Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Are You Mixed With?

UGH!!!! I absolutely hate that question! It is a question that I have been asked all of my life and to tell you the truth, I’m starting to get really annoyed with. I haven’t figured out if this is a geographic dilemma or people with no filter, but it is just not an appropriate question to ask…especially of people that you do not know.

Now don’t get me wrong…I am proud of all that I am, but if you are not in a position for it to ever really matter in your own personal life…why ask? Trust me…if you get to know me, you will soon discover what my ethnic combo is.

Let me replay my conversation yesterday. I was in training with about 20 other people. All of a sudden my neighbor (a sistah) leans over and asks who does my hair. I explained that I do it myself. Then she asks what kind of shampoo I use. Ummm…Pantene. Next thing I know she’s asking what I’m mixed with and who is what. Apparently, she’s dating a white guy and wanted some hair pointers if she ended up having kids with him. So many issues with this convo besides the fact that I was embarrassed.

First of all, I’m not black and white…so the chances of your kid having the same hair texture as me is slim to none. Second, you’re female. We will never have kids together, so how exactly does my background effect you? And finally, why are you asking me to explain who I am to you. Because my ethnicity, my family is who I am.

I have yet to meet one person of mixed decent who thinks this question is appropriate or ok. It’s offensive and ignorant. Please understand… we are people too. We don’t want people walking up to “pet” our hair, compare our skin coloring to yours or think we’ll co-sign on interracial dating just because both our parents aren’t black. Very few of us have hair complexes…well at least I don’t so discussing whether or not my hair can actually grow is mad ignorant.

I do feel different, but not because of what color my parents are…it’s because of who they are. WHO my family is. I don’t care what my hair looks like 90% of the time and I tan to even myself out. This doesn’t make me special and I’m tired of people trying to set me apart because of it. The divide has occurred pretty much all of my life and it hasn’t been all positive. I have had people not want to be my friend because I’m not “black enough”; I have had guys want me to have their baby because “our kids will have good hair”.

I hope that people take the time to really think before opening their mouths to ask “What are you?” I’m a human being that would appreciate you using some sort of filter before you open your mouth in the future.

Please and thank you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The (Potential) Power of Ping

Why would you sign up for Ping?? That’s the question that lots of Apple and iTunes users have been asking in addition to artists. Ping is Apple’s version of Facebook/Twitter that allows people to network on their iTunes platform. The idea seems lofty; people are heavily using the other sites currently. To add another network would be to build up your followers all over again. Apple however has the benefit of being the proprietor of the largest record store on the planet. That power can be a blessing and a curse.
So let us dissect this a little bit….
Currently there is way more cons to the service than pros. One huge issue I have as a music fan is that many of the “indie artists” that I love do not have pages. They will need to be invited by Apple first. Twitter and Facebook don’t require this. The artists that have pages are obviously being handled by the labels rather than personally which again takes away the true networking that could be accomplished by the actual artists interacting. Also, the layout starts to get really cluttered after awhile. I can’t imagine what it will look like once people really start using the service. There is no clear benefit of adding friends versus artists or both. Concerns I have are royalty and packaging/pricing issues that Apple has historically had. I do not purchase from iTunes when I know that the artists are being shortchanged in any way. I would hope that Apple works this out to the artists’ benefit before this really gets going.
The pros that I see are in the potential of the service. If music blog sites (maybe even rather than artists themselves) utilized ping, it would allow you to explore the artists that are highlighted with links to previous/other work that they’ve done. What I love about iTunes is that you enter and artist and anything they are credited on will populate. Another pro of blog sites using the service would be getting a more personalized music experience based on the music you like which could in turn offer more selection combining the sites offerings with Genius. As a consumer, I am much more interested in variety. Having artist specific pages is encouraging the Stan mentality rather than musical diversity.
Another benefit would be adding a “one stop shop” for frequent readers of said blogs. If I had access to say “Grown Folks Music” on ping, I could see and shop all in one location. It would be in lieu of the websites or even Twitter and Facebook, but in addition to. I would also like to see DJ’s using ping more to highlight some of the artists that they incorporate into their mixes.
I realize that this is new technology and Apple has consistently shown that they will continue to revamp a product until its perfect so I have no fear that in maybe the next few months this will be a product I will use more. I just hope that they listen to both the indie artists and the fans in opening up their social network…so we can indeed network.