Posts from the ‘Musings’ Category

Mad Men Monday

I’m going to try something different for this season of Mad Men and do a post about the most recent episode on the following Monday. I’ll try to do as few spoilers as possibe, but I can’t promise you that my posts will be completely spoiler free.

I’m hoping the rest of the Mad Men heads who read my blog will chime in on the comment section! Don’t be shy.

From  Basket of Kisses:

Mark called Peggy old-fashioned. He thinks she’s a virgin. She’s not. Peggy hasn’t just had one bad affair gone very, very wrong, but she’s had dirty sex with an older man in broad daylight. It stung her to be called old-fashioned. The lie she’s telling him stung her, maybe some sadness for the old-fashioned girl she used to be, and maybe anger at Mark for needing her to be something she just ain’t.

I know many people will be talking about the return of Glenn or about Don sleeping with his secretary, but I want to focus on Peggy for a minute. We see her lie to Mark and tell him that she’s a virgin, which if you’ve been watching since season 1 we know couldn’t be farther from the truth. By now, we’ve seen Peggy have an affair with a married coworker (Pete), have raunchy sex with Duck, and have what could only be described as a booty call with one other guy. So why would she lie about being a virgin to Mark, and why would Mark so willingly believe it?

I think it comes down to the sexual double standard that many women faced back then, and still do today. I think Peggy told Mark that she was a virgin not only to further hide the fact that she had another man’s baby, but also to perpetuate the virgin/whore expectations that were thrown at women in the 1960s. In some ways, I suspect Mark expected Peggy to be a virgin, even though it isn’t expected that Mark himself is a virgin.

Furthermore, I too was thrown when Mark called Peggy old-fashioned–it just let us know that he doesn’t have a clue about who he’s dating. It seems to me that he should have known just by her occupation alone that Peggy was more than just another girl next door, but somehow he seems to want to fit her into a mold that she simply isn’t willing or able to fit at this point.

And Betty.

It’s so interesting to see how far we’ve come in terms of our attitudes toward Betty. I went from sympathizing with and cheering for her in Season 1 to hating her in Season 2. Now that she’s with Harry she seems to resent Sally even more, which makes me in turn dislike her even more–and I’m pretty sure that’s what Matt Weiner was hoping would happen. I’m not convinced that Henry and Betty will last, and I’m not sure I want to be convinced that Betty and Don are really over as we see Don further unravel without her.

And to think this is only Episode 2.



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Tyler Perry, step away from the camera.

Last week we found out that Tyler Perry revealed the cast for his film adaptation of for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf by Ntozake Shange.

Read ’em and weep:

Black Voices has learned that writer/director/producer Tyler Perry has selected the cast for next film, ”For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

At last night’s premiere for his latest film, ‘‘Why Did I Get Married Too?,’ the black box-office maverick revealed that the cast will include Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Jurnee Smollett, Kimberly Elise, Kerry WashingtonLoretta Devine and Macy Gray.

Based on Ntozake Shange‘s award-winning 1975 play, the film is scheduled to shoot in June in New York with a possible winter 2010/ 2011 release date.

I’m not even going to go in on the cast for this film nor about Tyler Perry films themselves because I know there are plenty of conversations going on about that. I know that we are all looking at Janet Jackson getting top billing and wondering why she’s there in the first place. I know we’re wondering when Macy Gray became an actress or why one “aight” performance in Precious makes Mariah Carey a capable of playing, say the Lady in Red. And lastly, I know many of us are questioning of Tyler Perry knows what he’s doing with a Shange play in the first place, or if he knew about for colored girls… before Oprah mentioned it that one time at Sunday Brunch.

for colored girls… has a special place in my heart. When I was 17, I had the amazing honor and privilege of spending a whole day with Ntozake Shange in Taos, New Mexico during the Taos Poetry Circus. While there, I participated in her small group poetry workshop where I shared some of my work. I spoke with her in depth about for colored girls… and her inspiration for it.

So when I heard the news that Tyler Perry was directing for colored girls, I was disappointed.  Nzingha Stewart, a black woman director, was originally slated to direct the film adaptation of the play, but all of a sudden I started to see Tyler Perry’s name all over it.

Hmmm. There’s something totally wrong with this picture, and it has nothing to do with Janet Jackson getting top billing.

I’m certainly not convinced that Tyler Perry is the best black filmmaker out there regardless of what his box office sales are. But my biggest problem is he is seemingly unable to give up the reins of power, step away from the camera and allow for other Black screenwriters and directors to have their shine.  What would have been wrong with Nzingha Stewart directing the film and even selecting her the cast by herself while Tyler Perry funded and promoted the project? Nothing, unless he wants to convey the message that he is uncomfortable sharing   the wealth and  the limelight with other (young and/or female) talent.

Precious was not a perfect movie, but if it didn’t show us anything else, it showed that Tyler Perry has the potential to fund the projects of other Black filmmakers and help make them a success. Part of being a leader in any industry is helping other young people rise to the top as well. The Black experience is not a monolith; some of us like myself never grew up with a character like Madea. Because of this, it’s important that we have a large variety of filmmakers who can speak to the myriad of ways a Black person can experience and live in society. Perhaps a successful, wealthy director like Tyler Perry is in a position to support other directors in their projects, but what bothers me more than his so-so movies are his unwillingness to step from behind the camera and let someone else take a crack at it.

Where I’ve Been (Or, Why I took a Hiatus)

When I’m down, I just draw some roses/on a pretty piece of paper/…halfway through I feel so much better/I imagine happiness/and it runs right to me, such amazing beauty–Georgia Ann Muldrow, “Roses”

Things have been noticeably quiet around here, so I thought I’d tell you about what’s been going on and what I’ll be up to next.

About 3 weeks ago today, I became a casualty of this recession: I was laid off from my job. During those first few days, I felt so many different emotions at different times. First I was sad (I cried for the better part of the afternoon on day 1), then I was angry (why me?!), and then scared sh*tless (how will I pay my rent?).  I had to take an extended time away from updating my blog to go through all of these emotions, and to take some time to reflect and map out my next moves. But as time went on and as the biggest snowstorm in DC’s history blew through my hood, I started to feel, despite it all, happy.

That isn’t to say that this time has been easy or that it isn’t stressful. Being unemployed is always difficult no matter what the circumstances were that lead you to it. I know Im not immune to the challenges that lie ahead, nor the present. But more than anything else, I’ve made the conscious decision to take this time of “(f)unemployment” to learn more about what it is I really want my career to look like, and how I want to pursue my own happiness from here on out.

Lately, I’ve been listening to the song “Roses” by Georgia Anne Muldrow:

The song challenged me to meditate on what was really important in my life, the things and people I had to feel grateful for, and the ways that God has continued to bless me. Everytime I feel frustrated or when sadness starts to creep up again, I try to think more about my strengths and less about my weaknesses. I focus on the few things that made me smile, the people who made me laugh throughout the day.

Soon after I discovered “Roses”  for the first time on Blip.fm, I came across an article about the artist who wrote and performed the song, from an issue of LA Weekly published just last year. She was discussing her philosophies on life, her new baby boy, and her music. One part of the article discussed the remix of “Roses” featuring rapper Mos Def, and how that moment caused a type of paradigm shift for her:

“It was an inspiring thing because the week that [Mos Def asked to remix her song ‘Roses’ for his new album], I stopped calling myself broke and started to follow certain spiritual laws one must observe in order to call oneself successful,” she says. “You can’t cancel out all the resources from the divine realm, which are trying to help you. I’m very inspired by what energies can be brought in through cleansing the bad habits and negative energies toward myself. Or directed toward what I think about myself. And that’s the most inspiring thing, because that’s what ‘Roses’ is about: finding happiness from within.”

Keeping the faith and staying positive during challenging times isn’t easy but I think I’m doing a little better than I thought I would. Every day I have to remind myself that I’m alive, that I’m capable, that I’m healthy, and that I have friends and family who love me.

My 26th birthday is in exactly a week. As I approach the second half of my 20s I find myself considering what I want 30 to look like. I sometimes wonder if I would have started my own company by then or if I’ll be married with children. Then I realize that there’s no exact way to predict where you’ll be 30, nor is it a magical age where everything will necessarily fall into place. The only thing I know for certain is taht I know and believe in my heart that I’ll be happy.

For now, I’m reminding myself just as Georgia Anne Muldrow sings in “Roses” that happiness and fulfillment–in my career, in my friendships, in love–is a journey. Every day I am striving to act on my knowledge that not only does my happiness start with me, but also that a little bit of faith really does and will go a long way.