Friday, May 27, 2011

The Kindred Summer Series: Should Chaps come in pairs?

*Dedicated to all the siblings of the world and mine: Sunshine, Pup, & Junior

Throughout the history of music, there have been singing soulful couples like Ashford & Simpson, Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack, and Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell. Whether their love was amplified with Soul Glo, genius + heart, or creative bliss, I always find my little bourgie soul stirred when a dynamic couple bears it all in music.

For years, I have hailed the sincere and down to the ruht lyrics of Kindred the Family Soul. Recently, I was digging through my CD crates and put their album In This Life Together back in rotation in the VDub. I found myself in tears but singing, shakily, along with this #TeamRealLove on the track "Do You Remember" and felt inspired to devote an entire summer blogging about the ups, downs, and the in between's of the family's soul.

I am often asked will I have another child. I introduced Noodle to the world 4 years ago when I thought I was having a boy and we lovingly called it Bug.  I was starting a new job and was uncertain about this whole motherhood thing. Before the baby and marriage, I often joked I would devote my life to being a travel maven and international playgirl, settling down somewhere in England or Belgium. Meeting my husband online held me down to Americus terra firma with promises of biannual getaways. My friend Zenzile of the LoveJones Lifestyle Blog believes we were the last successful Black Planet coupling and I'll take that recognition. 9 years in the game, our love is just as strong as Kindred's truth.

Even raising her and realizing she is a reflection of me, I often wonder how she sees and feels about her life as the only child in the nest.  I am the youngest of 4 and my hubby is somewhere in the middle of 9, so our melding of complexes was an act of faith and patience. Growing up in a family with siblings close in age is a priceless experience with the hurt, pain, happiness, and adventure that run in our memories. I remember running races and pretending to be part of a bike derby with my brother, watching my oldest sister come home from college and showing off her steps as a Delta duck, and my 2nd oldest sister painting my face and making my hair look like the Bride of Frankenstein.  At various stages in my burgeoning adulthood, my relationships with them oscillated in closeness and distance and it came with lots of laughs and pain which often makes me wonder do I squirm at the thought of bringing another child into the picture because I may not be ready for Noodle to experience the same journey that ends with forgiveness.

I have often tried to minimize her pain whether physical or emotional because I've journeyed down that road where I was seeking to be validated because I felt pushed away from my family soul. So many of our families out there have been torn apart by secrets, pain, and grief and in this life together with my husband by my side, I was able to truly come into my true self by knowing the power of love. Is this some type of parental controlling of one's destiny jawn or just the residual pain my own disconnect...I want Noodle to be able to know Kindred's lyrics (from "My Time") in her heart to be true and know that we support her:  I'm rich in love. I'm rich in peace. I'm rich in hope. I'm rich indeed. I'm ready...This is My Time...All that I'd hoped for is mine...It's mine, it's mine!

I always believed that siblings were our first friends and as my dear friend Laurie tells me, cousins are the second best and they can just go home afterwards when you've played and argued with one another into worry-ation (as Southerneres say, wurrayshun). But when forgiveness does not manifest in time in those sibling relationships, I struggle with whether the Bourgie Babe will still be able to live up to her dreams feeling that a sibling didn't show support for them. As a mother, how could I rectify that? How do these rifts become so detrimental to the family soul even though a bounty of beautiful, common, and shared memories are a part of our core foundation? Many of you have shared your own family's stories with me and forgiveness is a road that many of us take to the grave.  I still wrestle with wanting another chap and creating and nurturing a bond from scratch.  Perhaps I can teach and instill in them that they too carry the family's soul into the future by staying in this life together...

In Kindred's "Do You Remember," forgiveness comes at a time when you have to be vulnerable regardless of who says it first...
I’m sorry mother
I’m sorry father
I’m sorry sister
I’m sorry brother
And to my best friend I never meant to hurt ya
Can we get back to the way things used to be
I wanna get back to the way things used to be...
I’m sorry, for things that I said I don’t wanna say no more
Forgive me, things that I’ve done I’m willing to say were wrong
Its time things changed, sat around hurting for much to long
I miss you and this is the reason that I sing this song to you

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dinner with Werewolves or The Witching Hour of Tots

We all toy with the idea of pushing our limits and you may do this ordinary act every two weeks or one week, depending on how much protein, zinc, and calcium you take in. Cutting my nails is a delicate exercise of grooming and bedevilment. Cutting corners at strange angles has always been a difficult task for me. Why didn't I have long nail beds like my Sisters? Such short, drangled nails without much direction and inclination to dirt accumulation have passed over to my Bourgie Baby.

The precautions I know I must take when cutting her nails are obvious because lately, I've included a bit of skin on the sides. Cutting her nails is like mine: rugged kertainized slats that bend back into the skin with the pressure of the clippers. Blood and hurt feelings are hushed over as I quickly try to finish. Nothing a Dora the Explorer bandaid can't fix,but I'm sure her day school friends will hear terrible tales of how this bad Mommy caused "the blood"...that's what I gather from the hushed quiet looks I get from them when I pick her up at the end of the day.

Sometimes we cut too far. Maybe we scream too loud. Put them in timeout too long or not long enough. Other times we enjoy ourselves too much on social outings and we try to squeeze in 15 more minutes when we know our tot's witching hour approaches.

Recently, I've been having a more involved social calendar and I always tell folks I always come with kid. Like a woman testing a new lover's resilience by saying they come with baggage. Or an employer telling a desperate new hire that the job comes with a challenging work environment. You just don't know how much deep excrement you're in until a little gets on your face. It's always worse when it splatters just to the side of your mouth. Figuratively speaking, of course...

People assure me it's no problem but there I sit...the Mama with the only child at the table wanting to jump into the grown up conversation but obliging compliments drift into banal discussions on the cuteness of my kid. Lest we forget about the other distractions of IgottagopeepeeImthirstyGimmeSome at my far end corner. At some point, someone should feel sorry for me and find me a babysitter on location and bless me with a complimentary bottle of their best Chardonnay.

But I know my seemingly good times are waning into ascending, thundering clock strokes. Entrees haven't arrived and its 10 minutes till 8...OK, pee break in the middle of dinner...OK, I'm is cold, alright, "What did you say? Oh yes, the island fox is native to the Catalina Islands." The bourgie baby's eyes are getting a bit moony but geez, this conversation on the Catalina Islands flora and fauna is just too much to turn away from. And then the wiggles and clinginess begin. A tot's strength and weariness grows as the moon arches through the night sky. I can only imagine having dinner with a werewolf on the night of the full moon, but pushing the limit of any child's bedtime to soak up some night life with obliging friends is a dangerous undertaking. A scratch from your moony tot could give you the fever.

Just tonight, I celebrated the graduation of a dear friend. After a stimulating tot-to-adult ratio conversation, crayons broken into pieces in the bread dipping saucer, TWO trips to the restroom, and over-turned sprite, I still managed to get legal advice for my mom, a creative writing exercise, and to dole my game-changing, conversation stirring question of how all of us represent part of my dear friend's psyche.  It was good night until my tot complained of hurting began with the extraction of her flip flops...then the sliding out of her booster seat...and then the devouring of her cheeseburger (Wow! Didn't think she'd eat that much...RED MEAT!).  I knew then that the werewolf needed to run free in her dreams. Eventually she wanted to sit in my lap.

Thankfully, God has blessed me with an awesome tot who knows, at times, to tell me when she's tired and ready to go to bed. She whispered it to me. Then after 5 more minutes of pushing my languishing time with adults, the Bourgie Babe stood next to the table pulling my arm and dress. "I'm ready to lay down...I want to put on my jammies, Mommy. Let's go."  I love my friend but I love my sanity better. I must do what I can to avoid the werewolf's wrath.

This post is dedicated to my newly attained babysitter. Just remember to have her in bed no later than 8:30pm.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Imperfect Womanist or To Hell With your Hegemony Crickets

I've always imagined that one day my fro would be just as big as Thelma's from Good Times and as coifed as Jermaine Jackson's when he married Hazel Gordy. The curl, whisp, and poof of it all made me feel like it was hair-extraordinaire. After several kicks and spoots, my current fro has managed a reasonable amount of puff that I can be proud of. My bourgie babe admires my hair everytime I get it "did" and always wants to join me at the beauty shop.

Noodle enters and eyes my stylist with her coy and precocious eyes and does not waste time to jump into a chair to see some type of magic happen to my head. Trusting your stylist is about a precarious predicament as trusting your doctor before you go into surgery. Such worries as "Will my hair look good?" or "Will these braids hurt too much?" run parallel to thoughts of certain death or disability on the operating table. I love the fact that I can sit with my stylist and talk about the circles we live in and still manage to come around to our common humanity: our pain, our love, our blessings, our struggles.

Perhaps I'm running out of sacred spaces to ponder my beauty and existence at the same time because I feel most comfortable away from the stuffiness of academe. I remember sitting in grad school surrounded by the painted over cinder block walls, conjuring up theoretical and literary spirits and sparring over who's approach was right. It gave me a lot to think about and has directed much of my thoughts from beyond the classroom and into the streets where many of my students come from. The ills of cultural hegemony and perverse linguistic significations have overwrought the younger generations' landscape. Homophobia has replaced homosocial associations. Girl power has given way to socially constructed and varying degrees of the whore.

I've become a bitter, academic fart. I've been living beyond the academic walls for 5 years now and working in the trenches. The disconnect from what we did in higher ed is evident in the limited outreach our colleges and universities are not doing in secondary education. I grow weary these days of folks on the patriarchal boogie train and feminists ranting about sex being no good if the man doesn't cry at the end. I'm a womanist who is quick to say "Hoe, sit down!" but woman enough to know I got a bit of mother wit and countriness to care about people.

I say it with love, though. Its kind of like when your grandmother or auntie would get onto you about not speaking when you came in and she'd make you feel hella bad, and then offer you teacakes and iced tea. Or when your stylist gets onto you about putting bad products in your hair, and now its a mess, and it will take an act of GOD himself to fix it...and yet, they manage to work out a miracle and talk you through your troubles as you sit in the styling chair. It makes us better people and that wisdom will eventually lend itself to show compassion with another.

I'd like to see more professors keep track of their academic progeny after they graduate (and not just the ass-kissing ones) and mentor them even if they don't get that Assistant Professor position at Yadda Yadda University. I'd like to see more academic conferences do more than just intellectual round-robins and get out into the community and see what the people have to say about their paper. I'd like to see a feminist just say ONCE that they appreciate a male writer despite his/her own beliefs of patriarchal thought (hell, it gives us something to talk about). Academe is dying a slow death because we have forgotten the people and communities that live in the shadows of our universities. The hoots and hollers of our hegemony crickets have fallen on deaf ears because we speak our own language that is exclusive and oppressive in itself.

Repression. Oppression. Patriarchy. Matriarchy. Sacred. Profane. Sign. Signified. We can talk it all day. But what is the solution to fix it? Our communities shouldn't have to lay dying in order to help them. All they need is to give a little whistle...then you must set your conference paper or latest pedagogy book to the side and answer the call. "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide...but I bet there is some angry feminist out there who has issues EVEN with that example.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year from Me & The Bourgie Baby!

Thanks for all the love, the follows, the comments, and just the outright bourgie rapport we've established in the last year. Thanks for the patience when the blog went radio silent because someone (pointing at self) had to deal with motherhood and ya know...that takes up a lot of time. I know I'm not the only one.

So how am I spending my new year's eve? With the bourgie baby of course, who is literally pulling one of my kitchen chairs across the floor into the living room, and the first ladybug to capture my heart, my niece whom I lovingly call Pootie. As they spaz out with the Wii and sour gummie worms, I am thankful for such a great year that really wrapped up perfectly!

So let me act like I'm receiving an award and rattle off my thanks and kudos...First off, Thank you GOD! Hallelujah! Thank you Mama for being the only Mama I know and got. That was a mouthful. I can't even begin to articulate the love and support my dear husband gives. He's just awesome and one of the joys God has given me to have in this lifetime. Much love for friends who got your back, pray with you, who I see growing and evolving before my eyes, and even cross their fingers and toes for your success! I have mad love for those who've shared a drink or two or three throughout this year, gave me a place to rest, and a shoulder to cry and scream on. I love you love you love you & I'll throw some OLAs in there too! O O O OLA!

Big ups to the writing community that sprouted out of love, afros, and Mississippi kudzu running for miles and connecting us, Memphis PEN & the Hansberry Baldwin Society! Big ups to the LoveJones Lifestyle Blog & the GioD's can be viewed through all things Love Jones. Best of all, I've had the privilege to read some really great blogs and writings from other like minded intellectuals who are going to rock out our generation.

I'm out! The Bourgie Baby will ride on in the V Dub into two thousand and lebben'! Peace,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keep It Simple, Sister: Beenie Weenies Rock Their Socks

There are some days where I can't put together a well-meaning, sophisticated meal for my tot. Sure...on Sunday I whipped up some ahi tuna steaks with a cracked pepper crust and Caesar salad...but this recent cold, blustery weather has me craving warm hearty meals that radiate warmth into my wide feet.

What can I say about Beenie Weenies? And I'm not talking about the ones with the unnaturally small weenie slices that have a strange, plump center mixed in a tomato slurry. I'm talking about the homemade kind where I boil my own weenies, open my own can of vegetarian beans (thusly, destroying their virtue), adding barbeque sauce and chopped bell peppers and BAM! Let it steep down into one delicious beenie weenie bechamel and you will have your own bourgie babe running to the table.

I knew my bourgie babe was destined for epicurean greatness, even in utero. I craved raw vegetables, well dressed grilled chicken sandwiches, hummus, and all variety of nuts, fish, and Thai food. But her gastronome leanings also lead her to appreciate the charm and bounty of Southern food and nostalgic staples. I remember when I was 2 weeks from delivery and my mother made me a huge pot of chicken and dumplings...she was convinced I had ate so many, Noodle would come out during her birth with one hanging out her mouth and one on her forehead. That would have been awkward, but, fortunately, she just looked like a dumpling in my arms.

As I watched my tot just pour herself over the beenie weenies, giving occasional mmmmm's and oooohhhh's, I was affirmed that my kid's exposure to the finest cuisines at places like Drago's or Byblos hadn't snootied up her palate. She rubbed her feet together and she did happy eating dances and wiggles just as she does whenever we take her out to eat. Obviously, I must be a good cook or I would have been like some moms on the opposite end of the spectrum who have to sue McDonald's in order to get her kids to eat healthy, if at all. A tough NO and the threat of starvation should fix that for ya'.

I always find it funny whenever I go out to eat with snooty types who couldn't imagine eating at a local BBQ haunt but end up swooning over a slow, cooked BBQ bologna sandwich topped with coleslaw. They usually end their gourmand session with, "I love how you Southern folks eat! This was the best meal of my life." It begs the question of whether they are starving at home or too busy laboring over snail shells and harvesting caviar in their basement. We can all admit that the best gourmet food isn't always the best, or well seasoned, or filling. In these lean times in America, we'd threaten the chef with mighty blows if our salad is a mere endive leaf topped with a tablespoon of ceviche and smear of cream sauce aesthetically placed on the plate and we're charged $30 bucks. But it is perfectly fine if your tot knows the joy of ceviche or who has the best charbroiled oysters or that tuna is best served rare to medium or how to spit their food out in the napkin or how to place their fork on your plate to let the waiter know you are done.

Folks, its all about exposure and appreciation; don't be afraid of relatives or friends reprimand of your kid's supposed "bourgie" ways (Texas de Brazil? Commander's Palace? Girl, just take their arses to McDonald's!). After all, it's about keeping it simple, Sister Moms, and cooking homemade meals as often as possible. Yet, its perfectly fine for training your kids to socialize and network in restaurants that are not mass marketed for quick in-and-out meals. Teach your tots balance, otherwise, those nitpicky eaters will throw that cabbage and corn bread back in your face and demand their French bistro inspired meal ASAP.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feeling "Some Kinda" Way or Can I borrow #Dwele's horn section?

Since becoming a mother, much of my world view has shifted a tad. Being a motherless woman through the 90s and early 2000s, my womanist acrimony ran rampant against the ills of the patriarchy; the relentless hegemony on my people; the endless persecution of the Diaspora time and time and time again. My former Black, militant, grad school reading marathon rostrum has given way to weariness at times from how far we have strayed. My bourgie babe is growing up in strange times...from silence to leopard print...from the lone token Black girl in the Babysitter's Club series to The Cheetah Girls.

But in a time where I shield my Noodle from Nicki Minaj's "Barbie-face" and give her the fashion sense to steer away from 2T underwear with "Baby Girl" on the ass or the inevitability of toddler Apple Bottom jeans, it makes me feel some kinda way. Some kinda way about how we love our people...What are our intentions when we live in a world where everyone is out to get, rise, come up, win, exploit, destroy, embellish, fake-it-till-you-make-it? Dwele said it best: "Oh...what's your kinda love? Your some kinda love? What's your beautiful?"

There's so much that can muddle a mother's love as one raises their child, much of which is railed into the media we consume. I have been deliberate in my attempts to give my tot airplanes and Hot Wheels with her baby dolls, relish in the fact that her favorite color is yellow (TAKE THAT PINK!), that she openly lauded her afro puffs and braids long before lil Black girls had to wait on Sesame Street to tell them to. But thanks anyway, WE DO LOVE OUR HAIR!

But, I'm still feeling some kinda way about what my bourgie babe and what life has in store for. She won't be able to share with others about her "rise from the hood" story that the media loves to exploit because its not her reality. By then, the memories of Nicki Minaj's "Roman's Revenge" will be as faint as her career because she will have thus reaped the very seeds of her success. I want my Noodle to have her own voice, but still know that her voice shares the same melody as her mom's. The truth she spits is a homage to what I gave life to. If you remember my past revelation of raising myself or what I'd like to call baby mama karma (could be a Ben & Jerry's flavor), teaching the younger generation about heritage is more than just opening a history book and telling them to read. My life is that open book, and from time to time, we have to go back to the reference section in order to contextualize our experiences. Its a matter of teaching respect, a nuanced dance between telling the truth and willing to be wrong at times. I see many of my students wanting respect without learning the virtue of humility and silence. Like Nicki Minaj, they think it might sound cute to make comparisons to themselves as a frightful dungeon dragon (RAWR! RAWR!), but do you realize you are enslaved? Did anybody else catch that? Yet, she lavishes in the attention she gets: "Look at my show footage/ how these girls be spazzin’/
So fuck I look like gettin’ back to a has-been?"

Unfortunately, Minaj's blanket use of Busta Rhymes iconic RAWR does not suggest much deep philosophical digging...or did she even note Bussa Buss' homage to Peter Tosh in the same song...? Eh,...just put this in your pipe and smoke it:

Busta Rhymes - "What's the Scenario" by Tribe Called Quest
Watch, as I combine all the juice from the mind
Heel up, wheel up, bring it back, come rewind
Powerful impact BOOM! from the cannon
Not braggin, try to read my mind just imagine
Vo-cab-u-lary's necessary
When diggin into my library

There's that BOOM again...Once the upcoming generation thinks that we're all a nation of has-beens, then they think we are disposable. Wonder what that scenario will look like when they can't learn from the mistakes of the past or the very history that gave birth to much of the movements and genres they merely dabble with and exploit...makes me feel some kinda way...that leering I felt when I watched Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls, or when I cringe at Beyond Black & White/No Wedding No Womb's critical refrain on Fantasia, or the fact that what we all need is a little more love, a hug or two, a more positive way to ask for attention, and maybe an intense womanist roundtable with crudités and hot tea to get to the solutions of dealing with this generational dissension.

By pointing fingers and essentially, and unconsciously, yelling that we have forgotten to love each other, maybe we just feel we've been left behind, forgotten, lost, isolated, silenced...bullied, forced, poked, and pulled into our own dungeons. Lord knows Fantasia is not part of the problem; she's just one of the many stories we all share and do nothing about it. It all makes me feel some kinda way. Like the fight has left us a bit. Some of us can't even get mad over something like cupcakes gone blackface. They're just toying with us now...a dragon with no fight in them. Some kinda love...

I sure do need Dwele's horn section now more than ever. Hopefully we won't see anymore of his McCafe commercials anymore...the brother needs to get back to the studio. "Some kinda love in the Cafe...?" I do think that's what he said...

Still one of the flyest McDonald's commercials I've seen...

Let's remember, when we start to feel some kinda way about the world our bourgie babes are growing up in, we should not hesitate to express a "kinda love his [or her] kinda love so hopefully our children's, children sons and daughters will hear these expressions of our kinda love."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#forcoloredgirls who raise their babies on mother-wit when Tyler Perry is not enuf

My Noodle surprises me everyday with things she knows that I didn't know she knew, ya know?

Like the hippopotamus she identified on her cup (shouldn't I have explained that already)

...Or similarities between dead and sleep:

Noodle: "That man dead, Mommy."
Me: "No, he's sleep...wait a minute...How do you know what 'dead' is?"

..Or that "Almost There" is her favorite song from Princess & The Frog...from all the others...and yet, everytime she sings, "And I'm allllmmooosssstttt tttthhheeeerrreee. BOOM, Mommy!" she has to note the falling of the pillars at the end of the song, perhaps Disney's comedic rib-shot at this grown ass colored girl really thinking she's going to buy this massive property and be the queen of her destiny. BOOM!

Perhaps my bourgie babe knows the deal. She's got her eye on the man and she's going to stick it to him ad hominem style. Or maybe its just a catchy tune. BOOM!

That BOOM had never been louder when a friend and I went to see For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry's surgically altered womb of a tale.

I wholly believe in the power of the female voice. Our words, our songs, our love, our network: think double-dutch as an artform for my colored girls. It embodies the ties that bind us. The songs that keep us in step. The constraints of our paradox.

What I wasn't prepared for was the brutal, tragic, and bitter portrayal of women who seemed less victorious and more embattled than their beginning with the exception of Loretta Devine's character. She knew her lover-in-residence had run off with "a simple bitch with a bad attitude" but that didn't keep her from creating that vessel for which the other women could pour up a cup of mother-wit. Mother wit: the substantive nature of women who instinctually nurture from that part of them that is the recuperation of their ancestors - humorous, brash, wise - everything Madea attempts to be. These are the women who know that good bras, panties, and girdles are the root of our foundation. Can't have all your stuff hanging out or you just might lose it.

I compelled myself to want to really like each colored girl and love them fiercely for what they represented to our struggle. Red, blue, green, purple, yellow, white...but each woman was flawed, blazingly distorted, through Perry's own lens, all carrying destroyed wombs, whether it was destroyed by HIV, untreated STDs, abortion, infidelity, post-traumatic stress disorder, rape, and religion. At every turn, I saw a woman destroyed, rumpled up like paper and thrown in the corner in tears, literally. When does she rise? Was it supposed to be at the moment when all the women encircle Kimberly Elise's character on the roof and her manic declaration of "I found god in myself and i loved her - i loved her fiercely!"

Or Thandie Newton's cocaine chic portrayal of a young woman who should have been adorned in glitter and butterflies...and yet, all is forgiven and lives to be the life of the party because Mama ain't gonna change, now go to college!

Or maybe its Janet Jackson's (what's a weaker synonym for "stirring") confrontation with her down-low, HIV positive husband and she has all these sorries greeting her at the front door. Did she rise up from the ashes of her marriage or was it when she was told that HIV drugs have come a loooonnnngggg way since the 80s and she has to hope to live. I guess now's a perfect time to be philanthropic and learn to be nice to people since you saw your abused co-worker's children thrown from the window.

Or was it seeing Anika Noni-Rose's triumphant return to her dance studio, dancing in the spirit of Sechita, willing away her shame by her latent rapist. The voice behind my bourgie babe's favorite song and movie. BOOM! a woman who kicked viciously thru the nite catchin stars tween her toes. What I was not prepared for was to see this brutal rape. I felt a communal leering about the threatre. Silence. I felt my hands clench the arms of the theatre chair, my anxiety welling up...this latent rapist was upon us. women relinquish all personal rights when in the presence of a man who apparently cd be considered a rapist. BOOM!

Tyler Perry attempted to turn this beautiful choreopoem into something it was not, a man's portrayal and homage to women's struggles. This film needed a laying on of hands...simply allowing a wonderful assemblage of Black women to star in these roles is not enough. Their needed to be a laying of the hands on the script. With the last words being yelled to me at the end did not ring true for me. It seemed hysterical, livid, deeply morose, a realization made before the recuperation. Keep this in mind:

(from After Mecca: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement by Cheryl Clarke)

I have seen several theatrical performances of this play and remember the wonder of the PBS American Playhouse production (1982) I found in the public library I worked in as an undergraduate back in the 90s. Directed by Oz Scott, screenplay written by Ntozake Shange, starring Alfre Woodard, Lynn Whitfield, and Shange as herself, this portrayal set the precedent for me. So imagine my confusion when I witness the clumsiness of the dialogue, the lack of fluidity between the characters, their words, and connection, the viciousness and coldness of the male presence. It lacked the communal responsibility of a woman's story told by herself and her reflections.

Maybe I'm a sucker for a linear story, the accursed Tyler Perry plot line. I wanted to walk away feeling that a woman's struggle and ultimate empowerment and joy is real. We are not just broken bodies with bitter hearts. Colored girls have a lot to teach this world and despite the failures and fallacies of the laden male voice on womanist subjectivity, we cannot convince ourselves that Tyler Perry is the "new voice" for Black women. I'd rather take some mother-wit from a brown, braided double dutch girl.