20 October 2014

Film Review: Dear White People

On my first day of college at NYU, I dragged my three bags up eight flights of steps to get to my assigned room. Many years later now I don't recall what type of door tags the Resident Hall Advisor had made for the first semester, but I do remember how the names on the door, how they looked and how they made me feel.  My dorm door read, "Sarah, Susan, Sally and Aramide". So began my freshman year of college; a strange and often troubling prologue to my college experience as a whole." Justin Simien's Dear White People felt very much like relieving that experience.

I went into the show with extremely high expectations. The film has been garnering serious buzz for well over a year. It centers around the fictional Ivy League Winchester University in or around Chicago. Samantha "Sam" White (Tessa Thompson), the film's protagonist  is a mixed Black nationalist airs a campus radio show entitled "Dear White People". The show exposes the hypocrisies and racial injustices that are ingrained within the university, as well as the micro-aggressions that students of color experience on a daily basis along with with the spaces of privilege and power that the white students on the campus continuously occupy. 

Though often humorous scoldings like  "Dear White people, please stop dancing", Sam also points out completely inappropriate behavior, like the use of the word Nigga by white people even when "hidden" under the guise of reciting rap lyrics. Needless to say, Sam's ruffling quite few feathers.Winchester has also enacted a random lottery selection that leaves students with little choice of where they might dorm. An issue that is seemingly only affecting the historically Black dorm on campus.

There's also tensions between the President of the University's son Kurt (Kyle Gallner) constantly antagonizes standing proudly on his pedestal of privilege. Not the only douche bag in the film, Kurt is constantly at war with Troy (Brandon Bell), the head of the Black dorm and the son of the Dean of Students (played by Dennis Haysbert). Troy also just happens to be Troy's ex, confused about his own identity and place at Winchester, he's constantly seeking his father's approval while trying to accepted by Kurt and his crew.  

Lionel (Tyler James Williams), a black gay student  who can't seem to find his footing anywhere, is the object of both Kurt's ridicule and Troy's disdain. (Tyler is brilliant by the way, just as he was in Everybody Hates Chris). Though he's being constantly shoved into stereotypically labeled boxes by his classmates, Lionel might just discover his own identity in the end. 

I'll admit the film started off slow for me, the narrative was like a weaving basket and I struggled first to understand how all the threads aligned.  Perhaps it was because my expectations were so high. I found my mind racing, desperately trying to figure out where the story was going before it picked up speed. When it did however, it was not at all what I expected. In fact it was much much more.

Instead of the collective story of the token black kids that I and I'm sure many of you know. Simien chose to focus on the complexities of Blackness. What if you don't really have a place in the Black Student Union? Perhaps you find the idea of wearing your hair in it's natural state abhorrent? Maybe the person you love is someone society has tried to shame you into hiding? All of these ideas are assessed in the film. Teyonah Parrish who plays "Coco", the upwardly mobile bougie Black girl whose looking for a Robin to her Paula is freaking brilliant. (Much more range then she is afforded on either Mad Men or Survivor's Remorse.) And yes, it's also made clear that it's NEVER OK to just reach into ANYONE's head and rub your Hands through it. Nor is it EVER acceptable to wear Blackface. (Dear White people, STOP WEARING BLACKFACE!) 

The film isn't perfect, it's not as alternatively sound as I would have hoped and there are some questions left unanswered in the end that I felt as viewers we are owed an explanation.It did however make me think, as it will many of you. It brought me back to that day freshman year of college when my roommate looked at me with disgust and pity when she found a strand of my hair by the refrigerator. (Early on I gave her the "Black people don't wash their hair everyday talk.") Apparently she thought that meant I was just filthy. It also reminded me of the awkward encounters that I had with the other black kids that made up the entirety of NYU 5% black student body at the time. (Like the incident of the girl who acted a fool at a restaurant and didn't tip, or the guy at that frat party who tried to "hook up" with me because I was the only other black person there, or the times when I went to Black history month club and the older students were rude and snooty and wouldn't speak to the freshman.)

The film also reminded me of the time last year when I was leaving my thesis class for my graduate programs (where I was the only black person) at my Ivy League slams matter and I said "that got on my black nerve." And, one of my classmates turned to me and said, "Why does it have to be a "Black" nerve?" 0_O

Dear White People, lets it be known loud and clear that despite the fact that we live in Obama's America, we are not and no where near post-racial. Its unapologetic and brass in your face. It screams loudly and clearly that race and racism are still issues so lets talk about them. Go see Dear White People, and tell me what you think.

xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxoxo

19 October 2014

I Am NOT A Colorless Person

Ferguson, Missouri 2014

I’d like to start off by saying that however, Raven would like to label herself is her right. (I would say her Black ass right, but she don’t want to be labeled as such so I’m gonna go ahead and respect home girl’s wishes.) What is interesting though, (and Crissle pointed this out on my favorite podcast The Read) is that people want to throw away labels ONLY when they are labels that are devalued in society. (Everybody want to be a nigga but don’t nobody want to be nigga.)  A rich, fine, intelligent billionaire never says, “Oh no, no, no please don’t call me rich, fine or intelligent. I don’t want to be labeled.”

So as I said I’ve got no beef with Raven and her lack of labels. Hell this fool Mike Tirico from ESPN claims to be 100& Italian. (Real tears.) If he wants to live in a delusional cloud of foolishness then by all means I say go on ahead boo. (Though I do hope he realizes that if this was 1815 he wouldn’t be talking about none of this. He would be right next to me in all of chocolate glory trying to pick some cotton, or grow some tobacco, or cultivate some sugar. He wouldn’t have even passed the test to be helping in the big house.) But its 2014….so be Italian if you want to. 

Mike Trico

What did aggravate me and irritate me is when Raven said, “I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person.”……  0_O 

 I’m sorry what?!!!!  Ms. Raven, while you were playing Olivia on The Cosby Show (the most successful BLACK sitcom of all time), did you not have a tutor? Perhaps you missed a few lessons. Being American is the opposite of being colorless. Ain’t you learn about how we’re supposedly this melting pot of cultures, people and ideas? Were you not taught that wars were fought , that people have marched and died, have been assassinated, exterminated, interned, removed, violated, lynched ,and on and on because color is labeled as other and other apparently fosters fear and hatred.

I am not a colorless person. Colorlessness evokes erasure and as Viola Davis recent stated after that simple-minded New York Times article. “You can’t erase ME!.”

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago (Chicago is extremely segregated still, so my neighborhood was predominantly Black.) I went to an all Black elementary school and middle school. Black history month was huge for us, we had Black Santa’s and figurines at Christmas, we had subscriptions to Ebony and Essence. I know the Black national anthem and I know all the colors on the Black American flag and what they stand for.  I’m well versed in Black history, I know where my Mama’s people came from(Mississippi) and I also know they came to Chicago during the Great Migration. My mama was ten when MLK was assassinated. She remembered that day, I remember that day through the stories she’s told me.  I understand from listening to my elders; my Big Daddy, and my aunts and uncles. I am a fervent reader. I watch a ton of documentaries on Blackness and Black history. I understand the historical significance of Nigger, Negro, African American, Nigga and Black, My dad was Nigerian and he was very ingrained in his culture as well. Blackness raised me, it is in me, I live it and I breathe it. My skin is extremely dark brown. It’s there always visible, ever-present. I can’t remove it, would never want to even if I could. I have been teased and tormented for it. I’ve been praised and sexualized because of it. I can barely find foundation and drawers to match my nude. I can’t contour my face because of it.

So I embrace my labels, because they were earned with my ancestors’ blood and tears and perseverance. My humanity is still being fought for, look to Ferguson or Florida, just flip on the news or walk around any major city. 

I am not colorless, I am Black, visible and present. I refuse to be shoved into the background.  
I’m an introverted extrovert.
I have dark skin.
I am boisterous.
I am humorous.
I am raunchy and free.
I am a bookwork.
I am a Chicagoan and a Harlemite,
I am more hetro then homo
I am young
I am a woman,
I am a Black woman,
I am a feminist,
I am happy
I am parentless
I am childless
I am curvy
I am Nigerian
and yes I am also an American but certainly not colorless.

 xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxox

11 October 2014

Laundromat Chronicles

What did I do to deserve this?!
A few Saturdays back New York City decided that even though it was September, it was just going to remain hot boots. Tragically, one of these Saturdays was one of the hottest days of the year and I had the poor fortune to run out of both drawers and sports bras. Now underthings on the bottom aren't exactly necessary, however, one must not go round to the gym without some spandex keeping the girls together.

(No but seriously last week I was on the treadmill and the girl directly facing me on the elliptical machine  had on NO BRA. She wasn't a busty woman but still... I could never.)

Anywho, I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt and loaded up my granny cart with a months supply of dirty clothes and trudged the three minute walk to the laundromat . As I loaded my washer, I felt eyes on my bottom. Now my bottom isn't large by any means, but I have been blessed with the most thundering of thighs which, invite my shorts to constantly ride up. So I suppose in retrospect the boy had something to look at. 

I went on about separating and loading up my clothes completely aware that this boy's eyeballs were drilling holes into my butt, though entirely determined to ignore him and all of his niggadom. (I know this is stereotypical but just wait until I describe this poor unfortunate man-child. Also, what does it say about the society in which we live that I've come to expect sexual harassment anytime I step outside of my house, but that's another post for another day).

As I locked the door on my final washer I hear a "Ey! Where you from?" I turn rolling my eyes and take the boy in.

He's sitting but it's obvious that he's tall...that's about all the glory that I can allow him. He was tatted from the neck down (and I typically enjoy ink) but his tats were a mess and the mess atop his head didn't even allow my poor suffering eyeballs to absorb the tats.)

THE BOY HAD A TOPKNOT!!! Like he had gotten a relaxer and sat up between his granny's knees as she took a pressing comb to his head. (Clearly I am unable.)

I'm holding my Tide pods in my hand and I give the boy my most uninterested look as I responded. "Around." (Because people really travel far to go to the laundromat. 0_O)  He then tells me that he lives on 150th Street like that information is going to somehow make me more loose-lipped about my home address. He asks me again where I'm from.

"Boy! I'm not about to tell you where I live!" I finally respond.
The poor fool looks generally offended but says nothing, quietly observing me.

Thinking about my impending trip to Starbeezys I quickly scooped up my bag and meandered off thinking nothing more of the incident.

Of course Monsieur Tatted Top Knot was awaiting my arrival some 45 minutes later when I returned to transfer my things from the washer to the dryer.

He observes me once again as I take my time transferring my clothes from one machine to another. Praying to the Lord above that I can escape unscathed, I had no such luck. 

"Hey!" I hear. Irritated, I roll my eyes and cock my head to face him glaring at him with my filthiest look.  "WHAT?!" I respond. (Usually if I'm being harassed on the street I mutter something and keep moving, However, since I happened to be alone with this boy in the laundromat, I decided it would be easiest to not outright ignore him.)

He grins like a loon and says "Come here."

This is the point where I began to laugh in his face. "Boy! Can't you see I'm doing my laundry? I don't know you! Why the hell would I go anywhere you called me?!" Anyway you're way to young for us to be having any type of conversation."

Of course he was terribly offended when I said that. "Whatcu mean? I'm 22" he exclaims!

"Exactly" I reply trying to hurry along, as I continue conversing with this buffoon I can feel the brain cells melting from my head.

It's quiet for a moment and I think that perhaps that was the end of it, I should have known that was not to be the case.

"Put your number in my phone!", he demands, I whip my head around swiftly glaring at him. "I have a man!" I say. (In truth I'm as single as a dollar bill but that's my go -to line for shiftless Negros....not that it matters cuz, that don't stop them.)

He replies, "That's cool I'm just trying to be friends." (Typical) I stand gaping at him in disbelief. I guess he thought I was looking at his dusty pre-paid phone because he quickly added. "Oh don't worry, this ain't my real phone, my iPhone is getting fixed." (Priorities my nig**, priorities.) I shake my head and go back to stuffing my clothing in the dryer.

As I begin collecting myself to leave he bellows,  "We would make some beautiful babies." I shake my head in horror and as I exit the last thing I hear is him yelling, "So you really not going to give me your number?!" 

Just a typical late Saturday morning in Harlem World I guess.

xoxox Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxo

PS. But seriously though street sexual harrasment is a real thing. Men who do this need to leave women alone and let us go thru our lives unbothered. There is nothing wrong with a nice polite compliment. However,  we do not HAVE to speak to you. We are not REQUIRED to smile. We do not HAVE to ACKNOWLEDGE you existence. For real though LEAVE US ALONE.

30 September 2014

First Glance: STARZ's "Survivor's Remorse"

Today, the biggest divide among Black Americans is the income gap. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in families and communities where one or more of its members rises through the social classes through professional athleticism or some other type of celebrity. Starz Network’s new original series Survivor’s Remorse deals with this very issue.

Cam Calloway is a twenty- something professional basketball player, who signs a multimillion dollar contract with a fictional Atlanta team, thrusting him and his family into the spotlight.  Though Cam is not new to the world of professional basketball, the notoriety along with his new colossal salary are all new things that he has to contend with.

Though far removed from his Boston project upbringing, Cam feels both blessed and guilty to be in his position.  He is convinced that he was given a push in life, some luck was bestowed upon him while those he grew up with were given the short end of the stick.

Fame and fortune do not just affect Cam, but his family as well. His cousin Reggie acts as is his best friend and the voice of reason.  Reggie has built and subsequently wants to protect the “Cam” brand. He’s constantly nagging Cam to make wise choices Reggie understands unlike others in the family the importance of public appearances and of maintaining and growing wealth.

Cam’s sister M-Chuck is a loud and bossy lesbian who has raised Cam and resents the fact that he wants to establish parameters around the money that she receives from him. He tells her, “I want to be a brother to you, not an enabler.”  Obviously, there’s built up resentment between the pair. I was pleasantly surprised that the show chose not to shy away from M-Chuck’s sexuality especially because the LGBTQ community is often still shunned in the Black community, I was also excited to see that M-Chuck wasn’t the “stereotypical” overly-masculine lesbian that we often see on television. 

Survivor’s Remorse is about how your past is never really the past, it rarely goes away and stays hidden. In today’s society, consumed with media and technology nothing is ever private, nothing is ever truly forgotten.

The show catches Cam at a pivotal turning point in his life.  He’s no longer that boy from the Boston projects who writes explicit poetry about eating pussy. However, he’s also not a packaged celebrity, He’s still very much human, he’s intrinsically connected to the people that he’s left behind. Which begs the question, when do these athletics and celebrities loose that connectedness? Is it important to hold on to that? Or, are you better off wearing a mask?

In theory the show’s concept is quite compelling. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite come together. I’ve watched and admired several of the actors involved for years including Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps, RonReaco Lee and Teyonah Parris. However, the actor with the leading role, Jessie Usher is not as strong as some of his co-stars, while Erica Ash seems grossly miscasts as M-Chuck. (Or perhaps the character too much of a caricature.) Furthermore, it seems to me as if the writing is a bit off. I watched the first four episodes of the season with the same befuddled expression I had when I watched the series premiere of Real Husbands of Hollywood. The comedic flow is choppy at best while expletives and feeble jokes seem thrown in for shock value.

Coming off of Power, I thought the Starz Network was really on to something with an all-Black cast comedy. And yet, though everyone looks brown and beautiful, the show feels obnoxious and sloppy. After getting through four episodes, it is very unlikely that I’ll tune in for more. It’s such a bummer because with a fairly strong cast there was such an opportunity here; but after all, actors can only work with the material that they’re given.

Will you all be tuning in to Survivor’s Remorse
It premieres Saturday October 4 @ 9PM EST on Starz

xoxox Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxox

"Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap

Where on earth is Olivia Pope?
That’s the question that we’ve been asking ourselves since we saw Olivia hop on the plane with Jake at the end of last season. As season four opens, we find a curly headed Olivia frolicking on some private island with Jake. She has not one care in the world, she’s not at all the Olivia that we know and love. In fact she’s Julia.

(For those of you who did not catch the reference, Julia Baker was the name of Diahann Carroll’s character in the television show Julia (1968-1971) Prior to Scandal’s start in 2012, Julia was the last primetime television drama with a Black female lead.)

Though Olivia and Jake have seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, someone has figured out where they are. Their red wine delivery brings with it the news of Harrison’s death. And just like that their island paradise bubble is popped.

I must say that I wasn’t too torn up about Harrison’s death. Columbus Short’s personal life aside, I was increasingly irritated by his lack of back-story and I couldn’t understand his unwavering loyalty.

Read more at Shadow& Act

xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxox

24 September 2014

Series Premiere: Blackish

When I initially heard about Blackish I'll admit I was a tad hesitant. I live for Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne but I wasn't too sure about Anthony Anderson. However, after reading up on the series I knew that the show was worth a watch.

Black people like everyone else in America strive for the "American Dream", often when you are the first one with a college education and well paying job, you find yourself in a  drastically different environment from the one that you grew up in. Also, as you become more upwardly mobile  there will be fewer and fewer people who look like you; at school, in your work place, and even in the neighborhood (the place where  you are supposed to feel most comfortable)

Most of America does not look like the Huxtable's Brooklyn.  You almost have to go out of your way to stay in Black neighborhoods or find employment at Black companies; if that's what you choose to do. As someone who went to two predominantly white universities let me tell you,  being the the token Black gets old REAL quick.

Blackish explore all of these themes and chile, the show is everything. I knew I was in for a real treat when the show opened with Kanye's "Jesus Walks".  Anthony Anderson's character Andre Sr narrates the show. He seems to be going through a mid-life crisis of sorts. He is concerned that with the advent of mommy and social status, Black folks have lost their culture.

Andre's starting to feel like a puppet at work, especially after he gets promoted to the SVP of the "Urban" division at his job. Horrified he gives us a bit of Dave Chappelle's "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong." (I mean anyone who has been on the receiving end of white people attempting Black vernacular in order to appear "down" understands the struggle.)

                                                     This will never not be funny to me

Andre's also concerned that his children don't know what it means to be Black. His younger children have only known Obama as president and the poor tots had no clue he was the first Black president. The kids seem shockingly colorblind, describing the only other Black girl in their class not by her Blackness, but instead by the fact that she smells of turkey burgers.

Throughout the entire pilot episode Andre Sr, is trying to grasp where it all went wrong. He feels like he's in the twilight zone, like he's somehow betrayed his Blackness. (His son's friend walks into their house and opens the fridge to grab a grape pop like he lives there, Andre Jr, wants to be called Andy.... so many things are not as he feels they should be.)

Lawrence Fishburne is also low-key hilarious, he even wears as what my bestie described as the "Old Black Man Uniform. Or in other words, the monochromatic walking suit. (You know the same one your Daddy wore to your college graduation. Even my daddy had on a version and he was African.)

I thought Blackish was truthful and honest, its definitely NOT The Cosby Show, but that was 30 years ago, we are dealing with different things now. Cosby will always be epic which is why everybody and they mama still watches it on a regular basis.

When I write about Black films and television I always hear backlash, someone always has some issue with how whatever is being portrayed is not truthful enough, or this person is a misrepresentation or a stereotype and on and on.  The thing is, we are a culture of people with both shared and varied experiences. And that's the point isn't it? To have popular culture and the media display the shared and various experiences.

If you want perfect characters, and that's the only way you thing Black people should be depicted  the The Cosby Show is on Hulu Plus. If you're looking for a hump day laugh, some things to get you thinking and some quality acting from brown people then tune into Blackish, Wednesday's at 9:30PM EST on ABC. What I'm not going to be pressed about is Black people on a major network during primetime.

xoxoxo Chocoalte Girl in the City xoxoxoxo

PS. I read on twitter that some parents were concerned that the show came on too late and that their babies would miss brown faces on television because of it. (Um Ma'am... DVR, they can watch that joint on the weekend. After all, The Cosby Show aired Thursday nights during primetime as well.)

14 September 2014

Black Like Me: On the 2014 Primetime Fall Television Line-Up

Growing up, I wasn't allowed to watch television on the weekdays.(My dad was African, reading was king.) Throughout elementary school I would sit on the school bus and listen to my friends go on and about what had occurred on any given show. (Did I mention we didn't have cable?......It was a pitiful existence.) I’d heard about the various cable shows of course but, I only had access to the basic networks and only on Friday evenings and Saturdays, if we were home.  

On the weekends, I was as thirsty as possible. Parched for some screen-time I often raced down the stairs  to beat my sister to the tv. I watched a ton of shows those blissful Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons of my childhood. After all, Black faces were aplenty. (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, The Cosby Show, A Different World, Martin, Living Single, Hangin’ With Mister Cooper, The Steve Harvey Show, The Jamie Foxx Show, Good Times, etc.)

And as I got older, I got into more current shows like Moesha, Sister Sister, One on One, Half & Half, The Parkers, The Bernie Mac Show, Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends and The Game (pre-BET).

I watched a lot of other things too. However, I gravitated towards these particular shows because of the familiarity of the brown faces that appeared on screen. They looked like my family, like my Mama and them.  As Black people, we are not a homogenous group but there are moments, certain particularities that remain timeless and relatable.

As I moved into high school and then through college, Blackness had nearly vanished completely from both the big and small screens. Tyler Perry of course kept actors on the big screen, while period pieces and bio-pics, always found room for Black faces. (And yet as we all know, being restrained in these particular roles suffocates the black actor.)

Television however, was in even worse shape.  As I struggled with girlhood and then when puberty. I was desperate to find girls who looked like me. There was Breanna (Kyla Pratt) from One on One, Moesha (Brandy) and Vanessa (Camille Winbush) The Bernie Mac Show. However, those girls were just a bit older, a bit more refined, just a tad out of my reach.  We had Raven to go along with Lizzie McGuire, but was that enough? Not when you’re bombarded with images that are the antithesis of who you are.

I was constantly digging through the archives, working backwards to find old images of Angela Bassett or Erika Alexander. Their images weren’t always readily available; I had to be purposeful in seeking them out. It was as if we’d once again reverted to the 1960’s when everyone in a Black household went running to the television when someone Black was on screen.

Shonda Rhimes and ABC changed that first with Grey’s Anatomy (2005-) and then when she got us all together by delivering queen Olivia Pope in Scandal (2012-) And finally it seems other networks begin to follow suit.  Though it was a very short run, Megan Goode starred on NBC’s Deception (2013), and things have seems to go from there. As a television lover, I’m super excited about some of the things coming out.

I have argued with many about Black images on screen, Many people take issue with Olivia Pope’s position as a mistress, they feel that because she is one of the only Black women on screen she should be prefect (ala Claire Huxtable). However, I argue that the perfect image argument is even more tiresome then being called “chocolate” as I walk down the street.

But here’s what’s coming up in fall television.


8PM EST Fox’s Gotham

This new series is a prequel to Batman. I’m not really super into the superhero world unless the man character is fine but Jada Pinkett is on TV again and that in itself is worth the look.

9PM EST Fox’s Sleepy Hollow.

Nichole Beharie is stunning; I’ve seen it for her since I was first introduced to her in Shame (2011). Though I ‘m obsessed with Buffy The Vampire Slaver and The Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hallow isn’t necessarily my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I watched nearly half of the first season and its very well done but I guess being “grownish” I need something a tad sexier. Definitely worth the watch though.


8PM EST NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura.  

Now this doesn’t exactly fall in line because Laz Alonzo plays Deb Messing sidekick in the show. But I shall excuse it because I live for Deb (if you haven’t seen Will & Grace then just give up on life now.) and hell I’ll watch Laz for an hour. I’m not mad at all.

9PM EST Fox's Red Band Society
Based off a memoir, the story surronds a group of kids who bond during their stay at an LA hospital. Octavia Spencer stars as one of the nurses at the hospital. The story line feels a bit cheesy to me if I'm going to be honest, however Octavia can be great as long as shes not relegated to the role of "sassy" Black helper. We've seen The Help already.


9:30PM EST ABC’s Blackish

 Now, though I’m excited about this theoretically because I live for Tracee Ellis, I’m not really sure about this show. Maybe its because I feel away about Anthony Anderson, but I think the themes surrounding the show are definitely worth discussing. I’ll give it a look for sure. 


8PM EST ABC’S Grey’s Anatomy

 The first of Queen Shonda’s Thursday night shows. Now I haven’t watched the show since Loretta Divine was still the Chief’s wife. I lived for it in high school but it just got to be too much for me.  Anyways’ the show is a multicultural spread . Plus there’s Jesse Williams so…yeah.

9PM EST ABC’s Scandal

Ms. Olivia Pope! When I first stumbled across this series fairly early on I knew it was something special. The fashion, the storyline, Kerry Washington herself, it was and still is all of the things. Don’t get me wrong, last season was a hot boiling mess but I’ll just chalk it up to Kerry being preggers and the writers trying to wrap things up in an eighteen-episode season. Anyway I’m still hype about it come back. (Also thank God they got rid of Columbus Short’s ridiculous ass.)

10PM EST ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder

Ya’ll Auntie Viola has her own show. She slays in general (I just saw her in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and she was the best part of that entire fiasco of a film.) I don’t know much about the series other than it looks amaze and Dean Thomas from Harry Potter is on it but that enough to draw me to the tv.

I would say that overall, the current fall line up is not looking too shabby. It's looking much better than last year that’s for sure. I will say this however, as Viola Davis said recently, this marginalization of Black people on screen has got to stop. We shouldn't have to go seek out premiere networks like HBO, Showtime and Starz to see images. They should be ever present ever available, just as we are in real life. Images reinforce the fact that we are real, that we are human and that our existence is just as relevant and just as valuable as others.   

xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxox
Will you be watching?

02 September 2014

“You Did Right By Yourself, Ain’t No Other Way To Live.”

“You did right by yourself, ain’t no other way to live.” Chadwick Boseman as James Brown

The summer my mom died I lost about thirty pounds. It’s been four years and I remember that summer as if it happened yesterday. It’s strange because I can’t remember what happened last week. And yet, those memories will forever be permeated on my brain.

It was the summer Kanye’s “ My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” dropped.  I was obsessed with being an ultra girlie girl and I wore copious amounts of weave and makeup. But the thing I remember most was the smells.  The smell of the cancer ward on the top floor of Northwestern Memorial hospital, the smell of the wind coming off of Lake Michigan as my best friend and I sped down Lake Shore Drive. We were desperately trying to hold on to the innocence of being]young and free, right on the cusp of adulthood. And still, though unsaid we recognized that we would never be innocent again. That summer marked the end of my childhood. As the summer trudged forward I slept less and less, my once tight fitting clothes hung off of me, and I painted my mother’s nails for the last time trying desperately to come to terms with her impending death. After twenty years those were to be my final days with her.

And even today, right now as I write this I can still smell the cancer ward. It's as if the disease seeped in to the walls and the floors of that building. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before, not like the maternity ward or even the nursing home I visited as a child. It was because of that smell that I didn’t eat. Every time I looked at food I was reminded, and I was disgusted and heartbroken, my stomach churned. So I drank coffee and alcohol, and stayed out all night,and worked and sat with my mother.

Even that summer, I was able cope, to press forward, to deal, despite what was happening around me. Perhaps I’ve worn myself down or maybe my nerves are just shot from the stress and overuse of the past few years. I recently found myself in a situation where my stomach was once again in knots, the constant stress and anxiety was literally eating away at me. I began questioning myself and my capabilities. (I’ll admit I’ve only ever truly been a disaster at a few things in my life fractions, physics, geometry and calculus. Everything else I pretty much get after a few tries.) The constant throbbing in my stomach and my perpetual anxiety wasn’t allowing me to think clearly. I started buying into the things that were said to me and about me.

And then after a particularly trying day a good friend called me up and we chatted for awhile and she expressed to me that she had been in a very similar situation and it took just that conversation to make me snap out of this reverie that had been consuming me. 

#blessed & grateful

I’ve realized that people will try and tell you how to live or what choices to make, but at the end of the day you have to do what's best for you. You can’t let other people’s anger and dissatisfaction with their lives affect you because it will take root into your soul. Quite frankly, it’s none of your black ass business nor is it your place to become the vessel onto which they spew their negativity.

Happiness is everything to me, the joy that I find in a day is what keeps me pressing forward. Those memories, those images and that smell will always be with me, but I’m less easily haunted when I’m living in the light.