Televsion Fathers and the end of a Legacy…

I, like many of my friends and a large majority of black America,  grew up in a home without a father. Our mothers usually work long hours or at two jobs so we  raised ourselves. However being a baby of the 80’s (last generation of real kids) all we ever did was watch television and television was good back then, not this crazy sex filled reality mess of today.
I grew up mostly on reruns of even older shows but they were center around a typical family life whether they were black or white, rich or poor, cartoons or real, it was a family with a father, mother and at least two children on average three, sometimes there was a grandparent, aunt or uncle that would be would be  part of the dynamic.
They touched on the typical issues parents and kids faced. We laughed, we cried and most of all we learned some valuable life lessons. After each episode I felt a little less lonely, a little less empty. My mom is an amazing woman who raised four amazing kids by herself, I owe everything I have and will have, everything I am and will become to her. But I will like to think that TV shows like Good Time, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bellaire, Roseanne, Family Tides and the Cosby show had some impact on shaping my life as well.
I envied those Cosby kids not because they’re parents were big time doctors and lawyers and they lived in a big fancy home with nice things but because they had a completed family and regardless on how important Cliff and Claire careers were they were always at home and was always actively involved in their children lives. It was so beautiful especially for a young black girl like myself to see such positive black role models.
So with controversy over Bill Cosby Alleged crimes against women I found myself in a tough spot. My feelings about rape, and sexual harassment and women rights vs. my childhood memories and one of my favorite TV fathers are very conflicting. I hate to choose sides and I would never disrespect  a woman/women who say they have been raped or sexually assaulted by downplaying their pain or dismissing their claim because they don’t need my opinions and my views and feeling are irrelevant. I think every claim of rape, abuse and assault should be taken seriously and handled as such.
However, there are a lot of false claims rape and assault and a lot innocent black men are behind bars paying for a crime they never committed. Brian Banks was finally exonerated after serving five years for the alleged rape of his white schoolmate, she lied and was awarded millions of dollars and Banks, a promising football player with scholarships, life taken from him and five years he will never get back.
Now I know these are two different situations but I just wanted to illustrated that it happens more often than not.
But I guess in all honesty I really don’t want to believe it, mainly because we as black people never really had much and the Cosby Show gave us something to be proud of, like Phylicia Rashad said “They are not destroying a man they’re destroying a Legacy”.  The Cosby Show was a Legacy and it was our Legacy. Regardless of the truth and what will become of Bill Cosby that Legacy has been tarnished and  like many other black children from that generation, I have lost real a father figure….

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”All Hail Queen Bey” My new found respect for Beyoncé…

Whether you love her or love to hate her we can all agree that Beyoncé is a talented artist and one hell of a performer. The “new” Beyoncé or what we perceive to be a new Beyoncé is stirring up a lot of controversy and some of her biggest fans do not like it. Now I feel that this Beyoncé is not the new Beyoncé but it is the true Beyoncé or more so a realer version of Beyoncé than the previous one. Now I have always liked most of her music with Destiny Child and as a solo artist and really admired her as a performer and entertainer. But to be honest I was not a huge fan, well not until now and her new album and all I can say is all Hail Queen Bey!

 Now I will be the first to say she is not the BEST singing in the world, an amazingly great singer and an incredible entertainers but I feel that are artist past and present who have a far more gifted voices. (Born with it) However, that does not take away from her incredible talent and I respect her lot more because of that simple fact. Beyoncé did not start off as one of the top contender and no one would have really thought Beyoncé from Destiny Child would be the Beyoncé she is today.  She is driven and ambitious and does not mind working hard for what she wants and she earned everything she has today. The status that she has today, the mass group of loyal followers, the Grammys, and number one hits. In the rap game they would call it paying your dues and Queen Bey dues has been paid in FULL. Now this new drunk, crunk and let’s just say it RATCHET Beyoncé is shaking up the scene and shaking her ass. But Beyoncé has been the sweet, respectful, sophisticated classy hit making role model for years, let the woman twerk a little and have some fun.

 When I first heard one of the “new” (real) Beyoncé songs on the radio while riding with a friend I thought Beyoncé has finally lost her mind, she went crazy. And as I  heard her songs from her new (un promoted album) on the radio, TV or in the club I was still thinking Beyoncé has finally fallen to the pressures of the music games and gave in to cheap twerking and catchy lyrics to sell tracks. But then I sat down and really thought about it this is Beyoncé, the lead singer of one of the best girl groups in history and one of the most chart toping Grammy winning artists she could afford producing mediocre music for next five years and still be highly revered and sell records. She could possible develop a drug habit, fall off, retire and come back and still have loyal following of Beyoncé loving zombies. (Whitney did it) so to say that she using sex (any more than she has in the past) and cookie cutter catchy thought less lyrics to remain relevant or sell albums is really absurd. I mean Beyoncé is a bright girl; it takes more than great hit to sell the amount records she did. She smarter than that, there is a method to this madness; this is going to be epic!

So I sat down and listen to the tracks and watched her videos and then I listened to the tracks again and zoned in on the lyrics, and the message I felt she was trying to share with world. Now in comparison to the “old” Beyoncé where the  message was clear plain and simple  and she produced great music, safe music, push the envelope vocally and as an entertainer, which challenged all the other artist to step their game up but that’s was about it ,where was the creativity, where was the art?

Now this is all my interpretation and only Beyoncé can tell you the meaning or motive behind bringing the ratchet back but I was like to think as a new mother with a little girl that she was trying to make a statement bigger than let’s get drunk and twerk in the club.

 Now I feel that although she was singing about sex and alcohol, she was making the stamen I am Beyoncé, a woman, a mother and I like to have sex and drink alcohol what is wrong with that? Her video may be perceived at dumb or tasteless but she looks like she was having fun, a lot of fun and really enjoying herself. So many time we as women find ourselves playing multiple roles in this stage play of life and each scene cause for a different character, a different version of our original selves and most of us have been in character so long, we forgot how to be ourselves or became so fearful of the reaction and consequences of being ourselves that we continue to play a role.

I think the message Beyoncé is sending might not be clear at first sight but if you look a deeper, not into what she is saying but how she is saying it, you too will see the power in her music. Although provocative, her music sends a strong message to girls about being a woman, a woman without barriers or restraints. I have felt more empowered by this album than I have any of her other albums. I am more than just the many roles I play and I am more confident in my own existent alone and not its relation to anyone or anything else.

”I am boundless and my worth is immeasurable”

 

 

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My Aunt Shirley Red and the Ray Rice ”Incident”

It has been almost three years since my Aunt Shirley Jean Royster aka Shirley Red, passed away from breast cancer. I find myself thinking about her a lot as I travel on this journey through this little thing we call life. All the women in my life have help mold me into the woman I am becoming today and my Aunt Shirley Red taught me how to be BIG, BOLD AND UNFORGETABLE. She was what the older generation would call a brick house; I mean my aunt was a full figure curvaceous woman. She had “it” and knew it and was not afraid to flaunt it, especially on the dance for where she spent her Saturday nights. My aunt Shirley Red was force to be reckoned with her bold black eyeliner and cherry red lipstick she was loved and feared by women and men a like and no one fucked with Shirley Red, her kids or any of her family as a matter of fact.

But to me and my sisters and cousins, Aunt Shirley was the fun aunt; we knew that when we went to her house we were free to run all over the projects and talk to boys and basically do and say what we wanted unlike at our grandmother house were we spent the majority of our summers confined to the front yard.

Yes my Aunt Shirley Red was a bad woman but in a good way she worked hard and took care of her family but she played even harder. If life was a party my Aunt Shirley Red was the Hooch (homemade liquor) What I loved and admired most about my aunt, was how fierce and fearless she was. They did not portray women like my aunt on TV and if they did they portrayed them in a negative light as if they were not as smart or beautiful.  She wore tight tops and short skirts with no stockings; there was nothing prim or proper about her. If a woman place was at home in kitchen she was in the streets, getting a man to buy her dinner. If a woman was supposed to be seen and not heard she was all up in your face screaming Muther Fucker this and Muther Fucker that and she wish a Muther Fucker would. I swear Samuel L Jackson must have meet my aunt before or in a past life because my Aunt Shirley Red was the OG (original gangster) of cursing and when she open her mouth, me, my sisters and my cousins would stop and wait to hear what was going to come out of her mouth because we knew it was going to be something so bad, that it was going to be good.

Now this might not seem like an ideal role model, but role models come in all shapes and forms and they all teach different lessons. And she taught me, my sisters and my cousins a lot about being a woman, relationships and life, whether she knew it or not. She taught me how not conform to what society expects me be and not to let anyone trap me in a box, limit me or scare me. She taught me how to scream, punch and fight because I was worth it. The most of important thing she taught us was not to take shit from anyone especially a man.

 

My aunt had men coming and going and some time they did not know whether not they were coming or going. If they did not act right, she knew exactly what to do and most of the time she did nothing all and just threw them out like yesterday trash. Now if one was bold enough, drunk enough or just plain dumb enough to raise his hand to hit her, she let him lived but only to regret it and to serve a warning to the next fool who dared to fuck with Shirley Red. My aunt would go toe to toe with any man no matter the size, you hit her, and she hit harder  and if she did not get you that day don’t worry she would get you another day. She did not talk much shit and did not take it either, she just came out swinging.

So As I watch the Ray Rice “incident “ and the elevator scene on every news channel and social media network and I become enraged just ask my friend Sarah. The way Ray Rice brutally punches his then fiancée (now wife) clean the fuck out and proceeds to nonchalantly drag her unconscious limp body out of the elevator is so disturbing and sickening.  I can wonder if she had an Aunt Shirley Red, from the looks of it probably not. Now I know it easy for me to say what I would have or have not done if I was in her shoes but the truth is I really do not know. I have never been put in that type of situation and I try not to get into situations that require me to choose between my heart and common sense.  However, I would like to think that if I am ever in a domestic violence situation, that I would get out in the beginning before it gets too late. Domestic violence never starts with a punch in the a public elevator, it starts small, little things like grabbing, shoving, maybe even verbal and emotional abuse and gradually builds up to physical abuse. There are women in America, who are in a toxic and abusive relationships and do not realize it or are too blind to the fact. We as women feel that we can change a man whether it is how he talks and dress, what his career or life goals are and also his temper and what he does when he gets drunk or mad. The women of America can take a lesson from my Aunt Shirley Red and learn to take or leave a man as he was and if he was not what she wanted or deserve she always chose the latter.

Now if I become blinded by the love and misconception that he would change and did not possess the sense or courage to get out myself, I pray that the spirit of my Aunt Shirley Red would take over my body, the next time my boyfriend decides to raise his fist and hit me, and save me. With all her fearless strength and power beat his Muther Fucking Ass so bad and so brutal that he would be forced to leave me and avoid all contact at any cost. But I don’t think I will have to worry about that because my Aunt Shirley Red helped raise me and with that she saved me!

 

 

 

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My little sister Candida and the Magical Purple Unicorn

My little sister is graduating from high school in May and she is trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her of entire life in little less than 5 months. She has to have her entire future planned out before she marches across that stage in May. Now if she procrastinates on this very important and daunting task and do not make a full pledge commitment to one of her million and one choices for her future within the next five months, her life will be truly doomed for disaster. Luckily she has narrowed her million and one options down to just a large  hand full mostly in the medical field from becoming Trauma surgeon, a physical therapist, a dentist or joining the Army and becoming a field Trauma surgeon. However, she also may just take a “couple” of years off because high school was “so hard” and she really just needs a break… Like Really? 

I find it ironically funny that my sister like many other high school and college graduates are trying to find the answer to a question many men and women my age and older are still  asking themselves today “What should I do with my life?”. I went from being under-employed to becoming one of the hundreds, no thousands of unemployed college graduates. This is truly an epidemic in America not only are we under-employed or unemployed we have mountains of student loans debt that we acquired while pursuing a college degree so we can have a successful and prosperous career. Ha! It seems like one big joke and the egg is on my face and the faces of all the unemployed and underemployed college graduates.  I really should have focused more on my MRS (which stands for Mrs.’s degree, but that is another blog for another day).

Since I graduated in December 2010, I have been on more interviews than most women from the baby boomer generation (mainly because they did not have to work, you know the “good old days”) and I have average at least three jobs a year. But I find myself once again unemployed, my last job quit me before I could quit it and I am back in the rat race going on multiple interviews daily. I have gone on so many interviews, so much so that my friend Sarah has labeled me as a serial interviewer, but I prefer to be called a professional interviewer. This would be a great profession for me because I have tons of interviewing experience and could provide some great market research and company feedback, but sadly no one is in the market for hire a professional interviewer.

So as I talked with or more so cried and bitched to my friend Shayla about my current state of being broke and unemployed after just driving an hour to yet another fruitless interview, she challenged me with the same question but with a different approach. Shayla approach to problem solving and her new approach to dealing with me is from the point of view of a life coach ( I am her first client and I endorse her fully) that requires more thought and cannot be suffice with a simple answer. Shayla asked me “So if a magically Purple Unicorn came to you and asked you what do you want to do with your life, and given that this is a Magical Purple Unicorn, nothing you think of is impossible, what would you tell him?” I took  a deep breath and sat there for a moment ponder over  what such a deep and profound question this Magical Purple Unicorn was asking and I thought a little and realize he was not asking me a simple question, as most Magical Purple Unicorns do. He was not asking me what job or career would make me happy, or what would I do if had the money or even asking what I would I do If money was not an issue, because let’s face it money was a MAJOR issue especially by this point and I personally did not need it myself but my landlord and energy provider did, but once again I digress.

I thought long and hard and evaluated my life up to that particular point and came to the conclusion  that I still don’t know what exactly I wanted to do with life  or exactly what I wanted to accomplish, I felt that the answer requires some mediation and some soul searching. However, I did find that question to spark an electric charge in my brain and I concluded I do not want to just “work a job’’ anymore I wanted to be free. Free to figure this all out. I want to be free to devout my time and energy into something that I am truly passionate about and express myself. I am 26 years old and rapidly approaching 27, which is the new 30 (just ask my friends especially Sarah). I am finally forced to make some serious life decisions because the revolving door of the unemployment line and this vicious cycle of one low paying job for another low paying job must end and I am ending it today! Now grant it I still have financial obligations such as rent, lights, and food and but hey I will figure that as I embark on the journey on finding my freedom and some peace, as I become a black girl evolved.

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