Diggin’ In Authorial Cheeks: Jamilah Lemieux Bangs Hard on “The Help”

B*tch please.

Happy Writerly Wednesday, y’all!

I love a good telling off, and I couldn’t help but stand up and make it clap for Jamilah Lemieux’s (aka Sister Toldja) ascerbic take on Kathryn Stockett’s book and soon to be movie The Help. Just a brief overview, The Help is the story of doting black domestics and their charges set in the 1960’s. Lemieux busts the whole story’s  “white savior/magical negro” premise to the white meat by explaining why its so prevalent in cross-racial storylines:

It’s pretty simple: because these narratives allow white folks to feel good and satiates their guilt, while failing to challenge their racialized worldview.

The inherent superiority of whites is still made clear, yet the presence of liberal, benevolent protagonists serves as a buffer. People probably don’t want to see that in most situations in which whites pitched a hand to help, they weren’t the leaders; they were supporting the actions of mobilized, self-actualized black folks. Stories like The Help allow white audience to feel like they are facing ‘the race problem,’ without actually doing so.

Has anyone read The Help? Do you plan on seeing the movie? Based on this unreview (she didn’t read the book), I probably won’t either. Check out Lemieux’s website here, she is awesome.



High Five: Top 5 Moments from the Foreign Exchange Concert in Falls Church, VA

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a big, FAT, rAvIng Foreign Exchange fan. In the past year I have seen them three times, and next month I’m hitting up my fourth show in Pittsburgh. This group is the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, all that and a bag of KETTLE COOKED LAYS po-ta-toe chips.

The Foreign Exchange is that good.

With that said, I would like to present you, dear reader, with my top 5 moments of the DMV performance in Falls Church, VA. This show was the (sort of) kick off to the stateside Authenticity tour, and as usual +FE brought the heat. The usual suspects were there (Phonte + Nicolay) with Zo! on keys, and vocalists Jeanne Jolly and Deborah singing back up.

It goes a little something like this….. Continue reading

Who is the Nigger?

Today’s post was supposed to be about words, and how I love them, and how I love to speak them and write them and hear them. In a way, it still is, but I decided to do a little something different after seeing a video a friend posted on Facebook today. The clip below is a testament to the powerful force of destruction and creation words can be.

In the video James Baldwin (one of my favorite writers of all time) engages the the word “nigger” and delves into the reason why the word has never applied to him:

Although the term “nigger” is doesn’t hold the weight today that it did when Baldwin was wrestling with it, there are always people who are eager to use words to niggerize  ‘others’ in our society. It’s not necessarily the word that is used, but the intention behind it – you are not like us, you are unworthy, you frighten me.  It’s evident in the way that neo-cons cling to the insane notion that our president is a foreign-born Muslim, or the way  of anti-choice organizations are using sensational propaganda to target black women,  or even in the misogynistic lyrics of 95% of rap music. What are people so afraid of?

James packed up other people’s problems ever so neatly and dealt them right back to their owners, a talent I’m sure is directly related to the fact that he was a master of words and was discerning enough to understand the semantic siege waged upon him. That’s a talent not many people possess.



Creativity vs. Logic

Which one are you?

I came across this dope Mercedes-Benz advertisement today at work, and couldn’t help but be taken by both the striking beauty of the piece and the slightly misleading statement it makes. It’s easy to subscribe to stereotypes about creative people (full of sh*t, flighty) and logic-driven folks (robotic, lacking emotional intelligence), but in all honesty both capabilities are needed to be truly successful in any endeavor.

With that said, I know I sometimes not so secretly judge people who lack…imagination. But I also know that the technological innovation of the iPhone doesn’t come from the same place as the creativity it takes to paint The Persistence of Memory.

Just a little something to think about.



For Reading Negroes When 140 Characters Wasn’t Enuf – #FurloughFriday Edition


Let’s face it, many people don’t have time to read the instructions on a box of cereal, much less a book. Now that most of you  with government jobs in the DC Metro Area will be on mandatory vacation –a.k.a. furlough- you might as well put your brain to work and read, because the good Lord knows you don’t do anything but read tweets and statuses all day anyway. I’ll list three of this week’s must read books from easiest to hardest for those of you who are still hooked on phonics:

1. 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (and Other Useful Guides)

If you are a short bus shawty and enjoy staring vacantly into space, this book is for you. Comprised of the viscerally comic drawings  of Matthew Inman’s website ‘The Oatmeal’, this book will make you laugh so hard it hurts. It includes 25 never before seen comics and a free pull out poster, AND if you purchase the book by today all proceeds will go to support relief efforts in Japan. Continue reading