lifeseek.org Preparing a Power Generation

24Sep/104

Black Girl Lost

September 2010: Featured Post

On a monthly basis, lifeseek.org will be featuring a thought-provoking essay that is designed to stimulate healthy dialogue and a collective resolve to seek the face of God for answers of some of the most pressing issues of our age. Your participation and feedback is very important to us and we encourage you to leave your comments, facebook or tweet this post after reading.

Dislaimer: This post contains some mature content.

[Click Image For Video]

Innocent Exploration...

Its really hard for me to watch this video on the surface, and not be drastically unmoved by the facade of happiness and youthful “exploration” that is shown by Montana Fishburne. In case you didn’t know, Montana Fishburne, is the daughter of actor Laurence Fishburne. You know Morpheus from The Matrix? She currently has the Internet buzzing about her recently released sex tape. Being a father to a daughter, I could not even begin to feel the disappointment, shame and hurt that Laurence Fishburne is experiencing.

As parents, this is not the career path that you envision for your little girl, and what’s so ironic about this whole thing is according to Montana, she had a “privileged” life of travel, choice education and just about anything she wanted.  She even said although her mom and actor father divorced while she was at the tender age of 2 she still had a “good” relationship with her father.

In most cases, statistics show that most women who enter into the porn industry come from abusive situations and bad experiences in their childhood or some form of male neglect. However, as I was diving in to the research, neglect did not surface as an issue in Montana’s life.

Why Porn?

So this made me ask, was it the divorce of her parents that affected young Montana? Or was it the lack of attention from her father, as he was away pursuing his acting career? How is it that her lost of virginity can turn into an all-out fascination to use her talents in an industry that has a reputation for swallowing young girls up. Why not pursue thespian aspirations as an alternative route? I mean your father is Laurence Fishburne, right?

Was this an issue of survival? According to Haley Volpintesta, a Chicago-based human rights advocate with 10 years experience working with youth impacted by the sex trade, the juvenile and criminal justice systems document that while many young women are coerced into prostitution, many others engage in survival sex. That is to say that they are in the practice of trading sex for basic needs like food and shelter, even in the Unites States of America.

"They may see their involvement in the sex trade as temporary, until they can figure out how to get their needs met in other ways," she says.

It was reported that her father was starting to take some of her privileges away, such as her car and other things, but this in no way threatened her well-being or prevented her from getting her basic needs met.

The New Role Models

So what was it? A case of innocent rebellion? Whatever prompted her actions, the bottom line is that this episode of exploration has made its course into the mainstream and into the homes of millions of Americans. Whether you have a sister, step-daughter, niece, friend, or a daughter between the ages of 13-18, this will have an interesting affect on them.

If you don’t believe me, check out Montana’s recent tweets,

“Aw this little 13 year old girl came up to me talking about I'm her favorite celebrity and she is going to make a sex-tape when she turns 18...”

“It's too late fools. Me and @ihatekatstacks are the next generation's ROLE MODELS. You had your chance and decided to go to college smh hoes”

Although, I’m not blaming Montana for the ills of the world, it should be noted that when the media magnifies her intentions, it does have a direct or indirect influence on the rest of us.

It especially presents a challenge for parents that already have a tough time dealing with their teenage son or daughter that hide in the crevices of their room chatting with their friends online. This challenge is especially significant in a time when there is a power struggle for influence over the minds of teenagers. In the case of Montana, her dad being a famous actor and probably being away from home because of his work, is not much different than most American families now. In this day and age, it is likely that one or both parents must work to earn a half decent living. Given this dynamic, it is easy to understand the tensions between parent and child.


The Father-Daughter Relationship

There are a number of factors that affect the bond between father and daughter. The daily grind of family life and employment can affect the strength of this important bond. According to studies, “men still spend an average of 15 more hours a week at work and commuting than their employed wives do, and American fathers spend about 70 more hours each year at work than do men in other industrialized countries. Dads still don’t have as much time as moms to be with kids.” In the same study, it was found that “father absence was an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Conversely, father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual outcomes, even if other factors were present. Girls who have poor relationships with their dads tend to seek attention from other males at earlier ages and often this will involve a sexual relationship.”

“This surprising characteristic of strong father-daughter relationships was not duplicated between mothers and daughters.”

So with the increased absence of the father, whether it is by overworking or just plain absenteeism, what messages does this send little girls who are looking for the approval of a male figure? In particular, what about little black girls? Drawing on research from several books she authored on the topics of the Father-daughter relationship, professor of adolescent psychology and woman's studies at Wake Forest University, Linda Nielsen, states that 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock. Most of the time all we hear about absent black fathers is the negative impact on young black men.  What about the impact on black daughters?  The emphasis is on the boys, and how much they need their fathers, but the highest rate of AIDS infections right now in our country is among teenage girls.

Why is this? My assumption is these girls are  dating guys and having sex too early. Most likely the girls are coming from a poorer family where the father is not present leading to girls at the ages of 12 and 13 engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners. Oftentimes their partners are drug users and alot older than them. The fact that these men are usually older shows that the girl consciously or unconsciously is looking to fill that father void. It seems that there is a strong connection between the increase in Aids related infections amongst black young women and the issue of absentee fathers.

Who Is To Blame?

When they do not see their father presently active in their lives it induces a counter-intuitive reaction for the young girls need for male affirmation and begins a process where the little girl is searching for this affirmation elsewhere.  It also could be a case of mere rebellion. Montana gives a hint of the fruit of her rebellion from the reactions of an absent father:

Don’t blame me...blame yourself! If you spent more time on Twitter than with your kids this week.#YouToBlame

So who is to blame? Parents? Society? The girls? I think the blame is placed on those who are not willing to take responsibility for the little girls in their life that are trying to find their way. Nas, had a prophetic song on his second album, It Was Written called Black Girl Lost and tapped into the conscience of this girl:

Diamonds all shinin, lookin all fine

Pretty little face, get a little high

Young girl stugglin, tryin to survive

Mother of the Earth, she made you and I

Just tired of playin the same ol' games

Messin with my mind, emotional thangs

And there goes.. a black girl.. lost


We want to hear your thoughts and experiences:

  • Were you a “Black Girl Lost” and now are found? Did you have any positive male role models to help you get on track?
  • As a man, do you have any “Black Girl Lost” in your life, how can you begin helping her get back on track?

[Editors Note: According to multiple sources on the Internet,  Montana Fishburne recently admitted herself into a mental facility  in Southern California and Montana will be there at least 30 days. Sources say part of Montana’s stay will be devoted to anger issues, but she’ll also undergo diagnostic tests to determine if there are underlying behavioral or mental issues. Please keep her in  your prayers.]


Tremayne Tatem, currently resides
in  Allentown, PA with wife
and two children.Graduate of Temple
University, in Philadelphia,PA and
co-founder of lifeseek.org. Tremayne
spent almost a decade in the Christian
entertainment circles as a rapper and
on the business side of things. Tremayne
has passion for communicating where
culure and Christianity collide to
find the love and wisdom of God. You
can find him blogging his thoughts
at lifeseek.org and tremaynetatem.com.
[1]E Online. "Montana Fishburne Talks Porn Career." August 2010.http://www.eonline.com/videos/v56743_montana-fishburne-talks-porn-career.html
[2] Huffington Post, "Montana Fishburne: I'm A Role Model",August 2010.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/13/montana-fishburne-im-a-ro_n_681286.html
[3]Linda Nielsen,vison.org:Insights and New Horizons, "The Lost Relationship:Fathers and Daughters",Fall 2007 http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=3136
[4]Gina Step, Vision.org:Insights and New Horizons, "Like Father, Like...Daughter?", July 2007 http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=3438

[5]Desiree Gordon, "The Absense of Black Fathers In The Home.", November 2008. http://www.helium.com/items/1096000-absent-black-fathers

Tremayne Tatem, currently resides in  Allentown, PA with wife and two children. Graduate of Temple  University, in Philadelphia,PA and co-founder of lifeseek.org. Tremayne spent almost a decade in the Christian entertainment circles as a rapper and on the business side of things. Tremayne has passion for communicating where culture and Christianity intersect; to identify how the love and wisdom of God is seen in both worlds.You can find him blogging his thoughts at lifeseek.org and tremaynetatem.com.

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19Jul/104

Marriage 2.0

July 2010: Featured Post

On a monthly basis, lifeseek.org will be featuring a thought-provoking essay that is designed to stimulate healthy dialogue and a collective resolve to seek the face of God for answers of some of the most pressing issues of our age.  Your participation and feedback is very important to us and we encourage you to leave your comments, facebook or tweet this post after reading.


marriage

Marriage

In today’s society, we find a myriad of complicated issues steaming from race, health, sex and gender.  These issues seem to be at the epicenter of our cultural norms.  Most of the widespread issues in post- modern America stem from interpersonal relationships between people groups in our nation, and how people are adjusting to the changes that are taking place.  One of the issues that is under public scrutiny in this society is marriage.  Marriage affects the very fabric of society from the structure of family to its cultural norms.  By exploring the rapidly changing laws around the subject of marriage, we can observe the demographics of the "institution of marriage" and how that institution has potentially changed to grow in post modern America.

A modern day definition of "marriage" gives us clues on how people associate commitment and a life-long relationship with their partner. Marriage is defined as (paraphrased):

- the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law

- the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage, the mutual relation of married persons, (wedlock) the

institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage

- an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities (1)

The current "legal" definition of marriage is a contracted collaboration of two people who have agreed to commit themselves to one another for the rest of their lives until one of them dies, or one of the couple decides to terminate the agreement.  The word "united" in the definition of marriage is too broad of a term considering that marriages are traditionally consummated by sexual intercourse between a male and female.  This traditional definition of marriage involves more than just sex but also the potential of raising a family.

Traditional Marriage

The most historical sanctions of marriage can be found in almost every religion in the world. It has become so ingrained into our society so that the religious rite itself has secular benefits which have become regulated, and defined, by the government and its individual states in America. Some religious traditions make marriage, and "holy matrimony," to be the exclusive union between a single man and a single woman. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all follow the “same-styled” practices of marriages in America.

There are some lawful interests in which the government governs marriages that are religious and non-religious. Marriages seen outside of religious practice are deemed as a "civil marriage."  A civil marriage has the same fundamental interests such as child support, family, and paternity. These are a few examples that show the legal structure of marriage as seen by law.  In America, when someone religiously marries they also are civilly married by the state.  This legal structure is made to protect all parties in the marriage including the siblings that were born inside that marriage.

Alternative Marriage

Same Sex Marriage

Same Sex Marriage

Over the last three decades, the "cultural" definition of married has changed and grown in America to include “same-sex marriage.” Same-sex marriage has produced much controversy as to what marriage is, including the issue of whether same-sex marriage (homosexual marriage) should be given the same rights as traditional marriage.  Support for same-sex marriage is usually based on two factors, "universal human rights" (which is steeped in the philosophy of distinguishing "natural rights" from "legal rights"), and allowing the “homosexually married” to be viewed just as "equal before the law" as the traditional marriages are viewed today.  Arguments opposing homosexual marriage are usually centered around religion and parenting.

One of the goals of homosexual(s) in America is not to try to change the religious and sanctimonious definition of marriage but to legislate civil marriage to include and accept same-sex marriages.  People who oppose these factions usually do so on the grounds of religion and "social morality" (e.g. social ethics). Religious people fear that "gay marriage" might weaken the institution of marriage itself; adding to the current problems and divorce rate that exist in America today.  The social ethics of "what tomorrow's communities will look like" seems to be a “passive-concern” among traditionalists in this country especially in religious communities.

Plural Marriage

Poly Marriage

Poly Marriage

If civil marriage can be amended to include same-sex marriages, can it also be amended to include more than one spouse in a marriage?  There’s currently a general consensus, in America, that polygamy will be the next “civil rights” battle.  There’s a fine line between homosexual and heterosexual, but is there fine line between monogamy and polygamy?

Almost always, when the legalization of polygamy is brought up, it's used to make a case against gay marriage.  Most notably, Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told the Associated Press in 2003 that legalizing gay sex would pave the way for legalized bigamy, polygamy and incest. (2)

Polygamy is rising in this country to become a social/culture norm. When our federal courts permit same-sex marriage in the country people suspect that polygamist groups will also begin to legislate their rights to have more than one spouse.

The role of the state in a marriage ceremony (currently) is to witness and confirm that two people are becoming "lawfully wedded".  This means that any parties that participate in such a ceremony are legally recognized as "married" by the state.  This idea of marriage would drastically change if our federal courts were to license polygamy marriages as a “legal and lawful union.”

The Promise

Promise

I Promise

Most people would agree that marriage is more than a legal contract — there are emotional, and traditional observations that are ingrained into our culture concerning the structure and definition of marriage.  No matter how the definition of marriage is changing, the most important aspect of marriage, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is that each person has decided to commit to a “promise."  This promise has to be to themselves, to honor someone greater than themselves and to other individual(s) in that institution – whether it be a person, child, or second wife.  The structure of marriage can evolve or change, but a foundational principle that is overlooked is the commitment of individuals not just to an institution- or a definition- but to a Person bigger than themselves.  Similar and the overall commitment to God.  Promises can’t be legislated by law and its governing body – nor should it be; but it can be witnessed by the state through a license that’s lawfully binding.  Marriage may look different from an outward perspective but the principle of commitment bound together by a “promise” will always be the very fabric of that marriage institution.


1. Why is homosexuality a “TABOO” subject in the black communities, but not a “TABOO” subject in the white communities?

2. Should Civil Right Laws issues apply to the homosexual communities?

3. Are the issues of homosexuality, in America, considered an issue of Human Right or Civil Rights?

4. How can the church serve homosexuals?

5. Have you, individually, educated yourself on the issues of alternative lifestyles, and homosexual communities?

6. How would you project the future of the American FAMILY?


[1] Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. [Online] April 28, 2010. [Cited: April 28, 2010.] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage

[2] NewsWeek. Polygamists, Unite! Newsweek.com. [Online] March March, 2006. [Cited: April 28, 2010.] http://www.newsweek.com/id/47068.


Dwayne Ghant is a Sr. Software developer at Temple University, who has been doing software development for the past 12 years.  My career has very little to do with who I am internally; that's the part of me that always evolving.  And yes, I'm a Christian who fervently loves our Father through Jesus Christ.  I am also the co-founder of lifeseek.org.  As our culture continues to evolve, ever so rapidly, there has to be a united expression or an organization that is willing to capture the essence of post-modern Christendom - and write about it!  It is our intention to write about a myriad of issues pertaining to ethics, culture, society, and religion.  We won’t always focus on “Christianity”; instead we will focus on how to observe things through the wisdom of God!  Enough about me.  We really hope you enjoy our blogs.

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