Deep sigh of the week

It's not that @KerryWashington didn't win the #Emmy...

I watched a lot of the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards show. I watched right up until they gave Kerry Washington's award to Claire Danes. And then I turned it off. Immediately.

I have nothing against Claire Danes. I understand her to be a fine actress and Homeland to be a great show. One of the things that hurt my feelings about that Emmy was that here in the year 2013; Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle and Alfre Woodard were the ONLY African American actors nominated. And none of them won. And before I can even begin to tell you how much outrage that causes me, I have to take it back one more step and say...

There aren't enough Black actors working in Hollywood. Particularly not in Emmy-contending vehicles for their talent. It's not their fault, either the roles are not there, they are simply not getting the roles or even given the opportunity to try for them. Studies show that African-Americans watch 37% more television than non-black audiences. So if we have that level of influence, why aren't we demanding to see higher quality shows with people that look like us?

The deck is stacked. Did you take a look at the arrivals, at the audience and the clips they showed? If we played a version of Where's Waldo where Waldo is a working black actor/writer/producer and we drink every time we see one? We'd have been stone cold sober at the end of that three hour stretch. Just parched waiting to get our sip on. If we played Black Actor Bingo, we could use the same card for the Emmys and the Oscars and still never win. I'm just saying...

It's been a long time (1998) since Andre Braugher snagged a trophy for his work in Homicide. I'm still heated that The Wire never won any damned thing. While Treme is not as engaging as The Wire, Wendell Pierce has earned a nod as the complex bay-boy-who-wants-to-do-good musician Antoine Batiste. Khandi Alexander slays every scene she's a part of. Regina King deserved an Emmy for her work on Southland. There were entire episodes where she carried that show. When will Chandra Wilson get her props for her excellence as Miranda Bailey in Grey's Anatomy lo these many years? I could go on but I'll refer you to this meager list of wins and nominations to truly put it in perspective.

Back to Ms. Washington - let's be clear, whether you love or hate Scandal, Olivia Pope is a hard character to play well. She's outwardly beautiful but internally flawed, she's not obvious, she doesn't fit in a box, she's single, childless, a sinner and yet comes across as a completely sympathetic character that you cheer for. You want her happiness like she has been your best friend since third grade. That's a testament to fine writing and stellar acting.

And there's only one character created like that with an African-American female lead. One. At last googling, there are 4728 network, broadcast, cable, independent and over-the-air television channels in the United States with over 50% of those producing content for 30+ hours of programming a week. Out of all of that, we have one well-written brilliantly acted show with a sister girl and she CAN'T get the Emmy?

Thoughts, comments, insights, commiseration? 

*goes back into bougie cave to meditate and burn incense*

Doing Dirt in the Digital Age

Good people, we've touched on this a gazillion times and still some of you bear reminding. We had an entire week talking about Stepping Yo Game Up, we wondered if some amongst us are ever relationship-ready or just too ratchet to even be about the game of love. But here's the reality in 2013 - if you or anyone you know is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ (et al) or has an email account that works - your life is not private. No one gets 24/7 privacy any more. It doesn't exist.

Right this minute someone has a picture of you (no not THAT kind... okay maybe that kind if that's how you roll) that you are unaware of. Someone is updating a status that involves you. No, you may not know that girl two people in front of you in line at Starbuck's but she just updated her Foursquare "Time for venti latte" status. If you have a cell phone made after the year 2000 it knows where you are. If you live in (or go through) a city with more than 100,000 people, it is watching you. If you shop online, flip channels on your TV, have a rewards card at the grocery store.... your life is in the cloud. And the cloud knows all.

I remind you of these things because in the past two weeks I've watched more than one relationship implode at def-con 4 levels on the Social Inter Media Net Webs. One was as simple as a guy tweeting about being at Starbucks. Shouldn't have been a problem but his wife thought he was 30 miles in another direction. A click on the Foursquare Starbucks page revealed to the wife who he was with. (Note to sidechicks - do NOT check into places with your illicit boo. That's so not gangsta) Hell followed shortly thereafter.

Another incident involved a woman posting her July 4th BBQ pics on The Facebook. Oops - who are those two canoodling in the background? Someone else tagged them in the pics and the fireworks got real. A third incident involved a parking ticket. The city sent sister girl her violation pic and in the wide shot caught the rear bumper of the car parked next to her. Why, her husband wanted to know, was her ex-boyfriend parked next to her outside a hotel at 2:37pm on a Wednesday? Um. Um. Um. Didn't pay the meter and got busted.

Two weeks ago some dude that I didn't follow got exposed on Twitter as a complete and total fraud. Like all the uplifting, progressive, inspirational ish he'd tweeted for the past five years was stolen from other people and his life was little more than a twin bed in his second cousin's basement. He didn't look like he said he looked, he didn't believe what he said he believed, he didn't live how he said he lived. Something about an Instagram pic, it went viral and all 24,000 of his followers rose up en masse to beat him down. 

Last but not least was the Trapped in the Twitter Closet drama that popped off over the weekend. I missed a lot of it (Amen) but apparently wife and baby mama get together to expose a dude as deadbeat dad in the Twitterverse when out pops his gay lover from the closet to spill the rest of the tea. Dude's mentions looked like East Beirut circa 1985. Seek shelter, destruction is imminent.

If you are out here shooting bad in the Digital Era you need to have your i's dotted, t's crossed and witnesses silenced (not in a homicidal way). There are eleventy million ways to get tripped up, slipped up and outed that didn't even exist from a technological standpoint ten years ago. Do you know how much 007 you need to have about yourself to tell a lie and leave the house these days? 

I'm not going to lecture about morality and why truthiness is your best life option cuz really, folks are grown. Live how you want to live. But for those out there trying to get away with something, I ask you... is it worth it?

BougieLand, know anyone busted by the technology of it all? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Main Stream Media can't help but paint FLOTUS as "Angry Black Woman"

Some chick decided to try the First Lady at a fundraiser and got her feelings hurt. From Washington Post:
First lady Michelle Obama experienced a rare face-to-face encounter with a protester late Tuesday – approaching the activist and threatening to leave a fundraiser if the person did not stop interrupting her speech. 
Obama was addressing a Democratic Party fundraiser in a private Kalorama home in Northwest Washington when Ellen Sturtz, 56, a lesbian activist, interrupted her remarks to demand that President Obama sign an anti-discrimination executive order.

Obama showed her displeasure – pausing to confront Sturtz eye to eye, according to witnesses.

“One of the things that I don’t do well is this,” she said to applause from most of the guests, according to a White House transcript. “Do you understand?”

A pool report from a reporter in the room said Obama “left the lectern and moved over to the protester.” The pool report quoted Obama as saying: “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

Obama’s suggestion that she would leave was not included in the official White House transcript.

The audience responded by asking Obama to remain, according to the pool report, which quoted a woman nearby telling Sturtz, “You need to go.”

Sturtz was escorted out of the room. She said in an interview later she was stunned by Obama’s response. “She came right down in my face,” Sturtz said. “I was taken aback.
I'm sorry, you all know I usually don't use language like this but my first thought was "B*tch, please". She was taken aback? Because she thought she could say any damn thing and it would be alright? 

Mrs. Obama's firm but polite response is below:

As per usual, the media backlash has been over-inflated and belittling. CodePink has suggested that Mrs. Obama should have been coached years ago on how to handle situations like this. Other outlets referred to FLOTUS as "threatening" and "angry". I'm sure there is more shiggity to come. To this I say - For real though? People paid from $500 to $10,000 to attend a dinner to hear the First Lady of the United States speak and she is supposed to stand there and get yelled at? No indeed.

It would have been different if she had gone all Shaquandeesha on old girl threatening ass-kickings and wagging her finger in her face but no, she politely asked that the woman shut it down and carry her raised-by-wolves ass on. 

And truthfully, it was time that someone shut that heckling bullshiggity down. It's disrespectful, rude as hell and quite frankly, unprecedented. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is not here for that. Don't come for her unless she calls you, okay? 

There is nothing wrong with a black woman showing displeasure when an entitled white woman (or anyone for that matter) gets out of line. FLOTUS has been more than gracious with people that I would have slapped silly and kept it pushing. But as per usual, media outlets have to play to the stereotype and paint FLOTUS as some random reality show chick yanking hair and calling folks all manner of b*tches. 

There's a difference between being angry and out of pocket and just keeping it real. I don't see anything wrong with the First Lady of the United States of America asking to be respected when she speaks and I have zero patience for those who would try to make it into something it wasn't. 

Are you sick of it? I know I am. Thoughts, comments, observations?

Trayvon, Ta-Tas and TP

I'll admit it. I do tend to pontificate on numerous and varied things from time to time. Often I'm asked for my opinion, many times I have one. (Other times I really don't) Sometimes I get asked the same thing over and over again. Here are the things that after this post, you need not ask me about again...

1) The Trayvon Martin trail - I posted about the horrific tragedy that is Trayvon Martin's murder before it became front page news. My opinion has not and will not change. George Zimmerman is a racist asshole killer who gunned down a defenseless child for being the wrong color in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Unless we are considering Skittles a weapon of mass destruction. :-/ To add injury to insult, Zimmerman has hired equally morally-deficient counsel who intend to murder Trayvon all over again through victim-blaming, playing to racist stereotypes and anything they can come up with to muddy the jury pool. I hate this type of character lynching like Rush Limbaugh hates the truth (and a salad) and no, I'm not here for it. At all. So you can put that one to bed. At no time will I suddenly believe that Zimmerman was justified in killing that boy. At. No. Time.

Any questions? Next...

2) Angelina Jolie's ta-tas: Listen here, BougieMom survived breast cancer twice. I wouldn't wish what she went through upon anybody. Not any living being. Her blessings were multiple but the largest two came in early detection, aggressive treatment and the fact that she had the "less lethal" (yes, someone actually referred to it as such) form of breast cancer. If I was told that I had a 85% chance of getting what she had, they could have the girls tomorrow. Just take them. Before they kill me. Cancer runs in my mother's family and it's something all of us stay vigilant about. Angelina's mother dies of ovarian cancer, her aunt just passed of breast cancer. Her decision to have a double mastectomy now and an oophorectomy (ovarian removal, yes I had to look it up) this summer could not have been easy but she deemed it necessary to prolong her life expectancy. How do people have a problem with that? She has a gajillion kids who need a mom. Moving beyond the medical realities of the situation - who in the hell feels it's their right to scold or judge Angelina for what she chooses to do with her body? Her boobs are not our business, celebrity or not. And for the uninformed about BRCA mutations, please read before you speak up on it.

3) Tyler Freaking Perry's new shows on OWN - Ya'll, really? If you like his work and wish to support it, do you. I think I've been clear on his writing style and my opinion of said skill set. And that's I have to say about that. Quit asking.

Care to break down your thoughts on Trayvon, Angelina or TP so it will forever and always be broke? Do share....

Prom dates, past missteps and present witch hunters

Dear 6 lb, 8 oz Baby Jesus - do not let me be judged for my prom date. When I saw that someone felt it relevant to dig up and publish pictures of our 44th President's prom, I rolled my eyes so far to the left and back to the right. Because for why... really?

My prom date, who went by the classy moniker of Duck, is in the penitentiary... again. To say our paths were divergent is an understatement but me from 20 years ago thought he was fine and exciting and different.  My parents thought he was a felon. Turns out they were right. Should I be judged lo these many years later for my judgment at 18 years of age?

This past week, Nouveau Beau and I had some (limited) discussion about one of my exes. (If you missed the crazy tale of PsychoMike, go ahead and enjoy) Turns out that Nouveau Beau knows PsychoMike by professional reputation and it ain't good. Since it's been over 12 years since I dated PsychoMike, he just shook his head and said, "Well now you know better." He then went on to say that he didn't want to know about my other exes. They had no place in our relationship so let's just leave them out of it. Whew! It was all I could do not to get up and praise dance in the middle of the restaurant. 

I admit I haven't always had the best taste in men and/or when I did choose well things had a way of going south (or left or whichever direction means no bueno). I own up to my part in these dissolved relationships but I sure didn't relish having to tiptoe down the long-ass highway of Doomed Relationships Past with him. I mean some of you all have been reading the blog for a while... it's a lot to take in. Particularly all at once. 

A girlfriend of mine has just started dating again after a particularly bitter divorce. Her new man is great but his sister? She is straight CSI'ng everything about Rosa's past. Rosa said, "I wonder if this is how Obama feels, having everything he ever said or did, anyone he ever dated under scrutiny by someone looking for the absolute worst spin." I said of course it is but then she could multiply it by a gazillion media outlets with millions of dollars behind them. The witch hunt is real.

All of this to say - should we really be judged by the people we've dated in the past? Okay, maybe in the recent past, yes but ten plus years ago? Is there a statute of limitations on relationship missteps and if so, what should it be? 

Do share....

Obliterating "black-think"

Once again for the cheap of seat and slow of mind, all people of African descent are not a monolith. I've said this several times to various audiences and unfortunately, I have to repeat it not just to other races but to my own as well.

Sitting in a spa for mani/pedi time with BougieMom, a white woman in her mid-20s sat in the pedicure chair beside me and perhaps in an attempt to make conversation turned and asked if she should go see the new Tyler Perry movie. I affixed her with a confused why-are-you-asking-me look and replied, "I don't know. I haven't seen it." To me, that's a conversation ender, no? Like the most polite hint that I had nothing more to say on the topic. Instead of taking that hint, she spoke again and this time rather loudly, "Well don't your people love Tyler Perry? I thought you all LOVED Tyler Perry!"

At this point, Ms. Nellie put down her Bible Study book and sent girlie a look that every misbehaving child knows well. "We are black, Southern, upper middle class, female, educated, employed and proud - which people are you referring to?"

That shut the conversation down right there. 2013 and still with the "your people" shiggty? Ooookay.

But as I tweeted a few days ago, I don't have a sweeping desire to see TP's new film. I'll catch it on cable if I hear enough good things about it. I was admonished to support it since we have so few "black" movies being widely distributed. Others scolded that I wasn't "down for the cause" if I didn't support black artists. (Which cause is that?) One person even went so far to say that as a black artist myself, didn't it behoove me to support others? Simply? No. I'm not required to blindly support an artist or entertainer based on the color of their skin.

Take for instance the tale of two TV shows. One being Scandal and the other being Deception. I tried like hell to like Deception. Why? Because it featured African-American characters during prime-time on a major network. (Plus Laz Alonso, you know. Anyway...) I wanted to support it in the hopes that more shows targeting that demographic would follow. Unfortunately, the plot, premise and performances did not hold my attention. I watched the first episode of Scandal last year for the same reason and was hooked. All things are NOT created equal. Was I required to support the entire season of Deception even after I fell asleep on it twice? No.

Did black folks get together and vote on the things we must support? If so, I missed it and never saw the absentee ballot. As frustrated as I get when people of color bash Obama, it's their right to do so. Just as it is my right not to support Tyler Perry blindly, not to listen to anything Chris Brown has to say or sing (ever), and not to be wowed by the majority of self-published urban street literature out there.

We don't all love Moscato (no shade, I've been know to imbibe freely) or Cognac. Some people even choose to watch golf over March Madness this month. Some enjoy reality shows, some watch NatGeo. Do I really have to go on?

There is no "black-think" - no train of singular thought that all folks of African descent must unanimously agree upon. With the exception of staying black and dying, there is no experience uniform into which each and every one of us fit. Yes, for the most part, we'd all like to see the continued "advancement of colored people" but does that mean the same thing to each and every one of us? I think we can all agree that the answer is no.

In short, people should support what they like for whatever reasons they have and allow others to do the same. Let's not assume that there's an inherent commonality of preferences. And that's all I have to say about that. 

Thoughts, comments, insights?

Are the private lives of public servants our business?

In the wake of Four-Star General Petraeus' resignation and confession of adultery, I've been watching various stories unfold. There is, of course, the conspiracy theory that this is all a cover up to keep "what really happened in Benghazi" under wraps. There is the concern about the timing of the announcement. Who knew what, when and why weren't others told. 

None of that interests me, other folks can work through that. For those not in the know, CIA Director and lauded career serviceman David Petraeus resigned last week after admitting an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The affair was discovered after Broadwell allegedly sent threatening emails to a friend of the Petraeus family. (WDDDA?)

In this instance, with the General being head of the CIA and some various stories about email security being compromised, I guess we (the public) needed to know about this affair. I guess. If national security isn't being compromised why couldn't they just say that he was stepping down for personal reasons and keep it pushing? Makes me think there is so much more to this story than we are hearing. What did Broadwell have access to (that she should not have) and what was so damning that Petraeus needed to step down immediately, post haste, the same week of the election?

Petraeus is not elected, he's appointed. I find it difficult to believe that a man in service to this nation for over two decades, the MacArthur of our times would be out there swapping secrets for cocoa. My other question is, how much do we really need (or want) to know about our public officials? 

Does infidelity automatically make a public servant ineligible for continued service? I'm inclined to say that we have a higher set of expectation for those that are in the most sensitive and critical positions in government. I'm inclined to say that if you are running the Central INTELLIGENCE Agency, it's not too much to expect you to show some. Then again, I'm also inclined to say - I don't want to know what goes on behind closed doors. Especially if it has no impact on national security.

Unlike many others, I'm not finger pointing at the General or Ms. Broadwell. They did what they did and the current shitstorm they find themselves in is judgment enough, especially coming from many who sit in their own glass houses. But I have to admit, this one hurt my feelings a little bit. I liked Petraeus. He came across as a "for God and Country" Army Ranger who was about business regardless of politics. Married to the same woman (Holly, daughter of a general) for almost 40 years. If a guy like that can fall...

What say you, Bougieland? Do we really need to know?

Is there a "Wrong For Me" Man Magnet?

About two years ago, I posted about my friend Elise who caught her husband of 10+ years smooching some random chick in the middle of a Buckhead bistro. She also accepted his explanation that it was "just a kiss" and took him back. Her vows, she told me unequivocally, said for better or worse. If that was the worst  she was okay with it.

Fast forward to last fall when (cue the shock and awe) hubby Ben confessed he had baby by Hot Lips Chick and would be leaving Elise post-haste to live out his "new dreams" (his exact words) with Hot Lips. A-ight, you still with me? Not a book plot, actual folks, the drama continues.

Fast forward to last January, divorce is final and Elise is rebounding with a former baseball player who (in her words) makes her "believe in fairy tales, rainbows and magic" again. He was wining her and dining her and whisking her off for marvelous weekends hither, thither and yon. My Red Flag Alert went straight to Threat Condition Ruh-roh. 

Fast forward to last weekend when she calls me distraught that Prince Charming had a multitude of women riding the rainbow and she was actually pretty low in the batting rotation. (sorry for the sports analogy, couldn't resist) Out of all her rants (during which I held back all the I-told-you-he-wasn't-bout-shiggitys), the thing that stuck with me was her concern that maybe she had a "wrong-for-me Man Magnet" and if so, could she please get it removed immediately?

At this point, I imagine I can hear Dr. Jayme's teeth gnashing all the way from my house because she firmly says there is a delineation between the kind of person you attract and the kind of person you chose to be with. In a perfect world, these to things add up where the type of person you want is the type of person who is dying to be with you. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.

Believe me, I know this to be true. I am a Cap Daddy magnet. Pimpin'-Azz-Grandads in Steve Harvey  suits see me coming a mile away. But I chose not to be with those fellas. I have to deliberately place myself in the path of the kind of guys I want to be with and scheme and plot until hope one of them recognizes all the Micheleness.

What is it about me that attracts leisure-suit wearing retirees? No clue. But what I do know is that just because someone wants you, you are not required to want them back. At all. Not even a little bit.

As I told Elise, if you don't want to be a replaceable ornament - quit choosing these Christmas tree-assed negroes. Christmas Tree Negroes - look great, smell great, you love to be around them? A little bit high maintenance- only there for a season, look different dependent on setting but underneath they are all the same? To reach full potential, they have to be decorated, admired and pampered. Break one ornament, replace it with another but the tree remains a tree.

She said I was oversimplifying and plans to go to a professional matchmaker to help her find her true soulmate. Awesome. But then I thought... who's going to help you pick the matchmaker? Problem for another day.

BougieLand, do you attract the type of person that you are attracted to? And if not, what do you do? Please discuss...

The Blame Game... again

Last Friday, I shared a story about a friend of mine who is struggling. Her circumstances with her husband are problematic but she is determined to remain true to her commitment to him. I really shared it in the context of "there but for the grace of God go I". But some of you simply could not help yourselves from climbing up on a high horse and going in. You were bold enough to email me your points of view while being too chickenshiggity to reveal your thoughts in the public comments section. I did not reply back to any of you who wrote. There's a forum for that. Here. In the comments section. But I will share a few of these folks' thoughts and my responses.

1. For the 6 women who wrote various forms of "Your friend should be glad she has a man" - Really? That's what's hot in da streetz? As long as you have any ole man, you should be grateful and glad? I vehemently reject that doctrine. Ve. Hem. Ent. Ly.

2. To the two women who declared, "I would've divorced him the minute he lost his job" - So... not too attached to the actual covenant part of marriage, hmm? Divorce is not always the answer. And having the divorce option on a hair trigger seems a wee bit shallow. If you want a relationship where you can bail the moment things get tough, marriage may not be for you. 

3. To the 3 men and 1 woman who suggested, "She should initiate sex" - Why should she if doesn't want to? Perhaps you meant to write "she could initiate sex" which makes far more sense. I'm not even to get into the one dude's assumption that sex is some sort of magical cure-all "everything looks better after some hot cocoa" - oh. Alright then.

4. To the one check with four paragraphs who preached, "A lot of women would kill for a man making $40k a year" - And a lot of women wouldn't. Particularly if the man was making close to 4x that when they met. Of course she's happy he's bringing in some income but sweetie, don't impose your set of standards on other women. And the "so many women have men who make less that $20k" argument falls flat. Good for them, what's that got to do with this situation?

5. For the over ten people who  asked, "She took vows for better of for worse, this is worse - what's the problem?" Believe me, she knows this is the "worse" section, no reminder needed. Is she supposed to hmm merrily and act like it's all okay?

My overall reaction - why are some folks' so determined to make it the woman's fault? Or to assign fault at all? Why not just agree that the situation is troubling, make a suggestion or two and move on? 

It's not just on this blog - it's everywhere. It seems as though people cannot size up a troubling situation without assigning blame and getting judgmental. Far as I know, Jesus has not come back yet and no one else is perfect. Glass houses, people. Help me out - Why play the blame game? Who does it help? 

So much outrage, so little action

A minor rant. Short and sweet today:

The really wearying thing about 24/7 news cycles, social media and smartphones is that everybody has access to just about everything constantly. So no matter where you turn, there is someone on a soapbox lamenting (in FULL CAPS!!!) wrongdoing somewhere. I'm not saying these aren't real issues, I'm just saying that in a lot of cases, these continuous rants are full of sound and fury yet signifying nothing.

It exhausting and disheartening. Sometimes I have to unplug from all of it and rediscover some Zen. I get confused. It seems as though activism is fleeting and unsure of its purpose these days. I see a lot of outrage and irritation and not a lot being done to back it up. Twitter/Facebook activism is only effective is there is activity to prop up the rhetoric.

Case in point -  Did you see Susan G. Komen get their epic back pedal on? Classic campaign started in social media - spread the word, get a bunch of people riled up, exert some pressure, take it to mainstream media, threaten to withhold funds, organize ways to unleash unholy hell on the organization, repeat and escalate until someone makes a change. 

I signed about 6 petitions to get Jan Brewer's wig snatched when she tried to scold the President like he was a house boy beyond his station. I also sent the Obeezy campaign some dollars. Granted, they shan't be naming me contributor of the year but every time I get offended, ticked off, outraged and scared shitless of a Romney-led America, I drop a lil sumthin' sumthin' in the O-Please-Let-Barack-Get-Reelected Fund.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm going to start calling people out the closer we get to this election. I want to see the same people who campaigned ferociously for 2+ years to bring friggity-frackin' The Game back to television working just as hard if not harder to keep America out of the clutches of crazy entitled folks who may or may not be in discussions to send all the poor and "unreal" Americans back from whence they came. (Okay that's extreme but I wouldn't put it past them. I'm just saying. If Obama loses and someone tells you that you won a free cruise, don't get on the boat.) 

It's one thing to talk smack, finger point and head wag. But in the words of Sean Connery's characters from The Untouchables: What are you prepared to do?