taken from "The Jews of Ghana"
I think I have become more conscious to how dark skin can be used to pitch just about anything - especially in terms of fundraising for art projects: "For centuries, a community located in a rural and remote area of Ghana known as the Sefwis, have been practicing a religion unique to any of those around them. Only in the last twenty years, did they discover that the religion they’ve been following all this time was Judaism. They also discovered something even more profound: They weren’t alone. Millions of people around the globe were following the very same religion. From the Four Corners of the Earth takes us through the Sefwis’ journey of self-discovery – not just the journey of their past, but the journey they are about to embark on: their very first trip to Israel."
Watch the video below and let me know if anybody else getting a Sarah McLaughlin/Humane Society
vibe to this production?
I'm curious at how do we make the leap from Sefwis practicing a "religion unique to any of those around them" to suggesting that this "unique" to them religion is Judaism. Nevertheless, the project has raised about half of its $15,000 fundraising goal. Special gifts for donating towards the projects includes a "unique" kente-style yamaka hand-made by the Sefwis community and a hand-written "prayer note" into the cracks of the Western Wall in Israel.
Then again, maybe they want to go. And this is all just an equally beneficial arrangement. Also, it is an interesting and dare I say "unique" premise for a documentary. I’ll let yall be the judge.
So as promised, I’m delivering my recap of last night’s (season 3, episode 8) episode of the Walking Dead. And by recaps, I mean random thoughts I had while watching the show. So if you’ve come here, expecting that I
was gonna rehash the entire episode for you
(seriously I don’t have the time nor do I pay that
much attention for that), well now, that’s just funny:
Okay is that the dude from The Wire? Ya’ll know who I’m talking about? The dude that played the ex-convict that started a boxing club and then got shot in the leg by a bunch of kids. Chad Coleman
? Oh that's his name? Oh okay, yeah him. I like him. Glad to see he is working.
So I guess now that Tyrese (Chad Coleman) is here, this means that the other black dude on the show is going to bite the dust in this episode? Remember Hollywood's got that funny physics, which says that no two black guys can exist at the same time on the same plane. If it happens for longer than one episode, it will cause a rip in the space time conundrum. Next thing you know, Negro characters might start showing up everywhere. So now, it is just a countdown to, not only when, but how
he will bite the dust. I’m thinking, sneak up from behind zombie bite to the forearm?
For real though, Andrea relationship with Governor really irks at my feminist side. For one, he’s not even sexy. I would smash Merle's brother with his country confederate flag loving fine ass before that big headed howdy doodie looking dude in the leather vest. Or Shane? Then again, Shane was too wrapped up in Rick’s wife.
Glenn turned into Asian Rambo tonight, complete with the bloodied tortured face and cut-up body. Did you see his abs? He is trying to bring sexy back.
Time of death: 29 minutes. Cause: fatal gunshot from a rifle. And now balance is again restored to the universe. RIP Oscar, aka Black prison inmate number 439283494…because obviously the most important target to shoot is the unarmed black guy, fleeing away to safety and not the white dude (i.e. Rick) with the revolver on you. Seriously, they are really got Michonne playing up the angry black lady role. I fucks with her.
I just want to smack that stupid sheriff’s hat off of Carl Jr.'s head. Also funny how in a situation where there the only really able bodied people were two white kids (Carl Jr. and Hershel’s niece) and two adult strong and healthy African Americans (Tyrese and his daughter), the young white kid is still king? His house, his rules.
Anyway, for a mid-season finale, it was okay. I felt like it could have been more exciting. In fact, all this season’s “twist” has been plenty on the bland side. I’m surprised at how little I cared about Lori’s death in the earlier episodes. Also I really didn’t care about Merle and Darrel finally reuniting/possibly dying by the hands of the Governor cliff- hanger neither. As a storyline, Merle, the one –armed racist didn’t entertain me, so I will be glad to see him killed off. Oh yeah, we know that will happen. And I doubt that they will kill Darrel off. He is too much of a fan favorite. That’s my predictions anyway.As usually we end this post by pouring some out for Oscar. Such a shame because I literately just learned your name.
I was digging out my bag, looking for something, and found this stuff inside my wallet. I remember this being handed to me at the MJB and D'Angelo concert when it came here to Philly in August. I must have thought it was a coupon or something and saved it. But it is actually a trading card.
It even has stats:
Judging by the small print, this trading card was part of an art project for The Mann. The funny thing is that without the header below the pictures I would have no idea that they were suppose to be Mary J. and D'Angelo. Not unusual however I wonder is it really that difficult to duplicate the likeness of black people, particularly as caricatures?
Photo by Andrew Bell
I've been all about Africa ever since my trip to Ghana. I mean, I was all about the continent before but now I have been especially paying attention to the political and social landscapes throughout the Motherland. This is particularly true of music and arts. Anyway, I was on one of my favorite blogs, Africa is a Country, reading about Beyonce's little sister's new patchwork African appropriation project and discovered the
high falutin world of the African dandies, particularly the
the Congo and the Swenkas of South Africa. As defined by Wikipedia
, a dandy is
... a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self. Historically, especially in late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain, a dandy, who was self-made, often strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background.
In other words, he is a flashy, well dressed dude. Apparently, this once popular form of showy European aristocratic lifestyle has taken on a certain revival and newness in parts of Africa, particularly in South Africa, where Zulu men compete in "swenking"
competitions and in the Brazzaville and Bacongo in the Congo, where flare is an actual lifestyle. According to an article from 2010 in Racialicious:
The special relationship between black men and dandyism arose with slavery in Europe particularly during England’s Enlightenment period. In early 18th century, masters who wanted their slaves to reflect their social stature imposed dandified costumes on black servants, effectively turning them into ‘luxury slaves’. As black slaves gained more liberty, they took control of the image by customising their dandy uniforms and thereby creating a unique style. They transformed from black men in dandy clothing to dandies who were black.
The article goes on to discuss the political and moral of the Sapeur (an African word that refers to someone that is dressed with great elegance.) culture, which was formed out of "heavy emphasis on high standards of personal cleanliness, hygiene and smart dress among Congolese youths."
This moral code, however, also had a political motive. Papa Wemba initially introduced the culture as a challenge to the strict dress codes that were imposed by the government at that time who effectively outlawed Western styles of dress. In 1974 after the DRC had recently come out of colonisation and had gained its independence from France, the government lead by Mobutu Sese Seko banned all European and Western styles of imported clothing in favour of a return to traditional African clothing. Papa Wemba challenged these strict dress codes by insisting that it should be a pleasure rather than a crime to wear clothes from Paris and by setting an example for impressionable young men by dressing outlandishly. At this time, the culture also was heavily associated with music, since Papa Wemba supported young talented musicians such as Koffi Olomide.
It's a pretty interesting read about this European-influenced subculture within parts of Africa. Of course, the vibrant contrast of the culture to the economic realities and everyday life within these parts of Africa is what makes it so compelling. It's no wonder that both the Swenkas and the Sapeurs have become a new favorite subject of documentarists and photographers alike.
Last night I came across the first ten minutes of the 2004 documentary called The Swenkas. I'm actually looking to watch the entire thing. So if anyone has a link/hook-up, let a sista know.
So I've been wanting to do a recap of some television show for sometime and figured that there are already hundreds of recaps already for AMC's The Walking Dead, so what the hell? Why not add another. And I know I am kind of late in the season to just now getting around to doing a recap - both in terms of the time of day this will be published and season-wise. But I wanted to make sure that I'm not duplicating what is already out there.
So in order to be different, I decided to wait two whole days after the show had aired (and everybody has moved on to another television show) to do a recap.Anyway, I'm laying under the covers, watching the latest episodes and here are my thoughts:Spearchucker:
I mean, in the hierarchy of ethnic slurs, worse could be said. In fact, I expect better from a one-handed racist dude named Merle. That alone is pretty bad ass. I know, dropping the "n-word" is so passe. But I heard more creative racial epithets at a Mitt Romney rally. Also, you Merle, you have a perfectly good non-white person tied up to a chair right in front of you. Where were the ching,chong, chink jokes? Speaking of the brothers, I'm pouring something out for you, T-Dawg. I know you went out two episodes ago but after all he did for the safety and security of the group, including sacrificing himself, I find it pretty messed up that nobody has stopped and bothered to mourn the passing of Mr. Dawg. I mean, we knew he was going to die because the black man always dies. Plus, when they added that new black guy on the show, we knew Dawg's days were numbered. In terms of Hollywood, there is some freaky physics, which doesn't allow for two black guys to exist on the same plane, at the same time. Anyway, they could have at least acknowledged him in episode 6 or Sunday's episode. We spent no less than three episodes looking for the little white girl last season, can a brotha get a shout-out?
At least someone sing the chorus to End of the Road by Boyz II Men.So Michonne is the angry black woman with the sword?
Even covered in guts, badly injured from a bullet to the leg and surrounded by zombies, she don't need help from nobody. She is I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T
- just like the song. Then again being too generous and open to these folks didn't seem to fair too well for the Dawg. Glenn fighting the zombie while duct taped to the chair reminds me of how much of a zombie truest I am. Zombies are suppose to move slow and awkward. They are not suppose to leap from across the room and toss old bed springs at you. I think I will start a White House petition for that. And going back to the topic of black people: The Black guy. I'm talmbout the tall Green Mile-looking prisoner dude. Who is he? And how long will he last? Considering that his character doesn't have a name - or at least a name that any cares to remember- I'm guessing he won't make it past next week's mid-season finale? The whole Maggie almost-rape thing didn't sit well with me. I know this is post-apocalyptic period piece and as such, anything goes but out of the entire episode, this bothered me most. Maybe because I read the comic and I know that the comic book version of the Governor's treatment of his female prisoner was much worse than what we saw. By the way, in the comic, that prisoner was
Michonne. So there is a whole gender/race thing happening there beneath the surface that I'm sure the producers were trying to avoid. Rick: He is really starting to annoy the hell out of me. I know he lost his wife and became a single baby daddy all on the same day but can you dial back the aggression? I mean, you was in a coma for months, so you are just discovering the hardships of living in this post apocalyptic zombie-infested time. However the rest of the people in the crew have lost people too - including Hershel, who lost most of his family and his damn leg. I guess my point is, man up! Anyway, that is all I have for this episode. Next week is the mid-season finale. I'll probably watch it live, take some notes and hopefully have the recap up sooner than later. Until then, let's have 4:14 in memory of T-Dawg:
I know I am mad late on this whole Fix My life with Iyanla Vanzant episode with Maia Campbell but I don’t have cable. So I can only catch the shenanigans when someone shares it for me to see.
Anyway, I’m up at like 2 in the morning – this after falling asleep at 9 p.m. (seriously I don’t know how folks go to bed that early) – reeling over how screwed up my internal clock has become since returning back from Africa. I decided that maybe watching this episode would put me back in sleepy mode so I can finish this night. Didn’t happen but at least I got some writing done.
So here are five random thoughts I had while laying wide awake in bed, watching Vanzant peddle her self help shim-sham snake oil on my computer screen:
I. People hate to admit this but Vanzant can be very ridiculous at times. Every time I see her, I get the feeling that at any moment she is going to start rocking single mothers in her lap and tearing down walls, circa Women of Brewster’s Place. I know it sounds comical but I've seen her do that very thing during one of Oprah's Lifeclass lesson.
II. Rolling my eyes at Vanzant trying to convince us that she is not exploiting this girl by way of shouting out, "you know me and her mom were old friends, right?" every five minutes. Nobody is buying the disclaimer. Nobody.
III. Maia totally has the look of, "I'm just on this show because I really want to work/act again so I'm going to play long with this bullshit, express-yourself-through-acting-therapy session, Vanzant got me going through right now." Now some folks may argue that Maia distant and disinterested look is the result of a combination of bipolar disorder and a cocktail of whatever sedation medication they have her on for the purpose of this show. The elements of a drug induce psychosis is definitely there. But I also think there is some truth to Maia stepfather’s claim that she can put on the theatrics when needed. And there is no greater time than prime time on OWN. In fact the whole farce of Maia talking to herself in first, second and third person while kneeling on the ground talking to her a picture of her mother was definitely a “for your consideration” Oscar moment. I really hope it works out for her.
IV. Finally and back to Vanzant, why didn't she go deeper into Campbell's issues with her upbringing, which all came out during this hyper active acting therapy session? Clearly from the amount of crying and snot bubbles it s a source of internal conflict in her life? And clearly she needs some major therapy around that. While it is important for people to acknowledge and own up to their role in how their lives turned out, you can tell from - maybe some stuff that she had no control over. I mean bad stuff does just happen to good folks. All the time. But personal resposibility is Vanzant's entire schtick. And you got to work whatever pays the bills.
V. Anyway, I keep saying I'm not going to watch this show anymore - because I'm already not a fan of Vanzant - but I always get sucked in with the interesting guests she had so far. Like her or not, Vanzant is bringing those black viewers - and ratings - to OWN, which means she will be around for a while. Oh joy.
You can check out the shenanigans and tomfoolery below.
Must See in Ratchet TV
Alright a lot has been happening in my life - most recently I'm unemployed. #Team47percent. And I also went to Africa. Yeah, those two concepts seem oppose to each other. Like shouldn't I be saving money or something? Maybe but the trip was already paid for. And I wanted to go. I got so many stories to share about my trip but I'm going to save them for now.
Maybe I'll take some time to do a slideshow this week. It's a thought. Don't hold me to it.
Anyway, after falling asleep on it last night I finally finished all four hours of Blackberry Babes: Reloaded
And I all I got to say is that I am impatiently waiting for the next installment (s). This series got all the mystery, romance and flat-out ratchetness you could ever want in a show. It's like All My Children, Guiding Lights and Young and Restless meets Dynasty, Dallas and Falcon Crest meets BET ratchet Movie of the Week meets Tyler Perry back when Madea was on the chittlin' circuit with Shelly Garrett's Beauty Shop meets Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and whatever else show that is based upon the ratchetness in Atlanta. Let me give you the rundown on Blackberry Babes:
The film, which was written by Sylvester Obadigie, directed by Ubong Bassey Nya and produced by Simony productions
, is the sequel to the original comedy flick, "Blackberry Babes
,"which came out last year. I seen the original one but I can't remember all of the story but, based on all my Nollywood watching experience, I know it probably involved woman trickin' for Blackberry cellphones. Anyway, in this latest installment, Tonto Dikeh (who is basically in every single Nollywood film I have seen over the last few months) is back as a madame to a bunch of female prostitutes called The Wet Angels, who used the internet connection on their Blackberry's to conduct business. However the prostitution and the Blackberry is secondary to other plot points in the films. And there are many.
First there is a plot involving the madame's boyfriend, who we find out manages a male brothel of his own. His brothel is being threatened by the inclusion of a new stud and disloyalty from old ones. Neither the madame or the madame's brothel running boyfriend, know that either are online prostitutes - yet. Then there is the drama around the madame's brothel running boyfriend's friend, who he'd conned to come help him out with his brothel business. After getting himself stuck-up, quite literally, he ends up moving into the woman's brothel, where he receives a surprised visit from his village girlfriend. Of course, that is 45 extra minutes of drama. And then there is the plot twist involving some sort of Al Queda/Janjaweed/old t-shirt over the face-looking dude in the wheelchair. Apparently, he is puppet master in this entire convoluted storyline.
I'm not going to ruin it all for you (seriously, with the amount of storylines they manage to pack into four hours, I don't think I told nearly enough to spoil) but by the end of this latest installment of the three film series, I was thinking how TvOne or Centric or one of those other new Black stations (not OWN because no way will Nollywood shenanigans fly with the Queen) would really generate quite a following if they started employing some of these Nigerian directors to produce some shows. And again, this film is only recommended to those who can appreciate the fine art and sophistication of ratchet theater.
So don't be gettin' all stank with the, "Why are you recommending this movie? Nollywood films are garbage, blah, blah, blah..." Nobody cares. Plus the production has gotten better, particularly there is no sound fluctuations, or appearance of a boom mic and/or production crew member in the shot, which normally occurs in Nollywood movies. Blackberry Babes: Reloaded is currently streaming for FREE on Iroko TV.com.
So those who caught the series premier of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta two nights ago, are probably already over "it." The "it" being the catty girl fights and straight-up ratchetness (or as I like to call it ratch-tastic), which seems to be star among most of these reality TV shows. Most folks would agree that we are ready for Hollywood to give us something fresh and new, preferably a television show with a damn script and real actors. But since 97.2 percent of all television programming today consist mainly of women act a damn fool, your options are pretty much limited.
Although you could read a book or play with your kids, or something...
...No you're not going to do that.
Well fear not as there are some great alternatives to reality TV available, which don't involve your bad-ass kids or having to sound out big words. Matter of fact, many of these options are only a new tab away. Thanks to digital technology, there are dozens...no scratch that...hundreds of great series, available for free (if you don't count the cost of paying for internet) right here on the web.
We all know about Awkward Black Girls? Well would you be surprised that there are more shows like ABG? Well, not exactly like ABG but have the same high quality of writing and production?
Many of these shows you can find just by browsing YouTube with a couple of key phrases ("web series" is a good start). However to get you started, I have a short list (in no particular order) of some of my favorite web-based shows.
More after the jump:
Me posing with my new Tee and Ruth Paloma Rivera-Perez and April Pugh, owners of Philadelphia Printworks
April Pugh sitting outside of Rockers Closet
Summer has officially started. I can tell this because of all the invites to various events I have been getting lately. Anyway, here is something from last Saturday I forgot to write about: In addition to getting my Zumba world record attempt on, later in the day, I dropped by Philadelphia Printworks' official POP URELEASE event to celebrate the release of their The Voir Dire Collection.According to the Facebook Event page: Voir Dire: /ˈvwɑr ˌdiər/) ... an oath to tell the truth, to say what is true.
Okay? Sounds intriguing but what does that mean? That, in short, means that the Voir Dire collection can not be considered those mass marketed T-shirts with the funny and sometimes ironic sayings such as Haters Gonna Hate
or Similes are Like Metaphors
on it. To the contrary, these shirts includes such themes as Police Brutality, Monsanto,Corporate Greed, Child soldiers, Gay marriage as well as pays homage to political international figures like Frida Kahlo, Donyale Luna and Viktor Frankl. The kind of topics that will likely start conversations - and possibly get you kicked out of a few places. By the way: isn't it funny how you can go just about anywhere with a T-shirt that says Female Body Inspector
but a shirt expressing your opposition to genetically modified foods is a no-no? Anyhow, Philadelphia Printworks
is a screen printing company based in North Philadelphia (9th and Dauphin to be exact), whose mission is to promote community awareness on local, national and international issues concerning art, justice, culture, society and politics. In addition to using apparel to inspire change, co-owners April Pugh and Ruth Paloma Rivera-Perez (pictured above) take a more substantive approach by donating part of the proceeds from the shirts to local and global relief organizations like Amnesty International and Help Child Soldiers
. Now that is real social capitalism you can believe in. The official line was unveiled at Rockers Closet, which is located at
at 818 s.4th st (4th & Queen) in the Bella Vista section of the city (also know as South Philly). I got there kind of early, and also had to jet pretty early (had to go home eventually and walk the dog), so I didn't get the full Voire Dire experience. But I did manage to pick up a cool Jose Marti t-shirt (pictured above) for around $15. And a cupcake. They had cupcakes too. Pugh said that she had been up all hours of the night baking cupcakes for the event as some sort of contest, where the lucky person to find a gummy bear inside one of the tasty pastries, would win a free t-shirt. I didn't win but I was pleased with the free cupcake - and my T-shirt, of course.
Oh, never heard of Rockers before? Cool I get to school you to something new and hip. Rockers Closet
, which was founded by musician and fashion designer Rebecca B., is a DIY thrift boutique, which features not only the worn and refurbished apparel and shoes you see at regular thrift stores but also acts as a studio for budding fashion artists - or those, who just like to get creative with the cloth. So if you are a hipster, a blipster (black+hipster) or just seeking out something a little funky for your wardrobe then definitely check out Rockers. In addition to the t-shirt you see above, I actually found a great little handmade leather purse there. I can't wait to find something to rock it with (no pun intended). Perhaps I'll wear the purse with the t-shirt?
Oh, and Rockers is also one of a few exclusive vendors, which will sell The Voir Dire Collection. But if you are not in the Philadelphia-area, you can always stop by the website
and order from there. Tell them that Charing sent you. You probably won't get a discount on anything but who doesn't like name-dropping? Editor's Note: If it is highlighted in blue, it is clickable. So don't go asking me: Why didn't you include the links to their websites?
photo courtesy of Buzzfeed
June must be national "All-My- Favorite-People-are-Disappointing-the-Hell-Out of-Me" month.
First Erykah Badu and that crazy video; then Nas declaring Gwyneth Paltrow an unofficial Black person and giving her a pass on the whole N-word (also known as Nigger) situation; and now Oprah. What did the former Queen of Daytime Talk do now?
Besides hosting 50 Cent on her network to squash some bullshit beef he made up, she basically allowed him to sit there and insult her to her face without saying anything. 50 Cent, or Fiddy as Oprah calls him, appeared on "Oprah's Next Chapter," which aired Sunday, June 10 on OWN. During part 1 or the 2-part interview (the second part is supposed to air this weekend), Oprah asked "Fiddy" the infamous reason behind his female schnauzer's name:
Oprah: "I hear you have a dog name Oprah. I consider it a compliment whether you meant one or not?"
What the Motherfuck, Fucking Fuck, Oprah?
Nevertheless, the rapper turned actor turned habitual agitator responded back by saying that at the time, he had such negative feelings for Oprah, so he decided to project those intense feelings onto the dog. Negro Please.
You must see the entire exchange below:
This has to be the most awkward, excruciatingly interview I've seen on television in a while. Not only can't 50 look Oprah in the eyes but Oprah seems to have turned into a star-struck stan right before our eyes. In fact, I have never seen her suck-up to someone so badly before. This is the same woman that once belittled Jame Frey, author of the factious memoir A Million Little Pieces,
for deceiving her, thus hurting the reputation of her book club, and now, in the presence of the one person, who did mean to do her reputation some harm, she has been reduced to a giggling schoolgirl. Seriously what the hell is going on in this clip? More importantly, what the hell is going on with Oprah?
I'll tell you what's going on: Oprah's desperate attempt to save her network at any cost is making her mental. Mentally unstable to the point that she is willing to subject herself to the most vile denigration in order to not only appeal to a younger audiences but also woo higher ratings for her fledgling network - even if it means destroying her self-respect. You can almost see the disdain on her face and hear the pain in her voice as she laughs uneasily and smiles uncomfortably at him. But there is not amount of gritting of teeth that will hide her overall displeasure, hence why she kept pressing him on the question of "Why did you name your dog after me?"But here's the thing
Oprah: he's not going to tell you. You know why? Well, because it is obvious: he did it because he didn't like nor did/does he respect you. And there is nothing he could say to reasonably justify doing so without sounding like an ass or hurting your feelings even more. Seriously, naming his dog after you is not a compliment. It's a round-a-bout way of calling you a bitch. But you know that. Right?
I mean he didn't apologize nor did he even suggest that he would rename the pup to something less offensive - like Scruffy. Instead he basically said oh but I like the dog now
and then gave a shout out to the twitter account he set up for the dog called Oprah Winfree, @OprahdaDog
. The account has over 12,000 followers. For a female dog. Named Oprah. How quaint. The thing is, I expect these types of shenanigans from 50 cent. After all, this is the knucklehead, who recorded Young Buck, his former protege with G-Unit, crying and begging for money. And then posted it to the Internet for all to laugh and mock. He is also the bonehead pig that once released, also to the Internet, a video of the mother of Rick Ross's child engaged in amateur porn with some record executive, while 50 Cent offered commentary.
Clearly this dude has serious issues and thrives - or self-medicates - off of all the attention his antics provides for him. But Oprah, you should know better. Scratch that, Oprah, I expect better from you. You once stood up against
the music genre’s use of the word “n***er” as well as seemingly misogynistic lyrics like calling women b*tches and h0es. And within one moment in one interview, you managed to be reduced down to the very thing you once claimed to be against. A female dog. I love you Oprah but please, do better.
Next time you see "Fiddy" take a page out of Queen Latifah's book and punch him "dead in his eye."