Black Girls Be Witches

Before you recoil in fear like:

This girl dont lost her natural Black mind!

This girl done lost her natural Black mind!

Let me lay out a story for you.

A few weeks ago, my mother was sitting at her sewing machine at 1am, making “slave skirts” for our production, Escape to Freedom. As I watched her hunch over the machine and heard the mechanical rattle, this exchange happened:

Me: Mom, you believe that God lives in you, right?

Mom: Yes, Monet.

Me: And you believe that God has the power to do amazing things, even miracles, through you. Right?

Mom: Yes, Monet.

Me: Than wouldn’t you consider yourself a witch? A woman with magic?

(Pause)

Mom: I guess so.

END SCENE

Ok maybe my mom wasn’t completely sold but I am! I am ready to claim the title of WITCH. Though it may be defined as a woman with “evil magic powers” I believe that creating the word “witch” and then demonizing those they considered fit the description was a way for society to demonize the inherent power of women. A power that they didn’t understand nor could they control. And then by making violent examples of those who continued to honor their spirit and follow the practices that fed them, other women were frightened out of their curiosities and natural propensities.

Well today I am claiming my inner witch.

Now for anyone reading this, particularly my Mama, I will not be praising a Dark Lord or checking out books on the Occult at the Durham Public Library. I am, and will always be a child of God because God is Love and I am a child of Love. And I believe in the power of love. The power of positive thoughts. The power of affirmations. I believe that Nature can heal us of all our maladies. I believe in the power of deep belly laughter and long hugs. I believe my body knows what’s best for my body. I believe in the power of the moon at all phases. I believe in the power of menses. I believe in the power of community. I believe that nothing is an accident. I believe in the power of women and the men who truly love themUSme.

I know I am magic and am forged by magic and I make magic

because Love is the greatest of all magic so it is mathematically so. 

So I’m a witch. Cuz I said so. No broom required. But I might need a Swiffer.

Never mind. I cleaned it up.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Cover Image by Tumblr User Mariannewiththesteadyhands

Black Girls Be Checking Alex Trebek

It is 7:13pm on Monday, June 30 and Jeopardy is on the tv. Just as it has always been in my house for my whole life. When I was 2, I would slurped down mashed peas and hum the Final Jeopardy round theme song. But as I have gotten older, and so has everyone else, I have realized that Alex Trebek is a jerk!

Now, I don’t know the man personally, nor do I know his professional aspirations, but maybe hosting a game show wasn’t his dream job. Or maybe the decades of trivia has made him cynical but whatever it is he needs to SIT DOWN! Just like a teacher who has had it up to here with misspelled 4th grade book reports and juvenile jokes. But lately Trebek has said some douche things to players that have thrown them off their game.

Last week, on Friday, June 27, he taunted the returning champion saying something to the effect of “Ringing in and expecting the answer to come isn’t working for you today, is it?” It was taunting in tone and I think the producers said something to him because after the commercial break he said that the player told him that she was buzzing in before she knew the answer and it was coming to her. But it was too late. That player was taken out of her game, was flustered and she lost.

And today, when the players were sharing their corny stories (99.98% of the stories shared on Jeopardy are SO corny!) And the returning champion mentioned that she met Vanna White on a flight and that she was small, he said “Like you. Slim. A very pretty lady.” She looked perplexed and bothered and she didn’t buzz in for a while.

Alex Trebek is tripping and he is messing with folks minds and money! While doing research for this post (ie Googling),  I discovered that when types in “Alex Trebek is…” the autocompletes are “mean” “condescending” “a jerk” and “losing it”. There is even a whole tumblr called Mean Alex Trebek, so this behavior has been documented.

I just spent the last 350 words on Alex Trebek as if SCOTUS didn’t decide that my job knows more about my health than my doctor does and walking papers are still necessary if you’re brown and anywhere where folks think you ought not be, but today Alex pissed me off. So Black girls gotta check Alex Trebek.

Black Girls Be Thinking About Maya

Maya Angelou left her body behind 12 days ago. I am usually not affected by celebrity passings but I realize that I deal with death the same way I deal with most emotions; I put it away until it falls off the shelf and knocks me in the head. Well Maya just knocked me in the head.

I was reading this quote,

I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.

and I could almost feel her whispering in my ear. I was reminded of the memes that I saw that featured Phenomenal Woman, “thots” and Kermit the Frog; quotes that made me sadder than I understood. I blamed it on my cycle, but now I understand.

My junior year of college, Dr. Angelou gave the convocation speech. Out she came, a little ol grey-haired lady with glasses and an assistant to help her on. Was this the same woman whose poems we recite with a hip check and a snap and words we wear like a shield? She looked like someone’s grandma bringing them cookies from the house. But when she spoke there was no denying. She said something to the effect of,

“When your back’s against the wall your pride will fall like a hooker(prostitute’s) drawers.

There were gasps, snickers and full out laughter. I was a bit aghast myself. Mama Maya No! Not a prostitute’s drawers! I didn’t understand then but I think I understand now.

Enough people have highlighted the hypocrisy of these statements in comparison to Dr. Angelou’s experience as a sex worker. The part that hurts is that we have abandoned our grandmothers, our great aunts, our woman elders and made them relics in the corner, good only for recipes and warm hugs. We refuse to accept that they were once young women with full breasts and full beds. No, Granny was born, met Grandpa, had kids, cooked meatloaf and now she’s old. The End. We have completely erased their womanhood thus rendering them sexless, voiceless and powerless. That’s what caused the discomfort of my fellow audience members when Maya dared to let the words “prostitute’s drawers” fall gracefully from her lips. Because in that action she said “And Aint I A Woman?”

Imagine the lessons we could learn if we listened to older women. And imagine the cycles that could be broken if older women were not shamed into silence. I need the mothers to tell me about the men they loved, the loves they lost and the lives they’ve lived. I dont want to reinvent the wheel every generation. I want to sit around the the table, turn down the radio and giggle and wipe tears and be schooled. Pass down some life saving knowledge with that biscuit recipe; we wont get it right the first time but we’ll learn.

*Thank you Mama Angelou for reminding us that our stories matter, even if no one wants them or understands them but us. Thank you for living, breathing and telling your truth. We needed you.*

 

Black Girls Be Having Something to Say

So it’s been almost a year since my last post and I wont apologize but I will say that I am glad to be back. And I am blowing the dust of this here blog for a reason. I’ve been annoyed, upset, angry for no damn a reason and I have finally figured out what that reason is. I am a deer in a 2-piece Blaze Orange jumpsuit, my pussy shoots out missiles and its open season.

Yes. You read that correctly. Read it again if you have to. Mattafact, I’ll write it again to make it easier. I am a deer in a 2-piece Blaze Orange jumpsuit, my pussy shoots out missiles and its open season. You see, I have spent lots of quiet time thinking about Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride and Jonathon Ferrell. I am working to understand the systems that be and how we all work within them. I understand terms like ‘respectability politics’ and I have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. And I am actively resisting the idea that White folks are just mean. So the only logical explanation is that I, and all the other Black folks in America, are deer and we just didn’t know it.

Now, I have uncles who hunt. Last Thanksgiving, deer stew was an item on the menu. But I do not believe in it. They rationalize by saying that there are too many deer and that if folks don’t go out and kill them they will absolutely take over. Which my brain understands… sorta. What my brain doesn’t understand is why in the history of the world there was never a deer takeover before sport hunting became a necessity. I don’t know. Maybe there’s more to it.

When I think about their logic, which infers a fear of the Deer Takeover, all I can think about is the fear of White men. The Census has already told them that by 2050 this country will be more Colored than it will be White! Can you imagine the fear that it must have instilled in their hearts when they imagined a world where all these colored folks will be walking around wearing baggy clothes, ringing their door bells and bedding their daughter!?!?! Is there any question that they have been grabbing their weapons at record speed?

So now its open season on Black folks. But unlike the deer with its flexible ears and eyes with 310 degree view, we are ill equipped to survive this poaching. We continue to work, laugh, drive, walk and live all out in public as if there isn’t a sniper’s laser pointed in the middle of our foreheads. We must learn from our fellow marked creature, the deer, and learn how to camouflage in all environments.  No more blonde streaks in our hair as it catches the sunlight and gives away your position. Those shoes that click and make you feel powerful as you pump down the street? No, you need soft soled flats that will silence every step that you take.  And your children, put them in a dog costume until they are at least 30. They will command more respect and have more protection under the law that way.  Eventually we will graduate to chameleon status and live our entire lives like this;

They can’t shoot you if they can’t see you.

The fear of black skin isn’t going to change and the thought to shoot several times, reload, shoot more and then say you were scared doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. So this is our only hope. Our survival depends on it.

Black Girls Be Having Baby Brothers That Aren’t Babies No More

Ok so remember on February when I rushed a post out at 11:59pm and said that I would do one post a day for every day of Black History Month and then didnt post again until the 4th? Yeah well, see what had happened was…  No but seriously my internet at the house has been on habitual can’t get right so I’ve been struggling! And using up WAY too much data on my cell phone.

But because I promised a post for every day this month Imma pay what I owe.  So this is what I would have posted on February 2nd…

Happy Black Groundhog Superbowl Eve Day!! WHOO HOOO!!!! Did the groundhog score a touchdown while singing Wade in the Water?!? No?? Oh.  This aint no fun then. LOL I hope this post finds you very well.  Black girls be happy-sad today. Sappy. Had. Because today is the Blue Black Girl’s brother’s 14th birthday! Yes! 14! I just… Can hardly stand it.  My baby is tryna grow up and I am not ready.

I am so proud of the man that he is becoming.  Our 9 and a half year age difference makes me treat him like a son sometimes but the older he gets the more and more I look to him as a friend.  I genuinely enjoy his company and I marvel at how his brain works.  He is a voracious reader, loves Greek mythology and wants to be a chef.  He is sarcastic, smart, articulate, inquisitive, intuitive, empathetic almost to a fault and so gentle.

When I look at him I am reminded of the privilege of gentleness that so many Black men are not afforded.  He is still very affectionate and showers us with I Love Yous.  He relishes in the company of animals and small children and has no problem talking about how a movie, song or event made him feel.  He hasnt been taught that feelings are a sign of weakness and I hope he never does.

My little brother represents the future of Black masculinity.  A masculinity that is not defined by extremes or bravado.  A masculinity that  is not black and white but exists in the beauty of grey.  A masculinity that does not exclude the feminine, doesn’t merely include it but wide open arm embraces it.

I feel so blessed to watch his transformation from child to man. I pray a special prayer for him and my other brother, and all the young Black men. A prayer of safety in a world that has a bounty on their head and a dagger at their back.  I pray the renewing of their minds, the openness of their hearts and the flight of their spirits.

Happy Birthday my love and many many many more.

Photo Credit

Black Girls be Inspiring Other Black Girls

I am a devout reader of a friend and fellow Black Girl’s blog called Colored Girl Confidential ( I can call her my friend because we met in real life. I know right? People still do that O_O lol). Her blog always has great posts that uplift every aspect of my little Black girl life.  But every once in a while I will read something that stops me dead in my tracks and answers questions that I wasn’t bold enough to ask. Her last was one such post. It is titled “7 Things I Wont Need on My Next Birthday“.  I will try really hard not to give the whole post away but all of her 7 really hit home.

Number 4 is ” I wont need a… job.”  I am a 23 year old woman with a bachelor’s of fine arts in professional theatre with an acting concentration, which means I am broke.  But I am not poor. I am rich in creativity and potential and energy and its time for me to stop chasing “FT with benefits” and follow my purpose.  I have characters pounding away at my temporal lobe begging for release. And its time I let the little bastards have their own way.  So I am applying for theatre fellowships across the country so that I can make it happen, cap’n.

Number 5 is ” I will not need abs.” Abs are nice but what have they done for you late-ly? (You should have read that in your best Janet Jackson’s homegirl in the intro voice) Seriously though, if I havent learned anything else from social media is that our outward appearances dont make us happier, smarter, wealthier nor better people.  They dont even make us better looking really.  People are out here getting chose, getting jobs, creating opportunities, smiling, waking up and dying regardless of their BMI.  Im not saying Im going to forego all my good sense and go on a liquid diet of KFC gravy and Krispy Kreme doughnut glaze but I am going to love myself every day, at every phase and every weight.

Speaking of love, the one that really knocked my socks off, made me pause and remind myself to breath was Number 2 “To Love People Who Dont Love Me Back.” Ya’ll I’ve been struggling lately. I miss my “ex”. (Ex because we were never officially together but we were very much together.) Even with our lack of a title, he loved me and treated me better than any other man I gave the moniker “boyfriend”. He treated me with the utmost respect, he showed me loved me in all the little ways that really counted and he made me feel warm and happy in that substantial “we could do this forever” kind of way. Yeah, it was like that. But we ended things and though my head understands my heart still goes through stages of disbelief.  I have read relationship tips from all sound angles from my mother to the bible to Oprah and still I have not found peace in the situation. So when I read, “On my next birthday, I will not argue with people who say they don’t deserve me. I’ll assume they know what they’re talking about,” I felt like she had encroached into my private sanctum and used my misery for public consumption! I still havent decided what I am going to do about this situation. I guess thats for another day and another blog post…

And last but certainly not least, Number 1, I will not need “Apologies for Being Who I Am.” That deserves a moment of silence followed by this:

orson_wells_Slow-Clap

I have been holding back and not being my best self out of fear of what others might think/say/do/whisper/misinterpret and you know what that ends TODAY! Mattafact, nawl. That ends YESTERDAY!

I urge you to check out LC’s blog Colored Girl Confidential. Im sure it will inspire, ignite, delight and bless you as much as it has for me.

*2 chest pumps and a peace sign*