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 7, 2008

A Good Friday

During the presidency of Herbert Hoover, Congress appropriated funds for the mothers of soldiers killed in World War I to go to Europe to visit their graves. The government then divided the women by race. "White mothers sailed to Europe in style while black mothers whose sons had been killed in their country's service were assigned to 'cattle ships.' "
-Richard Cohen, Harlem Renaissance, Washington Post

The above statement is the America that I have always known and carried with me everywhere I went, in my heart, in the back of my mind, even when people were trying to tell me otherwise. And while I didn’t even know about this particular incident, when I read it, I was like DAMN AMERICA! And then I was like OF COURSE AMERICA! But allegedly it’s a new day and we need to move past these things. This is what I’ve heard said by commentators and everyday people. Now, admittedly I was not an Obamaholic. I was not on the O train. Not to say I didn’t think that Obama is a brilliant, capable man with a plan. I just thought that change was a loaded word and meant different things to different people.

But beyond all of that was the fact that when I envisioned a Black person successfully running for President of these United States, I envisioned a person who was a descendant of slaves. Someone whose ancestors had labored and toiled in this country’s fields and factories for nothing or little pay. Someone whose ancestors had been beaten and brutalized by their fellow Americans. Someone whose ancestors had roots down South, while parts of the family moved North to pursue a better life. Someone whose ancestors had been enslaved, gone through the brief glimmer of hope that was Reconstruction, then the shame and pain of Jim Crow, fought for Civil Rights and a voice in this country. Someone whose ancestors’ major struggle was at every turn, demanding to be seen as an equal in their own home. I felt that then this person’s rise to the presidency could be a huge fcuk you (even if they couldn’t say it aloud) I still made it despite these centuries of obstacles, to their homeland. But that was not the case.

Along came a man who was born into this world by a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas. We all know his story. Here was a man talking about how much he loved America. And seeming sincere. Pointing out the best parts of America. Carrying nary a chip on his shoulder about the pain that my folks had been through. Making white folks feel all good about themselves. Talking about we are all one. All united. What America was he talking about? My feelings about America have always been like Chris Rock said, “America is like that uncle who put you through college, but molested you.” Yes, I have been to many other countries, and I recognize that the U.S. is a great place to live, but as a person of color, I recognize America’s black eye that is racism and injustice. And no matter how much foundation they try to put over it, until it’s barely visible, I know that it’s still there.

But then on election night, the results came pouring in and state after state turned blue. And I sat on my mother’s bed with breath that was baited, wondering if it were really going to happen. And when Obama hit the 220 electoral vote mark and California still hadn’t come in, I turned to my mother and said, “He’s got it.” My mother who was literally beaten in her hometown of Selma, Alabama on Bloody Sunday couldn’t believe it. She wouldn’t believe it until they finally called it. And even then she was in awe. When I immediately called my 82 year old grandmother she said, “When they put me in jail, I didn’t think I was doing it so I could live to see this.” And I was certain that my great grandmother,who passed away nine years ago, who protested for the right to vote on the courthouse steps and finally voted for the first time at the age of 58 was smiling down from heaven.

And when it was officially official, when CNN and MSNBC news anchors actually started calling it and saying President-elect Obama, my mother turned to my father (who rarely gets emotional about anything) and said, “Can you believe we lived to see it?”
And he quietly said, “No, I can’t.”
And my mother cried and cried. And my father sat in stunned silence. And we watched President-elect Obama speak, and the beautiful first family smiling on stage. And then we joined hands and prayed together.

And I realized that for my parents and their generation, my grandmother and her generation, it didn’t matter where this man Obama came from. What his roots were. Because when he stepped outside his door he would always be treated like a Black man and receive the unfair treatment they had known since the day they were born, that had unfairly been handed down from generation to generation, and then to every person of color who arrived on this shore. But here was a Black man who had risen higher than any of them could have ever imagined. They were the ones who scraped and saved for a better life as they were beaten, separated by race in the classroom, in neighborhoods, on the train, in the workplace, spat on, sprayed with hoses, bitten by dogs, marched until their feet were sore all the while praying and believing in a better day for their children. Always hoping for that check to be cashed and not come back marked insufficient funds. Knowing that America as whole was better than this.

And so this man could be their President of the United States of America. They had done the hard work so that he could reap the benefits. And if they were cool with him, then shit, how could I not be? Because during this campaign season, I have seen Black men walk a little taller, heard a Black mother proudly say, "You always tell your children they can be anything they want to be. And you mean it, but now they can see it", observed people of all races, classes and creeds come together with shared hope and vision. And with a great conclusion to this lonngg campaign season, a little bit of me and how I view this nation is changing. And I gotta say, it feels good.

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

when I was 6...

"So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?"

--President-Elect Barack Obama, Grant Park, November 4, 2008

On Tuesday, I spent the day with my 6-year old niece. Like our new first-second (?) daughter, she's unbelievably cute. She's super smart and has a wisdom beyond her years. When you look in her eyes you see joy, inquisitiveness and a playful spirit.

My niece was out of school on Tuesday because the local school system was closed for business. The powers that be claimed that because of the heightened "enthusiasm" surrounding the election, children should stay home since many schools double as polling places. While I'm sure some parents grumbled at having to find childcare on such short notice, my niece was elated.

She came home on Monday bouncing off the walls, proclaiming that there was no school tomorrow. When I asked her why she replied, "cause it's election day!"

MJ -- Who is the president?
Niecey -- George Washington.....Carver
MJ -- Uhhh, no. George Bush but he's forgettable. Who do we want to be president?
Niecey -- Arack Obama!
MJ -- Barack Obama! Go girl go girl go girl!

So the next morning, my niece and I were up bright and early. I had signed up to volunteer with the Obama campaign in Georgia and decided to take her along with me. As we pulled up to the local Democratic headquarters, I felt excited and cautiously optimistic. We walked up to the front desk and offered ourselves for whatever task needed to be done. The woman smiled and sent us out front to wave Obama signs along the sidewalk.

I grabbed a sign and passed one to my niece who looked at my skeptically. But once we stepped out front she became the biggest cheerleader. We took pictures with our signs and posed in front of a lifesize Arack Obama. She caught on quickly...FIRED UP! READY TO GO! FIRED UP! READY TO GO! She was a trooper for about 30 minutes before she asked, "can I play games on your cellphone?" At that point I knew it was time to go.

Now, a day after the morning after, as I talk to my friends, family members, co-workers, and random strangers on the street about how "we did it," I am still in quiet shock and ecstatic on the inside. I am overwhelmed with happiness for my grandmother, who did not have the opportunity to graduate from high school because she was married with children by the time she was 16. I am elated for my mother, who saw a cross burned on her aunt's front lawn when she was a little girl. But what moves me the most is my niece and her Obama experience. How wonderful it is that she got to participate in this election. That she can look back at that photo of her holding an Obama sign over her head at age 6 and say to her grandkids, I was there! That she got to witness Obama's resounding victory over McCain when folks thought it couldn't be done. And most of all that she gets to start her racial victories, her "how we got over" stories with Barack, her "I remember when the first black president was elected" story at the age of 6. Her forever gon be so fun!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

He ran a Boston.

He gave it all he got, and he won big.

It was Michelle who reminded urban radio this can’t be close—we’ve got to win! And win he did. The folks who had ulcers, anxiety, and other ailments because they couldn’t figure out the outcome nor the magnitude of election day. The little kids jumped up down and said “Ma, he won New Hampshire!”

He’s rearranged the American map. He's created the chapter on how American campaigns are run in the 21st century. You engage the disengaged. You leave nothing to chance! He encroached on McCain’s territory in the Southwest. Unheard of. The birth of the Confederacy, Jim Crow states – the states Abe fought secession. Blacks knew what time it was. Latinos understood the bigger picture. And they said Black and Brown would never get it together?

There's no recount, no Supreme Court decision, it's American history. We can share the story with our grandchildren. Jesse crying like a baby--because MLK's dream was real. Martin, Malcolm, Medger, Marcus and others are forever remembered. No death was in vain nor forgotten.

My friend Kathy said it felt like New Year’s EVE. She’s calling Mississippi, giving her parents a state by state analysis of what's happening. “Mom and Dad he won Ohio! He’ll be the next president.”

In Spain, they aired our election and didn’t televise futbol.

My God, the world was watching and we didin’t disappoint.

In Ghana, Kenya, South Africa—the African continent prays.

Do you get it?!?

He’s not part of a political scion, wife didn’t come from money. He’s bucked every political myth.

Hard work, sweat, and perseverance—that’s it.
Nothing less, nothing more.

I spoke with Philly, and we reminisced about being in class and kids sharing their what I want to be stories. And how we can’t laugh, dream, or chide the aspiration. It’s real.

Kathy keeps reminding me we’ve got to ride these boys—their future is theirs. Did you see Barack kiss his daughter Sasha, and Sasha returned the kiss back? That wasn’t scripted or staged. It’s real…

I was in a vacuum, driving home from the election party. Folks in the city honking horns, praising him, brothas poppin’ bottles. I didn’t get the chill up my spine until the First Family Elect walked out to Grant Park. And it was another 2 hours later, when the tears strolled down my face because the American papers had their headlines. “Mr. President”, “Oh, Baby!whoo Lawd

It was Amaretto, who sent the text – “praise him.” I phone Rum Punch and said save me a spot in the pews—Bellini’s going to church and if you know me this is rare. I reserve it for christenings, weddings, and other celebrations.
But a celebration it is, so I must go and get lifted!

So, these are the juxtaposition of my thoughts and emotions.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oh, Say Can You See

Can you see...
How long have we waited? For decades.
picking cotton, sharecropping, working in places we couldn't afford to go, marching, working a factory job, excluded from the union, enduring when, told we didn't meet the qualifications because we were too dumb-too ugly-too black, not even considered a person...
Until we forced them to see us as people.
with families, and values, and hopes, and dreams, not so different, we are a great peculiar people, people of joy, peace, gentleness and long suffering...
Can you see?This is a new dawning.
One that we have to help rise up.

I guess this would be the place where I would insert a some lyrics from a good Negro spiritual. Or throw in a few verses of We Shall Overcome...but I feel like those type of battles are over. I think this election is more to remind all folks that this is our country too. We might be marginalized in the media, but we are more than what we see on television. We have a voice beyond the rappers and the athletes...we have a history and a culture the includes, but isn't exclusively hip-hop. To me this election is about me being seen as a person in my own country. It's about telling my yet unborn children that they can be anything they want to be...and it be a true affirmation that doesn't just stop at the Governor's mansion or in a Senate seat. Today is about getting the idealistic American definition of a land for all to truly represent itself. This election is about people being different and unique but no less American for being themselves.

So at this place, I leave you with a little Marvin, who rearranged our National Anthem so it showed his perspective. And that's what voting today is about! Showing our perspective. Making it impossible for our country to blindly ignore what must be seen..and that is us!

See You In Seven

Monday, November 3, 2008


A lot has led up to this day and over the past few months I have made it a hobby to collect as much ridiculous emails, pictures, videos and songs circulating as I could. Up until this last week, I thought it would be interesting to recap the silliness that showed its ugly head during this circus but today that is NOT the case. I don't want to contribute that craziness today. Although, my intent with posting the collection would have been to encourage people to take this election more seriously, I am afraid that message might have gotten lost. SO in keeping with the spirit of my true purpose...today...Monday November 3rd, 2008...it is NO JOKE, PREPARE TO VOTE MONDAY!

Today’s post goes out to all of those who registered and plan to vote tomorrow. There is no doubt that when you are prepared you are more likely to succeed. Here are my
TOP 5 tips for the BIG day…

1. Refresh Your Memory Don’t forget it took a minute to get here…listen and remember not to take voting for granted. (Click the picture and listen.)

2. Plan Ahead (Don’t get played.) Check your registration. Make sure you know your polling location. Read up on the rules for your state if you are not on the list and have your contingency plan in place. Visit 866 Our Vote.

3. Dress Appropriately
(No showboatin’…tuck your Obama piece in your shirt temporarily.) Political activity is not allowed within 50 feet of a building used for voting, in some states.

4. Catch or Give A Ride (Especially if you think they look like they are voting for Barack) Be helpful on this day. Offer your assistance. Cut down on traffic and save on gas (chuckle).

5. Be Courteous and Respectful (Leave Sha’tangy or whateva your ignorant ghetto persona is called at home.) This is an important DAY, take it seriously. He/she can come out later. (chuckle)

Give this man a reason to stand proud folks!
Share with us how you plan to make tomorrow worthwhile.

I am Courvoisier...a woman...and I approve this message. (chuckle)

Much luv until next week...peace :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Introducing a Possible...Mudslide

Description: I am a man.

Please, Don't Vote!

As most of us head to the polls, we already have in mind who we are going to vote for. We’ve watched every debate, heard every proposed policy, and fairly evaluated the character of each candidate…or have we?? There has been more buzz during this election than I can remember. This is THE election where history could seriously be made. We had the first woman presidential candidate in Hilary Clinton and now the first possible woman VP in Palin. We also have the first black candidate in Obama (sorry Jesse, you didn’t count – although your thoughts on punishment by circumcision lets me know you got some thug in ya…a crazy thug…but I’ll give ya a lil credit). Back to my point…I’ve never heard so many people wanting to vote this time around. But if you are voting for Obama because he is black or voting for McCain because he has a woman VP then you is ignant.

I had a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character… Well, I don’t have four kids, and a may have borrowed that dream from MLK, but that statement says it all. My personal survey shows a good majority of black folks are voting for Obama because he is black. NOT because he is the best candidate. They couldn’t even tell me what issues Obama supports! They pretty much know as much as their co-worker, friend, or stranger on the bus has told them. The same was going on when Hilary was running. A lot of her supporters were on her side because she was a woman. Now woman folks are voting for McCain because of his female assistant. And Palin could be one Clinton intern or Cheney hunting trip away from being President. I understand that you want someone you can identify with, but to vote for someone because they are black or white, male or female, Republican or Democrat is foolish. Would you be voting for Obama if he was white? What about supporting Palin if the first name was Steve instead of Sarah? Whether you are white and voting for Obama or male and supporting Palin, if you are not voting because of their character, but because of their gender and race, then you shouldn’t be voting.

- Mudslide