DopeReads Bible Challenge Reading for Wednesday

The DopeReads Bible Challenge is up and running every Wednesday @ 8PM EST on Twitter. This week’s discussion topic is “Can somebody else do it?” Below is the reading for this week’s discussion:

Exodus 4:10-13

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Marinate on that before our discussion Wednesday, and be sure to join in! Use the hashtag #DBC. Remember, even if you haven’t read, its still good to get in on the discussion. Hit me up at dopereads(at)gmail(dot)com if you have questions!


Onions, Bunions, and Corns, & Why Interpretation Matters

I made this Venn diagram  because it made me laugh. And, it reminded me of this episode of Martin. But the idea that how you interpret something base on your perspective and the resources available to you is a powerful one – like, if I’m reading one version of the Bible, and my friend reads another, we bring our different views to bear on how we process the text. This applies to most anything (life, writing, love). That begs the question, are we ever truly objective? Why even try to be neutral if its so hard to do? How you perceive something can make the difference between a tasty salad and funky feet. Just a thought, Happy Friday :)

Humpday Realness

Currently working on a short story that has me by the neck. I literally must write this (for all the writers who have trouble with motivation, you know that these times are super valuable). Anyhoo, I leave you with some dope reads, vids, and updates to get you through your humpday. Have a good one!

1. Yo. Trillectro is coming to DC August 11. Bomb-ass dope-ass fresh-ass hip-hop/electro festival hosted by DCtoBC. Make sure you cop your tickets soon! All the cool kids will be there.

2. RuPaul spits metaphysical realness on Aisha Tyler’s podcast “Girl on Guy”. You will gag on this podcast, and you will DEAL.

3. You can find interesting mini-books for your electronic reading device from TED, the dope conference where people talk about IDEAS. Get inspired people, you can find out more about this cool new app here.

4. ‘Pelo Malo’ (bad hair) a super dope documentary about the challenges Afro-Latina women face when dealing with their naturally kinky hair. Looks like we are all in the same boat.

5. Tonight is the DopeReads Bible Challenge/Discussion. It starts at 8 PM EST, the reading is Genesis 32: 21-32. We’ll be discussing sibling rivalry and wrestling with God. You don’t need to be a holy roller to join in either, lol.

6. Interesting article on being an ally to our LGBTQQI friends a fellow Hamptonite. “Our goal should not be making coming out safe, but to make it unnecessary.”

7. Millenials are hopped up on electronic devices and social media networks (duh). Peep the infographic/post from GOOD.

8. Step into my wayback machine and see what I was doing BEFORE DopeReads – I wrote for SoulBounce and Clutch. I interviewed cool musicians and basically talked out the side of my neck (per the usual). Let me know what you think in the comments section

9. DopeReads is nominated for the Black Weblog Awards! Peep the shiny badge on the right hand corner of the page. Semifinalist voting doesn’t start until sometime in September, so be ready to rock the vote in a few months :)

Here’s hoping one of my short stories sees the light of day soon. How is your week so far?


What *Wouldn’t* Sanaa Lathan Do?

In my favorite online TV show, the main character is distressed the prospect of having to get it poppin’ with her new beau. She poses an essential question, which has become a catchphrase throughout my Twitter and Facebook timelines:

What would 90’s Nia Long do?

Nia Long has always been a cultural touchstone: sweet (as Brandi in Boyz in the Hood), beautiful (as Beulah in Fresh Prince of Bel Air), saucy (Jordan in the Best Man), or ‘deep’ (as Nina in Love Jones). Long has solidified herself as the woman the guys love and the girls want to be like. She can really do no wrong. This made me think, who is the one actress whose characters I wouldn’t want to model my life after?

Sanaa Lathan.

What if, instead of asking what 90s Nia Long would do, we asked, what wouldn’t Sanaa Lathan do?

Sanaa Lathan is cute in a girl-next-door kind of way, not quite tall, not quite short, medium tone, medium hair, medium build. And in almost all of her roles she’s played the nice, bland girlfriend that goes above and beyond for someone that doesn’t deserve her time or attention.

And it makes my blood boil.

While 90s Nia Long spunky and taking pictures and about her business, Sanaa Lathan is leaving her basketball career behind because she misses her old boo.

While 90s Nia Long is cussing out Debo and falling for Craig, Sanaa Lathan is an engaged dude’s second string.

While 90s Nia Long is getting love poems dedicated to the blues in her left thigh, Sanaa Lathan is playing 1-on-1 for the love of a man who can’t be bothered.

90s Nia Long is the one luring Taye Diggs to f*ck, and Sanaa is the one taking him back when he f*cks up.

For some reason, it feels like Sanaa’s characters don’t ever get to “Happily Ever After.” Maybe the reason she infuriates me so much is because it doesn’t have to be that way. I want to yell, ‘walk away! you don’t have to deal with that bullshit!’ at the screen. In most of her movies (Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar, The Best Man, Something New) Sanaa is frustrating because she could do so much better. Maybe I recognize that many women, myself included, have been more Sanaa than Nia in our day-to-day lives, not recognizing our true power and accepting less than what we truly deserve. Is 90s Nia Long the ideal, and Sanaa Lathan the reality we deal with? Yikes.


Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun

This book is sooooo good.
Like, I don’t even know how to describe how good it is.
Let’s start with the characters:
There is Odenigbo, the strong revolutionary academic with high minded ideas about his country and people,
There is his lover Olanna, beautiful and barren,
There is Olanna’s twin sister Kainene, not as beautiful, but sassy than a mofo,
There is Richard, Kainene’s white British lover,
There is Baby, Odenigbo’s daughter
and there is Ugwu, Odenigbo’s houseboy.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel has more characters that color the story, but these six are the main ones that are set against each other in the plot of the book. It is set in the late sixties as Nigeria (and the rest of the African continent) shakes off the colonial rule of Europe and the intertribal rivalries start to reach a boiling point. Every one of the main characters is devoted to something or someone: Ugwu is devoted to Odenigbo, Odenigbo is devoted to the idea of a free Biafra, Olanna is devoted to her lover, Kainene is devoted to being a smart ass and a business woman, Richard is devoted to Kainene, and Baby is devoted to Ugwu. The interesting stuff happens when all these devotions get disrupted by literal outside forces (war, famine) and emotional forces (family pressure, resentment).
Adichie does a good job of grabbing the reader by the heart with the way she paces the action in the story – the Biafran War boils up and throws the solidly middle class characters into complete chaos. No longer can they sit and argue policies and politics in their living rooms over wine, they actually are living it. The Biafran War serves as the backdrop for most of the story and truly exposes the horrors of war to the reader, and you realize how little it takes to toss an otherwised civil society into turmoil. It is through war that we see Odenigbo’s high and mighty ideologies put the the test and his subsequent dillusionment; we see the power of forgiveness that Kainene has towards her sister for the doing her dirty, and we see Olanna’s tough-as-nails spirit shine through as she fights to keep her family together.
Also, it should be noted that the s3x in the book is really, really good. Like, usually literary s3x is boring or over the top and never really captures the essence of the act. I believe Adichie uses s3x with purpose, to show how it is used as a sign of love between lovers, as a weapon for revenge, and as a tool of power via rape.
Reading this book reminded me a bit of “Beneath the Lion’s Gaze” and “The Kite Runner”, with the themes of war and family in foreign countries teaching you more about a history that you never knew of (the power of fiction!!). You begin to see how war changes people, breaks them down and reveals who they are. That said, you really need to read this book and change your life. Check out the homies of the NBR bookclub tomorrow @ 9PM eastern as they discuss the last few chapters of the book and see for yourself how electrifying they found it. Happy reading!

Three Things That Would Get Me Even More “Fired Up” For The Obama Campaign

Let me be clear. I’ve got his back.

However, just because I do doesn’t mean there aren’t some things I’d like to see in the upcoming presidential campaign. The same methods that worked for the first (Hope! Change! First Black President!) are old hat this go round, and I have few ideas about how to get the people who were zealots in 2008 to get that frothy white foam around their mouths again for the Obama campaign.

1. Chill on the emails.

This is is my President. He sings Al Green. He targets the bad guy and takes ’em down. His wife is fly.

This is Jim Messina, the man who is currently destroying my inbox zero.

Now, I know that email is an effective tool for getting people riled up, but it’s pretty well documented (here, here, and here) that the excessive and casual-creepy nature of the campaign emails is driving people crazy. Like for real, Jim Messina?! You gonna send me ten emails a day? My inbox is blowin’ up Fatty Koo. I get it, the Republican policies veer toward pharoanic “lets sacrifice the firstborn son of every family” ridiculousness, but can you call your email goons off? Pleaseeeeeee? I’ll do whatever you like, I will give money, I will volunteer, please, whatever it takes! I will do it! Just let my inbox be great!

2. Invite People I Actually Care About to The White House

Now, I don’t know if you knew this, but I’m not a middle aged soccer mom who whips a Volvo crossover to Whole Foods. So why do you keep inviting me to dinner with people who would appeal to just that set? George Clooney who? Sarah Jessica what? I’m not saying you have to invite 2 Chainz or NeNe Leakes, but can we get a little more variety at the dinner table? Mr. President, I guarantee you would get more bang for your buck if you invited Beyonce and Baby Blu(e). Do you know how many young, crazed, voting aged people would pay for that type of experience? You wouldn’t even have to have a raffle. I’d be crunk about dinner with the Awkward Black Girl and 15 of my favorite bloggers. My point is, throw some spice on that invite list.

3. Use This As Your Campaign Song

I mean, seriously. The whistle? The way the song causes a gradual head bob/hand clap in listeners? It’s so energizing and positive! You really feel like ‘getting on up’ and doing something for the Imagine throwing this right before a speech or volunteer event. Instant feel good pordy.

So those are my campaign tips. What say you good people? What types of things would you like to see happen during the 2012 Presidential campaign? Make sure you are registered to vote! Check out the Election Assistance Commission or Rock The Vote websites to find out how to get registered in your state. I was able to pick up a form from my local DMV. Have a good weekend!