Teach Me How to Doug E…

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Hip Hop elitists are constantly complaining about the steep decline of hip hop as artists like Soulja Boy are on the rise.  The dissonance grows louder now that there is a constant stream of dance music emerging out of the South.  To them I say, get over yourself.  While it is perfectly understandable if one style of music is not your personal preference, but to blame as the pitfall of hip-hop or dismiss it as it has no place in hip hop is both erroneous and unfounded.
The history of hip-hop has always been an outlet for both social commentary and a reflection of the fun mirrored in black community.   Anyone who says hip-hop has no origin and dance, call-and-response, and catchy music doesn’t know what they are talking about.  There was once a time when no one was murdered in hip-hop.  There were no how-to guides of how to manufacture, distribute and profit off the drugs.  It was just story telling and music made for the basement parties.  The good ol days… So as I listen to current music, I can’t but think of the pioneers of the like Run DMC or Doug E. Fresh that are notorious for getting their crowd hyped and involved.
However, I am not delusional.  I am fully aware that a lot of the new age performers lack the genius of many that came before like Slick Rick that painted a perfect picture in rhyme.  My point is that not everything in hip-hop is heavy or profound.  And as much as I love Jay-Z,  Nas, Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, I don’t want to hear it at the club.   No one goes out to just bob their head and contemplate life and social ills.  They go to party.  The basement parties have just moved to bigger venues.
So come on people, open up your hip-hop umbrellas.  There is enough room for everybody.
Exhibit A
Seriously what is a La Di or Da Di? Go Head. I’ll Wait.
Really what is the difference??Not much!

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Love for the Game

Is it too early to talk football??

With the ESPY’s airing last night, I can’t help but reflect on my love for sports, football, and the Cowboys (in reverse order).  As a woman, sometimes girly and other times grungy, I often find myself defending my knowledge of the game, players, and organizations.  While I consider those questions fair game, I am always disheartened when my love for sports is reduced to a guise to hang out with or get men.  Actually, it disgusts me.  The men I’ve dated have never liked me because I liked sports- most men are more concerned with looks, personality, and intelligence- all of which I have an abundance of.  Contrarily, my love for sports can be traced back to one man- my father or Daddy, as I call him.  When I was little, I would follow my daddy everywhere.  Wherever he was, is exactly where I wanted to be.  You might say a true Daddy’s girl, but actually more like a Father’s son.  My daddy treated me the only way he knew how and didn’t subject me to gender roles of what I should or shouldn’t do.   So just like he taught me about cars, how to build and fix things, and wash cars, he also taught me how to cook and iron clothes.  My point is that he spent quality time teaching me the things he knew and love- one of which was sports.  And I learned it just like I learned all the other things.
My love for the Cowboys, I guess can be moreover traced back to my family.  We are a beautifully animated, super passionate group of people.  So every Thanksgiving, the men would make their way from the dinner table to den with the television to watch the Cowboys game.  But by halftime the whole family (men, women, and children alike) was in the den cheering, yelling, and coaching our team to victory!
From there, I suppose my love for sports has spilled over into my relationships, as I typically fall for fellow sports fanatics.  In my relationships, I have been exposed to and learned to appreciate every sport covered by ESPN (except race car driving, I still hate it).  But that is just pure coincidence, or is it?  Maybe it is me that innately go for guys who share my love for the game.  I would much rather accept that as truth rather than the former accusation that it is just a ploy to bait men.  As far as I am concerned, men could be using sports to bait women like myself!

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Addicted to the Drama

I once believed it was only a girl thing to feed off chaos.  Girls are often stereotyped with instigating trouble to ignite a dramatic reaction.  I thought it was just a cry for attention and maybe that is how it starts.  However, when the cries worked and gave the attention lacked from sane behavior then these girls grow to women and their bad habits become bad addictions.
I would be remiss to say I didn’t know any women like this that are always the center of mess.  They cause mess in their homes, in their schools, in their churches, and in their organizations.  There was a point when I believed these girls would grow out of this stage whether on their own will or by force.  I say force because in my mind, no man would put up with those attitudes, temper tantrums, and always being the cause of discord.

The Dramatic Two

However, this is not the case.  Men feed off drama too.  There are a few men that feed off their own self-induced drama, but the men I am referring to are the men that feed off the drama caused by their girls within their relationships.  Most men claim they don’t like arguing but in all honesty a lot of men receive the same high from arguing as the girl.  As a matter of fact, some men don’t know how to function in a relationship free of drama.  These men, like their female counterparts, will go out of their way to stir up arguments for arguments’ sake.
The worst case scenario is when people gauge love by how much someone is willing to argue or how much they tolerate nonsense.  How intense the arguments translates to how much passion is in a relationship.  While this is both sad and tragic, it is a choice that both people in the relationship have made because you can’t argue by yourself.  It takes two.

Exhibit A-F:

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My Letter to the Quiet Guy

I have always had a thing, a serious thing, for the cute, quiet guys. You see most of my close friends have strong, dominant personalities.  We tend to run the show, start the parties, and are very used to being the center of attention.  So I find it extremely refreshing and even more intriguing to see you relaxing in the back simply taking it all in.
When I was younger, I believed I enjoyed chase and catch of the quiet guys as opposed the ones in my face.  But in my experiences with those quiet guys, I was surprised to learn that not only are they not pushovers but are very opinionated, well-spoken, and well read.  And well, I am intellectual groupie. Additionally, there is nothing more alluring that quiet confidence.  You require no fanfare to draw me in and gain my undivided attention.
Now, I am no longer thrilled by the hunt and much more at ease with being actively pursued.  But you, the quiet guy, still present a challenge when it comes to placing interest.  How do I let you know?  You are so careful and deliberate in your actions not willing to jump to conclusions or misstep your boundaries so my subtle hints of “I think you are awesome” have seemed to go unnoticed for far too long.
I have learned patience and now value and embrace that time before the first hellos to the first dates to the first kisses.  The quiet guys before you taught me how to make sure those moments linger for as long as possible. Haste, rash decisions are no longer my friend. And now I appreciate you for taking your time to get to know more about me and to respect me.  And when you are ready, no, sure that I am all that I say I am then I am sure you will make your move.  Until then, I will watch you sit quietly in the back, watching me as I can’t help but watch you.

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Why You Can’t Meet My Friends

Despite this blog, my very open personal twitter account, and my frequent facebook updates, I am a very private person, even with my friends…even with my best friends.  No one friend knows all, most know some, but only a few know most, and only GOD knows all.  There is no exception when it comes to men I date.
So it is always strange when men I date ask to kick it with my friends- the friends that have probably heard nothing about him…at all.  My response is usually, “Nah, you can’t meet my friends.”  He usually responds, “Why?”  I typically give some version of “I’m not there yet.”
Here are my reasons why I am totally against someone I’m dating meeting my friends.
1)   No commitment: We are just dating and on my end nothing serious as of now.  I have friends and family that every time you see them they are introducing to someone new.   Instead of enjoying the pleasantry of meeting this person, you don’t even hear the name because you are giving your friend/family the extreme side-eye.  Yeah, so I refuse to be that person with a constant rotation of new people.
2)   My Friends Are Cool As Hell: There is no question, my date will love my friends.  It only takes a few hours of kicking it with them to feel like you have truly bonded.  At the end of the night, he will probably be like “I’ve haven’t had that much fun in a while.”  Then my date is trying to exchange twitters or pins.  And well, I just can’t have that.  What if I decide you are no longer worth my time, are you still going to try to kick it with my friends?  Are your exchanges going to be on my timeline like ya’ll are cool?  It can become super annoying and harder to  move forward if you are now, without earning it, integrated into my social circle.
3)   My Friends are Like Family: I have no family here in D.C., at least biologically speaking.  My friends are like my family.  I believe the saying goes, “friends are the family you can pick.”  Well, I picked quite an extraordinary bunch.  So if I am not ready for you to meet my family, then I am not ready for you meet my friends.
I will let you know when we get there.

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Who I Am In Art: Movies, Music & Books

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays.

Recently a friend asked her friends for their top 15 movies.  Seems simple enough, right?  What we discovered was although the friends had similar interests and personalities, everybody’s list was extremely different and very few movies intersected the lists.  Also, this list began to give a deeper insight to the person’s childhood memories and overall make-up.   So I have decided to expound on that idea today and do my top 5 in no particular order- movies, books, and albums and tell why I love each.
Movies
Why I love them
A Chorus Line
Dance, Dance, and More Dance.  The movie follows an audition as some dancers try to follow their dreams but end up finding themselves.  It is an awesome movie…and Broadway play!
The Color Purple
Pretty much a staple on most black women’s list.   But the story is timeless -one of victimization, struggle, identity, and eventually triumph defined on a woman’s own terms.
Finding Nemo
First of all, I love all things Pixar.  Those geniuses over there always get me going to the movies.  But this little fish, Nemo, stole my heart as he deals with loss and physical handicap yet keeps it moving.  Not to mention, it is also a beautiful portrait of a devout father.  And DORY need I say more.  …Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…
Legends of the Fall
I didn’t watch this movie until late in my collegiate tenure and I am glad because I don’t think I would have understood all of the complexities and undertones of this movie at a younger age.  But it is a true and at times tragic love story that had me evaluating if I have ever or will ever love like that.
John Q
This movie of a black family barely making it then faced with a son who becomes ill with insufficient insurance to cover his life or death treatments.  And then you see another devout father willing to sacrifice all to save his son.  Whew, beautiful portrayed story.
Music Albums
Why I love them
Songs in the Key of Life- Stevie Wonder
I mean the title says it all.  It will take you through both the joys and the sorrows.  The music and the lyrics speak to me no matter what type of mood I am.
Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
Nope, not Thriller for me.  This one has my favorite Michael songs that just make you feel good about love and life.
Blueprint 3- Jay Z
I waivered on which Jay-Z album I would choose out of  Reasonable Doubt, the Black Album and this one.  But I choose this one because every single track motivates the hell out of me.  It takes me from thought and ideas to action.
Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2- Jill Scott
Again, this album is timeless.  It speaks openly and honestly about love and heartbreaks and the journey to finding the real meaning of it.
Worldwide Underground- Erykah Badu
I love this album because every track puts me in a great mood.  And again it is honest and brave and exposes the real vulnerabilities of being black and a woman.
Books
Why I love them
So Long a Letter – Mariama B
A very short book about Senegalese women who are brave enough to break tradition in order to do what was right for them.
The Chaneysville Incident- David Bradley
I personally feel every black man should read this. It is lighthearted, yet deep as it follows a man trying to understand his present by reconnecting with his past.
Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World- Mildred Pitts Walter
It is about a son in a house full of women until he visits his grandparents and his grandfather takes the time to teach him what manhood really is.  My childhood favorite!
Othello – William Shakespeare
This is my favorite Shakespeare play because it shows how easily love can distort the truth.  And how without the element of truth from the direct source can be tragic.
What is the What- Dave Eggers
This novel recounts the journey of a Sudanese refugee that is eventually comes to America.  This book will make you value EVERYTHING you have and have taken for granted.
Well there you go my top 5.  What are yours? Art depicts life.  Life inspires Art.

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The Boyfriend with the Absent Father

Once upon a time I said wouldn’t ever date a guy whose father was not an active part in his life again.  While I have strayed from that premise a few times since then, I still believe my theory behind my statement, for the most part, still holds true.
My theory, based on my experiences up to that point, was that men without an active father do not have a constant example of how a man should treat a woman.  In my experiences, up to that point, I found myself fighting for the things that should have been a given.  The things I was asking, in regards to chivalry, compromise, sacrifice, and effective communication, were foreign to them in the realm of relationships.  These were non-issues in my relationships with men that did have an active father, and even more so when that father was in the home.
As I have grown older, I can look back and attribute some of the shortcomings for boyfriends with absent fathers simply to immaturity.  Perhaps their maturity was delayed due to an absent father.  It is both possible and plausible.  However, I have discovered the greatest hindrance of a man learning how to properly love a woman is due to lack of exposure of such.  It doesn’t need to be from his father, for even that can be a piss poor example, but the example has to come from someone he admires.  I say the boyfriend must admire this person first because that is the only way another man’s actions can hold any value to the boyfriend to even desire to be better than he is.  But this can go from wonderful to tragic, entrepreneur to dope boy, depending on the example. Nonetheless, a positive an example needs to be there, and it should be his father.  Tragically, more often than not, that is not the case within our communities.  And from that respect, I am glad my theory was a little off-base because it provides hope in an otherwise catastrophic situation.  There is hope, and even the expectation, that cycles will be broken and new, more excellent principles will be established.
I have since dated men that have defied these odds and matured into better men, fathers, and significant others without the example from their fathers.  And I tell you, where it may take a little longer and be a little harder for them to get there, when they are there, they are steadfast in their journey to be better men than their absent fathers.  And after a while, defying odds and exceeding expectations becomes commonplace for him.  He is then the example, not only for his children, but for his communities.

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Black Women are Enablers

I am fully aware of the gross generalizations I make on behalf of black people.  It is done intentionally because it takes too much time to dissect the exceptions.  And everybody wants to be an exception but the majority of us fall in the generalizations hence the dire state of our communities and families.  As a result, I have decided to start a new column entitled “All BLACK Everything.”  Yes, I know I stole the title but it fits the contents.  Without any further ado, let’s get into it…

I would love to meet the first black woman who had a black man and after he cheated took him back.  I would love the meet the pioneer of enabling black men.  I’m sure he said he only loved her, and it was only one time, and he would never do it again.  I would bet he did it again.  In my mind, I imagine him telling his boys and his boys being like “word, son she didn’t kill you?” and he replying “not even, we had make-up sex that night and everything. Crazy, right?”  I imagine her heartbroken and confiding in her girls but only pointing out the good he does as she justifies the reasons to why she kept him.  Maybe she convinced these women it was the right thing to do too.  And when his boys cheated on her girls, these women too forgave those men and from there the sickness of enabling begin to spread.
Cheating is so commonplace nowadays it is almost expected.  Women expect to be cheated on and men expect to be forgiven time and time again. The lying- well, we almost encourage it.  Tell us anything but the truth.  At least that applies to half of black women, the other half prefer the truth.  So all a black man has to determine which woman you are- the one that needs to be lied to or the one that wants to hear the truth about his frequent indiscretions.  So why wouldn’t a man take advantage of this?  He can have both the woman he loves in addition to any others that may catch his eye along the way?  Hell, I would sign up for that myself.  After so much forgiving and loving, for the man it doesn’t even feel wrong after a while, the guilt fades eventually, and wrong becomes the standard.  Anything slightly above wrong is praised by his woman.  “Girl, as long as he knows I am his number one.  He comes home to me.”   Well, isn’t that what he is supposed to do??  And being one out of many is nothing to boast about in terms of a supposedly committed relationship.
What if black women had a standard of having to be the only? What if black men had to emotionally and physically commit to keep their woman?  I expect women would gain power and find strength in realizing their value.  I suppose black men would step up to the challenge because at the end of the day they want to be loved too.  And honestly, it only takes one self-respecting woman that knows her worth to replace the twenty that didn’t.
I can’t help but wonder if the pioneer of enabling had simply cut her losses and kept it moving and left her man alone to wallow in his regret and comprehend the severity of his actions.  I wonder if he would have take the lessons he learned in that failed relationship into his next promising himself to not ever make that mistake again because cheating actually cost him much more than it was worth…

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Making My Way

Life is full of choices.  There are the right choices and the wrong ones. It is usually those decisions that we put the least amount of energy in that most critically define us a person.  It is those well-planned choices that make us ordinary.  Some find safety in ordinary; however, I find security in knowing I towed the lines of my limits in an effort, no matter how futile, to be better than I am.
You would think as you get older, the more decisions you make, the easier the decision making process would be.  The confusion is not in what is right and wrong because that line is thick and undeniable.  However, the ambiguity comes if right is always the right decision to make or if it is even desired that I go right.  Some of the world’s greatest inventors, artists, and leaders were great because they did not follow the norm or standard protocol.  There is a time to go left, and deter from the path laid before you to in fact create a new, better path and to reach new, uncharted destinations.
So when is right right and when is right wrong?   I would be lying if I said I knew the answer to that question.  In the meantime, until clarity arrives, I will continue to do what feels right in my heart and in my spirit in an effort to create my own right.  I have no desires to live in the shadows of others that came before me’s right.  I know where the paved trails lead to – complacency.  I have no desire to be there, complacent, because that doesn’t feel right to me.  So I packed my hiking boots prepared to go off course to follow my intuition knowing the path will leave scratches, bruises, and at times be a brutal adventure.  But I will take pride knowing that is all mine- the successes and the failures.  I will sleep well knowing that I tested and realized my potential.  I will smile knowing that my gifts were used.  And the only contentment will come in knowing that my boundaries were expanded and I defined my own right.

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Can You Really Overcome Bad Sex?

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

I was recently reminded of a status I posted on facebook almost a year ago.  I was asked if it still held the same stance, and I replied yes and no…
The question was this: how would you rank the following in significance when building a relationship: a) looks b) assets c) chemistry/sex/sexual connection d) goals/ambition e) spirituality f) common interests?
A year later, I feel there are two more things that must be added to this list. g) intelligence, which I have obviously taken for granted all of these years, and h) effective communication, again something I previously assumed was a given, but in recent interactions discovered it is not.
The additions in place, and not to totally contradict myself in Monday’s post, my order would be:
E- G- C- H- F- D- A- B

Please note: everyone has on their clothes. Chemistry. Get Some.

Assets are the least important to me because I feel if you are doing the rest, the assets will undoubtedly follow. And you call me shallow, but it is hard to get to know C-H without A being in place.  If there is no initial attraction people rarely take the time to get to know a person beyond what they need to.  And sex, sex IS important.  While no relationship should be based around it because it is a thin, feeble, and weak foundation, it can be a deal breaker if it not up to par and beyond repair.  In theory, it should not debunk E,G, H, F, and D but I can understand how it can.  I am not promoting having sex before you have a relationship either.  I believe it is very possible, and much more feasible, to determine a sexual connection before you even get naked have sex.  I know it’s crazy since so many just jump straight to the sheets. For me, I like touch when I talk to people, especially the ones I like.  It is usually a gentle brush on the arm or hand but when you get close to man you like, you can tell if there is chemistry or not.  It is the synergy that fills the air before the first kiss.  It cannot be manufactured or forced or bought.

But those are just my thoughts.  What are yours?

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