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Category Archives: Relationships

Definition of a Dad

I don’t follow baseball, but this story caught my eye and pricked my heart. Daniel Murphy, Mets second baseman, was criticized in April for missing two games for the birth of his son. Radio show hosts and former athletes said the game is his priority with one stating that his wife should have scheduled a c-section. The game is more important than being a dad. This is why so many children don’t receive the attention they need from fathers: society does not require fathers to be present.

Murphy said it never occurred to him not to be at the birth. His litmus test in response to the critics is being able to answer his son’s questions about his entrance into the world.

That is the definition of a dad.

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The Kiss Felt Around the World

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No matter how you feel about it,
there is a bigger picture to consider.

I admittedly shielded the screen from my six year-old as I pulled up this footage; I did it only because he’s six and not ready for discussions about any type of sexuality. Had it been my 17 year-old, we would have had a lively debate as to whether it was a smart move (put on today’s to-do list). I see the pros and cons of such a public display, but it’s done. Cue the bigotry.

Sports has always served as a means of breaking barriers providing a universal platform for athletes. This morning, a commentator asked this question: all of the sports voices issuing comments that denounce Donald Sterling, shouldn’t they be loudly supporting Michael Sam?

 

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Gracie Negotiates

My favorite Superbowl commercial by far.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Family, Fun, Girls, Race, Relationships, Youth

 

Sitting at the Table of Brotherhood

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Sibling rivalry gone haywire.

I wasn’t going to post about the latest installment of King in-fighting because it hurts my soul. But, when I learned that two brothers want to sell Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nobel peace prize AND his travel bible, I almost cried…literally. How could they even consider it?!?

Is there no family member or friend that can repair this hurtful rift? I’m ashamed, even if they are not.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Civil Rights, Family, History, Race, Relationships

 

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Real Talk: Prejudice

Sometimes we have to look into the mirror. And better yet search our hearts.

I have a dear friend whom I consider my sister. I admire her immensely and frequently refer to her as Superwoman (that is my ringtone for her). However, she falls shy of perfection, as do we all. Her 14 year-old son has his first crush and she is Caucasian; I should point out that he is African American. It is important to note that her son attends an elite, all-boys school that has mostly white students; the girl attends the “sister” school. And my girlfriend is upset, to put it lightly.

She called me about a week ago, asking me to talk to him about it. She assumed that I would “talk some sense into him.” This week, she called me exasperated telling me how she was stressed out and crying for the last two weeks. I was alarmed wondering what had happened.

“I already told you what was going on…”

I was stunned because alarm level was waaaay too high. Something did not add up.

“Did he say that he only liked white girls? Or did he say that he found black girls ugly or stupid?” No…(crickets)… I’m lost.

Then she launches into the history of black men and white women. How they were lynched, persecuted and unfairly accused. Which is preaching to the choir because I was raised by parents who were extremely involved in the civil rights movement, Pan-Africanism, Afrocentricity, etc. In college where we met, she used to say that I was so “militant.” Fast forward.

“Has this girl made you think that she likes him because he is black? Or because he plays sports? Has she made any demeaning comments regarding race?” No…I don’t get it. I mean, I do…but, I don’t.

When she saw that I was not going to tow the line, she got upset. Her voice raised and she kept cutting me off.

“He knows better and I feel how I feel.”

I quietly listened until I felt her running out of steam.

Now. As parents, we have dreams for our children. We envision what we want their lives to be and the accomplishments we want them to make. And then, there’s reality. Our children must live their lives for themselves. I cut her off anticipating how she would react to that statement of fact; I was not finished and it was my turn. 😉 As parents, we also tend to burden our children with our mess/baggage/wounds. I don’t know what hers are exactly, but they are deep. She seems to hear me.

Then, she informs me that he has broken household rules: staying up too late, talking on the phone until midnight, being disrespectful when speaking to her. Now, those infractions warrant her disapproval. I told her to punish him for those but to be sure to delineate those actions from his choice to see the girl in question.

I told her to remember her first crush (careful to not use the word love). The overwhelming nature of it, the all-consuming urgency, the euphoric power that it held. However, many times these young “relationships” burn out quickly, but not when constantly condemned.

“His hormones are raging, defiance is high and if you keep protesting he will continue even if she has lost her luster, because you say no.” We all know how great it felt to stick it to our parents as angry teenagers full of angst!

“Perhaps you should concentrate on the fact that he’s a positive, intelligent young man. He has a good heart, loves his family and enjoys sports. The next girl could be Asian, the next one African American, then Latina…who knows…”

She starts up again about how she feels and that she knows her son and believes that he is only going to date white girls although he has not said it. “Then cross that bridge when we get to it. Because if that’s the case, there is some level of self-hatred.” But inside, I don’t believe this to be the case and I don’t think she does either.

“And then, we were talking about the situation and he said that I was prejudiced!” Weeeeeell… I could literally see her clutching her pearls. “You are prejudiced and so am I. The difference is that I recognize it and continue to work at it.” Let’s just say that did not go over well.

My son attends a bilingual school and is almost fluent in Spanish. His school is diverse with a high concentration of Latina girls. Although he is only five, he will attend this school through fifth grade. I understand that his experience is different from my own. When he starts liking girls, Latinas and maybe other races will probably be on his radar. I need to be okay about it.

Everything has not changed, but some things have. I told my friend that this generation of kids do not have the separations that even we had; the lines of music, culture, clothing, politics have been blurred. And isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that what many of our ancestors worked, lived and died to have? Then I had to hit her with some MLK. Haven’t we taught our children that they can do what they want and be who they are? That they should be judged by the kind of person that they are? You can’t raise them that way and then hit them with exceptions later. Content of their character rather than the color of their skin, right?!?

I can not adequately express the depth of my friend’s despair. I am concerned for her, not her son. She is distraught in a way that upsets me. I told her to give it some space and “to be still.” Then, I told her I loved her and even when we disagree I love her still.

 

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The Best Man Holiday

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Okay. I still don’t like the title, it’s lazy and uninspired. But I love everything else. While not an Oscar contender, Best Man is a must-see. Better than the first.

I saw it yesterday at 9:30 am, in a crowded theater. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it…

I loved The Best Man in the late 90s because these were my peers. A few years out of college myself, this could have been my crew. It made me nostalgic for one of the best times in my life and for the love and kinship of my TU fam. It explored complicated relationships, career, love and sex. Fast forward 15 years.

Now we’re grown-ups with children, spouses, careers and life challenges. These universal themes draw you in from the start. The personalities remain consistent and true to the original. It’s smart, dramatic, sexy and REAL. I think that’s what I appreciate most; the characters and the dialogue are real. Our favorite college buddies have layers, they have grown but still have room to do so. I’m not the only 40 year-old (okay, 41) who sometimes thinks, “I thought I’d have this figured out by now!” Am I?

I didn’t mind the wait. I heard co-star Nia Long in an interview yesterday and she said, yeah we could’ve done it five years out, but our characters would bot have grown yet- it wouldn’t be as rich a story. True dat.

There are surprises combined with hilarious fun. And Morris Chestnut is delicious as ever!!! That man is like fine wine.

Look, I could talk about the lesser value that Hollywood puts on these actors and “those kind of movies” but we already know it and it’s belittling. Reviews are never my motivation to see any movie, so why start now. Let the numbers speak for themselves, and they’re talking! To the tune of $33 million and counting…

And, yes I will see it again.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Career, Family, Fun, Movies, Reflection, Relationships, Youth

 

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The Maestro

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Today Barry White will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Known as The Maestro, White wrote, composed and produced music for many artists including himself and his Love Unlimited Orchestra. White could be considered an acquired taste and I had forgotten how many of his hits that I enjoyed.

And who could forget his My First, My Last, My Everything as “The Biscuit’s” theme music on Ally McBeal…

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in History, Music, Relationships

 

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