You Got Me Feenin’: K-Ci and JoJo ….Come Clean

The reality TV gods have brought me Christmas in October.  K-Ci and JoJo are the latest in the series of washed up musicians to foray into the annals of recovery docu-dramas with their show K-Ci and JoJo…Come Clean.  Tiny, Tony, Tasia, and Teeny watch your back because I am convinced if given the opportunity K-Ci and JoJo will launch the urban reality TV aesthetic, also popularized by Frankie and Neffeteria and the bourghetto housewives of Atlanta, into the stratosphere.

Imagine filming your live wire, drug dependent, functional alcoholic uncles (that no one talks about now that we made out of the hood) over the course of thirty days as they battle to break their addiction and you get Come Clean.  Watching K-Ci and JoJo is like sitting down to a family meal with that familiar dysfunctional cousin who you love, but are forced to hide your purse from whenever they do show up for Sunday dinner.   It is this dynamic that makes the show bittersweet. You watch K-Ci and JoJo battle to become relevant again and you wonder how an act positioned for phenomenal future success could come so undone.

K-Ci and JoJo do not look well and though they have never been the most handsome men, now they are battered bruised and simply look weary of the world.  The alcohol, change in fortune,  hard living, easy access to women and drugs have left then in a bad way. As a proud member of the damn near thirty and over set, I can easily recall the days of lore when K-Ci and JoJo Hailey were relevant musicians, with a promising future and even a Grammy nomination under their belt.  I can equally recall the hey day of that mad band that was Jodeci and how they filled my  young still adolescent mind with promises of the show, the after party, and yes the hotel—yes Mr. Dalvin I will marry you.  Jodeci did to R&B what napalm did to Vietnam; they blew boy next door acts like New Edition—sans Bobby of course and the ever popular Boyz II Men out of the water.

Jodeci’s music was raw sex mixed with gospel inspired cadences that highlighted the vocal talents and lush harmonies of the brothers Hailey.  The group also had eye candy in the form of the ever so sexy then, not quite so sexy now Mr. Dalvin and Donald “Devante” DeGrate.  The New Jack Swing production, nasty stage shows, and urban fashion sense made Bobby Brown seem almost tame.  I can still remember seeing Jodeci live at the first concert I ever attended.  They opened for Hammer…yes that Hammer… and Boyz II Men.  My mother was outraged with K-Ci’s gyrating pelvis and penchant for cursing out the audience and now I can understand why.  In retrospect, the fellas were obviously inebriated at that show, which was still very early on in their careers.  I can still remember how security fought in vain to keep K-Ci from launching  into the arms of screaming girls that filled U.S. Air Arena that night.

Now we find 50% of the world worn band seeking help to cure a long-standing addiction to alcohol and drugs.  The story arc is not unlike that of popular rock bands of the 80’s bands who partied hard and paid the price.  What’s remarkable is how far the group has fallen, as Jo-Jo revealed his surprise that the record business was no longer giving million dollar contracts apart from platinum selling artists.  The show teams them with a number of support resources including a pastor, medical doctor, personal trainer A.J. Johnson, of House Party and Baby Boy fame, and some man that claims to be the “&” in K-Ci & JoJo.

This show is at once inspiring, sad, and frankly hilarious.  K-Ci’s out-sized ego and quick fire temper finds him rendering one liners such as last night’s gem, “I hate the a person that throw a rock and hide his hand”, as stated when indicating his distaste with a former colleagues assessment of their future prospects for a new record deal.  K-Ci and JoJo also do a pretty good job butchering the English language, flying off the handle, and pontificating on their general discontent with the present situation.  Yet the most redeeming moment for the group comes when K-Ci let’s loose a few bars of “Love You For Life”, dedicating them to A.J. Johnson, who remains the least bit fazed.  He still got it!

These men have been through a lot. Raised in rural North Carolina they became exposed to the allure of women, drugs and other trappings of fame, while still very young and the lifestyle soon evolved to an unmanageable addiction.  However, I am encouraged by Charlie Wilson’s story, who lived a similar life of excess while at the top of his fame.  He started over championed by his wife at the record labels and encouraged by a stricter faith and devotion to God.  K-Ci and JoJo could find a similar niche performing for adult contemporary audiences,who have been looking for a Jodeci reunion for years now.

Suffice it to say, that I am looking forward to future episodes of this show.  I’m also convinced these talented brothers can once again br a dynamic duo and force to be reckoned with in R&B.  With God-given vocal prowess and earnest pangs of soul in their vocals, the boys embody the Al Greene and Otis Redding era of R&B. Good soul music requires pain, but let’s hope the beauty of living a clean, and sober life can empower the duo just as easily.

So did you watch? I’m curious to know your thoughts.

Hell Hath No Fury: My Obsession with Snapped

Have you every been boiling rabbits mad? I mean Vanilla Sky crash scene, Carrie on prom night mad?  Me neither, but I’ve always had a penchant for fictional narratives that explore the psyche of the woman scorned.  I love movies like Fatal Attraction, the aforementioned Vanilla Sky, Chicago, Carrie, and Misery. The female leads in these films are strong (or at least find their strength), yet completely manic and there is something utterly delicious about watching them derail.  Meridith Baxter in Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story comes to mind, and least we forget young Alyssa Milano, as Amy Fisher in Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story, who gave a memorable she devil performance. Any given Sunday Lifetime broadcasts the stories women with a laundry list of delusions, each protagonist more deranged than the first.  However, Lifetime movies are nothing compared to my latest obsession: Snapped.

Snapped is an American true crime television series that airs on the Oxygen Network.  Combine everything you love about Real Housewives of New Jersey and The First 48 and you get Snapped—the guiltiest of guilty pleasure that both chills and intrigues the mind.  Each episode documents the story of a woman who eventually commits or attempts a murder—most often killing her spouse. While while the reasons these women kill are varied—revealed marital infidelity, big insurance pay-off, response to years of abuse, custody battles, etc.—the narrative arch of the stories is pretty much the same.  Eventually something drives these women to the edge of reason and they commit crimes, so far out of the statistical norm that the narratives behind them become endlessly fascinating. As stated on the shows website:

Each year, approximately 16,000 people are murdered in the United States. 7% of the killers are female.

The show capitalizes on the viewer as voyeur; it takes you into a world seemingly provincial and  introduces unconscionable  violence from the unlikeliest of killers.  It really leaves you with a keen sense of cognitive dissonance. When the prom queen or stay at home mom kills, it takes a socially unacceptable behavior, far outside our norms and affixes it to “the story of us”.  Many of the killers on featured on Snapper are squarely within Oxygens demographic, which is the likely the reason the show enjoys some of the networks highest ratings.

Over a decade ago, in her book Different for Girls: How Culture Creates Women, feminist writer Joan Smith analyzed the paradox of women killers in the culture stating: Female killers are simultaneously hate-objects who maintain other women in their customary beatific light and Lady Macbeths who incarnate men’s darkest fears and desires: when a woman is bad, she is far, far worse than a man could ever be. (“The female of the species is more deadly than the male,” as Kipling once claimed.)

Begging the question….

How does one go from this…

To this….?

As a feminist, I wonder about the social and cultural repercussions of shows like Snapped and the equally compelling Women Behind Bars.  While the subject matter is consistently treated with as much gravity a show called Snapped can muster, does giving it the docudrama treatment—complete with jail house killer interviews—lessen the psychological impact of the actual crime?  As we are already desensitized to violence in our society, I wonder does a show like Snapped simply capitalize off the intrinsic spectacle of a relatively rare phenomenon of lady killers?

I am ashamed to admit that during certain episodes of Snapped I sometimes find myself unconsciously cheering for the killer and I feel terrible and yet completely justified, because there is something very “Cell Block Tango” about the whole thing. Sometimes watching the stories of infidelity, abuse, deception and pain and you can’t help but feel, “He had it coming, he had it coming, he had it coming all along”.  I guess its similar to feeling we have when we align with team Tony watching the Sopranos, or Stringer Bell watching The Wire. Sometimes Americans cheer for the bad guy, and when the bad guys a girl; it can be an even sexier proposition.  The difference is Snapped is not fictitious; it features stories of real loss and pain that should not be trivialized and perhaps should not be commodified.

I tend to scoff at the women scorned caricatures because I ultimately think it is too simplistic to characterize the motivations behind often heinous acts.  Watching Snapped you see women of all walks of life, from debutantes and socialites to ex-strippers and chemists, all pushed to the edge of socially normative behavior.  We may have all flirted with this edge before, but what makes someone, particularly a woman cross this line is intriguing and to put it plainly simply amounts to great television.

While the show may not offer any real substantive answers to why women snap, it does give air to the marginalized voices of women who kill.   It provides a window into the very human frailty of both victim and killer.  Accordingly, revealing this humanness allows us to put ourselves in the place of both, and wonder what could send us over the edge.  Whether this is a good thing is a value judgment. Many of these women share common background of abuse, and deal with significant injustice when facing America’s legal system. Therefore, any light that can be brought to these issues may serve to help someone society deal with these real social ills.

So the question is what can we learn from Snapped? Is it purely voyeuristic entertainment, or does it position media as a paradigm through which to assess a still very mysterious cultural phenomenon of violent women?  What are the real world outcomes of such a show? Is there a feminist critique to be made on the Snapped narrative?

Also, just for kicks, what is your favorite episode of Snapped?


Girls Behaving Badly – Blogging the Bad Girls Reunion

There is nothing remotely socially redeeming about Oxygen’s The Bad Girls Club.  It is trashy reality T.V. at its finest.  If it were the Real World, the housemates opening narration might state: 

This is the true story of seven, no six, perhaps five, no four… self-proclaimed bitches…picked to fight in a house…party and drink together…make out with each other….and have their lives taped and poorly edited…to find out what happens…when a network manipulates a group of young egomaniacs with a variety of mental, emotional, and social disorders and no moral compasses ….into moving in to a huge tacky white mansion…. to see what happens…when said bitches stop being accountable, responsible, or reasonable and start getting exploited…THE BAD GIRLS CLUB, LA

Perez Hilton is hosting the two-part reunion special which will reunite: Portia, Florina, Natalie , Kate, Kendra, Amber, Annie, and Lexie.  The season has been filled with cat fights, blackouts, bleeps and blur-outs, eating disorders, bad bikini bodies, binge drinking, hangovers, sucker punches, random hook-ups, D-List celebrity cameos, racism, manipulation, and above all screaming.  Seriously, this show should be sponsored by Motrin for Migraines.

Thus far, the reunion is pretty much standard reality reunion show fare.   Hilton recaps the season showing highlights or low points of the past season.  His hosting—not unlike his blogging style—is snarky and even downright mean.  He tells casts member Kate that she is prettier on T.V., going on to state that he found her to be ugly on the show.  In this hello pot this is kettle moment,  he equates sleepy eyed Kate to an uglier Ashley Tisdale.  Hmm.

The promoted fireworks began as controversial cast member Natalie Nunn  sashays the catwalk to the set, attempting a one woman coup d’état of the broadcast.  She assaults Kate spitting in her face; basically showing herself to be  a common trash box, without an ounce of class or dignity. 

Little Miss Natalie’s egomania is epic.  Her name was all over the blogosphere prior to the season premier of  this seasons show.  Gossips sites had her hooking up and/or partying with Chris Brown.  In his post Rihanna haze, he might have mistaken her for a potential boo-thang, but I highly doubt it.  Yet, jump-off status is not out of consideration.  Her mantra being “I Run L.A.”, Natalie’s other claims to fame include hooking up with a member of the Celtics warm-up squad, befriending Moesha’s little brother, and getting her full-sewn in removed on national T.V.—quite the resume. 

Natalie got her kicks this seasons strong arming, beating up, and otherwise intimidating her roommates—nay Portia who at ninety pounds soaking wet kicked Natalie’s ass and was promptly booted from the house. Natalie then took the immature, sheltered, and apparently hot in the draws Kendra under her tutelage, whose getwit proclivities made her the perfect target for Natalie’s manipulation. 

Star struck, fame hungry, cute faced, and laced with a new weave, Kendra did manage to accomplish something her sensei has not thus far, landing new reality TV gig.  She landed a starring role on the new Oxygen series Bad Girls Clubs: Love Games.  In a classic case of student teaching the master, the Charlotte N.C. native is clearly looking to make her mark on L.A.  Who runs L.A. now Natalie? [Clearly Antonio Villaraigosa and not Kendra, but hey it was fun to say).  Nevertheless, BET is reporting that a reality show staring Ms.  Natalie Nunn  may be in the works.  I for one am waiting with bated breath for this one.  Perhaps, Olamide might get in on the fun.

The reunion show quickly devolved into more contrived cat fights, as “the claws came out”.  The girls continue to belittle, berate, and bash each other for a full hour.  I guess one remotely positive moment was when cast member Amber shared in a sincere and heartfelt moment her joy in the fact that she was several weeks pregnant.  Of course this news can only be welcomed as positive, if you think any of these women possess the maturity and wisdom to parent a productive member of society.  What’s more, she did not help her ongoing case to not be considered trailer trash, when lifting her billowy empire dress to her navel at Hilton’s request to see her pregnant belly.  One word: tacky.

I’ve been wanting to blog about this show all season.  It prevails upon me a profound sense of disgusts in so many ways, but simultaneously I find its train wreck aesthetic absolutely intriguing.  By a certain age most women have had our sloppy drunk, bad hook up, cat fight, flying off the hinges moments.  Yet, the mentality of an individual who would  exhibit this behavior in exponential proportion, while on national TV is beyond me.  No doubt they must see this kind of exposure as a catalyst for fortune and fame.  Yet, I wonder how Florina will explain her psycho tantrums to future employers.  Sure Natalie plans to marry money, but her dating pool may be shrinking after any decent man gets a whiff of her on air debauchery.  Similarly, Annie showed herself to be a neurotic weirdo, with poor social skills.  Boston native, Kate showed a propensity for either racism or stupidity, when suggesting she did not want to go to a sweaty Black club.  I’m still not clear if she had a problem with the black people or the sweat, but it’s neither here nor there at this point.  Employers may also have a problem with her getting the reach on poor Annie, with reality TV’s best/worst sucker punch, since Snooki got flambéed.  In a sensible and warranted move, Annie filed charges against Kate for punching her in the face without provocation or cause.  Despite Kendra’s illogical protest, Annie was right; actions do have consequences.  Accordingly, Lexie may, in fact, find it difficult to say get a security clearance, after spending much of her abbreviated season [Lexie replaced cast member Portia] nude.

When it said and done, I am sure these women will try to leverage there appearance on this show into opportunities to generate money.  Perhaps other reality shows, endorsement deals, and hosting gigs may be in their future, but the price they may pay for fame could be high.  Their visions short and consequences seemingly a non-issue, their poor choices seem like good clean fun today. Yet I can pretty guarantee that Natalie will never have the opportunity to “run L.A.”, not only because she is running herself into the ground with these antics, but her reputation is ruined.  People will negate the fact that she was a star athlete and good student at USC, a highly respected and venerable institution.  Yet, they will recall  her biting, clawing, spitting, and bloviating her way into the annals of reality TV history. 

So is the Bad Girls Club harmless fun or dangerous exploitation? Are the women agents of their own image creation or are they being manipulated for money-making corporate entities?  Does this hurt women’s relationships in the real world?  Can the damage to reputations be repaired or will video follow these young women forever?

Is it worth it?


Sprite Step Off: A SKEErious Matter or Much Ado About Nothing?

Full disclosure: I am proud lady and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  However, I will try in earnest to not let that color my comments on the recent Sprite-Step Off Challenge Brouhaha. 

If you are unaware, a White sorority–Zeta Tau Alpha– recently won the  competition over second place finishers,  Alpha Kappa Alpha.  After viewing both the AKA’s and Zeta’s performance, I can say that both presentations were creative, well-choreographed, precise, rhythmic, and energetic.  However, the Zeta’s performance–my bias withstanding–lacked two things:  history and soul.

Stepping has its roots in several elements of the African-American story.  Many scholars suggest that the art form emerged from “Boot Dance”.  In her article, Stepping in the United States: A Stomping Craze of Historical Proportions, Sophia Russell describes the origins of boot dancing stating: 

“Boot Dance” developed in the pitch-black coalmines where slaves were forced to work. Work boots were issued to deal with the rocky terrain slaves were expected to work in. Forced to work in the darkness Monday through Saturday from sun up to sun down, the slaves’ only time to see the light of day was on Sunday. On Sunday, they rejoiced, exercised and danced in their work boots. They would draw crowds from admiring people of all races as “boot dancing” gave them an opportunity to echo the African drums of their home lands by stomping and clapping in a percussive manner similar to the boot dancing still seen in parts of South Africa (Russell 2007).

The modern notion of stepping emerged in the mid 1900’s, during competitive singing and dancing rituals on college schoolyards (hence Stomp the Yard).  African-American fraternities and sororities started singing and dancing to mimic the styles of R & B groups like the Temptations and Four Tops.  Overtime stepping evolved to an important—but not necessarily fundamental—part of crossing into and participating in African-American Greek life.   However, far more important than stepping, has been the Divine Nine’s legacy of advancing education, economic development, civil rights, and social justice within and beyond the African-American community. 

The decades and decades of barrier breaking struggle, loss, and victory of the African-American experience are largely embodied within the collective history of the Divine Nine.  Therefore, its member organizations are not simply social clubs.  Instead, they are organic, living, evolving organizations with networks spanning the globe.  They each share and hold a unique culture and narrative—not always perfect or pretty— that is played out with every precision signature step taken on yards across this country and beyond. 

According to the Sprite-Step Off website, it is the largest national step show in history.  The program seeks to utilize the entertainment elements of stepping to underlay a “robust charitable” platform, comprised of two major components: service and scholarships—goals very much aligned to those of the National Pan-Hellenic member organizations.  What is not noted on the website is the obvious advertising and marketing ploy behind this program; Coca-Cola Sprite’s parent company is first and foremost a profit driven organization. A Sprite branded stepping competition is a terrific opportunity to draw millions of black eyes and dollars to Sprite products.    This year, like years past, the competition was serialized in a MTV2 reality TV show—you have to admit having a White sorority win makes for a tasty dramatic story arc, fairness aside.

Nevertheless, I do not believe that the uproar around the Sprite Step Show has anything to do with discrimination, bias, or general hateration. I think the outrage it is more about a long history of white artist appropriating the cultural artifacts of the black experience for financial gain: from Jazz, to Rock-N-Roll, to Hip-Hop and Soul [See Little Richard].

The ladies of AKA were stepping with over 100 years of history behind them, with signature steps that go back decades.  In contrast, Zeta Tau Alpha–while a century old organization-created only faint facsimile  of what they had viewed and absorbed black sororities and fraternities do.  As a result, their steps had no story, no soul.     

In an event post script, supposedly due scoring discrepancy, Sprite named both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tau Chapter and Zeta Tau Alpha, Epsilon Chapter, co-first place winners of the step off.   Accordingly, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tau Chapter’s scholarship prize  was raised to $100,000.

So ladies and gentleman is this a good news story? Is the fact that two organizations grounded in academic high achievement, sisterhood, and service among women is now each $100,000 richer the important thing?

I’m In it For the Love of….. Love or Money? Part I

Steve Harvey is the gift that keeps giving.   His relatively recent foray into relationship gurudom has provided much fodder for sister circles nationwide.  I was gifted Act Like A Lady Think Like a Man last year.  I will admit to only having made it through the first few chapters and simply perusing the rest.    Nevertheless, Mr. Harvey provides some valuable insight into the male psyche–paralyzing enigma that it is.

Having parlayed his book success into a regular advice column for Essence Magazine, Harvey dispenses some interesting–if not depressing–tidbits to Reisha B., a 26-year old advice seeker, in this month’s issue.  Reisha writes:

“I don’t get approached by handsome professional Black men.  They always seem to go for promiscuous women. I smile and make eye contact, but they never come over. What am I doing wrong?”

Mr. Harvey’s response is typical. “Men are attracted to aesthetics and attitude.  He’s eyeing your figure and hair and wondering how he’ll feel introducing you to his buddies.” He continues derailing this poor young women’s dream that she is deserving of a “handsome professional black man”, by suggesting that her expectations of who might be attracted to her were too high and stating she should start giving the “blue-collar fellas” a chance.  In Mr. Harvey’s world, without 5 star chick good looks, Reisha B. may be  S.O.L. when it comes to landing her prototype.

In the meantime, I cruised over to A Bell in Brooklyn, which featured a post aptly titled “I’m Sayin She’s a Gold Digger”.  The post discussed an episode of the Tyra Banks show, where several little girl’s of various social, ethnic, and economic strata were interviewed about their attitudes on money and marriage.  Clearly reflecting their mother’s attitudes, the little girls overwhelmingly expressed a desire to marry for money and security above love.  There were, however, exceptions and I urge you to check out the video for yourself—peep the little girl with the fierce afro-puffs; she was dropping the actual factuals.

Tyra guest Orencia—fully weaved, cleaveaged, and painted to look like a typical trashbox video vixen–displayed new levels of indignity and ignorance, when advocating marriage for money over love.  She went on to suggest that her 7-year-old daughter should not talk to—no excuse me “conversate with”— a male classmate until having first received a cookie from him.   Some might argue, its not trickin if you got it.  Start them off early with Oreos and tomorrow its the gallardo. I am not one of these people.

Barely articulate Orencia is making it difficult for girls like Reisha B.   If Mr. Harvey is right–having no idea what Reisha B. looks like but assuming she’s averagely pretty without the bells and whistles of Orencia—we can make some educated guesses on who the professional Black men of Mr. Harvey’s imagination are going to choose for their arm candy.    Unfortunately,  I am suspecting  “cavernous echo chamber for a brain” Orencia will win over non-promiscous Reisha B.”

In world, so saturated with materialism and instant gratification, there is something to be said for  finding pure love based on the content of a person’s character.  Finding a life partner that is equally yoked with you in terms of education, finances, morality, and faith is a Herculean task for many black women.  So ladies what do we do if we aren’t attracting the ballers and the shotcallers or the educated and so-called successful Black men? Do we take Steve’s advice and give the blue collar fellas a chance? Is this settling?


Reggie Bush Essence Magazine Cover Debacle

Okay ladies, so 99.9% of us will acknowledge that Reggie Bush is a sexy specimen of a human-being.  The February issue of Essence Magazine bore that fact out in all its bare-chested glory.  However, Essence apparently pressed a sensitive button with the sistahs by featuring Mr. Bush as their cover model.  Apparently, his relationship with the famed reality star/sex-tape queen/walking-spectacle that is Kim Kardashian caused a great deal of acrimony with a segment of the Essence audience.  The March issue ironically features our President, the progeny of an interracial romance, along with his phenomenal bride–our first lady (Michelle Rocks!).   It also includes an article addressing the Bush cover uproar.

Now the crux of the issue revolves around the now ageless question of why brothers, particularly those at a certain income levels  choose to date outside out their race.  An article penned by blogger Jemilah Lemieux recounts the seemingly endless list of black male celebs known for their interracial proclivities, including: John Legend, Kobe Bryant, Quincy Jones, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.  I would add to that list P. Diddy (J. Lo and Cassy), Pharrell ( Any Peruvian Model of the Moment), and apparently now Hill Harper (more about this one later).  

There is something organic that just burns in the belly of many of sistah when we see our men choose women unlike their mothers, sisters, nieces, and homegirls.  It just reeks of trying to attain some kind of status symbol based on the complexion of your arm candy.  Lemieux is right when she states that “Black men are our brothers and our lovers. We share a history…”.  It is in fact this history and the shared  consciousness that emerged from it that is largely the reason why many black men choose to date and/or marry interracially.

The beauty standards of America are based in an aesthetic of white or western supremacy.  The result is the what I have coined the The Brown Girl’s Dilemma: the predicament I and all black women face, as we receive a mediated messages of what is beautiful.  The message often directly contrasts what the mirror reflects, resulting in a schism that has had an indelible impact on the African-American community.  We as women internalized these standards  and have negotiated are identities accordingly.  Our men have internalized them, as well.  Thus, we have TigerTiger Woods y’all–a brother  (granted a multi-racial brother) whose has seemingly fetishsized his desire for the Barbiesque. 

Now, I am not one to judge a person’s love.  I truly believe that most interracial couples are legitimately together based on the purest and noblest forms of love.  Hence, this issue is intriguing to me because the reaction we as black women have to this is sometimes so visceral that its hard to negotiate what it means.  Accordingly, my heart and head were on fire when I saw Hill Harper (actor, writer, public intellectual) arm and arm with Nicole (nobody can pronounce her last name)  Scherzinger.  Harper, having just penned the book The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, has truly left me aghast. 

I, for one, am confused on what conversation Mr. Harper is having.   In reality, affairs of the heart are too complicated to be reduced to race, but I too am left asking what Louise Meriwether asked almost 40 years ago , “Black Man, Do You Love Me? (May 1970 Essence Magazine).

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