, I suppose I am choosing death.

In 2008, I voted for the last time.  I will not be voting tomorrow. Two years ago, while many were swept up in the whirlwind of hope and change, I cast what will probably be my last ballot.  I didn't vote for Obama; I didn't vote for McCain.  I voted in an effort to get another party some permanent recognition.  It didn't work.  So I'm going to use my voter registration card for something else.  Like scraping eraser shavings from my desk, because that kind of thing really bothers me.

25 October 2010

Life After Harpo (Run On)

Many years ago, when I was younger, less pessimistic, and even more obnoxious, the local black newspaper decided that I, along with some other black students in the area, was respectable and scholarly enough to feature in its annual round-up of ostensibly intelligent high school seniors.  Someone called a friend and me to the guidance counselor's office and gave a us a form to complete; it featured the typical set a questions one might ask a seventeen-year-old: favorite subject(s), college choice, future aspirations, etc.  Outside of  one genuinely nice thing about a mentor, Mrs. Patterson, the answers to my questionnaire could have been surmised for what it was: a load of uninspired teenage crap, including the "Oprah Winfrey is my hero," stock answer.

Like any child of parents who worked full-time, I was often babysat by old people and television.  As such, Oprah was part of my weekday afternoon ritual.  (Yes, I'm continuing with the ritual theme--again).  I'd come home from school, plop myself in front of Nannie and Papa's television, and catch the last half-hour of The Young and the Restless while I did my homework.  Then, we'd catch Oprah at four.

Once I moved to Chicago I started watching Oprah every morning.  As a hater, it's important that I begin each day with a certain degree of disdain for the world, and I find an hour of The Oprah Winfrey Show does the job.  Yet lately, the disdain I feel while watching has been replaced by great sadness, because each morning I remember that this is the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
How I will spend the nine o'clock hour next television  season is beyond me.  I'll face that day when the tears stop.  In the meantime, I'd like to present a list: twenty-five reflections inspired by way too many years of watching The Oprah Winfrey Show.

20 October 2010

More on Football Being Just Like America

I've said it before; it bears repeating:  Football is the apotheosis of America(n).  The N.F.L. has decided to start suspending players for excessively violent, helmet-to-helmet hits:

From The Philadelphia Inquirer

NEW YORK - The NFL will immediately begin suspending players for dangerous and flagrant hits that violate rules, particularly those involving helmets.

Suspensions will be in place for this weekend's games, vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said Tuesday.

18 October 2010

WHIP Season--A Rant (or Something)

Autumn is my favorite season, but it has it's low points.  Last Monday's federal holiday, Columbus Day, is the nation-wide bat signal for America to commence with its annual "We Hate Indigenous People" season.  In other words, Columbus Day marks the moment when that United States raises its middle finger to indigenous people, and doesn't put it down for another six weeks, after Thanksgiving.  We'd continue the gesture, but but the tryptophan makes us sleepy.  Besides, we need our hands for those Black Friday sales.

04 October 2010

Iron(y) Mike

Last week, one of the ways I distracted myself from writing my dissertation was by watching a Funny or Die video of Wayne Brady and Mike Tyson reenacting Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step."  It's no Drunk History, but I suppose the video, the latest incarnation of the "Mike Tyson being funny" genre, is worth a chuckle or two.

27 September 2010

Collateral Damage

I don't know if Eddie Long is gay; I don't know if these allegations of sexual abuse are true.  I suspect, however, that on some level they are, and that Eddie Long, again  on some level, probably enjoys the (sexual) company of men.  As a rule, I think just about everybody is a little bit gay, especially those who shout their homophobia the loudest.  That said, there are plenty of internet sites and Twitter accounts blabbing on and on about either issue, so I won't belabor either point here.  Yet I would like to make--or perhaps simply echo--something that may or may not be receiving as much attention as the speculation about Long's sexuality and the validity of the claims made in the lawsuits against him.

20 September 2010

The Fantasy of Football

A few years ago during a trip to Las Vegas, NV (the only place not named Fort Wayne, Indiana where my father willingly spends the night), I spied Doug Williams in the food court of an outlet mall.  My father, sister, and I were sitting at a table eating crappy fast food when I spotted a really big black guy I knew I wasn't related to heading in our direction.  I told my dad, and as Doug Williams walked by, my dad said his name and Doug Williams waved.  My dad seemed really excited, so I convinced my sister to go ask Mr. Williams to take a picture with him; he was kind enough to oblige.  I remember two things about that day: 1. My father calling everybody he knew and telling them how he took a picture with Doug Williams, and 2. How Doug Williams shuffled through the food court.

For those of you not at all invested in American football, Doug Williams is known for being the first black man to quarterback an NFL team, the Washington Redskins, to a Super Bowl win; he's still the only black man to do so.  I know that doesn't seem like a big deal with Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, and Michael Vick having all stood under center as starting quarterbacks just yesterday, but  a black quarterback circa 87-88 was the equivalent to a married black woman in 2010 (I kid, I kid).  Doug Williams was the man.  Cheering for him (and Warren Moon) was a bazillion times more intense than rooting for the black person on Jeopardy! And leading the Redskins over John Elway and the Denver Broncos earned him a spot as a minor deity in the pantheon of black American heroes.  Seriously, he sits right next to Tupac and Richard Roundtree.

13 September 2010

Uninspired Nihilism

Lately, I've found it exceedingly difficult to blog.  To be sure, it's not because I lack the desire to write and make you privy to my mental awesomeness each Monday morning, but rather because I've essentially checked out of the blogging world.  I wish I could blame it on my dissertation.  (It's coming along.  Not swimmingly, but it's coming along nonetheless.)  I could blame my blogging inactivity on the melanin storm of comments I got over at the Crunk Feminist Collective for talking smack about light-skinned people.  (That blog could not pass the brown paper bag test, and folks were not happy.)  It's also likely that my hasty preparation for my fantasy football drafts have slowed my consumption of all things pop culture and news.  (Gargamel's Revenge goes into Monday Night Football with a 32-point lead over its week 1 opponent, while The Flux Capacitors cling to an 18-point lead over A Love Bizarre.)  Yet, there are only so many fantasy football podcasts one can listen to until the (presumably) straight, white, obnoxiously nerdy and sport-obsessed male quota has been met and surpassed.  All of these statements are true, but inadequately explain my blogging ennui.

30 August 2010

Michael Forever

Earlier this summer, I'd gone to my local Walgreens to satisfy a craving for peanut M&Ms.  As I stood in the candy aisle deciding just how big of a bag I should purchase, a woman and her two small children joined me in the aisle.  The mother stood there looking over the sale items as her two kids, a girl and a boy, argued over candy.  Then, the young one, the boy, suddenly walked towards the magazine rack, and pointed to a picture of Michael Jackson.  He screamed, "Michael Jackson!  Michael Jackson,"  then pursed his lips, started loudly breathing through his mouth, and began what must have been his version of dancing like Mike.

Now, this little boy couldn't have been more than three.  There's no way that he could remember Michael the way that you and I remember Michael. Yet he shared such a pure enthusiasm for the MJJ, such a love that I couldn't do anything but smile at him and think about the ways that Michael continues to live and touch lives.  Little boys rocking out at the sight of Michael Jackson on a magazine cover is exactly what legends are made of.

23 August 2010

Higher Learning: Summer M.'s Freshman Orientation Post

One of the first memories I have of my first year in college is Jell-O wrestling.  I have absolutely no idea how, on the last Saturday night before classes started, my new roommates and I -- perhaps on our way to some black(er?) social event -- ended up amongst a crowd of fellow co-eds, standing on the dusty lawn of some random frat house watching students wrestle in a pool of mud and The Cos' favorite dessert, but there we were, equally befuddle and alarmed by the spectacle.  Whitley and Dwayne were not my classmates, but witnessing Jell-O wresting informed me that I was, indeed, in a different world.

Several eons have passed since that late summer night in West Lafayette, Indiana (Boiler up!).  I've registered and graduated and registered and graduated many times over.  In the interim, I imagine, there have been many, many more Jell-O wrestling matches featuring all too eager--and inebriated--co-eds gaining such learning on their parents' dime.  (Seriously, how much Jell-O does one have to buy in order to properly coordinate a Jell-O wresting event?  Sounds like a math problem to me.)  Since the only thing I've ever been in my adult life is a student, I've picked my own brain to come up with a few tips.  Call it my effort to compile a list of unhackneyed advice that just might help you during your first year (and beyond) of college.  You're welcome.

16 August 2010

Cult Following: The Lovers and Friends Show

I'll readily admit that, The Golden Girls (greatest sitcom ever!) notwithstanding, I have rather asinine taste in television and film.  Seriously, my undying love for the good-n-terrible movie, Hav Plenty is well beyond absurd.  Still, I am compelled to temporarily cease from railing against the news and pop culture of the day (is this real life?) to encourage you, dear reader(s?) to watch--and subsequently become at least mildly enthusiastic about-- the webseries, The Lovers and Friends Show.

09 August 2010

Monday Morning Mash-Up

Since I've only been writing here on Mondays, the blogging silence of the other six days often results in hateration build up.  Fortunately, I take notes.  What follows is a rather desultory dose of scathing haterade for your Monday morning.  Who needs caffeine?

Feel my body! gettin' cooooold.  As a friend said on Facebook, Wyclef can't get The Fugees back together, but he thinks he can fix Haiti?  Well, if it means that 'Clef will stop making records, then I shall feign Haitian citizenship and vote for him, and suggest you do the same.  I think hiring Cher of Clueless fame as a speechwriter would be a fantastic move for Wyclef.  It does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty!

02 August 2010

Today in Post-Race History: Montana Fishburne

Several weeks ago, I had planned on writing the NAACP in an effort to convince them to ceremoniously bury the term post-race the way they did the word nigger a.k.a "the n-word" a few years ago.  Then the whole Shirley Sherrod debacle happened, and I decided that obviously the NAACP's race card had been suspended, therefore making them barely qualified to issue brown paper bag tests let alone march around some midwestern city long abandoned by industry, singing dirges for problematic words that are just impolite to use.  On Friday, I was glad I put the brakes on becoming pen pals with the NAACP.  I may need to use the term post-race--and not just to be a sarcastic bastard.

19 July 2010

To Resurrect a Mockingbird (in a Really Long-Winded Way)

Last week, the folks over at Racialicious re-posted a piece by Macon D., the creator of the blog, Stuff White People Do.  The article, "Stuff White People Do: Warmly Embrace a Racist Novel," addresses the 50th anniversary celebration of Harper Lee's only novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, published in the summer of 1960.  Macon D. took issue with all the attention TKAM was receiving, and consequently wrote a polemic railing against the (praise of the) novel.
I refuse to go along with this week’s warm, feel-good celebrations of Harper Lee’s novel (published fifty years ago today), To Kill a Mockingbird. Simply put, I think that novel is racist, and so is its undying popularity. It’s also racist in a particularly insidious way, because the story and its characters instead seem to so many white people like the very model of good, heartwarming, white anti-racism.
Macon D. outlines several key issues he has with the novel: its reception, that the mockingbird symbolizes Negroes, Atticus Finch as the O.G. white savior, and the marginal presence of Negroes in the novel.  To put bluntly: I take issue with Macon D.'s issues.  Maybe this is also stuff black people do, because I embrace this novel, too.  Before I continue, however, I want to note that since the initial post takes up the novel, and not the Academy Award-winning film, which premiered in 1962, my response will exclusively center on the text and not the film.

12 July 2010

What Does Justice Look Like?

There are many people in and outside of Oakland who are rightfully upset about the outcome of the Oscar Grant trial.  My heart goes out to his family, friends, and the citizens of Oakland.  Although black and poor people, whether defendants or plaintiff, are perpetually denied any kind of justice via the court system, I can understand the heart wrenching disappointment upon hearing a verdict that did not seem to fully acknowledge the abrupt and violent end of another black man's life.  To the citizens of Oakland who felt they had no recourse but to riot in the name of some semblance of justice, because we often have no recourse in the justice system, I can't say I blame you.  I hear you.  I generally resist often articulating my own (struggles with) nihilism, but when things like this happen, I can't help it.   We're taught to implode; we act in instead of acting out, if we act at all.  Finding value, meaning in life makes no sense most days when we look at the world.  Might as well torch a Foot Locker. 

11 July 2010

The King Wants Rings

Sometimes, I make myself sick.  I waited for the LeBron James ESPN special, "The Decision," like it was a Michael Jackson music video premiere.  (Remember the time?)  I sat in front of the television and waited for LBJ to moonwalk, spin, grab his crotch, and scream "Shamon," at Jim Gray.  But, alas, that never happened.  Instead, LBJ broke northeast Ohio's heart, and told the viewing public that he planned to take his talents to [W]ade County, Florida, thereby turning the Miami Heat into some kind of NBA version of the United States circa the middle of the 20th century: young, rich, and with world domination on their minds.  Of course, the analogy probably doesn't hold all that well, but still, if I may borrow my friend jmscott's hashtag, it's #nbaimperialism if there ever was.   I guess that makes the Boston Celtics England or something.  I don't know. I digress.

Although the super homies, D-Wade, Chris Bosh, and now King James have yet to adopt a nickname, I'm inclined to refer to them as Miami Thrice (kind of wack, I know, but you know you want to see those three dressed like Crockett and Tubbs.) or as The Triumvirate.  I don't know if that makes the Lakers the senatorial elite or something, but Wade especially better watch his back. 

05 July 2010

On Chris Brown--or Something

It's a federal holiday.  Which probably means most of you have not just settled into your cubicle to read my Monday morning message.  Not that anyone would actually be reading this if they were at work this morning, but at least I have a legitimate reason--and a federally recognized one--to be ignored.  Initially, I had planned on using this morning's blog to declare my independence from a variety of things: the NBA free agency conversation, graduate school, Blizzards.  But I realized that recently I've been taking this space to list things.  And frankly, I'd be back in line at the Dairy Queen before you could say Benedict Arnold.  So why bother using holiday blog time to reset some of my New Year's resolutions?

01 July 2010

Instant Vintage: Gates Sued Over World Cup Disappointment

It looks to be yet another cruel summer for Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Last summer, Gates was arrested for walking into his own home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Now, Gates is being sued by Chaka Rafiq Kmt Imhotep Shakur Muhammad (nee Tyrone Edwards).

Last January, Tyrone Edwards Muhammad ordered both maternal and paternal DNA tests from Gates' African DNA, a website that specializes in helping people trace their lineage, via t
heir DNA, to its place origin.  This service is ostensibly especially helpful to African Americans, who often have difficulty tracking their family trees beyond their ancestors' arrival on American shores as enslaved persons.  Although Tyrone Edwards Muhammad had always been interested in his African beginnings, he did not pursue uncovering the mystery until earlier this year, when he won tickets in the World Cup lottery.  "I wanted to be able to go to South Africa and cheer for my country, my real country," Tyrone Edwards Muhammad said in a phone interview.  "With these results, I'm unable to do that.  I'm disappointed in Brother Gates.  Real disappointed."

28 June 2010

The BET Awards '10 Blog

I save up all my BET watching minutes for one night: the BET Awards.  During the telecast, I'm generally underwhelmed and embarrassed for black people.  That last part is a lie.  Still, the BET Awards is how I up my hater stamina.  If I can sit through the entire show and say at least 50 snarky things, then I still deserve the appellation hater.  I call the whole process brandishing my hate game.

I live blogged the Awards show.  I share it with you this morning.  May it momentarily assuage your case of the Mondays.

21 June 2010

On Jumping the Broom and Adventures South

My sister got married Saturday.  (Take that, Steve Harvey, et. al.!) Since I've just arrived back in town mere hours ago, and feel like 8 pounds of crap in a 5-pound bag, I have no faith in my ability to compose a complete sentence let alone an entire blog about the news and culture of the day.  As a result, I've decided to post thoughts and observations inspired by my trip to North Carolina and my sister's wedding.  I'll have something more substantive next week.  In the meantime:

10 June 2010

Greatest Slang of All Time (A Purely Subjective Running List)

I'm thinking 1 or 2 entries per week.  I suppose in order to do this properly, I need to come up with a set of rules.  As in, can the greatest slang of all time ever appear in a dictionary?  etc.  I'll work on that.  I want your suggestions.  In the meantime...

Let's do it! 

2. (To) Throw Shade -- hate on; disrepect; express contempt.  Kobe Bryant threw shade  at Ray Allen all game because Jesus [Allen] set the record for three-points in an NBA Finals game. Origin: Uh, some gay dudes? 

1. Hella -- very; really I'm hella sleepy this morning. Origin: Bay Area, California

Instant Vintage: Time to Retire

The following post was inspired by a video sent to me by @moyazb :

07 June 2010

Damn, Damn, Damn (LeBron) James

I've had my fill of LeBron James this season.  Seriously.  I'm not interested in being a witness to anything James-related until on or immediately after July 1.  I'm no longer watching interviews wherein James tells the viewing audience things we already know.  No more James free agency countdowns.  No more terrible renditions of "We Are the World."  (Even if you were joking, Cleveland, "We Are Lebron" was just pathetic.)  No more billboards.  I care not about the rumor that it was James' apparent discovery that his mother, Gloria, was having an affair with his Cavaliers teammate, Delonte West (allegedly) that altered the Cavs' playoff fate.  This summer, I need James to do something constructive, like use his headband as some sort of tourniquet for the oil spill or something.

06 June 2010

On Trauma and Grad School: A Coda

At the point during the meeting when my co-chair diagnosed me with the disease of perpetually questioning my own authority, I just nodded my head.  What I really wanted to do is say (very calmly, very sarcastically), "Well, I wonder why I do that.  It's not as if that's a common thing that happens in graduate school or in this department."  To a certain extent, I expect things like that from her, but when she said that I wanted to rip out my own voice box and throw it on the table (implosion, self-destruction--they've trained me so well).  My other co-chair agreed with what she said, but at least he said that my tendency to over-research wasn't uncommon.  I think what I wanted at that point was a little follow-up, some Holyfield.  Something like: Yes, you have problems accepting your own authority, but that's because this university requires that you question everything, especially yourself. 

I don't know.  I need the second part of that compound sentence.  I think I just need someone to acknowledge the nature of this place, and stop pretending that both the benign and malign negligence is just some regular, every day shit--that I'm making this whole thing up.  I don't want a self-esteem award, or a pat on the back.  I just want someone, who doesn't (perpetually) question their own authority to acknowledge the inherently screwed up nature of this process and what it does to people, and stop acting like I'm some sort of freakazoid whose mild procrastination was exacerbated merely by some quirky faults of my own.  I know that would be totally out of character, but at what point, if they're invested in seeing me finish the program, do they break character?    

04 June 2010

On Trauma and Grad School

The first graduate school seminar paper I ever wrote may be the reason why I can't seem to write this dissertation with any sort of alacrity or diligence.  I got a decent grade, but one of the closing comments, "This paper is lucid and fun to read, but under researched," may have fucked me up a little.  (Obviously.  I can quote the thing verbatim.)  Since then, I've had problems turning in papers on time.  Deadlines have become almost meaningless, unless they're backed with serious "We're going to kick your black ass out of this department, and you'll have to get a real job" type threats.

I got in trouble--sort of, again--today during my annual meeting because I'm just not producing the quantity of work my committee wants me to.  I told my committee that this probably has to do with the fact that I just can't stop reading.  Seriously.  For fear of being under researched, I just keep reading.  It's so bad that my co-chair forbade me from reading another book.  All I'm allowed to do for the next five months is write.  It's true.  She wrote it down and signed it.  It's in my file.

01 June 2010

Instant Vintage: It's not Easy Going Green...When You're Black

I originally posted this in November. Re-posting it now because I randomly clicked on it the other day.

Zoe McFarland likes to think of herself as a friend of the environment.  She doesn't own a car, only flushes when she goes number two, recycles rigorously, and has turned a vacant lot in her west side Chicago neighborhood into a community garden, where she teaches neighborhood kids the way of the land.  She never thought her effort to leave a lighter carbon footprint would almost land her in jail.

31 May 2010

The Menu: To-Do List

This is probably more for me than my reader(s).  I have a gang of blogs that I want to publish, but I haven't had much time.  There's so much out there to write about, I've got to start keeping a list.

  • My sister's wedding, and marriage in general
  • The aftermath of my sister's wedding
  • A potential rant about my daddy (depending on his behavior at said wedding)
  • Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid
  • Jay-Z
  • More dissertation purging
  • Arizona's immigration policy and my trip to New Mexico
  • The NBA Finals and/or the free agent class of 2010
I'm also taking suggestions.

    Commencement Season: On Not Going to College

    And to think blacks spend all this money on big colleges, still most of y'all come out confused. - Arrested Development
    A few weeks ago, N's daughter, E came into the living room, and asked us if she'd be "ruining [her] life" by traveling for a few years after high school before she went to college.  Now E is all of ten; the other month she wanted to become a therapist, now she's on this fashion designer tip.  So these kinds of questions can be expected, and I imagine that as of this writing she's completely forgotten that she even asked the question.  Right now, the only thing she consistently loves is basketball, text messaging, and playing the saxophone.  (She's really good at the latter; been invited to play at 8th grade graduation and everything.)  We advised her that she would not be ruining her life by deferring enrollment into college, and in fact encouraged her to see the world, whenever and however she chooses.  Consequently, she seemed less anxious about the whole thing (she's very sensitive). 

    26 May 2010

    Your Whole Style Bent

    Word on the street is that Lauryn Hill will be performing (parts of) The Miseducation during the Rock the Bells Tour.  I don't know if this is true, but do we need a reason to watch this amazing performance?  I think not.  A 19-year-old convinced my stepdad to rent a car for me so I could drive to Cleveland for the Miseducation tour.  If you knew my stepdad, you'd know that convincing him to do something like that is nearly as impressive as getting Lauryn Hill to perform The Miseducation for your tour.

    This may be the last blog of the week for me.  Deadline looms.

    Shout out to my 20 followers and any lurkers.  I love y'all like a fat kid love cake.  'Preciate ya.

    24 May 2010

    Commencement Season: Summer M.'s Graduation Address

    Good morning, and congratulations to the class of 2010.  I know you're wondering what inspiring words of wisdom I might impart on to a new generation of graduates.  Well, frankly, I have none, which is probably why my commencement address is coming to you via this blog and not as you sporadically doze your way through your younger brother's graduation.  It's true.  I offer you no pithy quotations to upload to your Tumblr account, no nuggets of sagacity crafted by some young, anonymous speech writer who not long ago sat where you were, unsure of his employment possibilities until his girlfriend's father hooked him up with this gig before he applies to law school.  There is nothing Twitter worthy here.  Still, narcissism compels me to keep typing.

    19 May 2010

    Grace Jones

    I know it's Malcolm X's birthday, but it's also Grace Jones' birthday.  Since plenty of folks will give love to brother Malcolm, I decided to shout out Grace Jones', who is 62 today.  This is my shit:

    Also, shout out to her (musical) offspring, Janelle Monae for making a superb album.

    On White Jesus and AKA's (and Deltas and Sigmas and...): A Hater's Rant

    I exist on the internet.  This is only a mild exaggeration.  Since I'm rather public on the interwebs, I of course get Facebook friend requests from folks I've met earlier on my path: school mates, homies that I used sit next to on the bench during basketball games, the younger brothers and sisters of old friends.  Sometimes I get requests from people I don't remember ever having conversations with, but the mutual friend feature usually gets them a pass.  I often infer that some of these folks friend me if only for them to look at my pictures and be able to say with assuredness, "Oh, look! She's (obviously) fucking bitches such a dagger now.  I knew that."  But that one high school rumor about me is for another blog, another time.  I, again, digress.  The point is, I'm on the internet social networking A LOT.  (Yes, "a lot" is two words.  Take note.)

    17 May 2010

    Razing Arizona

    I guess I have to start protesting Arizona, née Mexico, which sucks because I'm totally not into marching, making colorful signs, or shouting rhymes in unison with a bunch of people.  I suppose, then, that I have to resort to other means of expressing my disapproval.  At first I thought I'd boycott  U.S. Airways, an Arizona-based airline, but then I remembered that my ma's part-time job is with them.  Besides, if I aim to show up at my sister's broom jumping events in North Carolina next month, I'm going to need Brenda's buddy pass hook-up.  So then I thought I'd stop drinking Arizona iced tea,  until I recalled that several years ago I wrote Arizona a letter about the plantation imagery on their sweet tea cans.  Despite the eloquence of my letter they never sent me any free tea.  I only drink water now, anyway, and a wiki search reveals that Arizona brand tea isn't even made in Arizona, née Mexico.  (New York City!)  Of course, I could root against Los Suns during the NBA Western Conference Finals, but doing so would mean that I would cheer for the Lakers.  But frankly, who's willing to implicitly support Kobe Bean Bryant in an effort to express one's solidarity with a bunch of immigrants one doesn't even know?   I know.  What a totally crazy idea.

    12 May 2010

    On Black Like Me and Others

    The Chicago Reader has published its spring books issue, and this time they're featuring books that (have) address(ed) black life in America over the last fifty or so years.  They cover Simeon's Story, the memoir of Simeon Wright, the cousin of Emmett Till, who saw Till taken from his relative's home that fateful summer Mississippi night.  They also profile Ytasha L. Womack, who has recently published a book, Post-Black, that explores black identity in the early 21st century.  (I read the first 30 or so pages--for diss reasons; I'm not sure I'll finish.)

    The cover story is on John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me, that little piece of new journalism retelling the account of Griffin, who with the help of a dermatologist and a pair of clippers adventured as a black man traveling through the south in the spring of 1959.  I suppose that makes Griffin a kind of weird predecessor to the modern-day white savior movie--I couldn't help but think about District 9 as I recalled the skin treatment he underwent--but that's for another blog, another time.  Griffin's articles on his experience as a black man in the south were funded and published by Sepia (go figure), a kind of Look magazine for Negroes; the account was published under the title "Journey into Shame."  I could wax about the title alone, but that's another digression, and I'm sure you know what I think about it.

    10 May 2010

    Lena Horne (June 30, 1917 - May 9, 2010)

    Commencement Season: On 8th Grade Graduation

    When I was a kid, many, many eons ago, I didn't get allowance for doing things like dishes or vacuuming the floor or cleaning my room.  My parents, I assume in an effort to get me ready for life, didn't believe that one should get rewarded for doing things she was supposed to do.  It sucked then--I thought they were a pair of mean cheapskates--but I understand it now.  To this day, I've yet to receive a single dollar for changing my own damn sheets.  I imagine my parents' miserliness when it came to hooking up their kids with a decent working wage oh so long ago, among other things, has colored the way I think about young people and when and how we reward them.  Now that I'm (much, much) older, I realize that my parents may have not been the norm, but rather part of the minority, that a lot of kids not only were getting allowance, but ribbons for doing things like coughing into their arms.

    07 May 2010

    Summer M., Ventriloquist

    In light of Monday's post about Sandra Bullock's adoption, I thought it fitting to end the work week with some pictures of her and her black baby that I stole liberated borrowed from another site.   I added some captions.  I'd turn them into thought bubbles for Lil Louis (and the world--house music all night long!), but that's a little fancy for an analog girl like me.  Dig it: 

    Ain't this some bullshit? I thought you said she was rich, dog. I can't get any bling?  These beads are wack.  Does anyone else feel a draft?

    05 May 2010

    Kick Rocks, will.i.am

    I don't fuck with the Black Eyed Peas.  Not because they suck, or because they have become the apotheosis of "selling out"--whatever that means--but mostly because they shook Kim Hill for a white girl (Fergie) on their way to becoming the soundtrack to the trendy region of corporate America.  And they get on my nerves.  Plus, will.i.am is a friggin' dweeb.  A few of his tweets have circulated around the blogosphere:

    Re: the season premiere of the third and final season of The Boondocks [which was epically outstanding, by the way]:

    “Boondocks is funny “sayin I’m riding” if I didn’t stand up “we would have mc cain” who else stood up? Now arizona is hating mexicans

    04 May 2010

    Black and Ugly as Ever, However...

    Jonathan Capehart doesn't think Gabby Sidibe is very nice.  After being dissed by the actress at the White House Correspondents dinner, Capehart dedicated his column to Sidibe, retelling the tale of the snub:
    I was thrilled to spot her at a table laughing uproariously with the man sitting to her right. "I know you're having a good time and I'm sorry to interrupt," I began. My next sentence didn't come out because Sidibe shouted over the din, "Yeah, come back in five minutes!" Thinking she was joking, I laughed and pretended to walk away. When I noticed that the look in her eyes meant she was serious, I walked back to her and said, "I just wanted to congratulate you on your nomination. I thought your performance was spectacular. I even wrote a column about it." After wishing her good luck, I rejoined my friends.

    03 May 2010

    Summer M.'s Most Wanted: Sandra Bullock

    I've grown suspicious of Sandra Bullock.  And by "suspicious" I mean she's annoying the fuck out of me.  Inspired by such pestilence, I'm thinking of starting a Youtube show called Summer M.'s Most Wanted wherein I become internet famous by videotaping myself hating on celebrities who do things I find aggravating--like adopting black babies and then publicizing it.  I could do my best John Walsh imitation ("...and remember, you too can make a difference."), get some of the homies to re-enact the "crimes," and use one of these programs on my computer to make up rap sheets with fake mug shots of said celebrities.  My pilot episode would include segments on Tyler Perry, Oprah, Kobe Bryant, Justin Bieber, and the entire cast of Basketball ["]Wives["]. Diggy Simmons could do the theme music.  Think about it.  I could become the next internet sensation.  But I digress.  Back to (white) starlets and black babies.

    26 April 2010

    Monday Morning (Mc)Nuggets

    So much has happened since the late time I blogged, I figure I'd write a little blurb about everything.

    Just Wrong. Common and Queen Latifah are starring in a new movie.  I want to shoot myself.  It looks terrible.  I officially hate them both. So much that I want to pull a C. Delores Tucker and declare war on them.  Does anyone have a spare bulldozer?  I have some CDs to destroy.  Just Wright beats the idea of a Why Did I Get Married trilogy, I guess.  And neither Common nor Queen Latifah have starred in a Tyler Perry flick.  Let me re-think my position.  Wait a minute.  I just remembered Bringing Down the House and Common's GAP commercials.  Nevermind.

    21 April 2010

    Working Notes on Post-Soul: A Nonsensical Purge

    The dissertation is a late 20th century/contemporary project.  I use the myth (read: common notions/imaganings) of California and California-invested/centered/curious novels to delineate the evolution of blackness at the end of last century.  I'm (still/currently) working on a chapter anchored by Paul Beatty's The White Boy Shuffle, a satiric novel about a Los Angeles, CA "street" poet and basketball star named Gunnar Kaufman.  (Yes, Gunnar as in Myrdal and Kaufman as in Bob.)  On one hand, I'm glad to do the work.  The last chapter was on Danzy Senna and multiraciality, and I was just tired of the mixed-race discourse.  It was frustrating for someone as committed to blackness--as an identity, as a symbol of working to (potentially) undermine white supremacy, capitalism, etc.--as I am to have to become a mini-expert an implicitly anti-black, anxiety laden position. 

    19 April 2010

    Negro Is, Negro Ain't: On Erica Jong's Version of Oprah

    Last week, Erica Jong wrote the most random "book review" (or something) I have ever read in my life.  In her Huffington Post blog, Jong, apparently charged with discussing Kitty Kelley's recently published unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey, essentially writes about knowing both Winfrey and Kelley, and admits that she hasn't actually finished the text in question.  (Note to self: Figure out how to get a gig like Erica Jong.)  In this latest version of "I knew [insert famous person] when...," Jong had the following observation about the divine Ms. O:

    15 April 2010

    Snippet of a Random Conversation

    Scene: Chicago. Today. The April weather is June-like

    Me (driving): I used to see a therapist who worked in that building.

    N (in the passenger's seat):  Did she help? *very brief pause* Nope.

    I love her.

    12 April 2010

    Eating iChips By the Waters of Babylon

    The other night, some friends and I were hanging out in a hotel room listening to music.  At some point, the Eric Benet song "Ghetto Girl" featuring Meshell Ndegocello (dude, I know. I assure you that it was not my iPod. I'm not saying I don't have the album, I'm just saying it ain't on my iPod.), and for the life of me I couldn't remember what album the song appeared on.  Neither could anyone else.  But we were all too lazy to grab one of our web-enabled phones to Wiki the query and scratch the curiosity itch.  I joked that these were the kinds of moments when some kind of transparent Google page needed to appear as if in midair so that one could type in the question without having to move from one's very relaxed position.  Someone asked where something like that would generate; I shrugged and replied that maybe it would be like a kind of projection from our eye that just appeared in front of our face.  My friend, Imi said it would be called an iChip, and it would probably be inserted in your brain just behind your ear.

    05 April 2010

    Today in Post-Race History: Stripes

    Dear Tiger Woods, 

    Welcome back, sir!  We have missed you.  Your re-emergence will undoubtedly help the multiracials get their swagger back, and just in time for the 2010 census!  (How many boxes do you check, Tiger?)  2009 was definitely a bummer for the American mixed-race, but now, with BHO passing health care reform and your return to the golf course, 2010 will be the year of Mo'Nique, Tyler Perry, and the racially ambiguous.  The post-race universe is back in order.

    Last year was tough for world's most famous Cablinasian.  You experienced every part of that portmanteau, Tiger.  You started off as the best golfer in the world, dominating the sport so thoroughly that only Benjy Compson wailed louder than those good ol' boys yearning for the days of yore as you raise yet another trophy over your head [Ca].  Yet the sex scandal combined with that Vanity Fair cover darkened not only your future, but your skin tone, and we wondered if you'd been hanging out in the driving range in the midday sun too often, or had visited Jack Johnson's grave while on the tour [bl].  Embarrassed, you disappeared for three months [in], only to hold a press conference and remind us that you were a Buddhist, and thus not sexually predatory [asian].  Working your way through all those stereotypes in a matter of months must have been tiring.  I'd take a long vacation, too.

    29 March 2010

    A Southern Gul, Southern Genius Feeding Her Own Meter

    Though I am ostensibly a U.S. Citizen (some days it feels tenuous as hell), I also have a Crunchy Nation green card, which means my Twitter feed was full of earth mother goddesses, headwraps, and the like drooling over Erykah Badu's new video for "Window Seat," the lead single from her album, New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh.  They think it's genius; they are probably right.  Erykah Badu makes the best music videos ever.

    22 March 2010

    (Real) Pay for Play

    Part of the reason I'm so unproductive during the first quarter of the year is because of sports.  The NFL Playoffs are quickly followed by March Madness, which is followed by the NBA Playoffs.  I do most of my work during the summer when baseball season is well underway.  Watching nine innings of baseball on television has never been my idea of a good time.  Anyway, the first weekend of the NCAA tournament is officially in the record books.  Although my Boilers have survived, thanks to Kansas and Georgetown, my bracket looks like a window during L.A. Riots: busted.  I'm still waiting for Duke to choke.  Though it doesn't make up for the refs not ejecting Laettner, there's nothing I enjoy more than watching Coach K. smugly accept defeat.  (Has Duke ever recruited a [black] ballplayer who was not from a two-parent home and ostensibly solidly middle class?')

    16 March 2010

    The Nannie Diaries: All Boxed In

    Nannie gave me my first lessons--and anxieties--about race.  My great-grandmother was pretty damn light.  So much so that I remember being nervous during grandparents day at Weisser Park Elementary School.  Kids' grandparents would show up sometime in the afternoon and sit in on our classes.  We'd introduce them to our fellow classmates and perform poetry or songs on our recorders--terrible renditions that only a grandparent would love.  I recall being simultaneously excited and lightweight shook at the thought of Nannie and Papa showing up to my class, and I knew it had everything to do with a very light-skinned black woman claiming to be kin to my little brown self.  I just knew that one of my white classmates would question how we were related.

    Perhaps this anxiety stems from the one of two times in my life I can recall Nannie being visibly upset with me.  One ordinary afternoon, I was sitting on her lap and decided that there was no more perfect time to ask why her skin was white.  (Yes, that's the term I used.)  Nannie got upset, and I knew then that what I said had hit a nerve so deep that I'd never get an answer from her.  I shut up about it, and never mentioned Nannie's complexion to her again.  It was much later when I discovered what it meant to be "mixed" or "biracial" and the integral role blackness played in those designations, or one's inability to be described as such.  I'm almost sure the issue was clarified in a school lunchroom when a classmate, technically mixed, offered the quick and dirty version of the one-drop rule.

    01 March 2010

    Words I Manifest

    Mad love to Guru in this time of need.

    And the Winner Is?

    It's only March, but Mo'Nique is indeed the frontrunner for the Best Year Ever award.  In a little less than a week, the self-proclaimed queen of comedy and Golden Globe (and Screen Actors Guild) Award winner, will probably win an Oscar for her work in Precious, despite her reluctance to "campaign" for the little gold statue.

    Talk about a come up. 

    Before her turn as Mary Jones, monstrous mommy of Precious Jones, Mo'Nique wasn't one of the more highly sought after comedic actors.  I doubt Oscar voters had seen her work in films like Soul Plane, Phat Girlz, and Hair Show.  Yet with the critical acclaim and support she's received since her role in Precious, Mo'Nique not only has the opportunity to shout out George Clooney in her acceptance speech should she see fit (see: Mafia, Three-Six) and excitedly jump on Oprah's couch (see: Cruise, Tom), but the late-night talk show host not named Conan or Leno has the opportunity to go where very few black women have gone before her: the Oscar winners party.  Sorry, Gabby Sidibe, but I don't think you'll be on that guest list.

    28 February 2010

    Happy Birthday, Nannie

    Dear Nannie,

    I'm not sure that there's anybody in this universe who could make me smile the way you did.

    I miss you.


    22 February 2010

    Schadenfreude for Dummies

    Today is my birthday. [Golf clap.]  Moving on.

    Consider this my obligatory, quite random and uninspired response to the Tiger Woods' apology: It was boring, about as interesting as watching golf on television.  Like, seriously.  How can I take voyeuristic pleasure in something so...um, vanilla [talking about the speech, not Woods' taste in women]?  For a guy who sends such racy text messages, I was expecting a much more electrifying statement.  If Tiger Woods had read from his Blackberry I assure you all that his apology would have actually been worth talking about.  Maybe he should've used Autotune.  Is there an App for animating an otherwise mundane statement by a professional athlete?

    How much more satisfying would it have been if Woods had just walked up to the podium and said, "My wife made me do this..."?

    18 February 2010

    Today in Post-Race History: Dear John

    Dear John Mayer,

    Dude, wtf?  I was in New Mexico off grid for a few days; I get back home to the Chi, and every straight black girl with a blog now hates you.  I had a message in my Facebook inbox with a link to your Playboy interview, so I figured it out.  Note to self: friends don't let friends interview drunk.

    Normally, John, I wouldn't be paying much attention to you.  My homegirl, Maegs swears by you, and insists on torturing me at work by playing your albums.  I don't quite understand the allure.  You're kind of like Corinne Bailey Rae to me: people love you, but you bore me to pieces.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my sensitive white boys.  I dig Damien RiceJosh Rouse's 1972 is my album.  Amos Lee's "Skipping Stone"?  My jam.  Yet for whatever reason, whenever I hear Maegs humming "Daughters," I start hitting the snooze button.  However, you woke me up with your Playboy interview.  You infuriated others.  You made me shrug.  Then again it's kind of my moral obligation as a blogger on this thing we call pop life to say something, right?  So here's my "something."  Pay attention.

    08 February 2010

    More than a Game

    My fellow Boilermaker, Drew Brees with the Lombardi trophy
    Dang.  So I had this long post-Super Bowl entry ready about sports and how I don't enjoy trophy presentations after the game and the plantation model in professional sports and everything, but I just can't post something like that right now.  Not this morning.  Not when there are people still partying in the French Quarter.

    05 February 2010

    Instant Vintage: Beyonce Brings Sassiness to Nuptials

    It looks as if Sasha's empire is about to get even fiercer. In an unprecedented celebrity branding move, Beyonce Knowles will be unveiling a new twist on an old favorite. Recharged by her infectious and socially conscious lyrics, Knowles has set her empty sights towards ameliorating a serious blight in the African-American community: lack of marital commitment.

    On February 8, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Knowles is set to unleash her latest branding endeavor onto the world: a line of engagement and wedding rings. The ring line, not subtly though cleverly called, "Put A Ring On It by Beyonce Knowles," was inspired by Knowles' smash hit, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." The legendary jeweler, Tiffany and Co. will carry the line; a less expensive version of the rings will be available at Kay Jewelers, under the similar, but more urban appellation "Put a Rang on It by Bey."

    01 February 2010

    Today in Post-Race History: Super Bowl, Super Conundrum

    I just don't know how Chris Matthews does it!  My experience at last year's inauguration--a.k.a. the second biggest event in black history, just one acre and half a mule behind freedom--left me cold, irritable, hungry, and so over the large crowds only hours of attending rap concerts with my homegirl, Maegs helped me successfully navigate.  I lost Hope at the Silver Spring metro station, but, encouraged by the sight of all those black folks draped in American flag-inspired fashions, I did stash a little post-race elixir in the glove compartment of my car, only to freak out when I got pulled over by a Pennsylvania state trooper, and demand that Maegs toss it out into the darkness of the Keystone State night.  Since then, I've become even more obsessed with blackness.  So much so that I can't shake this feeling that somehow I must have mistakenly taken the red, black, and green pill instead of the blue one like I had intended.  (Morpheus is such a trickster!)  As a result, I've spent the last year haunted by race, becoming more racially paranoid than an octaroon at a Mississippi Klan rally.

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