Old School Friday – Can’t Get Enough of Barry

No this isn’t about the Prez! It’s Barry White Week! WooT!!!

Who doesn’t love Barry White. His dulcet tones wrapped themselves around some of the most lovely lyrics about LOVE. He even had an orchestra called Love Orchestra. This was a man who left his criminal past behind him, changed his mindset, tapped into his talents and graced us with some of the best songs in popular music.

It’s so hard to choose one song of Mr. White that is better than the other.

My First, My Last, My Everything

I always liked this cover of Never Never Gonna Give You Up. Yeah the video was risque.

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Defining Reciprocity: Black Women Are Still Being Told To Put Everyone Else First!

Yet the buck stops here.

Some women think of themselves by their ethnicity or race first. Some women think of themselves by their relationships (i.e daughter of or wife of someone). Some women think of themselves by their station in life or job. Still others are considered by gender in relation to a political agenda…but still have their race or class status hand in hand.

One of the most freeing aspects from reading the essays of empowerment as discussed by certain bloggers is that we are FREE. Their words are a much-needed inoculation against the insanity messages being spouted as facts today.

  • We are free to date whomever we fancy. Character trumps skin shade.
  • We are free to explore our orientation or identity and establish it as we see fit.
  • We are free to explore our individual tastes. Go see the world!
  • We are free to live our lives as we see fit. Our standards are what matter most.
  • We are free from being conjoined with random black men and tying our existence to them.
  • We are free – or we should be – from the myth of the “black community” and upholding its “tenets” of enslavement.
  • We are even free from needing the understanding or approval of other black women for our individual choices. Even the ones that claim to be in support of empowerment.

Why is that so many are invested in telling us what we “should” be doing? I had a conversation with someone who asked me when I was going to do “community service” and help the children. This was the tail-end of a conversation about a black male student who was beaten to death. I think the “people” that need to “step up” are black men and the Civil Rights organizations. Since we know it is NOT black women causing the majority of the violence, the misogyny and the denigration why would anyone assume we have the power to “fix” other people (esp. black boys and men)?

We know them by the fruit of their labor.

Now, I’m not mocking the benefits of offering assistance but the idea that I should feel in any way obligated to encourage, uplift or elevate other people (and their otherwise abandoned, mistreated, or cast-aside kids) is rather presumptuous. I’m certain this will be considered heresy to some but far too many black women have sacrificed themselves at the altar of “saving all of our people” for naught. Things have steadily deteriorated and the depravity will only multiply.

Black women need to stop riding the rescue wave for others and take care of themselves first!

I am a black woman, an African-American but that is but ONE aspect to who I am. I’m also an artist, a writer, a singer and a budding gourmet chef. I’m also a Gen-Xer, born in the USA, grew up on the East Coast and the first-born child. I enjoy a variety of music, love to travel and enjoy plushness. I cry at poignant commercials. I am many things yet sometimes I am no one in particular. Who says I have to be ANYTHING other than WHO I WANT TO BE?

Yesterday, I had to be very firm in setting boundaries with an individual who was willing to take advantage of me. Lack of communication and setting a bad precedent in behavior will only set a path in motion that’s nearly impossible to reverse. After hearing about their various issues with this and that and feeling empathy but recognizing I was about to be steamrolled I had to put my foot down. I was very reluctant to do so but at the end of the day who’s looking out for me if I won’t take care of myself first!!

When we try to be “nice” and overlook obvious flaws to “get along” with others we are not doing ourselves any favors. There will always be some issue that takes precedence. Once people see they can be “abusive” or take advantage it only escalates. It may be a joke at one’s expense, a harsh word or demanding considerations that overextend others. It may be borrowing money with no intention of repaying, asking someone to look the other way or withholding affection.

I wanted to know whether this person would respect my wishes and set aside their self-interest for the greater good. Their response was to become rather combative because I wouldn’t “understand” their difficulties. Actions speak louder than words. It’s why women are referred to as bit*hes when they don’t respond to street harassers or make unpopular decisions. People are very quick to turn to anger when they don’t get their way and lines are drawn in the sand. “Do it my way or else there’ll be hell to pay!” That is the ultimate in manipulative behavior.

When there is mutual respect, concern and affection…you know a true FRIENDSHIP or KINSHIP…people will look at the big picture. It’s one thing to ask for help. It’s another thing to insist the need for alleviating one’s challenges/difficulties at someone’s expense. Sometimes misunderstandings do occur and things should absolutely be resolved. Sometimes people know exactly what they’re doing in crossing a line. Setting boundaries is not the problem. It’s about respect for self – and others by insisting on them to begin with. There’s no need for emotionalism or lingering anger when they are established and adhered to. No one is going to convince me otherwise.

Sometimes we must ensure our dignity remains intact even if our needs cannot be met at that time or in the preferred manner. Getting along with another person, an organization or even a community should NEVER include being used as a doormat or being self-sacrificing to one’s detriment.

Black Women Hair Angst Should Not Be Open For Public Consumption

I could actually take the “Hair” out of the title of this post and leave it as is. Black women angst should NOT be open for public consumption!! I find these conversations to be challenging, painful and difficult. They require time and great care as we sort through things. The issue is they’re often full of pain and tied to other issues involving the abandonment and denigration of black women (in particular African-American black women) at the hands of black men.

So when Chris Rock appeared on Oprah yesterday to discuss his documentary, “Good Hair” I cringed. Again, it’s another hijacking of stories that should be told and controlled by BLACK WOMEN but is only given “validity” by those black men who decide to cash in on them. That cashing in may be monetary compensation or notoriety. This goes hand in hand with other black women engaging in patriarchy-based sexism who agree to defer to these “experts” simply because they are MEN.

Curiosity on a subject is usually an indication you need to examine an issue further but to then make a cottage industry out of it at the expense of your “subject matter” is all about YOUR hustle. Any real assistance that emerges is a residual affect. The assumption that black men (who frequently devalue other black women in their personal and professional lives) can suddenly decide to “come to the rescue” of black women in one hand with the “answer” in the other is disturbing to me. It’s not sincere. Not when pathologies and pain are laid bare in a public forum AND they’re trying to make money from it.

The participation of black women is still 100% required for any such projects to be successful. I’m still annoyed that Steve Harvey, the thrice-married cheater is giving any woman advice on how to have a successful relationship – and given validity. Especially when he’s being sued for stealing the concept and content from another black woman. Then we have Tyler Perry allowing a black woman writer-director to be pushed out of the For Colored Girls project in favor of….himself. I could go down a list.

As more and more black women take the pill to get out of the DBR Matrix our movements have not gone unnoticed! Now our real oppressors want to further obstruct the path to freedom by seeming to champion us. Like any sneaky saboteur they will grin in our faces while steadying the knife to stick in our backs. We must never forget the oppressors are also in competition with those of us who want to succeed. It’s part race and part class warfare. Lest anyone wish to dispute this ask yourself how you’d feel if it was a white male director making a documentary about “good” hair and referring to childhood photos of Oprah as her “slave” look. All of our skin folk are NOT our kin folk!

Here’s a “good” moment from yesterday’s Oprah episode – but again Rock has to insert himself and his opinion as if what he thinks about Solange actually matters. He is spot on in his political commentary but has a clear animus towards educated and successful black women. I still remember the way he put down Michelle Obama during his comedy routine from last year and his poor attitude toward his wife. As if making a joke out of married life and devaluing relations between black men and women accompanied with laughter removes all the hatred.

Speaking of which – where was Malaak Compton-Rock in this conversation? Why isn’t SHE on stage (ok at least in the audience)? It makes you wonder about all the rumors of their marital strife. I sense much of it stems from him and his attitudes. If he is sooo concerned about the well-being of his daughters and screams from the rafters about what he says to reaffirm their beauty why is there such an ongoing problem? Actions speak louder than words that’s why. Like so many weak, insecure and often limited-educated African-American black men (regardless of their income) their short-comings are obvious to everyone but them.

**Carmen Dixon mentioned me in her latest post! Thanks CD.
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