Why MJ Always Wore White Socks

Shuhh-mon outta that bathroom!

When I was younger, I would spend the weekend at my aunt’s house to play with my cousin. And just like every black family, we all went to church together on Sunday morning.

These were the days your 5-minute-shower skills got tested.

One morning, my cousin was being particularly mischievous. He was toying with his food at breakfast, still had Legos scattered across his room from yesterday, and was cutting into the next person’s “turn” for the bathroom. He’d already been in there ten minutes and the shower was not yet running However, he was incessantly killing singing the chorus to Kirk Franklin’s “Silver and Gold,” which insinuated foot-dragging.

*Auntie bangs on the bathroom door*

“Boy? You better be almost done, Dad needs to get in there! Now you got five minutes. And I mean FIVE!!”

Faintly, I could hear the water from the bathroom sink start to flow as I listened from the kitchen. I sat in a chair battling a lint ball on my crisp white tights (for the average 7-year old girl, this conflict ends in a hole). In the corner, Auntie stroked the iron across my cousin’s button-up shirt. It was children’s choir Sunday.

Not even three minutes had passed before the bathroom door swung open. My cousin rushed past us in the kitchen while holding a ball of dirty clothes to cover his privates. Auntie put the iron away then grabbed a nearby switch off the counter (note: for my readers who aren’t old school, this is a switch–skip to 4:07). She follows behind my cousin toward his room waving the switch in the air, “Now what did I tell you to do?”

Cousin innocently looks up at Auntie and shrugs, “What?”

She points the switch at him with each word. “I said get in that bathroom and take care of your business! It don’t take that long! And did you brush your teeth?”

“Yes.”

“Yes, what?!”

“Yes ma’am, I did.”

Auntie grabs the starched shirt off the ironing board.  She slathers Vaseline on his scrawny legs then drapes an undershirt over his frail shoulders.

“AND DID YOU CHANGE YOUR SHORTS??!!”

“Yes ma’am, I did.”

My ears perked. I knew Auntie could tell that there was not a single drop of water on his back, thus insinuating he didn’t even get in the shower. I had no idea what “shorts” she was referring to, but I knew my cousin was in big trouble.

Fast forward to this day in 2012. I just finished watching Spike Lee’s “Bad 25” on ABC. In just about every clip/picture/scene/flashback, Michael Jackson is wearing his famous penny loafers with clean white socks. Neither the shoes nor the socks bother me; I’m stuck at the flooding pants. It’s so obvious that all of his trousers were tailored two inches above his ankles (did that become a fad? I don’t recall).

Well since I haven’t heard any sort interview (ever) to explain why MJ made this his trademark, I’ve come to this conclusion: long ago, little Michael was procrastinating in the bathroom on a Sunday morning. Katherine went in his room to scold him. She glanced down at his dingy socks and shrieks, “DID YOU CHANGE YOUR SOCKS??!!” He timidly replied, “Yes ma’am, I did.”

She says, “No you didn’t, or they would be sparklin’ white.” Little Michael tried to plead his case, but just wasn’t winning (he mistakenly grabbed Randy’s socks instead of his own). And since that day, he reassured Katherine daily that he did change socks by making sure she could see them. And they were indeed sparklin’ white.

May you rest in Heaven—

Michael Jackson

Julius K. Moore

Gucci-opoly

I’m writing this through watery eyes and a series of uncontrolled sneezes. It’s gross. Let’s just say I learned the hard way that I’m allergic to cats. We’ll talk about that later.

I joke a lot about being The Golden Child simply due to the fact that the most random things happen to me. And only me. Like what, you say? Well I’m glad you asked!

Recently I went to deposit a payroll check into my bank. I was smokin’ hot that day. For some reason, I was really feeling my slick edges & new pedicure. That means ‘all this’ would go to waste if I had deposited the check into the ATM. In retrospect, that would’ve been a much better idea. An-tyhow, I go inside the branch, walked up to the teller with a big smile on my face, and slid her my signed check. We held small talk. I blushed at the security camera. Few minutes later, I pranced back to my car & drove to Chipotle. Ballin’.

The next morning, I had big plans to spend at least half of that money between Target and Trader Joe’s. Okay, not half, but you get my point. I checked my account (which I freakishly do every single morning—no lie) only to find my balance was SIGNIFICANTLY lower than it was the day before. I hopped online. I called customer service. I went back to the branch…they were closed…I went to another one. Thank God I kept my deposit receipt as proof. After four long, draining hours, they all confirm there is no record of my transaction! Hell to the naw.

I was furious. And I also had to wait until Monday morning when the branch was open in order to complete my dispute. Long story shorty, there was an “encoding error” and the check was rejected from my account. So then they credited my account and things seemed okay. For the moment. Not only had they given me my money, but the transaction posted three times and—basically I heard my bank account sing “Rack City” through the ATM. Hell to the naw.

So what did I do to overcome the stress of these financial ‘issues’? I went to church! What else? I’m kidding, I don’t run to church every time something bad happens, rather I do the opposite. I don’t even GO to church (we’ll talk about that later) but this particular Sunday, the sun was tapping me on my shoulder. So I got up & went.

There was a church I’d heard about when I first moved to LA. I probably visited six different ones in just a few months. Well a group of buddies decided we should all go to this particular church together. Okay, I’m in.

I get there and while walking across the parking lot, a grandpa-looking man stopped me. “Hey sistah! This must be yo first time herre, I ain’t seent you befo!” He reached for a handshake. “Yes, this is my first time.” He smiled big, “Well come on in herre so we can sho ya some love!!” His enthusiasm scared me.

I sat down in an open row near the middle. Not too close, but not too far in the back. And I’ve already made up my mind not to stand during the recognition of visitors. The service begins and suddenly, I’m pushed aside. Wayyyy aside…for some lady and her two kids. I couldn’t help but notice all the flashy jewelry she was wearing and her Gucci purse she placed by her feet (Gucci on the floor?). Her curly-haired little girls were quietly drawing on their iPads. I’m thinking I’ve seen this lady somewhere before. Somewhere.

And whaddya know, she was the first person to stand up when the pastor inquired about visitors. All eyes on me her now. As I hear her voice, it took me 2 seconds to remember where I knew her from. Basketball Wives LA. That explains her gaudy bracelets and perfected praise clap.

The whole situation made me laugh. I’m looking at her, the kids, that Gucci bag (it was nice, y’all) and thinking about all the viewers who envy the lives of women like this and would love to trade places with me. Trust me, I read their comments on Twitter. And here I was sitting next to her… with a banking error in my favor… and an attitude! In all the open seats, I had to move for her?!

So I lived in that moment, although I didn’t make it rain, I felt a complete sense of peace. I stopped worrying about my minor crisis & tried to open my eyes to the bigger picture. And don’t ask me what the big picture is because I was too distracted to pay attention to the preaching. Kidding.

But I hear there’s a lot to be said about where a woman places her purse; I picked mine up off the floor and put it on the bench right next to me.

Holy Rollin’

Is This Where I Should Lay My Burdens?

This is going to sound like a mean rant. And it is. So if you’re easily offended by religious discussion, I invite you to stop reading now.

I still have your attention?! Great.

Recently, I was watching some re-runs of “Run’s House” and I noticed that when Justine answered the phone, she greeted callers with, “praise the Lord!” Nothing wrong with that, I actually thought it was cute…and funny. But what I liked about Justine as the episode progressed was that she kept it real. You know, went about her regular business and wasn’t pushing her Lord on anybody. Shall we talk about keeping it real?

I used to attend a mega church in Los Angeles (to remain nameless) and every Sunday, I sat in the same seat. Smack dab in the front about 5 rows from the altar. I like to be able to see EVERYthang that’s going on without distractions. Any further back & I may as well stay home to watch it online. I wanted chuuuch. There was a lady around my Mom’s age who would save my seat. I liked her. She had the best hats to go with her outfits and never had a rip in her pantyhose. She was fly! We’ll call her Church Lady.

Church Lady loved to tell me her business because, in her eyes, I was like a daughter. So I listened. I listened to her tell me about the tired men who take her out on cheap dates. I listened to her gossip about Sistah Big Bones across the aisle. I listened to her tell me how God blessed her with a new Benz (she went for a C-class but they offered an E-class for a good price). And I listened to her tell me about her teenage sons who, for whatever reason, never want to sit next to her and looooove their daddy. Church Lady kept it real with me every week. And she even asked for my number so she could call me in case I missed a Sunday! Ok, that’s called being nosey, but you get my point.

Like Justine, Church Lady knew she wasn’t perfect. She never tried to be except when it came to her flawless hair & makeup. Her weave was whipped and her M.A.C. was matte. Impeccable. She was just like me: in church to hear a message from God so that I can make it through the week. Except her gossip was my little bonus. But after a while, I grew tired of this mega church. It started to feel like I was watching a live TV show versus being in the House of God. So I stopped going.

I would visit church after church. I sat in the front rows only to watch more live TV…which sucks because I work in TV. But I’m hesitant about visiting this one church that many of my associates go to because—well, they’re pretty much heathens (we’ll come back to this later).

Back to Justine and Church Lady. We all KNOW for a fact that outside of church, people live sinful normal lives just like you and me. So what’s the use of trying to pretend like you don’t? A dear, dear friend of mine called me the other day with the most judgmental conversation I’d ever heard, and it made my skin crawl. This person seems to profess their love for God (or some god) more than anyone I can name. Doesn’t the Bible mention that God is the ultimate judge? Doesn’t this same God forgive us of our sins, regardless of who we are?

I am sick and tired of religious/church people condemning the world like their sh!t doesn’t stink. Most of all, I’m fed up with them pretending to love God so much that they forgot how to be human. These are the types people who add ‘if the Lord is willing’ after every question (ex: “hey, you going to Joy’s party on Saturday?” “girrrl, I will if the Lord is willing!”). Really? You consult with God on every decision you make? Did you ask God to help you choose those 3 baby-daddies or was that all you? Did you ask God to give you the words to curse out that rude chick in line at White Castles? Please tell me God didn’t direct you to buy a Land Rover and your rent is 3 months behind? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

The part I think is the saddest is there are people in the world who don’t believe in God (or any god) whatsoever, and then they look at the Holy Rollers with their non-sense. Who wants to be affiliated with that? Get over yourself. And while I’m at it, can’t we all just get along?

Some may say that I’m now judging them on their behavior. I call it stating the facts. Bottom line is we all get one chance at life. And this is it. How you choose to live yours may not line up with what I’m doing, and vice versa. But that in no way means I am wrong and you are right! It means we’re uniquely human. And my uniquely human hand wants to *in my Mama Braxton voice* smack the piss out of them! Just like this dude ‘be smacking his hoes.’

End rant.

LYFE JENNINGS
“Made Up My Mind”
[1st Verse:]
Lord they really think they fooling you by coming to church on Sunday
praying and laying hands on folks stomping and jumping around
faking the holy ghost
but its a thin line between walking it and talking it
living it and giving it or just pretending it’s alright
and did they really think that they could pull the wool over your eyes Lord
did they really think that by faking they were saved that
they would get the same reward
this be the realest thing I ever wrote for sure
after this a lot of folks wont like me no mo’
but after this I gotta go answer to you Lord
so I’ve made up my mind I’m a go to church on Sunday
and sing a song that may hurt somebody’s feelings so that maybe
thy will, will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
and hopefully they will see
how much they really be discouraging a little old sinner like me
[2nd Verse:]
And Lord who they think they jiving by singing these songs full of glory
then out in the world it’s a different story
I’m running out of people to pray for me
I’m not trying to act like I’m the perfect man
but if you speak about it, you should be about it
not just preach about it all day
cause if you do you run the risk of chasing some
of the most beautiful people away
and it is never my intention to discourage you rather encourage you
to change your life today
this be the realest thing I ever had to say,
but after this a lot of folks wont like me no mo’
but after this I gotta go answer to you Lord
so I’ve made up my mind I’m a go to church on Sunday
and sing a song that may hurt somebody’s feelings
so that maybe thy will, will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
and hopefully they will see
how much they really be discouraging a little old sinner like me

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