“The Book of Negroes”

Unfortunately, BET’s miniseries “The Book of Negroes” did not get as much fanfare as say the “Love and Hip Hop”, “Real Housewives”, or “Bad Girls Club” franchises. I have to admit the only reason I heard about it was because I watch “Being Mary Jane” and “The Game”.

For those of you who have never heard of it, “The Book of Negroes” is a 3 part miniseries based on the true life of Aminata Diallo, an African woman who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery.  What is unique about Aminata is that she wrote The Book of Negroes, a ledger of free Blacks that lived in New York, most of which sailed to Nova Scotia to escape the injustices of America.  Aminata was an educated woman who was not afraid to back down from anyone.  In a time when slaves were to “know their place”, she demanded respect.

This miniseries is one of the best things I have seen on television.  It was well written, included amazing acting, and was well produced.  For me, it made me think about the Black community as a whole and how we are looked at by other cultures.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind was the separation of the Black family.  Chikura, a young African boy that Aminata met right before she was kidnapped, found Aminata once they were adults on plantations in South Carolina.  They ended becoming husband and wife, only to be torn apart NUMEROUS times.  And both times Aminata gave birth to their children, they were not together.  The great thing is that Chikura ALWAYS found her, which to me shows that even though their family was not always together and was broken many times, Chikura never gave up on her.  Not to mention Aminata never had eyes for any other man.  Something else I noticed were the enslaved Blacks.  It’s no secret, if you know the history of the US, that whites commonly referred to slaves and Blacks as “animals”.  Watching slaves in chains, practically dying from thirst and starvation, I couldn’t help but think that there was something animalistic about them.  When given water and/or food, with no utensils but their fingers…how else is one to act?  I wonder how non-Blacks would think if they saw (or knew) that their ancestors were placed in chains, having to use the bathroom on themselves, using their fingers to eat.  It’s a super disheartening and disturbing sight.

There are some of you, a friend of mine and Southern Dad included, who believe that “I’m tired of slave movies” or “I don’t want to see anything like that”, and you have no interest to watch “The Book of Negroes”.  The thing that I will say to you (and the same thing I said to them) is that this miniseries is SO much more than a slave movie.  It’s an opportunity to learn about our history and heritage and a story that is not widely known and that was not shared in any history class you had in school.  So, if you’re snowed in (like I am today), you should definitely start watching it. Or look up the actual book.  You will learn so much.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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Interview with Darius Bailey

Darius Bailey

You may have seen him on TVOne’s “Fatal Attractions”.  You may have seen his work on ABC’s “Resurrection”.  But I’m sure you’ve never seen him like this.  This past weekend, I was able to speak with actor/producer/director Darius Bailey.  After spending a few years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Bailey decided about 10 years ago to become an actor.  Though he has been honing his craft for a while, he may just now getting on your radar.  But don’t worry; you’re getting familiar at just the right time.

Over the course of his 10 year acting career, Bailey has performed in “ATL”, “House of Payne”, “Dumb and Dumber Too”, and “Reed Between the Lines”.  On “Resurrection”, he plays the photo double to Omar Epps’ J. Martin Bellamy.  He was able to portray real life convicted murderer Larry Dunn on “Fatal Attractions”.  In playing this role, Bailey stated he was a “little nervous up front to play this person.  But as an actor, you learn to give your character their day on stage.  Meaning you don’t judge that character; you play them where they are.”  While he was concerned this role would affect his future endeavors, I think it is safe to say he has nothing to fear.

Darius is currently portraying spiritually grounded, family man DeMorris Kingsley on “Driving Home”, a web series currently in its second season.   But it doesn’t stop there.  Not only will he direct a few episodes of season 2 of “Driving Home”, Darius is also working on his own project, “Remix”, where he serves as writer, producer, AND director!  He is based in Atlanta and is currently looking to hire talent to complete the film.  (The link to find more information can be found later in the article.)

When asked who he would be interested in partnering with on the big screen, Darius stated Mr. “Glory” and “Training Day” himself, Denzel Washington.  “Reason being, I am the type of actor that brings every bit of passion within me to the camera.  Every role I play, I have to be one with that character, to be convincing.  And to me, no other actor does that better than Denzel Washington.  You look at every performance he has done, and he is believable.   There is nothing about his performances that says, ‘Ok, I’m acting’.”

It is his ultimate goal to one day “capture a broader audience and to impart some of my greater values, things that are positive.  And to have a sustainable career as an actor, to pick and choose every role, and to impart some of my personal values on everyone, use my influence to be able to give back.”

I definitely believe that Darius is well on his way to building a strong foundation for a great career!  Connect with him on Facebook (to find out what he’s working on AND to find out casting information for “Remix”) and find him on Twitter.   Additionally, if you missed the season finale of “Fatal Attraction”, you can see it here as Darius portrays Larry Dunn.

I have to thank Darius for allowing me to interview him.  And you all need to keep your eye on this guy; he’s going places, and you want to be there to say you’ve been familiar with his work for years! 🙂  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

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.

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.

Kenya Has Fallen

It’s amazing how I have not blogged in over a month, and the first thing I decide to blog about is the foolishness that I watched on tv last night. But I have a very strong opinion about the fight between Porsha and Kenya, and what I have to say warrants more than a Facebook status update.

When I was thinking about writing this post last night, the original title was going to be “Miss USA Has Fallen”, but I thought it would be a little disrespectful to the current title holder, so I had to regroup.

Since hearing about the infamous fight that took place between Porsha and Kenya and seeing a portion of it last week, I was really interested in seeing what happened.

First, let’s be upfront. Kenya has been antagonizing Porsha since last season. She found various ways to dig at her and antagonize her. Even when asking valid questions about Porsha and her relationship with Kordell, which (honestly) is none of her business, Kenya always had a catty tone in her voice and really has no concern for Porsha one way or the other. As I was trying to explain the events prior to last night’s reunion to Southern Mom, you really have to have seen their relationship over the past two years to fully grasp the built up animosity between these two women.

When I heard that Kenya Moore was joining the cast of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” I was SO excited! I think every little black girl that grew up in the 1990s was familiar with Kenya and who she was and what she represented as being a former Miss USA. She was beautiful, she was poised, and she was able to keep herself relevant over the last 20 years. But once she joined the cast, I was thoroughly disappointed with her behavior. To put it simply, she was rude, condescending, and inappropriate.

So as not to rehash the past two seasons of RHOA, let’s talk about last night. Kenya was inappropriate. The nerve of her to not only pull out a scepter, but she had the audacity to wave it in people’s faces. THEN, she pulls out a bullhorn and proceeds to yell in the ears of others; I was watching on tv and wanted to tell her to kill that noise. (Kudos to Cynthia for not reacting to Kenya being in her personal space and yelling in her ear.) I do not condone violence…but Kenya had it coming. The bully never likes it when their victim has turned the tables. And while Kenya made a statement regarding the event that took place earlier this month, now is not the time for her to act like she is Miss Innocent.  Part of her statement (“…there are little girls who look up to me. I would never want those girls, my nieces, or my future children to see me fighting anyone.”) makes me wonder if she cares about them seeing her belittle someone, scream at someone, and really just behave in a manner that is unlike a pageant winner.  It also makes me wonder about the people in her circle, particularly her pageant coach and anyone else that she have known in the pageant world, told her that her behavior was unbecoming of a queen.  Yes, Kenya is 40+, but we all have a circle of elders we go to, regardless of our age.

At the end of the day, Porsha was wrong for becoming physical with Kenya.  She should feel somewhat embarrassed (I know I would).  But does she owe Kenya an apology?  I say “No”…not unless Kenya returns one of her own.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Am Not Mary Jane

Tonight is the season finale of “Being Mary Jane”. This show has sparked much conversation in regards to black women and how we are portrayed on television. Some people are impressed with the strong heroine, admire her for having a great job and being a career woman, for helping her family in their times of need-despite their bad decision making, for being financially independent, and for just being a go-getter. On the other hand, you have those who are disgusted, upset, and pissed off with this character. As I stated in my review of the movie that premiered last summer, I was happy to see a character like her…but at the end of the movie, I was totally disgusted when she saved David’s sperm. And that was just the beginning of how any similarities between MJ and myself began to deteriorate. She began making awful decisions. From going back to Andre, her married boyfriend, to having a pissing contest with Avery, Andre’s wife, I realized that I am not Mary Jane (despite BET’s attempt to encourage women from all walks of life to send in videos proclaiming “I am Mary Jane”).

But, let’s not forget this is a fictional show; though, suffice it to say, I’m sure there a few people out there that can relate to a few scenarios. Let’s be real for a second. We put SO much pressure on writers and directors and producers to show black people in general, black women in particular, in positive lights. There was even a post how the world has evolved from Claire Huxtable to Mary Jane Paul. We slam these women on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Basketball Wives” for fighting and cursing and basically just being an embarassment. We villify them for not setting positive examples and being roles models for young girls and young women. But…shouldn’t WE be doing that? The woman that goes to work everyday. The woman that volunteers with non-profit organizations in her city. The woman that teaches Sunday school. The woman that serves on the city council. The woman that teaches chemistry and math and English. The woman that is a great neighbor that speaks to everyone and helps keep the streets clean. My point is, if we, the women that these children see and interact with everyday, are doing what WE should be doing, these young women would not look to a tv character, whether she’s on a scripted show or a “reality” show, to figure out how to become a woman and a lady. She would view you-her mother, her mentor, her teacher, her neighbor-to decide what makes a woman. Yes, we are all flawed, and that’s fine. But should our aim in life be to become a caricature character we see on television?

I mean, I am not Mary Jane Paul; but I am not Claire Huxtable, either.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

“Scandal” Re-Cap: YOLO

So, it has been a good little minute since I’ve written about “Scandal”.  The episode from 2 weeks ago was great.  Last night’s episode had a lot of nail-biting, bug-eyed, pass out moments.

First, can we just acknowledge the fact that I was right and called it WEEKS ago that Maya Lewis aka Marie Wallace is a terrorist?!?! I almost lightweight believed Eli/Rowan/Byron Douglas when he told Charlie he doesn’t enjoy killing people.  Because he could have EASILY let Maya stay on that plane and get blown up…because I think there was a bomb on that plane, and Maya put it there.  But I am also slightly annoyed and find it highly unbelievable that after ALL this thinking back Olivia did that she remembered in the 11th hour that someone called the house asking for her mother by a different name… That’s whack.

Also, some people keep talking about how Liv was sitting like a bump on a log for a few minutes during the beginning of the episode.  Well how would you feel if your mother, a woman that you believed died in a plane crash over 20 years ago, just magically showed up at your home talking about, “Hey, Livvie!”  O_o Say what now???  So I can expect her to be a little shell shocked.

And I knew Huck was going to torture Quinn.  I was kinda anxious to see exactly what he was going to do, because I knew that he wasn’t going to kill her.  But to extract a tooth, leave for a little bit, and come back and do it AGAIN!!!  That’s just cruel.  But well deserved, because she should have never gotten caught up with the likes of Charlie.  And their love scene??? YUCK!!!  But she is not going to kill Eli/Rowan/Byron Douglas.  Liv needs him to get her momma back and to find out exactly why she’s been locked up for 22 years…besides the fact she’s someone that can eat her own flesh, kill a doctor, and escape from a maximum security prison.

I am REALLY surprised about James.  I thought he was smarter than that.  He figured out that Cyrus set him up; so why didn’t he also figure out that Cyrus had a way to get proof of Daniel-Douglas’ double life???  And to answer your question (and James’) on why Cyrus didn’t hire someone?  Too risky.  He knew from Mellie’s cocktail party that DD had an attraction to James.  Or they were at least connecting.  Even though I would NEVER condone setting your spouse up to cheat on you, James knows the type of man he married.

But the BIGGEST shocker of the night was Sally calling Cyrus saying, “I have committed a sin.”  Ma’am, is this the same man you just read and told him that he and his husband would spend the rest of their lives in purgatory because of their relationship???  And he is the FIRST person you think to call???  I can’t wait to see the flashback of this argument (because you know there will be one) and to see how Cyrus cleans this up and spins the story.  You know that he is going to make Sally agree to forget about running for President against Fitz and to get on the Grant bandwagon.  I’m sure he’ll make her sign an agreement, too.

Some other mentionables: Cyrus breaking down in the Oval Office.  Mellie totally looked like she wanted to say, “Awk-ward….”  I DIED when she turned and gave Cyrus a minute to compose himself!  Jake and Fitz will ALWAYS fight over Olivia.  Point blank and the period. They should just mud wrestle!  (Kidding! But isn’t that what dudes say about girls??? Anywho…)  Fitz let Jake know he can try to be her hero, but it’s not going to work.  Oh, another thing that I think is major-Olivia has not and does not tell ANYONE that she loves them.  At first, I just thought it was Fitz.  But in the flashback, Maya tells young Olivia, “I love you”, and Olivia does not respond… My co-worker said that she told Edison she loved him, but I don’t think that’s accurate?  (So who’s right???)

Some of my co-workers wanted me to share a few things on my blog, so here goes: One, was Maya trying to insult Olivia when she told her she didnt’ see any laughter in her life and that she was more like her father than her?  I just thought it was an innocent comment and Maya meant that in terms of who Olivia THINKS her mother is.  What say you?  And my other c0-worker thinks Olivia is in a particular sorority.  What do you guys think-IF Olivia was Greek, what would be her organization??? Just a thought and hopefully we can share some laughs, because last night’s episode was intense.

I am anxiously awaiting next week’s winter finale.  What did you think of the episode?  Who’s really the bad guy?  Who can be trusted?  Is Cyrus going to help Sally?  And will James leave or stay?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!