“It would be dumb to repeat a mistake that wasn’t successful,” says the world renowned visual artist Derval Fairweather of the Black Militant Movement of the ’70s and ’80s. “[But]we know the artists are the ones who can really turn this thing around.”
[on slowly discovering my abilities and talents]…It wasn’t until later that I realized that I could talk on and on for hours…and not get tired. Me, who had never traveled out of the United States and hadn’t had that many unique experiences, had never even had sex…but I had phone buddies who would tell me of conspiracies against the black man and in fact every american…and I would tell them about me….All about me…I didn’t understand it then…
But it doesn’t mean that I’ve decided to be broke, defeated, or an outcast.
I decide to channel my Divine Life Purpose through the creative means of writing, blogging, singing, acting, performing, modeling, and talk show hosting, vlogging, concepts, ideas, etc.
In honor of this and all the artists out there, I want to publish 30 musings over the next 30 days about what it means to me, and other amazing artists who will be submitting over the month of November.
Stay tuned for this.
My Dad once asked me if I had any homework. I said “no.” He said, “Well, create some!” So, I’m doing it.
LIKE THIS PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/helesetheartist
And you can visit me on Tumblr at helesetalks. It’ll all be posted there anyway.
It’s weird to self plug, as an artist…but as a creative who must learn to earn…
Such is life.
Yeah right! In my dreams! No, really, it was:
I was at my grandmothers house in the backyard, completely nude. My brown thick yet long and slender body was glistening in the late afternoon Georgian Sun. Somehow President Obama with his entire family, the first lady and the two girls, pulled up in a car. I don’t know how an entire street ended up in my Grandmother’s backyard, but that’s besides the point: the President saw me naked! He motioned with his head to the two girls in the car, as if to say all cool like, “What are you doing, put your clothes back on!” The girls were eating McDonald’s of all things, it was as if they were on some type of road trip. (Maybe just to see me!) Michelle looked a little confused as to what was going on, but she wasn’t outraged, just going with a flow, a study in femininity.
He got out of the car to deal with the um, situation, of me being naked. Or maybe he just wanted to stretch his legs for the pit stop, because that’s the last anyone else in the dream even mentioned anything about my me being bare. I’m not sure if anyone else in the dream ever saw me, but I was starstruck. I couldn’t believe the President was here, to see me, and let alone I was naked. This was such an epic moment! I wondered if he knew about my topfreedom movement and my quest for love and personal liberation. And full nudity is something l’ve always wanted to try in public as well; being that I was in a private setting (although I can’t really imagine doing it at my Grandmother’s house) this was a perfect place to test out how I felt in my own skin in a literal sense. I just knew I’d get an interview with him and this would make my hits online soar. I walked up the stairs to the laundry room of my Grandmother’s back porch, which is an extension of the kitchen where she also keeps her freshly baked cakes and pies, and went to tell the rest of the family like my aunt and my…Grandfather? He transitioned several years ago in July 2008… yet he was alive, shiny, dark, thriving, tall, and very REAL in my dream. I’ve dreamt of him before and he was always at peace. He actually pulled the President aside and said “Come here son, let me talk to you for a minute.” He put his arm around him and they began to walk away to exchange father and son like murmurs, and the most touching thing about it was that President Obama was totally receptive, respectful, and eager to learn from an elder Black man who was a political legend in his own right in the small town of Commerce, Georgia. (Riley Harris was a politician, preacher, veteran, father, husband, grandfather, writer, and he built my Grandma’s and his house with his own two hands. He was my hero and I supposed that’s why he shows up in my dreams ever so often, a symbol of what my “dream man” would be.)
Another strange part of the dream I was in the salon, my hair was dyed (I promised myself in my waking life that I would never do that again) and I was pressing it (also banned). While this was going on, suddenly I COMPLETELY lost my hearing. It was quite strange. I could see people’s lips moving, but I couldn’t hear anything: The whir of the blowdryers, the click clacking of the hot curlers (suspiciously similar to the sound of the overseer’s horse’s hooves on plantation hard-packed dirt roads), or the senseless gossip. Then without warning-It came back.
So there you have it: President Obama and Helese, who was naked. Go figure! If anyone interprets dreams I’d be happy to hear what you think of this one. Care to find out more about what goes on in the depths of my subconscious mind? I might continue sharing my dream life if this post gets enough comments!
My deepest fears of ridicule by the intellectual and academic world are being obliterated now that on this Friday, September 7th, 2012 I will be interviewed by Dr. Richard Cooper for his show “Karamu” (which means “feast” as in “food for thought,” click on his name for his bio), along with the former Director of the Human Sexuality Dept. at Widener University in Philadelphia, and more. Many students from the graduate program of Human Sexuality/Social work will be calling in to express their views. See the piece to be discussed, “Topfreedom: The Right to Bare Breasts” here. It promises to be TITillating!!! Details outlined below:
Date: Friday September 7, 2o12
Time: 4:00PM EST
Show: 900 AM Wurd (http://www.900amwurd.com)
How Listen/Ask a Question: Call 866-361-0900 or 215-634-8065 or go to http://www.900amwurd.com and CLICK ON PLAY BUTTON in the red banner at the top of the station’s website to stream LIVE! But you can’t join the conversation unless you call!
I trust all of you will listen in and post your comments here. Again thank you for your support on my quest to raise important questions and seek personal liberation. Join me!
Update on 9/12/12: THE SHOW WENT WELL! Unfortunately, the former Director of the Human Sexuality Dept. at Widener University in Philadelphia could not join us. Stay tuned for the recording of the show, as I will be sharing it with you as soon as it becomes available for listeners who missed it. Thanks again for the support!
Update on 5/3/2020: Going through my archives, removing the topfree photos as I feel they’ve done their work. There’s no link to that radio show now but you can listen to my very new podcast here. I can smell you following now…😊
It’s about time I addressed the problem of the education industry in this country. I’m sure you’ve never heard it described that way, education as an industry. I haven’t. I have heard that college is a business but I have never heard those two words put together. It’s about time it is addressed though. I can’t take it anymore.
The reality is that income is disproportionately distributed in this country. The better schools are often in the more affluent neighborhoods. So if you have a certain group of people getting the better schools, more scholarships, the degrees, and then you have these jobs that a person WITHOUT a particular degree could do, requiring college degrees…who will get the better jobs that pay more? And how DARE some of these jobs require degrees and pay you close to minimum wage? Isn’t this policy ensuring that people who have had to work their way up through the ranks of certain fields, gaining a lot of experience but never going back to school, isn’t this ensuring that they will be locked out of the better paying jobs, therefore ENSURING THAT INCOME WILL CONTINUE TO BE DISPROPORTIONATELY DISTRIBUTED?
First policy I want to bring up, if I had my way:
It is unlawful to require a degree for a job candidate who demonstrates experience in a field related to the job. I don’t know if this is worded right, but if two people who have the same amount of experience apply for a job and one has a degree in an unrelated field, I don’t think that a person who does not have the degree should be thrown out of the job pool just because they didn’t obtain a degree. Other factors like volunteer experience, life experience, and self-study should be taken into account.
My second gripe is: If I owe a school money, I can’t get my transcripts from that school unless I pay off my balance, so I can’t transfer to another school that has my choice of study, staff, location, or a more affordable tuition. If I can’t get a decent paying job because I didn’t finish my degree, then I won’t qualify for a personal loan because of lack of income. Student loans only go back so many years. Even education awards from programs like AmeriCorps won’t cover balances over a certain number of years.
The 2nd solution: I think it should be REQUIRED BY LAW for the school to RELEASE THE TRANSCRIPTS if a student expresses interest in attending another institution or for any reason, and the institution must work out a feasible payment plan based on various factors so that they can MOVE ON WITH THEIR LIFE. Why should I keep paying for a mistake I made when I was 16 or 17 years old? I made the decision to attend a $30,000 a year cockamamie school and my parents did all they could to pay it all. $1100/month for housing. I scoff at it now, it makes me sick, because at 16, I DIDN’T KNOW THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR. (Blame my parents and I’ll curse you to to hell.) The point is, colleges constantly engage in false advertising like most business who inflate the quality and price tag of their services. Now I’m indebted to this institution and there is NO WAY that they will release my transcripts except by me paying out of pocket. It’s ridiculous and it needs to change now. It would work out in the institution’s best interest as well because they’d be getting paid rather than getting nothing and having a lot of bad energy directed at them in the form of resentment. I’m just sayin’.
See the conversation below to see how I responded to an actual prospective employer (names have been omitted)…
On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 6:13 AM, Helese wrote:
My name is Helese, and I feel that I am a perfect candidate for your position. As a past and current resident of Brooklyn, I am deeply invested in the community. I have utilized the community resources here to create a show that educates and entertains called Helese TALKS! I have a strong relationship with YAA where I gained experience doing outreach, working with high school interns, and planning events and curriculum for children of various ages. I enjoy building relationships with parents and connecting young minds with big ideas to their world around them. Thank you for reviewing my resume.
My apologies; in my last email I failed to submit a salary requirement: from $24,000-$26,000/year.
On Aug 13, 2012 3:45 PM, he wrote:
Thank you for your application. One of the job requirements is a bachelor’s degree and it is unclear to me based on your resume if you have on or not. Could you clarify this please?
On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM, Helese wrote:
No, I do not, but my last job required one, they hired me despite not having one, and they kept me on for two years and counting. Also I just got hired by a child care facility where an associate’s degree is required, but honestly they pay close to minimum wage which is why I am still looking. I find having a degree has nothing to do with actual capabilities.
If you have any more questions please let me know.
On Aug 13, 2012 5:09 PM, he wrote:
Thank for your response and your interest in the position.
This is how I want to respond:
Does that mean you will still consider me the position, or not? If not, then I would like to use this dialogue with you as inspiration for my next piece in the Black Star News and my blog, Helese TALKS! I want to address the degree requirements for certain jobs as a form of income discrimination. College is a business and not everyone can afford to go or complete their studies. Employers often have told me that having a degree can never trump experience. It is absolute nonsense to require a degree for the position you are trying to fill, when if you didn’t think I had the experience to do the job you would not have replied. Regardless if these rules are yours or are coming from someone higher up, it must be addressed. You want someone who will work with youth and encourage them to go to college. Why not give someone like me who couldn’t finish because of financial reasons a chance to give someone what I didn’t have? Ironically, I find the people who are awake enough to know that anything that college teaches in the classroom can be learned by self-study, are the ones who benefit from college the most because they are the most resourceful and most likely to use opportunities that come as a result of being a student who can gain college credit. I am one of those resourceful people. I am using even this conversation as a resource and I’m going to use it to put my voice out there via various channels and hopefully this type of thing will become illegal after a while. Do you want to put an average person in the midst of these geniuses who don’t even know their own worth? Someone who will accept no for an answer and lay down without a fight? That is not how change in this society is made! Or, do you want to have someone who defied all the odds and knows who she is regardless of a piece of paper, has the experience and passion to enlighten youth…will you pass a gem like me up because I didn’t have the finances to finish college? And still don’t. The time will come when I will get the degree, but now is not that time. I don’t know if you can afford to wait that long though. Of course, with all due respect, it’s your call.
What do you all think? Is this a wise decision? I can’t be quiet any longer…
As I sat in the legendary Apollo Theatre, which I had just performed at in September, I knew that I was experiencing an event that was truly epic. As the beginning credits of the premiering film began to roll, the song playing in the background made my heart smile because the singer spoke true words about black women: there aren’t many songs written about our beauty.
I wanted to hear something positive. I didn’t know what I was in for. I wanted something that would make me feel warm inside. I expected the unexpected from the movie Dark Girls. But then in one swoop I was disappointed. I heard the words “enslavement” and talk of trauma passed down to us through our cells, post traumatic stress disorder and such, and I took out my pen and made a note to myself, “Got-damnit!” When are we gonna stop talking about this same bull-”
…I guess I became like a lot of white people in that way, I was just sick of hearing Black people talk about the history and presence of racism and it’s very real affects on Black people’s lives in general, and Black women’s in particular, self image. I wanted to hear something I hadn’t heard. And I didn’t wanna hear about me being oppressed. I’m living my dream right now. I’m in my bubble. Ain’t nothin’ oppressing me.
I guess it’s because when I first became “conscious” as a Black woman, meaning I studied some of the history of my people, (some hidden, some public) I really came into my own. It started when my sister gave me her copy of The Auto Biography of Malcolm X. I indulged myself in so called self-righteousness. I read Roots, I hated white people for a while, and I was a Black supremacist for a while. I think that’s what can happen when a person is well read on a certain topic. They get “over-zealous.” Instead of letting the highs and lows of life (which is a really good teacher), sound wisdom passed down through generations, and a really good book that has been banned from the library (just to spice it up for good measure) teach them some universal truths, we tend to get one-sided with the information that we obtain. So at that point in my life I was pretty unbalanced.
When I really started to be real with myself, my life began to open up in new ways.
I felt a knot in my stomach, like I was leading a double life, when I said that white people were the devil. I knew it wasn’t true. I knew it couldn’t be that simple, because if it were there’d be no need for me to continue living, because they simply cannot be escaped. And neither can my skin. One time on Facebook I posted “sometimes I wish I could forget my skin.” Not because I felt less than beautiful. It was because identifying with it too much made me feel less than spiritual. And in a way, less than connected to other humans. Less alive.
Basically, I didn’t wanna be sad for the rest of my life because I have melanin. In fact, it’s a reason to praise God.
I still remember riding in my Mom’s red station wagon pretending my skin was lighter and that I had long brown curly hair, and that my sister was light skinned too. But by the time I was in 5th grade, my sister told me I needed to get more Black friends, “dress Black” and start reading about my culture. I still love her for that, because it was important for me to interact with other children who were experiencing some of the same things that I would. It was just good to have one more thing in common with them.
Honestly, I don’t live inside a white supremacist framework anymore. That framework can only exist in your experience if it exists in your mind. I never said I was color blind. It’s not that I don’t see the difference in race in the wider context, but when dealing with individuals, I must feel their vibe first. (I’m sooo New Age in that way.)
So, I actually thought I had this whole movie Dark Girls wrapped up. But about 20 minutes into the movie, I realized I was wrong. That’s when I put my pen down and stopped writing. I realized that on this road of colorism there were some twists and turns I hadn’t yet seen, and I wanted to take my shades off and really take it all in.
What I realized about colorism, is that when you look at it through the many lenses that the movie does, you see that the rabbit hole goes as deep as one can imagine. I felt literal visceral responses to what was being said, good and bad. It would have been ideal if I could have paused the movie and had discussion upon discussion about almost every scene. Some of it made me angry, but maybe not for the reasons that one may think. Others just made me, more importantly, want to ask more questions to everyone around me, including the people in the film. The filmmakers, the characters in the film, and the person sitting behind me. This film will make you want to TALK. I have to give it to Bill and Chann (the co-directors/producers of the film), they threw me for a loop. Talking heads and oft reused b-roll can be powerful if the words spoken are from the heart. The real stories and accounts from real women who had once lived their life in skin that made them feel less than enough took me for a ride. But who knew the journey would be so rich, nuanced, so bumpy, disgusting, sad, disheartening, riveting, exciting, and beautiful? It made me feel a little guilty for not going out of my way to support more media that focuses solely on this issue…but then, I had to not beat up on myself for being where I am in my life.
There was once a time where if it wasn’t Black media, I wasn’t buying it. And I criticized and nitpicked every mainstream piece of media I saw. I thought my world was going crazy, my friends were watching Friends DVD’s and not bothered by the fact that there was only one Black woman in the whole series, when the show is set in New York City, the melting pot of the world. But now I’m just into what makes me laugh. And now that I’ve truly accepted the fact that regardless of all the scientifically proven superiority of melanin versus lack of melanin, spiritually, we all have a chance to live our dreams. Dark Girls burst my bubble. But tonight, as I close my laptop, I will go back into it, my crazy world in my head, where everyone forgets their skin, and doesn’t see a Dark Girl, they just see me.
My nickname used to be “Crazy American Girl.” It was given to me by a friend from Suriname (a small country in South American next to Guyana.) Funny thing is, I never knew I was American until I met her and she pointed it out to me. The only labels I truly identified with was “young” (still am), “Black,” and “female.” And now that’s it’s been 10 years since I moved to this city, I also proudly identify as a “New Yorker.”
Ever since I came to New York I have been constantly approached by African men. In South Carolina, where I’m originally from, there isn’t a large community of Africans. When I got here though, I discovered people from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. I liked them, they were proud of where they were from and they laughed at all of my jokes. They thought I had spunk. They came in all shapes and sizes and some of them even had businesses. (LOL, actually, I think every single African man I’ve ever met owned or wanted to own his own business. Never met one who was unemployed. But that observation is for another post.)
A lot of them introduced me to things I had never seen, heard, or eaten, and I love trying new things. Hanging out with brothers from the Motherland is very exciting to say the least! But sometimes, I feel like the odd one out. In the presence of mostly Africans, particularly at a traditional event, I recognize the differences between cultures and the tension that I feel is so thick it can be cut with a (_insert ancient African cutting tool here_).
Recently, I was invited to a traditional event, where the person who invited me graciously asked me to perform. I was honored, yet a little concerned. I’m a jazz singer. All music definitely has its roots in Africa, but the big band style of jazz that I sing sounds distinctly American and I wasn’t sure if it would be very pleasing to African taste. (You wouldn’t go to an Italian restaurant and order Bangkok Chicken.) I didn’t have time to change my repertoire before the show, plus, why should I have to? I think people enjoyed it, but what no one enjoyed was the awkward silence following the just regular silence that followed my greeting “Hey, everyone! I’m so happy to be here. And well, I’m American…”
Looking back on it, even as soon as seconds later, I know it was a bad choice of words. With me being the ONLY female who was not in traditional African attire, (I was told just to be casual) I already felt like a black sheep. Wearing all black. I felt so out of place in the cold and drafty banquet hall because I walked in beyond the time of being fashionably late (I was also told the party wouldn’t be jumping until after midnight, and those words led me to believe that no matter how different I looked I would be able to be lost in the crowd!) and there weren’t that many people to fill such a large space. I walked in during a speech. My black pumps click-clacked against a tile floor. (I learned from a previous unrelated experience to always dress a little dressier than a casual dress code.) A man escorted me to my seat and a woman in traditional attire immediately came over to me and asked me if I wanted food. I had eaten already, so I politely declined. But even the white woman sitting next to me was wearing a gele. I was nervous and uncomfortable so I started emailing myself this very post.
I thought I was coming to a paaaarrrtttayyyy! Or at least a party. But like my sister said “No liquor? That ain’t a party, that’s a meeting.” Glad I pre-gamed beforehand. But there’s no cute guys my age here, no 20-something girls at all, well, at least none wearing black stretch pants, except me. Talk about an awkward black moment. I feel like a black sheep walking in. Where’s the music? You can hear a limb drop in this place. But that’s the thing though. Let me hip you to a bit of African culture. They like to give speeches at their parties! Looong drawn out lectures. Well I guess the real question is… Can I be myself in the midst of such tradition, especially when it isn’t mine? That’s huge. But I guess we all have our insecurities. I feel way too slutty of a dancer for these people. I might embarrass myself even more if I get up. Plus I just don’t feel like dancing. It’s cold in here and my joints are locking up. But of course one of the keys to power is knowing how to fit in any situation. And also feeling secure that when you don’t want to do something, you don’t do it. I don’t wanna dance. And that is ok. I feel like a caged bird that wants to fly our of her ca-
That’s when I was brought up to the mic and I said, as if it wasn’t already so obvious, that I am American.
It didn’t go unnoticed. My African friend who invited me was like “Why do you say that you are American? You are very Pan-African in my opinion. You wear your hair natural, you’re cultured. Why all of these divisions? We are all brothers and sisters.” As if I already didn’t feel lame enough that no one laughed at my not so funny joke, this guy who’s like a big brother to me is telling me that not only did it look ridiculous, but it was actually offensive.
Anyhow I think that at the end of the day it’s not a big deal. I got to meet a few people who were interested in my singing, and even a real live queen. I enjoyed myself, because it was a new situation and it led to this post. I learned. Maybe next I’ll just be proud of all of my inappropriate clothes, and dance right out of them like no one’s looking. Or, more likely, I’ll try to blend in and not offend anyone. But you know what? I’m kind of liking this feeling of being different and standing out, no matter who I am.
P.S. I couldn’t find a video on YouTube that really spoke to what I experienced that night, so I decided to do one myself:
Maybe being the “Crazy American Girl” isn’t so bad after all.
I’m on WordPress browsing the tags to find other black 20 something (or close to it) women who blog. I wanted to see strong, controversial opinions with a sense of humor. I found it. But you’ll never guess what else I found.
I actually came across two blogs offering different perspectives on interracial dating between Black women and white men. (Don’t ask me why I capatalize “Black” and not “white.” It’s just a dirty little habit of mine.) On the one hand you have Robin Thicke seemingly discouraging white men and sistahs getting together. (His famous quote certainly caused at least a ripple in Black media, “there are only a few good white men out there for Black women.”) And then you have this: Advantages of Dating or Marrying a Black Woman.
Appreciating Black women is great, after all, I am one. But where do you draw the line between appreciation and fetish? How am to know when I’m being held up as an object of your affection or as simply an object? As a Black woman I’m wondering why the above site is specifically promoting white men and Black women. Is that question answered in the F.A.Q.’s?
Well anyway, no hostility here. I mean this is coming from a Black woman who sang (and thoroughly enjoyed) “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” at karaoke because although I acknowledge that some shit is really fucked up, I can also see how stupidly sensitive we can be about it, and have a few laughs. But yeah, answer those 2 questions please?
I’m at the General Assembly for the Transatlantic Slave Trade Memorial. It’s held at the UN, where a lot of countries from around the world come and give their two cents (or $50,000) regarding a memorial that will be built to honor victims of slavery. And it is soooo boring. I’m not quite sure how I got on this list, but I’m happy to be here and I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. I jotted down several notes in the margin of my little book,(In Their Shoes: Extraordinary Women Describe Their Amazing Careers, by Deborah Reber) since I brought no real paper. I’ve decided to tell you 30 thoughts I had about this conversation, and about my first experience at the UN in general. So, here it goes, much ado about nothing:
- I’m disappointed in the UN. The canolis cost 4 bucks. The coffee shop doesn’t take credit cards and is overall inefficient. No one speaks English or even knows the prices of anything.
- Everyone in this assembly is way too serious. And I wish they would stop say the words “transatlanctic slave trade.” Haven’t they ever heard of the law of attraction?
- There is a man here (who I later found out was a rep for Tanzania) says that he is talking on behalf of the African people. But all he keeps talking about is oppression, struggle, and injustice. I’m sorry, but that is not my reality. So, speak for yourself.
- There is illuminati symbolism everywhere. (See this link to know more, but be careful, it will change the way you see everything, forever. http://vigilantcitizen.com/)
- It looks like a lot countries decided not to show up. Of course, Jamaica is here. The Jamaican woman from the General Consulate of Jamaica who signed me in here was rude and bossy. And she was the one who was late! The nerve.
- Nippon (Japan) is in the house! Haiti is here. Iraq. Israel. Maybe I can get a full list later. (Never happened but if I find it, I’ll let you know.)
- So, when you go to the General Assembly, you can get the speeches translated in real-time. For reasons I wish not to disclose, I am trying to brush up on my Spanish. I’m listening to the Jamaican rep’s speech in Spanish. It’s way more interesting this way. LOL, the translator got stuck. “Em…em…”
- I wonder how you get this job of translating UN speeches. My very conservative friend applied for a job here and hasn’t heard anything yet, and I actually know a very left-wing radical photographer who works here. How appropriate!
- This ish is DRY. They need a comedian to come in here and fuck it all up. (My slang for “make it fun.”) Chris Rock would be great for that. Hell, even Chris Tucker. I’ll even take Wayne Brady at this point. Did the translator just say something about Beyoncé? Ok, I think it’s time for me to turn the dial back to English now.
- Now they’re talking about money. $4.5 million dollars is how much more they’re trying to raise. Relatively speaking for memorials, that’s pretty low. (It cost over $1 Billion to build the 9/11 Memorial, but that only “affected” about 3,000 people. See how ridiculous it is to put a number on that type of thing? More on that later.) I still think that all that money could be used to actually help (read: feed and educate) people.
- The website for this project is www.slaverymemorial.org. How about changing the name to the Freedom Memorial! We should be thinking about Freedom!
- So they’re going to hire a professional fundraiser for the job, and they’re taking private and public donations. But I still say this, you don’t build a legacy of slavery, you build a legacy of freedom! They want to put this memorial in a prominent location, say, the visitors entrance of the UN, so that every time someone walks through the door, we can be reminded of this travesty. Is this really such a good idea considering how many people already hate each other for no reason?
- Suriname and Cuba is in the house. Ok, I can get with what he’s saying. He described the former slaves as having a “temper and rebel spirit” which is awesome. It’s not just exclusive to them though. I think I have that same fire in me. Guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree! (Ouch! Strange Fruit reference. Others that would have worked: “the lynched man doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” “the pickaninny doesn’t run too far from the cotton field”…you got it.)
- Ok. I see the rep. for Guinea. I think he’s on his laptop tweeting this whole ordeal. Or is he on Facebook?
- Cuba’s speech was short and sweet, and full of flavor like a pressed pork sandwich. I would expect nothing less from the home place of good ol Fidel, and the political asylum of the Black Liberation Queen, Assata Shakur. Her autobiography is quite delicious. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assata_Shakur
- Old white man from Australia is speaking. Everybody is quiet. Every time a new country’s representative comes up to speak, they quote a number that they probably just Googled of how many people were affected by the slave trade. As if you can put a number on that! The funny thing is, I think each country said a different number, yet the monotony of the speakers themselves is killing me! Add me to the list.
- I don’t know, but I find the quote “remembering the dark part of our history” somewhat disturbing and offensive. Are dark people going anywhere? You don’t have to “remember” us, you have to face us, right now!
- National End to Racism Strategy=everyone one race? Something tells me they’re talking in code.
- Brazil rep is up. Oh Come on! I thought she was gonna be hot! She looks homelier than a worn out house coat. In fact, she IS a house coat! (Ok, low blow, I know, but it made me lol.)
- There are people walking up and down the aisle, passing out papers.
- I’m having a hard time staying awake.
- The rep for the US is a Black Man. Hey! I saw him in the cafe. A fellow journalist said “He should have stayed there.” He talked about reducing inequality. But this is the US, so we must be sure not to eliminate it completely. Wow! He didn’t mention Black History Month as African American History Month. Did I miss the memo that this was the politically correct title of the so very racist nod to our collective humanity’s history! (By the way, he did not seem prepared at all. He was stumbling over so many words I thought he was running for his life from the lynch mob. Or the NYPD.
- Side note: ***Do you remember what happened with Sean Bell? The NYPD shot him 50 times. Now, you decide for yourself was it a murder or an “accident?” You know my slant. But I respect your brain so I will provide the neutral Wiki article on Sean Bell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Bell_shooting_incident (the watered down shit) and then the Revolutionary Communist’s Party’s take on it: http://rwor.org/a/071/nyc-police-shooting-en.html***
- Israel is up. Now this is gonna be real interesting. “Hope without memory is like memory without hope.” Really? What does that even mean? And wait…HE’S NOT PALESTINIAN.
- I’m so surprised he didn’t mention that thing. You know that thing that happened? You know, the Holocaust? So much for memory. It seems like anytime a Jewish person gets a chance they mention the Holocaust. Yet they always downplay the impact of slavery. Must be why they’re only contributing $20,000 to this very important memorial. (Other smaller countries, like Haiti, even contributed more.)
- Luxembourg rep is looking snazzy. Black slim fit jacket, crisp white shirt, red tie. Very dapper. I love those European cut suits. Can’t wait to start traveling again. Jet Blue needs to hurry up and respond to my application!
- I just find it so funny that they keep saying “dark chapter of our history.” I mean who wrote these people’s speeches. Is this all that they could come up with?
- Now India’s rep is interesting. He looks like a plumper version of Osama Bin Laden (R.I.P.) He sounds like the guy who does customer service for HSBC. Also the guys at Milon. (Great Bangladeshi food!)
- After the speeches were over, we had the option of staying. That was when most of the press took the opportunity to leave. I got a chance to talk to a fellow journalist about what we had heard that day. She says think of it like this: 4.5 million dollars isn’t a lot relatively. Visibility of this memorial+correlating educational programs=awareness. With the world we live in, a world of ideas, a world ruled by symbols and not rules or laws, we need that. She also told me about the racism prevalent in the UN building itself. No respect. When we sat down, we were approached by the white security guard and told that only press was allowed to sit in those seats. All of our group was Black. This is apparently not a coincidence. In fact, she was accredited with the UN for 9 years, and as a sign of protest to the racism there, she canceled her accreditation. Ballsy!
- I would love to sit down and talk to her more, maybe do an episode of http://www.youtube.com/helesetalks interviewing her. That would be a great conversation. And it sure as hell wouldn’t cost $5,000,000 dollars.
Let me know what you think. This is my first article on any type of international relations issues. I hope I made you proud.