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Monday, January 25, 2016

No, I'm not going to let it go. . .Black women and forgiveness

Being a black woman, to society, seems to mean that we have to forgive all the atrocities that happen against us. Not only do we have to forgive, but we need to forget and let it go. 
No more. 
Forgiving is one thing, but when you forget what happens to you, you're giving permission for it to happen again.

You're rewarding bad behavior and not teaching people a lesson on how they should treat you. If you've read comments on stories about black women who are victims of crimes, you'll see that the victim is blamed for what happened to her. 

But let's be clear, there is a war on black women. And sadly, black men are participating in it. 
Janese Talton-Jackson, 29, was shot and killed Friday morning in Homewood, Pittsburgh after leaving a bar, and the suspect is now in custody after being shot by police.
This isn't the first time this has happened and the hashtag: #youoksis has come under fire when women talk about street harassment. But the problem with this is people think black women should look forward to men catcalling them as they walk to work, to the store or go on their daily routine.

And last week, a Harlem man forced the mother of his children to walk outside naked and pose by trash because he said she cheated.  
Jason Melo, 24, beat and choked his 22-year-old girlfriend in their W. 142nd St. apartment in front of her 2-month-old daughter before forcing the woman into the cold for the medieval-style degradation, cop sources said. 
The brute punched the victim in the face and crotch and threatened to kill her if she didn’t disrobe, put on a towel and leave the apartment, sources told the Daily News.
Video of the Sunday morning incident, as the temperature hovered in the 30s, shows the woman wrapped in the towel being filmed by a man speaking Spanish who derides her as a “b---h” and “a thot” (an acronym standing for "that ho over there").
The man says he’d caught her talking to “seven other men.”
But he said he was sorry. Insert eye roll.

And when Black women try to uplift themselves on social media or in the community period, we are met with scorn and a bunch of bullshit. Take #Blackgirlmagic for instance.
Dr. Linda Chavers wrote an editorial piece for Elle Magazine (cause we know how Elle celebrates black women and Dr. Chavers is black by the way) denouncing Black Girl Magic.
Honestly, Lord only knows how this is going to play out. I had already written the piece, and I'd pitched to Elle before. I've pitched that piece to other places. I'm not a full time writer. I write small pieces as a freelancer to pay my bills. I'm being very honest here. I don't make shit up. I don't do crap for crap's sake, but that's why I do what I do. I'm trying to write a memoir and I'm a freelance writer and I need to write. I honestly had not followed the controversy about Elle with the hairstyle thing. I know of the controversy overall and I agree with the criticism, like, oh, Black people, we've been doing for decades and a white woman who does it, it's oh my God, it's so cute. It's been going on for a long ass time and it's not specific to Elle. It's not. It's been going on since I was 9 years old. Frankly, if you ask me why Elle? It's because in terms of what I'm being criticized for. What I'm being criticized for has been going on for longer than I was alive and it's not specific to Elle.
It's as if we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. When I look at the black mothers who've lost their children --sons and daughters -- at the hands of violence, whether it's police, domestic terrorists or neighborhood violence, I'm always pissed that people expect them to forgive the killer less than hours after experiencing the worst pain in their lives. Black women can't be angry, even in situations where anger is a natural reaction.
Because if we show anger, then we are the angry black woman and everything that we say is illogical and unfounded.
My mom told me once that the reason why people don’t think big Black girls like us feel is not just because they don’t see us as human, but because we make resilience look so easy. It goes back to this idea of the strong black woman trope that we can bear pain and wear resilience like a lightweight jacket. That underhanded dehumanization shows how easy it is to disregard the emotional and political labor Black women dedicate to just surviving, yet alone doing organizational work.
We don't have to let it go. We don't have to forgive and we don't have to hold back our anger. And anyone who doesn't like, they need to let it go. They need to move on or learn from our dismay.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Oscar boycott. . .Been doing that for years

Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are calling for a black out of the Oscars. If you're a Twitter user, you're familiar with the #Oscarssowhite hashtag.

Once again, no people of color have been nominated for an Academy Award.

Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith injected some new drama into next month's Academy Awards, announcing that they both would be boycotting the ceremony over the lack of diversity among the nominees.
The "Chi-Raq" director took the occasion of Martin Luther King's birthday to slam the movie industry and reveal that he and his wife, Tonya, would not be attending on the most important night in the industry.
"We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy," the Brooklyn-based director wrote on his Instagram page Monday, name-checking a pair of black industry insiders involved in the telecast.

Pinkett Smith made a video that has been circulation on social media about the lack of diversity in the nominations. Even Mainstream media, like The Washington Post, pointed out black actors who gave Oscar worthy performances:

Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”: What a wonder Michael B. Jordan is, and how marvelous it is that he and director Ryan Coogler have found each other. I adored the work they did together in “Fruitvale Station,” and it was wonderful to see them again here. Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, the illegitimate and abandoned son of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the longtime rival and friend of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), who is retired and running a little Italian joint in Philadelphia. Jordan brings tremendous physicality and joy; Adonis’s journey to boxing stardom is credible, and Coogler wisely doesn’t strain credibility, letting his character lose the final fight but perform credibly. But even more than that, Jordan excels at bringing out Adonis’s extreme emotional vulnerability and his craving to prove he’s worthy of love.
But, some people are questioning her motives. And by some people I mean actress Janet Hubert, AKA, the first Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

She posted this on her Facebook Page about Jada Pickett Smith's video:
Is this only because her hubby did not get a nod? Political awareness for selfish reasons gets on my nerves. We don't watch the Oscars as a general rule anyway. Smith has never worked with a black director, nor does he ever have dark skinned black women as co-stars in general. His performance was in my opinion lightweight. His accent was all over the place. Feel blessed that they included you in a list of incredible actors who, many have not ever won either. They have made millions smoozing with the very people they now want to boycott because Will wants that little statue so badly. Let your man speak for himself, instead of asking other actors who won't get work if they follow your bullshit lead. A good cry does not begat an Oscar. 
 Personally, I haven't watched the Oscars since Denzel was robbed of the best actor for his portrayal of Malcolm X in Spike Lee's Malcolm X. 
What do you think? Is a boycott of the Oscars needed or nah?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tick Tock, damned clock: Deadline and writer's block

Deadlines are a part of the writing life. They are unavoidable. 
But when you combine writer's block with a deadline, you really feel as if your life sucks. You do everything to make your mind get back into your story, the world you created. You go to Starbucks. You put on a funky outfit. You wash dishes, you take a nap. 
I want to finish this book before I slip my satin cap over my Afro tonight. 

Less than 2,000 words to go. 
This is the problem with being a pantser!  

Simply put, a plotter is someone who plans out their novel before they write it. A pantser is someone who, “flies by the seat of their pants,” meaning they don’t plan out anything, or plan very little. Some people, like me, call themselves “plantsers,” which means they’re in a little of both. In reality, most people are plantsers, but some tend to lean heavily to one side.

The end, how many times have I rewritten the ending to this story?

The beginning and the end. Those are probably the hardest parts of writing.

You have to hook the reader in the beginning.
You have to satisfy them at the end.

But I'm at the point in my current work in progress where I want to drop a bomb on the hero and the heroine.

I tortured them really badly. #SorrynotSorry
Why? Because I've put them through hell. I've done everything to them that makes sense in this story line. And y'all know how I like to torture my characters.  I've written the ending to this story three times. Once in my head. Once in a notebook that I can not find and the third time on my iPad.

I don't like any of the endings —except for the one I wrote in my head that I can't remember.
But, I'm pressing on. Today by seven p.m., the book will be done. Or I'm not going to drink Starbucks for a week. Talk about motivation.

Friday, January 8, 2016

I hate to start the new year ranting . . .

I'm a writer. I love to write. I went to college and got a degree in writing —well, Journalism. Writing has been my world. From books to blog posts to letters and emails. There are people who actually know me as Cheris, the writer.

Once, I was speaking the former president of JCSU and she called me the writer lady. Man, I was so proud. But my world changed in 2011. I was no longer getting paid to write. My day job was no longer writing.

I went to a call center and stayed there for about a month. Couldn't do it. Wrote a lot while I was there. Great story too, and yes, you're going to hear about it. :)
Then I applied for a sales job. I had no idea that this job would cause me to hate life. You've read the Wonderland Chronicles, you know that I've worked with some characters and what not. But now that I'm working with assholes, I can't take it.

Walking into my job makes me physically ill. No lie. The closer at get to Horrorville, the new place where I work, my stomach twists in knots. My throat fills with bile. As I walk in the front door, my knees quiver.

That place is not for me. Not at all. Because, damn it, I'm a writer. I'm a writer who needs to come home and be able to sit down and WRITE. When your brain is tired, you can't create a good story, you can develop characters and you can't meet deadlines.

So, what's a writer lady to do? Quitting writing is not an option. But sister has to eat.

When I sat in a meeting this morning and a manager said: "This is a career. This is not just a job you do until something better comes along."
That innocuous quote was a wake up call. It was like a threat. Writing is my career. That job at Horrorville is not what I want or need. Just because you're good at something, it doesn't mean you should do it, right. I could be good at fucking, but being a call girl is illegal. (In North Carolina anyway)