Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Daily OMG

"Well behaved women rarely make history." -Laurel Thatchet Ulrich

Site of BIC: Arlington, Oregon

Umm...I'm sorry. Did homegirl think this was okay? I mean, really. I get the whole "I still have to be me and be a woman even though I'm mayor" bit. However, MySpace? Something is not right in the head here, which makes her...you said it: BIC.

"That's my personal life," she says. "It has nothing to do with my mayor's position." True, but must we post our personal lives on the web--actually worse, MySpace--where small town folk with nothing better to do than google you will certainly discover them?

Welcome to the fold, Carmen. I'll do you a favor and post the picture you love so much here, too. Even though now that you're not mayor maybe you're not as concerned with saturating the Internet with pictures of you in your draws.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

BIC History Month: Introducing...Throwback BIC

"i hate you so much right now..." -Kelis

BIC History Month is fantastic, but I really want to carry on this tradition of looking back at the BIC behind us as a species. However, BIC History Month encourages us to reach far back in time to find BIC. But for girls my age, there's been plenty of memorable BIC in our lifetime. Here's a nice little legendary 90's BIC anthem (pre-Mrs. Nasir Jones) that will take you back!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Do You Feel Sorry For HER: The Hillary Edition

"don't let me get me/i'm my own worst enemy/it's bad when you annoy yourself/so irritating/don't wanna be my friend no more/i wanna be somebody else..."

-Pink

All right, I know the segment is called “Do You Feel Sorry For Him?”, but I had to make an exception this once because HRC’s normally slipping BIC slip has been shrugged completely off and ripped to shreds. I’m wondering how many people pity Hillary Clinton, who is clearly embroiled in the 2008 version of the Dreamgirls saga, the one we here in America call the presidential election.

Remember 2007? Remember Jennifer Hudson? Remember Dreamgirls and Vogue and that awkward Entertainment Weekly issue that relegated Beyonce to near supporting actress status? Remember the Oscars? So then you must recall Ms. Knowles’ steady unraveling as she lost the Golden Globe and was snubbed by the Academy altogether as her costar took home an Oscar for her first movie role in life. You must also recall her “I said look at me!” photoshoot on the red carpet for the Golden Globes...
...her way over the top troth of B’day music videos released simultaneously...
...and her growling Oscar ceremony performance of her soundtrack ballad “Listen” in which she pointed into the audience and belted “you should have known!!” in a way that let us know that she did, in fact, believe everyone there should have known to give her an Oscar.

Well, Beyonce Giselle Knowles…

....meet Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Like you, B, she was a favorite who thought she had it in the bag from the onset. And like you, a rising young superstar from Chicago came and jacked her prematurely claimed thunder. The major difference is that your star, Beyonce, never fell, not even a little, except maybe in your own mind. Unfortunately, your counterpart cannot say the same.

HRC is clearly the biggest BIC of 2008, demonstrated by the the “how low can you go” negative attacks she’s embarked on in an effort to turn this campaign back in her favor. Let's take a look at the record:

Beyonce, 2007: "I'm already a star. I already have nine Grammys. Everyone already knows I can sing."

Read:"Jennifer Who? Has she done anything but sing a famous ballad in this movie and be on American Idol? I don't think so. Let her get her lil shine on...I'm known internationally."

Hillary, 2008: "I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president."

Read: "I am the president."

Beyonce, 2007: "I wish I could have gained 20 pounds and played Effie."

Read: "I could play Effie every day all day and twice on Sunday, honey. Don't get it twisted."

Hillary, 2008: "It's time to get real about how we actually win this election. It's time that we move from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions.”

Read: "You can't be serious about supporting this man over me. Me! I'm a Clinton. What the hell is going on here?"

Beyonce, 2007: "Why would I be mad at Jennifer? I can only imagine the pressure she had being a woman that's never had an album, never done a movie."

Read: "Jennifer Who? Has she done anything but sing a famous ballad in this movie and be on American Idol? I don't think so. Let her get her lil shine on. I'm known internationally."

Hillary, 2008: "Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will! Yes, we will!"

Read: "I just accused him of plaigarism so now I'll just use his words--his campaign slogan, in fact-- and turn them around to try to make him look stupid. See how that works?"

Awww. Hillary was so patient and understanding while her husband had his turn. Now some "kid" with "no experience" and "no accomplishments" is stealing her shine. She simply cannot believe this is happening to her and has clearly begun losing her mind,
particularly demonstrated by her pointedly pathetic jack and remix of Barack Obama's campaign slogan in an effort to rile her tired, weary supporters that are probably eyeballing switching camps.

SO....the big question: do you feel sorry for her?

As always, poll on top to the left!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BIC History Month: A Literary Moment

"look/i made you fall in love with me/did i do it with my poetry?/i never write the ones that rhyme/but i tried really hard this time..."

-Ashleigh Marie Brown

Oh, wow. Wowowowowow. I'm so not a poet. I'm a writer. But as most writers and musicians who aren't "poet-poets", I've dipped and dabbled in poetry throughout the years. Well, in honor of BIC History Month I decided to put myself on complete blast by posting this laughable old poem of mine I just happened across. Just as a little BIC background as to why this is side-splittingly hilarious, this was written after I'd done the loosey goosey one time with a college cohort of mine that was actually a great friend before I tossed it up like a dummy. Ahhh to be 20 again. Young, dumb and full of...sugar and spice. Desperate to prove I could handle casual sex. Accomplished one thing: proved that I could not handle casual sex, since, as you will read below, I promptly decided I was falling in love with him (false) and began a notebook full o' sickeningly desperate love poems that I wrote furiously in at all times, even while out with other guys. Actually, especially while out with other guys. I know, I know, the most ridiculous BIC: the girl who acts hard but is really a gigantic, overly sensitive softie.

Wanting

We don’t talk anymore…rarely and

It’s the wanting that keeps me awake at night

and when you pull away

I only want to hold you tighter, pull you closer

I want to feel your lips upon my own

to hear your drowsy voice speak, quiet,

late in my ear

I want to feel your hands, your head, resting on

my body

want you to feel and hear what’s happening inside me

I want to touch you while you sleep, run my fingers across your skin and

try not to wake you up

enjoy a private romance with my thoughts of love

for you, when it’s love

if it’s love

I want to wrap my legs around yours, catch you and

trap you,

stick my lips into the space between your jaw and your collarbone (i love that space on you),

that little spot of neck,

so insignificant to you that I can call it my own

and not be lying to myself…

I want you

I want you to listen to me and understand me, talk to me

the way I talk to you

with the ear of supposed love, the ear of

longing and needing what is furthest from my grasp

I want you

and I want you to want me

but

I don’t want to feel your lips on mine because

I am afraid that there will be no fire behind your kiss,

this time

that I will be just another pair of lips,

just

another tally on a sheet, a way to pass the time

I don’t want to hear your drowsy voice,

not saying the words

I’ve dreamed you’d say

the “I need you”s and “you complete me”s

I can’t take the words you might really say

the accusations and statements that show

that you don’t know me,

don’t have faith in me,

don’t feel me or understand me the way I work to understand you

I don’t want to feel your head on my belly

listening to my body work, feeling my organs run

if you don’t understand that they work and

run for you…that my lungs

inhale you with each greedy breath and my heart

absorbs you, drips of you…

I don’t want to touch you while you sleep

if your back is turned away from me

I don’t want to watch you if I never get to

fall asleep first, knowing you will watch me too

I don’t want to put my lips on your neck and call that spot mine

if one day you won’t come close again

then I will have lost more than just you

but my spot,

as well…

I don’t want to wrap my legs around you

hold you close, don’t want to catch you

if you never fall into my hands, if you never trip or

lean my way

I don’t want you if you don’t want me

but I’ve lied because

I don’t want to want you if you don’t want me

and I do

I could lie under you though all four seasons, all twelve months

through the heat and the cold

the sun and the rain

I am the heat-

hot for you, the sun because I light up when you’re around

but maybe

maybe you are the cold, cold for me-

cold to me and the rain, dampening my spirits

piercing my skin with your hurtful words

drizzling when you stare at me

but pouring when you look away

I don’t want to want you if you don’t want me but I do

keep listening and understanding you

more

in hopes of hearing the one thing that will unlock your

safe, the one thing that can be my skeleton key to your heart

I don’t want this supposed love, don’t want this mirror

of self-criticism that comes with you, this desperation to see myself

as you see me, to view myself

as you view me, to dissect myself

as you dissect me, rate me, size me up, and categorize me

I don’t want this longing

this needing what is furthest from my grasp and I know how

nonsensical I can be because I don’t want

you to ever see me as unpure, to ever see my feelings

as less than they are,

I don’t want you to see me as the me you think you know

I don’t want you to be someone that I don’t know

I don’t want you to love anything more than you love me

And I don’t want to love you more than you love me…

but mostly

I don’t want to love you

more than I love me

But I could

and the wanting and

not wanting of needing you and loving you and forgetting you has me wanting

to talk to you more than I’ve ever

wanted

anything before.

-AMB

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Friday, February 15, 2008

I Gave At The Office

"I give good love/I'll buy your clothes/I'll cook your dinner too baby/soon as I get home from work..."

-Babyface

One of my best friends (let's call her Willie), a veritable genius of conversation and ideas wrapped up in a [she says 5'1"; I say 4'10.5"] figure of sex, uber-sophisticated charm, and $600 stilettos, is--once again--in love with a black Gordon Gekko. Willie has fallen for a baseball team worth of them over the nearly nine years we've known one another, but this new one really takes the cake. A drippingly metrosexual, high-powered executive, this one's career is orgasmically international...with an ego to match. Recently, after she received an email from him inquiring about their plans for Valentine's Day that sounded very similar to something he must have clicked off to his secretary earlier in the day, we began to wonder: at what point, for these Alpha males with fantastic jobs, a stunning portfolio and exciting ways to spend free time, do they drawn the line between how they handle us and how they handle those incredible careers?

I must preface this with the fact that Willie is every drippingly metrosexual, high-powered executive's wet dream. She's attractive, bewitchingly intelligent and calling her articulate would be a racial faux pas of the highest proportions. She loves good food, travel, and is addicted to SAT words. Her closet is stuffed with a mixture of expensive but decidely un-flashy Hugo Boss and J. Crew outfits in strategically color-coded bunches. Her prized shoe collection of aforementioned stilettos comes second only to her burgeoning book and wine collections...okay, definitely not second, but almost as equally significant. And so it shouldn't really surprise anyone that a man whose [little] free time is spent traveling, reading, and gourmet cooking would be attracted to a woman whose free time is spent...reading, gourmet eating, and traveling.

The concept of a trophy wife, while more often than not true to the image the title connotes, is about more than just a visual spectacle. Often, women are simply an extension of what the man in our life loves. Photographers who marry photogenic women, musicians who gravitate toward melodically gifted partners or women with a vast appreciation for music, businessmen who end up with commodity-esque trophy wives, high earners, or a rare combination of both. This is no coincidence. Ask most women what they consider to be highest on a man's list of priorities and one of the top three would be his job. His job, in which his entire male identity tends to be wrapped up. Men spend a great deal of time and energy crafting their professional and social image. They don't like to be outwardly defined and are generally careful to stay within the boundaries (or lack thereof) they themselves create. This being so, and every man needing a better half, is it far-fetched to think they then find a partner for which the shift from professional to social to romantic is quick and painless?

Most men don't want to have to be two different people at any given time (that's women that tend to shoulder that task). Men want those around them to understand and accept who they are so that their awareness of who they're supposed to be at any given time doesn't have to be unusually heightened. A man wants a woman that understands who he is and what he does and doesn't have a problem with it--just what women want for ourselves, in fact. And, given that we often share the love for what these "Career Men" do initially, we don't have a problem with it in the beginning. One of the many reasons a woman can fall in love with a man is because he embodies a manifestation of her own personal goals or that which she most admires in herself. Particularly if he's further along in his professional development, she mentally romanticizes what their life could be like together, picturing insider trading or something comparable after hot lovemaking. But when the responsibilities of their job begin to encroach on the relationship we have with them, or we become so comfortable with their professional role that they're allowed to bring it home, we tend to get rather salty.

At first the salt just seasons the relationship (who doesn't like a little bit of sexual tension every now and then, not to mention a man with amends to make), but soon it's being rubbed into the wound of the disintegrating connection between us. The photographer's muse no longer wants to sit for pictures; she wants to take long walks and go to amusement parks. The musician's woman doesn't want to write songs or listen to his new stuff, she wants to go out of town and forget about it all. And the executive's girlfriend does not want to receive articulate email requests for dinner; she wants him to call and say he can't live without her.

And there you have it. It's not about much beyond that. When the other things a woman wants to do become tedious and cumbersome for the workaholic, when his response to everything outside his work turns peppered with sighs and blank stares, then we have a problem. No woman wants to be treated like a job, like an obligation. And there are plenty of men who are aware of this. Unfortunately, I think that the breakdown in communication is that these men who attack these fabulous careers with such fervor and claw their way to the top are used to getting what they want; they're used to delivering, they're used to sealing the deal. And so when they pursue us, it's with a formula that they know will work. They see something they want and they're conditioned to go after it, to possess it. However, once they feel they "have" us, it's back to old tricks as usual, back to the grind of putting their work first. And the women who admired the drive and ambition initially begin to feel left out and slighted.

My friend Autumn had a theory in college that addressed the widespread phenomenon of men being super interested in the beginning and slowly getting more and more lukewarm in their behavior, even though you sense they really care about you. She felt that men almost always fall in love first, but get scared because they're not sure they want to have "chains" on them or if the woman is even right, and so they back off of the lady who is now head over heels because they did and said all the right things to make her fall in love. I tend to agree with this, and I think that for twenty and thirty-somethings it takes on an even greater significance. I think these men see a quality in a woman that so closely resembles something they love about what they do, and they want to take ownership of that intangible something that they can never truly possess in a job. A corporate player, for instance, can never own the concept of wheeling and dealing, but he can "own" a woman whose words and actions typify that concept, or one who is the visceral embodiment of what that lifestyle can breed. Similarly, a musician can never own music, a writer can never own the written word. They can, however, take possession of something so close in nature to it that they can derive the same pleasure at home that they get from work. And so they do. And sometimes...we get the short end of the stick.

I can't be mad at them. And I can't be mad at us. It's a quandry when you've found a man who you so admire for what he does, even if he does it too much. On the other hand, a woman's life's blood comes from attention. What purpose is there to even having a man if he's not giving you the time and attention in the way you need? And furthermore, is it incumbent upon a man to change his behavior or incumbent upon a woman to change her expectations?

The quick answer is neither. But I'd venture to say that what really matters is how much the man and woman actually matter to each other. First off, a man is going to make time for what matters to him...so even if the job comes first often, the woman must come out victorious from time to time for things to work out. And most men will at some point realize that they've got to do something to hold onto their partner. On the other side, some women are suckers for the passion. They've gotta have the attention, they've gotta have the constant flow of cool words and warm touches. They could be with anyone with any job as long as he's lovin' on them. And for other women, the passion is in the work. Their man's attractiveness is in his particular brand of genius, the drive he applies to his work translates nearly directly into the drive she puts into making and giving love to him. As depressing as it may be to others, some women will always be in the kind of relationship that puts life's work above life's pleasures because deep down, they too value the hustle. And the value they place on that hustle supercedes their need for attention, it comes before their inherent need for affection. And so there may be some lonely nights...and days...and there may be some lean times when his attention just simply doesn't belong to her. Some argue that this is not love , this is not a relationship. But in the end, the time these women do share with a man they see a little of themselves in and think the world of is worth the time without him.

What do you think?

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Friday, February 8, 2008

You're My Best Friend?

"When I think of talking, it is of course with a woman. For talking at its best being an inspiration, it wants a corresponding divine quality of receptiveness, and where will you find this but in a woman?" -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Women love the feeling of pillow talk. It doesn't matter what the conversation is about, it just matters that both parties are actively involved in the exchange of something beyond pleasantries. Whether it's post-coital or just lounging around chatting in bed, there is something beautifully comfortable about being able to have a stimulating conversation with someone who, well, stimulates you.

But this isn't really the norm. Not to say good bedside chats are the rarest of all things, but the simple fact is that a good conversation with your man every once in awhile doesn't make him the person you run to with every deep thought and every life question. Those things are still largely reserved for the women in our lives.

Most women recognize that whenever they really need to talk, their man is just simply not the person to go to--especially since a vast majority of the times we "really need to talk" it's about him! But why is this? Why can't we depend on them to be a consistent sounding board, to care? How convenient would it be to be able to get all the love and support we needed in one place; how convenient would it be if men could be a one-stop shop of passion, protection, and prescription? Yeah, well, fat chance.

This conundrum actually causes a problem for a lot of women who naively search for a guy to be that man for them or even worse, expect the one they have to miraculously morph into a male version of their favorite homegirl. When the Truth is that...drumroll...it's just not gonna happen.

Women are under the ridiculous impression that the deeper a man falls in love with you, the more apt he is to care about every little word that flies of our mouths or every little step we take. (I think we have the dream-pushing music industry to thank for this, by the way). The reality is that the thing he's most apt to do is pretend harder.

When we were in college, my good friend Autumn and I had out first major university eye-opener together. Our professor in our Black Women Writers course assigned a 1980 essay by a critically acclaimed feminist writer, Adrienne Rich titled "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence". It was the first time--Autumn's as well--that anything in college made me think differently about any of my preconceived notions. What Rich fundamentally asserts is that there's something called the "lesbian continuum" in which women are socially deviated from their natural tendency to find complete fulfillment in women. More simply stated, if mothers are the first source of nurturing and physical fulfillment for both men and women, it's only natural for men to spend their lives trying to recreate that relationship. In other words, it's in a man's very nature to look for physical and emotional fulfillment from a woman. However, if women also have mothers, Rich poses the compelling question of why we ever redirect our search for soul satisfaction away from women and towards men. She feels that "lesbian existence" or lesbianism, goes far beyond sexual preference or the converse of heterosexuality and defines a female necessity for other women; and she views rampant female man-chasing as an economic imperative and an avoidance of the punishment single and lesbian women encounter.

Now, just to lay this on the line, I don't agree with Rich's tyrannical views on sexuality. And while they may not be popular, I have my own personal views on lesbianism as a fabrication. While I fully believe in naturally homosexual men (I have seen gay male babies, I'm sorry, I have), I simply feel that ALL women truly desire a man sexually. Our bodies are created for it, our bodies respond to men sexually. And while there are ways in which women can arouse each other, I do not feel that this is a primordial desire whatsoever. I agree with Rich that at some point in a woman's life we are taught to believe that men are more important to our futures than women, but I don't believe that stems solely from a financial necessity or societal pressure.

Rich does, however, have good points with which I do agree (and I encourage you to read the article because I'm truly paraphrasing and also lumping her beliefs in with other anthropologists and authors she quotes). She presents men as "emotionally secondary" to women and says that "women have a richer, ongoing world to fall back on...men do not become as emotionally important to women as women do to men." She also states that women have learned to "deny the limitations of masculine lovers for both psychological and practical reasons". To this I say, you're damn right we have!! Men ARE emotionally secondary to us for two major reasons. Number one: they don't care. Men simply cannot authentically pretend to care about things they don't care about. There's a fantastically brief reason for this that doubles as number two: they're not women. Women are the emotional beings, women are the nurturers and caretakers. Even for those of us who aren't "typical" women, we still have an element of femininity that makes it easier for us to be shoulders for others than men.

Since I've veered into off my favorite stopover, "English Professorland", I'll say that I said ALL of this to say that women are constantly trying to figure out why the men they love so much can't ever stack up to the women they love so much. This is the same as asking "why can't men be more like women?" Which is the same as men asking why women can't be more like men. Because we just can't. They really are from Mars, and we are from Venus. We speak two different languages and the sooner we all realize and embrace that, the better. Men will always be the providers of great joy for many women from a physical standpoint and also from an emotional one. Going beyond conversation, there is nothing like being wrapped in the arms of a man who loves you. There is a physical pleasure that emanates from men that has little to do with sex. This is how I know Adrienne Rich is off the mark; regardless of what she says, I know for sure that the love of a man does provide a visceral satisfaction and serenity, a feeling of being protected, that a woman cannot provide.

On the other hand, there is a trajectory of female support throughout the life of a woman on which we become dependent. Mothers are the earliest providers of this, sisters and girlfriends carry the torch on throughout life. Women will always understand what it means and what it is to be a woman, and for this innate empathy we grow dependent on one another. Men grow dependent on us because in addition to knowing ourselves so well, we spend a lifetime trying to get to know and understand them. We can't really say the same about them. They may say that they're trying to figure us out...but ultimately they view it as something rather futile.

This begs the question of what exactly our value is to men. If they're never gonna understand us and never going to try, what is the point of ever trying? Are we resigned to life as arm pieces, sex objects, conversation pieces, cooks, maids, and wombs? Of course not. I believe men see a vast significance to women beyond these things. Essentially, we hold them together. Throughout life, whatever men need, up to and including money, can be or is provided by women. Their earliest memories of nutrition involve the breast. Their skinned knees are kissed by women, their 'children can be so cruel' hurt feelings are validated and soothed by women, their sexual awakening is wrapped up in us, their emotional fulfillment as men is found in us, their identity as fathers grows from what we provide them from our own bodies. Women, as an entity, become the center of men's lives.

This all adds up to one conclusion. Women who don't choke this down will always be frustrated by trying to get everything they need in one person, and they will always be frustrated trying to find completion in men. Women will always be our main source of gratification. But conversely, we shouldn't allow men to become our greatest source of frustration. They offer something to us that women can never provide, and once we fully grasp the duality of the roles of men and women in our lives, the better off we are. Men are wonderful; but as Carrie Bradshaw so aptly worded it once "[friends] are [our] insides". Because they get it. Men take it, but women will always get it.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

BIC History Month: You Oughta Know

"you're never too full for dessert..."

-Gwendolyn Mae Oliver

It had been a rough 30 years, but the other shoe finally dropped and Jimmy left for that other woman, moved out and moved into the other woman's house with she and her son. She was heartbroken the day he left, but as [her] legend has it, as she laid across she and Jimmy's bed crying, a huge flock of birds gathered outside her bedroom window and formed an arc as the sun came out. She didn't know what was going to happen in that moment, but she knew whatever happened would be okay. She got up, and over the next few months got herself together. In fact, she was looking better than ever.

And then, suddenly, Jimmy was back. Through a predictable series of Lifetime-movie-meets-Waiting-to-Exhale events, he soon left again. This time, however, she didn't pull herself together quite so well. In fact, she was never the same. She put on an amount of weight that shrouded her fleshy, brickhouse curves in fat; she slowly did away with proper haircare. And although her flawless skin always glowed, there was absolutely no denying that Gwendolyn Mae Oliver's eyes were always sad.

All of this began happening before I was even born, so the Gwen I'm most familiar with was the one who cried at the drop of a hat, who was constantly celebrating a new pity party, who was so lonely that she kept lists of who called her on her birthday and Mother's Day. My grandmother never, as far as our family knows, ever had another lover in life besides James Oliver. Which was a shame because she passed in 2005. My grandfather left the second time in 1981. That's a long time to go without...something or someone. Definitely the funniest woman I have ever personally known and hands down the best cook ever, Grandmommy serves as a cautionary tale to her more analytical descendants, namely my cousin Tyra and I. Self-esteem and a better choice of man would have made all the difference in the world in the course of her life, but she became more and more a grandmother and less and less a woman as the years went by.

To the beautiful but ultimately tragic woman from whom the vast majority of the BIC in my bloodstream flows, Happy BIC History Month.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BIC History Month: Ooh Baby Take It I Don't Want To Tease You

"..all you got to do is make sure he stop at the drugstore and handle some business...don't be comin 'round here with no big belly talkin bout you didn't know what to do."

-Sister

I know she's not real. But she's always felt so real to me. She might be a cinematic character, but she represents so many young women of the 60's...beautiful girls caught up with the "big time" guys of the era--drug dealers and gangsters. Sister was gorgeous and talented and could have easily been a superstar. Instead she let her desires for "the good life" and her predilection for bad boys lead her straight to the [admittedly sexy but] overwhelmingly vicious hoodrich Satin Struthers who turned her out, beat her senseless, got her hooked on the drugs he pushed and ultimately killed her. And she went for it. All because he kept her laced.

It's a tragic and cautionary hood tale that defined a generation, a revered model of womanhood we're slowly edging away from as a culture--but we can't really say it's eradicated just yet. Hey, stay in prayer on that one. Whenever I watch this movie and see Sister talking to her mother in the scene where she says "baby, all he's gonna do is drag you down..." to which her daughter cries "but Mama, he's so big time..." it NEVER fails: I start sobbing. Sadly, although I've loved it since the 80's, the movie Sparkle has just recently begun to get its shine and finally scored a DVD release. Hats off to Lonette McKee as Sister who truly puts down!

And just because I love it, check this out:

Happy BIC History Month!

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

BIC History Month: Slippery When Wet

"I said to one member of the press, 'Let me ask you a question: Would you have liked it the other way if it was said 'Lionel Richie Beat Up His Wife? Does that sound better?' The guy said 'no.' Then I said when a couple has an argument and it gets physical, wouldn't most guys just not throw a punch at all? I didn't do anything to Brenda. And that sounds better than I knocked her out."--Lionel Richie


I think we'd all agree Lionel Richie, with his recent sad return to the R&B scene in leather pants and markedly non-existent sex appeal (let's face it: he just doesn't work minus the afro or the jheri curl he rocked at the height of his success), longs for his former days of chart-topping. What he probably doesn't long for are the days of getting thrashed by his ex-wife, BIC History maker Brenda Harvey-Richie, who tore his and his then-girlfriend Diane's tails up in 1988 after discovering them in a Beverly Hills apartment together. She was arrested for spousal abuse, but wasn't convicted. We tip our BIC hats to Brenda, Lionel's first love and former songwriting partner, who couldn't believe the temerity of him to cheat. Happy BIC History Month!

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

BIC History Month: Dr. Feelgood

"We must stop this love affair with the fetus."

-Dr. Joycelyn Elders

This moment in BIC History features the charismatic and controversial Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the former United States Surgeon General appointed by President Clinton and later fired by President Clinton following a series of remarks and suggestions which included: the above quote concerning abortion rights, illegal drug legalization, and teaching masturbation in schools as a means of promoting abstinence. While the right-wing stood in awe and disgust of Dr. Elders' teachings, she is considered a visionary to many in the fights against HIV/AIDS and radical approaches to improving public health. I'd also like to add that in light of the presidential administration we have now, in hindsight it seems rather silly that Clinton asked for her resignation (particularly following his public humiliation of Lani Guinier ). But I digress.

To Joycelyn Elders, a trailblazer in BIC history.

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BIC History Month: A Literary Moment

"she lived on the edge of an emotional abyss/or perhaps she lived in the well of a void/there were always things she wanted/like arms to hold her/eyes that understood/a friend to relax with/someone to touch/always someone to touch..."

-Nikki Giovanni, "Introspection"

As a lover of poetry and literature, I really can't think of a more appropriate time of year (Black History Month) to begin featuring the poetry of female poets I love and have loved on this blog-- old, modern, and postmodern (read: my own poetry and that of my family and friends) alike. We'll start with the mother of them all (in my book), Nikki Giovanni, whose poetry is more BIC than most and fully deserves a blog devoted to her huge and complex body of work, alone.

Kidnap Poem
ever been kidnapped

by a poet

if i were a poet

i'd kidnap you

put you in my phrases and meter

you to jones beach

or maybe coney island

or maybe just to my house

lyric you in lilacs

dash you in the rain

blend into the beach

to complement my see

play the lyre for you

ode you with my love song

anything to win you

wrap you in the red Black green

show you off to mama

yeah if i were a poet i'd

kidnap you

-Nikki Giovanni

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Friday, February 1, 2008

BIC History Month: Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

"The more I trust you, the more you let me down."

-Mary Woodson

For the month of February, this blog will be celebrating BIC History Month, discussing and highlighting cases of Black women's insane antics. I thought it fitting to begin BIC History Month with an extreme and rare case of BIC behavior, one so groundbreaking that it is singlehandedly responsible for two major developments in the R&B music industry--first, one of R&B's greatest stars ever turning to gospel, and many years later, contributing lyrics to Usher's multiplatinum album, Confessions.

This moment in BIC History comes in the form of Mary Woodson,
the former girlfriend of Al Green and the woman who initiated hot grits' foray into the world of weaponry.

Around 4 a.m. on October 17, 1974, R&B superstar Al Green arrived at his Memphis home following an argument with Mary Woodson, a woman with whom he had become involved. Apparently, Mary was just a fling and desired to be more, particularly after having hastily left her husband and children for Al; but, as one website reported was
"
not even the one who occupied the greater portion of Al Green's erotic imagination (that would have been Juanita, a whore he'd proudly pimped to white businessmen), nor the one who troubled him most at the time (that would have been Linda Wells, a former "secretary," who had charged him that summer of assaulting her with a bottle)". After a long night in the studio, Al and Mary parted ways--he, to his bathroom to take a hot bath; she, to the guest quarters to go to sleep. However, as Al bathed, Mary went into his kitchen and began cooking a large pan of hot grits. Just as Al was getting out of the tub, Mary came into his bedroom and dumped the entire pan of boiling hot grits on, scalding his back, stomach and arms.

While this could be construed as morbidly justifiable retribution for a man who had a very long history of doing the womenfolk all the way wrong, this story takes a sad turn when we learn that not only did Al suffer second and third degree burns that have scarred his body to this day, but Mary Woodson followed up her valiant grits efforts by planting bullets from Al's .38 into her own chest in the next room. The police found in her purse a note declaring her intentions and her reasons. "The more I trust you," she'd written, "the more you let me down."

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