Apr 25 2012

‘Preezy of the United Steezy’ Barack Obama Slow Jams the News with Jimmy Fallon & The Roots

“Aw yeahhhh. You should listen to the President.”

Whether or not you agree with his premise that college loan interest rates should not double, and whatever side of the aisle you view this president from, you gotta admit he is just the epitome of cool.

I wonder who they’ll get to play him in the biopic a decade or so from now.


Jun 2 2011

Lauren London Exclusive Interview: ‘Under My Skin” (Part 2)

After we got most of the serious topics out of the way last week in part one of this interview, the beautiful actress and model Lauren London responded candidly to my barrage of not-quite-so-deep questions:

You are stranded on an island for the weekend. Name three male and three female celebrities you hope are stranded there with you, and why.

Dr. Phil, so he can talk me off the ledge (laughs). Barack Obama, because you better believe Air Force One is coming to get him, and we won’t be stranded too long. And, Bobby Flay, because if we’re going to be stranded we might as well be enjoying some good food.

And the females?

Oprah, because… (pause) she’s Oprah. Barbara Streisand, because I’ve admired her since I was a little girl. And, Khloe (Kardashian) because she’s a real friend and she’s hilarious.

What would you name the street you’d like to build your home on?

Get Away Lane

Is that “Get Away” as in “this is my refuge” or “Get Away” as in “leave me alone?”

(Laughs) It could go either way, right?

You are rear ended at a traffic stoplight. What are you doing in the first ten seconds?

Cursing.

I’m a genie granting you one wish with the stipulation that you have to use it on yourself. What is your wish?

I wish you would give me the ability to get out of my own way.

Name a character in a book that forever changed you.

Dinah in The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. She lived through tough circumstance but she kept overcoming and getting stronger the more difficulties she faced. She knew more than she should have for her age, but it helped her survive and thrive.

If you could spend a day in any man’s skin, who would you want to be for 24 hours?

Will Smith. I think I could learn so much about this business being him.

What are three qualities you don’t want in a husband. Three deal breakers:

Someone who doesn’t believe in God.  A liar.  And, someone who’s been madly in love more than ten times.

You once told an interviewer that O-Dog from Menace to Society was your dream date.  Who’s your dream date now?

Okay, that was my first interview ever and I was being sarcastic. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in print, does it?

So, who’s your dream date now?

I haven’t met him. I’ll tell you what… He’s not a menace to me or society.

My last question is keeping in line with the theme of Skin Deep. How do you feel about being half Black and half Jewish. How has that impacted you?

Whatever your ethnicity is, in this life you are going to be on a journey to discover who you are and how you feel about yourself. I do remember being teased by my cousins on my mom’s side for not being black enough, and  then I’d spend the summer with my dad and be sent to all white summer camps where I was “that black girl.” I struggled for about a minute with that, then I figured it out for myself. What it has done for me is I don’t care what people think about my identity. If someone thinks I’m not black enough that’s their issue. I’m okay with who I am and it is what is. I’m a Black woman like my mother, and I love who my father is, and I love both sides of me.  Nobody makes a big deaI about it anymore because I won’t take that anymore.

This is an exclusive interview. All rights reserved. Excerpts of this article can be published with a link back to http://kathleencross.com. To use the article in its entirety, please contact the author:  email (at) kathleencross (dot com)


Apr 4 2011

DeBlackifying Barack Obama

Barack Obama and his Maternal Grandmother

The fact that President Barack Obama is the product of an interracial marriage has led folks of every ethnicity to argue about whether he should be calling himself “Black.” Many people are of the opinion that he should identify himself as “Biracial” to more accurately reflect his ethnic mixture.

It seems to me Obama’s own rationale for referring to himself as a Black man is the opinion that matters most, because what is being identified here are his life and his experiences. It astounds me that so many people have taken it upon themselves to inform the man that he is “not Black.”

It is true that in some places in the world Obama would not be referred to as a Black man because in some cultures the term Black denotes an African phenotype in which European characteristics are not visible–that is, the person does not appear to be mixed with anything that is non-indigenous African.

On this continent, however, “Black” is not a reference to dark skin or “full-bloodedness,” but to membership in a community of Americans of African descent who share similar cultural experiences  and are exposed to similar social challenges that cannot be fully mitigated by economic or educational status (or by being mixed with European genes.)

Being Black is membership in one extremely diverse group of people who are daily responding to a supremacist construct in which any measurable deviation from Whiteness can make one socially “cast out” and deny one the many privileges White folks take for granted.

Being wealthy, well-educated and/or lighter-skinned can (and very often does) significantly mitigate racial discrimination, but smart, rich, light-skinned Black Americans will still experience countless instances in their lives where they are viewed (not just by Whites, by the way) through a supremacist lens that labels them LESS __________ (insert positive quality here) than their White counterparts. Driving While Black does not require much pigment, nor does being denied justice, housing or employment. All that is required is for the decision maker in the situation to view you through a lens that tells them you are less trustworthy, less civilized, less attractive, less responsible, less intelligent, less law-abiding, etc.

If the discriminating lens of white supremacy did not exist, ethnic identity would not be such a big deal. Racial labels would not come with such political and social baggage and Obama might actually choose to describe himself as bi-ethnic or multiracial, but so might millions of other “Black” Americans who do not have one white parent.

My Black father was mixed with White, but both of his parents were considered Black. Just how far back in our lineage should we be reaching to rename our black ancestors “Bi-racial” or “Multi-ethnic” when we discover they have some mixture of European, Native American, Asian or Hispanic DNA?

If Obama is not Black, then neither is anyone else who has a non-black ancestor or two. Spend a few hours on Ancestry.com and you’ll quickly recognize that millions of so-called “Black” Americans are actually “Multi-racial.”  So, in America, “Black” already means “mixed” most of the time anyway. At some point the insistence on deBlackifying folks just becomes ridiculous and redundant.

How Black is Barack Obama?

He is as Black as it takes to be Black in America.

P.S.
This is old news, so why am I writing about it today? Because it is reflective of one of the major themes in my novel, Skin Deep, and this blog/fansite is dedicated to all things Skin Deepish! (My novel’s protagonist looks white, but has been raised by her famous Black jazz musician father to identify herself as Black.)