Checking out early.. we don’t live long

Its starting to feel like every time I go on-line, I am hearing about another Black person dying, generally someone who is in the prime of life. In the past week and a half, both Issac Hayes and Bernie Mac died, within a day of each other. Today, I saw a report that LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of the Dave Matthews Band had died, he was only in his 40’s. Then a few hours later I saw a report that Stephanie Tubbs-Jones congresswoman from Ohio had died after suffering a brain aneurysm and she too was fairly young, only in her 50’s. I must admit I am wondering who next?

Then again, I don’t have to look far to see folks dying young, my own beloved Mama, died 4 days after turning 50 from a 8 month battle with cancer; her dad, my Paw-Paw was barely in his 50’s when he died. Thankfully there are some folks in my bloodline who live to old age but I must admit the older I get, I do wonder if I will live long since statistically the odds in my family favor checking out early, which is a damn shame since this is one instance I want to run on CP (that’s colored people time for readers not familiar with that term)  time, not regular time.

All jokes aside though, statistically on average Blacks die earlier than whites and while we know there are reasons for it as far as the inequities in the healthcare system, even when factoring for socio-economics, middle class Blacks still die earlier so its not just po folks with no money to see a doctor. Even when we have the resources our illnesses are detected later, a year ago Mother Jones magazine did a piece on this where the author, a Black man spoke of his own father dying in his 50’s and he was a physician. Shit, that’s scary when you think about it… you mean Black doctors don’t even live long?

Now we all know about the dangers to the young, especially  young Black men, but the folks dying young that truly trouble me are folks 35 and up who I don’t expect to die young. I find myself wondering what can I do? What can we do to stop Black folks from dying early, personally I do try to watch what I eat, thanks to the internet while I am by no means a doctor, I can read up on things. Truthfully though I must confess I have one bad habit I struggle with and that’s smoking. For the past decade I have wrestled with quitting, I have gone anywhere from 1-3 years where I quit but then something triggers me and I fall off the wagon. Right now I am off the wagon, but thankfully I smoke less than I ever have before in part because I don’t smoke in the house, car or around the kids which doesn’t leave too many places to grab a butt. I recently had my annual physical and everything came back good, in fact I was bothered by how surprised the doctor seemed that my blood-work was good… damn, Black folks in good health can’t be that rare? Then again, I know if I don’t quit smoking for good that may not always be the case.

I sometimes wonder is it the food today that has us all fucked up? Seriously, what is it that keeps us unhealthy? I guess I got no answers on this but I say join me in commiting to good health, for me that will entail quitting the butts once and for all and truthfully I can stand to increase my activity level a tad more. I am not sedentary but I would like to be more active.

After all when it comes to reaching the end of this game called life, this is one time being late to the game is better than being early.

Tropic Thunder..my thoughts

I must admit when I first heard about this movie, I was pretty much in the WTF camp. However after reading a few reviews and a desire today to not work on a pressing piece of client work today, I gathered eldest child and the spousal unit and decided to go check it out while mini-me lounged at daycare.

This is one of those films that on the surface I see why its getting good reviews, Americans are not that deep and on the surface it is a funny movie. I think Ben Stiller has some talent as a director and from a cinematic angle he did do some interesting things. To quote a Ben Stiller interview I heard on NPR, he satirizes satire and I will agree that he did that well.

However as someone who studied media images of African-Americans (specifically Black women though I will don my quasi-academic hat here) the use of Black face or rather Robert Downey Jr as a Black man is disturbing to me. Now my son on the way home, told me point blank he does not agree with me and felt that maybe I was looking to nitpick at the movie. Yet as I watched (by the way Downey is a talented actor), I could not help thinking of early films such as Birth of a Nation, which is the most offensive piece of shit I have ever seen.

No, looking at the larger picture as a society we are not a place where I feel black-face regardless of how we dress it is ok. We may have a Black man running for president yet we live in a world where there are too many negative media representations of Blacks for me to be ok with this portrayal.  Downey’s character does attempt some shucking and jiving and is in fact put in his place by a real Black man but still its too much for my taste. The  fact that Downey’s character even attempts to shuck and jive no matter how brilliantly acted, still lets me know how the greater white society often views Blacks. We are not taken seriously, we are expected to perform and while on a base level we laugh it exposes the racism that is still firmly entrenched in our society.

Would I recommend this film? That’s a tough one, to be honest, though while Tropic Thunder is deeper than a Tyler Perry film, it was still a hard pill to swallow.

RIP Bernie

I had no plans to blog today seeing as how its the weekend, but I just heard that Bernie Mac passed, and I have to say for a moment I felt like I had lost a loved one. Regular readers know that despite the name of this blog, I am from Chicago, spent a good share of my life on the southside in fact, same general area that Bernie Mac hailed from.

I can’t say that I knew the brother, but I have known of him for years just in Chicago and have always loved his routine. Admittedly his style of humor was not for the faint of heart or PC crowd. That said, I loved his piece in Kings of Comedy about watching the kids and the little girl (I believe his niece) who wanted her milk and cookies. The fact that as he said in the routine, that she looked at him like he was small, always got laughs around here, especially in this last year as mini-me at times seems like she has the personality of that niece he talked about.

Anyway the beauty of blogging is when you got something to say, you can just post it, so I say RIP to Bernie and his family. Chicago and the world lost a true king of comedy. Perhaps you can meet my Mom up there in the great party and tell her some jokes.