Toi re wa doko desu ka? Part 1

If there is anything that I took away from a week long trip in Japan, then it would be that some exposure to Japanese is essential. Watching over 500 episodes of Dragonball Z just doesn’t cut it like you’d expect. This obvious fact hit me in the face on the first day that I arrived in Tokyo, when in the airport, I attempted to speak Japanese to the bus ticketer. Mind you, I have never formally studied Japanese. Ever. But, surely my Toonami-filled childhood would prepare me for and the feat before me. Sike!

 

Luckily my friend good friend @blkgirlajin gave me key phrases that I am sure I butchered. The two phrases that I know I nailed were “do you speak English and/or Chinese” and “Where is the bathroom?” Toi re wa doko desu ka. I knew that if there were one thing that I needed to pop out on, it would be this one phrase. So I mastered the heck out of that phrase, reciting it like poetry.

 

However, simply knowing how to ask where the bathroom is does not help you in other social situations so, my best bet was a lot of non-verbal queues and hand gestures, and I am proud to say it worked. I successfully made my way onto the bus that took me to Mitaka, Tokyo where this chapter of my adventure started.

I was definitely nervous about getting around everywhere but the one constant that gave me courage the whole time was, “If white people can do it, then my beautiful black self is going to do it better.” The way a lot of people think about travel, in my opinion, excludes Black narratives. The majority of travel commercials about going to some romantic island or a cruise feature either the white, happy couple or the white pseudo-functioning family. I never saw myself in the ads geared toward consumers. As I got older, however, I did see some color diversity on study abroad pamphlets. There was always one brown person lodged somewhere in the photo. I wish I could say that I thought that was me but back then, I couldn’t imagine myself traveling out of the country because my family didn’t really do that. That wasn’t our thing. But, then I was presented with the opportunity to go to Madrid, Spain when I was sixteen. Everything changed and I’ve been #ontherun2 since then.

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I was running to Tokyo but I had no idea what would await me while I was there. Well, that’s a half-truth. I knew that my friend, Qadira, would be at the station waiting to welcome me. She had been studying in Japan since late summer of 2017, and she spoke the language. QUITE BOMB-ly if I do say so myself. Sometimes, when she would talk, I’d be so thrown off by how great her Japanese sounded.

 

Here’s an old twin photo of me and Qadira.

She was an amazing host and she volunteered her time everyday when I was there to do something cool with me. I did come at the end of the year so a lot of places had certain closing policies for the end of the year celebration. But, that also meant that I got to live out my dream that I thought would only happen in manga. I got to visit the shrines in the start of the new year!

Thanks to my friend, I ate lots of good food. Sushi was actually the first meal that I had when I arrived and once I saw the sushi chefs and the conveyer belt I knew I was really far from home. I WAS IN JAPAN! (Click to check out my reactions to eating ramen for the first time in Japan. Yes, I recorded the moment because it was monumental.)

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My first full day in Tokyo fast approached and I felt like I was truly living my best life. You could not tell me that I was not finessing. It was an honor to be in Tokyo but I wasn’t just there for my own fun but for work. I was pursuing a project about global blackness, different interpretations of blackness and black narratives, and my chosen location was Japan. I spent all of my 2017 summer in Taiwan, my first time is East Asia. That was a different feat in and of itself. It’s also a different story to be told another day. But, the fact of the matter is that I went to East Asia for the first time ever AND by myself.

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Me and my host family at a huge buddhist temple in Tainan, Taiwan.

I had never imagined that I would be a traveler! I recognize that the things I am doing are not the case for a lot of people where I’m from, and I’m very grateful for all of these opportunities. I’d like for more African Americans to travel abroad, to have positive experiences, and to expand our narrative and shut down bs simply by our being where people don’t expect. But, of course that inevitably coincides with money and often, education, but don’t have me get on my soap box about the lack of opportunity for travel abroad in my community. That is for the next post. The point is that I, a native of the beautiful Chicago’s South Side, was in Japan. And by golly, that’s dope.

It was this type of dopeness that inspired by project. I realized that the accolades that I was achieving truly impacted my blackness and my interpretation so I wanted to see how different cultural contexts plays a role in black identity and the first person to allow me to interview her was Qadira.

We’ll learn about her story in the next post.

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You Ain’t Winning Til’ Someone Prays Over Your Eggs

Written June 8, 2018

I am currently experiencing my last week in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and to say that my time here has been a dream would be a corny exaggeration. Has this country been everything that I hoped for? No. But it has given me more than what I thought I needed.

 

From the get-go, one of the things that I deemed to be farfetched but understandable was the idea that I would come to the Africa and somehow find myself, delving further into my Black identity. I don’t write this to mean that I believed that Cameroon would have nothing to offer me. What I mean is that Marcus Garvey’s rhetoric never hit me in a profound way.

Side note: If, like most American schools, your school did not teach about people like Marcus Garvey was, then let a sis just slide you a link and you can learn more on your time. Ok, so, boom.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/garvey_marcus.shtml

Basically my guy argued that Black Americans should be proud of their African heritage and move back to the continent from which their ancestors were removed, and build Black wealth independent of white people. I am 100% a supporter of building Black wealth but moving to a continent that I had never known and no longer knew me didn’t seem viable. Plus, I kept thinking back to the episode of Blackish where Dré’s son wants a Bar Mitzvah. But, Dré is very adamant about demonstrating the importance of signing off the preteen years in a way that’s as Black as possible. So, he initially tries to create a make-shift African coming-of-age ceremony.

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Then, the granddad says, “Africans don’t even like us.” …It was hard to argue with that, Pops.

Despite having these hidden notions in my heart, I wanted to just see for myself what Cameroon had to offer me, and I was so pleased with my results.

I had a great host family, nice friends, delicious food, and a lot of time to grow independently, or pseudo-independently, because my mom definitely dropped money when my own cash was low and I was considering singing on the streets for a little change–mind you, I’m no Beyoncé. But who is? So, I quickly learned from hard lessons about budgeting while abroad and budgeting in general. I can’t say that I have got the hang of it, but I’m doing much better at thinking of broke ways to live my best and most economically stable life.

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The fun thing about being broke is that it’s like a message from God, telling you to have several seats. It leaves you humble and you suddenly have nothing but time to reflect so, in my last week in Cameroon I have been broke and having a ball.

Yesterday, I had a plan I wanted to accomplish and that was to skip over to the tailor to pick the order I placed. Once my family in the U.S caught on to the fact that you could get custom-made fits for the low in the Motherland, everybody texted me asking for this and that. I call this the Wakanda-Effect. My uncle asked for a shirt that “brought out his melanin.” The melanin is out, it’s no secret. My mom, sister, and niece wanted some things too. My aunt, who swears to never board a plane even asked for something. Needless to say, I had to buy another suitcase to fit all of the souvenirs that I’d bring back with me.

During my time in Cameroon, I got a lot of outfits made, specifically by two women who are very special to me, my tailors Nina and Lynn. They are kind, gentle, and fun to be around. All of their work is amazing–art–if you will. While I love the work they produce for me, I equally enjoy our talks about n’importe quoi.

Nina is to the far left and Lynn is to the far right.

Recently, we got on the discussion of marriage and babies, a topic that ubiquitously floats around all of the conversations among both men and women in Cameroon. Marriage and babies are like social currency and if you are someone who does not necessarily prioritize that as first on the list, then you’re “robbing” yourself. But, I’m pretty sure taking care of a whole kid (not to be confused with a half, cause’ you’ve just gotta hate when that happens) costs money! And this sis right here ain’t got it. At the most, in the next five years, I’m looking for a dog. I’ve even got my names for them picked out. They shall be my children.

Now, when I tried to explain this concept to my Lynn and Nina, they were quick to tell me no. Nina stopped sewing all together to throw up her hands emphatically, so I knew I struck a chord. “You have to have a baby. God gave women the ability to have babies so, you need to have a baby.”

“But God also gave us dominion over the animals,” I responded. My Sunday School knowledge was coming in clutch. Boy, that really got them going!

“Yes, but God did not say that a dog or a cat would be your child. He made man and woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply.”

“Right, but in biblical context, that was like when humanity was first starting off and now with the rate that we’re depleting our natural resources, we don’t really need to be multiplying too much at the moment, wouldn’t you say?”

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They thought I got my glib mouth from the West. I can’t disagree. Also, the numbers aren’t lying.

“Well, I could always adopt!”

“No! You must have children of your own! Don’t you want to have children of your own? You know you’re age-appropriate for marriage.”

(Insert ALL of the laughter emojis)

So I thought I could do them one better. I truly believed I could win this argument. My response, you ask?

“Well, I could always consider surrogacy.”

Silence. Judgement. A pen drop would have been too loud.

“That is rubbish that you bring from the U.S. It’s not natural and it’s not right.”

Lynn had been quiet for a bit while Nina rebutted every sound argument I tried to throw her way.

“You know what, we’re going to pray for you to have not one, not two, but three kids, that way you can get it all done in one go.”

File:Tyrone-bigs-meme-generator-say-what-003017.jpgShe lost me there.

I was beside myself with shock because she really just prayed over my eggs.

I waved my arms in a cross motion. Ironic, right? No, I refuse. Lord, I cancel that prayer. I cancel that assignment over my ovaries. Get behind me, Satan. The shock stunned me into silence and Nina took that as a moment to further explain her point. At no point did I agree with her but I was so stunned by the seriousness with which these women were talking about my eggs and the births of my potential children.

“You can have them when you’re 22, 23 or even 26, and when you do, I want you to call me after you tell your husband and mom. Then, I will know the Lord answered my prayers.”

You have definitely gotten me all the way messed up.

This conversation took a turn that I was not prepared to handle. I tried to retrace my steps on how we got to this conversation. Where did I set up my own demise? How did I play myself like this? Initially, they asked me if I had any Cameroonian guy that caught my eye. I uttered truth, saying, “Nah, men be trash sometimes.” I reminded them of the time that they let a stranger copy down my number, only to later on blow up my phone, claiming that he wanted to be friends with a beautiful girl. Mind you, my mans was a good 40 years old. Aaliyah once said that age ain’t nothing but a number. But, then again TLC said, “No Scrubs.”

I told Lynn and Nina that men didn’t interest me at the time, and they questioned how I am going to get married and have children with that attitude. I responded that no one knows what’ll happen in the future but in all cases, marriage and children isn’t my priority. That’s when I messed myself up. So, that’s how we ended up with two women rubbing my stomach and praying for me to give birth to triplets before I’m 30.  

What did I learn from this experience? I learned:

  1. You must know your audience before you accidentally spit facts that may rock their world 
  2. “Scrubs” is a timeless term for a loser that tries to approach you romantically/sexually
  3. You (Apparently) ain’t winning until someone prays over your eggs
 

That’s the Power of Black Soul, Baby

Yo, what it is, what it do…………… Nah.

Hey y’all, it’s your girl–actually, no.

As much as I want so badly to intro this post with the nostalgic tone of my 106&Park-filled childhood, I just can’t hit it like the OGs. But, while we’re on the topic of music, let me give you some bops that are guaranteed to elevate your soul to new levels.

If you’re like me at all, black, iconic, and weary of the world at times, or maybe you identify differently and you’re just looking for a blog space to chill, then know that I see you. I’m sorry the world be trying you but, I see you. I want my blog to be the Migos to your Cardi B, and if you don’t get this reference, then where you been, sis? Recap: Migos, as a collective trinity, jumped (to attack in a group) a fan who was harassing them and Cardi B. There’s video footage, probably on Worldstar. I say all of this to mean that I got your back, and you have a space here.

I hope one of these songs gives you the much needed break you deserve.

     Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Ok, dropping the plug…….now.

  1. Electric Lady- Janelle Monae

This song is for every woman, first for black women, trans, and black women of all sexual identities, and then for other women who are just inherently powerful and majestic. If you need a reminder of your strength and capability and the electric currents around your presence, bop to this.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPFgBCUBMYk

2. No Man Is Big Enough for My Arms- Ibeyi

I recently discovered this French twin duo. They are truly magic and in this song they use snippets of speeches from Forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. There aren’t too many lyrics but the message gets across immediately. Highly recommended for meditation after a cat-caller tries you.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70meH-9hApU

3. Solange’s Entire Album A Seat at the Table

This album is about 2 years old and if you haven’t heard it yet, then please take a listen. I recommend F.U.B.U and Weary. But honestly, the entire album is art.

Link: Spotify, but there are a few songs on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTtrnDbOQAU

4.  U.N.I.T.Y- Queen Latifah

This song is a classic about respect and unity for women.

 

5. Literally any song by Beyoncé that doesn’t feature Jay-Z. “Freedom” is one of my all-time favorite songs from Beyoncé. Again, The Grammy’s lack of recognizing brillance aside, Beyoncé DID THAT.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BMgV8jj9IU

6.  Truth Hurts- Lizzo

Sometimes we package feminism and feminist music in a small box but Lizzo, a beautiful, and talented artist has been an advocate for body confidence since day one. Truth Hurts is about recognizing your worth and letting those that want to play you play themselves. Enjoy!

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P00HMxdsVZI

 

Ok, I’m done.

This has been your 6 bops of the week, brought to you by my not-yet-existent sponsors. If you liked the post, feel free to let me know in the comments. I’ll make sure to keep them coming. Don’t forget to slay in every aspect of life, pop out, and carry on.

 

 

 

 

 

Jumping Back In

When I was a kid, there was a little game that we played called Double Dutch. But it was much more than a mere game of folly. It called for intense muscle memory for turning, rhythmic stomping, stamina, and attitude. I was the kid that had none of the attitude nor the coordination to turn the rope. That left me with only one option. I had to jump in.

 

“In, In, In,” the three words that make me cringe even to this day. The people turning the rope would say ‘in’ on beat so that we could know when to jump in, and I was always scared to just jump in because there was a chance that I could get hit by those wire-like ropes. You do not know pain until going 20 mph, one of those ropes slaps you in the face. I thought I had my fill of a wire to my face but apparently not. I hadn’t yet played myself enough. So, invigorated by the cheers and hype around me, I just went for it, because, carpe diem, right?

 

WRONG.

 

“Shhhhhhlrrtt.” I didn’t even have time to register what happened until I felt a sting on my cheek. I saw the rope on the ground and what I could only interpret as disappointment on the faces of the other girls.

 

“She tried it.”

“Aww, it’s okay.”

 

I knew what had happened, or more so, what did not happen. I was supposed to jump in between the ropes. I was supposed to hear cheers in my ears as I sped up to the rhythm of the wires hitting the pavement. But, that didn’t happen and my hopes and dreams to kill the double-dutch game, to stunt on all my onlookers, just died.

I had one job and that was to jump. What was the point of all of my preparation? I hung my head in shame and began to walk off.

 

“It’s okay, jump back in,” one of the girls told me.

 

It was too late; I gave up.

This is exactly how I am when I don’t feel like I am getting the results I want. I feel like a little girl, who can’t just jump in on the right beat. Sometimes we have things that we care about and sometimes we let them go. They say life is a series of choices, right? Recently, I have been making some tough decisions that require more of me than just letting go, but instead I am taking back and jumping back in. Once we give up, it’s sometimes almost impossible to imagine trying again, because it didn’t work out the first time, the second time, or the fifty-leventh, umpteenth time. That can hit the ego to a point that even an entire Beyoncé album can’t fix. So we wallow and we dwell, and we pine for that feeling of accomplishment but we are too paralyzed by fear to try again.

Something I’ve always imagined for this blog is that it could be a space for vulnerability and I’m choosing to be vulnerable with whoever stumbles across this post. The last time that I posted on this blog was perhaps over a year ago, and I had my reasons. I felt like a voice lost in the wind, a voice that was heard by no one, and so I stopped writing here. I have acted like this towards many things that are important to me: exercise, soul care, etc. I want to give an inspirational, definitive, “but no more,” but that feels too much like a 180 degrees change is about to ensue. But, I’d rather say that it’s time I made small changes that may add up to something bigger in the long haul. I’m committed to write more often. I’m committed to taking better care of my body and spirit, and I’m committed to let process become the model of my lifestyle.

I still can’t jump double-dutch but y’all know that extended metaphor had nothing to do with actually jumping rope. I am taking the courageous steps to make a lil’ change, and I feel darn good about it. Big ups to me. Big ups to you and whatever you’re doing. We may have gotten tripped up for a second but we didn’t fall on the pavement. Haha, enough with this double dutch pun. Good luck on jumping back into whatever gets your ropes turning. Okay, I’m actually done.

Stay schpoppin.

 

 

Might As Well Call Me Dora

It’s official! I am claiming it, I am Dora and as the artist formerly relevant Yeezy once said, “Nuh uh, you can’t tell me nothing.” I am sold on this idea because since being in Montréal I have had some exciting and odd experiences, but nothing too crazy. You know we do a lot of things here but we don’t do crazy.

There is too much that happened between that last post and now but I shall do my best to recap well. The second chapter of the journey begins on Saturday when I decided to explore the neighborhood of Mile End, and when I say that this area is heavily hipster, I mean like 90s-fashion-rip-off-hipster-who-claims-they-started-the-choker-trend-and-buttons-on-jean-jackets-and-wearing-docmartens type of hipster neighborhood.

Here’s what I mean.

or…

 

Honestly, sometimes the millennials of today just remind me of every 90s sitcom character you can think of, except we have iphones and apps for everything. Also, side note: those little polaroid-like cameras trip me up all the time because all of a sudden polaroids came back in style even though I think that is one of the best inventions since sliced bread, physical photos instantly in the palm of your hand!

*end of side note*

There I was, excited to explore the town and the small shops and cafés so I left the house a little after noon and first I just casually walked around looking left and right to take everything in, but of course I didn’t know where I was going. I was actually looking for a pharmacy because I was sick and needed to medication and that is when I had my first experience when Canadian money. I didn’t exchange my American currency while in the states so I just used my American dollars and got my first exposure to Canadian money when the clerk gave me my change.

Then…

  1. I went to a book shop that sold only comics (and no manga!) Again, I ask how?
  2. I went to a Vietnamese restaurant and had vietnamese tea for the first time. The food was decent but not four stars. But there was this magic soup that I had with my meal that I credit to my quick recovery. I documented it all on my snapchat.

While I was at the restaurant I got to have an interesting conversation with the owner of the shop who told me a lot about her passion for cooking and Vietnamese food, then she told me about her family and how she wishes she had time to study. She told me about how she hoped to learn Chinese one day and perhaps be able to write Vietnamese with Chinese characters instead of the roman alphabet. She was so pleasant I had to take a photo with her.

      3. I played around in an artisan jewelry shop, and I thought I saw the light because I love nice jewelry. I bought a couple of rings, because rings are to me as two chains are to 2chainz.

4. I went into two vintage stores and in one I got an awesome button with Drake’s face on it. Am I the world’s biggest Drake fan? No, but I know too many songs off of too many albums to say I am not fond of Aubrey. Then as I was trying to get a man to take a picture of me in front of some art, he had the nerve to try to ignore me, but he didn’t speak French. Then he used his English to say, “I’m sorry, I’m so used to homeless people asking me for money.” And I went off!

In his partial defense he wasn’t looking at me because he was bust trying to pay for a parking meter but I told him off. I told him to look at me, I oozed nouveau riche, I oozed elegance and refinement and 1% status. (None of those statements has to be connected with next, by the way.) Anyway, he apologized profusely and took my pictures, then I insulted him by telling him that the Chicago Blackhawks were slaying his Canadian hometown in their own sport.

5. I went into an amazing café and ate some chocolate croissants then, I finally returned back to “home.”

But WAIT, there’s more! Don’t forget it was a Saturday. I took an uber to an uber queer friendly neighborhood for the drag show. My driver, Jean, was hilarious and full of personality. When I got in the car, I belched immediately much to my chagrin but it tickled him pink and throughout the 20 min car ride he talked to me about divorce, poutine, and Arcade fire. He even tried to speak a little Spanish with me, much to his chagrin.

 

My friend and I planned to see a drag show and we surely executed that plan but not until after going to a karaoke bar and SLAYING Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, mind you, I know all the moves to the dance. We danced with some nice people and left to the drag show, where I had to “pop out.” As soon as the Destiny’s Child Bootylicious came on it was time for me to come into my element. I swore I’d keep my powers a secret but the black girl magic was too much to contain. I twist everything, popped, locked, dropped, picked it back up, and then some. The drag queen didn’t know what was coming for her.

Our dance off got so heated that they put the spotlight on us and the crowd was shouting and hooting. I knew we had to give them a show and we slayed. My slayage earned me free refreshments. It was spectaculaire! Finally, the show started and I can say that my life will never be the same after all of those acts.

The night was wonderful and I cannot thank my friend enough for being a part of my it all, and for taking a video of my slaying the drag queen!

Til’ next time, folks.

Be breezy and beautiful, but never easy.

 

 

 

Your Girl Is in Canada!!!!!!

Beloved,

There comes a time in life when thou needest a breaketh from thy work and thy stress.

“What is the most optimum way that I could chill the heck out,” is exactly what I asked myself a little less than a month ago. I somehow came to the conclusion that it was time I head off to Montréal, Québec. When I came across this idea I thought that I would do the norm and go with a group but then the idea to go by myself seemed more appealing because that meant that I would be going on a true “Eat, Pray, Love” journey. I would go to a country I had never been to, try new [safe] things, and get better at flirting in French. Let’s be honest–I came for the Canadian cuties.

 

…and for the opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture, Mom. Here was my thinking: I have got better than average French, some decent funds, an adventurous spirit, and a whole bunch of airbnb credit. So, people of all genders and agenders, that is where our journey begins.

As with every truly adventurous adventure, something is bound to go wrong and it is important to run with the punches. But luckily, I do kickboxing so, I know how to swing right back.

     You all should firstly know that your girl was on point with the preparation. I mapped out all my buses that I would take, pricing, and booking for my airbnb and so far it has worked flawlessly…almost.

Where Things Went a Lil’ Wrong

  1. Three days before I was to leave I started coming down with a cold. But, I said, “Not today, Satan!” So what did I do? Medicate, medicate, medicate! I’m talking Vicks, Cup Noodles, crackers, juice, expensive Naked drinks, soooo much TEA. BTW, listen to Sippin’ Tea with Bri every Monday @2pm et, let’s sip tea on pop culture trends, you know shade will be thrown on wrmc.middlebury.edu *end of plug*

 

2. Exhausted from the unnecessary amounts of work thrown my way, I waited until last minute to do laundry and pack. So I packed my stuff about twenty minutes before my bus left. I left the house at 1:29. My bus was scheduled to leave at 1:30.

 

Lesson learned: Don’t push it when you’re on a tight schedule.

3. Forgot to exchange my American currency for Canadian currency, because if I did I would really be balling out right now. That exchange rate is beautiful. 1.34 to the US dollar. Amen! But on the bright side, when I was at the information desk inquiring about a currency exchange machine, I got to talk with a nice man named Bill who loves horses and Black women. Yes, he volunteered that information. He talked my ear off for a good 15 minutes but he was such a character I couldn’t stop him.

“You know I’m from Maine but I was raised in the south and I dated many a black woman. Once a black woman made me some southern food and she had such a passion for horses like me, I darn near married her,” he said.

I responded, “Well, what happened, why didn’t you marry her?”

“Well, she wanted to have a busy life and I couldn’t hold her back and if you love someone you let them go. But you know, we’re still friends on facebook.”

This guy was, as my cousin Gail would say, “a hoot and a holler” so, I had to get a photo with him.

But wait! There’s more! I got on the bus and my bus driver was the chillest trillest man in the world. He was so chill, he was on his phone for most of the ride and told us to simply chill. He also interrupted everyone’s rest to tell us about his lottery numbers. Love it. 🙂

 

The quality is bad because I had to take the photo on the low.

While I was on my bus ride to Montréal I thought my French was too rusty to attempt conversing with anyone on the bus. But, the strong woman in me popped out with the carpe diem rhetoric. I turned to the older man behind me and started the conversation about subway sandwiches. Next thing I know he invited me to sit next to hit to talk about how he thinks the youth of Haiti are lazy and want to be like Americans. He talked about his friend who had cancer, his family of 4 and his teenage kids that he wished spoke Créole or French. He taught me some creole and offered me a piece of his sandwich. I refused the latter offer because your girl is adventurous but still cautious.

Side note: Tell me it wasn’t just me who watched Law and Order religiously with their parent. I watched Snapped, Criminal Minds, every Lifetime murder mystery, Fatal Attraction, Silence of the Lambs, Misery. Honestly, I think I’m a detective.

So, you know even though I am loving my adventure, I am still keeping my eyes out for everything. EVERYTHING.

 

This is a photo of me and mon grandpère haïtien, my haitian gramps.

Finally, a little after 6 I got to the central station I was prepared to put that young problematic UBER into action. But, like this year’s Grammy’s they disappointed me. 

 

How did they not have cars????? How, Sway???! So, then I had to take a cab but not without help, a nice Chinese girl helped me out. She didn’t speak French or English but my limited Chinese helped me out when I needed it most. (Shout out to my laoshi men.) She helped me call a cab, then I took a taxi to my location. My cab driver was also haitian and when I spoke to him he thought I was haitian. Ayyy! But nah, I’m Black American and proud. He got me to my airbnb safely and took my bag up the stairs, and I am pretty sure I gave him too much tip but whatever. Power to the people!

 

Finally, I met my host and her roommate, a gastronomy expert apparently, because I kid you not, he talked about cuts of bacon for at least eight minutes. They generously gave me tea and welcomed me into their home, and now I am recording my entire day on my laptop while planning my day tomorrow. I’m thinking drag bar?

I know this post was long, but don’t lie, it was really entertaining. Stay blessed. No stress. Forget Kanye West.

#bars

 

Now watch me Cana-dab. (I had to do it.)

 

Netflix and Trill

We have all heard of the saying, “Netflix and Chill.” Some of us love netflix and chilling but what about those who simply want to kick back with few lemon San Pellegrinos, some Chinese food, and comfy clothes?

 

Here’s a list of shows on Netflix that you may want to check out when you are in one of your many moods.

Feeling…

Hotep: A Different World

Existential: 3%

Ponderous: 13th

Romantic: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Dramatic: Lo Que La Vida Me Robó (What Life Stole from Me)

Powerful: How to Get Away with Murder

Silly: Parks and Recreation

Chismosa: Gossip Girl

Superhuman: Ajin

 

If you try any of these shows and like them, leave a comment below! As usual, stay true and real. Stay trill, divas.

<3

 

 

 

 

 

Take It Back!

Everyday that we are living is filled with black girl magic simply because we exist!

 

“I blame the media.”

“The media is toxic, we need to unplug.”

“The media makes me feel ugly.”

“The media is so filtered.”

Who is the face behind this infamous character, “the media?” Someone, please help a sister out?

In the age of digital media, there are a lot of arguments for and against this mysterious, ubiquitous entity called “The Media.” We hear a lot of people blaming “the media” for this, that, and the other, but who or what is it? Technically the word media is the plural form of medium so it would be more accurate to say what are the media. So what are media? Media include newspapers, books, radio, blogs, television, insanely amazing blogs like this one, greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, lambs, ram, dogs, hogs, chicken, turkey, rabbit, you name it!

You see, in this modern age we have the ability to share information at the press of a button. This allows for more connection and shared authorship of information around the world. This also opens up a window for people to create unrefined bs (bologna salami). This allows for people to use some media outlets to propagate inaccurate information, and as a result we get despicable material like the cartoon below.

 

It is the blatant disdain and disrespect for black women and for women for color such as that exemplified in this drawing that is angering! If you look closely at Ben Garrison’s cartoon, you can see that FLOTUS (one of the most highly respected women in the world) in this drawing was meant to be less effeminate, angry, and aggressive, many names which bigots too often equate with black women. However, this picture simply displays the insecurities of a someone’s racist and misogynistic mentality.

The drawing of Melania is clearly a blatant sexualization of her body, with the spilling cleavage, the high slit of the dress, and the smile that conveys, “I am here to be silent and look pretty.” On the other hand, FLOTUS is depicted grimacing, with a muscular build, however there are women with muscular figures and that makes them no less feminine than women of other body types. It is the strength of women like FLOTUS and other strong black women that threatens the average straight male white supremacist. And to that we respond with a, “Forget you, forgot you, never thought about you.” We say it in our oscar worthy performances, in our speeches, we reiterate it in the art we create, in the math we create, in the research we do. We sing it in the melody of our voices, dance it in the sway of our hips, exude it in the things we innovate. Everyday that we are living is filled with black girl magic simply because we exist!

Don’t forget it. Stay fierce.

Black girls deserve to learn free from bias and stereotypes. Share this video if you agree and visit www.nwlc.org/LetHerLearn to learn more.

Posted by National Women's Law Center on Thursday, January 5, 2017

 

 

 

Conscious Poetry Break

Raise your hand if you feel certain social justice 101 words and phrases have been slowly ingrained into the everyday vernacular of millennials! Words like cultural appropriation, system, oppression, inclusivity, privilege have been mixed beautifully with casual dialogue. I am so happy that we are finding ways to have conversations on social justice in academic settings but I am ecstatic that we are not limiting these conversations to those spaces.

Recently, I came across a video of a person who identifies as black and latino (because some people believe you can’t be both) who did a phenomenal piece on privilege. I can’t put into words how much this poet’s words struck me. But, please check out this video. It’s kind of amazing, jussayin’.

Are you uncomfortable?

Posted by We are mitú on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

 

 

This Year, I’m Going to Lose Some Weight!

“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.” – Destiny’s Child

Happy New Year, everybody!

If you’re like me, then you probably had some bomb food during this holiday season. If not, I’m sorry for you but if you are woke, feel free to come to the cookout. The password for entrance is black lives matter. But, if you’re only thinking about one specific black body that matters, then you can stay at home. (Imagine me singing this) Blackness is so diverse, we’re not a monolith, don’t box us in or you get your butt dissed.

#bars.

That was a necessary tangent but as previously stated, we have made it to the new year, and usually a lot of us start making resolutions at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve and then break them at midnight!

Here are a few things you may have heard or told yourself before/during New Years.

  1. I’m going to be more organized.
  2. I’m going to to drink less.
  3. I’m going to meditate more.

Of course, I cannot forget the most important promise that we make to ourselves every year.

4. I’M GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT!!

Yes, we promise ourselves that we’re going to lose those 20-50 pounds of baby fat that have been with us ever since McDonald’s introduced the drive-thru. Some of us are successful so, kudos to you all. However, for those of us who have a proclivity for all things artificially sweetened and excessively salty, then our weight-loss resolution often fails soon after we make it. But this year is the year!

I will lose weight!

Only instead of losing weight in the traditional sense, I’m going to lose a different kind of weight.

Goodbye to the weight of feeling the need to lose weight to be desirable, pretty, or just dope. Deuces to the weight of perfectionism, bye Felicia to the weight of always feeling the need to be a spokesperson for our races. Bye. Bye. Bye.

 

Instead, let’s focus on slaying even harder in 2017, loving ourselves and others more. Let’s be more black girl magic, more compassionate, more human. If you’re not black, have no fear, you have your own magic, whatever your background. Continue to be latinx excellence, East Slaysian or South Asian fire, be African royalty, Native American strength, queer, non-binary queens etc. ( I know I’m missing several groups but that is all of the names I can think of for now.)

I know that these suggestions could be easier said than done but if we take it step by step, it is achievable. Let health, physical and mental, be an important goal in our daily lives. We don’t need to get juiced at the gym, we don’t need to aspire to be athletes like Serena Williams. But, if we want to have more energy, popping a squat every now and then will not hurt. Sleeping and eating are important, having supportive relationships is needed, and visiting and supporting this blog with shares and comments can be one of the best things that you could do for your self. 😉 The point is that we are all amazing people and it would suck immensely if we made changes to ourselves this year simply to appease a society that’s not ready for our slayage. Forget the haters, let ’em be gone in the wind.

Break free, divas!

 

 

 

 

 

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