Claim To Fame: Why I Breathe Fire


The same thing I am praised for, is the same thing people try to snatch me for—this thing I do with these 26 letters.

In the face of abject crazy which is the current world, I would be remiss in my duties as a writer not to speak or record it. When I decided to lean into writing, being a writer as a career, I knew what I was getting into—what it would cost, and what I aimed to do in it.

This is the thing I love, communication and the art of word play. It’s what I do. It’s legit what I do. And for the love of it, I happen to write down my imagination to sell to people. I keep pens on hand, my desk is covered in papers and my laptops are always running out of space.

This, indeed, is my sweet spot.

Love and blessings,


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Someone Tell Karen That Her Tears Are Getting Old. And People Die Behind Them.

Amy Cooper, in the tradition of other silly White women before her, almost got a Black man killed. This is not pandering, this is not ‘race-baiting,’ this is not ‘pulling the race card’. Amy Cooper called the police on a Black man that was bird-watching in the Ramble section of Central Park! She did it because she could! She did it because her privilege told her: “How dare this n—- tell me what I can and cannot do! I’m going to show him! Watch this!”

And she pulled out her weapon of choice and called 911 saying a Black man was threatening her life. Had he not filmed this incident, who knows what would have happened? From there, Amy Cooper, has lost his job, the dog she wouldn’t put on the leash, and now she is saying her life is ruined.

Allow me to retort: So, WHAT?!

She was hellfire determined to ruin Christopher’s life! Why should be be cincerend in what she is ‘going through’ as it relates to a situation she created! According to Mercury News, her direct quotes as it relates to his situation are:

“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way.”

Translation: I don’t like that this n—– told me as the epitome of Whiteness empowered by racism and classism, had the (pearl clench!) audacity to tell me what to do?

The problem with this is, on tape, she said this:

“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops. I’m going to tell then there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

Plot twist: All he told her was to put the dog on a leash–the thing which this portion of Central Park advises. He didn’t do anything threatening other than tell a White woman what to do.

I’m going to say this, because it needs to be said. White women need to stop this shit! They need to stop it NOW! There is a reason that feminism in its current permutation is false and not accessible to the people whom would need and benefit from its protection! My Facebook friend and allied troublemaker, Korla Masters, said it this way when she shared this post from Mercury News: “You tried to take out a hit on someone.” Where is the lie? Hint: There is none present.

Now, she is apologizing. Apologizing for WHAT Super Karen? You said you weren’t racist! You said you were just scared! You said that you acted badly, and just didn’t think! Nall, son. That isn’t it. Not at all. Let me give you some historical context. There is a certain class of White women whom do no check other White women whom do things like this! Its not just Amy in the Ramble–it is the women who call campus police when you are sleeping in a common area. It is the White women who think Black girls whom don’t let them treat them like pets are mean! It is the Air B & B owners who think that if the Black guests who would have just ‘smiled and waved at the neighbors’ wouldn’t have gotten the police called on them. Karens, Amys, Beckys and Susans are the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Miss Millie, on the Color Purple.

Children cry when they can’t get what they want. Children with no other coping skills, cry when they care confronted–rather than admit what they did wrong. Crying is deflection! Crying is psuedosympathy! It is manipulation and control! It is a way of moving the situation out of the center of the conflict, focusing on your reaction to the situation (again) that you caused!

It is similar to when a child breaks something you told them not to touch. When they break it, and you hold them to account (Look at what you did! You broke this! I told you not to touch it!), and they scream and fall out? Why? They don’t want to be blamed. Being ‘blamed’ comes with consequences. It comes with people whom will hold you to account for your behavior! It comes with negative attention, and judgement! Righteously so! I mean, you did something wrong!

White women like this whom use tears as weapons never want to be held to account to or for problematic behavior! They are completely absorbed with being in the center and what they power means. In removing them from the center, to focus on what they did wrong, activates this deflection mechanism!


There is something sinister about this. There is something evil about manipulating the emotions of people for your personal benefit and gain! You White women have to understand your ancestors with their tears and lies have decimated communities! They have caused the deaths of innocent people! They have caused people undo stress, loss of jobs and their peace of mind! No one care that this woman’s life is being ‘destroyed’! No one cares that the White Woman Coalition of Basic Beckys have decided that being called a “Karen” is equivalent to being called a ‘nigger‘ and they they cry because it hurts! It also hurts to lay in the street and bleed out for 4 hours. It also hurts to be a Black woman to be in an environment where if she doesn’t smile, she can be written up because she is considered ‘not a team player’.

It is tiresome. The tears are a ploy. No one is falling for this! And there is no reason for this to keep happening in 2020! However, want to know why it keeps happening? People react to it. People excuse it! They coddle the White girl that messes up! She gets her hair smoothed, her gets the Big Bad Black person who was mean to her fired. She gets the delegated mammie to tell her “Its gon be alright, my little Lamb”, like Mammie in Gone With The Wind. She gets the promotion. She gets the attention for a brand! She gets Instagram followers. She gets to be forgiven–with her actions considered just ‘over reacting’. Whiteness will always excuse the foolishness of its children, its supporters and the dainty evil fragility of its worshipers.

White women know when they cry, someone will do something.

When Black women cry, we are told we are too loud.

Make it make sense, Karen?

I’ll wait.

Thinking I’m Grown: Shoes (How I Move In The World)

Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world.” -Bette Midler

I believe this quote with my core self. I believe the right pair of shoes, given the right pair of shoes, a woman can go anywhere and do anything. Especially, if she has more than shoes to open the door.

I’m a tall girl. I have this gift of words and speech. I also know as a Black girl moving through the world with a ‘White girl name’ brings a certain level of privilege and scorn with it. I am grateful for the ability to code-switch. I am grateful for the small privilege being the smart Black girl ‘with the White girl name’ has granted. With that all that said, I know that the right shoes given to a Black girl does three things: lead, follow, kick in a door.

Let me explain how.

Lead. I believe that leaders wear sneakers and stilettos. I believe every arena in this life requires a shoe. You need to be able to transition in order to reach whom your must, where you must and when you must. Not every situation requires Nikes, but it’s good to have a pair. Some people need to identify themselves in the face of the people leading the world. Some people need to see that you need shoes that are durable and comfortable to do not so comfortable work. Like teaching. Or organizing. Or supporting. Or running with the people who cannot run or walk for themselves. Real leadership must be accessible.

Not every situation requires as YSL slingback heel–but it might be dope to have a pair so people hear you coming. There are certain rooms which require you to be similar in order to be noticed—a uniform if you will. There are certain situations in order to be taken seriously, you must be adapt to the requirement of the situation. My sneakers don’t always translate a need or exactly what I bring to the table. Sometimes, to be taken seriously, I change the shoe. Why the shoe? The shoe reshapes the whole outfit! It conveys effort, projects confidence and makes you stand up straight. Leadership requires the ability to read a room in order to get things done as they should be.

Follow. Influential people often leave trails. They leave evidence of success, or failure. If they are exceptional they leave a blueprint as well. They leave you a trail which you are able to follow–but you will need both stamina and bravery to complete such a journey. It’s not about filling shoes, no. One must be able to find and fill their own pair to follow behind. The path towards taking over the world in any arena is not about becoming a carbon copy or imitation. It is about believing in yourself while knowing you are not the bastion of all knowledge! It is about believing in someone else, almost as much as you believe in yourself. You need heroes–not idols. A hero gives space and plans–and idol will never know you are there. Choose wisely.

Kick In A Door. The right shoes have allowed me to kick in doors which I may not truly be able to stay in. I have been organizer and worker, and mogul and director. I have been the one advocating for someone else, making space for another while the same not being done for me. I understand in those acts, at this point, I must be able to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in order to do what must be done. I have to lead by example while tempering ambition with patience. I am learning to be gracious in all things, and loud when needed. Some people hate to see you, but cannot ignore the sound of you coming. As I kick in doors, I bring people with me! I learn and build as a climb. I network. I serve. I direct. And most importantly, I remember.

I remember I have not made it to this point alone, and will never be alone. I have learned that “No” is never a final answer, it requires a different approach. It sometimes helps to remember if there is a door which won’t open for you, build you own. You cannot–I cannot–be afraid to either fail, or try. I have enough moxie to know I ain’t about to stop…so I will not fail. Psalms 46:5 says so.

Thinking I’m Grown: Pants (Fashion & Style)

My mother loves shoes.

I, being my mother’s daughter, loves shoes. And bags. I really love bags. I remember my first purse! It was this small canvas bag (a cross-body bag, as the kids would say now) with a rainbow strap. I was 5-years-old. I remember being fascinated by how my mother and aunts transformed from just ‘being in the house’ to how they went outside into the world.

I loved playing in my mother’s heels. I loved playing in her makeup to my own detriment sometimes. I also remember being so mad at my Aunt Linda I put water in her eye shadow and ruined it. Her son, my cousin saw me and I never did that again. Trust, she made sure I wouldn’t.

The thing that made me love fashion though–magazines, Different World, Family Matters and the Grande Dame of 1990’s television, Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies). Now, remember–I’m an 80’s baby! I remember when what is known now as ‘hip-hop fashion’ became more mainstream. I remember wanting to go to FIT because Lisa Turtle was going! I remember looking at the girls who looked like me in Essence, Word Up!, Hip- Hop Beat magazine and wanted to dress like the girls I saw.

I wanted the Tommy Hilfiger Coat, and Nautica jacket and the door knocker earrings. Yet, I had the parents that didn’t let me really have all that. But the good thing is I still had Kim from Different World, and Laura Winslow from Family Matters. And My So-Called Life (young Jared Leto was–ooh, Lord!) made me wish I was a high school sophomore as an 8th grader so I could dye my hair red.

It was 8th grade where I started to put this thing called a style together. Aside from writing, fashion gave me a place to be creative. It gave me a place to make my way in the world–always a wonderful thing. I mean, I wore short and tights together because I saw Laura Winslow and Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All do it! And when Clueless came out? YAS! I started wearing heels and jeans since I had seen Clueless and My So-Called Life. I mean, it was the mid-1990’s! As Black girl going to public school, you really couldn’t veer too far left or right–but I did. And I have had heels ever since. My go to look before kids involved these things: heels, jeans, a tee and earrings.

Fashion was a my safe place! And makeup and outlet! It was Junior and Senior year of high school where I started to become more confident in what I wanted. This is when deliA’s was still a cool place for girls of my era to shop at (Thank’s Sassy/JANE Magazine!). I wasn’t so concerned about something having a label. I was more concerned about it looking cool. Flat out!

It was after high school, when I really got into make-up. This is where getting ready to go somewhere became an event. Getting ready was an event–just like it was when my mother got ready. I started to get my nails done in a salon when I was 19, and it was on from there! I felt elegant, moreso. To this day, there is something about a full set of nails and a bomb outfit with my hoop earrings which make me feel like I am so unstoppable!

I think once a Black girl begins to develop her own style, it’s like opening a treasure chest. There are features of your own physical form you saw in younger pictures of your mother, grandmother or aunts. It’s like going into a time machine! I remember when wide-leg jeans were in fashion: my mom told me that they reminded her of bell bottoms. My Aunt Linda told me they were bell bottoms ‘they used to wear.’ From the jeans, came the hats, and from the hats, the bags. From there, my mom reminded me of my ‘cute Easter dresses’. I remember how pretty I felt being that dolled up for the holiday. Yes, the shoes had always been a staple.

I found out my mom loves scarves and big earrings. I found out that my Aunt Valarie thinks that every woman needs a signature lipstick. I found out that my mother is a fan of Estee Lauder: White Linen in the Spring and Summer; Beautiful in the Fall and Winter. “Every woman needs a signature scent, Jennifer.” And after a few trial and error, I have 3 actually.

Gucci Guilty.
Yellow Diamonds by VERSACE.

Fashion for me was expression of the highest sort. Finding more and more of myself every time I found myself liking a shoe, or a bag, or wanted to change my hair. I found out my grandmother didn’t get her first pair of hosiery till she was in her twenties–yet, my mother made sure when I wore dresses or skirts I had slips and ‘stockings (the old school word for ‘pantyhose’ or ‘hosiery’).

The beautiful thing is now, I get to give that same energy and gift of discovery to my daughters. My youngest already loves shoes. Especially, my heels.

[Image by Typorama]


Trigger warning: Ashy men, Homophobic men, Pick-Me’s, Enabling women, DFFs (DFF: Defenders of Fuckery and Foolishness).

Boosie Badazz Addresses His Issues With Webbie in Lengthy Post ...
I have never been able to take this dude seriously. Less so now.

First things, first: #MeToo.

With that out the way, let me say this: SHUT UP, BOOSIE! And I mean shut the ENTIRE FUCK UP!

Third, now begins where I get to channel all that raw, rolling Jean Grey Summers energy I have been holding on to for the last two days and aim it at Torrence Hatch, Jr.

I want to know who keeps asking this dude poignant questions about things which pertain to life and Blackness like a dude named Boosie has any idea on how to fix anything concerning us as a people?! I just need to know why people keep asking Captain Ashy Iaintshit questions!

Perhaps this is fault of my age and the tendency I have to ignore people whom I see and deem problematic. Boosie, Torrence, Boosie Badazz is problematic. I truly stopped engaging with this traphouse scholar when he made the snide comments about Zaya Wade (again, remember, I do not deadname over here!). I was done with him when he was talking so crazy about how Dwayne Wade should be handling this situation with his daughter.

The thing about the discourse (and I use that word loosely) between him and Dwayne was how devoid it was of empathy and common sense–until Torrence’s mama got on him. Funny how Ashy dudes are constantly corrected or can only be corrected by their mothers? Don’t even get me started on this! I digress. Let us continue, shall we?

I work nights. This is not a new thing. And I prefer nights, actually. Since having children, my body clock has not really recovered. So, rather than fight it–I go with it. Imagine my frazzled nerves when I woke up Thursday afternoon to find out this man–this father of 8!—is on Beyonce’s internet talking about how he pulled out all the stops to make sure his sons didn’t turn out gay.


This ninja is out here paying women to rape and molest (these young men are 12 and 14!) to perform sex acts on his son and his nephew–and he lets them watch porn! Make this make sense! This cannot be agreed with. This cannot be reasoned with. If you subscribe to How To Raise A Black Male Child by Torrence Hatch, Jr–never speak to me again. Also, please have an ice cold glass of Clorox.

If you are a woman who has the pre-requiste of completing of the intro course to I Am A Pick-Me in order to have the background to register How To Raise A Black Male Child by Traphouse Professor Hatch, you are the worst kind of Pick-Me!

If you believe being gay is the worst fate which can befall a Black male child, I need you to never have children. I need you to never help raise your nieces, nephews and you need to just move to the Saturn. Why? That is the only place you can do with this bullshit! He is wrong! No young man–especially Black!–needs to see porn as their only source of sexual education. They do not need to see their value of self so narrow it can only be identified or confirmed by their sexual prowess?


And the fact this cat saw nothing wrong with this? The fact so many people agreed with him? The fact that so many people are being silent now in the face of it–is chilling. But not surprising. This culture of “what happens here stays here” is what most Black folk have grown up with. This attitude which both preserves and protects toxic patriarchy because all those need to consolidate whatever power can be gleaned from patriarchy.

Men and their needs, along with the need correlate purpose with sexual prowess, will always be tenants of toxic patriarchy. This mentality demeans young Black men! It robs them of their innocence as well! If Boosie was doing this type of shenanigans to his daughters, folk would have rolled him up and set his house on fire! Why is that seen more as rape than what Boosie has done?

My mind cannot cope, and is still reeling from this.

Hoteps, if this is your king–please come get his ass.

[image from]

Thinking I’m Grown: Chest (My Body & How I Accept It)

Terry Lee Laney, Junior, the cousin of this girl with the longest name I knew as a 10-year-old, Sandranita Carson, was the first boy to tell me I was flat-chested. There are dynamics that come in with fifth grade I believe that set the stage for how you will handle transitions anywhere else in this life: differences will always get you seen. It was in Ms. Grant’s fifth grade classroom in Lowell Elementary School that I knew one thing–boys like breasts. Some boy would always be looking at my chest. Why? I was yet to find out. But his cousin, the girl with the longest name that I will ever know at age 10? She was about a C-D cup then! When I was a 10-year-old girl, it wasn’t odd; I knew what breasts were. And I also knew those were things I didn’t have.

I didn’t develop any sort of ‘thickness’ as the kids call it now until I was in my late teens-early twenties. And when I had my first child? That’s when everything began to fill in and round out! I mean I could were the dresses I wanted and there be something there to put in it. I mean, I had no idea how to embrace my body before–so to add childbirth to it?! I was not this vixen I wanted to be.

My favorite aunt, Linda, told me “All you had all your life was legs and ass.” Well, these are facts. Big facts, really. But I had always wanted the hour-glass Mae West figure. I wanted that visible sex appeal–I wanted to be what I told one suitor ‘the waking wet dream.’ But to get there? To get to the point I could own I was sexy–not just beautiful, but sexy–that took for real time. This took embracing ever part of my form and realizing if I never got another thing added to me, I was sexy. I was able to call myself beautiful. I was desirable–and nothing was wrong with me! I was worthy of a healthy relationship. I was worthy of being intimate with a man and get pleasure for those experiences.

I had to determine how I accepted my own body could not be dependent on how the world saw my body. I had to start to love me. I had to love me beyond being funny, or smart or being compassionate. All these things are good, yes. I am glad all these qualities are present inside me to be given to the world. But that self-love–that embracing my own thighs, legs, lips and eyes with everything in the middle? That hit different, fam. Besides, from my personal list? I’ve never had any complaints…

Why James Baldwin Was Right… About Everything

Author note:  I will be mentioning the N-word in conjunction to my own deciphering of James Baldwin’s words.

Here lately, I thought (read: meditated, studied, ruminated) on every quote, and damn near everything I have ever known or read about James Arthur Baldwin. I find myself referring to him as I do along with my favorite scriptures. I find myself in my dark, artistic places thinking “What would my Father Oracle say?” I find myself thinking in matters of social change, marcolevel crazy, and crippling self-doubt repeating that question.

In this era of COVID-19, neo-fascism disguised as conservative Christianity, and the utter, rampant erasure of anything Black, I have begun to be a more adamant student of Baldwin. His work having a new power, necessary in the time we live in. The thing I feel more adamant about as I have looked at his work is the concept of White American ‘needing a nigger.’  Now, if you are familiar with Baldwin, even on a casual basis or knowledge, you know how he has felt about this word, as well as it’s application to his life. Don’t believe me? Look at this quote (from

“Another important record of Baldwin on film, a particular scene in Hammer is singular in its emotional and metaphysical clarity: Baldwin, seated, dressed in white, a kerchief tied carefully around his neck, considers the existential roots “of something in this country called the nigger.” He continues that he had to know early in life that what was being described had nothing to do with him. He knew, he insists, despite all that had been done to him, that “what you were describing was not me.” If it is true, as Baldwin began, that “what you say about me reveals you,” and since “you” had invented this figure and felt the need to invest black people with all those sedimented associations then, Baldwin argues, you are in fact the nigger…”

Think about this!

This word, which has been used to dehumanize, murder, oppress and dispossess an entire race of people–because it is a social construct! A construct needed by a certain class of people whom have no other power to change their lives, take responsibility for problems they have causes, and believe that to oppress another person–making them the consistent scapegoat–is needed. This is how white supremacy continues to reproduce–powered by this lie!

It is the lie of superiority of white folk over everything which needs a ‘nigger’ to feel powerful. To feel righteous, and worthy. Just like Coretta Scott King said freedom has be won in every generation, white supremacy must be retaught and reinforced with every generation! As Baldwin said often through his life that he was a man–never a ‘nigger’! What a powerful think to understand! What a powerful thing to reveal! What a think to remember!

You have to know that what Baldwin spoke about in the movie I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, is/was a foreshadowing of what you are seeing now! This country needs ‘niggers’ because it thrives on power and usurpation! It needs a vulnerable, non-human subclass to subjugate in order to feel superior! In order consolidate resources and wealth! This is not a new tacti, Oracles! To name something is to control it, is to rule it is to declare authority over it! Why do you think now is when we see this resurgence of behavior our grandparents saw!  Niggers are not entitled to equality, fairness or the pursuit of happiness.

Niggers are not people. Catch that. Ergo, as a person, you are entitled to all of these things! And those whom subscribe to white supremacy and the romantic notion of power, need to feel superior to someone else–because they have no other power to assert or wield! And therein lies the struggle.

When I ruminate on this, I have to remember that I, too, am not a nigger! Neither are my children. Neither are any of the beautiful Black folk I know. And to have the words of Baldwin shore me up, reminding of my value, my power and need to be in the world? I can go on.

In the face of COVID-19, the protesting of folk whom don’t wanna stay inside, incompetent leadership, and trolls believing in themselves so tough they carry guns to state capitals, who spit that name at me as if I will break about it? Nah, son. I say, with my hoop earrings, mask and afro, and say, “You’re the nigger baby, not me!”

The Ancestors Be Watching: Remembering Ida B.

Pulitzer Prize awarded to Ida B. Wells and NYT's 1619 Project ...
“Those who do the murders, write the reports.” -Ida Bell Wells Barnett

Ida Bell Wells is my grandmother. There was a kinship I felt with her when I first saw her face when I was 9 in Ms. Annie Green’s class. It was this classic photo, with this look of “Don’t come for me, ‘less send for you” spoke to me. At that point, I wanted to know everything about her. And I mean everything. It was because of her I wanted to go into journalism! And I thought she was a superhero!

She was brilliant, was a writer in the time where most most Black folk were murdered for trying to pursue education of any sort! Consider these fast facts about the dynamic force that is (and was) Ida Bell Wells:

-daughter of slaves–and she was born one!

-raised her sister after their parents died of Yellow Fever

-Went off on the principal of the school she was at who tried to talk to her crazy (a WHITE man in a position of authority AT THAT), and put her out of the school.

-she refused to give up her seat in a railroad car BEFORE Plessy v. Ferguson (May 1884, Plessy v. Ferguson was in 1896!).

-One of the founding 4 members of the NAACP

-Investigated lynchings IN THE CITIES THEY HAPPENED IN.

*-She sued the railroad this incident happened on and won a $500 settlement. The Tennessee Court overturned this decision. It was this incident that caused her to start writing.

She wrote for US, mane. She confronted racism, called out the bullshit that is perpetuated through traditional white feminism which lead to the illest thing she did to let these (white) suffragettes know she wasn’t the one. What do I mean? Peep this (thank you to The Atlantic for this piece):

“Seen through the lens of Wells’s life, the history is sobering: When Wells traveled to Washington, D.C., to march with the Illinois delegation in the suffrage parade of 1913, the group’s leaders asked her to move to the back of the parade with the other black women. (She ignored these instructions and took her place with the white marchers anyway, Giddings writes.) In an earlier incident, when Wells was heckled during a lecture in Rochester, New York, NAWSA President Susan B. Anthony leapt up from the audience in defense of Wells, declaring that African Americans faced racism in the North as well as the South—only to illustrate her own point when she confided to Wells that she’d excluded black people from joining her organization or even speaking at its events for fear of alienating southern white women from the cause. According to Giddings, Anthony rationalized that issues of racial inequality could be better addressed once white women had the vote, the ends of her strategy thus justifying the means. (Wells, who on most points admired Anthony, respectfully disagreed.)”

My feeling has always been God knew the fight Black women writers would have and was gracious enough to give us Ida Bell Wells Barnett. We needed her. We still need her. And I am grateful I can put her name in any search engine on any part of the world and she is accessible. So, to have her awarded the Pulitzer Prize almost 90 years after her passing? I don’t know how to feel about this.

As a writer, I am happy! I am glad she has gotten the recognition she deserves. The part of me that is woman and Black is like, “Posthumously?! Really bih?!” Why do I feel that way? This nation loves to honor ‘acceptable’ Black folk, and ignore the living Black folk doing the same work! I am mad at this, fam! I am upset because for all her work, for all her power, for all her talent and insistence on justice, the powers that be decide to award her almost a century of her being in the ground! I feel like this is the nation spitting on her grave, walking over it, and then planting flowers!

But, what do I know? I’m just a Black woman writer–who subscribes to the gospel according to Ida B:  “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.” Sometimes the best way to free yourself, and other people as Toni Morrison says, is to get a pen.

God and Ida gave me one. My job is to keep giving it to other people. With smooth ink, and no chaser.

[Image from]