Tuesday, April 30, 2013

VH-1's Gossip Game's Vivian vs. Steph Lova: Opinion Based On Fact

VH-1 is no stranger to reality's drama and all its queens and kings. neither is it a stranger to talks about who's transgender or not. If you recall, on VH-1's Love and Hip Hop Atlanta it was rumored that Joseline Hernandez was a transgender woman. Remaining consistant, their newest reality show to grace the airwaves is The Gossip Game, which chronicles the Gossip Bloggers of Hip-Hop. Well into the season, showing on Monday nights, the latest episode has stirred a few feathers of those in the LGBTQ community. In Episode 5, gossip blogger,  Vivian Billings and former colleague, radio personality Steph Lova engage in a heated altercation centering around sexuality....that of Kayden, Vivian's son who is transgender and Steph Lova's possible lesbianism. On the show, Steph Lova publicly announced with intent to harm that Vivian shouldn't be concerned about her sexuality because she (Vivian) has a "daughter" who's a lesbian....This occured after Steph was taunted by Vivian's cousin accusing her wanting to do more than just work with Vivian. Realistically who cares if Steph Lova is a lesbian, hides or hones lesbian tendencies. The fact that she purposely "outed" Kayden on public television without his permission is tacky and forces the public to form an opinion. It doesn't matter the provocation, to bring up something clearly disclosed in confidence and on  much more personal note was such a low blow. In the world of psychology we call that act, deflection. In which a person deviates from the question of or if and place it on someone else that the world possibly doesn't know about, because they could never truly know about them.
As a lesbian who wasn't always sure of self, I can relate to Steph, and its clear that she is more than defensive about the discussion of her being a lesbian. Her act was more than alarming because, it showed her pain, her insecurity, and just how deep her struggle is.

In an interview with NewNowNext, Vivian and her son Kayden spoke candidly about the "outing". Vivian too believes that Steph's reaction is due to her own struggles with sexuality. As society progresses to understand, acknowledge and include the LGBTQ community, homophobia is still very much prevalent in Hip-Hop. Kayden stated on last Monday's episode that he isn't a lesbian, but a
transgender male. He reiterates to NNN that it was no secret but what makes it degrading is that it was announced publicly with the intent to hurt his mother, and he had absolutely nothing to do with Steph's and his mother's disagreement. Sadly in the Black community this type of behavior isn't uncommon. It has its remnants of the crab in the bucket syndrome, but what's deeper is that it comes from a place of hurt and shame. Hurt people, hurt people. It also forces us as a community to delve deeper into a spiritual place and have real, life conversations about issues that are still taboo. The problem is known and seen and its time for resolution.

One of the positives of what was intended for bad is that Steph's disclosure forced Kayden and Vivian to talk openly, publicly, and positively about sexuality. It showed acceptance, attempt, and aspiration to grow. Another positive in the midst of "coming out" is that we are at least talking about it because we see the effects it has on people of color. An underlying issue in the episode is that of Domestic Violence. Kayden referred to memories of seeing his mother beat. That too needs more discussion. Usually, reality shows are merely entertainment and that in and of itself is haunting. Enjoying
someone else's pain just to help us deflect from our own hurts us too. However, I see hope and thus light and life is before us.

"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dallas Mavericks and Brittney Griner: Paradoxical Potential

Mark Cuban is a name synonymous with words such as risky, outlandish, and bold. An avid business man and known "shark" is once again engaging in venturesome activity. Mark Cuban has announced that he is considering women's basketball star, Brittney Griner in the 2013 2nd round draft pick. Cuban states even if she isn't selected he's considering giving her a spot on the team's summer league squad. Cuban's logic behind sexually integrating the NBA is that there is great marketing opportunities and that she's the best option considering those players remaining after the 1st round draft pick. Cuban believes she's capable and wants to give her the opportunity to prove that she is.

Houston native, Brittney Griner has an impressive basketball record. The 6'8'' Baylor player has earned three consecutive Big 12 player of the year awards and she is the second all time scorer in Women's NCAA Division One basketball. She is arguably the most transcendent female college basketball player of all time. Noted for her athleticism and physicality, in a male dominated industry it is no wonder that she is also criticized for those same qualities. Often being likened to a man on the court, Brittney has received some negative feedback for her authority and achievement on the court. Responding to Cuban, with "lets do it" will equally get Griner praised and condemned.

The best part about this potential endeavor is that it speaks volumes
to the movement of equality. Though Cuban's move isn't pioneering in integrating the sexes in sports, it most certainly is a critical move during time of revolution. Let's think that Cuban's sole motivation for considering Griner isn't JUST marketing and earning opportunity, but maybe this move is revolutionary in that equality is based on skill and merit not sex or the perception of it. Maybe on the court he sees an outstanding, well deserving talent. However, there is still concern about the perils Griner will face if she makes it to the team. Sure we'd like to think that we live in a day and time in which women can do the same things a man can do probably better because women think differently. And while this "new" way have thinking has done some wonderful things for women, femininity and the female empowerment movement, Griner being accepted as a part of the Dallas Mavericks would only add to the de-feminizing rhetoric that she's already been exposed to. For a moment, I thought that the WNBA no longer existed. Certainly we know of the inequalities that exists between the WNBA and the NBA such as salary, air time and the like. If she makes it to the NBA what will that mean for the WNBA? Will it be no more? Will other women players seek try out opportunities in the NBA before considering the WNBA? Will women become more susceptible to negative innuendos from those currently players and the low-level players that are chosen after a girl? We all know the effects of misogynistic bullying and the outcome could be a major fall out for women's liberation movement, but I think its worth the risk.

The key for all women and sports fans alike is to remain optimistic that the Cuban along with team officials will be make the best choice. I'm sure that Griner, will bring her best with her to try outs.

"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"