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Showing posts from August, 2015

8.31.15

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Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about my former students in Baltimore. My babies are going into their first day of 9th grade. I tried to take my mind off of missing and worrying about them so I picked up my Baldwin, in an effort to finish, “The Fire Next Time”. I did. And then I went online and found America’s 4th favorite Black woman (only behind Oprah, BeyoncĂ©, and 1st Lady Obama) Nicki Minaj, showing the entire world via the MTV Video Music Awards, how we women of traumatic childhoods who internalize other people’s projects, handle our problems with other women. We don’t use democratic poise and grace. We don’t call one another over to our homes for tea, brunch, or coffee. We don’t write a letter and try our best to talk things out. No, none of that. We bully. We send verbal threats… virtual ones too. We call our opponents out of their names. And we show no desire for actually resolving our issues without calling for a fight. We need the …

Monday Blues

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Didn't have a good day 
Monday blues  Was going to go straight home and write and read under the fan
Got home Changed my mind Decided to run errands  Dropped all of my school books and bags off  Grabbed Frantz Fanon's - Black Skin White Masks to read on the train Had a few chapters left Annotated and marked up for lessons Carried and sipped some mango juice  Took a leather skirt and sequence shirt to the tailor Dropped a big bag of shoes and a big bag of clothes off at the goodwill  Decided to take the 1 to 50th and get my favorite candles from Anthropologie because I had a return anyways Went down the stairs of the train right before I realized I didn't have my book  Went right back to the goodwill  Taken by the young boy was the bin with the clothes that I donated Sent up for sorting  Wished good luck from the security man but I didn't need it I knew it had to be in that bin Went up the elevator and into the sorting house  Waited forever for the old freight to take me to complete my sea…

It's in Your Hands

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"We're going to trick this guy today. We're going to catch a bird, and we're going to carry it to this old man. And we're going to ask him, 'This that we hold in our hands today, is it alive or is it dead?' If he says 'Dead', we're going to turn it loose and let it fly. But if he says, 'Alive', we're going to crush it."  So they walked up to this old man, and they said, "This that we hold in our hands today, it is alive or is it dead?" He looked at the young people and he smiled. And he said, "It's in your hands."
-Fannie Lou Hamer  The Special Plight and the Role of Black Women NY, NY 1971

Little Valencias

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August 28th, 2015
11:07 AM
NP: Billie Holiday - God Bless the Child 

I met myself today. She's a sassy thing. This week was "leadership week" for our 8th grade kids who were always in trouble last year. I haven't introduced myself to them. I just pop in and out of their workshops, taking notes on their behaviors. Writing things they say.. Stuff like that. Today, one of the deans was giving a lecture and she was writing. I whispered in my stern ms clay voice,  "Put that pen down and pay attention". She was PISSEDDD!! Probably like, da f--k? Who is this lady? But she put that thing down! Then I passed her a cute little note, "You are a leader, when you're appearing to not pay attention, no one else will. Stay at your best". And she read it and started writing me back but I purposely left the room so she wouldn't be able to give it to me. Hold that. This ain't no back and forth thing right now. It's funny though because how many times ha…

Untitledness

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Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:41 PM NP: The Internet "Sunset"
Blossoms has interns now and I have to brag about them. When you hear 10th grade girls say things like, "I've been natural since 7th grade" all you can do is smile. When they ask me, "What is your curl regime for your Afro?" Im like, yesssss! These young queens are on to something that many Black women my age didn't learn about until college. They ask me about how it feels to leave New York and live somewhere else... I tell them it's hard but it's going to develop you as a woman, in ways that staying home cant. If it wasn't for Baltimore, I wouldn't be where I am today. I haven't told them my life story yet but I urge them to leave home and come back when they feel ready. Truth be told, I didn't feel ready to come back but things just fell so perfectly into place. Not a day goes by that I don't get an omen that I made the right decision. 
Then, I was waiting for th…

Old Enough

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Someone asked me how old I was yesterday, after she learned that I have been teaching for almost 8 years. She literally said, 
"You've been teaching for 8 years?! Oh you're a grown woman! How old are you?" 
I'm like, "I actually don't tell people my age but I'm old enough to have been teaching for this long." 
It was my first time trying that out. You know, like they say in the movies, "a lady never tells her age." I really liked how I felt after saying it. So empowering. And it's what I will say from now on when questioned. 
People don't understand my plight. Everyone has their issues with self-image, including me. I used to hate my body and my face. I hated looking so young. Not having the "grown woman" body that my peers have made me very insecure, especially with men. I tried to dress more sophisticated and always kept my hair straightened, in an attempt to look more mature. 
Not sure when it occurred but I woke up one…

After Grace Jones

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When the beat dropped, the entire crowd erupted into an uproar. I don’t know exactly what it was … maybe it was because we were in the heart of Brooklyn but even those of us who weren't natives of the “thoroughest borough" felt a sense of pride as we stood there, screaming every lyric to "My Jamaican Guy", a song her mother sings on, even though her Pentecostal father completely disassociated himself from her so that he could gain status as bishop in the church. We can definitely thank LL Cool J for his sampling of the beat. It always resurrects the spirit of a New York City summer … the good old days of 1995, when you could cop a bag of red Doritos, a quarter-water, sunflower seeds, and a pack of winter fresh all for a dollar from Papi at the corner store.
I heard someone behind me say, “She’s like sixty-something!” And I couldn’t believe it. I Googled it. Sixty-seven to be exact. Sixty-seven, rolling around the stage with her entire rump and bumps out. Excuse my vu…

Saturday Night: Art and Ye

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We are all here for a reason on a particular path
You don't need a curriculum to know that you are part of the math Cats think I'm delirious but I'm so damn serious That's why I expose my soul to the globe, the world I'm trying to make it better  for these little boys and girls I'm not just another individual my spirit is a part of this That's why I get spiritual but I get my hymns from Him So it's not me it's He that's lyrical I'm not a miracle I'm a heaven-sent instrument My rhythmatic regimen navigates melodic notes for your soul and your mental That's why I'm instrumental Vibrations is what I'm into Yeah I need my loot by rent day But that is not what gives me the heart of Kunta Kinte I'm tryna give us free like Cinque I can't stop that's why I'm hot Determination dedication motivation I'm talking to you my many inspirations When I say  I can't let you or self down If I were of the highest cliff, on…

Made in Her Image

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Harlem, the mecca, doesn’t just exist - it lives. 
I analyzed the crowd: High class. High society. A cultured Black folk. Walking canvases. Unique forms of self-expression through fashion. Uncountable shades and sizes of women with voluptuous hair and shamelessly flowing dresses filled the capacity of the gallery. Fluorescent tribal patterns, hot pink backless maxis, and floral denim body-cons. Six-inch-high heels and summer flats. Three piece suits, shinny dress shoes, and fedoras with feathers on the side were worn by the older gentlemen who stood around, laughing and making the younger women blush with their respectful compliments. I could appreciate the balance of Louis Vuitton bags, Versace frames, and staple second-hand pieces. Laughter and sophisticated conversations gave the Sol Studio on Adam Clayton Powell and 124th a classy climate with just the right amount of sex appeal on this warm, mid-August night.
A bottle of Chardonnay on ice, white popcorn in a large crystal bowl, and…

The Same Harlem Girl that You Used to Know

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I was on St. Nick. It was a little after 4:45 and I about to walk toward the A train when two heavy set black girls stopped me, asking me to get them something to eat. 
"We don't have no money but if you don't believe us, you could just buy us something to eat." 
"Let me ask you something..." I said. "Tell me how you asking for money when you have lashes and twenty-inches down your back?" 
"We..we..we not.. we not homeless or nothing." The other girl, wearing a red mid-drift letting her potbelly hang all the way out, battled with her stutter as she talked. "We li..live in the same fo-fo-foster home. We don't do this everyday but our foster mother ain't gi..gi..giving us no money." She exhaled. 
"Obviously somebody is giving you some money if you can afford to buy tracks and get acrylic. Don't play me girls." 
"These is premium tracks..." The first girl attempted to explain the difference in hair and c…

I'm Sorry Pharell, I Cant Get Happy Over Dope

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After watching the independent movie, Dope, produced by Forest Whitaker, executive produced by Pharell, and co-executive produced by Diddy, I am left with many lingering questions. For those who haven’t seen the movie, let me give you a quick synopsis:

Dope is coming of age-themed film focused on the life of a young, Black, high school senior from “The Bottoms”, a small area in Inglewood, CA. Malcolm (played by break-out star Shameik Moore) and his two best friends, Diggy and Jib, are often bullied for being nerds who act “white” in their high school, an environment that is so violent they have metal detectors and a narcotic-detective-dog at the entrance. Diggy and his friends are constantly faced with hurtles that stereotypically hamper the lives of all youth that live in “the hood” e.g.: They have no other choice but to walk home from school through a gang of Bloods and risk getting their belongings, such as Air Jordan’s, stolen.

One day on his way home from school, Malcolm is approac…

Invitation Only

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Nothing more beautiful than a woman siting at the bus stop  Reading And lost in a world that only she can leave and return to as she pleases  Invitation only  Random rubber gloves Empty bags of chips Cigarette butts  She doesn't see any of them in her world  She can only see  What she wants to see

Waiting for the A on 125th

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2:34PM

The mother told her daughter to sit down. The woman that was already sitting next to her daughter got up before I could to offer her my seat. 
"Mommy body hurt from carryin' all'at, J.J." Her entire body seemed to exhale as she slowly squatted onto the seat. She secured her big, black duffle bag in between her feet, in the way that all New Yorkers do when putting their bags down in public places.  
The next uptown train is now arriving on the Express track. (The automated message spoke through the speakers of the station.)
"I hope it's the D train." The mother said. 
"Are we on the express side?" The little chocolate girl looked up and around to see the signs. Her pronunciation was proper and clean compared to her mother's thick and gritty Harlem accent. 
"Yea but..."
"So it will be the D silly!" She playfully said to her mom as she covered her wide, bashful smile after calling her mother silly. 
"I'm jus' s…