Every other week it seems the media discovers some new pathology that is trying to destroy those unloved, unwanted, unattractive, successful but single, will die alone -- unsuccessful and poor -- with their 15 cats, horrible black women. But Sophia A. Nelson argues that you don't have to believe the hype and you don't have to let negative images, negative thoughts and a culture that values the self-sacrifice and "toughness" of black women over the personal wellness of a black woman, get you down.
Nelson is in Washington, D.C. today for a book signing. (Click here for more info.) But I met with her last week on Capitol Hill. We talked about her first book, "Black Woman Redefined" -- a well-researched piece of non-fiction, breaking down the myths from the truth, armed with statistics. Part self-help, part call-to-action, Nelson's book takes a look at some of the negative images and attitudes that are tied to African American women and how black women need to "redefine" themselves, learn to be more vulnerable and make their own emotional wellness a priority.
When we chatted, we focused on some of the images of black women in current popular culture -- your Braxton Basketball Housewives of Celebrity Apprentice -- and Nelson made the case that people need to focus more attention on First Lady Michelle Obama, a little less on Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Nene Leakes.
While Nelson says she's not the fun police and gets that people enjoy taking a chuckle at Tamar Braxton's "dot coms," watching Leakes attacking Star Jones on Celebrity Apprentice only seemed to turn the loud, obnoxious, irrationally angry, big, bad black woman into a real life cartoon for others to mock, and ... in some cases, emulate and endorse.
The totality of the book is deep. When various studies were put out about black women and marriage, Nelson went out and sought her own numbers to compare and contrast, as in -- Nelson does her homework. The scope of the book alone is quite massive (from slavery to now). You're not going to run out of material to debate, discuss, argue about or nod your head to. Yet, despite the wealth of information, it is easily readiable and relatable. It's definitely a great reasource with a wealth of information and statistics that will help folks make up their own minds about the state of African American women and I'll go more into my own opinion of the book after I finish it.
Check out the video below. (All video lovingly shot and edited by me with my horrid Sony Cybershot camera. I apologize for the Metro bus that pulls up and makes a lot of noise on the audio.) Also, if you're in Washington, D.C. today, you can meet Sophia (and buy her book). The D.C. Launch of "Black Woman Redefined" is today, Wednesday, June 29th at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at 555 12th Street NW.
I will be there, being a lookie loo, which is, totally, like, 50 percent of my life. Lookie-looism. AKA journalism. AKA "Professional Loitering."