One of the messages that I see often from young black feminists and black men is "f*** respectability." I guess they figure if they shout this mantra from the hilltops enough times without being challenged it will suddenly be true.

Well guess what? Respectability is a real thing in real life and it can open (or close) a lot of doors for you. It can even save your life. This is said by someone who has been there, done that -- not just preaching and signifying on social media. We're talking about real life issues. 

Do you think you'll get that job or small business loan if the decision maker finds a video of you twerking or acting up on social media? Likely not.

Do you think that the young woman who was kidnapped off the street in a Philadelphia would have had the amount of public support to eventually lead to her recovery that she did if she was a stripper instead of a nursing assistant? Nope.

Do you think MLK and Malcolm would have been taken seriously by the President and their own followers if they came to work every day in wife beaters and shorts? Nope.

Sometimes respectability doesn't matter one bit -- when Dr. Henry Louis Gates was harassed by the police for being in his own house, I'm sure he was wearing a very nice ensemble from work and speaking like a professor. But sometimes respectability does matter -- a whole lot. I think that unfortunately a lot of people who think it doesn't ever matter are going to have some very hard lessons to learn 5,10 or 20 years into the future when they're trying to establish themselves.

If you'll notice, the people who most often preach about respectability politics are almost always fully dressed in suits or business attire. They aren't fully in touch with how people stuck in poverty and struggle are affected in this society when they maintain a cavalier "F--- everybody" attitude about life.

"Respectability" is more about respecting yourself than anything. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by CBLady 

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When I was coming of age in the 90s, we had a lot of great performers and entertainers, from TLC to Aaliyah to Mary to Janet to D'Angelo. But while we loved these artists, the admiration was just that of a fan. 

Nowadays fandom has turned into standom. Eminem made the term popular with a song he wrote about an obsessed fan named Stan who ended up doing something really crazy at the end of the story.

Everything in Moderation
Being a fan of someone you like is in our nature as humans. Loving a certain public figure is understandable. But everything in moderation. When your infatuation with one person completely takes over your whole life, that's concerning. 

Stans completely lose themselves in their celebrity obsession and live vicariously through the person they worship. They learn to defend the object of their admiration even if that high profile person displays negative or harmful behavior. This mentality strips them of their individuality and ability to think rationally.

Dictators usually have a lot of stans, and that's pretty much how they manage to brainwash entire nations.

Where Did Stanning Come From?
So what caused this increase in the number and intensity of stanning? I believe it's due to a significant decline in the self-esteem of young people. They're sad. They're angry. They feel unloved. They don't feel that they have an identity of their own, so they are more vulnerable to living under the cover of obsession with celebrities. 

Our celebrity/reality TV/sports obsessed culture also plays a role.

It's possible that this is a phase and young people will eventually grow out of their tendency toward obsession with celebrities (it's an addiction like any other). But the only real, permanent solution would be to learn self-love and self-worth. 

When it comes right down to it, the main person you should be "stanning" for in your life is YOU.

Posted by CBLady

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Azealia Banks' independently released Broke with Expensive Taste album is getting great reviews and chart ratings.

 I don't usually announce or write about album releases of artists of today (mostly because I usually care very very little) but I'm taking a moment out today to talk about Azealia Banks' new Broke with Expensive Taste album (hashtag #BWET).

Azealia Banks (image: Twitter)
Why? Because she's a black girl who rocks ( literally).

Her album debuted yesterday, November 6, and the last I checked it reached #3 on the charts. It does not disappoint.

There's no doubt of the quality music on BWET, but I want to focus on the story behind it. This is the real reason I want to spotlight her album and give her support.

Azealia Banks is an unapologetically dark-skinned young black woman who is confident and talented at both singing and rapping. She had a fast rise in the underground music industry which eventually attracted the attention of Interscope records. Her infamous song 212 was (and still is) a worldwide hit.

But while signed to Interscope, Azealia's album was repeatedly delayed. Then Interscope dropped her from the label. All that we can do is guess why -- if I had to take a wild guess, it was a combination of Azealia being a rebellious "angry black woman" in the eyes of the white male dominated label and a disagreement about her song choice. I imagine they probably would have preferred her to write a whole lot more songs about how great white boys are...just a theory.

So Azealia went out on her own. She didn't get discouraged enough to stop pushing forward--she kept making and releasing new music. She kept touring. She kept tweeting despite the constant negativity from fans and the public (T.I. the "black" male rapper who brought Iggy Azeala to the hip hop community publicly threatened her life and called her "below mediocre.")

And just yesterday she released her album to awesome reviews. The album quickly rose to the top 10 on iTunes within hours (#3 to be exact). INDEPENDENTLY meaning she is holding onto a lot of her own coins. She didn't need the backing and promotion of a major label to achieve these results. Why? Because she actually has talent.

If that isn't a black girl who rocks story I don't know what is.

She an example to young black girls and women that no matter what, you go after your dreams -- even if the world seems to be against you.

For all of these reasons and the high quality of her album Broke with Expensive Taste #BWET, I encourage other black girls who rock to support Azealia. Her album is available for download through iTunes and Amazon.

CB Lady

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For the past few days I've been disturbed by the kidnapping of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither. She is a hard working young woman, age 22, who was simply trying to get home at 9:40pm at night. A brute snatched her right off of the street and took her in his car. It was all caught on camera.

I can finally breathe a sigh of relief after just learning that she has been found alive in Jessup, MD by police. I feel as if a weight has been lifted.

What disturbed me most about this case was how this young woman was taken with witnesses around watching. One coward drove up, saw everything, and then chose to simply back up and "mind his own business." It can happen to any young woman if she's not aware. Carlesha actually shook hands with the perpetrator right before he bum rushed her and dragged her into his car. This is a good case of how and why young women should not ever be trusting of strange men -- especially when alone.

I am extremely happy with the mainstream media's response to this case. They have been on it from the beginning and I believe that is what contributed to her being found. So many young black women disappear like this and no one seems to care. The perpetrator will be found (if not already) and will not be able to target young black women like this anymore.

Hopefully this also sends a message to any more like him out there -- you will not get away with this, leave our young girls and women alone!

Thanking God at this moment and sending love to Carlesha and her family--

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