Some of the same black entertainers who have been outraged about Donald Sterling have made a living off of being downright offensive and ignorant to blacks.


I read that rapper Pharrell Williams was recently on Oprah's show and made a comment that he was a "new black." He implied that he lived in a reality where your skin color can not hold you back. While I agree with the idea of making your own way despite racial prejudice, I still wonder what he might have to say about Donald Sterling's recent remarks about blacks (both the “new” and “old” ones). Apparently Sterling doesn't want to be associated with any black people, including successful musicians like Pharrell.
  • Exploiting black culture for wealth 
  • Remaining quiet on major issues that affect the black community
  • Trying to separate themselves from and elevate themselves above “regular” blacks (or just black women in some cases)
  • spreading negative stereotypes about black people for the world to see and hear that affects how we're treated on a day-to-day basis


What Sterling said is wrong -- that's not the issue here. The issue I see in all of this is that most of the black men who are publicly expressing their outrage about Donald Sterling don't really have a leg to stand on.

Almost everything that they do or say is (or should be seen as) offensive to black people. I think their outrage is downright embarrassing and almost comical. Here are just a few of the black entertainers who have publicly come forward with disapproving comments about Donald Sterling:

Michael Jordan has been accused of being a greedy capitalist who doesn't give enough back to the young urban kids who helped make him rich and famous. He's helped to promote a culture in the black community where some young boys will kill each other over $100 to $200 Jordan brand sneakers. Rapper Chamillionaire once claimed that Jordan told him he doesn't take pictures with"n-words." If that is true, how is it that Jordan is now up in arms that a white man had the nerve to basically say the same thing?

Snoop Dog has been on the scene since the 1990s kicking that "gangsta ish" calling women bitches and hoes, and treating them like dogs on leashes at awards shows. Offensive remarks are his bread and butter. Is offensive speech only outrageous depending on who it's directed to?

Lil Wayne has been bombarding our young people with ugly, disrespectful and offensive lyrics about black people for years ("I bet that b___ looks better red" and "Beat the p__ up like Emmit Till")

Kevin Hart uses his comedic platform to basically make fun of black people (especially women). He once made a comment that dark skinned women (vs light skinned) have bad credit for laughs. In his most recent movie he makes a widely publicized scripted comment that white people don't fight (implying that's what black people do).

But these guys now want to sit down, get righteous and chide Donald Sterling for doing what they do to the black community in so many ways:




Before you demand respect from the world, you have to be able to COMMAND respect by your words, actions, behaviors, morals and what you stand for.
 
Let's just say what this is all really about -- a few rich blacks who thought they had finally reached some sort of summit point where their money erased their skin color and gave them acceptance into white circles have had a very public N-word wake up call. They can't deal with hearing what many of the rich white people who they rub elbows with really think about them. It burns them up to know that it doesn't matter how much money they earn, there will still be Donald Sterlings out there who don't want them at the yacht party or dinner table.

There are so many issues wrapped up into one little package in this Donald Sterling story, but it all really comes down to the brainwashing of black minds -- even rich ones. If these black entertainers had true love of self and being unapologetically black, this man's comments would probably just make them chuckle. That's because they would have been using their extensive resources and influence to gain a strong foothold in their own black communities, giving back and rebuilding. They wouldn’t care so much about what a wealthy white landowner on the other side of town thinks of them.

Instead they choose to keep begging to dip their toes into the pools of the rich white mainstream world -- a world that only wants them on very very specific and limited terms. 

Posted by: CBL



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A few thoughts about black women, our struggles and a few possible solutions that could help more women and girls thrive...

Are most black women getting what we really need out of life? If not, how do we make that happen? What needs to change? Does the change have to happen within or in others, or both?

These are some serious thoughts I've been having lately as I think of how I can move this blog in an even more productive direction to help black women and girls achieve greatness.

When I Was 22...
After hearing about blogger Karyn Washington's passing at the tender age of 22, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what she must have been going through. I also think about what I was doing at that age.

At 22 I was just out of college and transitioned right into a job that I soon grew to dislike. Back then it wasn't as difficult to get a "good" 40 hour job as it is now for recent college grads.

Back then the contention in the black community wasn't as intense as it is today because the internet was just kicking off. Back then we were offered messages of love between men and women in music and television (think Love and Basketball and Love Jones) instead of all the bitches, hoes and ratchets in the rap and TV of today.

I imagine the 22-year-old world that Karyn lived in was probably a lot different than mine.

In my younger years I had issues with low self-esteem because of being teased for being a black girl and being really skinny. When I got to high school I formed a bond with another beautiful dark-skinned girl who helped me see my worth and develop confidence. I was extremely confident and popular in college. Later on, things took a turn and I'm not quite sure where, but my self-esteem took a dip again. I now have come to a place where I know my own self-worth but I still wonder at times... where is the justice for good black women who struggle and suffer in silence as the world continues to turn?

We Can Relate
I think that Karyn's story really hit home because a lot of us black women can relate to her story. Being "othered" or ignored by society because of our skin tones (something God created). Expected to be everything to everyone else but not taking care of #1 (ourselves). Being a kind and loving human being but not having it returned in real ways. Seeing everyone else living seemingly "normal" lives with lots of love and people around them but trying to figure out why that can't happen for us. Wondering if it's all worth it and what is the point of life if you can't be happy, free and loved for who God made you.

Most of all I think many black women struggle with being thought of as strong and invincible "beings" who can do it all on our own without support and love.

I believe we only do that because we don't think we really have much of a choice otherwise.

But do we?

Is There Another Way that People "Give Up on Life?"
Some time ago I wrote a post about what I think makes black women amazing in response to yet another instance of black woman slander on social media, and in it I quoted the stat that black women are the least likely to take their own lives. I still feel the same about the amazing resilience of black women in the face of adversity, but now I have to stop and question that particular point to ask myself: is it really a good thing that many black women live as these "strong" superhuman beings who go through life enduring, just barely surviving? As one speaker put it, it's like tip toeing your way slowly through life to make it safely to the end.

While watching the 20 Feet from Stardom documentary about forgotten black background singers, I noticed one thing about all of the stars. They were slim and trim when they were young and all of them gained a lot of weight as the years passed. They all seemed very sad -- their faces only lit up when they remembered their youthful splendor. I look at many of my relatives and see the same trend.

The question is, are some black women giving up on life in other ways that aren't as obvious? Overeating, allowing stress and worry to run our lives, drinking and other vices that can affect a person's health over time? Is it really better to kill yourself slowly than to do so quickly?

Obviously the answer is that NEITHER option is a viable solution. I believe we're all put here for a purpose and I think it is a very tragic thing when someone chooses to leave without fulfilling that purpose. I think it's also tragic when we continue "living" but stop moving forward toward a greater purpose.

Something more is needed to build up self-esteem and self-love in black girls and young women so that they will not choose either of these paths.

Solutions? I have a few suggestions and I'm open to reading constructive additions:

1) Older black women who have managed to remain mentally and physically healthy should tell their stories more. They could talk to groups of black girls in their communities about how they overcame mental and societal struggles to achieve success.

2) De-program girls who are taught to be boy crazy from a young age. Many young black women suffer early on due to rushing into bad relationships with men who do not know, recognize or value their worth as women. This is something that's mostly taught in the home.

3) Create new, more positive narratives in the media that our black girls consume, including television, film and music. Right now they are told stories of black women as desperate side chicks and second class citizens who are only valued for their bodies. The only way this can be achieved is by supporting more black woman film makers and artists who can honestly and responsibly tell these stories.

4) Create an online chat support system designed especially for black girls and women who find themselves feeling alone and abandoned. They can log in anonymously to encourage each other and receive encouragement from someone who really understands. No negativity from outside forces allowed.

5) (My solution) More articles, posts and writings that feed the Black Girl Soul and reveal methods of thriving in life no matter what. Look for more of that from ClassyBlackLady.com .

I also think that we should work together more as a unified group. We should continue to publicly (yet respectfully) call out people who try to invalidate the struggles of black girls and women -- no matter who they are. Just because you may not be going through something difficult at the moment doesn't mean everyone else is okay or should be just like you. Everyone has different experiences in life.

We have to show unbreakable support for one another if any or all of these solutions are to really take root. And to answer the earlier question I posed, I believe that true and long-lasting change can only start within.

What do you think?

CBL



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This post is for Karyn Washington of ForBrownGirls.com 




I'm writing this post as an online memorial to Karyn Washington of ForBrownGirls.com . I learned through Twitter that she is no longer with us.

Karyn was a 22-year-old leader in the black women empowerment movement. At a time when her young peers are mostly concerned with self and celeb worship, she singularly decided to create a popular site to encourage others. Her message was directed to brown and darker skinned black women, telling them that they too are beautiful and worthy.

While I don't know much about Karyn as a person, I do know that she was a motivated individual who was featured on many different websites for her positive ideas and business activities. I can definitely attest to the frustration of trying to start a movement toward something positive in the face of so much negativity and opposition. I can also relate to the feeling of abandonment and loneliness when the people around you don't come through for you as you thought they would in a time of need.

Her story might also be a red flag for how disconnected we have become as a society. Everyone seems to be so caught up in their own world that they can't see when someone they know or love might be in pain. We really have to do something about that. Reconnect.

Sometimes the people who smile often in public are hiding the greatest despairs in private. 

Call up someone in your life who you care about and ask them if they're okay -- especially if you know they have recently gone through a trying situation. Don't just assume they are okay because they haven't called you in tears. Go over for a talk or a walk around the neighborhood. You never know just how much that might mean to them in a hard time. Sometimes you just need a boost from SOMEONE, ANYONE to get back on track. They need to know that they're not alone in this.

And you never know when YOU may need that assistance in the future.

All in all, I wanted to take a moment to write about Ms. Washington and her awesome accomplishments. I wanted to simply speak her name and celebrate her for being such an inspiration and treasure at such a young age.

Thank you Karyn Washington for your contributions. You mattered. You DID something. It is appreciated.

Peace and love young sister !

The Classy Black Lady 



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When it comes right down to it, there are two main categories of young social media users -- the resourceful forward-thinkers and the YOLOs. What does their future look like, and will there be a movement toward social media responsibility?

I often wonder what will become of most of the young people who flood Twitter with messages of hate, angst, anger and sexually-charged attention-seeking photos. Where will they be and what will they be doing in 10, 20 or 25 years?

Will they still be tweeting every day (all day) at age 40, or will they grow out of it at some point? Will they somehow have a light bulb moment where it's revealed that they're only helping someone else get really really rich as they potentially flush their own futures right down the toilet?

As of now, Twitter, Instagram and similar social media sites are still a social experiment. We don't know where these sites are leading our culture; particularly black culture.


I chose to focus on Twitter in this post because that is the site that seems to be the most popular for young Internet users.

There are two main types of Tweeters: 
1) people who use the site as a platform to make money, raise money or draw attention to their causes and
2) those who use it as a platform to mostly spread foolishness and draw attention to themselves (they have a YOLO mentality, but unapologetic ignorance can make that one life very difficult to live)

Of course there are other types of tweeters, like people who just use it to say what's up to family members and friends, but the types listed above are the most common. And there may be one other large category all to themselves: the observers. They log onto Twitter not to tweet, but to watch foolishness play out much like watching a reality TV show.

Except most of the "Twitter reality stars" aren't getting paid (and if they are it isn't enough to justify what they're releasing into the world every day). I believe a lot of the Twitter observers are from corporations (like VH1) and other interests who are looking for ways to somehow capitalize on the train wreck that plays out online daily.


The social media giants have learned long ago that photos & videos = cash (read more about that here), which is why they are so eager to give us access to sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Facebook and other places where you can post your entire life story (for free). 

Did you know that most businesses and news outlets have to pay $100 or more for royalty-free photos? Photos spark interest, get pages viewed, draw clicks and inspire purchases. When you post your photos on social media you give these sites and their advertisers permission to use them without having to pay you a dime.

The Main Two Categories of Tweeters 

The first category of young Twitter users I mentioned above know that there is no such thing as "job security" in America anymore. They know that they can't rely on the govt. or any other entity to save them in the long run. They're setting up residual income streams and small companies using social media power. 

The ones that push social causes are doing a service for the world and making "deposits" in a different way that might not seem to matter much now, but there's a good chance it will matter in the near to distant future. The young people in this first category spend most of their free time reading books and valuable posts that they find on social media.

And then there is the second category of Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram users. They post almost every minute on the minute -- they reveal all of their intimate thoughts, feelings, photos, anger and angst to the world. What will they be doing in 10, 20 or 25 years? Do they even think about the future?  Do they believe the world won't be here in 20 years?


The Main Concerns
I once knew someone who lost a very lucrative job because of a photo that was posted on Facebook. It hurt her ability to get jobs in that field so she had to delete her account and start a whole new life plan. She comes from a family with money, so she'll be alright either way, but what about the young people who don't have a wealthy family to fall back on? Here are my main concerns:

- After 20+ years of using a social media site 10+ hours a day, is it possible to have learned anything of value besides the latest lingo, dances, memes and sneaker/video game release dates?

- Will they be able to pursue a gainful career at some point -- one where they can't possibly be on Twitter for all 8 hours because they are actually doing something that they love?

- Will anyone take these young people seriously for employment or want to do business with them when they find all of their nudes, boob shots, twerking videos and continuous slander of women (bitches, hos and thots) online? Tweets don't ever disappear -- even after you delete them. In 25 years they will still be accessible through the Library of Congress the same way books are stored (it's like the book of "you" being compiled with every tweet).

- What types of businesses will they be able to start if working for someone else becomes a slim to none chance due to their Twitter and social media past? What knowledge and insight will they have to share with the world (that people will be willing to pay for) after spending years living in a vacuum of foolishness and mindless drivel instead of self-educating?


- How will their future children and grandchildren ever be able to take them seriously when they see the social media displays that their parents put on years before? If we think kids don't respect their parents now, what will it be like in 20 years?

Most of the young girls and women who post revealing pictures of themselves on Instagram don't even do it as an enterprising act -- they do it solely for fleeting attention from men (likes and comments). They're selling themselves short in the worst way possible, because those photos are most likely going to be accessible forever.

Is a Shift Possible?
I'm writing about these issues not to judge, but because I think it needs to be said by someone. No one else seems to really care. No one is really telling young people about these things, just encouraging and reinforcing the nonsense with hundreds of retweets, high fives and laughter. The media (especially black media) certainly won't say a thing because Twitter gives them great "ratchet" tales to tell the world for clicks.

There are plenty of things I wish an adult would have told me about when I was younger, but most older people prefer to just allow you to fail and see for yourself.

Grown people of this era, 30+ already have their careers and lives pretty much set -- we didn't have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to set us back as youths. We certainly weren't angels, but we didn't have a database documenting our youthful foolishness.

I believe young people of today on social media are participating in a social experiment of sorts, and there really is no telling what the results of it will be in 10, 15 or 25 years.

Yes, a few young people from this era may slip through the slimy cracks of modern day social media and manage to set their lives on the right track, but what about the rest?

My hope is that there will be some type of cultural or societal shift as was discussed in the book The Tipping Point. Maybe a movement to educate young people about social media responsibility and how even one Tweet can have long term effects on their futures.


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