Archive for the ‘ Children ’ Category

Booty Shakin…sick of it..did I mention I’m sick of it

Last week I asked my Facebook fam to give me suggestions for my blog. One of the suggestions came from a young lady who, like me, is sick and tired sick and damn tired of seeing booty shakin’ and booty wrangin’ (as my grandma calls it) on BET.

BET has gotten to the point where it is almost shameful. I used to think that maybe the head honchos over at BET didn’t realize that children were watching, but then I woke up and accepted the fact that the head honchos over at BET didn’t give a damn about corrupting the minds of the children that are watching. It is all about the Benjamins and obviously this day and age booty shakin’ brings in lots of Benjamins. The show 106 & Park on BET is geared towards teens, and I swear everytime I see a peek of it (by mistake) somebody is poppin, lockin or droppin. The show has very high ratings, and the children can learn all the hot, new twirk moves from the comfort of their own home. Just flip to 106 & Park and learn how twirk twirk that thang. smh…BET has to do better.

Music videos on BET in my opinion are borderline Soft Porn. The only thing missing is the actual act of sex, even though I am pretty sure that I caught a glimpse of a lil sex in the new Trey Songz video I Invented Sex.

I know many will argue that it is ultimately up to the parents to monitor what their children watch and hear, but let’s get real folks a lot of the music today is filled with pure, unadulterated corruption. There is enough vioence and sex in it to last these children a lifetime.

But let’s take a trip back in time. Do yall remember when Donnie Simpson hosted Video Soul on BET? Now THAT was a music video show.  (I had no idea Donnie was doing this now, just shows I’m not keeping up) I swear BET has soooo fallen off since then. Take a look at what we are now missing because BET has chosen to air music video  programs that for the most part have no sustenance and show black people in a not so positive light.

Donnie Simpson interview w/Angela Winbush (still love me some Angela!!)

Donnie Simpson interview w/ El DeBarge (I love me some El..and I like it and I like it 🙂

Karyn White performing live on Video Soul

Sherry Carter interview w/Envogue

…speaking of En Vogue, whatever happened to female singing groups that had more than one singer that could lead a song? I’m just saying, it’s okay to be able to dance and take care of backgrounds, but what about a group with the total package? Whatever happened to that?

That trip down memory lane makes me even more disgruntled by what you can see on music video programs today, especially those aired on BET. In case you don’t watch, here is what you are missing, but your children are seeing on BET…care to take a look….

Ester Dean f/Chris Brown-Drop it Low  (then even hump the floor on that one) ||blank stare||

Beyonce Kitty Kat  (luv me some Beyonce, but she does too much gyrating and twirking for the kiddos watching)

Along with the booty shaking and floor humping BET also offers a huge variety of music based solely on stuntin, driving new whips and wearing shiny jewelry.  I won’t get into that much because I have discussed it before and it hurts my head to think that so many songs can be written, recorded and made into videos over the same crappy, blingy, stuntin hot mess. ugh

I am honestly thinking of adding BET to my list of things I am silently protesting…well not so silently protesting. But it does mean that I will not watch, contribute funds to, or co-sign on behalf of it once it lands on the silent protest list. R. Kelly has been there so long that he is collecting dust.

I feel that it is time for black music and the lovers of black music to take a stand and bring back the music that we grew to love. Music that touched the soul and Set You Adrift On Memory Bliss. (luv that song to this day) Enough of the exploiting of black women, enough of the cursing and turning every song into a contest of who has the most bling. Who cares?

Whatever happened to music like this…

Zhane-Sending My Love to You

Sure they showed a little skin, but there was no twirking and gyrating. There was no one with a platinum grill in their mouth screaming obscenities and bobbing up and down.

Of course there is still good music out there. Not all artist have the limited talents of only making pop lock and drop it music or rapping about their new chains. Some artists still write from their heart and not their other lusting body parts. The chore is sifting out the crap to find the goodies.

I Have a Problem with Joe Jackson

JJacksonI have a problem with Joe Jackson. No, I don’t personally know Joe Jackson, but in my opinion he is one of those fellas who you can smell the jerk oozing through his pours. I may be wrong, but I believe that having Joe Jackson as a father was a major contribution to Michael Jackson’s “issues”.  I know that MJ fans hate to admit that Michael had some “issues”, but let’s face facts, he did.

I think these issues began way back in the day when Poppa Joe decided that his boys would form a group and make him some money. Joe Jackson claims that the movie  The Jacksons was not a completely true picture of life in the Jackson home, but most people, myself included, believe that Joe was nothing to play with. He claims that he never beat his children  and that as a matter of fact, Katherine, their mother spanked the children more than he did, since he was away from home a lot, working two jobs. I can believe that Katherine spanked….and I can definitely believe that Joe beat.

click here to watch Joe Jackson on Larry King Live.

jjackson1Then there has been Joe’s heinous behavior since Michael Jackson passed away. At the BET Awards 2009 Joe was interviewed on the red carpet and he showed no compassion and honestly seemed as if he had no clue as to how the rest of his family was doing. Neither did he show much concern or signs of grief for losing a son. Not only did he seem detached from the happenings of the family, but Joe seemed to care more about his own “career.” While being interviewed by John Lemon of CNN Joe Jackson went on to give a shameless plug of his new record company and had his publicist to read a prepared statement.

It has also been said that  Joe has approached Michael’s children in an attempt to have them form a music group and do some touring. Joe says this is a bunch of jive, but in my opinion showing no compassion for the death of your own son is more than a  bunch of jive.

Video of Joe on the red carpet acting like a jive turkey.

Regardless of what Joe has to say, there is some underlying reason why his son would write him out of his will. There has to be some reason his wife of over fifty years lives in one home and he lives in another. There definitely is a problem and I think that problem is Joe Jackson!

Sex Offenders and Halloween

sad pumpkinThere’ll be no Halloween this year…well at least not for many sex offenders in TN.

I was pleased to read in the Commercial Appeal  that the State of  TN has put  some very strict regulations in place for sex offenders concerning the Halloween holiday. The regulations apply to those offenders who are under the supervision of the State Board of Probation and Parole.  These restrictions include the following things that sex offenders are not allowed to do for the Halloween holiday:

–They cannot take any child, including their own, trick-or-treating.

–Neither they, nor anyone in their home, can answer the door to trick-or-treaters, or give out candy or treats.

–Their homes cannot be decorated for Halloween, either inside or outside.

–They cannot host Halloween parties at their homes and cannot wear costumes.

–They cannot go to haunted houses, corn mazes, hay rides or any other seasonal activity.

–They cannot be at any function where children are gathered, including private residences.

For the most part the list seems pretty fair. But, not being allowed to hang Halloween decorations outside OR inside their homes seems pretty far-fetched and ridiculous. The rest of the list is understandable. If you have been convicted of a sex crime, especially one involving a child, you shouldn’t be in any location or situation where you may be tempted again. (but wouldn’t every holiday OR every day possibly include something “tempting”)

I can truly understand the State’s position on setting these restrictions. I understand that the goal of these restrictions is to protect the public, especially the children from sex offenders. But not allowing them to participate in any kind of Halloween activities with their own children doesn’t seem sensible. If so how safe are their children living in the same residences with them? How safe are the neighbor’s children or the children they see at the grocery store or even at church? And if the state is going to set limitations for Halloween, what will be next, harvest festivals and Christmas caroling?  Will they also stop them from going to places such as amusement parks? Kids love to go there too!

South Memphis, TN (drugs, violence, murder)

mdmlesbear3_t220While driving home a few days ago my son asked me why there were teddy bears on the telephone poles. I knew the answer, but having to tell a nine year old child that those teddy bears were placed there because someone was killed in that location was not an easy thing to do.

I told him that those teddy bears meant that someone was killed at that spot and their friends and family placed the teddy bears there in remembrance and to show how much they loved them. It was a tribute to a loved one they lost.

So as we drove along, mind you this is the neighborhood I grew up in, we passed approximately 4 utility poles adorned with stuffed animals in a two mile radius. My son didn’t ask any further questions, but it saddened me that in just within two miles at least four people had lost their life within a year’s time.  I can accurately say that it has been within a year because I have seen the stories on the news, time and time again of murders, shootings and stabbings in this part of South Memphis. The stories below are just a fraction of what has been going on in the past year in this area

Body found burning in garbage can behind South Memphis home

Man shot in Killed in the Driveway of South Memphis Home

Clerk Shot in head at South Memphis Store

Store Clerk Shot During Robbery in South Memphis

18 Year Old Stabbed and Killed by 13 year old at South Memphis Apartment Complex

Why is this area so saturated with crime? 

I remember growing up in this neighborhood and being afraid if I heard that someone was killed, not that crime was not an issue back then, but it was definitely not as prominent as it is today.  Drugs are being sold in huge capacity and murders are taking place almost daily. It is frightening to know that people are losing their lives almost daily where I was born and raised. Drug addicts adorn almost every nook and cranny of the neighborhood and honestly the people who were fighting for a better community seem to have given up. The fight seems like a lost battle when the majority is crime, drugs and murder and the minority are the law abiding citizens who want things to be better.

I read this at the Thaddeus Matthews blog- Are Neighborhood Stores Contributing to the drug trade?

That was quite interesting to me. I had no clue those were being sold and I definitely didn’t know what they were used for, but I do know that most of the corner stores in the neighborhood have drug sells going on right at their front door. Drug dealers stand in front of the stores each and every day selling dope, and of course the store owners (mostly Iranian or Asian) know that the drugs are being sold, but nothing is done about it. Then a portion of the store owners have illegal dealings going on aside from the drugs being sold along with and outside of the guys slinging dope outside the store’s front door.

I have lived in Memphis, TN all of my life and I am appalled that we are ranked number two in the nation for violent crime; appalled but not in disbelief.  I hear the stories each and every day and many are so close to home that it makes me shiver. I remember watching the show The First 48  and seeing the Memphis episodes and shaking my head because there is so much murder and sadness. Then when the Lester Street Murders happened I was so shaken that it took me a while to realize that it was real. Six people including two children had indeed been murdered in my hometown. It was such a horrible event but even with that tragedy still fresh in our minds murders, robberies and every other act of violence were still taking place as if this mass murder had not just taken place. This city has taken a violent and destructive turn, one in which I cannot explain and have no answer to how things can change. When will the violence end?

Teen Pregnancy-Post 1

belly-brownTeen pregnancy is on the rise….

I am pretty sure everyone is aware that teen pregnancy is on the rise. Everywhere you look there are babies having babies. I can speak personally on the topic because I was a teen mother. I got pregnant with my oldest son my senior year in high school.

One of the biggest disagreements I have when it comes to views of why most teen girls get pregnant is that they were somehow influenced by the media…I do agree that the media; including videos, television and the music industry play a major role in how teenage girls and boys view sex and their personal identities, but I disagree when it comes down to media influence and the actual act of having unprotected sex resulting in pregnancy.

For the most part I believe that teen pregnancy is the  result of carelessness and being irresponsible.  Unprotected sex is not the main result of media influence, unprotected sex is the main result of being irresponsible due to lack of knowledge or lack of putting the knowledge into play.

When teenagers are acting irresponsibly and having unprotected sex I can guarantee that images like the one below is not what is going through their head at that very moment.

harpers_narrowweb__300x41501

In the heat of the moment they aren’t concerned with how hot Britney Spears looked with her big belly or how fierce Halle Berry looked soon after she gave birth. No, they are concerned with having sex, nothing more, nothing less. 

True their paths before making the dangerous and immature decision of having unprotected sex may have beenfilled with consumption of half naked young ladies gyrating in music videos, or watching television shows and reading countless magazines that publish articles on hot pregnant celebrities, but that alone is not why teens are having unprotected sex and having babies.

Many of these teens who are having unprotected sex are not facing reality when it comes to what the act of not using protection can cause. Sure they know about sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, but they still don’t always use protection for numerous reasons.

  • One reason being that they really don’t take protection that seriously.  They know that it is important but for them using protection each and every time they have sex is not a mandatory or necessary step.
  • Another reason is that many of them are putting ill fated trust in their partners and in their self. They are under the pretense that their partner is clean and that they both know how to not get pregnant even when not using protection. That may sound ridiculous, but it is reality. Many teens are using the “pull out” method also known as the highest baby making method to date. They are under the false assumption that a young man can pull out of the vagina before he ejaculates. This method is being used by countless numbers of teens, most of whom have or will soon come face to face with teen pregnancy. 
  • Others are not using protection because they really don’t feel comfortable buying condoms or talking to their parents or other adults about birth control because that means they are admitting that they are having sex. Instead of facing facts and getting the information and guidance that they need they sneak around and have unprotected sex putting their self at risk for STDs and unwanted pregnancies, along with tons of emotional stress.

The statistics show that teen  mothers are 40% more likely to

*drop out of school

 *end up single mothers

I wholly agree. I was a teen mother who had to drop out of college after the first semester, forfeiting a full scholarship. I also fell into the category of single parent by the age of 24.

An article published with stats from the CDC  on teen pregnancy rates states that  Mississippi has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, followed by Texas and New Mexico. All three states have high numbers of teen births with the majority of the pregnancies being African American or Hispanics.  The article also states that; “Some conservative organizations have argued that contraceptive-focused sex education is still common, and that the new teen birth numbers reflect it is failing.”

I agree. The sex education classes offered in schools are a complete mockery.  Most teens are unfortunately learning about sex from their peers and from personal experience. They are not being informed in their schooling the hard hitting facts about sex, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. They don’t take the classes seriously and the information provided in the classes is just the basic, these are your reproductive organs and information on body image. This information is informative, but not practical for teens that know what sex is, want to have it and know that they like it.

I was surprised to read that in some states two types of sex ed are classes being offered in schools depending on  what the state or local school district mandates. Both seem much more effective than the general Lifetime Wellness classes that many of us took and never thought twice about.

Even with these classes and some schools offering condoms, the rate of teen pregnancies is still on the rise, even more so for the Southern region of the United States. Personally I don’t know what can be done, when the information is readily available, there are countless forms of birth control and the evidence of the effects of  unprotected sex is in plain view for those who are taking the risk. Yet, teens everywhere are still neglecting to use protection.

This video really touched me. It reminds me so much of when I was a young mother and faced the reality that my baby depended upon me for everything that he needed. I knew that I had made a mistake that could not be changed, but the love I had for that little boy filled my heart enough that I could get over my mistake and try to be more for him and for myself.

Teen Pregnancy Post 2 to include the topics of 
(peer pressure, baby fascination 
parental involvement and generational teen pregnancy)

President Barack Obama

Barack Obama- Hope for what was seemingly Lost

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Not too long ago the hope of ever seeing a black man become president of the United States of America was sullen… for many there was no hope, even the dreams that some clung on to were tattered and fading. For countless years they had heard of and/or witnessed the discrimination and inequality that for many had become a way of life. These people were strong people, determined people, people who wanted justice, were grateful for their freedom and knew how long and tiresome the fight had been. They knew Rosa’s story, some marched with Martin when he fought the good fight. They believed in Martin’s dream and even though the odds were against them, they knew the fight was worth fighting. Then Martin was taken away from them. It were as if everything good that was ever given to them as a people only lasted for a season and that season was never long enough for the fight to be won.  They dreamed that one day their diminishing hope would return in the form of something real. Barack Obama is that something real.

Upon his nomination for the presidential candidacy many were skeptical. They knew there was something about him, but with years of disappointments logged in their memory banks and the only progression being millimeters instead of leaps and bounds, it wasn’t easy to believe. It was hard to believe that maybe, just maybe their something real was happening. After all, who wanted to believe again when each and every time they believed, their hope was snatched from underneath them? It was hard for those who had fought, lived through the fight or even had the fight instilled in them to believe that someone that looked like them had a chance to become the President of the United States of America. It was unforeseen that in their lifetime someone that looked like them could represent them, could understand their plight and fight for what they believed in.

It took some time, but they began to believe again. They wanted to hear what this man had to say. Not just because he looked like them, but because something about his connection to the people lured them in. Something about how his words felt right made them feel included in his fight.

 They also felt a since of warmth for the notion that he loved someone who looked like them, who connected to them, who could be their mother, sister, aunt or wife.

Their Black Love was admired and respected.

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I stand with those people whose chests are swollen with pride today. I stand with those people who truthfully didn’t foresee a black man becoming president anytime in the foreseeable future. I stand with those people who appreciate Barack Obama’s commitment to the people and admire his dedication to family and to this country.

I stand with those that know the fight continues. 

Congratulations President Barack Obama!

Barack Obama sworn in as President of  The United States of America from CNN.com

MSNBC Special Inauguration Coverage

Inauguration 2009 from the Memphis Commercial Appeal

2009 Presidential Inauguration

BET Inauguration Celebration

Barack Obama- A History in Photos from Rolling Stone Magazine

BGT blog entry on Barack Obama as President of the USA

Public Schools (what we didn’t learn)

221_imageI attended all black public schools my entire life. Elementary school was nice with good teachers who wanted you to learn and make good grades. Junior high was also pretty good, again good teachers and good curriculum. Then as I entered high school, I learned a very important lesson, when a large crowd gathers, it’s not always a pep rally and it’s best to scurry along because fists and bullets don’t know names. Sadly avoiding violence was a very large portion of my high school experience. True, there was plenty of teaching going on, but there was also plenty of violence going on and when you are forced to learn in an environment that has more distractions than positive influences, somewhere along the line many good students take a turn for the worst. Honestly I feel shortchanged of a good high school education. I feel as if I was not given the opportunity to learn as some of my peers who attended schools in the better neighborhoods.  When you attend a school where the distractions are many, oftentimes it can keep you from reaching your highest learning potential.

Along with not always having enough books for every student, and being without a Physical Science teacher for 3 of the 6 six weeks, I also feel that attending an all black public high school hindered me from the correct college preparation. If I had known or been taught half the things that should normally be taught to high school students concerning scholarships and college readiness maybe I wouldn’t have waited until my senior year to get serious about finding funding for college.

Now almost ten years after my high school graduation I have relatives who are attending all black public schools and honestly I wish I could just snatch them out of there. That may sound bad, but when I hear them saying things like “all of our homework is done from worksheets because there aren’t enough books for everyone to have one to bring home” or “we don’t do field trips, too many fights” or “we can only wear black or white shoes because certain colors identify with gangs at our school” I realize that things have not gotten any better, they have only gotten worse.

Now maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter about the lack of everything at all black schools if this was going on in all public schools in Memphis, but that isn’t true. The public schools that have a majority of white students or are evenly mixed have wonderful programs and each and every child has a book.

*It is quite disturbing to me that I even have to mention books as a plus. That is a necessity that should be mandatory across the board, that isn’t a perk!

It is also quite disturbing that all black public schools are still in the 1950 mindset and offer these Negro friendly programs and courses for students along with the standard curricula:

Cosmetology and Barbering

Wood Working/Welding

Auto Mechanics

Clothing & Textiles

(These programs aid students into becoming wonderful hairdressers, auto mechanics and seamstress)

Now those are all great programs that can lead to successful careers, but why is it that these are the only programs offered in the majority of the black schools, when the other high schools offer

Broadcasting

Acting for Stage

Film & Video

American Business/Legal Systems

Financial Planning

Interactive Multimedia & Design

Marketing I & II

Along with the vast difference in program availability also is the lack of concern for black children learning a damn thing about finance and economics. I remember barely passing the one economics class offered in high school and even with the one class offered I honestly cannot say it introduced me to anything valid to my adult life. Many black children are not taught much about money, saving money, investing or financial planning and with the lack of courses in their inner city schools, they are flicked into the world without the knowledge so they make little and spend big.

Each and every child should have the same opportunity to learn. No child should learn in below standard conditions because of their school’s location.  The school system has a motto “Every Child, Every Day, College Bound” but is that true? How can a child who cannot take a book home to study and has only limited college preparation expected to be as college bound as one who not only has a book to take home, but also has a classroom copy AND has a guidance c0unselor who is trained and ready to help them on the journey to college? Can the child who is only offered a few select programs to train in as prepared as the child who has a wide-range of career programs to choose from?

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