Safe Place

The love of this song always warms my heart and comforts me. I met my paternal grandmother at my fathers funeral who I look just like and my maternal grandmother died when I was 3 days old. My mother said I acted a lot like her. She is the woman who washed the menstrual rags of white women. Her sacrifice keeps me very clear and focused. See we all need someone in our lives that keeps us focused. They either influenced us positively to guide us in the right direction. Or if they were negative they showed us what and who we didn’t want to be. That’s pretty much how you have to look at things.

By faith there be’s better days. Those words from a wise grandmother in the song makes me think how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. Black women have loved and cared and sacrificed so much. Dianne Reeves was blessed to have had such guidance and love. We respected our elders and there was always something about looking at older ladies, seeing their poise and grace with their hats and gloves at church that still makes me feel connected.

That’s what is missing in so many women’s lives today. Those women endured hell but they always gave you a safe place. When they pinched your cheek or kissed it or pulled you into their bussum. You knew you were loved. You knew you were safe. Whether you were related or not. That’s what saved us and got us here today.

My sisters we’ve got to find our safe place and we’ve got to be that place for each other. Too many of us are empty and alone and we try to fill that space with food, sex, drugs, toxic relationships or plain old nasty attitude. But you gonna make it through the night like the song says.

Better days are coming because the more you love and find your safe place, the more you can share it and that’s what all this that we go through is about. I’m saying this because I love my sisters. I want you to know we have got to shield each other. I build up before I break down. Next week I’m going to talk about the truth of why as Chris Brown says “H&%$ Ain’t Loyal!

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Sistahs N SistahHood

Image11/12/13 is my Sorority’s Founders’ Day this year and we are celebrating 91 years of service. I joined over 30 years ago and dedicated myself to “Greater Service, Greater Progress.” Today I want to talk about the power of SistahHood. I use this spelling to denote the union of women of color that created a Sorority in a time when racism was rampant and women had just gotten the right to vote.

But as I think about our her-story and how far we have come as women, I am always motivated to do more. As a Black woman that was a queen in her homeland, was brought to Amerikkka to be raped, beaten, bred with her father, son or brother to produce babies to be sold. My mother and grand mother picked cotton, cleaned houses, raised white children and their own, cooked, made clothes and made a dollar out of 15 cents. My grandmother even washed the mentrual rags of white women with her hands. There were no tampons or washing machines. That degrading task is forever a reminder to me of the focus we must have.

You see so many women that are my foremothers made sacrifices I can barely imagine but their focus was always to survive and prepare for the next generation. The cooked pies and pooled the resources they had to build schools and colleges and pushed for the education of youth. My Founders did. They kept pushing and organizing and served in the military and worked in factories and got Phd’s. They lifted as they climbed.

We have such a rich legacy as women but the world still is filled with racism and sexism so our race and gender is still very much under attack. Media still portrays us as crack heads, prostitutes or judges. Go figure that! First Lady Michelle Obama is more of a discussion about her arms and ass and attitude rather than her intellect, she was Barack’s boss when they met. Twerking and a Black woman’s ass clapping is the image of choice for media as well as discussions about our hair, weaves, lack of marriage and children born out of wedlock.

My Sistahs, the attacks on us have not changed but have we? Are we more worried about if we have a man, how we are dressed, what purse we carry, our nails and hair and whose husband we will go after? Are we pooling our finances and building schools for our children and providing employment for each other? Will any piece of man with a dick and a pillowcase be good enough to get it?

Unfortunately there are women that fit these stereotypes, that are selfish and rude.Unfortunately too many of us waste our money on what we want instead of what we need.  I know there are still women working hard every day. Still raising children, being positive wives, daughters, sisters that are students to corporate executives. We are doing it and I love you Michelle Obama as a role model of class, intellect, beauty and accomplishment. But what has changed my sistahs? Being dedicated to the race and gender is no longer a general priority. There are some of us that continue the work but on the whole on average, we have picked up the bad habits of society and adopted the me, my, mine attitude. There are women that are more worried about looking good at the club and their kids look like hell. There are women that be damned to the family that only want married men. There are gold diggers that will suffer abuse for the mighty dollar. We hate on each other and act as though we are each other’s worst enemy. It’s got to stop!

Sistahs, God ordained us to give birth to not only children but to the future. We raise our men, we chose who is worthy to be a man, we determine the course our people are taking. You have a great responsibility and it is high time that we remember the women before us and make our race and gender a priority in our thinking and actions or we are doomed. My grandmother’s hands in bloody water that was not her own makes me remember the legacy she passed on to me.

Happy Founders’ Day my Sorors and to all my Sistahs Remember Who and Whose You ARE!

Christians Serving Satan

pastorChurch Members Mistreat Homeless Man in Church Unaware It Is Their Pastor in Disguise

When you read this article, it will go deep if your faith means anything to you. I titled this blog entry Christians Serving Satan because the members of this church certainly were not followers of Christ. When the pastor came to the big mega 10K member church as a homeless man and only 3 people spoke and even acknowledged him. Three. WE judge others constantly and then hate to be judged. This week take out a sheet of paper and I want you to log every time you make a judgement. Damn that girls hair is jacked. Why is his shirt so wrinkled. No he didn’t get out of that raggedy car thinking he is all that. These are judgemental thoughts we have all the time. I know you don’t think of it that way but it’s true. We all do.

So the pastor sits in the back where they put him and when the intro of the new pastor joining service he came forward. Talk about thousands of cracked faces. Wouldn’t it have been nice to make him feel welcomed? Would it have been nice to ask if he was hungry and gave him food in the big kitchen in the back? Would it have been nice to ask if he needed a referral for a place to stay that night or maybe some clothes? A hug maybe? What would you have done?

It’s a mind-set of serving we must have. I don’t care what your personal belief is if you call yourself a Christian, opening yourself and your mind to serve is your legacy. The list of judgements you wrote should let you know how your mind needs to think different thoughts. Does that mean every homeless person you see you have to give money to, no, because you know the ones that are hustling because you see them all time. But is fifty cents or a dollar going to kill you?  You are judged everyday too. Remember your list?

This week I’m changing how I think. If we spent more time thinking how we can make things better, how we can help someone else, how we can share a smile or a kind word, then our own happiness and peace will manifest. Thank you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek. You said it right. “Following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ should be more than just talk. It ought to be a lifestyle that others around you can love about you and share in.” Ashe!

Never Give Up!

As I was trying to decide what to write today, seeing the Tavis Smiley/Cornel  West bullshit or Sheryl Underwood talking about nappy hair which you know she has plenty of under her wig, I saw the story of Diana Nyad. On this day which is a celebration of labor, hard work, this 64 year old woman made the historic swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage!

This was her fifth attempt and she made it. She prepared so she could overcome the outside forces that had affected her before such as jellyfish stings. She had a crew of people that helped her. But finally it boils down to what you have in you that pushes you to achieve your goals and dreams.

Agree or disagree with the dynamic duo of Smiley/West the status of Black America they promote has gone from bad to worse. So why is just Obama to blame? Each of us is to blame because we don’t spend enough time with our kids, we don’t teach them shit (especially the poor ones whose mom is a crackhead and whose daddy is in jail) but they will have the latest gadget and are dressed to the nines though. We are to blame because as Al Sharpton said our young are stuck on Crack and our old are stuck on Crackers though he probably won’t say that on MSNBC, gotta keep his show now. We still arguing on who is right or wrong, who is black, too black or whose sold out. Sheryl is dogging nappy hair when she’s got plenty of it like we all do because pubic hair don’t lie, get a weave or a perm.  The Blame Game is dead people on all sides. Conscious people, why can’t we come together to do anything other than compare knowledge and see whose got the biggest ankh and then talk about the sellouts. Sellouts don’t give a damn about nothing but pleasing white folks everyday and then there are all those that fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

What I learned from Diana Nyad today is you have to have a dream/goal that you will give your all to, to achieve. Prepare for the outside forces that WILL attack you so yes there is racism, sexism and every other ism that exists to stop you but they can’t unless you let them. Blaming or acting like they are not there is foolish. Prepare and be ready like Diane did with the facemask to protect her from the jellyfish. Get some help. No man is an island and until black men know they need black women, black women need black men, we NEED each other to build a team where each person stays in their lane, then we are doomed. Diana had a team where each person played an important role to get the job done. But finally, Diana had the balls and the ovaries to achieve her goal. She never gave up! This 2013 Labor Day I learned to appreciate the dedication of my ancestors and I learned to be more like them by focusing on a dream and never giving up. Thank you Diana and may God bless you! Get your ish together people and DO something.

Inspiration

What inspires you? To inspire means to influence or impel and the person that did that most for me was my mother. Today is her birthday and even though she departed this plane almost 11 years ago, it still hurts but it still inspires me. You see when your parents pass it reminds you of your own mortality and therefore makes you take a harder look at how you are living. My mother didn’t go to high school, was a housewife until she could no longer take her first husbands abuse. She wrote to an agency in NY to be a live in domestic and they sent her a ticket. This little country girl that had never lived in a big city left her children (their father was a great one just a shitty husband) and started a new life with the full intention of getting secure and going back for her kids. In the mean time my fast talking, handsome, NY slick father fell in love with here and I came into the picture. He took my mother back to get the kids but the court said she had abandoned them. She could have taken the older kids but she didn’t want to split them. She, my father and I moved to St. Louis and soon my youngest sister came along.

I guess I got my adventurous spirit, strength and practical nature from her. My father went to prison when I was 9 or ten so at the age of 46 my mother had to find a job. She did, put me through catholic grade school, a catholic high school and did all she could to help me in college. I to this day don’t know how she did it. She always made a way out of no way. She had more class than any woman I know. She taught me everything I needed to make it. So if there is anyone that inspires me to keep going no matter what, to lean on the unchanging hand of God, to make my dreams a reality it would be my mom. Willie Mae Nelson. Happy Birthday Mama, I look forward to the day I can be with you again.

Be an inspiration. You already are, just live harder and do more. Hotep.