End of the year musings

I usually make a HUGE fuss about Kwanzaa annually, posting a lengthy diatribe each day encouraging people to take the time to learn about This holiday and foster its principles year round, but I’m happy to report I was living the principles of Kwanzaa so whole heartedly this year that I was simply too busy to log in daily and encourage you to do the same!

But I wanted to take time out and leave you all some food for thought in reference to holidays and our relationship to them as members of the Black/African Diaspora, especially in the wake of such a tumultuous year for Black lives and the racial realities of existing in Black and Brown bodies, especially as members of marginalized groups such as women, children, lgtbq community members and the impoverished, (the attack on our men and boys goes without saying due to the focus we give it.)

In short if we’re going to put anything first it should be ourselves. I think it’s ludicrous that we buy our children thousands of dollars worth of Christmas gifts but can’t name the 7 principles of Kwanzaa. I think it’s terrible that the Black church as a whole seems to be waiting on the rapture for justice instead of using the gifts and talents the most high blessed us with to effect change RIGHT NOW.

I think it’s shameful that many people from all walks of life have allowed the unfortunate demise of two nypd officers at the hands of a clearly unstable man to discredit a necessary, global, peaceful movement against racialized brutality and state sanctioned oppression as if those two lives make up for or justify the millions lost in the consistent genocide of POC in various ways throughout history, on a global scale.

I’m loving the energy and momentum being gathered by protests, die ins, talks of economic boycotts and the growing ‘cop watch’ movement, but we can’t simply be revolutionaries online nor can we only have these conversations with people we know will agree. We also can’t allow the momentum and national traction and pressure being applied to the judicial system to ease up or fade out.

I just want everyone to be more mindful of their individual efforts to help the struggle, because everything is political, and it starts with us. How will you improve yourself? Your family? Your community? For the greater good. That’s the question for us all in 2015.

I think 2014 has proven we all we got in the grand scheme of things. We still have a long way to go and a lot of conversations to delve deeper into. The womanizing has to stop. The homophobia has to stop. The thinking we’re better than our sisters because our hair is natural and our skirts are longer has to stop. The religious and political ideological division has to stop. The dark skin/ light skin bullshit has to stop. We allow these things to destroy the power of our sheer numbers across the world by separating ourselves from one another.

I fear in 2015 we will still be on that bullshit instead of working toward this revolution. I know plenty of like minded individuals but I know far more who only get political online, if at all, and continue business as usual throughout their daily lives.

It’s time for neighborhood/ cop watch, community farms, shopping locally, investment groups, calling our local elected officials with grievances, voting, exercising, saving, communicating inter generationally and across the boundaries we use to cut one another off so we can build black owned and operated department stores and dentist offices and farmers markets.

In 2015 I want you to all hold one another accountable. Our kids, our men, our women, our schools, our communities are in our hands no matter how the deck is stacked against us or how many forces of negativity and ignorance we have to fight to ensure safe and healthy lives for our people.

You’re either going to be a part of the problem or the solution in 2015. There is no grey area.

The time is now.


Happy Kwanzaa!

It’s the first day of #Kwanzaa or #Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. Would I love to see unity for the entire human race? Of course. But there are too many internal ills across the diaspora that affect our communities and our interactions with other communities that must be overcome before that can happen in a healthy way. I hope more people take a vested interest in their individual growth, families, communities and their connection to their brothers & sisters in 2015. We all we got. Less judging. More loving. ✊ #HappyKwanzaa #Umoja #HabariGani


Only I could write a revolutionary rant inspired by Christmas : )

I spent a beautiful, joyful holiday with my nearest & dearest. There was an abundance of food, gifts, joy and love. I’m overflowing with happiness. And grief. Because literally every night I come across a new family that is not able to spend the holidays, or any other day, with the ones they love, due to a system of violence that goes completely unchecked and virtually unnoticed outside of activist circles.

I saw a paper with a front page that read ‘Blue Christmas’ today, in memorial of the officers recently killed in Brooklyn. That really got me thinking. Now I’m not mad people are mourning the loss of life. But I do feel some kind of way that two lives lost have been used to create a narrative that is destructive to a beautiful and necessary global movement against militarized police forces and politics throughout the world, which is most detrimental to black, brown, femme/ female and impoverished communities.

Think about the gravity of that. Think about what it suggests that the death of two people in a certain uniform is successfully being used to discredit hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, not to mention mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children and loved ones connected to victims of racism, elitism & patriarchy.

Why is it we are so moved by violence against men in blue suits but unbothered by violence against men with brown skin? Or men sleeping on benches? Or women shot in the dead of night by their significant others?

Who will tell Christian Griggs’ story? Where is Dontre Hamilton’s front page? Where is Shaneka Thompson’s headline? Who will mourn those with no media outlet reporting with them in mind?

I for one am happy to take that responsibility, because I do not see it as such. The human thing to do is to mourn ALL these people. The empathic thing to do is to put yourself in the shoes of another person and consider whether or not you could walk a mile in them- which is why I’m not a cop hater although I have strong reservations about police.

The Godly thing to do- and this is going to hurt some feelings, especially on Christmas Day, but it needs to be said- the GODLY thing to do is whatever it is in your power to do for what you know in your soul is right. If PRAYER is your answer every time one of your fellow human beings with brown skin is murdered by the authorities amid murky accusations of gun possession and ‘a physical struggle’ then please prepare yourself for another murder every 28 hours, like clockwork.

God is not coming down here to save us from the racist police. And the mothers of Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones and Lennon Lacy should not have to wait until judgement day to receive justice. God is waiting on YOU, yes YOU, to use the gifts he bestowed upon you and the talents he’s blessed you with, to be part of the solution RIGHT NOW.

So don’t tell me you don’t worry because you know God is watching over you. He is watching over us all and he is waiting for us to start acting like we were made in his image!

On this, the supposed day of Jesus birth, I challenge everyone on my friends list, especially those who believe in HIM, to believe in your SELF, stop playing GAMES, and pick up this revolutionary mantle.

I’m tired of Black people being so Christian they forget to be Black.

Like, bruh. You can celebrate the birth of Jesus AND cooperative economics, unity & creativity. (Read yo ass a Kwanzaa book; like yesterday.)

If you’re going to choose anything, you need to start choosing yourselves.

Revolutionary Christmas rant out!


Don’t believe the hype!

I recently happened to turn on the tv, and despite my best efforts to take a break from it, and social media, I have to speak on something. This morning I heard a NY1 ‘journalist’ not only describe the tragic murders of Officer Liu & Officer Ramos in Brooklyn as ‘retaliatory killings for the murders of Eric Garner AND Michael Brown,’ but also liken them to a 1972 double homicide involving two law enforcement agents at the hands of a black liberation group.

There was no mention of Shaneka Thompson, the gun man’s first victim, who is only alive today by the grace of God after being shot in the abdomen in the wee hours of the morning, nor was there any attempt to present an unbiased and factual story on the political climate that has created this anti-police narrative, which has nothing to do with these grisly murders OR the movement they are desperately trying to scandalize, and everything to do with the militarized policing that has always existed in black and Brown communities, of which the post-occupy wall street world has only received a taste.

Let’s think of the implications of the fact that the most recent case this reporter could link this sorry ‘retaliatory killing’ angle to took place in the 70s whereas a Black citizen is gunned down every 28 hours at the hands of law enforcement, numbers akin to the frequency with which we were lynched in the Jim Crow South. Really consider that for a moment.

I implore everyone I’m connected to on Facebook to watch the news and this narrative with a keen eye, to do independent research, to think for yourself and to understand that although this is the narrative being fed to the public, it is far from the truth, and cannot be allowed to destroy the global movement for peace and accountability that has been growing in the months since multiple non-indictments of law enforcement agents guilty of cold blooded murder.

You should feel as deeply saddened for the mother’s and families of Aiyana Jones, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and Eric Garner as you do for those of Officers Liu and Ramos. And if you don’t, but you’re out Here hash tagging that all lives matter, this is me calling your bluff.

Pay attention

*researches Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Discovers he harmed his girlfriend before fatally shooting two police officers. Wonders if his narrative will involve cries for mental health reform or acknowledgement of the faulty system that allowed him to assault his girlfriend and then travel from Baltimore all the way to New York without issue. Realizes that narrative is not reserved for us when we commit crime. Wonders how many people realize this isolated event is not reflective of the peaceful movement for social reform that is sweeping the nation. Knows many of you have taken the bait and will now sit idly by while an even more heavily militarized police force has its way with peaceful protesters in the coming weeks, which are full of actions. Sighs heavily*

One more thing…

Don’t fix your mouth to condemn an entire 97% peaceful and GLOBAL movement against police brutality and racism because one man was off his rocker.

Don’t convince yourself anyone is ‘living up to the stereotype,’ ‘proving them right’ or ‘giving them a reason.’

Vicious, racist police (notice the differentiation. Notice the specification. Notice I’m not grouping ALL police together), have been proving communities of color right, living up to the stereotypes and giving us a ‘reason’ for centuries.

Centuries bruh.

The fact we haven’t burned this mutha down yet in spite of The ever abundant new and improved ways we are simultaneously disenfranchised and exploited is a testament to our sheer fucking awesomeness if I’m being completely honest.

So, um.



It’s very interesting to me how people who had nothing to say about the innocent people killed BY the police are now blowing up my timeline because two police officers were the VICTIMS of senseless violence based on a label attached to them.

I’ve already said I don’t advocate violence against any human being, black, white, blue or green but it pisses me off that some of you sat silently through the BARRAGE OF BLACK DEATH that was the last year but then sound off when TWO police lives are taken.

If #AllLivesMatter why didn’t you go to bat for Ayaina, Renisha, Rekia, Trayvon, Ramarley, Jordan, John, Jonathan, Michael, Vonderritt, Ezell, Eric, Kenneth or Kimani?

Cause according to your timeline they don’t matter. But officer Ramos & officer Lu got your attention and condolences QUICK.

Say what you want about my political predilections but if you look at my timeline you will find condolences for ALL those people here and THAT is how you prove ALL lives matter. You advocate for them ALL.

So miss me with the BS.


Been working hard with my non profit. Just posted our most recent workshops & seminars. More to come. Love to all. #BeTheChange ❤️

Keep up with us here






YPOC nutrition & wellness workshop

Taste testing at our #NutritionAndHealth workshop with wellness guru @doublemelons Everyone agrees, healthy can still be yummy! Finding the time and maintaining the diligence to optimize your health no matter how convenient fast or processed food seems, is the first step toward building the community we so desperately need. Imagine if we took all the money we spend on Mcdonalds and Chinese food and put an affordable health food store in every hood. Imagine if we spent the time it takes to make a meal cooking with our families and then ate together instead of in our own rooms watching television. Every aspect of our lives is connected, important, and political. The sooner we realize the impact of seemingly small acts in large numbers we will be well on our way to transforming our communities. Then and only then, as a United front, can we hope to combat outside forces seeking to keep us ignorant, unhealthy and focused on things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. #YPOC #MelissaCharlana #Health #Wellness #Nutrition #CriticalThinking #HealthIsWealth #ItStartsWithUs #Unity #CommunityIssues #TheBlackCommunity


YPOC style & fashion workshop

How come I’m the only one that looks silly in my selfie? But that’s ok ☺️these little Queens made me and Jazzy smile from ear to ear at @stuyvesantindibazaar hosted by @ancientsong doulas where we discussed style, fashion & cooperative economics through a kid friendly lens. What a pleasure to be in the company of powerful, self affirming, enterprising women and to see the effect that beautiful upbringing is having on their baby girls. They had on all kinds of patterns, fabrics & pieces. No one felt like they had to dress a certain way to be ‘cool.’ They had an appreciation for vibrant, cultural fashion and individualism. And everyone was so proud of their mommy for being able to make their own clothes. These are our future business women people- take note! Check out @youngpeopleofcolorinc and be sure to follow for the latest! Our last seminar of 2015 is next Saturday at @stuyvesantindibazaar !! Hope you and your little one(s) can make it out! #meetusatthemansion #buyblack #ujamaa #cooperativeeconomics #kwanzaaeveryweek #love #unity #brooklyn #bethechange #ypoc #community #grassroots #activism #education