Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Letter to Those Cautious Women: The Definition of Metro-Sexual

Announcement:

Every sexually active individual needs to be cautious about who they sleep with.

Why wouldn’t you be under the present circumstances: Rampant increases in sexually transmitted disease infections i.e. the big one: HIV/AIDS. However, it is my belief this leeriness is not solely associated with sexual behavior. I am of the belief women are also concerned about who and what they devote themselves to. What do you mean by “what they devote themselves to.” Well, it is a fact there is a huge percentage of men in Atlanta and throughout the world who are double-dipping or should I say undecided? If you are a double-dipper you are playing with someone’s life. Their life is not your playground or your backyard of exploration. If you fall in the undecided category please keep in mind or be informed that who you say you love is more than likely not equipped to psychologically assist you with your dilemma. You need some level of therapy to help you come to terms with the issue. And, by the way, this is not something TD Jakes can cast out of your body.

Now, to the subject at hand. The Metro-Sexual. Who is this man? What makes him tick? Why is he misunderstood?

Ladies, you asked us (men) to take off the Timberlands. You demanded we tuck in our collar shirts. You even required we pull up our pants a little. Then you went on to hint that we need to remove the athletic caps, and trade them in for a more stylish hat.

You suggested we get a monthly manicure and a pedicure. You asked us to shave our chest hair down to a non-abrasive length. You even strongly recommended we put wet wipes in our bathrooms.

Ladies, you asked us to use correct English in the home, and demanded we get rid of the street talk. You encouraged us to start reading books, and not just the sports page. You even convinced us to become more internationally astute. Then you succeeded at hoodwinking us into eliminating Sports Center from our television viewing repertoire.

You came to our homes, and concluded the d├ęcor was cheap looking and outdated. We went shopping with you to “beautify” our place, and while spending our money to redecorate our place of refuge, you slipped a pair of shoes in the shopping cart. Then you lead us to believe painted accent walls were in.

And, ladies, we even altered our eating habits to appease you. We put down the chips. We decided to eat more WHITE MEAT chicken. What happen to the leg and thigh? Now, we eat skinless breasts! Then we fell for this one: ‘Baby, if you are going to drink beer maybe you should drink one of those low in carb’s beers.’

Fellas, we have been suckered! Lead astray!!

Ladies, guess what? We are now what you groomed, cultured, and molded.
We are Metro-sexual!

A description of the Metro-Sexual:

An urban straight male ranging in age from late teens to mid 30's who is good looking (FINE), stylish, fashionable, trendy, cultured, & well groomed. A metro sexual is very conscious about his image and looks in public. He is well educated, confident, knows what he wants in his life. Prefers quality over quantity. He always wants to make sure he is up to date on fashion, and usually he is the trend setter, and he is open to new things as long it is worth his time and money.

He is a hip guy who is sensitive to women's feelings and spirituality. He is not even afraid to say ‘what a cute little purse or those shoes are hot’. This man is tuned into the very core of women, noticing every detail about them. Yes, he knows when it is time for his woman to get her hair FIXED. He is not open to too much weave. Extensions get in his way and makes his woman look superficial.

He is meticulous about his stuff and he is a decorator who does not need a woman’s assistance in making his home comfortable. His home probably speaks volumes about him, and he wants to make a statement to all his visitors.

He loves to make love to his woman, and he knows exactly how to please her affectionately and sexually. If you want to get banged every time, too bad. He wants to be passionately erotic. He may not be into the oral sex thing right out the gate! So, don’t get disappointed if he passes on that the first, second, and third time around. He is only being health conscience and he is just making sure you will not lose your mind because he plans to do it sensually.

Oh!, and he is definitely, not gay. He just wears a tight t-shirt because he is proud of the body he has sculptured by working out four times a week. Actually, he wants you to join him on the elliptical machine.

You know you want this man!

Written by a proud dark-skinned Metro-Sexual. Inspired by all the women who convinced her man to watch Desperate House Wives instead of the featured NFL Sunday Night Game on ESPN!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Oprah’s Legends Ball: Mourning the Death of One Black Woman and Appreciating Thousands More

It was May 22, 2006 when I finally mourned the death of my grandmother. After 14 years I began to understand the magnitude of her death. Frankie Payne’s death did not hit me on April 10, 1992 like it did while watching Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. It was on this night between 8pm and 9pm that I realized the power of Frankie.

She was quick-witted, sarcastic, and brutally honest. She was the epitome of Dorothy Height’s courageousness, she was dedicated to life like Cecily Tyson, Frankie Payne was the essence of Ruby Dee’s beauty. How I loved my grandmother!

She was my momma, my auntie, and my grandma all in one. She was everything to me. Frankie Payne told me how to behave in public and she demanded that I respect and honor the black woman. Not only was she the behavior checker she was the evaluator of my girlfriends. She set the standard. How I miss Frankie!

Eventually, while watching the MOVING special presentation, my thoughts began to drift from grandma. I started to think of my relationships with the black woman. I began to think about the pain I have caused. I began to re-evaluate what I want and desire from the black woman. I immediately thought of the marvelous bonds I have created with women whose make-up includes tenacity, love, beauty, intelligence, creativity, elegance, passion, support, and humility. All of the women invited to Oprah’s home to celebrate black femininity have these wonderful personality traits. Traits every black man wants. How every black man needs a Leontyne Price!

No black woman on the face of this earth should say, ‘There are no role models for me.’ From Ashanti to Gladys Knight there is a model for the black woman to emulate. The icons are in the black woman’s reach, and the black girl on the Southside of Chicago has someone they can say is my heroine. On career day at Salem Elementary School every little black girl can proudly say with confidence, ‘I want to be just like McMillan, Keys, Reese…’

And, for the black man we should all be able to say, ‘The black woman has been there and she continues to support me.’ A display of support like Coretta Scott King gave to a man who changed America. How I want a Rosa Lee Medley, Mary Payne-Scott, and Demetress Johnson!

We, black men, have witnessed via the Legends Ball broadcast that black women can get together without “chatting” about each other, without backstabbing, without gossiping, without looking angry, and without disrespecting each other. Now, it is time for us (black men) to step-up. We have to do our part by combating and defeating the barriers we have created and remove the curtain of division that has pushed black men and women a part. Ultimately, it is time for the black woman and man to rededicate ourselves to the development of the black family.

Black man, will you join me? Black woman, will you help and continue to support us?

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by the memories of Frankie Payne. Inspired by one of God’s gifts to the world: Oprah Winfrey.

For more information on the Legend’s Ball please visit this website: http://abc.go.com/primetime/legendsball/

Monday, May 22, 2006

The conservative Christian got it wrong. The Da Vinci Code promoted an essential element of Christianity: Faith

Since creation man has always wanted the unanswered answered. He has continuously sought to create an environment that builds or adds to civilization. However, history has proven most human beings just want to know one single form of the truth. These are the people who condemn themselves to a life of surface intelligence. They refuse to holistically explore or enhance their beliefs. They do not understand the truth quest.

The movie and the book Da Vinci Code, despite the controversy surrounding it, is a story about three individuals who want a full understanding of Jesus. They decided to search for more than what they have been told. The woman who was selected to be the direct benefactor of the truth and the two men who wanted nothing more but to reveal to the world another version of the truth are examples of what God intends for us to do: Question.

Yes, I believe God wants us to question Him and question anything that will cause us to structure our lives around a belief concept. Christians and Muslims have decided to build a life surrounding various elements within their faith. It is this faith that sustains them. It is this faith that moves them to love and even kill.

The truth quest displayed and emulated by the characters in the Da Vinci Code is faith seeking an understanding. The characters are simply trying to understand. Their desire to know the truth is teased with one single item that could give them what they wanted and then their desire is fulfilled with the one thing they started with: Faith.

Faith is the beginning and ending of all things. It is all we have when the lights are dimmed to darkness. Faith is our sole reason to continue. It helps us get from one point to the other.

Our lives are mirror images of the three characters. We are benefactors of our truths and we all want our version of the truth to be read and heard. The one place we make a mistake is when we fanatically believe our truth and understanding is the only form worth building a faith concept around.

Let’s continue to build our faith by considering and understanding other versions of the truth.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by The Teacher, Robert Langdon, and Sophie Neveu (Da Vinci Code movie characters).

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Black Man Has A Voice

On too many occasions we hear all the news worthy incidents surrounding black men i.e. crime statistics, ridiculous celebrity stories, professional athlete drama, etc. We rarely hear news that supports the numerous positives of black men. Now, I do have to admit that it would be very easy for me to follow suit with the media by telling you how frustrated I am with the lack of progression of black men in America. It would be very easy for me to blame the white man and the United States government for the demise of the black man. However, today I want to spend some time uplifting the black man and sharing with you the Black Mans’ thoughts via quotes. These are thoughts that need to be heard. These are thoughts that have the potential to eradicate the vices plaguing the black community. With our thoughts followed by action we have the power to make some changes that will appease our ancestors.

Below you will find quotes on various topics from the unseen and unheard black man. Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Charles Barkley, John Lewis, Barack Obama, Cain Hope Felder, and numerous others are not listed. They have been quoted enough. What you will read are quotes from everyday men who teach, own a business, work in international development, manage after school programs, etc. These are the black men making a difference that’s on a smaller scale. A difference that goes unnoticed by ABC, NBC, BET, MTV, CBS, CNN, and Fox.

It is my hope you are moved to reflect and act. It is my hope you read a sentence that will change your opinion or at least challenge your beliefs. Either way, keep in mind that the Black Man has a Voice.

Quotes

Live life...it is the beginning and end to all things that are important to you.
-Anthony "ACOTT" Cottrell, Air Traffic Controller

There is no testimony without a test. –Patrick Medley, Teacher

God does not choose the qualified, rather He qualifies the chosen.
–Anonymous, Sales Clerk

Facts should be the basis of our beliefs. Unfortunately, reason has been overpowered by religious myths and stories that were only intended to generate faith and belief.
–Brian E. Payne, Recruitment Coordinator/Manager and writer

Your life today is the result of your attitude and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitude and the choices you make today.
–Anonymous, IT Consultant

Oftentimes conflict can be resolved if we practice two simple rules: Self Assessment and Communication. –Derrick Medley, Veterinarian

Religion is a controlled substance viewed by common people as the truth, by wise men as false, and by the RULERS as useful.
-Eric Johnson, Master Barber and former Stock Broker

Live a life that will not make God ashamed to call you His own.
–Michael Jenkins, International Development Recruiter and Printing Business Owner

There is no such thing as accidents. All things work according to a major plan.
-Ron Wilkins, Pastor and City Councilman

Religion, by it's very nature, is about division, but that doesn't mean we can't be unified through spirituality - that is, embracing the actual teachings of the Messengers of each faith, as opposed to the interpretations (and flat out lies ) that religion has piled on top of the wisdom of the Messengers.
-Azikiwe Chandler, Experiential Learning Youth Program Leader

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, and beat you with their experience. –Brian Scholl, Customer Service Representative

He who truly searches for the truth will find it. Once it is found prepare to be changed forever.
–Brian E. Payne, Recruitment Coordinator/Manager and writer

The Black Man: See him. Hear him. Respect him. Love him.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by the irate black man on the train wanting to be
heard.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dafur: What does a black life mean to the United States Government?

The United States government is not doing anything different from its past and present foreign policy. The government has always been slow to react to the killing of black people. Yes, the murder of 200,000 people in Sudan was committed by other black people. America calls this Black on black crime. However, is this any reason for the United States not to intervene? Do our leaders know that over 2 million people have been displaced? Do they know that our African brothers and sisters will surely be affected by malnutrition and disease as a result of the human displacement which will result in more death? One would think that President Bush would have more to say other than, “Sudan's Darfur region has the chance to "begin anew" but the situation there remains dire.” To his credit President Bush did announce that the U.S. would send food shipments to Darfur and he has asked Congress to approve $225 million in emergency funding. Now, my questions are, Why has it taken so long for the government to get involved? Is the $225 million enough? Allow me to address the first question: The United States government is too busy addressing their insecurities i.e. snooping around in Iran’s business. The United States government is over extended in a war that appears to have no ending in sight. The United States government is politicizing a decision on border security. This is what our elected officials are doing while black people are being slaughtered.

Should our government be concerned with the Dafur genocide? Remember, these are Africans killing Africans. Keep in mind the value of a Jewish life did not mean too much to the US government for a long time during the Holocaust. Millions of Jews were killed before America provided some level of assistance. So, I ask again why should the United States intervene in Sudan. Many of us would say that it is the right thing and humanitarian thing to do. However, the officials making the decision may not truly care if a Sudanese is killed or not. This is not something I want to believe, but it could certainly be the case.

Finally, I end this commentary with where I began: What does a black life mean to the United States? Before you answer please remember that the United States government has been responsible for killing its own citizens: Black Americans.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by my dead Sudanese brothers and sisters.

Friday, May 05, 2006

African American Health: Chitterlings should not be on the Kid’s Menu

Eating in the south can be a treat. Collard greens, ribs, ham, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and peach cobbler are all delicacies of the south. One can not get enough of the good cook’in and eat’in we Southerners pride ourselves on. It is evident in the number of down-home style restaurants that are sprinkled throughout Dixieland. Unfortunately, it is also evident with our numerous health problems i.e. diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, clogged arteries, high cholesterol, etc.

Obesity throughout America has become an alarming issue with both youth and adults. It is like we are oblivious to the studies conducted that prove obesity is linked to psychological problems and unhealthy bodies. One of the YMCA of America’s slogans is along the lines of “We Take Care of the Mind, Body, and Spirit.” Within Black America this is not the holistic approach taken. We want to believe we are taking care of our spirits by going to church. We think that we are taking care of our minds by reading the bible and watching junk television e.g. MTV, BET, and soap operas. Now, when it comes to the body we are totally absent. Absent from eating right and working out.

On Saturday April 29th, I witnessed something that was not only disturbing, but pathetic. At one of the most famous southern style eating establishments in the Atlanta metro area, a mother purchased a bowl of chitterlings for her toddler. Yes, a toddler. He was cute, rambunctious, eager, and hungry. It was amazing to see a toddler sitting at a table eating chitterlings like he knew what he was eating. I stared so much that the mother rolled her eyes at me signaling to say, ‘What are you looking at? I feed my child what I want to.’ Of course I was appalled at the reality that a parent gave a child pork intestines to eat for dinner. I just believe partaking in the consumption of chitterlings is a decision the individual should make. Not a mother’s decision for her 2 year old child.

Now, don’t be mistaken I ain’t knocking no chitterling eating. I was just shocked to see the child reaching for the Texas Pete hot sauce! However, needless to say the entire scene gave me fuel for this commentary.

In my efforts to support, challenge, lovingly criticize, and inform Black America I have a few statistics for you to ponder or reconsider.

-Number one killer is heart disease (same for whites).

- The prevalence of diabetes among African Americans is about 70% higher than among
white Americans.

- Approximately 69 percent of African American women between the ages of 20 and 74 years of age are overweight and 39% are obese.

-Third leading cause of death is stroke.

-The manifestation of physical illnesses is related to mental health. It occurs at a rate of 15% among African Americans and only 9% among Caucasian Americans.

-44% of African American men are considered overweight and 24% are obese.

-Nearly half (49%) of African Americans have two or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

-One in three African Americans suffers from high blood pressure/hypertension.

-White Americans are more motivated to enter a fitness program than African Americans.

It is obvious the eating habits of African Americans are linked to poor health. It is up to us to educate each other when we can and serve as healthy eating and fitness role models for our children. Allowing your toddler to eat pig stomach is definitely not modeling health conscious behavior.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by our future, the black toddler.