3% A Netflix Original

3-netflix

I binge watched the entire first season of 3% last weekend. What was most interesting for me is that for the first time in the search box, I actually put in the term “Netflix.” That means as a content provider, they have officially crossed over as a brand of entertainment to watch because I actively wanted to see their offerings. I am not sure how other viewers use their Netflix, but I like to watch content from around the world and 3% is a very nice addition to the Netflix brand. Please note SPOILER ALERT, there are spoilers in the review.

In the premier season of the 3% there are only eight episodes, but I have to say each episode is robust, moving the story line and allowing the audience to be vested in their favorite characters. When I watched the first episode “Cubes,” I did wonder if this Sci-Fi Drama was going to keep viewers hostage to the premise of the show for multiple seasons and I am pleased to say they answered the question with a resounding NO by Episode 8 “Button.” So THANK YOU NETFLIX.

The basic premise of the show is there is the world, and then there is the “Offshore.” Thanks to the two Founders of the “Offshore,” once young adults hit the age of twenty, they each have an opportunity based on their merit to enter the exclusive 3% of the population who are capable of passing the “Process,” and win the life long prize of living on the “Offshore.” Because only those that fail the “Process,” return to society, no one in the general population knows what life on the “Offshore,” is like and so it is the ideal to each person, a Utopia you dream to belong to.

What is apparent in the “Cube” episode is that there has been a changing of the guard, actor Joao Miguel who plays Ezekiel, the Administrator of the Process is fairly new in his position. Politically there are those who disapprove of his methods and want him removed from his position. Everyone who does not return from the “Process,” does not become part of the 3%. By the time we get to Episode 4 “Gateway,” an elite known as Marco Alvarez, played by actor Rafael Lozano, has claimed his rightful place and pitted men who are obviously physically stronger against women. Just to have food the men turned thugs, prey on the weak and the women like savages, where “some rule and others obey.” – not my kind of Utopia at all. There is a line that says the participants in the Process take on the traits of the Administrator of the Process. That line becomes like a thread through the entire season.

Despite the rigorousness of the “Process,” love finds two of my favorite characters who bond in the very first episode, Michele played wonderfully by Bianca Comparto, and Fernando played by Michel Gomes. Despite his handicap, Fernando has been trained by his father his entire life to be part of the 3%. Michele is independent enough and strong minded enough to possibly achieve her ultimate goal, which is not to be part of the 3%. These two support each other, but under the microscope that is the “Process,” both strengths and weaknesses are explored for the purpose of elimination. In their case what helped them in the beginning will serve as a possible ending. I am interested to see how their love will play out in Season Two.

Johanna and Raphael played by Viviane Porto and Rodolfo Valente are worthy antagonists, we love them and love to hate them. Johanna is a bad ass, but she is also vulnerable and as a woman on the mainland, much like in Episode 4, men rule with physical brut and an accident has her on the run from one of the most ruthless men on the land. She has to beat the “Process” or face sudden death. We think Raphael is the will do anything guy to be part of the 3%, but there is so much more to him than meets the eye.

The 3% was shot in San Paulo, Brazil. When I started watching the scene where the 20 year olds were making their processional march to the Process Center, the hill structure seemed to be reinforced with materials that visually reminded me of the Barrios from the film “City of God.” And guess who the director/ executive producer is of the 3%, Cesar Charlone, the director of photography from “City of God.” This project is thought provoking to say the least. In America we have the 1% of the extremely wealthy, although they live among the rest of us, all be it withing guarded communities, do have access to the best education, the best healthcare, the best social networks to continue to maintain their status. Children born into the 1% are generally born into an advantage that has nothing to do with ability. The idea of the 3% is to level the playing field and to have a society based on true merit. The problem is the Process under Ezekiel’s leadership is skewed where, death, stealing, murder, are all acceptable paths to the 3% Utopia, the question is do you want it bad enough? Fairness is relative, morality is bendable, and if at the end of it you can live with yourself and tell yourself you deserve it, because you did earn it, quite literally by any means necessary, then you will be part of that 3%. As quiet as it is kept suicide happens, and the first murder happened on the “Offshore.” There is also the idea of Big Brother. There are cameras all around the mainland. There is probably enough data accumulated on each person before the “Process,” to predict their success before they set foot on the training grounds. That cheats the system. Then there is the question of how children fit into Utopia and what role Religion has on society at large.

Final thoughts – very good first season. Looking forward to the last two eliminated characters to stay on for the next season. We end with a mini submarine going to the “Offshore.” So next season we will see both the Mainland and the Offshore. Ezekiel wants to oversee Michele’s training at the Recovery Center on the Offshore – he made a possible slip in the very first episode, where he asked “do you think I am helping him?” He might be, and I will surely be watching the next installation to find out. Pedro Aguilera, Writer, of this beautiful piece of work, you have gained a fan.

Unapologetically,

Friday Jones

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Open Letter to My 2016 Elected Officials

UNITED WE STAND

President Elect Donald Trump
US Senator Kama D. Harris
US Representative Karen Bass
CA State Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas
LA County Superior Court Judge Debra R. Archuleta
LA County Superior Court Judge Efrain M. Aceves
LA County Superior Court Judge Susan J. Townsend
LA County Superior Court Judge Kin L. Nguyen

At the closing of an election that was filled with hate mongering, a rise in the visibility of the American Terrorist Group known as the Klu Klux Klan and a Presidential candidate that will go down in infamy for his statement “grab her by the pussy,” I feel compelled to write you all so that you understand my views as a tax paying constituent, as a mother, as a former small business owner, as a volunteer, as a woman, as a member of the “99%,” of what my expectations are of you in your role as an elected Government Official and how you legislate and adjudicate the law.

The idea of Government Officials as Public Servant and what is expected in that capacity can be misguided by people in general. From my perspective you are my employee, it is my tax dollars that pays your salary and affords the employee benefits that you reap from retirement and pension plans to medical benefits. In many cases in your capacity your employee benefits are more substantial than the average worker across the country. As your employer I want to make clear where I stand on various issues and as my Elected Official I expect for you to legislate and adjudicate laws that are reflective of my expectations of you. I will be reviewing your performance and I will continue over the next four years to see where you have deviated from representing me while under my employ.

1.) America was founded steeply under the idea of there being a clear understanding of “Separation of Church and State.” It is part of the First Amendment and states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Individuals of the Muslim faith have a right to worship and dress according to their believes in the same manor as individuals of the Christian faith or the Jewish faith. I saw a Tweet yesterday where a Muslim woman out of fear encouraged her fellow sisters to not wear their Hijab head coverings out of fear that they would be assaulted. That is unacceptable and the messaging that comes from your respective offices needs to reflect that.

2.) Women’s Reproductive Rights and the proposed de-funding of Planned Parenthood. I personally do not believe that men in general should have an opinion on this subject because they do not have a uterus. In the realm of “Separation of Church and State,” I do not believe that any public official should be allowed to cast votes on these matters based on their religious views, because they are effectively legislating their personal religious views and imposing them on people who may not have the same religious view or who may not even identify with religion all together. Men have no idea of what the emotional side of making the decision to abort a fetus feels like or what the physical recovery after such a procedure feels like. In many cases particularly with young people and not so surprisingly, adult males will ask their girlfriend or bed buddy or wife to abort a child because they are not prepared as men financially or emotionally to parent. These are personal choices that should not be mandated by individuals with a religious agenda who happen to be seated in a governmental position where they can influence the law. Rae Carruth was convicted of killing his girlfriend for not aborting their child. Leave Roe V Wade in tact. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource for family planning ie birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, breast cancer screenings, prostate cancer screenings, male infertility, and fibroid discovery and treatment for low income individuals. When I had my business and could no longer afford $750 medical insurance coverage for me and my children, Planned Parenthood is where I turned for OBGYN Care. The care I received was invaluable and lead to quick treatment of fibroids that had returned to my uterus. De-funding of Planned Parenthood to meet some religious agenda is completely unacceptable.

3.) Obamacare – I personally do not like the way this plan was written. I do however believe it was a necessary step in the right direction in creating a Universal Health Care System for the country. This particular legislation has room for improvement as it heavily benefits medical insurance companies to the detriment of people in need of health care. Repealing it, particularly when you have a great medical benefits package as an Elected Government Official is not acceptable. The years leading up to the roll-out of the law, the medical insurers in California increased premiums at a rate of 20% for five years each year leading up to January 1, 2014. They systematically doubled their profits because they did not know how the law was going to impact their bottom line. The goal of Obamacare was to get people insured so they could get medical treatment. I think the goal should be for people to be able to afford medical treatment, not for medical insurance companies and their shareholders to make profits that are not shared with members. I believe that 20%-40% of annual profit should be returned to members and mandated by law. I believe another 10% should go to a Student Loan Payoff Account for Doctors. Doctor’s graduate with enormous debt and should have an assisted way to pay that debt down and the American people deserve to not go bankrupt by having a medical emergency. It will take me 2 years to pay off an a single trip to the emergency room that I experienced in October of 2015. It is ridiculous that wellness can put you in the poor house over night. There should also be a sliding scale for when people go from poverty level income to their earning potential where they supplement State run programs until they are fully employed and no longer need state programs like Medi-Cal.

4.) The 13th Amendment; Laws in general. When people have served their time in jail for a crime they committed, including a felony conviction, their debt to society has been paid. They should be entitled to vote, they should be allowed to work without their criminal record being a factor, unless it is a sex crime or a violent crime. Stop and frisk should apply to Wall Street in the same way it applies to “inner city” neighborhoods. The NYPD’s July 2016 cocaine drug sting led to the arrest and almost slap on the wrist charges for elitist, young, wealthy Chipotle Executive, Merrill Lynch Banker, Wall Street Accountant, Huffington Post Blogger, Fox Producer these people are not above the law and apparently random stop and frisk will work on Wall Street as effectively as it will in the inner city. Teenagers convicted with hard jail sentences for selling crack cocaine should be forced into mandatory education with emphasis on business and then released. There is part of our legal system that should be punitive, but it should also rehabilitate where it makes the most sense. Male youth in particular that sell drugs do so to feel like the man, to provide usually under circumstances, where their earning potential is minimal based on existing education and or circumstances. You cannot slap the wrist of someone that sells cocaine, and then throw someone under the bus when they sell crack. Felons that have done work programs while incarcerated should have guaranteed employment with the agencies that employed them in jail. Working California wildfires while in jail, but being unable to be hired by any State/ Municipal Fire Department after serving your time is ludicrous.

5.) Electoral College – New System please as it undermines voting democratically.

In closing white men in particular that seemed to support President Elect Trump are full of rhetoric and entitlement. The United States of America’s first immigrants arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Since then people have come from all over the world, Ellis Island in New York saw many immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Britain, Scandinavian countries, Hungarians, Poland, Hungaria, Syria, Turkey, and Armenia. Forty percent of all Americans can trace their ancestry to the 60 year period where Ellis Island was open. It closed in 1910 before women could vote, before the end of Jim Crow, before the Civil Rights Act and the people that came from these Eurocentric countries had a leg up on enslaved African descendants by merely arriving on America’s shores. The idea that anyone needs to go back to where they came from as seen in some of the Klu Klux Klan sentiment shared during this election is based on some ill conceived notion of superiority. The deficiency that these white men seem to feel in their lives and the white women that voted for President Elect Trump is a result of their life choices and they should wake up look in the mirror and understand that they are responsible for their situation. Blaming others that are of a different ethnicity for not being where you hoped you would be in life is escapism at best. For the immigrants that have crossed the border and are working illegally and who have children born in this country, they should be fast tracked for work visa’s so they can work above the table and be taxed like the rest of us and it should be mandatory that they apply for citizenship the “right” way and be allowed to go through the current process or face deportation. When people say my grand-parents immigrated the right way – this typically means they arrived through Ellis Island when America was open to European Countries. We no longer live in that world, and people are not immigrating from European countries only. Securing borders is another issue all together and I will save that for another time.

To the President Elect, I sincerely hope you are able to deliver on a better economy, more small business opportunities, more job opportunities, better healthcare, etc. for the masses of people that voted for you. I am not sure if they can handle a shortfall as there was so much hate and negativity expressed in their values, that they will look to continue to blame fellow Americans for their life circumstance. That is a brew for civil war, the one thing I do not think any of us wants. May God Bless America, the land that I love!

Unapologetically,

Friday Jones

Contact me on Twitter FridayJones1 or on Facebook The Real Friday Jones

Luke Cage Netflix

The much anticipated Luke Cage has arrived! I am so geeked I do not even know where to begin and this project is so personal, you will have to forgive my bias. Disclaimer spoilers in review.

First of all Twitter has been ablaze leading up to the air date and every handle from @BlackGirlNerds to @Variety were talking about this show. And for folks that do not understand diversity in Hollywood, my response is Black Women love Black Men as much as the Kardashian’s and Luke Cage is like overdosing on a Hershey’s bar starring Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, and a lesser known Jaiden Kaine in a supporting role. I think anyone that grew up in the 70’s or early 80’s is a closet comic book fanatic because we grew up on superheroes and Marvel and Netflix are winning with Luke Cage.

I first heard about Luke Cage when a coincidental encounter occurred between Showrunner, Cheo Hadari Coker, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest. Besides being a fan, Cheo had met Ali’s lesser known sister, aka Friday Jones, who was a fairly cool person, and she actually was part of the ice breaker to their first conversation (that is my version of the story and I am sticking to it). That conversation led to Ali Shaheed Muhammad and his producing partner Adrian Younge scoring one of the best music compilations that television has seen. Adrian Younge’s Venice Dawn is also a must see 10 piece band if they are in a town near you. The music from Luke Cage is front and center to the scenes as they unfold, with amazing cameo performances from Raphael Saadiq, Faith Evans, Charles Bradley, Jidenna, Method Man, The Delfonics, and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

I have been a cheerleader for Luke Cage since day one as I am unaware of any other Comic story being told by a team of African American talent. Cheo Hadari Coker a journalist for VIBE Magazine, a staple in Hip Hop Culture, also known for writing and producing for NCIS, and the Biggie Biopic Notorious. Charles Murray, known for writing and producing on “Son’s of Anarchy”, and one of my favorite art house independent films “Things Never Said.” is also part of this executive team that has made magic happen. Charles told me he was part of Luke Cage when I bumped into him on set at John Singelton’s FX Series “Snowfall.” I think I have been one of the most Geeked people waiting for this show to drop.

Luke Cage a spin off of Jessica Jones takes place in a corrupt Harlem where the underworld of drugs, guns, and prostitution, run alongside politics and gentrification. The family on both sides of the law is Mariah Dillard played beautifully by Alfre Woodard and her cousin Cornell Stokes aka Cottonmouth. Dillard is the sophisticated Harlem, born into one of the most powerful underworld families in Harlem, and she has been educated and is taught to be the brains of the family. Stokes is broken, the soft hearted musician inducted into the crime family taught how to run the family business and how to make dirty money clean. These two teeter on the “right way” to return pride to a broken Harlem.

Without giving too many plot points away, Victor “Shades” one of our beloved actor’s from Son’s of Anarchy, Theo Rossi is the key to who is really running Harlem. Cage who is almost an unwilling superhero cannot help but to be the good guy as the streets of Harlem Heat up and Henry “Pop” Hunter remind him of who he is, an indestructible Black Man. Although he does meet his match when he encounters Diamondback played by Erik LaRay Harvey. Diamondback is the character comics are made for, the villain we love to hate. The onscreen treats form me were Zip, played by the actor Jaiden Kaine – I know some of what he gave up to pursue his acting dream, it is nice to see it paying off. And one of my most favorite characters Misty Knight played by Simone Missic. And I cannot forget to mention Rosario Dawson’s return as Claire Temple, the one person strong enough to save Luke Cage. I like that this particular role is played by a woman as the genius/ scientist in comics tend to be masculine roles.

I enjoyed the first installation and after hearing Ted Serandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix at the USC Entertainment Law Conference two weekends ago speak on how well this particular Netflix series was doing on an international level, I know that there will be a second season, the only question is when. When I saw the credits roll and saw the different languages that Luke Cage had been translated to, and flash back to January 2015 at Sundance when Ted Serandos told a room that Netflix had entered 138 foreign markets, how American content featuring African American casts does internationally will be huge. In Hollywood there is this consensus, particularly with large studios that African American film and African American talent does not translate well in foreign markets. I think this is the show that will challenge that idea, particularly when you consider Luke Cage as a Marvel Asset is maybe a “C” level character. He is not Spiderman. For a “C” level asset to translate internationally into viewers creates a new level of opportunity for African American storytellers, writers, producers, and actors. My hat is off to Cheo Hadari Coker for being the brains behind Luke Cage and having the passion and conviction to tell the story as he saw it.

I hope Harlem can in the second season be a more mysterious landscape to produce a more diabolical Mariah Dillard, I kind of want to see her have a love interest – even if it is crazy Diamondback, or Shades. Because music is such a strong key to the success of Luke Cage, I would like to see a character like a “Songbird,” someone you are not sure is on the good side or the bad side, and in OG Batman style – let’s see more orchestrated hand to hand combat or “new technology” beyond a bullet, guns are almost easy because Luke Cage is indestructible – besides the one bullet that can pierce his skin – what other creations are attempted that fail. A character does not need more than one Kryptonite, but have fun trying. It will be interesting seeing how Luke Cage get’s out of jail a second time and where his relationship with Misty will go now that Claire Temple has his back.

A fan in waiting. Well Done!

Unapologetically,
Friday

Follow me on Twitter @FridayJones1 or on Facebook The Real Friday Jones

Presenting Princess Shaw

I do not have enough thumbs to turn up for this film. It is a must see for music lovers, dreamers, people who believe in infinite possibility, and anyone who believes in the power of love. Disclaimer spoilers in review.

I watched “Presenting Princess Shaw” on Netflix at work yesterday and I was so moved, I was in an emotional place all day waiting to write a review for this film. A music documentary that is shot in a way to allow you to be a voyeur into the world of Princess Shaw. In the modern era of YouTube, Princess Shaw has a channel and she sings and posts moments from her day to day that are so personal, yet so reflective of the trials and tribulations of the human experience that she pulls you in with her vulnerability and honesty.

Almost one million miles away, on the other side of the world, a man essentially becomes a fan and a love story begins. Kutiman, a musician from Israel known for taking bits and pieces of musical entries from YouTube and piecing them together to compose an original song, essentially subscribes to Princess Shaw’s story and creates an original music score to wrap around one of her acapella songs.

The film written and directed by Ido Haar, in modern documentary form follows Princess Shaw on her journey to find a producer that can write music to the songs she has written. What you see is her fearlessness and her willingness to sing in front of anyone, to travel to find the right producer, to bear her personal hurts to the world in an unapologetic way. And then you see the story of Kutiman and how he falls in love with Princess Shaw, not in an amorous way, but in a human way, he loves her voice and her story so much that he does something he has never done before which is he makes her a star to his internet fans by creating a beautiful song, and Princess Shaw goes viral. The moment when Princess Shaw a Black woman from New Orleans meets Kutiman a bearded Israeli man is pure magic.

I was in tears watching this film. Princess Shaw’s voice reminds me of Alice Smith and Andra Day in places. Her story of childhood sexual abuse and the complexity of her relationship with her mother reminds me so much of my own and I see pieces of me in her. And as this woman actualizes to become more of who she is, the Universe sends her a human angel, Kutiman who allows her to be loved in a way so that she can create and express. In their meeting the world becomes smaller not just for them, but for anyone that sees this film or hears their music. I was in Japan a few years ago with my brother on tour. His band performed as the sun was setting and Stevie Wonder and Taylor Swift were also on the line-up. In the elementary school system in Japan all children learn English, however by the time they reach adulthood – the language is lost due to non use. While at the stadium in Osaka which was filled to the brim, I saw a sea of people singing songs, dancing in the crowd, knowing the lyrics, crying in places, and being moved by one of the universal languages, music. This is what “Presenting Princess Shaw” reminds me of. There is a line in my book where I say I am a well of emotion and have been waiting my whole life to express love and I have so much of it to give, that is what the gift of Princess Shaw’s songs are to the world, gifts of love.

Go see this film. I am also linking an article that is like a follow up to the film. Enjoy reading lovers – in my Princess Shaw voice! Life After Going Viral

Unapologetically,
Friday Jones

Follow on Twitter FridayJones1 or TheRealFridayJones on Facebook

Walking Dead Season 6 Finale Thoughts

Walking Dead Season 7

Walking Dead Season 7

With Season 7 Premier just days away I wanted to give some thoughts on how Season 6 Finale ended. I assure you this commentary has not been expressed in other reviews, and is a sure fire sign why diversity in the writing room matters.

As I watched the final scene, you know the one, starting at 47:00 minutes into the episode where the whistling starts as Rick and his crew are desperately trying to get a very ill Maggie medical help. As they scurry in the dark lights come on from different angles with images of cars, men, and guns. After the camera does a 360, the audience learns with the crew that they are completely surrounded and in deep ish by 48:00 minutes into the episode.

In that moment I was undecided if I was going to watch Season 7. I was actually mad at the show. The post apocalyptic world looked too much like the current patriarchal world that we currently live in. I mean I could watch people, men, women, and children survive by slaying undead zombies for survival. But this season was more about how the survivors dealt with each other ending off with the face of much awaited Negan, but he was leader of what visually was an all male wrecking crew with no morals or scruples. Looking at that scene as Rick and his people were on their knees at the mercy of Negan and his band of Neanderthals – all I could think about was the film Hotel Rwanda. At the end of that film I believe there was a statistic given that at the time of the Rwanda genocide the male to female ratio was something like 10 males to every one female. That is what this scene looked like to me. In Rwanda with the dominance of all of that male energy One Million people were slaughtered. And now here we are with a barb wire wrapped baseball bat and a group of men, women, and one teenager on their knees with one of them about to get slaughtered by King of the Crazies, Negan. And in this band of Crazies no one, not one of the men step forward to stop the madness.

Then Negan defers to Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo – he might have well said the old verbage of pick a Nigga by the toe, because they were in the woods and might as well had been hunting Rick and his crew like they were a group of run away slaves. The ending of this Season made me think that Season 7 was going to be more unveiling of the already existing male dominated world that we currently live in, needing only to turn on the nightly news to see the effects of humanity in an unbalanced world. I do not know if I can sign up for that AMC.

This scene may have been the death of a loyal fan.

Walking Dead Season 6 Finale

Walking Dead Season 6 Finale

Unapologetically,
Friday

Love Letter for Mr. Eloquent

Destiny Unfolding

Destiny Unfolding

Today is not the first time I told you I love you, but is the first time anyone has asked me “Can I love you back?” My response was an emphatic “Yes.” My “I love you so much,” received the reply “I love you more,” and all I could do was smile.

Friday Jones exhaled today. Finding love did not start with you. It actually started with me about four years ago. It is very ironic that my meeting you in terms of timing was about the time I started planning for the release of my book. I had completed a journey of becoming whole and on a train ride that was orchestrated by the universe, we both were not just on the train at the same time, but were seated only one seat away from each other. I sometimes wonder what my now would be like had you not spoken, had you not looked at me with those eyes. I marvel at all of the things that happened that made my being on that train at that time possible. That one moment in time has taught me that all moments are precious. Someone dear to me passed away, I pulled funds together to book a last minute flight, I took off work for two days, but I caught my flight the morning I met you and Phili was supposed to be a very short layover. Wind literally shut down all airports in NYC and I decided to take a train rather than sit waiting. I called my cousin to see if she could pick me up from the airport and take me to the train station, and she, her husband, and son were just leaving a birthday party and within 15 or 20 minutes I was on my way to the 30th Street Station. Amtrak wanted $99 but the Amtrak woman told me that for $25 I could take a local train into the city. My cousin’s husband picked up the time schedules, got me to the SEPTA ticket line with only minutes to spare to find the right track where the next train was leaving. Everyone literally ran up the stairs to the platform so I could make that train and I wound up next to you. If I live to see forever – this will be my testimony to fate manifested.

I thought you were a cutie pie for sure, but the two things that stuck out the most were how well you speak and in the words of D’Angelo “those dreamy eyes.” When I was leaving to go back to LA, you texted me “… take care of all that for me until I see you again, I’m really looking forward to our future.” I did not really know what to make of that – but the words did stick with me.

As time passed, and I started to get to know you, I wanted to know more about you, I wanted to spend my time with you – whether it was talking on the phone or texting, I knew I was liking you and your energy. You were what I needed in terms of your words and actions, you were a breath of fresh air. I have never really had to wonder what you thought of me or what you thought of us because you expressed your feelings so frequently, I was disarmed. Your way of being allowed me to be myself, and I think that is really what anyone seeking a real relationship wants, to be more of who they are. This is the first time in a really long time I have not been afraid to be with someone, this is the first time ever that my mind has not been spinning a mile a minute with worried thoughts. That is so huge. My energy is so vibrant because you are that dude. You say often I am your dream come true, you are the dream I had almost given up on.

In this moment of time, I am so excited to simply enjoy the ride and see where life takes us together. I love you so much Mr. Eloquent and you do indeed have my heart. I am also very much looking forward to our future. You reminded me today that you asked if you could keep me, and that I said yes, and how you intended to keep me to that promise…do not play cause SamNSue.com have some lovely Morganite rings that I like!

XO,
The Real Friday Jones
aka Mrs. Eloquent

A Real Talk on Race 2016

A 17-year-old civil rights demonstrator, defying an anti-parade ordinance of Birmingham, Ala., is attacked by a police dog on May 3, 1963.  On the afternoon of May 4, 1963, during a meeting at the White House with members of a political group, President Kennedy discussed this photo, which had appeared on the front page of that day's New York Times.   (AP Photo/Bill Hudson)

A 17-year-old civil rights demonstrator, defying an anti-parade ordinance of Birmingham, Ala., is attacked by a police dog on May 3, 1963. On the afternoon of May 4, 1963, during a meeting at the White House with members of a political group, President Kennedy discussed this photo, which had appeared on the front page of that day’s New York Times. (AP Photo/Bill Hudson)

What do you say when your “White” friend calls to ask “What is the deal with Black Lives Matter?”

In “Black” culture there are sayings like “children are to be seen not heard; don’t talk back to adults; think before you speak.” Respect has circulated around a lot in media surrounding the last two weeks of shootings in the USA following the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the 5 Officers shot in Dallas and the 3 Officers shot in Baton Rouge Louisiana. The idea is that respect is now something that is given and not earned. That is a two-way street. Black People in particular are always astonished when White Kids say crazy things to their parents, including name calling which we know would not fly in our homes. So when my friend who I do love dearly called me – this is kind of how that conversation went.

So what is the deal with Black Lives Matter, I am a humanist and all lives matter to me. I kind of don’t get it.

That is kind of the point that you do not get it, but if you believe that all lives matter, then you have to support the idea of Black Lives Matter. Did you see my rant on Twitter? Is that why you are calling?

No, I really wanted insight.

Hmm I kind of wish you had read what I posted on Twitter – then we might have a starting point, but as best as I can explain it, the average White person does not look at the relationship of African people, African American people within the context of time. And I am not really talking as far back as slavery – that is part of it, the beginning if you will. People like me, born in the 1970’s are the first generation of Black people born with any real sense of freedom in this country. And although some of the money behind Black Lives Matter is questionable, the 10 list of demands that they came up with is actually reasonable and would benefit all Americans. I cannot recall them all, but here are the ones I can remember:

• An end to Police policing themselves – that does not work and across different industries that has not worked. So create community based or independent review boards.
• All officers should wear body cameras and foster transparency.
• This is one is more of a society thing and not a Black Lives Matter demand, but officers are trained to shoot to kill and it seems to escalate situations and there has to be a Federal standard across the board that reflects our society to not be kill oriented. To injure and restrain, rather than shoot to kill, and to de-escalate situations where the public has an encounter with law enforcement.

Statistically more White people actually die at the hands of law enforcement, and even with this knowledge there are White people who will not get on board with Black Lives Matter when numbers show they would benefit the most. I have seen and heard such terrible things on social media and it is sad. Black people disproportionately die at the hands of law enforcement when compared to percentage of society and that is not something that can be ignored.

I went on to tell her about the things that I did tweet on Twitter and how the “All Lives Matter” campaign was not one of solidarity with “Black Lives Matter” it was a counter measure used as if to discount the focus on Black Lives, to silence the cry from Black people – because all people are a priority. And my challenge to that idea is steeped in history and was what my tweets reflect:

• January 1, 1923 when the town of Rosewood Florida was burned to the ground by White People.
• June 1, 1921 when Black Wall Street, Greenwood section of Tulsa Oklahoma was burned to the ground by White People.
• Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was conducted on Black Males from the 1930’s – the 1972.
• Eugenics program in Puerto Rico sterilizing women, of color from the 1930’s – the 1970’s.
• Brown vs Board of Education ended segregation in schools in 1954.
• Civil Rights Act of 1964 went into law.
• CIA and Freeway Rick Ross unloaded tons of crack cocaine in Los Angeles to pay for US Government war in Nicaragua in the 1980’s.
• Predatory loans were placed in African American and Latino communities leading up to the 2008 real estate bubble.
• Flint Michigan water crises 2014.

I went on to tell her that my great grandmother died at 106 years old in 2012. There is this idea in White communities that her stories and family folklore of her life experiences in this country are somehow not passed on when things are said like “get over it,” but as her great-grand daughter – I know her life stories. I went on to tell her how my grandmother who is still alive and is 86 years old has shared her stories – and those stories are not pleasant or even fair, but being born when they were born in this country as Black women – life in the South was pre-determined and that is a reality.

My friend went on to tell me how her grandmother was a racist and she was from the South. She went on to tell me she thankfully was not raised like that because her father brought her to California to live and she was raised around both Black and Latino people. I had to then share with my friend that when it comes to old White people – I move cautiously around them because the reality is when I look at an old White person I do not know what side of the Civil Rights movement they were on and I do not make assumptions. I wait to see how the interact with me and I take no offense for the older people that I have encountered that have chosen not to interact with me – their issue and ism is theirs to deal with not mine.

My friend went on to say how because she was raised in a mixed community she does not really look at a person’s race, she just wait’s to see whether they are an asshole or not. I told her I hold a similar litmus test, which she could see from when we worked together in Real Estate – I as hiring manager for the accounting department had a rainbow coalition. What matters to me on a personal level is who are you as an individual and in the work place what matters is can you do what I need you to do at a high level of performance. Even accents do not bother me – and she reminded me of that fact with one hire, and I said well he was also the quickest termination because of his performance and people could not understand him over the phone – which for our business was a problem. But race does matter – if you ask me to describe someone – I will lead with that and get into features and detail.

I went on to tell my friend how I was recently watching a couple on HGTV “Beach Front Bargain Hunt,” and how they were buying a condo in Virginia Beach and for their sake I hope Virginia Beach had changed. I told her on my senior trip in High School, we took a bus to Virginia Beach. Here we were kids from NYC on a vacation having a good time. Like Venice Beach where there are shops to buy souvenirs, we entered several local shops and were scrutinized, made to feel unwelcome, and were told to our faces we were thieves. I have been working since I was 14 years old, and like many of my class mates we also had jobs through the school working in lower Manhattan and at businesses on Wall Street – we had plenty of spending money. We walked into maybe the third store and were greeted unkindly and at that point we walked out and tipped some displays over and walked out, then we went on to enjoy the beach. We were insulted as a group because assumptions were made, because we were Black youth. I told her on that same trip the group had gotten food to eat at the hotel and I didn’t want what they had – I had seen a Wendy’s or something just two short blocks from our hotel and I made the mistake of walking alone. I walked the first block and in the middle of the second block was a blue pick-up truck with three very blonde teen aged White males. I felt apprehensive because they were males and I was a female walking alone – but I knew I only had half a block to go – but I was in my mind creating an exit route just in case. Those guys started with pick-up lines that went from “hey baby” to “nigga bitch,” just because I did not accept their advances. For all I knew they could have tossed me in the back of the truck and I would have disappeared into thin air. I kept it moving. For the sake of this couple on HGTV I sincerely hope things have changed cause as an adult you could not pay me to go to Virginia Beach.

All she could say was wow. I also told her the average White person also does not consider the Black experience. If you submit to any ideology other than Martin Luther King where Civil Rights is concerned, it is deemed unacceptable. I told her all of the backlash that Beyonce’ received because of her dancers outfits at the Super Bowl were perceived to be like the Black Panthers. There are those of us that do not have a problem with the organization – the personal relationships we have with friends and family range in ideology from Martin to Malcolm. So to now call the Black Panthers Terrorists in 2016 is debatable – because for some Black people you are talking about our parents or our uncles and aunts that had to make a choice about how to be and feel more protected in their Black skin in the United States of America during the 1960’s. And I reminded my friend that it has only been about 40-50 years that as a nation, America has had any true freedom for Black people. And that 40-50 years is in my lifetime, and my mother is still alive, and my grandmother is still alive, and my great-grandmother was alive until 2012. So I have 3 generations of family folklore of women that grew with this country as African, Black American Women, as the country has tried to define Black people. So to me yes Black Lives Matter and the relationship that Police Officers have had with Black People in the United States of America over the four generations of women in my family that have lived in this country during the same amount of time has been abysmal. As a country the better we are able to show that through interaction with each other that Black Lives Matter, the better all people in this country will be.

She thanked me, because according to her that she truly did not know, and now that she has a better understanding, she can move forward with that understanding. Then we got onto lighter things, work, kids, and travel – namely when am I coming to see her and her kids – it is on my list of things to do!!

Walking in the shoes of another human being and their experiences is not easy to do. Try it sometime, and not Halloween in a costume, talk to a real person, about their life and learn something about yourself and who you intend to be with your life. That is how we grow humanity, by being able to see each other’s humanity.

Unapologetically,

Friday Jones,
FridayJones1 on Twitter

Fifty Shades of Grey – Through the Eyes of Friday Jones

50 shades of grey

I have not read the books and I am just seeing the movie for the first time in the privacy of my home over the Memorial Day Weekend. Not quite the way to honor our military… but ….moving on.

I have heard so much about this film. I started a new job in February and for the first two months a woman who is quite the librarian type who lives alone with her dog gave 20 minute recap of the books every morning for two months. The most consistent comments that I heard from die hard fans have been, they did not like that the film did not disclose how Christian Grey obtained his wealth, sex scenes were not over the top, and why her, why Anastasia.

After watching this film, none of those points matter. If you know my story, you know there have been some bruises about sex and trust. This film to me was about how tortured Christian Grey is as a man. Born to a crack addict prostitute who saw un-imagineable things by age four and who from what I gather had very dark and tragic things done to him. We have heard stories about those kind of children being sold for sex so their parents could get their crack, being burned with cigarettes, or beaten for pleasure – these are explicitly said at his parents house when Ana feels burns in Christain’s hair line – this is where Christian Grey’s defensive behavior, cut throat business tactics, his ability to read people, and his deviant sexual appetite coupled with his inability to love all come from. And at four years old, after having what was a dark life the Grey family adopts him into privilege and safety and as an adolescent Mrs. Robinson makes this fragile boy her “submissive” for six years between the ages of 16 and 22 years of age. Then fifteen women later into his adulthood and his rise to fortune and prestige in his own rite at the age of 26 here comes Anastasia, the Virgin girl with puppy dog eyes, that makes him feel safe, and moves his soul and he wants her.

How do I know this….oh I have lived a life readers, and when you understand how fucked up life can be at an early age, and you meet that someone that has a little “je nes sais quoi” you want to give them your world and your soul. His world happens to be that of luxury. His soul – that is where things get complicated because the princess life comes with the drawback of his demons. And the reality is he does not know how to love, and is challenged by the fact that he loves her. That person for me was the college BF and that elevator scene, you know the kiss, I had that moment after my college BF returned from an interview with the Clorox Company in San Francisco, and that kiss where he rushed through my front door on a little row house on 5th and O Street, NW Washington DC, and threw me up against the brick wall and kissed me with such purpose – scene was like a flashback. He wants her, no need to question why, she has “it.”
Unlike other women that may have been experienced, or that may have seen Mr. Grey and the opportunity to be his submissive as a role in the Disney fantasy that all girls grow up on, now with the revised version of “The Bachelorette” now selling fantasy to the next generation, Anastasia has an innocence about her and it draws him in – she literally adds color to his grey. He tells her he is “fifty shades of fucked up.” By the time she learns what that means, she has fallen for him. And so the saga begins. The fairytale is not quite what most women would sign up for, and that is a refreshing counterpoint in a Disney world.

I will not jump ahead and read the books. I will wait for the rest of the trilogy to unfold. But well done. It is unfortunate that people cannot see beyond the sex.

And now my two cents. Now I would have cast this differently – honestly the two actors seem like every day people – they are not what I would categorically categorize as standard Hollywood sexy, but perhaps that is a good thing. And am I the only one thinking – play room needs all new equipment – forgive me but I do not want my ass paddled by a paddle that has potentially spanked 15 naked asses. Same goes for the bedroom – as beautiful as it was, it would have been remodelled in a hot minute, no leftover anything in a billionaire world. I do not know where the actor that plays Mr. Grey is from, but he is obviously not American – please get him a dialect coach for the next two movies. And I read in the trades that actor Jamie Dornan is asking for more money to go full frontal in the next film – as naked as Dakota Johnson had to be for this one, please do not pay him more for full frontal his compensation should be equal to his female counterpart – but please do cut his bush, cause, hairy Johnsons are not very appealing on camera. Film is also a great conversation point for sexuality and pushing the limits of pleasure. Well done film, a fan has been born.

Unapologetically,

Friday Jones

Follow me on twitter @FridayJones1 or on Facebook

SONY Email Leaks – Stink on a Global Level

So the SONY Email leak is the funniest unscripted read I have had in a long time (but now that I think about it, the last good read was Aramid Entertainment against Relativity, but wait Sony slate was part of that lawsuit too)! The humor of course is in its truth. So Hollywood is racist, sexist, penis obsessed, filled with nepotism, and run by a bunch of egotistical individuals, certainly not new news. I mean Stacy Smith from USC Annenberg Center on Communication has the statistics on the inequities of Hollywood, but I must admit as much of a numbers person as I am, the transcript of emails certainly show how rampant these attitudes are.

But let’s step back a minute, cause America is in a protesting state of being currently and perhaps by a small stroke of luck we will take a stand against Sony where it counts, on their bottom line. According to Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony Corp since 2012, “we understand how important recognition is for our creative work and how that corresponds to increased revenue,” according to February 25, 2014 article in Variety. Sony is basically owned 42.3% by Foreign Institutions and Individuals, 18.5% by Japanese Institutions, and 33.5% by Japanese Individuals and others according to March 31, 2014 reporting by Sony Global. What I get on how shareholders let executives run amuck is they don’t give a damn about horrific practices as long as they collect dividends. America consider not buying Sony’s creative works and electronics particularly over this Christmas season.

Amy Pascal’s “should I ask President Obama if he liked Django Unchained,” at least that was a Weinstein/ Columbia Pictures collaboration, but come on Scott Rudin “12 Years A Slave,” is a Fox Searchlight film. Comments are distasteful and makes one wonder what moronic offering would you two have for an audience with Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, or Princess Masako.

Scott Rudin’s apology “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive – and not funny at all. To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.” This apology sounds a lot like a non-apology apology which gives it very light weight.

Keith Le Goy – the young lady that alleges discrimination, bullying, name calling, offensive language by you – I just hope she finds legal counsel that can filter through the leaked emails and build a case and forces a subpoena for the people that allegedly witnessed this behavior to tell the truth that results in a healthy paycheck for her and rehiring by Sony in a position where she gets to live her dream unencumbered by goy. If these are the alleged practices of an individual with his team, what kind of mischief and road blocking does he do with a film project at the international distribution level?

Back to Amy Pascal one more time, when you find out Jennifer Lawrence your A-List talent is making less than male counterparts – you are supposed to fight for her…and AA too. WTF

And back to Kaz Hirai one more time, when ”17 of those employees were raking in $1 million or more, but only one of those $1 million-plus employees is a woman. Also, analyzing the pay of the two co-presidents of production at Columbia Pictures—who have the same job—pointed to another gender-pay disparity, with Michael De Luca ($2.4 million) making almost $1 million more than Hannah Minghella ($1.5 million),” according to The Daily Beast 12/12/2014 it is time for heads to roll. The term “Off With Their Head,” communicates physically cutting off the head, but it also killed the thoughts of the people with dead ideas. At this point in time Sony has committed to investors that it will slash another $50million to $100million in costs by 2016 from the bottom line of The Sony Entertainment Group – start with this fiasco and let the firing begin. Clean house and get some diversity in the mix at the production level. Business as usual is not the appropriate response. You come from a music background, be an innovator and let some of these old executives go, with their twisted ideology, and bring new blood in. Equal pay for equal work should be a commitment from you as CEO at both the executive level and for on camera talent.

The truth about “Little White Lie”

Little White Lie

Words that come to mind from Lacey Schwart’s story: Inspiring, fearless, unapologetic. Great film that has universal truths that would appeal to a wide audience. Thank you Lacey for willing to be transparent and sharing your story. Support this indie doc – it is a good one!

If you know a bit about me and my story, from those three words, you will know Lacey Schwartz is my kind of person. I watched this film last night at Laemmle Theatre in Beverly Hills. Lacey Schwartz, happened to be born into a Jewish Family to a parents that she thought were both of European descent and she was raised under the safety net of being “white.”

As a black woman watching this film I went through a range of thoughts and in a Maury Povich world of “you are not the father,” at some point the reality was this was a story about a woman that lies to two men, lies to her family, and allows a man that is not the father raise a child that is not his until the truth rears it’s ugly head and the offspring has to face the unfortunate reality of her blackness and what that means in American Society. Lacey allowed a camera into her life, as she discovered who she really was. Most people do not know who they are beyond the constructs of the family they were born into, or the religion they grew up with, or social queues and defining based on societal beliefs. Lacey in her experience had to challenge all of those ideas and she did it in front of a camera fearlessly in an unapologetic way. Well done Lacey!

If you are not familiar with my blog – commentary can run long, because I am raw and truthful in my thoughts – so here is the full range of my thoughts as the film continued to unfold. The lie Lacey had been told all of her life was that her father had a Sicilian grandfather that she took after. For a good portion of the film, it was plausible, and like the film “Skin” white people do have African ancestry that from time to time will allow recessive genes to manifest in a fair skinned child with African features, and I think by enlarge they are ill prepared with how to manage that situation when it happens. Although this was not the truth, it was interesting that as her parents truth – neither one of them had the courage to empower this child that was going to go to public school, or explained to her what it meant in this society which is she would be viewed as a black girl. In a way their denial left a young Lacey unprepared for this world which at times is unkind. I also thought it was interesting that she considered herself white, because some white people do not consider Jewish people to be white – but the reality is anyone in a white skin, regardless of religious beliefs, gets to be white and afforded the privilege that comes with.

I also thought black people, particularly African Americans have stories of Native American heritage, Irish heritage, French heritage or some other European heritage in our family history. Many of us have an uncle, grand parent or great aunt that looks white. We are not allowed to explore our whiteness because to the outside world, the blackness of our skin does not give us permission to have a white experience outside of family gatherings where the reality is what it is.

As the story continued to unfold, I truly felt for Lacey and her father because her mom’s “Little White Lie” had major repercussions. The “Little White Lie” took choice away from her “Daddy,” and although I do not believe in sin in the Christian sense – this is one of the greatest sins a person can commit against another human being. Lacey considers her family broken and she thought she could fix it, but her dad will have to go through his own journey of forgiveness. Back in 1968 or 1977 he may have had the capacity to love her mom, in spite of the truth, but his hurt at this point runs too deeply. As far as her biological father – it was interesting to me that she thought there would or should be a connection with him, beyond accepting the physical features that Lacey inherited, this man did not raise her or claim her, there was no way for there to be a real connection with him, and certainly none comparable to the affinity that her dad clearly has for her.

Side bar – with an audience of 15-20 people, I would expect all audience questions could be answered. Because of Lacey being raised Jewish audience was predominantly Jewish – and I did feel like moderator skipped over my hand being raised for a question as if my presence made her uncomfortable and she like Lacey is biracial and Jewish – so I left. Now me and my two friends were the only black folks in the room, and the moderator if I understood her introduction correctly works for Be/chol Lashon which advocates for diversity – they need to get whatever that was together to make sure commentary is heard from everybody where possible. That on a personal note was ridiculous. So my question/ commentary never happened – but I was able to pick my daughter up on time so 10 good mommy points for me… and I have a blog so 5 bonus points for me, lol.

Unapologetically,

Friday Jones

Follow me on Twitter @FridayJones1