>How Did We Get Here? Part Two of Our Mania Analyzed

>Yesterday I took responsibility for why our youth are confused, over-sexed, overly-aggressive, pissed off, waiting to explode, dropping out of school, and dropping out of life. I also made sure that the rest of my generation, and the generation before ours understood their role in this nonsense. If you didn’t believe me yesterday, maybe the added layers I am presenting today will help you see the light and the err of our ways.

So let’s continue….

Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy
We glorified the game of stripping and pimping. The movie “The Players Club” starring LisaRaye and Ice Cube was supposed to send a message- to educate females as to the harsh realities of stripping- instead it served as an enticement for girls to buy 6-inch clear heels, and guys to turn the $20 bills into ones- and folks got hooked!

Young ladies saw women making hundreds and thousands of dollars per night dancing and sliding down poles in strip clubs, and they convinced themselves- “I can do that too and get paid“. Guys saw the opportunity to watch well-oiled women partially or fully naked bobbing their heads and rears in well-choreographed routines- and they only had to be in some cases 18-years-old to participate.

Men watched the 1970s Blaxploitation film the “The Mack” one too many times in the 1990s and decided that they too could be Goldie. Somehow someway the annual Pimp of the Year awards ceremony took center stage and gave mainstream America a look into pimping. A career we used to despise pre-1990s, we now were embracing by 2000. We laughed at the thought of a pimp sending young girls and women out on the streets to have sex with strangers for money, and then having to bring that money back to the pimp- only to get a fraction of what was earned. What woman in her right mind would have sex for money and then give her money to a pimp? If I made $100 why would I settle for $20-40? The logic supposedly is the pimp takes care of you like daddy never did!

My generation decided it would be cool to ‘pimp our rides’ and put 20 to 26 inch wheels on our cars. Remember the spinners? Remember when we added Louis Vuitton and Gucci print interiors, and took “tricking out” cars well-beyond what our parents did to their cars in the 70s? Some of us also broke rapper E-40’s rule about ‘flossin’ when he said in the song Rapper’s Ball- “don’t buy an $85,000 car before you buy a house“. People had luxury cars sitting on the street outside their apartment or grandmother’s house- not a home they personally owned. This legacy has sadly been passed on to the younger generations.

Circa 2000, thanks to rappers and opportunists- the ‘Pimp Glass’ was making its way on to the scene, and people thought they would look so cool walking around with a huge goblet covered in various colored stones signifying their pimp status. I started noticing more men of my generation growing out their finger nails, pressing and perming their hair, wearing bright colored suits and shoes, and altering their walk and speech to appear to be more pimpish. They were imitating the men they grew up seeing on the streets in the 1970s and 80s. These men never considered their own daughters and how they would feel if they were prostitutes. Nope, it was all about “keeping that pimp hand strong“. Now there are regular Pimp-N-Ho parties in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, where men and women can dress up and role play for a night. Hmmmm, now we question the pimp and ho mentality of our youth. Really?

We Question the Dances We Encourage
We wonder why these younger generations are so vulgar and descriptive with their lyrics. We wonder how it is possible they can rap and sing about sexual acts so freely and that radio stations and cable networks have no problem playing the songs and videos. Say it with me, WE DID IT! My generation sold itself out. My parents generation gladly accepted us as sell-outs. Now we sit back and watch young girls old enough to be our kids popping their butts, gyrating their hips, and simulating sexual acts- and instead of being outraged- folks are tuning in!

Now we can click on a video on YouTube and watch complete strangers fight, perform lap dances, and do just about any bizarre thing they can imagine. I have seen parents recording their children ages two through 12 performing to Beyonce, Ciara, Usher, Trey Songz, Soldier Boy, and Nicki Minaj- when they should be dancing and singing Disney and Gospel songs. But instead I see their images all over YouTube and hear their parents in the background encouraging and coaching them.

I’m sorry, no child should be singing and performing the moves to Ciara’s “Ride” or Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” songs- and their parents shouldn’t be taping them…but…

THAT’S MY GENERATION!

We went from breaking, popping, locking, smurfing, and freaking to the New Jack era of dancing. Then we hit a period of time where guys stopped dancing- it was about sitting back and checking out the ladies. Then the theme went to, “gangstas don’t dance we boogie” and now you have half the guys still doing the smooth two-step and the other half doing the ‘stanky leg’ last year. I was relieved to see the Krump, Crunk, Buck, Hyphy, and Jerking movements hit the scene because it reminded me of how we danced in the 80s and early 90s. They also promoted the feel-good, laid back mindset that we once had. It was back to good ole’ dance competitions, and less sex-on-the-dance floor moments. But these youngsters aren’t totally free from the grips of our mania.

So we wonder why these generations that followed us are all screwed up? Just look in the mirror. Our generation is behind the ultimate success of MTV, BET, and Vh1. We are behind the spandex shorts, skirts, and dresses. We are behind the sagging pants and jeans- thanks to Eazy-E who in his 1988 song “We Want Eazy” when the girls yelled out why he wore his jeans that way, he said, “It’s for easy access baby“.

Thug Mentality
It’s our generation that highlighted and glorified ‘colors’, ‘sets’, and the life of gangs. We thought by yelling out and sharing what was happening in our neighborhoods that the world would take notice and that our government would do something to help clean up our streets. Instead we took gang-banging to wax and made millions off of telling stories of how we shot someone or got shot; how we saw Lil’ Re-Re “get blasted on” on the “‘Shaw” for ‘set trippin’. That image spread from the 1980s and youth across the country began wearing red and blue (and eventually yellow, green, and purple) representing the Los Angeles street gangs.

Do you recall the influx of gang-related movies that hit the screen in the late 1980s and 1990s? Every few months there was a movie based on either old-school Al Capone-type gangsters, or the new school version of the jerri curl, Dickies-wearing ‘gangsta’.

I remember in 1988 or 1989 hearing a kid claim Hoover Crip while another one claimed Piru Bloods and guess where they lived? Oklahoma City, Oklahoma!!! Who’s fault is that? My dang generation! In 1992 “The Chronic” enticed my generation to “take a toke but don’t choke” and beg their daddies and uncles for their old-school Impala, Monte Carlo, Camaro, and El Camino parked in the garage. I had friends who were shot and thrown in jail and prison by or before the age of 18. I have a childhood friend who is on death row right now, and I don’t mean the record label. He’s been locked up since 1992 and his case is gang-related. Whether guilty or innocent- he is a product of my generation’s mania.

Sex and violence sells. My generation tells the story. Our parents generation gets it sold and cuts us a check. The generations after us are busy killing each other off using sex, drugs, and guns. We have the nerve to ask how and why. The answer lies in us.

What are you willing to do to right our wrongs and to take our communities and our children back? There may not be much we can do for our generations who are strung out on crack and heroine, walking the ho stroll, swinging on slippery poles, or still gang-banging at 45. But we can do something to help those ages 25 and younger. There is something we can do to end this cycle of buffoonery, the persistent slave-mentality, the self-loathing, and to make sure our people aren’t still walking in the ‘wilderness’ for 40 years, waiting for salvation.

Do you need time to ponder this? Okay I will be here waiting….

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Responses to Going Against the Grain Prenup Post

>Three ladies close to me responded to my blog post on prenups…check out what they had to say:

…I totally agree with you on the prenup. I know a woman right now that has been married for several years. She helped her husband raise his kids and pay for his house. Throughout the marriage he purchased several acres of land. Of course you know he would not have been able to do this without her assistance. Now he is divorcing her and wants half of her retirement, wants to keep the home and the rest of the property. He had the divorce papers served to her at their home. She had to move out. She is now living in an apartment. I thought how cruel he could be when he wants the divorce.

Now here’s the real kicker, she still loves the b@#&@*#! Sorry, I had to go there, but it’s the truth. If I get married again, I would definitely have a prenup.

Here’s a second viewpoint:

Go girl. I agree. I think it is a great idea. However if I helped you attain any wealth then I am entitled to that. Even if we dated for 7 years and all along the way I helped you. Then we married and later divorced. I am entitled. If I did nothing I get nothing!      Sounds fair!

If I came into a wealthy marriage and we chose for me to stay at home then I think the man should at least help you get on your own. Maybe initial costs of living especially with kids involved. Prenup could be the answer, we would have a lot less gold-diggers out there marrying old men for their money….

Here’s a third viewpoint:

I agree with you 100%, especially as I get older. Prenups can include anything, like you said, but it helps set the expectations of each person. It’s more than money or potenial wealth that it protects, it’s like a guide book (depending on what you include) for the happy couple. You never want to go into a marriage thinking about divorce, but you should always be prepared for whatever may happen in life. Great post.

Anyone else want to share their thoughts? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Don’t be afraid or intimidated. It’s all about healthy dialogue! 🙂

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>How Did We Get Here? Part One of Our Mania Analyzed

>I have been involved in numerous discussions about what happened in the last twenty-something years to society, our culture, and our children. The answer I have just recently came up with is simply this:

It’s our fault!

Yes, you read that right. Get ready because I’m swinging! Two generations are guilty of the bulk of this madness. My generation which consists of adults ages 35-46 and our parents generation- the 56 to 66-year-olds and it’s long-overdue for us to take responsibility for our actions and inactions. Let me explain and so that I’m not accused of double-talk or sugar-coating things I will break this down and sprinkle it with language of the generations so that I’m perfectly clear. I will also break this piece into a two-part series because this may be too big of a pill for many of you to swallow…..

Profitable Commodities: Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, and Violence
My generation created the hard-core music that highlights sex, drugs, and living hard and wild. Yeah, yeah, yeah they were talking about sex, drugs, and cheating in the 70s- but my generation took the concept that was written subliminally and we just opened Pandora’s box. My generation created the music that said it’s okay to have multiple sex partners, it’s okay to cheat on your girlfriend or wife, it’s okay for you and your friends to swap sex partners- it’s okay to pull all-nighters where each guy lines up at the door waiting for their chance at a session with the girl waiting in the room. My generation said it’s okay to get high off weed, speed, and everything in between.

 

Alcohol: The Quick High
My generation promoted St. Ides, Old English, Boone’s Farm, and drinking 40s. Before my generation no one drank a 40 ounce of beer. Period.

Even in 1986 when Billy Dee Williams became the face of Colt 45 this smooth, sexy chocolate man wasn’t guzzling back a 40 ounce. Yes, our culture has been marketed to heavily by malt liquor companies for over 40 years, but my generation got reeled in with the quick, cheap high of 40 ounces. We then spread the news quickly in music and movies, and now younger generations are hooked. Wonderful!

Yes, I’m being facetious!

My generation has promoted drinking liquor like Hennessey, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Absolut, and oh remember when everyone got on the Cristal champagne kick? Folks didn’t even like champagne but they were excited by the thought of taking a sip or even just holding the bottle of Cristal. Pitiful!

Now we have rappers, actors, and a well-known movie director-slash-producer buying into, partnering with and promoting various alcoholic brands- and serving them up in the Black and Brown communities; ignoring the fact that just like they had access to their parents’ liquor cabinet, these kids have access also and think it’s cool to be ‘sipping on syrup’. What are we doing to our people?

Sex: Sloppy Seconds and Thirds and…
My generation made Magnum condoms what they are today- popular, but obviously not used that often since we have more unplanned pregnancies and HIV cases than a little bit. There were and are more men claiming to be Magnum men, when they and we know the truth; but just saying the name speaks volumes. Magnum means ‘manhood’- so men say it and claim it.

Our songs went from fighting against war, oppression, and racism to ‘set trippin’, ‘baby mamas’, love triangles, and trying not to get grits thrown on us for coming in at 5am. Our songs went from “Fight the Power” to “What Set You Claim?” Our songs glorified pimping, illegal hustling, gang banging, and ho slanging. In the late 80s and 90s we were body rocking, knocking the boots- I can hear the guys just like it was yesterday when they would yell out, “that’s baby making music”. What the….!!!!! Yep, there were plenty of babies being made in the late 80s and 90s- a flippin baby boom! We wonder why the generations that followed are highly engaged in sex, violence, drugs and alcohol- uh because we set the stage for it and the generation before us financed it!

The Message in the Music
My generation created the songs. My parents generation was in power to get those songs recorded, pressed, printed, and put on the radio airwaves and in the record stores. My parents generation had the money and power to get our songs out there, and to finance the music videos that told their story. They were the age we are today, and their eyes saw dollar signs. The heads of record labels and distribution companies found a way to turn a huge profit, finance the purchase of jets, luxury penthouses, and trips around the world- while my generation worked their butts off cranking out product and getting the smallest return (sometimes owing the label money). Now who wants to talk about the pimp game?

Our music videos showed images of young Black and Latino women in tight fitting, short, revealing, scantily-clad clothing. But that wasn’t enough. We needed more. We needed to see which girl was “Poison” and was willing to show off their “big butt and a smile”. We told these ladies, who are daughters and granddaughters, that the sexiest and biggest risk-takers would be the leading ladies in these videos. So with big house wishes and champagne and caviar dreams, these females removed layer after layer of clothing, leaving less to the imagination, and then the dances amplified- transitioning from the 1980s ‘freak’ to the 1990s ‘cry baby’ and basically women were having sex on the dance floor. Eventually night clubs turned into sex clubs.

2 Live Crew explored every crevice on a woman’s body in the 90s by seeing which one would prove to be the biggest ‘freak’. So on concert and club stages around the country, women shoved fruits, veggies, and anything else they could find into some of the most unimaginable places in front of hundreds of strangers.
This is my generation’s fault.

If my fellow 30-something and 40-something rappers, singers, and writers would stop trying so hard to fit in with the younger crowds there would not be a flow-through of our perversion over to these kids.

Better to be Cute and Hard, but not Smart
We wonder why girls are more concerned with their looks than their grades- we wonder why 10-year-old girls are looking like they are 21-year-olds…we wonder why we see so many young men walking around with sagging pants and frowns- looking as though they are waiting for a fight; looking like they are thinking, “I wish a #!**@ would”.

Do you really still not know the answer?

I will let you ponder this…we’ll pick up where we left off tomorrow!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Going Against the Grain: My Pre-Marital Insight- Part 2

>So yesterday I was a potty-mouth and had the audacity to mention the dreaded “P” word…prenup! But let’s get past the stigma of prenuptial agreements- as the majority of the U.S. has gotten past the stigma of divorce (latest stats prove this point). I ran across the website divorcerate.org that cited, “50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.”

Now after reading those startling figures, can we get back to the topic at hand?

A prenup basically removes the money from the equation- the money you would be shelling out to lawyers who are going to rake up enough hours that they can buy one or more homes; and the money that you will be fighting to keep your spouse from feeling entitled to collect; it allows you to truly focus on what is supposed to be the most important thing in your relationship and pending marriage…the two of you! It keeps a couple who started out lovey dovey and inseparable from turning into Michael Douglass and Kathleen Turner in the 1989 movie “The War of the Roses”! It leaves one less thing to focus on or argue about.

How many of us gasped loudly at the amounts in divorce settlements where both men and women are walking away with millions of dollars? Although people always think of prenups as benefitting men, ladies, they can protect you also. How many of you worked hard to push your way up the career ladder, earned or are earning your position and title ethically, have or intend to own a home? How devastated would you be if the man you love filed for divorce and said, “oh and by the way I want half of everything you own“? Funny how things quickly go from “ours” back to “mine”. A prenup allows you to determine and designate how ‘mine’, ‘ours’, and ‘theirs’ is distributed and maintained.

Prenups aren’t for everyone- they are however my preferred tool to cut through the ‘bull’ in a relationship. I did have issues with an ex who refused to enter a prenuptial agreement with me- and the crazy thing is he made considerably more money than I did, but was insulted that I wanted a prenup. He argued that “…you’re not the type of woman who would go after my money, so why would I want a prenup to protect it? What’s mine is yours. You helped me get to where I am in my career….” Yes, he was right about the type of woman I am, just as he was right that I helped in building his career- but I still knew the realities that money somehow always becomes an issue in relationships, and I didn’t want that to be one of our issues.

Funny thing, money didn’t cause me to call off our engagement- his wandering eye and loose zipper did…but can you see how a prenup would have spared an emotional roller coaster had we married and he got busted cheating?

So are your shoulders still smashed up to your ears? Are your nostrils still flared? Are you still trying to find my email or phone number to give me a piece of your mind? I want you to think of the celebrities, public and private figures who have had or are going through ugly divorces all because they are fighting over money and property- couples fighting over custody of children and pets- then ask yourself would you want to be in their shoes?

Am I still crazy for wanting a prenup? If I am, then I embrace my craziness. Heaven forbid I ever marry and it fails, but while everyone else is stewing through a nasty divorce, I would have peace of mind as I sipped on an icy drink during a cruise- knowing that everything my husband and I agreed upon on day one was honored, and we respectfully and lovingly went our separate ways.

Just like I said in my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog the other day, “do everything in love“.

Well that’s my two cents on marriage, premarital considerations, divorce, and the dreaded “P” word. That is the end of this series. As promised, I did not subject you to a long, drawn-out analysis or reflection- and hopefully this series will spark some insightful and interesting dialogue amongst us. I look forward to your thoughts, reactions, comments, and respectful rantings!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Say Hello to the Newest Blogger for the Younger Women’s Task Force

>Today it is official!

My first piece was posted on the official blog of the Younger Women’s Task Force Atlanta Metro Chapter (YWTF-ATL). This is the first of many, and I will be covering various topics that appeal to and affect young women ages 20-39 around the world. With your support I hope to continue blogging for the YWTF for a very long time…well until I’m no longer considered a “younger woman” by membership standards! 🙂

Support me and support this great organization. Visit the blog today and please share your thoughts, feelings, and suggestions: http://ywtfatlanta.blogspot.com/

Thank you!!!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Going Against the Grain: My Pre-Marital Insight- Round 1

>I could possibly step on quite a few toes with this piece, but when have I ever truly been a status quo type of person? I will however spare many of you the pain and agony of a long, drawn-out analysis or reflection on love, relationships, and marriage and cut straight to the chase in this quick two-part series that will address a taboo subject that I feel brave enough to tackle. Let me see that smile!

I have watched many relationships fall apart during the dating and engagement stages and several fall apart through divorce. There are numerous reasons for these break-ups, but a great deal of issues resulted from how money and finances played a role in these relationships. Whether one half of the couple was well-off financially and the other one was living just-over-broke (and sucking the life out of their significant other’s bank account); both were well-off but one mismanaged their funds (or dictated how they would be managed); or both were broker than a bad joke and fought over how they would make a dollar out of fifteen cents- the case is that money became an issue.

I am a firm believer in prenuptial agreements (prenup). Oh gosh did I just cuss?

I know a lot of women who look at me like I just called them some scandalous names, while I also have entered some heated debates in previous relationships with men who could not fathom why I wanted a prenup before marrying them. It is simply this:

If you truly are marrying out of love, not convenience; love not status; love not desperation; love not out of default; love and not because of family and societal pressures; truly because you love and want to spend the rest of your life with this other person- then why not remove the financial aspect out of the equation upfront? One or both of you worked long and hard to attain a level of financial satisfaction and you most likely achieved this before you fell so madly in love with the person you hope to call your spouse one day. So why should this person be granted the right to take upwards of 50% of your personally-acquired wealth as their own simply because they are your husband or wife?

What if right now you don’t have a clue as to how you will pay your Internet Service Provider this month so that you can continue reading my blog posts, but you have aspirations of wealth-building- shouldn’t you consider this and the realities that the person you love today may despise you at some point during your marriage?

I’m a sappy romantic, while at the same time a true-blue realist. For me the reality is clear that if I were to ever become engaged again, I would want a prenup drafted, signed, and the ink dry before we say “I do”. I think that people don’t understand the flexibility and freedom that prenups provide. Yes, it should require lawyer-participation (so that it is legally binding) which means spending some money, but I would rather we shell out several hundred dollars upfront, than several thousands or more in divorce proceedings.

Some people think that prenups say, “you leave with nothing if we divorce”. This simply is not true. Granted, it could say that- but it can also say so much more. Your agreement can be outlined to say a number of things and address all types of scenarios such as how the two of you will handle any future children that you have together, any children that you currently parent as a couple. It can say how the two of you will handle the future acquisition and possible separation of community property; it can say almost anything.

You can have the agreement outline how you will share or maintain separate bank accounts, how you will share a pet, or who gets the pet upon dissolution of marriage. We know we have all heard of couples fighting over family pets- don’t act like you wouldn’t go off if the person you love later says, “and I’m taking Dino with me”. Do you really want the china her parents gave you as a wedding shower gift? Do you really want his golf clubs or his boat? Come on now, you don’t golf and you get motion-sickness, you only want these things out of spite!

A prenup is also an agreement that can be modified post-nuptially if the two of you see fit. Are you rolling your eyes at me right now? Am I kicking up too much dust for you to handle? Well, tomorrow let’s kick up some more as we return for part two of this two-part series!

See ya then. I look forward to your thoughts, reactions, comments, and respectful rantings!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Sisterhood: Overcoming Stereotypes

>

Yesterday I attended a lovely brunch at Sun In My Belly in Decatur, Georgia with six other women- Black women- strong, educated, intelligent, doing-their-thing women! We meet once per month for brunch and have a blast eating, laughing, catching up, and sharing the latest happenings in our lives. Most of us met online through Twitter, and with the suggestion of my friend of 20 years, Tiffany Bolen, we agreed to meet up two months ago for our first brunch. We all met initially with a bit of hesitation. Could a group of Black women who only really interacted online through Twitter, randomly a few hours per day, actually come together and have a wonderful experience? How would our personalities mesh? Would this face-to-face put a strain on our pleasantries online?

Our first experience was incredible. It was as though we had known each other for years. We quickly came together as a group and coined ourselves the “Twitter Brunch Crew”. We’re all in our mid-20s to mid-30s, single, and enjoying life. Our ‘crew’ is made up of writers and journalists, bloggers, stylists, and entertainment and business professionals. We are women with a purpose; women on a mission to surpass our dreams in a major way; women that should not be underestimated or taken for granted. We all are passionate about our lives, our careers, and our future. We come in different heights, shapes, sizes, and shades; with different hair lengths, colors, and degrees of thickness- some straight and some curly. We all are beautiful and love the skin we’re in!

We have come together and lovingly broke a stereotype about Black women. Black women have been labeled as difficult, catty, and too self-absorbed to get along with another woman. We’re known for our eye and neck rolling, lip-smacking, and hand clapping- all signs that we’re annoyed and about to blow a ‘gasket’. People don’t see us and see the potential to come together, spend hours laughing and uplifting each other; hugging and taking pictures; planning to attend events or take trips together. 

Nope, we’re supposed to be eye-balling the next ‘sista-girl’ and saying, “hmmm and who does she think she is?” We’re supposed to be sitting back counting all the ways we’re better than the next woman. We’re supposed to be wondering if and when this ‘chick’ is going to try to get her claws into ‘our man’. We’re supposed to be over-analyzing every little thing we can discover about another sista so we can feel better about ourselves. We’re supposed to be fighting and clamoring to get past each other so we can rope one of those few eligible Black men out there. We’re supposed to be hating on each other, not sharing love and respect for our fellow sistas.   

Our Twitter Brunch Crew has shattered that Black Chick Stereotype. We welcome other drama-free, love-the-skin-you’re-in sista-girls to join us as we unite and build each other up- instead of tearing each other down. If you’re on Twitter, live in the Metro Atlanta area (or will be visiting soon) and want to join us one Saturday or Sunday for brunch- follow me: twitter.com/natashaforeman

Sistas Unite!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com