Wow, words can’t explain how I feel. When my mother was asking me when we last spoke, I responded a little over a month because we were busy playing phone tag where either of us were available on the initial call. That’s when my mom broke the news to me, Ady has passed on. What I heard I didn’t want to believe. I immediately open my Whatsapp and begin to dial her cell number, since she was based in Angola. The phone just continued to ring and ring, NO ANSWER. That’s when it hit me. We are not playing phone tag anymore. I will never get to hear her calming voice again. Tag over.
Ady to me was a confidante. We were so different yet we shared similarities in our mental health journey. Because she was older than me, Ady took the role of an advisor, friend, big sister and an endearing ‘prima’ to me, which translates to cousin. We are not actually related but for my Ady to get ahold of me even when I was in the hospital and she is based in Africa, you know the intent strictly came out of LOVE.
I will truly miss Ady for ALL that she was. I don’t handle death lightly and this shocking news will take time for me to heal. As I don’t know the full details to her passing, I will just have to internalize that my Ady is gone, but she will never be forgotten. I will miss our simple hello’s or “I’m just calling to check up on you and see how you are doing.” I will miss our laughter and stories that were heard within the community where we called each other to confirm if that actual news was true.
Far away, yet so close to me from our hour long conversations of simply just catching up. I loved hearing her stories of all her endeavors with the school, her projects within the community, and any effort she put forth to improve her neighborhoods in Luanda. I always said when I touch down in Luanda, Ady would have to show me around, and funny enough she always asked when I would visit Angola. My response was I have to receive my passport first before I finally get to meet my family in Angola, on the other side.
What Ady meant to me, I’m sure, she meant to others as a caring, loving, and goal-ridden person. Ady I will eventually apply to medical school just like I said and I will honor you once I approach that feat. I remember encouraging her when she got her Masters in her 40s but I was so PROUD of her that she never quit, and remembered that sky is the limit. I pray to get into my top choice of Brown University, but Evalina is moving at a different pace than others normally would go. One more Masters to add to my name and then the medical doctorate will follow. I will keep on pushing hard Ady, until I accomplish my goals. You instilled that in me and I’m forever grateful to have known you.
It’s not good-bye, it’s simply farewell and adieu my dear Ady. Until we meet again.
EVERYONE….GET INTO IT….THE BADASS WORKSHOP IS BACK!
Her first workshop series blew me away and was an ultimate success so it is only right to bring it back with a part 2 to the amazing-ness that is Bozoma Saint John. If you missed the Level 1 Workshop sessions, it’s never too late to subscribe. Her first session is STILL available for purchase where you can get caught up before Level 2 starts on July 10th, 2021.
I call this lady MUVA, simply because she earned it. Bozoma Saint John is constantly winning from her mentions from other celebs, her career, her beautiful daughter Lael, and her doting accomplishments that she continues to achieve, milestone after milestone. There could not be a person more fitting to lead a success workshop, entitled The Badass Workshop.
So what are you waiting for?
You can subscribe to her sessions here. You can subscribe for either Level 1 or Level 2, and/or both. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed from the sessions and you will leave feeling more empowered than you ever have before. It’s time for another Badass Workshop!
On the last day of June, which is highly recognized as Pride month, I must repeat again that I stand as an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and try my best to learn even more than I know every Pride month. Pride month is beautiful, and even though I think Pride month should be celebrated more than one month because of the milestones they have overcome. I try to watch webinars so I can continue to learn and become an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community even though I don’t consider myself as one.
The last two nights, I watched @thechoosetrueproject with Shannon + Justen, who is also known as Shad as they came on Instagram LIVE to continue to educate and discuss everything pride. It was very insightful, the history of PRIDE and where we are today when it comes to the issue of PRIDE. I didn’t know that PRIDE started as a riot by a black women in New York on June 28th. When we think of feminity and just inner strength to be attacked on that led the riot. @thechoosetrueproject did an excellent two-day series discussion of PRIDE and what it means to be an ally, the dangers of wanting to express yourself as an LGBTQIA+, plus many other topics that pertain to the community and what we can do to help as allies/advocates or as a member of the LGBTQIA+ as yourself.
I hope everyone celebrated PRIDE month with class.
Also within the month of June is Juneteenth, and for the first time in political history, the Biden administration made Juneteenth a Federal holiday. Juneteenth happens to be my late father’s birthday, but specifically on that day I wait to splurge and simply buy BLACK. With the history of June 19, 1865 being the birth of ‘Freedom Day’ amongst other names, it’s a time to reflect and get back to reclaim what is ours. Now the talk of reparations for descendants of slave owners need to be discussed, but hopefully starting Juneteenth as a Federal holiday will open up for discussion the wants and needs of the black community.
2 days ago was the year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. Wow time flies by. Mass shootings always taking over headlines, with the most recent mass shooting in San Jose, California at the railyard. I was even hospitalized for majority of the month of May due to an overreacting mother, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to use my website/blog for transparency. As stated, ‘Transparency is Beautiful’.
Usually I’m always excited and elated for the month of May because that’s when I emphasize the awareness of Mental Health. This year I feel there is nothing to bring awareness to because the message has come out in various ways. The paralyzation of extended violence from the police and mass shootings has taken over the news almost everyday.
When will we get a break?
I understand we WILL never get a break so at times I numb myself to mental awareness. I try to distract myself with reality TV, or some of my favorite movies that are either on BET or my personal collection. Someone please ask the cease of administering novocaine on mine and many others feelings. We want our feeling back. We want to feel again. Feel emotion and feel the sensation of what it feels like when all things are good. Let the nostalgia set in to where we didn’t have to worry of turning on the news to find another life has been lost, life was good, family and friend gatherings as the weather warms up, and honoring all graduates from pre-K all the way to doctorate. Let us feel that again, please. PLEASE.
It’s too much to internalize, that sometimes we need rest. I’m numbed by the trauma that people of color, Black people face everyday at the hands of police. Another death. For My’Khia Bryant….SAY HER NAME.
Later on today, on the 22nd day of April, we will lay Daunte Wright to rest. An innocent boy of the deadly Minneapolis that was pulled over by police for an air freshener and was shot to death by the confusion of a taser with a handgun. We lay Daunte to rest as the TV continues to replay and replay a graphic image of My’Khia Bryant’s downfall at the hands of the police. I just want to know the details, I don’t want to see the graphics yet I have no control as the body cam footage is displayed to the world. 4 shots. One person. Pronounced dead at the scene. What could we have done better?
As the investigation and the opinion of others start, I slowly digress because I know this incident would have ended deadly no matter if the 4 shots of the bullet were released by the officer. It would have either been death by the bullet, or death by the knife that My’Khia was holding in her hand was shown as proof by the body cam in slow motion. A lose lose situation as the police officer would have been perceived as wrong either way. Black on black crime by the fight that resulted in a life lost. And then we ask why wasn’t less deadly force used by the police officer when they arrived on the scene? News anchors and law enforcement analysts saying this use of the gun was appropriate for the situation. My mind wonders because I feel the death could have been prevented on both ends. My’Khia Bryant, I SAY YOUR NAME. We need police reform. We need justice. It’s time that things change.
“From my point of view. 4 shots. With the panic of the officer, we could have been saying two names instead of one death.”
We need to protect black women. We need to protect black children. Period. I was talking to a friend as I checked up on her, and we were discussing how the world, especially in the U.S., ‘adultifies’ black children. Yes, My’Khia is a woman, BUT, she was a child. A CHILD. Our society needs to stop objectifying our children. My’Khia was barely 16 years old. That’s a CHILD, and NOT an adult. And now a mother and father have lost their child, yet again. We must do better.
As we continue to protest, let us keep up the good fight because now we have to lay one of our own to rest, AGAIN.
I don’t want to be traumatized by another black death, but as I say that, another one of our own is fighting for their life. Somewhere, somehow.
I look forward to the George Floyd Police Reform Bill. We MUST do better.
I would love to see other people’s thoughts and point of views as I welcome everyone’s opinion. If you have a voice, utilize it.
George Floyd murder trial. Daunte Wright. Both homicides occurring in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Adam Toledo. All at the hands of police. Over five mass killings in the past month. Can we get a break?!
We are TIRED.
Fatigued from the constant news. Worn out from the drama. We protest in solidarity and are confused as being ‘combative’. Major cities taking the initiative to guard their territory and protect buildings, whether the George Floyd murder case is found innocent or guilty. “A bad tree does not yield good apples.” Avoiding unrest. We are tired, fatigued, and worn out. But yet, we persevere.
“9 minutes and 29 seconds.” We can’t breathe.
“Please officer, I can’t BREATHE.” The empathy and ill feeling we hear from his voice. George Floyd said it best, with the knee to his neck. I CAN’T BREATHE as he fought for his life. He may have lost his life, but we persevere to bring justice to his name and the many others that have died at the hands of the ones who are designed to ‘protect’, but kill us off. WHEN CAN WE GET SOME AIR?!
What are you doing to protect your mental health, your sanity?
To people of color, PROTECT YOUR HEALTH. I know it’s draining to constantly internalize loss, but it’s important to protect your sanity. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS. You matter. Stay abreast, but remain humble. Talk to your loved ones and appreciate them. Go to a therapist, we all need to vent at some point in time. To our allies, check on close associates to make sure that we are okay. Because we are not, YET, we PERSEVERE.
“Are you kidding me?!” My instant response as I was in the hospital and got the sad news from my sister during our routine daily calls. My Kay Slay was Dead. I went into instant shock when I realized she passed the day I went to the Hospital, February 5th and a vigil and funeral/repass was already celebrated in her honor. After getting off the phone with my sister, I immediately call my bestie to confirm what I was hearing. Make it make sense I say.
As sad as I was, I was content knowing that alot of people showed for all ceremonies and the fundraising for her daughter, KayMarie as she was an avid single-mother who would give her whole world to her child. I was content because I did give my Kaylynn her flowers when she was alive. Anytime we would link up. I never missed her bday celebrations as of late and made sure to go to KayMarie’s if I was given proper notice. I supported Kaylynn in her endeavors when she used to sing at the Singers Lounge and supported and encouraged her with her newest venture: Nani Pot Steam.
Kaylynn was the type of person who would always leave you with a smile let alone laughter; she was hilarious and one of the comedians of the group. She was also empathetic and an excellent caregiver to her grandma and others when it came to doing people’s hair, arranging their outfits (a true fashionista), and a confidante for others.
I remember when I first met Kaylynn in seventh grade (2000-01). Kaylynn was a fighter when she had to be, singing in the hallways, and sometimes her and I would greet each other at the tardy tank. Kaylynn was apart of our infamous S.I.S.T.A.H.O.O.D. group that still holds strong until this day.
There are so many things I can recollect on my Kay Slay, but what I will do since I gave her flowers when she was alive….here’s your bouquet boo. You LIVED your life with your own life lessons and no turning back as you became stronger and stronger in your womanhood. Remember #soberLIFE . I’m so Proud of you, I’m proud to know you, and I am privileged to be your friend. Until we meet again my Kay Slay! 💐💐
This weekend for most who were fortunate like myself to be in the presence of the 50th anniversary on the March on Washington in DC on August 28, 2020. People were empowered and filled with FULL JOY for how many pulled up despite circumstances of COVID-19 and trying to make the event as virtual as possible with the planning committee unsure of the expected turnout. The light quickly dimmed that night with the breaking news of the unfortunate passing of our dear Chadwick Boseman. I remember where I was on a night dinner date with my girls Amaka and Erica at Soi 38 in NW DC when around 10:36pm the news notification popped up on my screen that Chadwick had passed. You could have shot a bullet on my rib and I wouldn’t even have know I had gotten shot. Chai. This hit me HARD. Us girls quickly started reminiscing, Amaka unexpectedly breaks down in tears , like total SHOCK.
This death since my father’s has me all forms of messed up. Same irie feeling and that’s how I know Chadwick’s passing, to me was like FAMILY. Several days to digest, first couple of days in a low state of mind while in total shock, to when you actually realize what is going on around you, is when the explicit grieving suddenly hits. I’m so honored to have been in your presence in 2018 physically. Something I will cherish til my last days. Chadwick will forever have my respect for having the diaspora who had even no regard for Africans want to pay homage to the ANCESTORS. Name another event where people are pulling up to the movie theatre in full african garb to watch Black Panther, of all races?! I’ll wait.
Chadwick gave us Gods of Egypt, Captain America, Message from the King, Marshall, Black Panther, Avengers Infinity War & Endgame, 21 Bridges, and Da 5 Bloods since his prognosis of stage III colon cancer that went to stage IV and doing chemotherapy and surgeries in between. As someone who has dealt with an immediate who got diagnosed with cancer at the latest of stages, the intensity of chemo given and it’s strength, you still see Chadwick looking handsome and put together, hair still INTACT. Chadwick you are UNTOUCHABLE and one of a kind during OUR time. Sadly I didn’t even pay attention to Chadwick’s thinning appearance as of recent, but I did hear about critics discussing his appearance and used to get so livid on what I would hear. In the back of my head, I was thinking “what if Chadwick is preparing for a movie role that had to make him lose weight?” And this whole time, now all these critics, HE WAS SIMPLY JUST FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE. Shame on you. Lesson to be learned: BE KIND.
His SUPPORT SYSTEM. One lesson Chadwick will teach you is that his inner circle acted ACCORDINGLY. My college big sis Sheyna said this earlier on her instastory: the fact that his inner circle had been by his side and kept this for 4 whole years….! Wow. How many of you can even trust your secret not being dispersed for at least one year? Chadwick’s circle….those are the REAL ones and I know who continued to keep Chadwick upkept and high in spirit through these past 4 years. God bless you. Not only that, can we talk about his beautiful wife, Taylor Ledward?! They had secretly even got married within this past year and have been in a relationship for years. Every person’s dream is to find their soulmate, get married, start a family and have children….but how many of you would have took the door when you found out some of your future aspirations would be cut short before you could even begin? How many of you choose to walk out of a relationship or let alone a marriage when your partner even has an ailment or illness? Taylor DIDN’T walk out and that is what you call a TRUE LOVE. Not even when she knew from the beginning that she would have to be in a relationship to see her love fight his final years and days without even establishing a legacy amongst themselves. I absolutely commend this woman and her strength. Chadwick acknowledged Taylor at the NAACP awards last year and literally stated she has been right beside him the whole time and he loves her. Their love is BEAUTIFUL and is the definition of what you call SOULMATES. Now unfortunately with Chadwick’s passing, I want to keep Taylor lifted up in TOTAL PRAYER that she continues to exude this inner strength that she has always possessed from their beginning. Please cover Taylor during this time. I’m sitting here crying like I lost my soulmate in Chadwick, I can’t even imagine her current state of mind, but I have faith that she is comforted as she was by his side, until his last breath. Til’ death do they part and I know from what I’ve learned from her as a person, she will uphold Those vows. God continue to bless their marriage.
Lastly, Chadwick LIVED HIS LIFE AND SIMPLY GAVE HIS LIFE FOR OTHERS. Definition of a selfless man. I’ve directly witnessed this through my father and my favorite uncle who unfortunately passed and even within myself that has been sick and close to near death on certain medications and hospitalizations. Even when some prognosis could have totally changed my whole trajectory of life. Like Chadwick, YOU MUST CONTINUE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. Someone being told the news that they have a stage III cancer could immediately go into seclusion and focus on treatments that they know will still end their life. What does Chadwick do? Make record breaking movies, attend appearances, award ceremonies, speak at events and commencements for graduation, visit sick children who were suffering with cancer and party with the most elite of elite. All his pictures, with the beautiful African mean mug or his beautiful smile with all his teeth. Chadwick was living a life of ENJOYMENT and it showed. And now we know he could have just came from a chemotherapy session or a surgery, and still came correct in the cleanest of outfits and the flashiest of hairstyles. Chadwick, I APPLAUD YOU. I always remember some family members even sometimes my sister questioning oh Chi Chi don’t party too hard, don’t drink too much, be careful where you travel and even say the same with my cousin who was suffering from kidney failure who would behave just like me, and my response to that is “You simply just don’t understand until you are in our shoes. I will continue to LIVE LIFE and when I’m gone, you can simply take my phone, look at my photo albums, Facebook, videos and simply reminisce that Chi Chi really enjoyed her life”. PERIODT. I even saw this with my dad and uncle Echere too, they would still travel internationally, drank their drafts and the finest of whiskeys and champagnes and not one picture you could see struggle in their face unless you personally knew. If it got to that point then it’s no time for pictures cuz they didn’t want you to remember them in that way. IT’s JUST THAT SIMPLE. Enjoy your life. YOU DON’T KNOW TOMORROW AND DON’T LET ANY SETBACK DICTATE HOW YOU LIVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Times where I was seriously emotionally drained over a death that I know will take several months to heal. The death of my father from cancer, my uncle Echere from cancer, Michael Jackson from medicine overdose, Princess Diana from her motor accident and bonding with a real life Princess, and now Chadwick. Chadwick was not only our black SUPERHERO….but he was literally and figuratively our Black ROYALTY.
CHADWICK, WELL DONE. You can now rest knowing you did your God-given purpose on this earth and EXCELLED. God be with you and your whole entire family. I’m seriously HURTING. We’ve lost a mate, and now knowing all this revelation, I’ve lost my mate.
I always love to reminisce on things in the past, good and bad and I decided to look through my MacBook Pro since I’ve had this computer since my undergrad days (this laptop has lasted me for over 10 years and counting ya’ll!) and stumbled upon this document that I know was important to share.
Immediately as I looked at the work, I instantly cried. Cried at the wonderful memories as an undergrad student, but simply tears of joy that I pursued some electives as a pre-medical student at a primarily white institution (PWI), where everyone just wants to focus on hard core science classes to boost their opportunity of getting into certain medical schools as opposed to focusing in the arts and getting a basic English expository out the way. African-American and African at that. It doesn’t matter what university you are at, EVERY university has an arts component and Johns Hopkins University had a dope African American literature/arts department. One of my classmates Martina is also a well-respected art curator now in the South, and to my knowledge she was also an arts history or literature major. Even the professors who taught them, not sure if they are still at Hopkins, were completely woke. I was a WOKE pre-medical, Women, Gender & Sexuality minor student and I’m very proud of some of the work I pursued while at Hopkins.
My professor was Dr. Tobias Wofford, who taught the class called ‘Exhibiting the Global’. Dr. Tobias’ course was one of the first classes when I started taking my Women, Gender, & Sexuality minor requirements and I felt I got to fully express myself. Express my creativity without feeling discriminated or judged. I felt free.
Of course being a PWI, to my recollection, I was the only person of color taking this course. All females took the course, I believe it was a total of 7-8 of us. My professor was also of color too so I did not feel like the token black student in these more intimate settings of classes. And we were all treated the same. When it came time to our semester project, I chose to do my work on the Venus Hottentot, legally known as Sarah Baartman from South Africa. Her story was not nice, and how Sarah suffered after the freak shows she had to do in front of Whites on a daily basis, that led to her prostituting and even after her death where they kept her remains in a laboratory before the late Nelson Mandela, who was president at the time, demanded that her remains be brought back for a proper burial of their own is nothing of glorifying. But the story had to be told. I started the powerpoint presentation of my project with this hypothetical collage of picture. Remember this was 2011, when celebs with a ‘body’ that were actually glorified in the music and entertainment industry was of this:
To the defense of the people chosen, Amber Rose is African, half Cape Verdean. Kim, well she is of many…but she always praises her Armenian roots. Even though both appear explicitly White, at the time these were women that men of all races were currently praising in looks physically. Something in my igbo language externally, we would say ‘Obianuju’, which somewhat translates to woman in full, or others might simply call you ‘Mommy Wata’.
Don’t let the imagery of Venus Hottentot to the far left fool you, that sketch was an actual depiction of how she was structurally built. Maybe more the reason why the Europeans took her away from everything she called home and treated her as a creature, where she barely wore any clothes to look as a spectacle as people stared and even touched her body in this so-called ‘evening shows’. For me putting up this collage I made as an introduction to my project, I had to make some light of a story that doesn’t have a happy ending and make myself, the only person of color give the story justice and feel comfortable telling it too.
The many things that people would poke fun at and call ugly, then later switch up to emulate, is something that we as Africans naturally feel are beautiful. To me, Sarah Baartman, was BEAUTIFUL. From her lips, to her shape, and overall appearance. I believe Sarah was similar to the Soweto or Zulu tribe in South Africa, correct me if I’m wrong. Have you seen those women? Some of the most beautiful women in Africa, that naturally rock men haircut and look more beautiful than people who naturally have long or lace frontal wigs on just to say they have hair. And they naturally also have shape as well. I’m not from South Africa, my mom is from Angola which is very close to South Africa, but as an African, no matter what country you come from, the story of Sarah Baartman, AKA Venus Hottentot is your HERstory as well. Not only as Africans did we suffer from the exploitation of slavery and colonization to all parts of the world, the attempt to erase their culture in language and way of living, but these stories are a constant reminder that no one was sacrificed from torment.
I would love to share my written project on Venus Hottentot here:
Sarah, I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. Through your story, may we as African, Caribbean, and the Diaspora know our WORTH. Let us not succumb to outside expectations of how we must portray ourselves. We are aristocratic in our own right, we are kind, we are intelligent, we are beautiful, but most importantly WE KNOW OUR STRUGGLE. May we continue to show our culture and teach men how to respect ourselves, and our bodies. May we also constantly remind every race to exude their natural and inner beauty. That is what makes us unique and different. Beauty is BEAUTY, and the eye of the beholder comes from their own masterpiece.
On July 31, 2020, Disney Plus (+) premiered Beyoncé’s ‘Black is KING’. Unfortunately I haven’t had enough free time to just sit down, relax, and watch, but in the near future I have to make the time. I was, and still am in high anticipation of getting to watch this film, with no interruptions nor distractions. Lena Waithe stated “Beyoncé is King”. The expression holds to my understanding as Beyonce holds the title for expression of ROYALTY. To me Beyoncé as an artist continues to set standards and bring initial awareness to black culture while always trying to bridge ties to Africa. Beyoncé is constantly connecting, and that is what distincts her from any musician let alone artist that is still surviving. Beyoncé brings an aesthetic that continually makes you think. Beyoncé created this film from the inspiration of The Lion King and she wrote and directed this visual album. VISUAL it is. And real ones know, most of these songs featured in this film have been released for months if not years. We were dancing to Beyoncé’s ‘Already’ at my nne Ozioma’s Igba Nkwu traditional ceremony in August 2019. However, the way Beyoncé promoted for the culture by highlighting all over Africa from musicians to actresses and actors, fashion designers, makeup, you NAME it and that is what makes me most proud of this film that I have yet to watch.
With anything comes opinion and open criticism. Of course Beyoncé’s fans and followers were in complete awe of the film, but the most criticism had come from Africans. Should you be surprised when the film is being catered toward the continent, probably in their neck of the woods? From what I’ve read, most of the film was shot in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Some Africans had critiqued that it did not show the full beauty of Africa. This could be true. Listen, there are 54 countries within the motherland. To display all 54 countries let alone a good 20 countries would have been difficult putting into circumstance our current state of the pandemic and not knowing when the film started in filming. Many East Africans did not feel well-represented throughout the film, which holds valid as the original film of the Lion King was structured in East Africa. Some Africans also thought that the film displayed Africans as how the Western world imagines us by the constant animal print and face paintings. One African expresses that she is tired of the animal print…”that is not how we dress for goodness sake…climbing in trees, etc. I think this is how the Western world likes to imagine Africa. So it’s for their consumption, not ours.” Some of the fashions another critic mentioned were mostly created from high-end White designers as opposed to highlighting more Black and African designers within the continent. Ironically the timing of the release of this movie was after the George Floyd murder, but some people defending this exact critique is that the film was made before the tragedy deaths of Breonna Taylor to Ahmaud Arbery, and what we are currently still dealing with now.
Despite mainly highlighting three countries, various countries throughout the film were well represented. You have Adut Akech from South Sudan, art from the Dogan tribe of Mali and masquerades from Nigeria, dance primarily from West Africa as Jelili Atiku takes the streets from Nigeria (did you see Beyoncé ZANKU?!….Naija people, how did she do?), contemporary art from Cameroon, musicians like Busiswa from South Africa, Salatiel from Cameroon, Yemi Alade and Mr Eazi from Nigeria, actresses like Lupita Nyong’o from Kenya, and Nandi Madida and Lindiwa Dim from South Africa. At the end of the day, no one disagrees with the artistry that was displayed throughout the film. Many consider ‘Black is King’ as a masterpiece with excellent art direction. Something as proper afro-centrism.
Based on what I’m able to see and hear, I’m extremely proud of Beyoncé and her pan-African solidarity as she tries to portray her vision in an extension of Lion King by this visual film.
I look forward to sitting down myself and actually internalizing the film.
BRAVO Beyoncé! 👏🏿👏🏾 This film made me PROUD, for the CULTURE. ✊🏾✊🏽✊🏿
I don’t know how many times we can express our frustration and remain humble at the same time. It’s not even been two complete months since my Black bodies article and again we are dealing with another severe form of police brutality. Fortunately, Jacob Blake did not lose his life, but now because of the 7 gunshots to his back, Jacob is paralyzed from the waist down.
No one knows the complete story that led to the shooting but bystanders had stated that Jacob was trying to dissolve a domestic fight that was going on amongst women. What did this lead to? Jacob getting in an altercation with police instead while Jacob attempts to avoid the scene and get back into his car as his three children watched and finally get shot 7 times in the back before collapsing and losing consciousness.
Like the George Floyd murder, protests immediately emerged all over. The NBA and WNBA went on strike. Enough was enough. One protesting night not even two days later, a young White 17-year old, Kyle Rittenhouse from Illinois marches out with an assault rifle shooting peaceful protesters. As a result, two died and one has their arm blown off. On video footage and from testimonies from witnesses, they said Kyle was fed water by the police, was being thanked by the police shortly before the shooting, and after his multiple shootings and bystanders screaming out to police that Kyle was the shooter, Kyle proceeds to walk down the streets and wave at police cars and army tanks from enforcement who came into the state of Wisconsin to curb the crowd.
What has this world come to? Even recently this past week, it was told on the news that there was a time that Jacob was actually handcuffed to the bed while he was actually fighting for his life when he first arrived to the hospital. We continue to live in a world where systemic racism and stereotyping is at an ALL-TIME HIGH.
MOMMA I MADE IT!!! DADDY I MADE IT!!!! Something every child who is fortunate enough to tell their surviving parent that they have made it. How satisfying is that? I’m almost two months overdue for my review, but DELAY IS NEVER DENIAL…SIS.
I gathered the little free time that I had and binge watch all of the 4th season of Insecure and sprinkled a grand finale by watching Yvonne’s HBO comedy documentary, ‘MOMMA I MADE IT’. Throughout the documentary, I felt proud, elated, and grateful to not only see Yvonne’s growth but being able to easily relate to the overall message and as a fellow Igbo-Nigerian. Some takeaways I want to acknowledge:
Yvonne has always been about the CULTURE and for the culture. The most appreciative aspect of this film that I will FOREVER take with me is how she chose to showcase home: Nigeria. There would be no Yvonne without Port Harcourt, the city of Lagos and other towns within the surrounding area, as well as showcasing her family members and parents. She not only chose to drive in secluded cars, but also walk the streets, ask questions to vendors, bring you into her and our world: the enjoyment and simple life that most of us as first-generation Nigerians look forward to when going over for holiday, funerals, weddings, and simple visits. NAIJA! A country with 200+ languages, population to superior, various foods, tribes, affluence, nightlife, celebs, you NAME IT. There is a reason for various meanings why Nigeria is called the GIANT OF AFRICA. The way Yvonne allowed you to step inside and welcome you with a glimpse of Nigeria, was so beautiful and well done.
Not only the grand invitation, but can we get into her gift boxes that she sent to various celebrities and close family and friends? I literally have or tasted everything that was highlighted, but I simply WANTED THE GIFT BOX. She had jewelry, ankara, clothing, gele, chin chin, recipes to some famous dishes, african shea butter and the list goes on. Sis, it was truly FOR THE CULTURE. Great way to pay homage.
Yvonne has always screamed energy, but the taping of this comedy show that she did at Howard Theatre in Washington, DC,…..listen, YVONNE CAME WITH IT! The outfit, the hair, the Mary J. Blige designer Stiletto boots, and the dancing not just made it a comedy show you sit in your seat and laugh at jokes that you can relate to, but Yvonne made it a party for everyone.
Most Africans can agree to the expectations from their parents of becoming an engineer, lawyer, or medical doctor. Usually in some households, that is your only option. Yvonne is not the first African or Nigerian that got to the final stretch of fitting that stereotype before diverting to something completely opposite and excel at it. First of all, most Africans, first-generations, and the diaspora who were raised with a strategic mentality are self-sufficient. We can do ANYTHING. Anything. Yvonne also graduated with her Masters of Public Health from my alma mater of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and if Yvonne ever chooses to change her mind and say, “hey, maybe I would like to switch up the career and actually pursue medicine.” She has the credentials. She can easily go an do just that, but I myself and I think she would agree that this entertainment wave for her as an actress and other opportunities that have been blessed her way have been working out extremely well. We thank God for growth, evolving, and acceptance in society.
Parentals. “I am NOTHING without them.”
Yvonne expresses the true gratitude of all that her parents have done for her. Whether it is a little milestone or letting her parents know of her next plan. You can tell that her parents are extremely proud of her as well. The sacrifice simply does not go unnoticed.
Aside from the HBO documentary, a HUGE congratulations also goes out to Yvonne for being nominated by the Emmy’s for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series’ on July 28, 2020. In addition to other nominations that Insecure as a cast received. All the best in securing the award Yvonne!
I ran into this guy on Instagram and immediately fell in LOVE, not only by the tomfoolery, but the message behind the tomfoolery. Here I come on to my instastory and see my friend Joy’s instastory and all I saw was laughing emojis. I look at the guy from afar on the screen and clearly off top know the guy is African and looking at the dad, I immediately think West African. I click on the link and immediately start watching with tears and laughter as myself could relate to that same reaction coming from African dad IF I was that bold to accomplish some of the tasks that Uyi was doing to his own. The more I watched, I was like this guy is Naija….he’s MAD oh!!! But I could not simply take my eye off of these compilation of tik toks. He surprises at the end of his actual venture in the world of fashion and how he has used the funds he has made off of profit from the fashion to build schools for children in Africa, primarily starting in his hometown/village in Nigeria. So there is meaning behind the tomfoolery I say. And Uyi can really sing a tune too.
I was so MOVED by this young man’s endeavors that I immediately thought, how can I support? For me, that is to put my money where my mouth is. I immediately went to his website and saw the site as I was still in celebratory mode of JUNETEENTH and spending. Around that time for the culture, Uyi also announced a sale on the men’s tops. Instead of being selfish and buying for myself as I splurged enough on me, I immediately call my baby cousin/brother Christopher and ask him for his shirt size and mailing address. That he should expect at least two shirts within a week and a half’s time. I did just that.
I tell Chris to take a photo shoot in the shirt as I can also promote Uyi’s work in real time. Of course, my cousin does not know how to take pics, so it took several tries of instruction but I told him the exact vision of what I wanted, the lighting, and the portrait mode he should utilize. I was so PROUD of the final turnout. I then ask Chris to describe NASO clothing in 3 words. He gives the following: FLASHY, TRADITIONAL, and COLORFUL. Well said Christopher!!
GO AND SUPPORT NASO!!!! To support his movement, donate, or purchase from his fashion line, visit www.shopnaso.com.
In a world, where racism is not even hidden, one must understand the true meaning of racism. We have various kinds, institutional, work-related, and systemic, but at the end of the day, Racism is RACISM.
If you don’t understand this up until today, you have a problem.
Prime example, I want to use my family as a perfect example. Here is a picture taken of my family with my extended family irregardless of race: my aunt Donna and uncle Harry Light.
In this picture to your far right, you see White people. These are my dad’s parents in the United States. When he finally made the decision to leave his family in Umuabali to pursue education in the states at West Virginia University in Morgantown, these people were his host family. My dad called uncle Harry dad. He partied maybe like a white fraternity brother because his older brothers, the Light’s were in fact white and they shielded and protected him like he was their own despite being the token black child. Even protected better than some of his half-siblings and immediate. In fact, I called these two grandpa and grandma before even knowing my biological grandmother and grasping the concept of what a Grandma was, since she was the only one surviving.
Do you see my uncle Harry’s outfit even. He’s not wearing a European shirt 👔, he chooses to wear to this event a custom african top my dad got him.
For my father to INSTRUCT and tell us to identify with Aunt Donna as grandma because we had easy access to her first despite my biological grandmother being alive and surviving at the time and was at high risk via other family members speaks VOLUMES. He didn’t instruct us to identify aunt Donna as grandma out of disrespect of his mother, but in order for us to have some type of grandparent to grandchild relationship, the Lights took him in as his own and the chances to meet our biological paternal grandmother, only grandparent surviving since my birth were very slim. And he was CORRECT. My grandmother Florence passed on 2004, 2 years before we finally made our first trip to Nigeria, while both aunt Donna and uncle Harry to my knowledge are surviving.
I was even heartbroken this year when I tempted to call uncle harry for Father’s Day. To my knowledge, both are still surviving. I don’t call every year when it slips my mind, but when I remember to call, I REMEMBER. This Father’s Day it is always tradition just like any other holiday, to call all relatives that I choose to speak to on the respective holiday. This year I remembered and attempted to call to find out the call had been disconnected, due to no longer in service. My heart ♥️ instantly stopped. I PANICKED thinking something was not well with uncle Harry. My mother then confirmed to me that both are now in a nursing home. I PRAY that all is well with them. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
All this to say, do you think my grandpa was happy to send the chosen child, 1000s of miles away to be hosted by a white family that may have had racial ties in their family lineage? The answer is probably NO. Do you know we still keep in touch with this family and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to this day? That’s what you call love. They took my father in, and treated him no less than their own village of children. That’s LOVE. They even maintained traditions that my dad taught them as in giving money in terms of rank of children, giving gifts every holiday and birthday in significance of age, etc.
I’m forever indebted to this family. FOREVER my family.
And here go my paternal grandparents. If you want to talk about the issue of colorism, you can’t really tell from this picture since its sepia tone, but my grandfather was as light as day and my grandma was as dark as night. So for you to come to the conclusion that racism is instinct, it’s not, it’s TAUGHT.
So next time you come to the idea that racism is instinctual, let me remind you, IT’s NOT. IT’s TAUGHT.
-Evalina C. Ikpoh, Founder, ‘Transparency is Beautiful’
2020 did not start off well for all, including myself and as of current day, we are still in the apocalypse and the book of Revelations with this coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. Which we as Africans have entitled ‘Coro Coro’. Although many people are crying because they celebrated their birthday during quarantine, lost loved ones that they couldn’t say their final goodbye, affected by job furlough and STILL to this day have not received unemployment that they submitted for weeks on end, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
Creativity has gone to SUPERIOR this pandemic. From companies by force being innovative in learning how to work from home to people choosing to finally embark and pursue on side passions/hustles. It’s a BEAUTIFUL thing.
Churches had to become more innovative in performing everything virtual out of the fear in lack of participation. If I tell you how my home pastor has finessed many things he shouldn’t have done…..I still laugh at it. But we serve a BIG GOD!! 🙏🏾🙌🏾 People are now writing and journaling more, some are pursuing to get things published (including myself), some beautiful marriages have been conducted virtually as no delay does NOT stop love (look at Elaine Welteroth’s virtual wedding on her instagram here:), and the list goes on. Adults acting like 5 year olds on Tik Tok even though I do not support in engaging watching people’s tik tok after they refused to allow the #GeorgeFloyd #BLM hashtag on their platform. Many people have received a closer relationship to God or their specific higher being as well in the face of adversity. And let’s not forget the dope graduating class of medical school graduates including my baby sister Belinda and my FOREVER PA Philly Hommie Imanyah. All these beautiful doctors securing the bag into top residencies and fellowships this year in high-end specialties. God is GOOD!!! 🥼👨🏽⚕️👩🏾⚕️ Attention to black lives in America on a GLOBAL standard, which has never been done in history BEFORE!! 🙌🏾
I catch some stuff here and there, from some of my close ones who I watch their tik tok videos on their instagram. And this lady, she has a special place in my heart. To my Qui Qui, Quianna who knew me when I was in the womb. Over 9 years my senior…let me just say that at 40 something…she is DESTROYING the game!! Lookwise and just life in general. Her late mother and my mom were sisters as her mom was very influential in my mothers life when she came to the states and barely knew English. Her mother, Aunty Cat took her in showing her the ropes of American life…and the rest is HISTORY. I thought I’m living life, but BABY were they LIVING in their heydays.
She did this video duet tik tok with Vincent Vianen…entitled #endoftimeduet…and SIS WENT OFF!! I’m so proud that we still all keep in touch just like the good old days when everyone was alive and well.
To follow Quianna on her instagram or watch more of her videos and get a dope glimpse of her life….FOLLOW her: @quiannaagent
From us as little girls to grown women…it’s a MOVEMENT!!!
What is your accomplishments and downfalls of 2020? Remember we are halfway through…keep up the GOOD FIGHT.
-Evalina C. Ikpoh, Founder, ‘Your TRANSPARENCY is BEAUTIFUL’
This lady is GOALS. Look at her transcript, and that serves as evidence to my statement. Call her businesswoman, call her conqueror, call her marketing executive, call her mom, call her daughter, call her WOKE, call her Ghana, whatever you want. This is Bozoma Saint John for you…UNAPOLOGETICALLY.
I won’t gist and give you a total mini-biography about Bozoma right now because I will eventually want to feature her on my ‘celeb TRANSPARENT of the month’ page in the upcoming months. However I will say this, she hails from Ghana (Ms. Black Star herself) 🇬🇭👑, received her Bachelors from Wesleyan University, and is a mother to a beautiful daughter Lael. She is widowed to her lovely husband, the late Peter Saint John. Professionally, Let me at least tell you the last three jobs of Bozoma: marketing executive of Apple Music, chief brand officer at Uber, and most recently, Chief Marketing Officer of Endeavor (WOW). 🙌🏾💁🏾♀️
I became acquainted of Bozoma when I read Elaine Welteroth’s New York Time’s best selling book, ‘More than ENOUGH’, where she speaks so highly of Bozoma (i forget the chapter) where they talk about the double-edged sword of succeeding while black. Ever since reading the chapter, I’ve been a fan of Bozoma and made sure to immediately follow her on the Instagram platform. And just as described, this woman is well-connected in the industry and BLESSED with no side strings attached.
This woman is GOALS.
As of this past week, Bozoma announced the launch of workshop entitled ‘The Badass Workshop’. You can visit information about the program here. The mission is to evolve with career, health & wellness, lifestyle, relationships, goals, and so much more….!!!
Enrollment is STILL OPEN!!! All you need to provide are your name and email contact and you should be contacted with further details about the program.
I’m excited to embark on this journey of the program and look forward to working with my fellow cohort. With all these hidden gems that this woman possesses, you would be FOOLISH if you chose not to partake.
Cheers to a successful program!
To follow Bozoma on social media or her initiatives, the information is as followed:
Twitter & Instagram:@badassboz
The Badass Workshop on Instagram: @thebadassworkshop
One’s who chose to celebrate on Friday June 19, 2020 was in commemoration of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 where the state of Texas declared the emancipation of slavery. It was also of encouragement to BUY BLACK. In every capacity, I made sure I would treat myself to SUPERIOR as that is also my late father’s birthday. And I’m a #girlDAD, the way my father would lavish me with gifts on a daily basis is inexplicable. Anything I wanted, he made sure not only I got it, but that my sister and cousin/brother also received as well. On his birthday, we would also gift him many things and he would always ask why we as his children were gifting him, as the older he got, he took less priority in his own birthday, when in actuality I was encouraging the new year of life as he aged. So I commemorated Juneteenth and my dad’s birthday to treating myself lavishly, since he is no longer.
I won’t go into detail of how much I spent, but it was easily over a stack ($1k) as I supported 9 black-owned businesses on that day. I celebrated Juneteenth purchases all weekend until I chose to announce the revamp of my website/blog on Monday, June 22, 2020. The shopping did not cease sha, after watching this dope Instagrammer who is taking everything by storm with his fashion line and Tik Tok, fellow Naija boy, Uyi Omorogbe, who I randomnly found because of his delirious ‘Pissing off my African Parents part series’. When I tell you ehn, he is laughable. I thought he was going MAD, not only in his song choice but the videos….when he sang and said ‘damn’ I literally feared for his life. I remember when I tried asking my dad what does damn mean in the second grade and he told me never to hear that out of my mouth AGAIN. Then he had me when his father was sleeping on couch self and of course, wakes him up to stupor. The guy is HILARIOUS. The wedding clip, where his dad asks about the wedding, and he starts off by saying “the grooms bride is a whore”. 😂😂 Jesu!!! Anyways support the young man’s movement, with his fashion line NASO, he was able to use the funds to build an entire brand new school in his village in Nigeria and plans on building more schools throughout Africa. Now that’s what you call a philanthropist. There is meaning behind his madness and I LOVE IT. God bless his dad though, a true African dad who is trying to understand his son who acts anyhow but loves him unconditionally. AMEN. 🙏🏾 I ended up purchasing two of his shirts for my brother/cousin Chris, and to my knowledge he is still having that 30% off sale on his website. You can visit here for purchase. SUPPORT the BLACK DOLLAR. His clothing line is DOPE.
As a snippet, here is an image of where my black dollars went on Juneteenth. And though I spent a lot of money, it gives me contentment that it has strictly gone to black owned businesses or black CEOs, or black entrepreneurs within a larger network. Bravo.
I was so inspired how we as a people collectively from all different backgrounds came together to commemorate Juneteenth, a historical moment in American history that symbolizes the emancipation of those enslaved in the United States. May you enjoy this small gallery of inspiration as much as I did. Pictures obtained from Instagram.
Slate does an interesting article, where they discuss the transition of power in Black women who protest. Let us not forget how Black Lives Matter was founded by black women on the same night that George Zimmerman was acquitted from the murder of Trayvon Martin by Alicia Garza, Patrise Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
When we as women find out one of our own has been mistreated at the hands of violence, it is without question that we fight for you. We don’t mind being pushed, fought at, teargassed, shot with rubber bullets, standing and facing off the very own who take ours away, along with getting arrested for you. It would be appreciated if we could say that our male counterparts would do the same for us as much as we do for them. It’s not reciprocal.
When you look at this image, what is your perception?
The most recent example of a black women activist who unfortunately lost her life is BLM activist, Oluwatoyin ‘Toyin’ Salau. This death struck a nerve to me, especially as I’m also a fellow Nigerian-American. What we have to realize is that in America, it does not matter if you are African, Caribbean, African-American, even some South Asians, and for the hispanics who properly identify themselves as Afro-Latino/a. To the common eye, YOU ARE BLACK. There is no discretion in this, at all. No one is exempt. Acknowledge it.
Toyin was only 19 years old. She was a baby, who was just now approaching early adulthood. Yet, she had so much knowledge and you would constantly see her on the frontlines putting her self at risk to protect the movement. Some labeled Toyin as a ‘freedom fighter.’ It was when Toyin went missing on June 6th, that her fellow activists and friends went on a frantic search after noticing Toyin posting a series of tweets describing that she was sexually assaulted by a man who gave her a ride and offered her a place to stay. It was reported that Toyin sought out emergency shelter as she arrived at the Kearney Homeless Center and due to COVID-19 precautions, she was redirected to case managers that she never even contacted. She had escaped the man who picked her up, but was in his clothes because her belongings were at a church and Toyin contacted police but could not locate the man’s house again due to vision problems.
Toyin’s body was found on June 13th along with 75-year old Victoria Sims in a double homicide, in a rented house of 49-year old Aaron Glee, Jr. Who confessed to the murders on a phone call with his mother and was later caught by police on June 14th after he tried to flee on a bus to Orlando, Florida.
On one of the vigils held for Oluwatoyin in Miami, one of the attendees states, “Toyin isn’t with us anymore because we didn’t do enough.”
It hurts to see these types of endings on stories like this, which leaves us with the question: What are we doing to protect our Black women?
And I close this post by quoting questions given by an attendee for a vigil held for Toyin. May her death not go in vain, and bring awareness to the issue of protecting our Black women.
“What can I do better when it comes to protecting Black women, to make them feel safe, to make them feel supported, to make them feel seen, to make them feel heard?”
Say her NAME. LISTEN to black women. PROTECT black women.
With all the current events that are going on in our society, it is important that you take time to yourself to make sure that your mental health is intact. For people directly affected by the recent events, particularly black people and people of color, it is OKAY to not be okay. The exhaustion. The grief. The trauma. It all can cause a downward spiral to our mental capacity if we don’t step back and internalize it the best way that we can.
Some organizations are doing an excellent job in reaching more vulnerable populations to give access to these mental health services, some at no cost. There are many to name, but some worth noting:
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation: This mental health organization founded by actress and philanthropist, Taraji P. Henson, is offering COVID-19 FREE Virtual Therapy Support!!! The COVID-19 Free Virtual Therapy Support campaign was developed to cover the cost for virtual or tele-therapy services by licensed, culturally competent clinicians in our network for up to five (5) sessions. This campaign is exclusive to individuals and families experiencing a life-changing event(s) related to or triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or stress/anxiety regarding race relations and injustice towards people of color. This service is first come, first serve until all funds are exhausted. Please utilize this!!
Black Mental Health Alliance. This organization serves clinicians, the community, and individuals, families and children as their mission is to develop, promote and sponsor trusted culturally-relevant educational forums, trainings and referral services that support the health and well-being of Black people and other vulnerable communities. They have excellent resources and ways to get involved if you want to assist. For more information, visit here.
The Depression Project. This project was found by Australian brothers Danny and Matthew Baker. These two with their project have over 2 billion views and 900,000+ followers on Facebook and Instagram. One of the brothers suffered with depression and the other brother professionally is a counselor. Follow their page for encouragement and education in mental health. You can find their website here. Their Facebook page can be found here. Lastly, you can follow them on Instagram here (@realdepressionproject).
Here are some other images that I found helpful and useful along your mental health journey.
As mentioned on my celeb TRANSPARENT of the month page where I featured Kendrick Sampson, I talked about how he initiated my attention to ‘defunding the police’ after the outrage from the death of George Floyd and his brutal attack by police from a peaceful protest that quickly went violent.
Since this attention, the city of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, vowed to dismantle their police and other major cities are now following suit in either taking the same action or reallocating their police budget within their respective cities. As avid as the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, was on demanding the arrest of all officer involved in the Floyd murder, he’s against defunding despite the council taking the necessary steps to dismantle the police. He’s not the only one speaking out against it. Presidential candidate, former VP Joe Biden is also against dismantling the police. And Trump, well he is all about ‘law & order‘, so we know his stance. This issue will be very important as we move on in the upcoming presidential election amongst other disbarring issues that need to be addressed.
So what are the pros and cons of Defunding the police? Is it worth it?
Even in the most liberal cities, the idea of defunding the police brings skepticism.
According to Politico & The Brookings Institution, “Defunding the police” means reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality. That’s it. It’s that simple. Defund does not mean abolish policing. Many people think that defunding the police means total removal of police, and this is an idea that easily gets misconstrued.
There are pros to defunding. Some of the results of defunding the police are:
Reduction of crime
Establishment of a work infrastructure
It is important to acknowledge that although the idea of defunding is starting to resonate with many, many of the cities with the highest number of law enforcement per capita on the payroll are urban areas with progressive mayors and Democratic majorities on the city council. We highly praised Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC for painting a Black Lives Matter mural leading to the White House, while also renaming L’Enfant Plaza to Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House. However, Mayor Bowser proposed a 3.3 percent increase in police spending for the FY2021 budget, and she has not rescinded on her position.
Where can reallocated funds go?
There are various areas that the funds can be used instead of the police:
Housing & Community Development
Recreation & Parks
Arts & Culture
What would a world with defunded police look like?
In recent weeks, some major cities have already reallocated millions of dollars towards other initiatives, such as Los Angeles ($100 million to minority communities), San Francisco, Baltimore ($22 million to recreation centers, trauma centers and forgivable loans for Black-owned businesses), Prince Georges County, Maryland ($20 million and removal of officers from schools), and Minneapolis. Mayor DeBlasio of New York pledged to cut police department funding and Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an order this past week for reform in reallocating public safety funds.
CNN, has an excellent article on what it would be like in 3 scenarios without police reform: a traffic stop, a domestic violence call, and a school shooting. It gives a good perspective on how things would be handled in a world with limited policing. You can find the full article here.
What are your thoughts? Is defunding the police worth it?
Why is it when a lady is raped, why is it the default response for many to demonize her for being at fault instead of a victim?
This quote was taken from a post written in December 2019, but relevantly resonates to today.
Rape is an issue that no country is exempt from, however many countries don’t have strong repercussions to the attackers and not enough protection for the victims. In my paternal land of Nigeria, a country around the size of the state of Texas with a population over 196 million and over 200 languages, when incidences such as rape occur, they either go unnoticed or aren’t brought to the attention that it deserves based on the severity of the outcome. It seems as if the normal reaction to rape is becoming ‘normal’ in the sense that people do not seem affected when they hear the news of rape. It’s truly sad and disheartening. Many people of Nigeria on many other issues blame Buhari, the government and other people of importance for certain misfortunes, but as Ebuka states, “We can’t blame Buhari for this one though… No.. its on us. All of us!”
Certain times when things can go both noticed and unnoticed is when the rape occurs with a person of status. As of recent, I’ve been paying attention and following the news of musician Brymo, Nollywood actor ‘Bollylomo’, and musician D’Banj on being accused of sexual assault. Some are seeking legal matters, while others are fighting for justice because the person used their fame and money to police to throw the case away. When it comes to rape, what differentiates you from the next? How does your status make you immortal to dealing with the repercussions that a normal citizen would have? It’s truly disheartening to see this type of treatment as I listen to these musicians music and have watched on film. We have to remember that there is no criteria for who can be a victim or attacker of sexual assault. NO ONE is exempt.
Other times, the attention of rape becomes noticed when it becomes tragic, resulting in a death. In early June 2020, I see from family abroad and woke Nigerian-Americans who want to raise awareness on Instagram and all over Instastory…”Justice for UWA“… “Justice for TINA“. I didn’t even have look into the story yet to realize what these people were demanding justice for. I instinctually knew that these victims had to succumbed to something associated with sexual assault. Tina Ezekwe was actually gunned down by Lagos police, but you know it’s sad when your mind immediately gravitates to sexual assault. This is where the normality of this concept comes in again. Even “Justice for JENNIFER.” CHAI.
Some mini-stories behind these victims:
Uwa. Uwavera Omozuma was a student who was gang raped and murdered in a church close to her home in Benin. She was only 22 years old.
Jennifer. Jennifer was raped by five boys in Kaduna. The boys who were involved got arrested, but were later released. The family was also bribed to let the case slide. She was only 18 years old.
As of June 9th, 2020, there has been international reports of protests against rape and sexual violence. On June 12th, 2020, CNN reported that Nigerian state governors resolve to declare state of emergency on rape following spate of sexual violence. The very own women that you lack to protect are the movement makers and making sure this issue is addressed and is reaching global attention. Let’s do our part to help.
Have you ever fell victim to one of these responses towards a rape victim?? Then you are apart of the problem.
“But what was she wearing?”
“The lady must have dressed skimpily.”
“What was she doing in his house?
“Girls must stop allowing themselves to get raped.”
How Black men must protect Black women:
Stop degrading Black women. Insensitive Black girl jokes about skin color, hair, body types, and trauma are not funny
Stop feeding into stereotypes. Perpetuating stereotypes of Black women is detrimental to us all.
Stop the oversexualization of Black women. They aren’t objects of pleasure. They are human beings.
Call out your ‘friends’ for insensitive jokes and for being disrespectful towards Black women. (P.S. stop being friends with them)
When you see Black women being disrespected, stand up for them. Rally behind them, and support them. Help give them a voice that we all as humans deserve to have.
Don’t just tweet about it, get active in real life. Actively protect Black women EVERY single day of your life.
February. Ahmaud Arbery. March. Breonna Taylor. May. George Floyd. June. Rayshard Brooks… WHO ELSE???
As a person of color, we leave in this numbness of our reality within United States society: our lives are at stake on a daily basis, doing the simplest things that our white counterparts and other races easily receive a ‘pass’ for. How these people lost their lives….Ahmaud: jogging in a neighborhood; Breonna: sleeping in her own apartment that was intruded for a person who was already in custody; George: grocery shopping and being speculated for giving a counterfeit bill; and Rayshard: accidentally falling asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru as he was under the influence of alcohol.
Let’s reiterate how these people have passed on that sparked national and global outrage: RUNNING, SLEEPING, SHOPPING,….& SLEEPING.
Of course there is some light at the tunnel in awareness…..but why at the cost of another BLACK body??
George ‘GENTLE GIANT’ Floyd. This man, my heart still cries out for him. For his family/siblings, for his supportive friends and celebrities he knew that continue to fight for him, for his children he left behind, but most importantly for his late mother he cried out for numerous times as he was gasping for his final breaths. I tear up as I type this, because not only was I a witness to something I didn’t want to watch after it was broadcasted continuously over the news, but the WORLD witnessed a live lynching at the hands of the police. People who are in a career and paid to ‘protect & serve‘ the communities that they interact with on a daily basis.
Majority, and when I say the majority who were able to watch and analyze that video from around the world, about 85-90 percent, saw the George Floyd murder as absolutely wrong. Remember that remaining 10-15 percent who tried to validate the murder or cite Floyd’s past, etc…. United States is still a country that focuses on white supremacy and institutional racism despite touting themselves as a ‘free world.’
We in the black community consider George Floyd a hero, as his daughter Gianna would say, “My daddy CHANGED the world!“. However we also have an unsung hero to this story that brought global attention to this daily battle we deal with in the United states: the 17-year old, Darnella Frazier who mustered the courage to film over 8 minutes and 46 seconds of execution that took this innocent man’s life. Without this video, this murder would have easily been overlooked, and Chauvin along with his 3 compatriots would still be policing on the streets of Minneapolis today. Through his death, protests have been ongoing for 20+ days all over the world, all 50 states engaged in protests on the outrage of this murder (never heard of in history), the city of Minneapolis taking the initiative in vowing to dismantle their police, outlawing chokeholds in several cities in police protocol, and countless other milestones and counting. This is just the beginning and push to the momentum that we needed. You have people from all backgrounds, colors, and creeds out on the streets peacefully protesting, while others fall victim to violent riots and protests at the hands of the police. Let me repeat this, PEOPLE of ALL COLORS, CREEDS, and BACKGROUNDS all fighting for the common cause and putting up the good fight. This is a BEAUTIFUL thing and something I’ve never witnessed in my 31 years of life and even our most eldest citizen have witnessed in their own lifetime. May we not allow his death along with others who have lost their lives to police brutality and senseless violence by our fellow citizens not go in VAIN. Amen. The fight is not over, it took over two weeks to get all four officers involved arrested, and I believe one of the officers was released on $750k+ bail that he raised through donations. That’s right Gianna, YOUR DAD IS CHANGING THE WORLD!
Just as we were trying to heal from the George Floyd murder, laying him peacefully to rest while actively protesting, on Friday, June 12, 2020, in an Atlanta Wendy’s drive-thru, we are informed of the senseless killing of Rayshard Brooks who fell asleep in his car, was confronted by police, cooperated with all demands and protocols until he realized he was being arrested. Out of fear of returning to prison because he was on probation, he wrestled and tussled with police, ran to be shot 3 times in the back by officer Garret Rolfe. Rayshard Brooks’ 8-year old daughter’s birthday was the following day on a Saturday. These officers involved in this murder have turned themselves in and are currently in custody, while the officer who actually shot Brooks is facing 11 charges, including felony murder with a possibility of facing the death penalty, even though prosecutors stated they will not seek capital punishment.
Let’s not forget the hanging deaths of two California black men within days of each other that is currently under FBI scrutiny: Malcolm Harsch and Robert Fuller for then Fuller’s half-brother, Terron Jammal Boone to die in a shootout with sheriffs two days before Juneteenth. We just can’t get a break.
Where do we go from here in seeking justice for these killings that gradually brought outrage?
Many of the justices go unheard. Why? Because there is no formal prosecution. On Ahmaud Arbery, both the white supremacist father & son, McMichaels & the friend who video recorded, William Bryan are currently on trial in the state of Georgia. On the initial hearing, new information was released that Ahmaud was hit with the truck and one of the McMichaels stood over him and called him a “fucking nigger” after Ahmaud was shot 3 times with a shotgun and bleeding to death while gasping for air. If convicted, all three can face life in prison without parole, with the possibility of the death penalty. What of Breonna Taylor? It has been 90+ days since Breonna was murdered and those police officers are STILL police officers. I believe one officer got fired yesterday and the city of Louisville passed ‘Breonna’s Law’ on June 11th unanimously to ban no-knock warrants. BUT WHY IS THIS LAW PASSED WITHOUT NO ARRESTS NOR CONVICTIONS? This makes this law useless. Do me a favor, ARREST ALL OFFICERS INVOLVED, then this law recently passed will hold some weight. We still have work to do. What of Tony McDade? A trans-male in Tallahassee who was shot down by police after being speculated of being involved in a fatal stabbing on nearby Saxon street. The officer involved in this shooting has been placed on administrative leave. THAT’s it.
Let’s not forget the people who have lost their lives at the cost of these protests with incompetent police and fellow citizens in the wake of the George Floyd murder. In loving memory…
There have been thousands of arrests in the United States revolved around peaceful and violent protesting before even officers were actually reprimanded for their actions. Unfortunately, some innocently lost their lives at the hands of police. As of June 18th, according to USA Today & Forbes, there have been 19 deaths directly or indirectly associated with protesting. May these people rest in POWER.
The fight continues. The Undefeated did an excellent article on how you can continue to advocate for seeking justice following the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The full article can be found here. They go on to say, “we can’t just tweet about it–we need to BE about it.” 3 easy steps as summarized:
Support organizations with boots on the ground
Funds to support the publicized deaths that sparked outrage:
If you want to donate or support the victims stated within this post, here are some links provided. The Cut does an excellent article on additional links and information regarding everyone affected by these senseless murders and where to donate, you can find additional ways to donate here.
Welcome to my site. Get OUT. Get UP. Be Inspired: Your Transparency is Beautiful. Transparency can have many meanings, but the overall openness can lead to discussions, forums, and sharing commonalities and struggles amongst ourselves.
Have you read the book: “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi. Well, Do Better and know that I’m doing my BEST, okay?
A special thank you to the ones who want to contribute towards my project and showcasing themselves to help you better understand, you are NOT alone and we are in this together. My goal is to have this on a global platform where I can showcase TRANSPARENTs from around the world and form an inner network to transparency and the lens of our own lives.
Without further adieu….Your Transparency is BEAUTIFUL.