This Bourgeois Black Girl’s Guide to Wearing a “Natural”: Part 2

So I started Day 2 of this experience with my morning exposure to the world (posted on Instagram) and included the hashtags #amiofficialyet #needacatchynaturalhairhashtag. This was clearly a joke but a dig at the more exclusive (and often annoying) hashtags that I see while surfing social media. Even my mother emailed me with the subject line “#teamNatural” after I posted by Day 1 pictures online. It’s not the camaraderie that offends, it’s the exclusivity. It’s the feeling that people like me get who are natural and have been for 6 years. But because I press my hair, I’m somehow not natural enough. I didn’t have a relaxer until the week before I went to college. My mother was NOT having it. She was #teamNatural (at least as related to her child) before it was the cool thing to do. And I was only allowed a relaxer to come to college because I was a 16-year-old girl whose mother, despite her attempts, could not find a little old lady in Atlanta to press my hair, as she believed that is who was required to press hair.  An accident that temporarily put her in a wheelchair the month before I left for college made it impossible for her to beat the streets upon my arrival (though if she did she would’ve learned that flat irons were all the rage back in 1996). So I lived 16 years with my curls that i hated because swimming with my white jewish friends was always an ordeal.  Then I spent 10 years wearing it straight and relaxed and was just fine! I grew my relaxer out by accident. How? I got a weave. My first weave. And 8 months later when I came out of that weave (yes I had it redone in between), I told my stylist “maybe I should go natural” and her reply was “Ma’am you already are.”  O_o

So there it began.  But somehow it’s almost like the plight of the bi-racial child who isn’t black enough for the blacks and not white enough for the whites. The pressed natural girls aren’t natural enough. And definitely not a favorite of the National Hair Mafia (NHM). I’ve gotten lots of comments over the past 7 days like:

Naturalista #1: I didn’t know you were transitioning! Me: I’m not.

Naturalista #2: You should wear your hair natural more often!  Me: I wear it natural every day. (insert confused face here.)

Naturalista #3: You will fall in love with your natural hair, keep going! Me: I already love my hair. I love it straight. I like it curly. I’m falling in love with new styles to wear my hair in, if that’s what you mean.

I wasn’t trying to be an ass. I just hate the assumptions and judgements that come along with the word “Natural”.  The best response I got to yesterday’s post was from a friend (who shall remain nameless) who switches back and forth between styles all the time:

” You have no apologies to make to anyone. It’s a very emotional journey.Plus, there’s all kinds of sh*t attached to “going natural” anyway. Especially the thought that you should be burning incense, eating tofu and basically channeling Badu at all times. Lord forbid yo a$$ should be down with kinky curly AND J.Crew. Or like natural b*tches don’t shop at Neimans.”

We need our own hashtag. Let’s try one of these: #proudtobepressed #pressed&proud #pressedbutnotoppressed. T-shirts to come. #pressedgirlslikealternativerevenuestreams

Ok onto my notes.

Day 2: Felt good enough to wear without a headband. Shocker! But it was a bit unwieldy. A lot of manipulating to do to get me “leave the house” worthy.  At work, only one comment. A black woman “omg that looks so different! Not good or bad just makes you look so different….it’s cute tho” translation: “You look real urban.” Eh. Whatever. Part of the reason I wanted to try this was so I could get back on my regular workout regimen. So my curls and I went to Zumba. Watched it grow with every cumbia. No one told me it was going to swell! I thought that was the point of having it! That it didn’t get bigger. Lies. All lies. Where in the world is my headband? Cannot return to work without it.

Pre Zumba

Pre Zumba

Post Zumba

Post Zumba

Time for bed. Spray, smoothie, retwist. 35 minutes I will never get back. Pray for morning hair. Good nite.

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Day 3:  Took the day off. Why? Because I needed it. Why #2? Because I had a development meeting and honestly was not ready to spring this hairdo on corporate white America. Damn. That sounds bad. But it’s real. Perhaps this is proof that I’m really not ready for this as a lifestyle (as if i needed another reminder). I am confident and have great self-esteem but….i just couldn’t do it. Especially not when I woke up and untwisted my hair and looked like this.IMG_4419

So it’s my day off. I’m supposed to leave home for an appointment in 30 minutes. Definitely called to reschedule. Text Heather. Plead for help. See this is what I get for trying to bantu knot from a twist out. Whatever that means. I have got to stay off YouTube. Where is that stupid headband?? Aaah. Oooh wait let me pull it back a little bit. Now let me put on my lipstick. YES GIRL WORK! Text Heather back and have her call off the 911 alert. Crisis averted.

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I am feeling myself! I look great! I’m NATURAL and rocking it! The back looks a hot mess…I’ll work with it.

 

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Time for bed! Danielle tells me I need to try “pineappling”. So I’m forced back to YouTube, which is clearly the devil.  After watching 4 videos, I ready to try it. I flip my hair over, which is saying a lot because this hair, doesn’t move unless I am literally whipping my hair back and forth. I flip it over and pull it to the front and put my hair tie on in the front of my head, so that I resemble a Snork. snorks

And then I tie on my scarf and VOILA! Wait….this is cute! I’m cute! But I’m supposed to go to sleep now?! UGH! Good nite.

Pineappling. More like Chiquita Bananaing.

Pineappling. More like Chiquita Bananaing.

TBBG Lessons from Day 2 & 3:

1) When you wake up and untwist your hair, don’t keep going trying to make yourself immediately cute. Untwist and then in the middle of the crazy looking stage stop. Go put on your clothes, and your earrings. Big ones.  Come back. Now continue to futz, fluff, separate and groom. You will magically find yourself closer to CUTE. If you are almost there but need a little push, stop. Beat your face. Then come back. Guarantee you in 5 mins you will be ready to walk out of the bathroom and into the world.

2) That picture of the back of my head? Yeah. So. I made those twists too big AND I didn’t have a good grip. That means there was too much hair exposed (that patch right on your scalp) that wasn’t included in the twist.  I called that bad look “homeless chic”.

3)  It’s not going to be perfect. And that’s supposed to be ok. But really, for me, it’s not. Maybe its the Virgo perfectionist in me. Maybe I’m just hot mess adverse. Eh. To do this and do it well, you need to develop an IDGAF attitude. And be bold with it. You have to not care if your middle looks like cotton balls or one section curls the opposite way. You have to embrace the wildness of your hair. Still working on that.

4)  You will STAY waking up early and going to bed late if you try to retwist your hair every night the same way you did on day one. 35 mins, more spray bottle cocktail, more twists. Less sleep/tv/Ruzzle. Ask me how I know. But I dare not look crazy. Remember I don’t have the right attitude yet.

Still with me? Feel differently? It is ok. Please share! The journey is half way done and there is more to come.

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This Bourgeois Black Girl’s Guide to Wearing a “Natural”

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So for years I’ve watched friends and strangers “go natural”. What that means to those unfamiliar with that term, it is when a Black woman doesn’t use chemicals (a.k.a. a relaxer/perm/creamy crack) to straighten her hair.  And although I’d like to abolish the term “natural” I will use it for these purposes to tell my story.  Friends and I always joke about the Natural Hair Mafia (NHM). The NHM are those women who are natural, proud, and indignant about their coils, kinks, waves, and curls. They will offer you unsolicited advice about how they found their inner voice raging inside of their type 4C pattern. They will tell you that cowashing, jojoba oil, and shea butter can save your very life! And they will run your off the road of hair care with their aggressive persuasion to join their club.  Well while I always laughed at it, I secretly wanted to courage to at least TRY it. But alas, I’m a bourgeois black girl. One who has had a press and curl since I was old enough to sit on the stool at the stove while my mama heated that comb, wiped it on that napkin with the burn spots, and made that house smell like Ultra Sheen all Saturday night.  AND I LOVE IT. But deep down, after all the chuckles, and Kinky Curly jokes, I wanted to try. I wanted to know if I could pull it off!  So I waited for the perfect time when I could really commit to it. Oh yes, I tried it before. For a good 36 hours. Day 2 of that effort about a year ago, I threw in the towel because I woke up to a smashed hairstyle with no faith in recovery.  But this time, I was strategic! I waited until a week that 75% of the office was out on vacation, just in case. And then I said come hell or high afro, I will do this for SEVEN DAYS. Well, I did and here is my story as told in Notes (thanks iPhone) each day:

Pre-Day 1: Spent 30 minutes on the phone with Royce getting step by step instructions. She tried skipping steps. I needed the short bus, learning circle, do this, then this, then this, instructions. Got in shower. Stepped out 4 times during process to check what curls looked like at every junction.

Wash. Step out.  IMG_4313 Condition. Step out. IMG_4316

Comb thru. Step out. Got out texted Royce. No. Answer. Panic ensues. Begins to apply product I bought at CVS because the jar was pretty. Begins to twist hair in sections.  Realizes twists are too small. Twist bigger. Now they are too big. Sigh.  Finally the goldilocks plat. Juuuuust right.  Finally a text back from Royce. And Monica and Danielle. (Yes, it takes a village to raise a natural). The next 45 minutes were texts, group texts, pics, and cheerleading from my village. An hour later after twisting and retwisting (to get my roots) I was done. But resembled a young Celie, a la, The Color Purple. My text. “I’m done! But I look like Celie. Black and ugly” and I felt it. Shameful isn’t it. Kanye shrug. Put on my bonnet, which I’ve never shown anyone including my boyfriend (or any boyfriend before him) and went downstairs. The black man I love tried to be supportive by pretending the bonnet and whatever lied beneath didn’t exist. I loved him for that. Went to bed praying that morning would come and all would be well. (While still using my lifeline….)

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Day 1 (for real, for real): Morning came. Immediately to bathroom, closed door. Could not risk being seen. Untwisted hair. Looked like this. Nope, can’t even show you. I’m not THAT reformed. Texted Royce. What now?! Texted Danielle. What now?! All said pull apart, keep separating. Cheerleading at its best. Still looked like this.

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Royce who is always truthful said “girl u gonna have to pin that up. I told u to do it on a weekend!” Ugh! Tears welled up in my eyes. All this drama and I have to go to work looking like who shot John and why. Boyfriend tries to enter the room. I scream NO and demand he turn around to talk to me. He swears he will see me in worse situations in the next 80 years. My reply: i doubt it! Nothing can be worse than this. He is telling me how he loves me and I’m beautiful and all I can do is yell to stop trying to look at me! I then see him peering at me in the reflection in the mirror. I. AM. MORTIFIED.  The tears are really about to come now. I fall slain on the spirit onto the bed until he leaves the room. I go back in the bathroom. Then I remembered, headbands and scarves are a natural girls BFF. Or so the NHM has told me.  Pull out black rubber “go to gym “ headband. Voila! Instant self-esteem boost! Then I remember I need big earrings and to beat my face (translation put on pretty makeup). So I do both of those things and I start feeling better about what I see in the mirror. Then I get to futzing with the hair and tucking and fluffing and 5 mins later, I felt ready to face the world (or at least the boyfriend). I let him see me and his face lit up and said I was so pretty (boyfriend tip 1). My reply: u tell me I’m pretty everyday so u have no credibility here but I thank u. But it was enough of a boost to get me to take a pic of myself and presto chango ,attitude adjustment! I was fly! Off to work I go. Spring break so not many people around. Perfect testing ground. The response was great! I love white people’s response to new black hair dos. “How long did that take? Can my hair do that? You look SO Bohemian!” A black girls life story but humorous all the same, at least as an adult. All day I caught myself taking selfies just to check myself out. See if I looked the same as I did at 9am. All day people were loving the pictures on Facebook and Instagram, which is clearly the world. More cheerleading! more support! More self-esteem boosts. Lord knows I needed it. On the ride home I had almost forgotten anything was different until I rested my head back on the headrest and it pushed back against my curls.  NOW I get why my daddy takes his headrest off in his truck! It’s like he truck didn’t come with one. Won’t mess up his fro! And now it won’t mess up mine either. Late night twisting to secure this do for tomorrow. 25 minutes of spraying, lotioning, and twisting. All for that morning pic. And hopefully 34 more clicks of Like on Facebook.

BBG Lessons from Day 1:

1) Wake up earlier for work and start getting ready for bed earlier. Because this is WORK honey. WORK.

2) Employ a TEAM of people who wear their hair in its curly state as well as its pressed state so that you have a friend who speaks your language. And make sure you don’t START until they are either sitting on your bathroom floor or sitting at the ready with their phone in hand for Facetime, text, or phone interventions.

3) Once you get to twisting, learn how to GRIP your hair before twisting. Keep reading this blog and by Wednesday you will see why….

4)Get you some people. Because you need someone to tell you “Girl that’s cute!” and someone to say “Chile lets blow this out and try again on Saturday.”

Judge now, judge later, or just don’t judge. I own every feeling you will read in this series. Keep reading as I share this self-proclaimed hair snob’s 7 day experience to the other, curlier, side.

Day 1 end product!

Day 1 end product!

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The Mis-Education of Atlanta Public Schools

In the biggest cheating scandal in American History, 35 current/former employees of Atlanta Public Schools were led into Fulton County Jail on Tuesday, on charges including racketeering, theft by taking, and making false statements.  A city rocked by a 90 page indictment detailing a conspiracy dating back over five years, has people looking at the daily paper to see who else will be named in this epic saga of education gone wrong.  Folks are in barber shops and on porches and in boardrooms trying to figure out how this went so wrong and for so long. And if you are like me, you have realized that there is probably one degree of separation between you and someone on that list.  As I’ve watched the story unfold I’ve been entertained and moved by the outpour of emotion of people across the city and the country in response to this story.

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Former superintendent Beverly Hall, booked on multiple charges including racketeering, falsifying documents and lying to police

Let me start by saying I am the child of educators.  My dad is a retired elementary school principal of over 30 years and my mother is a retired high school teacher who had been teaching since she was 18 years old.  Education has always been at the forefront of my life. Testing was important. Grades and achievement were important.  I was always given the opportunity to succeed and to fail on my own merits in both the private and public school systems. And for that I’m grateful. It is because of that, that I find it irreprehensible that administrators, school staff and teachers, took it upon themselves to bully teachers into changing test scores, lie about attendance records, lie to law enforcement and steal whatever chance some students had for success.  And for what?! At what cost? Dr. Beverly Hall, former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools received bonus after bonus for falsified records that made APS appear to be a school system on the move. A system plagued with trouble that miraculously had been turned around. Now we find out that the same kids, who couldn’t read in 5th grade, still can’t read in 9th and their teachers and principals did nothing to help.  How many kids do you meet who tell you teachers made the difference in their lives?  For me, it didn’t happen until college but for most, it’s a 3rd grade teacher who spends a little extra time on long division and life skills. It’s a 6th grade coach who sees something special in a kid and cultivates their talent and commitment to excellence. If kids can’t trust the grownups to do the right thing, what makes you think that they will ever do the right thing as children OR as adults?

So it is no wonder that the grand jury recommended bond of $1 million for some and $7.5 million for the top dog, Dr. Hall.  Is bond supposed to be punitive? No. Can it be used to send a message to the other thousands of school teachers and staff across the country that cheaters never win and that such behavior won’t be tolerated? Absolutely.  Most of the exorbitantly high bonds were reduced by a judge but the lowest was still $40,000 at last check.  That’s nothing to thumb your nose at. And in my opinion, if you do the crime, then do the time.  My favorite comment of the day was from my friend Trisha who said “The bond is too high? NO GAS IS TOO HIGH. The right bond was no bond.” We put criminals in jail for posing a threat to society. What are we saying by not treating those who posed a threat to society by MIS-EDUCATING our children through the same process? These people are charged with handcrafting our future!   Is hard time going to rehabilitate these offenders? Hopefully.  But the damage is done. Kids cannot retake those tests. Teachers cannot un-erase corrected answers. Schools cannot un-promote failings students.  These people who conspired for personal gain have singly handedly altered the course of many whose lives, careers, and dreams will have been altered by this.

Now there is plenty of blame to go around. If there were room in the jail cells for parents of failing students who ignored the glaring, flashing red signs of corruption in the classroom, I would tell Bev and them to move over.  But unfortunately we can’t charge those parents criminally. We can only call them to the carpet and demand that they take charge of their children’s education.  So we have the play the hand of cards we were dealt. And today the D.A. ran a Boston on APS.  It is one thing to steal from the past and the present. Beverly Hall and all of those indicted in this affair stole from the future.

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HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias Trial

HLN HLN2

Court in the Jodi Arias trial resumes Monday so let me play catch up. Well for a couple days last week, I appeared on HLN’s new show HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias trial. If EVER there was a show that was meant for me, this was it. Each night, there is an in-studio jury of twelve that has to render a guilty or not guilty verdict on the “Bold Accusation” for the night. Last week I had to rule on “Jodi Showed No Remorse” and “Jodi Brought the Knife.”

“Jodi Showed No Remorse”

Wednesday night’s show focused on whether or not Jodi showed remorse for the killing of Travis Alexander. Well if you’ve followed the trial you will remember the sequence of events. After Jodi stabbed, shot, and severed the head of Travis Alexander, she drove to the home of Ryan Burns, a guy she was also dating at the time. She sat, chatted, kissed and fondled with this man until she was satisfied and then went home and back to her life. According to Jodi, she doesn’t remember what happened after she shot Travis Alexander. She remembers becoming lucid in her car in the desert, with blood all over her hands which she washed off with a pack of Costco water she kept in the trunk. She remembers changing into a spare pair of shoes, dumping the rope in a dumpster, chucking the knife in the desert, and then going to Ryan Burns’ house. That clearly doesn’t show remorse. She didn’t call the police, or a girlfriend, or family member and report that something horrible had happened. She didn’t drive back to Travis’ house to figure out what she may have done (if you believe the story that she blacked out and has no memory). She kept going so that she could play kissy face with her new beau.
When Jodi is finally questioned and arrested, she asked if she could see the pictures of the crime scene. WHO DOES THAT?! She said it was a bit of “morbid curiosity”. That doesn’t sound like remorse to me. That sounds narcissistic and cray cray. You shot him in the head, slit his throat, and destroyed his back with a steak knife. And now you want to see it? Oh ok then.
Even while standing trial for her life (this is a death penalty case), Jodi still finds it hard to show remorse. Her cries are only seen when she is trapped in her web of lies and they are being unraveled by the prosecution. Juan Martinez, the lead prosecutor, had Jodi Arias pinned in a corner Bernard Hopkins-style and she hung head, flung her poorly trimmed hair into her face, and sobbed through his questions about the moments the murder occurred. But even for all her whimpers and all the balled up tissues she used to quell her “sniff, sniff”, we rarely, if ever, saw real tears stream down her face. You loved a man whom you shot, stabbed, and killed, and you aren’t wailing? You aren’t hunched over in the physical pain that your emotion is causing? Well Jodi isn’t. The one time in court I can recall her showing real emotion, with the requisite red eyes, and wet, salty tears, is when they were talking about a dog. A dog. Well hopefully PETA can pay for half of her defense.
Jodi Brought The Knife”

Thursday night’s show focused on whether or not Jodi brought the knife used to kill Travis or if she got it from Travis’ house. Jodi Arias alleges that part of the sex games they played the day he was killed included her being tied to his bed with rope. According to Jodi, Travis tied a noose on each end and she slipped each hand in and was tied to the bed. She doesn’t remember picking up the knife but alleges that it must have been near her in the bedroom or in the bathroom as he used it to cut the rope from around her wrists. She also has a memory of putting a knife in the dishwasher but doesn’t remember where that memory comes from. Convenient. The evidence shows the following:

1) No rope was found at the scene.
2) No knives were missing from Travis’ knife block in the kitchen.
3) The knife block also had a pair of scissors, still in place.

So where did Jodi get the knife? I believe Jodi took the knife from her grandmother’s house, the same day she took the .25 caliber gun she used to kill Travis. Jodi’s grandmother left home one day about a week before the murder around 10am, leaving Jodi in the house alone until early afternoon. Grandmother returns home around 3:30pm to find the house burglarized and the gun missing. How many people, once they count their valuables, go to the kitchen to count the silverware after a robbery? Not many. And there has been no evidence presented about the processing of the scene at the grandmother’s house and whether or not the knife could be from her house. And while I’d like to blame shoddy police work by local police, I don’t think it would matter because we don’t even know what the gun looked like because Jodi threw it out into the desert, along with the gun, when she “came to”. So we can’t match it up to Grandma’s knife set. We could only approximate by determining if she had knives that would make a similar stab wound (depth, width, etc). Nevertheless, I don’t believe there was a rope to cut! There was no rope found and Jodi doesn’t know what she did with the rope or if she took it at all. And if there was no rope, there was no knife needed to cut it. Also, if Travis needed to cut this alleged rope, why wouldn’t he use the kitchen scissors in the same knife block instead of sawing away at it with a steak knife?

Photo Evidence showing no knifes missing from knife block in Travis Alexander's kitchen.

Photo evidence showing no knifes missing from knife block in Travis Alexander’s kitchen.

Plain and simple Jodi brought that knife. The question is can the prosecution prove it? Luckily its not the main issue in the case and her conviction won’t turn it on it BUT it is important when we get to the penalty phase of this trial because IF she brought the knife it can be considered an aggravating factor when assessing the death penalty.

I had a great experience on HLN After Dark this week! I was even able to share the stage with my good friend Trisha who I have Casey Anthony to thank for bringing us together. I promise it won’t be the last time you will see me so keep watching!

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The Jodi Arias Trial: Case Breakdown

Jody Arias Courtroom

In the most widely televised case since the 2012 trial of Casey Anthony, we the people have a front row seat to the biggest trial of the year, the Jodi Arias trial. A trial filled with lies, sexual deviance, religious disregard, and the prosecution would allege, a premeditated killing of good boy turned bad, Travis Alexander.  Now you want to watch don’t you?! The advent of courtroom cameras has made soap operas a thing of my past. No need for Victor and Nikki of Young and the Restless fame!  NOTHING is better than a real life sex-scandal-gone-bad.  Jodi Arias has drawn us all in with her blunt sex talk and her disregard for the facts of what happened that fateful day she murdered Travis Alexander. From beginning to end, the timeline of events will have you yearning for more. So lets examine the case.

WHAT IN THE MORMON HELL HAPPENED?

Jodi Arias, easily the newest Femme Fatale, meets Travis Alexander at a Pre-Paid Legal Conference (insert all PPL jokes here) and they become friends. Two months later she converts to the Mormon Church, as Travis, is a Mormon.  Several months later they begin dating. Shortly thereafter he allegedly teaches her that anal sex, oral sex, and anything OTHER than vaginal sex won’t keep them out of heaven, so they should go for it.  And they do. Again and again. They text about it. She secretly records their conversations about it. They email about it. They plan to meet in empty fields to commune with nature while he wants to “tie [her] to a tree and put it in her ass all the way”, to which she replied “That is so debasing! I like it!” They break up to make up several times over the course of the following year though they continued their physical relationship (friends with benefits anyone?).  While they are broken up, Travis accuses her of breaking into his Facebook account, email account, and basically becoming a nuisance.  She allegedly emailed other women he was dating and just made being a Mormon player really hard on a brother.  But, like many other red-blooded men, he still let her come over for a little recreational sex.  The week before Travis’ death, a .25 caliber gun goes missing from Jodi Arias’ grandparents house, allegedly stolen in a home invasion.

A week later, Jodi Arias goes to Travis Alexander’s house, and as you see below, does nude photo time with him in the bedroom and shower, and then kills him. Slits his throat ear to ear, stabs him in the back 29 times, and shoots him in the head.

Photo taken of Travis moments before he is killed

Picture taken of Jody in the hours before she kills Travis Alexander. Photo taken of Travis moments before he is killed

IS SHE PLEADING THE “JESUS MADE ME DO IT” DEFENSE?

Jodi Arias claims Travis Alexander was angry at her for dropping his camera during her shower photo session and he lunged at her like a linebacker. So of course, she had to kill him in self defense. Why don’t we believe Jodi? Probably because this is Jodi’s third story about what happened to Travis. This is a woman who at first claimed she didn’t do it at all.  She even went to the police station to voluntarily give a DNA and fingerprint sample at the beginning of the investigation.  She attended Travis’ funeral and sent sympathy  messages to his family. Then when her bloody handprint, hair, and DNA was found mixed with Travis’ congealed blood on the floor and wall of the bathroom, she was arrested. Suddenly there was a  story about being there during a home invasion where a man and woman broke into Travis’ house with guns drawn and she blew past them and barreled out the front door leaving Travis in the house.  When that story fell apart, she then claimed that it was self-defense because Travis was a violent pedophile who she had previously caught masturbating to pictures of young boys, and she feared for her life.

WHAT DOES THE EVIDENCE SHOW?

There’s a knife (that can’t be found), a gun (that can’t be found), some rope (that can’t be found), a digital camera she “washed” in the machine, bloody towels, pre-death photographs, blood EVERYWHERE throughout the house, DNA evidence, and a body left to decompose over 3 days before it was found.

Over the past month, we have seen Jodi Arias as a shy, withdrawn, on direct examination where she remembers everything down to the minute of things that occurred 5 years ago. On cross examination however, she is combative, elusive and when asked a question she either doesn’t know, doesn’t remember, or doesn’t care to answer.

THE JURY

The Arizona jury that will decide whether or not Jodi Arias gets the death penalty has 12 jurors and 6 alternates—7 women and 11 men.  These men and women will have to decide if Jodi Arias is guilty of first degree murder. That means that she was premeditated in the killing. That she planned and carried out her attack. Well we know that she rented a car and filled up gas cans so she didn’t have to stop for gas. We also know that his friends say Travis never owned a gun, although Jodi alleges she “found” a gun in the closet and “found” a knife somewhere in the bedroom. Don’t we all keep steak knives in the vanity drawer? Jodi would have us believe we do.  I’m not convinced that the men on the jury have bought into Jodi’s meek and mild act.  She has proven to be so dramatic and combative that I think she has done herself a disservice to this predominately male jury.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

Stay tuned for the rest of the Jodi Show. She is finally off the stand, the jury has asked their questions (weird, I know), and we are now seeing rebuttal witnesses that are blowing her story OUT of the water. Everyday it’s a new shocker. Keep watching and I promise to keep blogging.

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Twas the Night Before the Election….

On the eve of the second most important election of my lifetime, I feel an eerie calm. Kind of like that feeling that comes over a city right before a hurricane hits. Ironic since the East Coast just suffered the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  Devastation that many believe should postpone this election for at least a week, making sure that those hardest hit have an opportunity to make it to the polls to vote.  As if there hasn’t been enough going on with voter supression across the country this election season, now people have to choose whether to focus on recovery or to go wait in line at a precinct that may not even be operational to cast their ballot.

Back to the air of calm. Aaaaaah. In 2006, I flew to Chicago to support my brother Barton Taylor at a DNC fundraiser for Senator Hillary Clinton and while there met a man named Barack Obama.  When people ask me “When did you fall in love with Barack?”, that is my answer. That cold and windy Chicago night at a hotel by the river. When he walked around the room with a humility that escapes many in politics supporting his colleague Hillary. And on that night I looked at Bart and said, “That brother is BAD.” We knew then that there was something coming. Something big. Something epic. And then it did. Oh did I not mention, I’m an Obama supporter? If you would like to stop reading now, so be it. If not lets go FORWARD.  In 2008, I started as a baby fundraiser and co-founder of Young Lawyers for Obama. I was fired up and ready to go, to see if America was ready to elect our first Black President. The night before the election, I sat in a room with some of the brightest lawyers in the city, as we prepared our strategy and deployment plan for voter protection the next day. Working for Obama for America was like a badge of honor and I wore it with pride.  And as my heart raced from the opening to the closing of the polls in Georgia, I sat in my chair in the boiler room jumping everytime the telephone rang and I was the person charged with making sure the voter on the line was not disenfranchised, got to the proper polling place, and by any means necesssary cast a ballot, even if it was provisional.  It was envigorating. It was orgasmic. It was progress.  And we won.  Cathy Hampton, the new City Attorney for Atlanta, and I were the last two people in the office that night. By the time the phones stopped ringing, polls had been closed on the east coast for hours. We stayed until every single voter was assured that their vote would be counted.  And by the time I made it to my car, Barack Obama was well on his way to becoming our 44th President of the United States.  By the time I made it home, 12 minutes later, to get dressed for the big election night party, they had called Virginia and Ohio and it was all but over. The tears that streamed down my face were tears of anxiety, relief, struggle, and progession. Tears of joy. I knew that thanks to the strength of Americans who put their trust and faith in this man, that the tide of America was beginning to turn.

So here we are, four years later, on the eve of Election Day 2012. Family, friends, and colleagues who I love have stumped, stuffed envelopes, knocked on doors, waved signs, and given all their pennies towards the re-election effort for President Obama. I’ve shaken his hand, hugged his neck, prayed for him (and for our country), raised money, spent money and given money. And today, I have a peace that passes all understanding. Now don’t get me wrong. I am still and will forever be “Fired Up and Ready to Go” (thanks Mr. Shinhoster for giving us that and letting us borrow it). I have my shirt ironed and ready for tomorrow to go drive folks to the polls, wave signs, or represent voters who are disenfrancished.  But I feel like we have fought the good fight and will be victorious.

As calm as I am, a soft song begins to stir in my mind “Everything is gonna be alright, he’s coming back, like he said he would.” Now I know that Al Green was talking about Jesus, and not President Barack Obama. And I am by no means comparing President Obama to Jesus Christ (for those of you who are sure to go there).  But hey, if the song fits, sing it. Tomorrow will be a test of many things. Patience. Wills. Persistence. Determination. Don’t fail the test. There will be long lines, bad attitudes, short-tempered poll workers, slow drivers license checkers, idiotic citizens, no parking, far away parking, rain, cold temperatures, voter suppressors, voter manipulators, and voter protectors.  Don’t fail the test. There will be smiles and frowns, cheers and jeers, tears and shouts, praise dances and high-fives.  There will be a myriad of emotions . Everything is gonna be alright, he’s coming back, like he said he would.

President Barack Obama Power Fist

“Barack Obama at Westin Hotel, Atlanta, June 2012. Photo courtesy Joe Carlos Photography”

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The Fattening of America

It was ironic that today as I reached 10  on the crossramp and 10 on the resistance on my Precor elliptical machine at the gym, I looked up to see a CNN Report titled “America is Getting Fatter”.  This was clearly no newsflash as fast food restaurants continue to market to the inner fat girl/boy in all of us.

Using a model of population and other trends, a new report released on Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projects that half of U.S. adults will be obese by 2030 unless Americans get it together and start eating right and exercising.  This is not as surprise especially after the CDC reported earlier this year that 35.7 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children age 2 to 19 are obese.   I haven’t always been overly concerned with the statistics surrounding obesity but in the recent years I have paid close attention to it.  I’ve had weight issues my entire life. And I wasn’t overweight but I had a sibling who tortured me daily about my “fat thighs” and how big I was. It led to a lifetime of image issues, so I’ve always been conscious about it.  But it wasn’t until 2004 when I did something about it and haven’t looked back.

So when I see statistics like this, especially those related to children, it bothers me.  No, its more than bothersome.  I’m often enraged.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love food. I’m a baker for Cupcakes sake! I love a Chick-FilA 8-pack just as much as the next person. But what have we become as a society when it is considered innovation (and not disgusting) to sell a hamburger that uses Krispy Kreme doughnuts as a bun. DOUGHNUTS. Glazed pieces of goodness that are 5 Weight Watchers points a piece (on the old system and ask me how I know), smothering a greasy hamburger loaded with toppings. And this is what we place on menus and call it “eclectic”. The silver lining I suppose is that this burger costs somewhere around $12 and you have to go to a sit down spot to get it.  What really burns my biscuit is the  fast food restaurants who care nothing about the health of its patrons. So easy to drive thru and get a bag o’grease for the road.  Wendy’s has a “deal” where after 11pm, you get a free upsize on your French fries and your drink. Because what you need after 11pm is MORE fries and MORE soda right?!  Burger King, who makes the tastiest breakfast treat of all, the magnificent Crossanwich, with it 310 calories, 15 grams of fat and whopping 1030mg of sodium, is offered 2 for $3. Because one just is never enough right?  Its no wonder why states like New York and California are attempting to legislate our bellies. Someone clearly needs to.  Just last week, the New York City Board of Health approved Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on big sugary drinks.  Under the plan fast food restaurants, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums, and food carts are banned from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 oz.  There are a few exceptions but for the most part, NYC is trying to HELP those who can’t help themselves.  Of course the beverage industry is up in arms about this but I’m glad that someone is doing something to help America push back from the table.

With the advent of technology it has become easier and easier to add physical activity to your day. Apps like Nike Training Club turn your living room or driveway into a gym so money is no obstacle to working out.  30 minutes a day can help decrease your chance of disease, curb obesity, and lead to an overall better life. Group training or group motivation also helps.  A recent group has popped up on Facebook call Nakidfine & 9.  It encourages you to set 9 goals for yourself and not only look good in your clothes, but better yet, without your clothes!  Friends and strangers have a judgment free zone to discuss exercises, nutrition, and motivate others.  There are tons of groups like this online.  America, you don’t have to go softly into the cold dark fat night. Fight back! Take control of your lives! Now drop and give me 20 pushups and I’ll see you after Zumba.

 

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