“Plantation Weddings: Thinking Through Where You Say ‘I Do.’”

AU Magazine’s “forgotten article”

In December 2019, the Civil Rights organization, Color of Change (COC), advocated for several wedding planning sites to remove the option to search or plan plantation weddings.

 “You have a multi-multimillion-dollar industry that makes money off of glorifying sites of human rights atrocities,” Rashad Robinson, the organization’s president said in a New York Times’ article, Pinterest and The Knot Pledge to Stop Promoting Plantation Weddings (December,5 2019.)

 Wedding sites like the Knot, Pinterest and Zola are among the few wedding sites that removed key words related to planation wedding searches and vendors of plantation weddings.

“Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” a spokesperson said in a New York Times’ article, Pinterest and The Knot Pledge to Stop Promoting Plantation Weddings (December, 5 2019.)

Taken from history.com

Holly Pinheiro, assistant professor of African American studies at AU said there is no excuse for not considering how plantation weddings make African Americans feel, “because truly comprehending the history of African Americans is understanding what it means and entails to be black Americans, back then and today.”

Cassidy Blackwell, a sophomore history major at AU, said when a planation is used as a wedding venue, it takes away from the history that should be taught and respected.

Blackwell said it feels as if slavery’s past is being forgotten and asserted that a lack of compassion and education about American slavery is responsible for the nonchalant behavior many people take towards holding weddings on former slave plantations.

Pinheiro concurred a discrepancy exists in the thoroughness of American history taught in school, as it pertains to slavery.

Pinheiro said the mistreatment of African Americans appears as though it was only a brief stint in time but, factoring in modern discrimination, it has been going on for hundreds of years.

It can be argued that racism and the lingering impact of the institution of slavery can still be felt, especially throughout Jim Crow, and arguably even today, said Pinheiro.

Jeff Bagley, owner of Chantilly Plantation in Washington, Ga., said that many guests choose to have a plantation wedding because of the scenery and romanticism that the Deep South provides.

Yet Bagley said he is aware that plantation history may cause African Americans to be uncomfortable.

“The porch of the front house is so high up. Guests can sit on the front lawn and view the wedding. It’s beautiful to witness. We encourage guests to walk along the pecan tree and magnolia trails. Plantations offer so much space and beauty,” said Bagley.

Dean Gosset Jr., a junior communication major at AU, said his sister unknowingly picked a plantation for her wedding location due to the allure of the scenery.

“When it was disclosed to her that the wedding venue was a plantation; I don’t think she gave it much thought because it [the plantation] had no reminisce of that,” said Gossett.

“The South loves to emphasize the antebellum resemblance to tourists because it’s a selling point–like Gone with The Wind in real life, but in the glamour of the South, many forget how the black character in movie played by Hattie McDaniel was portrayed,” Blackwell said.

“That movie and even its depiction of Hattie McDaniel are a prime example of how people get caught up in the love stories, and gloss over or ignore blatant racism,” Blackwell added.

Pinheiro said that regardless of the lovely and photogenic nature of these southern spots, “to have a wedding on a space that has a known history of violence, torture, misery, stripping down of humanity, monetizing off humans and selling of people, regardless of race is inappropriate.”

“The only people that can rewrite a plantation’s story should be black people,” said Tory Robins, a wedding and family photographer working in the Central Savannah River Area.

 Robins said, “I’ve done two photoshoots for black families at Redcliffe Plantation in Beech Island, South Carolina. Both shoots were powerful, because here stood two black families, descendants of slaves, doing what slaves never had the opportunity to do.”

 “Witnessing that [reclamation] and being a part of it made me think of a phrase, ‘I’ve seen my ancestor’s wildest dreams’,” said Robins.

Affordable and Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas

There aren’t enough words to describe how important dads are. I mean for starters, they play an important role in creating you, then they spend the rest of their lives loving you outside the womb. Despite society knowing how vital dads are, for some reason, dads always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to Father’s Day. In comparison to Mother’s Day, it seems that dads don’t get as much appreciation. I mean, most restaurants don’t even offer dads FREE meals on Father’s Day. It sucks, because dads deserve love too!

Someone who once shared my same notion was, Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd founded Father’s Day in 1910 at the YMCA to celebrate fathers like hers. Her dad was a single father rearing 6 children. She wanted to dedicate a day of appreciation to him and others that shared his same plight.

Sonora Smart Dodd

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has us all forgetting what day of the week is. This means special holidays like Father’s Day feel as if their date is approaching out of nowhere! Don’t let this pandemic make you forget about Father’s Day!

So why not buy the gifts for all the special fathers in your life now? Let’s knock this thing out the park! Let me help you!

Dads might not be as straightforward about the gifts they want compared to moms, but it’s safe to assume that most dad’s don’t want another tie! Being in the midst of a pandemic has affected many American’s pockets, but what if I told you that you don’t have to break the bank to find dad the perfect gift? Frankly, I’m confident in my abilities in assisting you find the special man in your life the best and most affordable gift. Why, because I’ve already purchased all my Father’s Day gifts!

First things first consider what the dad your buying for likes. There’s no such thing as a one gift fits all.

My husband and children

Due to Covid-19, many stores are still closed. This makes ordering all your Father’s Day gifts online a no brainer! Thanks to quarantine my online shopping skills have enhanced immensely meaning; I’ve learned how to really navigate and shop purposefully online. I told you, I’m the perfect person to help you with Father’s Day shopping!

Below I’ll list some of my favorite gift ideas! I also enlisted some things we bought for my husband!

1. Running Shoes

You can never go wrong with running shoes and because we’ve all recently been enjoying outdoor exercise, it’s no better time than now to indulge in new running shoes. I visited the site bestproducts.com to find the perfect running shoes for my husband. The site details what sneakers are best suited for certain fitness activities. You’ll be sure to find the perfect shoes for dad!

Image taken from bestproduct.com

2. Jewelry

You might not be able afford the most expensive dad bling, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still purchase jewelry dad likes. Search for personalized jewelry. In the past, I got my husband a wooden watch with an engraved message on the back from the kids. He wears it everyday!

Image taken from Amazon.com

3. Clothes

I know when you think of purchasing clothes as gifts, you probably think you have to purchase expensive namebrand clothes. You don’t. In fact, my husband tends to cherish personalized tees the best. You can get a special message plastered on a shirt and gift it to dad. I promise he’ll cherish it forever!

Image taken from Amazon.com

4. Books

Buy your dad a book about fatherhood, honoring fatherhood, or a book that has a personalized story about him! There are books that give you the option to add names and personalize your stories! Gift a gift dad can keep forever.

Taken from Amazon.com

5. Art

If you have children, chances are, the kids have already made dad some type of art, and although dad will appreciate that art forever, consider making dad something more long lasting than a drawing. Visit an art center and make dad a plate or mug! You can customize your gift and guarantee that it’ll be safe for dad to use!

No matter what you decide, the best gifts should be heartfelt. I try to gift my loved ones gifts that are meaningful to them. This means that my gifts aren’t always the most expensive. Sometimes they’re not even store bought. Remember to buy gifts based off what you know the recipient would appreciate. Happy early Father’s Day and Happy shopping!

Xoxo,

Christian

I’m Scared.

It’s not that police brutality or the mistreatment of African Americans in America is new; it’s that before, I didn’t feel the same urgency to consider and protect, until I became a wife to a black man and a mother to black children. I’ve been black all my life yet I didn’t become vocal about black rights—human rights until I became pregnant with my son. It was in 2015 when I was welcoming new a life while many black parents like the parents of Sandra Bland were saying goodbye to a life.

Though pregnant, I hadn’t really comprehended what it meant to mother while black. I remember reading about Sandra Bland and acknowledging that her treatment was unjust, but still being unsure of the possible truth behind the evil accusations made against the police department. I couldn’t fathom such cruelty in modern times. I just couldn’t.

It wasn’t until I experienced the first disregard to my little black baby’s life that I realized, white society doesn’t feel the same urgency to respect or nurture black lives.

“It’s no big deal,” the nurse said to me rolling her eyes as I nervously ask her what was next. With little regard, the nurse pointed to the hospital gown I was to get dressed in and exited out the room. I dressed in my hospital gown to deliver my baby boy prematurely. Although Liam was full term, he was induced 3 days early due to lack of amniotic fluid.

“No big deal,” I thought. If it was no big deal, why was I being wheeled across the hospital and being told to remain calm? Why did my baby need to be born today if this was in fact, “no big deal.” It was in that moment when my body was consumed with fear, my mind monopolized by hypotheticals, and my family still 2 hours away from comfort that I realized, I, the black mother of this black baby had to advocate for his life—our life. The nurse with her biases treated me and my unborn child as nuisances. In those moments I quickly grasped the meaning of what mothering while black would entail.

That interaction shaped how I parent and love my son. It shaped how I maneuver in life. In that same hospital days after my son’s birth I remember a doctor’s astonishment that my son had a present father in his life. “Oh, he has his father’s last name,” the doctor asked with a raised brow. Liam, my sweet baby boy hadn’t even settled in this world, yet somehow society had already written his story.

So when I hear of stories about sweet brown baby boys now black men like Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, my heart doesn’t just break, it shatters. These men’s mother’s looked at their babies the same way I look at mine. The bond between mother and child is well established before the child enters the world and being a black mother to a black child enhances that bond times 10. Everything leading up to birth has been calculated, well thought out, and understood. For instance, black mothers know that the maternal rate for them is abnormally high. So a lot of consideration goes into choosing the best hospital to deliver. Black mothers understand that schools aren’t picked based solely on zoning. The school your child goes to has to be racially diverse enough to empathize with black plight, but white and wealthy enough to offer better opportunities. Black mothers understand that although they bring life into the world, they too have to acknowledge that there’s a possibility that at anytime life might be stolen from them by the hands of authority.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to let my babies grow up, “as if I have a choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared to let my babies “just be a kids,” “as if they have that choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared to send them out into the world, “as if I have a choice.”

I’m scared.

I’m scared for white society to be scared of them because of the color of their skin, “as if they have a choice.”

Times like this I question God. I do. Why? Why is this happening? Why is this still happening? Why is it happening to people of color?

My son matters. My husband matter. My daughter matters. I matter.

Today I have no powerful words or insight to share, because the truth is, I’m just scared.

The Journey to Becoming the Mother I Never Had

Coming of age memoir

The first vivid memory that I have of my mother is when she sent me to stay with my grandmother after my brother was born. The memory serves as small flashbacks; suddenly, my mother was rushed to the hospital to give birth to my baby brother, at one point I was asleep on a visitor’s chair in the hospital lobby. Next, I was handed a box of orange juice by a nurse, and the last thing sketched in my memory is my aunt’s car pulling out my grandmother’s driveway, and me, a newly promoted sister, 5 years old, watching as the car sped away. No one really explained what was happening. I was left to assume that mommy had gotten a new baby and no longer needed her old one.

Before my baby brother, my mom treated me somewhat like a burden. She took me places, and she bought me things, but often times, it felt like a tired routine that she was over performing.

I remember walking into my grandmother’s house the day my mom welcomed my new brother. The blinds were open to let in sunlight, but the eerie of truly believing that my mother was getting rid of me tented my vision with the darkest gray. Grandma’s house was dark both literally, and figuratively. My mom and my grandmother were never close. My mom had made it clear that she didn’t approve of my grandmother’s parenting. Knowing this while standing with my luggage in my hand at my grandmother’s front door solidified the feeling that my mother didn’t care about me.

Feelings of abandonment, and uncertainty consumed 5-year-old me, and even after my mom retuned to pick me up from grandma’s house (after what felt like a few years later,) the feeling of rejection never subsided.

I spent the latter part of my childhood desperately trying to gain attention from my mother. Any attention was welcomed, no matter how it was rendered. I gave my mom a hard time in elementary school, talking out in class, and constantly finding myself in disappointing situations. Although I didn’t always know why I behaved the way did, I remember just wanting to be seen, heard, and loved.

Old age and spankings quickly taught me that good behavior offered the best attention given to me by my mom. So, I took heed, and became an angel child. My favorite pastime was being around my mom on those “good behavior days” in front of company.  An audience fed my mom’s desire to appear as a doting mother, and with every ounce of praise she received, my mom performed harder.  These performances never mattered to me. I was always overly eager to indulge in any affection offered to me by her. This temporary acknowledgement that came with these shows was always worth it. People would eat up her act, and that made her perform even better. Our relationship was never organic, but situational. I knew this, but I didn’t dare accept it.

When I became a pregnant with my first child, I remember feeling lost—mostly unsure. I knew failed parental relationships dwelled deep within my family. I understood that the only way that I’d know if I had inherited this cancerous trait was after I too became a parent, vulnerable and new. It was only logical that I address my childhood traumas with my own mother before I could ever be someone else’s mom.

After my son was born, I fell into the deepest love with him. He was perfect in every way; I awaited the moment that I would fail to make him feel loved in the same way that my mother did to me. Late feedings would end with me mesmerized by a face belonging to a being that I loved more than myself. Acknowledging this admiration for my child, conjured unanswered questions as to why my own mother didn’t feel this way about me. The ache of not knowing the answer to my question began to haunt me. I was never alone in my thoughts, because every moment I was granted time to think; the ghost of, “why” persisted a fixation. The question “why” took the form of my child. Despite my baby being alive, they question, “why” haunted my child’s very existence. My son became a ghostly reminder of the love I always wanted but would never get.

Liam and Zora

 I didn’t know what to do, so I continued to do what I had been doing for the past couple of months; I nurtured him, I fed him, I talked to him, and most importantly I loved him—so much. My haunted baby might have become the Casper I never wanted to encounter, but still, I couldn’t fathom even a ghost feeling alone. So, I became a ghost whisperer and as soon as I started to accept my new norm, something happened. One day, I looked down at my son’s face, he once Casper, no longer looked ghostly. In fact, he looked new. It was as if I was meeting my son and he was meeting his mother, for the first time.

In this realization, I felt as if chains had fallen at my feet–invisible shackles broken. The ghost that once consumed my child was gone. Before I could fully wrap my head around what just happened, I had an epiphany. In that moment of cradling my baby boy in my arms, I realized what that ghost symbolized. It was a ghost from my past, a generational curse. When it realized that it had no place in my home—my life, it concluded that it had no ability, no power! By giving my son the selfless and pure love that I never had, I was discontinuing a long viciously and unhealthy family cycle. Selfless love had broken my family’s generational curse. I was free of burden! We all were. The ghost of my past no longer had a place to fester or feed. So, when the ghost and I realized that, I was immediately emancipated.

On that day, that’s how I became the mother I never had.

How A Nikki Giovanni Quote Gave Me The Confidence I’d Been Longing For

Putting your art out for the world to critique is hard. It’s one of the most vulnerable things I’ve done in life. I always knew that I wanted to explore and nurture my artistic side, but I allowed my low self esteem to dictate my vision.

Time and time, I would map out these life plans and dreams just to find every excuse in the book not to follow through. I became a first class quitter. I mastered quitting and I had grown comfortable in defeat. This was all until I learned the definition of defeat. Defeat means to overthrow. All along I had been allowing negative thoughts to OVERTHROW my purpose.

Taken from lifechrome.com

On one of purposeless days , I came across an old video of Nikki Giovanni interviewing James Baldwin. The video had resurfaced online.

I’d always been a Nikki Giovani fan, but I’d never watched or listened to her interviews. In the video clip I watched, she was beautiful and confident. There she was interviewing a legend, she a legend too, and she conducted herself with so much boldness. Seeing this made me fall in love with her even more. Giovanni dominated that interview, but not in a negative way. She asked questions and received the answers, but she never gave the impression of demure.

Sometimes, when in the presence of a powerful man, we women feel the need to stifle ourselves or hold back out of reference. It’s been ingrained in us since birth to always let the man lead. This is ok sometimes, but never ok ALL the time. In the interview, Giovanni didn’t do that. She conducted herself like she knew she deserved to be there, and she did! Nikki didn’t let James Baldwin or his status intimidate her and that…

That’s what I wanted for myself.

Afterward, filled with newfound excited, I searched for a Nikki Giovanni quote to post on my daily agenda. I’m really into beautifying quotes thanks to my favorite fictional journalist, Mary Jane Paul from the series, Being Mary Jane. In the series, every episode starts off with a profound quote.

One of the first quotes I found of Nikki Giovanni was, “I am so hip even my errors are correct.” The quote is so simple, but to me, it represents everything Nikki Giovanni is to me and taught me to be—unapologetically fierce! She taught me with that one sentence to embrace my flaws—failures, because owning them makes me who I am.

There’s no better time than now to pursue your dreams! Write! Love! Do whatever it is that you’ve been putting off!

You’ll never live the life you want if you dwell in defeat.

Xoxo,

Christian

My Husband Wasn’t My Type. Well, I Thought He Wasn’t

As a young girl, I spent countless hours dreaming of my wedding, future family, and spouse. I still have some of my dream wedding gown sketches from 6th grade. I was young and my thoughts about marriage were pretty shallow. It didn’t help that my parents were divorced and couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other. I didn’t have the best examples of what a healthy marriage looked like, so I dreamt of what I wanted my my ideal marriage to look like—be like.

When I met my husband for the first time, it was a weird encounter. He wasn’t my type. He was socially awkward, and we had nothing in common. (I thought we had nothing in common.) It’s safe to say that we both shared relief when the date finally ended.

It wasn’t until I needed a roommate that I reached out to him. He had room and he was never home. Perfect, I thought. We tried our hardest to dislike each other and remain at a distance, but the intimacy of living together forced us to learn a lot about each other. We saw each other’s dates, saw each other sad, angry, smelled each other’s poops, and saw each other drool in our sleep. Living together made having our guards up impossible to do.

One day out of the blue, my husband told me that he was deploying to Afghanistan. He was really causal about it, but he wanted me to prepare to find a new roommate. I don’t know what shifted, but in that moment, we both felt the need to protect each other. It was apparent that we both really cared about what happened to each other next. I had been saving for a car and hadn’t reached my goal. “I’ll add $1000 to your car fund,” he offered. “Where are you going to go,” he asked. “I’ll write you everyday,” I promised him.

Before he left for Afghanistan, I visited him in Virginia. Did you know that Virginia is called the love state?

We spent a weekend together, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. It felt right. We’d never behaved like this before, but for some reason we fell into this flow.

On the way back home, my friends and family checked in. “Did you tell him?” “Tell him what?” “That you love him…”

It took a deployment for us to realize that we were in love and had been for a very long time. I prayed for a safe deployment, but God had other plans. My husband ended up not deploying.

He came back to me and the rest is history.

You don’t make love. You grow it.

Xoxo,

Christian

They Weren’t Using You, God Was

Have you ever felt like somebody got over on you? Like, you gave this person all you had, yet they stabbed in the back and deserted you–turned on you. We’ve all had that feeling. Whether it was an old ex, a family member or friend, we’ve all been let down by someone we cared about. After the perpetrator’s egregious acts, we usually sit back and think about all the things we did for them. “I did this.” “I did that.” In the end, we end up feeling lost, angry even. We feel used!

What comes next depends on your spirituality, if you’re still in you’re Simon stage, you just might get even–curse the other party, the (bleep) out. If you’re in your Peter stage, you’ll take the high road. No matter the phase you take, you’re hurting, because, “they used you!” But what if it wasn’t “them” who used you, but “He?”

God knows everything before it happens. He places us where we need to be. Our flesh has taught us to think that He places us places we need to be for our own agendas, but sometimes He puts us in places others need us to be. Because God moves through people, He uses us to do His work–if you allow Him to anyway.

No long post today just a short and simple message. Instead of being hurt by what you think someone took from you, thank God for Him using YOU to SHARE what He GAVE you. Let God use you! Amen Jesus! 

Philippians 2:13 ESV

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Taken from Pinterest
Xoxo,

Christian

Effective Ways To Keep Depressive Thoughts Away

Like most Americans, I’ve been dealing with depression for awhile. It’s a forever wave of sad and negative thoughts sometimes triggered by stress or trauma. One year, my depression got so bad, I called the suicide helpline. It wasn’t that I wanted to commit suicide, I just needed direction. I knew that I refused to leave my family behind without trying, and I knew that I refused to give into to devil’s lies.

I sat sad in my dark room, cried and thought to myself about what things I could do in that moment to make me feel better—at least feel a little better. At the time, I was still newly postpartum with Liam. I didn’t feel beautiful, and was struggling with my new identity as a mom. I’ve always been a girly girly so I thought about ways I could improve my outer being, and in turn improve my inner. I started my weight lifting journey, started to make time for myself every 2 weeks to get my nails done and I made sure to wear clothes that made me feel sexy!

When I started doing these things, I started to feel good about me! I felt good and I looked good. I was making progress. It’s seems silly that me investing in cosmetic things helped my depression, but it was deeper than that! When I really examined my life, I was already doing to the hard stuff—completing the steps to achieve my larger goals. I was back in college, I was mastering motherhood and my marriage was on the ups. I realized that although my depressive thoughts directed me elsewhere, the real source of this wave of sadness was from not being happy with me. So, what better way to fix me than to invest in me, right?

When I found the source of my sadness, I was able to address it. My friends and family started to notice the change in my mood, and it felt good to be on top of Mt. Depression!

Depression sneaks in at our most vulnerable times, hoping to masks its minor issues in larger issues. Depression will make you feel like you’re not good enough, causing you to want to quit when in reality, an example source of your depression could derive from you being overwhelmed in school. Depression attaches itself to our subconscious and acts through our conscious. There’s so cure for depression, because depression was made by the enemy to plant doubt in a mind that already knows the truth. The truth is, depression can only take hold of you if you give it your hand. Don’t!

Cry, scream, pray and then sit alone in your thoughts! Write down how you’re feeling. Your feelings will most likely be lies like:

I’m not good enough.

No one likes me.

I’ll never get anywhere in life.

Beside those “feelings,” write down the truth depression doesn’t want you to know.

I am enough!

Jesus likes me, I like me!

It may be hard, but I’ll get there one day!

After that, think about what triggered your bad thoughts. Was it a falling out with a friend? Was it your job? What happened to send you in this downward spiral?

When you figure this out, compose a plan to change your situation. If it’s a spit with a friend, talk to them. If it’s your job, maybe it’s time to talk to your boss or find another place to work.

If you’re reading this, and think this sounds like too much to do, ask yourself if you’re ready to divorce depressive thoughts? Maybe you’re not ready to get better, and that’s ok. We have to remember that although no one asks for depression, it’s still our responsibility to climb out of the dark hole.

Try these steps, they helped me tremendously! Depression never leaves, it’s a silent attacker that attaches itself to your life when you’re most vulnerable. Be prepared. I use these steps each time I find myself in a bad place. It’s ok to take time to re-evaluate your situation. Depression will make you think you can’t beat it, but you can!

When depression makes its return and attack on my life, I 1.)find the cause of the relapse, 2.) I strategize on how to rectify the problem, and 3.) I rectify the problem!

Don’t let depression become bigger than you. I love you! Be happy lappy, not depressy lessy!

Xoxo,

Christian

Songs To Get You Through Finals #ThankMeLater

Hallelujah, I made it! The semester ended today and I’ve never been so relieved. This semester has been my toughest thus far. To make things more stressful than usual, I had to bring the kids to class with me for the last month of school. It’s one thing to drag 1 kid to class but imagine toting 2 humans around campus! Some days, I questioned my sanity!

Every college student knows that your semester grades aren’t official until finals are taken! Preparing and taking finals is like the last 5 minutes of a 30 minute cardio session; you’re almost to the finish line yet, you’re somewhere between motivated and over it! You experience thoughts like, “Eff it, I’ve done enough running for the day!” verses, “I’m almost there; only five minutes to go!”

I like to start my day off with prayer, coffee and a bomb theme song of the day. My theme songs vary from hot mess trap music to the holiest of gospel. It depends on my mood and what I need to hear to get me prepared for the day.

Did you know that the first sound you hear in the morning, dictates the progression of your day? Science has taught us that music plays a key in mood change. Constant examples of the powers of music are in movies and commercials, music tells us how to feel—how to move.

Because I know the stresses of finals and I want YOU to be great, I’ll share my favorite CRUNK songs that get me hype before every test life throws at me!

1. Truth Hurts by Lizzo

Taken from CNBC.com

“I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% about to pass my exams!” Thank me later for the remix! Speak it over you life yall! Speak it in Jesus name!

2. Hustler by Cassidy

Taken from dopeboy.com

“Betta ask about me, I’m a hustler!” Yo, this song makes me feel like the Crim Dela creme, especially when I have the kids in the backseat! This song makes me feel undefeated and badass!

3.Unstoppable by Koryn Hawthorne

Taken from getuperica.com

I’m a believer of speaking things over your life! There’s power in the tongue! When the devil throws a curve ball, I remind him of who’s child I am! I’m unstoppable because Jesus says so!

4. Diva (Homecoming) by Beyoncé

Taken from ew.com

I lived for the entire HBCU themed Coachella show! I blast the album in my car while imagining myself marching on somebody’s field! This remix of Diva has the famous breakdown with O.T. Genesis’, “Everybody Mad’ “I’ve been getting too many A’s, everybody mad!” Again, thank me in advance for the remix. Call me DJ Chris. #AnotherOne

5. Follow God by Kanye

Taken from bbc.com

Call me crazy but, Ye’s new album has been a mood for the past couple of months. Follow God has simple but powerful words and my kids love the song too!

6. Before I Let Go by Frankie Beverly and Maze

Taken from Facebook.com

Besides being every black family’s traditional cookout anthem, it’s something about belting out, “before I let you gooooahahaoooo,” in my car. It’s a feel good song and immediate mood changer!

7. Knuck if you Buck by Crimemob

Taken from discog.com

This Negro spiritual makes my bones tingle! When the beat drops I feel my ancestors swaying in their graves. This song gets me hyped for any occasion! This song was on my birth playlist with Zora! No matter how old this gem is, when another person of color pulls up beside me and hears me blasting this in my car, they look over and give me a nod of approval because, they already know what time it is!

8. Ape Sh*t by The Carters

Taken from dazedigital.com

“Ima gorilla in a effin coupe, finna pull up to a zoo. I’m like Cheif Keif meets Rafikki, who been Lion King to you?” If that wasn’t the hardest line of Hov’s career, direct me elsewhere! This line alone paints the picture of my everyday life. I’m a young black queen attending a PWI. I’m fierce wisdom filled being, playing the game of life administered by my white counterparts. Aye!

9. Don’t you Worry Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder

Taken from britannica.com

Tori Kelly’s version has taken over our home thanks to the movie Sing but I vowed to never let my kids erase the legend that is Stevie Wonder! Every so often when I need a sweet reminder to chill and let life be, I play this song!

10. If I Ruled the World by Nas ft Lauryn Hill

Taken from rap-up.com

Nas has taught us all a lot. He gives a brief history lesson all while empowering black excellence; reminding us that our lineage didn’t derive from slavery but of royalty. “If I ruled the world, I’d free all my sons;” the chorus sung aloud is me verbally manifesting the emancipation of generational curses and stagnation within my family! I also love singing Lauryn’s ad libs.

You’re the only one standing in the way of the goals you want to achieve! This semester may have started out rough, but you can end it strong! Good luck on finals! I encourage you to create your own finals playlist! Eat or get eaten! You got this!

Xoxo,

Christian

Our Ugly Reflections (Are You Ugly?)

Arguments with loved ones usually end up with both parties saying unflattering and hurtful things. We’ve been taught to excuse our loved one’s hurtful words, because they were only saying those things out of anger. Although, their maybe some truth to this theory, you can’t help, but to wonder if these “mean and hurtful words” were deep rooted truths our loved ones only had the opportunity to share when they had the “free card” to do so. So, we consciously ignore the mean words but subconsciously we dwell on them, because no matter how hard we try to deny our loved ones words, we have an inkling that some of what they said is true.

Therapy and popular social media feel good memes would say to suppress those negative thoughts about yourself, because you are light and perfect in every way. I’m calling this mindset bull crap. You are not perfect in every way. No one is. This way of thinking encourages us to live counterproductive lives in denial. In order to live truth you have to face truth—you have to hear the truth. I’m not saying everything mean said to you is right or reflects your character, but I am saying, if you’ve heard the same things multiple times, maybe there’s some validity to those words.

Look in the mirror. Accept the good parts and bad parts of you. Ask yourself is there any truth to what you’ve heard about you. Fix the broken parts of you. Love you through it all.

A recent spit made me address a part of me that I was forcing myself to ignore. Confession: I’m very critical of others. Because I’m critical of myself, I tend to judge others as harsh as I judge myself. This isn’t right and I wanted to believe that this ugly truth wasn’t true about me, but it is.

The question we should ask ourselves after learning and accepting our ugly reflections is, why? What’s the root of our mean streak?

Don’t bypass “mean talk.” Sometimes it feels mean because it’s truthful.

Xoxo,

Christian