Coming live from NYC; hailing from Trinidad & Tobago; Bringing Royalty to your screens! Here, you're going to find everything from my own poetry to articles about pretty much anything and any other kind of posts that I'm certain will be relevant to you all. Thanks for following :-)

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Question from “Black is a Shared Experience” ?

felicitypursuit replied to your post“Lupita Nyong’o’s Black is a Shared Experience (A Contentious Relationship with African-Americans)”
If you don’t mind me asking, how do you self identify? As an islander myself the answer to the question “what are you” always depends on the person asking. I know that any American asking that question will never accept me as American regardless of my citizenship while…
That’s a very good question, and I definitely understand what you are saying. Very naturally, I first and foremost self-identify as a Trinidadian, regardless of where I am currently living. Trinidad will always be “home” - it’s the place that’s had the biggest influence on who I am. I’m also a Canadian citizen, and I’ve lived there in my youth also, so that’s my second “identity”. I very rarely call myself a “New Yorker”, and I doubt that anyone will ever have to ask me my race (lol). 

Lupita Nyong’o’s Black is a Shared Experience (A Contentious Relationship with African-Americans)

I am Trinidadian. That is my nationality. In the segregational considerations of that country, I am, more specifically, Afro-Trinidadian, but the color of my skin says that I am black, and that is an indomitable fact. I’ve been in New York City now for four years, and although I had been here and in other parts of the United States frequently before that, the things you feel when living somewhere are different than the those you feel while visiting. In those four years, few things rival the friction and contention that I have with the African-American populace and their engagement of the race issue. 

In an unexpected fallout in the hours following the wins of Lupita Nyong’o and 12 Years a Slave, that friction reached a tipping point. A series of tweets, illustrative of the congregation of stupidity that often occurs on Twitter, voiced the opinions of some African-Americans that actress, Lupita Nyong’o, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director, Steve McQueen were not theirs to “claim”. 

When you get past the initial shock of first reading the tweets, the simple point that they, both, want to make becomes clear. Neither Lupita (Kenya/Mexico), Chiwetel (Britain) nor Steve (Britain) are African-American. But when you dig deeper, both into the tweets and into their usage of “black”, the issue that sent me over the edge becomes even clearer than before.

This is problematic, to say the least. The idea that the label or concept, “black”, is only used in America has the stench of pure ignorance. Whether that is a failing of the American education system, or a product of American nationalism is a debate far beyond this discussion. Indeed, it is far less important than the consequences of that idea. The people that feel that black is an American label fail to understand that the blacks around the world suffer through a multitude of similar experiences. Contrary to the tweet below, those experiences are a consequence of our color, not nationality. 

In an effort to be consciously objective, I will say that there is some relevance in her tweet. There are cultural idiosyncrasies that affect the forms that racism takes, and consequently, the effects that racism has on the subjects of a particular culture. Structural racism, for example, is dependent on the country in focus and its history. Subsequently, the psychological effects of structural racism differ across nationalities. Learned helplessness differs across blacks according to where they have undergone their culturally, morally and ethically developmental years.

So, the reality is that I understand the desire to separate oneself from others, culturally. I, like many other Caribbean people that migrate to the USA for a variety of purposes, often explicitly and subliminally distinguish myself from the African-American populace. This is an observation that is often made of Africans that migrate here as well. From the end of the migrator, it is often a dual-layered reason - pride in one’s home country and dissatisfaction with components of the local intra-black culture. My dissatisfaction is not meant as an affront to any African-American. Aside from the fact that I’ve met many good people while I’ve been here, I’ve also gained a better first-hand understanding of the structural factors that influence the way that so many think. The truth is, however, that there are just a variety of things that I cannot agree with, condone or endorse - from what I perceive to be too frequently playing the race card, to destructive interactions between black men and black women and the way that black men here approach and speak to women. 

Still, we cannot fail to differentiate between internal perceptions and external perceptions. We do not always get to successfully project the way in which we want to be perceived. Regardless of how one feels the situation should be, the actuality says that we are all black. That is how the white perceiver will view us. We don’t get to stop the racist in the street, the subway or the office and tell him, “Hey, I’m from Kenya by the way, not America. My descendants didn’t go through the slave experience, so please judge me differently”. It simply does not work that way. The Grandmaster of Calypso, Kitchener, said it himself - “if you not white, you considered black”.

Now, Lupita Nyong’o has received a slew of support and love, especially from the black female community in the recent month and a half, and it’s easy to see why. She’s a beautiful woman. She’s a beautiful dark-skinned women. Personally, she is not very attractive to me (making the distinction between a perception of beauty and a state of attractiveness, I believe that attraction is much more subjective), but that has absolutely nothing to do with her skin color. Spurred on, or irked by the support that Lupita has received from the black female community, the members (regrettably) of the black male community have shown their colorism in excessive numbers (indeed, even if it were just one, one is one too many).

And this is the problem. One of the accounts on that tweet belongs to a black British man. The negativity against black skin (and by extension, blackness) and in this case, self-hate is not confined to America. The experiences that black women go through are not unique to America. 

The black stakeholders of 12 Years a Slave may not be claimed as African-Americans, no. But they can be claimed as BLACK. Black people, regardless of their nationality can find joy, solace, inspiration, or whatever else they want to take away from the victories that were earned at the Oscars 2014. In black women, there is a community that has been psychologically molded to believe that lighter is better. Given this, it’s no secret that Lupita herself says she once, “prayed for lighter skin”. Regardless of what I, or any other person, thinks of her physical attractiveness, she’s a woman of substance that Hollywood is in love with for non-sexualized reasons. She won the highest recognition in her field for her first role out of university. Even more importantly, she deserved it (unlike Halle Berry where it can be, and is often argued that she won her award for submitting herself to Hollywood objectification and sexualization). 

I am no Lupita fan. That isn’t my domain. But I recognize the importance of resisting the resistance towards her that comes from inside my own race. Divide and conquer isn’t just a cliché. 

“I am more than just a naked prostitute who smokes crack”

arnade:

image

image

I generally shy away from posting nude pictures. I don’t want to fall into clichés and stereotypes. Many women do ask me to take them.

When I do take them I rarely post them.

That is unfair of me. By holding the pictures back I am inserting my own bias into the narrative.

The years…

It’s been a while since I came across something worth a reblog. This is it.

The Best Comment I’ve Seen…ANYWHERE…about this Miley Cyrus…debacle.

""I’m from one of the wealthiest counties in America," she says. "I know what I am. But I also know what I like to listen to. Look at any 20-year-old white girl right now – that’s what they’re listening to at the club. It’s 2013. The gays are getting married, we’re all collaborating. I would never think about the color of my dancers, like, ‘Ooh, that might be controversial.’ What do you mean?" she says with a laugh. "Times are changing. I think there’s a generation or two left, and then it’s gonna be a whole new world."

I have no love for this woman or her work but I thank her for saying this.

All the pieces on her, including the ones lately on Jezebel, come from a place of such race-wanking, old-fashioned bigotry, that it’s surprising more people haven’t called the writers out on it.

A white person listens to and loves music that black people happen to make and picks up style and language cues from the practitioners of that sound! STOP THE PRESSES, I SMELL APPROPRIATION!!!

Except not.

On one side, you have racists decrying this white girl for being “ghetto” or “thugging out” or being a “wigger”. On the other side, you have racists decrying this white girl for “appropriation”, and “minstrelsy”.

And both sides are full of shit.

If she’s appropriating or using a black sub-culture, then so was every goddamn white artist of the past 60 years in American and English rock and pop music. She’s no different. And I refuse to get pissy and self-righteous as a black person because she’s mining the sound, style, and language of a sub-culture. That happens all the time INCLUDING within the larger black culture, which is not all the same, for those of you who didn’t know and think she’s stealing from “blacks”. She’s stealing from SOME blacks. Not all of us. And that’s no different than various black acts from boring middle class backgrounds who suddenly went “ghetto” to get recording contracts and attention. (I will say she’s as guilty of thinking of blacks as a mono-culture as some, if not most, of her critics are.)

I’m immune to the bullshit being thrown by both sides that only shows the people saying it are entrenched in narrow-minded and frankly silly ideas of how young people see themselves. A lot of race-wanking for profit is all I see them doing”

From a user, “Eileen Gray” on this Jezebel trash…sorry, I mean article -> http://jezebel.com/miley-cyruss-antics-are-being-encouraged-by-black-peop-1377352058

I think that the greatness of the comment peaks with this sentiment:

And that’s no different than various black acts from boring middle class backgrounds who suddenly went “ghetto” to get recording contracts and attention. (I will say she’s as guilty of thinking of blacks as a mono-culture as some, if not most, of her critics are.)

I, for one, am ready for this discussion to be over. When Jay-Z & Kanye dubstepped their way to success in Paris, nobody accused them of appropriating. Everyone, chill.

Heartbreak often reveals the true measure of a person.

Sometimes the World Gets you Down

For many people, in Boston and around the United States, it has been an emotionally draining week. Bostonians had their city rocked on Monday when homemade bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, ensuring for some that it was the last time they would run in their foreseeable lifetime. The Boston Police Department and the FBI resorted to Internet crowdsourcing in an attempt to find the perpetrators, which ultimately initiated the beginning of the end for these two men on Thursday night. By nine o’clock on Friday night, the ordeal was over with one suspect dead and his younger brother in custody and American breathed a collective sigh of relief that didn’t need to be heard. 

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The False-Righteousness of Monogamy

Monogamy is overrated. It isn’t natural.

That’s something you don’t hear everyday. It’s a statement that, undoubtedly, will cause a few of my readers to turn up their brows. The initial reaction will be to brush the statement off and deem it ridiculous. But why?

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Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred, how did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us that we now send our children into the world like we send young men to war, hoping for their safe return, but knowing that some would be lost along the way. When did we lose our way? Consumed by the shadows. Swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name?
One Tree Hill - With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept
No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter

Adapt, Don’t Complain!

Speaking to my Trinis here. It’s time for local artistes and producers to adapt. Complaining has never been a successful strategy for any new entrant into any type of market. So why do the undiscovered and irrelevant insist on feverishly complaining about what the market is rewarding?

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