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To Twerk or Not to Twerk? That is the Question


miley-cyrus-twerk-unicorn-onesie-twitterEven before we all seen Miley Cyrus do it to a married man on national television and before she “made it popular” on YouTube in a unicorn onesie, the issue of twerkin’ came up in my relationship. You see, Mr. Right, like many young men his age, is no stranger to worldstarhiphop.com. And people look to worldstar for some of the most outrageous, most outlandish, and shockingly uncouth antics of the people we inhabit this world with. It’s like World’s Funniest Home Videos for black people. For those of you unfamiliar, sometimes that means looking at a video of a bus driver punching one of his passengers. Sometimes the big video of the day is a woman twerkin’ in a bucket at a cookout. So at the end of one of these worldstar video binges, Mr. Right casually asked me “Babe, do you know how to twerk? Would you twerk for me?”

Immediately, this turned me off. And the questions began. Why would a man want his GTY_miley_cyrus_twerking_vma_awards_thg_130827_16x9_608fiancee to twerk for him? Is that just his way of getting his ratchet woman fix? Does he expect me to do what those ratchet girls do? Why would he be attracted to ratchetness? His question also subsequently led to a further discussion on whether twerkin’ makes a woman ratchet, whether twerkin’ makes a woman sexually promiscuous, and whether twerkin’ makes a woman thirsty for male attention. We both threw out our thoughts and opinions. And at the end of everything, he concluded, “I don’t see no problem with it if you’re doing it for me”. So I decided that if it’s something that he likes, I’m not completely opposed but I need time to break down my walls and barriers and decide how I really felt about this twerkin’ business and why I felt that way. As I went on my to twerk or not to twerk journey, I discovered a few things.

1) This adorable twerkin’ how-to video by YouTube fitness guru Keaira Lashae

2) A slightly different perspective on the twerkin’ phenom from JaeTracie

3) And this article

http://www.buzzfeed.com/joelanderson/2-live-crews-uncle-luke-campbell-wishes-miley-were-better-at

The thing that stuck out to me the most in the last article was Winnie Mandela‘s defense of Uncle Luke (all those links are worth checking out if you have the time btw). She claimed that there is a certain amount of booty throwin’ and tossin’ that’s in our heritage and culture. This was news to my ears. I mean sure I knew black people and dance had a strong connection. But could you really argue that twerkin’ was in our heritage? So I wanted to know more about it. And I found that there is evidence of some sort of traditional booty dancing in almost every country of Africa. Lacking a connection with hip-hop culture, it is a far less sexualized, vulgar, and demeaning practice. It is quite beautiful actually. See below:

And to know this new information excited me!!! But hurt me at the same time. I was hurt that I had to feel ashamed and embarrassed by the likes of Miley Cyrus. And even as I watch the infinitely more talented Twerk Team, I can’t help but feel like I’ve gotten a cheap, modernized and arguably even tainted version of something so uniquely beautiful. I felt robbed of an opportunity to do a more traditional booty dance for my future husband–dances not affiliated with stripper and video vixen culture, crowds of men with camera phones, revealing costumes, and men trying to “make it rain” on me. Now my only opportunity to dance for him is bending over, back-arched, popping it to some Gucci Mane on in the background? It’s not fair!!

women-dancing

At the end of everything, I am still undecided. I know I like to shake my booty from time to time. And I definitely don’t see anything wrong with that anymore. I know I am impressed by the muscle control and athleticism of the Twerk Team.  But I can’t see myself making a twerkin’ video anytime soon. Because as JaeTraecie points out, there’s a certain amount of checking your self-worth at the door that comes with this revamped and modernized dance craze. Unfortunately, it’s become mostly raunchy opening the door for more disrespect, objectification, and over-sexualization of black women. Unless of course, you know how to keep it cute and classy like my girl Keaira Lashae and like twerkin’s distant traditional booty dancing cousins from Africa. But what exactly creates that line between classy and trashy twerkin’? Is it the way the woman dresses in the video? Is it her motivation or intentions when creating the video? Or is it the overall way that she carries herself? Maybe if you’re not trashy, your twerkin’ won’t be trashy either. But I am still not exactly sure why some booty shaking black women embarrass me (i.e. Miley Cyrus’ jumbo teddy bear sidekick twerkers) while others make me feel proud to be black! However, what did become much more clear was the reason why my man would be attracted to and enticed by these booty dances. It is in his blood just as it’s in mine.

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The Last Letter from the Editor: And It All Leads Up to This…


IMG950508To My Beautiful, Glorious, Courageous, and Intuitive Readers:

You read the title correctly. This will be my last letter directly to you on this blog :(…I know some of you are thinking it’s been months since I wrote a real post anyways and now I’m writing to tell you I’m almost done writing. Tis true. And that’s partly because of the summer. Something about the summer makes it difficult for me to buckle down and write. But the other part of me was debating whether I would continue this blog at all. Or pass it along to someone else. Just when it was starting to get good, just when I was starting to see so much growth and improvement, just when I started to take this blogging thing more seriously–c’est la fin! Well, nearing the end. I think I’ve got about two more solid posts in me. But I guess that’s life. And I’m not mad about it. Because all this debacle has been for a great reason. I promise!!! You ready for this? Are you sitting down?

Last month, Mr. Right-For-Now proposed to me under a glorious sunset by the water. I said yes! I’ll never forget it was on the same day of the George Zimmerman verdict–simultaneously the most beautiful and ugliest day I’ve experienced to date. We were at a bar celebrating when we found out the news. Fortunately, it takes more than one asshole running free for murder to put a stop to life, to put a stop to PROGRESSION. So we are planning an elegant broom jumping ceremony in my favorite season–Fall of 2014. Which makes me his future Mrs. Right Forever. And as I’m fully enthralled in this new phase of Love–engagement–it seems the old persona is gone. The woman who started this blog 3 years ago in search of something real after finding so much rubbish has found solid gold. And I plan to cash in while I can!! Therefore, I must say farewell and THANK YOU to all the LOVELY people who made this incredible journey possible.  You laughed with me. You cussed him out with me. You made up with him with me. You grew with me. You bettered yourselves as I bettered myself. You challenged me. You encouraged me. For 3 years.

100MEDIA$IMAG0325Now I’m here in this wonderfully beautiful new place. I am fully present–watching and learning STILL as engagement brings new things to light. I remember asking one of my girlfriends if I should do something for Mr. Right-For-Now in return–as a gift or as some type of gratitude for the proposal. And she said ever-so-wisely to me “no. I think you’ve done enough!” And I just smiled to myself. Because I understood her so clearly. The man got down on one knee and told me he couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be than with me for life. I had certainly done enough–at least for now. No more improvements. No more strategies. No more working night and day on being the best girlfriend/fiancée/future wife ever. For now, I’m just resting in my excitement for us! I’m resting in my contentment! And enjoying planning a wedding (AHHHHHH!). I thought about doing a new blog series for you guys on engagement–and maybe I will write a piece on it. But it’s such an intimate experience and much of this blog comes out of my willingness to fully disclose my shortcomings and championships as they happen. Now, I want to focus on living in each and every one of these moments with my future hubby–staying grounded, attentive, and in-tune with myself. This is the last year I have as a “single” woman and I’d like to have it to myself as selfish as that may sound. Hopefully, you understand where I’m coming from though. Because it feels good to say I have done enough.

Of course I still want to continue bettering myself and learning as much as I can about relationships. Someone once told me, “marriage is not the destination. It is a journey”, suggesting that many women get the ring and believe that is the ultimate validation. I do not want to imply that at all. I’m definitely not done progressing just because he proposed. But my mission has changed just a tad from when I started on here.

I believe that Black Love is the cure for many of our community’s afflictions. So I would Love to transition to a blog talking about Black marriage, Black families, and issues related to how my Black community can achieve more wholeness. I did that IMG950509 (1)here. Somewhat. However, the time has come, I think, for a stronger platform–especially in light of things like the lack of justice for Trayvon! So this is goodbye for now. It is the easiest goodbye I’ve ever said. Not because I don’t Love you. But because our time is nearly up.  When you know your time is up, you’ve got to make room for new things. And because I’ve given you guys so much of me–so much of us–that’s always here on these pages for you to access, it’s not really a goodbye at all. From first date to proposal, I leave you my Love legacy. So when you’re having a rough dating day and you just want to give up, remember me on your Black Love journeys. Remember that Black Love is better when it’s real. And it IS real. We are proof. Remember that good Black guys sometimes win. And they win big!! Remember that Black women can and DO marry and stay happily married–even in the midst of social networks, people living like they’re auditioning for reality TV shows, and booty calls that come way too easily. Remember that no labor of Love goes unrewarded. The universe is waiting to unfold all it’s greatness on you!

Stay tuned for my last few posts. Enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Then, keep me in your heart as you guys are always in mine. Learning to Love like this has been my greatest accomplishment to date. And I hope I’ve inspired some of you to pursue that same path. Because Love never fails!

Sincerely yours,

The blogger formerly known as “Ms. Not-Right-Now” hehe

P.S. For my truest of fans, keep a lookout for my rebirth because there will be one. Suddenly, I have a new found understanding of why we all had to suffer through Puff Daddy becoming Puffy and then P. Diddy and then just Diddy. As I recreate myself and my brand, I will have to change names. Don’t worry though. Me and this writing thing, we go way back. And we ain’t done yet!

 

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