Kells. The R. Robert. The Piped Piper. The last name’s irony should not be left unchecked. Robert Kelly performed on The Soul Train Music Awards last night. They actually gave him the “honor” of closing the show. Usually, something designated for a great and popular talent, which many, many, many years ago Kelly would have been seen in that light with no questions asked. However, I do have questions or maybe they are just rhetorical thoughts coming out as WTH.
The Soul Train Awards was a pretty great show this year. The performances were on point and the tributes to Babyface were memorable. ( Who knew he wrote ” Tender Roni”?) Erykah Badu done an amazing job as host and the audience seem to be enjoying themselves. (Although, it was puzzling to me how our sister Erykah could shade the dead horse named Iggy Azalea, yet stand next to Kelly on the stage at the end of the award show like they were old pals, high fiving and everything.) About 15 minutes before the end of the show, there is a blurb that R. Kelly’s performance was up next and I promptly changed the channel on my television. Robert Kelly gets none of my viewing minutes because just in case anyone has forgotten, this is the human that peed on underage girls, groomed underage girls like Creepy McCreepers expertly do, video taped those atrocious and vile things he perpetrated on the underage girls and then two-stepped himself right out of court with the magic of money, great lawyers and blind fandom.
And yet, last night across the sands of Black Twitter, were black women using 140 characters to shake their shoulders to the musical stylings of R. Kelly. Some even stating , they are conflicted by his known past behavior. But, they can’t stop dancing or they know he did these disgusting things to young girls. But hey, they grew up to his music, so he gets a pass for the next 5 minutes. Say Huh?
Since those tapes were revealed in 2002, black women young and old have been coming to Robert Kelly’s defense and in the same breath saying they KNOW it was him in the video. They will come up with any excuse about why they still say, ” Seems Like Your Ready” is their jam. ” Those girls just wanted to be with a star.” or “Their parents knew what was going on.” Ironically, these are the same women who were lightning quick to check Michael B. Jordan for using the word, “female” or protest the use an ill-advised meme stating the tired claim of “angry black woman”. Nonetheless, curiously singing along to a R. Kelly song and bragging about it is…okay.
I don’t expect B.E.T to know better and apparently we cannot count on Centric, the channel that purports itself to be ” The First Network Designed For Black Women”; WAIT, read those words slowly out loud one mo’ gen THE. FIRST. NETWORK. DESIGNED. FOR. BLACK. WOMEN. to not have Robert Kelly singing on a stage filled with black women to an audience full of black women as if 2002 never happened. As if in 2013, The Village Voice did not publish an excellent in-depth expose’ on Kelly’s tangled web of predatory acts. As if, there were not pictures of Robert and a young girl “which allegedly depicted Kelly “involved in sexual conduct with the female minor” found on Kelly’s camera during a search warrant. As if when his last album was released and #AskRKelly did not get him drugged through Twitter with a quickness. I’m willing to bet the entire farm, that some of the same women who participated in the #AskRKelly slay-age were dancing and singing in their living rooms last night while he performed.
Let me put this as plain as possible; if you were rocking or singing along to Robert Kelly’s music last night, you should look yourself in the mirror a little bit longer tonight. If you posted on social media last night that you were “jam’n”, “shoulder shaking”, “head nod’n” or toe tapping to Robert Kelly’s music last night, you should question whether you would think he was pivotal in your music upbringing if that was your sister, niece or daughter in those videos. If you have used your voice, whether it be auditory or written to say at any point, Black Women Matter, you should be ashamed.
Cunning. Sad. Decision maker. Olivia Pope. The creator of all things gladiator, knows what the leeches of the media are thinking before they process their thought themselves. Her ability to get ahead of a pending crisis, whether she agrees with the morals or not has allowed her to consider everything handled.
She has recruited a team who are skilled and most importantly, loyal. Thus, they are willing to protect her at all cost. There is no doubt that she adores them. Nonetheless, she also recruited a team who are flawed in ways she is able to mold, control and dictate. Though her love for them is assuredly deep, she holds trump cards that can be used to destroy them if need be.
In the process of creating a president, she created a man who can destroy her in a couple of sentences. Even though she instinctively craves that destruction. Love for her is defined with four words…despair, tears, pain and untouchable. Part of Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III’s attraction is she can never fully have him. Some moments she has surrendered herself to him and seen love through his eyes. Yet, she then wakes up and embraces reality. Therefore, fixing him is more alluring than loving him. However, never underestimate Ms. Pope’s power. After all, they do not let just anyone ride in the Presidential helicopter.
There is one more day until the season premiere of our favorite juggernaut, ” How To Get Away With Murder”. This is a repost of one of the very best episodes of last season. Dead Girl (check), Penis Picture(check) and Viola Davis giving a commanding and Emmy Award Winning performance as Annalise Keating (check, check and check again.)
Episode 4: ” Let’s Get To Scooping”
Those were the highly marketed and anticipated last nine words Annalise Keating says in Thursday’s episode of ” How To Get Away With Murder”. I almost slid off the bed and hit the floor after those words were uttered by Annalise, after watching and being riveting by the scene of her removing her wig, her eyelashes and all of her makeup. The music was soft, achingly slow and drew me in intently. Her husband then walks in, the conversation is rather normal and he walks into the bathroom. Annalise calls him back, ever so politely and then drops the nine word hammer on him. This was fantastic television.
I began with the end of the ” Let’s Get To Scooping”, so let’s fill in the blanks. The episode begins as usual with the flash back of the students at the bonfire. However, it quickly moves to them inside of a home with the bleeding dead body of Mr. Keating. Someone is knocking on the door , yelling that they know everyone is in there. Micheala is freaking out, Connor is yelling at her and Puppy aka Wes is there as always, protecting Rebecca. Because the person knocking on the door can possibly see inside, everyone is order to get down. He lays next to Mr. Keating , practically being identical to the body position and dead look on his face. Yes, it was very creepy. A small indication of how troubled Connor really is. ( Keep watching for his break down later in the episode.)
In court, Annalise is asking the judge to lower Rebecca’s bail. However, he sets it at one million dollars. Bonnie and Mrs. Keating met with Rebecca to ask her what really happened the night of the murder and also why she confessed. Rebecca reveals to them, she did not kill Lila and was harassed by the detectives with promises that she would get to go home. Rebecca also says that Puppy told her that Griffin was turning on her and placing all the blame on her. Considering at the time, Annalise was contemplating representing Griffith ( Lila’s football player boyfriend), Puppy was not supposed to say anything to anyone. Of course, she is pissed off and calls Puppy to her office, ” It’s your big mouth that got our client to confess…” Annalise asks him if there is anything else that he knew or needed to tell her. He lied and said “no”.
The lesson for this episode was the challenge of getting a supposed “witness” to confess to they are not witnesses after all. It is challenging to do. Nonetheless, very rewarding in the end. You start by throwing them softball questions…asking about their family, sports, or hobbies. Anything topic that may warm them up to you. At this point, you are no longer a lawyer, you are a detective. You do not ask for the truth from the, you pound it out of them and just like any other good detective…you lie.
Annalise Keating’s new case is to defend Marren Trudeau, the owner of a high producing stock brokering company, who is being charged with insider trading. The scene opens with the FBI walking throughout the office collecting everything, while Marren is in the middle completely unbothered and making jokes. She is grabbing the warrant and setting it fire when Annalise and her crew walks in. The head investigator from the FBI plays a hidden camera sex video of Marren and the owner of the company she is accused of getting the inside information from. Throughout the episode we see Keating and Company interviewing employees ( Marren finds this offensive and does not believe the person who made the trade under her name works for her.) and gathering info. Connor gets a feeling about Marren’s assistant, Paxton and goes to see him after hours at the company. Sometime during them engaging in sex, he plants a recording device in the room and catches Paxton telling someone on the phone that they still think it was Marren and he just had sex with Connor to solidify a black-mail opportunity. After asking Oliver, his almost boyfriend to trace Paxton’s call, they find out the phone call to him was made inside of the company.
Marren Trudeau ( Elizabeth Perkins) and Annalise Keating ( Viola Davis)
Officer Nate breaks into Mr Keating”s car just as Bonnie is driving up and spying at the street corner. Nate sees a date and location on Mr. Keating”s tablet which does not coincide with where he was supposed to be. Keating is walking out of his home and towards his car, so Officer Nate has to think fast and says he was jogging, saw the light on in the car and was trying to keep the car battery from dying. He states he was not trying to steal the car and jogs off, all while Bonnie is watching. Later in the episode, Bonnie goes to try to get the confession tape from the police department. She ask the Sargeant nicely. However, he balks at her.She then goes for the jugular , stating that she knows the police nd are still looking for Lila’s killer, even though they have arrested Rebecca and got her to confess. The thing about that little bit of information is Officer Nate was supposedly doing the investigating of Mr Keating for Annalise and not on official assignment by the department due to his suspension. What I found interesting about that exchange, is that the Sargeant did not let on that he was surprised by Bonnie’s words. Which means he does know about Nate doing the side work because he gave him all the information he did not give to Annalise. If ya’ll remember he lied to her about the hubby being exactly where he said he was. The plot continues to twist and almost snaps in two.
Annalise, her crew, and Marren go to confront Paxton about the phone call. She yells at him stating that she thought of him as her son and had done anything for him. She does not understand why he would do something to make her lose everything she had built. He gets emotional, replying that for eight years he has done everything for her and she still treated him as a throw away. Marren informs him, she is looking forward to seeing him sent to jail and his family will definitely disown him even further after she tells them everything she knowns. They all turn to walk away…Paxton cries that he is sorry, sits on the open window sill and pushes himself backwards to his death. After his death, the crew still need to discover who Paxton was talking to on the phone. After deducing all over employees down to just two, they get them to turn on each other by “playing: detective. Case solved.
Annalise and the prosecutor are meeting in front of the judge, where the confession video is played. It is obvious in the tape that Rebecca is being coached on her confession,. You can plainly see her moving her eyes to an unseen person getting the correct answers. The judge is outrages, reduces Rebecca’s bail to 100k and let’s the police department they are in notice. Rebecca is released. Later, she is walking up the stairs to her apartment and Puppy is standing by the door. She still seems to not trust him…he tells her she should and gives him the pass code for the phone he found. In the next scene he is standing with Annalise telling her what he found out from Rebecca. She ask him who all knows , he lets her know only Rebecca,
him and her know all of the information. There is another teacher/student love tension in the air. Annalise tells Puppy, that he has done a good job and Rebecca needs someone to trust.
Flash back to Connor showing up at Oliver’s ( the almost boyfriend) door clearly losing his mind. He is wet, crying and not really making any coherent statements beside him repeatedly saying, ” I screwed up really badly.”
Scene flashes back to present time. Connor is pouring wine for him and Oliver, when he hears the recording of Paxton being played. Oliver is obviously hurt. Connor tries to reason with him, saying that they were not in an official relationship and it should not matter. Oliver is not hearing that excuses and puts him out of his apartment in his underwear, clothes in hand.
The final scene was really the all out show stopper, which is precisely why I STARTED with it. There is no way you will want to miss next week’s episode. The previews were enough to make you not want this episode to end.
The day that we gladiators have all been waiting for is almost here. In anticipation of the premiere of “Scandal” on Thursday; September 24, 2015, here is an repost of a review on Week Three’s episode, “Inside The Bubble”.
This week’s episode of our beloved Scandal was more poignant than polarizing. There were a few moments that were meant to draw you in closer to the emotions of the characters versus the usual break neck speed of solving all things in a matter of seconds. Some may call this episode “boring”. However, I think it gave the viewer a chance to know everyone on a different level. Here are 10 moments that had my attention
1. Lizzie Bear (Portia DeRossi) is dropping her child off at school and a gun lobbyist is on her case about the upcoming court date concerning gun control because she swore that she had the Rosen nomination under control and that obviously backfired. He is adamant that something be done and Lizzie explains that she has it all under control. Cue the scene of Michael sitting so perfectly at a table where Cyrus is bound to see him. Cyrus is surprised that Michael is attending law school. Michael responds, ” Because I’m a whore, I don’t have a brain”. Well, pretty much Michael. I mean, I am certain there are “whores” out in the world that maybe on mensa status and there could possibly be mensa alum that are “whores”. Yet, it is not a normal occurrence.
2. Livy goes to her father’s house. He immediately thinks something is wrong. She says that she was “just stopping by”. He then asked her to come in and he could cook breakfast and she reiterates that she was just stopping by. Sensing what his child is really saying, he informs her that reentry is hard. Everything is missing and everything is different. Olivia says, “Everything is colder.” Papa Pope states, everything is colder. But, I have always been cold. So, it was safe for you to come and see me. He invites Livy to dinner and ask her to bring Jake. Now we knew when that invitation was given there were going to be fireworks. No matter how happy Papa Pope is that Olivia is away from the President and in Jake’s arms, let us not forget that he can not stand Jake either. He is just lesser of the two evils. This is one of the poignant scenes in this episode. Livy and her father’s relationship is complicated to say the least. However, she went to him seeking comfort and he was thrilled she was there. There was no “get your arse on the plane moments” exchanged between them. It was simply… daddy and daughter.
3. Kathryn Winslow is an old law school friend of Olivia and Abby. She calls Abby looking for Olivia because her teen age daughter, Caitlyn is missing. When Livy, Quinn and Huck met with Kathryn she informs them that her daughter had gone “missing” before. But, she always showed back up within a few days. As Pope and Associates gets on the case, they find that Caitlyn has a boyfriend, Darren who says he had not spoken to her in a week. They also find her best friend, Faith who says she had not spoken to Caitlyn in a few days, either. Livy finds this behavior odd, considering BFFs check in on each other constantly. Huck is able to track her down to the Taft Hotel, where she has a room under Faith’s name. He informs Olivia, who informs the Kathryn. She tells Olivia that she will go and pick up her daughter her self and thank you.
4. Livy calls Jake and ask him to dinner and he agrees until she tell him the dinner is at her father’s home. He tells her is not her boyfriend and that he will not be attending dinner to “met the father”. When he hangs up the phone, we are shown that he is in some sort of parking garage. He walks up to a man at the vending machine. That man turns out to be Charlie, who Jake immediately slams his head into the vending machine glass. The next scene is Jake kneeling next to Charlie in one of their torture rooms, complete with heavy-duty plastic sheets. Jake is ready with his torturing tools ready to let Charlie have it. Charlie lets him know that its unnecessary. He will give him the information he needs for the right price. Turns out the right price is Quinn. (SIDENOTE: When Quinn balks at doing anything with Charlie, Jake says to her ” Who took you in when you had nowhere to go.” Now, if I remember correctly…wasn’t Papa Pope still Command when Quinn first showed up at B6 13…so, who exactly took her in? Hmmmm.) Jake locks them in the room and Charlie lets “Robin” know that she looks good. Tougher, stronger and more seasoned. “Cat got your tongue. You want me to get your tongue”, Charlie says. That little turn into ummm..romance sets Quinn off. She tells him that he thought she was going to run into his arms and be happy to see him. ” Sad Charlie, porn fantasy”, Quinn mocks him. Charlie gets mad and attempts to come at Quinn and she takes him down. (Alright now, Quinn. I don’t like her. But, that was a boss move.) The scene comes back, a camera shutters later and they are both lying on the floor with their backs turned to one another. He is talking to her about being lonely and she replies that she is not like him…that she has Livy, Huck and Jake. He says, “The truth is Robin, nobody else wants you…nobody.” Charlie and Quinn end up in this desperation kiss. But, the door opens and in walks Jake, ending the ummm…romance. Although, this scene is awkward, it is another moment where Shonda and the crew are allowing us to view the character’s human side. I do not know about anyone else. But, Charlie always came across as cold and I could never make up my mind last season if what he was sharing with Quinn was just a way to get her to fall into the trap or if he actually cared for her. We shall see…
5. At the opening of the episode, we see Mellie, Abby and others watching a news report on a wife who pushed her husband off a cliff in Yosemite. Mellie becomes engrossed in the news coverage. Later in the episode, she is pouring over documents and seems to have come out of her depression to look into the case. Fitz walks in and tells her that he has an hour or so before he has to be at a meeting and ask if she wants to go by the cemetery. Mellie tells him to go on without her as she reads her paperwork. Fitz is surprised and genuinely looks happy for his wife. He responses with “okay”. Later in the episode, Abby goes to see the President and tells him that the first lady is making crazy demands and she is worried. Fitz tells “Gabby”, the artist presently known as Abby to give Mellie what she wants. As Abby tries to rebuff him and state her concerns, Fitz yells at her to give her what she wants! Later, Mellie informs Abby that she wants to go to Yosemite to talk to the investigators about what she has uncovered. Abby tells her that it would not be a good idea. She agrees and says that they can fly Mr. Yosemite in. Near the end of the episode, FLOTUS has a full cabinet with reps from NASA, FBI, Department of Agriculture seated at the table when Mr. Yosemite arrives. ( Abby tried to inform Fitz about what was going down. But he brushed her off and says he will be by later.) As Mellie is presenting all of the detailed work she has done to prove that the bride did not push her husband off the cliff, Fitz walks in and is shocked at everybody sitting at the table…clearly uncomfortable. ” I didn’t know a cabinet meeting was going on”, he says. Mr Yosemite respectfully interrupts the first lady and states that she is right. Three witnesses had come forward saying they has witnessed the husband slipping and falling. Everyone says nothing. Fitz tries to save Mellie’s efforts. But his face is so pained for her. Abby-Gabby swoops in and gets her out of dodge, stating that she has another meeting to attend. Another emotional moment. Pssst…Emmy folks, go ahead and put Bellamy Young’s name on that golden, winged lady.
6. Rosen is losing the gun control battle in front of the 4th circuit court. He goes to see Fitz, who is clearly upset. He tells Rosen, that through him not being “elected” the first time, all the turmoil he has been through and losing his son, him being in office has to mean something. He can not just be the President and get nothing done. Scene goes to Rosen going into his “happy shed” and produces some document. The next time we see him, he is approaching Judge Sparks at a hot dog stands. He ask the judge how much did the NRA pay him for his vote. After his spiel about being “a judge with integrity and no one being able to but his vote”, Rosen throws down the hammer. He reminds Judge Sparks of 1992 and Rock Creek Parkway, where he killed a mother and daughter in a car accident. Judge has the shocked look on his face and the next scene is everyone celebrating at The White House because the bill was passed on a 2-1 vote. Soooo…is anyone thinking like me, that Rosen is like a mini Olivia Pope with the white hat on. He goes into that “happy shed” with ease these days and manages to come out with information that saves the day. Maybe now, he can stop being so scary all the time.
7. Camera shutter goes to Olivia asleep in bed and Huck walks in making nary a sound. He tells her she needs to see what he has found, which is a sex tape of Kathryn and her daughter Caitlyn’s boyfriend. There is also a voice mail where the daughter is telling the mom that she will be informing her dad of what she knew. Livy panics because she sent Kathryn to the hotel alone. When she calls the hotel, the police answer. Scene cuts to Kathyrn standing in the morgue identifying the body of her daughter. When Livy and Huck walk in, she asked for privacy and then hems Kathryn up on the wall asking her, ” What in the hell did you do?!” Kathryn tells Livy that yes, she did have a fling with a 17-year-old. However, she did not kill her daughter. Huck and Livy go about trying to figure out who killed Caitlyn. Later in the episode, they see video inside an elevator and Caitlyn is struggling with a man over a bag/laptop. This mystery was not solved by the end of the episode. Which means, we know what one of the plots will be on next week.
8. Quinn walks in on Olivia and Huck trying to solve the murder and is upset that they barely notice her. ( “The truth is Robin…nobody wants you.”) She gets them together real quick, informing Livy that she was able to find her on some remote island and she was there for them. Also, that the reason why Harrison is dead was because no-one was checking on each other. She was missing for 24 hours and nobody bothered to worry about where she was… and she smooth walks out on them. Later in the episode, she is working. Huck walks in and tells her, the next time she goes missing…he will come looking for her. She smiles.
9. Fitz asked to see Abby-Gabby. He pours her a drink and thanks her for saving Mellie and admits that he had underestimated her. She corrects him about calling her “Gabby”. As they sit down, he immediately starts asking her about Olivia. Rosen is informed that Judge Sparks committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Cyrus falls for the okey dokey with Michael, the whore who immediately informs Lizzie Bear. Mellie is seemingly back into her depression as she lies on the couch staring at nothing.
10. Dinner at Papa Pope’s is awkward and silent. ( As, if it wouldn’t be anything other than that.) Papa Pope tells Jake that he appreciates him for keeping his daughter safe. Livy goes to take a phone call and as soon as she walks into the other room, Jake attempts to go in on elder Pope. He tells him that she knows that he had Harrison killed and that he killed the President’s son. He informs Papa Pope that he will walk away as Command and not contact Olivia again. Well, Papa Pope being the true boss that he is, stabs the top of a butcher knife between Jake’s fingers and pretty much tells him to have several pews in the cathedral. He is so unbothered by Jake and pretty much laughs in his face. Olivia returns to the dining room and tells them she has to cut dinner short because a client has called. Daddy Pope says ” Oh, that’s fine. We can try this another time because I am not going anywhere.” Hey Jake…take that, take that, take that!
Gladiators, Scandal is on the way. See you premiere week.
This article could be about all the multitude of movies being nominated for Golden Globe, SAG or Oscars this year, that most of us have never heard of or it could have been about the fact that “Selma” was snubbed in categories where it surely deserved a nomination, and most have said, a win. It could also have been about the parties or the fashion encompassing the events. However, what I chose to write about are the last three days of the award season.
On Saturday night, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) broadcasted The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon that is held annually the day before the Oscars. This award ceremony has been going on for a few years. Although, the public was only left with articles, pictures and social media to interpret the beauty of this event. However, Saturday night it was different and I am thankful that we were able to witness this greatness. We were able to see the joy on the faces of the women (and some men) in attendance, we were able to hear the immense joy and service in the acceptance speeches given by the honorees… as the viewing audience was able to feel the power of sisterhood that was palpable in the room. Oprah said, “This event is about black women being able to lift each other up.” Her words did not do justice to the feeling I got just by viewing on my television screen; the room filled with black women who are all great in their own right, fearlessly embracing the greatness of one other. Regina King talked about the universe always having her back and the grace that was present throughout the room. Ruth E. Carter shared that so many legendary black poets’ influenced her to become a costume designer. Iman Milner said that the mere existence of the women in the room gave her the temerity to keep pushing forward after so many “no’s”. Gugu Mbatha-Raw detailed how she was felt embraced and had a sense of family from being in the room. One of The Chocolates of “Orange Is The New Black”; Danielle Brooks thanked all of the chocolate goddesses out there that have paved the way for them.
It is practical; that the competition among black actresses does exist on some miniscule level. It is probable; the media is responsible for creating the notion that black women are at each other’s throats in Hollywood due to the lack of roles available to them and it is possible; these women view the only competition for any role is just the woman they see in the mirror. Yet, on this night none the aforementioned was given energy. When the camera spanned the audience, you could see the love and respect in the eyes of every woman there as the honorees spoke. The aura of the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon was our sisters in all of their glory and true sisterhood is like fresh air.
On Sunday night, The Oscars gave out the golden statues to the best of the best in film and song. The best song honor was given to Common and John Legend for “Glory”, from the movie the“Selma”. Right before they were announced as the winners, they gave a performance of the song that brought me and many others to tears. With the backdrop of The Edmund Pettus Bridge, actors/singers marched along in a reenactment of Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965) when peaceful demonstrators were attacked by police while attempting to march into Montgomery, Alabama hoping to bring attention to voter’s rights and discrimination. During their acceptance speeches; Common noted he was able to perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King marched on and the bridge that once marked the divide in our country is now a symbol of change. John Legend remarked there are more black men incarcerated now, than they were slaves in 1850. “Justice is juxtapositionin’ us. Justice for all just ain’t specific enough.” Selma is now.
And then, last night B.E.T broadcasted their annual BET Honors event that recognizes the talents, efforts and lives of individuals in the black community. Johnnetta B. Cole, the Education honoree was recognized for her trailblazing spirit let us all know that people should stop teaching little children racism. John W. Thompson, Business and Technology honoree took a 500 million dollar tech company and turned it into a 5 billion dollar Fortune 500 company in a time when there were not many black male executives. Kanye West was honored with the Entrepreneur designation and lamented that just because you may be able to afford expensive clothes and cars, does not mean you cannot still be a slave to them. Usher (Raymond) , the Musical Arts honoree expressed that we all do what we love until we are honored. Theatrical Arts honoree, Phylicia Rashad left us with these profound words, “Legacy is important. Don’t let it go. Don’t give it up.” The B.E.T Honors continually displays the excellence in our community.
These last three days in award season have shown that our talents, our greatness and our spirit does not need to be directed by those that cannot see the immense talents that reside in us. An event created by Essence magazine honors all black women, “Glory” speaks about overcoming and still fighting for our people and our children. The B.E.T Honors shows the expansive deeds of people in our community that are not always the ones we see in the spotlights. Every single one of these events were created by us. There is no need to seek recognition’s embrace from anyone other than the powerful arms of our own village.
Back in 2001, there was this little jewel released in the movie theaters by the name of “Two Can Play That Game”. During this time movies that catered to the black community and showcased many black actresses and actors were arriving it seemed, every other week. Featuring an overflowing basket of acting talent that included Vivica A. Fox Morris Chestnut, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Anthony Anderson, Monique, and Tamala Jones, “Two Can Play That Game” is a movie that was predestined to be a hit because it covered the relationship blueprint that is enacted when a man does something that makes a woman question whether or not, he is really “the one” for her. I will admit, this movie is one of my all-time favorites. I can quote chapter, verses and wardrobe selection without batting an eyelash. After viewing the Unsung Hollywood story of Vivica Fox this week, I had to pop “Two Can Play That Game” into the DVD player for the 12984 time. While thoroughly enjoying myself watching the movie, I contemplated whether the 10 day plan Smith, Shante Smith coveted in the movie could work in 2015.
Ya’ll ready? Here it goes.
Day One: Do not take his calls. If you decide to, be brief.
This rule most definitely is still a part of “The Relationship Games”. This is supposed to give the wronged an upper-hand. However, with the advent of social media, silence -interruptis is only a click or swipe away. The act of not talking to your mate is already a game that should not be played by anyone over the age of 18. So, not verbally speaking to your mate. But, checking their Facebook status or Twitter account every 10 minutes to see if they have mentioned your name is definitely a no-no for a grown azz adult.
Day Two and Three: Occupy your mind and time by hanging out with your friends.
This is cardinal rule 1 thru 75. Anytime you are going through a rough patch in your relationship or trying to get past a breakup, hanging out with people who sincerely care about your well-being is good for the soul. In the movie Shante says, “In love and war, maintain military silence.” So instead of sitting at home staring at her phone, she decides to go to church to recruit a “flunky”. A man who will witness her premeditated flirting with a random dude at church and go run tell that. In 2015, you can cut out the flunky middle man and just change your status on Facebook to “it’s complicated”. It still amazes me how much that status bar means so much to so many.
Day Four: Continue not to talk to him.
At this point in the movie, Keith (Morris Chestnut) has been calling Shante continuously and leaving voice mails that range from contrite and anger, back to contrite and anger again. Shante believes that remaining silent gives her all the power and I suppose in a twisted kind of way it does. Most people cannot stand to be ignored. They will reach out to you in any way possible, even if it is just to argue. She also cautions that it is possible that your man may drop by your house. Today, your man dropping by may happen as well. Seeing someone solely for the sake of having a verbal fight or using sex as the elixir is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. Abort this mission.
Day Five: It is a bad day. (He came over.)
Keith comes over and they have a screaming match, which in the illustrious words of Tony (Anthony Anderson) set into motion The Law of Thermodynamics by Newton. “Energy is neither lost or destroyed. It is transferred from one party to the next.” No further explanation is needed in this. The concept will always work until the end of time. Any questions? No. Let’s move on.
Day Six: Not as bad as day five. However, this day is where you stay busy and occupy your time.
Shante dusts off her little black book and goes out on dates with a smorgasbord of foolishness. The” wanna-be Prince” dude, the “still lives with his momma” dude and the dude that believes he is the creator’s gift to all women. In this day and age, finding a date is as easy as a 10 piece puzzle. The dilemma comes in deciding if your relationship is worth saving. If you want to get back on the right track with your man, then do not play this game of ring- around-the-dates. It serves no purpose other than creating unnecessary drama. If you do not want him back, then date until the wheels fall off.
Day Seven: Turn the tables and knock him off his feet.
Shante says you should go to Victoria Secret and get the sexiest thing you can find, get your hair and nails done, take a long, hot bubble bath and wear a dress that accentuates all of your curves. Then you should go over to your man’s house, get him to a point where he has to have you and then leave. Umm, where do they do all of this at? You should take a trip to V’s, pamper yourself with the new hair style, nails, and bubble bath. But, then you need to find something else to do rather than going over to his house and blowing oxygen onto a simmering fire. Contrary to popular belief, some women enjoy sex as much as men. You’ll end up going over there and never leaving. “The CIA ain’t got ish on a woman with a plan.”
Day Eight: Stock up on groceries.
After all of this back and forth Shante believes that this is the night Keith has been tortured enough. It is finally time to give him back the keys to the kingdom. So fill that fridge up with all of your favorites and get a few bottles of wine. You all may be in the house for a few days. I’m guessing in 2015, this more than likely still goes on. Couples will throw a welcome home party for the other if they break up for 8 hours. So, holding one after 8 days should be the equivalent of a New York New Year’s Eve celebration.
Day Nine: Kick back and wait for him to beg for forgiveness.
As life goes, all well laid out plans do not always stick to script. Shante is asked to attend an event being thrown by one of her employer’s competitors, at the last-minute. Little does she know, Keith shows up with Connie, (The proverbial… ummm “woman with many dudes”) who Shante does not like at all. He ignores Shante and she believes she has to up the ante’ in this love game. So, she recruits a dude from the streets by pretending to be a damsel in distress, invites him to the event and proceeds to spend the remainder of the event flirting aggressively with him, all while Keith is watching and losing his mind. Keith confronts her and she enacts the coup de grace by “accidently” dropping a condom from her purse. He tells her if she leaves with the random dude, he is leaving with Connie. Shante is not moved and leaves with the dude. She expects Keith to be in her driveway when she gets home. Of course, he is not. In this day and age, it’s possible that your dude will go home with Connie and it is possible you will hook up with the random dude from the streets. However, it is probable that you two will give each other the side eye for the remainder of the evening, talk about how foul you both are to your friends, send text messages saying “Wyd” or “So, you are going to do me like that?” and start this cycle of foolishness all over again. The best alternative is to just enjoy the party and then go home, ALONE.
Day Ten: Stuck on Stupid.
Shante is at the same place she met Keith, lamenting how the 10 day rules did not work for her. She realizes that when it comes to love and relationships there are no rules. Well, luckily this is a movie and they wanted it to have a feel good ending, so Keith is at the same place, sitting in the dark corner sulking. Shante apologizes to him and they lived happily ever after.
More often than not, if you go through all this drama in dating today, there will be no Hollywood ending. If your man does something that threatens to damage the foundation of your relationship, you need to open your mouth and tell him. You cannot use silence, go on dates with men you would never be bothered with on any other occasion, use temptation or tricks to punish him for messing up. You have to be bold enough to have a conversation with him, whether you want to or not. The ability to communicate your hurt without damaging the other person’s spirit is learned behavior. No-one is born with this skill. So, if you get it wrong the first time, keep at it. Relationships never succeed when one person believes they are the ruler and their other half is the peasant. In the end, two can indeed play that game. However, who really wants to?
How To Get Away With Murder (HTGAWM) is the Thursday night behemoth that has kept us enthralled since its premiere last year. From the very first utterance of “Criminal Law 101, that I like to call How to get away with murder” by Analise Keating, best known as Viola Davis and those dark, cheerleader- spinning in the air, bonfire flashbacks we have been hooked. Last night’s episode, “Mama’s Here Now” was no exception, as it slowly reached through the screen, grabbed us forcibly and is still holding on to some of us this morning.
In a scene fairly early in the episode, Analise is in bed wrapped in a blanket of emotional numbness. Her husband is dead, his sister has finally left along with her accusations that Analise is her brother’s murderer and she just lead the quiet coup that ended in her desired outcome; her lover, Officer Nate being arrested for killing Sam. In walks the incomparable Cicely Tyson in her role as Mrs. Keating’s mother Ophelia, with her smart wit and lightning quick tongue lashing that immediately reminded so many black women watching last night of our own mothers or grandmothers. Mama was there to “fix it”. She did not have time for weakness or tears. She could not be bothered with blankets stitched out of guilt and the feeling of worthlessness Analise was draped in. Ms. Ophelia came to pull her baby up and out.
In scenes that were riveting, some of Anna Mae’s background that formed her into Analise are revealed. She like so many of us did not feel love from our mothers. Not solely because they did not offer that emotion to us. But, due to fact some of our mothers could only love us in the way they knew how. Which did not always present itself in the form that we needed. It is common place now to see a meme or social media post that either praises or degrades black women for being “independent”. The syndrome of, “I don’t need anything from anybody” does not automatically come from a place of defiance. Many times it comes from the generational lesson of perceived strength…of survival.
We learn that Anna Mae changed her name for survival. She clung to her therapist turned husband, who used his knowledge gained from being the professional who was supposed to be Anna Mae’s soft place to fall. Yet, he hurled those wounds into her face when it best served him…for survival. We learned that Anna Mae was sexually abused by Uncle Clyde and because her mother did not react in a way that would sooth the heart-break of an innocent little girl, she made up in her mind that her mother did nothing to protect her from the beast. Again, for survival.
Ophelia talks to her daughter about men always taking. “Men were put on this planet to take things. They take your money, they take your land, they take a woman, and any other thing they can put their grabby hands on. That’s men.” She explained to Anna Mae how men; Aunt Lynn’s first grade teacher took from her and how Reverend Daniels took from her after choir rehearsal. “Men take things. They’ve been taking things from women since the beginning of time.”
Because I live tweet HTGAWM, the wall on Twitter exploded with women and some men being hit directly in the chest with the force of a max truck, by that scene. The same generational lesson that taught us about expressing love in our communities is the same lesson that taught us to be quiet about sexual abuse inside of our families. Even if black children were brave enough to tell their mothers/fathers about the abuse that generational pull taught us to never speak about it again, that Uncle or Aunt So and So will still be at every family function, that our feelings of gut wrenching pain must be swallowed.
For a couple of hours last night, Twitter allowed some of us to become a family, a virtual therapy session if you will, as so many women expressed in 140 characters or less how they were forced into silence, self-doubt and feelings of having no real value due to sexual abuse inside of their families. Those tweets proved this particular family history of silence about sexual abuse is still an epidemic in our communities. Of all the thousands of tweets in solidarity and understanding last night, how many of us watched that scene and wept, yet were still too ashamed and frightened to tweet out a single word because we did not want the sigma to be placed on us through sad eye emoticons and the magnifying lens that would then be placed on our parents?
Near the end of the episode, Analise sat between her mama’s legs as Ophelia showed love to her daughter in the way she knew how; scratching her scalp. (For those not in the know, this simple act is an expression of love in the black community. It is not just about combing hair.) She told Analise that she saw Uncle Clyde coming out of her room late that night and knew what he had done. On another night, Clyde was drunk as usual and fell asleep on the sofa with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ophelia sent Analise and her siblings to an Aunt’s house to sleep, subsequently as their own house burned down with old Clyde in it. Victim of a long match and very flammable hooch.
Mama did in fact avenge her baby and never said a word about it…for survival.
The nerve to feel your convictions. The courage to say what you're thinking. The bravery to write your heart. The fearlessness to speak, loudly.