Friday, October 31, 2008
This shit is wild.
Waiting in line to vote on something that will affect you for the next four years > Waiting in line for a product that will be obselete by the end of the year like whatever Sony or Apple is putting on the market.
This has been a public service announcement on behalf of everybody here at His Aura Was Orange.
Starting with this: Wednesday's Woman: Danielle Harris
She starred in Halloween 4 & 5 as Michael Myers adolescent niece and thus the target of his rage. Poor kid, I know. She was then asked to come back and appeared in last years Rob Zombie Halloween remake as Laurie Strode's best friend (the character's name escapes me at the moment). Well let me say, she was like 9 in the first two Halloweens she was in and was 30 in last year's release and time was kind to her. I'm not too familiar with many of her other roles but I might have to start familiarizing myself with her work from here on out because she is quite the young starlet. So to bottom line all this don't take it from me, see for yourself...
The 2008 Leading Nominee of the Meagan Goode Award for growing up from child roles and becoming fine, Danielle Harris.
Backdrop to this picture:
Harold Livingston, assistant manager of a gas station near his home, said today he was wondering why so many people were stopping at his house and taking pictures. One of the photographs ended up being posted at politico.com, a national political Web site....
Livingston says he’s the one who put up the Confederate flag and his wife, Brenda, is the Obama supporter.
Although some people regard the Confederate flag as a racist symbol, Livingston said that’s not the case. Those who think the flag is racist are probably racist themselves, he said.
“I think it’s (the flag is) about the South and it’s a pretty flag,” he said.
In the Livingstons’ back yard, a pirate flag flies atop another flagpole. The flags aren’t about politics, he said.
“I don’t vote,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what president we have."
The bigger problem, he said, is members of Congress who serve more than eight years, the maximum a president can hold office,
Brenda Livingston is a nurse practicing in Mooresville. A registered Republican, she has canvassed for Obama, a Democrat, and even met Michelle Obama, the wife of the Illinois senator.
Harold Livingston, who says he’s an atheist, said, “We don’t talk religion or politics.”
Thursday, October 30, 2008
|LeBron James and Jay-Z at The Q|
LeBron out there looking like the biggest kid in elementary and shit, LOL. Naw in fairness LeBron is doing something few athletes have the guts to do and making it known where he stands and who he stands with in plain sight of everybody. Jordan didn't even do that. That kind of public transparency is cool to me. Also it doesn't hurt that he's on my side on this one too.
For the past couple of weeks, I've been talking to people in Fishtown, and I've found much the same thing. Obama's skin color is a problem for many white voters in Philly — but with the economy in ruins, they're turning to Obama anyway. Call it the Fishtown Effect.
What this means for the general election might be pretty straightforward: Obama may win even the votes of prejudiced whites. But what, exactly, it says about race in Philadelphia — or America — is a lot harder to figure out.
Consider Patrick McGowan, a union carpenter whom I met at Murph's bar on Girard, just a block down from the Fishtown for Obama office. McGowan said he was voting for Obama.
"Everyone's voting for him," he said.
Would race be an obstacle?
"Not at all — not for anybody who's a working man paying taxes," he assured, adding: "First of all, he's not all black. And maybe if a black person gets in there to be president, it'll keep all the crybabies from crying discrimination."
McGowan, like many of the Fishtowners I spoke with, was ready to assess Obama on his merits as a candidate, even as he viewed blacks in general as a monolithic, possibly hostile group.
Another man, a retired blue-collar worker and lifetime Fishtowner who declined to give his name — let's call him Jim the Fishtowner — struck a similar tone, though he viewed a potential Obama administration as more problematic.
"It's not that he's black," Jim insisted. "But it's what the blacks will do if he wins, that's what bothers me. ... If Obama wins, the blacks are gonna say, 'We're taking charge, he's our president.' You know how they get."
Jim was convinced Obama would be a better president than McCain. But he couldn't let go of an almost tribal mind-set.
"When Wilson Goode burnt down half of Southwest Philadelphia, they re-elected him — because of color," he said.
At least hope is on the horizon though if Obama wins. He can literally do in the office of the presidency what everyday blacks have failed to do individually for years, disprove so many ignorant preconceptions held against blacks.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
No way do I believe even for a second Barack let this scrub win.
Woman is an O.G. Good shit.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I've been very critical of 'black leaders' the past several years and its finally come to a head today.
I've always been anti-Jesse Jackson 100% but in truth I had been less troubled by Al Sharpton for whatever reason even though now I see that was a mistake. Al lost the last inkling of the passive silence I afforded him for his latest stunt, going after New York Post columnist Steve Serby for some admittedly inartful comments about Tom Coughlin as it pertained to his star wideout Plaxico Burress. Serby began his column in the Monday edition by opining:
"Good for Tom Coughlin. Good for Coughlin for tightening the noose around Plaxico Burress."
This was an extremely clumsy and poor choice of words, granted, but Sharpton needs to reexamine his priorities right now. Just for comparison, Barack Obama has had his life threatened by two separate incidents that we know about in the past two months since procuring his party's nomination by people who want him dead because he's black (read here and here). A part of this is normal risk that all presidents and public figures face everyday by being important policy makers that might offend a certain segment of nutjobs and wackos out there but no sane person denies that what Barack Obama faces is unlike the security threats that John McCain has had to on a day to day basis throughout the campaign. I say this because it's important that we have leaders that might speak right now in this time of great tension to perhaps quell the heat radiating from the minds of others and remind the masses that we are all one and we all have a place at the table of America and that to defeat one politician with assassin's bullets instead of argued ideas is a direct violation of our democracy and our countries highest values. Sharpton has yet to use his power for good in that capacity.
A white woman in Pennsylvania who fabricated reports of an unnamed black man who attacked and mamed her for her political persuasion and perhaps her race. That was a teaching moment for Sharpton. That was a moment where Sharpton who has been bamboozled and conned by similarly false hoaxes could have met the woman's family, perhaps lent his comfort to her, spoke to the local authorities about making sure the woman got the help she clearly needs as opposed to the ire that he himself knew all to well having been made to look like a fool by charges that ere less than truthful. He could have spoke about how more then ever in these times we need to work harder than ever to make sure something like this doesn't happen again and more importantly cannot happen to exploit the worse impulses and devilish urges we have to believe things that cause us to show our prejudice before learning the truths and motives of everyone so that we can get it right and that justice above all, above our own tribal divisions and petty biases, is out cheif goal. Sharpton instead lost out on that chance.
Monday we learned that the forces of evil had struck again. This time in Jackson, Mississippi as a memorial dedicated to Emmitt Till, an unfortunate casualty of the worst savagery of the twentieth century in the depths of segregated Mississippi, was destroyed by vandals who hadn't the decency to honor the tribute the boy has earned from so many who grieved for him or at the very least respect the loss of basic human life. We needed you Al. We needed you to go down there and stand up and give coverage to a story that many people hadn't even heard it reported. We needed Al to take umbrage personally and not give comfort to those who cower in the dark shadows, those in the hateful minorty, and instead remind them that this behavior is not okay and that is not acceptable and we will not turn away. We needed him to tell them that we will not be changed by your bigotry but will instead change your bigotry. We're keeping a watchful eye on you and your kind and that we will flush you out because we're not going backwards in this country. We're going forward. We needed Al to remind him that we don't revisit history and retread the steps our nation has already been in, we forge on and make history but Al instead chose to remain silent.
And finally and perhaps most dusturning of all these recent racialized stories of domestic terrorism that largely go unchecked On Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, in Paris, Texas Brandon McClelland a black man, was on a late-night beer run across state lines to Oklahoma with two white friends last month and ended up dead on a rural Texas road. Authorities say he was run over by a pickup and then dragged as far as 70 feet beneath the truck. Two white men have been charged with murder in the case. We needed you to make national waves about this. Make it known to people who want to wholesale discount that this kind of stuff still goes on. Make it known to those as a reminder that apathy always makes this kind of behavior okay. Al, it was your responsibility in this matter to bring this to the forefront of the news for at least one newscycle. If one college woman who can fabricate a story about a racial hatred tinged in political intolerance can grab a week of headlines, surely you can hold the nations attention for one damn day over real actual factual authentic racial hate crimes that ought to be recognized.
Of course you can't do these things that we ask. That would be asking for too much wouldn't it? It would be too damned hard. Defending the honor of athletes who should be paid handsomely enough to have thick enough skin for this not to be an issue is more fitting of your pay grade isn't it? In truth you never really ever were in it for the justice, you were in it for something else. What that something else might be I don't know because I rarely try to assign motives but whatever it was, it couldn't have been as honorable as justice though, could it?
No Al, you've lost many bouts in your career but never did I think you'd completely lose your mind.
Make a long story short my grandmother worked all her life, couldn't afford to go to college or have the opportunity, gave all she had for the entire duration of her years and she's a better woman than this young dude is a man and she never was a millionaire. I'm regretful that he has access to this kind of money because he doesn't deserve to.
Besides the obvious stink that this is tack and cliched, they should have never gave this nigga money.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This is fairly awesome.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Fluctuating weight throughout their entire careers, but more often than not on the losing side of the battle of the bulge. Both annoying and neither really know when to call it a career.
A lot of was expected, but nothing really ever happened. Kind of forget both of them exist anymore.
Essentially very talented at their craft. Both are sure fire Hall of Famers. Their biggest knock has always been their ability to help lift others more than they've ever been able to do for themselves. Jada always saves his best for everybody else's projects and then seldom leaves anything spectacular for his own albums. In effect, even after a million albums he could never ever be able to put together a 'Greatest Hits' compilation that didn't consist of at least 90% of his own features on other people's projects. Both of these two are just very limited in their own range but help set up any and everyone they team up with. Nobody active has more assists than them.
Their best qualities are being annoying and punks and a bitches.
Their uniqueness gives their fans a reason to be drawn to them but let's face it, it's probably not going to really happen for them. They probably get less respect than they deserve but there's not a groundswell to admit it. The best player on their teams get so much shine that they're never going to be taken all that serious by comparison, fairly or unfairly.
Not hard to like, fun-natured, all-around game having good dudes. Very well-liked.
Carlos Boozer = Pusha T
Very talented and able. Have to get out from around snow to be more universally recognized. Will seemingly always fly under the radar though.
Both make their living around the block. Not afraid to get physical and mix it up.
Both had their biggest openings in 2000 when their stock was at the absolute highest but since haven't turned out into nearly how many might have thought they'd turn out. God love 'em but neither really has shown any heart in a long long time. Although they're not without a few bright spots, they largely won't ever be anything more than what they are. Hard to see them as Hall of Famers but damned if we don't check in with them every once in a while to see what kind of shit they're up to from time to time.
Unanimous winner of the "What The Hell Happened To This Nigga Right Here" award. Certainly was at the top of his game in the mid-late 90's but fell on tough times since. Sometime, somewhere along the line they just said fuck being good and turned awful at once. Damn shame.
Those who like him, love him and those who don't, never will so knowing this they're smart enough not to be anything other than themselves. Just very focused on doing their own things; some might even call it, dare I say 'ign'ant. Certainly puts up numbers thought. Definitely has their cities behind them as well.
Both have taken a lot of shots tin their life.Both not shy about how they feel about themselves too. Have been good to the media and generous with their quotes in their day.
Chicago natives who came on the scene in a big way in '06. Multifaceted and very cerebral in how they approach their craft. Doesn't have to be the most heralded person in the room. Comfortable being the low key person.
For some reason, and only God Almighty knows what that reason might be, they carry popularity of entire legions of people. Now the constituencies are generally the same: white kids and assholes but oh how strong they are in numbers on the internet. They're pretty much as annoying as the Ron Paul zombies that troll around message boards in how you can never shut them up even in the face of logic. Is there some talent in these two though? Yes. As to how much talent is as arguable as the presidential race. To borrow a Jim Ross quote "I'd love to buy them for what they're worth and sell them for what they think they're worth".
Grimy, gully, and unkempt but respected. Neither will ever be embraced in a commercial sense but that means very little to their fans as long as they keep on doing them.
Always comes thru in the clutch. Can always be depended on in the clutch every couple years when everyone is looking toward them for a big one. Rarely disappoints. Most unconventional hall of famers ever.
Tony Parker = Fatman Scoop
Does what he does on the low for a while now. Linked inextricably to his wife. Sometimes speaks in undecipherable garbage.
One of the best hands down. Respected but never ever gets his just due for all he's done thru his career. Only recently really gotten the universal praise he's deserved all along. When you step back and put their catalogs against the best, they more than hold their own.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
CLEVELAND (AP) — NBA superstar LeBron James and Grammy-winning recording artist Jay-Z want people to get out early to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
James and Jay-Z will host a rally Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland which will include a free concert by the hip-hop star.
James attended a Cleveland rally earlier this month to encourage people to vote for Obama. He's also contributed $20,000 to a committee supporting the presidential nominee.
I have no love whatsoever for Cleveland, OH but this sounds big. They certainly don't deserve this. Sadface for Cincinnati, the realest city in Ohio.
Ken Mink missed out on his second year of juco basketball 53 years ago when he joined the Air Force. It's something he's always regretted. Today, he's one of the Roane State Raiders and, at 73, possibly one of the oldest collegiate players in history.
And still I think I'd rather have him than Kobe on my team. Definitely rather him come off the bench that Brian Scalabrine, though.
Kudos to the old timers though.
And for the fans of Jon B. that can't wait until then but promise to buy the album on Tuesday and support him in his independent endeavors because he's earned your money with this album, like myself, download a few standout tracks below that I put together in rar form from ZShare. But like I said, BUY THE ALBUM TUESDAY!
(Scroll over list below and click)
Jon B. - Drops of Rain
Jon B. - Get What U Want
Jon B. - In Too Deep
Jon B. - Paradise In You
Jon B. - Need It Bad
Remember to buy the man's album, once again, because he deserves your support unlike so many other bullshit artists that people continually support for whatever the hell reason. If you can download, you can buy.
I can't take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I'm anxious all the time and taking it out on my ex-wife, which, ironically, I'm finding enjoyable. This is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. Actually, it's worse. Biopsies only take a few days, maybe a week at the most, and if the biopsy comes back positive, there's still a potential cure. With this, there's no cure. The result is final. Like death.
Five times a day I'll still say to someone, "I don't know what I'm going to do if McCain wins." Of course, the reality is I'm probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I'm not going to kill myself. If I didn't kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I'm certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it's by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it's due to racism rather than if it's stolen. If it's racism, I can say, "Okay, we lost, but at least it's a democracy. Sure, it's a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it's a democracy." If he loses because it's stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I'd rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one. (It's not exactly a Hobson's choice, but it's close, and I think Hobson would compliment me on how close I've actually come to giving him no choice. He'd love that!)
The one concession I've made to maintain some form of sanity is that I've taken to censoring my news, just like the old Soviet Union. The citizenry (me) only gets to read and listen to what I deem appropriate for its health and well-being. Sure, there are times when the system breaks down. Michele Bachmann got through my radar this week, right before bedtime. That's not supposed to happen. That was a lapse in security, and I've had to make some adjustments. The debates were particularly challenging for me to monitor. First I tried running in and out of the room so I would only hear my guy. This worked until I knocked over a tray of hors d'oeuvres. "Sit down or get out!" my host demanded. "Okay," I said, and took a seat, but I was more fidgety than a ten-year-old at temple. I just couldn't watch without saying anything, and my running commentary, which mostly consisted of "Shut up, you prick!" or "You're a fucking liar!!!" or "Go to hell, you cocksucker!" was way too distracting for the attendees, and finally I was asked to leave.Assuming November 4th ever comes, my big decision won't be where I'll be watching the returns, but if I'll be watching. I believe I have big jinx potential and may have actually cost the Dems the last two elections. I know I've jinxed sporting events. When my teams are losing and I want them to make a comeback, all I have to do is leave the room. Works every time. So if I do watch, I'll do it alone. I can't subject other people to me in my current condition. I just don't like what I've turned into -- and frankly I wasn't that crazy about me even before the turn. This election is having the same effect on me as marijuana. All of my worst qualities have been exacerbated. I'm paranoid, obsessive, nervous, and totally mental. It's one long, intense, bad trip. I need to come down. Soon.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Black College Student In Missouri Returns a Pair Of Shoes And Gets a Receipt Calling Him a 'Dumb Nigger'
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Top Ten Fresh Prince Moments (that I can find on the internet) from funny to funniest. Enjoy, LOL.
This is funny to me in so much as how surreal it is from the court size, the showboatery (is that a word) and just the And1 nature of the clip. I laugh everytime.
Carlton and a microphone singing equals funny all the time.
"Word to Big Bird" - Will Smith
There's not an adult alive now who was a kid at the time of this show that doesn't have this in their top ten funniest clips real, period.
Once again, Carlton singing therefor creating classic material.
Somehow I don't doubt hip-hop will at some point in it's future create a song that samples this. The scary part? It might be ill.
If Carlton singing is good, Carlton dancing is great. Oprah theme song + Carlton dancing at an inappropriate time is brilliant.
"You must have me confused with yo mamma" gets people fucked up everyday, every hour in believe it or not many various levels of income nationally. This clip illustrates that point.
I wrestled internally and almost tore my soul into two when deciding whether this should be here or number one and it was close; closer than two buttcheeks in prison, even. In the end I chose the clip to be here and I might live to regret that but you tell me.
Carlton, shows his compassion for the Trix rabbit in this absolutely hilarious clip. God ghostwrote this episode I'm convinced. If he didn't write the episode in it's entirety he did write this scene. Enjoy!
The Rare Full length Intro to "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air"
Elaine Boule, the manager of the Red Arrow Diner, one of this heavy-contested city's most popular eating establishments, was a Hillary Clinton supporter. Now she's for Obama.
Also it's worth mentioning that she's also a Republican.
*Thanks to The Political Carnival*
Monday, October 20, 2008
And I came across this interesting breakdown of career numbers between Paul Pierce (my favorite basketball player), Kobe Bryant (widely believed in many basketball circles to be the best basketball player in the world) and Michael Jordan. Now I've always believed that Pierce is the best basketball player and as you may well be aware the internet is the prom for Kobe-stanleys and so I've had many run-ins with them through the years but to put it in perspective of how similar their numbers have been even before Paul Pierce's breakout season last year these were the numbers of all three players in comparison (You can click the pic to enlarge it if it isn't legible enough):
So to put it bluntly, when Paul Pierce gets another ring, as he most certainly will, and gets an additional Finals MVP trophy, the Kobe Cult should be very afraid. Very afraid as Paul will have gotten another year closer in matching your God's rings and having already matched his stats and have more Finals MVP trophies as well and thus will be regarded as the.better.basketball.player.of.his.day *gasp*
Be afraid, stanleys.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
“I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls. If I were watching Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me, right? Because the way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?”
“I guess the point I’m making is that there is an entire industry now, an entire apparatus, designed to perpetuate this cultural schism, and it’s powerful. People want to know that you’re fighting for them, that you get them. And I actually think I do. But you know, if people are just seeing me in sound bites, they’re not going to discover that. That’s why I say that some of that may have to happen after the election, when they get to know you.”
Truth to power!
"Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."
We really need to elect a person that understands this.
So anyway I check his blog from time to time and I recently came across an entry he posted last week that explains his relationship with his absentee mother who had him when she was young and it's not quite as touching as a Mother's Day Card but it goes a long way toward explaining Gilbert in a way that his on the court facade is incapable of. This is an excellent read, so check it out and see if you don't come out respecting him just a little more than you did before reading it:
I have something to clear up. I read a comment on my last entry. I always like to read the comments, because there’s always going to be somebody who disagrees with everything and goes against the grain. Someone commented and said:
WHERE IS THE WOMAN THAT GAVE BIRTH TO YOU? STILL LIVING IN THE PROJECTS. LIFE ISN'T FAIR, YOU GAVE SO MANY CHANCES TO LAURA, BUT NOT YOUR OWN MOTHER...
I thought about it and this blog post is my response to that comment.
For all the people who don’t know the story, a story came out two years ago by Mike Wise of the Washington Post about my life. This was before I had the blog, so I never actually got to comment on it. It was about what happened between me and my mother and all that.
The funny part is that I never heard the story of my upbringing before until we got put out of the playoffs against Cleveland the first time and my dad was just sitting there next to me and he says out of the blue, “How come you never asked about your mother?”
I was like, “I don’t know.”
He was like, “You never wondered where your mother was in your life?”
I was like, “No. When I was about eight-years old do you remember that fight I got in school and they kicked me out?”
He said, “Yeah, I remember.”
“Well, the other guy said something about my mother and then the fight started. While I was sitting in the detention hall waiting for you to pick me up, I thought about it. I’ve been fighting my whole life, beating up kids who talk about my mother and I don’t even know her. From that day I really took her out of my life and never thought about it anymore.”
So my dad says, “Do you want to hear the story?”
I say, “Not really,” because I’m watching the playoffs on TV and I’m still mad that we lost.
“Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.”
He starts telling me the story …
“You know, me and your mother … She was a basketball player and I played basketball and we met in Tampa …
And I go, “Oh, OK, so that’s where I get my athleticism from,” you know, I’m trying to throw little jokes in there on the side.
He goes, “No, no, Gilbert. Be serious.”
“OK, OK, go on.”
He was like, “I was in college at the University of Miami and she was living with her parents and me until she moved out to the projects with me in Tampa, Florida.”
So, she was in Tampa and he was in Miami going to college and he came down to visit her early one time to surprise her and me and long story short, she was there with somebody else and doing drugs. They broke up right there and he went back to school.
Back in Miami, he ended up breaking his leg and had to leave school to come back to Tampa to be closer to me I guess. While he was coming back to Tampa, he didn’t know it, but she was going up to Miami to move with the other guy because she was pregnant by the other guy.
Now, my mom had another kid by the dude she was moving to Miami with whose name is “Blue” living with us in Tampa. So when she ran off, she left me and my stepbrother Blue with the dude’s mother. The dude’s mother called my father and said, “I’m going to give you a second chance to be a father.”
She was like, “Francis,” (my mother’s name is Francis), “Francis hasn’t been here for months. She hasn’t seen her kids in months and I’m getting ready to turn your son over to the state. You can come down here and pick your kid up.”
So my dad drove down and picked me up right before the foster care was coming to get me. I guess my dad and my mom talked about it a couple months after he got me and they agreed that she was going to come and get me back. And she never did.
Next I stayed with my grandmother, my dad’s mother, in Tampa while my dad moved to California to try to find work as an actor. While I was living with my grandmother I lived across the street from Mike Williams who played football at USC. He’s not in the league anymore – I don’t know why. We were best friends though. Both of our grandparents still live across the street from each other in Tampa to this day.
Once my dad was settled in California he flew me out there to be with him, but he wasn’t established enough to support me, so he flew me back to his mother in Tampa to stay with her some more. Then he came to get me the final time and that’s when we drove all the way from coast to coast. This whole process took four or five years. My grandmom and my dad’s brothers watched me.
From there, it was just my dad and me. When I was little it didn’t bother me, but I always thought about it so when slow songs came on like when Tupac came out with “Dear Mama,” those were the songs that kind of hurt me, like, “Dang, where’s my mom? Is she ever going to see me? Is she ever going to come out here?”
But I never asked my dad, I was too proud to ask him because he had his own thing going on trying to get work and find work and keep getting into the acting thing.
So when I grew up, I never really asked. I was just bad. I put all my anger out by causing trouble. I didn’t get in trouble trouble like stealing and all that. I did stupid, funny stuff like Dennis the Menace trouble like you’re living in an apartment building and you break all the tops off the automatic sprinklers on the lawns so when the sprinklers come on, they just shoot straight up into the air like waterfalls. That was my kind of stuff. You know, throwing dye into the pool and making it red or green, that was my kind of stuff.
Once I started playing basketball I remember sitting at home one day and looking in the mirror with a basketball resting on my head and making a promise to God. The first thing I said was, “If you ever let me see my mother, I swear I won’t ask her anything, all I want to do is see her. I just want to meet her. I just want to be a kid who gets to meet his mother. I won’t ask no questions, I won’t think about it, I’ll let it go right there.” The second thing was, “If you ever get me to the NBA, I’ll never do drugs or anything like that.”
Both of them came true.
Meeting My Mom
It was 2002. I was on the Golden State Warriors and we were playing in Miami. It was the first time I actually put braids in my hair. This was when I had the little funky, ugly hairdo when I was trying to mimic Kobe but my curls wouldn’t curl right back then.
So it’s before the game, we’re on the court and I hear this woman screaming my name. I’m thinking, “I know I don’t have any fans like that in Miami. I mean, I know I get buckets, but I ain’t got no fans …” and then I turned around and saw the lady and she says to me, “I’m your mother.”
All I can remember is all the anger from all the years of beating up kids from them talking about my mother, it just got charged inside of me after I saw her. I played that game so angry that I got kicked out of the game for throwing my headband into the crowd.
After the game she met us by the bus and fell into my arms crying and said again, “I’m your mother.” Then she said her name. That was the first time I had ever seen her. I never even saw a picture of her before. I didn’t know if she was dark skinned/light skinned, I didn’t know nothing. She gave me her number and we had to go, so I got on the bus and I called my dad.
“Yo, what was my mom’s name?”
“Well, I think I just met her.”
He asked for her number and he called her and that was the last I ever heard of her until my dad told me the story after the Cavs series and it was the last time I ever saw her Mike Wise’s story included a picture of her. When I saw her by the bus it was all a blur, I didn’t really have an image of her in my head. The first time I got to see her see her was when that article came out.
So, back to the comment. When the commenter goes, “How come you never gave your mother a second chance?” I thought about it. That’s not a question you need to be asking me, that’s a question you need to be asking her.
You give somebody a second chance when you’ve cut them off in the past. Like, if I fire somebody, for instance, I could give them a second chance. She left me. She should have given me a second chance. That’s how I look at the situation.
My grandma has been in that same house in Tampa since my dad was little, almost 60 years living in the same house. She hasn’t moved. You know where to find me.
That’s how I look at a lot of people in my family. When me and my dad left, where were they? My dad keeps in touch with a lot of people in the family. I don’t. I feel that those are his family. On my side, all I know is my dad. He’s my family.
Me and my dad get in arguments about this because when we were struggling, we were they? We’ve been away from them for 15 years and I never got one card, no happy birthday, no nothing. I didn’t get anything. No one called me, I didn’t talk to anybody. Everyone started to talk to me because I was playing in college. I remember them, but at the end of the day, they’re strangers to me now.
How I look at the situation with my mom is, I don’t want to know you as a basketball player. I’ll know you when I’m done playing. I’ll know you as a man. Like, “These are my kids. This is my family. How are you doing?”
I don’t want to know you as an NBA player because I don’t know what the angle is. I don’t know if you want to reconnect with your son or if you want to reconnect with the man who is playing in the NBA. If I was your son, then I was your son for all of these years. I wasn’t your son once I made it to the league so you can tell all your friends, “Oh, that’s my son!” That’s how I look at the situation and it’s kind of funny because I never really thought about it until I read that comment.
I heard she has eight other kids besides me and they don’t live with her, but I don’t judge people because, hey, who knows what happened in her life that made her do the things she did. She was a young mother who probably couldn’t take care of things and that happens. I don’t fault her for that. I became a man and with my children I know what not to be. I don’t want my children looking at me how I look at her.
There’s going to be one day when I knock on that door and say, “Hi, I’m Gilbert. I’m your son.” But not while I’m playing basketball. I don’t want nobody coming into my life while I’m a pro because there’s been all these years when I wasn’t and no one came into it.
Me and my dad, we don’t see eye to eye on this. He tries to bring up the past like, “They took care of you …” and this and this and I’m like, “I understand that. They took care of me for those years when I was young, but there’s been a 15-year gap when I didn’t hear from nobody.” You know them because they’re your brothers and they’re your friends, but I don’t know them personally. I grew out of them.
There’s a lot of players that are going through this and there are a lot of people who are going through this and everybody has to deal with it the way that they see it. I see it that I grew into a man and I have to make a manly decision and my decision is that while I’m a professional, I don’t want to know you. When I’m done and I’m just a man and a father, OK, there we go, we can try to reconnect my relationship with her.
For the person who wrote that comment, I don’t take as disrespectful, but I look at it like she should have given me a second chance instead of me giving her a second chance because I never did anything to her. I just don’t know her.
I’ve never been tempted to call her after she gave me her number back in 2002 because I felt like I would be lying to the man above. When I prayed that day, I told Him that I wasn’t going to do anything or ask her anything. I just wanted a chance to see her and I got that.
Plus, once I grew out of thinking about her all the time, I didn’t have any questions really. There was nothing I wanted to say. I didn’t want to say, “Why did you leave me?” because to be honest, I don’t care. I say I don’t care because it got me to the situation I’m in now and I became a better person. And, I can’t judge because at the end of the day, it could have been flipped where I’m looking at my dad the way I look at her if he hadn’t had come and got me or if she wouldn’t have left me. I’d be looking at my dad like, “Who are you? I don’t know you.”
Some people are fortunate enough to have two parents. I was fortunate to have just my dad.
Friday, October 17, 2008
"Are You Black or Are You White?" by Sheila Weller
RASHIDA: I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. My mother shocked her Jewish parents by marrying out of her religion and race. And my father: growing up poor and black, buckling the odds and becoming so successful, having the attitude of “I love this woman! We’re going to have babies and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it!”
KIDADA: We had a sweet, encapsulated family. We were our own little world. But there’s the warmth of love inside a family, and then there’s the outside world. When I was born in 1974, there were almost no other biracial families--or black families--in our neighborhood. I was brown-skinned with short, curly hair. Mommy would take me out in my stroller and people would say, “What a beautiful baby...whose is it?” Rashida came along in 1976. She had striate hair and lighter skin. My eyes were brown; hers were green. IN preschool, our mother enrolled us in the Buckley School, an exclusive private school. It was almost all white.
RASHIDA: In reaction to all that differentess, Kidada tried hard to define herself as a unique person by becoming a real tomboy.
KIDADA: While Rashida wore girly dresses, I loved my Mr. T dolls and my
Jaws T-shirt. But seeing the striate hair like the other girls had, like my sister had...I felt: “It’s not fair! I want that hair!”
PEGGY: I was the besotted mother of two beautiful daughters I’d had with the man I loved--I saw Kidada through those eyes. I thought she had the most gorgeous hair--those curly, curly ringlets. I still think so!
KIDADA: One day a little blond classmate just out and called me “Chocolate bar.” I shot back: “Vanilla!”
QUINCY: I felt deeply for Kidada; I thought racism would beover by the eighties. My role was to put things in perspective for her, project optimism, imply that things were better than they’d been for me growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1930s.
KIDADA: I had another hurdle as a kid: I was dyslexic. I was held back in second grade. I flunked algebra three times. The hair, the skin, the frustration with schoolwork: It was all part of the shake. I was a strong-willed, quirky child--mischievous.
RASHIDA: Kidada was cool. I was a dork. I had a serious case of worship for my big sister. She was so strong, so popular, so rebellious. Here’s the difference in our charisma: When I was 8 and Kidada was 10, we tried to get invited into the audience of our favorite TV shows. Mine was Not Necessarily the News, a mock news show, and hers was Punky Brewster, about a spunky orphan. I went by the book, writing a fan letter--and I got back a form letter. Kidada called the show, used her charm, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Within a week she was invited to the set!
KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I didn’t want my mother to come to my new school. If kids saw her, it would be: “your mom’s white!” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. Did Rashida have that problem? No! She passed for white.
RASHIDA: “Passed”?! I ad no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.
KIDADA: Let me make this clear: My feelings about my looks were never “in comparison to” Rashida. It was the white girls in class that I compared myself to. Racial issues didn’t exist at home. Our parents weren’t black and white; they were Mommy and Daddy.
RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. Our dad’s father died before we were born. We didn’t see our dad’s mother often. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Kidada wasn’t so comfortable with them. I felt Jewish; Kidada didn’t.
KIDADA I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them.
While Rashida stayed and excelled at Buckley, Kidada bumped from school to school; she got expelled from 10 in all because of behavior problems, which turned out to be related to her dyslexia.
RASHIDA: Kidada was angry. She fought with my mom and dad, often about school. She was a force, and I had to be the opposite force to balance her. So I’d be the one to finish my homework and be in the school play. I enjoyed all that, but I also knew I had to “make nice” on the deepest level. I especially made nice with Kidada. I did her chores. I’d do anything if she’d promise she’d give me her attention or a piece of clothing. She was a style leader, wearing Betsey Johnson minis and Doc Martens with Daddy’s tux jackets. Not that being nice got me points with her. She and her cool friends would stick their heads in my room, where I’d be typing on my big computer--it was very uncool to have one in 1986--and go: “Nerd!” Having Kidada for a sister was boot camp!
KIDADA: I’m a tough trainer. I strengthened you up, little sister.
QUINCY: Even when the girls would spat, there was love there. And they had such talent: When Kidada was seven, her teachers talked about her sense of fashion. And Rashie: I’d come home from scoring movies at five in the morning, pass her bedroom--and she’d be under the sheet with a flashlight, reading five books at once.
RASHIDA: Mom protected Kidada. She never came down on her for being mean to me because she didn’t want to make it harder for her than it already was.
PEGGY: We would watch Miss America, and the girls would ask, “Mommy, why is everybody white?” That’s when I’d say, “One day everyone will be brown.” But maybe it was easier for me to say it than for them to feel it.
KIDADA: We had a nanny, Anna, from El Salvador. I couldn’t get away with stuff with her. Mommy knew Anna could give her the backup she needed in the discipline department because she was my color. Anna was my “ethnic mama.”
PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She spoke with a little...twist in her language. She had ‘tude. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U.S.!”
KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. Why fight it? Everyone wanted to put me in a box. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother--who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike--but: I am black. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. She uses all the adjectives: black, white, Jewish.
RASHIDA: Yes, I do. And I get: “But you look so white!” “You’re not black!” I want to say: “Do you know how hurtful that is to somebody who identifies so strongly with half of who she is?” Still, that’s not as bad as when people don’t know. A year ago a taxi driver said to me, That Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman. Thank God she left that disgusting black man, Puffy.” I said, “I’m black.” He tried to smooth it over. IF you’re obviously black, white people watch their tongues, but with me they think they can say anything. When people don’t know “what” you are, you get your heart broken daily.
KIDADA: Rashida has it harder than I do: She can feel rejection from both parties.
RASHIDA: When I audition for white roles, I’m told I’m “too exotic.” When I go up for black roles, I’m told I’m “too light.” I’ve lost a lot of jobs, looking the way I do.
PEGGY: As Kidada grew older, it became clear that she wouldn’t be comfortable unless she was around kids who looked more like her. So I searched for a private school that had a good proportion of black students, and when she was 12, I found one.
KIDADA: That changed everything. I’d go to my black girlfriends’ houses and--I wanted their life! I lived in a gated house in a gated neighborhood, where playdates were: “My security will call your security.” Going to my black friends’ houses, I saw a world that was warm and real, where families sat down for dinner together. At our house, Rashida and I often ate dinner on trays, watching TV in Anna’s room, because our dada was composing and performing at night and Mom sat in on his sessions.
RASHIDA: But any family, from any background, can have that coziness too.
KIDADA: I’m sure that’s true, but I experienced all that heart and soul in black families. I started putting pressure on Mommy to let me go to a mostly black public school. I was on her and on her and on her. I wouldn’t let up until she said yes.
PEGGY: So one day when Kidada was 14, we drove to Fairfax High, where I gave a fake address and enrolled her.
KIDADA: All those kids! A deejay in the quad at lunch! Bus passes! All those cute black boys; no offense, but I thought white boys were boring. I fit in right away; the kids had my outgoing vibe. My skin and hair had been inconveniences at my other schools--I could never get those Madonna spiked bangs that all the white girls were wearing--but my girlfriends at Fairfax thought my skin was beautiful, and they loved to put their hands in my hair and braid it. The kids knew who my dad was an my stock went up. I felt secure. I was home.
RASHIDA: Our parents divorced when I was 10; Kidada went to live with Dad in his new house in Bel Air, and I moved with Mom to a house in Brentwood. Mom was very depressed after the divorce, and I made it my business to keep her company.
KIDADA: I wanted to live with Dad not because he was the black parent, but because he traveled. I could get away with more.
RASHIDA: At this time, anyone looking at Kidada and me would have seen two very different girls. I wore my navy blue jumper and crisp white blouse; K wore baggy Adidas sweatsuits and door-knocker earrings. My life was school, school, school. I’m with Bill Cosby: It’s every bit as black as it is white to be a nerd with a book in your hand.
KIDADA: The fact that Rashida was good at school while I was dyslexic intimidated me and pushed me more into my defiant role. I was ditching classes and going to clubs.
RASHIDA: About this time, Kidada was replacing me with younger girls from Fairfax who she could lead and be friends with.
KIDADA: They were my little sisters, as far as I was concerned.
RASHIDA: When I’d go to our dad’s house on weekends, eager to see Kidada, the new “little sisters” would be there. She’d be dressing them up like dolls. It hurt! I was jealous!
KIDADA: You felt that? I always thought you’d rejected me.
RASHIDA: Still, our love for the same music--Prince, Bobby Brown, Bell Biv DeVoe--would bring us together on weekends.
KIDADA: After I graduated from high school, I found my passion: trend forecasting. I enrolled at L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and my academic problems went out the window. All it took was finding something I loved for me to get A’s! While I was there, designer Tommy Hilfiger noticed a cover of Vibe magazine I had styled. He offered me a job in New York, being his muse, and he left me work in every part of his company--designing, marketing, advertising, modeling. Tommy got urban music. I was working with the hottest hip-hop acts: TLC, Snoop Dogg, Usher.
RASHIDA: And finally I was leaving for college, for Harvard. Daddy would have died if I turned Harvard down. Harvard was supposed to be the most enlightened place in America, but that’s where I encountered something I’d never found in L.A.: segregation. The way the clubs and the social life were set up, I had to choose one thing to be: black or white. I chose black. I went to black frat parties and joined the Black Student Association, a political and social group. I protested the heinous book The Bell Curve [which claims that a key determinant of intelligence is ethnicity], holding a sign and chanting. But at other protests--on issues I didn’t agree with-- wondered: Am I doing this because I’m afraid the black students are going to hate me if I don’t? As a black person at Harvard, the lighter you were, the blacker you had to act. I tried hard to be accepted by the girls who were the gatekeepers to Harvard’s black community. One day I joined them as usual at their cafeteria table. I said, “Hey!”--real friendly. Silence. I remember chewing my food in that dead, ominous silence. Finally, one girl spoke. She accused me of hitting on one of their boyfriends over the weekend. It was untrue, but I think what was really eating her was that she thought I was trying to take away a smart, good-looking black man--and being light-skinned, I wasn’t “allowed” to do that. I was hurt, angry. I called Kidada in New York crying. She said, “Tell her what you feel!” So I called the girl and...I really ripped her a new one. But after that, I felt insidious intimidation from that group. The next year there was a black guy I really liked, but I didn’t have the courage to pursue him. Sometimes I think of him and how different my life might be if I hadn’t been so chicken. The experience was shattering. Confused and identity-less, I spent sophomore year crying at night and sleeping all day. Mom said, “Do you want to come home?” I said, “No.” Toughing it out when you don’t fit in: That was the strength my sister gave me.
QUINCY: When Rashie had that painful year at Harvard, I gave her two pieces of advice. One, take things a day at a time. Life is hard by the yard, but inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Second, sadly, playing “us against them” is part of human nature; you just have to ride it out.
RASHIDA: Fortunately, I’d gotten interested in acting, and my theater classes roused me from my depression. I also made new friends: I had a Jewish boyfriend, with whom I got into my own Jewishness, I had black friends who weren’t in that clique. I had theater friends, gay friends, rave friends. I realized: I’m a floater. I float among groups. If Kidada defined herself as black at 11, I defined myself as multiracial at Harvard.
While Rashida was going to Jewish religious services with her boyfriend, Kidada found a new “little sister” in the young singer Aaliyah.
KIDADA: Aaliyah and I talked on the phone dozens of times a day if we weren’t together. I never bought one of anything--I bought one for me and one for Aaliyah. So did she.
RASHIDA: After graduating from Harvard, my college boyfriend and I broke up, and I moved to New York to be an actress. Getting into the business was so much harder than I expected--almost soul-destroying. Then I met a young [white] actor who seemed to know what he was doing, and I moved to L.A. to be with him, not realizing that I was glomming on to him for my sense of identity. But I was happy about relocating, because Kidada was back in L.A. too. During my four years at Harvard, K and I had kept up by calling each other and spending some weekends together, trying to translate our love for each other into a relationship that didn’t have tugs and thorns in it.
KIDADA: Rashida said to me: Come hang with my friends. Try something different! I thought: This will be fun...
RASHIDA: But instead of bonding with Kidada, I rejected her--not because I wanted to, but because my boyfriend was telling me not to be dominated by my older sister. My boyfriend didn’t want me to be at Kidada’s 25th birthday party, so I skipped it. When I called her to apologize, she was so beyond anger, she murmured, “Whatever.”
KIDADA: That hurt. A lot. But I had Aaliyah.
PEGGY: I loved watching Kidada and Aaliyah together. They were going to be lifelong best friends. They wanted to get married in a double wedding, have their first kids together.
RASHIDA: In 2000, I joined the cast of Boston Public. I also broke off that negative, unhappy relationship. I started a long-distance romance with a deejay who was white and Jewish but is knowledgeable about urban music--like me, a floater. After I moved back to NY, we got engaged.
QUINCY: My daughters have learned an invaluable lesson from being multiracial: You have to define yourself. Each did that, in her own way. I’m so proud of them for that.
On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah, then 22, was killed when her small chartered plane crashed in to Bahamas.
RASHIDA: When I heard about Aaliyah’s death, I dropped everything and went straight to L.A. Kidada collapsed in my arms. She said, “Now you’re going to have to step in and be my little sister.” I said, “I’m ready.” Being together during Kidada’s must vulnerable time made us realize we were irreplaceable to each other. A few years ago Kidada met someone who is perfect for her: a young [black] writer from Boston. They eloped in Hawaii. Mom and I couldn’t have been happier. As for me, my fiancé and I broke up, so I’m single again.
KIDADA: It’s time for you to have a black boyfriend; you’re missing a lot of cuteness, and you’ve never had one.
RASHIDA: Yes, I have! You don’t know everything about my life, Kidada!
KIDADA: When we’re not in the same city, Rashida and I are on the phone with each other or e-mailing constantly. She’s my Google. I call her for spellings of words. You know Ask Jeeves? She’s Ask Sheeds. This past Christmas, when we were getting ready for this story and thinking about our lives, I realized how hard my childhood anger must have been for Rashida.
RASHIDA: As Kidada handed me a present, she said, “If I ever said or did anything that wounded you, I’m sorry.” That meant so much to me! but when I look back on our childhood, I think: I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have strengths I never would have had if I’d had a different sister.
KIDADA: And what will happen when we have children? We’re family. Our kids will love each other.
RASHIDA: Thank God for my sister. We’re gotten so close.
KIDADA: “Gotten” so close? Rashie, we’ve always been close.