Monday, July 2, 2012
Harlem, NYC- known for its luxury condos, restaurant rows, hip bar scene and white flight INTO (not a typo) the US African-American mecca is also in the midst of a music renaissance...and it ain't jazzy...it's hip-hop all the way...check these folks out (you may not agree with the message or the sound, but they're making noise)...
...you've already heard of Azealia Banks...haven't you? She's gone from pouring vanilla chai lattes at Starbucks to spitting fiery lyrics (she's not for the faint of heart, eyes or ears). She's dynamic, fashionable and from (my ol' hood) Harlem...and supposedly, she's a major league music talent...so "they" say.
Btw, "they" are right. Listen, and find out for yourself...
...these cats run the streets...you want to tell them they don't?
Monday, June 4, 2012
Several weeks ago, a Knoxville, TN man, 33 year-old Desmond Hatchett, petitioned a family court judges leniency as he asked for a reduction in his child support payments to his twenty-four (originally reported as thirty) kids. Yes, you read it right...two dozen kids. Jokes and smh's ensued throughout the media. With so many sad things to choose from, this should make this one of my easiest blog posts, right? Wrong. See, the idea of one man who's royalty, a billionaire, or the last man on earth, fathering twenty-four kids is excessive, but when he's making minimum wage ($7.25/hour in Tennessee) that amounts to thirty cents ($0.30) an hour per kid, two dollars and forty cents per eight hour workday or twelve dollars per week, per child...if the father dedicates every bit of his paycheck, before taxes. Taxes would eat away another twenty to thirty percent, depending on Tennessee's payroll taxes.
|Desmond HatchettDuring HS-Voted most likely to reproduce...multiple times.|
What I know is there are too many children and not enough parents. There are athletes (T.O., Antonio Cromartie, Jose Lima) and entertainers (Lil Wayne, Flavor Flav) fathering multiple kids with multiple women. Is this a case of dysfunctional life imitating art? Again, I don't know, nor do I give a sh*t. I just know that I'm tired of the ignorance and I'm tired of the irresponsibility.
There's a trend/mentality in many (mainly poverty stricken or poverty stricken influenced communities) where men and women accept the multiple father/mother family structure as a norm. It isn't a norm, especially since kids deserve a chance to be raised in the best possible environment.
A child enduring a fatherless or father-absent environment begets all sorts of child development obstacles ranging from attachment issues, abandonment, abuse and neglect. The child becomes a product of their environment. Raised in an inherently dysfunctional environment is traumatic and while some of those children may succeed, many unfortunately, sans positive intervention, won't have much of a chance to succeed.
There's nothing wrong with single parenthood when the parent is willing and capable of raising children (and believe it or not, while having ample finances is a factor, it is not the deciding factor of a single parent's capability).
However, unless there is a serious effort to attack the issue of irresponsible parenthood...these stories continue and the decimation of family (as we know it) continues as well. The Desmond Hatchett story, I'm afraid, isn't over.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Hopefully, your mother was around you throughout your developmental years. As a toddler, she cleaned you when you couldn't clean yourself (even after you finally ate the pureed green peas), she dealt with your five year old twin sister's death threats, as a teenager, she kept away from the den as you "studied" with your first romance, then just when you were about to make your move, she'd knock on the door, right? Yeah, those were the days.
My mother is a family person...her faith in family is superceded only by her faith in God. Even when, as a family, we weren't as cohesive or as together as she envisioned (maybe she didn't take into account the strength of the egos she raised), she kept the faith, belief and (while I'm sure it was trying) the love. One day seems wildly insufficient to recognize mothers everywhere. Internationally, mother's day celebrations occur on dates usually affiliated with springtime. In the United States, Anna Jarvis, a Pennsylvania social worker, began the concept of Mother's Day in order to memorialize her deceased mother in 1907. Ms. Jarvis refined the concept and fought for its national recognition in 1914 (thanks Wikipedia).
Mother's day is the hallmark for our undying love and appreciation for the sacrifices, joys, maternal bonds and fulfillment of motherhood. While capitalists attempt to replicate its spirit with candy, flowers, jewelry, amongst other material goods...at day's end, no matter how touching the material representation, a mother's love dwarfs any material gift one can possibly provide. Should you find a material item which provides that love, you might want to take a DNA test...or patent the item (might as well profit from the dysfunction).
Happy Mother's Day to my mother, and moms everywhere.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
The n-word...controversial, ignorant, bombastic, deadly, hateful and double edged. I don't remember the first time I used the n-word, or even the first time I heard the word from a black person, nor how it was defined when I heard it for the first time.
The first time a non-Black person called me the n-word, as a fourteen year old, during a evening walk with my older brother in Freeport, a suburban Long Island, NY town, I remembered. Up until the year before, my family lived in predominantly-Black/Puerto-Rican Jamaica, Queens, with limited personal access to Euro-Americans (Italian grocers, teachers, my mother's job, going to a shopping mall). There wasn't an opportunity to walk in a predominantly Euro-American neighborhood at night. In Freeport, the opportunity presented itself.
The evening my brother and I walked down a dark Freeport, N.Y. street, a red, early 1970's Ford Mustang drove past and with windows rolled down, the Euro-American dudes inside screamed nigger!...my brother replied with his middle finger and I just stood there in shock, the Ford Mustang sped away. Up until that time, flagrant n-word usage around friends (my parents didn't tolerate its use around them) lit up my vocabulary. After that night, I reconsidered my n-word usage, and ceased using the n-word soon thereafter.
According to dictionary.com (n-word defined) , the n-word definition leads with "The term nigger is now probably the most offensive word in English." I disagree. While its usage seems egregious and frequent, the n-word has turned cliche'.
This week's news alone, featured twittered n-word Boston Bruin fan responses to Joel Ward's winning playoff hockey goal, a deep south bar owner's Obama gripe, as well as NY Post's Phil Mushnick Jay-Z/Nets critique. Hell, living in NYC, I heard many Dominicans (amongst other brown and black so-called minorities) take ownership of the n-word as if they endured picking antebellum South Carolina cotton fields.
When does it end? What is the n-word tipping point? Is Malcolm Gladwell interested in finding out? Well if he doesn't, I daresay the tipping point is here. Doesn't the recent flurry of n-word usage strike you as a haggard, tired, outdated expression? It is safe to assume most of the people using the n-word hatefully know little about Black History, so what makes them experts on African-American or Black (African diaspora) people?
There was a time the n-word meant something, when an African-American man or woman shook in anger, fear, or (unfortunately) subservience at the mere utterance of the word--responding to its use was a call to serious activism. Now while its use results in the rare job firing, the usual reaction is nothing more than smh's and empty apologies. If you are a racist seeking to hurt me, get creative, find a new slur, attack me personally, individually. All y'all n-word users went to the well one too many times!!! I'm over the n-word, and while my personal preference is to not use it in my vocabulary, it lost its power to denigrate (I used that word on purpose) me.