I admit it I am Mr. procrastination. I always tell myself that I’m going to do something and then I forget about it for the longest time. Today I am drafting a list of all the things I want to try to do in 2008. I won’t put the pressure on about finding a publisher in 2008 because that’s a lot of pressure. I think the important thing for me in 2008 is to be effective.
I also tend to say I am going to do something and then eventually get around to doing it at the last minute. Although, I already have one book published “You Don’t Know Me” I didn’t appreciate the way TSAR published the poetry volume in 2005. At least I have a professional credit and the book is available in libraries. When I think about it 2005 is almost three years ago it is time to move on. I will never have that first experience again but maybe I can have better experiences the next time around.
It is time to move on from that painful experience. Just because I had one bad experience doesn’t mean every other experience with writing is going to be bad. I need an attitude adjustment ASAP! I tend to get down on myself when bad things happen. I am cognizant of having these negative feelings and emotions. Sometimes I think the negative thoughts surround me and I allow these negative thoughts to control me. I have to break the cycle. I am aware of the patterns this vicious cycle that has entered my mind and I doubt myself. I guess everyone has doubts? I will be honest I definitely think will I ever get another book published? I have this thought a lot.
I received a letter from a fellow writer in November 2007 and he told me to never surrender. Sometimes it is hard because a lot of the time a writer is waiting. You are either waiting for an e-mail or letter of acceptance for publication or a letter or e-mail for rejection. I also realize nobody owes me anything. It is harsh but true the editor or publisher either likes my work or he or she doesn’t. So it is my job to make sure my work is polished. The waiting game can be psychologically, emotionally, and physically exhausting. However, when I receive an e-mail of acceptance it makes everything worth while. It gives me the courage to not give up.
I guess everyone has doubts. Sometimes I wonder am I good enough? Why is it taking so long to receive a response? I always send S.A.S.E. with my submissions because I know publishers will throw your work in the garbage if you don’t send S.A.S.E. I also always send international reply coupons as well.
My printer is acting up again! I hate when that happens! I think I need some new computer ink.I know it sounds corny but I got to keep on trying. Isn’t that corny? So its time to move on from that negative experience and I am looking for a new publisher to republish “You Don’t Know Me”. I also have a second poetry manuscript completed and I am conducting a lot of research. Let me tell you it is so hard to get a poetry book published. Poetry isn’t considered a money maker in the book industry unless you are famous. Everyone knows that I am certainly not famous. I am just an ordinary man that has a love for poetry. For the past two years I have tried and tried to get another poetry book published only to encounter rejection. I still haven’t given up on poetry because I have a passion for it I love to sit and write out my thoughts on paper. I love to read my poetry aloud it is a very soothing experience.
I am still sending my poetry out to magazines, literary journals but I am going to focus less on poetry in 2008. My poetry was published in a literary journal and an anthology in 2007. I have decided I am going to leave poetry behind for a bit. I am now going to concentrate on a manuscript that I had written over three years ago yet it has been collecting dust in my drawer.
I have this fear about fiction writing I can admit it. Fiction is my weakness I haven’t written a lot of fiction. I only had one short story published and that was five years ago. I tend to write mostly non fiction such as poetry, essays, opinion pieces, and features articles. I feel more comfortable with this form of writing then with fiction. However, I’ve decided that I’m going to try in 2008 to find a publisher for my novel.
A few years ago I bought the Writer’s Market Literary agent book and I will be honest I didn’t find the book very helpful. One reason was a lot of the agents in the book simply were not looking at new writers. Of course, I realize the Writers Market book is only one book to find an agent.
In Canada, one of the problems here is that there are simply very few literary agents. The Canadian book industry is very small. The Canadian publishing industry is kind of pretentious in the sense it is all about literary fiction. You know the drill a lot of Margaret Atwood and her clones. I find Canadian writing so boring it just doesn’t interest me. The way I write I know that it would work with an American publisher. The Canadian book industry also has a very myopic attitude towards black writers. One literary agent told that the Canadian book industry thinks blacks don’t sell and that we don’t read.
The United States book industry has a much larger black book market. I won’t make the mistake I made a few years ago. I think the USA is the way to go! The dilemma is most of the literary agents in Canada will only work with seasoned pros because these writers are already established. So I have decided I’m not even going to bother looking for a Canadian literary agent. I am going to look for an American literary agent.I thought about looking for a UK literary agent too? I am going to think about the English language world I don’t know why I wasted so much time thinking about Canada?
I am still going to research on the internet. I was thinking about buying a book on literary agents. I think tomorrow or perhaps next week I will visit the public library or bookstore? I already know a few things to watch out for. The literary agents that charge fees for a manuscript evaluations are agents I will avoid like the plague. Also, I realize even if I do find a literary agent there is no guarantee he or she can sell my book? I am also thinking about conducting more research on small press publishers in North America as well. Also, I need to find a literary agent that is gay positive because the novel I have written deals with homosexuality. I definitely don’t want an agent that is homophobic or has a problem with gay writers.
There might be a Go Transit strike in the greater Toronto area soon. I think this sucks because Go Transit is the public transportation system I use when I travel across the GTA. I like the Go bus for a variety of reasons. One, the seats are so comfortable unlike regular transit. Second, most of the time people are pretty quiet on the Go Bus although the Go Bus is a bit expensive. The only thing I don’t like about the Go Bus is when people talk so loud on their cell phones. Do some people actually believe the rest of the passengers care about your phone conversations? Why do people talk so loud on a crowded bus? Why are some people so inconsiderate?
Yesterday I almost passed out the man sitting behind me was talking so much on the cell phone. The man had really bad breath. It was truly a nightmare to sit on a closed bus and smell the rancid odor. I couldn’t believe how loud the man was I was praying to reach my destination quickly. Once the bus door opened I ran off the bus for fresh air.
Women’s tennis needs Sania Mirza to reach the top. The only women of colour that are at the top of women’s tennis are the Williams Sisters. However, Venus and Serena are now veterans. When will the Asian women make their breakthrough on the WTA tour? Women’s tennis needs to become more international because right now the new wave of talent is emerging from Eastern Europe.
The best Asian female tennis player ever was the Japanese woman Kimiko Date. Another Japanese woman Ai Sugiyama she did manage to reach the WTA top ten and a few grand slam quaterfinals. However, Ai just wasn’t as consistent or talented as Kimiko but she still is a solid player. Ai is also an excellent doubles player.
Although Kimiko Date retired in 1996 I still miss her. Kimiko she was an incredible player. Kimiko was fast, powerful, quick, and smart. Kimiko reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Kimiko also defeated Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Sadly, for women’s tennis Kimiko retired at the tender age of twenty five. Kimiko reached a career high of number four in the world.
Sania Mirza has the talent, the intelligence, and yes she is a very attractive young woman. Sania’s got spunk I like that about her she’s very outspoken and stands up for herself. Prior to the summer 2007 hardcourt season Sania Mirza’ was in a slump. Sania Mirza is a star not just in India but also all over the world. Sania’s matches usually take place on show courts because tennis fans know about her and love her. Some people though in the tennis world believe Sania is receiving too much hype without producing the results.
At the end of 2006 Sania’s ranking dropped and she just wasn’t living up to her potential. Quietly, tennis experts and fans on the internet were wondering was Sania just a lot of hype or is she really talented? Sania has won only one WTA tour singles title, she did reach the US Open fourth round in 2005.
Everything changed for Sania in the summer of 2007 Sania reached the semifinals of Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a tier III event so the competition wasn’t very deep it was just important that Sania was winning matches again. Sania lost in a tight three setter to Anna Chakvetadze in the semifinals. However, Sania won the doubles title with American Bethanie Mattek.
Sania continued her strong play at the Stanford WTA event this was very impressive because Stanford is a tier II tournament. Tier II is a higher level with higher ranked players in the competition. I was very happy for Sania with her performance in Stanford she defeated Tatiana Golovin and Patty Schnyder both top twenty players. In the semifinals, Sania defeated Sybille Bammer to reach the final. Although, Sania lost to Anna Chakvetadze she won the doubles title with Israel’s Shahar Peer.
The surprise to many tennis fans is that Sania was finally demonstrating she had consistency, stamina, and resolve that she can play well for weeks in a row. Sania continued the strong play in San Diego a tier I WTA event. Sania beat her friend Shahar Peer a top twenty player in a tough three setter. Next, Sania defeated Marat Safin’s younger sister Dinara Safina easily 6-1 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. It was an important win because Safina is ranked in the WTA top twenty she’s one of the better players on the tour. Although Maria Sharapova rolled over Sania in their quarterfinal showdown easily in straight sets. I was impressed with Sania’s play.
In Los Angeles, Sania defeated Martina Hingis for the second time in a very impressive three set victory. Even though Hingis was not ranked at the top she still beat a legend in the women’s game. Sania was tired in her third round match and lost to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano. Sania simply ran out of gas she was exhausted in the shock loss to the Frenchwoman.
Sania skipped the Toronto WTA event for a week of rest but next played New Haven. I felt it was unnecessary for Sania to play New Haven she lost early in singles anyway. I think Sania needs to fix her schedule a bit she plays too much tennis. I understand Sania plays tier III events to gain confidence and win matches. However, I just feel that too much tennis is never good for the body. Sania won the doubles title with Italian woman Mara Santangelo. Sania actually has had a lot of success in women’s doubles she won four WTA doubles titles in 2007. I wonder since Sania volleys very well why isn’t she incorporating her doubles skills into her singles game?
I felt that Sania played too much tennis leading up to the US Open she lost once again to Anna Chakvetadze in the third round. Indian journalists have been talking for years about Sania and she definitely has the talent. I like Sania’s game she is fearless she has a huge forehand, very good backhand and she has gotten into much better physical shape. Sania goes for her shots and believes in her game. I just kind of wish Sania would put a little more thought into the tennis. Sania need to learn to play the percentages more if she did she would make less unforced errors. Sania needs to be a bit more patient in the rallies and wait for the right shot and then go for the winner.
The only major weakness in Sania’s game I feel is her serve she just kind of spins the serve in. Sania’s serve is all arm it is definitely the weakest link in her game. I believe that Sania really needs to improve her serve if she wants to reach the top ten of the WTA. I honestly believe Sania should be in the top twenty of the WTA right now. I don’t see any real separation between Sania and the women ranked between number eleven in the world and number twenty in terms of talent. Sania has the talent to be top ten I honestly believe this.
Sania was injured earlier this year so that can be an explanation to her slow progression up the WTA tour rankings. I think everyone is just waiting for the big breakthrough. In the summer of 2007 Sania finally cracked the WTA top thirty reaching a high of number twenty seven in the world. Everyone knows Sania Mirza is much better then this. Sania is currently ranked number number thirty two on the WTA tour.
The question is what does Sania need to do to reach the top twenty at least? I guess, become more consistent is the obvious thing she needs to do. Consistency is not an easy thing to achieve but it can be done. I think the players in the top ten and top twenty tend to be more consistent they don’t lose early to players they are not supposed to lose to. Sania does have a tendency to play well one week and not so well the next. I think this is why her success this summer was so impressive because she played well for three consecutive weeks in a row.
I think being ranked in the top twenty is not out of the question for Sania. Sania has beaten top players like Svetlana Kuznetsova, Martina Hingis, and Nadia Petrova before. I still believe Sania needs a better serve. I hope Sania seriously considers improving her serve she has to realize she needs to learn to win free points on the serve. Professional tennis is all about holding serve and breaking serve. Sania can break serve but her own serve gets broken too often. Sania has made a dramatic improvement in her fitness she is much fitter and quicker on the court. I would like to see Sania construct points a bit better she needs to realize she doesn’t need to hit the ball hard all the time. And why isn’t Sania coming to net? Sania volleys very well?
Some people say Sania is inconsistent and I do agree to a certain extent she is. I don’t think talent is what separates the top ten from the rest. I think its just the execution on the big points. Prior to the summer of 2007 tennis fans were starting to have doubts about Sania Mirza’s potential. I feel right now Sania is kind of an underachiever at the moment she has much more game then say Marion Bartoli or Shahar Peer.
Marion Bartoli reached the finals of Wimbledon that was her breakthrough event. However, the question in 2008 is can Marion Bartoli maintain her top ten ranking? And can Marion beat the top ten players? Bartoli does need to get into better shape Martina Navratilova criticized Bartoli about her weight at the French Open this year. I have to agree with Martina because Marion is too good her weight is holding her back. Marion’s definitely got the weapons she hits the ball on the rise hard off both sides like Monica Seles her idol. Marion’s fitness will be key in 2008.
Shahar Peer is in excellent shape but she lacks the big weapons. Yet Shahar Peer proved she is someone to watch in 2008 she reached two grand slam quaterfinals this year at the Australian Open and the US Open. However, when I make an analysis of Shahar’s game she is more of a counterpuncher she is more consistent then Sania but not as talented. Shahar doesn’t have any big weapons but she is very steady. Sania does have the weapons but not the consistency. I think Sania needs to realize when she is missing shots she does need to pull back a bit work the point more. Once the point is in Sania’s favor she then should go for the winner.
Women’s tennis really isn’t that international as the media claims. Right now the Eastern Europeans are crowding the WTA top ten. Justine Henin is from Belgium and she is number one. However right now there are so many Eastern European players in the top twenty coming up from Russia or Serbia. The only players not from Eastern Europe in the top ten right now are the Williams Sisters, Justine Henin, and Marion Bartoli.
Where are the Western Europeans, the Americans, the Asians, or the Africans? Na Li from China she is an amazing talent but again Na Li started 2007 strongly yet she fizzled. Na Li reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2006 losing to Kim Clijsters.
I would love to see an Asian woman win a grand slam singles event. When is an Asian woman going to be ranked in the top ten? 2008 is going to be an interesting year for Sania Mirza she is twenty one years old now. The expectations in India are very high for Sania given the fact she proved in the summer of 2007 she is no flash in the pan. Sania proved she can beat the top twenty women and she belongs in the top twenty.
So why hasn’t Sania reached the top twenty yet? I guess this is the frustrating part? I wish I could magically just move Sania right up into the top twenty of the WTA computer. However, I cannot do that. In terms of talent right now I feel Sania should be in the top fifteen in the world. Sania is very talented I hope she lives up to her potential. I think the key for Sania again is her fitness when Sania is fit she is dangerous.
I am also hoping anybody please tell Sania to fix her serve. How can such a talented player like Sania Mirza have such a weak second serve? Sania’s first serve is decent but its not powerful enough. Sania needs to beef up her serve big time it is simply not strong enough. Sania needs to visit a serve coach and learn to bend her knees more. When you bend your knees and get wrist snap and racket head speed this is where the power comes from for the serve. Doesn’t Sania know her first serve isn’t good enough? I watched the match Sania played against Maria Sharapova and Sharapova was relentless she constantly attacked Sania’s serve and made her pay for it. The top women are not nice they will destroy a weak serve. Right now Sania does have a weak serve.
It is time for Sania to move to the next level. I am tired of seeing her ranked with the lower ranked players. Can Sania win a grand slam? I don’t know? But I do know Sania should be top twenty by now. Am I projecting perhaps? Sania is such an exciting player and the WTA tour needs more international stars that are not Americans or Europeans. The WTA really does need players from Asia to step up to the plate and really make their move to the top of women’s tennis.
Is the Toronto theatre scene boring? The answer is yes. Is the Toronto theatre scene racist and anti black male the answer is a resounding yes. I hate when I receive e-mail rejections and there isn’t even an explanation there is all this politically correct bullshit. Nobody wants to be rejected of course, but I prefer an explanation. I prefer an honest answer, I don’t like it when people lie to me. I will have to look over my play again to see where the miscommunication or disconnect is?
I think there is a fear about my play because it is extremely explosive and controversial! My play tells the truth to the world about how racist, sexist, misandrist, and homophobic the city of Toronto really is!!!
I just hate when I receive responses such as you know what I’m talking about “there were a lot of submissions this year” or I love this line “it was really difficult to choose.” I am not giving up on my play and I definitely want to improve it. I was really psyched up and excited about a people of colour play festival in Toronto. However, I doubt any black gay men will be included in this so called fucking Toronto theatre festival!!!!
I just received a rejection via e-mail this afternoon. I am crushed. I hate receiving e-mail rejections I find that so impersonal. If you’ve going to reject me give me a fucking reason damn it!!! Yes, I am going to bitch right now because I feel like it so let me bitch for a moment and burn off some steam here!!!!!
What can I do? I guess all I can do is try to improve my play. Earlier this year, another Toronto play festival claimed my play was “excellent” and “made the short list”. I immediately asked for advice because obviously words mean nothing if my play isn’t on the stage for the world to see.
Next, the woman claimed they had a “very tough” decision.” Yet when I look at the Toronto theatre scene all I see is bullshit. Where are the plays specifically about the young black gay Canadian male experience? Yeah, the black lesbians in Canada are actually a part of the theatre scene here but that’s got nothing to do with me. Young black gay Canadian men we are invisible in the Canadian arts.There are black gay Canadian male artists here but some of those guys are such cowards they hide in the closet. I’m not hiding in the closet but I am also no wallflower either. I speak up for myself and what I believe in.
Is it possible my play was a bit too political and not politically correct? I guess for some Toronto theatre festivals they can’t handle strong language and powerful art. I guess my play should have been written differently you know I could have written a lie and claim the city of Toronto is a utopia paradise and is perfect with racial harmony? Or should I tell the truth that beneath the surface. I believe there is an “invisible code” to the pernicious, deleterious, and horrible anti black racism that takes place right here in Toronto. Why are people so fake here?
I swear I hate this country! I honestly think I am in the wrong place? I’m going to leave this shit hole of a country. Canada is too limiting and too politically correct. I think its time to look into getting a visa and just leaving this shit hole of a country. Everyone is so fake and pretentious here.
Take a look at the Toronto theatre scene especially the black Toronto theatre scene it is so derivative, pathetic, and lacking in details. How many times can a play about a black inventor, or about slavery or the fucking Underground Railroad be produced? How many times? I am serious. Don’t worry during black history month next year there will be a whole bunch of slave plays to choose from for you’re viewing pleasure.
Yes, I am venting now and I am going to vent!!!! Thank goodness, I have enough brains to send my play to the United States. Why do I have this feeling that my play is going to get produced first outside of Canada? Canadians are so fucking fake and phony!!!!
Well, I just checked www.boxofficemojo.com, The Perfect Holiday bombed big time. The movie only made $2, 930,138 at the box office. “The Perfect Holiday” is a flop and I am not surprised. I have to be honest, I am sick of seeing the same black actors in the same genre together. Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut have been typecast in the black romantic comedy genre. I think people just passed this movie because it’s the same recycled cast. I think Gabrielle Union and Morris Chestnut are good actors but my goodness don’t they realize they are typecast? I think the major issue is Hollywood’s myopic view of black culture. Hollywood thinks blacks can only “make money” in romantic comedies. Why not present another genre to the black film audience? Stop insulting us with this garbage.
Black movie fans want to see more then romantic comedies. Where are the dramatic films with young black actors under the age of thirty five? Where is the diversity, the deep layers, the complexity? I think most black people said “whatever” and just skipped this movie “The Perfect Holiday”. I can’t blame them either.
I wish Gabrielle’s dramatic film Neo Ned can finally be released. Go to www.neoned.com or visit You Tube and type Neo Ned in the search engine. It is so frustrating because Neo Ned is an incredible film. My goodness is Neo Ned ever going to be released or what? I have been waiting over two years to see that damn movie! Release Neo Ned damn it! Hollywood needs to realize where is the younger talent? We need newer and younger black actors to shine on the silver screen. Gabrielle needs to realize that if she wants to become a serious actress the time is now. Yes, I understand Gabrielle Union has bills to pay but girlfriend, “The Perfect Holiday” is like another “Honeymooners”. I wish Gabrielle would take more risks in her career like she did with “Neo Ned”? I think “Neo Ned” has got to be the strangest thing going on in Hollywood. How can a film with so much critical acclaim not be released? I mean my goodness release the damn movie!!!
Meanwhile, This Christmas continues to do well grossing over $46, 043,000. This Christmas had the advantage of being released during the very lucrative American Thanksgiving holiday. I think this should be a lesson for Hollywood perhaps?
I think the release date for “The Perfect Holiday” was wrong. I actually think a late December or perhaps a January release would of been better. Why release two black Christmas movies back to back? People are just going to choose one over the other. Oh well, Morris Chestnut is so cute he is still a hunk!!!! I wish he was getting more serious film roles.
The blogs are exploding with rumours that Queen Latifah and her girlfriend Jeanette Jenkins are going to have a commitment ceremony. The other story is, that Queen Latifah may officially come out as a lesbian. I doubt Queen Latifah will come out of the closet right now.
However, she isn’t lying she is a lesbian and she’s not hiding either. Queen Latifah basically lives in the glass closet. Everybody, already knows Queen is in love with her “fitness trainer” Jeanette Jenkins. Whenever, Queen is promoting a movie, at a celebrity event, or just doing regular things Jeanette is always there. Now one argument is, that Jeanette is just Queen Latifah’s good friend, but people can tell they are a couple.
Queen Latifah is aware of the fact the public lens is watching her. She never show up at a movie premiere or a high profile celebrity event dressed as a butch. At high profile celebrity events Queen Latifah always looks glamorous in elegant gowns, carefully applied makeup, and high heels. Once Queen Latifah is off the celebrity platform she can be seen riding her motorcycle and dresses like a typical butch lesbian. Queen Latifah carefully navigates the butch and feminine imagery in the public sphere.
Some people believe the rumours go back to 1996 when Queen Latifah played the butch lesbian Cleo in the hit film “Set It Off”. However, the rumours about Queen Latifah and Jeanette Jenkins are intensifying not because of what Queen says but what she doesn’t say. When was the last time you saw Queen Latifah with a man? It is a fair question.
I am not suggesting just because a woman is single for a long time means she’s gay. However, we have never ever seen Queen Latifah romantically linked to a man we always see her with Jeanette. The public is shrewd enough to connect the dots and discern that Queen Latifah is a lesbian.
In the October 2007 issue, of Ebony magazine, Queen Latifah was actually asked by Ebony if she was dating Jeanette Jenkins. Ebony is the top black magazine in the world and Ebony usually never asks black stars personal questions. Ebony is all about black community “uplift”, and not about getting involved with black stars private lives. Ebony can be boring at times but the interview with Queen Latifah was definitely interesting. However, Queen Latifah provided a very evasive answer and didn’t deny she was a lesbian.
Queen Latifah is also cognizant of the fact since she’s a black lesbian she cannot just come out like Ellen Degeneres. Ellen Degeneres had the support of the liberal white American media on her side. Queen Latifah’s situation is a bit more precarious since she is a black lesbian. Would the black media support Queen Latifah if she declared she is a lesbian? Degeneres was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1997 when she came out. Degeneres is also not a movie star she’s a comedian and she’s also white.
Queen Latifah does have more barriers because she is a black lesbian and her core audience are black Americans. Although Queen Latifah has “crossed over” in the last couple of years into the mainstream with Cover Girl and numerous other high profile endorsements. Queen Latifah always presents the image that she “cares” about what the black community thinks about her.
It appears to me Queen Latifah is struggling navigating the questions about her sexuality. Again, Queen Latifah has never been seen dating a man. Queen Latifah always says in interviews she’s looking for a “good brother” or she hasn’t found the “right man” yet. It is obvious Queen Latifah is a lesbian the public can read between the lines. Black Celebrities have it tougher because they have to deal with the public and private spheres.
Black celebrities are a part of pop culture the media and the public become curious when they notice certain things. Queen Latifah’s “personal life” has always been off limits. Of course, on the one hand that’s important everyone wants to maintain a certain level of mystery and have some privacy. On the other hand, it is well known publicists of the closeted black gay stars also understand in maintaining the status quo. There are numerous female rappers that are gay but they don’t have the same high profile Queen Latifah has so the media and public are apathetic to them.
It is well known that different cultures view homosexuality differently. I actually think because Queen Latifah is a black lesbian it would be much easier for her to come out. There is an anti lesbian attitude in society and lesbians do encounter discrimination in relation to gender and sexual orientation. However, the mainstream doesn’t have the same fear of lesbianism as it does with male homosexuality. There is still an intense hatred society has for gay men.
I definitely think there is so much negativity towards black gay male sexuality. It would be very difficult for a black gay man to come out. For instance, R&B Tevin Campbell was caught soliciting an undercover male police officer. Tevin has not come out of the closet but is an open secret in the black community that he’s gay. Tevin is currently on Broadway in the play “Hairspray”.
Everyone, in the black global community knows Luther Vandross was gay yet during his lifetime Luther never disclosed his sexual orientation. It was an open secret that Luther was indeed gay. Luther Vandross had a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy with the black audience. We all sing Luther’s songs, attend his concerts, buy the DVDs and CDs. However, the game was that Luther was asexual or at least he had to appear asexual for us to respect him.
Ebony, Essence, Upscale, Vibe, and the other black entertainment publications never asked Luther about his homosexuality. The topic was off limits. I think that’s the tragedy of Luther’s life that he wasn’t able to be himself in the public sphere. Its the hypocrisy of the black community that’s disconcerting. On black blogs such as Bossip, Crunk and Disorderly, Mediatakeout, and other black blogs the homophobia can be incredible.
Another point to consider, is openly gay and closeted black gay stars cannot count on the mainstream white gay community as a potential market. Black gay stars are rarely ever mentioned in the mainstream white gay media. Black gay and lesbian celebrities know their main market is the black audience.
If you bother to pick up the glossy white gay magazines such as Out Magazine, Girlfriends Magazine, or the Advocate you will notice gay people of colour don’t exist. If you surf some of the white gay media blogs there is a condescending, patronizing, and racist attitude towards black gays and lesbians. Black gays and lesbians we are marginalized due to race, gender, and sexuality.
A few white mainstream gay media blogs, have a “corner” on their websites marked “gay people of colour” as if that’s all we are. Being black and gay is more then just being displaced and branded on some white gay media website. We are multi dimensional people and there is more to us then being categorized and stigmatized into a cardboard box. I find these kinds of barriers limiting no wonder some black gays don’t trust the white gay community.
You will also notice most of the time the people on the cover the mainstream gay magazines are white gays not black gays. Also, when the Advocate does have a black star on the cover the celebrity is usually straight. For example, Mary J Blige was recently on the cover of The Advocate. The public image of blackness is still compulsory heterosexuality and once again black gays and lesbians we are branded as “the other”.
Even in lesbian pop culture on the television program the L Word why is the only black woman on the program Pam Grier’s character straight? Why isn’t Grier’s character a lesbian? The L Word is about lesbians and bisexual women yet the only black woman on the program is heterosexual. I find this annoying, irritating, but not surprising. Black lesbians are once again displaced in pop culture. The producers and writers behind the L Word have a right to do whatever they want it is their show. However, I think Pam Grier’s character should be a lesbian not a heterosexual woman. We need more representations of black lesbians in pop culture. Yes, Jennifer Beals plays a lesbian on the L Word but Jennifer Beals has never declared that she is a “part” of the black community. Beals is mixed race and she’s always kept a distance from the black race and black issues.
There is an eerie silence to the issue of racism and prejudice of the mainstream white gay media. Luther Vandross never attempted to reach out to the white gay press during his lifetime. Vandross simply did not trust the gay white media. Rosie O Donnell and Ellen Degeneres are white lesbians they are a part of the white gay American community. Queen Latifah is a black lesbian although she is popular she is not white. The white gay press also has a consistent racist paternalistic attitude to the issue of homophobia in the black community. Meanwhile, the white gay press ignores the bigotry within the white race. It will be interesting to see what Queen Latifah will do? The questions about Queen Latifah’s sexuality have even entered mainstream media publications. Everyone is just waiting to see when Queen Latifah will come out or not?
I think there might be a slight backlash against Queen Latifah if she came out as a lesbian. Some people may be shocked but there have been rumours of other high profile black female celebrities being lesbians as well.
There have never ever been a high profile A list black lesbian celebrity to come out of the closet yet. Although the former WNBA basketball star Sheryl Swoopes did come out a few years ago. The public was apathetic to Swoopes coming out announcement people just shrugged their shoulders. Swoopes was very brave in coming out of the closet. Swoopes is an Olympic gold medalist. However, since women’s basketball has a low profile in the American sports culture there was indifference to Swoopes coming out.
Nobody, was shocked when Swoopes declared she is a lesbian. Although it may not be politically correct to say this the WNBA has the public image of being a haven for lesbianism. There are a lot of stereotypes associated with women’s sports. Swoopes, coming out as a black lesbian didn’t exactly shatter these stereotypes. Although, it was commendable that Swoopes came out it just wasn’t a big story. Queen Latifah’s situation is entitely different she’s a well known A list Hollywood movie star. I think there is still the unknown and that’s probably the reason Queen Latifah hasn’t come out yet.
Will The North American Sports Media Spin Steroid Allegations For White Males Such as Clemens and Pettitte?
We have all read about the steroid abuse allegations made against Barry Bonds. In the 311 report page by former senator George Mitchell the news baseball’s favouite golden boy Roger Clemens allegedly used steroids. The Mitchell report also states that Andy Pettitte, Kevin Brown, and Denny Neagle also used steroids. In fact, Mitchell’s report mentions Clemens over eighty times. Clemens of course denies the allegations because that’s what he’s supposed to do. Mitchell had some good sources such as a former Mets Clubhouse trainer and even Roger Clemens former trainer Brian McNamee.
The most important issue is not the judicial system it is the court of public opinion. We all know Barry Bonds is no saint. Does anyone else question why the North American sports media always frames Bonds in a negative light? Doesn’t anyone think about the social constructions of black male sexuality and gender politics? I certainly don’t think the sports editors at the various editorial meetings across North America are all perfect gentlemen and ladies either. I am certain there are also truculent statements and comments made about Bonds as well of course behind closed doors. Its also known that various immature and pathetic sports writers and editors have an axe to grind against Bonds. If Bonds is guilty of using steroids then his fate is set.
The real questions are a bit murkier though. Will there be a sudden shift in tone in relation to Roger Clemens and the steroid allegations against him? Are the articles going to suddenly be a bit more sympathetic towards Clemens Another point to consider is is will the mainstream North American media also have the same venom for golden boy Roger Clemens? Or will the North American sports media suddenly apply double standards, bigotry, racism, and give Clemens a pat on the back?
After all, its well know Bonds isn’t popular with the North American sports media and Clemens is. The sports media have also framed Barry Bonds as the aggresive, offensive, petulant, black male sports athlete. By contrast, Roger Clemens he’s the gentle, sweet, perfect, white male sports star. Clemens has always been framed as being the good white male family man that has the right family values. Clemens is the typical all American poster boy. Its going to be very interesting to see the spin of the various North American sports reporters. It will be very entertaining to read the hypocrisy, prejudice, and bigotry as they valiantly attempt to defend Roger Clemens so called honor.
Update: Andy Pettitte admitted to using Human Growth Hormone he claims he only used it twice. Of course, sure Andy Pettitte only used HGH twice we are just supposed to believe him. Well I don’t that’s for sure. No surprise though that already the American media are showering Pettitte with praise. If Pettitte only used HGH twice why did it take him years to admit it? I am calling Pettitte on his bullshit. And no surprise on sports radio and in the American sports media already he’s being treated with kid gloves. If Andy Pettitte was an Asian, Black, or Latino man there would be zero sympathy from the white American sports reporters. Once again, hypocrisy, racism, and bigotry are on display for the world to see. It is just interesting how quickly the white American sports media rallied to defend Pettitte. Already the spin factor by the American sports media has started.
Update Roger Clemens admits to being injected with vitamin B 12 but not with steroids.
Everyone already knows, I’m not into rap music. I must admit, there is just something special about Kanye West. Kanye has charisma and he’s just fine. I know he’s going through a tough time right now since his mother has passed away. I hope Kanye has a good support system around him to help him through this difficult time. One of the things I love about Kanye, is that he isn’t this stereotype. Kanye isn’t afraid to express his emotions he’s intelligent, he’s outspoken, he’s everything I want in a man. Although I must say, Kanye can be arrogant at times. Damn too bad he’s straight LOL!
Is the Ontario Government apathetic to our concerns about violence against women of colour? On Monday Aqsa Parvez a sixteen year old girl was murdered. We just cannot dismiss this violent murder and say its just Muslim community internal politics. As a society the murder of a young woman affects all of us. We must not remain silent to violence against women of colour. Just because Aqsa Parvez was from a different culture does not mean we should be apathetic to the concerns of Muslim women. We are all human beings here. Doesn’t anyone care?
The media reports have focused on the private sphere of the Canadian Muslim community and have ignored the public sphere. Everyone is walking on egg shells. Everyone doesn’t want to appear as though we are offending the Muslim Canadian community. However, nobody can justify violence against women and say it is about “honoring” the family.
I have read numerous articles about apologists stating that “religion” was not a factor in Aqsa Parvez’s death. How can people just blatantly lie and say this? “Religion” may not have been the “only” factor in Aqsa Parvez’s death. However, “religion” is a convenient tool that misogynists utilize to control women. It is obvious to me that patriarchy and misogyny are the root issues here. Why are we so afraid to speak the truth?
My dear readers what are we going to about this? It is a vicious cycle we can all play the blame game. Religion cannot be used as an excuse to conceal male domination and misogyny. We live in a world that is racist, sexist, and anti woman. Male violence is pernicious, vile, abhorrent, and totally unacceptable. However, the question has to be asked where was the social safety net? Aqsa’s high school knew she was having problems at home and didn’t do enough to help her.
Where are the services the programs for women of colour that are victims of domestic violence? The province of Ontario is a rich province we cannot cry poverty. What are we going to do about this? Another young woman’s life is gone and a family is shattered. Why are we silent about the concerns of women of colour? Domestic violence is still a taboo in society we just don’t want to talk about it. Women of colour are even more marginalized then white women due to race and gender. Are domestic violence shelters equipped to deal with the racial, cultural, social, religious, political issues women of colour encounter? You have to wonder? I understand that domestic violence is a serious issue and that money isn’t the solution. However, the more funds available could of helped Aqsa Parvez.
I think the Ontario government should be doing more to reach out to women of colour that are in distress. If you want to make your voices heard contact Premier Dalton McGuinty. You can contact Premier McGuinty either by e-mail, fax, telephone, or write a letter. If people speak up the government must listen. We must shatter the silence about domestic violence in society. If we are united against misogyny and male domination we can make the world a better place.
Dalton McGuinty Main Legislative Building, Room 281,
Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1
Fax: 416- 325-3745
In Mississauga Ontario yesterday a sixteen year old girl Aqsa Parvez was murdered, she was allegedly choked to death by her father. According to news reports Aqsa Parvez’s father Muhammad Parvez has now been charged with murder. Mississauga is a suburb of Toronto its a part of the greater Toronto area. The senseless murder is very chilling, depressing, and very sad. Aqsa’s older brother has been charged with obstructing police.
The teenage girl was a Muslim and there was a culture, generational, and religious clash with her family. The story according to Aqsa’s friends is that she did wear the hijab when she left her home for school. However, once the Aqsa arrived at school she removed the hijab . Family members followed Aqas to her high school and found out she wasn’t wearing the hijab.
The mainstream media are framing the young girl’s death as an “honor killing?” What do you think? Do you think the murder was an “honor killing” or is this just mainstream media sensationalism? Or a mixture of both? Will the press be culturally sensitive or paternalistic? Paternalism will not bridge the miscommunication gap between the Muslim communities and the rest of Canada. Will blaming occur and the mainstream press state that Muslim Canadians are not “assimilating” into Canadian culture? Will more finger pointing and blaming take place?
The Ontario government has a critical role here in this case. Once again the question has to be asked, where are the services for women of colour?Some women’s shelters due to inadequate funding have difficulty dealing with the cultural, racial, religious issues that relate to women of colour. Will the Ontario government step up to the plate and address this very important issue or not? Or will Premier Dalton McGuinty provide a politically correct speech and do nothing. The money is available Ontario is a rich province there is no excuse. Premier Dalton McGuinty has a responsibility here and he must act accordingly.
We cannot just sit and watch young women die and say its none of our business just because our cultures are different. We cannot just say we don’t understand Muslim culture and allow another life to perish due to our apathetic attitude and indifference. If we remain silent to misogyny then we are condoning it. I guess the question is now what can be done? What can the public do?
I think there needs to be more studies conducted, more research, and instead of just talking action needs to take place. The Ontario Government needs to realize domestic violence is a top five issue. Why are we so complacent to violence against women?
In Canada we have laws and violence against women. It is clear there needs to be more social services available for younger women and teenaged girls across racial, cultural, and religious lines. I believe not enough money is being spent on domestic violence services for women of colour. Maybe if there was a social safety net available this girl’s life could of been saved?
It is important when these tragic news stories occur to not jump to conclusions or make generalizations. The mainstream media should be careful to not “frame” and make stereotypes about an entire religion and focus on the news. However, I hope “othering” does not take place here and the mainstream media will utilize caution. However, it is well known when tragic news occurs outside of the mainstream community there is a tendency that “othering” may occur. The news here is that a young girl was terrified of her father to the point that she even left her home a few days ago.
My perspective is that religion should not be used as a blanket to conceal misogyny. The teenager obviously wanted to fit in with her classmates. It is normal for a sixteen year old girl to want to belong and be just like her friends. The murder is a tragedy a young life is now lost and a family is shattered.
If you want to voice your concerns to Premier Dalton McGuinty here is his info:
Dalton McGuinty Main Legislative Building, Room 281,
Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1
Fax: 416- 325-3745