Thursday, April 30, 2015

Take 1 Black Life, Take 2 More For Free: The Cost of Our Black Youth

I want to take you somewhere real quick before I get deep in this post. I want you to picture a young African-American teenager. It can be one from your family a little brother, sister, niece or nephew, but just visualize it. They are a senior in high school graduating with at least 4 scholarships and has receive acceptance letters from at least 2 Ivy League schools. Never had any trouble from them their entire educational career, a real good kid. The night of their prom they are pulled over by police and are instantly pulled out of the car and the car gets searched. So then they get handcuffed and sat on the sidewalk. The teen is filled with rage and anger so they don't stop talking and arguing with law enforcement. It starts to get personal and finally the cop has had enough and before firing he tells that teen "we are going to get rid of you monkeys one way or another" fires 5 rounds, takes their body, removed handcuffs, takes a gun that was in his glove comparment and places that teen's cold hands and lay them in a position where they can claim self defense. My following questions would be 1) What would be your first initial reaction? Would you take the advice of the late great Martin Luther King Jr. Or the burning fire and passion of the brother Malcolm X? Would you march? Would you study and research the legal system in order to find a way to outsmart them to get things changed? Will you turn to prayer? Would you take the times to really find out your rights as a citizen or will it be "By Any Means Necessary" as brother Malcolm X? Would you go out and attack the police? Would you riot and destroy all that is in your neighborhood even if its owned by your fellow black brothers or sisters? Will they have to lose their lively hood in order to truly to make a point? I'll just sit this right here and come back.

This is where we started: Montgomery Bus Boycott

And then there was this: Los Angeles Riots

And now we have this: Baltimore Riots

Now some will see the progressive and other will see the setback, its the "glass half full half empty" theory. I decided to have the Baltimore conversation with 3 other people that I care for mom, my pops, my older sister, and my BFF, and honestly it was a 50\50 situation. While my mom, sister, and myself choose to exercise our rights by voting doing research on the candidates in office before we vote them in and by studying and keep up with any new laws and legislations that come out, my pops and bff felt differently. Their opinion is that we as a race have been fighting for centuries now and feel as if going to the polls won't stand chance on ever making a change.  The privitazation of the educational systems within our urban communities continue to generate income that sway politicians. With our children being groomed for prison life what else are we to do besides literally fighting back. While I must say it pains me to live in such a pessimistic reality, many others feel that way.

So in a perfect world there would be no hate, no racism, no killing and losing our young blacks or adults. There would have been a resolution after the March on Washington or after Malcolm X final speech at Ford Auditorium before being killed the next day. But that isn't what we live in as Rev King quoted "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." However for those who may take on Malcolm X theory of "Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery." Which side are you on? What solutions would you offer? Do you have hopes of change? Have you given up on any change thus redefining what that means? Will we ever get the thousand words unspoken here?

I want to end this with a quote from one of my all time favorite artist

                                                             "We are amazed but not amused
By all the things you say that you'll do
Though much concerned but not involved
With decisions that are made by you

But we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
'Cause if you really want to hear our views
"You haven't done nothing!"
Stevive Wonder-You Haven't Done Nothing

Peace and Blessings
Swagg P

"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Have You Been Kendrick Lamar'd Yet? A Blind Look at Colorism

I encountered a conversation the other day that brought about a dire need to answer this question: "Why is it that conscious and enlightened minds have to be restricted to a darker skinned woman in order to keep from catching hell in the black community?
Simple question right? Of course...However, experience has taught me that simple questions often yield complex results. This question has been asked throughout quite a few generations and this question falls under the topic of colorism. Just recently rapper Kendrick Lamar was called out by "Dark Skin Is Beautiful" founder and activist Rashida Strober for being engaged to his fiance who is bi-racial (Black and Hispanic). He was called everything from "hypocrite" to "another fake conscious mutherf***r" which stemmed from his song Complexion (A Zulu Love) where he celebrates and seemingly embraces those women with darker complexions.

What some may not realize is colorism dates back as far as the days of slavery. History has told us that when slavery was in existence the slaves of a more light complexion were called "house slaves" which were usually offsprings' of one of the slaves and the master. Their duties usually consisted of cleaning cooking and caring for the children, while those of the darker complexion were limited to only outside work therefore giving the impression that the house slaves were better. In the 1960's when the rise of social groups such as The Black Panther Party and more awakening" black music there was a great wave of support for those of darker skin color. The saying went something like "the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice", and "my black is beautiful" dark was the thing to be it was beauty.

Once the 1980's came along and society then begin to spread its diversity in its music, fashion and television, and you had beautiful women such as Jane Kennedy-Overton (1st female sports broadcasters) Debbie Allen (Broadway and TV actress) and Miki Howard (singer) who came with such golden smooth skin and the beauty that was once admired slowly lost it light.

By the early 2000's it seemed to have then turned into an all out battle of the light skin vs the dark skin, which skin color was better? It is this same attitude that is still rampant and current within today society within music, fashion magazines, and even within some workplaces. An article written in Vibe magazine in 2013 listed 20 rap songs that referenced light skin and dark skin women
and well lets just say there were a whole lot more light references than dark. I have strong hopes that future generations will soon put an end to the self hate within our own community where all shades of African-American will be accepted. I applaud movements such as "Black Girls Rock" and "Black Lives Matter" where we as as race of all colors become united as one. It is movements such as these that truly show the progression of breaking the colorism. It is my hope that one day we can all stand as united and colorism is no more...

Peace and Blessings
Swagg P

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"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Vain-ity Project: Thoughts of a BBW!


Bold. Big. Beautiful. Bossy. Brave. All adjectives describing any of the b's in the urban to mainstream term BBW. I'm curious to know when you hear BBW what is your 1st thought? Do you automatically place the B as Big? Do you often go by the definition of society where there are false representations on what that truly stands for or do you have your own definition? For me B stands for BOLD, to be a plus size female takes boldness. It often takes breaking the standards that other have set for beauty. It means taking a stand for those who haven't found their voice yet or have been brainwashed by their environment that thinner is better. It means taking a bold stand for younger generations to grow up confident and most importantly comfortable in their own skin. The next B is for BEAUTIFUL, beauty that is inside as well as out. I think that we don't tell ourselves enough that we are beautiful I believe the quote is "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". We have beautiful minds that are filled with wisdom and knowledge that is often unnoticed because of our mere body image. Beautiful spirits beautiful enough to stand by someone of the same body image struggle grabs their hand looks in the other ones eyes and say "you are not alone". There is more than just one thing that makes us beautiful. Most importantly I am a Woman...the same woman who bring life into this world. To soothe the pain of those that hurt. The same woman who educates our future and ultimately run the free world (shout out to Hilary). We are women, true our size is bigger, that just simply means there is more greatness to go around. 

The Vain-ity Project: Curves and Confidence. The Vain-ity Project: Curves and Confidence exists to provide a platform for women to confidently celebrate their curves without fear or contradiction. Our goal is to redefine the beauty representations for women of color, encourage self love through self image and empower confidence levels through conversation, poetry, and photography (art). This liberating shoot definitely has curves, confidence, and conversation, the kind of conversation that need to be had more often. These women including myself share what a day and a life is in our (BBW) shoes, so many think they know but really have no idea. I hope that this project reaches at least one. The girl who is shunned and shut out at school because of her size. The woman who finds someone attractive all for the person to respond with nasty negative hurtful words because of their unresolved anger issues from the one that once rejected them. To that young lady who refuses to eat because society says anything over size 4 is too big and she just want to be accepted. That woman that I once was taking verbal and physical abuse because I thought no one else wanted me. My self esteem was at 0 once upon a time, but once I broke that mind set and detoxed everything she said I wasnt I felt cleansed. I felt as if i was the woman I'm destined to be I just had to put myself in a better place. Let this be the breakthrough that is needed, I know this Vain-ity project will not be in vain.

All to often, we suffer the loud and empty opinion of others. Being a celebrity doesnt excuse one from being attached. I definitely want to give a round of applause to one of my favorite artist Pink. I have always admired her "girl power" with songs such as "Stupid Girls" "So What" and "Raise Your Glass". Well it seems that this past Saturday she attended a cancer benefit for one of her dear friends and this was her look:

And of course the "Twitter Trolls" had to find something wrong about her:

And well here was her perfect response:

Peace and Blessings,
Swagg P.

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