Nikky Finney, the 61st National Book of Poetry Award Winner "Honoree," Taught me how to "Honor" when she "Honored" Toni

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty6z9QMFKNw

I want to join the chorus of the many in honoring Nikky Finney for being awarded the National Book Award for Poetry. Her written words and the recounting of her words in her own voice are amazing. And, I use the term amazing not in the typical ways in which we use it to objectify some thing or someone, but amazing in the flesh and blood sense of the word. I must say I had the privilege to know of her as a student at Spelman College. I use the phrasing “to know of her” because it allows me to say I know her without transgressing the intimate boundaries of knowing her as sister-friend on the couch knowing or as cousin twice-removed knowing. Yes, I know of her.

Many years ago at Spelman College I was privy to be within earshot of her words. Privy, not privileged not blessed, but privy denoting the sharing of some secret knowledge to describe my somewhat commanded and providential attendance at Spelman’s Annual Toni Cade Bambara Writers Activist Collective Conference where Nikky Finny with the care of a well-seasoned mid wife delivered words in honor of Toni. Toni? Toni? At the time I did not know who Toni was beyond the 1990s R&B songstress. I knew only that the future old woman of my heart commanded (as she so often does to this day) my attendance and so I sat next to her (i.e. old woman of my heart) completely impervious to what was about to unfold. Yes, unfold like removing sheets from the dryer only to find tucked within the fitted sheet the sock you thought was lost.

New Web Episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl: Part 2 of "The Unexpected"

httpv://youtu.be/0BIEMXOMyB0

I have written previously on how much I love the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The show is original and features a young black woman who navigates her way through seen and unseen awkward situations on her job and in her relationships. Well, I am happy to report that the show is so popular that in a matter of a month, the creator, Issa Rae, and her cast mates where able to raise $44,000 dollars to continue the web series for another 5 weeks with a grand finale.

To read more about her inspirational fundraising story, please read below.

New Web Episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl: Simply Hilarious!!

httpv://youtu.be/miGmVCb9C4U

I have written previously on how much I love the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The show is original and features a young black woman who navigates her way through seen and unseen awkward situations on her job and in her relationships. Well, I am happy to report that the show is so popular that in a matter of a month, the creator, Issa Rae, and her cast mates where able to raise $44,000 dollars to continue the web series for another 5 weeks with a grand finale.

To read more about her inspirational fundraising story, please read below.

Sesame Street Does it Again: New Black Girl Video-Change the World

httpv://youtu.be/f9X0lI_Ol9Y

I tell you, many television and movie companies including Tyler Perry can take a chapter from Sesame Street when it comes to creating positive images of black women and girls. So, last year, Sesame Street’s video, I Love My Hair, went viral with parents excited to see positive messaging about black girls’ hair. However, this year, Sesame Street has gone further with not only positive imaging of black girls, but that black girls can be and do all things and, ultimately, change the world. Please share the video with others.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness: But Are We Truly Aware of Both??

So, I am sitting here trying to understand why during the month of October Breast Cancer Awareness gets more media attention and corporate sponsorship than Domestic Violence Awareness which is also remembered during the month of October. I know that most women have breast irrespective of their size, pigmentation, and function. And, I also know 1 of 8 women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer. However, what I am having a hard time trying to understand is why it seems to be favored, if one could favor one personal disaster over another, over domestic violence especially when 1 of 4 women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime meaning women are more likely to be exposed to domestic violence than breast cancer.

This acknowledgement is not to reduce the level of attention Breast Cancer Awareness’ initiatives receive because it is important. And, evermore important to me because a couple of months ago my “beloved” godmother was diagnosed with it which caused me to become a consumer of all things related to curing Breast Cancer. However, as a survivor of domestic violence—lived through my mother’s daily beatings—and goddaughter of a breast cancer survivor, I see the interconnections and similarities between both issues and why they must be addressed simultaneously.

Brand New Web Episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-iNpSVXbWU

I have written previously on how much I love the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The show is original and features a young black woman who navigates her way through seen and unseen awkward situations on her job and in her relationships. Well, I am happy to report that the show is so popular that in a matter of a month, the creator, Issa Rae, and her cast mates where able to raise $44,000 dollars to continue the web series for another 5 weeks with a grand finale.

To read more about her inspirational fundraising story, please read below.

“I am the Baddest Bitch” LA Basketball Wives: Colorism, Draya vs. Laura, and Overall Worthlessness

So, I will admit I watch Basketball Wives. Yes, I do. However, I think I have to draw the line at LA Basketball Wives. It’s too much. In particular, it’s the colorism of the show that is the most glaring issue for me. On the very first episode, all the light-skinned women (i.e. Gloria Govan, Laura Govan, Imani Showalter, and Jackie Christie) had “beef” with one or two of the darker-skinned women (i.e. Maylaysia Pargo, Tanya Williams, and Kamisha Artest). And, then to add “insult to injury” they, meaning Shaunie O’Neal, removed two of the darker sisters—Kamisha Artest and Tanya Williams—from the show leaving only Malaysia.

So, in some ways, the color issue is resolved. However, now the issue of “acceptable” sexuality rears its ugly head. Draya Michele now becomes the bull’s eye for the women on the show.

I Know Why Black Men act the Way they Act: Peter Pan Syndrome!!

As I walked home yesterday from the market with my several bags of groceries and my godson in toe being harassed by young black men who probably could be my nephews, I finally understood why many Black men act the way they do. Why they are completely impervious to emotions. Why they can sleep with countless numbers of women and men and deny their sexuality. Why they have so much free time to harass me as I walk down the street (al. holding constant the double digit unemployment rate in the black community). Why they can walk away from raising their children. Yes, I know why they act the way they act. It’s pretty simple. They have no social responsibility and by extension no emotional responsibility.

Follow Up to Chapter’s EBT Video: Why Single Black Women Have Babies

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG_Gvd4PFFo&feature=related

As a follow-up to The Viral Video, EBT: We Have Failed You Chapter…An Open Letter, I want to talk about a comment that I received frequently about Chapter’s character in the EBT video. Many people have emailed me saying that they agree with my blog, but that they also know black women who do those things. Those things . . . as if those things that they do are so vile that the actual act must not be named for fear of its appearance. Those things. What types of those things? Getting pregnant in order to qualify for general assistance?

It has been my experience as a mentor that when a young woman tells me she wants to have a baby it is because she wants someone—the baby or her boyfriend—to love her, and, of course, this rationale comes with its own set of consequences. But, my young mentee’s rationale is not far removed from why some single privileged or married privileged women decide to have babies. They too seek love or at least commitment from the men in their lives. The difference between my mentee and the privileged women is that their class privilege absolves them of blame.

I say all this to say that perhaps the reason why young women decide to have babies is not to “swindle” the government, but to secure that which all women are taught to desire in this society, what bell hooks refer to as the “male gaze.” And, the male gaze includes having the man’s baby or performing your feminine gender of being a mother. So, perhaps, the larger issue is not about “those things” single black girls do, but more about who they are doing those things for.