For Black Women: R.I.P. Whitney Houston

I did not know her personally. Yet, there’s so much hear-say that black folks like to pass along – gossipy nonsense – just so they could pretend they knew her. You know, a friend of a friend of a friend. I live in New Jersey. So, I’ve heard my share of crap.

Back in the day, pre-innernets, Bossip and TMZ, et al, I couldn’t read a black magazine or go to a hair salon without people talking about Ms Whitney. It was the same for Eddie Murphy, and a few other fresh faces of black super-stardom. That’s because there are neighborhoods in NJ where some wealthy (famous and non-famous) blacks clustered. I can recall people who saw her in person – shopping at a local store – and they spoke about not only how beautiful she was, but nice and graceous.

I grabbed this image from: http://praisedc.com/videos/praisedc/whitney-houston-sings-yes-jesus-loves-me-in-final-performance-video/

Acting Black / Acting White Dogma

The criticisms of her back when she was a rising star, collectively uttered from the Black Thought Police, had very little to do with her supposed attraction to roughneck DBR (damaged beyond repair) black males. It was actually the opposite: she was criticized for being extremely tight with her own crew of close-knit female friends, and being very accommodating – polite and very willing to mingle – with white people. Folks were also up-in-arms, because her music writers were white. I kid you not.

Black critics complained about Ms Whitney like they were frightened of her becoming – I dunno – white or something? The accusations were so bizarre and idiotic. I think they just hated the fact that she was classy, well spoken, and kept to her own little group. Yet, isn’t this the weird stigma that blacks who do well in school have to face? Being smart and well spoken is being white?

I recently had some chicks at my job ask me why I’m always well dressed. Digest the stupidity of that for a moment. You don’t need to ask if they’re black. 🙂

Think of it this way: wasn’t the fear of her “escaping” somewhat similar to the grief black women get for thinking for themselves? You know, dating IR, leaving the neighborhood, getting a better job, finishing school, and living to the best of your ability? Do you think it’s an accident Tina Turner left the country? Or how Diana Ross ran from black folks? Isn’t Halle Berry running away too? These women have self-preservation utmost in their minds. They know that kowtowing to the Black Thought Police is detrimental.

The Hood Chick Fiction

I’ll be honest. I hate reading about people trying to make Ms Whitney into a rough neck girl or a hood-rat that hid it well from the public, because she grew up near or in Newark, NJ. Come on, now.

You ever watch Whitney during her early days when she was being interviewed by the mainstream media nationally and internationally? You cannot fake that kind of class. You cannot fake speaking that well unless you went to a good school and learned how. You ever watch some our illiterate, uneducated and gangsta wannabe athletes struggle to utter a coherent sentence? So, why are people trying to put Whitney down there with them? Come on, now.

How could she be hood, when her mother is Sissy Houston, a well-known R&B singer, a famous cousin that is Dionne Warwick, and a father that was in the music business long before she was born? Come on, now.

And don’t we always say we speak differently depending on the environment? There’s relaxed “I’m among friends” speech, and then there’s formal speech. Listen to Whitney sing: she could enunciate like nobody’s business. Try listening to Mary J. Blige and some of these girls who really are hood. Good luck figuring out what they are singing about. (And I like Mary J., so don’t get me wrong.)

Even if she was from a tough neighborhood, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a sensitive, delicate, vulnerable and emotional woman. That’s the part that bothers me the most when people are dismissive of black girls or women who come from rough neighborhoods. They have feelings too. Just because they are better at masking it doesn’t mean they still don’t hurt. You think it’s easy to be dogged on a daily basis? That’s emotionally damaging, folks.

Anyone coming out of that environment untroubled is miraculous and highly improbable. The damage lingers for years, the scars cannot be seen, because they are the emotional kind.

An American Icon

She was one of the last true divas whose music I purchased. I cannot think of anyone who can hold a candle to that voice.

“I’ll Always Love You,” makes me cry every time I heard it.

You think any of these synthetic, Auto-Tune, overly-dramatic, yipping like a dog struck by a car, too cute to be for real, computer assisted chicks really know how to sing? Come on, now.

She blew the roof off with her rendition of the National Anthem. Now, look at how many twits cannot even remember the lyrics to give a decent performance singing it. They have no shame. They have no class. They show up for themselves. They aren’t there for the fans who made them rich. I cannot stand most of them.

What I loved about Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson is that they were old school in their professionalism. They showed up and gave 110% of themselves to their fans. I’ll give Madonna and Prince the same props – they’re performers who give it their all.

The music business keeps wondering why the sales of their music declines every year. It’s because they’re running out of real talent, here in the USA, that appeals to everyone. And passing restrictive Internet laws isn’t going to recoup those losses either.

I’ll miss you Ms Whitney Houston, because I was rooting for you to come back and blow everyone away again.

**Update**

Kevin Costner Stays Mum About Their Relationship
He Will Speak at Her Funeral

***Extra***

Lessons In Synchronicity & Love: Kevin Costner On Whitney Houston – A fantastic post from Faith’s Blog. Check it out.

Had no idea they were friends....

 

Share

Black Actress Update: Props to Queen Latifah For Making ‘Joyful Noise’

About Us For Us

I saw the movie Joyful Noise over the weekend. I had no idea what it was about. I saw it with a girlfriend (who’s Asian), she was the one who recommended it. I think most of the reviews have been half and half regarding this film. It’s a musical, a comedy with small bits of drama.

The storyline is rather old fashioned, family friendly, and when I watched it, I felt it would be a perfect musical for the stage (Off or On-Broadway). I liked the music so much, I’m buying the soundtrack. By the way, I’m also a Dolly Parton fan. It was nice to see her in this film. Kirk Franklin shows up to do a song.

The Film’s Focus

One thing about Queen Latifah, when she makes a film with a black woman / women in it – she doesn’t take the spotlight off of them to share it with others. That will be part and parcel of why this film wont get high grades: there’s no storyline about any white girl(s) in this. It’s about black women: their friends, frenemies, families and men (black, white and Asian).

Yup, all the interracial couples in this movie involve black women. 🙂

Think about that when others try to persuade you to see films where we are invisible, don’t exist, or only make up part of the background scenery.

The Audience

From my quick visual survey at the time, the demographics looked rather good: a mixed crowd of people over 25, although mostly white couples or white women with their kids.

That tells me that a variety of folks will come out to see a film with black women in the lead.

Praise

So, I stand up and applaud Queen Latifah for quietly putting out a movie, TV program, or whatever, year after year that focus on us. Somehow, she’s figured out how navigate the treacherous waters of Hollywood as an Executive Producer to get stuff done.

I hope more black women can do the same.

The Red Tails Discussion

Also, I wanted to point everyone to the awesome discussion over on What About Our Daughters regarding the lack of black women in the film Red Tails by George Lucas.

Ladies, at the end of the day, it’s your wallet, do as you please. 😀

 

Update: My bad … I should have mentioned Keke Palmer. Her singing is amazing. I say if they ever wanted to make a new and improved, yet younger version of, The Bodyguard, they’ve got their girl.

 

Share

Black Actress Update: Hollywood’s Shrinking Box Office

I know if I made money the way Hollywood did, I’d be ecstatic. Especially when you have the most creative accountants in the world who can turn billions earned into “losses”. All legally, of course. That’s what you get for having the US Congress in your back pocket. I expect when their earnings decline even more, they will be asking for public funds to keep the business afloat (See General Motors). That will occur right after they make it illegal for anyone to say or watch anything on the Internet (pending legislative as of now).

But I digress, imagine being able to push garbage at people and compel them to head to a filthy, loud and uncomfortable theater just to sit through crappy schlock for nearly three hours? That clearly takes genius to run this con year after year, week after week and day after day. If they think they are losing money now, wait until everyone can download a film in the blink of an eye and re-create a movie theater at home without the nuisance, annoyance and hassle of a public one.

Nothing To See Here, Move Along

The box office take for Hollywood has been weak: headlines blurb about the lower attendance rates. A money quote from the BBC article:

“It’s unbelievable how bad it is,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Are we supposed to weep for them? I thought this would be a bonanza year, since they have defenders, who say that films with too many black people – men and women, not just the guys – wont make money. This was the year of the whitest films around.

I’m usually a movie fiend, but this has been the year where I missed many of the “blockbuster films”, except for X Men: The Lamest Generation and Mission Impossible: Making Tom Cruise Hot Again. There may have been another, but I often forget a film the minute I leave the theater.

Come Back, Again, Ya Hear!?!

This was the year of sequels, remakes, prequels, comic books and animation. Proof of Hollywood’s emptiness.

The top 20 films of 2011, according to Box Office Mojo. I have a page that shows the same content of all the Top 100 films.

1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $381.00 WB
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $352.00 P/DW
3 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 $272.00 Sum.
4 The Hangover Part II $254.00 WB
5 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $241.00 BV
6 Fast Five $209.00 Uni.
7 Cars 2 $191.00 BV
8 Thor $181.00 Par.
9 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $176.00 Fox
10 Captain America: The First Avenger $176.00 Par.
11 The Help $169.00 BV
12 Bridesmaids $169.00 Uni.
13 Kung Fu Panda 2 $165.00 P/DW
14 X-Men: First Class $146.00 Fox
15 Puss in Boots $143.00 P/DW
16 Rio $143.00 Fox
17 The Smurfs $142.00 Sony
18 Super 8 $127.00 Par.
19 Rango $123.00 Par.
20 Horrible Bosses $117.00 WB (NL)

 

The fresh entries: The Help, Bridesmaids, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Rio and Rango. So, out of the top 20, roughly 6 of them were “original”, fresh-out-of-the-box material. Heh.

The Non-Mystery of the Twilight Lure

Honestly, doesn’t Breaking Dawn sound like a porn title, or is that just me? 😀

Breaking Dawn In

The funniest thing I’ve read were reports of women having “seizures” at this latest Twilight film, and no one knew what it was. It’s called an orgasm, people. Sheesh. It’s the 21st century and female biology is still a mystery. Um, women like Twilight and Vampire flicks, because of the eroticism. The yearning, withholding and anticipating. He’s a bad boy, and an eternally powerful man who bites and licks the neck, targeting one of the erogenous zones of the female body.

Yeah, “seizures.” Okay.

The Black Actress: Inclusion or Exclusion?

Forgive me for not listing all shows, or movies with a black actress. If you find some with a black actress of interest, please add it to the comments section. Let’s look at the top films of the year and see if that hypothesis is true, you know: less black women (or nice black male actors) equals more money per film.

When I glance at cast credits, I look at the first 5 to 10. They get the most speaking roles, so even if a black actress gets one line and is part of the scenery – to me – that doesn’t count.

Films that include black women in starring roles also (animation doesn’t count):

1. The Help – love it or hate it, we got a film about being maids, in 2011. Thank you, Hollywood. Thanks so much. All we black women can do is still be maids in the 21st century. A black woman is First Lady, but these people have us doing roles cleaning some white woman’s toilet with dignity! whilst pretending that’s got something to do with civil rights. Alrighty, then.

2. Bridesmaids – big hit – from the people that brought us Hangover. Not sure how much of a role she played, but Kali Hawk (love the name) is in it.

Update: Somehow I missed Maya Rudolph, and she’s one of the stars!

Thank you for the tip, Vonnie!

3. X-Men – Does not have a black actress with two black parents, but a half-half of two half-half was in it. So, I flipped a coin and decided to include Zoë Kravitz.

 Here’s the bottom 20 movies of 2011 for comparison:

80 In Time $36.00 Fox
81 Colombiana $36.00 TriS
82 Sucker Punch $36.00 WB
83 J. Edgar $36.00 WB
84 Larry Crowne $35.00 Uni.
85 The Descendants $35.00 FoxS
86 50/50 $35.00 Sum.
87 Drive (2011) $34.00 FD
88 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas $34.00 WB (NL)
89 Courageous $33.00 TriS
90 The Rite $33.00 WB (NL)
91 Arthur (2011) $33.00 WB
92 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) $32.00 Sony
93 The Adventures of Tintin $31.00 Par.
94 The Debt $31.00 Focus
95 Priest $29.00 SGem
96 The Mechanic $29.00 CBS
97 Abduction $28.00 LGF
98 Beastly $27.00 CBS
99 Winnie the Pooh $26.00 BV
100 Killer Elite $25.00 ORF

 

Anything Else We Need to Know?

An action film with a black actress is a miss, but the black actress as a maid might be up for an Oscar? Oh well.

1. Columbiana – Zoe Saldana. Perhaps she should stick to romances or something. Seriously, no one is going to believe that a 55 pound woman – soaking wet – can kick anybody’s ass.

2. Drive – Tiara Parker – don’t know if she has much of a role.

3. Larry Crowne – Tarina Pouncy – don’t know if she has much of a role.

4. Courageous – Eleanor Brown – don’t know if she has much of a role.

Notice that a lot of the big stars made spectacular flops this year? People are tired of them too.

Some of the bottom films are likely new releases, so those numbers will change for next year.

And that’s all folks….

Happy New Year. 😀

Share

Tips for Today’s Negroes: A Lesson in Manners

Who’s Your Daddy?

Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of you did not have Fathers to teach you how to be a gentleman. And the likelihood is high that your Mothers probably didn’t have the time, inclination, or interest in teaching any of y’all manners. Maybe everybody thought that lil man ShayQuan being rude and obnoxious was cute when you were 5 years old and eventually you’d grow out of it.

Unfortunately, for some of y’all, it never happened. For some reason, your boys on the street or that friendly Mr. Hamilton across town – that old guy who’d slide you a couple dollars every once in a while for your “services” – never bothered to give you a heads-up.

However, as a contemporary negro that loves to tell everyone that you are, “A grown ass man,” here are some worthy tips to show you are one, as opposed to being an overgrown, petulant knucklehead.

These tips are obvious to most well rounded people, but unfortunately common sense is in short supply these days:

Stay Thirsty and Be Anxious to Learn

1. Learn to greet everyone you meet with a, “Good morning,” if the sun is coming up or until around 11:00 A.M. like Micky Ds.

2. Say, “Hello,” for the entire day. Smiling is not necessary, but it is helpful.

3. “How are you?” Is allowed after, “Hello.”

4. If you are asked, “How are you?” Reply with, “I am fine,” or “I am good.” No grammar Nazis here.

5. “Goodnight,” isn’t an invitation to talk more or a hookup. It serves the same purpose as, “Goodbye.”

6. Do not demand that any black woman or black girl, whether you are acquainted or strangers, smile at you. It is harassment. Don’t be proud of it. You don’t know who she knows. 🙂

7.  Keep your voice even when you address any woman. Anything louder sounds threatening. Speak with a moderate tone.

8. Hold the door open for all women, children and even other men. Good manners isn’t just a “white” thing.

9. Speak clearly: mumbling makes you sound like a numbskull.

10. Do not treat black women or black girls as though they are easy scores, a potential main squeeze, work place buddy confidant, or source of joking material. Cat calls, nasty comments and hollering at us is not appreciated.

I know a number of us have gotten used to little, if any, kind of common courtesy, as opposed to what you slavishly bestow upon non-black women. However, please keep your contempt to yourself. Non-blacks may appreciate your derogatory “shuck and jive” routine, but a lot of black women do not.

11. You may not believe it, but a lot of us don’t care to exchange more than a few passing words in greeting. That sista who is standing around listening to you is quietly suffering. She doesn’t know how to cut you off, because you’ve made it obvious you’d make her life hell (at the job) if she does.

Truth of the matter is: no one cares about your love life, personal hygiene, lack of money, and endless baby Momma stories. Your life story isn’t nearly as enthralling as you might think.

12. Enough with the jokes. Richard Pryor most likely told all of the best ones. He was funny. You are not.

13. If we seem to be ignoring you – after an initial greeting – let it be forever known: WE ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT YOU. Despite what you read in the black media and the desperate black women who write for them: YOU ARE NOT THE CENTER OF OUR UNIVERSE.

14. If you would never say it to someone white, then do not say it to a black woman. Please, spare us.

15.  Your Momma really is the only woman who will put up with you. So, get over yourself and leave your issues at home.

16. It is not the black woman’s fault, if her job is more demanding than yours. She’s paid her dues. And believe it or not, that didn’t come by sleeping with a “white man”, since most of our bosses are likely to be white women. We went to school and worked while you decided it was better to hang out with LaTrell’monte back in the hood.

17. Your sucky job is not our problem. It’s up to you to solve. I heard there’s plenty of high paying jobs in North Dakota.

Let’s see if you can work with the white men up there with your current attitude, instead of living off of a black woman down here where it’s “safe”. 🙂

Sure, a few bits of the advice listed could apply to some black women. But being out-of-order seems to be a specialty of negroes.

I’m gonna say it again, as I’ve said it before: you are not entitled to special attention or deference from us. Let’s treat one another with respect, be polite in public and take it from there.

If what I wrote doesn’t apply to you, then don’t get upset.

Cheers. 😀

BWE.links and then some…

Share