Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Didn't Believe He Could Fly

Once again the sexual victimization of a black woman at the hands of a black man has been dismissed...not to mention ignored and joked about. Last week a jury in Chicago acquitted R&B singer, R Kelly of his charges involving child porn. Yes there is that infamous tape (no, I haven't seen it - though I've been offered) and yes there is his history of liking young women. However, a jury of his peers in his hometown did not find enough evidence to convict Kelly of any wrongdoing. Wow, wow and wow.

I told RB that the smartest thing Tawana Brawley did back in the day was to claim white men as her attackers not black men. You can best believe there is no way Al Sharpton would have holed her butt up in a church on a story that brothers raped her. Yeah - the child lied, yeah she went through a whole lot (understandable if you know the wrath of black parents when missing curvew) in concocting such an incredulous story - but politically she knew that in order to get black folk to buy her story she had to make her attackers white. That says a lot about a lot.

Essence...I hardly know ya

My internship at Essence Magazine was one of the highlights of my senior year of college and the bar by which I set my future professonal forays. I interned in January 1991 during the first (or second) Essence Fiction contest. It was also during the infancy of Operation Desert Storm and I have fond memories of Editor in Chief Susan Taylor stopping by my desk to ask about my mother (first) and then my brother who was in the Marine Corps. I also worked with the most incredibly talented and serious men and women. Stephanie Stokes Oliver and Angela Kinamore supervised me daily. Veronica Chambers was on staff as an editorial assistant, I believe. Entertainment maestro Gordon Chambers and I would chat about the crew I knew from Brown University - he would also rave about the headscarves that I wore. It was a magical time where I was nurtured but never coddled. I wish all students would have an internship where they felt valued and where people took the time to impart knowledge.

The Essence of today though - is a far cry from my 90's Essence. Yes, diva extraordinaire Mikki Taylor was at the helm of the beauty and fashion department. But babies - I do NOT remember pages full of $3900 boots or $100 skin cream (yes, I'm giving room for inflation). My college and young adult Essence didn't roll like that. This magazine is SO foreign to me. I had not had a subscription for years and accepted the eye rolls and incredulous looks that I received from other black women - in my family and not when I told them that.

My black female card gets snatched so often (and has since I was born) by sisters that I'm used to not fitting in. There are so many reasons for that - my not giving a damn about how my hair looks (I worry more about what's in my brain), my taste in music, men, politics, travel AND that fact that I can't cook for naught. About a year ago - I decided to give Essence another shot. If I could read Marie Claire and InStyle surely I could give old Essence a try.

It's been a challenge. More often than not I pass right over the monthly book club lists (groups in Savannah, Montclair and Denver reading the latest ghetto lit), the celebrity profiles (Tyler Perry's house, The Blactresses' wax poetic and too many features on Jada Pinkett Smith to even shake a stick at) - and THEN there are the fashion spreads. Yes, I LOVE the diversity of the models from the lightest light to the darkest dark and thin, thick and everything in between. What KILLS me though are the "How to get out of debt" pieces right next to the articles about Christian Lacroix shoes. Are you kidding me?

Oldheads sit in barber shops and beauty parlors all over this country and lament over young people killing each other behind LeBron and Jordan shoes. I wonder why. I'll probably see more real Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags at Black Expo this summer hanging off the arms of people living in they momma's house.

Oh well - I'll wait for the next issue. It will be around Essence Music Festival time so that will surely warrant a Mary J. Blige or Jill Scott cover. In the meantime, I may holla at Marie Claire to see what's new at Target this summer.