The Ties That Bind

Analise ( Viola Davis) discussing with her mother Ophelia ( Cicley Tyson) that men take. Photo Credit: tvfanatic .com
Analise ( Viola Davis) discussing with her mother Ophelia ( Cicely Tyson) that men take. Photo Credit: tvfanatic .com

 

How To Get Away With Murder (HTGAWM) is the Thursday night behemoth that has kept us enthralled since its premiere last year. From the very first utterance of “Criminal Law 101, that I like to call How to get away with murder” by Analise Keating, best known as Viola Davis and those dark, cheerleader- spinning in the air, bonfire flashbacks we have been hooked. Last night’s episode, “Mama’s Here Now” was no exception, as it slowly reached through the screen, grabbed us forcibly and is still holding on to some of us this morning.

In a scene fairly early in the episode, Analise is in bed wrapped in a blanket of emotional numbness. Her husband is dead, his sister has finally left along with her accusations that Analise is her brother’s murderer and she just lead the quiet coup that ended in her desired outcome; her lover, Officer Nate being arrested for killing Sam. In walks the incomparable Cicely Tyson in her role as Mrs. Keating’s mother Ophelia, with her smart wit and lightning quick tongue lashing that immediately reminded so many black women watching last night of our own mothers or grandmothers. Mama was there to “fix it”. She did not have time for weakness or tears. She could not be bothered with blankets stitched out of guilt and the feeling of worthlessness Analise was draped in. Ms. Ophelia came to pull her baby up and out.

In scenes that were riveting, some of Anna Mae’s background that formed her into Analise are revealed. She like so many of us did not feel love from our mothers. Not solely because they did not offer that emotion to us. But, due to fact some of our mothers could only love us in the way they knew how.  Which did not always present itself in the form that we needed. It is common place now to see a meme or social media post that either praises or degrades black women for being “independent”. The syndrome of, “I don’t need anything from anybody” does not automatically come from a place of defiance. Many times it comes from the generational lesson of perceived strength…of survival.

Photo Credit: gossipandgrab .com
Cicely Tyson as Ophelia, Analise’s mother. Photo Credit: gossipandgrab .com

We learn that Anna Mae changed her name for survival. She clung to her therapist turned husband, who used his knowledge gained from being the professional who was supposed to be Anna Mae’s soft place to fall. Yet, he hurled those wounds into her face when it best served him…for survival. We learned that Anna Mae was sexually abused by Uncle Clyde and because her mother did not react in a way that would sooth the heart-break of an innocent little girl, she made up in her mind that her mother did nothing to protect her from the beast. Again, for survival.

Ophelia talks to her daughter about men always taking. “Men were put on this planet to take things. They take your money, they take your land, they take a woman, and any other thing they can put their grabby hands on. That’s men.” She explained to Anna Mae how men; Aunt Lynn’s first grade teacher took from her and how Reverend Daniels took from her after choir rehearsal. “Men take things. They’ve been taking things from women since the beginning of time.”

Photo Credit: ABC Network
Analise (Viola Davis) confronting her mother, Ophelia (Cicely Tyson) about knowing she was abused as a child. Photo Credit: ABC Network

 

Because I live tweet HTGAWM, the wall on Twitter exploded with women and some men being hit directly in the chest with the force of a max truck, by that scene. The same generational lesson that taught us about expressing love in our communities is the same lesson that taught us to be quiet about sexual abuse inside of our families. Even if black children were brave enough to tell their mothers/fathers about the abuse that generational pull taught us to never speak about it again, that Uncle or Aunt So and So will still be at every family function, that our feelings of gut wrenching pain must be swallowed.

For a couple of hours last night, Twitter allowed some of us to become a family, a virtual therapy session if you will, as so many women expressed in 140 characters or less how they were forced into silence, self-doubt and feelings of having no real value due to sexual abuse inside of their families. Those tweets proved this particular family history of silence about sexual abuse is still an epidemic in our communities. Of all the thousands of tweets in solidarity and understanding last night, how many of us watched that scene and wept, yet were still too ashamed and frightened to tweet out a single word because we did not want the sigma to be placed on us through sad eye emoticons and the magnifying lens that would then be placed on our parents?

Photo Credit: ABC Network
Ophelia ( Cicely Tyson) scratching  Analise’s ( Viola Davis) scalp. Photo Credit: ABC Network

Near the end of the episode, Analise sat between her mama’s legs as Ophelia showed love to her daughter in the way she knew how; scratching her scalp. (For those not in the know, this simple act is an expression of love in the black community. It is not just about combing hair.) She told Analise that she saw Uncle Clyde coming out of her room late that night and knew what he had done. On another night, Clyde was drunk as usual and fell asleep on the sofa with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Ophelia sent Analise and her siblings to an Aunt’s house to sleep, subsequently as their own house burned down with old Clyde in it. Victim of a long match and very flammable hooch.

Mama did in fact avenge her baby and never said a word about it…for survival.

Single Mother Chronicles: Cupid, Come Sit By Me

Photo Credit: crosswalk .com
Photo credit: crosswalk .com

February 14th can feel like doom’s day for a single mom  presented in shades of red and pink. It’s hard to pretend it is just another day when your office smells like a rose garden and you can barely see your co worker through the cloud of helium balloons surrounding her desk. (Insert -side eye- here). Yes, that IS balloon envy you detect. Hey, Valentine’s day can turn  a single people into The Sarcastic Club for 24 hours. I will confess some of my friend’s  membership a time or two in past years.

And while I am confessing, I know a few single mothers who have become lovelorn on Valentine’s Day. They participate in direct message (DMs) conversations with guys who continually confuse “they’re” for “there”, want to show you their abs instead of their face and misspell argument 30 different times… just to have opposite sex interaction on this day made for love. Step away from the computers and tablets ladies. Realize that you can show love for YOURSELF and others this February 14th.

Photo credit: pinterest.com
Photo credit: pinterest.com

1. If you are not a member of a single mommies support group, I encourage you to find one now. The right group will offer you a safe haven to share what is on your heart during those moments when you believe no-one understands, have opportunities for you to meet women that have similar interest/hobbies and also potential business networking. On Valentine’s day, when admittedly your emotions can throw you for a loop,  you and the members of your mommies group can send each other anonymous notes of love and encouragement. The connection established through these acts of selflessness will last long after this single day in February.

2.  Go to the Valentine’s day party at your child’s school. You will be surrounded by excitement and puppy dog crushes. You may even get a foiled valentines while in attendance. It may have SpongeBob SquarePants on it. But, it was given in the purest form of love. The innocence of children is nothing short of magic.

Photo credit: cityline.ca
Photo credit: cityline.ca

3. Buy yourself beautiful lingerie that you look amazing in and get your hair done in a style you have never tried before. Continue to pamper yourself by getting a massage, pedicure and your nails done. Maybe also try going to a department store make-up section and have the artist give you a dramatic look. Then take all your fabulousness and have boudoir pictures taken. Confidence is sexy on any day of the year. 

4. Have a corny love movie mini-marathon with your best girlfriends. Pop some popcorn, drink sparkling wine ( or the real thing) and laugh until you cry. Sisterhood is a bond that not only lengthens your lifespan. But, also allows you to stumble from time to time. Your sisters will be right there to help you up.

Photo credit: winetime.co
Photo credit: winetime.co

5. Have a small get together at your home or a venue. Ask each of your single friends to invite all the single men they know. You all can have appetizers and wine, then mingle. In a group, there is no immense pressure for everything to be perfect, like on an one-on-one date. There could be a potential love match for many people in the group. Who knows, one of them could be you.

6. Go out with fellow single moms and dance ’til you drop to Beyonce’s ” Single Ladies ( Put a ring on it)”. Remember the dance is not complete unless you do the hand move also. Sing “Stronger” by R&B crooner Tank, at the top of your lungs. ( This particular song has great testimony weaved throughout it. Very powerful. ) Just get out on the dance floor, let go and have an absolute ball!

Photo credit; fungroup.co
Photo credit: fungroup.co

So if you are single this Valentine’s day ladies, know that you are not alone, balloon envy is normal, DMs are not your friend until the 15th and you do not have to suffer through this day without simply loving yourself and having a fun.

I am my daughter’s valentine every year. I make a card and buy her a single red rose. She is still thrilled by this after many years and what mom doesn’t love the painted hand print heart card from her child? Who needs a printed thousands of times card from Hallmark…not this year anyway.

 

A Different World; Not So Different Than Where We Now All Come From

Cast of widely popular television sicon, "A Different World". (Photo credit: tvone.tv)
Cast of widely popular television sitcom, “A Different World”. (Photo credit: tvone.tv)

Being a teen in today’s society is akin to a warp speed carnival ride. Every breaking news event and salacious gossip ”got’cha” moment is within a few taps of their fingertips on a keyboard or swipe on a smart phone. I was a teenager through the mid- 80s through the early 90s. All of our news was captured on television during the world news broadcast at 6:30 pm or daily newspapers. I recall being home from school when news of the Oklahoma City Bombing, and Challenger Explosion tragedies broke into local broadcasting. I sat there not exactly believing what I was watching or hearing. Then there was watching the video of Rodney King beating, followed a year later by the acquittal of the police officers responsible for beating another human being like an animal, that I consumed as an inquisitive young adult and cried because I could not embrace the idea that anyone would believe it was not illegal to beat someone in that way. I sat immobile in front of my television for hours watching the city erupt in anger and pain. On the way to school the next morning, a couple of friends and I devised a plan to hold a silent protest, where student would walk out of their classrooms during 3rd period. (Our activism was stalled because the administration found out about the impending protest and called a school wide discussion panel to stop what I’m sure they assumed would be trouble. Hey, we tried.)

The idea of standing up for something you believe in, of course came from my parents. Although, television also placed a role in my mini Angela Davis mind. I was an avid viewer of “A Different World”, a series about the life of black students at Hillman College, a fictional historically black college and university (HBCU) based in Virginia. The triumphs, failures, and tribulations of Denise Huxtable, (the first season only) Whitney Gilbert, Dwayne Wayne, Kimberly (Kim) Reese, Ronald (Ron) Johnson, Winifred (Freddie) Brooks, Jaleesa Vincent and the adults Mr. Gaines, Col. Taylor and Walter Oakes were my glimpse into college life that I simply could not get enough of. Debuting on September 24, 1987, “A Different World” was a must see for my friends and myself during out junior and senior high school years due to the varying social topics and the strong sense of sisterhood that remained throughout its entire run. The sisters may not have seen eye-to-eye, yet they always had each other’s back, front and sides. Just as my circle of friends did.

During those years, there was a very limited amount of network television shows that had characters that looked like me. “A Different World” showed the black community in the glorious shades of our skin, immense backgrounds and rich personalities. This series brought attention to so many social issues that still plague us to this day. Who can forget the date rape episode, where Freddie is almost raped by Hillman baseball star Garth? At the time date rape was a topic not widely discussed in any forum, including the black community. Freddie is saved by Dwayne, who figured out the mindset of, “women needing help to say “yes” flawed after talking to Walter. The powerful moment that stays with me is at the end, when Dwayne gives her the telephone number where the baseball team will be staying in case she needs someone to talk to and she simply ends with,“…thank you for being my friend”.

Dwayne and Garth from date rape episode, "No Means No" (photo credit: hulu.com
Dwayne and Garth from date rape episode, “No Means No” (photo credit: hulu.com

Another powerful episode was Josie, played by Tisha Campbell completes an assignment in class where the students had to write their own obituaries and verbally present them in class. Josie reveals in her presentation that she contracted HIV from her boyfriend. During this time, HIV and AIDS was just becoming an issue that our community needed to tackle. “A Different World” did an excellent job of depicting the attitudes that ran ramped throughout communities once someone found out another had been diagnosed with the incurable disease. Many students in the episode did not want to be around Josie for fear they would catch the disease by osmosis. It was especially difficult for Whitley, due to her finally deciding to have a sexual relationship with Dwayne. It was revealed recently that the licensing fee was almost pulled due to this episode and the advertisers wanted to read the script (a practice that had not happened in years and they were not allowed to even show a condom in the episode). This episode actually went on to win numerous awards for the series. My favorite line in the entire episode came from Mr. Gaines, when students did not want Josie serving them, “you can take your germs and your intelligence deficiency syndrome out of here.”

Josie (Tisha Campbell) in episode about HIV/AIDS. (Photo credit: blackdoctor.org)
Josie (Tisha Campbell) in episode, “If I Should Die Before I Wake” about HIV/AIDS. (Photo credit: blackdoctor.org)

Apartheid was not mentioned continuously in the black community. “A Different World” attacked this issue head on when the students discover that Orange Glo Soda Company, who was a major contributed to the college through supplies, academic programs and scholarships, including one Kim had just received, had not divested itself from South Africa. This episode had a great scene, where a group of student activist called an emergency meeting to discuss what action that wanted Hillman to take. There were actually students from Africa who had two varying perspectives about how to confront the issue. One described how in his country coming to America to attend college was a dream for many children back in his homeland, thus stating a compelling argument that Hillman should demand Orange Glo contribute more money to the school. The other student believed that the college should not accept anything from the company. The students come up with a compromise and then celebrate with the African dance and drums. Who-la-la, Who-la-la, Hem, Hem.

Scene from apartheid episode, "A World Alike". (Photo Credit: gbithinkbatorfarsightinstitu .ning.com)
Scene from apartheid episode, “A World Alike”. (Photo Credit: gbithinkbatorfarsightinstitu .ning.com)

No-one who was a fan of the show can forget the “Mammy Dearest” episode, where Whitley is in charge of creating a program celebrating female contributors to the greatness of African-American lives. One of her ideas was celebrating the character Mammy. The other students could not understand why Whitley would want to display a character they considered disrespectful to black women. Kim was the most affected because it is revealed later in the episode after a heart-felt talk with Mr. Gaines, she had been humiliated when her elementary school principal referred to her dress up clothing during a school assembly as “Mammy”. It turned out that Whitley’s family owned slaves and she did not believe that she should be a part of something honoring black people. What followed was a magnificent performance, where Kim is mammy transformed into the beautiful Black queen she was always meant to be. Kim recited a poem that I had never heard of in my young years, Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego Trippin”. The words were lush and powerful instilling in the teenage me that I too, was powerful. “Thank you, my sister”.

Kim as Queen Mammy in "Mammy Dearest" (photo credit: YouTube)
Kim as Queen Mammy in “Mammy Dearest” (photo credit: YouTube)

Most people adored the episode where Dwayne and Whitley get married at the wedding meant for her and Byron. It had been obvious in several previous episodes they were still in love with each other. The slow progression of their relationship kept us on our toes for a couple of seasons. The writers gave a pretty accurate view of the ebb and flow of young adult relationships. The long-awaited union of Dwayne and Whitley was applauded with a standing ovation. As some relationships tend to go, they eventually broke up. Although, they got back together in an amazing way. Dwayne actually stands up during the aisle, walking towards Whitley and Byron declaring how much he loves Whitley. She is noticeably confused about which way to go. If you watch this episode, you can actually hear the audience yelling with excitement and joy at Dwayne and Whitley possibly being together. “Baby please!” is the line most people will recite to you, including me when discussing the wedding. Kadeem Hardison revealed on an episode of Unsung Hollywood  detailing the show, that he ad- libbed those two words after getting so caught up in the emotions of the audience. How beautiful is that?

Whitley and Senator Byron' s wedding. (Photo credit: NewsOne)
Whitley and Senator Byron’ s wedding episode, “Save The Best For Last” (Photo credit: NewsOne)

Other notable moments in the history of this remarkable television series include the first time Whitley met Julian. We were able to see Jasmine Guy’s background as a talented dancer on display as she moved brilliantly across the stage, while Julian watched mesmerized. Kim giving Shazza the business, after he tried to publicly shame her for dating Freddie’s white cousin Matthew…”You pseudo intellectual with a pseudo African name, spouting pseudo philosophy about a whole lot of nothing. In fact, the only thing that’s real about you is your green eyes, my brotha.” Ron and Dwayne getting into a fight in the parking lot during the homecoming game after three white students from a rival college attempted to vandalize Ron’s car with a racial slur after they lost a bet on the game. Gina being beat by her rapper boyfriend. Remember the scene when Gina explained to Lena that the bruise on her face was from a fight she had in another dorm? Lena’s reaction “where, she at?” was exactly the reaction, my friends and I would have displayed as well. (sisterhood!) The protectiveness by the entire cast for Gina was automatic and swift once they found out the truth about I’m Down Dion. “…and like a sucka you walk around and like a sucka, you’re going down.” Dwayne’s friend Zelmer is being deployed to fight in the first Gulf War and he is not handling it well. The scene between Col. Taylor and Zelmer bring tears to my eyes every single time I watch it because my older brother was also deployed to fight in that war. That scene was so real for me and my family. “…that story was not for you son, it was for me”!  And I cannot forget Patty Labelle and Dianne Carol playing Dwayne and Whitley’s mothers during the entire run of the series. The acting abilities of these two legendary stars made you forget that they were just acting and not the character’s real parents.

Scene from Homecoming episode when rival college students attempt to spray paint a racial slur on Ron's car. (Photo credit: Bossip)
Scene from Homecoming episode when rival college students attempt to spray paint a racial slur on Ron’s car. (Photo credit: Bossip)

“A Different World” was a cultural movement, period. During its six-year run the percentage of enrollment tripled and graduation rates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) rose. It was the in the top five in television series, beating “ Cheers”, “ Family Ties”, and “ 60 minutes” and averaging 20-30 million viewers per week. Interesting enough, currently there are some storied legendary HBCUs that are suffering from declining enrollment and financial shortages, AIDs a leading cause of death of black women 20 years of age and older, date rape is dang near an epidemic on college campuses, the issue of darker and light skin women still is in heavy rotation and some areas of Africa are going through a great deal of turmoil. “A Different World” highlighted the diverse backgrounds of the students, the community building feeling among the staff and students and the overall feeling of family.

I now watch “A Different World” with my teenage daughter just about every day. We discuss the topics of the different episodes as I fill her in on what was going on during that time. In the times that consuming television is considered a negative. In contrast, “A Different World” benefited my life as well as others in the black community.

Student cast of "A Different World". (Photo Credit: previously.tv)
Student cast of “A Different World”. (Photo Credit: previously.tv)

Ironically for me, the very episode detailing the LA riots after the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King is what caused the series to be canceled. The executives did not want to address nor air an episode addressing the riots. They also considered Sister Souljah to be an antagonist (She had a very powerful dialogue with Whitley in an electronics store”.) Some producers revealed on the recent Unsung Hollywood series that Debbie Allen was not pleased about NBC Executives trying to bury the episode and suggested that she would inform black leaders in our community of NBC’s stance. After the airing of this episode, there was tension between the show and the corporate office that lead to the highly successful show being moved around in different time slots and suspiciously being positioned against another television show featuring a black cast. “A Different World” ended his reign on May 8, 1993, a month from my high school graduation. Thus closing a chapter in television that I do not believe has ever been reinvented. My activism is still going full throttle and the re-runs of this important series sustains and reminds me that television can still serve a purpose, if the content is worthy of being praised for many years after the powers that be decide it is no longer has a value. Television can still incite progress, change and revolution in ways we have never seen before, if only we demand it.

 

 

.

 

Carrying The Dream Foward

 

Painting by: www.theuntappedsource.com
Painting by: http://www.theuntappedsource.com

 

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have college degrees to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially lasted for 381 days. Every day, the people who participated in the boycott walked out of their doors to fight for something larger than themselves with full knowledge that their lives could end that day. The immense courage it took to kiss your wife, husband or children good-bye, knowing it could be the very last. While the recent events in our lives over Michael Brown and Eric Garner have galvanized a great number of us and incited some of us to do great work in recognizing that black lives do indeed matter, we have now begun to live our lives as if those deaths did not happen. In a sorrowful way, we have forgotten the anger, sadness and heartbreak we felt when those indictments were not handed down. C.T. Vivian, a pivotal man during the boycott, said that they were willing to be beaten in the streets for our rights during the boycott. He stood on those steps and took a punch to the face from a police officer and still spoke the convictions of his heart. It was thought during that time, that a couple of weeks of protest would not suffice in making systematic change. It will take more than a couple of months of protest to change the laws in our country.

People were willing to sacrifice with no personal gain. They sacrificed their pay, their standing in the community, their bodies and freedom to push toward change. Taxi cab drivers took people to work for ten cents a ride to contribute to the cause of our people. People walked and rode mules to work. Black churches took up shoe collections to replace the worn shoes of those sacrificing leisure for purpose. It was not convenient or comfortable. With the advent of the internet and social media, it has become easy to participate in a protest. Whether it be clicking a “like” button or signing an online petition, most of us have attempted to participate in some way. However, when will we walk miles for days on end to work… to stand up for something greater than ourselves? It is fine to speak loudly about change, it is the measure of who you really are to actually DO something for change that is not convenient…that is not comfortable.

Photo source: www.welists.com
Photo source: http://www.welists.com

Women were the lynch pin during the boycott. It is said without them, the boycott would not have been successful. Juanita Jones Abernathy speaks about during those times women were to be seen and not heard. They were indeed heard from their mouths to their husband’s ears and then out of their mouths alone. Women were also at the front of the #BlackLivesMatter tsunami that changed all forms of social media for weeks. There are today, still pictures and memes created using those three cherished words that bring tears to my eyes. When we see so many images and hear words from our own brothers today, that have the ability to leave scars on our spirits, it is in the honor of women stronger than us, that we keep moving. It is in honor of women more courageous than us, that we still stand shoulder to shoulder with those same brothers when trouble may come. Women have and will always stand for others without regard to how little that sentiment is returned for them.

The everyday heroes of the boycott understood the importance of going after government. They went after the City Council/Commission. They were aware that Hoover and the FBI were watching and submitting their own narrative. Even still, they kept pushing forward. We must learn and embrace that the people who make the laws that will either bury or uplift us, are indeed controlled by us. There is no excuse to let those that sacrificed their very lives for us, down. Work in your community and take notice of the people who are truly doing the work OF the community. Make sure you are there giving of your time or talent, and when that community leader starts to make their push into local government, be there. When they move on to state legislation, be there. There are men and women still alive today who participated in the boycott and are elected officials in D.C. Say “thank you” and BE THERE every single time there is an election.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience. But, where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” What are you really willing to do to effect change in our communities and our society? Are you willing to be inconvenienced, uncomfortable, stand with and for women in the fight, vote or risk being watched? What exactly are you willing to do…?

Single Mother Chronicles: Happy New and Old Me

TS Eliot 

‘ Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions as some of us decided a couple of days ago, some of us may have broken them already and it is only January 2nd. (lol) The 31st of December either brings about a feeling of hope or dread. We promised to lose those last 10 pounds, reconnect with a lost friend, become more spiritual, start a new career, leave the negative folks behind or we believe the new year will bring about new attitudes, new opportunities or new loves.  And let’s be honest, for some single mothers they hope that this will be the year that the father of our children will understand what it takes to be a responsible father. And we silently pray (even if we do not want to admit it) that this will be the year we happen upon a man who will embrace us and our little ones. This is not silly or desperate, its human.

We tend to keep that last resolution to ourselves because we fear the appearance of desperately seeking…someone. However, what is wrong with wanting to share your fantastic self with someone else? Despite what some may say or wrote in those nauseating self help books, no one is meant to be alone. And most people desire some one to share their failures and triumphs with.

I usually do not make any type of resolutions. They have always seemed like a promise people do not want to really attain. It all sounds right at the time. They inspire you to feel as if you are starting over and hopeful in the year that follows. So this year, I  decided to start over in some instances and be hopeful in others, which included starting this blog. I set attainable goals for myself.

I have slowly lost contact with my best friend of 13 years. This is some one I use to stay on the phone with for at least  6 hours a day. We are each others confidant, soft place to fall and warriors. Through the birth of children and the death of  marriages we have been there for each other. At some point it began to feel like I was only bringing bad news and drama to our friendship table. So, I allowed us to drift apart. I feel like this is a friendship that deserved reconnection. Hopefully she feels the same way.

So, this year I did make some thing like resolutions. No, I take that back, I made New Year’s Affirmations that will speak truth into the things I want in my life, welcome the fact that they may not turn out exactly how I want them and stand in whatever the outcomes may be… knowing that at least I was finally open to them all.

Even through my trials and stumbles, I know I am blessed. This year I need to find out why and say ” Thank You”.

2015 here I am!

What Did You Say…?

Audacity is defined as ” The willingness to take bold risks.”  (or rude and disrespectful behavior, impudence.) In other words, to do and say what you feel without any regard to what others will say about you. In being audacious, there are those of us in this club who may abuse this character trait. Those discourteous club members who have  contracted the elitist disease. In the right hands audacity can be the most delicious thing and that is what “The Audacity Of Her” is all about. I’m standing in my truths here, whether people will accept it or not. I’m willing to take the risk of ruffling feathers, soothing spirits or inciting movements. “The Audacity Of Her” stands behind four principles:

1. The nerve to feel your convictions. – There will always be times when people don’t want to hear your truth. The great thing about that is they do not have to. What they eat, doesn’t make you…..The temerity to not only feel your convictions to your core but,truly live them is daring.

2. The courage to say what you are thinking. – We all know the saying, “Be seen and not heard.” Admittedly, there are times in life where it is best to remain quiet and observe. There are other times when you should shout from the proverbial roof top. Just because everyone you know loves the merits of “Scandal”, The Tea Party or Taylor Swift does not mean you have to bite your tongue because you have a different opinion. ( I love “Scandal”, The Tea Party gives me hives and Taylor Swift gets on my nerves.) Be confident enough to say what’s on your mind. The skilled required is…tack. No-one wants to have an intelligent debate with a butt hole.

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

3. The bravery to write your heart. – I’ve been writing in journals since I was a young child. I remember all these nuggets of child wisdom I would write to myself. Unfortunately, I am only in possession of my journals from about 2004 to presently. There are times when writing is like bleeding on a sheet of paper for me..expressing every deep seeded fear or on the surface pain. Writing what’s on your heart has the ability to free you from self-imposed chains. I always strive to write what is on mine through laughter, anger, love, fear, acceptance or pain. Writing is easy for me.. inviting everyone to have a glimpses of it, is the brave part.

4. The fearlessness to speak…loudly. – I am a “Real G’s move in silence” believer. No-one needs to know your every move unless you share their last name. ( And even that is debatable at times. LOL.) I observe much more than I speak. However, you better believe that when I do, I am passionate AND informed before reaching that decision. I will speak on injustices, tom foolery and betrayal. I will speak on politics, children and television if I believe my words will lead you to look below the surface. There is no fear of debate with me because I may learn something from others who have a differing opinion. Nonetheless, respect is mandatory.

Welcome to 2015 and “The Audacity Of Her”. The nesting place of nerve, courage, bravery and fearlessness. Kick off those 2014 shoes and stay awhile.

No Zeta, No Skee, No Wee, No DST…and the rest of your sisters too?

On the surface, the petition to stop the reality show “Sorority Sisters” created by Mona Scott Young is a great thing. It demonstrates the necessary process of standing up for something you believe in, the strength of one equaling the power of many and the fact that at least some of us are willing to stand in the way of a heavy rotation of reality shows that aren’t positive concerning our communities. If you dig deeper in your thinking, you may begin to ask yourself a few questions. The old adage ” It ain’t no fun, when the rabbit got a gun” comes to mind.

In other words, how many times has members of these four sororities created and signed petitions against the plethora of ridiculous shows that air on television every night? (One Delta is already a major figure on Love and Hip Hop. I don’t recall any petitions being circulated then.) Or does it now only matter because one just may show the same inside their house. The creator of the petition, Reynoir Lewis states that she created the petition to ” Stop the spread of ignorance and stereotyping of our beloved Black Greek organizations.” However, because Sorority Sisters has only released a brief trailer, (and it’s still in question whether the series will air) we can only assume that it may be a complete bag of tom foolery. After all it is a reality show by the queen of “reality” shows on VH1. Could it be that the potential of the foolery that takes place after walking through the burning sands and not the community service these organizations are pledged to provide is what the petition signers are a little afraid of? Rabbit…gun.

If anyone has ever been to a campus stroll, step show or Greek picnic I am sure you have witnessed the negativity they display towards other sororities, not to mention the members of their own chapters. Yes, families don’t always agree. It is a sign of growth to be able to settle differences. I wonder if it was possible that the sororities could have asked for a sit down with the head of Viacom and Mrs. Scott-Young to discuss what the show would reveal and then inform them both about the legacy of the organizations and the balance of sorority life. Is this petition stance on the right path, absolutely. Nonetheless, shouldn’t that position cover making sure ALL of our sisters and brothers are seen in the best light possible? Imagine the power we would hold if we ever decided to get up and fight against the bludgeoning of our family. It can not only be about these four sororities being seen in a bad light. It must include every woman that is viewed on our televisions participating in their own demise.

This should not be situational activism, where the Greek sisters are only moved by the sight of their letters and not by sight of any sister who looks like them with nothing on. It’s honorable to stand up and say”no more”. It is noble to get the foolishness off the air. It’s necessary to demand that there are possible portrayals of black people on television. And it is required that we command that for all of our community not just selective parts of it.