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.
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.
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.
My Name Is Dangerous Lee and I’m An Asshole
It doesn’t mean there is something deeply wrong with me if I think it’s okay to smoke weed and you don’t, or if I think abortion is a woman’s rightful choice and you don’t, or if I think homosexuality is normal and you don’t, or 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 for. 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.
Assholes on Racism
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 onto 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, because they will never experience 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 an 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 and very racist. 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.
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.
Some of you have the attitude that racism and its effects are a thing of the past, but the fact that a Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family has caused what is being called “racist backlash” proves that America has some real and sick issues with race.
However, I also wonder if Cheerios knew exactly what they were doing and this commercial, like all advertising, was created to cause a stir and make a ton of money. I’m already seeing messages online of people saying they are going to buy more Cheerios.
I was recently thinking that interracial families should be represented more in major media and then this happens. Be careful what you wish for!
What Cheerios did was groundbreaking and from what I can recall, they are one of the first major companies to use an interracial family to market their product. Although State Farm does have a commercial with an Asian man, a Black woman, and a baby that talks; but it’s not totally clear that the child is his.
The only thing I find remotely offensive about the Cheerios commercial is the fact that this little girl, who looks to be of reading age, seems to not be able to read the huge “Heart Healthy” on the back of the Cheerios box! Not only that, she also didn’t believe her father when he told her that Cheerios is heart healthy. Who did she believe? Her mother!
Is it a feminist Cheerios commercial?
Or…are people upset because the brotha is on the couch having a nap while the White lady is at the table writing checks for a stack of bills? I dunno; I’m reaching for something other than race because in a world where Barack Obama is the President of the United States, this commercial should be considered commonplace.
It’s just as cute and silly as the majority of other commercials on TV and like most commercials, it didn’t make me want to buy the product.
What Do YOU Think?
Q: Do you think Black History Month is necessary?
A: Of course it is. I am always baffled by this question and by those, especially Black people, that think we have come far enough to ignore our history. Yes, Black history is American history, but so much of our history is not included in American history books. And, yes we should celebrate Black history all year long, but we don’t celebrate anything all year long. As a Black American, I think I uphold Black history by working my way to being a successful business person.
The problem I have with celebrating Black history is that we only seem to focus on people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. There are many present day under the radar figures that should be celebrated during Black History Month, and during February I make sure to highlight many of them at DangerousLee.Biz.
Celebrating Black history is a beautiful thing, so I think those that are against it are trying to assimilate which is something that I can only SMH about. Also, we must further educate ourselves to learn that in March we celebrate Irish-American Heritage as well as Women’s History. Should Irish Americans and women not be celebrated? Regardless of your answer, both will have their time to shine at DangerousLee.Biz.
Q: Why is it that no African-American knows who Roscoe Robinson, Jr. is? Every American should be proud of what he accomplished.
A: I agree that every American should be proud of what Mr. Robinson accomplished in his lifetime, but I do not agree that no African American knows who he is. There are Americans, Black and White that know who he is. Keepin’ it real, I did not know who he was until I performed a web search on him, but are you really surprised that he is not more well known? Most Black people in America do not get the recognition that they deserve. Thank you for bringing Mr. Roscoe Robinson, Jr. to my attention so that I can introduce him to many others. Without further ado, I bring to you, Roscoe Robinson, Jr.