Daley Dose

Same Script, Different Cast

by Ordale J. Allen of MentalStorage.com on 22 March 2012

My entire Facebook Newsfeed is a Trayvon Martin memorial. Everybody “likes” the page dedicated to bringing his killer to justice. For me, his death reflects the sum of my fears. We can’t win for losing.

Apparently the scene of the crime is a gated community down in Florida, one that Mr. Zimmerman felt Trayvon didn’t belong in. Why? Because he looked like the people the gate was designed to keep out. But he did belong there. So, why were his people living inside that community? More than likely it’s for the same reason that I pay way too much in rent for way too little square footage: I don’t want to be around “ninjas” either.

Am I a sellout or a survivor who barely made it out? The first thing a real person from the hood does when he makes it big is LEAVE. Then you get your Harriet Tubman on and come back and get other people out. We can pretend all day that the problem is just the media portraying us unfairly but in the words of Mr. Shakur, “And they say it’s the White man I should fear, but it’s my own kind doing all the killing here.”

I remember people getting raped in the stairwell and shot in the elevator in my apartment high rise when I was little. We moved. Then I got jumped taking out the trash because I was new in the neighborhood. We moved. Somebody got raped in the alley. We moved. Stole our car. We moved. Seven apartments in nine years. I couldn’t go to my neighborhood schools because they were basically police substations. Despite my environment, I avoided becoming a statistic. I stayed out of trouble, went to school and got a good job. I tried going back to “my” community. I wanted to be the young professional who planted roots in the community, but having a new wife made it difficult to ignore the muggings at the bus stop, the home invasions in my building or the guy getting shot in front of my door. We had to move because the value we placed on our lives was a lot higher than the 23 cent bullets they kept tossing around the neighborhood.

We used the crime map on the police website to find our next apartment. Wherever the fewest blips appeared would be our new neighborhood. It was a coincidence and culture shock to find that it was 90% White. Now I don’t worry so much about getting shot by a stray bullet walking down the street. I don’t worry about getting mugged like I used to. Now, I have new problems. I worry about being mistaken for the very people I pay so much rent to get away from. I worry about getting stopped by the police whenever I walk down a street in my neighborhood that is not a major thoroughfare for foot traffic to the metro. I worry whenever a random White woman turns the corner at night and begins to share the sidewalk with me. I worry that I’m walking too fast or too slow behind her. I worry about walking home from the store with a pack of  my favorite candy that I’ve been eating everyday since I was five, Skittles, and some asshole spilling my life onto the sidewalk because in his twisted reality the prey hunt down the predator.

I worry more now than I did before… and that worries me.

– Ordale J. Allen


Daley Dose: Chasing Pavement

by Ordale J. Allen of MentalStorage.com on 23 January 2012

Well, Red Tails came out. Don’t everybody clap at once. I spent the better part of last week Karl Roving this movie. I tried my best to convince people to go see it, if not for the story then at least in support for one of the highest budgeted Black films in recent history. At the time of this writing the box office numbers aren’t in, but if the scant attendance at the theater I went to is any indication, the movie didn’t do too well.

To be perfectly honest, I think the movie sucked. The dialogue was poorly written, the characters were never developed, the only guy with an Oscar seemed to be phoning his performance in and the story telling was amateurish at best. The whole thing felt like a high school essay where, instead of cleverly crafting a solid piece of work, the student is simply including information in random order to prove that he read the material.

Throughout the film I found myself wondering if the movie was really a metaphor for Hollywood in general. You have a highly capable group that, despite being given second-hand equipment, low expectations, almost zero support and hardly any recognition, still accepts what comes its way in the name of making small strides. The whole time I kept wondering, “If this story needed to be told so badly then where is Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor or anyone else who can fill theater seats and carry this movie?” I guess it didn’t need to be told that bad after all.

Then I had another revelation: “What if this movie does well? Are they gonna see this campy, whitewashed, shallow film as the new standard for Black film?” Shortly after Tyler Perry shattered expectations with his first two films, every Black movie became a made-for-after-church special. But we kept supporting him in hopes of sparking a Black Renaissance. Instead we got six Madea films (A seventh is due out this year). By supporting this, what will we get next?

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavement even if it leads nowhere?

– Ordale J. Allen


Do Better Thursday – Daley Dose: Fatherhood, A Fool’s Errand

by Ordale J. Allen of MentalStorage.com on 29 July 2010

Fatherood, A Fool’s Errand by Ordale J. Allen

On July 6, 2010 my wife gave birth to our first child, a baby girl named Zoe. Not only was she born on my birthday, but also the same day of the week and in the same hospital. With that many coincidences it’s either a miracle or an (THE) omen.

The last three weeks have been life altering so much so that it’s difficult to answer the question, “What’s fatherhood like?” It’s one hell of an experience. I could tell you that baby’s are a bundle of joy and that childbirth is one of the most beautiful experiences in the world but I’d be lying through my teeth. I’ll let the pregnancy books and saps over at Lifetime tell you that. Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting are beautiful to the people who don’t have kids.

My wife was pregnant for ten months. During that time I went from sleeping in a queen sized bed to sleeping in the fetal position in the corner on the floor. I learned to speak only when spoken to, not wear any scent that she found offensive (everything except deodorant) and to take ownership for everything that happens. If it rained too loud…”yeah my bad.”

Childbirth was a whole different monster. I will say this. My wife is either one strong woman—perhaps the result of being the most recent on a lineage of Black women hardened by the injustices of slavery—or she’s a warlock. How an eight pound child came out of something the size of a keyhole is still a mystery… and I had a front row seat. During the twelve hours of labor my wife went from “I love you” to “I will extinguish the light of every soul in this hospital if you don’t find the anesthesiologist.” Don’t even get me started on the hazmat team that had to come in to clean up all the blood. From now on, I will kneel down like they did in the olden monarch days whenever my wife enters a room.

My daughter…I love her to death but I’m not sure if it’s pure parental love or Stockholm Syndrome. Understand this: Children—no matter how young—already run you. For all intents and purposes, you are their bitch. They cry, you jump. You feed them, burp them, bathe them and change them and you’d better be damn thankful for the opportunity. I actually sneak around my own damn apartment for fear of disturbing HER sleep. Never mind that I haven’t slept longer than three hours in three weeks.

I’m the same guy who stands in the grocery store with a calculator comparing grams, ounces and “per pound value” to determine if a sale is really worth it. I will melt two mini bars of soap into one full bar before I’ll throw it away. I’m cheap. Despite my frugality, the princess is immune to my concerns. She doesn’t want to sleep in the three hundred dollar crib? That’s fine. The two hundred dollar swing isn’t doing it for her? No problem. My five dollar box of wings and fries is getting cold because she wants me to hold her until she becomes bored with me? That’s no big deal.

I’m encouraging everyone to donate to their local Child Support Office. If I have to go through this then every sperm donor has to go through this. I won’t rest until every office has its own Apache Helicopter and night vision goggles.

– Ordale J. Allen


Do Better Thursday – Commentary: Daley Dose “T-Pain, You’re the Game”

by Ordale J. Allen of MentalStorage.com on 11 March 2010

“T-Pain, You’re the Game” by Ordale J. Allen
When I was about ten my father observed me as I “watched” my little sister. She was about two at the time.  She was standing in her crib playing with a doll and kept dropping it on the floor. I’d picked it up, but it seemed like a minute later she’d drop it again. After watching this go on for about five minutes my father cynically remarked, “The funny thing about this is that you’re the game and you just don’t know it.” While watching the first fifteen minutes of “Freaknik: The Musical” took me back to that moment.
At first glance the show just seems like BET: The Animated Movie. Then I realized that somewhere in there T-Pain was trying to paint a satirical picture of Black people and Freaknik. AOL Keyword: “trying.” There was a scene about twelve minutes into it where the title character sings a song saying that women don’t have to watch their kids, instead they can go to Freaknik and it will solve all of their problems. There were various scenes of women getting their nails done and immediately transforming from a stripper into a lawyer.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a sense of humor. I know how to check my uppity ways at the door and just have a laugh. The problem is that while it may seem like he’s making fun of stereotypes, he’s only reinforcing them, hence the allusion to my babysitting days of yesteryear: T-Pain, you may think that you’re breaking down stereotypes in a clever way but guess what…you’re the game. You’re only reinforcing these stereotypes. After all, Black people aren’t a large enough demographic for Adult Swim to spend money on this show. Big brother is watching and all you’re doing is proving him right, especially considering what your day job is.
Someone who sings into a synthesizer over tracks generally promoting misogyny and being nigger-rich can hardly be viewed as an instrument of change and inspiration. So your message is lost on two levels. First, White people think that it’s real and younger (either in age or mentality) Blacks will relate to it because it’s in your videos.
Now perhaps the show will take a turn. Maybe some of you watched the whole thing and will say that I didn’t give it a chance. My only retort is this: I probably watched about as much of it (if not more) as a White person who happened to flip through the channels and landed on this tripe and who knew nothing about T-Pain, Big Boi or any of the other voice actors.
In this case, the show did for Blacks what those reports on the Prius malfunctions have done for Toyota. We’ve placed a magnifying glass over a few negative outliers and by doing so have painted an inaccurate portrayal of the whole. So the next time you wonder why racism still runs rampant despite having a Black president, you can add Freaknik: The Musical to your list of contributing factors. As for me, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’ve got dibs on Caucasian. 
Ordale J. Allen

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Do Better Thursday – Commentary: Ordaley Bread “Do B.E.T.ter”

14 January 2010

(Please welcome contributor Ordale J. Allen to the Do Better Movement family.) Do B.E.T.ter by Ordale J. Allen “Here’s our chance to make it, if we focus on our goal. You can dish it, we can take it. Just remember that you’ve been told: It’s a different world, then where you come from.“ 2010 is […]