Thursday, July 25, 2013

Make your ears happy: Laid-Back Edition

Happy Thursday!

So today I want to share some songs and artists that put me in a laid-back mood.

I was perusing Twitter yesterday, and saw the following:

I love Jill Scott, and those of you who've been reading for a minute know that Robert and I have been framily (family-friends) forever.  So I clicked on the YouTube link and watched the short film about the making of Jill Scott's next album - a lullaby album.  <3

I can't get the video work, so check it out here.

Anyway, she featured this group called Moonchild in the video, and said that the lead singer had the purest voice she'd ever heard.  Jill ain't lying. Go on and make your ears happy and check out Moonchild, my favorite group of the moment! Enjoy!

They sorta give me a Liquid-Spirits-if-Norah-Jones-was-the-lead-singer feel (PS: Check them out, too!).  Moonchild will be on repeat for a minute.

Speaking of some of my favorite laid-back tunes as of late, y'all heard of Miles Bonny and his "Lumberjack Soul" (ha!)? I just happened to hear a song of his that led me to his site.  Check him out!

I have to thank Miles Bonny for the completion of Chapter 4 of my dissertation.  I wrote the whole thing to his catalog.

Ok, One more group!

I was reading blogs a few months ago, and someone posted this song by Hawk House, a London-based trio, and I was SOLD!!!

Yeah, great, right? go download the EP here.

I'm off to a practice dissertation defense with my classmates. Monday is a'comin!!!

Until next time . . . buy/download these albums!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Loving Our Flesh Hard: On Rejecting Deficit Perspectives

After I wrote about Rachel Jeantel, I ran out of steam to write about the Zimmerman case.  I watched and listened, but I just didn't have the energy to blog about it.  However, what I would like to talk about is giving up deficit perspectives and learning how to love ourselves.

She's about to preach and teach in a moment.  Just keep reading.
Learning to resist negative stereotypes about Black people is hard, even for Black people. Everytime I think about the negative rhetoric that is permeating the news cycle, I think back to the movie (and Toni Morrison classic) Beloved and Baby Suggs Holly's sermon about self love in the face of deficit perspectives. Her sermon starts around 1:45. She could be talking to us right now in 2013.

We are flesh! 
Flesh that weeps, laughs, dances barefoot in the grass.
Love your flesh. Love it HARD!
Love your hands. Raise them up and kiss them. 
And the beat, beat, beat of your heart. 
Love your heart! 
This is the prize! 
This is the prize. 

I just had a Holy Ghost moment.  This clip gets me every time.

Now that the verdict has been given, and I've had a moment to do some reflecting, I don't want to talk about the case or the verdict, per se.  However, I do want to talk about some of the things that have been floating around in my head as I watch news reporters and pundits. If I read one more d@mn admonishment from Black and non-Black people about Black-on-Black crime in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, I'm going to scream.  The admonishments are red herrings. Here are a couple of reasons why I am annoyed:

  1. The argument promotes stereotyping.  It also does serious injustice to the multitude of hard-working, law abiding citizens who work hard and want change in their communities, too.  Trust me, there are more people doing the right thing than those who are committing crimes.  Perhaps the people doing good work in these communities just don't get as much publicity. 
  2. This argument does not negate the fact that the sentencing procedures, rules, etc. are unjustly applied to people of color. 
  3. It also doesn't encourage society to see Black children as American children.  If they did, young Black people committing violent acts toward each other would be of utmost importance to our collective society and not a dehumanizing spectacle about "those people" on the news. 
  4. It doesn't force people to look at some of the root causes of crime in impoverished communities of color.  Where you find this type of violence, you also find joblessness and idleness, and as the saying goes: "Idle time is the devil's playground." And since when did those who are jobless and impoverished gain the capital to create jobs and generate substantial economic development?  Until then, you can't shoulder all of the burden on the community. 

I believe that all of this Black-on-Black crime rhetoric is based on a deficit perspective that society (including some Black folks) has about Black people.  A deficit perspective blames the victims of institutional oppression for their own victimization by referring to negative stereotypes and assumptions regarding certain groups or communities.

So I need folks to miss me with Romany Malco and Bill Cosby rhetoric.  I'M NOT HERE FOR IT.  Go find the links, I refuse to post them.  Does change need to happen? Yes.  Should Black people work toward change in their communities? Yes, but I'd also argue that many of them do; there's also a need for systemic change. Does it change the fact that the Zimmerman verdict was unjust?  No. Absolutely hell, f*cking no. Before we start jumping onto popular bandwagons, we HAVE to think critically.  This Black-on-Black crime rhetoric is an easy argument that is being used to skirt an important issue - inequality in the judicial system.

What I am here for is this:

"We are here to see what happens when an immovable object meets 
an un-seemingly immovable object."

I get goose bumps everytime I watch this. Now this is loving your flesh really hard.  They are taking action and making change. This is self-love and community consciousness. I'm re-energized watching this.  I'm thinking really hard about how I can do more to make change.

Until next time . . . love your flesh and love it hard!

Tuesday Randoms

Hi all! Happy Tuesday!!!

I've been so fixated on finishing my dissertation and consumed with issues of race and social justice in the wake of all of the bad news over the last few weeks, that I'd put writing about the everyday things on hold. So, I'm here today with a bunch of randomness.

  • Tyson's progress.  He's really settled in.  He's learned all of his commands. After about 3 months of working with him, he finally gets "down." Praise the Lord! He's also claimed a chair in the living room.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen this pic: 
If he's not sleeping in the chair, then he just sits there for hours.  He's at the point where he'll jump into my lap if I'm sitting there.  He's claimed it. SMH. It's the only piece of furniture on which he's allowed to sit, and he takes full advantage of it. 
  • I can't stop eating cowboy caviar.  My girlfriend left a container of it over here on Sunday, and I've been devouring it.  I bet I could make it.  
  • I also can't stop eating potato chips, but I don't want to talk about it. :(
  • I submitted my dissertation last week, and in that time, I have been finding little errors, things that I just did not see when I was editing. Of course, I went to my crazy place and started telling myself how I'm not going to pass my defense and how I've said nothing in the document.  My insecurity was on 10 the other day, but I talked myself off the ledge.   I've really gotta work on being kinder to myself. 
  • I am going to commit myself to cooking dinner regularly again.  With the exception of my hubby doing some grilling, we've been eating out of boxes and containers for about two weeks.  I'm finally ready to get back on track.
  • And speaking of cooking, I'm back to counting Weight Watchers points again . . . with fidelity! I fell off, but I'm back in the saddle.  Cowboy caviar is WW friendly. Maybe that's why I'm taking it down by the plateful. It hurt to log those potato chips, but that's what flex points are for. 
  • I am READY for my haircut on Friday.  Keeping the top long and the sides and back short. I may never grow my hair back.  I thought I'd miss my locs more than I do, but I'm over them. 
  • I just ordered some texts for the classes I'll be teaching in the fall. I'm PUMPED!!! I also found my teaching schedule online. No late classes!!! Yay!!!!
I feel like I'm finally returning to normalcy.  I'm back to reading and commenting on my favorite blogs.  I'm off to the grocery store to prep for dinner, and Tyson is resting peacefully in "his" chair.  Life on the other side of the dissertation is on the horizon!

Until next time . . . I'll be debating salmon or turkey meatloaf for dinner. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I made it!!! 
(Well, almost. Lol.)

Here's a little gospel interlude. Y'all know how I feel about my old school gospel.  This is "I Made It" by the incomparable Clark Sisters.

Writing about race and issues of equity during the Paula Deen scandal and the Zimmerman trial was challenging to say the least.  To have to put on my intellectual hat while my heart was hurting was a tough feat.  I'm fasting from the news right now because I just can't take it.

But I made it. 

I submitted my dissertation late Monday night.  It wasn't perfect, but I'm proud of my work.  As my advisor has told me for years, "Perfect is the enemy of good."  I remember when I decided to blog on a regular basis earlier in the year, I was so uncertain about the whole process.  I was so close, but felt so far away. I keep staring at the document because I'm amazed at myself.  Not that I didn't think I could do it, just that I did it.  It takes some smarts to write a Ph.D., but more than that, it takes tenacity.

My dissertation journey has not been easy.  I've gotten married, moved, buried loved ones, supported numerous loved ones through their health issues, learned how to be a wife (and still learning), lost my doggy, and added a new one.

But I made it.  

There's one final step - the defense.  Besides graduation day, it's the day that I've been dreaming about since my first day of doctoral classes.  It's July 29th.  I'm a little nervous, but I'll be fine.  If you read this blog, be sure to lift me up in you prayers, meditations, chants - however you get it done, think about little old me.

I'll be back before the defense; I just wanted to drop in on my favorite little place on these interwebs.

Until next time . . . I'll be over here putting my dissertation defense presentation together!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On Making Love Public

Hey Folks! Happy Tuesday!  I'm still over here feverishly plugging away, but it's almost over.  I send my dissertation to my committee next Monday! There's so much to do!!!!

I started this post last week, and I forgot to share it, so here it is! Enjoy!
First, a little music, Spread Love by Take 6.

My hubby's celebrity crush used to be Kerry Washington.  All I used to hear about was "Kerry Washington this." and "Kerry Washington that."  Remember when Facebook used to have all kinds of quizzes you could take?  Well, he took a quiz about his top 5 celebrity crushes, and guess who filled all 5 slots? Yeah . . . He had it bad. Over the years, his obsession admiration for her has waned a bit.  He was a bigger fan of "She Hate Me" Kerry than Olivia Pope, so now I have him all to myself again.  Anyway, when the news of her extra private wedding ceremony hit the news, I checked in with him to make sure he was ok, and he seemed to be doing alright.

Besides making sure my hubby was gonna survive the news, Kerry's secret nuptials got me to thinking about how my husband and I have made our love incredibly public.  I'm willing to bet that about half of my posts mention my love for him in some sort of way. I've shared details about our wedding and funny stories about becoming a wife.  We post on each other's Facebook walls and snap pics of each other on Instagram.

On the other hand, we know people who are extremely private about their relationships.  We recently celebrated the engagement of a friend who we didn't even know was dating anyone.  Some folks are extra private like that, and I respect it.  That's just now how The Mister and I roll.  Now I understand Kerry's reasons for keeping it so quiet.  She's become a huge public figure, and everything she does makes the news.  But as for me and my little ole regular life . . .

Making my love public is my testimony.
Sharing my love for my husband keeps me accountable.
Sharing our love with others gives him a little ego stroke ;).
Sharing our love keeps other people inspired, and in turn, we're inspired by folks who share their love with us. 

There are some things about love and marriage that deserve to remain secret and sacred, and we honor the sanctity of those things.  But the good, fun, and the challenging parts that we think others can relate to - we don't mind sharing.  It connects us to other couples, and lets us know we're not all alone.

And even if, by some strange turn of events, we part ways, I have been blessed to know what unconditional, unashamed, unabashed love feels like, and I'm all the better for knowing it and sharing it with others.

Until next time . . . we'll be over here spreading our love!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Loving Love

I love love.

I also love love stories. I love how there are so many paths to getting to love.

Here's a love story I ran across on a study break.

They're a team.  They're quirky.  They're committed. They have a deep admiration for each other that is palatable.

"She's all I really care about. . . who cares how many followers i have as long as i share this life with her." ~ Preach and teach, Rog.

There's freedom in commitment.

Until next time . . . I'll be over here editing my dissertation and making sangria.

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yes!!!: Venus VS. on ESPN

If you missed ESPN's inaugural episode of Nine for IX, their series about women who've made tremendous strides in sports, find out when it's airing again!  It is inspiring and motivational.  It's right up my alley, as it talks about succeeding in your own way and on your own terms.  Plus it's directed by Ava Duvernay, the woman who brought us the movie Middle of Nowhere and my favorite short film.

Here's a trailer of Venus VS.:

Until next time . . . go pursue your passions in your own special way!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Inner Voices, Self-Trust and "Playing the God in Us"

Happy Monday! Happy July! Let's kick the week off with a little music to get us ready to win! I'll go for a surefire happy song, a classic, Golden by Jill Scott: 

I'm strumming my own freedom,
Playing the God in me,
Representing his glory,
Hope he's proud of me.

Last week was such a heavy week, and while I wanted to keep the blog upbeat and happy, I was absolutely convicted about all of the racially-charged events of the week.  I couldn't even get my tootsie roll on properly to for my LGBTQ peeps and their SCOTUS victory.   

So when I wrote the post about my support for Rachel Jeantel, I NEVER imagined that I would get the amount of love and support that I received.  I am absolutely grateful for every single person who read, posted, tweeted, emailed, and responded to the article. It means so much. I spoke straight from my heart.  I felt like Jill's lyric when I wrote it - I was "playing the God in me." I knew that it was special when I wrote it, and I'm glad that my feelings resonated so much with so many.  It feels good to know that there are lots of folks out there who will stand for our children. 

More than anything, the popularity of my post about Rachel reminded me that my voice is important.   I have the fortune of having a supportive husband, family and friends who push me to share my gifts. When I saw the amount of traffic the blog was receiving, in a moment of fear, I almost deleted the post.  Despite all of the love that the post received, I was so afraid of the naysayers (who never showed up, by the way).  So in spite of my fears, I left the post alone. It was my truth, and I believed in what I wrote.  Once I decided to leave it alone and trust my inner voice, the number of views doubled, then tripled, and so on and so on. 

So I say all of this to say - Trust your inner voice and always speak from your heart.  Your voice is important, too.  Use it! Those who are also fighting the good fight and on the same accord will show up. 

Again, thank you for reading. 

Until next time . . . play the God in you, and I'll do the same.  I'll also be over here chasing a deadline. My dissertation defense is 28 days away! 

A Little Housekeeping: Following the Blog!

Hi all!

Just a quick reminder that Google Reader will be going to the Upper Room today, but that doesn't mean that you've gotta stop reading!

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Happy Monday!