Interracial Cheating: WhO TF Do YoU tHInk I iZ?

Momma Zora,

I’m tapping into you for this one. Let us begin:

“If you’re silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it”

~Zora Neale Hurston

Let’s get this tea brewing.

Years ago, I watched the Loving Story documentary on Netflix. It detailed the fight of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple who fought the State of Virginia after their felony conviction of interracial cohabitation. They were sentenced to one year in prison and banned from Virginia. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled against the ban on mixed-race marriages thanks to the efforts of the Lovings. They spent over ten years fighting and had eight years together after the victory. Richard Loving was killed in 1975 in a car accident that left Mildred permanently injured. She never remarried.

For me, they symbolized the endless boundaries of love and how it develops from the soul, not the eyes. They were also a testament to our short, unpredictable time here on Earth and how we have to be present for the moments in front of us. That means being oblivious or at least fearless to what others think or have to say. The way I respect and adore love doesn’t allow me to take issue with interracial couples. Love is such an exquisite experience that whoever you are drawn to share it with, I say go for it!! If you find someone that is game to fight all the battles and never leave your side – if you get true, unconditional loyalty – who cares what color someone is? It’s quite beautiful to see, and in all my anger and defiance, I will probably never stop longing for a love like that.

Now that, that is out of the way, let’s talk about interracial cheating and my complete contradictory philosophy and issue with it.

For the rest of this blog, cheating will be defined as the following:

  • sleeping with another person
  • taking another person out on dates
  • a secret, non-disclosed or otherwise private conversations/texts/meetups with another person who you have been romantically linked to or find attractive
  • discussing your private current relationship affairs with a person you have been romantically linked to or find attractive
  • a secret friend on the side that you do not introduce and have been romantically linked to or find attractive
  • a secret friend on the side that you have introduced and minimized your contact/context with said person
  • riding shotgun, laying in bed, holding hands, accidental kisses, accidental fucking, ‘we on a break’ fucking
  • break babies
  • lying about your present relationship to a person you have been romantically linked with or find attractive

You know what the biggest gripe about cheating is? It makes the other person feel insufficient. At the center of it all, the biggest sore spot is the one where you begin to question yourself, especially if you have been blindsided. Being cheated on says, intentional or not, ‘you were not good enough and this person was better.’ The action verb of what this new person is ‘better‘ at can be anything: listening, having sex, laughing, talking, etc. . . The bottom line is it feels like they scored higher on the SATs while you sit with a broken pencil still trying to solve question three on your fingers.

And who likes to feel inadequate?

 

When we add the opposite race to that stew, the beef we are cooking up is full of mad cow disease. I believe that being cheated on by a black man *** with a white woman leaves much more of a nauseating taste than if he cheated with a black one. Cheating is cheating; it’s going to hurt either way. But when you are a black woman, a Loud & Proud black woman, full of fight, poetry and love for her people, and you are cheated on with a white woman . . .

whew. . .

The mindfuck is incredibly obtrusive. It makes you want to burn down the city. Throw the whole state away and start over with a new colony. It’s a special kind of trauma. Not only are you saying I’m not satisfying enough, but to add insult to injury, this white woman is better than me? This white woman is better at loving a black man, my black man, than me?”

Ohok. Interesting fucking concept.  . .

In 1995’s Waiting to Exhale, Bernadine (played by Angela Bassett) slept with Herbert, a married man. The movie minimalized the affair but the book, which I haven’t read completely, went more in-depth. Herbert suggested getting a divorce so the two of them could be together but Bernie didn’t want that. She eventually stopped communicating with him. In both the movie and the book, she had committed adultery after having it done to her. She was complicit in disregarding and disrespecting a marital union in exchange for her own temporary and selfish needs. She put another woman in the position of wondering if she too was insufficient. BUT –

– – Bernie had only just been at the receiving end of an affair and thoughts of mediocracy within her own marriage. The difference – her husband cheated with a white woman. In thinking of the movie and the book, I wonder would it have hurt Bernie less if her husband had chosen a black woman to have an affair with? Is that why we put less focus or care on Bernie when she did it? The following excerpt was taken from the Terry McMillan’s book, Waiting to Exhale:

“You know what? I hate black men who run to white women,” Robin said.

“I don’t hate them, ” Savannah said. “But what kills me more than anything is they usually pick the homeliest ones they can find and the ones who don’t have shit going for them.”

“I hate the fact that they think white girls epitomize beauty and femininity.”

“I hear you, ” Savanna said. “But you know what?”

“What?”

“It doesn’t bother me all that much.”

“And why not?”

“Because i think people have a right to love who they want to. Who am I  to judge?”

“Yeah, but if our men keep running to white women, what does that leave us?”

“When you get right down to it, there really aren’t that many who’ve crossed over. I think we just notice it more because we’re black and female.”

“So?”

“So I don’t hold it against them. If a black man wants a white woman, that’s his business. I’ve got too many other things to worry about. . .”

This exact conversation has played out at dinner tables, ladies nights and various other situations where black women are discussing interracial dating. Savannah took on many black women’s attitude, mine included of, ‘I just don’t care. Date whoever you find attractive and dope enough to hang with you.’

But when it comes to cheating, I personally have a change of heart. The issue that Robin brings up is the grand ole’ Opry of why interracial cheating hurts more than same race cheating.

“I hate the fact that they think white girls epitomize beauty and femininity.”  ~Robin

White women have been the belle of the ball of the United States since it’s inception.  They have inadvertently defined for our society what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a friend…what it means to be a woman. The white woman is America’s Crown and Glory, while the black woman epitomizes its dark shadows and secrets. Black women are considered to be loud, obstructive and in the way, whereas white women are quiet listeners and lovers. They take care of home, husband, and kids and speak when it’s their turn. Black women step out of line, can’t be controlled, sleep around and need government assistance to take care of themselves. We are seen as ugly and almost masculine where protection is concerned – we are left to take care of ourselves (and expected to) while white women and their precious feminine tears are coddled and offered reassured security. Hell must be paid if a white woman is mishandled in any way, but black woman’s reckless, unnecessary death underwhelms the powers that be. Look at the difference in treatment of former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, who was often referred to as a guerilla versus plagiarist-current–flotus Melania Trump who wasn’t even reprimanded for her thievery. There are blogs and books written about white women being at the helm of the ship of racism. Massive numbers of white women turned out and voted in Alabama for Roy Moore who has been accused of several acts of sexual misconduct, at least one with a minor. But who will look at them differently? Certainly not the don’t-take-my-guns-trump-supporting housewives.

When Women’s Suffrage was taking place, those white women were fighting for each other; NOT to include black women. This country loooooves them some Susan B Anthony but she certainly didn’t love us, black women.

During that era, Black women were [still] looked at as slave women who should be nursing and nanny’ing their white babies, not voting and enjoying human and civil rights. A great number of lynchings of black people began in the hands of a white woman. Emmett Till’s death was based on a white woman’s lies.

Carolyn Bryant plus kids and husband that killed Emmett Till

By now, you’ve seen pictures of white women scowling, spitting and yelling at black people for trying to integrate the schools during the era of segregation. If not, here are a few:

Yelling at/towards Ruby Bridges, 1960

Yelling at Elizabeth Eckford, 1957, Little Rock Nine

In some twisted sense of American pride, these women are the heart of the USA. Robin’s comment about white women being the center of beauty and femininity isn’t just a movie line; it’s a reality that extends further than those two points. White women live their 9 lives on a pedestal that black women have to fight to reach. There is an unspoken can-do-no-wrong/see-no-evil that accompanies their birth that is not afforded to black women. So what does this have to do with interracial cheating? Well now, in a world that has intentionally attempted to devalue the black woman’s worth in lieu of the white woman’s assumed pure and untainted existence, cheating with one of them instead of one of us is a two-sided, jagged edge knife to the eyes.

If you recall in Waiting to Exhale, Bernadine was not just upset about being cheated on; she was brutally disturbed that it was a white woman and made no secret of it. I have come to the conclusion that it’s not just the cheating. Oh hell, it may not have even been the cheating at all. Truth be told, plenty of us believe most if not all men cheat, so tons of women are prepared to deal with it IF that person is that person. But if you must find someone to replace what you think I am not performing well at, she better fucking be black!!!! ***NOTE: this is NOT me condoning cheating. I disagree with it strongly. But I also know that monogamy is a choice that love itself doesn’t prepare one to make. 

Beyond the ramifications of interracial cheating lies the invisibility of the black woman in a relationship that she thought was her sacred place. It’s been happening since the beginning of our time here. Our (black women) erasure always feels so open to the public. Even in private situations, the perception of being expunged can have one feeling like the world is watching and collectively not giving a fuck. Time Magazine released their Person of the Year tribute to the #MeToo movement while conveniently leaving the person who started it off the cover: 44-year-old Tarana Burke.

She created the #MeToo Movement ten years ago. On the surface you would think, “Well isn’t it about the survivors and awareness? Isn’t this helping?” The answer to THAT question is an undeniable YES!!! But travel internally and you may be able to notice the familiar pattern of lack of inclusion of black women. Of the five women on the cover (silence-breakers), any one of them could have sat out to allow room for the founder. . . no? Or what about one of those covers that are two-page foldouts? #WhatAboutInclusion 

I could give examples all day and create a new blog, but let’s get back to the point, which is black women get fucked over and cheated on enough in everyday living. When it happens at home too, a new dimension of disrespect is opened.

Jill With the Stringy Hair

It wasn’t a dark or stormy morning that day when I opened up my Facebook inbox to 14 screenshots sent to me by some woman named Jill. I had never seen or heard of her life before and now here she was in my inbox. There was a picture of me and questions about me. There were notices of I Miss You and confessions of dreams about her. All from the person I had publicly professed my love for. Jill with the Stringy Hair is what I call her. * shrug*

Our trust was broken instantly. I was downplayed in those texts. I was laying next to him when he was having those dreams about her. She knew the house I was moving into. She knew far too much for me not have ever met her. She laughed at me and called me a joke. Questioned how I could uplift other women and be with him. And the grand bomb: she was friends with my sister’s brother.

I wasn’t stupid – but prideful.

A PROUD black prideful woman. Perhaps I needed this relationship to help me check my pride because I should have ended it then. I couldn’t go for a white woman breaking up my relationship. That’s for another blog. I have been cheated on and I have been the cheater before. I know how this shit goes and what it feels like to dish it and take it. I know what it looks like to hurt someone with your disloyal, selfish ass behavior. I’ve grown the fuck up and out of that shit. My language in this blog tells me I’m upset.

I am.

“But what kills me more than anything is they usually pick the homeliest ones they can find and the ones who don’t have shit going for them.” ~Savannah, Waiting to Exhale

I was hurt to the highest degree I think I have ever experienced from being cheated on. This is not the same as interracial dating. This was cheating. “This man is cheating on me with a white woman???? AND she had the audacity to inbox me AND block me??!!!?!?!?!?!”

Jesus be a Lit Ball. I couldn’t break my typing fingers enough to get to my ‘free’ page to look her ass up and get in her inbox. But wait –

”He’s cheating on me with a white woman???”

The reality was that’s exactly what was happening. I don’t know how far it went, but it fits at least one of those bullet points too many. They were linked prior to me. She told me things about him that seemingly proved true in the end. I didn’t know if she was gloating or trying to run me off, but it was all a violation. She laughed at me. Questioned how I could uplift other women.

Some bonds you can’t break I suppose. If I saw them on the street and didn’t know them, I’d be supportive. But their sneaky reconciliationOrWhatever behind my back, in ANY capacity, felt like taking lashes for your man only to watch him gallantly run to the warmth of the white woman in the big house.

It’s been said that [sometimes] black men turn to white women because they are more docile and drama-free; they know their places. I’ve heard that last line numerous times. They don’t withhold sex and are eager to please in whatever fashion. I’m not saying these things are true, I’m repeating what I’ve heard over the years. They aren’t even ‘bad’ characteristics. But they are used as pedestal pushers against the black women who bear opposite traits.

I couldn’t help but think “look at you nigga. I would’ve taken your secrets to the grave but you out here banking on this white woman to have your back. Is she a better listener? Or is it sexual? Did she provide better comfort when you were feeling the effects of the death of Philando Castile?  Is she more proud of you than me? She supports you more than me? Loves you better? Is she WORTH me?? This homegrown authentic, unconditional-as-can-be, black-love? And now look at her. She turned on you and sold you out for sport. Yet you trusted in her; not me. Go figure.”

All this had me thinking recently. There is no denying that all betrayal is hurtful. Cheating creates doubts and questions where there may have otherwise been confidence and belief. I would have wondered those same questions if the woman was black. But there is still a different sting when she’s white. Or maybe it’s just me and the fictional Bernadine?

OR-

it could be that being erased in the media, corporate, and just about everywhere else doesn’t allow for much understanding when it comes to our personal relationships? We need a sacred space where we are without doubt number one and that should be it. Black women shouldn’t have to fight to be number one to a white woman anywhere, but especially at home in their own fucking beds.

And in the Gospel Section of K.Dot Lamar,

“that’s just how I feel.”

And I’ll be damned if anyone says I enjoyed it.

***this blog is written from a heterosexual, black woman’s perspective. Please feel free to change the pronouns as necessary, however, the race must remain the same.

 

 

“Not All Black Men”: #PinningTheTailOnTheDonkeyOfTheDay

“Most men fuck women to destroy them . .  .”

~TK Kirkland

 

For nearly 39 years, I have watched black men drop the ball on me in every way imaginable. Starting with my natural father and blood brother to the man I planned to marry to the guys on the street and complete strangers and the play brothers and the guys I grew up with – -*the men I love so dearly have often left me hanging or worked overtime at disrespecting the very nature of my heart. Or at least, this is how it FEELS. I am currently searching my reserve tank for something to keep believing in them, loving them and fighting with and for them but it has thinned to the thickness of a single hair follicle. Recently, I watched a black man tear down a well-known black business woman in Indy. He trashed her restaurant, her food quality, and her prices. After legions of supporters chimed in, in her favor, he went to battle with each one (mostly women), myself included. He trolled our pages and insulted us based on what he was able to see. He referred to the sole black man (that I saw at that time) as a bitch ass nigga because he defended her. He even disrespected her mother by calling her a bitch (after she stated she was her mother). While other people get angry and go back and forth with this type of stuff, I get sad and seemingly ill. I can’t participate because I start shaking internally. My eyes cross, my heart breaks and tears sometimes form.

This has been a relatively hard blog to write.I’ve feared that my current relationship standing and my past baggage would sponsor a blog post that was too full of ‘black girl attitude’ instead of magic, and come off as whiny, full of complaints and inexperienced with more than one type of black man. What I am about to say is not without merit nor do I lack taking ownership for what I have entertained and allowed to permeate my life (in the cases where I could help it). I’m not another blogger using her platform to tear down the black man. I’m not that. I am a whole woman with validity to her claims, experience under her belt and just enough wisdom to know that some shit just ain’t right. I’m fine with being labeled as angry because….well, fuck it, I AM!

And I have EVERY right to be; to authentically feel WTF I am already feeling! I don’t hate black men and I am absolutely still full of love for them.  It’s just time for me to take the sugar spoon away and be real: our trust has been broken and our bond needs critical repairing, but no one is fine-tuning this shit except me and I’m damn near done completely.

I LOVE black men and I always have. I’ve loved them hard, relentlessly, and wildly on purpose; with intention and out loud. I could never claim to be perfect and I’ve always been on the learning curve of love, but I’ve given it as best as I had to put out.  I’m here for them. Once upon a time, I wrote for and performed to them. I loved them on stage as much as off. I got my first standing ovation from a room full of hood rich dudes who were there to stand their hip-hop grounds on a night that poetry had tried to ease in and take over. The poem, “Convicted Felon”, was written about struggles of re-entry and they ate it up. I wanted them to know that I was present for them and their struggles. In Louisville one night, I won audience favorite after doing a poem about black men being kings. That came w/a $100 and a standing ovation in a room crowded with black men. The hugs and high fives left me feeling like I had done my job: I let them know that SOMEONE (me) is rooting for them and can see them! I’ve never masked or hidden my love, support, and desire for their presence in my life, yet I find this has made me nothing more than a target with a fat ass.

“…and even if I end up spending my life without one of you/I will forever long to hold onto you like the sun longs to hold onto blue skies that are decorated by white clouds./ I will forever try to build you up/not tear you down.”

I’m not in denial about my rocky relationship with black men. I must specify “black men” because that’s who I have dealt with. I know other men of other races do the same shit; but my allegiance is to black men and gotdammit, I want my fucking reciprocity! More than that, I want this breach repaired. I don’t want to have to rely on men of other races – I WANT to love black men; but I don’t want to love for two anymore. It’s time that I just do my part; not both of ours. I have so much material where I have written them into the parts of my life that I needed or wanted them. I didn’t call them kings in a poem and treat them like peasants in real life. I’ve created fairytales with my words and I admit that was a mistake. In hindsight, I wonder did I think that I could write myself into a healthy space with black men in general? Had I been thinking that whole time that I could show them my authentic self via poetry and that might attract like-minds and good fruits of the harvest? Because if I did, I can say that it didn’t work.

It attracted more enemy-like predators. They saw my vulnerabilities and used them to their advantage while assisting in destroying my overall feelings regarding black men in general. Time and time again, I’ve been nothing more than an experimental situationship for them, and I’ve watched them ride off on white horses with other women. Literally.

PICTURE IT:

During my sophomore or junior year of high school, I was called a nigger by a white man entering a nearby Walgreen’s that I was leaving out of. We almost bumped into each other and that was his response. It was so unexpected that I don’t think I responded. I was shocked quite frankly and I was also skipping school sooooo, I didn’t tell anyone. That was the first and only time that I’ve been called that to my face, although I’m sure many have mumbled it about me under their cowardly breath. I was called a ho when I was in the seventh grade. The guyS that started spreading rumors about me at age 13, some true and plenty others embellished at that time, were all black. They lived in the same neighborhood as me and went to the same school. These guys had me thinking I was a slut before I ever lost my virginity. I was bullied, laughed and pointed at, made fun of me and alienated…all because of black boy joy, circa 1992. I took the long way home from the store, I had to transfer schools and I literally peeped around corners to see if I saw any trace of them when I was outside.  They made my life HELL. I lost my ‘friends‘. My shaky self-esteem plummeted and my reputation in my new neighborhood was trashed by the first two people I met: black boys. This continued until I left the neighborhood for good in 1998 @19 years old.

My point of that is not to rehash old memories but to show a juxtaposition of the hurt inflicted upon me by white men vs. black ones. It’s TROUBLING !!! Do I trust white men more than black men (or at all for that matter)??

I’m not stupid. I know they really don’t GAF about me. But I am an observer and what I have seen and experienced has shown me that most of the black men I come across don’t appreciate, want or love me either. It feels worse than that one time Walgreens occurrence or the subconscious thoughts other races may have because black men are who I associate and fight with and love greatly. I don’t want to feel this way about them. I WANT to feel like they look at me and see light and love, but I don’t really think so anymore. My own father and brother never saw worth in me. My brother has a bunch of children. I’m no one’s aunt. It makes me wonder what I did to deserve this shit? I’ve been stolen from, used, abused, left out of town, molested, nearly raped, killed and of course, cheated on and lied to while looking me in my eyes all by black men. Some of this I played a role in but not all of it and I’m not willing to take EVERYONE’s blame on my shoulders anymore. I’ve beat myself up for years over the choices and things I’ve done in the name of love or men. THIS BLOG IS NOT WRITTEN WITHOUT PRE-ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MYSELF! I am responsible for what I allow. It’s just right now, I’m allowing myself to be honest.

I’m often perplexed as I listen, read and watch the seemingly effortless disrespect and mistreatment of black women by black men and boys. It bothers me to no end and maybe that is because my own personal relationships have always been met with an ICU-ending. It doesn’t matter what the context of our relationship was; just about every black man that I’ve ever had a relationship of any significant sort with has left me feeling unprotected and disposable. #NotAllBlackMen

I recently realized that I’ve been giving out labels that come with expectations to men who don’t want to or simply won’t meet those expectations. Matter a fact, I don’t know that they even wanted the labels. That’s not fair of me. These men aren’t required to protect me in any capacity (and they don’t).

What have I done to deserve their protection or respect aside from being born awesome? These the types of questions I ask myself before writing blogs like this.

Photo by ANKH Productions

But I’m not tripping: There IS a lack of protection by the black man of the black woman. I’m not the only person who feels this way. Other blogs have been written before this. VSB wrote one and received quite the backlash (from black men) because how dare they call them out on their shit? I got into a back and forth on FB with a guy about that exact blog because he wanted me to give him proof that it was valid. Instead of saying ‘fuck you and your proof’, I stopped the conversation. #IAmTheProof

I know if a man is reading this blog, his thoughts whilSt reading this might sound like “well, it’s #NotAllBlackMen.” While my personal relationships play a great deal into my perceptions, it’s not solely based on me. I sit and observe, listen and read things that further push me over the edge all the time. I envy the women who proudly profess their support and love for black men. I see stuff like this all the time:

It’s not that I don’t agree because I do. But I don’t feel it reciprocated in action towards me and never have. And so I also have mad respect for those who stand firmly in their disgruntled truth: that they are disappointed and untrusting of these beautifully created, melanted humans. When one of the young ladies from my neighborhood lab told me about two young guys, no older than 14, cat-called and heckled her and another 10-year-old little girl, I was sick. Their behavior was problematic AF and also learned. It may have even been taught to them. The young ladies asked to be left alone and were met with more advances. The ten year was a bit scared and the 14-year-old told me that she knew better than to show her fear because it would only increase their behavior more. TEN. FOURTEEN. They shouldn’t have to experience that and young boys shouldn’t be taught that girls (women) are owed to them. The inability to accept no for an answer or resorting to increased haggling/violence (resulting in fear for the girls/women) comes from a sense of entitlement.  #WhoTaughtYouToHateMe

The Common Denominator

Maybe the problem IS me. Seeing as though I am the common denominator, maybe I’m the issue. Do I hold them too high to their mistakes? Group them all together unfairly? Because it’s #NotAllBlackMen and I know that. I’ve seen ‘good’ black men; they are just a rare sighting in my personal life. Do I take how black men act towards me and other black women too damned personal? Does my disappointment stem from my inadvertent daddy/brother-search in niggas who are only good for slinging dick left to right or loving me tight for a few months or a couple of years? Do you know how many seasonal ‘brothers‘ I’ve put in my heart since poetry came into my life? #TewDahmnMany. You know how many of those brothers called/inboxed/dropped by to see if I was surviving my newest emotional apocalypse? Not even half. And honestly, I guess I haven’t done that for them either. It’s not their job to come check on me; ‘brother/bro’ is just a title – not a lifestyle they have to live. I take the blame for unnecessarily putting dudes in exalted titles and hoping no unspoken expectations are broken. I am no longer that growing teenager that needs her big bro or dad to fight these dudes for her; I fight my own battles. Kendria stands up for herdamnself against the atrocities of how she’s been treated. I’ve learned to stop giving away permanent titles to people who may be temporary. If my biological brother thought of me as trash, what chance did I stand with anyone else in that department? For these reasons, identifying the role I play in the demise of my own heart and respect for my black brothers is crucial.

Overall, I feel extremely failed by the black men I’ve loved. According to social media, it’s ALL me. It’s me suffering from low self-esteem or not loving myself enough. I attract these types of men due to my energy, says the media of socialites. My energy brings the shit to the plants huh? These damn memes and posts get on my EMM EFFIN nerves!!! It’s not that they don’t have truth (for SOME), but they do rush to put all the blame on the person who was mistreated. We love to preach to women and tell them to step to the mirror and love themselves more. There is some weird societal enjoyment in suggesting that the deficit resides solely in us as opposed to telling men to love themselves enough to realize without us, there is nothing. Where are the memes and posts and status’ that suggest to men that they stop using and abusing women? The memes that challenge their self-love based on their mistreatment of us?

In Summation . . .

I have a memory during my teen years of sneaking off into the alley with my neighborhood obsession. His name was Devon. I loved Devon for some reason although, even at such an early age, he didn’t respect me. Maybe he didn’t know how….nah, he knew how. He did it well with others but he saw the cracks in me and used them to his advantage. He was one of the first two guys I met when I moved on Cornelius. One day, while still a virgin, I met him in the alley and let jack off on a pair of checkerboard shorts I wore. The garage we stood behind belonged to a house I’d later move into at age 27. When he was done, I can’t remember what it was I wanted from him – a kiss or hug? For him to walk me back to the front? I don’t know, but it was something that he wasn’t willing to give. He zipped his pants up and started walking down the alley while I stood against the garage in tears. I will never forget him looking me dead in the eyes, walking backward and laughing. Then he took off running.

There it is folks.

That is the summation of my experience with black men. #NotAllOfEmTho

You know I gotta say that before one of them gets their boxer briefs in a bunch and hunts for me with the ‘you hate black men’ inscribed pitchforks. LOL.

Black men don’t like being talked about and called out on their shit. They don’t like being the center of attention if it ain’t what they deem good attention. They want women to stand by them, fighting, fucking & loving no matter what. My ex complained that our sex life wasn’t satisfying – but he carelessly had been telling lies the whole time. How do you have the expectations of getting your dick sucked on a regular when you have all these secrets, plus a white woman on the side? That goes back to that entitlement. It has been my experience that the men I have loved have all felt entitled to my body. They treat me like I OWE them sex. I once told a man I was not in the mood for sex and he didn’t respect it at all. When I later told him that it hurt me how he treated me that night, he called me crazy and said I was tripping. Some of them think we are deserving of their inability to take ‘no’ for an answer. That same man wrote hundreds of poems to women – calling us Queens and talking about what we deserved. But wait – I should blame myself for that. Right? You’ve read it before in my blogs. Or maybe not because when I wrote in great detail what happened, I privatized it days later. I have been protective of black men to a fault. Even my ex, who I blasted across social media. I’ve tried to rewrite how the public saw him many times because I love him. I know his good side; he loved me, although quite incorrectly. I got mad at myself for calling him out. But the reality was, once our ship sank, my body erupted like a volcano that had been FULL to the max of niggashyt that had been collected over 38 years. There was no time to make any other choice except scream at the top of my lungs. 8 months later, I am still smoldering.

Devon walking away from me in that alley was quite the significant foreshadow to my future. The black men I’ve known (#notallblackmen) would much rather piss on me and laugh in my face as they walk away and watch me cry about it. It’s as if they get a hard-on because of it. Becoming Devon’s girlfriend later in life symbolizes how I accept the bullshit and hope for greater anyway. I almost included an example of the few good men that I know to help balance the blog with black Light. But this isn’t about them. Today, I hope by purging this from my system that I will set forth a chain reaction of personal healing. Not just healing for my most recent ex, but a true repairing of my relationship with black men. I don’t want to sink into the abyss of fuck them.

But I got both heels and a spare in the quicksand.

I will pull myself out without a doubt. I always do and it’s always me and God. But who I will be when I emerge is only God’s best guess. If most men fuck women to destroy them, then consider me in repair from being fucked and fucked over and now standing on an emtpy train of my pieces, trying to reconfigure who TF I am. This is what devastation looks like on me:

Photo by ANKH Productions

 

SN: I do want to shout out a man I’ve referred to as my brother for years now. I won’t name him here, but he sent me over 70 text messages in an effort to help me stitch these breaches back together. He also reaffirmed that I don’t need to suffer in silence. That even though my feelings might not be shared by anyone but me, I have the right not to sit in silence and pretend. I’ve done enough loving out loud to be able to sit down and say “I’m tired boss.”

Thank you. I appreciate THAT push from a black man who knows my story.

~j

 

A Joke In My Town: Guns, 911 & the Point of an Apology

During the car ride of pure silence, with my mouth literally hanging open and tears hanging at the cliffs of my eye lashes, I remember thinking ‘I just wrote that it’s ok to be in the hood.’ Right then, I felt like I had been tied to a post and was being beaten with embarrassment’s fist, along with tons of other emotional heavyweights. Let’s go back . .  .

A couple of days ago, I went to meet my sister for lunch. She had a short trip in the city and was on her way back to Atlanta on this particular day, so we decided to meet up for brunch. Since she was dropping her daughter off at a church nearby where I live, I told her I would meet her at my house. With Nicki Minaj’s “Looking Ass Nigga” on near volume max (and repeat), I hit the highway in a festive mood, feeling and looking like great. Setting the emotional tone is important. I was hype and happy when I slowed to the red light just off the highway. Everything happened so quickly. As I turned onto my street, I saw my sister’s car pulling up to the stop sign. I figured my niece must have forgotten something or that she needed to go to the gas station. I could tell as I waited to turn onto my street that she was on the phone. She flagged me down with her arm hanging out the window and I pulled up right next to her, turning the music down. Before she could say anything, there was a car turning onto the street behind me so I had to pull off because we were blocking the street entirely. I drove to the corner and pulled up in front of my house before deciding I needed to run to the gas station and might as well drive. I pulled up into a space in front of the door after noticing my sister’s car parked away from the pumps and off to the side. Still oblivious to all things, I turned my music down and was slowly grabbing up my purse and covering my laptop. I turned to open the door and she was right there, shaking and almost in tears.

“Some guy just pulled a gun out on me”, she said as my brain scrambled to process what I had just heard. She further explained that she had simply parked and started messing with her phone when she noticed an issue arising.

Let’s back up some more. She got there before I did and had driven to the end of the street to make the u-turn. Once she turned around and parked, she noticed someone in a car that had pulled up very close behind her and seemed to be ‘poppin off’ at her. She thought maybe he wanted the parking space so she pulled up more. Next thing she knew, the guy was outside of his car, cussing and hollering and showing his gun…AT HER! Mind you, her windows are tinted dark so you can’t see inside her car very much and she has Georgia plates, so I was just as confused when she told me as she was when it was happening. Who would have a problem with her and why? Was it me? Had I done something and it was now spilling out on her? Instantly terrified, she sped off and up the street to get away just as I turned onto it.

Now here is where things go even more left field.

She had already called the police, which is why she was on the phone when I turned onto the street. When you think your life is in danger, that’s what you do right? Call the police? I don’t know. To be black in America, I can say for certain I don’t know what you’re supposed to do. It could turn out against YOU!  That is a REAL and legitimate Black In America fear. Who would want that on their conscious?

We stood at the gas station and she expressed her concern for going back on my street and talking to the police especially because I live there and she didn’t want to exacerbate the situation. Keep in mind we had no idea why this man pulled his gun out and was snapping on her or who he even was. I didn’t recognize the car description and had no idea of what to do. We were both pretty scared, to say the least.  I saw my neighbor walking his dog and I went into auto-pilot. I was standing there in heels and a bouncy dress that I bought in the Bahamas and some fancy footwear that I got from NYC; I needed to change into war gear and investigation shoes. I told my sister to stay at the station and I was going to ask my neighbor if he saw anything and change my clothes. Remember: the police have already been called at this point. We see a cop drive up the street. I got back in my truck, drove home and pulled up just as my neighbor was stepping onto his porch. I stopped him and ask him if he saw anything or was familiar with the car she described. He said no and I walked off, nervous and wondering why someone would do this and what should I do. I can’t have my sister scared to visit me- that’s my fucking sister. NO!

AND, it’s broad effin daylight on a weekday!!! WTF?

The police drove past two more times while I stood there and on their third rotation, I stood in the street with my arms stretched with the best WTF look that I could plaster across my face. He stopped just as he passed me, opened his door and asked did I call the police. I told him verbatim “no, but my sister did. She’s scared to come back on the street and she is over at the gas station”, and proceeded to describe her car. He said ok, got back in his car and drove off. Assuming he was heading over to her, I ran in the house and changed clothes, let the dogs out real quick and quick-footed it back outside. I was at her car in less than ten minutes. When I got to her passenger door to open it, a voice rang out from across the parking lot “Hey Kendra, tell her I’m sorry.”

I stood there perplexed as fuck and he said, “I wouldn’t have done that, I thought she was someone else. I’m sorry.”

Finally words came to my lips: “That was you!!???”

He said, “Yeah, tell her I’m sorry.” 

I nodded and got in the car to find my sister staring at me with the WTF face I had given the police and I’m not sure what face I gave her back. I regurgitated his words as best as I could and included the fact that I knew him. Seconds passed and we pulled off and up MLK BlVD, not really sure what to say or feel. Well, at least we knew it was over and nothing else would come of it? Was she safe to come back on my street? Was she traumatized? Was I angry? Scared? I had so many feelings fighting for top attention that I physically could not speak. I felt like crying. Straight up, I felt like bursting into complete tears but then she would console me and this was soooo not about me right now. Again, I had so many emotions. When she apologized for calling the cops and cried as we crossed 16th Street, I felt like the words were pushing to get out but there was no connection with my voice. It might seem dramatic, but I promise, we were both stunned into silence. Her apology broke that silence and I returned it with nothingness although inside of me, I screamed to her that she did nothing wrong.  What is life when you apologize for calling the police because your life feels threatened? But again, when you’re Black in America, that can result in lives lost and IMPD is no exception.

That right there is some complicated, unfair shit.

We pulled over and parked on the outskirts of the IUPUI lot across from Crispus Attucks. We sat there, my sister still shaken and really not up for driving, and me in silence with my mind on a thousand speed. I suggested we pray. It was the best, safest place I could think to go. I didn’t feel emotionally equipped to know what to say to make her feel ok. I felt bad for knowing the guy and even worse because I had to deliver his apology. When I spoke it, it felt like the first cigarette after a long day on a new addict’s tongue; there was a sense of relief and sadness. As we sat there in this parking lot, I was able to find my words and tell my sister not to apologize for being scared or for calling the police. I reminded her that that’s what is supposed to happen. That in the heat of the moment of straight fear, you’re not always (if ever) going to think about how Black Lives (don’t really) Matter while in search of help. We are supposed to be able to call the police. They are supposed to be trained to help us, especially in these situations.

EVEN.IF.WE.ARE.BLACK.

EVEN.IF.WE.LIVE.IN.THE.HOOD.

As the ice was broken and we were able to calm and collect ourselves and find some peace in it all, a group of three people walked in front of the car on the way back to work at Attucks; one white man in a suit and two black women. One woman walked a bit ahead of the two others and as the white man and black woman trailed, we both noticed the woman’s cute heels. They were Lucite-block style 3′ or 4′ inch sandals with triple straps, but not over the top. She had on a cute red dress that didn’t hug or hide her figure. Her hair was natural and we both noted that she was STRUTTING in those heels. She walked so confidently in who she was that I’d dare someone try to convince me she ever shed a tear. Black women, I tell you. We are beautiful. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to roll down the window and shout “YOU BETTA WERK BLACK QUEEN!!!!”

She raised her hands and smiled a thank you. It was like the clouds broke and the sun came through. I don’t know what significance that was, but I had to share it. We set forth on our journey to food (tried to get some Trap food but she ran out #Splat #NextTimeGadget), picked up my niece and made the rest of our time beautiful. At least two and a half hours passed by before we went back to my house, feeling at ease and safe to pull up.

Life comes at you fast man . . .

As I got out of her car, the young man that I knew (yes, the young man that had the gun out) was walking up to my neighbor’s house (yes, the same neighbor who I had stopped earlier). It was spooky AF. I’m not even trying to tie anything together because I know it was all mere coincidence, but the irony wasn’t lost on me. He had clearly seen us pulling up because as soon as I stood outside the car door (my sister and niece still in the car), he began apologizing again. Like I said, this guy is no stranger to me. I don’t ‘fear’ him. I know him well and have always thought he was a good kid. He lives around here but I’ve known him prior to moving over here. We speak every time we see each other. I ask about his children. It’s easy to say I’m disappointed in the situation as a whole, but it’s a greater thing to appreciate the fact that from the most sincere place he could foster it from, he was offering an apology. That’s not something that can be ignored in this society. That situation could have gone horribly wrong. One of the thoughts that ran through my mind was wondering how many people have lost their lives as a case of mistaken identity. I’ve always heard that if you’re going to pull your gun you better be prepared to shoot, so in his preparation, that whole scenario could have been an unnecessary disaster. His apology simply can’t fall on deaf ears and you know why? Because if it does, it teaches him (people) that remorse is not appreciated and therefore not necessary. In the arrogance of the today’s society, someone owning up and saying they made a fucked up mistake and apologizing is something that has to be noted. It doesn’t erase anything, but it one isn’t sorry for an offense, then they are liable to do it again. In the end, we all found a place to share a smile as we went in our respective different directions. It was the best possible ending to an unlikely, fucked up situation that shouldn’t have happened, but did.

And that’s that piece. . .

Or is it? 

Before I end this blog, let me address the real yellow elephant with the mouth full of peanuts. My sister called IMPD, against her better judgment and inner black woman voice. She felt threatened and scared and she told the 911 operator that she was “terrified”. I know she was scared because when she was standing at my door in tears, she was shaking. When a car drove up alongside us while we were parked, she jumped. She did the right thing, per the way our society is supposed to behave. She called 911 and even left them her number to contact her back, per the operator’s request. My interaction with the officer was bare minimal. Remember, I directed him straight to my sister with a description of her car. That was the end all of our conversation.

That officer and no other one ever went to my sister’s car. They did absolutely nothing and I’m going to be honest by saying I don’t know what they could have done given the situation. They didn’t know who it was and neither did we.  The car was nowhere in sight from what I could tell. But to refrain from going and talking to the person that called, regardless of what you can or can’t do to help, is a sign of weak ass policing, a true lack of concern for local citizens and possibly some area-stereotyping. Here’s a little more irony: approximately seven days prior to this, members of IMPD were all gathered and standing with Rev. Harris, the Ten Point Coalition and the news cameras in this exact same area at the old Double 8, which also doubles as the ten point central location. It’s where I see them standing almost daily when I come home from work. I won’t pretend to know what that meet and greet was for but I’m sure it had something to do with this bullshit campaign Rev. Harris and IMPD are serving the public by suggesting they are responsible for lowering crime in certain areas, this one in particular.

You know what I did not see the entire time this situation played out with my sister? A fluorescent green vest! Twenty-four hours later, I saw them at the same Double 8 parking lot, standing and congregating.

You see, I’m calling bullshit on the biggest bullhorn I can find. It is a slap in my face and it is disrespectful to the community members that live in this area and live with the crime and fears to play on our intelligence in the name of receiving grant and state funding to live the good life. I’m appalled that a man who oversees a church, where people go to serve the Lord, could so smugly be ok with lying to the public and his own black people. Many people have called bullshit, but I actually live here and we’re no stranger to the fact that I grew up in (and mother lives in) the heart of Butler Tarkington. I’m not just talking about what I heard, it’s what I know. I can’t blame the Reverand or IMPD or ten point for the actions of another person and I don’t. But when I see them marching up the street with Channel 6 or whoever is the first to hit record, and I see them standing on the corner every day at 5 o’clock, but when something really pops off I don’t see not one through eleven fucks given by either the ten point coalition or the police, it really pisses me the fuck off. I know that was a long sentence and this blog is full of expletives, but man…these are actual feelings being placed into words. The lackadaisical attitude of the IMPD officers, particularly the one I spoke with (my goofy ass didn’t get his name and badge) has damaging results whereas trust, which was already minuscule at best, is concerned. The convenient broadcasts of the ten point dangerous area-field trips with news crews and Mike Pence are laden with irony to their lack of visibility on this day. Let me guess, they can’t be everywhere all the time. Yep. I know.  I don’t like myself, my neighbors or community being used as experimental zoo pets in an effort to gain more funds to misuse. The Reverand and IMPD owe this community an apology for misrepresenting themselves.  They should take some humility lessons from the guy that pulled the gun out.

This broad daylight, weekday situation had to de-escalate itself, which then makes me wonder how many other situations have found their own resolution. I’ve heard shooting, arguing in the middle of the night between men and women, disrupting and disrespecting the entire neighborhood and have yet to see a fluorescent vest come through and offer any positive assistance. Or any assistance period. I watch as the police park at the old Double 8 day in and out and watch the gas station for trouble. There is also a press conference held at that very Double 8 parking lot between IMPD, Rev. Harris & the coalition and whoever they invite at least once every few months, complete with bullhorns, microphones, AND BODYGUARDS (I can’t make this up…I’ve witnessed it), so there seems to be a lot of time on folks hands, yet a woman fears for her life in broad daylight and can’t find a bullhorn, a vest, a bodyguard or a fucking police officer that gives a fuck.

I am all out of wows.

I have so many questions, but none that will ever be answered. This shit will continue on as it has. Honestly, I feel some type of way about feeling some type of way towards IMPD. I know they aren’t to be trusted. I know they don’t give a fuck. They’ve shown it and I have no faith in police departments in general. The last time I was pulled over by a police officer, I turned my video on before he got to my window. I don’t trust them. So why should I expect them to care? Why should I be mad at what I could have predicted? Why do I feel some type of relief that they didn’t do anything because this IS the same neighborhood they killed Aaron Bailey in and yet they can’t seem to come clean and admit that was a fucked up situation and an officer deserves to swap his citizen job for an inmate gig.

As my sis Rheagan Gilmore would say, “TUH!”  What faith did I even have in them to be broken?

Am I just shitty because they have proven what I had assumed? That it’s best to not even call. At least that way, no one gets killed by the police because of a call you placed, and you don’t run the risk of being disappointed in how much they don’t care. That officer looked me right in my face and said ok like he was about to go be Johnny on the Spot. Instead, he went back to his slop container, where Rev Harris has cooked up a nice meal of bullshit. Eat up. Tip accordingly.

Oh,

Before I go….so what do we do in case of an emergency??? Who do we call?

This is a question I fear I will never have a sufficient answer for.

Thanks for reading.

~j

U.O.E.N.O How to Respect Black Women: A Letter to William by Januarie

 “I want to make sure this is clear, that woman is the most precious gift known to man….

…I just wanted to reach out to all the queens that are on my timeline and all the sexy ladies, the beautiful ladies that had been reaching out to me with the misunderstanding. I don’t condone rape. Apologies on the #Lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS

~Rick Ross

Dear William Leonard Roberts II, known to most as Rick Ross:

I begin typing with a heavy sigh dragging across my fingers as there was a part of me that wanted to still be a fan of your work although your rape lyrics two years ago troubled me quite a bit and never settled in my spirit as ok or condonable. Still, I admittedly failed to remove the songs of yours that I had added to my various Spotify playlists. “The Devil is a Lie”, featuring my favorite Jay Z. Ashton Martin Music, featuring Chrisette Michele and Drake. I liked the first song because of Hov’s lyrics and the second because of the hook and the beat. I don’t know if it’s safe to say I was ever a ‘fan’ of your work and never bought into your laws of moving all these kilos of cocaine around the world while moonlighting as a corrections officer. Nonetheless, here we are today.

Today is the day I removed your music from my list. Somehow, we as women (or it could legitimately just be me), always find ways to excuse the actions and words of men despite how it has made us or our sisters feel. In our relationships, we try and try until we have exhausted all possibilities or too often, excusing the disruptive and disrespectful behaviors that land us in troubled waters. In music, we accept your reasoning and flawed logic as to why it’s ok to call us bitches and hoes (***NOTE: even if you don’t think the misogynistic lyrics are OK, if you still listen to the music, it’s condoning) and talk about us as sexual objects and conquests to be had and little more. We continue to turn up our radios, nodding our heads with your music blasting through our subconscious and out into the world. We twerk in short shorts to your voices hovering over the 808s like the ghost of music’s present, pretending we’re ok with everything we hear.

Allow me to quote Andre 3000’s Elevators line,

“This shit here must stop, like FREEZE!”

Because seriously, fuck this shit.

Fuck me trying to write some prolific blog to satisfy the masses and draw new audiences. Fuck being politically correct and fuck holding back what I feel. This blog will be full of cuss words and anger because …the nice girl act ain’t what it is right now! Fuck you (Rick Ross) if you’re reading (and thank you) and triple fuck you if you’re not. You know it’s out here. You know somebody is reading your ass right now, for one reason or another.

“Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain’t even know it.”

Rick Ross, U.O.E.N.O.

It took you three attempts at an apology to muster up words that weren’t condescending and full of blame-avoidance. Perhaps you shouldn’t start off your statement, or even end it, calling your raping ass lyrics a “misunderstanding” or “misinterpretation.” There is no way to misinterpret those particular rape lyrics and the fact that you walked away from this song, these lyrics and this moment in your life still not fully grasping that you can’t drug a woman, have sex with her and think you’ve done anything besides raping her, is equally as maddening as it is disappointing, sad and embarrassing. Could this have contributed to that rape case that was brought against you? I know you weren’t the person being charged with rape, but you were accused of “negligent supervision” and since you don’t know what it means to rape and that scenario reads a lot like your rap(e) lyrics, one can’t help but wonder would you even know WHEN to help a woman, much less how? YOU SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED! As a man with a daughter of his own, you should desire to educate yourself, but that’s ‘old’ news and not the reason I am writing you.

I’m not even writing you to ask about all the women that claim to have been made to have abortions by you, something I found out by adding ‘black women’ next to your name in  Google. #InterestingFact #Boss #QuestionMark Now of course, as you all say in hip-hop, “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” I like to add “numbers can be manipulated” when I say it but that’s just my interpretation of life. Nonetheless, I understand these are just ‘rumors’ and nothing has been substantiated. Still, I couldn’t help but take notice of the article and the hush silence that followed. Allhiphop.com reported this back in January 2017 and I really didn’t see much of anything to combat these accusations. I would hope that you are not out here raw fucking and using abortion as your pay-them-off, silencing tactics but I digress.

Ladies, you should all just love me.”

~Rick Ross

Yeah ok my G.

Let’s talk about love. Let’s talk about why I am writing you and the reason I mentioned the above information. You’re a full of shit ass black man and that’s rather unfortunate. You portray yourself as this “boss” with endless amounts of money, cars, cocaine, and women. I’m pretty sure I listed that in the order of importance. You’ve been publically engaged at least once but I don’t follow your life in any capacity so I can’t say I know what was up with that or whatever happened to it. What I can say is your overall respect for women in general, but especially black women seems to be in disarray and a huge problem. It’s a fucking problem for me today. Real bosses know that usually, there is (or was) a good woman right there with them on the road up. She could be a companion or a mother, an aunt, grandmother, sister, best friend, friend-with-benefits, friend-without-them, etc….

The point is a woman is almost ALWAYS right there pushing a future-BOSS to reach his greatest potential. A woman gave birth to him. A woman is his motivation. She moves his mind, his pockets and his dick. WOMEN ARE NECESSARY and should be respected as such. WITHOUT US, LET ME WATCH YOU WORK. Please!!! #IWannaSee

Today you chose to make one of my dear sisterfriends the target of your misguided conversation skills and your MISINTERPRETATION of how to address black women. I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s the exact same you that’s in your songs, except for those rare occasions where in an effort to keep your female fanbase at bay and feeling like you do make songs for them (therefore keeping them from coming at your neck w/all your misogyny), you call them “Queens.”  I must stand and give you a slow clap for the continued representation of one Rick Ross. God forbid we find out any more of your hidden color correctional officer jackets. But I question, do you even know what a Queen is? Because you seem to refer to them as bitches quite often.

Rozay a born stunna
I can blow money (uh)
50 when I’m shoppin
That ain’t no money (uh)
I got ma jeans saggin
Money stuffed in em
I got 40 whips
Way too much in em
I need me a queen
I need me a dime
Livin this fast life
Just show me a sign
I’m a g
I’m, I’m I’m, I’m a g
Took her from that lame
Put her on that condo on that beach
All she needs
A, a, a, all she needs
Is a boss on my level
Who provides her every need (need)
All I fiend is a queen in my presence
I can hold her till I die
Couple g’s in a bezzle

~You The Boss

Found on the same album is a song, Diced Pineapples, where you gloat about your ‘baby’ and her sweet pussy and all the great things you buy her just before daydreaming about how “Bitch so bad got me wishing I could sing her.” 

Wait- 

are baby and bitch the same woman?

Basically, calling a woman a bitch is nothing to you. It’s a good and a bad thing, I guess it just depends on the type of cigar you’re puffing on. It’s a compliment when you want it to be and it’s an insult at your leisure. Women are bitches and you will look upon them as you please and address them as you wish…right? In hip hop, and also because us women are guilty of inadvertently (and sometimes purposefully) supporting the open misogynistic and abusive lyrics, terms like bitch, ho and ha ha go hand-in-hand. I wonder is that how you talked to your ex-fiance? Is it how you address your daughter? Or mother? Or any woman you have the least bit of respect for, IF that’s a thing. When my sisterfriend inboxed me the screenshot of your comment on a post she made regarding not loaning friends money, I had read her comment to you before I realized she was talking to ‘Rick Ross.’ At first glance, your profile, name, and language read like a 10th grade wanna-be cool-but-stay-fronting lil dude with a point to prove to anyone who will listen. When I doubled back and saw it was you, again I say I was pissed and disappointed more than anything.

Why? Because you’re Rick Ross. Why aren’t you somewhere pushing black bottles (?) and raw fucking with hush money on the table? Why are you in the comment section with us common folks? Where is Larry Hoover and Big Meech and the quarter ki’s with the naked bitches watching guard? Ok, that’s me being petty. Let you tell it, I’m probably being a petty bitch, broke ho, haa… right?

“Bitch u broke and mad at another broke ho haa”

~Rick Ross to my sisterfriend

My sister didn’t come for you. She didn’t call out your name and I don’t recall a time she ever has. You all asshole hurt over her post and felt the need to leave traces of your lipstick in the comment section but I hope you doubled back for her response. I’m concerned that your upside down version of happy has you looking at the world in rozay-colored glasses and I’m here to tell you, it’s time to take them off. I’m sure with your legion of die-hard fans and women who are throwing themselves at your melanin-hiding tattoos and banks accounts, you are heavily unbothered by the loss of my sister, myself and all of our legions of networks of people who have already written you off the island for good. And that too is ok. But I’d be remised if I didn’t at least try to inform you that you aren’t dealing with bitches here. You aren’t dealing with women seeking a come up or an interview or the spotlight. We ARE the fucking red carpets around here. We are the stars, everywhere. And the women and beautiful black women that love and support us are here with us. We are the center of healings and communication. We are the women cleaning up the neighborhoods you left or have been kicked out of. We are the women cleaning up the curbs, showing up to parent teacher and community meetings, battling our own bodies for dominance, and battling society for dominance over own bodies. We are surviving cancers, heartbreaks, and single parenting and you have the nerve to fix your black-mother-born African lips to call us bitches. We are the same village you have rapped about so many times in your songs yet have no respect for the heartbeats that keep it going.

MUTHAFUCKA WE ARE THE VILLAGE!!! And you will respect us as so or continue to lose more of us. I know, we’re replaceable, right? Until the day comes that you realize we never were.

Love is something you lack for us.  #StopClaimingIt

You may need a Queen but it appears you don’t want one, nor are you prepared for one. You want a subservient that won’t clap back at you right? She won’t know if you’re pissed or excited because you call her bitch so much. Or is this just your persona? Is William Leonard Roberts II different from the rap God Rick Rozay?

I’m pissed but I appreciate you inspiring my pen to move. I fear no one but God. When I read this, I refused to just leave a comment. I absolutely refused silence on this matter. Partly because this is my sisterfriend and partly because, well, I”M SICK OF THIS SHIT! Did you know a pregnant black woman was just gunned down by the police, again!? Do these things ever cross your mind or is that too far left for you? You may NEVER read this and IDGAF! I will stand with my QUEENS. My sister was called by a power higher than Maybach Music to sew back into the very women you talk shit about, 16 bars at a time. She ministers to the souls that you push to the edge with your lyrics that are filtered into the subconsciousness of the men we date and the children we are raising. I’m not blaming you for that. I’m blaming you only for not giving a fuck about your language and not respecting the very Queens you quote your need and love for when it comes to chart climbing.
Women are not here for your convenience William. I’m not sure if anyone has ever said that to you or not. I know, should you still be reading this, you’re thinking well shit, all I said was ‘she’s a broke bitch.’ But it’s bigger than that. I’m pretty damn tired of people feeling like they can say whatever the hell they want to in the comment sections. It’s even worse when a celebrity feels like he has the right to make an assumption and be disrespectful like a child, to the people who have the power to take him OFF the charts!! Are you delusional? Are you so full of yourself that you think you can just hop around, comment trolling and randomly calling women out of their names and walk away unscathed?

Oh, what tangled fucking webs to be weaving and sipping high-end Cognac over. My blog isn’t here to take you down. I know that eventually, all fall from their pedestals because man was never designed to be up there in the first place.

And for what it’s worth, what you said was fucking ENOUGH.

My sister is not a bitch, nor is she broke. Not everyone has to or even wants to reach your financial status and I don’t know if you have a God you believe in or not, but you should be more focused on that camel beating you through the needle instead of comment checking the pockets of those who have less than you.  #ButThatsJustMyTake #MatthewNineteenTwentyFour

Also, Will (can I call you that?), less does not mean lessER.  More money does not equate to a happier life OR a happier SOUL. Or a healthier mind. Or body.

I’m proud of you. You got your weight down and under control. But you’re mentally sick when it comes to women. I wonder if your daughter will approach you with a conversation regarding something a young guy said to her at school; something that you know sounds a lot like how you speak. I know, you’re thinking you’ve raised her and versed her well, but you’re not a woman or a girl and when put in those situations, knowing what to say doesn’t negate how it makes you FEEL as women. I don’t know what it will take to make you reevaluate how you speak to women, and maybe you’re content as you are.

But I’m here to tell it: we are not bitches. And please, miss me and fuck off with the ‘yaw call each other that speech’; it would sound mighty WHITE of you.

#LetThatMarinate

My sisterfriend, a dear woman who’s life has been risked in the name of love, her kids, men, and friendship, did not deserve that. She’s a woman who has bared her soul and her demons to bring healing and LIGHT in the lives of others. I watch her blow up my feed with inspirational videos that are watched by the 1000s. She IS a healer. A watcher. A gift. An open third. Her name is CHOSEN, not picked out.

Many things she is, but a broke bitch she is not. You never know who you are talking to out here in the cyberworld and I think as a black man, you bear the responsibility of giving a fuck how you talk to the black women in this world.

The same black women that march and protest /and push and fight back when one of you, ANY of you is killed, despite being a target on our own by police  AND black men.

We are the mothers. The ones bearing the scars, internal and external. We are black women, similar and not much different than those who wore lashes on their backs to protect their family. The ones that snuck slaves to freedom, who demanded to be woman, who wrote poetry, gave life to music, gave birth with no anesthesia and was up cooking, cleaning and caring for the rest of the world before herself, by dawn – we are those women. My sister is that woman. NOT A BITCH.

FUCK YOU FOR THINKING YOU CAN TALK TO ALL OF US HOWEVER YOU CHOOSE!!!! Pick a side: either you want a Queen in your life or you want to call women bitches and broke hos but trust me, the latter will eventually come with a price, even if you don’t let the public know what it is.

Learn how the fuck to address women.

Learn how the fuck to mind your damn business. If you feel you need to unnecessarily call a woman a bitch and/or address her as a lesser, FUCKING DON’T!

It’s that simple. I wish you were as passionate about respecting women and respecting our space as well as our minds and our rights to use our voices as much as you do drugs, guns, murder, and money. But eh, can’t win em’ all right? 

That’s really all I have to say. I would hope, as you stated in your final apology regarding those rap(e) lyrics, that this blog would make you want to dialogue. But, it will probably piss you off that I dare to challenge your use of the word bitch.

Have a good life, William….also, known to the world as Rick Ross.

~j

Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son, and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world. So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets. As an artist, one of the most liberating things is being able to paint pictures with my words. But with that comes a great responsibility. And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart. And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence. To the young men who listen to my music, please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it’s wrong and I do not encourage it. To my fans, I also apologize if I have disappointed you. I can only hope that this sparks a healthy dialogue and that I can contribute to it.”

~Rick Ross (issuing a formal apology for U.O.E.N.O. Lyrics)

4620W8T – #Pause: My Hood Is DOPE: #HighlighterPen #ItsRainingPens

Recently, I sat on the back patio of my home, enjoying the sunshine and watching the butterfly that kept landing on the banister. My male dog tossed and turned in a dirt pit he dug for himself and his toys while my female rested her head sleepily against my leg. It was a typically quiet and serene moment at a place I call (t)HugzMansion.

My house rests in an area that has its fair offering of boarded-up houses and vacant lots. From my backyard and because of a vacant lot, I can see straight through to the one-way street one block over. It’s a busy westbound street and I watched as traffic sped by on their way to important destinations. A collection of sounds christened the air that ranged from loud trunk music to kids playing and ultimately my personal favorite, stillness. There is no shortage of trees in the back and I took special notice to the fresh spring buds sitting on high limbs that reached for the sky’s approval. Several trees were covered in purple buds that looked like a high field of lavender from where I sat. It was (and is) quite beautiful.  As I sat, Cinematic Orchestra’s “Woman: Burnout” played us an evening soundtrack.  It was a solid warm, peaceful spring day full of the kind of sunshine that tickled the tips of the growing grass and kissed my melanin ever so gently.

I had no complaints.

According to a 2013 Fox59 report, the 46208 zip code is not only one of the most dangerous zips in Indianapolis; it is ranked as one of the most dangerous in the entire country. In this zip code, along with 46205, a person has a one in fourteen chance of becoming a victim of a homicide. While the report itself goes on to mention certain areas within these zips, or pockets, the zip code itself is used as a blanket statement for an entire area covered under those ten specific numbers. Butler-Tarkington, which is not mentioned in the 2013 article but makes up a huge portion of 46208, was featured in the news in October 2016 for making it one year without violence after a string of unsolved murders left families broken and police stumped. It’s also been listed as a high crime, dangerous areas. The MLK and Riverside areas have also been known to fall under the title of danger zones. Both areas have endured a long notoriety with locals as being oppressively unstable and full of crime. I am not writing this blog to deny the existence of the all too frequent violence. In fact, I can easily understand how one comes to label these areas as they do. Who can forget 10-year-old Deshaun Lee Swanson, who was shot and killed during a drive-by that injured several others? That happened around the corner from my mother’s house and next door to the parents of a lifelong sisterfriend. My stepfather was supposed to be in that house that day but decided to stay home. Trust me when I say I am awake, alert and aware of the violence and negativity that go on in these places.

But doesn’t the label of “most-dangerous” at least somewhat eradicate the presence of the love that I happen to know exists in these areas? Does no one else feel marked and thrown away under such a label, or is it just me and my feelings?

Consider this: the label of “most dangerous zip code in the country” (or even the city) doesn’t identify the isolated pockets where the violence is most prominent. One would have to read between the lines to get that. Instead, that lable engulfs and speaks for the entire covered area while conveniently forgetting that despite what you see from the outside looking in, there are still families here. There are still people with goals and dreams, folks who are mentoring the teens and kids that live in these very areas. There are small, grassroots collections of people trying to combat the violence AND all the other issues plaguing our communities (food, transportation, health, etc).

I grew up in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. I have lived all over Indianapolis but I returned to the area in 2007 and spent the last ten years in the 46208 neighborhood. I can say with certainty and experience that there is so much beautiful to be seen and experienced in the hood. Last year, I tried to apply for a job with the INRC, a community-based organization that targets urban areas with the intention of building neighborhood awareness, communication and dialogue, as well as empowering the community to teach, grow and sustain itself through their own initiatives and talents. They use what is referred to as the ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) model to achieve this success. When using the ABCD model, you assess what are considered to be “weaknesses” and work on how to utilize them as strengths. In other words, there are no weaknesses. A person may not like to speak in public, but on the flip side, they are great listeners. That person could record information for someone. There are no vacant homes: those are potential artistic canvases OR rehabilitated meeting houses or safe places. Using the talents and gifts of the people within these areas, coupled with identifying ‘troubled’ areas (regarding buildings AND the people), and then learning how to turn those into assets is how you revitalize a community from the inside out…without gentrifying it.

But in order to respect that there is talent in these so-called urban, dangerous areas, there must be belief. There must be hope. Despite what is said about us, life still exists within our numbered boundaries.

Who knew??? Life exists in “the most dangerous zip codes” of Indianapolis!!!! 

Indystar isn’t really good about reporting that though. The media is great for being first on the scene to capture people screaming and hollering in grief and disbelief when a dead body is discovered. They are Johnny on the Spot when a drug bust happens, even if they don’t have much information. But when over three hundred people draw together, along with the police (by happenstance), on a corner where folks are scared to make a complete stop at the four-way, no one is there but our own cell cameras. Then when two thousand people gather together in an event that could rival all of the summer expos and food festivals, but this one being held in a neighborhood that falls under the national label of danger, the only stories that are written are the ones we write for ourselves. Remember that person that doesn’t like to speak in public but is a good listener? He/She would fit well here to help create stories that live long after we do. OUR STORIES MUST BE TOLD. I am now part of a neighborhood organization called The Learning Tree where doing just that is a top priority.

My point of all of this not a list of suggestions of what we could do….but rather an ode to what we are doing. There is great work going on in the areas that many people are afraid of based on what they’ve heard. I spoke about my neighborhood to a coworker the other day with pride, not embarrassment or shame. As I heard myself, I couldn’t help but notice the second nature of which I bragged on the incredible initiatives in my area. The block I recently moved to is a very busy block. The street cramped with cars on both sides and the people hang out late at night with loud conversations. There are vacant homes on both sides of the street. My grandfather used to own one of them. Matter a fact, it’s the biggest one of the block – the biggest house and the biggest vacant. When I walk out of my door, I am not inundated with the negative. I see duplexes with bikes on porches and older men who frequent their stoops on a regular. There is a daycare in operation right next door to me. I hear kids crying as they get dropped off in the morning and laughing outside as I pull up in the evening.

I’ve often told people when I moved to 34th and Clifton (The Cliff), I was nervous as shit. I feared that I was making a mistake that would cost me my safety and/or peace of mind. I couldn’t have been further from reality. In the three years I stayed there, while some weird things definitely came about like the police repeatedly visiting and looking for someone who didn’t live there, or a random man knocking at my door at like 3 AM (I didn’t answer), it was a wonderful experience overall. There was a neighborhood street clean up the first year I was there. The second year led me to meet Mr. William Ryder, the artist whose home was a museum of his own incredible sculptures. He also told me how his father used to dress him up as a girl when he lived in or near Lyles Station, IN, where county officials were kidnapping black children to do radiation experiments on them. From what Mr. Ryder told me, they preferred boys hence his parents dressing him as a girl. I wouldn’t have met him, toured his home or looked into his beautiful eyes and saw all the ancestry they held with artistic pride had I been living in the safety nets of some place like Normandy Farms (traders point).

There is a gas station nearby my house that I see police presence and arrests nearly every day. Just last week, I watched a cop sit behind the Double 8 building and watch the station activities from his car using binoculars. I admit, there is a lot that goes on there and I personally try not to use it too much but I can’t be too surprised. After all, this IS one of the most dangerous places in the entire country.

 People drive through here daily. I wonder if, when driving, anyone notices the precious gems that those of us who live here see? Such as the teddy bear memorial that I believe grows by the week from where two men lost their lives after a driver jumped the curb, striking and ultimately killing both men as they awaited the bus. It’s old news but the neighborhood hasn’t forgotten them. Do people only see what they believe are bums and addicts or do they notice the mothers walking down the street holding hands with their children too? Those are real people. Have they seen the garden preparation at the Flanner House that will provide freshly grown food to area residents in addition to offering gardening classes. Do people see all the kids that wait for the after-school food program that GRoe Inc. provides? Or is that too inner in the inner city? Kheprw has a great community food program for a low monthly cost. Neighborhood and community building is happening right before our eyes…and right above the labels.

Let the news tell it, the only saving grace in these areas is the 10-Point Coalition, spearheaded by a man whose affinity for profiling, stop and frisk and disparaging remarks about black youth keep him locked out from making any real impact on the people. Photo ops and a ‘walk thru’ or two with the Mayor are dope tho.

The link I provided in regards to the Butler-Tarkington area going a year without violence starts with a video of the news crew walking up 40th street with the 10 Point guys. The media seems impressed but those of us who live over here don’t see them until we turn on the tv or see the news crew outside. We are NOT impressed. Less reported are the grassroots efforts of the RESIDENTS. The people who live here when the camera crews pack up and go back to Noblesville and Carmel. Folks like these fathers who came together to not only work the streets of Butler Tarkington at night time in attempts to curb the violence, but they are attending community meetings and letting their voices (our voices) be heard. These are fathers and husbands who, through their own finances, offer children in the neighborhood options for the summer (football little league) and someone trusted to confide in.

A couple of weeks back, on the MLK side of 46208, I along with my partner, catered a “living room concert series”, where locals gathered together in a neighborhood living room for a concert-style dinner, entertainment and conversation. This event included area neighbors as well as people from the community that have the pull, the pockets and the DESIRE to invest in our areas. No animals were harmed and no gunshots rang out in the process. Lives were not lost; in fact, they were inspired and uplifted. The living room concert featured a live band and singer with me serving as the host and poet. A bit of community dialogue followed the music where questions were asked and input from those of us who live here was shared.

All of this in one of the most dangerous zip codes of Indianapolis and the entire country.

THE POINT:

Meet Indy’s New Fountain Square

There is no question that violence, drugs, and police runs in these communities are frequent occurences. I am by no means attempting to dismiss the importance of curbing the statistics over here. But there are great things happening in the 46208 areas and it’s not coming by way of gentrification. It’s coming at the hands of the community residents that either stay here or travel over here to help rebuild the people. That’s the difference between gentrification and community rebuilding: In the gentrifying model, homes and land are bought and remodeled to look pretty. The rustic browns and tans of hood life are replaced with friendly hues from the pastel color wheel. Pink, blue and yellow siding line up the newly constructed homes or the ‘rehabbed’ places as the old neighbors are pushed out and new ones are brought in. Coffee shops pop up and white people start jogging with babies and strollers and the next thing you know, what was once a predominantly black area is now the new hipster area. *See Fall Creek Boulevard. Fountain Square didn’t become the revitalized artistic gem that it is now without pushing a shitload of people out and rewriting the story without them in it.

“30’000 feet up and you are not invited” ~Kanye West

But in the community building model, we fix the PEOPLE first and then assess what needs to be done regarding the homes, buildings, and land. The people are not pushed out; they are empowered. You can’t empower a building but you can its people. And that is happening all over urban areas with little to no coverage from local news outlets or stations. If it wasn’t for these blogs and articles that we write, we would only believe that these dangerous zip codes are places where you only drive through if necessary and you never move to on purpose.

I moved here on purpose, even with a fistful of fear I had collected by what I had heard. That fear was quickly eradicated and with the help of people like Earl & Ro Townsend, who started the GRoe Inc organization, it became easier to see how to be an asset instead of a complainer. I didn’t get the job at INRC but I’ve learned and am still learning how to apply the ABCD model to my community. Right now, if you look at my big yellow house, you may notice one of the blinds is a jumbled up mess. It is ridiculously ugly.

It’s been torn, shredded and manipulated to fit dog needs. I honestly don’t know what they did to get the blinds like they have but we have failed to replace them as of yet and it’s been a month or so.

You can see straight through on the bottom portion. I must say, it’s time to replace them. If a person was to judge my home based on my blinds, they would expect to walk into a dust-filled, grease motel with floors full of stuff you don’t want to step or stand on, the stench of dog piss and two couches that don’t match in one room. That’s far from the case. It’s typically clean in here although there are times when we get lazy. There is no shortage of furniture but it still has a very minimalist vibe as there are no televisions downstairs and nothing but the dinner table in the dining room. If you started from the inside first, you wouldn’t expect to see those blinds. In a sense, I guess I own the most dangerous blinds in the local area…and maybe even the United States.

Much like my blinds, the inner city has a stigma attached to it that comes with lowered expectations and stereotypical assumptions. Many people will stop at the stigma and never venture inward to learn otherwise. But if you dare step inside for a bit, you won’t last five minutes without learning that love lives here; daily. You will meet artists of varying mediums – string players, harpists, singers, and musicians. Painters and sketch artists, writers and photographers. There are places to learn how to garden, do yoga and work on clean eating. Yes, we live in a food desert with no standing bank. Yes, there is violence around us and an overwhelming police presence despite our lack of trust in them. But there is always laughter on our blocks. There are smiles and children with their bikes turned upside while they spin the tires with their hands. There are lavender buds on the tree limbs out back and the sun still kisses our flowers with precision. We have as much silence as a Carmel, Indiana subdivision and in the morning, the chirping birds don’t hesitate to sing to us. We are business owners. Working people. Retirees and school kids. Parents and elderly people with stories in their pockets. We are a community of people. We are more than a zip code and it’s label.

When I see or hear stuff like ‘I wish black folks would come together’, I can’t help but shake my head in immediate irritation (while wondering where the people who are quick to say this actually live). Clearly, they took the media bait and they believe there is little over here beyond the violence and heartbreak.

In reality, there is a great deal of good that goes on and I guess this is one of those instances where you just have to live it to know it. Or at least be a frequent visitor. The outside looking in often leads to a front row seat to ignorance.

From my front row seat, I get to see butterflies land right in front of me. That same butterfly landed on me before flying off again. #BeFearless

Nestled under the cold blanket of a harsh label, there are human beings trying to do and striving for the best…for themselves AND for their community.

Welcome to one of the most dangerous zip codes in America.

~j

 

WOMAN’ing: Ch 69 – The (re)Tired Red Cape, Part V of V.

You know why this is Chapter 69? Nothing to do with sex. Everything to do with no matter how you slice it or what way you turn it, the results are the same.

I NEVER intended on being Superwoman.

black-wonder-woman-e1426461792686

Never.

But once I decided to adult, I was immediately outfitted for my red flowing cape that would hang off my back no matter what outfit I put on. When I wear a dress, there is a long, flowing cape behind me. When I wear a suit, the cape is blowing in the wind and sometimes wrapping around my pants legs near the thighs. In sweats, my cape looks like it doesn’t belong but it’s still there riding my back like a cliché phrase about monkeys. And when I am naked, there she is: my cape. My big ass red cape, hanging from neck as if it were sewn into my skin.

Am I to never depart from this role of superwoman?

What’s funny about this title, is there are countless songs dedicated to the independence of women, particularly black women. For some reason, black women have to make their independence known to the world but the dosage must be in small teaspoons at a time. We wouldn’t want to emasculate the men or intimidate other women. We also wouldn’t want Jill with the Stringy Hair to feel like we were coming for her space right? So when we go to the club dancing to I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, and songs that fit that culture of music, we must make sure we only spell it out once so as not to offend others. Lol. Superwoman – the title that nearly every black woman has but no one really wants.

Folks think we want to be superwoman and that is simply not the truth. We were not built to maintain life and all of its ups, downs and mediums, all the stress and trauma, the good and the great, alone. I don’t believe that. I believe it’s possible to never spend your life with someone else. I believe it’s possible to try love and decide for yourself that you are better without it and that’s ok. But I also believe that we were made to have a partner. The fact that pickings are slim and partners, true PARTNERS, are few and far in between has made more women Superwoman than ever intended to be. We have to be responsible for EVERYTHING. EVERY DAMN THING. We are not just head of household, we are the head nigga in charge and for those that don’t like that term, sorry. That’s the way the saying goes . .  .

“**yelling at maximum lung capacity*

I’M TIRED OF BEING SUPERWOMAN DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!!

We are the preacher, the teacher, the mother, the daughter and sister, the wife or girlfriend and for some, the side chick (you may not like a woman’s choices but  that doesn’t mean she isn’t out her making other Super fucking decisions). We are the  bread winners, the cooks, the maids, the stress relief, the emotional beings, the love leaders and the dream catchers. In addition to all of this, we must be responsible for goals, dreams, spirituality, teachings, education, orgasms, and manage any mental health issues or problems we may face, all while spending up to a week per month bleeding and trying not to be pissed off about it.
WoooMFinSah.”

Nothing stops when we have kids. It doesn’t stop when our cycles have us bent over the toilet trying to vomit up our mistakes of the last 3 weeks. Nothing ends because we have a bad day or are struggling through another bout of depression. Nothing stops for us – we must keep going.

I know, I know, all of this is true for men and women, white and black.

Welp, I’M TALMBOUT BLACK WOMEN TODAY!!!

While I do believe that women of all races are tasked with holding the world up on their shoulders, it’s no secret that black women are expected to hold the world while flying through the air without dropping a single thing, all while looking good for our flip floppy ass men. If you are a white woman reading this and find yourself offended by the idea that your privilege prevents you from being spoken for in this particular blog, then I advise you not to return here because there is more where this comes from and I can’t tell you when I will vent my black life opinions and experiences and won’t hold them back for sugary words and friendly comments. Besides, if we were being absolute 100 about it, what it means to be a white superwoman is a completely different definition than the black woman’s experience as such, AND someone is always looking to cape for a white woman whether it be white men, BLACK MEN, society, the community, etc….. A white woman’s superwoman cape is always at the dry cleaners and she never takes it there herself. A black woman’s cape is always attached to her MFing back.

We are the ones that seem to be continuously pushed to the bottom of the totem pole no matter how hard or fast we climb. Our men turn their backs on us at the drop of a white tear, jobs act like they don’t see our qualifications despite our continuing advancement up the education meters and journalists try to refute any good information released about us at every opportunity to click-clack their typing fingers.

I had another blog that I started writing on this topic but decided to start over from scratch after a viral FB thread that I scrolled upon. By now, you may have seen it and might even know some of the women commenting. I don’t at the present time know the origin of the thread or what brought about the tearfully white comment but a precious and privileged white woman left this in a black women’s comment section: “I wish I could have been born a black woman because you all are so strong”, or some derivative of bullshit like such. The post has gone viral because of the eternal dragging that she received, but the comment and the subsequent responses got me thinking about the title of superwoman and our addictive disdain of such.

Superwoman Can’t Die…

…Because if she does, the rest of everything that has been dependent on us for survival will fold and not many of us will chance that. Either we have to be taking care of the kids or going to work or working on our schoolwork or cooking and cleaning or tending to our men or finding out they are cheating and caring for our own feelings or caring for ailing family or marching on the frontlines or pushing our not-for-profit or having contractions while signing paperwork for keys to new buildings after burying close family members and remembering to feel beautiful inside and out. Much like a run-on sentence, there are no breaks and or breaths. We push through and plow unbroken grounds in search of ourselves all while trying to maintain our professional and personal lives. Sure, as I said earlier, this is nothing no one else hasn’t experienced. No, you don’t need to be a black woman to go through this. But as a black woman, I guarantee the Superwoman title is exacerbated by a thousand knots. Let’s use that FB comment I saw for example, which you can find here. One of the commenters shared some screenshots from a black man that inboxed her separately asking if “all white women were considered ugly” and how “in his opinion, most of them look better than black woman, who look like dogs” or some other type of animal he referred to us as.

Wait –

Bish what????

We can’t even stop to take our fucking worn down heels off before we have to stand back up, cape blazing as usual, ready to defend ourselves and our sisters because some flagrant ass nigga thought it necessary to socially degrade us as a whole while casually forgetting that his blanket statement would also include his mother and any other black woman in his life. But I don’t know, some black dudes act like they were pushed out of Jill With the Stringy Hair’s snatch. FoH.

And for that, we must be on at all times. We must always be in charge of who we are. If we don’t command and demand our respect and for that of our sisters, we will be disrespected at all costs. You don’t get the title of Superwoman because you get up and go to work every day. You get it because YOU are work…every day. It takes work to go beyond every barrier set in place to be the ending factor. Superwoman has to be dedicated to herself in an unforgiving way that opens up the valley for her ascent. But she’s hardly ever traveling alone. There is always family, friends and lovers in tow. . .

We are grinding for everyone at once to a point that we don’t know if we are putting ourselves first or last anymore. At the same time of our Super Grind, we are watching our sisters be killed by the police at a rapid rate. We are holding names like Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines close enough to our hearts that we can feel their final breaths. We stand in the front of the protest lines with signs and grief and strength unfounded because we refuse to sit quietly while our men are hunted, our children are unprotected and our women and girls become easy targets for police assaults and murders. It’s a weight that sits on our hearts relentlessly and even when our emotional hope is drained, we still stand in resilience and solidarity with each other. This is why I say this isn’t about white inclusion. Sorry, not sorry. White women will never know what it’s like to hold the house up, keep self together and watch our families be ripped apart or worse, to be on the burying side of a racist system that supports the hunting and killing of black people. This is a daily occurrence. There are instances that happened last week that we may never hear about and those women, those black superwomen, will experience their losses and grief alone. They won’t have the nation marching and begging for rights that should be a no-brainer for every human. Even when our home lives are in an uproar, we still find time in our stress to care about someone else and see to their needs. 

Superwoman can’t die. She can’t pass away quietly in her sleep or take a vacation indefinitely and leave her calendar book at home. Superwoman must always be on. If not, who will? If we don’t get it done, who will? Who’s going to take the overflowing trash out the door without us having to be a reminder or do it ourselves? Who gets the furniture moved and the rooms changed for a fresh feeling in the house? Who will fearlessly climb up a southern flag pole, snatching down the offensive confederate flag all while knowing the repercussions of doing so will be grand? Black women, in particular, have this Superwoman thing down to a science. When we do ask for help, we have about five to ten minutes maximum as a grace period to allow for it to start to get done. After that time is up, we toss our cape in the wind and fly to solve the shit ourselves.  Recently I saw this meme:

Recently I saw this meme: black-womenIf this isn’t a perfect description of superwoman, I don’t know what is. I almost want it tattooed on my arm but I never wanted the title of superwoman to begin with.

The Title We Never Signed

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Photo Credit: Roberto Nencini

Superwoman is a misleading title that none of us signed up for. I didn’t grow up with my head in comics and I was never a fan of Superman or any of the other Marvel heroes. The closest I got to that type of stuff was enjoying the Thundercats theme song but even still, I never watched the show. On the flip side, I never expected to get married, birth two kids and live in a suburban household with the perfect Ken-doll looking husband. I didn’t grow up with adult expectations and no one ever really tried to implant anything on my psyche. I just grew to know that one day, I would be able to do whatever  I wanted to do with my life and I was looking forward to it (adulting per a teenage mind, smh). I did a mad dash out of the house at 19 and never looked back. But in hindsight, I’m certain I wasn’t looking forward either or else I may have noticed the big ass red cape standing in the way of the door that I would have to put on in order to exit.

I came flying through these Indianapolis streets, cape blazing, weave blowing with crooked smile on my face in attempts to save the world from itself. I offered up every saving grace I could muster from a couch for flagrants to sleep on to my credit for niggas to fuck up. At one point, I had two apartments in my name, neither of which was home to me anymore. Saving people is what I grew accustomed to doing until I counted more losses as a result than wins. But my never-ending flight through the sky was far from over.

My sister has been a single mom for 20 years. She worked her way up working customer service for a pizza company to earning her MBA and becoming a senior analyst at her company. In addition to that, she’s a professional accountant, an Uber driver, computer savvy to the highest degrees and has done all of this while raising a daughter alone. My mother is an only child, much like the daughter she birthed. She has been a caretaker since I was a junior in high school. One after another, a sick family member would make their way into our lives and deem my mom responsible for their well-being until their death. She has been fixing meals, running errands, going to doctors appointments, talking to hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, washing, cleaning, bathing and caring for as many as six people consecutively over the past 21 years. Let that marinate: TWENTY ONE YEARS. She did all this while going through her own health crisis including but not limited to breast cancer that, at times, left her hospitalized on several occasions. All of this took place while she was raising a daughter. As I wrote about in a previous blog, my aunt has struggled with depression for as long as I could remember. Her depression was intense and she would spend days in the bed sleeping or melancholy in spirit. Although she was a married post office retiree, she was expected to hold the house down. She paid the mortgage, the bills and since my uncle couldn’t read, she took care of anything that came in the mail and all things in between. My uncle, although a very great uncle to me, was not a great man to my aunt and definitely not the head of household. Still, he treated the home as if it were his and like she was a squatter. It’s not a lifestyle I could condone for myself but my aunt handled her business, through her depression and a relationship that was detrimental on herself. She may have seemed weak to other folks but as an adult woman, I can see how thick her cape actually was. #CapeStrong. My grandmother was the second oldest of five living children. I’m not sure where her amazing strength of life originated from, as she seems to be the only one of her siblings with the tenacity and the resilience that she possessed. She was blessed to love and be loved several times in her life. I know of three men, one she was married to and two who were long-term mates, who had her heart but not her mind. Each of these men passed away and while I was not around to meet my grandfather and see my G-Mom’s strong will, I can only imagine it based on what I have seen: she never grieves. Not the way most of us do. When the last love of her life, the man I refer to as my grandfather, passed away somewhat suddenly (no disease…he fell and hit his head), my grandmother never let anyone see her cry. No tears were shed at the funeral and just like all the other friends and family I bid farewell to alongside her, she was stoic in her demeanor and always found a reason to flawlessly smile. I’ve written in blogs about the day I was leaving my house a few years back and saw her outside crying. Her tears were so huge I could have stepped inside of them. I will never forget it because I had never seen it. I saw her try to wipe them in enough time for me not to notice, but I did. I often find myself thinking of that day and wondering what caused her tears. Was that day a culmination of life??? …a climactic moment of weakened shoulders hoisting a tired red cape?? She has Alzheimers now and truth be told, I don’t know how she could not have it. How could one store as many emotions away as she did and be the matriarch to her family AND her friends and it eventually not wear her thin in some way? I think being superwoman stole my grandmother from us. 14054582_1059928167431556_446721301327248467_o

No one signs up for this invisible role of impossibilities. We aren’t numb, non-humans who fly across the sky without catching a breath. We aren’t superhumans and we aren’t God, although each of us has the presence (IMO) of God within. To be super is to be excellent. Glorius. Splendid. Marvelous. These are all synonyms associated with the word itself and I don’t deny that they fit every black woman I’ve ever met. But it’s hardly a round-the-clock situation. I belong to a group called The Healing Circle, where women post their prayer needs, vent, uplift, cheer up each other and more. It’s a safe, sacred space on FB (can you believe it) where women have gotten to know each other simply through trying to empower each other throughout the day. I see first hand through this group that every day isn’t a great day. Some days are mental game changers and others seem like finales. There are moments where we have nothing but questions and feel undesirable to even ourselves. Our gears get tired, our immune systems get weakened and we struggle sometimes through bouts of depression, anxiety, and panic. Superwoman, by comic definition, would never experience these things and therefore she would always be able to fly with ease. There is no trouble that scares her backward and there is no past that she just can’t get over.

But in the real world, our past effects our current decisions, our hearts are bruised and at times broken for extended periods of time and we are in and out of confidence depending on who we are and where we are in life. Times get hard and we aren’t detached from how it makes us feel. Things need to be done and we aren’t in the position NOT to do them. #FuckItIWillDoIt. We are in the process of forgiving, understanding and moving on, on a daily basis. Four out of four women are trying to forgive someone right now for some type of transgression. I made up that statistic and I highly doubt I’m wrong.

We don’t want this fucking cape yo!!!!!

We don’t. We have earned our crowns but these capes are overrated…yet so necessary. If not us, then who? After so long of caping for thyself, it becomes hard to let go of the ropes. Trusting another person to take of things the way you know you would can be such a stressor that it’s just more simple to BE superwoman at all times.

We don’t want to do everything ourselves. I have proven it to myself, my family and the world that I can handle life. I can make a way out of no way. I can sleep without electricity until I get paid, I can humble myself and talk to Citizens Action Program to help me with winter assistance. I can swipe my food stamp card at the grocery proudly. I can weather the stressful storm of unemployment and I rock THE FUCK out of interviews. I can work for Goodwill and Target for minimum wage during my maximum 30s. I can swindle, scam, scheme and finagle my way wherever I NEED to be. I can and I will maintain my household at all costs. There is no question about that. Now I want some help. At nearly 38 years old, after having been on my own for nearly 20 years, I officially want to retire this ugly ass red fabric that is weighing my back down and I want someone to help. I want some contribution to these bills. I want to be able to buy myself something without taking from something else. I thank God that I no longer need to ask and give my uterus up in order for the government to give me assistance, but even if that weren’t the case, I don’t want to do all the talking. I need someone else to call the plumber and the mechanic. I want some help washing dishes because sometimes I let them pile up too much.

I have two dogs and when it’s vet time, I need help dammit ! I want to not have to pay for my own entry, drinks, and parking; I want to be treated like a Queen by my man. I want my friends to give friendship that is truly unconditional and in return I seek to provide the same. I want them to reach out to me when I’m struggling and can’t do so for myself. I want to let them know that I am thinking of them when they think they are all alone. And everything that I want for myself, I want for every woman who is battling this superwoman role. It feels good to accomplish stuff that people think you can’t, but after so many accomplishments, sometimes, you want to kick back and relax.  There is an ever growing list of expectations associated with bearing this title of super. You become EXPECTED to take care of things and to have it all together. Sometimes tho, you fucking don’t want to ! You want to stop being the caretaker for the day and stop feeling like you can’t grieve your losses. You want the bills out of your name. You want help raising your child. You want a loving ride home from the hospital and you want get well soon flowers hand delivered. This isn’t about having a man. This is about not doing every damn thing ourselves, all the fucking time. That help can come in many forms…companionship is merely one.

Even superwoman needs a day off.

But if history has taught me anything, it is that our role as Superwoman is immortal.

Eternal.

It is forever.

Superwoman can’t die.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t often want to retire our tired, red capes and just be women. 

 

~j

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WOMAN’ing: Chapter 37, Pt I – When Seasons Change.

“I’m kicking bitches out like Pam nigga/Go ham nigga/Me and Jigga.”

Recently, Kanye West took to the stage at his Seattle concert and began to air out the relationship between him and JayZ. Not only did he rant and release to the crowd of thousands of people about his issues with Tidal (or because of Tidal or…whatever Kanye found beef with), but he also spoke with a bit of vulnerability on how Jay called him in regards to Kim K’s robbery instead of just coming over. When the  tirade was over, there was no denying who he was talking about or the fact that at the very least, he was standing on hurt feelings and Ye Tears. He also shared how much he hates to hear/perform Niggas in Paris, their breakthrough hit from the Watch the Throne album, because it reminds of him of ….idk. It reminds of Kanye of something. I’m not sure about everyone else, but when I finished listening to the video, I was a bit disappointed. Not only was this a bad choice of places to air grievances and dirty laundry, but the fact that it was so unnecessarily public and mid-concert (temper tantrum-ish even), almost guarantees no possibility of getting the friendship back to the Big Brother stage it used to sit upon.  While Jay has yet to make an official comment in retort, I find it highly unlikely that he will do so like this. Perhaps on a guest verse, we’ll get a smoke signal acknowledging this happened. In fact, the irony of Ye being mad at Jay for not coming by but rather calling to check on him is laid thick by the smoke and lights of the arena he (Kanye) choose to address these topics in. In fact, if I were being honest, I would say that I think Jay has been trying to distance himself from Kanye since before he married Kim. I don’t know if Kim was a factor but I believe that Jay-Z has wanted to distance himself from the flashing lights Kanye keeps in his vocal chords. Sometimes when he opens his mouth, all I see is strobe lights blinding and confusing me and I suspect Jay, with all his privacy and low-key moves, was over it. Sometimes you don’t want to pull people to the side and say something. For whatever reason, you’re just too tired and as a result, distance is created. I think as much as he loves Ye, and I believe he does (this is all strictly opinion based btw), I believe he wanted to love him from afar, and as a result, his actions, efforts, and conversations began to reflect such.

Sometimes you have to let go of people who no longer serve to make you feel joyful, empowered, inspired, better, good, great, beautiful, love, etc. . . . And once your mind locks in on this notion, your actions will soon begin to follow so if you don’t end the useless friendship (useless if it’s not bringing positivity…no sugar for today’s tea), you can rest assure that your subconscious will affect your behavior. And with that said, I would like to welcome you to Chapter 30 of my #WOMAN’ing series. Today’s special is friendships and letting go. Because fuck complicity with people and really, fuck explanations too!

We all know that seasons change and that some people come into your life, you fall in love with them, and then without warning sometimes, they have to leave because the season is over. This might occur due to a fallout or bad argument between the two of you or because of life itself: death, moving, new relationships that put distance between your friendship. The reasons why a friendship has come to an end are plentiful. Even like Ye & Jayz, sometimes it was already a simmering fire that just needed a pinch more of gas. But the trial of ending friendships and letting go of someone you once held so dear to your heart, whether in life and especially in death, can be one of the hardest things you will be tasked with in your womanhood. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen to men. Kanye is proof that it does, but being that I am a woman, I am speaking from my experiences so I hope I don’t come as if women are the keepers of friendly attachments.

I said no sugar right? Ok well let’s go.

There are two very basic parts of friendships:

  1. The type of friend you are
  2. The types of friends you have

I assure you, if you are not aware of these two things (meaning CONSCIOUSLY aware), you are bound to be surrounded by a plethora of differing energies that will also affect YOUR energy, thus leaving you open to changing into the type of person you otherwise wouldn’t enjoy. They say you are the company you keep right? Birds of a feather . . . This is real. Women’s periods are known to sync up the more they are around each other. I know this for a fact. So you need to know who’s around you because they are affecting you. Does a feather feel it’s fall?

Probably not. It’s too soft. In other words, sometimes you will be impacted by the company you keep and not know it until it’s too late. So you better know who got around you…and you damn sure better know who YOU are! I have a line in a poem that goes:

“I’m the strong type of woman that knows that everybody I meet, really ain’t my friend.”

I am always surprised by how much this line gets to people.  As a performing poet, you tend to know what lines and stanzas will get audience feedback and this particular line came as a surprise to me in regards to reactions. Every time I perform it and speak that part, I see women move in their seats, high-fiving, oohing, shouting, etc .. . I’ve even done it at schools and received the same exact reaction from girls in middle to high school. Apparently knowing that everyone isn’t your friend is heralded as important and me declaring that about myself in a moment of poetic honesty, gives women and girls a reminder or maybe confirmation they needed, or just a boost of good advice. But trust me; I haven’t always been that type of woman. Lol. I’ve never been shy about struggling to make friends growing up and being bullied or fucked with a lot, but what it did to me was intimidated me from all people. I was picked on by boys and girls, so I grew to be immediately intimated by everyone when I would first meet them. I was so overwhelmed with going to cosmetology school in high school because I expected to be in a room full of girls that would not like me. It turned out to be a room full of girls that were cool AF.  It helped change my outlook a bit, but even as an adult, I still felt fearful of new people. When I started making ‘friends’, I did think everyone had my back. I thought I could share everything with everyone and perhaps part of that was having spent so much time alone (aside from my sister til the end, Lydia and my girl Candace who rode w/me from 7th grade on) that finally being able to have folks I thought I could trust meant I could be free. Well here’s the lesson from this paragraph: You cannot be free in a friendship until you know what type of friend you have and what type of friend you are.

I’ve had my private business shared. I’ve been talked about and of course it got back to me. I have had a ‘best friend’ slip all four of her lips on my man. I haven’t seen her since I found out but I happened upon his Facebook page and couldn’t help but notice her precious profile picture next to a comment. Some things and some people never change. But learning who you are and who you are surrounding yourself with (notice I didn’t say notice who you are surrounded by) are the keys to the Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot with your name on it. At no point in my 20s did I know who I was or who was around me. I stayed surrounded with people. When I was dancing, I had smoke parties and cookouts and hung with people who pulled knives on me, fucked other women while I was in the living room, stole from me and otherwise didn’t regard my life or my life’s possessions with respect. But on the flip side of that, I talked about folks, gossiped and even slept with an old friend’s ex without blinking. Looking back, I can’t believe that was me but for the memory that I know it really happened. In short, I wasn’t a good friend and therefore, my energy did not allow me for me to have good ones. I got what I put out and it was all mediocre at best. Friending takes practice; it takes listening and learning how to act outside of your own thoughts and desires. Befriending someone doesn’t mean you put them before you; it simply means you add them to the list of people I should consult before making a decision XYZ. It means you take into account how they feel and even if you want to go against what they feel, you don’t because you value them and their emotions. This is why people say the word FRIEND has so much meaning. It absolutely does!! There is love and effort put into that word so it is an honor to be and to be called such, but consciousness is necessary. #StayWoke #OrWakeUp

“My Enemies Yo’ Enemies .  .  .”

Friendshipping isn’t for the faint at heart and I believe that’s why so many people do a sloppy ass job of it. Folks will pretend to be your friend for life while casually using the knife in their hand to give you deathly kisses. Some people will actually THINK they are doing a good job at being your friend and they aren’t but what I have learned is they won’t know (ever) until you SAY SOMETHING! Some folks will simply not care about how you feel and do whatever, whenever with no regard to how you might receive it. Some people are extremely selfish. Sometimes, YOU are that ‘some people.’ And if you are not carefully checking yourself, you won’t even know that you are being that person to someone else.

I know I have failed friendships over the course of my life.  I admit that and find myself in a continuous cycle of questioning whether or not I’m accurately portraying the type of friend I think I am. And honestly, sometimes I’m not.  Don’t get that wrong – I’m not insecure in my befriending; I’m just always checking. And even at checking myself, if someone doesn’t directly tell me their grievances with the type of friend I am, everything is a guess from my perspective. But I can say I’ve friended many a people who had no problem writing me letters, sending me inboxes, emails, face to face and phone conversations that discussed where my failures were and what was expected of me in the future. Lol. It can be hard to receive criticism but if we’re being honest, it’s so necessary.That’s how you become better or become the person you are striving to become – by someone else calling you out on your shit so you can correct it (if they are correct…which is not guaranteed). Again, otherwise, you will continue to be who and how you are and not realize why your turnover rate is so high.156531-jocelyn-wildenstein

There’s no blueprint on being a friend and this blog is not me trying to tell anyone HOW to do so. This is me Woman’ing. I’ve been doing learning more about what type of friend I am and what type of friends I have [had].  After Queen passed, I was forced to deal with the type of friend I had been to her in a way that crushed me. I didn’t feel worthy of new friends or even the old friends I had. I had stopped talking to her, and it must have seen abrupt in her eyes, but to me, I had just had enough of her trying to fix some stuff that was broken. So I put lots of distance between us. And in that distance, I wasted four months of the last six months of her life that I can never get back.  Even though we started back talking and had started to hang out again, I stood in front of her casket and couldn’t figure out if she knew how much she truly meant to me. It hurt me to put that distance between us. But I let my ego win that race. The SISTERLY response would have been to talk to her as opposed to the distance. Shutting down is a flaw I own up to. Instead of speaking what I feel, I just shut down and drift away slowly. When in a friendship that means something to you, there is no ego. There is conversation, compromise and understanding . . . but there isn’t and cannot be EGO.

Ego will make you sacrifice everything for nothing. Don’t wait until it’s too damn late to figure out who you are to your people and vice versa. Check yourself as necessary. Be honest with yourself – Are you mistreating the ones you love in any way? Are you pushing your friends away or do you act as if their love and friendship is not necessary? Do you know what level of importance friendship is to you? Not everyone desires friendships. I’ve been around several people who have adamantly stated that friendships are overrated and unnecessary stress.

Well…..to each their own. I tend to believe that sister-circles are sooo necessary, especially for black women. We need other women and other like-minds to decompress with, laugh and interact with.  We need circles of love and trust that we can count on, depend on and pray with/for. We need sister perspectives that differ from ours and help empower us and grow us as individuals. Friendship (imo) is NECESSARY. We cannot hold the title of superwoman and the weight of the world plus the stresses of day to day living and mothering (where applicable) and NOT have someone or (preferably) at least a few people to exhale alongside. My friendships are very necessary and needed. I cherish them because I realize these are people who make a conscious CHOICE to be my friend, as do I to them. I have no option but to step back sometimes and ask myself, am I being the friend to them that I need them to be to me? If there is room for upgrading self and thus our friendship, then it’s a job I surely signed up for when I decided I wanted friends. You have to check who you are being to other people because it will shed quite a bright light on why people are who they are to you.  You have to love others enough to ask yourself the tough questions. To apologize when necessary and sit your reflection on the shelf for a second while tending to the friend in need.  YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU ARE TO OTHER PEOPLE!!!!!

Because although that won’t be the only determining factor, it will definitely show you what you deserve.  After all, you can’t expect the best from others if all you are willing to give them is the rest of whatever is left of you.  It’s not about 50/50; it’s more like the Legend of Billie Jean: “Fair is Fair.”

Know who you are.

And know how you treat people.

“You Ain’t Neva Had a Friend Like Me”

A noun is a person, place or thing. You will find a noun in every complete sentence, as every sentence needs a noun to be legit. Otherwise who or wtf are you talmbout???  Proper nouns are nouns that sit on pedestals with their pinky fingers pointed up and a plate of French crumpets in the other hand. Proper nouns always have their first initial(s) capitalized no matter where they are in the sentence; they demand to be noticed and respected.  Our circles often need grammar checks. We need to run through them with a fine tooth comb for updates of information, fragments, run-ons and to make sure our nouns are placed properly and that our proper nouns are draping in respect.  Over the course of my woman’ing, I’ve had several different women that I referred to as my best friend.  I’ve never sat down and noticed the similarities of these women or even their differences, but I can say that I only have one person in my life that I would call my best friend and to me, calling her that is an insult. We’ve surpassed friendship so it feels like I’m dumbing her down when I call her my best friend. Best friend has a twang on it to me. A curse even. Any time I have attached to that title to someone, something happened and seasons changed.

I remember being introduced as someone’s best friend once years ago and thinking to myself “ok so you just introduced them to what type of friend I am to you, but what type of friend are you to me?” I wasn’t even looking at it with a negative light, I simply paid more attention to words that night than average. I went heavy on the meanings of things and realized when you introduce someone as your best friend, you are not saying that you are theirs; simply that they are yours. In other words, this person does a great job, in fact, the best possible job, at being my friend. But again, it speaks nothing about what you are to that person. I’ve been wondering about the best friend title and friendshipping ever since then. Do some friendships really need to be proper nouns? Are you/am I capitalizing  the wrong people, places, and things? Shit, am I proper to someone else and that’s the extent of it? Or are they proper to ME …and that’s it? Am I just over here collecting and getting advantages but giving nothing (or little) in return –  Sorta like a beneficiary??? Lol.dsc_0135

What type of friends do you have is not a question that is meant to box everyone in under one label. I have several different types of friends.  Some who are computer techies, some artsy, some outspoken, some shy and introverted. I have friends that hit above the line only and friends that live below it. I have atheists and Christians, Muslims and Excommunicated friends on my roster. So it’s not about having the same type of person around you. It’s more about being aware of the type(s) of people you are around. You allow these folks into your space as well as your mental and emotional health so the truth is; you better fucking know what you are around!!!

I learned that it would take other friendships to teach me about friendship and what I wanted, deserved and needed. It took other people doing the things I thought I deserved, naturally, to show me when I was tripping vs. when I wasn’t. That won’t be the case for everyone I’m sure, but for me, it certainly was. Once I found a melting pot of friendships, I was able to swim around and see what everyone offered in common vs what was different about each. When it came to the negative traits, I was able to see what was a personality glitch vs what was a result of something (i.e. conflict in friendship, something I said, etc.…). I was able to prune as necessary and say goodbye to ended seasons after that. It’s not about comparing friendships; it’s more about noticing what needs are being taken care of where and why? Whenever you get through with it, you have the right to evaluate the folks in your life and decide or say ‘you are not loving me in the way I need” and move on or try to fix it. If all you need is your friend to call and check in you once a week, and they never do, but you meet someone else who does it without you ever expressing the need, it might show you a different perspective. You might think ‘ok I need to tell this person how necessary it is that they call’ or you might think ‘ok this need is covered so I’m good on it” or you might think “I’m ready to let go of you not meeting my needs.” I mean, it really is an individual experience a with all things. I’m simply saying, check your circle and make sure it satisfies you.

Checking your friendships is necessary. I know that as I have aged, my needs have changed as I have. So what was ok at 15 was not ok at 21. And what I accepted at 21 is not what I would condone at 32 and so forth. I had a good friend I used to work with. I have done things for her and she has done things for me, outside of work. We weren’t best friends, but we were what I would consider friends. She attended some of my shows even. But she’s voting for Trump. And that means she’s NOT my friend. Unfortunate but in checking who I love and who I let love me, that type of energy that is detrimental to me. So I am letting her go from my life. I’ve had other friends that were much closer that I have distanced myself from completely. It’s not a knock to someone else that you all’s season is over. It is a reality check. I’ve had people dismiss me from their lives. Shit.fucking.happens. Truth is, there are some lonely days ahead when you let go of [a] friend(s). The phone stops ringing and you stop texting.  The visits end and there will be days when you are tempted to reach out and see if that person wants to hang out or go eat or simply talk on the phone. Ending friendships means accepting that someone who got you in certain ways is no longer applicable in your life or you have to introduce parts of yourself to new people and you don’t know if they will even ‘get you’ like others. But it’s a sacrifice for the greater good of your well-being (both of you). If you don’t like how they are or who they have become (I’m looking at you Kanye) or if they are just fucking not doing it for you anymore, it’s ok to want to love them from a distance. If you want to talk about your issues with them, it’s ok to do that. But this social media driven age of public all-access passes to your dirty laundry is not the way. Do not make a concert of your issues. Make a phone call. Neither Kanye or Jayz seem wrong from my perspective in what they feel (using this term loosely because who knows what Jayz feels), but Ye’s approach would be the casket drop for many folks. Kicking people off the tower of your excellence is ok and acceptable and let me tell it, not requiring an explanation. But don’t wait until you have an audience to decide to prune your friendship gardens. Sometimes goodbyes are unspoken and no love is lost but life moves on.

No matter what your friendly decisions are, know that it’s ok to decide what’s necessary for your growth. But you can’t do that if you don’t know you or the people closely attached to you. Get in the know…stay there. And do frequent safety checks. Don’t wait for soundcheck to decide to speak your heart.

And don’t ask them to drop you off if it’s time for you to move on.

Hitchhike instead.

Blogtrack (it’s back!):

“I’m down for you so ride with me/my enemies your enemies/cuase you ain’t never had a friend like me/nobody knows where we’ll be/my enemeies your enemies/cause you ain’t never had a friend like me.”

~Pac, Friend Like Me

~J

Baa Baa Black Sheep: Have You Any Issues

Simply put: I am thoroughly DISGUSTED at the response to #KorrynGaines life being snuffed out by SWAT fire. But before I go any further on what I think, let’s start here at a post I saw on FB:

The FB question: “Black men only – what do you love about black women?Once they submit there are

Answer: Once they submit there are they bomb”

~Commenter

*****************************************************************************

Her name was Tarika Wilson and she was a 26-year-old mother of a one-year-old son, as well as five other children.tarika-wilson Her boyfriend was a suspected drug dealer who the SWAT team was looking for in January 2008 when they busted into Tarika’s home and shot both her and her child due to an obstructed view. She was huddled in a room with her six kids. Her boyfriend was later caught and plead guilty to drug trafficking. Her son survived being shot by Sgt. Joseph Chavalia but had to have a finger amputated.

Tarika died from her injuries in front of her six children. Officer Chavalia was acquitted of any criminal activity and remains a police officer (although not on patrol). The city of Columbus, OH settled with Tarika’s family for $2.5 million dollars. That’s about ten percent of what the civil courts awarded Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s families after their deaths (see: Dear Nicole: A Perspective on Race & Guilt ).

Aiyanna Jones –aiyanna The recognizable name of the seven-year-old little girl whose life ended because she was asleep on a couch when SWAT barreled into her grandmother’s house trying to serve a warrant and film a television show. Who were they looking for? Her father, who was suspected of providing a gun to Chauncey Owens; the man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Je’rean Nobles because he didn’t like how Nobles looked at him. Owens has since been convicted and sentenced to life for the murder while Jones was sentenced to 40-60 years for his role. Aiyanna was shot in the head after police threw a grenade in the house and began shooting with an obstructed view.

alesia35-year-old mother of two, Alesia Thomas was shown on video handcuffed and with her feet in restraints, unable to protect herself as Officer Mary O’Callaghan repeatedly punched and kicked her in the throat and crotch area in the back of the police car. “I”m going to punt you in your pussy” ~Officer O’Callaghan. She complained that she couldn’t move but her complaints were greeted with more punches and mishandling. She eventually fell unconscious and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The coroner ruled her death undetermined. Officer O’Callaghan was convicted of felony assault and sentenced to 36 months in jail. She won’t serve the entire sentence. That much we already know.

Earledreka White is a 28-year-old black clinician who was pulled over in Houston, TX.  earledrekaWhite claims that despite remaining calm, the responding officer escalated the situation by yelling and threatening to tase her. This resulted in White calling 911 to request the presence of other officers. The entire conversation is on tape as is the confrontation between White and Officer Gentian Luca who seemingly grew impatient and began to roughly grab White in an effort to restrain her (*while she was on the phone with 911*). A tussle ensued with White yelling and screaming for the officer to stop and calm down. She can be heard on tape screaming that she is a woman and this force is unnecessary but it doesn’t end until she’s handcuffed, arrested and charged with resisting. She spent two days in jail.

Joyce Quaweay, joyce-quaweay-facebook24 years old, was handcuffed, stripped of all of her clothing and beaten to death by her 39-year-old boyfriend while his homeboy helped to restrain and hold her for the beating. Her two children, both girls, were watching. Both of these men served as police officers at Temple University, although the boyfriend had been previously fired. I can’t even bring myself to type his name as I think of this woman’s final hours. She was stripped of her dignity and treated like a wild animal until succumbing to death from internal injuries. I can’t imagine. Or, maybe I can and that’s part of the problem. My ex tried to snatch the blanket off of me one time when I was at home chilling in my undies. He came in with his friend, drunk and high and of course an argument ensued. He tried to expose me in front of his friend and I lost it. We began fighting and I ended up with him on top of me, choking me. His friend stood there and watched. So yeah, maybe I can imagine it too much.

And now…The complicated story of Korryn Gaines, who was shot in the head and killed by SWAT who came to her apartment with a warrant on a misdemeanor charge. The police have admitted to firing the first shots and claim that Gaines had a shotgun pointed at them. They also claim she returned fire and that it’s possible she shot her son in the arm. I guess his five-year-old arm wouldn’t have been blown off by a close-range shotgun. **The police have come forward and admitted that it was their bullets that shot Korryn’s son in the CHEEK; not the arm. I take grand issue with the police kicking in the door and blindly shooting while there are children present. And since when did the police become the overseers of truth? Can we take their word now? I’m reading from BLACK PEOPLE how ‘well the police said…’

Wait…what??!!! Oh, so you believe the cops now? Just three weeks ago we all called the media and the police liars but now all of a sudden, we can believe the word of a police force that serves misdemeanor warrants with SWAT teams?  Because Korryn Gaines wasn’t a docile creature lacking personal protection from the same people we so freely refer to as’ gangs with badges’, that means the police and news outlets are now credible? You can hear the cops on tape during the traffic stop with Ms. Gaines saying they needed to take her phone and delete the footage. But ok. Whatever they say goes, in this case, huh? Serious question for black people: Do black lives only matter when they are playing house niggas despite the fact that lying next to ‘Master’ and eating the cleaned KYs never stopped a slave from being lynched? What are the perimeters that will allow for a black life to truly MATTER? All over social media you can find hundreds of turncoat ass black, woke folks running around looking like white supremacy in blackface and sounding like kissing cousins of klansmen.

That bitch brought it on herself.”

“She had a gun pointed at the police”

“I’ll be a bitch ass black man, but I’m not supporting her stupid ass mistake”

“She’s clearly just plain dumb. I mean, she think she’s a lawyer & going to put a Jedi mind trick on the cop. Take a Uber. Heck, hire an attorney if you think you’re being harassed.

If she had some undiagnosed mental disorder…I don’t want to sound harsh but she reminded me of Damon Wayans prison philosopher from Living Color. She’s a bit touched.”

***Commentary like this makes me wish I could email vomit directly to people. #BaaBaaBlackSheep

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is described as the following (according to the National Institute of Mental Health):

PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-seconds changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

Some of the key phrases that I picked out from that definition were: “experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event”, “fight or flight response”, “meant to protect”, “stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.”

What type of things would cause these sorts of reactions? War. Domestic Violence. Car accidents. Child and Sexual Abuse. There are a plethora of other reasons, but here’s one for the unwritten books: Living While Being Black. It is not a secret that black people experience PTSD as a result of our American experiences directly and indirectly. Below you will see the Google results for a “PTSD Black People” search:ptsdUntitledkjk

This is not a foreign or a new concept.

Being a black person in America is a long-standing, heavily researched, known cause of depression, anxiety, extreme anger and fear to name a few. Looking at repeated videos of black people being gunned down and murdered by the police, regardless of whether or not you actually watch them, is traumatic. But it doesn’t stop there.

But it doesn’t stop there -Racism’s Psychological Toll

But it doesn’t stop there – Trying to Drive & Breathe While Black

But it doesn’t stop there – PTSD in African-American Women

We’re talking about a system designed to withhold a race of people as a whole. A system that doesn’t provide us justice, that kills us and puts us on a trial for our own murders and a country full of closeted and outright racists, bigots and prejudiced people that we must contend with day in and day out. We work with these people and in some cases, live near them. Racism isn’t something we can outrun. It sits right in front of our faces and thanks to the rise of technology and social media, we are able to experience racism first hand without ever leaving our houses. I recently told my sister, it must be nice to not NEED to know what an entirely different group of people have going on. White people have that privilege. Too often I have heard or seen white people who don’t know who Trayvon Martin is or what took place in Ferguson or the true history of slavery, civil rights and why we ever hashtagged #BLM. But again, they don’t have to know. None of that information will make or break their lineage. The names we are all too familiar with like Rekia Boyd, Amadou Diallo, and Oscar Grant are as foreign to many white people as African Dialect. Black people are not the threat to them that many believe we are, therefore, nothing we are doing or have going on is something they NEED to know about. Black people, on the other hand, need to know everything. We have to watch everyone: our own people, white people, and other races of people. We have to know what the left hand, right hand, middle man, sound and tech crew, and security are all doing. We don’t have an opportunity to let our guards down because history has continued to confirm at any moment our lives could change forever or end because of the hands of ANYONE else. Tell me again how this isn’t traumatizing?

See, it’s not so black and white to say ‘that bitch was tripping.’ The question becomes WHY was THIS WOMAN tripping (was she really tripping tho???) and what made her that way? It’s the same concept behind calling a woman a ho. How she became a ho is NEVER the question. Folks fall in formation to call her out of her name, reduce her to trash and consider her disposable black trash. Same goes with Korryn Gaines. Let’s completely ignore what might make a Black woman have that type of reaction to the police. One commenter on FB accused her of ‘wanting to be a lawyer.’ Is this because she asked the cop for proof of Delegation of Authority? Do you know what that is? Did you hear of it before today? Do you care?  Was she too smart for you? Not submissive enough for the good, wholesome Mr. White Cop that approached her for being in the wrong? She had her kids in the car so she should know better right? IF it happened to you, you would have complied and behaved well right? And lived to tell about it…or do you even know that much? The things I’ve read from other black people are contradictory to the sentiments I’ve seen some of the same people express over this last five years. It’s interesting. Alton Sterling had a rap sheet that included statutory rape. Freddie Gray was on the backside of the law. Still, neither of these men deserved to die and black women all over the country immediately began to rally in their honor. I just wonder why our own people are so quick to condemn this woman because she broke the mold and decided to stop playing by the rules. Where is the loyalty? Why are folks giving her the ‘crazy, angry black woman’ treatment when reality has shown us that black women are in just as much danger as our here as black men?!! Reread those names at the top. That’s not all; that’s just the people I chose to include. How the eff wouldn’t I be traumatized by this madness in some way? Many people are dismissing the concept but I think PTSD played a huge role in Korryn Gaine’s death. I read several comments that said:

“She got what she wanted. She’s a hashtag now.”

I don’t think that’s what she wanted and I think we as a people are smart enough to know better than that. I think that’s what she was willing to risk becoming and many don’t understand that because most folks ain’t willing to risk anything more for the cause than space on their SD card. But I get the backlash from women. We are nurturers and protectors by nature. Our first thought is always the kids. Many women can’t get beyond her behavior while the kids were with her and I understand it. In both of these situations (the initial traffic stop & SWAT) her children present. If it were me (I would like to stress that this did not happen to me…it’s always easier to know what you would do when it’s not happening to you), with my children present, I probably would have behaved differently. I wouldn’t have made it harder than it already was but I know from experience that I would be defensive and ready for whatever. But that’s ME speaking solely from a what-if perspective and I also don’t think I suffer from PTSD…or at least not as bad as Korryn Gaines. It has also been reported that she tested positive for high lead levels in the ’90s, and filed a lawsuit in 2012 in regards to suffering from lead poisoning. Lead is that same stuff that can be found in the water in Flint, MI; the same city where trash pickup has suddenly been suspended but I digress. Until this case, I thought many other black people EXPECTED the types of reactions that are taking place regarding interactions between the police and black people. I’ve repeatedly read comments from folks who were expecting people to start snapping. Now when they do, we trash them and dehumanize them while conveniently forgetting our predictions and what got us here.

The reality is this… George Zimmerman walks into a diner and compliments someone on a tattoo before announcing “My name is George Zimmerman, you know, that guy that killed Trayvon Martin.” This man has drawn pictures depicting his murder of 17-year-old Martin to be sold as art. He’s also auctioned off the gun used in the killing and he continuously makes the news for bragging about taking Trayvon’s life. It’s like listening to the men who killed Emmitt Till get acquitted and do a magazine interview all over again.

White people can kill black folks and get away with it and even when they are sentenced, it does nothing to affect their soul! #Trauma

I’m tired of black people being served the death penalty for any and all crimes while white people get treated to Burger King Whoppers after killing a room full of black church-goers. #Trauma White people can always be apprehended alive to face their charges no matter what their wrongdoings are or level of artillery. What was that shit that popped off in Oregon and how is it that no one died? The argument of whether or not Korryn made the right decisions is null and void considering she is not alive to tell her side of the story. Black people are tried and sentenced to death from the comfort of the police cruiser. If this shit isn’t creating distress for anyone aside from Korryn and myself, then I guess I’m next to go postal. And if so, it’s safe to assume that some of the same people that who swear to love and care for me would be quick to turn against me and be a stool pigeon for a supremacist-style way of thinking.

I’m sick of it!!! I’m sick of black women being the ever running joke. Just yesterday I had a childish run-in with two black men who thought it was HILARIOUS to blow at my truck until I pulled over thinking something was wrong. Nothing was wrong. When I gave them the attention they begged for they lied and said my tire was flat, and could barely keep a straight face before admitting they were “just kidding”…and then drove away.

O.o Are you kidding me? My time, my life and anything I’m doing or have going on had no weight on the importance of them playing a joke with a complete stranger. They were passionate about getting my attention for their childish amusement but would they exhibit the same passion if I needed them to fight for me…a stranger?? The next time some man is blowing at me to get my attention, what do you think I will do? Stop? Nope. And the next person might really be trying to tell me I have a flat tire. This is what I call my personal reaction to circumstances. It may be a different reaction for someone else and to some, it might be a bit extreme. But for me and my experiences, this is what it is. I’m suddenly feeling a need to correlate Korryn Gaines to this…but you should be able to see where I’m going with it already.

Black women are fighting on every possible front. We are standing off with the police with force and with love (see: Diamonds & Pearls: Black Women on the Front of the Line ). We are fed up and it’s showing in our actions. Remember: it was a black woman who bypassed security, climbed the pole and removed the confederate flag. 29-bree-newsome.w710.h473.2x breeWe are not fucking playing anymore. The docile Stepford wife shit doesn’t work in the real world. I’m tired of writing different versions of THIS same damn blog! I’m tired of how [some] black men look at us like nothing more than sex engines for their porn fantasies but won’t kill a fly in our honor and will even talk shit about us in death. It sucks not to have their full support but here’s what: if you are not down to have our backs in all ways, the same as we have yours, fuck off. It’s a shame that some men are so busy heauxtepping with their dicks in hand that they forget to use their balls for something other than fertilizing. I’m pissed so if this sounds harsh to you, STEP YOUR FUCKING GAME UP!  #ByeJody

Black women are out here MANNING up. We shouldn’t have to and guess what: WE DON’T WANT TO!!!! But we will. We are the running back and the quarterback. We are guarding the ball, holding the ball, running the ball and making our own field goals and touchdowns with less and less assistance. We have to hold down our homes, raise our kids AND be our own fucking protection. No one marches when black women are killed and when they do, only a few show up. When was the last time you heard Tarika Wilson’s name? Ever? We just get a hashtag and then the world moves on. A sisterfriend recently pointed out the lack of concern for black mothers who have lost their children in this war on our lives. It’s as if they are the forgotten names buried in the growing blizzard that is America. Malia Obama is being criticized for acting like a teenager and dancing at a Lollapalooza party. I’ve seen grown ass men make disparaging comments about her and I’m wondering how many would be willing to admit that if they were AT that party, they would have tried to hit on her and her age wouldn’t have been a factor. #YeahISaidIt

If she were walking down the street, how many of the men that have suggested POTUS run out and buy a box of condoms would be willing to admit they would slide down on her and offer her a ride to wherever she let them take her?

*Sips Water *

Part of the problem is from the moment we get rosebuds on our chest, we become objects of male affection. That affection is not synonymous with mental or physical protection. ALL OF THIS SHIT IS TRAUMATIC. Korryn did not start that night off alone with her kids. Her 39-year-old boyfriend was there but when SWAT arrived, he fled the apartment. So let me see if I understand this; he left her alone with her son while SWAT was knocking on the door? Seriously? And some random *guy out in the land of Facebook has the nerve to say that black women are the bomb when we submit? MFFW? Submit to shit like this? That’s when we’re “the bomb?” When we say “Babe, the police at the door, go out the window and take the baby; I’m gonna grab the gun and hold down the fort?” Is that when we are the bomb? That’s some ass backward, woman on the outside of the curb type of thinking. Am I to believe that Korryn’s BOYfriend didn’t know her attitude towards law enforcement and what happened with the last traffic stop? Was she not worth him risking going to jail for whatever crimes he may be involved in just to make sure Korryn and the children were ok?

He left her.

I say it again. . .

HE LEFT HER.

With the kids. With the shotgun. With SWAT. With her history.

And folks are online calling HER out of her name and talking about her mental stability??!!! What if he surrendered to the police (seeing as though the story keeps evolving)…was there nothing he could have said to them in regards to her stance in general? Were the police informed and still did nothing to de-escalate? Let’s revisit the list at the top. Tarika Wilson was killed by the police who were searching for her man. Aiyanna Jones was killed by SWAT who was looking for her father, who has since been convicted of providing the gun that killed a 17-year-old innocent black teenager. Joyce Quaway was tied up and beaten to death by her man AND his friend. The common denominator here is a lack of protection from our men. It’s disappointing, disheartening and heartbreaking.

Lack of protection is killing us but folks want to get on Facebook and find blame in other places. Black men, I love you dearly. I think the world of you but let me get transparent: Some of you are failing black women!!! Yes. I said it. Some of ya’ll are failing us.

And in that failure lies the last breath of another black woman.

“Fuck that bitch, I’m not marching or supporting that shit”

~Facebook Comment

malcolm
Revolution for Sale!

#KorrynGaines shrunk the balls of niggas all over the country at once. Not only was this woman beautiful and intelligent, but she was shotgun savvy and unafraid to defend/protect herself in the manner she deemed necessary. It’s what white people have been doing since the beginning of time. It’s what Malcolm X’s shotgun picture meant to so many folks who plastered it on their bedroom walls and bought shirts, journals, and stationery if they could find it bearing that photo. Is “by any means necessary” only applicable to black men? Was the faux character Foxy Brown only as incredible as her nude shots; not when she was pulling razors from her hair and shotguns from her side?foxy

I wrote this post August 1, 2015. Sandra Bland was still fresh on the radar and fear was trolling its way through black women everywhere.

“One of the things that sickens me is that the police approach black people like they don’t know the tension in americugh. …like they’ve never heard of Sandra Bland… Samuel DuBose.

…or any of the many names of women and men added to the growing list daily because they were unarmed and killed by the police….they approach you as if how dare you automatically feel tense?

how dare you have an attitude,

or a voice

Who are you to ask questions…

They still expect you to ……behave.

and when you don’t, shit happens.

They tried.

and I guess I should be scared…

but I’m not.

And if anything should ever happen to me in police custody, I DID NOT KILL MYSELF OR HARM MYSELF.”

 *****************************************************************************

EpiBlogue: Last year the police were at my house looking for someone who didn’t live there. This was the third or fourth time they came and each time they came, they were dressed in SWAT gear. There were at least three each visit and the first time they tried to come in and search my house, warning me that I needed to put my dogs up. I declined their offer to walk through my house and informed them that I didn’t know the person they were looking for. On the last visit, there were four of them at my house when I pulled up. Having already gone through this on several occasions with them, I was immediately tense and fed up. Sandra Bland’s death was only weeks prior. I did not approach the officers as a “good house nigga.” I walked up feeling defensive, and knowing what I’ve seen out of the police in the recent years alone, I knew this encounter could go any way. A small back and forth ensued between the police and I and I was yelling and cussing. One of the officers kept trying to bait me so that he would be able to arrest me but I didn’t fall for it. After his first threat, I asked if I would be the next Sandra Bland. I was ready for war in that split second, although death wasn’t what I had come home for.

My friends and neighbors were outside and came to bring me to their porch while the police searched the sides and back of my house for someone who didn’t live there. The same officer continued to stare at me and trying to tempt me to say or do something. I just pulled my phone out and started taking pictures. My friends would not let me go home until the police were gone. We didn’t even really talk about them while they were there. We discussed a host of other random things. Two men and one woman, all  who family to me by way of friendship. None of them were willing to let me risk it all. They knew me. They knew the police. THEY were the de-escalators. It was August 1, 2015, and I lived to tell about it.11249841_852796828144692_2243813011793375181_n

Secretly, I wanted them to let me go. I wanted to react even though I knew better. Maybe I have PTSD. Maybe I have mental illnesses of some kind. Maybe I don’t need to be left alone with the police during hostile situations.

Thank God I have people who would protect me in life…and death. I saw a video of a local black man being pulled over by IMPD a few weeks back. He was in the wrong but as expected, he was on the defense. His defense was nothing like Korryns. He had no facts or questions for the officer. Instead, he did more taunting and unnecessarily accusing the officer of pulling him over for “being in a nice car.”  Dude, many black people have Dodge Chargers. Get over yourself. The encounter was Facebook live recorded and lasted for at least 20 minutes before he exclaimed to the officer that he was writing him a ticket in order to get “payback” for a locally slain officer. He was provoking and being ignorant IMO and even the person on the speaker phone thought so. But the comment sections were littered with supportive messages and people who stood in agreeance.

I’m not debating whether or not Korryn Gaines was in the right or wrong or how she should have behaved with her children present. I will say there are things she could have done differently that MIGHT have changed the outcome, but I’m not even 100% sure of that statement. I believe at the very least, due to her behavior during the initial traffic stop and what she said to officers that she was a target for them. I believe they wanted to bring trouble her way for being what they would deem a troublemaker. I don’t think this notion is far-fetched just as her suffering from PTSD is an absolute possibility, as is lead poisoning. For me, it’s just hurtful to see how easily we dispose of each other as liabilities and trash. In her death, she has as many, if not more people denouncing her, calling her crazy and questioning her parenting as she does in support of her.

It’s ironic because that’s what white folks do to black men every time one of them is killed. Why aren’t we talking about the police shooting in an apartment, with yet ANOTHER obstructed view, in a room where children were present? Why isn’t that the outrage? Why aren’t you outraged that Korryn was shot and killed instead saying she did it to herself? Why aren’t you outraged that her son was shot in his cheek by the police, who initially said it was his arm? Or I guess anyone could mistake a shot in the arm for a shot in the face. Where is the anger at her boyfriend…who was also being served with a warrant on domestic abuse charges but I digress??? Why can’t people see the pattern here?

Why don’t you think this will happen again?

Perhaps it’s the comment sections. Folks are arguing back and forth with white supremacists and tear-filled white wannabe-victims who are throwing AllLivesMatter pity parties on the backs of dead black people and maybe that is having some adverse effects. I don’t argue with folks. I blog. You won’t change the mind of someone who is comfortable with the way they think. But people still go back and forth relentlessly. I wonder if in this back and forth, similar to the Denzel movie Fallen, is it possible for spirits to transfer?

“A wise man told me not to argue with fools
Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who”  ~JayZ

“I don’t participate in any of you guys side laws or any of that”  ~Korryn Gaines

She was too loud, angry and black to be considered the revolutionary martyr that she is; she is outcast as a black sheep. It doesn’t change the facts. She was killed and her child was shot and that should NOT have happened and could have been avoided. She could have made other decisions I guess…

And so the fuck could the police. But isn’t that always the case?

#KORRYNGAINES #WeSpeakHerName #BlackWomenMatter

*****UPDATE: In February 2018, a jury awarded Kodi Gaines (Korryn’s son who was injured in the shooting) over $32 million, her daughter Karsyn was granted $4 million and her parents were awarded $300K apiece. But in February 2019, Judge Mickey Norman from the Baltimore County Circuit Court, overturned the ruling, siding with the officer and thus leaving the family with nothing: the american way for black people.

If You are in Indy: 13920594_1052216081536098_7733896584326797967_n

Grand Closing: SevenDaysSevenBlogs

WOW.

So I wrote seven blogs, in seven days huh? Lol.

It didn’t go TOTALLY as planned and I almost tapped out of it several different times. My motivation was my readers. I know you are out there, anticipating and waiting for what I voluntarily promised would be coming. Then I thought of the test this is. I signed myself up for a tough challenge that ‘sounded good’ when I said it, but as the process of execution began, it was much harder than I anticipated. I needed more time than I realized and I thought I wouldn’t make it, but I’m here!!! I did it ! I pulled it off. My laptop is no longer accepting a charge from my battery. I really don’t know if this will even get posted and am typing as fast as I can (roughly 90 wpm). Before I close this out, I want to thank everyone who has followed this journey or joined along the way. Please go back over the blog and check out all seven in this series. This was a lot of fun in many ways and brought forth new epiphanies as I wrote. For example, I didn’t realize how much Nicole Simpson’s death paralled black people’s experiences.

I think that blog left everyone speechless. I never said it would all be hearts and bubblegum !!! 😉

I am ending this series with a few digital dedications. The first is a video challenge issued by my dear sisterfriend Naz Khalid, who’s out in Vegas. The challenge was to show our brothers some love. I wish it had have trended. It didn’t but Salute to those who participated and those who could’t or forgot (there’s still time…every day.). It’s an old poem and I messed up on it but I decided to keep it as it was….I hope you enjoy. The next is a track on my Soundcloud page that I’ve shared on Facebook before. It’s called “Preaching to the Choir” and it’s a dedication to black men. Finally, I end with a poem I wrote a couple of years ago. I will let it speak for itself …

Plus, I’m trying to out type my computer shutting off for good. I’m not buying a new battery. * le sigh*

Thank you all again for reading and commenting and sharing. Please consider signing up at the top of the page. And please do return to the #LoudMovement here at theiisneversilent.com.

 

SHARE THESE BLOGS ! !! Get the conversations going. If you are an ally, please take the time to read all seven blogs. If you are a racist, please take the time to read all seven blogs. And if you are here, and have not read all seven blogs, please take the time to read ALL SEVEN BLOGS !

“Will You Bury Me”

 

…..and he dropped to his knees

Looked her square in the center of her pupils,

Held her hand with intensity

And spoke to her, words that sounded, delightfully foreign

Words she never expected to hear in her life,

He said

Will you bury me???

She stood

Not letting go of his grip,

Wondering what he meant,

Wondering what the appropriate response was for all she could think was what does that even mean,

And he clenched tighter,

Specifically to her ring finger and along its outer rim, he slipped on a diamond he’d saved the rest of his heart to give to that one special woman and repeated his words,

Blow for blow, confidently, syllable for syllable and though they came out in slow motion, this time it was more clear and in case it still would not have been, he accompanied this proposal with an explanation,

Tighter, he gripped tighter to her hand,

Stood up and grabbed the other and spoke those same words again,

WILL YOU BURY ME

Will you live the rest of your life with me, holding me up when I need backbone, boning me when I need front plates, kissing me tenderly,  but oh just the way I need it to be me to remind me that I am king of the night, day and all the shit in between,

But beautiful darling woman Ye wants to spend the rest of life with, I am a black man

And life with me could end at any moment,

A spontaneous occurrence that has too many mitigating factors that could end me suddenly

So I say to you will you bury me

Carry my seed,

Hold creation in your womb, all while knowing we could be becoming too attached to a potential lamb,

That we may have to bury early,

He might look just like me, it will be like burying me

He could be stalked,

I could be beaten by those who take an oath to serve and protect their midnight fantasies of justified killings, they could Martin me

Amadou me,

And I don’t mean, “I’ma do me”,

I mean AMADOU….DIABLO

ME!!!

our child could be removed from the world

Torn from our arms by violent arms that bear the same color arms as us,

Will you bury me,

It may take me the rest of my youthfulness to come to terms with who I am,

Will you bury me and rise me anew, will you trust in me and allow me to trust in you,

Can we do something that sparks a lasting trend hotter than marriage, will you bury me,

Stay with me, grow not just old with me, lie in the folds of me when I become weak,

Will you allow me to see you at your peak and your fall, your makeup and none at all, but will you bury me because life with me might turn volatile to your heart,

Turning your eyeliner into footprints of tears,

Justice has hardly met black skin that it will act in defense of

Will you chance sleepness nights of dreaming of verdicts that will avenge my stolen deaeth,

I can still be tied to the backs of trucks,

I can still be beaten down in the streets, mad that my last name bears exactly what I am,

Killing the King in me until I am weak but i don’t go down easy, which might mean the end of me

You

In black widows hats

Front row of pews that cradle the last look,

It could you be you

Left behind

It can be our child

Taken up front, in front of our eyes,

What if I break the promise to never wear a hoodie,

What if my ID looks like a oozi,

What if my fixed taillight gets knocked out, cause the 60s aren’t far enough removed to be the past,

Not when everyday reminds me that I am the on the ass end of the affirmative because of the color of my skin,

It can still get me killed

Whatever we create can be pulled from beneath us, if we threaten them, they may come home to roost us,

But are you game for that

Willing

Consciously willing to fight back with me, march alongside of me, be BLACK with me,

Chance life with me

With he who could be a news story hot topic,

A debated  trial,

I could be put on trial for my own death, you ready for that

Will you bury me ?

Marrying me means to endure with me….

Can you

Endure

What it means, not to be with me,

But to be wife of black man

Will you,

Bury me

……and she attached herself to the cord of what would become their distant unknown future….

Right there, in the heat of a summer evening,

He proposed to her,

In the most honest of ways,

And she said yes, to  The things we never say.

© 2014 Kendria Smith

Black on Black Crying: Finding Where To Place Our Tears

I know people who know people.

I know people doing a wide variety of different forms of community outreach with organizations as well as on their own accord. I know mentors and teachers, devout activists with their own Not-For-Profits and volunteers. Then there are those who march and protest when the time calls for it and who are active and influential in other areas in between. I also know people who are playing Pokemon. Folks who are on vacation, shopping at Wal-Mart, watching reality TV and folks who post a daily selfie.

ALL of us are hurting for the same reasons. It’s hard to be alive right now and not feel the mental anguish being black in america causes. Like I said, I know people who know people. 10469216_670779103013133_494910723398137443_n

There are many forms of activism available at our fingertips. There is no reason that one person should feel like they cannot contribute something in this fight for what I have now dubbed “the right to be human in America.” For every person of color and our allies, there is a way to fight back against this racist and corrupted system. It is up to YOU as an individual to determine what is the best course of action YOU can take. What one person is doing doesn’t equate to what you need to be doing; some folks are better at other stuff. And that’s ok. Other folks are on break. And guess what: That’s fine too. Check out of this thing sometimes. Mental self-care is important and you can’t be of good assistance to anything if you haven’t assured your own well being.

Every time a black life is snuffed out, a march/protest/vigil is almost immediately put in place. Contrary to what some believe, this also happens when the murderer(s) are black, not just when a white person kills a black person. There just isn’t much attention going on in the hood in regards to those who fight the crime irresponsibly known as “black-on-black crime.” #ButIDigress

When people are killed, organizers get to work contacting speakers and performers who will help bring the message home that we will not stand for this treatment in a country we built and pay to be part of. A location, time and date are secured and invites create word of mouth which hopefully draws a heavy crowd in support of black lives. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Before anything else – before the bullhorns come out and the chants and the poetry and Precious Lord songs – the people are there to pay homage to a life gone too soon and there are times when very few show-up. Regardless, some folks are overwhelmed with sadness and sorrow and need to be in the presence of others who feel the same way. They need to walk alongside folks who also wonder what the answer is. They need to be among like-minds. We are starting to feel helpless and these marches reignite the diminishing fire in some of us. There are networking opportunities with a variety of allies. Although police are starting to treat #BLM protests like a terrorist threat (there is also a petition going around to have BLM classified as terrorist.), there is still strength in numbers. Protests and marches aren’t the ‘answer’ to fixing a system built on blood, but they do serve a purpose.

I know people who are playing Pokemon. I’m not one of them but I’ve seen the posts on Facebook. I still don’t quite get it but I think the allure of what it is, is actually drawing more people to the game. I’m personally not interested but I still know plenty of people who are playing it and race nor gender are factors.

But on social media, the trending topic is to take a hotep-status-piss on what other folks are doing.  People are not distracted because they are playing Pokemon. They didn’t forget that Alton Sterling had to be buried and that Philando was getting buried the following day.  They didn’t fall out of the fight or become useless good and wasted materials because they choose not to be in #BlackLivesMatter mode for 24 straight until change comes. If you are emotionally affected by what is happening to black people and if you are joined in on this fight for our lives, then disconnecting and going to a different headspace doesn’t automatically equal being distracted.

Also, who can tell anyone WHEN change is actually coming????

No damn body knows. When has this country ever love or truly respected black people? It’s always been like this, we are just fucking fed up with it now because it’s happening in our faces. This isn’t the resurfacing of an old practice; this is generations of racism being handed down from parents to children who turn into adults and get jobs as law officials, appoint themselves as watchers of the neighborhood and earn seats in Congress. I bet if I did the research, I could find at least one name for every year from 1930 (random year) until now of a black person killed without legit cause and without justice. Change is something we continue to seek but if we kept it 100 as we say, it’s something that many of us are starting to believe in as much as the Loch Ness Monster. With that said, why can’t a person (a human being) stop for second and reset their brain? Why can’t they tune out of looping videos and the racist online trolls and start watching Love & Hip Hop without being told they are an abomination of the black race? Why can’t I troll B.Scott’s site and see what all is going on in Hollywood to take my mind off of the reality we live in daily?

Next Question:

 why can’t people march?

Why can’t they huddle up in front of the statehouse and scream and rally and cry together if that’s what they need right then or feel led to do? Do any of the keyboard pushers know what helplessness feels like? I’m sure you do because we are all being mentally fucked every single day. Justice misses the mark for us time and time again and here we are feeling like there is not enough we can do or say that will change things for all of us. We are explaining #BLM to people who are dead set on seeing it otherwise. And right now, we are all waiting on the next name to get dropped. It’s going to happen again. And with all the recent police killings (another one as of 7/20/16, Kansas City), I bet it’s already happened and just hasn’t made the popular report.

Sometimes this fight calls for you to download a goofy app and play it until your hands bleed. Or participate in organizing a march. Zoning out. Zoning in.

Or –

…..organizing what YOU think will work, on your own. Then we will all flock to your mission and help with it. Sticking together is about allowing folks the opportunity to be human  – that same thing I said earlier is the fight black people are in (to be recognized as human). In our fight, we have to be careful not to alienate each other with accusations, finger pointing and all the shit that does nothing but create a bigger division. A public, bigger division.

There are 100s of ways to be an activist and if you don’t want to take on that title, there are still ways for you to be of assistance for the greater good of our race of people. Some are small baby steps and fashion statements. You can always do a personal financial boycott. You don’t have to march if you don’t want to but avoid down talking those who do. You may not want to boycott Wal-mart but take the time to find a way to be a valuable contribution to this nationwide cry for help. You don’t have to wait for someone else’s idea to be good in order to execute it. You don’t have to wait for someone to tell you to put your money in an XYZ black bank; just google and research your options and find what’s best for YOU.

There’s a statement in itself:

Research your options and find what’s best for you.

That’s what all of this is about at the end of the day. Finding what’s best for YOU as a way to help us as a community. If you are not good at being in the front speaking to the public, you shouldn’t be up there with the mic. Perhaps your best is marching and chanting. Maybe it’s organizing and planning. Maybe can use your connections and designs to make a statement. If you’re a performer, you can do or create a benefit show w/a true plan on who the money goes to and how to get it to them. The list is endless…..

I have fought the title of an activist for a long time because I feel it comes with so much responsibility and expectation that I don’t know that I always live up to. Beyond that, I just want to fight for what’s RIGHT. And that is still true, but I think that’s what makes me an activist. Yet and still, I am still in the process of finding where I belong in this fight.

I encourage all to do the same. You don’t have to do something because it’s what everyone is doing, but you do need to do something. That is if you believe that black lives matter. And when our ‘somethings’ are different, that doesn’t make either of us better than the other. It means we are working in our respective areas, doing what we do well and making a difference towards the better. That’s what matters. At the end of the day, we are all black-on-black crying together.

This may sound like a fluff blog to some. And who knows, maybe I live in the clouds. I know there are people who ain’t doing SHIT but sitting on their black asses. I don’t pretend they don’t exist, I just don’t put food on their plate. For what? There were plenty of people that did nothing in the sixties. There were plenty of slaves that were content and had made peace with living and dying as a slave. But the job still got done. The slaves still got free, the boycotts worked, as did the unity. A unified front doesn’t mean ALL; it means majority….well at least in my opinion.

I believe we need each other right now and we have too much to lose to …

…actually, make that we have lost too much already to alienate each other or spend time focusing on the folks that don’t want to be involved. Let them be. For those who are taking a break…let them take it. Let them check out. You can sit this one out loves. There are enough of us to keep the momentum going.

For those who are involved and those that want to be, I salute you. Your efforts and your dedication will never get the accolades deserved, but your time and your work will eventually snatch the edges off of the doors that have the audacity to still be closed. 

~j