Lessons From Being Mary Jane

If you were like me you’ve been waiting on this show to come back since BET put that two-hour long trailer out back in July. They got showed u commercials, sucked us in and told us to wait 189 days (I didn’t have to keep track, hell Get Glue told me it had been that long) to find out what else is going to happen. Last year when the movie aired a lot of women rejoiced with cries of  “this is ME” and the most often heard “finally a true representation of black women.”

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Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love this show. I think it is one of the better show out there today that features black people ESPECIALLY where BET is concerned (yes, The Game….I’m talking about you!). However, this is not a correct representation of ME. That’s not my life. I know women who act just like Mary Jane, but I know far more that are nothing like her. I will watch this like I watch Scandal. I don’t plan to have an affair with the President anytime soon but Olivia Pope’s drama keeps me going because real life can be so boring. Can we not as black women just not watch TV? I don’t identify with ANYBODY on Love & Hip Hop, but it delights me, lol. [rant over] Now this show is definitely popcorn worthy but there are definitely lessons from episode one that you can apply to everyday life as a woman.

  1. It is not okay to absorb other people’s crazy. In the opening scene, Mary Jane breaks into her friend’s home. Apparently this friend had taken way too many pills on what we assumed to be a suicide attempt. When she gets home, her love interest (don’t worry, I’m coming back to that) tells Mary Jane that her friend needs help. Her response: She has help. Meaning Mary Jane is the help. No ma’am. That woman no matter how much you love her needs more help than you can give her. You can’t let other people’s crazy become yours. It will stress and tire you out. A good friend will be there with other solutions than just putting on a Superwoman cape. This is a lesson that I have had to learn early.
  2. Sex does not magically morph a situation into a relationship. Sex is one of those things that can make or break a relationship. So naturally I feel like it is very important to know where you are before you have that moment. Mary Jane finds herself all kinds of mad because her love interest found someone else to go to the concert with when she had to work late. We know from the movie that this man was a rebound from finding out the first guy was married. So because you share cookies, that means we go together? Set some boundaries and be real with yourself. You can’t set standards for someone that you aren’t following yourself. Which brings us to….
  3. Dating a married man is never okay. Ever. If he wasn’t honest about his marital status when you met and you found out later, RUN. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Leave it alone. Immediately. Don’t go back to it. No matter what he says about how he feels about his wife, you are 9 times out of 10 setting yourself up for failure. And it’s adultery!!
  4. You have nothing to gain by busting up someone else’s relationship when you find out that you are indeed the other woman. Ask yourself one question: do you really want to inform her that her man is foul or do you want her to be just as miserable as you?

I wonder what I will learn next week!! Do you watch Being Mary Jane? Did you love it?

Top 5 Songs of 2011 NOT By Black Artists

I am a music fanatic. My favorite genre is neo-soul music with some hip hop sprinkled in for a little flavor. Unlike a lot a people I know, I do listen to a broad range of music so my tastes are very wide. I think 2011 has been the year of alternative music tastes for me. Here are my top 5 faves!!

1. Moves Like Jagger –  Maroon 5

This song is my ringtone right now, lol. Something about this tune just gets in your head and stays there!! I have been a Maroon 5 fan for a VERY long time….so the new album was a must grab for me. I’m not really feeling XTina in this song, though. I feel like she could’ve been left out. Oh well!

2. You & I – Lady Gaga

Anybody that knows me, knows that me and Lady Gaga do not get down, lol. However I realized it had more to do with her distracting image than anything else of substance. When I heard this song, I was hooked. I am a fan now.

3. If I Die Young – The Band Perry

The only reason that I love this song is because Delilah sung this song on this season of The Sing Off. I am not that big a fan of country music, but this song touches me.

4. Someone Like You – Adele

Do I even need to explain?!?!

5. Who You Are – Jessie J.

I am really feeling Jessie J. right now. Why? No idea…but I’m rolling with it.

What are your favorite songs outside of your main music genre?

Can Beyonce’ Catch A Break?

It’s summer time so you know what that means…….BEYONCE’S BACK!!!!!! Now I’m going to make a confession. I’m a bit of a Beyonce stan. I love almost everything that she does. I love her messages of female empowerment. I love how she creates trends. I love how she is a female force that doesn’t back down in the presence of men. Oh yea….I love her music too. I also love the fact that every summer she does something that forces my fluffy ass back in the gym to lose my winter weight and that her music is a great workout soundtrack.
Somehow, Beyonce seems to catch heavy scrutiny any time she does anything. And the scrutiny usually comes from other women (big surprise here). I was lingering around YouTube and found this video. 
First of all let me say that I like Nineteen Percent. Her vlogs and way of delivery are hilarious to me while saying a lot of things that other people just think about. However, I feel like she missed the ball with this one. These statistics and facts that she spouted off in this particular vlog are things that I think women should be aware of. By all means get the word out about discriminatory salary practices among genders in the workplace, sexual harassment, domestic violence, female infanticide in other countries, rape, and the all too common objectification of women. Women need to know what they are up against to be better activists. This video just goes about it the wrong way. She just complaining a lot. It’s one thing to be aware of the many issues facing women. It’s totally another thing just spout out a bunch of information with no solutions on how to fix it. AND it’s a whole OTHER thing to blame these problems on another woman.
How is Beyonce a liar when it comes to this song? Is it so wrong to have a female empowerment anthem? Granted, I think this song is crap, but it doesn’t make me that angry. I never think that it is a bad idea to have little girls everywhere thinking that they can do anything and be anything that they want to be. The way to ensure that women will never transcend the station they are in life is to spout off a bunch of negative information at them and to discard any ounce of a positive message. Let’s try this on for size. Let Beyonce do the entertaining and all of us caring women should do our part to help the younger generation not face the issues that prompted Nineteen Percent to call Beyonce out in the first place.
What do you think? Are songs like Beyonce’s Run The World presenting an impossible message to young ladies?

Music Review: Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E.

As I stated in yesterday’s post, I am a Chris Brown fan. A LOYAL one. I don’t care about his antics. I just care about his talent. I was excited about this album from the time I heard No Bull**** early last summer. His last CD came out in the midst of the Rihanna drama and to be honest….Graffiti was a horrible bunch of mess that was quickly put together and thrown out to the public just not that great. However F.A.M.E. is very much redemption from Graffiti and is reminiscent of the reason why we fell in love with Chris Brown in the first place.

I have played the CD in its entirety about 10 times since yesterday afternoon. It is THAT good to me and I don’t get down with a lot of pop sounding R&B. My favorite song of the album has to be Up To You. It is straight R&B crooning. This song will put Trey Songz to bed for a little while. He also gave a musical tribute to Michael Jackson, who is one of his inspirations, on She Ain’t You. This song samples Jackson’s Human Nature in a very tasteful way. For all of you who want a song that is great for lovemaking, Wet The Bed is the song for you. It features Ludacris and doesn’t disappoint when to comes to setting the mood. He also features Justin Bieber in Next To You. In my opinion, this exposes little Justin for how much he CAN’T sing….but you didn’t hear that from me. All in all, I’ll give it 4.5 stars!

Say It Ain’t So, Chris Brown!

I got up this morning with the anticipation of buying Chris Brown’s new album. I know, I know. How can I still want to support Chris Brown? I know the facts. He’s abusive to women. I saw Rihanna’s face like everyone else did. Here is my position: I am a supporter of his music, not the things he does in his personal life. I can separate the two. For some reason it is very hard for a celebrity to be great and NOT have personal issues. We celebrate Charlie Sheen’s meltdown. If I see another “winning” reference, I will probably scream. Black people (for some reason unknown to me) LOVE Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka…..and those negroes are running prostitution rings out of their mama’s house!!! So with a straight face I can say that I am a proud member of #teambreezy. I think it may be about that time to let some of this madness go when it comes to the Rihanna situation. I know she is the victim and they get treated much differently, but she is relatively unharmed by it. She gets to go about her own way and her career flourishes, while Breezy get kicked in the nuts.

However…..I woke up to his Good Morning America temper tantrum. *sighs* Say it ain’t so, Breezy!! That lost him about 300 cool points with me. I feel his pain, but a grown man shouldn’t act like that. Especially one who prides himself on finishing AN ANGER MANAGEMENT COURSE!!!! Where are the PR people? Where is his team who trains him on how to deal with this stuff? They are going to ask him these questions. EVERY TIME. Why? Because he beat the dog shit out of Rihanna (for lack of a better term). He is going to be paying for that forever in mainstream media. Handling it with grace is what I want to see. For now though, I’m going to open up my iTunes, purchase F.A.M.E., and get my jam on. Why? I just love Chris Brown. Drama sells…..*shrugs*

The Game vs. Let’s Stay Together: Do We Really Support Healthy Relationships?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 was a very monumental day for many people in the Black community because it meant the long awaited return on The Game on BET. That show has a cult following. I can honestly say that I was one of those 7.7 million people who were pins and needles to see the continuation of the story of Melanie, Derwin, Tasha, Malik, Kelly, and Jason. Then the train wreck show came on. BET (and of course the original writers who they said all came back….that fact that I question seriously) managed to turn The Game into fried chicken, Black & Milds, and a Maury paternity test show. Thanks! The show really broke down to these simple themes.
  1. Melanie is still traumatized by the fact that Derwin has a baby with his ex-girlfriend, Janay. She goes behind his back and gives the baby a DNA test. Finds out the baby doesn’t belong to Derwin. Derwin, who’s attached to said 2 year old, doesn’t want to know the results because he loves the baby. Melanie tells him anyway. Melanie then finds out that the test was wrong and holds back that information from Derwin. Classic Melanie move.
  2. Malik is sleeping with his boss’s wife. Steals his cousin’s girlfriend from him because he wouldn’t drive Malik home.
  3. Kelly and Jason, still divorced, have issues because Kelly is using her divorce as a way to gain fame by painting Jason in a negative light.

And the crowd goes wild!!!! I was on Twitter during commercial breaks and noticed that my whole timeline was about the show. It was going so fast that I could barely keep up with tweets.

Meanwhile, BET premiered a brand new show, Let’s Stay Together right after The Game. Let’s Stay Together is described by BET,

“Love has no limit or boundaries when it’s real. LET’S STAY TOGETHER is an updated, urban – romantic comedy that takes an unconventional look into the lives of five young, ambitious African Americans. The series centers on a married couple, an engaged couple and a single sister who all take courageous steps as they navigate life, love and matrimony.”

My timeline became totally different when the show changed. Tweets were coming in by the dozens that resembled this: “Changes channel.” “Let’s Stay Together, January 11, 2011 – January 11, 2011.” “I’m not even going to give this show a chance.” This bothered me not only for the obvious reason (you know the reason why major networks don’t give Black shows a chance is because we don’t), but because of what it symbolizes to me. Why are we so quick to tune into a show that portrays us as drama-filled, relationship challenged people but don’t want to give out attention to a show that paints us in a better light. I watched Let’s Stay Together. It’s actually a pretty good show. The couples have their issues, but they are solved within 30 minutes in responsible ways. The show balances comedy with issues that are apparent in every relationship.

In discussing this with the boyfriend and another close friend of mine, a bigger question came to mind. Does the way we allow ourselves to be portrayed in entertainment affect our real-life interactions? The answer seems to be a resounding “yes!” Some times it hurts me to my core to hear some women talk about how Melanie is always right and is always the victim. These are women that emulate that same behavior in real life. Sleeping with random men to get over the one they truly love. Holding men to an impossible standard that they wouldn’t be able to handle if tables were turned. Being selfish. Playing the victim. Taking drama to their man’s place of employment. They do all of these things thinking that it is right and it is validated on TV. These are the same women that are struggling to figure out why they can’t keep a man. I guess they ignore the fact that Melanie is barely able to hold on to Derwin. I’m an equal opportunity stone thrower, so I am not leaving out the men in this equation. Men look at Malik and think it is okay to still live with their mother and be too dependent on their mothers well past 30. Or being so cocky that you think it is okay to sleep with your boss’s wife for revenge. Or hurting your loved ones because they refuse to hold you up in stupid behavior is the way to go. Malik may be the quintessential playboy on TV, but some men haven’t figured out that this is why the world is a lonely place for them as well.
I think that we are doing ourselves a disservice by not viewing and celebrating healthy Black love. With all the studies out there that show that a lack of examples of healthy relationships being the reason why there are so many single parent families and so on and so forth, why shouldn’t we help keep Let’s Stay Together on the air. What do you think? Do the antics of characters on TV validate unhealthy ways of dealing with relationship situations?

Celebrities Are People Too!

I can’t even count how many times that I have read a blog, Facebook status or tweet dealing with the personal dramas of a celebrity. I can’t even begin to imagine how many conversations that I have had about stuff that’s out there about celebrities. For some reason it is fun to read about them, watch them, and discuss them. It takes the focus away from what is going on in your own life and gives you something else to focus on….no matter how retarded.
My stance on celebrity news is very simple and my reaction is always this: “damn these folks act just like folks I know around the way!!” This is comforting to me because we, as a people, seem to put celebrities up on a pedestal and treat them like they aren’t human. The reality of the situation is that they go through hard times (just like us), go through relationship issues (just like us), and experience different stages of life (hey….that’s just like us!!) I feel sorry for people with fame. They make their money and livelihood based on their talents and skills. In return they make a LOT of money and get to have a million prying eyes all of in their personal business. I can’t stand when people like to insert themselves into my personal dramas. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to know that half the country had an opinion about my life.
Take for instance Alicia Keys and more recently, Fantasia.  These are two women who are pretty successful in their music careers. Both accused of carrying on with a married man. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what happened with either of these stories. I just know this….somewhere in these events, there was a man that decided that he didn’t want to be married to his wife anymore and went to find something better. Everybody I know has all these comments and they go something like this: Fantasia is a whore! Alicia Keys is a homewrecker! Ummm….if I’m not mistaken…they didn’t do all the work. Why are they under any more scrutiny than one of your friends who is doing the same thing right now?? Were you there? Do you even know the whole story? I don’t. So I am not that quick to judge. I do believe in the sanctity of marriage so in no way am I saying that sleeping with a married man is right. What I do believe is that in matters of the heart, nothing is black and white….just different shades of gray.  No one knows the inter-workings of the marriages of these men. We just know what a celeb blogger has put out there. (And be honest….you know most of that consists of lies) Unless you have never in your natural born life have ever flirted, considered, or actually been involved with a person that was in a relationship with someone else, you are a hypocrite. Even if that person wasn’t married, you messed with something that “belonged” to someone else. What makes you better than them?
What makes me even more upset is that they are being punished for what goes on in their personal lives. Look at Chris Brown. Poor thing is blacklisted from stores and radio stations. Stations won’t play his videos. People are threatening not to buy any more Alicia Keys albums. Are they any less talented because of their personal situations? The answer to that is no, if you had to think about it. A pre Swizz Beatz AK album is awesome and the last album she had is awesome as well. Chris Brown is just as talented now as he was before he beat Rihanna. They make personal mistakes, but people want to punish them in their pockets. I don’t think I would appreciate it if my pay got docked at work because things at home weren’t rosy. I would snap because my personal life rarely has an effect on the type of work that I do and has no business being taken into consideration when it comes to my check…..unless you are going to give me more money. I think most people would feel the same way.

The Chris Brown/Rihanna Incident

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” – James Baldwin

So since February 8, the brutal fight between Chris Brown and Rihanna has been on everyone’s news and entertainment channels. Everyone knows all of the details that the police know…hell even things that haven’t been officially reported make their way into the gossip rags. Honestly at this point, I am kinda tired of hearing about it because it seems that the media has taken it a little too far in their coverage of the situation. But here’s my two cents anyway.

The night of the Grammy’s – when the shit hit the fan – my mother called me on the phone asking me if I had heard about. She knows that whenever she hears an entertainment rumor that I am immediately going to do an extensive internet search for the answer. Me and my boyfriend were looking it up and lo and behold! There it was. I must admit for the first 72 hours or so I prayed that this was something that the media beefed up too much. I hoped in my heart of hearts that it wasn’t true. So after he apologized, I thought “maybe it wasn’t as bad as the reports said….you know how the media overdoes things.” So then I saw the pictures of her face and my next thought was, “Chris Brown is kinda cute so I hope he is already practicing how not to drop the soap in jail.”

I’m sorry….that was kind of mean. But seriously I don’t feel like there is ever a situation where people in relationships should ever be beating up on each other. In my opinion, if the relationship has gotten to the point where you have to put your hands on your significant other to get your point across….the moment where the relationship should have ended passed a minute before you took the first swing.

I feel sorry for the both of them. Both of their careers are essentially over….at least for the near future. There is so much talk about Rihanna losing the support of young girls everywhere because she is supposed to be such a strong woman and was marketed as such. That is so sad. Being marketed as a “strong woman” and being such are two very different animals. Doesn’t Beyonce’ have an alter ego to help her deal with celebrity craziness? Maybe that was Rihanna’s strong force. People everywhere are mad at her for reconciling with Chris Brown and are trashing her CDs and are making her out to be a villain in her own right. I can admit that I was upset myself, but i have come to the conclusion that most people haven’t yet. Rihanna is going through a very personal, private issue in a VERY public way. Everyone knows someone who is in relationship that is toxic. It may be your sister, mother, best friend, aunt or whoever. No matter what happens you let that person know that you are there for them no matter what. You may not agree with their choices but you always let them know that they have an ally in you. Turning our back on her isolates her more into what could be a possibly dangerous situation for her. Think about it. Pray for her….then get back to your life and let them handle it.

I hope he is sorry and never does it again. Studies may tell a different story….but I am always willing to be proved wrong. What about you?