Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Carmen Bryan made her first book tour appearance on Wendy William's radio show yesterday and dang, it one one hell of an interview. Nothing new was necessarily revealed if only cause Carmen, wisely, kept answering, "It's in the book," but the attitude being thrown around that room was second only to that of William's infamous interview with Whitney Houston.

Here's an excerpt of the book from Amazon so you can get a feel for what the book is about and why its contents had the power to stir up so much drama on Wendy's show yesterday. In this excerpt, Carmen has just been confronted by Nas about whether or not the Jay-Z song "Is That Your Chick" is about her:

Shawn's disparaging lyrics gave no indication of the solid friendship we'd shared over the years. Not to mention the fact that it took a good year before we even became lovers or that I had recently been pregnant by him -- 'cause he didn't wear a condom at all, let alone tight enough.

After listening to the song, it was evident that the record was designed to take a direct stab at Nas, making me a casualty of this ongoing and highly publicized strife.

I tried to put things in perspective and take it like a hard-nosed realist, but I couldn't feign callousness. Shawn's actions were a complete disappointment. Instead of being hurt, I was enraged. I knew what I had to do before this thing went any further. I had to bring Nas up to speed. It was time to reveal the truth, once and for all.

Throughout the next day, Nas gathered evidence that the song referred to me. That night he called back for another round of questions. As I quietly deflected them, I walked by Destiny's room to make sure she was asleep, then headed downstairs. I walked down the stairs with the cordless phone to my ear, my forehead breaking out into a sweat. My heart was racing, my breathing became heavy and my stomach was in knots. I even said a quick little prayer and turned off all the lights as if darkness provided an escape.

After some anxious pacing between the bathroom and kitchen, I ended up in front of my bathroom mirror, in darkness. My reflection was a vague silhouette, just barely visible. I was so tired of misrepresenting myself, of sneaking out, of lying and denying the truth. Of course, Nas had long done the same thing. It had been a rough and rocky nine years for us. But for all our drama, we were inextricably linked -- we had a daughter and deep, deep history together. I couldn't let Shawn belittle Nas as a man. Nas deserved to have a fighting chance.

One revealing back-and-forth--one which showed her willingness to lie--took place when Carmen tried to claim that the reason she hung out with musicians was because she herself had artistic tendencies and pointed out her attendance at New York's FIT as evidence. Shortly thereafter a student who supposedly worked in the administrative office called in to report that Carmen had registered for five courses at the school but only finished one! Oh the drama. It went on and on like that for at least three segments.

Now why am I writing all this and what does it have to do with street style? Well, besides liking good, juicy radio and hot gossip, I'm also into issues as they relate to the various and sundry isms, i.e. sexism, classism, racism and all of those were on full blast throughout Carmen's interview and wanted to hash out some of that ish here.

Throughout the interview, Williams proclaimed that Carmen is a flat-out whore, though tempered her tirade by acknowledging that there is a double-standard when it comes to sex, but that's never going to change in our lifetime and that women should know better.

My beef with her outlook is that yes, while there is a sexual double standard, that's not really what this issue is all about. It's not about the fact that Jay-Z and Nas have also slept with lots of women, it's that lots of women out there use sex and have children as a way to make money, which is far less common practice among males (and even when you do get the rare Kevin Federline, he will never have the power of bearing children).

The reason we have this double standard is a lot about money and who has it and who doesn't. Let's face it, this is still a man's world and as such, dudes have more access to cash (though you could argue that because or racism, this formula doesn't work the same way for black men). As such, women for time immemorial have done what they can to hook up with men with lots of money. And even when they're not going for the big bucks, how many women do we ALL know, who expect things for sex, whether its dinner or diamonds or whatever. Is that right or wrong or is it is what it is and will be as long as there's inequality between the sexes as far as money is concerned? Let's face it, beauty and youth are points of power for women and I can understand how many of them would use that in exchange for some green power.

On the other side of the coin, it's my belief that guys often like this formula. Rap artists BRAG about all the golddiggers and hos who chase them. From what little I've read of Carmen's book, Jay-Z pursued her and then dated her knowing she was cheating on Nas for five years! Maybe he liked the idea of getting over on Nas, an artist he idolized, or maybe he just liked her and what I presume were her fawning ways. Not for nothing, but Carmen sounds like she had her game on how to please men down to an exact science (lol--maybe THAT could be her follow-up book)!

And even outside of the entertainment industry, lots and lots of guys would prefer to have their women/wives be stay-at-home wives. They want to be the ones out working and making the money while their women stay home and manage the house and raise the kids. And yeah, while I know being a housewife is work, that's sure as hell not how the world views it.

Given all that, I have to ask, is there THAT much of a difference between Carmen and, say, Marla Maples, or for that matter, Barbara Bush? So why does Carmen get so much heat for being a woman who pursues men with money? My guess is that she chose to put her business out on the street and that's when the sexual double standard enters stage left. It's okay if you marry for money or expect gifts and favors from your boyfriends, but you damn well better not brag about it (and especially not if you have kids--oh the children!)because while LOTS of women cheat, have sex with multiple partners, act like freaks, etc. putting all that on blast freaks the hell out of people and makes them very uncomfortable. Williams thinks that standard will NEVER change in our lifetimes. She's probably right about that.

No comments: