26 February 2015

Please Go Away: On Kanye, "Nice Guys" and Other Nauseating Fuck Boyz

I had no intention on writing about Kanye and his disastrous interview with The Breakfast Club, mostly because I've been done fucking with Kanye.  Since 2010 he's continued to show his ass. Also, there have been so many others who have called him out on his continuous coonery. Here’s one particular article that articulates how he continues to be strong and wrong.

I really don’t know why he continuous to slut shame a woman he was once in love with; a woman who inspired My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (my personal favorite Kanye album before I lost all hope) while he puts his wife on a pedestal especially since they basically have the exact same job. Kim (because of her whiteness, privilege and plastic surgery) just gets paid more for it. I'm not going to even get into how foul and disgusting I find Kanye and his horrendous "30 showers" comment (or the fact that he condones statutory rape) because quite frankly I'd like him to go away. Perhaps we can lock him in a vault until he's capable of acting right...or perhaps until he's on a healthy dose of antipsychotics. (My friends and I also think that he may have Asperger’s which quite frankly makes all the sense.)

So as I said, I really had no intention of talking about the fool until I scrolled on IG while ignoring the Oscars and I came across this.

I was simultaneously enraged and amused. After sending my best friend a screen shot, I realized this is the black ass problem with self-proclaimed "nice guys" and fuckboyz all around. They really believe deep down that because they are average ass human beings who do the bare minimum to be productive members of society, not only are they supposed to win some prize but women are supposed to open their legs and hearts to them. HUH?!!!

Sir!! You have to be fucking kidding me!!! Having a job and degree are pretty basic. Hell I have two of each. And any grown person should be washing their ass on a regular bases and using deodorant! So I ask, what is so special about anything that has been listed here? I was horrified further by some of the comments that were left underneath this post. Foolish people (both men and women) cosigning on this nonsense. What baffled me was the fact that no one ever said, you look like a whiney bitch with very little self-esteem perhaps that’s why you don’t have a woman. Perhaps you haven't learned anything about tact, self-preservation and the proper use of social media.  Perhaps that’s why no girl will look at you. Maybe if you were really a prize your so-called "female friends" would have been tried to scoop you up. Perhaps (and I'm just speculating here), you're as dull as doorknob with little to no personality or hobbies. Maybe your body doesn’t "stink" but your breath does. Perhaps it’s the fact that your idea of taking a woman out is a basic ass dinner/movie date (SNORE). Or moreover, maybe it’s your disgusting entitlement that makes you think you should be rewarded for being an average ass human being.

I know one thing, as a woman if I had posted some bullshit like that about how I fill out a sweater and I have a degree and can cook a meal or two then I would have been called a basic, desperate bottom bitch, and I would have been laid to rest across social media. So why is this acceptable for men?!!

My best friend said it eloquently, "How did we get to the point where a Black man thinks that he’s doing something [extraordinary] because he's not in jail, or having children, etc.?"  I for one don’t know where we went wrong but I do know I'm not going to sit here and throw men a parade for doing the absolute bare minimum. And another thing, how dare y’all continue to act like women who don’t want ya'll asses are superficial moneywhores or whatever else chauvinistic term y’all want to throw at us today.

Listen, the common denominator here is you. If women aren't responding to whatever it is that you’re selling, its time to fix, tweak or upgrade your product.

This whining though has got to stop! Be different, have something to talk about, take her somewhere other than the nearest AMC and TGI Fridays. Here's a novel ass idea...Pick up the damn phone instead of texting.

Maybe these suggestions will help some of ya'll or maybe they won’t. Perhaps some of you will come for me and say that I'm a bitch and I'm bougie or whatever the fuck. Either way, it’s not me that has the issues with finding a woman(or man). All I ask is that if you're going to continue to be a bitch baby and go on and on about how women a’int shit and you're some diamond in the rough that no one has yet to discover at least go away and leave that off social media.

We already gotta be subjected to the Kanye's, Stevie J’s and Floyd Mayweather’s of the world.


Are You A Fuckboy?

Chocolate Girl in the City.

PS. If you've never listened the The Read then you’ve been sleep. This episode “Say No to F**k Boys” was named one of the top 25 podcasts of all time. (Start at 54 mins in)

13 February 2015

Film Review|| Fifty Shades of Grey: A Lesson in Communication and Consent

I'll be the first to admit that I read the Fifty Shade of Grey trilogy in a 48-hour time span. (I will also admit that I've read all three at least three times. I'd just finished undergrad and I had nothing to do.)

Anyway when I found out that Focus Features had acquired the rights to the books for film, I was presently surprised. In my opinion Focus consistently turns quality films, and when Charlie Hunnam was initially cast I was ready to purchase my ticket immediately!

To what could have been le sigh

Sadly, as you all know the beautious man dropped out and was swiftly replaced by Jamie Dornan. I was less than impressed. No tea, no shade but the last thing that butters my roll is a smedium sized white man.

Nonetheless like millions of red blooded women globally I was still intrigued and I found myself at a late showing yesterday evening to see what the film was talkin bout.

First and foremost, the writing was surprisingly witty. Instead of making Anastasia Steele the annoying whinny lip-biting twit that she was in the books, screenwriter Kelly Marcel made her a bit naive but still enjoyable. Anna is a woman with characteristics that I recognize in myself and I'm sure many others can relate to.

Sam Taylor-Johnson as director was also a fantastic choice from the studio. We see mostly all of Dakota Johnson’s (Anna Steele) nude body. (Women's bodies are normally overexposed in films). However, from a woman’s gaze it wasn't callous or garish. Taylor-Johnson made it sensual; giving a squeamish American audience the opportunity to get comfortable with the nudity right along with Anastasia. (We also got to see a bit more man parts then normal. Not the whole peen thankfully because GROSS,  just a peek.)

Dakota Johnson is actually a pretty good actress. I think it was important for the film that Johnson wasn't well known. She's able to embody Anastasia without any of the misconceptions that the audience may have placed on her has she been more famous. Likewise Jamie Dorman, though not my first choice does a damn good Christian Grey. He's stoic, emotionally withholding, detached and damn sexy. Its odd that the duo works so well onscreen together, because its clear that they are painfully awkward around one another in real life

Still, the film like the books has its "chile please" moments. Anna does get a tad melodramatic at times, but it's forgiven because we've all been there. Love and youth don't always bring out the best in you. Also I don't care what type of situationship you're in, D/s or otherwise, if someone shows up out the blue on in a new state, run to the nearest police precinct and file a restraining order. Some stuff only makes sense in films. (Also: The casting of Christian’s siblings, um no ma'am Rita)

Despite all of this, the film got a lot right. Along with the newly improved witty Anna, the kinky sex scenes get two thumbs up from me!! Unlike Addicted (which I finally watched last weekend) these were not watered down snooze worthy encounters. No ma'am Christian Grey doesn't play  ;)

I also applaud those involved in the film for making communication and consent focal points throughout the narrative. Though uncomfortable at times, the characters are not afraid to speak their minds and to share their thoughts and feelings. A lesson many of us could use. Likewise consent is HUGE in the film. In one particular scene Anna and Christian go over a contract concerning their sexual relationship.. As formal as that sounds, I thought it was important to voice. As my friend who attended the film with me so eloquently pointed out, “This is the fantasy of one particular woman, not of ALL women.” Everyone is different the point of communication and consent is to discover what your partners likes and dislikes are.

Overall despite my initially reservations Fifty Shades of Grey really floated my boat. It's lady porn at it's best. (Listen I even got into Jamie Doman as Christian and he ain't nowhere near my type.) I say go see it. Take your girls or your boo, or hell take yourself if is Valentine's Weekend after all. #treatyoself  Who knows, you may even discover some things about yourself, or your partner that you didn't know. Either way bring a moist toilette to cool yourself off.

Listen Linda! Why is the man not bearded in the film?!! Literally the beard changes the GAME

50 Shades of Grey is out in theaters this Valentine's Day *hide ya kids* 

xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxo

PS: I really never got the uproar surrounding the books and the film. Are they the best things that happened to literature and cinema? Of course not!   But some of y'all need to calm down and let grown people do and enjoy what they want. As a Black feminist my pet peeve is when other women (let's not even get into men) try to tell me what I should and should not be into to. Boo, get yo life.

11 February 2015

Food Is Everything! It's Earth, Wind & Fire (Nonsensical Things I've Learned to Be True in My 24 Years of Life)

Much like nineteen or twenty-three, twenty-four years of life seems lack luster as fu*k. I suppose I am officially kind of an adult because I make my own dental appointments and I had to take care of myself a couple of weeks ago when I come down with strep throat and a crippling sinus infection.  I also had to call 311 that time I thought I smelled gas in my apartment.  Other than that, I’m just taking it day by day, one humiliating fall on the subway and tragic use of the bench press at a time.

But suppose I have learned a thing or two in this life of mine, especially since graduating from college. I'll be twenty-five in five months so obviously I barely know anything but here are some things I know for sure. You can agree or disagree or whatever, it’s your black ass life. Here are some of the highlights:

25: Never let a man walk off with all your stuff. Please refer to this blog entry.

24. Always keep a bottle of solid deodorant in your purse during the summer. Since we can’t all prevent our thighs from rubbing together, the sacred deodorant will save your thundery lusciousness from chaffing.
Also your things will smell delightful

23: Reading is fundamental. Now I realize I read a lot more than the “average” person. Most of the novels I read are about sexy times but I do read a “real” book every couple of weeks or so. Anyway this is all to say if you meet someone who doesn’t read, be suspicious.

22. Don’t try a nail place that you hated the first time a second time because you’re still going to hate it, and its still going to be overpriced.

21. I've accepted that I can no longer tolerate weave sewn into my head. Either it shall be braids or a wig or it will be nothing.

20. Student loan payments are the devil and will kill your joy.

19. Delete your credit card information off of Seamless/GrubHub. If you really want take out you will have to manually type in the info each time and quite frankly I’ve never been that hungry.

18.  Sometimes Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope Tour, Love Jones, The Notebook and Love and Basketball are all you need to get by .

I've watched this concert 1,000 times since I was a kid and it will NEVER be enough

17. Alcohol isn’t as much fun as food and I’m ok with that. Food is everything. It is earth, wind and fire.

16. There always must be brunch!! If you ain’t brunchin u ain’t living. (IHOP is life)

15. Water is the elixir of life. Like for real, it will keep the skin sickening and the tummy flat(ish).

14. NYC Grocery stores are terrible places and FreshDirect is the cure.

13. I take a sick sadistic pleasure in getting the hair waxed off my neither regions once  monthly and I don’t have to explain myself to you.

12. Pedicures and baths are Gods gifts to woman.

11. I’m not ok with childbirth. NO GOD.

10.  I’m not a fan of overnight guests or people in my apartment in general and that’s fine. I pay the rent I don’t gotta explain.

9. I've given up on online dating. Its definitely a massive pool of the craziest people you will ever meet (Getting kind of stood up twice in one weekend is all it takes.)

8.When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. 

7.  The actor who plays Harvey Specter on Suits should have played Christian Grey in 50 Shades of Grey.
I mean LOOK!! Meanwhile I must look at tiny as Jamie whathisname

6. Exercise can be enjoyable, as long as you like what you’re doing. (Crossfit and other boot camps are a smooth NO MA’AM) Running and Zumba are a delight.

5. “Interested men act interested”- Demetria Luca D’Oyley

4. Some white people will never get it and you don’t need to waste another breath attempting to explain. Let them watch Friends and continue to be oblivious. 

3. I both hate and am obsessed with kids. 

2. TRAVEL NOW!!! RIGHT NOW!!! Not later but NOW. (I have some AMAZING TRIPS for 2015 planned omg so excited)

1. I’m running out of fucks to give. (Sister has always lived gloriously with such an outlook.) Meanwhile I’ve always struggled with managing my feeling with other people’s feeling and expectations. Something must have happened because these days I care not! Perhaps its something that has come with age or wisdom or perhaps I‘m simply depleted.

Anyway, like I said I barely know anything at all but those are twenty-five things I know with absolute certainty…at least for the time being.

xoxoox Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxo

06 February 2015

“What I’m Viewing Is A Little Different Than What Your Eyes Show Ya”: On Body Image

A casual-to-moderate gym devotee, I’ve always been intrigued by who goes to the gym. It’s so fascinating to watch what machines people gravitate toward, and which classes are perpetually overcrowded. I was under the impression that you could tell a lot about person by observing these things. But it turns out, the gym floor isn’t where you see people at their most vulnerable, it’s actually the sauna. (The women’s sauna specifically because I haven’t had the privilege of being in the male sauna.) Though I’ve been a member of my current gym for well over a year, I hadn’t ventured into the sauna room until last week. A stifling box full of body odor and sweat simply didn’t seem all the appealing to me. (It has also taken me this long not to run for the door like a bat out of hell as soon as my workout sessions ended.) However, like 90% of New Years resoluteness I’ve decided that 2015 is the year that I gather myself in order and whip my thunder thighs into shape. Tragically this means hanging about New York Sports Club for at least an hour.

I’ve vowed like many others while sipping my green juices and counting my calories to be more in tune with my health. And yet, as a Black woman I wonder if it goes beyond the health factor.  In fact I know that for me it goes beyond health.  As women, we strive for perfection, to have just the right amount of hips and butt, just the perfect handful of breasts without a roll, or stretch mark or piece of cellulite in sight.  I feel like there is a constant cycle of questions about my body in  my head. How should my body look? How do I think it looks? How does everyone else perceive it?

If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been overly obsessed with my weight since college.  Like most women, I’ve been aware of my body and how it looks compared to others since puberty.  In an effort to be “thin”, I’ve not eaten, I’ve juiced, I’ve dieted, I’ve worn corsets and so on and so forth. At first I tried to get away with not working out. (In my eyes, sweating was the devil.)  Senior year of college, I chopped of all of my hair and I no longer had an excuse so I began running.  Initially, I was barely making it a mile before feeling like the end was near, and now over two years later running I can run three miles without too much effort. (Of course this is when I’m in one of my gym going friezes which constantly ebbs and flows.) So now I have a tolerable relationship with exercise but my internal wars that I have with my body are a whole other situation.

Continue reading at Black Girl Fly Magazine

26 January 2015

Do You Feel Me?

Ever since I finished grad school this time last year, I feel like I’ve been going through a twenty-something life crisis.  2014 was the year that I was supposed to begin “Saying No Others and Yes to Myself.” It was a certainly a difficult lesson to learn. The year started off with quite the bang, thrusting me in the midst of confrontation; a place where I feel most uncomfortable. And yet it ended quietly, with a cup of tea and a good book. Overall. it was a crazy year; full of a lot of tears, a lot of first dates and about fifteen extra pounds.

So what’s happening now? I’m currently on my third job and in many ways I’m not closer to really understanding what it is I want to do. All I seemed to be able to do was figure out the things that I despise. I left my first job after 5 weeks because in my opinion it wasn’t worth the time or energy it took to get up in the morning and go to such a shitastic environment. My second job lasted through the summer and ended with me seeing a therapist regularly. (Lesson learned, if a job is making you feel this way LEAVE, nothing is worth it.)

Now I’m in an environment I like with a position that isn’t quite what I want but overall I’m happy.  I’m getting more opportunities to do the things that I LOVE, I’m already 10lbs lighter than I was at Christmas, and I’ve got some AMAZING travel plans locked down for 2015.

Despite all of this, I still feel unsettled. I feel like I should be doing more, or better or something.  I loathe whiners so I really try not to complain but I feel like this can’t be it right? This can’t be all there is to life.

There is this huge divide between the millennial generation and the generations that have come before us.  Perhaps this is a bit vain to say but fuck it, I’ve personally done everything right. I went to the right schools from high school to grad. I did the right internships and tried to toe the line. But to what end? Getting that job, one that you’re excited to wake up to go to every morning, the one that centers you and gives you purpose and drive seems so out of reach. (Or perhaps its not so out of reach but it won’t pay your rent of your student loans.) There is something profoundly humbling about clutching on to an Ivy League diploma, sending out resume after resume to no avail. 

I think expressing these feelings has been the hardest for me. My sister and other people my age seem to get it, but when I reach up and reach out to the older and the wiser I’m unusually met with. “That’s Life.”  Period, Full sentence. No further explanation needed.

When I hear this I feel rebellious. It’s that same rebellion that got me to constantly defy my mother when I was sixteen and in my first relationship.  “Whose life?!!!” I think.  Literally the thought of this being “life” makes me want to run away and never return. The monotony of office work for the next thirty plus is paralyzing to me. (But then again I am known for my dramatics.) I realize this is what people do, but dare I ask, if you saw another option wouldn’t you have grasped the opportunity and held on tight when it presented itself?

I really don’t know all the answers. I do know what feels right to me and I’m going to go with that. After all, I’ve been doing “everything right” up until this point I think now is the time to take some chances.

Do you feel me?

Xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxox

23 January 2015

Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th)

For several years now, Black women have had to contend with the media fueled stereotype of being perpetually single and unwed. (Apparently new statistics show that 50% of Black women will never get married.) Lifetime’s "With This Ring" tells the story of a group of girlfriends who make a pack to defy this label, and vow to get married (or engaged) in one year’s time.  Not unlike David E. Talbert’s "Baggage Claim" (2013), "With This Ring" centers around three thirty-plus girlfriends who want their happily-ever-after at any cost. However, they soon discover that what they thought they wanted may not actually be worth having after all.

Trista (Regina Hall) is an up-and-coming talent agent who cannot seem to get past the ex-boyfriend who never truly committed to her.  Upon discovering that she’s wasted yet another night entertaining his foolishness, Trista sets out on an unwavering quest to get a ring on her finger. Trista’s best friend Vivian (Jill Scott) is still in love with the father of her child. She pines after him, unable to move forward in her love life because of her feelings for him. Instead of telling him how she feels, Viv chooses to live in fantasyland and continues playing house with a man who sees her solely as the mother of his child.  Amaya (Eve) is a struggling actress who is frantically trying to convince her married boyfriend to leave his wife for her. Convinced that her boyfriend’s wife is having her own affair, Amaya spends hours trying to catch her in the act.  After attending their friend Elise’s (Brooklyn Sandou) New Year’s Eve wedding, the trio decides that they’ve had enough, and they take their romantic lives in their own hands. Unsurprisingly, their plans do not go accordingly.

Admittedly, a great deal of the film is comprised of Lifetime's trademark cheesy clich├ęs (poor choices made by these women, the usual rom-com high jinks, etc), which you're either already with (especially if you're a regular Lifetime viewer), or are not. There are dream sequences, for example, that simply don't work, and the movie would've been better off without.

Continue Reading at Shadow and Act 

22 January 2015

Interview: Director Nzingha Stewart on How 'With This Ring' Is Different + Much More

Nzingha Stewart is a writer director based in Los Angeles, California. Her latest work "With This Ring," is about three single friends who vow to get married within a year.

Stewart recently spoke with Shadow and Act about the film as well as an exciting upcoming project.

Aramide Tinubu: How did you come across Deneane Millner’s book “The Vow”? Were you looking specifically for a story about single Black women looking for love?

Nzingha Stewart: None of the above. Gabrielle Union and I were introduced by Brian White who is actually in the movie, and we hit it off famously and became really good friends. She had the rights to the book and knew the author really well.  And because I’m a writer and director, she was like take a look at this and see if you can come up with something.  We really haven’t had a kind of Waiting to Exhale, with really fun Black women who are beautiful and their world is great to look at. They’re not like pulling out weaves. It’s just a fun, great, sisterhood movie. And I was like; I would love to do that. I would love to do something with beautiful Black women who love each other and have each other’s backs and their drama is in other places.

Aramide Tinubu: Recent films like "Jumping the Broom" (2011) "Think Like A Man" (2012) and "Baggage Claim" (2013) deal with similar romantic issues for Black Women. How is "With This Ring" different?

Nzingha Stewart: I think it actually starts with the intention. At the very beginning of the movie, I think that our intention wasn’t let’s just make a movie with Black women; they’ll show up. It wasn’t that at all.  I think people think this is a movie with a “you’ve got to get married theme”, and it’s actually the opposite. For me, I felt like there were so many times I would invite friends on a trip, like let’s go to Paris or let’s go to Budapest. And they would be like yeah, that’s a really romantic city I’m going to wait until I can go with my husband. And it’s like well; you don’t even have a boyfriend.

Aramide Tinubu: You’ll be waiting forever.
Nzingha Stewart: Right, you’re going to be waiting for a minute. And just the idea that so many people, I do it myself sometimes with my career, [think], I’m not going to be super happy until I’m here.  I have to catch myself and think well, what if that takes ten years? Am I just going to blow off this gift that the universe has given me of the next ten years and not be happy, and not feel fulfilled. Or, when I‘m doing something that’s fun, I’m occupied mentally with how do I get to this place?  I really was like we’ve got to stop that. We’ve got to stop waiting on the relationship to fulfill us or the career achievement, or the house or the money, or when something else in the future happens. We’ve really got to realize, this is our life and we’re blowing it. We are missing it. And so, the intention was so pure that I really want to get this across to Black women and I think it’s different in that way. I don’t know what the intentions of the other movies were, or what the thought process was. But I can tell you between Gabrielle and me, it was not let’s just get a movie made or, we bet Black women will like this. It was like let’s create something for people that we love, which are other Black women. Let’s kind of support them in remembering, happiness is a choice and don’t wait. Don’t do that to yourself.

Aramide Tinubu: What do you think about the statistic that 49% of Black women will never get married? Do you think that the media has exacerbated the statistic and put more stress on Black women?

Nzingha Stewart: I think the media definitely does it but I think more than the media, we do it to ourselves.  I cannot go home for Christmas dinner and someone not say, “Why aren’t you married yet?” Or, “When are you going to get married?” That’s not CNN in my house, that’s my aunties.  And sometimes I just screw with them and I’m like, “Well obviously there is something wrong with me, maybe if I didn’t have hoven feet somebody might like me.”  It’s because it’s so ridiculous to say that.  I do think obviously it’s a number game and those aren’t insane misperceptions. Maybe it’s a little bit better like forty percent won’t get married. But there is some truth to the fact that statistically its just not happening. So in knowing that, what if it never happens? Are you just not going to be happy with your life? And I ask myself that everyday about something. Whether it’s some projects I’m waiting to hear about, or some project that I want to see happen. I sort of just sit with the reality of, so what if this doesn’t happen? What if this is it? What if this is my life forever? Am I just not going to be happy? And then I’ll say of course not, I gotta live.  And I realize when I decide that if everything stays just exactly the way that it is, I can be happy like this. The universe will be like, let me give you everything else you ask for too. Then it’s a weird cycle, when you are in a good place, doors start opening and that has always been the truth.

Continue Reading at Shadow and Act