Hey y’all, here I am, finally. Try to stay strong with your favorite black, country professor/poet/fiction writer/sister/troublemaker/blogger. Alright, I know there’s only one of me, but I would be your favorite if there were more than one, right?
I’m still traveling, and I’m in somebody else’s house and trying not to Bogart the one internet connection—they got a tween and a teen, y’all, and Facebook is like crack for kids. So I thought I’d give you some yummy links to tide you over.
First, the buzz in the writing world.
I read about this on Tayari Jones’s blog: Victoria Chang has a problem with the racial/gender spread of who wins the Whiting Awards. I must say I’m surprised at just how deep Chang goes on this thing. That’s not a criticism; I just mean, we colored folks in the writing world know that you take your career in your hands daring to criticize the White Folks’ Creative Writing Powers That Be in this business, particularly if you’re a poet.
I’m not saying the “minority” poets who win the Whiting don’t deserve to win, because they do—and you know I try to keep it real and honest so I’m being real and honest when I say they deserve to win—but as for the rest of us coloreds, well, we’ve just been crossing our fingers and toes, saying some prayers to God and Oshun and Shange and all the rest, sprinkling some juju dust around the hotel at the AWP conference, and when all else fails, kissing some serious booty at the writers’ cocktail parties. (Wait, I think that was me—before I rediscovered my artistic integrity, that is.)
But of course, I’ve never won the Whiting because they only ever give it to a black female poet every thirteen years or so. No, I’m not kidding. At least the Whiting’s not as bad for the sister poets as the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry: Gwendolyn Brooks won in 1950, Rita Dove won thirty-seven years later in 1987, and Natasha Trethewey won twenty years after that, in 2007. Lord have mercy.
You know what gets on my nerves? When some of my white poet friends say, “Oh Honorée, don’t be so negative. Things are getting better.” And to them I say, “Better as opposed to what?”
And some of my black poet friends get on my nerves when they say, “You got your nerve, Honorée, complaining when you’ve won a bunch of other awards.” And to them I say, “Can’t a sister pay her bills on time (mostly), and still want to talk about how things still ain’t right?”
Anyway, the reason I’m re-blogging about the Victoria Chang piece—I guess you’d call it re-blogging—is that I tried to go on Chang’s website and write a comment, and my internet credit kept getting denied.
Now on to the news in the real world, as opposed to the writers’ fun house I call home. Let’s begin with the less serious.
This has to be the result of the “Obama Effect”: Last night, Darius Rucker (the cutie above) shocked those folks at the all-white Country Music Awards to become the first African American to win Best New Artist. Can you believe this?! Remember when he was Hootie and Them? Now he’s Charlie Pride with a Baldie. Go ‘head with your bad self, Bruh Darius.
Why do I always have to ask the question, “Have these people lost their [insert expletive adjective] minds?” Some little kids were visiting a former slave plantation, and one of the men working there made the black kids take on the role of slaves, to “teach them about history.” No, that employee was not a white man. He was a Negro. And once again, I’m just gone let that marinate with y’all. (Big sigh.)
Rihanna does young black women proud. I must admit I was scared for this little sister when I heard about Chris Brown’s abusing her, but now that she’s finally spoken out, I think she might be all right. And she proves that sisters know how to survive and look fabulous at the same time. I’m just so happy she’s moving on with her life in a good frame of mind.
And finally, I don’t know what I think about Precious, the new movie based on Sapphire’s novel, Push. I haven’t seen the film yet, though I read the book over ten years ago and absolutely loved it. I do know I’m not crazy when I say the producer/director of Precious, Lee Daniels, is colorstruck as you-know-what because he admitted it a couple of weeks back in The New York Times Magazine. And as far as I could tell from seeing the trailer to the movie, watching interviews with the cast, and looking up all the people in that cast, all the problematic black folks in the movie are dark-skinned and all the wonderful black folks are light-skinned.
Lee Daniels, it’s called therapy: invest in it—before you make your next movie. Please, baby, I’m begging you.
That said, the just-released soundtrack to the movie is just lovely. And speaking of survivors, Mary J. Blige (or just “Mary” for us devoted fans) has a song on the soundtrack. You gotta hear it, so hit the button below.