#ChangeJobs #ChangeGods

A few weeks ago someone on Twitter said, women make friends at the club so easily. “Girls make friends so quickly. Yal be in the club “Hi you’re pretty, i’m pretty. Lets be pretty together…”

In the name of all things #VurnerableyFearless.

Two weeks ago, I was hiding, hiding from a spirit when I met Goldy. (@afrolicious has so aptly reminded me, you can’t hide from spirits. She ways right in ways I don’t think she is aware of.)

Well, it didn’t quite go like that, I was out marinating, it was spring break and as usual I was being my normal little talkative self. And I started chatting, we had things in common and I was like cool, she could be a new running buddy. Black girls can always use a homie who is down to do little artistic marination in the streets. Art shows, brunch, boom bap functions, indie films. Especially after I get through this long stretch of April that has both my bosses like come correct or don’t come at all.

So we go to brunch last weekend and she says after we have been sitting there talking a bit, “Are you seeing anyone?” I was like OH SHITRecord scratch. In my head of course.

I said, um, yeah, a few people. #Allhonesterrything. No one has broken away from the pack yet, though.

It was then that I put two and two together and realized I was being hit on.

Mind you, she is fahn, funny, a filmmaker (#Jesusbeafence) and grown. Meaning she garnished my Blue Moon with a blood red orange last week. #Nom to the #Nom.

The chemistry was defiantly on that helium balloon, but she is team earth sign, so she be on the ground, slow and driving my in the air ass out of my mind. Like come on, the air is way quicker than the ground. But I can stand to learn to sit still sometimes. <<< Admitting it.

However, I did have had to tell her, that if and when we are out, and people come at us side ways, I am AM going to say something because I take my right to be in public serious. #Nodomination.

That I assert my right to be treated like a human being when I am out by myself means I am sure as hell going to do it when we are together. I also mentioned that she is a little, ahem, smoother around the edges than I am, meaning I am little bit more confrontational and extroverted. But you know what, it is what it is.

And speaking of domination. I would say that the lack therein is one of the coolest aspects of chilling with her. I mean, it just be easy. It is in these moments that I have really become aware of how navigating patriarchy on that day to day adds another layer of labor to human social experiences. Furthermore, its clear that it simply doesn’t have to be this way.

I am not saying that women are NOT patriarchal. In fact, I contend that Black women can be some of THE MOST patriachal people that I know. What I am saying is that meeting someone with similar politics, politics that shape how we treat each other means that I don’t have to spend time “teaching” folks not to touch women without their consent. Its needed and I am grateful for the opportunities, but its work honey.

I am not sure what will happen, but I have spoke my piece and listened to her and we will take it from there. I will say that two things happened yesterday that got me blown. First. She brought me tulips. I was like dang. She beat me to it. But, I think perhaps, just as, or perhaps even more telling is seeing a copy of Leroi Jones’s Blues People on her bookshelf last night. See, Blues People holds a special place in my heart because I have felt for the last few years that it was my job to write the contemporary version of the book. But putting a late capitalist spin on it and adding a gender critique as well. I even had beef with Jay Smooth about Blues People last year. I suggested that he read it in a tweet. o.O I be serious about my Blues People. Her copy of the book had highlights and notes in it boo. #Kindablown.

Love and change are always possible?

Thoughts?

You ever be out with someone and you think its neutral, then they be like BALOW!*!#(@*, are you seeing anyone?

How Oakland Brought Me #Aquemini

On Saturday, I met #Aquemini.

I was posted up, waiting for someone, doing me. He then spoke, and asked if I was a professor. I had just come from writing the midterm and reading so I had a bag of books next to my chair. I responded no, I am a teacher. I asked him if he taught, he said, yes, once. He was a substitute teacher in East Oakland and he was just getting ready to talk shit about the Town and I said, “Baby, I’m from there.”

He responded, “Oh, really.” Yeah, Oakland.

I gave him another look, my undivided attention and said, “When is your birthday.” He stated, “June 11th.” I was like shit.

You are #Aquemini. It sounds really creepy as I write it, but I have been really deliberate about having a Gemini or Aquarius in my life.

I have been so specific about #Aqeumini that A dub walked over and said hello, and I introduced her to him and said girl, he is #aquemini, and she raised her eyebrows like word. Word.

I ask people their birthday’s before their names. Why? I am being purposeful.

So we conversate. Marinate. All that.

He apparently saw me before. And spoke last summer. I asked if I was nice. Sometimes I shut it down. He said yeah, “You were nice, but it was clear that I were reading your book and didn’t want to be bothered.” That DO be the case sometimes and I am entitled to that. Time and place for everything, no?

He is currently and anti war lobbyist, adorable and White honey. Like Kevin Costner eye crinkles and everything. As I contemplate the politics of puttering around on that interracial in DC. Man listen.

Black girls pay a social cost when they date someone other then Black men. Because I walk like I have a right to be in the city, the threat of violence is always there. Our current sex/gender system says that women are not entitled to be in public, let alone claim the right to occupy city space publicly. Domination is maintained through violence and the threat of violence.

Ah, but the synchronicity of the night.

So, first there is the Oakland connection. Then some how he brings up Ta-Nehisi’s blog. And I say #ummp.

He says, the man has awesome prose. And I respond saying, well he does, however I had a really public conversation with Ta-Nehisi last fall when he asked whether or not For Colored Girls was a classic at a White publication in front of a largely White audience, even though he hadn’t read the book since he was a teenager. #Ummp.

I went on to say that Ta-Nehisi didn’t respond well to being challenged intellectually around his gender politics, and I am referring to his willingness to read a Black feminist text to broaden his analysis, and that I found this unwillingness to be problematic.

He was like, what “That was you” and kinda put his hand over his mouth like “Oh Shit.”  I answered yes. Now see, this is surreal because I am not use to my work preceding me.

Further it speaks to importance of remembering that your words go places that YOU don’t go.

Lastly he has done work in South Africa around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. You and I both know I Love me some TRC’s. So. Um. Yeah.

I can’t call it.

Oh. And I don’t think we exchanged info. #Extra. So Yeah. #Aquemini. Holler @cha girl. You know where to find me @2:26 sec.

#BoomandPow

#VulnerableyFearless

Can you believe that East Oakland ‘ish?

Peace to the Gemini’s.

Faith and Biggie : A Review of Keep the Faith


I read Faith’s memoir, Keep the Faith, by Faith Evans
with Aliya S. King, this weekend. I was surprised by the tone,
it was honest, readable and ultimately made you want to like her.

She starts off the book giving the first couple chapters to her childhood
and familial background and then goes into her relationship with
Biggie and her musical career.

Perhaps what was most refreshing was her honesty about how,
when she was a teenager, she dated a dude who hit her, was verbally
abusive and how she finally decided to leave that relationship.

It was interesting to learn that she graduated high school at the top
of her class and subsequently attended Fordham University in The Bronx.

There are a few things that I was surprised to learn. For example,
early on before they were all famous Biggie asked Faith to take Kim
shopping and to the gym. I was also surprised to learn how honest
Biggie was about sleeping with other women. She would ask him,
he told the truth, yes. They would go on being husband and wife,
in the way that you do when you have that kind of information.
It was as simple as that.

Perhaps what is most beneficial about the book is that it provides a behind
the scenes to young women who are interested in getting involved in
the music industry. She talks about gaining the courage to ask
Puffy to pay her for her song writing contributions. She walks the reader
through what it was like to learn how publishing credits are allocated.
She talks about her managing the relationships professional and
private with Puffy, Missy, Mary and 112, in a way that I don’t recall anyone
from our generation doing so.

I must admit that I was drawn to finishing the book because I was
interested in seeing how honest she talked about Biggie hitting her.
Given the fact that Pepa just published a book Lets Talk About Pep,
where she mentions being abused by Treach and Kim Osorio, former
editor The Source discusses in her Straight from the Source
how she endured sexism galore while at the helm
of that magazine, I wondered to myself if we were beginning
to be honest about the violence against women in our neighborhoods
and in our music.

I am trying to connect the dots between our attitudes towards the
violence that women suffer in hip hop to the violence that we see
against women in our communities. While reading Keep the Faith
I was looking for how she framed Biggie hitting her. What is interesting
is that the only incident that she mentions is him shaking her and
pushing her down after he found out that she recorded a song with
Tupac. However, they both committed act’s of violence against people
that they thought were, or actually were the other persons lover.

Ultimatly the book will resonate with you if you interested in Hip Hop,
stories about women in the music industry or a story about
a stormy relationship between two lovers who came of age in
the eyes of the public. If you find yourself or Barnes and Noble or
Amazon, pick it up, its a great weekend read.

In My Oakland Gristle


Man listen. There is an article in the Chronicle today
about Oakland
and murders. It had me livid, inspired,
depressed AND heated all at once.
You can read it here.

In the last five years, 557 people were slain on the city’s streets, making Oakland the state’s second-most murderous city, behind Compton.

Most victims are young, black men who are dying in forgotten neighborhoods of East and West Oakland.

A handful of their killers, speaking from prison, describe an environment where violence is so woven into the culture that murder has become a symbol of manhood.

The inmates say the only difference between these neighborhoods and prison is the absence of walls. The same hierarchies apply – the meanest rise to the top. It’s a survival skill that ensures ownership of drug corners, a sense of self-worth, female attention and protection from attack.

See. Here is the context.

Yesterday, I was speaking to Birkhold about how difficult it is to
write fiction.
My problem is that I am attempting to write about
real things
I have seen AND I am cautious, perhaps, too cautious
about perpetuating sterotypes about Black people, specifically,
Black teenage mommas.

His response was gone head and write about it, because if you do,
and your readers feel you,
THEN YOU CAN take them to
another place. And I had nothing
to say to that. He was right.

So this morning. I woke up energized. And started on my stories.

Then this article comes up. And it had me and never really quite let go.

I must have spoke to 5 people today about it, including my father.

Now, if a resonable person reads this article, it serves as evidence that
East Oakland just needs to be bombed a la Philadelphia “MOVE” and
because there is no redeeming it.

And the comments (all 486 of them), which I normally enjoy reading as a
sort of journalism anthropology experiment, I couldn’t bring myself to read
them.
I can’t take what those folks have to say on this topic. They have no
“skin in the game” so what room do they have to talk?

The more I thought about it the more I realized why the article about
why it was egregious.

The article offers NO historical context for why East Oakland, and Philly,
Detroit, D.C., Newark, Pittsburgh and most of the RUST BELT
have evolved to be the way that they are.

For example, there are NO MORE factory jobs in East Oakland. Cats who
had factory jobs now operate in the underground economy.

Second welfare to workfare was egregious WITHOUT an educational component.
You and I both know that education is what gives people options in this country.
Straight up and down.

And if you disagree with me, then why was it ILLEGAL to teach
an enslaved African’s to read. Right? Right.

Thirdly, prisons are the new steel mills. White rural counties LOBBY to get jails
built in their counties because of the jobs that they create.

Fourth, if a Black child encounters a babysitter for a teacher in two years,
in either first, second or third grade, they will likely NEVER recover.
Those years are so precious that the harm done academically takes and act
of congress to recover from.

So yeah.

Im vexed.

Oh. And on the bus home tonight I witnessed an E.S.O dude
going back on forth with two women. The women were obviously a couple
and he disprected one of them and THEY WERE not having it.

Street dude + lesbian couple + BUS = BAD combo.

And I am thinking to myself, please don’t provoke her.

I can feel the situation escalate. He starts talking another DUDE about
BROADS that mess with OTHER BROADS and all I am thinking is
NOTHING good will come of this.

Just then, a cat walks back and says,

“Yo, I hear yall, and I just want you to know that my daughter here
seen 3 murders and she is only 5. She is five.”

He pointed at the ladies and said, ” You have your point” and points to him
saying “He has his point, but it ain’t nothing worth getting smoked over“.

Things were smoothed over between the two parties.

And the gentleman took his daughter and sat down.

At that very moment I thought to myself. This is what the article missed.

The perspective of someone who has their “skin in the game”.

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What was the last article you read that had you livid?

How did you respond?

When was the last time you had to deescalate a situation?

Why so much violence? ( For the record, I get violence, I understand it
I had to in order to survive. I am asking YOU, why so much?)

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You Notice How People Hate Mothers?

Typically the venom I witness in the media towards parents is directed at those that are low income and the working poor. Imagine my surprise when I see the homies at the Washington Post talking sh*t about people who hire folks to HELP with raising their children.

But no more! It turns out that other parents who are either too busy or too inept will pay dearly for our child-rearing talents. And I’m not talking about the drudgery of working twelve hour days as a nanny or baby nurse. I mean becoming highly compensated Child Life Specialists who are taking over the intimate, mundane responsibilities that are no longer the sacred purview of parents. Who needs law school? Now we all can bill by the hour.

Take this:

Professional Potty Trainer. You too can charge $185 an hour to toilet train someone else’s child, like the talented folks at the Soho Parenting center in New York. This tidbit was reported in the October issue of Vanity Fair, which also told of a company called High 5 which will teach your kid to ride a bike (for $60 an hour) and the Los Angeles trend of paying attractive young men to come to your house to horse around — with your kids. “There’s nothing more emasculating than watching a stranger being paid to play with your kids,” one (apparently sane) father complained.

On one level I can see how it seems trivial to be hiring out someone to play with your kid. On the other hand, who is suppose to do it IF you are working 80 hours a week be it ONE JOB outside of the house or TWO.

But then again the upper middle class and the wealthy pay for assistance
with other child raising matters such as kindergarten consultants, college
consultants, SAT tutoring, running coaches etc. Why should this been
seen as being any different?

The article would have made a MUCH better point if it
discussed the HUMAN CAPITAL that is invested in
raising children and how our culture has moved
from a one parent needing to work to support a
working middle class life style
to two parents working 60 odd hours per week
with a grandmomma/cousin/auntie/ stepmom-dad
living in the home OR nearby as well.


What all of these articles LACK are a critique of the system itself.

The next time you read something criticizing parents or
mothers who have and ADDITIONAL job outside of the
home, look for an analysis
of the employee system itself.

Don’t hold your breath. You see y’all that Britney sh*t,
that Lauryn sh*t and this is
all tied
together in that it reflects a GRAVE lack of understanding
of how
much MONEY and TIME and HUMAN CAPITAL in general
goes
into raising babies.

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Looks like the colleges have caught the Bigotry Flu.
I guess I am content with the fact that someone is writing about it.

A couple of weeks into classes at the University of Maryland, a rope tied into what looked like a noose was found hanging outside the campus’s African American cultural center. Campus police reports this month included two incidents of racially disparaging remarks, one written on a workstation and one on a bathroom stall in the student union.

This weekend, a swastika was spray-painted onto the car of a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, which one member described as a Christian fraternity.

A couple of weeks into classes at the University of Maryland, a rope tied into what looked like a noose was found hanging outside the campus’s African American cultural center. Campus police reports this month included two incidents of racially disparaging remarks, one written on a workstation and one on a bathroom stall in the student union.

This weekend, a swastika was spray-painted onto the car of a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, which one member described as a Christian fraternity.

Oh. Its SO MUCH FUN being a model minority.

If this shit didn’t happen, what would I talk about?

Oh. Hip Hop, fancy Italian shoes and Sweet Jesus
trynna mack
me into moving to Dallas. LOl.

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Birds is chirpin’ about Biggie.

A prison inmate who had implicated a former Los Angeles Police Department officer in the shooting death of rap star Biggie Smalls has renounced his story, tying a new knot in the tangle of intrigue that surrounds the still-unsolved killing.

Waymond Anderson, who was briefly a top-selling R&B artist and is serving a life term for murder, said in a recent deposition that he lied about LAPD involvement in the Smalls slaying as part of a “scam” concocted by two other convicts to squeeze a large monetary settlement out of the city.

A prison inmate who had implicated a former Los Angeles Police Department officer in the shooting death of rap star Biggie Smalls has renounced his story, tying a new knot in the tangle of intrigue that surrounds the still-unsolved killing.

Waymond Anderson, who was briefly a top-selling R&B artist and is serving a life term for murder, said in a recent deposition that he lied about LAPD involvement in the Smalls slaying as part of a “scam” concocted by two other convicts to squeeze a large monetary settlement out of the city.

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Now, here is a voter issue that can affect a whole lotta Negroes and Mexicano’s.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide whether states can require voters to show government-issued photo identification before they cast a ballot.

The justices’ ruling, due by the end of June, could have a major effect on the 2008 presidential election and on congressional races in several states.

New photo ID laws in Indiana, Georgia and Arizona have been upheld in the last year, while a Missouri law was blocked from taking effect. By agreeing to hear an appeal from Indiana Democrats, the justices signaled that they wanted this legal dispute resolved before voters go to the polls next fall.

Since 2002, Republicans have championed photo IDs as a means to prevent fraudulent voting. Under the laws, a voter must show government-issued identification — such as a driver’s license or a passport — to prove to poll workers that he or she is indeed the person registered to vote.

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OH. THE KKK is angry about the Jena 6 protests.

First a neo-Nazi website posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena Six case, as it has come to be known, and urged followers to find them and “drag them out of the house,” prompting an investigation by the FBI.

Then the leader of a white supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counterdemonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to “realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind.” `

Over the weekend, white extremist websites and blogs filled with invective about the Jena Six case, which has drawn scrutiny from civil rights leaders, three leading Democratic presidential candidates and hundreds of African American bloggers. They are concerned about allegations that blacks have been treated more harshly than whites in the criminal justice system of the town of 3,000, which is 85% white.

Ummp. I wonder what the middle class liberals who make my @ss itch
to say about this new development

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How do you deal with the soft bigotry that you encounter?

How did you deal with your last “racial” incident?

I honestly don’t know why their is MORE Public Violence? For trill.

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