Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Silver Linings

The Sex and the City movie is sold out from here to Guam.

While this means I'll have to find another excuse to smuggle liquor into a movie theater with my girls, the silver lining is this:

While all the women in New York City are sitting in a dimly lit theater, dressed up and longing for love, I will spend my Friday night in the bars, where the men will look around for someone to flirt with. They will spot Sojourner amidst the sausage fest and will surround me with lust and free beverages.

Someone may be getting actual sex in the city after all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Neutral Ground -- No Longer Neutral

I did it, guys. Friday night, at 6:30 pm, I met my tutor for my first lesson in Magic Cards. We met outside of Neutral Ground—or, as I like to call it, the Magic Kingdom—on West 37th Street. Through the glass, one could see cards and games for sale, and a line of people, who I soon discovered were registering for a tournament.

Among them, the man who started it all. The man who inspired this post and this scorned card. It was him.

I almost had a heart attack. My tutor, who is married to a white strong black woman, offered to put his wedding ring in his pocket to help me look cool. I told him it was all right (meanwhile, I slipped my ring from my right to left hand—just, you know, so Mr. Magic would think he’d really missed the boat—or, in my case, the slave ship?). We went inside, and my nostrils were immediately assaulted with a scent that can only be described as a combination of body odor and insecurity, as young boys and a few masculine females of all ages sat at long cafeteria-style tables playing card games. Flat-screen PCs lined the walls, where high-tech kids could play various computer games. Mr. Magic was well ahead of us, but I saw him again when we went upstairs to find a place to play.

He sat, cockily swigging his cola, as some angry pale man told me and my tutor that we couldn’t sit up there because “a tourney was about to start and it’s reserved.”

TRUTHfully, I was glad we wouldn’t have to sit near magic. I knew I’d need to focus all my energies on mastering the game, and couldn’t be distracted by thoughts of vengeance.

We took a seat downstairs, and my tutor—a 27-year-old Diversity University graduate with a high-falutin’ job—began to pull out huge packages of various magic cards from his backpack.

“I was going to make you a deck at work today, but I got really busy, so we’ll have to make it now,” he said, as he sorted through the booty he’d collected over the years.

I sat, feeling about as nervous and awkward as the chubby dateless girl at a middle school dance. And although I knew I was a strong black woman, I kept glancing around to see if Mr. Magic was around.

Either that lying sack of mana (which means land, I’ve learned, and provides the strength needed to cast spells) didn’t see me, or he really is a talented—albeit UNEMPLOYED—actor, who just pretended not to see a blacktress. We never acknowledged each other’s presence, but I saw him up in there, playing a magic tournament on a damn Friday night, like he was too good for a blacktress.

Although I know I should relax, relate, and release my anger, I don’t do well with seeing old rejectors after the fact. One of the primary reasons I date people who live in outer boroughs is because I want them to disappear after the inevitable fallout. While dating a dude who lives in Sunset Park may be a pain in the ass, breaking up ain’t so hard to do. I often like to think that men who have wronged me have died in a car crash—the same one that killed Boyz II Men and the talented Michael Jackson (I miss them so much!). It’s not gruesome or violent, it’s more like their car hits a tree that then shuttles them into an alternate universe or place in time, much like the Delorean in Back to the Future. The presence of Mr. Magic, in all his magic-playing glory, still alive and kicking as though he’s better off without a blacktress almost stopped me from honing my skills as a true Magician.

So, for all of you dying to know, here’s how you play:

You shuffle your deck of cards. Each deck has a color, and with each color comes a different strategy. Oppresively enough, the black deck is the most dangerous (I’ll have to talk to someone about that), with the white deck being the simplest and most straightforward, strategy-wise. Colors can be combined to form a super-strategy deck of magical power, but I was advised not to get ahead of myself.

You and your opponent each pick 7 cards from your deck, and leave the rest to draw from (most decks have 60 cards, but as a newbie, I started off with about 30).

Lands are cards that represent just that—land. You want to lay out as many lands as possible, for the number of lands you have allows you to cast certain spells (eg: summoning a lion requires 2 lands and 1 of another other card. If you only have 1 land on the board, then you can’t summon—oh no!).

Okay, I could go on, but I’m getting kinda bored just writing it.

Basically, you want to get your opponents life points down from 20 to 0, and when you do that, you’ve won. You attack them with various spells, creatures, and hexes, and if they can’t defend themselves, the points are yours.

Playing the game, I imagined what young wizard Harry Potter must have felt when he had to cast spells at Hogwarts. My tutor was my very own Dumbledore—or, rather, Remus Lupin—who taught me to think positive thoughts and stay focused as the dementor that was Mr. Magic loomed above.

The things you can learn from this post are:

  1. Magic cards is hard.
  2. Spiking your cranberry juice with vodka will add a fun layer to the experience of being in Neutral Ground.
  3. Only a blacktress can go to a gaming center and have Gossip-Girl style drama with one of the other dudes playing.
  4. A married male friend who is willing to take off his ring to make you look cool is a true friend indeed.
  5. Just because a guy doesn’t call you back doesn’t mean he’s dead. He may very well be in midtown playing in a magic card tournament.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Moving on From the Great De-HATERS-- With a Little Hope and MAGIC

The blacktress is suffering from a blacklash.
My mixed emotion and exaggeration regarding a white valedictorian of Morehouse and HBCUs in general has garnered some fierce opposition.

Well, as much as I’d love to discuss this some more with people who think I’m a self-hating negro, I’d rather move on, and entertain my loyal readers with some of Sojourner’s other truths.
This Friday night, at 6:30pm, I will be going to Neutral Ground to learn how to play Magic cards.

I kid you not.
One blog reader was deeply moved by my rejection by a Magic-card playing fellow, and offered to teach me his ways—or, as he really said: “I can tell that you deeply regret not playing Magic cards and dungeons & dragons and wearing shirts with wolves on them while in high school. I can teach you.”
I eagerly accepted—not only because I love nerdy awkwards and want to find a way into their inner circle, but because, in the words of Nicholas Cage in the hit action film “Face/Off”: To defeat him, I must become him.

I’ve never been to Neutral Ground, where much of this "gaming" takes place, but it’s an establishment where young creative types can engage in role-playing and card games, and don their finest medieval attire among like-minded individuals.

I imagine it will be dimly lit and smell lightly of body odor, emanating from the teenagers who have yet to discover deodorant and are sweating profusely in excitement as they “tap their mana.”
That’s a Magic term.
I’m not sure what it means.
But I will find out.

In preparation for my Friday night of fun, I’ve gone to everyone’s favorite lending library, Wikipedia. Here’s an excerpt from its treatise on Magic:
Each game represents a battle between powerful wizards who use the magical spells, items, and fantastic creatures depicted on individual Magic cards to defeat their opponents. Although the original concept of the game drew heavily from the motifs of traditional fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, the gameplay of Magic bears little resemblance to pencil-and-paper adventure games, while having substantially more cards and more complex rules than many other card games.

“Substantially more cards”?!
“More complex rules”?
“Battle between powerful wizards”?!

Perhaps I’m in over my head. I’ve been out of college too long to grasp complex rules and hold multiple cards in my hand. I asked my guide a few questions about this foreign land to prepare myself for my immersion in “the other”. They included:

Is it anything like Go Fish? (if so, I’m prepared)
What, if any, connection does Neutral Ground have to the Underground Railroad?
Should I dress slutily in hopes of winning over an awkward man who has yet to know the tender touch of a woman?

His response:
It is nothing like go fish. I will be wearing whatever I wear to work. You should wear something like this:

I am going to buy this shirt and cut strategically placed and sexually suggestive slits in it.

I am so excited! I don’t know what to expect! What I know is this:

It is free to enter this “neutral ground” (ironically, the ground is called “neutral,” although much dueling takes place)—unless you are under the age of 18. They do this to discourage riff-raff from loitering about and selling cards in the manner of Prohibition-era smugglers (“I’ll give you two for $5, or 4 for $17, see?????”—imagine the child saying this while gesturing with a cigar).

From the establishment’s website, I don’t doubt a good time will be had, for its mission statement “is to provide the best possible gaming experience to everyone that enters our store. We offer comfortable seating, a clean and friendly atmosphere, and a huge selection of snacks and drinks to enjoy while gaming.”
I’m in there like swimwear!!!

My guide (who shall remain nameless, because he is trapped in the closet about his card playing, much in the manner of R. Kelly--only without a firearm) says that I will be the hottest girl in the room, even hotter than the characters on the cards—who the young gentlemen apparently talk about with excitement.

I holla’d at a google image search just to get a sense of what the beauty standards were. Here’s what I found:

The card says “her sword sings more beautifully than any choir”—but is it a gospel choir????? I think not.

Wish me luck at Neutral Ground, guys!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Does This Guy Say It Better?

Read this. Perhaps he phrases it better.

Besides, I still want Packwood to holla at me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Response to a Comment

So an HBCU-attendee left the following comment on the blacktress's last post:

It saddens me that us negros aren't progressive enough to NOT make this such a big deal. We all know good and damn well if this were an article highlighting the first black valedictorian of Harvard we'd throw a parade and put his/her face on a stamp to be circulated during the short month of February. And until you attend a HBCU with no air conditioning, save your inexperienced the way the name is Spelman (not Spellman..and no I did not attend)And to the "scribe" you're not becoming the "token high yella Delta" has nothing to do with your color...check your credentials and ask yourself if you even qualify...

Okay, my responses to him/her would be:
1. This IS a big deal, as evidenced by all the media hype and hoopla that is surrounding it. I mean, in Morehouse's 141-year history, to have a white valedictorian IS something. I think it does open a dialogue about race, class, social constructs, and higher education, and it should be addressed.

2. I mean, would we throw a parade--and should we? I can say for MYSELF (and that's the only person I speak for when I write), I would be proud of the "first black valedictorian of Harvard," but it's true--if we made it a damn parade, it would indicate that such an achievement was few and far between and we were just as shocked as the majority, so I would NOT want that kind of hype surrounding the first black valedictorian of Harvard.

3. I can have any opinion I want, based on the experiences I have had with HBCU-attendees, including FAMILY and close friends, as well as my visits to the institutions. So, yes, maybe I wasn't a student for 4 years, but I can certainly express how I felt in those spaces, and my knowledge that it wasn't for me. I did not say they weren't for others, or didn't have their merits--they just didn't fit Sojourner.

4. Okay, I added an 'l' to Spelman. There, you showed me. Woot. To that, I could say, when you wrote "To 'scribe' you're not becoming the 'high yella delta'..." you should have written YOUR, not YOU'RE. But, I mean, attacking typos is just petty.

5. So, in summation: Let a blacktress have an opinion and don't be so damn bitchy about it. If anything, I'm much more annoyed by the way he is being portrayed than his actual election--I mean, if he earned it, rock on--but if we're gonna act like he's the greatest Caucasian in the world, then that's a whole 'nother Oprah.

Y'all know the blacktress doesn't let comments go. Let's start a civil dialogue.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Massa of Morehouse

OMG, guys. This just in:

Morehouse College, an historically black university in Atlanta, Georgia-- and the country's only institution of higher learning dedicated to the education of black men-- just elected a WHITE MAN as the valedictorian of the class of 2008.

I. shit. you. not. Read about it here.

Okay, listen, I'm not gonna get into a whole big affirmative action debate, or start talking separate but equal. But, basically, a black college that's been around for 141 years is pretty much founded on the notion that negroes need a special place to learn and grow and become sponsor-able. Black males are particularly vulnerable, for even in his finest interview suit, a negro gentleman will still prompt an old lady to clutch her purse—just, cause, you know, old habits die hard.

Most of my extended family (the ones who think I “talk White”) have attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs for short), and with my degree from Diversity University and my excellent diction, I was the odd blacktress out—the blacktress sheep, if you will (will you??). Growing up, I loved the TV show “A Different World,” so when it came time to go college hunting, I visited Spellman College (Morehouse’s sister school. There is a chapel in the center between the two campuses, so that the black elite can wed quickly and easily—I kid you not) and Clark Atlanta, hoping I’d be able to find sassy friends and a boyfriend on the step team. Alas, the HBCUs acceptance of low SAT scores and the lack of air conditioning in the dorms left little to be desired. Add to that the fact that all those Spellman girls were done up like they were on the catwalk at a hair show, and I knew it wasn’t the place for me.

One can imagine my surprise when, in 2006, I began dating Israeli, vegan, investment banker Schmomer Schmohen,* who told me he’d done his SEMESTER ABROAD at Morehouse! Here I was, a flesh and blood blacktress, and this White boy was like a Martian to me. “What was it like?” I asked over drinks (which we had in Harlem—where he lived) “Did you have friends? Did the negroes take you in?” Clearly, he must have had a good time, for he moved to H-town after graduation and found himself in the bosom of a blacktress. It was interesting to hear about his Morehouse experience, and to see the college through the eyes of an outsider.

Perhaps he paved the way for Joshua Packwood. I wonder if they’ve spoken on the phone.

While I totally support Joshua’s learning and growing and exploration, I kinda find it hard to believe that there was no other black male with a 4.0 GPA and important extracurricular activities in the class of 2008—I mean, Morehouse isn’t that hard (yep, I said it!). As the Persian Excursion said, "If a black school can't even elect a black person as it's valedictorian, it's time to throw in the damn towel."

I think what I love about the article is the following:

When speaking of his experiences in classes as the only White student, he says,
"Sometimes I kind of wanted to hold back," he acknowledged. "A lot of the professors and students have been like, 'No, don't hold back. We want your perspective here. If we're not going to get it from you, it's going to be very difficult for us to get it somewhere else.'"

Um, is it really? Is Massa Packwood the only person who will bring you white truths? You really have a tough time getting the opinion of a White person as you navigate this world? If that’s the case, I need to head down South, where apparently you can still live in a bio dome of foolishness. I find this especially funny if it did indeed come from members of the faculty, some of who were probably on the plantation with Sojo back in the day.

My other favorite excerpt from the article:
It was not as if this was the first time Packwood experienced life in the minority. He was among the few white students in his class at Grandview Senior High School in Kansas City, Mo. He has mixed-race siblings and his mother was married to a black man. Packwood's experiences growing up have helped him navigate black culture while remaining comfortable with his own complexion.

I LOVE IT. HE HAS KNOWN THE OTHER, so Morehouse made sense to him. Um, I must say, his "nagivation" is something that most of the black people I know do every damn day--and what, Packwood gets a cookie?! It’s also kinda curious that, given his upbringing, he felt the need to turn down Columbia and other Ivies, to “get the black experience," when he already had it at home, it would seem.

Josh is just down with the brown (woman), and wanted to be able to dazzle at dinner parties for the rest of his life.

I just love how bourgie black folks talk about keeping in the community, talk about how we need our “safe spaces” and whatnot, but the BMOBC (big man on black campus) for 2008 is none other than a real-life Zach Morris. I mean, look at this pic:
Note that he is surrounded by Negroes. In its original context, the caption under this image reads, "I always kind of gravitated to the black community," says Packwood who immediately fit in at Morehouse.

Dude is Abercrombie-and-Fitch kinda fine. Um, if I knew all the hot white boys were at the HBCUs, I wouldn’t have been so quick to go liberal arts! He even talks about how he dates black girls in the article—um, how can I get him my phone number?!

Actually, I think I’d probably talk too white for him.

But can you imagine our mixie babies?!!! If you can't imagine, here's another pic:
The caption under this pic reads, "His experience was so positive that Packwood's younger brother, John, will attend the college next year."
I can imagine Josh talking to his not-hot brother now: "Dude, don't even worry about it, you will get so much ass at the black school--the ladies will think it's so cute when you try to dance!"

As you can tell, my feelings here are layered. I do not have any negative feelings toward Joshua Packwood (who is fine as the day is long!), and I support the majority getting outside of their bubble and learning a little sumthin' sumthin'--but it's kinda ironic and frustrating to see that at a school that rests its foundation on lifting up the talented tenth, their most talented is a white dude--that's fucking curious as all get out. And I love the way the media is playing it up, for it proves that White is always right--even when it's in a black world, you know?

*names have been changed to protect the Caucasian.

What Women Really Talk About Before a Date

ME: Hey girl. I'm meeting up with the older gentleman tonight.
High-Maintenance Homegirl: You're meeting him at his place for a date?
TOC: Yes, his place on the upper east side.
ME: Stop with the sad face. I've known him about 5 months; he's already been screened. We're just gonna chill, cause we've both had a long week.
HMH: Well, he better have some amenities.
ME: I told him to have baked goods and/or red wine on hand. I'm bringing the movie (aka, excuse to makeout--obvi). I don't need a guy to drop alot of cash on a date--i just don't want to have to spend any.
HMH:truth... and you will be able to tell a lot by the quality of the baked goods.
here is an easy grading guide:
entemann's: D (wow, could you put any less effort in?)
assorted dunkin donuts: C- (sorry, feels like you're dating an off-duty nypd officer)
pastries from the local bakery: B+ (we can definitely work with this)
magnolia cupcakes: A- (good taste but lacks originality)
something homemade: A+ (for effort, hopefully for taste as well!)
ME: damn, white girl, you just worked that out with the simplicity of an MIT student.
well he said he would buy me "the best cookies in new york city," which i thought was a bold statement.
HMH: hmmm yes that is a bold statement. i would be interested to know where these cookies are to be found. you will have to keep me posted.
ME: Obvi.
my response to him was: "they better not be oatmeal raisin, and they better not be hard," to which he replied: "oh god no. a hard cookie isn't even a cookie."
so far, i like where his head is at.
HMH: yes, good signs thus far. a man who knows his pastry is worth something in this world.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

I think I’ve found a potential sponsor.

Tuesday night, while doing some stand up at The Pinch, I watched the other comedians and learned what to do—and what not to do. Last night’s show was interesting for a few reasons:

1. There was a large crowd in the back of the bar glued to the basketball game on the television, and they were quite vocal—about the game. This meant that during a comedian’s set, there would be random loud groans and frustrated screams as basketball player Tony Parker (aka, Eva Longoria’s husband) dribbled up and down the court with his fine-ass self. This created awkwardness and discomfort.

2. 4 of the 7 comedians were female!! Woot, sexy lady time! AND there was a blacktor. AND one of the chicks was Canadian!! It’s like it was minority night at The Pinch—god bless it!

3. Quite a few randoms appeared, though not many of my die-hard fans. This made me slightly nervous, as I felt the need to win over the crowd.

4. Oh yeah, and I met my sponsor.
Let me explain.

Fellow woman of color and writer, Scribe, explained the concept of sponsorship to me. A sponsor is your Caucasian ally who will support your dreams and goals through financial support, reference writing, and generally vouching that you will not roll your eyes or snap your neck in public—they will help prove you’re a darkie that can be trusted. Basically, if we were still in slave days, a sponsor is the white person who would buy your freedom.

My future sponsor’s name is
Debbie Shea, and she’s a funny comedian--and probably a strong black woman in her own way. She’s been on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, won competitions, and even crosses her legs when she drops a doody in the toilet (her words, not mine. Actually, she didn’t say “drop a doody,” because she’s not 4 years old, but I think you get what I mean). She performed before I did, and I was instantly nervous because she had actual professional credits to her name. She was also sitting in the very front during my set, and I feared her judgment.

However, when the show was over, Miss Shea had praise for a blacktress. She was as cool and deadpan offstage as she was on, so when she said, “Hey, I’ve never seen you around. Do you perform a lot?” I felt a shiver down my spine, as though the cool kid in class had suddenly asked to borrow my pen. I told her no, and how I had been nervous to perform after someone “who was real”—I mean, after all, you’re nobody until you’ve been on television. I gave her my blacktress business card and asked her if she’d buy my freedom. She took this request in stride (as only a potential sponsor could), and gave me a link to her website.

I am swooning over her. I really want to keep doing comedy, but standing up in front of strangers who are basically looking at you with a face that says “dance, puppet, DANCE!!!” can be terrifying. When a seasoned pro tells me I’m good in a way that’s too cool for school, it gives the blacktress the boost she needs to keep spreading the TRUTH.

So, Debbie Shea, if you’re reading this… Thank you for the street cred. I promise, if you’re ever on the verge of getting into a bar fight, I will be your blackup.

The blacktress. Brought to you by Debbie Shea, the letter Q, and....readers like you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Artists Are Retardists

I found this email in our general office inbox, which I was cleaning out to make room for more ridiculous emails:

Subject: Have a quetion*

Did you have a story on Vincent Van Gogh's nephew go* into insurance? Please get back to me as fast as you can.

Thank you for your time

Okay, the to and from lines are made up (names have been changed to protect the Caucasian--and Sojo's job!), but the body of that email is pure, unadulterated madness.

Oh, and "Jammie???" Really?

*I like to leave in the spelling errors so you can feel what I felt.

The Blacktress Does It Again

Guys, this is getting ridiculous.

I was walking across 12th street during my lunch hour, and I was stopped on the corner of 6th avenue, waiting for the light to change. As I stared off into space, enjoying the taste of summer weather, a voice called to the blacktress.
"Excuse me, miss, could you help me cross the street?"
I look down and to my left and see the tiniest, most precious old White lady.
"Yes, of course," I say.
Then, there's an awkward moment, cause the light doesn't say "WALK" yet, but we've already established a relationship. So, I make some small talk.
"It's such a nice day, isn't it?"
"Yes. I had a hip replacement, and my balance isn't what it used to be."
She says this as my attempt at small talk was actually a probe into her personal health.
The light changed and we crossed.

Dude, how does this keep happening to me? Old ladies see me and just want me to help them get across the street.

And, just like last time, I think this a get-out-of-jail-free card for the next week or so.

I guess I don't need to worry about all that unprotected sex anymore--JK (rowling), guys!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Forget Me Not

Last night, while hanging out with my main gay JJS iii, I received a voicemail from a man with whom I engaged in a makeout session Saturday evening. I was mildly excited to see a missed call from an unidentified number, and had a sneaking suspicion it might be him.

The male in question was someone I had met months earlier at a stand up comedy show (we were both performing), and his wry wit and inherent dorkiness endeared him to me, and I asked him if we could go on a date (you know this blacktress is upfront!!). We went on a semi-date, and while there was a fun comedic rapport, I could tell he had about as much interest in me as a gay man has in a vagina.
But he isn’t gay.

Cut to 5 months later—May 10, 2008. At the party of blacktor Victor Varnado, the comedian/disinterested date and I are reunited, and there is much merrymaking. He’s suddenly all up in a blacktress’s George Foreman (grill) like a horndog on prom night, and I wonder what has changed. I figured I best not over-think it, especially with me Australia-bound in a few months time—now, more than ever, we don’t love these hos. I figured I could get my makeout on and end up just fine.
We had a nice time, and there was a bit of me that felt a little boost from getting with an unrequited crush, even though I was no longer crushing. I felt all was right in the world. Perhaps, like Joni Mitchell, he didn’t know what he’d got til it was gone, and now he was carpe-ing the diem and getting with this.
He kissed me again, before leaving the party at 3am, apparently to “go fishing with a friend in Long Island City, Queens”—a sentence that made little sense at the time, but I thought it best to overlook it.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear his voice on my answering machine Monday evening.
That is, until the message went on.
It went something like this:

Hey Sojourner, this is D-Bag McGee. It is 6:30 on Monday and I have an incredibly awkward question to ask you, and that is…uh…what did we do Saturday night at Victor’s party--because I have no recollection whatsoever because I drank too much and my mind is absolutely a blank slate, so there’s a big question mark as to what happened at Victor’s party--did I break some windows, did I steal things? I have no idea what happened, and uh…yeah…. [then, the following he said in a sing-song voice]: I hope everything’s okay, I hope I didn’t do anything bad, I feel embarrassed and awkward, bye!

I. Shit. You. Not.
I literally just transcribed the message from my phone, where it is eternally saved.

I honestly think when I was born, the man upstairs looked at my wet, placenta-juice-covered body and said, “let’s give this one something to blog about.”

Now, some of my most loyal readers know that I, too, have engaged in too much drink in one evening, and suffered from what I am now calling a Whiteout (see Friday Night Amstel Lights for details). I mean, we’ve all been there.

But we do NOT go there with a blacktress.

W. T. F?! I mean, nothing is more insulting than calling someone and saying, “I don’t remember making out with you.” This was no random mid-dance smooch. This was much dirty dancing foreplay (foreplay is MORE play—holla!), and then a hard-core makeout session, which was briefly interrupted by the party host (who jumped on top of us and called us tramps) and then resumed!!! It was then followed by a long conversation in the living room, where I sat on his lap as though he was Santa and he told me I was really hot and cute (I mean, he was speaking TRUTH, obvi).

How could he blackout on a blacktress?!

You know I called that bitch back posthaste and let him know what was what. Our conversation went something like this:

[phone rings. He answers.]
Sojo: You are such a d-bag.
D-Bag: What?
Sojo: I said, you are such a d-bag.
D-Bag (hesitantly): Why?
Sojo: We made out last night.
And I’m pregnant.
And I’m keeping it.
D-Bag (a quiet terror): Ha…?
Sojo (as though speaking to the character of Corky from the television series “Life Goes On”): Seriously, we made out. Like, what?! You don’t remember?!
D-Bag (quiet terror still seeps through the phone lines): No…. I just, like, don’t remember anything. The last thing I remember is us all talking in the DDR room, and then me waking up at my friend’s place.
Sojo: Well, you missed a good time, D-bag McGee. You should have been there.
D-Bag: I was soooo out of it.
Sojo: I’m sorry you were “so out of it,” I didn’t mean to take advantage of you by letting you kiss me. If I’d known you weren’t in your right mind, I certainly wouldn’t have put my lips on yours.
D-Bag: No, no, you shouldn’t feel bad, it’s my fault.
Sojo: I was being sarcastic. Of course I don’t feel bad—if anything, I now have the upper hand, because you feel silly.
D-Bag: God, I was sooo drunk.
Sojo: Um, could you stop saying that? You’re making me feel bad.
D-Bag (taking long pause): Um….sorry, I’m here, I’m just digesting all this….
Sojo: You blacked out on a blacktress!!!!
D-Bag: Yeah, um….
Sojo: You might want to handle your alcoholic scandal. Be careful out there. Bye.
[We hang up, and luckily, with my main gay by my side, I am able to resume my normal activities.]

Okay, let the record show that this dude is 33 years old—or, I should say, 33 years YOUNG. How are you 33, calling up a fine-ass blacktress such as myself, with no recollection? Shouldn’t you know how to hold your liquor by the age of 33?! And repeatedly saying he was drunk just made me feel like I was some gross mistake he made, like filling in the wrong bubble on a standardized test, or accidentally drinking baby’s blood.

I am seriously done with the male gender. This is what that random college student was talking about in that paper I graded a month back.
What has become of the world when a man can call you up and just TELL YOU he forgot about making out, and then, when hearing the news, instead of rejoicing, he openly expresses his horror and distaste?!!


Reason #249 I need to blow this popstand.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ugly Bette (Davis)

Have you ever seen the film Now, Voyager? It’s one the films the students viewed in the class I’m grading papers for, and it was one that I saw as an undergraduate film hopeful back at Diversity U.
Made in 1942, it stars Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale, an unattractive spinster who lives with her overbearing mother, who convinces her that she’s nothing, “with her bushy eyebrows and glasses.” I was discussing this with my homegirl The Persian Excursion earlier today, and she made a good point:
The Excursion: do you think that is how they got the original idea for Ugly Betty?
i mean for real though
Ugly Bette Davis

Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, back to the film:
Charlotte, a frumpy adult who has never known the touch of a man, is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown (o, "una mujer al borde de una ataque de nervios," for all you Betty La Fea fans), when a psychiatrist comes to her rescue and tells her to come to his sanatorium, luring her with candies into his white van.
I jest. He’s not a perv.

In his crazy house (which is apparently where they put anybody who was stressed or different up until 1975), Charlotte learns that she’s in fact attractive, and they trade her busted clothes for stylish ones, much like the character of Tai in Clueless, and she takes off her glasses, much like Rachel Leigh Cook in She’s All That.

After bringing her own sexy back, Charlotte decides to go on a cruise and get her head right. There, she meets a man named Jerry, who doesn’t love his wife, but stays with her for their daughter. Jerry and Charlotte clearly have a connection, but he’s married, and Charlotte’s classy.

She returns home after her cruise feeling grown and sexy—and a little sad that she’s lost a man. She quickly finds a new one, a wealthy widower who is ready to marry her. Charlotte, however, can't get over Jerry, and breaks her engagement, making her mother so angry that she has a heart attack and dies (did I mention this was a 1942 melodrama?). So what does Charlotte do?

She goes back to the sanatorium to get her head right.

She, like Winona, is a Girl, Interrupted (but unlike Winona, she doesn’t steal).

At the sanatorium, she meets Tina—JERRY’S DAUGHTER (cue music). Tina, like, Charlotte, is called an “ugly duckling,” and, in the words of TLC, feels “unpretty.” She and Charlotte bond, with Charlotte taking her under her wing and bringing her back home with her to Boston.
Jerry clearly comes to her house to see where his daughter is, and you think they’ll finally get together, but…..

Should I spoil it? You may have to see this film.

Charlotte’s last line is, "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon... we have the stars," one of the top 100 movie quotes in American cinema (seriously, look it up).

You may be saying to yourself, “Sojourner, Bette Davis isn’t a blacktress,” or “This movie sounds lame. Why are you giving me a plot summary of a melodrama starring a random white woman? What does this have to do with me?”

Nothing. It has to do with me.

Let me explain.
I, too, grew up as an ugly duckling, and at times my mamadukes could be rough and tough on a young blacktress (you don’t know drama until you know Black Mama Drama). I’m sure if laws weren’t so strict I would have been sent away to a sanatorium just so she could get peace and quiet.
I, too, in moments of confidence, have met a man while on a foreign journey (or a foreign man on a blacktress journey), but was unable to express my love due to circumstances outside of my control (you know, he lived in Australia and had a girlfriend—those kinds of hurdles).

And, I, too, am now a voyager.
However, unlike Ugly Bette, I WILL ask for the moon, the stars—and a condo on Mars!!! (sometimes the blacktress likes to freestyle)

As I sit on the plantation, embittered and bored, I think about the possibilities for the blacktress in a foreign land.
I could open up a beauty shop, a la Queen Latifah
I could open a soul food restaurant, and let people fetishize my otherness.
I could write a book, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to my speech “Ain’t I a Woman?!” in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love—only not whiny crap.

Lee from Brisbane said she’d pick me up from the airport. Girl, how far is Brisbane from Sydney? Holla at me via gmail--aka, gangstamail!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Blacktress and Her Shrug

Below is a link to a former stand-up show for your viewing pleasure. I have been hesitant to post it, because I'm looking a bit chunky monkey on film. However, I must not let anything--even my own ego--stop me from spreading truth.
And everyone has to see this hideous shrug.

Warning: Blacktresses on youtube may seem larger than they appear.

I swear, the shrug adds ten pounds.

Part 1:

Part 2:

The Blacktress is Pissed

I have not felt this much anger and oppression on the plantation since my slave days.

I will call this Reason #248 that I need to go to Australia.

Yesterday, Sojourner was ravaged by stomach illness. With sharp pains and an exploding buttocks (sorry, but you know I tell the TRUTH), I sat in my veal pen—aka cubicle—until about 1pm, when I could no longer take the pain. On my way out of the building, I managed to take the elevator one flight before running off to the nearest bathroom, where I puked like a drunken college student after doing a keg stand.

I had a fever, chills, and was fearful I wouldn’t make it home in one piece. I hopped in a cab home, and laid down for the remainder of the day, waking up only to run to the toilet.
By the day’s end, I showed little signs of improvement, so I sent my massa an email, letting him know I wouldn’t be in the next day (today). In my email, I offered to work from home, seeing as my priority for the next day was to do work on our publication’s website—which only requires an internet connection and the ability to double-click. I was of sound mind and body, but I knew I’d need to be no more than 4 feet from a bathroom all day, and it made no sense to come in and stink up the office space when I could do bad all by my damn self.

I awoke early this morning, prompted by dehydration, nausea, and stomach pain. I fought the urge to roll over and decided to check my email, just to see what, if anything, Massa had to say about my request to work from home.
I found this message in my inbox:

Sorry you are still sick. If you can make it into the office we could use another pair of eyes looking at the remaining articles. B_____ has gone out of town and I have to rush to write two articles and get them designed and edited by Thursday evening.


Um, w.t.f?!! I have never once been denied a sick day, and I even offered to work from home—which I fully planned to do! I wasn’t trying to shirk duties, but I couldn’t keep my butt in check long enough to sleep through the night, let alone pick cotton on the plantation!!! I assumed this email was not a request, but a demand from a passive-aggressive massa.
So here I am. Writing this post from the plantation.

Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom now.

Okay, I’m back.

You know, sometimes I wish the days of open racism and whippings were still here—at least then I’d know who I was dealing with. I can’t tell if he didn’t believe I was sick, is angry that I’ve taken some time off recently, or is just really in need of my “extra eyes”—I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my red-pen marks on the article drafts wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference, and my constant gassiness may induce nausea in my coworkers.

So, here I sit, epitomizing the phrase “hot mess” and wishing I was somewhere else. Add to this the recent comment left on my blog by a fellow blacktress from Down Under, and I just know I need to head for freedom. She wrote:
“You definitely have to come down under. I'm an afro-princess in Brisbane, who came here 7 years ago and never left. There's no place to get your hair did but even if you leave the house with a bird’s nest on your head (which I do, every so often) someone will say, "wow, I wish my hair could do that", the hot dudes are everywhere (I married one) and it’s sun, sand and surf most of the time…I’d absolutely be your friend…”
1. First of all, any woman who refers to herself as an afro-princess is down with Sojo.
2. She even married a hot dude, so clearly I need to get on her program.
3. AND SHE SAYS SHE’LL BE MY FRIEND!!! -- maybe we can braid each other's hair!

I just need to find out how her massa treats her on the plantation. When she’s running to the bathroom so much that they start delivering her mail there, do they still make her come to work? When she offers to complete her tasks from the comfort of her home and her own bathroom, do they ask her to come in anyway cause the massa can’t handle his own deadline-scandals?!

Please pray for a blacktress. I think I may start trippin' on these fools today.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chris Rock: Bringer of TRUTH

My life is forever changed. Last night, at Madison Square Garden, I saw Chris Rock perform live.

He is my everything.

His second NYC stop on the “No Apologies” tour, Mr. Rock performed before a packed, diverse crowd—bankers with popped collars, black bourgeoisie, mami’s with jeans painted on their rear, Sojourner and her mother and one of my soul sisters. As I walked in with the masses and surveyed the crowd, my first thought was, “damn, this would be a good place to meet a hottie. Any dude who sprung for Chris Rock tickets must not only be gainfully employed, but also unafraid of the TRUTH.”

After I put my loins on hold (I was with mamadukes, after all—how much game could I kick?), I marveled at how this man could bring in people from all walks of life. True, it’s NYC, but not everything’s gone gentrified. Chris Rock is one of the loudest, fiercest, MOST TRUTHFUL black people in entertainment—even more truthful than Sojourner herself. He goes where many people don’t want to, and as he titled his tour, he’s making NO APOLOGIES.

And he’s a millionaire.
This is what we fought for when we wanted to get free. I believe Chris Rock is what Garvey meant when he talked about THE TALENTED TENTH.

With the election, the Sean Bell verdict, and the general crappiness of our society, I knew Mr. Rock would have no shortage of material. Coming in at just under 2 hours, it was a comedian’s opus, the longest speech I will ever sit through without not only falling asleep, but also being engaged, enlightened, and entertained.

Okay, enough praising my future baby daddy—it’s no surprise Sojo loves Chris. Let me share some of his best nuggets of TRUTH.

On McCain:
“How is he gonna make decisions about the future when’s not gonna be here?! I don’t want a president with a bucket list!!!”

On Hilary:
“You gonna go to work in the same office your husband got blow jobs? Ain’t no amount of redecorating in the world gonna fix that... ‘Oh, the oval office—we’ve turned that into the rectangle office
I never even thought of Hilary taking office in that way. I died.

Hilary, cont’d:
“If you can’t beat a nigger named Obama in Nebraska, you don’t deserve to be president!! They only sold 4 copies of Thriller in Nebraska—and two of them was returned!”

Obama: “He’s just too cool man, Obama. Is. Cool. And he really thinks he’s gonna win this thing fair and square. He really thinks the votes are gonna speak for themselves...”
Funny cause it’s true and funny cause it’s sad.

General: “What the fuck is a super delegate? They didn’t bring those in 'til a Black man started running and stood a chance. I been watching elections for years and I ain’t never heard of a super delegate til now. Apparently, some white people count as NINE!”

On celebrity: “I gotta do a good show tonight, or else they gonna take my kids—look at Britney. Those boys looked healthy, had no knots upside they heads—but she fucked up those MTV awards and those babies were gone!”
Celebrity, cont’d: “In order for black people to get where they need to be, Flava Flav must be killed. On TV. After Dancing With the Stars. [pause, audience laughs] You think I’m joking? Please, if McCain wanted to beat Obama right now, all he’d have to do is bring Flava Flav on tv.
McCain: Flav, what do you think of global warming?
Flav: Yeah, BOIIIIYYYY!!!!
John McCain. In no way connected to Flava Flav.

(This bit really touched my heart, as you all know my feelings on flava flav. I felt like Chris and I had a mind meld. He, too, wants black people to have nice things.)

On race: “But you notice how quick they take some white kids? Those kids get saved quick—they just rounded up a whole lot of ‘em in Texas....But they’ll let a black kid stay. Look at Bobby and Whitney—Bobbi Kristina can’t get any help. They figure, she's black, things are gonna be tough enough. Look at OJ—they let him have the kids AND he went on tv talking about the tough times being a single dad. OJ, you can’t complain when you killed the mother!!!”

Race cont’d:
“Black women hate some interracial dating. They hate seeing a black man with a white woman. But you know why? That’s cause black women don’t want a white man. A Black man will sleep with any ol’ white woman, but black women won’t take some run-of-the-mill white dude. Oh, they'll sleep with the pretty ones, the George Clooneys, Brad Pitts, but not those average dudes.. If you see a black woman with some overweight, George Constanza-looking dude, she is with him for one reason: her credit is fucked up!!!”

On terror:
“Okay, I know this may sound all Reverend Wright, but what happened to looking for Bin Laden? I don’t think he’s real. I mean, think about it: a 7-foot-tall Muslim who lives in a cave and makes video tapes. We can’t find him, but he always leaves a tape. This man can find electricity in a cave, but we can’t find him?! Bin Laden and Tupac are sitting somewhere making mix tapes!”

I mean, I could go on, but I won't. You'll have to wait for the tape.

He brings the truth, the whole truth, and he needs to be married to SOJOURNER TRUTH, so help me god!