Classy Black Women


Folks who always seem to have a contrary opinion can be a major obstacle to real progress in the black community.

 

Classy Black Lady Note: This blog post was about 90% written a week before the Shawty Lo Minstrel Show hit my radar. The talk around whether it's worthwhile for blacks to petition this show at all is a perfect example of what this blog post is about. Watch for the contrarians, detractors, deflectors and distractors.

 

We've all seen them in action. They are the cousins of the classic Uncle Tom persona. They are second cousins to what the kids call "haters." They aren't quite against black progress but they continually doubt the possibilities and distract us from the main point. 

Whenever someone in the black community is bold enough to stand up and do or say something different and progressive, here come the contrarians being... contrary. If we listen to them, ultimately nothing will get done. You could tell them the sky is blue and they'll argue saying: no, it's really "bluish-green with a hint of yellow."


An Example 
Let's take an example. Most of us know the story of Malcolm X. He was making real, bold progress and changing minds in the black community. The progressive black people around him wanted him to continue full-force.

But then came the distractors, detractors and contrarian voices:

"He thinks he's better than us!"

"He's wants to be bigger than the organization!"

"He's pro-violence!"


Never mind that Malcolm X was doing awesome things in and around the black community. His detractors couldn't just stay focused on that. 


We all know what happened in the end -- the contrarians won that battle and a great leader was taken from us. Who knows where the black community might be if Malcolm X had lived to a ripe old age?

Being Contrary Since the Slave Days
I imagine contrarians were around even in the slave days. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Harriet Tubman had to deal with a few as she was working hard to liberate hundreds of black people.

"Why are you taking that route Harriet? That's just stupid. We could take this way and get there 10 minutes sooner!"

"Why is she carrying a pistol around though? I don't like that. Ugh, I just can't support violence, so I'll stay right here with massa."

 

These voices distract us with petty arguments that pull us away from the main goal. If you let them win, you'll end up arguing with them all day long and nothing will ever get done. 

They'll zap you of your confidence. Not only that, but they could take your rep down a few pegs if you participate in childish or petty arguments with them in public.


Why?
So are these black people hired agents of disruption or are they just the type who like to argue for arguing's sake? Or maybe it's just a common show of narcissism?

I honestly don't know yet, what do you think?

I would say that in any case they are even bigger enemies to progress in the black community than blatant white racists or "Uncle Tom" types. They are an even bigger problem because we don't always recognize the black contrarian as an enemy to our progress as readily as we recognize a racist person or an Uncle Tom persona.

In many cases distractors, deflectors, detractors and contrarians hang around in black spaces and pretend to be down for the cause but always have a dissenting opinion ready. They play the devil's advocate on just about every issue. They just can't seem to get on board. They have to find a problem with every idea. They also tend to be loud, very vocal and sometimes fairly witty.

Beware the Contrarian
If you have a goal that you want to achieve in the black community, whether it is a mentoring center for kids, a blog, a magazine, or an idea for a television show, just beware of the contrarian. Follow these steps:

1. Identify the person as a distractor, detractor, deflector or contrarian -- not publicly but for your own information. However be careful not to confuse a contrarian with someone who is providing you with honestly constructive feedback that could improve your plan. You'll know the difference. In many cases constructive feedback comes in private.

2. Avoid further communication with the contrarian once you have them pegged. They want you to argue and get distracted by petty issues. When you cease communication they may become frustrated and continue to prattle on to anyone who will listen. Let them. Stay focused on your plan.

3. Remove anyone who is a potential distractor or deflector from your circle immediately. They can be more destructive than any other force that would threaten your main goal -- especially when they're working from within.

4. Analyze whether YOU may be a contrarian yourself. When someone comes up with an idea do you try to shoot it down or distract with a petty comment ala "You spelled 'its' wrong in the second paragraph -- I can't listen someone who can't even spell correctly!" They call this "throwing the baby out with the bathwater."  Don't be an agent to the potential downfall of someone else's idea or plan -- just make your own!

5. No matter what, if you believe in your idea to help the black community, stay focused and positive.


Peace and Love


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Why do researchers feel the need to continually study the habits and trends of black women in particular as if we're science projects?



Tell me, have you ever seen this headline in a mainstream newspaper:

Studies Show That White Women Account for 71% of All Plastic Surgeries Despite Risks of Death

or

Studies Show that White Women Continue to Tan Despite Serious Health Risks

Matter of fact, have you ever read any major news headline that had the phrase "white women" in it at all? Although they do have stories on these topics, the writer never mentions the race of the women most affected. Tanning deaths are a major concern. Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that approximately 71% of plastic surgery procedures are performed on white women even thought there is a significant risk of death. That is a major story, is it not?


I am a frequent observer of media stories and I can not recall one instance where white women, or any other group of women other than black, was singled out for a negative study then had to endure seeing the findings published on Huffington Post, Fox News, Washington Post and other major news outlets for the world to read.


So why are researchers and media professionals so specifically concerned with studying the habits and behaviors of BLACK WOMEN as if we are an ongoing science project?


Hair Stops Us from Exercising?

Yet another "study" popped up on my radar today which BOLDLY states that black women don't exercise because of their hair!

The "study" claims that 2 out of 5 black women say they don't work out because of their hair. It was based on a survey of 103 black women... Of what socioeconomic level? Where were they from? How were they chosen? Were they picked out of a salon getting their "hair did" or from the street? Were they permed or natural?


I'm a little ashamed to learn that a black woman, Dr. Amy McMichael, led this research without being more thorough, especially considering the stereotypes of black women that we deal with every day. Even she admits that "they only surveyed African-American women, and they can't say whether this is a problem shared by other ethnicities." She has played right into a negative narrative of our sisters that the mainstream media ultimately ran with.


Never mind the countless other plausible reasons why some black women don't exercise, such as working multiple jobs and carrying a family on their own. Or simply not having the extra money to pay for a monthly gym membership considering the tighter economy.


Never mind the fact that there has been a major natural hair revolution going on in the black community. When you wear your natural hair "sweating your perm out" is no longer an issue.


Never mind that there are organizations like Black Girls Run and countless fitness meetup groups targeted for black women across the country that have black women of all ages bursting at the seams to sign up. They are successfully addressing the health issue IN BLACK WOMAN CIRCLES.


Why?

What is the real purpose behind these studies? Some researchers may claim that it is meant to somehow help, but when has attempting to shame someone with a negative narrative ever helped?

Even though the head researcher turned out to be a fellow black woman, I would have to wonder why? What is her point? What does she hope to accomplish? And why would this type of study be funded in the first place?


Hello: America is Fat

Yes. Black women obesity rates are very high and should be addressed. But guess what? So are the obesity rates of black men. So are whites and Latinos. So is the American obesity rate overall compared to that of other countries. So why don't these researchers ever see a need to come up with ultra-specific studies on why every other American group is fat?

My theory is that it is because America has a very twisted obsession with black women -- they both admire and hate us at the same time.


The problem isn't hair. The problem is American culture. We generally eat too much and have an unhealthy diet that includes sugary soda, red meat, fatty dairy products and lots of bread. We also have a more sedentary lifestyle, spent in front of the television whenever we have a free moment. That is not a color issue, it is more of a culture issue. It is also a socioeconomic issue because in many cases less affluent people eat unhealthy fast food and can't afford to buy more healthy options for themselves and their families. They also don't have as much free time for working out.


The problem is UNHEALTHY HABITS. All races and genders in America are guilty.

What's probably most important to note is that publishing these types of studies won't solve the problem. Issues with obesity in the African American community are best addressed in community settings, such as community-based healthy-eating programs and learning sessions that don't aim to shame.


Black Women and Self Esteem

What's probably most ironic about all of these "studies" is that despite the constant supposed alarm-ringing, black women STILL seem to be happy with themselves. In fact, black women have the highest self esteem of any group of women regardless of weight. We don't need the validation of others (or like others) to know that we are great.

In conclusion I will say that I am not overweight and never have been. Hair has never prevented me from busting a move at Planet Fitness. So this "study" doesn't get me riled up because of a personal beef. Still, I have questions...


I would honestly like to know what fuels these studies to continue despite the fact that they don't seem to have any positive effects on black women or society in general? Who is funding these studies and why? Are they scientific or is the media behind this, knowing that any story with the words "black women" in the title will get a lot of hits?


Regardless of the answers, most black women ain't studdin' ya. So quit studying us.


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The murder of Kasandra Perkins should be a wake up call for victims of domestic violence. Here is advice for young women who may be in similar shoes.

The news of Jovan Belcher killing Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and mother of his newborn child, was so disturbing to me that I was not going to speak on it at first. But then I saw a black blogger (who is not worth naming) blaming Kasandra Perkins for her death and using this as a reason to bash black women. I also read a few articles online that seem to be reaching for someone or something else to blame other than the killer. One, posted on a popular black website for women, blamed the GUN for what happened instead of the instability of the killer.

Too many major media stories on this case seem to sympathize with Belcher and ignore the fact that a woman's life was taken in her prime. So I feel the need to say something about this now.

As a young woman in her early twenties (just like Kasandra Perkins at age 22), I was unfortunate to experience a situation somewhat similar to Perkins'. Everything seemed normal on the outside for others to see, but the arguing and fighting kept escalating. It was more emotional and mental abuse than anything -- I felt trapped. I was caught up in a nasty cycle of staying with and protecting someone who I knew wasn't in his right mind at the time. I was smart enough to GET OUT before the situation got really out of hand. Deep down, as much as I resisted leaving him due to the routine of it all, I knew that if I stayed, something was going to happen to either me or him because we were both losing it. Either way, my staying in the situation could have ruined both of our lives at the time.

Some young women put up with the abuse because they live for being able to talk about "their man" to others -- to show everyone how great their life is. In my case, I had a ring on my finger, a nice home and a partner; what many young women in their 20s want. 

I feel I can safely state that this may have also been one of Perkins' issues, being the girlfriend of an NFL football star. She publicly tweeted and instagramed about their love and how wonderful her life was. Yet behind closed doors she was living with someone who ultimately decided it was fine to shoot her nine times and then kill himself. Those stories don't match up -- now they're both gone and left a newborn baby behind.


If You're Being Abused, Here is What You Do...


Young girls and women need to understand this warning -- LISTEN to that female intuition that tells you IT IS TIME TO GET OUT! Don't sit in that house and keep letting things get worse just so that you can have a man around. 

REMOVE YOURSELF from the Situation...

I don't care if you own the apartment or the home, GET OUT OF THE SITUATION and give yourself time to get back into your right mind.  Things become much clearer when you leave for an extended period of time. If you're embarrassed, you don't have to tell anyone that or why you moved away -- it's none of their damn business. This is about YOU.

Again, if you or someone you know is in a dangerous relationship, the priority is to TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF THE SITUATION as soon as possible. It is not normal and it is not okay to live like this. If necessary, devise a detailed plan to leave when the other person is gone and least expecting it for your safety. 


Go somewhere very private or around supportive friends or family (supportive of YOU that is) and change your phone number so that you are not tempted to communicate with the abuser and hear his sob story. Be serious about this. Stay away for at LEAST 6 months before you decide to come back to your abode to gather the rest of your things/settle your affairs in that place and bring someone you trust along with you for support.  

This is just my personal advice as someone who went through it -- a professional domestic violence counselor might be able to tell you better.

Do what you have to do to be whole again. I promise if you follow these steps closely, your mentality toward the relationship will CHANGE very quickly.


It's On You 
The abuser is not going to suddenly stop abusing -- it is completely in your power to stop the cycle of abuse. It starts with you making a mental decision that you do not deserve this treatment. 

The next step is taking smart affirmative action and sticking to the plan. Remember that violence in relationships only escalates until it ends up in a tragedy like the one that occurred this past weekend. Both you and the abuser are not in your right mind, so it can only get worse. Snap out of it and start putting yourself first. You are loved, this blog post is proof!


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Black women are too quick to not only forgive but also forget injustices committed against them. That can be very dangerous.

I've been wanting to write this post for some time now, but wanted to take my time getting my words right. Reading Kimberly Foster's recent article on her beautiful For Harriet site entitled "On D.L. Hughley and Others: My Official Withdrawal From The Battle For Black Manhood" inspired me to finally get this out.

I was raised to be a giving and selfless woman by the older black women in my life, so of course I also had the tendency to be ultra-supportive, nurturing and loving toward my black brothers and men in general. The message of my elders, whether blatant or implied was to support black men NO MATTER WHAT.

But when I now look at pretty much all of the older black women I know, all I see are long-sufferers. They gave up a lot of themselves holding onto this philosophy of continued unwavering support of men -- even if it was not requited.

Now as a grown woman who has largely left that influence, who has now been able to experience the world, relationships and life on my own, I have to call to the carpet this philosophy that has been passed down through so many generations of black women. That we are somehow beholden to support black men NO MATTER WHAT. This is a part of the reason why black women are the most abused group of women in America.

One lesson I've certainly absorbed after years of observation and experience is that you should only support and defend people who truly DESERVE it and APPRECIATE it. It is unhealthy to throw all of your support behind anyone (or any group of people) who would not do the same for you.

A Recipe for Dysfunction
The current relationship between black women and black men in the U.S. is severely imbalanced. It's time we all come to admit this. Black women often loudly defend black manhood, even before their own womanhood. Black men shout a few hollers back "hey we love you too" but for the most part in 2012 they aren't truly prepared to lay everything on the line in a similar show of loyalty and commitment. At least not yet.

To be fair, this is partly due to the general traits of women and men. Women are usually nurturers and gladly take action when needed without expecting something in return. It is why you see so many long suffering women of ALL races.

On the other hand, I tend to believe men are less likely to act on impulse to come to the assistance of anyone, whether man or woman, unless there is a clearly defined benefit to do so. They are much smarter when it comes to protecting themselves and their feelings.

But this imbalance is amplified in the black community where the women are too often regarded as mules to be used and have even been taught to accept or justify this treatment.

White women have their issues with their white male counterparts, but when it comes right down to it, they know that they are protected. That inherent belief in the continued protection of women is simply not present in the black community in 2012. That can be clearly demonstrated by looking at how black men either sat by silently or joked heartily after watching a black women get beaten and stomped by a young black male (Lil Reese) on camera. White men would not have stood for witnessing that type of crime committed against a white woman and would have called for the assailant's head.

Forgiving and Forgetting?
Sisters, forgiveness is awesome. Just about every motivational speaker, conscious leader or person of God can tell you the importance of forgiveness.


But forgetting can be dangerous. Forgetting keeps the same destructive cycles and patterns going strong. I recently read a statistic that African American women are 35% more likely to be victims of domestic violence. 35% more likely! Think about that.

Black women frequently forget how rap music has sold them down the river, and continue to listen and support it. I still see some dark-skinned black girls quoting Lil Wayne lyrics, even though he has time and time again told them they are ugly and inferior in his music.

It's not good to forget and even worse to ignore the major issues that some black women experience at the hands of some black men. Even the black men who do not perpetrate these crimes against black women are guilty, because they too often do not provide ample LOUD protection for black women and girls.


In his 1962 speech in Los Angeles, Malcolm X said "The most unprotected person in America is the black woman." He also said of his brothers, "We will kill you for our women." That is the type of loud protection I'm talking about. Something has definitely changed over the past 50 years.

Black Woman, Put Your Needs First
I still have love for black men and as the saying goes, if you truly love something you must let it go, and if it's meant to be it'll find its way back. We must let go of this knee-jerk reaction to defend black manhood at the expense of our own womanhood. Let go of that and let men be men -- allow them to figure out how they can best contribute to providing a better future for the black community, which I believe they can do.

Instead of stating this final point in a negative way I think it is much more productive to make the following positive statement: black ladies please spend more time concerning yourself with issues that affect you as a black woman and support only those men and women who show the same unwavering support for you.

Now, onto more issues that very specifically affect the empowerment, growth and encouragement of black women and girls -- the original purpose of this blog. 


Please watch the 2012 Black Girls Rock Awards on BET tonight at 7PM EST and don't ever FORGET how important YOU are!


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The video showing Lil Reese mercilessly beat on a black woman is a testament to the failure of black men to teach and instruct young black boys.

Guest Post by Sammi Jace
Follow this blogger on Twitter

Unfortunately, the dysfunctional nature of certain elements of the black community rears its ugly head again. In a video posted on YouTube a young rapper named Lil Reese is seen beating a young black woman whose home he apparently entered without permission.

Twitter Reactions
Even more disturbing than the video footage of him punching and stomping the young woman were the tweets that followed. Numerous young black males took to Twitter cheering him on, just as they did when the infamous uppercut video went viral.

I am concerned that this public abuse of black women is becoming a twisted form of entertainment for these black males. They take joy in watching defenseless black women get beaten on camera. If it goes unchecked it will become a trend.


To add to this steaming hot pile of dysfunction, a few ignorant and confused young black women on Twitter even thought that this young woman deserved to get beaten for "talking too much."
 
Where Are Black Men as Mentors? 

This question has been asked numerous times. Overall, black men have simply failed black boys in many ways -- this can no longer be disputed. Older black men who should be IMMEDIATELY correcting and teaching these boys right from wrong are either 1) cheering this behavior on or 2) remain eerily quiet either out of fear or secret agreement with the actions.

Also, it's worth noting here that angry black males like Lil Reese are usually angry at their mothers. They tend to take out their angst on women who look like their mothers. Their fathers or other men usually treat their mothers with disrespect, so they come to learn that this type of behavior is acceptable.

Is The Kenya Village Example a Viable Solution? 

Years ago I came across an article about a community of women in Kenya. The abuse and disrespect from their male counterparts became so extreme that these women broke off and created their own thriving community. The women have never been happier. The men suffered without the women present -- the women were the bread winners and kept the community alive.

Back then I thought this was an interesting and revolutionary but pretty EXTREME idea. But more and more as I witness the accepted, public abuse of black women in certain segments of the black community the more the idea sounds viable in certain cases.

If black males cannot at minimum properly respect and uphold black womanhood in certain areas of the United States, maybe it is time for black women who want more to think about starting self-sufficient communities where they can raise their daughters and young sons in peace and security until grown black men in those areas can get their act together. If this is the type of negative influence that is being spread among certain elements of black male culture -- total and utter disrespect and disgust with black womanhood -- then maybe it is time for a separation.

Regardless of your opinion in the matter, bottomline, black women and girls deserve a safe, supportive place to thrive.



-- 
Sammi Jace is a professional writer from New York who blogs as a hobby. She is a self-proclaimed "black hippie" and warrior for women's rights. Find her on Twitter.


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Jay-Z and Beyoncé please own up to how you may have had a negative impact on large segments of the younger black community.

 

I know that a lot of my followers are probably not going to want to read this post. The Jay-Z and Beyoncé fandom is strong in my network. But I would rather lose a few followers than to compromise what I believe to be the truth on any day of the week.

Jay-Z and
Beyoncé have both been high profile figures in the black community for 15 to 20 years now. That is nearly a generation of influence.


Ever since Jay-Z and Beyoncé had a child it seems that they have been taking more progressive steps as a couple. For one, they both have taken a much more noticeable role in the 2012 election campaign than they did in 2008.  Jay-Z seems to be putting forth a message to younger black people that they should be more business-minded and professional. Beyoncé has shown girls that establishing their career, getting married and THEN having kids is the ideal route. I appreciate all of that. Those messages are very much needed.

But I wonder when are Jay-Z and Beyoncé going to own up to the role that they both played in the current state of affairs in the black community?


I still remember when Jay-Z first appeared on a song with Biggie Smalls, which I believe helped to propel his rap career. Back then he spent a whole lot of time rapping about slinging crack and disrespecting women.  He bragged incessantly about the things that he had which the poor black kids in his old community could never afford in 1 million years. He gave a lot of young black boys the idea that they could grow up, become crack dealers for a while and then become as successful as he is with plenty of expensive clothes, cars and jewelry. To this day he still puts out songs with these types of messages.

Beyoncé started off her career with songs like Bootylicious and Bills Bills Bills.
Beyoncé then transitioned into a hyper-sexual entertainer who Booty-shook her way to the Grammys and great success. Her performances and outfits were not very different from exotic dancing. She, like her husband, sang songs full of verses where she bragged about name brand items like Audemar watches and designer clothing. When a young impressionable mind hears a name brand quoted by her favorite artist, she is more likely to not only learn about the item but also struggle to have one too. Just one Audemar watch (retailing for up to $40,000) could probably fill a needy neighborhood school with books or computers.  While Beyoncé seems to be a very lovely lady in other respects, I cannot ignore the bad influence that she may have had on countless young black girls who aspired to be like her.

These two have been role models for MANY young black kids -- many of whom are now grown and suffering. Those black boys who thought they could be as successful as Jay-Z by dealing crack on the streets are mostly now either in jail or dead.  Many of those young girls who thought that they could booty shake their way to success like Beyoncé are now either stripping, aspiring to be video models, or whoring themselves in other ways for the attention of men. They did not get the bank account and doting husband that their idol, Beyonce did. Instead they received the "hard knock life."

Black children need role models that not only entertain, but also encourage them to be great.
  Black and Mainstream Media Outlets

When I log onto social media I see black media outlets continually praising these two people as if they suddenly descended from heaven. No -- they have been here for many, many years and both have made questionable choices in the name of success, fame and money.

Now that they have it, are we all supposed to just forget how it happened? Are we supposed to forget their influence on the black community to love money, fame, sex and drugs above all other things?

The mainstream media does us a disservice as well. Forbes recently published a list of the top 10 most powerful black women in the world. They listed Beyoncé as the third most powerful black woman in the world behind First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey simply because she entertains. If you look at the description of Beyonce's accomplishments it's very light compared to that of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, who appears lower on the list.  With this type of influence coming in from the media it is not surprising that our young people are very confused. We teach them to praise superficial accomplishments.


Just Own Up to It

I would like to fully get behind Jay-Z and Beyonce as a black power couple now that they are putting out a positive, progressive influence. But I just can not do so until they first own up to the widespread negative influences they may have had on the black community in the past. The same goes for other black media "moguls" like Russell Simmons and 50 Cent who seem to be trying to reinvent themselves as community crusaders.

Everyone makes mistakes. I sure have - I do not claim to be perfect in any way. But when you are a high profile couple like Jay-Z and Beyonce I think you really do need to make amends for those mistakes. If you have such a far-reaching presence it is criminal not to publicly own up to how your past influences may have had an effect on the present. It may or may not save the adults in the black community who have already bought into the hype, but at least it would give the young people a fresh start and a new perspective on what is truly important in life.


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The "independent black woman" meme reveals a twisted brand of ignorance.

The new fad amongst young white people online is... mocking black women. Surprised? Of course not. Do a search on Twitter or Facebook for one of the following memes:

"I'm an independent black woman who don't need no man!"
"I'm a sassy black woman!"

Of course these memes come as a result of the countless media stories that have been published over the past few years spotlighting single black women. We can all thank the Washington Post and Dateline for helping spread the stereotype.

Also, more recently The Onion posted a mock article where an elderly black woman provides advice to whites by talking in Ebonics / a southern drawl. She's some kind of magical negro, and everyday whites are happy to express how much they love the piece, no matter how stereotypical and racist it is.

This is a special form of racism perpetrated by people who will adamantly say they AREN'T racist because they have one black friend.

Is It Worth Addressing?

Should we wage some kind of war against these proud racist voices? No. I don't think it is important enough for three reasons:

1. Whites who use these memes are lost, confused and secretly idolize black women. They want to be like black women in some way. I believe that deep down they are not happy with their own lives and identity, so they take on another. How would I look as a proud black woman going around calling myself as a dependent white woman who needs a man to survive? Even if said in jest, that would be a sign of a major problem within.

2. They are exposing themselves and don't even know it. They do not realize how making those types of public declarations in jest could affect their careers and livelihoods in the future. An example: Lesley Arfin, writer for the HBO series Girls made a snide remark about not being able to relate to the movie Precious in response to people who complained about the lack of diversity on the show. Immediately, folks went out and looked up her social media history. They found out that she retweeted one of those "I'm an independent black woman" memes. Turns out she is no longer writing for Girls, at least according to the show's creator, Lena Dunham. Now if you do a search for her name, articles about her racially insensitive joke pop up on the first couple of pages.

I call that a win -- one less white woman with stereotypical views about black women writing for a popular TV show. Bottomline, let folks like Lesley Arfin continue to expose their stereotypical beliefs online because karma has its way of finding them. Remember the case of the Greek runner who was banned from the Olympics after posting a racially insensitive tweet?


3. Do you really care what they think about you? I don't think this point needs an explanation, but if you do, why?

When It Invades Your World

Though I don't think it is useful to wage war against these independent black woman types in general, I do believe it is important for black women to take a stand if it enters your personal world. For instance, if you're at work and someone snaps her fingers and says "I'm an independent black woman" I think that you should immediately and firmly say "No, that's not cool. I find that offensive."

Don't go along with the "joke" and laugh because that's like giving that confused white person a pass to do it repeatedly and it will only get worse with time. Same thing for social media -- if one of your white followers RTs that phrase or one of you friends likes it on Facebook, either address them or unfollow them, or both. Be thankful that you now know what kind of white person that "friend" is -- one with racist, stereotypical beliefs and at the very least a racially insensitive personality. You don't need that in your life as you grow and flourish as a classy black lady.

So in summary, we clearly see that mocking "independent black women" and "sassy black women" has become a fad, but there are more important issues for black women to focus on. Look at this as a twisted form of fandom that may come back to bite them (nowadays all Tweets are saved by the Library Congress, even after being deleted). However, don't be afraid to open your mouth if it enters your personal world, or else you become complicit to the ignorance.


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Though I very much prefer to write positive articles on this blog, a story popped up today that got my blood to boiling.

A 24-year old woman was raped and beaten in Philadelphia on Aug. 29th. The monster taunted her saying that he had just given her a sexually transmitted disease. See the full story here.

This monster is still on the streets as of this posting (9/12/2012).

Too often these assault cases get swept under the rug -- especially when it involves a woman of color. And apparently this may have happened to several other women by the same monster but they didn't come forward to the police.

Who can really imagine how this woman feels, after being brutalized and violated for hours, both physically and emotionally, with no one coming to her assistance?

Well we can come to her assistance NOW.

Can I get you to stand behind this Philadelphia woman, who was brutally victimized? The monster was caught on video surveillance camera, he should be behind bars right now. If you have ANY information that could help the detectives in charge of investigating this crime please contact the Philadelphia Police department's Special Victims Unit.

Please send any and all tips/info to:

Detective Mike McGoldrick or Captain John Darby

Special Victims Unit at 215 685 3247/3252/3253/3263
Email: PPD.15_PSA1@Phila.gov
Website: http://phillypolice.com/about/contact

Spread the word. There is a reported $10,000 reward for the capture of this monster. Let justice be served for this young woman. Let her know that she's not alone in this fight. 





Tabby



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Many young black girls 15 to 25 have little to no respect for older black men. Can we really blame them?

Guest Post by Sammi Jace
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A short while ago female rap newcomer Azealia Banks dissed Jim Jones publicly in an impromptu song in retaliation for him calling her a “slore” and a number of other disrespectful names.

Jim Jones couldn’t do anything but sit back and pretend that she didn’t hit him where it hurts. If he had tried to release a comeback song not only would he be looked at as a bully for “beefing” with a 21-year-old young woman he would have also probably lost a rap battle to a 21-year-old young woman. Azealia is a raw talent—she would have probably slaughtered him lyrically.

Then Funkmaster Flex, who has been continually accused of attacking female artists while giving male artists a pass, attacked Azealia Banks on the radio in defense of Jim Jones and she ripped him a new one as well.


The first thing that came to my mind was the lyric "Now they’re grown and they're sh***ng on you." Whoever said that—it escapes me at the moment—was telling the truth.

Many black young women of today ages 15 to 25 grew up not knowing many or even any positive images of black men. All they see are ignorant rappers and other black male entertainers who don’t show women their proper respect.

Deep down I believe they resent their absent fathers and other men who they feel have never been there in their time of need. So when a black male like Jim Jones or Funkmaster Flex pops up displaying all of the negative attributes that these young black women have become accustomed to seeing from black men in their communities, respect is no longer a factor. If you disrespect them, these young black girls, especially the ones who have a platform, are going to come at your head, no matter your age, position or station in life.

I think the women who grew up in my era, the 28 and above cluster, still had a few positive black man role models, whether they were fathers, uncles, brothers or entertainers. This new generation, not so much.

Many young black women who grew up in the aftermath of the crack era, most of whom had absent fathers are very angry. They know nothing but contempt for black males, especially the ones who are older than them. They have no real respect for these men, but can we really blame them?

Black girls tend to be extremely intelligent and street savvy. They catch onto trends, hard lessons and the realities of life very quickly. Some were molested as children. Others were victims of physical or mental abuse. They have never had a loving black man in their lives so they don’t know how to love or receive love from black men. Their very essence as black little girls is attacked from every angle in the media and who comes to their rescue? Save for a few black women who are vocal in the community no one really.

So can anyone be surprised if they come of age and start to make a hobby out of disrespecting and disregarding black men as unimportant?

I predict that this reality will become more pronounced as the years go on unless more strong positive black male voices (yes we know you're out there) start to make their presence known in the community and show support to black women and girls instead of staying church-mouse-quiet when their younger sisters are attacked or threatened.

Until then expect many more Azealia Banks' on the horizon.




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The experiences and struggles of American black women and Afro-Latina women are very different and should not be blurred together haphazardly.

When Evelyn Lozada, a proud Puerto Rican female, was involved in a domestic dispute with her 40-day-old husband Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) I heard more than a few people say something to the effect of "ughh, those black women!"

Errr excuse me? Since when does Evelyn Lozada or any of the millions of women of Hispanic heritage in the United States suddenly qualify as black women in the traditional sense? Oh right, only when they act "ratchet" or trifling right? In any other case they are called (and clearly call themselves) Latinas.

The experience of black women and Latina women in America are different. We come from a different culture, though they are sometimes intertwined. If you've ever been to a Dominican beauty salon you know this reality all too well.

While I have love for my Afro-Latina sisters, some gladly take advantage of black culture while not actually experiencing the nuances of black culture. Evelyn Lozada is one such example. Rocsi Diaz of BET's 106 & Park fame is another. But when you put the situation in reverse, you'll be hard pressed to find a black American woman taking a Latina woman's role in anything. How about Mary J. Blige as Selena? I think not.

Jimmy Iovine & Cynthia Mort: Replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone .
Nina Simone
Now in more recent news, a biopic on Nina Simone, a proud regal beautiful dark-skinned black woman, has been planned. Lo and behold they've decided to cast a Latina woman, Zoe Saldana, for the role. She is the lovely actress who starred in the movie Columbiana.

I think it's time we stand up and clarify this reality. The fact that a director felt it appropriate to cast a lighter-skinned Latina woman to play a very dark-skinned black woman from the American South is a problem. 

The experience of Afro-Latina women is simply not the same as black American women in this country. When people bash black women as a whole, Latina women don't usually feel personally offended by it. We should not be made to "accept" someone who cannot relate to our unique culture, struggles and experiences to play an important black historical role.

A petition is making it's rounds, which I have gladly signed. True to my promise, I am happy to make a stand and show support when my sisters (and brothers) stand up on important social issues. I hope you'll feel the same and add your signature to the quickly growing list (currently at 941 supporters):


Jimmy Iovine & Cynthia Mort: Replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simon




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The mainstream media used Gabby Douglas' hair to distract from her accomplishments, and some of ya'll helped.

Guest Post by Sammi Jace
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Surely by now you’ve heard of the Gabby Douglas hair “controversy.” Certain media publications somehow made it into a major news story.

Now more recently in a Washington Post article, the same publication that really brought Gabrielle Douglas' hair to the forefront, they are reporting on how Gabby seems zapped and not her normal self in competition. They blame it on people talking about her hair, her mom and her family.

Photo courtesy Wiki Commons

No Washington Post. The real problem is YOU and all of the other news sites that have sensationalized Gabby Douglas’ hair and personal life so that you could make a story that gets clicks.

But most of all I’m a little disappointed in some of my sisters. Haven’t you learned anything yet from the BWE blogiverse or from four years of having Michelle Obama as our first lady?

The media clearly concocted that story about this young black girl’s hair as a way to distract from her success and you fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

How a Non-Story Becomes a Story

It all started with an article by a Yahoo! Shine blogger named Lylah M. Alphonse who posted a few tweets from hair haters. A grand total of three tweets. (By the way, if you are at all familiar with Yahoo! Shine, it is a blogging platform where ANYONE can post their thoughts.)

Then Goldie Taylor, a journalist with a fairly large following, posted a falsehood on Twitter about black women and hair pointed to the black women who were dissing Gabby’s hair. She commented that CDC statistics show the number one reason why black women don’t work out is because of their hair. That statement was retweeted on Twitter hundreds of times but Taylor couldn’t come up with any data to back it up.

By then the newspaper sites and blogs (yes even black ones like Global Grind and Clutch) had grabbed the baton from the "hair defenders" and off they went. So many blogs popped up “in defense of” Gabby’s hair. The Washington Post is one of the biggest culprits, publishing numerous pieces about her hair like this one and this one.

Their loud attempts at "defending" her hair backfired, because it only ended up potentially hurting this girl instead of helping. All the talk might have gotten in her head during the remaining competitions and she didn't do as well. Congratulations. She probably wouldn’t have even noticed the comments about her hair had not these news sites and journalists MADE it into a mainstream issue.

Now whenever Gabby’s name comes up in a story they almost always reference her hair. Thanks to people who made all of that noise about nothing.

Just as they did with Michelle Obama and countless other overachieving black women, they just had to attach some sort of stereotypical story to this black girl to bring her down to size. And some of ya’ll helped.

Gabby Will Be Just Fine

I would like to commend T. F. Charlton who submitted a very well-written opinion piece for Ebony airing out the truth of what happened to Gabby Douglas. It’s refreshing to know that some journalists are still on their job.

Regardless of what the media says Gabby will be alright. And she doesn’t need anyone’s praise, accolades or faux "defending" in order to continue with her success. I wrote this article because I feel that sunlight is the best disinfectant -- it's important that we start to hold these media sources and journalists accountable when they publicize overblown stories that could potentially hurt a 16-year-old child.

To my black sisters all I ask is that you think twice before you jump on the next media bandwagon. Watch closely to see how a non-story becomes a story. They do not care about you—they only care about the story.


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It's up to you, black parents, to get your kids to stop listening to ignorant rap music that could negatively affect their perceptions of life, education and loving others.

File:Brianamariaah.jpgI have had the pleasure of mentoring two beautiful young black girls.  At times I felt as if I was talking to a brick wall when I talked to them. They’d just sit there and nod. But years later I realized that a lot of those things I told them actually sunk in.

One of the themes of my talks with them was to please be more discriminating about their music choices, particularly rap music. I was very impressed when years later one of my young girls, age 10, told me that she isn’t interested in most of the popular rappers of today!

If you’re sitting there right now saying to yourself “there’s no point in even trying that with my kid, he/she is addicted to rap music” then my question to you is when did you give up? Why did you give up? 

No disrespect but let’s talk in real terms—we are the adults, the bosses in our households. As a parent, the head of your household, you're charged with guiding your young ones in the right way so that they won’t become victims of society. The fact is that ignorant rap music has been aiding in the destruction of the black community and the minds of young kids for many years now. It is time to take a stand. Here are 5 tips for how to wean your black kids off of negative rap music

1. Ask your kids what they think and why. Kids like to be treated like respected regarded human beings just like anyone else. Ask them what they think about hip hop and its effect or influence on people? Is it a good or bad influence and why?

Also, ask them flat out “are you a leader or a follower?” If you’re a leader, why are following behind what your friends listen to without investigating new music on your own?

2. Let them listen to your music. Sometimes simply exposing the young ones to something different from the c/rap that they hear every day on the radio is enough to get them interested in other or older music.

3. School them on the lyrics. Pick one of the most depraved rap songs you can think of, do a search for the lyrics online, print them out and highlight certain lines. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. 

Sit down with your child for about an hour and discuss what these lyrics actually mean. Also, talk to them about the music industry and the recent history of blacks being brainwashed (1990s and later). If you need a guideline try a book like Toward the Destruction of a Nigger Mentality, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth documentary or something similar. Even if she sits there with a bored look on her face as if she’s in school, don’t be discouraged—keep talking. They’re listening. Remember point #1: ask them what they think because their opinions do matter.

4. Expose them to more positive music from the 90s. If your child is addicted to rap and not open to other musical styles, expose him or her to more positive rap music. Back in the 90s hip hop had more progressive and revolutionary themes. For instance, while he was living Tupac was maligned by the media as a worthless common thug and he was certainly no saint. But if you REALLY listen to some of his songs he was a revolutionary rapper who wanted positive change in his community. When exposed to his music kids of today can still relate to him. Which would you rather hear coming from your kid’s room: Cashing Out by a cartoonish minstrel show rapper singing about making money off of drugs or Unconditional Love by Tupac, a song about the love he has for various people in his life. Here is a list of some other positive rap songs from the past.

5. Bribe them. When all else fails, bribe them. I've learned firsthand that bribing works with kids! Tell them that if they go one whole week without listening to rap music you’ll give them $50. Monitor their playlists. The amount goes up with each additional week. They can listen to whatever other songs they want (suggest some, again see #2 and #4). As time goes on they might just start to see their music choices differently and find inspiration in other songs even after the money incentives end.

Whether these tips work or not, the point is that you made your best effort to wean your child off of ignorant rap music that could be negatively affecting his or her perceptions of life. The earlier you start the better!





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Azealia Banks has found success in the music industry by being herself--a black woman who is happy in her own skin. Note to black rappers everywhere.


Azealia Banks is about to be a major mainstream star. It is partially due to her amazing talent and partially because she is very smart and has marketing savvy.

She knows her target audience.

You can say what you want about Azealia Banks—some like to call her potty-mouthed and a brat who can’t shut up. But really she is a smart, confident and opinionated young woman. She is smart enough to know her audience and appeal to the people who are most likely to support her music with an actual purchase: black women and white males. Her songs come off as her basically making a stand and saying she’s an independent black woman who doesn't care what anyone thinks about her (OR her weave).

And unlike other black female rappers, she also doesn’t have a problem blatantly rapping about white boys in her music (see the song Liquorice). And they love it.

Surprisingly she has even been capturing the white girl market. Not a day goes by on Twitter when you don’t see a young white girl stating how much she loves and wants to get it on with Ms. Banks.

I find it outstandingly ironic that Azealia Banks is capturing the white kid audience by being herself (a beautiful dark-skinned black woman) while many black male rappers have been trying for so long to capture this same market by either trying to be white (ala one blond and pink wig wearing "barbie" from the "hood"), praising whites in their music (white girl this and that) or exclusively appealing to white ideals. 

This 21 year old black girl went in guns a blazing and fearlessly grabbed that white audience along with the very lucrative, little appreciated black woman audience without much effort in just a couple of years.

Also take the new white rapper Iggy Azalea. The rapper T.I. invested a whole lot of energy into making this girl a hit, but I am willing to bet he’s starting to realize that she doesn’t really have a BUYING audience—just a little popularity for the "novelty." Black women and white men are a large segment of the music-buying populace and I don’t see either throwing down dollars to see a white girl who is clearly trying to be “down.”

Regardless of any personal opinions I might have of some of Ms. Banks’ lyrics and referring to herself as a “witch” (just can’t co-sign that type of stuff) I must applaud her fearlessness and refusal to come into the music industry trying to “fit in” as something she is not. Congratulations on having success by just being and celebrating who you are.


Submitted by Sammi Jace


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Black people sure love to talk and politick, but when it’s time to take affirmative action it’s mostly just *crickets*.


I saw the uproar coursing through the black community at the recent GwynethPaltrow situation. To summarize, she used the N-word and a bunch of black rappers/rap profiteers including Nas, The Dream and Russell Simmons came running to her assistance, slapping black people in the face. Jay Z, Beyonce and Kanye West were quiet as church mice.

The complaints from black folk were nothing I haven’t already said time and time again on this blog…

They’re sell outs!

They’re hurting the black community!

They’re trying to please white people over their own people!

I also heard “Someone should start a petition about this!” more than a few times.

I decided to answer that last call. I went ahead and put a petition up (took all of five minutes). It was titled “Jay Z Nas Rappers et al Don’t Speak for the Black Community.” I posted it on my Twitter timeline and a few of the sites where people are commenting on the issue. Then I came back about 8 hours later….

Still not one signature besides mine.

Then I thought about it — we have countless high profile actors, actresses, gurus, “conscious” rappers, authors, magazine editors, scientists, doctors, news pundits and such in the black community. Why can’t they be the ones to get a movement started? They not only have the fan base to get things going, they also have the money and resources to sustain it!

But they choose to sit silent. Do nothing. They just want to comment about stuff from time to time on Twitter. Big deal! 

Then they and the politicking crew will probably go and bump Jay Z and Kanye’s song “Niggas in Paris” in their cars on the way home.

I started a petition against Pepsi and its little racist Superbowl commercial over a year ago. Do you know the petition STILL hasn’t reached its initial goal of just 1,000 signatures? And to be honest I think the only reason it was as successful as it was (getting hundreds of signatures in a few weeks) was because white feminists got a hold of the story. Yet you heard countless black women complaining about the commercial throughout the internet. Countless news stories on the issue. I’m certain there were more than 1,000 black women interested in that issue, or am I wrong?

I don’t make any money off of this site, barely enough to cover hosting fees. I do this from the strength, because I really do care about black people. But I have to wonder sometimes if putting out this information is really making any difference.

So I decided to delete the petition. I’m going to for once sit back and let someone else make "it" happen. I’ll be waiting and 100% willing. When ya’ll are ready to do something instead of just talking about it, you just let me know. I’ll get behind it not only with talk on this blog but actual action.

Remember the MEDIA IS POWERFUL.




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