gravity and responsibility

my *almost* cuz by marriage is on the right

The time between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and March 1st is normally America’s media foray into Black History.  I’m certain there will be a particular and peculiar focus this year because of our new president.  I’m looking forward to Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story that will be airing on TNT.  [I’m *almost* related to Ben Carson (my second cousin is married to his brother) and I’ve always thought that was cool.  Although of course, almost doesn’t count.]  Some great (or at least really good) tv movies have come out to help us celebrate the ~40days of black history we get every year.

When I was a kid, Separate But Equal gave me a look at who Thurgood Marshall was and how he became the first black Supreme Court justice.  I was a teenager when The Ernest Green Story and Ruby Bridges came out, and I got a look at the stories of people who helped integrate public schools.  My dad was around during that time, but he graduated from high school before his school was integrated.

I enjoyed Polly! for every lovely bit of fun, song, and cuteness it offered.  It remains one of my favorite movies, despite being completely unavailable (for purchase) as far as I can tell.

Last year, I had an HBO preview during Black History Month, and just happened to catch the last few minutes of a special: slave-narrativeStarring Oprah, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Vanessa L. Williams, Roscoe Lee Browne, Don Cheadle, Jasmine Guy, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg as narrator, and quite a few other actors.

I put the dvd on my Netflix queue [and recommend everyone else do the same, if you’ve not seen it] and ended up receiving it last week.  I watched it today.

As the title suggests, the subject matter is much heavier than a story about integration.   There are moments of triumph, heard in the narratives, but much is the straightforward retelling of events that demonstrate the inhumanity of slavery.  The piece that undid me was Jasmine Guy’s reading of the words of Mary Estes Peters, who spoke about her mother’s rape by the master’s three sons, ending the story with the words, “And that’s the way I came to be here.”

When I talk to my dad about things that he’s lived through, and movies that I’ve watched, depicting the struggle, sometimes he tells me how things were for him and his family.  Sometimes he just says he can’t watch that movie or doesn’t really talk about it.  He tells me that his brother, my uncle, hated white people for a long time.  Still did when my dad married my mom.  My mom was close to his age, and I guess that was part of what softened his heart.  Dad never gets into specifics about why, he just tells me that’s the way his brother was – because of how things were.  And my parents got married in the 70s.

One thing that struck me about the narratives, was the description of the treatment of slaves that had a desire to learn.  Today, it made things even more clear to me about why it’s so important to go to school.  To get all the education that is useful and beneficial for me and others.  And for everyone else to get their education.  It’s not a magic bean that necessarily changes everything – but too many people suffered, struggling just to be allowed to learn to read.  Too many people were punished for seeking knowledge.

Having this history does give one a responsibility, doesn’t it?

Advertisements

dancing on the tightrope

The tears are here.

I spent the last two years in thought, in anger, in fear, in prayer, in despair, in faith – with occasional glimmers of hope.  When the nomination was won, I wasn’t all that happy, cuz my girl didn’t win.  I wasn’t surprised – I wasn’t despondent – but I wasn’t crazed, like a lot of people were.

As time went by, I became more convinced that Obama would win.  I had lingering doubts, but I was pretty sure by the time November 4th came around.  I couldn’t help getting swept up in some of the Obamania – like the Yes We Can video, and the pictures from all over the world, of people who wanted Obama to be our next president.  I’d felt ambivalent about Barack for awhile – when I noticed that once the smoke cleared after his inspiring speeches, I never actually had any substance to hold on to.

His first speech that I watched – in 2004 – was incredible to me.  I thought, “Wow!  Who is heHe should totally run!”  That speech was truly inspirational, and gave me hope for the Party.  When he announced his candidacy, I thought – well, hey, that’s great – he’ll get a chance to learn the ropes.  I wasn’t thinking that he had a chance to win.  I wasn’t thinking that I wanted him to.  Part of me did – just for the historicity of it – but mostly, no.

I voted Green.  Because I wanted to.  I stood in the booth, choosing between two black candidates for the office of President (!), and even then, I wavered.  But I did what I’d already resolved to do, go with my heart and vote Green.  Living where I do, I had no illusion that we might end up a blue state.  Certainly not Green.  But I did my part to be heard – to be counted.  And I watched as the votes were tallied by poll estimates.

I hoped.

I stayed up incredibly late, considering I had to go to work the next day, and watched as history was made.  I saw other people cry, but I didn’t.  I was happy that McCain didn’t win.  I was happy that the Obamas would be moving into the White House.  I saw the handwriting on the wall – a friend of mine stated that the only positive thing about the election results was that they proved that racism is over in America.  This, on a grander scale, was what I’d been afraid of.

Nationwide, there has been an uptick in proclamations of a ‘post-racial era’ having been ushered in by our newly elected President.  Today, I watched Oprah speaking with Demi and Ashton about their part in the political process.  They (the Moore’s) have put together a video of famous people taking Obama’s pledge – Demi directed.  In the video, there’s a guy (I don’t know his name) who says that he pledges to think of himself as an ‘American’ and not an ‘African-American’.

Oprah said she loves that.

I don’t.

That’s when I started thinking about this whole thing.  This whole new era that has most certainly been ushered in by the historic events that will continue to take place through this presidency.  It’s a tightrope.

I’ve been afraid to hope, because

  • Promises from politicians haven’t ever meant much
  • Backlash is brutal
  • I wanna at least hold on to the progress that we’ve made up to this point
  • I know that this is gonna be hard. real hard.

So I kept being pragmatic.  At the price of sometimes being labeled a naysayer, or raining on parades.  But it’s true – this is NO time for complacency.

But at the end of Oprah today, David Foster, Will.I.Am, Faith Hill, Seal, Bono, and Mary J. Blige sang a new song.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Download and Watch America’s Song“, posted with vodpod

And I cried.

It is a tightrope that we’re on.  Hope is a thread.  It’s fragile.  It must be guarded.  It must be cultivated.  It requires something of you.  Of us.  If we’re all gonna be out here on the line together, we have a responsibility to keep our neighbor’s standing.  It affects us all.

Tonight, though?  I’m dancing on that tightrope.  In step with the rest of you.  Through the tears – I’m dancing.  May God keep us together.

one season [barely]

msclSometimes, something wonderful happens on tv and everyone catches it as it happens.  Wonderful in one sense or another – there’s surely always some problems, slight or great – but it resonates.  Rarely, I catch a moment of the greatness.  I caught MSCL before the end – watched it again on Mtv – and now own the dvds.

I followed Buffy from the WB to UPN.  Developed an appreciation for Joss Whedon… Stuck with Buffy even through ‘the potentials’.  Though my viewership did get spotty in that last season.

But I’ve always had a soft spot for sci-fi.  So when I caught trailers for a movie that looked amusing/intriguing  – called Serenity – I made a mental note about seeing it.

I mentioned it to a friend of mine and he told me he wanted to see it too – he knew some background about it.  It was based on a tv show.  I didn’t worry about it.  We ended up seeing the movie and I loved it as a standalone.  Didn’t really think much about the show.

Then I ended up moving, to a small town, and my internet usage grew exponentially.  I got into LJ, found my college roommate [or she found me] and noticed that she made a reference to some show called Firefly.  Blog to blog, I jumped around my corner of this series of tubes and noted the references to this show.

dr-horribleWatched Dr. Horrible last year, as the writer’s strike left us all feenin for something. [I still don’t know if it was for that, but it was still a mite enjoyable.  I love my NPH.]

And I finally realized that I have Netflix and Firefly is available on DVD.  I’ve just watched the last of it, and I”m a little sad.  Sad that I missed it as it was happening [it came on Friday nights and I didn’t have DVR, or even a clue it was on anyway].  Sad that so few episodes were made.  Sad that such a story was cut so short.  MSCL made it for a full season, just about, and I always felt like it ran its race.  Sure, I watched those epis over and over as they played on MTV for 2? more years?  But that was it.  Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano were emblazoned in my mind; I replayed the handcuffs episode countless times – seeing as how it *ALWAYS* makes me laugh; I moved on.

Firefly didn’t get as much of a chance as MSCL.  Deserved it as much or more.  I’m just glad I got the chance to see it.

a look back: year one

this makes 1

Can you even believe it’s been a year?  Last year this time, I was fed up with the writer’s strike and had been reading a bunch of different blogs.  I’d been thinking about starting one of my own for a while – not exactly new to the territory, since I’d been on OD for a couple years [but all that’s gone now], LJ for a few [still up]…bouncin’ around the internet, really.  I finally decided to take the plunge – thinking that it would be rare that I’d ever write anything anyone else would want to read.  And that turned out to be kind of true.  It seems, though, that I have my moments when it comes to picking entry titles.

Top Posts

mia michaels is a freakin’ idiot
oh tyra
hey mickey – can you dance?
mia michaels is a freakin’ genius
annie, are you ok?
getting exiled: MTV screws brats and their indigenous hosts
Sydney White: What makes a ‘Good’ Woman?
the shy one

The ‘hey mickey’ post is getting crazy hits from the number 1 search term: toni basil.  Again I ask – what is up? But I just wanna celebrate a year out the gate: I’m still doin’ it.   Happy blogiversary to me!

my new resolution? sleep in

I’m a total night person.  My general MO is to go to bed around midnight [or maybe a lil later: 1-ish] and then (unfortunately) have to get up for work around 7:15 in the morning.  Because God, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to give me a day off in the middle of the week, I was able to sleep until I woke up this morning – around 10.  (so lovely)

I’d love to work a schedule that allowed me to come in at 9 or even 10 in the morning, but then I’d just have to stay later in the evening.  That’d screw up my Fridays during the winter, cuz the sun sets so early.  [Otherwise, I’d totally go for it.]  But you know what?  My schedule is my schedule – and it works for me.  I can’t go to bed early – I’ve tried.  The only way I can get to sleep so early is if I’m sick.

And here’s some more news:

1 // You may need more sleep than you think.
Research[ers]…found that people who slept eight hours and then claimed they were “well rested” actually performed better and were more alert if they slept another two hours…

2 // Night owls are more creative.
Artists, writers, and coders typically fire on all cylinders by crashing near dawn and awakening at the crack of noon…

3 // Rising early is stressful.
The stress hormone cortisol peaks in your blood around 7 am. So if you get up then, you may experience tension…

So catch your zzz’s, people!  This might finally be a resolution I can keep.  I’ve never made one of those.

Happy New Year!

these things were popping around my house all night

these things were popping around my house all night - I slept anyway