Sunday, June 8, 2008

What other people are saying

What Hillary said

Hillary Clinton gave a phenomenal concession/endorsement speech on Saturday. Sen. Clinton's presidential run was important and historic. She deserves recognition for that.

You know, a lot of stuff went down during this campaign that made my blood boil. But I'm going to let it rest now. For those of us who believe in a progressive agenda, we have a common enemy to battle. But, for the record, as much as I hated the way Clinton ran for president, I still believe she is one smart, tough cookie.

Reading this post-mortem of the Clinton campaign in The New York Times made me feel uncommonly sympathic to the Senator. It seems to confirm my belief that what could have been a winning campaign was doomed by Mark Penn and a crew of 1990s-era operatives who refused to adapt to the politics of the new millenium.

What Thembi said

The blog What Would Thembi Do? is where I get my vintage black pop culture fix. I tell you, I don't know where the sister comes up with stuff like the historical examination of the marketing of malt liquor products: from a 50s-era ad that seems to position the drink as the choice of WASPy suburbanites everywhere, to a really strange ad starring Redd Foxx driving a souped-up car through the moutains for a malt liquor date with a white guy in a suit and a bunch of ski bunnies, to Colt 45 commercials featuring the smooth purr of black sophisticate Billy Dee, to a commercial that I swear I had never seen before starring Ice Cube.

While you are over at Thembi's place, check out the video of the epic croon-off at the Motown 25th anniversary extravaganza. It was Temptations vs. the Four Tops, The Cadillacs vs. the Manhattans: old-school heaven!

Thembi is not just about the vintage gems. In fact, she has posted a set of new laws for young, black women, including this gem that I love:

2. Go Where No Blackgirl Has Gone Before. The obvious interpretation of the title of my blog is that I think that I’m some Jesus figure. Not so. Actually, the very weekend before I started blogging, loyal commenter Aaliyah was at an almost all-white party filled with beefy frat boys and was asked to do a kegstand. At her side were two other friends of mine, one of which said to her "What would Thembi do?" The obvious answer – go where no black girl has gone before and do the freaking keg stand! It really IS ok to be you, whether it’s as trivial as going snowboarding or as major as pursing a PhD in Greek Mythology. Do the most random or ridiculous things you feel like doing even if you’re not technically supposed to do them, and do them at all times. The same goes for rock concerts, tattoo conventions, playing the accordion, or whatever! Being a blackgirl comes with a unique set of baggage - on the one
hand, we’re accustomed to being a minority in almost any situation a million times over. On the other hand, we feel like there are certain places and activities that aren't "ok" for us. Forget all of that, risk ostracization, and trailblaze for us all. We can’t keep saying "But blackgirls don’t _______" or else we’ll never do anything at all. Be YOU, regardless of whatever skin tone, sorority, thickness, neighborhood, or whatever you may be a part of. None of it is as fresh as plain old blackgirl you.
Oooh, and this one is priceless, too:

4. Know Your Own Hair. Black women have more hair options than almost anyone else, and we exercise them to the fullest. But even those of use who switch from weave to ponytail and from blonde to red would never dare to wear our natural hair in public. I can spend the whole day running errands and not see one blackgirl without a perm, and the same goes for watching television or opening a magazine. What is up with that? Granted, I went natural the easy way with the Philly soul thing being at my heart and a head of naps that never really took a perm quite right, but what pains me is when another blackgirl says to me "I love your hair! How long did it take to grow? I could never get my hair to be that texture. How did you do it?" The reality of it is, most of us don’t even know what is growing out of our own heads, and its very sad. Not one other group of people on this planet can say the same. It’s fine if you settle on a perm or some braids or even a Jheri curl after exploring your options, just get to the point where you can say that you know what your natural hair even looks and feels like before you aspire to be Beyonce by default.

What Bill said

Bill Moyers is an excellent journalist and a patriot. Bill O'Reilly on the other hand...Moyers always seems so mild-mannered and soft-spoken, especially in comparison to the loud-mouthed, attack-dog style of today's "news" talking heads (I'm looking at you, Chris Matthews and Bill-O). But this clip proves what too many people don't seem to know, you don't have to shout to own and dismiss somebody when you are armed with a powerful intellect. Watch Moyers (verbally) beat an O'Reilly producer--in the vernacular--like he stole something.


Anonymiss said...

I don't completely agree with #4. Ads that I've seen on major networks and magazines mostly have sistas with kinky hair to soft afros. I'm tryna get my hair to be like SheCodes. She's got that Rudy Huxtable going on and I love it :-) Whenever I see a sista with straightened hair in an ad, it's in a Black publication.

And I'm in NYC, so I see lots of sistas (and Latinas) with big hair. Especially in the trendy spots like SoHo and the Village and Black neighborhoods like Harlem.

If I were still in Jersey, I'd be in total agreement (accept for ads) with Thembi. Negroes can't stand naturals out there, LOL! If sistas are rocking somewhat of a natural, it's a weave. Many of them have never seen their natural hair texture cuz they always got kiddie kits. Plus, many parts of Jersey are lily White so straightened hair is something to opt for when dealing with non-Black people. And a lot of sistas know that most Black men like hair that's fried and laid to the side so we try to be conducive.

Tami said...

Yeah, Anonymiss,

I agree with you on the ad thing. It seems a ton of mainstream commercials feature sisters with natural hair. It's odd how many really, since most of us still rock perms. And in major cities, you can see lots of natural heads; fewer in smaller cities, but they are still around.

I disagree on the notion of straightening hair to deal with white people. I admit that the idea of straight=beautiful originated in that culture, but most natural women I know (myself included) have found less disdain among white people than black. I mean, I live in central Indiana, and you don't get much more conservative or white than right here, and I have had few problems.

I also think any brother self-hating enough to be on that "good hair" equals straight hair tip may not be one worth with dealing with.

Jennifer said...

I didn't see all of Clinton's concession speech on tv, but I did see the clip on the NY Times when she refers to Barack Obama and asks her supporters to throw their support behind him. I have to hand it to Clinton--she does nothing by halves. This Clinton, the one who kept echoing that we need to elect Barack Obama to be president, is this the same woman who questioned his religious identity? Who said she was the best hope for hard working white voters?

The Clintons have always frustrated me because of that. So much hope and promise. So much disapointment and disillusionment. But thank you Tami--for stating that you want to move forward and put the past behind you. I, too, want to believe that Clinton, publicly if not privately, will voice nothing but a message of unity and support for Obama's bid for president.

And while the the Obamas may just indeed be seen as "exceptional" African Americans (this is more in reference to your previous post, sorry for jumping post topics), I would optimistically like to think that the symbolic value of the Obama family in the White House and Barack Obama as president of the United States can do nothing but be a good sign. Because we need signs and symbols and role models--particularly in times like these. And as one of your previous commenters noted, this election is really about us--about what WE want to do to take back the country, a message that Obama has echoed during his rallies--the choice is ours--he isn't going to magically make everything better, but he may give us the oppotunities that we need to start making wiser choices for the world.

Anonymiss said...

Oh, I'm not a proponent of that either. I've known some sistas with natural hair back in Jersey, and they opted for wigs and weaves so that they won't deal with the and the annoying questions. Patience is truly a virtue. One sista eventually started wearing an afro puff cuz she grew tired of wigs and hiding her hair.

Now onto the brothas and their "good hair" obession topic. See, that'd be easy to deal with if sistas believed that they had options in the dating world. Many of us have been taught do deal with half-assed men cuz "You can't do no better."

Thembi said...

Tami, thanks so much for the link love! What's greatest is that I love to be critiqued because it helps me be a better writer. That said, what I meant in number four is that INDIVIDUALLY too many of us don't know what our own hair looks like. I have been asked about my hair so many times - whether I texturize it, if I "have Indian in my family" and its just plain ol' nappy! I usually get asked these questions by women who have only at most seen an inch or two of their natural hair peeking out before a touch up so they think their stuff is unmanagable. But, you never know until you try. And like anonymiss suggested, the 'blacker' the area the less natural hair I see.

Another interesting tidbit that I didn't include is the fact that finding weave hair that is actually like my own hair texture is pretty difficult. I'd love to dabble in all of that but that "kinky-weave" hair is more like a perfectly waved, romanticized version of the real stuff and doesn't look quite right unless you have straight hair to attach it to.

Tami said...


No problem! I have lurked at your place for a while and I LOVE it.

I hear you on the wonderment that some permed sisters have when it comes to natural hair. Often black women I talk to are convinced that I have magic hair that allows me to go natural. It's sad really that we can be so out of touch with ourselves. said...

@ Anonymiss

You have cracked me up by saying, And a lot of sistas know that most Black men like hair that's fried and laid to the side so we try to be conducive.

My hair has been long and short and I have never cared what the brothas liked.

I asked my brother about his preference in hair styles for black women and he said he doesn't care whether the hair is permed or natural as LONG as it is combed and healthy-looking. He commented that some sistas who want to rock a 'fro think it's cute to go out of the house without combing it. {snap}

I have only known a few sistas who have natural hair who do not comb it every day because they think it's okay to "finger fluff" their hair...

@ Thembi

You are exactly right...most black women have NOT had completely natural hair since they were very small children...perhaps in elementary school...they were told as little girls that "nappy hair was ugly" and many have a difficult time believing otherwise...

I am black and Boriqua and we also have our own "hair issues" about what we want to do with our hair...I haven't encountered a focus on straight or kinky because most of us tend to have a texture that is not completely kinky or completely straight....

There was a brotha or two that I dated in the past who had perms so that they could have waves..the updated konk was still resurfacing in many versions about 15 years ago...with Prince and Morris Day rocking chemical hair styles..remember? *LOL*

A Voice From the Battlefield said...

I will speak for myself on this one: I have been looking for a way to go natural without the risk of losing my hair. I, too, am tired of rockin' the braids, perms and wigs. I love the way they look; but I'd love to make that transition.

I don't think that the desire is absent from the sisters. I think the education is. Are there any sites/books (with tested theories and techniques) that you might recommend?

Tami said...


Try these:

“Good Hair: For Colored Girls Who've Considered Weaves When the Chemicals Became Too Ruff” by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner AWESOME Web site. I couldn't have gone natural without it.

"No Lye: An African American Woman’s Guide to Natural Hair Care” by Tulani Kinard

Anonymiss said...

the updated konk was still resurfacing in many versions about 15 years ago...with Prince and Morris Day rocking chemical hair styles..remember? *LOL*

I remember, HA! Don't forget that a lot of brothas were copying the DeBarge family too. The mess we used to put in our hair... LOL!

A Voice From the Battlefield said...

Thank you for the info Tami :)


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