There isn’t much to say except, it’s February a.k.a Black History Month, and Nina Simone is always the answer. You can feel the chilling anger and hurt in her voice as she sings her own rendition of “Strange Fruit”. She had a voice that was unmatched.Read More
This won’t be a long blog post with personal life lessons or confessions. It’s the second Thursday of Black History Month, and I felt it necessary to share Jesse William’s amazing speech he gave at the BET Awards last summer for today’s, Throwback Thursday.Read More
It’s been 3 months since we took our family vacation to Washington D.C. Anyone who has talked to me about this trip knows the highlight was being able to go to the brand new Smithsonian National African American History and Culture. The wait list to get tickets is still months long, and we happened to be there when it was still possible to wait in line, early in the morning for tickets. Read More
Today is February 1st, which means it is officially, Black History Month! Black History Month is one of my favorite times of year to be on social media. Many people on my friends list share awesome facts and information about important Black historical figures and events throughout the month. It’s so nice to get on Facebook and/or Instagram to read educational posts about my own culture and heritage.Read More
Tomorrow is the last day of Black History Month and I wanted to end the month on a note that will educate and uplift our community. My Facebook friends have had to endure my rants the last few months about my growing dislike of the words, “bitch” and “hoe”, to describe my beautiful Black sisters. I wanted to share a little more insight on why I hate these words, and why I pray, after the enlightening of our beauty and history, in the last month, more of you will join me in the understanding of addressing ourselves as the queens we are, and nothing less. I purposely used the three Black women on the featured image of this post (Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, and Janelle Monae) because these are the images I want to circulate of Black women, but more importantly, I want you to remember and LISTEN to the lyrics they have shared with us in numerous songs. We have fallen so far away from
music mainstream music highlighting artists that empower us I wanted to share influential lyrics from these beautiful ladies reminding us of our power.
Remember Queen Latifah’s 90’s hit “U.N.I.T.Y” with the multiple messages of loving ourselves, specifically our Black women, and of course the classic chorus/phrase:
“Who you callin’ a bitch?
U.N.I.T.Y., U.N.I.T.Y., that’s a unity
U.N.I.T.Y., love a black man from infinity to infinity
U.N.I.T.Y., love a black woman from infinity to infinity”
Look at the beauty in this chorus telling us to love our Black men and women from infinity to infinity. Even better, listen and read how Queen Latifah demands at the end of each verse, who could possibly be daring enough to call her out of her name? I want us to command power like this in our music again, but also in our every day lives.
I will be fair and say, my generation and younger, thankfully have the beauty and empowerment of Janelle Monae. I definitely have a borderline crush on her and all of her fabulous-ness. But seriously, her music and her persona, is all about empowering young women to be the best versions of themselves, and I am such a huge fan. I particularly love her song “Queen” featuring Erykah Badu. Specifically this part of the song:
Am I a freak for dancing around?
Am I a freak for getting down?
I’m coming up, don’t cut me down
Yeah I wanna be, wanna be
Even if it makes others uncomfortable
I wanna love who I am
Even if it makes other uncomfortable
I will love who I am
I love how bold and unapologetic she is about her blackness in this song. I love that she points out others discomfort means nothing to her pride and self love. I love that the overall name of the song is QUEEN because she addresses by the name we should embrace.
Most people who know me know how much I love the entire “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” album. It is still one of the best albums recorded in the last 30 years. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Doo Wop”. I didn’t realize how much I loved this song until I recently listened to the words, I had been rapping word for word, over the last few years. [Side note: it’s amazing how many songs we know word for word but don’t actually LISTEN to what we’re saying. Be careful what words and songs you allow to feed your spirit. But that will be a blog post discussion for another day 😉 ] This part of the verse in particular is what really hit me:
Showing off your ass ’cause your thinking it’s a trend
Girlfriend, let me break it down for you again
You know I only say it ’cause I’m truly genuine
Don’t be a hard rock, when you really are a gem
Baby girl, respect is just the minimum
Nigga’s creepin’ and you still defending him
Now Lauryn is only human
Don’t think I haven’t been through the same predicament
I love this verse because it really is the truth, especially for me, in the actions she speaks of. I used to be the girl who casually referred to her friends as “bitches” and “hoes” and I saw nothing wrong with it. But then I grew up, and more importantly, brought a daughter of my own into this world, everything changed for me. How could I be mad at anyone calling her out of her name when Mommy has been listening to music referring to other Black women by these inappropriate names, and even worse, Mommy has referred to other women around her by these names? What kind of example would I be? This reasoning is one of the reasons I love this verse because Lauryn Hill makes it known she used to be the same person. I also love her reference of us being gems. As awesome and “lit” as Black girls are right now, in spreading all of this #BlackGirlMagic, can you imagine how much more magical we would be if we treated ourselves, and fellow sisters as the GEMS we are to this world? My book choice for this month was “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and he said one of the hardest things for mankind to do is to challenge their current ideals and morals, because it’s the first step of admitting we are wrong about something. I couldn’t agree with him more, because had someone had this conversation with me just five years ago, I would’ve come up with every excuse in the book to tell you I wasn’t wrong in my use of such nasty words towards people I love.
I wrote this because I really and truly want us to start holding ourselves and those around us accountable for the language used to describe ourselves. This includes challenging everything from close friends to the musical artists you support. We have to step outside of the box and realize a nice beat to a song doesn’t change the message you’re sending to masses regarding our beautiful Black women. This goes for both male and female musical artists. I challenge all of you, my Black sisters specifically, to find and remember our/your Queedom at all times. Although we all will have our moments of forgetting, always remember, it’s never too late to: Adjust Your Crown, Queen.
I will leave you all with my favorite quote from Dean Davenport’s lecture regarding the use of the word “hoe” between two Black college students on the show “A Different World“.
“I suggest, no I warn you: never call a woman something you wouldn’t want somebody else to call your mother”….”A family can never be united with it’s brothers and sisters divided…NEVER!” -Dean Davenport
Have a great evening and I hope you all have a great upcoming week!
I’m sure, by now, you’ve all heard all about the buzz surrounding last night’s episode of the show, “Black-ish“, concerning police brutality towards Blacks/minorities. I’ve watched the episode three times already, and I cry each time I get to Dre’s speech explaining the sense of fear we felt on President Obama’s inauguration day, when he got out of the car and walked next to it. So much about last night’s episode was not only needed because of current events, but because we NEEDED this television show in general. How perfect is being about to see extremely hard but moving issues being talked about on television, and giving us the light-hearted, yet perfectly timed, laughs in between?
I haven’t felt so deeply moved about current issues, through a television show since the late 80’s early 90’s sitcom, “A Different World“. As most of you know by now, “A Different World” is my favorite television show of all time. It is my favorite show because of how much it taught people of all colors how beautiful Black people are, it taught me about my own Blackness, and more importantly it taught us about real issues in the Black community. It was also one of the best Black love stories we’ve ever seen between a successful young Black couple (Dwayne and Whitley). Last night’s episode of the show, “Black-ish“, reminded me of the episode of “A Different World” surrounding the LA riots after the Rodney King verdict. The show was cancelled the same season this episode aired because of this particular episode…of course -_-. It was such a powerful episode and gave insight to those who weren’t aware of the real injustices that happen everyday in the Black community.
Fast forward to 2016 and we’re still fighting these exact same injustices. However, in an age of obsession with empty and overly stupid reality television, we have a show like “Black-ish” to remind us of the power of television. With all of the
Love & Hip Hop trash shows constantly showcasing Black people to the world as ignorant, uncivilized, savage animals, who don’t know how to present themselves with class; when I say we NEEDED “Black-ish“, I mean it. I’ve been a loyal fan to the show since it first aired last season, and I haven’t been disappointed. As a Black woman who grew up in the surrounding Chicago suburbs, they are touching on conversations and topics I could have only imagined being talked about, on a large platform, while I was growing up. Being the only Black family on the block or one of very few in the entire neighborhood is something I understand all too well. To see the writers bring it to life with a perfectly picked cast, and perfectly timed comedy, is all I could ask for in a television show.
If last night was your first time tuning in to the show “Black-ish” I hope you have now become a new loyal fan to the show. If you haven’t gotten a chance to watch the episode, please do yourself, and those around you a favor, and watch the episode. You will not be disappointed. Thank you, Kenya Barris, for creating “Blackish”, and sharing your comedic brilliance and heightened consciousness with the world. I can’t wait for next week’s episode to keep filling us all with the hope you shared in last night’s episode.
Black-ish comes on every Wednesday night at 9:30|8:30 c.
Doing some late blogging tonight because I’ve had Nina Simone on my mind lately. I’ve been listening to her music a little more than usual the last few days and decided to look her up. This upcoming Sunday would have been her 83rd birthday. Maybe this is why she’s been on my mind a little more than usual? Whatever it may be, I’m more than okay with it, because how can you go wrong with more Nina Simone in your life?
One of my favorite songs by her is “Four Women” because it reminds me of the beauty in Black diversity and how strong Black women are and always have been since the beginning of time. I especially loved the remake of this particular song by: Jill Scott, Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius and Ledisi at the Black Girls Rock award show in 2011.
If you get a chance to listen to this song tonight really take in the words and vocal abilities of the late Ms. Simone. I hope it inspires you to go listen to more of her amazing work to reacquaint yourself or introduce you to her music. Either way, enjoy it, and have a great rest of your night.
This Sunday is Valentine’s Day as I’m sure you all have noticed by now. My husband and I have dinner, family time, and gifts planned for this weekend. But if you ask me, what is a weekend of love without the greatest genre of love music? (Don’t debate me on this. Jazz music is every emotion but above all it’s LOVE). In addition to it being Valentine’s Day weekend it is still Black History Month. I decided I wanted to share a post with a few of my favorite jazz love ballads by some of my favorite Black jazz musicians. Prayerfully, one day soon, the majority of my fellow Black people will come back to appreciating real music again. Music sharing the beauty of love and beautifully explaining heartache. Music that uplifts our people and those around us. Music that expresses our grace and strength through the perfect match up of instruments and words.
Fellas, if you’re wanting to impress the lady in your life, play one (or all) of these beautiful songs for her, and watch her be impressed with your caring, impeccable, and sophisticated taste in music. 😉
I hope you all have a weekend filled with love. Always remember sharing and spreading love on Valentine’s Day is not limited to those who have a significant other. Whoever you chose to spend the weekend with I hope you all have a fun, love filled, and safe weekend.
I’m sure you read the title of this article and figured it would have to do with the MANY diversity and racial issues going on in the United States right now. However, this is more so a open letter or venting session of how hard it is to be a Black woman living in Montana sometimes.
I haven’t had any aggressive or negative run ins with people of any color here in Montana due to my skin color. This, unfortunately, is not the same story for my husband, but that’ll be a topic for another day. If anything, Montanans have been genuinely some of the nicest people I’ve met in my 27 years of life. People smile and speak when they walk by you, and most even stop to ask you how your day is going, and expect a response! Crazy, right? This is still something I’m adjusting to coming from living in Chicago prior to living here where people don’t even make eye contact with you let alone truly care enough to speak and ask you how you’re doing. I share this information before getting into what I want to vent about because I don’t want to paint Montana as some unfair, terrible, place to live, when in reality…my life in Montana isn’t too bad. But at the end of the day, I still live in Montana, and as I’m sure most of you know, Montana isn’t know to be home to many people of color or much…diversity.
Montana lacks diversity so much that when we go out to eat people usually automatically apply the military discount to our bill because we’re Black, dining in Montana, and the only explanation of us being here is the military LOL. I’m reminded every time we go visit another city or state how much I miss seeing people of ALL colors on a daily basis. When we first moved into our house here on base and met our first set of neighbors, apparently she shouted to her husband (who is Mexican), with excitement, “WE HAVE BLACK NEIGHBORS”! Hahaha! To this day this is one of my favorite stories, but one of the saddest at the same time, because seeing a Black person in Montana is like seeing a unicorn. I have a handful of other stories like this one from run-ins with other people of color who were happy to see another one of “us” lol.
However, the hardest part of living in a place that lacks diversity, are the lack of culturally different activities and lifestyles around us. I sometimes get jealous seeing my Facebook friends and Instagram and Twitter followers post pictures of RSVPs to concerts and events I know I wouldn’t be able to find in the entire state of Montana. Some examples are R&B/Neo-Soul concerts, blues/jazz lounges, festivals, upscale evening lounges, restaurants, etc. When you live in a place where diversity is lacking you miss out on all of these amazing things to do, and see, which add appreciation and cultural value to our lives. Do you all know how much I took having authentic Thai and Caribbean restaurants within 10 minutes from my apartment in Chicago? Do you know how much I appreciate walking into a Mexican restaurant and seeing a menu in Spanish and seeing an all Mexican staff cooking my food? Do you know how much I would love to go to a Jill Scott concert for a date night with my husband instead of the two options we have here of dinner and/or a movie? Do you know much it means to walk down the street, through a store, or drive by people of all colors, ethnicities, shapes and sizes? For my friends who live in places that offer all of these options and then some, take a minute to just soak up the beauty that is diversity surrounding you.
As a military wife I try my hardest not to complain to my husband (in a non-joking manner) because I know he is/we are here because it is what is needed for our family at this moment. I also try to remind myself of the countless military spouses whose loved one is overseas or died serving this country before I complain. As upsetting as it is some days that I’m not surrounded by everything I want I remind myself I have everything I need. I know there are plenty of people who would trade places with me if it meant being with their loved ones everyday. Sometimes it’s hard to not be selfish and think about what I want, but I’m human. However, I feel it is important, no matter who you are, what you do, or where you live to be exposed to life outside of your little bubble. It’s much harder to understand someone else’s life and experiences if you’ve never had the opportunity to explore their culture and lifestyle.
As much as Montanans love their bejeweled flare legged jeans, cowboy boots, country music, hunting, rodeos, and cowboy hats…I miss professional sports, multi-cultural authentic food, big name concerts, date night in a little black dress, and round trip plane tickets for under $200. But the upside of being a military wife also means this won’t be my location forever, but man, it sure does feel like forever when diversity is missing.
Today, the world found out the co-founder and band member of the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, passed away in his sleep yesterday. To say I feel sadness would probably be an understatement considering how much I adore the music EW&F shared with the world. If you haven’t been able to tell from my musical taste and blog posts I am a huge fan of old school music. I often tell people I was born in the wrong generation because my heart belongs to old school music. The hardest part about getting older is realizing everyone else around us is also growing older. This year has hit the music world pretty hard and it’s only February :-(.
I want to thank Maurice and his band mates for sharing their beautiful, classic, funky, legendary, soulful, and timeless music with the world. I may only be 27 years old but I know musical genius when I hear it. I also know how much you make me even more proud to be a September baby! 🙂
I will share some Earth, Wind & Fire songs with you all below. They have WAY too many hits to put them all on here so I will share my favorite ones.
Rest in peace,