Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lakisha: Emulation, Competition, Self-Expression, and Vanity

Last night’s American Idol confirmed once and for all why I simply do not like Lakisha. My growing dislike for her started when – during the award season, mind you-- she sang the song that had become Jennifer Hudson’s signature song: I tell you I’m not going

I wondered why she was singing that particular song.

Did she identify with Jennifer H?
Did she want us to identify her with Jennifer H?
Did she want to jump onto Miss J’s coattails and leave us all thinking, “Wow, Lakisha is another Jennifer Hudson”?
Did she want to show us she was better than Jennifer H?

Then when Lulu begged and pleased with her to sing “You’re my world,” Ms Lakisha chose to sing “Diamonds are forever” because quote Shirley Bassey sang it unquote.

Okay, I rolled my eyes. I wondered, if Lulu had had the sense to see where Ms Lakisha was coming from she would have sold “You’re my world” to her in this way, “Yes, but Dionne Warwick sang You’re my world.”

Then Lakisha chose Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

And last night, during Life Anthem night, she chose Fantasia’s “Believe.”

Okay, we see the pattern at last? But what exactly is the pattern?

Is she identifying with those singers?
Does she want us to identify her with those singers?
Is she just plain old arrogant?
Is she stupid to invite comparison?
Or is she a mere imitator who simply imitates how other more flexible singers sing?

Why has she repeatedly sung songs by American Idol winners?

Yes, I know, I’m a Christian Critic and I really shouldn’t blast Lakisha because Christians aren’t supposed to be cruel, but dang! Someone’s gotta examine what’s going on here.

In the Bible (Romans 11:14 and Galations 5:20) the apostle Paul warns us against emulations. It’s odd but, considering all the emulations I see nowadays, ministers aren’t giving many sermons on the dangers of emulating. Perhaps it’s because so many of them are out emulating each other, or emulating some old-fashioned preaching styles. Okay, call me a cynic but I just don’t think the Holy Spirit always behaves and preaches with a Southern style campmeeting accent. But I digress…

Back to Lakisha and the evils of emulations.

Emulators lose their own soul I truly don’t know what a Lakisha musical style is. She doesn’t really have any. Lakisha seems to have a need for us to identify her with great singers, especially black singers, but this makes her seem downright rigid. Where, I want to ask, is her soul? What, I want to scream, is she doing there on the stage trying to channel some other great singer? I give heads-up and kudos to Blake Lewis because the guy usually connects to the music he sings and allows how he feels about the music to lead him. I can never tell what Lakisha’s attitude toward a song is.

Emulations also hem the emulator’s way in. There are a zillion songs out there. But, lo and behold, having decided to sing only show-stoppers done by winners, Lakisha cannot see clear to choose what might be the best songs for her. I want her to loosen up, to stop patterning herself after someone else and to create. Being focused as she is on a certain kind of singer, she has closed her eyes to discovering others.

While skill is important, creativity is also an important thing in life and the arts. Lakisha has skills but she is not going to be a musical innovator. One of the main goals in life is to discover, to find new ways of doing things. Mindless emulation in any form of art, craft, or business simply does not contribute to creativity.

Emulators are boring. Especially emulators like Lakisha who seem to have such a small repetoire.

Some folks may wonder why I’m so annoyed with emulations. After all isn’t imitation the most sincere form of flattery?

Quite simple Emulators are dangerous Putting aside the fact that some emulators are downright jealous of those they imitate, I’ll just say that emulation is often not as innocent as it appears to be. Think of Lamech (Genesis 4) as the first copy-cat killer. Think of kids in suburbia talking about nappy-headed ho’s and bitches. Think of Columbine and school shootings. Think of how hollywood’s behavior – for good or ill—affect society. Fame is a wonderful thing, and in our media culture many people want to be famous – from angry mentally ill students to rich talentless heiresses to talented singers. We are a culture where emulators emulate the famous, the notorious, and the infamous.

If Lakisa wins American Idol she will have proven herself to be a true American…enslaved to fame and the famous. I, for one, would be disappointed.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not saying that she can't emulate one singer or even two. But why does she do this sooo often? This is a trifle suspect and not a bit odd. Perhaps she's only insecure but aren't all the contestants insecure?
Enough said.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Politics of Autism

The Politics of Autism by Margaret Romao Toigo
Very timely analysis for Autism Awareness Month - please read and vote.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Black beauty and media racism

There are two times in the Bible where God and Jesus became incredibly incredibly angry.

The first is when Miriam, Moses sister was prejudiced against Moses' Ethiopian wife. God was so upset with this bit of prejudice that he figuratively spat in her face. And he made a point of saying he was figuratively spitting in his daughter's face.

The second time was when Jesus threw out the money lenders. He made a cord and shouted at the moneylenders, "God's house should be called a place of prayer for ALL nations, but you have made it a den of theives!" He did this because he saw how the moneylenders were treating the foreign converts and proslytes. God truly does not like racism.

When I was about seventeen, I had a wonderful dream in which an angel was telling me how wonderful my hair was and showing me some wonderful hair styles. I will always remember the lovingkindness of that angel.

Lately, many media celebrities have gotten in trouble because of anti-Semitic or racist rants, jokes, or slurs. Many whites think the days of racism are over and so they think they can joke and make racial jokes. They consider these jokes harmless, but many blacks still remember grandmothers blinded by lynchers and uncles and grandfather’s hanged by racist bigots. It’s still not over for us.

The sad fact is America is still racist and that includes many liberals in the media including disc jockeys, editors, actors, and tv hosts. They just don’t seem to “get” us and this often has to do with the darkness of our skin and the quality of our hair.

Racism often appears as a subtle cruelty toward black women's beauty. This cruelty often seems to focus on dark skin and kinky, nappy hair. Other times the racists imply there is something vaguely immoral about us. They seem to imply that we are out-of-control gluttons who aren’t moral enough to know when to stop eating. In addition to assuming we are morally dirty, they also imply we are physically dirty in some way.

Dark-skinned prejudices

Okay, okay, hip hop lyrics and certain black comedians have contributed to a media atmosphere where people feel free to joke about certain black traits. But we have to focus on the brainwashing about beauty out there. Because of the power of the American media, and because of historical and imperialistic causes, everyone in the world thinks true beauty must come close to some Nordic Ideal. I recently heard that Cosmetic Surgery is on the rise. Up 70%. Among Asians (changing their eyelids) and Hispanics (changing their noses.) Folks, ethnic heritages are not beauty flaws.

Hip-hop videos have contributed to making certain black women sexy (and making others unsexy.) Movies too. We know a white character in a movie is hip and “edgy” if he’s got a gorgeous black girlfriend on his arm. Now it’s neat to have a nice bit of junk in the trunk, but when I was younger, the white kids mocked my ample buttocks calling it my “mumba butt.” In the old days, black lips were considered too big. Now many white actresses are getting lip injections. However, dark-skinned women still haven’t arrived at full beauty equality yet. Even on black-owned television stations and black-produced movies, light-skinnedness reigns. For instance, many black rap artists and actors are often teamed with light-skinned black women or Hispanic love interests.

Black Hair issues

Ah nappiness! White folks still have problems with black folks’ hair. Recently a famous white DJ called some black women athletes “nappy-headed hos.” For those who don’t know, “Nappy” means kinky and tightly-curled hair. Whether this man is prejudice is not for me to decide. Much humor nowadays is cruel and he might simply have been trying to be cool. Saying nasty cruel racist “funny” things about other people is very popular nowadays, and Americans still seem to think afros and natural black hair that has not been straightened is somehow incredibly humorous. Ah, the funny clown in the afro!!! Indeed, I remember one talk show where the elderly white host kept asking to “touch the hair” of her black female guests.


Racism towards black women also shows up in the way we are often deemed physically dirty, as if black women do not wash) and morally corrupt (as if we do not know how to be moral like fine-upstanding skinny white women.) I even stopped watching a weekend television show because many of their jokes about black shows seemed downright racist. For instance, although there are a lot of reality shows with skanky white folks having skanky sex , whenever this particular program talked about skanky black folks having sex, they got downright clinical and seemed on the verge of calling the Center for Disease control. They never did this with the white shows, yet on one of their shows, they did a skit about industrial cleaners coming to clean up the black show’s set and to remove disease.


I recently saw a news show on television in which the reporter stated that obesity was rampant in America, especially among black women. He pretty much hinted that black women were gluttonous and would die sooner than “their white counterparts.” White counterparts? I won’t argue that many black women are overweight. But that doesn’t mean we are morally-corrupt people who have no sense of self-control. Personally, much of my overeating occurs when I feel overwhelmed with powerlessness, isolation, self-loathing, and a feeling that I am being silenced because I live in a world where the powers that be are racist. But there are also genetic issues. The American diet evolved from a European diet and I suspect black genetics are not compatible with much of the diet. In addition, because of evolutionary climactic reasons the African body may have been trained to hold onto fat as a way to protect our ancestors in time of starvation.

Benefit of the Doubt

Black folks are used to giving white racists the benefit of the doubt. We humor people a lot. We are an understanding lot. I remember a time when I visited a white doctor and he called me morbidly obese (I was two hundred pounds and had just had my son.) I was very hurt and I went to my three-hundred pound white friend who had recommended him. Amazingly, he had never called her morbidly-obese.

In another instance, an editor from Kansas deigned to lecture me on how to write a proper essay. She knew I was black. I had to decide if she was as rude and as patronizing to all her writers or only to the black ones.

Recently I read a blog written by a black person in which the statement was made that certain black contestants on American Idol are just plain ugly.

Frankly, that blogger should examine his definition of ugly. I know this generation has been trained to mix lustfulness with admiration but shouldn’t this black blogger be more knowledgeable about how standards of beauty have been created and recreated by society? In some countries, a rounder woman would be deemed quite pretty, thank you! In some countries, a round face does not necessarily connote an ugly face

We black folks are always making excuses for white people. We always tend to divide our racists into ignorant ones and malicious. But what are we to do with the hurt feelings caused by people in power, people we would expect to be somewhat more enlightened? I mean: shouldn’t black men be less prejudiced in the way they depict black women? Shouldn’t liberals be less prejudiced than conservatives? Shouldn’t those in the media such as editors and DJ’s be more aware of the hurtfulness of their comments?

Of course, if I get so upset at the racism I see and experience, if I drown my self-loathing in chocolate ice cream in order to comfort myself because some racist white editor or racist white doctor or racist black producer has upset me, I only contribute to the stereotype by fattening myself up for the kill. Life is complicated. But we have to be strong, and we have to speak up. Hopefully, even the small things we do will change society.

Let us remember:

God has created from one blood all people.
God is not a respecter of persons.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

hunger gathering holy spirit conference

Join Exodus Media Group, Inc. and ABJ Consulting, LLC (BridgeBuilders) for


The role of women as intercessors has been diminished by some of the apathy in the church. The part that this next generation will play in ushering in the true presence of God has been hidden from them.

We have gotten so distracted with ambition, societal and personal problems, and daily life issues till we have slowly and steadily veered away from true intimacy with God.


Join Women of God from across the nation who are hungering for something else, something more filling---THE HOLY SPIRIT. As we gather for a day devoted solely to praise, prayer, and worship, let us taste and see that the Lord is good. Let's go behind veil and seek the face of God in all ays.

The season for your deliverance is here but are you hungry enough to get up and gather your Manna? Are you hungry enough to receive a "I'm never going back" breakthrough?

MAY 19, 2007
11:30AM - 3:00PM

9821 Greenbelt Rd. Suite #207
Lanham, MD 20706 (Washington, D.C. area)

Hosted by Angela Johnson-Ayers and Tracey Michae'l Lewis
Facilitated by Our Father in Heaven

The Hunger Gathering (TM) will be coming to a city near you!

Registration is only $10.00 (to simply cover the expenses of the event) You can register at

For more information please contact Exodus Media Group, Inc. at (800) 683-9184 or via email at

Friday, April 06, 2007

Could you not wait with me one hour?

Last night I woke up at around one in the morning..

I realized it was Good Friday. I realized that at that very moment – not just 2000 years ago, but in a timeless permanent eternity-- Jesus was being led from place to place in the three separate trials.

I felt so very sorry for him and all I could see was how lonely he felt. I said, “Jesus, I’ll wait with you one hour.”

If you’ve ever had a friend or family member in the hospital and had to wait, that’s what it felt like. I felt myself to be in a house knowing that my Lord had been taken away and was being interrogated and beaten and spat on, and mocked….how could I sleep? It would have meant leaving him to suffer alone and although I knew he would suffer in a way no man had ever suffered before – and I couldn’t really be with him in that kind of passionate suffering—yet I just didn’t want Him to think I was forsaking Him. I wanted Him to know I was thinking of Him, and waiting for Him.

Even so…it was tough because I’m such a day-dreamer. I kept trying to keep my mind on him but my mind would float over to my novel, to some television show, to my own problems.

Then in my imagination I saw Him entering Pilate’s palace. He was so bloodied and beaten up and humiliated and naked. And his head was pierced with all the marks from the crown of thorns. He smelled horrible and Pilate was so perfumed. He was sweaty and bloody and Pilate was so clean. He could hardly stand up and Pilate was Lord of all he surveyed. Then Pilate says, “Don’t you realize I could free you?” Then Pilate said, “Who do you think you are?” Then after Jesus answered him, Pilate said, “Are you a God then?”

And Jesus speaking with this terrible lower-class Galilean accent…and with mumbled words because he had been beaten across the mouth and his teeth had fallen out. And He said, “That’s your word for it. I am. And you will see me come with power!”

I was sooo proud of him. I can’t tell you how proud. Tears just rolled down my eyes as I lay on the bed. I love a strong soul, and yet…to be so beaten up, to be standing in front of so much earthly power and yet to be able to say in the face of all that mocking, “I am God.”

St Paul said, “Jesus Christ witnessed a good confession before Pilate.” Yes Jesus did.

The Bible tells us that “because of the joy that lay before him – the salvation of so many souls and the bringing of many sons to God—Jesus rejoiced at going to the cross.” The Bible tells us, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

I hope we all can have the power to stand in front of whatever earthly or demonic powers that seem to be more powerful than we are and to say the foolish, foolish, mocked, and denied truth that God has called us to declare.

I agree with Paul: “I am determined to know Jesus and the power of his resurrection power, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and perfects our human bodies even while we live.”

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Face it, American Idol Rejects, the audience just wasn’t into you.

I've got to be one of the most uneasy fans of American Idol. I guess it's because I want the black singers to do well after they've won the show. Fantasia is on broadway, Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar. But what about Ruben? And none of these folks have had the radio success as Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

But there's something else that makes me uneasy. It's seeing the utter lack of sportsmanship on the part of the American Idol castoffs.

I swear! Not only do some folks not know when they have it good, they don’t know it when they have it bad. It might only be me. (I’ve got issues, I’ll admit it.) But frankly, I am getting very tired of seeing recent American Idol Rejects making the talk-show circuit complaining about their terrible lot in life.

With the noble exception of Brandon Rogers, who laughed at himself and was amazingly gracious, the common complaint from these castoffs seem to be that the judges wronged them somehow.

These folks – notice I don’t call them “losers” – say:

 They lost themselves somehow because they were trying to please the judges.
 They sang in a different style from Melinda and Lakisha and the judges were always comparing them to better singers.
 The audience understood neither they nor their creativity.

Okay, folks, whatever happened to graciousness?

Puhleze! Flip the channel over to C-Span and see how true competitors accept defeat. Learn a lesson or two. Say how wonderful your competitors were! Say humble, self-deprecating stuff. Tell us what a wonderful experience it all was and how blessed you felt to even have been nominated! Say, you are the luckiest person in the world for having had such a wonderful opportunity to experience the joy and character-building that was American Idol. Say something nice, for heaven’s sake! I, for one, will like you much better if you do. Have you no gratefulness for having arrived so far? Good Lord, folks! You got to be on television and taste fame! You’re going on the national tour, for heaven’s sake! That’s more than the rest of us can say.

Whatever happened to self-assessment?

I’m not saying you were bad singers. Hey, I’ll shout it out: you all were good singers. But you just weren’t THAT good. The voice is an instrument. You had no control over it. A star should be able to hear advice and comments without faltering. Admit that the audience did understand your limitations – lack of talent, lack of personality—and we just weren’t so into you.

In one interview, Chris Sligh said he tried to be different but the judges just didn’t understand him. Okay, perhaps he was trying to be different. I kinda saw it. But, the guy didn’t have the musical skills in him to be different. Let’s not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Compared to Chris Richardson and Blake Lewis, Chris Sligh just wasn't able to show the music flowing in his soul. Chris Sligh's CD, Take a Chance on Something Beautiful is super! But he obviously wasn't able to bring it before a live audience. A good storyteller should be able to tell someone else's story in addition to his own, and he should be able to tell the story to a large audience. Others simply didn’t understand music. Period. Only a good storyteller can go without a plot, and some of these folks were novices when it came to understanding the elements of musical storytelling. Okay, I understand the need to defend oneself after being slammed in front of America and after not receiving enough votes from the audience. I’d be on the defensive too! But check the “misunderstood artist ego” at the exit door, guys. Buck up, and shut up.

The women, alas, have been the worst at whining.
From The Ellen Degeneres show to The View to American Idol Extra to Regis and Kelly, these cast-off women are complaining that

 Judges Paula, Simon, and Randy—were always comparing them to better singers, Melinda Dolittle and Lakisha Jones who had different “styles” than they did.
 Their feelings were hurt.
 The judges turned the audience against them.

Whining Women, please, please stop it! Chill, please! Stop hinting you were robbed! You weren’t!

 First of all, it’s a competition. Your feelings are going to get hurt. It’s called show business. It’s not a talent show. Folks aren’t lining up to praise you. We ain’t family, and this ain’t church.
 Secondly, admit your imperfection. LEARN to admit it. If Melinda and Lakisha had sung the songs you had chosen and performed them in the same singing styles you did – all things being equal—those girls would have sung those songs waaay better than you.
 Thirdly, and most important: you gals don’t seem to acknowledge that you – who are, for the most part. pretty gorgeous—have benefited from some advantages. Why aren’t you talking about that? Racism and Ageism still exist, girls! Your skin color, sexy dresses, thinness, and youth certainly didn’t hurt you. But why aren’t you talking about that?

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, The Preacher states, “the race is not to the rich, nor bread to the wise, nor favor to men of understanding, but time and chance happens to all men.” We humans complain all the time when we don’t get things we think we deserve. But do we ever complain when we get good things we don’t deserve? Heck, I for one, know I’ve gotten a few jobs that others were better qualified for. And certainly in the eyes of many, I (overweight, vaguely depressed, dark-skinned,) don’t deserve the saintly handsome studly Irish-American artist hubby I’m married to.

In our society, Youth, Thinness, and Beauty expect to win. Folks who live entitled lives – people with wealth, beauty, youth, blonde hair, light-colored skin—don’t realize how favored they often are. And when challenged by actually having to earn something girls like Stephanie, Haley, Gina, and Sabrina get all hot and bothered and whiny. Part of their sorrow is forgivable. They’ve lost a competition. I can accept that. But the other part of their sorrow – the angry part-- is surprise and outrage. This is the aspect of their sorrow which I personally cannot accept. Suddenly their beauty and youth aren’t working for them and – Aargh—their world topples. They are losing to women who – in their opinion—are not as beautiful as they are. Beauty, they believe should win, and so they spend my valuable television-viewing time hinting that somehow Lakisha and Melinda have robbed them. Unfortunately in this season’s American Idol, those gals who had depended on their youth and beauty to open doors, are being faced with the real world and they can’t handle it.

Recent mentor, Peter Noone, challenged Judge Simon Cowell’s contention that American Idol was a talent competition, stating flat-out that it was a voting competition. True. And Sanjaya Malakhar’s position in the top ten attests to that. But this also a talent competition. Flat-out. The female winners of American Idol tend to be women who are either

 talented, or
 talented and beautiful.

Beautiful untalented women have never won and they never will. In that little area of the beauty-obsessed entertainment world some fairness exists.

You American Idol losers should just accept this sad fact: they just weren’t good enough. Then maybe I won’t think you’re all such losers!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Commanding the tree to lift itself up by the roots

Hi there:

Sorry I haven't been around. Have been struggling with some health issues, sleep issues, son issues, and trying to finish the last drafts of the novel before submitting it to the editor.

Anyway, I really feel I have to share this. It really is dawning on me more and more how different Christendom is from what Jesus said. After all, Jesus said "Hypocrites love to pray to be seen" and so many times in churches I get the feeling the prayer is not praying to God but just showing how rhetorical he is. Jesus also said "People think they are heard by God because of their long prayers" And he also said "People shouldn't get into using vain repetitions" and yet sometimes we think saying a long prayer is better than a shorter heart-felt one. And, while it's good to pray certain wonderful prayers, we mustn't get caught up with praying the same thing over and over like a chant. Where's the relationship with God (or anyone, for that matter) if you keep saying the same thing over and over to him?

Anyways, Jesus said we must say boldly to the mountain, "Be lifted up by the roots and be cast into the sea" and it shall be done. Now, most of the time people "ask" God because Jesus also told us to ask and it shall be given. But we rarely command, which Jesus also said, "Speak to the mountain." Jesus said "pray for the sick" but he also said, "Lay on the sick and heal the sick by commanding the body to be healed." But we don't go around laying hands on the sick and simply commanding their body to be healed. JEsus said, "when you pray believe that you have received"..and yet we often pray as if God hasn't given it to us at all. Just because we don't see it doesn't mean we haven't gotten anything.

Well last night I was in horrendous pain. I got mad at the devil. Again. I screamed, "Jesus is Lord!" and you better accept it. I told the autism off! And I gave fibromyalgia a good talking to. Before I had been praying for that. Praying is interesting because even in praying there's a stressing part of me which says, "Is this rational, talking to a God? What if he isn't there?" I get that way sometimes.

But last night, going further and doing what Jesus said and ordering the illness to leave. Well, dare I say? After giving it this talking to...the pain subsided amazingly. !!!???!!! I was like: uh? Umhhhh, well this is proof that this is real.

Hubby and I were talking about what was tried and tested. Biblical Precepts we knew to be true so far because of external results we've seen. Sure, we should know these precepts are true simply because we believe in God but hey, we're not perfect yet.

We know that God protects us because he miraculously protected Logan. He also miraculously protected me, and GAbe.

We know he provides miraculously.

We know he guides.

We know that speaking negative things bring those negatives to us.

Now we know that shouting down a sickness and telling it off really works.

I want to trust all this by simply trusting God's word, and I feel I'm getting closer to this obedient trust in everything God says, even though my human understanding thinks it's all a bit flaky and irrational.

Anyway, I don't see --with my physical eyes-- the healing for Gabe and me yet. But I am thanking God because I know that JEsus healed me 2000 years ago on the cross. "By Jesus stripes we WERE healed." And I know that Paul said "everything we pray for is already answered as yes and amen through Jesus Christ." This life of faith is certainly interesting. It's not something I would have jumped into if life hadn't been so "interesting" but since I'm in this, I'll do what the Bible says.

FaithWriters First Writer's Conference,

August 10th through 12th, 2007

A Mid Summer's Daydream Come True

Those who choose to attend will be challenged, encouraged and informed through several planned events.

The Conference is at the Holiday Inn
17123 N Laurel Park Dr
Livonia, Michigan 48152
This is the Detroit Metro Area


GENERAL (March 1 - June 30): $75.00
LATE: (July 1 - August 10): $80.00


Sally E. Stuart is the author of thirty-one books and has sold over one thousand articles and columns. Her marketing columns for The Christian Communicator, Oregon Christian WRITERS, and The Advanced Christian Writer, make her a sought-after speaker and a leading authority on Christian markets and the business of writing.

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