Front Street

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

By Gigi

I have a little something to say about Black Styles being used and exploited by mainstream America. Usually “our” style isn’t accepted until someone White adopts it. It started with our music…ROCK, JAZZ, BLUES and now HIP HOP/RAPPING and then radical art forms of tagging, break dancing, etc. which are used also on TV commercials. I’ll never forget Bo Derek running across a white sandy beach in a movie entitled, “TEN”, meaning on a scale from one to ten, she rated a 10. She wore Black-African style cornrows with cowrie shells, beads and other hair adornments clipped to the braids. She created a sensation, and that was in 1979; then ALL of the White girls…at least here in New York City, were running towards 125th Street to get their hair braided by Black women just like Bo Derek’s. High-end beauty salon’s cashed in by hiring Black women to braid and cornrow the silken tresses of White girls… at a cost of $500.00 per head!!! How much of that money did those Black women, who did the actual braiding get? God only knows.

As people of color, we love clothing—we love to dress; whether we have taste or not. I’ve known for a long time now, that it’s not what Black people wear, but it’s how we rock it. Out style and swagger can’t be duplicated by other races, no matter how they try. Blacks have the “it” factor—meaning bravado, swagger and attitude. For example, a brother can take a simple baseball hat and flip it into something new. Just like the white tee shirts all the boys in my hood was popping for a good two years. They took a simple under garment…an undershirt, and flipped it into fashion. Black people put the funk in dressing.

My father, who is where I get my flair for dressing from, had clothes for every occasion. He was a clotheshorse. I see White suburban kids all over the world wearing urban styles; from braids, locks, doo rags, backwards baseball caps, over-size baggy clothing (which by the way came from prison when your belt and sneaker laces are taken from you, the brothers flipped it into a style), large hoop earrings, name chains, gold or platinum grills…the list goes on and on. I say all this to say…give credit where credit is do.

Monday, February 12, 2007

By Gigi

Who are the people who have been feeding Barack Obama stories that lead him to believe that he can be the next President of these United States? Was it his wife, or his many amorous female (and male) admirers? So Obama is running for president; the only thing different about him from the other Blacks who ran for President in the past, is that he’s well liked by White people. Obama is treated with the same kind of public interest and affection that Colin Powell had when he seemed ready to knock Bill Clinton out of the Oval office.

Well, I won’t be voting for him, even if he manages to become the democratic nominee for president in 2008; and no, it’s not because his mother is a White woman from Kansas or his father is from Kenya. Barack Obama does not share a heritage with the majority of Black Americans (notice I didn’t say African-American) who are descendants of plantation slaves. He stated himself in his book, “The audacity of Hope”, that although he has experienced some “light discrimination”, he cannot claim “the problem” as his own, because he has not lived the life as a Black American—that alone separates him from me, my parents and my ancestors.

Barack Obama has had a privileged upbringing in Honolulu and lived in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. His gold-plated academic credentials include: elite prep schools until high school, and then he attended Columbia University and Harvard Law school. Can’t be mad at him for that…but in my humble opinion, Obama doesn’t have enough national OR international experience to run for president in 2008. I don’t care how beguiling or charismatic he is…