“They Call Me LaQueefa”

Unfortunately, people, I can’t make this stuff up, even if I wanted to.  Lifetime’s show “Dance Moms” recently had an episode where dance student Nia, the only African-American girl on the show, was required to do an “ethnic” dance complete with a tight leopard catsuit and black afro.  Of course, Nia’s mom, Holly, voiced her concerns with dance instructor Abby.  But I’m not sure what good that did; Nia still performed in the showcase.  When Abby suggested to Holly that she take her resources and find her own choreographer for Nia’s performance, she backed down. 

First of all, it says a lot when a Caucasian woman can get on national television  in 2011 and can tell a Black mother that she IS stereotyping her daughter.  Abby’s excuse was that Nia has to be able to perform when she appears at auditions where they are looking for “ethnic” dancers.  This is the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in awhile.  If I were Holly, I would have gotten my daughter, gathered up her things, and walked out of the studio.  You know what was even more offensive than the outfit?   It was the dance itself along with the music, which had no type of ethnic beats or moves.   Are we that hard up for fame that we sacrifice our children now?  Not only that, but isn’t Holly concerned about the ramifications this performance may have on the psyche of Nia?   

I understand that parents have dreams for their offspring.  But what is little Nia going to think 10 years from now when she sees this tape?  And if she’s lucky, it may not even take her that long to realize EVERYTHING that is wrong with this episode involving her and her mother. 

Does racism still exist in this country?  Absolutely.  And this show proves it.  It’s just really disheartening to see a child used in this way.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Way Back Wednesday- Strange Fruit

As you all know (well if you didn’t before you do now), I work part-time as a beauty artist.  (Yes, I’m a hustler.)  During a conversation last week with my manager, he told me about this song titled “Strange Fruit“, but he couldn’t remember who sang it.  He suggested (almost demanded :)) that I look it up on YouTube that same night.  And I’m glad I did.  The song, originally a poem written by Jewish teacher Abel Meeropol from the Bronx in 1936, was made famous by Billie Holiday.   If you haven’t heard it yet, listen here.

Right, pretty powerful-and horrific-and disturbing.  Just 71 years ago this song was recorded and the lynchings of Blacks in the South was an all too real horror that many of our family lived through. 

Why bring this up you ask?  Well, after the victory of extreme right wingists and candidates of the Tea Party, I started to get a little concerned.  I’m concerned because their goal is “to take America back”.  Back to where?  To the days of President Reagan, when the poor were taxed like nobody’s business and getting poorer and the rich got richer off the backs of others.  And if we keep playing around and allow these people to “take America back” they’re going to take it right back to the days of lynches and open racism. 

So keep thinking your vote doesn’t matter, continue to think you don’t have a voice, become complacent with the status quo and not growing and evolving and making this a better world for you and your family.  That’s exactly what they want.  For those of you that voted last week, thank you for allowing your voice to be heard.  Even if your candidate didn’t win, stay on the person’s ass who did win to ensure that they speak for YOU!  Hold your representative/councilmember/governor accountable for ANY thing that takes place in your city, town, or state.  Your voice matters-make sure it’s heard.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.