Uncategorized

Is You Woke?

Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.   -Dorothy Height

For the past 5+ years, the Black Lives Matter movement has graced the lips of politicians, community activists, and millennials across the United States. With protests, signs and videos of unarmed men and women being brutally assaulted by cops plaguing television and social media threads, one would think that black lives truly matter. Yet, a question lingers….

When does a black life truly matter?

Does a black life matter more when it is taken by police brutality or a non-melanated dapperson? When does a black life begin to have value?

I ask that you consider the following:

It’s Friday night and I am excited about gathering together with my musician friends for our monthly Jazz & Poetry showcase. Although I love the discipline of my musical friends (they practice), I refuse to practice outside of my shower time. When it is my turn to approach the mic, I am graciously accompanied by the drummer, who gives my lyrics a wonderful groove. With his rhythmic precision, the other band members join in and we rock the house!

Following the performance, the drummer meekly approaches me and tells me that he truly enjoyed my presentation. Honored, I accept his compliment and in turn tell him how delighted I was to have him join in with me. We talked about how long he had been playing the drums and also about his aspirations of becoming a rap artist. I told him that I looked forward to hearing his work at the next event and working with him in the near future.

Sunday evening, I received a phone call from a close friend asking if I knew about a family that was murdered in a triple homicide a couple of blocks away from my childhood home. I immediately said that I didn’t know anything about the incident and brushed it off as another drug deal gone awry in my neighborhood.

Monday morning, I was in shock to discover that I did know one of the victims in the crime- the drummer from Friday’s performance. The feeling reverberated once I discovered that the young man and his grandparents were law abiding citizens that had lived in the community for years. They were not petty thugs or Colombian drug lords, they were God-fearing community servants that adamantly gave to the sodality without question or complaint.

wakeThis discovery brought me to tears and anger.

This senseless death has my city crying out for questions, yet silence has shrouded the community, leaving an eerie feeling of hopelessness and rage. Although this incident took place on one of the most busiest blocks in town, no one knows anything.

How can our community make Capital Hill realize that Black Lives Matter when the same said life has no value in its own community?

Although there has been an influx of urban citizens wearing dashekis, listening to Minister Lois Farrakhan and watching slave movies; there is so much more to being “woke” than these surface scratching phenoms. Our communities need more than trendy hashtags, viral videos and debates to exhibit our greatness.

So many times, the urban community goes outside of itself by soliciting help from people who know nothing about the plight of the indigenous citizens. It’s as if the faction goes out of its way to show others how wonderful it is to be black, only to disparage the intellectuals that reside within its borders.

Once the community begins to acknowledge and embrace the precept that “charity starts at home” all things will begin to work for the inhabitants. When we begin to ask ourselves: “What can I do for my community?” and actually follow through with our answers- true and lasting change will take place.

It’s all good to be woke, but nothing can happen if we remain in bed.

*Images found on http://www.google.com

 

 

 

Gettin’ Kinda Heavy

 

How many times have we walked by a piece of trash on the ground or knew that something was out-of-place and we had the time to stop and fix it but decided not to? How many times have we said that “something needs to be done” but have never taken the time to do that something?

I recall a summer’s day on my porch…….

Music was in the air and the sweet aroma of BBQ filled my lungs. My daughter and I sat on the porch enjoying one another and the entertainment of the neighborhood children. As we sat, a group of young missionaries walked past the porch talking amongst themselves when one of the missionaries kicked a piece of trash that was in the middle of the sidewalk. Another missionary noticed that the missionary didn’t bend down to pick up the trash and made a remark about what had just transpired.

“Everyone else walked by it.” The chastised missionary said in her defense and kept on walking.

That response totally licked the red off of my apple! Even though it was true- which was probably hoodthe real reason for my reaction- I got up and picked up the piece of trash and said loudly: “Well, let me be the first to pick it up!”

I mean really! Can you believe the nerve of some people? Isn’t that what missionaries are trained to do? Aren’t they supposed to go out of their way to pick up or fix the things that are broken in this world?

I fumed for about an hour, wondering how could someone be so blatantly disrespectful. Then I realized that I should only be mad at myself.

Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” Judges 6:14

Not only did I see the piece of trash, I had witnessed children and adults alike kick, throw, Heavyride over and even play with the trash that was ignored by the missionaries. I was more responsible for that missionary’s view of trash than anyone else. It was true that I had not said anything to anyone about the trash until an outsider came into my neighborhood and decided not to do what I had deemed as their responsibility.

When we pass on the responsibility of our neighborhoods to someone else we forfeit our right to say anything. Until we say – “This is my community! I learn here. I play here. I grow here. I deserve a place to thrive and be happy.” – we have to look forward to being disappointed by the people we ‘think’ should fix us.

 

 

Imitation of Life (Three Little Girls)

There are  three little girls- one is dark-skinned, one is light-skinned, and the other is cameo skinned. All are equally beautiful in their own rights- but they are also marred with the burden of unworthiness……..

The dark-skinned girl has thick kinky hair that she constantly straightens. She uses skin bleachers and make-up foundation that is two tones too light for her natural complexion. When she looks in the mirror, she imagines that her hair flows down her back and she has cameo skin.

The light-skinned girl lies about her true ethnicity. She wears blonde hair extensions and steers clear from the rays of the sun. She picks on the dark-skinned girl- calling her names like tar baby and Count Blackula. She considers herself amongst the blessed ones that can fit into any culture or ethnicity and prefers to be called a non-ghetto name.

toned

The cameo skinned girl admires the dark-skinned girl and surrounds herself with darker toned people. She wears her hair in corn rows and listens to rap music. She dates boys of darker complexions to learn of their culture. She considers her ethnicity to be a disgrace and bask in the rays of the sun to attain a nice even tan.

All three girls are unhappy with their current situations. They each think that their lives would be “better” if they were someone else and not who they were created to be. They pluck, tweeze, darken, lighten, inject, and enhance their already beautiful adornments. They all want to be more than what they have been called to be. They imitate each other but hate each other at the same time.

The dark-skinned girl hates the light-skinned and cameo girl because of their complexions and their ability to attain any man that they want.

The light-skinned girl hates the cameo girl because she doesn’t have to pretend to be who she really is or what she has.

The cameo girl hates the dark-skinned and light-skinned girl because they come from generations of dark toned people.

Each girl, equally beautiful and wonderfully made, carries a disdain for the reality of their lives. They lose themselves in the battle of what society deems beautiful. Looking for love and acceptance they step on each others egos with slurs of perpetual hate. They are saturated with the indecisiveness of who they were incredibly made to be. They are unaware of the greatness that lies within each one of their beings.

Sweet and precious. Lovely and amazing. They cannot fathom the true beauty of their essence. They are beaten with words of hate. They are broken from the lack of self-love. Their wings are clipped and they have become caged by this imitation of life.

Oh, The Beautiful Gates

“Yes, know thyself: in great concerns or small. Be this thy care, for this, my friend, is all.” –Juvenal

In the fourth grade,  my teacher had a conference with my mom that I was forced to sit in on because of my behavior in class. As I listened in my teacher went on a rant about how social I had been because I didn’t know the material and was not able to pay attention in class. She said that my grades were slipping because I wasn’t intelligent enough to succeed in her class and my mother had to understand that I was not Honor student material.

megamindThat year, I made A-B Honor Roll both semesters.

I beam every time I tell that story because my mother was so proud of me that year. I had overcome something all by myself and I was a big girl becoming a little lady. The joy overflowed in my mother’s heart and I could feel it through her hugs and kisses. This memory helps me realize a power  that drives me:

The Power Of Can’t

If you want me to do something, tell me that I can’t do it. It’s the rebel in me. I received a lot of butt whippings for it, but boy has it brought me thus far. The Power Of Can’t makes me want to do it just because I’m not suppose to do it- a thrill that is the equivalent of biting into a York peppermint patty (for some). There is something about the word “can’t”  that  causes me to ponder-

Why the heck not?

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple: Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  Acts 3: 1-7 KJV

The lame man was told for years that he couldn’t go into the temple and he began to believe it. He had grown accustomed to being a beggar and getting by on the compassion of others, he never questioned why he could not walk- it was just the way his life went.

Behind every can’t is a can!

According to our upbringing, we all have experienced moments that made our abilities feel limited. Some of us have been told since birth all of the reasons why we cannot achieve the goals that we have imagined for ourselves. These restrictions that are placed upon us leaves us mentally crippled causing us to believe that we are not worthy enough to accomplish our cant stopdreams. We sit like the lame man waiting for someone to give us a piece of their success instead of going for the gusto of our own triumphs. Most of the time we allow the word “can’t” to have dominion over our actions leaving us stagnant.

We no longer have to be crippled by the negative and limited thoughts of others or ourselves! When we allow the word “can’t” to propel us to the next level, we begin to see the word as a friend instead of a foe. If my 4th grade teacher had not told me that I couldn’t be an Honor student, I would not have put as much energy into my studies as I did that year. I wanted so badly to prove her wrong that I studied diligently.

Let us refrain from sitting on the sidelines of life waiting for others to drop the crumbs of success at our feet. Let us begin to rise up and walk into our brilliant destinies. We all possess the power to be great!

* Images found on http://www.google.com

 

 

My pic

Today Is my first day as a blogger! (The crowd goes wild!) As you can see my work right now is very primitive and you’re probably saying, “Someone, please put this poor child out of her misery!”
Well, you can do just that by following this blog. I ask that you bear with me as I fiddle around and Find A Way to
become: a published author, magazine editor and chief, and a professional public speaker.