Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Fyah Fridays- Girls, Food and Science

girls1. I have been watching Girls on HBO. I watch it because it’s a captivating story, featuring unique perspectives and characters I have never seen on Television in this light before. These are some screwed up, delusional, without-a-clue, privileged, reckless, self-involved women living in a dream world and it’s hella entertaining to watch. There are many scenes that make me quite uncomfortable around sex acts and relationships but I know this shit really happens. Another aspect about Girls is that not one of the characters are remotely likeable, not one of them. Yet I can’t stop watching.  This is an article I read that sort of reflects how I feel about the show. I know the season has ended but I don’t have HBO so I have to find alternative viewing options so that leaves me quite a bit behind.

food2. I love food, probably too much. I love to go to fancy grocery stores and buy up special sauces and oils and frozen samosas and other delicious things. I found this article on food prices globally and its progression in the last few years. I found it interesting the amount of money spent on food at home. As a student I try my best to eat at home and prepare food to go when I can. How much money do you think you spend on food away from home?

3. I Bleeping love Science. This is my most favourite facebook page. Get into it! science

Have a great weekend!

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Music Wednesdays – Mighty Mos Def

One of my favorite artists. Hope you enjoy these as well.

1. Umi Says

2. U r the One

3. The Panties

Have a great Hump Day!

Music Wednesday – Elle Verner

elle 2I have posted music by Elle Verner in the past and I think my appreciation for her sound has increased. I would summarize her sound as a mixture of  jazz, R&B, soul, hip-hop a touch of pop. With her raspy voice and b-girl style I found great comfort in these songs in particular. Hope you enjoy as well.

1. Refill

2. Go! – This song is on the the Power puff girls theme song riddim. Fyah!!

3. Ghosts

4. Leaf

5. Only want to give it to you

Happy Hump Day!

Fyah Link Fridays- Randoms

Family, I hope you had a great week. I had a pretty exceptional week (if I should say so myself) because on Monday I started grad school. Classes are interesting and demanding and my free time has been left in the dust.  However I wanted to make sure I shared with you all some of the interesting things that I read this week between all the scholarly articles. I promise to not post any of those here lol

  1. Catfishing and such.  Over the past month or so I got into the MTV show Catfish and it iscatfish entertaining to no end. Only one situation that I saw ended well and that was because both parties were being dishonest about themselves and by chance they happened to connect in the end. In all other episodes it has been anger, tears and major disappointment. It is really easy to say that you would never get caught up in an online dating lie, and there are some pretty simple ways to mitigate at least some of the foolishness early out, but if we really think about it is this really that uncommon and new-age? This NYT article fleshes it out really well and gave me some new perspective on how we really go about knowing someone.
  2. Faith and Spirituality. I don’t talk about God and faith much, but I think about it quite often. Growinfaithg up very very catholic is a significant part of how I got here and I am still negotiating a lot of how I feel about Christianity on a whole. I came across this article from Esquire and read it about three times because I sometimes feel this is where I want to be, other times not so much.

3. NKOTB. nkotbWhen I was about 9 or 10 I was in love with Donnie and Jordan from New Kids on the Block. I was obsessed. I had all their music on tap, nighties, notebooks, stationary, videos of their performances and I am pretty sure I wrote them about 46 letters (I was that kid) and waited with baited breath for the responses that never came. I wasn’t big on the other boy bands but NKOTB brought me great joy. Can you imagine how excited I was to hear that New Kids on the Block is teaming up with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees for a 2013 stadium-sweeping super-tour called THE PACKAGE. Sigh. I could go on and on but me sister from another mister Lindy over at Jezebel lays it out in hilarious plain language for those of you who may not know. Best believe that I have already scoped out the NYC dates, best believe.

Enough of my randomness, have a great weekend yall.

makes the ppl come together- keep fit(ter)

workout musicSo it’s carnival season in Trinidad, and though I have no interest in playing mas I know for many people it’s gearing up time. I’ve kind of maybe decided that I will be play mas in Caribana so I’m with those who are also dreaming of firm(er) fit(ter) bodies for themselves, and others. Who in the world wants to exercise without music? My get fit play list.

Let me say Kollision Band sweeting me on a whole next level. Really, it’s taking all forms of will power not to make this my profile picture.

Again b/c I must have a child for djRawkus… here’s a power mix to get that cardio going.

http://www.mediafire.com/?v95x1c5r4995g8b

Bajan soca to rephrase trendsettah can be quite instructive/ demanding and that’s what I like in a trainer, so b/c I can’t afford a trainer that’s what I like in my music… so some Lil Rick.

Anytime I’m in a party and I hear this song I start doing knee rises, good cardio.

soca sistah soljahs

soca partyHow I’ll make it through what is now my 2nd missed carnival- which further cements the fact that there will be many many more that I will miss- I. Do. Not. Know. That’s pretty dramatic. I know I’ll be just fine. In the meantime I’ll try to get the most out of Toronto by going to a soca fete or two. I started just the other day and had a wonderful time. It has for me however highlighted the importance of doing to fetes with the right kind of people.

I *love* parties. Few would suspect this. But give me a party where the music is so loud that dancing is the only way to interact with the people around me and I’m the happiest I can be… That said, it have many people who I don’t like to party with. The expression, yuh doan bring sand to de beach comes to mind. That hasn’t been a big issue for me in the past but there are definitely benefits to going unattached.* But what I can’t handle are the lackluster party people. So speaking specifically to my soca heads, I want to party with you only if you meet what I now deem the criteria of a soca sistah soljah** . Are you a soca sistah soljah? If so you should be…

  1. practising your wine in the mirror at least weekly***
  2. able to handle wining at least at a 45 degree angle, with aspirations of 6:30… no matter how unrealistic***
  3. willing to wine on random men
  4. willing and able to stop random men from wining on you
  5. willing and able to stop random men from wining on your friend who has having difficulty with [4]
  6. willing and able to get close to the stage/ front of the crowd if your or your friend so desires
  7. greeting at least one person in the party with a wine
  8. holding your head and wining at least three times in the party
  9. at the party significantly past last call with no visible decrease in vibe or stamina

*that said, the heterosexist world in which we lives definitely affords privilge to having a fella in your crew- musings to follow

**no reference to Sister Soljah of whom I’m not a fan

*** source- pieces2peace, the original soca sistah soljah!

**** so I was going to put a picture of myself up but I said that might incriminate too many people. But I will go on the record that saying unlike these womyn in the picture it’s *very* race you’ll see any man wining on me and touching me so much. I don’t mind a wine but why’s your hand on my thigh, waist, shoulder, black… yeah. 🙂

Django Unhinged

popcornDisclaimer:

  1. I have been steadily consuming all movies of QT since I was first introduced to Pulp Fiction by my aunt who is a QT junkie some 12 years ago. I think I largely enjoyed watching obscene amounts of violence, clever wit and swearing being actively endorsed by an adult… and the stories were for the most part intriguing.
  2. I have recently read three pretty good fiction books about the lives of enslaved African people in the diaspora- the Caribbean, the USA and Canada.
  3. I identify as a Caribbean womon of African descent whose African ancestors were enslaved people.
  4. I had my reservations about seeing this movie primarily because the combination of #3 and my waning interest in violence. I have become terribly concerned with what I consider entertainment these days. More specifically, how frightening it is that I have become numb to large amount of violence both for “entertainment” and in real life; and I don’t care what people say, there is a correlation. Entertainment affects how you interpret the world, it’s the reason media is so powerful.

So when QT takes his time to graphically depict two enslaved African men having to fight to death in a fancy colonial style home while two white enslavers sit down and drink liquor… I have to wonder what makes us in the cinema who are watching the reproduction of this so different to the white men at the time who were watching it at that time in the room for entertainment as well? Is it entertaining because we are shaking our heads at the obscenity of it all? While still watching it?

Now I’m not saying that it is the same, but there is something unsettling for me about the unnecessary graphic detail. Was it to demonstrate the gravity of the situation? Directors, good directors of which QT is one can convey gravity without me having to watch two black men fight literally to see another day at the whim of rich white men. Professional sport parallels anyone?

vs. Inglorious Basterds

When I saw Inglorious Basterds I was in Trinidad and the audience cheered excitedly as the Nazis were outsmarted, outstrategised and killed. I was a little confused because I was unaware of what the audience’s investment in this history was. It historywas of course a combination of things

  • the graphic and often near comic violence
  • the wit
  • the effective demonization of Nazis in history
  • the typically audience commentary that comes with that cinema.

… but I had to wonder, if I saw a similar movie about slavery would the audience be cheering the same way.

Django Unchained is not a similar movie. Inglorious Basterds was a revisionist history, it was creative and imagined something systemic that would have made a difference to the world. Django Unchained is the story of one man looking out for one man and his wife who happens to have been enslaved at various points throughout the movie. This story of the solitary hero in no way seeks to address the systemic-ness of enslavement. Please note that I do not think this was the character’s job, I’m highlighting the difference in story.

taking up the enslavement of African people

EmancipationThe enslavement of African people in this part of the world was largely physical, but the mental control imposed on this forcibly displaced people has in my opinion has been captured far better in literature. There are hints but when you don’t depict what life is like on a plantation for people in any real way… you’re doing an injustice. Yes, we saw some punishments where QT didn’t hesitate to show naked black bodies but for me it’s the day in day out… the drudgery, the uncertainty, the constant threat of violence, the fear…

In Octavia Butler’s Kindred her protagonist is transported between being enslaved in the 1700s/1800s in the USA to 1970s (then present day). She only gets back to present day just before she about to die. In one scene she’s an enslaved person, and she is being whipped for something and soon after it commences, the pain, the agony… she wakes up in present day in so much pain, the scars of our history.

Later on in the novel she’s back to being an enslaved person, she is being whipped again and she soon expects to be transported again to present day… she doesn’t. She’s still an enslaved person. You know what happened? She thought she would die the first time, the second time, she knew she wouldn’t, that this was just her life… now that’s some heavy shit. Depict that

taking up womyn

Speaking of black womyn who were enslaved… I’m happy Kerry Washington got top billing in a movie where she only had 3 lines.

probably b/c we're invisible anyway...

probably b/c we’re invisible anyway…

But really, let’s talk about misogyny and sexism. QT has a great record with these two. But even this was over the top. The silencing of black womyn was beyond beyond.

  1. Women weren’t being traded that much were they?
  2. Most times we saw black womyn they were comfort womyn. And yes, I get there are all sorts of things attached to that, forced sex work is rape but where were the women working on the field, like most of them were?
  3. Why all these women had long, straight/ loosely curled hair?

What stuck with me most though was the fact that Kerry Washington was the sole motivation for the main character and yet we know nothing about her, except of course what makes her special:

She’s a wife- it’s not right for her to be a comfort woman

+

She speaks German- therefore identifiable

+

She’s pretty- light skinned, speaks well (little evidence of this, seeing that she had so few lines) “nice” hair

= woman worth saving

battle vs. war

Sesa WorubanSpoiler alert, how dare QT make one of the more personally violent vengence scenes occur between Django and Samuel L. Jackson’s (SLJ) character. Yes, I get the that the HHNIC is depicted as the most despised black person. But I maintain, only two types of people survived slavery- the lucky and the scampish. And SLJ was a super scamp, venomous even, but you see that’s what’s make this story so much about a hero as though he’s fighting an individual battle vs. an institution.

Because this was a movie about a battle we see Django “get back” at SLJ in a very real way. And because QT didn’t bother to make this a revisionist history we’re supposed to get some satisfaction with Django’s battle wins

  1. knowing well and good that it’s only a matter of time before his luck runs out and
  2. forget about all the other enslaved people who I guess will not be quite forever trapped because it is 1858 but definitely of no concern to our hero.
  3. I was left sadder… more despondent

A white man of  this time writes the most personally violent and antagonistic scene  between two black characters. Far too unsettling… White privilege and white supremacy are real when a white man can write this “entertaining” piece of film and be celebrated for his wit, satire and genius this “new” world.

If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
-Aboriginal Activists Group, Queensland 1970s

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