Monday, September 27, 2021

It's Banned Books Week. Here's a List of Black Books that have been banned that you need to read

Did you know that this week is Banned Books Week? 

Books are banned in various places for a lot of reasons, some are legitimate, but most aren’t. For example, what just happened with Central York School District here in Pennsylvania when they tried to ban books like:
Hair Love by Matthew Cherry 
Sulwe By Lupita N’yongo 
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
I am Enough by Grace Byers

among many other children’s books that tout representation. Did you know that the Afro Latinx version of Spiderman, Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds & Kadir Nelson is also banned?)

Here are a few of my own personal favorite Black Banned Books that are literally classics (like did you know that books by the one and only Maya Angelou have been banned almost every year since their publication?)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969)
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965)
For those looking for something a bit more modern, here are a few newly banned books definitely worth the read: 
  • The Hate U Give Angie Thomas & Nikki Giovanni 
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor
  • Watch Us Rise Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan
  • This Is My America by Kim Johnson
  • Clap When You Land Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning Jason Reynolds & Ibram Kendi
So tell me, what is your favorite Banned Book?

Saturday, September 25, 2021

"PLEASE, DON'T TOUCH MY BABY": Why so many people should not feel entitled to touch children and how that is going to get you in trouble.

This is a rant, but it needs to be said.

Picture it: you are at brunch with family or out and about with your child. You're enjoying the company when a person, a relative stranger, reaches over to touch your baby. You freeze up, everything seemingly goes into slow motion. You look at the person, bristling. You even pull your baby away from the person. They persist. You glare at them, still putting your body between them and your little one. The mood changes and you feel like it's your fault. You may feel guilt: for not doing more, or for doing too much.

This happened to me. Twice. With two different people. And I am pissed.

I don't understand why people who don't know me or my baby do not know not to just go around touching babies they don't know.

Do you just walk up to strangers you don't know and touch them? 

How would you feel if someone you didn't know came up to you and felt entitled to touch you?

Not just that, but why are you touching my baby's hands? The same hands that she will rub her eye with or stick into her mouth. Why do you think it's a good idea to place your adult hand, that has touched doorknobs and handles, elevator buttons and bag handles, and everything else, on this tiny hand of a baby?

Not just that, but we are currently in the throes of Covid and entering flu season. Why on earth would you think it's appropriate to touch a child and a child you don't know and a child that you don't know in the middle of all of that?

There is his strange attitude towards children that denies their personhood. We force them to hug relatives they don't know when they could be uncomfortable. We discount their discomfort. We ignore their feelings, shrugging them away as tantrums or being spoiled. We don't give them the right to say no. We don't acknowledge their right to say no. We force them to feign politeness for our own ego, saying "Don't you embarrass me.", teaching them in these thousands of small but painful acts that their 'no' doesn't matter, that their own discomfort doesn't matter, that their discomfort with this person doesn't matter.

I call bullshit. 

I am my daughter's fiercest ally and advocate, her sharpest sword, and her shield until she no longer needs them. If my daughter does not want to hug, she has every right to not hug. If she would rather stay with mommy and daddy because she is in a new place, she has every right to do so and is welcome to. If she is uncomfortable with a person who is trying to touch her, which she has the right to feel, especially from someone who has not earned her trust, she has that right and I as her mother will enforce her right to feel how she feels. 

And if I back away from you, or push your hand aside when you attempt to cross her boundaries without asking or tell you "She does not feel like hugging right now." or "Please do not touch her.", know that I am doing my job. I am her guardian, and if that means guarding her personhood, her feelings, or her boundaries, for as long as she will have me to until she has a voice of her own, then I will do so.

So please, do not touch my baby. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Simone Biles is STILL the GOAT

In case you didn’t know, this is still a Simone Biles stan account. 

This is a Naomi Osaka stan account.

This is a stan account for all people, but especially Black Women who choose their own metal health over the stringent demands of the world. 

For everyone calling Simone Biles “unamerican” for stepping down, citing her own mental wellness, this is a reminder that people like Simone and Naomi and Serena and Beyoncé and Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama are HUMAN beings before they were your sport star or celebrity or heroic figure. Black women have long been seen and treated as the workhorse of culture; we don’t get to be emotional, we don’t get to have bad days, we don’t get to have off moments. We are supposed to entertain, to excel, to play the sport, walk the runway, to work and work and work until some younger more entertaining Black woman comes along to replace us. But we are human too, just like you and deserve respect & dignity not just for what we contribute but for who we are.

So for anyone who is doubting Simone’s prowess as the goat, I will challenge you not only look at her success as a gymnast but look at her transparency, leadership, & courage in what could be viewed as one of her lowest moments, and see there that she is truly one of the greatest of all time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Nikole Hannah-Jones just taught us all a lesson

Go where you are loved, not where you are merely tolerated…

Whew! If you missed the news, the culture is BUZZING with excitement for Nikole Hannah Jones.

In case you missed it, Nikole Hannah-Jones, winner of the MacArthur "genius grant" for her reporting on continued segregation in American life and Pulitzer Prize winner for her essay accompanying "The 1619 Project," a New York Times Magazine initiative she conceived on the legacy of slavery in the United Stateswas being wooed by University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, to become their Journalism School’s Knight Chair, a position that includes professorship and tenure. 

UNC's board of trustees had different opinions. 

Against the school's wishesyet spurned on by doners like Walter Hussman, a 1968 UNC journalism graduate whose name graced the journalism school since he made a $25 million pledge, the Board of Trustees of UNC revoked the tenure. They opted for a 5-year professorship and THEN her tenure would be reviewed. This, of course, is something that has NEVER happened to previous Knight Chairs, all of whom are White, none of whom penned one of the most prolific pieces of journalism that centers Black people in American History. 

Jones (with her legal team) fought back. 

After back and forth between Jones and UNC's Board of Trustees, weeks of terrible press, pressure from the culture, and several other high profile Black professors either leaving or refusing to take jobs at UNC-Chapel Hill, after a vote of 9 to 4, the trustees agreed to give her the tenure.

But HERE'S THE PLOT TWIST: Nikole Hannah-Jones REFUSED the position. 

Instead, she chose to teach at Howard University, one of the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

About this decision, Nikole Hannah-Jones made a statement, saying; 

“I cannot imagine working at and advancing a school named for a man who lobbied against me, who used his wealth to influence the hires and ideology of the journalism school, who ignored my 20 years of journalism experience, all of my credentials, all of my work, because he believed that a project that centered Black Americans equaled the denigration of white Americans. Nor can I work at an institution whose leadership permitted this conduct and has done nothing to disavow it. How could I believe I’d be able to exert academic freedom with the school’s largest donor so willing to disparage me publicly and attempt to pull the strings behind the scenes? Why would I want to teach at a university whose top leadership chose to remain silent, to refuse transparency, to fail to publicly advocate that I be treated like every other Knight Chair before me? Or for a university overseen by a board that would so callously put politics over what is best for the university that we all love? These times demand courage, and those who have held the most power in this situation have exhibited the least of it."

She continues: “For too long, powerful people have expected the people they have mistreated and marginalized to sacrifice themselves to make things whole. The burden of working for racial justice is laid on the very people bearing the brunt of the injustice, and not the powerful people who maintain it. I say to you: I refuse."

We love to see it. 

Honestly, Jones is one of the greatest journalists of our time. To see her so unappreciated because of blatant racism and misogyny is disgusting. I’m glad she (along with the incredible Tanehisi Coates) is heading to an amazing HBCU. 

In her decision, Jones has taught many of us, self included, a master class. Black Women are often the work horses of the society, often doing the labor of both educating about racism, misogyny, womaninsm, homophobia, etc and healing the people who are often guilty of those forms of bigotry and hatred. Jones teaches us that we do not have to accept that additional labor, that we have other work to do, and that we can refuse to do that extra labor in order to go where we are valued, treasured, and loved rather than just tolerated. 

Let this be a lesson to us all:

-don’t settle for less when you are literally the best.

-whenever you can, be the plot twist.

-go where you are loved, not merely tolerated.

Friday, June 4, 2021

#Sponsored Pennie Ensures Your Peace of Mind

Moments after giving birth...
Let's talk. 

As a creative & entrepreneur, while the work I do comes with a lot of freedom, I can’t rely on another business to take care of my health insurance for me. 

Yet, your girl needs her healthcare, especially last year when we were pregnant with Emmie. With all of the care moms need before, during, and after giving birth, I don’t know what my family would have done without health insurance. 

For us, it not only covered my needs but also was invaluable for my peace of mind. But getting pregnant during the pandemic while being an entrepreneur was a huge issue. Not only did I have to be concerned with the health of my growing family and body, but new concerns also arose, namely, financial concerns. 

The Pandemic literally put everything on hold, including a lot of work. I personally had to step away from a job I adored for my own safety and peace of mind. It was an extremely difficult choice I had to make because it left me wondering what was I going to do to cover my bills. 

For me and so many others, losing work comes at a price which is not just financial, but also the very real experience of losing health insurance. It doesn’t have to be that way. 

Let me introduce you to Pennie™

Pennie is Pennsylvania’s official health insurance marketplace and official destination for accessing quality health and dental insurance plans. Pennie is also the only place that can link you to financial assistance that will lower your monthly premium and/ or out-of-pocket expenses. And that’s a major relief for those of us who are just trying to get by. 

Real talk: Healthcare may seem non-essential, but those bills can add up fast. But now Pennie has got you covered, EVERYONE is eligible for savings.

The pandemic has hit people hard, Pennie is here to help. Learn more about Pennie!