, is back again with their fashion-backwards take on hoop earrings or as they call them: Slave earrings:"Jewellery has always flirted with circular shapes, especially for use in making earrings. The most classic models are the slave and creole styles in gold hoops. If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on.
"Anna Bassi, Vogue Gioiello n. 109, March 2010
I swear, this magazine is a never ending facepalm. If you thought that Vogue Italia couldn't get any worse, I got breaking news for you. No seriously. I got a scoop from a friend of a friend, who happens to know the cousin-brother-sister-uncle of the guy, who mops the floors late night at the magazine's main office. Yes he is Black. And no he is not a slave. But while rummaging through the desk...er...I mean, emptying the trashcans around the desk of Giovanna Battaglia, fashion editor for Vogue Italia, he happened to come across a company memo, which lays out in detail other trends in fashion, which Vogue will be featuring in upcoming issues.
So in the interest of keeping you abreast in all that is white entitlement-chic, I present to you Vogue Italia's top five fashion swank, as told to me by the cousin-brother-sister-uncle of the guy, who mops the floors late night at the magazine's main office:
Last Thursday, I had been alerted to the likeliness that I, quite possibly, have an attitude problem.
What? A black women with an attitude? How original.
Well, the person telling me this was another black woman. And adding insult to injury, the black woman was actually my boss, who decided to drop this bit of "constructive criticism" on me after a meeting. Then she offered to help me solve this "problem." Eye roll. I'm not the one with the problem.
I didn't appreciate that at all for two reasons: First, how she came to this conclusion and secondly, where she got the information from. I'm not going to go into too much detail because saying too much might get me trouble. And times are too tough to be fired over bullshit. But I will say that I work my ass off at my job. Not only do I put in long and very strange hours but also a lot of mental and spiritual energy I exert to find new ways to get people to work together for the good of their community - even when it feels that they fight me along with way. If anyone has ever dealt with the public, such as I have to daily, you understand that it takes a lot to keep from going off on someone. And despite her estimation of my supposed inability to control my temper, I think I do a pretty good job of managing what can often be a stressful situation.
Anyway, I was pretty bummed about that discussion and I had contemplated going into work the next day and showing them what a bad attitude is really about. But what would that accomplish other than playing right into misconceptions about who I am. I also thought about quitting but again, it would be like conceding to her belief that I can't control my emotions. But by late Saturday evening I began to cool off a bit, especially after I burnt off the negative energy doing housework. And I after some reflection, I began to appreciate her words and thoughts of me. Not because I thought that she was right but rather how the conversation just reaffirmed and put to rest anxieties and insecurities I had about myself for years.
She is not the first person to suggest ways in which I could alter myself in some shape, form or fashion to meet their liking. There have been times when folks have labeled me too fat, to which I went to great trouble to lose a bunch of weight including starving myself. I was thin but I had dark circles around my eyes and my hair was also falling out in clumps. Then there was the time when I was told that I acted too smart, so I spent a year playing stupid and clueless - often to my own detriment. Some of the other labels I have endured over the years includes: too ghetto, too bougie, too quiet, too loud, too, too, too....At each point, these labels threaten to tear and ripe at the fiber of my being. And at each time, the consequences of those forced alterations did a number on my mental health and well-being. And that is just something that I can no longer risk.
I'm not against reexamining yourself and fine-tuning things in your life which you feel are wrong. But what I am oppose to is changing and rearranging yourself to fit the needs, purpose and/or agenda of people, who really don't give a rat-ass about the real you. I spent all weekend listening to my own self talk and my self told me that there is nothing wrong with me. My self told me to take ownership every part of myself including my flaws and my imperfections. Those flaws, imperfections and mistakes are a part of the reason why you had been able to bounce back and stand tall in the face of adversity. And you know what? I decided to heed the words of myself over everyone else opinion. And I for the first time in a while I felt both empowered and comfortable in my own skin.
So today, I came back to work and picked up right where I left off. No changes, no alterations, just content on doing what I've known has worked for me in the past and will continue to work for me in the future. In the words of Marilyn Monroe (or at least that is how it has been attributed online): "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." Yeah I may have an attitude sometimes but I also have a huge heart. And those two combine are my Yin and Yang, which gets me out the bed every morning and keeps me working late for the good of the organization and the community.
Don't get me wrong, I like my job and I like the people I work with. But I like myself more. And if I have to choose between the two: I choose me.
Old-school meat grinder
So, today I decided to make a Shepherd's Pie. Why? Well, because I was watching Kitchen Nightmares and saw Gordon Ramsey make one from scratch, so I said, "what the heck. Why not?"Anyway, the recipe I found online called for ground lamb, which sounds delicious but I don't know the first place to go to get ground lamb. It's not like the supermarkets around here carry it. Believe me I checked several. While they had plenty of ground pork, beef and turkey; nada to ground lamb. And I guess I could have substituted but both Ramsey and the online recipe I'm using said ground lamb. And who don't want to cook like Gordon Ramsey?
Well, while I was in the supermarket, mulling over my options in the meat section, I remembered that I had a meat grinder. No seriously, I do. A very old - or as my hipster friends like to call vintage - steel grinder that you have to crank with your hands. It was something I found in my house years ago. I think it belongs to one of my great-aunts or perhaps an Amish person or something. Anyway, I decided that if I couldn't buy ground lamb, I would do the very best, next thing and grind it myself. Sounds like a good idea, right? Actually no.
Maayynnnee, grinding meat is no joke. Seriously my right bicep is on fire right now. I was cranking and sweating so much that I had to stop, go upstairs and change into some workout clothes. Of course, I didn't [think to] use lean meat so the fat kept getting caught in the wheel and I had to stop every few seconds to cut it out. It was certainly a relationship with animal meat I wished not to ever partake in again. But that wasn't the worst part: so I was cranking away, trying to push the meat through the little holes when a big piece got stuck in the wheel. Normal people would have probably tried to fish it out before proceeding on. But then again, normal people wouldn't try to grind their own meat neither. So anyway, instead of doing what normal folks would do, I decided to use all my strength - or whatever I had left - to crank the wheel around. I lean into the wheel, grunting, pushing and sweating. Then it happened. The piece of meat popped and a some lamb juice squirted out of the feeder part and right into my eyeball. I'm pretty sure I got E coli of the eye now.
Now I'm sitting here, applying and reapplying Visine, trying to do my best not to turn into a zombie monster. Not to mention that I totally broke two nails, which I am totally pissed about. And I'm tired, which means that the Shepherd's Pie will have to wait for another day. I think I will just eat a sandwich tonight - or brains.
Oh yeah, fuck you Gordon Ramsey.
Not only does he manage to salvage one of the hottest Kanye beats of all time (while also preserving Otis Redding's legacy), but the "I invented crack" line has to be one of the illest ledes in modern hip-hop music history:
More proof that Rolling Stone Magazine
, who recently christened Eminem as the King of Hip Hop, doesn't know a thing about Hip-Hop.
Hugh Macleod, author of Gapingvoid, wrote this: Earlier today I told everybody on Twitter and Facebook, that I’m leaving Twitter and Facebook. Why? Because Facebook and Twitter are too easy. Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that’s much harder. And it’s the hard stuff that pays off in the end. Besides, even if they’re very good at hiding the fact, over on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not your content, it’s their content. The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important. And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly.
Ironically, I got this piece from Yvette Carnell, fellow blogger/writer of BreakingBrown
, who posted this on her Facebook page. There has been a thoughtful conversation about this all day on Facebook, which to me is part of the problem. But nevertheless, I added my two sense: I've been thinking about this alot - ALOT!!!! Everything we write on FB/Twitter becomes their property.And they are getting rich off your rants, post and pics. Fuck that!!! I think I give away too much content and entertainment (thus making them money) when I need to be using my talents on my own space. Yes, this is the push needed.And after careful consideration, not only does MacCleod have a point but I think I'm going to take him up on his challenge - if only for one week.
And it is not about disliking Facebook and Twitter or any other social networking site for that matter. Hell, I love them. Social networking has proven that every thought is indeed blog worthy. I love posting about my weekend and work adventures, the films I saw, and what funny or unusual thing my dog Coltrane did today. And I love posting links about political and social topics, sharing my thoughts on them and hearing what other folks have to say. Facebook and Twitter are great for that. But they are a little too great and a little too convenient. And just like the MacCleod, social networking has made me lazy and neglectful to the perfectly good space I have created for myself here at People, Places & Things.
Not to "toot-toot, ah beep-beep" my own horn but I'm a pretty good social networker. Particularly on Facebook, where I can find an article, post it along with something witty in the share box and generate dozens of comments in the matter of a day (somethings a few hours). Basically I feel that I made available so much content on their platforms that I have ultimately robbed PP&T both in intellectual property as well as in page views, clicks and comments. Meanwhile these social networking sites are making a lot of money, mostly via advertising
, based upon the off of what I, along with others, say and post on their platform. I'm not hating (truly I am not) as for many of writers and other artists, these sites have been viewed as great promotional venues for their work. Yet, this model, I believe, has also contributed to why so many online news generator sites, who have embraced the social networking interface, are able to get away with not paying writers. After all, they are giving writers and other artist exposure and free promotion too.
But it's not all about money or page clicks. It's about the limitations that we place on ourselves as writers, and other artists, in this sphere. Like having to limit your thoughts to 420 characters (Facebook). Like having your thoughts, words and posts filtered so that you are not offending any of the more than a billion people in your circle, who might stumble across your post. Like,
writing about things that we feel will be most responsive to those in our social networking circles, as oppose to writing about what you feel is most important to you. A lot times bloggers will post their content via Facebook and Twitter first prior to posting it on their own blogs. It's a way sometimes to test interest in a certain topic before spending time writing an entire post about something that we feel nobody doesn't read. However, this has ultimately limited us. Mainly because we rely on the core group of followers, who probably were amassed based upon one particular common interest to dictate what thoughts should be. And that, in my opinion, limits writers and makes their work more dogmatic than thoughtful. Writing should be about more than marketing oneself to the affability of the masses, it should be about challenging yourself and others. And even if you can generate a nice buzz for a topic through a social networking site, by the time you have written it for your own site, the conversation is pretty much dead and you are unlikely to have page clicks, views and even comments.So does this mean that I'm turning my back on Facebook and Twitter all together? No not exactly. Unlike MacCleod, who is doing a total boycott of social networking sites, I believe the reality is that the success and user-friendly interfaces of many social networking sites, including one-click posting, make it virtually impossible to
ignore. But there has to be a balance here. Perhaps, just by sharing my content first on my own platform, linking it to one (or more) of the social networking sites but refusing (or turning off) the comment section will force some folks, who are interested in engaging me on a topic to do so on my own site. So in short, if you see me posting a bunch of random shit (more random than anything else I have on my blog) this week, it is because I am having Facebook withdrawals. And I don't know how successful I'll be building a mini-community around PP&T but it is worth a try.
Not exactly apes but seriously, we need to keep an eye on this muther-suckers:
I know I'm a day late and a few dollars short of this review, especially since I'd seen it the second day of its national opening. However, I still wanted to share my thoughts with you guys because I feel there are some very poignant things about that the film, which need to be shared. If not for your benefit but mines:
It has been almost a year since I last spoken to my best friend.
It was September 12 – I remember the exact day because it was two days after my birthday, which my best friend of almost 20 years, forgot. Despite reminding her a week prior of what I wanted to do for my 33rd, I didn’t get a telephone call, a card, not even an email or text on my day. Instead I spent my birthday night with an acquaintance, which I didn’t know very well but was done to hang out with me at a party, later that evening.
My best friend’s lapse of birthday appreciation probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much if it hadn’t become a common occurrence during the last few years of our relationship. My friend was beginning to make a habit of bailing on me, sometimes at the very last second. Like on my 30th birthday. Who doesn’t like to celebrate this milestone with a bang? Well I didn’t. I had really planned to have a low-key 30th, perhaps dinner at a restaurant.
“Nawh. This is your 30th and you only turn 30 once. We got to do it big.” Those were her words. She had hyped me up so much with big plans for club hopping in pretty dresses in an overnight trip to NYC that I couldn’t wait. Anyway, at the very last minute, and I mean the last minute (as in four hours until our departure), she called me to say that she had just realized that she had bills to pay and probably shouldn’t be spending any extra money.
“But a friend of mines is having a Bar-Be-Que and there are going to be drinks, so why don’t we just go there.”
Fuck you and that damn Bar-B-Que. I was over and done with her then and I had stopped speaking to her for a good two years. That cycle had repeated itself too many times afterwards for me to continue to ignore. Don’t get me wrong, I love my best friend to death and I really do miss her. And she does have a lot of good qualities too (like the time she sent me flowers when I was sick). But I would be lying if I didn’t say that there aren’t any hurt feelings. And right now, I can say unequivocally that I don’t think she really values our friendship enough to continue on.
…Which brings me to Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.