AA Legacy Series Spotlight: Belva Davis

We’re winding down the end of (Black) Women’s Heristory Month. I invited readers to submit essays on women have moved or influenced them for inclusion and Vanessa Francis answered the call. Ms. Francis is an urban planner and policy analyst who runs the blog Wicked Urbanity. Check it out. She wrote a terrific tribute to journalist Belva Davis. It was a pleasure to include this, for as a Bay Area resident for a number of years I’ve had the distinct privilege of watching Ms. Davis on PBS. I hope you enjoy (it’s one of the few guest posts I’ll be allowing)!


Belva Davis: Emmy Award Winning Journalist

Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.

photo from SF Gate

Holding the distinction of the first African-American woman television journalist in a western U.S. market, Belva Davis has overcome adversity to rise to the top.  Born in 1932 in Monroe, Louisiana to a teen mother, Davis moved to Oakland, California in 1942 with her family and lived in public housing.  Graduating from Berkley High School in 1951, Davis was accepted to San Francisco State University, however, she was not able to attend due to not being able to pay for a college education.   Davis soon went to work at the Naval Supply Center and soon after married Frank Davis Jr. and relocated to Washington, DC for Mr. Davis’ position with the U.S. Air Force.  During her time in D.C., Davis’ son was born there.  After a reassignment to Hawaii and then moving back to Oakland, Davis gave birth to a daughter.
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The “F” Word: Femininity v. Feminism Battle For Dominance In Women’s Lives

This is certainly an eye-opener. Is it true?

There’s a myriad of reasons why I don’t refer to myself as a feminist with a capital “F” in much the same way I refer to myself as a Christian with a little “c”. The politics get in the way of the practice. The message gets subverted. Other people who claim to know it all try to speak for me and instead of me. I don’t like being dictated to. I want to investigate and exercise my own core belief system. I want to ensure I am benefiting by way of increased enlightenment and elevation and not allowing a dead ideology to rule my life in ways that block that.

To be certain, there have been substantial gains vehemently fought for that women in Western societies benefit from. There’s so much more that needs to be done. Yet for every gain there has also been a jockeying for power internally within these organizations, events and in representation that always manages to push non-white women out of any position of power. Or really put enough roadblocks in their way so they never get the necessary momentum to get close.

One case for example was with the NOW national elections in 2010 when Latifa Lyles  (who is African-American) ran for President and looked to be on the verge of winning until Terry O’Neill came in at the 11th hour to appeal to the “traditional base” and won. Some wanted to blame it on Palin supporters.  Some wanted to say age and experience played a factor. Go back..way back…to 2008 and reread the nasty, vile things said against black women by some of these so-called feminists when Obama overtook Hillary Clinton to refresh your memory about the non-existent solidarity present.

Fortunately or not depending on which way this administration goes  – Lyles is currently serving as the Deputy Director of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor – the only part of the Federal government specifically tasked with improving the lives of working women.

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If Some Of Our Elders Wish To Speak Again We Are Ready To Listen

As a Black Women Empowerment (BWE) messenger who is uncompromising in the message I am very grateful for some of the historical contributions from those that came before us, who tried to warn us about the conditions and state of black womanhood.

We have paid it forward and thanks to prolific and profound writing and sharing our experiences via the internet some of the messaging has begun to make waves. While I’m not certain if it has permeated, there has been enough pushback and attempts at diluting the message, many have certainly taken notice.

Due largely to that bounced check of If you take care of me first I’ll have your back later between black men and women – where they’ve failed to protect and cherish black women and black children – we’re currently in a heap of mess right now. Since it is only going to get worse [maybe not for the Internet-reading audience but the masses] the time for reflection and deflection is done!

Other women can call themselves whatever they want and claim solidarity or try to shift the definition or distract from the seriousness of things but the bottom line remains the same. Some black women will always be more interested in holding on to a failed ideology and being mad at or threatened by those  other black women who set different parameters and want to follow new models and thought processing. Black women are sitting ducks for the DBRs and will be savaged in ways we attribute to 3rd world countries right here in the U.S. of A.


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Channeling The Wisdom Found In Jane Austen’s Books

This may be difficult to believe, but this was the first time I’ve actually read Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. It comes free with the Kindle (device or software) and is also in the public domain. So everyone can read it. After watching the classic BBC miniseries with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and the 2005 film adaptation it was easy to be lazy about reading the book.

I can now safely recommend the book. Perhaps it’s due to how I’ve completely reevaluated male/female dynamics, society, patriarchy, femininity and the inherent power women actually have I’m certain I have a much different take on the novel than I would have had I read it a few years ago. I would’ve needed a fresh pair of eyes and perspective to glean much of the practical advice offered in the text.

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Travel And Teach In Spain With VaughanTown

I was going to add an additional weekend post until I realized this is worthy of a weekday inclusion. If you’re thinking about vacationing in Spain this year or want to conduct some prep work before enlisting in a teaching English as a second language course you might want to consider applying for VaughanTown volunteer program.

It’s a 2-week program, unpaid but they do provide housing and meals. They’re not leaving you in a hostel  room with 12 people either! For example, one of the accommodation schemes offered is at the Sheraton Santa Maria de El Paular in Rascafria, which is one hour outside of Madrid. If you check out the photos from the website the surrounding areas look gorgeous.

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Jalen Rose Is An Idiot: Two Parent Black Families Are Not “Uncle Toms”

I don’t know what kind of alternative universe Jalen Rose has been occupying but he’s one confused man. I could label him a racist and walk away, but there’s a bit more to it than that. He’s also classist, paternalistic and well….stupid. In my opinion. In case you’re thinking he’s a white male – he’s not! He’s black!

Two-parent African American families are in fact an endangered species.

“To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous.”

That’s a quote from NBA Star Grant Hill in response to Jalen Rose’s nonsensical rantings that was published in this New York Time’s article. Perhaps Tim Wise can have a chat with him about the nuances of the mental acrobatics and soul sickness people like him have to endure to come up with such nonsense! He might listen to an explanation of his racist outlook better if it came from someone white.

Thanks to one of my readers for bringing this to my attention as I’ve now bumped my scheduled post to discuss this teachable moment. I don’t usually pay attention to what the boys who play with balls are up to because well….their antics usually raise my ire, but this is different.

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AA Legacy Series Spotlight: Betty Davis & Alice Coltrane

First of all these two ladies are far more than the wives of famous musicians. Betty Davis & Alice Coltrane were the equals of their counterparts in more ways than one. We are fortunate to still have one of these illustrious women amongst us and shouldn’t forget their contributions.

Betty Davis

“If Betty were singing today she’d be something like Madonna; something like Prince, only as a woman. She was the beginning of all that when she was singing as Betty Davis. She was just ahead of her time.”

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Evaluating Men For Alliances & Marriage Series #4: Common Values Trumps Race

Now the regular readers know how Skippy Gates gets the side eye from me over his obvious and deep-abiding hatred of his blackness. How ironic then for such an insightful interview to emerge for his Faces Of America series (PBS) with Malcolm Gladwell. Of course, that has to do with Gladwell being a thoughtful and innovative person.

I want to highlight this segment for a few reasons. Gladwell is the author of Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink, etc and it was his discussion of how we apply ourselves to be excellent that grabbed me at the beginning of my blogging venture. I would concur that anyone who spends 10,000 working towards a goal will become proficient, successful and be a changed person.

This is how more black women can eventually learn to disengage from the dead black community (but seriously…hurry up already). One minute at a time until days, weeks, months and years go by. That’s time that can be spent improving the quality of your life and immersion into a new way of thinking – which will generate untold opportunities. Some may refer to it as “luck” when our preparation and seizing a moment converges.

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#4 Favorite Blogs for 2011 – Music Corner

Hey all,

I’m trying to mix up posts so that everything isn’t a sledgehammer to the head (hehehe) when you come for a visit. To that end, I’m going to share some music blogs I enjoy[ed] (some of which are archives but the content is still good so go backwards and work your way to the last posts). I don’t need to list a disclaimer that I obviously don’t care for every artist featured do I?  My hope is that you will enjoy the blogs and find some new artists.

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Channeling Success One New Habit At A Time

Lately, I’ve been spending more time in serious focus on what I’m allowing to filter into my brain and what I export. To say I’m determined to “think more positively” doesn’t begin to explain it. I want a complete lifestyle change – or I should say a warp speed upgrade. Since I know this will not be handed to me, I must make every effort at being smarter not working aimlessly to achieve my goals.

African-Americans who are still clinging to the old models are going to be left in a massive free fall the likes many have not seen nor are prepared for. It upsets me how little the black intelligentsia, technologists and elite have done to help. I wasn’t expecting anything from the do-nothing Civil Rights organizations. So many are busy congratulating themselves on being “innovative” or secretly struggling while pretending to “have it all” or working their fingers to the bone or being lackadiasical.   

Lucky for me (ha) I had a major career upheaval in 2006 and saw that a permanent change was necessary by 2008. I’ve been searching for a niche while finding and executing my voice. I will be a fully integrated business owner with a passive income stream by the end of the year. More black women need to join the ranks of the self-employed before the un thinkable happens. The bottom hasn’t yet fallen out nor do I wish it to, but being ready to roll with the punches won’t make the crash so traumatic for those likely to be “caught” out there.

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