Category Archives: huffinton Post
Friday October 7th was the premiere of the movie Birth Of A Nation and while I knew I was going to view it and psyched myself up to see what was sure to shock my senses in parts, what happened was something different. For me anyway.
That day began in an interesting manner where I had to circumvent and remind a few folks who were so entrenched in how they did things, they forgot education was about the children they purportedly served.
So I was already feeling some kinda funky from a long day filled with meetings, when I pointed my diva mobile in the general direction of the movie theater.
I had two sips of some kind of beverage and some appetizers but I was more engrossed in chatting with many of the folks who I hadn’t met before this screening and a few who knew me Well enough to be prepared for any and all Shenanigans I may spew forth.
After ALL of that preparation, I walked in and settled myself in the very back after taking a deep cleansing breath.
I would NOT be the sister who left disliking all white folks based on what I saw.
Listen. 30 minutes in? I was cringing, tears were flowing down my cheeks,
I was talking to myself and the screen, I called on Jesus more than
A few times and didn’t know IF I would make it through.
Here is what I learned- and let me be clear, you may get something totally different but our past experiences often shape what we see and feel.
I saw a man who was chosen to be a leader who was quiet, caused no trouble, did what his master told him and learned to read because the slave owners wife took an interest in him.
Lesson? Never dismiss people based on what you see. The eyes can be deceptive. Nat Turner had something within, that the outer facade belied and he was therefore trusted in places and spaces that gave him access when the time came.
There is a courage within people
Of African descent that isn’t often depicted anywhere as it serves to remind us that we matter, we are Smart, we Are Resilient and while everyone may not be on board when the time comes to act, it only requires a few to get a movement started.
Watching The constant raping of our women and children at the hands of slave masters, only for those broken women to be sent back to their men afraid, ashamed and hurt to their core, almost put me over the edge.
I also saw the courage, love and anguish of the men, who often risked their lives to protect their families the best way they could. That visual warmed my soul.
We suffered a lot as a people and it continues to present day but we also have more power and able to make choices instead of waffling in mired hurt and pain alone.
Many are called, FEW are chosen. We all have a purpose in this life and our one job is to find it and then follow.
Nat Turner and many others lost their lives
For that insurgence but it sparked a revolution that changed slavery after he died.
We MUST make it our business to learn
About our history and stop waiting for it to become
Curriculum in schools. There are too many books, not to
For that to even be an excuse any longer.
As a woman, I walk every day with the ancestry of Nanny of the Maroons from Jamaica whose blood runs through my veins. I am steeped in my culture in a way that serves as a reminder that I can and will continue to achieve with alacrity and I must serve those around me with same.
We had a discussion after the movie and I left wondering who were to two or three who would actually step beyond the emotions to spark the next movement.
There were a few Caucasian students from Arcadia university who watched the movie and I could FEEL the palpable
Discomfort coming from a couple. I walked right over to them and reminded them to not leave here feeling guilty but rather enlightened on how they could help to make this a better America for us all.
That movie shook my very core- but it did something that was so much more. It was confirmation in a way that I in particular needed.
Go see it. It’s worth every penny and the lessons are priceless.
Deuces and mad love,
The annual Pennsylvania women’s convention was held recently in Philadelphia and 9 thousand women from all walks of life converged on the PA Convention center like hungry butterflies seeking connections, validation, love and confirmation among other things.
This is my 5th year attending and aside from the awesome keynotes which are always huge draws for the attendees, I was on a personal mission of my own as I was standing on a precipice of achievement, getting ready to leap and sought confirmation in either word or deed that I wasn’t crazy.
And I got it in spades.
After making my way through the throngs of women in search of my DISter friends (a group of ladies I will write about very soon,) I found the first workshop on “Personal Branding” that had none other than Luvvie Ajaay as one of four panelists. If you don’t know awesomely Luvvie, I need you to get your life and google her because it’s worth the cackles for your entire soul.
As I listened to these women discuss how they took their fears in hand and followed their dreams to fruition, I felt my soul lift and my body tingled at the possibilities! I have long said to people that being your authentic self, is way more rewarding than a facade no one can identify with. The nuggets that came from That workshop ranged from using your social media spaces properly, finding your niche that others identify with and not allowing the imposter of self doubt to keep you from moving towards your goals.
I was front and center in the room and was able to get the first selfie with Luvvie before the sisters converged on her and that book of hers sold out!
I left that session feeling pumped and hauled my assets across the convention center to find the next one which featured motivational speaker and author, Lisa Nichols. If you don’t know WHO she is, I again suggest you google her then beg for forgiveness from the ancestors for such egregiousness that would allow the folly in you for missing out on this phenom!
She stepped in the stage, opened her mouth and I was immediately transported to the possibilities in front of me. Her speech? She was there to DISRUPT to norm in our lives, push us off the ledge of comfort so we can be uncomfortable in the challenges that would elevate us to our true paths in life.
Yes YES!!! I vacillated between being on the edge of my seat and taking copious notes that confirmed Much of what I had been hearing in recent days.. seated with me in this session, were 3 women who turned to me and said ” you better be ready because we are taking over your life and this is how we are going to help you get where we see you going.”
We left that session a few minutes early to get in line and meet these two women who would sign our books. As I stood there playing around with a few things, I bought new domain names online and just as I pressed “purchased” Lisa Nichols stretched out her hands to sign my book. I told her what I just did and she grabbed my hands in glee and screeched!! This is her below on stage and after signing my book.
I was so pumped after all of that, I barely touched my lunch or spent the usual time with my friends because I was on a mission. I went back to the exhibit hall, found a space to sit and began investing in myself after learning about some tools I would need.
Amazon became my friend because I searched and bought as I was instructed to. Talk about psyched!!
My last stop in the convention? Walking around to meet a few of the vendors as supporting women means the world to me. I floated until I saw something that grabbed my attention- a young mom who was so concerned about new mommys losing their identity after childbirth, she created a line of inspirational and hot looking Tshirts that would boost their spirits. I was so intrigued, I bought 4 and as I was signing for my purchases, I noticed she had years in her eyes as she thanked me. When she disclosed this was her LAUNCH day and that I bought the most amount of merchandise thus far and
It encouraged her that she was truly on to something, I hugged and wished her success beyond her wildest dreams!! Meet Ashley, the owner and creator of “Haute Moms..” did I say 10% of her proceeds go to support surgery for babies with cleft palates? I love her vision!!
My hope is that your reading this will inspire YOU to leap off the ledge of comfort and face the challenges on your road to your purpose in life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!
Dueces and mad love,
Lord ha mercy. This here election season has been fraught with disbelief, anger, weariness, and yes, hilarity.
Up until 18 months ago, I was floating in the breeze of ” no politics on any of my social media pages,” and then one fateful morning, I saw what looked like June Bug from the ‘hood- you know him right? The dude that ran things with threats, and had no trouble breaking legs etc, to get his way because he owned the streets with no mercy or a conscience. That June Bug. The thing about June Bug is that he has a loyal following who swears he is the second coming of the ghetto and everything must be approved by his royal wretchedness.
This June Bug though, is running for President.
Of these here United States.
When he first hit the stage with his announcement to run, folks snickered and said he would never be taken seriously because he didn’t have a Clue and America was smart enough to see through his facade. A whole football team of men and one woman all lined up to trounce what they called June Bug the clueless thug, only to realize, much to their dismay, good old JB had a massive following that began emerging from the shadows like thirsty , over looked mummies whose leader had finally arisen. These followers became emboldened by the over-the-top JB who finally opened the gates of no-respectability and allowed the spewing of free speech like never before.
Meanwhile- strange fruit began hanging from the poplar trees across the country. Farmers began screeching that their farms matter and they were being marginalized so they can become extinct. They took to the streets in protest to fight for their rights.
IMAGE CREDT: “From the hanging tree to strange fruit”-Susanne Collins
Then there was Snarky. You know that person right? The one who feels it’s their turn to be in charge of the free world and feels they are too super qualified to be overlooked by the masses yet again. After all, snarky had put in her time and played the game and made her deals like a savvy politician should. And not to be out done, snarky is also trying to create history. The kind that would make you First Snarky, Senator Snarky , Secrteary of State Snarky and now President. So Snarky began lining up delegates that would persuaade people into being with her and touted all her wonderful accomplishments to date.
Slight problem. A good majority of folks found Snarky to be untrustworthy because of her ties to certain corporate structures, her less than stellar attitude when questioned about, well, questionable things and she has been caught in a net of lies.
Snarky had a competitor too but she wore him out with her super delegate counts despite what many among the masses asked for. What snarky wanted, snarky got and she now walks around with a perpetual smirk while working harder to connect with the commoners in her wake.
What is a beleaguered nation to do?
So here we are, less than 60 days away from choosing a new Commander In Chief, and we settle down for the first debate.
A whole stale pot of collard greens kind of mess.
June bug threatened to start wars for simple things, does random counting because his estimated wealth is so “bigly” he’s always being audited and he was smart to not pay income taxes on millions earned, while he lamented about the horrible infrastructure that NEEDS our tax dollars to work well.
He’s sniffling constantly, didn’t answer a single question appropriately and we are left to wonder What DOES he know and even better- who CARED, that had already decided he was their man to make Anerica Great again.
Snarky meanwhile, is asking JB to release his taxes as he hollers back when she releases the thousands of emails she erased, reminded her she was a bigot too for the laws passed by her husband that has led to many strange fruits in prison rotting away, and her desensitized behaviors to the farmers lives matter movement all around her until she was told, she was gonna need the strange fruit votes too..
If this hasn’t begun to sound like utter madness to you yet, the I don’t know what will. All this talk about foreign threats when the folks stateside are crying for tax relief, good health insurance, jobs, a decent way to live.
Watching that debacle of a debate only served to remind us that we are all in for a rude awakening- no matter who wins.
And then. This happened. As my friend Mr. Mann Frisby would say, “why sway?” Clearly, Snarky had no real clue who she was or just wasn’t fully moved by the what amounted to the “strange fruit spiritual” in mixed company.
Lawd, Lawdy, Lort.
Start storing those rainy day nuts now- I get the feeling between these two,it might be raining for a long time to come.
Deuces and mad love,
There is no other culture on earth more creative than black folks. Like seriously. Said creativity usually comes with folks turning up dignified nostrils witj a strong dose of disparaging comments ranging from from Assinine-Zookeeper
But if you tarry a while, those once “awful”things, become mainstreamed by other cultures because well, it was creative.
They try not to give us credit and behave like said action originated from their mommas womb but we are having none of that and will call it out.. Bantu knots? Originated between the knees of an African mother thousands of years ago but to hear folks tell it, they only got cute cause they wearing them now. Don’t take my word for it though-see case and file #29456 of emulation-of-culture below.
#shetriedit but that move above? Came from-you guessed it- black folks.
So while I love my people and are mostly proud of them, there are a few of us that just never have a can of “all together” no matter what the occasion and I am going to need them in the name of folks-may-try-this-too, to pull back the creative cords just a Tad.
I innocently inquired about a resent wedding from a friend and she said after giving me the little shop of horror face, “I can show you better than I can tell you.”
I just wasn’t ready for what my corneas doth behold.
These folks got married in a local mall and aside from the bride being so late that folks could have gone shopping and returned, when the procession began, there were so many bridesmaids, it took the Disc Jockey 3 whole songs to cover them all walking down the aisle. Did I mention each of the 15, stopping to wave with every step they took? One HAD to be fully seen cause after all, the bride done made them pay for these dresses and they were getting their monies worth honey.
I can’t even describe the colors and shape of those dresses because the lexicon required, isn’t yet created for my stunned brain.
Then miss Bride hit the stage in white pants and her top was wrap around sequins that made no earthly sense. I looked and tried but alas. They all rocked sneakers too which I KNOW is already a trend because someone got sick of standing for hours in uncomfortable shoes.
Back to the wedding.
At the bride and groom table were pump chairs so large and so white, I swore I saw a chalice or two next to them. I roared with laughter at the visual.
None of the usual traditions were followed which was cool with me since I wore an orange wedding gown to my own nuptials and broke the innanets😂😂😂 because we the people are creative like that.
I just can’t wait to see who is gonna emulate the stuff we come up with next but I need my people to move with caution because folks just pimping our style like it’s their own and gives us no Credit. That just won’t do.
Deuces and mad love,
On our way home from a recent function, mister and I were quietly chatting as we inched along in traffic when I noticed something weird.
There was jeep Cherokee in front of me that began rocking violently and the driver kept swinging the wheels towards the concrete barrier that shook my senses and caused everyone behind him to back off to a screeching halt.
We couldn’t hear what he was saying, but his head kept jerking back and forth violently and his mouth was wide open with rage.
Whoever the recipient of that kind of vitriol was, had my sympathies.
Dude literally snapped out here in these streets and we all awaited the impending accident based on his erratic behaviors. I am assuming he made it home safely because he wasn’t plastered on the 11 O’ clock news.
I asked mister what could have possibly caused such a reaction and he wisely said any number of things could be the issue- short fuse and everything in between.
We just never know what folks are going through out here and what that one match will be that causes an explosion.
I know one darn thing though- there is no way I am giving myself a stroke or a heart attack being that kind of angry because there is nothing worth getting that catastrophically sick.
I have felt myself getting there twice in my lifetime and those negro spirituals come in real handy. Trust. When a woman starts humming in the middle of what you are saying, let your peace be still and move quietly on until the noises in her head subsides.
That was free but invaluable advice. You are welcome.😂
Now if the person arguing with you, goes further to laying of physical hands? Nothing in my head is printable here. There is no manual
For that level of insanity so handle thyself accordingly and Be safe in your extrication of those circumstances.
A great way to handle and diffuse stress is through exercise. Not of the mouth- but of the body and mind. Meditation is calming in ways many fail to recognize and gives clarity in murky situations.
Safety first. Always. There isn’t enough love in the world that should keep anyone in a situation that leaves them on the edge of fear all the time.
Deuces and mad love,
Allow me to preface this piece by stating the obvious- I don’t know everything, cannot solve everything and am still learning, sometimes moment by moment.
What I do instinctively know? When you spend your very existence choosing to do major shifts that ultimately becomes all about yourself, the price for that is incalculable.
Let me stop speaking in a parables and tell you what’s brewing on my mind.
There is a phenomenal person who took it upon themself to bring a solid vision they had to life and has had some successes with said vision. Almost immediately though, despite being supported by large swaths of people and organizations so this vision could continue to grow and bear fruit, this person alienated many by dismissing their efforts and making it all about themselves and that they did all the work etcetera.
Just mean, cold and nasty in a way that left a distaste for said person and folks began walking away.
What is even scarier though, are the “yes” foot soldiers who sees all of this happening but say nothing and continues to support the mission despite the abuse because it’s one that supports and empowers impressionable minds.
The problem with that? When you leave that kind of behavior unchecked, it becomes a monster and now even the impressionable young minds are complaining about being marginalized and emotionally abused at the hands of said person, and parents are questioning the meaning of it all.
So, I am speaking now not just to self serving leaders but those who follow them even to their own peril- woe unto YOU because nothing you put into the universe comes back to you void. You will find no peace until you make right, the behaviors that continues to destroy from the inside what looks glorious on the outside.
Find your center-do your work with intention and speak up followers when you see your leadership going down a path that isn’t healing. Your silence is not golden and you should never fear anyone to the point where you cower and continue to allow the dismantling of fragile children to keep the peace.
Because at the end of the day? The stifling of what is right to be likable or not rocking the boat because you don’t want that level of meaness aimed your way, means you too will be held accountable for those lives. One way or another.
So what’s it gonna be? The price is to pay is too steep and there will come a day when you will have to balance that account.
Mad love and peace
Listen…. I have NEVER been shy about taking risks or exploring new things and so when some friends took me to dinner to celebrate my birthday a month ago and the conversation shifted to doing something fun in the middle of winter, we played around with a few locations and struck gold when I blurted that I had never visited New Orleans..
We picked dates that worked for us all and discovered we would be there during Mardi Gras which none of us had experienced! So, right there at the dinner table, my friend Kelly called a friend she knew Jerry, who attended every year for the last 24 years and he proceeded to give us a list of great places to stay and told us to call when we arrived so he could gives us details on great places to eat etc.
He said nothing but a word.
The four of us booked flights and chose the Windsor hotel where we stayed in a suite for 4 blissful days..
I wasn’t ready. At all.
We got out those planes, got in cabs and the first clue we had that we walked into something huge? We were not able to be dropped at our hotel because everything was blocked off. So with luggage behind us, we walked several blocks to our final destination..
The first stop was food and boy did we ever eat. There were so many great restaurants to choose from like Oceana, the Ruby Slippers and August to name a few that I knew we would keel over from being so stuffed!! I didn’t have one bad meal there.. We donned our masks and off we went.. Lord have mercy..
All the bloody Mary’s had string beans and bacon in them 😳
I could NOT believe the amount of people we ran into!! Floats were on darn near every street and folks were just happy!!
On day two and the Monday before Fat Tuesday, it got really interesting. We started the day by exploring the beautiful city filled with such culture and endeded up walking 17 thousand steps as public transportation came to a grinding halt amidst the crush of humans everywhere.
We visited the famous French market too..
By nightfall, we were eagerly anticipating the floats that were yet to come through the French quarters and we were not disappointed although the temperature had dropped significantly and we were freezing. All of that was soon forgotten when we saw Clidesdale horses in all their majesty, men walking with flames, the most beautiful floats, marching bands and the air was rife with expectation. Beads flew from the passing floats and folks rushed to retrieve or catch them mid-air
When we stepped out into the street, we were not prepared by what we saw but enjoyed every minute!! There is Jerry in the Blue costume and he worked hard to show us every possible site and ” must see” events. An amazing host that made this journey one to remember and we cannot thank him enough!!
BOURBON STREET??? see for yourself
We even ended up on earth Cam!!
As we trekked back to our hotel at the end of a long day and evening, what we saw in the streets was a strong reminder of what happened that day
It was all gone as if by magic in the morning.. The city returned to normal, we packed our bags and some of those beads and took flights home after taking time to thank each other for a wonderful trip that we will not soon forget.
If you have never experienced Mardi Gras, please add it to your list of things to see and do!!
In spring of 2014, I began a very public journey to learn how to find and apply makeup correctly. You see, up until recently, I wore very little to no make up beyond a gloss and mascara. So I was determined to not only learn the fundamentals, I needed some
I chose three different makeup artists and got down to the business of figuring out my face.
What I found was beyond interesting. The process was anywhere between 25 minutes to hours and I could not believe all the attention to detail!
I also learned that makeup can be expensive depending on the brand and that all brands are not created equal. It is no wonder the make up industry is a billion dollar business!!
My first stop was Sephora, with a friend Jennifer and she had my face assessed. It was noted that my skin was almost flawless but I was given foundation, primer and concealer. Then it was on to the palette of eyeshadow, blush and lipstick. They ended with a bronzer for the skin and a finisher.
I have to tell you, my face didn’t feel like my own but I liked the transformation somewhat.
My next stop was with a professional artist and here are my results from her-
It was incredibly flawless but felt too heavy on my skin and I had an allergic reaction to the eyelash glue!! It Took over a week for the redness in my eyes to subside, so that was my first and last time wearing those things.
My next stop was another friend from Mary Kay but this time, I sent a picture of what kind of look I desired. I believe she came pretty close and the foundation was lighter and a better fit for my skin tone-
From those three informative sessions, I learned how to apply and wear makeup just the way I desired. What I found over time, was that it was too time consuming for me and I went back to mascara and gloss with one addition- a concealer for under my eyes. I’m much happier for it.
What generated this blog however, was a picture I recently saw on the Internet. You take a look and judge for yourself- but after I stared hard at it, I realized many people have taken makeup artistry to a new level and what may be too much for me, seems to not be enough for others
I have found myself wondering too, if men truly like all of what we go through to be beautiful or is this just about us? Makeup ages you depending on how often and how much it is used but seeing the imagery below from what seems to be an African wedding personally frightened me. Is this a part of a culture or have we gone frighteningly too far?
I have often been a harsh critic of the my generation for not taking millennials under their wings to mentor so that they can have a solid foundation to stand on as we eventually stand down.
It was in that spirit, that I decided along with some accomplished people in my network, to begin fully mentoring young people in their mid to late twenties, with the hope of staving some of which they have been craving from us.
I have been in this process for a few years now and something has become glaringly evident; a few of these new leaders are becoming the very system they spoke out against by looking out for their own interests and not helping to lift each other up. It leads to lying and pointing fingers at others in an effort to detract from the real issues at hand.
Added to the madness, is the minimalism. Some are so busy trying to promote their names and organizations in headlines, they forgot there is actual work to be done. When asked to produce some work, I get minimal to no effort with a bunch of excuses attached.
Quality work, when done consistently, is the backbone of real success so when I watch those who aren’t producing what is written on paper, while looking for the next place to have their names recognized, it gives me serious pause and speaks volumes about what hidden deals may be done, in an effort to keep giving shoddy results.
There comes a time when a name is just not going to be enough to keep one afloat and if it is thought you can be ” bought and sold” for ego, then you will be.
Are you willing to work while others yet sleep? Are you willing to learn the key ingredients for presenting oneself- that is, grooming, speech and preparedness?
At you willing hold fast to the ideology around your work without cutting corners? Are you willing to listen to sound advice from those who were there before you?
Then you are ready to do what it takes to succeed. Everything else is just window dressing clothed in laziness and a recipe for disaster.
Stand for something. Be about something other than yourself. Have some integrity and be your brothers keeper because you can’t rise alone. Treasure the time and efforts of your mentors and work hard not to burn bridges.
Most of all, leave the minimalism at the door so you don’t become a younger version of more-of-the-same.
You better believe, people are watching and nothing destroys a reputation faster than word-of-mouth by key powerful individuals who know real success when it’s presented to them.