Jun 29, 2015

Lady Who Rocks: Bree Newsome

Well-behaved women seldom make history --- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich didn't lie about that some 30-odd years ago, and her statement rang with much ferocity this past Saturday when activist and all-around Renaissance woman Bree Newsome added her name to the long list of women who have caused a little mischief in the name of progress after she climbed up the flagpole outside of the South Carolina statehouse and removed its Confederate flag. In an instant she became a social media goddess, liken to social justice warriors like Fannie Lou Hammer and Wonder Woman, and immortalized in photos and artwork for her courageous and bold act that needed to have been done, well, decades ago.

Jun 24, 2015

Impressions: Anita Hill, The Power Of Speaking Up For Yourself & Owning Your Darkest Hour

When Anita Hill sat before an all-white, all-male Senate judiciary committee to accuse Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991, I was a mere babe of 4.

As I became older, Anita Hill's name grew leverage, her name tossed around the dinner table at family gatherings as if it was apart of our family's oral history. Still the details attached to her name were still vague to me. My inquiring mind, though, was quelled as the grown-ups around me instead of making attempts to explain who she was clamped their mouths shut, giving that "I really don't want to talk about this" grimace and promptly changing the subject. In school the scandal was lightly touched upon (or really not at all), at times written off as an "oddity" or a marring blip in the country's judicial's track record.

When it came time for me to work in professional arenas, I came face-to-face not only with racial bias but also gender division, and thus, Hill's story, the one so many people around me tried to say I was 'too young' to understand, crept back into my conscious. When Anita: Speaking Truth To Power, a documentary by Academy-Award winning director Freida Mock was released in 2013, I was eager to view it simply because I wanted to fill in the blanks of all that had thinly been taught about the scandal, and understand with more context, more clarity why Hill became almost a 'folk hero' in the feminism canon.

Within just a few minutes of watching the film I began to understand why the grown-ups around me curbed their appetite for conversation about it, why it was so abhorred in political circles, and muzzled in the sociopolitical text. I also re-learned a few things as well, reassessing how sex, race, media influence, and politics collided into a mangled traffic jam of fail that October day in '91, while in turn, gained deeper insight to an ordinary but resilient woman who revitalized a movement just by speaking her unvarished truth.

Jun 17, 2015

Muse: Learning How To Chop Down & Embrace The Hairy Trees On My Face

Excuse my flush, but I have facial hair.

Well, just about every occupant of the female population has facial hair, so special snowflake I am not, but let me speak my truth: Facial hair --- I have lots of it --- and for awhile now, I've been struggling to keep it at bay. No, it's not some cute little peach fuzz, I'm describing a thicket of foliage that rivals the forests of Middle Earth, and all of it resides on my chin, upper lip, and jawline.

There isn't any way I can be polite about it....it f-u-c-k-i-n-g sucks.

My journey with the frustrations of facial hair actually began with someone else's facial hair frustration facial.

Dig the elements: I'm about nine or ten, it's summer time and I'm visiting my Granny, and she needs help tweezing the hairs on her chinny-chin-chin as her fingers aren't nimble and quick anymore due to her arthritis. Since I am her lovely granddaughter, she entrusts me to get the tweezers and pull, pull, pull. So there I go, learning how to tweeze coarse black hair, thinking in my mind, "This will NEVER EVER happen to me. You hear me Dude Upstairs? NEVER EVER!" 

Genetics (and polycystic ovary syndrome) are a salty wicked witch because flash to a decade later, a bumper crop of hair flourishes along my jawline, upper lip, and chin welcoming me to the jungle of womanhood. A flimsy eyebrow shaper will not do --- I need a got damn weed whacker to combat the follicle forest. After years and years of painful waxes (from the pricey salon ones to the microwave sugar kinds), stinky Nair burns, and running battery-operated razors and epilators over my face, I threw money at an at-home-laser unit, and haven't looked back. Two months into the treatment and the pulsed light is...working. The forest is actually being cleared, slowly, but surely.

Still, I refrain from going full tilt Hallelujah! at this point, as the scars of an internal emotional battle over my excessive facial hair remains visible.

Jun 13, 2015

Book Looks: The Quiet Storm That Brews In 'Everything I Never Told You'

The way Everything I Never Told You unfolds is beautiful.

Strange to say considering the novel is about a family that is coming to grips with the death of their teen-aged daughter, but Celeste Ng writes with such eloquent fluidity, with such shivering and minute intimacy that it reads poetic even when the subject matter is filled with anything but.

In her debut novel, Ng introduces us to the Lee family, a Chinese/Caucasian brood of five who live in what is supposed to be a perfect picture-postcard suburban area in Ohio during the 1970s. While on the outset things appear to be calm and orderly, underneath the family is a ticking time bomb as tension simmers and unspoken words are bound and gagged, egging to come out. When Lydia, the middle child, is found dead, floating in the middle of a lake, all that is suppressed finally comes to the surface.

The tone is set from the first page --- really the first sentence --- as Lydia is confirmed dead, her family unaware. From there we work and get swept up in the ebb and flow of death’s aftermath and the hidden lives and thoughts of the “left behind”, the ones who orbited Lydia --- her siblings, Nathan and Hannah, her parents, James and Marilyn, and her neighborhood friend, Jack. Instead of going for the straight sap trap of a Hallmark Movie, Everything I Never Told You places you into the claustrophobic chamber of a deep character study, with each individual given space to unravel, all of their emotions and mental states compressing and inching on you gradually.

Jun 12, 2015

Rant & Rave: No, Rachel Dolezal Is Not Black & Never Will Be No Matter How Much She "Feels It"

Michael Jackson sang, "It doesn't matter if you're Black or White", but somewhere down the line Rachel Dolezal decided that being Black was all that she wanted to be. The prominent Washington civil rights leader and NAACP president has claimed for 17 years that she is a 'sista', but her parents have recently come out to say the opposite, unveiling via photos that Dolezal is actually a White woman who is passing herself off as a Black woman.

Oh, dear...

Jun 3, 2015

Beautification: Hot Lip Color Fun In The Summertime

Summer doesn't officially start for another few weeks, but in South Texas it's been summer since February and THE HEAT IS ON! (*makes a sassy '80s saxophone sound*). While I break out the shorts and stock up on pints of Chunky Monkey ice cream, it's time to take my bright summer lipsticks and glosses out of hibernation. 

I have such a die-hard attachment to bright lipstick that it took all my strength not to wear them in the winter time, when I'm supposed to be piling on the 'elegant, reflective, and cerebral' look of my wine colored lipsticks. This year I decided to treat myself and buy some new bright colors just because sometimes you have to pamper yourself to get yourself out of bed in the morning, ya know?

Rise and shine to these colors.