Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goodbye Shangela Laquifa Wadley

Okay - so I'm always a bit late when it comes to my RuPaul's Drag Race info. I don't actually get a chance to watch the show on the night it airs. I always go to the Logo website and catch up on the show a couple of days later. For season 3, I have seriously been pulling for my girl Shangela to go on and capture the title of America's Next Great Drag Queen. She was an underdog from the beginning. She has been doing drag for just over a year. When you look at her short tenure as a female impersonator and compare it to the experience of the other girls she was competing against, it was painfully obvious that a victory on her part would be nothing short of a miracle.

But I believe in miracles and I believed in Shangela. She has a terrific personality - hallelu. She was beautiful as a girl. And she seemed just determined enough to be able to pull it off. But there were just too many obstacles in her way. Having been involved in the drag game for such a short time she has not had time to perfect some of the crafts needed to be successful in the drag race.

Let's break it down. She was lacking in several very imporant areas. She never perfected applying make-up. That was probably her biggest falling. Putting on your face is the most important thing a boy in a dress needs to be able to do. It's not easy and it does take some time to develop this talent. She has not been doing this long enough to get it down pat.

Shangela was also not as handy with a needle and thread as some of the others girls in the contest. Now don't get it twisted, I was throughly blown away by some of the costumes and creations she was able to come up with on the show. But it did seem that her best designs were only possible because she had help from her friends on the show.

Finally, I don't think Shangela mastered one final drag queen basic. Wigs 101. A queen must be able to take a dollar store wig and magically transform it into a something even Repunzel would be envious of. But again she has not been doing this long enough to really compete with the Heathers in the house.

For a moment it did look like she was becoming like Skylar from the show Heroes. His power was stealing super powers from others. I thought Shangela had wonderful charisma. The reason she stayed around as long as she did was because she was able to "steal" ideas, help ( and probably a dress or two) from others on the show. But alas it was not meant to be. On this weeks show Shangela was once again in the bottom two and this time she had to sashay away. I bid you a fond farewell and I wish you much success.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Andrew Cooley: I Admire You

I just read this exciting story in The Advocate. Andrew Cooley was serving as deputy to the sheriff in Forrest County, Mississippi and was fired because of sexual orientation. Cooley, knowing that the basis of his termination was unjust and down right wrong, decided to fight back. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Cooley would embark on a legal battle with the hope of reclaiming his dignity and his job. And fortunately, because Cooley and the ACLU were on the side of justice and fairness, the Sheriff's department has decided to settle outside of court and reinstate Andrew in his role as deputy.

According to the article, "Cooley's was the first case of its kind in the state -wherein an employee sued a public body for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." As a result of Cooley's action, the Forrest County Sheriff's department will be the first in the state to include a sexual orientation clause in its non-discriminatory policy.

The evolution of this case is very interesting. Cooley basically outed himself to the department when he called 911 last year. A victim of domestic violence from his then partner, he thought it would be safe to summon the police. The chief officer that responded to this initial 911 call told Cooley not to return to work until he spoke with his direct supervisor. He was fired the next day.

I just want to say kudos to Andrew for not sitting back and allowing this department to get away with discrminative behavior. It would have been very easy to sit back and do nothing. In fact many would have probably blamed themselves and thought it was okay to be terminated after being outed. Well it is not okay to be fired simply because you're gay. And everyone should feel safe going to the police when in jeopardy and there should be no fear of retaliation or undue recourse. Andrew Cooley, you are a role model for all of the LGBT community. I'm hoping we see more people standing up for themselves like you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What Would Baldin Think of Same Sex Marriage

Interesting question posed by one of my favorite blogs. Son of Baldwin just delivered a terrific video of James Baldwin all rowled up at a question & answer session. If you take a moment to take a look at the clip you can't really understand what the question is that ws asked, but his answer is just James once again speaking power to truth. Thank you for the post and thank you for never forgetting Mr. Baldwin. You can get into the video here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Voice! Will It Be Bigger Than Idol?

Why am I only now hearing about The Voice? Apparently The Voice will launch this fall on NBC and it is their attempt to jump on the bandwagon of singing competitions. I'm loving the idea behind this show. The celebrity judges include several of my favorites - pop diva Ms. Christina Aguilera, the new king of all funk Cee-Lo Green, one of the sexiest white men alive Adam Levine, and the country artist with the most intense eyes on the planet Blake Shelton

I'll admit I am a bit intrigued by the concept of the show. The judges will not get to see the contestants while they audition. They will have their backs to the performers as they sing and they must decide whether they like the contestant based on nothing but their voice. But is it just me, or do you find it interesting that these judges were picked to judge people based strictly on their singing abilities when . . . well just look at them in the pics I've included.

I already know I'll be watching this when it comes out. I mean seriously - Christina, Cee-Lo and Adam Levine on the same show. I really do love them and inspite of their images, these are really some of the most talented people in the music business. This is a must watch for the judges alone. So I'm pulling for this to be a success. X-tina has the greatest sets of pipes since pre-crack Whitney. I could listen to her all day but let's be serious, would she be as successful as she is if that golden voice did not come in such a beautiful package?

Cee-Lo Green (solo or with Gnarls Barkley) has been responsible for some of the funkiest and baddest music we've heard from anyone in a while. I was so pulling for The Song Also Known As Forget You to win Best Song on this years Academy Awards. His song Crazy was in such heavy rotation in my house that I almost left my husband. Really - I almost snapped. I had one of those, "if you play that song one mo' time" moments. But seriously the song was great.

Mr. Levine (as the lead singer of Maroon 5) has given me some of the most soulful music I've heard from a blue-eyed crooner in many a moon. But everytime I hear him sing I think about this picture on the left and I love him just that much more. So although he is talented, it is the way he looks that draws me and many of his fans back to his music over and over again. All of these judges (Blake Shelton included) have relied on their looks to help with their careers. And it is their looks that is going to help with the success of The Voice.

I do have my concerns about the show. It will be hosted by Carson Daily who can be funny at times (and can be not so funny at times). Also this show may be coming out at the wrong time. American Idol has already started and its already down to the thirteen finalists and everyone will soon be invested in that show. And I'm gonna be real - the hype surrounding Simon Cowell's X-Factor cannot be denied. All eyes (mine included) are wondering what Simon has up his sleeve.

I've always been a fan of singing competitions (I've been one since the days of Star Search) and I'm pulling for The Voice. But I'm also excited to see what X-Factor is going to bring. Thus far everything touched by Cee-Lo and Christina and Adam Levine have turned to gold for me so I think they could make something magical happen on this show. But the charm and charisma of these folks could cancel each other out and the show could be a big old flop. We'll know soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Better Days: A Tribute To All Grandmothers

A friend of mine just recently lost his grandmother. Jeremy (Jay) had been keeping me in the loop of his grandmother's health progress - from dementia to a cancer diagnosis to a transition to hospice. Then he dropped by my desk earlier this week to share with me that she passed away. Her failing health had already seemed to take its toll on him and it saddened me to learn that she had now been taken out of his life.

As I was driving to work today this song which I haven't heard in years came on the radio. The video above is that song, it is Better Days by Dianne Reeves. As it played I couldn't help but to think of Jay and the grief and loss he and his family are currently experiencing. The lyrics forced me to think of my own paternal grandmother who played such an important part in my growth and my development.

I am who I am today because of Lucy Pettaway-Green. She was beautiful and smart and determined and unyielding and relentless and witty. Since both my mom and dad worked, my twin brother and I were often left in the hands of this person who loved us and cared for us unconditionally (and we never minded it one bit). She would instill in us a love of God, respect for self, and tolerance and acceptance of all of our fellow man. She taught us the value of a good education and lived by the "it takes a village" mentalilty. Honesty and integrity were her redeeming qualities. I know my desire to live a truthful and authentic life is my effort to walk a path that would be acceptable in her eyes. My current moral compass is a direct result of the principles she ingrained in me.

So as I reflect on this song and my friend Jeremy and my own grandmother, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank all grandmothers (and grandfathers too) just in case you're unsure of the influence you're having. The world would be a darker more hostile place if you were not around to share your love and your wisdom and your humor and your time with those little ones who look up to you sooooo much. You probably are not ever aware of how important a role you're playing in creating our future parents, teachers and leaders.

Jeremy - you and your family are in my prayers. To everyone that has lost a grandparent, I hope with time your wounds have healed and you now only have fond, pleasant memories. And for those that are still blessed to have a grandparent in your life, please show them how much you appreciate them today because tomorrow is promised to no one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tucson Artist Needs Our Support

An artist from Arizona is in need of our support to make her picture the winner of a National Geographic photo contest. The Exceptional Experiences contest is down to the final six contestants and Jamara Sky Knight is currently in second place. Let's do we what we can to put her over the top. You must log into the National Geographic site (found here) and you must create an account if you don't have one if you would like to vote. The registration is very simple and it is so worth the time to support this artist, this picture and this story.

Tamara currently lives in Tucson with her partner. Her picture Dust Dance was taken while in Tanzania. She made her trip to Africa to help children orphaned by the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. She received a grant, collected used cameras, and taught photography these kids infected and affected by this disease that is ravishing the entire African continent.

I personally fell in love with the picture the moment I saw it. Just take a look at the faces of the kids she's captured on film. Inspite of their circumstances, these children are filled with smiles. Inspiration and optimism bursts out of the image. I have cast my vote and I am asking if you would cast yours too for Jamara.

If you would like to see more pics from her visit, please go here. These images were on display at the University of Arizona. They're simply amazing.

Please visit here Facebook page dedicated to this contest here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Heart Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, Attorney General for the great state of California, has requested that the state immediately reinstate same-sex marriages. This requests comes on the heels of President Obama announcig that his administrationwill not be defending DOMA in the courts. The brief was filed today with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to Harris, “both by the United States Attorney General’s conclusion that classifications based on sexual orientation cannot survive constitutional scrutiny and by this Court’s certification order to the California Supreme Court, which seriously questions the Court’s jurisdiction to decide the merits of the case.”

Harris defended her action by stating that Prop 8 proponents will not suffer any harm or injury should gay couples be allowed to marry. According to the Advocate, Harris has been a long time champion of same-gender marriage equality.

In her plea to the court, she states, "For 845 days, Proposition 8 has denied equality under law to gay and lesbian couples,” Harris said in her statement. “Each and every one of those days, same-sex couples have been denied their right to convene loved ones and friends to celebrate marriages sanctioned and protected by California law. Each one of those days, loved ones have been lost, opportunities have been missed, and justice has been denied.”

You can read her full letter to the court here.