Thursday, May 03, 2012

Friday Folly Galore

Star Jones Not Amused with Housewives

Miss Star Jones, current Today show commentator and former reality show contestant, said that enough is enough of the current house wife shows. The girl has done gone public and said it out loud.
According to Internet blog post and celebrity chatter, Star Jones has had enough with Basketball Wives and is launching a campaign against it. After seeing recent episodes where women such as Evelyn Lozada have been fighting (with Evelyn climbing across the table to attack a woman), Jones says that it’s time to turn the corner on the destructive nature of the show.

Jones has this to say about the matter:

“It may be ‘comfortable’ to be quiet when women of color slap the crap out of each other & run across tables barefoot, but #ENOUGHisENOUGH.”
“About to put together a group of sisters to finally ‘tell the truth’ about the image of women of color in the media,” she said.
Star made reference to a recent episode, where Jennifer Williams was slapped. Williams has decided to file suit against those involved, rather than responding with additional violence.
“And the thought that the woman from #BBW who was smacked doesn’t have the RIGHT to file assault charges is LUDICROUS! You NEVER give up your right not to have your ‘person’ intentionally assaulted unless you are participating in an agreed physical activity,” Star went on to write. Star then issued a call to other women with platforms to support her movement.
“I’m asking all my high profile, platform having conscientious sisters who STAND FOR SOMETHING to just say #ENOUGHisENOUGH & call folk out! Be mad. But think about what I said. WE ARE BETTER than that. You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”

 Actually Jones has a point. Not only are these reality shows produced commerically they are highly edited to add to the drama that audiences seem to crave and desire. I'm not all about more Cosby type shows, but as a avid TV watcher, I'd like to see more products that depict Blacks living and loving in their lives that don't include making it rain, cars that are unrealistic for the average African American, Blinged out buffoonery and other assorted stereotypical imagery that for the most part doesn't really represent most Blacks. With the onset of Black on Black crime, lack of economic parity and a array of social justice questions looming large within the Black community, such shows may be "escapist" fare but in my opinion doesn't add much value to the Black experience. I can't for the life of me understand how so many talented, moneyed, power slinging and shot calling Black folks in the entertainment field haven't been able to direct, produce, write and craft but loads of content into the pipeline. There's Tyler Perry's Atlanta based studio's, Ubber Megawatt TV Producer Oprah Winfrey's OWN, and numerous other's with production houses and companies. With all this star power flushed with access to cash, one would think that more positive options would be the order of the day. Yet our choices are still limited both in theatrical and network offerings. I hope for the day when there's more than Madea Part 22, Booty Call 7 or the development of Arkansas country housewives 2.

Little Rock City Board: Must See TV

As I've stated previously, if you haven't checked out the Little Rock City Board meetings televised on cable channel 11- LRTV, then you missed some of the best reality TV on the system. Its a hoot to watch Mayor Stodala attempt to wrangle and tangle with city issues and dilemmas. I make it my business to see it on the first round or any of the replays that take place later in the week. You want drama? They've got it. Need comic relief? They've got that. Want some suspense? You betcha! I've started to make it my business not miss it. There are several stand outs, most notably Erma "fingers" Hendrix with ongoing "mayor, mayor..mayor I have my hand raised...mayor," routine which is ripe for a rap video mash up. She's combative, outspoken, amusing, abrasive to some degree and always pointed with her comments. She was in fine form this week as she tweak Mayor Stodala with a quip of "so what's new with these questions..." in reference to city sewer issues involving plumbers and certain cost. The good nature Mayor seemed a perturbed about that shot from the hip and then she came back with more verbiage in regards to the recent neighborhood improvements funded by Home Depot whom was offering $1,000 micro grants for citizen use. "Mayor, what's with the chump change..can't we do better. What about the tax money that we are taking in..." I have to assume that the Mayor was reaching a "I'm so o-v-a you Director Hendrix" as he retorted that the project had not had funding in some time and that Home Depot wouldn't appreciate their contribution being seen as "chump change."  At this point I thought I had heard it all, until firebrand, Director Doris Wright pops off that her Barrow Road ward residents had put her on notice concerning the use of Kwanis Park, so in turn she was putting City Manager on blast to get something done about the park and wanted to know when the Barrow bus route was going to be finalize. There are also others who capture my amazement such as dutiful Director Joan Adcock, inquisitive Director Ken Richardson and sometimes embattled City Manager Bruce Moore. Its truly a hoot on some occasions and at other times its watching elected locals trying to be democracy in action. Please take the time not only to watch this colorful meeting but make sure that you are registered to vote.

The Bearble of whiteness of being Gay

Editor’s note: Rob Smith is a writer, lecturer and openly gay U.S. Army and Iraq War veteran. His work has appeared in USA Today, The Huffington Post, Metro Weekly and among others. He is also a contributing author to "For Colored Boys ...," an anthology featuring the stories of gay men of color to be released on March 13. He can be reached at and on Twitter @robsmithonline.

By Rob Smith, Special to CNN
I’m a typical gay male with a defining feature that is atypical in my community.
When I log onto my computer in the morning I check my favorite gay blogs. There, I will undoubtedly see images of people who don’t look like me attached to stories written by other people who don’t look like me. Above the page and to the right of the text are ads for various products being sold. They are modeled by people who don’t look like me. Maybe they are the underwear models made to be eye candy for the brand being promoted. Perhaps they’re the people used to represent the typical gay couple that would be welcome on that cruise, or in that hotel.
When I see people who do look like me written about and shown on my favorite gay blogs, they will most likely share my skin color but not my sexual orientation.
They probably have gotten themselves into trouble for saying or doing something homophobic. When I see the story I will roll my eyes at their stupidity and steel myself for the onslaught of hateful comments that will populate the comment section. The comments always sting because they come from members of my community. I will know exactly what is coming but I read anyway. After years of reading such comments I wonder if this is what all the people in my community who don’t look like me are really thinking about those who do.

When I’m on the train, I read my favorite gay magazine. I can’t remember having ever seen someone who looks like me on the cover. When I read it I see more ads - for underwear, cologne, cruises, hotels, and clothes - with people who don’t look like me. None of the writers look like me, nor are there any stories about anyone who looks like me. When I finally see an advertisement with someone who shares my skin color, the advertisement is for HIV medication.
While I’m waiting for my friend in the gayborhood hotspot I notice that none of the bartenders, DJs, or waiters look like me, nor do most of the clientele. Out of boredom, I fiddle around with the Grindr mobile dating app on my iPhone. My screen is filled with different faces, bodies, and torsos of men in the area. One particularly handsome man attracts my attention, until I read the “NO ASIANS” typed in angry capped letters on his profile. I wonder how I would feel if I were Asian.

After having a few drinks with my friend, I walk home through the garment district in midtown Manhattan. I see a gay male couple walking hand in hand down the street. They also do not look like me. In fact, they look like they could be in one of the gay cruise ads I see in my favorite magazine. Their relaxed and happy faces turn frightened when they see me, and they immediately cease holding hands and separate. On this late night in an unfamiliar area of the city, I am not seen as a member of the LGBT community. I am black. I am male. I am a threat.

The wary looks and quickened paces of nervous white women on the streets of New York are those I’ve become used to over the years, but the reaction from this gay male couple is different. My first instinct is to smile at them, but I don’t. I dart into the subway station and think about it during every second of the ride back uptown. I feel hurt, sad, lonely, and invisible. I feel bad for this couple who, for whatever reason, think that they could be in danger around me just for being themselves. I wonder what books they read, what shows they watch, what magazines they read. I wonder what gay “looks” like to them.

When I get home and turn on the television, I flip through all of the channels that seem to have more gay characters and personalities on them than ever before. I see Nate Berkus, Brad Goreski, Rachel Maddow, the characters on reruns of "Queer as Folk," Rosie O'Donnell, Tabatha Coffey, the gay couple on "Modern Family," and perhaps TV’s most recognizable gay teen, Kurt Hummel of "Glee."
After a bit more television watching, I fall asleep for another day knowing that our community has so many colors, and still wondering why I can only seem to find one.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rob Smith.


1 comment:

Sandy Sarlo said...

Excellent piece! Thank you.