On the complexity of Father’s Day Sentiments in The Black Community

Yall.
My dad is dope.
My fiancé is dope.
My son’s biological father was NOT.
My brother is dope.
His sperm donor is the worst case scenario when things don’t work out with your spouse and you have a child together.
My mama tried her damnedest.
Not even to hold him accountable but just to allow him the space to come and go as he pleased so he never felt cast out and therefore she could never be to blame for his absence.
But he is absent.
And he always was.
Most of my friends have children now.
Some are married. 
Some are engaged. 
Some are single and trying not to strangle the fuck out of the fool they made a tiny human with cause that shit would be a very awkward conversation.
I got homegirls with no kids.
I got homegirls with no fathers.
I got homegirls who will be ‘daddy’s girls! Til their very last breath.
Let’s keep it funky.
Life is crazy and people will surprise you.
Sometimes it’s pleasant. 
Sometimes it’s a soul crushing let down.
I got lucky.
My mom and dad struggled through their personal shit and ultimately I was more important.
Everybody ain’t built like that.
I see my kids chromosomal predecessor in the street he better not speak to me unless the first words out his mouth are ‘my deepest apologies’ because abandoning a child is an unacceptable act.
I still might chin check that nigga.
The way I receive and perceive Fathers Day is a direct result of having experienced so many different versions of fatherhood or a lack thereof and my knowledge of so many people in so many different situations.
What good is a dad who’s ‘present’ but can’t accept your sexuality? 
What good is a dad whose ‘present’ but who won’t pick up the phone for you when his new wife is around?
We need to stop judging one another and start giving folks the space to interact with Father’s Day however they see fit.
Why spend Father’s Day bad mouthing ‘dead beats?’ They’re a non factor!
Why spend your day bad mouthing single mothers? Parenthood is a hard job and going it alone is that much harder! Why would celebrating ANY parent at ANY time be something to fight over? Isn’t mothers/ Father’s Day supposed to be ‘every day’ anyway?
There’s so much shade thrown even amidst the happiest of times in the black community.
We are so hard on each other.
So unloving.
So unwilling to share perspectives and allow others to live in THEIR truth.
I know I’m guilty of this too as much as I try to be open and honest and accepting. 
Had my last experience with love been my ex who knows how I’d cope with this holiday?
Maybe I’d be a proud single mom.
Maybe I’d be very resentful. (My choice not to use the word ‘bitter’ was very intentional. It’s like a dagger thrown at any black woman who chooses to communicate a negative romantic 

Experience with a black man.)
Regardless of what I was feeling and how I dealt with it, it would be my issue and I would be free to feel those feels and express them.
We don’t know how to disagree respectfully anymore and we do not listen to each other.
We have a specific inclination not to listen to BLACK WOMEN.
And that shit has to stop.
So I’m trying really hard not to argue with anyone today or even think any mean spirited thoughts.
I just want everyone to enjoy their Father’s Day.
Enjoy this Sunday.
Enjoy this LIFE.
And stop acting like your experiences and emotions are the only valid ones!
#HappyFathersDay

Hey blog, I’ve missed you! Writing updates & news.

Im going to be on BBC radio today talking all things Azealia Banks at 4pm. Producer reached out after reading my Huff Post piece. (Last link in the list)

I know I’m playing myself by not updating my PERSONAL blog but it has the lowest viewership between all my social media.

I’m going to fix that.

In the meantime these are the articles I’ve written from March- May of this year that have been published.

I am so grateful and this is just the beginning. 

I can see myself becoming a stronger writer without compromising my voice or views and I’m very happy about that.

http://www.forharriet.com/2015/11/black-friday-black-folk-and-black-guilt.html?m=1

On Jada, Janet, Sisterhood & Why it’s all ‘That Serious’

http://www.forharriet.com/2016/03/on-kehlani-shaming-of-black-women-and.html?m=1

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/next-person-who-calls-hair-unprofessional_b_9661216.html?

http://tajimag.com/10-reasons-i-will-never-get-tired-of-slave-stories/

Afrocentrism as elitism: The gift and curse of consciousness in the social media age

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/the-day-buzzfeed-died_b_9690844.html?1460640932=
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/azealia-banks-i-bid-you-adieu_b_9913980.html

Be gentle with yourself Black Parents: An anecdote 

Extending myself a little grace today. 
The volume on my phone was very low for some reason so the alarm (and several back up alarms) went off unnoticed and I woke up 10 minutes before Hari needed to be at school. 
I usually rush and get him there as close as possible to the cut off time but Jayla was awake by then too and rushing a 3 year old is a very funky business. I could have but I didn’t want to.
Usually I’m VERY upset when I wake up late. There is an automatic feeling of inadequacy as a mother attached to lateness for me when it comes to my kids, especially with school.
I noticed I used to take it out on Hari, yelling at him and being really nasty on the mornings we were running late- but I came to the realization he is my child and his lateness is always my fault- so why should I be mad at him?
I started working on not only punctuality, but watching my behavior when we DO wind up running late. I began to turn late mornings into opportunities to hang out with them a little longer since all our days are pretty hectic and the only extensive time we had together was the weekends.
Today for the first time in a LONG time I woke up late. It was so late baby girl woke ME up. Hari was so upset. The teacher is going to yell at me! I felt bad. But only momentarily. I explained to him that she probably gets upset when children come in late because she doesn’t want them to miss any material. It’s nothing to take personally. I suggested that he apologize upon entering the classroom and jump right into the lesson as quickly and quietly as possible. 
As the mother of one of TWO black boys in the gifted and talented program at his school lateness was a particularly uncomfortable issue for me. I don’t want my baby being associated with ‘CP time.’ I don’t want anyone EXPECTING us to be late because we’re the black folks and that’s just what we do.
But I also know that assumption would be their issue and not mine, and that despite all the ignorance running rampant in this world my son has already shown improve and shut a lot of people up in his 8 years thus far, so I cannot allow the occasional lateness to alter my perception of his perceived excellence or my parenting by any means.
The lesson here? Life happens. 
I implore you all to extend yourselves and those around you a little extra favor, grace and kindness this week.
Happy Wednesday ❤️

Straight outta black male misogyny

  
Haven’t seen it and I’m still interested in watching it eventually but the shit described here would be a bit too triggering at this point in time. 
And that script/ casting leak?! We HAVE to do better by our women and stop allowing black male misogyny to exist freely and unchecked ESPECIALLY in the era of #BlackLivesMatter 
The same women you’d use for nothing more than a sexual conquest or write off for being promiscuous (even though you love to watch them twerk) are just as disproportionately impacted by state violence as their male counterparts if not more so due to this type of interpersonal violence AND gender based violence. 
Our movement against systemic oppression must include taking a long hard look at the lethal effects of patriarchy and sexism disguised as tradition, culture and machismo on the movement and in communities of color. 
Black and brown women matter. Fellas, stand up for your mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, home girls and yes even strangers who may not be simultaneously married and virgins (cause that’s the only kind of good clean girl, right?!) 
Ladies, advocate for yourselves and your sisters- straight, gay, trans, light, dark, natural, relaxed, baby mama, wife, Muslim, Christian alike. 
The abuse and exploitation of indigenous and African/Caribbean women, the fetishization of Latina, Asian and multicultural women, and the normalization of all these sexist, anti Black behaviors have brought us to a place where these messages that black women are to be disrespected and discarded are not recognized as pieces in the puzzle when our women are murdered and the world is silent or when national programs like my brothers keeper are launched and there is no equivalent for young women of color. Something to think about while you praise #StraightOuttaCompton 
I’m not saying #NWA wasn’t a significant group in hip hop or that their message against police brutality and their ability to reach the people most effected by state violence in all its forms was not an incredible testament to the power of hip hop culture, its influence, scope, potential and place as a musical mainstay and cultural phenomenon. I’m saying none of that overrides the misogyny of this or any other musical group/ artist that does not respect women of color. 
I must also note that while white publications and media outlets are loving this film (which is telling in itself) the folks who made it teamed up with law enforcement to guard movie theaters showing the film. Like we the ones shooting up movie theaters. 
#WeDontTrustYouToActCivilized #ButWellTakeYourMoney #SayHerName #BlackWomenMatter #NameTheProblem #Patriarchy #NotQuiteSoRevolutionaryhj

Don’t Compare Rachel Dolezal to Bruce Jenner

I see the #BruceJenner parallels brewing in comparison to #RachelDolezal and I feel like this. You are what you are and your truth is your truth but there’s a huge difference between the two scenarios. 

I think a lot of people will draw that comparison but it’s faulty because we all have a duality within us between what is considered male and female. Girls can be ‘tomboys’ and certain boys will be perceived as ‘feminine’ because of certain behaviors. 

Both Men and women can actually be rough or soft, and like whoever they like.

We only operate on either end of the spectrum as a direct result of societal constraints. 

But race? There’s no inherent blackness, whiteness, chineseness or indianness within us all. 

In regards to ethnicity you are what you’re born. 

Feeling ties to a community and lying to infiltrate that community are two very different things.

#iTaughtMarcJacobs

I know he didn’t claim he created Bantu knots.

I’m just clarifying for those who assumed he did like Justine Marjan at Mane Addicts.

More than that I’m recognizing the beautiful Black & Brown women across the diaspora who are constantly berated for the same styles & attributes that later grace runways & magazine covers. 

Shall I make you a list to go with your latest lesson in originators vs. perpetrators? 

Don’t mind if I do : )

Baby hairs

Big butts

Tribal prints

African head wraps

Timbs

Cornrows

Full lips 

And the latest victim: Bantu knots (not to be confused with twisted mini buns)

This is just my way of telling my sisters I see them and reminding them the world sees you too, it just can’t always handle you in all your splendor. I’m quite used to my culture being loved while my people are hated but that does not mean I accept it. 

We taught Marc Jacobs.

 
  
  
  
   
   

  
  
  
  
  
  

Support the YPOC Summer Initiative!

The 3 primary goals of the YPOC summer initiative are:

   
   1. To instill a sense of empowerment in youth POC. Through enriching dialogue, experiences and examinations of self and society using pop culture, the performance arts, current events, history and other means of examining the role of POC in their own lives and as members of the Black Diaspora.

  
2. To discover and hone each student’s inate creative talents. Whether they are a singer or an architect, we aim to allow their creativity to flourish as their minds open to new ideas so that they are expanding their whole mind and not just their left brain. Through performance, deep reflective writing and creative seminars we aim to give students an opportunity to figure out what they like and realize their full potential in that area.

  
3. To instill critically thinking minds. The main objective of the YPOC summer initiative is to make sure each and every student leaves the program with a questioning mind and a thirst for knowledge. As a community, we are often unaware of what isn’t between the covers of a magazine or on the news, but a desire to know more about everything, and an understanding of the importance of concepts like empowerment and activism, will hopefully help create a generation of future thinkers, doers and leaders with the book smarts to know how to solve problems, the creativity it will take to defeat issues related to those problems and the empowerment to be the change they want to see in this world without fear.
In addition to the main objectives, other significant objectives include improving students writing and public speaking abilities, improving their ability to learn in new ways and expanding their knowledge of history, society and themselves.
Program Design:
The YPOC summer initiative curriculum was created by YPOC founder Tajh Sutton. As a childhood education major at Brooklyn College with a concentration in English, a mother of two, a political activist, and an aspiring performance artist and model, my aim was to take all the things that have helped expand my understanding of life and added to my happiness, and put them together to create a holistic edu-cultural program that would benefit the collective. 
Future Goals:
If successful in all goals, the YPOC summer initiative aims to branch out into an academic school year program, such as an elective or after school program option, in addition to the summer program. There is currently a senior staff of one, with an alternating list of volunteers providing assistance when needed. We are currently building support for sponsorship and partnering with like minded businesses, programs and initiatives for funding and implementation in order to hire a consistant staff and provide compensation as well as provide our students with enriching opportunities outside of their schools and communities.
Please like, share & donate whatever you can to the cause! You can view the full campaign below & check out the related photos at facebook.com/ypocinc to see what we’ve been doing since our 2012 campaign where it all began : )
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/freedom-fun-in-the-sun-with-ypoc/x/387939#/story

Proof that White Gangs, like Corporations, are people & a reminder why we must assert #BlackLivesMatter

Is there anything I could say about the biker gang/ supremacist shooting in Waco Texas that I haven’t said a thousand times before? Perps are Hanging out after a mass murder that left 9 dead, with cell phone access and uncuffed. I don’t think I need to ask what would have happened if this was the bloods & crips in a confrontation and police showed up to the scene. Seriously, if you aren’t aware that racism is not only alive and well but THRIVING across the world due to feigned ignorance and a collective unwillingness to be uncomfortable with being part of the problem and then taking steps to become part of the solution then nothing I post here will sway or deter you. I’m not wasting my breath. Just going to keep doing my work, holding my head high and using my knowledge of the negative to create more of the positive. But I will say this: the implicit bias we refuse to acknowledge is killing our kids. And if you don’t see the brown boys and girls all over the news as ‘our’ kids but you simultaneously want ‘all’ lives to matter, it’s time to look in the mirror, call out your own bullshit, and work toward taking responsibility for the world we live in and the people continually leaving it too soon. #Waco #BlackLivesMatter #ThatsThatBullshit #Texas #ThugsCanBeWhiteToo

Picking up the pieces

What a beautiful and productive week. Trying really hard to channel my determination and hopefulness about personal endeavors into big picture thinking and resolve to transform the world at large. Can’t lose faith in the world or yourself. Overwhelming heartbreak is slowly but surely being replaced with renewed vigor. Peace in the midst of the storm. Everyone have a great weekend ❤️

For Black folks who see my self love as ‘divisiveness’

When I promote self love and I’m met with resistance from brown folks I really have to wonder who your parents are, what books you’ve read, whether or not you watch the news, where you live, who your friends are, and a host of other things that would help me try to understand why me loving me makes you feel the need to declare that everyone should love everyone. The onus of responsibility to recognize the humanity in others does not rest with the oppressed. Sure, we are all capable of prejudice and sometimes we all judge a book by its cover. Self reflection and betterment is a life long process. But global anti-Black racism and the systems in place that attack the lives and livelihoods of marginalized groups cannot be dismantled by pretending they do not exist or trivializing their sordid histories and current ramifications. Not acknowledging things like racism, transphobia, Islamophobia, and other rampant forms of intolerance does not render them insignificant, it has the exact opposite effect. 

While you live the best life you can thinking neutrality and color blindness will save you from the ugly and all but ‘obsolete’ idea of racism, legislation is drafted up to steal your voting rights, protect killer cops, censor the Internet (where so much movement building for marginalized groups takes place and opposing narratives to mainstream news are revealed) and the list goes on. Reproductive rights are under attack. Religious freedom is becoming a thing of the past. 

Couple any universal issue with racism and intersectionality becomes such a necessary thing to acknowledge and understand. 

So please miss me with the self hate disguised as humanity, the denial masquerading as color blindness and the lack of commentary and action simply because you choose not to live in the real world.