Archive for March, 2009

CNN iReport: Obama wrong for gaffe, but let’s look in the mirror

March 31, 2009

Video talks about how Obama was wrong for his Special Olympics comments, but points out we are so quick to judge each other that no one can make a mistake, even if they apologize for it.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-233062#

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Black Male Musicians: Cowards on the Chris Brown/Rihanna Drama

March 16, 2009

All over television and radio, I hear and see female celebrities from Oprah and Tyra Banks to Robin Givens and Free expressing either support for Rihanna or at least warning her of the potential danger of staying with Chris Brown. It has indeed been quite impressive to see people like Oprah and Tyra sharing the stage and talking to young people about domestic violence, particularly since the media often speaks of those two as being competitors. If this was indeed the case, they’ve come together for an important cause. While women, particularly Black female entertainers have stood up for Rihanna, the unequivocal support of Chris Brown from Black male musicians has been downright disgraceful and cowardly.

From P. Diddy and Akon to Usher and Suge Knight, Black male musicians have either showed 1000% (no typo) support for Brown, or have backtracked on any critiques they may have given to Brown’s post alleged assault activities. Said Suge Knight:

 

Chris Brown is a lil’ homie…I got more love for Chris Brown than anybody. One of the things Chris Brown did before at the time my daughter was turning 14 years old, it was her birthday, and they were having a concert. He put her on stage, sang happy birthday, he didn’t have to, showed a lot of respect and I respect him for that. So therefore, I’ma ride with him a thousand percent on whatever it is, period.

 

Hey Suge, he didn’t have to nearly kill Rihanna either! Maybe this isn’t a surprise for someone who just pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery against his girlfriend in February. As long as you sing to Suge Knight’s daughter, you can go ahead and allegedly nearly kill someone.

            Snoop Dogg offered to have Brown and Rihanna on his variety show “Dogg After Dark” to talk about their relationship. In a great gesture towards healing their situation, he jokingly offered to also have Dr. Phil or Dr. Dre on his show to talk about it. Singer Akon said he would “absolutely” work with Brown because he doesn’t mix business with personal lives. He could have at least said he would work with him if he got help but not even that. P. Diddy offered his home for them to come work it out, when the most important thing they need right now is distance. They both threw out the obligatory “no one should hit women” but after that, it’s just business as usual. It’s sad when people who haven’t demonstrated high regard for women themselves throughout their career now know what’s best for Rihanana.

            Singer Usher has also proven to be most disappointing on this case. Usher criticized Chris Brown for going out on a jet ski while at Diddy’s house with Rihanna. Miraculously, Usher later apologized for criticizing Brown! Usher stated that he apologized “if anyone was offended. The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved.” So basically the black male community of musicians has taken a hands-off approach to Chris Brown.

            To be fair to these artists, most men in the public eye have taken a hands-off approach to Brown, with the exception of Roland Martin, who had a panel of Black males talking about this on CNN, though no musicians. Michael Baisden and Warren Ballentine has always spoken about domestic violence so this wasn’t new for him. Overall though, if there were no females in the media like Oprah, Ellen, and Campbell Brown, I fear that this story would no longer be in the news. My main issue is personal for me because I have spent time and money listening to many of these artists. While I was proud to see many of them get involved in politics for the first time with Hurricane Katrina and then the election, there was no real risk in supporting President Obama. Taking a hard stand against domestic violence can indeed be career-ending.

            Black male musicians for the most part have yet to demonstrate the ability to take a prolonged stand on serious political and community issues. The Rihanna-Brown situation is a classic opportunity for these artists to step up to the plate and they are not evening picking up the bat. As we continue to follow this story, all of us who have been fans of many of these artists (including myself), should really become more mindful of who we listen to, particularly if we work with or have kids. With serious issues like domestic violence occurring and no one taking a stand, we can no longer have the philosophy that we can listen to whomever because “it’s just entertainment.” For me, it’s a matter of life and death.

Rihanna isn’t stupid for going back to Chris Brown

March 9, 2009

Rumor has it that Rihanna and Chris Brown have reconciled. If this is indeed the case, then Brown will not face any charges because Rihanna won’t place them. There are many people who are happy to hear this news. First are Chris Brown’s fans who can say that it’s none of their business because she forgave him and thus it’s a private matter. There are those who are fans of Brown or who just hate Rihanna who will say that she realized it was her fault for “giving him an STD.” Lastly is the music industry in general because now they won’t have to pull Brown’s music. Just check out www.bet.com. As of the time of this writing, they’re still playing T-Pain & Brown’s video “Freeze” as if nothing happened. People will call Rihanna many things for her actions, but please don’t call her stupid.

The fact of the matter is that 2/3 of women who are domestically abused go back to their partners. Rihanna is among that number of women who do not realize that they risk death by staying with their partners. Are all of these women stupid as I heard some women saying this weekend? No. They are misunderstood by a society that likes to play armchair relationship expert when we don’t even have our own lives in check. It’s as if people feel they can condemn Rihanna because she has money, as if that should make her immune from abuse or at least, indecision on what to do if abused in the first place.

***Newsflash: domestic violence knows no class, race, or religion***

If you haven’t learned this by now, money is not a replacement for self esteem. You do not transcend responsibility because you are rich. Rihanna with all of her millions needs support, not condemnation. She can’t just pray her way out of this, if she’s even doing that. I believe in the Michael Baisden philosophy: pray… and pack. The truth of the matter is that something in her upbringing made her believe this is acceptable. I don’t mean her West Indian culture. I mean her specific upbringing. My prayer is that those who are eating off of her are working with her best interests at heart but I hear we’re in a recession so how likely is that? No one wants to mess with their cash flow right now so they’ll find a way to deal with a couple of slaps and window head cracks.

Rather than condemning the victim, we should take a hard look at ourselves and ask why it is that Chris Brown is still being played on the radio and television. Why is it that he won’t lose his record deal? Why is it that most of us will just leave it up to Reverend Al Sharpton or N.O.W. to have a couple of protests? Why is it that Chris Brown can come as close to killing someone as possible and pretty much get off with a slap on the wrist? We are all to blame for the current place we are in society where women are not valued unless they’re sexy and stay in their place. How do you think Rihanna feels seeing Brown still treated in society as if he did nothing seriously wrong? If there are no heavy societal repercussions, we shouldn’t expect any from her. The only difference is when she gets killed, many of us will still be sitting around saying she was stupid. And then we’ll turn on BET.

Why I’m Boycotting the Recession

March 2, 2009

Hey did you hear that we are in a recession? I really had no idea until I saw it on TV, every single day for the past 6 months or so. Seriously though, I realized we were in for tough times (as many of you did) a long time ago. Quite truthfully, many of us have been in a perpetual recession in some way, shape or form for years. They say that when America sneezes, the world catches the flu. If that is indeed true, then it is also true that when corporate America sneezes, everyone else in the country catches the flu as well. Rather than waiting on everyone else to get sick to decide that I’ll have the flu, I’ve decided to fortify my immune system in advance by boycotting this recession. This economic recession has turned into a psychological recession. More and more every day, I hear people speaking from a poverty state of mind. Go through your day and ask yourself how many times you hear things that speak to a defeatist mentality. All day you’ll hear someone talk about how they can’t find a job so they stop looking. They speak about how they want to start a business but there’s no money so they don’t write that business plan. They want to take a trip but they’re just broke so they don’t look at driving down the street because they can’t fly to Disney World. Though all of these problems are real for many families even when there is not a recession, the recession has become an excuse for many people to not do anything at all. From the President to the media and on down, we just hear about the gloom and doom that is ahead if a bill doesn’t get passed or if some other miraculous act does not occur and frankly, I’m tired of it. The recession has become the new reality show. Tune in 24-7 to catch the latest episode. I’ve never been a fan of reality shows. We need to focus on our own realities and stop participating in this recession mentality. The mental recession will be harder to emerge from than the economic recession. I know the President is doing the best he can to solve the problem so I don’t need to watch the news every hour to join the collective recession woes. Before the recession was declared, my family was already looking for ways to cut costs in utilities, automobile travel, groceries, etc. because we want to have a more green lifestyle that our kids will hopefully emulate and of course, we want to save money. If you waited until now to start doing that, you’ll most likely go back to your old habits when this recession ends. If you are really concerned about this recession, you will start developing yourself mentally, physically and spiritually now in order to emerge from the recession before it ends. Use this economy to take stock of what’s important in your life and develop that to your fullest abilities. You will emerge a more prepared person when this is over and you will have an advantage over the majority of Americans who have given into the fear.