Justice for Jordan

When the jury in the first trial against Michael Dunn came back as deadlocked regarding the charge of 1st degree murder I was saddened and upset.  I believed that the Duval County Prosecutor’s Office would not retry Dunn.  He was found guilty of the other 4 charges, including the attempted murder of the other occupants of the car, and was looking at a sentence of 60 years in prison.  But the prosecutor’s office didn’t think that was good enough.  They decided to go to trial again on the sole count of 1st degree murder.

I am happy to say that the jury came back today with a decision of guilty.  I have to admit when I saw the make-up of the jury-7 white men, 3 white women, 1 black man, and 1 black woman-had me scared that Jordan would not get justice and his death would have been in vain.  In a country that has a long history with race relations, something that a lot of people sweep under the rug or choose to ignore, and in a city with which I am very familiar, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out.  But I am extremely happy that Michael Dunn was found guilty.

This verdict is much more than a man being found guilty of murder.  This verdict shows that you can’t shoot and kill someone because you feel disrespected.  Because a child doesn’t respond to you the way you would like.  Because someone was playing music you didn’t like.  And, most importantly, this verdict shows that the lives of Black boys matter.

Jordan, you did not die in vain.  Your life matters.  And the man that took it away will spend the rest of his life in prison.

You Are Not A B.A.P.

“Have you seen ‘BAPs’?”

“That movie with Halle Berry?”

“NO!  That crazy new tv show on Lifetime.”

“Oh…no. Why?  Should I?”

“It’s a mess.   But you can decide for yourself.”

This is normally how conversations go with my friends when I ask them if they’ve seen the new summer drama series.   According to Wikipedia, a BAP, or Black American princess, is “a pejorative term that refers to black women of upper and upper middle class background, who possess (or are perceived to possess) a spoiled or materialistic attitude.”  There is even a book about BAPs, a book that I read cover to cover numerous times when it first came out.  And according to The BAP Handbook: The Official Guide to the Black American Princess, a BAP is described as “1 : a pampered female of African American descent, born to an upper-middle or upper-class family 2 : an African American female whose life experiences give her a sense of royalty and entitlement 3 : BAP (acronym) : colloquial expression 4 : an African American female accustomed to the best and nothing less.”  (I like to think I’m more of definition 4, which is less based on material things and based more on life experiences, relationships, being a go-getter, etc.)  After watching just two episodes of “BAPs”, I can honestly say that the majority of the stars are not BAPs.

The show follows a group of friends in St. Louis.  The two main characters stars are Anisha and Kristen, former friends who take stabs at each other all of the time, even if the other woman is not in her immediate presence.  You may have arguments and/or disagreements with your friends.  But when you spit in someone’s face…so not cool.  And yes, you read that correctly.  During the series premiere, Anisha and Kristen got into it during a welcome home party of a mutual friend.  Words were exchanged, and as Kristen was telling Anisha her breath stank, Anisha spit in Kristen’s face.  And as Kristen walked away, she could be heard saying, “Did she just spit in my face?!”  Yes she did, and while I do not condone violence, spitting on someone is assault.  And my mother always told me I need to defend myself if someone attacks me.

Besides spitting, there are numerous reasons why the majority of these people are not BAPs.  Let’s go through a few:

1.  If you have to say on camera every 5 seconds that you are a BAP, you’re probably not one.  Just like if you’re a lady or classy or what-not.  You should not have to tell people; they should be able to tell from the way you carry yourself.

2.  Yes, according the handbook, if a Black girl is raised in an upper-middle or upper-class family she’s a BAP, but money does not provide class.

3. BAPs are not condescending to others.  While Anisha dates Kendrick, a man that was not raised the same as her and owns a store in the “hood”, she belittles his niece, Rai Rai.

4. Lastly, expanding on number 3, while BAPs realize they may have grown up privileged, they do not fault it.  They help others in their community.  On last week’s episode, Anisha, Gina, and Jason were on a radio show to discuss BAPs.  While I wish they had shown a little more of the interview, it was clear Anisha was overly dramatic, as she has a tendency to be, and Jason was way down to earth and realistic with his responses.

All in all, I am SO not impressed with this show.  But I will continue to watch until I can’t anymore.   I truly believe the BAPs on this show, in addition to being too old to behave the way some of them do, give true BAPs a bad name.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Tap & Parlour Taps Out

I remember when Tap & Parlour was Hominy, a cute, yet slightly pricey, restaurant on U St.  About three years ago, it was revamped into what it is today- a great little spot that has good food, great prices, and an awesome ambiance.

A few weeks ago, while one of my friends/sorors was visiting from Florida, we, along with two of her linesisters, went to T&P on a Saturday for brunch.  While I personally had no problem with my meal, one of her linesisters did.  Our waitress did an awful job of relaying what was and was not available (one of the guests does not eat pork), not to mention one of her entrees never came out.  The manager came out and took 50% off of our bill.  Despite this little incident, I didn’t let that completely change my thoughts on the establishment, especially since I had been there a month earlier and had a GREAT time.

Today, not so much.

My BFF and linesister, Bee, invited me to church (she goes to the 7:30 service and I go to the 9:30) and brunch with a friend of hers (Alexa) that just moved to DC.  Because I’ve been here longer than Bee, she asks me for a recommendation on where to go to brunch that isn’t pricey and has good mimosas.  Of course I pick Tap & Parlour.   Despite the issue the last time I went, it was a no brainer-good food, good prices, and unlimited $7 mimosas.  You can’t beat it.  So after church, which was awesome, we head to U St.  Alexa and I walk in first and approach the hostess stand.  When I tell the manager we have a party of 3, he lets me know once everyone in my party has arrived, he’ll seat us (I tell him the other is walking up now from her car).  Now, of course it’s crowded on the inside (a LOT of gentrification, but I’ll talk about that later), but there are a few empty tables outside.  As soon as Bee walks in, I let the hostess know my entire party is here.  We get told it’ll be a moment until we’re seated.  I approach the stand again, when I’m told it’ll be a 10-15 minute wait.  After seeing three parties seated, two of which arrived AFTER us, I ask the manager if our table is ready.  Since we’re seated right behind the host stand, we can pick up that they forgot to seat us.  As the host comes over to apologize for the wait and states two tables are being cleaned off, he asks do we have a preference of where we sit-inside or outside.  Alexa and I both state whichever table is ready first.  We’re seated outside, which I note is about 20-25 minutes after we got there.

I suggest to Bee and Alexa that we go ahead and put in our drink and food order when the waiter comes because it looks like he’s by himself (responsible for 8-9 tables) and we’re starving and don’t want to wait any longer than we have to to have our meals.  As we laugh and joke and make small talk, and also become slightly annoyed because it’s taking our food forever to come out, we discuss the make-up of the patrons and how the restaurant seems to be short staffed.  Tap & Parlour is ALWAYS packed for Sunday brunch, but since we spent some time watching tables, we note there’s not nearly enough waiters/waitresses, especially since the manager, along with the host and hostess, was running around pouring mimosas and helping the waiters.  Alexa asks if the restaurant was recently in an article.  I mention it was.  (Click here for the 17 all-you-can-drink brunches in DC.)  That explains the super diverse crowd and the short staff-the restaurant didn’t prepare for the influx of patrons.

When we finally get our food, I notice it’s almost 1:30, about 50 minutes after we sat down.  I ordered chicken and waffles, which is pretty much my staple when I go to T&P.  After I asked our waiter, Dante, twice for hot sauce, Alexa suggested he get the bottle that was two tables away since those ladies were about to leave.  While Bee had no patience for Dante (due to her hunger), Alexa and I were sympathetic to his plight-he was the lone waiter with too many tables and too many needy patrons.  I believe the ladies that were sitting behind us walked out because their food never came.

When my under cooked chicken leg does not concern Dante, when he tells us he can separate our checks-which he fails to do but tells US we can write on the receipt what to charge to which card, when he never refills my water after the one time I asked (he refilled it after we’d given him our cards), and when he comes outside not to return our cards so we can sign our receipt and leave but to refill drinks then tells Bee our cards are hidden in an envelope (after he asks if we’ve actually given him our cards), and takes 20 minutes to give us our cards back, we have had enough.  Though the manager kept peaking his head outside, I didn’t want to talk to him in that moment, because I would have made a scene on U St.   I was thinking of either writing in or doing a review on Yelp.  And Bee had the great idea, “You’re a blogger.  Blog about it.”  So here we are.

I figured this would get my point across more so than just writing in to the manager or the owner.  The sad thing is that I absolutely love this place.  One of my oldest friends is coming to visit in two weeks, and I was planning on taking her after church; now I have to find another place.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.*

Marriage is Sacred

I know you might be thinking “DUH!” with the title, but with the way things are going with pop culture nowadays, I’m not so sure.

There were numerous things that inspired this post.  Earlier this week, TyAnthony and I were having a discussion about the number of African-American children that were born out of wedlock, specifically in the last 5-10 years.   Now, before I you all go getting on my case, I KNOW that is a sensitive subject and something we don’t talk about.  And at the risk of sounding like “I have tons of black friends, so I can’t be racist”, I have family members, friends, and sorority sisters that fall on both sides of this demographic.  Some ended up marrying their child(ren)’s parent while others decided to end their relationship.  And because of the sensitivity of this topic and the fact I might offend some people, Ty suggested I shy away from this topic.  So I’ll move on.

Another factor was an e-mail I received from friend of SGITC, Paul Carrick Brunson.  If you don’t know, Paul is a successful matchmaker, husband, and father of two.  This week, Paul made an appearance on “Good Morning America” to discuss the new reality show “Married At First Sight”.  Basically, the premise of the show is that four experts  (in different fields) pair of couples, the first time they meet each other is when the bride is walking down the aisle, and they are given one month to make things work.  If they discover they love each other and everything is honky dory, then the experts did a good job.  If they discover they are too different and believe they aren’t a match, they get a divorce.

Lastly, today, LeBron James, star basketball player (for those of you who don’t know who he is), decided to leave the Miami Heat and go back to playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Apparently, in an interview some time ago, James stated that he would weigh his decision on whether to stay with Miami and have conversations with his wife and mother to decide what was best.  And a number of my friends on Facebook, most who are married, indicated that he had a discussion with Savannah, his wife, and she wanted to go back home.  If that is the case, because only LeBron and Savannah know what their discussion was like, if indeed there was one, can confirm if it was a decision based on what would be best for their family.

Marriage is sacred.  Marriage is important.  Marriage is a partnership.  Marriage is about compromising.  Marriage is about being unselfish.  Marriage is love.  And marriage is a lot of other nice words that I could type.  I think it’s one thing to date someone on tv (a la “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette”-although the premise the main ‘character’ will marry the last wo/man standing, it’s not a requirement”), but when you have to marry a stranger, and then if things don’t work out after 30 days you can end it, where’s the sanctity in that?  Marriage is a commitment.  And serious business.  And to make it seem frivolous and meaningless on a television show is…pathetic.  You know, I get it.  There are some people who want to get married and find a lifetime partner, and because of bad dating experiences or relationships that didn’t last think they will never find The One.  I’ve had that thought a time or two myself.  But I don’t think I could ever marry someone sight unseen.

So what have we learned here today?  Marriage isn’t something to play with (to use a term stated numerous times by Southern Dad).  It’s about partnership and compromise and love.  It is not about reality television and getting a divorce after 30 days if it doesn’t work.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Need To Diversify

Over the past few months, I’ve realized that most of my friends think and/or look like me.  But I shouldn’t be surprised.  I went to an HBCU.  I’m part of a predominantly African-American sorority.  And most of my closest friends come from those two communities.   I’ve come to the realization that I need more non-Black friends.

Growing up, most of my friends were white.  It wasn’t until I got to high school that my best friends were black.  In middle school, I remember praying for black friends when I got to high school.  And that’s what I got-for the next 18 years.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining.  But when you have friends that think like you and agree with you on pretty much everything, it sometimes gets old.

Of course I’m Facebook friends with a number of the white kids I went to elementary, middle, and/or high school with, but we don’t hang out or do brunch or have dinner together.  (I actually take that back. I do have a white girlfriend that I have known since 6th grade and every time I go home, we see each other.  And we even did dinner when she came to DC last year with her students.)  I did reach out to one of my high school classmates that lives in Northern Virginia for brunch about a year ago.  We weren’t necessarily friends in high school, but it was great to see a familiar face from home in DC.  And there is another friend that I went to high school with who was my buddy.  He lived in DC for about a year, and we went out to dinner (with his now ex-girlfriend) while he was here.  And I’m happy that he came out to help me celebrate my birthday when I was home in April.

At the end of the day, one off dinners and lunches, and friends that live 8 hours away, don’t necessarily count.  Well, they do, but I want more.  I want non-Black friends in DC that I can hang out with on a regular basis.  Those that I can talk to about my life and who have a genuine interest in getting to know me.  And I want to take an active role in their lives-celebrate their monumental moments and do fun things with them.  I also truly believe having a diverse group of friends will make me a better person.

But, for now, I will cherish the friends that I do have.  And look for opportunities to expand my DC circle.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!