Me on a Soapbox: Love advice from J-Lo

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 Jennifer Lopez  actually said something that got me thinking.

I wrote about this in my other blog Pop Culture Inspirations (shameless plug).

 On a lazy day off I was watching J-Lo’s Behind the Music on TiVo. They were talking about her life and many loves: Diddy and Ben Affleck, etc. They end on how she’s finally found lasting love with husband Marc Anthony. Then she said something so profound. I’m paraphrasing, but basically she said being with him makes her want to be a better person and thus being with him makes her better.

It was an a-ha moment for me. This is what I’ve been doing wrong. Find a person you love and that makes you a better person. She didn’t say find the guy with the most money or find the sexiest guy. She said find the guy who makes you want to be better.

 This woman has dated  all types of men from the rich and powerful (music  mogul Diddy and actor/writer Ben Affleck) to regular guys (waiter Ojani Noa and backup dancer Cris Judd). She has dated across racial lines (black, white, Latino).

 I’m by no means a relationship expert, in fact I’m the queen of bad relationships. I do however know this is a method I have not actively tried. I opt for the guy who is the cutest or the most fun or who has the best swagger. None of those things have amounted to diddly squat and here I am 30-years-old, perpetually single, and the only one of my siblings not to give my parents a grandchild.

 I guess the point I’m making is sometimes we have to go outside of our comfort zone to get something we’ve never had before. My most recent relationship was with a guy who was a teacher and was pursuing an advanced degree. He had a job where he was making a contribution to society. He was making himself better educated. It made me realize I could be doing more. It made me want to be more.

 Insanity is doing the same thing and getting a different result. Maybe finding love is doing something so totally different and being open to the possibilities.

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My New Favorite Thing: Steven Slater, The Jet Blue Flight Attendant

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I love this guy!!!

Seriously, I do.

And its not because he’s a hero (he’s not.) Or because he stuck it to the man (he didn’t.)

It’s fantastic because this is an example of overreacting at its finest…and it is absolutely hilarious. You can’t storm out of your office the same way anymore. Simply stomping out with expletives and flipping over a desk won’t cut it. This guy raised the bar. With two beers and an inflatable slide Steven Slater set a new standard. This guy cussed out a passenger over the intercom,  slid down the emergency inflatable slide  and then went home.

I wish I had been on this flight. I would have been cheering him on all the way.

Let’s reconstruct his steps, shall we?

1. Idiotic passenger fighting to get massive bag in tiny overhead container and holding up the flight. Who of us has not experienced this and wanted to scream?

2. He tells her to sit down, she refuses they argue.

3. At some point the bag falls and hits him on the head. (Hilarity begins)

4. They argue some more, because she won’t apologize and some point she calls him a MFer or to F off or something like that

5. He snaps

6. Old boy jumps on the intercom and tells the lady “F*** you,” “he’s had a great career” and that “he’s done.”

7. He proceeds to deploy the inflatable slide, grabs a couple beers, goes down the slide and heads home.

You can’t even make up stuff this fantastic.

My New Favorite Thing: Black Feminist Writer Joan Morgan

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“I did not know that feminism is what you called it when black warrior women moved mountains and walked on water. Growing up in their company, I considered these things ordinary.” ~ Joan Morgan

I’ve been suspecting it for a little while now, but Joan Morgan’s “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost” officially confirmed it for me.

I’m a black feminist.

I remember once in a job interview being asked “What am I passionate about? What motivates me? That was a year ago and I didn’t know. I remember BSing some answer that obviously didn’t work because I didn’t get the job.

In a year of unemployment, college, dating, loving, dumping, and being dumped by black men, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I can finally say with certainty I know what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about advancing my people. Particularly black women.  I find myself increasingly concerned with how black women are treated, how black women are depicted, and how black women are perceived. The older, wiser Brandy no longer hates on a young, black girl because she’s got a bigger ass than me, dresses a little more fly than me, or gets more male attention than me. I can’t hate on young black girls, because I’ve been a young black girl. I know how hard it is out there for us. We don’t need anything additional working against us. If anything we need more of us loving and supporting each other. We need to bond together, we need to create a network. And we need to love ourselves just as much, and in some cases, more than we love our black brothers. Only then, will we be able to get what we need from our brothers, our lovers, our communities, this country, and this world.

So Morgan’s addresses this issue in a passage from “Chickenheads.” She’s been ambushed by three black men upset by a pro-woman response to the racial implications of the raping of a white Central Park jogger allegedly by black teenage boys. Her defense, for me, addresses the dark secret of black relationships that is so rarely talked about:

“Whatcha really wanna know is how I feel about brothas.  It’s simple. I love black men like I love no other. And I’m not talking sex or aesthetics, I’m talking about loving y’all enough to be down for the drama — stomping anything that threatens your existence. Now only a fool loves that hard without asking the same in return. So yeah, I demand that black men fight sexism with the same passion they battle racism. I want you to annihilate anything that endangers sistas’ welfare — including violence against women — because my survival walks hand in hand with yours. So, my brotha, if loving y’all fiercely and wanting it back makes me a feminist than I’m a feminist. So be it.”

This sentiment is on point. It’s upsetting that black men sometimes look at black women as the enemy for expecting to be respected and loved the same way we respect and love them. I digress though.

The book is fantastic. Her writing is fantastic.Check it for yourself here, along with other works by Morgan.