The finale of FOX’s hit new show, Empire, aired this week and it was an ending fitting of such an explosive premiere season. If you are planning to watch the show and would rather avoid spoilers, I encourage you to navigate away from this article before I go any further.
The series follows a fractured (but, somehow, very connected and loving) family comprised of a rapper turned music mogul, his incredibly outspoken and talented ex-wife and their three sons, all of whom were very young when their mother began her 17-year stint in prison for selling drugs to fund the creation of their record label.
The youngest son, Hakeem, was just a baby when everything went wrong and didn’t remember his mother and clearly has some anger surrounding this issue. The middle son, Jamal, struggles to deal with being homosexual in the African-American community. The oldest son, Andre, for a long time, seems to be the only one who has it together. He has a committed wife, impressive education and good command over his role at the family business – and then we gradually begin to realize that things are not as easy as they seem.
Being just a few months younger than him, I’m a huge John Mayer fan. I love his music and I feel like his style is always evolving. What always struck me most was the honesty of his lyrics and how he was able to tap into how our generation must be feeling at a particular stage in life. This fascination with him began many years ago, long before his casual dating and sometimes cavalier attitude gained him a reputation.
Good looking and successful, it was hardly surprising to most when Mayer started playing the field and spending time with some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. From Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Aniston to Katy Perry, his most recent love connection, the singer has been accused of womanizing and failing to commit. Some defended his actions but took offense after a particularly noteworthy interview was published.
Interview Gone Wrong
He spoke with Playboy magazine in 2010 and, during the discussion, he revealed a little too much about the 10 months he spent dating Jessica Simpson in 2006. He described his former flame as “a drug” and then went on to refer to their relationship as “sexual napalm.” Many felt that it was completely insensitive and demonstrative of his lack of respect for women.
Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of singers Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston, was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her Georgia home. The news is particularly chilling since it conjures up memories of how her mother died almost three years ago.
Police were called to the home on Saturday morning after Brown’s husband, Nick Gordon, and a friend found her face down. They immediately started CPR as they waited for help to arrive. According to the Roswell Police Department, rescue personnel began “life-saving measures” after they arrived at 10:25am. The 21-year-old began breathing on her own and was taken to North Fulton Hospital. CNN has reported that she is in a medically induced coma in an effort to control swelling in the brain.
It’s been a long time since Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman divorced but, back in 2001, the split was so sudden, shocking and mysterious that the lingering curiosity is understandable. Recently, more details have begun to emerge and, if any of it is true, it’s very sad.
Marie Claire published a story about an upcoming documentary, Going Clear, which is being described as an exposé on the Church of Scientology. The man behind the film, Alex Gibney, makes some shocking claims about the downfall of Cruise and Kidman’s marriage and, so far, no one has refuted them.
Canadians have been rocked by a sex scandal this week. Beloved radio and tv host/journalist Jian Ghomeshi was fired by the CBC because of his sexual antics. Faced with being outed by an ex-girlfriend regarding his sexual preferences (BDSM) he decided to take a leave of absence from his show Q, and after it was announced by the CBC that they were parting ways with Ghomeshi, he took to his Facebook page and tried to explain himself. You can read what he has to say here.
I am not here judge Mr Ghomeshi, I don’t know him personally, and to be honest I don’t understand what is happening. But 9 women have now come forward, 2 of these woman have told their stories publicly, that Jian Ghomeshi hit them, choked them, pulled their hair, and bruised them in violent sexual acts. Actually I just lied to you. I completely judge Jian Ghomeshi. I don’t know him at all. I did listen to his program, and I found him to be educated, intelligent, culturally aware, informative, and enjoyable. But now when I think about him, I find him to be monstrous.
I am the first one to tell you, that I do not understand adult situations very well. As a child, I was sexually abused in an incredibly degrading and humiliating way, and while I have never repressed these memories, my mind has never let me evolve or mature in a way where I could understand these types of desires. I would rather watch Scooby Doo or read novels alone than date. Its not healthy way to live your life, so I do try to go out occasionally. But you can probably imagine that I would rather self destruct than have to understand what is happening with this, and you would totally be right.
Private time between two people should be between two people, two consenting people. This is what Jian Ghomeshi is telling the world. That his encounters with these women were consensual- and well thought out, which included safe words. If this is indeed true than I should not judge him, just because I disagree with his behaviour. But women are coming forward to talk about being abused by him. His employer found just cause to fire him for these actions – and I can only assume it had more to do than just the potential harming of the brand. His crisis management team has left him. From the looks of things, the only thing Jian Ghomeshi has left, is his law suit for 50 million dollars against the CBC.
But I want to talk about the women for a moment. These women who are making these claims (some now publicly). If what they are saying is true, these women are brave. And they should could be encouraged to come forward. It is so difficult to admit to being a part of humiliating acts, but by coming forward they are taking ownership and control. Which is so important. Furthermore, they are opening up a dialogue about abuse. There is a difference between kinky acts, and the claims against Ghomeshi. By coming forward they are not only helping themselves in the long run, but are helping a whole lot of others. They are creating awareness. And I for one would like to thank these women for standing up for themselves -and for other women.
Thanks to a short but fantastic blurb by Lindsay Lowe on the Parade website, I discovered a remarkable pop-up bakery called Depressed Cake Shop. A place where you can buy dozens of grey and gloomy sweet treats. This bakery, through their deliciousness, raise awareness (and monies) for mental health organizations. Each pop up bakery donates their proceeds to a charity of their choice.
It makes perfect sense really, when I am depressed I reach for the chocolate (or anything sweet to get the bitter taste out of my mouth). So I am thrilled to know that a place like the Depressed Cake Shop exists, even on a semi temporary basis. My one complaint? They haven’t come to Western Canada yet.
I think this proves that cake will make us happy.
Thanks for helping to change the stigma of mental health. Keep up the great (and delicious) work!
Ray Rice, the NFL, and CBS has gotten me so angry, that I have not been able to write. I have been trying to write this post for weeks. In actual fact, I haven’t been able to write a word of any kind, because I have been so angry. So this post is to serve the purpose of me releasing my anger (and if you have pent up anger on this as well, please comment), and then move on to other topics that are happening in the world of celebrities and mental health.
In order to process what has been happening – a friend of mine gave me a little cheat sheet to help me unscramble my thoughts. And rather than write a long essay on domestic abuse, I will stick to the questions he posed.
Why would someone defend and minimize abuse?
Minimize abuse – do they think it doesn’t happen? Someone once tried to tell me that the holocaust didn’t happen. I know that the holocaust happened, its not some kind of myth. Neither is abuse. Abuse is real. I understand why victims would minimize it or even defend it. But that’s another topic. Bystanders should never say, “well they deserved it – look what she was wearing”, or “he caught her talking to another man”. or anything else to defend the abuser. There is no excuse for it. None. I don’t care what the reason is.
In this era of social networks and over-sharing, on any given day, I know what my friends are reading, watching, shopping, thinking, feeling, and wanting. Is it any wonder that people are getting hacked and that their most intimate thoughts are being published for all the world to see. The answer is no, it isn’t surprising. But it doesn’t make it right. When the latest celebrity hacking came to light last week, I was one of the many people who felt that if celebs didn’t want their private photos to be leaked, then they shouldn’t be taking them in the first place. But a wise friend prompted me to explore the situation further, and see that this situation in not as black and white as I originally thought, but that there are many shades of grey. Maybe as many as fifty.
Have you ever been the victim of a rumour or gossip? Some mean girl in the 10th grade likes your boyfriend, and spreads a lie about the kind of girl you are. An hour later the entire school is talking about your reputation. Life as you know it has changed forever. I don’t know about you, but I would have an extremely hard time trusting anyone. In fact, something like that might stop me from ever letting someone get too close. Your life for the next couple of years has changed. You may not have done anything to cause this to happen, except date a boy that someone else was lusting over – and now you are going to pay.
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This day exists to raise awareness and to eliminate the stigma that surrounds suicide. I want to talk about the importance of this day a bit early, because 1) its a most important conversation to have, and 2) I have a personal connection to this cause this year.
Last night I lost a friend to suicide. A man that I liked a great deal. He was smart, and fun, and told wickedly funny stories. He was good. He had a family, and had family problems. He was struggling. I wish I had known that. I should have slowed down, and looked about me -and realized that he needed help. But I didn’t see it. And he didn’t ask. And now its too late. Had I known how bad things were for him, I would have told him that I adored him. That he was loved and valued. That he brought a smile to my face every time we talked. I would have held his hand and looked into his eyes and asked him how he was really doing. I would have hugged him. I would have listened. And I would not have allowed him to be alone. And all of this is too late. His friends (me included) let him down. My world will never be the same. And the sorrow and regret that has come with this man’s death is almost more than I can bear.
And so I urge everyone to talk about how you are feeling, let people know what is going on with you. If you are having dark thoughts, please share them. Talk to your doctor, or your friends, anyone who will listen, or a help line (1-800-273-TALK). Please, I urge you. And trust me when I say, there is someone out there that will miss you. You are adored.
And I encourage everyone to regularly tell the important people in your life just how important they are. That you love them, and that things are going to get better (if they need to hear that). Don’t …
This weekend, I had the opportunity to see the comedy/spoken word one man show Fruitcake: Ten Commandments of the Psych Ward, by Rob Gee. It was a wonderful production. The performance was witty, energetic, engaging, and wickedly funny. This show was about the lessons Rob has learned from his time of working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital (with the help of the voice of God, who happens to be a Jamaican woman). It’s not easy to laugh in the face of mental illness, especially when the play revolves around the stories of his patients.
At the beginning of the play, you are introduced to Rob, the voice of God that he hears in his head, some of his coworkers and the residents of the hospital. Because of the delicate nature of the subject, the audience doesn’t exactly know how to react at first. We aren’t sure if we should be laughing -and so our response is tentative at best.