The Root: In Defense of Candy Carson


There’s a particularly mean meme about presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Lacena, aka Candy, circulating around social media. In the meme, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are striking at the China state dinner Friday. President Obama is dressed in a well-tailored tuxedo, and the first lady has long, side-swept hair and an off-the-shoulder, custom-made Vera Wang gown.

The contrasting picture of the Carsons was taken in May, on the day Carson officially announced his candidacy for president in Detroit. He is dressed in an unremarkable but still presentable blue suit. It’s Candy Carson’s appearance that makes the meme funny to some (but not me). She is wearing a hairstyle and patriotic ensemble that is unflattering, ill-fitting and dated. The meme caption is a play on a popular DirecTV commercial that clowns its cable competitors for being subpar.


This is what my P.C. mind thinks: I’m no fan of presidential candidate Ben Carson. I don’t like his politics. He receives his fair share of ire from potential voters, but he asked to be dissected in the media, traditional and social, when he announced his bid for the presidency. Candy Carson did not. There are plenty of exceptionally valid reasons to rage about Ben Carson without adding his wife to the mix.

I hark back to the time in 2008 when Obama, then just a presidential candidate, appeared on Good Morning America to defend his wife from undue attacks for her alleged lack of patriotism.

“I’ve been in public life for 20 years,” he explained. “I expect them to pore through everything that I’ve said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That’s what they do.”

He added: “But I do want to say this ... if they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because I find that unacceptable ... I think it is just low class.”

I loved how Obama stood up for his wife. He was the candidate running for office, not his wife. And Michelle Obama didn’t deserve to be ripped apart because of his political ambitions. Her being attacked wasn’t right and was “low class.” Period.

But then there’s also the un-P.C. part of mind, the side that gets me in the most trouble as a writer. That untamed part of my brain? It’s mature enough not to laugh at Candy Carson’s expense, but it’s still asking why she came out of the house looking like that when her man is announcing his presidential bid. She didn’t just join him onstage to say, “Congrats, boo!” and go on her way. Candy Carson, an accomplished violinist, performed that day, too, playing the national anthem as her husband’s intro music. Come on!

Well-meaning sympathizers of Candy Carson have excused her appearance as a result of her religious beliefs. She is a devout Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that discourages women from wearing makeup and jewelry and emphasizes a modest appearance. OK. But religion and modesty are not synonymous with ill-fitting and unflattering and out-of-date. Also, there’s a Seventh-day Adventist church on my block, and on Saturday morning, the women I see look well put together for service. Candy Carson’s look can’t be blamed on religion.

Let me tell you a story: I recall, when I was a kid, maybe 10, I attended a family event with my mother. A male family member, who had always been praised for his looks and appearance, showed up looking dapper, as always. His wife? Not so much. Pretty lady, but she looked as if she hadn’t put in much effort for the occasion of seeing all of her husband’s family, when she should have.

My mother leaned over to me in my seat and offered me a dose of grown-lady wisdom: “When your man is looking like something, you make sure you look like it, too. Don’t show up looking like the help.” I never forgot that.

Is that shallow? Maybe.

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5 Ways To Handle A Break Up Better Than Chris Brown

Breezy x Coachella in happier times.

Chris Brown has made yet another mess after breaking up (again) with his on-off girlfriend Karrueche Tran. The pair recently split and Brown took to social media late Saturday night to vent his frustrations about his ex.

“We’ve got scars, some of them u gave me, some of them I’ve caused,” he wrote on his official Instagram page. “That ride or die act we have been fooling the world with obviously ain’t working. I was locked up for damn near 4 months and only got 1 visit from you while u was hosting parties and taking secret trips to Toronto, going on dates with Drake!”

“So let’s not try to save face for public opinion,” he continued. “I don’t need to play victim so people can take my side.”

Ouch. And wildly inappropriate. I guess someone told him that because he quickly deleted his comments and less than 24 hours later, issued a public apology to his ex.

“Being young and dumb is one of my strong suits,” read Brown’s Instagram caption to a pictureshowing him with his head hanging low (in shame?). “I love hard and react impulsively when I’m hurt at times. I don’t think social media is a place to air out or hash out personal problems.”

You think?

He added: “Everybody know I love that girl .... I just want baby girl to know I apologise (sic).”

Um OK.

Of course, Brown isn’t the only one venting on social media. Anyone with a social media account has a friend (or is the friend) that posts bitter rants or subliminal digs about their ex (or current) partner. According to a study, “Social Media Regret” by consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo, 32 percent of people say they’ve posted something online they regretted. (That’s it?)

In case you’re one of the people prone to venting like Brown—and 32 percent of of other Americans—here are five suggestions that will help you save face, avoid embarrassment and save you another apology:

1. To state the obvious: Stay off social media.

Unlike celebrities (or bloggers), you probably know most of your social media friends and followers personally and rantings about your personal life aren’t likely to make the blogs (unless you’re friends with me ... I’m kidding. Sort of.) Still, they don’t need to know all of your business, especially when you’re dissing your ex.

When I see people flip out on Facebook, my first thought is “Yikes.” It shows me you lack boundaries and don’t have a lot of friends or else you would have called one of them instead of getting messy with your whole social network. It also makes me wonder if we ever had a falling out, would you blast me, too?

The mature people who follow/friend you, read, maybe comment (with opinions on your situation that you may not like) and most keep scrolling. The worst of your friends take screenshots of your update (before you erase it) and send a private message to a mutual friend to gossip about you.

2. Vent to a friend (and not the instigating or gossipy one).

Rejection hurts, even for folks with great coping skills. Sometimes you just need a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen. Call that friend, the one who will tell you, “It’s gonna be OK,” even if it’s the end of the world. Even if they go tell all your business, you can deny everything if word gets out because there’s no screenshot.


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Being on TV: It's Essentially "You Ain't Sh**, Rarely in LessThan 500 Words"


Since The Show began, I’ve done a running weekly commentary on Facebook about my experiences being… more recognized. It’s a series of status updates unofficially called, “Demetria’s on TV and Things Are Getting Interesting.” We’ve covered the many ups and many, many downs of this new terrain that few people talk about, because if they did, I actually would have fully known what I was getting into.

Anyway, something happened yesterday to a friend that made me think this update was worth talking about.

My friend, a popular journalist and author, was called a "coon" on social media Monday. She did a FB update about it and quipped that she'd made it big. I joked something like, "Wait till you get the C-B-C combo. You're practically A-List."

Later, after I read several other comments on her thread expressing anger and outrage that she was insulted this way, I realized how f***ed up I’ve become about social media responses.

C-B-C= cunt, bitch, coon. It is not normal to be called these names (or certain others that are quite derogatory). And yet, I can't count a day since Jan. 5 when The Show debuted where I have not been called at least one of them (and a whole lot more). And each Sunday to Tuesday-- 72 hours-- after The Show aired, I (and my castmates) am bombarded with an endless tirade of all three throughout the day on Twitter, IG, my blog comments, email and occasionally FB mail.


I was warned by other female reality TV personalities and celebs that this would happen, even by the so-called "likable" ones. Everyone made the same analogies “They talked about Jesus” or reminded me that Michelle Obama has an extremely high approval rating, and she gets it too. It's part of what comes with being a woman in the pubic eye. But even the warnings don't prepare you for the waves of hate. It's like the sea rising up to wipe out NYC in one of those end of the world movies and you are the Statue of Liberty getting wiped out over and over and over… and over. It’s singlehandedly the worst part of being on TV. (Or being a blogger. It always happened, it's just a higher volume/ frequency now.)

I'm learning to deal with the volume, apparently. (It used to alternately cause insomnia and nightmares). Hence, why I am was completely desensitized to hear of someone else called a "coon", which if it's your first time, is incredibly upsetting. I was in tears the first time I was called a "hood rat" in the comments section of a friend's blog after the BSH trailer aired. (Funny, I've since transformed into a snobby/elitist/entitled, cunt/bitch/coon, but whatever).

I tell you all that to make this point. I've gotten with rare exception, used to all of this. Occasionally, I save the really good hate mail (like the one above) to whip out for cocktail and appetizer fodder with friends, like, “OMG! You will never believe this one!” I think of it as the equivalent of an ER doctor horrifying her friends with stories of what wild thing happened on the overnight shift. Everyone listening—unless they are also on TV—  is shocked, and weirdly intrigued at the depths and density of the amount of unadulterated crazy in the world.

TV (or blogger) people laugh and we play a game of one-upping each other. Someone not on TV (or blogging) always comments, “what kind of person watches a TV show, then goes online to tell the person that they hate them Like who does that?” Then someone else not on TV (or blogging) comments, “people have too much time.” And then, someone—maybe someone on TV (or who blogs) who is fed up that day or a person who just can’t believe this mess— screeches incredulously, “what is wrong with people?!”  and has to be calmed down. Some sensible soul reminds me to focus on the positive and keep my head up, which actually is now easy and actually done. Go figure.

But mostly, I (or someone) just block the person or delete the message from my mentions/responses/comments and move on with life. (And I’m sure that has something to do with why it doesn’t bother me as much.)

What fascinates me is the people who get pissed about this. Like you ranted in my comments telling me I was, [insert negative adjective] [choose either “bitch” or “cunt”] and you're surprised I didn't let that sit on my site/platform/social media? Like when it happens to you—and it must if you think it’s acceptable to talk to people that way—you don’t delete it? Really?

Some folks get so upset that they'll create a new IG, or post from a friend's account. And be totally upfront about it. Like, "you blocked me, [insert adjective] [now choose either “cunt” or “bitch”], but I'm back!!!! hahahahaha" Or they'll go from posting on one of my Instagram accounts to the other using the same screen name. Or from Twitter to Instagram repeating the same message. Or from Twitter to my blog to leave a nasty comment or write a longwinded email essentially telling me "you ain't shit, [insert “cunt” or “bitch”] in 500 words or more (never less). And they will add a line like, “now block this [choose either “bitch” or “cunt”]”.

It's like a weird sense of entitlement to not just be mean, but to allow the mean to stand for all eternity.  Like how dare you not allow me to be cruel to you and for everyone to see the depths of my hatred?  How dare you actually do something about it!!!! How dare you not respond to or acknowledge me!!!!! How dare you erase my evil thoughts!!!!! I imagine this, on a loop, is about what goes through The Brain's, well brain, or maybe The Joker’s.

Whatever it is, it’s a new part of life that I’m stuck with until I fade to black. There’s a lot of bad that comes with the good.


V- Day: Where's the Love?

Where's the love? Somehow a day that's supposed to be about celebrating love tends to bring out the worst in so many on social media.

There are the great men who are stressed out trying to show and prove as if ONE day determines everything.

There are women who act like one day and an expensive gift determine everything. (If he wasn't ish before V-Day and isn't after, it doesn't count. So you know.)

There are the guys who duck women they've led to believed they cared about. And women with a lot of wake-up-call hurt feelings.

There are women who feel like crap because they're single. And stay posting updates that showcase misery.

There are the people who taunt those women-- never guys-- for being single, and make all sorts of uneducated guesses as to why they aren't lovable. (I guess this makes them feel better. Newsflash: your bitterness is showing too, boo.)

There are the folks who care more about bragging about a gift than the actual gift and/ or the person who gave it to them.

Oh, and the people who don't appreciate their gifts— and have the audacity to say so publicly.

I'll stop here.

Surely, there are lots of folks who are just drunk/crazy in love and want to share their blessings. You can usually tell the difference. I appreciate those posts. They make me smile.

I hope, against the odds, I know, that folks can be a little more loving this year. It would be nice to see.

That is all.