Spring Book Review: Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz

I recently finished reading the autobiography of rock start Lenny Kravitz, Let Love Rule. I enjoyed reading the book and I would recommend the book but there are conditions. I’m biased because I’ve been a Lenny Kravitz fan since the 90s. People that aren’t fans of Lenny Kravitz may find the book to be a bit dull.

Lenny Kravitz has a charmed life. He spent his early childhood in New York City in the 70s and early 80s. I’m grateful to have grown up in the 80s because children had more independence and a sense of safety. At the same time there were not as many children only spaces so children had the opportunity to observe adults more. They just had to stay out of adult business.

Lenny grew up playing on NYC streets with friends and when he was a bit older riding the subway himself to museums like The Met and exploring art. Lenny’s parents were a sophisticated couple and exposed Lenny to fine restaurants and theater as a child. Lenny crossed paths and even had close relationships with entertainment legends. One night while out with his dad Lenny met Frank Sinatra. His godmother was Cicely Tyson and her husband was Miles Davis. Lenny’s stylish parents enjoyed entertaining and he described himself as having numerous glamorous aunts. That is great for character building.

When Lenny was in middle school his mother was cast as Mrs. Willis on The Jeffersons. He was disappointed in having to leave New York but he resettled in sunny southern California and his parents bought a home in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. LA is where Lenny discovered his love of music and developed his talent.

Lenny had a contentious relationship with his father. Their personalities clashed. Lenny’s father spent time in the military and he didn’t mesh well with his free spirited son. Lenny and his dad fell out so badly during his teen years that Lenny got kicked out of the family home and was homeless for a while. But Lenny’s father was key to his success and prosperity in many ways.

Lenny Kravitz married Lisa Bonet in Las Vegas in his early twenties and had a baby shortly after. Lisa and being a young dad were also key to his success. Lisa helped him become more comfortable with who he was as a young man and being a father grounded him. The book ends after the release of his album Let Love Rule. I hope Lenny writes another autobiography because I want to know more about his career, his marriage, his divorce, fatherhood and acting career.

Lenny’s life is pretty wholesome so his story is not one with a lot of action, trauma or tragedy which is what propels most stories these days. Some people may find it a bit dull. But I’m a Lenny fan so I enjoyed the book. Lenny has a very blessed and glamorous life even with the pit falls and false starts. I would recommend this book.

America’s Punitive Attitude Towards Blacks

The United States has a punitive attitude towards Black people. The United States seeks to condemn Black people for any infraction real or perceived. Americans, specifically White ones, love to believe they are authority figures that need to monitor, judge and teach Black people how to act and punish them if they don’t behave according to the satisfaction of Whites.

This week a story about a kindergartner and his teacher were in the news. The five year old boy pooped at school and stopped up the toilet. I think we’ve all been there. His teacher told him to clean the poop and toilet paper with his bare hands. That’s right. This wicked woman didn’t call the custodian. She didn’t talk to the boy about how much toilet paper should be used when cleaning his bottom. This White woman that is trained in child development decided to punish a five year old through humiliation for putting too much toilet paper in the stool.

The student was a five year old boy. His teacher that is employed to help students learn life skills and expand his horizons turned a teachable moment into an opportunity to demean and dehumanize the Black boy left in her care. Her culture has taught her that Black people, even five year olds should not be shown any grace and should be punished for any misstep. This teacher should have child endangerment charges brought against her and she should be sued in civil court by the little boy. America needs to be taught that there are other ways to interact with Black people than with an authoritative and punitive attitude.

https://www.10tv.com/article/news/nation-world/little-rock-teacher-accused-forcing-student-toilet/91-7f3643d0-f204-4d11-adfb-a249c46eba06

Pandemic Book Review: Parable of the Sower

SPOILERS AHEAD!

It’s 2021 and COVID cases are increasing which makes pre COVID life impossible. Social activities are very limited so there is more time for past times like reading. My first book review of 2021 is Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. I would recommend this book.

Octavia Butler is an African American author. I appreciate Parable of the Sower because if features a Black, female protagonist and most of the characters are Black but race is not the vehicle that moves the story along. Parable of the Sower is not a typical Black story that involves Civil Rights, inner city life, music, slavery or sports. I don’t have anything against that subject matter but I love it when writers give Black characters range beyond those roles.

Octavia Butler

The story takes place in California from around 2024 to 2036. American society has spiraled downward. The economy is in shambles and Americans are living in poverty. Crime is out of control. Homelessness is commonplace. The government is rife with corruption. The nation’s infrastructure has crumbled.

The United States regressed one hundred and fifty years. Every shameful part of our past was a part of the books present. People were enslaved. Workers were routinely hurt in factories. Child labor was commonly used. A large part of the population was illiterate. Drugs and addictions were ubiquitous. A plague was spreading and making people ill.

Racial tensions were high. Nationalism and hate crimes had been on the rise for decades. A presidential candidate from Texas used this vulnerability to gain support. His campaign promise was to make America great again. Octavia Butler wrote Parable of the Sower in 1993.

The book moves a little slow in parts but I would encourage readers to stick with it. The story is a part of a series and there isn’t a very exciting payoff but I was floored by the author’s insight. If Donald Trump read I would have sworn that he based his campaign on Parable of the Sower. We all know he doesn’t read so I will assume that Butler was clairvoyant. She died in 2006.

If you enjoy dystopian novels add this to your reading list. I think you will enjoy it.

The Black People Have Spoken

Donald Trump is trying to invalidate the 2020 presidential election by undermining the votes of Black Americans. Donald Trump is only challenging votes in states with cities that have large Black populations that voted Democrat which caused him to lose the state. He’s only questioning the votes in Black areas.

This is undemocratic and blatantly racist. This is an assault on the rights of Black Americans. Americans that support the actions of Donald Trump and the GOP or that are apathetic towards it are shameful cowards that don’t love democracy, The Constitution or America. They don’t cherish fairness or freedom.

Whether anyone likes it or not the Black people of America have spoken and our voices matter. We voted in record numbers and helped to oust a president that would have never been elected in the first place if Americans were not so racist, gullible and stupid.

Trump has lost nearly every lawsuit his filed over the integrity of the election. Now the AGs of various states are suing WI, PA, GA and MI over the legitimacy of their elections. In other words the great states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan are being asked to defend their Black citizens rights as Americans.

We the Black people of America have spoken and we overwhelmingly think Trump is unfit for office. We exercise our right to vote an now it is being challenged by Republican politicians. Their actions are blatantly racist and should not be tolerated. Donald Trump is trying to over turn election results and he thinks the path of least resistance is trampling on the will of Black voters.

Lockdown Reviews: A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball

During the COVID 19 Lockdown I read the biography A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by retired NBA star Dwyane Wade.  The book was published in 2012.  It tells the story of Dwyane’s life while focussing on his relationship with his boys.  He is the father of two sons and he also raised his nephew who needed a home.

For the most part I enjoyed A Father First.  The book is a bit slow moving in parts but it was interesting and touching at other times.  I am an NBA fan and I followed Dwyane’s career for year but I didn’t know much about him personally.  Dwyane lived with his three sisters, two of which were from his mother’s previous relationships, his mom and his dad.  He was the baby of the family.

Wade stated that his family was far from wealthy but when his parents were together his life had stability and the family had what they needed even thought their lives were modest.  His parents, Dwyane and Jolinda, divorced when Wade was a young boy.  His mother admitted that the split was due to her controlling ways.  Everything changed for Dwyane and his sisters after the break up.

Dwyane didn’t see his father often.  His two older sister went to live with friends or other relatives.  Dwyane and his younger sister remained with his mother who developed a serious drug habit.  She had abusive relationships with men after her divorce.  His mother’s boyfriends were involved with drug trafficking and Chicago PD raided his home.  Young Dwyane Wade often went hungry.  His childhood trials made him decide as a young boy that if he became a father that he would be devoted, responsible and loyal.

Dwyane’s grandmother was the matriarch of his large extended family.  Dwyane had a lot of respect for his grandmother and she was always available to offer help.  He and his sister didn’t always seek her help because they didn’t want anyone to know about their mother’s struggle.

Wade went to live with his father, stepmother and brothers when he was in upper elementary school and his life improved.  His sister who he was closest with was not taken in by the dad.  His father and stepmother had another baby, a girl.  While living with his dad sports became a big part of Dwyane’s life.  His dad was his first coach and his brothers were his competitors.

He had a growth spurt in high school and it got the attention of coaches and recruiters.  Dwyane later went to Marquette University.  While he was a student he married his high school sweetheart and became a first time father.  He and his wife had a rocky marriage and later a terribly dramatic divorce after being drafted into the NBA by the Miami Heat and having another baby.

Jolinda had a religious epiphany while she was a fugitive of the law.  She turned herself in to serve her time.  While she was in prison she became free of her drug habit and studied her Bible.  She started a storefront church once she was a free woman and her son later bought her a church with his NBA fortune.  The other details of the book were about his college and NBA career.  I skimmed through those pages because neither were very interesting to me.

I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  The book can be a bit dry but it kind of mirrors Dwyane’s personality.  He’s never come across as very dramatic or talkative.  Jolinda’s story is inspiring even though I resented her for the way her children suffered due to her shortcoming.  Dwyane’s decision to be a committed family man at a young age is also inspirational.  It’s a good read if you have the time.

Harriet: My Review

I watched the film “Harriet” over the weekend. “Harriet” is a dramatized retelling of the life of American hero Harriet Tubman. There was a lot of buzz around this film and a lot of think pieces were written and vlogs were made about this movie. People really over thought this. It was a good movie, not great but good and I think it’s worth watching. However, historic accounts of Harriet Tubman are more thrilling than “Harriet”.

Something about “Harriet” made me feel like I was watching an 80s night time soap opera. Violins played in the background of several scenes. This movie told it’s story in a feminine way. It was a love story of sorts. Harriet escaped to freedom in the north and she returned for love of her husband and other family members.

When I envisioned a film version of Harriet Tubman’s life I thought of her as more of a rebel, freedom fighter and visionary. In my mind Harriet Tubman’s life is more of an action, thriller and suspense story. Harriet was bold, fearless and determined.

The actress that played Harriet Tubman often had a deer in the headlights expression on her face and a furrowed brow. There was also a lot of dainty running in this film. It was the kind of running women do in horror films. Actors also fell as they were being pursued. Harriet Tubman commonly had fainting spells due to a head injury she suffered at her owner’s hand. The spells were depicted in the film and she fell pretty kind of like Scarlet O’Hara. None of this is necessarily bad thing I just think the director’s choices were interesting.

I do believe that “Harriet” sanitized Harriet Tubman for White audiences. She was a gentle character and not a fierce revolutionary. Harriet Tubman is famous for threatening to kill runaway slaves if they lost their nerves and wanted to turn around. She is also famous for saying that she freed (paraphrase) thousands of slaves and could have freed thousands more if they knew they were slaves.

Spoiler Alert

There was a scene in the film where Harriet had her slave master on his knees at gun point. She had the opportunity to shoot him but she talked to him and let him live. I think that this plays into the trope of the all forgiving African American that turns the other cheek regardless of how they were treated.

Nonetheless, the film was entertaining and I would recommend it. But I recommend reading historical accounts of Harriet Tubman. Her acts of bravery were absolutely thrilling and she is one of the greatest American heroines.Young Harriet Tubman

Pro Black You Tube is a Scam

There are a lot of You Tubers that I watch that would fall under the so called Pro Black umbrella.  I think that every last one of them is a scam artist and they should not be taken seriously.  Not only should they not be seen as leaders they should be seen as scam artists or at least opportunists.  Pro Black You Tube is simply for entertainment purposes and I don’t think that any of them are interested in Black empowerment.

Any good hustle has an element of truth to it.  A lot of pro Black You Tubers have interesting thoughts but their messages often gets lost.  My first problem with pro Black channels is that they are very White centered.  Whiteness is always the measuring stick for them.  At the beginning of any journey I believe that one needs to define success.  For most Pro Black You Tube philosophers White standards are success which is a problem within itself.

They are very focused on racism which at this point is stupid.  Racism is kind of like gravity.  It’s just there.  It’s a problem is you drop your phone or fall down the steps so you need to learn to avoid the pitfalls of gravity.  Racism is not going to ever end in America.  It’s too deeply ingrained in our culture and mindsets.  It’s such a part of American life that we take it for granted and don’t even notice it a lot of the time.  Learn to live with it and how to avoid it’s pitfalls.

I  wish that Black You Tubers simply discussed problems in the Black community and ways that we can make improvements.  It’s rare that any of these people discuss matters such as finance, health, self acceptance or healthy families.  They also don’t discuss matters of spirituality unless they are making disparaging remarks about Christianity.  I believe that those are the kinds of issues that would make a difference in Black lives in America.

Pro Black channels are very focused on Black celebrities.  The lives of Black celebrities are irrelevant to circumstances of the average Black American.  I don’t mind listening to the trials and tribulations of rich Blacks on channels that brand themselves as gossip channels.  But channels that brand themselves as wanting to make Black communities better should ignore all celebrities.  Black celebrities are completely out of touch and most of them seek to exploit their popularity with average Black people.

Pro Black channels tend to speak on sensational matters and they are clearly looking for views in order to increase their subscribers and make more money.  They like to discuss things that push emotional hot buttons and shocking viral videos.  Most of their topics are simply clickbait and don’t hold any real substance.

Pro Black You Tube channels love to talk about problems in the Black community but they rarely offer solutions that are realistic to every day people.  They claim that they just want to wake people up.  I find this to be very condescending.  I don’t need a has been rapper from the 90s informing me on anything.  Based on their topics of conversation I was so called woke long before they were.  They also like to say things like “Black people don’t read” and “simple minded Negroes”.  There is no reason to listen to someone that thinks so little of you.

The most detrimental problem in Black American neighborhoods is violence but this matter is rarely discussed on Black You Tube.  Nothing can be accomplished in communities that have been turned into war zones.  No one will invest in commerce, home ownership isn’t likely to be established and healthy children can’t be raised under the threat of drive by shootings, property and sex crimes.  Relationships and trust can not be built among neighbors when there are killers and thieves in the neighborhood not being brought to justice.  But Black You Tube channels don’t discuss this matter.

I think that Black You Tube stays away from this issue because it would ask men to take more responsibility for the community.  Women and children can’t stand up to street thugs.  African Americans have a hard time setting standards and guidelines for boys and men.  For thirty years or more Black boys and men have been treated as charity cases and porcelain dolls to be pitied which has not been productive.  The way the Black community treats Black boys and men is disrespectful and insulting to them.  It’s as if we think they can’t do and be better.

A lot of Black You Tube is just plain delusional.  A common topic is “divestment”.  Those that follow this foolish theory believe that if you don’t take interest in issues that affect Black Americans, socialize with, date or marry or spend time in areas with large Black populations you have divested.  This is mental illness to me.

If I move to Montana and marry a White guy and cut ties with my Black family and friends I’m still going to be affected by racism when I cross paths with a racist because I am clearly Black.  Those that preach divestment are foolish.  While I am alive I am going through the world as a Black woman so the way Black women are perceived and treated will always be a concern of mine.  I will divest when I am dead.  It’s not really even my choice.

Pro Black You Tube is also completely obsessed with inter racial dating and marriage which I don’t think is a big problem for Black people.  I agree that many Black people choose to date and marry outside of their race because they think the union will gain them and their children access to White privilege.  But that’s why these You Tube channels should be promoting self acceptance.

I can’t be bothered with anyone’s dating or marriage choices when babies are being killed in drive by shootings.  Loni Love’s boyfriend should be of little importance when we consider that Black people are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.  If the average NFL player wants a blue eyed blonde then he simply isn’t for me and I need to move on and find a man that prefers the dark eyed, dark skinned girl, dark, course haired woman.  It’s as simple as that.

I also think it’s stupid the way pro Black You Tubers criticize the Civil Rights movement.  They say that integration didn’t benefit Black people.  Who’s fault is that?  The Civil Rights movement gave Black people more opportunities and freedom to move about society.  If idiots decided to turn their backs on communities and institutions that Blacks built and flock to White communities and institution because they perceive it as superior that is not Martin Luther King’s fault.

Civil Rights leaders put everything they had on the line for a change and they were successful.  Meanwhile Black You Tubers who conceal their identities criticize their efforts.  In fact, Pro Black You Tube spends a great deal of time criticizing anything and anyone that is successful and Black.

Pro Black You Tube can be good for a laugh and at times they make good points but they are superficial and lazy.  They just want to make a quick buck off of monetizing their You Tube site and they use the emotional matter of racism to do it.  They aren’t doing any real work that doesn’t enrich themselves.  They use celebrities and viral videos to sensationalize their sentiments but they are reluctant to talk about something as pedestrian as saving money, meal planning, exercise and the best ways to raise healthy children.  Pro Black You Tubers are all scammers.

 

The Feminist Nonsense Continues: Lizzo at the Lakers Game

I’m not even sure where to start with this.  In case you haven’t heard I’ll recap the insanity.  Pop star Lizzo went to a Lakers game in a loose T shirt dress with a cut out at the behind which exposed her bare cheeks and black thong.  During the game Lizzo was put on the jumbotron and she did a little dance.  It was cute but then she turned around so the camera can get a look at her bare butt cheeks and thong while she continued to dance.

I was appalled by it but there’s a lot of shocking things going on in the world today.  I was prepared to file this away and move forward.  But then Lizzo and her dress with the butt cut out became a trending topic and Lizzo went on a rant on IG.  And here is where the problem starts for me.  Lizzo is quoted as saying “if you don’t like my a$$ you can kiss it”.  We weren’t thinking about her a$$ until she showed it to us.

The so called #bodypositive rant is what made this incident a feminist and “woke” talking point on You Tube this week.  Lizzo is a #bodypositivity ambassador and the body positivity movement rubs me the wrong way.  I’ve seen #bodypositivity posts all over Instagram and they come across as a manipulative scam.

#bodypositivity is a way to get women out of their clothes.  #bodyposi convinces women that they have to take off their clothes in order to prove that they love their bodies and are confident women.  The #bodyposi community believes that bearing it all is a way to conquer insecurities.

The #bodypositivity movement really has very little to do with confidence and being happy with yourself.  It has more to do with seeking attention and validation.  I have more respect for #thirsttrapthursday posts.  At least they are completely honest in their intentions and they aren’t fake woke.

The #bodypositivity and modern feminist movement is telling women that they should seek to be lusted after.  Modern feminism and #bodypositivity are not seeking to have women valued as a human beings and individuals.  The focus on a woman’s body and not anything else she can offer the world.

Lizzo is beautiful, talented, energetic and charismatic.  I wouldn’t have noticed that she is heavy without her pointing it out.   Her size and feminist activism is part of her brand despite the fact that she is a well trained classical flutist and rapper (what a combination) with a great stage presence.  Lizzo has a great deal to offer the world but instead she chooses to focus on a$$.

She is selling herself short and the image that she puts out of herself is cartoonish.  I feel like she is living up to stereotypes about larger women, particularly large Black women.  Lizzo claims to be standing up for women that don’t have slim bodies but she presents full figure in unflattering ways when it would be very easy for her to project a stylish image.  She has the goods and resources to do so.

I’m curious about what Lizzo was expecting when she turned her bare backside to the jumbotron camera.  Was she expecting a round of applause?  She received criticism from showing her thonged behind in public (shocker) and then she went into victim mode and told everyone that they were criticizing her because she is big and Black.  She didn’t take into consideration that her actions would be seen as uncouth to some if not most people.

But Lizzo isn’t the biggest problem.  The biggest problem are the social media feminists.  They say that the world was trying to police her body because she is a Black with a lot of meat.  She could have worn almost anything without criticism but she chose something that she knew would be controversial.  Those of us that find her taste and behavior to be questionable are now being made out to be bigots and chauvinists.  This is emotional blackmail.

It’s not our job to validate every person when they do things for shock value or out of desperation.  And we don’t have to give positive reinforcement to Hollyweird and rich n word culture.  This Lizzo situation is almost a real life version of The Emperor’s New Clothes.  

Lizzo could do a lot to represent full figured women by just being the talented and beautiful woman that she is but she’s wasting this opportunity with her shenanigans.  I do not think that the activism that she is becoming known for will sustain her career as a musician.  If no one’s told Lizzo this, you’re pretty and talented.  You don’t need to pull childish pranks.

 

TI’s Hymen Test is Indicative of the way the World Seeks to Control Black Female Sexuality

Recently rapper TI remarked on a podcast that he took his daughter to a gynecologist yearly and had the doctor check to ensure her hymen was still intact.  This is supposed to prove that the eighteen year old girl has never had sex.  All families operate differently and what is peculiar to one family may be acceptable in another.

I found TI’s admission to be a bit Taliban like and I was shocked that he was so comfortable telling the world about this daddy daughter tradition.  But TI has shot his mouth off several times in 2019.  As far as I’m concerned his daughter has joined a list of people and entities to whom TI owes an apology.

In my opinion there is more power for women in modest dress and morals.  But if a woman decides differently for herself I am no one to tell her differently.  An adult person has the right to choose what to do with their body.  I certainly don’t blame a parent for advising a young adult child to abstain from sex.  I would do the same if I was the parent of an eighteen year old son or daughter.

But to try an enforce abstinence with an iron fist implies that you are uncomfortable with that person’s sexuality.  It’s as if the enforcer sees sex as an inherently unclean and harmful act.  And here is the bottom line.  Overall, Black Americans and the world at large view Black female sexuality as nefarious and dirty.  Most people do not have a healthy view of Black female sexuality.  That even includes Black women and men.  Many Black men of Generation X and younger may have negative views of Black women and sexuality.  Being a hip hop star doesn’t make one exempt.

Just look at the music that many Black artists, particularly rappers such as TI have produced over the last thirty years or so.  Much of it is based on cheap sex, where the woman is not valued and the men seem resent the women.  R & B as a genre has slowly been phased out of popular music so it’s rare to hear songs about sweet romances and healthy sexual experiences anymore.  What we are left with are tunes based on casual sexual experiences and the bitterness and anger that often accompanies them.

Black Americans are heavily influenced by mainstream American culture which always seeks to affirm White righteousness.  These attitudes do nothing to benefit Black people but many of us absorb and admire the dominant culture around us.  Many of us are desperately trying to assimilate to a culture that makes us the butt of jokes and places us at a disadvantage.

It is pretty unusual for Hollywood to cast a Black woman as a romantic lead or to address Black female sexuality and romantic relationships at all.  Black women are typically presented as matronly, undesirable and asexual by Hollywood.  Image makers know what they are doing when they place certain consistent messages before their audience.  Hollywood and the media seeks to neuter Black women.

I’ll point out that when the entertainment business does address Black, female heterosexuality the Black woman is usually presented as desperate and her desperation or failure at relationships is comic relief or fuel for a story line about her suffering.  It is very rare to see a Black woman, that looks like a woman with two Black parents in a loving, stable relationship in the media.

Black women, particularly those with dark skin and kinky hair are fed a steady stream of negativity about what they look like through the media and often personal interactions.  I believe that this is a deliberate attempt to control Black female heterosexual activity.  It’s the ultimate c—block.  There are many within the Black community that are in on the act.

Undoubtedly, TI has taken advantage of and abused (I don’t mean criminally.  I have a broader definition of abuse.  What many call normal sexual behavior in the modern era I think of as abusive.) numerous women.  Because of his own behavior he now has an unhealthy view of female sexuality.  TI doesn’t even seem to have a respectful relationship with his own wife.

TI and daughter

He doesn’t want his daughter to be taken for granted, abused, used and discarded.  He doesn’t want his daughter to be treated like a human blow up doll.  He doesn’t want his daughter to be thought of as a piece of flesh that exists for a man’s pleasure.  He doesn’t want his daughter manipulated, mislead or lied to in order for a man to gain access to her body.  TI has probably engaged in all of this type of reckless behavior which has given him a negative view of female sexuality.

Safety, comfort, acceptance and trust are what set the mood for a woman to have a healthy sexual relationship with a man.  These conditions are what give women the freedom to express themselves sexually.  Unfortunately, Black women are not offered these conditions and this freedom as often as women of other communities.  So sex as it relates to Black women often comes with negative connotations instead of romantic, pleasurable, affirming ones.

People seek to control acts that they see as nefarious and vile.  Black, female, heterosexual behavior is seen as unwholesome and dirty under the global system of White supremacy.  Therefore, it is seen as something that needs to be monitored and controlled with no thought to the well being of Black women.