Archives – August, 2010

Why don’t films about traveling or moving abroad ever feature black women?

For most folks, spending 10 bucks and a couple hours at the movies is all about passive entertainment. But sometimes, you encounter a cinematic gem that literally becomes life-changing, that totally alters the way you see the world. That one for me was 2003’s “Under the Tuscan Sun,” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328589/) which inspired me, following a major surgery and reordering of life priorities, to quit my corporate job and pack my bags for fabulous Firenze (Florence), Italy.

Even now, if I’m flipping channels on the TV and “Tuscan Sun” is on, regardless of whether the film’s at the beginning, middle or end, I plop down and watch. And certamente, I own the DVD—and when I’m feeling the need for a bit of inspiration, I’ll view it again. I recently interviewed Under the Tuscan Sun (http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780767900386) author Frances Mayes (http://www.francesmayesbooks.com/) for a national Travel story, and that conversation took me back to those dreamy days of living in bella Italia.

The latest film buzz, of course, is about Julia Roberts’ “Eat Pray Love” (http://www.letyourselfgo.com/), which hit U.S. cinemas earlier this month. As I’m sure you know (or have heard, whether you wanted to or not), it’s based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s monster best-selling memoir (http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/eatpraylove.htm) about ditching New York City after a traumatic divorce and subsequent love affair and spending a year traveling through Italy, India and Indonesia. (Her gig was WAY easier than mine, as her publisher’s book advance funded her year of self-discovery.) Personally, I never got past the “Eat” portion of the book, but perhaps that’s because I’m too Italy-obsessed to care about the rest.

But here’s what got me thinking: none of the films I’ve seen extolling the joys of traveling and/or relocating abroad has ever starred a black woman—or a woman of color AT ALL….

Continue 22 Comments August 27, 2010

Sisters in Spain: Michelle Obama and Sasha wrap up mom-daughter trip abroad in style

I don’t know about you, but it’s absolutely thrilled me to see First Lady Michelle Obama taking 9-year-old Sasha on a mom-and-daughter holiday—to SPAIN, no less! I don’t have kids, nieces or nephews, but if I did, I’d be booking us on some overseas trip as soon as they were old enough to appreciate it. And I’d be sitting them down right now to watch video of adorable Sasha meeting the king and queen of Spain (http://news.yahoo.com/video/politics-15749652/michelle-obama-meets-king-of-spain-21295458). How it does my heart proud to see this darling young brown-skinned girl looking confident alongside her mom, realizing she’s a princess in her OWN right. Nothing like self-assurance, even when it comes in the package of a preciously dressed pre-teen.

I was super-proud and psyched last year when the President and Michelle took their two girls with them to Paris and London (http://urbantravelgirl.com/2009/06/10/young-americans-in-paris-the-obama-girls-take-europe-by-storm/). I wrote then about how important it is for youngsters—and especially African-American ones, who don’t always see themselves portrayed positively in the American media—to travel abroad and experience life through a different lens….

Continue 15 Comments August 8, 2010


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