Monday, November 28, 2011

Dissin' America's First Lady

Americans love First Ladies who are stylish, supportive of their presidential hubbies, and diligent moms. Michelle Obama fits the bill on all counts.

Likewise, Mrs. Obama is a  graduate of Princeton University (cum laude) and Harvard Law School, mother of two young daughters, Malia and Sasha (who are too young to get much press attention, thank God), and an advocate of childhood fitness and military families.

She is down-to-earth with a sense of humor and handles herself with aplomb at public appearances.

Why, I wonder, would NASCAR fans boo Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice-President Joe Biden, last week at an event sponsored by NASCAR and Joining Forces, an organization that promotes the training and hiring of veterans?

Mrs. Obama does not make policy nor does she have political aspirations (unlike former first lady, and now secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton).

The First Lady’s primary duty is to represent the United States at home and abroad, which Mrs. Obama does admirably.

For some narrow-minded Americans, the Obamas defy misconceptions and stereotypes about African-Americans. They are cosmopolitan, articulate, and family-oriented.

Political leanings aside, what more could you want in a First Family?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flash Blacks

I was talking to my sister about an old movie, Deadly Voyage, I'd recently seen featuring a very young Omar Epps as one of eight African stowaways on a British commercial vessel. Among the seven stowaways brutally murdered by the racist crew is British actor Chiwetel Ojiofor in his debut role.

I have followed Ojiofor's career since seeing him in the 2008 flick, Redbelt, in which he portrays a master martial artist and trainer.

The conversation with my sister, who had no idea who Ojiofor is, led me to wonder when Hollywood will recognize excellent black actors who appear in big budget films with major stars, but who still largely play supporting roles.

Among my favorites are:

Jeffrey Wright, 37, described by IMDB, an Internet movie site, as "one of the most underrated and underexposed actors of his caliber and generation." He's appeared Source Code, Cadillac Records, Inside Man, American Gangster, and Salt.

Mos Def, 38, former member of Black Star whose appeared in the Italian Job, Brown Sugar, 16 Blocks, and HBO's biopic Something the Lord Made, about the life of surgical technician Vivien Thomas, who helped pioneer heart surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1930s.

Michael Ealy, 37, blue-eyed actor whose played diverse roles in Showtime's Sleeper Cell, Barber Shop,  Seven Pounds, Takers, and Miracle at St. Anna's.

Derek Luke, 38, most famous for playing opposite Denzel Washington in Antwone Fisher. His roles have included playing Sean "Diddy" Combs in Notorious and a South African activist during apartheid in Catch A Fire with Tom Robbins.

Honorable Mentions: Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard), Idris Elba (Takers), Shemar Moore (TV's Criminal Minds), and Tyrese Gibson (Transformer).

There are others, but in the interest of brevity, I've mentioned these few.

Can you name other not-so-famous but fine actors (or actresses)?

Monday, November 14, 2011

All Ain't Always What It Seems...

Wow! Yet another "nice guy,"retired Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, faces allegations of sexually abusing eight "at-risk," boys (read: from low-income families) who were part of his The Second Mile sports program, which he devoted himself to after retirement.

According to Sandusky, he only "hugged," "horsed around after showers," and "touched their legs."

Now, it is not my place to pre-judge the coach; however, why are we always shocked when a successful man (or woman) is accused of wrongdoing. We are all human. We are all fallible. We are all capable of despicable behavior.

For example, we were loath to believe the sexual misdeeds of our leaders (e.g. former Pres. Bill Clinton, former U.S, Representative Anthony Weiner, D-NY, and former New York governor, David Paterson), who each admitted to misconduct while holding the most public of jobs.

Today, Herman Cain's wife, Gloria, said that her husband would have to have a "split personality" to have sexually harassed women as alleged. It wouldn't be the first time that the wife was the last to know.

I hope the allegations against Cain are untrue; it seems a shame that these charges will forever tarnish his reputation as a business man and community leader.

However, if they turn out to be true; don't be surprised.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I don't get it.

How did Herman Cain jump to the front of the GOP's presidential candidates?

Before his name became a household word (for all the wrong reasons this week), the American public had not heard of him. Yet, Republicans have grabbed onto him as the next possible nominee for the presidency.


Would you vote for a man who
  • Breaks into "Amazing Grace" at a major news conference about allegations that he paid off several women who reported his sexual misconduct? (Today, one of those women went public.)
  •  Says that China is a "military threat...trying to develop nuclear power."
  • Says that the person he admires most is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who weathered a similar storm of controversy that brewed after Anita Hill, his assistant at the Department of Education and EEOC, testified at a Senate confirmation hearings in 1991.
  • Got downright nasty with hordes of reporters trying question him about the allegations.
  • Has no political experience.
  • Promotes a tax plan under which everyone--from low-income families to millionaires--would pay at the same tax rate, 9 percent.
In the spirit of self-disclosure, I admit that I am a registered Democrat.