Archives for posts with tag: BHFOTD

There is so much to do in LA*. SO MUCH!

But I don’t get to do any of it this weekend.
Because I’m going to get drunk have a mini-reunion in Vegas with my cousins.
Which is awesome ‘cause I don’t know if you know this but my family is sofa king awesome. (woo! Work filters gonna have to WORK to catch them curse words today)
This shouldn’t be a surprise at all because…have we met? I had to get it from somewhere
OK. I haven’t really met ALL of y’all, but MOST of y’all. But you must’ve heard about me ‘cause how did you get here? (Not sorry!)
Also, I’m kiddin’. I’m glad you’re here. And you better be too. ‘Cause you don’t get to quit me.


Because I care (AND because you don’t get to choose the lead ins) lemme tell y’all ‘bout some stuff you can do in LA If you’re around this weekend and don’t have stuff to get into:

Friday: You can go to the Music Center and they have dance lessons and DJs for freeeee!
Saturday: Cinespia is showing Sabrina (one of my faves) at Hollywood Forever. I mean, yeah, it’s at a Cemetery, AND now that the hipsters know about it you gotta deal with a bunch of kids with weird mustaches eating fancy food/drinking PBR while talking about their fixie bikes. BUT. YOU get to bring in your own food and booze and with enough liquor even hipsters are tolerable, so there’s that.
Sunday: MLK Sit-In. Also free.

Why am I talking about a protest on this lovely summer afternoon?
(And here y’all were thinkin’ that it’s not February and there’s no BHFOTD but in typical “I have lots of work to do, so lemme take this time to drop some history on y’all” fashion, HERE I AM)

I wanted to tell you that TODAY in 1917, Between 8,000 and 10,000 African-Americans marched down 5th Avenue in New York City in a protest known as The Silent Parade.


The purpose of the parade was to protest lynching and anti-black violence. The parade was precipitated by the East St. Louis Riots in May and July 1917, when between 40 and 250 blacks were killed by white mobs.
The ferocious brutality of the attacks and the failure of the authorities to protect innocent lives contributed to the radicalization of many blacks in St. Louis and the nation.

Men, women, and children carried placards that read:

July 28

My bad. THESE are the photos from 1917.

Silent Protest

The march was organized by an ad-hoc group formed at St. Philip’s Church in Harlem. James Weldon Johnson was a key organizer of the “Negro Silent Protest Parade.”
As the protesters marched silently down 5th Avenue, Boy scouts distributed fliers from the NAACP.

NAACP literature outlined the objectives and goals of the march:
We march because by the Grace of God and the force of truth, the dangerous, hampering walls of prejudice and inhuman injustices must fall.
We march because we want to make impossible a repetition of Waco, Memphis, and East St. Louis, by arousing the conscience of the country and bringing the murders of our brothers, sisters, and innocent children to justice.
We march because we deem it a crime to be silent in the face of such barbaric acts.
We march because we are thoroughly opposed to Jim-Crow Cars, Segregation, Discrimination, Disfranchisement, Lynching, and the host of evils that are forced on us. It is time that the Spirit of Christ should be manifested in the making and execution of laws.
We march because we want our children to live in a better land and enjoy fairer conditions than have fallen to our lot.

If I were into commentary (and I’m not, OBVIOUSLY) I’d talk about how in June of 2012, there was AGAIN a somewhat silent protest on 5th Ave to protest NYPD’s stop and frisk policies, which the organizers say single out minority groups and create an atmosphere of martial law for the city’s black and Latino residents. OR I’d talk about how many protests, and marches there have been after every murder of black people that basically state the same thing but almost 100 (99, if we’re gonna get exact) years later.

But yannow. I’m not. I’m just here so y’all learn some stuff about black history.


Nah. This one isn’t from 1917 either. But I guess it coulda been.


*note: I occasionally send BHFOTD emails randomly throughout the year. This one was originally sent on 7/28, but I got enough requests to blog it that I gave in to the harassment. HERE Y’ALL GO. Just be aware you missed all the fun stuff I mentioned because it was all last week.

Hi Guys!

Most of you know that in previous years, I bullied my sister into writing some of these BHFOTDs with me.
Because I’m lazy.
But this year my sissie got a BIG! FANCY! PROMOTION!
So she’s busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Or so she says.
I thought supervisors just sat around telling other people what to do?
No? Fine.
This year I’m gonna give her a pass, but I’m gonna “respectfully” suggest that she figure out a way to get it together for next year.


[She cute]

If you see her in the street, leave her alone! Because she knows ju jitsu and will probably kick your ass, Stranger Danger.
Or say hi and ask for a BHFOTD. Choose your own adventure and all that.

I was ALLLL set to write about something else entirely when my sissie’s birthday twin passed away yesterday.
Did you guys know that Nisha shared a birthday with Maurice White, lead singer of Earth Wind & Fire?

nisha bday
You can see what a joy it is to be related to me.

Back to Maurice. He was the founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. He was also the older brother of current Earth, Wind & Fire member Verdine (VERDINE!) White, and former member Fred White.
With Maurice as the bandleader and producer of most of the band’s albums, EWF earned legendary status winning six Grammy Awards out of 14 nominations, an NAACP Hall of Fame Award, a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and four American Music Awards and the sale of over 90 million of the group’s albums worldwide.

As a member of the band, Maurice was bestowed with such honors of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, The Songwriters Hall of Fame and The NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.

Maurice White and EWF will also go down in Black history as the first African American band to sell out Madison Square Garden.

White has been called “an innovator” and “someone who has had a profound impact upon the music industry as a whole” by Chaka Khan, and has been cited as a main influence by artists such as Bilal and Lenny Kravitz (NSFW. NOT SORRY).

Lest you think this is some doom & gloom obituary type fact of the day, I have a fun fact!
Nisha & Maurice were not only birthday twins.
Nisha was only a few degrees of separation from Maurice White.

Maurice White composed As One which was performed by Memphis Bleek (Jay-Z’s The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse)
Memphis Bleek recorded Hood to Hood with Ras Kass.
Ras Kass used to date … YOU GUESSED IT! My Sissie!
That’s all for this week folks. I get weekends off!
Stay tuned next week for “What does Briya have to say about Black People?”

So a couple of years ago, I wrote this for my Dad’s birthday.
Happy Birthday Daddy!
(And Nisha Bisha – tomorrow!)
(And Mommy – Sunday!)

But. This morning I was told that today’s Google Doodle was a BHFOTD.
And WHAT A COINCIDENCE, I had this one about this self same person laying around.

How about a look into my family tree?

My Dad has 2 girls and 2 boys.
And only the girls had boys.
And the boys (BOY, actually. Only one of my brothers has kids) have girls.
Also, the girls are done having kids.
So I guess it’s on the boys to make us sommore McDuels.

Really, just my baby brother. Because I’m pretty sure that if my little brother tries again for a boy he’ll probably have TWINS that will also be girls for his trouble.

This has nothing to do with anything except for the fact that today’s my Daddy’s Birthday!

And what better way to commemorate my Dad’s birthday than with a Black History Fact of The Day (BHFOTD)?

On THIS day in 1862, Ida B Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi just before President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Wells-Barnett became a prolific social activist and champion for the right of African-Americans. She was also a founding member of the NAACP.

In March 1892 a white mob invaded her friends’ (Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart) store because was seen as competitive with a white-owned grocery store across the street. During the altercation, three white men were shot and injured. Moss, McDowell, and Stewart were arrested and jailed. A large lynch mob stormed the jail and killed the three men.

The murder drove Wells to research and document lynchings and their causes. She began investigative journalism, looking at the charges given for the murders. She officially started her anti-lynching campaign. She spoke on the issue at various black women’s clubs, and raised more than $500 to investigate lynchings and publish her results. Wells found that blacks were lynched for such reasons as failing to pay debts, not appearing to give way to whites, competing with whites economically, being drunk in public, walking down the street with a pack of skittles and an iced tea, jaywalking, switching lanes without using a blinker (WAIT. WHAT?). She published her findings in a pamphlet entitled “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases.”

Wells received much support from other social activists and her fellow clubwomen. In his response to her article in the Free Speech, Frederick Douglass expressed approval of her work: “You have done your people and mine a service…What a revelation of existing conditions your writing has been for me.” (Freedman, 1994). Wells took her anti-lynching campaign to Europe with the help of many supporters. In 1896, Wells founded the National Association of Colored Women, and also founded the National Afro-American Council. Wells formed the Women’s Era Club, the first civic organization for African-American women. This later was named the Ida B. Wells Club, in honor of its founder.

Wells spent the latter thirty years of her life in Chicago working on urban reform. She also raised her family and worked on her autobiography. After her retirement, Wells wrote her autobiography, Crusade for Justice (1928).

She never finished it; the book ends in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a word. Wells died of uremia (kidney failure) in Chicago on March 25, 1931, at the age of sixty-eight.

An aside: I don’t usually post my random BHFOTDs because y’all get a solid month of black people shit in February. And these are the ones I send when I feel like it. Because it’s Tuesday. Or I am avoiding doing work stuff. Or maybe I have something to say and you just have to be paying attention. But NOT TODAY! Today, we’re talking about a lady who chose to expose lynchings of her people in a time where it was pretty much acceptable to do to people whatever they wanted because even though black people were free they were still considered insignificant and not really people, so what’s the big damn deal because it’s not like people are still killing black folks with no consequence, right? has the same birthday as my Daddy.

(standing in the need of prayer!)

So! Are we still talking about the Grammys?

Because DAMN. There was so much Jesus!
Madonna brought her trusty gospel choir while she cavorted around with a bunch of horny whatever those were
Pharrell pulled out a gospel choir ‘cause he’s happy that song is still relevant.
(Hint: It isn’t)
Katy Perry was singin’ bout the Grace of God
Beyonce was there so that the Precious Lord could take her hand.
Looks like everybody was sangin’ ‘bout the Lord.
‘cept Kanye. Who really needed to have Jesus walk with him to the nearest seat.
Sir. You can decide who wins the MFing awards
When you have YOUR OWN AWARD SHOW.
Beyonce has the WHOLE ENTIRE BEYHIVE to keep her ego on 100.
Worry ‘bout yourself!

ALSO: Any of y’all up on the chisme with that whole Beyonce/Ledisi thing?
I mean…listen. Yes. Beyonce has a great voice. AND she’s hugely popular.
BUT. In my probably unpopular opinion, she coulda let Ledisi gon’ and sang that song.
2. She woulda tore the house down.
a. Have you heard her sing it?
b. Here you go!
3. Beyonce, you’ve got plenty of exposure.
a. Go ahead and share your spotlight, boo.
4. Still though, everything isn’t about you.

Anyways, Ledisi handled it beautifully.
“What I will say and what I’m excited about is that I had the pleasure of playing an iconic figure in Selma, and the song, ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord,’ it’s been going on forever—starting with the queen Mahalia [Jackson], the queen of soul Aretha Franklin
“Then, I was able to portray and sing my version of the song, and now we have Beyoncé (interjection: I’m imagining side eye. Because I want there to be side eye). Her generation will now know the song, so I’m a part of history.”

I guess.

I mean…she got to play Mahalia Jackson. So I guess she still wins. Because DO YOU KNOW WHO MAHALA* JACKSON IS?
(look at me workin’ in this here black history fact!)

The Queen of Gospel. The first gospel singer to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
She was also, Martin Luther (the) King Jr’s theme music. I’m kiddin’, sorta.
Ms. Jackson (‘cause I’m nasty) played an important role during the civil rights movement. In August 1956, she met Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. at the National Baptist Convention.
A few months later, both King and Abernathy contacted her about coming to Montgomery, Alabama, to sing at a rally to raise money for the bus boycott. They also hoped she would inspire the people who were getting discouraged with the boycott.
And she did. In fact, Ms. Jackson appeared often with King, singing before his speeches and for SCLC fundraisers. In a 1962 SCLC press release, he wrote she had “appeared on numerous programs that helped the struggle in the South, but now she has indicated that she wants to be involved on a regular basis”. She said that she hoped her music could “break down some of the hate and fear that divide the white and black people in this country”

She also sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at The Reverend Doctor King’s funeral after he was assassinated.
And when she passed on in 1972, Coretta Scott King eulogized her during the Chicago funeral as “a friend – proud, black and beautiful” with Aretha Franklin closing the Chicago rites with that very song.

So there you go. A story about the Grammys and how EVERYBODY there needs Jesus.
Especially Beyonce.
Jesus be some humility. JAYSUS.

Happy Monday!

* Not a typo! She ain’t add the “I” to her name until 1931.

Yes. I just made a Missy Elliot the subject of an e-mail. From my job.
You can blame it on the a a a a a alcohol…umm…the boogie… The Superbowl.
(I’m kiddin’ about the alcohol y’all. I haven’t drank on the job since I worked at Spencer’s Gifts. Don’t ask)
ANWAYS. Now that people who stopped checkin’ for Misdemeanor remembered the she’s a badass
She’s on the radio all the time. Which I’m sure SUPER ENTERTAINING for the people watching me car dance.

Also: Two outta Three ain’t bad right?
Got my nails done last week.
Gel nails last forever. Or around 2 weeks. Whatever comes first.

Yesterday I got my hair did. YES. DID.
Last night as a matter of fact.

No. I’m not going.
I am, however, gonna go to one of my favorite couple’s house and snark about it on the internet.
From her couch. While probably fighting off a twin child trying to eat food off my plate.
I think I win. I don’t even have to change out of my pajama pants.

I’ll be honest. I had totally forgotten about the Grammy’s even though they’re having a pre-Grammy concert RIGHT DOWN THE STREET (from my job. I am not getting paid well enough to live in the 90210).
But then the ladies in the shop were all up in arms about Beyonce singing Mahalia Jackson’s “Precious Lord” in a Selma tribute even though Ledisi SANG THE DAMN SONG IN THE SELMA MOVIE AS MAHALIA JACKSON. Grammy’s. I need y’all to get your sh!t together. Seriously.



1. That Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. has the record for the most Grammy nominations (79)?
a. And that his middle name was DELIGHT.
2. That Jamie Foxx (and T-Pain) actually WON A GRAMMY for Blame It?
3. The Jackson 5 won NO Grammys. MJ won all his sh!t SOLO BOLO y’all.
a. (At least Beyonce and ‘nem won a few thangs before she kicked ‘em all to the curb and BLEW UP)
4. Michael Jackson held the record until 2000 for most Grammys won in one night (12).
a. AND He’s also been nominated for a Grammy in the last 5 decades (70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s)

Okay. I guess I’m done randomly tellin’ y’all stuff about the Grammys. Because I’ve got stuff to do. But I guess I can’t mention Missy and then not leave you a little something: Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott – The ONLY female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA, including one double platinum for her 2002 album Under Construction. I guess a song should go here. So here it go.

Happy Friday!
See y’all Monday. Maybe I can convince my sister to get off her ass and write me a thing next week.

YOU GUYS. I am tired.
Because I decided to NOT workout yesterday morning, I decided to do a workout after work.
A few things:
1. I am a morning person.
2. I hate leaving the house after I’ve already taken off my work pants.
a. That’s a metaphor. I almost always wear dresses.

Because going to the gym is an exercise in aggravation after 5PM
And I can’t burn any calories staring angrily at people hogging machines or sighing loudly at people blocking the way chit chatting,
I decided on Zumba! Because I do hate working out at night, but this is DANCING!
And if there’s anything that people like to stereotype black people liking more’n music, it’s DANCING.

I haven’t been to a Zumba class in FOREVER.
But rest assured when I DO go, and they are randomly playing Nicki Minaj,
Of all the black people in this class, the instructor comes RIGHT UP TO ME and I end up in some sort of weird dance battle.
Because NO SENOR (sorry, no tilde), you are not getting ready to drop it lower than me.
Also be absolutely positive that my body is gonna make me pay for that later.
(oy! My hip!)

What? Onika in a Zumba class? YES.
Zumba is a mixture of hip hop, with some salsa, soca and such thrown in.
There is nothing more fun that going from La Vida es un Carnival to the Ying Yang twins.
And really the beats are easily interchanged. Probably because some of them have African roots.
Because even though people like to pretend that latinos only look like J.Lo and Shakira
Black People are EVERYWHERE.


This pretty Afro-Latina is Ursula Hilaria Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso of Havana.

That a LOT of names. Let’s just call her Celia Cruz for short.
She first gained recognition in the 1950s, as a singer with the orchestra Sonora Matancera. She relocated to the United States after the ascent of Fidel Castro in 1961.
The social culture in New York — where she lived — was beginning to change, as a massive infusion of Latino youth entered the city.
Cruz plunged into the New York music scene, filled with musicians from across the Caribbean and Latin America.
She began a musical relationship with Tito Puente began in 1966 and lasted until 1973. Together, they recorded memorable numbers such as “Aquarius,” which brought Cruz closer to the new musical landscape that was developing in New York City during the 1960s and 70s. This new sound came to be called salsa —music born of Cuban and other Afro-Latin mixed musical traditions. By 1971, it was an important genre with a record label, Fania, devoted solely to it.

Cruz put salsa music on the map at a time when most Latinos didn’t have their own special kind of music that they could relate to their culture.
Whites had stolen and claimed rock music; blacks had soul music.
Now, thanks to Celia Cruz, Latinos had salsa music.
She not only pioneered the genre of salsa, but was one of the most popular salsa artists of the 20th century.
She is known all over the world as “The Queen of Salsa”

*AZUCAR! : When Cruz shouts, “Azucar!” it’s an allusion to the African slaves that worked on the sugar plantation in Cuba and the violent history of slavery on the island.

Yes. I sang it to the tune of M-I-C   K-E-Y    M-O-U-S-E

(alternately titled: I haven’t done a “Reasons why I hate Disney” post this year yet)

I’m just gonna assume that everybody who gets this e-mail has at least a passing  familiarity with The Boondocks. I’m excluding old folks. Well, really, just my mommy and aunties. Daddy, I’m SURE you probably have heard of, if not SEEN it. It’s your kinda show. Srsly.

Did y’all know that Uncle Ruckus’s name is a reference to Uncle Remus or Uncle Tom. He is the darkest-skinned character on the show. His name is also a reference to Amos Rucker, an African-American United Confederate Veterans member, who allegedly wanted to stay a slave after the United States Civil War. (Picks up eyeballs from the floor because EPIC EYEBALL ROLL). He is a black man who firmly doesn’t like black people– the world’s biggest “Uncle Tom”. An overweight, homely man with disproportionate eyes, he enjoys disassociating himself from other African Americans as much as possible, and is outspoken in his support of what Huey calls the “white supremacist power structure.”

I know y’all know about Uncle Tom. Because BOOKS.

But who’s that Uncle Remus fella?


 That there is James Baskett, the singer-dancer-actor who plays Uncle Remus, ex-slave in Walt Disney’s ‘Song of the South.’

Song of the South is about a young boy, who moves to his mother’s family plantation in Georgia right as his father leaves the family to fight…something. Nobody knows what. Alone and depressed, he’s comforted by the tall tales of Uncle Remus. While it’s implied that the black workers are no longer Johnny’s family’s property, they are still completely subservient, and happily so. Remus is a companion, and link between the live-action sequences and the animated ones involving Brer “don’t throw ME in the briar patch” Rabbit and Brer Fox

Fun Fact: Baskett was not allowed to attend the film’s premiere in Atlanta, Georgia because Atlanta was racially segregated by law.

ANYWAYS. Baskett won an “honorary” Oscar for “his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to (white)children of the world. Baskett also introduced the Academy Award-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” (See? Songs I love, CHARACTERS I DON’T)

Moving on… The last time Disney released the film was 1986. But never in home video format in the US. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY.


And lest you think that I don’t have anything Black History Fact of the Day(ish) to add:

Did you know that James Baskett, a black man, was the VERY FIRST LIVE ACTOR hired by Disney?


And that’s it kids! Another month of “LOOK AT ALL THESE BLACK PEOPLE” in the can. I hope you learned something! Because I always do. After all, ain’t but so many ways you can learn about Martin, and Malcolm, and Harriet and Rosa. Other black people were out there doing shit too! And when they are, I’ll be back next February to tell you about it. Please enjoy not really thinking about black people doing stuff because we can only talk about that during February and tomorrow is March.



I don’t know about y’all. But July 4th is a pretty important holiday at my house. Most of the family (all the sides!) and a lot of friends come over for food and foolishness.
And I’m not gonna lie. THERE IS A LOT OF FOOLISHNESS. One year we had a HUGE water balloon fight. I was winning until Nesto climbed in the window with a water hose. I don’t think I have to tell you that’s cheating.
I wish I could say I was making this story up. Only. Have we met?
I can’t even tell you how hard it was to get that much water out of my living room. I’ll just leave it at VERY. IT WAS VERY HARD. (That is what she said. I can never resist. So I stopped trying)

And then the NEXT year, we had THE GREAT SUPER SOAKER WAR of whatever year that was.
The year where I was making a mad dash for safety and stepped in a hole and tore my Achilles but GOOD.
Sidenote: Say what you want about Kobe. If he could stand on both feet after tearing his Achilles and take free throws, he’s a BAMF. The End.
All those people who work at a hospital at my house. Some of them actually clinically inclined.
And the best they could come up with was to put my foot in a bucket of ice and fix me the largest Vodka drink known to man.
And then I spent the rest of my summer in brightly colored casts (hot pink, and green…the colors, Duke! The COLORS!)

While most people would blame the Vodka, or my general clumsiness, or hidden holes in the grass, I blame Lonnie Johnson.
Because he is the (black) man who invented the Super Soaker!

In 1989 Johnson formed his own engineering firm and licensed the Super Soaker water gun to Larami Corporation. Two years later the Super Soaker generated over $200 million in retail sales and became the best selling toy in America. Over the years, Super Soaker sales have totaled close to one billion dollars. Johnson reinvested a majority of his earnings from the Super Soaker into research and development for his energy technology companies – “It’s who I am, it’s what I do.” (Huh. I thought that praise was what we do. No?)

Currently, Johnson holds over 80 patents, with over 20 more pending, and the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.

I’d say that I’m sorry for slipping in a random gospel song except I’m not. God is everywhere! Even in random stories about my left foot.

I often get super short texts from Spank instead of phone calls.
Spanky is a girl living in a digital world.
I’m cool with it. At least she’s thinking enough of me to keep me updated.
(Also, generally, these texts will turn into conversations about what’s new in college life)

She told me she was going to a party. Then I got a text that said:
Black girls in Boston: Black Girls that can’t dance.

Yeah. She’s that black girl. And quite frankly, I’m not taking any blame. Because she’s got rhythm.
She didn’t wanna LEARN to dance. So her not knowing how to dance? Not my fault.
Because I sure did a lot of dancing at home. And in public. Because nothing is more fun that embarrassing my kids.
(Nesto didn’t teach either of the kids to dance. Because gangsters don’t dance, they boogie)
And you know how most black people learn how to dance?
From their families: mostly cousins and older siblings. (Included: “play” cousins, god sisters/brothers. THEY ARE SO PART OF THE FAMILY.)
Because most dancing happens in everyday spaces, children often dance with older members of the community around their homes and neighborhoods, at parties and dances, on special occasions, or whenever groups of people gather to ‘have a good time’.
Cultural dance traditions are therefore often cross-generational traditions, with younger dancers often ‘reviving’ dances from previous generations, albeit with new ‘cool’ variations and ‘styling’.

That’s right! Like people everywhere, our traditions, including dancing were passed down. But UNLIKE people everywhere, the passing of traditions was likely to get you killed. Back in ye olde slave times, dancing helped enslaved Africans connect with their homeland keeping their cultural traditions alive. Which. YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW, TOBY. THIS YO’ HOME NOW. *cough* Sorry.

Before enslavement, Africans danced for special occasions, such as a birth or a marriage, or as a part of their daily activities and dance affirmed life and the outlook of a better future. African-Americans sang and danced while working as slaves, and as they converted to the religions of the Americas, they incorporated these traditions into these religions. Blacks who worked in the colonies of Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, and South America were given more freedom to dance than enslaved Blacks in North America. Many North American slave owners barred Africans from most forms of dancing Africans found ways of getting around these prohibitions. For example, since lifting the feet was considered dancing, many dances included foot shuffling and hip and torso movement.

The dances of the plantation moved onto the stage through Minstrel shows, which introduced black dance to large audiences during the 1800s. As popular entertainment, both Blacks and whites performed them. Initially, Blacks appeared as giant teddy bears while some white girl struggling with the her transition from Disney teen queen to “adult” “twerked” and made exaggerated facial expressions that I can only assume was her take on what black girls looked like while dancing caricatures that were often ridiculed, but they drew from their cultural traditions even as they made fun of themselves. In 1891, The Creole Show, a revue staged on Broadway introduced The Cakewalk, the FIRST (but certainly NOT THE LAST) dance created by Blacks to become popular with the white population. Other black-influenced dance trends that followed were the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, the Jitterbug, and the Twist. The 1920s and 1930s were an especially fruitful time for black dance in the United States. During the Harlem Renaissance, similar innovations in theater, music, literature, and other arts accompanied African-American developments in dance. Black musical theater, derived from minstrel shows, continued to popularize and legitimize black dance traditions and black performers, as it had in the 19th century and continues into the present day.

In fact, have y’all seen Azonto? Azonto is a dance and a music genre originating from Ghana. (I’m not giving y’all the whole background and junk. Look it up! That’s what the internet is for. Not you know… PORN) This is one of my favorite videos. It’s fun! And cute! And, oh, FOR FUCKS SAKE, WATCH IT.

I can’t wait until white people start doing this. Oh WAIT.*

*Cultural appropriation: When a group (usually the dominant group in society, though not always) takes aspects of another culture without permission and adopts it as part of its own, often without recognition(or acknowledgment) to the roots and history of the cultural tradition in question.

And I’ve only seen HALF of the Oscar Best Picture nominated films.
Never fear! This weekend, I’ll be somewhere watching the ones I haven’t seen draped
across somebody’s couch while wrestling my water bottle and lollipops from greedy baby hands.
#naughtybabies #theyARETOOidentical #yesIusehashtagsinemails #DEAL

So today’s fact is kind of a gimme. BUT. TODAY’S FACT is also a two-fer.
Because last night I couldn’t sleep. And because I didn’t sleep, my brain isn’t really working the way it should.
Which I guess isn’t saying much, because… HI.

*ahem* In 1963, Sir Sidney Poitier (said with requisite French accent) became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. This fact is not to be confused with Ms. Hattie McDaniel, who was the first black person to EVER win an Academy Award. Which is almost 40 years (38 to be exact) before another black person won an award. Not to say they weren’t nominated, but yannow. Close only counts in shit fights and horse shoes (and hand grenades!)

Relatedly, I’m saying all this to say that black people have come a long way in the moving picture industry. When Hattie McDaniel won her award, she sat at a segregated table and came in a side entrance because you know…RACISTS. These days we can come right up the red carpet with the rest of the (white) people! Still not winning lots of awards because…Hollywood. I mean, MAYBE I’m exaggerating. But. The first black person to WIN a screenplay Academy Award won it in 2009. The first person to be nominated was in 1972. I’m pretty sure that black people have written screenplays that have been adapted to awesome ass movies worthy of critical acclaim and celebration.

In all honesty, I’m just waiting for a time when black people aren’t being labeled THE FIRST. Because all that really does is point out how many places we’ve been excluded and are finally getting a foot in the door. I guess I’m waiting for the time when black people aren’t still coming, because we’re already here.

And speaking of coming, here’s today’s two-fer. Also a FIRST. I’m not sorry that I’m not sorry at all. It’s totally safe for work.

Happy Monday!