opinionsIn a recent chat online, someone asked me about excerpts of the social commentary that I ascribed to one to my characters, Riley in Commitment, and wanted to know who had written it.  I told her that I had, and that in my other life, that’s what I do, write about public policy and advocate for public policy change. She expressed interest in reading some of what I’ve written, so I’ve decided to dig some stuff up and post here, piece by piece as I find them. Lots of it will be dry as dirt if you’re not interested in the particular issue, but maybe some will pique your interest. Much of it is political, and here I should warn folks that I am über-progressive so feel free to bow out now.

This is breaking a cardinal rule, of course, “getting political” is something folks are warned not to do if as an author of “popular” fiction, you want to maintain or develop universal appeal. But I can’t help it. As Popeye said, “I am what I am”. And politics of all kinds is a big part of who and what I am. Still, nothing I write is ever offensive or accusatory of other points of view, it’s just . . . the way I see it.

Commentary

SLEEVELESS: I wrote ‘Sleeveless’ in 2009 when the media developed it’s irrational fascination with Michelle Obama’s arms. I thought it wasn’t just about the arms, it was something much deeper. And ‘Sleeveless’ was a commentary on what I thought the media flap was REALLY about.

2 thoughts on “The Way I See It . . .

  1. Loved this “The strength and sexuality she exudes – and that she does so unselfconsciously – speaks volumes about how she feels about herself. That she does so without apology, when it clearly makes so many of us uncomfortable, tells us as individuals and as a nation that the journey to self-actualization is not one she will usher us through. It is a path almost always better traveled on your own.” Enough said.

    And you know Nia, I think that a lot of times we Black people do it to ourselves too. It’s almost like we want so badly, so earnestly to control and dictate how other races view us, describe us, portray us. So every view, every description, every portrayal, we careful scrutinize and it becomes this “thing”. We do it with movies like The Help where many of us couldn’t be happy for Octavia winning that Oscar because she won it for a role that wasn’t glamorous, modern, etc. We forgot that her winning was really about her talent and turned it into a “thing” about race. I truly felt bad that there was too much chatter trying to take away from her big moment – it’s not every day that a non-size two black woman who is on the more darker side wins an Oscar after all, is it? Sometimes I think that we as Black people are the ones who forgot to judge ourselves and each other by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin.

    Anyway, I digress. Just wanted to say that your point about people traveling their own path without apologies is right on!

    1. You made me think about something about ‘The Help’ that I hadn’t considered. I confess, I disliked the book and so refused to see the movie though I celebrated Octavia Butler’s win. My objection to the movie was not her role, but more that I thought somehow movies like that co-opt the Black experience to make some point about a White person’s self-actualization. So it was about the White woman coming into her own, and the Black experience was just a teaching tool for us to see that journey unfold, like Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side. That kid’s experience got transformed into someone else’s journey to “becoming a better person”. But I definitely see your point and thank you for making it, because the last thing we should be doing, directly or indirectly is devaluing the great work of a great actress just because we don’t like the socio-political undertones of her role. Thanks for commenting!

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