Latest Entries »

Guys Who Sound Black

DuncanArne

Like pretty much the entire universe I’ve been enthralled by the series Serial on npr. One of the most intriguing aspects of this story to me is the way Adnan Syed, the “star” of the series sounds. Though he’s Pakistani/American and son of immigrant parents on the radio he sounds like a black man. And when I say “sounds like a black man” I don’t mean in the stereotypical pseudo gangsta hip-hop way. Or using AAVE, which is almost universally off-putting. No, this is something more in a rhythm of speaking, tonal inflections and syntax. Some non-blacks try to do it, but much like southern accents, many try, but very few succeed. Even Robert Downey Jr.’s hilarious turn in Tropic Thunder didn’t quite master it, but then again he was playing an Australian who was playing a black guy, so he was being funny on purpose.

I’ve encountered people who speak this way before but oddly enough it’s almost universally non-black men. I don’t recall hearing a non-black woman who “sounds” black, but I’m sure it happens. Of course, there’s always Hillary Clinton’s embarrassing attempt during the 2008 primaries. Listening to Adnan made me curious as to how common this phenomenon is.

I listen to the radio a lot, and I remember when President Obama nominated Arne Duncan to be Secretary of Education. I listened to Duncan on npr and assumed he was a black man. It wasn’t until months later that I realized my error. (And looking at his picture, I still wasn’t sure.) Lisa, who lives in Chicago, told me that his mother had run an education program in low-income neighborhoods and had taken Arne with her, so his formative years were spent primarily around black kids.

I can definitely see that happening, but it’s odd to me that when these guys are no longer are no longer in a black environment they don’t stop speaking that way. Or maybe they do. I suppose it’s even possible that they “code switch” much like black people do. Though, if that were the case you’d think Duncan would do so when talking to the press, but he doesn’t.

Have you met people who “sound black?” How do you feel about it? Does it make you wonder about their background? If you’re a black woman, are you put off by non-black men who “sound black” when they approach you romantically?

roslynholcomb:

As much as I adore RuPaul, I cannot deny that drag is both misogynistic and sexist as all hell. Just because gay men are an oppressed group doesn’t mean they’re incapable of oppressing others.

Originally posted on A FreudianNightmare:

While mainstream feminism cycles through its regular intervals of outrage about blackface (every Halloween) and cultural appropriation (every time Urban Outfitters puts another model in a headdress), it never seems to think critically about drag. Despite major thinkers in both feminist and queer theory– e.g. bell hooks and Judith Butler– being critical of it the topic has not seemed to capture the attention of mainstream feminists or the mainstream LGBTQ community. [ft 1]

Blackface and minstrel shows may be relics of history, but female characters lampooned on stage by men are not. Drag is a highly celebrated tradition in gay culture and is relatively well-accepted by the mainstream. It is often said in today’s “social justice” discourse that oppressions can not be compared, especially not racism and sexism. We are warned that to do so might erase their “unique histories” or demean the suffering of, for example, black men. It…

View original 4,714 more words

amp_vcard_IMG_0053

As y’all know I love Apartment Therapy like damn and whoa. I check in there several times a day and have found lots of good projects there. Therefore, imagine my surprise when I came across this project. It’s cute, and something I might have done, but when I read the copy which drips with rampant disgust and disparages our genre, I seriously wanted nothing further to do with the asshats that run that site. I know people love to put down romance, despite the fact that it’s the most popular genre out there. Usually I pay the pretentious fuckers no attention, but this is absolutely absurd. No way in hell would they have done the same to horror or SFF writers. It’s couldn’t be more neanderthal if it had hair on its back and, yeah, it pissed me the fuck off.

So the other day I was watching some TV show the name of which I don’t recall, but it was about women in unusual situations. These three women were a Hasidic Jewish rock band (You can see why I was enthralled). Anyway, in keeping with their traditions, they can only perform in front of an all-female audience. They were having a bear of a time booking gigs, and I didn’t get to see all of the show, but it got me to thinking. How cool would it be to actually have events that were only for women?

It seems that everywhere we go as women we are subject to harassment by creepy ass men. When I was younger I was hugely into basketball and loved nothing better than hanging out with my friends at a local sports bar, hoisting a few brews and watching the game. With much trash talking, natch. Well, nine times out of ten we couldn’t get through the game without some guy (or guys) bothering us. No matter how much we ignored them, there they were. Indeed, some of my friends preferred to hang out at gay bars for that very reason. I didn’t like the vibe there because quiet as it’s kept gay men can be just as misogynistic as straight guys. Hell, if I was going to be treated like crap I might as well get a free drink for my trouble.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rescue a friend from a guy who got too handsy, and I actually had to punch a dude in the face once for grabbing my ass. Seriously? Who needs this kind of grief?

I doubt anyone will be opening a women’s only bar anytime soon. Indeed even lesbian bars are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but I think it would be awesome if Ladies Night could somehow actually be just for women. No worrying about being roofied, or going to the toilet in pairs to avoid harassment. Just a night of great music or sports with some friends.

Next time one of those Hotep Negroes steps to you about abortion being genocide, Breukelen Bleu has given you the best response I’ve ever heard. I’m taking the liberty to quote the whole passage, but you really need to go over to Muslim Bushido where all her comments on the For Harriet blog are storified.

But heres whats never considered. Men (of all races) make life and death decisions EVERY DAY. They carry guns as police, join the military and act as GOD presiding over the health care, politics and economics of every human being on this planet. BILLIONS of people die from the decisions (and whims) of MEN – and nobody questions it because MALES are supposedly superior and thus, have that right. Women, on the other hand, are taught that we have NO right to decide what comes thru us – no power over life and death. We are told to be but ‘vessel’s for the ‘seed’ of men, with no power over if and when our bodies are used to bring forth life. We are told this, at the same time MALES are given the authority to determine the fates of every human being on this planet, with impunity.

Procreation is the WOMANS DOMAIN. Males have NO say and are NOT to preside over it. But they killed off the midwives and herb workers and Wise Women so that MEN could control fertility and birth rites. They are OUT OF ORDER in this and the entire human race has paid dearly for it.

Anyone who believes the black women did not terminate unwanted pregnancies before the ‘white man’ came, is a fool. Women of ALL races have exercised their reproductive rights since the very beginnings. It was MEN who took those rights away, forcing us to fight to get them back.

Patriarchy banks on the human males ability to control the womb of women. As long as men hold dominion there, they control everything. It is NOT the place of men to do this, and it is not ‘divine order’ for them to dictate to women what is for OUR minds only. WE are the First Cause. WE are the source of it all. They, as males, come after. THEY dont get to dictate to the Source what our rights are.

That is NOT their place.

The greatest indicator of poverty on this planet, is MOTHERHOOD. Men used the wombs of women to control resources, hoard wealth and have bodies to fill their factories, whore houses and military ranks. 70% of the worlds poor are WOMEN and CHILDREN and it is DESIGNED that way.

Black folk wanna talk about ‘eugenics’ and ‘genocide’? Lets start there. Lets talk about the 2000 people who were killed in Nigera last week – BY black men. Lets talk about the untold numbers of adult black females and children of BOTH genders that are violated, tortured and killed at the hands of men who look JUST LIKE THEM, all around this world – and THEN lets talk about the ‘genocide’ of millions of black women and children who have harmed, raped, and murdered at the hands of BLACK MEN over the years. Lets talk about THAT shit. The history of black folk didnt start when the slave ships showed up. Our history goes back looooong before that and when we start looking there, some of our folk got some ‘splainin to do.

So, after we throw out the bible verses and Jesus quotes talking about the ‘sanctity’ of life, lets talk about how we give MEN the right to preside over life and death (even black men) EVERY DAY all through out this world. Lets talk about the guns and weapons and bombs and biological agents and GMO’s and all of that shit that kills HUMAN BEINGS by the millions, every year. Lets talk about why is it ok for men to decide who lives or dies (oftimes in the most horrific of ways), but not women. Lets talk about why we presume that men are better suited for that task, than the woman who actually CARRIES life within her? Lets talk about THAT.

tariji2

WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH TELEVISION SHOWRUNNERS?

For two and a half years I followed Person of Interest, primarily because of the phenomenon that is Taraji P. Henson. Only to watch them not only shoot her dead in the street like a dog in order to elevate a robotic sociopath, but also totally change the basic premise of the show. Then the motherfuckers lied, lied and lied some more. Yes, they fridged Carter to elevate two white women. Okay, cool, you don’t want me to watch your show, I won’t watch it. Not only will I not watch the show, I watch NOTHING on CBS, or anything created by the show runner or his brother.

Then you have Sleepy Hollow. Can someone please explain to why any sane person would take a hit television show, sideline all the stars who made it a hit in order to elevate a woman who can’t act her way out of a wet paper bag and is apparently incapable of speaking above a whisper? Where they do that at? They took Jenny’s backstory and gave it to some random white dude, and have literally turned Abbie into Ichabod and Katrina’s mammy. And don’t even get me started on how callously she treated Irving, a man who literally died trying to fight for the Witnesses. Irving wouldn’t even be in this mess were it not for her, even after his child was possessed by a demon he stayed the course. Yet, she couldn’t even comfort him in his time of distress. Nope got to go save Massah and Miss Anne. *vomit* It’s like the new show runner couldn’t comprehend a black woman being the lead in a television show, while her sister occupies the “adventurous Indiana Jones” role. Black women have to be someone’s handmaiden, don’t you know? Even if it makes no goddamned sense.

As the Sony leaks have so aptly demonstrated, Hollywood is still a horribly racist town. As black folk we’ve been told repeatedly, Hollywood only sees green. Create something folk want to see and you’ll reap the rewards. In both these cases Taraji P. Henson and Nicole Beharie (et al) did just that. Clearly, Hollywood cares far more about race than it does about money because the ratings of both shows plummeted yet they carried on with the fuckery. Bottom line is for black women in Hollywood quality is meaningless, as are ratings. At the very least you would think they would be honest about it.

I was never a big television person in the first place, but yeah, I’m angry and bitter about this. I’ve spent most of my life watching white women being the star while black women are relegated to “clean up woman” status. Sorry, I have no intention of watching it anymore.

#PersonofInterest #SleepyHollow #ShadyHollow #racism #racistassHollywood #Taraji P. Henson #Nicole Beharie

Honoring Our Roots

Monica-Jackson

I’ve been thinking about this ever since Monica Jackson died, and today with the passing of Gwynne Forster I think it’s time that we African American and multicultural romance authors start thinking seriously about some type of memorial, a tribute of some such to those who forged the way for us. Remember, before these amazing women came along THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS ROMANCE NOVELS WITH BLACK FOLK, OR ANY NON-WHITE FOLK. PERIOD. Wrap your mind around that for a minute, and imagine what an incredible thing they did. Think about the grief we get in this industry and imagine what it must have been like for them, starting at the very beginning. Doing as black women always do; making a way out of no way.

I don’t know what form this should take; Scholarships? Donations to libraries? I’m not sure, and this is well out of my wheelhouse, but we’ve been fortunate enough to have some really amazing women in our genre and we must find a way to honor them. And even more so, to nurture new talent and support other young women and girls with an interest in literature. What do y’all think? Any ideas? Yes, I know we’re all crazy busy. But I don’t want to look back someday and have our newbie authors asking “Who was Gwynne Forster?” Or even worse, having outsiders writing our history for us. Others are already claiming credit for creating multicultural romance. This cannot stand. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a fitting way to memorialize our roots, our mothers. The women who made us what we are today.

logo.png

Ebola is better in some countries, but worsening in others, any it’s still hitting black women harder than any other demographic. Remember, donate in any amount, send me the receipt and I’ll send you a copy of ANY book in my backlist, or any future book (though you’ll have to remind me of that!!! -lol-) And again, thanks so much to all who’ve donated.

2015NewYears

Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, All Romance Ebooks (ARe) is having a helluva blowout sale. Customers will pay the full listed price using credit card or Paypal and ARe will give them back 50% of the purchase price in eBook Bucks, their in-store currency. Customers will be able to use those bucks toward future purchases. I love eBook Bucks, which is why I shop almost exclusively at ARe, and this sale will be insanely awesome. If you’ve been wanting to try one of my books, this is the perfect time.

Making Cover Magic

PDS_16x24

Book covers are not something I used to spend a lot of time thinking about. I generally buy by author and blurb, so before I started self-publishing, it was well outside my wheelhouse. I’m very fortunate that I have a husband who is a graphic designer by trade and is able to do the magic to make my cover ideas happen. I also adore Taria Reed at The Reed Files for finally giving us the type of beautiful diverse images we need.

This is the most recent cover my husband magicked for me. This the image he started with.

Suspense0137-2

My character wears her hair in braids. So he had to add them.

4

She also has a darker complexion, so that had to be changed also.

My male lead actually has chestnut hair.

41o580k5T5L._SY300_

This book takes place in Laritrea, which a fictionalized version of the North African country, Libya. So I wanted a background of some Roman ruins.

IMG_4708

Then he did the comic book style that really fits this story to a tee. I’d say, altogether he put in several hours on this cover. And if I told you what his typical going rate is, you’d faint. I’m just very lucky I get free labor from him!

The process is just so very awesome. And he’ll sit there and patiently tweak it until he gives me exactly what I want. Just awesome. Most of the time, the ideas are all mine, but sometimes, he’ll surprise me, like he did for Buttercream.

Buttercream_16x24

Everything about that cover was his idea. I remember getting so annoyed because I had to find photos of the inside of a bakery. What difference does it make? I whined. And, of course, it makes all the difference in the world.

Sensual Couple0967

Corner-Bakery-Cafe-Bakery-Case

shutterstock_116141572

My only real contribution to this cover was the font for the title. Y’all don’t want to know how long it took me to find that freaking font. I absolutely adore fonts, and will pay a ridiculous amount of money for them. I had to have that B, nothing else would do.

butter-logo-brown_6029

This cover took him two whole weeks, mainly because he simply wasn’t feeling it, and actually created another cover that he didn’t want to use. It’s hard sometimes because I’m impatient, but he is an artist and if the groove isn’t there it simply not there. It’s not like on his job where he has to produce whether he’s feeling it or not, and I have to remind myself of that all the time.

My guy is amazing and wonderful in so many ways, but I adore him so much for the way he supports and fulfills my dreams, even when I’m being an absolute nag about it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,980 other followers