Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Black Media Stereotypes

Last Saturday in between the rain and the sun, The Harlem Book Fair was in effect. For the first time I was out there as a vendor selling my Hotness T-shirts and so I didn't get a chance to check out the panels. I'ma blog more on the Book fair itself in a day or so, but first I must post about one of the panels that I caught on C-Span on Sunday.

The panel Black Media and Black Stereotypes was moderated by Cathy Hughes (Radio One) and featured Roland Martin, Dick Gregory, William Rhoden and Juan Williams. I think Al Sharpton joined later but by then I was probably engrossed in something way more interesting like cutting my cuticles or cleaning my microwave. This panel was not only a snoozer but it was so rudimentary that it was offensive.

When asked what is Black media, Roland answered with the following observation: "I believe there are three types—Black Owned, Black Controlled and Black Targeted." Black Owned would be WLIB, Black Controlled would be Essence and Black Targeted would be The Source (when headed by Dave Mays & Benzino). He then went into this exegesis of sorts about The Washington Post and how he never wanted to work for them and Milton Coleman. Then seemingly out of nowhere both he and Cathy launched into this tirade about Janet Cooke who won a Pulitzer for a fabricated story she wrote for TWP and how "mainstream media types encourage this type of behavior." Oh, did I mention this Janet Cooke fiasco happened in 1981 and that coincidentally after everyone discovered what a big liar she was (allegedly she said she graduated from Vassar too), Janet claimed that the high-pressure environment of the Washington Post had corrupted her judgment?!? Okay, so many things can be said about this entire exchange. Like why are your references as to how yucky white media can be like 25 years old (dang isn’t that when MTV debuted?), or why is that when Black folks eff up at "mainstream" companies, it's the fault of the company and not the individual, or better yet how is it that in 2006 you still believe that mainstream outlets like the Post somehow compromise and tarnish the talents of Black journalists without even acknowledging the value and depth folks like Lola (NY Times), Greg (Village Voice) and Cheo (LA Times) have added to these outlets? Well my friends it only gets better.

Next up was William who couldn't stop waxing nostalgically about how great it was to play football at Morgan State and get a job at Ebony. It seemed that for him this was the epitome of Black Male success and at that time it probably was (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that no one on the panel was under 45 or female [Cathy moderated]). Again it's 2006 and you are talking about Ebony magazine as a model for what? You know I'm not going to say anything more about that moment. Especially since I had walked by the QBR booth right outside the Schomburg that very day and heard this sister ask who reads Ebony because her book was featured in this month's issue. I lie to you not, no one said a word. I heard crickets on 135th Street, yo! Startled, homegirl said something like well make sure you go to your doctor's office and check it out.

So back to the panel. After about 30 minutes of yapping, I was shocked that in their talk about Black Media no one mentioned, never mind discussed, online media and how digital platforms like Blogger, or this and Black sites like EUR and this one are impacting community, media and politics. Nope not a word. Then again there were no youngin's on the panel cause we all know X-ers like me only get asked to participate on hip-hop panels.

Juan Williams brought up a good point about the history of Black journalists being advocates and using the press to promote a specific point of view like DuBois did with his Crisis. He wondered where was the advocacy in Black media and how do Black journalists fit into niche media. This bright point never got a fair shake as Dick Gregory and Cathy Hughes somehow started talking about Marion Barry.

In what had to be the panel's finest moment, both Dick and Cathy ranted about how the gov't set up Barry and how the media twisted the story making a mountain out of a tiny snow hill. "Is he the only man in America that sniffs coke," one of them whined. Errr um, he was the dang mayor of DC and it was crack. And please break it down to me how the Post manipulated him to do a Pookie and light those rocks and get high? I'm starting to wonder if Dick is sniffing his leftover Bahamian Diet Mix powder. Jeesh! At this point I changed the channel and made myself a drink.

I turned back 30 mins later hoping that these cats were trying to redeem themselves. Unfortunately Dick was talking about how all of his children had attended Black colleges except for one and that "she's the craziest child in his family." Then of course Rhoden chimed in about how great his experience was at Morgan.

When so many Black and Latino children drop out of high school and decide not to go to college, what the hell is so fracking constructive about dissing Black kids like me who decide to go to a predominantly white college. This has got to be the funkiest crap I've heard in a longtime. I was pissed. Still am. And because I've already written a novel here, I won't go into detail about how much more advanced-- academically and socially I was than the chick I shadowed at Howard in '89. I had read the books they were reading as sophomores in my junior year at Hunter H.S. Now I'm not dissing Howard or Spelman or any of the other historically Black colleges, but I'm saying they were not for me and that was my choice. I don’t think I need to be dissed or feel ashamed for making that choice and if this is what Dick and the other cats on the panel think is the major problem facing Black journalists then I guess Darfur, AIDS and poverty aren’t the biggest issues for Black communities. It's old school ignorance.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stacie J's Golden & Waffle Fries in the Hamptons

There are certain, very specific things that instantly make me feel at home, remind me of growing up at home in the Bronx, or better yet they inspire me to create Home—a safe sanctuary where I imagine there is enough green space for me to barbecue, plant my garden and chill in my Jacuzzi or at least my hammock, jeesh! Where there’s laughter, birds chirping and the smell of a Duncan Hines cake baking in the oven. Raised in NYC it’s startling how much the beach or being near any large body of water conjures this feeling of Home of being where I naturally should be. When I can't fly out to some place tropical or, even for that matter, make it up to Martha’s Vineyard or out to Sag Harbor, I’m glad it takes me less than an hour to get to get to Jones Beach. I’ve already made two spur of the moment dashes this summer and have had the best time simply wading in the water, basking in the sun and listening to Ijahman and Ben Harper on my iPod.

Weekend before last though I did go out east and took my girl Tish along for the experience. She was on a mission to go out to a club and it was then that I realized I never go to any clubs or lounges when I’m there. I went once to some Kimora Baby Phat party years ago but that was more for work than pleasure. It’s weird because for me The Hamptons represents the antithesis of what it has become notorious for-- the parties, the clubs, the shopping, the fancy schmancy restaurants (although I must admit to really liking it here) . When I’m in Sag I’m barbecuing out back with The Brittons, making my famous margaritas, playing scrabble and chillin on the beach. Sag inspires that Home spirit in me. I want to relax. Breathe. Eat what I want. Sleep in and laugh out loud. And now that my ex who is from there taught me how to fish and where to fish that just completes my circle of life in The Hamptons.

Talking about eating what I want while in Sag, I discovered the satisfaction of waffle fries while at B. Smith’s. Usually, in an attempt to control my bootyliciousness or, rather, my tummyliciousness, I substitute my fries for a salad. But I’m Home and I’m letting it all hang out, so I want my lobster roll with waffle fries, mayo on the side and cream in my coffee. What?! Where the hell have waffle fries been all my life? They were scrumptious and really got me thinking of summers long ago in City Island and the first time I had fried fish with fries from the take out joint (the last one on the end on the right). How by the time I got back to my seat after it being wrapped in that wax paper it would be all soft. The ketchup would have steamed into the Wonder bread and stuck to my finger tips then fall apart around that hot salty piece of whiting that was always doused in an insane blend of tartar and Red Devil hot sauces. Oh man those were the days! Ocean breezes. Messy fried food and music blaring from someone’s boombox at a crowded table outside.

Besides food, certain scents also bring out that homey feeling. Lilac. Smoky barbecue grills. Fresh cut grass. Three minutes right before a drenching summer rain. Sung perfume (I rocked that like crazy in high school & college). My mother’s Estee Lauder.

It seems like Stacie J. is working on extending her 15 minutes of fame by capitalizing on the power of a good scent and the amazing profitability of a good scent. Just ask J.Lo and Diddy. Last Tuesday she launched her scent-- Golden, at Fashion 40 and sho nuff, Black reality stars like Kwame & Randall (both from The Apprentice) and Camille (from Top Model) came out to lend their support and cop that photo op. Stacie, who according to the boardroom discussion, was fired from The Apprentice for basically being the crazy Black woman that instilled fear in the hearts of her white female counterparts so much so that they didn’t feel safe with her even being on the set. Yep it was just that insane (although I must admit Stacie’s eightball hijinks were a bit kooky)! Anyway since I never got a gift bag or a sample of Golden I can't tell you first hand what it smells like. I heard from folks in the house that it was musky and strong. Take that however you want. One guy said he loved it. Again that can be taken however. As for me I’m rocking this new scent that this rep gave me at Bendel’s and it is my fave for the summer. It’s called The Pour Un Ete by L'Artisan Parfumeur and has hints of citrus, jasmine and green tea. It is simple, softly refreshing and comforting-- kinda like home.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


If you can believe it, there seems to be more fireworks in urban culture/media nowadays than there seemed to be in the sky on Tuesday night:

Fellow blogrrrl Danyel has gotta be naked cartwheeling with her new post as EIC of this mag , which she held back in the late 90’s. I think it's a good look, but dang anything is a good look after recent lackluster covers (i.e. Lil' Wayne) and pretty significant subscribership dips (no offense to Mimi b/c I don't believe one woman is responsible for the entire tarnishing of a major brand).

And what's up with Star Jones and how she flipped the script on top execs at ABC, including her supposed mentor Barbara Walters. I never liked the self-described diva ever since she dissed me and my peeps at Lauryn Hill's Miseducation concert tour 8 years ago at MSG. She literally shoved her way passed us through the VIP entrance hollering that she doesn't do lines anywhere for anyone (never mind that I was working at Lauryn's label at that time and that I was with two execs from a company responsible for co-sponsoring the tour). Whatever B! Looks like you'll be doing them lines now!

And talking about doing lines... what the hell was Dallas Austin thinking when he packed a lil' over a gram of coke next to his boxers for his flight to Dubai? That is just plain ole STUPID! Now he's facing four years in an Arab prison. Good luck with that one son!

And back to Vibe for a minute it seems that this blogger is still bitter about their treatment under Mimi's leadership or according to her, the lack thereof. And in this post is Bitter Vibes hinting (by using the word naked) that A. Byrd at Vixen is about to be out too. Having just met her while in St. Martin I thought she was cool and now it seems so sad to hear she may lose her post. I don't think I'm in the demo that VV is reaching out to so I don't really connect with the mag but it's honestly not that bloody awful.

Finally I just want to say big-up to Petal. I usually go out east on the Fourth, but this year due to circumstances beyond my control I ended up in the core of the Apple. It was by in large a fresh 4 days because I met new people, saw an old associate, and discovered some cool things. I met Petal on Friday evening and she is this freakingly crazy good bartender at this east village spot. She made these blueberry mojitos that were intoxicatingly indescribable. They were tangy and sweet, refreshing yet soothing, both sexy-smooth and refined hard. She set my long weekend off and popping with this, and not this. Yep that's the grown and hotness way to do the Fourth!