- By PavarottiShakur
- 7 April, 2013
- No Comments
Did I tell you I’m a huge Spike Lee fan? You don’t understand. I even defend Spike Lee joints that I know are bad.
In a low stakes dinner time debate, I proved Girl 6 was a subtle ode to Pretty Woman before my miso soup arrived.
Spike is arguably the greatest director of his time.
Even still he has an unparalleled ability to create a movie that is bad but somehow manages to be provocative and stand the tests of time.
To the court of public opinion, I submit Exhibit A – Do The Right Thing. None of us know exactly what the hell Do The Right Thing is about.
It’s not a story of triumph, love, or struggle. Hell it’s not even a story. Our lead character does not encounter a traumatic event that catapults him into a quest for answers and in the process discovers an inner power to outwit obstacle and enemy.
That same year Driving Miss Daisy presented race relations through a lens of funny yet meretricious servitude. While Do The Right Thing presented race relations through the lens of a bitter race war. Miss Daisy drove home with all the big Oscars and Spike didn’t even get a nomination.
So why do I love Do The Right Thing? Because even though Driving Miss Daisy is a better story Do The Right Thing is a better truth. 1 year after these movies made their debut, a riot broke out for Latasha Harlings. 2 years later martial law was declared in Los Angeles to stop riots sparked by police brutality, soaring unemployment, and greed.
I sense a similar tension in the country today that will force our backs against the wall and ask each of us will you do the right thing?
I can’t recall a time in my life where there has been so many internal conflicts in the mainstream media. Maybe I’m paranoid. Or maybe I’m the ghost of Nostradamus and this is the season finale of my wildly popular reality TV show aptly titled “Future Sex / Pope Sounds”.
The news got me thinking about the right to bear arms. As a tea drinker, I believe guns are bad.
Then I thought about all the reasons why myself and others may need to defend ourselves.
Here are 5 issues that could turn into a proverbial powder keg unless cooler heads prevail.
1) The shooting death of Trayvon Martin. One side says it was a man standing up with the courage to defend his neighborhood. Others say a boy was killed simply for wearing a hoodie while being black. Police let shooter, George Zimmerman, go free without trial. One year later Kimani Gray is shot multiple times in the back by two New York City police officers. Officers approached Gray without probable cause because controversial Stop and Frisk procedures encourage them to. Gray is killed and a gun is found on his body. Mayor Bloomberg refuses to speak w/the outraged citizens but chooses to let police in riot gear handle the issue.
2) Gay Marriage. One side says its a human right to legally marry the person you love regardless of sex. The other says God will reign a terrible judgment on America; that this is a sign that the old and good America is being stripped away by evil forces. To some this is an attack on every Christian, Muslim, and ultra masculine home in America. Now Christ did not preach violence. But this wouldn’t be the first time his travelers veered off course.
3) Gun sales soar amid fears gun rights will be taken away. Anti-gun advocates say they’re responsible for violence. To which pro-gunner’s quote Thomas Jefferson saying, “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Some wouldn’t be so quick to revolt if they knew Thomas Jefferson also said, “blacks naturally have a very strong and disagreeable odour and…require less sleep. They are more ardent after their female, but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.” Yeah as if Thomas Jefferson was giving slave couples romantic weekend getaway passes to the Poconose all while secretly observing them through a hidden camera box. Yes this has nothing to do w/guns. I just don’t like Jefferson.
4) A student union in the state of Maryland is formed to advocate for the interest of Whites in America. Against the backdrop of confederate flags they announce that they will setup patrols that protect students from the onslaught of blacks that seek to prey on innocent whites. Unless Marylanders stand up this is highly likely to lead to conflict.
5) Immigration. Ann Coulter, right wing media darling, has gone to great lengths to demonize Hispanics as takers and baby makers. At CPAC she even said, paraphrasing of course, “the least conservatives can do for blacks is preserve the jobs that Hispanics are stealing from them.” Wow what an honor. Isn’t it great to be invited to the high school keg party just because the prom queen wants you to beat up the hot new transfer student.
So what do you think? Paranoid? What issues scare you?.
- By Laura P
- 15 March, 2013
- 8 Comments
Once upon a time there was a woman with a brand new watch. She used to love to go swimming, but would never take her watch off when she jumped into the pool. Friends and family used to warn her “you really shouldn’t jump in the pool with your watch on.” But alas, she didn’t pay them any mind and kept right on jumping in the pool while wearing her watch.
Until one day. She looked down at her watch and guess what? It stopped working.
Pop quiz: what do you think this story is a metaphor for? If you guessed “a warning about the dangers of premarital sex” you’re RIGHT! 10 gold stars for you!
Yes folks, this was a story I heard during Sunday School when I was a teenager attending a Pentecostal church.
I remember having soooo many questions:
Why does she need to know what time it is while in the pool?
What does the broken watch symbolize? Malfunctioning genatalia?
Does this youth leader understand what a metaphor is?
And the biggest question of all (that I have whenever I hear lectures about staying pure): Why do these stories ALWAYS focus on the decisions women make?
Rewind to middle school. I attended a conservative Southern Baptist school, and we heard regular lectures on “purity”. What always perplexed me were the mandates that women not “dress in a way that causes their Christian brothers to stumble in their walk with God”. Even in my simple pre-teen brain, that made absolutely NO SENSE. Why was I given the sole responsibility of my brothers’ “walk with God?” How is that fair?
And so it went throughout my teens: conversations about the need for purity followed the STRICTEST of gender norms. Sex was always a phenomenon that seemed to “happen” to women. The “sin” of sexual activity was framed as the man “defiling” the woman, instead of respecting her and keeping his hands (among other things) to himself. Now granted, men were cautioned as well about staying pure, but the message I received (and internalized for a long time) was that women’s purity is of the UTMOST importance, whereas men’s purity seemed to be an afterthought, or dismissed because, of course, men are “visual creatures” who “can’t help themselves”, blah blah blah.
But what if we had a conversation about sexuality that took out implied gender norms forced upon us by society? What would that conversation look like? What if the church didn’t push the notion on young people that sex is something that *men* do to *women*?
How would that change the conversation? How young people viewed, and ultimately took control of, their own sexuality? Why do women still bear the sole responsibility of the Keepers of All Things Pure? When the conversation is constantly framed within the bounds of gender norms, how can we really have an honest conversation about sexuality? Constantly telling women that their sexuality is something they need to “guard” from being “defiled” has lasting consequences on their understanding of their own self-worth. It contributes to the dangerous notion that women are nothing more than objects that exist only for the pleasure of men.
Why are many in the church so afraid of teaching young people to take control of their sexuality? Why are we afraid of viewing it as something that two people engage in together? By reinforcing the tired narrative that men are “visual” creatures and react to what they see in women, we only do more to further this learned gender norm. What if we held men accountable for their behavior in the same way we attempt to hold women?
When we teach young girls that their clothing could possibly cause their fellow Christian brothers to “stumble in their Christian faith”, the message this sends is that men and boys never need to be held accountable for their actions or thoughts. Not to mention teaching women and girls to be ashamed of their bodies.
So what does a frank and informative discussion about sexuality between men and women without the constraints of gender norms even look like? How do we move forward in educating young people about being responsible in their decision without reducing boys to lustful, impulse driven simpletons and girls to chaste bearers of all things pure?
Do you have examples of a healthy approach to sexuality within the church?
- By PavarottiShakur
- 10 March, 2013
- 14 Comments
So you’re at the corporate office party and in walks Black Daryl, the office unicorn, the last brutha between you and the service elevator.
You look his way and stare. At the speed of thought you think – “I don’t want him to think I was looking at him because he’s the only black guy in the room” — then your eyes squirrel back to your office mates.
A whole 2 minutes pass then you think, “This is ridiculous. I’m not racist. I don’t care about Daryl’s race. I’m a good person. I refuse to let these invisible walls separate us. I’m gonna be friends with Daryl.”
“Excuse me, Keith. I have to give Daryl a holler.”
Keith immediately knows what you’re about to do. Ahab is going for the great white whale! “Sure”, Keith says. You walk off and Keith watches from the corner of his eye.
The eye of the tiger powers your swagger. Mid strut it hits you, “what the FUDGE do I talk about with someone I have completely nothing in common with.”
You’re already in Black Daryl’s death beam. Can’t turn back now. “Quick. Think. You’re smart. Relax and follow your instincts.”
Spontaneously your walk transforms into a robot dance. As if Napoleon Dynamite were a subway mime you…dance. It last 2.13 seconds only but the damage is irrevocable. You’re embarrassed. “Abort Abort Abort.”
You make a perpendicular exit to the table of Utz chips and Fanta soda. You cling to those salt chips like a safety blanket. Keith cringes for you. At night’s end you settle for a casual exchange above the normal “have a good one,” between you and the door lady, Black Stacey.
But what did you expect? Two people with completely separate American experiences to get along without a hitch. No. You need tips.
Here are 5 sure fire tips for making black friends. Trust, follow, and do not question. They will save your life.
1. Admit that your life is better than ours through self deprecating humor. In academic circles we call this acknowledging white privilege. I know it sounds uppity or elitist but it’s not. Surprisingly, Black people are used to the cloud of inequality that hovers over them. But nothing brings out the sun quicker than a white man admitting that life is easier for him. Here’s one “I don’t know who the Corporate Partners are but let’s just assume they’re old white guys.” Cue your corporate laugh and watch the black love roll on in.
2. Never EVER say the word “GHETTO”. In fact, don’t even say Prosciutto. If you wanna know why then stay tuned over the coming months.
3. Recite a Tupac lyric. Not a hook. Not a single. Not California Love. Not I Get Around. Not a posthumous post death Pac remix. We talking about a lyric. A lyric with slave blood and gun powder on it.
4. If Black Daryl is an educated liberal, then mention W.E.B DuBois and black Daryl will excitedly tell you some shiz you ain’t never heard before in yo’life. He might even reveal where our secret red communist brunch socials are held.
5. Last but not least – ACT WHITE! After years of black comics lampooning Whites as a ritual warm up, you may not believe this. But trust and believe we like our white people WHITE. Why? You see black life, like white life, can be so mundane. As much as you enjoy indulging into the voyeurism of black violence, drug peddling, and black sex (oh yes I know you do, Bob Smith), blacks also like to voyage into the unknown worlds of ski trips, calling congressmen, swimming, lacrosse, and Utah.
What practical tips do you have for bringing the races together? Ok PCers, think – How can blacks make friends with Whites?
- By PavarottiShakur
- 12 February, 2013
- No Comments
Whew…Nothing tires me more than Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
Who was right?
Who I should follow?
Christianity or Islam?
Society’s acceptance or self acceptance?
Love thy enemy or protection from your enemy?
Hawt dawg! Martin & Malcolm are morality’s rubik’s cube much like Charles Xavier and Magneto are in the X-men comic book series. You love Xavier but you agree with Magneto.
Either/or, both paths led to destruction. Leaving us who wish to push humanity ahead without getting shot in the head lost and alone. No blueprint. No caution, “you’re going to far.” No elder to affirm, “its gonna be alright.”
I tell you when it seems the fabric of hope is all gone I come across Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz and I’m able to sew a new pattern, a new idea, a new practice.
I find two epic female figures able to accomplish what two epic male figures could not – pretend that it’s not that serious!
Yes, freedom is serious. But one thing I can surely say about death is that it shows you how petty our differences are and how similar our desires are. Betty and Coretta felt this in their valley shadow and death. I question if Malcolm and Martin did.
Principled men are stout. Arrogant. Unmoving. Thinking the earth will slide off its orbit like milk slides off a table’s edge if they don’t argue their obvious differences.
Late in life I saw the opposite in my sister, my mother, my girlfriend, my sister in-laws, my girl *space* friends, my…my…GEE-WHIZ-KHALIFA every woman I know KNOWS how to keep peace with scallywags and backstabbers.
How much more should folks of different faiths be able to combine forces with groups of similar interests. Love thy neighbor and enemy is easy to say. Sadly I’ve never seen it practiced.
Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz pushed the practice of making friends with your “enemies” into the realm of human choices for people of power.
Now I know someone out there is pointing at my article saying “Congregants The Honorable Dr Imam Pastor Waynard Thrufribulous Ali wouldn’t want us reasoning like the weak female! There are serpents among us. SERPENTS!” Over a pork chop dinner somebody’s telling their wife, “It’ll never work. Muslims and Christians are like Transformers and Decepticons. They can’t get along. It’s prophesied.”
So what if it doesn’t work? If it doesn’t, do what the women I know do — talk about their shoes behind their back.
These stubborn living and dead men receive perpetual head shakes from me:
Spike Lee and Tyler Perry
Cornell West and The President of The United States
Lupe Fiasco and The Entire Hip Hop World
Booker T Washington and W.E.B Dubois
50 Cent and The Game
50 Cent and Rick Ross
50 Cent and Fat Joe
50 Cent and Young Buck
Coretta & Betty are a great model for men and especially men of faith to follow. Can we truly say that we are peaceful if we are so quick to war?
- By PavarottiShakur
- 26 January, 2013
- No Comments
Listen to our very first Polite Conversation. It is composed of two anonymous participants. Their voices have been altered to protect their identity and encourage openness. We are still having fun with this. Expect the conversation style, format, and levels of intrigue to change.
This conversation is about self proclaimed relationship experts and their assumptions that men are bed hoppers and women would rather die than be unmarried.