June 16, 2013 (Big week…)
June 16, 2013 (Big week…)
So, I’m not so rigid about #Veiling anymore #APictureSaysAThousandWords
Be THIS guy…
The troubling viral trend of the “hilarious” Black poor person
May 7, 2013
Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue three Cleveland women presumed dead after going missing a decade ago, has become an instant Internet meme. It’s hardly surprising—the interviews he gave yesterday provide plenty of fodder for a viral video, including memorable soundbites (“I was eatin’ my McDonald’s”) and lots of enthusiastic gestures. But as Miles Klee and Connor Simpson have noted, Ramsey’s heroism is quickly being overshadowed by the public’s desire to laugh at and autotune his story, and that’s a shame. Ramsey has become the latest in a fairly recent trend of “hilarious” black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a “colorful” style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.
Before Ramsey, there was Antoine Dodson, who saved his younger sister from an intruder, only to wind up famous for his flamboyant recounting of the story to a reporter. Since Dodson’s rise to fame, there have been others: Sweet Brown, a woman who barely escaped her apartment complex during a fire last year, and Michelle Clarke, who couldn’t fathom the hailstorm that rained down in her hometown of Houston, and in turn became “the next Sweet Brown.”
Granted, the buzzworthy tactic of reporters interviewing the most loquacious witnesses to a crime or other event is nothing new, and YouTube has countless examples of people of all ethnicities saying ridiculous things. One woman, for instance, saw fit to casually mention her breasts while discussing a local accident, while another man described a car crash with theatrical flair. Earlier this year, a “hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” named Kai matched Dodson’s fame with his astonishing account of rescuing a woman from a racist attacker. But none of those people have been subjected to quite the same level of derisive memeification as Brown, Clark, and now, perhaps, Ramsey—the inescapable echoes of “Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife!” and “Kabooyaw,” the tens of millions of YouTube hits and cameos in other viral videos, even commercials.
It’s difficult to watch these videos and not sense that their popularity has something to do with a persistent, if unconscious, desire to see black people perform. Even before the genuinely heroic Ramsey came along, some viewers had expressed concern that the laughter directed at people like Sweet Brown plays into the most basic stereotyping of blacks as simple-minded ramblers living in the “ghetto,” socially out of step with the rest of educated America. Black or white, seeing Clark and Dodson merely as funny instances of random poor people talking nonsense is disrespectful at best. And shushing away the question of race seems like wishful thinking.
Ramsey is particularly striking in this regard, since, for a moment at least, he put the issue of race front and center himself. Describing the rescue of Amanda Berry and her fellow captives, he says, “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway!”
The candid statement seems to catch the reporter off guard; he ends the interview shortly afterward. And it’s notable that among the many memorable things Ramsey said on camera, this one has gotten less meme-attention than most. Those who are simply having fun with the footage of Ramsey might pause for a second to actually listen to the man. He clearly knows a thing or two about the way racism prevents us from seeing each other as people.
Now that you know this is a thing, please stop sharing these memes. Poor Black people speaking candidly about various serious incidents isn’t a hilarious joke.
See the closet in the back of the classroom? That’s me in it. Finishing this semester requires my showing up to class. Since I still can’t sit for longer than 10 minutes, and I’ve garnered a bad rep for fainting when standing too long post-op, I had two options. Option 1: Lie down during class on a yoga mat, posturepedic pad and pillows in the back of the room or Option 2: Fail the course. Now, if you know me at all, you know there really were not two options.
So today, Dad in tow, (perhaps the other way around) we went to class. I received an initial, “What the…” look from every person that walked into the classroom, and then everyone forgot about the weird girl in the back of the room and focused on the lecture.
Here’s the thing. I looked ridiculous. I will laugh about this for years with my family and friends. 12 year old me would have been mortified. Now? I really couldn’t give a sh*t (excuse my potty mouth) about ANY if it. You do what you gotta do. If anyone has a problem with it, hopefully you’ve got a badass cane (and know how to use it) and an Italian father standing by your side.
In all seriousness, don’t give a second thought about what anyone thinks of you except your loved ones. ‘Embarrassed’ should not be a word in your vocabulary.
Thanks for all your love and support!
Minus the cane, my cousin and I reverted back to childhood for the evening… matching PJ’s and (thanks to dad) Selena Gomez toothbrushes! If it were up to our parents this would be a daily occurrence. Have I mentioned lately how lucky I am? And oh yea… Look… I’m VERTICAL in the picture on the left :) XO B
Not a day has gone by that my doorbell has not buzzed. Not a moment has passed when I have been left, or felt, alone. My mother always said, “If you have a few good friends to stand by you when times get tough, you are incredibly lucky.” I have always believed people are intrinsically good, and nothing makes me happier than this challenge proving the truthfulness of that statement. I am flesh, blood and bones putting myself back together. I have nothing to give in return except gratitude and when the time comes, as it does for everyone, I hope my friends allow me to do for them what they have done for me. I would consider myself blessed if I am given the opportunity to show as much selflessness as they have and succeed in reciprocating their kindness with equal grace.
Thank you my sweet, dear friends. XO
“It is a wise father that know his own child.” -Shakespeare
Love this. Perception determines how we live our lives.
“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.” I HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS IN THE WORLD!
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Sent to me by a dear friend today.
Im not sure how i feel about this, but having just come back from Morocco it is an interesting image.
No words, so much said.
Sent to me by a very dear friend this morning… One who knows I like tearing down walls more than patiently building them. @hbahren
My dear Friends, Family, Pledgers…
Thank you for your patience. I am usually very reserved concerning my personal life but I feel it a necessary moment to share with you. For years, I kept silent concerning certain health issues from which I have suffered because I felt they made me vulnerable. I have always hated appearing weak. However, I know it is when my body has been as its very weakest that my mind, my heart, my spirit, and my will to fight have been their strongest, and their fiercest.
Most importantly, I now acknowledge that I have not come this far alone. With a great deal of sacrifice and help from friends, fellow students, professors, and family, I have continued my education and developed a nascent career in music. In these past months, the constant reflection inherent in the process of writing songs has resulted in a revelation. None of us is alone. If I am to be honest with myself, the weakness I feared rests in being closed and not in being open.
A few days ago, I underwent surgery for nerve damage in my spine, a condition which had left me in pain for some time. For those of you who know me well, you are aware that this was not my first serious operation. I suffered from ovarian tumors and had many surgeries as a child and in the years that followed. Pain and illness have never defined me, and I won’t let them do so now.
Some may say my music career has been on hold, but this is not the case. I have put performing live on hold while in recovery. Not only have I continued the writing process, but I have strengthened it. I have no fear.
When I applied to Columbia University, I was invited in for an interview. They asked me, “What is your story?” In the end, it was not my grades, my SAT scores, or my essay that resulted in admission. I held nothing back and it was the liberating process of pouring out the pure truth, revealing myself to a perfect stranger, that determined my life’s course. I knew that whatever the outcome I had succeeded and, on that day, I knew what it was to be unfettered from the fear that freezes us in place. That is how I am approaching this album. I am telling my story without fear.
When I release this album, when it finally comes to fruition, I have you to thank. I have the people who supported me through Pledge music. I have the friends who, this very morning, have helped me shower and brushed my hair because I cannot, and I have the life saving doctors who made sure I had more than a childhood. Most importantly, I have the unconditional love and support of family, and the people I consider family. I have the outpouring of love from emails, tweets, phone calls, FB messages and the most incredible fans a woman could ask for.
I have never considered myself a ‘survivor’ and I don’t diminish the people who do; however, I believe we are ALL survivors. On the best of days, life is a battle and we all survive, everyday, and it is never by our efforts alone.
My father told me when I was young, “Life is not about experiencing the joy in a moment, or the pain in a moment; it is about being able to experience them both, simultaneously. In every single moment, there will be both pain and joy, and you can’t choose which moments to feel which because then you are putting on blinders. You will never know one without the other. Let joy define you, but never deny the pain. Feel both, feel everything.”
I love you with all that is in me to love.
Women-fight for your rights, fight for your health and your health care and that of your children. I would not be alive right now had my mother not fought the system and saved my life. Men-fight for your sisters, mothers, wives, and your children. Fight for humanity.