Sibling Rivalry or Something More Sinister?

On Monday night’s episode of Tia and Tamera, Tia may as well have pulled up on a pink elephant instead of a white Range Rover in which she hit Tamera with the uncomfortable question that has really been the major unspoken conflict of the show, “Are you jealous?”   It’s no secret that Tia is kinda feeling herself and rightfully so.  She really made a name for herself in the past few years with an independence that Tamera seems to be struggling to find on their Style network reality show, Tia and Tamera.  After landing a starring role on television show The Game (a role that Tamera auditioned for as well), Tia was able to show her fans that she was no longer the syrupy sweet actress of Sister, Sister fame in which the characters’ biggest problems were rogue zits and not making the cheerleading squad. Through The Game, Tia proved that she could still be funny, as well as dramatic in a sexy, sophisticated way.  Funny what some tame profanity and “mature subject matter” can do for a career.   Add on top of that the publicity and perceived maturity that getting married and having a baby can bring and Tia has all the makings of a simmering Hollywood starlet.

Tamera, on the other hand has experienced some success, but definitely on a smaller scale.  She dabbled in a dramatic role-playing Dr. Kayla Thornton on the medical series Strong Medicine.  She shortly returned to the cutesy roles she was known for playing Mona on ABC Family’s defunct Roommates.  But unfortunately besides made-for-tv  family specials Tamera’s career didn’t quite navigate the choppy waters of child-turned-adult actress as smoothly as her twin sister’s did.  Now on their reality show, what I witness is someone struggling for purpose and grasping desperately at anything major that will define her.  Tamera seems all over the place; last season left us with a newlywed Tamera who seemed to have a husband out of nowhere (wasn’t she just dating around on the pilot for this show?) who was re-dedicating her life to her acting career.  This season seems to be picking up with her peddling wine for her new Housley family and recently she revealed that she’s expecting.  It just appears that instead of following her own path, she’s settled for simply following Tia’s example.

Jealousy can be even harder to deal with between siblings since essentially they may feel that by being raised in the same household, with the same DNA, challenges and opportunities, there’s no reason why one sibling should be more successful than the other. It can be difficult when you’re raised with several siblings facing an unexplained pressure to find your role.  Are you the smart one?  The rich one? The rebellious one?  The reliable one?  Jealousy can be even more destructive when it’s shared between blood because you may feel like you all had an equal opportunity so any failures you experience must be of your own doing.

Later in the episode Tamera remarked, “Jealousy is negative energy and I don’t want to be a part of that.”  She mentions she feels that Tia implied that she wants Tamera to be jealous of her and she is hurt that sisters would confront each other that way.  Many viewers have attacked Tia as a self-centered, big-headed bully.  But what I see is the more blunt half of the pair forcing her soft-spoken sister to get uncomfortable with the truth, so that she can become more comfortable with herself.  The truth I suspect is that Tamera seems to be less than satisfied with her life and seems like she’s searching for something.  We all like to believe that we are above jealousy, that it’s something limited to unfaithful frenemies and catty reality show stars.  The truth is, in a world where no one is perfect we all fall weak to fleeting insecurity which may lead us to develop envious feelings towards those who appear to have what we want.

I guess it really depends on how you define jealousy, which the girls take a few minutes to debate about.   Like my deliciously handsome future husband Drake once said, “Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.”    I always defined jealousy as wanting what someone else has and harboring resentment towards that person because you don’t have it.  Like anger, sadness or any other emotion what matters most is that jealousy is handled in a healthy way or it can be very destructive.  You just have to be honest with yourself when it comes to jealousy.  Even I have asked myself on a few occasions, “Am I hating or is this just really dumb shit?”  If you can’t find a legitimate reason to dislike someone’s situation, then you’re probably  jealous and that’s OK because jealousy can help you improve on your grind.

I kind of agree with both twins’ points of view.  If Tamera is harboring some kind of resentment of Tia’s success, she should just be honest.  If you can’t be honest with your sibling, who can you be honest with?  Sometimes letting those feelings out in the open is more therapeutic than anything.  There’s a certain respect you have to have for someone who can set their pride aside long enough to let someone know they kind of envy their life.  At the same time, jealousy has to be kept in check; when left to fester long enough it can turn into anger or hatred which can make people do some shady shit.

The best defense against jealousy is confidence.  Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and do you.  And to do you, you have to know you; you can’t define yourself through the goals of others.  We all struggle with jealousy at some point or another, but for a long time there was never any room for jealousy between me and my older sister.  A seven-year age difference placed us at polar ends of life experiences make it almost impossible to compete.  As we grow older though, it grows more and more tempting to play “Whose Life is Better Bingo” as we mark off our accomplishments in education, career, and romance. Whenever we argue and I’m feeling particularly spiteful, I fight the urge to go there.  Because the truth is when you have to compete with everyone else in the world, the last thing you want to see your sibling as is an opponent.


Made U Look: Follow the Yellow Brick…Bucket Bag

If you’re a member of my inner sanctum, you’ve probably at one time or another harassed my choice of limiting the selections of my wardrobe to white, grey or black.  One of my style icons is  the slick-tongued Tabatha Coffey of the brutally honest Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.  “The reason I wear black is because it does make people look professional…I like black. It’s easy and I work more than I play so I wear black all the time,” she once mentioned in an interview. Tabatha taught me that you don’t necessarily need color to add a little bit of personality to your wardrobe.  Through a variety of cuts, prints, lengths and textures, her outfits were always unique, sexy and edgy.  The color black in my opinion is the epitome of elegance, refinement, sophistication.
But even I can admit that black can be misinterpreted as boring, lazy and on occasion my style has even been referred to as “goth” (I guess a gal can’t enjoy the absence of color, spikes and leather without pulling out some Marilyn Manson and some good old-fashioned brooding and self-pity). So for the summer I’ve decided to reactivate my “punch of color rule” through my newest obsession: yellow purses.  Take a look at some of my favorites:

Forever 21 Vibrant Tote $24.80

GoJane Two-Tone Buckle Clutch $40.30

BCBGeneration Regina Satchel $89.99 (Zappos)

L.A.M.B. Geo Applique Satchel $396.00

Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Lil Tate $178.00 (Bloomingdales)

Steve Madden Danity Satchel Handbag $65.99 (6pm)

Misery Loves Company…Even Better an Audience

**Warning**  “Empire Girls” Episode 3 Spoiler Alert

My New Year’s Resolution was to not support any reality TV show shenanigans parading women more as cackling and clawing sideshows then intelligent, insightful main attractions.  Yet I found myself sucked into Style network’s Empire Girls this past weekend.  Julissa Bermudez and Adrienne Bailon might not be the brightest bulbs in Times Square,  but they can dress their asses off.  Between them and Tia and Tamera, I’ve got fashion inspiration to last until the New Year’s Eve ball drops.

Yet it wasn’t the ensemble envy that snagged me, it was a clip of Julissa bawling like a war-veteran’s widow in front of her ex-fiancée NFL player, Larry Johnson.  As her pride splashed to the floor, I had to know what had her drowning in a puddle of “you’ve been played”.

Turns out, is started with a night on the town with bestie Bailon and publicist pal, Ashley Weatherspoon (let me find out “publicist” is the new “personal assistant” cuz ‘ everyone in the crew has to have a professional title even if their only responsibility is to stay pretty and party, right?).  After spotting “L.J.” waiting outside of a concert , Julissa becomes overwhelmed and starts the dramatic process of over-analyzing that we women do when we are insecure and try “thinking a relationship to death” to make it work.  Instead of playing it cool, coy and oblivious, the girls encourage her to walk up to him and give him a friendly, “Howdy!  How ya’ doing?” which subliminally means, “I’m so over you that I am confident enough to walk up to you and be unfazed by the intense feelings we once shared.”  What they didn’t tell her is that this only works when you’re actually over the relationship.  The confrontation results in a long, awkward pause of unrequited-passion-pregnant air after the greeting which leaves Julissa feeling more embarrassed than enlightened.

When L.J. texts that they should catch up over lunch.  He comes out swinging with a callous, “You act like I killed ya’ dog or something.”  Julissa has a messy meltdown when she finds out not only did he stop abusing alcohol (a major problem in their relationship) but he has since had a daughter and is in love with his child’s mother.  Touchdown for L.J.; takedown for Ms. Bermudez.  Baby didn’t even get to leave with her pride.

I’m beginning to learn why these ladies, as well as those ratchet Love and Hip Hop heffas are lonely, cheated on and disrespected:  They keep continuing to take advice from their lonely, cheated on and disrespected friends.  Ladies, take a look at your best gal pal and call to memory the words of Mya in her song, “How You Gonna Tell Me”:

At least if you’re gonna try and give advice
About my life have your own shit right
Cause you ain’t even livin’ what you preach to me
So please, how you gonna tell me?”

Stop subscribing to tainted advice of how to get/keep a man from your friends that also can’t get/keep a man.  This advice is flawed for one of three reasons: 1.) They have the best of intentions, but really don’t know what the fuck they are talking about.  2.) They have the worst of intentions and don’t want you to be happy if they can’t be.  3.) You’re the entertainment.

By “entertainment” I mean in every girl group there’s one that by default makes the others feel good about their own screwed up situations because at least your situation isn’t as bad as “the entertainment’s”.  She’s the one y’all clown for a good laugh over cocktails when you talk about how her man had the other girl riding around in her Camaro cuz of course, that could never be you.  In Destiny’s Child there was Michelle.  In the first season of Love and Hip Hop there was Emily and on this new season can you guess who it is?   It’s the one whose man is running around with a chick that resembles John Leguizamo in drag.

Who should you listen to then?  The girl who you all sit around and hate on gossip about.  You know who I’m talking about.  Ms. “Has-to-Be-Unhappily-Married-Because-Ain’t-No-Way-He’s-Not-Cheating-On-Her-and-We’ll-Say-Anything-To-Throw-Shade-on-Her-Happiness-Because-We-Secretly-Want-Her-Life”.  If you all could take two minutes from dissecting her every flaw and over-analyzing every conflict she has in her relationship, and gave her props for what she’s doing right, you might learn a thing or two about how to have a healthy relationship…or the hope for any relationship, for that matter.

Lastly, the other person you should listen to is yourself.  Even if you don’t always stick to it, only you know what you truly want from a relationship and you set the standards for how your relationship works.  We women don’t give ourselves enough credit.  We usually have all the answers before the test even begins, but we spend so much time studying that when we were are faced with some abs and a sexy smile, we draw a blank.  Don’t be anyone’s sideshow, not VH-1’s and not your girl crew’s.  Go with your gut. It has more sense than your biased girlfriends any day.

Why I Hate the Term “You Ain’t About That Life”

“So, ya know, 2 many, Drake’s rep w/in hiphop is actually gonna improve aftr this CB incident right? They’ll say he’s ‘a real nigga’,” tweeted Amanda Seales, host of MTV’s Hip Hop POV.  It really started me thinking about a co-worker I couldn’t stand that thought simply uttering the phrase, “I’m from Brooklyn,” would make us Philly natives cower and run for cover.  If professionals in a downtown office are struggling for street cred in an effort to relate to inner-city youth, I can only imagine the pressures placed on performers in hip-hop.

I get it: It’s a matter of respect.  But what we need to understand is that no one understands anyone else’s struggles unless you were right there grinding right along with them.  Who knows the things Ray-J had to go through before Brandy made it big.  Even when Drake was getting Wheelchair Jimmy money on Degrassi, he still had something in common with your Jay-Z’s, Wale’s and even Tupac’s (stay with me here):  At one point they were all young men with nothing but a grind and a dream.  And they all wanted the same thing a lot of us want: To be successful.  And like Jay-Z once said, “If you can’t respect that, your whole perspective is wack.”

See the term, “You ain’t about that life,” suggests that on some level a person thinks they know you based solely off of one image you portray. Grant it there are some people who are indeed as weak as they appear,  but you never know what someone is capable of when pushed to their limit.  Even a poodle will bite the shit out of you when backed into a corner.  I always say, “Be careful because you never know who’s got a little crazy going on in the head.”  Hip-hop culture promotes this attitude of repping where your from every five seconds to prove how down and dangerous you are, or bragging about all of the crimes you’ve committed in order to be respected and taken seriously, but whenever an artist becomes the least bit associated with some genuine emotion and vulnerability, we automatically discredit them.  All I’m saying is there’s an abundancy of rappers who claim to be hardcore, when they are about as hard as cotton candy, but there’s also a handful of rappers that have survived some grimy situations who choose not use those experiences to gain acceptance.  Which person would you want on your side when shit gets real?

After Ray-J allegedly stepped to Fabulous and now in the accusal aftermath of Drake chucking a champagne bottle at Chris Brown’s chin, the public and media outcries all repeat the same disbelief in the form of, “He ain’t about that life.”  Seriously?  And what is this life exactly?  Are we honestly praising a lifestyle of violence and poverty that somehow makes our hip-hop artists that much more talented or credible?   Last time I checked, Drake never claimed to be “hugging the block” or “cooking crack”, yet as of February 2012 his debut album “Thank Me Later” has sold 1,551,000 copies in the United States.  Women lie, Rick Ross lies, but numbers don’t.  Drake may not be “about that life” but his bank account obviously doesn’t give a damn.  And honestly, if some of you basement-studio rappers spent a little less time being “about that life” and bit more time being “about your business” you might be able to make a come up too.

FanMail: Dear Drizzy and C. Breezy

Chris Brown Twitpic

I was just lying in bed last night thinking what celebrity I would feature in my next “Fanmail” entry.  Which celeb needs a hug, a moment of clarity, some QT time with Christ.  But then, alas, you two decided you wanted to partake in the daily dose of celebrity fuckery.

Rihanna, that’s a bad broad, I can’t even lie.  She must have been doing Kegel exercises with Erykah Badu because once you men get with her you literally lose your minds.  I’m surprised one of you hasn’t ended up in a desert by now, butt naked sitting Indian style on a vision quest.  But that might be because you’re too busy throwing bottles in the club instead of popping them.

If the rumors are true, C. Breezy I’m gonna need you to drop it low and duck.  What happened?  Did Drizzy sneak you?  This is the same man who can probably do a back flip and land on his fingernails and you couldn’t look left as a bottle of Cris descended upon your dome?  Well, Drizzy did warn you that you would hype him up and make him “catch a body like that”.

Let’s gain a little perspective, shall we: Just a few weeks ago, my girl Riri was having the worst week ever as subliminal diss tracks were released by the both of you.  Chris Brown, who can usually be found crump dancing while crooning a love song so poetically stated:

Don’t f**k with my old b-tch it’s like a bad fur
Every industry n***a done had her
Shook the tree like a pumpkin just to smash her
B-tch is breaking codes, but I’m the password

And my future seven-night stand Drake had everyone thinking, “Is he talking about…no he can’t be talking about her,” when he spit,

She came through, she brought food, She got f—ed, she knew wassup 

She think I’m the realest out  And I say “damn, that makes two of us” 

Oh that look like what’s her name  Chances are it is whats her name  Chances are, if she was acting up Then I f–ked her once and never f—ed again She could have a Grammy,

I still treat that *ss like a nominee

Just need to know what that p—y like so one time, it’s fine with me

All I can say is: Y’all mad.  Rihanna’s dutty wining on designer perfume ads while you two are shedding blood at the bar.  Get it together.  Light-skinned dudes just got hot again; ya’ll need to stick together for J. Cole and Kirko Bangz sake, before Wale takes over. Do we need D’Angelo to get all my male singers and rappers together for a second version of, “U Will Know” Jason’s Lyric style?

Chris Brown, I am not sure if you are still on probation, but you need to let this go.  Last I heard you found love in a hopeless place in Karrueche Tran and Drizzy has had been linked to so many chicks in the last week, they could get together and form a version of The Vagina Monologues entitled “A Taste of Champagne Papi.” So let’s refill Drake’s cup, get Chris a paintbrush and a hot beat and keep the peace, OK?



Made U Look: Jeffrey Campbell Hidden Wedge Sneakers

I’d like to introduce you to the man that will have this broad broke by the end of summer, Mr. Jeffrey Campbell.  Ok so maybe not the actual man, but the absolutely fabulous footwear that is a result of his edgy and sexy creativity.  You may already be familiar with Mr. Campbell, if you ever seen these things:

I wasn’t exactly a fan of “Lita”.  They managed to look quite cute on contemporary clones discovering their inner hipster, but I wasn’t convinced they weren’t taken from the pages of “The Crucible”.

But his wedge sneakers…now this is something I can get into.  You know how you see a shoe, and it’s like price is not even a concern, because you just need to have them in your life. (I’m cracking up because I just had to spell check the word “hoe” into “shoe” which would have taken this post in a completely different direction.)  Anywayz, I have completely fallen head over heels for Campbell’s genius that is “Edea” as well as some other favorites which are a mix between Saved By the Bell, rock and roll and costume design on a Ridley Scott set.  Take a look at some of my fav’s:

“Edea” $225.00

“Teramo” $206.00

“Gio” $199.95

“Venice” $170.00

FanMail: Dear Kanye West

Dear Mr. Kanye West,

“You see, if you ever wanted to ever be anything.  There’d always be somebody that shoot down any dream.  There’ll always be haters, that’s the way it is.  Hater niggas marry hater bitches and have hater kids.”  Those were the lyrics where you went from man to immortal in my eyes.  Ok, maybe that’s a little bit heavy, but seriously those lyrics will stay with me forever and the track that they were featured in, “Bring Me Down feat. Brandy”. The track took you from lyricist to legend in my eyes.

Ever since I listened to those words blasting from my friend’s white ‘97 Honda Accord on my way home from Best Buy, I knew you could do no wrong.  You stood next to a rarely uncomfortable-looking Mike Meyers and in a calm but crazy tone told viewers, “Bush doesn’t care about black people.“ And I applauded, ‘cuz my man Ye’ said so “eloquently” what everyone else was thinking, but didn’t have the balls to say.  Then to add some stank on it, you explicitly encouraged the whole SNL cast to “more specifically” kiss your asshole reminding them, “I’m an asshole? Y’all niggas got jokes!”

And who can forget when you staggered onto the MTV Video Music Awards stage to feed America’s sweetheart the bitter truth in what became the Interruption Twitter Hash Tag of the Year, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you…I’ll let you finish. But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!”

It’s reasons like that which have led me to believe you can do no wrong.  You are a verbal mass murderer, and critics can call you rude, cocky and over-confident, but they can’t deny that you have a reason to be so…until now that is.

See Yeezy, unlike Drake who I wouldn’t mind allowing to fillet me with his bi-racial Canadian fishing pole and then write a song with a catchy hook about our XO-induced foreplay while he simultaneously insults and seduces me, I adore your lyrical ability in a way that transcends sexual attraction.  So for the life of me I can’t understand why you think Kim Kardashian matches your “fly.”

You don’t need a gimmick.  Everyone knows we can count on Ye’ to bring some cool, collected crazy to the game.  You take rap to another level that’s somewhere between intellectual, conscious and Roberto Cavalli and that is why we love you.  The truth is that I don’t even hate Kim K., I respect her hustle actually.  But I can’t help thinking that this whole “relationship” is just another business transaction for the two of you, and as a fan, I can’t take you seriously when you try this hard to insult my intelligence.

You’re better than this; I don’t want you to be a nameless black phallus that plays supporting cast on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Her vacant declarations of Twitter love  for you make me physically ill, because Mr. West is not about that life.  I wasn’t the biggest Amber Rose fan, but I must say she had a bit of gritty realness to her.  Kim Kardashian herself comes off to me like a product; she could easily be replaced by a can of Red Bull, a Snuggie or any other transient cultural obsession.  And you deserve more than a plastic Armenian Snuggie.

I don’t know if I can give this my blessing.  I mean ever since this ish started, I’ve been kind giving you the side-eye.  You deserve someone who genuinely can deal with your melodrama, not initiate more.  Do you really want to be one degree of separation from Brandy’s little brother?  Doesn’t that break some kind of hip-hop handbook regulation?

You are more than a play for publicity.  You can share fashion tips with this chick, her stylist and even her momager, but not your heart.  The Huffington Post featured a headline today that read, “Kanye West ‘Can’t Wait’ to Have Kids with Kim Kardashian.”  As I read I couldn’t help but hear one of your verses play in the back of my mind: “Ya never know homie, about these hoes homie,  ya need to pump your breaks and drive slow homie.”