Why, Lordt? And other questions I have for this white woman…

So, this happened.

Last Saturday, on my way up to The Berkshires for a show, I made a pit stop at Philiipsburg Manor–an historic site located in Sleepy Hollow, NY. In the 1800’s, it was a complex operated by a family of Dutch merchants who owned 23 enslaved Africans. Similar to Colonial Williamsburg, they offer tours where you can learn the little-known story of enslavement in the colonial north. I visited on this particular day because it was Pinkster–(a Dutch-turned-African-American holiday celebrated mainly in the Hudson Valley), and having just heard about it for the first time that morning, I wanted to learn more.

Here are a few photos from my tour of the manor. Scroll thru them right quick, so we can get back to the lady in this video.

Y’all finished? Or are you done? Either way, let’s get back to the issue at hand: how did this white woman end up with this responsibility? Was Keisha on break and she thought, “I did take an African Dance class that one Saturday, and I saw the wedding scene in that Arsenio Hall movie about Africans like 2 times…I’ll fill in for you, Keisha!” I don’t have the words for what this is or how incongruous it felt or how the black woman dancer who was dancing before her was looking at her while she was dancing or for how the drummers were smirking at me while I was giving this white lady the big eyes… This is why the caged bird stopped singing; she had no more songs.

I love a good museum adventure, and learning about Pinkster was dope–especially because it was one of the very few times the enslaved were given time off. But this ish right here is why there should be a 15-20 minute limit for black people at historical sites having to do with slavery.

“But I didn’t even see the upstairs, yet. I’m gon’ get my full 14 dollars worth.”
“Ma’am, I think it’s best you head on out now, for your own peace of mind.”

Because at minute 21, some chit like this happens.

In de face, Stonewall Jackson

The venue I was working at last nite in Harrisonburg, VA put me up in the Robert E. Lee room at the Stonewall Jackson Bed & Breakfast. And I didn’t have to make the beds OR breakfast. Cause I’m free.

In de face, Stonewall!

The folks there were great and the place was super cute (see pics above). So cute, in fact, that I was willing to forgive the irony of management putting two Black comics up at the Stonewall Jackson Inn during Black History Month… But seriously folks, the whole time I was at the B&B all I could think was: This is why we celebrate Black History Month — to honor the people who fought and died to make it possible for me to be able to stay there and NOT be a servant. Because, real talk: he and his family probably owned mine (Jackson: Jackson). Sidebar, I’m not entirely sure I even know why I included that photo of me pretending to be asleep. But I guess maybe if old Stonewall is looking up at this from wherever he is now, he’d get a kick out of me napping at his crib.
YES!!! In de face!

See they got the Big Mac…

OK so I’m pretty sure the idea of this blog came about as a result of the t-shirt I was wearing during my bowling outing yesterday. Please see below:


Yes, that is a Randy Watson 1988 World Tour t-shirt. And yes, it’s THAT Randy Watson:

OK, so now that you have an insight as to my state of mind on yesterday, here goes… I’ve been known on occasion to make jokes about Kwanzaa — about how it’s not real, how it’s just an excuse to re-gift crappy handmade Christmas presents (note how it begins the day after Christmas), etc. I think the seven principles of Kwanzaa — Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith) — are important things for African peoples to focus on… but the rest of it. I don’t know. I mean, I hate to disrespect people who celebrate Kwanzaa, but in my opinion, it’s the McDowell’s of holidays.


Not sure what I’m talking about?… Then think back to the scene in Coming to America where Cleo tells Akeem about the misunderstanding between the “McDonald’s people” and his establishment.

See, they’re McDonald’s… I’m McDowell’s. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds. 

I feel like Kwanzaa is just a hodgepodge of symbols and traditions borrowed from other holidays. I imagine that if that scene were about Kwanzaa it would have gone something like this:

See, Jewish people have Hanukkah… We have Kwanzaa.

They got the menorah


We got the kinara.


Christmas is just 1 day and there are 8 days of Hanukkah. But Kwanzaa lasts for 7 days.

And then there are the symbols of Kwanzaa. Crops and corn… Really, Kwanzaa? It’s beginning to look at lot like… Thanksgiving. Plus one of the “supplemental” symbols is a poster of the seven principles. I don’t know if I can celebrate a holiday where a poster is an official symbol. Plus the man who created it is still alive and he issues an official founder’s message every year. I’m so serious. If you don’t believe me check it out for yourself.

I don’t know y’all. I don’t wanna crap all on someone’s cultural celebration. I’m just sick and tired of people wishing me a “Oh and Happy Kwanzaa too” as if all Black people are automatically on board. I mean, we have a National Anthem that only like 37 Black people know the words to. I am not one of those people. And yes, in case you were unaware there is a Black National Anthem. It’s a lovely song with powerful lyrics. And no one I know can get past the fourth line.

Lift ev’ry voice and sing til earth and heaven ring.
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise high as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmmmmmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmmmmmmm hmmm…..

In our defense, the lyrics are complicated and the melody is very tricky and spans several octaves. But in sharing that little tidbit about our anthem, I was trying to prove a point… I don’t quite remember what that point was… But I hope it made you chuckle. Have a great weekend,


She’s your queen to be…

Is it just me or does this McCain-Palin match reek of an arranged marriage? I mean, it’s clear they didn’t know each other. I just picture McCain sitting in his Barker Lounger (you know he has one) after Barack’s speech last week and Karl Rove escorting Sarah Palin into the room a’ la Eddie Murphy and Vanessa Bell Calloway in Coming to America and saying, “Senator McCain… meet your queen. I mean, your VP.”


I’m not gonna get into the politics of how I feel about Republican politics. But suffice it to say that Tina Fey 2.0 is turning out to be quite the interesting character. But really… a one-liner about hockey moms and pit bulls? Guess she saves the good bits for 30 Rock.