|Posted on October 19, 2013 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Our children do everything we ask of them, they do well in school, get into college, earn their degree, and then without warning the bottom falls out. What do we do to help them over the difficult patch?
I am the mother of a 28 year-old who has obtained her bachelors and masters degrees; and is currently considering pursing a doctorate. In January my youngest will be off to university after obtaining her associates degree at a local community college. I am extremely proud of both of my girls and any person that chooses to continue their education. But the question that is prevalent on my mind today is - does college still matter?
Yesterday I was in the presence of a young woman who was feeling down about her current situation. Hearing her speak words of discouragement and defeat left me wondering what can we do to help encourage our youth in these trying times of unemployment, underemployment, political infighting, and massive cuts in funding to those in need.
What this young woman shared that touched me in that “motherly spot” was that she did everything her parents asked of her. She did well in school, went on to college and earned her degree, went to work to become self-sufficient, but for what? In this turbulent job market she can’t get a job in her field of study. She applies for entry level positions only to be told she is overqualified because of her degree, but under-qualified due to lack of experience. To add insult, she runs into old classmates and friends, some who didn’t even stay in school long enough to earn their high school diploma, yet, they are working in positions that once required a college degree…and earning more money than her.
She went on to share that she was a good daughter, not being promiscuous and getting pregnant with a child she couldn’t support. However, today that seems to be working against her because being a single person with no dependents and no disability automatically disqualifies her from any assistance. “We live in a country where not having goals is rewarded and high-achievement is a curse,” she said with all the weight of her disappointment bearing down on her.
During moments like this words of comfort and encouragement seems pointless. Sort of like telling someone you’re sorry for their loss during their time of bereavement—it means nothing and is often annoying.
She could move back in with her parents until things get better, she could return to school and further her education, maybe seek a degree in a specialized field. In her mind, moving home should be a last option, returning to school means more student loan debt, and yes she could consider a new field but who’s to say that it won’t be obsolete by the time she is handed her degree.
When people are in that place where they just need to get out all the emotions they are feeling inside, it is best to just sit back and let them vent. Everything she was feeling is valid and I have no doubt that in the end she will figure it out and land on top. She may need to return to school, or even relocate across the country or across the world. But the conversation itself left me thinking, as parents and society in general, how do we prepare our kids for the possibilities of a harsh future, while continuing to promote higher education.
Let me know if you have any suggestions.
Peace & Blessings,
Tracy L. Darity is the author of three novels, He Loves Me He Loves Me Not!, Love...Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day, and the Red Bear Society. To learn more, visit www.TracyLDarity.com
|Posted on February 25, 2013 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
One of the first steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS is education and awareness.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a medical condition caused by the virus after someone’s been infected for awhile. HIV is the virus that we know causes AIDS. It enters the body and infects immune system cells, as well as other cells in the body — causing more copies of the virus to be produced. A person who has been infected with HIV is HIV-positive, but does not necessarily have AIDS.
There are many myths about how HIV is spread. You can’t acquire HIV by drinking from a water fountain, sitting on a toilet seat, hugging or touching an HIV-infected person, or by eating off plates and utensils. However, here are some ways HIV can be transmitted:
- By way of bodily fluids (blood, semen, and vaginal secretions) during sexual contact. Saliva is not considered a transmission route for HIV.
- By sharing needles to inject drugs. Infected blood can be exchanged between the parties who are using the same needle and syringe.
- Through the transfusion of infected blood or blood products
- HIV-infected woman can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, during delivery, or while breast-feeding
Below are some key statistics about how HIV/AIDS affects us and those around us.
HIV/AIDS in the United States:
- Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the US will be infected with HIV.
- There are more than 1 million adults and adolescents in the United States living with HIV. Approximately one-fifth of them (21%) do not know that they have been infected.
Women and HIV/AIDS
- In 2006, women made up 25% of the persons living with HIV in the United States. Women also represented 27% of new HIV infections in 2006.
- High-risk heterosexual contact is the source of 80% of these newly diagnosed infections in women in the US.
- From the beginning of the epidemic through 2005, almost 86,000 women have died of AIDS and AIDS-related complications.
- The largest number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses during recent years was for women aged 15–39.
- Seven of the 10 states with the highest case rates among women are in the South.
Minority Women and HIV/AIDS
- HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects minority women in the United States. According to the 2005 census, Black and Latina women represent 24% of all US women combined, but accounted for 82% of the estimated total of AIDS diagnoses for women in 2005.
- HIV is the leading cause of death for Black women (including Black women) aged 25–34 years. The only diseases causing more deaths of women are cancer and heart disease.
- The rate of AIDS diagnosis for Black women was approximately 23 times the rate for white women and 4 times the rate for Latina women.
- In 2006, teen girls represented 39% of AIDS cases reported among 13–19 year-olds. Black teens represented 69% of cases reported among 13–19 year-olds; Latino teens represented 19%.
Youth and HIV/AIDS
- In 2006, the CDC estimates that almost 46,000 young people, ages 13-24, were living with HIV in the US. Women comprised 28% of these HIV/AIDS cases among 13-24 year-olds.
- African-American young adults are disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 60% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 13-24 year olds in 2006.
Learn More at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services AIDS Homepage
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Greater Than AIDS
MTV’s Get Yourself Tested
Black AIDS Institute
National Minority AIDS Council
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
National Association of People with AIDS
|Posted on June 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM||comments (0)|
In life, some of the greatest stories come from random people whose company we find ourselves. Such was the case recently when I went to purchase a corsage for the young man who had asked my daughter to the prom. My niece called earlier in the afternoon to ask me if the boy was supposed to have a corsage and whose responsibility it was to purchase it. I explained that boys generally have a flower on their lapel, but I wasn’t sure if he purchased it or the girl. She advised me that when she and the mother of my daughters date went to the florist the owner advised them that the boy buys for the girl and the girl buys for the boy.
I decided it would be more practical to use the same florist, so off I went. It wasn’t the first time I had been to this florist, and as in the past the owner was very friendly and accommodating. As she gathered her roses and ribbons, and other accessories she introduced me to her brother, her son, and her son’s wife. I then remembered that the last time I visited her shop she had introduced me to her husband, so I asked how he was doing. She replied, “Oh honey my husband was killed 12 years ago during a robbery.” Of course I felt awful for dredging up what must have been a painful memory for them all, but she assured me it was okay. I thought to myself, if her husband was killed 12 years ago it was only a few months after I had visited their shop. From this awkward moment she began to tell me that it was by accident that she came to be in the floral business.
Her husband, a Palestinian from Ramallah (who had only been here 4 years), wanted to open a third gas station, but learned that the building he’s just purchased was not zoned for that. Their options were to try and sell the property or make do with what was already there. He already owned two other stations, and although neither of them had any experience in the floristry business, decided to give it a go. At the time the two had only been married three years, she a Columbian born single mother of four, who to this day still speaks with a strong accent. With her husbands passing she decided to sell their two gas stations and keep the flower shop. It was her saving grace, something she truly enjoyed doing. .As her children grew older they began helping in the store, learning the craft; and now she looks forward to the day she may retire and pass the business down to them.
She could have been defeated, decided to close shop, perhaps return to her native country. Instead, she carried on and continued to do what had become her passion. At the end of her story she said, “So it was by accident that I ended up being a florist.” I replied, “No, it was your destiny all along… destiny is never an accident.” She gave me a big hug and asked me what my favorite color rose was, I told her pink or peach. She summoned her brother to bring her one of the long-stemmed roses that came in that day’s delivery.
Truth be told, I was really annoyed by the fact that only hours before the prom I had to go out and purchase that corsage. But as I reflect over the florist story I am still in awe. Every night she traveled with her husband to close the store, but on that fateful night she stayed behind to catch-up on paperwork at the flower shop. Although her husband came into her life for only a season, the reason is quite clear, to give a single mother a new beginning, and to provide her and her children with a promising future. She may still believe that it was an accident that her husband bought a flower shop in hopes of turning it into a gas station; but I believe that where she is right now was her destiny from the beginning.
When I left the shop I stared at the rose she had given me, for quite some time. The first time I visited her shop I was looking for a centerpiece I had seen in a wedding magazine (I was supposed to get married later that year) and while stopped at the red light I looked over and saw it in the window. After assuring me she could get the pieces for me, she told me she wanted to give me something special. Believe it or not, what she gave me was a long-stem rose identical to the one I was now holding. I drove away questioning the point of it all, and then it hit me, it was merely a reminder that what God has for me, is for me, and just as he brought the store-owner into her destiny; if I just be patient He will bring me into mine…nothing in life is by accident, everything happens for a reason; like my daughter being asked to the prom a year after her graduation, and me having to make a last minute run to buy a corsage just to hear an awesome testimony.
Peace & Blessings,
|Posted on April 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM||comments (0)|
For the past few days I hadn’t been feeling well. I was extremely tired, feeling discombobulated, my stressors were screaming, and I just wanted to sleep. When I awakened yesterday morning I was so thankful there was no headache, my vision was clear, and I had a burst of energy. The day was definitely going to be a good day.
Now for those who know me, if you know nothing else about me you know I love the Lord, and that I have no sense of time. But on this morning I was actually going to reach my destination in a timely manner.
So I am in route to my destination, and at this particular time in the morning I must travel through a school zone. I was driving on a major road that leads out of my neighborhood. Normally I take this road all the way to the interstate, but decided to turn at the intersection where this school zone is positioned, and travel through Lakewood Estates, a nearby subdivision.
As annoying as school zones are, I still respect the jobs of the crossing guards who work for little pay, but obviously love what they do—ensuring the kids get to school safely. As residents, we get to know the crossing guards and know their habits. Some are very friendly, waving as you drive-by; some mouthed thank you for stopping as the kids cross the street; while others will write-down your tag number if you speed through driving faster than the mandated 15 MPH.
My decision to turn into Lakewood Estates was a last minute one, but I has already committed to the turn when I saw the two girls waiting on the opposite corner for the crossing guard to allow them to come across. Ughh, was my first thought, because on any other day the crossing guard would have blown her whistle and held up her sign instructing me to STOP. She would have walked into the road with her arms stretched wide blocking all cars, and allowed the girls to cross safely to the other side. But on this morning that didn’t happen; did she not realize I was going to turn, was she being courteous by allowing me to go first; I’m not sure.
After slowly turning the corner the unthinkable happened! First let me set the scene. Lakewood Estates is a maze of curving roads, speed bumps, and 20 MPH speed zones. At this particular location, cars exiting the subdivision come around a curve, meet a speed bump and end-up at the major road I had just turned off of. I have never ever exited Lakewood Estates without being stopped by the traffic light at this particular intersection…NEVER. Now back to the unthinkable. I turn the corner and to my horror a black Pontiac Spitfire traveling at a speed fit only for an open highway, flies over the speed bump and nearly rear-ends a car driving 15 MPH (remember we’re in a school zone), and to keep from hitting her he switches into my lane, which means we are facing each other. He realizes the mistake he’s made and turns the car back into the other lane cutting off the other driver. I slam on my brakes bracing for the worst, the other driver slams on her brakes. I hear tires screeching an fearfully look into my rear-view mirror terrified that I am going to see the crossing guard or those girls flying into the air, but all I see is this lunatic veering into the intersection cutting off on-coming traffic, missing cars by inches. Never reducing his speed he attempts to turn on to the main road but ends up on the median. All cars have stopped as he drives off the median and proceeds down the road
I am not sure how long I sat there paralyzed, how long the other driver sat paralyzed, how long the crossing guard stood frozen, or those two girls, or the landscapers working at a nearby apartment complex, or the drivers of the other cars; but it was a quick reminder of how God’s grace and mercy keeps us each and every second of the day.
The scene I just described probably took only 10 seconds from beginning to end; but it disrupted my peaceful spirit for the better part of the day because the reality of it all was too real; because...
…in an instant I could have been dead
…in an instant the other driver could have been dead
…in an instant the crossing guard could have been dead
…in an instant those two girls on their way to school could have been dead
…in an instant any of those other motorists or the landscapers could have been dead
…in an instant the driver of that speeding car could have been dead
…in an instant the lives of our loved ones could have forever been changed
|Posted on March 11, 2012 at 11:00 PM||comments (0)|
In order to have a successful business you must be willing to provide SUPERB customer service. Before you place the “Open for Business” sign out, you must understand rule number one, THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT! Even if you think he or she is wrong, or even if you know it, your business reputation should always be at the forefront of your actions.
Now I am going to take you through this lesson using a book as the product, since that’s the business I am in; but this lesson can be applied to any service/product based operation. If someone pays you for a service/product, they expect to receive it in a timely manner and in perfect condition, according to the agreed upon contract with the business.
Rule #2: Go back and read the first two paragraphs.
Rule #3: Anytime someone takes an interest in your service/product it should be seen as a blessing. Be GRATEFUL that of all the businesses/products they had to choose from, they chose yours. If they decide to spend their money with you then you have been doubly blessed. Never take your blessings for granted.
Rule #4: So you closed the deal, now its time to deliver on your promise. Service should be fulfilled in a TIMELY and PROFESSIONAL manner. Remember your job isn’t done until the customer has been made whole in the transaction.
Rule #5: At all times remain PROFESSIONAL. It doesn’t matter if it is the first, third, tenth time you are interacting with the customer. It doesn’t matter if YOU are having a bad day, or if the customer is having a bad day…you MUST be professional at all times. ALL messages, emails, calls, should be handled immediately. Just as you were anxious to get the business, be anxious to resolve any problems.
Rule #6: If the customer contacts you to say they have not received their product, it’s probably because they HAVEN’T. As soon as you get this message the FIRST time, stop what you’re doing and track the package. If your business requires the use of a delivery service, be it USPS, UPS, FEDEx, or whatever, you should ensure you have a method to TRACK the order. Never respond to a customer with simple statements like, “You should have it by now, or I already sent it,” without offering a solution. This insinuates that you believe the customer is lying and you have no intentions of ensuring they get the item(s) they paid for.
Rule #7: Once you have confirmed delivery of the package contact the customer and let them know (in a POLITE manner) that the package was delivered by x-company, on x-date, at x-address. This does two things 1) it gives the customer the opportunity to verify the address is correct, and 2) if using email or voicemail the customer can ask others in the house or possibly neighbors, if they saw or received the package.
Rule #8: The package is officially M.I.A. If this is the case then your contract with the customer has NOT been fulfilled. Let the customer know you are resending their order. This time send the package requesting a signature for delivery. Once you have confirmed the package has been delivered and signed for, contact the customer and ask if they received it. Apologize that they didn’t receive the first order and thank them again for their business.
It is easy to get upset and have an attitude when a customer contacts you about not receiving their order. But it is easier to replace the order than it is to irritate the client. Just as someone can give a glowing review of you and your business, they can also give a bad review. Not responding to a client who has reached out to you about service is NEVER a good idea. The longer you delay dealing with the issue the more time the customer has to mull over the situation, draw their own conclusions, and seek advice from others on how to deal with YOU. The point of building strong relationships with a customer is not just to close a sale. A happy customer is a repeat customer; and a repeat customer paves the pathway for NEW CUSTOMERS.
So if ever faced with the dilemma of the missing package, just replace the order, it’s really that SIMPLE.
In the words of Forrest Gump, “...and that’s all I have to say about that.”
Tracy L. Darity
|Posted on November 24, 2011 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
When I first read that Tyler Perry was casting Kim Kardashian in his upcoming movie, The Marriage Counselor, I mumbled "wow" as I clicked on the link for the next story. Okay, I'll be honest; I didn't read the story just the headline, because in all actuality it didn't interest me. I have only filled a seat in a theatre showing a Tyler Perry film, two, possibly three times. I find that I am less critical of his work when I catch it on television, even if it is a year or two later. I don't even know if Kim K. will be playing a major role or just a cameo appearance.
What caught my attention is various responses to a letter I am assuming Perry sent to his fan base or published on a website, perhaps. Each letter to Mr. Perry pretty much is a vent fest, to which I give the thought...the biggest statement you can make, is by not showing up at the theatres.
Today, while checking my emails I came across the following open letter to Perry. I believe it is very well written and articulates what a lot of Perry fans and critics may be thinking when it comes to his decision to cast Kardashian.
From Huffington Post Black Voices. 11/17/11
Dear Tyler Perry,
I have never been concerned with gaining favor with celebrities or undeservedly denigrating one's work. I have always prided myself on putting my community first, even when doing so has been unpopular and frankly unappreciated by members of that same community.
So understand that my letter to you is on principle... not personal animus. This comes not from someone who is a fan of "this" or "that" person, but a fan of the community of African Americans. It comes first in all I do.
The problem I personally have with your letter , Mr. Perry, which offered insight into your decision-making process in casting Kim Kardashian, is that it seeks to weave a disingenuous narrative. You seem to suggest that the sum total story of redemption to be told in Tyler Perry's The Marriage Counselor holds more weight than the nature of its components.
The issue isn't whether K.K. is appropriate or whether you, Mr. Perry, have the right to create as you see fit. Nobody is deluded here. Nothing is going to change from my letter, neither your mind nor your movie. Nevertheless, some things need to be said and placed on the record because the truth doesn't change either and isn't subject to interpretation. Meaning, the issue I have is that your letter to your fans was an attempt to spin the casting of Kim Kardashian into some higher calling.
That can not pass without a truth check. Again, this isn't personal, just a matter of principle.
Some people are angry with you because Kim Kardashian receives too much attention as a Black man's pin up. Some are angry with you because she is not an actress by any stretch of the imagination. Others are displeased that given your high profile movies, an African-American actress in the role means more to your core fan base who made "Tyler Perry" a household name, than fans you may gain by crossing over and dipping into the reality TV punch bowl. And let's be honest, many are disturbed that given your kinda-sorta-Christian-themed-message-movies, you are further rewarding an individual whose original claim to fame was a sex tape.
For all who criticize you on this issue, it has to do with some of that. For some, it is all of that. Inevitably, the distaste for Kim Kardashian amongst many African-American women (your core fan base) is real, not imagined. Take considerable care in the underestimation of their angst and the strength of their collective memory.
A common theme in all of your movies is the story of redemption. Even the worst of the worst are worthy of second chances.
But Mr. Perry, you can't really argue telling the STORY of redemption through use of a promotion vehicle (Kardashian) who presently lives and thrives on irredeemable Real Life behavior. I'd rather see a sermon in real life, than one acted out on the silver screen. People who live their creed affect more lives than ones who act it out for a paycheck. If you want to truly reach the followers of K.K., seek to change K.K., don't give her a movie role and then claim you are doing your fans (and her fans) a quasi-Christian favor by doing so. I think we all understand the economics and business strategy here. There is no need to further convolute the issue.
Truth check: Spiritual discernment still trumps spin and specious argumentation.
K.K. wasn't an actress who "made a mistake" and who now is being granted a second chance. It's a "mistake" to even characterize her as an actress. Her claim to fame is the mistake.
And here you are further rewarding it. Truth check.
If your fans are angry with you (and they are); let's be truthful and honest about the realities of their anger. Let's not minimize, trivialize or bastardize the nature of their grievances. It's not that they didn't "hear you out" or "jumped to conclusions." You've insulted their intelligence by suggesting their anger was misdirected or misinformed in the first place.
Your company is yours to run as you see fit, your brand to build as you choose. Your success thus far is inarguable. None of the aforementioned ensure though that your judgment is infallible. Don't glue chicken feathers on a chinchilla Saturday night and then try to sell it at KFC as part of a two-piece and biscuit Sunday morning. Don't insult the collective intelligence of the African-American film community.
You've now tied your brand to Kim Kardashian and must now carry all of the baggage that comes with her. The question is not and was not ever whether your loyal fans understood "why" you chose Kim Kardashian. The question is and continues to be whether you understood what it means to align yourself with Kim Kardashian.
Morris W. O'Kelly
Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is a political correspondent for the BBC Radio and Television networks and author of the syndicated column The Mo'Kelly Report. For more Mo'Kelly, go to his site. Mo'Kelly can be reached at email@example.com and welcomes all commentary.
Follow Morris W. O'Kelly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrmokelly
|Posted on August 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM||comments (1)|
Dear Mr. President,
The other day someone was talking on one of the many shows where people do nothing but, well, talk—and the discussion centered around what you needed to do to regain the support and confidence of your black voters, because without them you would not be re-elected in 2012. Okay, they may be on to something because last poll I saw your popularity is hovering around 39%.
I watch the news and read the paper, keeping up with all the wars, famine, economic troubles, unemployment, possibility of a double recession, and it’s just maddening. Seriously, what can ONE man do to fix all of this mess? Then I visit various blogs, websites, Facebook, and Twitter, and people just don’t seem to care. So I got to thinking, what motivates people, really gets them upset, outraged, and ready to answer the call to action. I mean there has to be something that gets their blood boiling and their fists pumping…RIGHT?
Just today there is talk about civil unrest in Israel, Syria, and Libya, and my community is lackadaisical and awfully silent, so maybe this is just too far removed for them to feel a need to care. So I turned my focus to Africa where millions are starving due to widespread famine. The worst hit is war-torn Somalia where mothers are facing the unthinkable decision of which child will live. And Haiti, still trying to rebuild from a devastating earthquake 18 months ago…still I hear Crickets.
Slowly I move from international news to national news to see if I can hear a buzz of some sort. No not about Jay-Z popping champagne bottles to the tune of $250,000, or the rumors that Kim K’s wedding this weekend costs an estimated $10 million. I’m talking, the Dow opening today, and quickly dropping over 500 points. New weekly unemployment claims rising above 400,000, just a week after falling to below 395,000. The postal service considering 120,000 job cuts, while employees for Verizon are striking in a fight against the telecommunications giant attempts to pass unreasonable benefit costs on to them as they struggle to make ends meet in this economic downturn….CRICKETS, still.
With some 14 million Americans out of work, corporations reeling in multi-billion dollar profits—but not hiring, a move to end unions spreading across the nation, the drastic cuts to social services for the poor and in-need starting to surface; surely those who would be affected the most are ready to revolt…yet, CRICKETS.
Oh my, did I leave out education, I apologize, my kids are done but I still must care for future generations to come…schools are reopening around the country and the graduation rate for black students remains appalling. Cuts to education, penalties against teachers for ill-prepared children who perform poorly, and no repercussions for parents who are not doing their part to ensure their kids succeed…and CRICKETS!
So what is it that I think it will take to re-energize the black voter and get them fighting mad? Truly, it isn’t rocket science, just a quaint little observation I’ve made following trending topics. So here it is, ARE YOU READY?
President Obama, I think if you want to see the black community get upset, outraged, and ready to do battle; you're going to need a Republican, but preferably a member of the Tea-Party to make some sort of negative comment about Tyler Perry, maybe him portraying Alex Cross in the upcoming James Patterson flick I, ALEX—or better yet, Lion’s Gate decision to give Perry his own network; and then follow it up with criticism about the movie “The Help.” Then and only then will we see some movement on the political front. But you’re going to have to act fast and seize the moment because if those chicks from VH-1 realize that you’re getting more attention than them, there may be a SITUATION of epic proportions that may include referring to the first lady as a b@it%h, huge anti-Obama flag earrings, water splashing, glass tossing, and the biggest WMD of all time…T-SHIRT'S declaring you, our beloved president, a non-MF’ing FACTOR! IJS
Tracy L. Darity is the author of He Loves Me He Loves Me Not! and Love…Like Snow In Florida on a Hot Summer Day. Her third novel, The Red Bear Society, is scheduled for a fall 2011 release. For additional information on the author and her work, visit www.TracyLDarity.com
|Posted on April 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM||comments (1)|
This morning while walking the trail at a local park, I cam upon three Caucasian women who looked to be in their late 50’s to early 60’s. As I approached them they were discussing plans for the upcoming Mother’s Day. As I passed them there was that awkward silence when you know the person speaking doesn’t want you to hear what he or she is talking about. I completed my pass and continued on my way. Thinking I was out of hearing distance their conversation continued. A friend was hosting a Mother’s Day luncheon being called a “Birther’s Party.” To attend the event, you must present your official birth certificate. See, this “Birther’s Party” is actually a fundraiser for the Republican Party, being held at a private residence. I can’t say I was shocked, or angered, or anything else. However, I couldn't resist turning in their direction and smiling before releasing a sarcastic chuckle. There was no need to say anything else, because the looks on their faces expressed the embarrassment that they should have been feeling for even entertaining such nonsense.
The reason I mentioned the race and age of these women is because while watching CNN the other day, Reporter, John King met with several diners at a restaurant in (I believe New Hampshire). He interviewed two men and a woman, all white. The first guy who looked to be in his 40’s, stated he always believed President Obama was born in the U.S. The second guy, who looked to be about 60, said, by him (the President) producing the birth certificate he was now convinced of his citizenship and was ready to move-on---he is a registered Republican. The lone woman in the group, another Republican, about 60, stated she refused to believe it because he (the President) has had enough time to manufacture a fake birth certificate.
As President Obama prepares for the 2012 elections he has an uphill battle to fight, even if many of his supporters don’t want to believe it. In 2008 he received 56 percent of the female vote. With apathy growing amongst younger voters who have expressed their dismay with the political process since the historic 2008 election, it is imperative that the President not only hold on to his female constituency but increase it, as well. Perhaps that is why, after holding a press conference where he released his original birth certificate, he headed over to Harpo Studio’s for a taping of The Oprah Show scheduled to air on Monday, May 2nd.
Tracy L. Darity is the author of He Loves Me He Loves Me Not! and Love…Like Snow In Florida on a Hot Summer Day. For more information visit www.TracyLDarity.com.
|Posted on March 19, 2011 at 8:03 PM||comments (1)|
In Proverbs 31: 10 -31 the perfect wife is defined as a virtuous woman with characteristics that are wholesome and pure. We are also told that when a man finds a wife he has found a great thing...well I guess the cast of VH1's Basketball Wives aren't familiar with these popular passages.
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
It’s been a week since part two of the reality show Basketball Wives reunion aired, and I am still reeling after that profanity laced sparring match between Royce Reed—former Heat/Magic dancer, ex-girlfriend and baby mama of Magic Center, Dwight Howard (did I just write baby mama…;); and Evelyn Lazado, the ex-fiancé of former NBA Forward, Antoine Walker, and current fiancé of NFL Wide Receiver, Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco. This season’s reunion was hosted by former NBA star, John Salley, who actually out-instigated Bravo’s notorious Andy Cohen. But I had to give him kudos when he called the women out, stating, “You keep saying you’re grown (expletive) women, although you’re acting like teenagers.” Hhmmm, they say children live what they learn.
The remaining cast of Basketball Wives, which also include show creator, Shaunie O’Neal the ex-wife of Center Shaquille O’Neal, and a few other ex this, and ex that…Ahhh, there seems to be a recurring theme here, nobody is actually a wife. Well one is, Jennifer Williams, soon-to-be ex-wife of former player Eric Williams; but she would rather divorce her husband than actually put in the work to see if her marriage is salvageable. So I began to wonder, if these women are so fabulous, and desirable, and the cream of the crop, as they seem to think they are, then why oh why didn’t they make it down the aisle, and if they did made it, why haven’t their marriages lasted? Furthermore, why are they on this reality show making complete fools of themselves showing how uncouth and undignified they really are? Being more obsessed with designer names than the names they are being called. I guess comedian, J. Anthony Brown was right, “For every beautiful woman there is a man somewhere who is sick and tired of her mess.”
15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
During season 2, we saw Lazado meet Chad Ochocinco, via Twitter; receive some flowers and a pair of boots, and then jet off to Cincinnati and happily give-up the punanny, without him even having to work for it. Now I know some people will say, yeah but now she’s rocking a huge diamond, reported to be between 7 and 10 carats. Well for the money he makes, why not. Will a wedding actually take place, who knows? I guess it would be fair to say after all the “f” bombs she dropped while professing her love of “f”ing, all the while defending her short-lived affair with the then husband of cast-mate Tami Roman; if Chad still finds her desirable, then they obviously deserve each other. My main concern; however, is exactly what are our young girls learning by watching this type of behavior. Lazado herself has a teenage daughter entering college. What must she think of her mother? Excuse me while I have another “Hhmmm moment.” Jennifer’s expressions were priceless as Evelyn replayed her weekend with Chad. I wonder if at any time, then or since, has Jennifer asked herself why she’s running behind Evelyn in Miami, when she should leave this show and these women behind, to give her marriage a real try. Now that’s what’s up!
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Shaunie O’Neal may believe that she hit the goldmine with this reality show but I have to wonder if she truly understands the harm she is doing. This season we saw a couple of real wives chime-in, but their appearances seemed awkward and misplaced, which is a sad commentary because if the show were about their lives no one would watch. Now the word on the street is that, as Shaunie O’Neal looks for new cast members to bring the drama, the men are taking a stand and forbidding their girlfriends, fiancés, and wives to be apart of the show. I say, “Good for them!” because a real man understands that his woman is a reflection him; just ask President Barack Obama.
In the end, the reality of this calamitous situation is; in order to remove these negative stereotypes from television, we must stop being an audience for their buffoonery. It is easy to say that these shows are for entertainment purposes, but the truth is, with the success of this show and others like it, these women really are setting the standard for womanhood, and virtue is becoming a thing of the past.
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Tracy L. Darity is the author of He Loves Me He Loves Me Not! and Love...Like Snow in Florida on a Hot Summer Day, available in print and Kindle formats. For more information, visit www.TracyLDarity.com.
|Posted on February 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM||comments (2)|
Renown author Bernice McFadden (Glorious, Sugar, The Warmest December, Loving Donovan, and This Bitter Earth...to name a few of her titles from my personal collection) posted on her Facebook page, "I think Af-Am authors need to start their own grass-roots revolution..... " I am sure at the time it was just a random musing, but as the weekend progressed 84 people "liked" the comment and it garnered nearly as many comments.
I thought the idea in and of itself was interesting since over the past few weeks there seems to have been an insurgence of blogs, posts, tweets, and discussions on what mainstream authors (mainly African-American) can do to increase awareness, since it is apparent that a message is being sent that (our) readers are only interested in "Urban/Street Lit." Even author's who once held coveted contracts are finding it hard to land deals in today's market. The consensus is that many gifted writers are falling by the wayside because they can't get the notoriety they deserve. Note: I am not sure if this was Ms. McFadden's line of thinking when she posted the comment.
Could a revolution work, what would it consist of, who would lead the way, where would it begin; were just a few of the questions being asked. Although I don't know the answers to those questions, I do know that such a movement would require authors to stop viewing each other as competition, and acknowledge that although we may not care for a particular style or genre, we are all in this together and need to lift each other up if we are going to make our mark on the literary world.
Second, no revolution has ever been successful without followers who are willing to dig into the trenches, and go to work. In this case, authors would need the support of the readers they are trying to reach...and not just black readers but people, in general, who love to read good books. This feat takes us back to the initial problem; if authors are being shut-out of publishing houses, bookstores, and literary events (as invitees); how do we reach the masses who would be needed to make this revolution successful, since it is no secret that many do not have access to the financial resources required to compete with the promotional/marketing plans of many publishers.
Ironically, at the time Ms. McFadden was posting her status update, I was working on my February Newsletter, which featured an article on how family, friends, book clubs, and avid readers could support independent authors. These suggestions do not require a lot and like most successful grass-root movements, it shows that word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool known to mankind. If each person tells ten or more people, and each of those people tell ten or more, the results can be phenomenal, and before you know it, the revolution has been begun.
Facebook has over 500 million subscribers. That's more than the number of people who completed the 2010 U.S. Census. They are the leader in social networking, but there are 100's of social media sites out there and the numbers are growing daily. With today's technology we can post something on one site and have it automatically feed to numerous other sites. So not only do we have word of mouth but with the push of a button we can share information with hundreds if not thousands of people.
- Post what you are reading on social media
- "Like," "Share," "Repost," "Retweet," etc. If you see a post about a book, event, blog or anything an author has written, click the like button, comment, or retweet. It's been proven that people are more inclined to read something if someone else has acknowledged it.
- Take a photo holding a book you have read and in the caption write a brief review or recommendation, then share on your social pages. You can also make this your profile picture for an hour, a day, or longer.
- If the author's website has a social media toolbar use the features to share the website information.
- Newsletters and eblasts you receive can be shared. With services like Constant Contact, email addresses cannot be captured. The host will only know it was forwarded but never who the recipient(s) are.
- Write Reviews for books you have read. Authors want to know what you think. Amazon, Goodreads, and Shefari, to name a few, are good sites to post reviews; but also check the authors website to see if there is a page designated for this purpose.
- Follow the author on your favorite social media sites by joining their actual pages/groups dedicated to their writing. This way you are not bogged down with their personal information but still get information pertinent to their writing career.
Stay Abreast of What's Hot
Oftentimes readers do not know where to go to get the latest information on new writers, literary events, etc. Below are a few sites I have found to be beneficial in this area.
Avid Readers ^ Book clubs ^ Family ^ Friends
- Always, when possible, attend local book signings, book release parties, and other literary events.
- Request books at your local library and bookstores that are not readily available in your area. If they receive enough requests they may stock the book.
- Does your place of employment host events that allow exhibitors to come in? i.e. craft shows, cultural events, vendor day, etc. Why not extend an invitation to your local authors?
- Is your club or civic organization hosting a banquet or other event? Are they selling ads for a program, or looking for vendors? Reach out to your local author. It is give and take, and the author should be happy to support the community.
- Are you an entrepreneur? Swap business cards and advertisement pieces with an author. When sales are made place each others information in customer packaging. Try getting 4 - 5 business people offering different products to participate.
- Do you own a business, work for a business, or patronize a business that has room for a "community table"? This is a table set-up in the lobby or corner of a office where people from the community can come in and display promotional items (no larger than a postcard). You can get some material from the author and place them on the table, or let the author know where you have seen such displays.
- I thought this was a great marketing tool. No matter where I go in my hometown, I am guaranteed to see at least 3 vehicles with a 8" x 8" decal located in the bottom corner of the rear window; advertising a local barbershop. He gives customers 1 free cut a month, in exchange for them displaying the decal. I haven't figured out how to present this, but once I do, I hope family and friends will be receptive to the idea.
- Be a walking billboard. Do you like wearing t-shirts and hats, or carrying book-totes? Some authors have these items available for festivals and other events. If you see a author rocking their custom gear, see if they are willing to give you an item or two.
- For book clubs, encourage your local bookstores (especially independent stores) to host authors, then attend the events. If you know a store is hosting an event, make sure your author friends are aware.
- When your club selects a book of the month, buy the books from the same bookstore. This could prompt the store to stock the book. If so, see if they will place a placard by the book with a blurb from your club about the book.
- In addition to your monthly book selection, showcase a new author. Request promotional material from authors who contact you but aren't selected as your book of the month; then pass out the materials at your meetings.
- Create a spotlight page on your website, or invite a local author to your meetings and allow them to do a 10 minute pitch.
- A few times a year, host a local author's meet~n~greet and invite family, friends, and co-workers. It can be at a restaurant where each attendee pays for their own meal. Authors can introduce themselves, do a quick pitch and afterwards sell their books.
- Books make great gifts. Give books by independent authors instead of those on the bestsellers list. Chances are, your reader friends already have those anyway.
- Video's are all the rage...create video's of book club meetings, do author interviews with visiting authors, create video reviews, and then post on your own youtube channel, or website. Examples, check-out the Sisterfriend Book Club Channel and Who Is Tasha.
So what say you? Are you ready for the revolution!
Tracy L. Darity is the author of He Loves Me He Loves Me Not! and Love...Like Snow In Florida on a Hot Summer Day. Both available in Kindle. For more information please visit www.TracyLDarity.com.