I was traveling last year from November 2017-May 2018 on the Dinosaur Time Trek. Since it was a non-union tour my job duty among setting up and breaking down was the laundry. I have been fortunate for the last several years to live in an apartment building with laundry, so the last time I needed to step into a public washing place was 2009. I have been blissfully unaware of that world until December of 2017. What I have found is that laundromats are a incredible view of our nation. Laundromats cut across race, gender and sexual orientation. Class is different as for people who don't need to wash their own clothes, or a own a washer dryer don't have to know this life, per se. In each town I have experienced different scenarios, in D.C. it was like any hair salon on 125th st, there were mainly men selling everything they could whether, it was beauty products, undergarments, small electronics or my favorite. Yes, someone sold bacon in the bag and he only had 3 left by the time he got to us. In Pittsburgh, I suspected I was in a meth lab for the floor was uneven with the floor coming apart, it was completely empty when I entered and it was unclean. I felt too uncomfortable to sit down and at one moment I got into a mini argument with a male washer. I have found that Yelp is not reliable as for every laundry I have searched on that website. It is better to go the laundrymat before 3pm and bring cash. Pods work in every machine so far I have been too and always look for an attendant before washing. In Pittsburgh I lost some quarters in a dryer and there was no one there to help me. Laundry prices range from some of the cheapest in Concord NC and some of the most expensive in Cleveland. The experience of being in laundromats have made me appreciate how each is reflective of the socio-economic realities of their respective communities. The better maintained, usually the healthier the community. I am also surprised by the small wonders you may see, I remember being in one laundromat where a very young, black father listened to 70's soul with his infant who was wrapped within an inch of their life. Clearly, he led a peaceful home because that child was as content as possible. He presented as a single parent with a solid routine. There was a mother who had several children, who appeared to have different fathers . Her children, ranged in ages but all seemed school age but for some reason were not in school that day. They seemed restless and she looked completely overwhelmed. While sitting there I felt I could write the rest of the story and really hoping I was incorrect in my assessment. One of the most unique laundromats was in Minneapolis where I encountered my first hipster laundromat. Complete with self-important attendants with t-shirts with flippant political statements. It was one of the cleanest and well maintained places I visited while on tour. My last city was Columbus and while I was happy to never have to wash for this tour again, it was slightly bittersweet. I will miss being in so many different communities, experiencing a slice of life that you can only get at the local laundromat.
In the last year we have seen the demise of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey,Bill Cosby, Charlie Rose, Matt Laurer,possibly Morgan Freeman, the chick from Smallville, and now it's Roseanne Barr. Several of these people were involved in criminal behavior and this result was inevitable. Some are accused of being sexual inpropiety, human trafficking, sexual assault, and others of engaging in racist behavior in the media. The #timesup for men's behavior around sexual impropriety is long overdue, I don't know a woman who has not experienced some level of sexual misconduct from the mild to the extreme, including myself. This is a floodgate that has literally been bursting at the seams and is now coming through in a torrent and we have yet to see it subside anytime soon.
I am glad there is now a nationwide dialogue about accountability, it is necessary and I look forward to when this conversation includes personal and public interactions with each other and our relationship with the environment. What am I concern with is, are we holding performers to a higher standard, than others includin elected officials and the media? Kevin Spacey performs as President of the United States on the show "House of Cards" he is accused of sexual misconduct in his real life with young men and is fired from the show. That is absolutely an appropriate response, in real life we have 45 occupying the seat in the White House, there are currently 23 women who have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct. He has not been suffered one consequence, he hasn't been investigated, he hasn't been barred from certain activities involving women, he isn't referred to as a sex offender. We have Bill Cosby, he has been accused by 18 women of rape and was recently charged. He is facing a jail sentence, as a result of own conduct, his show has been pulled from every television outlet. While 45 continues to enjoy all the luxuries as before including making money from his businesses while in office.
Roseanne Barr wrote a tweet about Valerie Jarrett former Senior Advisor to my Pres. B calling her a mixture of the 'Islamic Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes". Her show was promptly cancelled by ABC, she has been dropped by her agency, her show pulled from Viacom and dropped by each television outlet. In 2014, Burnett and Downey produced a film of the Bible where Satan looked nearly identical to (then) President Obama. The scene was cut, there was very little controversy afterwoods and the film was released . There have been more than 5 Republicans who have described Michelle Obama as a primate including Mayor Charles Wasko, who was asked to step down but refused. Pamela Taylor was removed from her post but then was reinstated. Bill Hannity, Rush Limbaugh,and many others referred to President Obama as Jihad, to a p*ssy, to a terrorist, stupid, nazi and everything in between with no repercussions. The only person to actually be held accountable...another performer Rodner Figuero from Univision who referred to Michelle Obama as "from the Planet of the Apes". He should have been fired but several Republicans including Mitch McConnell has disrespected the name of my Pres. B while in office and again no repercussions.
While the move to hold accountability is important, when you hold a position of prestige especially if you are fortunate enough to have a successful television named after-yourself!!! you need to honor that position with much more self control. At the same time, performers are just that performers. We do not in any way have affect on the quality of lives. We do not determine legislation, we don't control the media, we are not lawyers, counselors or any of the above. Performers do affect the social conversation and can have the power to move a political agenda forward. Performer especially well paid ones and/or powerful must be held accountable for their behavior. Thier career and possible the careers of many others are dependent on holding a sense of decorum with their brand. We have to also be aware of those limitations and hold our highest sense of outrage to the people who's words and comments actually affect lives, countries and nations. We can't hold the tweet of a comedian and the supposed leader of the free world in the same contention. #saveamerica #roseannebarr #abccancellation #roseanneshow #roseanne #obamas #whitehouse #45istrash #45 #republicans #gop #michelleobama
There are a disproportionate number of illness specifically harmful to black people. We are the highest in cholesterol , blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and on and on. My family medical history is something out of horror book. It includes mental illness, kidney disease, glaucoma, diabetes, blood pressure and other life-draining maladies. Ironically, my family history does not include terrible eating habit, sedentary lifestyles or generational poverty.
Recently, I am experiencing issues with blood pressure and joint pain and I decided before I just join the pill club I should do some research. What I discovered is that alot of our family issues was related to the endocrine system and specifically the adrenal gland. This particular gland is susceptible to stress which is throughout my familial history and that is factor for many black families. My father grew up in colonial Jamaica and my mother during the Jim Crow south. Whether there is the threat of financial instability, inequalities at work, hostile reactions in public, fear of walking down the street being subject to suspicion these are factors present today and even more intensely during my parent generation and beyond.
It is easy to begin to understand how stress has played a heavy role in my own family's health and the health of others. The challenge is there is some stress which you can avoid, how do you not drive if you need to, how can you not walk home if its only a couple of blocks, how can you screen every job to make sure its one conducive to a black employee, what if that is the college that has the specialty your looking for, what if there are no other political candidates on the ticket.
As black people we begin to swallow this as our reality and as a result we swallow the pain over and over. This is not relieve the responsibilities of blk people who make bad choices or who create havoc in their lives and others but there is a level of stress that is just being a member of this beautiful race.
There is a level of #everydayracism that we have to squash because its we can fight every battle. That lives in our system and no matter what food, or exercise or meditation we may need to do it is a daily battle to keep that coat of armor in front of us. More than 200 years later the aftermath of America's shame still lives in our system and those from the African Diaspora from other lands who experienced there own horror it written in their faces and many wounded, pain-riddled bodies.
This is something we must know and make part of our understanding of our bodies, we need to be gentle and informed when we enter that doctors office. Some of the bad choices that effect us are our own but some of the affects on our health we must not wear as shame but as deeper knowing that should be dealt with as compassion not shame or guilt.
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.