Picture of the month

Picture of the month
Life is circular

Monday, February 19, 2007


I surf the web sometimes I think more than I should and often I come across something I feel that needs to be shared.This personal account is one that needs to be told in this space not for those who don't want to know but for those of us opened to being enriched by knowing.

I contacted Kori Dade wright by email after reading his journey from female to male or FTM as it is often shorten too. I asked if he coulds shared a bit here and thankfully he agreed.

"I'm surprised and flattered to say the least. Not many lesbian women understand transmen, or are correctly informed about who we are. I haven't found too many women only or lesbian identified spaces really accepting of us, especially on the net".

What did you draw from to make your transition?
I drew on my inner strength and knowledge of who I knew I was on the inside, not what the exterior depicted. I grew tired of being a conformer, not wanting to hurt or embarrass my mother, and just "being" but not LIVING. I just existed and drew in the breath that the Lord God gave me each and every second of my heart beat, but not enjoying the breaths that I took in this body that I felt betrayed me.

What is the most important thing to you?
Is being respected and recognized for the man that I've become. To not be judged or ridiculed because of who I am, for I have many internal and external battle scars to prove my time in war. I'm tired of fighting with the dykes and aggressives in the community because of their hatred, digust, unacceptance and lack of knowledge of the transmen. The acronym is LGBT or GLBT, but notice the "T" holding up the rear? Completeing the acronym? We MUST learn to love and accept one another IN the community. We don't have to agree with any one process, but damn, can we at least just let people live and enjoy who THEY are?

I'm at the point where I just don't give a damn any more. For the first time in my life, I feel alive. I'm free in BODY, soul and spirit. I feel happiness deep down within, and I am completely content. I will no longer allow the ignorance and phobia of others steal my joy and freedom of expression. God is my judge, NOT man, and no MAN has the right to judge another man, no matter how high or close to God he THINK he may be.

I have a wife that I am legally married to, as my gender has been legally changed. A woman who loves me explicitly, who has been in my corner from the day she first met me, who has my back in every way and who is proud to tell everyone I'm her man. I am blessed to have her in my life, and I'm thankful that this great woman has chosen me to partner with. She is definitely a priceless treasure to put up with me, and has also had her share of ridicule from others. But she's held her ground when it came to who I am as a person, and what we share as a couple, and people have finally accepted us and became an integral part of our lives. We moved from NY last October to start our lives together in a new place, free from old demons and ways of thinking and have thrived since we've been in our new place. God is blessing us beyond expectations, and we're so very grateful and thankful to him.
I worked and suffered hard to get to where I am now, and I don't want or need any drama in my life or my family life.

Kori Dade Wright

Thank you for allowing me freedom of speech

His story was chalked full of information check out his web sites for more information.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Remembering Aicha

Sometimes I change the rules in this space in order to send out an important story.
I want you to read this because the innocent suffer and at least in this space they will not go over looked.Where ever there is war there is pain unfortunately
it is the innocent who suffer the most.

GUINEA: Aboubacar Diallo,
CONAKRY, 16 February

“I buried my 7-year-old niece this morning”

Aboubacar Diallo says his seven-year-old niece, Aicha, was shot and killed by uniformed soldiers shooting randomly in the Taouyah suburb of Conakry on Wednesday night. The girl made it to hospital, but died because blood and medicines were not available. She was buried without a ceremony on Thursday morning.

Conakry and other towns have been under martial law since President Lansana Conte called in the army on Monday to end days of rioting and looting by youths demanding his resignation. Residents say the army is spreading terror by robbing and raping residents in the suburbs, and shooting in the air and at people.

“Last night after the start of the curfew at 8pm soldiers came into the district and started shooting into the air to warn people not to come out. They are doing that in all the areas where there was rioting before, shooting into the air to announce the start of the curfew.”

“One of the bullets came through the wall and hit Aicha, who was lying in her bed. The bullet hit her in the head.”

“She was unconscious and hemorrhaging blood and we knew she had to go to hospital.”

“When the shooting stopped, her father took her in his arms and went out into the street. It was deserted. He walked about half a kilometre to the main road and waited a long time until a private car with two soldiers passed and took them to the Donka hospital.”

“By the time they got to the hospital she was almost dead. The doctors there tried to help but they had no blood and no medicines. The bleeding could not be stopped and she passed away not long after they got there.”

“Today her father is so devastated he can’t speak. We can’t stop her mother crying. She is crying and crying.”

“God gave us Aicha and it’s him who took her back.”

“She was buried this morning at 11 am in the cemetery close to her home. Hardly anyone came because of the curfew. It was done very fast, without any honour.

Walk the walk

I posted this on another web site but felt it should also be posted here.I really don't plan to get off blog theme much but when a former NBA star and now commentator feels comfortable saying he hates gays on national radio with no out cry from black organization it became my duty to call them all out.


I'm just wondering about all those out there who are rebuking Hardaway for his statements.Who are you really, and does it feel good to point at someone else who was stupid enough to share his true feeling with the world despite being a public figure and even a role model to some.
I now know where Isaiah( I've already posted on greys anatomy) and Tim are coming from but the rest of the smile in your face people who's actions speak louder than their words scare me.I need to know who my enemies are as the saying goes "keep you friends close and enemies closer".
I see lip service being given the issue but who really cares strongly enough for black males in order to see where this open disstain comes from in that community.
The "f" and "n" words are tossed around with many meaning in black circles. In some sort of strange dysfunction negatives stand right next to positives like oil and vinegar mixing and then separating.While my personal convictions leave me not using either term I'm not naive enough to believe anything is going to change.In fact if I add bulldagger which has roots and strong ones in our village it can open a whole other can of worms.
So we can raise our kids to be tolerant of others but it is then their responsibility as grown men and women to embrace it or except other points of view.
Hatred is an evil word and an even worst place to reside. One can not love themselves if they hate others period.It is mentally unhealthy as energy wasted on negatives ruins your spirit and poisons your soul.Its a shame that Hardaway will found his pocket being lighter an incentive to apologize but this is a reality.I'll let him sort his own demons out as I have no need to judge him or the manhood he feels in need of protecting or proving.
What troubles me was I didn't see where the NAACP made any type of statement but just change his gay word to black and have a white guy saying it... Also where were members of the black church calling for him to be accountable for that type of lashing out.I'm not focusing on the black bashing media or anyone else for a reason.
Sakia gunn died in our community and a gay brother in Atlanta was beaten viciously at one of our HBCU's.The black church has been slow to embrace or acknowledge the multitude of glbt people within it ranks. It is that fear that has lead many a person especially black women into an aid crisis, because it was supposed to be gay punishment.As long as institutions in the community continue to ignore and not reach out to those of us in the community that
are deemed not truly afrocentric, I'm not holding Hardaway and Washington any more accountable than I do the rest of the grand standers. I will continue to call them all out 365 because I know if I don't, the feel gooders who ask where is the parenting or who has let this behavior continue might just keep missing the real issue.Which in my humble opinion is do you live the word or preach it,the legacy we leave for future generations are built on that foundation .

Friday, February 16, 2007

marquites cobbler

Monday, March 06, 2006 : Femmes have a responsibility to the community

I had to do a guest lecture for my public relations class this past Saturday. I'd known about it since last Saturday and had briefly put together how I would structure the lecture in my head. It was a simple task really but I had to ask myself if in doing my lecture about my event planning ventures if I would reveal the TYPE of events I put together. I questioned this because my teacher is African and I feared his particular cultural bias and my class just split up into groups and I questioned whether or not my group would respond to me differently if they knew I was gay.

I was scheduled to do this lecture next Saturday but my teacher asked me if I could just do it this past Saturday instead. Ummm, sure, I guess.

I'd already decided that I'd talk about the fact that I throw parties for women because I felt that it really was integral to my presentation and because I didn't feel right "passing". (For those of you not familiar with the term, "passing" is what it's called when fair skinned Black people "pass" for White). Last year at Sistahfest, the question was raised if being a femme was a modern-day form of "passing" and at the time I didn't have an opinion one way or the other but I felt that this was one of those moments when as a femme had an obligation to speak up.

I don't have very many femme friends so most of my conversations with gay women are with those women whose sexual orientation is announced everytime they enter a room. In talking with them, I realized that their business is on the table everytime they go to the bank, a restaurant, get a cab or simply put one foot in front of the other. For them, every interaction can turn into a question of who and what they are and why they are what they are. As a femme, I have very few such experiences because assumptios are made about me based on my high heels. I choose who to tell and when to tell them. I have the luxury of sitting a person down and revelaing what's what if I feel safe enough to do so. Many of my other sistahs do not have that same luxury.

So, my second day in class, in front of my African teacher and my entire public relations class, I had a decision to make. I could take the "it's nobody's business" route or I could be honest explaining that I started throwing parties because I was disappointed with the lack of social options for queer women of color. I could go on to talk about how I had to use my original motivation of wanting to unite a disenfranchised community when things got really complicated and daunting.


I could pretend that I was throwing events for a mixed crowd, leaving out key points and not entirely lie but tell an "untruth" just to get by.

So, I stood in front of these people and I said....

"In 2002, disappointed with the social options available for queer women of color, I decided to start a social, networking and activist organization for queer women of color..."

and they just blinked at me. In unison.

and then I got nervous because it was just out there but I continued on...and on..and on.

and they exhaled.

and they wow'd...and then they applauded.

And then they thanked me.

They asked lots of questions about what I was doing and they smiled at me with their eyes, genuine in their appreciation for lecture. The chick who sits in the front (who I KNEW was a dyke) asked for my website address and my African professor who said he called me a week early because he knew I'd set the bar high for the other guest lectures said that was he was genuinely impressed and asked me if I did any consulting.

Anyway, patting myself on the back aside, I would have felt like a traitor had I chickened out by "passing". I feel that if we as a community want to change how straight people look at us, we have to give them the opportunity to look at us, really look at us and see that we're in their classrooms, at their jobs and approving their loans. We come in a variety of shapes and sizes, in Tims and high heels, long hair and short.

Have you told anyone you're a dyke today?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Michelle Billingsley

Michelle Billingsley is a young artist on the rise who produces a weekly cartoon strip entitled Joe and just who is this kid I asked.
" JOE! (the self-title character, whom the story centers around) is a sarcastic and mischievous 10-year-old, known among his loved ones for being the lil' brat in their lives. Whether he's with family, friends, or at school, Joe frequently finds his way into trouble. He usually has a smart-aleck response to get him back out of it, but that doesn't always work. This kid is definitely the poster child of punishment."
She adds "So far, my comic is inspired by true stories. My family and friends are hilarious. There's not a day that goes by that something funny hasn't happened."

So I asked her how she became interested in cartooning. "There was local television minishow called the "Fox Kids Club." Kids would submit drawings of cartoon characters, and win a gift. Everyweek there was a winner, so, I wanted in on it. There were a few times that I actually won, and I never made it to the station to claim my prize. I use to draw every character that appeared on Darkwing Duck. I recorded the show just to press the "pause" button to draw them. That's when I knew I was interested in cartooning. I've been drawing for 20 years now (man, I seem old), and I'm only 26. The internet is my teacher.There are some fine tutorials on the world wide web, and if it wasn't for them, my art would have never improved.Eventually, my work will only get better."
While she gives praises to her mother who also has artistic talent,she names one of her big influences as Lynn Johnson the creator of the cartoon "For Better or For Worse". She says "I've enjoyed reading her comic for the past 16 years. Words can't describe how much this woman inspires me.If I can obtain any amount of success with my strip, she will be the second person I would thank. Gotta put God first, ya know?
The comic isn't my only project, but it is the only one that I'm consistent with. I've written about 5 books, and one screenplay (believe it or not). I think the screenplay is cheesy, and no one will ever see it for as long as I shall live. I'm also in the process of writing 2 graphic novels, although, I don't know if I want to handle the art.It's too much.If you're wondering have I ever been published, I haven't."
I don't doubt that Michelle will find continued success in her endeavors.Now for those of you who are interested in art but have not pursued it,she says "The ability to draw is one of the most beautiful,God-giving talents.Don't waste what the man upstairs has blessed you with. You have it for a reason!"

As a person who doesn't read comics often I found myself taking notice of her other characters.She does an excellent job of incorporating the parents into the script.Joe is the third of four children, he has an older sister and brother as well as a baby sister.All have had strips written from their point of view.This work reminds me of a black "Family Circus" only updated for our times. Check out her site for yourself.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

"May I always strive to be the person my dogs think I am"

Brenda Crawford is a woman on a mission.She is one in a small but growing circle of animal rescuers.Every year thousands of perfectly healthy dogs are euthanized because their owners were either to lazy to research and inform themselves about the traits of the bred of their new cute puppy before buying it.Worst some just plain mistreat innocent animals.This is her story of love.

My name is Brenda Crawford and I turned sixty on Christmas Eve. I am looking forward to as one of the women at a local senior center in Oakland describes it as "the Second Spring" of my life. About a year ago I started working with a Terrier group.I am now a volunteer with Ratbone Rescue which is an organization that rescues Rat Terrier. This organization is made up of people who are dedicated to the breed and work to provide loving homes for dogs who have been neglected and abused.
I love the breed and I have rescued two.I recently got into agility training for my two adorable Rat Terriers.You get a physical workout designed to keep you healthy as you age..You can't beat it..best deal in town!!!
They are a source of unconditional love and Joy and in the top ten breeds in terms of their intellect. They are incredible smart and easy to train. They make wonderful fly ball, agility or just chasing a ball in the back yard or park dogs. Please think about adopting or fostering one of these wonderful little creatures.
Dogs are the greatest source of unconditional love known to human kind...If I had my way I would have people licensed, which means you would have to prove your worthiness in order to have one of these magnificent creatures in your life.
In my forty years of being an activists I have never done work that brings me the kind of joy that working with dogs does. There is nothing to compare with nursing a sick, abuse or abandon dog back to health and watching him/her become carefree as they run and play.
I ran across this poem recently which describes why I do this work and how important it is to get others involved. There are not a lot of black women or black folks in general who do this. In fact when I go to my rescue meeting I am often times the only black person in the room. However, the thrill and joy of giving an abandon and often abuse dog a second chance at happiness is one of the greatest joys that the universe provides for all of us.It's a shame that more people do not take advantage of it.Please consider adoptions or becoming a foster parent. These dogs are incredibly loving and intelligent creatures.I know some of you sisters have a lot of love to offer one of these magnificent little dogs (average weight is eighteen pounds).

My Foster Dog

My foster dog stinks to high heaven.
I don't know for sure what breed he is.
His eyes are blank and hard.
He won't let me pet him and growls when I reach for him.

He has ragged scars and crusty sores on his skin.
His nails are long and his teeth, which he showed me, are stained.
I sigh. I drove two hours for this.

I carefully maneuver him so that I can stuff him in the crate.
Then I heft the crate and put it in the car.
I am going home with my new foster dog.

At home I leave him in the crate till all the other dogs are in the yard.
I get him out of the crate and ask him if he wants "outside."
As I lead him to the door he hikes his leg on the wall and shows me his stained teeth again.

When we come in, he goes to the crate because that's the only safe place he sees.
I offer him food but he won't eat it if I look at him, so I turn my back.
When I come back, the food is gone.

I ask again about "outside."
When we come back, I pat him before I let him in the crate,The joy of not being in the tub and the joy of being clean.

I, the bath giver, am allowed to share the joy.
He comes to me and lets me pet him.

One week later I have a vet bill.
His skin is healing. He likes for me to pet him. I think.
I know what color he will be when his hair grows in.

I have found out he is terrified of other dogs.
So I carefully introduce him to my mildest four-legged brat.
It doesn't go well.

Two weeks later a new vet bill for an infection that was missed on the first visit.
He plays with the other dogs.

Three weeks later his coat shines, he has gained weight.
He shows his clean teeth when his tongue lolls out
after he plays chase in the yard with the gang.

His eyes are soft and filled with life.
He loves hugs and likes to show off his tricks, if you have the cheese.

Someone called today and asked about him,
they saw the picture I took the first week.
They asked about his personality, his history, his breed.
They asked if he was pretty. I asked them lots of questions.

I checked up on them.
I prayed.
I said yes.

When they saw him the first time they said
he was the most beautiful dog they had ever seen.

Six months later, I got a call from his new family.
He is wonderful, smart, well behaved, and very loving.

How could someone not want him?
I told them I didn't know.
He is beautiful.
They all are.

Take care.

Letter to brothers like YOU

A few weeks ago I stopped at a flea market to have some artwork done.The artist was a young black man who told me he wanted to know my vision of what my company was about in order to create a piece of work that would suit me.As we talked the conversation changed from my business project to our lives.Here was a man,a black man telling me about the error of his ways,the bad things that happened in his marriages while uplifting his faith and current wife.He did this without putting down his ex's in a demeaning way. I shared with him as well and then he asked THE question.
Why I had not given up on black men. I answered with my lifes resounding truth.I have had powerful role models and once you see with your own eyes and experience deep within your heart true black love no scandal can steal your feelings of love for a righteous black man.This poem is dedicated to the brothers out there that are stand up guys true to the the definition of a real man.

I don't have to fall in love with a black man to love my brothers.
A man that can see a woman for who she is not what he wishes her to be has self love.
It takes a village of season men and women to raise our future I admire the men DOING THEIR PART.

I will not condone those that dwell in the house of negative behavior but,
I'm calling you out to stand and contribute to a cause greater than yourself.
I have no desires to condemn all men of African decent,I'm saving energy for the POSITIVE ONES.

I'd like to raise my son to be a man of courage and conviction
Respectful of black woman other than his mother and all women in general.
I don't want him holding sisters to a greater standard than other woman
I pray he finds the one women who he can grow and raise a family with
regardless of who she is or where she came from.

For those black men that can see the beauty and struggle of a sister I love you back.
You know when no one else has your back a black woman will be there for you period
A real man understands a sisters strength is a compliment not a draining force.
He wraps himself around it making the bond stronger because nothing is sweeter than,

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia)

I have been thinking about what Oprah said concerning educating young women to become future leaders in Africa.My thoughts turn in particular to Liberia because after all it is the most Americanized of all countries on the continent.I do not mean this in a good way either.
Liberia has a checkered past that makes me uncomfortable.First the effect of American blacks coming back to Africa and virtually taking over a land where native people were squeezed out, troubles me.One wonders what the area would be like today if they had not settled there.I do know that without ties to the states the chances of recovery would be slim. Still,America never stepped in to help the country in ways that would benefit it before,or during the war and the jury remains out now.So maybe The president should have gotten done away with that American style flag and found something more inclusive like South Africa did but she is a member of that very class of people who are descendants of the freed slaves and at the moment she has more pressing issues.
Just before she took office mama Ellen as some of the people call her made the statement
"Just my own performance … is going to raise the participation of women not just in Liberia but also in Africa. It's a big challenge but I'm looking forward to it."

On a web site about the country I also found this tidbit:
"Liberia, a resource-rich West African country of about 3.3 million people, is struggling to recover from a civil war that left around 250,000 dead, an estimated 40 percent of the women and girls raped and forced more than half the population from their homes."
In her inaugural speech the mentioned some priorities concerning these very traumatized women."The administration must endeavour to give Liberian women prominence in all affairs of our country. We will empower all Liberian women in all aspects of our national life. We will support and increase the weight of law... and deal drastically with crimes that dehumanize. We will enforce without fear of failure the laws against rape easily passed by the national assembly. We will encourage all families to educate all children especially the girls."

This will be tough because right now the schools,at least the few that are open are over crowded.They could use every kind of supply and they need teachers most that could are not even in the country.In addition i read only twenty five percent of the country is literate thanks to years of war and people being misplaced.All this ads up to a daunting task but the Harvard educated "first lady"should have some contacts and be able to call in some corporate help.During the war over 100,000 Liberians of "American decent" migrated back to the states.It is said that the money they send home is invaluable to economic growth.
Now consider that last week the Chinese blew in to town and next week G W is supposed to be there.China is looking out for it's own interest and in Liberia it is blamed for exploitation of workers no surprise since they do the same to their own people too.Now do we even want to know what junior Bush will do to help.While economic resurgence is needed to fuel growth and get her country back on track ethnic turf wars could be heating up as people begin leaving refugee camps and returning to the country.Juggling that mess is going to have to be done first or all else will fail.
I will be watching to see how she handles it and to see if, indeed we educate young women will the pull of power and money derail their priorities like their male counter parts. How will she pull her country up by the boot straps and do so without favoring one ethnic sect over another on the road to forming a better country.I guess they really are a baby America,question is can they over come it.

Chisholm and Me Unbought and Unbossed

Recently a black man Obama and a white woman Hillary Clinton cast themselves into the presidential race.It is only fitting after all is this not America,yet the moment it became clear to me that both would run I thought of just one person,Shirley Chisolm who said:
"I ran for the Presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo. "The next time a woman runs, or a black, a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is not ready to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start." from her book the good fight.
I picked up several quotes she made in AP articles and they just seem to fit times we are in now.I tend to love her spunk and willingness to step out on the limb for what she believed right.
Chisholm went to Congress to represent New York in the same year Richard Nixon was elected to the White House and served until retiring in 1983. "She was an activist and she never stopped fighting," Jackson told The Associated Press from Ohio. "She refused to accept the ordinary, and she had high expectations for herself and all people around her."
Newly elected, she was assigned to the House Agriculture Committee, which she felt was irrelevant to her urban constituency. In an unheard of move, she demanded reassignment and got switched to the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Not long afterward she voted for Hale Boggs, who was white, over John Conyers, who was black, for majority leader. Boggs rewarded her with a place on the prized Education and Labor Committee and she was its third ranking member when she left.
"My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency," she told voters.
During her failed presidential bid, Chisholm went to the hospital to visit George Wallace, her rival candidate and ideological opposite, after he has been shot — an act that appalled her followers.
"He said, `What are your people going to say?´ I said: `I know what they´re going to say. But I wouldn´t want what happened to you to happen to anyone.´ He cried and cried," she recalled.
And when she needed support to extend the minimum wage to domestic workers two years later, it was Wallace who got her the votes from Southern members of Congress.
"She was our Moses that opened the Red Sea for us," said Robert E. Williams, president of Flagler County's branch of the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People.
In her book, "Unbought and Unbossed," she recounted the campaign that brought her to Congress and wrote of her concerns about that body:
"Our representative democracy is not working because the Congress that is supposed to represent the voters does not respond to their needs. I believe the chief reason for this is that it is ruled by a small group of old men."
Chisholm's leadership traits were recognized by her parents early on. Born Shirley St. Hill in New York City, on Nov. 30, 1924, she was the eldest of four daughters of Caribbean immigrants.
She began her professional career as a nursery school teacher, eventually becoming director of a day care center, and later serving as an educational consultant with the city's child care department. She became active in local Democratic politics and ran successfully for the state Assembly in 1964.
She bested James Farmer, the former national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, to gain the House seat in 1968.
"I am the people's politician," she said at the time. "If the day should ever come when the people can't save me, I'll know I'm finished."
After leaving Congress, Chisholm was named to the Purington Chair at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., where she taught for four years. In later years she was a sought-after speaker on the lecture circuit.
"Whether you agree with her politics or not, she had a moral compass," said Shola Lynch, director of "Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed," a documentary on her presidential campaign. "Why I was attracted to her story was because in some ways she's an average American woman who evolved into a a strong and courageous politician."
Chisholm was married twice. Her 1949 marriage to Conrad Chisholm ended in divorce in February, 1977. Later that year she wed Arthur Hardwick, Jr., who died in 1986. She had no children.
"She was a mouthpiece for the underdog, the poor, underprivileged people, the people who did not have much of a chance," 88-year-old Conrad Chisholm told the AP early Monday from West Palm Beach.
Once discussing what her legacy might be, Shirley Chisholm commented, "I'd like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That's how I'd like to be remembered"

During her time in office she spoke up on womens issues and spoke out about vietnam
and she was always articulate when she did.No wonder I identify with her I realized that speaking my mind and wanting to know what is on others mind is good medicine.
I now resolve to continue my journey here in what I hope will become my own little think tank.Perhaps my lazy behinds will proof read my text more too.I often try to get thoughts to paper before they are lost.In the process I've seen "genius" slip from my grasp whole losing various lines.Yet I know if only half of my visions make it from my mind to text form it will have been worth the war I fought to get them there.I marvel at those able to write so smoothly their audiences hang on every word.
That's not me and I'm not going to try,I only strive to share with others in hopes of growth.Which is why I tell people I once heard a woman give a speach that made me take notice.I listened to her like so many black women that raised my awareness at the time Barbra Jordon, Angela Davis,Nina Simone to name just a few.From them I learned a voice is solitary as in rises up but when it echos a song in unison with others thoughts,it becomes magic.
That woman was Shirley Chisholm the first black woman elected to Congress in 1969 in which she spent seven years and was a founding member of the congressional black cuacus. She was also the first black person to seek a major party's nomination for the U.S. presidency. Before you could have a Condaleeza Rice you had to have a Shirley Chisolm and a few other black women politcal pioneers. The Rev. Jesse Jackson called her a "woman of great courage."
Losing folks in the community like Shirley make me more determined to keep my struggles on page one.This woman has passed the candle to the next generation to keep burning strong and I'd like to take her up on the honor by holding up my part of the light that needs to be shinned on our work at hand.Sometimes the walk is a lonely one but at least the path has already been worn.The only other question I ask myself is how long do I walk before it's time to forge another road to connect to the highway.Today I can answer the byway starts here and now.I thank all who came before me they have made my journey a bit easier.


Friday, February 9, 2007

In Praise of Black Men

The piece was originally published in the Nov. 6, 2002 issue of the Famuan, which is the campus newspaper of Florida A&M University.Reprinted with permission from the author.

In Praise of Black Men
By Rahkia Nance

Black men.

You are the most loved, most beloved, most hated, most emulated, most feared, most revered creatures on the face of this earth.

And I love you for it. If anyone hasn't told you lately, then let me say it.

This message probably doesn't conform to what mainstream media is spewing. I'm not bitter.

I'm not complaining. I'm not pointing fingers.

I'm celebrating the black man -- the beautiful . . . most deserving of respect and adulation.

For me to say I hate you is to hate a part of myself. It's because of a black man that I am a black woman celebrating her 20th birthday.

You can't tell me that a black man isn't a gem.

(And it's no coincidence that you come from the same continent that produces diamonds.)

There's no need to look far for riches. It's found in your self-reliance. Your strength. Your creativity. Your individuality. Your style.

Don't be discouraged by the negative images, instead be inspired and proud of the rich foundation laid by the great black men throughout history. Let them be your light.

I'm talking about the Nat Turners and Gabriel Prossers, with their bravery and unwillingness to relent to oppression.

The Huey Newtons and Bobby Seales, the men who recognized the beauty of the black race and demanded respect when and where it was due.

The Joe Louises and the Jackie Robinsons, princes of athleticism and pioneers of their race.

The Langston Hugheses and Ralph Ellisons, visionaries blessed with the ability to create magic with a pen.

The Charles Drews and Benjamin Carsons, doctors whose work remedied ill-conceived perceptions of blacks.

The Duke Ellingtons and Stevie Wonders, who created the soundtracks for an entire culture, the Jan Matzeligers and Garrett Morgans, who changed life as we know it with their revolutionary inventions.

The Matthew Hensons and Estevanicos, foraging into lands unknown, broadening our world perspective.

The Scott Joplins and Chuck Browns, taking a beat and inventing a phenomenon.

The Booker T. Washingtons and Alain Lockes, advocates for using education as a ladder to equality and success.

From the lauded and applauded to the unsung and forgotten, I stand

Don't carry being a black man as a burden, but as a badge of honor. Let your words be formed from intelligence, not arrogance.

Let reason govern your actions, not pride. Be steadfast and earnest in all that you do.

You have standards to uphold and precedents to set. You have a charge to keep as black men.

Rahkia Nance, 20, is a junior newspaper journalism student at Florida A&M University from Herndon, Va. She is The Famuan's deputy copy desk chief and can be reached at Petite8228@aol.com.

Copyright © 2007 Black College Wire.
Black College Wire is a project of the Black College Communication Association
and has partnerships with The National Association of Black Journalists and the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Comments?

Big Mama Thorton

I love the blues and one of my favorite artist has to be big mama Thorton.She wasn't always on the hefty side but she was six foot two and mama had good pipes too. I don't know much about her history except she always said she was cheated out of royalties for writing hound dog.Although two white boys claimed they wrote it I believe mama,that song was written in a black lingo whites didn't even understand or speak back then.Its hard for me to believe that a male would even come up with a song like that let alone white boys of the fifties era. So my tribute to mama in pictures stays here.We need to honor more of our female innovators of the blues.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Draft,Spell Check and Saving Face

Well we are all allowed the occasional bad day but when it happens for all the world to see it can be embarrassing.I was trying to sort out stories for black history month to post when I decided to take a break.That's when my new hobby of reading blogs to get a feel for where my peoples interest are at the moment got the best of me.
So I broke my golden rule and started responding on a few. Big mistake,the one thing I know about myself is that if I have been reading anything for awhile my ability to proof read goes out the door.So let me tell you the horror I felt when I did proof read right over some big time spelling mistakes. These were words I know how to spell too not unfamiliar territory.So all I can do is hold my head down in shame and restrain from ever posting anywhere again in life.Even on my own blog I will write a piece of work and set it in the draft column so I can scan it the next day and then post.I'm one of those people who become to close to their words and have to step back and reread after a long break.Anything else will have way to many mistakes in it that I will not notice.Hence today sails words to the world show a sister that didn't check her work and has disgraced her whole family.I know it's wrong but I hope those blog post disappear into blog heaven. Shame on my sorry self when the dictionary is always right by my side!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Oprah's School in South Africa

I was reading another blog and tried to post but blogger was not allowing me to.
So I post here my response to Oprah and her new school.

I am about a stronger African diaspora period.Europe has raped the mother continent for so long it has become a wealthy dependant of the world.Where else are there so many natural resources, wealth and beauty over ridden by even worst poverty and hardship in places.

Liberia is a good example,the country where former slaves were sent only to end up in a civil war with "natives" over who should be ruling.Wait they now have a Harvard educated WOMAN trying to lead the country back. That is the power of educating young women,they will grow to be the keepers in their native lands.Most are not going to be in politics but womanist concerns are about families and strong countries need to be concerned with social and economic issues. It's not so much the Iron ladies Ivy league sheep skin but the fact that she has the tools and contacts to make a difference.I will be watching this as I expect not only for the Oprahs of the world to help rebuild but the me's of the black diaspora to stop "wolfin and do something to contribute.
So I wonder about the evil spirits trying to pull down Oprah for reaching beyond borders.It's no secret she has contributed to black schools both in private and public.I'm aware that quotes can be broken down and repackaged any way the media likes,and frankly this sister is not offended by Oprah's words or actions.How many black millionaires are living in America and what are they doing for their OWN people, our future generation to be more specific? It's always some person in the community without much trying to start some program or activity for the kids and even that is fading in some areas.
Lets call out the rappers sending negative images to the world about blackness and then turning around and throwing hush money at the community. Let's add mothers who turn the other way when their grammar school drop out kids start rolling in big bucks of which they made from do what? Let's call out the baller culture of get rich on the field or court.Lets praise our high achievers and demand they help mentor some of their peers who are struggling academically in exchange for scholarships. While I'm on the soap box how about we say to Oprah,job well done how about an exchange program with some of our private black schools.In other words I'm trying to see the possibilities.Most importantly at the end of the day I like what blackamazon's author said:

"she looks happy in the way that very few People and even less sisters get to look . The happy that happens when you don't have to ask nobody about how you are supposed to do things."

We have to be proactive in leaving a legacy for our kids and that means all of us and anywhere or way we are able to do it.

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Why DO we still need black history month

A picture on Tarleton state admission page.Is it me or does that sister need to try and make some new friends.Of course her other option might have been to hang out with fellow student Aunt Jasnowflake above.

As we make our way to another black history month my mind is still lingering on incidents that happened on Martin Luther King day.It seems more than one group of whites on college campuses have been holding parties where they put on black face and or dressing up as caricatures right out of the jim Crow south. Now one group had the nerve to be law students at UConn,future district attorneys I presume. So I want to post these pictures not because they are worthy of this space but because they are the reason this blog exist.Ignorance is alive and well and living in the heart and soul of white America.Even more sadly the slave mentality is still embedded in many negroes who have stood up for their white friends who "they knowz aint means no harm".They all need a pot of American history xyz to stick to their ribs.