Nicki Minaj…I’m a fan

Posted: December 18, 2010 in BlackFace
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Feminist watch out!  Black community, don’t fret!!  Before I am declared a lost soul of commercialism and misogynist, let me be clear.  Liking Nicki Minaj does not make me shortsighted, narrow-minded, or…crazy.  It makes me observant.  Critiquing only the coping mechanism of a woman whose Mom left Trinidad for “greener pastures” only to be met with the brick and mortar of the projects; and to deal with her father’s crack addiction.  She made her way.  Making a way.  Realizing that though her career may last tentatively, she’s making the best of it….a true to life hustler, entrepreneur, lover of life.  Yep, she’s doing it well!  Maybe some are a little perturbed, not so much by her blatant, extreme sensuality, or brazen sexuality – but by her ability to pull it off gracefully.  Encompassing the wisdom of a 40 year old, she has decided to live  doing exactly what makes her happy – the ultimate key to life . I’m a fan Nicki Minaj!


Saturday, 12:00 noon: If this day and time combination is etched in your mind, chances are your television was tuned into Soul Train.  I imagine a space in your home where you desperately tried every dance move; your wardrobe followed.  The Soul Train Scramble Board caused you to “holla” at the television, especially if you believed time was running out.  Who could forget the commercials, “Ultra Sheen, Afro Sheen, and Ultra Sheen cosmetics.”  It was a place where for one hour you could see African Americans (or Black people in the 70’s) actors, newsmakers, athletes and entertainers convene in the culture.  Don Cornelious…priceless.  Which begs the question, “Where was all this fanfare last night?!”  A few mentions of the founder and host in a comedic sketch; a brief spot on the late Sid McCoy, the voice of Soul Train; a few random clips of the Soul Train Dancers; and the saving grace of the evening, honoring Anita Baker and Ronald Isley.  The first 30 minutes of the show had me wondering whether I was watching a musical whose focus was to resurrect R-Kelly’s career (sorry bruh, you’re God forgiven – but the thought of you with a child makes you hard to watch…or believe); or that the host were just, kinda sorta…there.  Unfortunately, the glory days of the show of celebration faded into a mini-low budgeted cable music award gathering.  Don’t believe me, check the audience reaction, especially when the camera crew was desperately scanning the room for a favorable (most time bewildered) face in the crowd.  With that, I turned off the television and allowed my DVR to do the work, watched the parts that were most representative of Soul Train’s legacy, and promptly deleted the entry.  The reruns are a more appropriate and authentic award to the Soul Train gang and its prodigious host and guest than the debacle of an awards show we saw last night.  And in parting we wish you “Love, Peace and Soooooooooooooul!!!”

One day I had the television off for a few hours… it was peaceful.  The constant chatter of news, bad news, politics, crime and reality shows was silenced.  This got me to thinking about how much we interact with television, and less with each other.  For example, how many times have we heard, “Don’t call me during my show?” or called someone just to receive a conversation of umm-hmms when their show is on?  Thanks to caller ID, one could be completely obliterated from contact when someone’s show is on.  Question is, what’s so important about your “show”…the show where ownership and programming is in the hands of someone who may not look like you, care about your concerns, or rub elbows with you and anyone who looks like you?  In fact, what if Black folk stopped watching television so much so that more reading became the cause de’resistance?  Maybe some of our boys/men will abandoned pipe dreams and focus; Maybe some of our girls/women will be more thought provoking in their choices.  Maybe some of our mothers/fathers will do less escaping in the tv and face the issues in their marriage and/or families.  Maybe.  In that silenced living room, I read more, wrote more, thought more.  And maybe, just maybe I’ll watch less television, so I can further get my act together…for real, I didn’t miss the television all that much.

JD, Ph.D., MD, MBA.  Let’s face it.  When African American men and women achieve this type of academic credential and meet each other, the attenaes go up!  The assumption: he or she understands exactly what I am going through.  Ok, me stop playing – TRANSLATION: Someone on my level!  Arguments arise: Black women are too picky; Black women need to lower their standards; Black women need to understand that the majority of brothers are working class.  Black men don’t want a Black woman with the same credentials as they.  Black men at that level are already married…to White women!  However, professional Black men are also on a search for a Black woman who essentially “gets it”: Her intellect, social graces, Mercedes/BMW/etc., and mortgaged property are subtle indications that she has a 6-figure income, a 401K and knows what to do with it.  Of course we’re not as naive to believe that all those things a great partner makes; but it’s a great beginning!  The struggles are similar; the expectation to be 10 times better is critical to upward mobility; and to be that beacon of success to the remaining Black family and community who is on the way, is a pressure both understand.  How nice would it be for each to find one another to weather the storm with while enjoying the fruits of their labor; lifting while they climb:  To be that support and shoulder to cry on; to allow that Black man to be the leader in his household when his authority at work is consistently undermined; to allow that woman to shine in the boardroom – but for her to acquire the wisdom to turn it off when she gets home.  More than a great financial statement, a home in an exclusive community, and an access never imagined, Black professionals need each other as they move toward the mark…more than many may believe.

From birth we learn that it’s better to lie when caught, than throw ourselves under the bus; even when we are engaging in activities we like.  You see, self gratification is promoted, yet vilified in society.  On the one hand we are encouraged to be self sacrificing meeklings; yet questioned if we bypass exactly what turns us on.  When we stand in denial of what we truly enjoy, eventually we find ways to get what we want: good, bad, or ugly.  Though spiritual beliefs became a catalytic, protesting same-sex marriage as wrong, I imagine many who walked with Bishop Eddie Long suffered from the same struggle; this turns me on, but I’ll lose everything if I acknowledge.  If Bishop Long likes sexual relationships with males, clearly, it turns him on.  Yes, he’s married.  Yes, he’s a wealthy megapreacher.  Yes, he’s “supposed” to hold the moral compass above all else human.  Yet his creative means of achieving gratification possibly came at the expense of impressionable young men, their parents, and a congregation that forgot that he is only a conduit of God’s word; not God incarnate.  Thus, it appears as if Bishop Eddie Long’s status as a leading megapreacher in the Black community will slowly diminish less the money and status he has reveled in.  However, one may be surprised to find him even happier when the smoke clears.  For he can be exactly who he is, and has been to many, for the rest of his life.  Honestly,  aren’t we all on a quest to be ourselves?