Thursday, August 28, 2014

Still a Gem

Three days. I had three days to take in the great city of Cleveland. And let me tell you- it was a lot to take in. Before arriving in Cleveland, I had no idea what to expect. I had no expectations, only the hopes that I would get to meet new people, eat yummy food and try new things. When I arrived in Cleveland and checked into my hotel, the woman at the front desk asked me where I was from. I told her I was visiting from Kentucky, and she paused, looked at me and grinned. It was the kind of grin that said, "Welcome to my city" and also, "I hope you're ready to have a good time". That was comforting, because again, I had no idea what to expect of this city. About an hour after I checked in, I met up with Ryan, a local Cleveland blogger who would be the Clyde to my Bonnie all weekend. Ryan and I had been paired up by Positively Cleveland, who asked us to support them with their outreach to the LGBTQ community. Fun, right? Right! Shortly after meeting up, Ryan and I were on our way to dinner when Beyonce came on the radio, and an impromptu mini-concert ensued. I'm pretty sure that moment set precedence for the entire weekend. I mean, doesn't every great weekend start off that way?

Thursday, August 14, 2014


If you watch the news or troll social media at all, I'm sure you've seen multiple postings, link shares, pictures, and status updates regarding the recent shooting and killing of black people in America. The most recent trend that has really caught my attention, is the "#IfTheyGunnedMeDown" posts. These posts showcase two or more photos of young black people, asking which photo would the media use if they were gunned down, hence the hashtag. In comparing the pictures, it is interesting to see the difference a simple change of clothes and posing can make in perception. Most of the postings showcased a less formal  picture, in which the poster is wearing casual/street clothes, and the other is a more formal picture in which the poster is wearing a graduation gown, suit, dress or uniform of some sort. I suppose the latter is supposed to showcase a more "respectable" side- the side that we often feel is not publicized enough by the media. But the more I looked at the postings, the more concerned I became. I found myself concerned because the more I saw the pictures, the more I came to realize that the issue of the portrayal of black people in the news is not about the clothes we wear or the pose we choose; it's about the skin we inherit and the associations and societal implications that come with it.

(left) "Wiz Khalifa"- Halloween 2013, (right) Miss Kentucky, Miss America 2011