The blog post contained in this category are expressions of my everyday life. At times that will be a glance at the past, a look into what it’s like being a single mom, career, finances, and so much more. Enjoy!
Comedian Jerrod Carmichael introduced his sexual preference to the world via his latest comedy special titled Rothaniel. What captures my attention is the association with the emasculating of men because of their sexual preference. Carmichael questions his masculinity as it relates to his sexual preference. The preconceived notions of what someone of the LQBTQ is does not plague the interpretation of gender identity. It is the yes but how, or yes but why, or the this is supposed to be this way thought process that impedes the understanding of the LGBTQ community. They, like many others, simply want to experience life without explanation.
Small things plague my mind about Carmichael’s new special. Big moments capture almost every journalist’s article about the act, but what about the tiniest expressions. Carmichael discusses the love and support he garnered from black women in his family. He addressed keeping the secret of his sexuality from his audience. Additionally, he addresses how his friends responded. They found resolve in making jokes about it saying “I feel like I’ve been tricked into having a gay best friend”. Even though vulnerability is seldom on display for the world to see, Carmichael wore it like a skilled master. What speaks the loudest in Rothanial is how Carmichael paralleled his father’s infidelity with the discretion he used in revealing his sexual identity. Again, what’s subtle is the crescendo of comedic professionalism. Initially, the show is what anyone would expect from a comedy show, but by the end, it feels as though Carmichael is simply having a conversation with someone. Carmichael explains his entire experience as a gay man. He manages to eloquently describe the parts of his coming out that he does not understand. Consequently, he gives fresh air to people within the LGBTQ trying to figure out life.
The advocacy for mental health screams the notion that not one of us is an island. Everyone has an internal voice, and each one sounds different. Some may call it a conscience, while others believe it is God or intuition. This awareness is interpreted, used, and can occasionally produce mental health concerns. Additionally, mental health struggles can come from genetics and traumatic experiences. There are infinite efforts to express how people battle mental health. Often what’s not emphasized is the solution. My desire to better understand mental health started after hearing radio personality Charlemagne The God discuss his struggles with mental health. Therapy for Black Girls is a podcast by Licensed psychologist Joy Harden Bradford. One day while I was at the spa, my aesthetician recommended Therapy for Black Girls. It took me a very long time to finally listen to it. I’m glad I did. The podcast educates and sheds light on mental health difficulties while providing ways to combat mental health. One of the biggest things I learned from the podcast is that many of the things that I experience other people experience too. Therapy for Black Girls promotes wellness through community. Every show has a disclaimer that the podcast is not to be used as a replacement for actual therapy. While the podcast is not therapy it is definitely a good start toward a healthy life.
Last week at the Oscars, in the middle of the LIVE SHOW, and in front of millions of Americans, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. Instantly everyone jumped on the “violence is not the answer” bandwagon. I did not. Violence is not the answer in most cases. However, sometimes it is. Take a stroll down the historical acquisition of America, confidently say violence is not the answer, or take the time to think about whose backs America was built, then confidently say violence is not the answer. Violence is or is not the answer when it is convenient. Shortly after the infamous slap, Will Smith was awarded an Oscar. In his acceptance speech, he justified his actions by saying he was defending his family. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock because he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith (Will Smith’s wife). Jada Pinkett Smith has alopecia which has caused her to decide to be bald and not wear a wig. When Chris Rock acknowledged her bald head with his joke, she made a face of intolerance and disgust. Will Smith immediately sprung up from his seat, walked to the stage, and slapped Chris Rock.
What’s important is what we don’t see. Often people see a reaction without seeing what action caused that reaction. In this case, it could have been many things, one being Jada’s personal battle with alopecia. Chris Rock produced a documentary about hair with the intention to uplift women, and on the night of the Oscars, he did the opposite. Many believe the art of comedy is dying because of cancel culture and the sensitivity of today’s world. Others think it was highly unprofessional of Will Smith to slap Chris Rock on national television. Decorum and comedy must find a middle ground. Will Smith and Chris Rock have been in the industry for years. Given their longevity, the entire situation could have not happened or been handled differently. Jada Pinket Smith has been vocal about why she doesn’t have hair, what her hair symbolizes, and how she developed the problems she has with her hair. Recently, in my Introduction to Media class, we had a guest speaker who brilliantly stated “Jada’s voice was lost in this entire situation “.
Currently, the United States Government is selecting a new Associate Justice for the Supreme Court. The gentleman who previously held this position was Associate Justice Stephen Bryer. He announced his retirement early this year. Shortly after Judge Bryer announced his retirement, President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to take his place. Judge Jackson was born in Washington DC and raised in Miami, Florida. One of the most apparent reasons this nomination is receiving so much attention is that if judge Jackson is selected to be on the Supreme Court, she will be the first African American woman to do so. Judge Jackson experienced a tremendous amount of verbal abuse during her interview last week. Still, she has also received love and support from many Americans. A portion of Judge Jackson’s interview that has set a positive tone is her interaction with U.S. Senator Cory Booker. When his fellow republicans berated Judge Jackson with outlandish, intolerable questions, he took the lead in chivalry and respect. He highlighted Judge Jackson’s character and qualifications and discussed the importance of her nomination to the African American community. He isolated them into a temporary safe haven amid a supremely hostile environment. Senator Booker spoke to a plight that very few people in the room understood but that too many Americans know to be accurate, and that is how difficult it is for black people to accomplish what Judge Jackson has. The question is not is Judge Jackson qualified. It’s a matter of votes. The interviews are a matter of formality, confirming what we already know. There will be a lot of times in this country when for black women to succeed, they must go through unnecessary hardship. Regardless of this fact, Judge Jackson has consistently displayed grace and class.
On Sunday, R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan won a Grammy for best R&B album on her EP Heaux Tales. It is no surprise that every guest had on their “Sunday’s Best.” Many wore gowns and suits. Sullivan was no exception; she wore an all-black suit with white abstract shapes and lines on it. Gold open-toe pumps barely showed beneath her bellbottom slacks. She wore minimal elegant jewelry to subtlety accompany the suit. Her hair was in a half up, half down style, and she wore black sunglasses. Heaux Tales consists of 14 tracks and has a brief narration between a few songs. It was released in January 2021. Heaux Tales serves every woman that has ever loved and experienced hardship in romantic relationships. In her Grammy acceptance speech, she says the album was based on experiences in her twenties that she wasn’t necessarily proud of. Sullivan’s soul-filled voice fills every missing piece advocating for women to have personal agency. Every track introduces a different perspective of what it means to be a woman in a relationship. This album is significant because it’s women controlling the narrative. Frequently, in music, men describe what a woman is or is not. Heaux Tales expresses multiple aspects of how women view relationships. One of the most popular songs on the album is Girl Like Me. In the song, Sullivan compares and contrasts the disparities between faithful and unfaithful women, highlighting that the latter is more valuable in today’s society. Featured on this song is a fellow grammy award winner and R&B singer H.E.R. During Sullivan’s acceptance speech, H.E.R is seen standing and cheering her on. The support and pride H.E.R demonstrates directly reflect the energy felt on Heaux Tales.
Kanye West displays an unwavering sense of determination. The look in his eyes strategically shows humility and confidence. The first episode of his docu-series showcases the beginnings of his career and his relationship with his mother. The episode is narrated by his friend of 20 years, Coodie Simmons. One of the biggest misconceptions about Kanye West is his overt show of confidence. One of the most beautiful things I implement in my daily life is paying little attention to words. Intelligent people observe actions; fools believe words. Kanye’s actions show how hard he worked to become the man he is today. He took friends with him throughout his journey while simultaneously standing in the face of no after no. See, initially, the executives of record labels didn’t believe in Kanye’s ability to be a rapper. Despite this, he continued to pursue his rap career. Before becoming a rapper, he was a music producer, and executives wanted to stagnate him in this capacity. The record labels failed to do so. Kanye’s talent is God-given and fostered by the love he received from his mother. When Kanye’s mom died, the world perceived his behavior as mentally unstable. The first episode of the docuseries shows the depth of the mother and son relationship, allowing insight into one of his greatest joys, his mom. My earnest desire is for compassion, understanding, and empathy to be granted through the behind-the-scenes view of Kanye West. There’s so much rhetoric surrounding the Kanye West brand that very little of it is rooted in truth. This docuseries offers the opportunity to reveal reality.
Self-exploration often mandates transparency. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is an artist from Oklahoma City who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Fazlalizadeh began campaigning her body of work titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile(STWTS)” in 2017.
The first sketch is a self-portrait of Fazlalizadeh. It shows her with somewhat of a bun atop her head with her head slightly turned to the side, magnifying her jaw accompanied by her captivating eyes. The portrait resignates with women across the country. When Tatyana started the campaign, she did not think it would garner its support. Her platform displays and supports social issues. Each portrait illustrates an alluring woman without a smile. Beneath each one reads a statement attesting to street harassment that each woman has experienced. Each and every portrait has a white background. They look as though they were drawn with a pencil. The images can be found around the world.
Fazlalizadeh’s work grants women the permission to not have to constantly smile. It gives way to the idea of complete personal agency, breaking the necessity to appeal to outside people. Wheat pasting is a gel-like substance made with wheat flour and water. Wheat pasting is generally used as an adhesive for street artwork. Fazlalizadeh pastes her work with wheat paste in areas where street harassment is prominent. She sometimes posts her work in areas where the women live who are featured in her collection.
Fazlalizadeh’s STWTS collection aims to bring awareness to street harassment and, more importantly, empower women. Initially, Fazlalizadeh engaged with herself in her work, then she invited other women to be a part of her initiative. With 64,000 followers, Fazlalizadeh garners plenty of likes, primarily women. She attracts this type of support because she gives voice to many women’s issues every day.
New Orleans is well known for colorful shotgun homes, but I don’t think I was in a shotgun house the first time Erykah Badu’s voice hit my ears. The house had to be a townhome of sorts. I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, from about 1999 to 2001. The culture there is so captivating it still lingers in my mind ‘to this day. One of my most paramount memories is when I fell in love with Erykah Badu and the wooden floors. The wooden floor fascination may seem trivial but take a walk with me. Oklahoma has got to be one of the most affordable places in the United States to live but not for me! Give me my expensive rent and my wooden floors. My family and friends jokingly call me bourgeois. I assure you I am not. Let’s dig a little deeper. Imagine being five or six years old in a foreign place with no other children to play with. There’s no furniture in the house. It’s just you, a boombox playing Erykah Badu, and wooden floors. You would fall in love too if that was all you had. My initial attraction to Erykah Badu’s music started with her instrumentals. The beats moved me in a way I had never experienced. Her image yelled originality. I could relate to how she embraced our culture, from her clothes to her hair and the hints of jazz in her music. She made it okay to be different. I can vividly remember lying on the wooden floor staring at the boombox. The room was dark. The only light was the bathroom light on my left. I had no clue this experience would catalyst my love story with R&B, Neo Soul, Indie Soul, and expensive living spaces.
Golden Goddess Getaways are the reset every woman craves. Created by expert travelers Shonna & Milan there is no detail left unattended. The getaway combines healing, yoga, dance, and meditation perfectly. To hear the two owners discuss how they worked together to create the GGG experience invokes inspiration for those around them to harvest the same inner magic ✨. The excursion begins with trips to local farmers’ markets and beaches. Those trips are often spontaneously accompanied by scenic walks around the nearest neighborhood. Moments spent at the resort are where real enjoyment takes place. With beautiful wooden bamboo floors to hold the heels adorned, sensual dancing takes place. The same floor serves as a meeting place for profound stretching to release & restore portions of the body & soul that were in great need. On the last night of the getaway, Shonna & Milan has everyone meet at a campfire to release anything into the fire that no longer serves them through their journey. The two powerhouse travelers have mentioned that they may be dropping new dates soon for the next Golden Goddess Getaway. Golden Goddess Getaways provide the tranquility your soul longs for.