The Beginning of a Black Revolution

Black Panther released in theaters February 16th and in just twenty-four days (March 11th to be exact), the film officially crossed $1 billion worldwide at the box office. This year at the 2018 Oscars, Jordan Peele became the first Black screenwriter to win an Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay” for his 2017 film Get Out. I’m officially declaring this time the beginning of a Black Revolution!

Black screenwriters and directors like Ryan Coogler, Jordan Peele, and Ava DuVernay are using the realm of film to celebrate Blackness and share the stories of Black identity across the nation. Due to their hard work and diligence in changing the on screen images of Black identity, they are actively providing positive, strong, and powerful images of Blackness on the BIG screen and in the homes of many.

Black Panther and Get Out are not just great films, they inadvertently speak truth to power. These films highlight a range of circumstances that people of African descent have encountered from colonization to racial discrimination.

Get Out illustrates the horrific reality of being Black in America. It highlights the domination and control that White America has had over Black bodies since slavery! It is a film representational of how Blacks or African Americans are silenced throughout the world, hence the “Sunken Place”, a concept that has been used to depict our marginalization.

However, Black Panther serves as an opposite depiction of the cultural elements, historical wealth, brilliance, and royalty of African identity – the “original” reality that have been stripped away and replaced with the narrative of systematic and institutional oppression. The circumstances that have become our current reality. Black Panther also celebrated Black womanhood and the strength, courage, and wisdom that Black women are birthed with. Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than Black women and it is time that our #BlackGirlMagic is honored and placed at the head of the conversation. Director, Ryan Coogler paid homage to African culture and addressed the disconnect between the relationships of African Americans and Africans in this film and led us all to have a deep discussion on why we, who have come from the same roots, are so divided as a people.

Black Panther and Get Out are movies that will forever go down in history. These are films that our children will watch and look up to years from now. These films are the beginning of a Black Revolution and the creation of several films and shows to come inspired to speak truth to power and change the images of Black identity, much like Seven Seconds and Shots Fired, which highlight the history and sometimes horrific reality of Black identity in America.

It is films and shows like these that will allow us to recognize a source of power within ourselves that will empower us to transcend fear and embrace our internal strength and power.

Am I Black or Woman/Man First?

One of my favorite things to do is listen to Black Girl Podcast. It’s the perfect thing to listen to when I’m driving or getting ready in the morning. I can not begin to tell you how I began listening to their podcast, but what I can tell you is what made me love it the very first time.

First, these five women are unapologetically Black. They are very much involved and in-love with Black culture from hip-hop to our youth.

Second, they are extremely open and honest about their experiences ranging from love & relationships, career exploration, mental health, family, and more.

On Episode 26…Sapphira, Scottie Beam, Gia Peppers, Alysha P., and Bex posed a very interesting question, “Am I Black or Woman First?”

*For the purposes of staying in context with this particular episode I will be using the term woman a lot but I would love for men reading this to think about the dynamics of the conversation and how they would personally identify.

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Before I continue  follow @blackgirlpod on all social media platforms and listen to their podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, and Google. I promise you’ll love it!

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Initially my response was that I am Black and a woman! Those two identities can not be exclusive or separated from one another. I am a BLACK WOMAN. Period!

However, all of these women had different answers ranging from Black, Woman…to Human! Alysha P. stood on my side by stating that she did think she could place one above the other.

Scottie Beam identified as being Black first…”…because that’s the first thing I see. Being a woman is not enough at all because I’m Black. We’re at the bottom of the bottom and because of that it’s because I’m Black. So I will see myself as Black First”, she said.

She went on to say that people look at her blackness first before acknowledging her womanhood. Sapphira and Gia Peppers agreed! Gia specifically stated that she was Black first because we are not as protected as white women. She argued that if Sandra Bland had been a white woman she would have never lost her life.

Bex, on the other hand, stated that she was “human” because growing up that’s all she knew. She did not grow up understanding gender or racial differences and she believes that we are all humans first and should not have to live under categories.

Growing up much like Bex, I didn’t worry about being Black or White because I really didn’t know if it made a difference. We were all human! I could physically see the differences and I would hear the racial stereotypes and slurs and know that they’re things that we don’t have in common, but it wasn’t something that I believed affected me. Most of us had similar backgrounds and living experiences, not to mention that there were so few non-black students that they were the minority. My elementary and middle/high school experience, I was surrounded by people that looked like me everyday.

It wasn’t until college that I became more consciously aware of my position in the world as a Black woman. It was then that I realized that I was in fact the minority and things were going to be three times harder for me! My experiences in a predominantly African American city and school system has greatly affected my experiences in life. So for me I can’t identify as human first because as an African American…It has been expressed to me countless times that my humanness comes last!

After listening to all these responses and perspectives, I understood where all these women are coming from. As a Black woman, I definitely understand the plight of being looked at differently not only for being a woman…but also being Black. It’s a double-edged sword. My Blackness greatly impacts my experience as a woman, whereas this is not the same reality for white women. So, Am I Black first? Or is it because my Blackness greatly impacts my womanhood that the two are inseparable?

 

Comment below and let me know whether you are Black or Woman/Man first! I would love to hear you opinion!

I didn’t Vote and I don’t regret it

The title made you click this post! You’re already ready to debate and tell me I’m wrong! You’re wondering what the heck I have to say! That’s fine…I accept that because I was prepared when I clicked publish! So let’s get right into it.

It’s been ONE FULL YEAR since President Donald Trump has taken oath as the 45th President of the United States! Can you believe it? I can’t! But to get to the heart of the issue I need to confess.

NO, I DID NOT VOTE! NO, I DON’T FEEL BAD FOR NOT VOTING! I DID NOT VOTE and THAT WAS MY CHOICE!

Flashback:

In 2012, I had the pleasure of voting in my first presidential election. President Barack Obama was running for his second term and chances were high that he would be re-elected. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I got up early and went down the street to my voting poll with my parents to vote for POTUS.  I was smiling ear to ear because I was finally able to take part in what was said to be “what my ancestors fought for”! (We’ll talk more about that later…)

I was stuck in the “My President is Black” syndrome. But realistically, I wasn’t into politics and I didn’t know much about his policies, beliefs, or what he had done the previous four years to deserve to be re-elected. It was something I took for granted and swept under the rug because I was young and at the moment POTUS didn’t mean that much to me, but I knew he was Black and that would go down in History. To say not only did the first Black President serve one term but TWO would be LEGENDARY! I felt feelings of joy as I was taking part in electing for a second term the first Black President of the United States. After casting my vote, I immediately posed for a picture wearing my “I voted” sticker. I even competed in a competition to be eligible to attend his presidential inauguration! I WON along with 6 other students. This was the talk of the town in my city and we, students were featured in Newspapers and television broadcasting for weeks because we were going to President Obama’s second inauguration.

On January 21, 2013,  I watched our president, Barack Obama take oath for his second term as I stood in the green section of the lawn on what seemed like the coldest day ever!

Fast-Forward:

When it was FINALLY time to vote again…I was a senior in college and I actually cared about our political climate! I thought it would be a great opportunity to actually look into each candidate and check their policies and what they stood for and how they would help and continue to advance this country into the right direction.

However, when I realized that the final two candidates that I had to choose between to run the future of our country was Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I was met with much disappointment and heartache.

“This is a joke!” (My first reaction)

“Are you kidding?” (My second reaction)

I’m going to wake up and this won’t be trueThe real presidential candidate will come (My third reaction).

I felt like I was being told directly to my face that I didn’t matter. As a Black Woman in America my whole presence and existence was being threatened because I had the privilege (sarcastic voice) of choosing between two white supremacist who have proven that they viewed Blacks as inferior. So, what do you do?

Several have fought me on my decision stating that I should have chosen the lesser of “two evils” with Hillary being the “lesser”. Some have stated that our ancestors have fought for our rights to vote and that we should exercise that freedom and right regardless.

However, I believe that if my ancestors had to choose between two individuals who did not value their livelihood that they would resist the offer. I believe they would fight and protest their rights by demanding someone more capable steps into office. I believe one of them would step up themselves and try to make change happen. My ancestors did NOT fight for the “lesser of two evils”…they fought for JUSTICE, FREEDOM, and EQUALITY. Martin Luther King Jr., along with so many others highlighted voting as a necessary and key component in making real change (I KNOW!) So, I’m not negating that argument as truth but what I am saying is that when voting for a Presidential candidate, you desire to feel like you are voting for someone who is FOR the people and that means ALL people.

Moral of the story: No, I didn’t vote in this year’s election, NO I don’t feel bad!

What this year has done is shown us that we can NOT afford to get comfortable! There is still so much work to be done in our current political climate for justice, freedom, and equality! If we ever forgot or thought we were good, this presidency has displayed to us LOUDER than we’ve heard before that we STILL have work to do! Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, the Freedom Riders, along with SOOO many others work was just the beginning. We are still fighting the 1%, we are still fighting racism, we are still fighting hate crimes, we are still fighting and as Assata Shakur has stated “It is our duty to fight for our freedom”!

I believe that when focusing on voting, we should also focus on local politics because electing qualified candidates in our own communities, in our own neighborhoods will begin the process of making and implementing real change throughout the world. Start local and aim high!

“Your silence will not protect you” – Audre Lorde

Be Cardi, Tiffany and Issa in 2018

                                         

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I’ve never been one to say a year was bad and to be honest, I don’t think 2017 was an awful year! But I do think it was eye opening. I’m sure we all can say the same!  WE all shared some “What the..?” moments.

Here are a few highlights of my 2017:

  • Traveled to Los Angeles, CA for the first time
  • Launched Brytnie Devon Blog
  • Graduated with B.A. degree
  • Began Grad School & Completed my first Semester with all A’s
  • Became a model for a friend’s clothing line (Plenty Luxe…Go Check it out by clicking on the company name)
  • Went to Women’s Convention in Detroit, MI (AMMMMAAZZING!!!)
  • Gained new friends
  • Went to cool parties (S/O to all the Birthday Parties, random Kilroy nights, game nights, Christmas Parties, etc.)
  • Saw SZA and Joy Bada$$ in concert
  • Turned 23 years young!

Am I missing anything? Anway…Through everything I’ve learned some things that I couldn’t have learned at any other time in my life and if I’d had learned it before, this year magnified it the most!

1. You Never know when your last day will be

Not to be all sad and depressing, but you honestly never know when your time on this earth is up. So regardless of what may be going on in your life, work to settle differences with individuals. Don’t hold grudges. Love unconditionally. Work toward your dreams. Make sure you are working toward a legacy that you want to be remembered by and make sure that people always know where you stand.

2. LOVE yourself

People will disappoint you. You CAN NOT rely on anyone to make you happy or validate you! Once you love yourself, you can begin to live for you and you can whole-heartedly love others. Once you love yourself, you hold a higher value and standard for how you deserve to be treated. Don’t let yourself burn out. If you are tired and drained from all your responsibilities…Self-care is the move. In other words, sit down somewhere and let your body recuperate.

3. LIVE YOUR LIFE SIS/BRO

As a “20 Something”, I’ve come to realize that now is the perfect time to do what makes you happy. Now when I say live your life what I really mean is make it worth while. DO everything you’ve always wanted to do without hesitation. If you’ve always wanted to go bungie jumping, DO IT! If you want to visit Las Vegas, DO IT! If you want to start your own hair company, DO IT! Whatever those goals, dreams, or adventures that you have in mind that you want to accomplish, Go for it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, because you have all the necessary tools to do so. Don’t let doubt or fear stop you!

4. Do NOT COMPARE- Patience is key!

Everyone has there own story and there own timing. What happened to her at 22, may happen to you at 30. Trust the process boo! You’ll get there when it’s your time. Sometimes you have to go through challenges, experience, and grow a little bit more to get there. Be patient and everything will happen when it’s meant to happen.

5. THE WORLD IS INSANE!!

Our president is Donald Trump! If that isn’t proof that the world is insane, what else do you need? That’s ALL!

6. Critique BUT don’t OVER DO IT!

We are ALL our worst critiques, I’m sure! With anything we do – whether it’s our business or physical appearance, we always find something wrong with it! I’ve come to realize that it is okay to be critical or a “perfectionist”, but it’s not okay to let your own hang ups hold you back. LET GO and TAKE RISKS! Sometimes our projects could be extraordinary and the world should see it, but instead of publishing it…we hold on to it because we’re not satisfied. THAT IS NOT THE WAY TO GO! If you keep holding on to your gift and not sharing it because it’s not “perfect”, when will it ever get published? Nothing is perfect and the more you keep holding on is the more you are taking away from your road to success. Take risks and accept the praise (and/or criticism from others). Truth be told we all have doubts about our selves and most of the time we’re the only thing standing in our own way.

These are just a few of the many lessons I’ve picked up in 2017! Share yours below so we can compile a list of our much needed messages! To end this post…I will say is be Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, and Issa Rae in 2018!!!!! Take everything that’s yours! Wear the Crown!

Nola Darling is a Little Bit of all of US

Spike Lee’s new series, She’s Gotta Have it is a remake of his 1986 debut film. The series released on Netflix on Thanksgiving Day has sparked much conversation.

Like most young Black women, Nola has a dollar and a dream and is trying to make it so she could live her best life and afford her “too expensive” apartment in Brooklyn.  Nola is like so many Black women I’ve come across in college and she is a little bit of all of us.

Initially, the show seems to depict main character and artist, Nola Darling, as a promiscuous woman, an explorer of sexuality, an artist, an activist, and a woman scared of commitment who is “juggling a lot”, in the words of her therapist. Nola is a young struggling Black woman trying to pursue her passion for art, while doing some self-discovery (SAME CHILE) !

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Although hard to swallow at the surface, the content of the show is much deeper than what it leads on to be. It combats several stereotypes and attitudes about Black womanhood while highlighting acts of misogyny, rape culture, cat calling, mental health, amongst more.

A personal favorite scene of mine is when Nola Darling defies male chauvinism by posting images all over Brooklyn that declare, “I am not Sweetie”, “I am not Babygurl”, “I am not Aye Yo Ma”, and “I am not Mamacita”, just to name a few. She uses these statements as a form of artist protest and activism against cat calling. Nola begins posting this street art after being harassed by a man she did not know on the street. This is a trend all too common and I’m sure all women have faced at one time or another. If you have ever been walking the streets minding your business and you hear someone yell, “Aye Yo Ma” aggressively and persistently, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

After this incident, as a rebuttal Nola bought a Little Black Dress and wore it around the three men she was dating to be much disappointed when they all point out that “If she didn’t want ______ to happen, she shouldn’t have worn the dress”. This ideology represents rape culture and the idea that what a woman wears justifies rape (ROLLS EYES!)

She’s Gotta Have it also highlights the insecurities and imperfections of women and the un-relentless desire to change the way one looks to feel beautiful. Nola’s friend,  Shemekka Epps, a dancer, desires to acquire a bigger butt much like Nicki Minaj. After acquiring the money for her body alteration, Shemekka gains confidence and just what she needs to feel beautiful. There other friend on the other hand states that, “Any woman willing to alter her body is willing to affirm the male gaze”.

All in all, it questions what exactly women’s freedom is? The freedom to undeniably accept one’s self without trying to fit into stereotypes of what a woman’s body is “supposed” to look like or having the freedom to alter the body however one desires?

Spike Lee spoke for  women all over the world highlighting Black women’s issues and challenges. I’m not sure if Lee intentionally or unintentionally released the show in the era of the #MeToo Movement (social media hashtag sparked in Oct. 2017 by social activist Tarana Burke as a method of highlighting and denouncing sexual assault and harassment after allegations toward Harvey Weinstein surfaced) and the era of TRUMP, but it worked and I LOVED it!

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Lee did an exceptional job at highlighting something that we do NOT talk about in the Black culture, MENTAL HEALTH! Recently, Jay-Z has confirmed that he has gone to therapy and it has helped tremendously shape him into the man he is today. Besides Jay-Z,  not many African Americans discuss therapy sessions because to us it’s “TABOO” or symbolic of insanity. Nola Darling often went to her therapist and worked through her “messiness”, which is sometimes a MUST! We can’t always get through it on our own.

With background music from Brian McKnight, Sade, and lyrics like “Ahh we got MELANIN” …photos of Solange Knowles surfacing…references to Shirley Chisolm, Nicki Minaj, Amber Rose…remarks about Trump, police brutality, and the struggles of bi-racial identity…the show is packed with CULTURE.

Nola Darling is incredibly comfortable with being 120% “Nola Darling”. She is passionate, strong, radical, determined, and a tab bit “messy”. She is a perfect combination of so many other strong depictions of Black womanhood expressed on television today like Mary Jane Paul of “Being Mary Jane” and Nova Bordelon of “Queen Sugar”.

If you are still trying to discover who you are, have a passion or talent and want to pursue it for the rest of your life, are dissatisfied with your body, upset Prince died way too soon, scared of commitment and getting hurt, or sick and tired of being sick and tired….you are a little bit of Nola Darling!

“All the black female form wants is to be is free” – Nola Darling

Confessions of an Introvert

My name is Brytnie and I am an introvert!

Characteristics:

Prefers to listen, watch, and reflect

Independent of Others

Thinker/Planner

Like Alone time

GUILTY AS CHARGED! Now, although I believe I am a introvert more than an extrovert…I am on the spectrum of being both! However, my introvert side shines through more often than none and more than I like.

Here’s why:

Lately, Ive been told the same thing from several different people. Lots of people have commented on my “quietness” and lack of engagement in conversation regarding certain topics. I’ve battled with feeling like I don’t talk enough or I’m too anti-social and introverted. There was never a time when I hated my introverted-ness until now…when its been pointed out time and time again and I feel like something is wrong with me.

The problem is…I’ve never been really assertive. I don’t have a huge personality that dominates the room when you come in. I have a personality, but that OVER THE TOP thing, isn’t me! But I’m fun, social, and lovable when you get to know me. To know me is to love me quite frankly. SERIOUSLY!  HAHA.

Back to the subject, in a room full of dominant people who talk and talk and talk…I prefer to be the quiet one because somebody has to shut up right? Often times the person that talks the less has the more relevant and powerful thing to say when they open their mouth. So I’d rather be that girl! Rather than the girl who talks so much everyone avoids holding a conversation and talks about her behind her back (P.S. I’ve met that girl and it wasn’t pretty!)  I’d rather have a meaningful conversation about something I’m passionate about or interested in than something meaningless and than sometimes I just don’t feel like talking! Is that bad?

I also attribute this to me being the only child! I spent a lot of time playing by myself, creating characters, etc. So, it’s always been normal and natural. However, as I’ve gotten older and have moved away, I find myself wanting to be around people more often than not. I find myself lonely at times…and other times I’m okay with being in my room by myself doing homework, listening to music, watching tv, or just doing my own thing. It’s weird but it just depends on my overall mood.

Anyway…Anybody else feel like their “introverted-ness” is a problem or a bad thing?

When WE Love

Now that the seasons of Power and Insecure have come to a close and we have to wait an entire year to find out if Molly is still messing with ole’ girl’s husband, if Issa and Lawrence are gonna EVER get back together, and why Tasha stopped messing with Lawyer dude (What’s his name again?)….It’s a PERFECT time to talk about the portrayal of Black women in these narratives.

What I found to be interesting and unsettling while watching and reflecting on both of these jaw dropping, entertaining, hilarious, sitting on the edge of my seat shows…is that they seem to portray black women as “disloyal”.

With Molly messing with another woman’s husband, Issa cheating on Lawrence, and Tasha cheating on her husband with HIS LAWYER…it seems as if the narrative of Black women not being able to be trusted is a common thread.

Is that it? Or does the portrayal of these women seem to say something about the complicated nature of love and the effect of failed relationships and relationship complications?

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Most of you will say it’s the latter and that these characters don’t challenge the narrative that black women are loyal. Most of you will say that these black women were loyal until they were pushed into not being and their love was taken for granted. (Touche’) However, think of it like this!

Well…Molly has no excuse! Molly is disloyal, PERIOD. The fact is that she knows Dro is married and she should not be involved with a married man, whether he claimed he was in an open marriage or not! Who is she being disloyal to? HIS WIFE and HER SELF! I firmly believe that as a woman I owe it to other women to be loyal to them and not betray them because one of the deepest pains is betrayal! Knowing that your husband has been cheating on you with another woman, but also a woman that you know and has SMILED IN YOUR FACE….let’s not go there. I won’t go on my rant! Let’s just say…nah, not cool EVER!

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But Molly is also being disloyal to herself! Because deep down, she knows that the temporary satisfaction that she’s receiving, is not something that she really wants. Countless times, this season she’s told Dro that their relationship wasn’t a good idea and you could see the contemplation on her face, however, she continues to go against what she knows is right and continues to do what she knows is wrong! Ultimately, she’s hurting herself because she will never be the ONE and his wife will always come first, which results in her disappointment and unhappiness.

As for Issa…one of the best scenes of this season was on the final episode. She stands in the empty apartment that she was moving out of. The apartment held way to many memories of her and Lawrence’s relationship and the cost was becoming to much for her to handle. As she takes her final look around, she turns toward the kitchen and to her surprise she finds Lawrence standing there waiting for her. But one of the best parts of this scene is her confessing that she was wrong for cheating on him when he was going through a hard time. Yes, he didn’t have a job. Yes, he forgot her birthday. Yes, he seemed to be lazy and feeling sorry for his self ALL THE TIME. But as his girl, she should have been motivating, encouraging, and lifting him up daily. In this scene, Lawrence and Issa finally have the much needed, mature, and reflective conversation and you could see the realness and sincerity in their words and Issa finally opens up.

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Lawrence: I’m sorry for not being who you expected me to be. Who I expected me to be.

 Issa: Lawrence I wanted to be better for you….When you were going through what you were going through I just didn’t know how to handle it

Lawrence: I mean…what could you have done though?

Issa: MORE…you needed me to be better for the BOTH OF US! And I didn’t even know how to do that for myself….What I did was the worst thing I could have ever done to you!

The phrase “You needed me to better for the BOTH of us”, is loyalty, its real, its complicated…but its love! Issa should have been there as a rock!

 

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Finally, Tasha! When you marry someone apart of the vows are “Til death do us part” (right?) Therefore, no matter how much Ghost cheated on Tasha, Tasha should have diligently worked to make her marriage work or she should have filed for divorce. Because girl if that ring is still on that finger, then your loyalty lies with your husband and you definitely shouldn’t be cheating on him with his driver or his lawyer! (Oh no baby, what is you doing?)Because Tasha decided not to get a divorce and to stay in an unhappy non-existent marriage, then it is still her duty to be loyal to her husband, right?

When we Love…when does being loyal become too much? When does your loyalty stop? Does it ever? Is it too much to come by now of days?

As a Black woman who feels as if television constantly portrays negative characteristics of black womanhood (ESPECIALLY ON “REALITY TELEVISION”), I challenge you to think back on these characters and ask yourself if these characters are doing the same thing. Think back on what loyalty means to you. Think about the perception of Black womanhood. I challenge you to have a conversation with me about what you think! Is it even about Black womanhood or womanhood, in general? Or it just human emotion and reactions?

 

 

 

 

 

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More Than a Comedy

For most Black women, the narrative is true! We tend to give all of ourselves and sacrifice our own self happiness in relationships with men. And it’s not like we intentionally do it, but we love so hard and have this desire/passion to give all of ourselves to those that we love and we love them unconditionally without question – flaws and all, which leads us to sometimes neglecting our own self care! See as Black women we love to no end, only to sometimes not receive the same amount of respect or love in return. Girls Trip was MORE than a comedy, it was a message to all Black women who give too much of themselves up and forget who (insert your name) is. It was nothing short of eye-opening to think about how we forget our personal morals and values. We begin to sacrifice what we wouldn’t tolerate before in order to make something work. I’ve personally seen this from several women in my life, so this message is not far fetched. Below I go into detail about my THREE Take-a-Ways from the Movie:

 

  1. Don’t Forget who YOU are

It’s important not to forget what makes you who you are. What do you like to do for fun? What do you believe in? What do you in enjoy? In the film, Regina Hall played Ryan Pierce, the woman who forgot who she was due to falling in love and placing herself in the shadows. She forgot what she believed in and what she was willing to tolerate.

It is important to remember – When you are in a relationship, WHO YOU ARE DOES NOT ERASE! Your relationship should not jeopardize or come before Self. In a relationship, you are two INDEPENDENT individuals coming together in the name of love to challenge each other, grow together, and build a life with one another. Your VOICE is NOT SILENCED, but ELEVATED!

It’s okay to fall short and make mistakes, but own your truth, take a deep breathe, and get back to YOU! Every mistake is a chapter in your story and a moment for growth and lessons! DO NOT BE ASHAMED!

 

  1. Money DOES NOT equal Happiness

No Matter how much money you have, it does not determine your happiness. Money is a material object, while happiness is internal. It’s something that you can’t purchase! It is a feeling unmatched!

Ryan was all work and no play. She had a vision to where she wanted to be and how she wanted her career to unfold (YOU GO GIRL!), but that’s not okay when you let the idea of money or career status interfere with real happiness or satisfaction. Although Ryan had a vision of where she wanted to be, she wasn’t getting to where she wanted to be the right way. She was accepting betrayal and continuous hurt because she did not want to jeopardize the money! But she wasn’t happy, so what difference does the money make anyway? Don’t settle or sell yourself out for temporary satisfaction!

 

  1. Make TIME for Friends & Appreciate them

Apart of Life is being able to take advantage of ALL life has to offer and making the best out of it. With that being said – MAKE ADVENTURES and MEMORIES that you will never forget! What better group of people to do it with than your friends? As you get older and time progresses, responsibilities tend to take us away from our friends and truly having fun, but it’s important that at every chance you get to step away from life’s responsibilities and make time for WHAT YOU WANT TO DO! Make time for goofy-ness, girl talk, laughs, and fun traditions. Your friends (if they’re real) WILL ALWAYS have your back no matter what & they will ride for you to the end. Don’t take advantage of it or take it for granted!

 

Girls Trip was for BLACK WOMEN and Y’all (Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Regina Hall) DID THAT!

Did I Miss the Memo?

The meeting before Grad School officially began made me wonder if I missed the memo and there was a secret club that I was not apart of. And let me tell you now it was RUDE!

So it’s Friday and I’m requested to attend a department meeting! YAYYY!! (sarcastic vc). But it’s my first year as a graduate student and why not, right?? This is the perfect time to meet some professors in my field and some of my fellow classmates and colleagues.

As I walk into this meeting, I’m already thinking, “Why am I here? I have a million other things to do.” Wrong attitude, I know! No need for the lecture! But as the meeting began and I sat and listened to the endless talking go on and on, my thought remained the same. Not to mention…EVERYONE IN THE ROOM WAS DRESSED UP EXCEPT FOR ME! How did that happen? There I was sitting with some jeans, a tie dye YMCA T-shirt, and sandals. UGH! While everyone else had on dresses, heels, suits, and dress shoes. (rolls eyes) If that wasn’t enough, the one thing that made me feel even more out of place was when the speaker asked all the Graduate Assistants to stand up! That’s me!!!!  So I stand up and look around the room and to my surprise all the graduate students are SITTING IN THE SAME SECTION BUT ME!

SEE!!! Wouldn’t you feel ridiculous!? If I could have sank deep deep down into my seat only to not be seen again I would have but I’m pretty sure they already saw me. It happened twice! Twice I was the odd ball out in the same meeting. How much ruder do you get?

Did I miss a meeting? Is there a Facebook, snapchat, or text group that I am not apart of? Was there a sign that read “Graduate Assistants sit here!” that I missed? All of these questions I would love to know the answer to, but all I received was an email requesting that I attend the meeting. There was no special instructions.

There they were all sitting together and standing up in unison at the request to stand and there I was all alone and in no dress clothes. I wondered was this a sign about what grad school would be like for the next two years or if someone was trying to tell me something. However, I laid my suspicions aside and hoped that my nightmare would never happen again!

Now, I have successfully completed my first week of Grad School and it hasn’t nearly been as bad as that meeting! It’s definitely been a large work load (mentally and physically) I’ve been in a weird cross of feeling like a real adult (cleaning my apartment, paying bills, cooking, budgeting, etc.) and remembering/missing my very first year of undergrad when everything was simple. However, I am focused and anxious for what my future holds. I can’t wait until these next two years are complete!

USVI Naturalista My Story On How I Keep My Hair Healthy And Happy

Thank you to Brytnie Jones for allowing me to be a guest blogger to share tips on my natural hair journey as well as some of my staple natural hair products.

Greetings to all I am Renisha Thomas a career driven, mother of one, lover of DIY, simply island chic from St. Croix USVI. I will be sharing my personal experiences that I’ve been doing to keep my hair healthy and happy and most of all manageable. I do hope that this information is helpful for many who may be having some difficulty with their hair. I encourage my fellow sistas to keep rocking with their kinks and coils no matter what stage you might be presently. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

My natural hair journey began in 2012 after realizing the relaxer was thinning out my hair. I decided to transition for 6 months. Shortly after I got tired of transitioning due to the two different hair textures and decided to Big Chop. How exciting that day was for me. It was a bit of a repulsive decision but I never looked back. Even though I received some negative comments about my newly “manly fro”. I felt horrible at first but I didn’t let those comments distract me. So now I big chopped now what? I began watching daily youtube videos, joined different hair groups on social media, and did some research on the new fab on Natural hair. I took those advice and techniques and began experimenting on my hair. During my early years of being natural I spent a drastic amount of dollars trying to find a product that would make my hair “curly” I was determine to get the type of hair I’ve seen my friends has and was not I repeat “was not” giving up. Needles to say I never successfully won the battle.

As a naturalista I’m sure you heard the phrase “product junkie
“someone who compulsively purchase any and all hair care products in sight and is forever on a mission to find the next best thing”.

Are you or where you one of those ladies? It’s ok I was one too. I became obsessed with trying so many different products all at once that I never took the time to learn and understand what my hair really likes. It took me a while (years) actually to realize that I was wasting money. I cleaned up my act pretty quickly after that and began to use up my stash and narrow down to a simple wash day routine.

Follow along as I share how I keep track of my wash routine, the importance of knowing your hair porosity, and my current staple hair products.

  • I encourage everyone to know your hair porosity. This will benefit you in so many ways on saving money as well guiding you in choosing product selection. Check out this link for more information on how to test your hair porosity. http://thenopoomethod.com/porosity/
  • Add Tarchelle Bryant natural hair journal book to your arsenal. This journal helps you figure out what your hair loves. It’s a 4 week journal suitable for a newly natural and seasonal one too. I was gifted this book by the author and I learned so much, If you love writing and keeping track of your hair progress this is the book for you. Click on the link to purchase a copy for yourself http://amzn.to/2thCCpq
  • I’m a low porosity chica so I follow the deep condition on dry hair method with heat, followed by a rinse out conditioner. Once a month I detox my hair using the soultanicals “hair detox” http://www.soultanicals.com/master-hair-cleanse-curl-detox/ followed with my deep condtioner http://www.soultanicals.com/afrotastic-curl-elastic/ rinse out and style. Please watch my friend @Mythriftedcloset https://youtu.be/F-aDjgCjCIY she has tons of useful information on her low porosity hair.
  • Wearing a satin bonnet at night aids in the protection of dryness which can be caused from friction from your pillows, plus bonnets help retain moisture and second day hair. This is another MUST have. DISCLAIMER: wearing a bonnet to bed is not the most attractive garment to your partner, he may look at you side eyed .
  • Jamaican Black Castor oil is another staple product that are multipurpose. I mix 2 tsp in my deep conditioner, I use it as a pre poo, hot oil treatment, and weekly scalp massages. I order from https://www.tropicisleliving.com/shop/lavender-jamaican-black-castor-oil-8oz/
  • Another book to add to your arsenal is the Science of Black Hair. I consider this your Natural Hair encyclopedia. https://www.amazon.com/Science-Black-Hair-Comprehensive-Textured/dp/0984518428

 

Please share below your questions, and I will be happy to answer. Stay social with me on my platforms
-IG @reni_stx
-Facebook Renisha Thomas,
-Blog page http://www.renishath.wixsite.com/myblog

Love and Blessings!

 

 

Blogger Recognition Award

Hi Guys,

I have been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award!

First, I want to thank the blogger that took the time to acknowledge my hard work and nominate me for this award. Although, I’ve only been up and running for 2 weeks, its great to be recognized early.

Thank you Alecia Ore and the Flawless Fabs blog for this amazing award. Please support her and check out her blog at http://www.flawlessfabs.com.

How I Started My Blog

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years! I’ve been writing ever since I was in elementary. I’ve written short stories, a novel, essays, newspaper articles, and poems. You can say I’ve done a little bit of it all. Blogging was just the next thing on my to-do list. An online collection of think pieces, creative writings, and more that would be accessible to the world, which would give my voice a chance to be heard.

After years of being an undergraduate and putting the idea off because it would be a lot of “work”, I decided to do it.

I started my blog my sophomore year of college and it only lasted a week. I had one premiere of post and that was it! As college continued, my “time” and motivation was very scarce. But I knew that blogging was something that I still wanted to do but maybe wasn’t ready for at the time.

My senior year of my undergraduate career and the beginning of 2017, I decided that I would re-launch my blog on my birthday of this year. What time is better than now? If I want to be successful I have to put the time in, right? So, July 4, 2017 (Also, my 23rd birthday) I kept my promise and re-launched my blog. A few old articles mixed with some new and I AM BACK!!

My blog is dedicated the celebrating the black culture, uplifting women, and speaking for those who are not capable of speaking for themselves, all of which are looked down upon. I am passionate about servicing my community and making change! I am also seeking to support my fellow blogging community and entrepreneurs.

Tips on how to Successfully Run a Blog

1. Network with other Blogs and Bloggers

It’s always good to network and take tips from fellow bloggers in the community who have been doing exactly what you are doing! Some people have more experience and are capable of passing down tons of advice, do’s and don’ts, and more. Bloggers are also able to support one another in lot of endeavors like directing new bloggers to resources, brands, and

2. Write down weekly and monthly goals

Write down your weekly and monthly goals of what you want to accomplish for your blog. If you don’t have a long-term goal or vision, you will always be stuck in one direction! Whether your goals consist of writing down content topics, contacting fellow bloggers, creating social media content, or increasing social media following…you should always write these goals down and keep track of them so that you can look back on them and see far you have come and how much you’ve accomplished.

My Nominees:

1. Love, Nia Simone
2. Iammeikkolove
3. Dope Naturals
4. Broke Black Bougie
5. Shauna Kay
6. Skymilesandstyle
7. Curls with Style  
8. Fear Hurdler
9.  Sky High Hopes and Heels
10. Annie Ventura
11. SaseeChic
12. Wanderfocuslove
13. Heaven the Quaintrelle Blog 
14. What’s Up
15. Style Perk

You guys blogs have been food to roam and read through. You have inspired me in more ways than one. Congratulations on all of your success and continued prosperity! Keep up the magnificent work!

Next Steps after Accepting this Award:

1. Thank the nomination and provide a link to their blog
2. Write a post to show the award
3. Write a brief story on “how my blog got started”
4. Give 2 small pieces of advice to other bloggers
5. Select 15 bloggers to pass the award onto
6. Tell those nominees they were selected via comment

Love Lessons

I grew up watching and listening to old 90’s classics. I was born in 1994, so I’m a product of parents that were absolutely in love with the 90’s and everything it had to offer, which resulted in my infatuation with timeless love stories and music that made you sad about your break up, want to dance in the club, and want to find somebody to love all at the same time.

I put together a list of three of my favorite films! Besides these films having black casts, it’s safe to say that one thing that keeps me coming back to these movies is the undeniable chemistry between the actors and actresses and the lessons that they seemed to teach us. Something about each one of these movies left us feeling attached to each character. Each cast member has a certain amount of relatibility that is undeniable. I’m sure all of us have seen these movies an unbelievable amount of times and can quote the lines word for word without hesitation (I know I can).

Below is my list of some of my favorite films, why I fell in love with them, and the lessons they taught me. But all three of these films have at least some if not all of these things in common…they are between artsy lovers, they have the best 90s soundtrack out, Sanaa Lathan is the lead actress, the love between these lovers blossomed when they were kids, the couples struggle to accept their love for one another until it seems to be too late.

Love Jones

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Nina Mosley: You always want what you want when you want it. Why is everything so urgent with you? 
Darius Lovehall: Let me tell you somethin’. This here, right now, at this very moment, is all that matters to me. I love you. That’s urgent like a motherf—-.

A love story about two artsy lovers in Chicago.

Larenz Tate and Nia Long were the perfect on screen combination for this film.

As an artist and a lover of poetry I loved that this love story was between two creatives, a photographer and a poet/author. Both of these individuals lived lives as artists hustling and trying to make a dime, while somehow finding the time to fall in love with one another. Larenz’ character “Darius” caught Nia’s character “Nina” attention when he recited a poem he had written in the night club while staring deeply into her eyes.

Darius Lovehall: Say, baby…can I be your slave? I’ve got to admit girl you’re the sh** girl…and I’m digging you like a grave.

Nina was hooked from this moment forward. However, like most relationships, Nina and Darius’ relationship wasn’t all smiles and roses. They still went through typical relationship drama like miscommunication, trust issues, heartache, etc. But through the miscommunication and eventual breakup, these two characters still had an undeniable connection and they fought for one another.

This movie taught me that love comes during the most unexpected times and through people that you’d never imagine. It taught us that if you truly love someone despite the mess, love will always find its way and that love is always worth fighting for! Love is complicated and sometimes you gotta give it all up in order for someone to appreciate what they have and sometimes you gotta go through things with temporary people to be prepared to love your forever after. It also taught us the importance of friendships. These characters had some of the best relationships with friends, but also each other. There friendship is what made there bond stronger.

It’s the perfect movie coupled with a glass of wine and a bag of popcorn, and a rainy day.

Love & Basketball

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Monica: I’ll play you.
Quincy: What?
Monica: One game, one-on-one
Quincy: For what?
Monica: Your heart

From the very beginning when Monica and Quincy were kids, they had a chemistry that we couldn’t ignore. They had that love/hate relationship that we all had once or twice when we were kids. You know that feeling you get when you like someone but just don’t know how to express it or what it means. But as they grew up together, that love deepened.

This is by far one of my favorite movies because these two had the same passion and fell in love with it and each other together. They were best friends turned lovers.

From kids to adults, they had something special. Although they broke up and moved on in other relationships, the ending of this film showed that true love never dies but strengthens. It challenged our thoughts on the complicated choice of having to choose between your first love (basketball) and the love of your life, (in this case Quincy). It made us question if it was even fair to choose. But also displayed how in moments of pain we tend to push the people that have our backs and love us the most away due to fear and our own pride.

Quincy: All’s fair in love and basketball

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Sanna Lathan and Omar Epps delivered these characters in a way that was real and emotional. From Monica’s sassy, arrogant, and guarded character to Quincy’s player and hard persona we became invested in the lives of each character and wished that we could have a love like there’s (except the break up!).

Brown Sugar

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Syd: I thought it would be an adolescent memory I would look back on, like a crush on the captain of the football team, but I realize we have more than that, much more, we have a history, a friendship, we listen to each other, we laugh together, we finish each other’s lyrics. I don’t have to pretend with hip hop and hip hop doesn’t have to pretend with me. My feelings have never been more clear and I know they will never go away.

When did you fall in love with hip hop?

Again best friends turn lovers and A childhood love turns into adult confusion. Syd and Dre started out as friends in love with the same thing (HIP HOP). Dre was a successful A&R rep, while Syd was an entertainment/music journalist. Hip hop was there foundation that connected them to each other, but as time progressed they formed a undeniable bond that expanded there connection to more than music.

As these two grew up, they took different paths and found different people to be romantically involved with. Syd became in a relationship with a basketball player, while Dre married an entertainment lawyer. But even marriage couldn’t eliminate the love Dre had for Syd. In this movie, we found out that marriage does not always equal love, because Syd still had a special place in Dre’s hard that his wife couldn’t amount up to.

This movie showed us that sometimes we deny love when love is sitting right in front of our face. We don’t deny love all the time because we don’t love them, but rather because we are afraid of messing something up. It also taught us that it’s never good to confess love when it’s too late. Syd and Dre waited until each other got into relationships/marriages to confess there love to one another, which only caused a world of heart to their romantic partners.

Syd: I don’t have to pretend with hip-hop…and hip hop doesn’t have to pretend with me.

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Sanna Lathan and Tate Diggs did an extraordinary in delivering an unforgettable performance. The last scene where Syd in on the radio metaphorically talking about Dre through Hip hop and Dre calling the radio station asking the famous question “When did you fall in love with Hip-Hop?” still plays in my mind and still remains one of the best scenes of a love film hands down.

This movie is also one of my favs. Because in a movie about Hip-Hop, it including Hip-hop legends like Queen Latifah and Mos Def in the cast.

All in all, this film taught us that love is complicated. There is no script or guidebook to who and how you should love. Love is an emotional rollercoaster at times, but it’s worth it!