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...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

theHotness Grrrl Thinks Very Deeply... Sorta

How fly is Oprah? The Academy she opened in South Africa is amazing? And what's up with all the backlash she's getting about spending HER money in Africa. Some haters are wondering why she didn't give it to public schools here in America? Or my favorite quip: how the school is "too lavish and grand" for such a small number of attendees (152 to start and 450 when all grades are fully enrolled). If it was Barbara Walters opening a school in Milan for aspiring artists and it featured art studios and spas no one would say anything. But a Black woman can't open a 40 million dollar school in rural Africa without folks thinking it's too much. Yeah it's always too much for Black girls to be taking yoga and violin lessons when they should be focusing on their fundamentals like double-dutch and domesticity. Just give them darkies a jump rope and a mop and they'll be aight, seems to be what this backlash is implying. Well now I hope folks like Bill Cosby, Bob Johnson and Jennifer Lopez will show their support and their middle finger by opening up other similar institutions in places like Ghana and Puerto Rico. You rock Oprah! And if you are looking for instructors? I'm so down!

Why are all the guys on I Love New York gay? Is this some down-low reality love ish? And how flavorless is New York? Where is Flavor Flav when you need some really god-awful ebonics and craziness to watch?

What's PM Dawn up to these days? And how good does it feel to know that at one time urban radio (and MTV) was not so caught up in image and payola to spin a song like Set Adrift on Memory Bliss?

Black folks and Mexicans really did their thing last year in film and television (as seen by the noms and wins at this year's Golden Globes). Forest Whittaker as Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland was spectacular. He truly absorbed his character. He's actually now acting as the voice for Where The Wild Things Are (one of my most memorable children's books), which is supposed to be released sometime 2008. Then there's our Dream Girls cast where Eddie, Jennifer and Anika acted their ashes off. And finally Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo Arriaga got recognized for their wonderful contributions to film (for Babel specifically; they also did 21 Grams and one of my absolute most favorite films Amores Perros). Salma Hayek and America Ferrara showed that Ugly is the new hotness and I'm sure Salma had to freaking stand her ground and take a lot of basura for creating a show based on a telenovella. I haven't seen Pursuit of Happyness yet but I hear from everyone including Karen Good who is not a big Will Smith fan that he is totally believable and so worth the $10.75 ticket. I really hope to get a chance to see Volver this weekend because I hear that Penelope Cruz is fantastic in this comedy and I really want to see her in something that shops me she's got all around acting skills.

Why can't magazines created for Black women (and women of color in general) survive in the publishing marketplace (i.e. Honey, Suede, Rebelle, Wink, err maybe even... Vibe Vixen?) Latina is a great mag that is doing well, so why can't the other joints get it together and compete?

Latina as a mag is doing well but why does seem like there is dearth of Latina women out here making (good) music? J. Lo can't be the only Boriqua who can sing? (Big-up to Carol C., Vinia Mojica, La Bruja, Sophia Ramos and Maya Azucena for doing their thing on the underground but dang why can't they get a deal!)

Was I the only one cringing when reading this article in last month's Esquire?

And are Black, umm... urban folks afraid of posting comments on blogs? I've talked to other Black bloggers and we know we have mad traffic but for some reason heads rarely post comments (BitterVibes' blog excluded)? Is this a cultural difference that needs to be analyzed? Like when the Web first came about and White folks would surf the Web while Black said we cruised it?

Hummph, just some thoughts I had today.

Thanks to KJ for using his subtle jedi hijinks to inspire the competitive spirit in me to blog more frequently. His blog is quite nice and surely something worth checking out!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oprah should be able to do what she wants with HER money true enough, but if you have ever been through the independent school admission process because contrary to Bill Cosby and Oprah's beliefs, there are blacks who want the best education for their kids and are willing to pay for it) yet there are little to no opportunities to send our kids to good predminantly black schools because they don't really exist, excluding the recent uprise in Charter schools for which the jury is still out on. There are italian elementary school in NY, Jewish Schools, Muslim schools. Why go all the way to Africa cause its trendy when there are blacks that are willing to pay tuition that need decent schools for their children? Why diss the country in which you achieved your millions? That is like a nanny saying she doesn't know why her own children are not doing well while she maintains her live-in job taking care of white people's kids.In other words, if Oprah wants to spend her money in South Africa so be it, but she should not COMMENT about the attitudes of children in the states when 1) She has no children of her own having no experience with the current school system and (2)she knows that a school in the states would not be beneficial to her or profitable to build a school for black girls, because the white hands that feed her won't allow it.

1/19/2007 1:13 PM

Blogger a first daughter said...

To Anonymous,
Oprah's decision to build a school in Africa had nothing to do with the continent being "trendy." It was a decision, and promise, made years ago. Her deciding not to build a similar school in the U.S. isn't a diss. No one is more or less deserving of opportunity, facilities, education, etc. But I think understanding who tends to have more access to resources (medical, academic, political) makes clear the importance of her decision. Just like one doesn't need to be a soldier to comment on the atrocities of war, one definitely doesn't need to be a parent (or even a teacher) to comment on the attitudes/pscyhe of children. There are definitely kids in SA who would rather have Nikes and Playstations than books and uniforms. I think her comment was an attempt to boldly illustrate how meaningless education has become to our children - through no fault of their own, as they've seen so many people "make it" without getting their diplomas/degrees.
To be honest, in 2007, it seems silly to think of South Africa as some far-away place that people "go all the way" to. We are a very globalized world. Oprah opening this school - with its emphasis on the cultural arts - could have major benefits for children worldwide, definitely for students here who are continually robbed of music, fine art, design, dance, creative literature classes for the sake of high-stakes testing.
Let's just wait and see what happens.

I don't comment in blogs, specifically those written by other people of color, because I always think my comments aren't smart enough. Trying to get over that.

1/24/2007 6:32 PM

Blogger Hot Grrrl said...

First Daughter: I agree with you and I think that your point was really well articulated (better than what I have been able to do when trying to talk about Oprah's academy). At the end of the day, even though her comment may have been a bit ignorant (not in that it's not true but in its appropriateness), I don't think her comment is going to affect the independent school admissions process or how Americans perceive "inner-city children" or the state of public education in this country. I don't think her comment or opening this school in SA will necessarily make things worse or make them any better for us here. I actually think it's funny that out of this entire post that the Oprah mention is the hot topic when I also mention how this Black writer is saaing in Esquire magazine no less that the Black community mainly consists of people who are not striving to better themselves and those people are "nig*ers" who don't deserve the time of today. Now that to me is a much bigger diss than anything Oprah has said!

1/26/2007 11:54 AM

Anonymous afrobella said...

Hey Hotnessgrrl, I started my website (Afrobella.com) back in August, and I get a lot of comments from black women. I think posing a question to the audience and making it more of a dialogue in that way has helped. Either way, I love what you're doing!
Patrice AKA Afrobella

2/03/2007 8:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the time of this blog posting the Oprah thing was big "hot" news if you will, she had just been interviewed a few days if not the day before. The comments in Esquire magazine is old news that came out sometime in November of last year although it was not less important and after reading it thoroughly (about five times) I had no comment because it was something that is left up to intrepretation and personal opinion.
With regard to my comments on Oprah, I have small children and all too often all I see is everyone trying to tear down the self esteem of children of color. Sometimes words are more harmful than helpful and I think that people in the public eye whether that be Oprah, Bill Cosby or whoever should be more careful than common people in choosing their words wisely at least publically alternateively they could alwyas say things like I have to think a bout that more or no comment. We just don't need more people tearing down OUR children, they get enough of that.
P.S. I select anonymous because its faster than completing the form to become a Blogger, etc. But my name is TAHANA.

2/08/2007 2:51 PM


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