Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What a Difference a Gay Makes

Hey friends,

I come to you tonight blogging about an ice cream cone I had today.
Yes, an ice cream cone.
An ice cream cone so delicious, so decadent, so... fierce, that I have to share it with you all.

I got word that the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck was parking near the plantation today, and I made it my job (you know, one I like) to be there. I'd never been to the truck, but I'd heard and read about it. I figured with the right to marry, the New York truck would be in top form.

The Big Gay Ice Cream Twitter verified their location (just 4 blocks from me), and said "something's going to happen" at around 3pm. I disregarded that--although I secretly hoped it would be a free ice cream giveaway. When I got there at 2:50, the line was surprisingly short and moved relatively quickly. About 10 minutes into my wait, a tall man in sunglasses, followed by three cameramen, walked up and took a spot at the back of the line.

My first thought was, "this must be some sort of ice cream flash mob." Clearly I don't really know what a flash mob entails.

When I got up to the front, I was immediately overly familiar (natch), assuming that, as a young, gay, ice-cream-making entrepreneur, Doug Quint already understands that he's my spirit animal and remembers me from a previous life.

"What's with the paps?" I asked regarding the cameramen. "I feel like Suri Cruise!"
I don't know why I said that. Gay visionaries make me nervous.

After perusing the menu (who are we kidding? I memorized the menu on the website before I rolled up), I chose the Monday Sundae. Guys, let me break this ice cream cone down for you:
1. You take a waffle cone and line it with Nutella.
2. Inside this Nutella-lined cone, you squeeze in some chocolate-vanilla-swirl soft serve. (you know even my desserts are interracial!)
3. You then top this swirl with ribbons of dulce de leche.
4. Then, to be really classy, you sprinkle just a hint of sea salt on top of that.
5. AND THEN apply a whipped cream halo. [get your mind out of the gutter!]

I think you need a visual:
And, if you're a real glutton like me, you ask for graham cracker crumbles on top.

In my defense, I'm not a fan of dulce de leche, so I asked if I could substitute for grahams.
"Mmmmmm....no," said Doug after a moment's pause. "How about you have it the way it's made and I'll put graham cracker crumbs on top?"
I know better than to argue with an elite gay visionary. And I'm so glad I didn't--that dulce de leche was the shizz. I'm officially calling it dulce de lechheeeeeyyyyyy !!!!

I try to hang back and see what the cameras are about to catch. Turns out the "tall guy in sunglasses" was none other than top chef, TV star, author, and food critic/writer Anthony Bourdain.

Now, I don't have much time for the Travel Channel (unless someone gets a mysterious disease while dining in the Congo), so I'm not hip enough to recognize Bourdain in person. I will say, however, that I'm his new #1 fan. Bourdain got to the back of the line and waited just as patiently as everyone else. And when he got up to the front, he ordered The Salty Pimp.
Yep, The Salty Pimp.
Gotta love the BGICT and Bourdain's style. Tony's a real salt(y pimp) of the earth, a good egg--probably poached with a drizzle of hollandaise, I'd imagine.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Don't Even Know What This Post Is About

I’m so damn tired, I feel like a shell of myself. I’d love to write a lengthy post about my latest obsession, but I just don’t have my usual joie de vivre. I’m worried I’m slipping into a depression, as evidenced by the fact that I spent time looking through my facebook friends to see who was married or engaged. I don’t look at the wedding photos (feels a bit too Rear Window for my taste), but as I sit at my computer, wasting time by focusing on other people’s lives and seeming bliss, I also start asking myself things like, “how do they do it?” and “why is my existence a sham?”

See above, re: depressed. I think a humorous comedian—and a true gay visionary—is in order.

I will, of course, share in the excitement over the legalization of gay marriage in New York City. I have been prepared for this day for quite a while, and have already sent my main gays a list of songs I am prepared to sing at their nuptials. For those who I was unable to text, please review the choices below.

At Last, by Etta James
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, by Judy Garland
Love Game, by Lady Gaga
The Boy is Mine, by Brandy & Monica (note: will not be sung as a duet)
Anything by Ben Lerman

In other news: I just got a glorious hand-written letter from a subscriber to the mag I work for. Please see the excerpt below:

"This issue was a let-down from start to finish. ... All I can say about this issue is that it made me feel nauseated. How spiritually depressing can you get? .... I finally got to the portrait. This was the crowning blow. This painting really takes the cake for horror image of the century. Again, dark and heavy, and that one distorted, wet-looking eye made it even more scary."

She closed the letter with her web address and attached a business card. As much as I'd love to link you up, I can't let a woman named Esther get me fired. If you email me at madblacktress (see top right), I'll send you a link.

This is almost as good as the psycho who emailed last week about a link to a free download:

Would someone care to send me the link for the "free" tips? Or is this a scam since the only links here lead to a "buy a subscription form" which gives you the first issue for free provided you can cancel in time.

I don't play these bullshit games. Give me the damned link directly.

No, I will not go away. Yes, I will be a pain about this. These are money games that I detest. If it's something free you want to give to people, damn well give it to them, don't play these damned games. The only way you're going to get me to stop bothering you is to give me the link to the "free" product.

HOLY SHIT. How can you get this angry over some painting instruction? Guys, if I fall off the blogsphere for more than a week, send out the dogs--one of these crazy artist bitches has me in their basement and is using my skin to extinguish cigarettes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Greatest News Ever

Praise Black Jesus--There's a new black genius!

I am very excited about this genius teen--and she was homeschooled by a single father, no less. I hope she enjoys her education and opportunities before Tyler Perry tries to buy the rights to her life. She speaks Swahili, Arabic, and Spanish. Y'all--this girl is the future of our country.

I really want to be her big sister. I could teach her what to look out for in Connecticut and discuss June Jordan while we make s'mores on the stovetop.

I think my favorite part is the dad's comment on raising a genius, which the reporter uses as her closer (good work, Tanyanika):

"She tries to outthink me all the time," he laughed. "She's quick with it. You have to be sharp. She has me drinking ginkgo on the regular."

I'm about to get over to GNC right now!

Happy Friday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who's the Boss?

I recently went to a work event to kick off a weekend of mag-sponsored activities--yay? Massa is quite excited, because he'll get to hold court among the artists of the day. Although he puts on a great show (he is, after all, a former drag queen), I will always know him as the man who looked me square in the eye yesterday and said the following:

“I tell you, if I liked Asian boys, I’d be done! They were so into me this weekend. I was out dancing with my friends and every time I turned around there was a little geisha boy. I was like, 'Back up, honey, I'm just here to dance.' Those Asian boys never give up; it’s a part of their culture—trust me, I was an international student advisor at [school he taught at]. Think about it: there's so much bureaucracy in their governments that 'no' just means 'try harder.' Those boys don’t hear ‘no.’ One boy said [in mock Asian accent], ‘You old, but you nice.’ Maybe I should get that tattooed on my chest: old but nice.”

Um, how about "Old but cray"?

Show of Shows

Hey internet friends!

As you know, I spent the weekend celebrating my new lease on life, and already had two stand-up shows booked for the weekend. I’m gonna skip the first and go right into the Saturday night show because I only did it so that I could share it with you via blod.

Remember that awesomely random burlesque show I did a couple months back? Well, the blacktress was so well received that I was asked to do the next one. As you know, that show was out of control on many levels. Knowing what I was in for this time around, I replied with a resounding YES—simply for the blog fodder it would provide. As you also know, child (WH)actor Haley Joel Osment is a huge influence on me, and like him, my primary goal is always to pay it forward.

Saturday’s show wasn’t exactly like the first one. First of all, instead of taking place in Lydia's apartment, it took place in a yoga studio (step up #1?). The rope-bondage guy was working the sangria table, and there were 10 folding chairs, a futon (covered in green satin fabric, no less), and faux-ethnic Pier 1 Imports pillows for sitting.

Nope, no need to adjust your specs; you read it right—15-25 people paid $12 in advance, $15 at the door to watch a 'burlesque' show in a yoga studio. I showed up just 10 minutes before the advertised start time, knowing what awkward sitting around I’d have to do, and I was still 40 minutes early.

That’s right, folks—show started damn near 35 minutes late.

I feel like I can't do the insanity of the evening any justice. This time, knowing I'd need someone to corroborate my story, I invited my friend Dana to come with me (don't worry, I'm not the worst friend--I got her in for free). I told her it would be cray, but I don't think she was prepared, and unfortunately I had to "stay backstage" (ie: in the smaller studio adjacent to the "show area") for much of it, leaving her to watch and fend for herself. Below is her retelling of the summer-themed burlesque show--it captures every moment with the innocence, honesty, and freshness of a child.

[To give you a bit of background (and because I wish you could hear her tentative, sweet voice as she tries to stay positive): Dana is soft-spoken, new to New York City, and a musician--dance and comedy isn't exactly her wheelhouse.]

"I was actually really excited, because I'd never really seen burlesque. But then, it was really odd.....wait, what was the first act?

Oh, yeah, that girl singing 'Summertime' in her piercing soprano voice. That was so strange, because I thought she was going to do a dance at first ... because nothing was happening and she was just standing there waiting for the iTunes instrumental track.

[I interject, reminding her of the summer theme, and suggesting it as the reason behind the musical number.]

"Oh, it was supposed to be all about summer? I guess it makes more sense now. .... I don't even know how to describe it.

"You missed the hula part, which was really, really weird. It was the girl whose show it was, right? She was wearing a long ankle-length dress with a really busy pattern, which was weird for hula. she kept doing all of these weird crouching moves and it was ... long ... that song was just so long. I don't know, I can't describe it....

"There were so many issues. Like, how could you not lip sync properly? Granted, I've never tried to take my clothes off at the same time as lip syncing, but you invited all your friends over and made them pay to watch you lip sync and you can't get that part right? That's not right.

"And that one that got completely naked--the girl at the end--she got out of the geisha robe, then put on a vinyl dress, but she got herself so oily in between that she couldn't zip the second one up, so it was just even more awkward.

[I interject yet again--I thought the zipper broke?]
"No, I think she was oily.

"Then that girl who did the burlesque to that song from The Little Mermaid--it was funny cause she was trying to make it kinda raunchy. Like...i don't know. It was actually one of the better ones, though.

"The whole thing was incredibly uncomfortable, when the emcee--Starshine? Is that her real name?--when she came out. That was pretty bad. And I do this thing that I get from my mom--like, when I'm watching a live performance that makes me uncomfortable, I make an encouraging face, which isn't really encouraging as much as weird. And I just did that the whole time she was on.

"The guy next to me was talking to me--he was shy and awkward and weird, but nice--I think because he was by himself. He kept asking me who I knew, and I said I was friends with the comedian, and he thought that I meant Starshine and looked so offended. Then I corrected him and after your set, he was like, 'Oh, your friend's funny.'

"I don't know. It was kinda like a talent show you'd do with your friends in your parents' basement, but adult."

Nothing in the above synopsis is made up--doesn't Dana just seem shaken by the whole thing, still reeling when prompted to discuss two days later? All of the aforementioned performance pieces took place. The only consolation was that this time, show producer Lydia only did two numbers--the hula and a cowboy-themed burlesque--leaving "the workers" to fend for themselves this month.

However, seeing a buck naked hairless woman's vagina was not what I signed up for, and it took the insanity into a different stratosphere. As this unnamed woman bent over coyly, exposing her birth canal, all I could do to keep calm was remind myself that after my set, this woman had told me I was "hilarious." She couldn't be totally mentally ill, as she clearly has good taste in comedy. But I just don't think I was supposed to see her cervix.

Friday, June 17, 2011

There Will Be Blood Tests

Hey gang,

Sorry for the lack of posting, but trust me, I've got a good excuse: In the last week, I’ve had 9 vials of blood drawn. The medical mystery continues. I am weary and worried.
On Monday I got a call from the pituitary doctor, and almost lost it.

Yes, a call from the doctor himself. Guys, nothing will make your heart beat faster than an African drum quite like a personal phone call from a medical professional—especially when that professional sounds awkward and tentative.

“Hi Sojourner, it’s Dr. Cira.”
“What’s wrong?”
“So, I got the results of your endocrine bloodwork and your pituitary seems to be fine. That mass of cells isn’t doing anything harmful.”
“Okay….why are you calling me?”
“There were some other results in your tests that we wanted to share with you.”
“What’s wrong?”
“Your blood counts are very low—and it could be nothing, it does fluctuate from day to day—but I’d like you to go back to your regular doctor for further testing.”
“What about the [mumbling, cause I’m at my desk] test? I checked that box on the form. Did you get those results?”
“What? I’m not clear on what you’re saying.”
[I jump up and walk to the elevator.]
“The HIV test!”
“Oh, I haven’t gotten those results back.”
“Why not?”
“I don’t know.”

Guys, it’s never good when a doctor says “I don’t know.” Never good at all. Especially when they call you personally to tell you what they don’t know.

I went in to my regular doc the next day (I’m not fucking around, y’all; we gotta get answers ASAP), and she reviewed the results. She’s a really awesome young Asian woman, and since her last name is Cho, I sometimes call her Margaret when she’s being sassy.
I only met her a month ago, but seeing as we’ve been through so much already, I feel we’re at the nickname level.

Margaret informed me that it’s “quite common for African Americans to have lower white counts, and doesn’t mean something’s wrong.”

Wait, so what you’re telling me is that because I’m black I have fewer white blood cells? Is there a “Blacks Only” sign hanging somewhere in my blood vessels?

Because of the other immune-system cell counts, more blood was drawn. The lab technician was a really attractive, hip young dude who wore a flannel shirt and had a forearm tattoo. When he called me into the office, I was really confused and wary. “Um, you called my name? What’s up?”
He explained that he’d be taking the blood, and the first words out of my mouth were, “No you’re not. You’re going to go model for the next Urban Outfitters catalogue.”

I don’t know. It was the fear talking.

Up until now, I’ve kept my mom in the dark because I didn’t want to worry her. But now that it seems we’ve got no answers, I had to let my ICE contact know what’s up. When I told her about the tests, her first response:
“Did you take an HIV test?”
What on earth?! My own mother thinks I have the HIV? What kind of supportive, vote of confidence is that?! The woman hears one joke about wintercourse and suddenly I’m one of the leads in

When I called her out for her "helpful suggestion," she goes she says, “Well, maybe you just have
Um, thanks.
“It’s not fatal,” she says defensively.

So, with visions of terminal illness dancing in my head, I’ve been sleepless for days. Add to that the high quanitities of blood being taken, I’m practically a zombie. I’d kept Jewboo in the dark—well, not in the dark—more like, in a naturally lit room with the shades drawn. When I told him last night about my low blood counts, his eyes widened.

“I don’t have HIV.” I said.
He sighed in relief.
It’s funny how a near-death experience brings the truth out. Apparently everyone thinks I’m an unprotected-sex-having, intravenous-drug-using hot mess of a blacktress. At best, they’re all dramatic hypochondriacs who I can’t lean on in a time of crisis. Either way, I’m on my own.

*******Holy shit, this just in!!!*******
As I was writing this post, I got an email from the doc with my test results!!!

Your blood count and other tests are within the normal range indicating that there is no laboratory evidence of infection. Your HIV test is negative. When you review the results, you might notice some minor abnormalities that I have not mentioned, but please be assured that they are not clinically significant.

I’m gonna live, y’all!

This is the best day ever! I have a new lease on life! When I told my boss why I’d been all over the place, he goes, “Oh, I’ve been there. I wasn’t do anything those other boys weren’t doing those days. I know this is gross, but you know, I think the only way I beat the epidemic is that I was a top.”

Yes. That was said to me by the man who signs my checks.
Happy Friday, y’all!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Birthdays in the D

As I got ready for bed last night, I found myself oddly excited that Addams Family Values was available On Demand. I loved the movie when I was little—particularly the racism at summer camp** (even as a youth, I loved when people spoke truth)—but I haven’t thought about it in years. Why the sudden hankering for the story of a twisted family of sadistic masochists in a decaying house?

Oh, right—I just got back from a visit to Detroit. Duh.

Thursday, June 9th, marked the 95th birthday of G-unit—the only reason “the D” is worth going to. Good times were had, y'all. Ain't no party like a 95th-birthday party, cause a 95th-birthday party ENDS EARLY AND HAS SALT-FREE FOODS.

G-unit was in top Gangsta form, calling everyone a “dirty dog,” and hurling insults like she was on The Bad Girls Club*. When I showed her my new business cards with my headshot on them, her response was, “That ain’t you. That’s too pretty to be you.”

Although my cousin thought it was pretty harsh (G-unit’s best insults are usually in front of an audience), I can’t fault a woman who’s been around as long as she has. She’s seen things and she has been hardened.

Guys, let’s think about this. G-unit was born 95 years ago—in 1916. She was the grandchild of slaves. She’s been retired for 33 years. Let’s look at just a bit of what Grandma has witnessed over the last 95 years:

1916: WWI in full swing when Granny was born.
1918: Woody Woo (that’s what I call Woodrow Wilson) was ready to end this thing, like Bruce Willis in any movie he’s ever in. Prior to the war’s end in November, Woody could often be heard in his room in the White House chanting, “down, down, down, Kaiser’s going down.”
1939-1945: WWII
1950-1953: Korean War
1960-1975: Vietnam War
1961: Bay of Pigs
1976: Steve Wozniak designs the first Apple computer
1977: Kanye West born
1981: Princess Diana weds Prince Charles
1989: US Invasion of Panama
1990-1991: Persian Gulf
1995-1996: Intervention in former Yugoslavia
2001: Invasion of Afghanistan
2001: Apple’s first iPod released
2001: A movie called Pootie Tang is released.
2003: Invasion of Iraq
2004: The Facebook—a “social networking site” that allows you to “re-connect” with people you haven’t seen or spoken to in years, as well as people you’ve only met once—debuts.
2004: Kanye West’s first album drops
2006: Twitter debuts
2008: The first black president is inaugurated
2008: The word “sexting” becomes part of everyday speech.
2010: Apple invents the iPad
2010: Kanye West joins Twitter
2011: Prince William, Diana’s son, weds Kate Middleton
2011: A US Congressman is embroiled in what the media refers to as a “sexting scandal.”

Can you imagine standing in lines for WW2 rations and then living to see your grandchildren walk in the house, watching a movie in the PALM OF THEIR HAND??? When I told G-unit about the wedding Jewboo and I went to, she said, “pull of the pictures on the Facebook!” My brain almost exploded at this statement. Grandma used to pick cotton as a child! The goal was to collect 2 lbs each day, and the trick was to get up really early, then the cotton was still wet with dew, so that it weighed heavier than it actually was. HOW CAN YOU KNOW THAT AND KNOW ABOUT FACEBOOK?????

I am in awe of her existence.

When I got to the D, the words of T-Baby rang in my ears. I left the 98-degree city of New York and landed in the cold, rainy, Detroit airport, so improperly attired that I had to wait for my ride in the vestibule.
It was indeed so cold in the D.

While in the D, I made the acquaintance of a 9-year-old boy named Chancellor.
That is not a name. That is an occupation.
My visit to the D was brief, perhaps—dare I say it—too brief. I didn’t have any time to eat any of my favorite trans-fatty foods, check out the latest fashions at the local malls, or visit the Target. I also only got a taste of the family’s latest madness, but I did learn that my cousin is already working on another hood tale (he’s quite prolific), and my aunt stole my other aunt’s identity.
Just another day in the D!

*A reality show on Oxygen—television for women (who have no self respect.)

One of my favorite scenes:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Going With What Works

Hey guys,

It was 95 degrees in New York City today and I feel like I’ve just been through some sort of Sisyphus-like trial. All I was actually doing was existing, walking upwards of 4 blocks at a time, and trying not to be hideous. I’m finally home, showered, and wanting to distract myself from the heat and tomorrow’s next doctor’s appointment. Suddenly, I remembered a long lost love that I’d neglected—16 & Pregnant. I know there’s a teen mom out there struggling with a deadbeat dad, getting rid of her stretchmarks, and passing algebra who will help me get some perspective. Thank god for ON DEMAND—I’m gonna check out my options. Hopefully there’s a twang-filled Southern girl—she’ll understand what it’s like to live in this heat.

Oh my god, her name is Cleondra!
She’s a pretty biracial Mississippi girl with 4 siblings! They’re like the Smollett family.

Do you remember them? They had their own tv show, for, like, a second. All their names start with J. Journee is the only one who's made a name for herself.

Her sis--named ZERICA --is a teen mom, too. Legacy!!!! It’s like getting into a good university, only much sadder.

Cleondra’s bf is Mario—a garage-working caramel fellow who lives right across the street from her! That’s so Clarissa & Sam.

Um, why wasn't this teenage boy, with ranging hormones and uncontrollable urges stopped from climbing up a ladder into a pubescent girl's bedroom? Man, life was different before Facebook.

I love the staged conversation where they have the couple talking about what it was like to find out they were pregnant while doing something “everyday”. They’re walking down the street—in the middle of the street, that is—and discussing their fate.
Her sister’s daughter is named Zyra—are they trying to build a family or a troupe of drag queens???


White mom Dixie sits with Cleondra on the bed, talking about pregnancy. Mom isn’t amped to have a second teen mom, obvs. “I got the whole big box of condoms…you say your heart sank? My heart sank.”
Apparently, she agreed to have an abortion, but being underage, they’d need parental consent, and Mario just couldn’t do that.
I don't understand.

Rob—Cleondra’s mom’s (black) boyfriend. He’s got a salt-and-pepper goatee and wears a silver chain. There is nothing more to say.

Over a family game of cards, brother Jerome tells her how disappointed he is. Damn, all these folks just sit around slurring—I can barely distinguish the insults from the requests for food!

“Not being able to dance on the dance team this year, sucks. I don’t get to see my friends as much.” Um, I think you’re going to have to let go of the Stomping the Yard and forget trying to Step Up 2 Da Streets—the only thing you need to Step Up to is motherhood.
She’s hanging with her dance team friends—these girls don’t look like they've got rhythm, but I'll allow it.

"Mario feels really guilty about getting me pregnant. He even decided not to go to the army and got a full-time job at a tire shop.”

Okay, is there a Teen Mom checklist for baby daddies? When they agree to do the show, do they have to sign both a waiver and a contract agreeing to be a cliché?

Mario plans to fix up his house so that they can live together—cause apparently Cleondra’s house is “chaotic” (um, with 12 people running around with names like Zerica and Zyra, I don’t need much convincing).

Barbecue at Mario’s house! His dad, Billy, chats with his son: “I want my grandbaby to grow up in something normal, no craziness, no chaos.” Mario agrees!

Cleondra sits in the library with friends. “How long are you going to take off school?” the token black one asks.
“Probably two weeks, then we have Christmas vacation, then I’ll come back in January.”

Let’s get this gay: She’s going to take off a month after getting pregnant and then get back to the books? I love how “I have a crib in my house, Mario has a crib in his house”—um, you've turned your baby into a nomad fresh from the womb?

11:21 – 33 Weeks Pregnant
Cleondra breaks it down: “Mario lives across the street with his dad, and his mom is around the corner. He’d rather go there than have dinner at my house.”

Mario’s mom, Maria (natch), is very West Side Story—bright purple halter top, tons of makeup, and though I can’t see it, I’m sure she’s wearing espadrilles while sitting on her couch.

First words out of her mouth: “I will not be called grandma. You have to choose between Nona, Gigi, or Yaya.” None of these are her name. Yaya is a common Greek word for grandmother, but they’re Latin and in Mississippi. I’m lost.

They discuss baby names: Maria likes “Twilight,”—who is this woman?!—and Cleondra is super annoyed. She doesn’t even want to discuss baby names. Her attitude toward Maria is so obvious.

Back at home, Mario calls her out for her attitude.
[Between their southern drawls and Cleondra’s refusal to open her mouth when she talks, I’m missing a lot of the convo.]

11:24 – Baby Shower!!
I love the bootleg showers thrown by high-school students!
They are playing a game where various condiments are placed in diapers and guests have to smell them and guess what it is.
But there are a lot of people, even her main gay, Levonté (yes, Levonte. I can’t make this shit up. I wish I could.)
Mario sits with his pasty pal Myles in the tire shop.
Mario: “You’re 20, I’m 19—we’re the two youngest guys in the shop. And you got a baby and another on the way, and I got one on the way. That’s crazy.”
Yes, yes it is.
Apparently, Cleondra’s bedroom/private space is a “tent she got for her birthday, but if I say something, she’ll cry about it for 10 days. She’s all pregnant and hormonal. “

They’ve decided a name! It’s going to be…..
Kylee Sue.
[Even the graphics show it in small font, it’s so bad]

Um, I don’t know how to cope with this. I guess it’s a step up from Zyrtec, or whatever they’re naming themselves in the family, but still.


[I love watching this without commercials]
“My mom’s too squeamish to stay in the delivery room, but Mario and Alexis [dance friend] are staying with me.”
Um, what kind of hot mess is it when your mother--who has clearly birthed upwards of 5 children—won’t stay in the delivery room because it’s unsightly? Clearly, everyone lacks the mothering skills in this house.


Birth is relatively quick and drama-free! (I mean, 6 hours of pain, but at least no one went into shock or V-fib)
Mario goes outside and hugs all of his homeys—he’s even got some tears! So tender!

Mom comes in the room, trying to get all parental when she couldn’t even let her daughter squeeze her hand during delivery. Dixie fail!


First night home—having the “whose house are we staying in?” fight. She’s tired and probably still vag-sore, and wants her bed. Mario’s also tired and wants his bed. He left to go home.

And this is why teen moms can’t have nice things.

Cleondra’s voice over: “Mario’s never here, but my Mom and Rob [her boyfriend] are helping me out, and Zerica is home to take care of Zyra.”

(Oh god, watching the sister “comb” her biracial child’s hair is a bit painful, but damn if those pigtails don’t look cute once she’s finished.)

Mario and his mom (who is wearing a sheer lace top at her kitchen table with her son) talk about why he won’t stay over there. “I don’t want Kylee Sue around Zerica and Jerome at all. I don’t even want them around the child… if she won’t move in, this isn’t going to work.”

Don’t you think that the whole “I think your family’s sketchy and fucked up” conversation should have happened way before they were knockin’ boots?

11:35- 2 Weeks Old

“Taking care of Kylie consumes every minute of the day, and Mario’s at work all day. I can’t miss any of my midterms if I want to graduate.” So she leaves the baby with her sister (who has two piercings above and below her lips) while she takes a test.

Mario comes over and finds out that she left the baby with Zerica and Jerome—he’s not pleased. Luckily, his southern drawl and mumbling prevents him from sounding enraged.
“I’d rather you at least call me," he says. "I’d figure something out.”
“So, you don’t trust my family?”
Nope. No he doesn't.

11:38 – 3 Weeks Old

Cleondra calls Mario, asking him to come over and help her with Kylee. We see him sitting on a couch (in front of a cheesy flea market tapestry) surrounded by boxes and bouncing a tennis ball on the floor.

He responds: “I just don’t feel like doing anything right now. I’m not trying to hang out.”

HE LIVES ACROSS THE FUCKING STREET!!! Jewboo and I—childless, employed, adults who are quite into sleeping in our own beds--are separated by three trains and we make it work! Get it together!

She goes over to Mario’s house for the night so he can see what this 24/7 parenting is.

The clock reads 4:01 am—Kylee Sue starts crying. Cleondra, now holding Kylee Sue, tries to rouse Mario.
He won’t budge.

January. 1 Month Old –Cleondra goes back to school!
Because Mario doesn’t want the baby with her bro and sis, they had to make a babysitting schedule. The plan:
  • Rob (mom’s boyfriend) will watch her on Mondays
  • Mario will do Tuesday
  • Mario’s mom on Wednesday
  • Dixie (Cleondra’s mom) on Thursday
  • Mario’s sister on Friday

I do not think any of these people read books for pleasure, and I’m pretty sure Rob has some kids of his own that aren’t getting attention.

Cleondra is angry that Mario won’t hang out with her and the baby more.

They’re in some sort of Applebee’s type of establishment, surrounded by several plates of food (thanks, MTV!), and they have a fight about who holds the baby so that the other can eat.

Watching this child get passed across a table full of trans fats is really upsetting.

Mario explains his absence: “I’d rather take her at my house. You say you need to sleep, so leave her with me at night and you can rest…You can’t let her come right across the fucking street? At her dad’s house? That’s bullshit. I will never fucking ask you to spend the night in my house. Spend the night when you move in. “

Dinner ends with them sitting across from each other, heads in hands, as the soundtrack of a frustrated and soulful acoustic guitar plays.

Cleondra comes back home and talks to Dixie.
Awesome voice over: “I knew having a baby would change things, but I always thought Mario would support me. But now that doesn’t seem like a sure thing.”

Dixie—the only proactive one, clearly—invites Mario and his mom over to her house to air it out.

Maria, Mario, and Cleondra sit on the couch, slumped down like three guilty hooligans in the principal’s office.
Maria comes to Cleondra’s defense when Mario complains about her not leaving the baby with him so she can sleep: “No, as a mother, You expect all your little chickens to be in the nest at night.”
Um, as a human, your children probably shouldn’t be chickens. But I get her point.

Dixie—clearly a strong black woman in a white candy-coating—breaks it down: “If you can’t compromise now, you can’t compromise living in the same house.”

So, as two children, it takes their moms to help them reach a resolution. Mario will come over 2 times week, and they will work on compromising. Half-hearted hugs all around!

11:49 - Final Thoughts

Ugh, I wish Cleondra would enunciate—if you’re too bored to speak, how can you expect me to pay attention?
“Being a parent is hard. The child has to come first, but I’m doing it…. Mario’s my first relationship, I love him.”

Whew, that felt really good, guys. I’m finally ready to go bed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Embracing Awkwardness

Since several folks found my previous post "awkward" (you can't handle the truth!!!!), I won't go into it. However, I feel there's nothing worse than whining to someone and then not following up with the outcome of whatever you were whining about. In summation: Jury's still out on my pituitary gland, and we've got more testing to do!

Ok, now that that's addressed:

So far I've found only one drawback to the new plantation. We're right around the corner from a vocational school for addicts and recently released prisoners--awkward!--and throughout the day one must walk down an aisle of ex-cons. This morning was intense, largely because some scaffolding over the Staples next door has provided them with plenty of lounging space. Trying to get through the rush hour pedestrians is hard enough without 30 dudes in the way, you know?

But what really makes it a pain in the ass is their attempts at getting your attention. It often involves a creepy lean in and then a shift back, often with the suggestion to "Slow down, Ma."
I'm not your mother. If I was, you'd be in law school.

Others then attempt to take a stab at it, utilizing all forms of poetic license.
This morning I was called the following names:
Chocolate Princess
Worky Worky (as in "Slow down, Worky Worky! It ain't time yet!"

Yes, Sugarfoot. I have no idea what this means.

Just down the road from the vocational school is a "preschool for the arts," which proudly hangs Modrian-inspired paintings done by 3 year olds. Maybe I'm just a pessimist who watches too much To Catch A Predator, but creative preschoolers so close to men who've been...given a second chance is just an accident waiting to happen.

You may feel free to tag this post as awkward.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just Another Panicked Monday

Good morning, gentle readers.
I come to you today with a heart full of fear.

This morning the receptionist from the neurologist’s office called, asking me to come in for a follow-up appointment regarding my MRI. I am freaking the fuck out.

What can’t he tell me over the phone? Does he have to sit me down face-to-face so that he can hold me as I sob? I had the MRI on 5/24, so if it was really life-or-death, I would have heard back before now, right? My head was actually killing me yesterday, so I’m even more worried. When I asked the receptionist if I was going to die, she said no, but she certainly doesn’t have the security clearance to know for sure.

I cannot have a brain tumor right now—I’m just starting to follow my dreams!

This has me thinking of my life to date. I have begun composing several bucket lists based on how long I’d have to live.

Blacktress’ 3-Year Bucket List
  • Quit job. Tell former-drag-queen boss about himself.
  • Travel to Italy. Use the word “hospitaliano” at least once.
  • Write a memoir titled “Eat Eat Eat”.
  • Write 4 screenplays.
  • Earn Oscar nomination for one of them.
  • Have Ben Affleck and Matt Damon accept the award in my stead.
  • Get a ½-hour special on Comedy Central
  • Meet Nick Kroll
  • Take a ferry to Staten Island (what goes on over there?????)
  • Hang out with Marc Maron on the cat ranch.
  • Find a closeted celebrity in need of a beard. Act as his beard until I become sickly and unattractive.
  • Become best friends with Kathy Griffin.
  • Get married, A Walk to Remember style.

Blacktress’ 18-month Bucket List
  • Quit job. Tell former-drag-queen boss about himself.
  • Find a wealthy benefactor to help me live my dreams in my final months.
  • Write one screenplay that sells. Use money to produce the biopic Blacktress Like Me, in which I will star. Angela Bassett will play my mother.
  • Visit every aquarium in the country.
  • Go back to my native land of Africa and finally cash-in on that princess status I’ve been hearing about all these years. I’m probably just the ruler of a goat tied to a shady tree, but I’ll get to wear dramatic head wraps.
  • Perform stand-up across the country, opening for such acts as Glenn Beck and Donald Trump. [this would be more of a stage-hijacking, but equally awesome.]
  • Take a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. (what goes on over there?????) Use the word ‘summer’ as a verb.
  • Hang out with Marc Maron on the cat ranch.
  • Meet Kathy Griffin.

Blacktress’ 6-month Bucket List
  • Quit job. Tell former-drag-queen boss about himself.
  • Find a wealthy benefactor to help me live my dreams in my final months.
  • Try to get a guest role on The Office as Stanley’s daughter or niece.
  • Find a way to get on the Today Show and be interviewed by Matt Lauer.
  • Find every man that’s done me wrong and tell him about himself.
  • Take a ferry to Cape Cod. (what does it feel like to be rich?????)
  • Hang out with Marc Maron on the cat ranch.
  • Write and produce the solo show To Be Young, Gifted, & Blacktress. Receive posthumous Tony nomination, even though the show will not be performed on or off Broadway. (it’s just that good!)
  • Meet Kathy Griffin.
Blacktress' Back-up Bucket List



Child-Size Beach

Construction Square Plastic
Gallon Square


As you can see, there are several goals that repeat themselves. I will also be creating a will, in which I will bequeath several items to friends and acquaintances—such as the emergency contraceptive I received from Planned Parenthood and never used; Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs; and the entire Babysitters’ Club collection, including the mysteries and summer specials.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Movin' On Up!

Hey gang!

I’m writing to you from a brand new office! This place is way better than our overcrowded veal pens in the midtown office. Not only are we a Sharon Stone’s throw away from a Bed Bath & Beyond, a Trader Joe’s, and The Container Store, there are windows everywhere, and more than one bathroom!!! It’s nearly 1pm and I haven’t heard anyone urinate, blow his or her nose, or hack up a lung all day. This is living!

To top it off, massa’s not here (apparently he’s in Russia—this doesn’t surprise me in the least), I have an audition this afternoon, and I don’t even have to be nervous or guilty about leaving because today is the first “summer Fridays,” aka early dismissal! I feel like the world might not want to oppress me today—score!

In other news: The side I got for today’s audition makes no sense whatsoever. It’s for [a popular brand of food storage containers], but the product’s not mentioned once, the script references what appears to be eight different characters, and I don’t know if I’m going in for “Woman 1” “Woman 2,” or “Mom”—who’s referred to as Deb. I think I’m going to have to play it Pauly Shore style. Say what you will about him, but that man knows how to work with nonsensical (BioDome and Encino Man, par example).

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Greetings From Your Black Friend!

Hellooooooo readers!!!! It feels so good to blog again!

Apologies for my absence--it hasn't been for lack of fodder. This Memorial Day weekend Jewboo and I made great strides in our interracial love affair. We embarked on air travel to Minneapolis to attend a friend's wedding, and dealt with the shitshow that is American Airlines--and even ran into my high-school history teacher at the gate!
[Mr. Werth was my very first gay, and even though he wasn't out to me, there was something about his skinny jeans and ageless face that, even at the age of 14, told me that his date with "Leslie" was Queer As Folk.]

Through the high-school reunions, plane delays, and engaged upwardly mobile couples, Jewboo and I didn't fight with each other AND we looked really cute in photographs. Success!!!

But let me be real with you, readers--after all, this is the diary of a mad blacktress--it wasn't all roses and hotel sex. Both our outbound and return flights were canceled and moved to 6am the following day, resulting in a lot of sleeplessness and hunger. After my heinous experience with Delta Burke Airlines a few years ago, my attitude toward air travel has changed--I know people got jobs to do, but if you're going to insist on stripping me of my shoes, liquids, and dignity, can you at least have a plane take off a tiempo?

I could go into detail, but I'm only finally getting my sanity back.
Instead, I will copy and paste the tweets I sent to help me get through the frustration:
May 26:
@hiyellanegress They wont let us get to Minneapolis. Going back to Harlem to catch a 6am tomorrow. #weddingseason

May 27
Back at laguardia airport. Trying to get to minneapolis. This is cuckoo bananas. #weddingseason #fatigue

May 29 [My rage really picked up here, as we were so ready to go home--I took to directly tweeting the airline in hopes of getting some acknowledgement]
Sick of reaching your destination on time and with few complications? Then fly @AmericanAir!

After all, nothing makes more sense than having the crew for a delayed flight scheduled to work on the next flight! @AmericanAir

@AmericanAir, quick Q: with chicago's bad weather, why would you hinge other flights on chi crews? do you not want people to like you?
[I was just being a bitchy brat at this point, but sometimes you gotta go a little Miley Cyrus on an airline.]

The wedding was quite loverly, though. It's always nice to see well-to-do Caucasians coming together to create more of themselves. [Seeing as the bride-now-wifey is an avid diary reader, I hope none of this comes as a shock.] But there was one moment when I felt a bit out of place-- isn't it always weird when you find out that you're someone's only black friend?

We've all heard jokes about having "the black friend," but in this case, it was the real deal. There was one older black couple, but the guy was her former boss. Of course, if Friends and Candace Bushnell taught us anything, it's that a lot of white people don't get down with the brown and it's not anything personal. But it was still odd to enter a room full of people celebrating a friend I attended diversity university with and see that maybe diversity is just a thing you try once in college.
But let me not hate over my own insecurities about feeling bigger and blacker than the rest--I mean, I've been in the heart of Caucasia, and Minnesota was a piece of cake after Middle Earth. Besides, I can't really blame the girl for keeping Sojourner in her corner. A blacktress is more than just your token black friend--I'm like a cross-over Moesha-style sensation! So, you know, if you're going to go black, you may as well go blacktress.

For the reading I chose a poem by James Kavanaugh that I thought would speak to an independent woman such as the bride--"To Love Is Not to Possess" (it immediately jumped out at me as a freed slave, natch.) I practiced a bit beforehand, but lately I've been really trying to take a page out of Avril's book and not make things so complicated. The reading wasn't about me--it was about setting a tone and supporting a union. With that in mind, I decided to leave my flowing Maya Angelou robes at home and tone it down with the enunciation. (I did, however, make sure to direct the lines "to love is not to own / or imprison" at the groom.)

But oh, how I would have loved to deliver it something like this:
Chocolate News

People kept coming up to me and complimenting me on the reading, though. I was surprised, seeing as I hadn't done all that much in my opinion. Jewboo had to remind me that they weren't aware that they were dealing with a professional, and my innate ability to work a mic and breathe life into love poems isn't a gift we're all lucky enough to possess. But once one of the uncles started going on and on about how "articulate" I was, and an aunt told me I was "well-spoken," even Jewboo had to admit it was a little racial America up in the twin cities. #notyouraveragenegress