Front Street

Thursday, October 26, 2006

By Gigi

I’m trying hard to understand, what it is that Angelina Jolie and Madonna Ciccone-Ritchie has done personally for the public at large (myself included) to be violently critical of their sudden plunge (plundering??) into third world child –caring (snatching??) adoption? Well let’s discuss this, shall we? Personally, I think Angelina is sincere with her adoption efforts, but Madonna, I believe is up to some contrived-copycat, “Angelina-thing”. Is Madonna doing it to get publicity and attention? I say ‘yes’ because since Angelina received a lot of press and praise for adopting an African baby girl, whose mother died from AIDS, Madonna “copy-adopted” an African baby boy who’s mother died in childbirth.

I feel that since there are a lot of orphans, including African-American orphans IN THIS COUNTRY that also need good homes, why don’t they adopt them? Are they not as desirable or exotic as adopting an African, Cambodian or Korean child? Guess not!!

The new trend, it seems, is that Black IS THE NEW Black. For those celebrities who are planning side trips from Paris to Botswana or Namibia to pick up that all important, must have accessory: African babies— all disgust me!! The fashion world is all in a tizzy, because the African baby is in…it is this season’s Birkin Bag or pampered pet accessory to hang off your hip.

The trend for adopting third world children began with Mia Farrow, who adopted nine or ten children…some had disabilities. No big fuss was made over her adoption techniques, because Mia’s actions were quiet and understated without the media hoopla and she is soft spoken—but I disgress. Celebrities do not have to travel thousands of miles to adopt a poor, sick, motherless orphan; you don’t even have to leave your home state! The United States have: cute ones, really Black ones (since that’s this seasons preference), cuddly ones, huggly ones, some born with HIV or positive tox (addicted to drugs) and impoverished ones. So you celebrities, if your efforts are truly genuine, you should want to adopt babies here in the U.S. and not just Africa. Charity begins at home.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

By Gigi

What is up with the boys and girls (mostly teenagers) in my neighborhood wearing their PJs in the streets? Everywhere I look, people are making themselves at home—on the streets. When did this look become fashion forward? It is the equivalent of when people use to walk around wearing the plastic wave caps (to preserve their jheri curls or women still walking around with curlers in their hair in the streets) in the 80s and early 90s; or boys (and sometimes grown men who ought to know better) who still walk around with their jeans or sweat pants hanging off their asses; OR walking around the City with their sneaker laces untied. This slovenly mode of dress is not acceptable or cute ladies and gentlemen; I see you taking your younger sibling to school in pajamas bottoms and flip-flops; I see you in the bodegas buying coffee, cigarettes and newspapers in your jammies; I see you in the laundromat or at the pay phones in your chenille robes…PLEASE PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES!!! HAVE SOME MODICUM OF RESPECT FOR YOURSELVES!!!! Just because you’re in the ‘hood, doesn’t mean you have to act and dress like ghetto hood rats!!! So respect yourself.
By Gigi

Nope!!! Calm down…I’m not talking about abusive husbands or boyfriends (although that is where the term originated). I’m talking about underwear…basically, an undershirt that is a tank tee. Where did a name like that come from—to label what is basically an under garment? The first person I knew to coin that phrase was my baby brother, Clay. He mentioned it in 1994; Clay said that whenever he watched the cop shows on TV, the men were generally arrested for spousal abuse, and once the cops drag them out of their homes, all they wore was a dingy, white tank tee and they were always drunk. So he started calling them ‘wife beaters’. I chuckled at first, but as time went on, I thought it misogynically rude and inappropriate.

The Wife Beater shirt…is an insulting slang that has taken off like wild fire. The term is demeaning and is often associated with ‘white trash’, more specifically, Italian-Americans. The origin of the term is a stereotype that the shirts are worn predominately by men who beat and abuse their wives. Wife beaters are also popular in the street gang culture of the United States and hip-hop culture. The National Organization for Women (NOW) says it trivializes domestic violence. “The implication is that wife beating is not viewed as sufficiently serious to lift it above the level of something that’s OK to joke about.” stated Kim Gandy, President of NOW. And I agree.

The ‘Wife Beater’ shirt is now a part of pop culture; teenage boys use the term and think it’s cool. And being that the term (slang) is commonly used and relatively widespread, it has recently been accepted into Oxford English Dictionary. I tried discussing this issue with a colleague at work and he came back at me with, “Well it’s not only a wife beater, but the official lesbian tee.” I was rendered speechless. He then muttered loudly while walking away, “Perhaps I’m callous and unfeeling…maybe even reprehensible, but I have a hard time getting worked up about a sleeveless undershirt. I have a record of fighting for women’s causes, but I must draw the line to this issue. Wife beaters is a publicly recognized name for this particular product—and the companies (Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Jockey, etc.) had no role what so ever in it’s naming. Now don’t get offended, but it would be as if blaming a…let’s say, security dog breeder for naming the types of dogs he breeds, “nigger-chasers”. He said as he backed up away from me, because I wanted to slap him. “There are some names that although they display poor taste, are still the name recognized by the consumer. And when it comes to matters of finance, what sells is what counts in our capitalistic culture.” He finished.

I hated to admit it, but he wass absolutely right— the arrogant bastard!!!