All Articles Tagged "expression"
By Angela Thomas
The TWA (teeny weeny afro) has been around for ages and has been worn by neo-soul singers like Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and India Arie. But now there are a new crop of celebrities who are choosing this style. Whether it is a personal form of expression, a result of damage, or just a new look, more and more celebrity women are deciding to ditch their weaves in favor of their natural hair. Here are six celebrities who boldly chose to chop it all off and/or expose us to their inspiring TWAs.
How come every time a white woman entertainer feels the need to affirm herself, it is always a person of color who has to bear the brunt of her license of liberation?
Like for instance, last week Madonna took to the airwaves to express her “disappointment” with M.I.A, international electronica-star and rebel rouser. You see, Madonna was gracious enough to invite M.I.A, along with Nicki Minaj, to engage in a little girl power by being muted (if you count the 30-second “verse” they were allowed to spit), cheerleading bookends to Madge’s awesomeness. However, M.I.A, being the bad girl she is, decided that doing all that wasn’t enough and flipped the bird at the camera. Tsk, tsk. According to Madonna, who gave her two cents during a conversation with Ryan Seacreast, M.I.A.’s one-finger salute was simply “out of place” at a show characterized by “such a feeling of love and good energy and positivity,” and was totally a “teenager … irrelevant thing to do.”
This is coming from the woman whose claim to fame was using taboo religious imagery in “Like A Prayer,” putting out a book of pornographic self-portraits, gyrating butt naked in the banned from MTV “Justify my Love” video and only a few years ago, engaged in a little tongue action with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on a music station known for appealing to young viewers. Likewise, how is a 51-year-old woman bouncing around in cheerleading outfits and pom-poms chastising others about maturity and relevance? I love Madonna but she truly has some nerve. The queen of shock is policing another woman about how she chooses to be equally daring? Classic.
But that’s not the only thing I’m irked about. Last week, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook with Chelsea Handler dishing about her relationship with 50 Cent, particularly the reasons behind why they broke up. According to Handler, 50 had called her wanting her to listen to a conversation with his ex-girlfriend Ciara. She said that 50 said that Ciara wanted to get back with him and he wanted Handler to listen in, and I guess, mock the poor girls pleas for a second chance.
Handler, disgusted by 50’s immaturity, decided that she had enough. But in the mix of her telling him where to go with his childish antics, Handler also let something else out the bag. According to an interview with Howard Stern, Handler said, “I think I called him the worst thing you could say to a black person short of calling him the N-word. I said something like, you’re like a street person basically. Something along the lines of being a gangster, and it was really, really offensive and I hung up and I’ve never spoken to him again.” This was followed by a laugh.
When pressed about what exactly she said that wasn’t quite “n*****” but just as bad, Handler said she couldn’t remember but said that she said something like that. “I said, ‘You have no business even talking to someone like me, and it was very mean.’”
A few years ago, when I was in the basement of a barbershop waiting to get a chop, I waited with a young 20-something black woman who had a 3-year old running about the shop. My barber Janet asked her of her boy’s name, and this is what she had to say:
Another older sista waiting – doing what older sistas do – asked the mother: “Well, does he even know how to spell his own name???”
“He’s working on it,” she said sweetly. “He’s got about half of it down.”
As of late, it seems like I’ve been having many conversations related to the tendency of black parents – especially of humble background – to come up with grammatical manglings of names masquerading as creative expression. I’ve heard a small band of defenders explain that it’s a display of our cultural eccentricities and creativity that reveal names like the monstrosities above. Q’Kavarimantis. Really???
Being creative is cool, but I think we’ve come to a point–black folks and all folks really (yes, you too celebrities)–where the names we’re choosing for our children are going a bit too far. Here are why these damn names can be a big problem:
- Pointless creativity: Coming up with names that run in the family or stand for something deep is one thing; subverting them as a result of trying to be “unique” is dead wrong. Changing a perfectly classic name like “Alexander” to “Alezandear” and keeping the same pronunciation is not the righteous way to go. Making “Alexia” to “Alexuscia” will only make your child hate you for having to explain to people how that name came about countless times by the age of 35.
- They need to be employed someday: I’m a schoolteacher of young black boys and girls. So it should go without saying that I see and hear more over-the-top names than I care to share. Every now and again, I come across a doozy; what person in their free-thinking mind’s eye would come up with the name “Chandelier,” make it legal for the courts and send your child off with the expectation that it wont be an obstacle in the future? While we would love to assume that individuals aren’t shallow enough to judge a person by their name off the top, I’m sure no one reading this was born last night. It obviously happens.
- Phonetic mess: As an English teacher, I cant deal with the silent “j” and “s” that populate these names. I can’t deal with “L-ia” being pronounced “Ladashia” or the -leigh taking place of the -ley and having your child get mad at me for saying it wrong. Can’t do it. And you shouldn’t do it either.
- You don’t want your kids angry with you: You don’t want them to feel the need to run and get their name changed the minute they turn 18 do you? I have a unique-yet-common-enough first name, and I’ve been dealing with the blow back from it since I was in short pants. But the random jokes that come from my real name are nothing compared to the ridicule names that no other human on earth have outside of your child get. What’s wrong with “Andrew”? Is there a problem with “Tracy”? Hell, if you wanna go cultural, run with Malik! But there’s no accounting for “Dejalatasia” or some such name that will take your kids through hell on the playground. Some kids can be truly harsh (damn near evil) by nature, and those names are like giving them a handful of rocks aimed directly at your child.
- Don’t put absurd expectations on your child through their name: “Diamond.” “Essence.” “Precious.” “Heaven.” “Princess.” Not made-up names, but your daughter could be the second coming of Halle Berry in her prime and this would still make her look like a narcissist. And if she doesn’t end up looking like a “Diamond,” then you have got a lot of explaining to do. Plus, it’s hard to have a name like “Joy” if this young lady has an attitude more suited for a name like “Vicious.” Just keep these things in mind…
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The wretched N-word. Still used by any and everybody when it shouldn’t be, still holds a painful and offensive meaning. But if you ask rapper Trina, aka “The Baddest B****,” it’s not something people should be getting worked up about anymore. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.
In an interview on 106 & Park recently to promote her new video, “Red Bottoms,” when asked what she thought about Bay-area white female rappers Kreayshawn and V-Nasty using the word (which has been a heated discussion since Kreayshawn jumped into the spotlight earlier in the year), she didn’t see the need to get heated over something she sees as being…small.
“I don’t see what the big deal about it is. It’s a matter of respect, if you’re not being disrespectful, if you’re not doing it in a racist way…I’m not really the person that care’s too much about all that.”
She goes on to say:
“It’s so much more serious stuff going on in life. Let’s worry about voting for Barack Obama for president again. I don’t think the N-word is such a big deal, we’ve been saying it for years, decades, white, blacks, Hispanic, Jamaican, Haitian, Chinese whatever. It is what it is, we didn’t create it, we didn’t start it and we’re not going to be the last to say it. It’s going to continue on and on and on so we just need to focus on what’s important.”
I’m not a fan musically of any of the women mentioned in this here post, but in a weird way, I can somewhat feel what Trina is trying to say. We do have bigger and better things to worry about than what a barely-out-of-adolescence white female rapper lets come out of her mouth. However, I don’t see how it hurts to stand up and say that it’s best if Miss Krey-Krey and her V-whatever friend don’t use the word. I think the less we care and the less we speak out about it when we can, and in Trina’s case, when we have a platform to do so, we wind up pretty much saying it’s absolutely, positively okay. I don’t care who says it, if I hear it, even in a “non-racist way,” it makes me cringe. I have no control over what words people use in the comfort of their own home, but hell, I would definitely prefer if people weren’t so accepting of the word that they’re saying it and screaming it to one another out in the streets. It’s soooo embarrassing and disrespectful that it’s not even funny, and if you ask me (though you didn’t), not only do these women mentioned need to stop, but these rappers out here in general need to start cutting it out with the N-word. So sorry Trina, but I still think it’s a big deal. But then again, I wouldn’t expect someone who holds pride in calling themselves a “Bi***” to feel me on that…
What do you think?
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