Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The importance of Naming...

I often write/perform spoken word/poetry in order to let off some steam. I find that it is one of my more effective tools through which to express my anger and frustration. The poem I am including in this post came after a conversation in an undregrad class I TAed. As we discussed the founding fathers, particularly Jefferson, no one was willing, or able, to name the slave he had children with. This made me furious! When so few people of color, so few slaves, have been humanized and given a name we cannot continue to forget or overlook the few who have been.

For All the Black Women (and men) who have remained Nameless in our history books, our mythologies, and lives, it is time. Time to use their names. 

Have you considered what compromise means in American history
An accommodation in which both sides make concessions
And still, people remain possessions
The Declaration of Independence
Where only land owning White men were in attendance
Was signed to free a people from unjust rule
Now seriously, who's the fool?
You want to uphold what these men stood for
And completely ignore how they lived their lives
The Declaration, A compromise
Put in place, managing to dehumanize
As I sit in this room and witness your violence
Are you really going to be silent?
Is slave all you can say?
Can we say her name??
Sally Hemings
The Black woman, owned by Jefferson
I don’t care what stories have been spun
To protect the author of Independence
Because I will call out his ascendance
Does it, as a white person, make your skin crawl
To name the Black woman
The founding father raped at 14
Say her name
Sally Hemings
In a history where so many
Were left nameless
Animals in cages
I demand that you say her NAME!
How can we talk of his actions with such favor
And I don’t even think you’re going to waiver
Maybe if you call out his bullshit
You’ll feel the guilt, just a little bit
Her Name was Sally Hemings
She was the half sister of Martha, his wife
Think about it, how’d she come to life?
Yes, it was not a scene of wine and grapes
When her own father gave her, To his real daughter 
This earth doesn’t contain enough holy water
To absolve this nation
From the sins of it’s creation
But you will say her Name
And not continue with the inhumane
Because faceless, and nameless
Are less likely to depress
And give you no room to assess
Or question the oppression
Our country has woven so deep
Sustained and kept so cheap
Because without a face, a name
You have no claim
To the freedom and rights
Of the men who were rich, protestant, land owning Whites

But you will say her name
Sally Hemings

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spoiler Alert. I'm going to ruin Bridesmaids for you... on so many levels!

After posting this angry rant on Facebook I was encouraged to create a Blog. May it save you from spending any money and time on this terrible movie. 

On April 19th, I ventured out with my lovely roommates to watch a free screening of the upcoming movie “Bridesmaids.” Now I was not expecting some grand production that would find its way on my shelf of DVDs but I also wasn’t expecting the anger that I felt. Granted I laughed… there were moments the 13 year old boy that runs my sense of humor was living high on the hog… but as the movie continued I became increasingly uncomfortable and eventually down right angry. As the audience roared with laughter I felt disgust that they could watch the same thing I was and laugh so freely.  I went home... and vented to a friend, who at least could “understand” why I was upset, but had no real understanding of what I felt. I went to bed thinking I would sleep it off but the next morning I was even angrier. And I know that once I lay out my concerns with this movie… most people won’t care. Most people will think it’s just a movie and wonder why I am so upset. Or even argue that it wasn’t the intent of the movie to be this way. But that’s the point… it doesn’t matter what their freaking intent WAS I know what it made me feel. And it’s too easy to say that producers/directors can continue to make shitty movies like this and not be held responsible for the stereotypes and painful ideologies that they are upholding and disseminating.

So… what did this movie do to piss me off so badly?

  1. Why was the one identifiable African American with a name named Kaluha? I mean really??? She is in the movie for a whole 30 seconds was it necessary to give her a name that both refers to alcohol and the color of her skin? Do African American’s just name their kids after alcohol?
  2. Why are all the main women White, with the exception of the Bride who is racially ambiguous?
  3. When you meet the Bride’s parents, Black father and White mother, why are the only things out of her father’s mouth about how he doesn’t want to pay for anything? Why? Because Black people don’t like to pay for stuff? Or because they can’t pay for stuff? BTW…. her mother never speaks… I suppose a race traitor shouldn’t be allowed the benefit of a voice.
  1. It’s apparently hilarious to watch women melt down and tear each other apart. I guess most of Television is built off of this premise.. .but still.. shit!
  2. Women should be married by a certain age and if you’re not… well, something is wrong with YOU! I know this is nothing new for a lot of us… but yet again… you had to make a whole movie around that!
  3. A woman should never want to be a fuck buddy/friend with benefits…apparently it will kill your self-esteem because he will always be an asshole. It could NEVER be a positive situation or one in which the woman feels empowered.
  4. Men never want to be in relationships. They only want to be fuck buddies. And it’s utterly shocking to think otherwise.
  5. A White man with blue eyes ALWAYS saves the day!
  6. If you get two STRAIGHT women together and get them liquored up… they WILL make out!! Really??? Ugh…. Hello all the straight men who got dragged to the theatre by your girlfriend.. this scene is for YOU!
  7. If two women are close friends… they are clearly lesbians… and if they’re lesbians that is a bad thing.  
  8. Fat women aren’t really women! (Oh… Imma about to blow this one up!)
  1. Like I said… Fat women just really aren’t women.. they’re not feminine or pretty. And they never want to wear make-up. I mean really people… why do you have to dress the fat woman like we’re stuck in 1991 when the clothing industry REALLY didn’t make shit for big women?
  2. Why is it so funny to think a fat woman would WANT sex? Or why is it so funny to think of her as a sexual being? Is it just that hard to believe that a man would want a fat woman to ride his face!? Or that a man would like a big ass and big stomach and thighs? (and if you answered yes… I hope the images made you nauseous…...)
  3. Why… WHY did the scene where the fat woman goes to get laid did they, for the love of all that is holy, have to have her EATING!!?! And not like whip cream or strawberries… but two 3 foot subs! Really!? I mean I guess fat women just can’t go three seconds without stuffing their pie holes. AH!
  4. In the food poisoning scene why is the fat woman and the racially ambiguous women the only two who have diarrhea, while the skinny White women are throwing up? Oh because throwing up is more socially acceptable for those women who desire to be skinny, as they exert control over their bodies to be thin. While diarrhea is something that cannot be controlled much like a fat woman can’t control her eating and the Bride’s parents couldn’t control their jungle fever-like desires. (I realize this sounds like a REAL stretch but I read a theoretical article about it last year… wish I could remember what it was… )

I am tired of seeing women with MY body type ridiculed, used as the brunt of all the jokes… the main reason all the people in the theatre are laughing. (Also, I DID NOT appreciate the fact that the little skinny White woman throwing out T-shirts before the movie ignored my section… it was me and four African Americans in that row and she would not throw stuff to our side. Hmm… Guess she watched too many movies like this one!)

Granted this movie is probably no worse than any other bullshit movie Hollywood produces to socialize us into their fucked up ideals but for some reason it just hit me wrong. And I guess a colleague of mine was right…there is only so much I can overlook(because lets face it we overlook something with everything we watch)… and I just could NOT overlook everything in this movie! Not when I left the theatre feeling exposed and vulnerable. Not when I just spent 2 hours in a room full of strangers as they laughed hysterically as women acted like crabs in a barrel… and a fat woman tried to flirt with a man and Black people were reduced to cheap/poor people with alcohol names. Too much!