New Book/Author Alert

The Known World is a 2003 historical novel by Edward P. Jones. Set in Virginia during the antebellum era, it examines the issues regarding the ownership of black slaves by both white and black Americans.

I first heard about Mr. Jones when #bae and I went to see #levarburtonreads live on October 31st and he read one of his short stories. We were both so captivated and enthralled by the story that I immediately bought all three of his books as soon as we got home. I’ve just started on this one and will probably work my way through it fairly quickly. It’s an easy read and a great story that seems to just suck me in and make me want to keep going and turning page by page to see what happens. You should check him and his work out.

Stop Giving Power To The Powerless

I am a victim of this. I often give attention or power to those that should not hold my attention or any type of power over my life. I am essentially letting them run my life when they have no clue as to how to run their own. This has to stop.

I always end up caring more about someone else than they care about me. That’s how I end up hurt. I love hard and fast. Then when I get rejected or let down I still stay or stick around. It’s like I’m glutton for punishment. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… Yeah it’s more like fool me a million times and I’m still like ‘ hey, wyd? Thinking about you…’ Just a character flaw that I’ve always had. I’m too nice. I guess… Or I can’t let go. One or the other or maybe a bit of both. *Kanye shrug*

When I relinquish my power to people or things that have no business with it that’s when things go wrong. Like handing over an 18 wheeler to a nine year old that has never even sat in the front seat of a prius before. You’re bound to crash and destroy something or someone.

I also tend to relive the past. I’ll go back and text or call people that I know good and well I have no business being in contact with. They are my exes or former friends for a reason. Duh! I will get nostalgic when I see something that we both laughed at on tv or while out or the dreaded Facebook memories will remind me of them. Uggh. I then feel like I should reach out just to see how they are doing as well as to test to see if I’m truly over them and the situation that led to our break-up. Most of the time I’m not. I’ll end up hurt or upset once again because they’ve seemed to have moved on from it while I’m still frozen in time. Thus starting the cycle all over again.

Gotta stop giving power to the powerless. Now they have the power when I thought I took it back. Sigh… Geez I need to get out of my own way!

Be The Flow

“Don’t go with the flow; be the flow.” – Jay-Z

Forge your own path to greatness. While at times this road may be dark and lonely, just keep going. The light you’re shining is guiding someone else that you don’t even know exists.

Choose Happy

Happiness is not something that comes naturally or just happens. At least not for me. I have to make a conscious effort to make happiness a part of my daily life. Being happy is a choice just like being angry, upset, or sad is a choice. You have to choose happy over choosing to be angry, upset or sad.

I have to sometimes will or force myself into a state of happiness. It just doesn’t come as naturally to me as it does to others. When I find myself not choosing happiness I try and find at least 3 things that make me happy or put me in a state of euphoria and focus on them until I’m able to freely choose to be happy. The key is in the choice. If you have to choose, always choose happy and pursue it like your life depends on it.

When You Believe…

sem·i·co·lon

ˈsemēˌkōlən,ˈsemīˌkōlən/

noun

a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.

Every tattoo on my body has some personal meaning to it. This is a marking that, unless I have it covered, I will bear for the rest of my life as a message to the world as to what I am about or was going through at the time. This is my newest addition.

As an mental health advocate and survivor of suicidal thoughts and depression I chose the word believe with a semicolon replacing the letter ‘i’.

This tattoo encourages me to bel;eve that things will be better and that this is not the end of my journey.

It’s one thing to just say aloud or to myself that even though times are hard that they will be better and things will be okay. It’s a total difference when you actually bel;eve that things will be better or different.

The bel;ef in a better way is what makes it happen. When you truly bel;eve that you will be okay, you will be. You have to bel;eve.

The More You Know

For more than 250,000 African Americans in Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865 was a day of jubilation, as it signaled the final day of their enslavement. Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, Texas had yet to officially recognize the President’s executive order. Not until Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX with 2,000 soldiers on June 19, 1865 did African Americans learn about their emancipation. To the people of Galveston, Granger read General Order No. 3:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Today, 45 of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia recognize June 19th—more commonly known as Juneteenth, as a state or ceremonial holiday. And across the nation, African Americans celebrate Juneteenth to commemorate the freedom that their enslaved ancestors fought for and finally realized.

Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan Mubarak or happy Ramadan! This year I am going to try my hardest to adhere to Ramadan for the entire month. I’ve tried before, actually just about every year, and failed after the first few days. I think the longest is a week. This year Ramadan takes place from May 15th to June 13th, 2018.

I am a Muslim. I converted later in life but I’m not as devout as I used to be or even should be. I relate it now to catholism for some Catholics. Like, yes I am a Muslim but don’t ask me when was the last time I went to prayer and I love gummy bears. Okay so let me explain. Muslims don’t eat pork but gummy bears are made with gelatin and that has pork in it.

I need to get back on track so I plan to use this year’s Ramadan as a way to do it. Next year I plan to take a hajj aka pilgrimage to Mecca that Al able bodied Muslims are supposed to do at least once during their lifetime. We’ll see…

Anyway to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, I’d like to wish you Ramadan Mubarak and let me know if you are planning to take part in this year’s fast or nah?

Welcome To Wakanda: My Black Panther Experience

So I decided to take a trip. I grabbed my passport and headed out. Where am I going? Why Wakanda, of course! Yep, I went to visit family on Thursday, Saturday and again on Sunday. It felt so great to connect after all these years. Okay, for those of you that have no clue as to what I’m talking about I went to see the new Marvel movie Black Panther!

Quick heads up. This is not a think piece on the film itself, the Marvel Comic Universe, or any other topics that may have been touched on, like the Africans vs African Americans things etc, that have been touched on by the numerous other talking heads out there. If you want to read that then I implore you to go to our friend google and let her search. I’m sure you’ll find that and then some. I’m not here for alladat! At least not today. I’m just here to give my opinion on the film and stuff.

So as part of my ‘stepping up and stepping out’ this year I went to see the new Marvel movie Black Panther. Who am I kidding and why am I trying BS y’all? I was going to go see this regardless! And numerous times at that! I’ve been a fan of T’Challa ‘nem and have read the comics off and on since I was a kid. I was super excited about the possibility of a full length movie for some years now.

Anyway, I went to see it and was blown away! The acting was superb and well really excellent considering this is a super hero movie. Let’s be real, super hero movies tend to lack ummm… depth in the acting department. It’s mostly about the action with the dialogue typically taking second to push the story along and the acting taking last place. Who cares if they can act if there are explosions and big fight scenes, right? I do, but of course I’m probably in the minority.

Let’s talk about the fight scenes. I love that it was mostly all hand to hand combat. None of that throwing a grenade from a plane and flying off with the explosion happening a million feet behind while I safely drink a glass of something. Nope. This was in your face, I can feel and smell what you had for lunch type combat and I loved it! In 3D it was even better. Of course there were some scenes with guns but the hand to hand combat scenes were some of the best I’ve seen in a really long time. I’m talking the last time I saw some Jackie Chan or Jet Li movie type level here. No exaggeration.

The mix of traditional/cultural reference with modern/current day technology was prevalent throughout the film. I love that aspect. Mixing the old with the new for a nice little mash up. The ceremony to proclaim T’Challa as the new king was a great way of showcasing this mesh.

Now, let’s talk about some of the characters that did the damn thing:

Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa/Black Panther – Represented South Carolina to the fullest! If you aren’t familiar with him than you probably haven’t seen a biographical movie about a prominent black figure in the last few years. He’s played them all! Jackie Robinson to James Brown to Thurgood Marshall and now Black Panther! That boy good *Clarence from Coming to America Voice*

Michael B. Jordan – Erik Stevens/N’Jadaka/Killmonger – Okay so He’ll always be Wallace from The Wire to me. He killed it as well. I actually kind of felt bad for his character because what he was saying and wanting to do as far as liberating and helping African Americans with their fight against their oppressors and getting to a better place in life is commendable but his actions of doing it were wrong. In my opinion. He was a villain that you could root for.

Winston Duke – M’Baku – This man stole every scene he was in, effortlessly! Now every woman is fighting over him in real life.

Danai Gurira – Okoye – Badass!

Lupita Nyong’o – Nakia – I think Lupita is such a great actress and she was the perfect choice for this role.

Letitia Wright – Shuri – Smart, witty, powerful with a touch of that teenage angst. The future of Wakanda.

And of course Forrest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Sterling K Brown did their thing as well. Taking nothing away from them but this is getting a little long. So much black star power!

Okay, so about the movie. Honestly, it was a typical Marvel superhero movie on the surface. It hit all the Marvel points or moments so that it ties into the franchise and leads you to the next film. Great job on that. What made this different, or at least for me, was that I felt a more personal connection to the characters. Could be that the cast was predominantly black so I saw myself on the screen in a a positive light. Could be that the director was young and black. I don’t know but this movie resinated with me and hit me in a way that no other Marvel movie has done before.

One thing I would like to point out. Sure, we’ve had other black superhero movies before and this isn’t even the first black Marvel superhero (Blade) but what this movie does is that it comes along in a time when we need to see a young black superhero. We need to be able to look on the screen and see something that black kids and even adults can aspire to be. No, I don’t have a flower that can give me the strength of a panther or live in a place with vibranium and all sorts of other technology that is far superior than the rest of the world. What I can do is be a beacon of hope and inspiration like T’Challa was for his people. Show mercy even to those that try to destroy me, aka let my haters be my motivators, and also embrace change.

The dialogue in this movie will hopefully open up discussions in our own communities and families. I know I said I wasn’t going to make this into a think piece but the tension between Africans and African Americans is a real thing. Not in all but enough for it to be brought to the forefront. If you don’t feel it’s that way, you can also see it as tension between the black haves vs the black have nots. I’ll save that rant for another day though. Either way it has to stop. We can’t go forward together if we just keep pushing each other back or apart. Divide and conquer is the game and we are losing badly.

If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet what are you waiting for?

Wake Up! I went to See School Daze

So I did another thing. This time I went to see the 30th anniversary screening of School Daze at the fox theater tonight and met none other than my dad (in my head) Mr. Spike Lee! Yep. That happened.

It was such a great event! The first thing he said before the movie started was that if you’ve never seen the film before than you were “shit out of luck” and he wanted us singing along with the wannabes and jiggaboos, reciting the dialogue and dancing to “The Butt”!! So when my dad tells me to do something, I do it!

It was great being out and trying to be amongst other people without feeling weird about it. I was able to secure an aisle seat that gave me optimal viewing but still if I needed to dash out I could. I didn’t. I stayed for the entire thing and got to me the man, the myth, the legend that is Spike Lee.

I would say I’m on a roll with this “stepping up and stepping out” thing. What will be my next adventure? Hmm…

Oh, and by the way; It takes a real man to be a Gamma man ’cause only a Gamma man is a real man. G Phi G!