SCANDAL: Star to leave hit show, citing motherhood

When asked about how she plans to balance work and family with the new little oneimage

, the star revealed that she plans to quit the show to be a stay-at-home mom. With a co-star who just released a hit R&B single upon release from prison, she says the show has reached it’s peak.


how to tell if you’re a faux feminist

i saw this floating around and had a hard time believing that people still endorsed such simplicity. so i added just two more steps. begin reading here and here.

I wasn’t going to post about Jason Collins, but…

I am happy for Jason Collins, whose existence I wasn’t aware of until yesterday when my brother sent me an ESPN write-up about him. Really, I am. I’m glad that he’s able to be his whole self in every area of his life. And as I watched word of his coming out break news cycles and social media, I started to get “curious“ about the language used of him being the first active athlete to come out, keyword: active.  People conjectured – “Didn’t [such and such other male athlete I’d never heard of] already come out?” “Yeah, but he wasn’t active at the time,” came the reply. “Oh.” The end.

But I wanted to give Collins the benefit of the doubt, like maybe he didn’t give himself such credit – it’s not his fault that people are saying such things. And then I read his letter. Which opens, “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am…” he continues. The rest of the letter is nice enough and goes on to talk about how he’s wanted to come out for awhile, but wanted to focus on basketball, why he wears the #98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, how supportive his family (including his straight twin brother) and friends have been, and how he hopes that his teammates won’t treat him any differently in the shower, etc.

So maybe when he said “first openly gay athlete” he meant gay literally, as in gay man. But I don’t have any more doubt-benefits to give. Because if so, why not acknowledge all of the other professional female athletes in your sport who have also come out while active? Maybe because he knows that Sports Illustrated, ESPN, etc. don’t consider the WNBA to be a “major American team sport”? What/who decides how a league becomes major? Money?

Less than two weeks ago, the New York Times published an article about Brittney Griner, the #1 pick in the WNBA draft who didn’t get as much as a head nod about coming out as a lesbian (and according to my brother, who is hoop, she’s more likely to make a positive play on the court than Collins, who’s 34 and whose team sucks, so the stretch is in calling him “active”…it’s starting to smell a little like the ocean, to be frank. Womp…) But still, I didn’t get a NYT breaking news alert to my e-mail about Griner. Can you imagine the #1 pick for the NBA being gay? Really, can you?

The Griner article is a commentary on the very thing I’m trying to get at: sexism within the LGBT community, and particularly how it’s played out among athletes. Since many female athletes in masculine-typed sports (i.e. basketball, softball, etc.) are assumed to be lesbians because…of their physique? Height? Competitiveness? Determination? Ability to beat regular dudes who aren’t mutants? I think I’m getting warmer… It’s only news when female ball players marry a man. It’s like, “Hey! Look who’s not gay!”

In his letter, Collins writes about how he was able to defy suspicions of his sexuality because he plays so “aggressively” and fouls so hard that an opponent had to be carried out of the arena on a stretcher – not that he’s proud of it, but you know, it’s just relevant to his coming out letter because it demonstrates just how manly he is. I get that he’s trying to say that being gay isn’t a monolith. I just wish he’d recognize that by celebrating himself and allowing others to celebrate him as “the first” further silences women in the LGBT community and perpetuates the invisibility and the very stereotypes that he’s trying to break.

It’s tricky: oppression. If you’re not careful, working to overcome it can further blind you from your privilege. As you maintained, Mr. Collins, you’re still a man.


1993 to a 10 yr old black girl from the burbs

it’s 2013…you know what that means?

1993 was 20 years ago. 


being that i recently turned 30, it seems remarkable to me that i entered into the double digits TWENTY years ago. but this hit home for me because sister act 2 (back in the habit) came on TV tonight, and i was JAMMIN. oh happy day. “when jesus WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaashed…” and i still knew all the lyrics to:

joyful joyful, lord we adore thee/ and in my life i put none before thee/ and since i was a youngster i came to know/ that you was the only way to go, so…

you down with G-O-D? yeah you know me!” 

(and while i’m feeling old, naughty by nature’s OPP was released 22 years ago in 1991)

in trying to find out what happened to the guy that sang Oh Happy Day (he tried to become a singer…his name is ryan toby and you didn’t know that until now, but he also wrote songs and was a part of the group, city high, who released this in 2001), i discovered that sister act 2 came out in 1993. TWENTY YEARS AGO. so while on this downward spiral, i decided to research and list other iconic things (in my mind) that happened in 1993 so that you can join me in my senescence.

let’s start with some movies that came out (many of which i shouldn’t have been watching at 10 years old and probably didn’t until a few years later from blockbuster. blockbuster!!! but what are you gonna do…)

  1. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit 
  2. Jurassic Park
  3. A Bronx Tale
  4. Groundhog Day
  5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  6. Sleepless in Seattle
  7. The Sandlot
  8. Demolition Man
  9. The Fugitive
  10. Philadelphia
  11. Mrs. Doubtfire
  12. Hocus Pocus
  13. Menace II Society
  14. Robin Hood: Men in Tights
  15. Rudy
  16. Cool Runnings
  17. Indecent Proposal
  18. Much Ado About Nothing
  19. Addams Family Values
  20. Free Willy
  21. What’s Love Got to Do With It
  22. Sankofa

(Malcolm X came out in 1992. i’m just sayin…)

in music…it gets worse…and I was definitely listening to all of these at 10 years old, blame my brother and sister…you can also tell what radio stations i was listening to/recording tapes from…i was truly a 10 yr old black girl living in the burbs in middle-america. (disclaimer: many of these i found from the top songs of 1993, so they may have come out before then. suffice it to say that i was listening to [mainly radio-edited versions of] these songs in 1993.) 

  1. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard came out in 1992, y’all…)
  2. I’m Ready, Tevin Campbell (Can We Talk? really, the whole album, i was 10…)
  3. Whoomp! There it is!, Tag Team (back again)
  4. That’s the Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson
  5. Weak, SWV
  6. If I Ever Fall In Love, Shai
  7. Dreamlover, Mariah Carey
  8. Rump Shaker, Wreckx-N-Effect
  9. Nuthin’ but a G-thang, Dr. Dre
  10. Don’t Walk Away, Jade
  11. Knockin ‘Da Boots, H-town
  12. Lately, Jodeci (Stevie Wonder will be relevant in any year…)
  13. Dazzey Dukes, Duice
  14. I’m So Into You, SWV
  15. A Whole New World (Aladdin came out in 1992…)
  16. Right Here, SWV (same with MJ, always relevant. though 1993 was the first time he was accused of child sexual abuse)
  17. I Have Nothing, Whitney Houston (1993 was her year)
  18. Mr. Wendal, Arrested Development (they won grammies in ‘93)
  19. Slam, Onyx
  20. I’m Every Woman, Whitney Houston
  21. Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty by Nature
  22. Another Sad Love Song, Toni Braxton (Boomerang also came out in 1992, y’all)
  23. All That She Wants, Ace of Base
  24. One Last Cry, Brian McKnight
  25. Just Kick(in’) It, Xscape
  26. I Get Around, 2Pac
  27. Real Love, Mary J. Blige
  28. Why We Sing, Kirk Franklin & The Family (along with Silver and Gold & He’s Able)
  29. What About Your Friends?, TLC (i was all about TLC from 1990~1996)
  30. Hey Mr. D.J., Zhane
  31. Again, Janet Jackson
  32. It Was a Good Day, Ice Cube
  33. Rebirth of Slick, Digible Planets
  34. Anniversary, Tony! Toni! Tone!
  35. Shoop, Salt-n-Pepa (Very Necessary was released in 1993, i had the tape)

so much greatness was introduced that year. i think i’m going to make a spotify list of these songs called 1993. i’ll link it here

and finally, in t.v. in 1993…

  1. Living Single 
  2. Bill Nye the Science Guy
  3. The X-files (i don’t think i’ve made it through a full episode)
  4. Animaniacs 
  5. Ricki Lake
  6. Conan O’Brien (totally didn’t know about him until the 2000s, we were a tonight show family)
  7. Frasier
  8. Thea (with Brandy, while she was working on her debut album, for which i joined the fan club)
  9. The Sinbad Show (my introduction to Brandy’s then-fine-to-my-10-yr-old-self little brother, Ray-J)
  10. Boy Meets World
  11. The Jon Stewart Show (this was news to me, it was on MTV)
  12. The Nanny
  13. the high school class of Saved by the Bell graduated, and went to college, where no one watched them.
iconic shows that came back:
  1. The Wonder Years (1988)
  2. Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989)
  3. A Different World (1987) (The Cosby Show’s final episode was in 1992, y’all…)
  4. Perfect Strangers (1986)
  5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990)
in conclusion, 1993 was a good year for us 80s/90s kids.
and we’re old.
but i’ll leave you with the words of my 91 year-old grand-father-in-law,
the thing about getting old is…you have to live to do it.
hating by omission…

a phrase my husband and i created in order to understand the behavior - or rather, lack of expected behavior - of certain people in our lives. let it be known that i personally despise all concepts of “collecting haters left and right” or the idea that if someone is hating on you, you’re doing something right, etc. it should also be known that as someone who admits to being a hater at times, i recognize hating for what it is. i know the place it comes from and i actively work against this. therefore, it makes me sad when others hate with abandon, especially when such hating is directed towards me or someone i love.

the definition of a hater is “someone who simply can not be happy for someone else’s success.” urban dictionary goes on to say that instead of being happy for that person, they go on to point out a flaw, or in other words, hate on them. or they may quickly change the subject directed back towards them. the most agreed upon definition says that hating is different from jealousy (and envy). it’s not so much that the hater wants to be the hatee, but just wants to bring them down to their supposed level, maybe in hopes that it brings them up. 

it doesn’t. hating is but a symptom of insecure self-centeredness.

however, people erroneously think that by not acknowledging something at all, that means they’re not hating. wrong. you’re not committing the act of hating, but you are hating by omission by virture of you deciding not to love. hating isn’t only an active behavior, but “if you know the good that you ought to do and still don’t do it,” you’re also hating. okay, that’s james 4:17 and is about sin, and i’m not going so far as to say that hating is a sin, but i think it’s an important parallel because people often think of sinning as committing a certain act. however, not doing good on purpose is also a sin. and like sin, hating hurts the hater more than the hatee. but back to hating. 

one thing that i do when i get down about the 1 or 2 haters is to focus on the legions of lovers! those who are genuinely happy for others’ successes. they may even be a little jealous, but are quick to recognize that the accomplished feat - whatever it may be - is awesome and has nothing to do with them. therefore, they love. these are the kinds of people i try to emulate. unfortunately, we’re conditioned to focus on the negative and blow it out of proportion, so it takes effort to keep that 1 bad evaluation in perspective and in its proper place.

and whenever i notice myself getting ready to hate by omission because i’m side-eyeing something because it’s too blown up or people seem to be making too much of a deal over it, i actively make sure to show my appreciation for that person. it’s not their fault that other people rightfully think they’re awesome. (facebook also helps with that, because the more attention something gets, the more likely it will be at the top of your newsfeed. so you know you’re seeing it.)

don’t be that person who decides not to acknowledge something because people are rightfully acknowledging its awesomeness. it IS awesome that your friend graduated/got a job/had some kind of success. appreciating it does not automatically turn that thing into an idol, or blow that person’s head up. if anything, it’s likely to be supremely humbling that so many people are happy for them, and recognize the dues they paid in order to earn that success. and if everyone is loving but you, that silence screams more about your character than anything else. 

there is no such thing as an overabundance of love. so share in it! 

that’s enough for now. i have missed and approaching deadlines galore, but this was important! love. :) 

dear facebook friend(s)…

i’m in a bit of a dilemma. you’re sort of my actual friend(s) in real life so i’m not comfortable with just “unfriending” you; but we’re not close enough for me to call you out on your facebook life. so this is me, being passive-aggressive.

but i figured that it’s my duty as your quasi-friend to tell you that your insecurity is showing. glaring. that very insecurity that you’re trying so hard to mask through your incessant updates attempting to indicate how much you’re not insecure about the thing(s) about which you’re being insecure. and perhaps it’s because i’m close enough to know you that i can see through it.

i feel a little guilty that i’ve already unsubscribed from your updates, now that the facebook can determine what is an important life event for us. so i look forward to finding out when you graduate/get married/have a baby. (though, if i’m having a hard time tolerating your updating of mundane life events… …) 

and i know flexbook doesn’t make it easy, since it’s counter to what everyone else is doing. but everyone is insecure about something. all of us. look at me, writing a tumblr post about you that will post to facebook in the hopes that you might read it and perhaps think it might apply to you and then maybe not unfriend me.

but i’m telling you this because people have been talking about you outside of the internets. you’re often heralded as the example in many conversations about what’s wrong with facebook. and that makes me a little sad, because i feel like if you knew that your charade of being the best/smartest/prettiest/funnest/coolest/most-fulfilled person in the world was backfiring, then maybe you’d relax and just be yourself. 

the you that i like(d), but since we don’t really have a relationship outside of the facebook, this is the only you that i get to see now. and by no means is that your fault. life and circumstances are all cause for the fact that we’ve been demoted to just facebook friends. and even though it puts me in these quagmires, i’m grateful to facebook that we’re still connected. otherwise, we’d be long lost friends by now.

so if you’re thinking to yourself, i wonder if she’s talking about me, i probably am. no need to ask me because i’m obviously already too scared to talk to you. and i’m sorry for being a punk. but something had to be said. and if you sort of know me, you know that i’m coming from a place of love and wanting you to actually be your best, true self. not the pretend you on fakebook. 

i probably won’t have any way of knowing if this has any effect on your behavior, because that’s not an important life event…but i hope it does and maybe one day, if you haven’t unfriended me, i’ll resubscribe to the real you so that i can still feel like you’re in my life.



p.s. can you tell i’ve been reading too much thought catalog? it’s my guilty-pleasure-window into privileged post-adolescence and it’s starting to make me think like a millennial…ack!

philosophy on a zombie apocalypse…

edited snippets from a random convo with friends about the impending zombie apocalypse… 

me: whenever i hear about the world ending or ZOMBIES, my first thought is good, then i won’t have to write this dissertation.

friend#1: i think the exact opposite though, when i think about zombies. like…i have to accomplish SOMETHING before it goes down.

me: nah…i’m like, that’s my ticket out! nobody cares about your degree in an apocalypse. 

friend #2: i just think ok, well i guess it doesn’t matter what i do…i’m closer to tarani’s view.

friend#1: yeah, but you care. like, okay, i wasn’t a waste of space during my time on this earth. 

me: yeah, i’ll be useful fending off the zombies!

friend#2: i guess i don’t feel like i’m a waste of space.

me: i’ll lead an army of black women managers who are resilient against stereotypes against ZOMBIES! 

i’m obviously much more passionate about zombies, maybe i should reframe my entire research around terror management. lol

friend#2: like i was nice to one person and i’ve been at least one person’s friend and i’ve been somebody’s baby they adored at one point = not a waste.

wow, you are hardcore zombie. 

friend#1: all that is regular. lol. i’m like, i have to accomplish something that fulfilled my utmost capacity up until that point. 

friend #2: like you’re not a waste in our lives so there you go.

me: lol she doesn’t care about sentiment

friend #2: like what is a zombie anyway…how could you even know?

me: if someone tries to eat you, and they don’t die after you SHOOT it, it’s a zombie.

friend #2: i thought zombies were dead things. so the people who eat people don’t die if you shoot them in the right place.

me: in the brain.

man, you really need to brush up on your walking dead. 

friend #2: yeah i’ve never seen that, but i heard it’s good. 

i guess i’m also not understanding how you’re defining “accomplishment”

friend #1: yeah. walking dead is good. taught me a lot about zombies.

i have a dissertation in me, waiting to come out. so why wouldn’t i try to get it out before i leave? or before i get eaten? lol. like you don’t feel like you have something great to do?

me: that’s your utmost capacity? lol

friend #1: either way, i have not yet done that great thing.

up until this point.

me: not if doom is impending…

like, i feel like that regularly. but if the earth implodes, i won’t be thinking about that. 

friend #1: after that, there’s more. but if it’s happening like, soon, then i can at least do that.

friend #2: yeah i mean i think utmost capacity changes all the time depending on the state of the world and where/how you’re most needed.

me: i mean, jokingly, i’d be relieved. but i’m pretty sure i’d care more about if my family has been eaten.

friend #2: i mean yeah, i don’t think i’ve done my great thing. if you put it that way, but i also don’t think i can’t when the world ends.

me: yeah, at that point, will they want me to pontificate about intersectionality? or shoot the effin zombie that’s eating their face? i think in that moment, my parents will be more proud of my shooting skills than my PhD. lol

friend #2: like i think the important parts of me continue in a different form like a zombie.

friend #1: i mean, of course i’d care about my fam, but i’d be done by then so i could truly have head space to get in survival mode.

me: you’re not gonna care about your dissertation if zombies were eating your sister. 

friend#2: like maybe my great thing is being someone’s inspirational zombie.

and then you’d be like shoot, she’s a zombie.

me: …lol

friend #2: maybe i shouldn’t shoot it cause she was such a good friend pre zombie (lol)

friend #1: lol. you are missing the point. lol

friend #2: then you’d save me and convince the world we shouldn’t shoot all zombies

friend #1: it’s not about the zombies, it’s about how you feel about impending death.

friend #2: then it would be like walking dead meets true blood. 

yeah, i’d just spend more time with people

me: go watch walking dead. you don’t know anything about zombies. 

if you’re a zombie, i’m shooting you in the face. 

friend #2: lol noooooo

me: i’ll be sad about it. 

but you have to go.

friend #1: yeah. immediate death. 

you have no feelings. like, no capacity to be empathetic or caring, you just wanna eat people. 

me: yeah i was thinking about what i’d do if it only happened in the US like it does in the movies. and like how i wouldn’t be able to get there, or get people here. and then i just get sad. lol

friend #1: awwwww. i’d just be happy that it wasn’t happening to me. like, save up $ for them to come to france of whatever.

man, we need some military connects!

friend #2: yeah see hello.

that’s why i’m here. 

i’d be like come to my belize family compound. 

we have nepalese gurhkas. 

and unmanned military drones. lol

me: lololol. as long as you’re not a zombie.

friend #2: no i won’t be a zombie. well the way she described it maybe i already am. 

me: lol the main zombie characteristic is eating people. as long as you’re not doing that, you’re good. 

the illustrated guide to a PhD

my sister shared this awhile ago and i was thinking about it for some reason. 

"keep pushing."

by Matt Might.

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:

A master’s degree deepens that specialty:

Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:

You push at the boundary for a few years:

Until one day, the boundary gives way:

And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:

Of course, the world looks different to you now:

So, don’t forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.