Popular black media -- TV, magazines, blogs, new sites -- you're not helping.

One of my ongoing messages for this blog is for black women to understand the true power of the media. I think that we should retain control over our own images and publish our own stories.

It turns out the saying "your skin folk ain't always your kinfolk" is true for more than just individual people. It's also true when it comes to what we refer to as popular "black media."

A number of black media sites who should be lifting up positive images of black people spend most of their time publishing embarrassing or petty stories about black people (mostly women) instead (pssst, Sharkeisha). They laugh at the silly "negroes" acting a fool while publishing flattering pictures, stories and goings on about non-blacks.

By the way, black media includes blogs, news sites, magazines and television shows.

It Started with the MTV Awards
In case you haven't noticed it yet, "they" (meaning the media powers that be) have been trying to push white artists who appropriate, a.k.a. steal, black music to the forefront this year (2013).

They did this successfully with rock & roll folks -- it isn't new. The average person on the street thinks Elvis invented rock & roll.

MTV produced an entire awards show where white artists like Macklemore, Eminem, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and of course Justin Timberlake came out as "winners" over their brown-skinned counterparts/originators.

Now while watching the 2013 Soul Train Awards I noticed that they listed Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke as "soul singers" and dedicated an entire segment to "blue eyed soul."

Wait what?

I watched The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross special and one story it touched on was how Soul Train was probably the first televised representation of black people being creative and cool. It was one of the first representations of black people in a positive light on television in the midst of countless televised media celebrating white beauty, music, acting and art at that time.

So I can't help but feel a bit of a shock when I see Justin Timberlake celebrated on the Soul Train Awards in 2013 as "soul." 

I think they are trying to quietly, slowly, wash black people out of the picture as the originators of R&B/soul music.

Black Media - Constantly Reaching  
Now even though I may not be a fan of most of the artists mentioned above, I do respect the right for any artist to pursue whatever genre he or she desires. And certain white artists are very talented.

But let's face it -- black media (sites, blogs, TV) do a whole lot of REACHING on the behalf of mostly mediocre white artists, celebs and media don't they?

I get it. The majority of what we call "black media" is in the pocket of wealthy white media enterprises (who think most black people are stupid and easily brainwashed) so they will publish whatever they think will make some money and keep their outlets on the "up and up."

But isn't the purpose of "black media" to give voice to black artists who aren't heard much anywhere else? 

At what point do we as black women and the black community in general reject these "black" media outlets when they really take it there? How far will we allow them to reach on behalf of black culture and speak it out into the world?

Are we going to just internalize the idea that Justin Timberlake has revolutionized "soul" music? Or are we going to retain our claim on our image, our culture and our art?

I obviously say option 2: but how do we do that? 

We have to publish more positive black stories and financially support positive black artists.

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Black women, it's time we fully claim our VICTORY.

As I learn and grow, I'm taking this blog in another direction. I want it to be more focused on empowering ourselves and less about the negative nonsense going on in the news.

The original purpose of my blog was to challenge all of the black woman hate in news cycles and social media that started right after President and First Lady Obama took office in 2008. ClassyBlackLady.com and a number of other black woman empowerment blogs took our positions and boldly challenged all of the negative media messages that were being spread about black women. It was a battle of my choosing and I'm glad that I took it on -- something needed to be said.

And guess what, as I predicted we were victorious in that fight. The negative voices out there that were maligning black women thought they could break us, but we only got stronger, deeper, smarter and even more resilient. Now the truth is out -- black women are not the ignorant, unhealthy, unloveable, unattractive, self-hating, undateable asexual beings the negative media would have liked the world to believe.

On the contrary, we're highly educated (record numbers attending college), we're ultra date able and marriageable (IF that's what we choose to do) to all groups of men, our girls rock, countless sisters wear their hair natural and proud thanks to the natural hair revolution, we're heroes (hello Antoinette Tuff) and we love ourselves to pieces no matter what anyone else thinks. Black women are awesome.

Life As a Victor, Not a Victim
Now I think it is time for us to start living and acting like the victorious women we are and to toss aside the victim mentality that holds so many people back from achieving true greatness in life.

Black woman: you are not a victim; you are victorious. Let that sink in. Let it permeate your being and become your whole and complete truth. Live it.

That means you can walk down the street boldly and fiercely, unmoved by what other people may think or say. That means you can pursue your dream, no matter what that is, knowing that you are destined for success no matter what the bank or a hater tells you. That means that you can reach for the stars in every area of your life, no longer plagued with limiting beliefs.

You are limitless and no one defines you BUT you. Claim your success. You are NOT a victim; you are VICTORIOUS.

The Classy Black Lady

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Sheryl Underwood's comments hit a nerve, but will it cause some black folks to openly admit to themselves that they still hold onto these beliefs about hair?


One definition of programming, as it pertains to people is:

"The act of creating something by thinking"

Black people have been programmed to hate their hair and other God-given Afro features.

Like other sisters and brothers I was struck by the ignorant comments made by Sheryl Underwood on her mainstream talk show regarding natural black Afro hair. It was especially concerning being that she was the Grand Basileus (Head Lady in Charge) of a respected 90-year-old African American sorority that was founded on admirable principles, including self-love and sisterhood.

She was rightly checked for those comments and has since apologized (which I personally accept). But I must ask: were her words very far off from what many black people HONESTLY believe about their natural growing hair?

Can You Admit it?
Many of us have been programmed from a very young age to believe that white and all things white are right -- that includes having long "silky" straight hair and lighter skin. If you had the GAUL to be anything other than what God made you then you were teased or made to feel inferior, sometimes by your very own family members.

Many of us (me included!) can remember being placed in that chair as a youngster and having our hair straightened with the hot comb. Every little bit, even the edges had to be perfectly straight and "laid." It's no wonder that many of us (me included!) grew up thinking that straight white-like hair was the ideal.

As we grew older we started to have our hair permed, starting with kiddie perms and progressing to the real thing.

We endured painful scalp burns to ensure that we got all "them naps."

((Side note: On what planet is this normal?))

Then came weaves. Once the hair was permed so much that it began to break off, some black women simply began to wear weaves to cover-up the "problem."

But where did all of this come from? This belief that our hair has to be bone straight in order to be pretty?

I believe it's a generational curse passed down from our elders. Our elders (both men and women) taught us that white is right, because that's all they knew. This idea is also reinforced by images that we see in the media every day. How many black women do you see on TV wearing their hair in a natural Afro vs straight hair? Almost every high profile black woman in entertainment has straightened or weaved hair.

Now that both men and women have been programmed to believe Afro hair is ugly, they think that they must straighten their hair in order to be desirable.

Wake Up Call?
Though I was disturbed by Sheryl Underwood's antics on mainstream daytime television (the white audience and hosts who laughed and agreed surely aren't off the hook), I am thankful for an opportunity for us to further discuss why some of us still dislike our natural hair. Isn't it ironic that a lot of people who were openly offended by her comments have straightened hair? Maybe this is a Sankofa moment.

It's deep. It goes back generations. Countless black hairstylists throughout the years have earned their keep from it. Even Malcolm X fell prey to it at a time in his life.

And before we act like this is just a black woman problem, lets talk about why a lot of black men either cut their hair very low or cover it with a du-rag to make it look "wavy." Why are they ashamed to grow their hair out a little the way that men of other ethnicities do? Why are they ashamed to show off their "crown and glory?"

Not to mention, while doing some research for this article I found out that it was a black MAN, Garrett Morgan, who created relaxers to straighten black men's hair.

This is a black PEOPLE problem.

It's one thing to have a straightened hairstyle because you honestly believe it fits your face best. It's another to do it to conform OR because you deeply despise your own hair. Hating your natural hair is no different from hating your natural skin tone.

There's nothing wrong with US, I think there's something wrong with the way that we THINK about certain things.

The brainwashing and programming can be fixed with education and inspiration from black people who have learned to love their natural hair and teach these self-love principles to their children.

Here is an example of how you do that.

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Angry complaints about not being included in white media, culture or conversations doesn't help. Taking affirmative action does.

This post might ruffle a few feathers, but hey, what positive change ever happens without that? 

I continue to quietly observe trends in black woman world. Why? Simple, because I love black women, and I really want us to enjoy the success and respect that we deserve as a dynamic group of women.

One thing that I have noticed after a while is that a lot of the young black feminist and womanist voices seem to be stuck on constantly comparing or weighing our black woman experience with that of white women.

The current war cry seems to be "it's just not fair!"

But is this the right way to go about dealing with the constant slights that black women obviously experience in the media and in every day life?

Some Examples
For instance, there was a Miley Cyrus twerking "scandal." Black women were upset that this young white girl was the one who suddenly made twerking mainstream, when black women have been doing it in clubs probably for decades.

I can't count how many times I've seen a story about this girl Miley in Black social media conversations and on sites designed for black women since the MTV awards. What's ironic is that we're giving her more relevance while white media is pretty much disgusted by her behavior and really just wants her to go away. Never mind that the girl pretty much made an absolute fool of herself on stage, playing into stereotypes of oversexualized women.

But some of us still want to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that black women were the ones who created an overtly sexual dance emulating the act of bouncing up and down on... well you know what it is.

Then there was the recent twitter hashtag #SmartBlackWomenofTwitter

The concept is much needed. The basis of the hashtag is questionable. When I found out that the hashtag was simply a response to a white publication leaving black women out of their list of smart women I was a little disturbed by that.

Then there was that whole thing with the TV show Girls. The producers decided that only white girl transplants to Brooklyn would be represented in their show (hello, Sex and the City was pretty much the same concept, and we all still watch it to this day) and some sisters had a problem with that. Why? There are a number of black web series starring mostly black people that we could watch and support instead if that really bothers us.

Another case was the #SolidarityIsforWhiteWomen hashtag. Yes, we all know that it is true, but do you really think that white feminists give a damn? And if they did, what can they do about it other than patronizingly pat us on our heads and then continue to enjoy their current privileges in society?

Sorry guys, but this is all starting to sound a whole lot like certain black voices are still begging to be a part of the "popular" kids club when we really should be concentrating on creating our OWN exclusive and extensive club of cool kids. Come on now, we are the originators of cool, so why do we want to be in someone else's club so badly in the first place?

What's the End Game?
Let me be clear. I don't disagree with raising a ruckus when black women are missing from the conversation. What I disagree with is the ultimate goal of the conversation AND to whom we are directing our grievances.

Instead of complaining to WHITE publications, producers and movies about not including us in their stuff we should be voicing these concerns to EACH OTHER. We should be directing our grievances and ideas to other black women who are in a position of influence -- women who can help bring more of our positive, inspirational and interesting stories to light. That includes powerful women like Mara Brock Akil,
Amy DuBois Barnett (the editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine, heck, even Oprah, as well as influential black film makers and the countless black woman bloggers that reach millions of black readers across the world every month.

We also should be talking about pooling our resources and talents to create more black production companies and media outlets that address our specific needs. Can you say Kickstarter? Look at what Spike Lee just did. 

To get what you want, you put your money and resources into what you believe in rather than expending all your energy complaining about what you don't want.

One thing is for sure, simply complaining about an issue isn't going to help anything. There needs to be a meaningful goal and affirmative action behind the complaint in order to make a positive change.

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This is a simple call to action. Dragging Russell Simmons on Twitter isn't enough. He doesn't get away with disrespecting Harriet Tubman's image and legacy.

In the past I've been vocal on Twitter whenever Russell Simmons tweets something that I believe is completely hypocritical, considering his affiliations and his legacy. He pretends to be some kind of civil rights leader when he is partly responsible for the ignorance that is rampant in the black community and hip hop culture. In fact, he still profits off of the ignorance. 

Russell Simmons is certainly no Malcolm X. Malcolm X did dirt in his youth, but he admitted his wrongs and overcame them for the good of the community.


Russell Simmons is also NO Harriet Tubman. That's for sure. Harriet put her very life on the line time after time to save black people.

I took a few days to process the Harriet Tubman video release and subsequent outrage. I like to take a little while to observe before blogging on an issue like this. The video depicted one of my sheros, Harriet Tubman, in one of the most despicable ways you can ever depict a woman.

And Russell Simmons really thought it was hilarious! If this is how he feels about a black woman ICON, imagine how he feels about your average black woman walking the streets.

He found the video hilarious, just like many black men found the video of a young black woman being beaten and kicked by one of his proteges, Lil Reese, hilarious. 

Do you see a trend here? Black women as objects of amusement rather than actual people. That's what women are upset about.

So What Are You Going to DO About It?
I've read a few great articles written by black woman feminists and womanists on the matter, including this one. I've observed the many conversations on Twitter and am glad to see that the overwhelming majority of black people didn't like seeing Harriet Tubman depicted in that light.

But I must ask. What are you going to about it now?

After the trending topics and Twitter draggings fade away, what is really going to happen to Russell Simmons? He's still rich, and that's all that really matters to guys like him, so getting verbally cursed out by an army of women and thoughtful brothers doesn't really phase him.

How long are we going to sit by idly as he and others continue to make money off of the ugliest aspects of black American culture?

A Call to Action

So I've decided to do my part, by using my platform to open up a serious discussion: what can we do to organize effectively against Russell Simmons and those similar to him?

All Rick Ross had to do was utter a few disrespectful lines to get the women's group, Ultraviolet, to step up and get his Reebook stripes snatched.

So what serious actions can black women groups, bloggers, writers, activists take after having Harriet Tubman's legacy sullied?

A few simple ideas I'd propose:
1) Do not purchase or support anything related to the Russell Simmons brand (that includes Def Jam, Def Poetry, Phat Farm, RUSH Cards and especially All Def Digital)

2) Do not click any Global Grind links, even when they're juicy stories (just do a search for the title -- chances are someone else has posted it)

3) Do not listen to or support any music artists that Russell Simmons gets the stamp of approval from.

I think this is a start. What other actions would you suggest?

Ladies, we're smart, innovative and dynamic. I'm sure we can think of something.

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The rates of suicide among black women are the lowest of any group. Why is this so, and why doesn't anyone want to talk about why it is so?

While driving around today, I got to thinking about why it is that despite all of the challenges we face and lack of privileges, black women are the least likely (by leaps and bounds) to give up on life and choose to commit suicide compared to other groups?

White males have the most privileges of all groups in the United States, but they are by far the most likely to sink so deeply into misery that they choose to take their own lives. How can you have so many privileges but still have such a negative viewpoint of life?

The Stats

I've discussed this briefly on my blog in the past, but I feel that it needs to be highlighted again. The stats are amazing, to say the least, and I'm really surprised that the mainstream media doesn't talk about these concerning stats more. At the very least they should be investigating solutions. I guess it's because these statistics, for once, place black women in a positive light, and that doesn't fit with the media's "formula."

Here are the facts:

(Out of 100,000 people)

The rate for white men is 25.96%

The rate for white women is 6.71%
The rate for black men is ~11%
The rate for black women is ~ 2%

Doesn't that extremely high rate for white men concern anyone? Men in general have higher rates than women, so maybe the media should discuss their problems more and investigate these stats in more detail.

(And ironically, despite these statistics women are still called the "weaker sex.")

Seriously, think about this. Being black and a woman in America comes with a number of disadvantages compared to being white and a man in America. Black women are constantly slandered for being what God made us, while white men (and women) sit on a pedestal for the most part. They get the benefit of the doubt for everything from walking into a store to shop, to getting a job, while black women are instantly judged negatively for everything based on what people see in the media.

So how do you explain these suicide rates?


There are three main theories that can explain this phenomena.

1) With additional societal pressure to be perfect due to the privileges that they enjoy, white males become devastated and can't deal with the disappointment when they don't measure up to their peers.

2) Lack of an upbringing that discourages suicide OR there isn't enough of a belief in what could happen in the Afterlife.

3) Black women are simply stronger and more resilient in the face of life's challenges than other groups.

I believe that all of these theories play a part in why black women have the lowest suicide rates, but I lean toward the third to explain most of these results. Black women are just more resilient in the face of adversity. 

It may be our hard past, the way we were raised, being used to struggle, belief in God or the strong encouragement/legacy of our ancestors pushing us on, but the fact of the matter is that we do what we have to do. We keep going.

Black Women Are Ridiculed for Being Strong, But Is it Just Admiration in Disguise?

Though this important fact is swept under the rug and not publicized as much as stories about "why black women are overweight" or "why black women are single," I think it is a major accomplishment that black women simply do not allow the pressures of life to force them to commit such a sad and final act as suicide.

So the next time someone ridicules black women for being "too strong" or "too independent," I will just look at it as an expression of admiration. Instead of making fun of a black woman, maybe you can learn something from her. 

Maybe it would help to experience the struggles of a black woman to truly appreciate the value of life and also to learn how to rise above the madness.

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Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, aired on BET to mostly rave reviews. The television series airs in January 2014.

I had the pleasure of watching the first airing of the show Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union as newscaster Mary Jane Paul, on BET.
Being Mary Jane / BET

Let me just get right down to it -- overall, I was impressed. Kudos to Mara Brock Akil and crew.

I was impressed by the production quality. I was impressed by the acting and the sequencing of events. I was impressed by the honesty and vulnerability shown in Mary Jane's character. And I was also impressed by the way the show's writers and producers managed to fit so many issues into one hour-and-a half-long show without it seeming rushed and trite.

There were a few moments that stood out to me, some that I could relate to, some that I am glad I don't have to deal with (but definitely sympathize):

Grown People Without Jobs
I'm sure I wasn't alone in being shocked and disgusted at the scene where Mary Jane stood in a house full of grown people, some over 40, none of whom had a job. The brother, the brother's wife/girlfriend, the other brother, the father, the sister... not a one could raise their hands to say they had employment and didn't seem a bit ashamed about it. Yet the young girls of the family were continually popping out babies they couldn't support, leaving the brunt of the responsibility with Mary Jane. Sadly, this is a reality in too many black homes -- one person (usually a woman) providing care for many different adults and kids.

The Grown Brother Asking for Money
I also found myself shaking my head at the scene where Mary Jane's grown brother Patrick boldly asked her for $500. That fact that it was later revealed that the money was for buying his pregnant teen daughter a stroller did not move me one bit.

As a grown man, he should not be looking to anyone but himself to take care of his responsibilities, including his daughter. Instead of sitting on the couch watching television, he should have been working on a plan to bring additional income into the home now that another family member was on the way. His wife/girlfriend should be contributing as well if she's eating up the family's food and spending all her time at the family house.

The Elaborate Baby Shower
After watching this show, I can totally understand why some parents refuse to throw their pregnant teens big baby showers.

The baby shower that Mary Jane threw for her misguided niece looked almost like a wedding party. Is it any wonder that young girls romanticize the idea of having children out of wedlock when they have a big baby shower to look forward to? Add to that, the baby's father disrespected Mary Jane in her home instead of being thankful that someone was taking care of his problem. Mary Jane should not have given in. The cycle continues of rewarding bad behavior.

The Non-Reciprocal Support

The hardest part about watching Being Mary Jane was seeing Gabrielle Union's character come home to a beautiful yet very empty house.

After spending her day fighting everyone else's battles, helping her family out and doing her job (basically, what a smart responsible woman does) she goes home to NO ONE. No one (not even her needy, lazy family members) calling her to see if she's okay, no one checking in to see how she's doing, no one offering to come over and cook her a meal or help put icing on one of her cakes. This one hit home for me personally, but I have struggled with this reality for some time.

"What did being a 'good girl' do for me exactly?"

I have asked that question many times. I can definitely relate to the character on this one.


A few voices on Twitter expressed the opinion that the show is again perpetuating stereotypes -- Mary Jane as the overbearing, successful yet lonely black woman.

But I don't completely agree. I think the show it is telling a true story for the first time of what a lot of "invisible" hardworking black women go through daily. They care for family, make strange sacrifices in the name of love and put themselves second to just about everyone. I find it encouraging that the story of these "invisible" black women is finally being told, and in such a refreshing and somewhat humorous way.

I think the show is a positive step not because black women like Mary Jane want the sympathy of others, but because we can clearly see that we're not alone. So many successful black woman voices revealed that they can relate to what Gabrielle Union's character was going through. It opens a discussion about how we can finally put ourselves first instead of putting everything and everyone else before our own happiness.

The only thing I don't like about the show is how it seems to be completely focused on a black woman's ongoing search for a good black man. The main character is so obsessed with finding a man that she can't even enjoy her success. But maybe this will change as the series goes on.

Again, overall I am very pleased with the production and storyline of Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union and am looking forward to tuning into the full series in January 2014. My only hope is that it will not only show Mary Jane's pain, but also offer some SOLUTIONS for black women who find themselves in these predicaments.



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Is singing the praises of white men a solution for black women, or a major distraction from the basic ideals of black woman empowerment?

As I've mentioned on many occasions, I am an avid social media observer. One of the many trends I've noticed is of young black girls and grown women expressing their undying love for white men (who some often refer to as "white boys") online.

In some cases I would definitely equate it to outright worship, and after much thought, I think it is counterproductive. Whenever you worship something or someone who is just a fellow human being, something is off. These young women seem to think that loudly singing the praises of anonymous white men online will somehow improve their love lives.

While I agree that the relations between black women and black men are severely lacking and desperately in need of repair, I must chime in and post that from an empowerment standpoint, worshiping white men (or any color of man) as the saviors to black women is hardly the answer.

Publicly worshiping any man of any color and putting him on a pedestal is just not a good thing -- especially if you still have issues with self-love and self-acceptance.

About Men 

Men are men. They all have similar goals (sex, comfort, eventual peace of mind, among other goals) they just go about achieving those things in different ways. Some men choose to show respect to women from the start and give them what they want in order to have a comfortable life (the smart ones). Others choose to play the field well into their 40s or 50s until their options have run out and then scramble to find a decent non-gold-digging woman to take care of them (good luck with that!). Others just give up on women, opting to abuse, cheat on and mistreat them for life until they wither away, alone and bitter.

One thing is for certain -- these various types of men exist in every race. But again, they just might go about achieving these various goals in different ways.

The key to finding love is attracting the RIGHT type of guy in your life, regardless of his skin tone. He may wine and dine you at first or tell you everything that you want to hear, but if his ultimate goal is impure there is a problem there.

A few young black girls and women seem to have become so desperate for attention from men that they will latch onto anyone that shows black women attention. From my observations, many white men suddenly seem very interested in having a black woman in their lives. But as it is with any type of man, you need to be aware of their real intentions and motivations -- are they honorable or based on wanting a girl with a "big booty."

Towards Empowerment and Self-Love
The title of this blog post may raise some eyebrows, but maybe they need to be raised sooner rather than later. The main point of this post is to boldly state that "white boy worship" is not a smart idea. If you happen to find a white man who loves you wholly, honestly and purely then hold on tight. Get married, have babies and enjoy every bit of that love that comes your way! But don't give every anonymous white guy who has a sudden taste for black women the idea that you are now dependent on their love, attention and acceptance. If you do, you are setting yourself up to be used, taken for granted and disappointed as is the case with any man of any color.

The other point of this post: learn how to love yourself before you attempt to love anyone else.

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Many young people tweet all of their waking hours -- could this obsessive activity be holding them back from achievement?

As a self-proclaimed social media observer, I spend about an hour of my day searching social media sites for trends, interesting topics and conversations. In other words I'm a proud "Twatcher" (hey, if you don't want the public to know what you're tweeting about you shouldn't be publicly tweeting!)

While twatching I frequently find myself right in the middle of what they call #BlackTwitter .

On Black Twitter you can see all types of personalities, from the wannabe online comedians who would say just about anything for a LOL, to young women squeezing their boobs together to see how many compliments and retweets they can get. Of course you have the bloggers and social media gurus who are putting out good information and having important discussions, but their representation on Black Twitter is less conspicuous.

The first thing I've observed is that these tweeters, mostly young people under 25, are putting all of their business out on Front Street for the world to see. It's like a train wreck. If anyone ever wanted a view into the dysfunction in the black community USA, all they would have to do is pull up a chair and visit the Black Twitter hashtag (and I'm sure they already do).

But even more important than what others think of blacks is the the second thing I've observed: a lot of black twitterers tweet ALL DAY LONG. ALL... DAY... LONG. They tweet when they wake up, brush their teeth (twitpic the toothpaste), eat breakfast (twitpic the eggs), get into an argument with a family member, joke on other twitterers, eat lunch, drive in the car (twitpic the street sign on their favorite corner), eat dinner, watch a show on tv, eat a late night snack (twitpic), right up until they lay their head on the pillow and go to sleep. They probably are updating in their dreams too!

Some even tweet about their adventures in the club, WHILE in the club:
"Just took a shot... I can feel the liquid dripping down my throat!"
"Somebody fightin' (TWITPIC/VINE)!
"Ew this girl is ugly, I'm still gonna feel on her booty tho!"

Yes, it's gotten to the point where some can't even enjoy other people in real life without tweeting or Facebooking about it.

These young people also may not realize that their social media tweets are being archived in Library of Congress records forever, which means that when they're 40 years old and trying to find employment their prospective boss may still be able to find the Twitpic they took of their face pushed up next to their boobs or the joke they posted about how black women "don't deserve no respect" (good luck explaining that to the black lady who works in human resources!).

Ask Yourself Some Questions 

YES! I realize this blog post is a bit judgy, but my purpose is not to shame people for their tweeting habits -- Twitter is a great networking tool and it's each person's business how they choose to use it. 

I'm posting this topic to hopefully snap some bright young person out of it before she or he literally gets sucked into the matrix.

Questions to Ask Yourself:
1) Is Twitter making you any money? The only way I could justify making 100+ tweets each day is if I were getting paid to do so!

2) Do you want more out of life? A better job, more pay, to start a business or to pursue your art? What are you passionate about?

3) How can you be effectively pursuing your dreams or goals if the very first thought you have every day is what you're going to tweet about?

4) How can you fit much else into your life if you spend every hour of your day, EVERY day, tweeting or Facebooking? Time is our most valuable asset.

5) When was the last time you read a book or listened to an audio book about how to motivate yourself, achieve your dreams or become a more enlightened person?

This post may ruffle some feathers, but that's OK. I think it's worth talking about if the progress of much of the young black community is at stake. Social media is amazing, I love it, but it can also be an addictive distraction that takes people off their path in life.

I'm off my soap box, but I think it's important for parents/influencers of young people (millenials and teens) to talk to them about these things. It may seem like simple innocent fun now, but in the long term what will Twitter or Facebook do for these young people?

Question for the comments: what does the future of the average chronic Tweeter look like?


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Black women empowerment sites provide support and information that black women and girls can use to become more educated, business-minded and empowered.

A couple of years ago I started my list of black women empowerment blogs, but felt that there was a need for a collection of black women empowerment websites that either 1) have a specific goal/purpose/mission to help sisters or 2) provide much needed information for black women and girls. This list is small but will continue to grow.

Feel free to add more to the comments area and spread it to your sisters (see the "Share" button below):

Black Women for Girls Giving Circle (a site that seeks to create a circle of giving and sharing information between black women and girls -- special programs based in NYC)

Black Women of Influence (networking site for black women in high places)

Black Girls Rock! (the charitable organization that grew into a popular BET Awards show and movement on Twitter -- providing mentoring resources for young black girls)

Black Girls Run! (encouraging sisters to be active and healthy -- "Preserve the Sexy")

Black Womens' Blueprint ("reclaiming ourselves," organizing and becoming empowered - 'nuff said)

Black Women Organized for Political Action (a membership of women who aim to "educate, train, and involve as many African American women as possible in the political process"

press CTRL+D to bookmark this page - more to come...


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When certain stars and public figures call themselves black only to receive certain roles and benefits, that disrespects the legacy of people who are black 24/7/365.
I touched on this a bit when I wrote about the Nina Simone biopic (a.k.a. travesty). Zoe Saldana only recently came out with a few halfway comments to justify why she wore black face and a prosthetic nose to depict an African American woman legend that many black women look up to for inspiration.

I embrace all women of all colors as my sisters.
By Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons 

But one thing that I have a problem with is women (and men) who are only black when it is convenient for them.

When a job pops up that calls for a black woman (such as Nina Simone or casting for a black television show) there they are with application in hand, proudly calling themselves black.

But any other time they are something "other" for the benefit of mainstream appeal. For example, there was a certain makeup commercial where a singer identified herself as French and Native American, as if just being a proud African American black woman wasn't enough.

Then we have the case of Latina women like Evelyn Lozada, Rocsi Diaz and a host of reality stars who like to call themselves black, but only when it's convenient for them. Any other time they make it a specific point to identify with the Hispanic/Latino community.

And before anyone comes back with the "but they are black! their ancestors have African blood," line think about this. My black people have strong Cherokee lineage, but would we be accepted into a Miss Cherokee contest? Would we be able to claim Cherokee only when it's convenient for us to have an opportunity and then go back to being a proud black woman tomorrow? I doubt it. That would be totally disrespectful to the Native American community.

Also, why is it that African American women aren't asked to grace the cover of Latina magazine or to host Telemundo? Why wasn't Mary J. Blige considered for casting as Selena? If we're all black sisters in the struggle than that should be happening by now, right?

What makes black the only race that's "interchangeable" and accepting of everyone into the ranks (even if it's just a one drop situation)? Yet no one else accepts us into their ranks, to play their roles, host their shows or represent their brands?

No one seems willing to answer that question.

Be Black 24/7/365 

This post is not meant to throw shade at or alienate my fellow sisters of color. It is just to say if you're black, say it loud and proud 24/7/365! This is not a game. Don't just pull out the Black Card when you feel that it will give you a trump hand. Live black, love black, embrace black as your history and legacy. If you can't do that then you are straight up disrespecting our black heritage.

That's like moving in with someone, claiming the home as your own, staying for a while, eating up all their food, putting your feet up on their coffee table and then peace-ing out without paying a dime of rent when a better living opportunity comes along. Disrespectful.

Black women and men, those who didn't have any privilege of passing or claiming another race/heritage when it was convenient slaved and fought for our civil rights. Please don't disrespect our black ancestors and their struggle by using their legacy and heritage only when it's convenient for you to make money or to get more attention.

Regardless of your background, I love all of my sisters, and we can find unity by respecting each other and our unique heritages properly. That shoutout goes especially to you Ms. Saldana.

image by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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This post is in honor of Harriet Tubman, a true American Shero who put her life on the line for freedom.

Today March 10, 2013, marks the 100 year anniversary of the death of a true Shero, Mrs. Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Harriet Ross).
Mrs. Tubman didn't just talk about it, she was ABOUT it. She had a definite goal and set out to achieve it time and time again. She wasn't content to "get hers" and just live her free life -- she wanted to save others.

Over 11 years she went back to the pit of the South to save her family and other slaves. She made 13 trips.
Honoring Harriet
I attended an event in honor of Harriet Tubman today, and while I listened to her story told in much more depth than I had ever heard in history class, I thought about just how brave she was.

Think about it for a moment -- she planned 13 missions on foot back to the horrible place where her family was torn apart, where she worked for no pay and was treated like an animal. 13 times she had to get mentally prepared for this trip.

Some of us complain about having to get up and go to work in the morning. Or we make excuses about why we can't go mentor a child once or twice a month. Or we become deathly afraid of the idea of getting up in front of a group of people to speak our hearts about how we can improve our communities.

This small but feisty five-foot woman packed her revolver and a few things and set out on foot toward real danger, not once not twice but 13 times. Would we be that brave if it were necessary? Would we put our lives on the line for freedom?

Harriet Next Door
Who are the Harriets in your community or family? Who are the women or men who are willing to put their necks on the line time and again for the betterment of their children or communities? Honor them today, thank them, because it is a rare treasure to have someone like that in your midst.

Thank You Mrs. Tubman

Thank you Harriet Tubman. I am so proud to say that you are one of my ancestors. You encourage me to be stronger and to strive to do more. I feel that the best way to thank you properly is to commit myself to spreading positivity throughout my community... even if sometimes it is challenging and inconvenient.

I believe that if she were here, Harriet would still be trying to rescue us from the slavery that seems to be rampant in 2013 -- the enslavement of our minds.

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Young Hadiya Pendleton's cold-blooded murder should get just as much attention from the black community and general media as Trayvon Martin's murder.

I finally sat down to think about why Hadiya Pendleton's murder irked me so much.

It's because I was Hadiya Pendleton

I was an honor roll student who earned straight As, cared about my grades and listened to my elders for the most part. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do as a child.

But I also hung around a "questionable" crowd as a preteen and teenager. My best friend in elementary school was already dating and had sex by the time we were in the 4th grade. She and most of my friends were from an area that was plagued with drugs and drama.

When I got older I continued to hang around people who had a lot less to lose than I did while continuing to do well in school. Even though I spent most weekends hanging with my homies (both boys and girls), I was still on my way to an Ivy League college.

Would Anyone Have Cared?
So Hadiya's death brings up a number of issues for me personally:

1) If I hadn't grown up in an area where the police actually cared and actively pursued criminals, who's to say this wouldn't or couldn't have happened to me or one of my other friends coming up?

2) Do black people only get raging mad when white people kill black kids? Why don't they get mad at other black people killing black kids?

3) As a young black girl, would anyone have cared enough to crusade for me? Or would my story have faded into the background after a few days under the chatter of the Superbowl or some other mainstream event? Would it have hit the mainstream media at all?

Which is why I admit, I became a bit upset when I saw my Twitter timeline filled with Superbowl chatter just days after Young Hadiya's death. Nowadays it seems that black people will only jump into a fight for their own if their favorite celebrity does too. The personal concern doesn't seem real. 

But I realize now that all of this may be outside of my control. The fact is, we live in a society of narcissism and apathy and there are plenty of willing participants.

But I do have some power in the messages that I choose to transmit. I realize that I can't make certain black people care -- that is out of my control. But what I can control is my tweets and how much attention I pay to this particular case.

In Memoriam and Remembrance
My Twitter account is dedicated to Hadiya Pendleton news in the month of February 2013. I'd rather call this Hadiya month than Black History month, because so many black people just don't seem to really appreciate the sacrifices our ancestors made so that we could live free and have more fruitful lives.

Also, after this month the ClassyBlackLady.com blog will focus more on researching and posting positive news about black women rather than mainstream news.

As someone who traversed a similar path that Hadiya Pendleton did at the age of 15 and beyond,
I'm sending so much love and support to her family with this post. I'm praying that the killer is found before he has a chance to terrorize another child or family. 

Some of us do genuinely care about this tragedy and desperately want to implement a solution to the violence plaguing black communities across the country.

Read about how some of Hadiya's classmates have proposed a 6-point plan of action. 

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Courtesy Netflix
While up late on a Netflix watching spree, I came across a movie entitled Bedevilled. I quickly realized that in a lot of ways this movie is the Korean version of The Color Purple.

It told the story of a South Korean woman who is light-skinned/white who goes to visit her country friend who was of a darker complexion (due to working in the fields) and lives on an island off the mainland. The darker skinned friend is basically a community slave -- she works hard labor while her husband mostly shuffles around and even sleeps with prostitutes in their bedroom.

The darker skinned friend is oppressed and beaten by her husband who is one of the only men on the island. Because of his "rare" status, the older women on the island treat him like he is gold. Even when it is revealed that the husband may be having sexual relations with the young daughter, the older women of the island protect him at all costs.

Similar Themes in Black America 
While watching, I couldn't help seeing the parallel between the darker skinned friend's plight and what is going on in the black community in the United States today. First of all, it illuminates that even in South Korea light skinned/white skinned people are treated with preference and regard while the darker skinned people are mostly downtrodden and regarded as mules.

Most importantly, watching the older women "coddle" the men on their island even when they have clearly become monsters struck me.

The older "mothers" of the community (all single themselves) looked down on the dark-skinned Korean wife while constantly singing the praises of her abusive, pedophile husband. They ganged up on the wife, constantly called her a "bitch" or "whore" and told her she should be happy to have ANY man in her life. Any man to take care of her illegitimate girl-child. They were so desperate to have a man around on the isolated island that they actually made excuses for why he should be able to sleep with her seven-year-old child, and it only gets worse.

It made me wonder, do we have women like this in the black community in the United States? Women (and men) who will defend bad men no matter how depraved they become? Those who indict women and girls at every opportunity but defend and protect the negative behavior of some black men, including sexual assault, gangbanging, drug dealing and killing? Those who will not hold them responsible for taking up their roles as men/fathers while hanging the weight of the world on black women/mothers?Are there women, like the ones in this movie, who have given up on a normal happy life and now actively try to drag other young women into their same brand of misery? How can the blind lead the blind?

Les Miserables
This movie was for the most part heartbreaking and I do not recommend it for those who do not like hard life tales or gruesome tragedies. But it was also eye opening. What types of messages are some older black women really sending younger black girls? Are some black women so desperate to keep men around in their neighborhoods and homes that they would tolerate just about anything? Are they unconsciously turning the current crop of young girls into a generation of "Les Miserables," dooming them to repeat the same cycles of misery? 

* Be forewarned, while it may have some similar themes, Bedevilled certainly does not end like The Color Purple.

Movie Review by Sammi Jace
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