I Need A Bitch Nigga Rehab

So the fact that this title made some of my friends cringe is part of the reason that got me thinking I need a Bitch Nigga Rehab. In this increasingly politically correct world it has become imperative that people watch what they say in public for fear of offending others. God forbid others get offended at something you say in the heat of the moment. I mean, because all of us are these pious personas that we portray on social media, right? Yeah, OK. Now its no secret that I curse, and sometimes quite sailor-like. I feel like comedian Monique when she said, “Sometimes I just like the way it feels when the cuss words roll off my tongue.” Or like Lauryn Hill when she rapped “After all my logic and my theory, sometimes I add a mutherfucka so y’all ignorant Niggas hear me”, on Zealots. I’m a complex person, with my emotional ups and downs as well as my moments of wisdom and clarity. As humans we are allowed to be these multi-layered creatures who express ourselves in ways that are uniquely individual to each person. My form of communication happens to be peppered with colorful words such as Bitch, Nigga, Shit and sometimes even Bitch Ass Nigga, if the situation is appropriate. Nah mean?

Now I understand that these words hold negative connotations for many people, but I grew up in insensitive NYC where words roll off your back like raindrops on a duck. The normal language of New Yorkers includes cuss words from as early as elementary school. When a New Yorker wants to exclaim how serious the topic is, they say “dead ass”. I mean your parents try to teach you better but at school its a different dynamic and you must use your language to establish your dominance. The consequences of not doing so guarantees you will get tested on the regular. For example, in my case, I was always the youngest in class so I had to establish my prowess with either making you laugh or cussing you out to the point of utter embarrassment to avoid being the brunt of bullies jokes. I learned early on that words have power, and you only are affected by the power you attribute to them. That was the whole point of learning “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me”.

Words can be harmful as we know, if we let them, but we also have the power to change the meaning of the words to us so they become empowering. I believe this is the origin of embracing certain derogatory words like Bitch, Nigga or even Butch came from. In the LGBTQ community some greet each other with a hearty “Work Bitch” when someone is looking good and in the hood “You my Nigga” is a high form of flattery. Dyke and Butch started out as a derogatory titles for masculine identifying lesbians but now it’s simply a description. It’s all about the context. Yes, sometimes Bitch or Nigga are fighting words, depending upon the shade intended and the person saying it. However, those times are glaringly obvious and it is easy to know the difference when to fight or laugh.
I know people judge me based upon the seemingly limited range of my vocabulary, however, I fully embrace that me cussing is my version of letting my inner Bitter Bitch out to express herself. Cussing for most of us is only the tip of the iceberg of anger that bubbles underneath the surface of our PC everyday persona. If, as the Bible says, out of the mouth speaks the issues of the heart, hey I am obviously guilty of harboring a few issues in there.

However, in light of the more heinous things in this world like mass shootings, domestic violence and pedophilia, being committed by Bitch Ass Niggas, I feel like a little cussing literally doesn’t hurt anyone. In terms of rehab, I see we have serial rapists and predators talking about going to a rehab for sex addiction and bigots going to rehab for exactly what I don’t know, so why not a rehab for habitual cussers? Until that time though, I’m gonna continue to dap up my Niggas and Bitches and please let a Bitch breathe, in other words let me do me. I am still intelligent, Blessed and Highly favored, I just like to cuss

Am I Missing Out on My Spiritual Inheritance?

 

  I recently received a call from one of my favorite  Kenyan cousins on how I was entitled to the inheritance of land left by my “father”.  When he passed away a few years ago, my brother was the only one still in contact with him and he handled all of the final affairs, including shipping his body back to Kenya.  I surmised that this selfless act alone entitled my brother to the full benefits of whatever was left.  He was the one that put up with his cruel words up until the day he died.
I never considered him my father because I hated him.  He legally adopted me and I carry his last name, so I guess technically I am entitled to whatever inheritance he left, by law, however emotionally I divorced myself from his family many years ago.   Although I am legally a Chege, since the gesture was not born out of love, I rejected the privilege.   Consequently, since he was so violently abusive, I pretty much wrote off a whole country for half of my adult life.
In my case, I absolutely don’t want anything from the Kenyan estate but the situation got me to thinking about this in a spiritual context.  Do we let emotions rob us of our rightful spiritual inheritance? I let my emotions and fear of rejection rob me of getting to know my Kenyan family for many years. I didn’t feel worthy of any love that I might receive from them because I openly hated the one man that was my connection to Kenya.   I think a lot of folks are like me, legally entitled to God’s spiritual inheritance but not feeling worthy enough to receive it.
 When my grandmother passed on, my Mother opted to sell the prime real estate in Trinidad that she left us as an inheritance because of her painful emotional connection to her early life.  I was so angry with her because she literally forfeited potential income of millions of dollars because of her emotions.   Her emotions caused her to leave wealth on the table that could have sustained our family for the next few generations.
Emotions can rewire your brain until you feel like everyone, even a whole country is the enemy.
 The Bible talks about there being no condemnation for those who believe in Christ’s power, yet so many Believers still feel the need to qualify themselves for a Blessing.  Feelings are so fleeting and they are one of the enemy’s best resources for making us miss out on experiencing the spiritual inheritance  God has for us.   Even if you don’t differentiate your belief in a Higher Power by denomination or even by a type of religion,  every spiritual belief system tells us that “God is Love”. We also learn that the “Universe conspires to bless us at every chance”.  However, many of us spend so much time focusing on what rules we haven’t adhered to and how far we still need to go in achieving enlightenment that we miss the power of appreciating what we have been Blessed with, in spite of what we think we deserve.
We were created in the image of God, which means we have God qualities in our DNA.  Success, joy, prosperity, peace and love are our natural inheritances.  We may not deserve them, we don’t have to feel right about accepting them but they are ours nonetheless.  Depression, ailments, and poverty may be part of our family “history” but they are NOT part of our God ordained spiritual DNA.  We can reject these things by changing our mindset and focusing on discovering our spiritual ancestral rights, our real inheritance.  It sounds impossible while we are in the throes of crisis mode but when the crisis subsides, because it always does, we need to ACTIVELY pursue spiritual growth.  When it comes to emotions, they are holographic.  They seem quite real until they fade.  Spiritual inheritances are eternal.
You know how sometimes a family member dies and leaves a will to benefit an heir but others in the family don’t think they are worthy so they contest it?  Well think of this as your life.  God left you an inheritance of peace, love and a sound mind but the enemy and all your other haters, (cause sometimes your own mind is a hater too…but that’s a whole other post), are contesting your right to receive this inheritance.  In the real world, you get a lawyer and fight this out in probate court right?  So, in the spirit world it’s even easier.  Prayer, reading the Word and simply sitting quietly and listening for God’s encouragement and instruction is the equivalent of fighting for your inheritance.  God, the Holy Spirit, Spirit, the Universe or whatever you choose to call your Higher Power is your personal lawyer.  It’s completely free and you can ask for help at any time and with as much frequency as you need.
 In 12 step programs the two things most emphasized are the Serenity Prayer and taking things One Day at a Time.   Taking hold of our spiritual inheritance means taking the Serenity Prayer literally..”God please grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference”.  You can ask for help not only one day at a time but one second at a time because sometimes the struggle is that intense.  Finally, when talking directly to the Source, there is never any judgment, only peace and encouragement to deal with your issues in the order in which they are damaging you.
So, to sum it all up, please don’t let your emotions keep you from benefitting from your spiritual inheritance.  This priceless benefit is the precursor to living a life of great faith, wisdom and prosperity.  Until next time, Be Blessed!

Crazy How Life Changes In An Instant

Yesterday morning started out with so many good intentions.  Before falling asleep, I asked God to wake me up early, in the silent hours of the morning so I could write some memoir content.  So of course when the hour came, I ignored the purple promptings in my 3rd eye, and decided I needed another hour of sleep.  Thinking all the while that I had nothing but time yesterday.  I ran all my errands the day before and I only was obligated to hit the gym then I was free to let my creativity loose. As usual, my plans were not the Creator’s plans.
  While I was in Starbucks, getting my morning motivation, I got a text that my Brother-in-Law’s Dad was about to transition and the whole family needed to get to the hospital.  Since my niece attends college closer to my house and the hospital was on the other side of town, I decided to be a help and drive her to the hospital so she could see her grandfather before he passed.  Since I am not immediate family and I am squeamish around emotion, I had no intention of being in the hospital room.  I simply thought of myself as easing the burden on my sister and family by doing what I can do, which was drive.
Soooo, what had happened was, I pulled up to the hospital entrance, my niece jumped out and I took my time looking for parking.  I then took my time meandering through the hospital to finally arrive at the ICU, and then I even took more time just waiting outside the doors to ensure that I missed all of the emotional goings on.  Once I finally mustered up the nerve to find the room, I was welcomed in by his daughter.  She was genuinely glad I came to show support and we just hugged and stood in silence watching her Dad on the breathing machine, with the rest of the family doing the same.
 All of a sudden, the nurse comes in and says they’re ready to remove the machine.  I see her unhook the tubes and disconnect the monitors and then I realized in horror what was about to happen.  My face could have been a GIF at that moment because I was not prepared for all that transpired.  This regal man of God, that I had seen for the last 2 decades of my life was desperately gasping for air as his soul left his body.  Even though I had told myself that I wasn’t going to cry, the sobs escaped me uncontrollably because this was the most raw and painful sight I have ever experienced.  When my own Mother passed, thankfully I missed her last moments.  I don’t think I could have recovered from that sight.  I always hear people say, ‘He passed peacefully surrounded my family and friends”, and that sounds so comforting and serene.  That description is some bullshit, because this man was surrounded by family and friends but there was nothing peaceful about his labored breathing and the fact that we were all helpless to do anything.  I’m sure the process took only a few minutes but it felt like hours to me.  The expression on his face, mouth open, eyes staring blankly, will be burned on my brain forever.
What was so crazy was that prior to me going to Starbucks yesterday, I had a long conversation with my wife and another friend about grief and its lifelong effects.  I explained how I went through a period of grief from late 2009 until about mid 2013, which began with my dear friend passing, my Mother, then my sister.  Throughout the conversation I was fighting back tears but I thought that I had compartmentalized that sorrow enough that it wouldn’t pour out again in full force.  I was wrong.
The other crazy thing was that my nephew’s birthday, his grandson, was yesterday and although it was a traumatic moment physically, I feel like the spiritual mantle was passed on to him when his grandfather transitioned.  I have always noticed the physical similarities between them ever since he was born and my Mother prophesied that my nephew would be a preacher.  Time will tell.
I woke up at 4am this morning wondering why I was allowed to be privy to such an intimate, vulnerable yet spiritually charged moment.  Since he was such a noble man, I felt like I wanted to salute or stand at attention while he transitioned.  I know he was welcomed into God’s bosom with a hearty “Well Done”, because he left a legacy of integrity and strength. I thoroughly respected him because he reminded me of the  strong, West Indian men that I remember from my childhood.  I don’t know if I was there for me or for his family or out of respect for my own Mother because he was such a great confidant to her, even up until her last night on earth.  In any case, despite the tears I shed, I want to thank God for allowing me such a privilege.  After witnessing death, I am once again assured that this physical body is only a shell and I need to continue strengthening my spirit, which is all that matters in the end.

 

YES, I AM ENOUGH!

So you know how your parents used to tell you that a hard head makes a soft ass?  Well, for me that is still sort of a mantra because I constantly get distracted and swerve into a lane God didn’t put me in.  This past week, as I was further procrastinating about getting back to the blogging, I had some conversations that sparked some much needed “Ah-hah” moments.  Basically God’s way of letting me know I had swerved out of my lane.
One conversation was with fellow blogger, Jamie Hopkins of Matters of my Heart, who reminded me that I had a gift and I wasn’t using it to the fullest. I argued that I didn’t have a product yet so I didn’t think that my blog posts were relevant enough to warrant any marketing.  She countered with the fact that my blog is my product until I have something else and people that I don’t know are waiting for me to show up with a unique perspective on questions they’ve been seeking answers for.
 It’s so crazy how I can almost instantly go from having a plan on how to encourage people with my words to not thinking what I have is good enough.  Ironically, it took the blessing of becoming a homeowner for me to forget that God is in control and He told me to write.  Once I got the call from my realtor back in July saying that our offer was accepted,  I automatically jumped into hustle mode.  All the while rationalizing that I need more income to maintain this blessing, and came up with a few ways to make money.  They all seemed legit, to me anyway, although they are things that were never in my sphere of thinking, like teaching or personal shopping.  I still surmised that this was the path I was supposed to take, because these humble opportunities  were presented to me.
 I fell into the trap like so many others of thinking that the first thing that shows up after I prayed for something is that miracle I waited for.  My experience has always been that the first thing that shows up, is a distraction.  Although my gut and that still small voice kept telling me, “Nope, I told you to write”, I busied myself preparing for what turned out to be fruitless endeavors.   I’m so hard-headed.  See, I was scared shitless of my promotion and thought that I had to do something extra to keep it because I didn’t feel deserving.  I convinced myself that I needed to do something other than what I have always done which is, ask, thank Him for it, prepare for it as best as I can and wait for it to manifest.   These damn feelings are an unreliable mess!
I guess God had to be extra to show me I was wrong.  He shut down every job opportunity I thought I had landed.  The way I knew it was God was because of the randomness and improbabilities of the shutdowns!  Things such as failing IT connectivity tests with brand new equipment and companies disappearing from my area although online they exist.  Every single opportunity dried up except for getting back to this writing.   I was so busy trying to figure out how the money was going to come instead of actually doing the task which I was assigned, simply writing to encourage others.  One of my excuses is that I always feel like the writing is not good enough, I agonize over phrases and topic choices and many times i talk myself out of writing what is on my heart completely.  So, as I was praying and thanking God for the gift of writing, I was saying “I know it’s not me Lord but your words flowing through me…and then I distinctly heard,  “If you know it’s Me and not you, why are you afraid?”  Whaaat?! I had to stop and write this down.  If my inspiration is from God and I trust God’s promptings, why do I agonize over the right words?  Blew my mind.  Which takes me back to the original point of this whole post, getting my ego out of the way and simply let Spirit lead.    So, I’m back with a renewed sense of purpose and new level of freedom to create.   I’m grateful my hard-headedness doesn’t last forever and at least you get a story out of it.
Until next time, Be Blessed.

SO R. KELLY IS A PIMP…WHY ARE WE SURPRISED?

SO R. KELLY IS A PIMP…WHY ARE WE SURPRISED? 

The world has been inundated this week with the latest story of R. Kelly’s alleged improprieties with barely legal girls looking for stardom after his promises of “helping” them with their music industry careers.  At first glance, the “sex cult” headlines caught my attention but then after delving fully into the original #Buzzfeed story, my disdain for Kelly turned into disgust for the piss poor judgment of the parents involved.  Yes, I said parents…as in multiple sets of parents, condoned the interaction of their teenage daughters with R.Kelly, initially.  According to the article, the parents, who are now claiming their daughter has been brainwashed, knew of R. Kelly’s sordid past but thought they could protect their child.  Both Mother and Father uprooted their lives to move to Atlanta to jumpstart their daughter’s music career and considered themselves to be “fiercely protective parents”.  Now, I cannot for the life of me figure out why any sane grown parent would rationalize any possible reason for their teenage daughter to be placed in a situation where R. Kelly’s old sweaty illiterate ass is a mentor! This is the oldest game in the book, and in this case his longstanding rumors of sexually deviant behavior is well documented over the whole damn internet.

This man came up with a whole docudrama called “Trapped in the Closet” explicitly detailing his pimp fetish yet these parents still thought it was cool.  I’m sorry but the parents get no sympathy from me.   This incident should be used as a teaching moment for parents of daughters on how to spot “game” from a mile away.  There are too many Mothers out there who refuse to be transparent with their daughters about their poor choices and cause the vicious cycle of abuse to be repeated.  Additionally, those Fathers need to come clean and show their daughters how to spot the sinister bastards of the world by admitting that they had “game” back in the day.  Transparency can be humbling but I find it necessary to connect to  younger generations.  I would rather be a little embarrassed by sharing my story with my daughter than being devastated by hearing that she needed to find “love” by becoming a masochistic sex slave.

Once I became a mature woman, and I had my first experience attempting to date someone much younger than me, I immediately knew what a deviant you have to be to seek out teenage girls.  I couldn’t even stomach the juvenile conversation, much less anything physical. Eww!  The only reason you seek out someone less mentally developed than yourself consistently is to control them.  R. Kelly has called himself the Pied Piper of R&B for years, clearly not by accident.  The whole premise of the Pied Piper folktale was that he lured the town children away to their death with his irresistible musical prowess.  Now, I don’t think that Kelly is smart enough to be considered a cult leader. I refuse to give him that title.  He is simply an ordinary predator with money and resources to convince naïve young women that only he can love them properly.  He convinces them that they need him as their “Daddy”, even though some of these girls have very present Fathers. I really struggle to understand that part.

This is the precise reason why we need to educate our children early to psychological games played by predators.  There are myriad forms of abusive relationships but many of them start with subtle manipulation like what R. Kelly used.  Promises of career help or VIP treatment  are common ruses used by pimps to get their stable together.  This is exactly what R.Kelly has done, assembled a stable of groupies who willingly traded in their dignity for this perceived VIP lifestyle.  Unfortunately they won’t even realize the psychological damage being done to them until they age out of the stable and are left to pick up the pieces of their wasted lives.   Sex trafficking is real and R. Kelly just gave you a celebrity face to associate with it.

Again I implore you, please educate your children about the professional way to network in the entertainment industry.  Also remember boys are victims too,(Jerry Sandusky, Bishop Eddie Long, James Cleveland, boy band manager Lou Pearlman and The Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad).  We all think that this won’t happen to our child because we are there to protect them but I have never met a parent that really knows everything their child is doing on their devices.  Obviously these parents thought they knew too…This is why the Bible says never to give the devil a foothold.  The Pied Piper of R&B is the devil and it seems that he has settled in for the long haul.  Protect the kids please, parents that is your Divine assignment.

4 Life Lessons Learned from 4:44

4 Spiritual Growth Lessons Learned from Jay Z’s 4:44

Last week Jay-Z broke the internet with his latest release 4:44.  Being hailed as his most reflective masterpiece yet, the project is filled with honest nuggets of wisdom gleaned from his obvious maturation.  I have had this on repeat for the past week and came up with my summation of the top 4 spiritual growth concepts he conveys with his heartfelt lyricism.  Even if you’re not a fan, you cannot deny the gems he spits.  Like Jay said, “stop me when I stop telling the truth”.

  1. Maturity.  This is known in the Word as “dying to the flesh” which he addresses on “Kill Jay-Z”.  In order for us to achieve success in life, we must all come to a point where we decide to kill our unproductive desires.  Even if change does not happen as quickly as we like, the very act of choosing to pursue integrity as a way of life is stepping up to spiritual maturity.  Pursuing spiritual evolution is part of “adulting”.   Mental and spiritual evolution is always the precursor to a shift in our physical and material expressions of success.  Offering apologies, developing compassion, investing in ourselves, financial freedom and ongoing self-education are all signs that the maturation shift has taken place.  Jay talks about the critical voices in his head urging him to “die Jay Z”, die to the criminal mindset that no longer represents who he is.  “Let go your ego over your right shoulder, your left side is saying finish your breakfast”, a lyrical nod to the struggle of keeping his cold gangster demeanor to protect his ego.  Change is inevitable and we should embrace it.  When we resist change and become stagnant, we are consciously choosing to stay immature, usually to our detriment. 
  2. Transparency.  Vulnerability and transparency is what endears us to others, it’s also what many of us fear the most.  This is the reason conversing with someone who also shares their story with you causes you to feel comfortable in revealing your true self.  When someone else is as flawed as us, we don’t feel judged.  “You can’t heal what you never revealed”, sums up the reason everyone needs to seek out some professional therapy at some point in their adult life.  Unless we identify the root of our pain, become transparent about our struggles in safe environments, the bitterness will subconsciously permeate all areas of our life.  Despite all the braggadocio verses and gangster knowledge that Jay has dropped over the years, it is ironic that his most vulnerable album will turn out to be a classic beyond his own expectations.  All because he decided to publicly acknowledge his flaws and emotional pain.
  3.  Marketing is everything.  On “The Story of OJ”, Jay raps, “I turned my life into a nice first week release date.”  This speaks to the brilliance of taking control of your own narrative, especially in this age of social media.  Whether you are a public figure or not, people are going to gossip about you.  Why not get ahead of the story and profit from it if you can?  The paparazzi and even regular folks with cell phones are sure going to if possible.  Gossip and viral videos are big money these days and if you have a chance to make money from your own idiosyncrasies, please do.  Remember the “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” lady, Sweet Brown?  She enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame and got some cash before she fell off.  People were laughing at her country grammar and she was laughing all the way to the bank.
  4. 4:44 Pay attention to spiritual signs all around us, like the synchronicity of numbers in our world.  I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, only Divine signs and wonders that seem coincidental to us.  The song 4:44 was written because Jay-Z was awakened at 4:44 in the morning with a prompting to write this powerful apologetic song revealing his shame and regrets for disappointing his family. Seeing repeating numbers signals that we should pay attention to inner promptings that we receive at that time because it usually means the Holy Spirit is trying to get our attention.

Top 5 Black Music Month Releases in Wani’s World

 

TOP 5 BLACK MUSIC MONTH 2017 RELEASES IN WANI’S WORLD

To wrap up Black Music Month and to usher in the Holiday weekend celebrations, I wanted to give you my version of a must have playlist at the next cookout.  Just a warning that my tastes are diverse and the raw stuff ain’t for everybody.  In that vein, here is my current Top 5 list of HipHop and other good music that I have in heavy rotation right now.  Enjoy!

Mali Music. The Transition of Mali.  So, I’m an avid Mali fan and I was wondering what happened to him since he dipped into the secular waters and signed with a major label.  I was eagerly awaiting this project and he didn’t disappoint. Mali always brings the passion and transparency to his lyrics.  He seems a bit jaded with the fame and the industry on certain tracks like, “Bow Out” but he manages to bring it back to Praise on “Gonna Be Alright” and “My Life”.  The outstanding song to me was “Loved By You” featuring Jazmine Sullivan.  When her sultry honey dipped vocals slid onto the track, I think my headphones melted a little bit.  Overall, the entire project was 90% flawless and even sitting with the other 10% has me warming up to the songs.  I still think his last project, “Mali Is”, was his absolute best work to date but his Transition is very impressive.  Do yourself a favor and get some Mali in your collection.  https://youtu.be/f4tv1jLOh00

Vince Staples. Big Fish.  Ok, for all my Boom Bap folks, this joint is nice!  The beats are all bangers for riding or clubbing.  The standouts for both production and lyricism are “BagBak” and “Yeah Right”, featuring Kendrick.  The title track, “Big Fish”, has the best bass line I’ve heard in a long while, coupled with Staples’ razor sharp flow when describing how to survive “while trying to get money from these sharks” is sonic fire.  I had heard buzz about Vince Staples ever since he was one of the XXL Mag’s Freshmen of 2015 but now I can see what the hype was about and he lives up to it.  https://youtu.be/0l9kzS_B7gg

DJ Khaled.  Grateful.  The title of his ambitious 23 track latest offering conveys the emotions DJ Khaled was consumed by after becoming a father to his gorgeous little boy Asahd.   If you haven’t yet heard “Shining” or “Wild Thoughts”, the Summer ’17 anthem, your ears are cussing you out right now.   I’m not a huge fan of trap music but Khaled balanced out the best of the trap MCs with some East Coast heavy hitters on this one.  Plus, I was about to X out Nicki, but on this joint…she’s BAAACCK.  Nicki is featured on tracks with Future and Alicia Keys and she bodies both of them.  I need her to keep this up, get back to the “Roman’s Revenge” spazzing out lyrics that made me a fan.  Finally, as if Chance The Rapper could get anymore endearing, he and Khaled made a new alphabet song that is so lit, it may put Sesame Street out of business.  The song is called “I Love You” and it’s like the Hip Hop combination version of Viola Davis in “The Help” and Mufasa showing Simba his future kingdom in the Lion King.  Clearly Asahd has taken DJ Khaled’s creative motivation to new heights and his fans are the beneficiaries.  Even if you aren’t a Khaled fan, you are bound to find at least 6 songs on Grateful that will move you either to dance or at least bob your head.  The list of featured artists is incredible, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Nas, Pusha T, Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris, Future, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Big Sean and T.I.  Even for all you mumble rap lovers, aka Trap lovers, he included Young Thug, Travis Scott and Migos.  To sum it all up…go get this. https://youtu.be/fyaI4-5849w

Sir The Baptist.  Saint or Sinner.  What I like about Sir The Baptist is his willingness to embrace the Saint and Sinner inside him, as the album title proclaims.  He is the eclectic musical expression of a Preacher’s Kid.  He observed all the hypocrisies in the Church and decided to form his own relationship with God and accept his duality of good and evil.  He takes the whole church to task on “Deliver Me”, a haunting track about domestic abuse among the church elite, featuring Brandy.  This song alone is worth listening to this album.   https://youtu.be/2HzB6aDVTqg 

Jay-Z.  4:44.   The prolific, Jigga the game spitter is back on his NYC ish!  The transparency and maturity shown on this album is the reason why Jayhova is my top MC ever.  His body of work progresses as he lives and learns from his mistakes.  Being a fellow Sagg raised in New York, land of “keeping it stone faced”, I know how hard it was to be vulnerable on this joint.  Even his Mother got it on the soul revelations by sharing that she is a lesbian.  At 47, Jay is still at the top of his lyrical game while sending shots to Kanye, Jimmy Iovine and anyone else who thought he was a Daddy now and wouldn’t clap back. “I bought some artwork for one million/Two years later, that shit worth two million/Few years later, that shit worth eight million/I can’t wait to give this sh*t to my children/Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, ‘it’s fine’/But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99,”.  Yep, break over, Hov is back.  A new classic.

I must also give honorable mention to:

Showbiz & AG. Take It Back.  https://youtu.be/keqC9SLyVzQ 

Big Boi’s Boomiverse   https://youtu.be/TAhOumyEJOE 

Raekwon’s The Wild. https://youtu.be/GG62vuHd0dE.

  They prove again that having bars is not relegated to the youngsters.  I’m always happy when “old school” MC’s show back up to add some much-needed heat to the game.  I can’t wait for the Mumble Rap style to fade away…It’s time people.  Until next time, Blessings and Be Grateful!

 

A Seat at the Table: Discussions on LGBTQ Pride

Trans Poet Lee Mokobe

Earlier during this Pride month, I had the honor of attending an interactive discussion series, “A Seat at the Table with LGBTQ Friends in Faith” at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  The mission of this event was to promote conversations about what it means to be Gay, African American and a person of faith in our society.  The ultimate objective was to identify issues and possible solutions to change the negative experiences in our community, especially to aid the younger generations.  Predictably this subject is very dear to my heart and the discussions did not disappoint.

The format was a panel of speakers followed by group discussions at each table. In addition to this, we heard the poignant poetry of South African Trans Poet and TED Fellow, Lee Mokobe.  His poems about what it feels like to be transgender, especially in the hostile environment of his homeland, were both enlightening and haunting.

The table conversations revolved around a set of questions about how we can improve the relationships between communities with opposing views regarding being LGBTQ based upon a common goal.   There were so many academic terms being thrown around that it may have been a bit intimidating to someone not familiar with the new politically correct terminology.  I guess I’m now considered “old school gay” because I found myself Googling many of the words like intersectionality, heteronormative, cisgender, non-binary and fetishization to know exactly what they meant in the LGBTQ conversation.  Hey, I admit that I’m in the community but not totally up on the lingo.  Even a word like “ally” has a specific definition in the community, according to the USC LGBT Resource Center glossary.  Apparently, allies are part of privileged groups that become actively involved in societal changes to change the perceptions of the oppressed group, such as Trans people.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of the allies at my table, which made the discussions more engaging.  For instance, hearing about the Trans youth experience and the necessity of them performing sex work to survive from the perspective of a lawyer who works as an advocate was very sobering.

There were so many great points illuminated at this event but 3 concepts stood out to me; Education, Visibility, and Respect.

The first thing needed is relevant education on many levels, especially on religion and history.  Much of the irrelevant education received about the LGBTQ community is based upon religious beliefs steeped in marginalization and hatred.  As Rev. Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge UCC in Oakland stated, “You need to free yourself of the notion that you have to suffer to receive something from God.  All of the Bible is NOT God.”  This has long been my belief.  I challenge people to educate themselves on Bible history and religion and see if they still believe that the Bible is the unadulterated Word of God. The fact that there are multiple versions and translations proves it is quite adulterated.  Educating ourselves on beliefs before adopting them blindly would eradicate much of the ignorant hatred spewed in the name of religion.  Something as simple as being aware of the correct terminology to use in conversation is showing a willingness to broaden our minds to the changing world.

LGBTQ invisibility in the church is a challenge to connecting the faith community.  We must make our stories visible, demand our rights and acknowledge our accomplishments in the church community.  If it were not for Gay folks, there would absolutely be no Gospel music.  Truth.  If we continue to allow churches to use us up for our creativity without crediting us as being valuable members, nothing will ever change.

We need to be courageous, out and proud.  My Mother used to say, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.”  If you are already transparent and affirming about yourself, there is nothing anyone can say to try and shame you into silence about being LGBTQ.  Also, if you consider yourself an “ally”, speak up and speak out loudly against injustice.

Finally, the end goal is for us all to receive love and respect from society.  It was noted that Millenials start the discussion not at acceptance, but at respect.  Acceptance of LGBTQ people is simply saying I tolerate you, but respect is a whole other level of accepting their humanity without judging.  Let’s stop asking for permission because the way has already been paved by earlier generations of activists.  We simply need to forge ahead demanding respect, our rights and equality whether in the church or in the workplace or in public restrooms.  So in the spirit of Gay Pride, please enjoy celebrating for the rest of this month and continue to demand your Seat at the Table.  Bless Up!

 

 

 

Spiritual Growth is Endless Work!


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“Work, work, work, work, work…say mi haffi work” to achieve my spiritual growth!  This is real work, learning how to come up higher and not give in to my base emotions like rage and apathy.  Just when I think I have achieved some milestones, God shows up with more lessons!

So, the other day my wife and I were in the process of finalizing the accommodations for our wedding reception in Puerto Vallarta next year and I discovered that there were prohibitive stipulations placed on the villa we rented for the express purpose of holding this ceremony.  Once I found out that she knew of this for a whole week before telling me, I lost my entire mind! 0-100 is an understatement of my reaction, which I could tell from the expression on her face.   Ironically enough, I had just had the thought, “Wow, I haven’t needed to see my therapist in quite a while, I am so glad to be getting better with handling my emotions.”  Obviously not.  The underlying rage is still there, seething under the surface, waiting for opportunities like this one to emerge.  I knew that my anger was about more than this situation so I immediately made an appointment to see my therapist, yet again.  I feel like Kendrick, “Be Humble, sit down.”  I accept the victories I have achieved but I need not get ahead of myself or God in thinking that I’ve arrived.

Life is all about progress, not perfection and this lesson becomes clearer the longer I live.  There is no shame in admitting we’re works in progress.  Although I give advice based upon my multitude of experiences with faith and other areas of spiritual growth, it still surprises me when more issues pop up that God clearly wants me to deal with.  For the past year, I have been focused on bettering my physical body and I’ve let my spiritual practices slide. Not that I don’t pray daily, but I have neglected that dedicated time I used to look forward to each morning before the sun rose.  I relish that early time of morning because I’m able to hear from God with clarity. Prayer is asking from and talking to God but more important is the meditation time where we listen to God.  We need to hear the answers we’re begging Him for right?

Since this is nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness month, I thought I’d acknowledge my own issues. I deal with anxiety, depression, a tad of ADD and a few addictions, so yeah, I guess I have some mental health things going on.  I don’t really like to identify myself as mentally ill, since I only recently realized that’s what these issues are. However, I cannot ignore my behavior and the need for it to change. This realization is what caused me to seek therapy in the first place.  With all this stuff going on, I can’t let taking care of my mental or emotional health slip for a minute.  Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart above all else because what’s in it flows from you. I have jokingly called myself a Bitter Bitch for years and while I am penning my memoirs of the same name, I have discovered a few roots of my bitterness. This last angry outburst caused me to identify a couple more roots to work on destroying.

I believe that a large portion of mental health is your spiritual relationship with God, the Universe, Your Higher Power, or whatever name you choose to identify Spirit as.  I am my own experiment in this.  As soon as I get out of the habit of my dedicated prayer and meditation time daily, the blanket of depression drops right over my head.  Or the irrational rage-filled tirades spring up and reveal the darker side of me that I am still working to accept.  By filling my mind and heart with words of affirmation daily I can at least control the frequency of these episodes.  When I feel closer to God I am more comfortable with myself and the anxiety is at bay.  I feel like I am enough.

So, to further prove my point, yesterday I woke up about 5:30am and got right into my P.R.R.A.M. routine (Prayer. Reading. Reiki. Affirmations. Meditation.)  I was excited about the special blessings I felt were coming my way that day.  I went to a Toastmasters meeting in my area because I am preparing myself for what I feel will be the next level of my calling, public speaking.  Although the meeting was held in a church, I had no idea that it was going to be like a church meeting. The two speakers were so transparent, authentic and emotional that we were all riveted and changed in some way after their speeches. One woman gave a poignant speech about forgiving an abusive Mother.  When the evaluator came up to critique her speech, it became evident that she was dealing with the same issue and the speech opened some deep wounds which she still needed to forgive.  After the meeting, I noticed both women being comforted by some of the members.  I felt like the Holy Spirit used this time to both connect and heal the speakers as well as the audience.  Only God can orchestrate a healing event at a Toastmasters meeting.

So, I got motivated, felt the presence of Spirit and met some new encouraging people all in 90 minutes.  I feel like I was primed for this experience all because I stuck to my schedule with God that morning.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.  This sums up the main reason for dedicated prayer time or else get ready for the rage, depression, manic compulsive behavior or addictive binges that come with slacking off spiritually.  Until next time, work, work, work on this spiritual growth, it’s worth it.  Peace and Blessings!

 

 

 

 

WHAT

So What Y’all know about being stuck on the couch for 2 days all swollen up and feeling like I had just run a 20 mile marathon when all I did was spend Monday creating and cooking? Now admittedly, I may have been a bit extra. I may have been on my feet for a few hours but I thought I was OK because I was standing still, mostly. The last time I had this bout of extensor tendonitis, cause that’s what Google said it was, was when I decided to walk a mile worth of laps in the pool. This time, I was simply standing at the counter prepping all my fresh veggies and marinades for my healthy meals throughout the week. I had promised myself that I would stick to my goal of eating at home every day this week. In order to accomplish this feat, I had to food prep and cook. Now I might have vaped a little and lost track of the hours I spent on my feet, but I was feeling good…in my mind anyway. See, I had this massive To Do list and I was determined to finish everything I had to do in the kitchen so I could get back to this writing by Tuesday. That was MY plan, but clearly my body rebelled and God colluded with my body by sending rain for two days. As my folks suffering with any Auto Immune disease knows, rainy weather wreaks havoc on your bones, and in some cases your nerves. I woke up Tuesday morning and couldn’t even walk. My left foot felt like someone placed a stinging lump of hot coal on top of it. But, I am glad to say I learned to not spend all day in a pout, angry at my body. This time, I realized my error and accepted that 50+ ain’t like 20-something and maybe cooking is now considered exercise. I always ask God to help me deal with the pain during these episodes and I swear each time the Holy Spirit whispers, “I ain’t tell you to do all that. You’re doing way too much.” I know my Overachievers feel me. This time, I emotionally recovered quickly and even did some self-care by icing my foot and being still. I was a bit disappointed that Wednesday morning brought no relief, but again I figured that the physical healing would come with the next sunny day, today Thursday.So, What this forced immobility caused me to do was to finally add some words to my memoirs. I couldn’t ignore the nudge of the Holy Spirit while stuck on my butt with all of these electronic writing devices at my disposal. I have been talking about this book for the past decade and honestly that’s mostly all I have been doing. I am currently writing the more painful parts of my story and with each word, I realize that the emotional pain is deeper than I care to acknowledge. This realization has caused sudden Carb Cravings, Netflix binge watching, cannabis candy and any other form of procrastination I can think of to delay the word purge. After putting down a couple of chapters I admit it felt cathartic. Now I have just got to keep it going. I figure this time, instead of making broken promises to myself, Imma let the herb do what it do and keep on pushing this book out. This writing challenge has gotten me in the habit of at least writing 250 words a day. Not sure why I never employed this method before, although everyone has told me to. #HardHeaded

So, What I’ve learned is that although cooking is my passion, this is now my writing season. I was watching Joyce Meyer the other day and she was talking about there being a season for everything under the sun. It was then that I finally got it that my writing season was now in session. Instead of me spending excessive time on domestic stuff, I need to spend time on my gift of writing, which someone is waiting on. My other lesson is that I need to get the hell out of the house to write effectively. As much as I would like to think I have gotten more disciplined, I haven’t. Sigh. This is why I’m here at the Wegman’s ,AKA everyone’s home office, knocking out this post to keep up my writing mojo. Just a little glimpse into Wani’s World. Until next time, Be Abundantly Blessed!