The Mainstreaming of Urban Culture

Today I was browsing target.com and I ran across a pair of gold toned, chunky, bamboo earrings.  I was kind of floored to see them.  I remember that style of earring being popular in the late 80s and early 90s.  Big, bold, gold hoops were once only popular among Black and Hispanic women in urban areas.  They were lampooned for it.  Big hoops were thought of as ghetto, uncouth and too flashy to be chic.  So are they still ghetto now that suburban soccer moms and hipsters will be wearing them?

target model

I’ve seen this before.  I grew up in the 80s and 90s outside of Detroit.  The fashion industry has promoted styles within the last ten years that I remember inner city women and men wearing thirty years prior.  Back then that style of dress would have made a person unemployable.  So it’s interesting to see urban styles marketed as chic and trendy when the fashion industry is actually decades behind the trend.

I ran across this article a few years ago in Lucky magazine a few years ago.

zoey deschanel

Sorry but Zooey Deschanel is the last person I think of when I think of nail art.  No celebrity comes to mind when I think about nail designs.  The popularity of nail art has grass roots.  Grass that sprung up in between slabs of concrete.  Nail art has been a fashion staple across America’s big cities for decades.  It was hood until Zooey Deschanel and Lucky magazine said it wasn’t.

I’m not one to get angry about cultural appropriation because I live in a multi cultural society and cultures rub off on each other.  But it’s unfair the way that anything that is associated with Black Americans is looked down on and but a White stylists or buyer copies an urban fashion, brings it to the White masses who think that it is something new and all of a sudden it’s a new trend and it’s origins are forgotten.  And then people tell African Americans that we have no culture.

We have culture but we often turn our noses down at it in order to assimilate into the dominant culture.  Instead of Blacks passing it down to our own children another ethnic group ends up selling our culture back to a different generation of Black Americans.  It’s honestly our own fault and we should know better by now.  But we keep falling for the okey doke.  This cycle also happens in music and the restaurant industry.

russian hairstyles  ghetto hairstyles

Black people need to appreciate their own creativity and originality.  Stop joining in the chorus of folks labeling something as ghetto in order to fit in to polite society.  Something is either tacky and uncouth across the board or it isn’t.  The marketing is the difference.  Black people should protect their culture and proudly claim it.  Don’t wait for a White reality star to make you chic.  Learn to market your own culture instead of complaining when someone else figures out a way to make a buck off of it.

I’m sure glad that I saved my gigantic Turkish link gold hoop earrings from the 90s.

 

 

 

 

Black Social Media: Help or Hindrance

I am Black and a bit of a social media junkie. Social media outlets have pretty much figured out that I’m Black and they suggest pages, channels, people, places and things that other Black people frequent. I follow them as do others in my demographic. It creates little virtual communities and there you have it, the Black social media sphere. It has been fun, entertaining, and educational in good ways and bad. Black social media can be a useful and entertaining tool. But it can be very toxic.

I’ll start off by saying that Black people are not given enough credit for being so witty and creative. When I was a big Facebook and Twitter user my brothers and sisters would absolutely have me cracking up with their unique takes on various hashtags. Some social media users reminded me of the glory days of hip hop when being a little street or ghetto or whatever you call was meshed with intelligence and insight. We don’t get to see that much in the media anymore. I miss it.

Black social media users have also brought attention to injustices in America such as police brutality and racism in common places. Cell phone video and social media has given justice to many Black people that never would have gotten it otherwise. I think that is wonderful and heroic.

But I’ve decided to not follow a lot of Black social media pages due to the nature of the speaker or his or her followers. I blocked The Shade Room on IG years ago and my quality of life immediately improved. I stopped following the 1990s rapper David Banner because I got tired of being a defender of the faith. I blocked The Amazing Lucas on You Tube because he is trying a little too hard to prove that he is a conservative Black man. It’s sad to watch a Black man pander to people that way.

It’s difficult to build a social media following unless you already have some sort of claim to fame, an amazing talent or you fit a particular beauty standard and decide to flaunt your body for the sake social media popularity. I’m guessing that it may even be more difficult for non celebrity Black people to build a large following because I rarely see Black people discussing things that wouldn’t be considered a Black interest on social media. I’ve figured that the best way for Black people to gain a social media following is by being controversial within the on line Black community.

I think Black men have it the hardest in the social media world. It’s a little harder for them to find their social media niche. Many Black women and feminine Black men have gained social media notoriety by creating celebrity gossip outlets, make up and hair tutorials.

But I don’t see many Black men creating channels that aren’t about dissecting matters in the Black community. It seems to me that the easiest way for a Black man to gain a large social media following is by talking about such matters and blaming Black women for them. Some of the most successful Black You Tubers that I’m aware of are men that think that Black women are solely responsible for every single problem in the Black community. Like, seriously every – single – one. The mental gymnastics these guys do is impressive. Actually buying into it is a personality disorder of some sort.

I’ve never followed members of the He Man’s Woman Haters Club but men that follow these ideologies show up in the comment sections of other vlogs such as gossip channels or a channel that is talking about current events to a Black audience. They drop nasty remarks about Black women’s appearances, marital status, “attitude” or whatever. They even put Black women down for going to college and pursuing careers. I would like to think that most of these remarks are coming from trolls in Moscow but I know my people and this can’t all be blamed on the Russians.

phone

It’s like some of these guys (to be fair, I’ve had Black women make rude remarks about my appearance, especially my hair as well) know that Black women are trying to avoid them so they come to where we are in order to insult us in some way. I’ve made what I thought was an innocuous comment and have had my personal appearance attacked by my fellow social media users. People like that are usually hiding behind an anonymous profile so I can’t be sure of who they are but I’m guessing a lot of the insults based on skin color and hair texture are coming from people with similar skin color and hair texture.

After degrading Black women these gentlemen go on to put fairer skinned women on a pedestal. I don’t understand why they didn’t do that in the first place and just left us out of it. No one needs to justify their dating and marriage choices to anyone. And you shouldn’t have to put someone else down in order to express your love for someone else. Black women return the vitriol. They too have set up channels and make comments tearing Black men apart. There is no way to have a community if men and women hate each other.

Another topic that’s caught a lot of traction on Black social media is “woke” Black people telling Black Christians to stop believing in Christ. I had to block the 90s rapper David Banner for this reason. People like him are arrogant and patronizing and always use the same two or three reasons to justify their opinions.

Their reasoning displays their ignorance about the Bible, geography, human history. This “woke”, afrocentric community are the ones that believe in a White, European Jesus. Not those of us with the understanding that Bethlehem isn’t in Europe. Once again, all they need to do is follow their heart. There is absolutely no need to degrade someone else in order to justify a personal choice. Leave us out of your personal choices and I’ll leave you out of mine.

I ran across a You Tuber named The Amazing Lucas one day and I decided to follow him. After watching a few of his videos I blocked him. I don’t need anymore of his videos. He’s a young Black man that would probably describe himself as being conservative. But after a while I guess he had to work harder to prove himself.

He’s too emotional about things that aren’t that big of a deal such as the political opinions of NBA players that he’s never even heard of. Lucas is of the belief that racism is all a figment of Black America’s imagination which I find to be a very condescending and delusional view point. The Amazing Lucas doesn’t seem to understand that racism is an economic and sociological matter.

I don’t know who runs The Shade Room but they are a horrible human being and their followers are complete morons. It’s hard to find a dumber group of people on social media than what you would find on that IG page. I blocked them a long time ago because they were on there making fun of Simone Biles body. That’s right. They body shamed a world class athlete.

People that enjoy The Shade Room only like women that look like strippers. It’s all they care about or respect. They absolutely love people from the Love and Hip Hop Series and various young rappers that I’ve never heard of. But they trash an Olympic champion because she’s not so called slim thick. They trashed Gabrielle Douglas as well. I believe they came for her because she mentioned something about women should dress modestly and they went berserk. I don’t share the values of most people in The Shade Room so I had to block them.

The death and funeral of rapper Nipsey Hustle and the trials and tribulations of TV personality Wendy Williams have dominated Black social media the last few weeks. Meanwhile three Black churches in Louisiana burned mysteriously and the son of a police officer was arrested for the crimes.

I was on a You Tube channel yesterday that fashions itself after a news broadcast. The host discussed the church fires and people in the comments section were talking about their disdain for Christianity, especially Black Christians. They are clearly missing the point. But if they are that stupid why bother talking to them. I blocked the channel. I think we need to shift our values a bit. Our community suffered a terrorist attack and

I understand that the death of Nipsey Hustle is yet another urban violent tragedy but last weekend six were shot at a baby shower in Chicago. I haven’t heard Black social media say a word about that. I didn’t know who Nipsey Hustle was until he died so his death is no different than all the other murders that happen in the Black community.

I think that we should use the powerful medium of social media to discuss that to the point of beating a dead horse like we do stupid topics like fake hair, inter racial dating and twerking. And men that are obsessed with women that they don’t like need to be the ones doing the talking instead of blaming everything on single mothers.

I wish that Black social media communities would just stop trying to tell others in their community what to do. Stop thinking you know what’s best for someone else. If we all do our part, Christians, Israelites, Agnostics, LGBT, feminists, etc. we can all make improvements to build a better future for everyone. But this intra racial at least snarkiness and at most hatred should stop. We need to learn to respect each other more. I don’t feel like Black people appreciate our differences.

Some of these conversations that take place have been going on for years and we have come to no conclusion or made no progress. They are trivial matters anyway so we should just move forward. I think there are a few things we should be able to agree on such as if you’re mad at someone you shouldn’t shoot up their baby shower and let’s discuss those matters. The rest of if is all just drivel and a huge waste of time and I refuse to participate in it anymore.

Labels: Words and Their Meanings Matter

I’m a black and white person and a linear thinker.  I’ve been told that I’m direct and blunt.  My mother has been described as no nonsense and no frills so I supposed some of it may come from my upbringing.  I’m fairly well organized and I like things to be in order.  I like to have a clear understanding of things.  Labels help us to have an understanding.

I’ve noticed that labels are becoming taboo in 2019.  People don’t want to be labeled.  They say they want to be free.  But what do they want to be free from exactly.  Once something is labeled there are expectations that go along with it.  If you label a container as salt and you put sugar in it you’re pulling a prank.  But if you never label the container the onus is on the person using the container.  The person that filled the container has bypassed their responsibilty for what’s in it.  And they were able to fool you with their prank.

Modern society is removing labels from things such as relationships between men and women, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender and race.  I honestly think that people are disregarding labels because responsibility, expectations and history come with labels.  I think people that don’t like labels are trying to remove themselves from those responsibilities, expectations and history.  They often want to reap the benefits of the good and take no accountability for the bad.

Take the word whore for example.  I’m not one to judge people on their sexuality.  I just don’t see it as a big part of a person’s identity.  It’s just a descriptive word to describe how much a person gets around.  A whore might be a smart, nice person.  I have friends and beloved relatives that can be described  that way.  There have been times when I could be considered one.

However, relabeling whore to “sexually liberated” is a b.s. move.  It’s still the same thing and it still gets you the same penalties or rewards.  Don’t try to sell that behavior as something other than what it is.  A person that gets around is a person that gets around.  If a person doesn’t like the stigma then they need to change the behavior.

I watched a You Tube video recently where a person said that they are not affiliated with any organized religion but they believed in God.  That’s called Agnostic and she didn’t use that word because for some there are negative connotations that go along with that for some people

This woman probably wouldn’t get very far with the people she is trying to share her message with if she presented herself that way.  She then goes on to say that she reads the Bible and she used a lot of language that most would recognize as spiritual or even specifically Christian.  She never called her beliefs anything and she went on to talk about having a relationship with her creator.

All of that is fine but she said that she and her husband had a ministry channel on You Tube.  What are they ministering exactly?  What should we expect from their ministry?  If she and her husbands are leaders of this ministry what can and should we expect from them?  We don’t know because whatever she calls her beliefs is a secret yet she wants us to follow her.  She’s not asking us to follow a religious text that we can read for ourselves and accept or reject or a religion that we can research and choose to be a part of or not before deciding to get involved.

This woman’s ministry is working in shadows.  In fact she didn’t even show her face on her You Tube channel which wasn’t her ministry channel.  Never go to a second location.  The introduction is made in one location to make you feel comfortable.  Second locations are always where the damage takes place.

People are reluctant to label their romantic relationships in modern times. Sugar and salt look alike at first glance.  You probably have to get very close to it to know which is which.  This is the case for many modern relationships.  They look like traditional marriages from a distance.

There may be affection, a mortgage, children and other family ties but it’s still not a marriage.  Those types of relationships don’t have the same kind of responsibility that a marriage has.  There is always a backdoor and a lack of responsibility.  Indeed there is a backdoor in a marriage as well but marriage comes with expectations so if a boundary is crossed someone needs to take responsibility for their choices.  Not labeling a relationship takes away responsibilities and leaves doors open.

As far as sexuality is concerned I’ve seen high profile celebrities legally marry people of the opposite sex and refer to themselves as queer.  This is along the same lines as cultural appropriation.  A White performer wants to give themselves and edge and there is a time limit on how long a White performer can imitate urban fashion and dialect and get away with it if that is not genuinely who they are.

I like Miley a lot.  I think her lovely personality is enough to further her career.  But since her Disney days her career has been based on shock value and selling the public a rebellious image.  She’s a child of privilege, that became wealthy as a child star.  What’s wrong with that?  I think that’s more interesting than vulgarity or her sexuality.  I guess being a rich White girl isn’t street enough for Miley.

miley

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/02/224981/miley-cyrus-queer-relationship-liam-hemsworth

Femininity and Masculinity can be fluid.  Your sex is not.  Sex is a biological fact.  People can go through medical procedures to change their anatomy which would make them a different gender.  I’ve been hearing about sex change operations for decades so that is nothing new.  But I’m so perplexed at people that want to change the definition of what a man and woman is.  I really don’t see how you can.

There are some women that are masculine and there are men that are feminine.  There are men that are attracted to men and women that have romantic love for women.  That doesn’t change any biological fact about their gender.  If society grows to accept the vague definition of gender women are going to suffer.

Race and ethnicity is a vague category.  I’m sure that if we all took a DNA test none of us would be %100 anything.  But I’m seeing a real push in the USA to try and get what is commonly known as Black people to call themselves something other than Black or African American.  Meanwhile other people that are mixed race and or from other countries want to be considered Black, when it’s convenient of course.

I am a descendant of African slaves and my family has been in the United States for at least four generations.  In 2019 those people are commonly called Black or African American.  That works for me because I have no problem being Black.  I think that people that want us to call ourselves something different are ashamed to be Black.  I also think that at some point the government may start to take the demand for reparations seriously for the descendants of slaves.  What’s going to happen to all of these folks that have dropped the label of Black or African American then?  If I’m still alive to cash that check my Black self is going to have a hearty laugh at them.

People that want Black Americans to call themselves Egyptians or Israelites often speak to us as if we are downtrodden, ignorant people.  Yes, Black people have a lot of problems but we have been given a lot of problems for centuries so what exactly is to be expected.  The only thing that will change if American Blacks decide to stop calling themselves Black or African American is that we will lose our rich and fascinating history.  We will lose our influence on American and global culture.  There is nothing to gain by giving ourselves a new label.

The times we live in remind me of an episode of “Twilight Zone” that I saw long ago called “Wordplay”.  A man finds himself within a world where all of the words have a different meaning to his understanding and it causes confusion and frustration.

 

There is nothing wrong with labels.  The problem comes from people and their judgements and attitude towards what is being labeled.  Judgemental behavior won’t change by calling something by a different name.  I can go to City Hall in my town and have my name changed from Shannon to Susie.  I’m still the same person and any opinion that you had of me before is the same.  You’re just calling it by a different name.  Ron Artest and Metta World Peace are the same man.  The only thing that changed were the letters (and number) on the back of his jersey.

 

 

 

I question people that are sensitive about labels without making and meaningful changes.  People are trying to say that things that are the same are different and things that are different are the same.  The relabeling always seems to be for the benefit of one group and the deficit of another.  I think these modern word games are just a smokescreen for manipulation and deception.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was Friday, March 8.  I thought nothing of it on Friday because I don’t know how to observe the day.  Do we go shopping, bake a cake, have a parade or what?  Beats me.

But over the weekend I ran across a video on YouTube of an Air Force service woman complaining about her subordinates having bad attitudes.

 

The soldiers post is bad enough but as always the comments underneath the video were far more extreme.  I read dozens and dozens of comments expressing disdain for and superiority to Black women.  YouTube is a haven for those who hate Black women.  Insults to Black women can be found underneath videos that have absolutely nothing to do with Black women.  I read this stuff and I’m like, sheesh can I live?  I’m just minding my business and trying to live here.

There is a YouTube host by the name of Tommy Sotomayor that has been preaching his hatred of Black women on social media for years now.  His success has inspired copy cats and their sentiment is repeated all over YouTube and Twitter.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest way for a Black man that isn’t a celebrity to gain a large social media following is by degrading Black women.

tommy sotomayor Tommy Sotomayor

Stereotypes are usually based in truth but I still don’t find the perceptions that people have of Black women to be fair.  I am familiar with “Black attitude” and have encountered it.  I’ve dished some out.  So I’m not saying that “Black attitude” doesn’t exist.  I’m just saying that it is misunderstood and sometimes justified.

Hostility towards Black women has been very open in the media for years.  As I pointed out before it is all over the place and the Black community is not even a safe place from it because Black people often hold the most hostility and do a lot to perpetuate the harmful stereotypes.

Black women are often described as terrible mothers, terrible domestic partners, terrible people and ugly.  I’ve seen numerous social media posts telling Black women  that we are the so called bottom of the barrel women.  With so much negativity aimed at Black women I don’t understand why anyone is surprised that they would have attitudes or feelings of bitterness and resentment.  It is inevitable that all of the negativity would affect the image of Black women and girls.

Black women are often put down for the way they present themselves.  A lot of Black women wear hair weave around the world.  In countries outside of the US skin bleaching seems to be common.  Men that enjoy degrading Black women by telling them that they need to learn to love themselves.

What people choose to ignore is that European features are the standard of beauty globally and women of African descent that alter their appearance to look more European are trying to compete.  They are competing for economic opportunities and the affection of men.  Black women often feel that they need to make themselves look more European to gain the attention of Black men.

Black women are human beings and like all human beings they are seeking out validation and love.  Black women are fighting to gain economic resources in this modern economy.  Most of us are raised to believe that we need to alter our appearance to look more European in some form in order to do that.  Anyone that says that looking more African and less European in this world is an asset is not speaking the truth.

So that covers the why of some of the actions of Black women but that’s not where the bias stops.  I admit.  Some Black women have an attitude and are easy to trigger.  But so are a lot of other women that aren’t Black.  Why aren’t those women stereotyped as having bad attitudes?  In fact, when certain races of women have temper tantrums men think it’s cute, sexy and exciting.

 

If you take a gander at my profile pic you can clearly see that I am a Black woman.  I think I’m a pretty nice and easy going person.  I don’t like to be at odds with people or have conflicts.  But I’m not afraid to stand up for myself.  And I’ve noticed as a Black woman there are times when I have had to struggle to be heard.  When I don’t stand for being treated poorly or I feel the need to make myself clear so I can ensure that I am being heard and understood people often like to act is if I am the aggressor and they are the victim.

All a Black woman needs to do is stand up for herself or assert herself and many people will be offended by it because the woman that they deem as beneath them or bottom of the barrel is asking for fair treatment.  Others actually enjoy the nasty stereotypes of Black women.  It gives them a fool to laugh at and someone to make them feel superior.  I have had problems in the American workforce for not fulfilling the Black woman stereotypes.  A Black woman will be left in peace if she plays the role that others thinks she should play.

I grew up in the Detroit area and now I live in Kansas City, MO.  I’ve always lived places with sizeable Black populations.  So indeed, I have met unpleasant Black women but I’ve also met a lot of sweet as pie, smart, professional, family oriented, hard working, feminine, full of personality and drop dead gorgeous.  In fact, I think that most Black women are lovely people.  Most of the people that I have been close to and supported me in my life have been Black women.  I have absolutely no reason to put down Black women or try to put a different race of women on a pedestal.

Black women are like everyone else and should be judged as individuals.  Give us a break.  And no, I’m not pleading with anyone to like or love us.  That is a personal matter.  But I don’t think that we deserve the constant degradation that we receive.  It’s not even as if we are being accused of pulling off mass shootings or drive bys.  Even if you buy into the stereotypes we still really aren’t all that bad.  How can we be?  Black women don’t hold much power in society so we aren’t even able to hurt anyone.  I don’t understand how we became the boogeyman.

As far as the soldier that made that video I have some theories about why she has a problem with her subordinates but I will keep that to myself.  My hypothesis is not politically correct and would do nothing but hurt feelings and spread negativity.  I know when to keep my mouth shut.  I only know what this soldier shared in her profanity laced tirade which said a lot about her.

This woman clearly loves drama because there are other, less public, more professional and mature ways that she could deal with disrespectful subordinates.  I’m sure the Air Force has some sort of disciplinary system in place to deal with valid complaints.  And this lady said she wanted to fight the Black women that reported to her.  For goodness sakes that’s not lady like at all.  Is violence really necessary?  I’m thinking that she is the problem here.

So anyway the world really needs to back off of Black women and girls.  We don’t deserve the hostility.  We’re just trying to live our lives.  In the past year or so I’ve heard of about three stories of elementary school aged girls committing suicide because of bullying at school.  One news report said that a girl was being teased because of her hair.  She looked like an average little Black girl with two Black parents to me.  This negativity has consequences.

The mainstream American feminist movement rarely addresses the concerns of Black women.  Body positivity and other modern feminist causes exist to improve the conditions of affluent White women that only seem to have cellulite to worry about.  So in honor of International Women’s Day please, give Black women a break.  We’re having a hard time out here.

Black Men and MGTOW

I ran across a MGTOW video today and it confirmed what I suspected was at the roots of the MGTOW movement.  MGTOW is White people’s business.  I’ll explain.  MGTOW men seem to resent White women for educating themselves and opening up economic and career opportunities.

I’m a firm believer that the only rule to dating and marriage is that people date and marry their equivalent unless there is an exchange such as youth and beauty in exchange for financial security.  When White women became more educated I’m sure it made things more difficult for average White men.  Educated White women probably wanted an educated White man and if she couldn’t find what she wanted she had the option to remain single.

White men on MGTOW YouTube channels express their resentment for educated White women often.  They also seem to resent these women and their urbane, cosmopolitan attitudes.  Educated White women were striving for nicer things, elegant surroundings and they may be more open to inter racial dating.

Average White men seem to begrudge all of this.  These educated White women are a little out of their league.  Even if the average Joe makes more money than college Susie they may not have much in common because of Susie’s education and broader options.  Joe’s options are now limited and he has to compete for Susie’s attention.  If he can find a woman that he is happy with then he moves on to wedded bliss.  If not he can fall back on  MGTOW.

I’ve seen many Black men that support MGTOW.  They really need to think of something different.  I don’t think that anyone owes it to like anyone and I think it’s acceptable to not marry for whatever reason.  But Black men should not be speaking in favor of MGTOW because they look foolish.

Read the comments under this video.

Black MGTOW men are linking arms with White men that are mad at White women for making education and careers a priority instead of breeding more White babies.  I don’t understand why Black men don’t see this and I don’t know why they have adapted MGTOW as their cause.

The Undead Chronic channel has genuinely given me a few laughs and I think he makes some good points.  But he mentions that the young woman is pretty much untouchable to him after Chad, Tyrone and I believe he said Abdul have been “up in there”.  He is degrading this White women for potentially having lovers of a difference race.  (I understand they degrade women for having lovers in general but if race wasn’t an issue he would have left it at Chad).  But Black men consistently wave this flag all over YouTube.  Sigh.  I don’t know what to tell them.

There are a lot of problems in the Black community and I think that Black men should focus their energy on something other than disdain for women.  Even if they don’t want to marry or involve themselves with women Black men have much bigger fish to fry than MGTOW concerns.  For example, I think that inner city crime is a more pressing matter.  How about all that police brutality?  Black men simply don’t have the time.

They should probably just put a B in front of the acronym to set themselves apart since I believe that MGTOW is uniquely a White man’s movement that addresses the concerns of White men with White women.  A rebrand is definitely needed.  Why not just call it “I Hate B!thches” because that’s what I get from their rants?  Black male support of MGTOW as it stands is completely ridiculous.  It is yet another contradiction with the movement.