Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Gonna Need Some Serious Ujamaa Up In Here

Hey Y'all,

I write to you in my final hours in Detroit. I worked hard to make the best of it, but this city refuses work with a blacktress. Yesterday's foolery was manifold:

1. I wanted to go to the gym real bad, because I feel like I've been eating hypertension and type-2 diabetes ever since I got here. My cousin's a member of LA Fitness, a national gym chain that she joined in the ATL. We found the location nearby and when we got to the front desk we were told we had to pay because: 1) her membership wasn't valid in this state; 2) I couldn't use a guest pass unless I lived within 20 miles of the gym.
What kind of fuckery??????? I mean, who joins a national chain and doesn't think they can use it anywhere in the nation? They give out guest passes like they're candy, yet I can't, as a visitor, get my treadmill on if I come in with a member who pays a monthly fee? And why on earth would you a member pay an additional usage fee each time she visits the chain instead of just transferring the account to Michigan?
To top it all off, when my cousin asked to cancel her membership, the girl behind the desk printed out a form that had to be mailed in--stamp not included!! Since when is an in-person cancellation not valid? I can't even cope with this madness.

2. After the gym was a bust, we headed to the nearest Payless so that I could return the cheap gym shoes I purchased. With box and receipt in hand, I waited in line at the Payless in the Northland Mall. I did my best to be patient and pleasant as the tweens in front of me had all sorts of issues. When I finally got to the register, the woman sank her head in her hands and said, "Please don't tell me you're doing a return."
"Um....ok. I'm not doing a return. Here are the shoes and receipt. Can I have my money now?"
"I been doin' returns all day, I can't do no more," she said. I assumed this meant she was fatigued, or maybe her manager wasn't around to punch in the proper return codes, but she certainly couldn't have been serious.
"We don't got no more money," she said as she chewed on her acrylic nail.
So.....what am I supposed to do? Grammar aside, how on earth does a store in a mall run out of money? And, if that was really the case, couldn't she have said that to me during the 10 minutes I waited in line so that I could have been on my merry way? (#whyblackbusinessesdon'tthrive)
"There's another Payless down the road you can try."
Okay, fine. I leave without an attitude and have my cousin drive me to the next Payless a few minutes away.

It didn't bode well from the moment we pulled up, as the lights were on, but no one appeared to be home. Good lord--they didn't close for another 2 hours. Look alive, people!
I walk in and call out to someone. A woman in the back of the store says, "Hey," like we're old friends.
"Um, I have a return." I yell to her from the front, near the register.
"We been doin' returns all day; we don't got no more money," she says without moving a centimeter closer.

The worst of it is that such shady business operations are completely against yesterday's principle, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Payless was certainly refusing to economically cooperate with a blacktress, instead sending her on a wild goose chase for some basic funds. I can't build, maintain, or profit from a damn thing if you don't have at least 18 dollars and 1 cent in your registers!
As we drove to the third Payless (I kid you not), I wondered when Detroit became the streets of Calcutta. I felt like a slumdog millionaire without the millions. I was about ready to cut a bitch.

I was finally given my $18.01 at the third Payless, and vowed to destroy Cuntinental Airlines once and for all (it has officially replaced Delta as the worst airline ever) for leaving me here.

As we commiserated in the car, my cousin told me about this "music video" called "It's So Cold In the D," which is all about Detroit. "Nay Nay, it's kinda Antoine Dodson-style, but kinda sad-funny" she explained, referencing the "Bed Intruder" jam I introduced her to on Christmas. Of course, after a long day of foolery, I had to see it.

What I witnessed on her laptop was unlike anything I've ever seen. It really encapsulates Detroit--and clearly struck a chord, based on the more than 2 million YouTube views. From the lead singer's neon-orange braids (that match her hoodie--um, if it's "so cold in the D," why isn't anyone wearing a coat?) to the still photos of slain family and friends to the crew walking through the graveyard, it reminds me of how my cousins and I would spend our summers "making movies" (I'm trying to find the footage of "Life in the Ghetto" so that it can be burned before my bio-pic).

OK, enough explaining. Let me just embed it. This, gentle readers, is where I've been for the last 5 days:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Detroit is Deadly

What up, gang! It's another dysfunctional day in Detroit. My cousin, who works in auto insurance, just came in from work to visit my grandmother. He immediately goes into the kitchen and begins frying chicken (I swear, I'm not being racist). As his chicken fries, he sits down and takes off his sweatshirt (my grandmother keeps her house a cozy, menopausal 80 degrees). A turn to the left reveals the gun on his right hip. I have to share the following exchange:

Mom: Jay, you got yo' gun on you today?
Jay: Yeah, auntie. I had to go to the bank.

Um, are we in the wild wild West? Why on earth would you need a gun to go to the bank unless you're about to rob it? I didn't see a red kerchief, so I assume he was making a routine deposit. When his sister comments on the foolery of this, he replies:

Jay: It's not loaded like that.

"Loaded like that"? What does that mean? It's either loaded, or it's not. My fear mounts as I realize that anyone who has their own rules of what qualifies as "loaded" probably shouldn't own a firearm.

Jay [in a condescending tone]: To actually shoot, the gun has to be engaged.

OK, so what he's saying is that there are bullets in the gun, but the safety's on. I think that qualifies as "loaded."

I have no idea how Detroit expects to engage in Ujamaa* when a routine trip to the bank requires "back up."

Y'all, I still have another 24 hours here. Meanwhile, my mother is angry at me for a facebook post that my cousin mentioned (family has officially put on the limited view), and is not speaking to me. I need a kwanzaa prayer for patience.

*Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics-- To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oppressed During Kwanzaa

Habari Gani, gentle readers!! That means 'What's the news?' in Swahili, and is used as the traditional greeting each of the 7 days of Kwanzaa. As you all know, "Kwanzaa" means "After Christmas Sales," and was invented in 1967. I won't bore you with all the Kwanzaa details, seeing as it's basically a remix of Hannukah, and I don't think we can get too wrapped up in any holiday invented after TVs came in color. The gist of it is that there are seven principles, one for each day. They are as follows:
12/26 - Umoja - Unity
12/27 - Kujichagulia - Self-Determination
12/28 - Ujima - Collective Work and Responsibility (who knew one little word could mean so much?!)
12/29 - Ujamaa - Cooperative Economics
12/30 - Nia - Purpose (not to be confused with blacktress Nia Long, for whom I have always had a Love Jones)
12/31 - Kuumba - Creativity (not to be confused with the fellow who went to White Castle with Harold)
1/1 - Imani - Faith (not to be confused with the supermodel and miscegenator)

Today, I am seriously running on Kujichagulia, y'all. I am in Detroit visiting the G-unit (you know you gotta holla at your granny when she's 94.5!) with mamadukes, and it has all gone horribly, horribly wrong. What was supposed to be a 56-hour visit is now a 5-day campout, as the blizzard of 2010 has NY airports closed and our flight postponed for three days!!!
Al was right when he called it an inconvenient truth.

As I was kept on hold by CUNTinental Airlines for 2 hours and 34 minutes, after which point their automated machine got tired of replaying itself and they hung up, I tried to be positive. Yeah, delays suck, and yeah, it's better that we weren't stuck in the airport, but the facts remain:
- I packed only 2 pair of underwear.
- My mother and I are stuck in Michigan without a car.
- My mother and I can only interact in 3-hour increments before we start to hate each other.
- I have heaps of work to do, but all of it is in NYC.
- We are stuck in Detroit, Michigan, for three extra days.

I don't know if you guys have been following me on the Twitter lately, but you might want to look for the hash tag ChristmasInDetroit. Everyone's been in top crazy form, with my aunt asking me to "get the voices back on the computer" (it's my fault for answering her initial question "do you know how to use a computer?" with a yes), and my cousin giving me a "grab bag" for Christmas. Its contents: slipper-socks, a $15 Pier 1 Imports gift card, and a 6-pack sampler of KY warming lubricant.
'Tis the season, y'all.

Last night, we went to a family gathering held by the folks on the other side of the family (my aunt's husband's crew), and as I ate a bit of type-2 diabetes-inducing peach cobbler, I watched some of the older folks dance. I was a bit alarmed when I noticed that a 50-something-year-old gentleman had a gun clipped to his hip.
Yes, y'all--he was ready to bust a cap in someone's ass.
When I pointed it out to my mom and we laughed, my aunt told us that it's legal to carry a gun in Detroit (#whyblackpeoplecan'thavenicethings), and my cousin told me that he and his wife also keep guns. When I asked him where his was he said, "Mine in the car, it's family time." Good to know.

The evening culminated in a "dance contest" in which all children under the age of 14 had to participate. We were urged to put in a dollar for the "winning pot." As children popped, locked, and flipped as the adults urged them on, I admired the ingenuity--with the kids dancing, we had the music, entertainment, and family bonding in one fell swoop. As Aunt Hannah counted out singles to make sure there were enough for every kid to get some, I worried: were we creating a new generation of strippers, children eager for dollar bills that signified acceptance?

Tonight, as I was driven back home after picking up food (everything in my grandmother's house is salt-free and doesn't require chewing), we passed "D&L Market," a grocery store. Along the side, however, it advertised Check Cashing - Beer & Wine - Lotto - Pawn - Poultry

Oh, Detroit..... You are what keeps Tyler Perry rich. How on earth could one shop offer so much? Something's obviously getting short shrift (my guess is the poultry).

According to Wikipedia (my source for all things ethnic and newfangled), the self-determination of kujichagulia means 'to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.'

As my mother gets angry at me for eating too long (her exact words were, "you been at the table damn near an hour!") I am working to define myself as someone who can process her anger in a healthy manner, instead of lashing out at the woman who birthed me. I am naming myself as a strong black woman, instead of "the cause of her mother's hot flashes." And, since mamadukes is looking at me with a sideways glance every time I breathe with conviction, I am taking to my blog so that I can speak for myself.

All right, y'all, I've officially been out of my grandmother's sight for 20 minutes, and she's starting to yell. Luckily, I can use the fact that the thermostat is set at 82 degrees (I kid you not) as an explanation for why I had to step outside.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday (Lack of) Focus

Hey y'all,

I'm a total bum today. I got all of 5 hours of sleep, after a night that was a mixture of shock, awe, and aaawwww. There were laughter, tears, and plenty of self-loathing. Let me explain:

So, Jewboo and I hadn't seen each other since Sunday, which ended in a terrible fight (basically, I'm a mentally unstable biatch--think Halle Berry in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge). I was seriously in the dog house, and after some brief phone chats during the week--and more than one visit to the Italian restaurant next to my job for eggplant parmesan sandwiches (food = love)--I was scared I was on relationship probation.

I was so scared, in fact, that I was nervous to see him. Add to that the fact that I was doing a set that night, and I had more butterfly in my stomach than Mariah Carey's 15th album. We met up around 6:30pm, and parted after seeing a mutual friend's show. The plan was for him to come stay at my place after my show--yay! Jewboo sleepover on a weeknight!

We held hands during the show, and I felt heartened. I went to my set downtown and in walked BCB, who was visiting from Sydney town--and she brought a Hollywood agent TO SEE ME!!
Seriously. She talked me up and dragged him downtown! He represents many famous actors and produces films--they met on a set where she was the stylist. He was really nice and thought I was funny, and even quoted one of my jokes back to me later in the evening!! I was having a total Sally Field moment.

The set went well, but the club was sparsely populated. I had a good time, though, and stayed afterwards to schmooze with the agent (obvi--gotta work it). I ended up staying out a bit too long, and jumped in a cab so that Jewboo wouldn't be waiting.

At 11:45 pm, while sitting in traffic on the West Side Highway and damn-near hyperventilating, I got a text from Jewboo. "I'm here, where are you?"

I was on Little West 12th street. For those of you outside of NYC, I live approximately 135 blocks away from 12th Street. We had quite a ways to go. For those of you not on the east coast or Midwest, it's currently 23 degrees in New York City. Needless to say, if I wasn't in the dog house already, I was certainly in it now.

I was in the cab freaking out--so much so that the taxi driver closed the partition to separate himself from the awkwardness. When we finally arrived at my place 20 minutes later, Jewboo limped up the block. He had gone to wait in the subway station, and his feet were so cold that they hurt. I tried not to make it about me--you know, looking to him to tell me it was okay. After all, it wasn't.

I simply opened the door, went up to get a hot bath going, and mellowed out.

You know how I know I want to marry him? He just looked at me as he sat on the bed and said, "I'm not mad. I'm just cold." And he meant it. And the fact is, if it had been me, he would have been dead to me. Like, done and done. The fact that he's so patient and understanding is a god send. I can't wait for him to put a ring on it.

Of course, I can't say this. So, instead, I made him an ecard:

They say an e-card is worth a thousand words. Is that true even when you have an 80-character limit?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Step Up 4 Realz

Happy Friday, Y’alls!

So, this past Tuesday was my berfday, and I am starting to feel the effects of another year. I had a decent day, primarily because I didn’t go to work. I woke up early, did some exercise, went to get my hair did, met mamadukes for lunch, and then we went to get our nails and toes done (like rapper Nelly, I too am a sucker for cornrows and manicured toes). I planned to share my beautification with Jewboo, with whom I was going to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on the great Broadway! We were going with a really cute couple, Steven and Dan. Steven and I share the same bday, and he’s one of those ethnically ambiguous-looking Jews, which I heart (I love when people come up to them speaking Spanish).

The show was good (primarily because it starred Jeff Hiller, my spirit animal--who was kind enough to take us onto the set post-show!), but I was less then enthused by the time the lights went down. Before meeting up with Steven and Dan, Jewboo gave me my birthday present. He had been excited about it for several weeks, priding himself on ordering it early. Although I’d kept my excitement at a minimum, it kept all my blackting skills to act gracious when I unwrapped the package.

He’d bought me a copy of The Walking Dead Compendium. You know, the first 48 issues of the comic book--oh, I’m sorry, graphic novel--on which the series is based. I do love me some zombies, and I’ve been really into the tv show, so I sorta get where he was coming from with the gift idea.

The thing is, I do not like comic books. I have had no penchant for picture books since the age of 7. I have nothing against them, and I am aware that many adults read them, and they’ve apparently grown quite sophisticated and complex since Sojourner was a young truth-teller. Since dating Jewboo I have made more than a few trips to Midtown Comics so he could scope out the latest releases, and I found myself able to overlook the scent of Dr. Pepper and low self esteem and really see the patrons around me. They’re people, too.

But I simply don’t get comics. I never know what order in which I’m supposed to read the talk bubbles, and I get all confused. I just don’t know if I’m a visual thinker, because I see the pictures, and it’s like, “Ok. I guess that means he’s walking far.” It just doesn’t resonate.

I have often said this, which is why a 20-pound, 350 page comic as a gift was not only shocking, but mildly worrisome. Does he not know who I am? It’s not even that I wanted any particular thing. I would have greatly appreciated a free hot meal and a cupcake. I mean, I know he knows me, because he printed out and taped the following e-card to the front of the box:

(Yeah, we’ve been through a lot.)

So why the comic, y’all? Of course, it’s not even about the gift. I realized that I’ve been holding on to a lot of residual resentment, and when he couldn’t even Step Up for my birthday, it all came out. He got a job at Columbia, only 20 minutes away from where I live, and yet he hasn’t spent the night at my home since 10/23, often using the excuse that he doesn’t “have his stuff.”

Okay, now I get that we all have our routines, but as I stood in the drugstore buying products for him after 9 months of dating, I wondered if I should even be doing this. If he wants to stay with me, shouldn’t he get his own products?
I live alone, in a very nice place, with tons of on-demand channels, and yet I trek to Greenpoint more often than a Polish immigrant trying to get her paperwork translated. The only time he’s come over to my place since 10/23 is when he wanted to use my kitchen to shoot a web video. He, along with 6 other folks came over to my house on a Sunday night, took twice as long as was scheduled, and when he was leaving, all he had to say was “thanks,” after telling me that he had been upset with me for telling them to utilize the extras sooner rather than later.

I get that he’s busy, and I’ve been trying to be supportive, but as it gets colder and I try to walk the 20 minutes from the train to his house as quickly as possible, with every step I wonder why Jewboo won’t Step Up 2 Da Streets (of Harlem). Add to that the fact that I spent 8 months paying for things and have yet to be treated to anything since he got a job, and, you know, blacktress was about to get ghetto up in here.

So, after talking to everyone but him, we met for dinner and had a talk last night. I know he loves me, and perhaps I haven’t been as clear as I think (because it seems to obvious to me what he should do, I almost feel crazy having to break it down). I explained that I was disappointed in his lack of initiative, and had been trying not to fight, but was just not living up to my TRUTH. I told him that I understand he’s a procrastinator and has trouble making plans, but I needed him to Step Up 3-D —you feel me, ladies?

He took it well, and had a good think while we ate. It helped that I not only made a list of grievances, but the fancy-ass face wash I had to order online for him had arrived that day, and I had the UPS package in my purse. When he asked what it was, I quickly displayed my effort/his products. I had also visited good ol' Wikipedia and looked up the definition of “empiricism,” because my former-philosophy-professor of a Jewboo often responds to my emotional reactions with, “I just don’t think like that, because I’m an empirical guy.” So, with a firm definition of empiricism as a theory of knowledge which asserts the idea that knowledge arises via sense experience; the belief theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation, I explained not simply the way things made me feel, but the observations of his actions in the "natural world" of our REALationship.
I had to go deep into the male mind for this one, y'all. It required internet-study.

I explained the facts, and basically asked him if he felt my grievances were out of line. Honestly, if you can’t stand Sojourner’s truths, get out of the relationship kitchen!

He said they weren’t, and really felt bad about some behaviors. He also came at me with some of my own truths, noting that I tend to plan things to avoid disappointment, but as a result don’t give him the opportunity to take the reigns. So he hangs back, and then I feel like he’s not active. He had me there, y'all--with default emotions of sadness, anger, and fear, I can't help by try to control everything in an attempt to avoid those emotions. I love a man who can dish up a steaming hot bowl of TRUTH.

Okay, I’m done now. How y’all doing?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Guess Who's ENJOYING Dinner?!

Hey Guys,

Sorry for the delay. The slavedriver is cray cray this week, and I've been balls deep in work. For those who want to know, mom liked Jewboo!!

Yes, y'all! He had her cracking up the whole time, but wasn't being showy. He was being his weird, random self--you know, like referring to his delayed reaction to burning his mouth on a scallion pancake as similar to that of a brontosaurus (it takes a long time for signals to travel down its long neck)--and she actually thought he was, "cute, funny, and clearly intelligent, even though he's a bit quirky."


When we talked hours later, she was still chuckling to herself thinking of his pun--DILBERT & Sullivan.

I kid you not. He stopped in the middle of dinner to break out his notepad and jot down the gem.

He was funny and nice and interested and managed to avoid political talk, yet openly asked me if I'd go to the comic book store with him after dinner, as though he had no reason to be ashamed of such an endeavor at the age of 31. I think his self-acceptance and honesty makes it so that you sorta have to roll with it, and the neurotic jewyness of it all makes you love it and want to feed a potato latke.

I think my mom is really excited that I have a boyfriend, especially now that he's gainfully employed. I also think she was a little jealous that I'd been to his parents' house twice, but I'd been keeping him away, because at the end of dinner she pulled out a wrapped Hannukah present! Yes, y'all. He unwrapped the blue-and-silver paper (natch) and laughed when he saw this:

"Do you get it?" my mother asked.
Yes, yes he did.

I really was quite impressed, seeing as the humor works on many levels. Former Daily Show correspondent Lewis Black is an angry ranting Jewish comic, much like Jewboo himself. Jewboo also loves The Daily Show, and said he'd never want a Christmas tree in his house (not even if I decorated it with blue and silver ornaments--I asked). He also loves to read because he's all former-adjunct-professor smarty-pants.

At the end of the night, I was so happy, it was Chronicles of Riddickulous! Not only did Andy think my mom was "funny and cool," and she thought he was "a good guy--but I don't know how long you can keep going to the comic store," but I think madukes and I are just a tad closer, now that I've let her in to my interracial love.

Okay, y'all, that's it for now. Gotta go back to pretending like I care about my job.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview With a Blacktress

Guys, this is my favorite time of the year. No, not because we’re supposed to make the yuletide homosexual, or because I actually have a winter spoon this winter. It’s the best because we’re starting on a new financial year, which means we are ready to hire a new intern.

“But blacktress, aren’t interns annoying and over-eager?” you may be asking. “Doesn’t the hope and optimism in their eyes as they relish the ‘opportunity’ to photocopy remind you of your own lost innocence and drive?”

Yes, yes gentle reader, you are correct. But the best part of this whole process is that I GET TO INTERVIEW THEM!

As you all know, I relish power in all its forms, as I do not exist until you recognize my prowess. I also love young people, because my desire to be a mother without actually being a mother can be fulfilled by ordering them around and guiding them through the workplace as though it were life. The interview is the first time I’m able to assert my dominance, and I like to set them up for the beginning of the day so that I start off with a boost of confidence.

Unfortunately, I am co-interviewing with the other associate editor, who’s a real buzz-kill of a guy. He’s monotone, second-guesses everything I do (which really pisses me off, because he came into his post as my replacement), and doesn’t know how to kick back. In the interviews we pretty much take do the Good Cop-Bad Cop routine, with him asking hard-hitting questions, and me trying to take the pressure off and see into the applicant’s soul.

Before Thanksgiving, we interviewed one candidate, a plucky young grad who, after 2 years of Teach for America, is ready to be done with the illiterati (h/t Scribe) and pursue his editorial dreams. My coworker went in with this:

Can you tell us of a time when you spearheaded a project, in or out of the workplace?

YAAAWWWNNNNN. Homey’s gonna be answering phones, faxing, photocopying, and copyediting for at least the first 6 months. He learns on the job, and if he’s got an interest and ¾ of a brain, he can do this. I don’t really need to know if he spearheaded anything. Let’s get to the real questions.

Me: Where do you see yourself in 5 years, and am I there with you?

That’s the kind of stuff we need to know! Tell me your dreams, tell me how much you love me, tell me what’s going on behind the button-down, sir!

Buzzkill: Do you have any interest or knowledge of contemporary realist art?

Ugh, WHO CARES?! I didn’t know Rembrandt from Remington Steele when I came in here—and I still don’t! What I do know is how to write, and how to use the Dictionary of Art Terms, and I sound super smarty-pants, and the readers are none the wiser. I am not tripping over this stuff, and I’ve been here 3 years and have actual responsibility! I don’t care if the whole magazine is printed in Wingdings, as long as my check clears!

This office is broke and busted, with one bathroom for 8 people, stacks of boxes lining the hallway (because we don’t have sufficient storage space), and a “doorman” named Manny who leans against the door all day (well, actually, only until 2pm, cause Manny got thangs to do) talking to the guy wearing a sandwich board sign advertising CHEAP PASSPORT PHOTOS. Every time I come into the office, I feel like I’m walking into a bodega.

In other words—this ain’t that deep, and we need to not get it twisted up in here. You’re asking an educated individual to spend 40 hours a week making sure “Antwerp blue” is spelled properly, and take calls from crazy elderly people who believe that all of their opinions should be heard. I need him/her to be smart, cool, and fearful of me—that’s all.

So now I’ve got a stack of resumes and cover letters, and I’m enjoying the judging process. I want to hire a cute, dorky boy who tells me I’m pretty and offers to run personal errands.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks

Hey Gang,

My bad for the lag in blog posts. My brain was drowning in gravy, and I could barely string a sentence together—you know, except, “Pass me a crescent roll,” and “Oh god, why did I have apple pie for breakfast?” How was your holiday? I went to my mom’s house in the dirty Jersey, where we hosted 10 people! As you know, my mom has a Latin lover (who’s she’s been married to for 5 years, but I refuse to change his title). He’s got two 30-something year-old daughters, and both are married and have kids. The daughters are pretty chill, but their men are wack as all get out. One is super creepy and has a molestache, and the other supplements his income by driving an ice cream truck and is really competitive with his 7-year-old son. I knew we’d be in for a doozy of a day when my mom told me that they’d be bringing over fish and pork.

Um, this is America. I don’t think that we slaughtered the Indians for their salmon.

Anyhoozle, I cooked my favorite Thanksgiving staples, and proceeded to eat them all by Sunday. I hit a personal low earlier that day when I had not 1, not 2, but 5 crescent rolls with my morning meal. (God, I want to throw up in my mouth just thinking about it)
This, of course, has led to the Juice Fast of 2010.*
Before you get all up in arms and call the eating-disorder police on me, trust me when I say that this is a short-term thing. I honestly want to clean out my body from all the starchy sugary cheesy goodness that tasted great, but is probably lining my colon like a tacky ‘70s shag carpet. Prior to Turkey Day, I had be eating more sugary goodness than an oompa loompa, justifying it by reminding myself that I’ve stopped drinking, and just wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have at least one vice.
Next thing you know, my jeans are a bit too tight, and I start to fear that strangers on the subway, thinking I’m pregnant, will start to offer me their seats.
So far, it’s been rough, and I already cheated (a handful of nuts post “lunch” yesterday, and a small slice of leftover pie and ice cream post “dinner”—I thought it would be un-American to leave the last slice standing). However, even with these cheats, I did way less damage than I normally would.
I am, however, feeling really tired and my stomach hurts. My usual procrastination time has extended from 20 minutes per hour to the entire day. And I almost ripped my coworker’s throat out when he had the audacity to eat delicious-smelling leftovers for lunch yesterday.

Luckily, it won’t last too long. In fact, I will be forced to eat tomorrow night, when I go to dinner with Mom and Jewboo. Yes, y’all. And it’s on the first night of Hannukah, no less!

The time has come for Jewboo to meet my Claire Huxtable-esque Antoine Dodson-Ludacris-loving mom.
This is big.
I haven’t had many boyfriends, and no hot mess of a hook-up was meeting my mom, obvs. Jewboo is the first man worth presenting since Clinton was in office y’all! His parents have been quite welcoming to a blacktress, evening sending him home from Thanksgiving with a souvenir from a recent trip and a birthday present for me! This has been really crucial for the growth of our love, because Jewboo is very attached to his fam.
I, on the other hand, am not so much.
I mean, it was just me and my mom for most of my life, and I know she’s got my back, but we have really never been close-close in my adulthood. I don’t really tell her my business unless it’s impersonal, like whether or not to apply for a certain job, or if my taxes are done properly. I’d never tell her if I liked someone or if I was stressed or anything.
Which means that any person I present to her is a BIG DEAL. It’s so rare, the dude MUST be special. And, if he is important, ma-dukes is going to “do me the service of scrutinizing him carefully and taking an impartial view that I am not privy to because of my emotions.” In other words, “I’m gonna put him on the stand like I do the drug-addicted parents in my courtroom every day. “

I’m nervous for Jewboo, although much less so now that he’s employed and works under a strong black woman (making him better equipped to deal with mom). I love him dearly, but this is just such foreign territory for me. People often assume that, as the mother of a blacktress, my mother is bubbly and funny and chill—this is not the case. She’s straightforward, and has no patience for “foolishness.” To aid in the interview process, I’ve prepared a list of talking points for both parties:
  1. Barack Obama—is he a mensch or what? (cross-cultural appeal!)
  2. Kwanzaa—the black people’s Hannukah?
  3. “You ain’t no Challah back girl!” aka “I see where Naomi gets her good looks and brains.” (flattery will get him everywhere).
  4. “So, you’re a lawyer for the city, huh? I bet there’s a lot of baby mama drama going on there!”
  5. “What do your parents do, where did you go to school, and what are your intentions for my daughter?”
It’s sure to be a good time, guys—if only because I’ll be eating solid foods.

*hash tag JF2K10

Friday, November 19, 2010

When the Jewboo's Away......

The Blacktress will find another jewboo!!

J/K. You know I only have one trueJew love. But Jewboo’s currently in Boston doing some shows, and I must admit, I don’t mind it one bit. I haven’t had to shave my legs in 4 days (yep, I said it), I haven’t had to gchat stalk him for my own amusement during the workday (largely because he’s not available), and, although the hotel they’re staying in is right between a Hooters and Fuddruckers, his vegetarianism is sure to keep him away from both hot wings and pretty young things.

I kicked off my first night of freedom by seeing a Comedy Central taping for comedian Nick Kroll last night. I don’t really have celebrity crushes, and I don’t really like to gush, but Nick Kroll is seriously my life partner. He’s a nerdy Jew from Rye, New York who has the pouty lips of a man of color and every word out of his mouth is brilliant to me. He mostly plays characters, my favorite being Fabrice Fabrice—the name so nice, you have to say it AGAIN.

Check him out interviewing Steve Carrell:

He is my spirit animal. He is my avatar. He is my patronus. And after sitting second row center during his taping my life is officially complete. Let me explain.

First and firstmost (as Bobby Bottleservice would say), Nick Kroll has been on my TO-DO list ever since I saw him at UCB 4 years ago. He was so wonderfully hilarious, and his questionable sexuality intrigued me. I figured at the very least, every gay needs a blacktress, and I could endear myself to him. Unfortunately, he was way too cool off stage for me to approach, so I just let it be. Since then, however, Kroll has blown up like Nagasaki, starring in “The League,” “Sit Down Shut Up,” and random movie cameos. When I saw he was doing a show at the Williamsburg Music Hall, I jumped on those tickets—hipsters be damned!

I bought 4, figuring I’d make some friends at some point prior to the show. Enjoying freedom without Jewboo I made it a ladies’ night, and brought three of my favorite funny girls (well, 2 of my favorites and a random who wanted a ticket). I arrived with a friend and there was no sign or sense of order to the process. “What do we do?” my Caucasian friend asked? I looked around. Manning the door were too buff black bodyguards.
“I see black men. I’m getting some answers,” I said.
I walked over to the bald guy (they always have the most power), and asked him what the deal was. As he spoke, his gold grill nearly blinded me, but I stood my ground, speaking with a confidence and comfort that let him know I was cool, but not trashy. He gestured for us to wait on this side, and we did accordingly. The people around us began lining up behind us; we’d inadvertently started the line and were at the front (Rosa would have been so proud!). We ended up getting 2nd row center seats, perfect for eye-fucking.

On select seats was a sheet of paper and pencil, and we were directed to write down questions for Fabrice Fabrice. “Good” questions would be selected and given to Fabrice to read on stage/on camera.

This was my moment to connect with him. I thought long and hard. Here’s what I came up with:
1. What was Raven Simone’s favorite meal on the set of “The Cheetah Girls”?
2. How did you discover that craft services was your passion?
3. How do you like to unwind after a long day of serving crafts?
xoxo, Blacktress!!!

I didn’t think he’d read it, but I wanted to just add a personal touch.

After our questions were collected and reviewed, Fabrice was handed a stack to read. I tried not to get too amped—and then hateful—when my friend’s questions were answered. But then……
“What was Raven’s favorite meal on the Cheetah girls? Cheetahs. Baby cheetahs.”
YES!!!! He got me.
He proceeded to answer the rest of them, and then read my signature aloud:

“XOXO, Blacktress. That’s a black actress. This woman is black and she’s hating on Raven. That’s not solidarity.”
(everything sounds hilarious in the voice of Fabrice Fabrice, trust).

Um, it was the greatest moment of my life. Nick Kroll uttered my alias with his full lips. He instantly knew what the word meant—he can certainly handle the truth. And the fact that my questions were chosen proves that we’re cosmically connected—I know what to ask him to make him shine like Geoffrey Rush.

So, in summararium, Nick is my boo, I am famous by proxy, and I love me a matzoh ball!

I totally wish I was Henry Winkler right now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting off Struggle Strasse

You know how they say it’s hard out there for a pimp? Well, I think it’s much harder for a blacktress (didn’t the pimp get an Oscar nom?). Y’all, I am on Struggle Street, for serious. I mean, we all know struggle street (or, as I like to call it, struggle strasse to really highlight the pain)—how it feels when you’re swamped at work one week, when you’re getting rejected like a Jersey Shore cast member’s college application, when you wake up with no heat or hot water and don’t know what to do.

But normally, you get through it. It’s just one of life’s many valleys, and you know there’ll be another peak. In those moments, you’re just walking down Struggle Strasse—you know, you took a wrong turn, but you know that once you get your bearings you’ll be back on Make It Happen Boulevard.

Sometimes, though, it’s not so simple. Sometimes you end up on Struggle Strasse and get wooed by its cheap rent. You’re so hopeless you end up signing a damn lease and the next thing you know, it’s the middle of summer and you find out the windows in your apartment in the Struggle Strasse Projects can’t open, much less support an air conditioner.

That’s where I’m at right now. Nothing tragic happened—I just sorta let this malaise snowball, and I’m starting to wonder if I’m even young, gifted, or black! (did you see one of the recent angry comments? I’m a discredit to the race!) I had a few shows happening, but I’m running out of new material—and not really writing more!!! What kind of roll-over-and-play-dead kind of behavior is this?! Definitely more wacktress than blacktress.

I think it really has to do with not liking my job, and not really knowing what alternatives I have—you know, probably the way an oppressed person feels almost everyday. I’m not accustomed to this. As mamadukes says to me when I’m acting a fool, “I didn’t work hard so you could cry all day.” That, and “if you want sympathy, you can find it between ‘shit’ and ‘syphillis’ in the dictionary.”

It’s tough love, but it works.

I don’t know what to do people! I’m trying to write funny hilarities to pitch to humor sites, and my brain turns to mush! What’s hip with the young kids? Is Bieber still hot? Why have I missed so many episodes of GLEE? This is what happens when you spend your evenings hunched over Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Cream (it doesn’t matter if it’s half the fat when you eat twice as much of it!).

All right, y’all, I’ll stop the rant. Just tell me what to do. Please leave a comment that answers the following:

1. Sojourner, the TRUTH is you should be spending your time doing ________ for a living.

2. Blackting is…..
a. Reacting
b. Attacking
c. Distracting
d. Comparing yourself to other people and wondering if the world still thinks you’re 3/5 of a woman.

3. When your drag queen boss tells you that your tone “concerns him,” you should
a. Calmly explain your point of view.
b. Send a clarifying email, so as not to give away your hatred via eye rolling and sighing. Then, look for a new job on
c. Start looking into working holiday visas and see if New Zealand will let you back in.
d. Cut a bitch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You're Welcome....

Happy Friday, y'all!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Young, Gifted, and BACK

Guys, I come to you now with my tail between my legs and my head hung in shame. I haven’t blogged in so long, you’d think I wasn’t an insecure narcissist whose primary form of procrastination was writing ramblings on the internet.

Since I last posted, there have been many changes afoot—I don’t even know where to begin!

1. On Friday, October 29th at 6:34pm, Jewboo called to tell me he GOT A JOB!!!
Yes, y’all!!! He’s got a sweet temp-to-perm gig at Columbia University! For those of you who don’t know, Columbia’s located in Harlem, which means that not only has Jewboo solved the “I’m broke-ass” problem, he’s also helped alleviate the “I love on the G train” issue! Other pluses to this new employment:
- Jewboo’s entire staff consists of strong black women and a black man named Junior. Our 8 months of dating have trained him perfectly for dealing with a strong black woman—and, should his superiors be prone to outbursts and mood swings, he will be able to respond by asking them if they are in “food distress.”
- When the gig goes permanent, Jewboo will be making 25% MORE THAN ME. Seriously. As an administrative assistant. It really makes me wish I hadn’t gone into debt going to a liberal arts university when managing an Outlook calendar is where the money is.
- With this newfound money, Jewboo can begin purchasing me foodstuffs of the baked variety. I’m ‘bout to get myself mad cupcakes, y’all!
- My mother can stop telling me that I need to “use this one as a back-up; don’t get attached.”

2. So, for Halloween, I decided to go as “slutty Condoleeza Rice,” complete with cheap corset purchased from H&M and a headband with a top hat. I was definitely a tramp, but luckily, my party of choice was a bunch of gays in a high school gymnasium in Chelsea. It was kind of amazing. The drag queens brought out their A game, and they actually taught me how to—

UGH, God, my fucking coworker keeps interrupting me, and I can’t get a blog in edgewise! He’s being such a fucking shunt*, and I having been wanting to cut him for days. My hatred has gotten so intense that Saturday night I dreamt we got into a fist fight. I wish he’d just never talk to me again—or only communicate with me via email. He’s just so damn….detail-oriented and “wanting to get your thoughts on” things that it just bothers the shit out of me. I swear to fucking god, I can’t handle being here.
*that’s Australian for “shitty cunt”

Okay, rant complete. Where was I?
Oh, right, HallowQUEEN. (How did I just start calling it this now???)
So, I’m dancing to remixed versions of every pop song I’ve ever known (when you speed up “Umbrella,” Rihanna sounds even more like a chipmunk than usual), in my trampy outfit, hanging out with two members of my BLONDtourage (white girls are excellent safety nets on nights when the crazies are out), when a guy crosses behind us to put is coat in a corner.

I freeze. My stomach twists in a figure-eight knot.
No, it isn’t one of the many former lovers I’ve had.
It was MY BOSS!!!

Yes, y’all! My boss was at the HallowQueen party, and decided to plant 4 centimenters from a blacktress! I immediately alerted the blondes and made sure to text my nearest and dearest. Jewboo’s response: “Isn’t yer boss a drag queen?” as though I shouldn’t have been at all surprised. One of the gals I was with was convinced he must have seen me, since he’d crossed several times to drop off his coat, go back to pull out his wallet and phone, and then go back to put something else in his pocket.

“Do you think he’d recognize me in this outfit?!”
I tried to continue dancing non-chalantly, but the night lost its luster. I wasn’t ready to be caught out dressed like a tramp by the man who signs my checks. I walked over to my bag to put my cell away when he turned towards me. I used my collapsible fan as a face shield (just like Condi would do), but it was a wrap.

Michael just looked at me, rolled his eyes and laughed, and said, “I won’t tell if you won’t tell.”

I swear, I’m only having former drag queens as bosses from now on.

Okay, there’s much more to report, but I gotta get back to work before the shunt comes over with another request. I’m glad I broke the block, y’all—how you been?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Unable to

So I know I’ve been way behind on bloggery, and I have much to catch you up on, but I forgot to post a little tidbit from “Sad Girl” (remember her from that time I went to 8th grade prom?). She’s since graduated high school and is living on her own. Adult life hasn’t been so good to her. It seems, you can take Sad Girl out of high school, but you can’t take the….sadness out of the sad girl.

I don’t know if you guys know about this, but I’ve been going through a really hard time lately. Work is a total bitch, and my former drag queen of a boss (that’s not meant to be derogatory, that’s just a fact) keeps telling me that I’m “sick and suffering.” Yesterday, the online editor got pissed at me because I finally told her why I don’t like her (she doesn’t respect my dominance). And Halloween’s coming up, and I have no idea what to be (a slutty fireman? A slutty bunny? Muslim film star Delta Burqa?).

Not that I have anywhere to go anyway. No one invites me out anymore, and it sucks. I got Netflix a few months ago to help quell the ache, but even movies have gotten boring.

I check my email every 5 minutes, hoping for an Evite to som—

Oh my god, guess what?! I just got an email from a guy named Chuck S. It’s titled “Come to my party in New York on Saturday?”

I LIVE IN NEW YORK! Chuck knows that, I’m sure, or he wouldn’t have invited me. I don’t know who he is off the top of my head, but I’m sure we met somewhere a year or so back, when I used to be social.

Ugh, thank god. I was freaking out over not having plans. Okay, now I’ll go to Ricky’s and get a costume. I wonder if anyone hot will be there. Maybe Chuck’s hot. Should I bring candy? Let me open the email and see the deets.



We're just 5 days from the election, and dozens of races could come down to just a handful of votes. We could end up with narrow Democratic wins in a ton of close races, or a Republican takeover of our government, and it all comes comes down to which side has more volunteers getting out the vote.

I'm not going to let right-wing Republicans take over Congress.

So I'm hosting an election call party on Saturday in New York. I'm inviting people over to make calls to sign up volunteers for our candidates.

I can't do it alone. So if you've got a couple hours to spare this weekend—or even if you don't!--please, please, please come to my party. It's up to all of us in the next 5 days.

Why doesn’t anyone ever invite me anywhere fun?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Apparently, He No Longer Has a Hold on Anyone

Y'all, I got another rando press release today at work. The subject line was cut off, but what I could see read "SMOKEY ROBINSON MEDIA BLITZ S---"

What?! Smokey Robinson? Homey's still alive and blitzing it up?! I obviously double-clicked on that shizz post haste.

Apparently, Smokey has a new album out, y'all. It's called "Now and Then." This is exciting--the man's a legend, and he's still got it! I was ready to call up my mom and tell her the good news when I read the introduction. Tell me what's wrong with this paragraph, y'all (it has not in any way been altered):

Nashville, TN – Legendary hit-maker Smokey Robinson will commence a media flurry, visiting national media in Nashville and New York to promote his highly anticipated album, Now and Then, which hits Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations on November 1st.

In addition, Smokey will tape segments for The Weather Channel, Fox Entertainment feed, LXNY, NYC Profiles, ABC Nightline, and Hannity.

Cracker Barrel?! They selling Smokey's albums in Cracker Muthafuckin' Barrel Old Country Stores?! Y'all, this is the man who brought us such mega hits as “Shop Around,” “Tracks of My Tears,” and “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.” He is a living legend--and they can't even put his ish on Amazon?!

Smokey is too good for CRACKER BARREL! I call that restaurant "Barrel of Crackers," cause when I stopped at one by the roadside, I didn't see a black person anywhere. In fact, every person in the place turned and looked at us, which I know took a lot of work, because most of them didn't have necks.

And what's this "Weather Channel" foolishness? What about VH1 or BET?! And Hannity?! WTF?! Y'all, I can't cope with this foolishness. Smokey needs to get some new representation, stat.

Don't worry, Smokey--you still got a hold on Sojo!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Remembrance of Things Past

OMG, guys. I’m really happy now. I got an email from my gyno!!!

Yes, guys, an e-mail! An e-mail is good because it means your test results came back negative. I remind myself of this with a little rhyme: If you didn’t fail, you get an email; If your phone rings, it doesn’t bring good things!

You know you’ve lived a little too hard if you’re really amped over STD test results. I’m not mathemagician, but I’d venture to say that one’s excitement over negative STD tests is directly proportional to one’s past sluttery. And, as many of you long-time readers can attest, Sojourner has definitely taken advantage of her freedom—and the legalization of miscegenation. As a hypochondriac, I get tested very regularly (sometimes I go in for a prescription refill and come out with two vials of blood drawn, just for the fun of it!), and the idea of an un-wrapped P in my V actually terrifies me, so my past, while varied, is relatively tidy.

Still, there were those nights….those Grease-like summer nights, when the club was dark and the booze was strong, and you didn’t know if that guy was on the up-and-up, but you hoped the amount of alcohol in your blood was so high that it would kill any foreign antibodies that entered.

Am I right, guys?

Anyway, I figure I just bought another 18 months of calm, especially now that I’m Jewboo’ed up and behaving.

Speaking of sluttery, I’m thinking of doing a trashy Halloween costume this year. I’m not really one for costumes (as a blacktress, I perpetually wear a mask….oooohh, that’s deep), and the idea of spending a lot of money or investing several hours in crafting a costume for one night of wear just seems silly. Besides, all the costumes for women are a slutty version of something really generic—you know, like a slutty fireman, a slutty witch, or a slutty slut.

I think, in honor of the slutty idiocy that is Halloween, my costume will be A Girl With Low-Self Esteem.

Booty shorts and/or booty skirt, the tiniest top you can imagine, and the need for endless male attention all night long.

I may end up having flashbacks.

Or, if I want to seem slutty-yet-cool, I’m thinking I can dress up as a Freudian Slip.

You know, wear a slip with my glasses and a name tag that says “Hello My Name is FREUD.”

What say you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Paul, the octopus who "predicted" the winners of eight World Cup matches, died this morning.
Known for his uncanny ability to pick mussels out of boxes with flags on them (note: mussels are one of an octopuses favorite meals), Paul lived a very full life in his just two-and-a-half years, even becoming an honorary citizen of the Spanish town of Carballino. His favorite television show was "Two and a Half Men."

How will we know who'll win the next cup? How will we know if Jewboo is going to call me back?! He said he'd call, Paul. He gave me a kiss on the mouth with just a hint of tongue--but maybe he was turned off my this morning's email, which said "I got my period!! Yay!" He said he'd call! I'd been waiting for your response to my query for days, and now you're too dead to tell me!!!

Unfortunately, Paul had no wife, as most octopussies found him to be a bit of a media whore. (Known for scouring the ocean's depths, most octopuses aren't a fan of the limelight.) His life in captivity also means he had no children. He is survived by his agent, Chris Davies. "It's a sad day," Davies said. "Paul was rather special but we managed to film Paul before he left this mortal earth."

Wait, how did an octopus get an agent, and a blacktress can't even get a walk-on on 30 Rock?

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm Eating a Slice of Carrot Cake at 10:45am

Hey there, Sharks and Jets,

I know, it’s been a week without bloggery. I’ve been feeling so damn bored/boring. Yesterday was definitely bringing back memories of The Summer of New Lows, as I had the following discussion with my life partner, KWalsh
me: oh thank god!
i've been waiting for you to appear on the internet all morning
katie bear, i need you
KWalsh: haha
whats up
me: pleaassseee come to new york. i will pay for your ticket
you can stay at my house
KWalsh: whats going on?
me: i hate everything. i am in a depressed malaise
is that even a thing?
KWalsh: of course it is
come to st. croix for halloween!
we are going to have a pizza party
me: i'm, why am i even trying to exist?

This went on for another 30 minutes, and only ended when I realized I needed to pick up my anti-depressant prescription. I then chased my morning dosage (up 50 milligrams!) with a sip of lukewarm coffee.

Breakfast of champions, I tell ya!

This could have something to do with the fact that I’m two weeks behind on GLEE—that show always makes me feel good about the state of the world. The only thing that’s gotten me through it is the NYC Gubernatorial race. Everyone and their mom has decided to run, and most of them are a hot-ass mess.

I am kind of obsessed with this cray cray Jimmy McMillan, who is currently running for Governor of NY. For those of you followers who aren’t in NYC (and haven’t had all of your internet streams overrun with his youtube clips), I present to you the following, from the leader of “The Rent is 2* Damn High Party”:

Um, I cannot handle this Papa Smurf rocking the gloves. Do you think his facial hair is real? I feel like he’d be good friends with Dr. Tyrone Hayes. They both favor odd hair and are very self-righteous.

I love that I’ve been at work nearly two hours, and not a scrap of work has gotten done. I really should look alive, especially since the raise I was promised 5 months ago finally came through! Yes, y’all—Overseer and Massa came to an agreement, and my money was provided!!!

And, to top it off, Overseer came in the office yesterday and actually issued me an apology! AND, instead of being all deferent and whatnot, I just said “Thank you.” I am going to acknowledge your foolery and throw you a bone for owning up to it. I can’t stand having to tell a grown ass member of Caucasia about himself—he saved me some time.

So, you know, all in all, things are fine. I need to stop being jealous of comedian/improviser friends getting TV gigs and handle my (creative) scandal. The unfortunate thing is that most of the auditions “that fit my profile” on actor’s access seek “African American female, 35-45, a bit overweight, natural. ETHNIC HAIRSTYLES accepted.” Not only am I too YOUNG, but I’m not giving them enough “mammy” in my headshot! I think I’ll remedy this by eating a slice of pie. After all, it’s for my career.

How you be, boos? What are you doing this weekend?

*[yes, “2”]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Hard Being Young, Gifted, and Black!

Earlier this week, Scribe brought an interesting news item to my attention. Y’all know the blacktress isn’t exactly one for the topical or celebrity stories (that’s what Huff Post, Perez, and TMZ are for), but I found this quite interesting, so I thought I’d share.

It seems that 16-year-old college student Ralph Jones, a real bright whiz of a kid, has chosen to attend Florida A&M University after weighing his acceptances from such top schools as Cornell, Harvard, and Stanford. He’s now hearing a whole heap of protests from people who think he made the wrong choice.

Now, those of you who have followed the blacktress from the jump (or have spent great office hours procrastinating with the blog archives) know that, in 2008, I suffered from a blacklash when I called out Morehouse University for having a white valedictorian. Thanks to one Howard friend’s bf, the black listservs got wind of it, and I was blacklisted faster than a Hollywood writer during the McCarthy era. Of course, it was a rough going, and I had to stop the flood of comments to my direct email address, but I realize that when you’re Sojourner “You Can’t Handle The” Truth, some people will indeed be unable to handle the truth.

I actually wanted to talk about this because I wanted to shock some of my haters. I actually think Ralph made a great decision, and the dissenters need to back up off of him. Yes, y'all!! I still totally think it's a black-college FAIL to have a white valedictorian, but there's no denying that, for a Southern teen with engineering dreams, FAMU makes perfect sense. As you can read in the article, he has very sound reasons for his choice (hello, financial aid!). The boy’s only 16—he may be smart, but he still has some maturing to do, and will need extra support. Harvard, Stanford, and other Ivys aren’t going to give that to him. Yeah, he’ll get a "top-notch education," but he’ll probably get a B- on his first test, think he’s a failure, and drop out—and there will be no one there to tell him that he may be a bit young, but he’s also gifted and black!

Part of the lure of HBCUs is the network, and the sense of community that they offer—for a tyke who probably hasn’t even packed after-shave for is shower caddy, that community is a must. As Ralph notes, "When it comes down to it, the family feeling -- I didn't feel that at other institutions, because I visited a lot of schools." I get that. The black bond is real, y’all. Just last night, I experienced the power of it! I went into ACE Hardware store looking for some mouse traps, and an older black guy working there not only told me what to do and how to use the trap, he even ripped steel wool out of the bag it came in and gave me a piece!! Yes, y’all—homey straight-up gave me something I was meant to purchase from the establishment in which he worked!!! He was like, "you don't need this whole big bag," and just yoinked it, and said, "put it in your pocket"--holla at a random freebie! If I wasn’t a blacktress, that wouldn’t have happened (No, my boobs weren’t out. I was rocking my nerdy-pining-girl-in-any-80s-teen-movie look of my black glasses and ponytail). I mean, if my black cousins hadn’t made fun of me all my life for talking white, I might have felt like I was at home at an HBCU, too.
Alas, I’m much more at home anywhere that offers bagels at any time of the day.

So, Ralph, as someone who has also suffered a backlash, I salute you for going with your gut, and so clearly and sanely defending your reasoning. My only wish is that you drop that engineering dream and focus on films—someone’s gotta de-throne Tyler Perry, and you don’t seem like one for coonery.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Columbus Wouldn’t Have Wanted it This Way

Hey gang! It feels good to be blogging again. Hell, after my weekend, it feels good to be showered and not reeking of menthol again! Yes, my boofaces (can I call you my boofaces?), I was sick, sick, sickie all weekend. It began Wednesday night with a scratchy throat. I came in to the plantation on Thursday, although I definitely had my fair share of daytime cold medicine. By Friday morning, all bets were fucking off, as I was feverish, every part of me ached, and I wanted nothing more than to sleep, but couldn’t breathe through my nose. My entire weekend was a wash, and I was too mad to have to cancel a hosting gig, miss a great networking opportunity, and generally lose the me-time the weekends allow. Not even the joy of "The Next Karate Kid" and "Sleepwalkers" coming on TV (I didn't have to Netflix them!!!) could brighten my spirits. I spent most of the sunny, warm weekend in my house wearing a turtleneck and sweatpants under the covers and hacking up a lung.

Yes, gross.

Although I wasn’t feeling great, I was definitely better by Sunday night, and vowed to come to work Monday morning. After all, I’d already missed one day, and there was so much to do. We hadn’t gotten Columbus Day off, but a few people would be out, so I could work in relative quiet/not scare anyone off with my mucus. It was, however, a struggle to get up and out, and even the shower water was a shock to my delicate system. I got in to work a bit early, and my self-congratulatory smugness was definitely spilling over into the unoccupied cubicles. I checked my emails and kept looking around—I’d had to unlock the elevator and the gate, but I love being the first one in. It was, however, already after 9 and no one was here. Weird.

Finally, at 9:30, my massa came to my desk. I went to say hello, but the intake of breath resulted in a coughing fit. When it had subsided, he said, “I didn't want to call you at home, but I gave everyone the day off today and said they didn't have to make it PTO [paid time off]".

Let me get this gay: I dragged myself out of bed with my whooping cough to do work, and you gave everyone the day off? And, not only did I deprive myself of much-needed rest, but it could have been avoided if you or anyone else on staff had thought to call or email my ass?????
I can’t take this shit, y’all. Not only have I still not been given the raise I was promised OVER 5 MONTHS AGO, they now don’t even want to put me on the fucking office phone tree????
As fellow freedom writer Scribe put it, “your boss is the cuntiest ass in the history of assholes.”
Her words are like poetry—angry, vulgar, TRUTH poetry.

Y’all, I’m about to snap like a fucking Lifetime movie heroine. With a 9-5 like this, I see why J. Love ended up becoming a prosti-mom!

I’ve been trying to really let go of my rage, but this really was the cherry on the pie of a crap weekend. Do you know Jewboo is so damn dense and selfish that he didn’t even come see a blacktress once while she was bedridden—we haven’t seen each other in 6 days! Homey was like, “Well, if you need something, I’ll come…” Um, what I fucking need is a man who doesn’t have to be shamed into behaving properly. Jewboo is on thin ice. That behavior after 7 months and a key to the pad is just out of fucking order. He’s not dead to me yet, but he’s definitely in a coma and I’m putting his stuff on eBay just in case.

I’m feeling slightly better today, and downing OJ and tea like it’s my job—you know, one that actually pays me.

How y’all doing?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


So, I just got the following press release in my general email account at work. It makes me really angry--not only are we an art magazine (how on earth did we get on this email list?), but they are also willing to go to any lengths to corrupt what was meant to be uplifting and positive messages from public figures. The press release is from "," and does not give the name of an organization or individual other than the first line mention--for a message he/she/they seem so adamant about spreading, why aren't the senders of the press release willing to be held accountable? And notice the repeated use of quotation marks whenever they use the word gay--like such sexual orientation isn't even real.

Okay, read for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Press Release/Statement

DATE: October 6, 2010


“Gay” Lobby Shamelessly Exploits Teen Suicides

Lynchburg, VA – Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel, released the following statement today on the series of recent highly publicized suicides committed by allegedly “gay” identified teenagers:

“Anyone with a heart grieves deeply over these needless suicides. Taking one’s own life is never the right choice. There are thousands of teen suicides each year. Some kids just don’t seem to understand the permanence of it, or how it destroys the lives of those they leave behind.

“We all agree: harassment and bullying of children should always be dealt with immediately and firmly. And if laws are broken, offenders should be prosecuted – period. This is true whether kids are targeted because they’re perceived to be homosexual, conservative, Christian or for any other reason.

“Unfortunately – though not surprisingly – extremist ‘gay’ pressure groups, like the incongruously named ‘Human Rights Campaign,’ Ellen DeGeneres and other liberal activists are shamelessly exploiting these tragedies as a means to achieve their own selfish political ends.

“In a recent statement, Ms. DeGeneres said: ‘There are messages everywhere that validate this sort of bullying and taunting and we need to make it stop. We can't let intolerance and ignorance take another kids life.’

“Indeed, actual bullying and taunting must not be tolerated. But what ‘messages’ is Ms. DeGeneres referring to, and how do ‘we…make [them] stop?’ I’ll translate from liberalese to plain English. What Ellen meant was this: ‘Public defense of God's express, self-evident and unequivocal design for human sexuality must be stopped under force of law. Proponents of the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic are murdering ‘gay’ kids with their words.’

“Not only is this propagandist line of reasoning disingenuous, offensive and Orwellian, it’s utter nonsense.

“Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, took it a step further, directly blaming for these suicides Christians and the Mormon Church. To him, opposition to so-called ‘same-sex marriage,’ and defense of biblical sexual morality are the culprits: ‘Words have consequences,’ said Solmonese, ‘particularly when they come from a faith leader. This is exactly the kind of statement that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide.’

“As Rahm Emanuel famously said: 'You never let a serious crisis go to waste. [I]t's an opportunity to do things you could not do before.' It makes me physically ill to watch as the HRC and other ‘gay’ militants lick their chops and rub their hands together over the tragic suicides of these troubled, sexually confused young men,” continued Barber. “Before they were even laid to rest, the radical homosexual lobby pounced leveraging these suicides to demand that government codify each of their extremist, social engineering demands. This is political exploitation at its slimiest and it pours salt on the wounds of loved ones.

“God’s message to young people struggling with same sex temptation or to those who feel the shame that naturally accompanies sexual sin is that suicide is never the way out. But there is a way out. It comes first through belief in Jesus Christ, and then through confession of sin; finally, repentance. As Jesus said to the repentant sexual sinner at the well, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’

“The families of these precious young people should know that Christians around the country are praying for them and will continue to pray for them in their time of loss. Scripture says ‘blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’

“But Christians are also praying that these wicked and callous political vultures who seek to exploit these suicides become confounded and fail fantastically. Their mission is not one of ‘tolerance’ or ‘diversity.’ Quite the opposite: Their goal is to fan flames of anti-Christian bigotry and discrimination, evangelizing on behalf of their own perverted god: moral relativism. We simply won’t let them get away with it,” concluded Barber.


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Move Over Dr. Seuss...

Y'all, I am on struggle street. I have an uninvited houseguest, and he won't leave.
It has 4 legs, weighs about 10 ounces, and has beady eyes and a little tail. It is grey and sinewy, and it's pooping everywhere.
Yes, gentle readers--I have a mouse.

As you know, the blacktress doesn't do manual labor or nature in any form. This would include all of nature's inhabitants--especially rodents and insects. Now, don’t get me wrong—I think animals are cute and lovable and all part of the ecosystem and whatnot. I would never condone killing an animal for sport.
HOW.EV.ER—once you come into my house, you’re on my turf, and I will pull a George W. Bush and “smoke you out of your holes.”
(Well, actually, I’m putting steel wool in their holes, but you get my point.)
I do not fuck around when it comes to rodents and insects—anything that small doesn’t need all those legs unless it’s doing evil. Mice carried the plague, and who knows what they’re bringing in to my house.

I first found out about this mouse a couple weeks ago, when I came home and turned on the kitchen light to find it scampering across the back of the sink. I immediately flipped out, and bought some glue traps. A few days later, I opened the pantry to get baking ingredients (you know the blacktress likes to wifey it up from time to time) and found the little fucker perched on top of my bag of flour, having himself a grand old time. I immediately closed the door and went out for new supplies.

My mom came over the next day and together we tackled the pantry. This mouse sonofabitch had chewed a hole in the bag of flour, leaving the floor covered in a pile of white powder and mouse poop—it smelled like the dance floor at my favorite gay bar after they turned the house lights on at 4am. Madukes and I filled the two holes with steel wool, and put glue traps in the closet. The next day, sounds of an escape attempt convinced us that we’d gotten the little sucker. Later that night, my mother and I (yes, together—she has raised me to be unable to face any sort of rodent without backup) opened the closet to find….NO MOUSE.
The steel wool was across the floor, and there were tufts of fur on one of the glue traps.
This motherfucker is resourceful as hell.

I feel like, if this smart-ass mouse is gonna be up in my home, all strong and wily enough to extricate himself from the trap, he may as well be put to work. I’ve seen Cinderella. I know what these fuckers can do if they put their minds to it. Make me a fucking ball gown and take over my chores if you’re gonna live rent-free, rodents!!!!

It’s gotten to the point where I’m scared to go in the kitchen when I get home. Last night I tossed and turned, having dreams of Jewboo’s cats living in my house and trying to kill the mice for me. In my nightmare, the cats were ineffective, and I ended up with both mice AND cats running around everywhere. I cannot live like this!!!

Of course, everytime I say to someone “there’s a mouse in my house” they chuckle and make a Dr. Seuss reference. But there’s nothing funny about this situation, people. It’s like this:

There's a mouse in my house.
And it needs to know I'm not fucking around.
There's mouse poop by the can of soup
And I jump every time I hear a sound.
It ate the flour and made my mood sour
I’m going to have to cut this bitch
I can’t make food in the kitchen, this mouse must be trippin
I’m gonna have to turn into the wicked witch.
Snap traps are inhumane, but glue traps are insane
I wonder if God is putting my “strong black woman” label to the test
I’m about to borrow my man’s cats just so they’ll kill these rats
But getting them from Brooklyn to Harlem will be a hot mess.

(h/t to This Guy)

So, yeah, anyway, that’s what’s going on with the blacktress today. I am way behind on “Sister Wives” as it comes on the same time as Mad Men, and I must forgo reality trash for classy television from time to time. Don’t worry, though—that’s what the internet is for. I’ll be live-blogging soon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Being a Blacktress is NSFW!

Oh god, this week is flying by, guys! I’ve been so swamped with work that I almost forgot to tell you the story of the cray-cray married guy who was all up in my George Foreman during the office trip. Let me start from the beginning…

So, from Tuesday, 9/21 through Monday, 9/27, I was in Laguna Beach, California, for work. We were hosting a 4-day art workshop and conference, where members of Caucasia who love pictures of fruit in bowls, sunlit landscapes, and portraits of fair maidens could learn from today’s top artists and network.

You may be thinking, “You got to go to California for a week, Sojourner?! You’re one lucky blacktress!” I thought the same thing when I walked into my swanky hotel room with its king-sized bed, flat-screen tv, and private deck. As I walked the grounds of the hotel and noted the two pools, two Jacuzzis, and spa on site, I thought my reparations had finally arrived!

Alas, I would have very little opportunity to take advantage of these amenities, as wearing my “EDITOR” badge made me a walking information booth to any and all passersby, and I had to cover as many workshops, lectures, and demonstrations as possible in hopes of getting content for future articles. Of course, that’s what they pay me for, so it wasn’t a problem. It was, however, a bit boring, as each artist’s work began to look the same, and after the first day, I’d stretched the limits of polite office-acquaintance conversation.

So, when I met the G---, the AV director who was shooting the weekend’s happenings, I was eager to have a conversation with a human who wasn’t looking to hustle some magazine coverage and who I didn’t sit in a tiny hovel with 40 hours a week. We met Friday afternoon by the pool during a break, and the fact that he was a tall bearded ginger immediately endeared him to me (You know I love me a pasty pale redhead). We mostly chatted about who’s office was more bootleg, and I told him a bit about moonlighting in comedy. He was nice and funny, and his wedding ring, coupled with my Jewboo, made the lines very clear to me. I made him show me pics of his son and asked him about his wife—pregnant with twins! It was very PG.

It reminded me of making a friend at summer camp—you know how you meet someone under specific circumstances, and you become friends in that world? There’s the instant bond and you’re vibing on everything, and you’re just so desperate for human connection that you're willing to overlook the fact that he was googling your name and talking about you to other people because you don’t want it to get awkward?
Yeah, just like camp.

When a coworker came up to me later that night and said, “Someone’s got a crush on you…” I laughed it off--but I was a bit shocked by the news of being Googled (I wondered what that tingling was below my belt earlier). G----- and I had hugged goodnight, with me calling him a “big ginger bear of a man.”
There is nothing sexy about that phraseology whatsoever.

So you can imagine my surprise when, after seeing if he wanted to meet for lunch by the pool the next day, he responded with, “Not sure when I’m done, but you by the pool would be fun.”
Is it just me, or does that read a little sexy-like? I shook it off, but could deny it no longer when I showed up to his room before the evening event and he said, “Stand-up, man… that seems like the hardest job in the world…i think you'”
What?! A married 40-year-old man just told me I was sexy in a hotel room. I felt like I was in a scene from Mad Men. I laughed it off, pointing out the neediness inherent in anyone who chooses to make a career out of standing in front of people and asking them to laugh. He complimented me on my red dress (it was a silent auction and closing event—you know I had to bring it for the paparazzi), and I skidaddled. It felt icky, but I didn’t know what to say because nothing was explicit, you know?

Later that night, I left the after party after 5 minutes (With a week of schmoozing, I made it a point to pace myself when it came to the schmoozing), and received a text from G------ shortly thereafter. Any attempts to shake it off were immediately dashed when I read:
“I think you’re sweet. I really dig being around you. Til next time…”

Of course, there’s nothing sketchy about thinking someone’s “sweet” (and it’s the last way I’d describe myself), but for someone I’d known all of 30 hours, simply “being around me” had moved him, and I was squirming in my ridiculously large king-sized bed.
He was leaving the next day—thank goodness!—and I wrote back, “have a safe flight!” and he wrote:

“I’ll see you on gchat, although it’ll pale in comparison to the real thing….”

My god, did I turn him out, y’all?! He’s trippin’ like I’m his first blacktress! Of course, my long-time readers will know this situation is nothing new. But now that I’m Jewboo’ed up, in a REALationship that’s on the up and up, I just feel icky and gross. And I also kind of detest the male gender. You are fucking 40, with a tiny tot and twins on the way, and you’re telling a blacktress she’s sexy??? In the words of Whitney…… I swear, if Jewboo did some shit like that, he’d end up having a second bris!

What say you, gentle readers? Were his texts all harmless? Should he be ashamed of himself? At the very least, does he need to take a look at his marriage and get Dr. Phil on the horn?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As If There Wasn't Enough Distraction on the Internet....

Hey there Blossoms and Joeys,

Sorry for the time lapse. I was in California for work for a whole week, and, although there were definitely ample blog opportunities, I was just too spent. Luckily, I'm back on the plantation, and the need for procrastination has rekindled my bloggery. Before I go into a Twilight saga about uber-Christians, married dudes hot for a blacktress (I've still got it!), and creative power couples in California, let me just whet the appetite with a little tidbit brought to my attention by fellow freedom writer The Persion Excursion.

Remember those paper dolls you got out of books when you were a little tyke that came with clothes you could cut out and apply to them? Yeah, I hate them, because the paper clothes never stayed on, and the doll always ripped. Anyhoozle, turns out the internet's going retro, and there's an entire site devoted to paper dolls--Paper Doll Heaven. You can dress up all sorts of dolls, ranging from celebrities to creepy Anime types.
Barf in my mouth.

That's not even the exciting part, Smurfs and Smurfettes--Paper Doll Heaven has gone historical, and allows you to dress none other than Black Civil Rights pioneer ROSA PARKS.

I kid you not. Look:
If you'd like to dress up Rosa, have a go!

I don't know if this was the kind of equality Rosa was looking for when she sat her weary bones down, y'all. Is this what we wanted when we were chanting "Yes We Can"? Well, hey, at least it gives little Negresses a sense that a Civil Rights hero can yield hours of computer-based funtime AND lift of the race! Speaking of--with all the clothing and accessories options, why isn't one of them a conductor's outfit?! Clearly, Paper Doll NIGHTMARE needs a blacktress on the design team.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm a Bad-Ass Shiksa Dipped in Chocolate Sauce!*

(*courtesy of my she-ro, Aisha Tyler)

Hey Friends,

I’m back from my latest voyage INSIDE CAUCASIA: Judaism Addition. Starvation actually went pretty well, and things with me and the Jewboo are all good. In fact, yesterday, at approximately 1:41pm, Jewboo and I took our relationship to the next level—it’s on facebook! Yes, y’all. The world knows—including randoms I met abroad, my cousins I don’t like to talk to, and my former camper at the 92nd Street Y who we affectionately referred to as “Hanna Banana.”

I know this isn’t a big deal in today’s world we’re living in, but I’ve never had the confidence—or the closeness—in a relationship to go public. I never wanted it out there because, you know, just in case we broke up, I could do it without embarrassing myself in front of the whole world. But, you know, after the second visit to the parents’ house (in which I didn’t end up hospitalized—yay!), after fasting for a day out of solidarity, I realized that no sort of pill will get rid of this jungle fever!!!
Oh, and some little tramp was trippin’ and I had to let her know what was up.
Let me explain.
So, Jewboo and I are sitting and breakfast and his mom and dad are around. I told them how he’d changed his profile pic the night before to one of the shots we took after dinner. He then casually goes, “It’s good because now it’ll keep randoms from messaging me.”
“What random?” I said, like a Tyler Perry character trying desperately to reign it in. I know his parents are down with the brown (dad even saw me in my head wrap!), but they may not be ready for some attitude.
“Some girl emailed me after a show.”
Apparently, this happened a week or so ago and he didn’t want to tell me “because I knew you’d freak out.”
Fair enough
“Did you write her back?” I said calmly and sanely.
“Yeah. I didn’t say anything, though.”
We head upstairs to get ready and I let my hair down, so to speak. I wasn’t really angry, but I just needed to know the details so my mind didn’t blow it out of proportion.
First of all, the girl was a tiny Jewess who does comedy (my rival!) and when I saw her email (“Hey, You were really funny last night,” blah blah blah I AM A TRAMP”) in the words of Whitney, I was like, “HELL TO THE NO!”
With him right next to me, I changed my status, cause clearly these girls need to know what’s up. I’m up in suburbia fasting and cracking up the guests with Matisyahu jokes, and trying my best to entertain his monosyllabic cousins—to quote one of the greatest R&B songs of our time, “The Boy is Mine.”

Of course, immediately after changing the status, I worried that I pressured him into it, and had to really make sure I wasn’t acting out of fear or manipulation. I realized I wasn’t, but was worried that finally going public after a good 6-month run would be the kiss of death –you know, like when Marisa Tomei won the supporting actress Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny” and then couldn’t get a job for, like, a decade.

Anyway, things are really good, and I think fasting—although his parents insisted it was not necessary—put me further in everyone’s good graces. I met a lot of people, and it was very strange to be introduced as “my girlfriend,” but, then again, I’m not used to anything remotely normal, so this isn’t surprising. His dad actually said, at dinner, “it’s no secret that we’ve loved you from day one, but we were so glad everyone had a chance to meet you.”

Some fun facts I learned during this latest inside trip inside Caucasia :

  1. A large dinner of pasta AND a full-sized cupcake won’t do anything to ward off hunger pains the next day. Fasting is fasting, and food doesn’t work like rollover minutes.
  2. It doesn’t count as breaking the fast if I take my birth control pill and antidepressant. a. The fact that these are my daily necessities is kind of sad.
  3. Sitting in synagogue with an empty stomach is a recipe for inappropriate napping. When you’re a black shiksa, you’ve already got 2 strikes and need to stop the eyelids from drooping!
  4. Apparently a strong Jewish woman and a strong black woman are very similar. Jewboo’s mom and I like all the same television shows. A chat about True Blood led to her lending me the entire series of Sookie Stackhouse novels. You know you’re in it for real when mom is giving you literature.
  5. Whitefish salad on a bagel is DELICIOUS (who knew?!)
  6. Black people still make some White people uncomfortable. (Some folks were not ready for a blacktress up in the synagogue! They hid it fairly well--except for the kid who pointed at me and whispered to his dad during the service)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Greatest Antoine Pic EVER

In between carbo-loading and hydrating last night (gotta prepare for YK2K10!) I came online and saw a link from my girl Scribe, who now exclusively associates me with Antoine Dodson. Homey's on USWeekly's website, talking about the new home he and his family moved into with the help of his iTunes earnings!

I am obsessed with this pose--they look like an early-90s R&B duo. Antoine's got the hips of a 13-year-old Korean gymnast. What is his sister doing with that hair? I bet Antoine braided it, too--he should have known better!

(You can read the entire piece here.)

[Sidebar: Do you even think the Huntsville, Alabama, police are still looking for this rapist? I'm surprised he hasn't come forward and tried to get a cut of the family's earnings. After all, if he'd never tried to get in there, we wouldn't have the Bed Intruder hit we have now.]

Antoine's fierce, but he's more than just a flash in the pan, y'all. In the article he says he plans to return to school. "I signed up to finish my Associate's Degree in business," he says. "That way I can take everything to the next level and be on a more professional level."

His ultimate goal? To "open a salon," he tells Us. "Or a hotel."

I would check into that hotel in a hot second, and I'd have him touching up my roots once a week. Even though Kelly's head is a hot mess, do you see how deep-conditioned his strands look?!