Sunday, March 24, 2013

Peter, Paul and Mary Moments

After toying around with various possibilities, I've decided it would best to just storm right into this joint, Cosmo Kramer-style.  So, here goes...

My name is Del and I've been a friend of Kayla's since I thought I was straight.  (Which translates to a little over 12 years.)  I'm fat, black and the proud papa of the best damn dog in the world.  There's more, of course, but that'll do for now. 

I, and the author of this blog, have known each other since we were 17; there are virtually no secrets between us.  Between dishing out sage advice, being the most beautiful woman in the world, and smacking me upside the head, Kayla invited me to contribute to "Black Girls Don't Shave Their Legs." We've have some amazing conversations  over the years, and disagree as much as we see eye to eye.  It is our hope that our differing, yet somehow cohesive, opinions will be of as much interest to you as we have been to each other. 

Today being Sunday, I attended church services earlier this morning.  (There's one more thing...I'm a Christian.)  I'm usually five or ten minutes late, so I grab a seat in the back, so as not to disrupt service.  Fortune smiled on me this morning, and I was able to grab a seat directly by the stairs with out making a spectacle of myself. 

That's usually how I go about life; stealthily, almost squirrelly, aiming never to rock the boat too much.  For reasons too numerous to list in one blog post, I have admittedly become the kind of person who aims to never really be noticed. Having social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and a tendency to be a misanthrope makes this pretty easy. 

I think that's why I like's quite literally a safe space.  Especially my hippie congregation, where Peter, Paul & Mary and Bob Dylan songs are as likely to be sung as are standard hymns.  We have something called "the passing of the peace," where we're forced (okay, maybe not "forced," but definitely coerced) to greet each one of our neighbors and wish them well.  These sorts of things don't go over well for the too cool for school set.  I should know; I used to be one of them.

There are still remnants of that cheeky, insecure college kid however.  I never hang around after service, partially because there is not enough Adavan in the world to overcome the accompanying anxiety, but also because I don't make myself at least try.  I had a bad experience at a church social group meeting, and haven't been to another once since; there's at least 20 of them.  And, most prescient to this post, I never sing out loud during service. 

I have a bad voice.  I am tone deaf, possess the traces of a nasally Queens accent, and have no volume control.  If you're a friend, my vociferous, unsteady baritone is an endearing quirk; if you're a foe, my voice is like nails on a chalkboard.  I get it, totally.  Ever since I was told to lip-sync in middle school chorus, I have never even attempted to sing in earnest. 

But today, something monumental occurred.  Somewhere towards the end of "If I Had A Hammer," I got caught up in what I guess what the Spirit.  But not in the "get an usher, he's speaking in tongues," snake handling way.  It was more like a genuine, rapturous glee. Having lost my cell phone, being passed over for a promotion and feeling unsure about my future suddenly didn't matter.  I honestly almost wanted them to, because I was afraid of what would happen if I actually let myself "go."  I thought the dude next to me looked ridiculous, clapping and stomping like a meth-ed up wind up toy.  But by the time I was "hammering peace across this land," I was well...hammering.  I sang, and I clapped, and this was new territory.  I fucking sang today.  And I didn't give a damn how it sounded. 

So, why am I sharing this meandering, not quite anecdote as my first post?  Well, because it speaks to everything that I'm "about" right now, namely progress.  I'm interested in others' journeys and want to make it clear that I'm a man in search of answers, not someone who claims to have them.  But also, because maybe I'm soliciting help?  Feedback?  Eh, I don't know.  But that's the whole point, right?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tonight, Beyonce Shattered my Heart

"I've got drafts written for this very blog extolling this bitch as the post-modern feminist and she pulls THIS SHIT?! Now I can't even publish the shit."

OK. OK. Let me rewind. I'm Sorry. I'm gonna try to make this coherent and succinct but its going to be hard as BEYONCE JUST SHATTERED MY FUCKING WORLD!

Oh, expletive warning y'all. My emotions are running high.

I don't have the time or the emotional wherewithal to explain to you just how much I loved Beyonce. I don't have the time to explain that I was very sure about my love because she had to work hard to earn since I hated her for a while (see, I can't even write proper sentences cause my stomach is upset and I feel like I might have a stroke).

 I'm trying to explain to you how earth-shattering this is for me. I want to make sure you know that I loved Beyonce fiercely for some concrete reasons. I loved her level of innovation as a musician. Her talent as a vocalist. I loved her work ethic, her classic appeal. I loved her commitment to performing and doing it well. I loved her strength as a woman. I consider myself a feminist and I LOVE women who lift up other women. One of the reasons I loved Beyonce is because I felt she did this in her own way.

Well who the fuck told me to scroll down my damn Facebook newsfeed tonight? I don't know why I did it. I was getting ready to go to bed. I wasn't even prepared to have my world rocked like this. But, lo and behold, I'm scrolling down my newsfeed and I see this:

So I'm like, WTF? The Beyonce I love wouldn't say something so brazenly obnoxious. Yes, she gets a little playful with her banter sometimes but, "bow down?" I was immediately offended.

Little did I know, this was just the tip of the iceberg! Then, I discovered the song. Please try to listen to the whole thing. I know its hard. (Note to Beyonce, if you're going to make an obnoxious, disrespectful song, at least make it sound good!):


I am beyond disappointed. I've been fiercely defending this woman for years and she makes me look like an idiot with this shit!? This goes against everything I stand for as a woman. I cannot be who I am and continue to love and support an artist that thinks this shit is OK. I don't know what happened to her brain but she was way off with this. I know she's trying to push the envelope and break out of this image the world has of her but I happen to like the classic Beyonce. The woman who left it all on the stage. Who didn't care if people thought she was boring and simple because she consistently killed it in the studio and in concert. The Beyonce I love wouldn't stoop to the level of addressing her haters this way because she would know it's not worth losing the self-respecting fans she has who don't give a fuck about her struggle to be "relevant." The Beyonce I love let her music speak for her, not the other way around. If I wanted to listen to another record calling me a bitch, I would just turn on the hip-hop station.

Why does Beyonce think her fans want her to be Rihanna?! Why did she take it there? Clearly, we know you are an amazingly talented person but did Michael Jackson ever release a record like this? No!  He went as far as "Bad" and that's it. Maybe "Leave me Alone" but he made it clear who he was talking to (the papparazzi).

Why Bey! Why?!

I have to stop here. I'm starting to ramble.

More later. I have to pull myself together somewhat.