Why It Comes To This

There are certain things in this American pop culture that people clearly don’t want trifled with. Now, me being the fan of language that I am, and as big a fan of storytelling that I am, let me put you on game real quick.

Walt Disney, the machine that is DISNEY, did not have an original idea. Aside from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Daisy and Goofy. The powerhouse stories are taken from The Grimm Brothers, and in the case of The Little Mermaid, it is a taken from the Hans Christian Andersen story. You can link that here. What Disney has done in adopting these stories for the entertainment of children, is take a source text to adapt it to a suitable audience.

This is the beauty and nature of literature and art. What we not about to do is champion the craziness that is found in this campaign of #NotMyAriel or #MakeArielWhiteAgain. We not about to do this over here. We really not. What the Disney has done, again, is take a source text and reimagine it. I don’t have time to go into the literary breakdown of how cool that is, but I will say this.

First, Halle Bailey will be amazing as Ariel.

Second, if you think a mermaid–an imaginary creature from an almost 200-year old Danish story–which is a play on the sirens of ancient Greek mythology, cannot be Black? You are part of the problem.

What is the problem, you ask? The problem is your issue with visibility, diversity and the challenging of what you think should or could be acceptable representation of Black women and girls. It would seem that the people of this adamant persuasion regarding The Little Mermaid, are hilarious. But perhaps, this was the most potent social media comment pertaining to this situation:

 

 Imagine this.

*Not seeing yourself in any media depiction that wasn’t subservient. That wasn’t magical. That was delegated to the maids, mammies, and shadow people. Imagine that the casting of someone that looks like you, in a public medium like film, and having the reaction as vitriolic as Halle is having? Imagine having the color of your skin, your hair, your very being seen as so ‘offensive’ to what people call the ‘original’ film? Can you imagine how insane that would be?

Furthermore, as a Black girl who grew up before Tiana in The Princess And The Frog, was a voting adult before the election of President Barack H. Obama, as a Black girl that was told there were limits on my own imagination–representation is everything. If there was a little White girl that can imagine herself as Ariel, why can’t a little Black girl finally see herself as Ariel?

Is it the seeing of a Black girl as more than a caricature that is offensive? Is it the desire for diversity, in the insistence of our personhood, our presence, or magic? I wasn’t so struck by the need for this level of diversity with this particular film until my oldest daughter, whom will be 12 in September, gave me a gift. She made this mermaid sculpture at a camp. The mermaid was blonde, with brown hands, and a white face. She had never seen a Black mermaid. There weren’t even any Black mermaids in The Pirates Of The Carribean! I remember there being a Black mermaid (read:  tokenism!) on the cartoon in the early 1990’s. But the insidious thing that I had to catch myself on? What I had to confront was because I had not seen it, I could not believe it, ergo it could not be possible.

As a writer, I had to dive into this. Why couldn’t I believe mermaids could be Black? only because I hadn’t seen it. The Little Mermaid, the Disney version, is now about 30 years old. I was 8 when this movie came out–and didn’t even see it in the theaters. I was more into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at age 8. However, in deconstructing this feeling, I was encouraged by the fan art which is making appearances on Facebook. Here are some of my favorites:

 

“Up where they walk,

up where they run.

Up where they play all day

in the sun,

Wanderin’ free–

Wish I could be…

part of that world.”

Indeed this lyric from Part Of Your World has never been more prolific. We are part of this world.

 

 

*Author’s Note:  I would be remiss in my writer duties not to remind you to watch the documentary Horror Noire which is still available on Shudder. In watching that documentary, I believe much more will make sense to you.

 

 [top image: Disney via Google. First Ariel image is by Nilah Magruder (@nilaeffle–she first displayed this image on her personal Twitter timeline.]

 

JUNETEENTH In The MAGA Era

 

There are some things that even the woke ally cannot wish you.  Do not tell a Black person, whom is a direct descendant of chattel slavery, Happy Juneteenth.  Stop. Do not do this. I’m not going to ask again.

With that being said, this Juneteenth feels a little different with Orange Thanos in office. It feels like we have to fight a little harder to be seen. It feels like I need to be that much more Black to counteract all the toxic whiteness and malignant red caps. It feels like every thing Black has to be preserved, illuminated. served and strictly defined as ours.

OURS.

This nation is the diverse, beautiful, luminous place that it is, because of the minorities that were either kidnapped, enslaved, conquered and mistreated. From that muddy, rocky roux–we have a myriad of traditions that are now classified and quantified as childhood memories. Especially for those of us whom are African-American.

In this era where the insecure majority feels as though it has to stomp out anything that is not white or conforming, Juneteenth is our reminder as Black/African-American people that we cannot die. We will not die. Our power, our survival has been in traditions and support. It has maintained our sanity and our love for one another. It encamps in the lives of us their descendants to remind us of our own power. The strength of the combined force of time and tradition which yields legacy. It is this legacy which allows us a people to keep going. It is this living history that lets our children know that there is still joy and love and light in the world–and they are owed some of it.

I am in favor of all things being equal, but there are some things that I refuse to compromise with or on. And there are things that these MAGA sycophants are not going to take from me. They aren’t going to make me shrink. They aren’t going to make me think being Black is bad, dangerous or something to apologize for! A red cap is a white hood is a crooked badge is a Johnny Reb is a plantation overseer.

Juneteenth is our holiday. Is our day. Is our history. Our ancestors survived so much worse–we will endure this too. And at the end of this? We will celebrate the end of this tyrannical dynasty too. Just watch.

 

 

 

Being Part Of The Knot-Part 1: The Seeking Game

I am a woman of faith. I believe in God and the power of His word and wisdom. The one thing that has struck me is this scripture:

He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtain favor from the Lord. 

(Proverbs 18:22. KJV)

With the wisdom found in this 15-word scripture, I feel,  has not been hewn out. Let me  tell you and unsweet truth.

Not every man is looking to for a wife.

Not every woman wants a husband.

There, now that we have established these two truths, let’s talk about The Seeking Game. This is also known as dating. Yes, dating.

On the cusp of turning 40, I quote my mother often. The quotes I cherish above any others deal with dating and relationships. This one is a favorite: “There ain’t nothing wrong with dating!”  Nowmy mother is almost 70. She is from an era that women expected a man to bring something to a relationship. Where criteria were created, held and appreciated. In the situations where there weren’t, a woman left. In that phrase, ‘there ain’t nothing wrong with dating’, gave me the freedom as a woman that was dating to be honest with the men I was attracting.

It also reminded me of my criteria, and what I wanted. It reminded me that the man that  want, has to match what I need as well! If I want to be a wife, I can’t be caught up with a man that doesn’t want one! Simple as that.

AS. SIMPLE. AS. THAT. 

I believe that to be chosen, in being chosen, for a relationship requires the desire to be chosen (What does that mean, Jenn?). That means you have to have the desire to be chosen, in order to be chosen! You have the right to sample and swim in the dating pool! You have a right to change your mind, say no, or to date without being serious or attached.

You have to be able to be honest with yourself when you date! You have be able to be alone with your thoughts. If you want to date casually, do that. If  you want to date with purpose, do that. But you have to make a decision! And that level of decision-making, is going to take a level of honesty few people are prepared for. Why? People don’t like to be alone, and we crave comfort and routine. As one of my girlfriends said:  Some people stay together out of time and convenience rather than loyalty.

The most irrecoupable thing you have as a human being is time. Once that is gone or wasted, there is nothing which can be done to snatch it back from that hungry abyss. Value what you bring. Value your criteria. Value your time.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with dating. There is nothing wrong with keeping your options open. But be honest about what you want–and adhere to that.

 

“Blackness Is Ongoing.”-The Power Of This Will By Undoing

I am in this space of radical love and self-acceptance. In my devouring of the fire of Feminista Jones; the medicine at the shoulder, knee, yea, hands of Toni Morrison; I came across the sister oracle, Morgan Jerkins.

This book had been on my radar for over a year. It had been in my literature orbit, and hidden among other Amazon needs. However, now, this time, I bought it.

What I got in the about 8-hours of the author herself, was a dual realization of my power as a Black woman. And the invisible chains that held, pulled and sought to destroy me.

I found myself nodding when she talked about the paradox of being a smart, quiet, Black girl. I teared up remembering my middle school self: smart as hell, awkward, with parents that prized grades over social status. The struggle with sexuality as a Black woman versus the idea (even appearance) of being fast. I was mad as fuck with her as she relayed her frustration with college acceptance; the loss of her father and hiding in the depths of academic success. I clasped my hands, as if she could feel them, when she talked about her faith. I even teared up at her *manifesto in Chapter 9.

The power of this book is it’s willingness to confront the joys and struggles of being a Black woman. She rips off the Band-Aids with laser precision and pulls no punches.

While reading it, I found Morgan on Twitter. I tweeted her about how the book effected me. How I wished I had something like this 25 years ago when I was a girl and trying navigate woman spaces I was thrust into. I had to examine myself and alla my stuff as the choreopoem goes.

In, with, that examination, came a strange empowerment. The further acceptance of my Blackness. Of forgiving women in my family whom did only what they knew to do in order to keep me safe and tame. I no longer felt that my experiences were alien.

This book was a reminder of self, my entire self. Of allowing my daughters a freedom I never tasted. I was reminded my soft heart and quiet nature were never a detriment, but a tool. I was reminded just as Phylicia Rashad said:

“Your whole self is such a treasure.”

I had forgotten that. Like any good writer, Morgan made me remember. For that, I am thankful.

Thank you, Morgan Jerkins.

*The manifesto in Chapter 9 is one of the boldest, most vulnerable things I have read pertaining to loving yourself as a Black woman. I am glad I have this book on Audible so I can go back and reference it on blue days. The days where my magic, my swag or my sway feel less than. Where I feel less than. Where I am low, in need a level of refilling God-deep. One of the joys of being a writer is you get to see and feel deeply. With that depth, the refilling, too, must be just as deep.

Love & Possession: The Dark Set: (Week 4) BonusWhat Daddy Wanted

The collar on my neck always

Reminds me how far I can go.

How chosen and cherished I am.

How none are as I am to be.

He feels and fills the ripples his

Voice causes once housed

And held in all that he claims

Is, was his.

Does he know that in his taking

Of me, even in thought my mind

Races to please him from wherever

I am?

At his whisper

And then shutting off of

Water I am his warm towel

To drink and dry every drop

Of water graced to flow

Over him…

Until my tastes and senses

Are full of him.

The collar around my neck always

Reminds me how far I can go.

How hard to ride.

How wide to open.

When to clench.

When to just hold

Every inch of him hard and twitching

In my mouth

Or swallow all he contains.

It lets me know, for all my prowess…

I am still beneath him.

As I long to always be.

(c) Janelle Fallon, 4.2019

Love & Possession: The Dark Set (Week 2)

“I want the darker part of this love, the parts only known by God.”

He shifted before my very eyes.  What had been once sweet, had been made raw and open. He told me to look at him, touching the skin below the right side of my neck and right ear. The heat from his hand, warming all skin around and below it. I closed my eyes, breathing in his scent freshly showered. The room became too small, and the world quiet. There was a tempest born in me unknown before. He placed another hand around the left side of my neck and kissed me, pulling me into him. 

We had talked about this before, nothing big really. But now, I was ready. I thought I was ready. He wanted more from this–beyond a relationship. He called it ownership, but it didn’t feel that way. There was a rightness to his words. His presence. Even how he fit inside me–how incessant his thrusts were, and how, when he told me to open, I had cum like I never had. Even by my own hand. Even in those times without him, I thought of him. The first time I had called him Dueño was in my own bed alone.

Him owning me, fully, this was right.  This is who I wanted, wanted to be with. It was deeper than a want. Beyond a need. This was kismet in overdrive. This was more than could be given to me by Harlequin or Porn Hub powered imagination.

I melded into him. Fit as my body found its rhythm within his. I felt his hands roam over my ass, my thighs, and how I opened to him. “Let me in, don’t think. Don’t think, Kyla. I’m right here.” I shivered as his lips traced over my shoulder, the skin still hot from where his hands lay. My breath was caught, and my mind swam. Thoughts of hesitation, of fear, of changing my mind halted. Washed away with his head between my thighs as I stood.

No safe words. No safety net. I was in his hands and at his mercy.

Matches

Let me show you how to light a match.

Let me show you what happens

When caramel harness the heat

Generated by a good pair of heels what

Good, bad can be.

Let me show you exactly what your

Imagination is too afraid to utter

In ladylike company.

I assure you, I am more woman that I

ever was lady.

I was told it is never nice for a lady to

Smoke, but her I am doing so,

Aside from outside fire.

As the Almighty could have

Only whispered and light appeared,

At my desire, and stare,

Will all you have, down to the inch

Be mine.

And you’ll call me the Almighty.

(c) Janelle Fallon, 4.9.2019