On December 1st, the sports world was in shock as reports came in that Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, died in a murder-suicide, killing himself at the Chiefs training facility after murdering the mother of his three-month-old child in their home. Most people tried to figure out what would make a good kid like Belcher, who appeared to “have it all,” end his life in this way. But I found myself asking, “But what about the girlfriend? Does she even have a name?”
Her name was Kasandra Perkins. The 22-year-old mother had given birth in September and now she was dead. Gone. Keep reading »
Years ago, I had a conversation with a group of my close male friends and the age old question came up: Can men and women really be just friends? My boy Otto said, “No way! Guys always want to sleep with their female friends.” My friend Steve interjected, “Of course! I have a platonic female friends and I love them to death.” But then my friend Yorell said, “Yes, men can have platonic female friends, but only with women that are unattractive. If she’s pretty, there is no way you can be just her friend. That doesn’t mean it’s not a genuine friendship, but if you get the opportunity to smash, you will. Unless … she’s ugly.” Keep reading »
I was recently contacted through my website by a pregnant black woman who inquired about hiring me to perform standup at her baby shower. She and her husband were diehard comedy fans, and thought it would be fun to have a comic perform for their guests.
“How did you find me?” I asked. “I Googled ‘Fat Black Female Comics’ and you were one of the women that popped up!” she answered. “Everyone knows that fat black women are the funniest comics alive!”
After I hung up the phone, I sat there for a moment trying to figure out if I should be offended or not. While I understand that she was trying to be complimentary, I’m not sure if I am flattered by someone thinking that I am automatically funny just because I am plus-sized and black. Then I thought about the $1,500 she offered to pay me to stand in the middle of her living room and crack jokes for 30 minutes, and I instantly felt better. Throughout my career, I’ve been paid much less to do far worse. There was plenty of time for me to be offended later, but for now it was time to get paid!
Comedy is hard work, no matter what you look like. The perception that fat black women have an edge up, purely because of the size of their bodies, diminishes the amount of hard work, discipline and creativity that it takes for us to create this art form known as comedy. Furthermore, I think it’s crazy that someone would assume that all fat black women are funny.
On the other hand, I get it. Keep reading »
When the big news was announced last week that Zoe Saldana would be playing singer Nina Simone in a biopic, black cyberspace (yes, there is a “black Twitter” and a “black Facebook”) let out a collective “Oh, hell to the naw”!
For some it was because they did not believe that Zoe had enough acting talent to pull it off. Nina Simone was an extremely complex woman in real life, and the actress assigned to do this would be embarking upon the role of a lifetime. For others, the statements ranged from “Can Zoe even sing?” to “Wait, I thought she said she was a Latina?” to “Zoe is too skinny to play Nina Simone anyway!”
As the debate continued, it became clear to me that the issues surrounding the casting of Zoe ran much deeper than her acting ability. It was “skin deep.” Once again we were seeing an example of how Hollywood just doesn’t understand black women. To mainstream America, Black is “one color fits all.” But to African-American women, the color of our skin is much more than a random hue. In many ways, it uniquely shapes who we are and how we are treated in the world. For us, body image and self-esteem does not only involve loving your womanly body for the shape of it, but also embracing your complexion, hair texture and other features in a culture that constantly reminds you that thin white women are the standard of beauty. Keep reading »
Chadvelyn, LosOcho and OchoSado: those were the three hybrid names that I came up with for my favorite reality TV couple, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Evelyn Lozada. But after only six weeks of marriage, the beautiful sounds of wedded bliss and the hoopla surrounding their much anticipated reality show have been silenced by the head-butt that was heard around the world.
By now, everyone knows about the drama surrounding Chadvelyn. The Internet has been all aflutter with updates. She-said this, he-said that and we-said “WTF?” He loses his job, she files for divorce, and we all sit back to make judgments and assumptions about everything. Keep reading »
I have never watched HBO’s new show “Girls.” Not because I don’t want to — I’m actually excited to see a new female-centered TV show that allows actresses to play rich and diverse characters. But unfortunately, the current role I play in real life, that of a struggling comic/actress, does not afford me the opportunity to indulge in the many simple pleasures of life such as HBO. Although I have not seen the show, I have seen and heard much of the praise and criticism the show has garnered — especially around the all-white cast. Keep reading »