Lockdown Review: Drag Kids

I returned to work a week ago so this is my last Lockdown Review. I watched a documentary on the Kanopy app which was made available to me through my local library. “Drag Kids” is about children who dress up in drag and participate in shows and competitions. The children participate in drag the way other children play in little league basketball.

The film features three boys and one girl that are drag queens. They are around the ages of ten to fourteen. I was a bit apprehensive about watching the movie because I don’t know if I am comfortable with the idea of children performing drag. These children perform before adult audiences.

Young boys put on make up, dresses and heels and dance before grown ups. I’m not sure that most people would support young girls doing the same activity. The girl in the movie was the oldest and she was quite precocious. Her drag performances weren’t much different than something a young girl would do in pom pom squad.

The children were truly innocent in their enjoyment of drag and it seemed like a good creative outlet for them. However, I don’t think I would want my child in some of the environments where the performances took place.

Adults were in attendance at some of the performances wearing sexually suggestive fetish clothes. I think preteens can wait for that. The young lady in the documentary was disappointed that she wasn’t allowed into a club where a drag gathering was going on and I was relieved. The children were always accompanied by an adult.

What I loved about this documentary was the parents. They were all very sweet and supportive. The love they had for their children was evident. To me this film was mainly about parenting and what people will do in the name of love for their children. The parents beamed with pride while watching their children on stage in the unconventional settings. It was quite touching and I really don’t think that theme is presented in film making very often.

I would recommend “Drag Kids”. Once you get past your pearl clutching you will enjoy watching the heartfelt relationships between these parents and their children. It’s a great movie about nurturing children, acceptance and true love. I think that you will enjoy the film.

Lockdown Reviews: The Chambermaid

“The Chambermaid” is a Mexican film about a twenty four year old hotel maid who works in an upscale hotel Mexico City named Eve. It is in Spanish and I watched it with English subtitles. This movie doesn’t have a lot of action and it barely has a plot but nonetheless I enjoyed it.

There is absolutely nothing special about Eve. She is average looking, mild mannered and bit standoffish. She makes her living in a low skilled job and isn’t particularly ambitious.

The film follows Eve through her days at work in the hotel. She experiences annoying, odd and pushy hotel guests, phony coworkers, a workplace fling and disappointment at work. It’s fascinating. We know very little about Eve’s life outside of the hotel except that she has a four year old son that is cared for by a babysitter.

I find average people to be interesting. There’s always a story there that could rival any Hollywood production. I’ve had numerous service industry jobs and I can tell you that I’ve met some real characters with interesting back stories.

There is so much drama and tension involved in workplace relationships and politics. I think that’s particularly true in low wage jobs. People that work in low wage, service industry jobs have more stress and inconsistency in there lives which leads to more pressure and things such as promotions and raises that could pay a few more cents an hour are higher stakes.

There were brief moments of suspense in the movie when a guest requested extra towels and we weren’t sure if she would be able to remember the room number to where they were supposed to be delivered. She wrote the number on her hand but I was afraid she would get her hands wet or sweat the ink off. The melodrama in the movie is very subtle.

Eve is the kind of person that goes through life almost invisible and she’s not particularly interested in being seen. This was her story and it was enjoyable to watch.

Lockdown Reviews: For Small Creatures Such as We

I finished ” For Small Creatures Such as We” by Sasha Sagan early on into quarantine. I spotted it in the library and thought it would be an interesting read. I don’t remember what I thought the book was going to be about but this wasn’t it. I didn’t care for the book at all. “For Small Creatures Such as We” isn’t terrible. I just have a completely different outlook on the world and I had a hard time relating to the author.

The author is an atheist woman with Jewish heritage that enjoys observing various cultural rituals, including religious rituals. Sasha feels that societal rituals add meaning to her life. I enjoy social activities, gatherings and decorating for holidays. To me it is just for fun and enjoyment so I would agree that rituals bring meaning to life. For me the rituals are not spiritual at all. That includes rituals and traditions inspired by religious holidays such as putting up a Christmas tree.

Sasha crossed my mind during the quarantine. Rituals mean a lot to her and all rituals that are performed outside of your own home and have more participants than a few people were cancelled. Easter, Mother’s Day and graduation rituals were all erased because of COVID 19. Just like that the things that gave her life meaning were taken away from her. I would be interested in hearing her thoughts on life during the 2020 quarantine.

Rituals are fine because they bring people together. I think that we all took a lot for granted before the COVID 19 quarantines. The rituals that we choose to participate in are more for the benefit of tightening social bonds which is important and enriches your life. I missed certain rituals but they are no substitute for having faith in Jesus Christ which isn’t a ritualistic act.

So “For Creatures Small as We” is interesting because it gave showed me a point of view that is very different from my own but I can’t say that I enjoyed the book because I couldn’t relate to the author because of her perspective.

Unity Is Not The Answer

America has been in violent turmoil for more than a week after the death of George Floyd. The catalyst for the tumult was Floyd’s gruesome murder by a former Minneapolis police officer that was captured on video by a bystander. After a few days of the suspects no being arrested and outrage in the media Americans took to the streets in protests. Some of the demonstrations were peaceful but there was also property damage, looting, injuries and deaths.

Once the protests became violent and the president responded with the threat of more violence there have been calls for unity. But unity is not the answer. I live in Kansas City, MO and there is a Unity March scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The mayor and police chief will be there along with demonstrators. This is simply an opportunity for a photo op and a heartwarming headline and hashtag in the media.

The Unity march that is scheduled in an area Kansas City park tomorrow is an attempt to appease White people’s feelings. Whenever there are racial tensions in America White people call for unity. However they want unity on their terms. Calling for unity in America is not genuine because White Americans typically flee diversity in order to concentrate their resources in their communities. Those in power want submission, not unity.

The words unity and coming together are used to pacify Black people and silence frustration and anger. Americans love segregation and Blacks shouldn’t forget that. The mayor and police force know what the problems are. They need to get to work, find solutions and implement policies. They have been empowered by citizens to do so and they shouldn’t be wasting time at picnics while the country is in crisis.

Black Americans also need to focus on getting our houses in order so that people outside of our community don’t matter as much. Fortify yourself, your family and your community spiritually, financially and physically. Taking care of ourselves and families will make us less vulnerable and we’ll be better able to defend ourselves.

Black Americans often seek out White validation in order to gain social standing or take advantage of opportunities in other communities. We need to build our own opportunities and wealth. We need to seek validation from each other. We need to learn to value one another. In other words mind your own Black business.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having a relationship of any sort with any person who is not Black. We live in a multi cultural society and friendships, romances and work/business relationships will develop. But if you are a Black man or woman that is confident and proud of yourself you will more of an asset in any liaison with any race.

White supremacy is not going to change. If anything it is going to become more extreme. Black people need to learn to rely on themselves and develop a stronger infrastructure within our own community. Start small and set small financial goals for yourself such as getting $x in the bank, cleaning up your credit or maintaining good credit and repaying debts. There is no need to make a spectacle of it. Quietly secure your future and mind your Black business.

I hope Black people don’t fall for the okey doke about the ruse of unity. Don’t hug or cry to cops. Don’t make having a White friend group or lover your goal because you think it will increase your social standing. Be confident and proud of who you are. Value your own culture and your own family. It will make you a better friend or lover to whomever you choose. Move quietly and secure a future for yourself and your family.

I have no interest in fighting racism. I am interested in seeing Black people develop their own economic engine and vibrant social network. This would make us less vulnerable to attacks and gives us more leverage to fight attacks against us. Mind your Black business and build prosperity for yourself and your family. That’s the only way to fight the power. Unity with racists helps the racist. It does nothing for you.

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.