Black people are NOT cowards

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Welcome

What a difference a weekend makes. Before the Don Sterling tape scandal, I had not heard of the Clippers basketball team or of their multi-billionaire owner. The back-story behind this scandal is the stuff that soap operas are made of. From what I have gleaned online it appears that an 80 year old rich White man who happens to own a basketball team takes a young biracial mistress. His wife of 50 (something) years instead of divorcing her husband sues mistress for $1.8 million citing that she is a gold digger using her feminine wiles to extort money from silly old men. Mistress goes to her boyfriend to complain; apparently he shrugs and refuses to offer help. Mistress then makes the recording, probably selling it to the highest bidder. Old man is then banned from owning a basketball team for life by the NBA.

This story is very interesting on many levels. I found it ridiculous that a man would date a biracial woman and then complain when she associates with other Black people. Is she only Black when she is in the company of other Black people? Is he able to overlook her blackness when they are alone or associating with other White people? He objected to her being photographed with Magic Johnson, a respected sports legend and entrepreneur. Mr Johnson is not exactly someone dodgy from the wrong part of town. It does beg the question as to whether Black people can be truly accepted by white patriarchy, even if they are respected members of society. If a former athlete who has been openly praised by former US presidents is not enough for a Black man to be deemed reputable company it would suggest that the answer to the question is a resounding no.

I was prompted to write this piece after reading an article by rapper Homeboy Sandboy titled ‘Black People Are Cowards’. His premise is that African – Americans do not stand up for themselves in the way that the Civil Rights generation did. As a consequence White people are now free to disrespect us. His secondary gripe is that hip hop artists and TV reality stars perpetuate negative stereotypes about Black people which fuels the racism African-Americans face.

It is ridiculous to blame the oppressed for their oppression. The way in which Black people behave or are perceived to behave has nothing to do with racism. Racism is a social construct which exists to determine who controls and has access to the world’s resources. Slurs such as Black people are lazy, violent, feckless, crazy etc are hollow excuses to justify the barbarism of slavery, apartheid and colonialism. A Black person’s behaviour will not protect them from prejudice. Sterling was not impressed by Magic Johnson’s reputation. Respectability politics is a dangerous concept because it offers a false sense of security at the expense of our self respect. I abhor the behaviour of certain Black entertainers or members of the community. I am no fan of misogyny or Black on Black violence. However, I will always champion the idea that we are not a monolith group. When Black people play into the ‘respectability’ game you are ignoring the pervasive power of institutionalised racism and denying our humanity by lumping us as a group rather than a collective of unique individuals with a shared hue. Most importantly this argument lets the perpetrators and beneficiaries of racism off the hook. ‘It’s not our fault that we are racist; after all look at how these people behave.’

Mr Sandboy goes on in his piece to label the NBA players cowards for not refusing to play after the tape had been leaked. These men may very well be multi millionaires but who are we behind the safety of our keyboards to expect them to put their livelihoods on the line. He goes on to label every one of us cowards for not being prepared to do the same should a relevant situation arise. I have no idea how many bosses worldwide hold absolutely abhorrent beliefs. There are very few people who can abruptly leave their jobs without facing dire financial consequences. Is Mr Sandboy prepared to pay the rent/mortgage of the people who do not want to work for a jerk? Racism is a societal problem it is too big to expect an individual(s) to rectify. In some cases the biggest sign of defiance is survival. My own parents suffered a lot of indignities throughout their working life and did this (without complaint) to put food on the table and to provide opportunities for my sister and I. To continue and thrive in a hostile environment is the greatest act of bravery. It takes all of your physical and emotional strength to carry on day after day. The promise of the post Civil Rights era has not been fully realised. Gains have been made in the last 50 years but we have not reached the Promised Land. Black people are still several more times likely to be stopped by police, unemployed and imprisoned compared to their White counterparts on both sides of the Atlantic. If you doubt that we live in a post racial society, this tape is proof enough to remove those rose coloured glasses.

I believe in the power of protest but we must put things into context. We live in a different time from the 50s and 60s. The Civil Rights just like the Arab Spring were not random. They were orchestrated acts of civil disobedience which took years to build its momentum. In order to have a far reaching movement, it requires strategy, patience and planning. If you want to hurt the likes of Sterling, stop watching/attending matches, stop purchasing their sponsors products, then sit back and watch Rome burn. In order to have purchasing power you need to be in employment. Once you have lost your purchasing power you have no voice. I would advise Mr Sandboy to take a class in 101 Economics.

Fast forward a few days, Mr Sterling has been fined $2.8 million dollars and received a lifetime ban from the NBA. (And to think that no Black athletes had to lose their jobs in order to achieve this) I am not naive, once the sponsors feared a serious backlash due to the tape the NBA had to take action. I am glad that such action was taken but I am far from dancing in the streets. Personally, I couldn’t care less who Donald Sterling wishes to associate with and the reasons behind that choice. What I do care about is when someone is able to use their racist beliefs as a platform to diminish the quality of life for others. When he is not busy chasing a woman four times his junior, Sterling is a housing magnate owning vast amount of property in Los Angeles. He has been accused of systematically refusing to rent apartments to Black and Latino tenants. Various court case of discrimination has been brought against him, the most recent being in 2006. In the US and most places at that, where you live greatly determines your safety, the ability to receive a decent education or healthcare. Consigning Black people to ghetto environments significantly reduces their quality of life, potential for social advancement and perpetuates the disparity between rich White and poor Blacks. That is the power of institutionalised racism, when somebody has the authority to put their beliefs into action at the detriment of others.

I am all for all of us doing our part to make the world a fairer place but I am a believer in picking battles. I think it is right that Sterling be taken to task for his abhorrent views but the real fight is how do we tackle the system which allows men like Sterling to live in their ivory towers while they enforce housing segregation in the 21st century. Mr Sandboy would be better served taking his ire out on the powers that be instead of expecting miracles from the have nots.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Is Beyonce a feminist icon?

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Welcome

It has been a while seen I last posted anything. I was beginning to have writing paralysis, over thinking what topic my next post should cover. In that respect, I should thank Ms Knowles-Carter for giving me the impetus to blog again. I’ll be the first to admit that releasing an album complete with videos without any press was a power move,that left her fellow pop princesses in her wake. However, I have been disappointed with certain black feminists declaring that Queen/King Bey is a feminist icon whom we should all ‘bow down’ before and download her cd. Worse still, they have gone on to insult anyone who questions this or critiques Mrs Carter’s feminist credentials.

Do I believe that Beyonce is a feminist icon? The short answer is no. Do I doubt that she is a feminist? For me, that is a moot point. Beyonce is free to self define herself as a feminist, that is entirely her business. Contrary to what many people believe, there isn’t a feminist code. We all have to forge our own path to make the world in which we live fairer to all of its inhabitants. The issue is whether she is a Black feminist icon. I fail to see how her singing songs about ‘getting it on’ with her husband is improving the lives of Black women worldwide. Her personal success does not empower me in any way. I am more inspired by the women in my family, my friends and by those who have made a difference to peoples’ lives not just their record collection. I honestly don’t understand why anyone would fixate on a celebrity’s life instead of their own.

Her fans also repeatedly go on about how she sings songs of female empowerment. This is not a new trend within popular rnb – see Aretha Franklin, Gloria Gaynor and countless others. Many female artists before her have been singing songs about getting rid of a no good man and standing on your own feet. Of her contemporaries, Janelle Monae is the real feminist deal. She has not compromised her art or herself just to get a record deal. Her robotic revolution is a perfect allegory for marginalised peoples including women, people of colour, gays and Black women in particular. I don’t understand why Ms Monae is not being championed in the same way by the fervent Beyonce fans.

Beyonce is a beautiful, talented and hard working entertainer. Her success is also due to the fact that she is probably the least threatening black female performer of all time. Her physical aesthetic is that of white woman with a tan and long blonde hair. She has a look which grants her mass appeal. For her album to be number 1 in US a lot of people of different races had to purchase it. That is just simple mathematics. She does not have to assert her beauty or sense of worth in the same way that Nina Simone had to. Nina’s dignity, views and poise were an act of defiance in a time where Black women were considered non entities. Beyonce does not critique the power structures; instead her music solely concentrates on safe topics such as love and now in her latest album sex, these are inclusive subject matters. Most people can relate to falling in love and sexual desire. Her latest album may not be child friendly but she is not calling for a revolution any time soon.

Jumping on the feminism bandwagon has been a master stroke for Beyonce. It provides her with a new narrative which gives her music and the artist a depth that I honestly doubt she possesses. This has nothing to do with ‘intelligence’ it has everything to do with a willingness to question what occurs in the world and what can we do to change it. Beyonce and her team are more concerned with making money as opposed to changing the world for the better. For example she uses, Terry Richardson who directed Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ video. Now this man has had many complaints of alleged sexual harassment made against him. Where is the sisterly solidarity in employing a man with a reputation for allegedly molesting women?

Then we have the problematic lyrics to ‘Bow Down Bitches’ here she tells other women who are envious of her to bow down before her. This song has been remixed on her album and is titled ‘Flawless’ featuring novelist and feminist, Chimammanda Ngozi Adichie. Beyonce uses a snippet from a Ted talk Adichie gave called ‘We should all be feminists’. Beyonce uses a portion where Adichie explains how girls are encouraged to focus on marriage but boys are not. However, in Chimammanda’s original speech she goes on to talk about the competition among women especially in getting attention from men. Again if you are asking women to ‘Bow Down’ before you where is the sisterly solidarity? Where is the encouragement to the move away from competition among women? I have heard a lot of apologist hogwash in trying to explain this behaviour. One excuse I read was that she was mimicking the grandstanding behaviour of rappers and thus ‘de-constructing’ it. I am of the belief that the truth has an undeniable simplicity whereas hogwash tends to be very complex as its aim is to confuse. The truth is that Beyonce is only concerned with her fame and record sales and not the everyday lives of women. The reason why everyone should be feminists is to make the world a fairer place, where everyone is raised up. We can only do this by creating new ways to interact with each other. It is not possible to use ways of old to create new outcomes.

(If you haven’t already seen it please have a look)

Over the last couple of days/weeks, I have seen the recurring theme of certain Black Beyonce supporters stating that White feminists were somehow upset over the success of her album. On reading the fantastic blog by ‘Blogmother’ on http://www.whataboutourdaughters.com I too googled to see if these articles existed and lo and behold they do not!!! There are certain quarters within the White feminist movement who refuse to acknowledge their own privilege and complicity in the misogyny and racism that Black women face in society. That is a sad fact. However, I refuse to defend a multi millionaire in a made up fight with an imaginary foe. I want to focus on dealing with the issues that affect Black women and girls. Let’s put our energies into bringing the likes of R. Kelly to justice, let’s encourage our young women to be productive and happy members of society. Now that’s a fight I am interested in joining.

The main reason why I felt compelled to write this piece is not to insult Beyonce. I like some of her stuff. I just feel that there is a very dangerous trend of giving celebrities a gravitas that they have not earned or deserved. Being a Black feminist is not an easy path, you are often fighting people who share your gender and in many instances, your race. It is a marginalised position, fighting structures that have placed you at the bottom rung of society. Beyonce provides a very attractive potential poster girl for ‘the cause’ showing that Black women can be successful, beautiful, loved and happy. However, Ms Knowles Carter has done absolutely nothing to blaze a trail for others to follow or to challenge the power structures which binds us. In order to be a leader or an icon you have to create change. Therefore to label her an icon or to state that her album is a feminist manifesto is premature at best and foolish at worst. Beyonce is not going to change the status quo anytime soon, those looking for her to do so will be very disappointed.

I am also very disturbed by the politics of the exception. What I mean by that is that since the Civil Rights, Black people have always been sold on the idea of living vicariously through individuals. Martin Luther King winning the Nobel Peace Prize did not eradicate poverty for the Black poor. Now over 50 years later the gap in opportunity and income between the Black poor and everyone else has increased so much so that it seems that inter generational poverty is an inescapable destination for scores of the Black poor. The Oprahs, Baracks and Jay Zs do not change this fact and the odd Black millionaire should not make us feel that we have all reached the ‘promised land’. A similar PR job is being carried out in South Africa, where the focus on Nelson Mandela’s life and achievements is a desperate attempt by Black and White elites to distract the average South African from the sad fact that their lot has not improved post apartheid.

How does this relate to Beyonce? Mrs Carter’s individual success does not improve my quality of life. I am not prepared to live vicariously through one person. Creating sacred cows out of celebrities only distracts people from dealing with reality. There is a lot of work to be done and concerning ourselves with a rich entertainer to this extent is a waste of time. Irrespective of what you or I think of this album, it will not cross Beyonce’s mind for a second. Instead I will focus on improving my life and most importantly the lives of others. That is what real feminism looks like, its action not posturing or empty rhetoric.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Are you ready for your close up?

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Welcome 

I am sending out a casting call into cyberspace. Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I am in the midst of creating a documentary about marriage in the Black Community. 

I am looking for people with unique stories to add to my film. 

  • Couples who have been in successful long term marriages or other committed unions.
  • Men and women looking for love
  • People who been married several times
  • People who are vehemently anti marriage
  • Individuals who wound only date/marry a very specific type of person – be it race, status, nationality, interests etc.
  • People who have set up dating agencies/events for people of colour

The tone of my documentary will be  empowering and respectful. My film will bear no relation to the many reality TV shows on our screens. 

My budget can only accommodate individuals living in the United Kingdom. I intend to cover the US with the sequel :) 

If you have any questions or are interested in taking part email me: suddie@sudelicous.com 

Please spread the word 

Thanking you all 

Sudelicious 

Bad things happen when you listen to stupid people

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Welcome

It’s been a while since I have written a post. Thanks to all those who still visited the site during my hiatus.

I will be the first to admit that I am very contrary by nature and hate being told what to do. Hey, I guess it’s the Taurean in me. Perhaps that why certain life coaches/dating experts just do not appeal to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I know of a lot of people personally and professionally who do a very good job in helping people deal with unresolved issues and enable them to develop the tools to empower themselves.

What I object to is the snake oil salesman variety of dating guru who thinks that all it takes is a few catchy slogans and a sharp suit to declare himself an authority on matters of the heart. What I find really galling is that the majority of these men are not even in happy relationships yet feel they have the right to tell others how they should find a partner. The whole thing smacks of ‘physician heal thyself’. I won’t go to a hairdresser with a bad hairdo nor would I sit in a dentist’s chair if said dentist is not sporting a set of pearly whites.

Black women are not a monolithic group and have a wide range of attributes that they want in a partner, let’s for arguments sake agree on a few basic characteristics that most women would probably like in a partner – loving, honest and faithful. The joke is that the king of dating gurus, Steve Harvey is a womaniser. These dating gurus are trying to give women advice on how to find the type of men who are their complete antithesis. How could they know what would attract a decent man if they are not a decent man in the first place?

It also alerts my ‘spidey’ senses that these life coach aficionados always target the female audience. True wisdom should be universal and a benefit to all. Not for these guys, they actively seek the female pound/dollar. I don’t believe that women are more susceptible to being told what do than men. What I do believe is that they are tapping into society’s mistaken belief that women are defined by their relationship status. To be unmarried post 35 is some kind of sin for which women should be publicly flogged in the streets. However single men of a similar age are just reviewing their options. It is really disappointing that so many women easily believe that these individuals can unlock the secrets of the male mind. These dating gurus typically reveal the thinking of traditional, knuckle dragging cavemen who don’t really like women very much. In their world, everything is the women’s fault. Women are not supportive enough, don’t dress appropriately, are too difficult, are too demanding and don’t allow men to be men. You wouldn’t think that it takes two people to make a relationship work. There is one dating guru in particular, I refuse to name him (I will not be giving him free publicity on this blog) who blamed women with large exteriors for being disrespected by men. In no uncertain terms this is the policing of female sexuality while giving men a pass for misogynistic behaviour. It’s really depressing that these jokers are making money by preying on the insecurities of women while removing male responsibility for how they treat women. It makes absolutely no sense to take the advice of a man who dislikes women. The chances are that the information given will not be for any woman’s benefit.

Misinformation is another big red flag. Why do so many of these men all claim to be God fearing individuals? If you are claiming that you are basing a lot of your works on scripture, then you have to follow the word – chapter and verse. Steve Harvey et al all promote Christianity but also promote sex outside of marriage. There should be no talk of giving the cookie (as Mr Harvey puts it); if you are only going to have sex once you are married? If you claim to be something but do not act upon it – that makes you a fraud. Do I claim to be perfect? No. However, I am not pretending to have some God given authority on how to tell people to live their lives.
If this has not be enough to help you be able to spot these charlatans at thirty paces, here is a short checklist of their most common attributes.

• In possession of a sharp suit
• Usually not in the possession of any meaningful qualifications (Anything you can acquire online requiring less than a fortnight’s worth of study is not a meaningful qualification)
• Typically unmarried or divorced. The married experts have usually been married for just over 5 years
• They will without fail describe themselves as ‘God fearing’ in their bio
• If the relationship coaching doesn’t work out for them, they will reinvent themselves as Pastors or used car salesmen
• Lastly, if in doubt that this is a relationship expert, they will blame women for everything. Absolutely everything. Ladies, global warming and the financial meltdown is entirely your fault.

All jokes aside some of these relationship experts are nothing more than money hungry frauds looking for a quick buck. Although they are easy to poke fun at they represent a desire by some to drag women back to the dark ages, they are gatekeepers of the status quo. As women, Black women in particular have made strides educationally and economically their requirements of what they want in a mate have expanded. These relationship experts are all too happy to spread the myth that there is a good man shortage to induce panic/desperation and that all men want a clingy, needy woman who does their bidding. These relationship experts want women to return to a time when a woman was largely defined by her relationship status. They want to encourage Black women to put everyone else first and themselves last.

I am not against seeking professional advice; I just think it is wise to show discernment in whose advice we take. If I want relationship advice, I will speak to people in long term, happy unions. I will not listen to some ‘reformed player’ or a woman who accepts maltreatment from her own partner. Unfortunately life does not come with a manual and we will make mistakes, be hurt and sometimes hurt others. This is just part of the course. We have to deal with this and cannot give away our power and responsibility to these experts who are happy to take our money and provide a one size fits all approach to our problems. Only we can ‘fix’ our problems, some power dressed ‘expert’ will not save but only confuse us.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

There will be mourning

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Welcome

Velesha Keoma Griffith Percival passed away on 2nd March 2013 aged 32. She was one of my sister’s best friends and their friendship spans nearly two decades. Like most of my favourite people, she was a no nonsense woman with a dry wit and sense of fun. She leaves behind a beautiful daughter who will be raised by an army of mothers. I am grateful to her for the love and support she gave to my sister and my family. Sleep in perfect peace.

There will be mourning

Snow drains spring’s early charm

Grief dictates, leaving the air polluted with anguish

What once was is no more

Her past tense consumes the present

The days are dimmed, vulnerable, uncertain

Youth provides no protection

Memories fail to comfort

Mysterious ways remain a mystery

There will be mourning

I search for you, be my Lazarus

Make a lie of these proceedings

Your mothering had just begun

I will join the chorus to tell your daughter of her mother’s grace

All is borrowed and you are returned

We reflect the light you gave and are forever changed

The dark makes way for the day

For there will be morning

Suddie

Spike vs. Quentin

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Welcome

Fear not this will not be another post about ‘Django Unchained’ I am not in any position to offer a critique on a film that I have not seen. Instead I want to focus on Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino. Spike Lee has been damming about the ‘Django Unchained’ film claiming that it would be an insult to his ancestors to watch it. That in itself did not surprise me but I was really taken aback by the vitriol of some of the Black Tarantino supporters in cyberspace. Some claimed that Lee was nothing more than a jealous, bitter failure throwing insults at a more successful competitor. If we do compare the two it is easy to see that one has a love for his heritage while the other is more concerned with self promotion.

I may not have seen all of his films but there is no denying the importance of Spike Lee to Black cinema, in fact to cinema full stop. There was no taboo too big for him to tackle be it interracial relationships in ‘Jungle Fever’ racism in ‘Do the right thing’ and colourism in ‘School Daze’. I remember when ‘Malcolm X’ came out and the excitement the film caused. The backstory was just as dramatic as the film. The movie studio had allotted $30 million for all filming which proved to be inadequate. Undeterred Spike enlisted the financial assistance of Black celebrities, the likes of Oprah, Janet Jackson, Magic Johnson to name but a few to complete filming. In the United Kingdom the film had a ‘15’ rating and I had just turned fourteen. I begged my older cousin Jacqui to come with me. She was eighteen and I had hoped that her older mystique would assure my entry. It did.

It was the first time that going to see a film at the cinema felt like an entry to a movement. The film itself was a fitting tribute to a man who died because of his love for his people. It was lavish, powerful; it was a labour of love. It was always one of those rare moments in my adolescence were an international event gave me a swelling pride of my history, my culture of my Blackness. The film celebrated the African diaspora with the African American story at its heart. Watching famous African Americans rally together gave a moment for us all to feel proud. The completion of the film embodied truth and audacity. Many will argue that the film is not totally accurate, they might be right. However, the films power lies in the fact that it presented the truthful essence of what Malcolm X stood for: humanity and integrity even in the face of danger. Making a film or any kind of project without funding will take its creators to the brink of madness. Money is the sole reason why my project is not completed. To see a filmmaker create a film on that scale outside of the typical funding mechanics gives hope to any creative without a budget. Trust me, sometimes hope is all you have.

I am not a Spike Lee groupie. I often find that his female characters lack the easy depth he applies to his male leads. Nola Darling’s three suitors in ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ had more to say for themselves than the female protagonist. Likewise, the female characters in ‘School Daze’ were more akin to Stepford Wives than empowered, educated Black women. That said let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. To his credit he did executive produce the outstanding ‘Pariah’ based on the director Dee Reese’s experience of coming out in her early 20’s. We will have more complicated, meaty Black female roles on the big and small screen when we have more powerful Black women in the industry. It is not a coincidence that Olivia Pope is the creation of super producer Shondra Rhimes. I don’t think that she is largely loved by Black female audiences just because she is sleeping with the American President and has a fabulous wardrobe. She is loved because she is complicated, flawed, smart, vulnerable, capable and most importantly human. She is not neck swinging, overweight or the friend in the background. She is the leading lady.

I have not seen ‘Django Unchained’ and I am largely indifferent about it. Just for the record, I don’t believe that only a Black director can make a film about slavery. I don’t doubt that it’s very entertaining and I understand why Black audiences would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Firstly, we have a Black hero shooting at the Klan and managing to stay alive to the very end. Secondly, we have a Black damsel in distress. Sadly, I can’t think of another mainstream film that has a Black female lead that was worth killing and dying for. Thirdly, if there is anything that Quentin does well its dialogue so I imagine that the film is peppered with quotable chunks. Positives aside, it is Quentin Tarantino’s arrogance which has put me off heading off to the cinema to see his latest effort.

His off colour remarks about ‘Roots’ already put me on alert. He claimed that the narrative did not move him. Nearly 40 years on the impact that mini-series had on my parent’s generation is still apparent. I don’t have the words to express what it meant for my parents to see a primetime show depicting their history and their current struggle. To be dismissive of this seminal mini series and to offer a spaghetti western as some kind of definitive alternative is insulting. ‘Inglorious Basterds’ did not receive the same amount of uproar because it was predated by ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Life is Beautiful’ and various factual documentaries/films about the Holocaust. There isn’t the same wealth of mainstream information about slavery and its lasting effects on the African diaspora. Therefore when an opportunity like this comes up, the issues that it raises surely must be more important than its directors’ ego. Spielberg approached Alice Walker’s masterpiece ‘The Color Purple’ respectfully, dealing with issues such as racism, Black misogyny, enduring love and Black womanhood delicately. In comparison, Tarantino has no problem with altering historical fact for fear that details should get in the way of telling a good story.

I am really puzzled by the vigorous defending of Tarantino by members of Black cyberspace as though he is some kind of celluloid civil rights activist. He is a pop culture magpie, taking various elements from here and there. Quentin has no more love for Black culture than he does for Manga anime. He is an ‘auteur provocateur’ and knows that nothing more puts bums on seats than a little controversy. However, what really left a bitter taste was the rubbishing of Spike Lee’s career just because he didn’t join the Django bandwagon. Moviegoers do not need to agree with him but there is no need to disrespect him. Integrity is an expensive commodity and Spike Lee has paid a high price for not toeing the party line. Movie studios, distributors, cinema chains are similar to banks; they give the biggest loans/exposure to those who can make them the most money. A director with a few awards under his belt can command big budgets, big marketing campaigns, big crews, big stars and in turn hopefully produce a big return at the box office. If you lack awards, the second option is to play to the lowest common denominator: make a violent, sensational or a super hero feature which will appeal to the masses. If you choose not to go down those avenues you will soon find that the budgets, distributors, cinema releases shrink at a rapid rate. Spike Lee has chosen to stay true to his art irrespective of the cost. To have a career nearly spanning 30 years without ‘selling out’ is the type of success we all should aspire to. Even if he never again reaches the heights of ‘Malcom X’, Lee proved how empowering, universal Black cinema can be and for that I will always be grateful.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

The weight of great expectation

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Welcome 

       ‘If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content’    

                                                    (Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenia)  

How do you know if your partner is the one? Do soul mates exist? Is it ridiculous to expect one person to ‘complete you’? We sometimes make life harder for ourselves by having unrealistic expectations of others that no one can live up to. In the age of self help books, online dating gurus, relationship blogs and various magazine articles we are bombarded with experts telling us what we should feel and when we should feel it. If we set the bar for our love lives at such a high level aren’t we setting up our relationships for failure? 

We live in an age of unprecedented choice. We are all expected to strive for the perfect career, life and partner. Yet all of this choice comes with a price. If we fall short of making the best decisions in life we are made to feel that we have failed. Generations before relationships were such a pragmatic affair, you married the stable provider or the affable girl next door. Now it seems that people are paralysed by indecision, opting to flit in and out of relationships instead of deciding to commit to someone. At the end of the day that’s all that love is – a decision. You decide to allow someone into your life or to walk away.

The tools used to make that decision is very important. I have heard the strangest reasons given to explain why an individual ended a relationship. One friend told me that she hated the way that an ex boyfriend chewed their food. An acquaintance told me that although he really liked the woman he was dating that she wasn’t as glamorous as his previous girlfriends. He decided that he wasn’t comfortable being seen with her and let their relationship fizzle out. Attraction is important; it’s the magic ingredient which separates potential love matches from platonic friendships. That said people can allow really trivial things to thwart a solid relationship in the making. I really doubt that those who focus on the shallow and superficial are ready to experience a deep meaningful relationship.

I just want to reiterate that I am not in any way trying to champion settling or for making do with less than you deserve. However, as with anything in life there should be a clear distinction between the attributes/qualities which are deal breakers and those which can be lived without. Happier people are able to make that distinction. Personally, someone’s character, their moral/belief system, being family orientated would be deal breakers. Everything else can be worked around, work being the operative word. Anything worth having always requires effort. We have been indoctrinated by romantic films that love conquers all, with minimal effort. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is not reality. We all come to any relationship with our past experiences, baggage, dreams and issues. It is our own personal responsibility to deal with this. It’s wonderful when we come across someone who inspires us to become better people but it’s the individual who has to do all the heavy lifting, resolving past issues and achieving various milestones. It is also for our own self preservation that we enter relationships as complete individuals. We leave ourselves in a perilous position when we expect others to make us totally happy. It is exhausting to be someone’s everything and cannot be sustained in the long term. It is also easier to manipulate someone who is desperate to be loved. Those with confidence will not stay in a relationship where their needs are not being met.

 We should be glad that not only one person can make us happy. It makes the odds of finding love very favourable. Those who do hold on to this belief are set up to have unrealistic standards for themselves and others. There is no magic equation to love, even if someone were to tick every single box, there is still an element of risk. Love is the ability to care for others without fear or judgement. It requires courage as we have to let our defences down and be vulnerable. It is not always an easy process, it requires constant effort. All we can do is try our utmost to ensure that our relationships are worth the work needed. If two people can be kind, share similar values, be honest and authentic with each other, they have a shot. The search for perfection is just another barrier for those who are too scared to reveal who they really are. Let’s not continue to waste time chasing after an abstract ideal and celebrate our unique imperfections.

 Please let me know your thoughts

 Sudelicious