When One Sibling is the “Popular One”

Luckily (or unluckily if you ask some people), I’m an only child, so I’ll never truly understand the concept of sibling rivalry.  You know, when you compete for the attention of your parents and friends, when you try to outdo your brother or sister and prove that you’re the better one.  Well, what happens when you’re in the public eye and you have to compete with your sibling?  Sometimes it’s a benefit to you both.  (Think Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and Michael and Janet Jackson).  In this new century, we have new sets of siblings where I think the older sibling was the first to make his mark on the world, but then his younger brother or sister came along and outshined him.  The two young stars I’m referring to are JoJo Simmons, son of Rev. Run and Justine and Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada. 

First, let’s start with JoJo.  If you’re a fan of “Run’s House” like I am, then you are very familiar with the family of Rev. Run and Justine Simmons.  During one season, JoJo and two of his friends created a rap group called Team Blackout.  Unfortunately for the trio, their dreams of becoming the new millenium’s version of Run DMC didn’t come to fruition.  Now, his cutie patootie younger brother Daniel aka Diggy came out with a slamming single…and shot to instant stardom.  Luckily, JoJo has moved to other things-I beleive he currently works for his Uncle Russell at Global Grind-but his dreams of becoming a rap superstar have stalled.  Diggy, on the other hand, was signed to Atlantic Records in August and released his second mixtape “Airborne” in September. 

Next up, Jaden Smith.  Jaden became America’s sweetheart when he first starred with his dad in “The Pursuit of Happyness”.  He shined on the big screen again in “The Karate Kid”.  But a few months later, his younger sister Willow popped up on the music scene with her single “Whip My Hair”.   All women, and probably some men, are whipping their hair back and forth everytime they hear the catchy song (yours truly included).  I think it’s safe to say that Willow has surpassed her older brother on the media scale.   Now Willow is all on our tv screens doing interviews, singing, and being a little socialite globe trotting with her mom, Jada. 

Do you all agree (with my assessment of JoJo/Diggy and Jaden/Willow)? Do you think these siblings have made a bigger mark than their older siblings who came before them?  Or is a little sibling rivalry healthy to bring out the best in people?  Maybe you can help this only child truly understand the concept of having a brother or sister-the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

“Bridal Plasty” Sends the Wrong Message

In my tv surfing last night, I came across the new show on “E!” “Bridal Plasty”, which is hosted by former beauty queen and reality tv star Shanna Moakler.  The premise of the show is that the winner will receive all the plastic surgery her heart desires. 

Now, I have to admit when I saw the commercials for this show before its debut last night, I was less than impressed.  I know when some women are getting ready for their big day, the biggest worry they have is losing those last 10 pounds so that they can get into their dress.  The women on this show want to take it to a whole new level.  They want nose jobs, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, etc.  Any plastic surgery procedure you can think of, they want it.  According to the plastic surgeon on the show, ALL of the contestants needed liposuction and/or a tummy tuck.  And the crazy thing is only one woman, from my observation, was truly overweight.  That happens to be Alexandria, a former “Biggest Loser” contestant whose fiancee’ proposed to her during the finale.  And like one of the girls in the house, Alexandria was getting on my nerves, too, talking about being on the “Biggest Loser”; it was just too much.

My first thought on this show was, “What are we teaching our girls?”  That they have to have the perfect hips, thighs, and butt to get married?  That they have to have the perfect figure to marry the man of their dreams?  That they have to look like a “supermodel” in order to walk down the aisle?  This show is the prime example of what is wrong with America’s concept of beauty.  Little girls are taught growing up that in order to be considered attractive you have to be a size 0, have long hair, long legs, and be at least 5’8″.  If I believed that, I would think I was the ugliest person in the world.  I’m definitely not a size 0, I have short hair, I do have great legs, and I’m only 5’4″.   If you do decide to let your daughter/niece/sister/friend/whatever watch this show, keep reiterating to her that she is beautiful just the way she is.  She doesn’t need to alter her looks for anything.  That’s what we need to be teaching the young women in our lives. 

I will say “Shame on you, E!” for this show.  Yes, these are grown women who know what they are doing and are old enough to make their own decisions, but if I were a betting woman, I’d wager a small amount that most of these women growing up did not receive the proper reinforcement from their parents and other loved ones that they were beautiful just as God made them.  To all of you reading this, be happy with who you are.  Love yourself for how you look right this second.  That’s the message that we need to be sending.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

P.S. To add insult to injury, when the first contestant, Ashley, was voted off last night, Shanna’s response was akin to (I’m paraphrasing), “Your wedding will still go on; it just may not be perfect.” WHAT?!?!?!

Dating in the New Year

As I sit at my desk and let my mind wander (yes, I could actually be doing some other things), I have decided to take my life into my own hands.  Based on two experiences yesterday: 1. I told my co-worker’s boyfriend he should introduce me to some of his male friends and 2. Another co-worker was trying to sell her boyfriend’s cousin to me, I decided that I need to be more proactive in my dating life in 2011.   So I’ve decided that instead of depending on other people to play matchmaker for me I’ll be my own matchmaker. 

How will I do that you ask?  Well, I think it’s very simple.  First, I’ll attend singles functions.  Next, I’ll go to speed dating events.   I think that will be a great start, and as more things come up, I’ll attend them (all within reason).  I was all set to attend my first speed dating event (solo) last summer, but after telling Southern Mom that I was going and going by myself, I let her nerves affect me, and I chickened out and stayed home.  NEVER AGAIN! (To make sure it doesn’t happen again, I’m not going to tell her until after I return from my outing.)  I don’t expect that I’m going to meet the love of my life, but I would like to meet a nice guy (as I think I’ve said on previous posts), and date him…and only him.  I’m going to keep my options open, I’m not expecting to meet my husband, and I’m not trying to get married by February.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that 1. My guy friends aren’t interested in pursuing something with me-not that they should because I seriously doubt I would date them; and I say that to convey I can’t date anyone I already know; 2. The few places I do go I haven’t met any new potentials; and 3.  I’m not doing internet dating again.  (Here’s why.) 

There is a singles mixer going on in the District December 4, and I’ve been going back and forth on if I should go (I probably should), but I think I’m going to pass and start fresh and new in the new year.  So, wish me luck, Southern fam.  And if you know of any events I should attend in the DMV, please let me know.  And you know I’ll keep you all in the loop of what’s going on.  Again, Happy Thanksgiving, and until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Way Back Wednesday- Thanksgiving with the Family

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  That’s right, folks.  Tomorrow official starts the beginning (at least in my mind) of the holiday season.  (We’re not going to talk about how my place of PT employment has been decorated for Christmas for nearly a month.)  I talked to Southern Mom this morning, and of course we were both agonizing (but trying to be strong for the other) over the fact that I will not be home for Thanksgiving.   And this of course got me to thinking about the holidays growing up.  Since my parents are divorced I would spend Thanksgiving with one parent, then Christmas with the other parent and vice versa for the next year.  Specifically for Thanksgiving, each family had their own separate yet unique traditions. 

Each year since I was in the 2nd grade, my mother has hosted Thanksgiving at our house.  I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but my mom bought her first house when I was in the 2nd grade and moved the week of Thanksgiving.  To help her move, my family kicked into high gear, helped us pack up, and had dinner at my mom’s.  From there, I think it just stuck.  Everyone brings a dish, the men (and some ladies) watch football, others gather around the dining room table, and when it’s time to eat, we all gather around the table, say grace, and dig in!  It’s a wonderful time for all of us (my grandparents, my grandmother’s siblings, my mom’s siblings, and my cousins) to get together. 

My dad’s family is a little different.  Even though it’s probably about the same amount of people as my mom’s family, it’s just my grandparents’ children, and their children (and now their children’s children!).   We typically used to have dinner at my Godmother’s house.  We gather, say grace around the table, and eat!  I always enjoyed going to see my dad’s family as they lived about 4 hours away from me, and I didn’t get to see my cousins that often.  We played catch up, the older cousins picked on the younger ones, and you may see a game of Spades going on.   Before the night was over, we all picked a name for Christmas gifts. 

Sadly, as I’ve gotten older and have moved away from my family, it’s harder for me to get to SC to spend the holidays with my relatives.  Thankfully I have friends here in DC who have adopted me and taken me in and invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them.   I wish you all a joyous, blessed, Thanksgiving holiday.  I’ll catch you guys next week.  (Oh, I’m supposed to be making a peach cobbler tomorrow-should be good!)  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Interview with a Playwright

I hope you all are getting ready for “Boxes” The Play in 2 weeks!  Tickets are going fast, so you may want to get yours quickly! 

I had the pleasure of speaking with the writer of “Boxes” Ebony Custis last week.  Read on to find out more about her, RoseProse Productions, and her upcoming play.

How long have you been writing plays?

Since 1997. I studied under Caleen S. Jennings during an internship at American University. She taught me about analyzing dramatic literature and how to create interesting characters and story lines. I’ve been writing plays ever since.

 What can the audience expect from this play?

BOXES will make audiences think; ‘What could I do if I stopped hiding? Stopped being afraid of what would happen if I took a chance?’ They’ll be forced to wonder about the conversations they’ve been too terrified to have and ask themselves how their lives would improve if they would just go ahead and tell the truth!

What did you use for inspiration for this play?

BOXES asks the question ‘If you knew you were capable of greatness, what would you do tomorrow?’ I asked myself that same question in 2008. For me, the answer was ‘ I would write and share my writing around the world. So I did. BOXES was first staged in Trinidad and now we’re preparing for our second show in DC.

I drew inspiration from the realization that I am not the only one with big dreams and big fears. I’m not the only one who allows fear, past disappointments, and the opinions of others to hold me back. I wanted to write something that would help myself and others get beyond those obstacles and start turning dreams into reality.

In BOXES the audience will meet every day people in the same situations we find ourselves in. They are trying to be their best self but something is holding them back. So, the characters have to choose; will they remain stagnant or will they decide to move forward.

Where else has this play been performed? Do you plan on taking it anywhere else?

BOXES was first staged by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad. 

I’d really like to bring BOXES back to DC for a longer run in the near future. I’d also like to stage it overseas in another language. My top picks are Salvador Bahia and Merida Mexico but I’m open to other places if the opportunities present themselves.

How long has RoseProse Productions been in existence?

Unofficially, RoseProse was born in 2000 when I self published my first book of poetry ‘My Moments.’ However, it wasn’t until 2008 that I really solidified the vision and mission of RoseProse. In 2000 I was writing poems, essays and plays and it was a useful time in my life because it helped me to grow into a better writer. Now, I write poems, plays, and novels for a specific purpose:

RoseProse Productions offers entertaining and motivational literature in the United States and abroad to encourage cross-cultural understanding by emphasizing commonalities of the human experience.

What other plays have you written?

My first play was a one-act ‘The Tree House.’ My second one-act ‘Strange Reflections’ won the College Language Association’s first prize in Dramatic literature in 2001. I’ve also written other one acts as well as two full length plays; ‘Taylor’s Gift’ and ‘The Watering Hole.’

Taylor’s Gift explores how the gift of religion is tainted when institutions and greed are allowed to overshadow the simple message of unconditional love.

Are there plans for another play?

Absolutely! RoseProse will stage ‘The Watering Hole’ at the DC Arts Center in Adams Morgan in May 2011. The play asks the question “If you could change yourself, who would you become? And what would you be willing to sacrifice to make that change?’

 What can your audience expect next from RoseProse Productions?

Excellence.

I’ve always been an avid reader and I came to realize that there is, unfortunately, a clear divide between good stories and motivational literature.  Good stories take you on a journey. We remember the characters and we feel like we’re with them every step of the way – the stories take us out of ourselves. Motivational literature makes us focus on ourselves and how we can be better. I love literature that does both -but sometimes it’s hard to find. Now, of course, there are exceptions: Paulo Coelho, Tennessee Williams, Toni Morrison, George Orwell, Ayi Kwei Armah, Elizabeth Gilbert and others, but not enough. I’d like to be one of those exceptions. To grow the body of entertaining motivational literature.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Have fun. Stay healthy. And if you’ve got some spare time on Dec 6 or 7, stop by Source and see BOXES.

You heard it here, folks! Go get your tickets and stop by the Source Theater.  I will tell you Elle will be there opening night!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!