Friday, March 26, 2010

Black Marriage Day

I love this idea. I hope that you married couples out there celebrate your love on Sunday, and every day. Never forget how fortunate you are to have met your husband or wife.



Press Release:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jamil Muhammad 202-557-8299


Black Marriage Day 2010 will celebrate its eighth year of Black Marriage Day activities in cities across the country with the release of two marriage-themed films as part of this year’s Black Marriage Day observance Sunday, March 28, 2010.

Black Marriage Day is a marriage education initiative promoting the benefits of marriage in the Black community created by Nisa Muhammad, Executive Director of Wedded Bliss Foundation, Inc., 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 610, Washington, DC.

Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, will be the focus of marriage vow renewals reaffirming the power of marriage to celebrate the release of Tyler Perry’s latest film, “Why Did I Get Married Too?” Local pastors will officiate vow renewals, radio stations plan to broadcast and give away Tyler Perry DVDs and promotional items. One lucky couple in each city will also receive a free trip to the Bahamas.

“You Saved Me” features candid looks inside the hardships and trials of relationships and what is required to sustain them. Filmmakers Lamar and Ronnie Tyler bring five real married couples to the screen who show how marriage has a direct impact on their lives. This film will debut in 25 cities around the country.


Black Marriage Day founder Nisa Muhammad will lead a post-screening panel discussion featuring the filmmakers and marriage educator Jewell Powell, author of the faith-based “Marriage 101”, when the thought provoking movie debuts in Washington, DC, on Sunday, March 28, 2010, Black Marriage Day 2010. For more information about “You Saved Me” events, go to: http://www.blackmarriageday.com/.

Dozens of local sponsors in cities across the nation plan to also host Black Marriage Day 2010 celebrations. Since 2003, hundreds of local sponsors in cities large and small have hosted a Black Marriage Day event including: Tom Thumb weddings, marriage-themed contests for teens, workshops, conferences, Date Nights for singles considering marriage, community banquets, religious services and inductions into Marriage Halls of Fame for longtime married couples. Local, state and Congressional representatives have regularly issued proclamations celebrating marriage in the Black community.

“This year the passion for celebrating Black Marriage Day is bigger and better than ever,” Muhammad said. “Marriage matters to the Black community, and we want everyone to know.”
For more information, visit: http://www.blackmarriageday.com/.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little Freak



Was listening to that new Usher song Little Freak, and that ish is pretty nice. The beat is fires and the way Usher is humming out his lyrics over the bridge is glorious. The Stevie song they sampled from is genius too. Don't sleep.


Then Fair Lady and I got to talking about the lyrics. And omg, do you hear what they are talking about? No? Take a gander:


If you're fu**ing with me
Really fu**ing with me you go get some girls and bring them to me
if you fu**in with me
Really fu**ing with me you let her put her hands in your pants
be my little freak
be my little freak
be my little freak
you let her put her hands in your pants
be my little freak
if you fu**in with me
Really fu**ing with me
you let her put her hands in your pants
be my little freak


Not against homosexual relationships or anything. In fact, all love is beautiful. But when did it become a plus that a potential female partner also likes women? If that’s your preference and everything, more power to you. But if you are straight and think that getting freaky with another woman will help you get close to Usher or some other man? That ish is not cute. What is going on in the world today?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Law of Attraction- Breakthrough!

Last weekend Fair sir and I went to a play by a friend of mine called Breakthrough. We'd purchased our tickets weeks in advance and I personally had digested all of the background info before we went. Basically it was a play about finding what you want in life and getting out of your own way to attain it. All of it. It had a ton of situations exemplified where one can make great achievements despite hardships (such as incest, sexual assault, poverty, and general ignorance).

But the overarching theme that Fairsir and I took away was the law of attraction principals that kept repeating. If you believe it you can achieve it. Princess, in the play, and probably in real life, began attracting her destiny by thinking positively. She had night visitations from a "spirit" who later embodied himself into the future love of her life. He'd provided her guidance and opened her mind to the possibility of finding happiness. When she was ready for it, she found love.

There was also a video montage where people shared their "breakthrough" moments. Fair sir really identified with Princess own breakthrough, as she discussed how being a positive force in the world is sometimes met with undue opposition. Some people just can't identify with a can-do attitude and instead try to bring you back down to their level, where they are comfortable. But if you are a positive person set on achievement, you can't apologize for that achievement, nor temper it to make those around you feel comfortable. We both sat shaking our heads yes as Princess spoke. That's something we have both experienced in the recent past, having taken large steps towards things we want in life. Fair sir is pursuing a Law degree, and I am in the throws of closing on my first home. We have also both lived in several states, and gone off alone in search of more. We've both been successful, and if not, ready to move on from things that are not working.

If I had to define my breakthrough moment, I'd say it happened in late 2004. I decided to move from Boston, to DC (most likely) and begin taking steps to get it done. I enrolled back in graduate school, and I stopped talking about it. I looked up jobs, and apartments, and before I'd even finished school, I'd booked several plane tickets to DC to apartment hunt. Then, in the span of 2 months in 2005, I graduated with web development certification, found an apartment just outside of DC, packed up and left. Alone. I found a job within a week and was moving forward with my life. I'd been doing administrative work in expensive Boston for 3 years, while moonligthing as an artist. I'd also recently had my heart broken, and needed to prepare myself for finding love again. Love manifests in not just romance, but in every day life. I wanted to love things again, like what I was doing for a living, where I lived, and the direction I was headed. And I got all that done in a matter of months while saying little of my plans to anyone. All of this prepared me to meet Fairsir, and buy a home, and find the happiness I have found now.

If these ideas all sound foreign to you, I'd highly suggest you get your hands on the play Breakthrough, so you can see Princess take the right steps in her life. I identified with it, and I was happy to find that Fairsir enjoyed it just as much. He insists it's a Leo thing (he and Princess have that in common). I think it's a make moves thing :-)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How did we Meet? Fair Sir's Version

I had just returned to law school from Summer Break. I didn’t have an apartment yet and was staying with my aunt off Capitol Hill. The Summer Olympics were on and Michael Phelps was kicking ass, that swimming mofo was getting my mind right for the upcoming school year. If he could win all them golds I could amjur one law school course right? Or at least land the baddest chick in the room because I still haven’t amjured that law school course.

Enter: Fair Lady, the baddest chick in the room. But I wouldn’t have been there unless I called my homie and asked him what he was up to that fateful night. It was the first Friday back at school after a long Summer and I knew mad stuff was going on. The homie was like he was going to a homegirls party, but I could roll if I wanted. In fact, if I was gonna roll, I should pick up one of our section mates on the way. I was on my serious back to school mode, books and outlining already, but as it turns out, even Michael Phelps engaged in shennigans. I said Id meet him up there.

I scooped our section mate and we pregamed in the car over some drink (after we arrived at our destination) . I was feelin nice going in. I caught up with the homie who was standing by a couch in VIP. Several women were seated on the couch. My friend was rude so I introduced myself. One of the women, I was struck by her eyes: Hazel, with all the colors of the sea. It was Fair Lady.

I turned my back to do some small talk with my friend. I turned around and saw Fair Lady again. This time she was standing up. Like I said, I was feeling right coming in. It had been a long summer of research and working out. Plus the liquid courage was snaking through my veins from after the pregame session. I really felt like I could talk to anyone in the room. Fair Lady had it going on though. I decided to approach her.

I asked her her name again, and she asked me what mine was again. My name is pretty famous and distinctive: she told me I had a lot to live up to. Indeed. I smiled. She smiled. I asked a couple questions. One word answers. Akward silence. The end. I went over to my homie and was like damn I just got shot down. He said light skin women don’t like light skin men. Scratch that. To be continued.

The party host had a game that was kind of like a scavenger hunt but to complete it you had to engage and barter with other party goers. I guess the prize was some bath salts or something; needless to say I didn’t really give a cot damn about being the victor. I saw Fair Lady assessing the pieces she had collected. I approached her all about business:

“Im looking for such and such do you have it?”

She responds, “No, but I need this and this and…” her hands all in my collection of pieces and what not.

“woe woe woe. Slow up Fair Lady. You are being mad selfish right now. You are going to take all the pieces I have and give me nothing in return. Is that how we do it?”

She says, “I need these and cant help you because I already have matches. There are other people here you can talk to and get pieces from”

I say, “Im talking to who I want to talk to. I don’t want to talk to anyone else.”

I smiled. She smiled. Bingo.

I walked her back to the couch. We sat down, talked about art, activism, law school, and being part Indian. We talked about men, women, boyfriends, girlfriends... We got up and danced. Then came and sat back down. Before we parted I asked for her number and set up our first date. When she left, I told her I was going to call, and she told me that I should.

I called her the very next day. No answer. I didn’t want to leave a message. Man I hate those freaking games about when to call and leave a message etc. Like, should I call at 7:00? No, then Ill seem like I been planning it all day like a lame so no Ill call at 713 or some other randomness.

The next day--to kill time so im not thinking about her all day-- I go watch Tropic Thunder, watch Michael Phelps swim in Beijing, then call her at night. I give it one more go.

She says, “let me call you back”

I’m like I heard that before. 5 minutes later she calls me back. Im so surprised to hear from her I tell her: “Im surprised to hear from you” I go on about “most pretty women” and games and all the bullshit with first meeting someone and following up etc. She was so real and honest and lacking pretension, and you don’t know how beautiful she is, but I do, and I have never met someone, let alone someone so beautiful, where it was just comfortable. Her inner beauty was equal or greater to her outer beauty. We talked for hours on end, day after day.

About a week after I met her I got my own place. We talked so much, and hit it off so well, I found out later Fair Lady had briefly considered the idea of letting me move in with her. Not that it mattered. Past say the first week, either she was at my place, or much more likely, I was at hers. A year and a half later and we are still going strong. She’s my best friend.

How did we meet? Fair Lady's Version

The Setting (June-July 2008)

In the weeks before I met Fair Sir, my hopes for finding a good, honest man had been dashed. I witnessed three men actively cheating on their women, while being enabled by friends. One had his girl preggers with his second child while arguably living with her, yet not claiming her nor mentioning a 5-6 month old fetus. One of these dudes had attempted to continue talking to me after I discovered he had a girl, and I had to let him know that not only were we just acquaintances because of initial physical attraction and a number he shouldn't have gotten, but that I play for the women's team in terms of enabling. There would be no shady "friendship" with me. HUmph! And I spent a few days and nights agonising over what I could to to pull myself out of my negative thinking. I decided to do the opposite of what I felt. I decided to meet MORE people and put myself in the path of more of what may be right. In other news- I'd just gotten brand new living room furniture for my solo bachelorette pad and was otherwise fulfilled.

The Story (August, 2008)

I was invited to a private birthday party of a friend of a friend I'd met once or twice. With my new attitude in tow, I put on a little black dress, did my hair all cute, and hopped in my car alone to go meet them at the venue, which was a club. When I found it, I could not find safe/free parking for the life of me and was just about to head home defeated. I pulled over and text one of my girls inside to tell her how discouraged I was. She informed me that valet was free and that was the only parking, so pheew... I should hurry up. I'm soooo glad I made it in there because my life changed that night.

So we were all jovial - enjoying the open bar and birthday games - when a few strangers came in with another friend of a friend. I immediately noticed the tall, handsome fellow with a funky outfit (pointy shoes and smedium shirt), lil fro and unique glasses on. But I played it cool, didn't say anything and we were not introduced. A friend found out who he was and excitedly reported back a few tidbits of info that seemingly favored herself, so I decided I'd fall back and let them/him decide who made a pass at who. I essentially deferred myself out of the running for his attention. lol.

BUT, about 10 min later, he came up and introduced himself to me. He was really cute and charming up close, and I found myself beginning to flirt during our little small talk. I realised what I was doing, and again, I backed off. I ended the conversation and slinked away.

I did, however, continue to track his location with a side eye. At one point I thought he left and kind of gave up and got sad, but then he came back! But still didn't come back around me.

Later on we had gotten heavy into a sort of treasure hunt birthday game, that forces guests to work together to solve a puzzle. I found myself face to face with him again, surrounded by a couple of other people, debating over puzzle pieces. Fair Sir started an argument with me over my being a selfish game player, and everyone else literally disappeared.

As we "debated," I lost sense of what was really going on and I told him to "go play with someone else" if he thought I was being so unfair. Then this man said "I'm talking to the only person I feel like talking too." I thought to myself- !wow! He likes me and I didn't start this so I'm going WITH it (score!). I was so excited on the inside.

I actually only remember snippets of our convo after that, such as us planning our first date while still there in the club, exchanging our stance on being single, and a bit of our backgrounds. We didn't separate for the whole rest of the night. We danced, sat on the couches talking and I forgot about the rest of the party at large. When I left that night I was already anticipating his call and our date. I went to bed actually nervous that he wouldn't call, and wondering how sincere it all was. It seemed too good to be true- that I would see a man I was interested in and then get all of his attention and then have such great conversation all night. But it happened just like that. And he called.

Apparently he called the next day, but I was in the pool and he did not leave a message. I saw the missed call from a random number but I was not sure who it was. I feared/hoped it was him and that he would call again. On Monday night I was on a date that was going downhill fast when the phone rang. I saw a random number again and I boldly answered it while at the table with my date. I know- shame. But it was HIM! I asked to call him back. I hurried the rest of the date, and was dismayed when the nice guy I was with insisted he walk me to my car. I pulled a "there is my car over there! thanks" -as soon as I could see it. I thanked him for the night and had my phone in my hand before I even had my keys out.

We talked my whole 40 min drive home. We had several 3-6 hour long conversations before our first date. Our first date lasted for something like 10 hours or something crazy. I liked him a lot, fast. This was different. I loved talking to him and being around him and we fast became truly inseparable. He was available to me in more ways than I had seen in years from any man. We had so much in common and talked naturally and enthusiastically about every and anything. We knew we wanted to be together at an unreasonably early point, and even talked about it being too early to declare it. We actually set a date upon which to make it publicly official on FaceBook, a month after we met.

We are MFEO (March, 2010)
Now here we are, living together, moving forward like ants taking the bread. It's conscious love, heady love, deep love and profound friendship. I'm so lucky and proud to have Fair Sir to my rescue, and I look forward to evolving our love past love, past words.





Thursday, March 11, 2010

Soldiers of Love



You can download this song and the rest of the album "Mr. February aka March Madness"
by Raheem DeVaughn (368 Music Group) here<<.

Hey, sugar!

For the first time, the American Heart Association has set a sugar benchmark for daily intake.

Julie Deardoff
Chicago Tribune
11:47 AM EST, March 5, 2010

Sugar has been blamed for a laundry list of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. But how do you know when you've had too much?

For the first time, Americans now have a benchmark: No more than 25 grams of added sugar a day for women and 37.5 grams for men, according to new guidelines established by the American Heart Association.

It's easy to soar past those limits. Downing just one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola will give you 39 grams of sugar, exceeding your daily ration. But a lesser-known problem with sugar is that it's hidden in everything from soup to nuts. It's lurking in your lunch meat. It enhances bread. And if a low-fat product or frozen dinner tastes good, you may have added sugar to thank.

As a result, we're regularly ingesting an average of 88.8 grams of added sugar a day, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey — more than three times what the AHA recommends.

"When you really start paying attention to ingredients, you realize that sugar is everywhere," said New Jersey's Jen Maidenberg, 35, who has monitored her sugar intake for more than a decade to help treat allergies, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome. Among her pet peeves: "It kills me that Activia yogurt professes to boost your gut flora with probiotics, but then fills its yogurt with high amounts of sugar, defeating the purpose," she said.

What Too Much Sugar Does

Flooding your body with sugar often results in a blood sugar high — followed by a crash. Excess sugar intake has also been linked to inflammation, which can trigger a cascade of poor health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

But there's no recommended daily allowance for sugar because the body doesn't need it. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines vaguely advise us to "choose added sugars in moderation."

The AHA, however, felt consumers needed a specific target, said Rachel Johnson, lead author of the guidelines and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. The limits, released in September 2009, were developed after considering the number of discretionary calories a typical American has left after fulfilling all nutritional requirements. So, a more active person would have more discretionary calories, said Johnson.

What About Natural Sugar?

Of course, sugar occurs naturally in foods — lactose in milk and fructose in fruit, for instance. These natural sugars are less alarming because they're accompanied by nutrients. But nutrition labels don't distinguish between natural and added sugars, which are those used during processing. The guidelines only address added sugars.

Detecting Sugars to Avoid

That means it's important to look for sugar — and its euphemisms — in the ingredient list, said Karin Hosenfeld, a registered dietician in Texas. "If a food contains sugar or a simple carbohydrate derivative such as cane juice or high fructose corn syrup as one of the top three ingredients, and has no other redeeming nutritional value, then it's not a healthy choice," she said.

Watch for words ending in "-ose," such as lactose or maltose; those are simply chemical names for sugar. Brown rice syrup, molasses, raw sugar and evaporated cane juice may sound healthy, but "a calorie is a calorie," said Johnson. "Molasses or raw sugar still has 4 calories per gram, like any other sugar," said Johnson.

Sugar in Unexpected Places

In addition to making foods sweeter, sugar is used to maintain color, texture and flavor, said Sean O'Keefe, a professor in the department of food science and technology at Virginia Tech.

Here are some of the unexpected places it pops up, with some specific product examples:

Note: Sugar measurements given for typical serving sizes

Breads and crackers: Sugar can help smooth and balance the flavor, said O'Keefe, who is also a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists. "Adding sugar to bread is one way of ensuring it rises properly before baking."

Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious 100 percent Multi-Grain: 4 grams per slice. (Of note: contains brown sugar, molasses and raisin juice concentrate)

Pepperidge Farm Plain Bagels: 10 grams per bagel

Smart Start's "Original Antioxidants" cereal: 14 grams per cup. (Of note: Sugar is mentioned 14 times in various forms in the ingredient list.)

Progresso Plain Bread Crumbs: 2 grams per 1/4 cup

Wheat Thins, Reduced Fat: 4 grams per 16 crackers

Cereal bars and granola: Sugar is added to help with taste, texture and to lower the water content, increasing the bars' shelf life, O'Keefe said.

Quaker Natural Granola Oats Honey and Raisins: 30 grams per 1 cup

Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars: 13 grams per bar

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Cinnamon & Spice: 15 gram per packet

Tomato-based products: Sugar is used to give tomatoes the optimal sugar-acid balance and improve flavor if they're picked before they ripen. Tomatoes naturally have about 5 grams of sugar. Anything over that is likely added.

Campbell's Creamy Tomato Soup at Hand, 24 grams/serving. (One container)

Ketchup: 4 grams per tablespoon

Peanut butter: Dextrose is added for taste and to stabilize emulsion, O'Keefe said.

Skippy Natural Super Chunk: 3 grams per 2 tablespoons

Dairy: Sugar is added for taste. Plain yogurt has about 12 grams of natural sugar; flavored can have up to 35 grams.

Horizon Organic fat-free vanilla: 24 grams per 6-ounce container

Yoplait Light fat free Apricot Mango, 14 grams/container

Kraft Singles American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, 1 gram/slice

Shelf-stable meals, canned soups and frozen dinners: Virtually any packaged meal will have added sugar to help improve taste. Look for meals with less than 5 grams of added sugar.

Progresso Rich & Hearty Beef Pot Roast: "No MSG" 4 grams per serving, 8 per can)

Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers Sesame Teriyaki Chicken, 15 grams per serving

Simply Asia Sesame Teriyaki Noodle Bowl, 14 grams/serving

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Lasagna Florentine: 12 grams per serving

Lean Pockets Meatballs & Mozzarella: 9 grams per serving

Other names for sugar

Other names for sugar include barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, date sugar, dextran, dextrose, diastase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, refiner's syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose, sugar, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar.

TIPS

  • Sweeten your own yogurt and gradually cut back.
  • Use your added sugars in a way that enhances flavor of already nutritious foods, such as flavored yogurt or chocolate milk, rather than a soft drink or candy.
  • Eliminate sugars that don't come with other nutrients. If you have a sweet tooth, try limiting portion size—though others who have given up sugar say it's best to go cold turkey.
  • All sugars, even ‘natural sugars' such as honey or agave nectar, for example, should be counted when trying to decrease total sugar intake. Many people believe because it's all-natural that it's better for you. It all counts towards sugar.
  • Pay attention to how many times sugar is listed in the ingredients by any of its names. Kellogg's Smart Start, for example, has 14 different references to sugar.

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fair Lady's so Sweet

It’s been almost a month now since we’ve been on our no/low sugar diet. It’s pretty tough. If you go down any aisle in the grocery store just about everything there has sugar. It’s ridiculous. Of all the colorful labeling and pretty boxes in the cereal aisle, only Grape Nuts has no sugar, sugar substitute, or high fructose corn syrup. And it’s no trifling amount in the cereals either. It’s a lot of it. “Sweetened w/Honey” may be on the box, but it’s also sweetened with cane juice, sugar, high fructose corn syrup etc…don’t be fooled.

It’s gotten me thinking about how much sugar I used to eat before I started to regulate my intake. My sensitivity to sugar has gone up. If I eat or drink something really sweet, which we sometimes do indulge in after a good week of staying the course, then I really feel the physiological changes. Sugar rush is what they call it. But I hadn’t had one since I was a kid. I’ve even taken to watering down no sugar added juices like Grape Juice because it’s too sweet!

This started out as something I could do to show my support for Fair Lady, but it’s become something of a challenge for me. I want to see if I’m disciplined enough to do it, and also what benefits I may derive from the change of diet.

But it’s hard sometimes. So we definitely encourage each other when we see the other becoming tempted. Just this Saturday we were in Georgetown and she wanted a Bubble Tea and I was like noooo! We both just had our treat for the week, a sweat heat mango cocktail from Eatonville – dope spot if you haven’t been – so she wasn’t about to have a bubble tea if I was drinking Perrier.

Then later that day we began a long overdue cleaning of our apartment and I found a half eaten, tiny Halloween bag of Skittles on my dresser, sweet remnants of earlier days when we would both gorge on sweets from the candy aisle. I was tempted to throw the four or five skittles in my mouth, at least three months old status be damned, when fair lady came to my rescue. I play feigned like I was a nomad at a desert oasis, and we both doubled over in laughter at the absurdity of me eating those old ass Skittles.

And the struggle continues, but we have each others back. We’ll get through it and have fun in the process. I guess that’s what it’s all about.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Real Niggas Ain't Faggots

According to Ice Cube, “Real Niggas aint faggots”. Im in the middle of a book called “Your Average Nigga Performing Race Literacy and Masculinity”, by Vershawn Young. The author has a PHD and is a college professor, but also is a black male that grew up in Chicago projects. So far the book talks about the Nigga/Faggot dichotomy so eloquently expressed by Cube.

The main premise is black men have to underplay their masculinity to survive in the corporate and academic world as black masculinity is often tied to “black speech” and certain fashions. And since the white who run those institutions are threatened by black masculinity, those things which signify it do not fly in an office, or even an academic setting.  Therefore the black men that attain a level of success in those settings must forfeit those aspects of themselves, but concomitantly are viewed by whites, and other blacks, who have not made such sacrifices, as lacking masculinity. When one lacks masculinity the natural corollary is homosexuality, or being deemed a faggot. Pretty interesting. I touched on masculinity a little in this post here.

The author defines both nigga and faggots positively. He defines faggot as a black man who embraces education and speaks proper English, and he defines niggahood as a black man's “victorious statement of being” asserted against a stacked deck. The odd thing about the book is this notion of yearning: for niggas to be faggots, and for faggots to be niggas, and the contradictory and often counterproductive performances each grouping gives towards that end as niggahood and faggotry are mostly mutually exclusive. Past a certain point, say after high school, there is little to no boundary crossing. Both niggas and faggots get locked into their respective destinies, each given paths and opportunities that diverge.

The author also touched on our fascination with characters like Ice Cube or Gucci Mane.  Beyond their obvious talents, they have also managed to earn lucrative livings exaggerating their masculinity.  Which is something even, or especially, Harvard educated black men are unable to do.    

This might explain why everyday before I went to that corporate 500, 9-5 office gig, I would bump the most nigga affirming, blow niggas heads off, head bopping, Mobb Deep, or Cam’ron niggnaorance, misogynistic types of music available at stores before I went in and had to self regulate my speech and mannerisms.    Because real talk, I aint no faggot yo! Well, maybe just a little.

But is the dichotomy even real? I for one tend to agree with Dr. Young and I wonder if there are better ways we could define manhood.  I also wonder what implications this nigga/faggot dichotomy has on the current state of black relationships.  Way I see it, any phenomena that assesses penalties to personal growth cannot be good.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"I Still Do - A Celebration of African-American Weddings"

by Kea Taylor, Promotional Trailer

Does anyone still believe in love? Photographer, Kea Taylor responds with a resounding, "yes" releasing her upcoming coffee-table book, "I Still Do - A Celebration of African-American Weddings". The 128-page hardback coffee-table book features Taylor's most inspiring images and conversations from nearly ten years photographing weddings. Filled with heartwarming images and entertaining conversations, "I Still Do" inspires, transcends and demonstrates that Black love is alive and thriving despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Learn more at: http://www.istilldoweddings.com/


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Love & War Masterpeace

Just last week we were talking about how Erykah's music conveys her general admiration and love for black men. She is sympathetic, understanding and honest about men and relationships in her music. Then FairSir asks "Is there a male singer you feel like that about in the industry?" (we're talking R&B and soul here) The little computer hourglass came up in my head as I searched all my musical references for such an artist. I had to toss out Maxwell for Pretty wings (love the song though) and his narrow breadth of topics. I had to toss out practically everyone under the age of 25 lol. And I offered up Anthony Hamilton, Eric Robeson, and Raheem Devaughn. White Dwarfs to Erica's Red Giant star status.

I have thought of a few more since, even smaller stars such as Olu and Omar (in the States), but then the din surrounding Raheem's album release grew to a crescendo and we were delivered "The Love and War Masterpeace". How Funny considering the theme of our blog :-)

I got the album today and began writing this even as I listened to "The Greatness." I still remember "Believe" from his first album, and was struck then by his honesty about the complicated nature of black relationships in our day and age. Now when even blue collar employment can be hard to come by, and the PIC is hot on the heals of our men.

To use this album to carry the Fair in Love analogy further, the war on caring and equitable relationships between us is raging and there are very few people in any segment of the commercial world pulling for us. The media portrays our politicians in their 60s and 70s carrying out public drama with girlfriends and moneys. Our athletes are portrayed as single ballers for life, or white-pilfering adulterers. Even some of our most notable intellectuals are touted more for their views on broken families, than those that are intact. And our artists...

There are actually a ton of artists figting the good fight with marked success in their personal lives, but who have not yet found success supporting their families with their art. I am not sure how Raheem's personal life is panning out, but I hope that the good karma he deserves for his content, is trickling down to his loved ones.

I'm going to share this album with FairSir this evening over dinner (brisket!)

"War crushes and suffocates the love, the intimacy, the
ecstasy. "

Cornel West

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Things I Love About the Affair (behind hate's back)

I keep having these odd nightmares about being single and frustrated.  About roaming aimlessly and being out with faceless undesirables for no reason other than protocol.  Status quo for a woman in her late 20's = date or become an old mean maid doctor-of-something. Alas... I have been rescued by FairSir, and I wake up relieved by the reassurance of some funny sleeping position he's assumed since I last peeked at him.  He's real, I'm real, and our relationship is real. And with that realness comes a huge side of surreal moments.

I love that we practically have developed our own language. 
Complete with oddball pet names and call and response routines, our new native tongue would hardly be comprehensible to an outsider.  We'd surely be sent to the funny farm if you took any 20 sec snippet of convo out of context.  Words branch off from shared experiences of long ago and mutate into 10-off versions of the original reference.  Hearing one of those words instantly puts me back in the warmth of our smaller world where there is a we, against a them.

I love that we break the same sorts of rules/social norms. 
I look damn good in my $4 sweater and he in his $4 jacket. 
Pineapple juice(orange stuff), seltzer(fizzy stuff) and ginger paste(spicy stuff), maybe a little red stuff = tasty @ home drink time. 
House work? tomorrow is generally better for that. 
For the curly hair product, I think I'll go with the "green stuff."  Ah yes... the green stuff. (Curls are popping, ain't we pretty). 
My weekend sweatshirt/dress uniform, in 4 different colors, is rivaled by his yesterday's swagger.
I love that we both have grown up with both of our parents.
We have not both seen marriages work, but we have both been mature enough to understand when and why they don't, what's important, what could have been done better, etc. We've also both got to see first hand the repercussions and rewards for actions taken in our parents youth.

I love that we both have the same Phenotype.
We have the exact same physical description except that he's male and I'm female. We understand all the nuances that go with our physical "descriptions"; the stereotypes, discrimination, and the dichotomy of splitting cultural hairs. And if one more person says we look like brother and sister... knowing we are NOT... (why say that? why.)

I love that we both have strong interests in different yet congruent things.
What this boils down to is that we can talk, and relate to each other, in an expansive way instead of an implosive way. We can each add new levels of knowledge and points of reference to the things that make us tick. Thus new projects are born, new tangents are followed, and changes are constantly being made. We go lots of places and do many things instead of always doing one thing. We live big and keep talking and growing.

To be continued...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Through the Thick and the Thin

I think we all wait for that horrible day when we'll have to admit that our metabolism has indeed slowed down. For women, hormonal changes associated with fertility can wreak additional havoc on what we knew to be true in our early 20s. Comfortable jeans stray from the Jrs department, bras don't seem to fit the same. As 30 approaches and passes, so can that number on the scale we thought we'd never see before age 40.
OK- I'll stop speaking for "women" and admit that this has happened to me.

In my case, however, it's not a bad thing, yet.

I was always very thin, to the point where I was insecure about it. At almost 5'9" and 135lbs, I heard far too many insensitive, and shortsighted, comments from men offering to "thicken me up" or "put some meat on my bones". It was as if my thin frame was indicative of a decision not to eat enough, or a decision to subscribe to the thinner "waif" ideal seen in the general media, but not so much idealized in the thick of American black culture. I had no such agenda. I was just naturally thin, despite my occasional peer-pressed efforts to gain weight. Not even thin really. I was well within the healthy and average weight range, and BMI, of someone my height and age. I also had (have!) a figure to go with it, something like 34-26-36.
So yup- as I got older and wiser the comments stopped bothering me so much. I'm sure my confidence in my figure also increased with the advent of the Facebook rage. I got to see all those coveted "thick" girls blossom into bigger women in the otherwise invisible decade after high school and undergrad. Then in the past year, I noticed that I too have not only hit my unattainable weight gain goal from my 20s, but I have surpassed it by 5 more lbs... and holding...at 148.

So what happened in the past few years besides recently hitting 30? I have not had any pregnancies or gone on any hormones. But I did meet, and begin living with FairSir. According to varied research, not only married, but even cohabitating women tend to gain weight. So alas, yet another reason for weight gain.

FairSir has also gained his "new relationship 15," as many men also tend to gain weight when they enter relationships. Thus the good news is that we are "lucky" enough to be in this predicament together.  I'm not afraid that FairSir is concerned about just me becoming "fat" (yet!) And looking at my thin mother, and how long I've gone being thin, I think I'll be able to stay on top of any weight related health issues.  I have decided to make some changes to my diet already to check some of the hormonal fluctuations.  I'm on week 3 of a low/no sugar diet.  FairSir and I both were sugar fiends. Candies, cookies, fancy juice and soda... ahh- the good times. But what gives me great inner peace is that FairSir has gone low/no sugar with me. It's a testament to his dedication to our joint well-being and progression. It means a lot to me.

I'd always heard that working out or dieting with a friend can boost resolve and thus bring greater success. I fully understand that now, as this small adjustment towards health maintenance has not been easy. We already used to check on each other for meals we ate apart, asking "Did you eat lunch? What did you have?" As horrible as it is, we both are the type to forget to eat sometimes. Eating on the run, and practically anything (fast food, leftovers... chips...) for a so-called lunch. I feel really good about the level of support we continue to provide each other. I think this seeing eye to eye and going through this worrisome time together will be beneficial to our longevity.

I wonder though, about people who are on different pages. The black men who still appreciate that precariously thick frame and would have a woman like me forget about healthy eating for the sake of holding on to weight. The Black women who do so much to stay fit at any size, yet meet a man who does nothing at all for his health. And for that matter, the gym heads who hold their women to high standards, and work out alone for 2 hours every day. I know some women love their "teddy bear" men too. I just hope that the underlying health, of the thick and the thin, is not being ignored. Deteriorating health of either partner can tear a relationship apart. The irony is that the relationship itself can be the harbinger of thicker times.