Recent comments from Erykah Badu have sparked outrage from her fans. Read her series of tweets below:
Okay. So some of y'all are upset. Badu's comments have brought a continuing conversation to the forefront around policing women's sexuality and victim blaming for the actions of men against women. It's true that no woman's attire (or lack thereof) is to blame for any male's sexual aggression, inappropriate language, or abuse toward said woman. I personally don't believe that a man's purported behavioral makeup makes me a culpable party in his actions toward me. I especially feel that biology isn't some flag to be waved, excusing or empathizing with predatory males on young girls. This is problematic thinking. Are you with me so far? Okay. Here's are questions I will pose to you:
WHO IS ERYKAH BADU?
Not the singer. Not the songwriter. Not the fashion icon. Who is Badu, the human being? What are her core values, what are her fears, how was she raised, where do her trains of thought lead her — hell, what's her favorite food? I don't know. You probably don't either, yet across our community there is an associated "Queen of Woke" crown attributed to Ms. Badu. Why? We can assume that her personal value set is reflected in her music, but we can't confirm. The advent of marketing and branding has made many the uplifted icon, but did Marcus Garvey have a PR team? I'm just sayin', y'all! Even if her art is reflective of (some of) her beliefs, Badu the human — like all of us — is a complex and fallible being. If we assume that she shared our core values and someday discover that she doesn't, does that invalidate her art and the depth and meaningfulness with which it affected the culture? If public opinion says that Badu is not 'woke,' will we now sleep on everything she's done and will do?
We can take issue with Badu for what she says because she is speaking on a public forum, and therefore opening herself up to critique. We should also reflect on why we put so much stock in the perception of who we think she is. Celebrity is an image we choose to deify, a narrative we continue to exalt in our minds, never knowing what is true and what is not. Modeling ourselves after or making goals attributed to famed musicians, actors, artists or athletes becomes an issue when we're looking at people instead of achievements. Why do we say, "I want to be like Oprah" instead of "I'd like to change the landscape of modern media?" I don't know Oprah. By her achievements, I can assume that she's smart, ambitious and persistent. I assume nothing about who she is as a person, yet many would find no problem in making her the benchmark of personal and professional success.
Where do we draw the line between the propped up person in our minds whose work might have great meaning to us and the reality of the human being? Because we have to start drawing that line. Call out Erykah Badu's comments when you don't agree, but let's stop acting like we're all woke, all the time. This is a teaching moment, for her and for us, so let's all — as India Arie sings — come back to the middle.
What do you think about our idolization of celebrities and Badu's comments? Let us know in the comments below!
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You may or may not have heard of Shaun T’s latest creation, the CIZE workout. The fitness guru has brought us some of the most intense workouts including Insanity, Focus T25 and Hip Hop Abs. His latest workout is no less intense. CIZE has been popping up in infomercials everywhere...and it might just be worth a try.
CIZE is a dance fitness program intended to help people lose weight and achieve their fitness goals in an engaging and exciting way. In addition to several weeks worth of workout routines, the program includes a meal plan to assist customers in forming a healthy diet.
CIZE - The End of Exercize is coming! from bodysport on Vimeo.
It might seem like a bit of a gimmick, especially with the dozens of workout programs being marketed to us, consumers. But this workout actually looks like fun. A combination of Zumba meets Top 40 hits, CIZE is all about putting four simple moves into a sequence and jamming to catchy music in 10-minute intervals.
Shaun T starts with “Move 1: The CIZE Bounce,” where you get started by bouncing left to right.
He then demonstrates the following three steps you’ll need to make your sequence:
“Move 2: High, Low...”
“...Move 3: Box-Step Throw...”
...and “Move 4: Baseball.”
Combine the moves and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying this dance party workout. It’s simple, it’s quick and you’ll be smiling when you do it...all qualities that make for a great workout.
People across social media have been posting about how much they love CIZE. Celebrities are even getting in on the action! TLC’s Chilli debuted an upbeat, solo song called "Body" just for the CIZE program.
That many fans can’t all be wrong. Whether you’d like to take a CIZE class or you’d like to purchase it to do at home, this trendy workout is certainly worth trying if you want to switch up your routine.
On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here.
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Earlier this year, Kehlani was up for her first Grammy. This week, Kehlani was hospitalized after attempting to commit suicide, the R&B singer revealed in a now-deleted Instagram post. "Today I wanted to leave this earth," Kehlani, 20 – whose last name is Parrish, though she goes by her first name professionally – captioned a photo of an IV in her arm as she rested in a hospital bed. "[I'm] being completely selfish for once."
Like Kehlani, I'm from Oakland: A place where a high value is placed on the development of a real community. For most Oakland natives, social media is a platform to raise awareness around issues that adversely affect communities like ours, from hyper-gentrification to suicide. I watched in horror this week while a fellow native (Khelani) and a rising artist was slut-shamed and pummeled for a situation that should have never been public in the first place. The culture of celebrities in the age of social media causes many personal situations to be made public.
Sometimes, it seems as though social media brings out the worst in all of us — the vengeful part that asks why we should care about someone else's problems when it has felt as though our problems haven't received care. Why shouldn't we laugh at the misfortune of others when we've been laughed at, too? It's exactly that question that should make us take care to show someone else the love that we wish we'd had.
I remember coming to my nephew's aid who was relentlessly bullied in middle school because the other boys considered him effeminate. I never said, "Oh well — they called me fat." I just stood up for him. When my homegirl's guy tried to holler at another girl in front of me, I never said, "Well, we all get played." I just stood up for her. Real life situations should inform the way we behave online, instead of allowing the protection of a screen to play up our insecurities and excuse our misbehavior. Don't demonize or dismiss Kehlani. Stand up for her.
Unless we plan to change the phrase "online community," to something else, we should reconsider the damaging ethos we've created in places built to share both our struggles and triumphs in a global setting. We know it's not all wedding announcements, graduations and baby showers. That's not the totality of real life, yet the autonomy that online profiles provide allows us to shape the world's perception of us. We'd rather leave out the breakups, the bankruptcies and the blinding moments when we make terrible life decisions.
We've almost all been depressed or down in the dumps before. We've almost all had messy love lives. We've all made mistakes. But it's our community, friends and advocates who keep us privately grounded. As a celebrity, Kehlani wasn't given that choice, but all of us had a choice in the way we responded.
Let's do better.
Have you or anyone you known ever been bullied online? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below.
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This might seem obvious, but unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Michael B. Jordan is bae. Actually, I'll just get straight to the point and call him Michael Bae Jordan. Jordan stars in the film Creed, a Rocky spin-off that recently got six nominations for NAACP Image awards. Here are 15 reasons why we are thankful for MBJ.
He is a family man.
He is aware of how important self-reflection is.
He is well traveled and woke.
He gets along with your bestie.
Your "Netflix and Chill" night will be a little bit different.
Even with his "mean mug" you can't stay mad at him for too long.
He values leg day.
He understands the importance of personal upkeep.
Role play or nah?
He doesn't shy away from his past and he was such a cute baby.
Had a great interview with David Katz. Achieving my fitness goals & making it on the cover of @mensfitnessmag is an honor! @mrcalliet thank you for pushing me beyond my limits & showing me the results of what hard work & discipline can get you! We're just getting started! #Creed
A photo posted by michaelbjordan (@michaelbjordan) on Nov 18, 2015 at 7:03am PST
You can be direct and straightforward with him.
He doesn't take himself too seriously.
He likes to think while rocking a haircut blessed by angels and unicorn tears.
His inspiration is blinding.
If you haven't watched Creed yet, what are you waiting for? Check out the trailer...