In the last few weeks two tragedies have taken place within weeks of each other.
First, there was the horrible incident at the Washington Navy Yard, which involved a man by the name of Aaron Alexis who went on a shooting spree and is responsible for the death of 12 innocent people. Fast forward a few weeks down the road, and there are headlines with Miriam Carey, a woman who was killed after she tried to escape police during a chase through Capitol Hill.
The two commonalities between these folks are, of course, their race, however, both were confirmed to not be in the best of mental health when they began to act out. In fact, it’s been stated that Alexis had gone on to say he’d heard voices in his head earlier this year, and Carey suffered from postpartum depression, a disorder which occurs after childbirth in some women.
What’s most saddening to me is how the media has covered the Alexis and Carey incidents and the way in which they report on each issue involving the two perpetrators contrasts from how they cover folks of a lighter skin tone who are also mentally ill.
For example, think about the Sandy Hook School Shooting. The perpetrator was a white male, and he’d had a history of being mentally unstable. For weeks and weeks on end the television outlets couldn’t stop talking about this guy. The way in which they discussed his transgression always, in my opinion, seemed to have a sympathetic undertone and I attribute that to the fact that he was white. Mental illness in White people is always dissected, but when it comes to Black people, it’s dismissed. Shoot, think about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado last year. The guy responsible for that crime was the subject of so many water cooler-esque chats on a multitude of media outlets. And this lasted for weeks. The coverage was inescapable.
Now I am not condoning that we should glorify Black people with mental illnesses who violate the law the way in which their White counterparts are (killing people or endangering innocent lives isn’t ever acceptable and that behavior doesn’t deserve acclaim), however, why is it that Black people who commit heinous crimes when they are essentially help captive by an illness that is taking over their mind, yet White people who do these same crimes are pitied? Black people with mental illnesses are deemed crazy, White people with mental illnesses are given the proper resources to get better.
It would be wonderful if Black people were shown the same type of grace. We need it, and we deserve it.
Last night I went to see “Baggage Claim.” I wasn’t even planning on going to the movies, especially since I get off work at 9:00 PM (I work second shift) and I’m usually exhausted by the time I get home. Anyway, I get home and my mother and sister wanted to go see “Baggage Claim,” which stars Paula Patton and Derek Luke.
The film is definitely a cute romcom, and I encourage everyone to go and see it. Nothing Academy Award worthy but definitely a feel good film. After watching the film one thing that stuck with me, even though I laughed it off was when my mother compared me to the lead character in the film, Montana Moore, who’s portrayed by Paula Patton. Montana is, in every sense of the word, a hopeless romantic. She’s smart, funny, great personality, but for some odd reason she has trouble finding someone to complement her amazingness. Montana is nearing 30 and she’s not yet married, and she doesn’t even have any suitors.
Although I know my mom didn’t mean any harm by comparing me to Montana, it still made me feel a bit sad. I’m only 24, but I turn 25 in less than two months and the thought of getting older and still being single is kind of scary. And I’m not saying that I want to be married or anything within a year, but as humans we need companionship.
Right now, love would be wonderful and it’ll come, but it isn’t one of those things in life that you can perfectly calculate. You literally have to wait for it. Sure, you can date but ultimately I think that the person who’s going to knock you head over heels will strut into your life when you least expect it.
And so I’ll wait. I’ll wait for someone who’s smart, compassionate, handsome, quirky, ambitious, adventurous, etc. I want an extraordinary partner. I want someone who gives me chills, who gives me butterflies every time we kiss, someone who will sing off key with me, someone who will console me when I’m down, someone who will lift me up, someone on the same spiritual wavelength as me. I want someone who is the embodiment of all the sentimental love songs that I’ve heard over the years. And I deserve that, and so does everyone else in the world that’s looking for love.
It’s sad to say, but at the age of 24 there were times when I felt like I wanted to give up on love (absurd, I know!), but love is one of the few things that makes life so thrilling. Love is sublime, and it’s something we shouldn’t ever give up on.
In short, keep waiting.
I recently finished reading “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. I’m honestly ashamed to admit that it was the first novel by Morrison that I’d read, and I’m pleased to say that it was so worth it.
For those who don’t know, the story depicted in the novel revolves around a little girl named Pecola Breedlove who is, in the eyes of many folks in her small town, an ugly child. As soon as I borrowed the book from my local library and began reading it, it was hard to put it down. The story was fascinating, and I’m glad that Morrison shed light on an issue within that Black Community that usually gets swept under the rug: Colorism.
Recently, race has been a big issue (although it’s always been a big issue for people of color) within the mainstream media, but when it comes to how we in the Black Community view and treat one another, we’re usually mum on the topic. Pecola prays and prays and prays for blue eyes. She wants them because she feels that this is a feature that will make her more beautiful. It’s been a while since my heart ached so much for a fictional character. I loved the sharpness and clarity of the words that Morrison used to describe characters within the novel. She’s so thorough with her writing that it feels like you’re actually there experiencing everything her characters are witnessing, the good, bad and ugly.
Overall, the book was really great. I know I didn’t talk about it much in terms of specifics, but it did get me to thinking about how I treat other Black men and women. Although this novel was published in the 70s, the themes of beauty and self-worth still echo loud and clear today. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend reading this book.
America isn’t a post-racial society. You may scream and shout that it is, but you’re wrong. Why is this a post-race society? Because we have a Black president? That’s laughable. Tell me something, if we were so over race in America, why are Black people still made to feel inferior just because we sport a darker hue than our white counterparts?
Like most of America, I am disappointed with the verdict in the case of the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman. When the verdict was announced I was already expecting the worst, but I hoped for the best. How is it that a 17-year-old was, in essence, blamed for his own murder? On the night that Trayvon Martin was killed, he was walking to his home. He had every right to be outside in the same gated community as George Zimmerman. The message sent to Black people, and more specifically, Black males, was that we do not matter in this country. We are less than. If you perceive a Person of Color as a threat you have the right to kill them and there will be no repercussions. White privilege is a helluva drug. It’s so inconspicuous that those privy to it don’t even know they’re benefitting from it.
From the moment that Zimmerman jumped out of his vehicle race was an issue in this tragedy. Why did he feel the need to pursue Martin? Why did he feel threatened by a Black teenager who was doing nothing but minding his own business? These are questions that have truly never been answered. Race was brought into this when the media questioned Martin’s academic record and the fact that he’d been suspended from school before, instead of focusing on the fact that he was murdered. They acted like it was his fault he was killed.
I’ll never forget hearing the conversation between Zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher, “Dispatcher: Are you following him? Zimmerman: Yeah. Dispatcher: Ok, we don’t need you to do that.” I am angry. Why did he follow and kill this child? I’ll never forget the screams I heard coming from Martin on the 911 tape. He was scared. He was defenseless and no one helped him.
In the 148 years that have passed since the American Civil War ended, Black people have had to fight to tooth and nail for every basic human right. And we’re still fighting. Think about that. It’s been less than 150 years since one of the most horrific wars in the country ended yet people think that we’ve progressed to overlook race. We’re still dealing with race issues that manifested after the war ended.
A child is dead and the only “crime” that he committed was being in the midst of a trigger-happy, wannabe cop. So where do we go from here? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I just feel numb because I cannot believe that justice didn’t prevail for Trayvon Martin while George Zimmerman, a murderer, walks free.
American justice failed once again.
Sometimes, it seems like most twenty-somethings are having difficulty dating, but other times, it seems like it’s just me. Like, I talk to guys all the time, but nothing special ever happens and sometimes they aren’t even living in the same state that I’m in, which is a bummer.
Recently, I was talking to someone for about two months. He was cute, really smart, etc. but he had trouble just opening up. I don’t believe that you have to tell me your deepest darkest secrets within months of us getting to know each other, but if I’m liking you and you’re liking me and we’re moving steadily toward a relationship, why not open up a bit more? It’s just weird, honestly.
Right now I’m sitting down listening to Tamia’s “You Put A Move On My Heart,” and I’m wondering how in love with someone you’d have to be to feel that way. The way she sings…I can imagine it, the feeling, it’s probably indescribable, but I want to experience it.
I just wished that more men were able to say how they felt, especially men who like men. Why are we so afraid to be affectionate toward one another? I’ll figure this out one day.
I’m not a music snob or anything, but I tend to think that I have good taste in music, but I’m sure everyone thinks that way. Anyway, I tend to listen to a variety of music and sometimes I feel inclined to share some of it with others. Today, I present to you three British singers that are extremely underrated, and your life will be enriched tenfold once you add them to your iPod.
Last year, I purchased The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, and it was seriously one of the best decisions I’d made at the time. Every track was superb, but there was one track that was a notch above the rest in my opinion. “Just A Game,” a song by 16-year-old British teen Birdy was the last song on the album, and I literally couldn’t stop listening to her track. I kept repeating her track. It was so good. Her voice was so mature and so full of emotion. I was astonished that she’d mastered her gift at such a young age.
Listen to “Just A Game” below:
2. Will Young
I’ve loved this guy since her won “Pop Idol” (The English equivalent to American Idol) back in 2002. Although popular in Britain, Will Young never managed to make an impact on American audiences, which is a shame because the U.S. has definitely missed out on some fantastic music. Will’s most recent album, Echoes, reached number 1 in on the U.K. album charts, and it’s arguably his best work to date. It was difficult for me to choose a great song to include in this post for him because he has so many amazing songs.
Listen to “Who Am I” below:
3. Rebecca Ferguson
Rebecca Ferguson may not have won her season of “The X Factor UK,”but she’s certainly made a name for herself since the show ended. Ferguson released her debut album, Heaven, in 2011 and it was critically and commercially successful. Coming in second place isn’t always a curse. Ferguson has often been compared to Aretha Franklin because of her voice’s unique tone. Compare that with her deep, heartfelt lyrics and you have the makings of a truly great and potentially legendary artist.
One of my favorite songs from Ferguson is “Backtrack.” Check it out below:
Social media is an extremely useful tool. Some use it network and make professional connections, while others find joy in wandering through the ether to stay abreast of what their friends and acquaintances are doing. Let me say this: social media is a great, great tool, however, there is one thing that irks me about its existence.
When it comes to the social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., a lot of people tend to base their self-worth on the amount of friends, followers, “likes” and RTs that they can acquire. To me, this diminishes the experience that you’re supposed to be having because you’re placing certain limitations on yourself. You shouldn’t say certain things, post certain things, etc. for people to like you! Just be yourself and be genuine.
Naturally, the people who vibe with what you’re saying are going to connect with you. It’s bound to happen. Sometimes I feel like I’m in high school again because of how people act on these various sites. Like, you know how some people act in person but they’re somehow a totally different person online. For me, it’s off-putting and it makes me not want to deal with that person. I don’t like to put on a facade for anyone. Life’s too short.
Anyway, I just wanted to get this off of my chest! And remember, always be true to yourself, no matter what.
Have a great Friday!
A few weeks ago, King Bey released a track called “Bow Down / I Been On,” and it sent the Bey Hive into a frenzy. In fact, that’s an understatement: Beyoncé ruled the Twittersphere for nearly two days because of the instantly-controversial song. I mean, this happened. Beyoncé had everyone on edge.
Upon first listen, I was hooked. I was immediately excited for Beyoncé’s new era. The track opens with Beyoncé singing, “I know when you were little girls you dreamt of being in my world. Don’t forget it, don’t forget it. Respect that. Bow down, bitches!” Right off the the bat she gets your attention. I see this song as Beyoncé reintroducing herself in a fun, playful, yet commanding way. She continues, “I took some time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his little wife. Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted. This my shit!” Now we know she means business. In the time between Beyoncé taking some time off to be a mother and things of that nature, a few pop stars have tried to emerge to take her place. Key word being tried. Mrs. Carter is simply stating that she isn’t having it, and she’s ready to reclaim her throne.
Of course, to a certain extent this song shows how arrogant and self-obsessed Beyoncé is, but is there anything inherently wrong with that? I don’t think so. I mean, this is essentially part of Beyoncé’s brand, and it always has been. Her entire career/brand has been based around the idea that she is seemingly infallible. This teaser track is just confirmation of something that hadn’t been verbally expressed by the singer until now: Beyoncé knows she’s the crème de la crop, and no one is on her level. She’s just taking a moment to reflect on her excellence. This is something that men do all the time, especially male rappers. Why hold Beyoncé to a different standard? That’s a rhetorical question, really. I know we live in a society that has been mind-f*cked by patriarchy, and I’m sure it’ll be our downfall at some point…
Anyway, despite what anyone says, this is sure to be a memorable year for Beyoncé. She’s literally had the attention of the public since the beginning of 2013. She’s performed at the Super Bowl, appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Next Chapter,” released a her documentary Life Is But a Dream, announced a world tour, and she’s set to release her highly-anticipated fifth album later this year.
Get ready, everyone. Bey season is upon us.
Tidbit: If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard “Bow Down / I Been On,” listen to it below: