Friday, May 27, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron, Engineer of The Industrial Music Revolution

You all should know that I love me some vintage messages, common senses and forward thinking.  One of my favorite artists, Gil Scott-Heron taught millions on the hardships that the black community faced.  He was a visionary and an activist, all while being an amazing artist.

In remembrance of him and his mission check out one of my favorite performances from the late Scott-Heron.  The song is called "Almost Lost Detroit" and it has a deep message.  Groove people. Don't forget to learn.

You gotta work ... or we'll lose Detroit peeps.

Go ahead an Youtube some more of his awesome material.

Rest In Peace Sir.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

She's Pretty ... being #BlackInTheCity

I have heard it time and time again, "You talk white."  And each time I never have a response.

What does it mean, to talk white?

Until a good friend of mine created the perfect comeback after an Arab man in a gas station repeated the phrase to me, her reply, "It's because she's educated."  She mixed in the proper amount of sass with an informative motherly gaze, and later told me that her sons (5 and 4) have been dealing with the same accusation of sounding white as well.

Most people don't understand differences in sound, color and size amongst the divides of race, the conversation gets deeper when these divides are within a racial construct.  Me sounding white is an oxymoron, because I am noticeably a darkskin black girl, and then there's the dreads.  Apparently dark skin black girls are supposed to be loud, obnoxious and ghetto, with speech patterns that mimic rap lyrics.  Not the case in my situation, or that of my close colleagues.

*Most recently while chatting with @LovePublicity I mentioned that I was "conversing" with other professionals about some event, she interrupted with "Don't you mean 'conversatin'? As we both broke out in hysterical laughter I realized that most people don't really know the later isn't a word.

Now, I have been known to use certain words in jest, but common conversation would never find me peppering speech with grammatical mistakes.  I have been reading books for too long to make minor up-chucks in prose.

But what other issues assist in creating this misconception of black women?

My Family ... Dad an Mom are in front
Of course, the idea of color.  Now my family is not at all mixed ... my father is a handsome darkskin man, and my mom is a little, actually she's quite fair, much like the members of her family who all seem to be a shade or three lighter than my sis and myself.  But I don't ever remember being ridiculed for it or feeling bad until I went to high school.  There I found that "lightskin, long hair" chicks were all the rage.  And at that time, I had a wild and crazy afro, so I really had no chance.

I remember two guys, revealing that they had a crush on me, but both of them had girlfriends that were either mixed or could be mistaken for such.  And another gentlemen who I felt was a nice guy questioned continuously my choice of hairstyle, stating that I'd "never make it in the professional world with an afro".

(Newsflash bro .. check me out)

Pretty for a ...
you bet not finish that sentence!
But no one out right told me that I wasn't pretty because I was dark skin, nevertheless there were girls in my classes that would be endlessly called out for their "darkness", to the point where one decided, mid-sophomore year, to wear blue contacts and a long weave for the remainder of her high school career.  It was confusing how quickly the ridicule stopped.  They accepted her as the pretty woman she was, even though she had to filter herself.

Later on I encountered a friends' father who would constantly refer to me as her "darkskin" friend.  He himself wasn't even that light, and the comments really didn't hurt me, however as a grown man, I wondered how would fall victim to differentiating me by my complexion.  Both myself, and his daughter we black, right?  The classification just didn't seem necessary.

Most recently @BLACMagazine featured a video via twitter of a new documentary focusing on the history of the divide in the definition of beauty in the black community and it really hit a sensitive spot.  I addressed how black people saw dark and light skin women ... and its noticeable ... amongst most communities, the darker a person is, the less pretty, the less smart or the less happy you are.  Despite the amount of talent, the amount of potential your education or experiences have endowed you, this is something millions of people deal with.
(Like, why is Beyonce more popular than Kelly? Seriously, I just jumped a ton of guns...but I'm just saying.)

Peep the video that inspired this post

Well, now at 26-years old, living in Texas, people that I never would think have told me that I was pretty (yes, I am talking about white men).  I don't know if its the exoticism that is talked about, I've never thought that I was exotic by the least, I am American (of African descent as my mom puts it).

Can one American appear exotic to another American?

Its all quite a confusing argument.  I guess for now, I'll just be #BlackInTheCity and see how far that takes me.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't call me MOMMA! The TX fight for Planned Parenthood

I took on the responsibility of assisting in the everyday livelihood of two younger cousins while my aunt took a roadtrip to Detroit a few weeks ago.  I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
Drew and I ... looking happy

The two boys, let's call them Drew (9) and Tony (13) we beside themselves with joy, they were being left in the care of their cool cousin, but they hid their happiness so well I felt the need to try and please them.  Break them out of their norm of come home from school, homework, video games, dinner, bath and bed routine.  I wanted to do something more, something interesting and controversial.  Visit a museum, play baseball in the park, something fun.  Well, they thought otherwise.  On the first night I was sooo tired from cooking dinner, running Tony to practice, answering ALL of Drew's million questions, picking up used paper towels, organizing breakfast for the next morning and answering the rest of Drew's questions.

I couldn't figure out, for the life of me how my almost 80-year old aunt decided to take the boys in in the first place.

"This is crazy." I thought. I immediately began to search, instead, for things to do for myself on the weekend my Aunt returned.

I decided to run a tight ship, implement chores and bedtimes.  That's when I heard it, it cut like a knife, "This is supposed to be fun," Tony was going in, gearing up to shake my world, "you're trying to be our Momma! You're NOT MY MOMMA."

He yelled at me as if I didn't know that his argument was true.  I wasn't these kids mom, and didn't want to be, nor did I feel like I should be wrapping my schedules around theirs, the life of a freelance publicist and writer is enough to deal with, having two kids in the mix was not ice cream on the cake, gravy on the potatoes, soy on my sushi ... oh no.. it was a trial.

The whole experience put me on a mission to do a little research.  I have some amazing friends that are amazing parents.  They are active in their children's lives, they have their schedules organized, their 30-minute meals are actually 25-minute meals that they breeze thru .... they are parents, real parents. Unlike me and my leased kids (yeah, I said leased, they cost me a good amount of money while in my care).

While on my trip to Austin, (the one I planned while sitting) I was introduced to the fight for Planned Parenthood in Texas. Apparently new legislation has threatened to close the program, which saves Medicare about $25 million each year, has created such of an uproar that women around the state or up in arms, protesting.
Lady Protesters urging drivers-by to "honk" their support
The bill to cut Planned Parenthood was created by one republican Bob Dueull of South Carolina, who out of his left wing agenda magically thought it as the method to ending abortions in America, apparently it included killing Planned Parenthood.  I wonder if he thought about the hundreds of thousands of unplanned pregnancies that would result as well as the cost of funding state aid for low-income mothers.

Where as previously #PP was funded 90% with federal dollars and only 10% with tax dollars from the State expense of not funding #PP would definitely be left up to low-income, budget straining women.

Planned Parenthood isn't just for the extremely poor, informed teenager with a boyfriend, not in the least.  By my conversation with some of the protesters, the program offers health screenings and birth control for uninsured and under-insured women of all walks of life, whether they are young teens or freelancers like myself.  They are women that have been affected by the downturns in the economy, and are trying to take better control of their lives and their health.  By getting rid of Planned Parenthood more than 100,000 Texas women a year will be left without the education and connectivity #PP offers.

I urge you all to educate yourself on the new bill, which offers to keep the Womens Health Program, a subsidy of Planned Parenthood, but does not offer information on controlling births (i.e. abortions), and completely dissolve its "parent" program. I don't want to crowd your judgement with anything but facts ... but I do want your opinions on the state funding of Planned Parenthood in your neighborhoods and the message it portrays to mothers and women in their individual paths thru life...

After my week with the kids, I was glad people were standing up to the Bob Deuells of the world.  Personally I am all for not having extemporaneous kids, in the end, it becomes everyones responsibility to raise them ... whether they are left to a sitter, foster care, or worst.  Sometimes contingencies must be made for the greater good of the people (the actual people, those that live lives, stumble and fall and the such), those who need something as important and time consumingas parenting to be ... well, planned.

Get hip, stay safe and TTYL Blacks!

find more info here

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MASH Magazine Launches w/ FREE Download @ Zinio.com

It's finally here.  After months of planning, my good friend and fellow #BlackInTheCity chick has launched its premiere issue.
for more info, visit MASHmag.com

From the articles to the fashion spread, the piece on Sugar and how it completely affects your Skin ... its a great read and visually it is beautiful.  I highly suggest you get your free downloadable copy, which is available to view on any computer, iPad or Android device.

Congratulations to all of the Detroit-based models, writers and photogs that had anything to do with the magazine ... good job.

In the future expect some great things from MASH Magazine, they are planning a Prom Event for young girls who need help with makeup and styling, as well as a few fashion events in early August ... but I am scooping my girl Mashawnta (MASH Mag editor).  So download the magazine and let me know what you think about it.

Here's a little info about both MASH and Zinio....

About MASH Magazine
MASH is a new quarterly tablet magazine focused on beauty, fashion and design for the modern, young, digitally fabulous multicultural audience.  MASH magazine celebrates modernity and the parallels between beauty, art, fashion, architecture and urbanism.  We set trends, push boundaries and campaign for urban beautification and personal awareness.  MASH aims to introduce design disciplines to and of under represented communities, while maintaining a multicultural editorial aesthetic.  
Like our readers, MASH obsesses and indulges in style, it radiates not only in the way we dress, but our homes, streetscapes and cities.  As we aim to stay relevant MASH is proud that it remains unique and informative, and inducing others to learn and encourage dialogue about the future and fusion of design and style disciplines.

About Zinio
Zinio is the world’s largest newsstand.  With is many digital products and services, Zineo creates better ways for people to discover published content, get more of it and do more with it.  Now, readers can purchase content once to be read on any screen.  Zinio provides the ability to shop for, search inside, read, share and save digital content in 29 local newsstands in any country in the world.  Through the ZINIO UNITY reading platform, readers can move seamlessly within each publication page between text, interactive graphics, animated illustrations, videos and much more.  Offering hundreds of thousands of the best digital titles, Zinio’s e-stores and applications are revolutionizing reading.  Founded in 2001 and privately held, Zinio is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in New York, London, Paris, Barcelona and Taipei.  Visit www.zinio.com

Download, read and send it as a gift to your friends ... 


Monday, May 2, 2011

Next Stop On Top contest gives rappers STARdom

So, not only is it #newClientMonday ... but I am going to go ahead and scoop myself and some of my friends in the media.

As everyone knows I am all for independence ... however as of late I have noticed just how hard it is to be independent. I launched my freelance lifestyle a little under a year ago and its been a tough ride. However, I couldn't help but to tap into some of my instincts and natural talents. Take for instance the fact that I am a #Google Queen! Just hear me out. My mind works in keywords ... an old skill I picked up when I was studying for a spelling bee.

(way back when I was young enough to be in spelling bees)

In spelling and linguistics you learn that one or two histories or meanings a word may have can sometime tell how it is spelled

(yeah, I was the largest nerd, of the latin origin hugemongous)

Nevertheless, back to the point. My business is back to growing and I am keeping up with my networking, when all of a sudden a young entrepreneur by the name of Nelson "NBanks" Morris contacted me with a task. He is a music producer, based in Houston, who wants to find other likeminded professional artist who want to branch out of their individual markets.

The "Next Stop on Top" contest is looking for artists to download a beat from NBanks' production house site, BrokenBeatzEnt.com, record some hot verses, send it in and get their friends to vote for the best song ... in the end, the winner will be flown to Austin, TX where they'll shoot a video for the song, be featured in a showcase and then have the song promoted to independent weblogs and stations.

Sound good?! I mean, if this was a contest for young publicists I'd enter... so this is the goal, shoot this post to a friend that is a rapper or singer so they can enter to win this opportunity.

Or you can log onto brokenbeatzent.com for more information.

That's all for now my wonderful Black readers