Posts tagged ‘DC’

V V Brown is a Bad Broad

This week I had an opportunity to see V V Brown in concert with Little Dragon here at Liv Niteclub in DC. Her music was just a breath of fresh air. I think she did almost every genre of music in her performance, from rockabilly to hip hop. Yes, I said rockabilly.

Anyways, just check out her acoustic cover of Kid Cudi’s Day N Nite:


A Millennial Briefing with no Millennials

Well, that’s effective.

or not.

Last week the Pew Research Center held a briefing on their newest study on Millennials. I had first learned about this briefing via Twitter, so I started to watch the streaming video online. I was disappointed yet not surprised to find out that not only were most of the presenters old white guys, but according to a few colleagues of mine, they weren’t in attendance either:

As it turns out however, fellow Millennial Decker Ngongang was one of the few in attendance. He let us know via Twitter that the briefing was not only invite-only (ha!) but also that virtually all the presenters were old enough to be our dads as were the attendees.

So how is it that old white guys are suited to comment on how they think we “kids” live our lives? (Paul Taylor kept referring to Millennials as “kids” when many of us are actually grown adults, as Rosetta Thurman so eloquently pointed out.) By not inviting Gen Y folks to come to your event or even to present the study, Pew is sending the message that they have no problem probing and theorizing about us but DO have a problem with us being present when they present the data, which I have an issue with.

Now of course there were some exceptions to the rule. In fact, someone did tell me that there was one 27 year old in attendance, and my friend Decker was there. But to them I said the following:

Pew’s first mistake was making the event invite-only (which is rare of them apparently). Their second mistake was doing a whole briefing about Millennials and only inviting a few of the “important” ones rather than reaching out to, say, Gen Y bloggers like myself and others and perhaps some folks from their networks who fit in that age group. Thirdly, making all the presenters old white males didn’t help either.

The findings themselves were pretty interesting as well and seemed to tell the story of the privileged Millennial, which of course is an entirely different post.

Black, Successful, and (not so) Unhappy

It’s taken me a long time to talk about the now-infamous Helena Andrews profile on Black Girl Blogging, because it made me so upset. Not because I think there is truth to how lonely, sad, and unlovable black women are, but because I know that there isn’t much truth to it to begin with.

What really sticks out to me are the lack of narratives about Black women who are happy for reasons other than finding and keeping a man. The “single, sad, lonely Black woman” meme assumes that without a man we can’t be happy and can’t even begin our search for happiness.

My black girl blogger-in-crime Rosetta Thurman has started a “happiness project” of her own called The Diary of a Happy Black Woman. A few nights ago on Twitter, she talked about why she has decided to embark on this new project.

I hadn’t thought about this angle of the story until I saw it mentioned in the above tweet. What really has annoyed me about the whole damn dialog about the poor, single Black women is that it not only paints all Black women as unlovable, but it also assumes that until we find a man we can’t be happy or fulfilled. It even pre-supposes that Black women should be perpetually unhappy.

Yes, there are Black women out there who are sad and who are lonely…and perhaps who are also angry. But those feelings often have very little to do with their marital status (or lack thereof). Many of us  can find ourselves feeling that way even after we’ve found the supposedly elusive relationship with a successful Black man. I should know: I was one of them for quite some time before ending my last immediate long-term relationship (another story entirely).

It’s true that I have since then started a new relationship with a new partner, but I spent the better part of 2009 getting back in tune with the things that make me happy outside of being with someone who liked me and cared about me and took me out on dates and stuff.

In 2009, I lost 42 pounds after getting back in touch with physical activities I love (yoga, dance, walking/jogging), and doing something else I loved too–cooking delicious, healthy meals. I explored new angles and avenues to the media career I have chosen for myself and began to carve my own niche. I traveled to different cities and went to some great conferences. I kept in touch with old friends and made new ones. And I did all of that despite not having  a boo by my side to witness me doing all of this. I did the “brave” thing and started last year without a relationship, having broken up with my then-boyfriend around this time last year. And I regret not one damn second of it.

My soror and friend Cheri had a great response to the profile on Helena Andrews, with whom she happened to have attended Columbia once upon a time:

She said “I’m a successful black woman” several times, listed off the things that validated the statement, and then says she isn’t happy. I know many women who describe themselves this way, and they too end up in that same place at the end of the sentence. “I’m a successful black woman, why can’t I find love or happiness?”

It might be worth while to go back to the beginning of the sentence and see where we made a wrong turn.

What is success? I’ve heard it described a number of ways: having a degree (or two), a house, a car, a job, the right clothes, and/or invites to the right parties. Some women define it as beginning married or having a child. But in many cases, all of this “success” is not accompanied with happiness.

If what you want is happiness, then are you really successful without it?

Someone along the way told us the work is done once you get the tools. We want a cake – so we get the eggs, sugar, and the flour…. but we leave them on the counter and go get ready for the club. We go out, drink, dance, have a good time, and wonder why we don’t have a cake with cute rose petal frosting details when we get back. We want the results but have not done the work.

In this first week of 2010, I’ve had the chance to think about what new things I want to do at Black Girl Blogging this year and in years to come. If there’s one thing Helena Andrews’s new book Bitch is the New Black and the accompanying profile in the Washington Post showed me, it was the need for more Black women telling their stories and having their stories told their way. Stay tuned and join me as I feature and highlight Black women (and a few men) who have made their lives and their work about a pursuit–or several pursuits–of happiness.

From Tambra Stevenson of Creative Cause. If you are a woman and you’re in the DC Area please check out this important event. The Roundtable is free and open to the public.
As the author Alice Walker noted in her 2007 book release, we are the ones we have been waiting for.
And the classic acapella group, Sweet Honey on the Rock, sings, “we are the ones we have been waiting for?’

So with all the noted research social and health inequalities impacting our sisters–those with degrees and not—what are we waiting for?

Does it have to be your sister, niece, or daughter for you to realize that you are the one we have been waiting for!

Must we die being superwomen – from stress-related disorders causing the mental health, chronic diseases, etc.
What are you waiting for?

Does it have to take another Megan Williams of W. Va., Benita Jacks of Washington, DC, the girl who is so depressed

she eats her anger away, the 10-month black female infant who was raped in DC, or the Howard student who was raped?
Health and healing begins with us…if we don’t speak up, it’s like all of us giving up.

In this month’s Heart and Soul magazine, a black woman shares her story with bipolar.

In the PBS documentary stories of highly educated professional black women with families still

suffer from higher levels of stress impacting their babies’ outcomes. Do you think there is a coincidence?

What do you think needs to happen?

This is not just an American issue, this is a global issue. Women of African descent suffer the worst health care and receive the lowest to no wages compared to anyone else. The information is on the web, just Google!

Like politics, change starts local and with ourselves.

With a Gen Y population of 76 million mostly women, we have an unbelievable opportunity to

galvanize from the grassroots to the grasstops. We can create change from our computers to
the streets and to the suites.

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Join us and bring a friend to make history and set the personal

and political agenda on young black women’s health! This event is part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Black Women’s Health Imperative which is holding the National Black Women’s Health Conference. Learn more at www.blackwomenshealth.org.

Setting the Agenda: Young Black Women’s Health Roundtable
with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, KIMsense.com, and

DC Young Women’s Leadership Committee

Thursday, June 19, 2008
6:00 – 8:00 PM

Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Road, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Metro: Woodley Park (red line)

For directions use: www.maps.google.com (car) or www.wmata.com (metro)

Open to the public. Free. Get a special gift. RSVP via email or Facebook.

Questions? Email tambra@creativecause.org.

Want to be a host committee? Email me your name, age, hometown and what is your health story.

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No Voice. No Policy. No Power. No Progress. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

women i love part whatever

Last night at DC’s Zanzibar on the Waterfront, I got to see this lovely lady from London in concert:

For those who don’t know, Estelle is the first artist on John Legend’s new label, Home School Records. In fact, he performed with Estelle on a few songs last night (OMG!)

She has so much energy live—and her background singers were really doin it! I’m sure video from last night’s performance will surface on YouTube pretty soon, so when it does I’ll be sure to post it up.

Check out the video for “1980”….

Estelle’s MySpace

Thanks to my fellow black blogger Rosetta Thurman for being my plus one for the evening 🙂

The Next Wave Action Summit–this weekend

For those in the DC Area who want to become change agents in their community…this event is for you. Visit the website to register and to see the summit agenda. Big shout out Tambra Stevenson founder of Creative Cause and everyone involved in her newest venture.

From Selma to Washington, DC: King’s Call to

Reduce Poverty, Promote Human Rights Lives On

DC Summit set for April 4-6th provides resources and networking to build skills to lead change

WASHINGTON, DC— Today marks the anniversary of the historical Selma to Montgomery march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and is the catalyst to civil rights movement in this country, which gave way to the passage Voting Rights Act of 1965 in our nation’s capitol by President Lyndon Johnson.

“With today as the start of Spring, Selma should remind us to ‘spring into action’ and be the next wave of change in our communities. We are suffering economically, socially, culturally and spiritually,” said Tambra Stevenson, chair of the Next Wave Leadership Committee.

On March 21, 1965 over 3,200 marchers joined Dr. King in Montgomery, Alabama to demand their voting rights. They walked 12 miles everyday for 5 days through chilling weather and rain on Route 80. By the time they reached the capitol on March 25, they were 25,000 marchers strong.

With great hope, the marchers brought attention to the violations of their rights by marching to Montgomery. Upon their arrival, Dr. King delivered his “How Long, Not Long” speech along side the state capital building.

Like the marchers, the Next Wave Leadership Committee hopes you will be the next wave of change at the inaugural Next Wave Action Summit from April 4-6, 2008. Hosted by Creative Cause the Summit commemorates the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassination in partnership with George Washington University Multicultural Student Services Center and Howard University School of Business Center for Professional Development.

“We need compassionate leaders who address their own healing from in order to become true champions for human rights in America through social entrepreneurship and political leadership,” stated Stevenson.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson acknowledged, “What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too.” This is an excerpt from Harry E. Johnson, Sr.’s email from the MLK Foundation.

To register and learn more about the Summit please visit www.bethenextwave.com. Limited scholarships are available to waive the Summit fee for attendees who write a poem or essay of what “Next Wave” means to them and submit via email to change@bethenextwave.com.

Creative Cause is Washington, DC-based social enterprise dedicated to using creativity to raise awareness and action on social causes and encourage the next generation of leaders to harness their creativity to address social issues in their community. We accomplish this by hosting educational, outreach and community service events throughout the year.

Tonight in DC: let your SOL glow.

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

sol_flyer.jpg

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.