Posts Tagged ‘African Women’

Why Venus and Serena will not Support a Movie Disrespecting their Father

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Venus and Serena Williams have chosen to withdraw their support for a movie that chronicles their rise from Compton to their current super stardom as tennis and fashion “it girls”.

As is characteristic of the Williams sisters, they have not been vocal about the documentary nor their reasons for not supporting it. It is being reported that Venus , specifically, is the one who saw the movie and did not approve of how it depicted their father, Richard Williams. Venus is said to have requested that the movie makers make some changes to the movie because it suggested that their father was too controlling and even suggested that he was a womanizer because he allegedly has other children that he had out of wedlock. Even after the changes, the sisters have still chosen not to support the movie.

What I respect about the Williams sisters is that they are standing by their father even though that could mean a dent in their pockets. We can not know for certain how much of what the movie is suggesting about their father is true, but I reckon that even if it were all true, the sisters would still refuse to support it.

The lesson that I am drawing from the sisters is that a man does not have to be perfect for you to love him, respect him and be loyal to him. In fact, if that were the case, none of us women would be able to love any man!

I was born and raised in Botswana and am now married to someone who was born and raised in the U.S. so I have had the privilege of observing how our two cultures agree and how they differ. What I love about the stance that Venus and Serena took is that it reminds me of what I grew up experiencing and what in my observation is slowly slipping away in the culture that I have now become a part of, American culture.

A strong family unit is sustained buy BOTH a strong man and a strong woman. It saddens me to continue to see Black men and Black women throw mud in each other’s faces instead of recognizing each other’s short comings and stepping up to support and encourage each other where the other falls short.

I am not saying that we should be entirely accommodating of each other’s bad behavior, in fact, I believe that we should all hold each other accountable. That being said, I believe that we can hold each other accountable away from the public eye. In Tswana (from Botswana) culture, it is common for a woman to disagree with her husband and even at times give him a “tongue lashing” but as wives, we are advised to do so away from the public eye, preferable behind closed doors and preferably behind the bedroom door.

Too often I hear women complain about how “sorry” some men are and they list all the things that they have failed to do. While all that may be true, what good does it do him, or anyone, for that information to be taken and splashed across the tabloids? What good would it do if a movie was made and the movie showed a man’s shortcomings? Yes, there may be a few dollars to be made, maybe even a lot of dollars, but is it really worth it? I say: no.

I can’t be certain what part Oracene Price, Venus and Serena’s mother, played in their decision but I reckon she has a similar feeling about the situation. I reckon she raised her daughters to love and respect their father, even though her relationship with him took a different turn that what I imagine they had originally intended.

I am a woman so I can directly say this to my sisters: If you ever wonder why “brothers won’t commit”, consider that maybe they have lost confidence in marriage because women like Venus and Serena are so rare nowadays. Maybe they don’t believe that they can find a woman who will see all their shortcomings and rather than use them to attack and bring them down, that woman will be a supporter and encourager.

For all we know, every piece of dirty laundry the movie wants to air about Richard Williams could be true.We do also have to consider, though, that maybe it is not. What we do all know is that Richard Williams has invested a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears into his daughters. Yes, they are talented and skilled but I don’t believe that they would have achieved international tennis stardom had it not been for his investment in their lives. That, I believe is what Venus and Serena choose to focus on and celebrate.

Should we hold our men accountable and tell the truth? Absolutely, but a movie premier is certainly not the time and place to do so and I applaud Venus and Serena for recognizing that and standing on that principle.


Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com

Originally Posted at YourBlackBloggers

The Complex Single Black Woman

Friday, July 13th, 2012

modern womanI think we can all agree that we’ve heard enough speculation than we can take about why Black women are supposedly not marriage material or are somehow unable to “keep a man”.

How about if we stopped to consider that the single black woman is more complex than the unkind stereotype of some overweight, finger snapping, angry and ignorant woman who walks around looking for someone to just “say something” so she can give him or her a piece of her mind.

Having been part of this ever increasing demographic, I can recall being a much younger single black woman terrified that I was destined to be alone because along with the stereotype of the single Black woman, comes the stereotype of the lazy, angry and dangerous Black man who will inevitably become someone’s baby daddy or a court appointed legal defender’s client. If these were the option, why bother?

To cut a long story short, I realized that just as sure as I did not fit the stereotype of the unpleasant Black woman we can all clearly imagine, it stood to reason that there were also Black men “out there” who did not fit theirs. I was right (*smiling).

There are four basic types of Singe Black Women:

  1. I desperately want a man
  2. I want a man and when the time is right, I will meet him
  3. I want a man but I say I don’t want one because I’m not sure if I can “get” and “keep” one
  4. I don’t want a man

Let’s explore these women a little bit.

I desperately want a man

If you’ve never seen this woman, you’ll know her when you see her! She “looks” desperate. Her tactics may vary but they all scream of desperation. Sometimes she will be the woman you see who seems to have forgotten that her breasts belong inside her blouse instead of the outside or that when you bend over, your skirt is not supposed to be so short that we can see all the stretch marks on the bottom of her buttocks. Sometimes she is that girlfriend who just can’t enjoy going dancing with her female friends and that be the only purpose of the outing; instead, going dancing is actually going hunting-for men.

Sadly, this women is a damaged soul who needs to learn to love herself but has somehow convinced herself that if she finds “the right guy” he will heal her of her many wounds. He won’t.

I want a man and when the time is right, I will meet him

Some women know what they want and also believe that they are worthy of having it. These women recognize that relationships require a level of maturity and a willingness to grow, in order to not only survive, but to also thrive.

This is the woman who will invest in her personal development and growth so that when “Mr. Right” comes knocking, she will be the “Ms. Right” that he has also been looking for.

I want a man but I say I don’t want one because I’m not sure if I can “get” and “keep” one

Many women who claim to not want a man are actually women who want a man but have had and seen too many unsuccessful and dysfunctional relationships to ever dare to hope that they may end up in a healthy, happy and functional one, themselves. Instead of continuing to hope and keep facing disappointment after disappointment, they will just proclaim “I can do bad all by myself”. This would be okay if it were true. First of all, if a woman is going to be by herself, why would she want to “do bad”? Second of all, why are her feelings about men so negative?

These women are like the friend or co-worker who passionately proclaims, “I don’t care” when everyone can see that she clearly cares or she would not be so emotional.

These women would do well to start healing the wounds that are causing their negative reactions to the thought of being in a meaningful relationship. Your life is as you confess it and if you say “I can do bad all by myself”…you will.

I don’t want a man

There are women who have had some successful relationships with men and have also experienced some disappointing and hurtful ones. They recognize that relationships require a lot of commitment and hard work. They decide that they would rather not make the investment and would rather enjoy life flying solo.

These women are extremely rare, but you’ll know then when you see them. They are typically joy-filled women that you can enjoy being around without having to listen to an angry rant about the many evils of “Brothers”. These women have a full life and enjoy spending time with friends and family or serving their communities or maybe just being alone tending to a beautiful flower garden.

Ladies, are you courageous enough to acknowledge which woman you are? If so, please share where you are and if you want to stay there.

Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana.

Originally posted at Black Blue Dog

Let’s Support Fathers, Especially Black Fathers

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Today is the day that we celebrate fathers all over the world. It seems that we so often focus on how challenging it is for modern day mothers who are still expected to attend to all the needs of their children and yet are now also trying to succeed in their careers. While I have first-hand knowledge of the complexities of being a modern day working mother or just a modern day mother, period, I have an ever increasing level of compassion for the modern day Father, especially the Black father.

It’s no secret that, in the US, the two parent family is increasingly becoming the exception while the single parent home is increasingly becoming the norm. And if you take a look at Black communities all around the country, unfortunately, that becomes even truer. I’ll save my speculation as to why we are facing these circumstances for another day and instead bring the focus back to the Black father.

Most of these single parent homes that are increasingly becoming the norm are typically headed my Black women and the Black father is often subjected to the whims of the said mother. Today, I am appealing to all Black mothers to set aside their own feelings about a man they may not necessarily, love, like or even respect and let him be a father to his child or his children. It’s not enough to just be a willing participant; you have to be your child’s advocate in doing everything that you can to make sure that he or she has a relationship with his or her Father.

I’ve heard all the stories about the dead-beat fathers or the ones who don’t care or the ones who don’t pay their child support etc. The truth still remains that every child deserves to love their father and to be loved by their father, no matter who the father is or what he has or has not done.

One woman once relayed a story to me about how her mother would not allow her father to see her because he had disappointed her so many times by saying he was coming and then not showing up. Her mother then decided to “cut him off” entirely to spare her daughters feelings and the woman never saw her father again. Years later she found out that he had continued to attempt to see her but her mother would not allow it. This birthed a small resentment towards her mother and now she had to deal with resenting both of her parents, her father for not being around and her mother for not letting him. This is a sad story, but unfortunately, it is a common one.

I’ve had the privilege of not only growing up in a home with both of my parents who are still married today, and I am also raising my two children with my best friend and husband who is also their father. I am very grateful for my circumstances and very grateful to my parents who may have had numerous opportunities to go their separate ways but instead, put my well-being and that of my siblings, ahead of their own personal feelings and desires. I am also grateful to my husband who continues to put up with my many “complexities” because he loves his children and wants them to have a safe and secure home. That being said, I never fail to mention that our marriage has not worked because we were “lucky” to have found each other; it is actually quite the opposite. We work at it and we do so, amongst other things, for the benefit of our children.

I share some of my personal story for one reason and that is simply to say that we all have different circumstances and we all make different choices about how we live our lives but let’s make the same choice when it comes to our children and their fathers. Let’s support the fathers of our children in being the best fathers that they can be regardless of their circumstances. Let’s set aside any negative thoughts and feeling and just focus on what is good and what is possible when a man loves his child or his children and they have the opportunity to love him back.

Happy Father’s Day.

Originally Posted at Your Black World

Nomalanga: The Truth about Black Women

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

I was just watching Oprah, on OWN TV, talking about how her grandmother was telling her, at the tender age of four, that she needed to pay attention to how laundry was done as her grandmother was doing the laundry. Even at four years old, she knew that what her grandmother was telling her about her future was not true. Her well meaning grandmother was trying to show Oprah how to do laundry so that one day she could find “good white folk” to work for as a maid.

Looking at Oprah now, I am amazed at how the acceptance or rejection of just one simple thought can change a person’s life. Imagine what Oprah’s life would have been like if she had accepted what her grandmother told her as the truth. The lesson that I draw from that is that we must not accept other people’s opinions of us as the truth.

Any time you hear about the “successful black woman” in the media, there is usually a negative cloud hanging over that image. Black women have to constantly refute those negative characteristics that are attributed to them. We have to constantly defend ourselves and at times we even allow ourselves to be squeezed into that image, usually because we’ve been poked, prodded and disrespected so much, for so long, that we finally REACT!
So, again, here is the simple lesson that I’m reminded of today, as I watch Oprah in all her magnificence: Don’t let other people’s limited and distorted opinions of you define you. Do not accept other people’s opinions of you, no matter how well meaning, as the TRUTH of who you are.

Audre Lorde, a Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist, put it best:

“If you didn’t define yourself for yourself, you would be crunched into other people’s fantasies of you and eaten alive.”

The question that I will leave you with is: Do you want to be “Oprah” or “the laundry lady”? The choice is yours; what you accept as the truth of who you are is your choice.

Nomalanga:Beyonce is not the face of black women

Friday, April 27th, 2012

In the video below, I share my views about Beyonce being named People magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman in the world.

Nomalanga: Miss World announces contestants list-what about the judges?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is being reported that a list of 50 winners of national beauty pageants around the world was made public. These 50 are the first of what is expected to be a total of 120 women all vying for the Miss World 2012 title. What I find interesting is that we always know so much about the contestants but so little about the judges.

It makes sense that in order to protect the integrity of the judging process, the international beauty pageants would not disclose the names of the judges but I also think it is reasonable to expect that after the pageants, there should be full disclosure. If there is no transparency in the judging process, we can never be certain that the winner was chosen fairly.

My experience at Mrs World 2011
led me to write a letter to the Mrs World Pageant owners, specifically because the pageant lacked both transparency in the judging process and there was a lack of diversity in the selection of the judges as well. Of the nearly 60 women that entered the Mrs World pageant, there were no less that 12 women who were either African or identified themselves as being of African decent and yet, not one single one made it into the top 14. Of the women that the judges selected to go into the top 14, only Mrs Vietnam (a gorgeous and phenomenal woman) made it in. The problem with this is that the only non-white judge on the judging panel was a Vietnamese woman who is also a former Mrs Vietnam.

I’m saying all this to make one basic point, we need BOTH transparency and diversity in judging international pageants. If pageants are going to define beauty by narrow, euro-centric standards, then it may be best for those that do not fit into those narrow stands to forgo entering the pageants all together. Although pageants are about more than how the women look, it is next to impossible to deny that how the women look is certainly a critical factor in deciding who walks away with the title.

The main reason why I wrote the letter to the owners of the Mrs World pageant is because I believe that the Mrs World did not select a diverse pool of judges and in so doing, they opened most of the Mrs World contestants to an unfair pageant experience.

One thing that I absolutely love about the Miss World (not MRS) pageant system is that their judging system is such that they always have a finalist from every continent or region of the world. That being said, in their history, they have only, to my knowledge, ever had two Black women win the title. Statistically, that is not high enough and I hope that in the coming years, we will see an improvement. Being a finalist and or runner up is great, but black women deserve to wear the crown as well.

The Unmarried, Single, Pregnant Gospel Singer: What This Says about Black Women and Safe Sex

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Le’Andria Johnson, the winner of BET’s “Sunday Best” Gospel singing competition, recently revealed that she is unmarried and pregnant. Does this invalidate her status as a role model or has it become par for the course among African American women?

In the video below, Dr. Boyce Watkins speaks with YBW contributor Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses about the status of black women, safe sex and appropriate role model.
Source

Black women heavier and happier with their bodies than white women

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the Post-Kaiser poll, which offers the most extensive and nuanced look at the lives of black women in decades, 28 percent of black women say that being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11 percent of white women. White women were more likely than black women to say being attractive was “somewhat important.”

For African American women, that desire often gets defined in ways the mainstream culture doesn’t recognize.

Princeton professor Imani Perry teaches interdisciplinary classes in African American studies and notes black women have conceptions of beauty that are “not just tied to the accident of how you look as a consequence of your genes.” They include style, grooming, how you present and carry yourself, and “how you put yourself together, which I think generally speaks to the fact that we have a much broader and deeper conception of beauty.”

Gibson’s mission is to get women to embrace their size but to work toward being fit. She preaches acceptance but says white fitness professionals often seem almost resentful of her confidence.

“If I were this plump, meek person doing the same thing I do, I think they would embrace me.”

Her rule: “Do you,” Gibson says, “and be okay with me being me. I can never be mad at this thin person. I say, ‘You’re sexy, you’ve got it going on. But don’t think for one minute that I don’t feel the same about myself.’ ”

Read the story here from Washington Post.

Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Check out this interview that Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker did with essence.com. I love seeing marriage work and I love it even more when the happy couples share their “secret to success”. Enjoy!

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Mindful Mornings: Other People’s Opinions

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I’ve learned that as you become more and more of a “public figure”, you must be skilled in focusing and also eliminating distractions. You must be able to define yourself for yourself. If you do not do these two things, you’ll be pulled in so many directions that you won’t even know who you are anymore.

People will always have opinions and most of them are irrelevant but the most important opinion is the one that you have of yourself. What is your truth? And are you living it?