Archive for January, 2012

The Bridge: Dying To Eat & Eating To Death, Part 2

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Guest Columnists, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on January 24, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

The woman cut me off in traffic and pulled up next to me at the light to curse me out.

I stared at her and then laughed at her.

I thought it was so ridiculous for a woman to be so wildly angry and aggressive.

And then, her rant turned in a direction that made me look at her like she was crazy and then feel sorry for her.

She called me a “skinny bastard” and said that I probably dated “skinny bitches” who are not sexy and that I was depressed because I didn’t have a “fat bitch” in my life.

She was morbidly obese.

She was sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV and was literally leaking into the passenger seat.

And then she proceeded to talk about how “cute” she was.

It was sad.

It was frightening.

But it wasn’t all that unusual, save for the severe aggression.

You see, in America, many people have gone from simply accepting obesity to celebrating it.

There are now nightclubs dedicated to “chubby chasers,” or men who love overweight women.

It is a perverse version of how some men from yesterday held an affinity for women with “something to hold on to.”

Now, it’s about celebrating those with too much to hold.

Some people thought that my first installment of “Dying “To Eat” was hateful to overweight people.

But the truth is that while some overweight people may be good-hearted and wonderful people, they just aren’t healthy.

The lies we accept about being big and beautiful or perverting the word “healthy” to refer to big people are killing us.

Those lies are also harming our kids.

No matter what propaganda we promote, the simple fact is that overweight children are speeding towards lives rife with health problems–both physical and mental.

With millions of overweight children in the nation, there are a few things that we had better do if we want the next generation to live beyond 40.

While body image and self-image should not be tied together in a perfect world, the reality is that they are.  And if we help children feel better about themselves, they will have better lives.

In Lithonia, Georgia, Yvonne Sanders-Butler, principal of Browns Mill Elementary was on the verge of a stroke. Once she changed her diet and dropped some weight, her health improved tremendously.

She launched a campaign at her school that had positive and powerful results: Improvement in student test scores and a decrease in disciplinary problems.

That campaign included a change in diet and addition of exercise.

Certainly, it’s easier said than done, but its possible.

Part of our problem in America is our obsession with snack foods.

That obsession seduces us into a relationship with Trans fat, which is formed when vegetable oil is turned into solid fat. Food processors do this through a process called hydrogenation to prolong the shelf life of food, but it doesn’t prolong your life. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease.

Speaking of cholesterol, let’s talk about what it is and why people should be paying attention to good and bad cholesterol.

First, cholesterol is found in the bloodstream as well as all of your body’s cells.  It’s a soft waxy substance your body uses to make cell membranes and some hormones.

Your blood can not dissolve cholesterol.  A high level of it in the blood places you at a high risk of coronary heart disease.

The two types of cholesterol are LDL, which is considered bad and HDL, which is considered good.

LDL Cholesterol is considered bad because too much of it in the blood can build up on the walls of your arteries and help form plaque, leading to clogging of the arteries and a greater susceptibility to heart attack or stroke.

If your LDL level is 160 or above it is considered high.  It should be less than 100.

HDL Cholesterol is considered good, because it is believed to carry protection against heart attacks.

According to medical experts, HDL Cholesterol transports cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver, where the body can dispose of it as waste.

If your HDL level is less than 40, you are considered to be at higher risk of heart attack.

So if HDL is good, how do we increase the level in our bodies?  Part of the answer is simple—increased physical activity, which has other benefits, including heart and respiratory health, as well as weight loss.

Nine million Americans are morbidly obese.  Many more are overweight.  For those who want to change, the hardest part is starting a program to improve the body.

For some people, finance is an issue.  For others, plunging into the next fad diet or undertaking an intimidating workout plan spell certain failure.

You don’t have to join an expensive gym, starve yourself, or make challenging drastic changes in diet and exercise to make a difference.

Small steps are more realistic for most overweight people, and the results will also be realistic as well as lasting.

In terms of exercise, you can start small by taking a walk in the evening after your last meal, or a walk in the morning before work. Any increase in activity, no matter how small, will make a difference in the long run.  The key is to get started and do something.

A smart and practical plan can begin with small changes, including changes in eating habits.

Start by eating your last full meal of the day before 7pm.  Try to make that meal as healthy as possible, particularly including vegetables and whole grains.

Second, if you must snack after that meal, make the snack fruits or nuts.

Third, while you might continue to eat some of your favorite foods, either make substitutes or additions of vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich foods, and fish.

For example, eat whole wheat bread, instead of white bread, or try to make your favorite meals with steamed or baked meats instead of fried meats.

Remember—small steps.

And, no matter what lies the soft drink industry tells us, diet soda hurts more than it helps–with zero nutritional value. Carbonated drinks can actually stimulate us to eat more than we would without them.

Finally, drink more water.

Just making these small changes will make a difference.  And, since the changes are small but deliver real results, there will be a feeling of success, which will make the person feel better about continuing.

Keep in mind that you didn’t get fat in thirty days, so any short-term diet should be avoided like the bad food you’ll end up eating when its over or when it fails.

The goal should not be to deprive yourself, but to make real changes in your life that will have realistic results and make you feel good about yourself.

Watch what happens when you walk three times each week, eat earlier and make small changes in your diet over a one month period.

Take your children and watch their changes.

Remember, they’re watching you.

You don’t want them Eating To Death.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and returns to the stage in March of 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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A Liberal Dose Of Confusion

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , , on January 20, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

As America celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s birthday this week and is getting ready to celebrate Black History Month in February, I have reflected on the state of liberalism and its impact on the Black community and have concluded that I am very confused!

What am I confused about?  Before Obama’s election as president, no one thought we would ever see a Black person elected president because of racism.

Since Obama has been elected president, can one reasonably postulate that racism has become less of an issue?  If the answer is no, then how do you explain Obama’s election?  Remember, conventional wisdom was that America was too racist and would never elect a Black president (and remember, whites are still a majority of the electorate, so therefore, there were a lot of whites who voted for Obama).

If the answer is yes, then why do liberals constantly blame the plight of Blacks on racism?  You can’t have it both ways.

So, whites are too racist to care about the plight of Blacks, but no longer too racist to vote for a Black candidate for president?

Is it white America’s fault that they helped elect a Black president that took almost two years before he met with the Congressional Black Caucus (despite meeting with gay and Hispanic groups sooner and more frequently); is it white America’s fault that they helped elect a Black president who told the CBC last September to “stop complaining” [about him not doing anything for the Black community]; is it white America’s fault that they helped elect a Black president who has fewer Blacks in his administration than George W. Bush?

Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver (from Kansas City, MO and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus) famously said last year, “if Obama was white, we would be marching on the White House.”  Cleaver was making reference to Obama not paying attention to the Black community.

Here you have the first Black president of the U.S. who is doing everything in his power to ignore the very community that gave him 96% of their vote.  And people like Cleaver are giving Obama a pass simply because he Black?

Why was there no outcry from the NAACP, the Urban League, Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson about Cleaver’s racist comment?  So, it’s racist when a white person in power ignores the Black community, but it’s ok if a Black person in power does the same thing?

King fought and died for the principles he believed in.  King constantly criticized both Kennedy brothers over civil rights; he constantly criticized Johnson over Vietnam.  I can’t imagine King giving Obama a pass simply because he was Black.  His moral compass would not have allowed him to remain silent.

Cleaver, and those who think like him, does a great disservice to everything that King stood for.

There are more Black elected officials than ever before, but the pathologies in our community are getting worse (unemployment, crime, teenage pregnancy, etc.).

Who is to blame for this?  White folks?  Devall Patrick, the Black governor of Massachusetts, has not improved the plight of Blacks in his state.  David Dinkins (New York), Tom Bradley (Los Angeles), Coleman Young (Detroit), all former mayors, never improved the plight of Blacks in their cities with their liberal policies.  Was that because of racism also?  The two exceptions to this were former mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson and former mayor of Washington, DC, Marion Barry.  Why were they so different than the other Black mayors?

They focused on increasing Black entrepreneurship by increasing more opportunities for private sector and government contracting.  These two mayors created many Black millionaires, who created jobs, and hired people who paid taxes and helped to create stable communities.

So, on the one hand, Blacks said America would never elect a Black because of racism.  Blacks then turn around and say Obama can’t do anything to specifically address the needs in the Black community because of racism (meaning white racist will accuse Obama of being partial to Blacks).

I am confused!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com), Freedom’s Journal Magazine (www.freedomsjournal.net), and U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).

Kevyn Nelson – Financial Consultant

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics with tags , , on January 17, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Kevyn Nelson has always fostered the entrepreneurial spirit.  From running his own paper route when he was still in single digits to opening a recording studio at the age of 16, the Los Angeles native has dabbled in various business ventures for many years.

Today, as a sought after financial consultant, Nelson runs the two-year-old CVI Wealth and Asset Management Group (the sister company to his renowned Worldwide Credit and Financial Solutions).  Based in Manhattan Beach, CA, Denver, CO and Lawrenceville, GA, CVI serves a broad range of clients from L.A. to Atlanta, including a rather large contingency of entertainers.

With offices opening in New York and Chicago, CVI specializes in an array of services, among them wills and estate planning, investment consulting, credit restoration and enhancements, business plans, grant proposals, nonprofit formation, corporation services, business development, and business funding.  “We have an ongoing roster of about 30-35 people,” Nelson said.  “I also have a lot of clients on a rotating basis, so we average between 400 and 500 clients per year.”

Being a financial consultant during a recession can’t be easy, but Nelson has been undaunted.  He has learned how to customize his services to suit the unique needs of a clientele facing tough economic times.  “If it’s a client that I had three or four years ago, certain things that were timely then are no longer the case, so I give them updated information.”  Nelson says drastic changes in the banking industry have caused him to alter his strategies somewhat and he has been mindful of the counsel he dispenses regarding real estate investments.  “If a client doesn’t have a lot of available liquid assets, I don’t advise real estate investment right now, but those who have cash can pick up good deals because of all of the foreclosures.”

One of the most challenging areas of Nelson’s work — and perhaps the one for which he has the most passion — is providing services to entertainers, many of whom may be riding high professionally but suffering financially.  With a client roster that has included the likes of Ralph Tresvant, TLC, Adina Howard, Brian Austin Green, and “Moesha’s” Lamont Bentley, Nelson tries to show entertainers how to make their money outlast their fame.  “When it comes to entertainment, I focus primarily on independent labels, artists and executives.  I like to work with indie labels to show them how to use their budgets to access capital that can be used to sustain their projects.  With artists, I try to get them to understand the value of their intellectual property and with industry executives, I teach them where to put their money, especially nowadays with so many execs losing jobs and going into consulting.”

In addition to his hands-on, one-on-one counseling, Nelson also offers financial words of wisdom to those who may not be able to afford his $5000 consulting fee.  In his book, “Corporate Credit Unleashed,” available at Amazon.com, Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble, Nelson reveals the secret to building business credit.  In the popular book, Nelson teaches readers about business credit reporting agencies, ratings, building a business profile, and the process of building credit.

Nelson said he chose to focus so heavily on credit building because most of his clients have the misconception that “good credit will allow them to live a lifestyle that they can’t afford.”  He explains, “The purpose of credit should be to allow yourself to take advantage of investments.  If you’re going to have an 18 percent interest rate on a credit card, whatever you’re using that card for should be bringing you back 20-25 percent.  Credit is not to use so you can live a lifestyle that you can’t afford.  Once your debt ratio is over 40 percent, it doesn’t matter how high your credit score is — people will still start denying you.”

Educated at Southern California University of Professional Studies, where he earned a BA in Corporate Law and Entrepreneurial Studies, Nelson says he has serviced a wide range of clients who have acquired money from an equally wide range of sources.  But Nelson says his job is to serve his clients, not judge them.  “I know for a fact that there is definitely a need in the entertainment industry for the services that I provide,” he says. “There is a need for my services in a lot of markets and I’m happy to provide them as long as it’s done the right way.”

Dedicated and committed to always maintaining a high level of integrity in business, results-oriented financial consultant Kevyn Nelson consistently delivers.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevyndadreammaker

http://twitter.com/iamkevynjnelson

http://www.worldwidecreditandfinancialsolutionsinc.com

http://www.facebook.com/kevynjnelsonbrand

http://www.thekevynjnelsonbrand.com

SANTA’S HELPER: AN ORGANO GOLD DISTRIBUTOR!

Posted in African Americans, Black Men, Black Men In America, Money/Economics with tags , , on January 17, 2012 by Gary Johnson

According to “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali “A friend is someone who is always doing for others and never expecting anything in return.”

How many friends of yours meet his definition?  I can count my friends on one hand!

For the past 43 years I have been married to a wonderful and great lady named Hattie Bell.  We have coordinated Christmas toy parties for elementary school children from DC, Maryland and Virginia during those 43 years.

This effort has been hosted by our non-profit organization KIDS IN TROUBLE, INC. without grants or loans.

The last decade I have been promising Hattie “This is going to be my last year” promises made promises broken.  I was once a kid in trouble and going to hell in a hurry. There is something special about a little child’s smile at Christmas that is addicted.

We usually try to average at least 100 kids for every toy party but this year because of financial difficulties we had to cut back to 50 children.

During the week of December 18, 2011 I was out on a rainy night to pick up a donation from a friend of KIDS IN TROUBLE Dr. Anthony Mays.  He is the President and founder of BREAKTHROUGH BIBLE COLLEGE.  His office is located in Temple Hills, Md.  His trusted assistant Dr. Julia Doctor was waiting for me to pick up the donation.

Since it was raining I decided to park in a “Handicap Parking Space” without the designated sticker!  Needless to say when I got back downstairs my car was gone.

I stood in the rain trying to figure out where my car was?  I returned to the lobby of the building when this brother who had been sitting in the lobby approached and asked “Are you having a problem?”  He delivered the bad news that a tow truck had taken my car.

His name is Milton Hill.  After delivering the bad news, he offered to give me a ride to my mother-in-law’s home in Suitland (5 minutes away).  He dropped me off, we exchanged numbers and wished each other a Merry Christmas and promised to stay in touch.  I have since made him an honorary “Santa’s Helper.”

I also promised I would attend a presentation at his home in January of 2012.  I felt that was the least I could do for the kindness he had shown me.

I called the number on the sign in the parking lot to the tow truck company and was told it would take $175 if I wanted to retrieve my car.

I borrowed $25 each from my two brothers-in-law, Weldon and Steve who were visiting for the holidays. My wife Hattie came up with another $25.  The $100 donation from Dr. Mays brought the total to $175.

My “Friend” and Santa’s Helper Gus Banks lived nearby.  I called him for a ride in search of my towed vehicle!  In “The Hood” this is known as HUSTLING BACKWARDS!

To make a long story short, thanks to donations from Santa’s Helpers like Dr. Mays, Ms. Michelle Madison of Unity Health Care, Giant Food Stores, Ms. Carla Carter (The Cup Cake Lady), Pat Gray and Gus Banks, the 43 Annual KIT toy party was a success.

Children from the First Baptist Church of Suitland in Forestville, Md. and the Simba Maritials Arts Academy in SE, DC were the happy recipients.

On Monday January 9, 2012 I received a telephone call from Milton Hill my honorary Santa’s Helper wishing me a Happy New Year!  He also reminded me that on Tuesday January 10, 2012 he was having a presentation at his home in Clinton, Md.

The presentation was the one that I had promised that I would be in attendance.  I reminded him that I was a MAN of my WORD because it was the only thing that I really owned outright in this system.

The system can and will take everything that you own (material things) but once you allow it to take your WORD you will never be able to help anyone including yourself!

Tuesday January 10, 2012 would turnout to be a rainy, rainy day and night in Prince Georges County.  First, I don’t like driving at night and second I seldom if ever leave the house on a rainy day unless it is an emergency.  My wife looked at me and said “You gave your WORD!”

Traveling from Bowie, Md. to Clinton, Md. is like going cross country especially when it is dark and raining!  Since I was not familiar with Clinton and without a GPS to guild me I traveled to my destination on a wing and prayer.

Milton would have to come and rescue me again after I got lost because of the poorly lit street signs leading to his home.

He was expecting a full house but knowing some folks I warned him “We don’t like to leave the comfort of our homes if it is raining and dark!”  He laughed and agreed.

I still didn’t have a clue on what the presentation was all about until a young preppy
well dressed brother named Sulaiman Rahman from Philadelphia made his way to the basement.

His presentation would be about “Coffee!”  I don’t even drink coffee but I said, “What the hell I’m here now, why not listen!”

I have heard all kinds of presentations and invitations on “How to get rich quick or die trying” starting with Mary Kay, World ATM Company, to my last encounter in 2011 with a so-called global telecommunications CEO.

The encounter with the CEO left a bad taste in my mouth.  If I had known that my trip to Clinton would be about another get rich home based business scheme there was the possibility my WORD would not have been kept!

This is the same CEO I had met in the 90s when he was driving a bus and spinning records at local night clubs. He was brought to my home in Suitland, Md. and introduced to me by another young man I was mentoring.

In the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s my reputation as an athlete, youth advocate and out spoken radio and television sports talk show pioneer had already been established. In DC it was nothing unusual for young men to stop me on the streets or come to my home for advice.

When I was introduced to this young man I had already broken bread with drug kingpins and the President of the United States of America.  I had been from “The Outhouse to the White House” and interviewed some of the greatest athletes of our time.

Despite the success in the community and sports media I never lost sight on who I was and where I came from!

Honesty and integrity and “You Cannot buy him” were characteristics already associated with the name Harold Bell.

In the summer of 2011 almost two decades later I was called by another young friend associated with the CEO.  He was calling to invite me to hear a presentation on the campus of the University of Maryland.

He sold me when he said “Harold it is time that you get paid for all of your  contributions made to our community.”  Like many in the black community I was facing financial difficult times and this sounded like music to my ears!

When I arrived at the Marriott hotel for the meeting there was a “Show & Tell” exhibit of about 12 brand new BMW automobiles and a Bentley parked out front!

Inside the room where the presentation was being held there were wall to wall black folks who looked like they had just stepped out of Esquire Magazine.  I was escorted to a seat in the front of the room for the presentation.

I listened to about 4 presentations and testimonies on the advantages of owning a home based business. I was impressed by the presentations, but I was surprised to see the last presenter.  It was the same young man who visited my home in the 90s seeking my advice on his next move to stardom and success in DC!

During his presentation I discovered he had literally gone from driving a bus to driving a Bentley. He gave me a wink as he bragged about his success.  I nodded my approval with a smile.

Shortly after the presentation I was escorted to the front of the line where he was signing his book titled “From the Bus to the Bentley.”  It was here he gave me a hug and told everyone waiting in line about how he had visited my home back in the day and had seen on my basement wall pictures of me with Muhammad Ali, Don King and other celebrities.

He then autographed in his book “To Harold Bell thanks for opening the door for me.”  The praise brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes, but the smile would later turn upside down to a frown!

I would attend several more presentations to check out the clientele. I would later discover another young man I was familiar with.  He thought he wanted to be a fight promoter.

He was now a member of the organization.  It was during the Mike Tyson “Na Mas” against Kevin McBride in Washington, DC at the Verizon Center in June 2005. The wannabe promoter was taken to the cleaners by one of the most notorious frauds in the boxing.

During the promotions I forewarned the young brother to watch his back.  But he got caught up in the bright lights and wanting to be a star.  He allowed the Don King wannabe to go to the bank without him.

He screamed “Foul” to me after the fact.  The blow by blow profanity laced e-mails between him and the wannabe promoter had smoke coming from my computer!

My next move was to request a meeting with the CEO.  I laid out exactly what my plans were for the future and how we could form a partnership to enhance both organizations.  The projects included, a soon to be book and a film documentary as it related to my pioneering efforts in the community and sports talk radio.

He took my DVD promo and a draft of my book and asked me to put everything in writing. I e-mailed him my proposal two days later (August 2011). He has avoided me (phone calls, e-mail, and texts) ever since.

On January 2, 2012 we met face to face at the conclusion of a NBA Celtics vs. Wizards’ game at the Verizon Center.  He was coming up the steps exiting the game and I was going down the steps to the floor.  The look on his face when he saw me was “Priceless.”

In passing he said, “Harold I have not forgotten you I still have your package on my desk at home.”  I wished him a Happy New Year and kept on moving!

His behavior has become the norm in the black community where it use to be our teachers saying “I got mine and you have yours to get” success and two dollars more than the next brother starts the same process of memory lost in the streets!

The next day after I had absorbed his declaration of “I have not forgotten you” I e-mailed him my response—it was not pretty. 

His response was typical “What did I do to you sir?”  He tried to play the victim and make me the Bad Guy for asking him for a Helping Hand instead of a Hand Out in writing as he requested.  His wife even got involved.  I received an e-mail from her saying “Do I know you? It sounds like you want someone to give you something!”

I learned an important lesson from my Grandmother Amy Tyler Bell after I became a local celebrity I think she sensed that I was beginning to smell myself!  She said, “Remember to always tell the TRUTH because there is no defense for the TRUTH, a LIE will change a thousand times but the TRUTH never changes.”  It is the best advice I have ever received.

This from the Bus to the Bentley charade made me close the chapter on a Home-Based Business.  I decided this was not my way to financial success.  This was until my encounter with Santa’s Helper Milton Hill.

The presentation at Milton’s home by Organo Gold rep Sulaiman Rahman and the presentation in Greenbelt, Md. by rep Antonio Adair on Saturday January 14, 2011 made me a believer.

In Greenbelt there was no display of a caravan of Mercedes parked out in front of the building or brothers bragging about how they recently took poor kids on a cruise who had never been out of the inner-city or look at the regulation NBA basketball court I built in my backyard for my kids!

The standing room only presentation was an easy to understand and down to earth one.  Antonio made you laugh and say “WOW” out loud to yourself on how to obtain success if you are willing to work.

The most important part of the presentation to me was, egos were checked at the door and there was no “I” in the TEAM concept!

I made the right decision to become a TEAM member and distributor with Organo Gold. The “aha” moment came when I read the March 2012 issue of Success / from Home Magazine.  There was the story titled “Charitable Souls Shine Bright / OG Cares Gives Back.”

In the story Co-Founder and Global Master Distributor Shane Morand said, “We are teaching our leaders to give back, its part of our culture.” I am definitely in the right place at the right time.

Next year with God and Organo Gold willing, the 44th Annual Kids In Trouble Christmas toy party for elementary school children will have its own Santa Claus delivering toys, door to door.  This is one offer and cup of coffee I could not refuse.  Happy New Year!

The Bridge: “That” Kind of Man

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James, Women's Interests with tags , on January 17, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

As an educated man who is clearly a thinking person, I confuse a great number of people.

To some, a thinking man should also be an extremely tolerant man.

To others, a thinking man who writes critical pieces, should be a sounding board for those who disagree, and even for those who disagree with acrimony.

But to the thinking man himself, perhaps his freedom dictates the order of the day and not the people taking in his opinion.

In the case of this particular thinking man, my freedom often dictates a response to detractors that elicits shock and amazement.

It also elicits a categorization—that I am “that” kind of man.

As a Black man, “that” kind of man typically refers to the age-old stereotype of the Angry Black Man.

In response to many of my articles, the confused and the stupid are quick to hurl:  “he’s an angry man,” as though it will stimulate productive discussion and as though it is actually true.

Whites began using the label “Angry Black Man” to explain the behavior of Black men who raged against injustice.

Currently, that label is being made more perverse. Black men who are passionate and of conviction are still being labeled angry by whites, but now, also by ignorant Blacks.

Legendary Film maker Spike Lee has been garnering the label since his first major films, “Do The Right Thing,” and “School Daze.” Some have even mused erroneously that he hailed from an unhappy childhood that made him angry.

In his book, “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It,” Spike Lee explained who he really is and what his childhood was really like.

“I was not an angry child,” wrote Lee. “I was an obedient child, a happy child.”

The book continued: “But it was the more domineering aspect of his childhood character and the side that earned him his nickname that the media would later concentrate on, to such an extent that Spike Lee has grown accustomed and weary of issuing denials that he is an angry man by nature.”

When I hear people label Spike as “angry,” one question comes to mind.  It is the same question I answer when assheads assign the same label to me:  “Do you know the person who you are calling angry?”  Typically, the answer is “No.”

Producer John Pierson, who has known Spike Lee since the eighties, said “People to this day…think that Spike is way too angry, but one thing that I want to convey is that he is really funny, but fundamentally very shy.”

While in college, I had the opportunity to work with Spike Lee’s publicity team.  I spent some time with him during the release of “School Daze,” and I found him to be far less than the angry man he was accused of being.   What I realized was that the accusers not only had little of Spike to judge from, but their accusations were borne of fear and confusion.

As with many Black men who garner the “Angry” label, Spike is a passionate man of convictions, who refuses to back down simply because his position intimidates or angers others.

Another Black man that people always characterized as “angry,” was the subject of a Spike Lee Joint featuring Denzel Washington as White America’s epitome of the Angry Black Man.  People who didn’t know Malcolm X very well could only focus on the fury and the fire, but to friends and family, Brother Malcolm was much, much more.

El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz was a doting father, who was playful and tender with his children, and a loving husband to his wife. The public only has one photo of Brother Malcolm smiling, but Sister Betty and their children held a much broader perspective of the real man and “angry” was certainly not his lump in life.

But in this nation, we are quick to assign limiting labels to that which we can not understand or that which we fear. Anytime a Black man stands strong and proud without flinching or failing, he is labeled as “Angry.”

A good example can be found in some of the weak-minded idiots who frequently disagree with what I write about in this column.  It is not enough that they dissent, but they go to great lengths to get me to alter my position, even launching insults they expect to go unanswered.  When I respond consistently with holding fast to my position and returning the insults, the inevitable result is to label me as an angry man.

Sadly, these morons are not basing their labeling on anything psychological, since they have no real foundation.  It’s just the confusion and lack of understanding that leads idiots to mislabeling that which they have no capacity to understand.  I won’t bow down, so I must be angry.

Whatever.

A quick sample of nearly any man’s life can reveal something to label him as angry. Take a sample of the lyrics from Prince and, even he could be mislabeled by fools who really don’t know the man at all.

In “I Count The Days,” Prince sings: “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, here’s a motherf–ker I’m about to blow away.  Here’s my chance to cure the ills of the people, but not until I make this motherf–ker pay.”

Now, just because he is angry when expressing this thought doesn’t mean that his entire spectrum of expression is anger.

The Angry Black Man gets stereotyped from his public speech and demeanor, which is often misunderstood.  Further, the label given to “Angry Black Men,” is typically a label borne out of fear.

No one who truly knows Darryl James would call me an angry man, even though ignorance and stupidity anger me.  My anger is a temporary state, which I take action to resolve.  You’re reading part of my resolution right now.

In the fashion of other so-called Angry Black Men, including Spike Lee and Malcolm X, I will never waver from what I believe to be the truth and I will never falter in the face of weak-minded people who have nothing solid to hold on to save the label “angry,” that they hurl at others while refusing to acknowledge the unresolved anger in their own tortured souls. I already realize that they are incapable of understanding anything new anyway.

I am a well-rounded individual with a full range of emotions and emotional states.

I’m not always angry. I’m just not always with you.

If you really knew me, you would know, I’m not “that” kind of man.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and will be running throughout 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

Comedy Central featuring “Kevin Hart, JB Smoove and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Comedy with tags , , , on January 14, 2012 by Gary Johnson

January 2012 is Stand-Up Month on COMEDY CENTRAL and the month of laughs kicks off with the launch of a brand-new CC Stand-Up Facebook App, which will provide fans with the opportunity to program the channel’s Friday night stand-up block. With the new Facebook App, COMEDY CENTRAL is putting the schedule into the hands of its viewers with fans able to watch playlists comprised of select comedians who are being followed and liked by that weekend’s featured stand-up premiere comic. By “Liking” them on Facebook and/or “Following” them on Twitter, viewers will be casting their vote for the Friday night line-up with the top choices airing that night beginning at 9:00 p.m. On Friday January 20, the comedians selected from Smoove’s playlist will be showcased.

“Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain” (World Television Premiere)
Sunday, January 15 at 9:00 p.m.
ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT! In this World Television Premiere of his hit feature film, Kevin Hart takes viewers on a hysterical journey through his life. Whether it’s explaining how his bank account is set up or teaching fans his safe word (pineapples), Hart knows that no matter what’s going on in life, you just have to laugh. Never before seen on television, “Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain” airs on Sunday, January 15 at 9:00 p.m. on COMEDY CENTRAL.

Other comedy premiers in January include:

“JB Smoove: That’s How I Dooz It” (World Premiere)
Saturday, January 21 at 10:00 p.m.
JB Smoove is showing viewers how he dooz it with the premiere of his first-ever one-hour COMEDY CENTRAL Original Stand-Up Special. In “JB Smoove: That’s How I Dooz It” a stage, a microphone and stool are used like never before, as the highly expressive Smoove gives fans a glimpse into his ridiculously creative mind. Random thoughts and everyday observations are transformed into hilarity when seen through the eyes of Smoove. From police chases to flip flops to King Kong find out just how he dooz. “JB Smoove: That’s How I Dooz It” premieres on Saturday, January 21 at 10:00 p.m. on COMEDY CENTRAL.

“Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus” (Premiere)
Thursday, January 26 at 10:00 p.m.
JB Smoove brings the Ruckus to the stage as he reunites with Russell Simmons to host “Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus.” Executive produced by Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan, the series showcases stand-up sets from Smoove and a roster of some of the best comics working today. Each episode will feature the ever-talented Smoove and new material from a mix of rising stars and long time favorite comedians with beats from DJ Cassidy. And as a new added bonus, viewers will also see Smoove giving his fans what they love most – performing in filmed sketches woven into each episode. The series begins with a two-episode premiere on Thursday, January 26 at 10:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., followed by new episodes every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m.

The Bridge: Dying To Eat & Eating To Death

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, The Bridge - Darryl James, Women's Interests with tags , , , on January 11, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

We’ve all seen the commercials showing the starving children in other countries.

The announcer asks us to send money so that families, particularly the children can eat regular meals.

In some countries, there are people who simply can not get enough to eat.

One of those countries is the United States of America.

Yes, there are people dying in this nation because they cannot get enough to eat.

And, on the flip side, there are people who are dying because they get too much to eat.

In the past decade, the population of obese people in America has almost doubled. It’s the nation’s number one cause of preventable death and it’s now a health crisis.

Where are the commercials showing the overweight Americans who are dying?

There are commercials, but they are hardly showing obesity for the death sentence that it truly is.

You see, in America, while throngs of people are dying and becoming ill–most specifically from diabetes and hypertension–the outlook on being overweight is skewed, as some portray the condition as “sexy” and still some portray being overweight as “healthy.”

Ostensibly, the goal is to counter the taunting and name calling slung at overweight people, while creating ways for them to feel good about themselves.

But some of the propaganda and pageantry promoting the “beauty” of the overweight lifestyle has gone too far, providing for many an escape from reality and an excuse for not addressing serious health issues.

Americans are growing larger and dying earlier and unnecessarily.  And redefining our feelings about being fat and/or being overweight won’t stop that. An understanding of what is at stake may help.

Obesity involves having an abnormally high proportion of body fat to good old fashioned muscle. Doctors define obesity as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher and overweight as having a BMI of 25 or higher.

Three out of every five adults in America are obese, which should be cause for great alarm, yet, we are instead offering great excuses, or at best, greater employment of the old excuses.

For example, how many times have we heard someone proclaim they have a “thyroid problem?” Many people attribute their weight gain to an underactive thyroid, but this is true only in a few cases. Hypothyroidism will rarely cause a person to gain more than ten to twenty pounds – most of which is fluid.

The simple truth is that most obesity is the result of horrible eating habits and nonexistent exercise plans.

Every year, about 400,000 people die from poor nutrition and/or lack of exercise and those largely preventable deaths are increasing.  It is difficult to separate the two categories because they usually both result in obesity.

Again, instead of being frightened into action, we are lulling ourselves into a false sense of security by making it seem as though being fit and trim is a bad thing.

For example, some Black people call a desire to be and/or to love “skinny” people (little body fat) a “European” standard, but that is an extreme reaction and it just isn’t true.  African people weren’t traditionally overweight and unhealthy until we came to the New World, where we ate horribly and adopted unhealthy lifestyles (that’s European). European descendants are also gaining in obesity stats.

To be clear, being fat and unhealthy is dangerous.

Advocates of great self esteem for obese people (including actress/comedian Monique) can host one million pageants to celebrate being “big and beautiful,” and work tirelessly to redefine the term “fat,” making overweight people feel good about themselves, but at the end of the day, people are still dying unnecessarily.

Outside of social preferences, people of color, particularly African Americans, have specific health concerns that must be addressed in order to increase longevity and enhance the quality of life.

Sure, we can find overweight people who are not on the verge of death.  But the reality is that being overweight increases your tendency to be unhealthy, and there is no way around that.  Yesterday’s bigger boys and girls were healthier than today’s overweight people, because yesterday, they at least got more exercise.  Our society was a walking society, but now we drive everywhere and eat more foods with little to no nutritional value while the national average is getting bigger and more inactive.

Even our kids are getting fatter, and recess is under attack.  All while people try to make it cool to be fat.  It’s not.

According to a 2002 report from the CDC (“Prevalence of Overweight Among Children and Adolescents: United States, 1999-2000”), the percentage of 6-11-year-olds who were overweight rose from 4.2% in 1965 to 15.3% by 2000.  The percentage of 12-19-year-olds who were overweight rose from 4.6% to 15.5% during the same time period.

We are producing new generations of overweight children while the nation is learning to “celebrate” the beauty of being overweight, and there really isn’t much to celebrate.  Some overweight people live good, some live not so good.

While people continue to accept obesity as part of the American culture, the reality is that medical research points to obesity as the culprit in cases of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Scientists trace the rising levels of high blood pressure and diabetes to poor diet and excess weight, combined with little or no exercise.

High Blood pressure occurs when blood vessels become too narrow, which makes the heart work harder to push blood through them, or when blood vessels become stiff and can’t expand when blood is pushed through them.  Pressure can also increase when the blood has excessive sodium and water, which increases the amount of fluid in the blood–when the heart pumps blood through the body, the pressure against the walls of the blood vessels increases.

Diabetes occurs when the body is no longer able to produce enough insulin to regulate the sugar levels in the blood.

Weird science may be partly to blame as growth hormones are regularly injected into meat and then consumed by humans.  While there has been much less than a quiet roar in America, a scientific panel funded by the European Union confirmed that eating beef from cattle raised on growth hormones poses health risks.  The EU has banned the use of those hormones and prohibited the import of beef treated with those hormones, including beef from America, where widespread fattening of cattle with growth hormones is regular.

However, eating in moderation and increasing our physical activity can mitigate weight gain.

Self-esteem is a good thing for anyone, and no one should be made to feel bad about themselves.  But we still need to embrace reality and embracing and celebrating the nation’s growing waistline and declining health is just not a good idea.

For the sake of our overweight unhealthy children, I would much rather agitate for the return of recess and physical education along with healthy nutritional goals.  I would rather see fuller aerobic classes in action than more class action suits against a fast food industry that boomed because people simply volunteered to eat more.  And I would rather counseling were the preferred choice of the depressed Americans who are eating themselves to death as the only comfort in their lives.

If we really want to show love to the overweight people in our lives, the best we can do is to provide them with real health information and urge them to lead healthier lifestyles so that we can keep them around longer.

All that being said, if you are overweight and happy, be happy.  Just don’t try to pretend that being overweight is a good thing.

Revel in your life and lifestyle, but don’t justify it, or try to make it seem like a universal, healthy and good thing.

It’s not.

It’s killing people.

Too much food is as bad, if not worse, than too little food.

 

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and will be running throughout 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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