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, August 21, 2009

Black, White and Read All Over

Can you imagine a world without mail service? Or a world where new movies come right to your home computer/laptop/phone and going to the movies is lamer than it is now? Or a world where there are no newspapers or magazines? Like at all.

I must confess that at one time, I Rum Punch wanted to be a journalist. A real, for real journalist. I was on the high school newspaper and erythang. Went to college with sights set on being a journalist. Until… I had a summer internship with a newspaper in Philly.

Yeah. I hated it. Like hated it. It was nothing like high school. Lol. And so sometime during the summer of 2002, (wow that was a long time ago) I realized that journalism in its truest form was not for me. I was too lazy to chase a story. And I really had no interest in writing what they wanted me to write about it – because I didn't consider it real news. And people deserve real news! Never mind that all journalists have to start from the bottom, do crap stories, and work their way up to their own column and/or in depth feature articles.

But in all this I never lost my respect for the craft that is journalism. Good reporters do just that. They report on the best parts of us. The worst parts of us. The strange parts of us. They examine us. Break us down into short, punchy sentences. Paint our complexities with their words. They transport us to worlds we may have never visited with our own fare. They invite us to learn something new – even though it might be sad and tragic and depressing.

And so it hurts my heart, when I get my daily emails from http://www.mediabistro.com/ (a great place to get news from a variety of sources) and learn that newspapers like the New York Times are broke – leaving me wondering if the smaller publications even stand a chance. Magazines are shutting their offices each day. I mean Reader’s Digest just filed for freakin’ bankruptcy! Journalists are getting laid off and the seasoned, much needed veterans are taking buyouts. Certain newspaper sections like the Washington Post’s Book World are being completely eliminated. It’s all about online, online, online.

And I get it. I mean I blog. But for me there is nothing like taking advantage of a leisurely Sunday, opening the newspaper, and turning it page by page. Reading section by section and then looking up from an article and saying to the nearest person, “you won’t believe this.” I loves filling my monthly hip hop quota and reading VIBE at the hairdresser. I enjoy getting a new magazine in the mail and reading it on the train to work.

And while I understand that blogging, tweeting, et al, are the wave of future and online news is where it’s at, there is something to be said about actually researching a story. Having trusted sources. Fact checking. And then you don’t have embarrassing headlines that name Robert F. Kennedy a former President, which I saw one day on the online version of the Washington Post and I gasped, shook my head and figured the copy editor had taken an early buyout.

When you take your time, when you investigate, when you get your facts straight, you provide the public with a better content, thus making them more educated in the process. And this – even though he did a poor job – is what I think David Simon was trying to do with Season 5 of the Wire. Quick explanation to folks who aren’t Wire fanatics, each season basically examined a certain segment of the population – 1st season was the drug dealers, 2nd season was the dock workers, 3rd season was police & politicians, 4th season was the school system and 5th season was the media.

Simon, a former journalist with the Baltimore Sun was quite critical of the demise of the newspaper industry in The Wires' 5th season and this criticism involved a slightly crazy storyline. But I think the underlying point was that true blue journalism is becoming a dying art, what with the old school news anchors literally dying (my personal fave Peter Jennings passed away awhile ago). And so we are not only losing "trustworthy" faces,* but we are also losing an era that favored facts over sensationalism. A good story over feeding the masses what they wanted to hear. Layered complexities that make you think and ask your own questions. Quality over quantity.

And so while I would hate for print to officially move online - although that seems like the more cost effective option, should we ever get to that point, I want the integrity of journalism to remain. Its core principles to drive the stories that are written. And while I would miss turning the pages, I'd be content in knowing I was still getting content.

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

*There is this hilarious Murphy Brown episode where the anchor is criticizing the Brian Williams, a fresh, young faced anchor at the time. And he says, "I don't know about you, but I need my news from an old white man." Heh heh.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

in a box

it's always amusing to hear a man's perspective on life, paticularly marriage. And a few weeks ago, I got an earful per an all male play. What was so intriguing was this guy's recount about "finding the one". And in his mind, he and his former squeeze were experiencing the closest thing to marriage in his mind. They were in sync, in love, etc... And yet after his girlfriend demanded a laundry list of actions to occur prior to their BIG DAY, he just felt like he was stuck in a box. And I reckon, many men share his sentiments.

Basically, he stated a litany of offenses that were a death sentence for a married man and likened that too having to fit in a box. And visually, he draws with his fingers the outline of a box. And the brother (@ least 6 feet tall) demonstrates the difficulty he'll have fitting comfortably into box. the visual was hilarious. And women, I swear had you seen this play -- you would have to concede the fact to the fellas and acknowledge the veracity of the statement 'cuz he was right. And it made me wonder, who is this brotha with all this wisdom, and more importantly why are women presenting marriage like a death sentence to a man. There's nothing fun about that portrayal. I am firm believer men need stimulation on multiple levels. I believe men are bored creatures and to ensure that your man "toes the line" he has got to be engaged, enlightened, and enthralled with you all at the same time. Yes ladies, depending on how you look at it, it can be a tall order or a piece of cake. perspective is a mutha And once you add the fact that most brothas don't have a semblance of a functional marriage, a father, a husband, and the outlook can get a lil' bleak; however most men I've encountered desire a marriage that will last -- want to be in it for the long haul irrespective of upbringing.

Well, we know one thing for sure change is constant. So, thinking outside of the box, just must might be the edge you need to be two steps of ahead of the rest.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Phoenix Rising

So I hear that Arizona is beautiful…

But if you are singing, dancing and colored, it might not be the place for you. Which sucks because I like to sing and dance and I’ve always wanted to go to

I mean they still don’t celebrate, er a observe or heck even acknowledge Martin Luther King, Jr Day right?

And now

PHOENIX – About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday — the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

Gun-rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday's event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

The man with the rifle declined to be identified but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said.

So apparently Arizona is an open-carry state, which means that anyone legally allowed to have a firearm can carry it in public as long as it can be seen. Well this helps me sleep at night. But not really because I need people to use some sense! When it comes to the leader of the free world could you just fall back on your gun totin’? I don’t think you’ll need to hunt a rabbit at a downtown protest, but I really don't know how they do in the Southwest.

Clearly I am no Supreme Court judge, so I don’t have to interpret the Constitution for a living, but I’m thinking that late 1700’s America was a different type of place. I place where it was you against the wild frontier. Where you had to hunt for food, kill a Native America or shoot a slave in the buttocks just to keep some law and order. And I can see the need for the right to bear arms way back then.

But now? For what and for why?

And I am just going to go out a limb and assume that Mister Arizona protester loves America and all that it stands for. Clearly he’s cleaving to the literal interpretation of the words of the Constitution. How then can Mister Arizona not respect the office of the President and just leave his rifle at home, or heck in the car? Forgive me I was going to write "pick-up". Would he have done the same if it were Baby Bush who came to town? Well let me not assume that he wouldn’t have, even though decades as a citizen is the country compels me to say that he wouldn’t and Baby Bush was not opposed to gun totin'!

Oh life and this right to bear arms debate! Enough already! If folks can use some sense when bearing their guns then that’s cool. You bear your arms, I choose to take my chances without a gun. And can we just let Michelle O. wear sleeves when she feels like it?

See You In Seven

Monday, August 17, 2009

‘Good Hair’ from the Slave Mother to the Baby Sista... the Warrior to the Suit Brother

Part 1

Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
It's time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
If it's not what's on your head
It's what's underneath and say

--India Arie, I Am Not My Hair

The great anticipation of the Chris Rock’s film on ‘good hair’ initiated some very interesting conversations, stemming from slave mothers to our little daughters we are raising. Every sista knows what is meant when your hair is referred to as ‘good hair’… that is right… we ain’t talking about ‘nappy’. What is it about our hair that makes us question its greatness? We always talk about the brainwashing that affects our mentality and our self-image. Heck, we ban the N word every other week. Did we ever stop to question why in today’s age when people of African decent have sooo much to be proud of do we still question the preciousness of our natural hair texture?

It hurt my heart to hear that my 5-year-old cousin question why her hair is not good. Girl, who told you that your hair is not good? Your classmates are mostly of a different race. Was this something that one of your friends said to you? Come to find out... not at all. My 5-year-old cousin had assumed that because her hair didn’t stay in a ponytail when she got out the pool and the other little girl’s hair did, her hair must be inferior. WOW. I said to her… love your hair darling. Our hair is the so strong and the most versatile once you embrace it. That is something to be proud of. Fast forward a year later, my baby cousin will tell you she likes her hair braided, hot curled or just naturally afro’d. I just hope she doesn’t loose this along the way to adulthood.

I remember my first relaxer and I also remember the first time I shaved my head. The first event was a happy one, yet the latter was one filled with tears. Looking back at these times in history, I realized I was tripping. It is just hair. It is not who I am. Liberating myself from silly false perceptions of what my hair was supposed to look and feel like was the best thing that happened to me. I was 13, a little late but glad it happened no matter how late.

For how many of our sistas are slaves to the salon? I guess that is our place of worship every Saturday, hours on end, thousands of pennies and for what? Don’t get me strong, I truly believe in keeping up the hair game no doubt. But shall practice some restraint? Not trying to put no hairdressers out business it is a recession but I am really curious what it is that makes bond to the weave? Is it our men? Is it media?

Part 2

See I can kinda recall a lil ways back
Small tryin to ball always been black
And my hair I tried it all I even went flat
Had a gummy curled on top
and all that crap (o oh)
Just tryin to be appreciated
Nappy headed brothers never had no ladies
Then I hit the barber shop real quick
Had a mini lil twist and it drove her crazy (crazy)
Then I couldnt get no job
Cuz corporate wouldn't hire no dreadlocks
Then I thought about my dogs on the block
Kinda understand why they chose to steal and rob
Was it the hair that got me this far?
All these girls these cribs these cars?
I hate to say it but it seem so flawed
Success didnt come 'til I cut it all

--Akon, I Am Not My Hair (India Arie Remix)

There is a lot of talk about the women and their hair, but what about our brothers? Granted they don’t spend as much time or money as we do to maintain, to be what we consider good looking. But what about all of those jerry curl, perm/hot combing, s-curl, cornrow, dread-locking brothers?

Growing up on an island, you could forget about getting a decent paying job if you fit into any of the above-mentioned categories. Bald head or nothing, less hair less intimidation! Now I am not a brother so I can’t really speak but this as a sista, so what is up with that? You tell me, how do you feel about that? Are perms and s-curls for pimps and comedians? Should locks and cornrows be left for entertainers?

Much luv until next week... peace and mucho naps!