‘Malcolm & Marie’-Part 2: Woman Thoughts

Reminder: These are my thoughts and my take on the movie.

There is a sweetness to this movie that makes me sick.

I have been in a relationship where I have tried to be a support to a man that seemed to think my presence was only an extension of himself or not needed for the gains he wished to make. I have been Marie. More than once.

When I saw her hit that cold butter with the Chef’s knife to make him macaroni and cheese–that he asked her for? I knew what it was. And I almost started crying. I have been a Marie.

Is this a ‘struggle love’ movie? No, I don’t think that it is. It is a movie that is long overdue to be told from the honest pen of Black writers. The movie displays exactly what it looks like to try to be with someone who may not know what that means; conversely what it means to try to stay with someone that doesn’t think you will ever leave.

The dialogue is honest, the emotions are raw, and several times I wanted to slap fire from Malcolm! There were several times I wanted to snatch Marie and tell her to shut up! There were times in the movie where I thought they both went too far–where I thought for the ‘good’ of the relationship Marie should hush! Yet, in examining that—isn’t that the same feeling that makes struggle love possible? This idea that one has to be lesser than the other for the sake of peace.

She doesn’t let Malcolm get away with talking to her in a way that makes her shrink.

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After the bathtub scene, the two are outside, smoking. Marie plays the song GET RID OF HIM by Dionne Warwick on her iPhone. She so badly wants Malcolm to look beyond what he feels–and see her.

He doesn’t allow Marie to talk to him any kind of way either, but he believes he knows her well enough to talk to her like he does. It is this knowingness that Marie calls narcissism. I’m not sure if it is, but it definitely arrogance.

They go at each other, and circle the idea of reconciling but then they remember why each of them is mad, and that someone that they love hurt them that badly, and they come out swinging at each other again.

And what is the beginning of this argument about: Malcolm didn’t thank her. He sees that as an excited oversight, but Marie sees it as one on top of another set or slings and arrows! But in an attempt to remind Marie that she is loved, he brings up what he did. Even supporting her through addiction and suicide attempts. The bathtub scene was hardest to watch because you could tell Malcolm’s intent was to truly ‘snap her like a twig.’ He belittles her, humiliates her, and Marie forces herself not to cry. And later in the movie Malcolm tells her how in love with he is, and even tells her this as the movie opens. The one thing I will continuously give Malcolm credit for was being in-tune enough with her know she was not alright.

He tells her how talented she is, but also calls her on her inability to do something else–like go back to acting. In calling her on her own insecurities, he exposes her to what she hadn’t done–and he won’t let her weasel out of that. Which causes Marie to be upset moreso! She wants him to see her, and see all of her. I mean, they even fight about how she didn’t/wasn’t cast in his movie IMANI. Malcolm tells her that he wasn’t going to beg her to audition–even though he said with the right part she would be outstanding!

Marie also won’t give into having sex with him–she doesn’t want to give him the comfort of her body. She wants him to hear her, rather than feel her. Which I thought was pivotal–that goes into the power dynamic of a relationship! Sex is often transactional, and used to diffuse certain situations. It doesn’t really solve them. Is it manipulative? No. If I’m mad, then why should I give you the comfort of my body!

They are truly a mess. But they love each other. Yet, its not struggle love. Marie doesn’t shrink, she refuses to be steamrolled or bullied. Marie tells Malcolm that he steamrolls over everyone because he cannot conceive that someone else is more interesting than him. She tells him as the movie ends:

“Your lack of curiosity is an extension of your narcissism. You never stop to ask, ‘How can I be a better partner?’ ” Marie then says, “I am the last one standing, who is not scared to tell you to ‘up your fucking game’.

As complex and layered as this story is, I am still stewing on it. Even as the movie ends, there is no clear cut happy ending. We don’t know if Malcolm really sees her. We don’t know if Marie has enough in her to forgive him to do better. We are given the scene of them outside, from the vantage point of the bedroom window, and see them together. We are given the illusion of hope. Nothing else.

And that is what all relationships have behind doors, isn’t it? Hope. We hope that we can pull it together. We hope our partners can do better. We hope they see us, and we don’t want Marie’s words to haunt us:

“I feel like once you know someone is there for you, and once you know they love you, you never really think of them again. It’s not until you’re about to lose someone that you finally pay attention.”

After Marie tells him why thanking her was imperative, Malcolm seems to understand! It’s not an oversight–it was him ignoring her for his own gain and ends. Even if he did it on accident. Marie desires to be seen and heard, and demands the man who loves her to do both! Malcolm is a good guy, but he has to understand that relationships are effort. Marie has to understand that you cannot put your life inside of a man–you need to be brave enough to exist without him, or his approval.

Malcolm & Marie will make you think. It’ll make you cry. It’ll make you laugh and remind you that love is a choice. Staying together is a choice. And leaving is also a choice. They stayed together to try again. Isn’t that what love does–give hope? And the hope to be seen? I believe so, even in a place with all windows.

About ‘Malcolm & Marie’-Part 1: Writer Thoughts

Reminder: this is a two-part review.

I watched Malcolm & Marie the first night it was available on NETFLIX. I was excited about it because I am a fan of movies. I am also a fan of Black character lead love stories. As a writer, as a woman, as a Black woman writer, I need to see this! As a writer, here are 6 things I take away from this movie.

1.) Cinematography. The movie is done in black and white, which forces you to pay attention to the characters and what they really have to say.

2.) Character positions/Body language. I like how the characters say things, without ever saying them. This is good writing here! I was sucked in the moment that Marie walked in with her back Marine Corps straight, and when she cut the cold butter in one stroke.

3.) Music is a character. I am known for writing to music, and even inserting a song every now and then to introduce a new layer into the story or to express what the character is feeling. The same thing happens here in this movie. Very smart thing to do.

4.) Setting. I like that the house Malcolm and Marie are renting is literally a glass house. There are so many windows! The fact that they are alone in this house, which is full of windows, the house itself is the embodiment of two adages:

“People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

“You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”

5.) Dialogue. Oh, the dialogue! The writers of this movie pulled no punches. There are certain fights that Malcolm an Marie have I cringed at. I had to walk away because I had similar fights with people who said they loved me too. The fact that the dialogue is a that realistic? It’s triggering.

Dialogue is a weapon. Dialogue is a key. Dialogue is a means of control.

6.) Character development. As the movie continues, I find myself irritated Marie. I find myself irritated at Malcolm. Then, I was irritated at both of them! I was irritated because I could see each other’s point. The more they spoke to each other, even when the arguments ebbed and flowed, we see more and more of where the root of this argument was. The dialogue helps us to see exact where the pain for both of them is. It is awesome to see this and it forces you to engage in the story–even when it’s messy.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

[image from indiewire.com]

I Finally Watched ‘Da 5 Bloods.’ We Were Cheated! #ChadwickBoseman

If you haven’t seen this movie. Watch it. Now. RIGHT NOW! #BlackActorsMatter

Da 5 Bloods | Netflix Official Site
‘I like to think of myself as an artist.’
-Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020)

Spike Lee has accused Clint Eastwood of overlooking the experiences of Black GI’s. I agree, so as only Spike Lee can he told the story of 5 Vietnam Vets. Deleroy Lindo would be great reading labels in Target. His performance took up the entire scene wherever he was. But the thing is this. His performance was only overshadowed by Chadwick Boseman’s.

Every time he was on screen, there was this quiet strength he exuded, and it made me forget for two hours that he was gone. It made me forget the pain in the back of my heart that mourns This King.

There is this element to art that is intangible. That is definitive and irreplaceable. You cannot teach presence, dear ones. That is something you either have or you will never possess! Chadwick Aaron Boseman had presence. The magic he had along with other other cast members whom made up the ‘Bloods’ let me know just how amazing he was…and would have been(!) if given more time.

Ah, always more time. Death is thief, coward and robber! It took Chadwick in the prime of his life, and left us thinking and wanting and waiting for more of what he would have done. Should have done! And when I got to end of the movie? I had to fight back a howl that was ancestral and primal, indicative of pain only mothers know. I had never felt so cheated out of watching an artist! We were robbed, y’all! Robbed!

I know there are those whom will think that this may be emotional, but I don’t care! There is not enough credence given to Black actors and artists! There just isn’t! There is a need to foster Black actors like never before. In the age of Issa Rae’s and Will Packards, there is a need to continue to support and put on those who come after us, and even are working along side us!

The life and breadth of the work of Black actors is invaluable! And when a Black actor dies, and you are a part of this guild of artists, it is a death in the family! There is a void that no one else can fill! Unless you are an artist, you cannot understand what we as a culture just lost…and what we have.

Whenever we miss Chad–I think we can start calling him that again, we family now–we can just hit play, or scroll through streaming services to find him.

Death is coward, thief and a robber. Yet, we have memories. We have stories. Maybe, the justice to be found in loss, is that nothing is truly lost is one remembers.

We all remember, Chad. We are not scared to remember him.

Besides, who can bury a King? Not nobody.

[image from Netflix.com]

Leave the 1990’s Alone: *The Baby-Sitters Club Remake Is Trying My Patience! Where Is Jessi?

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I know I haven’t read this series in about 20 years, but there is something not right about this photo. Namely, where is Jessica (Jessi)? The BLACK girl…

I am now a woman of a certain age. This means I can now employ this phrase with elegance and discretion as I inch closer to 40. With and from that vantage point, I can finally stand with my hand on my hip–not on my ‘imagination’–all while watching my kids play and trying to beat a hard level on Pet Rescue Saga. I am young enough to embrace change, and old enough to remember what it was like to be the age of my oldest child.

So, when my oldest daughter told me she started reading The Baby-Sitters Club, I didn’t believe her. I asked her if it was the same author, Ann M. Martin. My daughter said that it was. She said that she was enjoying the series. Okay, awesome! This is a win! A few months prior to The Baby-Sitters Club, she asked to read the play I was reading for class by August Wilson (The Pittsburgh Cycle-King Hedley II). So, everything in moderation. My daughter told me to tell her about the series I grew up reading, and I told her all I could remember.

I told her that her aunt and I read this books! I told her that her aunt and I raced through these books; stalked them through library stacks; told her the book series was a serial! In order to know what was happening in the current book, you had to have back story! One of the worst things you could have happen is to be lost in a BSC book!

You have to know who the main characters are: Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne, Dawn, Mallory, and Jessi.

You have to know that Kristy was a single mom and the BSC was created because her single mom didn’t have a sitter for her little brother, and didn’t think she could watch him. You have to know that Mary Anne is her bestie, and Stacey’s parents are divorced and she’s a Type I diabetic. You have to know that Dawn’s parents are divorced–but her divorced mom married Mary Anne’s widowed father, so they are now step-sisters. You must know that Mallory hates gym, is the oldest of 7 (it’s at least 6 siblings Martin gave her), aspiring writer and is the best friend of Jessi.

You have to know how dope Jessi is! She is brilliant, and pretty, and a Black ballerina! Her parents are married, she’s a good student, and she dances en pointe–like Misty Copeland would years later! She learned ASL for one deaf child, and she was a fully developed Black character. And it was amazing. It IS amazing.

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See? This is the Jessi I remember…why can’t we have her too?

When I look at this picture of these happy, smiling girls–my heart breaks. I don’t see a girl that could even resemble Jessi. I feel heartbroken, livid and unseen! The most dominant feeling I have is unseen. I hate that feeling because it is insidious–it makes me feel like a ghost haunting a house! I know I am there, I know there other people in this space that feel my presence–and ignore me! I am then forced to make my presence known how every I deem necessary!

Since I am a writer, the best way I can make my presence known is to write, analyze, and hold space for writers and reader that look like me. From that space, I can take a deep breathe to scream:


Get into this (from Wikipedia):

Jessi moved to Stoneybrook from Oakley, New Jersey at the beginning of the sixth grade; her family moved into Stacey’s old house. She has an eight-year-old sister Rebecca, called “Becca”, and a baby brother named John Phillip Ramsey Jr., whose nickname is “Squirt”. When Jessi and her family first moved to Stoneybrook, some people were racist toward them because they were black, but this improved.[19] In Hello, Mallory, Mallory meets Jessi, and they instantly bond and form their own babysitting club, “Kids Incorporated” before joining The Baby-Sitters Club. In Jessi’s Baby-sitter, Jessi’s Aunt Cecelia moves into Jessi’s house. Jessi calls her “Aunt Dictator” and at first hates her, but at the end of the novel they become friends, and she is part of the family for the rest of the series. Jessi learns American Sign Language in Jessi’s Secret Language, when she babysits for Haley and Matt Braddock, because Matt is deaf. Jessi is a talented ballerina and has had the lead role in several ballets; she takes ballet classes at Stamford Ballet School with Madame Noelle, her ballet teacher.

I could expound on how thankful I am Ann M. Martin had the literary sensitivity to create Jessi. I could go on ad nauseam about how as a White writer, a White female writer could not fully write a Black girl’s experience–but she gets an A for effort! But, here we are now–20 years later, and the revamping of this series for Netflix doesn’t include Jessi. I’m beyond livid. The only way to cure erasure is to write in pen.

I’m a writer, I do life in pen–there is no other way!

As Beyonce says, I was here. Jessi was here–she is here!

The casual erasure of Black girls stops when Black writers continue to their storytelling in pen.

*-I am keeping my eye on this remake. My antennae are up, and I am no here for erasure culture. At all. Not ever.

[image from Entertainment Weekly and Pinterest]

Let’s Be Real About It, Girls Love Joe! They Loved Theodore Bundy, Too.

I have few guilty pleasures, fam. But one of them is infamous Netflix show, YOU. I must confess, I saw Season 1, before I read the first book. And I read the second book (Hidden Bodies) before Season 2 began not even a week ago!

But as dynamic as Penn Badgley is, his portrayal of Joseph “Joe” Goldberg is amazing and creepy AF! In the first season (I hadn’t read the book, mind you), I thought Joe was cute and smart and the fact he worked in a bookstore? Bonus.

How Kepnes wrote the book, and the writers crafted the story, you overlook the fact that Joe (in the words of the now deceased Guinevere Beck), “creeps into girls’ lives and violating the shit out of them!”

Let me just focus on the show, because the books is so much better, but bear with me.

In the age of instant access, Snapchat and Google Maps, it’s so easy to dismiss that dude Googled the girl–and then showed up at her house.

It’s easy to dismiss that dude followed her schedule through her public posts, and like just happened to show up where she would be at.

Fam. In a parallel universe (i.e. this reality), if a strange man shows up outside your house? You wouldn’t be utterly thrilled to say the least.

But, we love Joe!

He’s well read, handsome, simple, relatively good-natured and tries his best for the woman he’s with! He wants her happy, safe and cared for!

Now, these same things were said about Theodore Robert Bundy (read the Phantom Prince and watch The Bundy Tapes on Netflix).

This image: Black Twitter strikes again!

But…we love Joe. I have repeatedly said I would have dated him because he’s intelligent. I have also said that if I would have been like Beck, and found his love stash/stalker pile in a wall or the ceiling, I would have just left it there! That shit has NOTHING to do with me. And the bad part? I’m not the only woman who has said this! But why do we love him? Why is Caroline Kepnes’s version of Bundy so attractive?


We, as women, want to be chosen!

We want to be loved, cared for and lion protected. We want the security of knowing the person we would do anything for, would do anything for us.

Joe killed the dude that didn’t respect or honor Beck.

Joe killed the girl that tried to take her from him–whom he warned Beck about.

Joe also affirmed Beck, told her how brilliant she was; how she needed to do what made her happy. He respected her space (sorta) and her intelligence.

He loved her.

But he also killed her because she rejected his love for her.

But, we focus on the fact he saved her from the train. Put her IKEA bed together, and played Scrabble in her apartment.

Joesph Goldberg is effing dangerous!

But so is the world women inhabit.

The saged and wizened Penn Badgley has continuously said Joe is not a good dude–and shouldn’t be idolized! But, we do, don’t we?

He opens doors, studies you, knows your favorite flower and where you take your coffee breaks. He’s the one. Moreover, you have to check you own moral compass because at some point–I started cheering for Joe! I saw Beck this monstrous thing that had to be destroyed.


I told a writer friend of mine that even though Joe is crazy, he needs to stay on squad! I believe there’s a vernacular around these types of activities that says, “I paint houses.” Joe paints houses–but, the thing is, just as he said in Season 1: “We sometimes do bad things for the people we love.”

Shakespeare says, “Love is but a madness.” My father said, “If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazed what he’ll do for you.” When love, broken boys, sex and obsession congeal–you get Henry Hill with a Shax complex. That’s our Joe!

Fairy tales and classic mythology regale us with tales of knights saving damsels in distress, scaling towers, killing wolves and witches to save fair damsels. What we forget is sometimes the dragon isn’t the one you think it is.

With that in mind, there’s a third book to this series being written. I’m anxiously awaiting that release! And I’m still rooting for Joe to get his happily ever after. Why? It’s nice to be chosen. And it’s safer to have a dragon on a leash than out in the world.

Of Course ‘They’ Snubbed Beyonce! And Here Is Why.


Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is becoming a force of nature, with her Sara Baartman hips. From a pretty young woman with this power in her throat and heart, to this dynamic, sentient, vibrant, and culturally aware and present Black woman. Isn’t this what an icon is supposed to be –and become?

I have watched her progression from Destiny’s Child to her own grown woman. While not signing on or applying to the Beyhive, but I do work PRN for it. I have cheered her, been a Stan of hers–officially–after the release of Lemonade. After the experience of listening to Lemonade.

There was a pure pride I carried for her. Not a worship, not a reverence. But a pride. The same pride I felt when I learned that Cleopatra was Black. That Queen Nzinga was not a figure of my imagination. That Queen Hatshepsut became a Pharaoh due to sheer wit and brilliance. It was a sense of knowing there is a woman who looked like me–not bound by narrow societal imagination.

Although she wears the privilege granted to the beautiful, the cis-het and wealthy, Beyoncé is still a Black woman in an industry dominated by White men. The people that create award shows like the Emmys and Academy Awards, do not resemble the men that look like Beyoncé’s father.

For all her achievements, all her influence, for as far as her reach, she is still a Black woman. Playing a rich, White man’s game–laced with avarice and malice. Which chokes out love.

Knowing this, I am not surprised she was snubbed for an Emmy this hear. I am not, was not, shocked when she lost the Grammy for album of the year to Adele!

For all her power, the industry fears her. Those she inspires behind her. They fear her.

This light-skinned, country-talking, beautiful Black woman, descended from slaves, Texas plantation soil and Louisiana Creoles–is one of the most influential Black women in history.

In. History.

And money has not taken her Blackness. It has not refined her speech, vision or daily reminder that she is both Black and woman.

Why would the owners of the master narrative acknowledge such an accomplishment? The fierce representation and preservation of culture!

Why would the master acknowledge the slave?

The worlds and spheres Beyoncé’s inhabits, that she orbits, she spins, are still determined to remind her of limitations. Her weaknesses. How Black everything about her is, and how detrimental Black motherhood and mogul persists are!

How acknowledgment is equivalent achievement. That should be good enough.

Separate, but equal.

In the face of that, Beyoncé still creates. She still makes space. She now Mama and Nala and the creative power of The Gift. This is the resilience of Black women. The wisdom of the artist is what James Baldwin admonishes: “The goal of the artist is to disturb the peace.”

The wealth and worth of an artist is, nor will ever be, measured by people to whom they differ. The value of their work will not be held on the high esteem of people–haters and critics–insistent on ignoring it.

The wealth and worth of artists is most often awarded through the grace of time. The earnest nature of creativity. Through harsh critique becoming acknowledgement. As it was said by John Wilmot, the brilliant (and debauched) Second Earl Of Rochester in the movie The Libertine (portrayed by Johnny Depp):

“Your critics will come in two forms. The stupid and the envious. The stupid will love you in five years. The envious never will.”

Let time factor which we all will become.

[images from Netflix, Apple Music and Pinterest]

The Value Of The Put-On: Reflection On ‘Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready.’

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*the put-on:  Noun

This is cultural colloquialism which means to give someone you know a chance or opportunity; in a field you are familiar with or currently working.


I am a fan of Tiffany Haddish!

I love that she is loud, so Black and hood in white AF in white spaces. I am familiar with her story. I know that she was almost functionally illiterate. I know she was living in her car. I know she was doing comedy, when Kevin Hart talked to her. I know that he gave her $300 to get a hotel for the week. But what I also know is he put her on.

He saw her talent. He spoke to it. And he gave her an opportunity.

That is beauty of the put-on.

In watching this series on Netflix, what I heard so often was, “Tiffany came and got me.”

“Tiffany and I had  pact that whoever went first, they would throw the rope back. And she through it back.”

There is a power in maintaining space, but it is a totally unique power to create it! What Tiffany did is not forget the people that grinded with her, laughed with her, cried with her–and hustled together. It made me so happy to see!

A Black woman, whom is making and solidifying her own career, made a space for other women, especially those that look like her! This is the power of a put-on!

Let me explain this a little further.


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My best friend and I call this ‘putting someone in the room.’ But I like to use ‘the put-on’! This means that you know someone with skills, talents and abilities that someone needs to see. It means you have decided to build as you climb! The goal of it is visibility by an means necessary. The glorious thing, the beautiful thing? The put-on is a ripple in a pond. It provides a space for talent to be discovered and seen by more than just the person that put you on!

But what is the most important thing about the put-on is being able to give shine to people whom may not have it before. Or giving unique opportunities to those whom may never have had them otherwise (classic example:  the Wayans)!

The put-on is a best kept secret, and a card not often played. Why? The fear of other people’s greatness and competition. The put-on nullifies that! It grants presence to people whom need it the most! Or, sadly, may not have ever had it.

The beautiful thing about the put-on, is you don’t have to do anything but open a door. Or drop a card. Or a name. Even, in the case of Tiffany Haddish, go back to where it started–and some folk that people need to see.








[images from whatsnewonnetflix.com]













TW:  The Central Park 5; Police brutality; Industrial Prison Complex; Mass Incarceration


The miniseries ‘When They See Us’ started airing on the streaming service, Netflix, in late May 2019. 

The first time I remember distrusting the police I was about 10.

I was about 8 when The Central Park 5 became a national news story.  I remember going with my father to the grocery store in Cahokia, IL (about 40 minutes from where we then lived). We were headed home, and we stopped.

My father wasn’t speeding. He was the only adult in the car. And we had groceries. He was driving a black GMC  pick-up. The officer asked him to step out. He did, and what I vividly remember is the officer, whom was shorter than my father, white and blonde and mustached, asked who the other adult was in the car. I remember my father, in all his 6’2″ could muster, said, “She’s 10.” The flashlight he shone in the car might as well have been the damn sun. He asked what the glass bottle was, because it was drank out of, but capped. He was a fan of Mr. Pure juices, and that’s all it was. I remember he didn’t come back right away.  This pause I am sure now was to make sure the truck he made payments on, registered to him, wasn’t stolen. I think the officer said something like “Take care”, returning my father’s ID and freedom to him.

At 13, after my cousin’s encounter with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, I was done. I saw my cousin illegally searched in my maternal grandmother’s doorway. I remember wondering, “Why is this happening?” My father was there and saw them, and told them to get out. These two white, plainclothes officers, were insistent. They wanted my cousin. My father told them to get out. They acted like they weren’t going to go. But they did. He yelled at my mother for opening the door and summoning my cousin to it. He told me then, “Jennifer, if the police call you to their car don’t go. They don’t have any right to bother you unless they have a reason or a warrant.”

I remember my Dad telling my cousins (John, whom they were looking for; Joshua, whom they weren’t)  they would have to run to my cousin Joshua’s house–about a 10 minutes away. I stood on the red gray porch of my grandmother’s porch and looked back in the yard to where they were. I thought my 13-year-old body would be a big enough, wide enough, strong enough to protect them both. When we got to my Mom’s car, I remember calling the police ‘motherfuckers’ under my breath. I remember praying that they not be caught. I remember and officer in a red shirt, jeans and a ballcap pointing to the side of my grandmother’s house like a wolf after sheep.

That feeling of outraged helplessness I have never lost. Ever.

I saw the police as necessary evil. I never wanted to be in the presence of police officers, but I would watch COPS, and Homicide Life On The Street (the precursor to any Law & Order). I remember my Aunt Linda (John’s Mom) watching Hunter, and L.A. Law. The disconnect of wanting the good guys on TV to win and distrusting the police who I saw I couldn’t reconcile.

From this, and my complicated relationship with dealing with big blue gangs, we have When They See Us.  Have I seen it yet? No. Will I? Yes. Will I have something to say? Yeah! I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. The thing is, I want y’all to hear my heart. This review won’t be  haymaker to law enforcement (even though I still feel FTP is always going to be a war cry for me). I want those of you that follow this space to know that 10-/13-year old girl is still within the 37-year-old wife and mother. Those experiences have allowed me have the frank conversations that I can around and about police brutality. Those experiences fuel activism and pushes towards the support of police reform.

When They See Us is a reminder just how close trauma is. How malignant it is. It is also testament to how broken the system of law and it’s enforcement truly is. There is no amount of social undoing, op-eds or charity work that will allow Linda Fairstein, Elizabeth Lederer or the gang known as the NYPD to fix this. That’s the thing about history and recording trauma. As long as someone knows what happened, someone else will know too.

[image from Netflix]

In Memoriam: This Is It

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Next month marks  decade in this artistic-music era where there is no Michael Joseph Jackson. That didn’t resonate with me until the documentary/movie This Is It  came through my Netflix home screen. You see, I remember Michael Jackson as this entity that could do anything–include defy gravity!

I remember watching Thriller every time it was on. My mother’s youngest sister, whom is 11 years older than me, had that album cover on the wall of her room! She played his music constantly, which means that the younger nieces and nephews that she watched listed to him and the Jackson 5 all the time.

I remember…I remember where I was when he died. My boyfriend at the time, living and working in California, called to let me know. I didn’t believe him. And this morning, I am still in a dream state. While this documentary played, I became that 8-year-old girl watching MOONWALKER over my cousin’s house after school. There was this aura that surrounded him. Perhaps as an artistic child, slightly out of step with the world, I noticed the otherworldly nature that was Michael Jackson.

I am old enough to remember singing to every song in his songbook when it came on the radio*. I remember for a month and some after he died that the hardest dudes I know were bumping Billie Jean, Thriller and Bad from their cars. I remember.

I’m also old enough to remember the first scandal. And the trials. And the settlement money. And the craziness that is the Jackson family. I am under no illusion of the cloud that hovers over his legacy. And in the age of #MeToo, we need to believe the victims. Conversely in the age of #MeToo, we know that people lie and are devious. But let’s move on.

I fought tears watching this. I grieved him. Just like I grieve Prince. Just like I grieve Aretha Franklin. There is something divine in being about to create, to walk in that God space of pulling something  that wasn’t there, was unseen, to where it can be seen. I know that Mike died from an overdose of prophophol–a powerful anesthesia. However, I know what it’s like to be that consumed with an idea, or a vision, that it robs you of sleep. Where you have to make yourself shut down–to stop, and even that sometimes doesn’t help.

I get it.

I was never graced to see Michael Jackson perform in concert. But everytime he was on television, I watched. I remember the raucous that was over the Black or White video when it premiered on Fox! I also remember how when that aired in 1991 (when was 10!), Mrs. Grant’s fifth grade class talked about it! Everything he did seemed so damn special. This Is It is no exception. I am happy someone had the presence of mind to record all this.

Y’all will excuse me while I get my Michael Jackson playlist rolling through Apple Music.


*-Top 10 favorite Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 songs (no particular order):

1.) Liberian Girl

2.) I Just Can’t Stop Loving You

3.) Jam

4.) Can You Feel It?

5.) Speed Demon

6.) Thriller

7.) Ghosts

8.) Bad

9.) Dangerous



I have always been fascinated by African-American oral history. I have been a writer, embracing that title, since I was 8. In looking at this documentary, this all-out love letter to Black America, Beyonce outdid herself.

Beyonce Giselle Knowles Carter is officially a fuckin’–a motherfucking–icon.

The documentary is two hours of behind the scenes, unabashed, full-throttled Blackness. I was brought to tears no less than four times. The most beautiful thing? The quotes used by other icons of Black history, including Alice Walker, WEB DuBois and my beloved Grandmother Oracle, Toni Morrison.

I knew I was in for something special when the documentary opened with this quote:

“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

(This quote is taken from Song Of Solomon, quote and book by Toni Morrison) 

Beyonce talks about her pregnancy, how rough it was, and what the comeback from those health issues meant. She talks about her desire to have gone to an HBCU and why those experiences at an HBCU she witnessed growing up still mattered to her. In bringing all that love and representation, how could you not love this woman? How could you not desire to gas a Black woman up? Support her? Treasure her? Protect her?

Imma say it:  how can you see HOMECOMING and call a Black woman a bitch?


*40 TRACK ALBUM. And. A. Movie.


What I did not know, until Beyonce’ revealed it, was she is the first African American woman to headline this show, since its inception in 1999. For more scale on this achievement, and at the same time this now perceived unimaginable thing, I graduated in 1999. Officially twenty years ago this June. Twenty years ago, Beyonce was still part of Destiny’s Child. No iPhones. Dial-up internet. CD players. Sprint still cut your bill off for having a past due balance of less than $5.00. In twenty years time, it is hard to imagine any venue that Queen Bey hasn’t headlined or conquered!

Have I been a fan of Beyonce? Yes. For a while now. However, seeing her in this light, with this confidence, sense of self, and this power? It is incredible. As a woman of faith and ambition, to see Beyonce traveling in these creative realms wielding executive power while being Black, woman, mother, wife–reminded me that I can keep going.

That I can indeed be what I cannot see–yet.

There is a power to this documentary that you have to be Black to feel and understand. You gotta get that this was for US. Beyonce gave this to US. The world can enjoy it, but it doesn’t belong to the world. This was her reminder to us that she is still here. She is still paying attention and ain’t going no where. It was a love letter to Black America that, in the midst of all this chaos, all this murder and mistreatment, that we are LIT–and don’t act like you not. Lena Horne said that you aren’t born second class, that you have to be taught that. As WHO RUN THE WORLD was performed as only Beychella could turn it out, I thought about what Phyllicia Rashad said, “Your own self is such a treasure.”

As the documentary ended, I thought of my mother. Who was invested in me when I wanted nothing to with myself. Her anchor quotes to me where these three:

“Let no one change who you are.”

“Be yourself.”

“Don’t die with your dream in you.”

Alice Walker said, “Our mothers and grandmothers danced to music…not yet written.”

The music is being written…and so are the lyrics.

Get ’em, Bey.

Queens do King level isht.