Archive for March, 2008

Tonight in DC: let your SOL glow.

and i’m not talking about the eddie murphy movie…

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Tonight at 7pm. solly’s tavern. u st, nw.

we’re honoring men who love empowered women…and women who have made contributions to Washington, DC.

Mae Best, Executive Director of the East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, will be recognized for her tremendous work in DC’s Ward 7.
Lots of love going out to Tambra Stevenson of Creative Cause, who is also the founder of next week’s Next Wave Action Summit….more on that a little later.

Sorry I’ve been gone folks…this week has been crucial…but I’ll be back tomorrow with more updates and more women I love.

Women I love part 2-Donna Edwards

donnaedwards.jpgI met Donna Edwards not too long ago at a DNC Women’s History Month reception. She was just the way I thought she’d be: humble, smart, and beautiful.

I was so proud when she defeated Al Wynn in this year’s primary for congress. Maryland’s 4th District has been in need of some new blood for quite some time now, and I think Donna Edwards is just what they need.

And did I mention she will be the first Black woman to represent Maryland in Congress?

I am so inspired by her community activism—a quality more politicians should have. She has truly stood up for women–she was the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and is now the executive director of the Arca Foundation, an organization focusing on increasing social justice and equity through policy.

From her victory rally:

Hats off to you, Ms. Edwards.

March is Women’s History Month: Women I Love-Part 1

This series of posts will do exactly what the title says: highlight a few women who I think are just fabulous.

 noisettes.jpgnoisettes.jpgnoisettes.jpgShingai Shoniwa-lead singer of Noisettes

I was introduced to Noisettes by a friend of mine in Chicago. I had heard a few of their tracks on Last.fm, but I hadn’t really paid attention to them. When I heard their album, What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?, They quickly became one of my favorite new groups. Once on a random Wikipedia search, I came across an entry about beautiful Shingai Shoniwa, the lead singer and a black girl who truly rocks.

Born in the U.K. by way of Zimbabwe,  was a burlesque dancer and studied circus skills as a highschooler before making it big. But it was music that helped Shingai survive. On living in the South London equivalent of the projects and music as an escapism:

“Wanting to escape from reality can inspire the greatest and most trivial creative natures in people..I think escapism is something that connects all of us. Everybody has their own little soundtrack, and I guess I’m trying to make my own soundtrack to my escape plan. I want people to realize that there’s so much more.”

What I love about Shingai Shoniwa is not only her incredible voice, or her ‘rocker babe’ sex appeal. I think her devotion to issues like HIV/AIDS and Darfur is so inspiring. I wish more artists would hold themelves accountable to issues like this, especially Black women artists.

I also would be remiss to say how proud I am to have another Black female making rock music and to make it to the mainstream. I can’t wait to see what Shingai does next, especially with the success of Noisettes.

And if you haven’t heard of them, here’s a track….the video for “Don’t Give Up”:

…And a live performance of my favorite song on the album, IWE:

teenage girls and STI’s

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, and I also know that the following story is a few days old. However, because this blog also covers issues effecting women and girls, i couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak on it.

So late last week we found out that apparently 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STI. Like most stories of its kind, these statistics hit home for me, mostly because I have a 16-year-old sister.

But there are a few issues I wanted to address about this study.

Firstly, because HIV and Syphillis were not included in the study, then how is this study complete? In addition, only 838 girls participated in the study, which is a pretty small sample when you think about it. My concern was that the results were skewed and that the media hype is instilling another strain of fear in our communities.

Secondly, this is not to say that these statistics are untrue or that they shouldn’t raise concerns about girls’ reproductive health. But I wonder what we are to make of these stats if they aren’t the most in-depth findings. How much of this is meant to strike paranoia in our minds, and how much of it is to be used to create solutions?

And speaking of solutions, perhaps a combination of things need to happen in order to keep our girls (and our boys) safe from STI’s:

1.-More accurate sex education and resources other than the HPV Vaccine. I’m very glad that we have an HPV Vaccine but with the high cost of health insurance and the lack of access to quality care it’s not real option for many women and girls. Perhaps we need better sex education in schools–one that will stress the importance of reproductive health AND maturity. Some people have asked if I think abstinence should still be a part of this discussion, and I say unequivocally YES–teenagers need to know that it’s okay, it’s natural, and it can even been cool to hold off on sex. I’m not just saying this because I was born and raised in the church. I’m saying this because I honestly believe it’s true. Abstinence only education, of course, is completely different because it assumes that teenagers will never have sex before they are married under any circumstances…and I just can’t agree to something like that.

2.More discussions with our girls at home–beyond the “don’t get pregnant” speech. One would be surprised to find out how many parents don’t talk to their kids about sex. This discussion needs to be had, and often. My parents were great about the sex talk because while they taught me about abstinence and to wait til I was married, they made sure I was educated about STI’s and even about some forms of birth control.

And I thank them for that.

3.-A dialogue about sexual maturity. It’s true–our girls are growing up fast, even faster than those in our quarter-life did. We have to constantly encourage girls to enjoy their girlhood and their adolescence, so know that it’s okay to NOT wear midriffs or a whole face of makeup. Nothing wrong with just wearing lip gloss til your’e 16. The question becomes, how do we open this dialogue when the media is constantly telling girls and women to show some skin in order to be attractive? Of course that opens up another can of worms.

I could go on, but it’s clear to me that teenage girls won’t be as safe from STI’s as they can be until our society changes and until adults realize how much social responsibility they have to make sure that girls are protecting themselves, and until our government understands the importance of affordable and accessible quality healthcare.

For those of us who also have younger sisters like me: Spend time with your sister. I don’t meant to scare her about men on the DL or tell her to never get pregnant or to wait til she’s married. I’m talking about real, honest talk. Of course, your 12 year old sister may not be ready to open up about such a personal talk, but perhaps all we need to do is call her and let her know that when she’s ready to talk we’ll be there to listen.

We need to be devoted to accountability for the sexual health and maturity of our girls. Let’s start today.

Things of Note: Target, The Wire Finale, Brooklyn Bodega

a few items for the evening:

  • So about this new 14th Street Target: I guess it’s kinda cool.  I mean, the proximity is great, i can get to it easier than the PG Plaza location, but I don’t know if i can get used to all the traffic in there. Frankly, I don’t know if this location is structured to handle a lot of foot/cart/toddler traffic…the aisles are super narrow, and you don’t have the open space that other locations seem to have. But here’s what reall grinds my gears:

What is it with people just letting their kids run all over the store?

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no, really what is that?

not only is it dangerous, seeing as people don’t seem to know how to maneuver a cart around, but it just seems highly illogical for a parent to see that their kid is either going to a.-knock over a shelf display or b.-get knocked over by said shelf display.

It’s probably one of those things I’m supposed to understand when I have kids of my own as my mother would say….but I’m gonna go with my instincts and say that perhaps it isn’t. Common sense should tell you that a four year old has no business “rippin’ and runnin'” through a crowded department store.

Maybe I’m just being uptight….or not.

Okay, rant over.

  • This may be a possible Wire spoiler, but I watched the final episode last night and I have to say that the ending had me in tears. I felt lots of different emotions these last two episodes…happy for some characters and very sad for others, even a little nostalgic. I did want to hear Clay Davis’ catch phrase one more time   I’m going to follow Brooklyn Bodega’s lead and not give too many details. Instead, I leave you with commentary from the Baltimore Sun about the best show on television.
  • Now playing on Brooklyn Bodega: My boy Kwame Boadi  has a new analysis of the March 4th primary election showdown and what’s to come as the race that never ends rolls on. He tackles some of the hard questions–including whether or not it’s time for Obama to start swingin’ a little when it comes to negative campaigning. Speaking of which:

 Sen. Barack Obama Monday flatly rejected suggestions he would be a vice presidential running mate for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, and her husband, former President Clinton, have suggested a joint Clinton-Obama ticket — with Obama in the second slot. (from CNN Politics)

Obama came out with guns blazin’, reminding all of us that he’s not here to play second fiddle. From the transcript:

I want everybody to be absolutely clear — I’m not running for vice president, I’m running for president of the United States of America.

I’m running for president of the United States of America. I’m running to be commander-in-chief. And the reason I’m running to be commander-in-chief is because I believe that the most important thing when you answer that phone call at 3 in the morning is: What kind of judgment you have? 

It’s too early to tell how this will effect Obama’s campaign, but my guess is that Obama supporters are ready to see him fight back a little–and yes, there is a difference between being the “angry Black man” and standing up for yourself and what you believe in. Hopefully folks are smart enough to know the difference…

Check out Talking Points Memo for the play-by-play and the video.

Today is Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Coinciding with Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has released a proclamation of this day, which falls during Women’s History Month. As a DC resident and a womanist who cares very much about girls’ reproductive health and maturity, I am thrilled to see our Mayor support this very important day in the lives of women and youth everywhere. The proclamation is below:

 Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 10, 2008

A Proclamation by the Mayor of the District of Columbia

WHEREAS, March 10 of each year has been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health as Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day; and

WHEREAS, the goal of Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to encourage all of us to educate and empower ourselves, our families and our loved ones about HIV prevention; and

WHEREAS, the D.C. Department of Health reported that women make up one-third of all newly reported HIV cases from 2001-2006; and

WHEREAS, the 2008 Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day serves as a reminder to provide support, respect and instill dignity to women and girls living with HIV/AIDS.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, THE MAYOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, do hereby proclaim, March 10, 2008, as, ‘WOMEN AND GIRLS HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY’ in Washington, DC, and call upon all the residents of this great city to take part in activities and observances designed to increase awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS.

Adrian M. Fenty

Mayor, District of Columbia

 For more information on HIV/AIDS resources click here.

song of the week

So I picked two songs of the week because they are both by Nina Simone and I couldn’t choose which one I liked best…and since it’s my blog, I figured I could get away with it.

First up, Nina Simone’s cover of Ne me quitte pas (“Don’t Leave Me” for those of y’all who didnt’ take French):

Second, “I want a little sugar in my bowl”:

this song is beautiful and sexy.