“Who Wants Me?”: Another Man’s Perspective on Dark Girls

dark-girlsI watched the Dark Girls documentary on Oprah’s OWN last night. It’s a documentary that explores the intricacies of being a dark skinned woman in America, from perception, reception, esteem, and opinion. It’s an interesting documentary, mostly because of some of the absolute ridiculousness from the mouths of the some the menfolks that were interviewed.

On assumptions of negativity about darkskinned women: “If she’s dark skinned, she must be from Compton.”

One fellow on why he wants to have kids with dark skinned women: “I want my kids to look like pharaohs.”

Let’s just say that listening to men talk about how they feel about light vs dark skinned women is almost as telling as listening to women talk about how they felt about being dark skinned. Which, real talk, is not surprising. Many men, both non-sensical and, um, sensical, are directly responsible for the esteem of many women. While it is self-esteem, aka esteem of your motherloving self, at the end of the day, many of us do tie our esteem into how we are perceived. Fair or unfair, it is what it is.

And they also touched on that “swirler” mentality that speaks to the fact that white men allegedly revere dark skinned women (or just Black women) and appreciate these women for who they are. I’m guessing that’s because every time I date a Black woman I definitely attempt to turn her into the dark skinned white woman that I always wanted to marry. Which totally sucks, but hey, if I’m gonna date you, sista girl, you definitely need to natural up that permed out natural. Word life.

Let’s get personal here. I’m one of those guys who has always had a thing for dark skinned women. I’m not sure why or how this started. Now, I’ve dated, have dated, and would date a light skinned woman. I really just love women. All Black women are fair game. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t have some sort of bias toward browner women. Not to sound all objectional, but there’s just something beatiful about a dark skinned woman to me. The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes was a gorgeous, flawless skinned dark skinned woman in Atlanta.

Color issues, namely issues with dark skinned women, still baffle me. But what I do know is that they are very real. Even if they’re not shared unless somebody asks, they clearly do exist even if just behind closed doors. Why do they baffle me? Well, because I’d hope that we were past this non-sense by now, but clearly we aren’t or can’t be. I also think that I have the benefit of being 1) an HBCU grad where so many beautiful women of all shades were doing so many important things it seemed like we’d kind of transcended; and 2) a resident of a city where young professionals are runnin’ the city and are out here dating and I see lots of dark, light, and brown women happily engaged in relationships…you know, when they’re not all being single.

But hearing stories like the woman from Mississippi who basically said she figured nobody would want her because she was dark skinned actually hurt a little. It’s clearly sad for a woman in her teens to already have determined that she wasn’t going to end with anybody, much less married, because who would want such a dark skinned woman. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. It didn’t surprise me given where she was from – a town called Baptist Town, Mississippi – but to hear that said out loud and realizing that it could mirror the sentiment of so many women was sobering. I know its not my own cross to bear nor am I trying to be the patron saint of Black woman self-esteem, but it is a shame that a woman could remove herself from the potential for a happy future of that sort because she knows that she is dark.

Back to living in DC. I actually wonder if I’m just making this “kumbaya” life up. While it seems like of the women who are winning, they run the color gamut, maybe I’m not paying enough attention. I do know that I seem to come across a lot of women who very strong and don’t seem to be constrained to any particular limits. But then I’ll hear stories from women where kids and men say and do some of THE most darndest things and I guess anything is possible.

Not for nothing, I didn’t really find anything in the documentary being that enlightening, but I think its because I’ve had these conversations and been to panels about them etc for some years now. However, it is very interesting to see and hear Black men discuss these things honestly. It is a double edged sword given that you realize how inarticulate some folks can be about why they like what the like when they have to defend their choices. But I do appreciate attempts to talk about these issues in our community because if our girls are hurting, they will turn into women who are hurting and our community definitely rests in the hands of our women who will be raising the boys into men of tomorrow.

I don’t think these documentaries change the world, but I do think that while women will be the ones watching these docs, men need to see things like Dark Girls as much if not more than women. Just so we can have some idea about something we never really have to deal with. Sure I’m light skinned and technically not in style since before Paula Deen was a racist, but I’ve never had any issues that I felt were due to my being light. I think men just live in a different esteem vacuum though.

Anyway, this was everybody scattered a bit, but did you watch Dark Girls? Where do you think we are in respect to colorism in this nation nowadays? Did you deal with color issues growing up and do they still exist? Is being dark skinned STILL a big deal in a negative sense? There’s a lot to touch on there, but I’m curious.

Talk to me. Petey.

Oh and who wants you boo? Panama. Oh, and Tupac. Because Tupac cares even if nobody else cares.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. LIGHTSKINT AND DARKSKINT FRIEND WHO LOOK LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

A Dream Deferred Is Cool And All But…

There are all kinds of dreams deferred in this picture.

There are all kinds of dreams deferred in this picture.

Let’s just go ahead and set the ninjanet on fire. I think Langston Hughes’ poem “A Dream Deferred” is a terrible poem. Like seriously. I’ve read this joint out loud to myself numerous times. I did an interpretive dance to it once. I read it with a British accent while wearing some leopard print boxer briefs that said “Mufasa”  on the front.

Nada. It didn’t get any better.

In fact, during inauguration weekend, while hanging out with Liz and a gang of her friends, I not only said the poem was terrible, I said that 2 CHAAAAAAINNNNNNZ “Birthday Song” was a better “poem” than “A Dream Deferred.”

Here’s the actual poem by the way:

What happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.Or does it explode?Officially, that was a step too far. You remember the scene at the end of Barbershop where folks start talking about Dr. Martin Luther Tha King and the old guys get mad? Yeah….say something bad about something that some educated ninja did 70+ years ago and you’re liable to start a race riot.

Ignorance aside – though I’m not joking – while I think the poem itself is seriously wacksauce, the concept of “a dream deferred” is beyond amazing. For the vast many of us, we are the sum totals of many dreams deferred. Michael Jordan kept that in perspective for me during his birthday weekend which I’m just now realizing isn’t a national holiday despite the insane media coverage of him turning the big 5-0. MJ? Very few of his dreams seem deferred. He is a person who managed to make the absolute most of his dreams and then realize them. Many of us are limited by various factors that perhaps cause us to think that our dreams are out of reach.

Or perhaps some of us came up in circumstances that maybe didn’t prohibit our dreams but placed John Coffey sized obstacles in our way at every twist and turn. The point is, I have spent a lot of time just thinking about the words “a dream deferred” and how abstract but poignant they are. So while the poem may be non-sense (to me), I do believe that the very idea is one of the deepest ideals that many of us can internalize. Kind of like how the idea of “The Sum of All Fears” was a much better title than the movie.

So here are a few other things that I think are better in concept and theory than they are in actuality:

Oprah – her heyday is longgone. But somehow, sitting on Oprah’s couch still somehow counts for something even though it really doesn’t.

HBCU’s outside of the ones folks actually respect – Young, sad and blue. But it’s true. The idea of HBCUs is probably centered around the Morehouse/Spelman/Howards of the lot, yet the vast majority aren’t quit…cutting the mustard.

Range Rovers – Every since Jay ethered the now defunct 4.0, the Range has been a hip-hop staple. Yet, just get you a Tahoe and save some dough.

Washington, DC – it’s like a Black resthaven until you realize its small as hell and you will have done everything possible within a year of living here. It seems like what you envision within the lights of Manhattan for ninjas. Then you realize we’ve got a big wang in the middle of our city. And it’s white. Just a confusing city. Viva DC. It’s my hometown now. So I can say this. I pay property taxes.

Kat Williams (conversely, Steve Harvey is worse in theory than he actually is) – Katt isn’t funny. Yet somehow he became, ya know, before he lost his everloving mind, some sort of Black comedian bar. And he sucks. But the idea of him was a fun one. Real ni**a talkin.

“You Don’t Live On My Street” (though I have to admit my bias here because well, I have heard this poem so many times from Spelman women who clearly didn’t live on any street mentioned in the poem. Tweedledee) – see “A Dream Deferred”

Love Jones (though we can argue that what this is and what it represents are one and the same) – just saying but the legacy of Love Jones has completely trumped the actual movie.

Stringer Bell – Idris, while he may look like he does, is nowhere near as cool as the reason we know his name. Stringer, the coolest and closest to some ideal many Black men would love to live was one of the most evil and f*cked up characters on the show.

Well, that’s enough from me for now. What else is better in theory or concept than in actuality? And by the way, please direct all hate mail about my “A Dream Deferred” comment to this email address.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka DON’T DEFER MY DREAMS BRO aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Panama’s Favorite Things for 2012 And Stuff

It’s funny because it’s true.

Welcome back! we hope your Turkey Day was wonderful!

Oprah released her list of her favorite things nearly a month ago. Of course, white women every where lost their mind because the closest thing to a rap memoir on this year’s list was the Macy’s Hotel Collection of MicroTowels because if there’s one thing that rappers know, it’s hotel towels. My guess is that Jay-Z put her up on that game.

Moving on.

Well since I never find anything on her lists to be something that I’d call a favorite OR actually spend my money on (though these high-tops are totes to die for), I figured, “hey Panama, you’re a real cool cat…perhaps you should list some of your favorite things of 2012!”

After wracking my brain attempting to determine what the best gifts that I would personally endorse could be, I realized, the present is a gift, and I just want to be. And since that doesn’t work, here are some things that you can send to other people that Panama personally loves. Or just things that totally rocked my socks in 2012. That I’d love to receive as a gift.

EEEEEEEK!

*Giada de Laurentiis tiny hand clap*

1. Trinidad James “All Gold Everything”

“…popped a molly, I’m sweatin…WOO…” Need I say more? Probably. But still, I appreciate my ignorance unbridled. And anytime a rapper looks like both Otis and Big Gipp from Goodie Mob at the same damn time, well, I think he needs to be shared with the masses. Share Trinidad James. Oh, and it’s not just because he totally stole my naming steez even though HE TOTALLY DID. By the way, if the nation of Trinidad doesn’t come out with a press release stating that they do not support the overuse of their flag in his video I will totally think they’ve lost all control of their affairs.

2. Jordan 4′s

There are certain Jordan’s that are just doper than the rest. Well in 2012, we saw the release of the 4′s, one such pair of Jordans that are nothing short of beautiful. If you can get you a pair. Do it. (You can’t, their unavailable everywhere)

3. iPhone 5

Sure the Samsung Galaxy III came out and might have a bigger screen and better commercials. But nobody is whippin’ the iPhone 5′s arse. I don’t care what else is out there. It looks better than the Galaxy III and that’s what matters above all else. WHAT!!!!?!?!?!? WHO WANT WHAT?!?!?! Apple Blocc.

4. Carly Rae Jepsen – Everthing She Touches

First it was “Call Me Maybe”. And you know what, I totally got my white pre-teen on when that song came on. Then it was the Owl City assist with “Good Time” – my vote for greatest song of FOREVER – and you have two totally solid songs that are the apex of happiness. And do you know what people love more than anything during the holidays? Good times. Carly Rae is a good time. She’s ALWAYS a good time.

5. The Boxer from Z Gallerie

This picture is so crazy dope that I don’t know what to do with myself. This would be one of my favorite things in any calendar year. It’s 2012. It definitely works for this year.

6. Knit Hat with a beard (you want to click that link)

I own one of these and let me tell you, not only is a conversation starter and but it keeps your face and upper lip warm. And who doesn’t need a lip warmer.

7. Emperor’s New Clothes Hand’s Off Tshirt

Mostly because it’s got boobs, Micky Mouse hands, and Lee Press-on nails.

8. Crosley Performer Record Player

It’s aesthetically beautiful and makes people think that you’re cultured. And who doesn’t want to look and feel cultured. PLUS it allows you to buy records – ya know, vinyl types – and pretend that you are reliving High Fidelity.

9. Michael Jackson’s Bad 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Box Set

MJ gone…our n*gga dead…BUT YOU CAN STILL SUPPORT PARIS JACKSON!

I was going to come up with 10, but honestly, 9 is enough. Actually 8 Is Enough. But call me, maybe. So, with the holiday season in full swing…what are some of your favorite things for 2012? Help us folks who need to buy some gifts for folks.

What would be on your list for this year?!

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. HELPIN’ NINJAS SINCE 79 aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Make sure you RSVP for Reminisce this Saturday, December 1, 2012, in DC. Free before 11pm with RSVP and OPEN BAR from 930-1030pm. All 90s hip-hop and R&B. RSVP here: http://reminiscedc.eventbrite.com.

And for those who weren’t in DC for our Election NIght Watch party at the Washington Post with Urban Cusp, Impact, and The Root DC, peep the video below for a recap!

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My Country ‘Tis Of Thee

If you’ve been paying attention to the newspapers and internet news sources, you know that Barack Obama’s lost his mojo. It’s not that he’s not doing the best he can, but it’s been two years and all we’ve really learned is that there was no way he could pull off what everybody wanted him to do.

Mind you, I’m not sh*tting on Obama. I voted him just like most of us did here. So there’s that.

I also read the Forbes list of the world’s richest people. In the words of Liz, “that’s a lot of white people.” But more than that were a lot of great managers and great business people. Hate or love Wal-Mart, but thost folks know what they’re doing. Don’t even get me started on Larry Ellison or even any of the random other hundred or so billionaires who had to figure out how to run a huge enterprise and mix and match various pieces to achieve a greater goal: stacking benjamins.

Well being the deep thinking, sexxalicious mofo that I am I got to thinking about government from a different angle. You see, we all know government sucks a little. Politicians glad hand you and then take your money. Forget random folks in the neighborhood, you have to hide your kids and your wife from Congress. But what if…

…what if  you could create your own government? Pick your own cabinet from anybody you want. Of course, entertainers are the most visible people most of us can think of. Heck, I couldn’t tell you who 98 percent of the people on the world’s richest people list were. But just say you could create your own US Government built out of the people that YOU think could do the job best. If you think Obama has it…great. I’m not sure he ever had the real experience it takes to be a great manager, but who am I to judge. He’s my POTUS.

It’s Friday, let’s pick our cabinets. Pick out a President, VP, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Education, and some advisors.

Here’s the Panama Jackson government -

President - The guy who owns Home Depot, Arthur Blank

Every year folks vote this as one of the best places to work. People LOVE working there and they deal with wood all day. No prostitute. He provides a rest haven for immigrants and the Home Depot closest to me is in the hood and you know who shops there? White people. We got diversity, immigrants, profit, focus, and one of the best aisle setups ever. What does that have to do with anything? Not a clue, but the point is, that guy knows how to run a company that everybody can get behind. That’s who I want running my country. At least for  a week or so…I mean he did toss Micheal Vick.

Vice President - Oprah Motherf*cking Winfrey

Forget Lil Mama, Oprah is the voice of the young people. Actually, I’m sure you already forgot Lil Mama until I reminded you of her so forget her again. Who doesn’t love her and/or listen to what she has to say. She’s got the social services on lock. Look how much crap she gives away for free. Can you say hand-out? As opposed to coming in with an agenda, she’d be the sounding board for the old white people and old women. Who knows we might even get the suffrage movement going.

Wait…women can already vote?!?!?!?!?!? Who thought that was a good idea?

Secretary of Defense - 50 Cent and/or Christ Partlow

50 makes sport of destroying people’s careers. Seems like he’d be a shoo-in, but Christ Partlow? That murderous mofo just has the necessary military precision and decision making neceessary to keep everybody at bay. Marlo’s not even real and I don’t want to f*ck with him so that I don’t have to deal with Chris and Snoop. No doggy.

Secretary of Commerce - Eminem and Will.I.Am/Dude’s selling Nutcracker on the streets of NYC

They’re the only two people selling units in a music industry where nobody is buying sh*t. Sounds like commerce to me. Plus, you have to have a white guy in a major cabinet position. It’s like fantasy basketballl. You should be required to keep at least one white person on your squad at all times. And if you’ve been to NY you know about nutcracker. Those relentless cats make sales.

Education Secretary - Trick Daddy.

He loves the kids.

I’m at my word limit so I’m just going to say all my advisors would be the Wu-Tang Clan. And do you know why?

Because the Wu-Tang Clain ain’t nothing to f*ck with.

Who would run your government?

It’s Friday. Enjoy your life.

-VSB P aka GO KING BEEF aka THE ARSONIST aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

10 Biggest Stories of the Decade In The Black Community.

It’s been one hell of a decade, hasn’t it?  There’s been all kinds of random happenings. And since the Black community is usually prone to being apart of some of the f*ckery that happens over the course of history (OJ, anyone?), I figured that we, here at VSB, might as well get to getting like everybody else and coming up with some kind of list about this past decade. And what better topic of discussion than some of the biggest stories of the decade in the Black community.

Some will be obvious. Some will be curious.

But Panama Jackson will be sexxy. The decade has taught us so.

Allons-y.

10. Tiger Woods becomes a Black man

While Tiger might be the biggest sports story (and possibly one of the biggest general stories of the decade) in the Black community, ole Eldrick’s Black card has been pulled a long time ago.  In fact, the last time I think he referred to himself as Black, the Wu-Tang Clan started an investment firm and I’m sure Mos Def was prominently involved. Either way, Tiger learned what happens when you go poking blondes all willy nilly…you lose sponsorhip deals. But hey, Kobe got his back (and called himself the Black Mamba) so the future looks bright for Tiger, though I suggest he begin calling himself Tigga. That way he can start rapping with Jay as Jigga and Dat Ni**a Tigga. There’s lots of potential here.

9. The rebirth of Ike

Apparently Chris Brown’s PR people forgot to tell him that you can’t hit girls past age 7. Well, in February 2009, young Breezy put a hurtin’ on Rihanna and became the story heard ’round the world. Domestic violence is nothing to joke with, so I won’t joke about it. However, keeping Chris Brown, the MJ-heir apparent, from performing at an MJ tribute during the BET awards just seemed egregious.

8. Man’s favorite pasttime gets the “Super” treatment

An odd choice, no doubt. But when you realize how many celebrities bucked the f*ck up once Karrinne Steffans became a household name in 2005, it becomes obvious that very few other people were as significant this decade. Hell, last time this many celebrities read a book, a guy named McCarthy was running amok. And then her subsequent book? That book put every male celebrity on full blast AND inspired an entire nation of video hoes vixens to learn how to read so that they could write their own terrible “memoirs.” Take that Reading Rainbow.

7. Beyonce pisses off lots of women

She went from being the lead singer of a too-young jailbait group out of Houston in 1997 to the most famous pop-star in the world in 2009. That’s no easy feat, especially considering she spent the entire decade being pelted with haterade by women near and far even though every hater has her albums and loves “Single Ladies”. Her accomplishments this decade are nearly unparalleled.

6. “WHY WON’T YOU LET ME BE GREAT???”

Beyonce would be unparalleled, except Kanye West entered the scene circa 2003 with his recently dubbed album of the decade with The College Dropout, and then managed to make himself into the most important figure in Black music today. You read that right and I did not stutter. Hate him or love him, Kanye will always be around because he cares about the music. He’s pretty much the Stevie Wonder of our generation. Plus the whole skinny jeans things has really taken off.

5. Author JL King ruins boys night out

In 2004, author JL King adorned Oprah’s couch and f*cked up dating ever since. He inadvertently convinced women around the nation, especially Black women, that every man was potentially trying to f*ck his homeboys. Almost overnight, the term DL became apart of the Black lexicon.

4. Rosa Parks finally stops suing Outkast passes

One of the icons of the Civil Rights movements, Rosa Parks passed away in 2005. She was one of the few non-Presidents laid-in-state in the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. She was so important to the fabric of this nation that every major media outlet showed coverage of her funeral and procession…except BET who thought their audience would be better served by showing videos since folks could catch the funeral on CNN or some sh*t (btw, I can’t find a single article about this now, back in 2005, BET had a press release explaining why they didn’t show the funeral).

3. Botched engineering and a Hurricane with a Black name give Spike Lee inspiration

Hurricane Katrina needs no explanation.  August 2005 is when most of us realized just how little many Black lives are. On the bright side, Spike directed one helluva documentary though.

2. Michael Jackson goes to Neverland

I’m really only putting this at 2 to show deference to the historical context of the obvious number 1, but really, globally, more people were touched by MJ’s death than Obama’s presidency. Hell, I still miss Michael Jackson.

1. Barack Obama ruins “the excuse”

Well, duh.

Did I miss any??

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3