Steel Magnolias

Last year, when Lifetime Network announced they were remaking “Steel Magnolias” with an all black cast, I wasn’t impressed. “Steel Magnolias” is one of those classic films that shouldn’t be messed with. Also, why not make an original film about black womanhood? The remake has an amazing and accomplished cast. They were wasted on this film:  Phylicia Rashad (Tony Award Winner), Alfre Woodard (Academy Award Nominee), Queen Latifah (Grammy Winner/Academy Award Nominee), Jill Scott (Multiple Grammy Winner), Adepero Oduye (Independent Spirit Award Winner), and Condola Rashad ( Phylicia Rashad’s daughter. I just caught that…lol. She was nominated for a Tony Award in 2012). See…stellar cast.

I thought it was kind of half-azzed of them to just make the characters black when the film  is mostly known an empowering story of white female sisterhood.

Women are all the same right? *rolls eyes*

The new “Steel Magnolias”is currently streaming on Netflix. I wasn’t in a big rush to watch it when it first came, since I thought I wouldn’t be good. I watched the film the other day, and I was right. Well, it’s okay. The original cast members made the characters so much their own, that you just can’t separate the two (or at least, I couldn’t).  Also, the southern accents were all over the place. Scott was especially hamming it up. LOL. I am from the south, so I know a good southern accent when I hear it :) I will say I thought Woodard was perfectly cast as Ouiser and I actually preferred Rashad’s Shelby over Julia Roberts portrayal. Julia Roberts irks me for some reason :O/

The male characters were pretty forgettable (but I think they were also forgettable in the original film).

While they did add some cultural tweaks, I thought it was odd the film completely glossed over that the beauty salon has different connotations for black women. I thought they would have gone deeper with that. And I thought it was suspect that they kept the “there is no such thing as natural beauty! line in and it’s said to the black woman with natural hair. Also,  it was bizarre one of the characters points out at a party that she just hooked up another character’s wig. I don’t know no black woman who would want folks knowing her business like that. LOL.

The remake just had to include an interracial relationship subplot. I have nothing against interracial relationships, but it seemed so random. As if Lifetime worried white folks wouldn’t be interested in the film if it didn’t have at least one white person in it.  Ouiser is the one who gets the white love interest.  Another reason why I didn’t buy it.  She’s supposed to be an older black women from the Deep South. I would think it would be  more complicated than she’s just a fussy old woman who doesn’t appreciate love when it’s right in front of her face.

The film also left out some major scenes from the first film, I guess their attempts to make it original :O/

Despite my bashing, the film still gets ya.  I mean, anytime someone is dying and they seem like a very sweet person, you are going to be touched. It’s decent enough to check out. You just have to try hard not to compare it to the original (I failed).

Karyn Washington & Domineque Banks

On Friday, Black women bloggers were shocked to learn about the death of Karyn Washington. Washington was the founder of the website For Brown Girls and the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. We were doubly shocked to learn her death was due to an apparent suicide. She was only 22-years-old.

I have never met Karyn, but I received a post from her once.  I run another blog and posted about the  #DarkSkinRedLip Project Karyn responded, thanking me for the shout out. I never imagined that it would be my only opportunity to connect with her.

It hurts my heart to know that while Karyn was doing so much to empower other young black women, she was dealing with her own struggles/pain. In an article on Karyn, For Harriet wrote:

“We don’t know Karyn’s story. Perhaps she, like many other “strong” black women did an incredible job of masking her pain. Or, it’s equally as possible that she recognized that she needed help and sought treatment for mental illness. What we know is that something went terribly wrong and we owe it to Karyn, and others with similar struggles, to find out what happened and work to fix it.” http://www.forharriet.com/2014/04/all-is-not-well-with-our-girls-when.html#more

Amen

In her short life, Karyn did more than most folks.  I have much respect for her/her work.

Rest in Peace Karyn…

karyn_washington.jpg.CROP.rtstory-large

While trying to process Karyn’s passing, Black women bloggers were also alerted to the passing of Domineque Banks. Banks was a popular natural hair advocate on YouTube. She went by the name Longhairdontcare2011. Domineque had lupus:

“No one knows for sure what causes lupus. But some groups of people have higher rates of lupus. African-American women are three times more likely to get lupus than white women. African-American women tend to develop lupus at a younger age and have more severe symptoms than white women.” http://womenshealth.gov/minority-health/african-americans/lupus.html

When she Domineque passed, she was only 27-years-old. Last year, I was bummed when I turned 40. It seems silly now, when thinking about the deaths of these young women. Time is not guaranteed to any of us, we should never take it for granted.

While I am natural, I wasn’t aware of the work of Domineque. However, she was obviously loved by other natural hair advocates on YouTube. There have been some nice tributes.

Rest in Peace Domineque

Violence Against Black Girls/Update on Dr. Teleka Patrick

These past few weeks I have been numbed by stories of violence against little black girls. The horrifying murder of 2-year old Tierra Morgan-Glover by her own father. He left her to die in a creek while she was still locked in her car seat.

“Prosecutors had said he killed Tierra to get back at her mother for breaking off their engagement. They said he weighed down her pink car seat with a tire jack to ensure it would sink. Her body was pulled from a creek in Wall Township, about 20 miles from her Lakehurst home, with one tiny black and purple sneaker sticking out of the water.”   http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1745059

The murder smiles. Photo from:  http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1745059
The murder smiles. Photo from: http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1745059

 

 

The case of Relisha Rudd has also chilled me to the bones. The 8-year-old has been missing since early March. Her mother allowed 51-year-old  Kahlil Tatum to take custody of her. The mother meet Tatum at the homeless shelter she and her children were staying at. The case has gotten even more confusing, after Tatum was found dead in a park. Where is Relisha?  This case has been disturbing on so many levels.

Despite the very suspect behaviors of Rudd’s mother and other family members, For Harriet’s Stephanie Sneed points out how the system also failed Rudd:

“In more affluent communities schools are safety nets for students, a place to turn when their home lives are lacking. However, Relisha, like numerous other students in DC, attended a school whose student body demographic, location east of the Anacostia, and perpetually low test scores made them all but invisible to the DC Public School system. Inexperienced teachers are funneled in and have no more qualifications for teaching than they do for dealing with the socioeconomic factors that prevent many students from prioritizing education over survival. Teachers, who are mandated reporters, often don’t know what signs to look for aside from easily discernible bruises, but it is critical for teachers to be trained on how to identify abuse, including sexual abuse. When a student misses 30+ days, excused or not, this should be a red flag.” http://www.forharriet.com/2014/04/on-relisha-rudd-and-why-we-must-care.html

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I was sad after I read that the body of Dr. Teleka Patrick had been found. The cause of death has not yet been determined. Patrick was struggling with mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a victim of foul play. Hopefully more will be said about her case soon:

“The coroner in Porter County, Ind., confirmed Wednesday that it was Teleka Patrick’s body that was pulled Sunday from Lake Charles in northwestern Indiana. The site is about 15 miles east of Gary and near where a car belonging to the 30-year-old doctor was abandoned Dec. 5 along Interstate 94.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/teleka-patrick-found-dead_n_5124701.html?ir=Crime

Rest in Peace Dr. Patrick

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Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy is not for the faint of heart.

I try to be a radical activist. I try to push the boundaries in the things I say/do, because I think it is a perilous time for Black women/black folks/ and even non black folks.  I love Octavia ButlerDr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs has described Butler as a prophet. If you read Butler books, you will understand what Dr. Gumbs is talking about. A lot of what Butler writes about (the destruction of our society due to the continuing oppression of folks of color, women, the poor, etc.) is coming to fruition. The gap between the have and have-nots has grown worse (read her two-part book series Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents to see how bad things will get).

Things will continue to spiral out of control if these issues aren’t addressed. You can’t keep oppression/degrading a portion of folks and expect the country to thrive. It doesn’t work that way.

Dr. DeGruy is an activist I have much respect for. She wrote the book “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” to give space to the pain that black people have endured in America:

“While African Americans managed to emerge from chattel slavery and the oppressive decades that followed with great strength and resiliency, they did not emerge unscathed. Slavery produced centuries of physical, psychological and spiritual injury.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can use the strengths we have gained to heal.” http://joydegruy.com/joy-de-gruy-books-cds-and-dvds/

I have attended a Dr. DeGruy lecture before, and she keeps it 100. That’s why I say she’s not for the faint of hurt. If you truly believe that we live in a post-racial society, your world will be shattered after hearing one of her lectures. It’s why I love her work, she forces people out of their comfort zone. It’s something I try to do in my activism.

Check out one of Dr. DeGruy’s lectures:

Military Bans Black Hairstyles

Last week, the military angered a lot of black folks and allies with their updated regulations on braids, twists, locs, and other hairstyles normally worn by Black women:

Photo from: www.thesisterlockeddiva.com

Photo from: worldofbraiding.wordpress.com

 

It’s funny, because I just got my hair braided a week ago.  If I tried to sign up with the Army, I would have to cut them all off. I used to work with women veterans returning to school. To a certain extent, I get why the military has these rules.  The women veterans often talked about uniformity in the military.  Everyone must look the same. It’s a way to keep soldiers in line/disciplined. It’s not about individuality when one is in the military.

However, one of the women made a good point when she said perhaps it explains the hostility towards women in the military.  The military views them as interrupting the flow of uniformity because they are so “different.” Imagine how much more difficult it is for black women and other women of color. The hair regulation is a way to punish black women for being the “other.”

“Attention people who don’t have natural black hair, African American coils are not the same as other coils. As a result, creating rules that are easily followed by non-black people but not black people is unfair and yes, it is racially biased. It is akin to the idea that natural black hair is unprofessional, or schools that send little black girls home because their hair isn’t straight like their non-black school mates. For white women, the equivalent would be if the Army ordered every straight haired person to go directly to a salon, get a curly Jessie Spano perm and forced them to keep it fresh and bouncy for the rest of their lives. No. One. Wants. That.” http://jezebel.com/army-bans-braids-and-twists-because-they-dont-understa-1556250329/+HillaryCrosley

The ban also speaks to the continued oppression of black women’s bodies. Black women are often forced to confirm to white standards of beauty when looking for employment. I’ve always maintained if white women could easily sport our hair styles, they would be welcomed with open arms in the work place.

Remember when white folks went crazy over Bo Derek braids, when black women sport them like, every day :O/

There tends to be surveillance on black hair because the majority of white folks don’t understand it and are even afraid of it. Despite being around us hundreds of years, white folks don’t even know the basics of black hair. It’s why black women are often asked ridiculous questions about their hairstyles. I refuse to answer such questions. I usually piss folks off, but I view it as a form of othering. Because frankly, I don’t give a damn about white hair. And why should I,  when I am bombarded with white beauty standards everyday.

It will be interesting to see how the military handles this situation. There is currently a petition going around the internet to get the military to reconsider banning ethnic hairstyles.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reconsider-changes-ar-670-1-allow-professional-ethnic-hairstyles/BnR900wx

Black Feminist Breathing Retreat!!! Magnolia, Mississippi July 4-6th

wocpdxzines:

wish I could go…

Originally posted on brokenbeautiful press:

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What:  

This is a weekend retreat to practice and celebrate the technology of black feminist breathing. We will use breathing, mantras and poetry rooted in short wise sayings from black feminist teachers and writers as a resource for mindfulness, sustainability and connection to legacy and purpose.  This retreat builds on a successful national (plus Canada) Black Feminist Breathing Tour through which Sista Docta Time Traveller Space Cadet visited schools and community centers around North America.   It also builds on 5 years of retreats by Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind in North Carolina and South Carolina.  We are excited to bring this energy to Magnolia Mississippi.  We will be gathering about 21 participants (including facilitators) for a weekend full of LOVE!


931151_10100780662472942_390673411_nWho: This retreat is for black-identified people who breathe or who want to breathe and who would cherish a space to breath in the queer affirming, gender…

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Lupita New Face of Lancôme

Yes! My girl crush Lupita Nyong’o is the new face of Lancôme cosmetics. I thought Lancôme  products went no darker than beige, so it’s good to know they can promote a dark-skinned black woman:

“Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o’s breakout year just keeps getting better. The 31-year-old actress is the new face of Lancôme cosmetics, becoming the first black ambassador for the French luxury brand. I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancôme, a brand with such a prestigious history that I have always loved. I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself,” Nyong’o said in a statement.” http://time.com/49612/lupita-nyongo-becomes-new-face-of-lancome/

This is a good move for Ms. Lupita. She has shown that darker skinned black women can werk glamorous makeup too.  Dark skinned black women tend to be “warned” away from wearing certain colors. Lupita laughed in the face of folks ignorance. It’s one of the reasons why I love her. I wish her well on her new adventure!  :)

Lupita-Nyongo-for-Lancome

The Pamphleteer Project

I heart zines and Indiegogo campaigns, so you know I’m feeling The Pamphleteer Project:

“HI! MY NAME IS MARYA– I’m the founder of ABQ Zine Fest, (now in its 4th year) The Albuquerque Zine Library, and a co-founder/curator of The Tannex, a DIY performance clubhouse, in this outpost, in the high desert of New Mexico. I love my creative community, and I do a lot to support and nurture it. I’m asking for your support as I embark on a new project that expands my love for zines, self-publishing, and storytelling . . .THE PAMPHLETEER PROJECT MISSION: to help diversify existing zine collections, or help establish new ones by presenting women/feminist focused, people of color influenced, gender-inclusive zines and comics to groups and collectives around the world.” https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-pamphleteer-project

I have met Marya a couple of times at zine festivals. She’s a great writer, researcher, and artist. I love her Mocha Chocolata Momma zine (isn’t the name da bomb…yes breaking out my 90′s slang).

Y’all know I’m big supporter of DIY (Do It Yourself) folks, so help Marya if ya can! She has some nice perks! :)