This week I am giving you words to motivate you and music to keep you moving along.
Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall) by Mystikal has been on my "Steady On My Grind" playlist for years. Giving me the inspiration and good vibes I need, when I feel low, tired, and done. The song has a great message about being able to overcome setbacks, failure, and self-doubt, along with a New Orleans bounce-filled, jazzy beat (Note: This song has no explicit language, so it is work and kid friendly).
My favorite lines from the song are:
"So if you ain't ready you better get ready/
I know I do it better when I'm being opposed/
Ah stick ya chest out, keep your chin up/
'Cause sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up/
You keep bumping me against the wall/Yeah I know I let you slide before/But until you seen me trust me/You ain't seen bouncin' back"
If you have never heard of this song, check out the video below.
I could not think of a better person with whom to finish off my series of black history facts, and enter into Women's History Month, than First Lady Michelle Obama.
Black history fact #28
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Married to the 44th President of the United States, she is the first black First Lady. Born in Chicago, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She spent the early part of her career practicing law at the Sidley Austin Law Firm, where she met her future husband Barack Obama while serving as his advisor. After two years of dating, the couple got married on October 3, 1992. As first lady, Obama focused on military families, healthy living, and education. She often made appearances at public schools, stressing the importance of education. Committed to health and wellness, Obama worked planted a garden of fresh vegetables and installed beehives on the South Lawn of the White House. She was particularly focused on fighting childhood obesity. In 2012, she launched the Let's Move initiative, a fitness program for kids. Obama is also widely recognized for her sense of fashion, having appeared twice on the cover of Vogue Magazine and featured on numerous best dressed lists. During her time as first lady, Michelle Obama maintained a high approval rating among the American public, soaring over her husbands, and remains one of the most liked first ladies.
Thank you Michelle Obama for being a great role model, strong woman, and OUR FIRST LADY!
Because he finally resurfaced after a well-deserved fun and relaxing vacation from being OUR PRESIDENT, I am spotlighting President Barack Obama and his contribution to black history.
Black history fact #27
Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is an American lawyer, author, Nobel Peace Prize winner, politician, and 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. He is the first person of African descent to serve as President of the United States. Born in Honolulu in 1961, Obama excelled in school and became the first black editor of the "Harvard Law Review" in 1990. The following year he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. After graduating, he moved to Chicago, where he worked as a civil rights lawyer and taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1995, he published an autobiography, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," which was later reprinted in 2004 and adapted into a children's book. He started his political career in 1996, after he ran for and won a seat in the Illinois State Senate. In 2004, Obama ran for and won a vacant seat in the US Senate representing Illinois. Four years later, on November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States, making him the first black person to hold this office. During his first 100 days in office, he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to improve America's foreign policy. In 2011, he approved a covert Navy Seals operation in Pakistan that led to the killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden. Obama won a second term of presidency in 2012.
Thank Barack Obama for being OUR PRESIDENT!
In honor of tonight's Oscars, I am spotlighting the achievements of actress Hattie McDaniel.
Black history fact #26
Hattie McDaniel (1895 - 1952) was an actress, singer, and radio performer. She is the first black actor to win an Academy Award. In 1940, McDaniel won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for role as Mammy in the film "Gone with the Wind." She began singing at an early age. In high school, she started performing professionally as part of the The Mighty Minstrels. She eventually dropped out of school to focus on her performing career. At the urging of her brother and sister, McDaniel moved to Los Angeles in the early 1930s and started getting minor film roles. In 1935, she got the part of Mom Beck in "The Little Colonel," starring opposite Shirley Temple. This part was an important landmark in McDaniel's film career, as it gained her the attention of Hollywood directors and a steady stream of movie role offers. In 1939, McDaniel appeared in her award-winning role of Mammy in "Gone with the Wind." Ironically, all of the black actors in the film, including McDaniel, were barred from attending the film's 1939 premiere in Atlanta, Georgia. When her acting career started to decline, she moved to radio and took a starring role on CBS Radio's "The Beulah Show" in 1947. After her death in 1952 from breast cancer, McDaniel has been awarded posthumously two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame (in 1975), and honored with a commemorative stamp by the US Postal Service (in 2006).
Thank you Hattie McDaniel for being the first to take home the golden Oscar statue and opening the door for Whoopi, Monique, Lupita, Jennifer, and Viola to win one too!
Black history fact #25
James "Jesse" Owens (1913 - 1980) was an American track and field star and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Summer Olympics. Born the son of sharecroppers and the grandson of slaves, he was recognized in his lifetime as the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history. In high school, Owens quickly made a name for himself as a sprinter. He set records in the 100m and 200m dashes as well as the long jump. As a college student competing for Ohio State University, Owens became known as the "Buckeye Bullet" and at the 1935 Big Ten Championships, tied a world record in the 100m dash and set a new world record in the 220m dash, in the 220m low hurdles, and in the long jump, which would stand for 25 years. That same year he competed in and won 42 events, including the NCAA Championships and the Olympic trials. At the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, Owens won four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, long jump, and 4x100m relay. He broke nine Olympic records and set three new world records. He was undoubtedly the most successful athlete at the games, and as a black man, defied Adolf Hitler's theory of Aryan racial superiority. In 1976, Owens received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford and in 1990 was posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal.
Thank you Jesse Owens for shattering records and showing the world we are not inferior!
Black history fact #24
Bessie Coleman (1892 - 1926) was an American aviator. Born to sharecroppers, she became the first black to hold a pilot's license. At early age, Coleman developed a love for flying. But, because neither blacks nor women were allowed entry into flight schools in the US, she saved money, learned French, and moved to France to achieve her goal. Within seven months, she earned her international pilot's license in 1921, specializing in stunt flying. parachuting, and barnstorming. In 1922, Coleman became the first black woman to stage a public flight in the US. She was a popular flyer at aerial shows. Speaking at schools and churches, Coleman was an advocate for blacks to become interested in flying and to become pilots. Before her death, she was raising funds to create a school for black flyers. Three years after her death in 1926, the Bessie Coleman Aero Club was established and trained many black pilots, including Tuskegee airmen. In 1995, the US Postal Service honored Bessie Coleman with a commemorative stamp.
Thank you Bessie Coleman for showing us how to soar!
Black history fact #23
Arthur Ashe (1943 - 1993) was a professional tennis player and AIDS activist. He is the first black man to be recruited by the US Davis Cup team. Ashe won 3 Grand Slam titles over his career. In 1968, he became the first black man to win the US Open title. Two years later, he won the Australian title. In 1975, he won the singles title at Wimbledon. That same year, Ashe became the first black man to be ranked No. 1 in the tennis world. On top of his accomplishments, Ashe is the first, and remains the only, black male player to win the singles title at Wimbledon and the US Open. In 1985, he became the first black man to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Ashe used his success and fame to create inner city tennis programs for youth and to found the Association of Men's Tennis Professionals. When he learned that he had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion during heart surgery, Ashe turned his efforts to raising awareness about the disease.
Thank you Arthur Ashe for being a trailblazer!