The Fallen Are Never Forgotten

It’s crazy how some memories have more lingering effects on the human psyche than others.  I can remember listening to the message on my cellphone the morning of September 7, 2005.  I had just completed my overnight shift at Target and was preparing to head home.  Tragedy had befallen the then fledgling city of Miami Gardens, Florida.  On that date, a young man by the name of Drexsel Lemard Williams, II was involved in a tragic automobile accident which would later claim his life.  As word spread concerning the loss of this influential individual’s life, a once scattered group of people from various areas came together to celebrate the “home going” of a honored and well respected personality.  Known by friends and family for his care-free nature, his willingness to give to those less fortunate and his desire to enjoy life and its blessings, his death would galvanize all the adjoining neighborhoods within the Miami Gardens area.  The funeral was held on Saturday, September 17th, at the Greater New Bethel Baptist Church; but the events preceding the ceremony held far greater value.  There was a meeting held at the local gathering spot, Scott Lake Optimist Park, where prominent members of the community came to together and decided to collect money on the family’s behalf to start a savings account for his then adolescent daughter.  The “wake” held the night prior to the funeral turned into a block party. Everyone fellowshipped well into the early morning hours, reminiscing on memories past and telling stories of lore.  The day after, a barbeque was held honoring his passing; it was then that a pact was made to come together annually to commemorate the loss of loved ones and enjoy each other’s company.


During the subsequent years since his death, a celebration of both his and others of those whom have lost their lives throughout the years has been held annually the Sunday before the Memorial Day holiday to honor their memory.  On that occasion, in an effort to give back to the community, the Drexsel Lamard Williams Memorial Foundation (unofficial) organizes a picnic where food can be consumed, beverages can be had and children can enjoy the amenities that comes from a community that would set an example for future generations that fellowshipping, coming together for a common cause and “giving back” are the groundwork for a healthy culture.  Naturally, there are some that have been upset about the title of the event and the “supposed” failure to acknowledge an individual whom they’ve felt were deserving of recognition.  People have to place their egos aside and realize that the event is bigger than a title, t-shirt or a “shout-out” dedication spoken over blaring music.  The symbolism is a result of everyone coming together, placing their problems aside for one day for communion.  The aroma from the scent of ribs and chicken will feel the air; music will be played to accentuate a time long since past; but the joy of seeing a past crush, “dapping” or hugging a friend having not been seen in years due to life’s attrition, or merely sharing an unspoken word – laughing at the weight the starlets of the school or the former jocks’ have gained all equates to a magnificent day.


The time has come once again (May 25, 2014) to celebrate the 9th Annual Drex Memorial Day Family Picnic. We’re asking for all participants to donate $20 for the event; but of course any monetary contribution would be greatly appreciated.  The festivities will be held at Amelia Earhart Park located at 401 East 65th Street, Hialeah, Florida.  There’s a $6.00 entry and you can find celebration going down at Pavilion #3.  If you need any additional information or want to donate (water, soda and/or ice) please contact one of the committee members Tonya Harper-Newton, Tony Hall (T-Hall) Emeritus Brandt Edwards, Jonathan Tullis (JT), Jamal Black Williams (Black) or ShanteMssweetness Newsome (all of whom are on Facebook as listed). If you’re in the South Florida area, donations can also be given to Cedrick Harris @ Madd Cutters Barber Shop located @ 19709 NW 37th Ave, Miami Gardens.  Regardless, your presence is paramount, because creating memories far exceeds everything else.


Death is never easy to deal with.  Many of us appear to be strong; masking our feelings behind material possessions, a false sense of confidence or having a vice (be it alcohol, drugs, gambling).  In our quiet moments we’re all vulnerable and cope with matters so precious and deeply entrenched in our subconscious that we dare not share those thoughts with anyone.  You aren’t alone, and there are many others who harbor those same emotions.  As I close, I’d like to honor two (2) special individuals who were important to me; my first cousin Channing Kendrick and dear friend James Davis.  Though you have long since left this physical realm, your memories remain strong in my heart and the love is always there.  May your journeys be that of eternal happiness and pleasure.  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!!

So during the Christmas holidays, BET (Black Entertainment Television) annually televises Alex Haley’s Roots. The highly recognized drama gives an account of his (our) ancestors’ existence in Africa and their subsequent life in the United States as slaves. It’s a generational account from a somewhat historical standpoint. Lost in the story is how people of color began studying Christianity. Prior to being brought to the Americas, people of color worshipped their own deities. It wasn’t until they were stripped of the language, culture & names, were they forced to adapt to their new lifestyle. One of these adaptions was being introduced to religion. Religion was a method to placate slaves and used as a means of control. In some instances, when the “labor force” was taught the ability to read, the first publication they were introduced to was the Holy Bible. Hence forth, that sometimes overlooked aspect of the television series, as Kunta Kinte AKA Toby would pray to Allah as opposed to Jesus Christ, would now prove to be the linchpin that holds a race in place.


How did you become a republican or democrat? Was it of your own doing by learning the democratic process in Social Studies or American Government? How did you choose your religion; Baptist, Methodist, Islamic faith, whatever? Was it your idea to begin attending church or Sunday school at a young age? I pose these questions to show that many of the beliefs we have, whether political, spiritual or following a sports franchise, aren’t consciously made by us using rationale. They’re made for us generationally. Long after slaves ships arrived on the banks of the Southeast Atlantic region, from great, great, great grandmothers to the present, whatever religion they believed, you also believed. Whatever political party they were aligned with, you had to register and do the same. An example of this would be that people of color use to be republicans until the mid to late 60’s. It could have been a result of Lyndon B. Johnson signing Civil Rights litigation; or Richard Nixon’s implementation of “Southern Strategy”, from that point forward, an entire race became Democrats despite the issues or the intent of the candidates in the election process; interesting to say the least.


The point of this is at birth we’re all born atheist. We have no concept of religion, racial disparities, political affiliations, anything until it’s taught. All of the results thereafter are learned behaviors. Some people can step outside the box and use all the information available to make conscious decisions regarding their faith, marital views and interactions. Those people go against the norms of society and use rational thinking and logic. So if they chose to practice a particular faith based on their research of the other religions, I respect that. If some choose to align themselves with one political party or be an independent based on their research, I’m cool with that. However, I can’t accept someone being a part of something or feeling a certain type of way based on the fact that, “It has to be! That’s the way I was taught or that’s all I know”. Just like with people, if you don’t know their entire story, how can you judge them based on appearance, speech or hearsay? Who religion is the best? Is it Christianity because we leave in America? Is it Islam because their residency in the Middle East? Is it Hindu or Buddhism because they reside in another part of the world? Wars have been fought over religion and political views since their advent! Make decisions based on your own thought process as opposed to those passed on by others. It’s ok not to swim with the school of fish; be your own person. “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Schleprock – Are We Accountable For Our Misfortune?

One thing can be said about the United States, there’s never a dull moment on the home front.  For the last several weeks the country has been drenched in a tropical monsoon of racial issues.  In late April, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Michigan law that bans affirmative action in public programs such as university admission.  Shortly thereafter, Cliven Bundy, a cattle rancher who made headlines for being in a twenty (20) year legal dispute between he and the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over unpaid grazing fees, wondered aloud about “the Negro” and whether people of color would be “better off as slaves, picking cotton.”  And now the coup de grace, Donald Sterling, current owner of the Los Clippers, recorded comments about his distaste for African Americans, which lead to his band from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the eventual forfeiture of his franchise.  And with all of this, the court of public opinion has been holding trial on various media outlets, spinning stories to receive a reaction.  A mob has formed, pitchforks and torches, ready to pounce on anyone who permeates a view dissimilar to theirs.  Amongst the rubble and ashes of this destruction, the oppressed have submitted articles and blogs for public consumption questioning the wants and desires of a race that has been tormented for almost 500 years.  An article posted on, “Are Black Americans Stupid?”  Another written on titled, “Black People Are Cowards”.  And the rebuttal to that article posted on, “Who’s the Coward?: The Flawed Logic of Faux Revolutionaries. Your Lectures Will Not Save Us.”  All present compelling arguments as to the state of Black cultures and the direction for which we should be traveling for the future.  After reading, listening, absorbing and examining the landscape, my questions are, are we to blame for our current state of being?  Are we desensitized to racism because we practice it so much amongst ourselves?  I ask these questions in all seriousness because there appears to be no solutions on the horizon.


So I’m sure you’re wondering, with an article so serious, why is the article named after the Flintstones’ television character Schleprock.  Like most things, people like to blame their misfortune, ill-will and bad luck on a series of incidents beyond their control.  If you remember the character’s catchphrase, “Wowzy, wowzy, woo, woo!”  A sort of woe is me; look at my plight and situation and feel sorry for me.  The confusing thing about the aforementioned articles is there’s no middle ground; you’re either righteous or revolutionary.  There’s no in between.  So for every slave that fought the overseer for their freedom; flesh torn from bone by the lashes of the whip for being disobedient, there’s another unwilling to challenge his master as he approaches their cabin nightly to enjoy the spoils of his spouse. That’s called survival.  For every person that marched, were sprayed with water hoses, jailed and beaten; there’s more that for the safety of their families and to earn an income chose to endure the ridicule and shame for the sake maintaining the family structure.  For every pro there’s its con.  Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and countless others; how do we preserve their legacies when we have such distain for ourselves.

So the Willie Lynch Letter, whether truth or a fabrication, remains in effect.  Amongst people of color, when people hold you back and don’t want to see you progress beyond them, it’s called the “Crab in the bucket” syndrome.  I prefer to reference the Five Monkey Experiment when dealing in these instances.  So if you’re unfamiliar with it, and I know it’ll take far too much of your time to research it, here it is:

A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top.  Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.  After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder.  After some time, no monkey dared to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.  Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder. Immediately the other monkeys beat him up.  After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though he never knew why.  A 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. A 3rd monkey was changed and the same was repeated (beating). The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated and finally the 5th monkey was replaced.  What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower, continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder. If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder … I bet you the answer would be … “I don’t know — that’s how things are done around here” Does it sound familiar?


Now taking that illustration into account, isn’t it relatable to our situation in 2014?  Don’t run to your keyboard, sprint to your telecommunication device and start pulling out the thesaurus just yet!  Hear me out!  I won’t go into the television, music, imagery, etc., because that’s an exercise futility.  In recent weeks we celebrated Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball (MLB). If you saw the movie, read the books or seen the documentaries, think of all he had to endure to accomplish that feat to open the door for others to follow. However, as of this date, there are only 67 players of color (African-Americans) on big league rosters. Who’re we going to blame for lack of participation when the opportunities are there for us to play the game now without hindrance?  As mentioned in one of the articles, lectures can’t save us.  There’s no need to go over a checklist of our situation, because we’ve each been living it daily for generations. Blacks have been surpassed as the lead minority and are falling further behind in all categories regarding education, wealth and sustainable income.  So when do we start saving ourselves?  When do we start using the resources available us to better our lives?  When do we stop looking at ourselves as the enemy and come together on one accord for a common goal?  Why don’t rich Black churches build charter schools in the Black community; or hire men or women? The Black Church is a billion dollar industry, so how can there be so many churches yet so little employment and an abysmal education system in the Black community? When do we stop being dependent on a system that isn’t designed for us to succeed?  Why aren’t we encouraging more individuals to attend empowerment seminars and workshops lead by their peers?  Why aren’t we supporting Black owned businesses?  “Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and White communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the Black community? 6 hours!!! African American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to Black owned businesses.”  Regardless of your stance; passive righteousness or radical revolutionary, we must start holding each other accountable and stop blaming our ills on others.  We’re outraged that a known bigot in Sterling comes out expressing his contempt for people of color, yet we don’t bat an eye when two (2) young girls in Chicago get into a violent altercation over a young man on social media.


In an act of protest, Tommie Smith & John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Olympic Stadium in Mexico City, upon hearing The Star-Spangled Banner, each raised a black-gloved fist and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern games.  The iconic picture still stirs memories of America’s troubled past.  Initially, all Black American athletes were asked to join together and boycott the games.  The suggestion came from a young sociologist friend by the name of Harry Edwards who hoped it would bring attention to the fact that America’s civil rights movement had not gone far enough to eliminate the injustices Black Americans were facing. “Edwards’ group, the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), gained support from several world-class athletes and civil rights leaders but the all-out boycott never materialized.  Smith later told the media that he raised his right, black-glove-covered fist in the air to represent black power in America while Carlos’ left, black-covered fist represented unity in black America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power. The black scarf around Smith’s neck stood for Black pride and their black socks (and no shoes) represented Black poverty in racist America.  While the protest seems relatively tame by today’s standards, the actions of Smith and Carlos were met with such outrage that they were suspended from their national team and banned from the Olympic Village, the athletes’ home during the games.”  Could a protest by the Los Angeles Clippers players, boycotting Game 4 of the NBA playoffs on Sunday, April 27, 2014 would’ve been equivalent and held in iconic status if it had taken place?  Perhaps!  Were people satisfied with the display of solidarity by those same players wearing their jerseys inside out not to display the name of the franchise (also done by the Miami Heat)? Not entirely!  Will there ever be total agreement as to what the Black agenda is and what’s the best direction for the future?  No!  However, no matter your stance (righteousness or revolutionary), it’s always, always about the principle!  Even if you’re an army of one, stand up for what’s right.  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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I Hate Myself! The struggle between being honest and being real.

“The road to success is paved with good intentions.”  The quote has been said repeatedly throughout the course of time and one of the meanings of the phrase is that individuals may have the intention to undertake good actions but more likely than not fail to take action.  Good intentions are meaningless unless followed through.  A different interpretation of the saying is that good intentions, when acted upon, may have sometimes led to unforeseen bad consequences.


This is where the struggle begins and never receives closure.  For people of color, the word “real” takes on similar comparisons to the word “love”.  Being “real” is like a badge of honor; a coronation to knighthood.  Words that are commonly spoken are, “I’m a real n*gga!”, “Keeping it real!” or “Real n*ggas do real things!”  However, when someone states, “I’m just being real with you!” it’s supposed to translate to “I’m just being honest!”  No other culture has the distinction or share the importance as to what that word means.  See, when you’re being “real”, it gives one a pass to say or do whatever you want without repercussions.  It’s equivalent to praising a person, an entity or situation and then adding the word “but”.  Once a person says the initial statement then adds “but”, a negative statement or opinion is usually forthcoming.  So if I hurt your feelings with my remarks, “I’m just being real!” If I want to justify my behavior when the majority disagrees with my actions, “I’m just being real!”  If I feel threatened or want to exert my masculinity, “I’m a real n*gga!”  You can see memes that depict people of color being “real” when they have their pants saggin’, involved in criminal activity or performing other acts that doesn’t conform to the norms of society.  If someone is seeking their college degree, earning a living in the workforce, shows affection toward their significant other and/or participating in something that reflects positivity, that somehow doesn’t correlate to being “real”.  Being “real” sometimes rings hollow because it shouldn’t be an act or a word used to punctuate behavior.  It should be a way of life which doesn’t require titles or labels.


In contrast, being honest requires a level of vulnerability.  It shows an ability to express oneself despite any impending criticism.  It’s something that people seek in friend and relationships, but many of those same people can’t adhere too because honesty sometimes hurts.  Honesty creates a rollercoaster ride of emotions.  When heartfelt, it can make the receiver feel inspired, joyous and appreciated; it creates a sense of trust and a level of comfort.  On the contrary, honesty can be deflating, demoralizing and gut wrenching.  Honesty creates both tears of joy and pain; it’s unyielding and is always pure.  There should be no ill intent when spoken in its rawest form.  It should be refreshing to the ears and the speaker’s intent should never be questioned when the words ring true.


See I hate myself because I’m in constant conflict with the two (2).  Being labeled as “real” amongst your peers is equivalent to becoming a “made” mafia figure.  Being described in different circles when you aren’t present as a person that can be relied upon as being a stand-up individual is an honor that inflates the ego.  But how is that any different than being “honest”.  Honesty requires the dropping of your guard and exposing yourself to sometimes unwarranted angst.  Being honest is saying what needs to be heard despite the negative connotations.  What I’ve done, in attempts to become closer to people and be more engaging, is be extremely forthcoming with all of my feelings.  Good, bad or indifferent, I pride myself on being authentic.  It doesn’t mean this approach is right or beneficial, it only reveals what’s behind the veil and makes me more transparent.  I’m human, so I have my flaws.  And like most humans, I speak my mind and do so at junctures that is untimely.  Being honest comes with both praise and dissent; it’s never on neutral terms.  So if you’re overly positive, you have an ulterior motive; negative, then you’re deemed a hater.  People want honesty, loyalty and love, but when they meet individuals with these attributes, they at some point shun them because they won’t placate to their individual needs.  I hate myself because I aspire to be that individual.  However, the people in the world who also want to share those qualities are afraid to do so due to the possible backlash of public opinion.  So despite my continuing travels down the interstate to attain success, the intent, be it through spoken word or action can sometimes be misinterpreted.  Acts that may be thought to be in done malice are sometimes truthful assessments as to what’s taking place at that time.  Metaphysics states, “When you are truly comfortable with who you are, not everybody will like you.  But you won’t care about it one bit.”  I haven’t reached that level of tolerance yet, and until I do, the struggle will remain prevalent.  I’m gone! (b)

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Once Again It’s On

So it begins anew.  I had planned to write a blog about standardized testing in the Public School system around the United States, and how it’s detrimental to a child’s development and their ability to think independently.  However, with the impending re-launch of the show (The Porch – Reloaded), I thought I’d write a piece befitting of its return.  The funny thing is, I can pretty much write anything I want, and no one would be the wiser because people, particularly those of color (yes I’m stereotyping), have a tendency not to read anything unless there’s “pretty” pictures or a video involved.

Anti Robot Radio

It’s amazing how something can start based on conversations being held at a friend’s house.  Many companies and bands we admire and aspire to mimic began in darken basements or garages.  So this story is no different than any of those.  When you peer across the landscape, especially to a person of color, where can you find a media outlet or forum that speaks to you on a level that only you can understand; that hasn’t been “watered” or filtered to be accepted by the mainstream just to hear a squeak, not the full roar of a lion waiting to be released from the shackles that bind him. Sure you have radio and television shows featuring the likes of Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Steve Harvey, Wendy Williams, etc.  But who amongst them is giving you that “REAL” shit that’s enhancing your ability to function in the public at large; that’s entertainment.  Tavis Smiley and Michael Baisden give it to you on some degree, but is it at the level of a Bill Maher; raw and uncensored.  That was the intent when the show was first created and debuted on over two (2) years ago.  Our primary focus was sports; but we wanted to provide a perspective not being addressed by ESPN or other pundits.  Of course we were aware of other broadcasters providing the same format, but we didn’t have an agenda.  We weren’t tied to a team, an organization or in bed with ownership.  Our goal was to always be objective and provide a formulated opinion on all of the areas pertaining to sports.

But when you go to a BBQ, your family reunion, the barbershop, the hair salon or in a co-worker’s office talking about the issues of the day, you’re not talking solely sports, you’re talking about the issues of the day.  So as the call letters changed from to, the idea was to provide an overall discussion about life in general.  The struggle, children failing in school, crime in the community, the lack of resources to empower the public, high interest or divorce rates, the need for better health care, all the things that people deal with on a daily basis.  So the show evolved and became all encompassing.  We interviewed people from all walks of life, each in some way trying to make a positive impact in the community.  From Teisha Scott and Shani Studstill owners of 2 Naturally Fly Girlz to Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, we interviewed these people who had a pulse in the community and provided a vision of growth and change.  However, inasmuch as we were doing something positive, we weren’t reaching the audience needed to enact real change.

The Porch Logo Revised

The platform has now been moved to BlogTalk; and in association with the Anti-Robot Network, the phoenix has again risen from the ashes and life has begun anew.  Many of the individuals associated with the show are no longer apart of the programming.  For the most part it’s an army of one.  An individual whose sole purpose isn’t to attain wealth and popularity; it’s the hope that with intelligent conversation, newly acquired information, people’s naturally inquisitive behavior and the thirst for enlightenment, I, and eventually WE, can awaken minds and change the world.  I say WE in the sense that WE ARE THE CHANGE.  All the things we suffer through as the public; inflation, high gas prices, the continuing loss of our constitutional rights, etc., have always been in our control.  The Preamble of the Constitution states clearly the rights afforded to us as citizens of the United States.  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


I can say this with all honesty, I’m scared.  Not of speaking to the masses or being unable to articulate my thoughts clearly.  My biggest fear has always been failure.  Like many of you reading this, I’ve had an opportunity to do and see many things during my lifetime.  I’ve been signed to record labels being on the verge of stardom; I’ve had opportunities to travel the world and have turned down lucrative job opportunities for the sake of loyalty to my fellow man.  Ironically, that same loyalty has never been reciprocated.  And as the failures and heartache mounted, I thought I’d never see a day where I could gasp at the dandelion floating calmly through the air on a summer’s breeze.  But I have that opportunity again.  This is and has always been my purpose; to help others.  And though I’ve offered and petitioned others to join me on this crusade, I fear this is a task I will be forced to undertake alone.  Only when the dragon has been slayed and I return battered and wounded will those who doubt become likely to see the vision.  Until then, the mission is clear.  Succeed or fail, disgrace isn’t an option. Bring me home on my shield.  Tune into The Porch – Reloaded; Rocking Chair Rebels on the Anti-Robot Network on BlogTalk, Thursdays at 7 p.m.  I’m gone!  (b)

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

So by this time everyone has taken off their Sunday’s best, feasted on the finest of foods and enjoyed the festivities of this joyous occasion. Today, people of the Christian faith celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ; that after being put to death to take the punishment for the world’s sins, Jesus rose again from the dead. In the New Testament, after the Romans crucify Jesus, he is anointed and buried in a new tomb by Joseph of Arimathea but God raises him from the dead and he appears to many people over a span of forty days before his ascension to Heaven, to sit at the Right Hand of God. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, two days after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Easter’s date corresponds roughly with Passover, the Jewish observance associated with the Exodus, which is fixed for the night of the Full moon near the time of the spring equinox

Now by this time, many of you have seen the picture below, with the information captioned explaining Easter.


So now with this information at your disposal, and taking your religious beliefs into account, the real winners as usual were, drum roll please…. The corporations! That’s right! They did it again! As with all the customarily celebrated holidays, and those that we don’t consider relevant (Grandparents Day; Siblings Day), the corporate elite have found a way to squeeze every penny from the public’s pocket. The cartoon specials introducing Easter to children on television, the Hallmark cards, Easter baskets being sold on street corners, the acquisition of new clothing to attend Sunday service or the purchase of chocolates, jellybeans and candies to fill plastic eggs, the coffers of the companies whom benefit continue to swell. Lost in the worship of this holiday is that fact that millions of Americans who were once able to at least have this one day off from retail or grocery store sales are now required to work. Did you forget that Easter dress for Susan? Stop by Walmart. Forgot to get the sides for the dinner being prepared at Uncle Jake’s? Run by Winn Dixie and get a twelve (12) pack of sodas while you’re at it. Need to get a card to express your feelings on this occasion? Well there’s a CVS or Walgreens open, and will remain open 24 hours depending on your location.

peter cottontail

The holiest day of the year transformed into another day to exploit the working class into getting time and a half, or an extra day on that paycheck. America, land of the hardest working people on the planet. Where the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, and the middle class rapidly becoming extinct. So as you sit at home watching the Bible mini-series on the History Channel, re-watch the Ten Commandments featuring Charlton Heston, or read your favorite Psalm before going into a deep slumber preparing for the next work day, the commercialization of everything you hold sacred continues to take place. Soon, even child birth will be sponsored by some major corporation (Baby’s R Us or Children’s Place). But this too will probably be accepted since we’re living in an era where the almighty dollar supersedes morals, values and tradition. “We Are the Change!” (b)

Put That Rock Down, and Don’t Hide Your Hand!

One of the best known verses in the Bible is John 8:7. To paraphrase, “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. This is a valuable lesson, as scripture states that a woman, who had been caught in the act of adultery, was brought to Jesus Christ by the scribes and Pharisees as a test to see if he was a wise, fair and liberal decision maker in matters of the Law of God. To their surprise, Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, not because he was liberal or condoned her sin, but because the men who brought the woman before him were hypocrites. Being the only person free of sin on that occasion to pass judgment and “cast the first stone”, he forgave the woman and told her to “sin no more.”

Fast forward to modern times, everyone with the ability to type on a keyboard or “share” with their telecommunication device now has the ability to be judge, jury and executioner. And in the court of public opinion, Mimi Faust has been found guilty of doing a disservice to herself, her daughter, and by in large the Black community as a whole. Gone are the days when the four (4) major networks promoted Florida Evans (Good Times) and Claire Huxtable (The Cosby Show) as the matriarchs of the Black family. Now generations three (3), maybe four (4) times removed from that era are watching Olivia Pope (Scandal) and Mary Jane Paul (Being Mary Jane) be the symbols of Black womanhood. This writer is aware that other television shows exist (Meet the Browns as an example) that promote positive imagery of both the Black woman and family. However, gauge their popularity against those of Atlanta Housewives, Basketball Wives, the Game and the other aforementioned; there is no comparison.

Now social media is ablaze by the antics of one Ms. Faust and her lover Nikko Smith. If you haven’t seen the trailer of Season 3, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta or the full clip of the alleged sex tape, the attached link provides an explanation as to why the tape was leaked:


“We are very good lawyers for our own mistakes, but very good judges for the mistakes of others.” This statement is the epitome of our human nature; quick to cast stones but never fully taking responsibility for our errors in judgment. So now comparisons are being made between Ms. Faust, Paris Hilton and Kim Kasdashian. Questions are being raised as to how detrimental and non-profitable a sex tape can be for a Black female. Comments from around the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram social media communities speak to the following: “The price for fame and celebrity. Some like status, some go for that dollar!” Some people have grown tired of the chatter, stating, “Okay, can something else happen. I’m tired of this MIMI crap! Who cares? She is a grown ass woman. Why should we judge her and what she’s doing? We not helping her raise her daughter, nor do we have hell or heaven to place her. Geesh! Give it rest!” Another person reveals, “I’m not saying what Mimi did in her sex tape was right or wrong. I’m just tired of women getting judged at the time. Yes it’s not what you would want to show the world, but she is in show business.” Et cetera and so on; the range of emotions varies from post to post. It has gone from surfboarding and “drinking watermelon” in tribute to Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” song, to Home Depot being sold out of shower poles.


Now opponents of “ratchet” behavior and fighters for the liberation of Black people will point to this incident and say, “We like to point fingers, make a mockery of ourselves and overlook black knowledge! We refuse to love ourselves.” They would also say that network television isn’t promoting a positive image of people of color, encourages that Black women be whores and endorses the feminization of the Black male. (Sigh) Ms. Faust is the same young lady who was calling her arch nemesis, Joseline Hernandez, a “hoe” and “prostitute” on television for engaging in a relationship with her past lover Stevie J. For those of you that rationalize that Mimi’s daughter “probably” won’t see the video until she’s an adult, you’re forgetting that her daughter’s classmates’ caretakers may have perhaps seen the footage. And though children may be full of innocence, joyful and full of glee; they can also be cruel, unforgiving and unrelenting. Her daughter may be the butt of all jokes based on what’s transpired since the release of the video. Whether for publicity, through coercion or whatever the decision, the matter has long since passed and this is a moment she will forever be linked to. I think the disappointment with men lies in the fact that men are expected to behave in that fashion; make poor, irrational decisions. Women are held in high regard and carry a heir of virtue. Men have chimed in and said, “Who’s gonna wife her now? Nobody’s trying to have her come over to their parents’ house and help prepare macaroni and cheese for Easter dinner. Their relationship won’t make it to the 4th of July!” BOL (Bust Out Laughing)! That’s narrow minded thinking and I’m sure someone will give her a chance to establish a long standing relationship if her current one fails. The fact is this is Mimi Faust’s truth. Only she can hold herself accountable for her actions. As a society, we don’t have the right to condemn anyone when we all have skeletons in our closets. We should all put our rocks down, wash our hands and go about our lives trying to be better people as opposed to judging others. (b)

Perception Isn’t Always Reality

The warmth of a smile can brighten any room upon the entry of a person who radiates with the energy of a star.  However, a smile can also hide the pain of a soul tormented by interal demons that plague their psyche.  We live in a world where our actions are monitored whether willingly or unbeknownst to the person being assessed.  Our state of consciousness is determined by images telecast for our supposed viewing enjoyment; words and musical notes blaring in varying volumes emitted from a speaker.  From the innocence of adolescence to our development as adults, we all deal with moments of insecurity and inadequacy.  On April 8, 2014, Karyn Washington, founder of the site For Brown Girls and #DarkSkinRedLip project, passed away amidst reports that she committed suicide.  A mere twenty-two (22) years of age, the inspiring young lady looked to empower women of an assortment of shades by offering them a forum to express their displeasure, boost self-esteem and triumph over any short-comings.  Her initiative, #DarkSkinRedLip project, came into existence after rapper A$AP Rocky said that women of darker complexions should not wear red lipstick.  In an interview with, Washington discussed the creation of her initiatives in the following statement:

“When the blog was initially created, my cousin and I were dealing with self-esteem issues relating to our complexion and we would vent to each other.  Through talking it out and building each other up, we felt better but also didn’t like the fact that we were even having these feelings to begin with. We also realized that other girls may be going through the same thing and wanted to use Tumblr as a means to vent, encourage others and overcome. Since then, I have gained a greater passion for the cause and helping others.” 

The irony is, in her attempts to empower others, like many people, Washington was reportedly dealing with depression; attempting to cope with the loss of her mother.  As people, we tend to mask our emotions in an effort to conceal feelings that have a tendency to be sometime overwhelming.  There are many forms of depression; symptoms dependent upon the circumstances of the individual.  Failed relationships, financial difficulties, the death of a loved one or issues with self-worth, all become engulfed in a tidal wave of emotions contributing to the thoughts of emptiness and despair.  Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it immerses your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The signs aren’t always visible.  Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.  A perfect example of this is the United States penal system.  The United States makes up 4% of the world’s population, but is responsible for 25% of its incarceration; thereby having the highest incarceration rate in the world.  Keep in mind that convicted felons are ineligible for welfare, student loans, public housing, food stamps, and are often socially disconnected from community and family support structures.  So in addition to having high recidivism rates, convicted felons also have a high rate of homelessness and suicide.  Isn’t that information alone enough to make you depressed?  So how do you think a person in that position feels? And just like with going to the doctor for an annual physical, many people of color pass on seeking help and counseling because of the worry of public opinion, ridicule or shame.


Karyn Washington inspired many women to believe in themselves and encouraged all who followed to be accepting of their appearance and other personal attributes given to them at birth.  Behind that wide, beautiful smile, no one truly knows what horrors she was dealing with in her mind.  Like many advocates for change, Ms. Washington’s efforts will not soon be forgotten.  And as the condolences pour in from colleagues and followers alike, the question remains, are you willing to share your soul with someone in an effort to seek assistance with what’s ailing you, or do you continue to suffer alone; confiding in no one to help you overcome the anguish you feel?  If you suffer from the symptoms of depression, please seek help.  There are places available which are a mere phone call away.  Rest in peace Karyn Washington.  (b)