So it’s been more one week since SXSW ended and more than two since the Blacks In Tech event was held during the first evening of the Interactive portion of the conference. Inquiring minds want to know why the panel and especially the Q&A content that followed has been pulled from UStream and not re-aired as indicated.
Think about how legislation like DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) has a title that can be misconstrued. Labels can attract powerful connections. When they are misused confusion can result. Such was the case with the event titled “Blacks In Tech” held the first evening of SXSW Interactive Conference. It was not only all fluff and offered zero substance, but worse the response showed an utter lack of respect for individuals attending SXSW who would be dismissed as unimportant by the so-called Social Media VIPs. At a conference which is often chided for its lack of diversity, I was surprised to find myself under assault at an event that was hyped as a “safe space” for people like me.
People spend a lot of money and put resources to attend SXSW with limited time in attending events. While there is nothing wrong with a multi-cultural focus had the organizer been more forthcoming about the details of Blacks In Tech it was unlikely to have had a majority African-American female audience in attendance. I went with reservations but observed the event before rendering a final judgment. I waited patiently for nearly 15 minutes to speak during the Q&A session that followed. I addressed the moderator, Jeffrey L. Bowman, a Partner at Ogilvy & Mather’s Consulting Practice directly about my concerns. Specifically, I asked how such an event that had been billed as part of a Blacks In Tech initiative featured a panelist who consistently named-dropped specific male record executives as people to emulate when they had actively promoted music that denigrated black women – to an audience that was a majority of black women.
I am attending the SXSW Conference this year. It’s one of the biggest interactive conferences in the world and this is my year to come into my own. So I’m here to learn, grow and be challenged. I felt utterly compelled to be present at this time even though it is not the most convenient. Aside from getting sick – known as Austin allergies – I’m having a blast. It’s been so great meeting people in real life that I’ve conversed with online in some capacity. Some of you who follow me on Twitter may have heard the obfuscation, misdirection and defamation from a disgruntled DBR (damaged beyond repair) black male. It is always the agenda of such obstructionists to misdirect conversation so the focus remains on them instead of the larger agenda at hand.
I will put the same amount of thought into my response to this attack and and character slander of me shortly. Those unfamiliar with the incident at hand may be wondering what prompted such a strong negative reaction. I asked a combo question with a comment during a Q&A session at a panel that they didn’t like. They’ve proceeded to try to distort and defame me across numerous Twitter accounts nearly every hour on the hour since yesterday morning. Think Teabaggers referring to President Obama as Hitler and you’d get the picture.
You were a bloated, overwrought spectacle where certain people of privilege got to be self-congratulatory but I can’t quit you (yet) Oscar! I didn’t have any cocktails during the broadcast this year so maybe it’s always been this dull. Far too many of the actresses failed to deliver in the fashion department this year and I’m not exactly sure why. Their hair and makeup was messy and unflattering too. I should be on one of those post-awards fashion opinion shows!
Mo’Nique has been nominated for a slew of awards for her role as the abusive mother in the movie Precious, based on the book by Sapphire. I have not pulled any punches about why such a film is denigrating. This is just the type of film Hollywood supports for its portrayal of blacks as troubled, problematic and damaged. She is being rewarded for playing a monster. Not to mention how many of those involved in making and promoting the film grew up environments where sexual abuse, physical abuse and abandonment were the norm. They also have a vested interest in reinforcing what they are used to as such trauma shifts your entire perspective, particularly if it has been unexamined or unresolved. Yet despite all of the negatives I will be happy for her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress. My only hope is that a new page may be turned and doors that lead to the light will be flung open. This is a golden opportunity for those who wish to tell more well-rounded stories of normal behavior applicable to blacks can take center stage. Plus it was nice to see Mo’Nique use her inside voice for a change and give a heartfelt speech.
This is a scene from the 1995 film, “The American President” speaking about leadership. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this film before. President Shepard is a widower dating a woman who’s a lobbyist at a pivotal time during his reelection campaign. It is causing some discomfort amongst his staff . His refusal to address his opponent (who has made it a “family values” issue) is bringing his numbers down. How much of this rings a bell to what’s going on with this Administration?
I found this video by author Marianne Williamson. You may or may not be immediately familiar with her name but one of her most famous quotes has been on the tip of the cultural lexicon for quite some time. From her book, A Return To Love:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
March is Women’s History Month. As much as I like to look back at women who blazed trials I also want newer generations to continue that tradition in elevating the status of all women. Now I write about many topics one of which explores ways black women (and others for the basic concepts) can reexamine their thinking and perspectives to make informed choices. That’s empowerment and while it may manifest itself in different ways to me, you and her there are some core concepts that must be embraced. One of them is freedom in determining gender identity and orientation. Another is peace of mind from dead concepts which many have been indoctrinated with. Reproductive rights are constantly under attack. It’s not just about the right to choose but about the quality of life for the lives you may or may not bring into this world. It’s about being able to express yourself as a sexual being without being coerced, under duress or without knowledge of boundaries. It’s about not being violated or used. It’s about having self-esteem and knowing how to choose a good mate. It’s about not feeling desperate and lonely that you settle for the lowest of low. It’s about being free to say no. It’s about having plenty of options that are all good for you. It’s about removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances if they have presented themselves as obstacles to your continued progress. Autonomy in our relationships: with ourselves and external connections (be they personal or professional) will make or break us.