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, April 11, 2008

All In The Name Of Love

Say hooray to the bad guy, and all the broads
Puttin' cars in they name for the stars of the game
Puttin caine in their bras and their tomorrows on the train
All in the name of love
- Jay Z, Allure

Hey y’all! So, rumor has it that Jayonce finally tied the knot. If this is true, I wish nothing but well wishes to the happy couple! I know what you’re thinking, that I don’t even know Jay Z or Beyonce. And that might be true. In theory. Believe me, I know them. Because dang it, I know their music.

You see whilst I’m on the train, during my to work and back home commute, I likes to listen to my ipod and when a Jay Z song comes on, I bob my head, but I also pay close attention to certain lyrics- like I’ve never heard them before. Cause they always make me go hmmm… Lyrics like the one quoted above or: To all the girls I bought the girdle to conceal my bricks, no doubt they can vouch my life is real as shit, or: A nigga had very bad credit, you helped me lease that whip, you helped me get the keys to that V dot 6, or: to little Kim and them you know the women friend who carry the work cross state for a gentleman, make my mind drift to the Marcy Housing Projects (come with me whilst I travel there) and I wonder, if half of what Hova says is true, then how many women are there still in Marcy or BK or NYC or shit even VA for that matter, (since he spent some time down here) reminiscing about once being Jay Z’s boo? And if so then who are these women? And what have they done with their lives?

Are they the clich├ęd baby mamas, still living in the projects, telling their children that they coulda still been Jay Z right now if only…? Did any of them take what x amount of money they were making from crossing state lines and start a business, buy a house, shit put some of that money in savings for a rainy day?

Are they some bitter bitches who gather monthly at their ‘We Usta Mess with Jay Z’ meetings to talk about how they put their credit on the line for him, that no one was even feeling his camel looking ass until x happened, and can't no one love him like they did anyway? And then do they share a laugh and say to each other but he damn sure knew what to do with them soup coolers…

I mean who was the first woman who really said to Jay Z, “let me upgrade you” and introduced his ass to Fifth Avenue? Who is the woman who had to listen to his first rhymes, go with him to the studio, put up with Dame Dash’s nonsense, all the while smiling and being like, “yeah, you goin’ to be famous baby…” Could she not hold out? Did she give up on him? Did he drop her once he got a taste of the good life?

Yeah, these are my train musings. Completely off base? Me thinks not. Cause I know a lot of women have a man they are no longer with who is now, finally, doing something with his life. And you’re stuck watching another woman reap all the benefits, all the hard work that you put into "fixing him up" and making him "presentable" to the world. Now, you are sitting on the sidelines talking bout, “he couldn’t even dress before he met me.” And it hurts, don’t it?

I mean let’s say you were someone’s woman while he was in law school. And you had tons of late night conversations, hearing him talk about how hard school was, that he had a big exam coming up and didn’t know if he were going to pass, and that he had to figure out his future. And you had to push him, encourage him, believe in him, deal with his mood swings, devote hours, months and maybe years to him, all the while wanting to ask, “so are you going to marry me or what, man?” And then he didn’t. Y’all broke up. And you watched some other woman just swoop down, like she was just waiting for you to get him ready for her, spend the six figures he is making at his corporate law firm, when you remember him talking about how he wanted to do something in the community, work with his people.

What hurts the most? Is it his leaving? Is it having to watch another woman be with the person you once and may still love? Is it recognizing how much that person grew (not changed) while he was with you and now that woman is getting a “better” version? Is it a combination of all these things? For me, I liken it to that scene in School Daze, when they were in their last phase of pledging, about to cross, and Tisha Campbell & Jasmine Guy are helping Half Pint aka Spike Lee hold up his torch. And Big Brother comes over and yells at them and tells them to move it along cause Half Pint has to do it on his own. And Jasmine Guy says, in her real, you must not know bout me voice, “you forget I helped your ass last year…” That’s what hurts, the wondering if we meant as much to you as you meant to us. The wondering if you realize all that we did for you, just for the possibility of being with you. The wondering if you forgot about those things, forgot about us. And the hard, bitter pill to swallow, the realization that maybe you did…

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday

Thursday, April 10, 2008

in response to "round em up now" and the beloved community

i started to comment but i didn't have time to fully articulate my disgust for this "let us search your shit for kicks and we MIGHT not prosecute you" program that's being floated by DC and other cities. my vote is...

hellll to da nawww!

first off just reading the proposal points that bellini outlined yesterday, the program seems way too sketchy for me. as gangsta d pointed out in the comments, the program goes nowhere if there is no community buy-in, no "volunteers" willing to let the police all up and through they residence on a search for guns and drugs. AND they want people to sign consent forms that will most likely (a) allow the police to do whatever the hell they want when they enter your home and (b) waive any responsibilities or liabilities or promises on the police's part to not prosecute, be nice, and not fuck up your shit in the process.

Then the kicker is that if the guns are found to have been involved in a crime of some sort, the police will launch an "investigation" and you best believe charges will be filed and your ass is goin to jail. despite the wishy washy language in the article quote, somebody's gettin locked up! Again, whose gonna sign up for that? knowing as rum punch pointed out the history between the police and our people, dirty cops who plant, manipulate and otherwise twist evidence against us comes to mind.

i'm sorry bellini but i doubt if the aclu has enough "extra" lawyers to cover these random neighborhood sweeps to make sure the law is being enforced. furthermore, who would pay for these attorneys even if they could be found? the city and/or police force is damn sure not gonna fork over the money to provide oversight to a program they concocted.

i really do hear you that the "status quo" is not working but a failure in policing and crime fighting does not warrant an abandoment of folks basic rights, a relaxation of the constitutional freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. how bout the mayor and police force put there heads together to come up with creative LEGAL solutions to reduce crime that respect the humanity of the citizens and communities they interact with. but those are just my thoughts.

this post did get me to thinking about crime and black communities and black folks varied views about the crime in ours and other black communities and how to best tackle the problem. (yea that was quite long but follow me). you see this past weekend, i visited the new city to look for an apartment. i found a gorgeous place in an historically black community in the city. it is in a lovingly restored historic home with a balcony and a view of the city skyline. on a quiet couple of blocks in a historically black community that a native told me was "not some place where i wanted to live" and that i should pick an apartment near one of the white univiersities with white neighbors who would look out for me and my things.

now i took this advice somewhat seriously cause this is a new city that i've never lived in and i'm not trying to get shot walking from my car to my apartment. but the notion that i could only be safe in an area surrounded by whites was quite hilarious, especially coming a black person. i thought about the historically black neighborhoods in cities that i have lived in, like auburn avenue or the west end in atlanta. areas where you can find the most beautiful homes (like the one MLK grew up in) inhabited by upwardly mobile black folks and your obligatory gay white men on one block and crackheads a couple of blocks away.

i think that we should be cautious about fleeing these communities that we have historically inhabited because we percieve there to be more crime in these areas. being the internets slueth that i am, i did of search of both neighborhoods on the city's crime statistics website and found that both areas experienced about the same level of crime (thefts and auto thefts) in the past couple of months. but the perception is that since black folks live over there, the neighborhood is crap. what's white is right, and if you black, stay back!

if i (or we) followed this line of thinking, our most precious cultural gems will be handed over to crime and then to pioneering white folks who come in and gentrify. the difference is that those white folks demand respectful and diligent policing of their neighborhoods and aren't afraid to snitch on dem boys who be slinging on the corner.

i don't have all the solutions but i'm willing to put my head together with those who are willing to work and do something constructive about the problem. are you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Round 'em up. NOW

A few weeks ago, I read in the paper that the Washington D.C.'s mayor and his city's police department proposed the launch of the Safe Homes Initiative. "Police [would] target areas hit by violence and seek adults who let them search their homes for guns, with no risk of arrest... [It] also applies to drugs that turn up during the searches, police said...Residents who agree to the searches will be asked to sign consent forms. If guns are found, they will be tested to determine whether they were used in crimes. If the results are positive, police will launch investigations, which could lead to charges." Apparently Boston and Philadelphia [fyi-- allegedly has the higest murder rate of any US city] are considering launching the same initiative, too [courtesy of Washington Post].

Uh oh--classic showdown between civil liberties vs. civil rights.

We already have the critics of the plan as expected who feel the police don't deserve to come in their homes they haven't earned that privilege. Also, these critics feel it is unfairly targeting poor neighborhoods, which also happen to be predominantly black/Latino. All these things are true, however, I am tired of hearing, reading, or seeing another knucklehead arrested for blowing another brotha's head off -- when his ass should have been in school or at the very least in the house. These kids are young as hell and whoever their guardains are maybe mama n'em, grandmama n'em, auntie n'em, godmommy n'em, neighbor n'em [you get my point]should let them search their house. It is my belief that these roughnecks are housing these firearms not too far from where they are committing their crime.

Dire circumstances coerce us to be proactive and do something. These ruffnecks are blowing each others heads off and folks have an issue with MPD doing a search? N**** please, get a grip -- there are times when the welfare for the collective trumps the individual. The firearms are definitely complicit in the problem -- let's round 'em up. NOW.



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Declaration of Independence

I never thought that I would be one of those women who, through hail and high water stuck around and hung on because one day, some day it was all going get better. I never pictured myself as that woman who would hope in despair that a change was gonna come, maybe not today, or even tomorrow…but soon. Yet here I am, eight years later realizing that I am more house than field because it’s easier to put up and shut up than it is to get up and walk out.

I stay because I can’t afford my own freedom. It’s like just as soon as I get enough together, be it money or might, there’s always another requirement that I’m being informed of. Or as Nas said it, “its like they playing with 54 and all I got is 52”

*Sigh* At this point, it will take an act of God-

“I’ve been ‘buked and I’ve been scorned…”

So maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. I’m not a slave and I’m not a woman trapped in a loveless relationship; but damn Sprint! Free me from my contract! They are getting all Bally’s Totally Fitness on a girl, like I have to die in order to not be in breach and be free from these people. And don’t try to get all bold and brazen like I did in my youth and not pay ‘em... What?! It like’s like a boyfriend on the dow low, the next thing you know you (or in my case, my credit) is diseased!

But like I said I’ve been with Sprint for eight years, meaning that there were at least 3 times I could have walked away. But they kept enticing me with discounts on new shiny phones with the latest and greatest bells and whistles. And so a couple weeks ago I fell again, for a sleek little phone with a camera, television and music player-all upgrades from what I previously
had. Once I held the phone in my hand I was in love instantly. I didn’t mind committing the next two years of my life and a couple hundred dollars to a company that I have been with for so long. I was happy. I was content. I was gooey inside.

Until Sprint started acting like it’s usual ‘ole conniving self. I swore they had changed, and had new hope for our relationship. But when I tried to watch television on my new and improved phone, all I saw was black; and my reflected WTF face in the LCD. Oh yes! Sprint wants me to give them 70 bucks a month just to use my own damn phone if I want to do more than calling people. The nerve! Fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice…well at this point I am covered in shame. Are they serious? 70 bucks a month in a recession? Please! I bet Verizon wouldn’t do me like this!

Hell no I ain’t payin’! Hell no I ain’t… Hell no… Damnit Sprint! I’m just giving you two more years and I’m out! You hear me?! I’m packing my bags and going to my momma’s. Imma pay your 70 dollars, but I ain’t going through this with you again! I’d get a Trak phone first!

See You In Seven

Monday, April 7, 2008

Can't Knock It

Happy Monday!

Who ever says that? Folks always wanna wish you a happy Friday or nice weekend... Like the other four or five days of the week ain't special. I'm here. You're here. Why not be happy about it?

Yesterday, Jigga and Mary J. were in my neck of the woods with their Heart of the City tour. I woke up this morning singing "I can love you bet-ter than she caaaaan..."

In keeping with the mood, I'd like to hit you up with this classic.

Holla at you next week.

Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy