Monday, August 11, 2008

Black Underwear

I decided sometime in June that I was going to make the switch. The plan is that by the end of the year with the exception of a couple of novelty ones I will only own black underwear. Briefs, boxer briefs and bikinis. All black.

I realized that when I wore black underwear that I felt more mature, confident and sexier. Along with that I also recognized that I just look damn good in them too. So, I began the hunt for a maker or makers of black underwear that suit my palette.

After searching for some that I thought were cute and affordable I decided on purchasing a few packs of Tommy Hilfiger black hip briefs and flag briefs. I loved them. I liked the cut, the look, the feel and the comfort – the price wasn’t bad either.

A week later I returned to my favorite retailer only to find that they had no more of the styles I wanted in my size or color. And so it began, weeks of waiting, going to other stories, unsuccessfully ordering them online, thinking I’d found them in other places only to be let down when they didn’t have my size either. But I believed.

I believed that I was going to get the underwear I wanted. I believed that somehow, some way I was going to walk in the store and there they would be – on a day I had it in my budget to buy more no less. I was going to feel mature, confident and sexy without the black underwear but damn it I wanted them! I didn’t know how I was going to get them but I knew that I would.

One day last week I finally found the time to put in a call to the department store near my job and remarkably for the first time I was actually able to speak to a manager on duty that I could query about the state of black underwear in the men’s department. He heard me out, apologized and said that they were on back order and that one day soon he expected them. It may have been lip service but it was better than the typical no answers I got from the floor staff.

The next day I was having a very rough day. I had been coming and going and nearly in a daze when that afternoon I stumbled into the department store and that is when it happened. It happened when I least expected it. Just yesterday the manager told me he didn’t know when my black underwear would be in but on that day as I approached the display I saw them. They were in my size. They were in the style and color I wanted. They were there. After a long and tiring day and over a month of waiting and wanting I was able to buy all the black underwear I could afford that day, which was more because I happened to have in my bag the store gift card that I’d gotten recently from my boss for a job well done. In life we must cherish even the small victories. I celebrated getting the underpants I wanted, when I usually celebrate getting into the underpants of someone I’ve wanted. Those black underwear made me happy. They also made me think about life in a general too.

I believed that I was going to get what I wanted. I went to that store and others actively searching for them. I picked up the phone and communicated my wants to someone who could do something about it. I followed up. I was persistent and consistent. In the end I was rewarded. I know for sure, this is also true about life’s other wants and goals.

Seven years ago today I moved to Washington, DC to attend graduate school. When I arrived I had enough money to pay my rent, $265 in cash and two interviews for part time jobs to get me through the school year and most importantly I cam here with the belief, hope and faith that I would do well and succeed. Today I have more blessings than I even imagined then. For that I am grateful.

There are still a lot more things that I want to accomplish, achieve, and still many steps for me to become the man I want to be. I believe that I can and will.

The quest for my black underwear was a good and timely reminder.

I love my underwear.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

T.I. vs GOTV

I have seen two television shows run segments on the Hip Hop Caucus’ decision to use famed and sometimes troubled rap artist T.I. as their spokesperson for their 2008 get out the vote campaign.

These media outlets have taken shots at the organization and their choice of national spokesman because T.I. who has had run-ins with the law is actually not able to vote in the upcoming election. These half assed reports and the producers who allow them to take shots at T.I. and the Caucus are good examples of poor media and the most shallow of reporting jobs.

Rather than chide T.I. and the Caucus perhaps they could dig deeper and try to inform the public that it isn’t ironic that T.I. can’t vote and is urging others to do so, but that T.I. represents and extremely large number of American citizens who have been disenfranchised from the electoral system because of their past criminals records – so many of them being poor people and people of color. Yes, two groups who don’t sit in the producer or reporters chair often enough and thus we get shoddy pieces on television that boost stereotypes and border on racism that are being passed off as news stories.

It is historic fact that the laws prohibiting ex felons from voting expanded and began to be increasingly enforced after African American men were first given the right to vote. In Northern states the laws were put on the books mostly to decrease the number of poor people overall from voting. The trend to suppress the voices and the votes of poor people and racial and ethnic minorities continues.

The revolution won’t be televised because there are too many people running news rooms and television shows that are more inclined to cover stories on the most surface of levels rather than to do anything as radical as to explain not just what is happening but why it is so.