Friday, July 30, 2010

My First White Wedding

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

A few weeks ago I attended a wedding upstate New York. Now when I hear, “wedding,” I naturally begin to think about what special outfit I’m going to wear for this special occasion. Going through my closet, I identify my Diane Von Furstenberg dress as the joint to hit ‘em wit. It’s a beautiful long, silk, mint color number. And with my gold heals… WHAT WHAT! Watch out now!

When my date and I arrive at the location, after the 3½ hour drive from the city, I was floored to learn that the wedding was taking place on a Farm. A Farm! Who gets married on a Farm?! Certainly not Caribbean people. Even if I end up marrying a white farmer – the idea of me telling my Haitian mom that the ceremony will be taking place next to animals – let’s just say that it would not be going down. You know what she would say? All my life I have worked so hard for people not to look at us like animals and you want to go and have your holy matrimony next to some? Is a cow going to give you away too?

Regardless of how I was feeling about the location, I was dealing with the physical challenge of my Loubiton heels sinking into the grass as I tried to mingle. My date, who was decked out in his Burberry tux, was damn near carrying me, Diane, and Loubi to prevent us from being covered in manure, which was everywhere.

Of course, we were the only Black folks at the wedding and the only people that were dressed up. Don’t you know that there were some guests wearing sundresses and flip-flops! Who does that?! Certainly not Caribbean people. We dress UP and come with it like’s it’s the Oscars. Besides, are we not celebrating what’s supposed to be a once in a lifetime affair?

I think what catches many Caribbean people off guard, is that we are bred in a culture that has made us feel inferior to white people as if they all come from castles with golden fountains. Therefore, when the time comes to be in their presence, for what we think is a celebratory event, we are dressing up to say we belong in this castle too. The irony of this is when this irony is flipped on you; for this Farm was no castle.

My date and I tried to let loose, which meant taking two vodka tonics to the head before getting out on the dance floor. Despite the location, they still played Michael Jackson. Can’t have a wedding with out MJ. We started gettin’ down. Next thing you know, a group of older white folks, who were definitely alive during Jim Crow, began to watch us dance as if we were entertaining them. Why did we suddenly begin to feel like we were the Minstrels at the show?

What made matters worse, is when the mother of the bride came over to admire my dress. I was surprised she could still see it, as most of it was balled up in my hands to keep from touching the grass. After she told me how beautiful I looked, she then asked if I had any friends for her single son who apparently likes the darker kind. WHAT?! Who actually says that? Was this woman really referring to Black people like the meat selection on a buffet table- light or dark meat? I was done. I grabbed my date, wished the wedding couple well and we were out.

After the wedding, my girlfriend and I traded stories about our white wedding experiences. She told me how a couple of weeks ago, during a bachelorette party she attended, the bride’s cousin brought black and brown penis cookies for the party-gals to munch on. The cousin was so delighted to find this bakery website, Mandingo, that specializes in ethnic dicks. My girlfriend said she thought to herself, now wait a minute, the bride is marrying a white man why couldn’t there be a white dick included in the selection? The cousin went on to explain to the bachelorette party, who were all white with the exception of my girlfriend, that a Mandingo is apparently a very large Black man’s penis. What she failed to mention is that it’s also a derogatory term! My girlfriend said she could either:

A) Slap this woman upside her head B) Excuse herself from the party or C) Tell me about the story so I could write about it here.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mama always said if you want good real estate follow the crack heads…(part II)

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor FunnelCake

Read part I by clicking here

My mom has been living in Hot-Lanta for ten years now; enjoying her 2400sq ft, three story, balcony off the bedroom and living room with a view of the downtown skyline loft located in the crack head infested, gun shot bucking, drug dealer having neighborhood also known as da ‘hood. Just a couple of years ago she met a wonderful man, who she dated for a short time before deciding to get married, and invited him to live with her … cause uh…mama wasn’t moving. He, being head over heels over my mother, without question leased his four-bedroom chateau in the peaceful, quiet, suburbs to be with her.

However, da ‘hood has been a bit of a hindrance to his consulting business; as his conference calls are often interrupted by loud neighborhood arguments, (possibly over crack), with groups of people shouting, “YOU MUTHAF*CKA!”, every other word. Occasionally a gunshot or two followed by police sirens, which makes their Bichon dog, start barking.

One day my husband and I witnessed my step father, literally, running from room to room trying to avoid the blaring soundtrack of da ‘hood while on a conference call. Now I will say, in the short time they’ve lived there we’ve already begun to see change: a Japanese restaurant opened up around the corner, and you can even get a cappuccino at the new neighborhood coffee shop. Once, my husband and I went for a jog around the neighborhood and when we got back to the front of mom's loft to stretch, a crack head came up to us and asked if she could join. "Sure", we said, and she took our lead in the group stretch. We ended with a little Namaste Yoga meditation and she was on her way. It looks like a climbing Real Estate market can not only change a neighborhood but a crack head too.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mama always said if you want good real estate follow the crack heads…

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor FunnelCake

Growing up in the early 80ties I used to question why my intellectual, progressive, degree earning, world traveled parents decided to raise me in a crack head infested, gun shot bucking, drug dealer having neighborhood also known as da ‘hood. Every day, on my way to private school located on the other side of town, I stepped over different color crack vials, prayed for my life, and dreamed of one day living in a high-rise doorman building surrounded by white folks; ‘cause they couldn’t possibly be experiencing these same kind of problems. My white friends at school looked relaxed and at peace, in fact the most frazzled I had ever seen one of my school mates was over this really complicated long division math problem that had the class stumped. Meanwhile, I was calculating my route home to avoid Bebe’s Kids that at one point in time were filling up water balloons with their urine and targeting folks.

My parents brushed aside my worries, told me that the 'hood shapes character and that I needed a little culture. For them there was nothing like living with the people. I will say this, the one time Bebe’s kids did try to mess with me, my intellectual, progressive, world traveled father chased them down with a machete. He was from Jamaica.

It wasn’t until years later, when I had to start paying bills, robbing Peter to pay Paul and looking for someway out of the rat race, that I discovered the value of good Real Estate. During the early eighties, my parents had the foresight to purchase property in our crack head infested, gun shot bucking, drug dealer having neighborhood also known as da ‘hood; where houses at the time only cost seventeen thousand dollars. Their mortgage payment was a whopping $217.00 per month. The irony is in all that time I was looking to run to the white neighborhood, white folks ended up moving into our neighborhood! This resulted in driving up the Real Estate so much so that when my parents were ready to sell they made an 800% profit!!!

My father passed shortly after the sale of the house and my mother decided to take her newfound wealth down south to Hot-Lanta; where she purchased a 2400sq ft, three-story loft, balcony off the bedroom and living room with a view of the downtown skyline. And where is this piece of oasis located you ask? Another crack head infested, gun shot bucking, drug dealer having neighborhood also known as da ‘hood. At this stage of the game I expect nothing less from my mother. She would never move to the suburbs. She claims she knows how to handle a crack head better than deer.

read part II

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Are Black Women Too Lazy to Find True Love?

By today's Urban Chameleon contributor Sibil

The question could be asked of women from all races but I’ve chosen to specifically focus on a group that continues to be questioned about their potential to find true love: Black women.

The other day I caught the CNN interview with Helene Andrews, the author of Bitch is the New Black, discussing being young, Black, successful and single. I thought to myself: Oh lawd, they done brought our issues into the lime light. But then again I always complain about major media not covering the spectrum of our issues so I checked myself for complaining out of habit and tuned into the program.

Although it was an obvious plug for us to purchase Helene’s book (and why shouldn’t we) I was intrigued by this 29yr old author’s rant about life and love and what made the interview even more interesting was her mother, who was also on the show, talked about being a lesbian. Talk about some topics of discussion you don’t hear about every day through a major news source. I started thinking more about why there continues to be so much focus on Black women’s capability to find love.

At the Harvard Black Alumni BBQ in prospect park a couple of weeks ago, I got into a discussion with a group of Black women about not being able to find “a good Black man.” One woman noticed the ring on my finger and asked if I was married to which I replied, “Yes for 5 years but we’ve know each other for 11years, we met in college.”

Everyone’s interest was peaked and wanted to know how I had “locked him down.” I told them that it was actually his idea. We had gone away on a trip one New Years and when talking about our resolutions for the up coming year he said that he wanted to get married. I was cool either way, I had grown up with two parents who never traditionally tied the knot so I naturally inherited the philosophy that if he liked it, he didn’t necessarily need to put a ring on it. But later that year he sho ‘nough proposed.

The women all ooh’d and ahh’d and then one asked if he had a clone or at least a brother she could be introduced to. Another one stated that they just don’t make men like that any more, as if I had taken the last prize out of the cereal box. Hold up I had to tell them, this 11yr relationship hasn’t just been a walk in the park ladies. This is not Morris Chestnut rolling up in a chariot with a bouquet of red roses. This 11yr relationship consisted of 5 break ups in our first year, moving across the country to be together, several door slams, silent treatments, girlfriend therapy, two reads of the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus sent by my mother for relationship counseling, and to this day STILL having to work on communication. Not to mention when I first met my husband he thought fine dining met going to Red Lobster or as he calls it Red Lizzy’s. Now, I have to manage how many times my husband tries to order Osso Buco per month to keep from putting us into debt.

My husband once said to me that women have to change men. Look at what Victoria Beckham did for David. That man is now an international sex symbol as a result of his wife’s make over. I can’t even front I’ve been guilty of dissin’ a guy for wearing Karl Kani or something not from this time period. Maybe Mr. right is dressed all wrong, but so many women would never know. One of the women said she felt me but what if after putting in all that work the man still doesn’t commit. Then some other woman gets to enjoy the fruits of her labor? Now in all fairness I met my husband before things like marriage and biological clocks ticking was ever a thought. After mulling that question over, I answered: Yeah, but what if another woman put in that same work for you?

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Friday, July 2, 2010

The Haitians Love for Brazilians (when it comes to the World Cup)

by today’s Urban Chameleon contributor

The only thing us Haitians like more than Haitians are Haitians but when it comes to the World Cup, we Haitians are all about Brazilians! For example, have you not seen this youtube clip featuring a bar full of Haitians dressed in the Brazilian colors?

To think that Haitians are just passionate fanatics of the Brazilian National
soccer team would be to overlook the innate connection between Brazilians and Haitian people. Both have in common tragic histories and glorified cultures. To be "pou Bresil" (for Brazil) in Haiti is a birthright and a way of life. And so today, as the Brazilians were handed a one-way ticket back to Rio as a result of the Dutch soccer win, Haiti is in mourning. For many Haitians, the Brazilian elimination marks the second "blow" of 2010. Haitian Facebook statuses read:

“First an earthquake, now this. What have we done to deserve such misery?”

Indeed, the start of the World Cup season and the hope that Brazil would win the cup restored a sense of celebration and excitement across Haiti. Amid crumbled homes and tent cities, the misery of the past six months seemed to fade under the roar of "ole, ole, ole!" So what gives? Well, the Haitian fascination with Brazil is hard to explain. Born in the hay days of the Brazilian soccer phenomenon, Pele, I suppose, Haitians' passion for Brazil can probably best be explained simply as a case of "rooting for your own" ... Or the closest thing to it! Without a qualifying National team of their own, Haitians find comfort in rooting for players who look like them, act like them, and grew up in similar circumstances from them. And so even though Haitians don't speak Portuguese, don't dance samba, and don't eat the Brazilian national dish, Feijoada, once Brazil steps on the field, green and yellow run through Haitian veins. Of course this explanation may be too romantic for some to swallow. Fore the skeptics, another answer may go down easier. Haitians are arrogant and they like to win.

Despite today's defeat, Brazil hold 5 world cup titles. Which means that for a middle-aged Haitian, she/he has had 4years worth of bragging rights 5 times over in their lifetime. That's 20 years of getting to tell the whole world that you’re better than them and for us Haitians (who have swallowed so much), that's a dream come true!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Movie About Obama Debuts

Obama movie debuts in Indonesia

by Arlina Arshad - Wed June 30, 12:01 pm ET


JAKARTA (AFP) – A film about US President Barack Obama'schildhood days in Indonesia made its debut in Jakarta on Wednesday, promising a very different perspective on the man in the White House.

"Obama Anak Menteng" or "Obama the Menteng Kid", is set in the upscale Jakarta neighbourhood of Menteng, where Obama lived from 1967 to 1971 with his mother and Indonesian stepfather.

Co-director Damien Dematra said it showed the US president in a light that Americans might find strange.

"Viewers, especially Westerners, will see a different world. They'll seeObama eating chicken satay, not hamburgers. They'll see his neighbours and friends wearing chequered sarongs and Muslim caps," he told AFP.

Even so, producers skirted controversy surrounding the extent that Islam influenced Obama's early years in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

A scene showing Obama, who is a Christian, praying like a Muslim was dropped as it was deemed "too political", Read full article on

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