Sunday, October 25, 2009


Men are taught to be strong hold their tears. We have been taught to be strong and show no emotions, but the Word of God said that Jesus cried.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Meet the New Black Barbie

Meet Beyoncé-style Barbie from Mattel's new So In Style line of dolls. Barbie fans are giving the toy maker credit for trying to create a doll that fairly depicts today's Black woman. The new line of darker-skinned Barbie friends are a vast improvement over Mattel's notorious "Colored Francie" of the 1960s, but they're still not quite Michelle Obama.

Stacy McBride-Irby, creator of the new Barbie, poses with the dolls.

Make no mistake, Mattel hopes to profit from the surge of interest in Black dolls. The Black Barbies with their neon wardrobes from the 1980s have become a favorite in Canada. Designed by Stacey McBride-Irby, Grace, Kara and Trichelle were created to fill a void for young Black girls who for so long have been playing with dolls that don't look like them. These dolls differ from the original Barbie and her family and friends. The new black Barbies released by Mattel have fuller lips, curlier hair and other features that the company says more accurately represent Black American women, but you can't make everyone happy. Some have cheered the new dolls. Others jeered them, saying they're not Black enough. Others disagree with critics who say the dolls should have had more natural black hairstyles, such as afros or braids. It's hard to encompass all Black people in three dolls.

The dolls have "Beyoncé-looking" long hair that can be curled and styled. And focus groups persuaded McBride-Irby to curl Trichelle's hair. But she wanted to create dolls little girls would play with. Next season, Ms. McBride-Irby will deliver an even darker-skinned Barbie pal named Sandra to increase the "diversity." This is not the first time Mattel has released an ethnic doll that drew criticism. In 1997, Mattel collaborated with cookie maker Nabisco to create Oreo Fun Barbie. The Black version of the doll, which sported an Oreo-shaped purse, was criticized by some who noted that "Oreo" is a derogatory term in the Black community. You know someone who is perceived as Black on the outside and White on the inside. Barbie has had a Black friend, Christie, since 1968. The first collector Black Barbies turned up in the 1980s, looking identical to the White-skinned originals. Barbie acquired three Black friends briefly in the early 1990s, the "Shani" dolls that supposedly looked more "ethnic."

Actress Nia Long, who appears in comedian Chris Rock's new documentary, "Good Hair," recently said, "Historically, the Afrocentric features have not been celebrated. This makes us question the integrity of our beauty standard for ourselves."

The new "little sisters" are designed to inspire Black teens to mentor younger girls, either their own sisters or in the community. Each doll also matches an academic side. Kara, for example, is into "math and music."

I say it's about time...Why should White girls get to keep all the Body Dysmorphic Disorder for themselves! Black girls want to hate their bodies too! If Barbie were life size at her current proportions, she would be unable to stand upright, due to her unrealistic assets. So while it's great that they are making Barbie multicultural, and easier to associate with, it would be great if there were actually a doll that celebrated realistic human figures. Instead of telling little girls they have to be thin and white to be pretty, they just have to be thin.

For those who say that the new Barbie are unrealistic and not Black enough, I say, Of course the Black Barbie is unrealistic. It's a BARBIE! Your little girl is never going to look like Barbie, whether she is Black, White, Brown, Yellow or Red. They are a fantasy and almost every girl loves Barbie.

Indeed, I think it's a wonderful idea that little Black girls can have dolls that "look more like them". However, it's not like the White Barbie dolls are accurate representations of the White (or ANY) female anatomy nor do they capture all the different hair types or styles White women have.

Whether Black or White, the Barbie doll is a very poor representation of the female body and that may have more impact on little girls than the hair type, texture or even facial features. So if you're going to complain about the doll why not start with universal "issues", such as the unrealistic body? Besides, many of these complaints are coming from women with “good hair”, you know, weaves and relaxed hair. All women come in different shades, shapes, and varieties too. If there is such a call for a 'Blacker' Barbie, another company will probably make it. The thing about Barbie is that she represents a type of beauty than most living women do not, Black, Brown, Red, White or Yellow.

Monday, October 19, 2009


While struggling with the reality of being a human instead of a myth, the strong Black woman passed away.
Medical sources say she died of natural causes, but those who knew her know.

She died from being silent when she should have been screaming, smiling when she should have been raging, from being sick and not wanting anyone to know because her pain might inconvenience them.
She died from an overdose of other people clinging to her when she didn't even have energy for herself.

She died from loving men who didn't love themselves and could only offer her a crippled reflection.
She died from raising children alone.

She died from the lies her grandmother told her mother and her mother told her about life, men & racism.

She died from being sexually abused as a child and having to take that truth everywhere she went every day of her life, exchanging the humiliation for guilt and back again.

She died from asphyxiation, coughing up blood from secrets she kept trying to burn away instead of allowing herself the kind of nervous breakdown she was entitled to, but only White girls could afford.

She died from being responsible, because she was the last rung on the ladder and there was no one under her she could dump on.

The strong black woman is dead.

She died from being a mother at 15 and a grandmother at 30 and an ancestor at 45.

She died from being dragged down and sat upon by un-evolved women posing as sisters and friends.

She died from tolerating Mr. Pitiful, just to have a man around the house.

She died from sacrificing herself for everybody and everything when what she really wanted to do was be a singer, a dancer, or some magnificent other.

She died from lies of omission because she didn't want to bring the Black man down.

She died from tributes from her counterparts who should have been matching her efforts instead of showering her with dead words and empty songs.

She died from myths that would not allow her to show weakness without being chastised by the lazy and hazy.

She died from hiding her real feelings until they became hard and bitter enough to invade her womb and breasts like angry tumors.

She died from always lifting something from heavy boxes to refrigerators all by herself.

The strong Black woman is dead.

She died from never being enough of what men wanted, or being too much for the men she wanted.

She died from being too Black and died again for not being Black enough.

She died from being misinformed about her mind, her body & the extent of her royal capabilities.

She died from knees pressed too close together because respect was never part of the foreplay that was being shoved at her.

She died from loneliness in birthing rooms and aloneness in abortion centers.

She died in bathrooms with her veins busting open with self-hatred and neglect.

And sometimes when she refused to die, when she just refused to give in she was killed by the lethal images of blond hair, blue eyes and flat butts.

Sometimes, she was stomped to death by racism & sexism, executed by hi-tech ignorance while she carried the family in her belly, the community on her head, and the race on her back!

Is the strong Black woman is dead?
No she is not, not if she's reading this!

Pass this on to all the strong Black women (and men) so that they will love, respect, and admire "The Strong Black Woman"!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Band Aid to New Orleans Youth

Derrick Tabb has found a way to transform New Orleans youth from troublemakers to music players. He doesn't look the part of a typical band teacher, but every weekday evening in the French Quarter, he beats out the rhythm on his music stand as students play their chosen instruments. In doing so, he gives them an alternative to New Orleans' rough streets. He is competing with the drug dealers and gang bangers. His program, The Roots of Music, offers free tutoring, instruments and music education to more than 100 students.

Students credit Derrick Tabb with changing their lives. Many who were failing in school and heading down the wrong road now have plans to make music their careers and some even want to teach it themselves some day.

Derrick Tabb can relate. During a rebellious phase in junior high, his band teacher became his mentor and helped him get back on track. He is a professional drummer with the Rebirth Brass Band, one of the New Orleans’ most popular acts. The 34-year-old Tabb, a New Orleans native, strives to keep young people on the straight and narrow in the city with the nation's highest murder rate, according to FBI statistics.

He believes that many young people wind up in trouble because they have nothing else to do. The type of music support systems that helped him years ago has been struggling since Hurricane Katrina. Musicians scattered after the storm and budget cuts ended many school music programs.

Mr. Tabb chose to target 9 to 14-year-olds with his program because that's just the most vulnerable time of your life. He feels that if he catches them now, he can hold onto them for at least four or five years and guide them toward a positive path.

Students meet from 4-7 p.m. every weekday, year-round. They work with tutors on schoolwork, practice their music and eat a hot meal before heading home. Through funding from donations and sponsors, the group is able to provide bus transportation, instruments and food for free. He calls it his "no excuse" policy -- "you don't have any excuse why you're not here." With a 90 percent attendance rate, his formula is working.

Mr. Tabb attributes the success in part to the nature of music. "You're constantly learning something new," he said. "That's what keeps the kids coming back every day."

Since getting underway last year, The Roots of Music has already exceeded his expectations. The band marched in five Mardi Gras parades this season. The program also helped students improve their academic performances, with 85 percent having raised their grades in at least one class; some D and F students have become A students. And there are more than 400 children on the waiting list.

No previous musical experience is necessary -- many students don't even know the names of the instruments when they start -- but youngsters learn fast and it’s fun. But the program isn't only about fun. They also learn discipline and how hard work pays off. He insists on good behavior and keeps kids in order with threats of sit-ups, pushups or tasks like picking up grains of rice -- but these measures aren't just punishment. Discipline aside, Derrick Tabb wants young people to realize that music can help them build a better future.

Want to get involved? Check out The Roots of Music and see how to help.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bill Cosby: Still Bill, Still Correct

Sent to me in an email:

Bill Cosby has a great way of distilling things. Looks like he's done it again!


(1) 'Press 1 for English' is immediately banned. English is the official language. Speak it or wait at the border until you can.

(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports. We will use the Wal-Mart policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'

(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.

(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border (six month tour). They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't gettin nuttin out. Neither the president nor any other politician will be able to touch it.

(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.

(7) Professional Athletes--Steroids. The FIRST time you check positive you're banned for life.

(8) Crime - We will adopt the Turkish method, the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There are no more life sentences. If convicted of murder, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim; gun, knife, strangulation, etc.

(9) One export will be allowed, Wheat. The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.

(10) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.

(11) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.

(12) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes


Bill Cosby

Monday, October 5, 2009

Surprise! Saints' Defense the Story

I know, I know, but I just couldn’t resist. WHO DAT!

No, I’m not surprised the New Orleans Saints won, but the stunner is that they won with DEFENSE. The New York Jets entered Sunday as the defensive powerhouse, not the offensive minded Saints. It is the personality of Rex Ryan's aggressive Jets defense to play the bully in games, knocking people off the ball and back on their heels with superior physicality. This time the bully was the Saints, and the Jets were the team getting pushed around. I thought last week’s display of defense by the Saints was a fluke, but it looks like the new reality is that the New Orleans Saints can win games with its defense just as easily as it can with its high-powered offense. Looks like these Saints aren't lopsided, or lacking in physicality, any more. Defense is no longer a dirty word in New Orleans.

The game was billed as the Jets attacking defense versus the Saints attacking offense. But it turns out that the Saints had four sacks and harassed Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez into four turnovers -- three interceptions and a fumble lost in his own end zone like. The Saints defense actually out-scored both the entire Jets team and the New Orleans offense 14-10, with Saints safety Darren Sharper setting a team-record with a 99-yard interception return for his team's first touchdown in the second quarter, and backup defensive tackle Remi Ayodele recovering a Sanchez fumble in the end zone to make it 17-0. The Jets rallied to make a game of it in the second half with the next 10 points, New Orleans wound up picking off Sanchez twice more in the final two quarters (Sharper again and cornerback Randall Gay), and added a game-clinching 74-yard, 11-play touchdown drive on offense in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Saints defenders afterward said first-year New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams spent all week stressing to his team that the game against New York would be a 60-minute fight, and nothing short of out-hitting the contact-loving Jets would get the job done. Clearly these aren't your father's Saints. For the second week in a row, New Orleans won a game on the backs of its defense, following up last week's impressive 27-7 victory at Buffalo, when quarterback Drew Brees threw for less than 200 yards for the first time in 23 games. Brees has started a new streak for himself, because against the Jets he was 20 of 32 for 190 yards, with no touchdowns for a second week in a row. (Not good for me – he is my fantasy league quarterback – but just win baby).

As much credit as Coach Williams deserves for the new-look Saints defense, nobody epitomizes its on-field production as much as 13-year veteran safety Darren Sharper, who signed a one-year deal with New Orleans during free agency. Sharper's two picks against the Jets give him a league-leading five in four games -- New Orleans also paces the NFL with 10 interceptions and 13 takeaways -- and he has already posted two of the longest three interception returns in team history. His 97-yard pick-six at Philadelphia closed out a New Orleans rout in Week 2. His 10th career touchdown on interception return put him second behind the NFL's career leader, Rod Woodson (12).

This is the kind of game the Saints never won in the past unless their offense put up its usual 34 points or so. But those days are rapidly becoming a memory. But in two weeks, after they take their Week 5 bye, the Saints have another glamour matchup at the Superdome to gear up for. The Giants, who will likely be 5-0 after a home game against The Oakland Raiders next week, are the next team that will test the validity of New Orleans' new-found strength. The Giants will come to New Orleans with a full head of steam. Maybe so, but full head of steam or not, nobody's pushing these Saints around any more. The tough-talking Jets tried it on Sunday, and the Saints -- have learned to push back.

A New York, New York doubleheader of domination, anyone? WHO DAT!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Child Rape Survivor Helps Other Virgin Myth Victims

Hope was 14 years old when her uncle raped her. He trapped her to the ground and covered her mouth with his hand, then threatened to kill her if she ever told anybody. So, she kept quiet. A few months later people around the villages started saying that that she looked pregnant. Hope was not only pregnant, but her uncle had infected her with HIV. Like many young girls in Zimbabwe, Hope was the victim of a widely held belief that if a man with HIV or AIDS rapes a virgin he will be cured of his disease. This so-called virgin myth, perpetuated by Zimbabwe's traditional “healers”, has led to the rape of hundreds of girls, according to UNICEF. Some of these victims are too young to walk, much less protect themselves.

Betty Makoni has fought for nearly a decade to protect her country's young girls from sexual abuse. And she's witnessed some of the worst cases of the myth in action. The youngest girl she ever came across was a day-old baby who was raped. Through her Girl Child Network (GCN), Makoni has helped rescue 35,000 girls from abuse -- including now 18-year-old Hope. Ten girls per day report rape cases, which means that if unchecked, at least 3,600 girls per year may be contracting HIV and AIDS."

Ms. Makoni's own tragic experiences fuel her fierce determination. She was raped when she was 6 years old. Her attacker was a local shopkeeper. Her mother would not allow her to report the abuse. "She said, 'Shh, we don't say that in public,' " Makoni remembered. Betty Makoni had no shoulder to cry on. Three years later, she witnessed her father murder her mother. In that moment, Makoni said she realized the potentially deadly consequence of a woman's silence. She told herself that no girl or woman will suffer the same again.

Believing an education would provide her the best opportunity and means to speak out, Betty Makoni earned two university degrees and became a teacher. While teaching, she noticed that girls were dropping out of school at an alarming rate. She approached her students with an idea. “Let's have our own space where we talk and find solutions," Makoni said. Girl Child Network was born. By the end of the first year, there were 100 GCN clubs throughout Zimbabwe where girls could find support. Ms. Makoni said she was not surprised: "Every woman and girl identified with the issues that we were raising," she said.

In 2000, she quit her teaching job to volunteer with GCN full time. The following year she successfully procured a piece of land and opened the organization's first empowerment village, designed to provide a haven for girls who have been abused. Girls are either rescued or referred to the village by social services, the police and the community. The healing begins as soon as a girl arrives. In the first 72 hours, a girl is provided with emergency medication, reinstatement in school, as well as counseling.

It is important to her that the girls are in charge of their own healing. "It gives them the confidence to transform from victims to leaders," she explained. The process helps the girls work through the times when many thought their life had come to an end. Today, GCN has grown to 700 girls' clubs and three empowerment villages across Zimbabwe. An estimated 300,000 girls have received assistance.

But for Betty Makoni, speaking out came with a high personal cost. In 2008, she was forced to flee her native country. She left Zimbabwe because her life was in danger as a result of her project being interpreted politically. Today, she lives with her family in the United Kingdom. She still serves as executive director of her organization and shows no signs of slowing down. GCN has partnered with the DOVE project, a group based in Essex, England, that deals with domestic violence. "We are now bringing the girls from a local community to the international scene," she said. Her efforts in Zimbabwe are highlighted in the film documentary, Tapestries of Hope.

It's disappointing to know that grown men are foolish enough to believe in such nonsense and will take to raping infants and toddlers in a ridiculous attempt to save themselves. Yes, if these men, and I use the term loosely, were educated they would know better than to believe that raping a child cures AIDS. But even if they DO believe that, it still doesn't explain why they are evil enough to go through with raping a child. This is absolutely horrific and depressing! I can't fathom anyone perpetrating such atrocities towards other people, especially newborn babies! Lack of education or not, ignorance is no excuse for such depravity! There needs to be justice and everyone involved in such horrific and unimaginable crimes SHOULD FACE “REAL” JUSTICE.

In Tanzania, Albinos fear for their lives because some "traditional healer" says using their body parts for ritual sacrifice will bring them lots of money. We are talking about another human being hunted down like an animal to be killed and sacrificed. Just recently in Nigeria, there was a case of the wife of some newspaper owner who beheaded a young boy as sacrifice in order to cure her ailing children. And stuff like this isn't just Africans - the Germans in WWII camps used to put virgins in bed with frozen corpses in the hope that they would thaw out and come back to life.

While this is terribly sad, we need to recognize that it happens everywhere, including the U.S. Maybe not for the same reasons, i.e. the virgin myth, but child molestations happen in the U.S. daily. 1 in 3 girls is molested before her 18th birthday and 1 in 5-6 boys, across the United States.

Want to get involved? Check out the Girl Child Network and Promise Place to see how to help.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Best College Quarterback You’ve Never Heard Of

He is a college football player so talented and productive it's almost impossible to believe he's most college football fans have never heard of him. But Texas A&M junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson has outperformed the nation’s most elite quarterbacks. He has become one of the most mature and grounded athletes in big-time sports. He runs like Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, leads like Texas’ Colt McCoy, throws like Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, has the tough-mindedness and character like Florida’s Tim Tebow. But television cameras have not televised one of his monstrous games. The director has not demanded that cameras capture every facial expression and emotion of Jerrod Johnson's mother, girlfriend or neighbors. Stick Jerrod Johnson in Tim Tebow's uniform, and after the numbers he is putting up the Heisman race would be over. But his coming out party figures to come this Saturday, when the 3-0 Aggies take on Arkansas at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

Jerrod Johnson doesn't drink, and never has tried anything stronger than Advil when it comes to drugs. His name is often misspelled or mispronounced. It's Jerrod, as in ja-ROD. He is wrongly compared to Vince Young or JaMarcus Russell, mostly because he is a big quarterback and Black. He is more polished as a passer, a smooth runner and often the smartest player on the field. (Don’t say it).

He made an early impression on the Aggies program over the summer as he entered his first full season as the starting quarterback. He woke up at 5 a.m. everyday for boot camp-type workouts. He telephoned incoming freshman and encouraged them to meet for 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 practices with veterans. He held meetings with every offensive player, meticulously using a laser pointer to go over individual assignments on every play in the Aggies playbook.

Jerrod Johnson has put a once-great football program that finished 4-8 a year ago on his shoulders. He leads the nation's No. 1 offense, and through leadership and on-field production, he is carrying the Aggies back to respectability. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 245 pounds. He is a powerful runner with a deceptive and long stride. He can throw the ball 70 yards, with ease. At the Peyton Manning camp over the summer, he beat McCoy, Bradford, Greg McElroy and a couple dozen other Division I quarterbacks in a passing skills competition.

Comparisons? He averages twice as many passing yards (320.3 to 160.7) as Tebow. He has three times more rushing yards (196 to 61), more rushing touchdowns (4 to 1) and a higher passer rating (167.0 to 150.9) than McCoy. He's thrown more touchdown passes (9), with a higher completion percentage (67.5), than Ryan Mallett, Jacory Harris and Terrelle Pryor. He averages more total offense per game (385.6) than Taylor Potts, Jimmy Clausen and Todd Reesing. His passer rating is higher than Case Keenum's, Zac Robinson's and Max Hall's. He accounts for more points per game (26.0) than any other player in America. He ranks in the top nationally in every passing category, as well as in total offense.

And in just three games in 2009, he has accounted for 1,157 yards, rushed for four touchdowns, passed for nine and thrown zero interceptions. He has started just 13 games in his collegiate career, but is on pace to obliterate long-standing Aggies records. Already, he has posted four of the school's top nine single-game total offense performances. He has four of the top six all-time single-game passing marks. He already has established the single-season record for touchdowns (24) and is on pace to become the all-time completions percentage leader.

Growing up in the Houston suburb of -- appropriately -- Humble, Texas, he was considered a pro prospect in baseball and basketball. As a sophomore in high school, Jerrod Johnson clocked 90-mph on the radar gun with his fastball. As a junior in high school, he earned a basketball scholarship to Texas A&M. But there's more to Jerrod than numbers and skills.

He is the son of a high school teacher and high school administrator. Pam and Larry Johnson's faith and compassion ran so deep they took in nearly two dozen foster children to raise with their own, Jerrod and his brother, Marquis, a former Prairie View A&M end now coaching strength and conditioning at Eastern Michigan. When Jerrod was 3, the state took custody of the child of one of Pam's friend. Pam's heart broke at the thought of the child not having a home. Larry and Pam went through foster parent training and raised the child until the state found a permanent home. From then on, the Johnsons gave foster children everything they could -- holiday parties, gifts, vacations, a church home, a family's love. They accepted kids of every age, so long as they were boys. Some of the children were infants. Some were young teens. Some were children of crack and heroine addicts. Some suffered from severe developmental and health issues. Some simply were abandoned. Some were Black, some were White, some were Brown. It never mattered.

Dad took on extra jobs to help pay for all the expenses of raising his boys and foster kids. A former Texas A&M safety and wide receiver, Larry Johnson became one of the Humble area's most beloved coaches and administrators. When Jerrod played elite summer-league basketball from 2002 to 2005, helping a Houston hoops team reach the AAU Elite Eight three consecutive years and the Final Four once, Larry Johnson was a volunteer assistant coach. The travel team featured such future Division I players as Jerrod, Arizona point guard Nic Wise, Nevada-Las Vegas forward Darris Santee, TCU guard Jason Ebie, Texas Tech forward Mike Singletary, Bucknell wing Stephen Tyree and Rice footballer Pierre Beasley.

Although the college football world is about to become impressed with what Jerrod Johnson has become. The one person he most wishes could be at Cowboys Stadium to watch the next step in this marvelous season, however, will not be there. In December 2007 while the Aggies were preparing for the Alamo Bowl and just months before starting his first game at quarterback, Jerrod received a call from his brother. He said he needed to come home because Larry was in the hospital. It was only after Jerrod arrived that he realized his father had suffered a massive stroke. Two days later, Larry died with his sons and wife by his side. At Larry's funeral, Jerrod spoke in detail of the lessons his father taught him. Marquis did an impeccable, humorous impersonation of how his boisterous, affable father would implore kids to always do the right thing. After the service, hundreds of former players and students greeted the family and shared stories of how "Mr. Johnson" affected their lives. A year later, the basketball court at Humble High was renamed Larry Johnson Court.

Larry Johnson never got to see his son start a college football game. But whenever Pam does, and every time someone else does, what they see is exactly what Larry Johnson wanted: a kid who treats everyone around him the same, no matter where they're from, what they look like or what's happened in the past. It's how he became one of the best college football stories you never knew.