Category Archives: black women

Rock on, Sistahs!

Blogging has become so popular since I first started blogging a few years ago and it’s amazing to find so many different types of blogs out there. I found one that peaked my interest earlier today called Rock On, Sistahs! As the description states:

A blog that celebrates Women of Color who make Rock music, Women of Color who dig Rock music, and the people who dig them

So if you’re into black female rockers and rockers in general give this blog a look see.

Hat culture in the black church

There’s an interesting article about the hat culture in black churches. The article, A congregation of splendid hats, is written by Karen Grigsby Bates. According to Ms. Bates, the ladies were looking splendid in their hats on Palm Sunday at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles.

hats

hats2

A congregation of splendid hats

Hats are a tradition in black churches. On Palm Sunday at West Angeles Church of God in Christ in South L.A., the pews blossomed with fabulous creations.

By Karen Grigsby Bates

This is going to date me, but it’s true: When I was young, most black ladies wore hats to church. Easter was the true beginning of spring, the day when hats in spring colors blossomed throughout the congregation: yellow, peach, mint, lilac, pink. Even if the weather wasn’t cooperating, the hats came out. At my home church, Dixwell Avenue Congregational in frosty New Haven, Conn., it wasn’t unusual to see a lady wearing her spring finery beneath her mink coat. It might have been barely 50 degrees, but it was Easter, and the hats were coming out.

Although the world has gotten much more casual in the intervening decades, and sadly, hats are far less ubiquitous, hat culture remains alive and well in many of the nation’s black churches. On Palm Sunday in South L.A., the pews of West Angeles Church of God in Christ were splashed with plenty of color: broad brims in coral, pink and cream trimmed in ribbons and flowers; lampshade profiles in aqua and pistachio; and high-hat toppers in dusty rose, trimmed in lace and festooned with silk flowers. The black hats were anything but basic: The equestrienne top hat sparkled with tiny crystals on its crown and net veil, and the brim of one magnificent upturned glazed straw had a sunburst pattern of gold threading and crystal baguettes that perfectly echoed the gold and silver threading on the cuffs of the wearer’s St. John knit suit.

It was a rich sample of the fashionable display in many of the city’s black churches, though perhaps on a slightly larger scale — West Angeles is one of the biggest Protestant churches in the region. Its 24,000 members attend one of three services each Sunday, and its bishop, Charles Blake, is about to be installed as the presiding bishop for the Church of God in Christ, the fourth-largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States. The bishop says, “all are welcome. We don’t care how you dress, we just care that you come.” But most people come dressed up because they want to. And many of the women — old, young and in between — wear hats. Serious hats.

You can read the entire article here and check out the hat photo gallery here.

Are you loud, black and in need of a makeover?

Then check this out.  I was going through some of my google alerts and saw an ad for a reality show.

Casting Are you an OUTSPOKEN OPINIONATED AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN?

Casting Call Information
City: Washington DC
State: DC
Posted On: 04/05/2009
Closing On: 04/15/2009
Company: 44 Blue Productions

Seeking LOUD, FEARLESS, OPINIONATED African American women to get a FREE MAKEOVER by a celebrity hairstylist.

You will be participating in a docu-reality pilot set in Washington DC for a major cable network.

The pilot will be taping between April 7- 11th in Washington DC.

Oh great.  Just what we need.  Another loud opinionated black woman on television 😦

Why does she have to be loud? I’m sure they’ll get a slew of responses but this is what many black folks talk about when TPTB in the television world continue to trot out the same old stereotypical black woman on reality shows.

Miss Showtime- Black female motorcyclist

I read a really interesting article today about black female motorcyclist Marian Peterson. Ms. Peterson, who’s now 64 years old and is more commonly known as Miss Showtime, is now the road captain of the all-male motorcycle club the Magnificent Seven. Miss Showtime is also featured in the California African American Museum’s exhibit Black Chrome, which showcases the contributions African Americans have made to motorcycle culture. This exhibit started last September 2008 and will run through April 12.

marian_peterson

‘Showtime’ and ‘Sugar’: Insiders! Glimpse At Black Female Bikers

BY NADRA KAREEM

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Marian Peterson has defied gender roles her whole life.

As a little girl, she had a train set that outmatched any owned by the boys she knew.

As a young woman, she was the only female to compete on her local horse racing team, the L.A. Jayhawks.

And by the time she reached her mid-20s, Peterson — more commonly known as “Miss Showtime” — was one of the few black women motorcyclists in Los Angeles.

“When I first started riding I was not on the bike set,” said Showtime, now 64. Instead, she rode motorcycles independently of a club, later becoming affiliated with male riding groups. “Some of the guys felt intimidated because I’m a woman, and by my skills riding.”

Mostly self-taught, Showtime is now the road captain of the all-male motorcycle club the Magnificent Seven, a feat indicative of how much respect she has in the riding world. Showtime is also one of the elite black motorcyclists featured in the California African AmericanMuseum’s exhibit Black Chrome, which showcases the contributions African Americans have made to motorcycle culture. The exhibit will run through April 12.

As a black woman in the motorcycle world, Showtime arguably faced twice the challenges that her male counterparts did. When Showtime won a street race against two male competitors, she had to be very humble and coy, so as not to upset them.

She told her competitors that she had no idea she was racing them. “I was just trying to keep up,” she recalls telling them.

Showtime said that she has managed to earn the respect of male motorcyclists by behaving like a lady rather than mimicking the behavior of men.

“Some women will go out and put on their gear and put on their bike, and they’re not the same lady,” Showtime said. “Guys respect ladies.”

The article also mentions the 2003 movie Biker Boyz starring Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Lisa Bonet and Orlando Jones and credits the film for giving the mainstream a peak inside black motorcyle culture.

She credits the 2003 film “Biker Boyz” for exposing black motorcycle culture to the mainstream. It’s Showtime’s belief that the media doesn’t show black motorcyclists engaging in bike runs and other activities, as it does for white motorcyclists.

According to her, many of the crew members on the “Biker Boyz” set didn’t realize that black motorcyclists even existed. And black women motorcyclists have yet to garner the attention their male peers have.

You can check out the entire article here.

SistersSpace

I read an interesting article the other day about a young lady who created a new site called SistersSpace.  Nona C. Jones created the site after finding a lack of positive black female images on the web.

nona-c-jones

UF grad student working against misconceptions about black women

By Brianti Downing
Campus correspondent

University of Florida graduate student Nona C. Jones was doing research for a class one day in September. She sat down at her computer and typed in a topic she thought would be easy enough to find research on: “black women.”

She clicked on “images,” unaware that this moment would change her life.

What she saw shocked her.

Jones, who is not only a UF student but also works in community relations management at Gainesville Regional Utilities, saw nothing of herself in her search results. There were no black women professionals dressed for a day at the office.

Instead, she saw photos of strippers, video girls and prostitutes. She remembers thinking, “these are the images that define black women.”

Jones resolved that she had to do something about the images that defined not only how people of other ethnicities saw black women, but how black women saw themselves.

That same day, http://www.SistersSpace.com was created.

“I put it together for black women, so we can define who we are in a place where we are positively uplifted,” Jones said. “Whereas, in another social network, they would perpetuate the idea” seen in the Google search results.

Jones created her Web site, she said, not only to help give black women a positive image of themselves but to bring them together.

You can read the entire article here. And check out Nona’s SistersSpace site here.

Black women more tech savvy

It seems like everytime I read a news article about black women it’s always negative.  We always seem to be first or the most likely in the worst situations, like my last blog post.  Well here’s some good news.  At least it’s good news to me.  Black women are more tech savvy than other female consumers.

Black women use technology as means to achieving goals

OrlandoSentinel.com

Black women are more likely than other female consumers to spend time embracing technology, and they view cell phones and the Internet as tools of empowerment and self-expression, a study finds.

Compared with other women, five times as many black women — 36 percent — use cell phones for three or more hours a day, according to research released by Time Inc.’s Essence magazine. Black women also spend more extended time using iPods, computers, high-definition TVs and DVD players.

The findings defy an image of technology consumers focused on young men, said Carmen Bryant, director of consumer research for Essence.

“All women use technology to gain control in their lives,” Bryant said. But, she said, black women also use technology as “a way to empower themselves to move forward.”

“They like to show their mastery of technology,” she said. “They are going to use it to help them stay active and achieving.”

The study included an online survey of 800 black women and 400 nonblack women ages 18 to 54. Participants had a minimum household income of $20,000 and were cell-phone or Internet users. The survey has an error margin of 3.4 percentage points for black women and 4.8 percentage points for nonblack women.

Ahead of the curve: Women’s use of technology

Black, Nonblack

36%, 7% Use their cell phones for 3 or more hours a day.
8%, 1% Use their iPods for 3 or more hours a day.
42%, 26% Report spending $100-$499 or more on cell phones.
21%, 8% Order products using the Web browser on their cell phone.

It’s good to see that black women are open to new technology.

Michelle Obama & black women

I read an article in the Detroit Free Press titled Michelle Obama credited with helping recast image of U.S. black women. The article talks about how many black women are excited at the prospect of Michelle Obama becoming a role model for black women. After years of video hoochies on tv and certain celebrities anointed by the media as the most beautiful, Michelle is certainly a refreshing change. A lot of black women are sick and tired of the Jezebel, Mammy and Sapphire stereotypes that still run rampant in the media when it comes to black women.

Michelle Obama credited with helping recast image of U.S. black women

BY CASSANDRA SPRATLING
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

There’s a new joy and excitement among many of the patrons of the Spiral Collective, a collection of businesses owned by black women in Detroit.

Their happiness centers on Michelle Obama, a woman they say puts a refreshing face on America’s image of African-American women.

“People who come in here are absolutely in love with Michelle Obama,” says Janet Webster Jones, who owns the Source Booksellers, one of the four businesses in one building at the corner of Cass and Willis in Midtown. The others are an art gallery, a natural hair care salon and an eclectic boutique.

“The ladies who come in here say they love how they love each other,” Jones, 71, says, referring to the affection between Michelle Obama and her husband, Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

That excitement was evident in the crowd of women who lined up to see Michelle Obama in downtown Pontiac earlier this month, some of whom arrived three hours before the doors of the Crofoot ballroom opened to them.

Jones and others say that Michelle Obama knocks down old stereotypes of black women: Sapphire, the angry black woman; Mammy, the caretaker and nurturer of her own children and everybody else’s, and Jezebel, the loose woman.

Jones’ daughter, Alyson Jones, 34, says the modern-day jezebels are booty-shaking hoochie mamas popularized in hip-hop videos.

“So Michelle comes along and she completely dispels all that,” Janet Jones says. “She represents someone who came from humble beginnings to achieve a high level of education. She has a strong self-identity as a female.

“You know she likes to wear dresses and high heels and she’s almost 6 feet tall. And she’s a loving wife and a great mother.”

“She normalizes black women,” says Alyson Jones, an elementary teacher at Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse, a charter school in Detroit. “She’s not the bitter black woman pundits have tried to make her out be.”

Yet despite Michelle’s accomplishments, she still scares the hell out of some folks. Go figure, eh. The entire article can be read here.

Black women in America

Sunday’s Washington Post has a very interesting column, titled Black. Female. Accomplished. Attacked. The column is written by Sophia Nelson. Ms. Nelson talks about how a successful black woman like Michelle Obama still can’t get any respect from society and how black women are looked at through a different lens than white women. Black women are usually portrayed as sassy, angry, loud, bitter women while white women are usually portrayed as fragile, more feminine and placed on a pedestal.

Black. Female. Accomplished. Attacked.

By Sophia A. Nelson
Sunday, July 20, 2008

There she is — no, not Miss America, but the Angela-Davis-Afro-wearing, machine-gun-toting, angry, unpatriotic Michelle Obama, greeting her husband with a fist bump instead of a kiss on the cheek.

It was supposed to be satire, but the caricature of Barack Obama and his wife that appeared on the cover of the New Yorker last week rightly caused a major flap. And among black professional women like me and many of my sisters in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, who happened to be gathered last week in Washington for our 100th anniversary celebration, the mischaracterization of Michelle hit the rawest of nerves.

Welcome to our world.

We’ve watched with a mixture of pride and trepidation as the wife of the first serious African American presidential contender has weathered recent campaign travails — being called unpatriotic for a single offhand remark, dubbed a black radical because of something she wrote more than 20 years ago and plastered with the crowning stereotype: “angry black woman.” And then being forced to undergo a politically mandated “makeover” to soften her image and make her more palatable to mainstream America.

Sad to say, but what Obama has undergone, though it’s on a national stage and on a much more prominent scale, is nothing new to professional African American women. We endure this type of labeling all the time. We’re endlessly familiar with the problem Michelle Obama is confronting — being looked at, as black women, through a different lens from our white counterparts, who are portrayed as kinder, gentler souls who somehow deserve to be loved and valued more than we do. So many of us are hoping that Michelle — as an elegant and elusive combination of successful career woman, supportive wife and loving mother — can change that.

“Ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner Truth famously asked 157 years ago. Her ringing question, demanding why black women weren’t accorded the same privileges as their white counterparts, still sums up the African American woman’s dilemma today: How are we viewed as women, and where do we fit into American life?

“Thanks to the hip-hop industry,” one prominent black female journalist recently said to me, all black women are “deemed ‘sexually promiscuous video vixens’ not worthy of consideration. If other black women speak up, we’re considered angry black women who complain. This society can’t even see a woman like Michelle Obama. All it sees is a black woman and attaches stereotypes.”

Black women have been mischaracterized and stereotyped since the days of slavery and minstrel shows. In more recent times, they’ve been portrayed onscreen and in popular culture as either sexually available bed wenches in such shows as the 2000 docudrama “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal,” ignorant and foolish servants such as Prissy from “Gone With the Wind” or ever-smiling housekeepers, workhorses who never complain and never tire, like the popular figure of Aunt Jemima.

Even in the 21st century, black women are still bombarded with media and Internet images that portray us as loud, aggressive, violent and often grossly obese and unattractive. Think of the movies “Norbit” or “Big Momma’s House,” or of the only two black female characters in “Enchanted,” an overweight, aggressive traffic cop and an angry divorcée amid all the white princesses.

You can read the entire column here.

Who’s the sexiest black woman alive?

According to TvOne Access it’s Halle Berry.

Yesterday TvOne gave their countdown to the Sexiest Woman Black Alive. I didn’t see it since I was too involved in the Nadal/Federer match 😉

Halle Berry chosen “sexiest black woman alive” by TV One; Michelle Obama receives a special mention

There’s actually a list called “The 16 Sexiest Black Women Alive.”

And “TV One Access” will be counting down the names on the list. But here’s the headline: Oscar-winner Halle Berry takes the top slot.

The program will debut at 2 p.m. Sunday on cable channel TV One. Doing the counting down will be co-host Jamal Munnerlyn and guest co-host Tatyana Ali.

The sexiest list also includes model/host Tyra Banks, singer Alicia Keys and “Deja Vu” star Paula Patton. There are other categories, such as “sexiest athletes” and “sexiest sense of style.” Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama, receives a special mention for “quintessential complete package.” Wouldn’t you like to know what she thinks of that?

“TV One Access” didn’t mention Oprah Winfrey — proving that you can’t be on every list.

But wait …

“The women selected as our 16 sexiest black women aren’t just pretty faces,” said Monique Chenault, senior producer of “TV One Access.” “Each one of them is uniquely talented, strong-minded and self-assured. Now what could be sexier than that?”

Is strong-minded and self-assured are the keys, where’s Oprah?

Here’s the list of the “16 Sexiest Black Women Alive”:

16. Alek Wek

15. Beverly Johnson

14. Tyra Banks

13. Alicia Keys

12. Jada Pinkett Smith

11. Janet Jackson

10. Vanessa Williams

9. Iman

8. Angela Bassett

7. Lauren London

6. Paula Patton

5. Rihanna

4. Naomi Campbell

3. Beyonce

2. Gabrielle Union

1. Halle Berry

Yes, I can hear it now. What about the sexiest white woman or sexiest latina woman? Well in most mainstream polls when it comes to the sexiest anybody the majority of folks listed are white or white latinas, especially when it comes to women. They don’t call it the sexiest white person lists cause it’s expected that the majority of folks on the list are white. If half of the women on the mainstream lists were black, some white folks would go ballistic, yet those same folks get upset when black folks create there own lists. Halle and Beyonce are usually the only black women who make the mainstream list. There are a slew of beautiful black women out there but they never recieve the attention that Halle and Beyonce receive. TvOne’s countdown gives other black women the opportunity to make these type of lists as well.

You can check out the photo gallery here.

Black women and R. Kelly

I read an interesting article in Newsweek recently, Sexism on Trial: Why did so many African-American women support R. Kelly?, about why so many (this is Alison Samuels’s words) black women supported that pedophile R. Kelly. As most folks know by now R. Kelly was found not guilty on 14 counts of child pornography and child endangerment. Well some black women were just thrilled that he was found not guilty (shades of O.J., eh?). But this was not most black women as Alison states. All the black women I know were disgusted at this verdict. But it does make you wonder about the black women who supported R. Kelly throughout the trial. How do you support a pedophile? Is this something that’s accepted in certain segments of the black community?

Some of R. Kelly’s black female supporters will continue to buy his music and attend his concerts. They just don’t give a damn about who does whatever to young black women. Anything to support a black male in trouble who’s rich and famous (shades of Mike Tyson & O.J.). Had R. Kelly been a white male singer molesting young black girls, these same black women would be up in arms, have Jesse Jackson and Rev. Sharpton on speed dial and insist that they along with the entire black community march in the streets protesting.

All I can say is thank goodness I don’t own any of that pedophile’s music. Never been a fan of his.

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