Archive for February, 2013

The State of Black Erotica

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on February 26, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Sensu_Soul

By Scottie Lowe

From the rhythmic tales of the sagacious griot, weaving colorful, hushed tales of slaves whose love endured the horrors of dehumanizing captivity, to the Harlem Renaissance with its unapologetic yet poetic examination of those mysterious elements that made our natures rise, to the soul-stirring harmonies of R&B that have been the soundtrack to seduction for decades, African Americans have always had a long tradition of erotic expression.  In 1992, an editor by the name of Miriam Decosta-Willis, published an anthology of erotica called Erotique Noire that was not only groundbreaking, it truly was a celebration of Black sensuality and set the stage for a new genre of expression.   Today, if one is brave enough to venture into the African American section of any bookstore, they will find it’s filled with shelf after shelf of degrading, crude, and offensive books that don’t even deserve to be called erotica.  We’ve come a long way baby, but it certainly hasn’t been an erotic evolution.

Writing Black erotica is a lot like rapping.  Anybody who can come up with three words that rhyme can call themselves a rapper; anyone who uses the words dick, pussy, and fuck in a sentence can call themselves an erotic writer.  Black erotic today consists of the same storyline told over and over again: super-beautiful women with abnormal libidos and superficial standards who seduce their super-rich, basketball-playing lovers who always have super-sized genitalia complete with matching, heightened sexual appetites, and a non-existent commitment to being in a relationship.  Throw in several dozen references to capitalist trinkets and you essentially have every Black erotic story on the shelves today.

Black erotica has made being ghetto equivalent to being Black.  African Americans have a unique culture and experience that have the potential to come across on the page in the reflections, words, and perceptions unique to the Black experience.  That, however, doesn’t have to include baby mamas, visiting day at prisons, spelling the words boys with a z, or eroticizing the N word.  Instead of writing about the beauty, pain, and history of descendents of slave, Black erotica has become little more than cliché tales of dysfunction with a few sexual escapades thrown in for good measure.  Yes, our stories need to be told, but glorifying behaviors that are unhealthy isn’t art.  There certainly is more to Black life than what we are being force-fed.

The road to where Black erotic currently resides has been paved with immaturity, ignorance, and fear.  So terrified are the Black middle class of being associated with the freaks and nymphos depicted in Black erotica, so distanced are African Americans from a healthy example of sexuality, they sit in complicit silence, never demanding more, never complaining about the proliferation of erotic literature that reduces Black sexuality to nothing more than a sweaty, recreational activity.  Rather than talk about sexuality openly, mature conversations about the subject are shunned in an effort to diminish the impact and scope of what goes on behind closed doors.  So desperate are Black Americans for any sort of erotic imagery and representation that reflects the lives of melanin-rich people, that that they know no better than to embrace the vulgarity that denigrates and diminishes the humanity of the entire race.

Erotica is not pornography no matter how much the conservative talking-heads want to insist it is.  Erotica is ART created to arouse the senses.  There is subtlety, nuance, emotion, and creativity in true erotica.  Porn has no subtlety; it’s graphic, it’s hardcore, it’s about arousing one region only.  Pictures of oiled booties and close up shots of a woman’s labia are not erotic.  Women being used, slapped, spit on, choked, and degraded is NOT erotica.  “Erotica is tasteful but porn is tasteless,” is how porn star Linda Lovelace described it.  As the old folks used to say, “She ain’t neva lied.”

The images of African Americans in the adult industry are largely atypical of the true Black experience. The perpetuation of racist and stereotypical images prevalent in the adult industry work to foster unhealthy perceptions of African Americans and render the majority of Black people without an avenue for healthy erotic expression. The perpetuation of the Black woman as the ghetto bitch, ghetto whore, and ghetto freak is not reflective of the vast and overwhelming majority of Black women. The perpetuation of the Black man as the barely literate, one-dimensional bull is offensive and steeped in sick prejudices that are not reflective of the vast majority of African American males either.

When our literary diets consist only of poorly written, grammatically incorrect, inane tales of ghetto sex, when the commercial objectification of Black women’s bodies can be downloaded for free 24 hours a day, that’s not feeding our souls, it’s poisoning our minds.  It’s crippling for Black people to subsist on damaging and dysfunctional depictions of intimacy.  We MUST raise the bar when it comes to what we are feeding ourselves erotically, when it comes to the sensual sustenance with which we nourish ourselves.

Even with the proliferation banal Black entertainment and the horrendous mediocrity of porn, there are still those who value the melodies and harmonies of jazz, who feel the angst of Morrison’s Beloved, who treasure the beauty of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, and who appreciate the artistry of true erotica.  Long gone are the days when we dog-eared the pages of Erotique Noire and quoted passages to our lovers in steamy late-night phone calls.  Truly empowering erotica lifts us up, paints a picture of our lives and our sexuality that have nothing to do with exchanging sex for money or adultery but that allows us sensual release and to mentally travel to a place of sights, sounds, sensations, and tastes that arouse all of our senses.

Scottie Lowe (2) Scottie Lowe is the owner of www.AfroerotiK.com, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.

Click here to see a short video.

An Open Letter and Plea to President Barack Obama: Who Should Have A Vote?

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Health & Fitness, President Barack Obama with tags on February 20, 2013 by Gary Johnson

US-POLITICS-OBAMA

By Harold Bell

During your State of the Union Address you made a plea to Congress that Gabby Gifford and Newtown should have a vote as it relates to gun control in America.

Mr. President, I totally agree the time has come to reduce gun violence in America– it is long overdue.

The vote that you proposed should not stop there, senior citizens living in nursing homes in America should also have a vote.  The abuse taking place in nursing homes across this nation is appalling. This is a National Crisis.  The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fox News, and ABC News have all echoed the same reports.  During your State of the Union Address I did not hear you cry out to give senior citizens a vote!

My question to you and the Congress of the United States is:  What is the difference in the gun violence and the nursing home violence taking place in this country?

Click here to read the entire commentary.

Disco Is Back (At Least For One Night)

Posted in Black America, Music with tags , , , on February 14, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Donna Summer

TV One is bringing disco back this month on February 20th at 9:00 pm EST with a special two-hour episode of “Unsung” devoted to the 70’s music genre.

The broadcast will feature new interviews from disco greats Anita Ward, Gloria Gaynor, Thelma Houston, Earl Young of The Trammps and Harry Wayne Casey of KC & the Sunshine Band.

Through the ‘70s decade, Disco rolled like a tidal wave across the pop and R&B landscapes, breathing fresh life into dance music and introducing a charismatic generation of stars. Disco’s relentless four-on- the-floor beat and ecstatic emotional vocals drew heavily from gospel, funk and soul, and it came with a liberating message that crossed cultural boundaries, uniting fans young and old, white and black, straight and gay.

As the party grew, so did the expressions of open sexuality and drug use that fueled its thriving club scene. And then came the backlash, an angry counter-movement that included riots and record-burnings, and as quickly as it arrived, Disco was dead. Or was it? In this ground-breaking two hour special, ‘Unsung’ tells the definitive tale of an American phenomenon, featuring two dozen musical performances, and commentary by legendary Disco survivors.

Unsung Logo

Click here to visit the Unsung web page.

R&B Legend Charlie Wilson Shares His Top 10 Romantic Songs for Valentine’s Day

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Music, Music and Video Releases with tags , , , on February 13, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Charlie Wilson

Happy Valentine’s Day!  In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, legendary R&B crooner Charlie Wilson has shared his personal list of romantic songs.

  1. There Goes My Baby – Charlie Wilson
  2. You Are – Charlie Wilson
  3. Without You – Charlie Wilson
  4. Always and Forever – Luther Vandross
  5. Adorn – Miguel
  6. Supa Sexxy – Charlie Wilson Feat. T-Pain & Jamie Foxx
  7. Would You Mind – Earth Wind & Fire
  8. Yearning For Your Love – GAP Band
  9. Here and Now – Luther Vandross
  10. My Girl – The Temptations

Honorable Mention: You Send Me – Sam Cooke

What are some of your top romantic songs?

To learn more about Charlie Wilson visit his official website at Charlie Wilson Music.com.

Shame on America: Nursing Home Abuse

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , on February 13, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Elderly Patients

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

For years I’ve focused my attention on how this country treats children and how so many of our children are abused and neglected.  Recently, a colleague sounded the alarm and drew my attention on the abuse and neglect with our senior citizens who live in nursing homes.

All Americans deserve to be treated with respect.  As our loved ones get older, they should have access to quality healthcare with dignity.  Many residents and patients receive good care and live happy and healthy lives in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.  However, statistics show that this is not the case for a number of our senior citizens.  In fact, many residents of nursing homes are victims of physical, sexual and financial abuse and many of these abuses go unreported.  Elder abuse by caretakers is a worldwide problem but my focus is here in the United States.

The following statistics serve as a snapshot of some the problems in U.S. nursing homes:

  • 91% of U.S. nursing homes have staffing levels too low to provide adequate care
  • 16% of U.S. nursing homes have a drop in nurse assistants’ hours per resident per day
  • The most common injuries in nursing homes due to understaffing or other types of abuse and negligence include fractures and bleeding in the brain
  • On average (nationally), a nursing home with 100 beds has anywhere from 100-200 falls per year. However, many more go unreported
  • About 10-20% of the falls reported nationally cause serious injuries; 2-6% of falls cause bone fractures
  • Approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die annually from falls across the country
  • In the United States, about 240,900 nursing home residents suffer from bedsores every year. This statistic is based on a national nursing home population of 3.3 million in 2009
  • Nearly 20% of nursing home facilities were cited nationally for failing to meet standards of care for pressure sores from 2005 to 2010.
  • In 2009, a CBS News analysis of the federal government’s nursing home inspection database found that more than 1,000 homes were cited last year for hiring staff with a history of abuse

According to a study by author Yue Li, from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, blacks in nursing homes are more likely than whites to suffer pressure ulcers and damage to bones and muscles due to differences in the quality of care that both groups receive.  The disparities arise in homes where there are a number of predominately black or white patients, not that homes are treating whites better than Blacks.

When Li and his colleagues looked more closely at differences between nursing homes, they found that both black and white residents were more likely to get a pressure ulcer at homes that had a higher percentage of black residents than at those that were almost all white.

That could be due to a number of reasons, said Nancy Bergstrom, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  For example, nursing homes with more black patients might not be as well funded, or they may not have enough staff.

What can be done to improve this terrible situation?  As a community, how do we get started?

Wheel Chair

Other sobering statistics are as follows:

Elderly Abuse Statistics Data
Number of elderly abuse cases in 2010 5,961,568
Percent of elderly population abused in 2010 9.5 %
Demographics of Elderly Abuse Victims Percent
Percent of female elder abuse victims 67.3 %
Median age of elder abuse victims 77.9
Percent of white victims 66.4 %
Percent of black victims 18.7 %
Percent of Hispanic victims 10.4 %
Breakdown of Reported Elder Abuse Cases
Neglect 58.5 %
Physical Abuse 15.7 %
Financial Exploitation 12.3 %
Emotional Abuse 7.3 %
Sexual Abuse 0.04 %
All other types 5.1 %
Unknown 0.06 %
Nursing Home Abuse
Percent of nursing homes that lack adequate staff to properly care for patients 91 %
Percent of nursing homes that have been in violation of elderly abuse laws 36 %
Elderly defined as 60 years of age and older

If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, click here for state reporting numbers, or telephone the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

The National Center on Elderly Abuse (NCEA) now has a Facebook page. Click here to go there and stay current on news and information related to the NCEA and elder abuse.

Sources:

American Association for Justice (http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/justice/hs.xsl/3005.htm)

National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics (http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/)

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

NAACP’s Ben Jealous Says Black Americans Doing Far Worse Under The Obama Administration

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Money/Economics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , , on February 12, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Ben Jealous 2

February 10, 2012

In a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” NAACP CEO and President, Ben Jealous, told the show’s host that black Americans are doing far worse than when President Obama first took office. The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Jealous told show host David Gregory. “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing far worse.”

Statistics show that the African-American community is in bad shape under the Obama Administration.  The Labor Department reports that the black unemployment rate was at 12.7 percent when Pres. Obama initially took office. As the employment rate for the nation dropped below 8 percent, black unemployment increased to 12.9 percent and then to 14 percent for December.

Commentators such as Yvette Carnell, Dr. Wilmer Leon and Dr. Boyce Watkins at Your Black World have consistently stated that the president’s performance in the black community should be judged based on the quality of his results, not the color of his skin.  Also, Dr. Julianne Malveaux recently wrote that the Obama Administration needs to speak out more about existing racial disparities and persistent problems in black unemployment.

You can read the entire article courtesy of our friends at Your Black WorldClick here to go there now.

What do you think?

Black History Month: The Foundation for Societal Progression

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on February 10, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Carter G. Woodson

By H. Lewis Smith

What is the significance of Black history to Black/African Americans? In essence, to this race of people, to know one’s history is to truly and intimately appreciate, understand, and leverage one’s innate, unbreakable strength.  Dr. Carter G. Woodson, father of Black History Week, which later became Black History Month, understood the ramifications of Blacks remaining broken from and unknowledgeable of their history, and the apparent need for Blacks to retake control of their own destiny. Dr. Woodson understood that if Black/African Americans remained separated from and ignorant of their rich history, their roots of being, then they could have no foundation upon which to build a legacy. Plainly, no roots equal no growth, no future, only irrelevancy.

To be candid, the need for a Black History Month would be less apparent if the American halls of academe did not use systematic exploitation (past and present) to minimize exposure to Black/African-American history. The city school systems, colleges, universities and the media are by-products of Eurocentric educational philosophies. These systems were designed to retain real and/or comprehensive truths from Blacks. The system was established to teach (or force) African Americans to learn, believe, and accept European values, traditions, and habits, while at the same time neglecting and/or promoting minimal integration of Black culture and accomplishments.

Modern day manipulation of the Black/African-American mind was born out of slavery and fastly incorporated into the educational system to continually impose upon Blacks an inferior mindset that leads to lacking self-awareness. During slavery, it was forbidden for the Africans to practice their cultural traditions, honor their heritage, as well as to learn to read or write. They were basically stripped of everything that once defined them as a people and confined to learning only what slave owners permitted. Ultimately, over centuries of slavery and educational deprivation, those native ideals and traditions that African ancestors once held close within their hearts were replaced with false ideals of self of an unreal reality generation after generation. Eventually, Blacks born in America had no true and proud racial identity.

Once slavery was outlawed and Blacks were allowed to pursue education, White America devised yet another strategy to continue to push their Eurocentric ideals and veiled perception of Blacks on the Black populous. The primary channels of education for Blacks, since then, have become a perfect device for control from without. Without self-knowledge, a person has no orientation or direction; this status is akin to walking around with amnesia, or no memory of who one used to be. And with no memory of one’s past—which one’s past does often serve as a compass, a foundation to build upon and offers valuable life lessons, how can one know where they are headed? Black/African Americans must re-connect with their past and embrace it in its fullness no matter how difficult it is to accept some aspects of the ugliness that was imposed upon the people. Then and only then can Blacks progress as a race and arrive to their appointed superior position.

To be clear, historically, the Greeks traveled to Africa as students more than 2,500 years ago to discover what Africans already knew. Writing, science, medicine, and religion were already a part of the Egyptian civilization. History had already been documented thousands of years before Herodotus (the so-called `Father of History`) was even born. Herodotus, Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates, and other Greek Philosophers were all students of African priests.

Few Black/African-American college graduates are aware of this history, but yet most educated Blacks can name every European country on the map and have expert knowledge in the Greco-Roman era from a Eurocentric point of view. Interestingly enough, these same “highly-educated” people look upon Africans as being nothing more than jungle people living in huts who were blessed to be rescued from their savage lives by the white man. This perception couldn’t be farther from the truth.

As a matter of fact, during the 15th century, it was the Moors who rescued Europe from the Dark Ages. The Moors taught the Europeans maritime knowledge, which enabled whites to sail and discover Africa. Little did they know, their open sharing of knowledge precipitated the demise and eventual end of a once thriving and progressive Black civilization. Columbus would have never been able to happen upon the foreign land of America if it had not been for the education provided by the Moors.

Presently, the very existence of Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities in Black colleges and universities serves as a source of the promotion of the inferiority complex and the education of Black people against themselves. From their association and embracing of these Greek-lettered organizations comes a false worship of Greek intellect and acceptance perpetuated out of ignorance of one’s own philosophical thoughts, ideas and cognitive powers.

To put everything in proper perspective, consider the notion of how sheep dogs are trained. A sheep dog is trained by being placed in a pen as a puppy with other sheep. This puppy nurses and sucks on a sheep mother and it grows up thinking it’s a sheep.  In other words, it has the body, intelligence, endurance and strength of a dog, but it has the mind frame or thought of a sheep.

Because of this sheep dog’s mind frame, it can be trained to do things a-typical of dogs and not in its own interest; the sheep dog will have no allegiance to other dogs. For example, the sheep dog and a non-sheep dog could be born at the same time from the same mother. If that sheep dog never saw that other puppy again until later years as a full grown dog, the sheep dog would treat this dog as if they were enemies. The sheep dog would turn its back on the other dog because although it looks like and is a dog, its mind has been trained and manipulated to think otherwise. The sheep dog believes it is a sheep, and, therefore, defends that which it is not from what it actually is.

This analogy relates to the conditioning of the African American against his own kind, heritage, and culture: consider the black child who, from elementary school throughout his studies to, perhaps, eventually becoming a PhD graduate, has always exclusively read and studied another culture/race’s history. This person has been trained against his own, to think in terms of someone it is not. That lacking self-knowledge is the key to separation, confusion, and stagnation or regression.

If effects of slavery are to be mitigated, it must first be acknowledged that the systemic created some unnatural behaviors in Black/African Americans. In present day and only a FEW decades removed from state-sanctioned slavery, much of the trauma of that era still afflicts the race of people.  Blacks did not deserve for this to happen, but it did. As such, Blacks must acknowledge the truth of the matter, embrace the fact that ailing issues still exist, and understand that recognition of the affliction will only give rise to alternatives for remedy.

Many people appreciate the value of sharing black history—the good and unfavorable aspects—and strongly support the ongoing study and celebration of black history every day of the year. They understand celebrating black history stretches well beyond just learning the history of a people: history plays a significant role in establishing a healthy mentality, molding one’s self-image and, ultimately, the society.

Yet, others are perfectly content with celebrating black history only one time per year—or not at all—and limiting the extent of knowledge shared. They see no further need beyond the month of February to examine the black culture or emphasize African and Black/African-American contributions that unequivocally helped shape and redesign America’s landscape. For those opposers of Black History Month, one must beg the question of how can a black person—of any ethnic, social, or cultural up-bringing—want to eliminate and disassociate themselves with the total scheme of black history—ranging from a rich African history to African-American accounts? The whole idea is preposterous and simply befuddling.

Capture their minds, and their hearts and souls will follow is an age old game of deception and propaganda, influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes and behaviors of those being subdued.  An all-encompassing and on-going study of Black History is not optional but imperative. Blacks must become re-educated in line with Dr. Woodson’s definition of the term. He fought to have Blacks’ history brought to the world’s attention for one month per year; Blacks must take up the rest of the fight and serve to make black history a natural and daily part of everyone’s education within and without the community. Once all people accept that vast, rich and dynamic Black history, Blacks will bring light and resolve to the issues plaguing Black America, rising up to again become that solid, unified, contributing force to humanity. Ultimately, the entire society will benefit from the truth of Black history.

H. Lewis Smith H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. www.theunitedvoices.com, and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow H. Lewis Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1.

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