WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wanted: Mr. Right! (But Will Consider Mr. Right Enough)

So my Caucasian co-worker came back from her honeymoon and announced, “I’s married now.” Ok. She didn’t. But she did come back from her honeymoon after marrying a corporate lawyer who whisks her off to London or the Caribbean for romantic four day weekends; and this got me thinking about dating, race and options…yes, this is how my mind works. Crazy ain’t it?

So, in my days of unemployment and underemployment which can be described as when I was working night jobs, I watched a lot of television. One of my favorite shows was Dr. Phil. Oh how I loved the drama. Anyway. Sometimes a white woman would come on Dr. Phil talking about how she couldn’t find a husband, she was looking everywhere, blah, blah, but she just couldn’t find Mr. Right. So of course Dr. Phil would ask what kind of man she wanted and she would have some crazy stipulation like “he can’t have back hair…” That’s not crazy, you say, who wants someone with back hair? Ok, no one. But here’s the thing, when you can go past the basics of what kind of man you want to be with, you know general physical appearance, character, personality, values, etc., and get that specific about what you want in a mate, well then you have options. You can dream big, scour the earth for that ‘perfect man’ and have fun whilst doing it. And you will probably find him.

Meanwhile across the railroad tracks, on the Black side of town, Black women just want a man who has a job, ain’t living with his mama and doesn’t have more than one baby mama. And sometimes we’re just hoping for one out of the three. We wish we could worry about something as trivial as back hair. Is this fair? No. But as Earth, Wind & Fire sang, That's the Way of the World. So as Black women we are often times left lacking the same dating options. And it’s starting to piss me off.

As a professional, college educated woman, I am looking for someone of that same caliber but am continually coming up empty handed. And as a means to ease my pain, Essence & Co. publish those infamous “The Man You Never Thought You Would Date”, or “Have You Considered Dating A Blue Collar Worker?” articles. What? I don’t wanna. Is that elitist? Yes, just a little but I don’t hear anyone tell White college educated women, “oh you can’t find someone on par with you, have you thought about dating the bus driver? You know they make good money too girl and they have job security.” Oh yeah that’s right, they don’t have to. Cause they have options.

Case in point, I love watching Sex and the City but do you realize how many men those women ran through? And they still complained that they couldn’t find the ‘one.’ Oh he was slightly effeminate and had a fear of mice, Charlotte kept it moving; oh he liked to watch porn whilst they were having sex, Miranda kept it moving; oh he loved her so much and asked her to marry her but Carrie just didn’t feel the same way, so she kept it moving. Why? Because they had options. It’s a television show, you say. Yes, but it was written by white folk and mirrors the dating experiences of white women who learned early on that if they don’t like the lawyer, then a doctor is right around the corner and if that doesn’t work out then mama’s going to find her a stock broker. They keep it moving because they can. And it’s just not fair. *Sigh* But it’s the way of the world.

When I was in undergrad, I took a class called African American Political Thought Since 1865, or Black Thought as my friend and I called it. One day we discussed feminism vs. womanism and how womanism came out of Black women’s rejection of feminism. Why’s that? Well professor explained that the basis of feminism was that white women wanted to be more than their husband, children and job. To which I replied, “Shoot, that’s all a Black woman wants.” Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me a Black woman ain’t happiest when she has a huzband, some kids and that good government job. Well and Jesus, but let’s stay focused…It seems that often times as Black women we want what may seem to be the bare minimum because we are lacking the options to have something better.

Often times it seems that professional Black women, shoot Black women in general are scraping and fighting for the same man. Believe me I’ve watched enough Judge Mathis, Joe Brown and Divorce Court to know that it’s all kinds of Black women fightin over a man who ain’t hardly no good. This is mainly because they don’t see any other viable options. And I’ve gone to enough Black bougie functions to see 10 women to every man, with women clawing to find the few straight men out of the bunch. Because we don’t see any other viable options. I suppose logic tells us to expand our horizons, to date outside of our economic and educational class and dare I say even our own race. But sometimes I wish it weren't so hard. I wish there were a level playing field when it comes to dating. But there isn't. And unfortunately, that's the way of the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

that beesch is eatin' good

A friend and I were recently discussing child support. Not in the i'm-tryin'-to-collect-mines sense but in the girl-you-see-how-much-so & so-has-to-pay-now sense. She seemed to think Take-dat take-dat having to pay over $19,000 a month was way too much but I didn't really have no kinda sympathy for his 5-kid, 3-baby mama havin' ass. But the convo got me to thinking...

Should there be a mandatory maximum on child support payments? Is there some upper limit at which we, as a society say, aw hell to da naw! That's way too much for one guy to pay each month to one woman whom he happened to sleep with without a condom?

Why is it that we applaud the average woman takin' her allegedly triflin' baby daddy to court to collect that $250 a month to help pay the daycare bill. (and why are daycare prices so off da chain...can we get some regulation of that industry) But when the tables are turned and the man is a mega millionaire there is suddenly an outpouring of pity and support for the poor sap who now has to pay $29000 a month to his baby mama (or mamas if he gets around like that).

Jermaine Dupri has an interesting take on the situation.
"Someone in my position has to take care of his child and his baby mama. It's a point of honor that you set them up in a house, pay the bills, and give the mother of your child a monthly check so she can stay home and look after your baby. You've got the money so there's no excuse. In this industry, if you don't look after your baby AND your baby mama, you're an asshole. It's a code that makes guys like me a target."

-Young, Rich & Dangerous, The Making of a Music Mogul (2006)

Basically if dude is making that much money, ain't no reason his child and baby mama should want for nothing much less have to haul his ass to court like this guy, or this guy (just to name a few). I think JD has a point. If you got it like that, don't you want your kids (and the person takin' care of your kids 24/7) to have it like that?

Yet, the argument always circles back to vilify the woman (notice how this also seems to happen in other situations i.e. rape--why was she over to his house at 3am?; kidnapping--why she out in the street so late by herself?; Video vixen/stripper--why she think shaking that ass/swinging on a pole is a legitimate way to pay for school?) but back to jump offs...the thought is that this chick is getting rich off her ass just cause she laid down with (insert famous Black artist/athlete/celebrity here). How dare she! She should be made to work. She shouldn't get to shop all day, blah blah.

Sounds like a bit of hateration in that kool-aid ya'll dranking. Yea yea you all can say now, as you hustle your independent woman self to work each morning, that you wouldn't be able to just sit around all day, you'd have a job or something... gurl stop!

You'd take that 28k a month and keep it movin. You might not literally sit on your ass all damn day but you damn sure wouldn't be working your current 9 to 5 (at least not on a everyday 9 to 5, 6 or 7 o'clock basis). You might dabble here and there in your current profession, do some charity work, etc. but you'd focus on raising your child into a productive adult.

Now, granted there are some jump offs who take their life of leisure to a whole nother level.
Like this chick Willie Gary hooked up with. I mean, come on. Don't go spending the cheese willy nilly like you ain't got no sense. But even in that situation can we really advocate for a mandatory maximum given the facts? His dumb ass initially voluntarily agreed to pay that much (prolly to keep her ass quiet). And according to a quote over at sandrarose.com, the amount he pays per month as a percentage of his yearly income (a whooping $13 million per year) equals out to a guy making $130,000 a year paying only $280 per month.

Marinate on that shit. Puts it in perspective, doesn't it? Not to mention that his ass has yet to see his son and daughter since birth.

With the amount of money that these guys have, why shouldn't they pay (or be forced to pay) these women a percentage to take care of their children. They laid down with these jump offs, with no trojans or magnums on the nightstand, with no thoughts to the consequences of what that phat piece of ass would cost them in real-life dollars nine months later. So now you wanna cry, "This is ridiculous, I need a mandatory maximum please Mr. Judge suh." Naw shawty, it don't work like that. And with all that bread you laying down for that chain, that car, that mansion, that white party in the hamptons, are you really hurtin for it? You feedin' cousin pookie nem, your "personal assistant/bodyguard," and his whole family, why not feed your flesh and blood and the woman who gave birth to junior/juniorette?

But that's just my opinion...what's your thoughts on a mandatory maximum for child support?
"She supposed to spend it on that baby but we see she don’t
Ask ask Paul McCartney the lawyers gettin sloppy
Slaughter slaughter of them pockets, had to tie her to a rocket
Send her into outer space, I know he wish he could
Cause he payin 20K a day, that beesch is eatin' good
Like an infant on a double D, beesch is getting plump
Cause he miscalculated the next to the last pump"

--Big Boi, International Player's Anthem

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scary Business -- No I'm for real. . .

Happy Halloween!!!

Now on to scary business. . .

Can black folks be American Gangsters?

Per Marc Jacobson, "Ever think we'd go down in the history books?"

I mean have we truly folded into the American experience? The Irish did a la Kennedys, the Italians did too evident by their Godfather trilogies, and now us?

Ever since BET launched their second season of American Gangster -- I'm like whoa-- they really found more black folks lives to chronicle on television -- it's amazing and baffling all at the same time. Last season, "Mr. Untouchable" aka Leroy Barnes was featured on the series debut.

This season we have New York's Finest part deux: Frank Lucas.

BET gives love to B-more with Melvin Williams; and even Chocolate City (although 10 years from now we'll be calling it cafe au lait -- more about how that came about another day) gets some action too. So, D.C. has Rayful Edmonds III and the snipers???
I'm still debating whether I agree with the series assertion that the snipers are gangsters. BET's series features the D.C. snipers, which means the pair or more so John Muhammed could very well go down in the American lexicon as gangsters -- huh??

Hmmm. . . interesting if you ask me.

I have to admit to you all I'm already biased when it comes to my opinion on black folks being "American Gangsters" -- I'm like Whitney -- "hell to the naw". My whole outlook on those who dwell in the underground is more like American dummy, but that's just me. Folks who empathize with the underworld, tend to only consider them dummies when they get caught. In my mind a dummy is a dummy, there are no clauses.

The New York Magazine recently featured an interview moderated by Marc Jacobson, Lords of Dopetown. This article provides an exchange between Leroy Barnes and Frank Lucas -- its downright creepy if you ask me. The Harlem duo discuss street code of conduct, "the good ol' days", and their outlook on the new cats. Retrospectively, Barnes sounds very disturbed -- as if he understands now that his crime wasted his life. Au contraire, Lucas sounds like he is stone-cold chilling, assessed his past life and accepted it for what it's worth and is keeping it movin'.

"Ever think you'd go down in the history books?" will ring true some day for these guys. . .

Not sure what the verdict is on black folks being American Gangsters, but with an Academy Award winning actor (Denzel Washington) playing that very role, knowing his performance is sure to bring all the depth and drama needed to portray such role -- November 2nd may just change my mind.

Stay tuned. . .



Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I's Tired Boss

I know that it’s something that we all have to do, especially for the little things like food, clothing and shelter. But I woke up sad this morning ya’ll. Work sucks! I know we all have our burdens to bare, so I’m not ‘specting someone to come along and console me by making me a pot of tea, handing me a box of tissues, while writing a check payable to Amaretto Jenkins-for living expenses, travel, and whatever else-for the rest of her life (Oprah, this doesn’t apply to you girlfriend-feel free!) For five days a week I feel like I’m the monkey at the bottom of a pole. The top monkeys are looking down, seeing a bunch of smiling faces (including mine) but when I look up…well I’m seeing a whole lot of ass holes! I just don’t understand how somewhere between the carefree days of childhood and now, I got strapped down with adulthood. Words like responsibility, duty and commitment are part of my vernacular and work ethic. I know-work ethic-it’s scary right? But I’ve got a lot of unused sick days to show that I have one. At times, I feel like a stupid hamster running on a wheel to nowhere…but I keeps running because of the small little treat I get at the end of 80 hours-minus go ole Uncle Sammy’s cut of course. Work, like any relationship, gets frightening when the thrill is gone, and for me it’s gone so far away.

I don’t want you guys to get it twisted, I’m not anti work. I know some
highly esteemed folks out there think people of color are difficult to work with, because we’re lazy and all. But since I know my history and can look back at my ancestors who labored daily-I know the truth. So please believe I don’t desire to sit back monthly and collect a check of unearned wages….

But sometimes, as I’m waking up for the day, pretty much knowing what to expect at the office, I want to party like a rock star. Or a rap star. Or basically like a person who hasn’t deserved one ounce of the media attention that she’s be given. That’s right, just take a day in the life of Ms. Paris Hilton!
Now she has on black face, but I’d be the real thing! Paris Noire Hilton. "That's hot" right?
Of course I don’t want her sex tape, IQ, 23 day jail stint or child-like body. But to be an heiress? Well, I can’t deny that would be nice. Aside from traveling the world and being G-L-A-M-O-R-ous it would also give me options to do things like quit my job. Because seriously I would do it now, throw up my deuces and cha-cha slide right on outta of here-if it weren’t for pesky things like the bills I had to pay, or my fondness for eating and wiping my butt with toilet paper instead of the phone book.

On top of it all, I work with a lot Babyboomers. These people are cool, care about what is going on in my world, but seriously, they would be better associates for my parents. These folks have 30 to 40 years in with this organization and are a few years away from retirement. They care and share about all the things they are going to do when they're gone (that’s why they are assholes ya’ll-rubbing it in my face) and express how they can’t believe they’ve been here for as long as they have; as they scratch their lotto tickets and laugh about the good ole days and the days to come. Most have recognized my talent, genius, and all around good person-ness and have told me they expect me to go far in the company…but I am more convinced that I don’t want to be like them and be here for that long. I have so much inside of me that I don’t believe my current organization will allow me to give...EVER!

From 8am to 5pm it’s like I’m locked up and I’m serving this sentence until I’m 67. Honestly at the rate things are going I might not be able to retire at that age and get everything they said I’m due. After nearly three years I don’t see how what I’m doing daily is showing people that they can be more than what haters expect of them. I’m not proving to folks that even in their bleakest moment and against all odds that there is still hope and something they can believe in. When will I get a chance to help those hopeless children realize that they can do anything they dream? You know, doing these things for which I think I am purposed...

I don't know, to defer my dreams for 4 more decades, to be here, complacent, smiling when I’m really screaming…well that’s scarier than any costume I’m going to see tomorrow night.
See You in Seven

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Act A Damn Fool Day!

"Its close to midnight and something evils lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes, You're paralyzed"

- Thriller, Michael Jackson

It’s that time of the year again. Time to act a damn fool. Let me call it by its government name: Halloween. I don’t need a calendar to know when October 31st is approaching ‘cause the signs are clear. Houses decorated with jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts, and cobwebs. The specialty isle in the grocery store is all decked out in orange and black. Every sitcom, drama, and other television series are airing commercials for their Halloween special. Every club in America is throwing a party, offering such prizes as $500 to the best Ice-T & Coco costume. And if I hear one more damn thunder clap on the TV or radio…

Who in the hell said thunder had a damn thing to do with Halloween anyway? The History Channel states Halloween's origins date back 2,000 years ago to the ancient Celtics celebrating their New Year, November 1st. This day marked the end of summer & the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the New Year (October 31), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On that night they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, people wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes.

European immigrants brought many Halloween customs with them to America. In the late 1800s, Americans made an effort to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Now, at the top of the 21st century, this day has evolved into a celebration of assholery and buffoonery.

I’m sure most of you don’t give a damn about the origins of Halloween but I think it’s important to know your history. At least know why it’s “OK” for you to put on a dog costume and bark at all the ladies who walk by (no really, this happened to me Saturday night). I also witnessed a white man dressed as Superman stop in the middle of the street and yell “now watch me Superman dat hoe”. Where is an eighteen wheeler being driven by a drunk driver when you need one?

How do you explain what the hell Halloween is to the kids? I’m trying to put together something coherent but it’s real hard. Here’s an idea:

Halloween is one of several “special days” created by our nation to incur a massive profit in a significantly short period of time thus fueling our economy and maintaining the value of the dollar. In other words sweetie, it keeps our country rich.

How was that? Oh you think I’m tripping? Going a tad too far? According to the National Retail Foundation’s 2007 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, consumers are expected to spend $5.07 billion this Halloween, up from $4.96 billion last year and only $3.29 billion two years ago. Other cool facts from the survey include:

  • The average consumer celebrating Halloween will spend $64.82 on Halloween, compared to $59.06 last year.

  • Halloween has become the third biggest occasion for adult parties after New Year's Eve and the Super Bowl

  • Halloween continues as one of the biggest decorating holidays of the year, second only to Christmas. 66.7% of consumers plan to purchase Halloween decor and 47.8 % plan to decorate their home or yard. Consumers will spend approximately $1.39 billion on decorations, an average of $26.59 for those planning purchases.

  • Because it is not a gift-giving or an apparel holiday, Halloween ranks lower than other annual holidays in terms of spending. Halloween remains the sixth-largest spending holiday after: Winter Holidays, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.

Keep that in mind the next time you put on your pirate patch, witch hat, or vampire cape. Think about that while you feed your children junk and a lie disguised as a chocolate kiss. When someone says to you "Happy Halloween", before you answer back ask yourself what the hell does than mean. Instead of spending $64.82 on some bullshit, deposit it into an account that will accrue interest, make a tax-free donation to a charitable organization, use it to buy someone lunch or another random act of kindness. But please don't buy into ignorance all for the sake of having a free pass to act a damn fool for the day. That is one storm I do not sanction.

Of course scary things happen every day, not just October 31st. And you know the freaks come out at night ;-)

Tumultuously Yours,

Dark & Stormy