Monday, August 31, 2009

What Color is Elmo?

Urban Chameleon Fun Fact

did you know Elmo was a brotha?

Kevin Clash holds his Emmy for outstanding performer in a children series at this year's 36th Daytime Emmy Awards

The brotha has been an official puppeteer with Sesame Street since 1984.

wait...Tickle me Elmo? This brotha has to be paid!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Damn, Security

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor SoBlackit'sComplicated

Please note that the security guard in this photo is not the one involved in this incident

Most people of color have experienced being followed in a store so much so that I know I’ve actually broke on a white sales woman for doing so,

“How dare you follow me around this store as if I’m some hoodlum trying to steal. This Von Furstenberg dress I’m wearing cost more than what you make in a week! Black leaders fought and died for equal rights and here you are trying to shackle me right back into slavery well let me tell you something lady it’s YOUR mentality that is shackled in hate, ignorance and negativity and you need a serious reality check!’

And no she did not in return ask, "Who gonna check me boo?" She instead apologized profusely that I felt that way and tried to explain that she only wanted to make sure that I was being helped since I seemed to be struggling to hold onto all the items in my hands... and so I thought maybe I might have over reacted.

But when I was recently shopping for Uggs in preparation for the cold moths ahead (I know I know they’re such the white girl boots but damn they’re comfortable!) I was reconnected to my justified insecurities. There in the Ugg’s story was a Black security guard (no less) following me around watching me closely… and no he was not trying to come on to me. It’s as if Uggs corporate had a meeting earlier that day and ordered for all the blackees to be watched.

I decided to ignore him for I wasn’t about to give another profound speech and play myself. At the same time I noticed a white girl watching the security guard, watching me. I then felt like I was in the middle of some kind of sting operation that was about to go down so I quickly paid for my Uggs and went to leave. It wasn’t until I noticed that the white girl was leaving before me never having visited the cash register. She walked past the security guard who was now watching some Latino man, straight through the front door with the Uggs on her feet. This chick just saved $200.00 just by being white and cashing in on my Black ass being followed. Damn was I jealous! When will I be able to do that? It's sad when that's an aspiration.

In the meantime I should probably write a letter to Uggs corporate:

Dear Uggs,

Yall some racist a-holes.

P.S. Love the new Ugg's designs, comfy as hell.


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Mexico City breaks World record for most people doing Michael Jackson "Thriller"

Urban Chameleon news

Who loves Michael Jackson the most? Mexico City wins for the record breaking number of most people to simultaneously perform Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Guinness Book of World Records apparently still has to confirm this as a group of students in Virgina set the initial record.

full article on CBS news

Who knew Obama knew all the Michael Jackson steps?

Jay Z on Bill Maher

Urban Chameleon news

Who isn't a fan of Jay Z? Bill Maher certainly is and chops it up with the ROC in one of his very few television appearances.

Since HBO has had the video removed off line I've had to search for pieces over the internet.

click here for more of the "piece"

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Don’t Care About White Love…Should I? Part III

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor Regine Hunter

You may have read about an incident that I had a few months ago with a white girl whose boyfriend lives downstairs in my building (click here for: Part I) (click here for: Part II). This was the last time I “Oprah Winfreyed” a white girl and I didn’t think much else of it, but apparently my powers have disturbingly lasting effects whose application could liberate black women all over this country.

It was almost 2:00 in the morning on a Thursday. I’ve noticed that on Thursday nights Mike or Mark or whoever (honestly I refuse to commit his name to memory) has little parties. I mean he’s down there blasting all types of Daughtry and Black Eyed Peas and shit, probably drinking and definitely running his fat mouth. I don’t know what goes on in his life and I don’t want to know, I just lock my door and move through the hallway as quickly as possible on my way in and out. On that particular night I’d met up with friends and came home to find Mark’s girlfriend sitting in the stairwell in her pajamas.

“Hi Regine,” she said flatly, staring me dead in my face with her crossed-ass eyes. Is this bitch on drugs? Why does she remember my name and why is she speaking to me like we’re friends?

“Are you ok?” I was pretty much shimmying past her up the stairwell already but I figured I’d ask. Anything could be happening – maybe she was locked out. Or what if there was a fire? Hell, she might need a tampon – it’s the least I could do after getting a groove on with her man.

“No, not really,” she said with a huff. This is when I realized that her not-okayness was just some corny girlfriend shit. – anyone with a real problem tells you right away instead of getting all Judy Blume about it. I took a second to examine the scene: this chick didn’t have any shoes on and was clutching her cell phone at her side, apparently having asked whoever was on the phone, probably her BFF, to hold on for a minute while she said hello to the Negro Temptress upstairs neighbor. Still, my pesky do-gooder reflexes continued to do their thing.

“Do you need anything?” I asked. Why do I always have to dig the hole deeper and deeper just to make myself feel like a good person? Frankly, if I could work through that tendency in therapy all of the drinking, random sex, and cussing people out probably would never come about in the first place and I’d be considered cured. In reality, I was hoping she needed a glass of water, a call to 911, or $2.00 to catch a bus home. But get what she says:

“Um…no, not right now, I’ll knock on your door a little later.”

What, heifer? It’s 1:45 AM, ain’t no later. Even if there were, this is not a bed and breakfast or some type of open therapy workshop where you can come in here, lay your head on my brown bosom, and talk abut all of the problems you’re having with your blatantly wackass boyfriend. For what? So that I can reveal that I hooked up with him? Or so that he can come knocking on my door looking for you? Why must I be involved and how does any of this benefit me? It was a weird mix between entitled and just retarded. This is where Oprah Winfreying a bitch goes too far – I meant to pacify her not hypnotize her.

“Please don’t.” And that’s all I said as I opened my door and put on an old episode of Living Single to calm my nerves.

I was awake for about an hour after that and could hear her barefoot ass in the hallway on the phone. Just before I fell asleep I heard a door open and close, most likely homegirl giving up and going inside, realizing that her man knows damn well she’s not going anywhere barefoot so he doesn’t have to come chasing after her. I’m sure he’d already fallen asleep with his hand in his pants á la Al Bundy and she came in and hopped into bed with a sourpuss face. Young chick rookie stuff on her part.

But back to me and us sisters. Is a young, white, (possibly chemically imbalanced and cross-eyed) female the most easily-manipulated being on Earth? If so, how can we use that to our advantage? Could the key to black female liberation be found in the process of “Oprah Winfreying” these hoes? It’s certainly worth investigating.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Venus and Serena Williams Dance Off

Urban Chameleon news

I was just watching ESPN talk radio and where they showed footage from the DIRECTV ESPN US Open Experience, a free tennis exhibition and USTA clinic at New York City’s Bryant Park) of Venus and Serena Williams to what appeared to be break dancing on the tennis court! You have got to love these sisters. Unfortunately I cannot find the same video online but found some of the other "dance off" footage on the same court. People were cuttin' it up out there.

In more news, it was announced Tuesday that the tennis stars are joining Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Gloria and Emilio Estefan in becoming limited ownership partners in the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, making them the first female African-Americans to hold an ownership stake in a NFL franchise and two of the few African-Americans league wide.
full article from

Wendy Williams Show apologizes for having dragged out Ericka the Drag Queen

Urban Chameleon news

Lonnie Burstein, executive vice president of programming and production for Debmar-Mercury, the company behind The Wendy Williams Show, issued the following statement to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

“Much of the success of The Wendy Williams Show is due to our incredibly diverse and colorful audience and we all agree that fashion is a true form of self expression. But in an attempt to explain and enforce our show’s dress code, I was not as sensitive as I could have been to Ericka, the LGBT community, or drag’s long history of being a target of discrimination. And for that, I sincerely apologize as it was never my intention to offend in any way.”

full article on

Africa is Suffering from an Obesity Problem

Urban Chameleon news

The "index of affluence and power is linked to one's size." In other words, bigger is better, even if its unhealthy.
Women, especially in black populations, think being overweight is "something that is beautiful and attractive."
full article at Newsweek

Interesting topic considering people are re-thinking the current BMI levels as the standard to measure obesity. Now if they would only make this adjustment to SAT's (not that I'm condoning people being unhealthily overweight)

BMI is used to determine weight categories: 18.5 and below is considered underweight; 18.6 to 24.9 healthy; 25 to 29 overweight; and 30-plus obese. “This scale was created years ago and is based on Caucasian men and women,” says Dr. Molly Bray, associate professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. “It doesn’t take into account differences in body composition between genders, race/ethnicity groups, and across the lifespan.”

B*ch did you just FRIEND me?

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

Not Everyone Should Send You A Facebook Friend Request

A girlfriend of mine and I were recently hangin’ out at her place Facebooking on our individual laptops. I was perusing through my most recent “Friend Requests” until I came across one name and flipped the f*ck out. I turned to my friend and said,

“Don’tcha know the b*tch that slept with my man before dating him had the nerve to send me a m*tchaf*ckin’ Friend Request?”

“Ohmigod girl! I never knew about this when was this?” She asked with sincere concern.

“8th grade.”

I replied as I walked into her kitchen to pour myself a shot of tequila. While in the kitchen I noticed silence. When I poked my head around the corner my friend was doing the roach; meaning she was on her back waving her hands and feet back and forth laughing her ass off at me.

“That sh*t is not funny.” I said

“Girl, that was over 17years ago!”

“I don’t care how long ago it was everyone remembers who wronged them in junior high and high school. People need to think about that sh*t.”

“I guess girl but some things you have to try and let – ooooooooooohhh HELL NAH!”

“What!?” I asked

“The head of the Puerto Rican gang from my high school who jumped my ass with five other Boricua’s just friended ME!”

Mocking her response just seconds ago, I responded, “Oh girl, let go, let flow.”

“This is different. I still have a scar on my chin from when that b*tch razor bladed my ass. Do you know to this day I still have to lie to colleagues and tell them it’s from when I fell from playing Polo.”


“We need to find out where she lives and go jump her ass.”

Related video from Tickles.Tv

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

'Soul Train' Coming to the Big Screen

Urban Chameleon news

Warner Bros. has hired Malcolm Spellman to write a feature based on the classic TV show "Soul Train."

Darryl Porter and Aaron Geller of Porter/Geller Prods. will produce with Don Cornelius, the host and producer of the famed show, which ran from 1971-2006.

Spellman said that he's writing a film set in the 1980s.

"All of the hip-hop street dances you see today were born during that time period and were first seen on that show, and I remember doing all of them when I was a kid,"

full article here

Whitney Houston says "Don't Call it a Comeback!"

Urban Chameleon news

Whitney Houston's voice, emotion lift new 'I Look to You'
By Steve Jones, USA TODAY

Near the end of her new album, I Look to You (* * * ½ out of four), Whitney Houstondeclares, "Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years." She certainly sounds strong, confident and ready for the well-orchestrated return that has been building for months and fully equipped to dispel lingering concerns that she no longer has the pipes.
full article here

Chico DeBarge is BACK! Lawdamercy

Urban Chameleon news

Were you aware that Chico DeBarge had new album?

Now I recently realized that not everyone is put on to Motown’s Debarge’s younger brother Chico but he damn sure had me in college at Carnegie Mellon University with his third album Long Time No See, back when I used to think brotha’s coming out of jail was sexy. All that to say his new album Addiction has me again.

Between him and Barack, light skin'ded brotha’s are making a come back!Listen to samples here

RIP to the last Kennedy

Urban Chameleon news

Ted Kennedy passes early this morning

Kennedy's family announced the senator's death early this morning in a statement.

"We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever," the statement said. "He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him."
full article on USA Today here

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Caribbean Gas Passer

by today’s Urban Chameleon contributor

I love my West Indian people and I love our food but you can’t bring it everywhere, especially not every day to the office.

My colleague, let’s call him Max, loves to bring his curry goat, rice and peas and fried plantains for lunch on most days. If it’s not that it’s another Caribbean curry dish of some sort, which is cool lawd knows I get down on the same grub but during work hours I’m on a toss chicken salad with a vinaigrette dressing diet.

For the very reason that every day around 3PM, when I assume that Max’s curry has attempted to digest a wretched stench invades our cubicle space. Since Max and I are the only ones who are seated in this area of the office I’m usually the only one experiencing these violent episodes of suffocation.

Every now and then someone will walk through our section at this time and notice the putrid smell and make a joke, “Phew! Who farted?” Max will try to cover this up by complaining about a trash bin that hasn’t been taken out but he can’t fool me I grew up with the same curry and I know a curry fart when I smell one.

Jesus. What to do? Do I bring HR into this?

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KFC takes the Chicken to far!

Urban Chameleon news

KFC has really taken it to far with replacing the bread in a fried chicken sandwich with FRIED CHICKEN! I don't care how much one loves chicken this is a heart attack waiting to happen. We cannot support this.

Fox New Reports

Check out more pics at Foodgeekery

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Tryouts for My Negro League: A Little More than Botanical Brunch

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

As part of my ongoing effort to date Black men in spite of my endless queue of fair-skinned suitors, last week I attended an all-Black black tie event. It seemed like the perfect investment of time and money for a busy Wall Street banker, sistah girl like myself: an evening of dinner and dancing with a self-selected group of young urban professionals all in an effort to raise money for the kids. I was game. And wouldn’t you know it yall, I meant a really chill brother in the process. He was funny as hell, entrepreneurial but not pompous and didn't look at his Blackberry every 2min … I was pleasantly surprised. So, long story short, we exchange digits and met up last Saturday. The problem is that you can't always tell what kind of brotha you're really getting when he's in a uniform suit. Regardless, we still made plans to hang out. The goal was to do something other than the typical dinner and/or drinks so we decided to check out Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and grab a late Brunch. Little did I know just how “out of the ordinary” our rendezvous would be.

And so there I was patiently waiting for him amid a sea of hydrangeas, when the following pink object moved into my line of sight:

“Oh lord.” I thought. “You have got to be kidding me.” But it was no joke yall! My ass had trekked it all the way to Brooklyn (I live in Manhattan … no, not Harlem, just Manhattan … don’t judge), and here I was about to spend the day with the damn Easter Bunny? Lord-a-mercy. Now it's not like I was expecting the brotha to show up in black tie but this is not what I call casual Saturday attire.

Yall shouda seen the looks on the faces of the kids! They weren't sure if he was pimped out Easter Bunny or a Power Ranger pimp … maybe a Tell-a-Tubby pimp? It was Hilarious! I mean, talk about putting a sista out there yall. Suffice it to say, we were NOT incognito at the Botanical Gardens among the swarm of Park Slope children, strollers, nannies and biscotti's.

But, the eccentric fashion sense aside, TJ was actually fun! There was not a dull moment. He's good people and a breath of fresh air from the stuffy wall street types. Plus, he's a consummate hustler. If any of yall are looking for a flatscreen TV, this homeboy "has" some phenomenal ones that he's selling at half the price. So just holla black.

However, after learning he was fifteen years older than me with six children (not to mention that suit) sadly he has not qualified for the starting line up of the Negro League. I can't be having this brotha laughing my ass into popping out a another baby for him. But what's a sistah to do the dating pool is ROUGH out there. Maybe I'll just guarantee him a secure seat on the BENCH. I mean it's not every day you walk around Grand Army Plaza with a modern-day urban pimp from the Bronx with a great sense of humor!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fate(s) of a Token Brotha

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

So I was kickin’ it with this white girl, an old high school friend right… up in her condo taking a couple shots of Patron and sippin’ a drink before meeting up with some folks and heading out for the night. She was filling me in on the monotony of her accounting gig, dating life and how she can’t find a good brotha (mind you she’s a thick curly-haired Jewish chick who loves passing for Boricua - the appeal of the exotic).

“ I bumped into Tristan the other day on the El.”

“Tristan as in T. Duncan? How you know T?” I asked.

“Come on everyone knows you guys.”

“How you figure?”

“Come on, really? You Tristan, J.P., Marvin, and Keenan, you were like the fab five. I mean… Everyone knows you guys cause you’re Black or whatever.”

Audacious? Nah, just frank, and in fact spot on.

Except she like the rest of them don’t really know me for shit. They might know of me, my name or whatever, my brothers or family but you know what I’m saying.

Anyway, I ain’t heard T’s name in a bit, probably since he escaped in junior high, and yes living out in these neck of the woods, escapin’ still applies i.e., mental captivity. Hearing T’s name and knowing how our journeys varied, I couldn’t help but reflect bout the toll white suburbia takes on a token brotha. Sure a better education is always touted as the allure of these parts, but when eyes are opened one can realize the additional cost.

Charity Case, Mannequin, and Mr. Misunderstood: A “choose your own adventure”, pick your poison, the conditioning or inevitable fork in the road a young Black man struggling to make sense of his own worth will encounter growing up in an area where the only other Black families are those of former Chicago Bull and Bears. No joke. If you know a Black Doctor or Lawyer that’s not your mother or father, then more likely than not your greeting your Aunt or Uncle, or some other relative in pursuit of that Medical, Law, or other graduate degree. Not to mention if you’re taking AP classes it’s likely that the other handful of Black faces that roam the halls won’t be part of your day. See the merits of the ‘burbs might be good in prepping for the ACT/SAT but not so much for a token brotha’s mentality.

But anyway the break down is simple, the only one really thinking bout this is Mr. Misunderstood. The quiet type; he doesn’t really speak much about his circumstance sensing no one in these parts thinks twice bout where he’s coming from, the whole conscious tip, his lens or perspective taking in the facts of black struggle, white flight, and how racial identity is really crucial to one’s life. Mr. Misunderstood tries to make sense of it all but just ain’t at ease in terms of expressing himself. By the time he gets to college he might get caught code-switching, or even called-out for being wet behind the ears or for seeming like such cause the ‘hood don’t know ‘im, they think he’s Bourgeois’ing or sadity, so he walks his own walk as Mr. Misunderstood.

As for Mannequin, he’s in and out of his uniform like he’s in and out of jersey-chasin’, blonde cheerleaders. There ain’t much else to it, that’s all his ego has room for, another trophy to put up on the mantle.

And lastly there’s Charity Case. Though this one has its variations, he basically relies on white folks for everything. Most salient though is the one that would do anything to fit in with his white peers. Grateful Dead or Dave Matthews concert; he’ll be there spazzin’ on that air guitar. If he could have had a Bar Mitzvah, he’d be all over the Torah, then cheesin’ for his pledge class photo at ZBT. Those that support and surround him do so merely out of sympathy.

So think of this as a cautionary tale when you’re ready to settle down and start that family in the suburbs, with the 2-car garage, 2.5 kids, dog and white picket fence. I’d advise not to just set it and forget it, cause it may not be so easy to reproduce that Urban Chameleon who can see the different avenues, knows when or how to wear the mask, shuck and jive, and keep dodgin’ those muggs that try to box him in.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

World's first Muslim Superheroes

Urban Chameleon news

World's first Muslim superheroes, the 99, are headed for British television screens
The world's first Muslim cartoon superheroes have taken the Arab world by storm, and now they are headed for British television screens.

Jabbar, is one of The 99, the world's first Muslim cartoon superheroes

Named the 99, as each possesses one of Allah's 99 attributes, the characters include a burka-clad woman named Batina the Hidden and a Saudi Arabian Hulk-type man named Jabbar the Powerful.

They have proved a hit from Morocco to Indonesia and were recently named as one of the top 20 trends sweeping the world by Forbes magazine.

Now they are being brought to British television by Endemol, the production company behind Big Brother, with a mission to instill Islamic values in children across all faiths.

click here to read full article

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The Conversation on Black Names Continue…

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

A friend of mine came over the other day and said to me, “Girl, Black names are off the hook these days!”

Well we’ve known that. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve met Black children named after a car, a bottle of alcohol or an exotic bag of weed and struggled not to bust out laughing in their face. But she caught me off guard when she asked me how I thought the name “La-a” was pronounced.

I responded, “LA AH?”

“No girl, Ladasha!”

You mean to tell me someone has used a hyphen, excuse me a “dash” as part of the pronunciation of their name?! Oh no.

So you know we had to keep it going coming up with the most ridiculous pronunciations using other punctuation marks

/ia - Oh this would be pronounced “Backspacia”

J' - pronounced "Japostrophe"

:’ - pronounced "Colón"

...a - pronounced "Ellipsa"

Related video brought to you by Tickles.Tv

Please contribute to the madness and let us know the most outrageous name you’ve come across (or maybe your own name is uuuhm... unique) Please share.

P.S. If anyone else also read about the name La-a please let us know so we can reference the source.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Southwest Airline Flight Attendant Feels the Need to Bust a Rhyme

Peep how this Southwest flight attendant flipped it on the aircraft real quick

P.S. I just love the audience participation. An Urban Chameleon moment? I'll say so

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Michelle Obama in Poom Poom Shorts?

Urban Chameleon news

Ok I know poom poom shorts when I see them and these are not it people. Please stop the controversy!

article: Michelle Obama short shorts spark long talks

So here we are again. The biggest scandal to hit the White House: How much skin is really in? Hours upon hours have been spent talking about what a first lady should or should not wear. First, it was whether or not she had the right to “bare arms, and now, pictures of Michelle wearing “short” shorts while on holiday with her family during yesterday’s trip to the Grand Canyon are sparking a similar debate. While most women would agree that shorts (at any length) are often tough to pull off, I think we should line up with hands raised to offer her a high five. And since she is gifted with those long legs, I beg the question — wouldn't all shorts be "short" on her? So to be “short” and to the point (pun intended), what do you think about Michelle dressing relaxed like the rest of us? Is it OK for her to be casual and comfortable with her body? Or do you feel she should be more conservative, offering a polished reserved example at all times?

click here for whole article

Now I could see if she was wearing this.

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South African Champion Runner, Caster Semenya Undergoes Gender Test

Urban Chameleon news

This South African woman, Caster Semenya who won the gold by a large margin in 800m dash has to undergo gender tests to prove she is a seems wrong. Okay so she has masculine features and may act like a tomboy but to call her out for pulling a Ms. Doubtfire or Big Momma on the field seems outlandish. It's not like she came out of no where and she has parents! Damn talk about pissing on someone's parade, can't a sista enjoy a win?

What is it with Black Magazines?

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

I recently took a trip and at the airport I decided to pick up an issue of Black Enterprise. I never really read the magazine but had been meaning to subscribe- you know as a part of the whole “support Blackness” thing especially during this recession as so many of the businesses are suffering. But after reading one issue I’m sorry but I’m back to white magazines and ARISE. I just cannot support poor content and in this recession I cannot afford to support nolstalgia. Too many of these Black publications including Vibe, Ebony and Jet (which is really suffering) aren’t keeping up with the times. The articles lack complexity and innovation and don’t speak to today’s person of color. It’s as if I find better information on Black people anywhere else but Black media outlets. Problemo.

I can't help but think about a deeper meaning to this whole recession thing and how it has severely forced a cleansing of old regimes (Wall Street, Madoff, Black Entertainment) the list goes on. I wonder that it may just be for the better. A heartless irony as the downfall of these systems (many of which have been corrupt) has caused so much freakin' heartache.

However, if you've ever read Susan Miller's Astrology Zone on "The Age of Aquarius" she has a pretty fierce break down on why and how this was all bound to happen and what's next.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Howard Homecoming

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

Being an artist at an HBCU is its own chameleon experience. It was at Howard U that I realized this special brand of Black experience cocktail I am. Part Jack & Jill, part hippie, part underground hip hop head, part Diddy-like entrepreneur, part introverted creative genius, part Blacker-than-thou pan-Africanist, part cooler-than -thou culture snob. Needless to say, I had to pocket my varied groups of friends.

I certainly was not going to get my One Common Unity group to come with me to a step show - and not comment incessantly about how European the whole greek thing is. Nor would I ever see my film department nerds strutting alongside on the catwalk at the homecoming fashion show.

I'm reminded of this issue as I make plans to journey to my alma mater for homecoming this year - I haven't been in over 8 years. I had been too cool as an upperclassman and anxious to start "life" to part take in any of the festivities.

But after being out in the hard and unforgiving working world, I really just want to go back down and do nothing but soak up the overwhelming culture that you don't get every day. Enjoy it. Reminisce.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Strictly for the Uninsured Hustler... Guidance on Healthcare

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor , courtesy of $ave Money Honey

Being that pressure is coming down on Obama's health care plan we must get creative with our alternatives. Let's start here:

Teeth. They are such an integral part of our overall health and well-being. If there's a problem in the grill, it affects the way we eat, the way we laugh, the way we kiss...not to mention the physical damage bad teeth can impose on the rest of the body. Living in a society where almost all toothpastes are infused with "whitening" (what the hell is whitening, anyway??), where photoshop-happy photo editors artificially brighten celebrity smiles and where coined terms such as "meth mouth" exist - there is a lot of pressure to keep them pearlies white.

Our teeth aren't frozen in time while we await the outcome of healthcare reform in the US. How many out there by a show of hands do not have full dental health coverage?

Join the Masses, Take a Dental Vacation!
Crowns, root canals, fillings, veneers...that stuff can really add up if you're forced to come out of pocket. Do the math, with root canals averaging $800 and crowns going as high as $3100 a pop...why not make the most of your spending by taking a dental vacation? Believe it or not, there are countries out there whose governments actually care about the well-being of humanity and exhibit this concern by providing free or very affordable healthcare.

Some friends of mine just came back from a trip to Thailand...with brighter smiles. It's not a new concept, there's a whole industry surrounding this phenomenon.
Check out some of these options:

And if you haven't already, check out Michael Moore's film SickO. It highlights Americans who travel everywhere from Canada to France to Cuba in search of affordable (or FREE) healthcare - and it sheds light on the shortcomings of the existing health insurance providers stateside. And what a sad state we are in. Just sad.

But keep smiling! We could all use a vacation anyway.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Catch Up On Your HOTUC Reading

We will be out this week on vacation but invite you to catch up on your HOTUC reading by scrolling through some of the older posts to your left.

If you need some help. Below is a suggested reading list for the week an we'll see you back on Monday August 17th. Enjoy!

P.S. You can also entertain your self by visiting our video site

A Friday Night Gone Awry

Steppin' Out of Your Board Meeting to Deal With Some Pee Pee Bullsh*t

When Another Spanish Person Tries to Play You

Ashy Elbows

My Cousin's Opinion on Health Care

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I Don’t Care About White Love…Should I? : Part II

by today' Urban Chameleon contributor

Regine Hunter

Editors Note: In Part I I’d just heard a knock on my door. Now what?

I figured it was some Jehovah’s Witness and ignored it, but the noise woke me up enough that I figured I might as well get out of bed and start my morning. It just so happened that on that particular day my gay best friend AND a platonic male friend were sleeping over (yes men on all sides and still no booty for me - I said dry as the Sahara.), so while I was standing around waiting to get into the bathroom I hear a timid, yet strident, knock on the door.

A shaken, limp-haired white girl with tears streaming from her crossed-eyes was standing there and asked if she could talk to me for a minute. Now, everyone knows I’m kind of a bitch and once again I DO NOT care about white love, but when people start crying and shit I just feel badly. Not only that, I knew who she was and I knew I was damn guilty.

“So um…I know you were hanging out with Mike a while ago (YES! That’s it! Mike) and I found your shirt, and he says nothing happened, but I really need to hear it from you…”

See, this is that decision moment. Its kind of like in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when Cindy Loo Who asks the Grinch why he’s taking all of the presents and the Christmas tree up the chimney, and he’s forced to lie to the big-eyed little cherub and say he’s fixing a broken light on one side. ‘Cept this broad was no cherub, just a pitiful white girl with a shitty boyfriend who got busted cheating and his dumb ass inexplicably gave me license to do his dirty work. I could either watch her heart break in front of me or get to lyin’. Guess which one I did?

Just like the Grinch, I thought up a lie, and I thought it up quick.

“Oh no honey, please don’t cry, nothing happened at all. I had on a tank top underneath and forgot all about that shirt.”

Knowing exactly what she wanted to hear, which is all she came to my door for anyway, I had no choice but to lie, especially since she could turn into the psycho white lady from a Lifetime special at any moment. This interaction required some sophisticated performance art and my motivation was a quartet of falsehoods about the black woman’s experience that will pretty much get you through this type of situation every time.

a) I have concern for white love. I am not Jennifer Hudson in the Sex and The City movie, OK? The white race and white love will somehow persevere without my help,

b)I have concern for the feelings of little white girls. The news media may go crazy when little white girls go missing or fall down wells but I do not,

c) I would never hook up with anyone’s man. This chick imagines me going to ‘da club’ and maybe smoking weed, not getting wasted and hooking up just like a white girl would do, and

d) your white boyfriend would never hook up with my overweight, dark, nappy-headed ass. This is the falsehood that seals the deal, because no little white girl who thinks she’s fat and depends on Pantene Full & Thick Shampoo to keep her head from looking like a cue ball considers what I’ve got going on remotely attractive, and therefore neither should her man. White girls if you’re reading this, watch your back – its very possible (in fact probable) that your man is intrigued by what I’ve got going on just by virtue of him being a man and I being a woman.

To top it all off I used a deep, soothing voice and rubbed her hand as I delivered my bundle of lies. I maintained eye contact and threw in a colloquialism here and there, just to add to the imaginary divide between my wise, all-knowing blackness and her lost, inauthentic whiteness. In sum, I Oprah Winfried this bitch. And she ate it right up. I was so pleased with myself until I realized, hold up - whatever happened to my shirt?

“Oh,” she sniffed. “Me and Mike had an argument and I threw it out.”

What!? No this bitch didn’t! Still the guilty party, I told her it was fine, suggested she pull herself together, and closed my door. Inside my gay best friend had already heard every detail thanks to the classic “listening through a glass to the door, “ move and Mr. Platonic was just getting up with a “wha- happened” look on his face.

After a few hours of reflection and chats with my boys I got pissed! How dare that chick have the gall to knock on my door first thing in the morning lookin’ for answers like a KGB agent? What on God’s green Earth possessed me to hook up with someone who lives in my building anyway? And more than anything else, how dare that fool-ass dude pass the buck and even put my name in it, so I can do his job for him when it comes to preserving his wack little relationship? Oh HELL no. I was kind of wishing I’d told the truth instead, but now what?

The first solution was no more red wine for me, and second was to take pity for the girlfriend – she’s obviously got low self-esteem, a boyfriend who cheats on her, and - I wasn’t just being mean earlier – significantly crossed eyes. Naturally, the final flourish was petty spiteful revenge against the man. The next time I saw mail for Mike or Mark or whatever generic shit his name is, it happened to be from the state probation board. O RLY? I opened it and it turned out to be a letter requesting his attendance at a probation hearing. Words like “mandatory,” “legal action,” and “correctional facility,” popped up as I scanned the letter, and I hoped that this would be the hearing that got his ass off of probation that he’d never even know about. The day that could change his life for the better and undo whatever jam he’d gotten himself into previously. This is why mail tampering is illegal - what a crucial document.

I promptly tore the letter into a million pieces and put it in a dumpster down the street. I certainly don’t care about keeping white men out of jail. Months have passed and I still haven’t seen the dude around, and I hope I never do.

Oh the hell well. Shoulda given me back my shirt.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Don’t Care About White Love…Should I? : Part I

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

Regine Hunter

Editor’s Note: This story appears in two parts because there’s simply no way to shorten it. You’ll thank me later for including every detail.

Let me get one thing out of the way: I drink, and sometimes heavily. I’m 100% sure that had I not been five glasses of red wine into my evening by the time I ran into my downstairs neighbor at two in the morning, none of this would have happened. But I was wasted, and by the looks of his zigzag gait up the street so was Mike (or is it Mark?).

There are only four apartments in my building and this typical Guido type of dude lives directly downstairs. If I leave my window open I sometimes hear his big mouth running or notice his freshly delivered men’s muscle magazines sitting in the building’s communal mail pile. Other than that we’ve had almost no interaction, which we both seemed cool with until liquid courage took over.

“Hey! Why don’t I ever see you in the building?” he asked as he opened our shared front door for me.

“I dunno,” I slurred, knowing full well that I don’t really see anyone in the building except for my overly friendly gay next-door neighbor who has a cavalcade of black dudes in and out of his apartment day and night. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. I even considered filling the empty silence with stories about Harvey the Homo and his suitors when the Guido spoke again.

“Wanna come to my place for a drink?” Oh that’s a great idea, I thought. I’ve always wanted to be asked in for a ‘nightcap.’ It’s so 1974, so “Three’s Company.” A quick drink sounded like a real gas. Plus, I’m still in my own building, what’s the worst that can happen?

The next few hours flew by, and I have red wine to thank for that, as well. Of course Mark (or is it Mike?) did what a lot of white men do when they can’t come up with a single inch of common ground: talk about race. He started going on about how the word “Guido” is as harmful to him as the n-word, how if he were black he’d be OK with the stereotype that black people are better athletes, and a bunch of other misguided bullshit that I’m sure he’d been waiting to bounce off of a black person since the 2008 election. I just told him he was wrong on all counts, and that he should shut up and pour me another glass of wine. Now, instead of our smart mouths sparking off the Race Wars, it created serious sexual tension. Maybe it was some weird “I’ll show you!” type of thing, but with all of his Napolean-esque, willfully ignorant but brolic hubris, the guy’s spunky attitude reminded me enough of that barnyard chicken hawk from Looney Tunes to turn me on.

Yeah, that thing.

So we hooked up a bit. No big deal, mostly safe for work. But part of the way through I remembered running into some chicklet who introduced herself as his girlfriend one morning on my way to work. We chatted for half a block down the street before I bid her stringy-haired ass adieu, doubting our paths would ever cross again. Now I’m up here in a drunken tryst with her man. That’s a violation of “sisterhood,” somehow, right?

“Wait, don’t you have a girlfriend?” I had to ask, a glutton for punishment, am I.

“Yeah sort of but, you know, don’t worry about it.”

Don’t worry about it? Don’t worry about white love? Really? Well you know what buddy, I won’t. That shit is NOT endangered and when it comes down to it I don’t care about no white girl’s feelings. Yeah, I said it, and in the black vernacular, too. Hmph. Carrying on.

The hookup itself was as uneventful as it was low-risk, and the next thing I know I’m waking up with this doughy mufucka cuddled up on me like a stuffed animal. Nope, boo, bye. The thing was, I could not find my shirt, so I just threw on the rest of my clothes, zipped up my jacket, wrote a note with something like “Hey Mark, had fun, left something here though, when you find it please leave it upstairs by my door. Peace Out - Regine” and scurried upstairs to my own apartment. I fell asleep wondering whether I’d get my little Ross Dress For Less frock back soon, but otherwise without a care in the world.

As days, then weeks, then months passed, I started to really worry. Mark (who really STILL could be named Mike) hadn’t returned my shirt, and knowing that it must be mixed in with the rest of his random white boy clothes on the floor meant that his girlfriend could find it any minute – its easy to spot a hot pink and fuchsia tunic in the midst of khakis, camouflage print shorts, and Hollister tees. She’d see that its not hers, smell my perfume on it, and get all tough white girl with me on some Shannon Doherty shit and come a’ cuttin’. I even ran into them in the hallway once while I was with a gentleman caller of my own (don’t get the wrong impression, friends - my love life is actually as dry as the Sahara) but we both played all innocent. I certainly couldn’t ask for my shirt in front of her, now could I? As much as cute party shirts in a size 2X aren’t easy to come by, it only cost $12 so I chalked it up to the cost of drunkenness and let the whole incident go. In fact, aside from hoping I didn’t run into this dude ever again, I forgot all about it.

That is, until 9:30 on a Saturday morning a good three months later, when I heard a buzz at my door.

click here for Part II

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't Hate Cause I Moved Out da 'Hood

by today's Urban Chameleon Contributor:
Don't Let the J. Crew Fool Ya

It’s happened twice now … twice in a month. Inevitably, you are out to dinner with a couple friends. Everyone answers the “Wassup witchu?” question and breaks down the progress and frustration with the job, the latest in the love life, ideas and ambition on the entrepreneurial front … and inevitably, the question of giving back comes up. Generally, the conversation is rooted in the overall lack of fulfillment we get working in Corporate America. Everyone nods and agrees: “This is not the end-all, be-all. It’s about gettin’ that money right to start your own thang.” And sure, part of that is giving back. Again, everyone nods. One person will bring up an organization they support. Another will mention a tutoring program. And then, like clockwork that one friend will weigh-in … “Well, ya know? The best thing we can do as young, successful urban professions is move to a Black neighborhood. ”

And that’s when I check out. “Here we go again.” Move back to the 'hood? For real? Seriously?

You see the thing is, I have no problem with the folks who get that degree, get that coveted J-O-B, and move to THE latest, greatest, regentrified ‘hood in city and then go around from cocktail hour to happy hour touting their zip code like it’s a damn membership card to the “I’m Black and Conscious” Club. Go ‘head and self promote based on your zip code. But I do have a problem with how those folks try to make me feel that by not livin’ in the ‘hood somehow I am turning my back on my community. Annnd don't even get me started on the rebranded neighborhoods by real estate agents trying appeal to the latest stock of up and coming urban professionals … for NYC folks the clearest examples are DUMBO or “Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge” and SoBro “the South Bronx”—Wait a minute are you really tryin' to Jeti mind trick me with the KRS-One " South Bronx, south, south Bronx" as SoBro as oppose to Soho???????????

Save it. The bottom line is that, anyone who really grew up in the ‘hood AIN’T tryin’ to go back to the 'hood!

Which brings me to my point: I will bet you that 9 out of 10 of those over-educated, young urban professionals living in the newly-remodeled condos of our gentrified ‘hoods DID NOT GROW UP IN THE HOOD TO BEGIN WITH!

I did my fare share of time in the 'hood even though, technically, for part of my childhood I grew up in a mixed middle-class area just so I could be zoned to a better public school but best believe I lived in 1-bedroom apartment with my mom, my aunt, my cousin and my grandmother. So don’t even try to come for me.

PLUS, after college, I lived and worked in the townships of South Africa, favelas of Brazil and shantytowns of Jamaica where you don't have the luxury of not eating everything on your plate and taking a shower ever day let alone with hot water. I have swerved around tear gas and dead cars in the middle of a coup d’etat in Haiti. So, don’t even try to tell me that I’m somehow turnin’ my back on my community because I don’t live in a Back neighborhood! Believe me, you can’t see the ‘hoods I’ve been to from the windows on that newly-remodeled duplex your renting around the way down the street from your Bodega.

Lastly, did you ever stop to think about what my presence in a non-Black neighborhood might do to change misconceptions about us? Last week, my neighbors Edith and Marvin Einstein-- an elderly Jewish couple--and I watched the PGA tournament together.

All I know is between Edith’s homemade matza ball soup and Marvin’s incessant rants about miscalculated plays, this sistah is creating a new perspective from inside an old rich white neighborhood. Don't come for me...

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Time Out...Lil Wayne Whips it Like a Slave?

Yes you heard me right and speaking of which we've gone toooooooooooooooo far left I'm turning right. Palin 2012. SIKE! But seriously has Lil Wayne actually released a song called "Whip it like a slave" actually using Kunta Kenta as a metaphor? I can't... I just can't.

What is wrong with the young Black youth?

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Loud and Wrong…The Real Housewives of Atlanta

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

Black people can be notorious for being Loud AND Wrong. I'm not
talking about these two words exclusively. I’m specifically emphasizing the
conjunction of the two words.

Truthfully, I had been reluctant to watch the Real Housewives of
Atlanta just completely embarrassed by those women's behavior. In fact every time my white friends would bring up their excitement about the season premiere I would cringe and overcompensate by suddenly over articulating myself in the Queen’s English. I really need to get over holding the responsibility of my race on individuals but it’s just so damn hard particularly when there are people out there who really think this is all we have to offer.
But this didn’t matter because even my progressive Black girl friend insisted that we all watch this train-wreck together. She even conveniently tied this agenda to finally having a reason to try out KFC’s new grilled chicken. Her e-vite read:


If you aren’t familiar, Sutton Place is an old white neighborhood located on the east side in the mid-fifties of NYC and flooded with rich women walking their small dogs and coming back from a Botox injection.

Nough said. Our presence there with the KFC buckets was an Urban Chameleon moment in itself.

The first 40min of the show go by and I’m thinking, “hmmmmmm, I didn’t really need to see this.” Watching this channel is already sending the wrong message for ratings and therefore continuing to perpetuate the degrading images of Black women on television. And yes I’m thinking of this all while cleaning out the gristle of my chicken bone. However, the tables turned for me in the last 15min of the show after She by Sheree gives us an Academy Award worthy performance starring as an Urban Chameleon. Not to mention, when I tell you that there is no writer or actors that could have even begun to capture this kind of all too familiar scenario in the world of Black customer service- I lie to you not.

Too many times I’ve been in Black establishments who have no concept of the “fourth wall” (a dramaturge term referring to the imaginary wall that one stands behind when on stage). Applying this same theory in real life, when you are representing a business establishment HELL-O, you’re on stage. That means you don’t express your frustration to the audience, you don’t curse out the audience out and you damn sure don’t talk about the audience’s mama. Speaking of which, my own mama has gone off and has laid out a number of incompetent customer service people who failed to grasp the concept that they were there to service the customer. Just Loud AND Wrong. (click here to read: Customer Service)

But back to She by Sheree…she held it the f*ck DOWN! Giving us contrasting chameleon personalities. In one moment she was asking, “Who’s gonna check me boo?” threatening to call Pookie and dem and in the next moment she was schooling the uneducated on proper business etiquette.

Someone recently made a great comment on the first post, “How the Urban Chameleon Came to be” that not all Urban Chameleons are “seamless,” in fact many have to work on their transitions between worlds, which is true. But please don’t confuse the man in the business suit who told Ms. She by Sheree, “I will slap the sh*t out of you” and “Yo’ mama’s a bitch” for being an Urban Chameleon…oh no honey…he’s Just Urban.

If you haven’t already seen this profound moment in the history of television or need to relive it again and again and again…I would strongly advise you to click “play.”

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