Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Hear You Steve

Steve Harvey. He's everywhere. On the radio, at the top of the NYT Bestsellers list and earlier this week on Oprah (for the second time in a month!) all thanks to his new book Act Like a Lady - Think Like a Man. Normally, I try to stay away from books like this. 90% of the time they're filled with the same common sense information that we've been told before and just choose to ignore. I can't say that this book is any different in that regard, but there's something about it that really caught and held my attention. For one, I do believe that Steve Harvey wrote this book not only to get paid (he's admitted that most of what he does is for a check - listen to his radio show and you'll hear the dollars flapping with every live read and sponsorship mention) but to also help women. For years he's been dishing out this kind of advice to his listeners and from what I can tell he's always been sincere in his desire to help women (and men) understand how to be their best. Second, the way he presents the material is clear and at times funny. Finally, I believe the true test of a book like this is to share it with the men in your life. Some (the good ones) will appreciate the information because deep down inside they just want some peace and understanding. Others (the players) will react something like this, "Damn that Steve, he's breaking the man code, he's telling the secrets. Just wait until the next Kings of Comedy tour, I'm going walk right up to him and punch him in the face!!" Someone actually said really! To which I responded, " don't be mad because the man just made millions of dollars trying to help women and you just made "nadda" trying to manipulate them. Don't hate the player - you know the rest". This book passes that test.

There's an old Ashanti proverb that says, "the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of it's people". I interpret that to mean without strong families, there's no way we can build strong communities. It's high time that we stop trying to get over on each other and begin loving (or at the very least respecting) each other.

There were a few things that really stood out for me in this book. The first is from the chapter "Our Love Isn't Like Your Love" where Steve breaks down the three things men will do for the woman he loves. Profess, Provide and Protect. On the issue of providing, he writes:

"For sure all too many men shirk this responsibility, whether out of selfishness, stupidity or sheer inability or a combination of all three. But some men simply do not have the education resources, and wherewithal to make an adequate amount of hard cash. And if a man can't provide, then he doesn't feel like a man, so he flees to escape the horrible feelings of inadequacy, or he's going to bury those feelings in drugs and alcohol. Indeed you can probably trace a whole host of the pathologies exhibited by the most trifling men back to their inability to provide"

So in short, for all the ladies who've fallen into the "be the woman of his dreams and he'll always take care of you" trap, let it go. Understand that this is not about you, it's about him. So stop beating yourself because things didn't work. Have a good cry, go do something special for yourself and get on with living your life.

Then there's the chapter,

"Men Respect Standards, Get Some."

Basically, know what you're worth and not just in monetary terms. If you're a woman who carries herself with dignity, you deserve a man with dignity. If you're an honest woman you deserve and honest man. If you demand respect, you'll get nothing less. If a drink and a Big Mac is all that it takes to get you in bed, guess what, that's all you'll get. To be fair, Harvey did make an excellent point about this during his recent appearance on Oprah, which was to be mindful that you don't require certain characteristics of a man that you don't possess.

I also love the chapter "The Five Questions Every Woman Should Ask Before She Gets In To Deep". I think this is especially important for older (read: over 30) women who are looking for a relationship. Time is short, why waste it on someone who has no intention on giving you what you want. Again, just because he doesn 't want to get married doesn't make him a bad guy, it just means he's not the one for you. So after a few months ask:

What are your short term goals?
What are your long term goals?
What are your views on relationships?
What do you think about me?
How do you feel about me?

If you don't believe Steve, trust me, a REAL man will answer those questions (so long as you have enough decorum and finesses to not make him feel like he's being interrogated by the CIA). Here's the key, even if he's willing to answer you've got to listen with an open mind and a "third ear". If he's not speaking your language, move on. Know that "the one" for you is out there, but you make it hard for him to find you when you're spending all your time laid up underneath the guy who just wants to "kick it".

Anyhow, I think it's best I stop here, if I go any further I'm going to have to demand a check from Amistad books, but I will leave you with this:

"Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make the changes as YOU see fit-not because you think someone else wants you to be different." Stacey Charter

Ladies (and gentleman) love and respect for ourselves and each other has to become a priority..not an option. We owe it to our families, communities, country and the world.

As Obama ans the scriptures said,
"the time has come to set aside childish things."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 text or not 2 text...that is the ?

Last week, my hometown (Detroit) was all abuzz about the infamous text messages that were released to the media between former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a number of his aids, family members and *ahem* conquests. Never mind many of the messages were over 5 years old, it was still all over the news and on the minds of those who could not get enough of the scandalous details. Now, I will admit that I was curious, not so much because I give a hoot about who Kwame was sleeping with, but because this story reminds me of how little privacy we have left in our society. There used to be a time that a conversation between you and another person, was just that, an "A&B" conversation (C your way out - hee hee). These days anything you say, text, write or record is fair game. As someone who has shared a few questionable email and text message exchanges in my day (like you haven't), after reading about the K.K. fiasco I started to think, what if one day I decided to run for public office (highly unlikely) would my ex-husband sell all of our torrid text message exchanges to make a few bucks? Would it matter? Or what about that guy I dated in college, certainly he may want get in on the action. (Come to think of it, I think I'm safe there - we were still using pagers when I was in college). Anyhow, these days I pay close attention to what I write when I'm texting, IMing and emailing people. Both my personal and professional conversations are carefully crafted to avoid any post-conversation drama or embarrassment, and for the most part I think I've been successful (except for that one exchange, but that's an entirely different post all together). Good thing I've always preferred a face to face exchange, even in this strangely impersonal data filled world we live in. So, what about you? Has the Kilpatrick fiasco or any other story like it changed the way you communicate using technology? Let's talk. Thursday at 8:00am ET on Cocoa Mode in the Eagles Nest on XM Channel 169. Until then....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In Cae You Missed It...

Once again, thank you to everyone who called in this morning to discuss today's topic. As we move into the weekend I hope that we spend some time thinking about what we can do to help the millions of women and men who are involved in abusive relationships. A great place to start is to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section below.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Michelle Obama Covers the New Yorker, Again.

So, the New Yorker has decided put First Lady Michelle Obama on the cover once again. To be fair, she was not the First Lady when they released the controversial cover that depicted her as a militant, rifle toting, afro wearing, fist bumping, America hating future first lady. This time around F.L. Michelle Obama is walking the runway, donning a smile and looking rather fabulous, the way a First Lady should right? I noticed all three illustrations show her with her arms covered, I guess all of the hubbub about her baring those perfectly toned arms got to the folks over at there at the NY'er, but I digress. What do you think about the cover? Does it depict Michelle Obama as the intelligent, educated, hard working wife and mother that she is or does it instead reduce her to a fashion plate and will we ever be satisfied with the way the mainstream media depicts the first ever African American First Lady? Although I will not be picking up a copy of the New Yorker, I will be heading to the bookstore soon to pick up a copy of O Magazine featuring two of the most powerful African American women in the world on the cover. Can't wait!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In Case You Missed It...

We're back in business!!!

In case you missed today's show or if you want to hear it again, the podcast is available for download on Cocoa as well as itunes.

All of the links, including Tonya Ladipo's website can be found on the podcast page.

To read the Essence article on blended families, click here. Also, to check out the awesome article written about our friends Ronnie & Lamar Tyler of Black and Married with Kids, click here.

As always feel free to leave your comments below and don't forget to tune into Cocoa Mode in the Eagles Nest, every Thursday at 8:00am ET on XM Channel 169.

Clickin Around...

I found this wonderful article on Black and Married with Kids. "How President Obama is Ruining My Marriage.