Jrnl Entry No. 3.26.2001

I wish I was white so that I could share in the joys of their world and answer all these dumb ass questions that this Columbian chick, who is the accounts payable clerk, keeps asking me. She is so different thinking than African Americans; well not African Americans, but of different thinking than me, who happens to be African American. Like, “So …., what do you think of the controversy in New York over the Black Artist picture “Yo Mamma’s Last Supper?”, this picture of a naked black woman representing Jesus standing in front of the table at the Last Supper before the 12 disciples. I told her that I didn’t care because for one, I’m not religious and for two I just don’t care about bullshit like that. It’s just a picture, GOD DAMN!

I told her one day that I was going to see it before a meeting that I had with some friends. The next day she asked did I see it and I said “no I didn’t have time.” She said “Good!” I asked her why did she say that. She said that she thought the picture was a bunch of bullshit not art; this coming from her mouth and she claims that she wants to be an artist. Art is free expression of whatever the hell is on your mind. If an artist wanted to paint a picture of Jesus witt his dick in some woman’s ass, while God is fuckin her in her pussy, with Kane and Able’s dicks in both her hands, and Job’s dick comin in her mouth to get back at his wife for all the negativity she spread trying to shatter his faith in God; then so be it. I don’t give a fuck. That picture will probably never be displayed anywhere not even in the privacy of the artist’s own home without some religious fucks trying to burn it down, and these words will probably never be published for the public to read, but so be it.

I did make it that weekend to see the picture and it was no big deal to me. It was a beautiful picture. I wrote in the comment book that the controversy stemmed from the Ebonics title “Yo Momma’s Last Supper.” It stemmed from a woman representing Jesus, and a black woman at that. If the title had been different and it had been a white woman in the picture and white men, there probably wouldn’t have been any controversy.

The next question she asked me was, “So …., what do you think of the Kids in California shooting up the school and killing two of the other kids?” I said, “you don’t want to know what I think!” I was laughing to give it a cool overtone so she wouldn’t try to dig deeper and really make me go there and possibly get myself fired or have no one speaking to me at all in the office. We all don’t speak much anyway but it would be really ugly up in here if I said what I thought about that shooting. I think what Malcolm X thought about the shooting of JFK. “IT’S JUSTICE!” “Chickens Comin’ Home To Roost!” Because when kids in gangs all over America, especially in LA California were doing drive-bys killing each other in worse ways and bigger numbers than the Columbine Shooting and the San Diego Shooting, no one was screaming about gun control and such and such. And no one was saying a damn thing about keep the kids off the streets or nothing to solve the problem of gang violence. They talked about it on CNN sure, but no laws were put into effect about guns and selling guns to kids or gang control laws. But now that little white kids are taking daddy’s gun to school and shooting up the other little suburban white kids for picking on him, now we want to talk about gun control. Now we want to put laws into effect to take action when Johnny says he is gonna kill up the school, but he’s only joking. No such laws were put into effect when gang violence broke out and murder took place, and they knew another murder would take place as retaliation. So what do I think? I don’t give a fuck. Nobody gave a fuck about us when we were and still are killing each other with guns by the hundreds or thousands each year so I don’t give a fuck if a white kid goes to school and kills 2, 3, or 10 other white kids. That’s what all them mutha fuckas get for trying to have those little perfect like communities.

I grew up in public school. I got picked on and even got into a couple of fights that I didn’t start, but I think it’s the best thing for a kid because it represents the adversities of real life in the real world. Look at me, I turned out alright: college graduate, staff accountant for a small private corporation in Brooklyn, a good father, and would be husband if I had a wife, and a product of PUBLIC SCHOOL. If you go around to the little suburbs around my city, they’ll tell you that the school I graduated from, Warren G Harding is the worst school, was and still is and they’d never send their kids there. It wasn’t that bad. I should know because I went there.

The next question that she asked me was, “So …., did you see the Oscars last night?” I didn’t even answer even though I was gonna tell her that, “the Oscar Awards do not respect black actors.” But the gay guy jumped in and they started talking about Julia Roberts winning the award for best actress for Erin Brockovich. Best Picture I think was Gladiator, which was a very good movie. But Hurricane was also a very good movie that didn’t get a look at the Oscars. American Beauty with Kevin Spacey won all the awards one year. Now Kevin Spacey is a very good actor but that movie, even though I haven’t seen it yet, it is a stupid movie. If that movie got Oscars, The Best Man should have gotten Oscars, The Brothers should get Oscars, Samuel L. Jackson should have gotten an Oscar for Shaft or one of the various movies he played in, and maybe not Shaft. Wesley Snipes should have gotten an Oscar for New Jack City if the movie Traffic got Oscars. But plain and simple, the Oscars do not respect black film. If they have some type of hidden agenda like you must be an actor who has appeared in so many movies over a period of so many years before being considered for an Oscar, or the director has to have directed for so many years, I wish they’d let us brothas and sistas know so we will understand why neither Denzel Washington nor Spike Lee got an Oscar for Malcolm X the movie, which Denzel played the part excellently, and Spike also directed it excellently. It got nominated for all its excellence, but no Oscar.

I think blacks should ban the Oscars since they make it obvious that our stories and actors are ban from their selection process. Sure they give us one every ten or so years, and one or two of our movies get nominated every five years or so. But the movies that do win, when compared to black films of the same caliber, it is a mystery why we don’t get recognized. I’m not saying the movies that do get recognized are garbage because they are not. Erin Brokovich was a very good movie as well as Gladiator, as well as the special effects in The Matrix. But Malcolm X, The Best Man, Menace II Society, Hurricane, Men of Honor, etc were good movies as well for which, not a single Oscar, was won for none of them. This is why I tell people that I don’t go see movies if they are not about the black experience, with a black main character or story line. I saw Gladiator at the $1.50 show. I saw Erin Brokovich on video after having sex with a white girl.

America doesn’t support our film and television shows so we shouldn’t support theirs neither. How come every time a black show comes on NBC or ABC or CBS, it gets cancelled within six months to a year? It is because Americans aren’t watching the shows giving them ratings; therefore, they get shipped to UPN or WB where they are satisfied with the ratings of mostly blacks watching the show.

My cousin had the nerve to ask me do I watch Will and Grace? I layed my speech on him. Shit, ask Will and Grace do they watch The Steve Harvey Show or The Hughley’s, etc.? I don’t even watch T.V. and the statement up above is one reason. The other reason is that I love the black experience and the way of life as it relates to me. Will and Grace do not relate to me. Alley McBeal does not relate to me. But Jerry Seinfield, even though I didn’t watch the show as it appeared in regular episodes, I watched and still do watch the reruns; it related to everybody, a great show for anyone. It was about nothing, like being at a stop-light picking your nose while the girl that you’re dating and trying to have sex with pulls up beside you. And because she sees you committing this act which she thinks is disgusting, you now have no chance with her. Everyone can relate to that situation even if it’s not the same set of circumstances.

Now black shows may not relate to white people, and that is cool. So I say support your own and what relates to you. NBC should understand this when they put a black show on the air, that every show is not gonna have the effect of The Cosby Show. The Cosby Show didn’t represent even half of black American lives at the time it was showing and it still doesn’t represent half of our lives as I am writing this. It had high ratings because blacks watched it for the simple fact that it was about the only black show on television at the time. And white people watched it because it was a good majority of their lives being represented on the screen. They related to it. We show their shows love and their movies, but we get no love back in return, so I say fuck em, let’s stop. I’ve stopped. Now just imagine if everyone thought like me to not go see Hannibal the first week out or period, in the theatres, to just wait for the video, and if we supported our movies the first weekend out and weekends after that, and we stopped watching their T.V. shows and just watched our own like most of them do. Maybe we could even up the stakes a little in ratings of television shows and No. 1 movies at the theatres. Imagine if we would have stopped watching MTV waiting and searching for Michael Jackson and Thriller to come on which was about the only black artist they showed a video for back in the 80s. We would be a force to be dealt with. But if we keep on supporting and watching them and waiting for them to show us some love, nothing will change and we will never get any love. I guess it’s like the saying, “if you are looking for a woman, stop searching, and she will find you, and ya’ll will live happily ever after.

Jrnl Entry No. 3.8.2001

I went to a poetry / prose reading last night featuring Nathaniel Mackey in Philosophy Hall at Columbia University. I have never heard of this guy in my life. I was just going to have something to do, to get out from  my apartment and perhaps meet some intelligent black people, or better year, intelligent black women. It was to start at 8 P.M. I got there at 7:15 P.M. I left home early in anticipation of traffic. When I got there, the room was empty except for a few people who were setting up a video camera and the speakers, etc. I just chilled and figured I’d wait for a fly honey to come walking up so that I could get my conversation on with her. I waited, and I waited, and I waited, but none arrived. As time reached 7:45 P.M., I sat down behind the girl running the camera and waited for the show to begin.

In walked this tall light skinned man and his son who was just a little shorter than he was. These two white women who were sitting a seat down from me started looking over there at them and started having a conversation. “Oh, look at him, he looks like a young man, not a kid anymore. He looks like his father, look at him.” They were so fascinated with this kid. He came and sat next to me and asked me was I a student at Columbia University. I told him no. Then he asked me was I a student period. I told him I was twenty-seven years old, graduated from college. He said he was 17 deciding what college to attend; Columbia, where his dad is professor or Jazz Studies or something like that, and he could go there for free. He was thinking of Hampton University to get the black experience and party with black kids, as not to be bored to death like I was in college for the most part. He said he wanted to get away from his parents. I told him that New York was the ultimate experience. He’s not gonna experience much that he already hasn’t seen or heard in New York. It would be good to see how different another place is from New York, but for fun and excitement, nothing tops the NY.

I told him my story of moving to New York to become a producer. He said that he raps occasionally but nothing serious. I told him that I once wanted to be a rapper when I was his age. He asked what type of rap I like. I told him that Pharoahe Monch was my favorite MC at the time, and he quickly agreed. He told me that I should go to some Hip Hop thing that takes place on Sundays. He gave me the name and street that it was on. Right before the show started he asked me to kick a rhyme for him so I spit a verse that was a year old. He said it was hot of course. See people who don’t know me or meet me first as an MC, they respect my skill. But if I don’t let people know that I rap, they never suspect it and don’t take me serious when I say I can. Of course of I can, I been doin’ this shit for 14 years now.

The show started with Nathaniel Mackey reading some poetry he wrote in relation to a couple of jazz artist. He read some of his published stories made up of the character “N” who writes talking about his experiences with music and his Jazz band. Mr. Mackey read different stuff for about an hour then they opened the forum up for questioning. I asked was his character “N” inspired by Langston Hughes character “Simple”. He said yes indirectly, and threw some other name at me that it was inspired by. “Simple” is what it reminded me of since I had read some “Simple” stories about six months earlier. When the show was over they had a few refreshments at a table: some cheese and crackers and soda and orange juice.

I was going to talk to the kid some more. His name was Doug. He told me that a lot of people there knew him because his dad was a professor at the school, and I guess a very sociable guy with white people and had his son around them a lot. I couldn’t talk to him though because over came the two white ladies who sat next to me during the reading, and they surrounded him while he was getting refreshments and I was waiting for him to get off line. So I stood over to the side and just ate my food and looked around the room at the people. There were no intelligent black women there who met my taste so I didn’t talk to anyone. I was just waiting to talk to Doug but these ladies didn’t seem to want to leave him alone talking about college and what school was he gonna go to. It was like in the Spike Lee movie “He Got Game” with everybody being so anxious about Jesus Shuttlesworth and what college he was going to play basketball at. At one point I started feeling like these ladies were guarding him from me, the black Hip Hop guy with no education, just a thug off the street who happened to wonder into the room. I was the only one in the room who looked Hip Hop, but that’s the way I roll, and even though a little uncomfortable I repented myself to the fullest. The one lady seemed infatuated with him. She was the one who said he looked like a young man and not a kid anymore. I wouldn’t doubt if she wanted to fuck him or give him head in the near future. That is how much she seemed to be into this kid. So after standing there for 15 minutes I went over and interrupted the ladies and told Doug that I was about to go and I wished him good luck, shook his hand and left.

My daughter Janelle and my mom came and stayed with me for two weeks. It was love having my daughter around. She’s not a bad child at all. I thought I was gonna see another side of her that I couldn’t see during our weekend or day visits in Ohio, but it was just the same. She likes to play and talk and eat. She doesn’t bother shit that she is not supposed to like tapes or CDs. She also likes to watch movies. We watched Toy Story every night before she went to bed. I read her stories before she went to sleep. She wanted to take a bath every night and put her jammies on, as she calls them. At times when I didn’t feel like giving her a bath, she insisted, so I had to oblige.

I took her to Sesame Street at Madison Square Garden and she enjoyed the show. I’d take her out just about every night with me to the grocery store or where ever. We visited my friend Tilly and played drums over his house. She said she was gonna play with his cat, but when we got over there she was scared of it and crying an jumping around on the couch every time the cat got near her. I rode her over the Queen Bridge where she could see all the city lights in the sky line and she liked that a lot. You can see the city from outside my apartment in Queens and she asked me could we go over there the night I was bringing her back from Tilly’s house. I took her over there because she wasn’t sleepy and ready to go home. I rode through the Met Life Insurance building and she liked that a lot also. I took her to the FAO Swartz toy store where I thought she was gonna go crazy asking me to buy her stuff but she didn’t. She asked me to buy her this $60 Angelica sing-a-long doll which I couldn’t afford at the time. I got her a slinky and a saxophone that plays notes and songs of Sesame Street when you push the keys. I took her to walk around in Times Square where I took a few pictures of her. She didn’t complain one time that she wanted to go home, which means that she loves me and my company just as much as her mothers’. That is a good thing that has come out of me fighting in court to see her and spend as much time with her as I can. It was wonderful. I could keep her if I needed to with no problem. I had to do her hair because the braids her mom had put in her hair before she left Ohio started to frizz up like after one week. I did it pretty good too.

I used to do her hair when she’d stay with me for the weekend in Ohio, but I thought it would be different since her hair is longer, but I did pretty well. I was proud of myself. I took off work the two Fridays that she was here to spend the day with her. I took her to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum on the last Friday she was here. She didn’t like it and neither did I. It was pretty boring. She ate good while she was here: oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and mostly chicken for dinner because that is all I cook these days. I’m looking forward to her coming back to stay another two weeks with me. I may just take a week’s vacation next time I get her and drive to Atlanta or something to see my dad or maybe to Mississippi to see my folks there.

I wish I could have had a family, but I guess I’m just an unfortunate one. I ain’t trying to have no mo kidz. I’m about to try and get my balls clipped, which will mean I won’t have kidz by my wife if I ever get married. I think it is bullshit that you can fall in love and get married for practically nothing if you go to the justice of the peace. But when you want to get out of it, you have to pay $700 – $2000 in lawyer fees. You might have to pay alimony, etc. I don’t want to get caught in all that shit. And I’ve learned dealing with Victoria that a woman’s baby is her baby. A man only has rights through a court room and a judge. When it all goes bad, if you don’t have a court order in regards to your kidz, you ain’t got shit. I ain’t gonna be like stupid bitches who have three kidz by niggaz who don’t want to be bothered, trying to be humanitarians, giving birth to beautiful children. I’ve learned from this one experience and I ain’t gonna experiment again, weather it could come out good or bad. I ain’t takin’ another chance.