Ah, yes… ‘tis Fat Tuesday! My Louisiana relatives are certainly whooping it up down in N’awlins – my dad’s side of the family hails from that Gulf state and we’ll be heading that way next year for a big-ass family reunion…I can’t wait! It should be a blast. I want to eat a mess of crawdads at a fais dodo, romp and stomp to some zydeco, and visit the gravesite of Marie Leveaux – get some more good gris-gris flowing towards myself and my family. I’m glad to say that my son has gotten out of his funk, knuckled down, and now has two jobs! He’s putting money away to get away from inbred Alaskan fuckwads, moving south to be closer to me and his other Washingtonian loved ones. It’s been bumpy for him recently…glad that he’s taking initiative.
Mardis Gras means that it is the month of March. It arrived gently, like a lamb, in my neck of the woods; not so for most of Washington state, the rest of the West Coast, and pretty much everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains. Those folks are getting hammered by more snow than they’ve seen in over a decade. I imagine that a lot of people are wondering if Spring will…well, spring! At any rate, St. Patrick’s Day, the Vernal Equinox and my birthday all occur this month, so it’s my time to celebrate. The flowers have begun blooming on various bushes around the yard, the frogs have been singing loudly in the woods, and the birds have been very active. The ocean has been frothing from the various systems moving through…it’s soothing to hear.
March has also been designated as ‘Women’s History Month,’ which should more accurately be called ‘White Women’s History Month’ – the achievements of white women are lauded, while non-white women are pretty much tossed aside. I guess that’s why the Sports Illustrated Slut Parade Swimsuit edition was just released; it perfectly captures the ‘empowerment’ of the white female, and using a plastic Barbie® on the cover this year is ideal – after all, most of the so-called ‘models’ are 50% plastic parts anyway!
I don’t watch awards shows, so I didn’t watch the Oscars. I do, however, keep up with current events, so congratulations to Mr. Steve McQueen, the first Black director to hoist the trophy. He directed the much-discussed movie 12 Years a Slave, which took the ‘Best Picture’ award. 12 Years a Slave is based on the true story of Solomon Northup. Mr. Northup was born a free Black man in New York, who was wrongfully and unlawfully captured and sold into slavery in 1841; after regaining his freedom, he wrote an autobiography about his harrowing experience.
Lupita Amondi Nyong’o: 1 March 1983
Congratulations and a happy belated birthday to young Lupita Nyong’o for winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in…you guessed it – 12 Years a Slave. I guess I have mixed feelings on this; on one hand, it is refreshing to see a beautiful, dark-skinned sister winning an Oscar and reaffirming my notion that Black women don’t need to be pale-skinned mulattoes to be beautiful or noticed. I was happy to see a woman whose skin tone more closely resembles my own, being front and center. She also displayed a great deal of class, grace, and style, from what I saw in clips on The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Conan O’Brien. I’ll have to say that I was disappointed in Conan when he interviewed her on his show last week, before the Oscars. Usually, when he introduces a white actress, he always talks about how ‘beautiful’ she is. He did not use that adjective when he mentioned Ms. Nyong’o as an upcoming guest, nor did he say it when he announced her to the audience. I grow so weary of the false assumption that we cinnamon-colored, honey-toned, deep-bronzed or dark-chocolate sisters are somehow ugly simply because we are dark. Guess what, people: WE ARE FUCKING BEAUTIFUL, so STOP YOUR HATING. We aren’t going anywhere.
On the other hand, it seems that the only time a dark-skinned Black woman is recognized in films, it’s for portraying a slave. In February of 1940, Ms. Hattie McDaniel was the first Black woman to get an Oscar award, also for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in Gone With the Wind. Since the Oscars were segregated at the time, like everything else in this country, she was seated in the very back of the theatre – what a bittersweet victory for her, no? Since then, how many dark-skinned Black women have gotten that honor? Where are the bronze bombshells and sultry vixens? Why are there no serious roles for us, such as being a teacher who takes a student under her wing and becomes their champion? Or the warrior-queen of a country, commanding men-at-arms? Or a goofy, silly, ‘a-dork-able’ Awkward Black Girl? People want to limit us and our images, and so many of us give power to those who don’t have our best interests at heart…but that’s part of my topic about my series on ‘Black History Month,’ so I digress.
Topic switch: it looks like the murder trial of ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius has begun in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the first amputee to run in the ‘regular, able-bodied’ Olympics, so became a well-known athlete. He is accused of shooting his live-in girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013. He claims that it was accidental, citing fear, while prosecutors say that it was done during a heated quarrel and Oscar acted in a fit of jealous rage. I suppose it will be interesting to see what transpires with that…