Friday, September 28, 2012

THE BLACKER THE BERRY?

The Blacker the Berry was a controversial novel written by Wallace Thurman in 1929 during the Harlem Renaissance period.  It explores colorism within the black community during a period when the light skinned vs. dark skinned dilemma was in full effect. The phrase blacker the berry has several meanings.  It can be used as a sexually exploitative way to depict a black woman's vagina and the pleasure it can bring.  Or, it is a pro-black mantra celebrating the beauty of being black.  Tupac describes the latter best in Keep Your Head Up: "some say the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice, I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots".

It all brings me to the timeless musician, vocalist, and prolific song writer, Nina Simone.  Her music is dark, rich and complex as her life ever was. The story of this legendary singer should be told.  A debate rages on about the biopic, yet to be filmed, starring Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone. Some say she is way too light skinned to play Nina Simone.  I have more of a problem with the fictional direction of the film than the casting of a caramel complexioned Latina.  Originally, Mary J. Blige was slated to play Simone and I had issues with her acting chops. A biopic requires a stellar performance by the lead. Some reasons I think Saldana should play Nina Simone.

1.  Malcolm X.

Denzel played Malcolm X with such brilliance and skill that it was ignored that Malcolm X was a lighter skinned redhead.

2.  Reverse colorism.

Historically there has been more value placed on lighter skinned women over sisters with a dark complexion. But, is denying a woman a role because she is deemed too light a solution?

3.  Zoe Saldana is a good actress.

I loved her in Colombiana which I specifically chose to see over the movie, The Help. A woman of color kicking ass as opposed to cleaning up after one, seemed like a better choice for me.  I was actually able to buy into the fact that a woman who looks like she might be too small to wear a size 2 could annihilate a slew of grown men.

4. Colorism is a cancer in the black community that has never gone into remission. We come in all shades and colors and that should be celebrated equally.




Saturday, September 22, 2012

Revenge is a Bitch

Revenge is defined as the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for a wrong suffered at their hands.  I also see it as an inability to forgive and move on.  I can understand completely why a person would want to see someone suffer for doing them dirty. It is a natural reaction to want retribution for the pain inflicted upon you. How far you are willing to take it, is another issue.  The path to revenge is toxic and it can consume you.

"You Are My Soulmate Forever!"
One of the revenge stories to grab my attention was that of YaVaughnie Wilkins. She was the mistress of  Charles Philips, the former president of  the software company, Oracle and a senior member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  The brother has quite an impressive resume.  Ms. Wilkins had been in an eight year relationship with a successful married man and in early 2010 after it went sour she placed a billboard on West 52nd Street near Times Square titled "Your are my soul mate".  Apparently that was a phrase he professed to her.  I am not in advertising, but I know that billboard in Manhattan carried a steep price. She posted additional billboards in Atlanta and San Francisco each linking it to her website.

The website revealed intimate moments between her and the executive. They had quite a history together despite his wife and kids. Vacations to China and Sydney, trips on a yacht, love notes,etc., were all put on display to embarrass him. She did everything short of releasing an infamous sex tape.  Did he make promises he wouldn't keep?  Was she delusional from the jump? Who knows.

September 2010 Charles Philips resigns from his position at Oracle, but don't cry for him he is currently the CEO of a software provider in New York.  Ms. Wilkins now has a documentary about the long affair scheduled to screen at the Harlem Festival. She is also suing the director of the film who she claims is in dealings with Philips who wants to purchase the documentary.  Charles Philips who was in divorce proceedings in 2008 has reconciled with his wife.

Is YaVaughnie Wilkins getting revenge at this point or is she punishing herself?  The emotional energy and financial resources she has committed are ridiculous. In the beginning revenge seems victorious but the sweet feeling fades.  At some point you have to stop dwelling on past relationships, bury them, and move forward.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Dream of Sexual Equality


A few years ago I picked up the novel Sexual Healing by Jill Nelson.   Two black women n their 40s decide they are going to secretly open a brothel spa strictly for black women, to indulge in all their carnal pleasures.  The idea comes to them as they fantasize about the perfect man and lament about their relationships.  One is in a relationship with a two-minute brother and the other has had a series of bad luck with men. It is hilarious when these two unlikely pimps start auditioning and interviewing the men to work at the brothel.  The employment application alone is worth a read.  A conservative preacher discovers their new business and tries to shut them down.

In the real world we know men have many avenues to satisfy their sexual urges. Brothels, massage parlors, and strip clubs can be found all across the country. (Where I live, they have 24 hour strip clubs.) I can't  forget to mention those trips to the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Brazil, but that's another story. I don't know if a brothel for women actually exists.  I am pretty sure there isn't one that caters to black women allowing them to pay for uninhibited toe-curling sex. Imagine if a woman dares to admit that she doesn't want to have a relationship with a man, she only wants to fuck.  In our society if a woman has a healthy sexual appetite she risks the possibility of being labeled a "ho" or a "slut".

I had a discussion with a young man about a very attractive woman in her thirties who had been known for dating several men over the years.  If a relationship did not work out she was on to the next with a quickness.  Well he slipped up and called her a "ho".  I was offended. "So just because she has decided she is not going limit herself to one man she is a ho"? I asked.  He got defensive. "She has been with way too many men", he insisted.  "What is too many, ten, twenty, thirty"? The conversation got heated and neither of us would budge.


We have come a long way from the Victorian era when a woman was expected to only have sex with one man, her husband.  A man on the other hand could fornicate with whomever he wanted to and he was just being that, a man. The struggle for women's equality is far from over.  Women are taking charge of their sexuality and making no excuses for it. The days of letting society dictate what we do in the bedroom, or any other room, is behind us.  We are in control of our bodies and have the right to enjoy our sex lives as we see fit. But as long as words like slut, ho, and skank are used to describe a sexually liberated woman we have quite a way to go.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Words To Live By

I am a a self professed internet junkie.  I love surfing the web.  I especially love those inspirational sites that  teach you some invaluable lessons and lead you on a positive path.  Here are some of my current favorites.

  • Choose your life mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
  • Accept that you won't be attractive to everyone.
  • Give people a second chance, but not a third.
  • Date someone out of your league.
  • Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Friends Without Benefits

Men and women can be friends without a sexual relationship.  Platonic relationships do exist but there are times when men may object to the direction the woman is taking it.  I got some feedback from some intelligent brothers who believe women, at times, step over their boundaries when it comes to friends without benefits.

TOP FIVE THINGS A WOMAN SHOULD NOT EXPECT FROM A FRIEND WITHOUT BENEFITS.
  1. Don't expect to be coddled, you will get the raw truth. 
  2. Don't expect me to pay your way.  Ladies we should not assume that just because he is a man he will always pick up the check.  Yes he is a man, but not your man.
  3. Don't expect me not to holla at females.  You and he may have walked in the bar or club together but he will step to other women.  Do not give him shade for not paying attention to you all night.
  4. He won't always be able to return your phone call right away.  In other words unless it is an emergency, it can wait.
  5. Don't feel threatened by the women he is romantically linked to.  You and he are not a couple don't be rude to the women he dates. 










Sunday, September 9, 2012

B.O.B

Mr. Marcus 9 at Xandria.com
THE BLACK LUST EDITION.

Ladies, B.O.B, Battery Operated Boyfriend, as Raheem Devaughn so delicately put it to music, should be in every woman's collection.  We are all sexual beings and suppressing our desires and urges is unnatural. Recently I attended a Passion Party for a fun and wicked educational night with some girlfriends.   Some of the ladies like myself, already had indulged in the pleasures of sex toys while others were straight up B.O.B virgins.  We had a blast, while tipsy of course, discussing all the possibilities these treasures could offer.

I could remember the first time I bravely walked into a sex shop.  I was alone and in my early twenties window shopping in the West Village.  I had passed that sex shop countless times, but that day I got the nerve to walk in.  This was pre-online shopping days, so I am showing my age.  It was overwhelming and I was amazed at the number of things people can use to get themselves and their partners off.  The swings, harnesses, whips, fuzzy handcuffs, etc.. had my head spinning.  I walked out with my first vibrator, a rabbit, and a set of naughty dice.  Twenty years later a woman can discretely go online to a website, peruse the catalog and make a purchase which arrives in a nondescript package in her mailbox.

Sex toys are a healthy way for a woman to explore her sexuality and explore what makes her kitty feel good.  Masturbation for too long has been a taboo subject, especially among black women. Blacks are exceptionally conservative as a group and as women; well we are caught up in the Madonna/whore syndrome.  Some of us think you can't be a good christian or member of society if you indulge in the pleasures of the flesh.  That is doing yourself an injustice.  I am not supporting deviant behavior but natural sexual exploration involving consenting adults.  A sex toy can truly help the relationship you are in. Think of all the possibilities involved in learning about each others bodies.  Our careers, family obligations and the day to day bull shit can take a toll on us allowing our sex lives to get monotonous. Trying out new gadgets, positions, and interesting places to get busy can enhance a relationship.  So gather some girlfriends throw a passion party for a fun night together.  You are never to old to learn.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The last hazy days of summer are behind us and this is the last weekend to catch a summer flick at the theather.  I have to admit Magic Mike and Madagascar 3 were the only films I saw this summer. Kind of a weird combination, I know.  I am longing for a sultry, sexy Black romantic film. So I began reminiscing about those movies of the past that exemplified the beauty and complexity of love between a Black man and woman.  Here are a few.

Love Jones.  When Nina and Darius finally get together the screen was on fire. But when Darius uttered those words, "fuck your man I ain't worried about him."  I melted.


Brother to the Night (A Blues for Nina)


Mahogany. Before there was Denzel or Idris Elba,  Billy Dee Williams was the chocolate sex symbol that made all the women swoon.  His movies with the ultimate diva, Diana Ross are classic black films that captured the hearts of many black girls who had not seen the likes of that brown chemistry before.  Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues, the Billie Holiday, biopic, were sexy, dark and unforgettable. Mahogany had some over the top scenes but when Billy Dee and Diana Ross shared the screen the moments were timeless. The young politician and the fashion designer/model were a sensual dynamic duo. Those words Billy Dee uttered still ring true, "success is nothing without someone you love to share it with!



Mahogany 1975

Claudine.  A garbage man and a maid who is trying to raise her six children meet and fall in love.  Sounds cliche or possibly exploitative, but Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones' performances squash all that.  Finding love in the concrete jungle of Harlem can be a struggle but when you discover it, it is definitely worth while.