Category Archives: Black relationships

Dinner is Served

Confession time: I have not been cooking dinner for quite some time now. My husband cooks dinner for us like 99.9 percent of the time. And that would be fine except that he does most of everything else too while all I really do is work at my day job and then part time in my creative job.

It wasn’t like that when we first started living together. Before we got married, I cooked all the time. I used to grocery shop on a regular basis and get really excited about making new things. I would get obsessed with making something like pesto, or roasted red potatoes with rosemary and then after a few too many times I would get tired of it. But I never stopped cold. And it never ever felt forced or obligatory. I never had to remind myself to cook that night. I just knew it was time to cook dinner. I think it was because it was my first time ever living on my own and  this free and liberating feeling was so nice.  Getting to share meals with my husband and spend time with him and get to know what he liked helped us to bond more deeply and that was a very liberating feeling for me.

I used to make fun of him on occasions when he cooked because he would just heat things up in a pouch or defrost and heat something and I didn’t consider that cooking. But it was dinner.

Now, many years later, we’re married and in our second apartment together and he has become like a master chef. No lie. He loves to cook. Naturally, he doesn’t like doing it every single day! But he really has a knack for it. And I have a knack for eating sooo…. LOL!

A few night ago, for a change, I cooked us a meal. Nothing big, just pasta and salad. I cooked a pasta that was a shape I’d never used before. Gemmeli. It’s cute. Aesthetics in food matter to me.

“I feel like this takes longer to cook than spaghetti. Is this as big as it’s supposed to get? Is this cooked enough yet? Here try it.”

“Did you time it?

“No, I never time it. I just try it.”

“This is good. One more minute and some more salt and stir it a little so…”

“Did you want cheese? Cheese and pepper?”

“Pepper?”

Pepper, You know like ground pepper.”

“Oh, just a little. More cheese please”

“Of course”

“You know there’s ground pepper right?’

“I know but I just like to grind it myself. I like the whole peppercorn. I also like the way it feels to grind it. I like the grinding feeling.”

“Oh I need more dressing”

“So the secret to your salad last night was that you drowned it?”

“Hahaha. No! I didn’t drown them. I just drizzled on a few coats…and then one more

“LOL!!”

I made an IG Stories Boomerang post of me pouring the drained pasta from the colander into the pot and showed it to him. He nodded in authentic approval, which felt really nice and then he directed me to one of his favorite shows that he watches every week about tree house building. There was an animated portion showing the layout of a tree house being built for a couple.

“All I see is a really bad storm coming along”

“But you wouldn’t live there.”

You mean it it would be like a vacation from your house house”

“Yeah”

“When I think about I that way I really like it”

“Yeah!”

“You could have parties there…”

Yup!”

“Retreats”

“Mhhmm…”

“Wouldn’t it be cool to have Black People’s Bed and Breakfast Treehouse”

“Yes!

“They could just be pampered and chill in nature, go for walks on the trails and a few would lead to like a lake or some body of water…

“Exactly!

“Have some guided meditation…”

This lead me google random images of Black people in nature which lead me to the discovery of Outdoor Afro “Where Black People and nature meet…”  It also made me think about how nature walks and just being in nature, which I have loved since a baby have always been framed and appropriated as being a “white people thing.” The same with bed and breakfasts. And we know for a fact that during segregation, there were not only Black bed and breakfasts but entire hotels and inns that provided lodging for Black people travelling from state to state because there was literally no place else they could go! And that made me come to the realization that segregation had to be better for Black Businesses.

If you’re looking surprised right now, remember that a while back I also said it took me years to realize that integration didn’t work for Black people.

So I realized that making dinner for my husband is not just about food or being fed in the most practical sense, which is of course really important. Sometimes it’s also about the inspiration and revelation that can only arrive through that level of safe and open connection that happens when you’re breaking bread together. I need to start cooking dinner again more often. LOL!

Advertisements

Sean Carter Confessionals: Family Feud

The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.

-James Baldwin

A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich. I watched Godfather, I missed that whole shit…

-Jay-Z

 

The year is 2444 The home is rich and lavish. The setting is coldness, anger and betrayal. Michael B. Jordan storms angrily into the bedroom of Thandie Newtown’s characteron a particularly “important day” loudly berating her capacity to be the head of a clearly powerful family only to find her in bed with a dude played by Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes. I notice immediately how pale Thandie, Michael B. Jordan and X are. The only colors you see are like pale blues and yellows. But the paleness of their skin tone makes me think of sickness, deficiency, greed heartlessness and death. Sure enough, before the scene is done, both men are killed, Mark by Trevante and then Trevante by Thandie’s character, Game of Thrones style, because she wants the family “Throne” for herself.

2444

Both Anthony and Trevante are both wearing clothing at the waist inspired by garb worn by men in ancient Khemit. Thandie wears a scant bandage outfit nearly identical to the one Milla Jojovich wore in the “The Fifth Element” a film set in a future that opens in an Egyptian temple and where the planet is under threat of total destruction if an essential element, which is embodied by a woman is not recovered.

Jay Z Family Feud screen grab Credit: Tidal

In the year 2148 an indigenous woman, Bird and Jacob played by Irene Bedard and Omari Hardwick are joint world leaders hailing from two great families. They respond to questions from a citizenry council about violent events that have lead to Jacob’s rise in power. Jacob recounts the legacy of his family and their struggle to uphold and maintain law and justice throughout generations. He talks about how one of his ancestors who played a major role as one of the founding mothers.

Founding Mothers

She was the primary architect of something called “The Confessional Papers” in 2050 and revised the constitution with a group of amazing women, played by Janet Mock, Neicy Nash, Mindy Khaling, Rosario Dawson and Rashida Jones just to name a few.

His ancestor, played by Susan Kelechi Watson in the year 2050 by is none other than Blue Ivy Carter.

Now we’re in Blue Ivy’s  narrational 2050 memory as she recalls her father’s words, “Nobody wins when the family feuds.”

Beyonce-family-feud

Cut to 2018 which is basically now, where there the musical narrative of the video for Jay Z’s “Family Feud” begins. Jay-Z walks a present day Blue Ivy to sit in a church pew and then walks the front to start rapping before Beyonce who Amens at him from the pulpit in royal Blue, looking like a sanctified and sexy ass Popestress. She also appears in a black mini dress and billowy white sleeves behind the screen of a confessional as Jay speaks to her from the other side. The metaphor is plain to see now. And there is still so much left to unpack. I want this to be movie or a television series!

Blu ivy FF

I’m still on the floor!

I don’t know about you but I’ve already watched this video about five times now. I know I will lose count of how many times I watch it again and of how many other pieces of symbolism I pick out of this brilliant work of art and revolution made explicitly for the culture. I also know that 4:44 is a fierce, proud and unapologetically Black call to action to each of us who are about that life if there ever was one and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to arrive as 2017 comes to an end and 2018 kicks the door and our asses in.

Here’s to a Black Ass, Woke Ass 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Scandal

JOE-USE4
Joe Morton

I don’t know that I ever understood who Olivia Pope was outside of a fixer/handler/help who wears the “White hat” quivers in the presence of power, aka Fitz and hires people to kill people but is shocked when she realizes her intimate proximity to killers. If Joe Morton, who plays her father had not joined the cast when he did, I doubt I could have continued to watch the show, particularly after they killed off Harrison and gave him that wack ass funeral. If Poppa Pope hadn’t already been around by then, I just don’t see what other reason there would have been for me to stick around. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy the other story lines. But Olivia’s is meant to be the one we watch for and frankly it’s making me nauseous.

Look. I realize that interracial relationships happen. I’ve been in a few myself. But I look around on television and all I see is white couple TV shows and in Shondaland where Black women are the main characters of two hit shows, for some reason, they can’t be seen with a positively portrayed Black man! WTF?

My good friend at Life as I Know It and I were having our Court Street Car chat last weekend after attending a lecture at the Brooklyn Museum about unpacking the definition of the Diva. We were discussing the reasons why we felt Olivia and Annalise were not only in exclusive relationships with white men but the fact that the little bit of Black men in both shows have been portrayed as either untrustworthy, dead or monstrous. All the powerful white men in Scandal are evil, murderous and selfish but it’s clear that whoever has Olivia’s heart is the hero. And it ain’t her daddy. I can’t get into “How to Get Away with Murder” right now but that story line is starting to go downhill for me as well. She’s doing everything she can for her asshole husband while the only Black man we’ve seen her with is running around in the shadows trying to avenge himself against her.

Let’s  talk about Olivia’s father, Rowan, played expertly by veteran actor, Joe Morton. Every time he starts talking, I’m on the edge of my seat.  I need to know why, when they write for Rowan, the language he uses clearly subverts a truth about race relations that is never fully brought to light in the racial dynamics of the rest of the show.

“Those people are not your people.”

“Don’t you ever leave me for one of them.”

“Twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”

“Those boys..”

I could go on.

HE-GIVES-ME-LIFE

And I know he’s supposed to be an asshole but I need Olivia to give a shit about her family. I need her to put family before these dudes no matter how dysfunctional it is. Why is it that the obvious dysfunction, crime and perversion that is inherent in both Jake and Fitz is seen as the lesser evil for Olivia when compared with her father?  It’s hard for me to believe that she was actually going to sit across from her father at dinner and while “those people” blew his head off. I wasn’t feeling her method of betrayal at all. To pretend she actually believed what her father was telling her to lure him into a trap rather than understand that what he was saying was the God’s truth. Now I don’t know where Shonda is trying to take this, but if it doesn’t pan out or make any sense to me, I can’t continue to watch “Scandal” any longer. I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to have a Black man and woman in a couple on tv who are loving and supportive of one another, but it’s starting to bug me that this is what stands in for someone’s idea of progress or a “post racial” reality. I mean I could see if we had just experienced decades of positive Black images in relationships and families and influential figures in film and television and THEN Scandal came along. MAYBE.  But that hasn’t happened.

I remember that before it was cancelled, my husband used to watch the show “Happy Endings,” a comedy with an all white cast of couples and friends except for Damon Wayons Jr. whose character was married to a white woman. I peeped just enough of it when he watched to see that the show was funny and well written but I refused to watch it. I am not familiar with this reality. What world is that they were living in? No one outside of that circle ever addressed the situation of Damon’s character being the only Black person in his social circle with any seriousness, I’m assuming because it was a comedy? I couldn’t get past it. I couldn’t accept it, because there was never any equal or opposing representation to compare it with.

What television has done effectively is to say, forget about seeing Black people together and loving one another! Lets just skip to situations where they are represented in the minority again! Let’s get over all this racism stuff! There’s not racism anymore! There’s also not one single new show on prime time television (besides “Black-Ish”) where loving, supportive couples, relationships and or families are played by BLACK PEOPLE!

Erm….but we’re so over race right? We’re all equally represented right?

In addition to myself, I know Black people who are married to, dating and in relationships with other Black people and people of color. But I have NEVER seen this reflected on television in any but the most occasional and exceptional of ways. The Cosby Show was great but can we move on?

My main concern is with the message that audiences of color are being fed. I can’t be bothered with what white people may or may not think and I can’t say that I really care. All I know is, I finally get why a lot of Black men hate both of Shonda’s shows. They can’t see themselves portrayed in them in any but a negative light. They continue to be either made to look like terrible people who are violent and manipulative in ways that do not earn them either status, power or love or they are removed altogether, as if they were never important, never needed and never remembered.