Monday, February 26, 2007

Black is Beautiful

As a black man if you don't think that you are beautiful then you should look at these blogs and webpages.


Most Proper




Even though you may not look like the men posted on these blogs you are still beautiful in your own way. Look at yourself and see the beauty that you possess. Be it your eyes, skin, hands, feet, lips, your mind or anything else you are beautiful. Believe it! The world watches black men and tries to copy what we are (what a ridiculous thought). Since they can't copy us effortlessly the world tries in subtle and not so sublte ways to diminish us. No matter what they do they just can't.

Do you know why?

Because we are just naturally beautiful and talented. Bask in your beauty and the beauty of our brothers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The world goes round and round

Before I was seven years old there were so many labels on my back beginning with nigger. By the time I was 14 I went through a kind of nervous breakdown, which happened when I was a preacher. And by the time I was 17 1 had survived all the labels, including the label of faggot. It wasn't and it isn't easy.
-James Baldwin

This is a quote from an article in Blacklight, interviewing James Baldwin about coming out. (Thank you Wandering Caravan for enlightening us always and pointing me to this site.)

This quote stuck out to me because I remember in College when I first began to accept that I was gay how hard it was. I felt like I didn't fit in with the straight people and thought that I would be more comfortable with gay people. I was more comfortable with gay people but only because my hormones were raging so I was blinded by some of the subtle nuisances of the culture that later would pierce my spirit. Gay and Straight people were really mean back then. Both cultures insisted that you be assigned a label. I'm grateful that my family helped me in becoming a strong man. Otherwise I probably would have been broken and bound by whatever label was thrown at me.

The thing is we can be so hard on each other for no good reason at all except for some misguided and unwarranted envious notion. Through our lives we are given numerous labels. I know that humans need to label so that they can categorize things in their minds. It's just amazing that the labels that we have in our minds are never a exact match with anyone else in the world. They are really just generalizations. So why do we put so much importance on them.

I've grown so much since my college days. I like so many others, I'm sure, wish that they knew then what we know now. I would have been able to forgive and move on. Trust myself. Love better. Understand the value of time and a host of other things.

I have no regrets about anything that has transpired in my life. I'm just saying that life really can be simple when you and those around you are genuine in spirit and intention.

I guess then life would be perfect and it's just not.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sculpture Your World

Every year in Los Angeles, the Magic Johnson Theater at the Balwin Hills Mall hosts the Pan African Film Festival during Black History Month. Every year that I attend a film or go through the mall to view the artists work I am inspired to paint and sometimes embarrassed to paint.

There are artist that sell their work from all over the world at this event. Beautiful works of art are seen throughout the mall. As soon as I walked into the mall and got my bearings after maneuvering through the hordes of people, I was immediately grasped by one artists work. I passed right by Charles Bibbs table although I was hoping he was there so that I could get the Poster that he designed for the festival signed. So I did stop and ask if he would be there today and was told not until much later.

I went directly to the sculptures of Woodrow Nash. His work is haunting to say the least. His sculptures are so life-like that you almost feel as though they will speak at any moment. I had seen his work before on a television show but did not catch his name. As I gawked at his work I searched for his name. No one was near the sculptures representing him. I did see one piece that I was tempted to throw my credit card down for. (The pic above is an example of his work. Not the one that I attempted to purchase.) I mean I was ready to buy this $1500.00 bust because I was completely drawn and mesmerized by it. I asked a woman if she knew the Artists name and she told me that he had just come back and pointed him out to me. I asked him if he had a card so that I could at least know the man's name before I tried to start a conversation with him about the best way to display the piece I was interested in. He told me that he didn't have any cards with him at the moment but someone would be back with them in 10 mins.

So for the next 10 minutes I walked around the mall viewing other artists work and thinking, "OK where am I going to put this piece in my home". When I returned I found Mr. Nash speaking with 2 white women. I stood patiently while he spoke to them. After several minutes of inspecting his work even closer he still was being monopolized by these white women whom it did not appear that they were going to purchase anything but were continuing to throw accolades at him. I then interrupted and asked for his card as I saw him shuffling them in his hands and hoping that I would pull his attention to me to make my purchase. He handed me the card without even looking in my direction.

Needless to say I did not buy the bust. I'd rather admire it from afar. I wonder how he would have treated me if I had been an older looking black man that visibly looked like I could purchase his work. I must admit I was just in jeans and a t-shirt, but how do you have to look to have a little bit of cash on you?

I'm sure that Mr. Nash gets a lot of lookie-loos at events like this. However, I'm sure some of these lookie-loos do purchase his work. I'm sure he doesn't really need my money as I hear he is working on a big project for a plantation in New Orleans where he'll be sculpting slaves in authentic attire. I'm sure he'll get a lot of money for that and probably doesn't need mine. Even though I think his attitude towards me stunk. I still think he's a phenomenal artist.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

He/She's My Black Leader??

I've noticed that there are many black men and women out there who have positioned themselves as Black Leaders. To me it is a noble gesture of these individuals to expose themselves to the media, public opinion and any other forces to help uplift the Black Community and even the Black GBLT Community. They subject themselves to much ridicule and sometimes danger.

Unfortunately, I have seen too often that some of these self-proclaimed leaders tend to change from the Nobel Fighters to the Narcissistic Sponges. They become media seekers looking for fame at every corner. Yes in many instances they are getting a much needed message out to the public. The messages are the buttons that push society into some sort of action. Be it thought or physical the messages cause one to act. I ask you to think about these messages. Are these really the messages that you are interested in or are they the messages that cause the most controversy and media attention of the day.

What is it that changes these leaders path? Is it their desire to be heard by the white mainstream or even the white gaystream? Is it white people that still control what is credible for us? How do they accomplish this? Is it the promise of fame, the lure of recognition or simply the desire to be famous by any means necessary.

I know that those in the limelight do not always have the ability to give attention to all they come in contact with. However, I do believe that these leaders should have some sense of loyalty to those that have helped in catapulting their careers. Sadly I don't see that enough. What I do see more of is the me me syndrome. Can you do something for me? Are you of the ilk that I should associate myself with? Can you help get me recognized? When these questions are asked it is undeniable that this leader is not a leader that seeks to support his community. He's a leader that hopes to further his financial and public image. Some people just want to be famous.

If it is in your heart to be a leader then monetary or media gain should not be a factor. You'll be a leader because what you say and do are what needs to be heard and done, those who hear you trust you and believe that you have others interests in mind. Don't be one of those leaders that talks to you when you can do something for them or introduce them to someone that can help further their career and once they've achieved whatever it is they forget how they got there.

If you believe that I'm off base tell me. Do we need leaders? What are the characteristics of a true leader?

I believe that we are all leaders. Our attempts may not be to lead an entire community. Our actions lead those around us by the positive influence that we project. We can lead those around us by sharing our experiences and knowledge so that it impowers others to make choices that better one's life.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thanks Anonymous!!

Someone Anonymous left a comment on my blog asking if I was ok because I hadn't posted in a little while.

I just wanted to thank Anonymous for the concern. I am quite well thank you. I've had a touch of writers block. I will be posting real soon. Probably this weekend if I finish the book my book club is reading.

Again, thank you very much for your concern!!! It's very nice to know that someone cares enough to ask.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Endless Summer

That's the name of the house where I stayed this weekend with my Book Club Members. What a relaxing break it was. If you get the chance you should all do this. Get a group of your friends together and go away for the weekend. You don't have to go far. Go someplace where you can drive.

Don't worry about where you'll stay and how much that will cost. There are houses all over the world that you can rent. With a group of friends the cost of the house is substantially less than what you would pay for a weekend stay in a hotel. The best thing about it is that you and your friends could have a private pool and jacuzzi. I love to swim. Also, get the person that can cook the best to agree to cook. Then just chill and enjoy your break away from your regular routine.

We went to Palm Springs and stayed at a house called Endless Summer. Again, I say what a wonderful relaxing retreat. We do it every year. I suggest you and your friends do the same.