Sunday, May 30, 2010

Orbiting Io is 1 year old!!!!!

I began this blog at a time when I was starving to create. The first two years of motherhood were joyous, intense, exhausting, melancholic, and beautiful. To my surprise, motherhood found me isolated from the rest of world- alone in the house with a baby while the world seemingly moved on and moved forward. Those first two years I longed to create, to share, and to interact with the rest of world. That's when I got the idea to start Orbiting Io. 

Thanks to everyone for reading and continuing to look for my blog everyday. Thanks to my closest friends who put up with my rants, bouts of hyperactivity, and my tendency to get increasingly louder as I get more excited. Thanks to the handful of you who have followed my blog since the very beginning. When I feel myself stray from the true intention of this blog, I think of you.

Orbiting Io is my tiny contribution to the world. A place to bare my soul. I talked before about how we, as mothers, need to develop concrete methodologies to hold ourselves accountable to our creative progress. This blog is my method and my catalyst, not the final product, but the drawing board for all my creative endeavors.

My inspiration....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

eye-o: the world according to io.

All photos and direction by io jade

Congratulations Io on your first year of school!

West Blvd. Mid-City. Class 02. Teacher Maria and Teacher Vivian
(I should get an award for getting these kids to sit down for this pic!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aiyana Jones and the City of Detroit

Little Aiyana Jones was laid to rest yesterday and I am still trying to make sense of all this. I was talking with a close friend the other day and she asked me, “These killings happen all the time in America, why do you think this particular case is so important?” First as a mother of a precious little girl, Aiyana’s case hits really close to home. This could have been my daughter. This could have been anyone’s daughter. But besides my own personal feeling, Aiyana Jones is more than just a girl who was killed brutally by police, she represents what is fundamentally wrong with this country economically and racially.

At one time, Detroit was America’s crown jewel. Detroit had the first paved streets and the first freeway system. They had an extensive railcar system that served the population well.
A busy city. Woodward Ave, Detroit, early 1900s.
Amidst racism, the auto industry provided jobs for black folks. People were able to get around, buy the things they needed, and maintain a livelihood. By 1954, Detroit was producing 80 percent of American automobiles. Detroit became so invested in the automobile, that they abandoned the public transportation system in 1956 and focused solely on the development of freeways as a means of transportation.
 The Davidson Freeway. The building of the city's oldest 
freeway was pivotal in keeping Detroit segregated.
 Meanwhile, the strength of the black workers in the United Auto Workers union (UAW), gave motivation to factory owners to move their operations out of Detroit. Well-developed freeways facilitated this shift and those who had the means to follow did. Those that did not were stranded with no way to get around and with no work. It is no accident that those left behind were the black community. With dwindling resources, communities began to atrophy. On July 23, 1967 massive riots broke out. Lasting 5 days, frustrated, unemployed poor and black folks revolted and destroyed what little there was left of their city, giving white people all the more reason to leave. Today Detroit remains one of the most segregated cities in the country. We all know where the story goes from here.

Detroit under siege during the riots in 1967.
So here we are today. A little 7-year-old girl is dead, an innocent victim of unfortunate circumstances. It is important that we pay attention to Detroit and to Aiyana Jones. Detroit reminds us of the greatness we can achieve as a country. There was a time when Detroit was the benchmark for infrastructural development around the world. Today the city is plagued by blight and abandonment. Aiyana's death represents our most fundamental failings as a country. Her death reveals what happens when a government fails to provide jobs, fails to provide public transportation, fails to provide adequate schooling, fails to integrate, and most importantly, what happens when a government fails to respect life. If we are to learn anything from the death of Aiyana Jones, it is that our government needs to start investing in its people. We need infrastructure. We need jobs. We need local industry. We need healthcare. We need to live with dignity. And we, as a people, need to demand it.

Read my piece Aiyana Jones: Killed in Warfare
Read There is No Justice for Aiyana by Adrienne Maree
Read Birmingham, 1963 to Detroit, 2010- The tragedy of bombed and brutalized black girls by Jo Nubian

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bambu-The Queen is Dead-Video

Congratulats to Bam, Cicharon Adventure, and Oishi Media!
(Peep my cameo at 1:32!)

"Listen, I'd rather have brothers call you queen than bitch/ but if the intent behind it is motivated by sex/ then genuine it's probably not/ so that's why I said the Queen is Dead."
Check out Bambu:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aiyana Jones: Killed in Warfare

I sit down to write tonight with a heavy heart. As a mother of a young girl, the killing of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones infuriates me to the point of tears. I was horrified to learn that not only was the sleeping girl shot in the forehead (not the neck as others have reported), but that she was also set on fire by the use of the controversial "flashbang" grenade. It conjured up an image of Kim Phùc, the young Vietnamese girl who was photographed running towards the camera as napalm burn her naked body during an attack on her village during the Vietnam war- an innocent caught in the middle of warfare. Sadly, today, Aiyana Jones, is that innocent.  However "accidental" the killing may have been, the use of such brutal force and measure reminds us that we are in a state of war.
Kim Phùc. 9-years-old, fleeing napalm attack. Vietman, 1972.
In America, we tend to think that warfare happens in far away jungles or deserts. We often think of Humvees, bombs lighting up the sky, and the sounds of never-ending rounds of ammunition. If that's war then that doesn't happen here in America, or does it?
A flashbang grenade set Aiyana on fire.
While contemplating what to post today, I found myself overwhelmed by all the deaths I could site as an example of police warfare. The endless names and faces of slain children and young men filled my head as I made my morning coffee. The most fresh in my mind: Oscar Grant. Then Deandre Brunston, who caught over 80 bullets, armed with a slipper. Then the unarmed Sean Bell. Then Amadou Diallo, shot 40 times, armed with a wallet. Reaching farther back, Life Africa, a 3-week-old baby, stomped to death while his mother was trying to defend his father from being beaten by police in 1976. But nothing says warfare more to me than the bombing of the MOVE house by Philadelphia police on May 13, 1985. Argue what you might about MOVE and their philosophies, but on that day the police fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition and dropped a bomb on the house killing 11 people, 5 of them children and destroying 65 homes. If that’s not warfare, I don’t know what is.
MIKE AFRICA JR: the May 13, 1985 bombing of MOVE 

 MOVE house on fire after bombing. 

Let’s look to see what police do next. New reports are now saying that the “The First 48” footage shows that the shot that killed Aiyana may have been fired from the porch outside, not inside as the result of a scuffle with the grandmother.  Another thing to watch for: the burned blanket that Aiyana was sleeping under.  The family reports that it was removed from the scene. There also appears to be one independent witness. Undoubtedly, the cover up will ensue. Stay tuned and stay woke.

Read Adrienne Maree's piece on Aiyana Jones.
Read my piece on  Oscar Grant.

All sources for MOVE:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Closing comments on "Little Single Ladies"

Thank you everyone for reading "Our Little Single Ladies" and thank you for your comments. There are a just a few things that I want to say before putting this to rest. Reading all the trending on this topic on twitter, I find an overwhelming response of tweeters say that they like the performance, but not what they were wearing:

@love8respect those little girls dancing to Single Ladies... omg. I mean, the dance was sick but seriously, what they were wearing was disturbing..
@jillelswick Great dancing but I'm against the proliferation of prostitute culture.
@BigBouncingBob I have nothing against the dance they did for the competition, but the outfits are just over the top.
@GrahamJen These little girls shldnt be wearing this. BUT THEY KILLED SINGLE LADIES!!
@love4jay LOL those little girls dancing to Single Ladies were awesome at dancing XD just the outfits are ... 

Let's put these outfits into context. In the world of children's competitive dance, these outfits are the standards and have been for many years. In fact, one of the components to choosing costumes for these competitions is visibility of the body. 

What the girls were wearing was not outrageous in the dance competition world- neither were the moves. By taking the outrage over the outfits out of the picture, the real issue is revealed: people actually liked it. Try reading the tweets and omitting what was said about the outfits and this is what you get: 

@love8respect those little girls dancing to Single Ladies... omg. I mean, the dance was sick
@jillelswick Great dancing
@BigBouncingBob I have nothing against the dance they did for the competition
@love4jay LOL those little girls dancing to Single Ladies were awesome at dancing

So let's face it people. We loved Beyoncè's "Singles Ladies." We liked watching her shake her thang. There are countless tribute videos worldwide, like Filipinos Dance Single Ladies. The hit show, "Glee" did their tribute piece. We've all watched Beyoncè, most likely more than once. Some people have spent their hard earned money buying the album and attending concerts. Why should be we so surprised and upset when our little girls are giving us exactly what we ourselves tell them is valuable and entertaining? Perhaps, we are just so uncomfortable with our sexuality that we can't bear to see our children act out as the sexual beings we are. Maybe it's hard to look at ourselves in the mirror and admit that we like sex. And our little single ladies are just that- a reflection.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Little Single Ladies

By now, most of you have seen the latest viral internet sensation that is “Little Girls Going Hard on Single Ladies.” Before being pulled from YouTube today the video of five 7-year-old girls shakin’ what their mamas gave them to Beyoncè’s “Singles Ladies”, garnered over 1 million hits and has sparked discussion ranging from pedophelia to the appropriation of booty poppin’ by little white girls. Between this spectrum of opinion, however, most viewers are upset and even disgusted at the display of pint sized sexuality. Ironically, comments on YouTube don’t seem to be focused on the dance moves, which in my opinion were mild in comparison to other viral hits, like Kids Dance Orgy. Rather, people seemed to be more concerned with what the 7-year-olds were wearing, which wasn’t much. But I’m not here to talk about their outfits or their moves.

Today’s young girls are not just being exposed to adult sexuality, they are being bombarded by it. What has come to be known as the “tween market”, children ages 8 - 12, is a $300 billion dollar industry.  By honing in on young girls at a time when they dream about being Kristen Stewart from Twilight, advertisers have developed specific tactics to influence their decisions and hopefully (and successfully) get them to buy their wares. One of the most appalling of these tactics are those used by marketing research firm, Girls Intelligence Agency (G.I.A.). Training and deploying 40,000 “secret agents”, the G.I.A unleashes its tween agents, young girls who they refer to as “influencers,” into the world of sugar and spice and directly into the bedrooms of little girls. Secret agents host slumber parties stocked with new, never seen before goodies for market testing. Secret agents, who often work for free in exchange for merch and the illusion of importance and independence, report to the G.I.A., telling them exactly what little girls want—to be grown. Waging a war on the minds of little girls, marketing execs give them exactly what they ask for: (see below)
And parents are buying it . Miley Cirus raked in $25 million this year. The Olsen twins: $15 million. Vanessa Hudgens: $3.2 million. Those little single ladies who are dancing their hearts out on that stage are just doing exactly what their society is telling them they should be doing. For them, these are the only images of female empowerment they have access to. They are only embracing the values of pop culture that many of us consume on a daily basis. In this sense, these girls are merely a reflection of our values as a society. If you are offended by these girls, stop for a moment and take a look at yourself. Men, did you enjoy Beyoncè’s “Single Ladies” video? Women, have you ever sexed yourself up for the attention of a man? The answers to these questions are most likely yes. We are all guilty.

Criticizing their parents, who have to do battle against forces that effectively remove them from the picture, doesn’t help either. Today’s parents are trying to keep their jobs and heads above water. Advertisers are banking on this. With less time to spend with their children, many stressed-out parents find themselves buying more things to make up for their lack of presence. I’m willing to bet money that those girls’ mothers are tucking their confused daughters into bed, trying to buff out the dents in their already vulnerable self-esteem, and assuring them that they are not the sluts and kinderwhores that people are calling them, themselves wondering where they went wrong.
There are bigger things at work here. The last thing we should be doing is judging these girls who are clearly talented and driven. What we should be doing is taking a look at ourselves and asking questions about how we as a society have gotten to a place where we are calling our own children whores. When we ask these questions we will find that it’s not these girls or their parents who should be on trial. So people, put your gavels down. Stop hatin’ and give these girls their due props because they killed it.

Do the work. Create media awareness with your kids. Check out:
Media Awareness Network

Read the follow up piece: Closing Comments on "Our Little Single Ladies"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Io

power fist
the scream
As we parents always say when it comes to the growth our kids, how time flies! Here are some of our favorite flicks.
See whole set at my flickr.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Twelve-year-old Ian Hamrick on his gruesome death in M.I.A.'s 'Born Free' video

From: LA Times Music Blog

“M.I.A. wanted to show people what an ethnic cleansing looked like,” Hamrick said in a phone interview Thursday. “She wanted to show that it can happen in any country, not just a place like Iraq. Just because this is America doesn’t mean horrible things don’t happen here.”

Read more on HERE.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sade vs. Beyoncè on Motherhood

This week Sade and Beyoncè both released videos portraying themselves as housewives doing what I hate to call, “women’s work.” In full 50s pinup girl regalia, Beyoncè asks, “Why don’t you love me, when I make me so damn easy to love?” While washing windows, attempting a burnt dinner, and in one scene, sloppily downing a martini, she sings a song of a mother who has perhaps given too much of herself. Sade, brings a more nostalgic feeling to mother’s work, singing an ode to fathers as she happily washes dishes dressed in soft, sexy silk. I wish I could feel like that when I’m faced with a sink full of dishes.

For the most part, roles for mothers within the household haven’t changed much since the 50s. When women have children, it is usually she who is stuck with the housework and childcare. For mothers, there are very few other options and even the most feminist of us find ourselves falling into these traditional roles. French author Stendahl once wrote, “All geniuses born women are lost to the public good.” I can’t tell you how many countless mothers have told me that they’ve given up writing, singing, painting, dancing, higher education, or other passions in order to keep their homes and raise their children. I’ve spent years now telling myself that I’ll finish [fill in the blank with abandoned creative endeavor] after I wash the dishes, or after I fold the laundry, or after the bathroom is clean. Or better yet, I’ll pick up where I left off next year when my daughter is in school full time. However disappointed, most mothers I know who have put their ambitions on the sidelines or even retired them completely seem to come to the conclusion that they have made the right choice for their children. And so it goes. We lose a genius. Having to make these choices between children and creativity or children and career is not much different than having to make a choice between paying rent and eating. They are not really choices. More so, it is a lack of choices. And we are constantly asking our women to make this choice.
 With mother’s day on the horizon, I have to say my feelings are more Beyoncè than Sade. And I don’t think I’m alone either. I know few mothers who smile upon a pile of dishes or do laundry with such dreamy looks in their eyes. Many mothers I know are resentful and angry about what they’ve given up for motherhood, turning their rage against the only logical person they know to blame: their men. I am not impervious to this unproductive thinking. However, we, as mothers, can’t wait for some miracle Netherlands-like legislation to pass that will pay us for our labors of love, nor can we wait for our men do their fair share, but we can stop telling ourselves that our dreams are not important. Writer and feminist Clarissa Pinkola Estès tells us that art was not meant to be created in stolen moments only and we must love our creative lives more than cooperating with our own oppression. Part of the reason we’ve given up so much is because we convince ourselves that our passions and ideas are not worthy enough to see through to fruition. We kill our ideas before they get a chance to breath. We develop no concrete method to hold ourselves accountable to our artistic progress and projects mysteriously disintegrate. But if we put ourselves at the helm of our own destiny, there can be no one else to blame. Then maybe we might find ourselves happy to do the dishes! This doesn’t, however, mean that the men are off the hook. This mother’s day, don’t stop at praising Mama’s sacrifices with flowers and candy, make a commitment to support her dreams so she doesn’t have to sacrifice so much, because chances are, she has.