Saturday, December 26, 2009

A New Archetype: Nigerian Terrorist

In no way are terrorist activities justifiable. They are heinous, futile acts motivated by abstract concepts. But the fact that the 23 year old man who attempted to detonate some kind of bomb on a flight to Detroit is Nigerian does nothing to quell the international fears the world seems to retain in their minds when it comes to this nation. People find further reason to entrench negative ideas about Nigerians through incidents such as these. No matter how isolated and rare, there is now reason, proper reason at that to condemn them negatively.

That's a problem. In general, people are barely capable of individualising behaviours of certain types of people. They'll take what one person from that group has done and use it as a representation of the group as a whole. And it's only certain types of people. Usually the groups of which most are ignorant about.

Feministing explained this fact better than I have here. Props. Kudos.

I am certainly not trained or practiced in the business of psychology but I think that some counselling would have prevented Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab's actions. It sounds to me that he was just a young man struggling to find an identity and make peace with himself. We all go through it at some point. Who am I? Where do I go from here? etc etc General confusion that occurs when self-doubt and insecurity creep in. It helps to talk to someone about the internal crisis but he seemed to have alienated himself so much that he was far beyond any form of counsel. Being so closed up and faraway, who can help?

 "I have no one to speak too [sic],
 No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems."

With all that privilege and wealth, he still could not find some morsel of serenity within himself. Money sure can't buy you everything. Here's more proof of that. Why is it that despite his father's expressed suspicion's of the young man, why did he not take any serious measures to prevent his son from engaging in an act that would destroy his future. Why instead choose to contact authorities, report your own blood and leave him to his own vices. As if setting up a mouse-trap and standing close by to observe the subsequent and expected result. I smell a rat. This just doesn't sound like wholesome and loving parental behaviour to me. Sounds more along the lines of..."I have a problem child, he embarrasses me. I must find a way to get him out of sight and out of mind." Of course, this is just a speculation but inquiry, as we all know, is important. Never taking anything at face value. "People are not what they seem" in many cases.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009: Final Year of the Decade

Now we come to 2009. Amazing how quickly time flies. I finally earned my key to "life" as my brother informed me. Well, that's something scary right there. I've crossed over the threshold between childhood and adulthood just as the turn of the decade approaches. This is the beginning of the rest of my life and I know it's going to be a fantastic ride. I look forward!

10. Rye Rye feat. MIA - Bang
9. Lady Gaga - Poker Face
8. 50 Cent - Baby By Me
7. Adam Lambert - Mad World
6. K'Naan - T.I.A.
5. The Gossip - Heavy Cross
4. Santigold - L.E.S. Artistes
3. Blame It feat. T-Pain - Jamie Foxx
2. Many Moons - Janelle Monae

Why still no video Santigold? This song is dope to the nth power! Oh well.

2008: Pulled in Two Directions

So I enrolled at a local college after trying to think things through for a while. Constant access to a large library database is a dangerous thing to someone such as moi. Wits was a blast but I don't think I want to go back!

10. Linkin Park - Leave Out All the Rest
9. Amy Winehouse - Rehab
8. Kanye West - Love Lockdown
7. Pink - So What
6. Chris Brown - With You
5. Violet Hill - Coldplay
4. Lupe Fiasco - Dumb It Down
3. Lil' Wayne - Lollipop
2. Estelle - American Boy
1. MIA - Paper Planes

2007: What Does Life Mean?

Finishing high school left me in a state of doldrums. Questioning what it is that I want to make out of my life. Plenty of introspection was required. Although I managed to develop some morsel of good self-perception, I'm still slightly unsure. I have paths pointing in all sorts of directions. It's confusing. Guess if I rely on instinct, I'll be able to make it through and choose a path that brings me joy, serenity and some contentment. Not too much of it however.

10. MIMS - This is Why I'm Hot
9. Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson - The Way I Are
8. 50 Cent feat. Justin - Ayo Technology
7. John Legend - PDA
6. Swizz Beatz - Money in the Bank
5. Nickelback - If Everyone Cared
4. Rihanna - Umbrella
3. Lupe Fiasco - Kick Push
2. Kanye West - Stronger
1. Boyz - MIA

2006: Final Year of High School

During breaks between studying when I relieved my behind from the numbness of sitting down. Nerdy me would bump up the volume and get jamming. Here were some of the songs that got me up again, calmed me down and made me reminisce like I'm doing now.

10. MJB - Be Without You
9. P. Diddy feat. Nicole - Come 2 Me
8. Cassie - Long Way to Go
7. Rafael Saadiq - I Want You Back
6. Sean Paul - Temperature
5. Kelis - Bossy
4. Floetry - My Apology
3. Brand New Heavies - Don't Know Why
2. T.I. - Why You Wanna?
1. Busta Rhymes feat. MJB, Rah Diggah, Missy, Papoose, DMX etc - Touch It (Remix)...CLASSIC!

2005: The One Thing That Danced Me Into a Trance

I started taking a firm interest in Souther Rap so T.I. was on heavy rotation on my playlists. Don't care much for him these days. Commercialized. It happens to the best of them.

10. Girl - Destiny's Child
9. NERD - Maybe
8. Snoop feat. Pharrell - Drop It LIke It's Hot
7. Black Eyed Peas - Don't Phunk With My Heart
6. Missy Elliot - Lose Control
5. Chingy - One Call Away
4. Zap Mama - Bandy Bandy
3. Beenie Man - King of Dancehall
2. T.I. - ASAP
1. Amerie - One Thing

2004: Year of Dancehall

In came beloved family from Leeds with a pile of dancehall CD's for my mind. I learnt how all the best moves from Beenie Man and Sean da Paul videos. I was hooked on the Kingston energy. What can I say? It was a great year for dance tracks.

10. Akon - Belly Dancer
9. Chingy - Right Thurr
8. JKwon - Tipsy
7. Black Eyed Peas - Hey Mama
6. Kanye West - Jesus Walks
5. Brandy Afrodisiac
4. Beenie Man - Dude
3. Yeah! - Usher
2. Ciara - Goodies
1. Kelis - Milkshake

2003: Go, Go, Go, Shorty It's Your Birthday

Back to South Africa this year. First year at Crawford and at the mention of that all I seem to hear is 50 Cent rapping the hook to In Da Club. This song was a smash. Anyone in the world would tell you that. But there was someone else who had my young adolescent lustful gaze - Pharrell. Boy oh boy did I love me some of him. The things we think as teenagers!

10. Coldplay - Clocks
9. Hey Ya! - Outkast
8. Nas -Made You Look
7. Eminem - Lose Yourself
6. 50 Cent - In Da Club
5. Sean Paul - Get Busy
4. Jay Z - Excuse Me Miss - La La La (Remix)
3. Joe Budden - Pump it Up
2. Busta Rhymes feat. Pharrell - Light Your Ass On Fire
1. Pharrell feat. Jay Z - Frontin'

2002: Leeds

Spent the year in Leeds, England so almost every song released during that year takes me back to that. I never mind a good chill.

10. Christina Milian - AM 2 PM
9. Misteek - B With Me (Remix)
8. Pink - Get the Party Started
7. Ms Dynamite - DY-NA-MI-TEE
6. Shakira - Whenever, Wherever
5. Usher - U Don't Have 2 Call
4. Nickelback - How You Remind Me
3. More Fire Crew - Oi
2. Clipse - Grindin'
1. Sean Paul - Gimme the Light

2001: I Became I Teenager

I turned 13, what a milestone. Some of the songs that peak up in my memory for the year I finished primary school and became an adolescent. Angst ahead of me!

10. Blue Cantrell - Hit Em Up Style
9. Mandoza - Nkalakhata
8. Kelis - Young, Fresh 'N New (hey, hey, hey...get rich to dis!)
7. Mystikal - Shake Your Ass (yoou know)
6. Nelly - E.I. (underlay, underlay mami...)
5. Destiny's Child - Bootylicious
4. Busta Rhymes feat. Kelis - What It Is Right Now
3. Tank - Maybe I Deserve (aaaaaw!!)
2. Missy Elliot - Get Ur Freak On
1. Aaliyah - Resolution

2000: Kelis Screamed Her Way Into My World

Since the decade will be coming to a close very soon. In less than two weeks - can you believe how time flies? I've decided to take a trip down memory lane and recall the good times.

I was in 6th grade in 2000. Whenever I could, I would watch a free-broadcast of Channel O on SABC 1. Good 'ole days. I was really into R'n'B back then, The lyrics meant nothing to me of course. What does an eleven year old know about love and relationships but the beats got me vibing. And dance I did.

10. Mya - Case of the Ex
9. Nas feat. Ginuwine - You Owe Me
8. DMX - Ruff Ryders Anthem
7. Jay Z feat. Pharrell - I Just Wanna Luv Ya
6. Destiny's Child - Say My Name
5. Jill Scott - Gettin' in the Way
4. Redman and Methodman - Da Rockweilder
3. Missy Eliot - She's a B****
2. Kelis - Caught Out There
1. 702 - Where My Girls At?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Penile Complicity

Tiger Woods is not someone I know personally. But there's something about him that's always made me nonchalant toward him. Yes, yes good for him for making history with his green blazer PGA victories and all of that. Who am I to judge but the guy always came across as somewhat arrogant. And it's shown. Sex, lies and no videotape...yet. Why this is such a massive story is beyond me. But it's been interesting to note the amount of support he's been receiving from other MEN namely sportsmen. It's kind of sickening and smacks of what we all know as male privilege. Here we have a high profile, very wealthy male athlete who has cheated on his wife with several women. You have people like Dennis Rodman, Donald Trump and Charles Barkley sending him messages like "hang in there". It's as if he is some kind of victim in the midst of a media firestorm that has been brought upon him without any of his doing. I don't get it. Instead of pointing out his obvious disrespect and audacity to commit such trifles, they're showing him love. These types of men have normalized infidelity so much in their minds that when they are caught in the act and punished for it (as Gillete has done with Tiger), their self-perception is that of unwarranted persecution instead of worthy justice.

So, in the minds of privileged men, cheating is right. These people feel entitled to use their money to lure women into relationships in order to feed their empty, insatiable shells. When obstacles come in the way of achieving this end, they transform into the hapless victim.

I don't think I need to point out the apparent double standard. If this was a woman, not only would she be immediately labelled negatively. She would also not experience the same kind of support that Tiger's contemporaries are offering him.

Growing Up Girl, Being Black

When I read essays such as this one, I am reminded of how important it is to view the world through an objective and critical lens. Critique is necessary to avoid internalising fallacies and driving myself into a ditch. Objectivity is required to avoid getting angry.

Yet it makes tons of sense when spoken in light of perplexing encounters that leave you wondering whether or not some people are capable of seeing a fellow human being when looking toward you. Archetypes just annoy the hell out of me. Literally. When the machinations of this collectively racist and sexist consciousness reaches my understanding. My fires cool. Guess I just stop taking it to heart.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Take On Twilight: New Moon

Simply for the sake of finding out what all the mayhem was about, went to see "New Moon" two weeks ago and them again today. Simply to accompany some friends still in the dark about it and to...yes, I wanted to see Taylor Lautner's buff and beautiful physique. No shame. Not at all. I have not read any of the books. After what I've seen so far, I don't think it'll be worth the time.
Plenty of discouraging remarks from Ms Peterson and the league of extraordinary commenters

It's enough to keep me away from the third one. But I'm so adamant to see how Chris Weitz or whoever is directing "Eclipse" transposes Meyer's third book in the series.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Wait Your Turn, Chris!"

Laughing at some of the tweets I read with reference to Rihanna's new video. Not Russian Roulette which is so flat, the Namib Desert is jealous (drum strikes for the bad joke). It's this song called Wait Your Turn. How baffling this young lady's behaviour is becoming. I have expressed my concern for her. Has she found emotional healing from the abuse. Think about the transition she's made from her "Music of the Sun" sugary to the point of wackness sweetness to this dark, dreary, gloom and doom character that's "Rated R". Pointing guns at the camera and grabbing her crotch. Even Grace Jones didn't instigate this much violence. She was eccentric yes, hypersexual yes but I can't remember her making threats to harm with her body language. I'm mobile so can't post the video. You know what to do YouTube addicts.

Why I Don't Believe in Vengeance

Lately, I've been delving into some literature about the subject of verbal abuse. I've learned so much. Ironically enough, Womanist Musings happened to have a post closely related to this topic:

In the past I've made the same mistake of attempting to transfer the pain of things said to me and of me, prejudiced, cruel treatment from others. I was young and naive. Instead of putting the insults into context, I often allowed myself to hurt over them. It took a toll in the long run and I eventually started lashing out - impersonating those that caused me pain.

That's what Eminem is doing. I often felt compassion for him especially after hearing "Cleaning Out My Closet" in 2002. I can see the source of his pain but he, as a 35 year old man, must be mature and realise that the past no longer has an influence unless one chooses to give it one. But instead of using his adversity as a way of knowing others' struggles and becoming empathetic and kind, he does the opposite by turning into the father that left him, the mother that neglected him and all those that hurt him very deeply.

It's difficult especially if one's wounds are deep to march forward and heal. I've learned that for the sake of one's wellbeing, if anything else, love and forgiveness are the key.

Full Blown and It Could Have Been Avoided

After watching a documentary entitled "The Age of AIDS", I'm left quite depressed but also flabbergasted at the failure of South African goverment since 1994 to tackle the issue of the epidemic.
Nelson Mandela did very little to address it during his presidency owed to the fact that little was still known of the virus at the time. It was still much of a myth that many believed only affected those overseas. Namely white male homosexuals in the USA. Not the migrant mine workers, prostitutes in "mine brothels" and wives and girlfriends of these men. It is believed that this is where the virus boomed.
So while goverment paid more attention to uniting the nation after the end of the apartheid era, this was mainly ignored. With the new administration still under ANC rule, Thabo Mbeki only sought to worsten an already deepening problem by denying that HIV causes AIDS and by stating that the "toxic" aspect of anti retro viral drugs should limit them from being given to patients. The result of this was a boom in mother to child infections. Imagine. All the kids born in that period whose mothers were unfortunate enough to have contracted HIV could have been spared the chance of living with the virus themselves. But the president chose to ignore the crisis at hand. Sad.
Well now for the results...South Africa has the highest infection rate in the world. And the president we have now seems to think that all you have to do to make the virus go away is take a shower! And that it is absolutely fine to have more than one marriage partner (ONLY if you're a MAN) I've heard him sing "Mshini Wami" (translation: bring my machine gun) more times than I've heard him talk about the importance of safe sex. On top of that, there is a violence and crime epidemic. I (very sarcastically) wonder why??

Well it's plain to see now isn't it. The tragedy of this nation lies for the most part in the inability of a post-apartheid government. Only concerned with power.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No "Proper" Actor in South Africa?

Black Snob I'm going to bite you: O RLY?? Luvvie darling I'm also going to bite you: iRefuse to accept that the reason big budget motion pictures don't use African-born actors is because there aren't any. No, there are plenty. But the fact that they're a bunch of nobody's reduces their suitability for playing lead protagonists for such high-scale movie projects.

This was just one of the illogical comments published at the on the message board for the movie Invictus. Where there were complaints about Morgan Freeman's lousy accent. Which from what I've seen in the trailer really is off to say the least. And yes, we all know he is the crème de la crème of the veteran Hollywood fold but even Denzel (no surname needed, that's how larger than life he is) faltered with his role as Steve Biko in Cry Freedom. With that high-pitched fantastical "imitation" of a South African accent. What was meant to be a stern biopic of an extremely important figure in the South African freedom struggle turned into somewhat of a comedic interpretation of this man's life (something I'd imagine Dave Chapelle performing in one of his 15 minute skits). It leaves many thinking, "Why not just use African actors?"

Alot of it probably has to do with African American actors being recognisable and therefore better able to draw the public's attention. That's an obvious one. But why can't they just follow Don Cheadle and Forrest Whitaker's examples and take the time to really study the accents and dialects, master them and carry them out properly in their portrayals. It's more than just vying for an Oscar, just the mere fact of acknowledging the intricacy and uniqueness of each manner of speech on the continent that differ from location to location will be a huge leap for Hollywood. If using unknowns is too risky at least whip those American tongues into shape with proper language training from the locals themselves. Don't forget to pay them properly for their tutoring services.

As for Jennifer Hudson playing Winnie Mandela in director, Darrel Roodt's upcoming project. I'm not too sure what to expect but I believe in her acting abilities. Let's be honest, the movie's earnings may not be that great if they chose to cast a locally-known South African actress in place of J.Hudson. She did win an Oscar and people always stand up and listen when Oscar winners happen to appear.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"We Make Sure The Black Don't Make You Look Hard"

In a L'oréal commercial for their new range of dark toned hair colour, I well, heard something that made me raise a brow. Several times in fact. In between Penelope Cruz's constant reiteration of the word "Glossy", yes I feel the script could have been better on her part but this is L'oréal and they do like exoticizing WOC when they feel compelled to use them, at the same time avoiding too much blackness in their advertising. Remember what they did to Beyonce anyone?
Now in this one, they imply that dark hair somehow takes away from a woman's facial softness. "L'oréal Dark Glossy takes care not to harden the features." Huh? I didn't know that having dark hair makes you look "hard". Now imagine having dark skin to top it. I think I can really understand now this dark and bright skin dichotomy links up with assumptions on how a person supposedly is.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Big Brother Africa: Yardstick for Africa's Progression Away from Tradition

As Big Brother draws to a long-awaited close tonight, I seek to take a moment of reflection. Of the incorrect grammar and spelling on the 24/7 channel's strap (text message board) and the interactive part of the website, I am hardly surprised. Just take a sample of YouTube comments, most of which it takes some time to decipher into standard English and you will understand. It was interesting to see comments made about each individual housemate. The public's opinions about specific behaviours and events. How most of these were similar throughout the continent and what they say of Africa's general approach to certain aspects. I shall discuss gender and class here since all housemates except one were Black.

It was clear from the beginning that all the women were, as is always done, judged according to looks. The darkskinned, skinny haute couture model types were taken out first after week 1 when the show was still streamlined according to gender. They were not labelled as one of the "hot girls" in the house and were eliminated despite Maggie's spunky personality. Well. The game continued with viewers using the same standard of comparison for the remaining women. Fast forward to the latter weeks where fewer housemates are present in the house. Scrutiny is placed on the unladylike behaviour of Mzamo from Malawi and Nkenna from Nigeria. The former is chronic drinker, chain smoker, punk-inspired and unabashed about her libidinous boy-chasing ways. While I would say "Mo power to you" in response. The majority of Africa criticised her for not representing a "true African woman". Especiall after her window punching stint which took place after Itai from Zim found it necessary to exclaim that Mzamo does not take pride in her appearance or act like a woman should. This is a clear representation of what I've come to know of traditional African beliefs. They are centred in chauvinism. Because Mzamo displayed behaviour unbecoming of a "woman", she was insulted constantly. Well what then is an African woman? A docile, submissive little dove that cooks, cleans, does not seek to have a career of her own outside the demands of housewivery, never speaks above a whisper and takes abuse from men withouts question.

So it's the virgin-whore dichotomy defining standards of female behaviour. Not suprising. But the amount of contempt shown for Nkenna introduces another form of disdain. For those that occupy of lower status of class in society. For the entire duration of the show, she was referred to as the "village girl". So that left only one female housemate to appreciate, Emma. The closest thing, the public had for an ideal African woman. Pretty (in their opinion), always taking care to look good, "sweet" and involved in a nonsexual relationship with one guy. See how predictable. We dislike the women who don't care and just do themselves. We choose to like the one who takes pride in her looks, is vain and perhaps cares too much what others think to the point of fakeness - which she did display later on. It's a common practice in the assessment of women. Be vain or get out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ayeye: Bafana's In Trouble

It's not like they were never in trouble to begin with. Just the way they are - WEAK - is enough to tell you how vulnerable they are. So is the fact that since the Fifa group standings draw for 2010's cup tournament, South Africa has been matched up against giants. Bigg, uggly giants like Mehico who will, will thrash your unpracticing-properly-despite having-a-Brazillian coach behinds. First match by the way. On top of that, group a comprises the French and a powerful south american force known as Uruguay. Ha! Serving you correct host nation. Beat your wildest reveries!

Charlize Theron, your red evening get up with the tiny black belt was underwhelming. David Beckham, you sexy, sexy...just take me now honey, we don't have time to standing there with an edgy haircut, grey suit and piercing stare looking like you might want to uh do a little something uh later, nah mean? You can never in wrong in my books. The rest of you, you're're alright with me. Especially you Mr Living Long Distance Running Legend Haile Sellasie. Keep on inspiring us to be better people. David, you inspire me to do other things. Boy, stop!

I Love Gabby Sidibe!

Last night I was privileged to catch the beautiful Ms Sidibe on David Letterman. She looked lovely and it's true, her personality is bubbly, lively and most importantly genuine. Mind you, the person I was sitting with at the time said something very insulting the moment Gabby showed up on the screen.


I just filtered out that piece of rubbish comment and continued to enjoy my favourite actress at the moment talk about herself. Look, I heart her. She's beautiful to me and I couldn't care less what all you with your minds brainwashed by stupid Hollywood beauty standards have to say about that.

She's dark skinned and plus size. To use these factors to rule out a person's attractiveness is being insular and at the core, quite pathetic. You haven't decided things for yourself, you've been dictated to. Try some intellectal autonomy oh ye faithful groupthinkers.

As for the individual who made the above comment. Dissing is her forte even at inopportune moments. But it still reflects a very loathsome attitude that society adopts with regards to larger people. I've always believed that if one is happy, truly happy and secure with themselves then there is no justification under the sun to villify.

I want to see more of Gabby and women like her occupy major roles on the big screen. I know its wishful thinking. But hey. If Gabby is doing it, surely there is hope. Isn't there?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS day...oh my!

How easily you forget commemorative days during the holiday season. Thank you all bloggers that made sure to remind those of us forgetful about this essential day.
In my land, this problem is rampant. It doesn't seem to be alleviating either. It's an issue that clearly strikes far deeper than we imagine. Perhaps more should be done to address the aspect of moral values than anything else.