The Problem Is The Solution

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Saturate the industry with our stories. There is and has always been a grotesque lack of diversity in literature – namely children’s books. The isssue goes far beyond sparse representation of non-European culture into outright disparaging of other races and ethnicities. Think “Little Black Sambo” by Scottish author, Helen Bannerman. A popular children’s book for well over fifty years, it has been redone and retold, the world over since its first publication in 1899. The depiction of Sambo is starkly sterotylically of Africans, which is significant when one considers that Sambo is actually a Tamil from Southern India. This addesses two destructive trends: misrepresentation in literature and exclusion.

Following the the chart above from the publishing house Leed & Low, over a 24-year study, only 7% of books depicting Americans of African decent are penned by Americans of African decent. For the natives of this continent, it’s less than 1%. Children’s books are 3x more likely to portray animals and inanimate objects are characters than people of non-European heritage. Leed and Low, established in 1988, tackles this affront by selectively publishing books inclusive of all cultures by diverse races to the exclusion of stories about bears and cars. Leed & Low shows that this industry problem, which is also a cultural one, is also an opportunity. People of color simply need to create more, inundate the literary field with stories by and about people of color. The internet annihilates the need for a publisher. The distributor can be a private website or social media platform. Crowd-sources connects creatives directly to their target audience.

How awesome it would be to read – for example – retellings of stories like Sambo but from an Indian-perspective, Tarzan from an African world-view? Missing from the world Canon of great and epic mythologies are the many African cosmologies – part of which is repackaged and sold to us as Greek and Roman mythology. Other parts are wholly villified as evil and satantic, such as Hoodoo, Voodoun and Santeria. Our history, our heroes and heroines are hidden there. Without them where rendered blind, inwardly and outwardly – forced visions of another of ourselves.

Cosby’s ‘Bout To Do A Bid

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The funniest man in the solar system has been confined to a box. Bill Cosby will be cooling his heels for the next three to ten years, convicted on three counts of sexually assaulting just one woman, not the over three dozen who accused him. Andrea Constand’s decade-old allegation was the only one to beat the statute of limitations.

It took two trials to finally convict the comedy legend and his lawyers have already filed an appeal of this decision. When all is said and done, it would be surprising if Cosby spends even a full two years in prison, given his celebrity, wealth and access. Even more surprising will be if the octagenarian actor actually survives behind bars long enough to complete the minimum bid.

All told, it’s a bittersweet outcome for family and fans of The Coz. He entertained and inspired so many with his avuncular style and humor. At the same time, it appears the man was a predator with peculiar sexual predilections. He enjoyed having sex with unresponsive, semi-conscious women. This is not only an open Hollywood “secret”, Cosby himself described his procedure on the Larry King Show. See for yourself:

Cosby and King Reminiscing On the Joys of Spanish Fly

Follow that with Cosby’s (a married man) disgusting behavior with a young-ish Sofia Vergara…

Cosby Creeps Out Sofia Vergara

…and becomes quite difficult to defend the man.

The American Justice system made short work old Heathcliff Huxtable, once it got a good grip on his colorful knitted wool collar. His Star was removed from the Walk of Fame, his honorary degrees rescinded and his syndicated shows shut down. This makes him the first to see trial since the top popped off this sinister celebrity sex trade. Although a slew of Hollywood royalty have fallen under foot of the #MeeToo revolution, none have experienced more than the gallows of public opinion, none, save Cosby, have faced their accusers and the gavel in real court of law. Let’s hope the wheels of Justice, though they turn slow, grind fine.

The City Of Dallas Must Be Renamed Botham City

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While former police officer, Amber Guyger sits in her apartment just below the man from whom she stole everything he is and will ever be, Botham Shem Jean returned home to St. Lucia forever. While Justice in Dallas drags her unshod feet, the family of Botham Shem Jean buried their son today. No doubt their collective hearts as empty as apartment #1478, as empty as the reasons they must mourn him.

Jean’s killer, though free, has since been let go from her job as a professional peacekeeper and public servant. After posting bond, a few hundred thousand dollars, Guyger spent only a couple of hours in jail. Now, the question heavy in the air and certainly in the minds of many: what will be her fate for bursting into the home of an unarmed, unassuming man and firing two high-pressure rounds into his flesh, killing him where he stood?

One lawyer boasted that if he represented her, she’d probably walk. What’s more likely yet equally appalling, is that Guyger will face manslaughter charges. But who knows? As of yet, we know very little about Guyger and her state of mind that night. Her tale has changed several times as neighbors, tenants of the apartment building that she shared with her victim, debunk her claims. There is some speculation that Guyger may have known the man she murdered. For all we know right now, the case could turn and point directly to premeditated first degree murder.

Until that time, what needs no speculation or belabored contemplation is that Dallas needs to compensate for its egregious incompetence with large amounts of cash paid out swifter than its Justice to the family of Botham Jean. This pointless, avoidable loss to family and friends should never be forgotten. No mere memorial set in granite or printed on a street sign would suffice. Rename Dallas to Botham City.

Boomerang Returns As A TV Show

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Eddie Murphy’s classic romance will being coming to a living room near you with Halle Berry and Lena Waithe donning the exec producers’ cap. I for one, have been wondering for last twenty odd years what happened to that Eddie. He made a couple classics then fell off. I was just saying (to myself) last month that Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats needs a series. The next best thing: Boomerang! In the spring of this year, BET ordered a 10-episode series. The premise initially seems a bit wonky, following the respective children of the original love triangle as they come-of-age, navigating love and career. It’ll be interesting to see what the writers whip up in era of similar successful fare such as Insecure, Being Mary Jane, Empire, Queen Sugar and at least a few more.

The Best Thing About Netflix’s Nappily Ever After: The End

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If you’re both black and #woke in this decade just as satisfying as seeing former cops get years for murdering unarmed black men and witnessing white women who ring the cops like customer service lose their jobs are this latest re-trend of mainstream black media: film and TV Shows. While many simply rehash typical fare, a recent crop have unabashedly been tackling specific African American issues.

Netflix’s Nappily Ever After deals with Vicoria’s – black woman played Sanaa Lathan – transition to natural hair i.e. the hair the gods gave her. While most of the movie – subject matter aside – follows a pretty predicable plot, the ending thankfully avoids a tried-and-tired traditional Hollywood trope. All-in-all, a decent flick that I would gladly recommend to anyone. It features actors of black Hollywood royalty and therefore top-notch portrayals. Ms. Lathan, who recently transitioned, cutting the chemicals out hair to rock a very sexy brush-cut, brings all the emotion of such a decision to this role.