Posts Tagged ‘Black Men’

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

I 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

Why Adidas Should Not Have Cancelled the Shackle Shoe

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Adidas has reportedly cancelled its plans to release the “shackle shoe” into the market after it was criticized for advertising it on the Adidas Facebook page.

I think that Adidas’ first mistake was releasing the design to begin with. I question whether they used simple marketing tools,such as surveys, before they decided to launch this new “shackle shoe”. That being said, I think that now that they have gone public with the design, the next mistake was to withdraw it.

I believe that even before they promoted the shoe on their Facebook page, they were aware of the slavery undertones that came with it. That is part of business; you take risks and sometimes they pay off. If Adidas was looking for a massive amount of attention, they got it. I’m just appalled that they are now trying to weasel their way out of it by “withdrawing” the shoe.

The bottom line is that Adidas decided to take a risk to get media attention and they got it. They should stand by their design and lie in the bed that they made. Trying to withdraw the shoe at this time is a bad decision because it makes it look like their design team was so incompetent that they did not consider the implication of a shoe with shackles on it being marketed in a country like America. America has has a very painful history in which shackles played a very significant role.

Shame on Adidas.

Originally posted at YourBlackBloggers

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: What Black Women Can Learn from Meagan Good

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I have been following a lot of news about Meagan Good and her vow to remain celibate until her and her Pastor/Producer husband are married.

To some this may seem the most far-fetched idea that they can think of because celibacy is something that society has dismissed as both outdated and unrealistic. Let’s think about it though-Think about all the negative information that is currently circulating about Black women in America and the rest of the world. Let’s start with the rate of HIV infection as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. Let’s think about the rates of teenage pregnancy and the rate of single parenthood, much of which is the result of unplanned pregnancies and pre-marital intercourse.

I am not one to jump to conclusions that I cannot support with credible sources so I will not do that but I think we need to, at the very least, consider that Meaghan Good may just be somewhat of a hero. She is going against the grain and setting an example. I don’t believe she is saying that she is “pure” and angelic and that the rest of us are “sinners”. That would be off-putting. She is however, saying that it is possible for a young woman to stand her ground and do something different and still be popular, attractive and “modern”.

The lesson that I am drawing from her example is that just because you have engaged in what some would call “sin”, there is still room to take a different course of action and change your outcomes. To some, celibacy may seem like an extreme measure to take but considering the issues that we deal with, maybe we should consider it as a very viable option. Obviously, it is possible to avoid diseases and unplanned pregnancies through taking birth control and using other forms of protection. That, however, does not take the emotional and spiritual ramifications of having multiple partners (whether concurrently or consecutively) into consideration.

My passion is the pursuit of personal development, including but not limited to my own. I instruct, mentor and advise young women, especially young women of color, more than any other population so this is an issue that I tackle very often. I’m not trying to assign judgment to anyone for their choices but I think that we are often too quick to dismiss the idea of celibacy as either “old fashioned” or unrealistic. Let’s begin to look at it as a very viable option. Yes, there are other ways to be responsible and safe, but no one can argue that no other way is as safe as celibacy so let’s not discount it.

Check out Nomalanga’s e-book:
Seven Life Changing Habits; How I Changed My Life from Mediocre to Magnificent & How You Can Too!

Nomalanga: So what if First Lady, Michelle Obama, wanted to leave?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I recently read an article at the online version of the Daily Mail titled “New book claims Michelle Obama prepared divorce papers to separate from Barack – leaving him so depressed friends feared he’d kill himself”. My impression of the article is that, much like the book it is referring to, it was written to tarnish the names of President Obama and First lady, Michelle Obama.

My comment, on Facebook, in reaction to the article was as follows:

“So what? In the last 7 years, I have packed a suitcase a time or two-what of it? Although they wrote this article to “air the Obamas’ dirty laundry”, this actually makes me and others respect them more. They are normal people who, in spite of everything, have sustained their marriage AND won the Presidency!”

The reason why I responded this way is that I feel that anyone who has been married a significant amount of time or is close to married couples knows that all marriages go through different phases; some easy and some not, hence the common phrase “for better or worse and through thick or think”. This phrase is often included in many vows, on a couple’s wedding day, specifically to reiterate that couples should not view a “rocky” time in marriage as a time to leave.

My own experience, having been married for over seven years, has been that when things get “rocky”, the urge to leave can become overwhelmingly strong but that does not give me or any married person, not even the first lady, a reason to leave. I believe that those difficult parts of the journey are the very parts that will teach you more about yourself, your spouse and will ultimately elevate both of you to a higher level of spiritual enlightenment.

The Obamas have admitted that in the past they did go through a rough patch but that they patched things up and grew closer together. Although the details of the Obama marriage trials, assuming there was some truth in them, were revealed with what I perceive as malicious intent, I and a lot of other people are both encouraged and inspired by the Obamas. They are modeling, among others, one great lesson: Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Many women look at Michelle Obama and wish they could have a wonderful husband and a wonderful marriage like hers. What I am drawing from the Obamas’ experience is that that level of success is not something that happens by accident. The problem with glorifying the Obamas and their relationship has always been that it made them seem “special” but now we see that they are just normal people, much like the rest of us. What sets them apart is their courage, discipline and an attitude of Never giving up on yourself, your spouse or your marriage.

Nomalanga: Three Questions to ask yourself before Divorce

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Less than a year into marriage, I experienced what I now call the “reality” phase. Anyone who has been married for a while knows exactly what I’m talking about. The “Reality” phase of marriage is when you start to come down off of the honeymoon phase of the relationship and start to really see your partner for who they are rather than the fantasy that you were projecting onto them.

Just as I was processing this rather confusing phase, I had a conversation with one of my “sisters” who, at the time, had been married for about eight years. What she shared were three major things that tend to affect marriages either negatively or positively. In other words, if you pay attention to these three “things”, you can sustain a happy marriage but if you neglect these things, trouble is inevitably around the corner.

I am generally an advocate of marriage; partially because I was born and raised within the confines of one. (Side note: My parents have been married for almost 40 years).

That being said, if you have neglected any of the three “things” I feel that it is possible to give each one attention and restore your marriage, rather than head to Divorce court.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Are we Communicating well?
Many times what couples think are major problems, are actually small problems buried in a series of miscommunications or no communication at all. Unless you have developed the skill of effective communication and are able to resolve conflicts and problems through effective communication, you have not earned your way out of the marriage. Rather than head to divorce court, explore ways to build your communication skills.

2. Are our finances in order?
My husband and I love to joke that we need to make sure that we get our finances in order because “broke people fight”. Now, I’m not sure where the saying “broke people fight” comes from but like most jokes, it has an element of truth in it. When finances are in order, there is a level of security that can quickly disappear if they are mismanaged. If you get to a point where your finances are a mess, rather than head to divorce court, put your heads together and explore strategies to restore the financial well-being of your family.

3. When was the last time we were “intimate”?
“Intimacy” is a topic that many of us shy away from because it is uncomfortable for some people to discuss. That being said, if you are not being “intimate” with your spouse, you’re trying to glue two pieces of paper together and omitting the glue. Before you head off to Divorce court, get creative about “rocking his world” (or hers). One thing that I would add to this is that many women ask, “what if I just don’t feel like it?” Well, I’ll tell you like I heard it jokingly said, “Sometimes you just have to take one for the team”.

As I approach our 8th anniversary in marriage and reflect back on my own marriage and those of the people around me, I can honestly say that what my ‘sister” told me all those years ago was marriage saving advice. That being said, none of the three “things” apply if you’re dealing with a partner who is abusive, is dealing with an addiction or is chronically unfaithful. Even these serious issues are not cause to end your marriage but they are certainly issues that need addressing though professional or spiritual intervention.

At the end of the day, a problem in marriage is no longer just your problem; it is the possibility of your children growing up without Both their parents or the shattering of a community that was partially bound by your marriage or another case of giving up on your own personal development journey which your marriage was facilitating. Make a decision, today, whether you are already married or not yet married, to ask yourself these questions so that you can stay married. Don’t let yourself down. Don’t let your spouse down. Don’t let your children down. Don’t let your family and your community down. Stay married.

Diary of an insecure Black Man

Friday, May 11th, 2012

By Jamall Calloway

Ok, fine, I admit that I’m intimidated by you. Are you happy now? I would have admitted it sooner, but you never gave me the chance to admit it to myself. You never gave me the opportunity to ponder on my reasons for not approaching you; you just declared in your mind that my hesitance must be directly correlated to your greatness. After all, you got it going on, right? You’re beautiful. You’re ambitious. You’re everything that anyone would want, but in your mind I haven’t approached because I just can’t handle how beautiful and ambitious you truly are, right? Well, my dear, that’s only partially true, and while I have your attention, allow me to tell you my truth. Allow me to tell you why I’m intimidated by you and why approaching you is so hard for me.

In all honesty, it’s not you. It’s the idea of being rejected by you. I, like most humans, am still afraid of rejection. And who isn’t? I have been rejected before and am clandestinely haunted by that feeling. So, I live guarding my self-esteem, doing whatever I can to evade that feeling. Try to understand that the possibility of your rejection has the power to make me feel low simply because of my distant admiration of you. When you admire something, especially from a distance, sometimes you just want to sustain that admiration without tainting it with the possibility of harsh reality. I’d much rather listen to “Just My Imagination” (1971) by the Temptations over and over again and dream about you reciprocating my attraction than to hear you say you don’t. And as you can tell, I’ve already made up in my mind that you’re going to say no, so I’ve decided to say it for you without even speaking to you. There is no need to go through this scene because I’ve played it countless times in my head. I nervously approach you – you ruthlessly reject me. Therefore, I’d rather you be a secret crush than another name added to the list of those who turned me down.

Now, the second reason I’m intimidated is related to the first, but it has more to do with me, by myself, than it does with you in relation to me. Get it? The second reason that I’m intimidated is because underneath my confidence, behind my good looks and next to my promising career, I’m honestly insecure. You’re a gorgeous woman who can date whomever you please. You are brilliant and beautiful. So what makes me think I have a shot? Sure, I’m handsome, but so are most of my friends. I know I’m educated, but these days – a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma. And yes, I have promising career, but so do you. And if I’m right about you, none of those things really impress you in the end. They matter, but they’re not all that important. So what do I have to offer you that none of these other gentleman have? Me. And sometimes, I still struggle with wondering if I am enough.

The third reason you intimidate me is because you haven’t fallen ill to the “I’ve found the only good brother left” syndrome. These days, I don’t have to subscribe to normative gender roles and performances that assert my role as the aggressor in romantic encounters because so many women approach me. Due to the shallow numbers of black men in graduate school and/or my career, I’ve grown accustomed to sisters vying for my attention. It’s the new version of tokenism. I’m the only black man here, and if you want a black man, you should compete for me. Someone once told me that (in heterosexual relationships), “No man can have any woman he wants, but he can have every woman that wants him.” So I play the field, date around and enjoy the single life until I am forced to commit to someone or until the one I really like – really, really like – pays attention to me.

And for some reason, you haven’t paid attention to me or you are awaiting my first move. And I haven’t made a move yet because, honestly, I really like you, but I’m afraid of rejection. I’m insecure about myself even though I hide it under pseudo characteristics of confidence. And I’m no longer used to pursuing the woman I want because most pursue me. You personify the mythical perfect black woman who has it all together, but what makes me think you’d pay any attention to me? So yes, in all honesty, my dear, you got it; I’m an intimidated black man.
Source

Nomalanga: 21 Children with 11 Women is a sad issue

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

I just read about the 29 year old man who has 21 children with 11 different women.

In this video, I discuss why I think this is not only a very troubling story but also why I think it is very sad for the children who have this man as a a father.
Originally posted at Your Black World

Nomalanga: What society thinks about Overweight Women

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

I just read an article by a, self proclaimed, overweight feminist who is considering losing weight to expand her dating options. Of course, this is a rather delicate topic and she even admits that, being a feminist, it may even seem hypocritical, on her part. After all, isn’t one of the basic “rules” of feminism that women should not be judged on the basis of their physical appearance? I don’t know; I’m not a feminist…

Reading her article got me thinking…Not too long ago, I posted a somewhat humorous Facebook post talking about how I noticed that after shedding over 40 pounds from my heaviest weight, I started to notice more “heads turning”. What was funny was that I actually thought that the reason I had stopped “turning heads”, was that I was no longer a twenty something college girl. I thought that now that I was a wife, mother and most importantly, a married woman, well into my thirties, I had just moved into a different stage in my life where I no longer “turned heads”. I honestly thought that only “young girls” drew attention when they walked by and since I had stopped considering myself as such, it seemed normal that nobody was taking a second look.

Imagine my surprise when I started to notice that after losing a significant amount of weight, I was “turning heads” again, much like in my younger years. So, it turns out that our society is more forgiving of women aging than it is of them gaining weight- at least that is what my experience has taught me.

So I decided to put on my survey hat and began asking random men, in my circle of friends and relatives, what their preference was-cute and chubby or cute and “older”? Yes, you guessed it; they ALL said they preferred cute and “older”.

The one consolation that I find in this issue is that I feel I can control my weight. Aging, even though it will probably be graceful, is not something that I or anyone can control. Being “old” is not a choice but being “chubby” is. I know some might argue that being overweight is a “condition” and while I’m sympathetic to that, I still maintain that for the majority of us, it is not a “condition”, but instead a matter of discipline and self control.

So there you have it, ladies, before you write yourself off as “unattractive”, you may want to consider that it might just be that you need to say good-bye to some of those extra pounds that you have gained over the years. Speaking as someone who has shed a significant amount of weight, I can say that not only will you look better, more importantly, you’ll FEEL better!