Quvenzhané Appreciation Day.

Warning: This post may contain strong language. Feel free to exit if such wording offends.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.

This oft-repeated line, part of a larger rhyme, has been passed on through generations. Last night, while watching the 85th Academy Awards, I saw all of the shots taken at young Quvenzhané Wallis, and wondered if the line had changed to “Clooneys and cunts, and receivers of brunts, that’s now what little girls are made of.” On a night where a little girl was having the time of her life, she was subject to jokes and humor she likely does not understand. Who am I to complain, though? Just another day in the life of a Black girl, right?

Miss Wallis has had to deal with media reporters calling her Annie (granted, she is the lead in an upcoming remake of the film), quips on the Red Carpet about which department store her dress came from, and humor about her sexuality which is low even for Seth MacFarlane. A so-called anonymous member of the Academy comments on not voting for “anyone whose name he can’t pronounce.” She takes it all in stride, even flexing her muscles in her signature “Beast it!” move from the movie, only to be called cocky by Chrissy Teigen (who is famous for whatever she does with John Legend) and a whole legion of Gawker readers. Tuck it in- your privilege is showing.

How on EARTH is a nine year old girl being a nine year old girl cocky, insufferable, and sassy? I hear these words and wonder if the Olsen twins ever got called that as they made their first millions purely on catchphrases and ‘tude. Who cares where her dress came from? She likely looked better than your favorite, and rocked it with a purse shaped like a puppy. I bet nobody questions the origin of Suri Cruise’s wardrobe, as she unofficially wins awards for being one of the best dressed kids under 10. The 2010 movie Kick Ass, featuring an 11 year old Chloe Moretz, bore a lot of controversy due to the styling of Moretz as “sexualized” and her use of that awful c-word. We want to shelter the children, right?

How come this doesn’t apply to all of them, then?

How long did reporters and other people that knew they’d have to say her name have to get the pronunciation of Quvenzhané’s name down? It’s not like the nominees were announced on February 23rd. There’s even a video where SHE says it. In my observations, this reduces many people of color I’ve known, both domestic and international, to either shorten their names or “adopt” a “more American” name. Of course, I live in a generation of people that have named their children after galaxies, bacteria strains, and their favorite foods, but a friend from Nigeria has a “tough” name? Just say what you really mean- “other” names make me uncomfortable.

Today, though, I want Quvenzhané, her parents, her family, her friends, and many admirers to rest in the fact that an amazing young woman is being bred. May she never lose her smile, her penchant for puppy purses, and the ability to “beast it” when times get rough. I want her to know that even as a little brown girl, she can still find, and keep, a portion of happy in this life- even as the world tries to stomp out every single bit of it. I want her to enjoy this moment, because it is just the first of many, many to come. I want her to know that all that she is, and all that she’s done, is truly appreciated.

Beast it with me for a Quvenzhané Appreciation Day.

By the way, if you’re still struggling with the pronunciation after all of that, it’s “kwah–VEN-juh-nay.”

Live. Love. Beast.



Words and Phrases that Need to Stay in 2012

I am not a fan of repetition.


The easiest way to annoy me is to ask me to repeat something more than twice. The second easiest way to annoy me is for you to repeat something more than once. I don’t doubt the benefits of repetition as a learning device, as it does wonders for young people when teaching them fundamentals (the alphabet, colors, cuts of beef, etc.), but I usually have to be in Nanny McBeez mode for that to not bother me. For those who don’t know, Nanny McBeez is my awesome alter ego who is a wonder with tiny people and is sort of a baby whisperer. She also accepts payments through Square reader for your convenience.


Anyway, 2013’s near here now*, and the end of the year usually brings up those “best and worst of” lists of anything that range from music to memes. To kick it all off, I submit for approval (of the Midnight Society), Words or Phrases that Need to stay in 2012:

  1. Slander: Often (incorrectly) used when one person posts an opinion that another person disagrees with. I could say “I don’t care for that dress Beyonce wore to *insert event*” and I would get hit with responses calling me “hater” and “50 shades of b*tches.” Friends, that is not slander. True slander gets people in trouble legally, and (most) opinions don’t fall in that category.
  2. Flow: Attached to hashtags on instagram, used as a suffix to seemingly ordinary events in a person’s life. Does the word ‘flow’ suddenly make your commute to work more palatable? Do you have to add #Churchflow to your pictures on Sunday for us to guess that you may have gone to church? Do I have to see your paycheck (routing numbers and all) for you to prove your #workflow is, indeed, flowing? I don’t know about you, but I always imagine Alex Mack liquefying herself when I see ‘flow’ all over the place.

    Now that’s flow.

  3. Officially: Much like flow, this word is used too often, and attached to regular events. “I’m officially at work!” “I’m officially making dinner tonight!” “I’m officially a member of Christian Mingle!” This is how the meanings of words get diluted over time. Traditionally, ‘officially’ had some kind of authority attached to it, like with legally binding documents and such. Now, we’re officially announcing our hot messes, and Beez ain’t pleased.
  4. Literally: It. Means. ACTUALLY. It is not the new ‘like’ or ‘um,’ and has never been a speech filler. In fact, I’ll let the image below, from one of my favorite cartoonists, The Oatmeal, explain exactly why this is such a gear grinder. Most of you are saying literally and don’t know what you’re talking yourselves into.

    The Oatmeal seems to share my same disdain from the word. Image is his, not mine.

  5. “It’s just the internet/twitter/tumblr/whatevernetworkyoufrequent:” Community is important to people. With technology in mind, we cannot discount the power of online communities. I know far more genuine people who I’ve networked with online moreso than the ‘crazies’ our moms would warn us about.  I’ve seen “just the internet” rally together for a cause where people in person would avert their eyes or shiftily promise to help you later. The Internet sent a man home for Christmas to see his babies after a run-in with a major airline. “Just the internet” people have helped me in uncountable ways- from couch crashing, a good meal, or even a call just to see how I was doing during a rough time. The thing is, internet people are real people, and if we can give folks in person chance after chance to either wow or disappoint us, why not hold our distanced friends to the same level? I’ve been wowed.
  6. “B****es/N***as/Unicorns/Jalapenos/*fill in the blank* Be Like…” I have hated this meme since the beginning. It’s like the “S**t ____________ Say” videos resurrected themselves in the same YEAR in written form, and I’m just not here for it. I won’t kill your joy with it because people still post and repost these on Instagram and everywhere else, but I can’t take it.

Honorable Mention 1: “Cray:” This one kind of died out on its own, thank goodness. Between the incessant repetition of the word, the ongoing arguments in hood circles, card tables, and porches across America about the etymology/spelling of the word, and Aziz Ansari (I love him, but I just had to throw him in here for reasons), cray just would not go away. Although with the impending birth of the Louis Vuitton Donkey Cub, I wonder if it will make a comeback.

Honorable Mention 2: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  Sweet Brown was funny for a little bit. She was funny in July when I first found the video. She was still a little funny in September when everybody on facebook discovered her (don’t act like you don’t know your facebook friends are at least 7-18 weeks late on current events. If you don’t know, you’re that friend). But by Halloween, I was through. Stop the memes. Stop the madness. We all know some of the things you say you don’t have time for, you’ll make time for. It’s what we do as grownups: Be semi-responsible and do things we don’t like.

So friends, what words and phrases are you hoping stay in 2012? Feel free to share below.

May Auld Dumb Sayings Be Forgot and Never Brought to Mind,

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*I totally drafted this about a month ago and couldn’t finish it. Soon enough, darlings.

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