All Articles Tagged "serious question"

Serious Question: Should You Give Your Man Money, So It Looks Like He’s Paying The Bill?

November 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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As much as the “strong-Black-woman-who-don’t-need-no-man” trope has been shoved down our throats, I don’t need to see her again. But I also know that she exists partially because there are a select few women who willingly and intentionally project this image for the world to see; even if, at the end of the day, they’re more nuanced and complex than this.

Almost a year ago, I was having dinner with one such woman, talking about relationships and how we all wanted to be in one, when the check came. This triggered her memory and she jumped into a story that still seemed to have her fuming.

“What do y’all think about this? The other day I was in a cab with a coworker and her boyfriend. And once we’d arrived at our destination, she pulled out some bills, handed them to her man and he paid the fare.”

My friend  thought the action was weird. “I was like, does she owe him money? Had they had a conversation beforehand? Why didn’t she just hand the money to the driver?”

When her man went to the restroom, my coworker swooped in with her question.

“Why did you hand him the money instead of just giving it directly to the driver?”

The coworker said, “I just don’t want to emasculate him in any way. I want him to feel like a man.”

My friend’s face held a scowl as she concluded her story.

“This is the problem with men. Everything threatens their masculinity. If this is what it takes for a man to feel like a man, then I guess I’ll die single. Does it really matter whose money it is as long as somebody in the car can pay for the fare?”

I listened to the conversation quietly, raising my eyebrows.

I understood her and agreed. Masculinity is easily threatened and I certainly couldn’t see myself doing this for a man. If I happen to pick up the check or bill this time, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to be in any type of relationship where I’m always picking up the tab. And if a store clerk, taxi driver, customer service personnel or any other outsider believes this to be so, that’s on them. They don’t really know me and it’s really none of their business. So I don’t see the need to front.

But on the other hand, I’d witnessed women in my own family, including my own mother, do this when they found themselves in similar situations. The only difference is that these women are married. So perhaps they didn’t want people harshly judging their spouses or hypothesizing about the state of their marriage based on one transaction.

What I do know is that men are judged when a woman is seen paying for something, while she’s in their company.

Just a couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I were at the bodega buying snacks. And since he’s always spending money on me, the absolute least I could do that evening was buy some chips and juice. We got to the register when my boyfriend was saying he wanted a different type of snack than the one he’d already selected. Ready to go, I half-playfully told him to just roll with what we had and keep it moving. And he playfully went into a diatribe about why this type of chip was better than the other. Whether out of irritation, impatience or a snap judgment made about our situation, the cashier said, “Man, just get what she says. She’s the one paying for it.”

He said it with a smile and a glare. I don’t think it was said with the intent to scold or belittle my boyfriend. The bodega is near my apartment so his loyalty is to me. But still, the fact that he felt the need to comment on who was paying for something as simple as a snack was interesting to me. Furthermore, the notion that my boyfriend shouldn’t have a voice because I was paying for it was even more intriguing. Did that then mean that when a man pays for something for a woman, she doesn’t have the right to disagree or suggest something else?

This chip and juice run had turned into a lesson in gender roles.

Truth be told, the comments gave both me and my boyfriend pause. I didn’t explain to the store clerk how dude spends exponentially more on me and us than I do because that’s none of his business. Secondly, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s for someone to count me or my people’s money.

But the whole interaction did make me think about my mother and the women in my own family who had gone out of their way to give off the appearance that their man was the one with the cash.

When I asked my mother about this practice of hers, she simply said, “Listen, that’s my husband and I love him. I don’t do anything because he’s asked me to or out of obligation. But if I can keep him from being embarrassed in public, then I’ll always do that.”

Ok girl.

She’s ride or die apparently.

I can’t say whether or not I’ll be following in her footsteps. I’m not married and I don’t want to feel burdened by the judgments of others but there is something to be said about making sure the unit looks good in these streets. Still, I come from a different era than my parents. And I would like to know that my man won’t feel a way if he’s judged critically by those who are completely ignorant to the financial matters of our relationship.

So ladies, what do you think about this. Would you hand your man your money to pay the bill in public, just so he can save face?

Serious Question: Is It Inappropriate To Enter A Married Couple’s Bedroom?

November 17th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

During my friend’s wedding ceremony in September, her pastor shared several words of wisdom for her and her husband as they embark on their marital journey and become one. Among the typical bits of advice, like putting God first and everyone else’s opinion about their marriage last, he advised: When people come over your house, make sure they stay in the living room. They don’t go in your bedroom, they don’t even go in your kitchen; guests stay in the common living area only.

I immediately laughed to myself and thought, “whoops!” I’d just visited my friend’s apartment for the first time a few week’s prior to the wedding and was all up and through their 2-bed, 2-bath condo, mostly because I hadn’t been there before and because the couple wanted to show off all of their DIY handywork with which I was thoroughly impressed. At no point did I feel like I violated the sacred marriage sanctuary, though I do know I wouldn’t have stepped a foot past the sofa had I not been invited to, because that’s just good manners. Funny enough, that same friend recently had two guests stay with her — a friend and a friend of that friend — and as her husband took the ladies on a tour of the home, the friend wandered into the bedroom when directed but the friend of the friend stood outside the door. That prompted my friend to ask if there was some unspoken rule about stepping into a couple’s bedroom. I looked at her and thought, I don’t know you’re the married one here, but I promised I’d do some digging to find out.

Turns out this is a pretty popular topic (Google it) and the general consensus among traditional and so-called liberal couples is the bedroom is private, i.e. for the married couple’s eyes only — possibly not even your kids’ but that’s an entirely different topic. Not surprisingly, a thread on an Islam Q&A site determined:

[T]he marital bedroom is particularly private; it is the wife’s chamber and private space, the innermost part of her house, where she takes off her clothes and is alone with her husband, which is something that she cannot do anywhere except in this place.

Those who walk around their apartments naked and get it in on the couch, kitchen table, and any other sturdy surface may more appreciate the thread on, where the common perspective is the bedroom is off limits mostly because of clutter (move on, there’s nothing to see here) but if someone needs to be in the bedroom out of necessity (house tour, they have a small space and guests need to gather wherever they can) they don’t see the big deal.

It’s hard for me to think about this question because (1) I’m not married and (2) up until three years ago my bed was smack dab in the center of any living space I had (thank you New York City studio apartments). When I have guests now as a single woman, I give them my bed and take the couch so that they’ll be more comfortable but I imagine that will stop in the next few years as I’m getting too old for couches and people will just have to understand I don’t have room for overnight guests for too many days. If/when I jump the broom, I’m sure I’d let new visitors see my bedroom quarters, but as far as anyone making themselves comfortable where me and my husband lay our heads? I doubt it.

What’s your stance on entering a couple’s bedroom?


Serious Question: Is It Rude To Ask Bridesmaids To Cover Their Tattoos?

November 5th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Serious Question: Is It Rude To Ask Bridesmaids To Cover Their Tattoos?


Wedding planning can be stressful; I get that. As someone who is still in the early stages of coordinating her wedding, I have been offered a glimpse into how much work brides put into making sure their wedding day is as close to perfect as possible. However, I realized early on that it is humanly impossible to be able to control and dictate how everything will unfold on the day that I officially become a Mrs., and I’m okay with that. Of course, not every bride-to-be is on that “let go and let God” wave when it comes to her nuptials.

One night while I was commuting home last month, I overheard a woman complaining to a friend about her maid of honor’s tattoo. From what I could gather, the MOH’s tattoo was fairly new and on the larger side. The bride was pretty pissed off about it because it would be highly visible in the dress she selected. For nearly 15 minutes, this woman ranted on and on about the “hideous” body art and how inconsiderate it was for her MOH to get inked up prior to the wedding. Meanwhile, her friend, who I assume is not in the wedding, cosigned her Bridezilla-type antics every step of the way. The friend eventually suggested that she “put her foot down” and demand that said bridesmaid have the tat covered for the ceremony and reception. The bride seemed to agree that this was a good idea, and that was the end of that.

I’m sorry, what? First of all, it’s a terrible idea to “demand” that a grown adult who is volunteering her time, money and resources to be in your wedding do anything. And even if you do ask nicely, there’s a big chance she’ll be offended—in addition to the fact that she reserves the right to say no.

I was reminded of this conversation when I came across a resurrected post on Wedding Bee this morning about a bride who wanted to know if she should “confront” a bridesmaid over a tattoo. After skimming a few other wedding boards and websites, I realized that this is a pretty common issue. While not all of them are as demanding as my fellow Long Island Railroad passenger, many brides are out here losing it and under the impression that this type of body art will take away from the elegance of their weddings.

“During our dress fittings, I found out that two of my bridesmaids have tattoos. While I fine with whatever they want to get on their body in their personal life, I am not really a tattoo person and don’t know if I want them to show on my wedding day,” one bride explained in a post on Wedding Wire earlier this year. “I don’t mean to be snobby about this, but I am more conservative (and my family and my fiancé are 100 times more conservative) and would just rather they were covered up. One bridesmaid has a tattoo on her back and short hair, and one bridesmaid has one on her arm. How do I ask they nicely if we can cover them up without sounding like a demanding Bridezilla?”

If handled with care, I guess making this suggestion would be okay; however, I would imagine that these types of conversations also have the potential to go left rather quickly. Ladies, do you think it’s rude to ask bridesmaids to cover their tattoos?

Serious Question: Would You Present Purity Papers To Your Father On Your Wedding Day?

October 19th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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purity papers

Source: Corbis

My mom’s childhood friend loves to talk about my mother’s wedding day. She was a beautician when I was growing up, so in the times that I would visit her shop, she’d share the story. “And when they opened the doors to the church, I just cried. It was so beautiful because I knew your mother had done things the right way.”

“The right way” meant my mother married my father as a virgin.

There was no announcement about my mother’s sexual history before the ceremony, the people who knew her just knew her story.

But in this day of sharing and over-sharing, an announcement of purity is not so uncommon. And honestly, to some extent, I get it. In our sex-crazed society, there is nothing easy about abstaining. And I fully believe it’s an accomplishment that should be celebrated. Still, there’s something a little odd about the ways in which people choose to make these announcements, particularly at wedding ceremonies and receptions, in front of a crowd of people or on social media, when virtually anyone could stumble upon it.

This weekend, The Shade Room, reposted an Instagram post from a daughter and her father as they shared a dance at her wedding reception. The image was very sweet but the caption gave some people, including myself, pause.

#RoommateDiaries: Would you go this far to prove your virginity if someone asked you to?

A photo posted by The Shade Room (@theshaderoominc) on

Yes, this woman presented a certificate to her father, proving that her hymen was still in tact.

Again, setting a spiritual goal and achieving it is to absolutely be commended but there’s something strange about this.

First, it seems a mere conversation like, “Daddy, I’m still a virgin.” Or “Dad, I kept my promise” would have sufficed. I would hope her father could believe her word rather than require purity papers. Still, if it was her desire to actually prove her virginity to her father, then that’s certainly her choice. There’s just something about it that translates as antiquated, harkening back to the days when fathers gave their daughters away as goods or property and therefore they had to be in “tip top” condition, including an unexplored vagina and an unbroken hymen.

And while I understand this woman might be using her story and her journey as a way to witness and encourage others like her, announcing to the internet that her hymen was still in tact on the night of her wedding is just too much information.

To be frank, such declarations tend to make your guests envision you and your new spouse having sex for the first time, wondering whether or not it’ll be painful, quick, enjoyable, stressful, spiritual, magical or perfect. Either way, it’s a visual many would rather not have to consider.

More than anything I think what bristles me the most about this situation is that fact that the decision to award her father with the certificate is not only a little strange but also a bit backwards. Making a commitment to sexual purity should be a covenant entered into with God and perhaps to honor your spouse. At the end of the day, whether they were the catalyst or not, the decision has actually very little to do with one’s parents. I strongly believe that God honors any and all pure-hearted sacrifices made in an attempt to be closer to Him. And the great thing about God is that He already knows whether you’ve held up your end of the bargain or not, there’s no need for proof, papers or Instagram posts.

What do you think about presenting purity papers to your father on your wedding day? To all the virgins out there, is this something you would consider to prove that you had been true to your word?

Serious Question: Is There Room For Ghostwriters In Hip-Hop?

August 4th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Drake and Meek Mill


Even if you weren’t seeking it out, chances are the beef between Meek Mill and Drake found you.  It popped up in your Twitter feed, while you were updating your Facebook status, listening to the radio or chopping it up with a friend.  A gift from the meme gods, it’s the kind of online fodder that keeps on giving.  But for the 2.7 of you who have no clue as to what I’m talking about, here’s a brief recap. On Twitter, Meek Mill called Drake out for allegedly using a ghostwriter on his verse for their collaboration “R.I.C.O.” off Meek’s new album, Dreams Worth More Than Money.  Meek also told people to stop comparing him to Drizzy because, unlike Drake, he doesn’t “trick” his fans into believing the raps of an unknown author are his own.

In true beef fashion, Drake responded with not one, but two diss tracks, “Charged Up” and “Back to Back.” After referring to Drake’s efforts as “baby lotion soft,” Meek released “Wanna Know,” which, ironically, left fans wishing the Philly-born rapper employed the use of his own ghostwriter.  All of this back and forth raises a valid question: is it earth-shattering (or that much of a revelation for that matter) if a musical artist, a rapper specifically, uses a ghostwriter?

In a machismo-heavy genre of music like hip-hop that’s often all about keeping it 100, I understand the concerns and raised eyebrows that ghostwriting elicits.  In rap and hip-hop, your rep and your word are king.  But if 50 Cent or Rick Ross has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t take every word that comes out of a rapper’s mouth as a fact.  That applies to whether or not an artist penned their lyrics by themselves or had assistance.  Rappers, like any other artist, tell stories.  Storytelling – I’m not saying anything we don’t already know – can be rife with embellishments that progress a plot, sell a point, appeal to an audience, etc.  It’s called artistic license.  So just because you’re rapping about one thing, I as a musical consumer don’t have to believe that everything you’re saying is real or immediately assume it’s a fantastic tale.  And this, my friends, is called suspension of disbelief.

Some of our most treasured artists never wrote a word of some of their biggest hits. From Whitney Houston to Chaka Khan and Diana Ross – the list goes on and on.  Even if these artists employed writers, the love would still be there because fans fall for the voice.  It’s all about talent and delivery.  Yes, lyrics play a crucial role, but in the wrong hands, a well-written song can fall completely flat.

In music, regardless of the genre, ownership falls on the artist singing, or in this case, rapping on the track.  When most people hear a song they like, they don’t say, “I wonder who wrote this song.”  Rather, they ask, “Who sings this song?”  It’s the same reason in a band of equally talented artists, the lead singer is the one who garners most, if not all, of the attention.  They are both the visual and aural center, focus and hub; not the songwriter.

Let’s also remember that ghostwriters have been around forever and a day.  Their efforts are utilized in novels, screenwriting, songwriting – practically any written form.  And the world has neither stopped nor ended because they exist.  Ghostwriters punch up lyrics and dialogue. And who is to say that they’re behind entire songs and not just helping stuck lyricists with punchy lines and choruses? They help artists find their voice.  And they do it anonymously because either their contributions weren’t enough to garner a “written by” credit, because of the type of contract they signed, or because they’re part of a team created to take an artist to new heights (see Bad Boy’s Hitmen production team).  So even if Drake used a ghostwriter, is that cause to turn our backs on one of the most celebrated, chart-topping rappers in the game right now? Is it cause to get that bent out of shape? Does it destroy his cred, suddenly wipe the slate clean or strip the man of his obvious talents?  I don’t think so.

In my opinion, what makes a rapper or a music artist, in general, authentic is their unique spin on the music they present to the world. That includes their ability to adapt and grow as an artist.  Hip-hop has a bonus element of smart and clever wordplay that garners respect from fans young and old.  (Well, maybe not that old.)  And as we well know, rappers are given respect partly based on their ability to deliver on that front, along with other status-invoking accolades like their number of albums sold, freestyling abilities, mixtape popularity, and, as evidenced by Meek and Drake, beefs won.

Meek certainly garnered a lot of attention following his initial Twitter rant, but let’s not forget that music was at the center of those tweets.  Based on the delivery of the tracks we’ve heard from both him and Drake in the days following (which Meek even acknowledged sounded like Drake’s own words), I’d say Drizzy is the clear winner.  Ghostwriter be damned.


Serious Question: What Happened To Album Sales?

July 29th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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ciara-ciara-e280a2-instagram-photos-and-videos-3 miguel-wildheart-560x560

Whatever happened to the good old days when all a musician had to do to sell an album was…make an album?  Well, that’s a gross oversimplification of the way the music industry works. But bad contracts aside, there used to be a definitive, tried and true formula for label-repped artists that resulted in the selling of millions of albums that made all parties involved stupid rich.  I’m talking swimming in a room full of dough à la Scrooge McDuck rich.  But in a market dominated by singles in which consumers download or stream music for free 99 via a host of services like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and the like, music artists today have to employ a different hustle altogether.  They do this all in an effort to promote their music while countering the challenges of declining album sales and record companies that don’t promote nearly as much as they used to.

This drop in album sales is something singers Miguel and Ciara know a lot about.  Both have released albums in recent months, Wildheart and Jackie respectively – neither of which performed very well.  Jackie, Ciara’s sixth studio effort, had the lowest first-week sales of all her albums to date and sold roughly 20,000 copies during that crucial first week.  Talk about disappointing.  It’s safe to say that people know more about Ci Ci’s sex life with new boyfriend Russell Wilson (or lack thereof), her ongoing bouts with former fiancé Future, and her Roberto Cavalli campaign than her latest music.  But for those who have paid attention, some critics have referred to Jackie as a missed opportunity for Ciara. A chance lost to delve into deeper issues (like her breakup with Future), rather than rely on the club-banger, dance-heavy, lyric-light songs she’s used to singing.  But Ciara is serving what she’s always given us.  And perhaps that’s the problem, in addition to the current harder-to-chart musical landscape, and lack of heavy promotion from her label.  The singer even promoted her album on her own to fellow passengers while on a flight from London to L.A. This is a trend that has seemingly become popular among artists like Brandy and Tyrese.  More on him later.

Miguel’s new album Wildheart, which my MadameNoire editor says is “crack,” fared a little better than Ciara’s.  It sold just over 40,000 copies in its first week, but that’s still not saying much, despite the fact that critics showered it with praise.  Miguel, who for reasons unbeknownst to me, is often compared to Frank Ocean, flat out said that he makes better music than the Channel Orange singer and songwriter.  But even that wannabe/potential beef didn’t help Miguel sell his album.

Both Miguel and Ciara are two respected, Grammy-winning artists who have sold well before, and yet here they find themselves in a position that you’d expect a lesser-known artist with limited label access to be in.  Is this a sign of the times?  The new norm?  Is R&B indeed dying, or worse yet, dead?

Well, based on Tyrese’s success, not exactly.  His latest release, Black Rose, an independent album, is his first number one album on the Billboard 200, according to Nielsen.  Not only has it sold close to 90,000 units since its July 10th release, but it was also the number one album in 15 countries.  This, coming from an artist who publicly stated on Power 105’s The Breakfast Club that R&B is indeed dead.  Said the singer, “…a lot of us [in R&B] are insecure and we feel like our songs don’t get attention, don’t get no love on the radio, don’t have any fans buying it anymore unless we’ve got 15 rappers on it.”

To counter that insecurity, Tyrese has been on a promotional binder and has gone to some extraordinary lengths, including re-enacting the Coca-Cola commercial that first brought him to our attention in 1994. He has hit the NYC subway asking for support (while exclaiming he left major record labels so he could do his thing as an indie artist). He even recorded a spiel with a sleeping homeless woman, comparing her to people sleeping on R&B.  He also penned an open letter to mainstream radio stations regarding the disparity between the promotion of music between Black and White R&B singers.  But Tyrese has one other promotional tool that Ciara and Miguel don’t: He’s the co-star of the country’s highest-grossing film this year, Furious 7.  It would be hard to miss the work of an artist from such a popular and beloved franchise.  I mean, they made seven movies.  Seven.

But for every Tyrese, there’s a Bilal, Tamia, Kenny Lattimore and Johnny Gill – all of whom have released new albums that you won’t find sizzling on the Hot 100 chart.  For artists to sell nowadays, they not only have to promote like crazy (unless of course you’re Beyoncé, in which case you can drop an album sans prior promotion and have it sell like hot cakes), but package your brand via stints on reality TV, shoe and clothing lines, perfume, modeling contracts, and whatever else your team can think of.  A little mitigated controversy doesn’t hurt either.  Stir up some ish on Twitter, and folks will talk about you instantly. Although, not necessarily about your music.

But don’t fret or weep for your favorite artists.  Even in this brave new world of music, they’re still richer than you.  And as long as they’re making good music, true fans will find a way to support them and keep their careers afloat.

Serious Question: Did “Empire” Actually Deserve More Emmy Nominations?

July 27th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Lucious Lyon's Fourth Son


By now, everyone has seen or at least heard about Lee Daniels’ fake me out Instagram video in response to the dearth of Emmy nominations his record-breaking hit show garnered.  In quintessential Daniels fashion, the Empire co-creator and executive producer, with breakout star Jussie Smollett by his side, said, “f**k these mother”— well, you know the rest.  The video was tagged with the hashtag #emmyniceguyoverwith.  And while some took Daniels’ words to heart, he made it perfectly clear that he was just joking.  In a follow-up video, Daniels stated that he loves the Emmys and wishes all the nominees well.  But die-hard Empire fans have no chill and felt the show was snubbed when Emmy nominations were announced more than a week ago.

As is oft the case come awards season, it should go without saying that not every show is going to get nominated.  And thankfully, unlike this year’s Oscars, whose lack of diversity in the acting categories spawned the hilarious yet poignant hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, the list of actors nominated for this year’s Emmys is more diverse than usual.  Taraji P. Henson is nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Cookie Lyon, along with How To Get Away With Murder star, Viola Davis.  This marks the first time that two Black women have been nominated for the coveted category simultaneously.  And though Empire is also nominated for Outstanding Costumes, that’s where the nominations stop.  No love for Lucious himself, actor Terrence Howard, or the show as a whole for Outstanding Drama Series.  And while not everyone’s aboard the Empire train (some have argued the show perpetuates negative stereotypes about Black folks), given the show’s overwhelming popularity and success, and the industry’s obsession with ratings, folks are wondering what gives.  After all, Television Academy members wouldn’t have any shows to nominate if it weren’t for the fans and viewers who consume and keep alive the very content they’re voting for.  Not to mention, in one season, the critically-acclaimed hip-hop drama became a pop culture phenomenon.  Thanks to word of mouth and the Twitterverse, Empire’s viewers grew exponentially week after week.  This feat is virtually unheard of in network television and in today’s DVR world.  In short, Empire changed the game.  So what more does the Academy need to acknowledge the show for all its juicy, plot-twisting, meme-worthy greatness?

Clearly, the Emmys are not the People’s Choice Awards.  If that were the case, it’s safe to say that Empire would be all up and through the nominations.  The Emmys are a symbol of peer recognition and Television Academy members’ votes on nominees and winners – presumably for the work (and the people) they know, the work they’ve hopefully seen and loved, and the work they’ve played a hand in.  This is part of the reason why we’re used to seeing repeat offenders.  Shows like Modern Family, Mad Men and The Big Bang Theory have been nominated and won time and again.  Seemingly, once a favorite is picked, it’s difficult for newer shows to break in.

But the Academy has thousands of voting members, members who clearly thought enough of Henson to nominate her for her performance.  The impact of her on-screen presence alone is obvious.  Cookie is bold and sexy; she never holds her tongue and will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it (especially when you don’t want to hear it).  Because of Cookie, Henson’s star power has shot through the roof.  She has graced countless magazine covers, some with Howard.  That makes her instantly recognizable to people, even to those who haven’t actually seen an episode of Empire, and has given that much more credit to both her and talent.  But as Henson recently stated in a Los Angeles Times interview, “Cookie is nothing without Lucious.  She is nothing without her family.”

In Lucious Lyon, Terrence Howard plays the kind of man people fear.  He’s ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even at the risk of harming those he supposedly loves.  I’m not suggesting that’s the reason Howard wasn’t nominated for an Emmy.  Clearly, as previously stated, there’s a lot at play, campaign ads and politics included.  But let’s face it.  Empire is unmistakably and unapologetically Black and “Black shows” are still seen as less viable in Hollywood and are thought to lack relatability. (And yet, when shows or movies with predominantly Black casts succeed and defy the limits put on them, it’s always met with surprise.) Could this be the reason why Empire was snubbed?  It doesn’t help either that the show is a prime-time soap opera, a genre that’s not exactly favored in the television world. But that didn’t stop a show like Desperate Housewives from being highly celebrated and recognized.  Or Scandal, for that matter, which has soap-like qualities.

If “best” were defined as most popular, Empire would be the best show on network television.  But perhaps the Academy isn’t ready for the series. Given the show’s popularity, it should be around long enough to be able to garner more nods in the future.  It has already made history and there’s plenty room to make more.

What do you think? Did Empire deserve more Emmy nominations?

Serious Question: Would You Have Sex With Your Best Friend For $1 Million?

July 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Two (business) women/friends making peace/forgiving


Today during my lunch break, I watched a video my coworker sent me. It was a Cut Video from their “Truth or Drink” series. This particular one featured best friends.

Like truth or dare, the friends either answer the questions posed truthfully or they take a shot.

One of the questions posed was “What would it take for you to sleep with your best friend?” Naturally, the answers varied. Two good girlfriends said $100 and a lifetime supply of Mac and Cheese. Two straight, guy friends asked if they could just give each other blow jobs?

The question was an interesting one and after I watched the video I wanted to pose the question to my coworkers. But to make the question more concrete, I asked, “Would you have sex with your best friend for $1 million?”

So you get an idea of what the demographics of our office are, most of my coworkers are women. And most of their best friends are women. One MN editor’s best friend is a guy and she said she would have sex with him, no problem, but oral wouldn’t be an option. With the exception of one woman and myself, everyone else said yes.

Personally, I had reservations.

When I think about girl on girl sex I think about oral, fingering or scissoring. God knows I love my best friend and a million dollars is a nice little chunk of change; but in 2015, it just doesn’t go as far as it used to. Vaginas are fascinating I just don’t want to touch one that doesn’t belong to me. And I have a feeling that sex with my friend would just put a strain on our relationship.

If I could use a dildo maybe we could talk about it.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the prostitution element of it all…

But that’s just me.

We’re dying to know what you think about all of this. Would you have sex with your best friend for $1 million? And you can’t chose your good guy friend unless he is legitimately your best friend, i.e. Will and Grace.  Why or why not?


Serious Question: Could You Date A Man Who Sucks His Thumb?

June 29th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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There’s this meme going around the internet that made me think of a question I wanted to ask you all. The meme goes on and on about a woman discovering her boyfriend in bed, peacefully sleeping with another man by his side. And that’s bad. Real bad.

But honestly, as I was reading this tragic story, I just kept thinking that in addition to being involved with a lying cheater, this woman had subjected herself to dating a thumb-sucker. Liars and cheaters are quite common; but thumbsuckers, that is a rare form of unattractive.

And yet, I know, from the omission of thumb sucking in this post and from observing the dating patterns of those close to me, that men who suck their thumbs are in relationships all over the United States and perhaps even the world.

So I’m wondering, is it something that women generally don’t have a problem with, or is it something they’re willing to overlook once they’re in a serious, committed relationship?

In other words, is this a deal breaker?

I think it would be for me. The thought of a thumb, wrinkled from spit, touching and caressing me, would drive me absolutely insane. That doesn’t even take into consideration the misshapen teeth that inevitably occur with longtime thumb suckers. *Shivers.*

I do know one thing. I actually question the authenticity of this internet meme. If I were gracious enough to date a man who sucked his thumb, I would be far too embarrassed to admit that this very man, then had the nerve to step out on me. If it did happen, I would hope that I would have enough shame not to put it all over the internet.

But what say you, could you date a man who sucked his thumb? Have you done it before?

Serious Question: Would You Marry You?

June 10th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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The title of R&B Divas: LA star Chanté Moore’s upcoming book poses a serious question: Will I Marry Me?  In it, the thrice married singer shares the lessons she has learned in her relationships, all in an effort to help women avoid similar missteps when it comes to a love of self and partner.

While I have yet to read its pages, the book has already struck a chord with me.  The second I heard the alluring title, a little voice in my head answered the question it poses with a resounding “No!”  Being marriage-minded and being the thinker that I am, I wanted to explore the reasons why that response seemed to come so naturally, rather than one that was positive, reflecting the catch I know myself to be.  I realized that knowing your worth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to walk down the aisle.  So was that “no” a genuine response alluding to issues I need to work on, or an admission of fear?  And is it the fear of being eternally single, fear of rejection, or something else entirely?

When I think about some of the core qualities that I want in a partner – someone who is passionate about the life he’s living and one day hopes to live, loving, intelligent, and a man who does what he means and means what he says – I know that I embody many of those characteristics.  That, to me, is a good sign.  This future partner of mine doesn’t have to meet an arbitrary height requirement or make a certain amount of money that I don’t even come close to making.  There’s nothing trivial, unrealistic or impossible on my “list.”  He doesn’t have to be perfect – Lord knows I’m not. He just needs to be perfect for me.  And if I can bring to the table the same traits and characteristics that I seek in the kind of a man I’d want to marry (and can accept my imperfections), then I think I’m on the right path.  (It’s finding him that’s the hard part, but that’s a story for another day.)

I also have a beautiful example of what love – healthy, supportive, and honest – looks like thanks to my parents, who have been married for nearly 40 years.  They’re the kind of couple that still walk hand in hand, and that make “happily ever after” look relatively easy. Although I’m sure they’ll be quick to admit it’s anything but.  The biggest thing I’ve learned from them and other successfully married couples in my life is that marriage is a bending, malleable entity.  Marriage is far deeper and much more complex than the simple sayings we’ve all been fed: “Never go to bed angry”; “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” etc. If these were the keys to a happy, lasting union, I’m pretty sure the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high.

But back to the notion of malleability – not to the point where you compromise your morals, lose your identity or give so much to someone else that you have nothing left for yourself.  I’m talking about being flexible and adaptable.  Just like any relationship, marriage is chock-full of challenges you don’t anticipate.  This is where I think I struggle on the whole question of whether or not I’d marry myself.  Because I’m single, I can afford to be rigid.  I can’t predict what any particular day will bring, but I know my plans from day to day (and I especially know how I feel when I have to change those plans.)  I don’t have to consider anyone else’s thoughts, opinions or needs.  I don’t have to consult with anyone other than myself when I want to go out or just do my thing.  Simply put, I enjoy my independence, but I worry that I’ve been in this individual mindset for so long that I won’t know how to make room for someone else.  And if I can’t make room for someone else, then how am I going to maintain a relationship, let alone one bonded by marriage?  Who would say “yes” to that?

Now if that’s not fear, I don’t know what is.  Here I am single as the day is long, and I’m pondering these (and many other) questions.  Perhaps I’m a victim of my own over thinking, or I am placing too much importance on a simple one-word response that my brain generated upon hearing the question: “Will I marry me?”  But I guess the point of Chanté Moore’s book is to make you ask yourself the hard questions. Better to do that now and before you end up marrying the wrong person, marrying for the wrong reasons, or a host of other problems you want to avoid or identify before saying “I do.”  I’m looking forward to the read and hope I’ll learn a little something.