Hope

After Pandora's box was opened and all the ills of the world were released, what was left was Hope. When I bought this tshirt 8 years ago, I had hope for a better America. The America Martin dreamed of. The America my mother told me she immigrated to in hopes of bettering her life. The America that cut their colonial ties with Britain to insure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for its citizens. And as I end my 

‪#‎

29daysofblackness

 blog series, I still hold on to that hope.

Black Art Spotlight: A Ballerina's Tale (The Incredible Rise of Misty Copeland)

Tonight to end my #29DaysofBlackness blog series, I decided to relax in bed with a glass of wine and  watch a recent addition to the Netflix streaming catalog, "A Ballerina's Tale" (2015). If you have not heard of this documentary, it tells the story of the rise of ballet dancer, Misty Copeland. Before watching this film, I knew a few things about Misty and her ballet career but I did not know the full story of her triumphs and struggles rising through the ballet world as a black ballerina. Her story is truly inspiring. Despite starting ballet dancing very late, at age 13 (which is very old for ballet dancers), she was able through hard work, passion, and innate talent to become the first black principal ballerina in the prestigious American Ballet Theater Company. Throughout the documentary, Misty pays homage to the black ballerinas that came before her in effort to motivate herself and educate others on these dance trailblazers.

Whether or not you are a ballet or dance fan, I highly recommend everyone watch this film, especially with young brown girls, to show them that you really can "will what you want."

Film Description

Few dancers make it to the highest levels of classical ballet. Of that already small number only a fraction of them are black women. Misty Copeland, from the small California city of San Pedro, has pulled herself up the ladder at American Ballet Theater (ABT) from the studio company to the corps de ballet to soloist. The only rung in the ladder left to climb is principal dancer aka prima ballerina.

In 2013, after more than a decade at American Ballet Theatre Misty was offered the lead role in Igor Stravinsky's Firebird to be performed at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, a major coup for a soloist.

The nigh

t of her performance Misty danced beautifully. But at the celebration afterwards she revealed she had been performing in great pain. Later Misty found out that she had six fractures in her left shin. Without corrective surgery the shin might one day break. Many doubted she would dance again.

A Ballerina's Tale is then an intimate look at this artist during a crucial period of her life. The bulk of the film is a cinema verité influenced look at Misty's journey, from the triumph of Firebird, the painful road back to dancing and to an unexpected third act where Misty not only returns to the American Ballet Theatre stage but emerges as a pop star in the process.

Misty Copeland's career shines a light on several challenges within the world of classical ballet: the absence of women of color at major companies despite so many gifted black women ready to make the leap; the emphasis on skinny bodies for ballerinas impacts the health of professional dancers and sends a negative message to young fans around the world. Misty, because of her race and her curves, is central to both issues in the classical dance world.

The film climaxes with a landmark performance by Misty in Swan Lake, which is an acknowledgement by American Ballet Theatre that she is back, dancing at the highest level, and the fulfillment of the dream of many to see a true black swan at a mainstream international company. A Ballerina's Tale is the story of how a great talent and a powerful will combined can open doors within a very cloistered world.

Major funding provided by Ford Foundation/JustFilms and Tribeca Film Institute.

For more information contact: aballerinastale@gmail.com

*film description taken from http://www.aballerinastale.com/about/

Each One, Teach One: 8 Black Children's Books You Should Know About

The last few months I have gifted the children of my friends sets of black children's books that I either loved as a kid or recently discovered on amazon.com. I decided to compile a list of some of my favorites. Share this list with your family, your mommy and daddy friends, your kids, your nieces and nephews, and anyone who loves good children's literature featuring beautiful black children.

"Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky"

by Elphinstone Dayrell (author); Blair Lent (illustrator)

Story Details: Sun and his wife, the moon, lived on Earth and built a large house so that the water people could visit. But so many poured in that they were forced to move to the sky.

"Please, Baby, Please"

by Spike Lee and Tonya Lee (authors); Nadir Nelson (illustrator)

Story Details: From moments fussy to fond, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, present a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby! Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again.

"Lola at the Library"

by Anna McQuinn (author); Rosalind Beardshaw (illustrator)

Story Details: Lola has a big smile on her face. Why? Because it's Tuesday--and on Tuesdays, Lola and her mommy go to the library. Join Lola in this cozy celebration of books and the people who love them.

"Big Hair, Don't Care"

by Crystal Swain-Bates (author); Megan Blair (illustrator)

Story Details: Lola has really really REALLY big hair, much bigger than the other kids at her school, but that doesn't stop her from telling anyone who will listen just how much she LOVES her hair! It´s not always easy being a kid. Designed to boost self-esteem and build confidence, this beautifully illustrated picture book is aimed at boys and girls who may need a reminder from time to time that it's okay to look different from the other kids at their school. "Big Hair, Don't Care" is available in English, French, and German.

"Full, Full, Full of Love"

by Trish Cooke (author); Paul Howard (illustrator)

Story Details: For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner 

at Grannie’s can be full indeed - full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a gregarious family we are sure to want more, more, more of.

"Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats (author)

Story Details:

 No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

"Every Little Thing"

by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley (authors); Vanessa Brantley-Newton (illustrator)

Story Details: 

Now in board book, Every Little Thing brings Bob Marley's beloved song to life for a new generation. Every family will relate to this universal story of a boy who won't let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three special little birds. Including all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses, this cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing's gonna be all right.

"Peekaboo Morning"

by Rachel Isadora (author/illustrator)

Story Details: 

A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, and you're invited to play too. First there's Mommy to find, with Daddy not far behind. Then Puppy comes peeking around the corner, and a favorite toy train brings the toddler to Grandma and Grandpa. Isadora's brilliant, joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys and animals that will delight babies.

Join this sweet toddler in the morning fun, sharing words your baby can repeat and pictures your baby will recognize. Then find out what this toddler sees next. It could be you!

#29DaysofBlackness: Outfit of the Day 24.0 (My Ode to Black Men)

He is my King, He is my one


Yes he's my father, Yes he's my son


I can talk to him, cuz he understands


Everything I go through and everything I am


He's my support system, I can't live without him


The best thing since sliced bread,
Is his kiss, his hugs, his lips, his touch


And I just want the whole world to know, about my..



(Chorus)


Black Brotha,

 I

 love ya, I will never - try to hurt ya


I want ya, to know that, I'm here for you - forever true


Cuz you're my
Black Brotha, strong brotha, there is no - one above ya


I want ya, to know that, 

I'm here for you - forever true

- "Brotha" by Angie Stone

Shirt: "I Love Black Men" t-shirt by Epitome Soul (unfortunately this company is no longer in business) 

One Moment in Time

This might be the most precious moment of this year. Little man, Clark Reynolds, meets the Big man, President Obama. You can see the wonder and awe in his eyes. The moment that Barack Obama became President of the United States of America, he showed black boys and girls that they could, and should, strive for the stars. That is something that you can never take away from President Barack Obama's legacy. 

Clark Reynolds, 3, is greeted by President Obama during a Black History Month Celebration held Feb.18, 2016, at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Pete Souza/White House)