Where I’m From…

As usual I let my laundry pile up, so now I’m doing laundry at a public laundromat to just be done with it all at once. Like commuting, when you go to the same place around the same time on a semi-regular basis, you start seeing familiar faces.  Faces that you at minimum will nod your head to in acknowledgement and/or greeting. So when I say male neighbor here, I only mean someone who lives in my neighborhood, but not in my building with whom the following conversation happened:

Male Neighbor (from a country in Africa): Where are you from?

Me: Born and raised American. My family has been American for several generations for obvious reasons.

MN: Yes, but do you know your family roots?

Me (because I knew where this was going): What does it matter?

MN: It matters.

Me: Really? Let’s say a family from Mozambique migrated to England in the late 1800s. However, the descendants of from that lineage never returned to Mozambique and because of assimilation or for whatever reason, didn’t kept up with their “roots”. Is the family living in the Britain here in this century Mozambican or English after so much time? So I know my family tree is from this particular people in this specific country and we separated in the year of our Lord whatever. I repeat: other than as a talking point of reference and a place to visit – what does it matter? I am American.

MN: A person should always know their roots.

Me: Okay? Which side?

MN: What do you mean which side?

Me: The black side or the white side? Until you, your lineage has never left the continent so it is all African. My lineage has been in this country at very least within a decade or two or more before the Emancipation Proclamation. And let’s be honest the quote-Black-unquote blood lines on this side of the ocean have been very muddled through our history here to put it lightly.

MN: Exactly, which is why you should research, you should know.

*There’s another fifteen or so minutes of semantics in which I mention how in a weird reverse “one-drop” determination, there are some countries in my presumed Motherland that won’t even claim most Black-Americans as African at all because our blood lines are no longer “pure” even if I did know exactly whom to call family, but  I will shorten it to the following:

Me: I would agree except there’s a point no one acknowledges.

MN: And what point is that?

Me: Which side? When I am asked do I know my “roots” it is always about my African roots and the query almost never comes from someone Black or African-American. Why do some Africans become so upset on what I do know or do not know, or just to piss you off, do not care to know of my quote homeland unquote? Do YOU know for a certainty that my homeland is in fact Africa and not of East Indian descent that then mixed once over here? It intrigues me that no one Caucasian has ever asked if I know my roots in reference to that end of the spectrum. Am I not equally entitled to know their side if they are also of my blood line? Is their land not also equally and potentially my “homeland”? I was born here. My parents and several generations before them were born here. Whether you like or approve it or not, and frankly I don’t care.  If one was born here or in one of our territories one was American – period. An immigrant was from whatever country – unless they chose to become a full citizen and once sworn in from that moment on they were American – period. I am American. My roots are American. Because until the Late 70s – early 80s there was none of this  Blank-hyphenated-American nonsense. And to swing this  all the way back around to how this conversation began: other than as a lovely talking point and a place for me to visit – what does it matter right here and now in this laundry that has you in such a huff? 

He left the laundry twenty minutes later.  I’m still waiting for an answer.

It is Day 12 of the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge . Stop in and see how others are slicing it up!

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Listen, We Don’t Do That

Fellow Slice of Lifer, and friend in real life, GirlGriot recent posted a slice that touched on how classical music once felt “forbidding” to her. I partially understood that sentiment from the perspective of my enjoyment of thrash metal music, something that many still that think I as a 56 year black is crazy for it.

Popular television and cartoon shows were my earliest experience of classical music. I imagine like most inner city Americans over the age of 45, we likely first heard classical music, jazz standards and big band from classic Disney (“Fantasia”), Warner Brothers (Bugs Bunny), and Max Fleischer (Betty Boop) cartoons. There is a reason that for many, many, many years most Americans knew a particular piece of music not as the finale of the William Tell Overture, but only as the theme to The Lone Ranger.

Other than television shows and cartoons as a black inner city girl, born in the early 60’s my exposure to music primarily came from very specific sources: my mother’s record player that only played black gospel music as she did not approve of secular music; my southern grandmother’s radio which only played country music, and the radio that mostly played what was popular at the time (classic and soft rock, and of course disco). Songs on the radio were only heard at friends and neighbors homes as it was not allowed in mine. Everyone regardless of color/ethnicity listened to the same stations for popular music because it was all we had. Sans those who eschewed most secular music of course, what would eventually be dubbed urban (aka Black), adult contemporary radio had become the thing. From the mid-1970s, when such radio stations came into existence until the late 2000s, whether as a political statement or as personal choice, if you were black you mostly listened to 107.5 WBLS (contemporary and traditional R&B), and the now defunct 101.9 WQCD (contemporary jazz) and WKRS (dance, hip-hop and rap) stations.  

Yes, they exposed Black-Americans to more or our own music and to artists who may have been marginalized and not broken through the glass ceilings of other (aka white) radio stations, but at the same time it bred a subculture that made it all but verboten to listen to, let alone enjoy, anything else. I distinctly remember standing in queue at a department during the holiday store happily singing along to Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust” on the PA system when I was asked why I was singing that and told I should not be supporting their music because “Listen, we don’t do that”.

Excuse me? Yeah, that conversation did not go down well for him at all, and thus the point I wanted to make.  

GirlGriot had once felt listening to classical music forbidding. Her story is her own and I will let her tell it. In my case, classical music, world music, and the early emergence of metal were not things I listened to because I was not exposed to them. Though artists who had massive crossover appeal like U2, Eurythmics, Blondie, The Police, Culture Club and Wham! were notable exceptions. While radio stations such as WCBS (music from twenty years ago), WKTU (dance), and WLTW (soft rock and adult contemporary) that crossed genres and remained popular enough, in my then insular world where everyone mostly listened to Anita Baker, Public Enemy, and Michael Jackson on the radio I did not have regular exposure to Bach, Mozart and Rossini. Why? Though the words were rarely so blatantly spoken, other than the guy at the department store, it was implicit we don’t do that.

Then the advent of personal music players and MTV happened.

 A co-worker was listening to this relatively new band on his Sony Discman. He was clearly enjoying the music, I asked for a listen. I was told I wouldn’t like, but I insisted. This most definitely would never be played on anything “urban.” I had never heard anything like it, yet I it felt lyrically and musically on a visceral level. I replayed the song and then listened to the remainder of the CD and was shooketh as the kids say now. I bought a copy for myself that same day.

I had just been introduced to four guys whose names were James, Kirk, Kurt and Lars. The song was “Master of Puppets”, the band was Metallica, and I have been a devotee of them ever since.

Still, for a while I felt I had to hide this new love, because we don’t do that. Then I remembered just how pissed I was at the department store guy who deigned to tell me what I should be listening to and stopped hiding it.

MTV introduced me to thrash metal, death metal and grunge by god I loved it. Come 2000, in the middle of the night MTV introduced me to a then little-known group called Linkin Park and I was shooketh once again. By then WWE was popular and my sons were as much into it as I because many of the popular wrestlers of the time made their entrances to the ring with rock and metal music. Because I listened to it and their heroes at the time listened to it, it never occurred to them that they couldn’t. Their generation was not coming up with the subculture of we do don’t do that musically. Their musical choices were as diverse theirs and theirs alone because of that exposure and I for was grateful.

My late-husband came home one afternoon while our sons and I were head banging in different rooms as we were spring cleaning. Every window was open, and Metallica’s “S&M (Symphony & Metallica)” CDs were on blast. We lived in a mostly Caribbean and Latinx neighborhood, he was shaking his head and laughing that he heard the music half a block away and knew it was our house before he pulled up to the curb. He walked up to me and yelled “You’re Black!” Because the cosmos indeed has a delicious sense of humor, his timing was perfect with the song that was playing, and I paraphrased the incoming chorus as I shrugged and sang “Where I play my songs is home!” and continued cleaning to Wherever I May Roam.  Unlike the guy in the department store oh so many years ago I knew he was partially teasing because while he liked some rock, he was never a heavy/thrash metal music fan at all but was is his choice that he did not do that, not my sons and certainly not mine.

I was in my forties when I went to my first opera and my reawakening to pieces I didn’t realize I already knew thanks to cartoons. I made me search for more and yet a new musical interest in classical was sprung. It is not my strong suit as metal and R&B. Still, I enjoy it.

Though my first musical love remains Rock and Heavy Metal, they have happily shared space on my iPod with Country, Soul, Video Game Soundtracks, Jazz, Rap, Trance, Classic Rock, 80’s Hair Bands, 70’s horns, Blues, Pop, Movie Scores, Broadway Show tunes, TV Themes and so much more.

And all I had to do was be willing to listen beyond the forbidding listen we don’t do that.

It is Day 5 of the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge for 2020. Stop in and see how others are slicing it up today!

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Erin Go Montserrat!

Today is St. Patrick’s. Yes, it is celebrated here in the New York City with parades, the wearing of the colors of Ireland, consuming traditional Irish food and let’s be honest drinking -seriously a lot of drinking.  While it is a very festive occasion in several Major cities here in the U.S., it is not a national holiday here where schools, banks and government offices close. While many places celebrate it, what a lot of people don’t know is that Montserrat is the only other place outside of Ireland where the date is officially marked as a national holiday.

Montserrat, “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” Irish connections have long been a source of interest for local residents and tourists alike, and over the past two decades have made concerted efforts to bolster its Irish legacy and build upon perceived connections between present-day Montserrat and historic Irish communities. Its most prominent example of these being St. Patrick’s Day, that simultaneously commemorates the island’s Irish heritage and an uprising by Afro-Caribbean slaves and members of the island’s free black community on the same day in 1768.


t-shirt celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Montserrat slave uprising on St. Patrick's Day 1768.

An officially designated national holiday, it has become a week-long festival that includes a parade in national dress, dinners, dancing, pub crawls and public talks.

Part of a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Montserrat

Part of a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Montserrat.

So to my best friend who is from The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Erin Go Braugh!


Today is Day 17 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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May you always have…

…the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
…the foresight to know where you are going and
…the insight to know when you have gone too far.

Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve pushed the wrong button
and sometime they know exactly.


Today is Day 16 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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Say What Now?

Rant Time:

I’m beyond sick and tired of reactionary memes and posts meant to shame how some people use their social media.

For example, seeing posts criticizing others for being upset over a celebrity’s death when there are wars going on and humanitarian crises all over the place that they should take precedence. Or a meme citing how one is annoyed with people talking about the Housewives of Wherever controversy as if in discussing what happened it somehow means they aren’t paying attention to the world around them and other far more important things going on.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll.

To hell with social media policing those only want to post about their family, their pets, their insignificant and significant others. Let them post cute puppies and cats and pandas and zombies and… Let them share their joys in peace. This mindset that one’s head is in the clouds if they aren’t posting relentlessly about every awful blessed thing going on in the world. That doesn’t mean they’re ignoring anything;  we do not know what exists in their lives beyond their FB page. Perhaps some only want to use their social media for more lighthearted fare because they are in fact having those heavy-as-shit conversations elsewhere, with loved ones, or through messenger, or out in the real world. Let them have their joys.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll on.

To hell with policing those who choose to post their their hurt, their rage. Maybe it’s self care; maybe they struggle with anxiety, and curating their social media to mitigate their rage is in fact a survival mechanism. A survival mechanism which keeps them from being the example for or against gun control that’s next trending the news feed.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll. The. Hell. On.

My Facebook, WP blog , Instagram and Twitter pages all represent one thing and one thing only: the views of  the owner of those pages – me.

So here’s a News flash: Those pages are not a democracy.

Sometimes friends/people post things that leave me scratching my head. If I don’t understand or don’t agree, I don’t spew on their page – ever. I may private message someone if I think I am the one misunderstanding something and meaningful dialog can come from it – otherwise I scroll, scroll on.

(Giving away my vintage here: I just sang those last three words in tune to The Floaters – “Float On“, but I digress…)

Seriously, Quid Pro scroll, bro.

Raivenne posts are a monarchy and I am its Empress. 

If my posts impress, excellent, but I know sometimes they will depress. I know sometimes they will inflame. When that happens – and it will – if you don’t like it, then please scroll away, scroll away, scroll away.

(Anyone Enya guess what song went through my head just then? But I digress – again…)

I will be just fine – trust me.

Don’t like…

  • when I deleted your comment on my post because I thought it was cruelly offensive?
  • if I choose to ignore your inflammatory Xsplainin’ comment on my X-subject post because I refuse to be drawn into yet another useless argument?
  • that I’m still upset over Chester Bennington’s suicide?
  • my sarcastic answer to those stupid FB question?

It’s my page, my posts. Think about it – that Send/Post/Publish button was not pressed by accident.

The land of Raivenne is a dictatorship and I am its ruling dick. 

(Yes, I made a dick joke – a dumb one at that. Don’t let the fact that I have a vagina, lead to the falsehood that my balls aren’t bigger.)

Don’t like it? Well, you know what to do….


Today is Day 14 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge. 
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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One Monkey Part Deux


The following is the post I wanted to submit for Day 4, but it was well after 11pm when I started typing. I knew and knew it would not be done by midnight – so here we are..


My sons and I enter a diner on the Upper West Side after seeing “Logan”. Usually having a both available it was surprisingly crowded so relented to being seated at a table in a tight corner adjacent to a table with a solo diner. As I squeezed into the corner, the back of  my coat brushed against a coat laying across the back of a chair at that table. The owner of said coat, an older caucasian male apparently not liking that my down coat made contact with his , shoved the chair in a way that caused the chair to strike me in my left cheek. 

I was in a good mood, I was with my boys and some people are just assholes. I said a pointed “Excuse me!” at his rudeness and started removing my coat. I  heard him speaking to the busboy, but was not really paying heed until I saw the busboy bring him a damp paper towel to which he proceeded to wipe down his coat.

Wait, what…? 

My eldest was standing next to me with his back to the man and did not see it, but by the way my youngest’s entire demeanor changed as we sat down, I could tell he had and that I was not imagining things.  It’s not as though the coat somehow slipped to the floor when I passed and was now dirty, the man was wiping it down because my down coat covered ass accidentally brushed up against his down coat.

I glared at the man about to say “You know even if I touched it directly, my Black won’t rub off on it, right?” when several thoughts rapidly crossed my mind…

.0001 seconds: Fucker, I should take your coat and drop it on the floor. Then it will need the wiping. 
.001 seconds: We’re on the only people of color in this place who aren’t workers here. Let’s not get ethnic and become dinner gossip fodder.
.01 seconds: I don’t have bail money.

Determined not to live up to the stereotype, instead I turned my face to the window the fingers of my right striking the table with a rapid steady staccato that put both sons on notice, my youngest grabbed my other hand to keep me, or perhaps himself, from getting up.  It became a bigger issue when the man spoke to the busboy and got up from the table to stand-off to the side. The diner’s greeter/host came to inquire and while the man’s voice was too low for me to hear, he waved his hand between our table and his with obvious disdain. Whatever the man said to him, the host clearly was not getting it.

“He can’t sit at that table anymore because we’re sitting at this one.” I spoke up indicating both tables. At the host’s continued lack of comprehension I expanded further “He was fine until you sat us here, now he has a problem and cannot sit there.” I can see understanding cross the latino busboy’s face as he looked from the man to us,then locked eyes with me and gave a sad little knowing smile “You get it don’t you?” He nodded once before clearing away an adjacent table.

The man stood there for quite a while, glaring at us, before going to stand in another section of the restaurant. I suspect he was hoping either he or we would be reseated elsewhere. The place was packed with people waiting by the door for a table – it wasn’t going to happen. The host, finally getting the gist of the situation, came over to us. I distinctly heard him call the man “scum” under his breath before asking if we were ready to order. All in all, glaring beside, it’s as though the man somehow knew not to say anything to us directly. I could all but guarantee you that had he said anything to us we did not like, all bets were off. Alas, God protects fools and children, and he was not a child.

Normally, after a movie, I’m famished and looking forward to a good nosh.  Not surprising the three of us suddenly had little appetite. We had not even picked up the menus to peruse the options. Yet, the three of us knew –  to get up and leave means he wins, and we were not having that. We eventually each ordered something. Still, something of a pall -perhaps because we were appalled?-  loomed over the remainder of dinner that we could not fully ease even with his eventual departure.

In the interim,  my thoughts and our conversation filtered through how our reactions may have been different were we three train stations north in Harlem, versus the posh Upper West Side. Would we have been more boisterous in expressing our anger if we were, say, in a McDonald’s as opposed to a nice diner? Would I have policed myself had it be I alone confronted with him? For that is what is was, self-policing. Or perhaps by silencing the stream of viciousness going through my head in that moment clamouring to get out God was protecting the three of us.  Either way it sticks in my craw a little even now hours later.

To top it all off, in the Insult to Injury Files – upon receiving the check, the host, this same one who called the man “scum” earlier came to our table to explain to us that the man was actually a germophobe and that was excuse for behaving the way he did.  And with a page right out of Get Smart the host had the nerve to end it with “And would you believe he’s a doctor?” He must have seen the triple sets of deep eyerolls calling him out on the bullshit of his, well, bullshit as he apologized and walked away. Even the busboy, who again happened to be near our table and heard it, just kind of looked at his boss as if to say oh please! 

Last month there was a mini documentary of sorts circling the web where African-American celebrities told of The First Time I Realized I Was Black. Ging through the various stories, it was poignant, it raised some ire, some sadness and memories. Were I asked, I may not recall the very first time, but thanks to this one man, I can tell you the most recent.

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 5

Same Coin

There is something of a bitter taste for what happened at the Oscars this past Sunday. And no, I am not talking about the Warren Beatty – Faye Dunaway – “LaLa Land” – “Moonlight” craziness. “Moonlight” won, some poor twit’s head will roll because of  Twitter, and in the end a worthy movie most worthy of it won the top honor.

Moving on…

Hollywood loves an underdog and that is why the academy was all too keen to bestow Casey Affleck with the Oscar for Best Actor for his widely lauded role in “Manchester By The Sea”. He’s practically a living breathing Hollywood trope: constantly overshadowed by his megastar big brother Ben Affleck, he has spent years teetering on the precipice of movie stardom, clawing to make a name for himself. And then there’s the controversy.

Years ago Affleck was accused of harassing two women on the set of the mockumentary “I’m Still Here”. Both claimed they were subject to inappropriate sexual comments and unwelcome advances saying Affleck recounted his sexual exploits, attempted to psychologically and physically coerce one into staying in a hotel room with him overnight, and ordered a crew member to show her his genitals. At the time, Affleck denied the allegations and countersued. He later settled the case out of court to the apparent satisfaction of all involved parties. But as this year’s Oscar race heated up with praise for Affleck’s performance in “Manchester by the Sea”, though already known, his unsavory past was brought to light again. Clearly bringing up Affleck’s past at this point was a clear attempt to link his alleged off-screen transgressions with his awards fate. But the rehashing occurred after the movie was released and the buzz had a chance to build be heard nationally. And Casey Affleck can ow add Oscar Winner to his resume.

Years ago Woody Allen might have molested a child, and has a tenuous at best hold in public opinion. Yet, even with that cloud over his head he continues making movies with high-powered stars and winning Oscars.

Years ago Roman Polanski was arrested and charged in Los Angeles with five sexual offenses against a 13-year-old girl and other charges upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later accepted a plea bargain in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse. And though he avoids stepping foot in any country that extradites to the United States, yet manages to win an Oscar.

And then there is Nate Parker…

Years ago actor/director Nate Parker and his then-roommate were accused of raping a classmate. According to court documents, after a night of drinking at a party, Parker, his roommate and the victim had sex in Parker’s room. The victim, who said she couldn’t remember anything from that night, insisted the sex wasn’t consensual, while Parker and roommate claimed that it was. Long story-short, Parker was eventually acquitted of the charges.

And for heaven’s sake I am not, repeat am NOT, repeat AM NOT excusing anything any of these men have allegedly done. This is not about what they may or may not have done, but how Hollywood reacts to such.

Nate Parker, though not a household name, has had steady career acting in other movies. It was not as if Parker’s past was not known, it was, but he wasn’t a big enough yet to bother him with it. But Nate didn’t know his row, he didn’t stay in his place. Worse he dared to taunt Hollywood by taking one of the most controversial movie within its archive “Birth of a Nation” and not only retell it, but did an undeniably magnificent job of it to boot! There had not been this much talk about a racially charged movie in since Spike Lee helmed “X”. It seems this could not stand.

With Polanski, Allen and now Affleck the talk of their pasts emerged after their movies were released to the public and given a chance to be seen by many. Not so for Parker whose past resurfaced right before the potentially Oscar-worthy movie was set to be released nationwide. All talk became about his past, not his movie. Effectively knocking him and his movie out of any chance of Oscar contention. Please remember Nate Parker was acquitted. Acquitted. In a court of law, but not in public opinion. And only when his star was set to rise high did he get the smack down.

For there is nothing Hollywood likes more than a breakthrough underdog. In fact, Hollywood adores an underdog and controversy. Hollywood courts controversy like a courtesan. Unless that underdog, that courtesan, is a black man, with a controversial movie and is a potential Oscar contender. Ask Roman Polanski. Ask Woody Allen. Ask Casey Affleck. Ask Nate Parker.

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 9
A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

Hair We Go

Deepica Mutyala a noted stylist on NBC’s “Today” show had a segment on August 3rd, where she styled different women’s hair into simple “One Minute Summer Hair” looks mostly meant to be done after a swim or on humid days when your original style isn’t going to make it through the day.  Only when it came the African-American model Malyia’s hair – she failed – completely.

Facebook user Joeline Payton posted a video of the segment with the caption “I need answers” and it has understandably gone viral.   I want to be fair and say I’m sure her intentions were good. And I was note overly impressed with the rope-braid style given the Asian woman either, but when it came to Malyia’s hair – what the fuck was she thinking?

Maliya actually had a cute curly style to start with, only to have it horrifically mangled, live on national television nonetheless. into something that looked like the early morning hangover aftermath bedhead of a rough night. There are discarded dolls in an attic or basements with hair that looked better. Hell, Halley Berry’s crack addict hair in “Jungle Fever” was better coiffed than that.

First Deepeica tried to pull the curls into a side ponytail high on the head. No grown woman has worn her hair like that since the 90’s and no woman with natural hair like the model Maliya’s at all.  The amount of rough tugging, brushing and pulling, it would take to get natural to look like that would cause so much damage, we simply wouldn’t do it. It was painfully clear that Mutyala does not know how to work with black natural textured hair when she pulled apart the curls to fluff out bangs and just gave up in the middle of it. To be blunt Deepica Mutyala fucked that model’s hair up and tried to pass that shit off as a style. It was brutal to watch the model sit there with a pasted on smile through Mutyala manipulations. Granted, she’s a model and her job is to sit there, smile and look gorgeous no matter what, because a girl has to get paid (/Jaqen H’ghar voice <– a Game of Thrones reference for those who didn’t get it). Still, she had to know how messed-up her hair looked in the “after”. I understand Maliya defended Mutyala afterward, but when that segment was over and she looked in a mirror, saw the hot ass mess made of her hair, she grabbed the first thing smoking back to the Bronx, Brooklyn or Harlem to get her hair done right!

I mean just because you know how to fry chicken does not mean you know how to make duck a l’orange. If Deepica Mutyala had any respect for her craft she would not have touched Maliya’s hair. A simple “You know what? Your style is perfect as it. I really don’t need to do anything here.” would have sufficed. Granted, we’d all still know Mutyala knows nothing of natural black hair, but she at least would still have our respect for having the sense not to go into a kitchen in which she does not know how to cook. If Mutyala can’t work with ALL hair types, she does not deserve to be called an “expert”. She should not be on TV promoting her expertise in such for her embarrassing demonstration was a far, far cry from such.

I Ain’t ‘Fraid of No Stereotype – I’m Pissed

So the official trailer for the remake of Ghostbusters has hit the internet.

And I am pissed-off.

I fully understand this is a reboot of the original Ghostbusters and the new characters somewhat mirror their male counterparts from 1984, but in the original, when Ernie Hudson’s character Winston joins the group he comes in -more or less- as an equal partner to the three scientists. So what happened to Leslie Jones’ character Patty in this remake? As depicted in this trailer, I don’t see it. It’s looks more like they, the three white scientists, are the brains and she is the loud mouth brawn.

It is 2016 and the trope of the smart white guys and their “street-wise” black partner is just plain OLD. Gender swapping does not make it less noticeable. The –you three got all your degrees, but I got a Cadillac, I know NYC and I will slap the ghost out of you! – scenes of Patty, as shown in the trailer, play so heavily on the Loud/Streetwise Black Woman stereotypes that it is a neck roll and three finger snap in a Z formation away from looking racist.

It is bad enough that women of color are under represented in movies as is. When we do appear it is often as some stereotype. And after so many years of movie going it is so frustrating to see again and again and yet again. Would it really have been so far out of the movie going mindset that Leslie Jones portray one of the scientists and let’s say Kate McKinnon portray the streetwise one?

Maybe Patty will come off more as an equal in the overall arc of the movie, I really hope so, because the trailer clearly missed the mark in portraying such.

At least this iteration of Ghostbusters will pass the Bechdel Test.


Let’s see how other are slicing it up this Saturday…


Slice of Life Story Challenge – Day 5 | Two Writing Teachers

One Monkey

I blinked at what I heard, for surely I was mistaken. That could not be what she just said to me.

I often find myself one of the few, if not the only, person of color of some of the events I attend. My tastes tend to cross over the presumed lines so often that it is to the point that I am relatively blind to finding myself in such situations anymore.

Every now and then, however, someone reminds me.

I made a slow, but definite pantomime of looking over my left shoulder, and then over my right one checking for the person I was very much aware did not exist behind me. I caught the eye of the friend who invited me. She saw my arched brow and bit her lip before quickly finding a spot on the table to give her undivided attention.  Not that I could blame her, I know she was mortified at what just happened and part grateful she was not going to be on the receiving end and what was about to happen. Thus, I was forced to turn my attention back to the woman awaiting my response. For the sake nicety I’ll refer to her as Ms. Thing.

“To whom are you speaking?” I asked with considerably more politeness than felt.

“Why you…” She responded as though that were obvious, which technically it was, but that wasn’t the point. “I want…”

“Oh, I know what you want.” I interrupted, leaning back in my seat, crossing my arms across my chest. The near textbook example of standoffish while seated. I would have crossed my legs at the knee to complete the look, but my thick thighs gave up that ghost a long time ago. “I take umbrage with the manner in which that want was expressed.”

“All I did was ask…”

“You did not ask anything.” I raised my hand stopping her.  “I was not asked if I could. I was not asked if I wanted to. I was not given the courtesy of being addressed by a name. You did not even bother to await my response, so assured were you that I would obediently leap to your call for a minstrel that you went right back to your conversation, only looking to face me again in the ensuing silence of my disobedience. At which point, you turned in your seat, clapped your hands a couple of times in my direction as though cajoling the presence of a favored pet. Then you pointed a lovely manicured talon at me and said, and I quote “You! I hear you’re a poet. Come recite something for us.”  as though I am some fez donning, vested simian, to come clanging cymbals upon your beckoning!”  I sat up in my seat, emulating her actions as I spoke.

Perhaps I should  take a moment to say that once I write a poem, I tend to forget it.   Unless I am writing for a specific prompt or challenge, I am expunging whatever emotion that warrants it through my words and I am done with it. Considering some of the things I do write about, it likely is a very good thing I do not keep such thoughts/emotions constantly with me. It would not be good. Still, I do have a couple of poems memorized for such occasions when I’m feeling gregarious, want to show off or at my own pleasure when asked nicely.

This situation did not fall into any of those categories.

I ended my little Julia Sugarbaker moment with “Granted, I am not Maya Angelou, I have not earned her level of veneration – yet, but I most certainly am not your personal jester to entertain the court on command to be granted no respect at all.”

“Oh come now, talk about over-exaggeration! Do you see this?” Ms. Thing turns to the other women at her table, looking for confirmation. “A person cannot say the most simple thing to you people these days without…” One of the women sitting at her table called her name sharply in clear reprimand, but Ms. Thing did not get it.


No one spoke for a solid minute, apparently not knowing how to, let alone if they should, address the new elephant in the room. Interpreting the room full of silence as deafening consent of her behavior, I had heard and had enough. I glanced at my friend. who thankfully had read my mind, nodding once as she took her purse in hand.

I picked up mine, walked over to Miss Thing and stood in front of her where she had no choice but to look up at me.

“I am guessing the only time a person of color has stepped foot in here is as the entertainment or the help, so my presence here as invited guest likely had you confused. Now that you personally have engaged your first negro guest and have gotten over the shock, you’ll have a clue on how to treat the next one better. Regardless, if your friends and companions here, whether they agree with you or not, do not have the fortitude to say what is needed to you, then I will. Much like your ignorance – your privilege is showing. Please. Shut. Up.”

The woman who called out Ms. Thing’s name started to speak the expected apologies that etiquette, if not sincerity, required. It was much too little, much too late. I knew I wore the look and used the full force of it on her silencing  whatever further inanities were about to drop.

“My mother taught me never to be where I am not wanted, yet if we all heeded that advice we would not have Barack Hussein Obama as the President of the United States. However, my grandmother taught me to pick my battles. Going for the presidency is a worthy battle, being in the company of you is not. ”

With that I left.  Because really some days it’s just not worth it.


Let’s see how others are slicing it up on this third day

Slice of Life March Writing Challenge Day 3 – Two Writing Teachers