Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Goodbye to E. Lynn Harris

On Thursday, July 23rd one of the greatest authors, E. Lynn Harris, died at the age of 54. I was first exposed to his books while in college. My stepsister used to talk about his books and I'd tell her that I wasn't really interested in hearing about gay men and their relationships.

I'll admit, I was somewhat ignorant to the homosexual/bisexual lifestyle and refused to accept such behavior. Growing up, there were always gay people at school and in the church, but I was never able to relate to their way of life.

By the time, I read my first E. Lynn Harris book, Invisible Life (also his first book) I began to change my way of thinking. Truthfully, I felt like a new world opened up to me. Although his books were fiction, they were always so real, so captivating. I could easily read his books in one sitting. If you're an E. Lynn fan, I can still picture what Basil and Raymond would look like if I ran into them on the street. I feel like I know his characters and their inner most feelings. Not many fiction authors have been able to touch me in such a way.

A full collection of every E. Lynn Harris book, even his collaborations and his memoir, sit on my bookshelf in order of publication. He was an amazing writer, who helped me to realize that homosexuality is a way of life. No matter what opinions people have on it, it exists and it's not going anywhere.

When Invisible Life, the movie comes out I will be the first in line. I'll miss you E. Lynn Harris! Thank you for opening my eyes!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Damn Shame

While sitting at my desk during my lunch break, I like to take time to read the news and find out about what's happening in the world. Yet again, I was appalled when I came across an article about Henry Louis Gates being arrested.

If you're not familiar with Mr. Gates, he's a leading African American writer and scholar who works at Harvard. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct at his home in Cambridge, MA after accusing a police officer of being "racially biased". The arrest was sparked by a woman who reported seeing "two black males with bookbags on the porch". Two men with bookbags, hmm, is that really so odd for a college town? Who could really think that was suspicious behavior? Come on now.

Maybe it's just me but I find it quite ironic that someone who's written numerous books on race relations as it relates to African Americans and how we've shaped this country was racially profiled while entering his own home.

Thankfully, the charges were dropped today but this is yet another sad day in America.

To read the full story, click here

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things to Do: Jazz In The Garden

Last Friday, I went to Jazz in the Garden for the first time. Jazz is an event held every Friday during the summer month from 5:00-8:30 in the garden behind The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

I would highly suggest getting there early because we got there around 6:15 and the grounds were already blanketed with hundreds of couples and groups of people. We finally found a nice spot by a hedge and laid down a blanket to enjoy the picnic we brought with us. Only thing was it was hard to hear the jazz band since there were no speakers set up, you could only faintly hear the music off in the distance.

They sell food, bottles of wine, and pitchers of sangria in the Garden Cafe but they allow you to bring in your own food. There's a sign at the entrance saying alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be brought it, but we along with everyone around us didn't follow that rule. No one checks at the entrances but they do have security patrolling so if you BYOB make sure to keep it out of sight. I had my bottle of Moscato & he a bottle of Merlot. Needless to say, we polished off both bottles.

My advice...try not to don't drink too much. The lines for the restrooms are extremely long. They have porta-potties, but the smell eminating from that area was horrid. Hold it if you can.

I definitely recommend this as a recession-friendly and romantic date idea. The next Friday I'm free, I hope to go again. Good times!

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is 2009, NOT 1959!!!

For the life of me I don't understand how or even why racism still exists in America. The glorious United States of America of all places, which is considered to be a "melting pot" of all different races, cultures, and religions.

I was seriously appalled to hear the latest news story about a summer camp of black children being turned away from a pool in Philadelphia, PA and were told "they'd change the complexion" of the pool. WHAT? Are you kidding me? First of all, who says that? Secondly, who says that and is serious?

When I first heard this story, I was thinking it had to be just a joke. But no, I was wrong, I googled it and found tons of hits from local media stations who've covered the story as well as several blogs and websites that have mentioned the story. I find it quite interesting how the swim club accepted nearly $2000 from the program to allow the kids to swim there but when they showed up they were told to leave, were refunded their money and told not to come back.

I plan on sending an email as well as a letter to The Valley Club expressing my shear disgust in how they treated these children and my concerns with what has occurred. I hope that others will take a similar stand to let them not that this is NOT OKAY and will not be tolerated. Just because this is 2009 and not 1959 and we're not still holding boycotts and staging sit-ins, we can't just sit back and let events like this continue to happen and go unnoticed. We have to remain vigilant in ensuring that there is no place for racism in today's society. Below is the contact information for the Swim Club that turned the children away.

The Valley Club
Physical Address: 22 Tomlinson Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 134, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
Club Phone Number: 215-947-0700
Club E-mail:
It still amazes me that someone would have to nerve to say something like that and think it was alright. Just when we think this country has come so far, there's always evidence to prove otherwise.

YouTube Video discussing the incident (Note: There is some strong language towards the end)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Al Sharpton Go Sit Down!

I truly can't stand, or better yet I despise, the Rev. Al Sharpton. Out of respect, I will refrain from referring to him as "Big Perm" as I've been known to in the past. He's an utter embarrassment to me as a Black person and he does not represent me nor anything that I stand for.

As I sat and watched the memorial service held for Michael Jackson yesterday, I felt sick to my stomach when ole Al got up to speak. All I could think was what foolishness is he going to spew from his mouth today. So as I sat there thinking, wait for it...he dropped the bomb. He looks towards Michael Jackson's children and says "I want you three children to know, what’n nuttin strange about your Daddy.” (You can see the Video on YouTube, he makes the comment at 5:21)

Really Al? Everyone was sensitive to the family and did their best to keep the mood light and positive. But there he goes with his controversial commentary. Maybe I’m being critical because I can longer see past his ignorance or need for self-promotion but he really could’ve worded what was supposed to be positive message to make his point sound less harsh. Instead, he made a point of drawing a reaction from the crowd in usual Al Sharpton-fashion.

Seriously, did he really think that was appropriate to say to someone's grieving children? Did he think it was appropriate to make a comment like that which would be heard by millions, if not billions, of people all over the world?

Why do people keep encouraging him? Why do people call on him to speak at any event where there’s going to be media scrutinizing his every word and action? I just hope “others” realize that he does not speak for all Black people. In all respect, I know he’s done his part in bringing discrimination issues to the media (i.e. Jena 6 and any other racial injustice that would allow him to stand on his pulpit to have his 30 seconds of fame). Will someone please tell Al Sharpton it’s someone else’s turn to be in the spotlight and hopefully someone who’s a little more articulate and is more representative of the black community as a whole! To the Rev. Al Sharpton, I wish you’d just go sit down somewhere and be quiet for a change!