Monday, March 09, 2009

The Little Ladies

My children's series - The Little Ladies, is finally making its debut to the world. I am excited and genuienly humbled at the same time. I have had a number of projects floating in the air for sometime now, to see them settling down into tangible books is like watching dreams become real. There are aleady 5 books per series, and there are three series, so each book will be released as the paint dries...

We were going for a classic look with African American children, the anti hip hop, anti exagerated imagery that we often see. Something timeless, kind of a "Mary Jane" vibe, capturing their childhood in pencilled colors that make each book have a "memories" sensation. I know we captured it with this logo.
I will update you upon the completion of the first book...until then, here is the series logo. hope you like.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Chris Brown and Rihanna

Chris Brown and Rihanna. I tried to avoid discussing this. In fact, I haven't stated my opinion to anyone really. I guess its because I don't have an opinion. Not really. Not an opinion about who is right and who is wrong. Life just ain't that simple. I am glad it wasn't my child - son or daughter. But, beyond that, I haven't felt an overwhelming need to damn anybody for their decisions, reactions, etc...until recently.

Picking up on the most recent developments - Rihanna went back to Mr. Brown. Ok, that saddens me. Greatly. I don't know what he did or didn't do, but I do know that women in love believe in change, in redemption, in regret. I saw the TMZ picture, in which her face was busted up. She definitely caught a couple of 'bows, I don't know who threw them. But, no matter how she got her ass whipped, at the end of the day she was left alone on the street. Meaning, if he didn't do it, he left her after it was done to her.

He left her.

So returning to a man who fled the scene for whatever reason, leaving me busted up, seems unimaginable to me. Don't leave me. Have you ever been to LA? Puleeze!! And her decision to marry him (allegedly) makes me wonder about her state of mind, her idea of love, her idea of self worth. She expresses regret about hurting his career - but what about her healing process, her career, her heart? What is she talking about?

At what age do we teach little black girls that they are to bear the brunt of their partners flaws - cause they can't put down a brotha who was making it? When do they begin to understand that they are expected to stand by a black man in the media, no matter what?

Was it when we forever damned Robin Givens and subsequently determined that the pageant contestant (whose name escapes me) deserved to be raped/or was lying, as we poured community support of Mike Tyson- whom we now know is capable of anything. Was it when our community ridiculed Anita Hill, a university professor and well educated women, because she was speaking against Clarence Thomas, who we now also know is capable of anything. Or maybe the message came through loud and clear when R. Kelly was allowed to go so far as piss on underage girls then sing about it and call himself the "pied piper" (the man who lures children away from their homes with music) and STILL got the black community's support. How about everytime we by Cam'ron's album after he rapped about raping Nas's then four year old daughter.

How many woman that you know - even now - expressed anger or outrage that Rihanna took down the image of Chris Brown. OK - no takers? I will raise my hand. When it first came out, I was saddened that this young girl from the islands had destroyed the image of one of OUR boys who was making it. Yep, I that was the very first thought. Why did she call the police? Why didn't she handle it in house, I thought. What about his career. No way he would have done this - WHAT DID SHE DO TO CAUSE IT?

Just as soon as the thoughts crossed my mind, my more mature self had to correct me. What the hell was I thinking? Why had my mind immediately gone to crucifying her and protecting him? Mother of a similarly aged son? Maybe. But more likely, this is what black women do, what we have been taught to do. And our little girls suffer.

Have we put any reigns on the terrific mysogyny in the music flooding the radios and infiltrating our children's minds. Nope - instead its cute when our little girls start gyrating their hips, imitating video hos, and learning at the young age that their role in life is to be the disgusting sex dream of some man who hasn't earned or developed respect for himself or anybody else.

That is what we are. It is a mistake to say that we, as a community, aren't hip hop. We are. the world has given us that label, they have extended it to be synonymous with our culture. So we are compared against it in every thing we do. And Chris Brown and Rihanna's generation have grown up with that type of backward thinking being ingrained in them as standard since they were young. Apparently, also being dipped in the music business as young people didn't help things much.

So Rihanna went back to the man being charged for the bruises on her face and who left her alone at the crime scene. Did she wonder why he asked to marry her now - what the "legal implications" of being his wife would be, how those marital protections better protect him against prosecution? Did anyone explain to her that whether or not she wanted this role, there are millions of little girls watching and learning from this situation - so even if he is innocent, her decisions have a wider reaching and broader effect. Did anyone tell her she is gorgeous and talented and while infatuations are fleeting - deep abiding love is everlasting and that love will never, ever, render her with a busted lip and two swollen eyes.


I am sad. I am sad that any of this happened. I am NOT surprised. For some reason, young couples "play fight" alot. I don't like it. I have spoken to my young cousins about this - when they haul off and put their girl friends in a head lock, or play punch - the insunuation always moving quickly from playing to overpowering. When that is the standard, how do you stop yourself from punching her in the heat of the moment when its serious? And, truth be told, all of my male relatives that "play" that way - who had girlfriends that allowed that bullish- eventually body slammed, punched, or somehow physically hurt the girl in the heat of the moment. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

I don't know what happened. I don't want to see Chris Brown do time. I don't want to see him lose endorsements, or have his image tarnished. But that isn't my decision to make - that was on him and his people. And I don't want to see her hurt, don't want to see any young lady be the brunt of this type of scrutiny.

But, the immediacy in which she returned and in which they "married" (if true) is the real tell tale here. Maybe both have something to hide. Maybe not. Maybe she is being manipulated, maybe not. But if it's love - love gives space and time to heal, love doesn't demand a quick resolution to a recent disaster. And love doesn't leave you on the streets of LA with a busted lip and two swollen eyes and indications of an obvisous ass whipping.

I hope that one day, Rihanna discovers true love. Then she will see what a nightmare this entire situation really is...