Black on Black LOVE
Apparently somebody has declared that tomorrow is Black Love Day. Lord knows we need one. We talk a lot about Black on Black crime around here. We seem to always be at each other's throats in the blogosphere, probably because we tend to focus on all the things that go terribly, tragically wrong. The violence, the sexism, the misogyny, but out there in the real world, we still are managing to get along ( although in dwindling numbers).
Who knew that there is an entire blog dedicated to Black love? Unfortunately the four or five most recent storys about Black love are about Eddie Murphy and TraceyEdmonds, Kwame "Textual Healing" Kilpatrick, and the Juanita Bynum and Thomas Weeks. Oh well my quest continued.
ESSENCE is doing a special "Will You Marry Me" contest where you can vote for your favorite couple. I want to say that they are also running a televised version on TV One. I've seen some of the proposals. Sweet.
MrsGrapevine has a great post about Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. She psychoanalyzes photographs of the Obamas vs. the Clintons:
Not since the Reagans, have I seen a political couple that seems so in love. Say what you will about Ronald Reagan, but he was in love with his wife. Well, I have found a new couple that has that same energy, at least in picture they do… Michelle and Barack Obama...I just couldn’t find that same passion with the Clintons or Billary as they are now known. In the first picture I can’t tell if they are huggin or if Hillary is trying to brush some lint off his suit. MrsGrapevine
Who Tells Our Daughters What To Dream?
Somebody asked me yesterday what it would mean to have Michelle and the weeMichelle's in the White House-Having a Black woman and little Black girls basically live in the most high profile address in the country. Probably two of the most powerful little Black girls on the planet to the extent that little Black girls can have power. What it would mean to young Black girls all over the country who are being bombarded by stripper culture to see another representation of what it means to BE. I don't think all the ABC After School Specials in the world would do more. It would do more than legislation. Not because of any policy or platform, but because they would provide an alternative to aspire to- a competing vision that we lack. What is beautiful or glamorous has become perverted and squashed down into the narrow spectrum. Sure, young Black girls see their mother's carrying out their daily lives, surviving, but when it comes to dreaming, popular culture tells us what to dream.
I don't care how many of y'all are going to claim that you are "training your children." I double dog dare you to quiz them! What is beautiful? What makes them special? Who do they admire most in the world? Do they think that they are beautiful? What about their siblings? Why? Why not? What is the most important thing in life? I can assure you that I have heard story after story in the comments and emails of parents thinking that they are controlling their children's thoughts and impressions by "talking" and "monitoring", but the culture still manages to grab hold of the imaginations of their children.
Sure you may have been one of those unique little girls who came out of the womb well-versed in feminist critical race theory, but for all the rest of us, we got our cues from popular culture. Every February, our church librarian, Sister Robinson (she died last week-rest her soul), would line the walls from the Sunday School classrooms to the sanctuary with pictures of famous Black people. She put up just as many women as men and there might have been more women than men. There was Barbara Jordan, but also Jane Kennedy Smith. (Sister Robinson snuck in Lola Falana) Later we had pre-crack Whitney Houston, pre-Super Bowl Janet Jackson, and Anita Baker fighting for musical domination. Wasn't there an Ebony cover when Janet, Whitney, and Anita were on that together? In the 90's we had Claire Huxtable and the ladies from "A Different World",the mother from "Family Matters" even "Living Single."
Who dominates the culture now? Well now there are about two Black women who sell records- Alicia Keyes, Rihanna, and Beyonce and they aren't even in heavy rotation. Black girl groups like Envouge, Jade, SWV, the Supremes, Labelle are non existent - Nah Cherish doesn't count I haven't heard them on the radio in months. Women MC's??? They might not have sold a lot of records, but they still had a presence in the culture. I can name five off the top of my head from 15 years ago. Can't think of a single one now other than Missy Elliot. When did her last album drop?
The truth is that there is no yen to the yang. There is no significant counter balance to the "I Love New York"'s and "Flavor of Love" or the "angry violent Black women" that is now a reality show staple. There is no counter balance to the stripper- groupie culture of mainstream music. Sure we have characters like Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, but last time I checked, even she was having a hard time. Sure there's the Black women law enforcement agent character from CSI, Law and Order, and Without a Trace, but we don't ever really get a glimpse of what life is like for her when she isn't killing herself at work and when was the last time they had a romantic interest story line? We do have Girlfriends and The Game, but even they have issues. Melony, the lead character on The Game became a vengeful, duplicitous and promiscuous after a break up with the boyfriend this season. But there is hope that Joan might finally get married this season on Girlfriends, if she doesn't manage to mess things all up because we all know that every failed relationship that Joan has ever had has broken into pieces because there is something inherently wrong with Joan. She is just too demanding, too insecure, too overbearing, too unfaithful. Joan is just too.(NOT!)
So anyway, it would be nice to have a drama-free set of images of Black women and girls living a relatively glamorous life, free from the limits of Hollywood screenwriters. Where they can define themselves instead of being defined by typecasting and stereotyping. Dream if you will about what the world would be live if we got to see Black on Black love daily at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course that isn't a reason to vote for a candidate, just something to dream about.
Lord I hope so anyway. Because I would hate to see the weeMichelles turn out like Reagan's kids during his presidency. They calmed down with old age, but they had to have given him heartburn.