I started this after Whitney died and never finished it. Since today is her birthday, I decided to tackle it, hopefully without too many tears.
It’s been over a month since Whitney Elizabeth Houston died. This celebrity death has lingered with me much more than any other. Since I was born in 1986 with the first name of Whitney, there was no way that I could escape her presence. But I didn’t grow up with her music. I was barely cognizant of current-day music until 94 or 95. Whitney wasn’t what was played in the house unless a song came up on the rotation on WDAS while my mom was cooking or cleaning.
But the later Whitney I embraced, and I was thrilled to hear her live at Mann Music Center on tour for the My Love is your Love album. And I of course dug into her entire catalog.
More than the music and her immaculate voice, the later Whitney is the one that I wrestle with in my thoughts. Her sureness of her relationship with Jesus despite the turmoil & challenges is one that helps me understand that I am worthy too no matter what’s gone on I’m my life. I feel surprising envy for that type of relationship with God and Whitney’s talk about hers helps me better understand what my mom talks about when she calls me every Sunday.
That sense that I am enough, flaws and all is what I see in Whitney in her later interviews. Embracing what she evolved into and living fully in that present. Something that I am not currently doing in my own life. The gift and talent that was her voice and making use of the talents and gifts that you have is the other thing that listening to old Whitney records brings to the forefront. It makes me question myself, am I doing enough with my gifts and talents?
I listen to her music and strive to get better and embrace my whole self and to be enough as I am.
Happy Birthday Whitney. Rest in everlasting peace.
Alexis Sumpter, a 15 year old Harlem resident, was handcuffed and detained at a NYC metro station by the NYPD for 90 minutes after she swiped her student metro card, on her way to the first day at her marketing internship. Two plainclothes police officers approached her and told her that “she looked older than her age to be using a student metro card.” Sumpter told them that she was 15 years old and that she didn’t have any ID because it was recently stolen.
“They called me liar, then they grabbed me by my arms and flung me up the stairs. I kept saying, I’m only 15 — why are you guys doing this?”
A third cop joined them and he pressed her face against the wall while the other two cops handcuffed her.
The police called her dad and he told them that Alexis is 15 years old.
But the police didn’t believe him.
The police called her mom and she came to the metro station to tell the cops that Alexis is 15 years old.
But the police didn’t believe her.
Alexis’ mom went home, retrieved Alexis’ birth certificate and brought it to the metro station.
Only then did the police believe that Alexis is 15 years old and released her.
So many issues come to mind while reading this story. “Papers please” by the NYPD in a Harlem metro station, like the “papers please”Arizona SB1070 law. A law that presented as targeting immigrants but invariably affecting all people of color in the US. The police don’t believe the truth of Alexis’ parents, only the papers.
The demand for identification in an era of increasingly strict voter ID laws, when blacks, Latin@s, young people and the elderly are least likely to have valid ID. The lack of valid voter ID leads to reduced ability to effect change via the political process.
The fragility of Black girlhood. 15 years old but seen as a grown woman by the police. The innocence of adolescence is far gone. Alexis no longer rides that train line, accommodating her life to the mistreatment & poor behavior of others.
Check the NY Daily News video to listen to Alexis tell her story.
Last night the US women’s gymnastics team won a gold medal in the team final. Gabby Douglas led the team, winning 1/3 of the 183.596 total points as she competed in all 4 events: floor, vault, beam and uneven bars. All 5 members; Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber; contributed to the win.
However, I opened up my Express this morning and there was no mention of Gabby Douglas in their writeup of last night’s victory. The only picture of Gabby Douglas anywhere in today’s edition is a small pic in the upper right corner of the front cover. It is a picture of her mid-tumble, so her face is obscured and her legs are most prominently displayed. The picture isn’t labeled or captioned to reference Gabby Douglas.
Page 11 is all about the winning gymnasts yet Gabby Douglas isn’t mentioned at all in the article and she’s not included or captioned in the picture of Team USA:
Closer look at the photo used:
The caption reads: Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross celebrate the U.S. gymnasts’ win on Tuesday.
When I say all about the winning gymnasts, it’s really about Jordyn Wieber. The only other team member mentioned was McKayla Maroney. The Express excerpted an AP report on Team USA’s victory poorly; excluding any mention of Gabby Douglas and highlighting the disappointments & challenges of Jordyn Wieber bouncing back from not qualifying in the all-around individual finals.
Gabby Douglas was an integral part of Team USA’s win last night and deserved to be recognized. Let the Express know how you feel about their coverage via email