Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chronicles of Life ... voyage to indie

Amid a sea of Black Kids’ fans at Athens’ 40 Watts Club Wednesday night were me and friend.
Usually, I’m an R&B type of girl, but every now and then I dig different sounds.
The group was named one of Rolling Stones’ 10 bands to watch (yes, I have a subscription). My interest was soon piqued in these fellow Jacksonville natives.
I went on Youtube to hear their catchy song “I’m not gonna teach your boyfriend how to dance,” to get a feel for the band.
It was love at first sound.
Research soon revealed they were going to perform in Athens, and I knew I had to go.
My friend, CB is also a Black Kids fan and wanted to experience them live too. Yay! I wouldn’t be alone in a sea of indie.
I agonized over my concert attire for weeks. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked at the last minute when I couldn’t get a certain pair of shoes (a sad tale for another day).
But it all worked out in the end.
My fellow concertgoer played the part of indie queen to perfection. She was cool, calm and collect in white tank, jeans and Chucks.
Yours truly tried to blend in too. I sported a screen tee that declared my love for rock, and some pumps, a particularly bad choice because they were off real soon into the night.
My shoes would have never come off if I’d gotten the original ones I wanted, but I won’t linger on it anymore.
We arrived at the concert on time, 9 p.m., but they set us up for the OK Doke. We probably didn’t go in until 9:30ish and the start was about 10:15.
People, it was a Wednesday night and we have school and work the next day! Do better!
As I people watched, I squealed like a school girl when I saw Alan Youngblood, lead singer for the Black Kids. Then I saw his sister Ali.
If only I could have made it backstage.
I also notice I, and a few others, were the only idiots in heels. My original shoe choice was a sneaker, but a certain store didn’t have them and left me prostrate with grief.
But I digress.
Eventually things got a move on.
The opening act, Magic Wand, was OK. I could have done without them. CB and I sat down for most of their set.
We headed toward the stage for the Virgins. I have no idea what the lead singer was saying in all of his songs, but the music was pretty good.
The singer kept doing this hilarious little shimmy. I should have videotaped it.
Now some of the chicks in the crowd were a little wild with their dancing. I thought CB was going to have to shut it down.
My pumps and a pencil were all ready for an attack. But we had victory over violence.
Finally, 10 hours later, the group we had been waiting for came out.
Lights glowing, the group came out to party.
I was momentarily shocked by a t-shirt Reggie Youngblood, the lead singer, wore. Just know it involved the male genitalia.
Overall, they rocked my socks off, even though I only knew five songs. Yeah I’m a newbie fan.
I sang out loud to the five I did know and danced around to the rest. My interest was thoroughly justified.
Will I be a regular fixture at indie/rock concerts? Probably not.
But I successfully survived my first voyage to indie. And another trip could be in the future.

Chronicles of Life ... Hair wars

I went to the mall with a friend on Labor Day, and we had an interesting exchange with a store clerk.
The clerk complimented my hair and asked me how long I had been natural (three and a half years and counting). She used to be natural herself and asked to touch my hair.
Soon the three of us struck up a conversation about hair.
My friend mentioned she was getting a relaxer the following week. And the clerk called my friend ever so softly, but loud enough where we could still hear, “a weak black woman.”
Did we hear correctly? Homegirl was trying to call my friend out on her personal hair decision.
Now if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!
She was no longer natural. So what does that say about her?
The whole situation had me thinking of the battle between “good” and “bad” hair.
There seems to be a constant source of contention with some in the happy nappy and silky straight crews. Representatives from each group tend to demean one another’s hair preference.
It sort of reminds me of the song and dance routine from “School Daze” when the Jiggaboos and Wannabees poke at each other.
The song brought up several sentiments.
The Wannabes (i.e rexlaxed hair) want to be white and think they’re better, seem more attractive, have hard hair, have good and long hair and are evil.
Whereas, the Jiggaboos (i.e. natural hair) are not ashamed of their blackness, can’t get a man, have stronger hair, have bad and short hair and are jealous,
Spike Lee seemed to have hit it on the nail!
And the problem is too many people buy into these myths and perpetuate these feelings each day.
I say it’s time for a cease fire order.
All hair types are beautiful, whether it be relaxed and short, long and natural or somewhere in between.
Relaxed and natural sisters need to seat down and agree to disagree.
Not everyone with straight hair wants to be white. And all natural hair wearers are not revolutionaries.
Furthermore, there are plenty of women with cute short natural ‘dos, and even more with natural hair down their back.
We have enough to weary about without scrutinizing over someone else’s hair.
Relaxed hair isn’t right for me, but who am I to say it’s wrong for you?
Yours truly plans to live nappily ever after, but I won’t put down anyone else who chooses otherwise.
Any hair is good as long as you take care of it.

The Hartwell Chronicles ... Small town single

Reality bites, especially for small town dating and relating.
Every time I start thinking to myself, “Hmmm it would be nice to meet a charming gentleman or even go on a date while I’m here,” I snap back to reality.
Usually some male – in Hart or surrounding counties – irks me to the point of rather ending up a bag lady with 10 cats than entertaining them for another second.
Extreme, I know. But I have proof.
Case in point 1: Let’s call him Chester the Molester. I hung out with Chester only once because immediately he was on me like a hawk on a Junebug.
Apparently, he did not hear Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown sing “It’s hard to breathe with no air.” Home skillet was about to suffocate me with his preying hands.
Then he had the nerve to say I had some psychological problem, such as stranger anxiety.
No, I don’t like being touched by random strangers. He might not wash his hands.
I barely escaped Chester’s “friendly” hands. His number was deleted two seconds later.
Case in point 2: Bubba Buford Brown was cool, some days. On other days, not so much.
Sure we talked a lot, at first, and then it slowly started becoming more and more sporadic.
I can’t get mad and say it was entirely fault. It does take two to tango.
I just was not that interested in Bubba. There was no chemistry, and I couldn’t even force it.
I soon tired of his presence, so he was dismissed.
Case in point 3: Willie Wanna Start Some has a tendency to poke fun at my little quirks and idiosyncrasies. At first it was OK, never acceptable mind you, but I took it all in strides.
Now he’s just getting down right annoying.
I can only take getting put down, however jokingly, so many times before the attitude comes out.
He has been warned.
Is it too much to ask for an interesting, sane and accepting individual such as myself?
I guess so.
There are slim pickings in a small town, especially one that’s a step below a retirement village.
All the eligible men are dead, waiting to be born or married.
I have had my fair share of “inquiries” from very old men and too young boys. Can we say, “EWWW!”
Everyone else has been subpar at best.
I, for one, will not settle for anything less than someone on my level who meets all 150 prerequisites.
(Yeah, I might be alone forever.)
Maybe I’ll just get a pet to keep me company. There is nothing wrong with being a cat lady.
I’m sure the whole dating and relating scene will get better when I finally move one.
For now, I do believe small town singlehood is the best fit.

The Hartwell Chronicles … Take me to the water

“I held my breath when they dipped my head, then I came up shiny and new. …”
Actually, I came up sputtering and spitting out water.
No, I was not getting baptized in “the river.” I was getting dropped, repeatedly, into a dunking booth.
You know I love the kids. When I was asked to participate in the dunking booth at a community fun day, I thought, “Sure, it’s for a good cause.”
Mistake number one.
I volunteered to take the first shift. It was all worked out in my mind that the first few people wouldn’t be able to hit the target.
Mistake number two.
A crowd of young children, all at least under 10 years of age, came rushing with tickets in hand and balls prepared to throw.
“Surely, they can’t hit that good so young,” I thought.
Mistake number three.
Water was all I saw for a good solid hour. I was dunked no less than a 100 times.
Each participant got three balls for $1.
Sure some would miss on the first try and even the second. But just a sure as Jesus rose on the third day, I got dunked with the last ball.
Better yet, some children got me on all three tries. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh is all people saw.
To top it off, the water was so dark and murky. Our local fire department got it from one of the hydrants, but they didn’t let it flush out first and lose its dirty look.
Yes, I was dunked in a nice big pit of dark brown water. Is it too much to ask for clear?
I can’t swim, and seeing how to float back up was impossible. I hit my head on the seat a few times.
The children all gathered around and laugh diabolically as they dunked me each time. I failed to see the humor in it.
One boy spent at least $10 dunking me by himself. Soon the whole family was joining in.
Then a crowd of older men thought it would be fun to take a few turns.
I started to talk some smack about them – it’s no fun without a little egging on – but I stopped after that first dunk.
They all said it was so much fun at the dunking booth.
Fun for who? Not me!
“Dunk the newspaper lady,” they screamed.
All these dunkers or their parents better have a subscription to “The Hartwell Sun.”
I was cold, wet and tired by the time my shift was over. Water was dripping all over the place.
The only thing that looked decent was my hair (water does wonders for the natural).
At least they gave me a shout out during quarter bingo.
I am too through with the dunking booth. From now on I’m sticking to easy community service events like celebrity waiter/waitress night.
My infectious smile and sugary sweet personality will definitely get me the most tips of the night.
Maybe my dunkers will tip the newspaper lady with money instead of into water.

Chronicles of Life … being the educated me

There is a serious problem in our society when characteristics are pinpointed as belonging to a particular race.
Yesterday, the Michael Baisden Show mentioned the latest Obama remark from country singer Toby Keith. Keith said black people think Obama “don’t talk, act, or care (to) railway himself as a black person,” during a Glen Beck interview. Beck himself had to ask “What does that even mean?”
Keith responded “I don't know what that means; I'm saying that's what I think that they would say. Even though the black society would pull for him, I still think that they think in the back of their mind that the only reason that he is in is because he talks, acts and carries himself as a Caucasian, but I think he's got a, I think him and McCain are the two best choices, in my opinion, that we've had in years.” To view the full interview, visit:
So, if you don’t know what you mean by a statement, why even say it? Can we say stupid?
Here’s a little news for you Toby Keith, Obama is not acting white. He’s just being himself: an educated man. He was raised to speak correct grammar, dress appropriately and behave in a professional manner.
Why does intelligence and education have to signify one is acting white? Does the opposite mean one is acting black?
I would be a very rich woman if I had a penny for every time I’ve been told I “act white.”
It started in elementary school. I went to an all black school near my grandparents.
I was an anomaly among my peers. My parents, and even my grand parents, were married to each other, not on drugs or in jail or unconcerned about their child.
To top it off, my grandmother and mother required nothing less than perfect behavior. That meant good grades, correct grammar and carrying myself with some pride.
“Why do you act like a white girl?” the other children would ask.
“I’m not acting white,” I would respond. “But why do you act like you have no sense?”
Yes, I speak, for the most part, the King’s English. I take pride in my appearance, and I act respectful. So shoot me!
When I got a little older, a friend of mine and later my mom’s co-worker said the black people at my high school talked and acted funny, sort of like we were better than everyone else.
Funny and better in what way? White of course.
I did go to Stanton Preparatory School. So because we made good grades, wanted to attend the best schools and chose to speak English over Ebonics, we thought we were white? I think not.
The “acting white” comments even followed me into adult hood.
An aunt and cousin told me just this past June I sound like a white girl. No, I sound like me.
Out of respect I laughed off my aunt’s comments, but my cousin was not so lucky.
“Unlike you, I don’t talk like I have a plate of hot grits in my mouth,” I told her. “It would behoove you to learn how to speak properly if you want to be a lawyer.”
Later, I made her read this article about why it shows ignorance when you claim someone is “acting white.” Maybe I need to share the same article with Toby Keith.
Must my “black card” get revoked because I choose to be educated?
I’m probably more in touch with my blackness than those who feel the need to call me out on “acting white.” Who’s rocking the natural hair, knows black history is more than just Malcolm and Martin and will proudly soak up the sun to get a shade darker?
Being educated is not limited to one race, culture or religion. It’s a universal concept.
Go to the University of Florida, or any school, and you will find several others like Obama, be they white, black, red, blue or green.
Like Obama, I am not “acting white,” I am just being me: an educated black woman. Keith and others who say someone is “acting white” are just being themselves too: ignorant.