Liz’s Top Ten Deep Moments of 2010

December 31st, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

1. In Chi-Town: Daley announces he will not run again as Mayor.
Ok, this may not be big for non-Chicagoans, but this is deep. Richard M. Daley has been mayor since 1989. That’s a long freakin time. His daddy was mayor for 21 years, so there’s a bit of a dynasty here. So it’s deep because of that. But it’s also deep cuz it is just so damn exciting – the possibilities! If we could elect a real reformer, one that will pay attention to neighborhoods, it would be such a breath of fresh air. I’m watching closely.

Honorable Mention: Chicago loses bid for Olympics in first round (and I laugh).



2. In the Federal Government: Health Care Reform Passes

Whether you agreed or disagreed with what went into Health Care Reform, this was major deepness. The largest legislation since the New Deal. I was so tired of hearing opponents tell me, “The United States has the best system in the world…So and so (foreign celebrity/political leader) came here for surgery.” Great…so foreign so and so can come here, but 1 in 7 Americans are uninsured and therefore without access to basic healthcare. Preventive medicine people!

Wow, I can still get riled up about it.

Honorable Mention: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed.

3. In State Government: Arizona and SB 1070

What does an illegal immigrant look like, Governor Brewer? Enough said.













4. Not in the News: Georgia Prisoners Peacefully Protest

The largest prison protest in history and I had to hear about it from independent blogs. How does this not make major news? At least four Georgia prisons in lockdown? Prisoners (some belonging to groups that would normally fight each other) peacefully protesting for their rights? News fail. So deep. So frustrating.



5. In Catastrophes: Haiti is hit by earthquake.
It’s sad to think how fixed our eyes were on this and how quickly we have moved on. Haiti continues to struggle – with infrastructure, safety, food, elections. Let’s return our gaze.

Honorable Mention: Oil Spill in the Gulf. 

6. In Religion: Pope Benedict XVI condones the use of condoms among male sex workers in order to prevent the spread of HIV.

This was an interesting story because news outlets treated it as a reversal of Catholic teaching, but it seems debatable that it was –  the Pope provided a very nuanced answer. His answers were not shocking to me, as I can guess many Catholic teachers/care providers have practiced some version of it.  It does not surprise me that Catholic teaching would err on the side of placing the health and care of male sex workers first, but it shows that the Catholic Church has difficulty messaging – everybody thinks they know what the Catholic Church believes and I have a feeling most are wrong. Also the Catholic Church is HUGE. There are gonna be multiple opinions (regardless of the Pope). Just sayin’. Interesting questions arise though. Read two versions of the story here and here.



7. In Food: We’re running out of chocolate. 

Yeah, you heard me. That’s what they’re saying. Chocolate is gonna become like caviar. The supply cannot meet the demand. This story freaked me out when I read it. What am I gonna do without Chocolate Chip cookies???? Start hoarding people! You have been warned.

Honorable Mention: KFC Double Down

8. In the Tea Party: Glenn Beck Rallies…for what again?

Take back America for who Glenn? “We will reclaim the civil rights movement.” Riiiighhht….I hope 2011 is the year where Glenn Beck shuts up. Wishful thinking? Sigh.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
I Have a Scheme
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9. In Entertainment: Taylor Swift’s Performance at VMAs

Ok, so there were actually a lot of deep moments in entertainment. And there are probably some that are deeper than this one….but I had to put this. Hot mess. Taylor sounds awful. The song is so patronizing. The setting…so messed up. She’s like this beautiful young country white girl in the 50s who has condescended to the angry black man. “I forgive you Kanye!” Bleh.

Team Kanye, anybody? Although, thank God that saga has been put to rest.

2010 MTV Video Music Awards

10. On the web: The launching of our blog, duh! 

Or what was originally, Salt N Peppa, remember that? (LOL) We started this in February and if I do say so myself, it’s (and we are) pretty awesome. May the deepness continue on into 2011!

Honorable Mention: Microaggressions. Such a good idea. I wish I’d thought of it.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Faaaaavorite Things! Part 2

December 24th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I love buying presents! And I definitely know about buying on Christmas Eve as you elbow people out the way and are terrified that you won’t find what you need. Along with Amber’s suggestions, here are some of mine – for the serious, the funny and the young at heart.

MUSIC

The Roots How I Got Over

In addition to the two Amber listed, I’d recommend this. The Roots finally put out a new album and it is amazing. Dear God 2.0 is so deep and one of my favorites of the year.

The Roots and John Legend Wake Up!

Not to overdo it on The Roots, but this also an excellent album. It’s kinda just fun to get pumped up by reimagined songs about social awareness from the 60s and 70s. And most of these are not famous – they’re not the kind that everybody has heard even if they haven’t tried.
Somali-Canadian K’naan has picked up momentum after Coca-Cola used his “Wavin Flag” for the World Cup. But he had to rework it to be more cheerful and pleasant – Coke doesn’t want to talk about poverty :) (here’s the original). This album is great and I look forward to see where he goes from here. Check him out.

MOVIES

Beauty and the Beast
Re-released from the vault, people! Get on that. Cuz you know Disney is tight-fisted and makes the price shoot up by producing a limited number. If you know any Disney lovers, get this for them. They’ll thank you. (PS – It’s also on sale at Target!)

BOOKS

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

It’s not a work of art. I don’t even think the writing is that amazing, but the story is good. It’s the kind of story that slowly draws you in until you can’t put it down….and you still have 150 pages to go. I recommend it for mystery/thriller lovers, if only to be able to say to the millions of other people reading it, “Oh yeah. I read that too.” People don’t wanna feel left out, ya know? 

Say You’re One of Them

A collection of beautiful stories set in different African countries. Told from different perspectives of age, gender, language, I couldn’t put this one down either. The writing is excellent and each story is different from the last. I’m not afraid to admit that I cried on one of them.

TELEVISION

Psych

I love this show. Seriously. Yes it’s quirky. Yes it’s ridiculous. But it’s so funny! Sean and Gus are some of the best characters. The first TV show I ever bought. Everyone I have shown this show to has become addicted.

Bones

You may see a trend here…I like mysteries. So if someone in your life is also addicted to crime shows (and ones better than current Law and Order), this is a good bet. Bones offers more than that though. It has created well-developed characters and even delves into philosophical discussions of faith and science, love and logic, etc. It may not foster as many deep conversations as Dexter (that show is deep), but it can get the gray cells working. 


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Ok, I’ll admit it here and now. And then I’ll never admit it again. I really liked this show. I never thought I would. I didn’t think I’d get into it, but by the second season (maybe the first) I was. I even have my favorite character (cuz I’m totally an earth bender). I have a feeling that there are more closet Airbender lovers like me out there and that some are secretly hoping someone will buy them the series.

HEALTH

French-Press Coffee Maker
Ok, this may not be healthy but whatever. Do you know a coffee-lover? Get them a French-press coffee maker. Trust me. Nothing beats the smoothness and full-bodied taste of coffee made in a French-press.

Good Luck!

Faaaaavorite Things!

December 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

“It’s the most WONDERFUL time of the yeaaaaaaar!” Yes, the holidays are just around the corner–food, family, friends, gifts, time off of work, empty wallets until the New Year…Ah, I just can’t wait.

As you last minute shoppers scurry around frantically in attempts to complete your Holiday Shopping lists, we thought that we would share with you just a few of our favorite things in music, movies, television, literature, and health/body, in good old Oprah fashion (well, maybe not quite that exciting).  These gifts are sure to get a warm reception and a genuine smile. There’s no need for a gift receipt, guaranteed.

MUSIC


Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

This album has been on a heavy rotation in my ipod since I purchased it almost a month ago. It is by far one of my favorite albums to listen to right now. Even if you don’t like Kanye, you have to respect his music, and any music lover will definitely appreciate the undeniable talent exhibited through My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

 

Janelle Monae The Arch Android
I’ve played this album more than any other this year and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. I give it two thumbs up.

 

Glee Season 1 and 2 Soundtracks

DOPE. Enough said.

MOVIES

Toy Story 3
This is easily one of the best movies of the year. It was a great ending to the Toy Story franchise, and I can’t remember the last time I teared up on a cartoon (oh, wait…I definitely had some sniffles during “UP”…so, just kidding…). Pixar continues to make quality films and somehow you don’t feel embarrassed when you pay $12 to go see a kids movie, probably because everyone else in the theater is also over 18…


Inception

This is another one of my contenders for best film of the year. It was actually one of the best films (excluding animated) that I had seen in a very very long time. The story was very creative and well written and the the film is visually stunning. It’s also a total mind game the entire time. Warning: See with a friend– you will want to discuss–and make sure you have water handy to help ease that headache afterward.

BOOKS

Their Eyes Were Watching God

OK, I must admit, I haven’t read many recent books this year. Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of catching up on old ones that I should’ve read a long time ago (my list is overwhelming). With that said, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a classic. Every time I read it, I fall in love with it all over again. It’s one of my all time favorites and I just think that everyone should have a little Zora in their homes.

Wicked
Very well written. Imaginative. Creative. An interesting take on an iconic American (according to the Smithsonian) story. I was completely enthralled from start to finish. (P.S. Tickets to see the Broadway show would also make an excellent gift)


TELEVISION

Glee Season 1 DVD Set

I mean, if you’ve been following our “Gchatting Glee” Series at all, you know that we are both a little obsessed. Although I can’t quite say the same for Season 2, Season 1 of Glee was amazing. It was the show I didn’t know I was waiting for, that I didn’t know I needed in my life! I actually don’t own this yet…so, uh…yeah.. *hint hint* ;)

 

Dexter Seasons 1-4 DVD Set
I just finished Season 5 of Dexter and it really does get better as time goes on. I think I will be blogging about how layered and complex Dexter is very soon. It’s mind-boggling, geeze. This is another one that will facilitate lots of discussion.
HEALTH/BODY

Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Lavender Vanilla Dream Bath, Lavender Chamomile Sugar Scrub, and Eucalyptus Spearmint Bath Soak

Bath and Body Works’ Aromatherapy collection has gotten me through many a tough week this year.  The combination of products listed above has done wonders to calm my nerves and help me get a restful sleep. I highly recommend.

Beekman’s C.O.P.A. Soaps

After I thought that I finally gotten a handle on what my skin needs and likes after twenty-three years of dealing with it, one day this year I noticed that it was starting to change, without warning. My decision to try C.O.P.A. Soaps was on a whim and I couldn’t be happier. These all natural soaps are great on my skin and they have a wide variety scents and sizes. Again, I highly recommend.

 
So, there you have it–a (short) list of some of my favorite things. Now that I’ve shared them with you, I hope that you can share them with others. Foolproof, trust. ;)

Happy Holidays!!

DREAM Act Fails: One of my biggest disappointments too, Mr. President

December 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Speak truth and keep fightin’ Obama! Opponents need to remember the people – the humanity – that this bill would help. And my love to those whose disappointment is far greater than mine or Obama’s, because it most affects you. There are those who will always support you in whatever way they can.

Go Bulls!

December 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

The Black Girl Project NYC Event – “Women of Color on HIV/AIDS”

December 10th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Liz and (readers!),

Happy Friday! It’s almost the weekend…so close I can taste it. Mmm…mmm…good. :)

Before your weekend schedule is completely booked, I want to share the details of a dope event that will take place this Sunday, December 12th with all of my New Yorkers out there (or fake NewYorkers like myself).
The Black Girl Project, a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NY that seeks to inspire young women of color to reach their full potential through a variety of artistic, cultural, and educational programs, is hosting a movie screening and panel discussion on HIV/AIDS and the women of color community. It is entitled “Prevent, Don’t Manage” Women of Color on HIV/AIDS.

We all know that HIV/AIDS is a global issue, but we often forget that it continues to be a major problem right in our own communities. Don’t let World AIDS Day be the only time you think about how HIV/AIDS may affect you and others. Make it an on-going conversation. It’s time to educate yourself, educate others, promote awareness, get rid of the stigma, and get tested.

Here are the quick details…

When: Sunday, December 12th 2:30pm – 4:30pm

Where: Center Stage, 48 West 21st Street, 4th Floor (Between 5th and 6th Avenues)

Cost: $5.00 BUT free tickets are also available and all proceeds go to Love Heals and
           The Black Girl Project’s After School Initiative.  You can buy and request free
           tickets here.

Please come out and support! Tell your friends, tell your sisters, tell your partners, tell your roommates, tell your aunties, tell your mama, tell your grandmama! It’s going to be a fun, interactive, and informative event. :)

BUT, even if you can’t attend the event on Sunday, I encourage you to get involed with The Black Girl Project, especially if you are in the New York Metro Area. I recently started interning with the organization and believe me when I tell you that Aiesha Turman, founder and director of BGP, is doing some amazing things in Brooklyn, New York City generally, and across the country. Her dedication to improving the lives of young women of color is truly inspiring. Check out some of what she has to say about her work here and here. She’s also just a fabulous person, so down to earth (can you tell I’m friend crushing?) and on a random note, wrote one of my absolute fave movie reviews ever. 
Enjoy your weekends, readers and if you can, please come out and support on Sunday!
Love and Light–

This Woman’s Work: Navigating Sexual Violence, Harassment and all the other Crap

December 10th, 2010 § 5 comments § permalink

Amber,

I was reading an older essay (trigger warning: it’s difficult to read) of Latoya’s over on Racialicious.com about her experience, and those of her friends, of “not rape” or the many forms of sexual violence. It was heavy and deep, and I suddenly began to cry as I read the comments section – so many women describing their own experiences. It was as Latoya wrote – a widespread occurrence and a culture that is too often accepted.

At first, I thought of how my own life did not reflect the experiences of these women. I was grateful that I had never experienced the violence they had. I’ve thankfully never had a boy or a man use his strength against me. But as I continued to reflect, I realized how this violence had in fact crept into my own life. It is widespread. It is invasive. It is ever-present. A threat.

I remembered the boy in grammar school whose hand went to my thigh every time we sat next to each other. How I alternated between pushing his hand away and trying to ignore him as he crept further up or rubbed my thigh until I had no choice but to try to make him stop….again. To this day, I wonder how that really affected me, an 11 year old.

I remembered standing on the corner waiting for my bus when a man walked by, stopped, turned back and asked if I wanted to wait in the front hall of his building. I wondered if another 13 year old girl was not as smart as I.

I remembered the man, clearly much older than me, staring at me at 15, practically following me (how far if I had not turned around?) – a funny story I tell, but with a definite creep factor.

I remembered the letter sent home explaining that one of my classmates had been assaulted. I remembered a friend, so inescapably broken, describing how she’d given head to all these older boys, one telling the other to go find her.

I remembered the stories told by friends of the violence they had experienced – the brokenness they carried with them. I remembered the male friend who asked me, “why do women feel ashamed after being raped? It’s not their fault,” and the shock I felt when I realized he didn’t understand what every woman, whether having been raped or not, understands.

I realized I did, in some small way, know Latoya’s story. I was not as far removed as I thought. And I began to think of all the ways we get so used to it. To the stories. To not remembering them. To casting them aside as an afterthought. We get so used to the battles.

I felt the same way when I read a post on PostBourgie. It was amazing. I felt like I had my eyes opened – “I wasn’t the only one!” She described her experience of being unable to walk down the street without someone stopping her, wanting to talk to her, wanting her number, just wanting a reaction. I read with such satisfaction to realize I wasn’t the only woman who avoided the eyes of men while walking home. I felt so amazed at realizing, hey…maybe this really wasn’t okay?! (and I call myself a [sorta] feminist.)

I have even started to really (you know…truly) notice what makes me uncomfortable. That it isn’t unreasonable for me to become irritated or closed-off when cornered by a man with that look – you know ladies, that look that is “interested” but really only in you as an object, smiling at you like they may have found a prize. You know that feeling.

But too often I second-guess my feelings, wondering if I should really just give them a chance or not be so “mean” or smile because that’s what’s expected of me. It gets so tiring. 

And inevitably these thoughts lead me to recall the fights with my father, starting in high school – his insistence on picking me up from the bus stop after dark, his wanting to know where I’m going and when I’ll be back, my resentment at these intrusions on my life – intrusions that exist because I am a woman, because I am not safe.

But these aren’t really forgotten stories. They aren’t old thoughts. They sit in the back of my mind, brought forward at the slightest prodding. They hide in my feelings – feelings of anger or discomfort or insecurity. They’re there. Always.

So…I had no purpose when I first began. I still don’t. I just needed to write. I needed the space – to respond to what I’d read, to untangle the thoughts jumbled in my head, to remind myself of my own experiences.

How do we, as women, work all this out? 




And just cuz any deep topic is better with music and I don’t want to be too depressed:

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