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, March 13, 2009

Life in Black and White

Last month, in celebration of Black History Month, Amaretto and I headed to AFI Theatre and saw a fabulous film, titled Nothing but a Man. We went in with very low expectations, and come out in awe – realizing that we had witnessed a cinematic jewel.

Filmed in 1964 and set in a small town in Alabama, the story followed a Black man trying to find his manhood, his sense of place in the segregated South. He started off working on the railroads, then fell in love with the daughter of a pastor (she taught at the local Colored school). During their courtship, he revealed that he had a son living somewhere in Birmingham. She being the woman that she is, said, “you need to see your son.” And so finally he sees his son, only to learn that baby mama had married someone else and left the child to be raised by a neighbor. He leaves the son where he is, in a dilapidated building, only to go find his own father, who doesn’t even know or recognize him. This gives us a glimpse, a little understanding of the beginning of the reality of the single parent home that too many Black children find themselves in today.

He marries the teacher, has to quit the railroad job, takes a job at the sawmill, mentions to the Black folk that maybe they should try to stick together – that’s union talk – so he is fired. Never willing to cow tow to the white man, he is constantly battling them, trying to maintain as much pride as possible. Trying to just be a man – love his wife, provide for their unborn child, make a home for them, and be respected by society. He leaves his wife in search for something else, his father dies, he realizes he knows nothing about him, goes to get his son and brings him home. It was a quiet, dramatic, powerful film, just totally beyond words.

Like seriously, this film needs to be played in classrooms around America, so that children can truly understand what racism and segregation were like. It’s one thing to see people getting beaten by clubs or sprayed with hoses, creating a dramatic effect. But imagine seeing what segregation can do on a day-to-day basis. To realize that for white folks hate and discrimination went with their morning coffee. To understand living in fear, because in reality your life was not your own. It could be taken away or ruined on a whim. Because you didn’t laugh at the white man’s “joke”. Or you didn’t entertain him. Or you looked at his woman wrong. Or just because you were a Black man breathing air.

If more people saw a movie like this, maybe they would understand what Obama’s election truly means to Black folks of a certain age. Maybe they would understand that Black people can’t simply “get over it,” because the feeling of being less than, of being not good enough, of felling and being treated “unequal” can permeate past one’s bones, into one’s marrow, nestle deep inside one’s soul, get all up in one’s psyche, mutate into a DNA gene and travel from generation to generation.

I could go on, and on and on about the film because it was just that good. So good that it made you wonder, “how come we don’t have movies like these anymore?” This is not to knock Mr. Tyler Perry and the Madea money making machine, but this is to say that we need some more depth and range in our films.

But then as I researched the movie I learned that the film was produced by Whites (not surprising), but also written by Whites. Also, not surprising for that era. But what I do find interesting, and maybe this is because Caucasian artists have more license to do so, is that the movie was a real story – with developed characters, a real plot, chracters who seemed genuine, not stereotypes, but just real, everyday people, trying to make a living and create a life. And isn’t that what art is supposed to do? Hold a mirror up to society and then try to understand and interpret it all?

I recently got a call from an aspiring filmmaker/producer who needed help with a script. It seems that the whites who were writing lines for Black people, had them speaking bad English, using crazy slang, cussing up a storm, and she said to me, “Can you just make the Black people sound, you know, normal?” But of course. Because we are normal. Regular. We do everyday shyt. We know about subject-verb conjugation. We might do things with a different kind of swagger. But for real, we’re just trying to live like the rest, cause we too are nothing but people.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

it's the real....hip hop (& soul)

i love a lot of things but nothing more than a live music show. i especially love live hip hop and soul music. i used to frequent sob's, bb kings, and any random after-hours spot in new york city to see some live music. i'd ride down the turnpike, headed to d.c. just to see martin luther at the black cat. but since moving to nola, i've missed out on my hop & soul. while there's plenty of jazz to be had here and i get my fair share, i've missed my soul music.

but last night, i got back into the groove with two unlikely suspects. estelle and solange played the house of blues to an almost sold out crowd. i had no expectations for either of these artists. although estelle is on the ipod and solange is on the radio (sometimes), i wasn't a huge fan. but these ladies turned it out. bravo!

viva la live music!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

art of struggle

some people like to struggle.
admit it.
it is a fact of life.

the operative word is like--the term is up for dispute.
i have a friend who disputes the fact (Team Struggle) and then i have another who echoes my thoughts (Team Anti-Stupidity). folks we have to admit there are somethings that are just black and white, and our efforts to imbue shades of grey is relegating us to remain in senseless conditions. perhaps if i provide scenarios your rationale may become crystal clear.

scenario #1: RiRi and Chris
Team Struggle: suggests that RiRi probably instigated some of the offensive attacks she received from Chris. by no means does Team Struggle condone Chris' actions
Team Anti-Stupidity: reckons some folks like to get their ass beat!

scenario #2: Octopulets
Team Struggle: believes the Mother's mental state ain't right, probably psychological shit is goin' on
Team Anti-Stupidity: states it's plain ol' stupid, dumb fool! and it ain't fair to the chil'ren

scenario #3: out-of-control teenagers
Team Struggle: beat their ass
Team Anti-Stupidity: fcuk 'em up

see i told you somethings are literally black and white
folks stop making up the grey



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Proud Family

When I was a young Amaretto, it used to annoy me when upon seeing family-n-friends back home they would comment on how much I had grown. As if that were not the natural order of things, most folks I know don’t have a Benjamin Button approach to life. But as a 12 year-old with big red plastic glasses and a brace face (no Invisalign back then-we’re talking about the shiny silver) I wasn’t trying to hear how much different I looked from the last time they saw me… But what I understand now, and totally didn’t get then, is that it is truly amazing to watch babies become people, complete with personalities, accomplishments and a new view on the ways of this here world.

Now that I am all up in this adulthood thing I have had to check myself a lot because that gosh darn individual I thought I was all those years ago is beginning to sound more and more like a momma. And not just any momma…but my momma, who is proud of anything I do. I guess there is nothing new under the sun. This weekend I bore witness to my 16 year old cousin presenting her award winning speech on the viability of the NAACP in front of an entire church congregation. Several of the people who heard the words that my cousin wrote recalled a time with the NAACP was the only organization speaking on behalf of the souls of black folks in this country. And it wasn’t what my cousin said that made my heart swell with pride and caused a tear to fall, it was the fact that I was there when she was born. I remember when she was the funny looking beady bead and bald head baby-and now she models. It’s hard to understand when all this growing up occurred, driving, looking at colleges, having a broken heart, but it’s what happens…and even though its commonplace it’s still amazing to me.

So yeah, just like how my mom reports every little thing I do to her friends…because every little thing I do is magic, I’m sending my friends updates on what’s going on in the life of my little cousins. And I am sure they could care less. Sorry ya’ll. But what I get now is that, unlike my cousins, I can remember way back when they were nothing (so to speak). And I can’t help but feel proud that the world can marvel at a finished product that I have watched grow up.

See You In Seven

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Little Happy Place

Ahh...it is one of those Monday mornings where no matter how hard you try, you just can't get it going. This weekend was my first weekend since vacation and I was convinced it was what I needed to get back on track. But then I had to ask myself, do I really want to do that. It never seems to amaze me how life can get so hectic and carried away in the blink of an eye. One day you sipping rum punch and next you crying your eyes over lost love to giving your friend a piece of your mind because ought to know better than to call b!tch in the heat of an arguement, (Nah, you know dat wasn't me cause I don't call those folks friends...chuckle) quickly followed by emails from your boss on Saturday who has yet to let you know about that promotion and delayed bonus you were promised. Ohh...it is just so overwhelming sometimes and difficult to push this crazy, insignificant stuff aside to focus on something more fulfilling.

As I sit up in bed thinking, what the hell I am going to say/write today...I think I am going to take you guys to my little happy place. Yup, I can share...chuckle.

There is something to be said about the little things. Two weeks ago, this same time, I met a man by the name of Thomas. Thomas was living on an island with no running water and scheduled electricity for seventeen years. I said, "Thomas, no internet?" He said, "Once a week I try to email the family back home." WOW Thomas! This was only day 3 for me with no internet, cell, television, radio, etc and I thought I was going to loose it.

He told me that he realized that if he wanted to be happy he had to let go. Get the hell out of here, Thomas...that is crazy talk! He said where he is from (Germany) people woke up at 5 am every morning to work in a factory and they were miserable. If they came in with a smile on their faces, people thought they were on drugs. Here when people don't wake up with smiles on their faces at 5 am in the morning something is seriously wrong and they have far less than those back home. He noticed their worries were different...rain water, food and your health were most important.

So no movies? (chuckle)

He said, "Let's just say we enjoy life! We play lots of softball and have many kids"

I bet you do. (chuckle) With no lamp poles and a discoteca only on Saturday nights for 2 hours I bet you DO have a lot of kids. (chuckle)

Fast forward 14 days later, I think 12 days of no internet, tv, cell, etc was GREAT! It was no where as bad as I thought it was going to be. I took a minute to not focus on me as we are always encouraged and focus on others. Give a little bit of myself to those who needed it. I now know how good it feels to just live. Puts things in perspective of what's really a important. What things should really get you down.

With that said I am going into work today with a smile on my face because it could be worst!

Much luv until next week...peace :)