Wacky Wednesday: Oscar Snubs

Black Twitter exploded with joy when the film 12 Years a Slave won three Academy Awards on Sunday night. Nominated in nine categories, it won in three–Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Motion Picture of the Year.fruitvalestation

Often, however, our favorite movies go unnoticed. This year, for example, Fruitvale Station, received no nominations at all. Based on the life of Oscar Grant, who was killed by Bay Area police in 2009, the film stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer.

My favorite movie of all time, The Color Purple, was ColorPurplenoticed. Adapted from the Alice Walker novel of the same name, it was nominated for eleven Academy Awards in 1986 but won nothing. For me, this was the ultimate snub. Directed by Stephen Spielberg, this movie had so many great artists associated with it–Whoopi Goldberg (Best Actress), Oprah Winfrey (Best Supporting Actress), Margaret Avery (Best Supporting Actress), Menno Meyjes (Screenplay), and Quincy Jones, et. al. (Best Music, Original Score). How could it not win?

Well, I could go on all day, but I’d like to know what you think. What films/actors/actors deserved Academy Awards but got snubbed instead?

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Wacky Wednesday: Most Memorable Birthday

What Was Your Most Memorable Birthday?

Image courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigital Photos.net.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigital Photos.net.

Both my mother and Da Hype 1 have birthdays in February–last week, in fact. So, of course, I’ve been thinking a lot about birthdays and presents. I’ve had a lot of great birthdays, but my most memorable birthday was my 13th.

My birthday is at the end of August, so that was usually right before school started or during the first week of school. For my 13th birthday, I had a birthday party with all my friends and some of my classmates in the backyard. I also invited a boy–I’ll call him “Chris”–that I secretly had a crush on. I’m pretty sure he never knew that though; I was always pretty shy around boys.

My mother ran into Chris’ mother in the store one day, and she asked what I’d like for my birthday. My mother, for reasons I still can’t comprehend, proceeded to tell her what I “needed.” What I needed, she said, was underwear. Yes, my mother thought it was appropriate for a 13-year-old boy to give a 13-year-old girl the gift of panties. By the way, neither Chris nor I was present at this meeting of the minds.

Fast forward to my birthday. I’m sitting at the picnic table opening gifts from my friends. When I got to Chris’ gift, I tore off the wrapping paper and opened the box to find variety 3-packs of girls’ cotton briefs. I was absolutely mortified! My face felt hot. I was blushing. I slammed that box top down as fast as I could, trying to keep the other boys and girls from seeing what was inside. I was never able to look Chris in the eye again.

In retrospect, this is all quite hilarious, but the 13-year-old me certainly didn’t think so. Recently, I asked my mother why she told a complete stranger to buy me underwear for my birthday. She answered, “Because that was what you needed.” Incredulously, she still doesn’t understand why it was such a bad idea. After that debacle, my mother was prohibited from throwing me any more parties. I haven’t had one since.

OK, 2 Dope Readers, I’ve revealed my childhood trauma. We’d love to hear about your memorable birthdays too. Non-traumatizing, happy memories are welcome!

5 Things I Hate About Air Travel

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigital Photos.net.

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigital Photos.net.

What  the heck happened to air travel? Do you remember when it was something enjoyable? I do. When I was a little girl, I was required to dress up in my “nice” clothes whenever we took a flight. The flight attendants gave me plastic pins shaped like wings.  The trips seemed. . . well, “special.” Even in the not so distant (prior to 9-11) past, I enjoyed the convenience of quickly getting to where I needed to go. Now the trips are irritating and long.  Although I will probably have to fly again soon, my recent trip to Baton Rouge via Atlanta has me convinced that flying is no way for human beings to travel. I won’t give you the blow-by-blow of my recent trip, but I do have a list of the five things I hate most about flying.

5. The traveler who has it all together. Ok, perhaps “hate” is too strong of a word; maybe it’s envy. But, seriously, as I struggle wearing the most comfortable clothes I can find (that don’t make me look like a vagabond), I marvel at those women who are always so wonderfully put together at the airport. I see them walking through the airports looking beautiful with their perfect coifs—curly, neo-soul afros or silky long locs, stylish outfits, designer rolling suitcases, and three-inch heels. How do they do it? Meanwhile, I look harried wearing jeans and a baseball cap. Whether I check my bags or drag them myself, I never have things quite “together.” (I will concede that part of this is because I am a “bag lady.” I can’t hurry up ‘cause I’ve got too much stuff.)

4. Cramped seats on the plane. Can these seats get any smaller? We’re packed in there like sardines! I have a bit of a phobia about strange people touching me, but there is no way to get around it. And wouldn’t you know it, I wound up with the flu after this trip. I’ve had the flu shot, so I blame it on all those “close encounters” with my fellow travelers. I’m thinking of wearing a surgical mask next time because I don’t have time to be sick. So, if you see me, don’t laugh.

3. The overpriced food in the airport. I hate the expensive food that lacks taste and poor service that goes along with it. ‘Nuff said.

2. TSA Checks. This was almost my number one, but then I had to demote it after my return trip. I suppose everybody hates these checks—putting all your liquid toiletries in a quart-sized Ziploc bag; stripping off your outerwear, hat, shoes, belt, and jewelry; passing through a scanner; and, finally, frantically getting re-dressed on the other side as the next passenger’s belongings come sliding out of the x-ray machine. It feels like going to prison instead of preparing to take a trip, but we have gotten used to these invasions of privacy that are supposed to keep us safe.

Dangerous Hair

Security risk twists

Apparently, my hair, which was twisted in anticipation of a twist-out the next day, was a security risk. The TSA officer told me that my hair had set off the machine and asked if I would allow her to pat my hair down (as if I could say “no” and still get on the airplane). So, she put her hands all up in and through my hair. I wish I had asked her what was it about my hair that was suspicious.

1. Delays, Delays, Delays. I had four different flight cancellations. My problem with cancellations is that they often seem random. There was no snow in ATL when I arrived. In fact, it was over 40 degrees outside, but my flight to Iowa had been canceled. The weather wasn’t bad, so what gives? There was no explanation, and I just felt helpless and hopeless.

I know that some people were delayed much longer, but it took me an extra day plus 13 hours to get home. I had never been quite so happy to touch down in the Hawkeye State. I also had to fly into a different airport, two hours away from home and the airport where my car was parked. I must have looked quite frazzled because a flight attendant rubbed my arm and said, “Good luck with whatever you’re going through,” as I exited the plane. Strange, I thought, but I had no time for chit-chat. My ride was waiting for me, and I had to get the heck outta there.

Even though this was an unpleasant experience for me, there were some lovely Delta Airlines employees who did their best to get me on alternate flights when mine were canceled. Shout out to telephone representatives Lola and Elaine and the young woman at the service desk in Atlanta, whose name I didn’t get. I’m sure they don’t pay y’all enough.

The Worst Moments of 2013

Da Hype 1

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

There were a number of really rough moments for me in 2013, but the absolute worst moment has to be the announcement of the Trayvon Martin verdict. (See 2DS posts on “Keep Calm” and “From Don Imus to George Zimmerman”) It was really difficult for me to grapple with the reality that George Zimmerman had not been convicted of murdering this young boy, who was guilty of “walking while black.” It felt as if a heap of new injustices had fallen on black people. I felt suffocated and was depressed. It didn’t help that the verdict was followed by a number of deaths of young black women and men who were shot and killed while knocking on white people’s doors, seeking help (e.g. Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell).

The Martin verdict was announced while I was celebrating 100 years of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Angie Stone, India Irie, and Patti Labelle each took the stage, and all three felt compelled to recognize his life. As news of the verdict spread throughout the crowd, the crowd shuttered in utter surprise. We were hurt.

That night, I was delighted to see my favorite singers, ecstatic to celebrate with my sorority sisters, but in pain for the Martin family in particular, and for black people in general. So, I cried in the middle of a concert.

Da Realist 1

The Trayvon Martin case–the lead-up to the trial, the trial itself, and the reaction to it–was difficult for me as well. I wrote about it at least three times last year. No matter how many times I hear awful stories like his–and it happens far too often–I am always deeply affected by how much black life is devalued.

Da Realist1, Jesse, and me in front of W.E.B. DuBois statue on Fisk University's campus

Da Hype 1, Jesse, and Da Realist 1 in front of the W.E.B. DuBois statue at Fisk University

However, my worst moment was when I found out that Jesse, one of my best friends, had died. Both Da Hype 1 and I wrote about our friendship with Jesse last year. (See 2DS posts I Had Such a Friend, For Jesse, & Foto Friday: Someone You Love).

On May 20, 2013, Da Hype 1 called me crying and screaming  unintelligibly. I had to get her to calm down so that I could understand her. She was so upset because she had just received a message that Jesse had passed away. For some reason I thought she had misunderstood the message. Jesse was in the hospital awaiting a liver transplant. He’d had a surgery (for some other issue), but he was not dead. He was getting better, stronger, right? I don’t remember whether she read me her message or if I looked on my phone and saw the same message, but I felt like someone had knocked the air out of me. After that, we continued to talk. I attempted to console Hype the best I could. She was in her car, and she still had to drive home.

Somehow we managed to pull ourselves together. Hype drove home safely, and I just sat on the couch staring into space for a long time thinking about my friend. I will never forget Hype’s heart-piercing scream that day. It broke my heart.

Wacky Wednesday: The Best Moments of 2013

Da Hype 1

Black Twitter at its best

Black Twitter at its best

Do you remember Paula Deen from 2013? Do you remember the controversy surrounding one of her employees who sued her, and as a result, a number of accusations emerged, claiming that she and her brother used racist language often at work? Well, that was not my favorite moment in 2013, but the #paulasbestdishes hashtag on Twitter that followed did. Black Twitter came alive and brought to the media’s attention the story that was otherwise falling off the radar.

This hashtag showed so many how powerful Black Twitter is, and it has been a platform for a resurgence of black feminist politics as well. My best moments in social media in 2013, all involve Black Twitter.

Da Realist 1

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigital Photos.net.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigital Photos.net.

To be honest, 2013 was not a great year for me. So, good riddance! I was glad to see it go. Life wasn’t working out the way I planned it. The job market has been tough. I lost one of my best friends. I felt isolated because I live far away from my sister-friends.

Then, one day I was talking to Da Hype 1 on the phone (as I do pretty much every day), and we came up with the idea of starting this blog. I don’t remember who suggested it  (probably Hype), but I knew it was time to try something different. Blogging was something that I’d thought about before. In fact, my husband had encouraged me to blog, but I had absolutely no idea how to start.

Well, Da Hype 1 and I put our heads together, and 2 Dope Sistahs was born. Although it has sometimes been hectic, some of my best moments of 2013 have been related to working on this blog.

Wacky Wednesday: 2014 New Year’s Resolution

Image courtesy of Simon Snowden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Simon Snowden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Da Hype 1

Each year, I sit down and write a list of things that I resolve to do better than I did the year before. For some reason, I expect to awaken on January 1–the day after partaking in alcoholic beverages and celebrating the outgoing year–and some how be a brand new “me.” I used to believe that simply because I wrote a list of well-meaning life changes on some scrap sheet of paper (that will probably be lost by January 3) , that miraculously on January 1, I’ll have the will-power to do what I did not have the will-power to do all of the year before.

This year, after considering how much of an #EpicFail every other New Year’s list of resolutions have been, I decided that New Year’s resolutions are for suckers! Instead, I decided to look for more ways to do the things that I like to do, and do them more often. As a writer, I will then write about those experiences, hoping that my writing will evoke more good feelings, which will be the impetus to do them more often.

For example, I like to scrapbook. Scrapbooking is creative work, and whenever I’m being creative it always makes me feel good. It also encourages me to do other creative things, like write. Rather than “resolve” to scrapbook once a week (I refuse to use language like “resolve” anymore), I will just pick a day at random and scrapbook. The reason why I plan to follow-up by writing about the experience is because I want to make an effort to slow down and consider how the experience makes me feel. I’m betting that really acknowledging the experience (and all of the good feelings it evokes) will inspire me to do it more often.

That’s all I have for resolutions; I’m over them!

Da Realist 1

Well, this is a switch. I am usually the more pessimistic one, but Hype seems like she has that covered. I guess it does seem arbitrary that on January 1 we can just press the reset button and start over, but I’m all for it. I want to put all the bad things behind me, and embrace the wonderful possibilities of the coming year. So, bring on the black-eyed-peas and collard greens. I’m hoping that 2014 will be a lucky year.

This year I want to continue to try new things. This is something I started in 2013. Not a big deal, you say? Well, maybe not for some people, but this requires a stretch for me. I don’t like change that much. The introvert in me would often rather stay at home and read a book than try some new activity. One of my favorite quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt is: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I can’t commit to every day, but I think monthly is an attainable goal.

So, what about our 2 Dope followers out there? Have you given up resolutions? Are they for suckers? Or, do you have a resolution for the new year?

Wacky Wednesday: If You Were Stranded on a Desert Island, What 5 Items Would You Like to Have?

Da Realist 1

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I am going to assume that I would be able to find water to drink and food to eat on this island. My five items fall into three categories–survival, rescue, and entertainment. I want to be able to survive long enough to be rescued, and I’ll need something to entertain myself while I wait for the Coast Guard (who would of course be looking for me).

  1. A blanket (you know to keep warm)
  2. A knife (in case I need to fight off a wild animal or spear some fish)
  3. A tent (to protect myself from the elements)
  4. A solar-powered laptop loaded with my favorite songs and e-books (because I need something to do while I wait for help to arrive)
  5. The “Professor” from Gilligan’s Island (because he would hopefully bring five more items and know how to use my #4 to signal for help)

Da Hype 1

  1. I need to be lucky enough to be on an island with an abandoned home that someone from a distant past once lived. I hate being cold and I would prefer to not be prey to another animal.
  2. A never ending supply of notebook paper and pencils. I’m sure that this will be the place where I write the great American novel.
  3. A cell phone – you never know, this island could be off the coast of FL and all I have to do is place a call or text and I’m home.
  4. A gun and a never ending supply of bullets.
  5. Allergy medicine. I’m always sneezing and wheezing around trees.

Wacky Wednesday: Top 5 Christmas Songs

Da Hype 1

Jackson 5 Christmas albumIt is not Christmas until I play my favorite songs. As a kid, we would all decorate the Christmas Tree to the Jackson 5 Christmas album. We would pretend to be all of the Jacksons and even say the lines to the skits at the beginning of each song. For me Christmas has to have a soundtrack and my soundtrack is as follows:

5. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”

4. James Brown “Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto”

3. The Jackson 5’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

2. The Temptions’ “Silent Night”

1. Donnie Hathaway’s “This Christmas”

Da Realist 1

The first part of my soundtrack sounds like church on Christmas morning. I’m sitting in whitexmasthe front row next to my great-grandmother and the choir is performing wonderful renditions of all the standards–“Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” etc. The second part of my soundtrack consists of the songs I hear on the radio during December. So, I’ve narrowed my list to five. I think readers might find it. . . eclectic.

5. “Santa Baby,” Eartha Kitt

4. “O Come All Ye Faithful,” Luther Vandross

3. “Let It Snow,” Boyz II Men

2. “Do You Hear What I Hear,” Whitney Houston

1. “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby (Also my favorite Christmas movie)

Now you know what we like. What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Wacky Wednesday: What Do You Like Most about Winter?

Da Realist 1

Christmas wreath on my front door

Christmas wreath on my front door

What do I like most about winter? Oh, that’s easy-peasy. Christmas decorations–the tree (I prefer real), lights, ornaments, wreaths, poinsettias, personalized stockings, tablecloths, napkins, salt-and-pepper shakers, kitchen towels. I have it all! (No Christmas sweaters, though. I decorate my house, not myself.)

Like so many things that I treasure, decorating for Christmas makes me think of my family. I was the official tree-trimmer for my great-grandmother. She had a small artificial tree in her living room closet, and she always let me decorate it, probably because she didn’t want to be bothered with it. But it made me feel important that she saved that job for me. At my house, my mother and I always trimmed the tree together. We had special ornaments, some of them I made at school in the 5th grade.

Many people have commented on the joy I seem to get out of decorating for Christmas. Last week my husband noticed that I was quite jolly when I got out the box with all of our Christmas goodies. “You loooove Christmas,” he observed. I had a friend in college who referred to me as “The Christmas Elf”–a not so veiled reference to my height, I’m sure–because of all the Christmas-themed paraphernalia I had in my apartment.

Da Hype 1

apple ciderWhat I like most about Winter is everything warm. It’s the contrast of coming in from the cold outside, to getting into my warm bed that I love. A hearty thanks to Da Realist 1 for the electric blanket she bought for me. Anyway, I love the idea of drinking hot caramel apple cider, Earl Grey lattes, and other hot drinks. I long for the moments in which I sneak a half hour or more and sip my favorite drink, turn on the fire place, and read my favorite book in my favorite chair. That is my Great Winter Escape!

Like Da Realist 1, I also like the Christmas season. What I really enjoy about Christmas is listening to Christmas songs.  I won’t tell you my favorite Christmas song; come back to next week’s Wacky Wednesday for that!!

Wacky Wednesday: What I’m Thankful For

Da Hype 1

I  am extremely thankful for laughter! I cannot begin to identify the number of people in my life who make me laugh. I talk to my mother several times a week (though not enough for her) and at every opportunity that presents itself, we quote a line of the The Color Purple and fall out laughing at our clever selves. I have countless friends like the Da Realist 1, who I speak to on a regular basis, and who I laugh with frequently. Nothing is funnier than watching Da Realist 1 give someone the side eye when she could have sworn she was wearing her poker face. For the record: Da Realist 1 has no poker face. Last, no one makes me laugh more heartily than my 6 year old, Nina. Sometimes, we laugh so hard at each other that tears run down both of our faces. She is the silliest kid I know.

In recent years, I have faced some moments of loss, and in those moments, I learned to be thankful for laughter.

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Da Realist 1

First, I have to say, “Get outta my head, Hype 1!” I was going to write about being thankful for a sense of humor, especially during difficult times. You know, sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying. But I will press on. Fortunately, there are many things for which I am thankful.

I am thankful that my husband and I are together, living in the same city. Because of school and having jobs in separate cities, sometimes we weren’t able to live together. It’s hard being a single when you’re used to being a couple. We always found a way to be together during the holidays, and I was grateful for that. But our time together was always too short. So, this Thanksgiving I will be thinking about how thankful I am to be with my husband–who prefers not to be used as material in this blog–every day. Sorry, Zachary! I blame it on Da Hype 1. She stole my answer. 😉