Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Poem & A Question

But first the poem:

Preface: the following poem is loosely based on the mythological tale of Hippolyte (queen of the Amazons) and Herakles aka Hercules who, after sent on a quest to take her belt, fell in love with her. Hera then sent false word to the Amazons saying that Herakles was there to kill their queen and so they attacked. Herakles killed many Amazons in that battle, including Hippolyte.

Hippolyte Reincarnate
a Modern Day Tragedy

born and raised as an Amazon
in the harsh reality of a fatherless
home, she was taught the value of
self and to look out for
self and to distrust those of the

with a determination unbreakable,
she strode through life breaking
hearts and taking charge
vowing to never fall prey
to those of the

sepia skinned, almond eyed, and
with hair like lamb's wool, she stood tall
embracing her heritage
reveling in the untold power
that lay in her

she was queen
of all Amazons

until the day in which she saw the sun
rise in the eyes of a lad...the strongest of men
a demi-god and a legend, on a quest
to steal the queen's heart he won her hand and

powerless under his gaze
she fell and with her the hopes of her clan
as she bore
babe...all in the sake of his...name
for the sake of his...love
and when her hero took flight with his treasure,
her strength shattered
the fallen heroine slowly...died inside
and piece...by piece...by piece...
her once fortified soul faded and the dreams
she once held dear became no more than a



and now the question...what are your thoughts on this poem? how does it make you feel as a man or a woman?

normally i dont ask others specific questions about my work save, 'what do you think' but i got an interesting response today in which someone called the poem sexist propaganda. which struck me as odd and kinda funny given the fact that that wasnt my intention in writing the piece. but enough from me, im waiting to hear from you.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Jump on In, the Water's Fine

no point in apologizing for what seems to be repeated offenses, lol. i can admit that keeping a blog full time and on a regular basis, just ain't my thing. nontheless i got ish to say, so let's get to it, shall we?

Ladies and Gents I give you... The Dream Team

courtesy of eurweb.com

yea folks, that's it right there. something about Oprah's endorsement and the fan fare that followed the events in Iowa and South Carolina kinda tickled me. it will be interesting to see what Oprah's continued endorsement of Obama will have on his campaign. can't hurt to have Oprah on your side right? yea, i didn't think so either.

i like Obama, and i dig his whole 'change' platform. it seems as though Black folks still tend to favor Clinton, and you've got to ask why. i think that the reason has something to do with the fact that we dont think a Black candidate will win the presidency. some would say the country isnt 'ready' for a Black president. well my dears, the country is only as ready as we try to make it be. we'll never know until we try, correct?


anywho...onto other things, life is grand for me personally. nothing's perfect, but im happy nonetheless. since my last post, ive celebrated my 24th year on this earth, got a new tattoo, got my apartment furnished for free (thanks be to God for Her mercies and blessings), been dating someone i can tolerate (lol), and have begun to read up on and considering a new religious/spiritual direction in Buddhism. funny what can happen in a month or two, huh?


the holidays are upon us, and ive been going back and forth with how i want to celebrate them or if i want to celebrate them at all. after last year's christmas, i got to thinking about what the holiday means to me and what society seems to make it appear to be. did a lil digging and found that Jesus really wasnt the reason for the season, which kinda spun me for a loop.

but i think im slowly starting to resolve it all for myself. i mean, i gotta admit, i love xmas songs. i love snow on christmas day, and the warm glow that comes from a beautiful christmas tree. whether the meaning behind it all has to do with God or not is one thing, but cosmetically speaking, xmas can be a lovely time. i love the idea of family and friends comming together around this time of year. it seems to be the one time outta the year that people allow their hearts to defrost a lil and are open to giving and being kind to others. for that reason i love the holidays.

i tried to deny christmas, neigh, i tried to shun it. but ignoring the commercialism of it all and focusing on what it symbolizes, the peace, joy, and goodwill towards (wo)men...brings it all back to center for me. ive got my gifts for those i care about, and truly i want not a thing for the holidays save spending time with the people i love.


ah, i painted a new piece, check it:


aight kiddies, im outta here for now. ill be back...hopefully later this week. got some thoughts floatin round in the cranium


Friday, November 02, 2007

Because It's Friday

and i mentioned how i'd been on a creative kick lately, i thought i'd share some pieces with you:

"StrongMen" (inspired by poem of same title by Sterling A Brown)

"what dreams are made of"

"kiss this"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Take A Look Around

So I realize that I’m not always the best at giving those constant, up-to-date blogs. Blogging on a regular basis is like a full time job – hats off to those who do it and do so well. I’ve been off in the world just handling some business and dipping back into my creative side yet again. It’s interesting how my creative energy intensifies when I’m in the midst of other creative spirits. Ah…and on a not so creative note, I took my GREs, and I guess you can say I’m on step closer to applying to grad school. Woot. Though truthfully, sometimes I wonder what life has in store for me and how I’m to balance my interests, talents, and desires…but that could be another post in and of itself.

No no my friends, I’ve come to you today to just put some stuff out into the universe…let me preface things by stating quite simply that I try to be in tune with my surroundings. I try to ‘feel’ and absorb the world…don’t ask me why, I just do. With that said, I think it’s suffice and rather redundant to say that America has a race issue *duh* but what tickles me is that some people seemed to have forgotten that. Michael Richardson, Don Imus, the situation in Jena (talking about the nooses AND the in-justice system), the recent revival of using nooses as a form of intimidation and hatred, and now with Dog the Bounty Hunter’s most recent outburst (though his comments were said in private)….It seems as though too many have forgotten that race is an issue in this country.

To paraphrase Marcus Mabry in his book “White Bucks & Black –Eyed Pease: Coming of Age Black in White America” he muses that while race relations have changed materially, they haven’t changed spiritually…What I take from that is that, although we minorities have access to opportunities that our predecessors did not, the larger society still has an inherent issue with us. We are still resented, feared, and looked upon as being different (as a negative). It isn’t until that spiritually ill is improved that we can say that racism and all its bastard children (discrimination, prejudice, unwarranted hatred, etc) no longer exist.

It’s all jumbled y’all…no matter how hard you work, how much money you make, you will still be seen as ‘lesser’ and as the ‘other’ by society. Any one have any ideas as to how you go about collectively working on the ‘inner man’ of your fellow human beings? I, for one, am at a loss. Race is such a touchy issue that it makes it hard for a good deal of us to talk about it rationally without getting emotional and losing our point along the way. There’s such pressure to outwardly be PC and say the ‘right things’ so as not to offend anyone, but what do is that if we really don’t fully understand why it isn’t right to say those things? Or how saying those things might make others feel? Shouldn’t we at least be able to honestly discuss what has been going on here? If you take a look around it isn’t that hard to see that opportunities and advantages in this country are skewed based upon race and a system of privilege and inheritance that was (again) established upon racism, discrimination, and slavery. It’s all connected, all linked, and so today to talk about race and discrimination without addressing past wrongs and how they have all compounded upon one another to get us to the situation we are in today is rather illogical and changes the make-up of the discussion to make it appear to be a lot less worse than it really is. Racism isn’t just an individual’s problem; we can’t just point at one person or one group of individuals as we shake our heads in disapproval, content with our own self-righteousness…we need to instead realize that the slurs and acts of hate that have been surfacing recently are indicators that the American society isn’t as accepting and understanding as we’d like to think.

Ideally, we’d all be able to sit and talk about some of these issues in a way where everyone’s opinions can be heard and we’d all be informed as to the history of discrimination, disenfranchisement, and prejudice that have helped to shape this country and American society. Ideally. I’m no fool, so to think that this day will magically appear isn’t going to do me or anyone else any bit of good. Still, a girl can dream can’t she?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hold it Right There Sister

"Last weekend, a YouTube video emerged of televangelist Juanita Bynum asking her partners to sow an emergency seed -- any seed you can sow: $300, $500, $1,000 -- because she has been led by God to a new "threshing floor."

The new property, 30 acres of land with 12 acres of lakefront, will be used for the new Juanita Bynum Ministry. The property costs approximately $200,000. (more here)"

You’ve got to be kidding me. Seriously…God told you you needed a $200,000 threshing floor? While I think it very sad and unfortunate that Sista Bynum is going through so much turbulence in her life right now, I don’t think that asking the public to ‘sow a seed’ of 20 g’s is going to place her in a better spiritual and emotional state. What people need to do is to sow a seed of prayer and love for this hurting woman and her husband – both of whom are obviously troubled.

Televangelists, false prophets…slay me. I’m sorry, I don’t see how a $200,000 room will help you get any closer to God. I know Paul and the other disciples got closer to God in their rags and in jail cells than they would have in palaces with fine silks and linens. This exploitation of folks and their money in the sake of religion needs to be stopped and this woman should really be ashamed of herself. What makes this even worse though, is that I can just feel that somehow someway people will chip in their money so that she can get this room. What about sending that $200,000 to Africa to help with AIDS relief? Or down to New Orleans to help those who are still struggling to get their lives back on track?

What is it about the nature of man and God that has made us so blind to reason and rationale in the sake of ‘faith’? It really makes me wonder if we really know our Creator at all. I can’t propose that I do, but I just feel in my own spirit that the lengths to which people will allow themselves to be manipulated and duped by those claiming to be messengers of the Most High bespeaks of some kind of emptiness in their own lives.

I believe that God speaks to us in many ways and while He/She might instruct us to do many things…somehow…this just doesn’t feel right to me. We need to wake up out of this paralyzed state we’re in and stop trying to make God the reason for our less-than-godly actions and desires.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Been A Long Time

yea...yea i know...my bad. things have been a littlebusy around here, with my little sis moving down here to attend college. it's lovely to have fam in the area, and ive been doin the big sis thing and makin sure she's settled and taken care of.

that being said...you've been on my mind. my blog...and those who read it...i know i havent been the best lately at keeping things current, but on top of being busy i fell into another quiet spell. hate it when that happens, but the mind needs time to process new info, and hell...sometiems i just wanna be quiet.

im not thinknin of keepin a video blog in addition to my blog here, and so you can always go and subscribe to mzkre8tivity over on youtube or keep reading here (ill be posting vids here too). my 1st 'episode' is about the Jena 6 'movement'/peaceful demonstration in DC. i couldnt make it to Jena, but the NAACP arranged for somethinin DC as well. wasnt what i expected, and so here's the 1st part of the video:

go to my user account on youtube to view the other two parts.

Many Blessin's

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Breaking the Silence

Can’t believe that it’s been a month to the day since I’ve written a post, but I guess that’s just how it can be sometimes. There’s a lot of information out there in the world about a vast amount of topics, and I’m still trying to get a hold of it all. There is a lot…a LOT of talking going on right now about whatever is sensational and of the moment…frankly I’m disgusted with how we pose and postulate, but don’t act. I know I’ve said it before, but that’s just how I feel. And so…with all the ‘talking’ going on, I just didn’t want to say anything, though I had my own opinions on what’s been going on…I just didn’t want to speak/write. So I haven’t until now.

Life…is beautiful…though it puts a strain on us at times, but overall I am happy and blessed. Today I did something I haven’t don’t in awhile…I wrote a poem. Poetry is a love of mine, but he and I haven’t been vibing lately because as good as he and I can be together, sometimes I just need my space. And it’s only when I’m in the most despair and looking for the words to express how I’m feeling that I come back to him, and we make up and it’s all good till I get into one of my moods and give him the silent treatment. Yea, so here:

swans don’t sing
swans don’t sing / as they
they release a wail that haunts your soul / a
wail that bemoans
the beauty of what once was never to
be come(s) its last
will & testament as it trans(ends) this
plane to the next

listen to me children and i
will sing you a song without words or melody / i
sing it (f)orte in the key of maj#r regret at
3/5th time / i will sing you the swan song
of a flock so in love with its
own plumage that they never aspired
to learn to fly / and so they perished earthly beings
though they were created to soar

s.gray 2007


Monday, July 30, 2007

Too Fat for Fashion? Surely You Jest...

Ok, so this is a little more personal than I intended to get on this blog, but hey – it’s mine right?

Being fat/big/plus-sized/’healthy’/’thicker than a snicker’ *giggle*/voluptuous, etc. has it’s ups and downs, goods and bads, pluses (no pun intended) and minus. One thorn in my side of being a big girl is fashion. Now, those who know me personally, know I’ve got my own style/flavor and it changes with my moods, but overall I’m fly – yea, I said it.

As I was blog browsing today, I came across several gems on plus sized fashion:
Fashionista; Size 14
Manolo for the Big Girl
Too Fat for Fashion

I found the blogs to be quite interesting as I
1. am a plus sized vixen, and
2. I happen to love fashion

While reading, I came across a post about Old Navy’s size bias and as I sat and read it…I had to nod my head in agreement. I don’t know how many of you out there shop at Old Navy…but I like the place for an occasional cheap sweater/skirt. Thing is, lately I’ve noticed they don’t make the same stuff in the Women’s and Women’s Plus sizes…The pieces they do venture to make in Plus aren’t nearly as cute as the items in the smaller sizes. Now, me being an 18, I can go either way – but that shouldn’t have to be the case. Or rather, what about those women who can't? For the record, fat does not equivocate frumpy fashion, and I need for more designers/stores to get with that. I’m young, I’m fly, and yea I got curves in the right (and some wrong) places, but damnit that doesn’t mean that I or those like me are less deserving of some good looking clothes.

So what did I do? I sent an email to their customer service. I don’t know if they realize how much more money they’d make if they stepped their game up a little bit. America is slowly becoming the land of the large, I cant say that I’m glad about it, but the clothing designers and manufacturers need to get with it and accept the big fat truth – fat people ain’t going nowhere anytime soon, so make us some damn clothes that look good!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

AM Reflections

I've been gone awhile it feels. I had my wisdom teeth pulled last week (all four), and spent the rest of that weeke recovering (read: eating all the ice cream I wanted and getting obscene amounts of sleep). I won't get into a full on post now, but I wanted to leave you with this quote by James Baldwin:

"I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also much more than that. So are we all."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just Listen...and Internalize

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Gil Scott-Heron

Whitey's On the Moon - Gil Scott-Heron

Friday, July 13, 2007

Growing Pains

i think my mind might be fried. or maybe it's just that there's too much going on in my life, in addition to the events that have been going on in the world. there isn't enough time in a day...i need more sleep...but there are things i still need to get done, but am too tired/preoccupied to do.

i need a vacation...from life *smile*

over the past couple of weeks ive come into contact with a lot of information in regards to our people, society, race, etc. im still trying to process it all while taking on even more information. ive found myself being 'mentored' by Andrea of UppityNegro and she's been giving me some great stuff to read in addition to the material i already 'assisgned' myself.

i feel like im in college again. my mind is weary, but i feel like im catching up on a lot of things i didnt know. im reaching a new level of understanding and that's wonderful & terrifying at the same time. wonderful because i feel like im getting closer to something...what i dont know for sure. but im learning things that i/we really should have learned long ago. terrifying because i feel like i can see into some ofd the issues that plague us...the possible solution...and the fear that we'd reject the solution (and we have been doing just that)

i talk about how i hate/think it's pointless to talk about/overanalyze the problems. i talk about how we should do something. yet im stuck talking to you all because i havent figured out exactly how to do what i think needs to be done. ha, irony...no?

contrary to popular belief, one cant solve the problems of the Black community all by their lonesome. no great Black leader will emerge just in the nick of time to save us from ourselves. if we are to do better, we need to work as one. we need to work together and build.

i was privy to an email exchange between Andrea and a young woman she worked with, and in it some of the things i'd been thinking as of late became apparent:

  1. for some of us who already know the 'deal' with race and racism in the country, news of new injustices arent a surprise, are really arent going to move us. if we were/are concerned at all, we dont need the reminders to rekindle what should have already been a fire blazing for social change.
  2. we are a reactionary people; collectively and individually (some of us). why do we enormally wait until something goes from obviously bad to blatently worse before we decide we want to take action (examples: Imus, video 'ho's', the N word)
  3. my generation is in trouble. we have been lead to believe that community service, a college degree, and a nice salary will change the world and better our race. WRONG. its gonna take a lot more than that, we have to think innovatively, work collaboratively, challenge the old ways and assumptions, and really get dirty. basically, we're gonna have to get in the trenches if we want to really win this thing.
  4. we dont like hearing the truth...even though it could set us free. we'd much rather tell ourselves we've made it versus admitting that we're far from reaching the goal. we're not doing nearly enough to make things better, but we refuse to be told otherwise.

not meaning to be such a Debbie Downer, but that's just how i see things right now. i do hop ethat one day things will change, just havent figured out how yet.

there are a couple of pieces id like to share and speak on at length, but given my current state of mind, i dont know what i'd be able to do that. so here are a couple of pieces for you to sink your teeth into:

Losing What We Never Had: White Privilege and Deferred Dreams, Part 1
"The larger white society is getting ready to hold a party, to celebrate the end of racism, and lean back on their white privilege for the rest of their lives. It is an ongoing story of constant revision of history, and writing Black people out it. "It seems that every four years we see our struggle and needs ignored," writes the author, an historian. Presidential years are key to the revisionist project, they define the "new era." What follows is betrayal, as whites made up a feel-good version of history to justify their past actions."

Losing What We Never Had: White Privilege & the Deferred Dreams of Black America, Part 2
"Modern political mythology, also believed by Blacks, maintains that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the post-World War Two college and housing benefits for veterans were unmitigated boons for African Americans. However, in many ways, the opposite is true. The New Deal, largely shaped to appease racist southern lawmakers, actually codified Black inferior status, while elevating poor whites. And returning Black veterans got only a tiny fraction of the benefits of the GI Bill. President Johnson's Sixties War on Poverty effectively lasted only three years – at the end of which, the hopes of the Black poor were smashed."

How to Destroy an African-American City in Thirty-Three Steps – Lessons from Katrina
"How can we destroy a Black city? - let us count the ways. Federal, state and local officials appear to have compiled a comprehensive list of destructive acts of commission and omission - and pursued every possible tactic to permanently de-Blacken New Orleans."

What’s The Greater Obstacle To Black Progress: No Black Agenda, or Too Many Blacks With An Agenda?
"Certainly, the great leaders and change activists of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, and even in the Twenty-first century recognize the inherent relationship between struggle and progress. Yet, more than ever, the Black community, in the collective sense, has become increasingly conflicted about what the struggle is and what progress has been made."

Majoring in Minstrelsy: White Students, Blackface and the Failure of Mainstream Multiculturalism
"White kids apparently believe they have the right to mock and deride Black people, as a sport. When they are caught in the act, they retreat to a position of "non-racism" - after having committed profoundly racist acts. Putting on "Black" wigs and darkening their bodies, these fiends who are going to become the leaders of "their" country act out the historical narrative of conquest and dehumanization. White youth hide behind "multi-culturalism" to solidify their social status, as rulers of the world, while talkin' Black talk, and tryr'na do the Black walk."

Whiteness as a Right of Passage
"Poor people from poor countries populated America, and then became "white." That was their right of passage. It is the saga of the American immigrants, who now turn on the new immigrants, as they did on the Black laborers who worked alongside them. They chose whiteness. Now they turn on Mexicans - who are also not of their race. Racism is the game. White supremacy is the object, and the at root of discourse around "legal vs. illegal immigration." It has always been. White America is out to protect its hard earned whiteness. But for Black America. the stakes are different. Do we need a whiter America?"


    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    We Just in Storage

    Courtesy of the New York Times:

    July 12, 2007
    Patchwork City
    Road to New Life After Katrina Is Closed to Many

    CONVENT, La. — This was not how Cindy Cole pictured her life at 26: living in a mobile home park called Sugar Hill, wedged amid the refineries and cane fields of tiny St. James Parish, 18 miles from the nearest supermarket. Sustaining three small children on nothing but food stamps, with no playground, no security guards and nowhere to go.

    No, Ms. Cole was supposed to be paying $275 a month for a two-bedroom house in the Lower Ninth Ward — next door to her mother, across the street from her aunt, with a child care network that extended the length and breadth of her large New Orleans family. With her house destroyed and no job or savings, however, her chances of recreating that old reality are slim.

    For thousands of evacuees like Ms. Cole, going home to New Orleans has become a vague and receding dream. Living in bleak circumstances, they cannot afford to go back, or have nothing to go back to. Over the two years since Hurricane Katrina hit, the shock of evacuation has hardened into the grim limbo of exile.

    “We in storage,” said Ann Picard, 49, cocking her arm toward the blind white cracker box of a house she shares with Ms. Cole, her niece, and Ms. Cole’s three children. “We just in storage.” (read full article)

    Suffice to Say I Dig Them

    Been gone for awhile…just information overload, coupled with the fam being in town for the week…I’m still recovering.

    I’ve been listening to Incubus for the past 2-3 weeks straight, and I have to say…they are forreal. Hands down, no questions asked, this band is the sh*t. I dug their singles back in the day, but it wasn’t till a few weeks ago when I was on Blind I's blog that I downloaded their compilation of Incubus songs and gave it a real listen. I was hooked. I could go on about how great I think they are, but what really gets me about their music is the lyrics are so on point; it’s poetry, it’s prose, it’s just good sh*t. Now I don’t normally like to do this, but check the lyrics for this song called ‘Make Yourself.’ If I feel so inspired I might come back later today and put some songs up for your consumption.

    Make Yourself
    If I hadn't made meI would've been made somehow
    If I hadn't assembled myself
    I'dve fallen apart by now
    If I hadn't made me
    I'd be more inclined to bow
    Powers that be would have swallowed me up
    But that's more than I can allow

    If you let them make you
    They'll make you papier-mache
    At a distance you're strong
    Until the wind comes
    Then you crumble and blow away

    If you let them fuck you
    There will be no foreplay
    But rest assured
    They'll screw you complete
    Til' your ass is blue and grey

    You should make amends with you
    If only for better health
    But if you really want to live
    Why not try and Make Yourself?

    If I hadn't made me
    I'dve fallen apart by now
    I won't let em' make me
    It's more than I can allow
    So when I make me
    I won't be papier-mache
    And if I fuck me
    I'll fuck me in my own way

    You should make amends with you
    If only for better health
    But if you really want to live
    Why not try and Make Yourself?

    Make Yourself

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    For the Fellas...

    A real woman knows how to be a woman. She knows how to handle her business, whether that be in the bedroom, on the street, or doing her thing in the office. She does not, repeat, does NOT need a man to tell her what he ‘thinks’ she ought to be, how she ought to look, how she ought to speak. We’re people, not pets – sorry fellas. I’m just mystified by the amount of men…correction, boys playing dress-up, who either don’t know how to respect a woman or just care not to.

    We don’t want to be whispered at on the street. Grabbing at my hand, arm, ass even, to get my attention is NOT going to get you any play – we are not your playthings, and our worth far exceeds what’s between our thighs. We don’t want to hear your weak @ss lines, you have NO game – why is it that people even look at it as being game in the first place? I don’t care how much you might have in the bank or what you drive – real women aren’t gold-diggers, we can take care of our damn selves and THENsome.

    If you want to get a good woman in your life, you need to learn to respect us. We are the way through which human life is created, can we get a little appreciation? Talk to us and treat us like we’re people, not objects. Don’t assume that we’re all out to ‘tie you down’ or ‘take you money’ or any of those foolish things.
    Yea, this might sound a little angry, but sometimes a woman gets tired of hearing men complain about what a woman ought to be when next to nothing is said about what he NEEDS to be. So, instead trying to get us to step our game up, how about some of y’all grow up.


    Thursday, June 28, 2007

    M.I.A. - Boyz


    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Happy Juneteenth Everyone :)

    Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

    Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All or none of them could be true. For whatever the reason, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

    General Order Number 3
    One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

    "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from
    the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."

    The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former 'masters' - attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

    Taken from http://www.juneteenth.com/

    Tyler's Critics Are at It Again

    I respect Tyler Perry and his work a lot; this is a man who came up from homelessness to millionaire status all by the grace of God. His plays and movies have always had a positive spiritual message in them, and they’re something you can go see with the whole family. Now I haven’t caught House of Payne yet, as I don’t really do much TV these days, but I must say I was kinda surprised to hear that he’s already getting criticism…for having fat people on the show.


    Apparently the critics (why do we listen to them anyway?) feel as though Tyler is perpetuating the stereotype of the ‘big Black Momma.’ Does this sound ridiculous to anyone else? There are several things I could say on the sheer hypocrisy of it all, but I think Tyler does it best when, in an email to his fans he states (emphasis added):

    One person asked why does the mama have to be a "FAT BLACK WOMAN" and said that I am perpetuating stereotypes by putting these overweight people on the show, as if there are no fat black women in America that are mothers. My mother and aunts are fat black women. And that upsets me to think that people, especially Black people, would say that I'm doing a disservice to America by putting them on T.V. Skinny does not make you beautiful. There are all kinds of beautiful women in this world. And if we begin to look at the heart of a person rather than prejudge then we would see that we are missing some of the nicest and most talented people in the world. I'm sorry but I had to get that off my chest. I just don't like to see good people hurt because of ignorance and intolerance.
    Amen, Tyler. Amen. To read the whole article, go here.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Shuckin' & Jivin'...Uh...I Meant Leanin & Rockin'

    Along with the popular Three Six Mafia show "Adventures In HollyHood" and the
    curbside game show "Hood Fab," MTV Networks offers another take on Hood TV with "Dances From the Hood." (

    Because we all know how America loves another Minstrel Show. So um...when is the majority of Black America gonna wake up and realize the absurdity of something like this? Who needs white people in blackface when you can have Black folks in blackface?? It's the ultimate irony of ironies, is it not? Only...I don't know that these folks realize...or even care...that this is what they're doing.

    For some reason I have the sudden urge to go watch "Bamboozled" again...anyone wit me?

    Um...Black Power?

    So yea…I’m checking my myspace account and I get a friend request from this guy. So I go to the page and voila:

    Take it all in…so I’m lookin at the page, and of course I had to share the absurdity of it all with you, my lovely readers. Out of natural curiosity I take a look at some of his blog entries…

    and I become a lil more disturbed. I guess this is some kind of BDSM thing?? Seems like the poor chap gets off on have a dominant Black woman tell him what to do, how to do it, and when.

    Now…my questions of course are…
    1. WHY is he in my extended network??
    2. WHY did the man try to "friend" me? Was it the picture of me in the head wrap and the shades that did it? I was goin for neo-soul, not Black Militant Dominatrix Queen of All Whimpy White Men….WTF?! CLEARLY that’s my OTHER myspace page (I bet you clicked on the link, didn’t you!).
    3. Is there something about me that’s particularly domineering?...scratch that, I know myself well enough to know the answer to that is a definitive and rather emphatic YES…but whatever, lol.
    4. [childish whine] WHY does he have more friends than meeeeeee?!?!? [/childish whine]

    So um…yea, random funny things that happen to me. Woot.

    p.s. did I mention that our Black Power lovin friend Tony is a hair dresser? I wonder if I could order him to re-color my locs...my roots are lookin mighty black again...meh he might like that too much tho...

    Friday, June 15, 2007

    Tell the Truth

    A message to the President, courtesy of the Mighty Mos Def, Jadakiss, Eminem, and Immortal Technique

    Thursday, June 14, 2007


    lol, made me c.ol. (chuckle out loud, teehee)

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Our Prince

    This man was brilliant...and blessed with the ability to move, encourage, and wake us up. He was definitely our shining Black Prince and was shot down before his time. These are a few quotes that I took from Malcolm's interview with A.B. Spellman in May of 1964. It blows my mind to think that these words spoken over 40 years ago still have weight and carry much truth. To get the whole interview go here.

    "I know of no group that is promising unless it's radical. If it's not radical it is in no way involved effectively in the present struggle."
    yet where are the radical groups of today? it seems like we're all just trying to 'organize' for the sake of saying we're for the struggle, but i've found that those who are truly radical with their ideals and approach are oft shunned and cast aside as being either a novelty or a...well, a radical. isn't change supposed to be radical?

    "...the national leaders of the civil rights movement are out of touch with the problem and usually they are paid leaders....They are full-time leaders, they are professional leaders and whoever pays their salary has a great say-so in what they do and what they don't do, so naturally the ones who pay the salaries of these nationally known Negro leaders are the white liberals and white liberals are shocked and frightened whenever you mention anything about some X's."
    again Brother Malcolm is on point and speaking some truth that still holds in this day and time. we've got a lot of 'leaders' who are getting paid by shacking up with White-run corporations, and end up doing a whole lot of nothing for the people whom they are supposed to be serving. so why do we keep looking for the 'next great leader' or even looking to these rent-a-negro leaders to do the work that both you and i can do if only we employ some real thinking and activism??

    "I've never heard of a non-violent revolution or a revolution that was brought about by turning the other cheek, and so I believe that it is a crime for anyone to teach a person who is being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself."
    I think he said it well enough.

    "I'm non-violent as long as somebody else is non-violent—as soon as they get violent they nullify my non-violence."

    "Revolution is like a forest fire. It burns everything in its path. The people who are involved in a revolution don't become a part of the system—they destroy the system, they change the system...the Negro Revolution is no revolution because it condemns the system and then asks the system that it has condemned to accept them into their system"
    i think this sums it up right here. revolution...what revolution? we are a bunch of semi-disgruntled lackadaisical folks who talk of change and postulate and pose about making progress, but we don't really move beyond that. why is that we continue to compare ourselves to Whites? what they have, what they do, where they shop, how they govern...how many times have we said this system we're in does not work in our favor? yet how many of us (myself included) are trying to make it into the very system that abhors our very existence? we tell ourselves that we've got to succeed in whatever field we're in, make good financial decisions, raise an ideal family, and set a 'good example' for the rest who are left struggling. really what good does that do? shouldnt we already know what it means to have our own, and to live a successful life? why are we still seeking the White man's acceptance? when will we realize that the only real acceptance that matters is our own? that we need to break down the corrupt system that we are living in and create a new one that shuns the oppression of any and all people.

    Check the interview...forreal.


    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    'No Homo'

    "So for the past few years nearly every time I hear Black men nearing a point of emotional intimacy two words quickly have haunted the moment, "no homo." Picture this Sicily... err, I mean, so picture this, you've mentored a brother for the past 5 years, talked him through some major life issues: college, divorce, depression, women, etc. and he's about to take off for a far off land. He takes a moment to express his thanks for the love that you've showed him over the years and how you've improved his life and he punctuates his statement with "no homo." Not only has it happened once, but it's happened multiple times with the brothas that I've worked with. But the reason it urks me so much, is that so many of these brothas are the "good brothas", the brothas who have attempted to push on issues of gender, inequality at large and sexuality... well maybe not so much the latter.

    The "no homo" movement seems to have grown directly out of Hip-Hop's obsession with hyper-masculinity. ( more...) "

    I have definitely noticed this trend among Black men to use the words ‘no homo’ to downplay their display of emotions or affections. It bothers me. Namely because it gives the message that the showing of emotion or being kind to another man is a symbol of being homosexual, or that the outward display of emotion is clearly exclusive to homosexuals. Does anyone else find that to be ridiculous?

    What is it about the Black man…yea, even the Black woman to an extent, that makes them SO damn homophobic? I surmise that perhaps it is because Black men tend to equate their masculinity to their penis – how big it is, how much sex they can get, and what kind of bodily orifices they are able to stick it in and how often. This juvenile mentality of “I am my penis” has hindered the Black male to really be able to come to grips with his own sexuality, and in turn has lead to womanizing, over compensating for a less than desirable penis size, and yes even homophobia.

    Any real man will tell you that manhood is not the measure of your member’s size, nor is it tied to your sexual orientation. One of the best quotes I’ve hard about manhood reads as follows (emphasis added by me):

    "A man, if he’s a mature adult, nurtures life. He does rituals that will help things grow, he helps raise the kids, and he protects the people. His entire life is toward balance and cooperativeness. The ideal of manhood is the same as the ideal of womanhood. You are autonomous, self-directing, and responsible for the spiritual, social, and material life of all those with whom you live." -Paula Gunn

    Now where exactly does sexuality come into play with determining a man’s worth? I don’t think it does. Truly I think we have taken things too far when this ‘no homo’ catch-all phrase is being used to serves as some kind of disclaimer for Black men who feel like showing love, gratitude, or even appreciation of another male is somehow ‘unmanly.’ Furthermore, I believe that the use of said phrase automatically alerts me that the user of the phrase isn’t in touch with his manhood, and doesn’t have a firm grasp on his masculinity and what it means to be a man.

    We get entirely too hung up on fitting into these neat little gender roles, and fail to realize that we are all made of the other. Every woman is feminine and masculine, and every man is masculine and feminine. We come to be as a combination of man and woman, and while a sexual gender is assigned to us and we are groomed to be one gender or the other, there are still those internal traits that society would consider as being of the ‘other.’ What I mean to say is that a woman who is ‘woman enough’ to show her strength and resolve in the face of adversity is no less of a woman than a man who is ‘man enough’ to show his fear or genuine sorrow in times of hardship.

    Why are we raising our boys with this messed up mentality that encourages them to hold all feelings inside, and shuns true expression of emotions? Can’t we see by now that these boys grow up to become men who possess an inability to allow themselves to feel? Who are conflicted by their ineptness to display the very emotions that make one human? What is the deal my beautiful brothas? When will you learn that it’s ok to feel? To love? To hurt? It’s all a part of being human and has NOTHING to do with being ‘homo,’ so please let’s grow up and look inwards to address the real issues at hand instead of looking outward and allowing the general populace to determine the status quo.

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    SMILE! It's FRIDAY!!!!!

    How am I feeling today? Well truthfully I awoke feeling a tad bit sluggish, but I recovered thanks to a good cup of Chai at work. All is quiet in the office today, so all in all I must say that I've done about 10-15 minutes of actual work today. Hey - it's Friday. :)

    I'm looking forward to getting home soon and doing a lot of nothing for the rest of the evening. Consider it Lady's Choice; I might do some reading, tv watching, phone conversation, etc....like I said - Lady's Choice.

    As I look around my desk I feel a lil bad since I really did VERY little work today, but you know what? Screw it - it's Friday. All in all this was a good week personally...I hope you all are able to say the same.

    I'm feelin a lil generous today, so here's a poem:

    the squared roots of 3Fifths
    you don’t know we

    of all flavors, shapes, and different packaging
    are we but

    you don’t know we

    cause to you we’re only the collective
    one ugly brown spot on your
    pristine white distortion of history

    you don’t know wewe’re the spawn of Ellison’s
    invisible man and your gaze pierces
    air as you stare right through us
    focused on the animalized
    sexualized and
    primitive labels you slapped on us over the years as we built up
    the country you claim as your own

    you don’t know we

    in your maladjusted eyes we all look the same
    at first glance, which is all you can spare
    as a second might reveal the fool
    in you as you continually strive to put every
    thing about we from external to innermost
    into a file of categorized nonsense
    stored in the core of your cranium because

    you don’t know we

    and we’re too
    complex to digest
    if we ain’t abstract so you
    subtract parts from our whole to put
    we in a box — rewind that
    we in a box…
    my people can’t you see we’re
    in a box
    conveniently filtered we’re like grinds
    left behind in morning’s brew
    we’ve been simplified, misrepresented, and
    generalized by all mankind in hopes that we’d bend and
    blend into this unnaturally homogenous
    mix of manwomanchild to be force fed to kin
    from generation to generation we’ve remained
    the bastards of this nation cause not only do
    they not know we

    we don’t know we


    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    For All Have Fallen Short

    Or have we forgotten that part? I was conversing with a young man today via text message while at work today, and the topic of homosexuality came up. Anyone who knows me, knows my feelings on the matter – I think that a person doesn’t make that kind of life-altering choice. Who would choose to be persecuted and being the subject of hate? Right. Anyway, my own beliefs on homosexuality are in conflict with my Christian beliefs, which state homosexuality is sin. How do I deal with that? Well, I believe my God doesn’t make errors and everything that has occurred has done so because He allows it to serve a greater purpose. I also believe that if indeed it is sin, then it is no better/worse than the sins we commit everyday. If you’re gonna go after one sin, then go after them all. Thirdly, I hold to the fact that the Creator alone is judge and jury of our souls and it is He – not us (thanks be to God) that determine our eternal fate.

    Now with all of that aside…this young man is Trini – so I already figured he would have certain hostilities towards homosexuals, and he’s Rasta as well. Now my own faith believes that we are the one true faith and all others will perish. Did I throw that in his face? No…of course not, why would I? Especially since I believe that God is in everything, in all of us…and in the end only He knows those who are right and just, and no one religion can boast of that much at this point in our world’s history.

    Anyway, so the texting continues and I realize that I’ve opened a can of worms with this young gent, simply because I said I was going to the Captial Pride Parade this weekend. Wow. He continues to go on to say some things that make my chest burn, but I can say I’ve kept my calm and just agreed to disagree with the man. Some things in life are not worth it, especially when you know at the end of the day you don’t decide a darn thing.

    I know others might not agree with me, and that’s fine. My thing is this…God is love and He’s in all of us – like it or not. Even if you believe what a person does isn’t right or isn’t in line with your beliefs, acknowledge the fact that a person is not their actions – all of us are worth far more than that. None of us are perfect – even on human standards, let alone trying to measure up to the Almighty. So tell me why is it so hard to love a person, but hate that which they may or may not do? Why is our love and acceptance conditional, based upon how much like us that person is? Because face it, we don’t like/accept those who are different from us. Whether it be different beliefs, different socio-economic status, different race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion – you name it…the human race is extremely intolerant at its core. Yet a great deal of us believe in and worship a higher power…one that advocates living right and just. Hate is not right. It is not just. It does not solve a problem. It will not heal a soul. Yet so many of us practice it on a daily basis, so much so that it has become ingrained in our mentality and settled into our spirits.

    The conversation I had with that young man, brief as it was, served as a reminder of the close-mindedness of the human race. Now I realize that all this might be sounding a little Kumbaya for some of you, and no I’m not suggesting we hold hands and skip happily in fields of daffodils. What I am saying is simply, that we are so quick to judge, so quick to hate, that we oft forget that we have a Lord who will judge us all in the end. Should we all perish today, where do you think you will end up for the rest of eternity? I thank God that I am still here, because I know I’m not perfect. Yet and still I know my Master loves me and I Him. Now if the God of All Creation…the One who has names too numerous to count…the One who spans millennia and precedes Time itself…if that most Supreme of Beings can love and care for one as flawed and scarred as you and I – then why is it that we, the lowly ones who are unfit for His grace, mercy, and love find it so hard to simply love, respect, and accept our brethren? We all carry our own crosses…our own burdens…our own faults and shortcomings. I would much rather carry all of those with love in my spirit, than to allow the venom of hate emanate from my being.

    God is Love…and it is He that I aspire to be like.

    Peace Be With You Always,

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Rev. Al takes it to Potty-Mouth Rappers – HARDCORE

    He’s not playin around folks…Reverend Al Sharton is rather adamant about his campaign to clean up the hip hop music industry, and has decided to take it to the next level (see here). He and his cohorts will be cleaning up hip hop one mouth at a time, as they are in Detroit collecting bars of soap to shove down the misogynistic throats of rappers as we speak!

    Well ok…he’s not really going to wash their mouths out with soap, once they’re done collecting all the Dove, Dial, and Irish Springs they can lay their hands on, Rev. Al will be donating the bars of soap to shelters and halfway houses. This little ‘demonstration’ is a part of his ongoing crusade to save the Black community via cleaning up hip hop….I still think my idea of actually going old school with it and washing out a few potty mouths with a nice big bar of Dial would be the better idea – just imagine 2 Quarters getting his shark toothed behind getting the b*tches and ho’s washed out of his mouth. Pure comedy. Alas, Rev. Al has decided to take the passive route…whatever.

    My question is this: what kind of god-awful protest/demonstration is this??? This is 2007, not 1957 – that ish doesn’t fly round these parts anymore. What is the deal with these passive, pansy ass demonstrations that both Rev. Al and the NAACP (see this article) are conducting? I think it’s indicative of just how out of touch some of these civil rights leaders/organizations of old are with the times – and their own people. No one is going to be moved by a mock funeral or a bar of soap. That’s not gonna solve anything at all! Where are the more progressive activists at? I’m tired of sideshows, gimmicks, and jingles…this whole Black activism thing is looking like one big ole minstrel show to me right now. Can we stop soft-shoeing for a minute and seriously get down to some business?

    I Just Want to Know Why

    Taken from the Washington Post:

    Ten-year-old Zainab Ali, a victim of a mini bus bomb explosion, look on in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Amil, Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, June 3, 2007. A parked minibus packed with explosives blew up in a busy section of central Baghdad, on Tuesday, May 29, 2007, killing 17 people and injuring 53 others. Zainab, was in her home the time of the blast and is one of many residents made homeless by the bomb attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Photo Credit: AP Photo

    This is ridiculous...this was somebody's baby girl right here, and she's scarred for life. Granted, at least she is still alive, but I just don't understand how we can continue to 'play war' when you are hurting innocents? This picture broke my heart, and my prayers go out to this little one, her family, and all those in Iraq who are dying/being injured everyday. This is sheer madness, what gives us the right to do things liek this to one another? For the sake of Democracy? For oil? To distract the American public from the fact that we STILL don't know where Bin Laden is and the fact that the idea of waging a war on a concept as intanglible as terror is a long-shot @ best? It just isn't right. Lord have mercy on us all, because truly we have lost our minds - and our hearts.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    This Too Shall Pass

    Surely there's got to be more to life than this ish...

    It makes my chest thump when I watch the video and just think about how we're wasting our time trying to live in the now. I'm not trying to bring anyone down or say that we can't even have a good time, it's just...well I mean there's got to be more to life than this.

    I've been reading a lot lately, trying to keep up with current events and things that effect the 'community'...damn the world is depressing. I can see why people choose to remain blind to the ills of society - it's enough to kill your soul if you let it. I haven't written much lately for a couple of reasons, one being that all this ish I've been reading is just depressing.

    All that we do and all that we are is all wrapped up and connected to the results of the slave trade in North America - no duh, right? Sure, we can all say we know it ties together, but to see it...to really SEE it, THAT is a mental trip. I can see why fear and complacency have taken precedence over activism and outrage - people want to survive, to make a way, to find some kind of grip on the situation. It's much easier to just ignore the big elephant in the room than to address the fact that the sucker's stench makes it awfully hard to breath. Whatever, we're self-destructing right before our very eyes and yet we do nothing.

    And I could go on and on about this, but really...who cares? Truly there are those of you out there who might be writing or doing your own part to make the world a better place, and I applaud you....I even hope that I too am accomplishing some greater good by sharing my thoughts like this, but I digress. The point is, no one wants to be told they're doomed - it's a freakin kill-joy, right? Right. Even as I write all of this, my gut is saying 'so what?' Who cares? How can you get folks to do more than listen and/or discuss ideas? How can you mobilize people?

    Black folks severely underestimate themselves. I think if we realized just how much potential we had...the power we have in this country, which we just allow to be manipulated at will by slick politicians and even some of our own Black 'leaders'...it's just going to waste! If only we'd move together...more than a march, a sit-in, a mock funeral...when are we gonna get sick and tired of being sick and tired? Handouts don't do us any good, neither does this false hope we cling to of a Black leader who will act as messiah to lead us out of the mess we've allowed ourselves to fall into. Responsibility and accountability need to find their way back into our vocabulary.

    I understand why we live for today - we no longer believe we'll have a tomorrow; we believe that today is all we have. Longevity is a dead concept to us, and the here & now is all that seems to hold any weight.

    Do you realize how depressing this shit is to me?

    Today I offer no solutions, no words of encouragement; I'm just one solemn sista right now. How do you mobilize a people who don't want to be mobilized????

    Screw it.

    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Laying the N*gger to Rest

    After the fall-out over Don Imus's ridiculous comments and his subsequent dismissal from MSNBC and CBS, the Black community, lead by Al Sharpton and others, has taken on the Hip Hop community in an effort to lay the N-word and all other derogatory images to rest.

    Now, I agree that holding our musicians accountable is a great idea. However, it does border censorship and is close to violating the 1st Amendment. I find that the problem isn't fully the fault of the Hip Hop community, but that of our own as consumers as well.

    Artists make music that sells - plain and simple. It it weren't trendy or cool to portray these skewed and misleading images of Black women and Black culture, the artists wouldn't do it because we as the consumers wouldn't support it. The sad thing is that we live in a society where sex, profanity, and anything else that 'pushes the envelope' sells - and it sells very well.

    Al and the gang have taken this war against rap and run with it. He's lead marches, pickets, and even mock funerals - yes funerals (http://washingtoninformer.com/A1ImusAftermath2007Apr17.html) in front of some of the big record headquarters. Even the NAACP has joined in on the crusade to bury the N-word and has announced it will hold a symbolic mock funeral of its own at an upcoming National Convention to mark the end of the infamous racial slur (http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur33189.cfm).

    Perhaps it's the cynic in me...but a mock funeral? Is that supposed to move enough of is to stop using this word?

    Words have power - far more power than we give them credit for. I don't think we as a people fully understand the gravity of using the N-word and the collective damage it does to us as a society. Yes, I understand the logic that we have adapted the N-word to take on a seemingly 'harmless' meaning...But if were truly harmless, then why are we so protective and choosy as to who can and can't say it and when, where, and why?

    Whether we like to admit it or not, the N-word has the power to evoke pain, hate, and anger within all of us. In the 'wrong hands' it has potential to harm us and make us feel shamed as we recall a time in our history where we were treated inhumanely and were looked upon as being the lowest of the low in this country.

    So why do we continue to throw such a potent word around so carelessly?

    It's obvious we are still sensitive to the word's meaning, yet we somehow justify its usage amongst our own. That's not only hypocritical, but it's also rather illogical. With so many words in the English language, why do we choose to use that one to communicate brotherhood or a communal bond? Have we really short-changed our intelligence so much that we've actually convinced ourselves that a word that used to degrade us is now somehow acceptable for us to use when addressing one another?

    Irregardless of how you say/spell it, the word is dangerous and we need to understand why...why we shouldn't use it, why it does us more harm than good, and really why we thought it'd be a good idea to use it to begin with.

    H. Lewis Smith wrote a good article on the 'N-word Syndrome' as he calls it, and I encourage you to read it (http://blacknews.com/pr/burythatsucka401.html). We need to stop pretending as if the N-word doesn't have weight and begin to hold ourselves (and one another) accountable.

    If we want to be heard and to move forward in our struggle for equality and self-respect, we as a people need to grow up and stop turning a blind eye and deaf ear to language and actions we know to be detrimental to us as a community. It isn't just the rappers who ought to be changing for the better, it's us too. Each one of us needs to make a conscious effort to move away from the negative images and stereotypes that plague us, and move towards taking steps to uplift one another.

    It's time for us to wake up and lay the n*gger to rest once and for all.

    Angels on Earth

    Mothers are truely God's gift to the wrold. There's something marvelous and awe-inspiring about the love and strength one finds in mothers. I realize not all of us have been blessed with an extrordinaryrelationship with the one who gave birth to us, but recognize that mothers and motherly figures are everywhere.

    There is something special and somehow just unexplicably beautiful about a nurturing and loving mother figure. I've been blessed enough to have an extremely loving mother and an extrodinarily strong grandmother...the both of them have set standards that I look forward to upholding when I have children of my own one day.

    For those of you who don't have a mom or motherly figure, I say...look around you. It's crazy, but we are all related...all kin to one another through God's love. That woman down that lives down the hall, the lady at the grocery store, the women at your church/place of worship - all of them are your mothers, sisters, aunties, grandmothers...we as women need to see that in one another and treat each other accordingly.

    In a world as cold and unforgiving as this, it benefits no one to make this journey alone. We are only as isolated as we allow ourselves and one another to be. I say, reach out to one another and show each other the love, respect, and honor befitting of your brethren and sistren. What harm can it truely do you to offer a little bit of kindness to someone else?

    You never know how one might benefit from your small act of kindness.

    So I guess on this Mothers' Day I thank God for all the women who have crossed my path, for they have all mothered and nurtured my spirit in some way. And I hope that you out there might be blessed and appreciate the women in your own lives.


    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

    I feel like I’m trying to re-teach myself how to think…that all the information and perspectives I thought I ‘knew’ were really tried and true. I realize now, that while I had an earnest desire to make a difference, to be a part of the solution, that I didn’t (and to an extent still don’t) fully understand the problem.

    I’ve said for some years now that I’ve felt as though our community has become complacent; it’s a subject that would oft appear in several of my poems. I feel like we’re approaching a point where the next generation coming up won’t give two sh!ts about the ‘struggle’ because we keep telling them that we’ve made it – we now perceive the ‘struggle’ as a romanticized version of what should be viewed as fervent and extreme activism. We don’t believe in the ‘struggle’ anymore; it’s just a buzz phrase. Now that we can drink from the same fountains as whites, get the ‘same’ (think vaguely similar) job opportunities as whites, and we can sit wherever we please on the bus, we think we’ve made it.

    We fail to recognize and really take a hard and honest look at the disparities that still plague our race. We’re still shorted in equal pay and promotions for equal work, it’s hard for us to get proper health care and insurance, we’re killing one another, unsupportive of our own Black businesses, we’re seldom heard in political arenas, and the list goes on and on…we’re a joke to the rest of society.

    We don’t want to think for ourselves…we’ve convinced ourselves that we can’t and that it’d be much easier if we’d allow others to do the thinking for us.

    If our ancestors were alive, they’d whoop our asses for not daring to be Uppity and challenge authority and policy…for shunning the idea that we can (and need to) work together in order to overcome some of the ills that plague our community.

    I’ve oft thought that maybe something bad needs to happen – like something really bad that threatens to wipe us out or will drastically change for the worse the mediocre quality of life that we continuously con ourselves into thinking we enjoy. I don’t know what kind of event…but what I do know is that extreme tragedy and hardship…the persecution of a people/group, will inevitably result in the unification of the oppressed and the uprising of that same group.

    We used to be a culture that was community-based. I’m not saying that there was no room for individuality, but when we were stolen away to this continent we realized that we had to overcome language and cultural differences among one another to work together and fight to survive. It wasn’t a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ or a ‘them’ thing…it was an 'us' thing. I think we as a people have been here for too long. We’ve forgotten ‘us’ and what it meant to be a community. We’re so intertwined with the American ideals of individuality and monetary gain that we fail to realize and accept the fact that when a people are still severely behind in the race, that trying to play by their rules and going solo will not work. When you’re a part of a system designed without your best interests at heart, and you’re still trying to recover from the @ss whooping that was the slave trade and Jim Crow, you need to get together with your fellow man and work through the system as a team – as a community.

    Why can’t we see that? (a rhetorical question…think on it)

    We can only see what we allow ourselves to see. That which we convince ourselves we’re ready to see.

    The problem with using force to get us to move collectively is that we will resist. It’s like a mother forcing her child to eat veggies…yea it might be good for the child in the long run, but they will resist just because it’s being forced upon them and they cant see the future beneficial nature of their mother’s present actions. I agree with the thought that there is a need for taking action, but I don’t believe that force is the way to accomplish people to move.

    Think about the movie The Matrix. We, in a manner of speaking, are caught up in our own pseudo-reality. Now, Neo and Morpheus couldn’t very well go around unplugging just any and every body. They sought out those who were ready to be shown the truth. Even Neo…he had to be willing to seek the truth and question things on his own before he could be brought out. So it is and must be with us.

    One of the most dangerous weapons we have is our minds. An educated (not college educate, but life educated) Black person can be a fearful thing.

    That is what we need. We need more folks willing to ask the questions, to seek the answers, and to act upon them.

    Forcing the truth down peoples’ throats is a surefire way to have them latch onto the very lies that have been keeping them in bondage. It’s like some perverse Stockholm Syndrome – you can’t rush in and save the victim, because they refuse to even acknowledge that their abuser is abusing them. The victim has to be given the rationale and snap out of it on their own for the bond to truly be broken.

    To get free you have to not only desire freedom, but be willing to admit that you are part of the reason why you aren’t.


    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    And THIS Is Why I Get Stuck

    I don’t know where to start…I guess the main thing is that with all this new technology and constant influx of news and blogs and web magazines…there’s just TOO much information for me to process right now. I stopped reading blogs and newspapers for awhile. Not out of disinterest, but more so out of necessity for my sanity. There’s just too much to comment on…too much to think about…to many things to be concerned about. It’s hard to pick and choose what’s worth enough to blog about or to discuss with those few people in one’s circle that can handle intellectual conversations.

    Dear Lord my head is swimming right now.

    I had a wonderful conversation with a college buddy last night about my generation. Long story short, it left me feeling revived and encouraged to hear a peer, someone I know, doing positive things on a global scale. Talking through the various issues in the news now…we covered everything from Imus to Iraq and STILL had room for more convo, and had it not been for our own schedules I’m sure we could have gone on…but I digress.

    I came to work today with the intent to get back into the swing of things. To see what people ‘out there’ are saying, to find the voices that I can identify with and issues that I also have an interest in. I spent the larger portion of my time at work today surfing the web, reading blogs, reading various news bytes…and THAT is why my head is swimming. In a world like this where ‘information’ is so readily available (albeit sometimes biased), it’s hard to pin down that one story, that one instance that you really want to take a deeper look at. Where does one truly begin?

    And THAT is why I get stuck.

    I’ve got a bad case of I-am-every-woman-it’s-all-in-me. I want to do it all, save everyone, comment on all things, and just…bleh. It’s not smart, feasible, or healthy, but nonetheless that is where I’m coming from. I’d even stopped writing poetry for awhile. I haven’t written since November, and that’s a long time for me. I’ve just stopped because I told myself I wanted to ‘listen’ and to absorb all that’s going on in the world. While there is truth in that I think that I also stopped because I was waiting for something, anything to give me fuel to say/write something that was worthwhile. Like I needed someone else to validate my own thoughts and emotions…I ought to slap myself for that mess. But now that I’m coming out of that quiet stage…I realize that these days it’s tough to discern which causes we support…there are so many to choose from. Part of what I came away from last night’s conversation with my friend was this: in spite of the desire to ‘heal the world,’ we can’t do it all in one smooth swoop. What we can do is find that one cause that really hits home…the one that strikes down to the core of our being, and make an effort to focus our energies in that singular direction.

    I’m trying…really I am.

    Still haven’t nailed it down, but I’m in the ball park. I know that God blessed me with certain gifts/skills – He gave them to each of us. I think I know what some of mine are, but I’m still at that point where it’s like…’Ok…now what?’ Even without an answer, I know what I want to and need to do…I need to read more. As much as I find myself being overwhelmed by all the opinions and stories floating out there, I’ve gotta get back into the habit of keeping up with what’s going on in the world…of what’s pertinent to my own interests and will help me to grow.

    Like I said…I’m trying…but it still makes my head hurt to think of all that’s going on, and the desire to catch up on it all exceeds the human capacity of being able to process all that information. Even now the words on the screen are starting to look a little weird and I’m getting that funny little lump in my throat and the throbbing at the front of my forehead that let’s me know I’m on overload. It’s time for a dose of Mother Nature…I’ve got to get away from here for a minute.


    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Grape Legs…A Review

    I’ve taken up wine collecting as a new hobby. I still don’t know the in’s and outs, but I read about this place called Grape Legs over on 9th St, NW in DC. It’s a small spot, that you really wouldn’t know from any other liquor store, but I must say it’s a great place. Franco, the owner, knows a whole lot about wine and has opened up the store to carry inexpensive QUALITY wines, champagnes, and cognacs. He’s tasted about 2,000 different wine labels and the collection he has in his store represents the best and most unique of those he’s come across in his travels. He usually has a couple of bottles of wine open on a table in the store for people to taste and talk, which is great for folks who want to get a feel for the taste of a certain kind of wine before they plunge in for the buy. Last month a friend and I went to Grape Legs for the 1st time, and spent a good hour or so just talking with Franco and enjoying the wine. I came away with a $9 bottle of Savannah Cabernet Sauvignon from West Africa…LOVED it from the 1st sip I had in the store, it’ll definitely be a staple in my little collection. I’m planning to go back this weekend to snag a couple of bottles I liked when I was there last. Nothing better than a nice warm bubble bath and a good glass of red wine…*sigh* lovely ;)

    Things That Are On My Mind

    As I sit here at work, I really have to take a moment and reflect upon how good God is and how wonderful He has been to me. While this world is in disarray and people are going mad and killing and doing all kinds of horrible things to one another…in the midst of the madness I have found my own peace and joy in my growing relationship with my Creator. It is all alright y’all…He’s got it under control and all things work according to His divine will – the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly. If you don’t already, try talking to Him about whatever is on your mind, He’s the only one I know who is always available and always willing to listen.

    In other news…my dreads are kinda awesome. Freeforming is such a liberating experience…I just let my hair do its thing. I posted some updates in my fotki: http://public.fotki.com/congobrava For a lil bit I’d been fretting because my locs don’t do the cute little curls any more since they are growing, but I’ve gotten over it. I realize that as my hair grows, it provides me with an opportunity to experiment with different styles outside of curls. Example…today I managed to pull off a cute little flip (will post a picture later), and I think I’ve found another style that suits my hair at its current length. I’ve found that some of the locs I’ve combined a few months ago are growing in flat, and I’m excited about seeing them grow. Some of my thinner locs are doing well. For awhile I was concerned that they would fall/break off because they are so thin, but after looking at the locs of others, I figure I must be ok. Should they happen to break off (which I doubt), then oh well…I’ve been blessed with a head ful of locs, so no need to stress over losing a couple, right? Right. Now that the weather is getting nicer by the day (praise God for that) and the sun is out shining I can really see just how red my locs are, lol. I like it…it fits me. I’m beginning to see the color difference as my new growth comes in, but it doesn’t bother me. I cant get hung up on stuff like that, but I do think I might either re-color my head OR just do some highlights in the next month or so…we’ll see.

    As an update on my marathon training…lol, um…yea, my bad on that. I still plan to run a marathon, and actually I’m thinking of joining this Team-In-Training (http://www.teamintraining.org/) this month to train for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC this October. I’ve been trying to get out there and jog every now and again, but alas…the lady has been rather tired lately. I think it might be that my energy level has dropped since I stopped going to bootcamp…booooo. But I’m gonna work it out, no worries.


    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    After The Vent...

    I still hold to the sentiments I had before...I think the Black community needs to raise up seriosuly and get off this whole talking, whining, and crying thing. It's just not cool...I think that the same civil rights leaders that we hold up in a demi-god light would be ashamed of us.

    I spoke with the woman who I wrote the letter to (Andrea, creator of www.UppityNegro.com) and she started to break it down to me. Basically...it came down to a big ole 'DUH,' because what I felt yesterday has been the same things she's been seeing, hearing, and living for the past 3 years in trying to get Uppity Negro (which is a movement, NOT a fashion statement) up and running. She wanted to mobilze us as a people, have each of us in our own way take part in some activism and start making the changes we'd been whining for. But at the end of it all there was a lot of talk, and no action on our part, and so she's given up on UN. I don't blame her...it's hard to mobilze people who don't want to be mobilized because in mobilizing them they just MIGHT have to let go of some of the 'comforts' of life.

    I'm not exempt...I saw her story in a paper a few years ago and contacted her with a willingness to help, but when she responded and I heard all she was going through, I don't think I was prepared to step up to the plate. Why is it so hard for Black folks to help each other? To come together for a greater good? To struggle and appreciate the fact that the sacrifices made as an individual are for the benefit of the collective? What's happened to us? Why...are we so non-trusting and even hateful towards one another? Where is the REAL Black love? Someone let me know something...because I just do not see it.

    I'm still tired of the talking, the intellectualizing, the postulating, and posing. I still want action. So then I have to turn inward and ask myself if I, ME, am ready to take action. Am I? And the response that comes to my head is 'but what about law school? grad school? what if this action thing leaves me destitute?' 'Cause admittedly, no one nowadays really wants to struggle, suffer, or go without. It might sound messed up, but at least I'm being honest. So I don't know WHAT I'm gonna do. More than likely, I'm gonna try and conjure up someway in which I can have my cake and eat it too. Meaning, I'll prolly try to go and get more education (because I DO think I'm gonna need that in my arsenal) and still take action. But...where do I start? We all have specific gifts and talents that we should use for the greater good of society...I just haven't figured mine out yet.

    I still love my people. I'll die and go on to heaven still loving my people. I guess I'm just waiting for the answer to a question to magically appear, when it very well might be right in front of my face.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    This Is How I'm Feeling Right Now...A Vent

    I wrote this letter to a friend of mine this morning out of angst with all that's been going on. I've kept quiet lately, and I guess I just had to get it out. I figure people may not agree with what I've said, but these are my thoughts as of right now.

    Lately…with the Imus thing, and the Duke players, and all of this talk about race and the Black community…I’m just fed up. I’m so tired of people passing the buck and looking back and talking about marches and Dr. King, and romanticizing the civil rights movement. I’m just not impressed, I’m just not moved, and I think the Black community has gotten used to pumping out a lot of hot air and it’s starting to piss me off. With Imus, aight yes he was wrong and what Snoop said was just plain dumb. Now that Imus is gone, I really honestly don’t think that the Black community will do a blessed thing. The greater population of us is too into the hood life and all things associated with it and I don’t think that we as a people are up for holding ourselves accountable, which is plain sad.

    And I’m tired of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Lord bless them for the roles they’ve played in the civil rights movement, but those days are gone and they just strike me as sensationalists who are ready and willing to throw up the race card and make Black folks seem like victims. Yes, we as a people have undergone some heinous treatment in the country and the effects of some of the racial, social, and economic discrimination established during slavery is still being felt today, HOWEVER, we are NOT victims! Sharpton just makes my head hurt because the man just does not move the people towards positivity and growth with the same fervor that he uses to move us to anger the moment some white person does something stupid. I’m just tired of him and Jesse too, for that matter…just a lot of loud talk when the cameras are on, but that’s just my opinion.

    What is wrong with us? It’s just frustrating and I’m starting to see what you’re talking about in terms of action or the lack thereof. I once wrote in one of my poems about how Blacks have given way to complacency so there’s no desire to change, but what I’m seeing or have been hearing lately is that the more educated of us just want to talk and intellectualize things versus acting upon them. I read the article you sent, and yea…I think that the ‘talented tenth’ is part bull and part useful. I don’t care how many make it ‘out’ the point is to go BACK and help get others out. Yes, uplifting our community is a daunting task and it cant be done in one large swoop, it’s a continuation of service and showing love, compassion and understanding. It’s a changing of attitudes towards one another and gathering a better (and more informed) understating of who we are as a culture, where we came from, and why things have come to be. We can do it, but like anything, it is going to be a struggle. The ‘successful’…no, some of them (because you can’t ignore those out there who have ‘made it’ and do go back) have just gone for self from the beginning with no intentions of giving back. And you know what? Lord have mercy on them when the time comes, because to not help your people is severe ignorance and cold-heartedness on their part.

    I feel like I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve been very quite lately, for months it seems I’ve just been taking things in and just observing what’s going on. With the Imus situation popped up and Black folks all of a sudden got passionate and where basically calling for his blood it seemed, I just remained a lil indifferent. They didn’t let him go because they were listening to Us, they let him go cause the advertisers took away that $$, and that’s real. Now if we’d just take that same anger and turn it towards ourselves and the artists who perpetuate hate and derogatory attitudes towards our own, then MAYBE we could get somewhere. But, call me cynical, but I just don’t see us doing that collectively as a people.

    I’m just tired. I want more. I want better. I want us to stop b*tchin and start a revolution. Who am I kidding tho? We aren’t ready for a revolution. We don’t even want one. We just want to continually make the White man walk on eggs about race while the rich Blacks get richer and ease on out of the community and those who have any semblance of intelligence just settle for discussion groups and hold forums and conventions, talking themselves into circles. It just really makes me feel sick to my stomach. I haven’t put all this out there, I’ve kinda kept it inside, but I guess the reason why I’m venting to you is because I felt like you were the only one who gets it. Cause I’ve seen what you’ve gone through with Uppity Negro (www.uppitynegro.com) and with trying to get us to mobilize and move, and now I understand how even we who love Black folks so much can get so discouraged and pessimistic about the state of affairs.

    Ha, and we’re lookin at Obama like he can save us? lol, Lord have mercy on us, we are just so freakin lost and blinded by our own ignorance and complacency.