Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Single Ladies wrap up... Episode 4

A devout Sex and the City (SATC) fan, I have been patiently waiting for a television show that will capture my fancy just like SATC did.  So far, I’ve had no such luck and have resorted to reading cheesy romance novels during primetime – the horror!  However the tide has turned.  A month ago, to my utter delight and my husband's chagrin, I came across VH1’s new series, Single Ladies, starring Dionne— I mean, Stacey Dash— from Clueless (My high school version of SATC).  Unfortunately, after watching a couple of episodes with my partner in crime, Christy, she and I both noted that the show, as it stands now, will not fill the void SATC’s cancellation left in our television lineup.  And since we both really want this to be our "replacement" – the obvious reason being seeing Stacey Dash on television again— we decided to feature a series of blog posts that will discuss the good, the bad, and the unrealistic of the series.  We hope the producers, writers, directors, and actors take note—cause lord knows we cannot stomach another season of watching them fall short consistently when they could potentially triumph with a little bit more homework.  Below is a discussion of this week’s episode which aired on June 27th:

The Good:  In the opening scene, after Val’s date calls her a tease for not giving it up after their third date, she rehashes the conversation to Keisha and April during the girls’ post date wrap up.  During this, April utters our favorite line of the episode; Val: “90 days first, then tap this later”; April, in response: “Sounds like a layaway plan”.

The Good: Is Lisa Rae’s acting improving????? (crossing fingers...)

The Bad/Unrealistic:  So far, the scenes in all the aired episodes have been numerous, jammed together and not thought out properly.   Instead of having 25 short scenes where the viewer gets to see only snippets of dialogue between the characters, it would make more sense for there to be 10-12 solid scenes, following 2-3 story lines so that the characters can get a chance to develop and the viewers can get to know them better.  Examples...

1.    In the second scene, April shares with the girls that Daryl has agreed (again!) to go back to therapy with her – she’s optimistic that their marriage might stand another chance.  Now, this is HUGE news, since on the last episode, Daryl showed up at April’s 25th birthday party to serve her divorce papers.  The steps that it took Daryl and April to get to this position should have been part of the show, instead, April simply “tells” the girls about this relatively big news in the midst of them discussing Vals’ annoyingly prudish ways.  This storyline is very essential to the series, because it will either catapult April into single-dome or keep her in a committed relationship.  It would also give the viewers a chance to explore April's character and know if she learned from her mishaps; because so far, we can’t really tell if she’s “bent out of shape” because she got caught cheating with the Mayor or she truly wants her husband back and feels truly bad about her indiscretion.  They could have also used this “missing scene” to communicate to us if she would be better off without Daryl since she was obviously so young when they got married and lost herself in the day-to-day routine of being Daryl’s wife. 

2.   In the scenes that showed Val and Casey, we were a little disappointed they did not take the chance to explore – either for comedic effect or enlightenment— the dynamics of an interracial relationship.  When Val and Casey comes back to her place, she tells Casey that she warned him they should not sit in the front row at a black comedy club.  They should have showed both of them at the comedy club and their reactions to being the butt of the jokes.  There has been significant growth in interracial relationships (especially between black women and white men) over the past years and the show missed an opportunity to explore this element of our society.  It could have been shown for comedic purposes: it took six months into our relationship for my husband to realize I had a weave,  and when he found out he told me to stay away from the stove else I burn my hair, he once asked if I was having an affair with my hair stylist since I took all day "getting my hair did"; on his end, he suffered a serious case of sun burn—Bozo the clown comes to mind— because I refused to pack sun block on a recent beach vacation claiming it was not needed.  Or for enlightenment: Black men, it is not okay to hit on a black woman when she is with her nonblack date; I, i.e. Ava, cannot keep refereeing fights.   And white men, just because a black woman dates a white man does not mean she finds the whole lot of you attractive; refrain from approaching a black woman with any line you hear in a rap video. 

3.       There are so many things wrong with the scene where Malcolm asks to “speak to Kiesha in private” in the store and then simply walks 3 feet over to the front of the store; first, “private” is not talking so loud in front of shop patrons and staff that they can all hear the conversation (This scene does not even pass the lowest of the low: the “I am not a Nigerian movie” smell test); second, a man like Malcolm would never confess to his “disappearing act” and apologize over and over again – such men  - “Chocolate Trumps” simply don’t have to do so.  Their money and charm allows them more room for error and asinine behavior; lastly, a girl like Kiesha would never utter to Malcolm that she plans to bring a date to Malcolm’s party – a better storyline would have been for Kiesha just to show up at the party with her date and for the director to show Malcolm’s bewilderment and disgust when she actually arrives at his home with another man.   And another thing, a true Chocolate Trump wouldn’t have made that visit to Val’s store himself; that trip should have been made by one of his many assistants.  Also, how many times must Malcolm talk about Keisha’s ass? It ain’t manna! His lines seem to be coming straight out of a Harlequin romance novel—this is not a good thing— instead of it coming from a gorgeous, successful man’s mouth.   A gorgeous successful man would never engage in a frothing at the lips banter with Keisha, he would know not to give out compliments every time his lips moves or say things like, “I do not know what it is about you”, every time he appears in a scene.  The producers either need to hire a man to write Malcolm’s lines or get in touch with Melania Trump for advice on how the Trumps of the world pick up women.

4.       Character traits identification: The writers need to go back to the drawing board and explore the different characteristics and personality traits of the show's stars.  Currently, some of their actions are incongruent to what their characters are being portrayed as.  We touched on this a little with the discussion of Malcolm so let us now discuss Val, the obvious star of the show.  If any character should be appropriately developed it should be her, but sadly, this is not the case.  For example, Val, someone who is supposed to be a hopeless optimist and we assume the glue to these women friendships, will never utter these words to an emotionally wounded friend: “isn’t it customary to honor your vows?”  If that line was needed in the show, it should have been uttered by Keisha and not Val.  Val should have been the one mediating this “personal foul”. This is a role reversal that should not happen so early on in the season since the readers are just starting to get to know the core of the characters.  

Sadly, we could go on with other faux pas’ we noticed on this show, but we shall stop here with one significant recommendation— the directors need to decide whose character is going to be the dominating one and stick to developing that character – this will help in giving the series some stability.  There is no sense in equal distribution of screen time for all the characters – it simply won’t work.

Until next time, 
Christiana Duodu and Ava Drake

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"World's oldest profession"... meet... "21st century's Public Relations team"

 “There is nothing free in this world, except the Grace of God.  Everything else must be paid for” (Opening line for the movie True Grit).

During a conversation with a friend about something that happened to me at work, I found myself receiving advice to the tune of always having a CYA (“cover your ass”) folder and never having conversations with coworkers regarding work duties in person, “always use email” she said. When something goes wrong (i.e. you receive an email from your boss asking about an assignment that has been re-assigned to someone else) you can pull out from your CYA folder, an email trail that contains the details of the re-assignment, the person’s reaction to their new assignment—usually a negative one, the reminder email you sent to your coworker regarding the assignment—which was done not because you cared about seeing the job accomplished but just as an extra step to cover your ass— and the unfinished status of the assignment.  Thereby showing your boss what useless hacks most of your coworkers truly are; yes, the ones you have lunch and yap with on a daily basis.  The ribbon on this package of corporate advice was never to forget that throwing people under the bus is a must if one wants to survive in this world.  I flippantly answered, “Shit… I am not so sure I want to sell my soul just to get a 3% raise or my boss’s approval.  I think I will rather sell my body...”  She answered back with, “well hon… that would make you a prostitute; so work on covering your ass at all times and nailing people when necessary otherwise they will do it to you instead”.  Since she was advising me to sell a piece of me by conforming to tattle tale ways I am innately against just to survive in my chosen field, it got me thinking… Body or souls— which would one rather give up? 

Going just by Christian teachings, I’ll go against society's quietly accepted norm and say— sell your body.  You leave it here when you die. Cherish your soul; that’s what’s everlasting. But alas, it is not that easy…    

For most women, I suspect the immediate answer will be, “I will never sell my body”. But as a friend accurately pointed out when I asked for her thoughts … “We all prostitute.  We exchange sex for money, love, companionship, material things or all of the above one way or another.  Most of us don’t stand on the streets to do so, but clubs, bars, college campuses, the workplace… all these constitute as the market place…” so if this rings true, which it did to me, what is to blame for prostitution’s negative brand image?  Prostitution without its usual accouterments of drugs, alcohol, disease, and pain inflicting pimps is just exchanging a “service” for monetary compensation— an activity we all engage in one way or another, so...  

Is the world’s oldest profession just a victim of centuries old bad PR?  Could views be changed simply by making a much needed 21st century introduction?

World’s oldest profession … meet Lizzie Grubman.  Lizzie is the most popular public relations person in Hollywood, or so says the MTV show Power Girls that starred her and her minions.  

Lizzie… this is the world’s oldest profession, Prostitution.  Prostitution is in dire need of your services, and since you were able to— for a second at least—make the world believe Paris Hilton was someone to watch; we believe you can help Prostitution wipe off this age old grime that has tainted its backbone since the beginning of time.

If you are a woman or a man who enjoys sex solely for the act, why not make money doing something you enjoy.  Your experiences will definitely be shorter than an eight hour work day and with the right PR, who knows, it might make an emergence into society as an honorable profession.

Not advocating anything here since I am not privy to all sides of the story, but the next time we decide to judge people for their choices (i.e. mentally stone the Heidi Fleiss’ of our generation or the supposed gold diggers), it will behoove us to take a mental pause and realize we are all participating in this type of “exchange”, one form or another in order to “make” it in our world.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer nights... blushing stories

"... Logan is the modern day double 007. Gone is the slightly detectable stomach tire of the old James Bond; instead is a body that any breathing woman or in some cases, male, cannot walk away from.  Extremely handsome, with intelligent piercing eyes, his jaw line would put Daniel Craig's to shame-- many have felt the all elusive Shakespearean  love just by glancing his way ... crap! he is currently looking my way..."  (excerpt from the day dreaming mind of Ava Drake)

Blush dress by DVF, sash by Escada

Trying to bring back hoops as I don't see them on others anymore.  A true fan, it never disappeared from my jewelry rotation.

Manolo slides. Hope you have a great week!

pics by DMJ Productions

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Nights... Sticky and Sweet

The number one item on my bucket list: enjoy a whole summer reminiscent of my high school days... here is to hoping that happens sooner rather than later (wish I had a champagne glass icon to toast you'll here).  Until then, there are always summer nights for us working folks...
 Dress- Twenty8Twelve

Due to the tightness and shortness of this dress, it can only be worn once or twice a year; usually during the times when I have purchased too many clothes and cannot afford groceries.

Report Signature slides, there is not a slide out there that I will not fall in love with-- I am just a sucker for that style of shoes.

Hope you have a good rest of the week

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Don't you just love sunshine?!

Below should be the end of the summer white series... no promises though... I clearly do lots of white in the summer and have been known to keep wearing it long after labor day (Yes! the gall!).  Don't hesitate to leave a nasty comment (I'm sure to think whatever disapproving comment you leave will be nasty even if you follow the appropriate rules of etiquette) when you start to approach white overload...

I fell in love with this Tibi dress at the start of the season.  There is also a mustard yellow version that screams "de-lovely".

Earrings from Ylang Ylang, necklace from Bergdorf, and aviator sunglasses from  Ray Ban

Hope your Sunday is filled with Mimosas!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Essence of summer whites... Veronica Kwarteng

BCBG dress, red woven belt from Bergdorfs, and leopard print wedges by Tory Burch.

Movado watch.

Please pick up the July issue of Essence (shown below)-- if you see fit-- to see my sister's above look in the "What We're Wearing..." section. Enjoy!

I messed up her age by mistake, she is actually 31. Sorry sis:)
Have a good rest of the week everyone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer white

Alexander Wang mesh dress paired with Balenciaga shoes.  Watch by Michael Kors

I am currently incorporating necklaces in my get ups.  Unfortunately, just like with my hair, I seem to follow the drag queen credo "bigger is better".  Sadly, bigger necklaces leave no room for big earrings... a little depressing :(

Above look in Essence mag for their summer issue.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


(According to researchers, 47% of Americans, age 25-34, are unhappy in their professional lives)

Has the modern American dream, diluted with the new age advice of “DO WHAT YOU LOVE” left us professionally unhappy and altogether dissatisfied?

The American dream at its core meant being able to provide your family with the basics (i.e. a decent size home, food, and education). 
But with the passage of time, the dream, like most modern economies, has now been inflated, bubble style, to include dreams of attaining a home modeled after one seen on MTV’s Cribs, driving around in the new “IT” luxury car, taking vacations- in the royal family manner of course, filling all aspects of your life with state of the art technology and so forth... I ask you— since when is a yearly skiing trip mandatory for a person living on a Bartender’s salary?  I am not making this up.

As if this now inflated, strictly materialistic “American dream” is not demoralizing enough, thanks to the Oprahs (whom I adore) and the Bill Gates’ of the world, we are now suppose to be immensely satisfied with whatever career path we chose in helping us achieve the Fabulous life of *** insert name here *** The concept of doing what you love is an admirable and fulfilling one if you realize that doing what you love will probably leave you off the Forbes list.  I will admit, there is a select few that get to experience the nirvana of a dream career producing riches, but due to the trajectory nature of modern information, we have fallen prey to believing the world is made up of such people and that it will soon be our turn.  

This new way of thinking could be blamed for the statistic quoted above.  Since we are being groomed for the impossible—achieving material excess in a “Kumbaya” manner—one is no longer satisfied with showing up to a routine job, day-in, day-out, for countless hours, reporting to someone they probably think they are smarter than; when it is possible—according to modern day doctrine— to tap into your inner jokester, your flair for the dramatics, your love for athletics and beautiful things, or your bubbly nature to make a fabulous living.  

Please remember, this is all my lowly opinion... but sadly, we cannot all possibly have Mark Zuckerberg’s brain nor can we all be highly successful Reality TV /Personality stars; so for the sake of your sanity, pick one. 
Get the glamorous job (I use the term glamorous here loosely as your dream job might be climbing a mountain in an area without indoor plumbing…) or get the job that will allow American Express to name you as the Godfather to one of its offspring.  Don't expect to get the benefits of both.  And if you do, please see yourself as one in a million and do not write a self-help book advising others to do what they love in order to be rich like you.  These concepts are not interchangeable but rather damning.

I for one am just ready to let it all go and move to Bali ala Eat, Pray, Love style.  I find that my favorite thing to do, lying around, will be most welcome there.

Until next time,