Category Archives: Music

Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor Are Beautiful Women Not Rottweilers

I was happily scrolling through social media when I noticed Teyana as a trending topic. I am a fan of her music so I click the hashtag. To my dismay, she was not trending because a new song or dope video had dropped. Teyana Taylor and fellow singer Ari Lennox were trending topics due to the viral tweet below:

Image result for ari lennox teyana tweet king kwasii"

Colorism, Featurism, and the Black Woman

I never understood or really got colorism. I was never called light-skinned until college when I became very aware of an invisible line of demarcation, separation, and mistrust between black women based on skin shade. I have grown to learn more about colorism and featurism via novels by Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, my own study minoring in African American Studies, articles, and YouTube testimonials based on lived experiences.

Merriam-Webster defines Colorism as:

prejudice or discrimination especially within a racial or ethnic group favoring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin. Source

For a quick cultural reference, see Spike Lee’s School Daze. There is a musical dance battle between the light-skinned ‘Wannabes” and dark-skinned ‘Jiggaboos’ that highlights the tension between black women who fall into those perceived categories. The idea is that women who are ‘light-skinned’ are seen as more desirable by men, specifically black men in this case, than darker skinned women.

There seems to a subcateogry of colorism called featurism. As noted by writer Nia Hernandez,

The official definition of featurism is “A form of architectural design based around certain accentuated features”. In other context, society accepting or preferring certain features over others (i.e. European features over African features). Source

In the case of Ari Lennox, she has previously responded to criticism of her nose or wide nostrils. Teyana Taylor has received similar critique of her facial features. If we are to keep it real, a lot of the ‘you so ugly’ jokes center around facial features that are more afrocentric or our misconception of what is afrocentric. (Africa is a huge continent of over a billion people in over 50 countries. African Americans are the decedents of enslaved Africans who mainly came from the African West Coast countries.) We typically associate wide noses, textured hair, and dark skin as African features and all of the negative ideas that have been linked to that. ‘Beautiful’ black women are those whose features align more with perceived eurocentric standards of beauty; slim noses, lighter skin, softer textured hair.

When a Joke is Not Just a Joke:

There is a  malignant  history of race-based pseudoscience associating black people to animals  which metastasized into racist eugenics ideology. The idea that black people are animalistic or subhuman affects their treatment by others in society  in many areas, such as, politics, education, healthcare, law enforcement.

I believe the ease at which other black people make these types of jokes is rooted in ignorance. Comparing a black woman to a rottweiler dog is not funny; it is also not benign. Clearly the young man making the comment and the many who cosigned his statement through likes and retweets have not heard of the Human Zoo built by King Leopold of Belgium to showcase the Congolese people to Europeans. This display only highlights the actual reign of terror and genocide inflicted by Belgium on the nation of Congo.

Funny yet? 

Comparing these two young talented women to a dog associated with being dangerous and aggressive is associating their aesthetic with danger and aggressiveness.  These are the same stereotypes surrounding unarmed black men who are shot and killed at  7 times the rate of unarmed non-black males. We cannot become complicit in our own dehumanization. There is a history of this behavior being acceptable and normalized.

In this new decade, we will denormalize it.

Let’s start 2020 out right by calling out disrespect and putting haters in their place –  the trash.

R&B Divas LA – Reunion Parts 1 and 2 A Review and Other Stuff

I have not been on a true vacation in over 5 years. I really need one. I am the sweetest, nicest person but when I am cranky – watch out! lol What makes me cranky? Lack of sleep, rest, tranquility . . . having no vacation time life until November. #ARGH.

Reality TV is my little escape from this stressful world. Sitting at a computer all day is enough to drive anyone stir-crazy. I watch. I write. The world keeps spinning on its axis.

This past week, I watched the R&B Divas Season 2 Reunion – Part 1 and 2. I am left wondering why we women cannot get along and build. Actually, I am re-watching it again because I am still confused.

No one seems to like each other and I DON’T GET IT. As an observer, I see that each woman is marginalized in the industry. If they would only collaborate, they could be a force of change and great music. A perfect example is the Puerto Rican project.

If you have been a long time reader of mine, you know I have a soft spot for Puerto Ricans, er, Puerto Rico. (I want to go on vacation so bad.)

How can you be mad in Puerto Rico?

The ladies are commissioned by the Puerto Rican Tourist Bureau to create a song for Puerto Rican tourism. They create a beautiful song. That fact is lost among the fighting over rehearsal, parts, performance. They argue in a rain forest.

Side note: Some friends went to Puerto Rico this summer and had an argument in the rain forest. 

On the reunion, everyone airs their grievances about Chante Moore. Chrisette Michele, Lil’ Mo and Leelah James to some extent are not feeling Chante Moore. They state she acts like the world revolves around her. Chante is sitting on that couch looking freaking flawless, like, I woke up like this . . . flawless. I am left wondering if this is the real source of the problem. Pretty girls do have it tough. Like, oh, that pretty girl doesn't wanna be my friend. I hate her! lol

Insults . . . apologies . . . body guard . . . and a pink elephant all make their appearances. Watching this has me drained.

I write for therapy. I write to understand life and myself. Ultimately, I am looking at the world searching for my reflection. As a black woman and a singer – I thought I could identify with these women. They are doing what they love for a living. Does it get any better than this in life? 

So why so serious?                                                    

After sitting through this, I really need a vacation. . . Puerto Rico? Note to self: Stay away from the rain forest. 

The Braxton Family Values – I May Be Losing Faith

As you know, I gave up "The Cable." The sky did not fall just my monthly expenditures.

Aren't I clever? You know the sky falling but my expenditures are . . . nevermind.

Every Friday, I would search my internet for the episodes of Braxton Family Values – the one reality show that I kept on rotation. Then I watched the reunion show hosted by Wendy Williams today.

I am am convinced that reality TV is the devil!

My favorite characters – Trina, Towanda, Traci, Tamar, Miss E and Toni B – are super funny but each chick has a quote or unintelligible word phrase that must be repeated. I get it. It is all a part of branding, but do we all have to be reduced to a, "what you talkin' bout Willis?" statement. Yes, Tamar Braxton actually uses this phrase.

Ugh, why must I be so analytical? Why can't I just enjoy mindless entertainment?

Darn it, I'm educated. I have the bill to prove it. That's why.

 

Braxton
I think the Braxton sisters need an intervention – positive energy. We nerds know that without the input of energy things tend toward disorder. This show may be unraveling and I need this show. I can't go back to scripted TV. I just cannot!

How about showcasing what these women are accomplishing now that they have the spotlight? Toni Braxton is still a superstar. Tamar and Vince have a spin-off show. I have got some great ideas for the rest of the cast.

Trina can go on tour. Towanda can take an acting class. Traci can do everybody's hair.  Miss E can hand out bible verses and peppermint candy. Just kidding. Ms. E is superduper fabulous. I love her!

Now how difficult was that WeTv?

On the positive side, the girls looked fabulous and Trina's hair was EVERYTHING to me. *cue Monica singing* After all, this is why I watch. Where else can you see women of color, going to fab parties, wearing the latest fashion, spending exorbitant amounts of money on shoes with red bottoms and hobnobbing with a superstar sister?

I will allow myself to feel intellectually superior to other reality tv junkies who devour lessor quality shows like the Kardashians or Real Housewives of wherever they call women who are not married housewives as I wait patiently for next season to get my full of Braxton Family Values.

Hypocitical much? Don't judge me! lol

Toni Braxton, A Comeback?

Toni Braxton is a favorite artist of mine. I ain’t gonna lie. *fifty-tyson voice*

I watch the WeTv hit, the Braxton Family Values every week – on the internet of course, no cable.

I was perusing the internet and came across a little video of Toni B. dishing on new music to debut next month, I Heart U.

I have to confess my fav Toni Braxton album is Secrets. That album got me through my first heartbreak. So, of course, it is dear to me.

I think future musical success for Toni does not lie in trying to replicate Secrets but in producing great songs like Secrets.

With the right combo of great music and promo, I am certain Ms. Toni Braxton will dominate the charts again.

What say you?

Braxton Family Values – Poor Toni

I love reality TV. These are my confessions. *Cue Usher* My show du jour is Braxton Family Values.

I love how it displays the complexities of the sisterly dynamic in families. I have several sisters, and believe you me, I understand. Sometimes family does not see the evolution of you as an individual, as a woman and as an adult. To them, I am little sister. That, my friend, can complicate things.

I totally get Toni Braxton's point in this clip.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1
 

Background: Tamar (Toni's little sister) is married to Vince (Toni's manager). Vince also manages other groups including Lady Gaga. Well, we all know Lady Gaga is doing well but Toni's career has suffered missteps. Toni is tired of mixing family and business. Toni decides to disclose her feelings during a dinner and fireworks follow.

What do you guys think about family and business mixing?

I Am Still Hoping . . .

. . that Lauryn Hill makes a comeback. That I'll lose enough weight to fit into my cute clothes I bought too small on purpose. I still hope that Girlfriends makes a comeback with all of the original cast.

Hope springs eternal.

I hope I can finish my novel. I need an ending. I am waiting on life to provide one for me. Every ending I write seems inauthentic. Should I just commit? IDK.

Hopealive

I am still hoping that I get hired on where I currently work. If that is not God's will, that he will allow me to get the job I am currently interviewing for.

Faith without works is dead.

I hope I get the wish I want that I am keeping to myself for now.

Keep hope alive!

John Legend – Everybody Knows

I was never a big fan of John Legend's music, although I am a fan of his voice. I think it has something to do with the fact that he says a lot of "oh's" in his songs. LOL. Am I petty? Yes, maybe, but he does. LOL

I heard this song online and I fell in love with it. This song made me give Mr. Legend a second listen. He really does make really good music. Oh's, oh and oh's aside.