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On Foreign Television: Denmark TV on Netflix

I’m a huge fan of foreign television. I’ve shared more than a few Netflix finds on my blog. A few weeks ago I discovered two interesting shows from Denmark and like a good neighbor I’m passing them on to my blogging friends :)

Although the youtube trailers are not subtitled both are available on Netflix with English subtitles.

Dicte

Dicte Svendsen is a crime reporter in Aarhus -Demark’s second largest city and one I never heard of. The protagonist is played by Iben Hjejle, a very popular Danish actress, also whom I never heard of. I love a good crime show in any language and I enjoyed this one for the story, scenery, and awesome cast. Like any good crime reporter Dicte is very good at solving crimes albeit to the angst of police captain John Wagner. The other members of the cast, her daughter, co-workers, and friends round out the show with the proper amount of drama and humor.

Very much worth a watch this weekend if you are looking for something other than football or reality television.

Rita

Rita Madsen, played by Mille Dinesen, is a school teacher and divorced single parent. She is an awesome teacher and  she maneuvers her way around the kids and faculty brilliantly. She fights for the underdog and does a hilarious job at it but her life decisions are horrible. She is a hot ass mess and by the end of the eighth episode you will be looking for season 2 immediately.

Fun Fact: I just read that Bravo bought the rights to shoot an American version but so far nothing has happened. It would be interesting although I very rarely love television remakes.

On Print Magazines: Can’t Go Digital

I’ve been in bed sick for the last several days with a bad head cold turned migraine. Not much you can do when your head feels like it is filling up with cold water but I was able to peruse a few magazines. I couldn’t concentrate enough to read but looking at ads and sexy fashion spreads always make me look forward to all the stuff I want to buy when I get well.
It kills me that printed magazines and books are doing so poorly. I love coming home to a new subscription in my mailbox and flipping through pages of eye candy and making note of what articles I’m going to read on the train the next day.
I’ve tried the digital access magazines and books on Kindle and yes, I agree they are a bit more convenient but they just don’t carry the same excitement of a physical print. I like to rip out pages and make vision boards or save certain how-to articles in folders I can go back to. I guess that’s lame but its something I don’t want to give up in this digital age.

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On Solidarity: We Support the St. Louis Rams

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So there were some real hurt feelings over the solidarity some of the teammates of the St. Louis Rams displayed yesterday before the start of their game. The St. Louis police are angry over the show of support. Some fans started a Twitter hashtag RamsfanNoMore.The St. Louis police want a public apology and the NFL to punish those players. The audacity makes me numb. The hypocrisy is blatant.
I’ve listened for the last two weeks of white America defend Darren Wilson. I honestly do not have a problem with that because just like these men showing solidarity to their community white people have the same right.

What I do have a problem with is white America’s consistent disinterest and lack of empathy when it comes to our community. They immediately go into defense mode and start yelling senseless and irrelevant rhetoric to defend their lack of compassion. That is fine if you can’t show empathy to others who do not look like you but don’t stop us.

I guess its fine as long as we are entertaining you in football. I guess its okay if we are dancing or singing but we have to keep our solidarity hidden? Sorry not sorry but we are done trying to fit your narrative on who is an American and who deserves to be heard.

I stand with Ferguson

I stand with the players of the St. Louis Rams

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On Assimilating: We Tried

It’s been a week and I can’t seem to get the smug indifference of Prosecutor McCulloch’s face out of my head. He summed up with his expression what so many white men have said with their words and actions, black lives don’t matter. He was very clear and even outlined for twenty minutes why that is. In that moment I stopped caring too but not about black lives but about making peace with people who hate me for no reason other than the blackness of my skin. I stopped caring about trying to explain to people whose hate is so ingrained and venomous that instead of pretending to be fair in the investigation of a murder they blatantly disregard everything that does not fit their narrative and another white man is free for killing a black boy.  I’m okay with that, now.

Maybe not okay but I’m done trying to fit into an America that calls my sons demons yet there are no pictures of my people hanging white people from a tree at a barbecue block party. We all have tried to fit into this America. They told us to talk and behave like them and we did because we thought we all wanted the same thing, a comfortable life. We went to school, graduated college, had our men put on suits, straightened our hair and participated in their politics. We fought for segregation and they told us to assimilate, assimilate, assimilate and we will have arrived. We did it not just for them but for us because we wanted to a part of the system because we are part of the world.

From both of us came a mixed African-American president and we thought that would make us included but he is the most disrespected president in history and I don’t need to have been alive for past presidencies to know that.They tell him daily he is not accepted while telling us its politics. They attack the First Lady for her bump and last week he Obama girls for being teenagers. They don’t like us, PERIOD. We did what they ask ut it does not matter because they only see what they want to see and our sons  will continue to be gunned down for walking down the street or playing with a toy gun under the very loose guise of law enforcement.

They told us to fight nonviolent so we overcame dogs, hoses, and the KKK. We thought we were getting respect but we never had it. The bar changes and moves every time we get closer to the carrot. So, yes I’m very tired of begging to be accepted. I’m very tired of trying to change someones POV of who I am and where I come from. I’m tired of explaining my basic need to exist. Black lives matter, our culture matters, our children matter, we all matter but we have to stop begging people to see that.

I’m not going to say I hate white people because I don’t and I probably never could but I’m done trying to pacify them. I figured out why the KKK still exist yet the Black Panthers were extinct decades ago. We sold ourselves out trying to fit in and look we where we are forty plus years after the Civil Rights Movement, still marching even though we’ve done all they ask to be considered human beings.

No doubt our lives are better, we are more successful but are we too compliant and too afraid to stir the pot too much? A lot of us are because we don’t know what that means or what we will have to give up to properly get the justice we seek. I was disgusted with a few family members who lined up to shop Black Friday thinking a television or Ipad is worth more than our protest.

I think a lot of us feel there is nothing we can do and we are looking for a bigger than life leader to tell us. One will come but the fire has to stay lit within us for us to even recognize one. Until then I will stay angry and stay focused because although I don’t care what they think of me anymore I do care that they have the power to keep killing our children and that is what will change. It will change.

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On Writing: Editing Chapters

This week I will spend my time editing/re-writing/chucking pages from my novel.

This is the process I hate the most. I envy those people who say they edit as they write because they are so meticulous about the process while I seem to come from another space of having the words spill out of me like releasing the spirit of a not so demonic possession. I’m never in the zone of editing as I tell someone’s story. I hope when I go back to re-read that what came out of me was not a trove of babble. Most times I will spot grammar problems, inconsistencies or repetitive dialogue pretty quickly but completely chucking sentences,thoughts or whole chapters is particularly hard for me.  I like to do a before and after to see what it is I changed and improved upon during the process.

To my fellow writers: Do you edit your own work, how many edits do you do? Is there a method to your process? 

PeanutsEditing-1972

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It is 1955 and of all the men a young Jewish girl could fall in love with Marnie Weiss chooses Ray Willis, a black man.

This excerpt is from my novel and it introduces Ray Willis, a central character in my novel, name still undetermined.

This is one of the ten chapters I hope to edit this week

CHAPTER FOUR

Harlem was Ray Willis’s home. He was not born in a little town in Mississippi like his parents. He could not appreciate his parents’ affection for the south. He wanted nothing to do with anything rural. The city is where it was all at and that is where he wanted to be. His parents thought differently. Every summer, against all Ray’s protests, his parents would send him to Mississippi to stay with his mother’s sister, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

“Boy, look at all this beautiful land. See them trees? Those are magnolia trees. It’s like God placed these big perfume bottles in the ground and when the wind blows the fragrance from those trees makes the whole world smell good.” His mother, Ruby Willis, smiled with so much pride. Ray stared vacantly at her and the white petals that floated through the air. What in the world was there to love about this place? There were no buildings, the store was over a mile away, and although he loved beef and milk it bothered him greatly that cows were all over the place. And where were all the flashy men and women you see in Harlem every Friday and Saturday night? Naw this place was not for him so Ray just pouted and tried to keep his anger to a slow boil. As much as Ray hated Columbia, Mississippi he loved his mother more. He didn’t want to hurt her by telling her that she was dropping him off in the pit of hell to burn with her lovely magnolia trees.

“Mama I can’t stand it. It’s too dang hot here.” Fourteen year old Ray complained.

“It gets just as hot in Harlem. Besides what is summer without heat? That’s what it means.”

“Why do I have to stay the whole summer?” He whined.

“Well you can help out my mama for one thing. There ain’t nothing for you to do in Harlem but work and get into trouble and if you have to work you might as work for your ownself or your family.”

“I aint spending the whole summer cleaning up after cows.”

“What you aint gonna do is tell me what you aint gonna do. You’ll do exactly what I tell you and anything my mama and your uncles tell you to do. Young people have to give back as much as they get.”

He knew it was senseless to argue with her. Senseless and bone-breaking stupid if she decided to tell his father that he’d talked back. So he just would have to buck up and stay the summer, again.

The only thing good about those summers were the sweet magnolia honeys swarming around him like bees on a flower. Maybe it was the hot sun that made every girl in the south look so delicious, like a baked peach pie. No northern girl could walk and sway like those girls in Mississippi. They knew they had something, even the girls that guarded that something with a bat or bible knew it. But those girls who were not on Baptist patrol were the lust of every man and boy and the pang of every woman. How they sauntered with those wide hips and thick thighs. Those women made work look sexy if you paid attention. Beads of sweat dripping down the crevice of their beautiful brown bosoms, clothes drenched in perspiration clinging to their tight firm bodies giving any man with half an imagination a sweet view to the shape of her body and always that slight look over their shoulder to make sure you were watching. Sweet young flowers would chase him all over his auntie’s land begging to meet him behind her shed. He smiled at the thought. Well, maybe Mississippi was not all that bad.

As early as thirteen he knew he had an effect on the opposite sex. He didn’t mind. He loved women and he loved the way they loved him back. He could sit all day and just listen to a woman talk. The way she could go from serious to excited at the littlest of things. Go from hating to loving at the smallest of gestures. He loved it when they were complex and he had to figure them out like a puzzle. And he loved them when they were simple and there was not much work to them at all. He treated them all with great care, from his mama to his sisters, to the women he bedded. Nothing was ever gained by hurting one of God’s great gifts to the earth.  His father, Albert Willis told him that. His father loved only one woman, Ray’s mother. Ray loved many women. He was always being chased whether it was by a southern sweetie or a Harlem hottie. Ray Willis didn’t have to do a lot to get a woman’s attention and boy did he love the attention.

He made it through those summers, barely, but he vowed when he was a grown man he’d never leave the streets of Harlem. As he drove down Interstate 95 leaving Boston he guessed he had broken that vow some. Boston was not Harlem by a long shot but it was a city and he was doing quite well there. Like Mississippi Boston did have its good.

One thing he did learn from his parents and spending those summers in Mississippi is that it really is best to work for oneself. His people worked hard, they raised cattle, they tended land, his grandma and aunties made clothes and at the end of the day whatever they had earned from all of it was theirs. He could respect that even as a boy. Ray learned early, although he did not like farm work, he did like work and he loved working for himself. Life was a hustle, Harlem taught him that and he hustled to have his own. He left Harlem at twenty because his cousin from Mississippi had offered him the opportunity to work with him in purchasing a store in Boston.

“Ray this is perfect for you man, nobody I know can talk as smoothly as you. You’ll get all the folks wanting to buy their clothes in our store.”

“Nigger I don’t want to move to Boston, I didn’t even know there were black folks in Boston.”

His cousin sighed. “There are plenty of black folks in Boston, I’m here aint I? Come on man just come down one time when you see the money we can make you’ll want to stay for sure.”

Ray did go and he stayed. That was five years ago and today he and his cousin had the only successful black owned clothing store. He was doing well for a twenty-five year old black man in 1955. He just bought his own home and was providing for his wife and newborn child better than even he had expected. He was doing just fine. Fats Domino’s ‘Aint that a Shame’ blared from his old car radio as he made his way down the interstate. Ray Willis’s chest puffed with pride as he thought about his life, his very good life.

jodi piccoult

BoycottBlackFriday: One Day Won’t Work

I’m all for boycotting Black Friday. Its easy for me because I never fell into the hype of shopping on Black Friday. If you call for a boycott Friday what difference will it make if you are showing up at the stores on Saturday, Sunday or any day thereafter.

Real economic pressure will come from boycotting the holiday season.

When the American government wants to hurt and cripple the economy of another country they pull their money and businesses out of that country. This is the season where our voice, through our dollars, can be heard loud and clear. This is the season where we can show we matter and not just our dollars.

When Prosecutor Bob McCulloch stood on television and outlined all the reasons why Darren Wilson was not indicted he  outlined the reasons why the judicial system was not set up for Black men or the Black community. We need to stop taking it. I was proud to see all the peaceful protest across the country and not discouraged at all by the many tweets from white people calling us animals. These are the same people who riot over damn hockey games or winning the world series but can’t empathize with the hurt and anger we feel time and time again as killers of our sons and daughters are slaughtered like animals?  We need to divest in the America that continues to believe we are less than dogs because if you kill a dog in America you are definitely doing jail time.

I’m sorry, I’m really angry. I’m angry that Darren Wilson referred to Mike Brown as ‘it’. I’m mad as hell that he referred to him as a Hulk, again not human. The whole lets fall back with the ravenous dog line that killers fall back on because they feel threatened. Money matters to this country and one way to get the attention in this country is to take money away and as a whole we have a lot of damn money to take away this season.

I’m sure it will be uncomfortable for many but what about the discomfort in 1955 when our ancestors chose to walk instead of taking the bus during that boycott.  This reblog from yesterday needs to be read again, tweeted again, and face booked again. Let us s use this moment to teach our children what it means to stand for something. What it means to fight for human rights, because in 2014 we are still fighting for basic human rights and that is a damn shame.

We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of organizing to do in our communities and boycotting this holiday season is a start but it can’t be for one day. It just can’t because it won’t work.

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Black Friday, Black Out. Like its 1955.

Shahidah:

I read about this call for boycotting Black Friday last night and can’t think of a better way to show some solidarity. Like boycotting the buses that almost shut that industry down we have the power to take away a merry financial christmas to a lot of folks- I’m looking at you Koch brothers- we work our butts off to spend it all to benefit people who are clearly not respectful of our lives- you GOP-. Think of the businesses we are supporting and the black money they use to take away money from our communities, our schools, and our jobs…the joblessness for young African American men are at a high. Please read this piece by Metamorphosis is Me. I couldn’t have written it any better.

Originally posted on Metamorphosis of We:

Since last night I have seen anger, then sadness, fear, then passion, seeking, then clamor. But mostly ignorance.

There has been a call to boycott on BlackFriday. I don’t know by what organization. I have also seen people ask what does my Black Friday shopping have to do with injustice?

Sigh

My people have a couple fundamental problems in my mind. First in foremost is ignorance, second is lack of organization, third is lack of discipline. Following those three things there is a lack of unity.

Tell me one thing you remember from the civil right movement…. *plays jeopardy music*

Mlk,,yes
Malcolm X, duh
Marches, great
Rosa Parks, GETTING CLOSER….
BUSSES…… ding, ding, ding!!!!!

Now think back. It’s 1955. Rosa Parks has just been arrested. Black people are treated unfairly. There is segregation and a need for change. There is no money to buy off hot shot interest groups to…

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