Archive for January, 2009

Dov Charney, sit your ass down.

absolute foolishness.

Dov Charney–for those of you who have been living under a rock–is the CEO of American Apparel, a California-based fashion line. Dov is no stranger to controversy. However, the quote in the above ad,  taken from an interview with  McGill University student, is inexcusable:

Women initiate most domestic violence, yet out of a thousand cases of domestic violence, maybe one is involving a man.  And this has made a victim of culture out of women.”


So what you’re telling me is, my friends, relatives, and countless other women who have experienced domestic violence did so because they somehow “deserved it?”

It’s been said that this is most likely a fake ad, but the actual quote is very real; it was taken from a  2004 interview with the American Apparel CEO.  And the quote itself is what angers me the most.  His statistic is not only untrue, but it discounts the stories of women all over the world who have been beaten, raped, and yes, killed by the men who claimed to love them.

I showed this quote to a male friend of mine. His response? “Tell Dov Charney about Nova Henry.”

From United Press International:

A woman found slain in a Chicago townhouse, identified as the mother of NBA player Eddy Curry’s son, was trying to escape an abusive boyfriend, her family says.


Nova Henry, 24, and her 9-month-old daughter Ava were found shot to death Saturday by Henry’s mother, Yolan Henry, who told Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune her daughter had just moved to the South Loop condominium to escape an ex-boyfriend against whom Nova Henry had taken out an order of protection.  Read the rest of the article here

Clearly, this is in’t the only example of a woman who tried to escape an abusive boyfriend or spouse. But if tangible examples aren’t enough, you’ve gotta use raw facts and data:

1 in 4: The number of women raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or dating partner/acquaintance at some time in their lifetime. (for men: 7.6 out of 100)

1.3 Million: The number of women physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. (for men: 835,000)

20: The percentage of nonfatal violence against women committed by an intimate partner. (for men: 3)

33: The percentage of female murder victims who were killed by an intimate. (for male murder victims: 4%)

1,247: The number of women killed by an intimate partner in 2000. (for men: 440)

There is plenty of statistics to debunk Dov’s bullshit, and if I were to lay them all out in this post, we’d be here all day. But one thing is clear: Dov Charney, aside from being a completely asshole, cares nothing about the lives of women, and what is sadder, may not even care to know.

From Womanist Musings:

Charney is using his position as a male of privilege to reinforce this destructive message.   There has been ample evidence of his hatred of women and the only question that remains is what we are going to do about it.   Obviously we cannot hope to change his mind, such misogynists  men rarely come to an understanding of the ways in which their behaviour is not only reductive but dangerous.  If he cannot be taught to respect women, he can still be brought to heel by a boycott of his stores.  What human decency he did not learn in socialization can be force fed through economic sanctions.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The best thing to do now is to boycott American Apparel. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown out of the brand nor the sleezy soft-core ad campaign. But I think we can take it one step further with a boycott and start to let our younger sisters know about this foolishness. American Apparel is, after all, a fashion line that is marketed to Generation Y and older teens as well.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, go here for information on resources, support, and other services.

H/T: Womanist Musings


Not Another Greek Post: Ohio State Black Greeks Banned

This week, Ohio State put all seven Black Fraternities and Sororities on campus due to “increased violence.”

From US News and World Report:

All seven Greek organizations catering to black students at Ohio State are on “social moratorium” imposed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council at OSU until February because of violence at a fraternity party in November, the Lantern reports.

An official from NPHC at OSU, the umbrella governing organization of the school’s four black fraternities and three sororities, said the moratorium was a result of “multiple incidents of violence within the NPHC community” in November. The Lantern points to at least one incident that followed the OSU-Michigan football game in November where firearms were allegedly involved.

Read the rest of the article here

I want to preface this post by saying that I do understand that college football games can get rowdy–and that anyone can get into a fight at said game. I understand and acknowledge this.

With that said, I cannot keep my silence about this issue as a member of a Black sorority and a former undergraduate chapter president. I am both appalled and embarassed by this turn of events. There is NEVER an excuse for violence of any kind. I don’t care if someone stepped on your shoe or looked at your man wrong. I don’t care if some AKA or  Delta or SGRho called you out your name or called you a Jiggaboo or a Wannabe.

None of this matters to me.

What matters to me is that as college students first and members of historically Black Fraternities and Sororities second (people seem to have the sequence of these identities out of order these days…), we are supposed to set a POSITIVE example on our campus, at our jobs, at our campus events, even in our homes.

And yet, when we get into fights in a club, at a football game, in the school cafeteria, that idea seems to go right out of the window.

Remember WEB DuBois? What the hell ever happened to this idea of the Talented Tenth?(1) The idea that it was a small group of Black people who will be able to “uplift the race”? When did we get away from that? We have lost sight of our founders’ vision of what Black people can really stive to be.  Regardless of our traditions, our colors, our diverse histories, we all have service and brotherhood/sisterhood at the helm of our principles. But for some reason, this generation–and previous generations–have lost sight of this fact.

There needs to be a return to the days of old as far as Black greek-lettered organizations. We need have a new commitment to service, to loving each other as sisters and brothers. And, yes, a move away from the idea that Black greeks are some how better than GDI’s(2)….this is a mentality I have observed over the past few years and it sickens me to the core.

In addition, perhaps we should move away from wanting to mold our children into miniature versions of sorority laides. Let’s do away with the “Future Zeta” “My mommy’s an AKA” “Future Delta Heartbreaker” T-shirts and apparel.

Yeah, I said it.

I know how popular it is, but to be quite honest with you, I think it’s pretty unnecessary. My hope is that the same parents who are dressing their kids in Future [insert Fraternity or Sorority] shirts are also putting money in their children’s college savings. Let the kids get into college first before we start putting these expectations on them to become members of our organizations.

And let’s teach our children about our history as a people, not just as greeks. Teach them about Ida B. and Josephine baker and Zora Neale Hurston. Teach them about Toussaint L’Overture, A. Phillip Randolph, Malcolm X, and yes, Barack Obama. Let’s teach them about how great and how beautiful and how grand and how strong our people really are and can be.

Finally, I leave you with a few lines from poet Countee Cullen:

Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

Counte Cullen, “Yet Do I Marvel”

H/T: Dana Joi

(1) i realize the talented tenth idea is problematic. i really do. but in the context of this conversation, it is relevant. i believe both a talented tenth approach and the “up from bootstraps” approach are necessary in the Black community.

(2) GDI is slang for “God Damned Individual”; someone who is not in a sorority or fraternity.

The American Dream


On this past Tuesday, I was able to witness the swearing in of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. It was awe-inspiring, it was emotional, and it was a blessing to be a part of history.

I don’t know what more I can say that hasn’t already been said. When I saw Michelle Obama walk through those doors in that beautiful gold suit, that’s when the tears started to fall. We have a Black First Lady. It had finally really sunk in.

Hearing the crowd shout Obama’s name made me realize that for the first time, I was actually seeing a group this large united for one purpose–to witness the swearing in of the first Black President.

Was it cold? YES. Was it crowded? Hell yes.

But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Not one bit.

In the days before the inauguration, I got an email from my mother, who was raised in DC and witnessed the 1968 riots as a child. “I am so proud and happy that you are  in DC at this moment that I could just cry,” she said.

It means so much to me to hear the older genderations so filled with hope and with the excitement of change. They are living to see a dream fulfilled. I think back to my Election Night experience, and talking to my Nana while she told me through her tears that she now could tell her grandchildren that they could be whoever they want to be.

Finally, I leave you with some words from Rosetta Thurman’s recent Inauguration post:

Deep inside of each of us, there is a glimmer of wanting light that wants to do something real and true. On a clear day like yesterday at the Capitol, you could see it on the faces of a million people shivering in the winter air, wearing nothing but hope on their faces.

We have been forgiven for so many years of waiting until we get our ducks in a row before we do what we want to do in our lives. We have been given permission to fly as far as we want to go. We have all been inspired to turn back the dial and become better Americans in the process.

Listen for what it is that you are called to do. And when you hear it, don’t wait. Do it now.

If I didn’t feel that way before, I certainly feel that way now. There are so many things that I’ve been wanting to do, and now more than ever I feel the strength and the passion to pursue my dreams like never before. And only time will tell, but perhaps President Obama will usher in an era of philanthropy, of kindness, of collaboration, and–yes–of love.