All Articles Tagged "power"
Good news: This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day and we can eat, eat and eat some more turkey, cranberry sauce and pie.
More good news: ABC is airing a Spike Lee joint on Thanksgiving night – Bad 25, a look at the impact of Michael Jackson’s 1987 blockbuster album “Bad.” Take a moment to say it… “Who’s bad?!”
Bad news: We will be deprived of an episode of Scandal.
Thank goodness we have this interesting article from The Daily Beast to fill the void. The essay is focused on what Scandal says about women in power in Washington DC. To start, Alyssa Rosenberg points out that, in addition to the number of women who have served directly with President Obama, election night brought a few more women to Congress, adding to the number of powerful women in DC. IRL, women are making strides… even if their numbers still aren’t representative of the number of women in the American population. Not to mention how few women of color hold seats in government.
Still, women are making and influencing policy, meeting with world leaders, and having a say in the direction our country is headed. Good stuff.
On Scandal, however, according to the story, women play a much more stereotypical role. Whether it’s the socially conservative Veep who was basically pushed out of the show after she had a scandal of her own, to First Lady Mellie who’s big story line this season is her pregnancy with “America’s baby,” women are there to cause trouble. “In Olivia Pope’s Washington, the most potent power a woman has is to destroy men who believe in their own greatness,” Rosenberg writes. Even Olivia Pope herself is “curiously removed from the actual debates of the day” and could, through her clients or her own adulterous relationship with President Fitz, destroy the lives of a number of male Washingtonians.
Though Scandal deals with some hot topics in a modern and timely way, it’s still basically a soap opera. Soap operas largely revolve around the romantic goings-on between the characters. So the fact that there’s a lot of that happening on the show isn’t a surprise. Sandal is as much a show about the inner workings of Washington as Grey’s Anatomy is about medicine. A great show, not a documentary.
But it’s also important to note that Rosenberg doesn’t really dive into what it is the men are doing while the women are setting up their falls from grace. The men are running around with these ladies! They’re having affairs, talking about having babies (or not having babies, in the case of Cyrus Beene, the President’s right hand man), and talking about relationships. So while there is some talk about a war in South Sudan or other created policy issues, the men are just as involved in all the drama as the women.
Olivia Pope’s business revolves around knowing how to play the Washington game. When a situation goes down, she has a strategy to handle it immediately. She knows who to call, how to thoroughly assess the situation, and how to proceed once she’s got the details of the crisis at hand. She’s shed a few tears here and there and we’re learning more about her romantic past and present with Senator Edison Davis, but mostly, she’s a tough woman who knows how the game is played in that town.
And speaking of a tough woman who knows how the game in played, Mellie has made it clear that she’s setting herself up for a post-First Lady career. She’s quick to point out that she had a thriving professional life before she gave it up so her husband could become President. When the time calls for it, she steps up to keep her image and that of her husband on track, even if behind the scenes, there’s nothing but strife. In fact, it was President Grant who was sneaking off to the Oval Office to make secret phones to Olivia in the middle of the night.
We wouldn’t go so far to say that Scandal presents a perfect image of powerful Washington women. But, the women on this show hold their own. And, for what it is, the show does a pretty good job of portraying a smart, connected DC professional in Olivia Pope; a business owner who manages her staff, handles her clients, and has a Rolodex (not to mention a wardrobe) to die for.
Do you think the show’s portrayal of women in power is negative?
Mama always warned that no man is ever going to buy the cow, if you’re giving the milk away for free. In the process of creating “90 Day” rules and using sex as a dangling carrot in front of a horse instead of a way to truly build a relationship beyond physical attraction, you may be making your man lactose intolerant. Playing games by putting a price on the pleasure offered by your love below in many ways trivializes just how special that experience can be.
The honest truth is that if a man is only after sex in the first place, it doesn’t matter if you wait 90 days or 9 months, once he gets his half a gallon he will get ghost. I’m not saying you should have sex with every man you’re attracted to three minutes after meeting him; because if he is really into you sex won’t make a difference, because in many ways the timing does. There’s a certain level of respect built in a relationship where sex isn’t on the forefront; sex can complicate things and putting it off can allow a man more time to reveal the gentleman or jerk he really is. What I am saying is that if you initially balance a relationship by making sex the gatekeeper to true intimacy or the path to problem solving, you implicitly send the message that your value lies in between your legs.
But what about using sex as a bargaining tool in a relationship? Well, there’s big chance that the only one you’re doing a disservice to are your own desires. When a man doesn’t lose his mind over some lost vajayjay, a woman may look at herself as a sexual #FAIL. The saying goes that “pu**y is power”, but I don’t believe that holds true. The power resides in our femininity, our intelligence, our confidence, our strength and the fact that most of us bring so much more to the table than good sex. In the end, it’s going to take much more than your bedroom skills to keep any man worth holding onto.
Even the most conservative woman has considered using sex as a bargaining tool at some point to get her man to act right in a relationship, but what happens when your man cancels his flight on your power trip or worse yet, seeks another airline? The truth is that there’s not much to sex; the animals on National Geographic have got that one covered, but what else are you bringing to the table? Honesty, a little bit of attitude and confidence that comes with knowing a man won’t make or break your happiness are what will get you what you want in a relationship, not holding your libido hostage.
I’m not saying men don’t respond to sex (or the lack of it). I’ve seen men steal from their mama, lie to their children and quit their jobs just on the anticipation of a sex. All I’m saying is that if you’re looking for long-term love or a mature relationship, do you really want a man who is simple enough to be played like a puppet solely on the promise of a sexual encounter? Can you really wake up to a man who you know can’t tell left from right whenever the scent of sex is in the air and still respect him?
So does withholding sex actually ever work? The answer is yes and no. If you’re contemplating using sex as conflict collateral, you have to consider just how important getting busy is to your man. If you never actually communicate about the problem, most men are incapable of drawing an association between you shutting down shop and the fact that he forgot to put the toilet seat down. Some men may be just as content handling business with their hand until you come to your senses. And for a man whose loyalty is already questionable, withholding sex may be all the reason he needs to seek satisfaction elsewhere. Does the fact that you locked your legs shut justify his infidelity? Of course not, but when you start playing games with sex, you have to consider the fact that you could end up losing.
The high school days of “Catch a Girl, Freak a Girl” are over. When a woman withholds sex it’s a passive-aggressive response to being angry or hurt and a cowardly way to avoid honestly confronting your partner and putting in some work to hash out the conflict. Boys respond to this type of punishment; a mature man will wonder why you can’t just talk it out. When you reach adulthood it’s time to be a grown woman who’s bring more to the table besides the fact that you got that “good good and you’re Michael Jackson-bad.” If you’re over 25 and playing Nicki Minaj lyrics in the back of your head and flying a banner with the belief that your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, you need to consider planting some more things to offer in your garden. Besides, every woman knows that if you really want to get your way, you take away his Xbox.
Have you ever withheld sex to get your way? Did it work?
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog Bullets and Blessings .
More on Madame Noire!
- People Telling You Not To Wear Heels And 6 Other Tall Girl Problems
- True Life: This is How He Got Me to Go Out With Him
- Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Baldwin Hills!
- Is Venus Williams Really a Sex Addict?
- When Keeping It Swirl Goes Wrong: Why Are Black People Obsessed With Interracial Dating?
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “Baby Boy”
- Did You Know!? 9 Our Favorite Celebs of Cuban Descent (And Some Surprises!)
All eyes are on London for the Summer Olympics, so it’s a great time to take a look at the powerful black women who are making waves across the pond.
BlackEnterprise.com has compiled just such a list that includes jewellers Natasha Faith and Semhal Zemikae, founders of La Diosa (who have outfitted First Lady Michelle Obama, among others); Sonia Meggie, founder of Inspirational YOU, an organization that empowers students and entrepreneurs; and actress Naomie Harris who you’ve already seen in the movies 28 Days Later and Pirates of the Caribbean and will be starring in the latest James Bond flick Skyfall.
The most prominent businesswoman on the list is Karen Blackett, CEO of MediaCom UK, the biggest media buying company in the U.K. Her clients have included Tag Heuer watches and Wrigley’s.
To see the list of all the ladies and their affiliations, go to BlackEnterprise.com.
When referring to humans, we usually hear the term “alpha male” when describing a man who is powerful, competitive and is a leader who stands out among all men. But the same term applies to women who possess similar traits – the Alpha Female.
Alpha Females are intelligent, “take charge” women who can be seen as powerful, or aggressive, depending on who you ask. Being an Alpha Female should be looked at as a good thing, but most bold women are sometimes recognized as high-maintenance or even a Itchbay by society’s standards.
So are you an Alpha Female? If so, there may be some pros and cons to possessing strong traits. If you are unsure, read through these characteristics to see if any of them describe you.
Every week, there’s a new report on an instance of black people being excluded, overlooked, or discriminated in some shape or form. This week it was Acura and “The Bachelor,” a few weeks ago it was Vanity Fair and Kerry Washington, always its fashion magazines and runways and beauty campaigns. The thought that comes up most consistently after the outrage is why are we looking for white people’s approval, why are we seeking their validation, why don’t we spend time nurturing our own? And while I don’t agree that by pointing out these instances of discrimination we are seeking white people’s approval (I think it’s holding them accountable and demonstrating evidence to the contrary of their melting pot, post-racial society, we love diversity claims), I do think that more time would be better spent not seeking or needing to be a part of what white people have going on—and have obviously shown through their actions they want to keep to themselves. But I’m curious if we really know what that would mean or how to even achieve it.
When I think of a time when black people had their “own” on a large scale in entertainment, I think of the Robert Johnson 1980 BET days, even Don Cornelius’ Soul Train days come to mind. These men had a vision to give black people something they could be proud of on TV and they made it happen. But the reality is Bob Johnson had to get John C. Malone to invest $500,000 in the project to get it off the ground, and once the network became a raving success, it no longer remained a black-owned network because he sold it to Viacom for $3 billion in 2003, and ever since we’ve been left with the version of “black entertainment” we see now. When I thought about the wealthy rappers that were acknowledged by Forbes yesterday, I noticed a common thread. A lot of the men’s wealth came from selling companies and brands they’d built. Jay-Z sold Rocawear, 50 Cent sold his stake in Vitamin Water, and Dr. Dre gave up his majority ownership in Beats Electronics for a hefty price. It’s a common—and smart—business practice, but not one that allows us to have the ultimate say in the decisions that upset us, like who appears in which advertisements and how we’re portrayed on TV. That wealth also doesn’t trickle down into the community because we’re not selling these businesses off to other African Americans, they’re going to large corporations headed by white men mostly who could care less about our representation, and the money remains in the hands of the black 1%.
I even think about Oprah and the enormous opportunity to change the face of black programming if she would even just back a venture financially, aside from putting it on her network, but from what we’ve observed of her career that’s just not her thing. If we look at where the wealth is distributed in black America and the individuals who have the dollars to invest in independent black films or black clothing designers, the interest just isn’t there. That doesn’t make these figures bad people. They’re businessmen. White people aren’t thinking about sharing the wealth when they embark on a new venture, they’re building their individual pockets. It’s just that there’s so many more of them and so few of us, and so when we run out of the few select black people who could open doors to come through, we’re left with relying on white people to at least acknowledge we exist in some way and to represent us fairly in the media. That’s why we get so upset when they fail—often times on purpose—it really is our last resort in a lot of ways.
The idea of not having to look at programs and networks that weren’t created for us to begin with as the only source of quality programming is like the black community’s Nirvana but we don’t own much and when something isn’t yours, you don’t get much say in how it operates. There’s hope on the horizon with Diddy and Magic Johnson’s new cable channels that are in the works, but even those networks will be owned by Comcast. A few years ago, Quincy Jones announced plans to buy back Vibe, the magazine he started, I’m not sure if the web presence of the publication is evidence he kept his word or not. I hope that there are other black business minds out there with altruistic goals of putting black people on the map, and not just self, but I’m not too optimistic. I am completely behind the idea that we need to create our own and nurture it, my question is, how will we ever be able to do that without needing white people’s approval, at least from a financial backing standpoint, if we’re not even holding on to the things we’ve built or paving the way for others?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Jaded, Or Just Realistic: Which Are You?
- Being a Junkie: Hi, My Name is Victoria, and I’m Addicted to Natural Hair Products
- Was There No Better Way? Cops Cuff 6-Year-Old After Throwing Tantrum
- We All Have Good Hair: A Breakdown of Curl Patterns
- Yandy Says Don’t Knock Her Pregnant-Girl-In-The-Club Hustle
- Still Waiting: Will You Ever Be More Than “Friends”?
- Ask A Very Smart Brotha Live: Carpal Tunnel & 2 a.m.Texts
- “Ask a Black Man” Episode 4: The Marriage Episode [Extended Cut]
President Obama was asked to give his opinion on probably one of the most pressing issues of our time: Kanye West or Jay-Z?
The question was part of a larger story in The Atlantic on the often troubled public perception of Kanye West. According to David Samuels, author of American Mozart, the President not only gave his stamp of approval to Jay-Z but he also added this little amendment on his impressions of Kanye:
“Although I like Kanye,” Obama continues, with an easy smile. “He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.” He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter. “Even though you called him a jackass?,” I ask. “He is a jackass,” Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. “But he’s talented.”
If that doesn’t get you going, later that day came news that Beyonce recently wrote an open letter to Michelle Obama thanking the First Lady for being the “…ultimate example of a truly strong African American woman. She is a caring mother, she’s a loving wife, while at the same time, she is the First Lady!!!!” She continued. “No matter the pressure, and the stress of being under the microscope — she’s humble, loving, and sincere. She builds and nurtures her family, while also looking out for so many millions in so many ways.”
In response, Michelle Obama tweeted: “@Beyonce Thank you for the beautiful letter and for being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to. –mo.”
Aww, isn’t that special.
The well-documented friendship between the Obamas and the Carters seems endearing enough and it is easy to get all gushy over this public love fest. After all, we are talking about the most politically powerful couple in the Free Nations and the richest entertainment couple in the world. And together, they definitely play that angle up to a tee: Not only have Jay and Beyonce been special guests to the Obamas at the White House, but Michelle has also enlisted Beyonce’s expertise (i.e. singing and dancing) for the “Let’s Move”campaign. Likewise, Jay-Z has dropped Barack Obama’s name in his rhymes, and Obama referenced Jay’s lyrics when he dusted his shoulder off during a campaign appearance before he ascended to the White House. And recently there was a girl’s day out which included a brunch/lunch with Beyonce, her mother, her mother-in-law, her cousin and the first lady.
The aligning of the two powerhouse couples really helps underscore the value behind one’s own public persona. The Carters get a level of mainstream legitimacy that couldn’t be found alone in their music, which has been illustrated by the pictures of Jay-Z palling around with Warren Buffet, while The Obamas, in particular Barack Obama, gets to appear youthful, trendy and cool to a younger generation of potential voters. Yet as folks fawn over pictures and stories of The Obamas and The Carters union, little critique and analysis is actually given to what is built upon the friendship: celebrity or actual shared policies?
Current Occupation: Director, Technology Business Operations
Favorite Website: learnvest.com
Recent Read: Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
2012′s ultimate goal: Finding ways to better integrate my work life and personal life
Quote that inspires you:: Just Do It – Nike, The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. – Albert Einstein.
Ready for another installment of the largest building profile archive of African-American women in technology? I’m bringing it to you straight, with no chaser! This time, the focus is Ebony Frelix, who is a colleague of mine in the tech realm. More specifically, she is the the Director of IT Business Operations at Salesforce.com a company that provides solutions for businesses wishing to better utilize the power of cloud computing as well as CRM (customer relationship management). Ebony also gives back to the young, Black female demo in a very special way too. Read on to find out more….
LDC: Ebony, what was it like growing up in San Francisco and earning your computer degree there? In fact, what led to your initial interest in computers or is it almost obligatory living so close to Silicon Valley?
EF: I’ve always loved the rapid pace and constant speed of innovation in technology organizations. Prior to starting my career in technology, I found myself drawn to techie’s in my company – I wanted to understand what they were doing. So I worked with my manager to create a career path leading to tech. At the same time, I shifted my degree to CIS so I could have the credentials to back me up in my new endeavor.
LDC: How did you obtain the position you have now?
EF: Through my social network. I was at my previous company for 11 years and I wanted to take my career in a different direction. While still focusing on technology, I wanted to spend more time driving strategic initiatives and programs on a larger scale. When a friend forwarded the job description at salesforce.com, I knew the job was the perfect match for my skill set and career goals. Before I was called in for interviews, I used my social network to research the role, hiring manager, and company. I knew before my first interview that I wanted to work at salesforce.com.
LDC: So given that, describe exactly what you do and what a typical day is like for you?
EF: Typical day? There is no typical day. That’s what I love about my job at salesforce.com. My focus is on finding ways to increase the bandwidth and velocity of our leadership team, and creating a framework that enables the organization to evolve and mature. Every day is something new and exciting, giving me an opportunity to work with various internal and external partners for the success of the company. It’s a blast.
LDC: So you’re company focuses on cloud computing (a lot of people say they don’t understand what clouds are, but in fact, if they have ever used Gmail; they’ve accessed a cloud. It’s being able to pull massive data from an independent storage area, so to speak). Why you think cloud computing is so important and what its future impact will be on general consumers.
EF: Cloud computing is important because it’s mobile, it’s social, and because it changes with you. Cloud computing brings real-time collaboration to the enterprise using concepts we already know from services we use in our consumer lives. And as an IT executive or CIO, you don’t have to buy any hardware, software or infrastructure, so you’ll never need to budget for an upgrade or buy another server; it just makes sense.
I think we’re seeing the future of cloud computing happening now. We call this next phase the social enterprise, where companies are transforming how they engage with their customers and employees. We live in the cloud already, working there just feels natural.
LDC: So true! But talk to me a little about the philanthropic organization Year Up and why you feel that program is so important.
EF: I’ve worked with Year Up since the Bay Area site opened in 2008. To date, salesforce.com has hosted 47 interns. The program is important because it introduces youth and more diversity into our offices. There is a divide that exists in this country that prohibits talented young adults from accessing opportunities in technology – this is even more challenging for young African-American women. Year Up Bay Area is not a hand-out but a hand-up for young, talented adults to access the skills, education and networks so critical to be successful in today’s corporate environment. For many of these women, this is their path to college success and it’s possible only through the support Year Up Bay Area provides. I feel the work Year Up Bay Area is doing is crucial because it increases the opportunities available to African-American women, opening the doors to management roles, increasing annual earnings, and creating further opportunities for minorities in the future – ending cycles of poverty and dependence. The Year Up program provides the platform and opportunity for young women of all ethnicities to attain success for themselves.
LDC: Do you see Year Up also assisting with encouraging more African-American females to get involved in science & technology?
EF: Yes. Year Up clearly works hard to reach that specific demographic, enabling them to become self-sufficient. I’ve worked first-hand with quite a few talented young women from the program and am thrilled to see doors opening for them. The overall goal of Year Up is to connect skilled talent with corporations looking to hire talented workers, and that is not limited to any specific demographic. In fact, one of the Bay Area classes was the first in the program to have more female students than male!
LDC: Understanding what hurdles these girls might have to overcome, what hurdles have you had, if any, that you feel may have been a bit race/gender related and how did you move past them?
EF: Before salesforce.com, I recall a time early on in my tech career where a co-worker commented ‘Why are YOU here?’ I was a junior computer operator working the graveyard shift and had been on the job less than a month. Instead of letting him discourage me, that comment acted as a motivator. It became my goal to show him and others like him why I was qualified. Not in a sense to prove anything to them – instead, I was proving to myself that I had what it takes to go wherever I wanted to go. As a rule, I don’t let hurdles distract me; I use them as a launching point (turn a hurdle to a step) and move past it. In a few years, I went from junior computer operator to First Vice President.
LDC: Speaking of hurdles, race and all; What are your thoughts on this recent Infographic regarding diversity and Silicon Valley which is causing some controversy?
EF: I believe the gap is in education. If we want more minorities in technology, we need to focus on providing education and training programs that reach them. As a child, I was never discouraged from considering technology, management, or other high-level career tracks. So as both a woman and a minority, I don’t focus on barriers. I believe it has more to do with education and mindset than a deliberate attempt to exclude minorities from entering into technical professions.
LDC: What’s your greatest hope for your career and the tech industry for 2012?
EF: Personally, I will look for ways to continue to learn, grow, and drive change. As an industry, we must continue to look for opportunities to hire from a diverse candidate pool when applicable. It’s not about handouts, it’s about a hand up. I was certainly given opportunities in my career, and I look for ways to pay it forward.
Don’t miss the next profile. In the meantime, keep up with the intersection of tech and lifestyle via my site www.ldcoleman.com and follow me on Twitter @mediaempress.
Here’s the thing: almost everyone knows at least ONE “gold digger” who is only interested in chasing the next dollar. I certainly don’t like the idea of gold digging but as I get older, I find myself questioning whether or not it is really “wrong” to go for what you know. The people on the following pages have all been considered gold diggers whether it be because they’re trying to pocket some dollars of their significant others, trying to find their own fame, restore their image…or for any other reason you can think of. What do you think? Is it wrong to date someone with money (or power or fame) just so your star can shine a little brighter?
Okay, so maybe we’re not looking at the following ladies and swooning, but there’s just something about their big hearts, mad swag and beauty we can’t help but adore (*turns on Prince’s “Adore” to set the mood*). Whether they’re out there saving the world or saving our broken hearts, or better yet, inspiring us with their creativity and talent, we get all boy band giddy when they come on TV or on our computer screens. You go girls!
You know somebody is big when you ask another person the following about them, and you get this response:
Me: “Have you ever heard of Awkward Black Girl? It’s by this woman named Issa Rae?”
Friend Who Never Knows What I’m Talking About: “YES! My sister put me on to that! I’m addicted!”
At the beginning of 2011, I had no idea who or what an Issa Rae was, but by the end of the year, like most women, I was trying to spread the word about the director, writer and editor and her phenomenal web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl to everybody I knew. Whether it was through this blog or straight up word of mouth, I was low-key canvassing. The accomplished Stanford grad did the impossible: she made being the awkward black girl cool (and did so with an awesome haircut!). No lie, she’s kind of like a big deal…
(Black Enterprise) — In order to think critically when consuming media, one of the most important lessons to learn are the differences between power, influence, popularity and fame. Here are my definitions. I find them very useful, particularly when I am watching the major cable news channels. You don’t have to use them, but I strongly recommend that you come up with your own.