America Does NOT Care About Children!

Children are not safe here, and no one wants to acknowledge it, much less admit it.

In the wake of another Labor Day, I send much love and recognition to workers and unions across the nation. I wish that that was all that was on my mind today.

Last week, when Philadelphia’s children were supposed to start school in the buildings, one hundred of them had to dismiss early for two days because of the oppressive, overwhelming heat. As a product of the public school system, I experienced many days that were either too hot or too cold. When it was too cold, my classmates wore their outside coats to class, and when it was too hot, the teacher would turn the lights out, order us to stop fanning with our home-made paper fans, and make us sit still for the whole class. Gym class was a blur. No fans, no air conditioning, and hot air blowing through the one or two windows that could be budged open.

Just imagine sitting in a school bus for eight hours. Get the idea?

I knew, therefore, that the situation had to have been pretty extreme for the schools to dismiss early, and I was not wrong. There were reports of children vomiting and losing consciousness, even without masks. Nobody wants to get sued or vilified in the press, so the kids had to go.

That is not my issue.

My issue is that the children have been out of the school buildings for at least a year. Granted, the pandemic threw us all into a tailspin, but there are elected officials in place whose jobs are to think about certain details regarding personal safety–none of which apparently apply to children. After the lockdown, parents were gung-ho about getting their kids out of the house and back into the buildings, unmasked, many of them before a vaccine was even created, and every one of them unprotected. Even President Biden, as much as I appreciate him, enthusiastically encouraged parents to send their children back to school. Logic would dictate that someone somewhere would have prepared the schools with the proper climate control. We are still dealing with Covid, and now monkeypox, not to mention other diseases that some parents have decided not to vaccinate their children against. But by all means, send the children skipping back to the human Petrie dish, because they are too much of a headache at home

Oh, but there’s more….

During the 2020 lockdown, school shootings went all the way down to ten (when the buildings were supposed to be empty?). In 2021, when the hybrid method was being shoved down our throats, that number went up to 34. As of May 2022, there have been 27. I noticed this, and I am a nobody. Why is no one in power doing a thing about that?

Because children are and always have been expendable.

Sure, we recognize their feelings and capacity for greatness. We even watch so-called reality television shows that showcase their special talents. Children of the 21st century are growing up savvier, more articulate, and freer than the generations before them did, yet their health and welfare still mean nothing to the adults charged with their care.

I am a child of the 70’s, the last generation that children were openly expected to be “seen and not heard”. Back in that day, we were considered free labor and adequate scapegoats for the adult negativity that was heaped upon our parents. Children were not even allowed to speak when adults were talking, even if they were talking about you. I have been that child, that non-entity that had no feelings, whose conception, birth, and basic needs were treated more like an inconvenience than a miracle or privilege. I know how it feels to not matter, and it is not an easy feeling to shake off, even in adulthood.

What is the ripple effect of such disregard for the lives of our children? Much more than the two that I have mentioned, but we are living it right now. This present generation of excellent children are being treated like lab rats and cannon fodder.

Why am I the only one upset about that? If I am not the only one, then let me know in the comments.

I am HERE for THESE!

I have been jumping out of my skin with excitement ever since I saw two movie trailers this week. They might actually get me to go back to the theatre, and for pretty much the same reason.

First, The Woman King, starring Viola Davis.

The subject matter deals with the women warriors of Dahomey. In case you forgot, my current manuscript honors these women as well, from a modern standpoint. At first, I was disappointed that I was not the first to adapt this forgotten history into a story, but I am so happy that it made the screen that I cannot be disappointed anymore. How many novels out there are about vampires? I do not have to be the first in order to stand out. And with Ms. Viola at the helm, I intend to enjoy this movie, not resent it.

And then, there is the long-awaited sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, starring Angela Bassett.

Finally, we will get to see how they will handle the death of Chadwick Boseman, may he rest in power. I was one of the few people who did NOT want the part to be recast, because I did not want to be forced to compare. I get the feeling, though, that they did not go with the comic alternative to make Shuri the new Black Panther.

It doesn’t really make a difference to me. I am here for the story and the strong female presence, which includes the Dora Milaje, who were written based on the Dahomeyan warriors. Nothing from this trailer disappoints me.

Both of these trailers do the opposite: they invigorate me. They make me feel proud of being a Black woman and knowing my history. So I guess I’ll have to convince Jenise to double-mask with me at the theatre. I will let you know how that goes.

Mo’Nique vs. DL Hughley: Pick a Side

I’m going to say my piece, and then I’m going to let it go. Fair warning: I may forget that I have an English degree and slip into my version of Ebonics.

If you’ve been paying attention, these two comedians are beefing right now. That’s not really accurate. Mo’Nique fired a shot heard ’round the world, and DL was on the other end of it.

There was a contract dispute over which of them would headline (close) at some show in Detroit. Both of them had contracts saying two different things. Fast forward: DL is set to close, so Mo’Nique uses her spot in the show to blow-torch the stage with her grievances and some very personal insults towards DL. I will not repeat any, and I will not show the clip, because nothing she said honored God.

For the record, I’m not a fan of either of these individuals’ comedic style. DL is too drunk, and Mo’Nique is too raw. I don’t know them personally; they may both be lovely people. That’s just me.

What I will say is that the video clip of her explosive rant makes her look absolutely deranged, which I thought she had evolved past. This is the same woman who honored Hattie McDaniel when she won her Oscar, chastised women for wearing bonnets in public, addressed people as “my brother” and “my sister”, and is defending the worth of Black women entertainers.

I’ve got enough deranged relatives. I don’t need to add her to my family tree.

You can pick a side if you want to. I will not. Not because there’s a kerfuffle over whose receipts are the right ones, but because I ain’t got nuttintadoo with this!

It’s a contract dispute. I didn’t write either version of the contract. I didn’t create or promote the show. I didn’t even pay to see it (thank God!). Your contracts and line-up is none of my business. Handle that in the office! Why are you fire-bombing the stage that other people paid to see you tell jokes on?

Be mad at the people who gave you and DL two different contracts. Be mad at the husband you call “Daddy” for singlehandedly ruining all the status that you could have had and whatever career you may have left. Be mad at your blessed self for being so volatile that nobody with good sense will ever want to work with you. What does any of that have to do with me (the public), who might have been inclined to pay to see you one day?

It’s a low-down dirty shame. But it happened for a reason. Let this be a teachable moment for somebody.

How Do I Feel About Kevin Samuels’ Death?

Kevin Samuels died last week.

In case you have no idea who that is, KS was a self-proclaimed dating/relationship expert who made a practice of demeaning Black women. I will not say what I thought he was, because I was taught not to speak ill of the dead. I will say that I have seen enough of his videos not to like or respect him at all.

So why am I making this post?

Because social media is somewhat polarized in their reactions to the death of KS. He had his supporters, believe it or not, and they are trying to spin him into some well-meaning human being. Naturally, that ticked off everyone else, some of whom have pointed out that being dead does not automatically make someone a saint. And then there were some–I’m assuming women–who actually celebrated that KS was dead.

I do not celebrate anyone’s death, no matter how reprehensible I believe that they are. When Death comes for Donald Trump, I will not celebrate, and you can hold me to that. That does not mean that I will suddenly have good things to say about him, because that would be dishonest of me. I have nothing good to say about either of these hateful, narcissistic misogynists. I would rather state facts from the public record and render my own opinions based on them.

Like Trump, KS used his gifts and talents to stroke his own ego among the masses who worshipped him and to subjugate those he thought were inferior to him. He led many people to believe in his 21st Century caveman mentality. That is his legacy. That is how the world will remember him: the “relationship expert” who disrespected women of his own race and died with NO life partner of his own.

I am reminded of the hymn that was sung at my grandmother’s funeral: “May the Work I’ve Done Speak for Me”. Death is not meant to be a reward, a punishment, a judgment, or even a sign that your assigned work has been accomplished. It means that your time on Earth is over. Whatever you have done or not done up to that point will be subject to God’s judgment.

His alone.

The work that we do will speak for us after we’re gone. The good work, the bad work, and the ugly work. Regardless of our individual, unique assignments, we are all here to be good to each other. That can be as big as building homes, creating jobs, and feeding the hungry or as small as minding your manners when interacting with strangers.

Speaking only for myself, I would rather spend my time on earth teaching, writing stories that excite and inspire people, and making a positive impression in the world. It is a shame that every human is not willing or able to do the same, but that is not my business.

It is their legacy.

We Are Not *Them*!

I’m doing it again.

I am taking a post on my Facebook feed to my blog, mainly because I’m not willing to risk going back to FB Jail for what I am about to say.

I’ve already gotten into it with one of the commenters who tried to take an opposing view of my comments. I don’t mind opposition if the person knows what the heck they’re talking about, but please don’t try me with a stupid counter-argument. I implore you.

Look at this poor, unfortunate soul, by the name of Ania Houston.

Before the stylist in me goes off on this outfit–and I intend to!–I need to start with her moronic choice to post pictures of herself with firearms. Weaponry. Guns.

Why? Whose dumb idea was this? What grown person approved it?

I know that I’m old, but what do guns have to do with a prom picture, which is what this is supposed to be? I would ask what kind of message she was trying to send, but she made that clear in the captions, which make me weep once again for American Education.

Now, the argument that I was part of did not start with the outfit, the guns, or even the knucklehead standing on a dress that had to cost time and money to make. The post was an update on the girl’s status, followed by some very alarming comments.

Apparently, Miss Ania has been expelled from school because of this picture, and her college scholarship has been rescinded. There are people online who actually think that that should not have happened, that the punishment somehow did not fit the crime, and that if she were White, the picture would not have been that serious an issue.

I could not take any more after that, and I’m about to tell you why.

Do not come for me with that BS.

Miss Ania is at the age where the choices that she makes are costly, which is why she needed to rethink that whole plan. The fact that she had a scholarship means that she has a fully-functioning brain in her head and knows how to use it for good. This (right) is how the world and your future college needs to see you, not in a hog-body, Love and Hip-Hop knockoff gown with an assault rifle and your brother’s boot-prints on it. Miss Ania is a very pretty young lady, but nothing in that picture flattered her.

Hear me on this: if every white girl at every prom in America did the same thing, that does not give any Black student permission to be equally stupid. White supremacy is their system, the rules that they play by and get away with. We do not have their luxury of stupid choices without consequence.

Those are not our rules. We are not them. We were never supposed to be. Their stupidity is no justification for ours.

Were the consequences fair? I believe so. Miss Ania’s mind and actions were not where they should have been. For the rest of us, that lesson comes with a price, and she must pay it now. It is a hard lesson to learn in one’s teens, but the best lessons are learned the hard way.

Yeah, I’m Going to Say Something, Too…

I may as well, since it seems to be the ONLY thing that people can talk about right now. I tried doing it on Facebook, but defending myself against a random knucklehead landed me in Facebook Jail for “bullying” the guy that harassed me, and I’m not going back there.

The Oscars. Great and mighty things happened that night that people are trying to hang on to in the face of the one thing that should NEVER have happened.

“The Slap”. Until last Sunday, that phrase applied to a satin hair covering for Naturalistas. Now, it pertains to Will Smith behaving badly towards Chris Rock.

Chris told an inappropriate joke, whether he wrote it himself or not. He was doing his job as a comedian and presenter. Whether or not he knew about Jada’s alopecia is irrelevant. It was a dumb joke about a Black woman’s hair.

Will was WRONG. Point blank. Period. Full stop. Yes, I said it, and I don’t care how anyone feels about it. Don’t give me that BS about protecting his woman, because Jada has been able to handle herself before she ever met Will.

Protecting your woman by swinging your fists is a throwback to the caveman mentality. Everyone who defends Will Smith for acting like an animal *cough*Tiffany Haddish*cough* subscribes to that base, brutish behavior. We are not animals, or savages, or barbarians. We are intelligent human beings, and Will Smith forgot that. He could have had a private confab with Chris backstage or at the after-party, instead of shaking his dusty behind to his own music. He could have handled it any other way but how he chose to do it. That’s what brainless thugs do, not Oscar-nominated actors.

Sidney Poitier would not have done that. Barack Obama would not have done that A lot of classy, intelligent, evolved Black men would not have done that.

Shame on all the people who swooped over to comfort Will, the guy who committed assault, while Chris, the guy who was assaulted and cursed at in front of an audience of millions, was left to walk off the stage by himself and lick his wounds.

Shame on the Academy for doing the CYA thing with lies about asking Will to leave while doing nothing to protect Chris Rock from an assault. If they wanted him gone, he’d have been escorted out of the building in handcuffs, whether Chris wanted to press charges or not. Will should have been arrested for assault. If he had struck anybody else, he would have been.

Will’s apology was too little, too late. He was not sorry when he did it, and neither was his wife and son. The apology came after a couple of days’ worth of blowback, bad press, and the threat of his Oscar being taken away. That makes it a spin, not an apology.

Please don’t come at me with how much Will has been through, and he “just snapped”. To paraphrase Shannon Sharpe, he should have “snapped” on the guy his wife had an “entanglement” with. But that guy would have hit him back.

I hope that by this time next week, we all will have moved past this incident. I hope that Chris continues to rise above and show himself to be the better man. I hope that Will faces some form of consequence for his actions. And I hope that we can all go back to being human to each other again.

January Giveaway!

Happy New Year!

I have made no resolutions, because they do not work. Instead, I committed myself to self-determination, the second principle of Kwanzaa. I have determined to become a successful author this year, which means that I must get as many people as possible to follow me and read my book(s).

I want to start 2022 off right. For the next 50 people who subscribe to, I will send a FREE copy of Beauty School Drive-By. Just go to my “Contact” page and fill out the form to be added to my email list. For your free copy, just include your mailing address in the message field.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kwanzaa 2021-22: Day 7

Habari Gani? Imani!

Happy New Year!

My faith means a lot to me, because there have been times when it was all that I had to hold on to.

We may not all believe the same thing, but as a people, we are deeply rooted in our belief in something bigger than us.

I believe that my giftings and talents will propel me to success in 2022. God has never abandoned me, and He never will.