The Black Girls Club

A while back, I started a poem called "The Black Girls Club".  It was inspired by the feeling that when you're a Black woman living in a America, it's like you're part of a club.  You don't remember signing up for it.  It doesn't have a specific charter or goal.  Everyone else always seems to be on the outside looking in, sometimes whispering, sometimes yelling.  They pick apart your clothes, hair, and flesh like vultures.  You feel like the wealthy celebrity who can't catch a break in the media.  You feel like the poor girl who can't catch a break at school.

And though some people do worship the ground you walk on, most people just loooooooove to hate you.

Our own dear Llama who comments here at the bar recently emailed me about Person of Interest starring Taraji P. Henson.  You remember that one...you know, where Henson was left off the cover of TV Guide when it covered the show, and the editor issued that standard no-pology which made your stomach want to eat itself?

Yeah...some of you remember.

From Llama's email:
Hello, K

Have you heard of this show with Taraji P. Henson in a supporting role. She plays an Iraq war veteran turned NYPD detective in a show called Person of Interest. I was wondering what you though of it. She doesn't really fall in to the strong black woman stereotype. She's strong, intelliegent and tough, but still vulnerable. She recently got some character development and the main characters, two white males, really value and aim to protect her, especially the one played by Jim Caviziel. She's one of the few people whom he respects and trusts and he protects her with a fierceness. I started shipping those two from day one.

I also noticed that out of all the characters she seems to be the one with mixed reviews. Some fans think that Henson is not believable as a cop. One commenter said they hope that she show doesn't turn into the protect Det. Carter show even though she can hold her own pretty well. There's even an online petition to have her character KILLED OFF. Others, thankfully, like myself LOVED her and want to see her play a greater role.

What is it about black women being protected and valued that sets white fans the hell off?

Did I also mention the show was created by J.J. Abrams. Are we seeing a theme here?
I haven't actually seen the show yet, but let's be real; this ish ain't new (Neo-Prodigy, lay down the links. You know you want to.). So all I've got to say to the great Taraji Henson (whom I adore like crazy): Boo-boo, welcome to a very special chapter of the Black Girls Club.

Vivica A. Fox
Back in 2004, Fox (and she is a fox) stepped in to rescue the Canadian drama 1-800-Missing.  If she hadn't, that show would've gone missing a whole lot sooner.  But as the star and executive producer, she came in, took over, and refitted it from top to bottom until it was I-can't-believe-it's-Lifetime fabulous.  The audience watched her kick ass, date the hot Latino guy, look gorgeous in every episode, pretty much be the center of the show (and all the characters' attention), and whattaya know...it was gone after two seasons.  And I have this feeling that the only reason it lasted so long was due to divine Canadian intervention.

Gabrielle Union
Flash forward (yes, intended) to 2005.  Union was cast opposite Stuart Townsend in Night Stalker.  Not only did their chemistry threaten to melt the screen, the overall show was outstanding from beginning to its very premature end.  There was not one but three men who openly cared for Union on this show, so naturally, before the final eps of the first season could even be filmed, it got axed.

Tamara Taylor
Pop quiz, bar patrons: what do you get when you have a boss who can't really be a boss because we can't hurt her white employees' egos?  Tamara Taylor on Bones, silly!

In 2006, Taylor joined the cast as Dr. Camille why-did-they-even-bother Saroyan, and she's left me rubbing my temples ever since.  She's the boss who's rendered un-bossy.  The sexy black woman who's rendered sexless.

After all we can't have her outshining Dr. Brennan, now can we?

Freema Agyeman
In 2007, Agyeman wasted about a good year of her life as the infamous "rebound assistant" on Dr. Who.  Though the most beautiful and intelligent of all the companions, the writers hadn't the slightest idea what to do with her except treat her like shit.

Angel Coulby
Now let's move onto 2008.

I have talked about Coulby's "Guinevere" so damn much that she might as well have her own tag at the bar.  Seriously.  She's a braaaaave woman for portraying Guinevere, 'cause there's no end to her list of haters.  And they all hate to admit they're haters!

Coulby actually represents a luckier streak in the Black Girls Club; her show's been renewed for a fifth season.  But I've noticed that she appears less and less in episodes; in fact, in at least one, I noticed she was absent altogether.  *shakes head*  The Club Curse.

Rutina Wesley
Also reppin' 2008 is Wesley's character Tara in Tr-...you know what?  I can't.  I just...it's just...I-I just can't.

Lenora Crichlow
2008 really was the year of the vampire.  Crichlow's portrayal of ghost "Annie" (on the only version of Being Human that I will acknowledge) had me wondering why the only constant POC on the show had THE shittiest taste in men.  Annie's a ghost because her abusive fiance murders her and gets away with it.  She then tries to date a mentally unstable man who almost rapes her, but can't because - duh - she'a ghost.  Then she realizes she deserves better and needs to choose better, so she starts dating an extremely emo, mass-murdering vampire who makes you long for the sobering cynicism of Angel/Angelus...while he was still on Buffy.

Zoe Saldana
Ah, 2009.  A year that shall forever go down in infamy.

All these white girls who gush all over Saldana now ain't foolin' me.  A Black woman's memory never fades.  We're veterans, y'all; I personally fought in the Spock/Uhura Wars of 2009-2010, and when the new movie comes out in 2012/2013/whenever, and she starts smoochin' with Zach Quinto again, trust and believe the War of White Female Aggression will rage once more.

Gabrielle Union
No, bar patrons, you haven't had too much to drink and you're not randomly seeing double.  Like I said befo'...2009 was a year that will go down in infamy for Black women.  I done told y'all a Black woman's memory never fades.  You think I was just going to forget the epic fail that was the treatment of Zoey Andata in FlashForward?  She wasn't even a central character.  She was a recurring guest star engaged to the only Asian on the show, and she was still viewed as too much of a threat.

That was one show cancellation I didn't mourn.

Naomie Harris
Say it with me, kids: in-fa-my.

Thanksgiving, 2009 unleashed internationally worshiped Korean popstar Rain in his first big Hollywood flick.  It was a highly anticipated event of the year, and through it all, a Black woman was cast as his love interest - whom he conveniently didn't get to kiss, and the infamous shower scene he shared with her was filmed, but never shown to audiences.

And don't even get me started on how much the Blasian aspect of Ninja Assassin was flat-out ignored in media.

Amber Riley
Wow.  *rubs temples*  2009....

Riley deserved a big break.  Her voice is astonishing, and she is clearly gifted.  Yet ever since she stepped foot onto the set of Glee, it's like she been treated as though she were "less"...and less.  The overt preference for Lea Michele's inferior voice literally made me quit watching mid-season.

Katerina Graham
"In·fa·my
n. pl. in·fa·mies
1. Evil fame or reputation.
2. The condition of being infamous.
3. An evil or criminal act that is publicly known."

Black people, seriously, stay away from all these vampire shows.  When white folks start scribbling their otherworldly fantasies, you're not the intended audience.

So Graham portrays a "best friend" on The Vampire Diaries (2009, go figure).  The best friend?  Again?  Whose dude kisses another woman?  Seriously?  What's with Hollywood's fetish of having men be unfaithful to Black women?

Tiffany Hines
Does the phrase "RIP Jaden" ring any bells for you?  It does for me!  In 2010, Tiffany Hines co-starred in the Nikita reboot which handed her a half-assed characterization, a one-sided crush, and a bullet in the chest.

*nods*

Seriously?  2011 - seriously?  Really?  "Post-racial" this shit right here.


The name says it all.

Taraji P. Henson*
From the moment I learned about Henson and Person of Interest, I knew there was doomedage afoot...mainly because the first time I heard about her new show, TV Guide (do people even read that shit anymore?) was trying to pull a fast one.

Future Member

Kerry Washington
Washington better not get too comfy 'n' confident on her new show.  She better not kick off her shoes and unpack her bags just 'cause Miz Shonda Rhimes is runnin' shit.  She better recognize that Rhimes is tolerated only so long as she keeps us neck-deep in bony emo white chicks.  In Scandal (2011-2012), Washington is large and in charge, barking orders, talking shit to a white president, and being obeyed by white men and women (and most likely dating white men).

If this lasts beyond 2-3 episodes, it will be the result of direct divine intervention.

Final Thought

Notice, bar patrons, that all of this went down/is going during the 21st Century.  Not the 1990s, or the 1960s, or the 1930s, but the friggin' 21st Century.

*nods*  In Hollywhite, this bullshit is considered "progress".  This is considered "diversity." Right now, there are men and women clapping themselves on the back for this shit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Is it just me or does Taraji look very "1960s Uhuratastic" in this pic?

Comments

  1. Oh man on man what a list. And I ache for everyone of these sisters that's on it. But I will say that at least Taraji does have J.J. Abrams on her side. He doesn't seem to be afraid of casting black women on a show and having men protect or fawn over her. He did direct Saldana and Quinto in Star Trek. Now that doesn't mean the show won't get canceled (Undercovers) or that that POC won't get killed off (lost) But I blame that ish on those other 2 white men that were producing the show. They didn't let JJ do what he wanted to with Lost and it showed, big time. And on Alias the main character's partner Dixon, did not get killed off, and Eventually started running the show with Angela Basset.
    So, if you're a black woman in Hollywhite work with Abrams. At least you'll have a chance. The rest of those directors with throw you to the wolves.

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  2. As requested:

    http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/993778.html

    http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/987284.html

    And my internet wife RVC Bard breaks it down here:

    http://arsmarginal.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/fandom-hates-black-women/


    Also calling out the Help, Dr. Martha Jones, Mercedes from Glee, Bonnie from Vampire Diaries.


    It's sad to say but I think we got better representation and better characters in 80s and 90s than we do now.

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  3. This right here is why I don't really watch television! It's great to see a Black woman get work, but when she's treated like crap what's the point?

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  4. Yes!!! I'm definitely feeling your opening statement about feeling like you belong to some club designated strictly for black girls/women..and there are different denominations thereof ranging from: 'that goth punk black chick' to 'that ghetto black chick' you can just never seem to escape the fact that you are a 'black' chick before anything else in this country! LOL. Sometimes I just have to laugh. Being a black female in america to me means going around trying twice as hard to disprove that gut feeling everyone seems to have about you..

    and no, you're not the only one who thinks Taraji is working with a little Nichelle Nichols in that pic.. ;)

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  5. Dont forget Bonnie Bennett on vampire Diaries played by Katerina Graham. They hate her something fierce but they never have a legit reason.

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  6. "'that goth punk black chick' to 'that ghetto black chick' you can just never seem to escape the fact that you are a 'black' chick before anything else in this country! "

    The worst part for me though is being that goth, punk black chick getting shunned by other black women because they think you want to be white. I'm part of the club but I can't be in the clubhouse. Not that many white people want to be around me either so I just hang out with the Asians and Latinas who will deal with me.

    But seriously, I have this beautiful brown skin, this beautiful coiled hair and they think I want to be white?

    Negro, please.

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  7. I cannot believe I forgot this one. Vanessa Abrams from Gossip Girl.

    You wanna talk about a sister who has been the punching bag for every white girl on that damn show.

    The (too brief) inclusion of Raina in the fourth season was the only thing that saved me from throwing my hands up with that series.

    _______________

    Damn ya'll ain't lying about Henson rocking the Uhura fierceness.

    You know honestly, I think the reason why people hate Bonnie (besides being a member of the Black Girls Club), because she's actually the most competent and credible female on the show.

    While she is the black best friend, the writers have taken a page out of Buffy's playbook and she's the Vampire Diaries answer to Willow. Not only in that she's a witch but she's the resident powerhouse on the show.

    She's had relationships. She got to suck face with Sean Faris (which by the by, Ms. Graham, I'M GONNA NEED YOU TO GET YO HANDS OFF MY MAN!!!!!!!), she's smart, she's bright, she's independent. She's everything they try to prop Elena up to be and fail miserably.

    Hell Bonnie has more chemistry with Stephan and Damian than Elena does. To be honest, she needs her own damn show. In fact....for my next novel.............

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  8. Glee is getting on my last nerve with Rachel and Finn and almost every other white character on that show. It's a good thing you dropped the series mid-season. I swear, whenever they have a competition you know that New Directions is gonna win. I mean, how can they lose when they get to sing three fucking songs and the other groups only get one. I was excited when during season three Mercedes and some of the other girls including Santana separated to form their own group. I thought they would be allowed to shine and Mercedes would get to use her extremely versatile voice. I mean, this girl can do jazz quite remarkably and the best Rachel can do is Broadway tunes. That girl cannot do pop songs. *cringe*

    I bet you Mercedes could do everything including country but they only give her R&B most of the time.

    People have the nerve to think that Rachel is a better singer than Mercedes or Santana. Please, they would blast that bitch out of the water. I'm always annoyed when they have to include Rachel or Kurt in songs that the other girls sing. And no offense to Kurt, but when did he become Rachel's best gay friend? Wasn't he Mercedes' friend to begin with and much less obnoxious?

    And now that Sam's back the think he and Mercedes should be a couple. But honestly there is nothing wrong with Mercedes' current relationship except for the fact that we hardly see her boyfriend. Again, can't have too many POCs, especially a black guy who is a regular.

    And it was funny when Mercedes, Santana and Brittany left New Directions. New Directions was straight up white, except for maybe Mike and Tina. But then it seemed like they were being written as honorary whities, outside of Mike's subplot and a very small point that Tina made to Mike's dad about the difficulty of being Asian in the industry, or something, especially with Mike's role in their production.

    And interesting to that the narrative seemed to suggest that even without the queer women/women of color that New Directions could still win. Why even make the fuss about missing "the girls" if the mostly white New Directions could still whoop their asses? I was hoping for a paradigm shift but nothing changed. Rachel and her army still demeaned the persons of color and queer women.

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  9. I don't watch much television but I do watch the British shows on this list. I understand that Merlin is about, well Merlin, but you're right Gwen does get ignored often. I don't want to spoil the recent season of this show, but there's a particular episode when I thought 'If they send Gwen away from this show, I am seriously going to stop watching this shit'.

    Wow, black ladies get no love from Hollywhite indeed. I'm laughing because I really cannot cry.

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  10. The CW is a terrible network for women of color period. If we could only convince TVone or BET to make fantasy series starring black people . . .

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  11. Well, after all these years, Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle speaks the truth when it comes to matters like this (the end sums it up very well). Especially when considering--according to a friend who is a communications major--that the television and movie industries are dominated by white men there is little to no diversity when looking at the hierarchies of each of these industries. They get to determine what stories are told and by whom. They get to determine what we look like in those stories and so on down the line. Sure fans may have some pull on show and character development, but the fact remains the industry is mostly about upholding the status quo. Sure a woman (Kathryn Bigelow) recently won an academy award for best director of a movie but look at the story (The Hurt Locker) she helped tell.

    So then, what would it take to get our stories told in the industry? Characters developed based on actual experience and not pantomimes? How can we create our own world without succumbing to some aspect of the status quo that works against us? These are the things I wonder about when things like this are discussed.

    I want to shrug it off as something that doesn't matter because the stuff on television and movies is fantasy after all and of minimal importance to my life, but if television and movies are as powerful as they seem in shading the way we look at one another as people then I wonder to what extent it is worth engaging as a serious issue? For now I try to ignore television (and would completely if ESPN didn't exist and my husband weren't into sports) and movies.

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  12. I have an on again off again relationship with Glee.

    And now that Sam's back the think he and Mercedes should be a couple. But honestly there is nothing wrong with Mercedes' current relationship except for the fact that we hardly see her boyfriend. Again, can't have too many POCs, especially a black guy who is a regular.

    I've been a samcedes shipper for a while now and I'm happy to see that she's getting a romantic subplot...just like the other women in ND.

    Just a few weeks ago on tumblr there was some arguement between WOC and some white fangirl who said she was going to be "politically incorrect" and stated that a guy like Sam would never take in interest in a girl like Mercedes. Mercedes is everything these brainwashed, drone-like white girls have been taught to despise. She's fat and black. This same fangirl didn't want fat black women to believe that men like Sam could find them sexy, attractive and lovable. She said that she didn't want them to have hope.

    Honestly, I'm glad Sam is pursuing Mercedes...not because he validates her. She's beautiful, righteous and phenomenal with or without a man, but these white fangirls need an antidote to their narcissism. They really need to be taken down a notch and shown that being white,skinny and blond doesn't make you better or more deserving than anyone else. That's why I was thrilled when Sam rejected Quinn by saying she had "rich, white girl problems."

    I definately agree with the rest of your post, especially the implications of having ND win without Santana, Brittany and Mercedes. I don't know what happened to the Mercedes/Kurt friendship and the TroubleTones should have beaten ND. They are far more talented, but it seems as though they'll have to take a backseat to Rachel...again. Mr. Shue needs to be knocked upside the head.

    BTW sorry for any typos. I'm in a hurry.

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    1. I am so sick of Rachel and Finn...they could leave the show and I would not miss them..so many people with talent get the shaft and are sacrificed because of all the attention on them...they can jump off a cliff!

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  13. I never had a name for the feelings I have, but black girls club encompasses a lot.
    Also, while I agree with Marona that almost no one in fandom likes Mercedes current boyfriend, Shane, there is a huge and vocal section of fandom who also hate the idea of her getting together with Sam. Let’s not forget that Sam is a good looking, white, blond, and favoured guy...that happens to be actively and earnestly pursuing a full figured black woman.

    There are the usual comments that even non-Glee-fans are used to hearing in regards to BW characters in relationships:

    “They have nothing in common.” --Which is a strange thing to say when they’re both in the glee club...isn’t singing a common interest for them? And if they’re referring to Sam’s love of geek culture, Mercedes has no problem being close friends with the equally geeky Artie and Tina.

    “She doesn’t deserve him.” –Most people saying this are praying that Sam will ‘see the light’ and go back to dating Quinn (who very well could have been cast as Sam’s twin sister for how much they resemble). Though I’m not quite sure how she ‘deserves’ him more seeing that she’s cheated on him in the past, has been actively trying to get child protective services to take a child away from its mother for personal gain, and has tried to get pregnant for the second time. The girl is a mess. And as SAM HIMSELF said, she has “rich white girl problems.” He’s also said that he’s not interested.

    “They have no chemistry.” –Don’t get me started on this BS.

    “If this was the real world, he’d be way out of her league/ She’s not his type.” --...

    “I just don’t see it/ it came out of nowhere.” –No it didn’t. They were getting cosy at the dance last season and they were holding hands at the coffee house in last season’s finale. Out of nowhere, my ass.

    ...Sorry for page stretching and going a little off topic, Ms Ankh!

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    1. For now it looks like they will be dropping the Sam/Mercedes S/L....of course they would, she will go back to being alone with no man..and I am not surprised WW are hating that a cutie pie white guy would go after Mercedes..just goes to show that some WW really get their panties in a twist thinking their men would want a black woman...I experience this in real life being married to a white man..All I can say is...you better watch out WW cause white men are dropping you like flies for us beautiful brown Goddesses...sorry to go off tangent..

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  14. Anyone who's in favor of destroying Hollywhite, say "Aye".

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  15. @ Broth Wolf: Aye!

    @ llama and Fhalei:

    I see where you guys are coming from. In that regard I do not see anything wrong with their union. In fact I'm all for it. But I don't see why it should threaten her current relationship, especially since Shane kind of spurred the would-be paradigm shift. I would have to see how Sam enhances her character much like her current boyfriend did. Also could her potential relationship with Sam rival that of forever gag couple Finn and Rachel? Or will it easily be shut down by infidelity (a la The Vampire Diaries), an ulterior motive (a la The Big C)or character death which could remove one or both characters (a la Misfits)?

    I did like that Sam challenged Quinn in her "rich white girl problems." Probably went over a lot of fans' heads. But I don't like that Puck forgot that Quinn had not been completely abandoned by Glee Club. Mercedes invited that girl into her home as well as her church when she was kicked out by her family, so not EVERYONE abandoned her.

    But the nerve of some fans to dictate what Mercedes deserves. I think that both Mercedes and Sam are good characters. Sam has a lot of good qualities and comes off as much better than many of the glee kids including Finn and Rachel. But it did seem strange that he would become a stripper to pay the bills. This show just has issues with lack of continuity.

    If they have a relationship I hope her character development doesn't completely dissolve and it becomes just about the relationship. I was critical of this pattern in Misfits and Merlin b/c the WOC became almost nothing outside of their relationships with the white love interests. And that would suck, given how much Mercedes was blossoming toward the beginning of the season.

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  16. I'll level with you, I have never cared a lot for Glee and still don't,but it does get annoying to say that Mercedes isn't his type? just because she's a full-figured Black woman. What makes her think that only white girls are Sam's type? I wouldn't doubt that she's probably isn't looking like anything herself. Seems like she's in denial.

    I don't know about her,but I have seen White men with Black women who were just as gorgeous as Gabreille Union and others you may ask "WTW",but here is the point: Those White guys that were with them seemed crazy about them no matter what. I have a cousin that has been married to Her Greek husband for almost 30 years. She's a pretty full figured and her feet are spread out,but she is still married to her White man( ironically, he also came from a well to do family also). If her husband would have just relied on only her weight, he could have left her,but he seems to be about substance..something this woman don't want swallow.Reasons like those is why I'm very bored with Hollywood and their fans . They don't want see the world for what it is.I agree,we should give pictures like this to BET, or TV One.

    Although I find Tyler Perry to be a little repitive with his movies, I will never underestimate him or sweep him under a rug. I was thinking about something he said about why he became who he is:Basic Hollywood prejudices with age, race, weight etc. Tyler said that he wanted people to act in his movies no matter what. Yes, I'm getting a little sick of Madea and wish he would do a little more dramas /action pictures..just something different,but we need people like him, John Singleton( wonder what he's doing these days?) and although he's not my favorite director, Spike Lee ,to do some of these picture. Since Hollywood often take POC's for granted, it's about time Black directors/actors do our own thing and those that have begun to do it, continue to do so.

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  17. @M, too true. Too many people think that their ideas about attractiveness are the only ones that exist. They get mad if that idea is threatened, b/c of course for white women, they cling to the idea that no matter how weather beaten, old and tired looking they are, they look better than a fat chick, esp. a fat black chick. They worship at the altar of youth but NEVER acknowledge that black women age better than them, pretty much on a scale that is like comparing human years with dog years. I always hear them compliment Asian women on not aging (although truthfully, they just get a few more years than the white women before they spot and wrinkle), but they NEVER acknowledge how nice our skin looks pretty much for-effing-ever. So in their minds Demi Moore looks better than Michelle Obama, when in actuality Michelle Obama looks younger than any white chick over the age of 26.

    But you know, while the white women will crow that a good-looking white guy wouldn't give a fat black girl (and they honestly think any fat girl), the time of day, they certainly don't question why or how they can look any kind of way and be paired up with a black man on screen or in real life.

    So I just started watching a show (American Horror Story) that has Morris Chestnut featured on a few episodes, and I could tell from the first appearance that they plan on having him hook up with this weather beaten white lady who looks about 60(yet is supposedly pregnant). Oh okay. Go with that. Why wouldn't they pick an age appropriate guy for her who is also the same level of non-attractiveness as her? Of course, in my opinion, the actor playing her husband (Dylan McDermott-yeah, he'd be on my list of white guys who are wow, and dude is 50 now) is WAY better looking and younger looking than her too, although her "acting age" is supposedly 6 years younger than his (but her skin reminds me of an old school Donney & Burke bag).

    Do you think any fans are discussing the ludicrousness of Morris Chesnut riding that old hag?

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  18. @M, even if Mercedes was the same size as Gabrielle Union, white girls would NEVER accept that a white guy they covet could pick her first. Never.

    Add on weight, and they get really upset by it.

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  19. Wow. A lot of comments here. Sadly, I have lived in a white world for so long, that I didn't even think about a lot of these. The Mercedes on Glee thing I have been saying since the start. They autotune the shit out of Rachel's voice--she sucks, and she has no power behind her voice. But I didn't even think about Tamara Taylor's character on Bones. It is pretty jarring, once your eyes are opened to it.

    I have to admit (and this is probably why a lot of black people don't like me) that some of these references seem like a stretch. I saw all of 1-800-Missing and I thought the show was terrible. Period. My assumption is that the show was cancelled because the acting was sub-par, and it was blatantly low-budget.

    But sometimes I wonder if I'm just blind to some instances of racism because I have been surrounded by whiteness for my whole life. I remember being about nineteen, during my sophomore year of college, and finally realizing that incidents from my past involved race in ways I hadn't even imagined before. Is this one of those cases? Maybe.

    One other thing that I'm not sure that people have mentioned about black women on TV that really bothers me is that they are most often of mixed race with light-ish skin. I too am of mixed race, so I'm not in any way saying that these women aren't "black enough." Believe me, I have gotten that enough in my life. My point is that there seems to be this unspoken rule that you can be be black, but "not too dark." Most of the black women who play "beautiful women" are a light caramel color, with hair of a mixed texture. Most woman who are darker, with hair that is of a more classically "black" texture, seem to be cast in a particular "strong black woman" role. This bothers me for a few reasons. One, my family was always telling me to stay out of the sun so I didn't get too dark. I like the sun, and I like getting a tan (this wasn't always the case, I admit, but I don't fear getting "too dark" any longer), and I hate this idea within the black community that lighter is better. It is, to me, an extension of white on black racism, and it's equally (if not more) damaging. And second, my little sister is darker, and I always felt that she was a victim of this absurd notion. She's beautiful, but I could never quite convince her of that when we were younger. I worry that this will follow her into adulthood.

    I would be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this whole "light-skinned" black girl thing.

    PLBND
    GreyGirl

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  20. The Aye's HAVE IT!

    This is another great article! Listing the sisters like this brings it home real hard. I happen to not watch any of these shows (for sanity's sake) Cause I dont want my feelings hurt so randomly like this.

    But I remember finding a youtube by a brother who dates black and white women, and he says something interesting: That when he dates white girls, they seem completely uncomfortable if he shows any interest in or even respect for black women.
    When he's caught looking at a white girl, by his white girlfriend, a little jealousy; but when he's caught looking at a sister by his white girlfriend, MAJOR MELTDOWN DRAMA!!!

    I thought it was interesting. http://youtu.be/PAe8YhOPvcU

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  21. I think that Hollyweird has to cater to its white women fan base. Maybe they introduce the beautiful black women, to get the initial buzz, to get the white girls fired up.
    Then they put that beautiful black woman near that white boy for a minute, and kill her off.

    White women are supremely jealous of black women and that tells me that there's something going on with their white men, that they are sensing. It must be an attraction that white men have to black women that's under our radar, not that we all are interested anyway, but...

    This would be worth it for me to start researching. This dynamic of white men attraction to black women and white women's response. I can get some good blog posts out of such stuff!

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  22. @Greygirl, most black women on TV aren't portrayed as being beautiful no matter what color they are. The actresses that I know are of mixed races (e.g., the black doctor on Bones), are still asexual spinsters who almost never get any loving. I think the same rules apply no matter what they look like.

    When they even suggested that at some point Dr. Saroyan on Bones had had an ex- husband, they had him hooking up with her Asian co-worker.

    There is no such thing as "mixed-textured" hair, and a lot of the women, esp. black women, on TV are wearing weaves...I think a lot of people assume that hair and skin are linked traits, but I'll point out that Tyra Banks and Vanessa Williams(neither is dark skinned but neither is biracial either for the record) both have coarse, afro-textured hair and they wear lots of wigs and extensions (Vanessa had me cracking up by pulling one of her clips out during an interview to show it off).

    I was raised around only white people (although both my parents are black, which I think makes a difference), and I understood pretty early on when white people were showing their asses to me. Of course my parents made sure we knew when it was happening b/c as the overt ways of doing it became illegal, they found lots of shady ways to keep doing what some of them love.

    I don't have any proof but I just have never felt as though white people are that good at distinguishing characteristics between black people and I've always felt like the things that they respond to in black women depend on a LOT of factors...skin color is just one but since no one is EVER both in their lifetime, it's kind of hard to say that one group or the other gets treated better. I get treated just fine by non-crazy white people. I don't think racists care if your skin is light. I don't buy the idea that they'd do better by me if I had green eyes or yellow skin. And most of my life I've had to deal with people who feel TOO comfortable and they wind saying, doing, or asking things that I then have to tell them off about.

    I don't know if there is data to support this, but I see plenty of white men with dark skinned black women who don't have wavy hair, so I don't know how it works in their heads. I can say I see plenty of black women with white men that don't fit the black beauty hierarchy either.

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  23. AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE TO INFINITY!

    Reading this post, I see no reason to be interested in television aside from a show or two (which I can view on-line anyway). While I've watched a mere handful of Bones episodes, it says a lot when I have to come here to find out that Dr. Saroyan is the boss and not another worker. =_=

    Do not get me started on the CW. I see little difference between it and the former WB; makes me wonder why they bothered to buy most of UPN and change the name.

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  24. Nicthotmmi,

    Of course not. It's ok for him to have the leftovers,but if that would have been a Heidi Klum look alike..oh yeah..they would probably be trying to petition him off the show and plenty of racists trying to chase him off the show.

    You're also right about the skin color thing. True racists don't care if your skin is light, if your genetic makeup consist of African descended ancestry, you're Black and a nobody. Look at what happened to Vanessa Williams when she became Miss America? She was harassed by racists and she looked like a White woman.Dorothy Dandridge was a cafe au lait color..during her time one of the most beautiful Black women in Hollywood, yet she was despondent not only because of her mentally challenged daughter,but Hollywood not accepting her as a international sex vixen like Marilyn Monroe.

    No, it really don't matter what color a Black woman is, if they don't like you, they just don't like you. Even if that was the case, Black women shouldn't have to be put in an " acceptable" mold for viewers to admire them. That is why I liked Lena Horne. She stood her ground. She told movie directors that she wasn't going to be a pass off for anybody. She was a Black woman and that is how she wanted to be portrayed in all of her films.

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  25. @M, yeah, Vanessa Williams got death threats when she won. And her obviously black but light-skinned family was not welcome in their Westchester neighborhood either. When the neighbors saw her family visiting the house, they attempted to pool together money buy the house so that the blacks couldn't move in. They didn't care that it was a family of light-skinned blacks with two green-eyed children looking at that house; they were still a family of Negroes (funnily enough, we had family friends who moved into that neighborhood in the early 80's by which time a lot of middle and upper middle class blacks lived there; visiting it felt like an episode of the Cosby show).

    I can't believe none of these women don't work more and I can't watch any more shows with homely, generic, underfed, old looking white chicks that the networks try to sell/promote as being beautiful. Bleh.

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  26. @Nicthommi I guess I disagree with you. I think there are examples of black women in media being portrayed as "beautiful." I think that it may be the case that this is more the case in movies than TV (I don't watch a ton of TV, and have only seen a handful of the shows mentioned above), but I think that we are starting to be recognized as beautiful creatures.

    As for the term "mixed-texture hair" I would say that there is certainly such a thing. I have it! I'm not sure what you mean when you say "there's no such thing" but what I mean is hair that is softer than classically "black" hair, but coarser than "white" hair. (I once had a white boy tell me that my hair would be softer if I just conditioned more! Gotta love the ignorance.) Some strands of my hair are even thicker than others, and my hair is curlier in certain parts of my head than others.

    I'd also like to point out that Vanessa Williams may be of mixed race (I have no idea). I think that a lot of people forget that these days, there are very few black people that are "just black." There was a great program on NPR about Race (it was an episode of Radio Lab) about how there's a big difference between aesthetic and genetic race. On the program, there was a man who looked completely black, had two "black" parents and everything, and when he had his DNA analyzed, it turned out that less than 2% of his genetic make up was of African origin. He was 92% European. My point is that it's not as simple as looking at someone, or even looking at her parents, and saying that she is or isn't "mixed."

    And you're right, a lot of black women in media do wear weaves or extensions. These things seem designed to make them look more white if you ask me, thus providing further support to my point. They get these silky weaves of long white-girl hair. Whenever a woman has an afro she's "ghetto" or a "bad girl" or "unintelligent." Why can't I find a beautiful, darker, black woman on TV who has her own hair, and is well spoken? Not since Mrs. Huxtable do I feel that I have seen that. Kerry Washington's show has promise, but we'll see where that goes. I mean, it has happened. Gabrielle Union has been in some roles like that; but it still seems pretty rare.

    And my point about light-skinned black women in media was not to say that white people are less racist toward lighter-skinned black women. I guess it's more that white people seem to be less uncomfortable with black people that aren't "that dark." Otherwise we'd see more Iman's in the media. Take a look a pop culture list of the "top 20 most beautiful black woman" and you'll see what I mean. I grew up in NYC and I know for a fact that there are some beautiful dark-skinned ladies out there. They are just not in the spotlight. And it's not just white people. Even within the black community, I have heard cracks about this. My dark cousin was made fun of by my other cousins, called "blackie" and "midnight;" when we got mad at our girl friends as kids we would call them "nappy-headed" and "baldy." These are the same characteristics that racists use to berate people of color, and it pains me to see that these negative commentaries on the black aesthetic have infiltrated black culture. Enough soap-boxing, though.

    You were lucky to be raised to spot the covert racism,; that didn't come for me until much later. And it was really upsetting to discover.

    As for your last comment about white men and black women, I wasn't commenting on that either. I think you're right; if a white guy wants to date a black girl, I don't think it matters how dark or light she is. But that whole interracial dating thing is another question for another day :)

    PLBND
    GreyGirl

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  27. ***blog moderation - do NOT skip***

    The discussion about hair texture and looking mixed ends now. Those topics have been worn to death. The next comment on either of those - except in regards to the embarrassing weave epidemic - will be deleted.

    Return to discussing plot/promotional fails and show cancellations. If you're not familiar with the shows and films listed, then either lurk or ask questions.

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  28. RE: Glee

    1) So I scurried over to Netflix to get caught up on some crucial Glee eps because I never thought we'd see the day when Mercedes was given a real love interest.

    So...why's the rich black girl paired up with the homeless dude? And has anyone seen them kiss? Do we ever see her kiss anyone?

    2) I hate Finn & Rachel. The plotline got old at the beginning of season one. And I forget how annoying Finn sounds when he sings, and the quality of Rachel's voice is tanking. Everything she sings is started to sound monontone-y.

    3)So glad I stopped I watching this show.

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    Replies
    1. So sorry to keep commenting about Glee..but I feel compelled..LOL...I am SOOO with you on Finn/Rachel...I can honestly say I pretty much identify more with any of the characters over Rachel..its obvious the shows producers favor her over everyone else...dare I say, I even identify with the rich white girl Quinn over Rachel..because like everyone else she gets passed over in favor of Rachel....

      I thought it was kinda weird, that the cute white guy that had the thing for the black girl had to be homeless...but hey, I still thought it was great that they showed that Mercedes IS in fact WORTHY of the attentions of any man and especially a cutie pie blond white boy..But like i said in a previous post..I am pretty sure they are dropping this S/L and going back to Mercedes being "boyfriendless".....Uggh..but that is pretty much how it goes on these shows as has been pointed out in this blog..

      Delete
  29. Well, since you brought up vampire shows, including that which will not be named, can I say how disappointed I always was the Kendra the Vampire Slayer and her tragically bad Jamaican accent got taken down so effortlessly by the vamps.
    And I'm sure everyone knows that she tried out for Buffy.
    I loved the Angel is the big bad season, and the next season with Faith was amazing, but I always though, man, why did the black slayer get taken out so easily. And while SMG did a great job as Buffy, again, we had that thing where you have an extraordinarly pretty girl but maybe I'm not remembering correctly, no one noticed her and her beauty even though it's like the elephant in the room of plain girls, which always irks me.

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  30. @ Nicthommi

    Bianca Lawson was supposed to be Cordelia, but due to contractrual obligations to another show, she couldn't be on "Buffy" full-time.

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  31. Oh, she would have been a great Cordelia...all kinds of attitude there. I wonder if they'd have let black Cordelia date Xander. Would that have been acceptable b/c he was a loser at first?

    While I know that she had her own personal challenges, why did Lisa Nicole Carson always get treated like a wilted side salad on Ally McBeal. I mean, I'm sorry, that lady has one of the best racks ever to be on primetime TV. So envious whenever I see a picture of her, and mine aren't small.

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  32. @Jas.Rey me too.. I've been on the goth scene since hs..though not as much as I was back then and it is because of that exact statement you made about other black women thinking you want to be white..why do we ascribe certain lifestyles to be 'white only' Just why? Black folks are our own detriment sometimes...and I hate it and fight it at every opportunity..even if i don't intend to by rocking something as simple as a torn Led Zepplin t-shirt..

    Oh yeah, word on the street is that Naomie Harris (YES!!!That bad chick!) Of Ninja Assassin will be casted in Bond 23: Skyfall

    I am overjoyed..but still wincing at the potential idea of what stereotype she will probably be filling given this is a hollywhite film..but none the less overjoyed!!

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  33. As silly as it may sound, this list made me tear up. I'm so tired, just so tired. From my own struggles of being an overweight/plus-sized Black woman (I'm 21) in academia--I can't even catch a break from mind-numbing entertainment as an escape from the bullshit that is "higher education". I notice things like this ALL THE TIME I go from angry to fed up. I only watched Glee for Amber, because I relate to that character and I wanted to support her and what she's doing. The writers for Glee can take a universe of seats because they've played her for so long, I too had to give up on Glee mid-season because it was just so unfair. She's about to graduate and now you begin give her proper boyfriend (Sam who is a year below her). Glee can deal with sexuality (barely Brittana?) I'm sure they won't touch interracial dating (barely dealt with Tartie) -- 2011 is not that progressive. Y'all should see the hate that samcedes shippers deal with (tumblr).

    My response was all over the place but this list just flared up my disgust for television-- why the hell should I have to resort to reading fanfiction all the damn time?! Ugh, I'm done.

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  34. @ GreyGirl

    To answer the question you sent to me: I'll be honest. When it comes to the topic of black hair, I have no patience. I believe black women need to 1) put down the weave, 2) hack off the perm, and 3) learn to deal with their own hair rather than drumming up avoidant excuses like "natural's just trendy" or "I just can't do it. It's not me" bullshit.

    Any discussion outside of that - to me - is fetishistic whitespeak.

    @ Cee

    As silly as it may sound, this list made me tear up. I'm so tired, just so tired.

    Researching, writing, and updating this post damn near gave me a migraine.

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  35. @ Ank:

    I just have one thing to say on the hair topic. Delete if you want to, but otherwise it's for your eyes only.

    Another problem I see with the way some black people discuss and treat hair is that they're so conditioned toward more acceptable forms of black hair. For instance, my mom and my cousin don't mind me having natural hair so long as it is curly. And to them that isn't even real natural hair. Now aint that a trip? To them natural is just kinky. And to me that invalidates many women's journeys to becoming natural. Frankly I don't think most people have a uniform curl pattern or thickness to their hair. I know I don't. But I'm tired of this dichotomy of curly good/kinky bad in natural hair talks. It's almost as bad as the usual topics regarding black hair.

    For me natural hair symbolizes independence. Meaning most of the stuff I put on my hair I can probably make in a kitchen. And I can style and cut my own hair without needing to go the salon for some ole bull. I can go to whatever country I want to go to and not worry if people there do black hair because I can do my own hair and probably make my own products. And I don't have to worry about all those chemicals which can not only damage my skin but affect my health.

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  36. These kinds of lists make me think that each year is just a different toilet. Always gets filled with the same shit.

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  37. An excellent, and appalling, post. Time for me to get back to writing the writers, and demanding to see more WOC in more shows - use my white privilege for something good. Thank you for the work you've done in putting it together like this.

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  38. My friends the 90's were not any better. I stopped watching everything on television except the X-files and Xena during the 90's for these exact same shenanigans. So many black women were written into story-lines and then disappeared for no reason, no good explanation.

    I'm curious guys have any of you had any good results from letter writing? We've been pushing a letter writing campaign for Angel Coulby on Merlin. I see no reason not to do one for Taraji on Person of Interest.The haters are vocal we need to be equally vocal.

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  39. Reading this post has reminded me why I just cant really engage with fandom very often. Its just not really worth it to me. The things Ive witnessed, read and watched play out since stepping a single toe any where near fandom a little over a year ago has made me seriously reconsider whether or not we have really made as much progress as people like to think when it comes to race. it seems like the most hated characters on any show are always the minority characters, and black female characters in particular seem to be on the receiving end of the most vile and vitriolic ugliness. I don't watch any of the vampire shows listed ( boy am I glad I don't), but I have friends who do and hearing what they have to say about the treatment of the women of color is enough to make my skin crawl. I started watching person of interest because it had JJ Abrams name attached to it and Taraji was going to be in it. By the second episode I said to myself "if this garners enough of a white fanbase, they are going to be gunning for Taraji"s head." I knew the hate would be coming, but didn't know about he TV guide incident or the petition to kill her character off. What is the matter with some folks?!? I really shouldn't be surprised though, because its all the same. I've personally seen the backlash against Zoe due to her role in Star Trek. People have suggested the death of the character she played when it comes to the upcoming sequels. there are others who just hope she will fade away from any prominence and that the new female characters will be made lead. The worst of it, is people who make snide remarks about her body parts and figure. Ive seen similar talks when it comes to other women of color in the media regardless of age or size. It makes my heart hurt to think that when it comes to black women, its like we are inanimate objects the way people discuss our figures. Its like we aren't fully human and aren't entitled to any measure of respect. All of these women in my opinion are brave to continue doing what they do while keeping their heads up.

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  40. An excellent, and appalling, post. Time for me to get back to writing the writers, and demanding to see more WOC in more shows - use my white privilege for something good. Thank you for the work you've done in putting it together like this.

    I'm curious guys have any of you had any good results from letter writing? We've been pushing a letter writing campaign for Angel Coulby on Merlin. I see no reason not to do one for Taraji on Person of Interest.The haters are vocal we need to be equally vocal.


    Exactly, ladies! Be equally or more vocal than the haters. If you don't have a blog, start one. If you're turned off forums & discussion boards, create your own and lay down the rules.

    And if you're already on the 'sphere, speak up about this issue!!! Talk about it all time! Start your own on-going series and write your own articles expressing your perspective on these shows or the individual actresses. It's the 21st Century - get it done!

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  41. I sooooo TA agree with this post. You left out a future member of this club, Joy Bryant and her character 'Jasmine' on NBC's Parenthood. See, everything seemed fine when Jasmine came on as the single baby-mama of a white lead character Crosby Braverman (Dax Shepard); but she was a threat because she had her ish together, was providing for herself and her son and her career as a dancer was flourishing. However, once she became romantically involved with Crosby, and had those hella sexy love scenes and he asked her to move in with him and to marry him...all hell broke loose 2X, the hate was taken to another level. The writing didn't help her character much either. Next thing you know, he's cheating on her, yet most of the audience's hate is directed towards Jasmine. WTH??? Apparently,she and her controlling behaviour was the cause of Crosby's cheating. I have fought many wars over comments like: she is an evil biatch, she should be killed off, she's so shrill, i hate her, she's uppity, they have no chemistry, she should just die, she's a witch, Crosby is only with her because of their son etc. Guess what? The couple is now broken up, Jasmine now has the perfect black guy and instead of being in every epi she is in every two or three epis. The fact that she is no longer romantically involved with a lead character has made her a peripheral character. I was drawn to the show because of Joy Bryant, i don't know what i was thinking, especially after coming fresh from fighting Tara wars. Now the show is pimping Joy out with the help of TV guide to say that having Jasmine co-parent with Crosby is more intereting than being romantically involved with the lead. I'll say no more, i feel a headache coming on.

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  42. Reading this made my blood boil. It reminds me of all of the black actresses who have been booted off of some one my favorite soap operas (Especially if she's in a relationship with a white man on the show.)

    I've heard such nasty things said about Taraji on blogs. I cannot believe that someone would actually create a petition to have her character killed off. I thought the Uhura hate was bad. This shit takes the cake.

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  43. @ Nicole

    What irritates me the most isn't the hate spewing from white (female) fandom. I expect that. In a perverse way, I find it flattering. What bugs is how quickly studios drop the shows which are actually trying. No wonder TV & films suck so much these days. Writers & directors are basically being discouraged from trying anything new!

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  44. I might be one of the few chicks who'd say thing but I was really hoping they would kiss by the end of the movie. There was total chemistry there, and the white guy was a text book Douche and misogynistic asswipe. I don't even care what that douche bags name was; I was more interested in Rain (Jung Ji Hoon) and Naomi.

    And yea Nikita is one of my favorites; I didn't really pay attention to the crush and paid more attention to the dynamic between Alex and her. But I will admit; my favorite character is Nikita, a beautiful half Vietnamese woman not only is she gorgeous but her character is actually relatable. I do like Jaden she seemed like a strong character that wasn't going to put up with any kind of bullshit; but I do find that they didn't do her character justice by not only having her crush on the white boy who had the hots for the beautiful Russian Girl Alex who is practically a princess who would NEVER be interested in his character and he stood no chance of being with her. And that match up bothered me as well; that boy was not a strong enough man to be wither either one of those characters. Especially not Jaden she deserved a stronger male opposite and I really wish she hadn't of died T_T. I loved watching Alex and Jaden nearly kill each other every other episode practically.

    And Side note I really loved Vivica Fox is Two Can Play That Game; because it shows she's a strong independent woman. And those 10 step program may actually work I still love this line" If not to hell with him...Keep Stepping". And I will too...haha!

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  45. ***comment moderation***

    Anonymous, repost your comment with a name.

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  46. ***comment moderation***

    @ "pkkees@yahoo.com"

    If the best you can contribute is "all of this is just 'fantasies' for entertainment sake", kindly exit the bar.

    ReplyDelete

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