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March 31, 2009

More Chris Brown Rihanna

I just found this article and thought it was really interesting.

It's just discussing how fans are defending Chris Brown and how many have blamed Rihanna for what has happened to here.

Thought people might want to see what some fans are saying.

Curiousity of what is shown as Glamorous - Blog 4

Our last class discussion about the pimp got me thinking about this iconic image that is continuously seen in the mainstream media. I find it interesting how our society tends to glorify some of the ugliest sides of our society. This is shown through the pimp (mainstream rappers like Snoop/ 50/ Jay Z), drug culture (most drama shows on TV/ mainstream rap/ etc.), prostitution (TV shows – “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” comes to mind) etc. I have been trying to figure out why our society is addicted to taking the dangerous and making it look the very opposite.

The only thing that I could think of was that the majority of people who do not live within the culture where one sees a lot of drug deals/ prostitution/ etc see it as adventurous and exciting probably because they are so far removed from reality.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

While writing this I can’t help but think of the HBO show The Wire which I believe does a great job of showing a much more realistic view of what it is like to participate in gangs, violence, drugs/ drug culture, prostitution, etc. This is one of the very few shows, I feel, on television that gives a realistic impression to the above issues.

Below is a link from the show The Wire with a less than glamorous look at drug culture:

Below is a link of a trailer to Secret Diary of a Call Girl – Glamorizing prostitution:

March 30, 2009

Pimping- Blog 4

Mark Anthony Neal's discussion, our writing assignment, and our discussion in class on the pimp, and what it means to be a pimp, were all very intriguing. In my mind, my pre-conceived notion of what it was to be a pimp was a man who could get all the women he wanted, whenever he wanted, who went out and sold themselves for him, as he controlled them. Neal's discussion changed that mindsight and gave the use of "pimp" today a completely new meeting. At the same time I think that our discussion on Thursday did more to reinforce the negative image the trope represents. It is still difficult to think of it as something positive, with the quotes Neal uses of Snoop Dogg, who still considers being a pimp "the thought of a female getting you money" (135).

The idea of a pimp for the hip hop generationis about "exploiting exploitation," the pimp is a metaphoric icon for hip hop generationers, without the same connotations of the pimp of the '60s (135). This idea, that moves beyond the historically understood definition, is an interesting twist. As we discussed in class on Thursday, however, it is difficult to remove all former presentations and performances surrounding "the Pimp." In the discussion of tropes of black manhood, the pimp fits nicely into the list, as self-identified pimps just want to find their way out of gang life and the projects. The use of the word pimp today is glorified and taken greatly out of context; it becomes a fantasy and fantasy life. MTV uses it in its TV show "Pimp My Ride," to deck out cars in outrageous presentation with expensive paint jobs, ridiculous sound systems, built in TVs and DVD players, and sometimes even a smoothie machine complete with a fridge for ingredients. As a verb, it seems to mean something that is over the top and unattainable to almost everyone. In effect, the car itself becomes pimp-like, being completely above and beyond all other cars, not blending in anywhere.

Given these representations in our culture today, it is hard to see a pimp that blends in with everyone else and is only a pimp because he or she is exploiting resources available to him or her. The idea of a female pimp is also hard to fathom, as most women who attempt to be pimps come off as more masculine. In an article I was reading about Macy Gray, it talked about her pimp attitude as she walked on stage and wore big fur coats and created a spectacle that made her more masculine. The word pimp is still gendered as a masculine word, even when women try to own it. While the men and women who attend the Bishop's Players Ball go to mingle and present themselves as pimps who are in control of their lives and money, we cannot deny the history of the pimp and the continued presentation of many who call themselves pimps like Snoop Dogg. The two images and definitions are inseparable.

March 25, 2009

Steve Harvey on Dating


(OPRAH.com) -- One of the original Kings of Comedy, Steve Harvey is the host of one of the most popular radio shows in the country, "The Steve Harvey Morning Show." His first book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," is shooting to the top of the best-seller lists, and Oprah Winfrey says she loves everything it has to say!
Comedian Steve Harvey: Women's standards too low

Harvey says this book has a special meaning for him. "This is the first project that I didn't do for money," he says. "Other than my foundation -- mentoring programs -- everything I do is for money. I tell jokes for a check; I'm on TV for a check. ... But this [book] right here I did purely to empower women."

In his book, Harvey says the way a man introduces you gives good insight into the status of your relationship. If a man introduces you as a friend or says your name with no title at all, Harvey says you have nothing. "We're very protective. We mark our territory. If a man loves you...he's willing to profess it. He'll give you a title after a while. You're going to be his lady, his woman, his fiancée, his wife, his baby's mama, something," he says.

"If he's introducing you after six months, 'This is...Oprah,' you should be standing there going, 'This is going nowhere.'" Oprah.com: Read an excerpt from this best-selling book!

Man with a plan

Another thing women need to understand, according to Harvey, is that every man has a plan. "Men don't come up to you to just talk. We come up to you with a plan," he says. "We're looking across the room at you, and we don't care about your hopes and dreams. We don't care about what your future holds. We saw something we wanted."

When a man approaches a woman, Harvey says, he already knows what we wants from her, but he doesn't know what it will cost. "How much time do you want from me? What your standards? What are your requirements? Because we'll rise to the occasion no matter how high you set the bar if we want to," he says. "The problem is, women have stopped setting the bar high." Oprah.com: What's your love type?

The cookie

Though a woman might want many things from a man, Harvey says men only need three things: support, loyalty and sex. Or as Harvey calls it, "the cookie." "We've got to have your support. Whatever adventure we're out on, whatever pursuit in life, we need your support. Then we need your loyalty. That's your love. We've got to know that you belong to us," he says. "And we've got to have a cookie. Everybody likes cookies. That's the thing about a cookie. I like oatmeal raisin...but if you've got vanilla cream, I'll eat that too."

Kickin' it

In his book, Harvey tells the story of his father-in-law's first introduction to one of Harvey's daughter's boyfriends.

"[My 26-year-old daughter] was dating this guy who was about 30. He had been over to the house about four, five times. And my father-in-law was visiting from Memphis," Harvey says. "He's in the kitchen and he's eating and [my daughter's] boyfriend is in there, and [my father-in-law] goes: 'So, son, sit down. Tell me, what's your plan for my granddaughter?'" After plenty of hemming and hawing, Harvey says the boyfriend finally said that the two were just "kickin' it."

Harvey was pretty confident his daughter didn't have the same interpretation of the relationship, he says. "I said: 'Cool. Let's bring my daughter in there. Let's inform her that she's just being kicked...let's see if that's what she wants to do," he says. "They broke up the next day."

Gone fishin'

Harvey says men are like fishermen -- but women are actually the ones looking for a good catch. You won't be able to find one, though, until you up your standards. "You've got sports fishermen, and you've got guys out there fishing to eat. You've got guys that are fishing to keep the fish, and you've got guys that are fishing to catch them, unhook them and throw them back," Harvey says. "You've got to determine along the way which one of the fish you're going to be."

Without ironclad standards, Harvey says you'll always end up back in the dating pool. "You've got to quit lowering your standards," he says. "Set your requirements up front so when a guy hooks you, he has to know this is business."

And don't let the man set the pace of the relationship -- Harvey says it's always the woman who has total control. "With all that power, why do you suddenly relinquish this power just because you want a guy to accept you? That's stupid," he says. "Say: 'Look, if you want to be with me, this is what you got to do. This is what it takes to get to me.'"

When should you sleep with your new boyfriend?

As an auto plant worker, Harvey says he had to wait 90 days to receive benefits -- and says the same probation period should apply to dating. "In 90 days they checked me out. They determined if I was easy to work with, if I got along well with others, if I showed up when I said I was going to show up, if I was worthy."

Women, Harvey says, hold the greatest benefit of all -- the cookie -- so there's no reason to give it away until you know your man deserves it. "Slow down, ladies," Harvey says. "Look, you cannot run us off."

So what if you don't want to wait 90 days? Harvey says if you change the probation period, you do so at your own risk. "You all keep changing the rules. And men are aware of the fact that you are changing the rules. We're aware of the fact that you act desperate. We're aware of the fact that you think there's a good shortage of good men out there," he says.

"We play on all of that. ... We created the term 'gold digger' so you won't ask us for nothing. We created the term 'nagging' so you can quit badgering us. These are terms that we created so you can require less of us."

Mr. fix-it

Harvey says four little words can strike fear and dread into any man: We need to talk. "You just drove a nail in his forehead," Harvey says.

Men are fixers, not talkers, Harvey says, so it's better to get to the point. "When you say, 'We need to talk,' we put up the barriers," he says. "I tell ladies, just sit down and strike up a conversation." Oprah.com: How to talk to a brick wall

Turn off the text

Social networking Web sites and text messages can be a great way to keep in touch with friends, but Harvey says it's not the best way to date. "You have nothing if you're texting a guy in a relationship," he says. "We can text six women a minute. We can text it and push 'reply all.' I mean, since we're lying, we might as well lie to everybody."

If you want the relationship to be more, take it face-to-face. "Women talk about [how] chivalry's dead. Chivalry's not dead -- it's just not required anymore," he says. "You've got to get a guy in your face. Look in his eyes. ... God has given you all this incredible thing called intuition. You've got to use that."

Safety first

You know you've got a keeper when your man wants to make sure you're always safe, Harvey says. Every man wants to protect his woman, and Harvey says this instinct kicks in when his wife, Marjorie, scuba dives. "I can't go home without her. We've got seven kids between us," Harvey says. "They need their mother. I'm not a good mother at all."

Although Marjorie is a certified diver, Harvey isn't a swimmer. "I have a security guy who can swim," he says. "So [he puts] on the snorkeling gear and when she goes down, I tell him, 'You swim over and just keep an eye on my wife.'"

Harvey also has instructions for everyone else on the boat. "I told all the dive masters on the boat: 'If she does not come out of that water in 30 minutes, everybody in the water. Everybody. We're doing a dive search right here,'" he says. "I don't care if nobody [else] on the boat goes home. She goes home." Oprah.com: How to read his body language

From The Oprah Winfrey Show

March 12, 2009

Cypher Coalition Event

There will be a discussion about Women in Hip Hop on March 25 from 7-9 PM in CMU 325. It is hosted by the Cypher Coalition.

March 10, 2009

Say My Name, A New Documentary on Women in Hip Hop

Potential Movies for GWSS Film Screening

Gold Digger Killer directed by Jeff Carroll (Hip Hop Horror)
No! The Rape Documentary by Aisha Simmons
The Aggressives by Daniel Peddle

I have copies of each of these movies. If you would like to check one out for review let me know.

March 9, 2009

Candy Girls...Really the first women in hip hop?

Candy Girls:

Last night on E a new reality show called Candy Girls began it is a show that focuses on “Bella” a talent agency who is owned by Danielle. The show is centered on the lives of the following women:

Danielle: The Owner of Bella
Terricka: The hot tempered model
Olivia: The mixed model
Brooke: The chocolate model
Blanca: The Latina model
April: The Stylist known as “The Token White Girl” in the hip hop industry
Kysha: Danielle’s Best Friend & Assistant

Immediately I notice that this show like many reality TV shows has selected the perfect group of women to cause drama and intrigue. The drama and intrigue that will be showcased in this show also happens to sound familiar because these women represent the tropes of women as well as the stereotypes of black women in hip hop. These women call themselves the “first women in hip hop” and in the first episode they define themselves through their personalities as well as the categories that their agent has placed them under. When I first heard the tagline “first women in hip hop” I can honestly say that I had one of those moments in which I pondered if these women could actually be considered the “first women in hip hop” or if the ones that deserved the real credibility were the actual wives of existing hip hop moguls such as Justine Simmons (Rev Run’s wife). My outlook on the situation could come from the numerous reality TV shows that I have watched especially the special on Hip Hop wives and video vixens in which wives and video girls have clearly expressed the fact that video girls are also groupies and that there are very few women who take being a video girl as a serious modeling opportunity. I also began to think that I would also consider the first women in hip hop to be all of those female artists that manage to breakthrough to the mainstream male dominated society. But overall I think it bothers me because as the title suggest these women are simply arm candy…and now teenage girls may start deciding that when they grow up they want to pursue this as a career.

As far as the categories, tropes, and stereotypes these women are placed in this is what I immediately picked up as well as what the show clearly said about these models.

Terricka: Immediately one notices that she is a little more outspoken than most of the other models. She has no problem being blunt and outspoken when it comes to here opinion. She is a baby mama who happens to be raising her child on her own. She makes it clear that money is what’s most important to her in order for her to provide for her child. In this first episode she is chosen by Danielle (agent) to be featured in 944 magazine, it is the opportunity of a lifetime for the agency so Danielle wants to be sure that she has selected the right models. Danielle chooses Terricka because she feels that she photographs the best but also acknowledges that Terricka has a terrible personality…Terricka is “officially” the BADWOMAN & SISTA w/ an ATTITUDE

Olivia: She happens to be the mixed model who is the daughter of a white mother and whose father happens to be Booker T. Jones. She sees modeling in these videos as a stepping stone to becoming an actress. She is also constantly attacked by some of the girls because she was very privledged and grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. Olivia expresses that fact that she knows that her background is different than the other girls but that she would still like to “fit in.” Danielle (agent) describes Olivia as a very sweet girl with a great personality and perfect for magazines and movies. As of right now I almost find it difficult to place Olivia in a specific category but I think that it is important to remember that she is the mixed model and how that will play a role in her getting more/less jobs compared to the other black models.

Brooke: She is referred to by Danielle as her chocolate model who photographs well but does not have a great personality. While Danielle may not be as outspoken as Terricka she has still be painted as a person who tries to act “hard” on the outside…the STRONG BLACK WOMAN.

Blanca: She was briefly introduced this first episode and the only thing that was mentioned was the fact that she was new to the business and that she had a great personality. The previews suggest that Blanca may have a drinking problem or may just be too much of a party girl. I am also assuming that Blanca is Latina due to her name and physical characteristics.

I will definitely be tuning in every Sunday to see if these women really are the “first women in hip hop”…

March 4, 2009

Beyond Rihanna and Chris Brown -- Elizabeth Berry Speaks

March 3, 2009

Candy Girls: The First Ladies of Hip Hop

Greetings everyone. Here's a link to a new reality show showcasing the "women of hip hop". Let me know if you plan to tune in.