Sunday, November 15, 2009

Black in Style Pt 1 (Written 11/8/08)

Throughout the years I can remember a times when black folk were in & out of style... (now walk with me in this...) I was born in the 70's so I can only speak on so much from experience.. but let's have some fun...

Remember in the late 60's-70's? Blaxplotation was quite the Phenomenon. It ruled the the box office is urban cities across the nation.. and Japan... LOL Movies like Cotton Comes To Harlem, Sweet, Sweetback's Bad Ass Song, Lady Sings The Blues, Mahogany, Truck Turner, Shaft & Blacula (in my opinion the scariest movie ever). And then there were the sitcoms, The Jeffersons which were a spinoff of Archie Bunker (yeah it was!) and Ja'Net DuBois who wrote and sung Moving On Up for The Jefferson's played Willona (I always thought it was Balonia) on Good Times! Then there was What's Happening, That's My Momma, Baby I'm Back, Sandford & Son and Get Christy Love! There were the made for TV movies like Roots that broke records that still exist today!, the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and The Marva Collins Story. Who could forget (what we had in the NYC Tri-State area) the Big Apple Movies like Claudine?

In the 80's Bill Cosby dominated NBC with the Cosby Show. Never before has America seen such a satisfying picture of an African American family. Yeah, it was important for American to see... but it was far more important for Black Americans to see! We needed to see positive role models of ourselves front and center. We needed to see that there was more to life than sports and music... sports and music is fine in themselves... but they are not the only pathways to success. The 80's was also when King of Pop shed his brothers and burst out onto the scene in a mighty way.. I mean come on, the Thriller Album was a best of... LOL.. was there any song that didn't make the top 20? Ahh I still remember it like it was yesterday. My dad bought home 2 jackets.. One red & one black! Michael danced.. and so did I... In addition to Moon Walking.... we popped & we locked... We watched Beat Street (the whole movie) and Krush Groove(a snippet).

Then it was the 90's. We had the Good: The end Of Apartheid in South Africa & election of Nelson Mandela. We had the very Bad: The Rwandan Genocide where approx 1,000,000 people were killed over a course of about 100 hundred days. We also had the the 1st Congo War that ended the 32 reign of president Mobutu. 1998 was also the start of the 2nd Congo War, which aftermath left 5.4 million dead; mainly due to disease and starvation. Then there was the Ugly: The Anita Hill & Clarence Thomas Hearing, the infamous Rodney King beating & LA Riot aftermath and of course O.J. Simpson trial. (need I say more).

The 90's entertainment scene was as diverse as the news stories. We were New Jacks in Old Schools; Spoken Word Artists & Gangsta Rappers; Bad Comedies and Great Dramas. The 1990's not only bought us more of Denzel, Samuel, Forrest and Lawrence... It introduced us to Morris, Taye, Omar, Mehki & Malik... not to be outdone by, Whitney (as-if in the acting department), Angela, Nia, and Sanaa. Not too mention how Jada, Queen, Kimberly & Vivica Set it Off! Martin made us laugh on & off of the camera.. while Mary J... kept it rolling... "were all of her songs hits?!" Kirk showed us that we could keep our religion and still praise the Lord.. While MaryMary showed us how to do it with lady-like style. We have experience victory and defeat. We have been from soup to nuts and all in between. ALL of the years we have experienced cycles of exposure on many fronts: Political, News, Sports, Fashion, Education, Entertainment, Religion, Science, Business, Military, etc.

Being a Black woman, wife, mom, citizen I never really feel out of style.. but there are times when I and really proud and uplifted.. Like when a really good movie is created, or a great speech is given, or a great stride made that reflects good on my race.. it's good for me, it's good for us, it's good for all.

I never finished this piece but alas I had it in draft for over a year. I wrote it after the election win for now, President, Barack Obama. So much has happened since then, the passing of Eartha Kitt, Pres Obama taking office, more recession, death of a king: Michael Jackson to say the least... I will continue this in Part 2 at a later date)

That Girl,

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