Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Nerve to Multi-Task

What Steve Harvey did in the Miss Universe pageant was funny, hilarious to me. Social media of course exploded at his Sunday evening blunder. This morning, a Texas grand jury decided not to indict anyone in the death of Sandra Bland. Her death was tragic, and this latest injustice angered me.

On social media, I saw a couple of posts sharing Sandy’s story with this sentiment “yall laughing about Steve Harvey, but what about Sandra?!” I rolled my eyes. My argument is this, I (we as black people) can focus on more than one thing at a time.

The media’s silence on Sandra and the victims of Daniel Holtzclaw is certainly an issue and we as consumers of media should address that. But as individuals, we have no right to attack our brothers and sisters for having the nerve to search for a laugh or some relief in chronic tragedy.

Sandra Bland’s story hits home to me because of the similarities between her and myself. A 20 something year old black woman with dreads who has the nerve to speak out against injustice and forgot to use her turn signal and that terrifies me. The only difference between Sandra and I is that I’ve been fortunate to interact with (mostly) respectful cops and have never been in police custody.

I don’t know Sandra personally, but I think that she would want us to continue to have fun and smile instead of walking around with our fists raised, miserable and refusing to enjoy life 24/7. If I am a victim of police brutality or violence, my funeral better be the party of the century. I’m talking a DJ, disco ball, confetti, twerking, line dancing, a buffet, an open bar and all the trees you can smoke. (Yall better cry and climb on top of the casket at the visitation though. I WANT DRAMA. )

Since I’m nervous every time I drive my Volkswagen Beetle and I’m terrified every time a cop passes me, I think I have the right to laugh when something is funny. Laughter is relief from a very dark world. Laughter is good medicine and if we have something to laugh at, we are brought together. It’s even better if it’s at Steve Harvey’s expense (Joking. I love Steve).

Something funny on Facebook may be the only time I interact with some of my white friends because they may not be able to relate to the story I post about Sandra Bland, or they may just want to learn and choose not comment. It is important to me to interact with them and this week, a cat falling off of a table may be the source of that.

Laughing at James Wright’s review of Patti’s pies and traveling to the Walmart in the next state to purchase two myself was fun. We met up at my homegirl’s house and made our own Instagram/snapchats about Patti Labelle’s amazing pies. Everyone in the room was black, college educated and conscious. But we sang Patti Labelle at the top of our lungs while eating pie that night. It was a Wednesday so we also watched Empire.

You may have watched a documentary on Fred Hampton that night and ate a pie from the local black owned bakery while wearing and 12 pound ankh around your neck and burning incense, that doesn’t mean you are better than us.

Friday night I went to the club with one of my homegirls, had too many cranberry and vodkas and rapped along to Lil Wayne and Boosie. I had a trying week at work and needed to wind down. Saturday morning, I went to Books and Breakfast; a program I believe will grow into something reminiscent of the Black Panther’s Free Breakfast program. It was started in Ferguson as a response to the murder of Mike Brown. We talked about Rosa Parks and the organizing strategies used in the resulting Bus boycott.

I can do both. I can have fun. I can be conscious and positively impact my community as well. God blessed us with the mental capacity (and swag) to do both. He knew we’d need it as brown people in a system of white supremacy.

I write this as a black woman whose every activity is policed and politicized. From my hair style, to the music I listen to, car I drive and who I chose to be in a relationship with, there will be a meme made about my personal choices attacking ALL black women and posted on social media. It’s exhausting. I want someone to get to know ME before forming an opinion about my character based on the fact I don’t cook or that I have natural hair or that I’m waiting until marriage. I want to be able to twerk to Webbie and not be called a ‘thot’. I want to enjoy the benefits of this corporate job and not be called a sell-out. I want all yall niggas to have several seats.

A few weeks ago, I walked by the casket of a guy I grew up with, a victim to gun violence. This summer I kneeled by a young black boy who had just got shot a couple of doors down from my house before I knew the bullets were done flying. Someone I looked up to was murdered on my birthday a couple of years ago and they still don’t know who killed her.

So yes, I’m going to laugh at Steve Harvey and James Wright. I’m going to watch Empire, Scandal, HTGAWM and The Wiz over and over and over. I’m going to laugh as my friends send me memes of Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin beef. I’m gon smoke a little something and drink too on Friday night, because I’m not going to cry more than I laugh.

Have the nerve to enjoy the good times because the bad times are easier to find and happen more often. Be too busy enjoying YOUR OWN life to form an opinion about anybody else’s. Be authentically and unapologetically you. Enjoy whatever the hell you want to enjoy. Value balance. Play as much as you work. Cry if you need to but be sure and find a laugh as well. Keep saying their names. Keep saying Sandra. Keep saying Trayvon. Mike. Oscar. John. Tamir. Rekia. Alicia. Gyasi. Jamaal. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than for finding some relief!

AND Tell ‘em I said kiss the south side of my black…

-CGW

 

 

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#MusicMonday #3 on a Tuesday

My bad my bad. I had an event this weekend and yesterday I had to spend all my energy to stay awake. This #MM is going to simply highlight 3 albums I’m listening to.

Travis Greene – The Hill. My sister little Elisabeth recommended this for me. (Yall know I gotta ask the chirren what to listen to) I’m an old school gospel head, this is contemporary. But I love it. It’s wonderful content and music. He kind of sounds like Mali Music. Check out the youtube playlist below. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of it, I’m listening via Spotify. Favorite track : “You Got Up”

Prince-HitnRun Phase 2.

In Beyoncé fashion, Prince released an album and slayed my life and didn’t tell nobody. It is exclusively streaming on Tidal, so yes. I downloaded yet ANOTHER music streaming app and happily forked the $11/month over. Prince is a good music machine. I hope he goes on tour. Dope project. Prince old enough to be my daddy but, honey. prince

Keyvoko –Pen and Paper

I may be biased cause this artist is one of my best friends. But the lil nig can make good music, and I appreciate it cause if your friend makes bad music it embarrasses you cause you still gotta support it? Anyway.

1423529564_Keyvoko_Pen_and_Paper_Album_Cover

Pen and Paper is his latest project. “Good Love” is my favorite track on this project. I had the privilege of sitting in the studio with him while he was building this track. I like this one cause it’s very 90’s. I heard it was about me. But I ain’t one to gossip so you ain’t hear it from me. Click on the picture to listen.

Thus is Music Monday. Thank you all for your support. Share this blog with your friends. I’m quitting my day job in 2016. So yall need to read so I can eat.

-CGW

 

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“An Open Letter to Denise Bentley and Other Misguided Black Folks on the #AllLivesMatter Bandwagon”

Left, sbently1bently2entiments of former (Louisvil
le, KY) District 1 Councilwoman Denise Bentley.

Here’s the response of the local #BlackLivesMatter Activists. (Not authored by me personally, a collective effort among BLM activists.)

Ms. Bentley:

You asked a few questions of the local #BlackLivesMatter movement on Facebook and we were looking forward to answering them for you, but the way your profile is set up, we can only read but not respond to what you wrote to us.  A few of us sent you friend requests so that we could comment on your status and answer your queries but it seems you’ve declined our invitations to engage.  So now we have a question for you: Do you desire a sincere dialogue among different-minded black people who genuinely care about this community or do you simply seek to posture in the politics of respectability by asking rhetorical, one sided questions on Facebook to an audience of your friends without a response or engagement from those of us in the BLM movement that you’ve called to the carpet?  We’d love to explain to you and other black folks who’ve jumped on the #AllLivesMatter bandwagon all about what the BLM movement represents. We are sure that once you all know us better you’ll find that we share many fundamental beliefs and common goals despite any generational or tactical differences.

Our group meets every Sunday at 3pm, usually at the Carl Braden Memorial Center. Our meetings are pretty casual and open to everyone. We usually have free food and our space is kid-friendly. We’ve been happy to host political candidates, elected officials, law enforcement officers, Human Rights Commissioners and other local decision makers over the last year and we’d love to host you and your friends for a dialogue. We hope you all can stop by some Sunday soon.denisebentley5

If in fact you are not interested in a mutual exchange and challenging of ideas like the ones you raised in your Facebook post, well then it feels to us that you just want to further propagate the divisive misinformation that prevents the development of a more broad-based coalition of unified and organized black activists and organizations across lines of difference.

We will give you the benefit of the doubt and take this time to address some of your questions and concerns about the BLM Movement. Rutgers University Professor Dr. Brittney Cooper answers some of the questions you pose in her September 2015 essay “11 Major Misconceptions About the Black Lives Matter Movement on Cosmopolitian.com. The mostly-white readership of Cosmo Magazine seems to be the perfect audience for such an essay, as the majority of pushback that BLM activists and supporters have received has been from white people who are ill-informed – or who are flat out racist. Do you know that the racist #AllLivesMatter hashtag was created by white people as a direct response and counter-point to the notion that black and brown people deserve a quality of life equal to that of white people? It isn’t uttered as a more diverse or expansive concern for human lives, it’s uttered as a rebuttal of the notion that black lives matter.

As author David Bedrick surmises in his essay Huffington Post essay “What’s the Matter with ‘All Lives Matter,’” ‘asserting that all lives matter in response to black folks declaring that black lives matter, turns our eyes away from acknowledging America’s racist past, functioning as a form of dismissal or denial. Through the constitution, slavery and Jim Crow laws, America stood for the belief that some lives were more human, more worthy — that some live mattered more…America codified in its constitution…the notion that a black life was only considered to be 3/5ths of a white life. If we stop highlighting and focusing on black lives, but instead focus more globally and generally on all lives, then we become complicit in not seeing color as a factor in American life. Putting it simply, if we erase race, we won’t see racism.’

denisebentley7As to your specific assertion that BLM doesn’t care about so-called “black on black crime:” The majority of crime in this nation is, in fact, intraracial, meaning that both the perpetrator and the victim of a crime are within the same racial group. Dr. Cooper reports that 93% of black murder victims are killed by other black people and 84% of white murder victims are killed by other white people. She notes, “the continued focus on black-on-black crime is a diversionary tactic, whose goal is to suggest that black people don’t have the right to be outraged about police violence in vulnerable black communities, because those communities have a crime problem. The Black Lives Matter movement acknowledges the crime problem, but it refuses to locate that crime problem as a problem of black pathology. Black people are not inherently more violent or more prone to crime than other groups. But black people are disproportionately poorer, more likely to be targeted by police and arrested, and more likely to attend poor or failing schools. All of these social indicators place one at greater risk for being either a victim or a perpetrator of violent crime. To reduce violent crime, we must fight to change systems, rather than demonizing people.” Simply put, we refuse to shift the blame of inner city problems squarely and exclusively onto the backs of black folks.

You asked, “BLM, why not stop and block traffic on the killer’s street?”

Our hearts ache and break like anyone else’s when a black life is lost at the hands of another black person. The reason we don’t shut down streets in the hood is because it is apparent to us that the majority of black people in our black neighborhoods understand that there is a problem, both internal and external to black communities. What we seek to do is disrupt business as usual.  From our actions in shopping malls (where we chant things like “No Justice, No Profit”) and public festivals, to shutting down streets and occupying offices, we are inserting ourselves and our message of #blacklivesmatter into places where our message is not usually wanted, welcomed or well-received.denisebentley6

It may not make sense to you, but disruptive civil disobedience and direct action have long been a tactic of the movement toward black liberation. According to KET, members of Louisville’s Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church organized Kentucky’s first protests of racial discrimination in 1870 – challenging segregation on streetcars. This protest sparked other actions demanding the right to testify in court against whites, the right to serve on juries (which is exactly what we are fighting for 145 years later), and the right to vote. In 1941, Louisvillians staged sit-ins to protest a segregated library.  In, 1959, the Louisville NAACP Youth Council picketed the Brown Theater because its management refused to admit black patrons to see Porgy and Bess. It was 1960 when young folks in Louisville formed a chapter of CORE and held protests at downtown businesses. And many Louisvillians know of the “Nothing New for Easter” boycott in 1961 that targeted segregated businesses in downtown Louisville and sparked other acts of nonviolent resistance around the state. In other words, whether you call it a sit-in, an occupation or a #shutdown, the notion of disrupting business as usual has a long history in this nation and in this state and has always been a crucial and necessary  tool in the fight for black equality.

denisebentley1We affirm that all black lives matter. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. The BLM movement has some guiding principles that we can all get behind, including: Diversity, Black Villages, Restorative Justice, Collective Value and Intergenerational. You can find more principles at www.blacklivesmatter.com

While thoughtful critique and critical examination of BLM by our fellow activists is always welcome, it is both counterproductive and destructive to our collective work to dismiss our respective work as invaluable or insincere because our tactics differ from yours or because the places we apply pressure are different than the places where you push. Just as black people are not a monolith, we don’t all have to focus on the same issue at the same time. It’s precisely the opposite, in fact. Our collective liberation requires a diversity of ideas, viewpoints and priorities.

Here’s a little more about us and what we do. When we don’t agree with a public official on an issue, we bring them to our table. We’ll also go to their office if they are unwilling to come to ours – and we don’t make appointments. We are consistent in what we do. Stand Up Sunday is held every Sunday and is open to the public. We are present at community events. We attend Metro Council meetings and committee hearings. We have been active in campaigns ranging from No Methane to Raising the Minimum Wage. We are Affordable Housing advocates and we have lobbied JCPS to close the achievement gap.

juneteenth2In 2015, we produced the Louisville Juneteenth Festival, returning such a festival to our city for the first time in many years. We host a monthly “Feed Your Mind” event at the Catholic Enrichment Center in West Louisville to promote literacy, family and community, where we serve free brunch and provide free books for all ages and host a discussion about the current movement for black liberation. We recently sponsored a workshop for Project Warm to give folks free weatherization supplies and teach them how to make their homes warmer and more comfortable this winter.

We nurture strong leaders who work in a variety of fields including healthcare, social services, therapy, media and education. We have a broad network of individuals, businesses and organizations that believe in us and support our work. We believe in the power of new media and we invest our energy into telling our own stories through social media platforms, photographs, community radio and podcasts.

denisebently5Despite your insinuation, for us it’s not about media attention because much of what we do goes unnoticed and untelevised, as evidenced by your own ignorance to our work. We must all understand that we can’t rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. There have been numerous walks, rallies and candlelight vigils, both for specific victims and for a general end to community violence. One of our partners is the LoUnity Movement. Just because media doesn’t deem it worthy of reporting doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. If you feel that something somewhere is lacking, you should work to fill in the gaps, not criticize those of us who are already working in gaps of our own.

Please consider that we are literally putting our lives and our livelihoods on the line, only to be told by other black folks that we aren’t doing enough. And many of the folks signifying such remarks are folks who’ve literally done nothing themselves. Nonetheless, we will carry on toward our collective liberation, using as a guide these words that we learned from Assata Shakur:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love each other and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

In justice,

Stand Up Sunday – Stand Up Louisville on behalf of Louisville’s #BLM activists

Co-signers:

LoUnity

The 502 Crew

Women In Transition (WIT)

Fairness Campaign

Kentucky Health Justice Network

Edjukated Rebel Productions

Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ)

Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

Black Queer Louisville

Diversity At The Table (DATT)

Flacozbrain Solution

Khalilah Veneable Collins

Shameka Parrish-Wright

Attica Scott

 

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The Holy Ghost doesn’t make you dance

Because of the time this blog took, we’ll pick up my music critique next Monday. I wish I had time to do both. Work takes up too much time for important stuff like blogging. SMH.

I saw this video this morning. I chuckled. I reposted the original link and said ‘they are imitating some adult. What are they shouting about? Spongebob?” It sparked an interesting discussion on my post and the original post had thousands of comments. So, you know me… I had to blog about it.

[[For my white friends who have never been to a black church. We do some crazy stuff and you are welcome to message me with any questions and/or come to my church Sunday for 10am service. Don’t be alarmed if somebody runs by you or starts screaming out of NOWHERE. It’s hard to be black, we let it all of our black frustrations out in church ]]

What those 4 little beautiful black boys were doing was cute and it made me laugh. But it was NOT the Holy Ghost. I’m happy somebody took them to church and I’m happy they can have fun in church. I’d rather them imitate somebody shouting than Chief Keef, yes. But I don’t want them to imitate anybody. I want them to gain the knowledge/belief of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and live a life accordingly. If being in church was enough, a few more of us may be saved. Amen lights.

Do I shout in church? Rarely chile. I don’t do public displays of emotion well. I don’t do private emotion well. LOL. But I actively participate in service. I’ve been in church since I was 8 days old. I know how to do church. I know when and what to do. I know what to say when and where. Doing church has nothing to do with Jesus. I’ve been in plenty of services and not encountered God for myself. A lot of it has been just going through the motions, doing what I’m supposed to do on Sunday. That’s why I stopped going a lot in college. Another blog for another day…

On this video I kept seeing people talk about the ‘Holy Ghost’ and I’m thinking ‘what does the holy ghost have to do with any of this?’ Yall really think the Holy Ghost is responsible for this clowning? Chiiiiiile.

I would argue that the black church is confused about the Holy Spirit/Ghost and what its role is in our lives and in the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit/Ghost). Some denominations believe that “receiving the Holy Ghost” and salvation is two different things, I do not. Again, different blog for a different day. Paul is clear that ALL believers of Christ get the Holy Ghost. God in three persons works in three persons. Not separately.

(The white church could be confused to, but I’m not part of one and my experiences in the white church are limited. I don’t know WHAT the white Holy Ghost does. I got any white friends that will take me to church?)

Now that we have that established, let me tell you why what RayRay TayTay DayDay and LayLay were doing was NOT the Holy Ghost. In order to properly praise God, I believe you must have an understanding of sin and Calvary. I’m 26 and I don’t fully understand it so I know these little boys don’t. They would dance if Chuck E. Cheese or Santa Claus came in too.

The big misconception is that the Holy Spirit makes us dance, shout, foam at the mouth and other physical displays. That’s not the Holy Spirit. That’s our human emotions. We could be displaying human emotions because we are overwhelmed at the person and works of God, but we could also be displaying these emotions to impress people.

Nothing is wrong with emotional displays in church, but the Holy Spirit isn’t responsible for it. It is just much bigger and more complex than that. If I’m going to tell you what the Holy Spirit does NOT do. I’m going to tell you a couple of things that it DOES do.

Here are 3 things out of MANY that the Holy Spirit does in our lives.

The Holy Spirit gives us a God consciousness. (John 16: 7-11) It convicts us when we are doing something wrong. Outside of the Holy Spirit we would sin and not have a problem with it. Inside of the Holy Spirit, our sin grieves us and we are called to repent. The Holy Spirit puts God’s truth in our hearts and minds. Jesus left the Holy Spirit here with us as a ‘help mate’ to compensate for his absence. (John 14:16)

The Holy Spirit produces God’s fruit. (Galatians 5:16-24) The fruits of the spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. (Some of the fruits of the flesh are jealousy, anger, drunkenness, idolatry, sexual immortality). I am not naturally a patient person. The Holy Spirit pours patient seeds in my heart daily with these co-workers of mine, honey. What does the fruit of the spirit does he pour into you?

The Holy Spirit is a translator. (Romans 8:26-28) I was at waffle house the other day and these 2 ladies were eating. One of the ladies didn’t speak any English, so her friend had to tell the server what she wanted. The lady didn’t know the proper way to tell the server what she wanted, so her friend interceded for her. “She wants coffee and cream, water no ice. Her steak well done” (I’m about to shout)

Sometimes, I don’t even know what to ask for. But I can still cry out to God and the Holy Spirit will intercede for me. “Lord, send her some peace, some self-control. Let her learn how to shut her mouth.” (LOL)

The Holy Spirit is so much more than shouting in church. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we establish a faith in Christ Jesus. Those sweet little boys are imitating their parents, aunties, older siblings or somebody and the Holy Ghost had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Thank you for your support, please continue to read and share with your friends 🙂

CGW

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