Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back to Black

I have a confession to make.

I like Amy Winehouse. For months, I saw her name and picture splashed across the gossip blogs and rags. I hated her sickly frame and - as much as I like big hair - her natty boufant. And I didn't like that she was listed under the "Blackmusic" genre (in Germany, it's not hip hop/r&b/rap; it's Blackmusic). I'd never actually heard any of her songs, save for a snippet of "Tears Dry on Their Own" I found on Concrete Loop. Not having an American radio station listen to, I'm waaaay behind on the latest hits. But I refused to accept this lady as the hottest new thing before having listened to her.

That all changed when a friend, trying to convince another friend how great Amy Winehouse was, copied her first CD, "Frank." I skimmed through the CD before passing it along, and as usual, was unimpressed by my first listen. But then I got hooked on one of the songs - number 4: F$%k Me Pumps. Honestly, how could you not like a song that contains these lyrics?
"You don't like ballers/They don't do nothing for ya,/But you'd love a rich man six foot two or taller."

or my personal favorite:

"Don't be too upset/If they call you a skank/Cuz like the news everyday you get pressed."

What? You don't get it? I guess you had to be there. Anyway, although I only liked a couple of songs on "Frank" I broke down and bought her newest CD, "Back to Black" on iTunes. It was only $9.99, so I figured what the heck?

And I'm feeling it. These songs ... this lady is a mess. But maybe the reason I can get into it is because I'm a bit of a mess too. The lyrics make me laugh out loud sometimes. I mean, the beats are cool, but you can tell that she writes her lyrics the way she talks. Take this line from "Wake up along": "I stay up clean the house, so I'm not drinking." Or from Rehab (I'm embarrassed to admit this is my favorite): "The man said why you think you here/I said, I have no idea."

Spoken like a true drunk.

Anyway, you don't have to take my word for it, here's a video. But close your eyes: seriously, the emaciated body and hair mess up the whole atmosphere. Enjoy!

F#$k Me Pumps

Back to Black

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I think I'm having a quarter-life crisis.

I can't help thinking that the types of things I want to do these days are better suited for a 21-year-old, but I can't help it. I'm used to change. I can't stand to always be a part of the ordinary, and there's nothing more prevalent in the Army than ordinary.

Case in point: I want to get my ears pierced. Not the regular way, but an industrial piercing, where a barbell goes into one part of the ear into another.

I think it may be because I'm entering the "third-year itch." Since high school, I've lived three places. College was four years, Tallahassee three, and now I'm feeling like it's about time to move on from Germany. Don't get me wrong, I love it here. But I'm starting to feel that urge to do something new. Something different. Like right now, I'm listening to Amy Winehouse. Not such a big deal since she's gone kinda mainstream now. But I have a little heartburn over it. It's different enough to make it OK, but mainstream enough to give me guilt over listening to her. Of course, I have the same guilt over our new vehicle, but that's another post for another day.

I'm scouring 80s-themed T-shirts (remember Jem and Holograms? The Fraggles?) on, deciding which Tee would best suit my sparkly black and red leggings. And as previously mentioned, contemplating alternative piercings and tattoos.

I just need to do something different, but I don't know what. So far, I have a trip to Poland and a trip to Dachau scheduled. Perhaps that will do the trick.

All I know is I'm getting a little antsy, and feel like I need to break out of my mold.

Hopefully, buying 200 euro worth of dutch ovens and serving dishes does the trick. Otherwise, I might have to break out the AMEX and get that "Ride or Die" tattoo. Just kidding Woodstock.

Unless you wanna do it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Nappy Roots Day

I stumbled across this blog, written by a St. Petersburg staffer, on today. The entry is about a white teacher who was suspended - and will be required to attend diversity training - for calling a black child's hair "nappy." And while the reporter didn't editorialize the story, it made me wonder: Is it offensive for a white person to use the term "nappy' regardless of context?

The blog story reads, "According to an account by the district’s Office of Professional Standards, a student asked Call *the suspended teacher* why another teacher was combing the hair of an African American girl. Call responded, 'She is trying to do something to her nappy hair.' Another teacher reported the remark to an administrator.
Call, a veteran teacher with a good employment record, told investigators she did not know the term was offensive."

This is what the board members who handed out her one-day suspension had to say.

“I don’t know that the word is racially offensive,” Clark said. “I’m not black, so I can’t speak from personal experience. But it is an adjective, correct? It describes your hair.’’Mary Brown, the board’s only black member, said the term has been used in a negative way to describe black people. Another board member said she'd stumbled across a web site, "A Nappy Hair Affair," which seemed to celebrate the word nappy, but also said she didn't use the term.

Hm, I'm a little stumped here. As a black woman, I know who I should be offended, or am expected to be, but I don't know that I am. Is "nappy" the new N-word? One of those things that can be used and accepted in the black community, but is considered a racial slur when used by whites?

For me, it's more context than the actual words. Imus's infamous "nappy-headed hoes" was obviously meant to be deragatory, whereas this woman's words were, I don't know, merely ignorant? And what if a black teacher had said it? Would both black teachers have shared a knowing chuckle, and glance? A sort of "I've been there" moment?

I'm really torn about this, and how I feel about it. I don't think the teacher meant it as a hurtful statement, but then again, as a teacher, I don't think I would have made the comment.

I talked to a white colleague about this, and she thinks that though the comment probably wasn't racist, it was inappropriate. But while listening AND agreeing with her, that little voice in the back of my head said, "Well, what would you expect her to say?"

So, I want another opinion. Was this racist? Is "nappy" in and of itself off-limits to whites, despite having heard more than a few white people refer to their own hair as nappy?

I think I am pretty objective on most matters of race. And although I don't immediately associate every slight, real or perceived, with race, I understand that sometimes race IS a factor.

But still, I sometimes wonder if other blacks think my background and diversity of my friends, disqualifies me from matters of race anyway because I'm "not black enough."

But THAT is a completely different issue.

P.S. I considered putting picture on here, but didn't to avoid any potential racist overtones :)