“So One-track Minded”: Black Women and Sexual Performance As Sport

On May 19th, 2013, Nicki Minaj performed on stage at the 2013 Billboard awards. This performance included Lil’ Wayne in a duet fashion performing the song “High School”.

 

“Hotter than a middle eastern climate, find it 20 mataran dutty whine it, while it, Nicki on a pit while I sign it, how these niggas so one-track minded but really really I don’t give a F-U-C-K” – Nicki Minaj, “Monster”

 

“Look at all that ass”

 

 

The overall performance was divided it into three acts:

 

Act one:

Nicki Minaj coming out and doing her solo verse, a slightly erotic gyration as she eases from bar to bar verbally and physically hypnotizing her adoring fans.

 

Act two:

Lil’ Wayne and Nicki Minaj piggy backing bars with Lil’ Wayne introducing his dull cliché of hypermasculine energy that has prevailed for much of hip hop’s history.

 

Act three:

Which is of course, my second favorite act, Nicki Minaj giving Lil’ Wayne a strip club style lap dance.

 

My biggest concern with all of this outside of the normal apprehensions that come when one thinks about all the young children that might be watching was Lil’ Wayne’s inability to let Nicki Minaj just have her moment. Now, it needs to be written, Nicki Minaj totally owned Lil’ Wayne on that stage when he was sitting in that chair and she kicks that right leg up, slides with a step to straddle and just goes into her popping. She embraces her physique’s appeal, a strip tease for the audience of fantasizing fans that have fetishized her gluteus maximus with her hands pulling teasingly through her legs. And just when she concludes with her Captain Morgan’s stance on the chair after dismissing Lil’ Wayne, her prop…her stage accoutrement speaks in its mutant language.

 

“Look at all that ass”

 

It was an embarrassing power transferal. I would not even call it that. The statement in that moment is better referred to as power dissipation, really. And it did remind me of a similar performance by Kelly, Michelle, and Beyoncé of Destiny Child’s.

 

The Stats of Destiny’s Child Catering Service

 

 

At the 2005 BET Awards Show, the ladies escort Magic Johnson, Nelly, and Terrance Howard out to the main stage area and sit them down in respective chairs. Michelle partnered with Magic; Kelly partnered with Nelly; and Beyoncé with Terrance Howard. It seemed as though poor Michelle needed a footstool to hurdle onto the lap of Magic, and once there she seemed completely out of her league by being on his lap! There is a natural power dynamic attendant to height, and even sexual prowess can be incapable of reducing it. Kelly completely overpowered Nelly. In parts of the tease we can see Kelly having to guide Nelly’s hands, it just looked like poor Nelly had completely been reduced to the proverbial putty in Kelly’s hand. Which makes Beyoncé’s grace look less than polished in that particular performance.

 

 

Of course, as the lead singer, Beyoncé immediately commands the attention of the cameraman, all the magnetic seductiveness of the others, but with one difference, Terrance Howard is slowly sapping energy from her magic. And he’s not doing anything but giving in. Unlike Nelly who has just given up, Howard’s creepy puppy dog look is more controlled, and Beyoncé knows it. Towards the end of the dance she is almost falling into his arms — the absolute contrast to what Kelly Rowland has caused Nelly to do!

 

‘In Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham first coined the term “politics of respectability” to describe the work of the Women’s Convention of the Black Baptist Church during the Progressive Era. She specifically referred to African American’s promotion of temperance, cleanliness of person and property, thrift, polite manners, and sexual purity. The politics of respectability entailed “reform of individual behavior as a goal in itself and as a strategy for reform.” Respectability was part of “uplift politics,” and had two audiences: African Americans, who were encouraged to be respectable and white people, who needed to be shown that African Americans could be respectable.

African American women were particularly likely to use respectability and to be judged by it. Moreover, African American women symbolized, even embodied, this concept. Respectability became an issue at the juncture of public and private. It thus became increasingly important as both black and white women entered public spaces.

…The prevailing interpretation suggests that the politics of respectability undermined the rigidly scientific nature of racial categories, but generally tended to reinforce status distinctions within the African American community. These distinctions were about class, but they were defined primarily in behavioral, not economic, terms. By linking worthiness for respect to sexual propriety, behavioral decorum, and neatness, respectability served a gatekeeping function, establishing a behavioral “entrance fee,” to the right to respect and the right to full citizenship…’

 

– Gatekeeping and Remaking: The Politics of Respectability in African American Women’s History and Black Feminism, Paisley Jane Harris

 

Without delving too deeply into the politics of respectability, I do want to say that there is a difference between what Nicki does and what the Women of Destiny’s Child do. And I do not want this to get bogged down in the class (behavioral) discussion, because I feel Nicki could have done the exact same performance without the guy that used to strike a pose kissing his “daddy” and it would have been extremely powerful. Lil’ Wayne was at best a prop. However, there is a nuance that separates “seductive” from “sexy”, and I do believe Nicki Minaj falls into the later category. Sure, from my hetero masculine eyes, it is easy to fetishize Nicki in the same manner that White men have been fetishizing the Afrikan feminine anatomy throughout their records of history.

 

And without having to dance around the ring in any polemic bouts, sure, there is an objectifying quality here. But, sexual appreciation is often objectifying. Yet, I fully respect and honor the SHE of Kelly Rowland as she effortlessly causes Nelly to slide into trance level state of consciousness with her body movements and allure. While objectifying her in his head, she’s turned him into not much more than an object! And honestly, so has Minaj. While Little Tunechi is looking for a role to play, he settles for the shallowest pebble in his mind, the obvious look at Nicki Minaj’s derrière and locker room puerility of a 17 year young seaman recruit receiving his first lap dance. Little absorbs the collective psyche of 15 year old White boys in the United States and says what they wish, while Howard does to Beyoncé only what Jay seems to have, or at least I am hoping for Jay’s sake.

 

“How These Niggas So One-track Minded”

 

It is the childish expression that Little chooses out of his bag of mental marbles to display that causes me to wish Minaj had not done the performance with him. I can handle the raunchy. It was intentional. Destiny Child is singing a ballad catering to the men, some feminists may be adverse to that, but it was the song. I refuse to attend the outrage of anyone upset that heterosexual women are singing heterosexual songs. Minaj is rapping with Little– although their verses are asymmetrical– about a tryst between a man and woman. Nicki Minaj’s verse discussing how a woman helps a man to see the finer things in life after he has been incarcerated, Little’s concluding verse a batch of controlling banter that happens to be highly sexual. I expect Minaj to pay homage to Choice, Lil Kim, Trina, Salt-N-Pepa, Oaktown 357 and that sort of style of dancing and presentation because that is the genre in which she is in, and her entire career has been in homage to that particular posture developed by those women. I did not feel as though she was distasteful, in fact, I thought it was tantalizing. Her moves need polish, but so did Beyoncé’s moves.

 

Ultimately, I never want to write anything that would ever be deemed as me reducing any woman’s, or group of women’s power to “ass shaking”. For one, I would never reduce the herstories of Women globally to sex, there is too much pain in an Assata chapter for that. Nor would I ever reduce what Nicki Minaj, Michelle, Kelly, or Bey did as “ass shaking”. From belly dancing to ghost dancing, there is an extensive human art, science, and politic to the kinesiology represented in dance. I would just like it if niggaz let women do their thing, and if there must be power transference, let it be the gracefulness of a stare held too long cascading into the personae unmasking itself on stage in laughter.

 

Politics Of Sex & Sport

 

“An argument might be made that part of what it means to be a male athlete is to remain, emotionally at least, at the developmental level of many adolescent boys.” – “Studs, Tools, And The Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By” Peter F. Murphy pg. 80

 

“When sex becomes a contest, a means for domination and conquest, male-female relationships are reduced to a game in which there are “winners” and “losers.” The question, “Did you score last night, Steve?” represents an extension of male competitiveness in which “females are often perceived as opponents and various strategies or game plans are developed to get them to submit”. Men feel comfortable on the playing field, where they know the rules of the game and can maneuver a victory. This may be part of the reason many men avoid smart women. In addition to having their sense of insecurity about their own intelligence exacerbated, men may also fear losing. A woman who understands the rules of the game may be too much of an opponent, and male identity may be too invested in being the winner.” – ibid, pg. 85

 

 

That being typed, I think this comparison is an interesting study in how certain power dynamics operate. Without having to lean too heavily on my patriarchal socialization, there are spaces where sex is sport. And there is a space where the choices of conduct that deem us as quick witted are sport. Sport in the United States, is traditionally a male dominated social area. US professional sports define “equality” by the idea that no woman is physically capable of competing with male athletes. Even trying out for a position on a professional team where men compete is scoffed at (although that as a hiring practice in any other domain would be illegal). This fundamental notion is extended beyond race and class. In the Black community the male intellectual is relegated to the position of patriarch(like the pastor of one’s church, think Cornell West, Michael Eric Dyson), and the woman athlete is relegated to social statures that are familiar as well: the “tomboy, the “stud”(or “want-to-be male”), or a hobbyist at best.

 

“Since their earliest manifestations in pre-Greek civilization, sports have grown out of a society’s need to be proficient in war. Hunting, wrestling, running, horse racing, and fencing gave warriors a means to improve crucial components of the limited military resources they had at hand. Ideologically, sports have been used domestically to reinforce class differences and to encourage men to become soldiers.” – “Studs, Tools, And The Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By” Peter F. Murphy, pg. 60

 

Hip hop, as many will explain, has as one of its many roots, the battle rap. This is art as sport, music as competition. For Nicki to be privy to the space she holds– a Woman successfully navigating a space of sport in the US– is a feat in and of it Self. Dance also has competitive space, with dance competitive companies. Dance as competition has emerged to the degree of suggestions of pole dancing as an Olympic sport as Pole competitions is a professional sport. So, none of this is far-fetched. The space Michelle, Beyoncé, Kelly, and Nicki Minaj find them Selves in is not new terrain in the psyche of the viewers. Yet, like most things where Women, especially Black Women, have an advantage, the status of the event is tampered with to appease male insecurities.

 

“The relationship between sports and war in U.S. history illustrates the role of athletics as an instrument of oppression and animosity. Gorn and Goldstein trace the subtleties of this association, beginning with the American Civil War which “provided a well of memory, a master metaphor for the belief that conflict between individuals, classes and nations lay at the heart of human existence”. As a moral equivalent of war, “athletics offered an opportunity for young men to get their first taste of glory, and for older men to renew the tingle of heroic combat”.” – “Studs, Tools, And The Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By” Peter F. Murphy, pg. 61

 

 

Nicki Minaj, one of the only Women in professional Hip Hop in 2013 with the degree of her success, can surely be taken to task for certain, um, added physical accessories. But so should Lil’ Kim, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and a host of other Black Women with national media coverage throughout history that alter body parts for cosmetic purposes. Sure, is there a pornification of Hip Hop? There has BEEN a pornification of Hip Hop since back when Salt-N-Pepa got on a stage in those black skintight outfits and told the world to “Push It”. I think it is dangerous to immediately run to the old standby of sexual lewdness as deleterious when it is women, or specifically Black Women, that command the power of the sexual act being portrayed.

 

Hip Hop dance, as well as sexual performance in the art of dance, is a fairly Woman dominated sport. An aside here could easily be that the competitive forms of dance dominated by men such as tap dance, break dance, and Capoeira as dance are more popular and acceptable in mainstream. The portrayal of Little, Magic, Nelly, and Howard as submissive instruments for the extension of Black Women’s exhibition is not a role men, especially Black men of stature, are commonly associated with. Yes, Nelly got the treatment, and showed it, and he was supposed to! Little was worked like the uneven bars in a Gabby Douglas set. Unfortunately, for Nicki, after she was done with her presentation of prowess, the damn balance beam wants to remind the world why it was supposed to be the inanimate object to begin with!

 

 

“Historically, as form of resistance to the negative stigmas and caricatures about their morality, African Americans adopted a “politics of respectability.” Claiming respectability through manners and morality furnished an avenue for African Americans to assert the will and agency to redefine themselves outside the prevailing racist discourses. Although many deployed the politics of respectability as a form of resistance, its ideological nature constituted a deliberate concession to mainstream societal values. The self-imposed adherence to respectability that permeated African American women’s lives, as well as African American culture, also later impacted African American activism and the course of scholarship in African American Studies. This strict adherence to what is socially deemed “respectable” has resulted in African American scholars’ confining their scholarship on African Americans to often the most “heroic,” and the most successful attributes in African American culture; it has also resulted in the proliferation of analyses which can be characterized as culturally defensive, patriarchal, and heterosexist.”“Examining the Politics of Respectability in African American Studies”, Kali N. Gross

 

So far, US history has shown us that Black Women are going to be lambasted as “whores” and morally deprived for simply being the interests of male concupiscence. If it is Black male concupiscence, there may not be an interruption in the game, but if it is in command of White male concupiscence, then you can almost guarantee a flag on the play. Madonna comes out on stage in a teddy to be received as queen and is not even performing, Beyoncé is attacked as being ‘too racy’ and ‘trampy’ for energizing an audience with spectacular use of technology, choreography, and enchantment. As a Black man and a media analyst, I have to toe the line of observer, voyeur, historian and critic. There is a history of competition between Black women and White women that reflects a delicate history where White men could glance, hawk, and rape Black women almost like hunting as Thomas Jefferson does Sally Hemmings, and then returns to the bed to place his White wife trophy on the well sculpted pedestal. The hard-fought battles of women like Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Fannie Lou Hamer, Mary Bethune-Cookman, Assata Shakur, Elaine Brown, and countless others were not waged alongside White Women in the manner some feminist writers might misleadingly inject. The need for the protection of the “chaste” image of White Women remained a bloody timeline, while Black Women had to navigate a desirability that historically marked them as libidinous, a justification for the centuries of rape by White men, and also one that was anchored in centuries of caste positioning them in a psychological strata below White Women even in the minds of Black men.

That any Black Woman is able to capture the appeal of audiences in a seductive and sexy fashion without it being labeled in some manner as “animalistic” or “less than ladylike” is to confuse one’s Self with the implements of strategy. There is power in the sport of art and that power is economically viable, and psychologically impacting. We are not discussing subjective qualifications alone here, this is practical and utilitarian. Sport is the peacetime version of war, and there are gains to be had by the victors. Those gains will not be silently and calmly transmitted.

 

“The sports hero embodies this sense of control for the fan who vicariously lives out his fantasy world through the superathlete who has it all: money, fame, and beautiful women. Spectatorship emerged concomitantly with the rise of a consumer society and came replete with myths of the superathlete created by a burgeoning profession of sportswriting for an audience that sought “a sentimental sense of community, not new information or good writing”” – ibid, Murphy, pg. 76

 

Since sport is the peacetime preparation for war, it also contains elements of power and conquest. As a man, the sport of mating is a dog pit where my emotions and position as patriarch is the booty while I am tasked with getting…well, the booty. Beyoncé and Minaj are not just seen as artist in that sort of dynamic, they are looked at as champions. But there is a social dynamic of White supremacy that even in the most quantifiable of topics will place some quality of White involvement in a more worthy position than any other participant, as well as reduce the role of those non-white participants. It is a part of the game. What we call “shyt talking”, or “bad mouthing” on the court or the field of game is the propaganda of the war monger. As such, those competitors that are not the Beyoncé’s, the Michelle’s, the Kelly’s, the Nicki’s or a host of other celebrated Black Women whose entertainment puts them at the level of champion will be attacked, maligned, and antagonized like Jordan Crawford insulting Carmelo Anthony. Which makes me disdainful of Little and his immature response to what was a powerful play. It is proper to note here that Gabby Douglas, the first US Black Woman, and subsequently the only US athlete, to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics was not celebrated for her status but demeaned for her hair.

 

Black Men: Ball-hogging and Lack of Team Loyalty

 

“Racism finds a counterpoint in the sexism and misogyny of sports. Despite the impressive growth in the number of women participating in athletics, sports continue to evolve as an expression of a male culture that keeps women in their place even while on the playing field.” – “Studs, Tools, And The Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By” Peter F. Murphy, pg. 78

 

 

In the same vein that I felt insulted that Shawn Carter had to refer to Beyoncé as a “bitch” in his song with Kanye, “that’s my Bitch”, I felt like Wayne fumbled a ball on a fourth down pass right at the in-zone. If a Black man of Carter’s stature can pay homage to the stereotypical older White patriarchs with his suit and ties and tumblers of brown liquor, can he not also extend the image of a team mate to the Woman that got him the Oprah interview? I cannot demand anyone treat their wife without verbally abusing them, wait, that’s not true, but, I am not going to do it now. It would be nice if Black men could show the same degree of loyalty to the team that Black Women collectively have shown throughout our genesis in the US. Nicki Minaj is helping to establish your brand beyond the place she found it. Regardless of what the uninitiated might think or type, proper training in team sports holds that if your teammate is about to score, the least you do is get out of the way and let them, if you can’t block or defend them. The proper show of appreciation in most sport cultures in the US is to grasp hands, nod approvingly, hug, or slap arse. You don’t have to open your mouth to the adoring fans in the stands. Champions walk off the stage of sport with the thunder of applauding fans as the background music of their life without needing to speak or allude to their win. Not because they are arrogant, but because they have been there before.

 

 

Women Who Raised Each Other

There are no men in my family
Makes them foreign creatures to me
Exotic in their beauty
Sisterhood is far more familiar to me

 

No granddaddy to sit me on his knee
My father was too mean to my mama and too docile with the second wife
So what is a husband?
She who pays the bills runs the household
So what does it mean to rely on someone else?

 

We are the women who raised each other
Aunt Mable kept a shotgun
We defend our own honor
That nigga hit her so I’m knocking on his door
My mouth thinks I have more testosterone than my muscles could ever deliver
But who else gone do it?
We have no one to hide behind
We walk down dark alleys alone prepared to bear whatever might happen
We absorb the pain; we keep it movin
All we got is us

 

What would it mean to have two parents in a house who loved each other?
Who will we be buried next to?
And what of these little boys?
Can we ever make them men?
No; we coddle them
Shield them from accepting responsibility and never set them free
Baby boy might be the only man who never leaves me

 

I want to be like that nuclear family on TV
but my guts’ been nagging me
Saying “baby girl, that’s a pipe dream”

 

I study old couples like a foreign language
Teach me a tongue in which I can trust
Translate for me shared responsibility
We are the girls who chase boys away
Or maybe pick ones never worthy of entering this convent
They are lacking in piety

 

All I’ve ever learned is ‘niggas ain’t shit’
And it’s not from pontification; this is what I’ve witnessed
So how can I ever believe a promise of forever?
That idea is as fantastic as the Star Wars trilogy
Science fiction

 

Yes there’s some logic there but where is the live evidence?

 

So what do we do with these little boys?
Not one raised to be better than his predecessor
Have we failed these men?
Taught them to fail their women?
Breast fed for too long so they learn to be parasites

 

I bought my own house
No one to work that yard or take the trash out
So I keep a job that pays enough that I can hire someone to do man things
I can only depend on me; folk too easily take off those rings
We are the women who raised each other

 

We become mothers not knowing our fathers
How do you teach a daughter to be nothing like you?
We repeat mistakes
Pat on the back if you reached 18 without pregnancy
We are the girls who raised each other

 

We pick each other up when men drop us like belt buckles hitting the floor with a clank
He moves on; it’s moving time
Hot summer days in ponytails we load the truck
Men become our nemeses
Enemies
Pain givers; pleasure seekers
Our expectations fall lower and still they can’t deliver
And yet we love them
Keep buying those dreams
And paying for them
We are the women who raised each other

 

We hold each other closely
We love each other fiercely
We guard each other nobly
We are the women who raised each other

Nuance & Anti-patriarchy

bell hooks said that Feminism is for everybody. The idea that every woman has the right to determine her own reality is for all of us to embrace. I’ve spent the time since encountering bell hooks and other feminist/womanist writers in some serious introspection about my own behavior, what I say, how I say, and just the general way in which I go about relating to the world around. However, what I’ve noticed is a lack of a place where the nuances and particulars of being a man –particularly a Black Man — in the struggle against patriarchy on a personal level has the floor. Part of this is because so few of us truly and sincerely engage anti-patriarchy. That lack of participation makes it hard to come together to compare experiences because most of the time when men are engaged with an anti-patriarchal discussion it’s due to a call out where someone is being held responsible for their oppressive behavior; where it then becomes a competition where we are comparing the weight of our respective pain and betrayal on a personal and group level. Such behavior is silencing the very valid voices of feminists and womanists on how we as men are hurting women via our privilege as well as preventing the kind of discussion that needs to happen regarding how we are interpreting behaviors so we can make this unity thing work.

 

What my experience has shown is the lack of models and lack of discussion started by us about engaging feminism as well as our hurt and pain in relationship to our solidarity with women. For those of us that are sincere about unity and solidarity it creates this hesitancy to ask questions or bring things up for discussion because of the potential backlash and being labeled unsafe in the communities we frequent. This troubles me because it creates this cycle of silence where we only bring up our experiences in response to when women criticize us because of patriarchy. The fact is that not enough of us are speaking up and out about patriarchy and our pain and so when we make mistakes, they end up being translated as the standard for our behavior rather than the exception.

 

On the other end of that, however, are some folk out there who seem to have already made up their minds about the inadequacy or worthlessness of men especially black men and thus a man’s engagement of anti-patriarchy is them waiting for you to mess up so they can be like,”a-ha! I knew u wont shit.” Granted this is a reaction against the system of patriarchy but if one has been written off from jump there’s no solidarity to grow into. Everything I have experienced in my time and growth in anti-patriarchy shows me that it is very much an act of unlearning and undoing that which has been normalized. Mistakes are apart of the process and at times seems to be very little leeway for that. Sometimes there is the rush to judgment over a sloppily worded thought or poor understanding of a concept.

 

As a practical example, I look to the character Teacake in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Looking at how Hurston writes Teacake: how he is, how he sees Janie as an equal partner, how he is willing to talk with her and listen. Hurston could have made TeaCake perfect, could have had him and Janie ride off into the sunset or have him tragically die but have maintain that vision of TeaCake as the prototype. However, in Teacake, Hurston puts in jealousy which causes him to abuse Janie, and his pride which plays a role in his death — culminating when Janie kills Teacake. we are made aware that the rabies has taken over and there is nothing really left of Teacake there. Hurston show us how tragic, murderous and destructive the kind of behavior we define as manly (patriarchal) can be but also that it’s something that even the most exceptional among us struggle with. Whether paragon or pariah we have to look at Teacake in the totality of being.

 

I think this is a lesson we could all use.

Fucking Up Royally – A Love Story –

What is it about a woman? From their outer beauty to the characteristics that make them who they are, women always have a way of catching the attention of anyone with eyes. The type of attitude that they possess and the style that choose to express creates many thoughts inside of a man’s mind.

Enough of the obvious..

I’ve always had a problem with women. Since I was young, I always was attracted to older women. However, it was the younger ones who always ended up capturing my heart. I like to compare women to art; they’re masterpieces. Thus, this is where the problem comes in for me. My ex once told me that I was dramatic and I love attention. She told me that I need someone who can always hold my attention, because I am quick to go after something new. I couldn’t disagree with her, because it is true. There’s nothing like a woman who looks good, smells good, and is good at what she does. If you know what I mean.

I had a masterpiece, but I was too busy checking out all the other exhibits in the gallery. Now hindsight is a muhfucka. Hindsight can show you exactly who you were, how you were, and what you were. Unless one is seriously delusional or just in denial, one cannot deny the fact of what their own pasts provides. When I say this, I mean that a person’s past is filled with all of their own thoughts, words, and actions. When I look at my pasts, I see self-inflicted pain. I was a happy child and I smile and laughed a lot, but I had plenty of dark moments. Inside of those dark moments is where I found a lot of my strength. However, those same dark moments are the ones that produced ways that aren’t always the brightest of ideas.

Growing up, I loved chicks. I just didn’t trust them. Being from Detroit, you are apart of a specific type of culture. Fashion plays a big role in that culture and not having the means to participate in shopping sprees made it hard for the girls to want you. Sure, clothes aren’t everything, but try telling that to someone who believes otherwise. Once I got to high school, I was able to afford to get the desirable fashions. However, I was still holding on to the pain of rejection.

Everyone has some type of insecurity. Not everyone deals with the root of those issues. Being in a relationship, while not handling insecurity issues, can create so much unnecessary stress. I think I put my ex through more stress than I have put anyone else through. That’s not something you do with someone you love. I mean, stress kills! My love for women and my need to prove that I could get that woman’s attention was always a problem. I’m a natural flirt. I love to hold conversations and I love to make people laugh. Whenever you flirt, there is always something else occuring underneath the flattering words and the interaction. At times, the flirting would escalate to so much more. At the end of the day though, I knew who I loved. At least I thought I did.

The pain of losing a woman that you truly adore can be one of the most unbearable feelings to have to experience. It’s like wishing that the Sun would rise, but knowing that tomorrow will never come. No matter how much I tried, winning her back was never the final result. That shit crushes an ego and goes straight past the heart and touches the soul. At least, that’s what I felt. Yet, this was my own self-inflicted pain. It was, partly, caused by having unresolved issues that manifested in wanting to prove that I wouldn’t get rejected.

I look at life like a game of Chess; I am the King and my life is my board. Now, in Chess, the King isn’t the most powerful piece, the Queen is. The Queen protects the King. Also, there is another Queen and King on that same board. Trying to go after the other Queen can be very detrimental, especially if you aren’t too good at playing the game. I was so attracted to countless other Queens that I allowed myself to lose sight of the very one who had my back, the one that was protecting me. In the end, all I got was a lesson that stuck with me to this day: Treat your woman how she deserves to be treated or you will lose her.

This King fucked up Royally, but the game isn’t over yet.

Are Midwest Black Men Better At Relationships Than Mid-Atlantic Ones?

Not always sure how to articulate my feelings regarding topics that can either tickle an eureka response, or become the reason for yet another sixty-six blocks to the Owl’s Asylum Twitter account. Considering that particular hesitance and the dire need to qualify each statement in this modern age’s art of political correctness, the task of writing about Afkan (Afrikan-Amerikkkan) male and female (can I write ‘female’ there and not be written off before execution?) relationships can be daunting. As a disclaimer, I can only write from my perspective. My perspective should be defined as my experiences, my observations, my analysis, and my opinion. The key word there in case you missed the oh so awkward use of repetition is ‘my’. Carrying on…

 

Relationships of complete organic design can be filled with surplus tensions that cause the bond to become brittle. Western psychology and Freud’s specific thoughts on incest aside, even mother and son relationships can be tumultuous. This is not to compare that naturally configured coupling to the romantic sort, yet it is to say, it takes work at some point to keep people operating together. People meet with one set of concerns and desires, and later on evolve or devolve with new considerations and motivations. Relationships take work.

 

If I might beg your pardon for one important digression.

 

Continue reading “Are Midwest Black Men Better At Relationships Than Mid-Atlantic Ones?”

The Cake Is Baked By @KolaBoof

As a Sudanese-born American-raised bestselling author who has been vaginally infibulated since birth, my rage regarding the infamous “Genital Mutilation Art Cake” is like a Hydra with many splintered heads and has scarcely been addressed by anyone in America asked to write about this issue.

The Infamous “Genital Mutilation Art Cake”

My Twitter friend @OwlsAsylum asked me to put my feelings in writing for his blog where I can be as open as I like…so I warn you now…that what I have to say is not going to be what you’re used to reading in Black American publications or even White-ran African ones.

Before I talk about what it’s like to actually live with a ‘cut vagina’ and my conflicting feelings around the whole controversy, let me quickly rehash what happened to cause this brouhaha—a Male Mixed Race Swede artist named Makode Linde (the term ‘mixed race Swede’ being shorthand for White to those of us who come from Africa) engaged in performance art in which he depicted the image of a Charcoal-skinned woman served up at a party as a living edible cake. The party, hosted by Sweden’s Minister of Culture Lena Adelsoln Liljeroth, was supposed to raise awareness about the issue of Genital Cutting in Africa. Honoring the artist’s own claims—his intention was to show how racist White people are by having the mostly White partygoers cut up and eat the genitals of the moaning, screaming Charcoal Woman. With glee, the Whites did exactly that. I’m laughing my ass off remembering it (the video)—but inside, I’m calling ‘Camel Shit’ on the artist’s supposed intent.

Let me ask those who see this as art right now. If it was Makode Linde’s intention to make the world ‘see’ how racist we are by eating the genitals of the moaning cake—then why not make the cake look like a real African girl? An older woman with big bare tits wouldn’t be having this genital cutting experience—a small child would. Certainly, I have no problem with the charcoal skin (what East Africans refer to as “Biblical Days Black”—the color of our original Cushitic mother). But it seems racially methodical to present this African image in a sexually Western stance (the large bare breasts stand at attention unnaturally; not fall to the side despite the fact she that she is lying supine—typical Western pornographic imagery that came in vogue when more than 30 million White women in 18 nations received fake silicone breast implants). Linde’s caricature is definitely not a small defenseless child receiving initiation rites in Africa. As well, notice the frighteningly garish mouth—savage teeth, swollen red lips—the stereotypical Western racist cartoon image that plagues waving Sambo figures on White doorsteps in the Southern U.S. and other grotesque Massa-Welcome images traditionally found comical by those who deny Black humanity.

Why was dreadlock-wearing Linde so insensitive to how his ‘African woman’ looked? My belief is that he never expected video of the party to reach the entire planet. He thought the ‘feel-good racist imagery’ would create a bonding experience between his lonely Biracial shell and the Superior Swedes he’s most likely sought acceptance and solidarity from all his life. Like so many new age Racists of Color, Makode Linde thought this display and all reaction to it would be confined to the upper class and their few ethnic puppets—kept in town, like most of his other art works.

Following the controversy, Linde stated, “I didn’t intend for anyone to feel embarrassed. But we’re talking about female genital mutilation—is there any comfortable or cozy way to talk about it?”

Yes there is—let me do so right now.

I was vaginally infibulated in Omdurman, Sudan soon after my birth. Infibulation in my region of Africa in 1969 meant that the muscles inside the vagina were cut loose and reconfigured ‘tighter’ (supposedly to incur ‘purity’ as the Mullahs claimed that the Koran states: “Woman is Impure”). After the tightening process, the vagina is stitched shut—you grow up having your period through a straw—which can take some women an entire month. On the outer lips of the vagina, seared in Arabic, they put the name of your father and his mosque on the left side—the right side of my vagina was left blank for the name of my future husband to be seared on with a hot poker later. My clitoris was not removed, because my birth mother was an Oromo, not a Muslim and wouldn’t allow what Arab Muslims call ‘the worm of unclean thoughts’ to be cut away. Thus I cannot speak on the horror of having no feeling, no clitoris. But protocol follows that years after this ritual—at your wedding ceremony, the groom is given a small razor. This is to slit you open so he can begin penetrating you on the ‘wedding bed’—a process that can take weeks.

I escaped the Arab Muslim wedding, because my parents were murdered in front of me at the age of six and my Egyptian grandmother handed me over to UNICEF (to be ‘left for adoption’ after she got permission from the Mullahs—adopting being illegal in Egypt) because she could not fathom having a chocolate colored granddaughter in her White Arabic family. Through UNICEF, I was eventually placed with a Black American family in Washington D.C. and did not learn that I was vaginally infibulated until my Black American mother gave me a bath the first time I arrived in America. She and my new Black American father rushed me to D.C. General Hospital that night, horrified at the stitching between my thighs.

My life is not typical of the African girl who has been circumcised or infibulated. I grew up Americanized. My Black American parents wanted to have my vagina “corrected” at 16—but I refused because it was the only thing that connected me to my birth mother. Losing my virginity at 17 to my Black American tutor (who to me was White because of his egg-nog colored complexion) took an entire month. Imagine having your upper lip pulled up over your entire head—that’s how it feels for a ‘cut girl’ when she first has sex, you literally pass out. On one occasion in the back of his car, we got ‘stuck’ like dogs and had to be “wet” by fire hose to get us apart. It was so humiliating. Each attempt was excruciatingly painful for me, but like any teenaged girl I was determined to prove that I loved my man. Later, in my twenties traveling the world as a model and actress, I learned the value of having “pinhole pussy”—I could manipulate men with it. No matter how many of them I bedded, it appeared to each next guy that I was a virgin. And when men think they are the first and it’s even tighter when they return—they do a lot more for you. My vagina gave me all manner of problems—hormone imbalances; winter time shrinking. But because of my power over men sexually, I grew to take pride in my vagina. I refuse for instance to allow Westerners to tell me that I’m “mutilated.” I don’t accept that. I am different, but my life is not over, I am not defeated and I see myself as inconvenienced; violated—but not mutilated. With its shield face and Arabic writing, my vagina is very pretty to me.

Activists using the term “mutilation” forget that this is a Psychological condition, not just physical. We that are cut have to live our entire lives with our vagina. We have to move on and accept this horrible inconvenience and find joy in it.

I am now 42 and have given birth to two sons by cesarean—yet I am like a 12 year old down there. It does not change. This tightness that is created for male pleasure (no other reason, despite what the religious men say) is a never-ending curse of pain and ecstasy; sexual rapture bound up in brutally inhuman suffrage for the woman. I have learned to live with this—to even exploit it for my advantage. But I would not wish it on anyone. My vagina has been for men…and not for me!

So to watch a man—a man calling himself a ‘Black man’—lay on a table and holler moans that invited laughter as his friends cut chunks of his pink genitals away and at them—was so devastatingly powerful that it reduced me to loud, butchered sobbing. I couldn’t stop crying. Add to that the psychological effect of having to cope with the strangeness of Western reaction—particularly Black American friends defending this image and claiming that the intent of the art was to help girls like me.

Help us how? Who did it change? Who among the masses even understood what they were watching? It looked like a Halloween comedy show! Far and wide—people were laughing! No one watching that video thought of little African infants lying on the ground in rows between Cassava plants being cut on by dutiful old women. No one thought of that.

And that brings me to the most painful experience of the video, the one that came in the days after I watched out—the shutting out of my voice and of women like me by arrogant bougie African American writers and publications—writers and publications that would claim to speak ‘for us’ in delineating the experiences of African women and girls in public forums—yet slander my name and claim that I am “crazy” and shouldn’t be understood or have a voice.

This happened despite the fact that I am a well published author in America; a citizen of America; a Black African woman and a person who is vaginally infibulated. These Blacks at Ebony.Com, The Root and The Grio…the same ones who insisted that Makode Linde’s “voice,” however controversial, should be analyzed and understood on an intellectual basis…dismissed me, an infibulated African woman writer as someone there should be no time for—no understanding of. Herein lies the hateful core of not only Linde’s art piece, but the overall problem with Western Blacks—the innate hatred, distrust and lies they quickly attach to a Black female image when that female image threatens to Blacken them.

Certainly, because I am a noted author, published in eight countries—what I have to say will go into the canon of Black literary commentary whether people like it or not. So I say that these editorial staffs at Ebony.Com, The Grio, The Root and so many other so called Black publications are ‘pretentious,’ ‘privileged’, ‘vain’ and ‘wrongheaded.’ They want to visit Africa like a grave. You dare not be in the room. There is nothing journalistically scientific or factual about their methods when they say that Makode Linde should exist and be heard, but not Kola Boof. This is what Linde’s cake represents no matter where a Black woman goes. Routinely, you hear these American Negroes say when discussing me, “She is crazy”….but not a single one will counter “Why is she crazy?”

They don’t even acknowledge the moaning cake.

I have slapped Amiri Baraka for repeatedly calling me a bitch at the Harlem Book Fair. While heckling me on stage, he also stated that I was a “CIA Agent” and…”really a man.” A year before that incident, my books were banned by Black American bookseller Eso Won—the top black bookstore in Los Angeles. I never had a single ‘run-in’ or altercation with anyone in or near that book shop ever. No explanation was given—my publisher was simply informed that my books and I were banned from their Afrocentric shelves.

After discovering that 12 other Black women writers are banned from Eso Won bookstore, including Pulitzer nominee Wanda Coleman—I felt something akin to Linde’s Sara Baartman cake. The perpetual cutting, mentally as well as physically, is worldwide for Black women.

One local Black radio talk show host befriended me and had a different take. He said that I am despised by Black Literati for being ‘too truthful’ in my speaking style, for focusing quite forcefully on dark skinned Black women’s issues and for refusing to accept America’s one drop rule and see Mixed Race people as “black.” This last one in particular angers them he said, because so many of the leading Black movers and shakers in publishing are mixed race blacks or Black men with White spouses and mixed offspring. Years even before that, however, I was lied on by Black American scholars that I’ve never met, as high up and influential as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cornel West—granted I can’t stand them and they probably knew that from reading my books. But the thing is, why would intellectual Afro-descended people be so afraid of the rising career of a Black African woman? I hadn’t slapped their friend Amiri yet. I hadn’t done anything but be an African Womanist artist.

And then there’s smaller fish like Dr. Goddess, Deesha Philyaw, Dan Billin, Dominique DiPrima, Arab-funded ESPAC reporters and so many others who gossiped incessantly behind my back and made one nefarious claim about me after the other—all without ever having met me. These are supposed to be smart Negroes and Arabs of high importance.

In the canon of Black history, they have the delusion that I am an unimportant ‘folksy’ figure (shocking and vulgar they say) who will one day disappear while they (cloaked in white collars, college degrees and visits to Harris-Perry’s Nerdland) will go on to be remembered as intelligent, fearless, Black-loving auteurs of what they called ‘the African Diaspora.’ Something more organic to them than me, mind you—because Whites owned them and they now think with the same arrogant self-importance of the White Tower. What could I, the dirty ground possibly have to say? This is very sad indeed as this is a virtual re-enactment of Zora Neale Hurston and the Niggerati of the 1930’s. And yes, as a writing talent and a critical thinker, I am comparing myself to Zora, most definitely.

One has to sigh and fan oneself, because naturally, I’m not innocent in this mess. From the beginning, I’ve been a complete bitch to anyone that dismissed my reality or my right to have a voice. I gave it right back to them with all the pent up relish of my life long suffering. But how dare an African mother come here and do that! We’re Black and we want our place in the White people’s great society—but she, our own mother, is not one of us!

Makode Linde personified more than anything the modern Black conscious when he fashioned that cake. And I promise you—the Cake Is Baked. Linde is not alone in that tar-black butchered bitch fantasy, which is why so many Blacks are defending him. Whether it be our own black sons on the radio calling us “Bitches and Hoes” or proclaiming in their latest works of art: “I don’t date Dark butts—why did my baby come out so Black—White women are better”—the Cake Is Baked. The men’s yellow icing drips down the side of our much-despised nappy heads like a golden blond weave. If we protest, we are called ‘angry…bitter.’

The violent-voiced male rapper is not a threat to the community. Barking like a dog is his right by virtue of testicles. Pathetic Nicki Minaj draped in Barbie Doll drag while referring to little black girls as ‘nappyhead hoes’ in more than two of her songs is not a threat to the community. But we, the moaning burnt cakes with savage teeth and thick red lips—our sliced up fudge-inducing pussies threaten the Black community’s Mulatto follies—their niggerstock delusions of a bright future. As I wrote in a book once: ‘The Black Woman is the most unprotected, unloved woman on earth…she is the only woman on earth…that grows unwatered.’ In America, where they believe (or want to believe)…that that Bitch in New York Harbor is their real mother…it sticks to their fingers like frosted truth. Since none of us in the Black community plan on staying black—we don’t have time to care about Black women. So of course the bougie Negro journalists must consider Makode Linde’s brand of art—he’s their sanctioned portrait maker!

The Hoe Killer

As I’ve stated elsewhere, or somewhere on the interweb, the more I hear, read, or find women using the term “bitch” the more I feel the need to either regulate my usage of the term “nigga”, or to remove it completely out of my verbal circulation. Although many of the posts on this site can be regarded as academic or erudite, their inception usually demands an anecdote. I was in a conversation the other day with a sister that I respect highly. The discussion referenced a phrase that has become a sort of proverb in the black community. The phrase is, “You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.” It always strikes me when women, especially women that I consider highly intelligent and strong, utilize and subscribe to patriarchal notions. In this particular instance, two notions of male rulership and designations of the woman’s “place” within that structure. The phrase might have slipped under the left radar had it been used in a different context, however, because this beautiful black goddess used this phrase in reference to herself, it struck a chord.

“In Renaissance Europe, coutiers played an extremely important role in upper-class society. It was customary for royal couple to lead separate lives — marrying simply to preserve bloodlines and to secure political alliances– men and women would often seek gratification and companionship from people living at court. In fact, the verb “to court” originally meant “to be or reside at court”, and later came to mean “to behave as a courtier” and then “to pay amorous attention to somebody”. The most intimate companion of a ruler was called the favourite.

‘Prostitution and the sex discrepancy in reported number of sexual partners'(Brewer, 2000) goes on to estimate a mean number of 868 male sexual partners per prostitute per year of active sex work…

In some cultures, prostitutes were the sole women allowed to sing in public or act in theatrical performances.”
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution

Whore means prostitute. And a prostitute is a woman who offers to hire her body for indiscriminate sexual intercourse, or so says The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Prostitute is further defined as a verb: to prostitute oneself is to sell one’s honor for base gain or to put one’s abilities to infamous use. Other dictionaries include men secondarily in the noun definition and specify in the verb definition the shame attached to dishonor and the unworthiness and wrongdoing attached to infamous use. The noun clearly denotes a person, especially a woman, offering heterosexual sex, in particular intercourse, for money; the verb denotes any person’s activity, which need not be sexual, put to uncommendable use. Those meanings are likely to conform to popular opinion except that many people collapse the second definition into the first. A prostitute then becomes one who sells her honor by offering to hire her body for base gain or for an unworthy doing, specifically sexual intercourse.”

– Gail Phetersoon, “The Whore Stigma, Female Dishonor and Male Unworthiness”

As expected, the above, with exception to Willie D’s artistic expressions of cynicism, if not outright misogyny, follow the western academic practice of overlooking, or outright not detailing, the historical practices of white male exploitation of Black Women. The term “hoe” derives from the word “whore”, which, as already mentioned in the quotes, is synonymous with the term “prostitute”. In a system of patriarchy, where women have to vie for male acceptance, and the oft coveted position of wife next to a man of means, the prostitute sits low on the totem pole of the hierarchy of desirable positions for women to have. The term “whore”, and “hoe”, have come to mean one behaving in such a manner, ultimately, a person that has numerous sexual partners outside of exclusive bondings, or a relationship of such a nature. It can also refer to a woman that dresses as such. The term, in the black community doesn’t solely refer to women, however, because the system of patriarchy affords a standard for men that is highly approving of sexual conquests. The term “hoe” when applied to a male is often considered a compliment to the receiver.

I suppose I would have to thank Todd Shaw for introducing the concept(“never make a hoe into a housewife”) to my impressionable young mind. As the song’s lyrics show, the term “hoe” is used interchangeably to refer to women in general, and women who sell sex as a profession. It is the use of the phrase “hoe” out of the context of prostitution that I would like the Asylum to consider here.

You see some people like to play the dating game
Meet a new freak and ask “what’s your name?”
Wine and dine and waste all that time
Spending money on a hoe cause you think she’s fine
Holding hands at the movies, waiting months to fuck
Played like a sucker, you should know what’s up
Getting dogged by a snotty, fake, broke-ass hoe
Listen to a real dog, cause I know
You get a pretty yellow bitch with that long-ass hair
Fine motherfucker trying to get with a player
Can’t fuck worth shit, old stiff-ass bitch
Tried to get some head and she just kissed my dick
I need a bitch with a beeper, a full time tramp
She can’t suck dick like she’s licking a stamp
But she can lick it all around, or swallow it whole
Deep throat this big dick and act real bold
You go to sleep, she’ll straight rob your ass
Cause Hoes like to steal and take all your cash
And when hoes go to jail, pimps make bail
Take ’em to the stroll and let the pussy sell
Cause to a trick, they’re just quick nuts
But to a grandmother, they’re like big sluts
And if you’re short dog, they look like bank rolls
If I ever go broke I’ll just break hoes
Cause hoes were made to be broken
It happens every day in Oakland
I need a bitch, that’s one thing I know
Put my money where my mouth is and just break that hoe
Two and fro, they like to run in pairs
Hit small towns and sell pussy everywhere
I ain’t giving no bitches, no kind of slack
Cause Oakland, California is where they made “The Mack”

Prostitution is the oldest profession
Kick back young partner, learn your lesson
Pimp till you die, as long as you know
Pimps ain’t nothing but hoes
Getting paid, for everything you say
If a hoe wants to fuck you, she gots to pay
Keep the bitch broke and control the world
Cause when hoes get rich, they call ’em “call girls”
Now ain’t nothing like a neighborhood trampy slut
Take a hoe to a spot and let her lick these nuts
Get a square bitch, you gotta lie to kick it
But with a nasty bitch, she’ll just lick it and lick it
I had a square bitch, man, she looked way too cool
She said she loved me, but is that true’
She asked me could she be my lady
Wanted so much to have my baby
So what bitch’ I popped your cherry
Hell fucking no, I don’t wanna get married
Cause can’t no bitch hound me
Talking that shit about a family
I wants no champagne, I drink gin and juice
Bring a bag of ice and watch a ho get loose
Spread the word, we’re getting tossed tonight
And please don’t trip on the cellulite
I got a fat bitch, sucking on my dick
Every day homie it’s the same old shit
Don’t look stupid, hoe, drop them goddamn drawers
Get your ass in the bed and let’s fuck like dogs
On the very first night, we fucked
I got the pussy, I got sucked
I couldn’t wait, she asked me why
I let the answer shoot straight in her eye, bitch

Hoes are like cum freaks, they suck you dry
The do what you say, and don’t ask why
Who said that hoe ain’t old enough’
If she could bleed, then she can fuck
Call me “dirty dog” but your cock stank
Motherfuckers think pimps ain’t making bank
But the, pimp game just don’t stop
You gotta be down to reach the top
I tell all my homies “play these hoes”
Don’t eat the pussy or pay these hoes
Cause some of these hoes get tore up smoking
Bitches like that you find all through Oakland
Miniskirts and no panties on
When it’s time to fuck, it don’t take too long
And it’s mandatory for hoes to simp
Catch other hoes and bring ’em to pimps
So take this game and keep it for life
Never make a hoe into a housewife
Just get a good bitch, a workaholic like holly
Bitch so bold, she’ll take a piss in the alley
And make big bank, it’s the pussy is dope
They keep coming back until the tricks go broke
But if that hoe jumps off the track
Another young bitch will bring them tricks right back

During the epoch of US slavery, black women were regarded as less than human. They were deemed subhuman females and were situated below white women of all classes and practices on the social hierarchy of white capitalist patriarchy. Black women were thought to possess high levels of libidinous energy, which would work as a justification for the rape and sexual exploitation of Black women by the white US male. For breeding purposes, Black women would be offered trinkets to have sex.

“On some plantations a woman might be given a small pig each time a child was born to her. Women were promised a new dress or a new pair of shoes at the birth of a child. A small monetary sum, form on to five dollars, might be given a slave woman at the birth of her fourth of fifth child. A few slaveowners promised freedom to black women who bore large families. A case appeared before the Virginia courts in 1761 in a dispute over a will that included a provision to free a female slave Jenny if she bore ten live children. Some enslaved women desired pregnancy, for they saw it as a means of obtaining certain advantages, the primary one being a lightening of the work load.” – bell hooks, “Ain’t I A Woman”

So, historically, and at the roots of the Black in America’s culture, we see a pattern where the women are reduced to sexual beings, and a forced form of prostitution has developed. The sexuality of the Black woman, and the hyperbolic, and grossly mythologized stereotype that Black women held “loose” sexual morals, and were sexual beasts would saturate the media and thus the psycho-cultural atmosphere of the US. The white woman, as a symbol of all that is pure in woman, would be held in high esteem. These patterns of thought have trickled down through the socio-historical storm drain, and revisit us in various forms.

As I have alluded to in another article, the white woman’s sexuality is presented to us in such a fashion, that even if she is portrayed as a “street walker”, considered the lowest status that a white women in this white capitalist patriarchal society could hold, she is still worthy of the white male of means emotional/romantic consideration. We see this plot played out in the movie, “Pretty Woman”.

As this trailer shows, the movie is full of the woman under the spell of patriarchal magic. We have the poor white woman being swept away by the rich white male. The writer, J.F. Lawton, places these words in her mouth as the describing of her childhood dream. This concept of the “prince” coming to save the “damsel in distress” riding on a horse, no doubt, the “Cinderalla” story, is saturated throughout white patriarchal folklore and story-telling. We’ve seen this script and template played out in various Tyler Perry plays and motion pictures. Unfortunately, in the black community, males are less apt to “save” the Black women down on her luck. In fact, the black man is taught against “saving hoes”.

What we see in this video is a use of the term “hoe” to imply underclass Black women. The video depicts a man driving a drop top 5.0 mustang(a mustang is a horse, and during the time of this video’s production, the vehicle was a status symbol in the Black community) pulling up to a woman walking with two children. The message is that a Black woman with two children is in an undesirable socio-economic condition, and any man willing to “save” her is worthy of disrespect. It is interesting to note that “Pretty Woman” is released in theaters in 1990, and “Captain-Save-A-Hoe” is featured on E-40’s 1993 release of “Mailman”. You have two very poignant depictions of social reflections with regard to how the Black man and the White man view their respective women. In one case, you have a woman that is soliciting sex, blatantly asking for money, and is regarded as worthy of a man who can make a statement about buying a billion dollar business over breakfast. In the other, you have a group of women being labeled hoes simply because of their economic status, and possibly race. Even if the argument that the song’s co-author, Earl Stevens, was making a statement about black men spending money on “gold diggers” is true, in comparison to the White patriarchy’s media message, the song still communicates a strong message to the Black community,”The Black woman is simply not worth the effort, and you are dumb if you try.” This message is in stark contrast to that of the White male’s message to his male grouping and to that of his female counterparts.

Since I am on the discussion of White men and their portrayal as saviors of their womenfolk, and because this is one of my favorite movies, I will venture to show the white woman as prostitute being romantically fought for in another theatrical piece. In the movie, “True Romance”, a script written by my favorite white writer/director to attack for racist portrayals, Quentin Tarantino, Clarence(Christian Slater) is a clerk in a comic book store that call-girl Alabama(Patricia Arquette) is paid to go on a date with. The two wind up having sex, and a teary eyed Alabama pronounces her love for Clarence, and they get married. Clarence confronts Alabama’s pimp, and in an interesting scene only Tarantino could have conjured up, Clarence kills Drexl, Alabama’s pimp. Now the movie has a few plot twist that I don’t feel concern us here, but over the course of the movie, Clarence shows his devotion to the former “whore” Alabama.

Of interest is that this movie was also released in 1993. Another noticeable contrast between what the white male media is presenting with regard to the white woman and how the Black Woman is presented by black males is the professional prostitute who finds love versus the regular woman who’s male counterparts are being advised to overlook them. Two movies released around the same time with similar messages:”prostitutes are people too, more so if they are white…of course.” The songs we have listened to have the message of “black women from underclass environs are all hoes.” Ironically, those black males who might argue that a man doesn’t want to be with a woman with several partners or the like, are comparing women who might have double digit amounts of past partners with women who are being portrayed as women who have, according to the above statistic, over eight hundred! That message alone says much about the media messages being disseminated. A Black woman is a hoe if she is unmarried with two children, or enjoys sex in the manner of men;a white woman is a hoe if she is a prostitute, and even in said instance, it is the duty of the white male to save her. In the black community, males are taught that they don’t want to be saved.

The sexual virtue of Black women has been attacked, and vilified since the early days of slavery. With the need to justify and legitimize the rape and sexual torture of black women, the white male system defined the Black Woman as a sexual temptress of sorts. When we look at the modern dances, dress codes, and styles of behavior, we are reminded of these myths and stereotypes that have been recreated and accepted in the Black community. My biggest concern is that Black women seeking approval and acceptance from Black men fall into the trap of internalizing these concepts. As Black males fail to secure power, and find themselves wrestling and killing one another for status symbols, the psycho-social templates of hyper masculinity will continue to readdress themselves. In a patriarchal society, the men of the oppressed peoples tend to degrade their own women for not treating them as the women of the oppressing race treat their men. It shouldn’t be a shock that most Black men seek out white woman once they have achieved a high level of financial success in this country. As the Lexus and Benz are symbols of wealth, and status, so is the white woman objectified as a symbol of the same. The Black Woman as the mistress, the other woman, the sexual appetite appeaser is still a common thought as we have seen in Tyler Perry’s “The Family That Preys”. The idea being that black women are cool to fuck, but you don’t want to settle down with them.

However, as long as Black women define themselves by the terms of a powerless, misogynistic male group, they will never rise to the potential within. If you define yourself as a hoe, based on my definition of the word, then you will always be a slave to the whims of my making. In a country where Black women are beset by sexism and racism, it is my opinion that Black women should be cautious on all fronts. Since we live in a capitalist economy, a patriarchal capitalism, it is dangerous for Black women to place themselves into any psychological framework that will objectify them based on any standard. There is no ideology or framework of thinking in this country that places Black woman in a truly free position. It is a man’s world as James Brown once noted.

If you are being clothed from head to toe, or wearing a business suit, or some form of professional attire, you will be disrespected by men. Mostly by males of your own race. If you decide to be a human and enjoy sexual encounters, you will be dubbed a “hoe”. Mostly by males of your own race, and some females of your own race. If you can’t critically assess the situation as it stands, and you choose to play this societal game with no regard for alternative ways of being, then so be it.

I’d only remind you that you are being attacked by the media on all fronts. If you succeed in any field you will be labeled a “bitch”, or a “hoe”. If you don’t find a male to marry or even to pursue an exclusive dating arrangement with, you will be labeled a “lonely bitch”, and depending on your age, possibly a “lonely bitter bitch”. If you decide to pursue sexual exploits outside of a relationship, you will be regarded as a “hoe”. If you express that you enjoy male companionship without the concomitant emotional or romantic ties, you will be called a “hoe”.

With all that on the table for you from others, I’d simply suggest you not call yourself a “bitch” or a “hoe”. There are plenty of us out here that already are. You might want to protect your own psychological space. Trust me, it is better to be your own friend than your own enemy…

“There are some fine sisters in the Party, Kathy, Marsha, and some others, who were walking in front of a little barber shop, two doors down from the National Headquarters in Berkeley. It’s a shop where a lot of brothers, many of whom have just recently come out of the joint, go to get processes on their heads. Some of these brothers call themselves pimps, and you can figure that some of them, at one point or another, are pushing weed or something — the type of activities that black men are driven to, trying to live. These brothers are playing their old game, saying to each other,’Man, I know I can rap to one of the Panther sisters and take all of those chicks away from all of the cats over there in the Panther office.’
Now, this is an old game that’s related to male chauvinism, to the brother dominating the sister. What that’s related to– as Malcolm X put it one time– is that the President is the biggest pimp in the country. And this pimping the sister on the block is related to the continued existence of a class system. It’s cross-related to the economic problems in the black community where the male is put in to a position where he can’t really be the breadwinner for the home.
So when the sisters walked in front of the little barber shop, I noticed some brothers were huddled among each other, speculating on the Panther sisters. They tried to rap to Marsha and a couple of sisters, and Marsha set them straight.
She said,’Look, brother, you’re getting none of this! You don’t use this on the streets, either. The only way you can get close to me is to get hip to some of the real ideology of the Black Panther Party.’
Then another sister said,’Yeah. If you want to get next to us, why don’t you check out the Red Book?’
Well, those brothers were a little shocked. Then the other brothers inside the place started laughing at the brothers outside. Well, this got off with the brothers. It seemed like the whole barber shop got upset, not in an antagonistic manner, but wanting to know what it was that didn’t allow these sisters to go for that old pimp game. Naturally their speculation was that the sisters made love to us, and therefore they agreed with our rap. What they didn’t understand, is that you can’t define it in terms of what kind of rap is going down, that it was the ideology of the Party that was helping us bring us out of that very same kind of thinking.
So their curiosity was aroused, and the brothers tried rapping with some of the other sisters, and got the same answers. The next thing I knew, all those brothers had come over to the Party headquarters, twenty-five or thirty of them, to buy some Panther literature and some Red Books. They stopped talking and started listening. And the sisters laid the revolutionary ideology right on them.
We had tried for a long time, in a lot of ways to get these brothers motivated, but it took some sisters with a new and respectful way of looking at themselves, to bring these brothers in!” – Bobby Seale, “Seize The Time”

Aaron McGruder’s Tyler Perry: Just Another Gay Joke From The Emasculated Black Man?

So, I stayed up and watched Boondocks last night, and I must say Aaron McGruder is trying to turn this season around something fierce. In the episode entitled,”Pause”, the show begins with the boys and Granddad watching a play. The play shows a man dressed like Tyler Perry’s Madea character walking on stage while a young lady and a male are sitting on a couch center stage. The Madea like character(called “MaDuke’s” in the show) responds to seeing the couple together by gesturing, pulling out a gun, and asking,”Who dis?” “MaDuke’s” then shoots several shoots in the air. The whole scenario is reminiscent of Tyler Perry’s stage plays.

As the show continues, we find out that Granddad is seeking a role in one of “Winston Jerome’s” plays. We soon find out that Winston Jerome wants a man to play the role of “MaDuke’s” love interest. So, we have a cross-dressing man, seeking a man to play the role of his man dressed as a woman-but-supposed-to-be-a-woman character…I know, I know.

So, McGruder takes us on this voyage of his world’s version of Tyler Perry/Madea in the form of Winston Jerome/MaDukes. McGruder communicates in a not so suitable manner throughout the show that Winston Jerome is more than just an overzealous Jesus Freak who likes to cross-dress for ticket sales–he is also homosexual. As GrandDad is being selected for the role of MaDuke’s love interests, we see Winston Jerome surrounded by shirtless men in speedos, his “shirtless men”. McGruder uses a white Jesus while Jerome narrates how Jesus co-wrote his first script. Upon asking Jesus how to help spread Jesus’ message, McGruder has Jesus reply,”Cross-dressing”. I felt that “McGruder at his most extreme” moment when GrandDad(Robert) is lead into the “compound”(which actually looks a little like Perry’s Studio in Atlanta). Upon entering, Jerome as MaDukes begins a musical number very reminiscent of the performance of “Let’s Do The Timewarp Again” from the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The song Winston as MaDuke performs is entitled,”Its Alright To Cross Dress For God.”

The idea of Tyler Perry, I mean Winston Jerome, running a cult is threaded through out show once we enter the compound as a woman with eyes drawn in a hypnotic trance mentions twice that she needs to get “koolaid”(a referrence to the grape flavored mix used to hide the taste of cyanide in the Jonestown cult mass murder). In fact, as Robert(GrandDad) enters the compound for the Rocky Horror routine, he is greeted by a woman who is holding a glass of what could possibly be kool-aid.

The climax of the show is reached when Huey and Riley attempt to “save” GrandDad(Robert) from kissing MaDukes. They tussle with the elder Freeman until Huey slaps GrandDad(Robert) and GrandDad slaps Riley(You know Riley got to get his face handed to him physically in every show!!). Once again, McGruder references the cult by having GrandDad(Robert) say,”I know it is a homoerotic Christian Theater Cult. But if it gets me into Hollywood who cares?” This is where McGruder reintroduces the original plot theme, and somewhat of a moral dillema of sorts: what is going too far for fortune and fame(hey, an aliteration without even trying!). Another interesting point that is rekindled at the point of climax(no homo), is the use of a phrase, “pause” to express that a man is not homosexual–although their comments might conjure up homosexual references– while addressing a black man who cross-dresses for a black church going female audience. Which in turn raises a question about the susceptibility of the church going Black audience.

I’m not quite sure of McGruder’s own sexual orientation, but this is one of those times when he really brings out the extreme exaggerations to make a point about black male masculinity. This episode in many ways reminds me of the “Gangstalicious” episodes with the homosexual rapper influencing men to wear tank tops, skirts, and purses(Part 1, and Part 2. And of course, in the end we find out that Winston Jerome is indeed homosexual as he propositions Robert(GrandDad) for some “ass”. The final scene shows GrandDad and the boys riding with one of the “big girls” home, as Riley rewinds and pauses(literally) the clip of GrandDad(Robert) kissing MaDukes.

One of the overall problems I have with the critique and the support of this show is that McGruder is NOT addressing the Black Church. He is addressing the exploitative use of the name Jesus, and more directly he is address Tyler Perry and black homosexuality. There are no church scenes in this show, and I think that many are wrongly critiquing this show on that merit. There are some very strong and poignant points that are being made, enough that we don’t have to dig for any that aren’t. I enjoyed the show thoroughly, however, I do feel that McGruder is basically doing what he suggests Perry is doing. It is no secret that many black men don’t respect Perry, and in many ways Perry’s success, or his being chosen for success, represents a further nod at the emasculation of black men. However, I would be amiss if I didn’t state that Tyler Perry does address a lot more topics than the “dark/light skinned thing”, and he does portray black people in more than the traditional stereotypical roles. Which is sort of funny that McGruder feels the need to attack that angle as he has a flock of obese black women chasing GrandDad(Robert) down, and shows black homosexual men with scarves and bald heads(reminscent of Damon Wayans’ portrayal of Blaine Edwards on “In Living Color”). I wish McGruder could have dealt with the collaboration of Perry with Oprah on projects like “Precious” that present some of the most ugly and detrimental images of Black women of our modern time.

I suppose addressing real issues like that wouldn’t be quite as funny for black men as making gay jokes. The hypermasculine gauze is wearing thin for some of the writers out here. One aspect of the show that I’m not reading about is how McGruder uses Riley(the hypermasculine youngster) to explain the usage of ‘No Homo’ and ‘Pause’. How many caught how Riley hugs GrandDad(Robert) just for using the term!!? I don’t want to give McGruder more credit than he might deserve, but I’ll say the contradictory devices used in his work bring a lot to the show. However, I think the desire to call Tyler Perry a homosexual is going to overshadow the need to bring awareness to black women of how susceptible they have become to the name “Jesus”.

We can hint that Tyler Perry is the flamingo club all-star, and flaming is a strong enough term, but that isn’t going to change the fact that he built his audience from the church going black woman, that he can use the word “Jesus” in the same ways that Obama used “Change”(It shouldn’t surprise us that McGruder’s first episode this season was a critique on the “Obama Effect”). Do we really think women are going to stop watching Tyler Perry’s movies? Do we think Hollywood is going to “blacklist” a homosexual Black Man with his hands tied by the purse strings of the American Black woman? Trust me, for every ten men calling Tyler Perry a homosexual coon, I can show you ten men that will let their woman drag them to a movie or play made by a homosexual coon. Tell me I’m wrong.

Money, Sex, Male Aggression & More Raped Sisters

So much goes through my mind…

Personally, I’m getting tired of writing about negative events that occur in the Black Community. I might start writing about family reunions and barbeques. This constant pouring over of heinous acts and just savage behavior can’t be good for my rehabilitation. Where is superpresident when you need him…?

Alright.

You know the question was raised about the culture of males. For me that would immediately mean American Black males, but the stories abound in all communities. And although many of the crimes involve women and girls as suspects and perpetrators, the acts all stem from the male culture of hyper masculinity and oversexualization. The headers all read similarly:

Bloods gang members went to Brooklyn schools to recruit underage girls as hookers: prosecutors

Agents Swarm Newburgh in Raid Against Gangs

In Newburgh, Gangs and Violence Reign

27 Arrested In Apartment Complex Where 7-Year-Old Was Gang Raped

Aiyana Jones, 7-Year-Old Shot And Killed By Detroit Police, Was Sleeping According To Family

Although the circumstances of each is different, what we are seeing is a pattern of gang related, or collective male demonstrations of violence and rape that stigmatize the community. The stigma helps to legitimize the historical culture of police brutality. As a media analyst, it is difficult for me not to point to the prominent images of black males as superniggers and black girls and women as ultra-sexual objects.

The historical portrayal of Black women in American culture and media has always been that of the sex toy. Regardless of figures such as Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, and even Oprah Winfrey, the media continues to present us with Halle Berry’s and “Superheads”. The idea that women are “eye candy” and for the most part just gyrating bodies, “bitches and hoes”, has promoted a culture that deems the rape of a seven year old by a suspected 5 males ranging from ages 13 to 20 as acceptable.

If I may be so allowed to step outside of the objective, and ask, “How does a seven-year young child ever look sexually appealing to a 13 year young, let alone a 17 year young?” The forcible rapes should be punished by death squads, and deep in my heart I believe so should the touching. There is something sick and twisted about the whole idea that causes me to tremble inside. At what point does this all become acceptable behavior? The savagery of group behavior is well studied and documented, but the degree of pure immorality haunts me.

In the same vein, you have young boys and girls, some above the age we tend to regard one another as adults, recruiting young girls for prostitution. I remember watching Steve Cokley ask his audience would the women there be willing to have sex with someone for the revolution. If I were a women in that room, my immediate response would have been, “Nigga would you?” It seems to be a mentality even within the ranks of women that the female body is simply a sexual tool. For the American Black woman that is infinitely truer as her history in the US has always forced her to be at the disposal of male aggression. Even in R & B, which once placed the American Black woman on a pedestal, we see Usher with Niki Minaj soliciting a woman for multiple partner sex. Obviously pimping ain’t dead, as the ring of gang members beat and forced high school age girls to ”get out there and make that money”. Brutalizing those that were tired or hadn’t met a daily quota of $500. Money and sex, male aggression and more raped black sisters. The US just doesn’t change.

The degree of inhumane behavior only gives more and more credence to military style police involvement. After the rape of the seven-year old, the apartment complex was raided. Reports say that the arrests involved mostly women with minor infractions being yelled at and asked, “What happened to the little girl?” In what was reported to be the attempted arrest of a 34-year young accused of slaying JeRean Blake, half his age, a home was raided in a military fashion. That particular incidence of bloodshed led to the flash grenading of a residential home and the subsequent murder of Aiyana Jones by the police. The police and FBI are seen here “gathered at a former National Guard armory to prepare for a raid of more than 36 homes”. The pattern is quite clear.

From the destruction and terror of the communities of Negro Wall Street, to the destruction and terror of the communities within the MOVE organization, to the legitimized destruction and terror of black communities nationwide. From the caricature of the Buck, to the portrayal of the Black male as Buck in movies such as “The Birth of A Nation”, to the media portrayal of the black militant movements of the sixties, to the release of “Colors” and the advent of the “Gangster rapper” to the “gangster” rapists and pimps. From criminalization to criminal. From slave patroller to military style invasion legitimized by the behavior promoted through so many channels.

How long will the nigga gene be acceptable? We’ve already reached a class breach where many in the middle class are too far removed from the slayings and the raping to understand the need for more education, more investors in the community, more jobs, and more vehicles for the expression of masculinity to be based upon. A sadistic and criminal culture of capitalism will only create a sicker, more sadistic culture of capitalism where capitalism has failed to be a viable system of economy and thought. As long as boys feel inadequate being intellectuals without having to play the role of the “thug” or “pimp” or “player”, then the “thugs”, the “pimps” and “players” are not going anywhere. Apart of human behavior is the desire to procreate, and that drive dictates a behavior that will allow boys growing into men, to be selected by women. If the women aren’t truly happy with what they see in the community of males, choose more wisely. Stop feeding the culture the attention it needs to breed. Or watch more and more young girls being victimized. Watch more and more young boys find themselves dead or incarcerated until death.

Men have to be better role models. The “do or die” culture comes from the “ride or die” culture of the black power movement. The need for approval, the need for acceptance based on aggression has got to be worked on. Black people really are blessed that the suicidal culture stops at killing others before killing oneself. The minute that changes, a whole new problem will be bred. We are too hard. So hard that just being hard is acceptable. The male susceptibility to attention from the opposite gender has gone from niggas with attitude to niggas with their pants hanging off their butts. We are capable of altering and defining masculinity in ways that don’t have to boil over into sexual aggression. That doesn’t boil over into massive homicides. That doesn’t boil over into our homes destroying children’s lives. Sure, you need a defensive and capable manhood, but don’t let the superficial dictate. Marcus Garvey asked where are your men of industry, not where are your pimps, and dope dealers and brothers that want to look like a pimp and drive around dressed like a dope dealer. Not men with professional jobs who use the vernacular of the dope dealer and wish to act like the pimp, while turning their noses up at the real pimps and dope dealers. Stop being so comfortable with just being a nigga.

The massive bloodshed and pure lack of human life was the Black story as written by White America. Time for a new author…

On Black Men, Bitches, And Pussy

I just can't win...
And I like Her...wow...

Geezues!!! Lawd On High, or that is High...smoke one with me...
See what I'm Talking About!!

Alright.

 

I’m on twitter and this sister drops a comment about men and lying. She has this image of her legs with a sponge over her, well, you see it. So, every now and then I like seeing it in my timeline(My apologies…still working on the pornograpy problem.) I responded to her by typing,”
I’m going to lie. Or tell you something you may be offended by. Can I skip the test and the background check?”

Alright...a little bold, but honest...
Hey, the guy can be a bit candid...eh, sometimes too candid..

 

So, she asks me if I have to lie why bother, or something to that effect. We toss a few really cool twts(responses via twitter) at one another, I thought it was really cool…until she calls me a “pussy”.

 

Now, regardless of my extremely testoterone imbalanced past, I can tell you, she touched a nerve. I didn’t respond to her in like. I simply told her,”Please…don’t make me do it. I already can’t get the follow from you. If I say this…you’ll block me.”

 

Now, for those who don’t use twitter a block means I can’t respond to her. I can see her timeline if she is not private(I have to ask for permission to see her timeline(the statements she has made via twitter), but if she is…no good). Of course, I am now upset. Regardless if I respond to her or not, the energy exist, I’m responding to people, and my base is primarily Black Women. Not a good mixture. I will be honest though. I thought I handled myself well. Some felt that certain images I conjured up were a bit too much, but I felt like I wasn’t resorting to the “b” this, “h” that routine that most men do.

 

The comment that touched the most nerves was when I responded,” My fault, Queen…young sister made some really rude statements cuss she couldn’t stand in her on period blood” Now, I apologize. I didn’t know the phrase period blood was going to cause so much harm. I was in several conversations via Twitter’s direct(private) messages and on the timeline in public. I still haven’t responded to everyone, hence the reason I wrote this.

 

I am still not quite sure if I owe an apology other that to admit that I didn’t know it would cause such a stir. I’m not quite sure about what is politically correct for a man to say to a woman, since women are saying so much to men. It is very difficult to know exactly what is appropriate if it is acceptable for you to call me a “pussy”(meaning weak), but the minute I call another man a “pussy” in the same context, then I am a target for the Black Feminist Liberation Army.

 

To be completely honest I had to ask a woman friend was I a sexist! I even ran to the book shelf and grabbed “Ain’t I a Woman” by bell hooks and started going over my notes in there. I was really trying to find out what I had done wrong!

 

So now I am in this funk of sorts, wondering if I am the guilty party for using terms the way they are being used. I’m like, well women have been through this and that in the male power environment. Then I thought about it…well, not Black Women. Possibly in the White Male Power environment, but you don’t have that history within the American Black experience. No matter what I say about Bro. Louis(Min. Farrakhan) I can’t deny his wisdom in placing a woman imam(Minister) over a whole region(South Region). Not only did he break fundamental Islamic conventions by naming a woman as an Imam(probably punishable by death in some countries) he named her head over a whole region.

 

Ericka Huggins, A widow at the age of 19, was leader of the Black Panther Party on the West Coast. She is the widow of Bunchy Carter, who was assassinated by the US organization. She was the head of the Black Panther Party region most associated with the C.R.I.P.S(Communist Reform In Progress Service). This is the region that would extend in to various street organizations. Do you get my point? Do you understand what she was head of? The type of men she was commanding?

 

The American Black woman has not had the history that other women have had. In no group of people is the woman raised to such a high position. In other countries many of the practices that American Black women deem as cultural would cause death. Even White American women look to the American Black woman for a paradigm of strength. How many cultures around the globe can boast of having two of the richest women…rich like Madame C.J. Walker in the early 20th century and Oprah Winfrey in our current times?

 

I don’t know. The more I address, the more problems I have to deal with. I am attacked for using “period blood” as a metaphor for accountability while the topic of my concern calls me “pussy”( a female organ by the way) and a “bitch”(a word that means FEMALE dog, if you didn’t know). So, am I wrong for stating that she can’t handle her natural problems, but she right for using terms that reflect the female gender as being weak? How so? How does that logic work?