No one ever wants to talk about it. And that’s amazing since you can’t watch a full hour of TV without hearing some celebrity spewing statistics at you or watching some young girl bop down the street turning down guys left and right – you know, things that are supposed to reflect you. Me.
Despite the ads on TV, radio, magazines and billboards we still don’t want to talk about it. How many of us sit down and discuss our feelings about this pandemic with our friends? Our family? How many of us discuss preventative measures? Why? It’s that elephant in the room that still makes everyone uncomfortable. Maybe we need to push that discomfort a little further.
Forget statistics for a moment. Here’s a fact: in order for there to even be statistics, there need to be reports. And most people with HIV or AIDS don’t even know they have it. Most of us have encountered – and not necessarily sexually – people who have either HIV or AIDS. Did you know? Did they know?
Back to the stats. According to www.nineandahalfminutes.org someone in the US is infected with HIV every 9 minutes and 30 seconds. I hope that makes more than a few people utter a cute little “WTF.”
At this point in the fight everyone is urging us to know our status. And what’s the harm in it? What are you afraid of? Being a leper? Get over it. Something’s already wrong with you. You’re too black. Too white. Too fat. Too skinny. Your breath smells like hot shit on a windy day. But HIV and AIDS can be treated too. No money? Get over that too. Because they’re too many people in this fight who want you to live.
And if the test comes back negative, why wouldn’t you want that sense of empowerment?
Trust me, I’m scared shitless EVERY time I’m tested. Why? Because I watch TV, listen to the radio, and read magazines that are perpetually scaring me half to death about this thing. But I go. And every time I call for the results or find myself in the waiting room twiddling my thumbs for the rapid test results and the nurse says, “negative,” there’s no greater sense of relief. No greater renewal of dedication to self. I owe it to myself to know where I stand and to continue to protect myself.
Some folks argue over whether this fight should be fought here at home or in Africa (if you live under a rock, Africa is the most AIDS-ravaged continent on the globe). I’ve got my opinions on that too. A tale for a different time. But at least they’re fighting. Why don’t you?
I’m not asking you to grab a picket sign, donate half of your paychecks to research or even volunteer your time. I’m only asking you to get tested. Grab a friend if you need to. Chances are they’re just as wary pf the whole thing as you are. Yes, it may be uncomfortable with someone there with you. But not nearly as uncomfortable as one could be alone. Join the fight by helping to eliminate the need to fight. Know your status.
Here are some sites that can help you find a testing center in your area:
Despite the obvious snubs many hip hop and R&B artists received at this year’s Grammys, overall the show was great.
Let me go ahead and get my complaints out of the way:
- B.o.B and Drake both deserved to win!
- I was tired of hearing that damn Lady Antebellum song
- More awards should have been televised. It’s the Grammy Awards, right?
Anyway, highlights included:
I’ve never given her much thought, but ever since I heard her blow it out acapella at the VMAs I wanted to take a closer look. Her performance was awesome. She had a concept and rode it to the very end. She was an egg. So what? I don’t have to get it or vibe with it. But I definitely respect it. Plus. her vocal ability is sick. I think she did the most singing-whilst-dancing among any of the performers.
B.o.B/Janelle Monet/Bruno Mars
I love each of these artists individually but their talents combined provided a stellar performance! I love B.o.B’s versatility from the gutair to rapping to singing. Janelle Monet cannot be described in words. And every time I see Bruno Mars I learn something new about him. I never knew he played the drums, too! Plus, a childhood friend’s brother is in his band (go, Phred!). Janelle Monet shocked me (and my sister) when she stage dived, but it worked out well for her. I deem this: BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT.
Cee-Lo is known for his theatrics on stage and didn’t disappoint last night. What the hell was he, anyway? A peacock? Plus, he performed with Gwyneth Paltrow. Um, is she a singer now? Though their set had many confusing elements for me, I’ve decided to list it as a highlight because the song is the tea (if you don’t know, ask or look it up) and only Cee-Lo can have a band made up entirely of puppets. Hot shit.
I love Katy-friggin-Perry! She’s so awesome to me! Her performance started sweetly. I was worried about her trying to get down like Pink did at last year’s Grammys but she stayed true to herself. Did anyone else notice the hearts all over her skirt? Too cute. And the tribute to her new hubby, comedian Russell Brand, was too cute! I must admit, I rolled my eyes a little bit when she dedicated Teenage Dream to all the Valentine lovers. But only a little bit. I’m trying not to hate on love.
Detroit, WHAT! Em put it down this year. Ever since he dropped “Recovery” his shows seem so genuine. They seem to come from a place of hard work and sacrifice, not drug-induced excitement. Mind you, I had no problem with Purple Pill-poppin’ Em, but I’m always down for a man trying to make a change. Clearly his has been positive, as reflected in his attitude, his music, this performance, and his Grammy win. It was great to see Dre back on somebody’s stage again. And Skylar Grey shitted on Rihanna vocally. That’s a damn shame.
- The Aretha Franklin tribute (mainly Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams)
- Train’s win for Hey Soul Sister – I love that song
- Usher, Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith – did anyone catch Will yell “that’s my baby”? LOL!
- Rafael Saadiq leading Mick Jagger’s band
- Ricky Martin’s pants
- Christina Aguilera trying to out-sing Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams
- Miranda Lambert’s dress (I kept saying she looked like Mud from the Swiffer commercials)
- Bob Dylan sounding like a pack-an-hour smoker
- Rihanna’: the single performer with the least vocal ability got two performances
- “Diddy” being introduced as “Puff Daddy” who the hell is he these days?
- Separate mention for the bottom grill that fool was wearing
- Raheem DeVaughn not winning shit! *folds arms and pouts*
For a complete list of the winners go to http://www.grammy.com/nominees
I patiently waited through the weekend (and a bangin’ birthday party) for TV One’s Second week of Way Black When. This time the 1980s are highlighted. I love the 80s! I couldn’t wait for this show!
Niecy Nash is a wonderful host. Her monologue was funny and her weave was RIGHT! There’s nothing worse than seeing a woman with fame and clout with busted hair. I’m just saying…
During the Bill Duke interview I got worried. Ms. Nash seemed to be a bit loud and teetering on that Mo’Nique-ish line. Her interview skills are great though. She got good info and tied Bill Duke’s past success in entertainment with helping the next generation of actors (Taraji P. Henson attened his well-known boot camp).
First lady of hip-hop, Roxanne Shante, was my favorite interview of the night. She’s so humble and wise. Rap’s first female MC is also a breast cancer survivor. Wisdom doesn’t always have to come from the elderly.
“If you hated me in the white outfit, oh baby, I’ma kill ya in the black!”
– Roxanne Shante on haters
Roxanne Shante has written a coffee table book titled The Young Girls’ Guide to Old School Dating. I haven’t been able to find information on it but I look forward its release. I’ll be sure to do a review on it. Young girls need some tips on dating. And I’ll definitely take some from her. Did you see the rock on her hand!?
Remember The Last Dragon? Tamiak AKA Bruce Leroy was on the show too. This man has barely aged. And he’s still fine! Whew, lawd! Tamiak taught Niecy Nash how to build her chi…well, he tried to teach her. The lesson was more flirtation and comedy than anything else. LOL
Comedian Gary Owen was…alright. I’ve seen him do funnier sets before.
Kurtis Blow closed the show out on the best note. The crowd was hype. His flow is still tight. And it was a family affair: Kurtis Blow, Jr. was his hype man and his other son manned the turntables. Plus he had some original B-boys break dancing with him. These dudes were well over 40 jammin’ like it was 1980! Too live!
Be sure to catch the rest of the 80s party weekdays on TV One at 10:00p EST
Roxanne Shante interview: http://player.theplatform.com/ps/player/pds/TTkeLsW7G_?pid=LKTsM_99JmGD5xEs9sZQSbHfcj7z6Vek
Kurtis Blow performance: http://player.theplatform.com/ps/player/pds/TTkeLsW7G_?pid=hJtPPJkvQBnuGaxPh_aOKzvXnJcOT_aF
Robert Smalls was an African American slave who became a naval hero for the Union in the American Civil War and went on to serve as a congressman from South Carolina during Reconstruction.
His mother was a house slave and his father an unknown white man. Smalls was taken by his master in 1851 to Charleston, South Carolina, where he worked as a hotel waiter, hack driver, and rigger. In 1861, at the outbreak of the war, he was hired to work aboard the steamship Planter, which operated as an armed transport and dispatch vessel, carrying guns and ammunition for the Confederate army. On May 13, 1862, he and the other blacks on board seized control of the ship in Charleston Harbor, succeeded in passing through Confederate checkpoints, and turned the ship, its cargo of weapons, and several important documents over to a Union naval squadron blockading the city. This exploit brought Smalls great fame throughout the North. In 1863, when he was piloting the ironclad Keokuk in the battle for Fort Sumter, the vessel took many hits and was eventually sunk. Smalls’s bravery was rewarded with command of the Planter later that year. He was the first African American captain of a vessel in U.S. service.
After the war, Smalls rose rapidly in politics, despite his limited education. From 1868 to 1870 he served in the South Carolina House of Representatives and from 1870 to 1874 in the state Senate. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1875–79, 1882–83, 1884–87), where his outstanding political action was support of a bill that would have required equal accommodations for both races on interstate conveyances. In 1877, however, he was convicted of having taken a $5,000 bribe while in the state Senate; sentenced to three years in prison, he was pardoned by the governor. The case against him was clearly politically motivated. In 1895 he delivered a moving speech before the South Carolina constitutional convention in a gallant but futile attempt to prevent the virtual disfranchisement of blacks.
A political moderate, Smalls spent his last years in Beaufort, where he served as port collector (1889–93, 1897–1913).
Copyright © 1994-2010 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. For more information visit Britannica.com
I must admit, folks, I don’t give two shakes of a lamb’s tail about football. But I was totally down to watch some commercials and check out the Black Eyed Peas’ halftime performance. I probably caught a total of three commercials, but the halftime show was awesome!
Guitarist Slash of Guns N’ Roses fame made a surprise appearance alongside BEP’s Fergie (ridiculously magnificent). And even Usher hit the stage with Will.I.Am to perform OMG. Did y’all see him bust that split in the MC Hammer pants?
This was the best Superbowl halftime show in a long time. I enjoyed it so much! The costuming, choreography, lights and, most importantly, the music were spectacular. I’ve never seen the Black Eyed Peas perform live but after that show, I’m down to buy a ticket. Check out the video!
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. – Cyril Connolly
I’d like to go on record as saying I love and respect all of you men.
Now I’d like to put it out there that you people have no idea how draining the emotional complexity of femininity can be! Sheesh!
So…this week was up and down. Fortunately, it ended on high note.
Sunday – church was awesome, praise God.
Monday – spent working and prepping for Tuesday
Tuesday – TOTALLY SUCKED! What the *bleep* did I do to the Universe? Cuz she certainly came a’kickin down my door.
Wednesday – I threw a pity party
Thursday – I remembered that I’m a descendant of kings and queens. I refuse to compromise my nobility or divinity.
I look forward to embracing Friday and this weekend with a bottle of Jack and a smile. I’m greeting my 24th year with a bang!
Laughs & Blessings
In 1950, writer Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her collection, Annie Allen.
Gwendolyn Brooks Biography
(born June 7, 1917, Topeka, KS — died December 3, 2000, Chicago, IL)
Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize (1950), and in 1968 she was named the poet laureate of Illinois.
Brooks graduated from Wilson Junior College in Chicago in 1936. Her early verses appeared in the Chicago Defender, a newspaper written primarily for that city’s African American community. Her first published collection, A Street in Bronzeville (1945), reveals her talent for making the ordinary life of her neighbours extraordinary. Annie Allen (1949), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize, is a loosely connected series of poems related to an African American girl’s growing up in Chicago. The same theme was used for Brooks’s novel Maud Martha (1953).
The Bean Eaters (1960) contains some of her best verse. Her Selected Poems (1963) was followed in 1968 by In the Mecca, half of which is a long narrative poem about people in the Mecca, a vast, fortresslike apartment building erected on the South Side of Chicago in 1891, which had long since deteriorated into a slum. The second half of the book contains individual poems, among which the most noteworthy are “Boy Breaking Glass” and “Malcolm X.” Brooks also wrote a book for children, Bronzeville Boys and Girls (1956). The autobiographical Report from Part One (1972) was an assemblage of personal memoirs, interviews, and letters; it was followed, though much later, by Report from Part Two (1996). Her other works include Primer for Blacks (1980), Young Poet’s Primer (1980), To Disembark (1981), The Near-Johannesburg Boy, and Other Poems (1986), Blacks (1987), Winnie (1988), and Children Coming Home (1991).
In 1985–86 Brooks was Library of Congress consultant in poetry (now poet laureate consultant in poetry), and in 1989 she received a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts. She became a professor of English at Chicago State University in 1990, a position she held until her death.
Copyright © 1994-2010 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. For more information visit Britannica.com
This week TV One launched their 2011 Black History Month celebration, Way Black When. Each week a decade will be the focus of discussions in music, movies, television and politics. The first nostalgic look back is at the 1970s with host Sinbad. I was able to catch the first episode and – though a LOT of it went over my head (I’m totally an ’80s baby) – I enjoyed the show! The first thing I noticed was the beautiful set. TV One has been hit or miss for me over the last year or two, but they’ve done well with this one. Even if you don’t know anything about the ’70s I encourage you to watch. How can we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been, right?
I’m excited for next week’s ’80s shows with Niecy Nash as host. I plan to groove in front of my TV in pajamas with some ice cream just like I would’ve in 198… 😉
The week of February 14th celebrates the ’90s with Christopher “Kid” Reid hosting.
Added Incentive: After each show there are questions you can answer on TV One’s website to be entered to win an all expense paid cruise on the Tom Joyner Foundation’s Fantastic Voyage. For more information visit www.tvoneonline.com
Goodness! As promised, Bravo brought the drama with the much-anticipated finale of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, season 3.
Cynthia Bailey’s wedding was the focal point of the finale. Her dress was designed by Rubin Singer and was absolutely gorgeous! Though I was hopeful that her mother and sister wouldn’t give her the “lost” marriage certificate, it was so staged! Really? I’m gonna deceive my daughter/sister on camera and say I’ll never tell her? Yeah. That made a lot of sense, Bravo. It seemed like Cynthia was just a jittery bride who forgot to grab the paper and some overreaching producer said, “Let’s turn this into a scandal!” Fail. We’ll see how long the union lasts.
Speaking of Kim, eeew! She’s pregnant with Atlanta Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann’s baby. Does anyone else realize that pregnancy must be a result of unprotected sex? With Kim? Eeew! In other news, Kim’s still working on releasing The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing. Unfortunately, her knowledge of the music business is parallel to her singing ability – limited.
Kandi…Kandi Kandi Kandi. Why didn’t I know she had that body on her before? I support just off that. This season she showed more of her side of the music business. I’m hoping Closet Freak, the song she wrote for Miss Lawrence (Washington), will take off. And I sincerely hope she finds the love she’s looking for. Kandi’s new album, Kandi Koated is available in stores and iTunes.
Sheree Whitfield is a mess coming to a theater near you. How she got the part for the movie she auditioned for, I’ll never understand. I don’t know the woman personally to know if she’s got “potential” but her little one-liner on The Game’s season opener was horrible. I wanted my money back and it was free to watch! So now I’m supposed to pay to see If These Hips Could Talk (a play turned movie)? I’ll wait for the reviews on that one.
Phaedra Parks was a trip throughout the entire season and didn’t disappoint for the finale. I loved the lone tear she shed upon leaving baby Ayden to return to the workforce. Wasn’t she as excited as a drag queen in La Perla when she left the baby to go to Miami with the cast? The Southern belle showed America that she’s fluent in both English (her confessionals) and Country (every other piece of footage with her requiring subtitles). One thing I can say about Ms. Parks is that I’m sure if marriage will last. Full service goes a long way.
The RHOA Season 3 Reunion Special airs on February 13, 2011 on Bravo.