Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Most Banned Book of the Year -- as read on Judy Blume's Blog

I met Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson in Chicago -- authors of the most banned book of this year-- And Tango Makes Three -- a picture book based on a true story about two male penguins, Roy and Silo, at
the Central Park Zoo.The fear of sharing this charming story about nurturing male penguins reminds me of a picture book by Charlotte Zolotow published in the '70's --
William's Doll-- and the brouhaha surrounding it. As if giving a boy a doll would turn him into a
homosexual.It makes me proud that on October 15 I will be giving the Charlotte Zolotow Lecture at University of Wisconsin. Maybe I'll start off by telling that story.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

For CJ - A McCain supporter that found themselves on my blog...

dear cj,

it is obvious, that YOU are voting for an unstable America.
Obama is a terrorist? so i feel its only fair to break it
down for you.

The first thing out your mouth: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA... As if
the words "Hussein" should scare me. Let me tell you something "CJ"
my worst fears, have already materialized. The fact that Bill O'Reilly,
also a McCain supporter, can spew words like "Lynching" while speaking
of Michelle Obama, is a pretty clear sign of what is to come. Again.
This world of racism, that Americans like you love to conveniently ignore,
has been a scare tactic etched in the bones of children of color. Your President
has proven that for the past 8 years. But let's not look to the past. There
is nothing that can be done of that. Let's talk about now:

1 - When McCain decided to choose Palin as his running partner, THE WEAKER
CANDIDATE, became quite obvious. He did not respect the people of America
and moreso decided he could play on the need for a woman in office than answer
the call for a qualified candidate in office. Sarah Palin is NOT Hilary Clinton. And
her and her JOE SIX-PACK & Hockey Mom antics won't make her any more
closer to knowing the facts.

a. The fact that Palin is a woman, is not "Change" enough CJ. And there
are interviews and debates that very well question if she is actually a human. I
think she's a droid, on some Stepford Wives ish. I mean really. Any person that
would charge a rape victim for the rape kit -- is suspect. And maybe she didn't
put the law into action, but she sure as hell was more concerned about Caribou
than putting a stop to such a gross misconduct.

b. "I can see Russia from my house?" Really? That makes her a strong candidate
concerning foreign policy?

c. Wink... word.

2 - Terrorists association. Is that all your crew has? When you couldn't scare away the public from idea of a BLACK PRESIDENT, you decide to compare the acts of William Ayers to the deceased Timothy McVeigh. Be clear. Ayers and Obama once lived in the same area of Chicago, as they also worked in the field of school reform and education for the state of Illinois. And because Obama was hosted by Ayers for a congratulatory coffee gathering -- their friends? How silly does that sound.

3 - When I vote for Obama. And I will. I will not be voting for "another September 11 attack," I will be voting for a President that represents all people. Not just the affluent, not just the people of color -- but the fabric in which this nation was designed. And CJ, I know what happened that day. I watched it from my living room window -- I didn't wait for the news to tell me what to feel as the entire city shook in fear and despair and loss. The USA is in need of an overhaul. Out with the standards of keeping the rich, richer and the poor and disenfranchised, asleep. Our country is in need of a facelift. There are countries that look at us confused. I went on a trip to London and underwent an emergency root canal. Free of charge. This is after my own dentist wanted to charge me $1500, for something my insurance refused to cover. This is absurd. This country needs to take care of its citizens regardless of their income.

"I don't like either candidates but prefer McCain over a terrorist lover?" That sounds like some Mississippi-burning-Rosewood-lynching-tirade if I've ever heard one. The fact our country would rather us go spend money than have therapy for post traumatic disorders after the devastation of 9/11 is beyond me. But hey. These are the cards we were dealt. We can't change what happened in the past. What we can do is vote for a man with a spot on VP Candidate like Biden, a man that sticks up for the good of people, rather than the good of the old money's pockets. America teaches our youth "anyone can be President" and the whole "up from the bootstraps - no handout" mentality. But when it actually happens. There are people like you. Ready to chip away the very notion that something good can come out of all the murder and injustice that has slept in the belly of our good ole' United States. This country is ready for something else. Something that feels real. We deserve that. Our future deserves that. You are just too blinded by your own prejudice to see it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Star Jones Reynolds responds to Bill O'Reilly

Below is Star Jones' informed and provocative response to Bill O'Reilly's
comment about 'having a lynching party for Michelle Obama if he finds
out that she truly has no pride in her country.'

Bill O'Reilly said: 'I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama
unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels.
If that's how she really feels - that is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -
then that's legit. We'll track it down.'

Star said: 'I'm sick to death of people like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and his stupid
and ignorant thinking that he can use a racial slur against a black woman who
could be the next First Lady of the United States, and then give a half-assed
apology and not be taken to task and called on his crap. What the hell is if it's
'legit,' you're going to 'track it down?'

And then what do you plan to do? How dare this white man with a
microphone and the trust of the public think that in 2008, he can still
put the words 'lynch and party' together in the same sentence with a
reference to a black woman; in this case, Michelle Obama? I don't care
how you 'spin it' in the 'no spin zone,' that statement in and of itself
is racist, unacceptable and inappropriate on every level.

O'Reilly claims his comments were taken out of context. Please
don't insult my intelligence while you're insulting me. I've read the
comments and heard them delivered in O'Reilly's own voice; and there
is no right context that exists. So, his insincere apology and 'out-of-context'
excuse is not going to cut it with me.

And just so we're clear, this has nothing to do with the 2008
presidential election, me being a Democrat, him claiming to be an
Independent while talking like a Republican, the liberal media or a
conservative point of view. To the contrary, this is about crossing a
line in the sand that needs to be drawn based on history, dignity, taste
and truth.

Bill, I'm not sure of where you come from, but let me tell you what
the phrase 'lynching party' conjures up to me, a black woman born in
North Carolina ..

Those words depict the image of a group of white men who are angry
with the state of their own lives getting together, drinking more than they
need to drink, lamenting how some black person has moved forward
(usually ahead of them in stature or dignity), and had the audacity to
think that they are equal.

These same men for years, instead of looking at what changes they should
and could make in their own lives that might remove that bitterness born
of perceived privilege, these white men take all of that resentment and
anger and decide to get together and drag the closest black person near
them to their death by hanging them from a tree - usually after violent
beating, torturing and violating their human dignity. Check your history
books, because you don't need a masters or a law degree from Harvard
to know that is what constitutes a 'lynching party.'

Imagine, Michelle and Barack Obama having the audacity to think that
they have the right to the American dream, hopes, and ideals. O'Reilly
must think to himself: 'How dare they have the arrogance to think they
can stand in front of this nation, challenge the status quo and express
the frustration of millions?

When this happens, the first thing that comes to mind for O'Reilly and
people like him is: 'it's time for a party.'

Not so fast...don't order the rope just yet.

Would O'Reilly ever in a million years use this phrase with reference
to Elizabeth Edwards, Cindy McCain or Judi Nathan? I mean, in all of the
statements and criticisms that were made about Judi Nathan, the one-time
mistress turned missus, of former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani,
I never heard any talk of forming a lynch party because of something she
said or did.

So why is it that when you're referring to someone who' s
African-American you must dig to a historical place of pain, agony and
death to symbolize your feelings? Lynching is not a joke to off-handedly
throw around and it is not a metaphor that has a place in political
commentary; provocative or otherwise.

I admit that I come from a place of personal outrage here having buried
my 90 year-old grandfather last year. This proud, amazing African-
American man raised his family and lived through the time when
he had to use separate water fountains, ride in the back of a bus, take
his wife on a date to the 'colored section' of a movie theater, and
avert his eyes when a white woman walked down the street for fear of
what a white man and his cronies might do if they felt the urge to
'party'; don't tell me that the phrase you chose, Mr. O'Reilly, was
taken out of context.

To add insult to injury, O'Reilly tried to 'clarify' his statements, by
using the excuse that his comments were reminiscent of Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas' use of the term 'high-tech lynching' during his
confirmation hearing. I reject that analogy. You see Justice Thomas did
mean to bring up the image of lynching in its racist context. He was
saying that politics and the media were using a new technology to do to
him what had been done to black men for many years -- hang him.

Regardless of if you agreed with Justice Thomas' premise or not, if in
fact ---Bill O'Reilly was referencing it the context becomes even clearer.

What annoys me more than anything is that I get the feeling that one of
the reasons Bill O'Reilly made this statement, thinking he could get
away with it in the first place, and then followed it up with a lame
apology in a half-hearted attempt to smooth any ruffled feathers, is
because he doesn't think that black women will come out and go after
him when he goes after us. Well, he's dead wrong. Be clear Bill O'Reilly:
there will be no lynch party for that black woman.

And this black woman assures you that if you come for her, you come for
all of us.'

Star Jones Reynolds

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where I've Been/Where I'll Be...

I've writing tons. And with the recent car tow -- I've had nothing but time
to observe the Brooklyn surrounding me. In that time, I've pledged allegiance
to another 30/30 project. This one has over 50 poets involved. It under the
wings of Nicole Terez Dutton, a cave canem sis. She's awesome. We both have
gaps. Which means the awesomeness is relative. And this one is the best yet!
We're putting together a book of the work, as well as, performances.
*Check dates below*

I finally started back to school last week. I didn't realize how hard it was
to go back, once I stayed away for the entire summer! Pray for me. Also
preparing for the festival. That's been a lot of work! Seriously. And we only
have three weeks before we're in the midst of 40 poets and over 400 poetry
lovers! www.soundbitesnyc.com
If you want to see me anywhere, come check me out there! I will look as if
my head is cut off --but I'm efficient in my panic. Come give me a hug and
tell me how amazing the show is...Jive Poetic worked so hard on the festival
website -- I wish I had a new website that looked like that! *hint hint*

I'm still blogging. but after the plagurist incident. I'm keeping it a bit closer
to my heart. This skin is too thin for things like that. Hit me on the backend
and I'll send you to the private one. I just got back from the Northbeast
Regionals in Boston. The Nuyo Team (2008) rep'd so hard and we had a ball
even if the car's transmission died on us, about 65 miles outside of Boston.
They are the warmth all humans need to feel whole. We drove 45 miles an
hour for the remainder, just to make it to the slam, to qualify for nationals.
And they did the damn thing. They threw down the hammer with each poem
and was ready for a treat @ a diner soon after. The damage on the car? $1800
So we're having a team show to get that money for the car. I love those guys.
Adam, Akua, Jamaal & Rico. Eboni came along for the ride. And Anaiss opened
her home to all our poetry conversations. We talked about everythin from old
school music, to the top reasons of why not to date a poet. Also checked out
a couple of readings and one man shows. Bamuthi's "breaks" in the New York
Hip Hop Theatre Festival was slightly short of AMAZING. He is a prime
example of honest art.

Then Court and I checked out the reading/discussion hosted by my girl, Nicole
Sealey. Tayari Jones was the guest and after reading her first book Leaving
Atlanta - I had to see the woman behind the wonderful words. The car was
towed that morning. So I walked all the way from the Brooklyn Museum, to
the tip of Brooklyn,where MoCada sits across from the 24 hour Pathmark. I
was sweating and near faint, but I made it. Slightly late. She gave me the evil
teacher eye. I don'tknow if she knows that. Or maybe I was just overly sensitive
to being the storm that disrupted the intimate reading. It was great to hear
though. I'll post the notes I took from her and Bamuthi. But right now, I need
a bowl of cereal. Bad. And some coffee. Word. Check the dates below until then.

Oct 15 2008
Adelphi University
Garden City, New York

Oct 16 2008
LaGuardia College - Open Mic
Queens, New York

Oct 16 2008
SBites @ Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York

Oct 17 2008
SBPoetry @ NYU
New York, New York

Oct 23 2008
SBPoetry @ Columbia College fundraiser for domestic violence
New York, New York

Oct 25 2008
$500 Poetry Slam @ SoundBites Poetry Festival
NYC, New York

Oct 26 2008
$250 Poetry Slam @ SoundBites Poetry Festival

Oct 26 2008
Return of the Jam Showcase @ SoundBites Poetry Festival
New York, New York

Nov 7 2008
Alfred University
alfred, New York

Nov 12 2008

Nov 16 2008
30/30 Allstars @ Lizard Lounge
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Nov 22 2008
30/30 Allstars in Brooklyn @ Calabar Imports
Brooklyn, New York

Nov 23 2008
Baltimore Slam - Feature
Baltimore, Maryland

Dec 4 2008
Rider College
Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Dec 6 2008
Utica College

Dec 19 2008
SWAP Year End Review

Dec 20 2008
SWAP Year In Review
Manhattan, New York

Dec 21 2008
SWAP Year In Review
NY, New York

Feb 4 2009
Seattle Poetry Slam

Feb 7 2009
Binghamton University
Binghamton, New York

Apr 2 2009
Laguardia College
Queens, New York

Thursday, October 02, 2008

new attitude

i made myself stop being afraid of rejection.
so i applied to over a dozen journals in the past
48 hours.
its like slam, on the page, without the luxury
of winning a crowd over with your smile and outfit.
no funny segways and intros -- just the page. and
the words.
we'll see what happens.
we'll see...