Archives for the month of: February, 2014

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Black people come in every shade of brown you can think of. Let’s be clear on something. I love me some me! But, my people, WE sure have learned how to tear our own race down. Slavery has brought along with it some very shameful behaviors. One of the most destructive and minimized of those behaviors is the practice of colorism.

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An actual test, along with the so-called ruler test in common use in the the early 1900s among upper class Black American societies and families to determine if a Black person was sufficiently white to gain admittance or acceptance. If your skin was darker than a brown paper bag, you did not merit inclusion. Thousands of Black institutions including the nation’s most eminent Black fraternity — Phi Alpha Phi, Howard Univiersity, and numerous church and civic groups all practiced this discriminiation. The practice has 19th Century antecedants with the Blue Blood Society and has not totally died out.

Zora Neal Hurston, member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated (Z-Phiiiii) was the first well known writer to air this strange practice in a public. The practice is now nearly universally condemned (at least in public) as being an example of “colorism”. Particularly cogent modern day critiques can be found in Kathy Russell’s “The Color Complex”, Tony Morrion’s “The Bluest Eye” (an Oprah Winfrey Book Club choice) and Marita Golden’s “Don’t Play in the Sun.” The best known send-up of the pactice, however, is Spike Lee’s scathing and hilarious 1988 movie, “School Daze.”

“Though the brown paper bag test is antiquated and frowned upon as a shameful moment in African-American history, the ideals behind the practice still lingers in the African-American community” — Rivea Ruff, BlackCollegeView.Com

In my household, my daughter, my son and myself are all different shades of brown. I’ve heard my daughter say that she doesn’t want to get any darker and that her brother is “dark.” Where do they get it from? I certainly don’t make a distinction, and yet that misguided concept is there. Even I struggled with this issue when I was younger – wishing that my skin was lighter and my hair was longer. It’s a very insidious thought that permeates black culture. It also exists in other cultures with indigenous people of brown skin. An excellent documentary, “Dark Girls”, takes a really hard look at the issue of Colorism.

Colorism is a very real issue, but the message is starting to get out. You are more than just the color of your skin and the texture of your hair. You are a voice. You are a force. YOUR BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL.

 

*This VERY AWESOME PSA/BHFOTD is brought to you by my sissie! YES, shaming my sister until she gives me what I want works!
** Does that mean I have to do a fact on good and bad hair now? Because, SCHOOL DAZE!

 

Recently I got a new tattoo. It’s GORGEOUS, guys!
It’s BIG (that’s what she said). It’s a half sleeve.
It’s the state flower of all the places the Marine Corps has dragged my ass
when I was living my life as a Marine Corps wife.
It’s also not finished.

I got it in Berkeley, when I was visiting the boy.
Which means that I’m going back to Cali… Cali..wait. I’m already IN Cali.
I’m going back to the BAY AREA (I’m sorry that I am not sorry. I can never resist. E-40 is always relevant to my interest)
Which yannow. Is COOL because hey! I get to visit the boy.
And get some more work done on my tattoo.

So I get to travel! It’s only an hour flight!
And I most definitely fly. Because I hate driving. And avoid it whenever possible.
Unless of course, I’m riding shotgun. I can passenger like a BOSS.

Anyways, today’s fact is about David Harris. He was the first African American pilot for a major airline in 1964. 1964! Only 50 years ago
David Harris has Marlon Dewitt Green to thank for that! Green was an African-American pilot whose landmark United States Supreme Court decision in 1963 helped dismantle racial discrimination in the American passenger airline industry
that lead to hiring David Harris as the first African-American pilot for a major airline the following year. Green was subsequently hired by Continental Airlines, for whom he flew from 1965 to 1978.

You know who else has Marlon Green to thank?

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This guy!* (Hi Maine! Sissie! Cricket! GEEEEOOOOOORRRRGE!)

This guy is Brian Harris, TSU Tiger (I’m so glad, my sis went to T-S-U!), first Black Base Chief Pilot for Atlantic Southeast Airlines!

*I’m pretty sure I took the picture. I can’t be certain because a) it was homecoming weekend with everything that means and b) DO YOU GUYS SEE HOW TALL THIS GUY IS?!

Enjoy your weekend folks! Maybe by Monday, my sissie will have written a fact so that I can take a damn break because I’m gonna be hanging out with my friends this weekend and
not looking for random facts, unless of course one falls into my lap like this one did because I never woulda known about this one if my sissie hadn’t sent me a text telling me
and really those are my favorite kinda facts because I don’t have to do much leg work AND because it’s kinda amazing that in 2014 black people are still being FIRST at things that they
been doing for a long ass time already and just now getting credit/acknowledgement/OPPORTUNITY to do stuff. Post racial America (MAD SIDE EYES)!

Fuck yeah!

 

So this one time I took tennis lessons, because it seemed like a good idea.
I am always down to try something I haven’t before.
(keep your remarks to yourself peanut gallery)
It was, by the way! I enjoyed it.
According to my tennis instructor, I had a wicked backhand.
..I’m just gonna let that sit there while y’all think about how wonderfully behaved my children are…

ANYWAYS, I ended up stopping because they postponed classes to re-finish the tennis courts
And something something…they never resumed classes for the rest of the summer.
Which kinda sucked. Because I was having the best time.
I may start it again. Because not raising kids anymore means I have free time.
But having kids in college means I never have any money…
So signing up at my local park is right in my price range.
(Support your local parks!)

Which of course leads me to my BHFOTD:

Today in 1993, Arthur Ashe dies.

*ahem*
Ashe and his brother were raised by their father who worked as a handyman and was also a special policeman for Richmond’s recreation department. Ashe’s father was a strict disciplinarian who forbade him to play football, which was a popular choice for many black children, due to Ashe’s slight build. The Ashes’ house was located on the grounds of Brookfield Playground, Richmond’s largest blacks-only playground, which had a tennis court. Ashe began practicing on the court and learned a few basic strokes from another young player. Tired of having to travel great distances to play Caucasian youths in segregated Richmond, Ashe accepted an offer from a St. Louis tennis official to move there and attend Sumner High School. Ashe was recognized by Sports Illustrated for his playing, and awarded a tennis scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles ((f)UCLA) in 1963.

In 1963 Ashe became the first black player ever selected for the United States Davis Cup team. In 1965, Ashe won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) singles title and contributed to UCLA’s winning the team NCAA tennis championship.
In 1968, Ashe won the United States Amateur Championships, and the first US Open of the open era, becoming the first black male to capture the title. He is the only player to have won both of these amateur and open national championships in the same year.

In January 1970, Ashe won his second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open. Concerned that tennis professionals were not receiving winnings commensurate with the sport’s growing popularity, Ashe supported the formation of the Association of Tennis Professionals in 1972. That year proved momentous for Ashe when he was denied a visa by the South African government, and was thus kept out of the South African Open. Ashe used this to publicize South Africa’s apartheid policies: in the media, Ashe called for South Africa to be expelled from the professional tennis circuit.
In 1975, Ashe won Wimbledon, defeating Jimmy Connors in the final. He also won the season ending championship WCT Finals. He played for a few more years, but after being slowed by heart surgery in 1979, he retired in 1980.

Ashe remains the only black man to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, or Australian Open. He is one of only two men of black African ancestry to win any Grand Slam singles title, the other being France’s Yannick Noah, who won the French Open in 1983.

In the early 1980s, Ashe contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery. Ashe publicly announced his illness in April 1992 and began working to educate others about HIV and AIDS. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death from AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6, 1993.

On June 20, 1993, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

LEST YOU THINK I’M ALL DOOM AND GLOOM…I have a thing where I’m always wishing people belated birthdays!
It’s not on purpose, really. I just get distracted by life. So even though you are on my mind, I may not get a chance to wish you the happiest of birthdays
Complete with blessings and love and hopes of this birthday be the happiest birthday you’ve ever had until your NEXT birthday.
Because I can be over the top when it comes to wishing people happy birthday. *cough*

Moving along…Did you know that yesterday was the birthday of Trayvon Martin?
He woulda been 19! Tangentially related, my daughter turns 19 this year.

She’ll be just returning to college as a sophmore on her birthday.
She’ll be just returning from studying abroad.
She’ll be excited about seeing her friends at school after not seeing them for the summer.
She’ll be happy she’s not at home with her parents worrying the shit outta her asking her a bunch of questions.

And me? I’ll celebrate her birthday and that I don’t have to celebrate her memory while other people celebrate the reason she is no longer with us by making him a celebrity by calling her at an insanely early hour to sing her happy birthday*.

*Yeah. Death. It’s what’s for the BHFOTD.

 

 

 

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Hey. Did you know that all this time I thought Captain Planet was saying the CHOICE is yours but really it’s THE PLANET

But I kept it because I DO WHAT I WANT.

Let’s talk about old school hip hop. When I was a teenager (waaaaay back in the ‘80’s) we listened to KDAY. Because I like to keep it gangsta.
(I’m just kidding. It’s because it was really the only station that played rap unless you wanted to listen to smooth R&B)
And it catered to the kids. They would have kids from different high schools come up and do a top 10 or somethin’.
(Hey Sissie! Remember that time Narbonne did the top 10?)
(Remember when going to Narbonne was embarrassing?)
(and now our Football team is balling outta control)
*cough*

ANYWAYS. So last night when I was driving home from Happy Hour (what? It was Taco Tuesday! And I’m grown. Sorta)
I got in the car and this song was playing on the NEW KDAY. AND I LOVE THIS SONG.
So I was totally car dancing. Because yes, this totally took me back to the Palladium days.
And cruising Crenshaw. And sometimes Hollywood Blvd. If somebody could borrow their parent’s car.

Because I’m old.

So today’s gimme (please refer to above statements of tacos & tequila on a Tuesday) is about The Black Sheep.
The Black Sheep The group was an affiliate of the Native Tongues. The Native Tongues is a collective of late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop artists known for their positive-minded, good-natured Afrocentric lyrics, and for pioneering the use of eclectic sampling and later jazz-influenced beats. Its principal members are the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. The collective was also closely tied to the Universal Zulu Nation.
Black Sheep was also one of the first groups to parody gangsta rap
(still in its infancy when A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing was released) in “U Mean I’m Not.” (NSFW)

And on May 26, 1992 (!!) they were the first rap group to play on The Tonight Show (with Jay Leno) –Ta DA!

(although I don’t think Johnny Carson ever had rappers on his show)
(and if he did, they kept that shit whisper quiet ‘cause I LOOKED)
Hope you enjoyed today’s look back into my musical choices as a teen. And if you didn’t, I have one last song for you!
(Also a fave!)

I don’t know about you, but I have an actual house phone. With a cord and everything.
Usually though, I don’t answer it. Unless I look at it and recognize the phone number calling me.
It’s more of an emergency line. Or an “Oh, you need a phone number?” number
…because I’m not ever gonna give you an ACTUAL way to reach me because I never want to talk to you and the only reason I gave you THIS number is because you required a phone number.

Otherwise, call me on my cell!
If I like you, you have my cell number.
And you definitely have a better chance reaching me.
I mean…my phone is almost on vibrate, BUT! I usually stick my phone in my bra.
So, I’m not actually groping myself, guys. I’m trying to answer my phone.
(Hi Mommy! I know you are SO PROUD of your oldest child right now)

A DISCLAIMER: BY GIVING ME YOUR CELL PHONE, YOU ARE AGREEING TO RANDOM TEXTS/PHOTOS/RANTS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
You are free to answer them whenever you’d like, unless you text me at 3AM talking about you need a ride home from the EMERGENCY ROOM.
In which case, YOU BETTER BE THE PROMPTEST MOTHER FRACKER ALIVE when it comes to responding to texts of “ARE YOU OKAY? And/or WTactualF IS GOING ON?”
If you are sensing underlying hostility, good. You should be.

What does this have to do with the price of bananas? (Hey Nisha, see what I did there?)

On July 6, 1971, Henry T. Sampson was awarded a patent with George H. Miley for the invention of the gamma-electric cell,
a direct-conversion energy device that converts the energy generated from the radiation of high-energy gamma rays into electricity.
He did NOT invent the cell phone! But. This invention produces stable high-voltage output and current to detect radiation in the ground without the use of a heat cycle;
the gamma-electric cell made it possible to send and receive audio signals via radio waves without wires;
therefore,rather than inventing the cell phone (available in 1983), he co-invented the technology which made the cell phone possible.
Other patents include a binder system for rocket propellants and explosives and a case-bonding system for cast-composite rocket propellants
both related to the manufacturing and production of solid-propellant rocket motors.

Sampson was a pioneer in academia as one of the first African-American chemical engineering graduates.
He went on to become the first African-American to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering in the U.S.
He sure is one smart motor scooter!

No? FINE.

Yeah, so…I totally was rooting for the Seahawks. Not because I am a Seahawk fan…calm your tits, Steeler Nation. I’m still here for y’all!
But I’mma be honest: I am a Richard Sherman fan. I do like me a good shit talker. (And y’all people who know my husband know this to be true). SO.
I cheered for them in spite of Pete Carroll (who I hate, because he ditched USC after he helped screw them into a slew of sanctions)
(and if you don’t think he was part of this BS, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I wanna sell you)
Side rant: Y’all can say what you want about him. He can suck a fat one.

ANYWAYS, todays random story is about how I’m not here to help.
So this one time my cousin (in law) had this completely random argument
in her facebook status…

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Yeah, that’s me at the bottom. Not helping at all. BUT! Today’s your lucky day, folks! Because today is the beginning of your BHFOTD! And I’m here to help learn y’all some black history. And since we just had a Super Bowl (48, for those keeping count at home), today’s fact is about football! Sort of a gimme. Because the day after the Super Bowl can be rough. Who’s idea was it to drink that much whiskey anyways?

ANYWAYS: Today’s fact. Russell Wilson, Seahawk QB is the second black QB to win a Super Bowl (43-8). I would also like to point out that the FIRST black QB to win a Super Bowl and the second have something else in common. Aside from being black. And being quarterbacks. And winning Super Bowls. BOTH of these dudes won against Denver Broncos in a blowout (Super Bowl XXII: 42 -10).

Wow.

 

WELCOME TO MY TOMFOOLERY FOLKS: It’s that time again. FEBRUARY. BLACK HISTORY MONTH. OR, as one of my friends put it ” If white people have to acknowledge that black people are also important in order to make up for the fact that they have systematically fucked over black people for the entirety of the time span in which they have had any contact with them at all, then dammit white people will ONLY acknowledge black people accomplishments in the shortest month of the year.” It doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Black History Month”, but I kinda like it. 

(Did I mention that I love my friends? Because I really, REALLY do).

ANYWAYS: Stay tuned! As usual, there’s a fact buried in here someplace.