My father always taught me to celebrate my African roots (and all the other ones too.) My great grandfather, Encarnación was a fisherman with very dark skin and the husband of my blue-eyed great grandmother. I never had the opportunity to meet him and great grandma didn’t talk much about him aside from telling me that she was his widow. I never even saw a picture of what this man looked like. From the stories my light-skinned and raven haired father told, I imagined the old man as being dark like coffee beans. The childish imagination opened my eyes to the beautiful rainbow of what people often call “black” skin.
Few things in comic art are as tough as painting the subtleties in the darkest skin without lightening it. Shades of black skin are so various and exquisite. To simply dismiss them as just being “brown” is an injustice and a gross lack of observation. Blue black, umber, sable, sienna, sepia, bronze, tan, chocolate, russet, dark chestnut, and more form a veritable rainbow of skin tones. Lighter skin tones as just as beautiful, but the sheer amount of layering necessary to create this dark rainbow makes it an especially exciting element to tackle.
In 2006, I tried writing a script for the first time and the following is what I came up with:
An original script
by Dangerous Lee
July 2006 Draft
1. BLACK SCREEN: Sound of baby crying.
2. INT: Hospital Delivery Room
A beautiful black baby is born and crying. The doctor and nurses are all in shock. We then see the mother and father who are white.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
The child is then turned towards the mother and father. The father looks at his wife accusingly and begins to walk away. The mother looks at child and screams.
3. Int. Hospital Room in same hospital.
Black woman has given birth to a white child and she and her husband are trying to calmly discuss the situation.
“It may be albino!”
“Albino babies do not have brown hair.”
“Baby, I did not cheat on you, so there is no need for a DNA test but if that is what you want then go ahead and pull a Maury Povich on me!”
“I am most definitely getting a DNA test! I really don’t need one! Two black people cannot create a white baby!”
The mother starts to cry. At the same time a nurse brings in the baby for a feeding.
4. Int. Zoom to television in room
Special News Report
“All across the country there are reports of families giving birth to children who do not share the same skin color, but after having numerous DNA tests it shows that these children do indeed belong to them…”
I wrote this before I knew anything about Sandra Laing, a woman who comes from at least three generations of White ancestors but appears Black (of African descent). She is an example of atavism. Her family was unaware of their African roots.
I have never seen it, but a movie about her life, also titled Skin, was released in 2008.
Her true life story is freakishly similar to my fictional tale. When I wrote it I had no idea that something like this could really happen.
Nothing ever came of this script but a three-part essay series I wrote and published in 2010 called The Half Series – When Black People Look White tackles colorism and my experience with skin color and race as the mother of a “mixed” child.
I Am The 14% – Black People in America: Why We Will Never Overcome
Remember the following fact the next time a Black woman or man is unjustly killed or why it is so hard for us to overcome the effects of racism in this country. Also factor in that many of us only want to assimilate.
We are a minority in more ways than one.
In 2012 US Census Bureau estimated 44,456,009 African Americans in the United States meaning that 14.1% of the total American population of 313.9 Million is Black. This includes those who identify as ‘Black Only’ and as ‘Black in combination with another race’. The ‘Black Only’ category totaled 41.2 million African Americans or 13.1% of the total U.S population.
Question: To the people who don’t find black women/men attractive, why?
Black people seem to be the least liked by a lot of people on GAG, and I really don’t understand why..
The responses to this “popular question” on Girls Ask Guys really tripped me out!
Read responses via – GirlsAskGuys.com.
I bet you think I’m about to get deep, but you’re wrong. Why does anyone decide to have sex with a person? They’re attracted to them. It’s as simple as that. I don’t discriminate. I like men. Their color, race, or heritage is not important. Does that surprise you?
It has nothing to do with self hatred, but I will admit that it was a curiosity. I’ve learned that men are men Black, White or otherwise. I used to believe that Black people who dated outside their race were indeed self haters, but that’s a blanket statement that is simply not true.
I hope I am a happy, tall, rich Black woman in my next life because being 5’6″, unhappy and poor is for the birds! – Dangerous Lee
Dangerous Lee interviews Kris Shaw, a fan favorite who tours comedy clubs, colleges and events all across the United States and Canada. He has entertained troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Africa. Kris also appears in national television commercials and had a recurring extra role on the CBS drama “Close To Home”.
Your Facebook page is listed under “Dready Murphy”, what do you think about Eddie Murphy?
I like Eddie Murphy. He’s one of the most brilliant modern pioneer story tellers. He raised the bar for the current comedians. From there was born Chris Rock and so on.
Who laughs at your jokes the hardest, Black people or White people?
That’s a very interesting question. There’s no specific color that laughs at my jokes. I think that people get that my funny is different. It’s not the typical stuff that most comics are doing. That’s what I like about it; there’s no color barrier.
How do you use your dreads?
Haha. I love my dreads. A lot of the time, if I’m bored I like to take stupid pictures to make faces with them. Sometimes if I’m on the plane, I’ll use them as “mini blinds” to cover my face while I sleep.
Is there anything that you absolutely won’t make a joke about?
I don’t care for jokes about harming babies or rape. I don’t think that comics that cover those topics have ever been a part of such a sensitive issue. If they have kids, they wouldn’t do those jokes and if they personally knew someone that was molested, then it would be the furthest thing from their mind to joke about.
Is every day Steak & Blowjobs Day or is it a special occasion?
I think everyday should be a Steak & Blowjob Day. Life is too short to just make it annual.
Are people in L.A. as fake as they are rumored to be?
I believe people all over the country are fake. In LA, you just tend to have a bigger melting pot of fakeness. It’s where people go to try and make their dreams come true. It’s also where a lot of dreams end. I can see thru it all just like anywhere else in the country so it really doesn’t bother me as much. I expect it.
FreeBlogging: The Internet Is A Breeding Ground For Assholes, Including Me!
I wrote this weeks ago as I was going off on a tangent. I’ve debated publishing it because I don’t think it’s written very well. Then I said, fuck it, I’m a free writing asshole!
The internet is a breeding ground for assholes! They’re more commonly called trolls and I also call them internet gangstas. Everyone has an opinion (including me) about everything under the sun and I think we have a right to express it without being dogged unless we’re clearly asking for it. If I don’t agree with what you’re saying I take a moment to decide whether or not I want to get involved in the discussion or the drama that may occur. When I do express my opinion I try my best to do it respectively and without pissing anyone off…on purpose. But, there is bound to be one person that feels the need to put me in my place by responding with a superior tone.
I also make it a point to try to see things from perspectives that are different from mine and I try to share my perspective to induce understanding. The major issue with online and oftentimes offline communication is that many of us aren’t open to understanding other people’s perspective or ways of life. We need to be more tolerant and acceptable of how other people see the world and chose to live in it. It doesn’t mean we have to like it or agree with it, but we need to come away with a better understanding of why people are the way they are and respect them for it. For example, if the way they live their live doesn’t negatively or directly affect you, live and let live.
It doesn’t mean there is something deeply wrong with me if I think it’s OK to smoke weed and you don’t, or I think abortion is a woman’s rightful choice and you don’t, if I think homosexuality is normal and you don’t, if I’m Agnostic and you are Christian. We’re all conditioned from babies to act and think one way or another and we are all raised different culturally from household to household, so what makes us so sure that our way is the only way or the right way? What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. There’s more than one road to any destination.
I often forget that when people see me they only see a woman, and not only that, a Black woman who lives in the Flint, Michigan area AKA The Murder Capital, so I already have these boxes that people think I should fit in and some people are hell-bent on keeping me boxed. Plus, my pen-name is Dangerous Lee…and because of that some people initially think I’m a man! Or that I will cause harm. Do I have an identity crisis or what?!
My mother raised me to be a free-spirited, strong, independent person but I was also raised under certain religious beliefs. As I grew up and experienced and learned certain realities of life some of the things I was taught to believe in didn’t vibe with my spirit. I realized that the way I felt and thought about things was okay and actually very normal and not a sin or something to be ridiculed. Many people I love are religious, and although I am not, I have been positively affected by certain religious beliefs because of how I was raised. I don’t subscribe to religion because I am a free-thinker. I also have the mentality that allows me not to care if you don’t like or agree with my beliefs or how I live my life. It’s my life. Not yours. Worry about your own salvation. As Jill Scott says; I know what I know.
I speak from a place of learning. I’ve always considered myself non judgmental, and for the most part I am, but I have a few areas I need to work on. I sometimes judge people negatively that think differently than I do on certain topics, but to my credit I also base my judgments on their overall word combined with their actions. We’re human, we judge, but I don’t have hatred for anyone who can’t understand my perspective. I do have hope that people’s minds will open further to understand where I am coming from, but I won’t hold my breath.
Not generally speaking, but White people get on my damn nerves. A White male friend of mine contacted me recently and stated that he agrees with Charles Barkley’s thoughts on the George Zimmerman case. I think Charles’s ignorant ass statements only help to hurt race relations and give certain White people something to latch on to validate their misguided opinions on race. I simply told my friend that based on our different life experiences and perspectives I understood why he thinks that way. White people will NEVER understand issues related to race or racism, so I don’t even know why they think their opinion is valid or needed on the topic. The saying, “It’s a Black thing you wouldn’t understand”, applies here. It would be great for White people to get a better understanding of racism, but it’s natural that they don’t fully get it. Having said that, White people need to stop thinking they are the authority on racism and that they can dictate how we feel or how we should feel, but White privilege is a bitch. That’s it! White People Homework: Research White Privilege.
As a Black woman I understand the injustice in the not guilty verdict because of this country’s issue with racism and classism. Zimmerman had no right to approach Trayvon in the first place. Had he not done so, Trayvon would be alive. However, I’d like to think that if I were a White woman, like, I would also understand the injustice based on the public facts.
I am beyond sick of discussions concerning Zimmerman and Paula Deen. Both conversations suffer from people not being fully informed on the facts of each case, but people have very strong opinions towards anyone who dares not support these two people. I had a White woman (who claimed she knew all the facts) actually tell me that I have hate in my heart and that I need God along with a few other choice words on Pinterest because of this article I wrote about. I told her to fuck off and that she needed God more than I did along with some common sense. Granted telling her to fuck off was harsh, but her comments, which she has since deleted, were also harsh. I’ll never understand the phenomena of speaking your mind and deleting the comments once you have been challenged. I believe in giving as good as I get. If you can’t handle the backlash keep your damn opinions to yourself. If you decide to share you opinions try not to be an asshole about it because then the Asshole Calvary is open for business!
Sometimes I know if I leave a comment expressing my opinion on someone’s personal post that it will only agitate the situation, but I don’t get off on conflict, so I avoid leaving my thoughts most times. There’s nothing wrong with a good debate, but arguments piss me off so I often skip the opportunity to discuss certain topics unless I feel like the statement being made attacks me or my personal beliefs. There are lots of controversial things I’d like to discuss, but I don’t because I don’t feel like dealing with the people who don’t get it, don’t want to get it, and just want to be…assholes. Internet assholes are only interested in their feelings, opinions and beliefs. Social media has also made sharing our opinions a way of life. Everyone’s opinion counts online, but it’s all in the delivery. Research: Nicety.
I am who I am and you are who you are because of all that we have seen and experienced in life. This includes things that have happened to us unwillingly and choices that we have made. I’ve met all kinds of people along the way in my 38 years who have similar experiences to mine and those who’ve lived lives vastly different from mine and the one thing we all have in common is that we are all flawed.
The next time you want to leave a smart-ass comment at this website or elsewhere on the web, understand that not everyone sees the world as you do, has lived the life you have, or has been conditioned to think the way you do. Choose your words wisely because you’re not the only asshole with an opinion.
You got out of an unhappy marriage that came with many perks. What was the ultimate deal breaker in that relationship?
Whew! (LOL) looking back, there we’re so many deal breakers but like so many young girls, I was hopeful! Hopeful that marriage would change me, change him and change us as a couple. Marriage was supposed to just somehow magically fix everything that was wrong. In addition, being brought up in a Christian home, divorce was no, no! So there was definitely an internal struggle of going against my beliefs, society’s messages of being married to your Prince Charming and living happily ever after and then there was reality. And ultimately, I lost myself and was on the verge of destruction. But there were two major situations that resulted in my decision to finally leave: 1) I had shrunk into a former shell of myself. I had been reduced to nothing and I didn’t even realize who I was anymore. It was disgustingly heart wrenching to look in the mirror and hate what you have become. 2) I discovered he was cheating again so I asked him about it. Of course he denied it. So then of course I presented him with the evidence. He got so upset that he pushed me into the wall; I hit my head and blacked out. Let me tell you it’s a scary feeling to come to with someone standing over you yelling and cursing at you. But the one thing about all of it is that I never told him that I was going to leave until I had and plan and was absolutely sure I had enough courage and strength to make it on my own and never go back.
What inspired you to write L.I.F.E. Live Inspired! Feel Empowered!?
My story! And the stories of so many other women who believed that they are trapped and that there is no way out of an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. God did not take me on this journey to keep it to myself. I had to go and grow through it so that I could be a resource, a tool to other women so that they would know that they too, could find the strength and courage to leave. I also wrote it for that little girl growing up so that she could know how not to get into an unhealthy relationship and if by chance she did, she’d be able to utilize the tools and activities in Live Inspired Feel Empowered to find her way out. I wrote it for the person that’s lost and looking for a way to find themselves. It’s an olive branch, it’s hope, it’s inspiration for LIFE!
What will women gain from reading L.I.F.E. Live Inspired! Feel Empowered!?
Throughout the pages of Live Inspired Feel Empowered, you can expect to find yourself, your passion and your Purpose! You will laugh, cry, scream and shout praises as you turn the pages of this book. But most importantly, you will find a healing and you will find peace. You will learn to live L.I.F.E.! When you find it difficult to read some of the pages in the book, I encourage you not to give up but to push to your breakthrough. No one ever said that growth was instant or easy because if it were, we would all be where we want to be and who we want to be. It takes time, effort and work! “Faith+Action+Movement =The life you so desire,” (the Empowered Consciousness Paradigm from Live Inspired Feel Empowered.) So be patient and loving with yourself and the process.
Can men also relate to the material within the book?
Oh Absolutely! Contrary to what we’ve been taught, men and women are not that different. We both experience all the same emotions but we just may express them differently because that’s how we’ve been conditioned by society. But are the core of it all, we are all human and we all experience hurt, pain and challenges. So all the tools and activities offered in Live Inspired Feel Empowered are definitely useful to men. In fact, a few men have already read the book and said that it actually really helped them to not only understand some things about themselves but their female partner as well. So perhaps the second edition of Live Inspired Feel Empowered will be gender neutral! J
Happy is something that we’re all reaching for. How have you become one of the happiest women in the world?
(LOL) I have become one of the happiest women in the world because I have learned to Live Inspired and Feel Empowered! I know who I am! I have fully come to love, celebrate, cherish and embrace ALL that I am, without regrets or apologies! I am living my LIFE authentically within my Purpose and Passion. Within that there is an unparallelled level of peace, love, Grace and Mercy that is so profoundly powerful!
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me?! Great question! I will be finishing up my Master of Social Work degree and Doctorate of Education in Human Sexuality in December 2013. And I’m sure somewhere inside of me there are a few books waiting to present themselves to the world! (LOL) I also am in the process of writing a producing a short documentary of Black women and sexuality as part of my Doctorate program, so that should be out soon as well! I’m trying to a movement of empowered women that are going to change this world! At the end of the day, I just want to leave a lasting legacy of empowerment, love, joy, peace and sex positive messages that will transcend time!
Where can we purchase your book and find out more about you?
Live Inspired Feel Empowered is available from the following locations: www.bn.com, www.amazon.com, Pages Bookstore in Flint, MI and Nubian Bookstore in Southlake Mall, Atlanta, GA. Please continue to check as more locations will be added soon.,