Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book update and comment on the Lauryn Hill situation...

Okay! As I mentioned way back when, I am indeed working on a book. I've just really started making any head way, but I've got interviews, research, etc. to do, in addition to fleshing out other points not discussed in related blog posts. It's certainly daunting, as I've never written a book before, but I know I've got it in me. I was hoping to email interview black women on topics related to the book, so comment if you are interested and I'll give you the contact details. :)

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Girls, you know you better (watch out)

Cause guys, some guys are only (about)

That thing, that thing, that thiiiing....

I don't know what that "thing" is. It seems obvious at first glance. Sex. A hit and quit opportunity. But, the more I think about it. That "thing" can represent so many different...well, things.

That "thing" can be your body

That "thing" could be your womb

That "thing" might be your finances and access to your car

That "thing" can be your cooking and clothes-washing.

Ultimately, I suspect that "thing" is a catch-all phrase for the aspirations of DBR males who will string along hapless victims and then dump them. Watch out for these men, indeed!

And this is what makes the situation surrounding Lauryn Hill so ironic and sad. She pretty much put it out there musically, and she wasn't wrong. I'm beginning to think that "Doo Wop/That Thing" was more or less an afro-centric remix of "House of the Rising Sun".

If she had a baby sister, would she want her to be warned to not do as she had done? Be in a fifteen year relationship with some man by which she had five kids? A man who she called "husband" (without the legal backing of a marriage contract), a man who never intended to marry her? Someone who then D-U-M-P-E-D her for a Brazilian model, who he is marrying after having been with less than one year?

Let's compare:

- Fifteen years
- Five kids OOW (plus one from another relationship)
- Called him husband, but was never so much as given an engagement ring
- Is DUMPED (no legal protection and financial assurances for herself or her kids)


- Known less than a year
- No kids with
- Will be called wife, legally, and receive all the legal and financial benefits that go with that
- If there are kids, they will be born within wedlock
- If they should divorce, will likely to have access to his money based on any legal/contractual agreements made between herself and him and/or the laws of wherever the marriage took place


I admit, I chuckled at the idea of her calling this man her "husband". I don't like laughing at other people's stupidity or misfortune because in this case, her foolishness does not just affect her. There are five children who are now very much hurt because their mother sold herself short for the sake of "black love".

Lauryn Hill represents the textbook sista soldier and NBAB woman to her core, so it is actually pathetically and predictably fitting that this should be the end result. Fifteen years with a black man she pretty much gave up a promising career for, to spit out baby after baby, none of which were born in wedlock. Fifteen years spent not having his name or being recognized legally as his wife. Fifteen years of deluding herself into thinking this person loved and respected her as a mate. And then everything came crashing down. And now a non-black woman who did not give him children, whom he has not known a decade and a half (not even a YEAR, people...) will be walking down the aisle in her stead. I actually feel like had it even been another black woman, it still would have been head-shakingly sad, but that extra bit of "waiting to exhale: ring-less edition"just brings it all home, doesn't it?

Lauryn Hill is an unmarried black woman with SIX kids by multiple men. Even if she wanted to be married, legally married, finding a good decent man (and not a predator, leach, or other variety of DBR) just became damn near impossible. As I said elsewhere, her best option is to go back to the studio and create an afro-centric version of Adele's "21" and make that money, because odds are she'll be supporting herself and her children totally alone from now on.

What can we learn from Hill's situation and so many black women who follow her path?

Giving your all to a man who will not marry you, but demands access to your womb is not going to end well. It will NEVER end well, because a man who has decided you are not good enough for his name is not a man worthy to even pretend to be your husband. Do not lie to yourself and your OOW children about who he is, and what your relationship means. Do not surrender to the idea that you have no choice but be with a man for a decade and a half and settle for a relationship that is going nowhere. Do not be left to look like an absolute fool when he dumps you and immediately marries someone else.

Watch out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Someone dig up, Freud....

I happened across this cover art while making my way through the internet, digital nomad that I am:


In some ways, I wish I'd not seen this because it is so absolutely disturbing. I feel like whoever made this image should see a psychologist as soon as may be. On the other hand, I think it perfectly reflects the negative consequences of a single parent household where a little boy has no connection to his father and can only relate to his mother. The resulting situation I think can be broken down rather accurately thanks to what's visualized in the above image.

First, let's make it absolutely clear: There is a child in the picture, and the posture of the woman strongly suggests that she is his mother or a maternal figure. 

But the audience is meant to focus not on her authority over this boy as his mother/maternal figure. Instead, the eyes are meant to key in on her large uncovered rump. The way she is dressed implies that she is a sexual, promiscuous being. Her posture from the back suggests she is offering herself to the viewer indiscriminately. "She's a ho."

Second, the absence of a serious father figure on the cover combined with the sexual nature of the maternal figure implies that the child has no father, or at least no father figure of note (would a decent man be satisfied with a woman parading around her children in such a sexual and semi-nude manner?). The boy child is left to represent the role of male to the maternal figure's female. Which pushes this image even further into the creepy column.

Third, the implied inequality and emasculation.  We've already discussed that the boy is left to represent males due to the absence of a father figure on the cover. You'll note his expression is an unhappy one. He's being chided for some action by the maternal figure, who by leaning over him is showing her dominance and authority. The male is a little boy before her; an unequal who can't do what he wants without being called to task for undesirable behavior. 

But again, her barely dressed form and heavy emphasis on her bottom makes this impression false: The implication is that she exists as a sexual object for any man that wants her. She has no real authority or self-control. What the male pictured WANTS to say is, "Shut up, b*tch! You are here to sexually serve me!" Or "shut up, you can't tell me what to do, because look at you! You ain't no good!" Maybe when he's old enough and big enough to get away with it, he does say this. Perhaps to his mother and to every other woman he encounters. This person has no point of reference for non-misogynistic beliefs about the opposite sex. And no sensible father-figure to correct or eliminate this simultaneous hatred of and sexual desire for his mother.

Yes, you read that last part correctly.

The fourth and final observation about this image is that the Oedipus complex is heavily implied. What else can you say about an image where a maternal figure is offering herself up in a sexual manner in the presence of a male child? Even worse is the sexual confusion that this imagery demonstrates: Being both the child and mate in this relationship. Are we seeing a single mother who expects her male child to be the "man of the house" because she has no partner? The "man of the house" is not a platonic role: it is a role where the man is truly her equal (and the head of the household, with authority over the woman in some belief systems) and the father/father-figure over her children, with whom it is ordinarily expected that she have sex and procreate

A mother is expected to be in authority over her children and at least the equal of her mate, so asking a son to be your equal, if not your better, and then chiding him because he is unequal to you is a confusing situation to say the least. Asking a son to be a platonic mate in a role meant for a mate with whom you are sexual and procreate? Confusing, creepy, and absolutely inappropriate.

I actually wondered what the heck an image like this could possibly have to do with a rap song called "No Lie". It's by some rapper I've never heard of (2 Chainz) and another rapper I've heard of, but don't listen to (Drake). After viewing the lyrics, I found no explanation whatsoever for the artwork as it related to the song. However, it shouldn't be surprising that someone using such a deeply disturbing image of a black mother as cover art, would be rapping about kidnapping, raping, and disrespecting women.

Perhaps therein lies the truth: This is a testament to why these men feel the way they do about women. They cannot reconcile an image of women, especially black women, as worthy of love and respect. Even as an authority figure in the form of a mother, she is to be disrespected and loathed as a sex object. She is seen as unpleasant and emasculating and needs to be reminded as to "her place". This nonsense is pandered by boys who grow into pseudo-adulthood without a dad to correct this viewpoint. They then pass this on to other father-less boys who grow up resenting their mothers and desiring a male-centric message they can "relate" to.

I am tired of people, especially black women, acting like crap like this is harmless and that there is no "truth" in how these persons feel about black women. The misogyny and history of despicable behavior preached and acted out towards women in this genre of music is a reality. Combined with ridiculous OOW rates among African American women, it's time to acknowledge that imagery like this, both in lyrics and in art, did not get created in a vacuum. Do all rap artists sell this image?  Nope, but I think pretending that this type of music is on the side of black women is a load of bull. And if you are listening to artists that sell this image of you as a woman and especially as a mother, you need to take a step back and think about why you have no problem giving money to man-children that feel this way about you and your womb.