Why “Black Girls Rock” Is Still Needed

IMG_5576Cosmopolitan magazine recently published an article with these four makeup trends. The pictures are showing women of color doing the trend wrong whereas the women of non color have hit the nail on the head. -_- This is the exact reason why shows like “Black Girls Rock” is still needed in today’s society. Some would argue that the recent events like The First Family being Black or number 1 television shows featuring exclusively Black actors are starting to appear, would show that racism is going away. But we all know that is a lie. Even if you take out the constant police brutality against black men, the constant dehumanization of people of color when it comes to the media is abundant and thrives. These pictures not only signify that Black women are getting it wrong, they should die in the process. This is something that should have never been thought about nor gotten to the publishing stage. But it is ideas like these, little slight nuisances that continue to shove the story of Black women not being good enough.

Watching “Black Girls Rock” last night was a powerful moment. I watch it every year and am always inspired and motivated by the beautiful women of color, young and old, that continue to make waves in society. This year, I decided to watch it with my oldest son. He asked me why were only Black girls on the show and I hesitated. He’s only 8 and I wasn’t sure how to answer his question in a way that he would understand. I then replied, “How many Black girls do you see on the shows that you watch?” He immediately got it. He expressed that he doesn’t see any Black girls on the shows he watches and if he does it’s only one or two but they aren’t always on there. This misrepresentation is the reason for this show. This is the reason why “White Girls Rock” is not a thing. “White Girls Rock” is an obvious statement everywhere you look! Every media ad you see is a woman of non color claiming to be beautiful or powerful. If you see a Black woman, she is always on the side. Never in the forefront. We have to continue to push shows and agendas like these for our community. These positive images are what our youth need to see. It is what we all need to see. That no matter what, we are not what they paint us to be. Black women are the most powerful women in this world once we tap into our brilliance. We create the trends, we motivate the masses, we have the ability to do anything with nothing. We are the original creators. So, I implore everyone to tell a Black girl or Black woman that she rocks each and every day because just turning on the TV or flipping a page in a magazine states otherwise.

Artist Spotlight: Kiwi The Beauty

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I am a firm believer in constantly supporting the creatives in this field. We need to uplift one another so that we can truly make a mark in this world. This month’s “Artist Spotlight” is focused on the world of blogging. Kisheyna Durham aka Kiwi is the mastermind behind the blog, http://www.kiwithebeauty.com. Blogging since 2006, Kiwi has finally settled into her own lane of bringing beauty and lifestyle together in a fabulous way. Featured in several magazines, gracing billboards, and becoming the spokesperson for a variety of brands, including Travel Divas and Miss Jessie’s, Kiwi the Beauty is ready to take the blogging world by storm.

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1. How did you get started in your craft?
Blogging I have been doing since 2006. I didn’t consider it a craft in the beginning, it was a hobby. I had no idea blogging would be something that could grow to this magnitude but I am happy it has developed into my craft.
2. What is something that inspires you to stay motivated?
Other bloggers who are doing really big things. Who are working with big brands, getting almost celebrity like endorsements and even being featured on commercials. That motivates me…that bloggers can go really far in this industry!
3. Where do you see yourself and your craft 5 years from now?
Five years from now I would love to see my brand grow and it evolve into a 6-figure business. I want my blog and brand to be well-known and provide me opportunities far beyond my own personal goals and dreams.
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4. What sets you apart in your craft from others?
Just being myself! I have my own personality and drive. There are millions of blogs with a lot of niches…but I just set my own standards. Although I am inspired by some and even learn from other blogs, I still just do my own things to make “Kiwi the Beauty”…my voice and in alignment with me.
5. What do you love the most about your craft?
The opportunities that have came with it. I get invited to a lot of fun events and I have some great brand ambassadorships because of it and I am so happy all of it is in alignment for what I got my degree in which is Mass Media Communications.
 
6. What is the main thing you want people to learn or to get from your craft?
That blogging is a business and it is not just a trend or new thing. While it is fun and glamorous sometimes, it is still WORK! I feel like I do 5 different jobs being a blogger…its not just taking pictures and putting them in a post. The blogging industry is growing and we are also slowly but surely getting all the recognition we deserve!
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Make sure you check out the blog at http://www.kiwithebeauty.com. You can also follow Kiwi on Twitter, Facebook. and Instagram under the handle Kiwithebeauty. Remember, true success comes with the ability to support others. Whether it is a like or a follow or a simple share, it all helps! :)

The Easter Challenge

Okay, so before you get excited, there is no real challenge. Per say. There won’t be a prize at the end and you racing to do ridiculous things. The title is actually a challenge between mind and spirit. My mind and spirit. It is one that I have been battling for quite some time and have just now developed an understanding to. It may come to a shock to some because you know how it goes when Black folks bring up any questions against religion, but eh. It won’t be the first time I have ruffled some feathers. :)

My mother always had me in the church and involved. We weren’t there 24/7, but I knew God and Jesus as my savior since I could remember. I loved going to church and hearing my pastor preach. He fed so much life into me, at such a young age, and I attribute most of my sanity to his preaching. As I became older, 18, I didn’t go to church as much. And after my pastor died, I really didn’t want to period. We soon settled into another church with a pastor who was actually my youth minister at my previous church. I felt at home because he was an amazing preacher as well. But, I would find myself feeling a certain type of way when certain passages were read in the Bible. I often had questions but knew that it could go one or two ways. Either I would find out a truth that I would not be comfortable with or I would be looked at as different because I was challenging the word of God. So, I kept it to myself. Telling myself that I could enjoyed the sermon and take from it what was needed and move on. Years later, with kids, I  have been conflicted again. As my oldest is coming to the point where he wants to be baptized, I am questioning myself again. I have always vowed to allow my children to learn things on their on and never push my opinions on to them. This is with anything, food, clothing, and religion. But I also wondered if this was the right thing. As a parent, you are suppose to lead your child in the right direction. Was there a way that I could introduce him to God without overly pushing religion on him?

As stated before, I grew up in the church. If it wasn’t for my knowledge of Him and knowing that He could get me through anything, I would not be where I am today. It is my experience with God, my daily conversations, my knowing of his grace and mercy that allows me to believe in Him. This is what I want to instill into my children. I don’t necessarily want them to believe in man or an institution or a religion. I want them to believe in Him and Him only. But, as kids do…they have questions. It is hard to answer these questions without a bias opinion and this has been my biggest problem. I don’t want him to ask, “Why should I believe in Jesus?” and my answer is because I said so. I want him to come up with these answers on his own because everyone’s journey is different. What I believe in and what works for me may not be what works for him and his life.

Then, I am challenged with what do I fully believe in. I believe in God. I believe that He created everything and He has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life. I believe that He is the reason for any and everything that is happening and will happen to me. Here comes the conflict. I do not believe in the Bible. I actually never have. As a writer, I can’t shake the thought of several creatives sitting around and writing an entertaining self help book. There are things in the Bible that I cannot agree with and therefore, I feel like I can’t believe in the full book. Can’t just pick and choose what you want to believe. So because of this, I often question my belief in Jesus Christ. The only thing saying that he is possible is the Bible and I have already denounced believing in that, so therefore I should not believe in Jesus. See, that’s where it gets tricky. Because I believe in God with every fiber of my being, I can easily believe that Jesus is real. I can believe that it is possible that he died and rose. God is that powerful. He may not be real because of what is written in the Bible, but I do not deem it ridiculous if he was. Does that make sense?

So, with this Easter Challenge, I am challenging myself to be more open with my beliefs. Easter is a holiday dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As someone who somewhat believes in this story, should I still fully celebrate it? Should I allow my children to celebrate it and educate them on what it means without putting my two cents in? I have decided to teach my children both ways. If they have questions, they will be answered wholeheartedly. I will give them my full and honest opinion and let them make their own decisions on what to believe. I will instill God in them and as they become older, they will choose their own paths. While it is still in the early stages of thinking, I am still praying and adjusting as I go. One thing that I have made certain is that I will not participate in the Pagan part of this holiday. There will be no Easter baskets full of candy. There will be no Easter egg hunts. I have no clue what this has to do with Jesus’ resurrection and I refuse to play into it any longer. I want my sons to be fully educated and not just go with what society deems is correct. Society wants us to spend money for a holiday that is suppose to be solely based on something spiritual. Nope! Not anymore.

Being more open with my beliefs allows me to be closer to Him. I am seeing things more clearly and He is allowing this to happen. It is nothing better than being awakened, in your own mindset, and not being afraid to share it with others. With so many people and different religions, I have never been one to judge. I can only speak on my experiences with God and what He has done in my life. I can only do what is right for my life and my journey. This “challenge” is not so much a challenge, but an opportunity to realize who God is in my life and being okay with that.

Why I Wish People Would Leave Karrueche Alone

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Okay, this is going to be quick. I really didn’t want to discuss yet another celeb drama story BUT after seeing the way people are dragging Karrueche, I had to say something. My biggest issue with this entire situation is why are people targeting Karrueche? What did she do wrong exactly? She loved and forgave a man(too many times, but that’s your opinion) and she was cheated on…how is this her fault? Yes, you can say she should have seen the signs and left a long time ago, but does that warrant the reaction that she’s getting? I mean there are jokes everywhere about her not being loyal and lying about leaving Chris. How in the hell does this mean she’s not loyal? When did loyal equate stupidity? She’s not loyal because “girl it’s just a baby, you can stay.” -_- Some times it takes you to get knocked on your ass multiple times before you finally move on. Why are we not congratulating her for coming to this realization and at least saying she’s leaving? Granted, she may stay, but why is that anyone’s business? Honestly, look at your own relationships and think of how many memes people could come up with to describe you. Now, I am not agreeing with Karrueche in any way. I don’t think she should’ve stayed for so long with Chris, but I can definitely put myself in her shoes. Emotional abuse is the worse and it is the hardest to leave because some don’t see it as real abuse. “He didn’t hit me so it’s not that bad.” If anything I feel bad for her. Can you imagine a man that you love so much, a man that you have taken back so many times, just goes and has a baby with someone you were cool with? His seed, his spawn, his flesh and blood…with another seemingly unimportant woman? This is hurtful.

Instead of degrading her, how about we turn it around on the bitch assness of Chris Brown? Why do we automatically jump on the woman? HE is the one who cheated! HE is the one who lied! HE is the one claiming he wanted something with Karrueche that he obviously knew he had with someone else! HE is the one who constantly runs around talking about how much he loves her, but does the complete opposite! So, how about we run to Twitter and cuss him out and call him un-loyal and make memes about him with his name mispronounced? No, we don’t do that because like always, the woman is wrong in every situation. “She’s so stupid for staying…that’s what she gets.” No, she believed and trusted a man she loved. Since when was that the wrong thing to do? How many times have you forgiven someone just to have them shit on you again? The only difference is you do it behind closed doors. I normally don’t come on the blog and discuss celebrity matters, but as I am maturing I am learning that people need to see these celebs as human beings. This young woman is hurting and how dare we judge her life? Once again, I don’t agree with many of her decisions BUT I will never judge someone for falling in love and giving someone a chance. Been there, done that. It’s hard to let go of that type of love and maybe this is just the thing she needs to get back on the right track. Either way…she has my support. Even though I’m still slick kinda mad about the Beyoncé/ Blue hair thing :)

Refocus

“You’re becoming the woman you’ve always despised. Please stop.”

This was the text message that he sent me. I was on the phone having, yet another, Dr. Phil session with my best friend. I think he was fed up with my foolishness and finally decided to let me have it. It was funny because as soon as I read those words something instantly clicked inside of me. I understood exactly what he meant. I had become that woman. That woman who complained about her guy every two seconds but constantly went back to him. That woman who allowed someone else to fully take over their emotions and control their mood. That woman who constantly let them back in and made excuses for their actions. That woman who contemplated being the other woman just for a moment of happiness. I was that woman. The woman I hated…laughed at…felt sorry for. I was her. This instantly made me realize that something had to change. But for it to change, I had to realize how I became that woman so that I would never become her again.

If you follow me on social media, you probably have seen the ups and downs that my ex and I have gone through. Finally, on my own, the unthinkable happened. I became pregnant. I was back in his grasp again. Even with him being totally against it, I was still connected, in some way to him and he was okay with that. I was still there for him, sexually and financially and most important, emotionally. We were there for each other. But, fate would happen and I had a miscarriage. As hurt as I was, and still am, I saw this as a new lease on life. I was ready to get back out there and live again. But, it was hard. I mean, I loved this man and he was one of my closest friends. He was one of those people that I hated but when he came around we always had an amazing time. It was something I wasn’t ready to give up. When my friend gave me the advice he gave me, it made me look at our situation in a different light. I don’t have to give up my friendship with him. We can still hang out and be there for each other, BUT I needed to stop with the dependency. I have never…NEVER NEVER NEVER…. been a dependent woman. I had my own place at 18, single mother at 20…I have never needed a man for anything, except one thing, and that was it. I was the type to have my fun and live my life. Never dependent on a man to give me happiness and fulfilment. My friend saw the opposite happening and this is why he said what he said. I was completely losing myself.

With that being said, there is nothing like liberation. Liberation is the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression. This feeling is amplified when you liberate yourself. When you free yourself from all the bullshit and the lies. When you are able to look at yourself and be completely honest. Yes, you were that woman…that stupid, dumb ass, woman. Yes, you were in love…that’s okay, but you cannot be her right now. You cannot have that life right now. You cannot have the relationship and the additional kids and the “Suzy Homemaker” lifestyle. It’s okay. It’s not time for that. It is time to live! It is time to get to know other people and go places and explore this world. I used to harp on the friendships that I have lost over the years, but then I realized that God is just making space for new people. Doesn’t mean those friends were not important to me at the time, but they are not important or necessary for this new process of my life. AND THAT IS OKAY. Too often do we equate moving on to never caring. It is not true. I can move on from my ex and that does not mean that those feelings were not real. It means that I am recognizing that there is nothing there, I deserve better, and I am moving on. Staying stagnant is pretty much death in my eyes because you are not living life. You are just there…taking up space. Staying stagnant will kill you. I was not put here for that. I will be 30 in two years…please someone call the old folks home and set me up a room. I refuse to be in this same place at that age. I know others always say your 30s are when you start coming into your career…no fuck that(excuse the harshness)! I have known what I wanted to do since the age of 5…5!!! There is no excuse for me not being exactly where I want to be by that age. The problem is focusing on the wrong things. Focusing on the life that I keep trying to give myself that is not for me. My life was never meant to be mediocre. I refuse to turn into that woman again and try to make it. I am liberating myself of that mental state. I vow to only live in the moment. To only live for what’s right in front of me. To only focus on my life, my family, my career. This is what I will put my energy into. The extra will come and go, but it will not dictate my happiness and my focus. It is time to stop giving yourself to everyone else and give yourself to you. You are the only one who is living your life. No one else. Do what brings you joy and prosperity and say FUCK YOU to everyone else that brings otherwise. At the end of the day, your life is your own. Make it what YOU want.

Nathan and Renee

One thing I have always loved is the way that music seems to inspire writing. I have always wanted to take certain songs that inspire me and write short stories to go with them. This short story is inspired by the beautiful song, “Johnny and Donna,” by Mali Music. The calmness of this song first grabbed my attention and as I listened to the lyrics, I immediately became drawn to this scenario. Listen to the song below, read the short story, and tell me what you think.

“Come on Renee. I’m tired of you sitting in this house all alone. Come out with us tonight.” Renee shook her head at her roommate’s request. She didn’t want to go anywhere. Clubs were never her thing. “I have a book and a bottle of wine that’s calling my name.” Her roommate grimaced. “Okay, are you 26 or 36? Come on! It’s a really cool jazz bar. One of Teddy’s bands are playing. You’ll love it.” Renee sighed. “Please! I won’t ask you ever again.” “Okay, okay. I’m gonna hold you to that,” Renee said. Her roommate giggled as she went back into the bathroom. Renee shook her head as she went into her room and got dressed. When they arrived at the jazz club, Renee was not impressed. “What is this hole in the wall?” she asked as they waited in line. “It’s called Donnie’s. You’ll love it.” “As long as they serve wine, I’m sure I’ll love it,” Renee smiled. Once inside, Renee and her roommate were seated at a table close to the stage. Renee quickly ordered a glass of red wine and looked around. The inside was a lot nicer than the outside. There was a full bar, a dance floor, and a small stage. The walls were adorned with different abstract art pieces. The crowd seemed extremely diverse and the numbers grew quickly. Renee noticed a band setting up on the stage. There were three men setting up their instruments. She noticed the guitarist immediately. He played a few riffs as he tuned his guitar. The acoustic guitar caught Renee’s eye. It was painted black with several different graffiti type images arranged at the base. The young man seemed to be the leader as he gave orders to the other two men. Renee was so caught up in this man that she completely forgot about her drink that she ordered. Her roommate whispered, “Um, are you okay? Your glass has been there for about two minutes and it’s not empty yet.” “Oh,” Renee quickly laughed, “I was just checking out the band.” “Yeah, that’s who Teddy was telling me about. I forget their name, but his name is Nathan.” Renee blushed as she tried to play off her obvious trance that she was in. Finally, Nathan and his band began to play. Renee fell back into her trance as she listened to the intoxicating melody. As Nathan played, he began to sing softly into the mic. He looked over and locked eyes with Renee. Caught a little off guard by her, he smiled showing off a beautiful set of dimples. That was it. Renee had to talk to him. They continued to flirt with one another until his set was finished. Renee, feeling a little overwhelmed, went to bathroom. As she was coming out, there he was. They locked eyes again as he walked towards her. Renee fidgeted with her dress as she waited for him to get closer. This seemed like an eternity. Finally, he was there, right in front of her. “Hello,” he said. His voice was intoxicating. “Hi,” Renee softly said. She tried to avoid his gaze, but she was of no success. “You were really good out there. I liked your music.” “Thank you. You looked very good out there as well. Well, not to say you don’t look good standing here right now, but…” Nathan stammered. Renee laughed. Her laugh was beautiful. “I understand Nathan.” “How do you know my name?” “You said it when you introduced yourself and the band.” “Aw damn,” Nathan said, smiling. He couldn’t believe how he was slipping. That never happened to him. But Renee, for some reason, had him shook. She was beyond beautiful. Her cocoa brown skin highlighted by the red dress that she wore. Her natural beauty was evident as she only had on a dark brown lipstick. And her tightly curled hair was sending Nathan over the edge. She looked like an African goddess. “So, what’s your name?” Renee introduced herself as she felt her phone vibrate. It was her roommate. “That’s my friend checking on me. I better get back.” “Yeah, I have to get back to.” He took her phone and entered his number. He called the number and saved hers in his phone. “I’ll hit you up after the show.” Renee blushed and said okay. He took her hand and kissed it. “It was a pleasure meeting you tonight Renee.” He pulled her in close and looked into her eyes. “I hope to see you again.” They both stared at each other, breathless. A few moments later, Renee came back to Earth. She smiled again as she let his hand go, something her body did not want to do. She walked back to her table and sat down. Her roommate started to grill her but her words were being drowned out. Drowned out by the thoughts of him. After the show, Renee continued to think about him. She stared at his number until her eyes became sore. She wanted to call him, but she knew the rules. Hours went by and still nothing. Finally, Renee threw on her hair bonnet and got ready for bed. She tried to forget about him as she laid down. But this was easier to say. She picked up her phone again. She decided to text him instead. When she opened up the messenger, her phone vibrated. It was Nathan. Now she was nervous. She answered the phone after the third ring. “Hello,” she said. “Am I calling too late?” “No. I was actually on the phone with someone else. But you’re good.” “Is that so?” Renee blushed. “I was very serious about seeing you again,” Nathan stated. “We can arrange that.” “How about now?” “Um, its like 3 in the morning.” “So what? Do you have somewhere to be tomorrow?” “Not really.” “Okay then. Send me your address and I’ll come by.” Renee’s heart started to race. She couldn’t believe she was actually thinking about going out with him. She never did anything like this. But, she did want to see him again. “How about this? I know of an ice cream parlor that is 24/7. I’ll text you the address and you can meet me there.” Nathan agreed and Renee texted him the address. She threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Since it was a little brisk outside, she decided to add her leather jacket with it. She took her bonnet off and fluffed out her twists. She grabbed her purse and phone and quietly snuck out of her apartment. Waiting at the parlor, Nathan was sitting in one of the booths. He kept looking outside, waiting for Renee. When he finally spotted her, he felt like his whole body was on fire. She walked in and smiled at him. She sat down and said hi. Nathan wanted to grab her and never let her go. It was more than a physical thing. He felt incredibly drawn to her. This was the main reason why he wanted to see her tonight. He had to see if she could match his mental energy as well. “You look beautiful.” Renee blushed. “Thank you. You look nice as well. Nice to see the man on stage is the same man off.” “What do you mean?” “Well, you know how some people play a role when they get on stage. They try to appease the audience, but that’s not who they really are. It’s nice to see that you are who you are on stage and off. I can tell by your dress and just your mannerisms. It’s refreshing,” Renee explained. It was Nathan’s turn to blush this time. She was definitely on the right path. They both ordered chocolate milk shakes and continued to talk. Their discussion went from politics to career choices to favorite foods to which Power Ranger was the best. Renee looked outside and realized the sun was out. “Wow. I can’t believe we talked for this long.” “Yeah. Time just seemed to fly by. Didn’t even seem like it was that long,” Nathan said, taking out his wallet to pay for their order. Renee got up and waited for him at the door. They walked outside and looked at each other. Neither one wanted to leave. “So, do you have another show tonight?” Renee asked. “No. Not until tomorrow night. What about you? Are you doing anything today?” Renee shook her head. “How about we grab some breakfast?” Nathan smiled. Renee laughed. “You still want to be around me?” Nathan grabbed her hand and pulled her in close. “I want to be around you for as long as you allow me to.” Renee lost her breath again. He came closer to her. “Is that okay with you Renee?” She looked into his eyes and became lost. She looked down at his lips and could feel the warmth of his breath. She could sense the energy coming from his body into hers and vice versa. Nathan smiled. “I’m going to take this as a yes.” Renee blushed again as he let her go. She looked at him and nodded. He started to walk and Renee grabbed his hand. She put his arm back around her waist as she kissed him. Her intentions were to give him just a small peck. But once again, this was better said than done. The warmth of his lips ignited a flame inside of her. He cupped her face into his hand as he began to kiss her deeply. From that moment, they were one.

Two years later, Renee and Nathan were as happy as when they first met. Nathan and his band had decided to part ways and Nathan begin to travel with another crew. Renee was by his side the entire time. They travelled all over the world, playing at different venues. They were both able to experience new things and share in each other’s journey. They both were just happy to be in each other’s space, enjoying one another. Renee woke up one morning to the smell of Nathan cooking. They were back home, in their loft, for a few weeks. Renee walked into the kitchen and saw Nathan standing next to the stove. He was preparing her favorite, Cajun shrimp and grits. Renee took in a huge whiff of the aroma, but something different happen. What normally sent her stomach grumbling, instead sent her stomach tumbling. Renee ran into the bathroom, barely able to make it. When she finished, she rinsed out her mouth and started to brush her teeth. She went back out into the kitchen, but the smell overwhelmed her again. She ran back into the bathroom and this time Nathan noticed. “Baby, are you okay?” He could hear her throwing up and became concerned. “Renee!” “Just a minute,” she said as she flushed the toilet and rinsed her mouth out again. She opened the door and covered her nose. “Nathan that shrimp has to be old! The smell is horrible.” “Baby, what are you talking about? I just bought those this morning from the market. It actually smells great. I’m a little offended.” Renee smiled. “It’s not your cooking. I’m telling you that shrimp is bad. I can’t eat that.” Nathan shrugged his shoulders. “More for me.” Renee kept her nose covered as she walked into the living room. She opened the window and sat on the window sill. “Guess I’ll stay over here and eat then,” Nathan laughed. “Yes please do.” Nathan finished eating and cleaned everything up. He came over by Renee. “Do you feel better?” Renee nodded her head. “It’s a little weird because I’ve never thrown up before. Not even when I was sick. Maybe it was something I ate yesterday.” Nathan played with her hands. “We had subs yesterday. Maybe it was the meat.” Renee shrugged. She was in deep thought. Nathan could tell she was a little shook up. “Baby, I’m sure it’s nothing. It’s not like you were coughing blood or anything serious. Just a little throwing up. You may be pregnant,” Nathan laughed. Renee looked over at him with dread on her face. Nathan stopped laughing. “I was just joking.” “I don’t think it’s just a joke. I haven’t had my period since we left for France.” “Renee! That was almost two months ago.” “I didn’t think anything of it until now. I thought maybe my body was just off from all the travelling. They never were very regular anyway,” Renee said, shameful. The reality of what could possibly be was settling in for them both. “Nathan, I’m so sorry. I should’ve paid attention. We could have done something to prevent this from happening. I’m so sorry,” Renee said, tearing up. Nathan, still in shock, looked over at a trembling Renee. He held her. “Baby, it’s okay. It’s not something you need to be sorry about. We both took a part in this. Let’s just see if you are and we can go from there. Okay?” Renee nodded her head as she wiped her tears. “I’ll go out and get a test, okay?” Nathan kissed Renee on the forehead as he went to put on his shoes. He grabbed his keys and wallet. He looked over at Renee. “Please don’t be in that same spot when I get back. Don’t make me call your mother,” he smiled. Renee smiled softly as he closed the door. She got up from the window sill and walked into their bedroom. She looked at herself in the mirror. She lifted up her shirt. Her stomach didn’t look too different. She put her shirt down and sat on her bed. Maybe she was overthinking. Her periods were never regular so this could just be another episode. But what if it wasn’t? How would she be able to travel with Nathan carrying a baby along with her? Would he be willing to settle down with her and the baby? To be a real family? Renee forced herself to stop thinking. She went in the kitchen and poured a glass of water. She sat in the living room until Nathan returned from the store. He handed her the test as he put his beer in the refrigerator. “Really? Just in case huh?” Nathan laughed. Renee sighed and went into the bathroom. Nathan grabbed her arm and gave her a hug. “Whatever the results. Know that I love you.” He kissed her on the cheek. “I love you too.” Renee went into the bathroom and Nathan collapsed on the couch. How could this have happened? He never imagined he could become a dad, especially not with all the opportunities he had in front of him. If she was pregnant, what would he do? Abortions were out of the question, but could he really settle down and be a family man? The main reason their relationship worked was because Renee was so flexible with his moving around. Would she be the same with a baby on her hip? Nathan sighed and went into the kitchen. He took out his beer. He needed to calm his nerves and didn’t care if it was warm. As soon as he opened the can, Renee opened the door. Nathan stared at her as he put the can down. He could see she had been crying but didn’t now if they were happy tears or sad ones. He wanted to go to her, but he was frozen. She walked over to him slowly with her head down. He lifted her head to look into her eyes. She looked at him and began to cry again. She collapsed into him and Nathan knew the answer. He could feel his legs getting weak. He sat down on the floor with her in her arms. He could feel his emotions trying to overwhelm him, but he refused to let them. He needed to be strong for her, at least at this moment. He wasn’t sure if he could account for any time after this, but in this moment, he was going to be here for her.

“Do you like the crib? You don’t think it’s too girly?” Renee was putting the finishing touches on the baby’s side of the room. “Nathan! What do you think?” Nathan shrugged. “It’s fine. Looks like a unicorn threw up in our room.” Renee rolled her eyes. “Shut up. It looks nice.” Nathan went and sat down in the living room. “Renee. We need to talk. I’ve been trying to talk to you all week and you keep putting it off.” Renee stopped what she was doing. She closed her eyes and sighed. This was it. The conversation she had been dreading since she found out she was pregnant 7 months ago. Nathan hadn’t been adamant about it until this week. Renee was foolish to think she could keep escaping the obvious. She took another breath and went into the living room. She sat next to Nathan. He looked at her. “We need to talk about everything. The band, the baby, us.” Renee felt lightheaded when he said “us.” She never thought that would come into play. “What do you mean “us”?” Nathan sighed. “Renee. We can’t sit here and act like what is happening to us isn’t life changing. You know my goals. You know what I have going with this band can’t just stop. I can’t be here the way that you want me to be. I can’t be what you want.” Renee felt her breathing becoming shallow. Nathan couldn’t take it. He never wanted to hurt her, but he had to be honest. It was only fair to the three of them. He held her hand. “Baby, I love you more than you could imagine.” Renee shook her head. “You don’t love me. You would stay if you did. You would make this family work. You haven’t even tried.” “I don’t need to try, I already know. I know how I am. When have we ever stayed in just one place for more than a month or two? Do you really think that is healthy for our baby? Being on the road? Travelling with a band? I don’t want that for my child. I want them to grow up in a stable home. Somewhere where they can start memories. Somewhere where they can always call home. I didn’t have that growing up and that’s the reason why I can’t sit in one place for too long now. I don’t want that for her. She deserves better,” Nathan explain. “She deserves her father.” “Renee, she will always have me. I am not saying I will not be here for our child. I would never leave you with such a thing. That is my blood pumping through her body as well. I will always be here for her, whenever she needs me.” “Just not for me,” Renee whispered, finally looking up. Nathan looked away. He could feel the hot tears, welling up in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. Renee got up and walked into the bedroom. He could hear her cries begin to intensify and he could no longer refuse his own pain. He placed his head into his hands as they both cried together. Both pained by their love.

The End

Positive Black Representation Makes Waves in 2014

It seems like 2014 was a very trying year. Between murders and injustice against several young black males and a relentless end of ratchet television shows, positive black representation seemed to be null and void. But, there were several gems that are worth mentioning. My goal for this year is to bring as much light to this issue as I possibly can. The need for positive representation is needed now more than ever. The few moments or people that I have mentioned are those that I feel have overcome obstacles and barriers in their industry. These people are the future and with them and their accomplishments, we can head in the right direction for 2015 and beyond.

 

Ava Clarke

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I first noticed this beauty on Lance Gross’ Instagram. If you don’t know, Gross is a phenomenal photographer and he had featured a picture of Ava and fellow model, Diandra Forest. Out of curiosity, I went to Ava’s page and was stunned by her beauty. I was also warmed by her innocent behavior. She was just like a normal, every day child and I loved that about her. Ava has graced the covers of multiple magazines and has traveled all over the world with renown photographers. As you can see, Ava’s appearance is very unique. Born from two African American parents, Ava is also African American but has albinism. This explains her naturally blonde hair and blue eyes. I believe that Ava is an amazing example for younger children with albinism. Unfortunately, most people know nothing about albinism or they ridicule people who are born with it. Ava’s spirit over shines her beauty and makes her perfect for positive representation for young black girls.

Willow Smith

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Willow has definitely been in the media since she was pretty much born. Birthed from Hollywood royalty, this young actress/singer has grown to be her own brilliant mind. While many question her upbringing, I absolutely love how free she is allowed to be. It allows her to grow into her own person and have her own thought process instead of what she is forced to think under her parent’s rule. In a recent interview, Willow and her brother discussed their thoughts on time and energy. Many critiqued the two for their outrageous thoughts, but once again, I have to disagree. I believe that everyone is allowed to feel and think how they want to think, as long as it is not hurting anyone. It seems like in the Black community, anything that goes against the thoughts of Jesus or God is taboo. If you think anything else, you are crazy and should stop what you are doing and go to church and repent. This is so wrong. We should applaud people who are educating themselves on different ways of thinking. Willow does not speak like some person who just came up with some crazy ideas. She reads and researches. She is very eloquent and educated. She represents those in our community who think differently. Her images being shown more positively in the media will allow those who think outside the box to feel more comfortable in themselves. This is something that needs to happen in our community. Other races allow their youth to think differently without ridiculing them. It is time we did the same and encouraged our youth to love themselves and be okay with having a different way of thinking.

Quvenzhane’ Wallis

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This fiery actress first entered the scene in 2012 with her role as, “Hushpuppy,” in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” At just age 5, Quvenzhane’ Wallis proved she was a force to be reckoned with. At age 9, she received several awards for her role and even obtained an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, making her the youngest African American to receive this accolade. Fast forward to today and Quvenzhane’ can be seen in the remake of the classic movie, “Annie”. Wallis has also just been named Armani’s representative of their Junior’s Spring Collection. Now that I’ve gotten all the facts out of the way, let me say I LOVE THIS GIRL!!! She is so amazingly talented, but I love her personality. She has a sense of knowing herself already at such a young age and it is a beautiful thing to watch. In a recent interview, a reporter tried to call Quvenzhane’ Annie instead of her name because she could not pronounce iy. Wallis simply told her that her name was Quvenzhane’ and not Annie. If that is not a great example of the type of positive representation that we need, then what is? It is so funny, because I used to always let people say my name however they wanted to say it. I didn’t want to go back and forth with the confusion. But hearing a young girl take so much pride and understand the power in someone calling you by your correct name, it instantly made me change my thoughts. This is what we need our young girls to learn and see as they grow up. A beautiful, young, Black girl who is proud, yet polite.

Chef Roble’

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Chef Roble’ is one of the funniest and charismatic chefs that are out there. With the debut of his show, “Chef Roble’ and Co,” Roble’ Ali and his crew have gained national notoriety. Roble’ is one of few African American chefs who have been able to achieve this level of success at such a young age. Starting his own catering company, Roble’ is known for being a savvy businessman. He currently has several ventures in the making such as a clothing line, fragrance, wine, and restaurant. Chef Roble’ is the epitome of “hard work brings success.” He has been going nonstop since he was a teenager and he shows no sign of letting up now. This is the type of thing our young men need to see in our community. They need to see that success can come at a young age if you are willing to work for it. I was terribly disheartened when Steve Harvey chose to use Paula Deen as a mentor for a group of young African American boys. They needed to see someone like Roble’. Someone who looks like them and someone they could relate to. Chef Roble’ shows our community that young, Black men can be successful in other careers that are not sports or music related. He gives our community a different look on success. Oh, and it helps that he is dashingly handsome. :)

Tracee Ellis Ross

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No stranger to fame, the daughter of Diana Ross has always been in the media. As one of our favorite girlfriends, Tracee Ellis Ross has always been the epitome of a real Black woman. From her curves to her hair to her goofy personality, how could you not fall in love with her? Recently returning to television with the ABC show, “Blackish,” Ross continues to impress and show more positive representation of a working Black mother/wife. She is not the average image you see on TV in reference to a Black woman. She is not loud. She is not ratchet. She doesn’t get into fights over random men or someone not saying hi to her at a boogie premiere. She works. She talks to her children. She loves her husband. These are the things our community needs to see when it comes to how the family unit should work. Our family units need to be represented more positively so that they can be acted out this way in real life. We, unfortunately, live our lives off of what we see. If we constantly see negativity, then this will be what we think is normal and start to live this way. Tracee Ellis Ross shows us otherwise. The fact that she is a proud Black woman who is able to wear her natural hair on national television and receive accolades is a step in the right direction.

Viola Davis Takes Off Wig

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This year, Shonda Rhimes blessed us with another jaw dropping drama. “How To Get Away with Murder” had everyone tuning in and going crazy trying to figure out who the killer was. Perhaps the most spoken about moment had to be when actress Viola Davis took off her wig at the end of a long day’s work. This moment has never been seen on a national television show, especially from a Black actress. We never see the wig come off. We are too assume that this is the character’s hair and that is it. To see Davis take everything completely off was very liberating. It showed that Black women have this mask and appearance that we have to uphold on a daily basis. We are never able to truly be ourselves until we are in the confines of our own house. To let this process be seen on a major network was a positive image and moment for our community. It lets our people see that this powerful, smart women still has to mask her true self in order to be apart of their world. She could not sit at the fancy dinners or walk into the courtroom looking like her normal self. While this is a sad truth, it is still a truth that I am glad was seen. This is how dialogue begins and changes can be made.

Protestors

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Hands down, the protests have been the most talked about thing in media this year. To see Black people come together, in a peaceful manner, and protest about the injustices against our community is something to behold. Protesting is the backbone of our culture. It is what helped to give us the “rights” we have now. These images may be the most powerful, positive representations of our community that are out there right now. To see multiple Blacks together for a common cause and being nonviolent is not how they portray us in the media. They do not want us to see these images. They want us to believe otherwise so we cannot continue to come together. But we are proving them wrong. Seeing these images allow me to understand the need to continue to fight for equality. It opens your eyes and mind to see that we are not as equal as they try to make us feel. These images represent the fighters in our community and we have to continue to support them.

My hopes are that I will be able to see an influx of positive representation of my people in 2015. I want to see more images of real Black women and men, young and old. I want to see more of our culture and not the watered downed version they try to give us. We need more writers and producers that understand the need for these images and will help to create them. We owe it to ourselves and our upcoming generation.

Photo Credits:

Ava Clarke: http://www.tehavaclarke.com, http://www.facebook.com/TheAvaClarke

Willow- http://www.justjared.com, http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Que- http://www.news.com.au, http://www.spicebaby.com, http://www.blackfilm.com,

Chef Roble- http://www.teamyee.tv, http://www.robleandco.com

Tracee Ellis Ross- http://www.raw-multimedia.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Viola Davis- http://www.thegloss.com

Protestors- http://www.nydailynews.com, http://www.theguardian.com, http://www.bet.com, http://www.newsweek.com