16 January 2015

"SELMA, Spies, and Racist Shenanigans"

Naysayers to truth portend that SELMA fails as factual as a biography and lacks integrity as a documentary.  Perhaps the motion picture academy should create a new category-- Don't Be Scared, Be Changed category for films that changes lives. Considering the director  did not make a biopic or documentary, this argument should fall on the cutting room floor as irrelevant and redundant. 
However, as a scholar of matters religious and real life about us, out of the mouths of two (or three) witnesses truth is established. Therefore, on this weekend and extended holiday remembering the message and murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I encourage you to SELMAThen, watch this documentary, "The Spies of Mississippi" by another black and fierce woman directorThen, download, upload, and share the Appumentary. Appumentary... it's a new thing. Check it out! This, people, is TRUTH!

Dawn M. Porter, Documentarian

See SELMA, instead of shopping at MLK sales on new clutter and future landfill.
See SELMA, and, if you have already seen it, take someone else to see it. 
See SELMA, and, make sure a young person sees it.  Their tickets are FREE in a lot of cities thanks to African American businesses who have underwritten 270,000 tickets.

See SELMA. Tweet and hashtag #SelmaForStudents
Watch "The Spies of Mississippi".  Tweet and teach from the appumentary. 

Think for yourself. 
Talk amongst your skinfolk. 
Live more Beloved in community with all folk. 

12 January 2015

"DC Metro Tunnel Fire... Lord Hear Our Prayer"

While working from home today the early evening was interrupted by a plethora of emergency vehicles barrelling in both directions in view from the patio. Given the season for house fires, I prayed for the safety of the fire personnel and that loss would only be material. And I kept working... the din of emergency vehicles fading in the distance, muffled by freezing rain, closed windows, and focusing on work deadlines. A fire with billowing smoke had engulfed L'Enfant Plaza subway impacting the Yellow and Green lines.  I live on the Green line.
DC Metro Subway  | Fire at L'Enfant Plaza 
Since about 7p I have been sitting in darkness-- a chaos of sorts, feeling immense grief for the family of the woman who died in the subway fire; praying the others in ICU pull through; and that the many ones hospitalized due to smoke inhalation and evacuation injuries are not strapped with financial hardships from such a terror. Lord, hear my prayer for names I don't know, faces which may be familiar...
Yes, faces which may be familiar as the flashpoint of L'Enfant Plaza is two blocks from my place. On the line I take from my office to home; four to five days a week. Except today, I was working from home; due to unrelated and unforeseen circumstances. I was horrified to learn that a young colleague was in the tunnel; and delighted to read of her eyewitness report. And, but for inconveniences which required me to work from home today, it is more likely than not and highly probable that I would have been in that tunnel, getting off that train, in L'Enfant Plaza, at the moment of this catastrophe.
Two blocks beyond my doorstep. Two buildings and an overpass beneath my window. Aware of "yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" scriptures, I have let phone calls go to voice mail, abruptly ended others as trivial in this current context, and prayed for the faces captured emerging from the tunnels with mouths covered and terror in their eyes.
For life, this is a good day. For death, this has been a tough day. Lord, hear my prayer of sorrow and thanksgiving. Flowing from the same fountain. Less for myself, but also that my family did not have to get THAT call today. Mostly for the family of the woman who did get that call; for my friend who spent several hours shuttling her family members stranded along the rail line to safety and home; for my colleague who lives to tell about it; and for the pain survivors are in tonight. 
Lord, hear; please; even as I fall asleep weeping where words fail.

"#ByePhylica, Even Young Sisters Get It"

A rape primer.  In a poem.  Spoken word.  Thank you: Desiree Dallagiacomo and Mwende Katwiwa (aka FreeQuency) performs the poem "American Rape Culture."  Source:HuffPostWomen

"American Rape Culture" 
Listen Carefully, This is What Rape Culture Sounds Like In America

Any questions?
#ByePhylicia and women who rape women, twice.
#BillBehindBars and men who drug, rape, brag and rap about it
I believed the first one. 

10 January 2015

"Empire: Endogeneity of Life, Death, and Dying"

Watching Empire (which I pithily refer to as, "How to Make a Mess of Estate Planning"), starring Terrance Howard and really really starring Taraji P. Henson, has inspired me to follow @EmpireFOX and to take a closer look at the quality of my eventual, closer than not, end of lifeness.

Spoiler alert:  Lucious (Terrance Howard's woefully lurid leading man) is dying. His doctor gives him a three-year shelf life. And no one knows the Empire's Emperor is dying. Not just dying dying like we are all going to die; but rather, is dying with knowledge, in secrecy, and with an expiration date.

As Lucious calls his three sons to the table to discuss who might become heir apparent, I am appalled by his callousness and comparably intrigued by his courage to face his own mortality to make such a deliberate move. What he did was noble.  How he did it galvanized a war between brothers that could surely make the opening season of #EmpireFOX trend worthy for weeks to come.

Amidst the music and misogyny, haute couture and homophobia, board room with a breathtaking skyline view and cast of the-year-of-light-skinnedness, unfolding before viewers is a metanarrative on endogeneity-- life and death, phileo and sibling rivalry, gayness and straightness, and living and dying. But... is there a better way to live while while we are dying? A better way to break the news to the family? A better way to wrangle away the physicians power to inform AND persuade? A better way to transfer positional power without creating a familial war? A better way to live when we are dying?  A better way of choosing to die when we can no longer maintain our quality of life? #Empire defines endogeneity of life and death for clergy and physicians like the chicken and the egg for farmers and philosophers.

Follow me on Twitter for my day after and occasionally live tweeting on the ratchet fabulousness of Cookie (will somebody please give her a grown woman's name soon?): homomysanthrophic lore which oozes out of Lucious like au jus from a 14-hour brisket; and this conglomerate of ghetto aristocracy. But for now, I am compelled to talk about death. Actually, to think more about 'quality end of life before I die or lose mental acuity to make choices of how and when I want to die' decisions.

In my Wendy Williams-esque voice, I ask, "how're you DYING?" During this inaugural season of #Empire, I seek deeper answers for myself and to give others something more practical to ponder than cultural idioms, religious platitudes, and bio-theological quandaries.

@CompnChoices #thejourney #journeyhome
@AgingwDignity @ConvoProject

08 January 2015

"Mis-quoted, Meaning, and the Messiness of Rape"

#ByePhylicia is creating a provocative side-bar discussion in media and social media around the amassing allegations by women that Bill Cosby is a rapist.  For some, using this pithy hashtag excoriates Phylicia Rashad, Bill Cosby's tv wife (as none of her other accolades are relevant to this conversation for now), as being dismissive, blaming and shaming of the women who are presenting themselves as victims, yet survivors, of having been drugged and raped by Bill Cosby.  Oh, wait, not for some-- for me!

For Rashad to come out with an interview defending her being misquoted is so "ewwwww!", "wtf?", and "damn!"  For Rashad to put her her marionette-esque smile and utter such statements as "What I said was, 'this is not about the women. This is about ruining a legacy.' and 'Mrs. Cosby was on the set; a lot.'" is no more about being misquoted than would be skeet being shot from a double barrel shot-gun.

Rape, Phylicia, is ALWAYS about the women (or the man who may be raped).  Rape, Phylicia, is ALWAYS about the one not giving consent to be sexually violated.  Rape, Phylicia, is ALWAYS about disempowering the raped one with drugs, position, promise, and/or intimidation.  Rape, Phylicia, is ALWAYS abhorrent, criminal, and believable-- even when Bill Cosby rapes.

Phylicia, you were a fantasy wife. There is no legacy worth protecting when there is a severe breech in integrity when making it. The fantasy of Jello Pudding, immaculate house with five kids, and a roster of thespian icons as relatives does not RAPE repel, refute, or deny. Phylicia, wake up from that fantasy life.

At last count, 30 women shucked their shame and got the courage to name Bill Cosby as their real life rapist. Sooo, if all you have to say, is that you didn't say 'forget the women,' then #ByePhylicia, and all the women who rape women twice.

I believed the first one.

Men Can Stop Rape .org

06 January 2015

"Epiphany: The Twelfth Day of Christ"

My Patio View
Tonight I will take down the last of my Christmas decorations:  multi-colored strands of lights dancing to a single white-light star. This was my balcony decor and holiday gift to the people walking and working towards the wharf.

It's what I believe about Epiphany:  with the visit of the Magi, salvation was made known to the likes of me and every different one in God's crayon box.

Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas, Jesus! Actually, I am the happy one.  So, thank You.

05 January 2015

Sankofa: Light Body Without Stiffness

My White Church Handkerchiefs
I expect that church girls in the South in the 60s kept fabric starch manufacturers in business.  I know the women in my family did their part.

Sunday mornings, first Sunday mornings in particular, were synonymous with starched white linens.  Communion shrouds. Altar cloths. Usher shirts and blouses. Nurse uniforms and hats. The preacher's hanky.  And starch-stiffed squares of white in Big Mama's hand to wave an amen, in Mama's purse to catch a runny nose or weeping eye, or on my head-- a symbol of youthful purity and public profession of my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who saved my soul at seven years old while listening to radio evangelists late at night on my very own transistor radio.

Heavily starched squares of cotton entered Sunday morning at attention, saluting the holiness of the day's tasks before them.  Solemnity and beauty. Practical and pretty. The dichotomy of the Christian faith:  life through death, wholeness through brokenness, and torture to triumph.

Transformed from starch-stiff pillars of faith at 9a Sunday School to crumpled, sweat limped, lipstick soiled, snot crusty, repast fried chicken greasy wads of laundry as we piled in hoopty's and pickups six hours later, these white cotton squares held the history of a people of faith and fortitude. A history of living hard weeks for the reward of a Sunday morning reprieve.  A history of maintaining church clothes sanctified from play clothes and school clothes-- looking our best for God was our reasonable service.

"Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenki,"
which translates, "It is not wrong to go
back for that which you have forgotten."
Today, as I used sizing instead of heavy starch to iron my collection of fresh washed white handkerchiefs, I remembered why I still carry them in my purse and nestled in my bible. Cotton is best still to absorb sweat and mascara when I am preaching, capture a sneeze teased out from strong perfume when passing the peace, and tend my predilection for cloth instead of paper goods at repast.

Although I find that sizing-- light body without stiffness-- better suits my needs and theology of grace, it is still white cotton starched squares which signify all things holy, healed, and possible in God!

04 January 2015

A Silent Moment

Calling for a moment of silence today in remembrance of Stuart Scott, the dapper, charming, ESPN newscaster, husband, daddy, relative, colleague, and friend. I expect that every sports news outlet and franchise will call such a moment over the next few days; and Stuart deserves it.

Actually, everyone who lives and dies deserves a moment of silence.  Our invitation to reprieve from the business of tending the dying, comforting the living, and pondering our own mortality.  A moment of silence, the selah, when we give permission to the stillness gift from God.

In this moment of silence for Stuart might we also pray for those who knew him personally and intimately. We will miss an entertainer of sorts; they will miss hugs and laughter, meals together and tucking in bed, celebrating anniversaries and making love.  May those closest to Stuart feel our collective communal grief of knowing loss.  May our moments of silent stillness disrupt grief and wash over them as God's comfort.

02 January 2015

Women As Friends aka Orange is the New Black

Just because, and for no other reason, I began marathon watching the Netflix sensation "Orange is the New Black."  

For the following reasons, and I imagine increasingly more, I am hooked on OINB like a first grader on phonics:
  1. The black women friendships are pure honey from the honeycomb; a complex sweetness with healing properties. I want to develop deep, communal, tribal, vulnerable, sexual, playful, protective, labyrinthine relationships with black women who will come to my home to laugh loud, play board games, eat good food, drink concoctions, dance in the living room floor, share deepest secrets, conjure liberation, and have consensual sex.
  2. ALL of the women are gorgeous, gifted, perfectly cast and realistically complex. None of the characters are one dimensional. 
  3. Suzanne, Crazy Eyes, scares sanity into me. This crazy bitch is portrayed as brilliant and intuitive and simple.  
  4. Just call me Ms. Claudette. For everything she is, I want to grow into being Ms. Claudette (but adorned in purple instead of beige, gray and orange).
  5. LaVerne Cox is life; and fine; and pretty; and I wish she did not photograph as light-skinned as she does during PR runs; her color on the show is delicious.
  6. I want Poussey and Tastey to get out, stay out, marry and open a half-way house for female felons in transition.
  7. I get to hate Piper, the typification of every white girl who exists simply to exert white privilege within every system to which they have access. Fake prison, seminary, and the Red Line. 
  8. I also triply hate Piper for being engaged to her nimnut, marginal, boyfriend who's claim to fame is exploiting her confidential ranting about women, mostly black women, of whom she knows nothing about. They are both narcisstic a-holes who deserve one another.  
  9. Great character development. Who writes this???? We go together now! Where do I send your birthday gift?
  10. I am crocheting eyeglass neck chain in ombre purple like the one Red wears.

Most of all, I really do want black women girlfriends like these women portray; and without the beige and orange and grey wardrobes and concrete walls.

Three nights. Season One.

AND, I don't care if you judge me.

Selma: The Movie About The People

Kudos to @AVAETC, Ms. Ava DuVernay, on making Selma: The Movie  ... a film about the PEOPLE of Selma, SNCC, SCLC, and insidious sinister government officials.

Yet, for the life of me, I cannot understand how some critics of the film didn't see that beautifully complex simplicity. Like, the writer of this salty article with it's misleading headline superimposed upon one of the era-best black and white photos of the Movement: How 'Selma' Diminishes Dr. King. By the headline, one would think the writer would be poised to reprimand Ms. DuVernay for actually diminishing Dr. King. Instead, he waxes incessantly about what the film was not, who Dr. King was not, and who the hero of the film is not.

There are a few problems with this article. This few I will point out:
  1. The writer tells the filmmaker what motivates her instead of asking her her motivation for script-writing a good story into a phenomenal film. Black women do not need white men to speak for us, speak up for us, or clarify what we think, say, or do.  Ms. DuVernay made the film she wanted. Those who can't, criticize. She who can, makes the the film she intended to make.
  2. History is not whole until it is told by ALL involved, impacted, and still alive. To paraphrase Roland Martin, this is not a documentary nor is it about chronology.  Selma is a film about the PEOPLE.  All of them. Not one of them. The aggregate of the people who's names are not listed although their tears watered paths of the slaughtered and their blood would be luminol evident still on the Pettus bridge over four decades later.
  3. Selma, the Movie, isn't about Dr. King as a demi-god; but it is Via Dolorosa-esque.  Not the whole road.  Just one station on the road to the right to vote.  And, just as King was not the sole leader of the series of marches in the Movement (e.g., it would be hard to miss that Rev. Hosea Williams, the young John Lewis, and Ms. Amelia Boynton took a beatdown on the bridge like a boss; and that the real life Ms. Annie Lee Cooper embodied the fictitious Ms. Sophia in the Color Purple!), the movie just isn't about Dr. King as a singular saint with sinner predilections. No, Selma, the Movie, is a film about the people of Selma, SNCC, SCLC, and insidious sinister government officials. 
There are other problems with this article and even more problems with other critics of the film who are focusing on making a white man the hero of a movement. And, these problems are not going unchallenged, uncontested, or ignored.  Tune in to Roland Martin on Monday.  Follow Oprah on OWNTV.  Read Matthew Yglecias and Clarence Page.  And then, listen to Glory by John Legend featuring Common.

You come for Selma, we come with truth.


Watchnight: Waking to Dreams in 2015

I attended Watchnight worship / burning bowl / letter to God service at Unity of Washington, DC.  Pastor Sylvia Sumter spoke truth from the theme "Living Your Dream in 2015."

Key points of the sermon:
  • Living dreams is not a mystical, magical ride; it requires our participation.
  • Positive thinking and affirming the truth is not all there is to it.
  • Sleeping dreams is the soul communicating divine messages to self.
  • Waking dreams are dangerous, they make things happen!
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." --T. E. Lawrence
I am waking to my dreams in 2015.
I want to dream so BIG that what is possible is launched into the
impossible place where God alone abides-- only God can reveal it!

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -- The Queen to Alice (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

Pastor Sumter challenged us to challenge our faith...
  • More faith in God creates bigger dreams.
  • My fear can no longer be bigger than my faith.
  • My faith must be bigger than my fears.
...and gave us very practical steps to living our dreams:
  • D-- determination. Stay focus and steadfast.
  • R-- requirements. What are prerequisites and requirements?
  • E-- effort. Daily efforts should reflect desire and determination.
  • A-- action. Make decisions and take definite steps.
  • M-- mindful of dream. Keep mind stayed on God's vision and my dreams.


I am waking, fulfilling, and living ME in 2015!