Sunday Musings from Chicago

So it’s 11:34am Chicago time and I am sitting here chilling, listening to the music of my youth with a pot of oxtails cooking and all is right in my universe for now. But I think too much as an ex told me so I am also sitting here thinking about the evolution of the Black social media and how it has not changed in the almost 13 years I have been on it.

I joined Facebook back in October of 2008 when my cousin Lisa sent me an invite. At first I didn’t do too much but talk about my children but I wrote a blog for my now defunct website, “The Black Feminista” that discussed getting sexually molested as a child and boy did it generate some views. I learned that so many Black women had experienced what I had gone through and it made me mad as hell. That it seem to be some type of rite of passage for young Black girls to be molested by the men of the community and how people really don’t give a damn.

So I decided to speak on the issues that affect the lives of Black women and girls and I found a bunch of ladies who agreed with me. From then on, it was on. We spent time dragging dusty ass dudes who could barely write a coherent sentence but believed that because they were born male, they were superior to women and had the right to tell us what to wear, how to think, how to live. Hell some of them thought and still think that they know more about womanhood than actual women who were born female in a patriarchal society. The unmitigated gall of these illiterate fuckers but having a cock gives men the most audacity in the universe.

But almost 13 years later, the Black social media has not evolved and it seems to be devolving if anything. Regardless of what social media platform they use from Facebook to Clubhouse, the only topics discussed by Black folks is relationships, celebrities, weave, sex, and the battle for dominance over women and children. Every couple of months, topics such as who gets fed first, the man or the children, did welfare destroy the Black community, should women go 50/50 on household expenses, and whether women should submit to men even if she works 80 hours per week while he sits on his ass arguing with strange women online are talked about ad nauseam and the shit is ridiculous.

Black women and children are being murdered daily across America, gang violence is out of control, the pandemic has taken a toll on the Black community collectively, and we have no money but the only things some Black folks want to talk about is getting fucked, telling women the best way to jump through hoops of fire to hold on to a man not worth two dead flies, weave, and fucking makeup. It makes me sad how little intellectual discourse is taking place online because the social media is one of the greatest inventions created and it could be of such good use to Black folks but instead of using it to uplift the community, many of us are consumed with satisfying our basic needs to the point that nothing else matters. Not even the children who are born unwanted and unloved and then grow up to be menaces terrorizing the community while these same adults bewailing and clutching their pearls about their behavior pretend like they don’t know what happened. With their trifling asses.

Honestly, what really irks me is that all these discussions revolve around men. How to keep a man, how Black men really feel about women. Everything is centered around them. Even those women who claim they are “divested” from Blackness spend their days whining about Black men and have transferred their worship of maleness from Black men to white men and will still be disappointed and looking stupid because they don’t love themselves. Women who truly love themselves don’t spend their days and nights worrying about how to appeal to men of any race. But I am digressing as usual and that is because I am frustrated.

I live in a city where more than 250 children have been shot and 32 killed this year, according to police data obtained by ABC station WLS. But grown ass people get their asses on the social media and discuss whether a more than likely shiftless man should be fed before the children. The same children who cannot defend themselves and are getting shot down like dogs. I wonder what I can do but I’m just a middle age fat chick.

Middle Age Angst of a Black Generation X Around the Way Girl

I’m currently watching BET Soul and they played Mary J. Blige’s video “Love No Limit” and lord it brought back memories of being young and carefree. Then it occurred to me that this album will be 30 years old next year. The same age as my son and now I feel old as mummy dirt. So I’m sitting here wondering where the time go.

So much have changed in my life since 1992. I’ve lost so many people that I loved with all my soul including my original birth family, aunts, cousins and friends.

When I look in the mirror, I see traces of the younger woman I used to be but I mostly see sadness. Sadness for my lost loved ones and the state of a culture that is selfish and trifling. I remember that idealistic girl I used to be and wonder where she went and what happened to her. Who is this cynical broad staring back at me in the mirror daily?

But I know who she is. It was easy for her to turn into a cynic considering what generation she’s from. Generation X, the forgotten generation stuck between the Boomers and Millennials who battle daily on the social media.

The original latchkey children who were left to their own devices and learned to be satisfied with eating ravioli straight out the can because their mothers refused to buy a microwave and threatened them with violence if they turned on the stove.

The generation who saw a spaceship blow up in the air back in 1986 and if they were Black, saw the destruction of their community when the crack era started. It’s no wonder why so many of us are drunks. We’ve seen it all and still somehow manage to get up in the morning with a semi straight face despite the pain of yesteryear.

But despite the pain, considering what I have been through during these last almost 30 years, I’m eternally grateful to be still alive and in one piece. Fatter with laugh lines but still here. So this little story is for my Generation X folks. My middle age Around the Way gals and homeboys. We go make it y’all. Yes we are.

The Art of Aging as a Woman

Being a woman ain’t no cakewalk at all, especially in a society that deems a woman old and washed up at the age of 30. But someway, somehow I have managed to survive turning 50 years old.

I was depressed in the months leading up to my birthday. I was grieving over the loss of my brother, coping with the pandemic, and getting diagnosed with epilepsy. I cried literally every day from February to December. But that isn’t healthy at all so I managed to find some ways to keep me calm.

I started watching the cartoons of my childhood. In January, Me TV started showing episodes of Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and Bugs Bunny and Friends every Saturday morning and I haven’t missed an episode. Watching those cartoons brings me so much joy because they bring back memories of the little girl whose biggest issue was whether she should eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast or nag her mother into making her some scrambled eggs.

I also started creating Tiktok videos featuring me singing (howling) along to some of my favorite music. Music that makes my soul sing and body move. I cackle madly when I watch the videos, knowing that singing is not a talent of mine at all but it’s good seeing the happiness in my eyes.

And most importantly, I decided to embrace my age. So many people I know and loved didn’t make it to age 50. So I will be strutting around like I’m the baddest bitch in America. Yes I’m fat, my hair is turning gray, and I have some funky ass dark circles under my eyes that won’t disappear but I’m still here. And proud as fuck about it. So ladies, embrace becoming a Crone and stop giving a fuck about the opinions of others, in particular, the opinions of men. It is in their best interests to keep women insecure and filled with self loathing, groveling for crumbs. Fuck that dumb shit girlies. Live your according to the standards that you have set up for yourself and keep rising to the top.

The Howler

The 50th Birthday Blog – Two Weeks Later

Two weeks ago, I turned 50 years old. A milestone birthday that unfortunately for me happened during a world pandemic so I didn’t do anything but think deeply. My children are finally adults and now after 33 years of motherhood, I have some time to myself. I am a worrier by nature so I will always be concerned with my children but now I can concentrate on me.

I am also a single woman and I am content with being single most of the time. But I can admit it would be nice to have a nice fella who really loves me and have my best interest at heart. This year has been filled with so much pain that it would have been wonderful to have a man in my life who would have enveloped in his arms and made me feel safe. But unfortunately, most of the men I run across have the emotional intelligence of a gnat. Not a smidgen of empathy, just soulless. So I will be rolling solo until I meet that dude who loves cartoons as much as I do.

My eldest brother died in February and with his death, my entire childhood family was gone. My closet blood relatives are now my children and that hurts. At times, I just want to break down and weep in a corner but I have to keep living. I don’t want to wallow in pain but I can’t help but have these morbid thoughts from time to time. I tried explaining my feelings to a male friend and he really didn’t get it. Got to talking about how his whole family was dead too (but all three of his siblings are still alive). Told me that I need to get over myself. That my family would want me to be happy. I wanted to bust his head for being so obtuse and clueless. So I rarely speak to him anymore.

And this pandemic. I am so tired of wearing a mask but these stupid people will not stay their silly asses in the house. Want to travel and party all while spreading germs everywhere. Goddamn ninnies. But this is the country I live in.

These are just some thoughts of mine on this Friday mid morning. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – A Summary

In an excerpt from her extended essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” author Virginia Woolf examines the obstacles and prejudices that have hindered women writers before the 20th. She deploys a number of methodologies: historical and sociological analysis, fictional hypothesis, and philosophy, to answer her initial question of why there have been so few female writers. She ties their minority status largely to socioeconomic factors, specifically their poverty and lack of privacy. Her main theme throughout the essay is that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write creatively.

            Woolf also exposes the gender consciousness that she believes cripples both male and female writers. Most men she maintains, derogate women to maintain their own superiority and most women are angry and insecure about their inferior status in society. Male writing, then, is too aggressive, whereas women’s writing is reactive. Both genders obscure their subjects and instead focus on themselves and their own personal grievances. The writer of incandescent genius, Woolf maintains, rises beyond his or her petty gripes and attains a heightened, objective relationship with reality; the subject is the world, not the writer’s self.            She argues that the reason there were so few prominent, highly respected women authors before the twentieth century is because most women had not led lives conducive to creating great art or literature. She maintains that there was no actual body of notable women’s literature because, in the past, women did not have the education, the income, the privacy, the experiences of travel to broaden their world, or the time to write. Dominated by men throughout history, females have been denied access to education, independent travel, and to publication. Without income, women are totally dependent upon men.

           Women are responsible for bearing children, and in almost all cases have the primary responsibility for bringing them up. Few have the luxury of hired help. Although rewarding in many ways, child rearing allows for little privacy, independence and solitude, prerequisite conditions for writing, painting or composing. If privacy is nonexistent, interruptions block creativity. In this essay, she clearly states that what a woman needs is a room of her own and a guaranteed fixed income in order to write noteworthy fiction. Here she challenges women to become economically self sufficient in order to acquire the necessary intellectual freedom to create outstanding literature. She believed that the remarkable, the momentous could be found amongst the mundane details and occurrences of everyday life. She encourages women to write about all of the “minutely obscure lives” which men have ignored, and about themselves, their feelings and their reactions to the world around them.

A Hip-Hop Mystery: Whatever Happened to Choice the First Raunchy Female Rapper?

Way back in ancient times, an unknown female rapper burst upon the rap scene like a fiery comet and disappeared just as quickly. Her name is Choice and she released two albums in 1990 and 1992 but since then, nothing has been heard from her. Which is a shame because she was dope as hell.

While cruising these Google streets looking for information about her, I was excited to learn that someone created a Wikipedia page for her but the information is very scant. Her name is Kim Jones but her birth date is unknown. She’s from San Antonio, Texas but nothing else is known about her. It is almost like she never existed.

But she did exist and gloriously. I remember when I first heard her tape (yes, I am that old). It was the summer of 1990 and my girls and I would ride around listening to lyrics such as “I sucked his dick and all that shit. Rode the motherfucker like a pongo stick. We fell off the bed onto the floor. I grabbed the motherfucker and sucked it some more. That was raunchy as hell for 1990 and me and my friends giggled our asses off. Thank god it was no Internet and no Black men whining and complaining like a bunch of old ass cats about loose women while their own dicks have more mileage than a 1970 Camero.

She also made a diss track that dragged every big male rapper during that era to hell and back called “Payback” and it was a doozy. From Ice Cube to Too Short, she let their asses have it. Talked about their sexual skills, their looks, their pockets, their rhymes. Everything. Its a feat that has not been achieved by another female rapper as of 2020.

Unfortunately, she was ahead of her time and too much for the male dominated rap industry. She’s seemingly disappeared into the mists, never to be seen again and that is a crime against music history. And that is why I decided to write this article. To give this marvelous, bold woman her flowers while she’s still here. I hope she’s alive, happy and thriving, living her best life. Long before Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Megan the Stallion, and Cardi B come on the scene, a gal named Choice existed. These ladies wouldn’t exist without her. So bow down to this sister.

PS: Both of her albums are on ITUNES. Enjoy❤️❤️❤️❤️

Gender Inequality in Sub Saharan Africa

inequality has maintained the suppression of women worldwide and unfortunately has impacted Sub-Saharan Africa with the greatest magnitude. Everyday in these countries are countless occurrences of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse that must be acknowledged as a primary concern for governments across the world. A prime example of gender inequality is the use of rape as a weapon of war. For women in Darfur, it is a permanent scar of war; a painful reminder which will never go away. Girls as young as eight will never sleep well again or be able to have a normal relationship with a man because of this issue. There are many ways to commit murder, and for these women and girls, they may as well be dead.

Since the early 2000s, the Islamist government in Khartoum, Sudan has given the Janjaweed militia a free hand in putting down a rebellion by Black African tribes in the region and as a result of the conflict, some one million people have fled their homes and 50,000 people have been killed. Women, girls, and babies have been raped with impunity because the Sudanese government will not lift a finger to help these victims because according to them, no one has been raped. Most importantly, they are women and women are unworthy of notice.

However, according to Amnesty International, violence against women is occurring in a context of systematic human rights violations against civilians in Darfur. The grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by the Janjaweed and the Sudanese army against civilians have targeted men, women and children indiscriminately. Women have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, bombed, raped, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced. Children have been summarily or indiscriminately killed, tortured, abducted and forcibly displaced; girls have, like women, been the particular target of rapes, abductions and sexual slavery.

Rape victims in Sudan are stigmatized because according to their culture, they are to blame for their attack. Along with health and tribal ramifications, there are also governmental consequences for the victims. Most victims are too afraid to report attacks because it is very hard for the government to hear a rape case. For a woman to prove rape under Sudanese law, she needs four male witnesses; a task which is essentially impossible. In his book Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide, Gerard Prunier describes the ways women and girls are discriminated against if they admit to being raped. If a single woman is found to be a victim of rape, (or have had sex in the eyes of the government,) she would be sentenced to 100 lashes. If the same were found out about for a married women she would sentenced to be stoned to death. The government has imprisoned pregnant rape victims for adultery. (60-62)

Rape as a weapon of war has been going on for too long in long in Darfur and the end does not seem to be anytime soon. Rape is a universal fear of women all around the world. Women in Darfur are afraid to walk in daylight with other people to look for food and water because they can be snatched, beaten, and raped with a gun. Women and girls are now as likely to be assaulted in periods of calm as during attacks on their villages and towns. Young girls in America wish for tickets to the latest Hannah Montana concert or an iPod, whereas young girls in Darfur wish for security from their own government as they walk miles to search for water. The Sudanese government has said it is committed to stopping the sexual violence, but in practice, little or nothing is being done.

Another example of gender inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa is fistula and young African girls. What is a fistula? According to fistulafoundation.org, fistula is a hole between a woman’s birth passage and one or more of her internal organs. This hole develops over many days of obstructed labor, when the pressure of the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvis cuts off blood supply to delicate tissues in the region. The dead tissue falls away and the woman is left with a hole between her vagina and her bladder (called a vesicovaginal fistula or VVF) and sometimes between her vagina and rectum (rectovaginal fistula, RVF). This hole results in permanent incontinence of urine and/or feces. Women who develop fistulas are often abandoned by their husbands, rejected by their communities, and forced to live an isolated existence (http://www.fistulafoundation.org/aboutfistula/faqs.html). Fistula is also the ultimate symbol of childbirth gone wrong because of poor health care access and the high prevalence of men marrying under-age girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In a land where boys are more valued than girls, girls are viewed as nothing more than as bargaining tools for their fathers who covet fat dowries. Their mothers are powerless to intervene and as a result many African girls have been sold into marriage to men old enough to be their grandfathers. At the age of twelve, most little girls bodies are not ready for childbirth and an obstructed labor combined with the narrow hips of child will lead to many occurrences of fistula in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prevention comes in the form of access to obstetrical care, support from trained health care professionals throughout pregnancy, providing access to family planning, promoting the practice of spacing between births, supporting women in education and most importantly, postponing early marriage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obstetric_fistula).

The last example of gender inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa is female genital mutilation. The practice of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, occurs throughout the world, but it is most common in Africa. Female genital mutilation is a tradition and social custom to keep a young girl pure and a married woman faithful. In Sub-Saharan Africa it is practiced in the majority of the continent including Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Mozambique and Sudan. It is a cross-cultural and cross-religious ritual, which is performed by Muslims, Coptic Christians, Protestants, Catholics and members of various indigenous groups (Skaine 15).

Female genital mutilation is usually performed on girls before they reach puberty. It is a procedure where either part or the entire clitoris is surgically removed leaving a reduced or total lack of sexual feeling. This procedure is an attempt to reduce the sex drive of women, making them less likely to be sexually active before marriage or engage in extra-marital affairs. Over eighty million women and girls are living with or somehow affected by female genital mutilation (World Medical Association), but as the world moves forward into an age of women’s rights and global responsibility, it is time to take a stand against this ruthless violation of human rights.

The female is operated on while in a sitting position or lying on her back with her thighs being held apart. The operator uses a cutting instrument, a collection of thorns for suturing the wound, and a powder mixture of sugar, gum, and other herbs, ashes or pulverized animal manure, which is later applied to control excessive hemorrhaging. The child is in so much pain that some have actually bitten their tongues off. If the child faints, powder is blown up her nose to revive her. When the operation is completed, usually within fifteen minutes, the wound is closed and the women present are allowed to inspect the wound to ensure that the procedure was properly completed. Finally, the girl is sutured and the powder mixture is applied. The girl must then remain immobilized for up to three weeks in order to heal properly (Skaine 25).

This practice is both sexist and invasive. The genitals of young boys are not operated on crudely to keep them pure so why should young girls have to submit themselves to such a painful and humiliating act? Because they are females and total control of a woman’s life must be achieved, even at the expense of her mental and physical health.

These are some of the many gender issues that plague the lives of women who reside in Sub-Saharan Africa. These issues must be eradicated in order for African women have total control over their lives, a control that women in the West take for granted. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women have little or no rights. This affects what they can do for work, how their family life is, and what future they have. Until the world’s governments decide to take a stand on these issues, little or nothing will be done to help these women.