Friday, December 23, 2005

Doctor(ing) Nina Simone

Another perfume commercial...j'adore is out with a new one featuring the incredible voice of Dr. Nina Simone as she sings "House of the Rising Sun". Their commercial was a little better in that the poor white woman in this piece is "troubled" and shown in a clouded haze. Of course she must know what it means to usurp power and deal with men in a male-dominated industry. Of course she kicked ass to become a tremendous voice despite the obstacles. Yeah.

Used to be people of color were brought out during specific holidays like Cinco de Mayo (beer sales), Black History Month (the McRib is back!), etc. Now, white-led advertising moguls are selling white-led companies on the idea of coloring their product 24/7. But, just a little color - a little goes a long way - don't add too much! You can have people of color talking with no accent and sold on the American Dream or you can have white people with music or background images specific to people of color but no way should a person of color sound like one unless they are on Law & Order and happen to have just set a nightclub on fire or are snitching on the neighbor for twenty bucks.

Damn, I'm tired of watching tv. Still feeling sick, still looking for work, still trying to write. Have to wash ten loads of laundry but there's no water because of the fire in the other side of the building last night left us all without any pressure and besides the dryer needs a replacement plug but there's no extra $15 to buy the shit to replace it. Little sleep because of making candy bags for Cliffy's workmates for holiday blessings/caloric intakes. Circles and circles of little things meant to fuck with my head. Need sleep.

One good thing: I got my ass up this morning and met a friend for coffee and a conversation about writing. Turned out really well. The conversation was so much more animated than I'd anticipated. I'd become accustomed to groups that talk more than act and this new pairing seems like it will fit me because we didn't just talk about actual pieces but about the struggle to even give time to the craft, how interwoven writing is/should be to our lives, and how our world/identities change with each piece we don't get in the way of as it's coming out.

I was on the Mamis of Color radio show a couple of days ago and the topic was Women and Creativity. We laughed about the euphemisms around wrestling some time with pen and paper/computer/needle and thread/paintbrush/whatever other tools are used in the process.
You know the phrases: "living creatively", "giving attention to ourselves, our craft", and the ever popular "expressing ourselves". We all agreed they sound very white middle-class but we are using the conqueror's language here, eh? So, we went with it.

Well, between this morning's discussion and last night lit up like daytime by the lights of four firetrucks and a police car (and the unexpected unavailability of my own washer/dryer), my head is full of images. Even if it's not apparent to the two people who might read my blog, I always try to remember one of reasons for starting this blog. Besides not going crazy, I wanted to remember my own mentors/heroes/reminders. Nina Simone is one of those incredible women who keep my stuff moving around. Now just to deal with the woman she was versus the woman who plays her on tv.

A double espresso with whipped cream (my new favorite coffee beverage) helps it all ride a little smoother now. Lord knows I was rough this morning. Someone have a shower stall and $15 bucks I could borrow?

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