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.
How will you define your legacy? Many will denote their legacy by their personal accomplishments, while others categorize it by their philanthropic efforts to charities that they were either affiliated with or donate to. Most categorize their legacy by their familial roots through ancestors or their children, and their children’s children, etc. On behalf of my paternal grandfather, who was polygamous, I can say on behalf of his children and the grandchildren that are alive, myself included, that he definitely left a legacy in terms of familial ties even though he is not alive to witness all that has manifested.
On behalf of celebrities that I admire and try to keep up with in the Black community, to equally represent a man and woman, these two hold the throne in terms of numbers when it comes to their familial legacy. Say what you want about their numerous relationships to have this many children, but one thing you can’t argue about is how vested these celebrities are on behalf of the lives of their children. The celebrities I choose to highlight are Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Keke Wyatt.
Earlier this week, Keke Wyatt announced through a baby/pregnancy photoshoot that she is pregnant with her 10th child (WOW)!!!! As a woman in this day and age, more than 2 is a burden to some, if you are fortunate enough to bear a child, and how pregnancy can take a toll on your body I commend Keke, as a woman, for bearing her 10th pregnancy. Of course she is a celebrity and has the means to financially provide for 10 children aside from her career endeavors and personal life. I pray for a safe remainder of time being pregnant and delivery of her baby-to-be, that he or she is as healthy as can be. To follow Keke Wyatt on Instagram: @keke_wyatt
The male celebrity I’ve chosen is Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, who has created a foundation and legacy of himself through his accomplishments career-wise and through his children. When you catch him primarily on his Instagram, if you don’t catch him with videos of him in the music studio, his outside endeavors, his musicians/artists, you will definitely catch him with classic pictures and videos of his children. Three of his children are to the late Kim Porter, his oldest adopted son Quincy, as well as Justin and Chance Combs, who is in similar age to the twins. Overall, his children are doing exceedingly well: Quincy is a musician/actor, King Christian Combs is a rapper, Justin is an actor and former college football athlete at UCLA, the twins recently graduated from their prep school to middle school, while Chance is highlighted frequently on his social media. I look forward to seeing how all of Diddy’s children will carry on his legacy and how they will build upon the foundation that has been laid out for them. You can follow Diddy on Instagram: @diddy
I’m not saying having many children determines your success. Many of us can not afford that, but for the ones who choose that route of having more than 3 kids, allow yourself to properly invest in that child so that no opportunity is missed. Your legacy is what you build, but in return what you realize will take care of you in your older years and after you are gone.
Whether you choose to define your legacy by accomplishments, career, charity, and or family….again I ask, HOW WILL YOU DEFINE YOUR LEGACY??
“The great use of life is to spent it for something that will outlast it.” –William James
I was inspired by one the people I follow on Instagram, my baby numba and soror Krystal who put up this post: “6 figures is only $274/day”.
I sat back and with that realization, and was pondering at the fact, some of you spend $200+ on shoes, extravagant dinners in one sitting, clothes, and the like. Some of you spend this amount even when you don’t have. Six figures sounds like a lot, but when you break it down into a daily rate, it sounds attainable.
This quote, which can be a reminder to us can bring a lot of inspiration. It also makes the dream more reachable when you learn how to break it down. If 6 figures sounds too big of a dream, lets work halfway….lets start at $137/day. This goal can be achieved by having side ventures and hobbies that can bring you residual income. What are some of your side hobbies? What could you do continuously without getting tired? What are your interests/passions? Figure these things out and seek advice on how you can build residual income from it, so that your goal of reaching $137, $274 or whatever limit you set can be reached on a daily basis.
This past weekend I went with my cousins to go see the movie, Joker, a highly anticipated and well-reviewed thriller/drama. At first, based off of the image of the movie release and my prior knowledge of the role of the Joker from Batman movies, I instantly thought that the movie would depict horror all through. NEVER would I have thought that backstory of the Joker was depicted from mental health conditions and his upbringing from child to adulthood.
Coming from a mental health background as an advocate and someone who used to primarily associate with a mental health condition, I empathized a lot with the actor Joaquin Phoenix, who played the lead role as Arthur Fleck, who later transcended into ‘the Joker’. I also felt that the depiction of a mental health patient and the broken system was accurate: the local mental health facilities, the unconcerned staff, the numerous prescriptions that do not help, and the overworked and underpaid social worker. Let me repeat, THIS IS A BROKEN SYSTEM, and if you do not find your way out of it, you will be suctioned into the vicious cycle for the rest of your life.
Without giving out any spoilers for the ones who have not seen it yet, Arthur suffers from numerous mental health conditions, but his main condition is a neurological condition of uncontrollable laughter. He utilizes his condition by getting a job as an advertising clown and is also a main caregiver to his ailing mother. For the ones who watch the movie and can tolerate some horror, please pay specific attention to the mother, his condition, and how it all came to pass. I’ll leave you with that.
At the end of the day, society created the Joker, not Arthur.
This most recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians has sparked controversy and conversation primarily on my Instagram with people I follow and my followers I gist with. I’m rooting for every couple to succeed, and it is harder when couples sort out their differences amongst themselves, but becomes more difficult when its showcased on television. In this scene Kanye and Kim have a disagreement about her look for the MET Gala in New York this past May. He expresses his distaste for her ‘look’, that Kim is his wife, and how her sexy pictures affects him. Kim also expressed her conflicting issue with the look, questioned Kanye on his intentions when in the past he’s always encouraged her to bring out her sex appeal, and had to reaffirm to him that she is not in the same place he is currently in with his transformation in music and life in general.
Both Kim and Kanye have been vocal to each other and the outside world on their stance, which has probably been the foundation of their relationship and a reason to the bond that they have. I admire their transparency to each other, which can take a lot of courage given each of their backgrounds.
However, many people are taking different sides. There are men and women that I’ve spoken to about the situation who strictly side with Kanye, and his priority of opinion as a husband. That the roles have changed. There are also some of my women friends who feel extremely bad for Kim and feel that Kanye is a narcissist. There are also some with an ‘in between’ view where they agree that Kanye and Kim aren’t in the same viewpoint and how can you express to someone who gained her fame off of her sex appeal, to immediately just stop what the foundation of her existence to the world is.
Where do we draw the line? How can you be transparent with your partner, especially when your views conflict?