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What I Know Now 

God’s people are more uniformly and constantly blessed, even in their worldly affairs, than others and they do not come into poverty or want. This does not mean go and live life recklessly or difficult situations will not arise. It simply means you will not be abandoned. You will not be without. You’ll always be covered by God’s grace. In return, we have to know that our problems are finite, but our God is infinite. 
God got my back. I’m gon be alright. 
JC

Why I Dropped Everything And Started Teaching Kendrick Lamar’s New Album

Dope!

Brian Mooney

When Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), I was in the middle of teaching a unit on Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye (1970). My freshmen students were grappling with some big ideas and some really complex language. Framing the unit as an “Anti-Oppression” study, we took special efforts to define and explore the kinds of institutional and internalized racism that manifest in the lives of Morrison’s African-American characters, particularly the 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline. We posed questions about oppression and the media – and after looking at the Dick & Jane primers that serve as precursors to each chapter, considered the influence of a “master narrative” that always privileges whiteness.

Set in the 1940s, the Breedlove family lives in poverty. Their only escape is the silver screen, a place where they idolize the glamorous stars of the film industry. Given the historical context…

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2015 Black Girls Rock Re-Cap: My Top 5 Favorite Moments

Picture1

The 2015 Black Girls Rock! annual ceremony commemorating women of color premiered last night (April 5) and proved once again why such a platform is important and so necessary. From our ever so gorgeous FLOTUS declaring that Black women rock to Mother Cicely Tyson planting seeds of wisdom to everyone in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and to those, like myself, who watched at home.

It’s a change of scene. On this night we see the movers and shakers that are really rocking the boat, the women that constantly run under the radar. For about two hours, the negative stereotypes being portrayed about Black women take a backseat and you see the Black women who are full of strength, hope, love, vulnerability, FIERCEness and just all around happiness.

Black Girls’ Rock isn’t just a show. It really is a movement, and it’s helping young sistahs come to realize nothing is impossible. The word itself says, I’m possible. The message that Beverly Bond spreads with this organization is the reason why I will forever support and declare that Black Girls Rock!

Last night was indeed a game changer for me, here are my top five reasons why:

  1. Black Love Still Reigns

“Black women ‘go hard’ for the Black man. But do they do the same for us?” YES! YES, THEY DO! The one and only Fresh Prince presented his wife of 20 years with the Star Power award. Will Smith officially smashed all rumors about the couple getting divorced saying, he couldn’t imagine a life without her. Reflecting on their relationship, he not only let the world know he encourages her dreams and ambitions but wouldn’t want it any other way, “For living your dreams, out loud, baby, for modeling an alternative way of being in the world, I present to you, along with BET, the Black Girls Star Power Award. Baby, come and get it!”

It was a beautiful declaration of love, respect and humility. Black Girls Rock!, but so does Black Love.

  1. Erykah Badu Gave Us Life

Ms. Badu, goddess of all things light, love, and groovy vibes, blessed everyone with her presence as she was awarded the RockStar Award, presented by none other than The Electric Lady herself, Janelle Monae. Dedicating the award to her five mothers: her mother Queenie, grandmothers Viola and Thelma, godmother Gwen and Mother Nature she gave “little Black girls all over the world” some very intuitive wisdom of her own. “The thing that keeps us going is our vitality,” the 44- year old songstress said. She also admitted that she has five doctors that she sees on a regular.

Dr. Sun – Makes sure you get the necessary vitamins your body needs

Dr. Nutrition – Makes sure that the vital body is clean and healthy, “performing to its highest ability”

Dr. Exercise – At least 15 minutes a day

Dr. Spirit – Makes certain that we are communicating with the highest part of ourselves

Dr. You – Makes certain that YOU are taking care of YOU

Later that evening, the songbird rocked the crowd with a beautiful performance of “Soldier” and “Master Teacher” proving to everyone in the room why she was much deserving of the award.

  1. We Are Conquerors

Estelle gave an outstanding performance of “Conqueror”, off her latest album True Romance. It was a great choice, as she sang the inspirational song with her impressive vocal skills. Representing the resiliency of Black women with lyrics like, “We all make mistakes/we may fall on our face/but don’t ever give up,” she stole the show declaring that she is a conqueror. Her performance along with the words to listen to was definitely one of the most memorable moments of the night.

  1. Lights, Camera & Action

Ava DuVernay, director of the Academy nominated film Selma, accepted the ShotCaller’s Award, and she did something tremendously beautiful with it. “I really feel strongly that you don’t have to be actress or director or singer or famous to be a star. You can be a star in our own eyes my sisters, right where you are,” DuVernay said.

She also gave acknowledgement to the many Black women filmmakers that have not only been trailblazers in her own life but don’t get the appreciation they deserve. “The films that [filmmakers] make for you, the stories that we make for you, they’re truly for you,” the director said. Due to time restrictions all the filmmakers that the inspiring director named were not added to the final production of the show for Sunday, night, but on her Twitter (@AVAETC) she made sure to acknowledge all of those trailblazers.

Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
Twitter: Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC)
  1. Queen Floetic & T-Murda Killed It!
Queen Floetic (@ReginaKing)   & T-Murda (@TraceeEllisRoss)  take the BET Black Girls Rock Stage. (Photo Courtesty of BET.com)
Queen Floetic (@ReginaKing)
& T-Murda (@TraceeEllisRoss)
take the BET Black Girls Rock Stage. (Photo Courtesy: BET.com)

As always the incomparable Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross were amazing as hosts. However, this time, the duo took a break from their hosting duties to allow a couple of new artists a time to shine.

Queen Floetic (an alter ego of Regina King) and T-Murda (a hilarious alter-ego of Tracee Ellis Ross, who is the genius behind decoding some of Young Thug’s lyrics) for the first time took the Black Girls Rock stage. They moved the audience with lines like, “Don’t be fooled/Black girls are precious jewels/Don’t take our kindness for weakness/You can’t just come through and freak this,” from Queen Floetic. Even T-Murda, who was slightly nervous, dropped some #BARS for us. “Bright, gifted, beautiful, there’s nobody cleaner/Black girls smashing Hollywood like Venus and Serena.”

The only question you can really ask after their performance is: When that mixtape dropping doe?

Bonus*** My Sisters Are Black Girls Who Rock Too!! ***Bonus

My Group of Sistahs & their Choreographer.  (Sistahs N Christ.) jonnaechantele photography
My Group of Sistahs & their Choreographer.
(Sistahs N Christ.)
jonnaechantele photography

This year, I watched the show with my three sisters, cousins and my step-mom. We “oohed” and “awe’d” all night long, trying not to shed a tear. As I watched Change Agent award winner, Nadia Lopez, ask the question, “What are you doing with God’s gift,” and Michelle Obama tell us we are beautiful, I looked at the expressions on my siblings’ and cousins’ faces. I saw expressions of joy and hope, and I smiled when they said, “Don’t worry y’all. We are going to be up [on the Black Girls Rock! Stage] too.”

Keep an eye out Beverly Bond.

What were your favorite moments of the night? Let me know in the comments!!!

Re-Cap: 2012 Black Girls Rock — My Top 5 Favorite Moments

Black. Girls. Rock.

If you missed the premiere of BET‘s 2012 Black Girl’s Rock, you missed out big time.

From Alicia Key’s opening of the Top 10 Billboard hit, Girl on Fire to the SWV’s old school medley, I couldn’t help but be glad that I am a black girl that rocks! Here are five of the most memorable moments of the night.

  1. For the first time, men took the Black Girls Rock stage to show that they appreciate the presence and the power of women.

Thunderous applause roared throughout the Paradise Theater as everyone’s favorite British, Emmy award-winner, Idris Elba declared his support for all black girls around the world. “I’m thrilled to be here to pay tribute to your brilliance, beauty and fortitude,” the actor said. He introduced Luke James, Anthony Hamilton, and Eric Benet who serenaded all women with the rendition of Wildflower the ‘70s-era band New Birth. With the way they sang, I would say they have an extended invitation to come back.

luke james

  1. The living legend award this year went to the original R&B diva, Dionne Warwick.

Despite the death of her cousin, Whitney Houston, earlier this year, Warwick was in high spirits as she delivered an uplifting message to the women all around the world. She was thrilled that she is considered a role model for both new and old musicians alike, but the bottom line is she’s still a work in progress. “I am a legend in the making,” she said. My favorite part, just before she left the mic, her award in tow, “I am no longer a girl, I’m a woman. Not only do black girls rock, but black women rock, too,” she declared.

  1. Former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine (1981-2000), writer, and journalist Susan Taylor was awarded the Inspiration Award.

“Lips aren’t enough, hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.”

Being awarded the Inspiration award she didn’t fail to make everyone, including me, light up inside and say, ‘I’m proud to be a black girl.’ She let everyone know that the night was to celebrate the divine feminine of who we are. “It’s a privilege to be black and a female in the now time. When you and we can choose to live our lives through the authority of our own soul,” she proclaimed proudly. She challenged everyone in the room to get involved in mentoring (someone). “Let us not fail our children, the vulnerable ones that are hoping that we awaken…we are (National Cares Mentoring Movement) only asking that you give one hour a week of your time to save a life. They Holy Spirit is asking more than just say the word…Lips aren’t enough, hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.”

  1. Janelle Monae sheds tears as she accepts the Young, Gifted, and Black award

The Grammy-nominated musician thanked BET for honoring her, and then she honored her own parents. “My mother was a proud janitor, my stepfather who raised me like his very own, worked at the post office, and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms and that’s why I stand here today in my black and white (her signature look) and I wear my uniform to honor them.”

  1. The witty, sexy combination of hosts: Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross

Last, but certainly not least, the witty, talented actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King returned to the Black Girls Rock stage as they shared laughs, and words of encouragement to everyone at Paradise Theater in the Bronx and everyone at home watching. These two women really rocked us out of seats!

it was a great time for Black women. What were your favorite moments for the 2012 Black Girls Rock Awards Show?

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