Friday, February 26, 2016

"Pull the Trigger Nigger!"

911 - "What's your emergency" . . . 

..."there's someone lurking in the darkness and now he's at our front door!" Typically the description would read, "Tall, armed, black hoodie, dark jeans, brown boots, red book-bag and Black male" . . . but not this time. At around 2:30 a.m. this morning, this description was right at our front door, but it wasn't a "Black" male, he was White. 

In that moment, when fear of your safety, of your life is in question, what do you do? Most people's emotions race. You cut lights on, you look for your glasses, your phone to call for the police, to call for help; but in that moment are you really prepared for what happens next?  


When the police arrived, ironically, there weren't two, three or four cars that pulled up as when the "typical" description is given. There was one officer, one car and he paroled the streets twice and left. No sight of the man who just minutes ago left our front steps and walked around the corner into the darkness. The reality that even while on the wrong side of a situation, those afforded privilege are still covered. 

As I reflect on that moment, I remember trying to figure out, is he on drugs, was he in an accident, is he mentally ill... but then he opened his mouth. "Are you talking to me nigger?" The dynamics of this word and statement. It's derogatory, when spoken by anyone, but it cuts deeper when it's spoken in hatred by someone who's ancestors created the word. In that moment, my mind went back to many situations that have recently happened in this country of those who are entitled to privilege and those fighting against the injustices that privilege upholds. 

I thought in that moment, this armed, White male standing on our property at 2:30 in the morning, "are you talking to me . . . nigger?" Did I hear that right? He said it in a way as if he was baiting us. There have been recent local crimes where people act drunk, sick or disabled and then someone jumps out and hits you is so prevalent, it was alarming that he went from acting disheveled to being normal and speaking with such hate. He went from barely moving to suddenly disappearing in the darkness. The history of our community, like a lot in this country, centers on White flight in the 70's and 80's from areas now identified as "Urban." The reverse of this, gentrification, is now unveiling the dynamic of racial profiling and hate crimes of our counterparts within our own communities; noting that many "Urban" communities are already battling Black on Black/Brown on Brown/Black on Brown crime, poverty, homelessness, lack of resources for mental illnesses, poor food/restaurant choices, etc. Now we would be "RACIST" if we profiled our white neighbors who have suspicious activity happening at their house daily; but they don't bother us so we don't bother them. Yet, it's such a double standard that if it was the other way around, any "suspicious" activity from us would be reported immediately, often times something as simple as just walking to the mailbox or our children walking down the street to the bus stop. 


I am a God fearing, educated, community and family oriented Black male living in America but in that moment of having to make a choice of love over hate, life or death, right, wrong or indifferent, my decision making was challenged. What if he pulled his gun out and I shot mine first? Would it still be self defense? Would he be "mentally ill" and I "threatening?" If the shoe was on the other foot, it wouldn't have even been a conversation or a need for it. The headlines would have read, "Armed Black male attempting to rob a family was shot and killed!" People would rejoice because the "bad guy" lurking in the dark was taken out. We are safe again! Another one bits the dust is how America looks at protecting certain citizens. What about all citizens? Innocent children of color are subjected to EVERY injustice America offers, even if they're doing the right thing. Good kids subjected to the school to prison pipeline, educational case studies that experiment on them through privatization of schools,the war on drugs, gang violence and the list goes on of things that we consciously ignore and silently accept.


Race matters! If we're honest, racism is embedded in all of us. We may not display hatred towards others, treat them differently or even stereotype them, but we all take pride in our culture, our heritage, in the commonality of what links us together and we protect it. I'm not a Racist, but I will always be on the side of my race. That doesn't mean I'm wrong. If I don't stand up for a higher standard not just for my race, but for all people, then I fall in line with the millions of other people in this country who hate others just because their skin color, their religion, their sexuality, their beliefs are different.  

Our society has mastered dividing us by labels,seen clearly by racial divides, religious exploitation, economic constraints, religious, media, entertainment, education, government; systems designed to keep the masses of people not afforded privilege oppressed through images, ideologies and propaganda that keeps us distracted, unaware and unfocused on the realities right in front of our face. Wake up now...because when the enemy lurking is at your front door steps, that's when what's next happens.  


It's freedom time now. . . 

https://youtu.be/56Zq7AK24Tk

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's All About RACE!

I recently read a review about the movie Race and some commentary. I was inspired to address the story of Jessie Owens and why race matters. 

It's critically important to note that everyone's story of success, of tragedy, or triumph, or achievement is worth being told. The story of Jessie Owens was moved from just the traditional Black History Month posters and signs or even honorable mention in Black History Month programs to the big screen. . . but this isn't enough



The play on words, "race",  in the movie as well as the direct absence of guilt or shame on America's behalf of how the treat their own citizens but were critical of Hitler. The traditional white "Savior" to the oppressed is add to almost every film produced by white Directors that still imply the Master/Slave relationship. The movie puts in our face the reality  of the critical role that race does play in our society. The story of Jessie Owens is deeper than what was given to us in the movie, but it was a great reflection of talented, gifted, strong Black male; who care of his family, his daughter, who came from a strong family. Those were pluses in the movie for me and realistic portraits of the strength and position that Black men play daily in America. Those images too often overlooked and overshadowed by the media's constant desire to seek stories that portray us as hoodlums, thugs and sexual predators. 

The movie Race calls to the attention of America the reality of the fabric that threads this culture. Our culture's foundation includes the systematic racial discrimination and hatred that is still displayed by citizens of privilege in this country. The reality is that after President Obama was elected, the system's war on Black males worsened. It became right in our face. No matter how we dress it up, how we try to edit the authentic story of this country, the point will still stand that race does matter! 

The way the guards were treating the Jews is parallel to what Jessie Owens was experiencing as a Black man in America from the police.In fact, it's what every Black male in America experiences today in 2016. It's systematically designed. Police brutality and racial profiling, prejudices and stereotypes all stem from racism. Time will continue to cause evolution which means that eventually, America will slowly change. We hope that it will change into what it has claimed to be but more so really desired to be. A true land of the free, a land of hope and land of the American dream, a dream that will be applicable to all it's citizen, regardless of their color, their zip code, their religion or who they chose to love. We will never get there, IF the hope of justice is overshadowed by an unjust system. 

You Decide!

We all make decisions of what we want for our lives. A part of decision making includes determining how we get to the finish line. It's always right to be on the right side of decision making. We chose to either do the right thing, the wrong thing or line dance with the "in between" ...you know, the "grey area" decisions that allow us to outwardly do the right thing but not for the right reasons. 

Making the right decision isn't always easy. In fact, there aren't many who desire to travel the road of making the decision to do the right thing because of the challenges that come with it. This decision requires a lot for less at times. When making decisions, you must consider how you want to receive the outcomes of life. Bad decisions may result in instant rewards but bring about eternal consequences. Every decision brings about good and bad outcomes. Bad decisions and poor choices result in severe consequences. 

Consequences are a part of decision making; life. Our society has always driven, it's all about me.People who make decisions with "ME" in mind; more for me, more rewards for me, more happiness for me,  often times over look the needs of others. They justify their decisions based on what our society tells us. This is how it works, success requires the sacrifice of things you love. For those of us who chose to do the right thing, our paths become even harder. It requires more because we carry the weight of not just our dreams.                             


We're all in need of redemption. 
How we live is determined by the decisions we make. Choosing to live right doesn't exempt us from pain, tragedies, struggles or personal afflictions life brings. We can all embrace the redemptive power of God. However, this too is a choice! When reality meets redemption, it forces you to acknowledge that "I too" don't always do the right thing, in the right ways, all the time. "I too" make bad decisions but accepting redemption allows me to get it right! 



Every decision won't be perfect
Every decision won't be easy 
Every decision won't always feel good,
but 
Every decision should be made in love

Every decision should be thought out 
Every decision should be purposeful! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Build Your Life #BYL

Life is what we make it! It's time to Build Your Life #BYL Too often we are confined by the opinions, feelings, judgement and desires of others for our lives. We are enslaved, not truly living our lives for us. If we are truly going to be free, we have to start with accepting who we are and living our best lives; not the life someone else wants us to live. It's important to have family and loved ones a part of your journey but how real is it? If you aren't yourself around the people you love, are they loving the image you create for them or do they truly love you? 

LIFE challenges us to face who we are daily. We have mastered building finances, communities, houses and careers and sometimes the most intricate areas of our lives, spirituality, health, rest & relaxation, self improvement are over looked. Build Your Life in the reverse. Build you first! Before we can build a healthy family, career, community our home, we have to be balanced spiritually, physically and mentally. We can't be great in relationships if we aren't humble, forgiving and loving. We can't enjoy relationships if we are healthy. We aren't the leaders we can be if we're mentally burnt out and constantly pouring into others leaving ourselves empty. 

Learn from others and build your own. We don't have to recreate the wheel, but we can personalize the wheel. The best thing about you is you! There will always be someone who can do something better than you. That doesn't take away the fact that what you bring to the table is unique. We all can have similar gifts that we use differently. However, the only gift that you have no one else can have is you! That's why it's important for you to build your own life. Live in a way that you have out dreamed your biggest dream; that you have out worked your largest plan and that you out performed your purpose perfectly! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Shade Tree


Shading seems to be the trend that has followed the growth of Reality TV. Shade: acting in a casual or disrespectful manner towards someone/dissing a friend. This takes us back to asking the question, "what about your friends?" Although it's reality TV, what do the actions of our Black female Reality stars say about how Black women operate as friends, business women, mothers, sistahs and everyday people? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92gHq1s6G-c

Many raise the question about how Black women are represented on reality TV shows. When RHOA hit the scene, it was a hit. When we look at the ladies; NeNe, Cynthia, Porsha, Phaedra, Kandi, Sheree, Kim Fields and Kenya, we see every day women with various personalities. Despite the DRAMA, we see educated, influential, business driven, successful Black women dealing with real life on television. Regardless if we like how the drama flows, we always keep what's happening in our social media commentary.  


Do the perceptions of Black women in their roles on Reality TV shows effect how people perceive or interact with Black women in real life? Perhaps it does, but the majority of those perceptions come from ideals, thoughts and beliefs that are already embedded into a person from racial, economic and religious influences. It's the way of our society. You have The Braxtons, successful Black women singers, Cutting in in the ATL, successful Black women Beauticians and business owners, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, black mothers, entrepreneurs, music artist, Married to Medicine and the list goes on. . . 

Does the shade of reality TV keep us from embracing the positive perceptions of Black women? It's something to consider. Trees provide shade. It's an expectation that a tree will provide shade from the light of the sun as well as the heat from the sun rays. Does that make shade a bad thing? It's often needed and enjoyed; just like on the reality TV shows.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcmfD9A-Xeg 

Here's final thoughts. Everything in life requires balance. Let's focus on the positive that reality TV shows offer, embrace the lessons they present, enjoy the journey of the women we get to see doing their thing and celebrate that Black women, all different brown shades, different family upbringings, different beliefs and different presentations of how they walk this journey call life can be celebrated. I'm not condoning the violence that is shown, or the poor choices, but that is reality. People mess up. People make bad decisions. What we should always remember is that what determines destiny is not in our ability to control, but our ability to follow. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghJ6yAtnyg8 

There's nothing that perceptions or opinions can change about fate.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Guilty or Not? America's Crime

..".but the children shall not suffer!" 
Now the statement becomes the question, are the children suffering on our watch? 

We want to hold Educators solely accountable for children's success but not parents, not Education policy makers; just anyone but us.  We want to hold entertainers accountable but not politicians; just anyone but us.  We want to hold the any one, body or thing accountable but not ourselves. Just anyone, but us huh?  If we continue to remain silent on these issues and shifting accountability through the "Blame Game", then the issues needed to be dealt with will never get fixed. 


In America, what you have access to shapes your actions, options and thoughts. Regardless of how access is granted, through lineage, inheritance or business, the privilege afforded by access exposes us to better conditions of living. Image if you had access to get in any school you wanted, money, jobs, skill training, political influence and power, etc. I'm sure you'd be in a different position. The American dream has always protected those afforded privilege, exempting them from certain aspects of life i.e. poverty, homelessness, poor educational options, low health care, drug & gang involved, lower income communities, etc.

The fight for equity and equality is a very real fight for freedom in America. The running ABC show, "American Crime" is putting in the face of the Nation our reality when it comes to economics, education, sexuality, rape and racism. The realistic story-lines that capture the effects of these things reflect where and who we are as a society, as a Nation. It shows us equality and equity from upper to lower class and what life is like on each side and life in the middle. 

As we are in election season, I'm challenging you to be more connected to the issues concerning the greater community and not just your tax bracket.Be accountable and also hold your elected officials accountable. Economic power is the way to make change. Support small owned and minority businesses. Be equitable with your spending. Spending is also an investment. Why would we continue to empower those who support oppressive conditions of living in this country? Don't be a part of the real American crime; the disparity of equitable and equal access. 

Shout out to the ABC series, American Crime for bringing the issues of equity, equality and education in American to the forefront. 
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOSQmxBz7Qs 






Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Aftermath of Formation

After the highly talked about Superbowl performance, Beyonce' and now Kendrick Lamar have forced the social media built movement for social justice to be front and center in the eyes of the world. Well America, are we invisible now? The aftermath of Beyonce's Superbowl performance has called attention to social injustices and prejudices of this country but also the current work of the Activists in the Black Lives Matter movement; much how Coldplay brought attention to the Equality and the LGBT Movement. Not only that, she's called worldwide attention to the 50th Year Anniversary of the Black Panthers empowering women of all shades of colors, but in particular, the women of color who were leaders and organizers of the Panther Party that was organize to protect and serve the Black community and race.


The call was to get in "formation"! Now the question is, what are we doing? How have we come together as a community to build up ourselves, our families, our communities, our schools, our businesses...how? What can we do now to get into formation?

 We must begin strengthening our financials and building economic empowerment. That begins with us, We need to expand the middle class. We are stronger culturally,economically and socially when the middle class is thriving. Let's thrive together.

Here's how it starts!
  • Investing in yourself first; saving money aside, investments, etc.  
  • Having a side job that brings in supplemental income 
  • Spending within your community supporting minority and small business owners 
  • Helping build a more inclusive America for all 
When we have more economic stability, we are able to influence and policies on a greater scale. When we support ourselves, build up our communities and families, we rely less on the government to raise our communities for us. It takes a village. It's time for us to invest in our village. 


Monday, February 15, 2016

I am American, not just a color!

The World Must Unite in U.N.I.T.Y 
We get that all lives matter, but, much like in other parts of the world, Black Lives, Brown Lives or any minority group in America's lives matter who are facing oppression from the system. What we need now is U.N.I.T.Y of the people. That's right! I'm soliciting your support in helping promote the "UNITY Campaign"! We can embrace the possibility of change in this country we if don't begin to become unified. 

That means, I'm an American, not just a color. That doesn't mean I throw my religious or cultural beliefs and traditions away. It means that I'm taking progressive steps daily to live in freedom rather than in fear. I'm choosing to love rather than to hate. It takes boldness to live this: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsT9wDBXyjE



In America, many people use their platforms for many reasons. Society reinforces that serious matters shouldn't be discussed to keep down tension. We complain, complain, complain, we promote things that don't build up our children, our communities, our families or ourselves. We can't possibly want a better America when collectively we are all so divisive, in silos, fighting for our place in a main stream society; a society doesn't even accept our cultural differences.


UNITY Campaign 2016 

I'd like to challenge every reader of this blog to consider doing the following and simply help spread unity this year. Here's how:


  1. Speak in Love!
  2. Embrace cultural differences
  3. Be open minded to others way of thinking 
  4. Support others!
  5. Be Active in the greater community! 
Support people who are ethical, professional and doing work that makes a difference. Actively support local schools and non profits in your community or your college/university. Identify a cause that may connect to health, education, social justice, etc. Unity is a worthy investment. You're not just investing in yourself but others. U.N.I.T.Y, one's success is our success. #Unity #BetterTogether


Be inspired to help spread the message of UNITY in Love

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Sound of Love


Jon Caramanica of The New York Times stated, "Her voice was clean and strong, with barely any grit, well suited to the songs of love and aspiration". . .she is the Voice that transcends the sound of love through barriers of color, creed and religion. What Micheal Jackson is to entertainment, artistry and dance; Whitney is to voice!  






Known to many as the "Queen of Pop" but cherished by all as the Voice, Whitney Elizabeth Houston set the standard  for the sound of Love, the Voice of generations to come. Despite her personal struggles, she never failed to let Love be the inspiration to the world. Just like each of us, we have personal struggles but they don't dictate our ability to overcome them and still aspire people to find their strength in Love. 


Whitney was the first and only female, main stream artist who performed a concert for a new South Africa. All proceeds from the concerts were donated by Whitney Houston and her foundation to selected South African children's charities, two children's museums, the President's Trust Fund for Nelson Mandela, the Kagiso Foundation and several orphanages. Even in a Nation many miles away, she transcribed the message of Love that touched the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRxN2gBwS9Q

Everyday we should be inspired to love, to spread the power of Love through our voices, our gifts, our talents and our work. So here's to Whitney, thank you for showing us the power of the greatest Love of all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E849UUqNe3g





Friday, February 12, 2016

You Are What You Speak! #IAM


DECLARE your #IAm statement(s) today. Hashtag it, post it, share it. Spread the inspiration because there's power in what we believe, speak and think.  

EMBRACE your #IAm declarations for success, Love, freedom. Knowing who you are builds your character and guides how you travel the paths destined for us. 



LIFE challenges us daily to remind ourselves that am I what I believe, speak and think that I am. 

SOCIETY forces us to believe that we rely on the media to tell us how to live, how to act, how to look, how to speak, what to believe, who to praise, who to shun, who to accept, how to forgive, how to love and how to think. 


REALITY causes us to live in the now! We can't continue to dream for tomorrow is we aren't speaking, thinking, believing in and doing the work TODAY! 

Remember, you are your greatest investment! 

                                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvVfgvHucRY   

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reset!


Starting over! It's not easy but it's possible.


We all have to get to a place in our lives where we turn the page. That may mean walking away from relationships that aren't healthy, leaving behind bad habits, leaving that job where you're comfortable but not purpose-filled. Realizing that something needs to be done isn't near as challenging as identifying a way(s) to make it happen and then being able to follow the process.

Everyone can attest to having something and not being ready for it? Some of us wanted that position at work, the new car, love, new house, etc., and realized in the process that we simply just weren't ready to handle it. The only thing worst than having lost something that you desired or wanted so much is not seeing the value in yourself to pick yourself back up and turn the page. 


We do a reset on our gadgets. We remodel our homes. We get our cars tuned up. So, it's also necessary for us to assess our lives, push the stop button on some things and start over. Things that keep us from turning the page:


Fear 
Dependency
Guilt 
Depression 
Failure 
Shame 

The only way to overcome fear, dependency, guilt, depression, failure and shame are to realize that these things are a part of life and that they don't have to become a way of life. There are new moments ahead that give you freedom. The power of turning the page allows you to start new, to be free from the things that held you captive from living your best life. Forget those things of the past and press forward; turn the page! 



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Collapsing Walls

Every day I drive by a privately owned apartment complex in Atlanta that looks much like the picture below... wondering how the systems in this country, America, the land of the free, leaves children and families displaced; bound to nomadic conditions. 

Yes, this apartment complex was recently closed, but the reality is, months after it was closed, there were still families of mothers, fathers, children ... that lived here. Gentrification, redistricting, school closings, poverty is growing and very real in urban cities through the United States. 


The Modern Day face of poverty is now the average child that comes into a school, recreation center, after school care program. They aren't children that look "skinny", "dirty" or "unkept". Have we as middle class Americans dismissed the fact that the middle classes decline is the rise of the working poor? Do we even realize that poverty is growing? It's growing because elected officials on various levels (local, state, federal) refuse to pass bills/legislation and allocate funding to improve health care/insurance, Education, housing, transportation, etc. The system leaves our local communities in this state and forces us to either deal with it, live with it or live in it! So what's next? 

Everyday children go to a place called "home" with collapsing walls. Living like many children in Flint with poor water conditions, living in facilities that aren't well kept, mold in the walls, leaking ceilings, communities with food desserts and lack of grocery stores selling food that isn't expired or not healthy. 


We can donate to local organizations, churches with food & clothes banks and our community schools. Each one can reach one! Support can be in various ways i.e. educating others by bringing awareness, doing outreach with your church, adopting a local school, partnering with a non profit supporting families and communities. Promoting charity events. Encouraging colloborative community clean up day. Attend your community meeting...just simply active. It works, I'm doing it, we're doing, many are doing it! #BeActive #MaketheChange 


For more on our work visit our website, lilliesfoundation.org 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ode to Dad

God blessed this world with a great man, father, brother, leaders, business owner and giver who would be named Darryl G. Allen on this day, February 9th...55 years in the making! So on today I celebrate him and all the influential, Black fathers making a difference! 

When I think about the impact that my father has had on my life, my family, friends, loved ones and our community, I'm proud. He is defeating the odds through the favor of God, I'm amazed at his vision, his wisdom and his drive. Raised by Lillie Mae Allen Young, my father grew up in the town of Wake Forest, NC as a young boy with a dream. He persevered, in spite of! He is an inspiration to many, teaching them how to be a better man, a better husband, a better father and a better business man. He gives back to his community, local schools, churches and families. 



When we look at the issues of this society and the depiction of Black men, I'm proud to be connected to a Black Man that can. We don't celebrate our Black men doing the work enough. My father changed the course. He reversed the curse!  He did for our family and many others what wasn't done for him by his father. He defeats excuses and the reasons to not simply act in love. He has taught me that a father is a great asset to the family but a strong, God fearing man is even more beneficial. I'm thankful for the man God has placed in my life as a "Dad"! One of the things my father taught me is that real men raise up their families and communities, even in the absence of those men who should be doing the work but aren't. So here's my ode to Dad, one of the greatest men I know. 

Check out Darryl Allen's PLUS and celebrate the legacy, heritage and vision of a man who believes in God, family and community! 


http://www.daprintzone.com/


The Source of Your Investments is YOU!

"You can be the next Bill Gates, or the next Oprah, but how do we turn our income into wealth? We have to get more for what we pay. The message behind "eat first, drink later", is just what it says. If you eat first (if you invest in yourself first), you'll still have enough room (assets/capital) to drink or enjoy later. Don't waste your tax refund, bonus check on things that will only last a couple days/weeks. INVEST! Be wise about how you use your funds and resources. 




The first thing I discovered in studying how other millionaires became wealthy is that they had a vision. Then they developed the plan, built the right team and worked the plan. It's that simple! Going from rich to wealthy is a goal and vision that my father has and we are working the plan. You work the plan by making sound financial decisions. This requires an accountant, attorney and/or a financial investor to help you make and close on the best deals. 


Building wealth requires home ownership, actually paying off the loan in substantial time. Increasing your credit, keeping debt low and paying yourself! Investing in your church, finding a charity/cause/non profit. Most importantly, invest in yourself by maintaining your health, lowering stress and eating better. You can't live a healthy life if you don't invest in balance. 
Assets are great, but remember that building your legacy requires investing in maintaining your character. That decision doesn't exempt you from bad decisions; it just protects you from losing your investments. Invest in your family, your vision and the purpose you were destined to fulfill. Invest more time and love in those things that aren't trendy or fashionable like family, loved ones, pets, traditions, causes and charities and life. Invest more in these things because the legacy built on a foundation made of sand, won't stand for long. 



Monday, February 8, 2016

The Absence of Blackness

The recent conversations about diversity in the Oscars, politics and other major industries in America should be on everyone's mind, causing us to want to take action. Happening now is the continued is outrage and discussion about Hollywood, White Producers and Writers creating and retelling "our" stories with the absence of our authentic message. The tragic deaths of unarmed American citizens by police officers and citizens over the recent years have caused us to realize that same injustices battled in 1916 are still being battled in 2016. The question now is, what are we going to do different? 

We have to remember that following our societal norms, we expect main stream artists to take on cultural, political and social movement often times losing our own voices and views. This is why an artist such as Nina Simone is critically important to the embrace of Blackness. She challenged not just Black people, but everyone to embrace Blackness, our culture, who we are in America. In 2016 and beyond, we must challenge ourselves to look beyond the presentation of our favorite or the latest artist, to see the message they are conveying, in both the images and lyrics. Then we must differentiate how this influences our realities and the movement for oppression of all people to be ended. 


In the 90's, TLC took on safe sex and women's empowerment when they first hit the main stream sector. Everyone didn't understand or accept TLC's presentation, but it was appreciated because of the message it stated. They presented their message in a creative, out of the box way that changed the mindsets of our culture in the 90's and challenged societal norms, they followed the inspiration of those before them.

America as well as Black Lives Matters Activists, Millennials and following generations must understand that we've been in Formation! We've had Black, White, Yellow, Red, main stream Artist who have challenged and changed the mindset of viewers to embrace, empower and celebrate women, stand up against injustice and work towards a society that doesn't oppress people because of the color of their skin, religion, sexuality or any other label. We learn from our past in order to build for our future. 

Activists and Artists such as Nina Simone, saw the need to empower the Black race and women. So after the "Ode to Black History Month", demonstrated at the Superbowl performance of Formation, Blackness and women's empowerment was put in the face of America in a way it hasn't been in some time. Regardless of the performer, the reasoning or the support given by the performer to any movement, the message should have been clear and upfront. That's what's missing. How have we as Americans, as the Black race, or as people who under the oppressive actions and beliefs of America been inspire to do what's next or what will bring about change? 


Social media activism is powerful, present and certainly here but how does that translate to actual change? We have an opportunity to continue change. The biopic/movie of Nina Simone's life should embraces artistic reflections of current, real life issues that many people in the trenches face. It should reflect the images expressed in her music. This is a opportunity for the Producers to help change the racial tension and current of racial hatred in this country. Her biopic also has the power to cause us to question the sexual preface of women in society, liberation and reversed gender roles of men and women in which Formation shows highly, sexual women as dominant and in control. I realize that the youth and many adults of this generation follow the lead of main stream artist and movement. At the end of the day, it's all about the message and we can make the message of Nina Simone and others who have championed against the prejudices and oppressive nature of America's culture. 


Celebrating a culture is one thing. 
Empowering a movement that brings about change is another thing. 

Making artistic expressions that inspires others...
 to make the change is the thing that we're all seeking.