Seeing is Believing

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I wear glasses, as do many. I think it has to do with not eating the necessary dosage of carrots as a kid. Like many of those that wear glasses I feel that if I have to wear them they might as well look good. After all glasses wearers are fun and fashionable too. However, I learned early on that wearing glasses could sometimes eat up that extra spending money you worked so hard to save. So over the years I have been on a search to find glasses that fit my budget, because personally I would love to have a pair of glasses that match every outfit I own. That is just the fashionista in me and of course I am my mother’s child.
There are many places for funky, fresh, exciting and visually dramatic eye baubles. I am actually looking to update my look. I receive a lot of compliments on my glasses. I appreciate them all! I realize that folks have to look at me if I am in their atmosphere so I figure I should be pleasing to the eye. I hope that doesn’t come off weird… if you get it you got though. Now I can’t tell all the secrets, to be unique is to have an arsenal of tricks up your sleeve. Alas. I consider myself a great helper if I do say so myself. So with that said check out this link and find yourself some funky fresh eye candy.

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Top 7 Reasons I Like Black-ish

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I have stayed out of the fray of conversations about the new tv sitcom Black-ish until I was able to actually see it. Well I have seen it and I like it. First of all the “ish”… is my favorite part. Allow me to analyze/hypothesize, to help you realize how clever the title is.

With the bastardizing and the abbreviating of the English language this play on what could mean “kinda” versus the new spelling of sugar honey iced tea, is just clever. Think about it. Signifying is a major aspect of the culture of the African American community. As is coded language also. It is recognized in the community to personify one thing however, someone not so well versed the the historical context of this or the understanding of such cultural nuisances would categorize it at face value. For example, made popular in the 90’s the word “dope”. If someone says “Those greens were dope.” It has nothing to do with drugs. It is a coded language not on purpose but by default.

So let me delve into the reasons why I like this show.

1. It is an actual sitcom with black people. What a relief to have a sitcom on television that has a plot, characters that you can relate to, and everyone has their clothes on. There are no ratchet reality stars “bringing down the race.” Someone wrote this and thought about it. It is not sensationalized nor does it have the drama or cat-yness of “reality” shows.

2. There are no punches pulled. This show is not politically correct. Dre played by Anthony Anderson, works to maintain culture with his kids despite being more affluent than his upbringing. The notion that a family with values is being portrayed on the screen warms the cockles of my heart. To this I say finally. Not since the days of Cosby and A Different world has this been a fixture on a major network.

3. It is driven by pride and not fad. The show does not have to tear down other races to be pro-black. In fact the cultural diversity on the show enhances the statement of pride.

4. It is Chris Rock funny-but-a-damn-shame type humor. While Chris Rock has gotten flack for his comments on SNL his brand of humor has always been able to allow laughing at the flaws of society. The absurd. He has proven that with his more recent foray in the media. Black-ish is so inherently simple you must laught. That is how I see Black-ish. You either shake your head and laugh or say “damn that is true”.

5. For our Caucasian brothers and sisters: It is a great way to get a translator for your black friend’s inside jokes. Now this does not mean that you can be a part of the joke, say the joke, or will ever completely understand the joke. However, your frame of reference will be broader that it once was.

6. Gauge your level of bourgeois vs. the common everyday black person.
Now this may shake it up a bit. I am sure you are saying “I am not bourgeois.” But think about it if you have gone outside of the country… ever eaten goat cheese with lavender and honey… or talked about traveling to the vineyards…. eh maybe a bit of bourgeois lives in you. But before you attack this post… I do realize that African Americans did/do these things all of the time. We are not a monolithic culture. But Twana an ’em ain’t getting down like this.

7. Which brings me to the fact that this is another facet of life most African Americans do not see. Ever wonder what keeping up with the Joneses looks like when the Joneses can’t even touch you? That is Black-ish. Part of why I love it is the fact that the show struggles to figure out what level of cultural inclusion is the right balance for their family. How would you approach the topic of rites of passage with your children in a neighborhood that is more Americana than Americana but is safe for your kids to not worry about harm.

It reminds me of the headline in the news recently about the brother shielding his kids by teaching them to speak and wear certain things in order to avoid harm from the police or disdain from their white counterparts. It is a complete set up and disservice for his kids not to understand the way this society works nor to understand who they are as people in this world. Black-ish is working on that balance of making sure that their family exhibits pride and confidence in cultural heritage and what it means to be responsible people in a society that is not always accepting or responsible or fair or honest.
It is not perfect by any means. It challenges and provokes conversation. I mean hell weren’t folks talking about it… eventhough they had never even watched it? Oh and by the way… yeah to critique/criticize you do have to examine, otherwise… your just talking… ish.

Happy New Year! What a Way to Start!

How exciting to kick off the New Year with friends from various facets of your life. That is just what I got to do. The holidays for many can be stressful. Mostly, because as doers and givers we want everything to be perfect. But let me take this time to remind you… Perfect is only in the realm of God. We are imperfect humans looking to “git right” in what ever way that means for you and your journey.

The stress of the holiday can wear on the best of us but being able to be in the company of good people, good food, and good fun will always be a pick-me-up for the doldrums of the holidays.

One such amazing pick-me-up for me was participating in the panel for the launch of the blog The Style Etc. One of the besties has taken to cyberspace to create a blog that is available for the fashionably conscious! I am so honored to have been included in that arena . Check out the Google Hangout with S. Nicole Nelson and friends for the launch of http://www.thestyleetc.com!

#theblacklist

image The year 2014 is coming to an end. In the last two quarters it has been tumultuous.  Death, uprisings, political  nonsense, you name it. There is work to be done. The water is past our waist now and we need to send more buckets to bail out. If we all do our part we can survive. If not only a few will make it to start again. Invest in the renewal. Invest in your community. Lakeisha  Harrison has done what I have been mentioning in various Facebook posts that have said #buyblack. She has posted the beginnings of a list for those resources.  I have come across others and will add them on as well. The point is we need action and the tools. Empty slogans without the means to support them are futile. Strategic planning on our part is necessary.  Supporting Black owned businesses builds the efforts of power and influence. We can not gain a footing without a political,  economical,  and social/civic movement towards the cause. It was what our civil rights leaders began but we did not pick up and continue. The ball is deflated but still on the court. Someone get the air pump. I will get the polish and duster. Let’s begin the training. We will be rusty but prayerfully our coaches (elders) will get in the game as well. Aluta Continua!

Here is the List she started:

Lawyers – Any alum of Howard University School of Law

Primary Care Doctor – Dr. Theodore Watkins, 323 15th Street NE Washington, DC 20002, (202) 388-0992

Physical TherapyPhysical Therapy and Sports Assessment Center 

Vegan restaurantWoodlands Vegan Bistro

CafeSankofa Café and bookstore

Clothing/accessory boutiquesNisey’s Boutique (and housewares)

Hair productsShea Moisture,  Nubian Heritage, Koumani Holistics

Face ProductsBorn in Brooklyn

Photography and graphic designSondai Expressions Creative, llc (Kimberly C. Gaines)

TheatreAfrican Continuum Theatre Company (ActCo) http://african-continuum.org

Restoration Stage

Stay tuned there are more businesses. I will list them in the “Lub” section of this site. The list of entrepreneurs are indeed longer and right next door. Get to know them, it benefits us all!

My Love… Rekindled

“Beauty is a subject and justice lies within it.  – Roy DeCarava

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I have been trying to put into words my thoughts and feelings about the last two days. Seeing the Washington DC premiere of SELMA, shooting the finale for Ceremonies of Dark Men, and all of the postings of protests on FB have stirred up this feeling of love in me that I haven’t felt so intensely in a while. I was called the militant midget by my step father on my way to the hallowed halls of Howard University. He said I was always out for some black cause or another. Nostrils flared with passion in my voice and actions. From my time in high school seeing Roots, Eyes on the Prize, learning about my Great, Great, Great Grandfather Dr. James Still his brother William Still their mother Charity I was seriously pro-black. Pro-African. Pro-black power. Just knowing and learning my family history, knowing and learning African history, knowing and learning American history, I have always been proud to be of African descent.

Somewhere though I lost that feeling or with all the BS that has been perpetuated and accepted to and in our community I just felt I lost it. It was a slow decline that initially I did not see happening. I was becoming numb to stupid things that would happen in the community. I can remember coming home from school once and getting in the car with my grandparents to go to a movie. We were driving and there was a kid, a teenager that was just leisurely walking in the middle of the street. I was not pleased. I said “Pop-pop blow your horn.” They were both in agreement and the answer was a resounding ‘No, they could have guns and shoot us.’ The fear that my grandparents had of these kids growing up in their city was real. Working with kids I was a little out there. So I wasn’t afraid or maybe I was just a tad bit crazy. Human relations shape lives. There are certainly systemic issues that exist in our communities but there has also been a ball that has been dropped. I do not think that I need to go into an examination of the political and social oppression of the Black experience. This will not be that debate.

What this is… is a testimony. Because I know God is real… just in case you didn’t know it. I tell you that because all of the experiences that I have had over these days have rekindled my love (it was always there) for how AMAZING brown people are. Truly AMAZING. Our resilience, passion, talent… We are dope son! That is nothing but God. Really just when you think that your heart is calloused over, God reveals the little things that make us know the love is still there.

I know some incredible folks. My love for them is everlasting. Let me tell you. Sometimes I feel like I am bragging when I talk about my little brother “B”. I guess I am in a way. I am sure that folks get tired of me gushing over him. But I am truly, truly proud of my brother and LOVE him immensely. So a big sister would brag right? Let me tell you Bradford Young is truly a skillful artist. Those moments we spent playing with lights and layering images over chocolate skin, juxtaposing skin tones and experimenting with gels…  This man captured our beauty in the film #SELMA just as he has in all that he has touched. I would venture to say that if you have never seen his work you have never seen black people in our true beauty and radiance on screen. Check Mother of George, Restless City. We are a beautiful people. We need to see that… DEMAND that we see it often.

AM Weever’s Ceremonies of Dark Men just rounded out the love. I was captured by the beauty of black men, yet again. King Britt and Chuck Treece scored the filmic expressions of Larry Cook, Jefferson Pinder, Rashid Johnson, and Alexis Peskine. New vantage points of these dark men. Viewed through movement, emotion, love, and ritual I was once again enamored with my brothers. What truly captured me were the faces in Aljana Moons from Alexis Peskine. Breathtaking.

Major Jackson was eloquent and distinguished. Moving words across the stage and making me again love the cadence and timbre of my brothers voices. The Cornel West Theory was passion embodied on stage! I was truly inspired and THANKFUL!

We matter that is not up for discussion. We know it as fact. Amelia Boynton was played by Lorraine Toussaint in #SELMA to paraphrase the scene between her and Coretta Scott King ‘We come from a mighty people. Greatness is within us.’

Continue to be great and to seek inspiration in everything. Aluta Continua!

Wrap-apolooza – Order Service NOW!

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This holiday cut down on the stress. Let me wrap your gifts for you. Do you want your gift to really stand out? Let me make it fancy. Bring me your wrapping paper or choose from my custom wraps and fabric. (Wrap and fabric is subject to availability)

Just fill out the form below to get the process started!