Akala – #forthewin

I do not have words to describe the pleasure I had listening to this interview.  This young man is AMAZING!  So, so, so articulate.  Once again, my little brother turned me on to something fantastic.  Thank you, Maxwell.  🙂

Akala talks about race relations in the UK, focusing on experiences of West Indians (he says Caribbeans – I hate that term :-D) who migrated to England, and their children’s experiences. There’s also a dash of the “myth of meritocracy” thrown in for additional flavor.  The story resonated heavily with me – myself a child of West Indian parents who migrated to the US.  But the power in his words is not that he discusses racism against blacks; it’s how he shows the oppression of those in power toward those WITHOUT power, regardless of skin color. Continue reading

Tears of Joy

Little african american baby girl crying - Black People

Source: Dreamstime | http://www.dreamstime.com

I sat at a traffic light this afternoon crying because Hanya Yanagihara had just done something so amazing for Jude St. Francis – something so deserving, so perfect – that it brought tears not only to my eyes, but down my cheeks.

I am a reader.  I’d like to say “avid” reader but…life.  Fellow readers know the enjoyment one experiences when a book makes you truly care about what is going to happen when you flip the page.  How words on a page can cause you to feel rage, anger, sadness, desperation, indifference, happiness, triumph, love – toward people who may or may not exist!  Yes, Hanya Yanagihara is an author, Jude St. Francis one of the protagonists in her fictional book – A Little Life – and yes, I was crying because of a book! Continue reading

I Am Not My Hair

I am reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and am loving it. However, I just got annoyed. (Small spoiler here, but won’t ruin the book).

Ifemela has just cut off her hair because her friend advised her to get rid of her relaxer. Ifem isn’t quite sure that she likes her new boy-cut Afro, and so her friend sends her to happilykinkynappy.com* where she can find a supportive community of women who are doing natural hair. This would be wonderful, EXCEPT for the fact that these women are deriding other women who have chosen to keep their hair relaxed.

What??? This is the thing that BUGS me about women. We must ALWAYS be fighting amongst ourselves. Continue reading

Penny Hardaway? A Blast from the Past!

from youtube.com

from youtube.com

I just watched an awesome video!  It’s part of ESPN’s E:60 series, which I hadn’t known about until my brother sent me the link to this particular video.  It’s the story of Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, a former NBA All-Star going back to his hometown of Binghampton, TN, to help one of his childhood friends coach a middle school team.  The team – the Lester Middle School Lions – went on to win the state championship that year and the following year.  It was a wonderful “feel good” story about a guy I hadn’t heard much about in a loooooong time. Continue reading

O Death, Where is Thy Sting?

Today I finished Oonya Kempadoo’s All Decent Animals.  I was disappointed.  For the most part, I’m a “give-me-closure” type of reader.  I don’t like ambiguity or confusion at the end of a book.  What’s the point?  Now, there are times when it’s done well.  Delores Phillip’s The Darkest Child is a good example.  There were a couple of loose ends – characters you never found out what happened to, and the book ended on two of the characters about to start a new life, but to me, that was a good resolution to the book.  (Actually, the book was so dark that at times, you were praying for it to end!  It was really a good read though; pick it up if you have a chance).  But Decent Animals?  While the description of Trinidad is on point, and the dialect written perfectly (I could hear Trinis speaking in my head!!), I have no idea what happened to Phillip (I can make a guess, but I don’t want to guess; I want to know!), and didn’t understand what Ata’s problem was, and that was disappointing to me.  I’ll be interested to hear what the book club girls think about this one.  I’m giving 2 1/2 stars.

Yesterday the book inspired me to write about the ethics of letting sexual partners know if you have an STD.  Today it’s prompting me to write about how we deal with death and how sometimes we can be ridiculous about it.   Continue reading

Don’t Keep This Secret

Image courtesy of [Phaitoon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.ne

Image courtesy of [Phaitoon] / FreeDigitalPhotos.ne

I’m moving through my January book club book – All Decent Animals – by Oonya Kempadoo. I still haven’t figured out where it’s going, as there are several story lines, but one interesting issue it’s raised is the ethics involved in deciding whether to tell your sexual partners that you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. One of the characters in the book is HIV positive – it is now showing symptoms of having become AIDS – and he is refusing the advice of friends that he needs to inform his partners. Continue reading

Reality Check

I am listening to What is the What as my current audiobook.  It’s the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, written by Dave Eggers.  It’s taking me a while to get through it.  For one thing – it’s a long book.  I’ve finished the first part and am on the second part which, where I have about 6 hours more to listen to.  Then, I’ll move on to part three, which is also another six hours.  But the real reason I’m moving so slowly is that the story is awful.

It details Deng’s experience as one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, which, according to Wikipedia, ” is the name given to the groups of over 20,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were displaced and/or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 to 2005).”   Continue reading

Is It A Real Book If It’s On Kindle?

Screenshot of my iPad's Kindle app

Screenshot of my iPad’s Kindle app

The other day some friends and I were having a discussion about our church bulletin.  Each week we publish a bulletin that contains the order of service for the day, and the study guide for the week.  We were in agreement that members weren’t really completing the study guide, and were throwing around ideas about how we might encourage more participation.  One friend suggested that we purchase 3-ring binders, place decorative covers on them and print the study guides on 3-hole-punched paper, so that members could take them home keep them in their binders.  This suggestion was met with looks of horror and exclamations of shock. Continue reading

Why My Blog Posts Will Now Be 500 Words, Not 250!

500w640

[photo courtesy Jeff Goins – goinswriter.com]

Yesterday I saw a tweet on my timeline about Jeff Goins’ My 500 Words Writing Challenge. I was intrigued and excited. I wanted to do more writing in 2014. I’m the Communication Director for my church and I planned to write for our blog once a week. Last year it was hit or miss – I wrote whenever I felt that the blog was getting stale. I also wanted to pick back up this blog, and my family blog – which I think hasn’t been updated since my little man’s first birthday. He’s now three! Bad mommy! Lol. So here I am, frantically trying to get in my 500 words for today, as the clock shows 11:34 p.m.! My goal is to write for each of those blogs at least once a week.

So the first thing I’m going to do is ask your indulgence as the posts I write for January, per the rules of Mr. Goins’ challenge, all have to be 500 words or more. Just letting you know that I haven’t forgotten how to count! 🙂 Continue reading

Book Club = My Social Gathering for Rejuvenation

I love my book club! We’ve been meeting every fourth Sunday for about the past four years. We don’t have any rules (except that we don’t read romance novels), and we’re very low key. For example – you can still come to club meeting if you haven’t read or finished the book. And there have been months when all of us haven’t read or finished the books. [By the way, we generally do read our books!! Usually when folks haven’t finished the book, it’s because we all didn’t like it.]

What keeps me coming back is the diversity and different perspectives these young women bring to the table – and the laughter. Whether we’re getting heated about The New Jim Crow or we’re talking about how we were scared to turn the pages in Patricia Cromwell’s Postmortem, when we’ve moved on from the month’s book and are just discussing random topics [today’s topic was in-laws] – there is lots and lots of laughter.

Some of us are close friends, while others of us only see each other on the one Sunday we meet each month. But we’ve shared and supported each other through illnesses, we’ve given and received advice on children, spouses, jobs, finding workers for odd jobs around the house, hairdressers, and more. Our fearless leader, Sunny D, who’s in several book clubs, calls us her “Sistafriends” book club. I look forward to my get-togethers with these forward-moving, affirming sista-friends of mine. They help keep me going.

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