Friday, May 29, 2009

Ignorance Still Exists...

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

Last night my aunt called me very upset after returning from a retreat with her company. Apparently everyone had to write a couple of paragraphs on ways they could improve as a company as a team building exercise. As my aunt was giving her presentation two women began to laugh. She stopped reading to ask what was so funny and the two women just shook their heads and said nothing. My aunt continued to read and they continued to laugh. So she stopped again and insisted on knowing what was so funny. One finally replied, “It's just the way you speak. We can't understand with your accent.”

My aunt, replied, “I was born and raised in Haiti, I am also an American citizen and if you could write and speak French even half as well as I speak and write English you should be so lucky.” Ignoring her they continued to laugh and when my aunt looked over to her manager for support he was chuckling his damn self! Inside she withered away in embarrassment as she discontinued reading and sat back down.

It amazed me that my aunt could be at a job 27 years and not have any kind of a support system to handle such childish behavior. I also felt angry that she was more concerned about loosing her job than further addressing the issue but for her it wasn’t worth loosing what she had built with in those 27 years. I began to think further about the sacrifices she, and my mom had made for me by migrating to America just so I can become an Urban Chameleon. I had the luxury of appearing to be a native of either Haiti or America having perfected the accent and culture of both countries…just not to be laughed at I guess. But what made it worse is that the women laughing were Black.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Come on CW…How You Gonna Cut THE GAME?!

by today's Urban Chamelon contributor

When I tell you that I love me some The Game, it’s no joke. I found myself glued to my couch one weekend catching up on the series during a marathon of the television show on BET, a network I usually stay far far far far far far (did I mention ) far far away from… but for The Game? A sista can't get enough. It normally airs on the CW but thank god BET decided to syndicate the show taking a break from their hot ghetto coonery mess of a line up they proudly parade with no shame. However, I swear The Game might be the most progressive show on television. It’s produced by Kelsey Grammer from Frasier (wait Kelsey, are you an Urban Chameleon? Go ‘head). The Game just hits you with real ISSUES. Tasha Mack who plays the “angry Black women” is actually contextualized on this show and was called out on this one particular episode that GOT ME. If you caught the episode I’m about to break down you might have the same revelation I did, which is that Black woman may be able to appear less angry if media did a better job of actually contextualized the anger. Black women don’t just wake up like “Get the fuck out my way motha fucka!!!”

In this episode, Tasha Mack and this football coach she was dating was in a coffee house and Tasha Mack (sorry she’s a first and last name kinda girl if you aren’t familiar) started breaking on the coffee latte guy. Even though the latte guy might have skipped her, her boyfriend had to point out to her that not everything warrants a fight and because he fights all day coaching at work he doesn’t want to fight when he comes home to her. She notes this and makes an attempt to try and censor herself. He then invites her over to his house for a gathering with some of his friends later that evening. When she shows up she is surprised to see a room full of white people, are his friends. (Ok so Tasha Mack is not exactly an Urban Chameleon) Although, boy when I tell you they nailed the cultural nuances of some white people and how they irk Black people- HILARIOUS! You had the white women with her dog on her lap allowing the dog to kiss her all up in her mouth. IRK #1! Then there was the white woman who put her hands all over the food and took a bite before offering Tasha Mack some. IRK#2! Then there was the smart ass, white male professor type who corrects everyone’s grammar- not just IRK #3 but the biggest IRK of them all. The reason being is that Black people don’t really take well to being corrected. We are already a confrontational race so any reason to provoke us and we go off. Well honey, Tasha Mack was a team player for her man up until this point. She had allowed the dog to give her a peck on the lips before running off to the bathroom to scrub her lip with a full bar of soap, she also even caught herself about to break and politely declined the sandwich the woman offered her. However, the straw that broke Tasha Mack’s back is when the professor corrected her use of the word “Conversate.” (oooh even my spell check doesn’t recognize this word but we use this word alllll the time and even if you don’t ya still know what it means) Honey chal, baby chal, lawd chal, Tasha Mack ultimately ended up telling all them white people to hold hands and jump off a cliff before storming out. The next day the boyfriend came over to end the relationship and Tasha was forced to look in the mirror at her anger issues.

Across the board this show presents a really great spectrum of characters and I would hate to see it go. BET really needs to redeem them selves and get this show into production. However, quite frankly, I don’t care what network The Game airs it just needs to stay ON even if that means watching it on Klu Klux Klan TV.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Youngest Self Made Billionaire

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

A friend of mine just put me on to Taysha Smith Valez, a 27 year old, Black female billionaire who is the CEO of her own beauty line. I couldn’t help but to be enthralled.

In an interview with Associated Content, Taysha says:

“I have brands that celebrate the Black American princess, the Japanese American princess, the Russian American princess, the Latin American princess, the French American princess.”

In addition she has a brand for the “Persian American Princess.”

Brief Bio: Taysha S. Valez de Ames, or Taysha Smith-Valez, was born on April 22, 1982 in New York City. She is a founder of three global conglomerates: TSV-HBGgroup Inc, TrimyTAY~Telecom Inc.(IBC), and TAY-SHA S. Valez de Ames Ltd. She is the author of "Young Black Millionairess: How to Start a Million Dollar Business", published by H.Couture Publishing, 2005.

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