I took some heat on my Chris Brown/Rihanna post, particularly from two commenters who took issue with my opinion about the issue. One regular reader that I like and respect quite a bit, accused me of being “one sided” and not neutral about cultural differences. Another reader went ahead and expressed disappointment in me as a journalist.

If asked, I’d call myself a professional writer. Although I’ve been employed as a journalist, I never went to J school, and I never aspired to spend my life breaking or reporting news. However, you’re reading Afrobella. I created this blog in 2006 as a space for self expression. So here’s some breaking news, bellas — everything you read on Afrobella is coming from my heart, my mind, and my soul whether it’s a product review, a post about popular culture, or a post about my life. You’re reading a blog, and I have an opinion. In fact, that’s generally what bloggers do.

It takes a lot to put yourself out here online every day. It takes real effort to research and write and make sure what I’m saying is exactly what I mean to say. A year or so ago, this little adventure in blogging might have led me to feel down about the process. But now, this experience actually led me to an old song by a man I’ve written lovingly about before — The Mighty Sparrow. In 1963 he recorded a song called The Old Man and the Donkey. Check it out below.

Old Man and Donkey.mp3 –

I love a song with a moral, and this has a good one. I’ll summarize the lyrics for those of you who can’t listen to it.

The song tells the story of an old man, a little boy, and a donkey, traveling across the countryside of Trinidad. Every village they go through, the villagers have a complaint about their method of transportation. Some think the old man shouldn’t be riding the donkey, he should let the little boy ride. When they switch places, the villagers in the next place they stop take issue with them, and say the little boy should be walking as the old man rides. Etcetera, etcetera. And the song ends with these lyrics, which have always held me in good stead.

The moral of the story is plain to see. Please yourself, because you can’t please everybody.

If you’re looking for impartial news, I encourage you to turn to the AP or Reuters. But please, don’t visit my blog and expect me not to share my own views on a subject, to be Switzerland or Sweden, or to only express views you can agree or identify with. 9 times out of 10 you might agree with me. And one time, you might not. And it’s completely up to you whether you keep reading or not. Personally, I hope you do, and I hope through rational discussion, careful reading, and critical thinking, together we can come to a place of mutual understanding and enlightenment. But I understand if it doesn’t go that way. I’m not going to let it hurt my feelings, and you shouldn’t let it hurt yours.

Either way, I wish all of you peace and positivity.

Filed Under:


Alicia/InstantVintage says:
February 11, 2009, 2:49 am
*rousing applause* Lest we forget, a blog is for self-expression. You've every right to feel how you feel and let the world know about it here. ITA, Bella. ITA.
BSQUARED86 says:
February 11, 2009, 4:03 am
Well said, Bella!
Tami says:
February 11, 2009, 4:51 am
I referenced my pastor when I told people who visited my blog a similar thing: If you don't like my sermon then stop coming to my church...amen. lol
detroit afropuff says:
February 11, 2009, 6:17 am
Personally I LOVED the piece you wrote on Chris Brown/Rihanna. I forwarded it to every other black women (and some black men) that I knew. Honestly, as a community of black women we need to come to each other's defense more often. If we don't have our own backs, then who is going to do it for us? You just keep speaking from the heart bella. We are here to listen.
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
February 11, 2009, 6:35 am
This is your personal blog. You shouldn't have to censor yourself. This is not a newspaper so of course you can express your opinion.
Mrs.McKinzie says:
February 11, 2009, 6:42 am
Bella,I was really being sarcastic not serious hon with the hurt feelings line.One of your readers thfromthabay gave a very insightful answer to my original comment.What was I thinking expecting you to do the same?Oh yeah,and great post.
pdbraide says:
February 11, 2009, 7:00 am
well said. more grease or in this case fragant organic shea butter to ur elbows.
BellaSweet says:
February 11, 2009, 7:22 am
I hated, hated the Island Girl comments.
Bebroma says:
February 11, 2009, 8:41 am
See, I didn't even know there was this issue between some "island girls" and AA women! There are several West Indian or Caribbean women and women from Africa in my community, and I honestly had just found them to be like everybody else in regards to "attitude." That whole thing surprised me. I personally just saw it as an aside that you vented about briefly before tackling the real issue -- domestic violence, and domestic violence among young people. And of course the island women comment got under your skin -- anytime an assumption is made about us, whether in particular or general, it's irritating. Like that all black women have attitudes, etc. ANYway, I'm with most of the others, it's a blog, not a newspaper. We have a right to express our opinion, and you do, too. Especially since it's your blog! I'm glad to see that you are taking the comments as expressions of views, and not personally, and moving on.
MoniMoni says:
February 11, 2009, 8:57 am
You know how I felt! Rock on Bella! *Holding up the black power fist!* :)
ceecee says:
February 11, 2009, 9:13 am
tell 'em Bella!
rocha says:
February 11, 2009, 9:24 am
bella, I read your post because I like to hear your voice, the voice of a strong woman of color who is not afraid to say what she thinks. I'm glad that you write this blog because reading it brightens my day. I pray that you continue to be blessed as you bless us with your encouraging voice.
Cheeky says:
February 11, 2009, 9:29 am
Amen! Amen! and Amen!
b. says:
February 11, 2009, 9:35 am
I second that, rocha. You do it well, Bella.
ChocolateOrchid says:
February 11, 2009, 10:20 am
Do you, Bella!! Much Love, Lady!
thesouthernlady says:
February 11, 2009, 10:36 am
Good for you!!
Norjunma1 says:
February 11, 2009, 10:57 am
I think people are operating under some false assumptions here. Last time I checked, blogs were not subject to the same principles of "fairness and objectivity" that are (supposedly) found in mainstream journalism. Even at it's most sophisticated, a blog is still mainly a sounding board for opinions and ideas. An accusation of poor journalistic integrity and one-sidedness here seems a bit callow (not to mention overly dramatic). That having been said, I still respect your original thoughts on the Brown/Rhiana issue, Bella. It's a sad and complicated issue that's been over-hyped and exploited in the media with little or no regard to both these people's suffering. Focus on the issue and express some compassion people.
politicallyincorrect says:
February 11, 2009, 11:16 am
Those Chris Brown supporters are ruthless. You are not the only blogger that had to post that kind of response b/c of a CB opinion.
MissMikelah says:
February 11, 2009, 11:21 am
Well said, you are entitled to you're own opinion and should say how you feel about stereotype, her culture is unrelated to the real issue.
Irie Diva says:
February 11, 2009, 11:43 am
I so aspire to be as tough-skinned as you when it comes to ignorant comments left on blogs because some of those comments made me so mad i couldn't post any further. I hate being misunderstood and prejudged
American Girl says:
February 11, 2009, 12:15 pm
I see Trini bithches stick together.
bella says:
February 11, 2009, 12:27 pm
Hey "American Girl," FYI, I don't allow cursing on my blog. And if you want to call me one, know how to spell it. "Bitch" only has one "H" in it. Common sense, not so common. But it's super easy to do a spell check.
True American Girl says:
February 11, 2009, 12:30 pm
It isn't just Trinidadian women that agree with Bella... Someone needs to get their mind right.
Brooke says:
February 11, 2009, 12:34 pm
Wow, American Girl, that is a very low rent comment. If you do not like what is being said, then by all means keep it moving. I have been reading this blog for a while and never thought to leave a comment until I saw yours. This blog is too refine for such ignorance. Take comments like that to mediatakeout or bossip (yeah, I said it).
bella says:
February 11, 2009, 12:37 pm
OK, now you've earned yourself a delete. Adios, "American Girl."
Denise says:
February 11, 2009, 12:49 pm
Hi Bella- I love your blog....Do I agree with everything you write, no, of course not. What I can get with, I get with...what I can't, I don't. As you said, you began this blog as a means of your self expression. And that is what it is. I will definitely continue to visit your "space."
thfromthabay says:
February 11, 2009, 12:56 pm
Hey Bella I've been following you since about September of 08 when I decided to go natural. I loved during Christmas when you gave your readers insight on your Trini traditions and music you listened to growing up. I do come to this blog for beauty info but I feel like it’s a treat when you post other topics (Art, Music, Poetry, Politics, Current events, the list is infinite). I wish you luck with your new changes in 2009 and I thank you for being you & for sharing yourself with us.
Candy says:
February 11, 2009, 1:19 pm
Hey Bella! I haven't read the comments from that post because I assumed that there would be a lot of ignorance in them. Looks like I was right. Honestly, I don't think that this is a WI vs AA thing. I think the main issue is that nearly all of our Black cultures don't have great attitudes towards women in general. If they were both AA, WI or African it wouldn't even matter because most people would still come to the defense of the man and blame the woman. And if you had the gall to *gasp* defend the woman then you become public enemy #1. Think of the Clarence Thomas and Isiah Thomas' sexual harassment cases or even that incident with Akon last year. Most in our all of our Black communities defended them and blamed the women. I hope one day we can talk about misogyny in Black culture without it becoming a men vs women issue. *sigh*
musical nostalgia says:
February 11, 2009, 1:33 pm
listening to this song made me cry. It was a song my grandma use to play for us when we were kids in the islands and what i live by:" Please yourself, because you can’t please everybody.” Believe me it has gotten me into a hella lot trouble, but it's the only and rightful way to live. I haven't heard this song in YEARS.YEARS. (I will be downloading it ASAP) Thank you for your blog and this Post. best of luck in ALLLLL you do!
Bronze Trinity says:
February 11, 2009, 1:45 pm
I like reading blogs like yours for the opinions. If I want something neutral then I go to press releases from other news sources. But I prefer blogs most of the time because they are opinionated and I can form my own opinion. I agree with the moral of the song. I just hate it when someone is doing something for themselves and others feel they have the right to criticize you and demand you change as though you owe them something. I just don't get people like that. They have a high sense of entitlement or something.
Tha Connoisseur says:
February 11, 2009, 2:08 pm
No, we do not know the whole story regarding the altercation between the two. And like any other confrontation, there are two sides to the story. HOWEVER, this gives Chris absolutely no right to raise his hand on Rihanna - it was point blank wrong and he deserves every aspect that the consequences entail. Now if American Girl, like Chris, would have thought first, BEFORE she wrote her ignorant statement and Chris before he raised his hand - there would be no ill feelings/deleting towards her and Chris would not be going through loosing everything he has worked so hard to build over the past few years. Would have, could have, should have. We have to learn to think first y'all. It is always that one decision that will lead you down the path you are meant to go down. Choice can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Choose wisely, because you just never know where you could end up. Bella, as a woman of West Indian descent, I am very proud of what you wrote. Keep uplifting us with your positive vibes straight from the heart.
Dad says:
February 11, 2009, 2:43 pm
This song has always been one of my favourite Sparrow calypsoes and reinforces the fact we cannot please everybody all of the time. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Your writing is fantastic, your views are generally sound, your ideas are often original and you have a wonderful band of loyal bloggers You are extremely talented and blessed and your opinions are respected. Stay true to yourself and try not to waste time on unrecognised ignorance.
Erica says:
February 11, 2009, 2:53 pm
Well said Bella! I find these discussions very informative and healthy because they challenge all of us to really think about all sides to a story. Keep up the good work. And oh....even if I disagree with a particular thing that you may write (I haven't so far), I will continue to support and engage in this site's dialogue because plain and simple....it's great! Have a wonderful and peaceful day everyone!
Nicole says:
February 11, 2009, 2:57 pm
Well said bella!! You are an amazing woman and I admire you for putting yourself out there and doing something different. Your blog is awesome keep up the good work.
nickiw says:
February 11, 2009, 2:59 pm
Bella, it's truly unfortunate that you felt the need to write this post. It's even more unfortunate that some people would choose to attack you rather than listen. Being unable to just listen is, in my opinion, one of the greatest detriments. If we were able to listen we would understand that everyone has an opinions, and that it's not necessary that we all agree. I'm sorry you had this trouble with the post. But I love the way you handled the situation. Well done!
afrobleubella says:
February 11, 2009, 3:07 pm
Bella, keep doing what you do 'cause you do it so well! to True American Girl, my sentiments exactly. To the fake 'American Girl' your ignorance is reflected in the spelling of your words. The real issue with the Rhianna and Chris Brown case is domestic violence regardless of who intiated the first blow. Youngsters- heck all of us need to talk more about physical violence, verbal abuse (ahem... 'american girl') and anger management in familial and romantic relationships.
Latoya Peterson says:
February 11, 2009, 4:05 pm
Oh, Bella, do I ever feel you on this post. Thanks for the song, I know I'll be playing it later...
Jordanmktg says:
February 11, 2009, 4:55 pm
Oh, Bella. I agreed with your response to the many things being said about "Island women" and the entire situation. I wonder if people would be ok if the comments were "Well, you know how those black women are." All of us have the responsibility to watch what we say/write. Keep on keepin' on!
b. says:
February 11, 2009, 5:15 pm
I'm grateful for dialogues like this. They reaffirm my optimistic belief in many women around the world of like mind. Even though I know this, sometimes it's nice to see a group of women (of color like me, especially) who agree and disagree in a civil manner and reaffirm each other. Thanks, ya'll. It's also nice to see a standard-bearer who will tolerate dissent but not ignorance. (Just b/c it's permissible doesn't make it beneficial...) Thanks, 'Bella.
Trina J says:
February 11, 2009, 6:16 pm
Bella, I feel you. Stay strong and opinionated that's what makes your blog interesting...your personality and unique viewpoint. As a new blogger stayed away from this story because I had a feeling that it would lead to all kinds of outlandish controversy and comments.
Shell says:
February 11, 2009, 9:33 pm
Good for you, Bella.
KianaB says:
February 11, 2009, 9:42 pm
I already sent my "stay positive, your the sh*t" message on twitter. Just popping in to say that your dad is awesome! Listen to everything he says. Always on point :)
Ree says:
February 11, 2009, 9:51 pm
Nice comment by Dad. You're so fortunate to have supportive parents who also sound like fans of yours. LOL. Continue to keep up the great work. I enjoy your website and your opinions immensely. Thank you for what you do.
Sabrina says:
February 11, 2009, 11:21 pm
Ditto everyone else. I appreciate you and your blog and will continue to read. I just still don't understand why people who disagree with your blog would continue to come back and make disparaging comments and make the attacks personal...to those people, KICK ROCKS!
lilone says:
February 12, 2009, 12:01 am
Dad's say it best =) You are a brave soul Bella for simply speaking in an environment that allows people to respond. You could delete every differing opinion that comes your way but you do allow for both sides of a story to be expressed on YOUR blog. You never know how someone's personal baggage or plain ole funky attitude will be projected onto you LOL. Kudos on your strength!
Blue says:
February 12, 2009, 1:21 am
I'm new to your blog, but I couldn't agree with you more. It is difficult to put yourself out there in your blogs everyday, or even at all. And I think it is okay for people not to agree all the time because it allows us to learn from each other. It is just about being respectful of each others opinion's, especially when we disagree, so that we can have a dialogue and hopefully learn to understand each other. Peace and blessings to you.
SacredAngel says:
February 12, 2009, 11:23 am
Writing a journalistic blog and adding personal tidbits is one thing and being a professional writer who's writing a personal blog is another. My apolgies for coming to the conclusion that it was the former when it is in fact the latter.
Newly Nappy says:
February 12, 2009, 11:31 am
Thas' rite!!! Tell 'em Bella, ur blog ur vote. Whether we agree or disagree you have the right to speak what you feel. I am a Chris Brown fan, often ive called him my illegal baby daddy cuz he's so sweet and cute but defntly a baby, however bad behavior is bad behavior. I sit in no position to judge either party tho, i wasn't there & its really none of my business. So i'm defntly not gettg into a battle of words and feelings with other ppl over something like this. No one, male or female, deserves to be struck out of anger regardless of the circumstances. Violence is not how we as grown adult homosapiens resolve our problems. oh yeah, go DAD!! we can disagree without being disagreeable. xzakly!
Ms. Beans says:
February 12, 2009, 2:26 pm
Hey Bella!! I :) I agree with that this is your blog and your self expression!! You go girl!! :) Yes, we were not present when this sad incident occur, but at the end of the day....an assault happen and it involved a man and a woman. The man is Chris Brown because he did turn himself in to the police and there is proof of that. We can all agree on that. Furthermore, abuse is abuse and it should not be taken lightly. I am happy you discuss this situation because this is what we need to do...talk about it. Hopefully, this will initiate more discussion about abuse and other things in our community as well as the world. Women and Men are abuse all over the world. I congratulate you my bella sistah!! :)
Ms. Beans says:
February 12, 2009, 2:34 pm
I would to add something just to give people something to think about: We say that this situation is none of our business just as we would say about other things. However, if abuse was being done to a sister, brother, mama, dad or any other person close to us. Would we say "it not my business"? When should we cross the line and make it our business?? once the person is dead?? I don't know... Is it really good for us to keep turning our heads to important issues as long as it does not involve us? I am not directing towards no one personally...I am giving a food for thought..
Newly Nappy says:
February 12, 2009, 3:19 pm
No one is turning their head, however no one (unless they are members of either family or directly involved in both parties lives) is able to sit in judgment or even truly make statements of 'well i think' or 'my feelings are'. none of us were even there, we don't REALLY know what happened. the last time i even saw a "news" article about it the only words i kept seeing being repeated was alleged and may have been. I think u cross the line and make it ur business when u personally are involved. meaning i personally know you and the entire situation or i am an eyewitness. like this article i read in the paper about this gentleman who saw a woman being stabbed by her husband in a domestic dispute on the street and the gentleman hit him over the head with a shovel and contacted the police. while that may seem a little vigilante style (violence begetting violence and all) that man did not just leave that woman there alone to fend for herself for fear of the physical repercussions he may have received. If i see it or i know you then it is my business. but until you have the full details of a matter no it is not your business. At that time its a lot of accusations and insinuations. The authorities are really the final say and if it turns out as true then he should suffer the consequences to the fullest extent of the law. No ifs ands or buts. Just my thghts!
Ms. Beans says:
February 12, 2009, 4:22 pm
@Newly Nappy I understand what your are saying and i agree we don't know the details of the situation. This is a sensitive subject and we are all humans. Everyone has cast judgment in his/her life. Especially, topics that "pull on our heart strings". We just have to wait and see what happens. :)
SoFrolushes says:
February 12, 2009, 6:02 pm
you get so many comments its just inspiring. I for one am bias. Part of the reason I like you so much and love reading your blog is that Caribbean connection. I may not be a born islander but I am a british born west indian caribbean jamaican. i have heard a few off key things in my time. I just like the way you bring your home town and your current together. its like a basket weave interwoven neatly to reveal the beautiful that you are. just brush your shoulders off and keep doing you.
p1tey1 says:
February 12, 2009, 6:05 pm
Well said Bella! I haven't read as much island hate towards Rihanna as I have read black women who are making EXCUSES for Chris Brown's behavior. I know we all love the brothers, but we can't make excuses for them when they are wrong! I hope people will not let this opportunity go by without talking to the young people in their lives about domestic violence and behavior that is unacceptable. This is truly a trachable moment.
p1tey1 says:
February 12, 2009, 6:06 pm
^^ teachable moment^^
Shelly says:
February 12, 2009, 7:53 pm
Cosign@ some of Candy's comments. Attitudes toward women in the black community sucks. I've been so disappointed by comments about Rihanna by black women in general. Where the heck is the sympathy for the abused? But where I disagree with Candy is that I have heard a lot of negative comments toward people from the islands. It's just sad and ignorant. As an AA woman I really want us all to be unified and have a more panafricanist view about black folks in the diaspora. I don't understand the hostility and animosity people feel. I'd like some perspective on it.
soul2 says:
February 13, 2009, 6:49 am
@SacredAngel,... You keep flapping your jaws in a lame attempt to promote your blog. No one is listening to you because you don't make any kinda sense. Do you understand that, You have a blog which is averageing Sero comments. You even used your post here to try to generate comments to no avail. It ;s not working try something else. You keep saying what your expectation of Afrobella is. Maybe you should examine your expectation of self. You have proven here that you do not know the definitions of which you speak and you that you are trying to put some responsibility for your illumination and education on to Afrobella's shoulders. However instead of asking for it, you aretrying to bully her in to giving you what you want. I said it in the island post. You need some help. your dysfunctional background is seeping into your online posts. Seek counselling or guidance. It really will help you.
anonyjw says:
February 13, 2009, 9:11 am
Well said! I especially liked the Sparrow throwback! Take care, bella!
Ms.Zindzi says:
February 16, 2009, 10:08 am
Well Said Bella! I am a Sparrow fan as well! Keep true to your Caribbean-ity ALWAYS! xoxox, Ms.Zindzi.
SacredAngel says:
February 16, 2009, 11:35 pm
Thank you to the person who linked me to this post. To soul whatever: My blog is for me. I discuss it with people who read it using reader. I'm not overly concerned with the number of comments I get. If you read my comment on this post you would have seen that I a) apologized for not taking Bella's blog for what it truly was and b) didn't link my blog in this post's comments. It's set up to automatically do so because I do read quite a few Wordpress blogs. Go do something productive. Not entirely sure what that might be for you but go find it.
soul2 says:
February 20, 2009, 4:40 am
bwaaah haa haaaa. funny. u r still not making sense, and still trolling for commenters. be off witth you. go gain a few more IQ points from school


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