Jun 30, 2008

These ads don't surprise me at all. I mean really. When it comes to attacking us, we are always the best people for the job. We always rise to the occasion. Nobody attacks us (African Americans) the way we attack ourselves.

They (black republicans) contend that the Democrats are racist. Now granted there are some very racists Democrats out there (this was very evident by the elections that took place in the Appalachians). I, for one, will never say that the Democratic party is absent of racism. That would be a very naive statement on my behalf, but what I would say is that comparing the Democrats to the Republicans is like comparing apples to oranges. One party has put forth a concerted effort towards the goal of inclusion whereas the other's effort is only superficial to say the least.

The party of Lincoln that black republicans so desperately cling to no longer exists. Instead of attacking the Democrats, maybe they need to ask themselves what happen to their party. Maybe they need to ask why is that so many African Americans turned away from the Republican Party. I see a little history lesson is needed on why all of this came about. We will start by discussing he Dixiecrats and how it was their infiltration of the Republican party in the south that completely change the demographics of the party.

The Dixiecrats were members of the States' Rights Democratic Party, which splintered from the Democratic Party in 1948. The faction consisted of malcontented southern delegates to the Democratic Party who protested the insertion of a civil rights plank in the party platform and U.S. president Harry S. Truman's advocacy of that plank. Before the convention southern delegates were dismayed by Truman's 1948 executive order to desegregate the armed forces. With that backdrop many southern delegates were already concerned as they headed to the 1948 Democratic convention.

Although the Dixiecrats immediately dissolved after the 1948 election, their impact lasted much longer. Many white voters who initially cast Dixiecrat ballots gravitated back toward the Democratic Party only grudgingly, and they remained nominal Democrats at best. Ultimately, the Dixiecrat movement paved the way for the rise of the modern Republican Party in the South. Many former Dixiecrat supporters eventually became Republicans, as was highlighted by Strom Thurmond's conversion in the 1960s. (Source)
Is it better to have a piece of a man than no man at all? This is a debate that my girlfriends and I have been having for quite some time now. Some women will knowingly get involve with a man even if they know he is involved with other women. As long as he is fulfilling their needs, they really don’t care what he does or who it does it with as long as it doesn’t interfere with their time. Most of these women are independent and career oriented women. They have every desire to be married one day, but have yet to meet their Prince Charming. So in the process of waiting for Mr. Right to show up they’ve decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve decided that if they can’t have a man then a piece of a man will do for the time being. Some refer to this man as a Cut Buddy, a Friend with Benefits and whatever else names you may have heard in a rap video. These women seem to have it all under control, but are they fooling themselves? Are they short changing themselves by getting involved with these men? Or are they just behaving like men and trying to have their cake and eat it too? I mean isn’t that the point of cake: to eat it...LOL?

So, you know I have to ask. Is it better to have a piece of a man than no man at all? Let’s be honest ladies and have a little Girl Talk.

The time has come for Tavis Smiley to pass the torch as commentator of the TJMS (Tom Joyner Morning Show).

Throughout the months of July and August the eight commentators will contend on the TJMS. It is up to you as the listener to decide whose your favorite by casting your vote. Voting opens at 7am CST and ends 7pm CST on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every Friday Tom will announce the contender that is moving into the next round.

The Contenders:

- Eddie Glaude (July 1)

- Cousin Jeff Johnson (July 3)

- Anthony Samad (July 8)

- Stephanie Robinson (July 10)

- Faye Anderson (July 15)

- Dr. Reiland Rabaka (July 17)

- Van Jones (July 22)

Click here to learn more about the contenders and how you can cast your vote. Who do you think will be the next commentator of the Tom Joyner Morning Show?

Jun 27, 2008

I know we hear it all the time: the key to a good life is having a positive attitude. I wrote my own little piece on the power of having a positive attitude and would like to share it with you all.

All of us are traveling on different roads, going to different destinations. Sometimes we can guess where we may end up, and perhaps even navigate our road so well that we get to the place we hoped for ahead of time. But the only thing we can truly be sure about as we travel is that our road is not a straight one. We have to expect twists and turns. Slippery slopes, hills that become mountains, and roads with no end in sight should not take us by surprise or frighten us into turning around. They should motivate us to go forward, at a faster pace, and with greater determination.

There are many personal qualities we will need to have on our journey. Some we may have when we first start walking on our road; others may be instilled in us along the way. Patience, determination, faith, hope, diligence and industriousness are just a few of the qualities needed on our journey. There is one quality, however, that must be stressed above the others. If you lack this quality you may not even find a road to travel on. This quality is a positive attitude.

You can’t secure the future you’re planning without a positive attitude. One of your greatest strengths must be your ability to see the beauty in your personal thunderstorms, and not let your frustrations dampen your passion. Your hopes, your dreams, your smallest goals cannot be realized if you lack a positive attitude.
Your positive attitude will help you build the career you thought you didn’t have the tools to build. Your positive attitude will bring you out of the worst of circumstances. Your positive attitude will allow you to do better than the people who had it easier and better than you starting out in their careers. It’s your positive attitude that will allow you to look back on your life in your old age and wonder how you accomplished so much.

You have but one choice to make: whether you are going to pursue your dreams or not. And if you decide your dreams are worth toiling for then you’re one step closer to making each of them a reality. Just remember to always keep your positive attitude with you on your journey.
This commentary was so very thought provoking for me that I decided to share it with my readers. I am beginning to truly explore this subject of sexism and the black community. Upon doing so, I cam across this article by Jeff Johnson.

By Jeff Johnson, aka "Cousin Jeff"
Special to CNN

CNN) -- Hip-hop's alleged vulgarity, sexism and misogyny have been formally and informally challenged from the halls of Capitol Hill to the streets of Sugar Hill. Those outside the black and Latino communities, as well as those inside the hip-hop family have challenged it. Despite over a decade of engagement, many would argue that the images of women in hip-hop have become progressively and destructively more negative than at any other time in history.

Lyrics that were at one time provocative and merely suggestive are now blatant and overtly obscene. Music videos have become machismo fairy tales that have more "ogre and ass" scenes than the Shrek trilogy. These images attempt to pass off the objectification of black women specifically as "true beauty" in the name of entertainment. These images and lyrics, while acceptable for adults, are targeted to a demographic made up of young people ages 12 to 16. Studies have shown that these images, and more importantly these lyrics, play a role in how young people view themselves and process sex and relationships.

During the production of a documentary for BET, which focused on sex and hip-hop, I interviewed a panel of high school students. One of those students, a 15-year-old girl, stated that she was not satisfied with how she looked because she wanted to be like the girls in the videos. After all, the boys want to be with girls in the videos. One of the young men followed up by saying that the girls in the videos were cool to sleep with, but not to take home. In that very brief snippet of conversation, we get a sense of the negative impact that these sexist and misogynistic images have on hip-hop's biggest fans. Even with all this evidence, can we place the blame entirely on hip-hop? I say unequivocally, "No."

Hip-hop must accept a level of responsibility for the destructive reality played out in the lives of many young people as a result of the music. Hip-hop is one of the most vocal and visible delivery mechanisms for the language and imagery of sexism and misogyny. However, many politicians, pundits and haters demonize the art form, and more importantly, the young people that are a part of it, without putting the issue in its proper context.

The art form, culture, music or however you may describe hip-hop is a product of the black and Latino community. With that, it has inherited many of the cultural issues passed down from previous generations. Within the African-American community, there has been a pervasive sexism that has existed even within the upper echelons of leadership for generations. The black church barred women from the pulpit, but not from ensuring that many congregations remained served by the multitude of sister servants.

The civil rights movement, which has been justifiably praised for its ability to change the social and political fabric of America for the better, was overwhelmingly sexist. There were more women than men who did the day-to-day work of the movement, yet only men served as spokespersons. Sectors of the black power movement were marred by a misogynistic culture that led to the torture of several sisters who were as willing to give their lives to the movement as their male counterparts.

The young men and women who have embraced hip-hop have inherited a culture of sexism and misogyny that has never been effectively admitted to or addressed by the previous generation, leaving young people to bear the brunt of the blame. But to hold accountable the black community without indicting a broader western culture that is sexist would be irresponsible. The soft porn we see on many cable networks, the access to all forms of porn via the Internet, and Madison Avenue's continued recognition that sex sells have desensitized an entire generation to the objectification of women.

If we are to honestly deal with the real issues of sexism and misogyny in hip-hop, we cannot start and stop with hip-hop. Let's challenge the industry to be responsible for the images it produces and distributes, but simultaneously deal with the far-reaching and pervasive social and cultural deficiencies America has related to the protection of women. (Source)

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. The National Association of People with AIDS is the lead for this day.

The Facts
An estimated 250,000 people in the United States have HIV and are not aware of it. National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity for people nationwide to learn their HIV status, and to gain knowledge to take control of their health and their lives.

I love Monster.com’s motto, “Never Settle.” The career website’s mission is to help individuals find jobs they will be passionate about. Their motto reflects the belief that people have a right to expect the best out of their careers and life in general.

One would hope that the “never settle” motto would be ingrained in young African-Americans’ and other minorities’ psyches by society, as we are said to have more opportunities than ever before. Yet, the majority of us seem to be encouraged to settle for less than what we desire and deserve. We are told in myriad ways by the media, educators, employers, and our family and friends that we are “lucky” just to have graduated from high school or college, and that aspiring to have anything beyond a job that pays our bills is wishful thinking. Instead of being encouraged and aided to follow our dreams, well-meaning but harmful people instill a fear in us that our ethnicity will be a huge barrier to our achievement, certain careers are too hard to succeed in, and that the further we seek to go in our careers the more we are at risk of failing.

In fact, many minorities are taught to settle throughout their lives. Parents can be heard telling their children they “better finish high school,” instead of taking it for granted that they will and focusing on how they will succeed in college. When in college, minority students are often told to major in a field they aren’t excited about or one that will supposedly guarantee them a job, instead of studying something more suited to their interests and strengths.

Fueling complacency in this way results in people having mediocre careers and mediocre lives. Ultimately, they will feel as if they missed out on something and did not realize their full potential—in which case they’d be right. Throughout history we have seen that the people who had the most rewarding careers and are remembered as leaders in their field, are those that knew their worth and refused to be happy with what others said should make them content.

So why should we have to take jobs that don’t excite us, utilize our skills, and help us grow? Why should we feel overjoyed to receive a paycheck every two weeks regardless of who it’s from? Why should we put our dreams on the backburner?

We can’t afford to lower our expectations and let others dictate what we’re worthy of having. We do ourselves, our ancestors, and future generations a disservice by striving for anything less than excellence and the realization of our goals. Robert Williams, a writer, once said, “It is impossible for a people to rise above their aspirations. If we think we cannot, we most certainly cannot. Our greatest enemy is our own defeatist attitude.” This is the mentality we need to have and nurture in others. Never let anyone tell you that something cannot be done or you’re not the person to do it. Never let anyone tell you that there is a limit to how much you can accomplish and that you should be satisfied to have made it as far as you have. Go further savvy sistas, and never settle.

Jun 26, 2008

She really has an Aretha Franklin feel going with this song. I'm really feeling this song. If this any indication of what her third album is going to be like then I am definitely excited. I think Fantasia is an incrdible talent. She just needs the right material to take her career to the nex level.

What do you think of the song?

Thanks to the people at Sohh.com for the song.

I sat through the whole hour of this on BET only because my girl Melissa Harris-Lacewell was on the panel. I believe if BET truly wants this to be effective they need to make it commercial free or longer than an hour. It's really hard for me to take anything serious like this coming from BET when in fact it is part of the problem. It just looks to me as though the executives or at BET are trying to talk out of both sides of their mouths. You are either a part of the solution or the problem. Make up your mind.

And on a side note. Am I the only person that thinks Jeff Johnson is a beautiful specimen of a man. Mama definitely likes...LOL!!!

Part 2 of Hip-Hop vs. America (Where Did the Love Go) comes on tonight at 8 pm on BET. Check your local listings for times in your area.
Do you consider this fat? Supermodel Karolina Kurkova was labeled fat by Brazilian newspapers when she walked down the runway at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in a bikini. Now I know as black people we have different standards when it comes to weight issues, but that doesn't mean we are not affected by the images that are put out there by the media especially when it comes from the fashion industry. This European standard of beauty has infilitrated our community and become just as toxic. Blacks are suffering from cases of anorexia and bulimia just as whites.

I know that by any standard Ms. Kurkova would not be considered fat, but what do you think we can do to really combat these images put forth by the media and the fashion industry. What say thee...
Independent presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, has no qualms in stating his disappointment in Barack Obama. In an intereview with Rocky Mountain News, Mr. Nader has some pretty choice words for the junior senator from Illinois:

"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American. Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.

Nader also pointed out that Obama was trying to appeal to white guilt in order to win the presidency:
"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

Never one to miss and opportunity, the Obama camp had a quick come back to Mr. Nader's words:
"It reminds me of that old saying," said communications director Robert Gibbs, "which I'll paraphrase: 'Better to be thought not-so-smart than to open your mouth and remove all doubt,' which is apparently what Ralph Nader did in Denver yesterday or the day before. Obviously Ralph Nader hasn't spent a lot of time looking at the entire career of Barack Obama, somebody who turned down high-paying Wall Street jobs and Supreme Court clerkships to come back and organize on the south side of Chicago, in fact, taking on asbestos in public housing projects. He's worked tirelessly in the United States Senate to make sure that our kids don't chew on toys that are imported from China that are filled with lead and that we begin to pass reasonable, but strong rules ensuring that there isn't any more lead paint in homes that children can chew on. We've talked throughout this campaign about making sure that our middle-class is protected. So, I think Ralph Nader is -- besides those comments being reprehensible and basically delusional, I don't think he's spent a lot of time looking at the record of Barack Obama." (Source)

Jun 25, 2008

One of the reasons I wrote my book, "Embracing the Real World: The Black Woman's Guide to Life After College," is so I could discuss some of the finer points of working for a living that a lot of career guides ignore. For example, when I graduated and started working in my first professional position I assumed (and you know what happens when you do that) that my office environment would be filled with professionals (real grown ups). It took me a week to see I was wrong. People at work can be just as messy as people on college yards! To help you savvy sistas who might be having problems on the job because of office mess (politics), I've provided a couple of tips to avoid the madness.

Observe your environment: Take careful mental notes of who doesn’t like who, and why, through the unasked for stories your co-workers will tell you. Don’t ask any of them to elaborate, just listen. Consider it a form of entertainment.

Avoid making decisions about your colleagues based on other people’s judgments: You should already have learned that you can’t believe everything you hear—this is especially true in the workplace. People will have motives for telling you certain things about others, and you’ll probably find that most of what you’re told are half-truths or outright lies. You can listen to other people’s warnings, but reserve your judgment. It would be a shame for you to dodge interacting with a potentially fantastic co-worker because of someone else’s opinion.

Avoid giving your personal opinion about the conflicts taking place at your company: If you find that you can trust one or two of your colleagues then you can share your thoughts about all the drama going on. However, stay away from “water-cooler” type conversations or giving your take on a situation to a random co-worker. Otherwise your feedback may be a part of the next water-cooler meeting.

Avoid showing the appearance of taking sides: You are likely to feel that someone is in the wrong in certain situations; however, unless you are directly involved in it you shouldn’t deliberately show whose side you are on. Don’t write any letters stating your views on a personal work dispute, don’t talk to your boss about your views, and don’t tell the co-worker you feel is behaving badly that you think he or she is wrong. When you show that you are on one person’s side it automatically puts you on other people’s bad sides, and you may not even know it.

Avoid playing the mediator: Unless you work in the HR department as a mediator you shouldn’t attempt to help co-workers solve work disputes. You should even stay out of conflicts between people you consider good friends who don’t get along. Once you put yourself in the middle of them you will find yourself taking sides.

Try to minimize your interaction with blatantly messy or troublesome colleagues: Becoming friends with co-workers who are constantly involved in office politics will reflect badly upon you and create automatic enemies. Avoid people who seem to strategize about how to make others look bad, or who use their influence to get people in trouble. Once you accidentally piss off these types of people they may devise schemes to ruin your reputation also. And of course you won’t have anyone to turn to because befriending them made you the second most hated person at work.
Why is it that women have so little respect for each other? I was at my class reunion and one of my former classmates walked in. The girl had it going on, but you would have never known based on the way all the other females were talking about her. They talked about what she had on, the fact that she was or use to be a stripper, her being a video vixen and anything else they could come up with. I don’t know what it was about homegirl, but she obviously intimidated a lot of people. I, personally, just thought the she looked good and looked as though she had done well for herself. I mean, I really don’t care or concern myself with what she does in her life. That is her business and the choices she has made for herself. It is not for me to judge her on any level, but obviously I was the only one that felt that way. I just can’t understand why women are each others own worse enemy. We tear each other down more than any man could possibly ever do. Is it because we are so insecure with ourselves or is it because we were taught not to trust other women? I mean seriously. Does a woman go after another woman’s husband simply because she has no respect for the wife because she is a woman? I mean what reason would a woman have to intentionally go after a married man? Yeah we can blame the husband, but that’s not what I’m talking about right now. I want to focus on women and our responsibility to other women. Why is it that we hate each other so much?

Why are women so distrusting of other women? Do you think there’s a way for women to ever truly come together and really support each other? Come on ladies. It’s time to have some Girl Talk.

Ladies please enjoy the sexiness known as Maxwell. I swear when he came out I threw my panties at the television...LOL!!! I love him. When is he going to drop another album? Why does he insist on playing with our emotions like this?

Man, where in the world has Lisa Lisa been? I didn't even recognize chick. I use to love me some Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam when I was kid. It's good to know she's still on the scene.

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - Head to Toe

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - All Cried Out

Nia Long

Nia Long

Niecy Nash

Lauren London

En Vogue

Jun 24, 2008

I don't know about you all, but the one thing that can get my work day off to a bad start is a boring, long, tedious office meeting. The last one I attended nearly bored me to tears. After thinking about why many office and other meetings drive people batty it occurred to me that for the most part it is because people tend to take too long to say what they have to say--especially when they are trying to present an idea. How many of you all have had to sit through a 15 minute explanation about a new project or service for your company only to not even really understand what your coworker or manager was trying to talk about? Or perhaps you heard someone present what seems liked a good idea but they were missing key information and so you feel like they somewhat wasted your time (because now they have to come back and present all over again when they get their stuff together).

Well, to make sure my savvy sistas are on point when they are trying to present ideas at a meeting (be it for an office or organization), I'd like to share a couple of tips:
1. Speak with authority: How you say something is just as important as what you say. People will take your ideas seriously and believe they are valuable if you speak with confidence and passion. Avoid phrases that make you seem unsure of yourself, such as "I think my plan may work" or "I'm pretty sure my idea can help the company perform better."

2. Show that you've done your research: Decision makers are more apt to appreciate your idea/opinion if it is backed by credible research instead of just your gut feeling. When possible, present findings from key sources that suggest your idea has merit. Also, you should know possible objections people may have regarding your idea and you should be ready to address them.

3. Be concise when stating your idea and ask for feedback: Make your idea easy to grasp by explaining it as simply as possible, and try to be brief. People may begin to tune you out if you are longwinded or seem to be purposefully using unnecessary jargon or flowery language. After you've stated your idea, continue to draw your listeners into the conversation by asking for their feedback. By getting other's opinions during the conversation, you may be able to curtail any immediate doubts someone has about your idea.

4. Explain how the idea/plan benefits everyone: Using concrete examples, show how your idea benefits everyone listening, not just the people who are able to approve it. Your goal is to build consensus and demonstrate that you are looking out for the best interest of everyone in the group or company.

5. Watch your body language: Your body language should exude confidence. Maintain eye contact and good posture when you are presenting your ideas, and do not fidget with anything.

6. Dress appropriately: Your attire will be judged along with your ideas. Don't draw attention away from what you have to say by wearing provocative clothing or something too casual for the environment you're in. A good rule of thumb is to wear a business suit when presenting in a formal setting.

Talk to you Wednesday!
Chaz Kyser

What does a man have to do to finally make you walk away? Is cheating a deal breaker in a relationship? A lot of people say that if their mate cheated on them the relationship would be over, but that doesn't seem to be the case these days especially if one is married. It would appear that women are more forgiving of a indiscretion then men are. Why do you think this is so? I know I have my opinion, but I would like to hear yours. If you are/were married and your husband cheated how would you respond? And why is it that single women are so willing to put up with a man's indiscretion even though they don't have serious ties like marriage or children with that man? Let's have a little Girl Talk ladies.

A bank teller, Melindathee Hill, in Chicago allegedly takes advantage of an 86-year old woman's failing mind by siphoning off $300,000 of her $400,000 savings. Hill used the money to pay for everything from jewelry to tuition. The even sadder part of this situation is the fact that Chase Bank has yet to pay the elderly woman, Jessie McDonald, her money back.

So far, the bank has yet to give McDonald the money back -- even though the teller has been fired and a branch manager disclosed in court hearings that McDonald had been fleeced.

"This [teller] was helping herself to about $300,000,'' Public Guardian Robert Harris said. "It's even more egregious when it's someone who is completely reliant on her savings. She is so vulnerable. You would not expect the bank would be the one preying on her at this point.''

The bank discovered the theft in August 2007. Harris, whose office was appointed McDonald's guardian after her husband died and a doctor found that she suffered from dementia, said McDonald has waited long enough for the bank to pay her back.

Bank officials noted they're the ones who referred McDonald to take her case to the guardian's office.

"We . . . urged them to intercede on behalf of Mrs. McDonald, and we are currently working with the public guardian's office to resolve the financial details,'' Chase spokesman Tom Kelly said. (Source)

The really sad part of this entire situation is the fact that this is something that happens to elderly people everyday especially when they don't have family that loves and protect them.

Jun 23, 2008

I always wondered what Shaq really thought about Kobe. Well, he pretty much sums it up with his little freestyle.
I guess it wasn't enough for him to talk about black women being nappy-headed hoes he had to go and put down all African-Americans. I wonder what Jason Whitlock and people like him have to say about this. Here is the exchange Imus had with another on-air personality about NFL player, Pacman Jones, who recently signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

Wolf: “Defensive back Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys. Here’s a guy suspended all of 2007 following a shooting in a Vegas night club.”

Imus: “Well, stuff happens. You’re in a night club, for God’s sake. What do you think’s gonna happen in a night club? People are drinking and doing drugs, there are women there, and people have guns. So, there, go ahead.”

Wolf: “He’s also been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.”

Imus: “What color is he?”

Wolf: “He’s African-American.”

Imus: “Well, there you go. Now we know.”

Alan and Susan Raymond spent one year filming in Frederick Douglass High School, which has a rich history of successful alumni, including Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. Shot in classic cinema verité style, the film captures the complex realities of life at Douglass, and provides a context for the national debate over the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, focusing on the brutal inequalities of American minority education, considered an American tragedy by many.

Douglass principal Isabelle Grant oversees a staff of teachers that is two-thirds non-certified, while many are substitutes unqualified to teach their subject areas. Threatened with sanctions, or even closing, unless student scores improve in annual standardized tests, the faculty tries to find workable solutions to chronic problems of attendance, lateness and apathy among students, many of whom come from poor backgrounds and broken homes, and lack the most basic reading and math skills.

Hard Times at Douglass High premieres on June 23 only on HBO.

Jun 22, 2008

Hello my Savvy Sistas! I am happy to be a guest blogger on this site and hope my words throughout the week will help you in some way or at least give you something to think about. Although I typically write about career-related issues because of my book, “Embracing the Real World: The Black Woman’s Guide to Life After College,” I wanted to start out by discussing something problematic that I know many people (savvy sistas like me included) often do: wait around to have someone else empower you or make you feel like you are really capable of doing something.

I know plenty of women like this and I usually meet them at the many conferences and seminars I attend. I especially love to go to the empowerment seminars created to boost women’s confidence, give us hope for tomorrow, and make us feel all gushy inside like we can conquer the world. Unlike many attendees I never take notes; I let everything just sink in. I’ve been to at least a dozen in the last couple of years, and I’m ashamed to say that they haven’t helped me all too much. Like individuals who pledge to turn their lives over to God at church, but as soon as they leave go back to their old ways, I think I attended the seminars just to feel good and make myself believe that I was really trying to get myself together.

I’ve finally realized that all the advice, reading up on the five steps to achieving this and that, and the personal stories supposed to encourage me—don’t have the ability to empower me. Whoopi Goldberg said it best while speaking to women during an empowerment seminar (how ironic) when she stated, “If I have to empower you then you’re not empowered.” In other words, power and the desire to change one’s situation comes from within.

I’ve found that a lot of us are sitting around waiting to become empowered. We do this even though we realized years ago that are lives weren’t headed where we wanted them to go and we weren’t achieving all we could achieve. So why do we need someone to tell us this over and over again? Why do we search everyone but ourselves for the power we need to prosper? And why do we postpone living out our dreams? What are we waiting for—the actual voice of God to tell us “Okay, now is your time to be the person you really want to be?” The fact that we only have one life to live on earth should be enough to empower us all.

Sadly, many of us keep our dreams bottled up like we do our feelings about the people we love. We don’t want to tell them how in love we are because we’re afraid that we’ll get hurt and look silly. We don’t chase our dreams because we’re afraid that we won’t catch them and then everyone will know that we failed at our endeavors. But just like it’s better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all, it’s better to go after every dream that ever crept into our minds and fulfill some of them, than it is to sit back and let all of them be nothing more than dreams.

I can’t remember exactly when I decided that I had had enough of my laziness, my acceptance of mediocrity and the waste of my own talents and time. But after dismissing those thoughts and making excuses for myself time and time again, I finally wised up. The thought of being seventy and sad because I never made the decision to make the most of my life frightened me into doing it. And since I chose to dedicate myself to myself I haven’t been the same.

I used to frown when famous people said the often heard phrase, “I never thought I would ever achieve this much!” during their acceptance of awards. I thought they always had the drive in them to be successful—something that average people don’t have or at least I didn’t. I don’t think that way anymore. I realize that their biggest step to stardom was probably just saying aloud that they wanted to be a star, and not feeling silly for trying to speak their dreams into existence. I now constantly try to speak my dreams into existence and then go the extra mile and work my dreams into existence too.

Once we as savvy sistas decide that we’re not going to waste another moment of our lives without knowing what we’re going to do with it (or try hard to find out!), the empowerment we’ve been searching for will set in and overwhelm us. Instead of trying to figure out what we want to do, we’ll be confused about what we want to do first.

I wake up in the morning less cranky now because I have dreams that I am truly committed to turning into realities. My days are no-longer filled with aimless hours of “just living.” I have purpose and passion and all the good stuff the people in the seminars tried to give me. But I have these things and am empowered because I chose to empower myself.

I encourage you to think about if you have been looking toward others (whether through seminars, books or family and friends) to give you the empowerment that can really only come from within.

Chaz Kyser

*** Editor's Note

I know I'm a little late with this, but sista girl has been at her class reunion (I will discuss this later) so please forgive me. I'm trying to catch up with the blog as we speak.

Jun 20, 2008

The New York Times reports:

For the July issue of Italian Vogue, Mr. Meisel has photographed only black models. In a reverse of the general pattern of fashion magazines, all the faces are black, and all the feature topics are related to black women in the arts and entertainment. Mr. Meisel was given roughly 100 pages for his pictures. The issue will be on European newsstands next Thursday and in the United States soon after.

Under its editor, Franca Sozzani, Italian Vogue has gained a reputation for being more about art and ideas than commerce. Ms. Sozzani also doesn’t mind controversy.

She said that, as an Italian, she has been intrigued by the American presidential race and Mr. Obama, which was one source of inspiration when she and Mr. Meisel began discussing, in February, the idea of an all-black issue. Also, she was aware of the lack of diversity on the runways in recent years and the debate it fueled last fall in New York, where Bethann Hardison, a former model who ran a successful agency, held two panel discussions on the topic.

Ms. Sozzani said the issue was not a response to criticism that she, too, has under-represented blacks or portrayed them as stereotypes.

“Mine is not a magazine that can be accused of not using black girls,” said Ms. Sozzani, noting that Naomi Campbell has had several covers, and that Liya Kebede and Alek Wek have also had covers. (Source)

Jun 19, 2008

What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All or none of them could be true. For whatever the reason, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory. (Source)

For these slaves the news of freedom came two and a half years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Despite the delay, it was a day to celebrate freedom. Thereafter June 19 remained an important day.

With freedom came many choices. Some former slaves chose to stay and work for their old masters’, while others moved away to neighboring states. Juneteenth remained an important holiday, and many of those who moved away came back for the annual festivities. Others took with them the traditions of Juneteenth, and it spread throughout the country.

In the earlier years, most festivities took place around rivers, creeks and on church grounds. As traditions developed, activities and food became an important part of the celebration. Activities included rodeos, fishing, barbecuing, and baseball. Strawberry soda, lamb, pork, and beef were just a few of the favorite dishes. Additionally, education and self-improvement were prevalent themes. Guest speakers and elders used it as an opportunity to recount the past. Lastly, prayer services were important.

However, celebrations began to decline in the early 1900s as children were taught in the classroom instead of at home. In the past, families had taught their children the traditions of Juneteenth, but as schoolbooks replaced family customs, traditions were not passed on. The depression also had an effect on the decline of celebrations. Many African Americans were forced to leave farms in search of work in the cities. Whereas, most landowners had given laborers the day off, employers in the city were less likely to give their employees time off for Juneteenth festivities.

The importance of Juneteenth resurged in the 1950s and 1960s as the civil rights movement was underway. In the Atlanta civil rights demonstrations of the early 1960s, marchers wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. In 1968, many African Americans began to see the significance of Juneteenth after the Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C. Many returned home and had Juneteenth celebrations. Additionally, January 1, 1980, marked a significant day when Texas named Juneteenth an official state holiday in celebration of the emancipation of the slaves in Texas in 1865. (Source)

Other Info:
Check out the campaign to make Juneteenth a National Holiday.

Will you be watching? What does it mean to be Black in America to you. What say thee...

Jun 18, 2008

It always amazes me to hear white people talking about how angry black folks are especially black women? Listen to the names of the women that he called angry: Maxine Waters and Cynthia Mckinney just to name a few. I'm sure he probably threw Omarosa name out there also just to mix it up a little bit. I'm guessing this was his way of discussing the perceptons Michelle Obama will have to battle with white America. So because Jesus is still working on me I' not going to go off like I normally would besides it's too early in the morning. I don't want to go into work and become the 'Angry Black Woman' and scare all the white people. I swear black women have so many things against us. I just don't understand how we are able to get up in the morning.
Ok, ladies I got a good one for you today. Why is it that we say we want a good man, but we always go for the bad boy? What is it about the bad boy that we just can't seem to get past? I meet some of the nicest, sugary send you into diabetic shock sweet men, but I don't want them. No! I don't want the man that will put me on a pedestal and treat me like a queen. I want the man who is a music producer in New York who is just not available to me. You know the man that makes all the promises, but don't follow through on any of them. The same man that drops in and out of your life as though time supposed to stand still while you wait on him. Yeah, that man. That's the one I want and have wanted for some time now. What in the world is wrong with me? I know why I am stuck on Mr. New York, but Lord knows I am trying to get over this man. So ladies do you have any advice or similiar stories you would like to share? I know I'm not the only one that has gone through this. Let's have some Girl Talk.

Jun 16, 2008

This is a speech that I feel everyone needs to hear. I believe between this speech and the one she gave at Howard to be her greatests speeches. I think her words of wisdom is something that people of all ages can follow.
I'm Voting Republican...

The short is written and directed by Charlie Steak and produced by SyntheticHuman Pictures. For more info, visit imvotingrepublican.com.

Here is the one and only Whoopi Goldberg looking, dare I say it, fabulous as she hosted the Tony Awards. I am really just speechless right now. I mean look at chick's legs. Who knew Whoopi had legs like these?

Jun 15, 2008

To all the standup men who are there and support their children we salute you. I hope that you all have a Bless and Happy Father's Day. We could definitely use more brothers like you.

-The Savvy Sista Family

Jun 14, 2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) was recently cited as the number one producer of African American baccalaureate degree holders in a report issued by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

With a total of 1,256 graduates in the 2006-07 academic year, FAMU tops the magazine’s list of America’s top 100 undergraduate degree producers in its June 2008 issue. All institutions appearing on the list were ranked according to the total number of degrees awarded to minority students across all disciplines. FAMU has been consistently ranked as a number one baccalaureate degree producer for several years in various categories. The University also leads the nation in the production of African American pharmacists and African American PhD graduates in physics.

James H. Ammons, president of FAMU, said the recognition received from the recently published report validates the valued role FAMU plays in American and global higher education.

“This announcement by Diverse Issues in Higher Education speaks volumes concerning FAMU’s unique contributions to the nation and the international community at large,” he said. “I am pleased to learn of our ranking as we make enormous strides in our daily pursuit of excellence in everything we do.”

Located in Tallahassee, FAMU has a long tradition of achievements. In 1997, the institution was selected by Time Magazine and the Princeton Review as the “College of the Year” when it beat out most Ivy League Institutions in the recruitment of National Merit finalists. In 2000 FAMU tied Harvard in its recruitment of National Merit Scholars, bringing the nation’s brightest and most promising students to its campus. The university was also recognized as the number one institution for African Americans in 2006 by Black Enterprise Magazine.

WHY JESUS, WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm really just speechless right now. I'm trying to think of something really philosophical to say, but right now my entire mind has gone blank. We can talk about the objectifying women all we want, but at some point we are going to have to discuss how some women are willing participants in this game.

Shout out to Fresh at Crunk and Disorderly for putting this out there.

With all these mediocre singers out there, this chick definitely deserves to get signed. A singer/songwriter you really can't beat that these days. I guess Youtube videos have replaced the demo tape...LOL. Anyway, I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of Miss Unga.

Jun 13, 2008

I was checking out the site What About Our Daughters when I came across a post that talked about this article that a brother wrote on The Top Ten Reasons Why It’s Hard to Date a Black Woman. Here is the top ten:

1. Black women make black men feel under appreciated, unwarranted and irresponsible and regressive.

2. Black women are too aggressive and no longer patient in waiting on the pursuit of a man.

3. Black women are strong headed, too independent which presents great challenges in relationships.

4. Black women are masculine in that they are controlling and like to run the relationship.

5. Black women expect too much. They are gold diggers who will not look twice at a blue collar black man.

6. Black women are hot headed and have bad attitudes.

7. Black women stop caring about their appearance after a certain age.

8. Black women are not as sexually open as other races, especially in regards to oral sex.

9. Black women’s tolerance is far too low; they are no longer empathetic to the black man’s struggle in white America.

10. Black women do not cater to their men.

Now, you know God must be really working on me because this list didn't piss me off the way it would have a couple of years of ago. This list is more of an indictment against the brother that came up with it then it is against black women. I feel sorry for the brothers that can't appreciate the strength of a black woman. Men like the ones in this article aren't anyone I would want anyway. Their disdain for black women tells of the insecurity that is inherent in them. This is something these brothers need to work on.

I refuse to let a man make me feel bad for going to college and becoming self reliant. I refuse to let a man make me feel bad for becoming the strong independent woman that my mother raised me to be. If my degree in Chemical Engineering intimidates you then that is your problem and not mine. I have all the love in the world for my brothers, but I refuse to lessen myself in order to make you comfortable with my achievements. If you can't love me as I am then you can't love me at all. Besides, the last time I checked, having a strong black woman (Michelle Obama) by your side can make you the next President of the United States of America.

Ladies, tell me what you think about this topic.

NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert passed away today of a fatal heart attack. Tim Russert was 58 years old.

(CNN) -- Tim Russert, who became one of America's leading political journalists as the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," died Friday, according to the network. He was 58.

The network said Russert suffered a heart attack while at work and could not be revived. He had just returned from a family vacation in Italy to celebrate the graduation of his son, Luke, from Boston College.

Russert joined the network in 1984 and quickly established himself as the face of the network's political coverage.

In 1985 he supervised live broadcasts of the "Today" show from Rome, negotiating an appearance by Pope John Paul II -- a first for American television.

He took the helm of "Meet the Press" in 1991, turning the long-running Sunday-morning interview program into the most-watched show of its kind in the United States.

Washingtonian Magazine once dubbed Russert the best and most influential journalist in Washington, describing "Meet the Press" as "the most interesting and important hour on television."

In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Russert was born in 1950 in Buffalo, New York, the son of Timothy John Russert Sr. -- a newspaper truck driver and sanitation worker who was the "Big Russ" from his autobiography -- and Elizabeth Russert, a homemaker. (Source)

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A Chicago jury has acquitted R. Kelly on all counts at his child pornography trial.

The verdict came six years after the R&B superstar was first charged with videotaping himself having sex with a young girl. Prosecutors had said she was as young as 13 at the time.

Kelly had faced a maximum 15 years in prison.

Both Kelly and the now 23-year-old alleged victim had denied they were the ones appearing on the tape, which was played for the jury at the beginning and end of the trial.

The prosecution's star witness was a woman who said she engaged in three-way sex with Kelly and the girl from the video. Defense attorneys argued the man on the tape didn't have a large mole on his back, as Kelly does.

The jury of nine men and three women included the wife of a Baptist preacher from Kelly's Chicago-area hometown, as well as a compliance officer for a Chicago investment firm and a man in his 60s who emigrated from then-Communist Romania nearly 40 years ago.

Jurors took the sex tape at the center of the trial with them, and a monitor was set up in the jury room in case they wanted to review it.

Kelly was charged with 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl, who prosecutors say was as young as 13.

The 41-year-old superstar's trial was repeatedly delayed, once because the judge seriously injured himself falling off a ladder and another time because Kelly had emergency surgery to remove his appendix.

In closing arguments, Kelly's attorney banged on the jury box with his fist, yelled and whispered, laughed and pleaded for more than in hour in his emotion-filled closing.

At one point, Sam Adam Jr. referred to a defense argument made repeatedly during the trial that a mole on the singer's back proved he simply can't be the man in the video.

After displaying a freeze frame of the man's back in the video -- with no apparent mole -- Adam walked over to the defense table and placed his hand on Kelly's shoulder.

"The truth be told, there is no mole ... that means one thing," Adam told jurors, then paused and lowered his voice. "It ain't him. And if it ain't him, you can't convict."

Prosecutors wrapped up their arguments the same way they began them a month ago: by playing the entire graphic sex tape in open court.

The 27-minute film played on a monitor just outside the jury box -- the lights switched off and the blinds pulled across courtroom windows -- as Assistant State's Attorney Robert Heilengoetter read through sections of the indictment.

Neither Kelly nor the alleged victim testified at trial. But as the video played Thursday, Heilengoetter told jurors the man on the tape is Kelly and that he controlled the encounter.

Kelly sat across the room from jurors at the defense table in a gray pinstripe suit, his hands folded in front of him. As the sex tape played, he appeared tense, keeping his eyes on the monitor, his mouth drawn tight and his brow furrowed.

Over seven days presenting their case, prosecutors called 22 witnesses, including several childhood friends of the alleged victim and four of her relatives who identified her as the female on the video.

In two days, the Grammy winner's lawyers called 12 witnesses. They included three relatives of the alleged victim who testified they did not recognize her as the female on the tape.

During the trial, Kelly endeavored to make a good impression on jurors, always standing straight and folding his hands in front of him whenever they entered the courtroom.

Jurors, in turn, made a good impression on Judge Vincent Gaughan, who repeatedly praised their attentiveness. All appeared to take careful notes, even when testimony became highly technical. (Source)

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Friday is payday at KIPP DC: KEY Academy, and some sixth-grade girls gather at the makeshift school store trying to decide how to spend their hard-earned money.

They received paychecks for behaving well, doing their homework or making academic gains. The money is pretend. But it can be used at the store for genuine items such as pens capped with fluffy feathers, pencil cases shaped like animals and colorful erasers.

Schools, under pressure to boost student achievement, are offering incentives — field trips and cash, for example — to motivate students.

At KEY Academy, a public charter school serving low-income, minority students in the nation's capital, Cherise Johnson Wallace proudly clutched a pencil case she bought at the school store. She was glad to have the trinket, but even happier about what it represented.

"It shows how I work very hard to earn good grades," she said, flashing a smile as she rattled off the A's she had earned.

That kind of pride is what supporters of rewards programs point to. They say the prizes motivate kids at first, but that the children eventually form good study habits and become interested in succeeding regardless of whether rewards are on the line.

The charter school's principal, Sarah Hayes, is a believer.

KEY Academy is among the city's top-performing schools, as judged by test scores. "I think a lot of that is tied back to our incentives program because it reinforces to the students that our expectations of time on task are serious and that you get rewarded for them," Hayes said.

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