December 10, 2014

'Tis the Season... for Sisterhood

You cannot be a feminist if you hate women. Honestly, it's about the only hard rule. I rarely use the word "hate" because it is such a strong word, but I have to talk about it. I have to talk about the insidious nature of hate. I have to talk about how hatred toward women is also rarely called out as such, until it shows it's a** in an act of violence- a la Chris Brown for example. While he has become the poster boy for the He-Man Woman Haters Club: MMA Addition, his attitudes towards women did not start the day we saw photos of Rihanna's face. Ray Rice did not just get a little out of control that one time, and Stephanie Moseley was not just shot and killed by her husband because she "must of done something wrong."

subliminally tell me my hair texture
is bad and give it a low grade.
Loving women is hard. Hell, we struggle every day just loving ourselves. Every magazine says we should be so thin, so thick, so tall, and if you're not tall enough get them Louboutins. If your hair is not long enough go buy some. Let's be clear, Korean shop owners have been putting their kids through college off Black women alone for the past 2 decades. Meanwhile, all we have to show are trust issues and a messed up hairline. Even with the natural hair movement, all curls are not created equal and some are graded. This is not victim blaming, this is a charge to change the culture.

I had to change.

As a daddy's girl in pretty much every sense of the word, I didn't really see the value of female relationships until the later years of high school. I was something of a Régine a la Living Single without all the priss- waiting for a knight in shining armor. Well, after he knocks you off the noble steed a few times, you wise-up and buy your own damn horse. Then you find a group of horse riding ladies to wreck havoc on some poor unfortunate souls.* Ok, that was a bit dramatic, but the point is after I shifted my relationship priorities, I felt more balanced.

Loving and valuing women, does not mean you hate men. FTR: That is not feminism. It means that if you see your sis getting harassed on the street you ask if she's OK. It means we call out Don Lemon for quizzing rape victims on how to prevent rape. It means, my house will be available if my girlfriend is in an abusive relationship and the shotgun will be close at hand.

While I have had a few memorable romantic rendezvous, it is the friendships I fight for that have changed me, helped my career, and shown me real love. The truth is, loving women should be easy. There are so many of us, and collectively, we do everything except time travel. When the culture does not show us for who we really are- choosing instead "Real Housewives," Make-over divas, and thots- we all suffer. We become harder to love and we harden our hearts to each other judging whose feminism is better. We have to be there for one another. When we say #BlackLivesMatter, women should be included.

From the Author
*Single women as a whole, are not Disney villains, but Ursula was really trying to show Ariel what's up in a tough love auntie kind of way. IMHO

Also, check out Truth in Reality, an organization dedicated to fighting against negative portrayals of women of color in the media.

Oh yeah, men can be feminists too. Got something to say, hit me on Twitter!!!

November 10, 2014

In Defense of Not Dancing at Work

I love to dance. If you have ever been around me two vodka crans in, I am clearing the floor of "da club" or hyping people up in "da bahh." Dancing is a beautiful thing. Busting out goofy moves to rachet trap music is all of the fun and shenanigans found in a Dr. Seuss book made for millennials. However, turning up mid-day at work, when you still have email to check and calls to make, may be ill-advised.

In case you missed it, there was a fun video that went viral of a news anchor getting it in to T.I.'s "Where they at doe?" Of course he was male, White, and blonde because why else would people share if it wasn't funny and ironic? I'm not mad the video went viral. I watched it, I giggled a bit. What really burnt my cookies was the public bashing of the lady anchor for not dancing. Allow me to illustrate:

Yep, and she probably doesn't talk to drunk guys who grab first and ask questions later. That whore. 

Who knew that Jesus was in the trap?  

Busting out the C-word on a Youtube video. This guy is sitting on top of the world.

No, Banksy at, there are 2 types of reporters in this world, 
ones who do their job and jerks.

Now, I have to admit that I don't know this woman from Eve. She may be uptight or she may have just been, wait for it, AT MOTHERF*CKIN WORK! If I had a dollar for every time some special person thought I was supposed to be their personal jester in between conference calls I could still be on vacation. Maybe she thought to herself, What would Sheryl Sandberg do? and decided to lean out on twerking. I don't blame her. Whether women are leaning in, leaning out, or doing the damn hokey pokey, sometimes you just can't win. 

Instead of talking about what a prude she may be, why can't we talk about the privilege he has to: 1) Dance at work and not get brought up on "inappropriate behavior," 2) Not be called a "silly man" for dancing at work, and 3) Not be labeled ignorant or uneducated for listening to trap music. 

*Sips tea

As soon as the music started, as his co-anchor, I'm sure she already knew what was about to go down. It may have even been the third time that day. She also probably ran down the scenario 5 ways from Sunday: "What will happen if I cut loose with this man on camera?" Or maybe, as she stated on the video, she already has a set protocol for these situations and she "can't dance on camera." 

Plain and simple. 

Not respecting a woman's decision to put herself in what she sees as a compromising position is rude AF. Men do not question us when we decide to not dance, or smile, or have another drink. All you have to do is take your fun-loving self to another side of the room and find someone your speed. Ladies don't push your girlfriends to "let it go," because we're getting a psycho vibe from the new "love of your life." I mean, didn't the sister almost die in that movie? Yeah, I think I'll trust myself on when to cut loose and give zero f*cks about who's bothered. 


October 31, 2014

The Scariest Thing About Traveling Alone

I love to travel. The truth is, I also enjoy traveling alone. It may sound sad and anti-social, but the loneliest I've ever felt was at a crowded party while the DJ played another Lady Gaga song. If you're thinking maybe that was the problem, I must say my feeling had nothing to do with the music, or the space. Sometimes "the scene" just gets old- every push at the bar and scream over the music to your friend feels like an automated simulation. This is when I unplug. 

Solo travel is not for everybody. It requires a lot of research. I don't usually say "never," but when I do, it's a matter of life and death. So I will say it here that I have never spun a globe, picked a place on a map, and bought a ticket in one fell swoop. That my friends, is a suicide mission wrapped in insanity.* Picking a country, or even a new state, takes time. (If a decision seems "all of a sudden" to people it's because you're not a talker, you're a do-er, congratulations.) 

My most recent trip was inspired by a blog post about budget traveling. After doing some exploratory clicks, I bought my tickets, set my budget, and connected with a travel agency (shout-out to Sodha Travel). Then we came up with an itinerary. After tying up a few loose ends, (I would recommend looking into travel insurance), I packed, and took off for Kathmandu, Nepal. I was nervous, but full of resolve. Creating a situation that you cannot back out of, is the key to doing the impossible. 

I heard "brave" and "courage" a lot after announcing my travel plans. My ego appreciated the compliments, but every time I wondered if those adjectives really applied. I would think, "What if I'm making a huge mistake?" "What if my trip is just an excuse to run away from dealing with difficult people?" I kept thinking, and thinking, and thinking. "What if the airline looses my luggage?" "What if my ride to the airport doesn't show up?" Eventually, I ran out of "What ifs."

When I got off the plane at Abu Dhabi for a lay-over, it hit me. The scariest thing about traveling alone is letting go and taking it all in. After you've run through and prepared for some of the "What ifs," everything outside of your control comes into play. How do you react to foreign sounds and smells? Do you judge the way other people live? Can you handle hard stares and language barriers?* What do you think about when you are not taking Buzzfeed quizzes?

When you travel with your significant other or friends, you see them, then the sites. There are always long conversations about where to first, then where to go next, then when to leave. You have conversations with them about people you know, or other places you've been. It's a lovely time...
But when you're alone, you see everything else first for what it really is- you feel your heart and search your mind.

So if you ever feel like facing yourself and falling in love with what is buried, take a trip.

*Before booking tickets, Google the country and hit "News," and go to that country on Twitter. Ladies if you see "riots," "corrupt," or "rape" in the top three links, you may want to pick a new country. Generally, tourist areas anywhere are pretty safe, but if a country is going through a revolution your flight may be cancelled and there you are cancelling your trip.

*I can tell you right now, there was no one else in Nepal who looked like me and I am on some random 16 year old's Instagram because she wanted a picture.