Black Friday: Is this the Best Possible Name for this Day?

Just prior to Thanksgiving I started hearing about ‘Black Friday’ thinking, “what the hell…?” I learned that they were referring to the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers start tripping and shopping like they heard a starter pistol sound. All these years Inever even knew the day had a name other than Friday after Thanksgiving.  After learning it had a name its was natural for me to ask why Black Friday?
I figured it was just another signal of something negative or catastrophic which is what is usually prefaced with the word ‘black’. Rather than assume the worse, I simply looked it up. What I found amazed me.
 Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, signaling the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. It is marked by retail bargains and sales.  According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is considered the highest sales day of the calendar year. When businesses earn less than they spend they are said to be in the red. When businesses earn a profit they are said to be in the black. This shopping day is traditionally so lucrative that it often places businesses in the black.

  1. Shop til you Drop...From Exhaustion!
    Shop til you Drop…From Exhaustion!

    According to the American Heritage Dictionary online version, Black Friday is:

    1.  A day of economic catastrophe, as in We feared there’d be another Black Friday. This usage dates from September 24, 1869, a Friday when stock manipulators Jay Gould and James Fisk tried to corner the gold market and caused its collapse. The adjective black has been appended to similar occasions ever since, including October 29, 1929, the Tuesday of the market collapse that marked the start of the Great Depression, and Black Monday of October 19, 1987, when the stock market experienced its greatest fall since the Great Depression.

  2. Any day marked by great confusion or activity, as in It was just my luck to be traveling on Black Tuesday. This usage, too, is based on the events of 1869, marked by economic chaos. It has since been extended to other kinds of confusion, such as an accident hampering traffic during the evening rush hour.

I am really okay with these explanation for the Black Friday moniker, but I’m just wondering if there could have been a better name. Obviously, an advertisement agency was not consulted before naming this day–especially since it really isn’t true that its the best sales day.  From years of retail experience I would bet that the days closer to Christmas make just as much money or even more so than this far out from the holiday. I guess I was also relieved that it was not a day that somehow shone negatively on African Americans.  Unofficially, I awoke on this Black Friday of 2008, and instead of shopping til I dropped from exhaustion–I decided to work on my tan. The blacker the berry –the sweeter the juice.



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Happy Birthday, Whoopi Gee!

I am a huge Whoopi Goldberg fan.  From the first time I saw her perform her one-woman act which included a charcter named Fontaine–I was hooked.  She is a preacher’s kid–who knew? These days, thanks to Barbara Walters and her show “The View” I can see Whoopi G. everyday before I head off to work. I thought Whoopee was much older than me because I first saw her as a young girl. It never dawned on me that she could be my age and be performing on television and stage.  I always admired her locs and eventually I wore my hair locd for 10 years. When I finally visited Los Angeles, I was photographed by Whoopi’s Star on the famed sidewalk.  I love Whoopi Goldberg and I’ve included some history on her for your enjoyment.

Happy Birthday, Whoopee! May you be blessed with many more!

Whoopee Goldberg
Whoopee Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg ( Caryn Elaine Johnson; November 13, 1955) is an American actress, comedienne, and television host.  Goldberg was born in New York City and raised in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the daughter of Emma (née Harris), a nurse and teacher, and Robert James Johnson, a clergyman. Goldberg’s mother was a “stern, strong and wise woman” who raised her as a single mother after Goldberg’s father had left the family. Her stage name was taken from whoopee cushion, which she initially used as her stage name; she stated that “If you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me, ‘You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ And that’s where the name came from.” She chose the surname “Goldberg” after Jewish ancestors of hers who bore the surname, having said that “Goldberg’s a part of my family somewhere.” In 1991, she referred to herself as a “Jewish-Catholic girl from New York”; she has also stated that her mother is Jewish and referred to herself as a “Jewish-American Princess”. A DNA test, broadcast in the 2006 PBS documentary African American Lives, traced most of her ancestry to the Papel and Bayote people of modern-day Guinea-Bissau. Her racial admixture test revealed her genetic makeup to be 92 percent sub-Saharan African and 8 percent European.

She is one of only thirteen people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award, including Daytime Emmy Awards. In 1990, she became the second African American female performer after Hattie McDaniel to win an Academy Award for acting. She has won two Golden Globe Awardsand two Saturn Awards for her performances in Star Trek Generations and Ghost.

On September 4, 2007, Goldberg became the new moderator and co-host of The View,  replacing Rosie O’Donnell. O’Donnell stated on her official blog that she wanted Goldberg to be moderator. Goldberg’s debut as moderator drew 3.4 million viewers, 1 million fewer than O’Donnell’s debut ratings. After two weeks, The View, under Goldberg, was averaging 3.5 million total viewers, a 7% increase from 3.3 million under O’Donnell the previous season.

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Barack and Michele Check Out new Diggs in DC

1st White House visits

The Bushes welcomed the Obamas to the White House on Monday, visiting for nearly two hours and offering the nation a glimpse of a new first family at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. President-elect Obama and President Bush met in the Oval Office, their first substantive one-on-one session, while first lady Laura Bush and Obama’s wife, Michelle, talked in the White House residence.

Changes from candidate to president-elect were evident earlier, when Obama stepped off his plane and was greeted by transition manager John Podesta, the former chief of staff to President Clinton.

Mrs. Bush was to give Mrs. Obama a tour of the first family’s living quarters, including the bedrooms used by children of past presidents. White House press secretary Dana Perino said the two women were expected to talk about living in one of the world’s most famous buildings, from family life to the help provided by executive staff.

The Obamas have two daughters: Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. Obama started his day in Chicago, dropping the two girls at school, each with a kiss, and then going to a gym for a workout.  Bush, who had endorsed McCain, lauded Obama’s victory as a “triumph of the American story.” He warmly invited the Obama family to the White House.

Obama, in turn, thanked Bush for being gracious. The president-elect has made clear in public that there is only one president and for now that’s Bush. Obama takes the oath of office on Jan. 20.




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I Miss Michael Jackson: the Best Friend I Never Knew

ImageToday is the fourth anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson and I really feel sad. The pain started about 3 weeks ago and I responded by watching hours of YouTube performances of the Jackson 5, the Jacksons and solo performances by Michael. Some of my favorite performances were of the Jackson 5 on the Carol Burnett Show and the Jacksons reunion performance on the Motown 25 Anniversary program. I just kept replaying Michael’s dance performance on the Jacksons’ hit single,’Dancing Machine’ and his “Billie Jean”. Tears streamed down my face as I watched the talent, beauty and passion in every performance. The Guiness Book of World Records recognizes him as ‘the most successful entertainer of all time’.  I agree.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. Four days earlier, August 25, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois, I was born. I first saw the Jackson 5 perform at the Regal Theatre when I was 10 or 11 years old. I was hooked on Michael Jackson, and I told my granny that I wanted to marry him when I grew up. I was devoted to Michael Jackson and I honored him with my teenage years by posting his likeness or every square inch of my bedroom walls. I was a super fan–and I still am, even though his physical appearance was remarkably different from who I developed a crush on.

There are many life events Michael and I experienced separately. He married twice and had 3 children. I married twice and 6 children. We both traveled the world, but our paths never crossed in adulthood. There are many conversations we never had, questions that were never asked and answers that were never given. I never got to establish an adult relationship with Michael Jackson, yet I feel he was a good friend.

Michael, Thank you for sharing your talent and your life with me and this whole world for our enjoyment and entertainment, at the high cost of your privacy and your very life.

May you rest in eternal peace, my friend.

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Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson: Jailed for Playing Too Much


Former NFL player, Chad ‘OchoCinco’ Johnson married reality TV show actress, Evelyn Lazado in a lavish and highly publicized wedding in 2012.  The marriage lasted  only 41 days.  Lazado filed for divorce as  a result of domestic violence. Johnson, 35, is charged with head butting his wife during an argument. He was arrested, charged with domestic battery, and given probation in stead of jail. Due to the negative publicity, the Miami Dolphins cut him from the team before the start of the football season.

Recently, Johnson appeared in court to answer charges of probation violation. This could have resulted in jail time, but his attorney successfully argued a no-jail plea deal with the prosecutors and the judge. The judge offered an additional 3-month probation and counseling because Johnson failed to meet with probation officer for 3 months. As the judge was rendering the verdict, Johnson patted his attorney on the butt causing the courtroom to erupt into laughter. The judge became so offended by Johnson’s lack of taking the court seriously, that she rescinded her verdict and sentenced him to 30 days in jail.

After serving seven days in jail, Johnson appeared in court to offer an apology for his behavior, stating that the butt slap was not meant to be offensive, and that since he had never been in trouble before, he was unaware that his behavior was unacceptable in court.

Clearly, this is a prime example of how professional athletes can lack maturity in real life. While embroiled in an argument he chose to head butt his wife resulting in an injury that required stitches on her forehead. She promptly divorced him. Head butts are not allowed in contact sports, yet he thought this was an appropriate way to react in an argument with his wife? When he appeared in court he was not dressed in an appropriate manner for a 35 year old man, opting for the ‘hip hop’ look as opposed to business attire. To add insult to injury, he patted his attorney’s butt, as an ‘attaboy’ gesture during sentencing, not once but admittedly three times during court, like he imagined he was on a football field. And just as he’d done numerous times on the football field, he opted to entertain the spectators at his own detriment.

Chad appeared on Good Morning America, saying he’d learned his lesson.  Let’s hope he did. Because clearly Chad Ochocinco Johnson is a grown man who has a tendency to play too much.






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Michael Jordan Adds Another Wedding Band to Ring Collection

NBA legend and former Chicago Bulls guard, Michael Jordan is headed for marriage again, but this time he has a pre-nuptial agreement and a wedding ring for his new bride. Jordan, 50, and Yvette Prieto, 33, have dated five years and are scheduled to wed on Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Jupiter, Florida. A reception for over 2000 guests will be held at the couple’s 37,000 square feet home in Jupiter Bear Club. I wish Michael and Yvette all of life’s happiness and as a show of my support I will pause during work for a moment of silence, as I mourn the marriage of my secret crush.

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Queen Bey Reigns!


Okay look, It’s no secret that I am a bonafide Beyonce Knowles-Carter fan. And just like my own two daughters, Na’Imah and Na’Tifah Williams, I think she is a pretty, talented and smart young woman. Forbes Magazine says that she is mega-rich and I like that, too. Other than the music that she releases, the videos and performances I’ve seen, her recent documentaries and Oprah interviews I’ve watched, and the media stories I’ve read, I do not know her and haven’t met her. In fact, i don’t have any friends or family who have told me they know her personally. Do I think she is an angel–no I do not and I don’t think my daughters are either. Which brings me to this point:

Why the hoopla over her most recent release, ‘Bow Down’? I am about as over this song as I was an equally silly song she recorded back in the day with Destiny’s Child called, ‘Bootylicious’. Is ‘Bow Down’ more stupid than than the other one?  And what about the fact that America’s darling Beyonce, married America’s bad boy of hip hop, Jay Z? How many other celebrity women marry bad boys?  I’d say just as many as us regular women who prefer bad boys.  My point is that we shouldn’t be shocked at what an artist says or does while performing their craft. We don’t know them as people, only celebrities. Right now we’re shocked at hip hop artists, but does anybody remember the kinds of stuff that Prince, Rick James, Barry White and Marvin Gaye used to sing about doing to women?

Just because we happen to be fans of a celebrity does not mean we know them as private   people. Hear me when I say that celebrities have both a public brand and a private persona. They are usually very different and reserved for their close friends and family circle. Fans tend to be so star struck that even when celebrities tell us who they are, we won’t believe them. Prime example–“Jenny from the Block,” a song released by singer/actress Jennifer Lopez, explaining how we should not be fooled by the material things she has, that she is the same person. There are a lot of “Jennys from the block, including Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, comedian Mo’Nique and the late Whitney Houston, to name a few. Evangelist Juanita Bynam, Evangelist Denise Matthews  (Vanity), and Minister Helen Baylor are prime examples of women with upstanding public images with testimonies of redemption from past ways.

Beyonce is doing her own thing right now and not taking ‘Sasha Fierce’ too seriously, all the while staying in the media and running all the way to the bank.  At the moment she is the most successful female recording artist, live performer and actress– Let her reign in peace.


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Now its Time to Say Goodbye: Annette Funicello


On Monday, April 8, 2013, Annette Funicello died at age 70, after a long bout with the debilitating disease, Multiple Sclerosis. She was a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, but in my heart and mind she was simply Annette–my favorite Disney Mouseketeer.

Although she would go on to become a singer and actress, starring in beach movies with Frankie Avalon, it was her appearance between ages 12 to 16 years on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show that stands out in my mind. And the famous anthem the Mouseketeers all sang at the end of each broadcast seems so appropriate in the wake of her death.

“Now it’s time to say goodbye to all your company. M-I-C-“See ya real soon!”  K-E-Y “Why? because we love you!” M-O-U-S-E. Rest in Peace, Ms Annette Funicello.

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US Navy Blue Angels Grounded for 2013

ImageThe US Navy Blue Angels squadron won’t be a part of the Virginia Beach air show in September 2013. In fact, they won’t be appearing in any air shows this year as all scheduled appearances have been canceled due to Government budget cuts. The US Navy announced yesterday that it was cancelling all air shows it had scheduled for the rest of the year. There were 32 performances remaining. At a cost of over $100K per air show event hosted by a Navy base, current defense policies cannot support the expense. Out reach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government.This is terrible news. i am disappointed to learn that they will not perform for the remainder of this year.

The Blue Angels are the most exciting flying squadron I have ever seen. I first became a fan while living in Chicago and attending the annual summer Air and Water Show held at the Oak Street Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. Last year I saw them perform at the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Their precision flying is so awesome. In fact, they flew so low in tandem over the tree tops, until I could see the pilots. It was a most thrilling spectacle. I suggest that Congress and the President return to the drawing board and figure out how to keep the Blue Angels flying. This current development is politikking me off!


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General Colin L. Powell Celebrates 76 years of a Great Life

Image General Colin Luther Powell, retired U.S. 4-star general and diplomat celebrates his 76th birthday on April 5, 2013.  Born in Harlem, New York, he was the first Black American appointed as U.S. Secretary of State and the only Black American to serve as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The post is the highest military position in the Department of Defense.

I became aware of General Powell during the Desert Storm operations in Iraq. I was very proud to see a Black American in military leadership and as a 4-Star general, especially in lieu of my many relatives who have served in the military as career soldiers and enlisted men.

In 2000, President George W. Bush appointed General Powell as US Secretary of State and at that time this was the highest rank in civilian government ever held by a Black American. Prior to that appointment, General Powell served as National Security Adviser in the Reagan Administration.

General Powell, a conservative Republican, was encouraged by Republican Party leaders to run for President of the United States. I was excited by this idea as he has led an exemplary, scandal-free life and possessed the leadership experience. He declined to run for personal reasons and in 2008, he endorsed a Democrat,  Senator Barack Obama as President.

Happy Birthday, General Powell.   You are a living, military and world history icon and one day I hope to interview you for a feature story in person.

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