1. My short story, Lines, was published in Liberation Media Groups journal, Liberate. Its an honor to be published, and I’m glad that LM is making an effort in supporting the work of the innovators and artist of our generation. Committing myself to writing, creativity, and expression has been one of my recent goals, and I’m happy that my work is getting out there. Excuse the typo that is present in one of the paragraphs that was published.

    Click the link to read the full story.

     
  2. retro6ixrings:

    lordshinigami:

    cultureunseen:

    Lisa Bonet
    Born November 16, 1967 (age 46)

    bruh i would give up my sexual organs to have a girl that looks like her

    5th pic down though, damn

    (via black--lamb)

     
  3. cocojigglypuff:

    thatonechick42:

    leseanthomas:

    With a booming economy in Nigeria and more black children than anywhere else in the world, Taofick Okoya was dismayed when he could not find a black doll for his niece.

    The 43-year-old spotted a gap in the market and, with little competition from foreign firms such as Mattel Inc, the maker of Barbie, he set up his own business. He outsourced manufacturing of doll parts to low-cost China, assembled them onshore and added a twist – traditional Nigerian costumes.

    The dolls represent Nigeria’s three largest Ethnic Groups; Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba so far.

    Seven years on, Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his Queens of Africa and Naija Princesses a month, and reckons he has 10-15% of a small but fast-growing market.

    "I like it," says Ifunanya Odiah, five, struggling to contain her excitement as she inspects one of Okoya’s dolls in a Lagos shopping mall. "It’s black, like me.”

    Like Barbies, Okoya’s dolls are slim, despite the fact that much of Africa abhors the western ideal of stick-thin models. Okoya says his early templates were larger bodied, and the kids did not like them.

    But he hopes to change that. “For now, we have to hide behind the ‘normal’ doll. Once we’ve built the brand, we can make dolls with bigger bodies.”

    SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jan/15/barbie-nigeria-queen-africa-dolls-mattel-toymaker

    I will buy them for my own children.

    Bless!!

    (via shewazalilredcorvette)

     
  4. howtobeterrell:

    Rebloggable

    (via marfmellow)

     

  5. Lines

                “Place a check beside the candidate or party of your choice.” That is the direction printed on top of the paper ballot I’m holding in the voter’s booth. I’m at the high school down the street from my apartment, and this is my first time voting. There are so many letters, shapes, and lines on this paper. I hold the ballot far from my face and I’m instantly bothered.  From afar, it all looks like one complicated math problem. I hate math. I hate geometry. I hate shapes. I hate numbers. Most of all, I hate lines. Lines separate things. They keep things out. Whether visible or symbolic, lines have done their math in my life for as long as I can remember, dividing and subtracting people where they see fit.

    This is the first paragraph in a short story I wrote about patriotism. It was intended for ECU’s multicultural publication, Expressions (where I was once a staff writer), but it was never published. I submitted it to a colleagues literary journal, Liberation, so I may post the rest once that publication goes public.

     
  6. I’m just going to leave this here just in case you were wondering about that video I referenced in my latest Ode to the Token Black Girl piece. Enjoy.

     
     

  7. An Ode to the Token Black Girl: HAZEL ADEN

    image

    Ahhh….Hazel. If you were a black girl watching Degrassi in the early 2000’s you, like me, were rooting for Hazel to win. 

    Portrayed by Andrea Lewis, Hazel Aden was one of two black female characters in the original Degrassi: The Next Generation line up. To some, she was just Paige Michalchuck’s dually popular sidekick, but her character was definitely much more than that. Even with minimal speaking lines, it was obvious that Hazel was multidimensional. She came across as smart, feminine, strong, sometimes a mean girl, and other times a genuinely good friend. She even played in a rock band with her best friends.

    Her major plot line involved her dating Aubrey Graham’s character, Jimmy (And I refuse to refer to him by his other name in this post because to me he is always Wheel Chair Jimmy!), who she linked up with in detention after getting caught watching porn. She stood by him during the infamous school shooting. Individually, Hazel did have her pivotal moments. In an episode titled “Don’t Believe the Hype”, Hazel revealed that she was a Somali born Muslim. The episode was a smart and culturally relevant address of Islamaphobia and self worth. The themes of that episode were something that I witnessed first hand, and as a first generation African immigrant I definitely appreciated it at the time. Eventually they faded her character out, and black girls around the world were left wishing she had gotten more screen time. 

    Even with Hazel’s disappearance into token black girldom, the actress behind the character has prospered. I’ve been a fan of Andrea Lewis post Degrassi as an avid reader of her former blog “Those Girls Are Wild” with friend Shannon Boodram. I was so ecstatic when a parody video of her dancing to Nicki MInaj floated across my tumblr dash one day, which ultimately led me to the now defunct site. Post TGAW, I’m happy to say that Andrea has dropped a successful EP called “54321” and an even more successful web-series appropriately titled “Black Actress”. She’s definitely put her best foot forward post child acting and I’ve become a big supporter of her work. Check out her website: missandrealewis.com

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  8. An Ode to the Token Black Girl: HEELS

    image

    So the other day as I Netflix’d binged into the early morning, I finally decided to watch Flashdance when I saw that it would soon expire from the Nexflix line up.

    Long story short: Flashdance was a cute 3 star worthy movie. Fun dancing, fashion a la 80’s, and wannabe witty one liners. It was OK for what it’s worth. Aside from all the pop culture references I’ve seen regarding Flashdance throughout the years, the one thing that really stuck out to me was the strategically placed token black girl, Heels. 

    Jennifer Beals is a stunning bi-racial black queen in her own right, but Heels stole the show for me. From her nameplate necklace to her brown skin looking like milk, I appreciated her small but memorable role in the movie. Heels is portrayed by Durga McBroom, who actually has a very interesting life in the entertainment industry. She was a longtime background singer for Pink Floyd and still performs to this day. Oh, Heels, you stole my heart plus who can forget her famous one liners “Just call the dude!” and “I’m glad I’m not a honky…” If only I could have found a picture that would do her character more justice. 

    Seeing Heels made me think of all the other token black girls in predominately white movies throughout the decades. Many of them fading fabulously into the background as other characters get their due. They often lack character development and fall into stereotypical tropes. Alas, there are many that we wish had their own spin-off. Any who, I’ve decided to do a mini-writing series called Ode to the Token Black Girl, shining light on the sometimes forgettable women of color in the big and little screens who need to get their due. 

     

  9. Neutral Space-Part 2: Dad

    Part 2-Dad

    She’s so beautiful. I never stopped thinking she was beautiful. She’s really annoying now, but beautiful indeed. I mean really, who wants to deal with a nagging woman every night, when you have homework to do and tests to study for. I understand she’s stressed. I am too. Having a kid and being a student is not easy, especially when you never thought this would be your life in the first place.

                      It’s 7:33 and I’m just now pulling up to the BP gas station. The look on her face doesn’t say so, but I know she’s pissed, and even though she won’t believe me I really am sorry. I know her time is precious because mine is too. When you’re a college student and a parent you have to learn how to make the most of your time. Only do what you have to when you need to. I had an 8am class today and a 6 hour work shift, and that nap I took to recover kept me longer than planned.

                      After kissing our son, and telling him she loves him, she hands him over to me, than passes me his overnight bag. Without exchanging any more words, she gets into her car and drives away. “Hey buddy!”  He giggles and hugs my neck. Even though I’m still tired, I’m excited to hang out with my little man. I owe him some quality time since I wasn’t able to make it to pick him up from daycare at all this week. It’s been like that a lot lately actually. I’ve been getting called into work or had a club meeting, and I haven’t been able to pick him up on the days when I’m supposed to. That sounds terrible doesn’t it…can’t pick up my own kid because I have something else to do. I try not to let it bother me because I know me being in school is the best thing for his future, and mine.

                      When I met her our sophomore year of high school I never thought it would bring us to this moment, trading off our child at a gas station on a Friday night. I never thought we would break up. I didn’t imagine us getting married or anything…I never thought that far ahead back then. But I definitely didn’t see it ending with raising our child in two separate homes. I never really saw my life like this in the first place. I kind of thought my college years would resemble “Animal House.” Parties, football games, and a bunch of crazy memories. Instead the last 4 years have been more “Daddy Day Care”

                      But to be honest I wouldn’t change it. I strap Isaiah into his car seat, and place his bag on the ground of my car. I’m in for a long weekend.

     

  10. Neutral Space-Part 1: Mommy

    Part 1- Mommy

                      Do you know how demoralizing it is to have to drop your kid of at a gas station? This child, my child, grew inside of me for 8 months. I’ve clothed him, fed him, loved him, not to mention missed out on numerous social events for him…just to have my parenting skill reduced to a BP parking lot. This weekly trade off has become sickening, I dread it, but my son needs to see his father, and I need this time to study.

                      I look down at my watch, then out my window. Its 7:05 and I have Bio study group at 7:30. He knows that, but yet and still he is always late. Things like that, his constant lateness, are why we are not together anymore. I shift in my seat so I can comfortably look at Isaiah. He’s strapped snuggly in his car seat, playing with some Happy Meal action figure. Its dark out, but I can see the excited glimmer in his eyes, as he brings his action figure to life, making sounds and voices. “Are you excited to go to dads house this weekend?” He smiles and looks up, shaking his head. I’m glad he’s excited. It’s important that a young boy has a good relationship with his dad, or at least that’s what the court ordered counselor told us during our custody hearing. I believe her to. I just never thought my child would have to be taken to a neutral space, a gas station parking lot, in order to be given over to visit his father. Just like any other girl I kind of believed that I’d have the picture perfect family. 2 parents in one house, family dinners and all that.

                      But instead I’m a full time student and a full time mom to a 4 year old. Attending class, setting play dates, and making dinner all in one day have become second nature to me. In other words being stressed out has become second nature to me, and pretty much my constant state since I gave birth. Being a mom first and senior Public Health major second are probably the two hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I’m doing them both simultaneously. 

    I live in the library and study whenever I can fit it in. I work long hours because I have to.  I’m sleep deprived most days, but it’s all worth it because I love my kid. I’ve still managed to have fun in college though. I go out and party when I can. I go to football games. I’ve made some great friends and some great memories. But even after 3 years they don’t always understand that I can’t always go out with them because I have a kid to care for, work to do, and sometimes I’m just too exhausted. As much as I dislike admitting it at times, Isaiah’s dad is the only one I know who can relate because he’s going through the same thing.

                      I look out my passenger side window in just enough time to see him pull up and park right across from me. I look at my car clock. It’s 7:33. I’m late.