Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thank You Miss Rosa, You Were The Spark

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Belaboring Beyoncé for Naught

Gawker.com, the irreverent daily obsession of Manhattan media types, gets a little ridiculous in their sendup of Beyoncé's cover interview in the new Vanity Fair.

To her credit, unlike some blabbermouth celebrities who claim to want privacy, Beyoncé is still private about her personal life. But she does explain how she has "grown up" and doesn't have a problem going from songs like “Independent Women” to “Cater 2 U,” where she sings about bringing her man his slippers and, my favorite part, brushing his hair and putting his doo-rag on.

Gawker's response?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Alice Paul just collectively pooed in their graves.

Well, I say let them "poo." While Stanton, Mott and Paul deserve credit for the work they did for the benefit of white women in the sufferage movement, there is a black mark (no pun intended) on their record. Their group, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) opposed sufferage for black women and excluded black women from their membership. NAWSA got support from Southern white women by claiming that the white woman's vote would maintain white supremacy in the South. When it became clear that NAWSA did not support all women, The National Association of Colored Women (NACW), was formed by black women leaders including the venerable Mary Church Terrell in 1896.

So in reality, Stanton, Mott and Paul would not have cared about Beyoncé "catering to her man". They would have been more concerned about how Beyoncé scrubbed their floors or how fast her man was toting that barge and lifting that bale -- let's not get it twisted.

Black women like Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett fought for the sufferage of black women so Beyoncé and the rest of us could be all that we were meant to be without limitation.

Beyoncé, go and brush your shoulders off!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

August Wilson: Farewell to a Theater Giant

I have been so nuts with work that I haven't had a chance to do much blogging, but I had to pay my respects to the brilliant August Wilson, whom we lost too soon last weekend.

I still can't believe that Seven Guitars is the only one of his plays I managed to see on Broadway, but I am so glad that I did see at least one. I have read all of his plays however and, unlike some works, they are truly as lyrical and vivid in black and white as they are on stage.

I also love how he held out for a black director for the film version of Fences ("I declined a white director not on the basis of race but on the basis of culture. White directors are not qualified for the job. The job requires someone who shares the specifics of the culture of black Americans.")

The film was not made, but that doesn't mean that it can't be made one day soon -- with a black director (Kasi Lemmons, anyone?)

Fittingly, the Virginia Theater on Broadway is due to be renamed the August Wilson Theater on October 17th.

Sadly, another fond farewell is due to Nipsey Russell whom I enjoyed so much as a little girl in The Wiz as the Tinman*, and on whatever game show he'd pop up on with one of his zany, insightful rhymes ("The opposite of pro is con/ That fact is clearly seen/ If progress means move forward/ Then what does Congress mean?")

I had no idea that he spoke four languages and served in World War II. Unfortunately, little is known about our black pioneers unless they were hallowed "firsts" (i.e. "The first black...")

Hopefully that will change soon.

* With corrections.... I was really tired when I posted the first time.