Randomness…”Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”

The other day I decided to treat myself to a movie. Life’s been throwing me a few curves lately, so I just wanted to relax and let buttery/greasy popcorn take me away. Imagine my dismay to only find repeat offender Fast and Furious 7 (7? Really?!), a kids flick (“Home”), and the boring looking “Longest Ride Home” (I loathe romantic films) playing at mainstream cinemas.  I turned to a local indie theater to find something decent. My curiosity got the best of me when I saw the ad for “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.”

“A jaded Japanese woman discovers a hidden copy of FARGO on VHS, believing it to be a treasure map indicating the location of a large case of money.” http://kumikothetreasurehunter.com/

The film was very good. I was surprised to learn upon further research that the movie was inspired by the true story of Japanese office worker, Takako Konish. See, I would’ve never learned about this if I had watched Vin Diesel screeching another car down the highway.

Check out “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter…” it’s worth your dollars.

Happy weekend ;)

Black Woman Heal Day 2015

Last week, I attended the first national Black Woman Heal Day with an event held in my city.

Lilada Gee founded the day as a way for Black women to address sexual violence/other issues that have impacted our lives. In a society that is very hostile to Black women…how can we stay emotionally/mentally/physically healthy. Gee was inspired by her own life experiences.

“Lilada Gee was 6 years old the first time an adult family member sexually abused her. Throughout the ensuing years, she struggled with issues related to the abuse; including clinical depression, post-traumatic stress and low self-esteem. Now, as an adult, she is committed to helping girls and women who are victims of child sexual abuse, heal. Lilada’s Livingroom began in the living room of Lilada’s home, after she publicly shared her tumultuous journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse. Girls and women who were in the audience started showing up at her home, in her living room to find a safe place to heal. Since that time, Lilada has traveled from coast-to-coast and abroad, creating safe places for women and girls to rid themselves of the shame, secrets and stigmatism of abuse.”

http://lilada.org/

The organizers at my event provided a creative space so that attendees could express themselves any way they needed to. Whether it was making cute African dolls (with just fabric/wire!!) or painting our hopes/dreams…it was a cathartic event. And of course there was lots of food. You always have to have food ;) Gee Skyped in. She was lovely, of course. I could tell she was moved by our participation.

Inspirational African dolls made by attendees.
Inspirational dolls made by attendees.
I was eating everythang :)
I was eating everythang  ;)
I tried to get my paint on!
I tried to get my paint on!

Hopefully, this national event will continue on. It’s important work that needs to be sustained. Check out this great interview with Gee. You will get tears in your eyes. Rock on Black women!!

Angela’s Sacred Heart

Ack! I hate it when I find out about good DIY campaigns just as the deadline is closing in… :(

“Ashley Williams is an accomplished local actor in Portland, Oregon. She is in the last weeks of an Indiegogo campaign with her mom, G.G. Williams. They are raising funds to film and produce a film about sexual assault.  They are seeking to raise $10,000 by April 9th.”  —http://theblackportlanders.com/

If you don’t know (but should) April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Black women often have to deal with issues of sexual violence/harassment/stalking on their own. There tends to be racist/sexist stereotypes around Black women’s sexuality. A lot of it has to do with our culture needing to justify sanctioned/historical abuse of Black women’s bodies in this country.

“The U.S. is one of the few places in the world where mass rapes have occurred systematically against an entire race of people (African-American women) and there has been no outcry from human rights communities, no processes for justice, no acknowledgement or recognition of such violations and its impact on the culture of violence against Black women today.” http://www.blackwomensblueprint.org/sexual-violence/

Angela’s Sacred Heart seeks to tell one Black woman’s experience with sexual assault and the larger issue of empowering  young women in a pervasive rape culture.  

Angela’s Sacred Heart – IndieGoGo Campaign Video from Serenity Studios on Vimeo.

Get Hard

Le sigh. I don’t know whose cooning/new black antics are worse Kevin Hart, Raven-Symoné, or Kayne West (okay, okay…West will always take the cake). Between his anti-black woman sentiments (and to me) unfunny standup shows, Hart is a close runner-up. Why is that every five years we are subjected to a film featuring one white dude/one black dude, and the black dude is always teaching the white dude how to be hip (the only exception to this is Queen Latifah’s Bringing Down the House).

Get-Hard-Poster-2

Mark Hughes wrote an interesting review of this movie. He tried to make the film sound deeper than what it is. In the end it’s still a white man’s story, with a goofy black side kick.

A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde

March is Women’s History Month.

“Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_History_Month

While we tend to be a bit more open talking about racism in this country, we fail to discuss the hatred of women that permeates in our society. It’s not hard to pick up on the loathing via mainstream media.

As a Black woman, I often have to navigate high levels of anti-blackness/femaleness in my daily encounters with white folks/men.

Black feminist scholar Moya Bailey coined the term “Misogynoir” to speak to the unique form of hostility that is geared towards Black women simply for being Black and women (Yes, Madonna and Patricia Arquette you can be both).

While I haven’t been able to do too much for Women’s History Month, I was able to attend a film showing of “A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde.”

Audre Lorde tends to be revered in feminists communities. After watching the documentary it became clear why the self-proclaimed “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” is loved. Lorde was a great creative spirit/orator/intellectual.

It was hard to watch the latter years of her life, as she battled cancer. There was one scene (I can’t remember if she was with her daughter or a friend) but even as she could barely speak/was weak from cancer, she was brainstorming how to put an activist conference together. Her daughter/friend told her “No, I wanted us to talk about you doing something fun.” Lorde titled her head slightly and let out a soft sigh.  She had a small smile on her face. She was a thinker/organizer until the end.

I highly recommend the film. The documentary made me realize that Black women intellectuals don’t get enough shine in or out the Black community. Pop stars, actresses, fashinonistas do…but not our Black women intellectuals. Black women pretty much still have to be oversexualized or playing Mammy to get some love.

If you do nothing else this Women’s History Month, at least check out this documentary :)

Brownstone

I was shocked to hear about the death of  Maxee Maxwell. The singer was one of the founding members of 90’s girl group–Brownstone.

It always throws me for a loop when I hear about musical artists from my generation passing away. From Heavy D to Guru to now Maxee it always seems like a little bit of my own soul is dying.

Also,  these tragedies force me think more about the reality of death knocking on my door.  Time goes by so fast.

Rest in peace Maxwell.

Brownstone was an underrated group and often overlooked in favor for En Vogue, SWV, and ’em.

Overall, 90’s Black women singers/artists will forever ish on contemporary singers (yeah, I said it).

Of course, Brownstone’s classic song. Happy weekend :)

Happy Black History Month (BHM)!

I know, I know…where the hell have I been? My bad.  I got extremely sick near the end of January, had to move last-minute at the beginning of February, and then my laptop crashed soon after. Or so I thought. I was fiddling around with it last night and all of a sudden it wheezed on. It’s the only reason why I’m able to churn out this post today :)

I just wanted to peek in and wish folks happy Black History Month (BHM). I normally like to dedicate the blog to all things BHM, but just couldn’t get it together this time around. I hope folks have been able to partake in events in your area. There’s been some great happenings in my neck of the woods (an amazing feat since I live in a predominantly white city).

While BHM is all about celebrating the fabulous contributions of Black folks to this country that has treated us like crap, there is one VERY important issue that I feel often gets left out of BHM conversations…soul food :)

“The term soul food became popular in the 1960s. The origins of soul food, however, are much older and can be traced back to Africa. Foods such as rice, sorghum (known by some Europeans as “guinea corn”), and okra — all common elements of West African cuisine — were introduced to the Americas as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They became dietary staples among enslaved Africans. They also comprise an important part of the cuisine of the American south, in general. Foods such as corn and cassava from the Americas, turnips from Morocco, and cabbage from Portugal would play an important part in the history of African-American cooking.[1]”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_food

A couple of months ago, I met a friend at Starbucks for drinks and homegirl talk. She decided to also get a salad. After we sat down, she opened the package and picked through the dish, then pushed it away with a frown on her face.  “What is it with white folks new obsession with kale?” She asked. “It’s so annoying and they don’t even cook it right!” I looked at her food. It was a raw kale with a few tomatoes tossed on top.

I laughed because I knew exactly what she was talking about.  It’s been interesting to see white folks (particularly white hipsters) carry on about kale, mustard greens/collard greens, watermelon, chicken and waffles, etc. foods they have historically looked down upon because it’s been associated with Black folks (ie soul food).  Now many are acting like they discovered these cuisines (kind of like how Columbus thought he discovered America) and are going extremely overboard with it.

Of course, no props are given to Black folks for cultivating these dishes and making them an American favorite comfort food. If anything Black folks choice to eat soul food has often been bashed as unhealthy.  Initially, I was reluctant to watch Byron Hurt’s “Soul Food Junkies” documentary that came out a few years ago. I thought “please no more dissecting of black folks eating habits.” While I did roll my eyes at some parts of the film, overall I thought Hurt was fair. I recommend it for folks interested in learning about what soul food means to Black folks. It’s not just about the eating, but a way to say you love/care about kin/but not kin folks too :)

**This will probably be my last post for this month. I will get back into the swing of things in March. I still have some life happenings going on…but let me leave you with this chicken and waffles recipe to get you through. You know I love a good recipe ;)

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  • 1 Tbsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (3½-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinating overnight

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Soul-Food-Recipes-Brown-Sugar-Kitchen-Recipes