Category Archives: insanity

Where for art thou, journalism?

RIP Michael Clarke Duncan

Yesterday afternoon, devastating news of the death of actor Michael Clarke Duncan broke on Twitter. Given my background in journalism and my inability to quit it, I still follow several news outlets on Twitter – mainly CNN, NBC News, CBS News and the Associated Press. On my other account, I follow Fox News, ABC News, the Huffington Post and all of the aforementioned.

As a journalist, I have been conditioned to use discernment as it relates to the news. In most cases, you can tell when something has been reported or made up – if you read it and not just glance. The way I learned journalism was to make sure you’re right before you go forward with any information. While it matters who reports it first, it matters most who got it right – first.

Since we’ve been blessed with the wonderfully wonderful tool that is the internet, the journalism profession has been cursed by it. It seems young journalists have become satisfied with Tweeting (see also: Facebooking and Instagraming) the majority of their story and any Tom, Dick, Harvey or Perez fancies himself a journalist because he has a blog and an audience.

Yesterday when the news broke, by the AP if I’m not mistaken, I ReTweeted the AP’s information. I saw so many RTs with comment calling bullshit thinking that Twitter just up and killed someone for no reason. Some people wanted to know who the source was and who Duncan’s fiancĂ©e is (Rev. Omarosa Manigault). One fool even Tweeted:

I shit you not …

Since when is the AP NOT the AP? I mean, CNN has gotten it wrong. CBS, wrong. NPR, wrong. ABC, NBC and damn sure Faux News. In my 10-year journalism career, I have never heard about the AP getting anything wrong. In fact, I am bold enough to say the Associated Press is the worlds MOST CREDIBLE news source, yet, that wasn’t good enough for Twitter.

This is what I like to call the TMZ era of journalism. It’s a time where people won’t believe actual news until it’s reported by TMZ or MediaTakeOut or Perez Hilton or whatever other gossip BLOG is masquerading as a news site. It’s really sad. There are way too many of my friends, colleagues and former counterparts out here busting their butts to bring folks well-reported and (hopefully) balanced stories for credible news outlets than to have their work and efforts bastardized by those sites.

Since I have been periodically offering you all my “expertise” in journalism, take this with you. When it comes to news of any kind, international, national, local, entertainment, sports, politics – rest assured knowing it has been properly reported and fact checked. To question the AP is … I don’t even know what it is. Just know that 9.9 times out of 10, they’re right. *smh*

“It’s one thing for people to THINK you’re stupid, it’s another when you open your mouth and remove ALL doubt.” (c) Mama Smarty

Majoring in the minor …

Usually on Mondays, I try to give you all a little motivation to help you make it through your day and hopefully, your week. The events of late Thursday night/early Friday morning and people’s reactions have forced me to make a detour and make an attempt to try to slow some of you people down.

To catch you up, a lone gunman shot up a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 and wounding more than 50. The suspect has been identified at 24-year-old James Holmes, a Ph.D. student who entered the theater in riot gear armed with gas canisters, an automatic assault rifle, a 12-guage shot gun and a glock.

Reports state that Holmes threw a canister and started shooting people as they tried to flee. Survivors recalled the attack saying they thought it was a part of premiere night antics and then it quickly turned into chaos complete with screaming and blood and horror. I don’t even want to imagine what they much have been going through. My heart and my prayers go out to everyone in that theater and to the families left picking up the pieces.

There were families in that theater, some with children as young as three months, who were hurt. If I’m not mistaken, the youngest murder victim was 6-years-old. This leads me to the first portion of my sickness with people’s reactions on Twitter. Some folks were questioning why there were babies at the movie theater anyway and why kids that young were at a theater that late at night. *smh* To me, this is akin to blaming the victim.

I don’t have kids. I know quite a few people with them, tho. I’ve been to the movies with my siblings and cousins who, when they can’t get a babysitter, simply bring the baby with them. It’s no crime to take your children with you to a movie. It’s ignorant and insensitive to blame those parents for their children’s injuries and death. This is a case of wrong place/wrong time. It’s only Holmes’ fault – allegedly.

Another thing that I’m seeing a lot of is comparisons to the senseless murders in Chicago. Last weekend alone, Chicago saw the death of four and the injury of 27 more, all at the hands of gun violence. That was just in the past three days. Twitter and Facebook have spoken out asking how come the country isn’t just as outraged at the deaths in Chicago. Twitter and Facebook have also made this into a black and white issue saying if Holmes was a man of color, he would be dead already instead of just in jail. Twitter and Facebook have even gone so far to say that Holmes is being viewed as mentally ill because he’s white and if he were black or Latino he’d be seen as violent or if he were a Muslim, he’d be a terrorist.

We have to stop majoring in the minor. He is a terrorist regardless of his race. A terrorist is a person who frightens or terrorizes others. If that isn’t Holmes, allegedly, I don’t know what is… And, these shootings in Chicago are being reported as gang related. These gang members are also terrorists. The difference here is this is a case of Chicago’s chickens coming home to roost. The problems of these violent gangs should have been nipped in the bud a long time ago. What Chicago is seeing now is a manifestation of disregard on the part of law enforcement and neighbors and a strengthening group of frustrated, under-served and increasing violent generation of people. Comparing the shootings in Chicago to what happened in Aurora is like comparing apples to tomatoes – they’re both fruit but not the same.

And FYI, Holmes is a suspect and what he did is alleged until a jury of his peers convicts him. The media’s hands are tied as it relates to these kinds of cases. No outlet can call him a murderer or a terrorist outside the confines of quotation marks because it then becomes libel and slander and those outlets can be sued.

What are your thoughts? Are too many people majoring in the minor?

I am Trayvon Martin …

In all I have 10 nieces and nephews, four god kids and a bunch of kids who call me Aunt Tiff. It’s a job I take very seriously. They all range in age from 19-8 months so you can imagine how saddened I am at the murder of Trayvon Martin. Yes, I did say murder and I know that must confuse some of you. I am, after all, a proponent of letting the justice system work. I am also in possession of common sense and I heard the 911 calls.

I heard about Trayvon’s shooting early on and I refused to read up on it. When I heard about a 17-year-old boy being shot, like a lot of others, I assumed it was some senseless act of violence on a teenager that was performed by another that would soon be swept under the rug. Man was I ever wrong. As time moved on and more information started to come out about Trayvon’s shooting, I learned that a neighbor shot and killed this young man for “looking suspicious” the more pissed off I got.

I have a 17-year-old nephew. He’s tall, he wears hooded sweatshirts and would probably walk to the store at night alone to get some candy for his baby sister. He is also a good kid, has played team sports and odds are he’s probably already been seen as threatening. That baffles me. My nephew, like Trayvon, is a kid in a man’s body. He’s not a threat to anything, except maybe leftovers. They are perceived as threats because they are black. No other reason.

I refuse to do the whole, “If he was a white boy thing…” because it’s not at all helpful. What is helpful, tho, is to let you guys know that not all young black men are scary. They’re not all suspicious. And they shouldn’t be hunted like prey. George Zimmerman went out, against the advice of the dispatcher and against the statutes of the Neighborhood Watch and he hunted and shot down Trayvon like an animal.

It is my understanding that Zimmerman called the police 46 times last year and is the self-appointed block captain. He has harassed people in their own home and has been arrested for assault. He was licensed to carry a concealed weapon but he was not in any way licensed to pursue anyone. From the sound of things (his 911 call), Zimmerman was tapping into his inner cowboy. Instead of observing and reporting, like he was supposed to, Zimmerman took it upon himself to follow, then shoot Trayvon. Why Zimmerman is still free I’m not sure.

My hope is that the authorities down in Florida realize that the country is watching and will send a message one way or the other. Will they send the message that violence against people based on how they look will not be tolerated? Or will they send the message that you can pursue AND kill people who look suspicious to you?

Frankly, I am disgusted at all of it. I’m disgusted at Zimmerman’s desperado act. I’m disgusted that he feels like he can make that snap judgement. I’m disgusted at people defending him saying that he’s defending his neighborhood. Most of all, I’m disgusted at the people who believe he was justified. This is in no way shape or form justifiable. Trayvon was shot and killed for being the wrong color in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sadly, this could have been any of us at 17. Hell, it is all of us now. These are our kids and they are a part of all of us so I am and you are Trayvon Martin.

Father your children…

For the past couple of days the interwebs have been all abuzz with foolishness about Chris Brown’s fans and Too Short’s “fatherly advice” to young boys. Clearly, I missed something.

Millions of these children Tweeted about how they’d “let Chris Brown beat” them. They were of course referencing the incident of domestic violence between him and his then girlfriend, Rhianna. I know it was a while ago but we can never forget. I, of course, can’t blame Chris Brown for the foolishness that happened during his performance at the Grammys. I can, however, blame these lil’ girls, lil’ gays and their parents. While there are those of us who can not let it go, there is no way these girls, and gays, should be joking about letting him beat them.

As was stated here before, I have zero tolerance for domestic violence. While Brown has paid his debt to society by doing as mandated by the court, there are some folks who just won’t ever forgive his actions. I get that. I also get that to some of his fans, he can do no wrong and they still lust after him.

Kids will be kids but parents have to be parents. I’m sure some of these parents could not possibly have known what their daughters were saying. I insist that they need to find out, particularly fathers. I’ve discussed that fathers have a responsibility to their daughters, and yes, their gay sons, too, to show them how they should be treated while dating. They need to actually sit down and discuss with them what is and isn’t acceptable. The fact that these children even Tweeted the words, “Chris Brown can beat me up…” is both frightening and sickening.

As a father, you need to explain that it’s never OK to even joke about domestic violence. There are too many folks who have lost their lives for it. You need to explain no matter how fine he is or how well he sings or dances that it is NEVER OK for a boy, a guy, a man to put his hands on you in a violent manner. Ever. Grab your daughters and your gay sons, hug them and show them how a man is supposed to treat them.

If that’s not enough motivation to parent your own damn kids, Too Short has taken to offering up fatherly advice to young men about “how to turn young girls out.” O_o Yea, that Too Short.

Why is his old ass still relevant enough to grace the web pages of XXL in anything but a historical retrospect of Bay Area rappers? The last time Too Short was relevant was whenever “Shake Dat Monkey” came out and it had ratchet chicks from near and far shaking it up in the club.

Apparently in a video posted on XXL’s site, Too Short told young boys transitioning from middle to high school, in graphic detail, how to sexually stimulate their female counterparts – forcefully. Far be it from me to bait anyone on any issue but from what I read and heard about the video because I didn’t see it, it is akin to assault. The Grio quoted Too Short saying in the video, “You push her up against the wall, you take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens.”

First of all, any father of a daughter should be outraged and ready to string Too Short up and flog his ass for suggesting any boy do that to a girl. That statement suggests that he is an advocate of sexual aggression and that attention uninvited is in fact rape. How dare he suggest and describe that for young boys? His suggestion to the boys gives the impression that girls don’t deserve to decide whether or not they want this attention. It suggests that these boys seize their opportunity whenever they feel like it. I can’t, no, I won’t sit, stand or walk for this kind of bullshit.

This is why you monitor what your kids are watching online. Nothing good can come of minors watching anything Too Short-related. The man raps about hard life and pimping in Oakland. He has never discussed a single thing in his music that would imply that he respects any woman. I will say that he issued an apology via video on the XXL site. He covered himself by saying he was in “Too Short” mode and that these young boys should just be themselves and not get caught up in “hip hop personas.” O_o

Fathers, when it comes to your sons, it is your job to do exactly the opposite of that bullshit Too Short spewed in that video and in his music. It is up to you to explain to your sons that no is always no. Explain that women are to be respected and treated like human beings and not property there for their lustful fantasies. Tell them that rappers like Too Short are all persona and that the life they rap about and perpetuate is but a caricature. In other words, father them. Father all your children.

As a father, as a man, you are charged with being the leader of your family. You are the one who shows your family the way. If you are not cutting the path and leading the way, they will latch on to someone who will. The problem with that is they could latch on to someone who doesn’t know where the hell they’re going. Your family is your responsibility. When you fail to parent your children, you have failed them and us, too. Step up and do your job.

Go see Red Tails…

For the past couple of weeks, the interwebs have been abuzz with talk about the movie, “Red Tails.” It’s a fictionalized story about the all-black regiment of fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen, set in Italy in World War II. We get to meet a bunch of (fine ass) black men from different walks of life who were all a part of the “Tuskegee Experience” that wanted to test whether or not black men would be smart enough to be fighter pilots.

While I would just love to give you a history lesson, I would much rather you click this link and educate your damn selves. Personally, I interviewed a Tuskegee Airman so, I’m good. It’s a wonderful story in which all people need to be aware. I sincerely hope this movie will make people want to know more about it. Now, as for the movie and all these damn critics …

Dear Universe, you will never be able to satisfy an entire group of people. All men aren’t fans of the same thing nor are all men neither are all white people and definitely not all black people. “Red Tails” is no different. This movie has gotten a lot of attention because it is an all black cast and Mr. Star Wars, George Lucas, put up $100 million of his own money because he couldn’t get Hollywood to invest. That being said, black folks everywhere set out to prove Hollywood wrong and support this historic biopic. Problem is it wasn’t a biopic. Negroes flocked to the movie in droves expecting to see an Oscar-worthy film starring black men who were men of honor who were being snubbed by a system that sought to keep them down. They got an action movie.

I’m not sure if you are familiar with action movies but they aren’t famous for the dialogue, the sentiment or their maintenance of the integrity of whatever period they are highlighting. Action movies are known for action. Fights and explosions and shit like that. But because this one was financed by George Lucas and involved Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, black folks expected something major. *smh* Look, if you went to see Red Tails and went to learn the story of the Tuskegee Airmen and you were disappointed that you got an action movie, that’s your fault.

Nobody ever billed this movie to be anything more than an action film. But because it stars an abundance of black men we turned it into a demonstration against the racial injustice in the Hollywood establishment. We have to get over ourselves. We need to realize that more black quality films aren’t being made because we aren’t demanding them. Some of us continue to be pissed about movies like Red Tails yet they line up in droves for the latest in Tyler Perry’s never-ending story of the downtrodden black woman with the dark-skinned villains.

I have never in all my movie-watching days seen reviews more mixed for a movie than this one. Ever. “This was an awesome black film!” “That movie sucked! Don’t waste your money!” “I wish they would have done more.” “Why weren’t there any black women in the movie?” “He was with a white woman!” Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah! *smh* Some of y’all need to see this movie for what it was – entertainment. I looked at this movie the same as I would “Captain America,” “Superman,” or any other hero movie. The only difference here is there were actual Tuskegee Airmen.

Personally, I think “Red Tails” made strides in how black men are perceived in hero movies. Up until now we only had Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sam Jackson. Now, we’ve got an assload of black heroes for them to choose from. Let’s just support this movie for being what it is, the first all-black action flick since the blacksploitation period and keep it moving.

Let’s stop taking shit to higher and higher levels of foolishness and irrelevance by getting in our feelings. I need for y’all to come out of there and join the rest of us in the real world. This movie was made to see black men catapulted to the role of hero not to give black films relevance. That’s our job. You want to see more quality black films? Let’s support the ones we do have coming out and demand better of our own filmmakers. If nothing else, go see it for yourself and stop taking everyone else’s word for it.

Education = life changing …

For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved to learn. Cracking open a book, speaking with knowledgeable people, watching documentaries, reading the newspaper – anything that could guarantee that I would know more than when I started, I am all for it.

Because I love learning so much, my goal is to pass it along to as many folks as possible. Every time I get a chance, I encourage my nieces and nephews, godkids, cousins and everyone else’s child I meet to use all the resources available to them to learn as much as they can.

We have to do right by them...

While I’m still looking for work, I decided that I need to make myself useful and volunteer my time with a local organization run by my cousin and one of her classmates from high school.

This program is designed for low-income children who have failed their end-of-grade tests in reading and math. Because of my background in journalism and my minor in professional English, I am working mostly with the kids who are great at math but have problems reading. Early on, I figured out their problems with reading. These kids don’t speak English.

While they are American, they were born here and have lived here all their lives, they simply do not speak standard English. When you can’t speak a language, it usually translates into your reading. If you don’t understand what it is you’re reading, you can’t comprehend it. If you can’t comprehend what you read, you get labeled as dumb, slow, stupid and in America, that translates to inferior. I understand this life. I used to live this life.

While I have always enjoyed learning, I have never been a great test taker. In working with these kids, I see why I wasn’t. For the longest time, I’ve always heard that standardized tests are culturally biased and that the only universal part is the math. Now, I understand completely. The questions are worded in ways these children don’t speak. The people who create these tests word them in ways that are confusing to not only these children but to some of the people helping them learn about these tests. Somewhere these kids, and some of these adults, didn’t get what they needed in English and language arts classes.

A lot of these kids in this program live in the very projects where I spent my childhood and as much as I’d like to say that the neighborhood has changed for the better, it hasn’t. While it has improved aesthetically, it is still filled with an abundance of undereducated people who have deemed it uncool to be smart. It’s not popular to get good grades and God forbid you try to speak standard English. In trying to help one of my students better understand what he was reading by helping him to correctly pronounce words and making his subjects and verbs agree, he was ridiculed by his peers for “talking like a white boy.” We have to do better.

Though we didn’t give birth to them, these are our kids – all of them. As much as we hate to admit it, we’re getting older. Somebody will have to run this world when we no longer can. If we drop the ball in educating our kids who the hell will take care of us when we get old? You’ve set up your 401K and your IRA so that you’ll have money to take care of yourself but guess who you’ll be paying to do it? These kids.

A lot of us have similar stories of how we grew up in poor circumstances but overcame that by going to college. These are the stories our kids need to hear not the crap about a beef between Drake and Common. I am begging you guys to reach within your families, your communities or wherever to show these kids you care and just how your education has changed your life. We have GOT to do better, y’all!

Daddy’s girls unite!!!

My wonderful blog visitors, I have a confession to make. I am a “Daddy’s Girl.” I make no apologies for it. I don’t care who judges me. If anyone tries to come between me and my daddy or cause him harm of any kind, God have mercy on your wretched soul.

Deiondra Sanders

In a world where a lot of families are in their second generation of absentee fathers, my daddy and others like him go unnoticed by the world. That leaves us, their children, with the responsibility of holding them up for the world to see and in some cases defending them. Earlier today, all of Twitter was abuzz with the Tweets from Deiondra Sanders.

As if you couldn’t tell by her name, Deiondra is the eldest daughter of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Sanders is currently involved in divorce proceedings with his estranged wife, Pilar, whom we were introduced to in their reality show “Prime Time Love.” Since the -ish has already hit the fan and sites like TMZ and MediaTakeOut have been dragged into all this, it is sure to get ugly. To make things uglier, Deiondra took to Twitter to air her frustrations about what Pilar is saying via her attorney. Notice my lack of scolding here.

This girl took to Twitter to defend her daddy from the foolishness. While I don’t agree with her methods, I understand her motives. To understand the way a daddy’s girl feels about her daddy is to understand how you feel about your first love. A daddy’s girl’s father IS her first love. He’s the first guy to make her day and usually the first man to let her down. If she is fortunate enough to have a father who has made her day more than he’s disappointed her she will usually fight anyone to the death who tries to bring him harm.

If you look at Deiondra’s page, baby girl went ham. Honey-baked. Picnic. Spiral-sliced. Honey glazed. Just ham. All in an effort to clear her daddy’s name. I don’t claim to know what went on in their family, we may never know the truth. What I do know is how it feels to have some chick make an attempt to bad mouth their father to make herself look good. Since Pilar’s team seems to be taking it to the media, I’m sure Deiondra felt the need to clear it up – in the media.

I just want y’all to cut the girl some slack. One of my followers on Twitter made the comment, “Fathers raise your daughters.” To that I answer, “he did.” He was so good at it in fact, she got pissed and she got it off her chest. This was her way of defending her father. No more, no less. Deiondra may look at her timeline tomorrow and issue an apology. She might not. You can read in her Tweets that she is hurt over the fact this chick came for her daddy. I feel her. How ever this turns out, this episode has not helped anything. Pilar could very well insist that her children not have anything to do with Deiondra. Pilar could use this episode to make her children harbor some kind of animosity toward her. I’ve been in a situation where you have multiple children who don’t share the same two parents. It can be stressful.

So, I ask y’all, please, cut the girl some slack. And daddy’s girls, let’s make a pact to conduct ourselves better. Our daddies are grown men, *sigh* they can fight their own battles.