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Aftermath|of CNN’s Black| in America

Some are saying OK…we get the problems….where are the solutions?

What can WE do?

Well, I say to you…..put the same or more momentum in this as you did for Obama and that is your solution. This is by no means an overnight success but change is possible; it takes dedication and hard work from people who are passionate about their people and the future of black America. It’s the first step of many steps.

Resources:

The following link is a list of local and national organizations and programs designed to address many of the issues raised in “CNN Presents: Black in America” and “CNN & Essence: Reclaiming the Dream.” Some of the people or guests featured in the programs are involved in some of these organizations

CNN does not endorse any organization, and information is provided only as a resource and inspiration to help people explore the many local and national organizations involved in these areas.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/07/18/bia.resources/index.html

I imagine a lot of people probably do not know about these programs. The links are extremely helpful.

 

BET:

  1. Write letters to the network and president demanding change in videos and programs shown on BET that promote negative stereotypes and images of black people that our children often  use as a reflection of themselves, and demand more educational programs.
  2. Boycott the program (children and adults alike) so that BET will loose money and their ratings will drop. I assure you; this will ring loud and clear.
  3. Here are three petitions that are currently going around; bring awareness and send these things  to those you know and those you don’t know to the dangers of such programs:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/change-bet.html

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/betterBET/

http://www.petitionnow.com/BETVIDEOS/petition.html

 

In Addition:

  • Promote education at home:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2147355_promote-early-reading-home.html?ref=fuel&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art

 

  • Start some educational and inspirational after school programs in black schools and churches:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2335689_start-after-school-care-program.html?ref=fuel&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art

 

  • Start free parenting class in your community –even if it is only one or two days out of the week.

http://www.fathersworld.com/fulltimedad/issue2/bf.html

http://www.blackparents.org/

 http://www.babycenter.com/0_fathering-classes-could-you-use-one_8249.bc

 

  • Start free abstinence classes, not just Safe sex, in your local black churches and black schools, especially HBCUs:

http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/247/27/

 

  • Send copies of the CNN’s Black in America special to your church and school.  (This is something I am very intent on doing)

Obama’s|Overt|Truth

So,  some African Americans are offended ( most notably Jesse Jackson) because Obama is not a descendent of slaves while others think he’s an African immigrant and yet “talks down” to the descendents of slaves. First of all, the man is NOT an African immigrant. Since when did the constitution allow immigrants to run for presidency?

To an African, because Barack’s father is African, they will consider him African as well, but the fact remains he’s only been to Africa a few times in his adult life, probably knows little to nothing about the culture….defiantly hasn’t been submerged in it. Perhaps the fact that Obama is faring so well now, is the only reason why some Africans even claim him as their own. Moreover, sounds like he’s more/less an African American since he doesn’t know his culture etc….not to mention the fact Obama considers himself African American.

 The point is that his father was an African immigrant, not Barack, so calling him an African immigrant is a bit rash and arbitrary. He is not the descendent of slaves, but if that’s all that makes an African American an African American then there are many things seriously missing.

Obama is affected by the same issues black America is affected by. He spent most of HIS LIFE fighting for black people. Even though he went to an Ivy league school, white America still saw him as black and most likely as a black descent of slaves, not knowing his background. Let’s face it, if you didn’t know his background, you would too.

His children and wife are African American; why shouldn’t he be concerned or have a voice in such issues? Even if someone white said it, as long as they understood the implications, historical aspect of it, and presented some solutions, why would someone be offended?

I’m African American and I am not offended at the things Barack or Cosby says; they both speak truth. That’s all I’m interested in, and that’s all anyone should be interested in who maintains a progressive mindset: truth and solutions.

People who are offended, this is what you are telling me:

It’s OK to wallow in your own mess and be aware of your own spiraling demise but when someone who is not in that mess, even though indirectly affected, points it out, then the problem is the person who pointed it out instead of the mess that you are obviously in

—that’s not forward thinking, not unless, of course, you enjoy the mess you’re in.

It’s one thing if what he said was wrong on a contextual basis or if what he said stemmed from his not understanding something and misinterpreting it, but then again….there is no misinterpretation.

Those who were offended were just upset that he said anything at all not because of  who he was, or how he said it (Bill Cosby). All the before mentioned seems just an excuse. Frankly, I feel those who are offended by people who tell the truth are pusillanimous, especially when they are taking no progressive moves to make a change —because the truth often hurts.

It doesn’t matter who said what, when they said, or even where. What matters is if what they said is true, and indeed, it is. It’s the problem, itself, one should be concerned about; it shouldn’t take anyone else to point it out, let alone be criticized for it.

One has to want better for themselves in order to take action and be better; this silly bickering about who said it is useless; what will we, as a people, do about the problem? I’m not saying it will be easy or that we couldn’t use some help, but I am saying that we stop thinking someone will come save us from ourselves; think pro-actively.

Discussing something very irreverent to the problem is obviously discussing issues outside of the problem. While everyone is pointing fingers, no one is concerned about solving issues–childish thinking. Get out of the cyclic mindset, it makes me dizzy.

Like Amel Larrieux sings in “Get Up”, ” I know you’re down. When you gone get up? I see you’re down. When you gone get up?”

You know, meanwhile, while we are discussing people’s mere offences to Obama’s overt truth, where is their “offence”, action, and outrage to the fact that black America is suffering from poverty, HIV, broken homes, rapid abortion rates, high crime rates, drug abuse, etc.? No where in sight.

These are issues, that simply need to be addressed and if it takes someone like Barack (an outsider) or Cosby (an insider saying the same thing) for people to actually start caring, become pro active and cease the passiveness, then I hope they as well as others continue to.

Lastly, Jesse Jackson is not a black leader——he’s just a damn fool and obvious joke.

 

Motown|Legend

Marvin Pentz Gaye was born April 2, 1939 in the country’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Marvin Gaye is one of the best musicians to ever live— his double Grammy-winning music with numerous hits to top the billboard charts in the 1960s and 70s is evidence through the better half of the Motown Era– Detroit. Unfortunately, Motown’s move from Detroit to LA lost much of its essence and soul.  I personally think that lose of Marvin’s creativity during the LA- Motown years may have very well been a lost of Motown all together.

 Ebony Magazine named Marvin Gaye as one of the 25 Coolest Brothers of All Time:

 

WHAT MAKES Marvin COOL:  

Marvin moves us. Whenever we hear him, we feel. This complex artist, Marvin Pentz Gaye, sang about “The Ecology” when it wasn’t hip to be green–“Mercy Mercy Me“—and about trigger-happy policin’ when cop brutality didn’t make the news. Now when we get the “Inner City Blues“, we all wanna holler and throw up both our hands. He fearlessly asked us “What’s Going On,” and his defiant declaration still resonates today–War is not the answer. He was vulnerable in love, willing to disclose his desire—“I Want You“—yet only going so far—-I want you to want me too. And when his lady was hesitant, he insisted they not waste time together. “Let’s Get It On,” he urged—-because after all, givin’ yourself to me can never be wrong, if the love is true. Marvin, we still feel you.     —Candi Mariwether

 

Gaye was an amazing singer, producer, composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist; his creative music could move even the most stagnate of hearts and minds—listening to him today has the same effect. It’s called a “Classic”.

 Shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin was deeply affected as was the rest of the African American community, and started writing and performing songs that dealt more with political and social awareness. One of my all time favorites and one of his biggest hits: “What’s Going On?”: Listen

Mother, mother, there’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother, there’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, hey
Father, father, we don’t need to escalate
War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today
Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh what’s going on, what’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on, ah, what’s going on
Ahhh….
Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Ah but who are they to judge us
Simply ‘cos our hair is long
Ah you know we’ver got to find a way
To brind some understanding here today

 Marvin Gaye died on April 1, ironically one day before his birthday and two years before my birth, a tragic death at the hands of his father as he was shot to death in his parent’s Los Angeles home. Marvin was only 44 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Care|of Self|Loving Self|Free Yourself

         Take care of yourself and actually indulge in taking care of yourself whenever you get an opportunity. Instead of taking a 15 min shower, take a 30 min luxurious bubble bath with music, candles, beads and all your favorite things. Instead of grabbing just anything to eat before heading to work, stash some of your favorite treats, drinks, foods in the refrigerator to grab that are actually enjoyable and nutritious on your way to work. Instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to work everyday, get out of bed stretch and take the world in by taking a walk outside, enjoying the morning and fresh air, listening to the birds, relaxing for a few minutes, then get ready for work while listening to the radio. On your lunch break, instead of gulping down fast-food, eat some fruit, something that is salubrious, yet something that you actually enjoy. Instead of watching TV when you get home or getting on the internet, take a nap, do something fun and exciting with friends or family, or try something new to you.

 Although work, family, friends, school, etc are all things that need attention, it is important to remember that YOU NEED ATTENTION as well. Make the time! I think it is especially sagacious for everyone to make room in their lives for themselves. This is especially essential for women. Often times we find little time for ourselves because we are always taking care of someone else or something else. With school, work, friends, and family, it can be hard finding time for self. Women new and old to motherhood suffer mostly from this. More than this, when they do take out time for themselves, some even feel guilty for having done it. There is no need for guilt, you as a mother and as a woman….but more importantly as a human being need to take time for yourself…breath…look around you…rest….and appreciate the beautiful things in life, the things that make life truly worth wild and the beautiful things within yourself that doesn’t involve anyone else but you. This should be done often, if not everyday, not just on Mother’s day! Plan and make time for yourself and during this time… it’s all about you and what you want to do. Don’t neglect yourself!

Mothers that typically take care of home, children, husband, and seemingly everything else and everyone else while working all at the same time often find it a daunting task to find time for themselves because at the end of the day, she is simply drained—often forgetting and neglecting her mind and body’s daily needs and attention. Her hair is often not kept, pajamas and “around the house” cloths  began to be normally worn outside of the house, and all together fatigue is set in her face and around her eyes. It’s the same old sad song— the husband complains that she is not as “attractive” as she was before. Uh, Hello! Perhaps she’s overwhelmed with things you (as a husbandbarely think or act to give a helping hand in. Is a marriage not supposed to be a partnership where you help each other? Now a days, it seems so alloy.

Simple guide that anyone can follow (Just do it!):

  • Give yourself time and space just to think
  • Make it a habit to get up early in the morning before anyone else, before starting your day, allowing time for yourselfalso do this in the evening or before going to sleep. During this time, it is important to be away from  all disturbances—so that means be alone. (30-60 mins).
  1. Take walks
  2. Do relaxing exercises (Mediation/Yoga)
  3. Read some pages of your favorite book
  4. Write down positive thoughts while in open, clear, clean space.
  5. Write poetry
  6. Take long, luxurious baths/showers
  7. Enjoy the sun rise/set, fresh air, gaze at a stand (group of trees) and the rest of nature
  8. Get and maintain a garden (flowers, fruit, other food, etc)
  • Sometimes, even though you can get a few things done, it can be fatigable even irritating trying to relax while having to watch kids, so sometimes leave them with their father, grandmother, or babysitter for a while and bring them back a treat.
  1. Drive to or lock yourself in a quiet space and get some things accomplished
  2. Go to the spa
  3. Go shopping…
  4. Go to the hair/nail shop…
  5. Go out with friends every now and then to relax
  6. Go to social events/take up a hobby (swimming, salsa dancing, instruments, belly dancing, etc) that you commit to once or twice a week
  • Eschew overwhelming yourself, if you need help doing something or a break, tell someone!
  • Having to cook, clean, and take care of kids everyday after pulling a 8-5 job can be tough try sometimes…
  1. Letting your children and husband do the cooking  (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  2. While you are cooking, let your husband wash the dishes or vice versa
  3. Cooking with your husband/boyfriend (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  4. Letting your husband/boyfriend cook for you (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  5. Letting your husband get the kids ready for school
  6. Letting your husband go out with/spend time with the kids

  • Take real vacations and travel, not vacations where you will be at home having to deal with cooking, cleaning, etc. Get away for a while either by yourself, with your husband/boyfriend, or with the whole family.
  • (Personal favorite) Watch/walk into/listen to the rain as it falls to earth
  • Sometimes just enjoy doing nothing…take reverence in just being alive.

Promising|of the Conscious|Spirit

I’ll admit—I use to be scared of and censure scary movies, particularly those that had ghost and noxious spirits in them. (laughs)  Even today I’d prefer to watch action/romance. A distinct entity is ultimately part of all of us, although we’re not all able to simply channel it. Maybe this is due to the fact that so many times, we as people chose to ignore it, so when it comes, we really do not hear it–loosing touch with our wiser, inner selves.

  • That nebulous, quiet and sporadic voice in the back of your mind that tells you “Don’t do it!” when you’re thinking to do wrong many would refute that as merely guilt.
  • More than this, when you’re unsuspecting and at ease but the minute you step into a place or get around a certain person, something within you just doesn’t feel “right” and that something tells you to get out of that place or away from those people, quickly for no apparent reason— but later you find out that is the best thing you could have ever done.
  • Even simply walking past a total stranger (F or M) and feeling something very familiar about them as you look into their eyes and they into yours; it’s like kindred spirits.

 In all three cases, there is something of higher prescience than what our mind possessed.  Sometimes we consciously/subconsciously ignore these “signs” in an attempt to justify those things that are enigmatic and we can’t easily see 

    

Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean toting a Bible, Koran, or any other canonical religious canon around or being in the church or a synagogue every Saturday or Sunday; it’s actually much more than that. I’ve met good-hearted, nice people who were very spiritual but not necessarily bound wholly to religion. They would simply walk into a room and the whole place could feel their presence or they would talk to you and as you listened, such wisdom and passion would flow. I’ve personally experienced the second part many times, the first time being when I was about 17 yr. old.  I would speak wisdom and truth so profound and with such ease, I’d later question where it came from. It was always me, and my voice talking but I was speaking more from my spirit than from my mind.

Mass murders and psycho killers obviously don’t posses the same spirit. Obviously, not everyone posses a good spirit; some hearts are plentiful with hate, malice, and revenge. In fact, most feel no guilt about what they do; they actually enjoy their perennial killings. Even the Bible, for you religious scholars, says the origin of man’s heart is black. Regret is only in the fact that they were caught due to some miscalculation in their sordid minds.. not in the lives they’ve taken. These people usually prey on good spirited yet unsuspecting people who aren’t as in tune with their inner selves.  While it is true that people are very capable of changing, it is also true that you can’t help people who don’t want help or can’t see anything wrong in their ways.

Muse|Me

 Music in of itself is inspiration; it’s refreshing, it’s invigorating; it’s enlightening. As a little girl, in the fresh scent of the morning air and illuminating sun, I would abscond to a secluded area with a small, portable radio under the shadow of a tree. Although my life was not convoluted and fairly austere, music kept it more interesting, so it became something I met with alacrity. It assuaged the long, summer kissed days.

 Oldies

This stuff is all my parents ever listened to, so I grew up to love  the now very familiar and disparate sounds of “Reasons”| “After the Love Has Gone” by Earth, Wind, & Fire,  “A Love Of Your Own”|“Cloudy” by AWB, “Never too Much”| “Power of Love” by Luther Vandross,  “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave, “Do It Again” by The Staple Singers, “For The Good Times”| “Love & Happiness” by Al Green,  and “Ohh , Child”| “Because I Love You” by Lenny Williams. At barbeques and family gatherings the music would blare “Outstanding! Girl you knock me out!” or “Yearning for Your Love” by Gap Band and we, as kids, would all dance and were met with approbation by the adults.

 Bobby Womack

“Harry Hippie”|

“That’s the Way I Feel About Cha”

                                                                                                               Bobby Womack and Marvin Gaye quickly became two of my all time favorites. They are the embodiments of authenticity; they were connoisseur in their professions. Womack looked into a mundane society and gave veracity in a story. Gaye displayed disabuse for the world in all its injustice in songs like “What’s Going On”| “Mercy Mercy Me”| “Inner City Blues”.  Maybe this was my first, real window and lens into a world that was hurting and still hurts today even as his words echo on an old record or through speakers many years later. He enervated me directly in “Distance Lover” while experiencing fresh, young love in all the numerous ways one is to experience it.

In contrast to most of the discordant music of today, the soul of these artists is evident in their sound- undoubtedly clear, eloquent yet effrontery, honest, and full of life.  It becomes axiomatic to me as I listen 17 years later to their soulful voices and it still fills me with so much love and inspiration…even more…wisdom.

Jazz

Rachelle Ferrell

“I Forgive You”| “I Can Explain”

                 It was years ago! I think I heard her beautiful voice in a movie and wondered who she was and what she was like, all together. Her words and voice were powerful, distinct, and lucid. Who was this woman?! I didn’t know but just last year, I heard the voice again. BET Jazz was hosting a show with yours truly—Rachelle Ferrell—and her voice was just as memorable as before. She defiantly possessed magnanimity and her music and personality portrayed it; her words were like an exigent rush of water that ironically remained calm.

Louis Armstrong is a multi-talented classic. His immediately recognizable raspy yet mellow, deep voice singing “What a Wonderful World” can easily capture anyone; he makes you believe it. Seeing this man play his trumpet with such passion and ease may have been part of what inspired me to pick up a saxophone and later …….my own enduring inspiration, the violin