Thursday, January 29, 2015

Self Expression or Self Hate?



Ever have one of those moments when you're sitting on the train with a bunch of folks (overwhelmingly white folks) and a group of youngsters get on the train cursing and using the "N" word?

I'm sure you have.  So, imagine that you're walking down a crowded street in the financial district during morning commute and out of the blue you hear very loud, foul, crude, sexual, N-word laced music pounding from a "boom box" on some dude's shoulders.  First thought.  "Is he crazy?"  Second thought, "What do these white folks think?"

That happened to me this morning.  And I got to my office to discover another sister walking behind me who witnessed and experienced the same thing.  While she was totally repulsed and said that he needed "a good spanking," I started to think, "He is actually very sad.  He not only needs attention.  He lacks self-respect and self-esteem."  And the question isn't "what do white folks think," but "what does he think of himself?"

I'm all about expressing your art and I'm certainly down with "I Can't Breathe."  But, if we continue to berate and disrespect ourselves, what do we expect from the masses? 

I don't know the answer.  I'm not even sure of the question.  But one thing is for sure, Marvin Gaye's lyrics were never more relevant, "Makes Me Wanna Holler."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy MLK Day! Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Is it appropriate to shorten Dr. King's name by simply saying "MLK Day?"

Part of me feels not so right about saying it.  The other part of me likes the notion of a contemporary take on a legacy.  That's the part of me that hopes and prays that Dr. King's legacy will never be forgotten.

But, even more than Dr. King's legacy, the movement.  

I confess that I missed opening weekend of the movie "Selma," but I did see it this weekend.  What better way to celebrate the holiday that with Ava Duvernay's historical drama based on the marches from Selma to Montgomery?

And while I am really happy this movie was made and seen by so many (and even nominated for an Oscar), I hope this is only the beginning.  

There is an entire generation of young folks who have no idea what the movement was really about.  To be quite honest, I don't believe that I know completely.  Only what I've read and researched and been shown in less accurate movies than "Selma."

I do know that the climate now feels right to tackle the subject.  With the shooting of unarmed teens and black men happening all too often, and the grassroots movement taking hold across the country in the form of marches, silent protests and tee-shirt campaigns, it's obvious that there's much work to be done.

So, instead of treating today as the "end of a three-day weekend," why not find a celebration in your area, participate, expand your knowledge of what this day really means?

If you haven't seen "Selma," there's no better time than today.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Let The Church Say "Amen!"" - Rest In Paradise, Andrae Crouch


AndraĆ© Edward Crouch 
(July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015) 

I was surprised and saddened to look on social media tonight and learn that Andrae Crouch had passed away from complications of a heart attack.  Apparently, I had missed the news earlier in the week that he had been hospitalized.

I was just as surprised to realize he was 72 years old.  That's not old by today's standards by any means, but Andrae Crouch was one of those artists whose voice remained so strong and his music so timeless that he appeared ageless.

I had recently promised myself to spend more time looking inward and getting in touch with my spiritual self and devoting more time to prayer, realizing that love of God is certainly more than going to church.

"Let the Church Say Amen."


Friday, January 2, 2015

New Show for 2015 - "Empire" on Fox TV Starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson



I'm excited.  Haven't had any new shows to get excited about since last year's (sounds weird saying "last year") "How to Get Away with Murder."

Anxiously anticipating Fox's new show starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, "Empire."

Lee Daniels' ("Precious" and "The Butler") newest offering is about Lucious Lyon (Howard) and his hip-hop empire.  Henson plays Lyon's ex-wife Cookie.

If the trailers are any indication, Fox and Daniels have a hit on their hands.

Let's hope this is just the beginning of more shows for and by African Americans in 2015.



Monday, December 29, 2014

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover, Or Its Size - "The Pecan Man" by Cassie Dandridge Selleck



I love pecans.  Really love pecans.

So when I found out my book club's December selection was "The Pecan Man," I thought, "oh, great a southern mystery and it involves pecans."

However, when I received the book, I was shocked by the fact that it was so small.  It's not much bigger than a pamphlet.  At not even 100 pages, I guess you could call it a "novela."  My first reaction was, "Are you kidding me?"

But despite its brevity, there is nothing small at all about the story it tells.  A brilliant piece of fiction written by Cassie Dandridge Selleck , which puts me in mind of "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Painful and provocative, nostalgic and meaningful.

Well worth the read.  A very small investment of time for a really great book.  

A winner.

"In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn.  The neighborhood children call hime the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears.  When he is arrested for murder, only Ora knows what really happened in the woods where Eddie lived.  But truth is a fickle thing, and a lie is self-perpetuating.  Ora and her maid Blanche soon find themselves in a web of lies that send an innocent man to prison for the rest of his life.  Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man.  (C) From "The Pecan Man" by Cassie Dandridge Selleck (2012 - all rights reserved)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Break the Box Office! Go TODAY to see Chris Rock's "Top Five!"



So glad that I made the effort and got off the couch last night to go see Chris Rock's new movie, "Top Five."

After the last few weeks of hearing about the demise of a major Black comedian, it was really nice to see something that lets me know we can still laugh!

Haven't had this much fun at a movie in a while and it was great to see so many familiar faces on the screen.  Special shout-out to Tracy Morgan.  Get better.

I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say it's a romantic comedy, documentary, recovery movie all in one.

Who's your "Top Five?"

Starring:

Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart and a whole lot more.

Rated R - and it's really Rated R - NOT for children.