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Author Archives: Kathleen Cross
stupid unobservant am I? (Rhetorical question. Don’t answer that.) Um, yeah, so I just (like, just this minute while writing this piece) figured out that Jaden and Willow smith’s given names are tributes to their parents. Will/Willow. Jaden/Jada.
Okay. I know. It’s pretty damn obvious. But, whatever. I feel a wee bit smarter now that I figured that out.
(Anyone out there who didn’t get the Smith’s naming strategy until just now, please do leave a comment admitting it–it’ll help soothe my bruised ego.)
Anywaaaay, I said all that to introduce the fact that Jaden and Willow were both nominated for this year’s NAACP Image Awards–Jaden, for his starring role in the remake of The Karate Kid, and Willow for her hit single, Whip My Hair.
For these two cuties to have been raised by “Hollywood” parents with a combined net worth somewhere in the quarter of a billion dollar range, they seem relatively grounded and down-to-earth. (Though I do think Willow has the potential to get full of herself if her mama doesn’t rein in her little ego right quick.) Love you, Willow…but I’m just sayin’.
Jada and Will have gotten quite a bit of Internet flack recently for supposedly “pimping” their kids, and “depriving them of their childhoods,” but I don’t see any evidence of that here at all. These little Smiths are truly talented, and they seem to really love what they’re doing. And, why wouldn’t they? Though they do have to work hard and put in long hours to achieve the success they’ve enjoyed so far, they also have that huge and powerful SMITH MACHINE behind them, which has to make the whole experience that much sweeter.
Though they barely have 20 years on earth between them, both Smith kids seem to “get it” that they are privileged to have the parents they do, and they understand that most of the world doesn’t have they advantages they were born with. Their parents have done an excellent job of instilling this in them from a young age–not just by setting an example of what philanthropy and concern for community look like in action, but also by encouraging their children to become actively involved in charitable causes themselves.
Jaden and Willow have lent their names, images and time to Project Zambi, which supports children orphaned by AIDS in Africa,and Buy Life which provides medicine, food and shelter to millions of people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.
If you’re wondering what the criteria for winning an NAACP Image Award are, read on:
1. Fair, Accurate, and Inclusive Representations Rather than portraying people of color in broad stereotypes, the project deals with the characters or themes in a fair, accurate, and multi-dimensional manner. Inclusive means that a broad spectrum of people of color is represented. This includes economic, geographic, and political diversity, as well as seniors, differently abled, youth, families, etc.
2. Boldness and Originality The project breaks new ground by exploring subject matter relevant to people of color in a way not traditionally explored, and handles the content in a fresh and original manner. Is this project “cutting-edge?”
3. Impact The project impacts society in a significant way. Does this project dramatically increase the cultural dialogue about issues that pertain to people of color? Or, does this project reach an idea that is not regularly exposed with regard to images and issues pertaining to people of color?
4. Overall Quality The overall quality of the project should be considered. A project which is of high quality production value adds impact, significance, and weight to the images and issues portrayed.
If my little daughter wanted to put a poster of either or both of these kids up on her bedroom wall, I would allow it. I think they stand for something positive, and so far their images are definitely uplifting and admirable.
I hope they both win.
An insane (and insanely armed) white guy shoots Arizona’s first Jewish Congresswoman and the man who is credited with helping to save her life is an openly gay, naturalized American citizen of Mexican descent. (You’re awesome, Daniel.)
This 20-year-old hero heard automatic gunfire and ran towards the shots to help the victims with no thought for his own safety. Thank God Daniel Hernández was there, and that he knew what to do to help keep Gabrielle Giffords alive.
I know I’m not the only one who finds it rather ironic that this occurred in the first U.S. state to pass a law that would allow officers on the scene to detain Daniel and make him prove he was in the country legally (under threat of arrest and deportation) simply because of his surname and appearance.
This is the same state that has no law preventing an undiagnosed but deranged white guy from purchasing, carrying and concealing a semi-automatick Glock and extended ammo cartridges.
Things that make you go, “Hmmm.”
My three-year-old is a handful. She has more energy than any toddler I’ve ever seen. Sometimes she just runs around in circles in the living room trying to use up what seems to be a never ending store of kinetic abundance.
The day I socked her in the eye (did I mention that I socked her really hard?), I had repeatedly asked her to settle down, and finally, in an attempt to bring the zany level in the house down to a calmer tone, I sat her down on the couch and told her if she patiently waited her turn, she would get a chance to play the new Xbox Kinect Dance Central game we adults were playing with.
If you haven’t seen the Xbox Kinect in action, you have to get to your local gaming outlet and sample the awesomeness of it. Now, I remember when that Pong video game came out back in the 70’s, so maybe I’m a little more enraptured then you genXers will be by this technology, but I am so in awe of the fact that this gadget requires no controllers — it knows where you are in the room and has the ability to accurately critique and improve your dancing skills (yes, it does).
To keep it real, let me just admit that all the technological advancement in the world isn’t going to teach me how to dougie, and I majorly sucked at the Soulja boy Supaman dance, but the youngins couldn’t touch me on the Commodores “Brick House” and I was just getting ready to kill Janet Jackson’s “Control,” when Jadyn got a little too enthusiastic about mommy’s performance, hopped off the couch and collided with an especially energetic move called “the ticker.”
At the 43 second mark check out that potentially lethal “ticker” move and you’ll know why Jadyn is lucky mommy didn’t knock her unconscious. (Note: that is not me dancing in this clip.)
If you want to see what it actually looks like for a kid to get royally clocked by their parent while playing with the Xbox Kinect, check out this shocking video:
Despite the hard lesson Jadyn and I learned together about space management and the presence of toddlers during a Kinect session (please, do feel free to learn from our mistake), I HIGHLY recommend this game. It is really a lot of fun to play with, it burns hundreds of calories an hour, and believe me when I tell you you will use muscles you didn’t know you had.
If every household in America had one of these, Michele Obama could consider the obesity problem among children in this country permanently eradicated. (Just be careful not to knock them silly in the process.)
Just a few of the many games you can purchase for use with the Xbox Kinect:
“Can I ask you something?’’ he said, sitting in the Parkers’ living room after Sammy was asleep.
“Is it OK if this article is more about Sam than me?’’
“He’s done more for me than I’ve done for him.”
Rudy Favard is a busy teenager–a high school senior who is also the captain of the football team. During a trip to the school nurse’s office, Rudy learned of a family in his local community who needed help. The father of the struggling Parker family had recently undergone heart surgery and was no longer able to carry his 8-year-old son Sammy, who suffers from cerebral palsy, up the 14 steps to his bedroom each night. They couldn’t afford to pay for a caregiver.
Rudy immediately volunteered to visit the Parker’s home four nights a week to help put Sammy to bed.
Don’t miss Yvonne Abraham’s Boston Globe article about Rudy and his impact on this family (and their impact on him). There are many more incredible layers to this touching story. Sammy has a twin (who does not have cerebral palsy) who deeply loves his afflicted brother.
This is one of those stories that shows us what love in action looks like–really makes you think about how a tragedy is an opportunity to serve.
Don’t watch this video without a box of tissue nearby.
So, yesterday Oprah was talking to me (like she does several times a week). I was a little preoccupied with something on my laptop, but when I finally looked up at her she looked me right in my eyes (to make sure I was really paying attention, I suppose) and she said,
“Here we are, this is our day. This is our moment.”
She was talking about our new OWN network, of course–you know, the one we launched on January 1st. She insisted to me that (even though her name is the only one on the logo) it really is OUR network, and darn it, I believe her.
I know she said the same thing to you, I mean, I’m not crazy. I know she wasn’t talking only to me when she said this network is for us, but I must say that so far the programming choices come pretty close to exactly what I would love to see on television. I especially love the show called Master Class. <click to see the promo if you haven’t seen the show yet–it’s (in Oprah’s voice) really good.
I won’t list the complete schedule, but in addition to Master Class I’m super geeked about these shows: (OWN’s descriptions)
The Miracle Detectives: Do miracles really exist? Or is there a logical explanation to the seemingly inexplicable? Two investigators; one a believer, the other a scientist will travel the globe to uncover answers to mysterious incidents that transcend logic
Mystery Diagnosis: Every year, millions of Americans fall victim to real-life medical mysteries—ailments that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. Their lives are thrown into turmoil—sometimes their sanity is called into question
Searching For: Viewers can expect an intensely personal ride when cameras follow Pam Slaton, a professional investigative genealogist, and her clients through each step as they track down lost loved ones. Whether Pam’s clients find a joyous reunion, painful rejection or tragic loss, they all walk away with the closure they were desperate to find. (Pam has an 85 percent success rate, follows a strict “no find, no pay” policy, and is one of the most sought-after professional searchers in the country.)
The Gayle King Show: Start your day off right with Oprah’s best friend and O Magazine Editor-at-Large Gayle King, as her hit radio show comes to television every weekday on OWN. Gayle’s live talk show will offer her unique perspective on an array of topics ranging from current events and cultural trends to politics and more, all while bringing viewers closer to their favorite celebrities and notable public figures with her revealing, compelling daily interviews.
I love Gayle. I think she’s really down-to-earth for someone who is the best friend of one of the most powerful women in the world. (Sorry, I digress.)
Anyway, by now you’re wondering, what the heck does Heavy D have to do with any of this? Well, ever since Oprah started talking to me about this OWN thing… Heavy’s “diddly diddly diddly dee” has been stuck in my head. I know I can’t be the only one who mentally plays the song when the OWN network promos come on.
“We Got Our Own Thang” by Heavy D and the Boyz <listen to a snippet.
Although not all the lyrics in the song are going to be to Oprah’s liking (you know how she is about hip hop), this part of the song is perfect for what OWN is all about:
“In this life, I strive for improvement
Be your own guide, follow your own movement
Loving is a legend
Me, I’m legendary at it…
Stay self-managed, self-kept, self-taught
Be your own man, don’t be borrowed, don’t be bought
Started with a pow and I’m going to end it with a bang
We’ve got our own thang
We’ve got our own thang”
How is that not the theme song playing on the OWN promo?
Maybe Will.i.am and Heav could do a remix for you…
Oprah, it is our network, right?
If she’s not buying a ticket for this week’s Mega Millions lottery, Nadya Suleman should pray for me to win.
If I did win that $290 million, I would gladly take 1% of my winnings and build a house for “Octomom” and her 14 children–not because I agree with her decision to ef around with nature and bring all those kids into the world with no partner to help her feed, house and parent them–but because now that the kids are here, who really wants them to end up homeless?
I will probably receive hate mail for saying it, but I don’t hate Nadya at all. Yeah, so she cost us tax payers a few million dollars. On the list of people to be mad as hell at for the irresponsible decisions they’ve made that are costing me money, believe me, Ms. Suleman is waaaaaaaaay down at the bottom. I’m far too upset about:
$800 billion spent on Afghanistan war
$400 billion spent in Iraq
$1 trillion failed war on drugs
$700 billion bank bailout
$800 billion in tax cuts for the rich
I can’t even fathom the mindset of a person who would camp out in front of Nadya’s house or bust out her car windows to protest her irresponsibility. Please. Camp your ass out at the doors of Haliburton or AIG. Bust out some windows at one of the many million dollar homes of Martin Sullivan or Lloyd Blankfein if you’re deadset on taking your anger out on somebody who makes us pay for their dumb (greedy) choices.
After watching her interview with Oprah, I really do believe Nadya has been dealing with an untreated mental illness that makes her addicted to giving birth–like how people get addicted to tattoos (except birth is a lot more painful…and pretty much impossible to reverse.)
It’s not a great thing to be adding fourteen more to the millions of kids in the world who don’t have a father in their home, but at least these kids are fortunate to have a mother (arguably a tad off her rocker) who loves them. The upside of this whole thing is that Suleman is not a drug addict who sits around eating Dingdongs and watching soaps all day. She’s pretty intelligent and articulate, and she has a degree in child development. Most eye witnesses say she has good parenting skills despite being so outnumbered by her offspring.
(Wouldn’t it just be beautifully ironic if one Sulemon’s kids grows up to cure cancer, or some other disease afflicting the children of the protesters who despise them all so much?)
For those who can’t get past their hatred of her, I have a suggestion that might help shift your paradigm. Imagine Suleman is a sterile, childless woman who has opened an orphanage and volunteered to care for fourteen adopted children for the rest of her life. You would pin a medal on her.
I would buy her a house.
UPDATE: (1/3/11) I will not be approving any more comments, because to do that I have to read them and I’d rather not expose myself to the profanity, name calling and viciousness.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddha