RIP Luke Perry

Yesterday the world lost 90s teen idol Luke Perry.  He became famous in the early 90s because of his role on the legendary teen soap opera “Beverly Hills 90210”.  Legendary is not an exaggeration.  At least not for me.  There has never been anything like “90210” and there will never be anything like that again.

The main reason there will never be anything like “90210” is because I’ll never be sixteen again.  Once you live past your teen aged years I don’t think that it’s possible to focus that type of energy on a TV program and fictional characters.  There’s that and Luke Perry’s rise to fame occurred in a bygone era.

Picture this:

The year is 1991.  The place is suburban Detroit, Michigan.  It’s Tuesday night.  In about twenty four hours the favorite show of me and all of my peers is going to air.  The countdown is now a matter of hours and not days.  The next day in school I look up at classroom wall clocks during the day.  I’m counting down the hours to when “90210” came on.  It was on the tip of our tongues and the forefront of all of our little early 90s, teen minds.

School is out.  YES!  It won’t be much longer.  It’s just a few hours more.  I just needed to get through dinner and probably some homework and then it would be time to see what happened next in lives of privileged, attractive (even the homely one was kind of cute) White teenagers that live under perpetually sunny skies.

I remember that “Entertainment Tonight” came on at 7:30PM.  My girlfriends, two other Midwestern, suburban, Black girls, would be on the phone talking to each other by that time on a three way call.  That’s how we had conferences about TV broadcasts before the social media aged.  We would get so excited when the closing credits to “Entertainment Tonight” started to roll.  It was now just a matter of minutes before the main event.

And then it began:

 

When the first few notes of the “90210” theme song came through my floor model TV set my heart skipped a beat.  My friends and I created a short cacophony of squeals and heavily breathing the word YESSSSS into land line phones! We excitedly chatted during the commercials.  Once the show began we held the phone in silence until the next commercial break.

“Beverly Hills 90210” was good stuff.  We followed the love story between Brenda and bad boy Dylan.  I can’t remember if Dylan went to school or not.  I think I remember him going to the prom but I don’t remember him being in class.  The love triangle between Brenda, Dylan and Kelly was absolutely riveting.  And the sweet story of David protecting Donna’s honor melted our hearts.

The show was also educational.  I learned where Baja was because of Dylan McKay.  My friends and I looked that up because we wanted to know where on the Earth Dylan went on his solitary surf vacations.  To this day I think of Dylan whenever I hear the name Baja.  We didn’t use the internet then so I don’t know how we looked it up.  I’m assuming we found Baja on a globe at school or we used an encyclopedia.

baja

“90210” was absolutely epic.  I don’t even think kids today can relate to anything like 9021 mania because they are growing up with on demand entertainment like Netflix and YouTube.  Back in my day we just had to eagerly await new episodes and new seasons of our favorite shows.  It caused mild hysteria.

Anyhow, RIP Luke Perry.  I’m getting a little emotional writing this post.  Thank you for the memories.  There will never be anyone else like him because times change and people change.  Looking back at it the show was very corny and I don’t think that today’s teenagers would accept “90210” as entertainment.  There would surely be complaints that the show was elitist and lacked diversity.  But I loved it and I’m grateful to have grown up in what pretty much amounts to the Victorian era.  Thanks for the memories.

 

My Disenchantment and Disappointment with NFL Football and it’s Players

I have been a sports fan for a long time.  I have loved it and pro sports has brought a lot of enjoyment into my life.  I admire the athleticism and grace of the athletes.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to admire youth more and more and pro sports is a celebration and display of the blessing of youth, strength, good health and a competitive spirit.  I’ve looked up to pro athletes for years and they’ve been heroes to me.

But it’s not only important to have a strong body and have physical gifts.  You also need to have a strong mind, spirit and sense of self.  I’m not sure that most pro athletes have that.  Recently the significant other of a man that plays for the San Die…I mean LA Chargers posted a video of herself, her baby daddy Jaheel Addae, some other Black NFL players and their non Black significant others at dinner making a toast to light skinned babies.

There is something creepy and sinister about a blonde haired, blue eyed woman making a toast to eugenics and promoting social engineering.  It was like we were getting an inside look at a Hitler youth meeting that Black men were allowed to join due to their annual earnings after taking a pledge of allegiance to White supremacy and it’s standards of beauty.

I am a dark skinned, Black woman that is forty four years old, never married and without children.  A lot of people are going to belittle what I am saying and write it off as jealousy and bitterness.  That’s usually what happens when dark skinned Black women try to speak out against being belittled as women or question European features being put on a pedestal.  But I am not jealous nor am I bitter.  But I am questioning if I should invest in an institution that is made of men that devalues Black people and run by people that seem to be using it as a vehicle to assert White standards of feminine beauty.

I feel the need to say that I am not against inter racial dating, marriage or mixed race children.  The United States is an ethnically diverse country and friendships and romantic relationships are bound to happen in this day and age.  Great.  The strange thing is the way that these relationships get glorified and glamorized at the same time that Black women with two Black parents are often put down and degraded.

I’m not really surprised by the toast that was made and broadcast over Snapchat because I’ve always known that light skin, so called good hair and White features have been esteemed among Blacks for centuries.  I just never knew how much it was valued and how much Black women that look Black were vilified until social media became such a presence.  I’ve come to see what so many people really think.

I also think it’s very strange that this woman posted that video on Snapchat.  I think it was very bold and it seems hard to believe that she and her baby daddy wouldn’t know that the toast would rub some people the wrong way.  This came after a Chicago Bears player proposed to his White, fair haired girlfriend and then old tweets of hers became public.  She made some rude remarks about race and she said that she loves  to see Black men with White women and Black women with White men because she knows they will have cute children.  This type of thinking has always made my flesh crawl.

The player that verbally made the toast didn’t say cheers to the lovely ladies in our company or cheers to true love and happiness or prosperous families.  He said cheers to being light skinned, the closest thing to White we’re ever going to get.  That’s it.  They were celebrating being welcomed into White society and leaving Blackness behind.

Visualize White football players taping a similar toast.  Everyone would question if they were a part of the Alt Right.  These young Black men are pretty much a part of the Alt Right whether they realize it or not.

If you think a person with one White parent and one Black parent is more attractive than a person with two Black parents then you probably think a person with two White parents is superior to everyone.  That is racism in a nutshell folks.  And the NFL has been feeding us images of  men of African descent putting fair hair White women on a pedestal for decades now.

As time goes on I think that fewer things are organic and most things in the media, even social media are intentional and put in front of the public in order to manipulate the masses.  That’s especially true when you’re talking about a money making juggernaut such as the NFL.

It’s not hard to see that the NFL uses their space in American culture to promote certain agendas.  It’s also clear that they pander to a White audience.  It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think that they would want to reach out to White women in a way so they feel as if they have a place in the NFL.  This may seem far out to some of you but when I look at the media and other sources of information and apply some objective and critical thought it’s amazing to me how White people affirm themselves.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Europeans do not tolerate not being the center of, well everything.  Even if something markets itself as a Black organization or event they end up putting a White or at least the Whitest, non Black American face to it that they can find.  If the majority of Black ball players were married to wholesome Black women and created wholesome Black families I have a feeling some White people may resent the NFL and see it as a vehicle for Black prosperity.  White people have a history of destroying anything that brings about Black affluence.  If you don’t believe me search Rosewood, Florida, Black Wall Street or even labor unions.

I’m not even angry at the young men that made that toast to light skinned kids on Snapchat or the Bears player that proposed to the borderline racist woman on the field after winning a game that sent them to the Playoffs.  I’m really just embarrassed for them.  They are brawn and no brains, heart or pride.  They are puppets desperately trying to gain acceptance from mainstream culture.  It’s very sad to watch.

It’s like when you see someone doing something to make themselves look foolish and every knows they are being foolish except them and it’s hard to look them in the eye.  The kindest thing to do is to look away and act like you don’t see what’s going on.  That’s what I may have to do with the NFL which is sad because we have had some great times and I thought I would always be a fan.  I’ve stood by the NFL through a lot but this is a bit too much to bear.

 

 

 

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

Ever since I read “1984” and “Brave New World” in high school I’ve been a fan of dystopian novels.  I love recent effort like “The Hunger Games” and I found the movie “Divergent” to be enjoyable even though the novels weren’t very original.  So the buzz around the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” caught my interest.

I borrowed the book from the library and I thought it was pretty interesting.  It was a suspenseful story and it inspired a lot of imagination.  The author Margaret Atwood left a lot of loose ends in her book.  She wrote the novel as if we were familiar with the country of Gilead and details did not need to be explained.

I enjoyed the book enough to watch the TV series because I was hoping it would fill in some blanks for me.  In some ways it did.  Since the book leaves a lot to the imagination the writers of the TV series were given a lot of artistic license.  There are several story lines in the show that weren’t in the novel and there were some aspects of the book that were completely left out of the TV show.  But I’m still left with questions about Gilead and the way society is structured.

While reading the book and watching the TV series I wondered what happened to the handmaids once their child bearing years are over.  Are they sent to the colonies?  If so why not stage an uprising?  There isn’t much to loose if you know you will be exiled and sentenced to a work camp or hanged in your mid forties.

In the TV show there were women that worked as domestic workers.  They looked to be in their late 30s or perhaps 40s and were attractive.  It is unclear if that was the next step after being a handmaid.  The book mentioned a social class of women called econowives which may have been the lot in life of these women.  But I thought the econowives were government issued women to low status men.  It was never made clear.

I also didn’t understand who benefited from the social structure of Gilead.  Everyone was miserable and oppressed.  Even the upper class of society suffered under the rules of the theocracy.  Why did they put up with it?  They were all slaves to the system and I saw no beneficiaries.  No one was above corporal punishment or the wall in Gilead.

The social structure that enslaved women of child bearing age didn’t seem to be very fruitful.  Despite all of the child bearing women being in bondage and having intercourse monthly on their fertile days pregnancies were still rare.  The entire exercise seems futile to me because it wasn’t very productive despite the systematic efforts.  It probably would have been better to harvest the eggs of child women and implant them with embryos.

There was no reward for delivering a healthy child.  Once a woman weened the baby that she birthed she just went on to the next post.  Women that delivered babies weren’t even given high status.  You would think that Gilead would offer some sort of motivation such as a respectable husband or her own income and residence at some point.

The book touched on this more than the show did but a lot of men were celibate in Gilead.  Men were issued women by the government based on status.  Low status men were not issued women at all.  It was hard to tell the status levels of the men in the stories.  The driver in the story was low status and the Commander was high.

I don’t know how men ranked in between and at what point they earned a woman.  There is no way all of those grown celibate men wouldn’t cause some sort of social instability.  The social structure of Gilead really wasn’t sustainable.

In the novel Serena Joy Waterford was a lot older than her handmaid Offred.  I got the impression that all of the wives and commanders were older and past prime child bearing years which was their problem.  In the TV show the actresses that play the wives and handmaids are around the same age.  So I don’t really know what was wrong with all the wives?  You would think one of them would have an unplanned pregnancy at some point.  And how did the government of Gilead know they were infertile?

Some of the wives in the movie were quite young and looked to be healthy.  You don’t really know that you can’t have children until you start having unprotected sex.  It was also unclear to me if the wives and husbands had sex with each other or was sexuality taboo outside of “The Ceremony”.  The Waterfords had a very distant and cold relationship.

There was a baby girl born in the story.  Her handmaid mother called her Angela and her adopted mother and father called her Charlotte (or perhaps vice versa).  I’m sympathetic to the handmaid so I will refer to her as Angela.  What did Gilead do with the baby girls that were born and raised in affluent families that had handmaids.  Would these families really turn their daughter over to the government if she was thought to be fertile?  How would they reconcile that with their conscious?

There are just so many questions left.  There are more seasons of the show and Margaret Atwood is working on a sequel to her novel that was published in 1985.  Perhaps my questions will be answered.  But based on the book and the TV program I don’t think Gilead could survive for more than one generation.  There would be a lot of instability and social strife that would cause upheaval.

 

Nothing is Promised

Last week supermodel and America’s Next Top Modelfinalist, Winnie Harlow a.k.a Chantelle answered questions from Bravo’s Andy Cohen that set off, I won’t say controversy but a bit of social media cattiness from former America’s Next Top Model contestants and fans.  Winnie said that the show didn’t do anything to help her develop her career.  Other former contestants and fans think she’s being ungrateful.  But a few ANTM alumni agree with Winnie.

The first winner of America’s Next Top Model Adrianne Curry said years ago that the show didn’t do anything for her career.  Other models from early seasons said that the show not only didn’t help them become successful but it was a hindrance to getting signed with an agency.  Other former contestants on the show credit ANTM for giving them their start in the business and giving them a platform from which to speak.

I don’t have a problem with Winnie telling her story and giving her opinion on the matter.  But I do take her words with a grain of salt.  I watched her season of the show and she didn’t come across as a very likable character.  There was an arrogance and sense of entitlement about her and she wasn’t well liked by other cast mates in the Top Model House.

It’s hard to gauge how effective ANTM is in launching careers because there aren’t many super star models anymore.  Fashion magazines use actresses, reality show stars and the children of famous people in their ads.  The models that don’t fit into those categories may be successful but they aren’t household names like the super models of the 80s and 90s.

I am a long time fan of America’s Next Top Model and while viewing each season I have questioned whether many of the girls could really go on and model.  The contestants that are chosen are people that look good on TV but they don’t really look like people that you see walking in fashion shows or in fashion magazines.  I don’t think that it matter much because each season thousands of hopefuls audition to fill fourteen spots on the show.

2015-08-27-americas-next-top-model03

Tyra also uses the show as her own personal soap box.  She has used the show as a platform to challenge beauty standards and she picks models accordingly.  Yet, fashion models are overwhelmingly tall, thin, young and European.  ANTM has featured contestants that speak well to Tyra’s beliefs but I’m not sure they are what the fashion industry is looking for.

Nonetheless, I have seen ANTM contestants acting on TV programs and in print ads.  I follow many of the former contestants on Instagram and they seem to have entertainment careers.  But I’ll admit it’s always hard to tell who is successful and who isn’t from Instagram pages.

I’m sure being on a show like America’s Next Top Model is a great learning and opportunity for young models especially in the social media age.  But just like American Idol, The Voice and other talent finding competitions there are some contestants that are successful once their season is over and others that are never heard from again.

So it seems that being a contestant on ANTM is a lot like going to college.  You show up with hopes and dreams for the future.  Your experience in the program may give some valuable lessons that will help you achieve your goals but winning ANTM, American Idol, making it to the NFL or NBA draft does not in and of itself promise success.  Often times people that struggle in the initial stages of their career become stars.

When you hear Jennifer Hudson’s powerful voice remember that she was an American Idol loser and she only got as far as she did in the competition because Randy Jackson saved her.  Tom Brady wasn’t a top NFL draft pick and Michael Jordan didn’t make his school’s basketball tryouts one year.  You just have to make the most of your opportunities and keep plugging away at your goals.  I believe that people that don’t give up achieve a measure of success but stay humble because nothing is promised to anyone.

winnie

 

 

Why do Children Bully?

Bullying has been a hot topic for the last few years and this week the bullying hype has reached a fever pitch due to the #Keaton hashtag on Twitter.  People love to reflect on why children are so cruel to each other.  To me it is painfully obvious why children mistreat each other to the point that a student may commit suicide because of taunting at school.  Children mistreat each other because they are growing up in a mean, disrespectful society that does not value others.

I’ve been noticing for years that people love to strong arm one another in modern day America.  There is no respect for a difference of opinion and when people do not do what we want we try to force our will on them.  I noticed that in various customer service positions I’ve held.

If a store clerk says “Sorry you can’t bring this back you’ve owned it longer than what our return policy allows” or “Sorry this coupon is expired” or “Sorry you can’t substitute the sides and still get this at the same price” people become mean as hell.  They use language to demean the clerk and demand to speak with a manager.  If management doesn’t do what they want they call the corporate office and rudely make demands and if they don’t get their way they threaten to slander the company on the internet.  They’re bullies that don’t respect the boundaries of others and want to force their will.

The “Real Housewives”, “Basketball Wives” and “Love and Hip Hop” are popular reality show franchises that give us a glimpse into the private lives of the wealthy and privileged.  These tales involve adults, some of whom are grandmothers, that treat each other terribly and sometimes they are even violent to one another.  The characters on these shows are sensitive and have hair trigger tempers.  Their interactions often lead to mean words being thrown back and forth, wine being thrown in someone’s face and/or punches being thrown.  There is no doubt in my mind that a lot of these shows are family viewing in many American households.

Social media is another place where mean, rude, crass behavior has become normal.  People call strangers names and demean each other for their opinions.  The behavior gets even worse when people start talking about and to celebrities.  Geez, people love to build celebrities up and then drag them through the mud or “cancel” them.

To top it off look at who Americans chose to be their leader in 2016.  A man was democratically elected because Americans want a president that speaks his mind and isn’t politically correct.  In other words America wanted crass and brazen behavior in the White House.  He does what he wants and doesn’t consider others.  He grabs bitches by the pussy!  In other words Americans wanted a bully as a president.  The last president we had was considerate, polite, professional and tried to help people.  What a punk!

So the next time anyone ponders why children bully each other just look at what is surrounding them as they grow up.  They are surrounded by bullying in real life, in the media, in entertainment and in the White House.

Bullying and treating others with disdain is normal for children because of the behavior the see modeled before them.  So don’t blame children for the bullying.  It’s not their fault that they are growing up in this modern day trashy American culture.

 

Curtis Granderson: the Great Unifier

Absolutely anything can turn into an argument on social media.  The most innocuous comment can draw a sharp tongued response from a fellow social media user with a chip on their shoulder.  We can’t agree on anything these days.  America is sharply divided by ideology: Democrat, Republican, faithful, Atheist, does pineapple belong on pizza or not, who do you hate more the Patriots or the Cowboys?  In this day and age we have a hard time respectfully allowing others to have an opinion without passing judgement on their character.  I do it too.

But I’ve noticed that there is one subject everyone agrees on: Curtis Granderson. No one ever says anything bad about him.  Like never, ever.  All of the social media comments that I’ve seen about Curtis have been admirable.  That’s an incredible accomplishment in an environment where a picture of a cupcake or puppy can start an argument.

Curtis is the outfielder Curtis Granderson for the LA Dodgers.  I’ve followed his career since he played for my Detroit Tigers around ten years ago.  I’ve had a crush on the man since then.  He’s tall, athletic, Black, wealthy and absolutely charming with old fashioned manners.  You can tell he was raised by adult parents with common sense and morals that instilled good values in their son.  That’s rare.  The only person that compares is J.J. Watt who is the blonde, blue eyed NFL equivalent.

I think the secret to Curtis’ popularity is that we don’t know much about the man.  I’ve looked for information about the man’s personal life because I’ve been in love with him for like a decade but there isn’t much out there.  Other than a Wikipedia page, articles about his charity and stats Curtis Granderson is a mystery.  He has not given us anything to talk about or judge.  Instead of seeking attention he uses discretion.  Discretion is not appreciated much in this social media world of ours.

Anyway, God bless Curtis Granderson.  I’m still hoping the Royals will win the Wild Card and make it into the Pennant Race and make a good run for another World Series ring.  Honesly, it’s not looking great for the Royals so I will jump on the LA Dodgers bandwagon and cheer them on for a World Series ring.  Curtis deserves it.  He’s had an impressive career and is a more impressive human being.  Thank you Curtis Granderson for standing for class, tact and professionalism.  The world appreciates you.

#TeamRob

I think we all knew this day would come.  I’m talking about the crash and burn break up of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna.  I watched the show “Rob and Chyna” and I strongly suspected that Chyna was using Rob for attention and financial gain.  The relationship did not seem genuine and Rob seemed kind of vapid.  Chyna was not very nice to Rob at all and she was very controlling.  I don’t think Chyna is a nice person at all and she’s a complete idiot to top it all off.

Before Rob and Chyna started dating Rob was struggling with his weight and he was not getting along with his family.  He seemed to have self esteem problems and then Chyna came along and acted as an earthly savior for Rob.  Chyna took full advantage Rob and his fragile mental and emotional state.  But I could tell on their reality show that she never really loved or liked the man.  At best I thought she was lonely and desperate and was just trying to make the relationship work out.

It has been revealed through social media that Rob showered Chyna with expensive gifts and even plastic surgery.  I don’t believe that anyone should use someone for money but my goodness if you’re going to do it maximize the potential of the situation.  Blac Chyna short changed herself if you asked me.

Chyna probably could have married Rob.  And then she would have been Mrs. Kardashian, the only Mrs. Kardashian.  That would have been a proud moment in Black history.  I also think she missed a huge opportunity by having one baby and dumping Rob.  She needed to have a boy in order to keep the Kardashian name going.  Being Mrs. Kardashian, ex Mrs. Kardashian or the mother of Baby Boy Kardashian would have supported her and Dream for the rest of their lives.  But Chyna’s dumb ass blew it.

Chyna was thinking short term which is child support while Dream is a minor.  But then what?  Chyna will be an ex D.C. stripper in her mid forties.  She’s probably not going to go to school and become a nurse or something respectable.  She and dream are going to be back to hustling.

The problem there is that they are Black women and Black women could never get away with the nonsense that the Kardashians have gotten away with.  If Ray J had made a sex tape with a Black women she never would have had the opportunity to turn that into a multi million dollar family business.  The American public would have never taken interest in that.

Besides that we don’t know what Dream is going to look like and looks are everything in the world she was born into.  There’s a good chance that she will be attractive because both grandmothers are beautiful and her mother is gorgeous when she’s working with her stripper body.  But we just don’t know.

I don’t think I could date Rob Kardashian but he also doesn’t seem that bad to me.  Chyna should have just stuck it out for the long haul.  I really don’t understand these people that get attached to people with tons of money and then show their ass.  The best opportunity folks like Blac Chyna, Amber Rose (Wiz Khalifa’s ex) and Kindu Issacs (Mary J. Blige’s ex) was their marriage.  How did they mess this up?  None of them are going to make as much money as their former partners so why not make nice and stay in the relationship.  They need to take a lesson from Vanessa Bryant who is a smart woman.

Chyna sent Rob a picture of herself kissing some guy and another picture of a different guy in Rob’s bath robe.  Are either of those men going to buy her a diamond watch or a Lamborghini?  Neither one of them probably can which is what makes Chyna is an idiot.  I really don’t know why Rob is even pressed over this.

I’m a believer in everlasting love, loyalty and friendship.  But if you’re going to hustle for a come up do it right and make the most of a situation.  Chyna had the whole world in her hand and blew it and she probably won’t get it back.  I really hope this is all just a Kardashian publicity stunt that the entire family will cash in on.  Because I hate to see a Black woman making such poor business decision.