Friday, April 30, 2010

Why Don't You Love Me

I often don't take much time out of my day to wonder about celebrities and their marriages, divorces, or children. I spend even less time analyzing their behavior or the he said, she said that's dragged into the fire long after the drama stops and scene ends.

But for certain celebrities that I have a lot of admiration for, it makes me sad to see their personal disputes served up as a public forum, draped with the opinions of a charged mass media.

So when TMZ recently reported that she and Gabriel Aubry are splitting up, and with all this talk about black women being the last-women-on-Earth-to-never-ever-in-life-have-a-man, I wondered how Steve Harvey and the rest of the "experts" of "single woman-ness" would dissect a woman like Halle.

After all, she's Halle Berry right? So she must be playing some other role. You know, the one that doesn't involve the opening scene of a black woman as the down trodden female.

(*cue* Halle Beerrrry, Halle Berrrry)

I can see it now... Steve Harvey and the gods of singledom gathering around their throne if singleness, spewing knowledge... Think like a man, Halle, act like a lady.

Oh boo.

I have long given up trying to figure out the secret to a healthy relationship. There are an exorbitant amount of people doing that already. But I wonder about the discussion that comes along with a twice divorcee, talented Oscar award winning actress, beautiful woman, and mother of one.

Is she considered a different quality of woman than let's say, the average Jane? Does that give her reason to be excluded from the discussion? After all, Berry and Aubry were never married. Am I to assume now that she's just another single black woman who can't keep a man, and moreso, that she's just Aubry's baby momma? Perhaps it's just a black thing, and Halle just ain't wit it.

After all, there are many people like her who have it all. See Leah Rozen's recent piece in the New York Times about Julia Roberts: Mother and MegaStar: Happily Balanced.

And here we have Halle Berry - MILF, Oscar award winning actress, independent woman, Angela, Ginger, Nisi etc. An over achiever that's still under appreciated.

She's been through 2 divorces already. The first to Atlanta Braves player David Justice, followed by R&B singer and alleged sex addict Eric Benet, after who she made the decision to never marry again.

And that's OK.

But I wonder sometimes. Where's her forum? Where's her happily ever after? At night, when she's sitting in her PJs, fingers cupped around a mug with tea, curtains closed, and she's lost in her thoughts, I wonder how she deals with all her emotions.

I wonder if she listens to Beyonce's, "Why Don't You Love me?" and asks herself that very question.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Occupational Hazard

Bill Moyers, a journalist who has been knocking down the doors of fabrication for years, had his last show on Friday night. To say I cried my eyes out would have been an understatement. What that really means is, I cried my heart out.

Full disclosure, I've been privy to work with Bill for the past two years, and in that time I've learned a hell of a lot. The word "remarkable" comes to mind, but it doesn't even come close to the word that describes him.

He's a legend. And a legend died today.

As I screened his last farewell page that he was recording in the studio, I took the time to take it in. I wondered about his feelings in the days up until this point. The people he had met, the interviews he has done, and the people he's touched. I thought too about the toll it had on him, the thoughts he might have had for an essay he started, but then abandoned when he realized that there would be no personal forum for him, and how much it must take out of him to dedicate much of your life to informing others.

And because he was in the business for so long, I wondered about how others viewed his departure. Would they see him as staple in the journalistic community? Or did they just assume that he was supposed to take his stripes with pride and just leave the arena?

It’s bad enough that journalism is flailing in the arms of political shock jocks looking to use their mouthpieces to ravage the remains of journalism. But thinking about all those hours our team spent researching, disseminating information, fact-checking, and truth-telling, it really feels like it's what my mom keeps saying it is, "the end of an era."

I can imagine how he feels.

Though I've only stepped foot in the White House for a holiday tour with my mom several years ago, Bill was Lyndon Johnson's Press Secretary in 1965, and has lived through all the drama that comes with being a man being the voice of reason. So it must seem surreal to go from fighting off the sharks in the deep side of the pool, to someone wading in the shallow end. Call it an occupational hazard if you will, but once you start working and doing something that you truly love, it's hard to stop and just succumb to the pressure of the forces that be.

For only a moment, I sat there and understood what it felt like. As I stared at him, I realized that he must feel like he's in limbo, one foot in the journalism world and one foot out. Much like myself on a more basic level, because like him, I struggle with the same thing.

I change my mind about everything everyday, I wonder what the hell I'm doing with myself and my life and where I'm headed. I think about what I have to do to be like Bill. The steps he took to get where he is today and the foundation he built for himself in the process. And then I think of failing, flailing my arms in the air like a maniac, giving up, and the idea that I might not be good enough for anything, Oh, and if by the grace of God, if one day I am actually considered "a legend", I will totally suck at it.

It would be an understatement to say Bill was the best. He really was. Not to mention, he was the sweetest person EVER. I fondly believe this isn't the end for him and it's just the beginning for me. So we are both kind of in this limbo. But if I learned nothing else working there, I've learned that failure is not an option.

We just have to suck it up, overcome our occupational hazards, and keep going.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maybe it's time to be Honest

"Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die, horoscopes often lie, and sometime Y', nothin is for sure, nothin' is for certain, nothin' lasts forever" - Outkast

I'm stressed. I have a good job, a nice apartment, a solid car.. all in Brooklyn no less. All of which I'm a. struggling to manage, b. struggling to pay for, and c. struggling to keep clean oil in.

Maybe it's time for a change.

This morning I was shuffling around on my playlist, and Aquemini came on. For the first time since hearing this song years ago, it hit me as to how painstakingly true it is. Even though I'm happy, lately my happiness has come and gone in short spurts. Even the sun goes down.

Maybe it's time for a vacation.

The other day, I took the 4 hour trip home to arrive in the beautiful suburbs, surrounded by fresh air, trees, and a laundry machine at my disposal. Ah, the good life.

While home, I reflected on my new job that I just got. I think of my old job. The show is going off the air, and the host is heading into retirement. Heroes eventually die.

It's a weird contradiction, because I'm blessed to be given such an opportunity. And when people ask how it's going, I'm all coke and a smile. But I know that I am surrounded by people I cannot relate to, whether it be because I'm the youngest, or because I am the "brownest."

It's wrong to feel this way at such a young age. I mean, the rhetoric plow drives through my head everyday. Be the change you wish to see in the world! Our youth is the hope for the future! I can lead the way! I'm a Leo after all...Yea. Horoscopes often lie.

In the course of chasing my dreams, I never realized I would just want to stop and have my head in the clouds.

I'm struggling no doubt, but maybe this is all a process of growth. Maybe I need ro revaluate where I am and where I want to be.

Maybe it's time to be honest. Nothin is for sure, nothin is for certain, nothin lasts forever.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Am I Supposed to Write?

I was watching Love Jones the other day, one of my favorite romantic love movies EVER. Like second to maybe Brown Sugar and Love and Basketball. And though the premise is like those of all other romantic movies, I totally fell in love with the idea of Nia Long, the photographer, and Larenz Tate, the "Renaissance black man" who recited poetry, quoted Bernard Shaw, and effortlessly romanced Nia to the sounds of Miles Davis.

I'll never forget one of my favorite parts of the movie: They are on their first date and they're walking down a secluded street at night talking, getting to know each other. He's talking about his book and what he reads. She says what she reads and admits she wants to burn her notebook. Larenz Tate's response:

"Oh no. Your notebook is your notebook. It's about reaching your potential. No one else's."

I started scribbling in my notebook in second grade. I had to write a short story about a family. Since then, I just wrote whatever, whenever I got to the urge too. Poetry, short stories, essays. I didn't know what I wanted to be, but I know I wanted it to involve some form of me telling a story.

If any of you follow me on twitter, you know that I've been posting a few articles on Clutch Magazine over the course of the past few weeks. Each post has received a small amount of commentary, nothing extraordinary for Clutch, who I've seen receive up to 90 plus comments on one post.

I see plenty "good job, great post" comments, but I also see a fair share of criticism. All well and good of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But everytime I write something I always have to repeat in my head that these are my thoughts, feelings, expressions, etc. and no matter what, they are original. Not only that, but they mean something.

But then the question becomes - how am I supposed to write? I mean, how is anyone supposed to write. Noun, verb, object. Basic grammar. Sentence structure. Construct a story. Keep the audience interested. Oh, and make it good! But don't sound like a fool. Read and write. Often. Matter of fact, everyday.

I did that and still do, so it really becomes more of a subjective question. I'm slowly becoming more analytical about what Larenz Tate says. Because he was is about reaching my potential. And that's all that matters.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baduism at it's finest: Window Seat

Erykah Badu's new video, "Window Seat", has set off a series of criticism from both angles. It depicts a fully dressed Erykah Badu stripping down until she is completely naked, walking down Dealey Plaza in Dallas, and getting shot. It was the same block where JFK was shot. When she falls down, the words Groupthink falls out of her mouth.

I loved it.

Badu is one of those artists that can just do it. The symbolism in the video is powerful: We are a society that has become complacent to the Groupthink mentality, and very simply, we must evolve. As written on her back.

Real. But clearly the symbolism was lost among the fact that she was walking down the street. Naked.

Love it more. Not just because I'm a nudist at heart. I digress.

I find that most of the criticism coming from the video is the fact that she was naked. And even in a society that is so accustomed to implied nudity, we just aren't ready for nudity in its very rawness, sans apology. Unless it's behind closed doors of course, then...all hands on deck!

But out in the streets? Oh no! Cover the children's eyes! Arrest the nudist! Condemn the stripper!

Are we really a society that conforms to a groupthink mentality? Perhaps. If it were white guys stripping down the street in Times Square would it make any difference? Probably.

Because that's who inspired the video. Matt and Kim, who stripped down in the "Lessons Learned" video. So it's possible that because she is beautiful, bountiful, and black down the street. Unashamed. Promoting a revolutionary not as easily accepted.

To hell with everyone else. I'll take that window seat please.

Watch the video below: