I Finally Watched ‘Da 5 Bloods.’ We Were Cheated! #ChadwickBoseman

If you haven’t seen this movie. Watch it. Now. RIGHT NOW! #BlackActorsMatter

Da 5 Bloods | Netflix Official Site
‘I like to think of myself as an artist.’
-Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020)

Spike Lee has accused Clint Eastwood of overlooking the experiences of Black GI’s. I agree, so as only Spike Lee can he told the story of 5 Vietnam Vets. Deleroy Lindo would be great reading labels in Target. His performance took up the entire scene wherever he was. But the thing is this. His performance was only overshadowed by Chadwick Boseman’s.

Every time he was on screen, there was this quiet strength he exuded, and it made me forget for two hours that he was gone. It made me forget the pain in the back of my heart that mourns This King.

There is this element to art that is intangible. That is definitive and irreplaceable. You cannot teach presence, dear ones. That is something you either have or you will never possess! Chadwick Aaron Boseman had presence. The magic he had along with other other cast members whom made up the ‘Bloods’ let me know just how amazing he was…and would have been(!) if given more time.

Ah, always more time. Death is thief, coward and robber! It took Chadwick in the prime of his life, and left us thinking and wanting and waiting for more of what he would have done. Should have done! And when I got to end of the movie? I had to fight back a howl that was ancestral and primal, indicative of pain only mothers know. I had never felt so cheated out of watching an artist! We were robbed, y’all! Robbed!

I know there are those whom will think that this may be emotional, but I don’t care! There is not enough credence given to Black actors and artists! There just isn’t! There is a need to foster Black actors like never before. In the age of Issa Rae’s and Will Packards, there is a need to continue to support and put on those who come after us, and even are working along side us!

The life and breadth of the work of Black actors is invaluable! And when a Black actor dies, and you are a part of this guild of artists, it is a death in the family! There is a void that no one else can fill! Unless you are an artist, you cannot understand what we as a culture just lost…and what we have.

Whenever we miss Chad–I think we can start calling him that again, we family now–we can just hit play, or scroll through streaming services to find him.

Death is coward, thief and a robber. Yet, we have memories. We have stories. Maybe, the justice to be found in loss, is that nothing is truly lost is one remembers.

We all remember, Chad. We are not scared to remember him.

Besides, who can bury a King? Not nobody.

[image from Netflix.com]

Offset, Reset & WAP

Cardi B Opens Up About Offset Divorce: 'Sometimes People Really Do Grow  Apart' | Billboard
Cardi B is getting divorced. This might be the best thing in the world.

I told you so. I TOLD y’all this wasn’t going to work–like at all. The thing that find so hilarious about this situation is he says he is embarrassed about Cardi’s lyrics–his wife now!–to ‘WAP.

The man that cheated on his wife with at least two women, and possibly has an outside baby with or by another one, but mad that his wife wrote lyrics about her WAP. Yet, he is out her chasing other WAP. The dissonance is a super power. I mean, truly! You want to know why toxic patriarchy is trash? Here is the prime example. There is a class of man whom think once they sleep with you, they own you! This same trash logic is what gave Carmello Anthony the cajones to tell the world and I quote:

“My wife [Lala Anthony] is married. I’m not.”

So, him being offended or embarassed about his wife singing about how dope and satisfying her vagina is, rather than be embarassed about his behavior says alot. So he’s not upset that he hurt his wife; embarassed himself; embarassed his daughter, family and these girls he was cheating with. You, Offset, are mad at the woman you married and impregnated, that she made a song about her WAP, while you were seeking out or falling into OPP/WAP. But you mad at her? Her?!

Yeah. This is Hotepian common sense.

She isn’t allowed to be mad, hurt or embarrassed because she is HIS, right? Which entitles him to the most base, banal, basic behavior! And he won’t acknowledge his own behavior in the demise of this professional situationship! He wanted a pretty girl to show off (and do bad!); having her on lock while he did what he wanted, like he wanted.

The killer part is she loved him. A lot. You can tell that.

I truly believe as this situation progresses, he is not going to leave this relationship quietly. I really don’t! I say that from the vantage point of having to contend with a man whom I used to be with–sleep with!–and because I wanted the relationship over? He decided to make the life I wanted without him, miserable! Spoiler: I kept living my best, Black life.

Cardi has money and time, and the rest of her twenties! The last thing she needs is to be attached to a man that doesn’t value her, want her, respect her or think that she is less than who she is! She is greater than her WAP, yes, but she owns all she is–being a wife of this man-child didn’t stop that. She and Kulture deserve better.

Offset need to grow up, and stop letting his penis determine the caliber of his manhood. The question remains that when/where are the men around him going to tell him that the length of his peen, his WAP sonar, and his ‘ability’ to make a woman holler will never make him the man he think he is.

But, this is 2020. Trash peen energy is running the world. Chile, money is an accessory to unattractive men. Remember that.

[image from billboard.com]

What Is A Darkwalker?

My first love, if I have to admit, was horror writing.

I was fascinated by the things that go ‘Bump!’ in the night. And I was fascinated (much to my parents’ chagrin) with death and the concept of just…not dying. From that, I have like the idea of vampires (Peep this post from a couple years ago!). I have liked the idea of being eternally young, getting stronger with age, and being able to walk in the world as I want–without the approval of a higher power.

Note: Let me say this. I am a woman of faith. I believe that God exists. I believe in Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His resurrection and His return. I believe all the gifts and talents that I have are God given. In those gifts, I believe that my imagination is one of them. I am not an atheist. I am not ever going to be an atheist! I have seen too much in the world to NOT believe in God. I am aware of the controversy of the Christ-believing writing horror or what I call ‘dark literature.’ With that said, I answer with the Christopher Priest quote: “A real writer can write anything.”

I consider myself a real writer.

There is no genre which is off limits to me, that I cannot touch or will not explore. So, for this I return to visit my first (undead) love. Why is it vampires, and not wolves (I am #TeamJacob, but that is another matter)? Simplest answer–Bela Lugosi. I make no apologies for that. But, vampires to me have always been this mix of scary and sexy. That, and–if I am being honest–I feel A WHOLE WAY that Anne Rice’s Merrick (Merrique) was this dynamic creature (a witch!) and turned (by Louis), and then after not even a century ‘in the Blood (to use vernacular of The Vampire Chronicles), she just…died.

I remember being so angry, so frustrated, and feeling like something had been taken from me.

With the Twilight saga, and Stephanie Meyer having a issue about Black actors/People of color being cast (she said that she wanted to stay as true as possible to the source material)? I mean, the clear intent is that Black people cannot be seen, are not granted the space, to be extraordinary!

For that, I claim these vampires in the names of our ancestors! And if you liked the teaser of Calsepsi? Then you will love the novel that comes in April/May 2021.

#Staytuned.

In Remembering Anne Frank

Anne Frank - Diary, Quotes & Family - Biography
Anne Frank would have been 91 this year. Think about this.

I am a voracious reader, and a student of history. In past life, I wanted to study international business, but the arts won me over.

The first time I heard of Anne Frank I was 10 or 11 years old. I had a father who was a student of history, so documentaries were not a strange occurrence around my house growing up. Yet, I only began to hear about Anne Frank when I was in middle school–four years younger than the age she was when she died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945–46 years before I would be born. I remember being in my 6th grade Language Arts class and having to read excerpts of her diary for a unit we were studying–I think it was on narrative writing. In reading her diary for a class felt wrong to me. I knew she was dead, yes, so she wouldn’t mind. But, it was her diary! And it is for that reason, I have always given her work (that is what it is now, her work) a certain respect that I cannot place for any other writer. Neither do I have it for any other writer.

With the state of world including the rise in anti-Semitism, I comfort myself in watching V For Vendetta often. But, I actually watched the documentary #AnneFrank Parallel Stories on Netflix (Go! Watch it now!). And at 39–24 years older than Anne Frank got to be and 52 years younger than she would be today–that same reverence is there for her. As Helen Mirren read from her diary, I found out more about her than I new before! I had always wondered HOW she had lost her diary and WHO kept it (a woman named Miep who owned the house they hid in for 2 years). I had thought about whose decision it was to publish it (it was her father, the only Frank family survivor in early 1960’s-I can only imagine how he felt!). Through this documentary, Anne became more real–and more of a writer–than I thought as that 11-year-old girl at Yeatman Middle School, whose only outlet was reading and writing.

I am ashamed to say that I have not read her whole diary, but I aim to do that this year. Which leads to the question: What does this have to do with anything, right?

Stories matter. Stories teach. Stories reach! They compel, and they tell, and they give peace when they can, and warnings where they must! Anne Frank’s diary is a first-hand account of a girl in the beginning of life, watching her entire life change! And for this reason, for this cause, her work–her diary!–must be studied. It must be taught! The story of her life must be perserved!

I chose this picture of Anne because I like to think had she lived, this is how she would be poised at her desk. Or in her office writing for a newspaper. Or writing her novels. I imagine her all seasoned, wizened, badass with pen in hand. Just imagine what her autobiography would have been like?

Remember the Beyonce song I Was Here? That is how I felt watching this documentary. That is the feeling I get when I encourage other writers to tell their stories, and be bold enough to write down what they cannot speak. Words matter. Stories matter. The story of your life matters. Besides, if you don’t believe me, ask Anne.

Anne Frank quote: Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones  because...

Another shameless documentary plug on Netflix which is based on a book is Steal A Pencil For Me. You’re welcome.

Revolutionary Warfare: Remembering Toni Morrison

“Don’t die with your dream in you.” -My mama, Bessie

I first met Toni Morrison in my Sophomore Spanish I class. There was this girl who sat behind me, Lolita (No lie, that was her name!), and she was reading this book with a purple cover. I asked her what she was reading. With all the Black girl swag she could muster, she said, “The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.”

I am ashamed to say that I had no idea who she was. I knew who Maya Angelou was, but had no idea who Toni Morrison was. I remember asking her to see the book. She obliged and let me read the back. I purposed in my mind that I was going to read this book. I was going to find out who Pecola Breedlove was.

From then, it was on.

My ears were keen to pick up on anything that Toni was doing, anything that she read, recommended or spoke on. So, when Pieces I Am debuted in May 2019, I purposed to watch it. Through other demands, I wasn’t able to see it in theaters. When she died 5 month later? I felt like my grandmother had died…all over again. It was on August 3-4, that I was able to have time and space to watch it. And I am glad that I did.

When I saw her face, heard her voice, I cried–and the film was only 5 minutes in. In hearing her, hearing her story and journey (even thought I was familiar with her voice and story), I cried. It was an affirmation, a coming home as Black, woman and writer. It reminded me that I was always a writer–a storyteller, and the footsteps I follow in are not new…but worn.

As I finished by undergrad at UM-St. Louis, I took ENGL 3870: American Literature After 1865 (Shouts to my mentor, Dr. Kimberly Welch!). This class–I am ever grateful for. Not just because I got to meet Dr. Welch (the first Black English professor I had at UM-St. Louis), but the first book we read for class was, Beloved. It took everything in me not to shout like the little Black Baptist girl in me wanted to! I was studying my shero. I was studying a woman that I had admired since I was 15. Whose books and words and imagination told me, showed me, the possibility of language.

Just like Nikki Giovanni does…still (Have you read EGO TRIP by Nikki?! You need to. Go do that now!).

And to study Beloved right after she died, with Dr. Welch telling me to go to grad school, with listening to her voice on film–it was a hug. It was that nudge that all writers have (I believe) when they are on the precipice of something great–to keep going.

The tears came.

The sobs racked me.

The grief shook me.

I gave over to the power this gift has, and purposed to never hide it again. Afterall, if you surrender to the air, you can ride it. That’s what Toni said.

The Affair With Struggle Love: Part 5-How Do We Get Back?

This is not an easy question.

We as people–especially girls–have been taught that to be in love is to suffer. It is to be in pain, and then your prince or king will come. In dismantling this facade that Struggle Love gives, you have to replace and supplant what we have been taught. We do that by pulling this thread: What does healthy love look like?

Healthy love does not mean enduring to the end of something. Love is a journey, it is healing, it a source of hope! Healthy love looks like boundaries, accepting limitations and realizing what you deserve! The broken record that begins with “You have to endure until it gets better,” or “A man just gon be a man,” or “This is as good as it will ever get,” has to be broken!

I believe this teaching begins to be supplanted when we as partners or potential partners decide what we want. And what we want has be definite and defined by what we want, and will not accept! We must have a criteria, and the criteria cannot be shaken for the want of being chosen!

Struggle Love has its roots in trying to be chose!

We begin to believe that love is to be worked for, suffered to get, and worked (often one-sided) to maintain. This is not so! Healthy love, giving healthy love, starts with you, dear one. It starts with who you model yourself after! What relationships you see around you, and what you aspire to become!

I know that not everyone sees these healthy examples around them. I get that people believe abuse is love–because it’s all they know! I know people see relationships every day that seem toxic that somehow magically become healthy overnight. I assure it, it doesn’t happen overnight.

It never happens overnight.

Image may contain: text that says 'Teach your daughters loyalty isn't how much pain they can tolerate from a man.'

The Bible tells us the older women are supposed to teach the younger women. You have to understand, what I am still learning, there is a portion of my experience a younger woman might need. Even if she may need it so she knows what not to do! We as the older women must be guideposts–for our sons and daughters! We have to give them what they need–regardless of our shame!

It is our shame at this generation of children need in order to realize what love is, what love is not, and what it should never turn into! Let us normalize the word “no.” Let us normalize what manhood looks like, and men having emotions! Normalize the intuition of women: the ‘something told me‘ is your first alert system! Normalize the acceptance of something when it can no longer be repaired! Normalize peace and being alone over the desire to be chosen–by people thieves wouldn’t trust.

Normalize respect for one another.

Normalize honor–without the need to test the boundaries of it.

Normalize being together–without testing the boundaries of what it means to be together.

Normalize what it means to be in love, and give that love back.

Normalize expressing counseling, and building save spaces in your relationships.

Normalize knowing what you want–and walking away from what you don’t. Anything you have to fight to get, you will have to fight to keep. Question is what are you willing to give of yourself to keep something that might kill you?

…And Just Like That, She Is Forty Minus One.

Happy Birthday to all my Birthday Twins! According to the Original Firestarter, My Mama, I was born Wednesday, June 24, 1981 at 10:37 am. If you desire to send all bday money, you send it to my CashApp: $JBHWrites. Thank you, dear ones!

39. I have made it to 39.

I am a mother, a daughter and a friend. This birthday feels different. It feels different, because it is different. I survived the onslaught of COVID-19, with my mental health and body intact! But this birthday is different.

I am getting extra tattoos. I am piercing my belly button again. I am embracing my sensual nature, and respecting (read: re-establishing) my boundaries. I am falling in love with me, and my own company all over again. Yet, I am doing it in a way I could only have done at this age. I am no longer keen on male company, and I am not dumbing down for it. I have found that I am a fan of a good wine, and Megan Thee Stallion.

I am writing more, and building a legacy for me and mine. I am appreciating my mother more, and her bed still has magic in it! And I do not know what I will do without her when the day comes I can no longer call her–or find her—on this side of the grass.

The previous 6 birthdays, I have been someone’s wife. I am no longer that. That wound is fresh, pulsing and I am still healing from that. It is a beautiful thing to be able to write in this time as well! If I couldn’t get all of this out of me, I would definitely be in a much sadder state.

In this birthday, the last of my 30’s, it feels different.

I’m moving different.

I’m looking at my life and raising my kids different.

Everything is different!

I went into 2020 with all these plans and expectations—and weights. I will not dwell on the demise of my second marriage, for 2 reasons.

1.) Ain’t no body got time for that! We are getting divorced. We are not friends. Nor do I purpose to be.

2.) Mr. Harris deserves to live his life without his ex-wife dragging him through the internet.

I’m much classier than this. I’m a lady (most days). Despite rumors to the contrary.

But the thing is this, I’m not terribly scared to turn 40. I’m not rushing it either! Trust me! I am thinking now about what I want the second half of my life to be. I am thinking about how I am going to be a better Mama. A better friend, and I am loving sleeping alone again! I am healing up, Oracles. I am enjoying time with my kids, and writing, and even have taken up gardening.

Yes, gardening.

I refuse to get a dog. And I hate cats, and the scary thing—in the next 5 years, I will have an 18-year-old child. And I have to get her ready for the world. I am absorbing all the time with her and her younger sister now.

What these first almost 7 months of this new decade have taught me is I am tougher than I ever thought. I deserve more than I ever put up with! I have learned when things are over, they are just over–and some men just can’t handle you; though they love the idea of you. What I have learned in this now 39 years of living is all wisdom is gotten at a cost: youth.

There is more I desire to do, that I must do–and I am excited. Besides, the adage is, “If she’s fine at 40, she’ll be fine forever!” And I plan on aging like Dihann Carroll!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

In Memoriam Of The Charleston 9

It has been 5 years since Dylan Roof walked in the Mother Emmanuel and killed 9 people at a prayer meeting. I remember watching this on national news, and my heart breaking. BREAKING in my chest. At the time, my [then] husband and I were pastoring in Ferguson, Missouri–trying to figure out how to be married, clergy, activists and sane a year after Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered not even 10 minutes from our apartment. 

What Dylan Roof did was evil. The absolute level of evil is for God discern when he closes his eyes for the last time. As for me and mine, my [then] husband and I kept pastoring. We kept serving, kept loving the community we were in, and trying to do what God told us. In 5 years time, what I have seen is two fold: people running away from anything Jesus-related, or they are clinging to it. 

The folk whom are running from it, say they have abandoned it because it is a ‘White man’s religion.’ Forgetting that Jesus isn’t White, the Gospel went to Africa before it went to Rome, and the ‘fishers of men’ didn’t speak English at a native language. I say all that to say this. The White Evangelical Church has a lot to explain. A whole lot! Once more, it has taken the death of a man who was innocent to have dramatic, world-wide effect. You have to understand, as a woman of faith, the housecleaning that is happening in the faith community is overdue! It is overdue! Do you know how hard it is to preach this gospel with the assertion that most people believe that Christ is a ‘white man’s savior’? Let’s not even get into what it means to be a woman doing this work! 

In the light of this resistance–this once in a generation resistance–it seems fitting that this memoriam would be commemorated! However, the best thing about this? The White Evangelical church is having to deal with these chickens coming home to roost, dens of foxes in henhouse, and packs of wolves in sheep’s clothing. What reassures me that a reckoning has come is when WHITE pastors are confronting racism in their respective denominations. 

One of those pastors is Pastor Judah Smith of ChurchHome-Seattle. On a June 4th Zoom live, he said these two things: “We have colluded with the culture.” Meaning, there is still a thread of racism (real, palpable RACISM) that is going through the church. But the quote that struck me was this: “We have preached America as if–at times–its is scripture.” I see no lie present in this. None! The church, the one founded by Jesus Christ was NEVER supposed to collude with a culture. It was never supposed to align with one race of people! It was never designed to be a place where all people were not welcome! The fact Dylan Roof did this, killing the pastor of this church, only to have his body taken to internment under a Confederate flag? Insult isn’t even the word. In commemorating this tragic event, it is right that the church–a entity of change, hope, protection and security, begin to examine just how much of Christ is in the church. 

I mean, it was founded by a Middle Eastern man, whom didn’t speak English and was a refugee whose non-English speaking parents teenage parents fled their home to prevent his murder, only to be murdered by this state in front of his mother for being a threat to power—maybe, the legacy of this moment is the change it would bring. Rather, that is bringing. Octavia Butler said it this way, “All that you touch is change, all that you touch changes you. God is change.”

Change has now come.

Solidarity In Blackface: Top Of The List Of What You Need Never Do

I don’t know who thought this was a good idea.

I don’t know if this is the type of thing that happens when liberal solidarity lacks solidarity. I Don’t know if this started as a movement, and ended up a mess—but I know as a Black woman that still struggles to see herself in the Beauty industry, this is a mess. A FRESH FISH GREASE HOT MESS! There is a way to stand in solidarity with Black women, using Black-owned cosmetics from same said Black cosmetics companies, without transforming yourself as a WHITE WOMAN, into a BLACK WOMAN.

This. Helps. Nothing. Please.

Stop. Doing. This. Shit. NOW!

I get it! We are in a time where the earnest thing to do is trying to support. I get that there are influencers are seeing now the demographics they have ignored! I even understand trying to support Black Lives Matter by showing ‘beauty is only skin deep’. But this? Like this? NO. Remember when Kim Kardashian West tried something similar a couple years ago? I do!

Is it bad enough some (not all) white women make sport of making the Black female form a damn commodity?!

Isn’t it bad enough that I, and other Black women that work in white-dominant spaces have to adjust our HAIR to not cause a problem? But Kayla in Marketing can get ‘boxer braids’ to wear to the company party and be seen as ‘edgy’ and ‘trending.’ Seeing your body—that you are taught to either shame or share—being celebrated on someone else what doesn’t look like you, or would call HR on you because you didn’t speak to them; spoke to you in a tone of voice; not considered ‘part of a team’ because you refused to be erased or minimized through the mechanism of microaggressions? But you will get on Beyoncé’s internet and pull THIS?

No, white women—THIS IS NOT HOW YOU SHOW SOLIDARITY!

No, white women—no one is going to hold your hand through this revolution!

No, white women—you cannot just ‘darken’ your skin to show how you support Black women, Black men, and the continued equality for Black people! What you can do is when you get these PR packages from certain companies and you don’t see anything darker than light toast? Call them on it. When you see other MUA/influencers stealing the ideas from other brands (YES, YOU HUDA BEAUTY!)? Say something. Learn how to do more than just make up on women that look like you or lighter! Learn that Black girl skin is just as glorious as yours! How you stand with Black women is you give us space; you give us room to create; you stop erasing because of intimidation; you validate—rather than imitate and steal! And afro wig and Fenty PR 420 Pro Filt’r is not going to fix this one…no matter how many of your non-Black girl MUA’s said it would.

When Is It Going To Be Enough?

Note: I’m finna go in.

This is a mood.

I am tired. I am angry. I am a Black woman in America trying to maintain, live and love while trying not to be killed by the White supremacy-powered law enforcement! I am just trying to live! Why is this so hard for folk?

I am tired on a level that I am sure other activists and writers are–it is outrage fatigue! I am tired of trying to tell the people who desire to kill us, and the apathetic people that watch them do it, to stop doing it! I want to be finally been seen in a country my ancestors built, whose blood is still in the soil!

I am tired, family. I am tired!

Yet, I will not be quiet. To be quiet now is to be complicit. To be complicit is to side with the oppressor. In siding with the oppressor, I come into agreement with the plan for my own destruction! I cannot allow this to happen!

In siding with social change, in championing social upheaval, I can only feel my strength return. I feel my help coming in the form of the energy surrounding and flowing around me. It is the embrace of change, the aniticpation of new hope that allows me to keep going. But even then, my question is–“When will it be enough?”

When will there be enough hashtags?

When will there be enough video?

When will there be enough ‘bad cops’ caught?

When will enough ‘good cops’ speak up?

When will the children and grandchildren whom are descendants of slave owners stop being concerned with the preservation of their power and influence to do what is right? Not even ‘right’–just fair?

When will the burden of dismantling such a system be shared beyond the fear Black/Brown and Indigenous people face?

When will the repeated DEATH of people be enough to change a system?

I mean, if the world still rejects Jesus…I suppose the blood of Black folk won’t fix it either.