Soul Food: “Who Am I?”

May 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian and a participant in the German resistance movement. He participated in plans to assassinate Hitler (despite being a pacifist), was arrested and executed. He wrote this poem a month before his execution.

Who am I? They often tell me I would step from my prison cell
poised, cheerful and sturdy,

like a nobleman from his country estate.
Who am I? They often tell me I would speak with my guards
freely, pleasantly and firmly,
as if I had it to command.
Who am I? I have also been told that I suffer the days of misfortune
with serenity, smiles and pride,
as someone accustomed to victory.

Am I really what others say about me?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
Restless, yearning and sick, like a bird in its cage,
struggling for the breath of life,
as though someone were choking my throat;
hungering for colors, for flowers, for songs of birds,
thirsting for kind words and human closeness,
shaking with anger at capricious tyranny and the pettiest slurs,
bedeviled by anxiety, awaiting great events that might never occur,
fearfully powerless and worried for friends far away,
weary and empty in prayer, in thinking, in doing,
weak, and ready to take leave of it all.

Who am I? This man or the other?
Am I then this man today and tomorrow another?
Am I both all at once? An imposter to others,
but to me little more than a whining, despicable weakling?
Does what is in me compare to a vanquished army,
that flees in disorder before a battle already won?

Who am I? They mock me these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, you know me, O God. You know I am yours.

Fox News Needs Some Common Sense, Among Other Things

May 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Amber,

Fox News is pissing me off. Again. Their most recent stupidity is to be hot and bothered over Michelle Obama’s invitation to Common to attend a White House poetry night.

Oh Fox. Foxy Fox Fox. Must we drum up “controversies” and work as hard as we can to close our eyes and shut our ears? Must we be so ignorant?

Here’s Sean Hannity: (You can read the full transcript here.)

I imagine the conversation to have this conversation went as follows:

Hannity: “Who’s this ‘Common’ on the poets list? That’s not a name.”
Random Fox Intern: “He’s a rapper.”
Hannity: “Black rapper? Well there’s gotta be some dirt on him.”
Intern: “Well…actually, not really.”
Hannity: “Find some. Anything.”

And so all they could find was a poem on Def Poetry Jam….not even something off one of his albums. Slow clap, Fox. I’m impressed.

Errr. Not really.

Here’s Jon Stewart shutting down Bill O’Reilly (I have such respect for Stewart in this particular conversation):

 

So, Amber, after watching these videos, here are  lessons I believe Fox News and its commentators should learn:

1. Assume nothing. Especially about music you know little about. To be called a “rapper” is not an indictment. If you have to dig up obscure references then you probably haven’t found a “controversy.”

2. Stop using Jeremiah Wright as an indictment. Because whatever you say about him will be spoken out of ignorance. Just sayin’.

3. Study history.  Assata Shakur was accused of killing a police officer in 1973. She maintains her innocence (and at this moment I’m not interested in deciding who’s telling the truth – for another day), and by growing angry over Common’s support of her (and he’s not the only one) you assume that the police have always protected everyone (or even still do). We’re talking about 1973 – does anyone remember what cops and the justice system were doing back then and decades decades prior? Government-sanctioned violence against citizens, if I recall.  Simply brandishing the charge “cop killer” demonstrates your failure to understand the historical implications and every day realities of people’s lives.

4. Check your racism. Did anyone else notice that Jon Stewart named 3 white male artists who have been invited to the White House, who’ve defended those accused of murder and were never challenged? What is different about Common? Ahem.

My dream is that Fox News and its commentators will educate themselves. Otherwise I will soon be fuming again, wondering why I even bother to write these posts (don’t answer that) or pay attention to their pseudo journalism.

WTF Files: “Why Black Women are Less Attractive than Other Women”

May 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Liz,

In today’s WTF Files is an article written by Evolutionary Psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa that has the twitterverse in an uproar. Kanazawa wrote an article (originally titled Black Women are Ugly) for the Psychology Today website in which he cites a study that “objectively” measures the attractiveness of men and women of different races and concludes (no surprise here) that black women are by far the most unattractive individuals, you know, according to science.  *Blank stare*

When I first saw the title of the article via a link on my twitter timeline, I rolled my eyes and decided to pass, focusing instead on this article on Don Lemon (who I loooove Yay Don!). An hour later, I realized that half of my timeline was still furious and serious about holding Psychology Today responsible for printing this mess. Well, at that point, I decided I had better take a look, but to my dismay, the article was taken down. In a matter of minutes, however, a cache (linked at the end of this post) of the original post was in circulation and after reading the article with furrowed eyebrows and clenched teeth, I couldn’t help but get involved. I am especially upset that Psychology Today took the article down  with no public acknowledgment of it’s offensive and problematic nature. Once you make a public statement, in writing no less, you can’t just take it down like it never happened. That is NEVER a proper solution. When you are wrong an apology is necessary–didn’t we learn that in kindergarten? C’mon kids!

So, I’m writing this post to help get the word out. In the words of Kanye, this is “F*ckin ridiculous” as is the attack on all things having to do with black women that has been impossible to escape these past few years–from being unmarry-able to demonized baby-makers to just plain ol’ ugly…really? I’ve said it before and I think it’s time to say it again…CAN WE LIVE?!

Also, just to clarify (because I know I didn’t really get into it) this article is RACIST and it’s also pretty sexist. There is no such thing as objective (universal) beauty. That is not real, people. Do not believe the hype. As one blogger put it, even your (most likely problematic) Introduction to Anthropology  101 course should have taught you that.

You can check out Kanazawa’s article here.

Here are some blogposts to check out by those who do get into it:

Esoterica

Feministe

The Rotund

Clutch Magazine

 

Let Psychology Today know that bullshit articles of this nature are unacceptable. Email or tweet them your thoughts!

My Brother’s Keeper: Some Reflections on Love and Solidarity

April 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Liz,

Picture this: It’s a gorgeous Saturday evening and I’m taking a stroll down 33rd Street in Manhattan with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in far too long. We’re enjoying a long overdue catch up session when a man calls out to us, “Dread!”* Since my locs are peeking out from under my wool cap, I assume he’s talking to me. I casually glance in his direction, (barely) give him a nod of acknowledgment and keep on walking, never missing a beat in the conversation with my friend. Apparently offended by my unwillingness to stop in my tracks and immediately engage with him he yells, “Oh, so you can’t say ‘hi’? F*ck you!” Annoyed, but largely unsurprised, I roll my eyes and keep moving, ready to forget it ever happened. My friend however, was not having it. Visibly upset by this guy’s blatant disrespect, our conversation quickly turned from life updates to sharing how “this type of thing” happens to the both of us all the time—needless to say, far too often.**

I’ve been mulling over writing a post about sexual harassment for quite some time now, ever since your own post on the pervasiveness of sexual violence. With the blogosphere buzzing around Chris Brown’s recent freakout on Good Morning America, it seems as if I can’t get away from the topic. It’s been like an annoying younger sibling, you know, who keeps nudging you in the ribs while you’re just trying to read your newest library book until you get so frustrated that you throw the book down and yell at him—finally paying him some of the attention he was hoping for (can you tell I’m speaking from experience?). Well, Saturday’s incident, and the all too familiar conversation I had with my friend afterward, was just the thing to push me over the edge to finally sit down to write a(nother) post on sexism.

After listening to many of my male friends and family members share their reactions to CB’s recent behavior, it got me thinking about my own relationships with these men and led me to wonder how they may treat some of the other women in their lives. I read a great post recently on Crunk Feminist Collective that highlighted the author’s struggles with understanding the “personal as political,” that is, actually living out her gender politics (in this case) when selecting a partner. She shared a number of questions she had been considering, and one in particular really spoke to me:

Isn’t that choice, the choice to not care about how the world affects the woman you’re spending time with, a violent one?

(Well…Yes. Yes, it is.)

The question really struck a cord with me and got me thinking not only about setting my own criteria for potential partners, but I also began to consider my interactions with the men in my life that I can’t necessarily “choose” to be around. The men who have always been there and have contributed greatly (for better or worse) to the person I am today. Men who were there when my “politics” were different, and are still here now that my “politics” have changed. Men who I can’t just write off because they are ignorant of or refuse to acknowledge their sexism. Men who I care deeply about and want to see grow. I think about these men in my life often and I worry about the ways that they choose to see and treat the women in their lives, including myself.

It always makes me uncomfortable when the topic of women, usually dating, comes up around any male member of my family. It’s amazing how quickly misogyny enters the room and takes a seat at the dining room table, ready to play an active role in the conversation. Although I try my darndest to be the voice of reason—offering gentle reminders that the disrespect in their tone is unnecessary, the phrase “bros before hoes” is offensive, and laughing at sexist jokes is well, sexist–it gets very very tiring and often leaves me wondering if anything I’m saying is actually getting through.

I want the men in my life to feel comfortable telling me about their dating lives and asking for advice, (particularly because I cringe at the thought of the advice their male friends may be giving them), but it gets hard. I often end up asking myself how I can help to make them see the ways that sexism not only affects me, but it affects them too. How can I help them see that their own unchecked sexist behaviors (even though they may not necessarily be rape or sexual violence) still perpetuate a culture of patriarchy? How can I help them see that the behavior of the man I mentioned above is unacceptable, and not just because it was done to me –someone you know—but because it’s harassment, and his sense of entitlement to my time and attention is a symptom of a much larger problem. As one who truly longs for their wholeness and well-being and understands how it is connected to my own, how can I help them to care?

I just don’t have the answers to these questions, but I care enough about these men to keep asking them (I would love to hear your thoughts!).  In the meantime, I’ll keep pushing and offering my two cents, and hopefully won’t get written off as “the radical one” in the family (too late?) and hopefully more books and articles like this one and this one will make an appearance on their reading lists and speak to their hearts.

 

*Umm…my name IS NOT “Dread.”  -__-

**I just re-read this post from Postbourgie on street harassment and it is an excellent read. The conversations in the comments section are also worth reading.

Reflections of Faith: She is God

April 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Amber,

So the other day I was just chilling on the floor petting my dog (yes) when I suddenly had a thought, “why don’t I seriously explore what it means to call God ‘Mother’?”

This wasn’t (and isn’t) a new thought. I’ve discussed with others before about the power behind understanding God as feminine, not only masculine. After all, God has no gender or sex. What was new was my sudden desire to really truly know God as feminine. To understand this “side” of God. To call God mother.

So I went to my sister and explained my plan. And together we committed to praying to God as mother, asking God to help us know her as our mother, to understand God as feminine.

And it is deep. Language fails me. The names that I call God are masculine to me. They feel male. I’ve had to call God “God/mother” because even “God” invokes masculine imagery for me. I’ve had to work hard to focus my energy on calling and knowing the Lord as my mother.

It’s been like pounding on a 20 foot deep brick wall. My prayers are a struggle (more so than usual) with a sort of “is anybody listening?” quality. I don’t really know God as my mother – it’s like meeting someone for the first time. Intellectually I know it’s true, but emotionally and spiritually I’m struggling to “know.”

Who is God if she is my Mother? How do I relate to God if she is my Mother? All my life I have called God “he.”

If I am made in God’s image and God is “she,” what does that say about me?

If God is “she,” how do I relate to my earthly mother, my sister, my girl friends?

What does it mean for my understanding of God’s majesty and glory? Of power? Of love?

Who does it tell me God is if God is “she?”

These are the questions I ask as I beat against the wall – trying to feel God/Mother. I know God has changed my life and continues to do so. And I know that God desires to break through all the crap built up in my mind and my heart so that I know her (I almost wrote him!) more. A lot of that crap is about gender – expectations, feelings, insecurities. A lot of that crap I don’t even recognize.

When calling God “mother” I’ve run into feeling as if I’m praying to a different God. That this is a different “part”- one that I haven’t prayed to before. But God does not have split personalities. God is whole. God is mother and father and so much more. Language fails because human understanding at some point fails. We understand God through a lens that is misty. Our vision is not yet clear.

But my hope is in God and that God reveals herself – as both Mother and Father. And through that my human understanding will change (will I see God as all-powerful if I don’t call her “he”?). I pound at this wall because I feel the excitement and energy of what must be beyond.

Who is God?

Gchattin’ #Glee Season 2: Episode 15

March 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Season 2 Episode 15: “Sexy”

Amber: Before we begin, can I just say….I called it.

Liz: Uh-oh. What’d you call?

Amber: Santana and Brittany! I TOTALLY called it like ten episodes ago!!

Liz: Lol. You did. And finally they had a “this is confusing. we should talk to somebody” moment. Although, Holly Holliday is questionable. Also, can I just let out one giant “GAAAAAAAAAH” for the crazy deepness of this episode. Ok, thank you.

Amber: Oh my, indeed! What an episode! Glee kept me wide-eyed the entire time tonight…where to start?

Liz: Where indeed…gosh….ok, so how about just the general topic…sex….first its alcohol and now its sex. I think Glee is trying to make some moves. And once again I have mixed feelings about it. Although I think they did a better job with it than alcohol. But I knew when they started with the celibacy club I was gonna be rolling my eyes…I mean, seriously, what was with the polyester number?

Amber: So, I actually thought that overall they did a pretty good job addressing sex in this episode in a realistic way. I did think it was weird though how the show ended somehow with half of the Glee club as now part of the celibacy club. I don’t get it.

Liz: Exactly. How did they all end up there? Especially when the only adult strongly advocating for celibacy is portrayed as “naive and frigid?” I appreciated the other messages (ie Dad talking with Kurt, Brittany and Santana hashing it out, Puck talking about consequences) but Glee clearly doesn’t know how to talk about celibacy as a real legitimate option. And frankly, I’m about to go off on a tangent, but when Holly asked Emma, “are you still in love with Will Schuester?” I wanted to throw my shoe at the TV. Damn you Will Schuester. Cuz in my head, Emma was making me wonder if she’d been abused as a child. Let’s get real. Not b/c she was in love with some damn annoying teacher. * Deep breath * Whew *

Amber: OK, Liz…calm down…keep your shoes on! Lol. I agree that the episode kind of made a joke of celibacy and didn’t really explore it as a viable option. BUT, I also think that abstinence a lot of the time is the emphasized birth control option for teenagers and that kids may not be encouraged to explore sex and their sexuality safely and openly, even though they are most likely thinking about sex and in many cases having sex. So I did appreciate that this episode acknowledged that while also highlighting that many of them weren’t necessarily given the tools to make the best decisions concerning their sex lives. And yeah, the situation with Emma is really interesting and you bringing up child abuse is deep…and likely…but I think may be TOO deep for Glee.

Liz: Yeah I’m not advocating that they start that storyline. Lol. But they’ve created a character with such major issues with sex (even after getting married) that when she sits down to “talk” about it, the ultimate question should not be “are you in love with Will?” Come on (why does everything revolve around him?). I agree though that they did a good job acknowledging how teens are thinking/talking/having sex and that they need to be educated about their choices. But I still have a problem with the treatment of celibacy as a joke, because half the battle is that sex is “cool” and if celibacy is treated as the most uncool, sad, naive, painful image…is the message really helping? (And I feel like I seem like I didn’t like anything – but I did! lol)

Amber: Ha! I hear you. So, I think that a real and meaningful conversation about celibacy is not just a conversation about sex. It’s also a conversation about choices and relationships. The big question when talking about celibacy is “why?” Why should one choose to be celibate? It’s an important question that is often missing from the conversation. With all of the images, hormones, etc, celibacy definitely isn’t always the easy choice, but I think it is still a choice that requires proper education and exploration–because I also think that one can choose to be celibate for the wrong reasons. So, yeah…I definitely think that celibacy as a real and viable option in one’s “sex life” should be a part of the conversation, but it still needs to be an ALL-encompassing, open, and honest conversation. Cuz celibacy can totally be empowering if you truly understand why you’ve made the choice, but it can be limiting and done in vain if you don’t. Also, choosing to have sex on your own terms can be just as empowering.

Liz: YES. Deep. I feel like you just said it all. And it’s so true about choices – I think back to my sex education – beginning with writing out the meanings for HIV and STDs in fourth grade – and wonder if it ever got past that? I can barely remember now, but it seemed like the biggest emphasis in high school was “don’t get pregnant. don’t get STDs” and although, that’s supposed to be a warning/passing on knowledge, it’s not very empowering. Which is why there was a lot I liked about Glee tonight. Kurt’s dad talking to Kurt open and honestly (although why Blaine has to be parent to Kurt’s parent I don’t understand). Santana and Brittany being honest about their own confusion. These were good conversations.

Amber: Totally. So let’s talk about Brittany and Santana. That was definitely loaded. Even though I kind of saw it coming, I was still a little surprised when it actually happened. I also totally have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand, I’m glad that Brittany and Santana acknowledged that their relationship was deeper than they both wanted to admit…but on the other, I’m torn about the portrayal of Santana’s brokenness about it.

Liz: Yeah I feel you. I was glad when Santana expressed her “anger” (shouted a little yes!) but I wasn’t convinced that her anger was just about Brittany. I think Glee sometimes creates these characters that (if it were real life) are so deep the show doesn’t even know how to handle it.

Amber: Well, I thought it was a very real moment. Their relationship has a deep intimate component to it that neither of them really understood or talked about, not even to each other. And then finally, Santana has an honest moment with herself and eventually with Brittany when she reveals that she is afraid of the consequences of openly loving another woman. It’s so deep. My heart kind of broke for her, because that’s so real. Sigh. On the other hand though, I do feel uncomfortable with the way the writers have created her character–that is, using her promiscuity and aggression to hide this insecurity. It’s kind of problematic and kind of cliche at the same time. Make sense?

Liz: Yeah I think so…I’m trying to wrap my head around it because it is deep. I think it’s those reasons that left me feeling unsatisfied with the treatment of her character. It’s interesting to me that while Kurt faced/es coming out as a gay teen and is closed off from discussions/expressions of sex, Santana, on the other hand, has been portrayed as sleeping around with everyone (boys, other than Brittany).

Amber: Yeah. That’s some dangerous imagery, I think. The way the writers have chosen to deal with Santana and Kurt is really interesting. Kurt is (now) openly gay and comfortable with sexuality, but uncomfortable about sex, which may not necessarily have to do with his sexuality–they kind of leave that ambiguous. On the other hand, Santana is struggling with figuring out her sexuality and (it seems) is trying to repress her feelings for Brittany by sleeping around.

Liz: Which I just don’t know….

Amber: I think what may be the issue for me, is that they don’t give Santana much agency. Apparently, she’s acting out of fear and confusion but we’ve NEVER actually witnessed her try and work through it until now. I don’t know if it’s enough to have this insecurity be the root of all of her issues. It’s almost unfair. With Kurt, at least we were able to see him grow and process, we’ve also seen what life is like for him outside of school. I just wish that they would have made this new storyline a little more nuanced, rather than so black and white.

Liz: Yes. And we’ve spent so much time seeing her objectified and be the “mean girl” that it’s hard to just take it so straightforward – because it’s not as if her decisions up until this point (and they are her decisions) haven’t affected her, for better or worse. The fact that she has been so objectified suggests some real self-esteem issues. Plus, haven’t we had this storyline like only once before this? The writers haven’t seemed to be working too hard to develop this story. When we see her fight over Puck, is it just because of her unspoken feelings for Brittany? Do we see that in those scenes? Or does she merely continue to operate as the sexy, “sexed,” mean girl in those scenes? Who every once in awhile has feelings.

Amber: Exaaactly. But what really bothers me, is the writers’ choice to objectify her. Santana and Brittany making out (in bed) several episodes ago is something that I doubt we will see with Kurt’s character anytime soon. Why is it so easy to make a Santana a troubled promiscuous girl and keep Kurt–for all intents and purposes–innocent? It’s just really interesting (read: problematic) the way that they have constructed Santana’s character leading up to the moment of her “coming out” to Brittany, especially because the portrayal of lesbianism in mainstream media often is constructed to appeal to heterosexual male fantasies.

Liz: So deep! Pandora’s box, right there. That’s how I felt about the scene with Brittany and Santana, as well. Also, notice that Puck, a very promiscuous straight male, decides to be celibate because he’s realizing “there are consequences” but not because of any earth-shattering troubled moment. He’s not promiscuous because he’s troubled, he’s promiscuous because he’s….male?

Amber: DEEP….and I think the short answer is…YES.

Liz: Womp. What did you think of Brittany’s response?

Amber: I thought a really powerful line from Santana was “Who ever thought that being fluid could make you feel so stuck?” (Another big SIGH) I thought that Brittany’s willingness to be upfront with Santana about figuring out the intimacy between them was a good thing. Her decision to stay with Artie in the end, is her prerogative, and I think that Santana should give her room to figure that out (which is totally easier said than done). It really does suck for Santana though–homegirl is experiencing heartbreak and love and fear and confusion all at the same time–it’s like beyond ridiculous. Dayum! Also, I think Santana (who has always been an undercover favorite) has legit become one of my favorite characters on the show. She’s gon’ be alright and will totally grow to be a bad ass, strong, beautiful woman one day. * wipes away proud mama tears *

Liz: Awwww. She will be! Yeah, it makes you wonder what will happen next in the world of Glee drama.

Amber: I also thought that Kurt’s storyline was really interesting. Even though it was awkward that Blaine went to go find Kurt’s Dad to encourage him to talk to Kurt about sex, I thought he brought up a really interesting point–many LGBTQ teens may live with heterosexual parents who may not know how to or may feel uncomfortable about giving their kids the “sex talk.” Also, sex between same-sex loving individuals is not even a thought on the already problematic sex education agenda.

Liz: Yeah, that was an excellent point. And it offered one of the best scenes, I think. Because, really, Kurt’s dad is the only parent we really get to see. And last episode we complained about the lack of parental involvement in a serious issue (alcohol) and here they managed to make it happen. I wanted to hug his dad…he tries and succeeds so well!

Amber: Truth. It was definitely a good Glee moment. They seem to be having more of these lately. I can dig it.

Liz: Me too! Keep feeding into my obsession.

International Women’s Day!

March 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Happy International Women’s Day! Feel free to share some words with us that have inspired you!

 

” African women in general need to know that it’s OK for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence. “ -Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmental and political activist, Winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize

 

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt, Former US First Lady

 

The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian–our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.” – Gloria Anzaldua, Writer, Scholar, Activist

 

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” -Indira Gandhi, First Female Indian Prime Minister

“The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.” – Audre Lorde, Writer, Poet, Activist.

 

Celebrate…Share…Inspire!

2011 Academy Awards Projections

February 27th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

We’re going to go ahead and count this as the first of many That’s So Deep movie critiques and reviews (get excited!). So, let’s get straight to the point….

 Actress in a Supporting Role:

Nominees:
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”’
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Liz says:

The only movie I haven’t seen in this category is “Animal Kingdom”, but since I haven’t heard any predictions of Jacki Weaver winning, I think I’m safe. Melissa Leo has been talked about a lot, and although she was excellent in “The Fighter” (as was Amy Adams), I am going to predict Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”. She also happens to be who I think should win. First, I would’ve thought she was actually playing a leading role, and second, I thought she carried the film. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon were excellent, but the movie would’ve struggled without her fierce no-nonsense acting of the character.

Amber Says:

I’m all about the upset when it comes to the Oscars, so I often find myself rooting for the unlikely underdog*. This year though, there are quite a few heavy contenders. With that said, I am going to predict that Melissa Leo will win for her role in “The Fighter.” I agree that Hailee Steinfeld was excellent, and will most likely take it if Leo doesn’t, but I would actually love to see Helena Bonham Carter take it for her role in “The King’s Speech.” She gave a fantastic performance–it’s a long shot, but she’s got my vote. (Note: Animal Kingdom is also the only movie I haven’t seen yet in this category.)

 Actor in a Supporting Role:

Nominees:
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Liz says:

Here, the only movie I haven’t seen is “The Town”. This is a toughie and I’m not even sure I have an opinion on who should win. All of these men were superb (as they should be since they’re nominated). However, I predict Christian Bale. His is a performance that has been talked about over and over. Plus he physically tortured himself for the role, so I’m thinking that’ll get him extra points with voters.

Amber says:

Each of the actors in this category were great and definitely deserved the nod. I also predict that Christian Bale will take the award, though, for his performance in “The Fighter.” He played the hell out of that character, and lost a significant amount of weight for the part, which the voters (and viewers) cannot ignore. He definitely deserves the win.

 Actress in a Leading Role:

Nominees:
Annette Bening, “The Kid’s Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Liz says:

I’m shooting in the dark here, because I’ve only seen 2 out of the 5 movies, but I predict Natalie Portman will win. Because everyone is predicting that. Plus she’s been taking all the awards. I have to give a shout-out to Jennifer Lawrence, though, who was outstanding in “Winter’s Bone.” That scene in the boat…ooooieee…she had me wanting to hug her (cuz girl was about to go into shock). If she manages to win, I’ll be on my feet applauding (in my room with a glass of wine no doubt).

Amber says:

Ihaventseenallthemoviesinthiscategoryeither,ImmissingRabbitHoleandBlueValentine,butIthinkitissafetosaythatNataliePortmanwillwinandIalsothinkthatshedefinitelyshould.Shelostanoticeableamountofweightand trainedinballetforoverayear topreparefortheroleandshedefinitelysucceededinmakingitalllookquitebelievable.Ontopofthatshereallydrewviewersintothecomplexmindofatroubled,competitiveyoungdancerstrivingforperfection.Shehadmehookedforeverybitoftheride.

 Actor in a Leading Role:

Nominees:
Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit’
Jesse Eisenberg, ‘The Social Network”
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”

Liz says:

Colin Firth. And he should win.

Amber says:

Colin Firth has been predicted to take the award–I think he will and that he should. Although, I must say that I just watched “127 Hours” and James Franco did a hell of a job, especially considering that for much of the film, he is the only actor on screen. So, I give him a personal nod for that.

 Best Picture:

Nominees:

BlackSwan
TheFighter
Inception
TheKidsAreAllRight
TheKingsSpeech
127Hours
TheSocialNetwork
ToyStory3
TrueGrit
WintersBone

Liz says:

I’m proud to say I’ve seen 7 out of the 10 nominations (I’m so on top of it this year!) – I’m missing 127 hours, Black Swan and Toy Story 3 (I knooooooow). Everyone is predicting “The King’s Speech”, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess “The Social Network”…mostly because I’m hoping for at least one surprise/upset on Oscar Night. And I think “The Social Network” is a well rounded movie – great writing, directing and acting. (But don’t get me wrong, I loved “The King’s Speech” so if it wins I’ll be happy.)

Amber says:

I’ve actually seen every movie in this category! I think this is the first time that’s ever happened–they have a pretty impressive round-up. I do think that, as predicted, “The King’s Speech” will definitely take the Oscar, and if they don’t “The Social Network” will. BUT, I would love for there to be a real upset and see “Winter’s Bone” take it. I thought the film was very well done overall–writing, acting, directing–and most definitely under-rated in the mainstream. Again, it’s a long shot, but I would be very happy.

 

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards air tonight, February 27th on ABC at 8pm EST.

*Nopeopleofcolornominatedatall? Really?! (YoudidntthinkwedletanentireOscar2011postgobywithoutmentioningthatdidyou?)

“Kinky Curly” Conflicts: On Beauty and Self Love

February 9th, 2011 § 4 comments § permalink

Liz,


Remember this?

Well, I came across another video today, made by a sista who is not feeling the least bit happy about her natural hair. In fact, she’s not feeling it at all…

Just about every black woman who has given up the creamy crack a.k.a. a relaxer, has most likely experienced a period just like the one the woman in the video seems to be going through. After taking the brave step of chopping off the perm it seems as if your hair just refuses to cooperate and no product will tame it. It’s too short. It’s unruly. It’s a little lopsided, and why oh why can’t your whole head look like that small patch in the back that curls up just right?

Transitioning from a relaxer to one’s natural hair can be very difficult. It can be especially hard for women whose hair texture may be more “kinky” than “curly” because let’s be real, few us have the “coveted” bouncy elongated curls worn by so many of the natural black folks in ads, commercials, or in entertainment. I grew out my hair for approximately three months before completely cutting off my relaxed ends. After the dramatic haircut (done in full blown undergrad style, by a cousin in her bathroom) it took only a couple of hours for my excitement to turn into insecurity. At about an inch high, I had never worn my hair so short. Insecure about the length and afraid of looking “masculine,” I wore headbands almost everyday (even though I barely had enough hair to keep them on), started wearing big earrings, and tried on some make-up for the first time. I struggled to find products that moisturized and “defined” my curls and although I asked around and received some helpful suggestions, I eventually found that the only way to figure out what worked with my hair was through trial and error. Those first few months were hell, even with “I Am Not My Hair” on heavy rotation.

I’ve seen this video posted around the blogosphere and a few bloggers ask if this woman (and Black women who think like or can relate to her) is expressing self-hatred. And, it really annoys me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a discussion with “progressive,” “feminist,” “afro-centric” (?!) men who adamantly claim that Black women are shaming themselves by buying weaves or relaxing their hair, but refuse to acknowledge the permeation of western standards of beauty in so many aspects of society–not to mention the ways that they, as men, may be guilty of perpetuating them.

There is definitely a conversation to be had about the ways that western standards of beauty and the historical exclusion of black women from womanhood and femininity have contributed to internalized racism and have produced a culture of self-hatred that is manifested in a number of ways. There is also a conversation that needs to take place about Black women learning to truly love themselves–inside and out–and be comfortable in their skin. But, I think it is very important that the latter be accompanied by the acknowledgment that wearing natural hair is not necessarily indicative of achieving self love. Wearing natural hair does not mean one has overcome socialization. Thinking this way is moot. It’s just another way to tell women what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. It takes black women out of one box and fastens them securely into another. Real freedom from these societal constraints is in the power of choice. Choose what makes YOU feel good. Choose what makes YOU feel attractive. Explore your options and don’t be afraid to try something new.

With that said, I’ve been natural for five years now and my journey has been full of ups and downs. As time progressed from that initial haircut, I’ve learned how to take care of my hair and to love my texture. It has also proven to be pretty low-maintenance and cost-effective (I was on a bi-weekly salon schedule with a relaxer). It took some time, but I really grew to love my hair. I like the way it looks, it makes me feel comfortable and at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.

So, when the woman in the video says she tried and it’s just not working for her, I can’t even be mad. (G’on head and slap on that wig, girl. DO YOU). BUT, for my sistas out there who have decided against going natural because they are too afraid of the change, I encourage you to give it a try. I can honestly say that though it may not be easy in the beginning, it is a rewarding process and if you stick with it, you will learn so much about yourself along the way. One of the most valuable lessons that going natural taught me, is that my hair is just hair. I can do what I want with it. If I cut it, it’ll grow back. No hairstyle has to be permanent. My hair doesn’t define me. And although there have been days when singing “I Am Not My Hair” wasn’t enough to make me smile at myself in the mirror, I’ve learned to love it in spite of that. It’s a part of me, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Calling All Deep Thinkers (and Writers)

February 8th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Hello That’s So Deep Readers!

So you may have noticed….our posts have slowed down. Oh, life. Between work and internships and duties of a random nature, we could really use some longer days, ya know? We’re dedicated to this blog though and we’ll be continuing to put our deep thoughts out there.

But as we get it together, we’re inviting you to join us in the conversation. We’d like to offer the opportunity to guest post. Email us your submission at thatssodeep[at]gmail.com. This is an open invitation – no deadline. We’ll take your submission any time you’re dying to say something. We’d love to guest post once a month and make it a regular thing.

Our requirements:

1) Deep Topic.
2) 250-700 words – Not a hard rule. If it’s really good but really long, we’ll probably post it.
3) Be analytical.

We promise to email you back promptly. Hopefully your thoughts will spark some of our own creative juices!

And as always, hope to see you in the comments section!

Much love for hangin with us,

Amber & Liz

PS – We always welcome deep topic suggestions as well. Want us to discuss something? Let us know!

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