Lemme Get This Off My Chest: Don't Mansplain My Feminism

Ladies, has this ever happened to you? You comment on a friend's post and a (male) stranger thinks that it is okay to mansplain to you about why YOUR decision to do or not so something is wrong. 

Check out the video below to find out what I had to get off my chest: 

Lemme Get This Off My Chest: I Got The Right To Be MAD

"You got the light, count it all joy

You got the right to be mad

But when you carry it alone you find it only getting in the way

They say you gotta let it go

Now tell em why you mad son

Cause doing it all ain’t enough

Cause everyone all in my cup

Cause such and such still owe me bucks

So I got the right to get bucked

But I try not to let it build up

I’m too high, I’m too better, too much

So I let it go, let it go, let it go

I ran into this girl, she said, Why you always blaming?

Why you can’t just face it? Be mad, be mad, be mad

Why you always gotta be so mad? Be mad, be mad, be mad

Why you always talking s**t, always be complaining?

Why you always gotta be, why you always gotta be so mad?

Be mad, be mad, be mad

I got a lot to be mad about

, Be mad, be mad, be mad"

---Mad by Solange (featuring Lil Wayne)

Lemme Get This Off My Chest: These Dudes Ain't Loyal

You want me flawless

You want me patient and sweet

You want me willing

You want my honesty

You want me to be

Appreciative

Respect your space

Ignore your fears

You want spontaneity

A good girl and a freak

You want loyalty

You want something that you’re not, willing

To be

You want something that you’re not, willing

To be

Expecting me to be loyal

Expecting me to be faithful

You want something that you’re not, willing

To be

--Willing (interlude) by Jill Scott 

Highlights from the #BlackGirlMovement Conference 2016

I had such an amazing experience at the first national Black Girl Movement Conference in New York City. It was an indescribable feeling to be in a room filled with black women, black girls, and black female scholars, activists, and game-changers talking about the greatness of black girls and black girlhood. Looking around it felt like I stepped into a different world. 

There were black girls of all ages, shapes, shades and hair textures, proudly proclaiming their love for themselves and each other. The three days of the Black Girl Movement Conference was a celebration of black girlhood and all the things that make us unique, from the games we play to the way we wear our hair. Even though I am in my 30s, I sometimes need a reminder of how great it is to be a black girl because there are so many times that we are not shown how beautiful, smart, unique, strong, powerful, talented, and amazing we are, always have been, and always will be. 

The mainstream media largely ignores us. When we are assaulted, kidnapped, or killed, we do not get the same attention and urgency as our white counterparts receive. We are often told that we are not beautiful. Our bodies are scrutinized, fetishized, and degraded. Our hair and hairstyles are considered  unkempt, dirty, and unprofessional. But, when a white girl displays any of our characteristics, features, or cultural stylings, there are considered attractive, fashionable, exotically beautiful, and innovative. 

This conference truly is a movement. It is a reminder, declaration, battle cry: BLACK GIRLS MATTER AND THEY ARE ALL THE MAGIC THEY WILL EVER NEED.

I really hope they continue this conference for years to come. Here are some of the highlights: 

Panel Session: Writing and Researching Black Girls

Only at a Black Girl Movement Conference will you find a sing-along 

Little bit of black girls moving, led by Camille A. Brown. 

Check out those moves (and smiles). 

#BlackGirlArt:::Picturing Black Girlhood exhibit (at Raw Space in NYC)

My black girlhood, all you needed was chalk and a pebble. 

Join the movement:

http://iraas.columbia.edu/Event/black-girl-movement-conference

#blackgirlmovement #bgm2016

Lemme Get This Off My Chest 6.1: ALL Black Lives Matter

You gotta remind people that black lives matter like you remind a child to wash their hands before they eat.

For more information on the incident involving Dr. Imani Perry, check out this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/nyregion/black-princeton-professor-protests-her-parking-ticket-arrest.html?_r=0

Special Holiday Message For (Some Of) My Friends and Family

In this episode of "The Read,"Crissle gave one of the dopest reads I have heard this year. Because she said it so well, I am going to use her words unfiltered to give a special message to some of my friends and my family for this holiday and for the new year (note: if you feel like I am talking to you, I probably am. Take note so you don't get the wrong end of my holiday cheer this year. Or, disown me, unfriend, delete my birthday, and keep my name out of your mouth).

Here is an excerpt of Crissle's read for family members that may want to open their mouth to make you feel small or less than because they have a problem with how you live your life:

"Do not let anybody start shit with you this year. A lot of us are encouraged to keep quiet, be nice, and just get along or don't say nothing, or respect elders--that's a big one. Or don't rock the damn boat. And don't be like this on Christmas and don't make it awkward. No, fuck them. Niggas shouldn't make you feel awkward. It's not your fault for retaliating. It's they fault for having the nerve to say something to you in the first fucking place. It's not your fault. You not wrong. You should not be admonished for say 'hey fuck you, I'm a grown ass adult and I'm going to do whatever I want. I like my body. I like my hair. I like my life. And you don't get to tell me that it needs to be any different.' Fuck them niggas. Don't let your uncle, aunty, grandma, niece, nephew, play cousin, don't let nobody try you this year. Cuss them niggas out and let them know you are not the one."

(The full episode for your listening pleasure)

To Be Like First Lady Michelle Obama: Learning to Embrace Me

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First Lady Michelle Obama is an inspiration. She is intelligent, beautiful, and confident. She is a role model for all women, especially women of color who have to deal with racism, sexism, and classism from those outside their communities and sadly also from those within their communities. 

Hearing First Lady Michelle Obama speak candidly (in the video below) about her personal struggles dealing with racism and sexism, during the time of her husband's first presidential bid, with the media and opinion polls openly picking her apart and questioning her every action really hit home for me. Despite her educational and professional pedigree, as a Princeton grad and successful lawyer, almost all of the critiques of Michelle Obama were steeped in longstanding stereotypes of black women as being too loud, too angry, or too emasculating. As a black woman, I struggle with how people, including my family and friends, perceive me. The way I present myself, speak, eat, dress, and choose to live my life is constantly judged and ridiculed by not only mainstream society but also by other black and brown people.

Lately, I have been especially concerned with not being viewed as an "angry black woman" (which I discussed in an earlier post). This concern has invaded my everyday thoughts. When I am teaching in my classroom, when I am interacting with people in public, and even when I am hanging out with my friends, I am checking myself. Am I talking too loud? Am I coming off as bitter or angry? Am I being too aggressive or too bold? If I feel the answer is yes to any of these questions, I try to change my tone or my mannerisms, or I completely shut down. It is a hard thing to deal with, this feeling that something is wrong with you or that you need to change yourself to make others comfortable around you. And then I think...Why do I care if people think that I am angry? Why can't I be angry? Isn't anger a natural, normal feeling? Why are people so concerned with black women's anger? Why am I worried about how people may or may not view me?

The First Lady's ability to overcome being publicly critiqued, through confidence in herself and in God's plan for her, emboldens me. Her story points out the possible light at the end of the dark tunnel of negativity and racial/gender stereotypes that I face as a black woman in America. I aspire to be like First Lady Michelle Obama, to be able to fully embrace being me. All day. Every day. To stand proudly in my truth, in my skin.

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I am loud. I am opinionated. I curse. I cry easily and often when I'm mad, sad, frustrated, or happy. I am overly protective of my friendships. I'm rude. I'm selfish. I'm giving. I'm intelligent. I'm silly. I'm introverted. I'm outgoing. I am not friendly. I sometimes speak before I think. I think too much and tend to dwell. I'm insecure. I'm confident. I get angry. I am a womanly. I am perfectly imperfect. I am divinely favored. I am my mother and father's daughter. I am me and the best thing I can do is, like First Lady Michelle Obama, "have faith in God's plan for me, [...] ignore the noise,  and be true to myself; and the rest [will] work its way out."