HAPPY LEAP DAY, YA’LL! Be extra all over today…it’s the point.
I started this blog yesterday after watching Red Table Table talk featuring Snoop Dogg.
Here’s the link to the episode. Everyone watch it immediately.
By the way… I LOVE Red Table Talk.
Sidebar fangirl rant real quick: If you have’t seen Red Table Talk, it is literally Jada Pinkett Smith sitting at a red table with her mom and daughter having deep discussions. Sometimes they have guests… sometimes not. It is literally everything: The Smiths. Generations of women sitting around a table. Folks talking real life stuff without judgement. The color red. Everything.
SO GOOD. Anyways, back to yesterday’s episode and this blog.
If you don’t know back story of why Snoop was on Red Table Talk… you live under a rock. If you do live under said rock but you know what “Google” is, please google: Snoop Dogg and Gayle King.
With all that said, I was a little hesitant on writing on this subject. It’s LOADED and heavy. Leading up to it, I kind of kept writing nonsense to get to the point. But I decided to chuck my nonsense and just jump in with both feet… *ahem*
To my Black Community:
Why are we still ripping each other to shreds
when we know our strength comes from being united?
What are we doing?
This question is one that can be posed to really any community of people. The Church, this Nation, Grey’s Anatomy fans, etc… but today I’m speaking as a Black woman in America to my beautiful and wonderful Black community.
Guys…WHAT ARE WE DOING?!
Before I really begin, let me just say: I’m definitely no expert in race relations. Most of my opinion comes from experience, observation and very little reading (I can’t express to you how LITTLE I read LOL). So please don’t came at me if you disagree. My hope for this blog is to do my small part in investing in our community and culture for positive change. Kay? Kay!
What’s the protocol, again?
Growing up, I used to LOVE Fly92. Fly92 was the pop radio station that played mostly white artists, but really anything popular. I also grew up in the golden age of Boy Bands (#NSYNC4LYFE!) and actual POP Music. One day I remember listening/singing to some song in my bedroom and my grandmother came in and was a little perplexed. She proceeded to ask me why I didn’t listen to “the Black station”.
Now, as I look back on this, my grandma was WILD for even asking me that because she LOVED listening to soft tunes of Delilah on B95.5 so like…how dare she? HA!
But at the time, I thought to myself: am I doing something wrong? Am I supposed to listen to the Black radio station because I’m Black? Am I supposed to hate NSYNC because I’m Black? But I love JT?! What is the protocol here?!
Since I didn’t know what to do… I simply told her “I dont know… cuz I like this?” and she just kept it moving and went to another room.
Did I turn on “the Black station” right after that? Yes.
Did I love it? Sure.
Do I still love NSYNC? Abso-freakin-lutely.
I feel like conversations like this explain why we are constantly divided as a Black community. We don’t know the protocol for being Black! But we also have NO PROBLEM voicing our opinion when we feel other Black folks are getting the protocol wrong.
you’re not black enough
you’re too ghetto
stop being light skinned.
you’re too dark– you’re too light
you’re boujie– you’re a sell out– you’re an Uncle Tom!
why don’t you listen to the black stations?
you’re not cultured enough…
To use the N word…to not use the N word.
Did OJ really do it, though?!
(okay…we all know the answer to this one. My bad.)
Here’s the thing. We have this undefined expectation of how you’re “supposed” to be Black… when in reality– there’s really no right or wrong way to BE black in America. You may get “it” or never get “it” right, but guess what? IT isn’t real.
Real (Red Table) talk: Our African culture was stolen from us the second our ancestors were captured and chained on those slave ships. Yes, we do have glimpses of what was, but we are still orphaned in a world that still doesn’t fully accept us. We were forced to create our uniqueness while still being influenced by our oppressors; conditioning this weird love/hate relationship with ourselves and each other. And because we are force to be reckoned with, we were (and still) are being pinned against each other by outside influences to hold us back.
Don’t believe me? Look at treatment of house slaves versus the slaves in the fields. Treating lighter shades of black different from darker shades of black. “Good” hair vs. nappy hair. “Uncle Toms”. Even the civil rights movement was split because of outside craziness. You had the Malcolm X by any means necessary crowd bashing the the MLK Jr non violent turn the other cheek methods and vice-versa. Two different groups, fighting for the same cause, yet pinned against each other!
But, hey there friend… we are all in this fight TOGETHER.
This crippling issue of division within our ranks is something that will continue to hold back any progress we have. We must face it and find the healing and forgiveness that it warrants. We are all each other’s got. It’s time to accept one other’s differences and understand that we are building all of this (our culture, our race, our future) TOGETHER. There is no right or wrong way to be Black. Let me say it again for the folks in the back:
There is no right or wrong way to be Black.
And the sooner we understand that– the sooner we will be able to accept ourselves and accept each other.
Now, does that mean we can’t disagree? Absolutely not! Does that mean sometimes folks may get “it” way wrong? Sure! But we just can’t keep on this “cancel culture” road anymore. We have to communicate and seek to understand with the goal of reconciliation.
This nation hates when Black community is united. Can you imagine what would happen if we reconciled?! Honestly, the devil hates reconciliation (and I mean the ACTUAL devil…not the white one, Uncle Cleetus!)
Seriously though, white supremacy (a tool of Satan) has killed our leaders, killed our children, ruined our families and infiltrated our communities with guns and drugs and violence! They want to keep us dead, cracked out and angry because they’re scared that we can actually DO SOMETHING. And white supremacy not only holds the Black community back– but this country back, as well.
A Thin Line Between Love & Hate…
Like I said, this is just my opinion (but I’m also pretty sure I’m nailing this right now LOL) If you ended up watching the episode of Red Table Talk that inspired this blog, there’s a really significant part towards the end of the show.
Snoop and Jada are talking about how to change this culture of disrespect between Black men and women (another LOADED topic for another day!). They get onto discussing hip hop and some of the negative things it’s brought. But Snoop took a spin and started tying in some of the positive things hip hop has done to unify Black culture over the last 20 years. During the talk, they both agreed that it’s always good to focus on the positive once in awhile instead always talking about the negative impact of things. Snoop commented saying
“Maybe that’s the answer [to changing the culture].
We can talk about how good we are and what we are doing right“
And you know, I think Uncle Snoop is on to something!
Love unifies. Hate divides. IT’S BIBLICAL, YA’LL! We have to start seeing the positive and speaking life giving words into our own lives and the lives of our Black brothers and sisters. Yes, sometimes you want to go on Twitter and rant about how the latest Black film doesn’t have the best leading actors. But for every negative note– we could think of 3 positives too: Great job on making that film, so happy we have someone of color IN Hollywood that’s telling black stories, etc. etc.
Now again– hear me. Sometimes folks may absolutely get it wrong! They may push a narrative that continues to put Black culture in bad light– and that is NOT okay. But again– don’t cancel. Cancel “Cancel Culture”.
Seek to understand.
These are KEY! We can’t afford one more millisecond tearing our people apart. Instead it’s time for positive investments of building each other up together. The world wants us to fail. White Supremacy needs us to fail… but we can’t and we won’t!
Love Letter to Our People
Today is February 29th, a rare and special occasion. I’d like to take this time out to do something for my Black brothers and sisters: I want to uplift. I want to encourage and I want to affirm.
Side bar fangirl rant real quick: I’m a words of affirmation kinda gal and I can’t tell you how much joy comes from a simple “you did good”. I legit cried yesterday from a friend’s thank you note that I’ve probably read 800 times LOL But it doesn’t matter how many times I may have heard or read something positive about myself- words of affirmation still remind me of who I am. It makes me feel good (which is a plus) and it encourages me to keep on chugging along even when I have nothing left. Encourage people, y’all! It helps.
Anyways, back to blog.
So much healing comes from knowing how good you are and what you’re doing right instead of focusing on the opposite. And while I know that this subject is so heavy and big and burdensome, I still want to– nay, I still have an obligation to do my part to make the things less heavy, less big and less burdensome. So, I wrote a letter of encouragement to my Black and Brown beauties because it’s long overdue.
It may not reach the masses, it may not even make a dent of change… but even if only one person is effected positively and sees themselves for whom they truly are– that means this whole post was worth it. So… before I go off on another crazy rant, ladies and gentleman… my love letter to my beautiful Black and Brown family:
My beautiful Black mother, father, sister, brother,
There’s a lot I can say to you in this precious moment in time. I want to start off by saying I love you and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for how you’ve been treated from the moment you took your first breath on this earth. You were born and born beautifully, but some people may not have thought that. I’m here to tell you, there’s nothing to be ashamed of and I need you to know:
Your life matters.
I’m sorry for the lies you’ve been led to believe. Lies saying that you don’t matter. I’m sorry that we even have to have these conversations in the year 2020. I’m sorry that you are treated differently because of the color of your skin. I’m sorry that you are followed around with suspicion, wrongfully accused, stereotyped… Mostly, I’m sorry that some don’t believe your experience as black person in this country; that you’re ignored and dismissed all together. I know you’ve been hurt by your family. By your friends. By your churches. By your communities. But please know, your pain is real and your pain should be felt.
Your pain matters.
And I’m sorry that you have been abused and taken advantage of in so many ways and led to believe that no one cared. Whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, sexually… it shouldn’t have happened. Sometimes your abuser was someone that looked like you and I’m so sorry for that. It wasn’t and isn’t fair and I’m sorry if you had to walk that journey alone. You are not alone, though. You are seen. You are heard.
Your voice matters.
I’m sorry that you were hurt by someone who told you weren’t good enough or you weren’t smart enough. I’m sorry you didn’t get that job, that raise, that promotion or that opportunity you were hoping for because of what you look like. I’m sorry for the backwards compliment or micro-aggression given about how you speak or how you carry yourself. You are good enough. You are smart enough. You deserve to have joy. You deserve to take that risk.
Your disappointment matters.
I’m sorry for the countless and pointless killings of our people, the inability to get adequate or even, simply, fair resources and the outrageous amount of Black and Brown people in cages– imprisoned unjustly, enslaved to the system. Some of those precious lives may belong to you, or your family or friends. But know, you are my family and they are my family too. I may not know you, but I will fight for justice that belongs to us… because we belong to each other.
Your justice matters.
Here’s the thing, Beloved– You are loved.
You are valuable. You are precious
You are worth something.
Even when the world tries to say the opposite– don’t believe the lie. You are amazing.
Not only because I say so– but because God does.
You might be reading this, feeling like God doesn’t care or He has let you down. No matter how you feel, God loves you and has seen and felt all the pain, all the dismissals, all the tears, all the fear, all the abandonment. He has been there and endured everything with you.
For me, God is a true father to the fatherless. He stands up for justice for the orphan and widow. He fights for the oppressed and has brought freedom to the masses. Jesus knows loss and injustice and pain. He knows disappointment. His heart hurts for you and for our community. He hears our cries. Beloved, you are not forgotten– WE are not forgotten. I pray one day you see Him as I see Him and you know that He sees you, loves you and wants the best for you.
My beautiful Black mother, father, sister, brother: you are a product of greatness. You bring life, acceptance, talent, richness, flavor and joy to the table. You are more than what the media says. You are more than what your neighborhood says. You are more than even what you say. Do not allow anyone to tell you any different.
Life is rough for us. We have to teach our young people and our children tough love because the world is going to hit us hard in the worst way sometimes. We have to be strong and we think we can’t, for a moment, show weakness.
But I’m here to tell you, even if it’s just for a moment, in this moment– you can be vulnerable. Be angry. Be happy. Be sad. Be joyous. Be bitter. Be annoyed. Be frustrated. Be giddy. Be you. Because weakness isn’t weakness at all. It is our reminder that we need to value ourselves and our feelings because we, too, are important.
So put down the shields and rest. Even for a moment. You’ve earned it.
Remember who you are, Beloved.
You are strong. You are lovely. You are fierce. You are victorious. You are treasured.
Your ancestors survived crossing the Atlantic on horrific slave ships. Enduring loss and beatings and abuse like none other. They fought for their lives and their humanity. They went through tearing apart of families. Lynchings. Rape. Murder. Injustice. Rights given and taken at any moment. They suffered hundreds of years in bondage and still survived. You are here because of the obstacles they overcame and you have overcome some of the biggest obstacles known to man and survived.
You have done what you’ve had to do to survive and I commend you for that.
You are still here and I commend you for that.
You are patient. You are kind. You are brave. You are excellent. You are stronger than you think. God is fighting for you, with you. And last but not least, you are loved.
My beautiful Black mother, father, sister, brother, there’s so much I can say to you in this precious moment in time. But I will keep it simple and just say this: I love you.
So, in conclusion…
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” aka The Black National Anthem
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