Sisters In Law

“Sisters In Law” is a new reality show on WE tv that “follows a close-knit group of elite high-powered black female lawyers as they juggle their families, busy careers, and even more demanding social calendars.” http://www.wetv.com/shows/sisters-in-law

I was able to catch the first episode of “Sisters In Law” before it officially premises on March 24th. Well,  I can say, the women are fashionably fly. Otherwise, the show quickly spirals down to “Love and Hip Hop” dramatics of over the top arguments and “female rivalry.”  A bit disappointing for a show that’s supposed to be about high-powered black female lawyers. I always wonder don’t folks worry about ruining their names/brand by acting a mess on tv, but what do I know. I couldn’t relate to any of the women, although I guess I’m not supposed to as they are representing Houston, Texas’s black upper class. Future shows have the women discussing issues regarding police brutality and black lives matter so “Sisters In Law” may have some redeeming value in the end.

Oh well,  did I say the women looked fly?

 

Dope

I remember the buzz surrounding “Dope” last year. I mentally put it on my list of films to watch, but kind of forgot about it. The film popped up on my Google Play recommendations so I decided to give it a shot. “Dope” is an amusing tale about high school senior Malcolm. Malcolm hangs out with fellow “geeks,” Jib and Diggy. He wants to attend Harvard, but finds it’s not easy coming from a disadvantaged environment/home life.

While there were plenty of chuckles and moving moments in “Dope,” I’m still processing the film. It seems like another story of a young black kid wanting to get out of “the hood.”  Yet, actually subverting/mocking that stereotypical story line. The film doesn’t necessarily fit into a box, similar to the character of Malcolm. Or rather it’s “complicated.” The movie in some ways reminded me of the 1994 drama “Fresh.” 

The one thing I can say is that the black women characters were underdeveloped/blah.

  1. the single brown mother (the underused Kimberly Elise)
  2. the light skin crush (the bland  Zoe Kravitz)
  3. the film did try to be unique by including a gay female character, but she was mostly there for the guys to talk about ***** and show her breasts to get into a club (the curious Kiersey Clemons)
  4. and finally the drug snorting/sex kitten (the okay Chanel Iman)

Overall, an interesting indie film that will definitely make you think while giving you a fun ride.

 

Randomness: “no one remembered…”

As folks know, I’m about that zine/self-publishing life. I was pleasantly surprised when a good friend shared she was venturing into DIY (Do It Yourself) work. I know she has always wanted to establish herself with a major publishing company. She said it was I that made her fall in love with small press (yes!) I met Olivia Olivia a few years ago when I organized my city’s first women of color zine symposium. Olivia Olivia was a young woman who let you know she was in the room. We quickly became buddies as we were both foodies at heart. Olivia Olivia writes about her experiences as a Salvadoran author/activist.  In her new chapbook “no one remembered your name but i wrote it down” chronicles her time living in Berlin, growing up as an undocumented youth, and the death of a beloved sister.

A great addition to anyone’s zine/small press collection 🙂

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Ghost Summer Stories

I couldn’t sleep for weeks after reading Tananarive Due‘s “The Good House.” It was a deliciously disturbing book. I soon became a huge fan of Due’s work. Due tends to be lumped in with science fiction writer Octavia Butler, but Due dabbles more in the supernatural/thriller genre. Her work stands on its own.

When a good friend asked me if I wanted a book for my birthday (she knows I love to read), I said “Ghost Summer…please.” I’ve been itching to get this book. I was excited when it finally arrived in the mail the other day. The book contains 15 short stories. A perfect read for a new mom like myself.

I’m scared already 🙂

 

Barbershop 3/Giving Thanks

Okay, the first barbershop was decent enough. The second one I don’t even remember. Now a third one with no Michael Ealy? Blah. I guess the movies try to be positive, although Ice Cube got on my nerves this past summer with his “Straight out of Compton” anti-woman antics. The film comes out spring of next year.

This is the time of year folks post on Facebook “thanks-giving” lists sharing all the things they are grateful for in their lives. I usually find these lists annoying, but after this bizarre year of the rise of Donald Trump, the continued violence against black folks/folks of color, push back against reproductive rights, etc.,  I find myself also reflecting on the more positive aspects in my life/the world. You have to to stay sane in these increasingly cold-hearted times…

  • Thanks for my new little one. He brings me love, happiness, and no sleep all at the same time  🙂
  • Thanks for my recent birthday celebration. I usually bemoan another candle on the cake, but hell I could be dead.
  • Thanks to friends who supported me when I needed help with housing/relocation this year.
  • Thanks to the the three women who started #blacklivesmatter igniting a new wave of social justice/civil rights/student activism across the country.
  • Thanks to President Obama for telling folks to stop “popping off” at the mouth. I have my issues with him, but he does have a way of bringing flavor to boring American politics.
  • And last but not least love to the Native/Indigenous folks as we get ready to celebrate the colonizer’s holiday. Special shout out to Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull who refuses to let folks shut down her work for Native/Indigenous women. Go girl.

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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

Go for Sisters

I avoided this film for the longest time on Netflix. The poster made me think it was going to be some bad 1970’s blaxploitation film, complete with ugly corduroy bell bottoms.

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I finally decided to read the synopsis and realized the film came out last year. I don’t know how I missed it. The movie turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

“It’s a story of two childhood friends, a parole officer named Bernice and a recovering drug addict named Fontayne , who team up to solve the mysterious disappearance of Bernice’s troubled son Rodney, a suspect in a killing. The film’s title is explained in a throwaway bit of dialogue early on: as kids, the women were so close and so compatible that other people thought they could “go for sisters,” or be related.” http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/go-for-sisters-2013

It was surprising because it was about two everyday black women.  And they acted like everyday folks. It’s rare to see black women characters like that.  In most contemporary movies, black characters are ridiculously wealthy or over the top. This film at least tried to humanize the women.

I was happy to see Yolanda Ross (Fontayne) play a different role. The movies I have seen her in she has been typecast as “crazy” black mamas. Ross is beautiful to me, so it was nice to see her dolled up for a change.

LisaGay Hamilton was also great as Bernice. It took me a while to place her. She’s one of those actors you see all the time but never catch their name. Hamilton has starred in numerous movies including “Beloved” with Oprah and Kimberly Elise.

The film was similar to Quentin Tarantino (who gets on my nerves) movies, where nothing really happens, but a lot of stuff happens.  The film moves at a slow place, but it’s worth checking out.

Here’s the trailer. Have a good weekend 🙂

Summer Recap #3

I usually like to get my summer movies on, but this was another flat summer of sequels (why in the world is there a Transformers 4?) and white male superheros (while the stories of Spawn, Storm, Black Panther, etc. sit on the sidelines).  I figured I might as well keep my money in my pocket.

However, there was one unique film that peaked my interest, so I decided to go see it. “Snowpiercer” is a sci-fi film based on a Korean film based on a french graphic novel.

“Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/

The film had some good action scenes and original moments. My one beef with this film, like majority of films set in the future, there are rarely any people of color. Which is strange, when it’s a known fact populations of color will dominate in the next few years, let alone in 2031.  Okay, I guess you can argue most die in the snowstorm, but 99% of them?

Octavia Spencer plays Tanya (you know I loved that name 😉 She is the lone black character who lives in the tail of the train, where the poor folks reside. Well, I take that back. She does have a son, so that makes two black folks. Oh, then there is a random black character introduced later, so three total 😦   And dammit to hell,  why did they have Spencer’s character hollering about some chicken. The other folks of color are basically Asian sidekicks, who are drug addicts.

A good friend thought “Snowpiercer” was an amazing film. I wouldn’t go that far. There were times when my mind started wandering, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on.  And there were so many plot holes, I lost count. But I would still recommend the film.  It’s something a bit different compared to the other summer films. Also, I love films that look at the break down of civilization, class warfare, etc., because that’s where we are headed. These films give you some survival insights.

Welp, that wraps up my summer recaps. Have a good weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Recap #2

Y’all, I flopped on my summer reading list. I didn’t get a chance to read any of the books I picked out. I just had a lot of things going on this summer, so my reading fell to the wayside. Which I am extremely bummed about, because I love to read.

Well, actually, I was able to squeeze out one book…

A month ago, I was visiting  with a friend and told her I needed to catch up on my summer reading. She asked me if I knew about Tayari Jones’s book “Leaving Atlanta.” I had heard of it, but had never gotten around to reading it. My friend had an opportunity to study with Jones in Lisbon for a writing workshop.  She spoke highly of Jones and her work and recommended I read her book. She offered to lend me her copy, and gently warned me not to lose it as Jones had signed it 🙂

I’m glad she gave me the book. Jones’s fictional novel is based on the Atlanta child murders in the late 70’s:

“Jones herself was in the fifth grade when thirty African American children were murdered from the neighborhoods near her home and school. When asked why she chose this subject matter for her first novel, she says, “This novel is my way of documenting a particular moment in history. It is a love letter to my generation and also an effort to remember my own childhood. To remind myself and my readers what it was like to been eleven and at the mercy of the world.” http://www.tayarijones.com/about/

Leaving…” is told from the perspective of three young people: Tasha, Rodney, and Octavia. The characters are all interesting, but it is the last story of Octavia, that really moved me. Octavia is teased at school for being “too dark” and poor, but she is the smartest and most caring of the bunch. Her character is forced to deal with a lot, making you want the best for her. I would love to see a book based on Octavia.

So, while I failed to read the books on my summer list, I am glad I had a chance to read this book instead. “Leaving Atlanta” is a unique story that looks at a horrifying time in the lives of black children, yet is rarely written about.

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