Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community
#MyPersonalBlackHistory is a hashtag I created to celebrate parts of black history that may not always be mentioned. With this hashtag I have posted thoughts, revelations, poetry, local history, living legends, etc to continuously educate and bring light. I have been doing this for a couple of years now.
I started doing this because it is my belief that black history is not just 28 days of the past, but it is everpresent. Black history is contained within the last second, there are still “firsts” occurring, records are still being broken, barriers are still being destroyed, and a celebration of black excellence is ALWAYS in order. I created this because I felt the need to teach my children and reinforce in others that WE ARE black history.
BLACK HISTORY IS NOW!
The things that will be in the textbooks of tomorrow are being done today!
Live in it!
Make others aware of it!
Be a part of it!
This year was a little lighter than previous years since I was doing more living than posting HA!
But, I thought that I would go ahead and put up some of my favorites from last year’s series of posts.
My Favorites of #MyPersonalBlackHistory 2017
Black history lessons learned #1
Being thankful though you are still in the struggle.
Always acknowledge the blessings. Allow them to inspire you.
Black history lessons learned #2:
I am enough.
Doesn’t have to compete in a pale world
Doesn’t have to be “twice as good”
Doesn’t have to accept half
God made me perfect.
I AM enough.
(Challenge God on this if you must, I will still be blessed. )
“Cash money records takin ova for the 99 and the 2000”
Black History Lessons Learned #3
Never argue to prove your worth.
Keep living and breathing.
Keep being awesome.
The fact that a person, a group, a nation, wants to pull you into an argument about your worth indicates they are not worthy of you.
Our ancestors built this country on their backs, and still we have to prove?
We birth your babies, nurture culture, and are complementary to everything you are and still we have to prove?
Men protect, lead, love, and still they have to prove?
WE ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE AND STILL WE HAVE TO PROVE?
Black history lessons learned #4
“I am the breath of fresh air my own lungs have longed for” – Purpose
Did I quote myself and tag myself like I ain’t myself …. SHOWL DID!
Sometimes you need to acknowledge your own greatness and hunny lemme tell you, I gave myself LIFE with that line.
Allow me to encourage you.
If you have been looking for greener pasteurs, a new start, and fresh air; you have all the necessary tools and capabilities you need to lift you. You have all the knowledge and capacity to search out the resources. If it is in your soul, a divine image, God has equipped you. GO GET IT! (Some of it may be lurking in your own prayer closet)
So often we look for other’s approval, help, and assistance. We look for their counsel and seek their guidance.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying people don’t need people. WE DO. But what happens when there is just you?
Yeah, there are people who SHOULD BE there for you, but guess what, they’re human.
Maybe they are truly good people, but this time their lives got in the way of helping yours. You were looking to them, they were probably looking to you. ..BLAH!
Learn how to be your own breath of fresh air, learn how to lift yourself up on your Most Holy Faith (read Jude 20-21). Affirm yourself, make moves for yourself. If you find nothing in your area of expertise to be a part of, create it for yourself (I assure you someone else is looking for the very thing you may create).
After you do this, hold your head high!
People may say you smellin’ yourself but sometimes it ain’t so bad to smell yourself. You might be the best smelling one in the room.
P.S. Know when your roses really smell like roses vs smelling like boo booooo.
Black History lessons learned #5
This too shall pass.
Ever wonder why an outspoken person such as myself doesn’t speak about the current political climate in the form of rants and debates? Wonder why I refuse to argue or get into heated conversations regarding this?
Please refer to the first sentence.
We have been through
Jim Crow (old and new)
The great depression
A few recessions
Poverty and stratification
But you want me to worry bout this … man?
Contrary to popular belief he is not the Devil. Give the Devil more credit.
The Devil himself has struck fire to our heels and God keeps giving us water to walk on. The flames, extinguished with smoke rising like a glory cloud sending the incense of our answered prayers into God’s nostrils.
“Though they slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
And in our trust we have been kept.
YES! We are a kept people.
A people that continues in wisdom though we have lost the knowledge of our elders.
A people that continues to breathe and birth new life though our children are stolen and slaughtered, shot down like dogs in the streets.
A people that continues to create culture though we have lost precious parts of our history.
We are still here.
We are a marvel!
We are majestic!
We are wonderous!
My God I love us!
Not only are we still here but we have the tenacity, strength, ingenuity, and talent to make things happen.
Whatever your situation is, whatever the problem; it may not work the way you thought it would, but it will pass.
Times may get hard, and maybe things won’t work in your favor this time, but you will live and learn. You are resilient enough to take an L and bounce back. You are resilient enough to teach others how to survive.
Whatever it is; from the highest position in the nation, to the smallest irritant…
This too shall pass.
Black History Lessons Learned #6
Being enough is not the same as having enough.
Be not deceived, it will not come to you.
GO GET IT!
Black history lessons learned #7
It’s okay to have nothing to say.
It’s okay to say nothing.
You don’t have to
Make a statement
You don’t have to.
You don’t have to.
You don’t have to.
Collect your thoughts.
Take time to love yourself.
Give a clear and calculated response.
Form movements, not marches.
Form plans, not band-aids.
Form in love rather than desperation.
Take time to take shape.
Know what you want.
Know what you need.
Your passion is worth it.
Your pain is worth it…
So is your sanity.
Southern Baptist retailer removes black hip-hop artist’s album that includes the word ‘penis’
If they banned him for saying penis, what will people say when they read my book?
I don’t hold my tongue.
It doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate, just not in the package you expected.
Can I truly be allowed the indulgence of being
Without being thought foul for speaking truth in a direct manner.
Sorry, my words aren’t always soft.
I can’t always massage the message.
It ain’t always comfortable.
For the record, the word penis is not vile, not improper, not dirty, not__________.
But a work of black art that says penis was maybe too big of a concept for the small minded.
I dunno, but I hope a volume of black, woman, womanist, ministry isn’t too fat, mammy, and proactive to be accepted without censorship.
BY AUDRE LORDE
The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”
Black History Lessons Learned #8
Doing it for the money is not bad.
ONLY doing it for the money is the problem.
Being for sell for just anything is the problem.
I hear it from people all the time talking about others, “They’re only in it for the money. ”
Really? Please don’t pretend as if every job you have worked, you have loved. If they didn’t pay you, you would have been gone. But hey, you justified this crappy employment by saying you’re not robbing or killing anyone so it’s good.
At the end of it all, you get paid.
Why should getting paid be any different for those that love what they do?
Why should it be any different for those that have a vested interest in what they do?
Do you think we will all survive on good vibrations? Will my lack of pay and intense struggle make me pure enough for you to admire as a black leader?
Will starving make me more artist?
Black artists and activists are always expected to show up for free because of the”cause”.
Expected to be available for “the cause”.
Expected to give all of themselves for “the cause”.
When does “the cause” show up for us?
Do I ask others to volunteer or donate … yes. And if I am told “Sorry sis I can’t for free. ” I understand. I respect it.
Do I do things for free? Of course. I lend my time, talent and treasure to lots of things. I volunteer and I donate.
I choose. My choice. I will not be brow beaten or judged for what I choose or don’t choose.
Accept it, or reject it, do whatever you want. But you will respect it.
Don’t feel guilty for turning things down, for not being able. Say that. Make sure you’re taken care of. If you don’t, who will?
Support your family.
Support your community.
Your community should support you.
Black History Lessons’s Learned #9:
Unsung heroes won’t be sung until you sing them.
Sing a song.
Sing the truth.
Sing so they can hear it and know the kind of music you put in their heart.
Black History Lessons Learned #11
Celebrate your own … accomplishments.
Be arrogant enough to plan your own celebration.
Be inclusive enough allow others to participate and share your space.
Be village enough to invite everyone.
That is all.
Black history lessons learned #13
Hold the people in your community accountable…
Even when it hurts.
PS … Don’t punk out.
PSS…Don’t be soft.
PSSS…Spare the rod, spoil the apple that spoils the whole bunch.
Black history lessons learned #14
Control your mouth, dont let it control you.
I’ve heard more spirits shatter and splinter into a million jagged pieces from “dignified speech” than I have from cusses.
That being said.
I have seen the same annihilation from a 4 and 5 letter bouquet of black roses.
Cusses aren’t always curses.
Exercise self control, but don’t hold back the truth.
If you must cuss, know the meaning, and mean it. Use in context.
Black History Lessons Learned #15
Nah I ain’t talkin bout 1990’s “Look at those wheels.” flossin’. I am literally talking about dental floss.
Follow me here.
I have been blessed with great teeth, so if I feel a hint of pain, something swollen, etc. in my brain it’s nothing that a good flossing can’t fix. And by good flossing I mean DEEP and CONTINUOUS.
Yeah it hurts, but what have I got to loose, I’m already in pain, a lil more pain and the situation could be fixed.
And it always is.
Through the few years I have been on this earth I have learned that not all pain requires a soft touch. Sometimes you gotta dig deep, and yeah it may hurt A LOT. But at the end impurities are removed, heartache and pain subsides, and you’re healthier for it.
As a matter of fact, things return to normal and it’s as if the original irritant never existed.
Pain is a two-fold blessing. It is as much an indicator that something is wrong as it is an indicator that you are finally getting something right.
Dentists say, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep.” It’s funny how a small tool can have so much impact.
What’s in your tool kit?
Black History Lessons Learned #16
Teach yourself to serve.
Then teach your children to walk in your footsteps.
If you always have something left to give, you always have enough.
Get rid of the “ain’t neva had nuthin” mindset.
Servitude is much more than throwing some pennies at something, it is giving of yourself.
Servitude is much different than being subservient or slave.
Servitude is the propensity to genuinely help others and/or to uplift and build. Truthfully the server is richer than the one being served.
Think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. HE WAS JESUS! While the others were waiting for someone to come do it, Jesus, in all humility purposed to serve those who were to serve Him. He taught them a lesson – you are NEVER too high and mighty to give. And when He was finished those men were crushed and uplifted all at the same time. He knocked their egos down a peg and taught them how we are to behave all with one simple action. And after all of this, Jesus had earned even more respect, love and admiration from his followers.
Yes, while in the course of your genuine servitude, you are also lifted higher.
If the Bible said that we will do greater things, surely we have enough to give.
Once you find that you are rich enough within yourself, to give of yourself, you will understand that you are enough.
Black History Lessons Learned #17
TAKE WHAT’S YOURS!
YES – it is March.
YES – February is gone.
YES – I am black ALL YEAR LONG
YES – February is the shortest month of the year, and therefore I propose an extension to the celebration of “Black History Month”.
I hereby decree that “Black History Month” will be celebrated all the days of February (28 or 29 respectively) as well as the first 3 days of March. This extension would make Black History month 31 or 32 days, making it among the longer months of the year and on leap year making it the longest month of the year.
The extension into March also collides with Women’s History Month. I, therefore, decree that the 3-day extension will be used to celebrate black women.
It is so ordered.
PS … Go’n and keep the party goin’!
PSS…LIKE A BOSS!