Yesterday, I Woke Up In Brooklyn…

  
There’s nothing like celebrating life with a brand new set of eyes after having been thrown a curve ball. I have thanked God everyday for that curve ball. I’ve cast aside the restraints of social bondage to live the abundant life. 

I traveled to New York from Chicago,last Thursday, with the expectation of witnessing miracles upon miracles and wonders that never cease (in the words of Ms. Tiphani Montgomery). I went with an open mind and an open heart…and boy did I bring back some good stuff. Goodness, greatness, knowledge and wisdom attached itself to me! I returned to Chicago, last night, with a deeper appreciation for my art as a writer and even more appreciative of the lives I will inspire with my gift. I realized a few things about myself along the way…

1. I am a street art junkie.

2. I can wear different patterns simultaneously in New York and I fit in.

3. Dancing to Michael Jackson music for 3 hours straight is a great way to feel alive!

4. I LOVE HIP-HOP!

5. If I want what I want, I’ve got some risks to take. 

6. Now is the time! 

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Is This Thing On?

I’m having a moment at this very moment. I’m not on the verge of tears or contemplating destruction. I’m having a moment that I pray lasts a lifetime. I’m having an, I took Erykah Badu’s advice and dropped every damn bag that was weighing me down; a busting out of constructed boxes screaming, “I GET OUT”like Lauryn Hill; a Tasha Cobb, break every chain kind of metamorphosis… And it feels like baby Piper getting glasses and being able to see clearly for the first time ever. It’s not a feel good moment because I’m wide awake and well aware that there is work to be done. The part that I want to last forever is the confidence that I have in succeeding. I know, at this very moment that God has been waiting for me to get up and do my part and THIS IS THE TIME. I’m not concerned about the money it’s going to take, the effort that I need to exert nor the fear that comes with putting action to faith. In this moment, I have no fear.

This, I believe is freedom. This is what it feels like. It’s so peaceful here, in this moment, in this place. All false humility and attempts at perfection have been cast aside because they were weighing me down. Desires to be anything other than what it is in my heart to be, have been cast back down into the pits of hell from which they came. I am in the midst of a breakthrough. It is happening right now and it is indescribable. It is a blessing without borders. There are no limitations. I am on the side of victory. So, here I am, taking time to make the moves.

This is me, coming out of the furnace, untouched, with a song in my heart that I have to share with the world. It is a moment as delicate and unblemished as Piper seeing clearly for the first time, yet long awaited and crucial enough to be deemed an unleashing.

Has Nina Simone’s Documentary Set The Stage for a “What Happened, Ms. Hill?”

Ms. Lauryn Hill

I had the pleasure of viewing the new Netflix documentary entitled, What Happened, Miss Simone?  The film chronicles the life and career of Eunice Waymon, most affectionately known to the world as Miss Nina Simone. As I watched the documentary unfold the life of Miss Simone, I could not help but think of how, in years to come, this could easily become the chronicled life of my favorite artist, Miss Lauryn Hill.

Miss Hill, like Miss Simone, a multi-talented mastermind, both blessed and cursed with the gift of genius, is a mystery to the media but remains “L-Boogie” to adoring fans patiently awaiting the re-entry of her much-needed artistry into the mainstream. Just as Miss Simone found her identity in protest music in the 1960’s, Miss Hill recent contributions are drenched in commitment to exposing the perils of the music industry; turning its seemingly brilliant white stronghold inside out to unveil the demonic plot of society to keep its inhabitants blind and eradicate any inkling of foresight or conscious thought. Her posture, transparent; her objective, opaque.

Miss Simone sings, “please don’t let me be misunderstood,” while Miss Hill insists that “when they think you’re crazy, they leave you alone.” I’m left to wonder if it is indeed the demands of the industry, the demons within the industry or the genius itself that is responsible for what caused Miss Simone and Miss Hill to retreat from society into psychological states of mental unrest.

The conundrum is in the very gift of artistic brilliance…the source of sanity and insanity, concurrently.  Proverbs 18:16 teaches believers that “A person’s gift shall make room for him and bring him before great men.” The gift, the art, the passion that the world fell in love with is what both beauties abandoned in an attempt to escape the bondage that accompanied it. The relationship is the archetypal scenario of the abusive lover; can’t live with him, can’t live without him…him being “the gift.”

I wonder what Miss Hill’s thoughts are about Miss Simone’s documentary. I wonder if the “mad scientist” analogy she implored on her MTV Unplugged album is what was eventually diagnosed in Miss Simone as manic depression and bipolar disorder. I wonder because I share Ms. Hill’s sentiment about the industry…but I also believe that there is joy in abundant life. Likewise, as a believer, I am sure she is keenly aware of this.

Like most fans, I have paid for tickets to see Miss Hill live in concert on numerous occasions and left overwhelmingly unfulfilled. I’ve since stopped paying to see her and started praying to see her.  I am praying to see past the maturation process that she is currently undergoing.  I am praying that though it appears that she is undoubtedly drifting down “has been” boulevard, things are not what they seem and God can and will change the direction of the wind and direct her to where He would have her tread, at any moment. I find comfort in Miss Hill deciding to no longer conform to the ways of this world. Though I believe that her wisdom, cloaked in music, is desperately needed in today’s society, I stand first in empathy, knowing that Miss Hill’s story is not finished just yet.

Stay tuned.

On Fatherhood

I talk about what I know. If I don’t know, I research it. I participate in conversations about it to consider multiple perspectives. As Father’s Day 2015 comes to a close, I’d like to share the little that I know.

1. A father is of the male gender.

2. I am not a father.

3. I did not grow up with a father in my home, nor my life, for the most part.

4. A woman must ALWAYS look at a potential mate as the potential father of her child(ren).

5. If, as a woman, you were not able to wish the father of your child(ren) a Happy Father’s Day, and he is still alive and well and you have access to his contact information, please remember that you two were once on one accord; and unless he took it, you CHOSE him.

6. It is unhealthy and ratchet to tell your child that Peter is his father and Charles is his daddy.

7. Fatherhood means the world to men who understand that children are a blessing.

8. If you are a single mother who gets nothing from the father of your child(ren)…request double for Mother’s Day or have a heart to heart with your children on April Fool’s Day about how all that glitters ain’t gold. Whatever you do, keep this day sacred for men who active in the lives of their children because they want to be and wouldn’t have it any other way.

That is all.

The Only Way Out

Every hardship, disappointment and difficult situation that has occurred in my life was designed to increase my strength. I’m at  an age now where I’ve realized that every thing does not deserve a comment; so there are times that I absolutely have nothing to say. But there comes a moment in every person’s life where people mistake the meekness you prayed, tarried and sought God early in the morning to acquire, for weakness or false humility. My conundrum manifests in my not wanting to be an older bitter person who has something to say about everything, but also finding it more than necessary to confront issues in order to establish boundaries with the people who present those issues. In laymen terms, I have to establish my “I ain’t no punk!” brand, with fidelity and in excellence, of course.

On her MTV Unplugged album, Lauryn Hill stated, “The only way out is through confrontation. We thought it was retreat. But you have to confront it.” This made me think about Jesus. People came at Him “sideways” more often than not. He was accused, enticed and betrayed. With each offense, Jesus said just enough to challenge the motives of His enemies. He shut them up when he spoke.  He confronted those that others had not. He confronted issues that others had chosen not to.  He confronted sin by death on the cross. Jesus was “no punk!”

So, be it resolved that I am work in progress who may not “cut you from the knave to the chops” with my words like I once enjoyed so very much; and will not sit silently and minimize what needs to addressed in the now; but might very well confront you with words that unmistakingly establish boundaries yet sustain my peace…at the same damn time!

This is Hell

How do you enter a church during Bible Study, stay awhile, and then kill nine people in cold blood? 

The fall back plea of insanity, that works legally in favor of white Americans, is the direction in which the media scurries to justify such a horrific travesty. My filter is off. This is bullshit. 

This massacre was premeditated. It was carried out by a white man who entered a place of worship, stayed to observe, and then made a conscious decision to murder nine Black people. The Huffington Post reported that he reloaded five times admist victims of his hate asking why he was doing this, Roof replied, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

My question is, who retarded the history he was taught? His reasoning sounds a lot like the African-American experience of being kidnapped from the continent and enslaved throughout and across the diaspora. I won’t attempt to psychoanalyze Roof’s verbal reasoning, so that’s that. 

It’s not enough that the overwhelming hate/fear some have for African-Americans is more transparent in the media given recent events that involve law enforcement and/or self appointed neighborhood watch and/or concerned citizens shooting to kill Black boys and men specifically, but now the church, which has historically been a safe haven and place of refuge can quickly become   the backdrop for a hate based massacre.

I’m sure the church members that were present that night embraced Roof and welcomed him to worship with them. I’m sure someone gave him the side eye and discerned that he wasn’t right. I’m sure someone else prayed that no weapon formed against them should prosper. I’m sure that this monster whose father fell from heaven for wanting to take the place of God, listened to these people pray for him, and yet he found the will to murder nine of them, in cold blood, with gumption to reload five times. 

U.S. Justice System, I don’t want to hear about his mental condition or a plea of temporary insanity. I want to know if you will offer him the same sentence you offered the culprits of the Boston Marathon Massacre. Or will you even equate this with that? Roof is a terrorist, homegrown; an imprint in the history of American fabric that you tried to fold over, check it again…it is dry rotted and unraveled at the seams.

It Ain’t That Deep

I woke up in my thoughts.  I reached for my journal and these words were impressed upon my heart… “IT AIN’T THAT DEEP.” And suddenly, life made sense. I am a chronic over thinker, which in most cases, suits me fine, but for the recent events of my life, the abundance and depth of thought was way over the top.

Some people are naturally deep because they over-think everything. Some people desire to be deep but you couldn’t drown in their conversation if you successfully emerged your whole head in it. Some are not interested in the depth of anything…the surface is adequate for them. As a teacher, the goal I set for each of my students is to learn how to think, deeply; critically. I can only teach what I know so I am constantly engaged in deep thinking…which spills over into my everyday thinking that leads me to over think, often.

Some things in life require analysis. There are situations that deserve critical thought to be resolved. I’m glad got me straight on this one this morning.

When I realized that this thing I was wallowing in really wasn’t “that deep,” I laughed at myself out loud. The worry, the anxiety, the realization that I was not in control, all faded into oblivion as I laughed heartily at myself for trying to be deep. I made a mountain out of a mole hill.

mountain-molehill

I challenge you to reevaluate that thing or those things that are currently plaguing you. Learn with me to save that energy for the things that truly need you to be deep.