Perspective

See her? She is not your homegirl.

There is no hope for you. Kill yourself.

That is the latest media message to black women.  If you are black, if you are female, if you are successful, your choices for a happily ever after lie somewhere between tabby and Abyssinian, because love just isn’t in the cards for you.  My general rule has been when mainstream media purports to accurately address an issue directly relating to me as a woman of color, one would do well to search for the subliminal “grenade” that lurks beneath.

At first glance, it’s the season of the sister.  Helena Andrews, author of the memoir Bitch is the New Black, has recently had the film rights purchased by Shonda Rhimes of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame.  She leads the glamorous life, but she still needs a man’s touch.  (If they use that tag, I want my money.)   Ms. Andrews has the unique opportunity of being center stage.  She’s young, single and upwardly mobile.  She was recently spotlighted in a Washington Post profile, due to her rising star.  With her girlfriends, she discusses a male acquaintance referred to as “Cornrows.”  She dates him, but gives the distinct impression that he has no real future with her.  And though it may well be due to the fact that he is somewhat unsuitable, she is quoted as saying the following about herself:

“I’m a mean woman. I don’t date nice people. That’s why I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. I will always have to settle.”

We also recently saw Linsey Davis’ provocative (and I’m being nice here) Nightline report related to the plight of successful black women who are doomed to a life of singleness.  I’m hard pressed to find a single black woman that is not singing some form of the dating world blues.  “FINALLY! Somebody is speaking up for us!!!”  Funnyman turned advice giver, Steve Harvey,* made an appearance.  It was all gloom and doom for these women, who by all outward accounts, men should be falling over.

*flash bang goes the grenade*

I wonder how many of us realize that we’re being played.

The media knows exactly how to pull your heart strings in any way they choose.  ABC isn’t an upstart network.  If they want an individual or cause to gain sympathy, they know who and what to show.  The same goes for if they want an individual or cause to look like some bull corn.  But alas, since the aim was sensationalism rather than solutions, or even sympathy, they found a new, more inventive way to project how black women are being set adrift and black men are either helpless, or nowhere to be found.  And if the subtle absence of black men, save for Steve Harvey, didn’t clue you in, Nightline provided this not-so-subtle morsel:

“Let’s take 100 black men. By the time you eliminate those without a high school diploma (21 percent), the unemployed (17 percent) and those ages 25-34 who are incarcerated (8 percent), you have only half of black men, 54 percent, …whom many black women find acceptable.”

Well, what is your beef?  21 + 17 + 8 = 46.  100 – 46 = 54.  So, yeah.  54%.  Duh. Or at least, that’s what you are supposed to think.  By this math, a 27 year old man who has not completed high school and is currently incarcerated has now been counted as two people.  The same could be said for an individual who has not completed high school and is unemployed.  This would be deemed shoddy work, even if there were not a direct correlation between education, unemployment and incarceration. Since there IS a direct correlation it’s positively unforgivable.

And what of the women they portrayed?  They all came off sickeningly affected and disingenuous.  Helena Andrews is characterized as notoriously unlikeable.  If you’re keeping count, not only are black men ineligible and absent, but black women are so unlikeable, we obviously don’t deserve any better.  The fix is in, and rather than call foul, we embrace these characterizations and tout them as gospel.  Women are shaking their heads at the “truth” of these statements; men do the same at these unlikeable women believing trumped up stats.  Then the blame game begins.

The main culprit is the mass number of men and women who do little more than drag their tattered baggage from jumpoff to jumpoff – because no one is doing relationships anymore – then shed a river of crocodile tears when things go south.  You knew that person was no good for you then, but you just wanted to “see how things turned out,” usually after you’ve slept with them.  I do not get this.  For women, the “it’s only sex thing” is bogus.  You can spend eleventy billion years trying to convince me that you can do it like the boys do, and I’ll call bullshit six ways to Sunday.  The only way it “works” is when the woman ends the situation, usually by crawling under a new dude.  When it goes the other way round, you can almost countdown to the “he ain’t shit” chorus.  Period.

There’s a saying, “Rejection is God’s protection.”  Unfortunately, for a lot of women (and I’ll be the first to say I have been here), when some troglodyte shows his true self, rather than accept it and move on, we push issues that should never be pushed out of a fear of being alone.  A lot of us don’t want to accept the responsibility that we ignored common sense and plunged headlong into the worst of bad choices, for the sake of having a man in our lives.  You get so wrapped up in being the queen bee; you convince yourself that this dude is actually someone you want in your life.

Don’t think fellas get a pass here.  Your refusal to communicate is the stuff of legends.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to one of my homeboys who answered in the negative when I would ask, “Well, does she know this?” or “Did you tell her?”  Even more frustrating is that the reasoning for not communicating is the grown up version of covering your eyes because you think it makes you invisible.  No, it makes you a target; potentially the target of a raving lunatic.  Then you feel justified in giving the Kanye shrug because, “bitches be crazy.”  Except, it’s a crazy bitch that you may well have helped create.

The end result of these missteps is this cavalcade of tom foolery we see today.  Both of us, men and women, are so selfishly driven to meet our own ends, we neglect to objectively consider if the person is fit for the ride.  Stop wasting your time on people who haven’t proven themselves.  Stop forcing situations that don’t fit.  Stop playing musical beds – that goes for men AND women – it’s not a good look.  Be honest about who you are and what you want.  Live  your damn life.  I missed out on a whole bunch of good shit trying to find a “boo.”  Life may not be perfect, but have fun smoothing out the rough edges.  And stop letting the media tell you who you are and where your life is headed.  You are the only one who can write your autobiography.  Do you really want 75% of it to be about bad dates, bitterness and booty calls?  I didn’t think so.  GET IT TOGETHER!

*To his credit, Mr. Harvey was honest, direct and actually helpful.  I never thought the day would come when Steve Harvey would be the only one NOT being “ignant.”

Get Nekkid!

Happy New Year everyone!  Let’s get NAKED!

Not really.  Keep your clothes on.  Ya NASTIES!

We’re nine days into the new year, and probably at least six days into broken resolutions, so let’s talk.  And I don’t mean let’s talk about how much we “hate faggots.”  People can really speak up on that ad nauseum.  However, when it comes time to talk about the wounds within our own souls, we can be curiously silent.  There were comments that I had to think long and hard about before approving, but at the end, I want this to be a forum where EVERYONE can express themselves, and give others the opportunity to rebut those expressions. That’s how this blog will be run in the discernible future.

That being said.  There’s been a LOT of buzz about black women, singleness and loyalty, particularly in reaction to the recent (dreadful) Nightline report.  Both my partner and I have something coming down the pike for you guys with regards to this, but I’m looking for knee jerk reactions here?

Ladies – Did you feel the women on this report were accurate and diverse depictions of successful sistas?  Do you experience these same issues?  What is your biggest issue in dating?

Gents – Where do you feel sisters are missing the mark?  What are some things that sisters do, even subconsciously, that are automatic turn-offs and deal breakers?

Both – What are your thoughts on what can be done to actually bridge this divide?

Please note, I am not looking for trumped up statistics that are geared to make brothas and/or sisters look bad.  Righteous indignation is encouraged. Disrespect and hatefulness is intolerable.  Let’s stick to facts, and personal experiences if you feel comfortable enough.  Feel free to either post them in the comments section, or email them to nakedadmonition@yahoo.com.  You may be cited in a future post.

He Hate Me (Repost)

I have sadly been in dereliction of duty, what with celebrating my birthday, rocking stilettos and actually wearing a top with print designs on it.  (Whoda thunk?)  But, I decided to ease back into this with one of my favorite posts from my solo joint. Enjoy, and all thoughts are welcome.

His reputation preceded him, as is often the case with big personalities.  I didn’t really get to know him until I was about seven.  Memory isn’t my strong point, but I’m pretty sure we met on a Friday.  Lots of poignant events in my life had a way of happening on Fridays, so we’ll stick with that for now.  I liked him right off the bat.  Everybody did.  Sometimes, even with the very young, you know when they have “it.”  That thing which makes people take notice.  My mom thought my infatuation was so cute.  My dad, so him as trouble, so he was not nearly as amused.  He tried to steer me away, but I was smitten, so it was too late.

I just wanted to be around him and hear his voice, even then.  I would drop everything to listen to him.  He wanted to be my man, and had told me as much.  I let him be just that.  My young fantasies always involved him.  My first slow dance was with him.  He needed love.  My love.  Who was I to say no?  There were other crushes, but he was my constant love.

After years of being tight, out of the clear blue, he called me a bitch.  It stunned me.  Have you ever had your mother unexpectedly smack the hell out of you, and all you can do is give that hard blink?  Saying it was hurtful enough, but everybody heard him.  In my embarrassment, and my inability to process it, I explained it away.  My dad gave me the knowing, “I told you so,” lecture.  My mother suggested that I leave him alone.

He made an effort to make up for it, so I gave him another chance.  I was his sister; his queen.  We would go on for hours about building, not only ourselves, but all black people.  We could talk about Malcolm and Haile and the beauty of our black origins.  He said I was his beginning and his end.  His words made me move as he spoke to my needs.  He knew me.  We grew together.  As we grew, his intentions became more explicit.  I remember the day my father found the words he’d penned for me and angrily threw them in my face.  He could never understand our thing.

Young love, however, eventually grows restless.  Rather than fight a losing battle, I set him free to be the person he felt he needed to be.  Of course we kept in contact, and I didn’t always agree with the things he said, or the manner in which he said them, but I understood why he was so damned angry.  Though I set him free, others were more selfish.  They stifled and took from him.  Any efforts he made to grow were met with disdain, disinterest, and derision.  I stayed in his corner, because that was all I knew to do as far as he was concerned.  I felt partially responsible, because it all started with him trying to give me a voice when I lacked words.  He was my champion.  The guilt that came with abandoning him was unbearable.

Anger with what the world was throwing at him caused him to lash out at me again.  He was much more vitriolic.  I was never enough of anything.  Not pretty enough, my hair wasn’t long enough, my lips weren’t thin enough.  So he would parade his new girls that met his qualifications.  There were certainly enough of them.  It was as though he could not miss an opportunity to showcase his disrespect.

The girl he loved since pigtails was replaced by strippers and porn stars, and one at a time was never enough.  He needed all of them, and so many were willing.  They loved him for the same reason I loved him.  For that shine he had within.  We retained contact when I became a mother, but it was always so strained.  How could I let my kids in his company?  I couldn’t.  Not often.

Despite the hurt, I still would light up when he called.  You do that with old loves.  You don’t forget who they were.  Especially when who they were was so sweet and good.  Once I consider someone mine, it’s hard for me to see things any other way, even when the writing is on the wall.  Sadly, the dashing figure in the shiny suits and the dark shades morphed from the person I know, to the person I knew.  True to form, even now he puts up bravado, but I know him too well to not recognize that he is lost, and unable to figure out where he’s going.  The way he treats women, whom he once regarded as his sisters, is nothing short of disgusting.  And since they know who he used to be, they think there’s still a chance.

And even after all this time, he reminds me that he used to be an excited youngster who could render me paralyzed with amazement.  I’m talking about someone who was beautiful, who was bold, who was black.

“Cuz who I’m talkin bout y’all is hip-hop.” (c) Common

And I STILL love him.

But he hate me.

Donnie’s Little Problem

Our Subject: Pointing the finger, which should come as no surprise

“Everyone needs dick.  See, I can buy fags. Bunch of guys that need dick – just plain need it? That I get.” -Banky Edwards (Chasing Amy)

Donnie McClurkin loves dick. He lusts for it.  He fantasizes about it. He’s obsessed with it. Undoubtedly, if he had his druthers, he’d have his mouth wrapped around one as I type this. Yes, indeed. Donnie is infatuated with men, and he hates himself because of it.

Video has been circulating of Donnie giving a sermon at the recent Church of God in Christ convocation in Memphis, in which he attacks young gay people and speaks, in an admittedly familiar way, about the “perversion” of homosexuality. According to McClurkin, “God did not call young people to such perversion. Society has failed him, his church has failed him … I would be homosexual to this day if Jesus hadn’t delivered (me).”

He goes on: “I see feminine men, feminine boys, everywhere I go … No, don’t applaud ‘cuz it ain’t funny. It’s because we failed. I see them everywhere.”

Get it? Much like those pesky ghosts that haunted Haley Joel Osment’s character in The Sixth Sense, they’re everywhere. Actually, this analogy works pretty well. Let’s just make a slight adjustment..

Donnie McClurkin: I see gay people.
Malcolm Crowe: In your dreams?
[Donnie shakes his head no]
Malcolm Crowe: While you’re awake?
[Donnie nods]
Malcolm Crowe: Gay people like, in bars? In bathhouses?
Donnie McClurkin: Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re gay.
Malcolm Crowe: How often do you see them?
Donnie McClurkin: All the time. They’re everywhere.

As a “former” gay man who has been delivered by Jesus from homosexuality, McClurkin has made no bones about his disdain of gays and of the “gay lifestyle” in the past. He recently took singer/performer/preacher Tonex to task after Tonex admitted that he, himself is gay. Donnie encourages Tonex to turn away from this “affliction” and “pray away the gay.”

I have a HUGE problem with this. First, if McClurkin, who is obviously still gay and still attracted to men (during this same Memphis speech, he likened his same-sex urges to those of a diabetic, “I don’t eat sugar, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want sugar”) wants to remain celebate (and I highly doubt this, given the lurid rumors of his dabbling in sex with men) so be it. But it’s shameful of him to use his bully pulpit to hatefully condemn unapologetic, uncloseted gays.

Second, I’d like it very much if the anti-gay religious community could come to grips with the fact that a) no amount of prayer or heterosexual programming can change a gay man into a ravenous vagina-pounder and b) gay isn’t wrong. This last point needs it’s own post (or, more likely, a series of posts) so I’ll just leave it at that (for now).

Third, I can think of little worse than a cowardly hypocrite using a 30-year-old tragedy (his alleged molestation as a child) to make excuses for his own perceived failings. Make no mistake about it. Donnie McClurkin isn’t gay because of a traumatic childhood event.  He’s gay because he’s insatiably attracted to men. The former has NOTHING to do with the latter.

I want to make it clear that I certainly don’t intend to make light of Donnie McClurkin’s past. Molestation is a horrible, inexcusable crime, and no one deserves to be made a victim. But it is disingenuous of him to keep pointing to that as the cause for his gayness. Further, I find it unsettling that he can so easily use his own tragedy as a launching pad from which to persecute others. Donnie ain’t right, and he knows it. His problem is, he thinks he’s not right because he’s gay, not because he’s a self-hating charlatan.

Note: Afromamba and I are in the business of helping you solve your relationship problems. Really. We’re good like that. So if you have any questions or need any advice please drop us a line at nakedadmonition@yahoo.com

You need it up, I need it down. What do we do about this?

After two heavy posts, let’s shift to a topic that errs on the side of levity:  toilet seat follies.  There is nothing more jarring in the middle of the night, than a surprise episode of splash booty.  And then, the rage begins, as does a lifelong battle for bathroom supremacy.

Personally, I think that putting the seat down is a matter of common courtesy.  The consequences of a raised toilet seat have a higher consequence to a woman than a lowered seat has to a man.  It’s gross.  So, why the seat lowering resistance?

Because men and women are stupid.  Women have made it some exercise in “housebreaking” their unruly male.  We’ve all heard a war story or two, where a victorious woman brags over her conquest.  “Girl, it took six months, but he finally puts the seat down.”  It’s a matter of presentation.  It’s presented in a way that makes a guy feel de-balled.  Naturally, men are going to rebel.  So to prove that you’re nobody’s beyotch, guys choose the road less considerate.

Here’s a thought:  let’s treat each other like adults.  Splash booty is gross.  Have a heart.  Put the freaking seat down.  But ladies, please…give it a rest.  The sooner you treat a relationship like a partnership rather than abject war, the better off you’ll be.  In truth, it’s a simple issue with much large implications.  Implications that we will address in this blog as time goes on.

And the best way we can do that is by answering your looming questions.  Therefore, if something is grinding your gears, stuck in your craw, getting your goat, chapping your hide…or you simply want to incite dialogue and get the perspective of two bright and dazzling bon vivants, please send your questions to nakedadmonition@yahoo.com.  We’ll be waiting.

Your Cancer Can Wait

Cancer Isn't The Only Thing We're Fighting

“Every cancer is a homicide.” –Boots Riley of The Coup (Everything)

 

There’s no other way for me to put this. Certain people, certain groups, don’t seem to particularly care if women die.

That’s the only explanation that I can come up with for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recent, stupid-as-fuck recommendation that women 40-49 forego routine mammograms and self-examinations. Before I start laying out a very personal anecdote, I want to ask a rhetorical question. Does this shit even sound like it makes sense? I mean, really.  Does this seem like good advice? It doesn’t. Certainly not to my mind, and surely not to the millions of courageous women who have survived breast cancer.

My wife is one of them. She was a tad under 50 years old – 36 to be exact – when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has no history of any kind of cancer in her family. She’s never smoked cigarettes (or marijuana, which is kind of weird if you ask me). She’d never previously been exposed to any radiation. In short, she was extremely low-risk. She happened to discover a lump in her breast during a self-examination and immediately went to get it checked out.

Her doctor referred her to get a biopsy. The results of the biopsy revealed a deadly little cancerous mass that had to be immediately removed. Fortunately for us, it was a stage one diagnosis that required an hour-and-a-half surgery, eight weeks of radiation treatment and, miracle of miracles, no chemotherapy. Now, some eight months after her initially diagnosis, she’s officially a survivor.

But you know what? My wife’s entire medical team, the doctor who performed the biopsy, her surgeon, her oncologist and her radiologist, all admitted that they were seeing more and more cases of young women being diagnosed with breast cancer. If Dr. Diana Petitti, vice-chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and her colleagues were sincerely operating in the best interest of women, they would have spent their time investigating the implications of THAT shit, as opposed to telling young women that they needn’t concern themselves with regularly-scheduled mammograms.

Now that the backlash is in full swing, the task force is seeking to clarify it’s position. Tellingly, Dr. Petitti admits that the reaction from the report caught her off guard.  She concedes that, “we probably, in retrospect, could have been more clear.” Actually, I don’t agree.  I think they were crystal clear.  Their message was very simple: “We don’t give a damn.”

Even when I’m a mess, I still put on a vest…

And I’m starting to take that joint off.  As much as I want to be frank about what’s going on with the sisters, the recent comments (calling them “recommendations” make me livid) regarding breast cancer screenings and mammograms sent me to another place.

The newer comments stated that women need not obtain mammograms until 50 years of age, mammograms need only be performed every other year, and NO self-examination.  If men were dying of breast cancer at such an alarming rate, I maintain there would have been no such task force to debunk male health care.  Not only do they debunk mammograms, but also state that women need not perform self-exams.

There have been several woman who are close friends who have been diagnosed with cancer, two of whom have passed away.  All of the women have been below the age of 50.  My aunt, who passed away from cancer at the age of 48, died in less than 8 months when her cancer returned.

Meanwhile, prostate cancer can be wiped out damn near at half-time.  Additionally, where men can get their “dude health” checked out during a regular physical, women must pay a premium rate to visit a specialist for their reproductive health.

Sisters, we need to use these damn capes for more than wiping noses.

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