Monday, December 10, 2012

That's Racist

On one of the job forums that I frequent for promo gigs, a fellow promo person posted a job looking for some ladies to work at a big trade show in Las Vegas:

My immediate thought was, “Too bad I’ll be in Hawaii at the time. I would love to go to CES this year.” Then I started to read some of the thread’s comments. Notice the red arrow

Its so annoying when people are quick to complain about discrimination without good reason. Let’s get real. This is a modeling job not an equal opportunity employer! Maybe the client wanted to add extra models and they already had 4 black girls working but needed one more, maybe not. If you saw a white woman with cornrows in a Just For Me (hair relaxer) commercial you wouldn’t think that was odd? Do you think Victoria Secret should start hiring short pimple ridden non-waxed models to walk the runway in a bikini and angel wings in the name of ending discrimination? Shut UpDo you know how many emails I get looking for size 4 blondes with blue eyes to give out free samples of St. Paulie Girl beer? I don’t take it personally because I'm black. I realize that my look doesn’t cater to their demographic. That it’s not racism, it’s marketing 101.

Now if she had founded her argument on the fact that dark skinned black women are portrayed as exotic creatures of the jungle or desert with short natural hair like Alex Wek vs. images of lighter skinned black women who look racially ambiguous with light eyes, freckles, relaxed straight hair and Caucasian features like Liya Kebede or Jourdan Dunn I might have taken her comment more seriously.

Liya Kebede
Alex Wek
*To be fair, Liya’s features are typical of Ethopians ,where she is from. However, they are in line with the mainstream standards of beauty and therefore extremely marketable to various races. My point is, if you’re not getting booked for modeling jobs, either find a new agency that can get you work, start your own modeling agency or stop modeling. How about be vocal and vigilant (angry is optional) against real acts of racism?

Standards of Beauty
If I see one more makeup column in a fashion magazine that tries to sell me the best lipstick for my dark skin tone while showing an accompanying picture of Kerry Washington I will set my magazine on fire! While gorgeous (she's come a long way from Save the Last Dance), Miss Washington is not dark skinned. I guess it depends on who you're talking to though. It also burns my grits that people seem to get lighter as they get more famous. I mean I understand getting veneers, having long flowing weave and wearing red bottoms to the grocery store but why do you have to lighten your skin? The public doesn't want to see ugly stars but it's not like being dark make you any less credible or talented. In my opinion as Beyonce has gotten closer to looking like a white woman, her music has gotten worse. (Not saying that the these two things are related in anyway, just an observation).

Kerry Washington
In high school I had a mixed friend (half white, half black, light-skinned with green eyes) named Jaime. One day during our study period in Mrs. Tingley’s World History class my friends and I were talking about playing tennis when she said, “Don’t you want to stay out of the sun? You’re the darkest person in this room.” I didn't even know how to respond to what she had said. I just sat there stunned with my history book in my lap. What's wrong with being dark? Until that moment I had really never thought of my skin color being seen as less attractive than others. I was appalled that someone I thought was my friend could even think that way. Since then I have grown to love my skin color more and more, especially when I'm bronzed from the summer sun. And now that I think about it, we’ll see how our skin compares 25 years from now. I know you've heard black don’t crack but did you know biracial needs a facial?

Even now, 10 years later I hear people of color say, "Ooh I'm trying to stay inside, I'm way too dark" and "I can't wait until winter."  It's a shame because there are so many beautiful shades of skin. From Gwen Stefani's pale ivory to Djimon Hounsou's dark chocolate, they're all great. On second thought, if you are purple go back to where you came from Barney.

·         No body is perfect though. I can't even lie, there have been times when I let something slip that I would normally only say around my black friends or when I'm alone. For example when a bad driver is driving so slow that I miss the light and I yell, "Get out of the way Mei-Ling!” I know every bad driver isn't an Asian woman but still, a lot of them are. Am I right?

“    "Why are there so many fat black women who don’t know who fathered their child?” Obviously there are fat, single mothers in every race. Many of the black one's just happen to go on the Maury Povich show. 

“    Eating at a white friends house and and knowing what the snacks will be every time. You know white people love white wine and cheese! I have tons of white friends that have confirmed this, ha.  
      "Why are black people so loud?"I have to admit that there are some loud ass black people on public transportation. I hate it when the non blacks look at me like, "tell your cousin to be quiet." Even though I'm talkative I'm very soft spoken. Just depends on the person. 
Another thing: When Asian storeowners follow you around their shop. There may be various reasons why they do this. Maybe they are trying to be helpful or maybe they are making sure you don’t steal anything. To be fair I have never asked, “Why are you following me?

Racially Insensitive
As told to me by my Grandmother, “I don’t hate Mexican’s. I just don’t shop at their supermarkets. How could I hate them when I always talk with Julio’s mom downstairs?” Btw, Julio’s family was from El Salvador. I'm going to let that one pass because she's in her 70's and grew up in a different time. Oooh the stories I could tell you about her. I think one day I will...

Similarly I had a (white) guy friend call me one night just to talk. Everything was cool until he asked if I was eating collard greens. WTF? Even if you’re joking around, that is NOT okay. Unless of course you have the type of relationship where you throw around racial epithets at each other like ping pong balls and both find it equally hilarious. We do not have that type of relationship. We have the kind where we get drunk and make out which I like a lot better. 

Honesty everyone has their moments but that doesn’t necessarily make them a racist. I absolutely love Indian people, I eat Indian food all the time! j/k  ^_~

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Adventures of Super Slut and Friends

<<<Long Post Alert>>> In my last post I briefly touched on my work in the promotional industry and how I apply to work gigs for various companies. One of the biggest gigs that us promotional people vie for each year is the Auto Show circuit.

If you haven't been to an auto show at some point in time in your life it can really be a treat. There are futuristic/concept cars (like the flying car I saw at the NY auto show this April), vintage cars from the 50’s, really pretty shiny chrome blinding your eyes and new car smell wafting through the air. And let’s not forget the people dressed to impress: normally ghetto fabulous teenagers wearing stilettos and skimpy neon clothes and minority youth with spray painted Letterman jackets. Why dress up to walk around all day? Oh, because you might meet your boo at the auto show this year! What a great story to tell your grandchildren when you turn 32! O_o

The auto shows are in major cities all over the US and internationally. The biggest ones are in Detroit (where the major car companies are), New York and Chicago, but there are ones in Podunk towns like Kansas City too.

If you want to be apart of the circuit, you have to audition by looking cute, reading a script and smiling until your face hurts. If you are a stunningly attractive specimen that wet dreams are made of you’re in! Winning a job on the circuit is great because not only do you get paid a ridiculous amount to talk about cars all day with hot strangers (more often it’s creepy old guys who try to take pictures up your skirt) but you also get new clothes custom picked by the car companies themselves and an all expense paid trip to various cities to boot.

The perks of the job are great but the after parties are even greater! On the last night of the Auto Show if you haven’t been a bitch or alienated yourself from your co-workers due to sheer exhaustion, chances are some serious celebrating is in order. I mean you just worked 12-hour days for 10 days straight! Time to get loose, drunk and curse someone out that shorted you on a lunch break during the show.

At the end of the Chicago Auto Show last year my co-workers and I decided to go out a bar in Wrigleyville. My good friend, we’ll call her Lil (because she’s 5’3) and I met up with the rest of the Jeep crew at a bar called Rebel. We paid $20 for unlimited drinks and we danced, giggled and drank to our hearts content. I watched white guys attempt to do the Dougie (I honestly think they like that dance more than black folk do), got my legs massaged under a table and later on was offered to become a ‘kept woman’ by my boss.

At one point I was sitting with *Liam, a cute nerdy guy who delegated the crew's lunch breaks when he told me that he thought I was a “very pretty girl” and that I “shouldn’t second guess myself.” Well I don’t know where that last part came from but I was glad that he thought I was pretty! Maybe he was hinting that I should’ve tried to jump him and he wouldn’t have rebuffed my advances.

I’m pretty sure we were rowdy and as a result the bar kicked us out at 1:30am instead of the normal 2am. Half of the crew wanted to go home so after hugging and kissing goodbye to half the team one of my co-workers, we'll call him *Red Head, suggested that we go to the bar Trace which stayed open until 5 and was only down the street. At this point I had consumed 3 Tequila sunrises, 2 Vodka lemonades and a Rum and Diet Coke. As my friends know, I’m not a drinker so basically I was wasted. 

F trying to avoid having a hangover the next day. It's a celebration bitches! It wasn’t like I had anywhere to be the next morning so what the heck, to Trace we go! Lil Candy, Alfi, Red Head's cousin (whose name I can not remember for the life of me) and I all climbed into Candy’s Mercedes SUV and drove the 45 seconds down the street to Trace, while Red Head and Brad walked. We all grabbed a booth near the back of the bar and ordered more drinks and talked about things that drunk people talk about. 

"Would you get your boyfriend a threesome for Christmas?...Should I get my boobs done? Nooo you should get your butt done though..... No no no listen, what if we all had x-ray vision?"

Brad fell asleep sitting straight up and the bouncer came over and told us that ‘he can NOT sleep in here” so I picked him up as best I could and dragged him outside so he could get some cold Chicago air on him and wake up a bit. Finally we went back inside and Lil proceeded to play with his hair as if he was a puppy looking for attention. Alfi and I wanted Corona’s so we went to the bar to get some and ended up kissing. There were two guys at the bar who were hitting on us, so I lied and said she was my girlfriend and we weren’t interested. Of course to drive the point home we had to kiss. I’m not proud of it, but it happened. I mean, I am not that girl and I actually despise that type of girl – the girl that gets drunk and makes out with her friends for the sole amusement of guys – but you have to do what you have to do to keep the creepers at bay. DON'T JUDGE ME lol. 

Finally it was nearing 5am – where did the last 3.5 hours go? - and everyone was a bit hungry so we went across the street to a Vienna Hot Dog place to grab a bite to eat. Lil looked like she was hurting from alcohol so I ordered us two spinach pies so that she could get some food in her to soak up the booze. I vaguely remember her walking outside (I think she was going to be sick) and I had to go out there and help her not fall on the concrete. She fell anyway. A Cabby asked us if I needed help to which I said, “No, we’re fine thank you,” and I dragged Lil back in the restaurant as best I could. I sat next to Brad and Red Head and we talked about who knows what for some time when I noticed Lil was missing. Thinking she had gotten sick again, I looked outside and around the back of the restaurant but didn’t see her.  Everyone was ready to go but I had no clue where Lil could be could be. After 5 minutes or so of searching for her, Brad and Redhead got in a taxi and headed home, and then Candi and Alfi got in their car to go home as well. Redhead’s Italian cousin, whose name I still can’t remember – walked me to my car and told me he would drive me home since obviously I was in no condition to drive anywhere. I wouldn’t have even attempted to drive in that state, but I’m sure if I had, I would have turned on the car and immediately driven into a tree.

My phone was pretty much dead so I put it on the car charger while Redhead's cousin and I rode around looking for Lil and talking about music. I turned the radio to a rock station and he said, “I never hung out with a black girl that liked Nirvana” and I replied,  “well maybe you’ve been hanging out with the wrong black girls.” For the record I wasn't trying to flirt. I'm a natural flirt and can't help if things I say unintentionally sound as though I want the D. Plus Redhead's cousin was not my idea of cute. He was maybe 5'8 or 5'9 and stocky. He had a barrel chest, pointy nose like a rodent and he wore Ed Hardy. He seems nice though, you know, personality wise.

It was 6 in the morning and I had pretty much given up hope on finding Lil, so Redhead's cousin said he would drive me home, park my car and then take a cab back home, to which I agreed. On the way home, once my phone was charged enough to actually make a phone call I thought it couldn’t hurt to call Lil and when I did a man answered her phone.

“Hello? Is this TK? It says TK on the caller ID.”

“Yea!!!,” I said, getting a little hysterical that a strange man had answered Lil’s phone,” Where is Lil?!”

“She’s right here in my truck. I’m the bouncer from Trace. I found her outside”

Lil gets on the phone and tries her version of communicating intelligently, also known as slurring her words and hiccuping uncontrollably.

“Hey," hiccup hiccup. "I’m okay."  Jussss come and gets me”. Hiccup

“Oh my gosh, where are you?”

“At the, hiccup, "hot dog place, in a truck.”

So Redhead’s cousin and I head back to the hot dog place. When we get there I thank the bouncer for finding and helping my friend (but really I’m thanking him for not raping and leaving her for dead in a back alley of a Wrigleyville bar) and then I carry her to my car and put her in the backseat.  I’m feeling very sober at this time (even though I’m probably not) so I tell Redhead’s cousin that he can drive to his place and I’ll just hang out for a while until I’m sober enough to drive and take Lil and I home. That way he won’t have to shell out for a cab, especially since he’s been so helpful and gentlemanly thus far. Lil then proceeds to get sick in the back seat, so I roll down the window and let her go to town on the side walk, but most of the spinach pie from earlier ends up on my passenger side back car door. When we get to Redhead's cousin place I realize that him, Redhead and a guy I worked at the auto show with all live together. Good thing Lil is 5'3 and 120 to my 5'9 and (none of your damn business) so I'm able to carry/drag her to the elevator (I’ve been doing a lot of manual labor tonight) and place her on the couch. Brad is there and Redhead is rolling. We sit and talk about herbal tea, what political parties we belong to and other nonsense. When Lil comes to, for some reason her shirt is unbuttoned and she jumps into the conversation bright eyed and bushy tailed and gets loud in only a way that a drunk Lil can. I, on the other hand am so exhausted from the night’s events (namely carrying around 120lbs of Lil's dead weight) that I wobble into Redhead's bedroom and curl up in his bed escaping Redhead's cousin's oogling eyes. I vaguely remember Lil coming in and putting the covers over me and telling me I’ll be all right. However, it could have all been a dream, I mean I was drinking for hours on end.

I wake up in the morning afternoon all groggy but surprisingly not hung-over. I stumble into the bathroom and then into the living-room, curl up on the abnormally large, corduroy brown beanbag chair where Brad is sleeping and get under the covers next to him. Redhead realizes he has an interview in an hour or so he rushes to get dressed. Soon everyone starts to stir and we discuss what transpired last night.

Redhead to Lil: “I have never seen someone talk so much about nothing in my life. At one point you got on your knees and were like ‘No no no no no, you’ve got to understand’ but you weren’t explaining anything.”

Everyone laughs

Red Head: “Oh, and I hope you don’t have to take a drug test any time soon because last night you...”

Lil: “What?”

Red Head: “At first you said you don't do that, then you took it from me.” He looks over at me while finishing up the buttons on his shirt.

Red Head to me: “Didn’t we make out last night? Twice?"

Me: I look at him wide eyed

Red Head: “This isn’t going to effect our working relationship is it?”

Me: "Nah, I will continue to work with you like nothing happened."

Red Head: "Good. Since you feel that way, I should tell you we hooked up too. I won't tell your boyfriend if you don't"