Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rally To Save Darfur in Washington, D.C.

I thought you might like to see some other people at the rally that weren't named George Clooney! The rebels have rejected the peace deal they were offered, so we've got to keep paying attention!

Then again, maybe I will show good 'ole George. If he hadn't shown up, half of the media there probably wouldn't have either. Also in attendance: Chris Rock, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, Elie Weisel, Russell Simmons, Dick Gregory, Gayle King, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sen. Barack Obama, journalist Nick Clooney, singer Patti Austin, Olympian Joey Cheek, Sudanese-born ex-NBA star Manute Bol, Paul Rusesabagina (inspiration for Hotel Rwanda) and a variety of religious and political leaders from around the world.


Akeelah and the Bee is #8 at the Box Office

Oh well...

Weekend Box Office Estimates (U.S.)Apr 28 - 30 weekend

Title Dist. Weekend Gross Cumulative
# of

RV Sony Pictures Releasing $16,400,000 $16,400,000 1 3639

United 93 N/A $11,605,000 $11,605,000 1 1795

Stick It Buena Vista
$11,255,000 $11,255,000 1 2038

Silent Hill TriStar Pictures $9,300,000 $34,231,000 2 2932

Scary Movie 4 The Weinstein Co/Buena Vista
$7,808,000 $78,171,000 3 3418

The Sentinel 20th Century Fox Distribution $7,600,000 $25,541,000 2 2851

Ice Age: The Meltdown 20th Century Fox $7,050,000 $177,708,000 5 3122

Akeelah and the Bee Lions Gate Releasing $6,250,000 $6,250,000 1 2195

The Wild Walt Disney Pictures $4,719,000 $28,430,000 3 2605

The Benchwarmers Sony Pictures Releasing $4,400,000 $52,782,000 4 2695

Friends With Money Sony Pictures Classics $2,173,000 $8,177,000 4 1010

Inside Man Universal Pictures Distribution $2,051,000 $84,435,000 6 129

Friday, April 28, 2006

We Can Save Darfur Right From Our Living Rooms

Or, at least we can start there.

I don't deal with politics on my blog, but the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan is
beyond politics and I think it's time for more regular folks like myself to make some noise about the first true genocide of the 21st century.

I've been keeping my eye on it through the news and various blogs and web sites and lately, the issue finally seems to be gaining some traction. This Sunday, April 30th, there will be a Rally to Stop Genocide in Washington D.C. (and across the country) to draw increased attention to the tragedy in Darfur. In D.C., the rally will be between 2 pm and 4pm in front of the Capital.

Senator Barack Obama and George Clooney held a press conference at the National Press Club yesterday, along with Sam Brownback, the Republican senator who has been working with Obama on this issue. Clooney mentioned an interesting exchange he had with a little Sudanese girl who came to check on him after he became ill after eating some goat. She asked the Oscar winner when he was going to "come back and stop the violence." He told her, "Soon," and she laughed and said, "That's what you always say." I wonder where that little girl is right now.

There are several resources regarding Darfur on Obama's official Senate website and he has devoted several podcasts and blog posts to it as well. One of the sites listed is for the International Crisis Group, which describes itself as an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with staff on over five continents. They have a list of practical steps that regular people like us can take including:

1. Contact your elected representative - You can write a letter or email the President, your Congress person or Senator. They didn't suggest it on their site, but I don't think it would hurt to drop Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a line. If you live outside of the United States, here's the international contact list. And here's another link with a ready-made note to President Bush.

2. Write to your newspaper - You can write a letter to the editor urging your support for increased international pressure in Darfur (not to mention more news coverage.) Once again, the ICG is ready with a list of international newspapers, complete with email addresses.

3. Write a blog post about Darfur - You can post something on your own blog of course, and you can comment on other blogs talking about Darfur, especially widely read political ones. Of course, several bloggers have been on this for a while. Here's a particularly trenchant post by a blogger that calls himself Field Negro on Black Americans and our response (or rather the lack thereof) on Sudan.

The key is to increase the pressure and continually gain heat for this issue. If it takes George Clooney and a little Hollywood to help, then so be it. However, it should be noted that even before the senators and Clooney became involved, there were others working on the issue, including Sudanese model Alek Wek, of the Dinka tribe, who fled her country as a teenager. She has been doing her part, for several years now, to draw attention to not only the atrocities that have been taking place, but also to the practical and medical needs of the people. She has also been working with Doctors Without Borders on Sudan related programs. Here is an interesting profile of Alek being interviewed by Iman from Iman's website.

I'm shocked that there is no rally in New York this weekend (although I'll bet anything somebody will be doing something in Union Square.) Dining for Darfur is going on though. Here's a list of participating restaurants.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Oprah Loves Akeelah and the Bee

No surprise there - I just hope that it translates to Akeelah taking the #1 spot at the box office this weekend! I will also be very interested to see what happens around awards season. Unlike some of the last truly quality black films that we've had (Lackawanna Blues, Something The Lord Made, Boycott, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge) Akeelah and the Bee is a theatrical release - not a cable television movie, which means that it is eligible for Academy Award consideration for Best Picture. KeKe Palmer is eligible for Best Actress and Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne are eligible in the supporting actor categories. They are also eligible for the SAGs (Screen Actor's Guild) and the Golden Globes, so it's going to be very interesting considering last year's pimptastic Oscar ceremony. I think we can safely predict that they've got the NAACP awards locked down and can begin their wardrobe selections now.

On a side note, I just love how Laurence Fishburne told the audience about how he called Oprah and begged her to have them on. He didn't try to "front" for a minute!


Strong Women Get The Insecurity Blues Too

I've noticed that Halle Berry has once again been quoted on the insecurity she has about her looks. And of course, her comments have spread like fire throughout the blogosphere, complete with psychoanalysis and seering criticism. And as usual, the criticism came around to criticizing Halle for being "weak."

So I thought it was really
interesting that two black women that have reputations for being "strong" recently talked about their youthful insecurities on Oprah recently. I would have caught the show, but I was repulsed by the notion of some of the guests, including a 3-year-old that was obsessed by her looks, so I didn't even bother. Had I known that Phylicia Rashad and Vanessa Williams were on I would have tuned in, but I found their comments on Oprah's website.

The question posed was "What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?" Phylicia talks about growing up in a "very beautiful" family with a father that looked like a "matinee idol" and a mother that was "literally so beautiful she would stop traffic." Phylicia said that she would look in the mirror and think that God must have taken a lunch break. She said that it took a long time before she began to feel beautiful, but she did other things to boost her esteem like becoming a majorette and playing the viola. (I loved that part - I played the viola as a kid too.) Phylicia said that she would tell her younger self to "not be so preoccupied with looking for approval from other people" and "the way that we think creates our reality - that's very powerful." Amen!

Like Halle, Vanessa talked about growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and feeling different because she "had booty, full lips" (girl, join the club!) sometimes even within her own family. She said that she would tell her younger self to be "very slow in terms of dealing with boys. With a new body, with all the added attention, there are a lot of things that can happen very quickly that can change your life. It's always right to say no."

So of course, no one is immune from insecurity and you rarely forget your struggles with it. Granted, some make talk about it more than others, but I don't know of many people that grew up feeling totally okay. Like a zillion black girls in America, I grew up with issues about my hair even though I was around all black people in my early years. People were not politically correct in the 1970s so they would say anything to you - and with the best intentions! I'll never forget some ladies at my mother's friend's wedding looking at my hair and telling me (with excitement!) "You're old enough for a relaxer now, so your mother can finally do something with your hair!" Nevermind that my mother did "do something" to my hair before the wedding for about two hours with a hot comb and some Ultra-Sheen! At school, whether you were light-skinned or nappy or whatever, someone was going to find something wrong with you. There was no way around it. I don't remember being called a lot of names, but I do remember favoritism based on looks, usually related to the twin demons of hair texture and skin tone. I remember everyone going on and on about one of my friend's long, curly hair to the point where she got sick of it. And I remember dreading what my hair would look like after playing outside all day because it would not be looked upon as the result of a child playing and having fun. It would be looked at as a Problem because there was so much work involved in getting it to "look right." And of course, forget about getting it wet. Ha! Swimming can be traumatizing for black children if they are around the wrong people. I remember being teased one day at a friend's pool that my hair looked like a "bird's nest" and that my skin was ashy. Well, duh! That's what happens when you spend hours in the water! When you're seven years old, you're not exactly rushing upstairs to shampoo, condition and moisturize right away. Unless you are traumatized into doing so.

So, I don't know about Halle. I won't be doing any armchair (or shall I say "cyber") psychoanalyzing on her. Who knows what really went on with her? We are all affected in different ways by our childhood experiences. I will say that I think that Halle is stronger than people will give her credit for - especially in Hollywood. While I'm not a fan of all of her movie roles, I am a fan of Halle Berry, the producer. Unlike a lot of people that talk and talk and talk a lot of smack about Hollywood, Halle puts her money where her mouth is and produces. My favorite is Lackawanna Blues, which garnered much deserved awards and praise for S. Epatha Merkeson and let some of our best black actors do some of their best work, especially Jeffrey Wright (there is an Oscar somewhere with his name on it!) and Terrence Howard. She is also producing an HBO project that will combine Mixed and The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel into one half-hour series. Angela, a writer on the series Scrubs, talks about how she and Halle pitched the project around Hollywood here.

So Halle, forget that mess you heard as a kid. I mean, what are they doing now?

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Working Up A Black Sweat Part Deux

I've never been one to really follow a diet to the letter. I've always just flipped through a pile of diet books, found the magic bullet and then acted accordingly. Sometimes. Well, okay, hardly ever.

I've done the infamous Cabbage Soup diet and lost nine-pounds in one week, only to gain back ten the next. I skimmed through The Zone and The South Beach Diet and any number of liquid diets, but they only sent me to the nearest burger joint. I've also done the straight vegan thing: no meat, no dairy, no nothin' - but only because I became violently ill one night off of some bad Chinese food.

That's why I sympathize with Janet Jackson and her diet woes, especially because I feel like I've grown up with her: from her dead-on Mae West imitations to Good Times and Diff'rent Strokes right on through to Fame. I loved Young Love from her first album but had to forgive her for Dream Street. I exulted with her with Control (which was like a mantra for me, right along with Prince's When Doves Cry) and was a card-carrying member of Rhythm Nation 1814. I even copied her key-on-the-earring look, but had less success with copying her moves from The Pleasure Principle video.

Family Drama? The Super Bowl? Yo-yo dieting? Hey look, we all have problems. I have to say there is a part of me that loves the extra Janet in sweats and sunglasses. Yes, I know that yo-yo dieting is dangerous - who doesn't? But I've always chalked up Janet's apparent weight gains in-between-albums as a sign of rebellion. It's as if she's saying, "Hey look, I'm off-duty. Leave me alone!"

Some of my own ambivalence has been influenced by the realization of how differently people have treated me based on my dress size and there is still a part of me that wants to say, Screw you buddy! That's part of what I think I see in Janet (I think!) After all, she never gets obese. I have never been obese and most people never guess my weight correctly (muscle really does weigh more than fat.) I could definitely be wrong about Janet of course, but there is always something behind a woman gaining and losing weight - and it's not always depression and stress.

That said, I am seriously looking to lose weight for a variety of reasons. And that means, incredibly enough, that I'm going to have to get real about my coffee intake. I always like to say that I'm a night owl - and I am, but now I realize that drinking coffee after a certain time really will interrupt my sleep. I never wanted to believe this, but of course it's true (and I must note that I am writing this at 2:57 am even though I have a morning appointment.) Whenever I cut down my coffee intake, I sleep better, my skin looks better and at some point, you've got to face the facts. I'm still guilty of cherry-picking eating plans, but this time I've narrowed them down to just two: Nicholas Perricone's The Perricone Prescription and David Kirsch's Ultimate New York Body Plan. I like Perricone's plan because he recommends foods that I actually eat like salmon and broccoli and I like David Kirsch's plan because he is reasonable about food and has a cool, do-able workout. Kirsch recommends working out on an empty stomach to burn the maximum amount of fat, and then following the workout with a protein shake with your breakfast. If you workout at night, the protein shake would be your last meal of the evening. He says that you can have some green tea before you work out for energy if necessary, and it probably will be. The workout is 90 minutes, splitting 45 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of cardio-sculpt. His meal plan is 1200 calories and adheres to his signature A-B-C-D-E-F formula: no alcohol, bread, starchy carbs (potatoes, rice, pasta, corn), dairy, extra sweets (including artificial sweeteners), fruits and most fats. He recommends eating high-protein meals every three hours with the last meal of the day 12 hours after the first.

So, that's the plan I'm trying to stick to. I get up and before I think about anything, I turn on my computer (I know, I'm incorrigible - but it's where I play my music), make a large cup of green tea and hop on the treadmill. This isn't so bad if I've got The View on mute or something, but usually I have early morning appointments which means it will probably be Today or GMA on mute. Or, it means that I'm in bed until the last possible minute staring at the treadmill and feeling guilty.

I have never, ever been an AM workout person - but evening workouts seem to work for me only when I work 9 to 5 - so wish me luck. Lots of it!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Here We Go Again...

So, the Sangin Diva tagged me. Thanks girlfriend (not!)

Hey, don't you have a plane to catch or something?

Well, this time, I am supposed to write six quirky or unknown things about myself and then tag six more people. Clearly La Reina did not realize that I am tag-impaired so I will not tag six more people, but I will give it a go myself.

1.) I have met Naomi Campbell twice and she was very cool on both occasions.

2.) I would love to have a little dog, but I am not home enough to take care of one properly. But I will get and spoil one soon!

3.) I was born on Pablo Picasso's 91st birthday and Ciara was born on my 16th birthday.

4.) I am a licensed cosmetologist. Or, at least I was. I didn't get around to renewing my license within the 5-year limit, so now I've got to jump through a few hoops to get it back (and I will!)

5.) My mother told me that I was almost named Darcel, which in turn made me really heart Darcel Wynne on Solid Gold back in the day.

6.) I have attended three Miss America pageants - two with black winners. The first winner was Debbye Turner, Miss America 1990, who got huge cheers from the audience. The next year, Marjorie Judith Vincent of Illinois won and you could hear a pin drop. The minute they announced her name, there was literally a hush over the audience and then a smattering of polite applause as she walked down the famous runway as Miss America. When I got home to watch the tape? Canned applause. (Hmmm....) The next year, Carolyn Sapp of Hawaii won and Convention Hall exploded in pandemonium. (Hmmm....) When two black women in a row won again (Erika and Ericka in '03 and '04) I figured the pageant was in trouble, because their core audience wasn't going for it. Now, they're on CMT, the Country Music Channel (Hmmm...)

Top photo via Gallery of the Absurd (hilarious!) Doggie photo via (cute!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

America's Forgotten Founding Fathers

Lately, there has been a litany of dreary headlines about black men. They've been falling behind in education... avoiding marriage...carrying around Academy Awards in paper bags... It's been a real mess.

But have no fear! There is some good news. More Black men are gaining headway in politics in greater numbers -- and with a real shot to win -- than in any other time in American history. Barack Obama got the ball rolling with his election to the Senate in 2004, and 2006 promises to be another historic year. Harold Ford in Tennessee and Michael Steele in Maryland are both running for the Senate. Cory Booker, in all likelihood, will become the next mayor of my birthplace, Newark, New Jersey next month and Deval Patrick and Ken Blackwell may very well become the first black governors of Massachusetts and Ohio respectively.

The Civil Rights revolution produced a generation of politicians that are now passing the baton (or having it yanked from them) and the 2006 elections will be one of the most important in history for black people of all political stripes.

With that in mind, I want you to keep your eyes open for a documentary by my buddy Adrena Ifill. Adrena, a D.C. native and Howard University MBA, has just completed a documentary, Congressman Robert Smalls: A Patriot's Journey from Slavery to Capitol Hill. It is the first release from her production company, Doubleback Productions. Congressman Smalls was a slave in South Carolina that worked hard, saved his money, and eventually bought his freedom. He then went on to serve five terms in Congress during the Reconstruction era.

I love history, especially black American history, so I am very excited for Adrena and her project. She's been working on it for a long time and now she is submitting it to film festivals around the country, so look out for it!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Isaac, Tar-jhay and Me: A Love Story

Happy Monday!

I won't be long-winded today. "Today" is the middle of the night again, but that's the way I do it. I mean, I was born at four in the morning - what do you expect? For some reason or another, I function
very well in the wee hours of the morning. I'm guessing this will come in handy when I become a mother one day.


I just wanted to write a little about how much I heart Isa
ac Mizrahi: He sketches! He sings! He gropes! And I have been loving this duvet set for a while now, and in the next week or so, I'm finally going to get them to brighten up my anemically spare apartment. I love buying Isaac's stuff at Target (I mean Tar-jhay) especially because I can (almost!) forget about my temporary bohemian poverty. I call it "temporary" and "bohemian" because I am not truly poor as in starving- homeless- struggling- to-feed-my-babies poor. I am splurge on the occasional MAC- Prescriptives- Kiehl's- Dr-Hauschka- Peter-Thomas-Roth- and-perhaps-a- little-NARS poor. Big difference.
I'm also loving my little floral coffee mugs. You can get the idea in the picture above: just think of the daisy on the bottom of the mug: so cute!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Age Of Madness

So, I was over at Crunk + Disorderly recently (or was it Concrete Loop?) just minding my own business when I was struck by a comment from one of the posters. To paraphrase:
Toni Braxton is aging so well.
Uh, come again? Since when is it a miracle that a 38-year-old black woman is "aging well?" I don't care what Hollywood people do or don't do, most thirtysomething, not to mention most eightysomething black women look damn good! Please, I'll be 37 this year and people (mostly twentysomethings, natch) are always surprised to learn that I am "older" than they thought.

Chile, please.

I was also stunned by the lame comments on the death of June Pointer by many posters who clearly had no idea who The Pointer Sisters were (and are) and the role they played in paving the way for the Destiny's Childs of today. Like many of the best singers, The Pointer Sisters, preachers daughters, grew up singing in the church. They sang pop songs and topped the pop charts. They sang R&B songs and topped the R&B charts. They were the first black female group to sing at the Grand Ole Opry. And that's not to mention that they've been nominated for over a dozen Grammy Awards in the pop, R&B and country categories (Hel-lo!) Now, it's a given that black artists will be on MTV (heck, black artists are MTV in a lot of ways) but it wasn't always that way. It took Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston blazing through the pop charts for the "powers that be" to say, "Uh oh, we're missing out on big money here!"

As a teenager, I didn't think, "Hey, The Pointer Sisters are old, I don't want to listen to them." When Tina Turner made her phenomenal comeback, I didn't think, "Tina Turner is older than my mother! She's too old to be on MTV!" Please!

This obsession with age has got to stop. Beauty is great (Love it!) Youth is great (Love it!) but they are not everything. The idea that someone is just about "over the hill" after 25 is beyond ludicrous and I'm tired of it. That is one of the problems with hip hop (to say the very least, I'm not even going to go there...) Rappers, even if they are good, either have to portray a perpetually youthful party image ala Snoop Dogg, or they lie about their age. LL Cool J notwithstanding, they are not allowed to mature and have a real career past 30, much less begin one. Ridiculous.

Artists like The Emotions, Phyllis Hyman, Gloria Gaynor and Thelma Houston? They would not have careers if they were starting out today, they would be backup singers. Maybe. They were all pushing thirty or were older when they had the biggest hits of their careers. Ditto for the men. Teddy Pendergrass was in his late twenties and early thirties when he had his biggest hits and Marvin Gaye was 32 when What's Going On was released.

I'll never forget Phyllis Hyman complaining about Pebbles of all people and essentially falling apart and believing the hype before her suicide eleven years ago, just weeks after her 46th birthday.


I have never in my life heard a song on the radio and thought, "Hey, that sounds like Phyllis Hyman," because nobody sounds like Phyllis Hyman except Phyllis Hyman! Nobody sounds like Chaka Khan except Chaka Khan. Nobody sounds like Gladys Knight except Gladys Knight. And yet none of these people could get a major record deal today without being 100 pounds soaking wet with a blonde weave and a belly ring! ^&%*#@!!!!!

I must say, I really admire the late, great Dorothy Dandridge. She was beautiful and talented and she didn't take anything for granted. She knew that she was not a great singer, (check her out on iTunes to hear for yourself) but she also knew that singing in nightclubs was the only consistent way she could keep a foothold in Hollywood in between acting jobs, which were always years apart. In Donald Bogle's wonderful biography of Dorothy, her sister Vivian said: "She really loved dignity and elegance. Almost to a fault. This is the thing that she abhorred about the nightclub scene... that she had to get up there and just be strictly a sex symbol." Dorothy herself told her best friend Geri Branton:

"Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most talented people in the world, and it embarrasses me that she cannot work the rooms that I work. The reason for it is so horrible. She's not sexy. The men in the audience don't want to take her home and go to bed. And yet she's up there singing her heart out for one-third of the money they're paying me. And I resent being in that category."

Ms. Branton said, "I liked Dottie for saying those things." Same here. I like Dorothy Dandridge because she "got it." She wasn't passing herself off as some great singer - and she was 33 when she was nominated for her Oscar. Oprah was 32 when her show was nationally syndicated. Toni Morrison was 39 when her first novel, The Bluest Eye
was released. Tina Turner was 45 when she won 3 Grammy Awards for her Private Dancer album. Dr. Mae Jemison was 36 when she landed on the moon.

I wish more people would get a clue and stop limiting people based on age - especially some younger people who swear their generation did everything first (*eyes rolling*) Some of us "old" people are gonna "do the do" anyway, so you may as well get over it.

And what are you going to do when you turn 30?

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

June Pointer Takes Her Final Bow

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Stupid Girl Deprogrammer: A Primer

The whole Stupid Girls controversy has given me an idea. It has become increasingly apparent to me that a lot of people are getting sick and tired of the sh*t on the radio and the video. Heck, Video Killed The Radio Star and the Bona fide Singer. Now, far be it from me to judge anyone, but I thought that since being a Stupid Girl is rapidly going out of style, a handy little primer would be helpful for those witches who want to jump ship now before it sinks.

Clip and save!

Tip #1: Read, read, read!

I know that The Devil Wears Prada and The Truth About Diamonds can be heavy duty, but I think the following books will be extremely useful in your Stupid Girl transition.

1. Golddigger: The Life and Times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce by Constance Rosenblum.

Peggy Hopkins Joyce was the original Stupid Girl - a woman with absolutely no talent who
became famous for absolutely nothing. Her sex life, six marriages and the loads of jewelry and money that she got out of men made her tabloid famous in the early 1920s - but by the 1950s she was forgotten and died broke.

2. Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia by Stephen Fried. I remember being completely engrossed in this book when it came out, years before the HBO movie made Angelina Jolie famous. Gia Carangi had all the things that so many young girls thought they wanted - even though she famously didn't care for any of it. One of the first real supermodels, she developed a heroin addiction before dying of AIDS in 1988 at age 26.

3. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings. You need to read this no matter what color you are because you need to know that there were generations of women that fought like hell so you wouldn't have to be "stupid!" If you don't know names like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Victoria Earle Matthews and Mary Church Terrell shame on you girlfriend! Toni Morrison called this book "History at its best - clear, intelligent, moving," and you know she knows what she's talking about.

4. The Beauty Myth: How Images Of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf.

This was helpful with my some of my own deprogramming. Wolf tackles the unrealistic beauty standards that have dogged women for decades and the lunacy of how we often sabotage our health, careers and peace of mind by being complicit with these impossible standards.

5. Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman by Michele Wallace

Uh oh, I'm gonna get in trouble for this one. Michele wrote this in 1976 when she was just 26 years old. She was vilified and the book was trashed as a black male bashing manifesto. I didn't take it that way. In fact, reading it more than twenty-five years after she wrote it and (going by her black male and female critics) expecting it to be trite, I was rather stunned by its prescience. The main thing I remember is Wallace's account (just a few years after the fact) of the crude sexism that Shirley Chisholm put up with when she ran for president in 1972 - including a very telling anecdote about Redd Foxx on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson talking about Chisholm. Especially in light of the recent wave of articles and statistics on black men and women lately, I think in many ways you'll find this book rather sobering. Read it and weep. And then read something light and fun (but not stupid!) so you don't get depressed.

Tip #2:
Listen, Listen, Listen

I'm not going to add explanations or any cute zingers because I know you're already smart and are only pretending to be stupid!

1. Video by India.Arie

2. We Need A Revolution by Esthero

3. Stupid Girls
by Pink
4. I Love
You Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel
5. Unity by Queen Latifah
6. Independent Women Pt. 1 by Destiny's Child
7. Beautiful by Brent Jones + The TP Mobb
8. Keep Young and Beautiful by Annie Lennox
9. Mistreating Me by Leela James
10. My Life by Mary J. Blige (actually, if you've been stupid long enough, the whole CD will come in handy.)


Senator Barack Obama (Buh-rock Oh-bah-muh) has a podcast. Even if you don't live in Illinois, subscribe to it on iTunes and take five minutes out of your day to learn something that can replace sample sale talk at a cocktail party (unless you're talking to me at that cocktail party - if you know about a good sample sale - holla!)

Tip #3: Watch and learn from ex Stupid Girls who learned their lessons and made successful transitions.

Take Vanessa Williams. The very first black Miss America (and still the only Mi
ss America most people can name) had her title stripped away for that infamous Stupid Girl move in her youth. But she didn't stay down for long - Platinum albums, Grammy nods, Broadway (I saw her, she was great!) Through all of her ups and downs, she keeps it classy, not ass-y, and she's still around more than 20 years later while the Miss America pageant itself has been relegated to irrelevancy in the American imagination.

Tip #4: Go and get something to eat.

Really. It's alright. In high school, I flirted with bulimia (my doctor told me that my stomach looked like "a piece of chewed meat.") That was one thing, but my biggest Stupid Girl move came when I, Miss Bookworm, was actually proud of being denied the opportunity to give blood in our school blood drive because I had lost too much weight in one week! Silly me - I remember smiling to myself and thinking, 'Oh good!' Dumb! Abandoning your Stupid Girl status does not mean that you have to turn in your Fabulous Card. Au contraire mon ami. Sleek and toned is one thing, emaciated and irritable is another. I recommend a happy medium. And a large cheeseburger!

* Photos on the top and bottom via Gallery of the Absurd.

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