I will forget never when Aaliyah died. I was visiting my mom and had fallen asleep on the couch. She shook me and asked me if I had known about the singer. She had been watching television when news broke that Aaliyah died in a plane crash. I remember popping straight up and asking in an incredulous voice, “Aaliyah is dead?”

I’m sure most Black folks have similar stories. Particularly, if you were young at the time. I was in my 20′s and the event shocked me. Aaliyah was the first major star of my generation to die so tragically. It was unsettling.

When it was announced there was going to be a movie on Aaliyah’s life, folks asked why? Well, why not. Trust when Britney Spears passes on there will be a movie about her life,  and Black women singers like Aaliyah (and Janet) are the ones she was groomed to copy/rip off,  so I didn’t see anything wrong with Aaliyah getting her due. Also, it’s just sad when someone dies so young in such a horrific way.

I didn’t see the film this weekend, but I read it was a bust. Not surprising, as the “Aaliyah” movie was a flop from the start.

(1) The fact they kept trying (and eventually did) to cast (Latina looking) biracial women to play Aaliyah. This is the continuing agenda to erase Black women from mainstream roles/images. It’s like how they had a biracial woman play Harriet Tubman in “Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter.” Come on, now. (2) The producers of this film weren’t allowed to use Aaliyah’s music in the film. A movie about a singer and you can’t use their music? It defeats the purpose. We want to hear the tunes that made us like the person in the first place (imagine “What’s Love Got to Do With It” without music!). (3) I read they romanticized the relationship between Aaliyah and R. Kelly. Kelly was 13 years older when he married Aaliyah (28/15).  Even if she thought she was “in love,” Kelly knew better. Why they would want to make it a love story, is beyond me.

This film was just a bad move from the start. Aaliyah was a young star whose light was diminished much too soon.  Rest in Peace.

Photo from: wblk.com




LisaRaye McCoy looks at the issue of  colorism in her new film ‘Skinned.’

“For her directorial debut “Skinned,” LisaRaye McCoy is pulling out the punches tackling a controversial subject that is plaguing people of color: skin lightening. In a world where people are preaching self-love and not holding to the media’s standard of beauty, colorism is still an underlying issue in the black community. The movie is about a woman named Jolie (Jasmine Burke) who was always ruthlessly teased when she was younger for being dark-skinned. Jolie believes the only thing that will make her more beautiful is if she bleaches her skin to snag the perfect man, but years later, when she does get married, the skin bleaching comes back to haunt her.”  http://www.accra.io/blogs/p/129591/trailer-lisaraye-mccoy-tackles-colorism-skin-bleaching-in-new-movie-skinned

What’s interesting about colorism is how clueless white people tend to be about this issue. Yet, it is because of white supremacy/the push of whiteness as the ideal why it’s so pervasive.  White folks created colorism. Regarding the Black community, what’s frustrating to me is that this issue tends to be framed only as a problem with darker-skinned Black women.  If we would just love ourselves more rhetoric. It’s more complex than that. Also, these types of films (like Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry’s “Dark Girls”), tend to gloss over the fact that Black men have been harshly affected by white supremacist thought regarding beauty. When we look at the current entertainment world, it has been Black men who have pushed light/biracial/non-black women into the spotlight. I’m sure LisaRaye herself has benefited greatly from colorstruck Black men in the industry.

I’m waiting for someone to make that film. Anyway, good for LisaRaye and her venture into directing.


Spotlight On Ferguson – Virtual Freedom School

A couple of nights ago, I was heading home from having dinner with friends. I needed to catch two trains to get back to my side of town. When it was time to switch to the second train, I found my self in a huge crowd.  A basketball game had just ended and people were everywhere, also trying to get home. I tried to cross the street when a police officer/security purposely walked in my path and used his body to push me. I turned around and cussed him. He ignored me.  I hurried across the street to avoid a train hitting me. Once I boarded my train,  I thought about what happened. He did it because (1) he was a man. I can’t see him randomly pushing another man of same bulk (2) he was wearing a uniform and (3) he was white.  Black women often have to deal with a particular intimidation from white male police officers.  I shook my head and thought “the police have learned nothing from Ferguson.”

While mainstream news has kept a peripheral view on Ferguson, don’t be fooled. Ferguson protestors are still going strong. And I, like most Black folks, stand in solidarity with them.

It’s always good to document events like this, so I encourage people to support the “Spotlight On Ferguson – Virtual Freedom School” Indiegogo campaign.

“I’ve spent the last few months traveling back and forth to Ferguson, documenting and organizing against police brutality. It’s been intense. Inspiring. Invigorating. To see so many people from so many different walks of life in the streets challenging state sanctioned violence, bangin’ on the system, so to speak.Initially, I came in response to a call from local organizers for photographers and videographers to help tell the stories of resilience, sacrifice and commitment embodied by protestors, stories the media does not share or promote.” https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/spotlight-on-ferguson-virtual-freedom-school

The raw emotion in these sistas voices made me tear up. The harassment and violence against Black people needs to be stopped.


On Abuse, Consent, & Life After Childhood Sexual Abuse


Trigger Warning….

Originally posted on hoodfeminism:

I’m so sick of talking about Lena Dunham. I’m even sicker of talking about what’s wrong with white feminists. Feel free to read any missing backstory here on how those things intersect for this piece.  It’s a lot to rehash & really the Google machine exists for a reason. But, people keep asking me about why I am not on the “Lena’s being maligned unfairly” bandwagon. And no, it’s not about my personal distaste for her work. I don’t like it, I’m probably not going to like it. I’ve long since accepted it’s not for people like me. And I have a long running policy of mostly ignoring it & by extension her because I don’t find “ironic hipster racism” funny or quirky or whatever it is that people are going to tell me her schtick is. That’s life. I don’t like Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli or a dozen other…

View original 1,356 more words

Street Violence Against Black Women

Initially, I wasn’t going to write about the street harassment video controversy. I felt there were enough articles that summed up my feelings on the subject. But I was recently moved by blogger Carol H. Hood’s story. In her article, “I Was Taught To Be Grateful For Catcalls,” Hood eloquently writes about the specific impact of street harassment on black women. Because we occupy two identities that are degraded under white supremacy, black women are frequent targets of violence from white men/men of color.

“The truth is that women of color are disproportionately affected by street harassment — often, we’re victimized not just for being women but for being Black. I’ve had men of all races ask me to ignore harassment from Black men for the sake of Black male lives, while Black women are abused and even killed for being Black and woman.”  https://medium.com/the-archipelago/i-was-taught-to-be-grateful-for-catcalls-b37bc462d85c

There are two cases that illustrate her point. First, is the disturbing murder of Mary “Unique” Spears. Spears had politely turned down a man who asked for her phone number. The man kept harassing her until her partner intervened. It was then Spears was killed.

“According to witnesses, the man’s advances would not stop. Reportedly, when the group finally decided to leave at 2 a.m., the man grabbed Spears and hit her. Spears’ fiancé  got physically involved, and a fight broke out. That was when the stranger pulled a gun and fired into the group. Spears was reportedly hit once, and then tried to run. While she was trying to flee, that was when a bullet hit her in the head.” http://crimefeed.com/2014/10/detroit-mother-three-shot-killed-stranger-rejected-advances/

And the alarming abduction of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither caught on surveillance video.

“Carlesha, 22, was abducted by an unknown man on Coulter Street near Greene just after 9:30 p.m. Sunday. She was returning home from visiting her godson and had gotten off a bus a few blocks away when her abductor approached her on Greene Street and pulled her down Coulter Street to his car.” http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141105__Just_come_home.html#Yoi7AKm0uJJeec3s.99

There has been speculation Gaither’s abductor is someone who has been obsessed with her. Another man who refused to take no for an answer. I pray that this young woman is found safe.

It’s disappointing that so many men don’t take the issue of street harassment/violence against women seriously. Men are bemoaning “I can’t even say hi to a woman anymore,” while women are worried about dying/getting snatched off the street. Which issue is more important? I hate to break out the rhetoric of asking men to think about the women in their lives (mothers, daughters, sisters, etc.) and if they would want them to be stalked, harassed, or physically harmed. I’d rather go with the quote: “men should be against violence of women, not because they have mothers, sisters, etc., but because women are human beings.”


Photo from: 7mileradio.com
Spears and family. Photo from: 7mileradio.com
Carlesha Freeland-Gaither and puppy. Photo from: www.nydailynews.com
Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Photo from: http://www.nydailynews.com


This movie scared the hell outta of me. It didn’t help I was the only person in the theater when I went to go see it. I caught the flick on a weekday afternoon.  I’m amazed I didn’t run screaming out of the theater, especially after the basement scene. *faints*

Annabelle is a 2014 American supernatural horror film directed by John R. Leonetti, produced by James Wan, and written by Gary Dauberman. It is both a prequel to and spin-off of The Conjuring.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annabelle_%28film%29

I love a good scary flick and “Annabelle”did its job. I didn’t know the film was associated with “The Conjuring.” For some reason, I haven’t watched that one yet.  It’s disturbing both films are based on true stories.

The movie also features a small appearance by Alfre Woodard. If you know about black folks in horror films, you already know what happens to Woodard’s character. However, Ms. Woodard looked great. Black don’t crack!

I’m still waiting for Hollywood to make a movie for Tananarive Due‘s novel “The Good House.” That book had me wide-eyed every night, for weeks on end. It would make a great Halloween film.

Until that happens (if you celebrate Halloween), check out “Annabelle” if you are looking for something to do. You will have a terrifyingly good time.

Have a fun and safe Halloooween ;)

Photo from: http://www.imdb.com