Kansas City Fashion Week

Kansas City Fashion Week was October 8-14.  The event took place downtown Kansas City, MO at Union Station.  I went to the Thursday night show after work and I was able to buy a ticket at the door.  I enjoyed the show and I was impressed with the production.  It was a fun, glamorous event and I am likely to attend next year.

The work of the featured designers was exciting and contemporary.  Some of them are local, regional and even nationally known designers.  I was glad to see several African American fashion designers in the line up.  I’ve often wondered why there hasn’t been a Black designer to hit it big in the fashion industry.  African Americans influence fashion globally but there is no Black designer that’s on par with Tom Ford or Calvin Klein.  It would be great to see someone from the Midwest blaze that trail.

My favorite designers were Miranda Hanson and Travis Cal.  Miranda Hanson is a seventeen year old dress maker.  Her designs are feminine and ethereal.  She used soft pastel colors and fabrics that look like satin.  I can see them being worn for formals and in weddings.  Her models wore baby’s breath in their hair and they all kind of looked like little pixies.  Her show was beautiful and her story is inspiring.

I loved Travis Cal’s show.  Travis Cal went to high school in Kansas City and he clearly had a great deal of support from the crowd.  His collection is urban, hip, sexy and trendy.  He used several African American models and his collection was influenced by African art.  He used a bold color palate and and a lot of metallic elements. I loved it!

If you like to support the arts and creativity in Kansas City you should come out for Kansas City Fashion Week next winter for Spring 2018.  Tickets ranged from around $30-$90.  It’s a great event.

#metoo

I’ve been considering writing about my experience with rape for months.  I’ve thought about writing my story as a catharsis, for revenge and to help others.  The #metoo has helped me make the decision to publish my story.  I’m going to be very brief and to the point.  I don’t think all of the details are necessary.

Three years ago I met a man on OKCupid.  He and I communicated for around four months and I saw him in person two or three times within that time frame.  While I was getting to know this man that goes by the name David Gosh of Houston, Texas I told him that I was not interested in a sexual relationship.

I explained that I wanted to live my life by Biblical rules and that meant that I wouldn’t have sex again until I was married.  He told me that he respected that and sex would not be an issue in our relationship.  He traveled for work and came to Kansas City often.  On one of his trips to Kansas City I decided to spend time with him in his hotel room.  I told him that sex of all kinds was still off the table but we could kiss, hug and cuddle.

After I got off work I went to meet David.  We went to dinner and then back to his hotel room to relax and watch TV.  I brought a change of clothes, a tank top and sweat pants with me.  I changed into my comfortable clothes.  I had been to one of his hotel rooms before and that one had a couch.  This one didn’t have a couch area in front of a TV.  There was just a bed.  That was probably by design.

I got in the bed and David turned off the lights.  He began kissing me and groping me.  He began taking off my clothes and I told him no and to stop repeatedly.  Ultimately I gave in to his advances and the sex act happened.  Afterwards, David took a quick shower and told me he had to get up early tomorrow so I had to leave.

I changed my clothes and left.  After reliving the incident in my mind I felt very used and violated.  After a month I reported what happened to the Kansas City Police Department but I decided not to pursue charges for a variety of reasons.  His name was removed from the police report.

I’ve been taken advantage of in other ways before.  I’ve had my purse stolen, a credit card number stolen on a separate occasion.  I had a window busted out of my car and the radio was stolen.  In those situations after the window was fixed, I got a new purse and the credit card company was notified of the theft I felt whole and I was no longer affected by the crime.  But it is very difficult to get past a violation against your body.  I don’t know if this was made worse because I trusted the wrong person.

I never saw David again after that night.  Once I got home I texted him and let him know that I was upset and thought he was a rapist.  He doesn’t believe he raped me.  He said “I knew you wanted to fuck me when you said you brought different clothes”.  I brought the same type of clothes that I would have worn if I had gone home after work.

I also sent him a few hateful threatening e mails months later.  He asked if we could be friends again.  I laughed out loud when I read that.  That was my last contact with David Gosh of Houston, Texas.  I hope his home flooded.  If he even really lives in Houston or if David Gosh is even his name.  I don’t really know because my entire brief relationship with him was a lie.

 

 

The Last Days of the NFL

I think we are witnessing the last days of the NFL.  I don’t think it will die out in a year or two or even five.  I say give it ten to fifteen years and the NFL as we know if will be history.  I don’t think any boycott on either side of the national anthem debate will hurt the NFL.  They are way too big for that and I doubt the sincerity of those that claim to be  boycotting.

I think the demise of the NFL is going to come about because of today’s young athletes.  When I say young I mean 10-17 years old.  Children are always listening and they are hearing and seeing the conversations adults are having about the flag, patriotism and police brutality. If football doesn’t fascinate an American boy in his youth the passion will probably never be there and that will affect the fan base and NFL recruitment.

I grew up in the Detroit area and I have vivid childhood memories of Detroit Lions games being viewed in my home.  I recall one game when I was around three that I was watching with my dad and he threw a shoe at the TV.  (If you know anything about the Detroit Lions you can understand my father’s frustration.)  My mother was a Detroit Lions fan when they had their 0-16 season.  And I remember many Thanksgivings being ruined because of the way the Lions performed on national TV.  These memories never leave a person.

I live in Kansas City now and I’ve developed a fondness for the Kansas City Chiefs but the Lions are always going to be my team and the Chiefs are my backup team.  But if  the adults around me as a child weren’t interested in football or were angry at the NFL I don’t know that I would have much interest in the sport as an adult.

As a Black woman if I was the mother of a young son I don’t think I would encourage him to play organized football.  I’m not sure I would encourage my son to play any sport for anything other than exercise and socializing.  I’ve felt this way for years due to the rough nature of football and the fear of my son suffering permanent brain damage due to concussions.  But I don’t think that pro sports is a good career choice for Black men anymore.  Despite the money, fame and passion for the game I don’t think it’s worth it.

Black men in the sports world are treated terribly these days.  Cam Newton is one of my favorites and he has been treated like garbage by fans and the media.  My favorite Chief Marcus Peters gets dragged on social media after ever game despite being a key player on a 5-0 team.  He has consistently sat down for the national anthem this season and does not explain his reasons for doing so.  I think he’s smart for that because he would be criticized for anything he said.

I’ve read stories about high school athletes being kicked off of their football teams for taking the knee.  I saw a different story about a high school student that protested during the anthem and he was bullied on social media for it.  I see no reason to encourage a young Black boy to participate in organized sports.  There’s nothing in it for them unless they swallow their pride and become a prized animal of sorts for another man.  It seems that America wants its pro athletes to perform for them,  take the pictures but keep quiet like one of the horses in the Kentucky Derby.

I saw a documentary on TV once about football and concussions.  An expert on the program said that if a small percent of American mothers refused to let their sons play football it would change the game.  I can see many American mothers refusing to let their sons play football because of the national anthem controversy regardless of the side they fall on.

But if Black women refused to let their sons play ball or if Black boys decided to take interest in the arts or choir or horticulture the NFL as we know it dies.  It will not survive.  In ten years I will be fifty two.  I will probably still be alive and completely coherent.  I will remember men, athletes, performers named Neon Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Megatron, Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham that lit up the football field.

The field of athletes that feeds into the college system and into the NFL will be weakened if American Black boys are disinterested in or hold disdain for the NFL and their fans.  There won’t be many if any exciting, charismatic athletes like those I mentioned earlier in the future.  And even if there are a few they may not have much competion which leads to the downfall of America’s favorite sport.

There are some good White football players.  There are some great White quarterbacks, some good defensive players, kickers and punters and then there is Gronkowski and the man who makes my heart go pitter pat, Travis Kelce.  But the NFL’s personality, style and soul has come from Black men and they aren’t going to find it again outside of Black Americans.

Without African Americans the league will be much slower, more reserved and honestly dull.  No one, not even the fake hillbilly patriots are going to watch that.  But the NFL juggernaut will go down without a fight.  They will do something to try and reclaim their brand.  In the future the NFL will probably be like gladiator matches in ancient Rome.  They will probably release wild tigers into the stadium in order to speed up the slow pokes.

Or perhaps they will draft athletes.  By that I don’t mean “Yaaay, I’m a first round draft pick so now I’m gonna buy my mama a house!”  I mean please show up to this office at the appointed time or face consequences Marquiese.  Marquiese will probably end up wrestling tigers too.  In an ever increasing callous society that is infatuated with violence and doesn’t love people I think it could happen.  At that point the NFL will be desperate for ratings and will do anything to recoup lost revenue.

I’m sure the NFL is at the end of its golden age.  I’m going to enjoy it while I can and watch it’s slow downward spiral.  I can’t be alone in having resentful feelings toward these controlling racists that demand that Black men salute “their” flag.  I can’t be the only person that is appalled by the way so called fans talk to athletes on social media.  Even with the promise of fame and riches it seems like a dead end and I wouldn’t want any son of mine entertaining hateful Neo Nazis or aveage Americans, it’s getting hard to tell the difference, while sacrificing his body.  Nope, I’d rather my son be a dentist.

I’ve always enjoyed sports because it’s objective.  There beginnings, religion, political and social connections were irrelevant.  Athletes earned their spot in the NFL because they were the best and the team managers wanted to win.  Now athletes are getting picked off because of their beliefs.  The league won’t be as competitive and everyone that actually knows the sport will be aware of it.  The NFL, just like American democracy itself is another institution that is suffering because of America’s commitment to racism and White supremacy.

Pretty is not Special

I am not a feminist.  I think the modern feminist movement is sorely misguided in many ways and they do diminish women’s power.  They encourage events such as Amber Rose’s Slut Walk.  Feminists have convinced women that if they are confident and comfortable with themselves that they will put their body on display for the world to see, ogle and judge.  And the men of the world say “OK” with a shrug.  This all works out great for them.

The most empowering message that I think can be shared with young women is that pretty is not special.  Pretty is great but it is far too common to make you special.  And there are so many different types of pretty in the world that pretty connoisseurs can sample your type of pretty and then move on to a different type of pretty.

Besides that pretty is bountiful.  I see it all over the place.  I live in Kansas City, MO.  Kansas City isn’t a glamorous place like New York or Paris but my goodness I have seen some gorgeous women in this town.  I’ve seen them at the night spots, churches, the drug store, shopping malls they’re everywhere.  They range in age from sixteen to sixty.  They are fair skinned to deep brown, petite to pleasantly plump, conservative, sexy, edgy, trendy you name it.  So if pretty is what you focus on you’re really just another face in the crowd if you’re in certain crowds.  I for one think any woman can be pretty.  It just takes a little style.

And there is no finish line to pretty.  There’s really no way to know if you’re the fairest of them all because no one is cute to everyone and everyone is cute to someone.  The quest for pretty can be exhausting.  Are you ever pretty enough?  And one must remember that Father Time is always right behind you.  I don’t think that Father Time necessarily destroys beauty but he certainly changes it to a different kind of beauty that is not appreciated.

I am realistic and I think pretty is good.  It’s certainly better than ugly.  And certain opportunities will only be opened to those that are deemed pretty.  You only have one body so by all means cherish it and decorate it well.  But pretty needs to go along with other things or it is useless and possibly even irritating.  Pretty needs to be partnered with a good spirit, a keen intellect and or an enjoyable personality.  All of those things will outlast the youthful beauty that society puts on a pedestal.

Not that anyone has asked but I advise all women to enjoy and protect the beauty of your youth but don’t make it an idol.  You are more than your shell.  Let all of your gifts shine.  Some of them can last a lifetime even if you live a long life.  Don’t let this world tell you that your value depends on how you measure up to beauty queens or Low Rider models.  Your value is not dependent on how many men approach you when you are out for a night on the town.  Your value is not determined by the status of the men you attract.

2017 is a dangerous time for women.  Young women and men are being fed foolishness under the guise of feminism.  Men and women need to retrain themselves to value women for something other than physical appearance.  We will all be well served when we learn to value women as whole human beings.