Wednesday, April 16

Blacks & Jews in Dialogue: Passover Edition

It’s Passover – the Jewish spring festival that “commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt” (,  and like in years past, I am taking this time to think about what this holiday means for me and my inter-faith, mixed-race family.   Last night, during the first Seder – the ritual service and feast on the first two nights of Passover, Wife asked me what I was going to write about this week.  My response?  “Blacks and Jews in dialogue.”  If you know the story of Passover (Read it here) you can see that its account of the Jews escape from slavery lends quite nicely to connections between the black and Jewish communities. 

I love  Passover.  It’s a holiday, consisting of rituals and symbolism that makes sense to me.  It’s a story that I feel is easy for everyone to connect to and echoes what I believe is ultimately true in this world – we belong to each other.   So after last night’s Seder,  I was inspired to write about Blacks and Jews and our connection. 

Sometimes, however, we think we are writing about one thing and we end up somewhere totally different.  Maybe this only happens to me, I don’t know much about writing!  Anyway, I think what’s really on my mind is what it’s like to raise Jewish children as a non-Jewish mother. 

It is possible that I spent my whole life preparing to be a non-Jewish mother raising Jewish children.  I was born to a black woman with a Yiddish nickname – Zanana Shepherd, aka Shepsyl.  My parents and siblings waited for my arrival and the completion of a home renovation while living with our chosen Jewish family, Auntie Honey and Uncle Roy, my mother’s high school friends.  My first friend ever was my Jewish neighbour who I now refer to as “Life” because, that’s our friendship – for life.  I mumbled along while one of my dear friends sang her Bat Mitzvah portion, because I knew it too.  And when I knew I was about to receive the news that my father was dying, I asked that same friend to take me to her synagogue in the middle of a summer afternoon because I needed to pray and at that time in my life, it made sense to do it there.  I bought Wife her first Menorah for her new house and we gladly jumped from under the Chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) over the broom at our wedding.   I’ve been in dialogue with Jews forever.  Oh, by the way, Wife thought I should mention all my Jewish ex-boyfriends, but I shot her a stern look and told her that I’m not writing about that kind of dialogue!   

When Wife and I talked about having kids we knew that it was important to each of us that our kids be black and Jewish.  Apparently, Wife has always known that she would raise black children!  (Not funny?  Not even a little?  Okay, sorry!)  We didn’t think that it would be easy to raise trans-racially adopted, bi-racial, Jewish children as two women, but we’re pretty awesome and we assumed that we possess the tools to at least do a mediocre job. 

Please know that I could (and will) write a whole post (or five) about our experience thus far raising black and bi-racial children, but in the interest of space, I’m going to stay on religion. 

So here’s how I thought it would work.  I believe in God.  I believe that there are many paths to God and Judaism is one of those paths.  Perhaps naively, I believed that as long as I could share my belief in God with my children, I would be able to do it within the context of Judaism.  I figured I knew enough about and felt comfortable with the rituals of Judaism and I was determined to learn how to create and maintain a Jewish, God-loving home.  Raising Jewish kids as a non-Jewish mom has gone pretty well so far.  The older children understand that they are Jewish and all of them are familiar with the more regular rituals like lighting candles and saying blessings on Friday nights to welcome Shabbat. 

Regardless of our success so far, I struggle with parenting my Jewish kids.  While I have always participated in Jewish religious traditions, I don’t feel Jewish.  I don’t feel like I am passing on or sharing a piece of my self with my children.  I was raised as a non-religious Christian, but I sang Christian songs at Sunday school and at overnight camp.  I made Christian crafts for holidays and while I celebrated Jewish holidays with friends and chosen family, those celebrations weren’t in my home with my parents as “elders” sharing their traditions.  I feel  Christian.  The God of my childhood is a Christian God. 

Sometimes, being a mother, particularly the at-home mother, trying to maintain a Jewish home feels forced and unnatural.  I find it hard and wonder if it will always be this way.  I don’t want to convert to Judaism and right now it feels too hard to take courses to learn about Judaism and raising Jewish children (I did try a course through Mothers Circle a few years back.), but I do want our home to be a place where we know (and may believe in) God and live Jewish or at least Jewish (Oh come on.  I couldn’t resist!)

What I find pretty cool and what I didn’t expect is that even though Wife was raised culturally and religiously Jewish, she too is just learning to be a Jewish mom.  She is discovering what feels sacred to her from her cultural and religious heritage and what she wants to share with her family.  She is learning from a parent’s perspective about the value of what she has always referred to as boring religious and Hebrew school.  She is buying the beautiful things to set the table for our Seder and beaming when her son reads the Four Questions.  She may be learning her role as a Jewish mother with familiarity and memory deep within her, but like me, she is learning to create a Jewish home for her Jewish children. 

Our big guy cried to come home early from day care today and our middles are out of sorts and full of beans and tears this evening.  I imagine like most young Jewish children today, they are recovering from a late night spent with family and friends at a joyful Seder.  Passover really is a beautiful celebration.  Happy Passover or Chag Sameach .  

XO Ajike 

Thursday, April 10

Infographic Highlights Racial Success and Inequality in Hollywood

by April D. Byrd

African-Americans have 1,038 Billion dollars worth of buying power 12 Years A Slave pulled the same ROI as The Hunger Games with a significantly smaller budget, and Black Film Festivals are on the rise, so what's going on? Will we keep up the good trend? A new Info-graphic created by the New York Film Academy has nearly everything we could ever love to know about the progress and status of black people in the film industry.

The graphic includes a timeline of success and innovation in black film, as well as many ways African-Americans lag behind in media. Last year was really good for Black Hollywood, but are our stories being handled correctly? Producer Will Packer had some "Powerful" advice regarding that front as listed in the graphic:
"It's imperative that the next generation of young black film makers realize that their power is in their unique perspectives, unique skill sets, and unique stories. Standing out is a good thing in Hollywood."
That is highly agreed, director Malcolm D. Lee also advised quite simply to "Just keep making quality movies." How far have we come and How far do we intend to go? The info-graphic definitely stands as a good compass and resource. Check it out for yourself (below):

                                                           Click to See Full Graphic

How are you feeling about the state of Black Film and entertainment? Do you think  Black Hollywood needs to up the ante? More Genres? More diversity? or are we feeling fine with where it's at? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and follow the convo on Trey Anthony's Facebook Fanpage. Let's Hear it!

Tuesday, April 8

The Silverman-Akande Important Book...or (what Ajike decides to do when experiencing post-manicure euphoria)

You know what gives me a sense of renewed optimism?  A manicure. (Now wait a minute; this blog is a place of love, not judgment.   If you just rolled your eyes, shame on you.).  Stay with me, and you’ll understand why manicures equal hope.  
After I get my nails done, all the jaggedy edges on my hands are smooth and shiny, colourful polish is perfectly applied.  I leave the salon with soft hands and the belief that like my nails, my life is smooth and perfect.  I manage to drive home - favourite music blaring, without doing any damage to my perfect nails.  I walk through the door and greet my excited children and flash my hands in their direction – nails still perfect (The children are routinely blown away by the beauty that is my hands post-manicure.).  But within minutes I’m grabbing a roll of tape from someone who thinks it’s a good idea to unravel the whole thing, trying to dress a doll for another kid and digging for homework crumpled at the bottom of The Big’s backpack.  I’ve been home for 5 minutes.  I check my hands.  My polish is chipped.  
This is exactly how my life is.  There are moments when I think life is perfect, moments when life is perfect - like my nails immediately after a manicure and then,  before I know it, the veneer and perfection is chipped.  
So why my rambling story about how a manicure gives me renewed hope and why I believe that my life can be compared to a manicure?  Manicures and the feeling that life is perfect can lead me to make some unrealistic plans.  
Yesterday, when I was experiencing this kind of post-manicure euphoria, I came up with this crazy activity for the family to do during supper.  I excitedly told wife over the phone to be home in time for dinner.  During this sacred, family meal I thought it would be fun (and possible) to write the Silverman-Akande Important Book, not unlike the famous Important Book and The Other Important Book by the children’s author Margret Wise Brown.  “I want us to write a page about each member of our family highlighting what’s important about each of us at this moment in time.”  “Great idea honey!”  (God love this lying woman!)

Is that not the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard?  Are we not the most “together” family this side of Lake Ontario?  Do we not just drip with functionality?  Seriously people, I planned a dinner activity!  For once there would be no holding one kid down while I shovel food into my mouth with the other hand, not bothering to chew my food before yelling, “Hey, we do not throw food in this house!”  This idea came to me during a manicure-induced state of renewed optimism and dammit we were going to do it!  
In the end there was some begging kids to cooperate and 2 kids sitting on my lap while I tried to write, as well as Wife arguing with G-Dog (that’s her dinner job), but below is what we come up with.  Here is a snapshot of all the Silverman-Akandes and what is important (to know) about us!  

It’s some pretty cute stuff.  You should totally try this with your friends and family.  Really.  Even if you have to beg.  
XO Ajike

The Silverman-Akande Important Book
*Please note that some of the lines are direct quotes from the kiddos.

The important thing about being Mama is that she loves our family very much.
She likes haircuts, hockey and bourbon.  
She takes a Caribbean dance class with Mr. Lee and F-Jammie every Saturday .  
Her job is to take us to pee before she goes to bed.  
But the most important thing about Mama is that she loves our family very much.  
The important thing about being Big Z is that he loves to dance Hip Hop.  
He is a good big brother.  
He likes to make jokes and looooooves to eat.
He hangs out with the grade 2 girls at recess.
But the most important thing about being Z is that he loves to dance Hip Hop.  

The important thing about being Miss O is that she is always singing.  
She was in Mommy’s tummy with G-Dog.  
She has a huge smile.
She is always climbing on the couch and hanging upside down.  
But, the most important thing about Miss O is that she is always singing

The important thing about being G-Dog is that she loves long, tight cuddles.
She likes to watch Diff’rent Strokes and Frozen.
She loves to eat snack, pizza and sushi.
She was in Mommy’s tummy with Miss O.
But, the most important thing about G-Dog is that she loves long, tight cuddles.

The important thing about being Mr. Lee is that he likes to dance to Gangnam Style and “Decoration” (One Direction).  
He loves Eddie and Alex and their green garbage truck.
He always needs to see what’s cooking.
His hair is awesome.
But the most important thing about being Mr. Lee is that he likes to dance to Gangnam Style and “Decoration”.  
The important thing about being F-Jammie is that she totally dances with her shoulders.
She changes her clothes all by herself many times a day.  
She loves colouring.
She likes to watch Barney and Frozen.
But the most important thing about being F-Jammie is that she totally dances with her shoulders.
The important thing about being Mommy is that she loves our family very much.
She’s fun and silly.
She likes manicures, writing and white wine
She eats fruit every night after we go to bed.
But the most important thing about being Mommy is that she loves her family very much.

Friday, April 4

Halle Berry Talks About Having Mental Illness and A New T.V. Show

by April D. Byrd

Yeah, So Halle Berry doesn't have a real mental illness...(that we know of), but in her new movie role Frankie & Alice, Berry will be playing a woman with severe split personality disorder, Medically termed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Based on the true life story of Frankie Murdoch, the film is being re-released by Lionsgate and Codeblack films. Halle talked with Extra in an interview and discussed what created her interest in the role, her new baby, and also her new T.V. show. Her new T.V. show Extant will be directed by Steven Spielberg.

The Movie Frankie & Alice was originally released in Canada in 2010. The movie captures a woman's struggle to remain herself while fighting with not one, but two alter egos:  a 7-year-old kid "Genius" and a Southern White Racist woman named "Alice". Berry will be taking the issue of women  "playing many roles" to a whole different level. Frankie & Alice hits theaters today!

 Check out the trailer (below)...

Will you being going to see the film? What are your thoughts on the movie? Leave a comment below and be sure to follow up on the conversation on Trey Anthony's Facebook Fanpage.

Wednesday, April 2

Our Village

Things have been rough in our teeny tiny corner of the universe.  I could get into a long story about the ways in which things have been a bit hard for the Silverman-Akandes but a) there are a lot of details – some of which are best kept close to the chest for now, and b) sometimes what we learn during our hardest times is such a gift that we almost become grateful for them.  What I will share though is how, through this rough patch, our boat has been steadied as we navigate rough waters.  
We have all heard the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”.  It is an African proverb.  More specifically, it is a Nigerian  proverb originating from the Yoruba and Igbo tribes.  Let’s just say that my love of this proverb is directly related to my Yoruba heritage.
I used to think that in my big-city community, we believe in the child-rearing village, but we don’t necessarily live that belief on a day-to-day basis.  We’re all struggling and trying so hard to live the best version of the lives we imagined while dealing with the life we’ve been dealt that many of us don’t think that we have much to offer a village.  I realize now, that I may be wrong.  With no concrete plans or agreed upon rules, my basketball team sized gaggle of children are offered the love and energy of a village.  

There are those villagers who we have been formally invited into our lives as caregivers and teachers, who perhaps, with no real intention, become more than what their titles would suggest.  They don’t always act in ways that best echo our beliefs and values but they always act with great love for our children.  They hug them and listen; they remember what they love and what they hate and what they fear.  They laugh with them and at them (but in that “you’re so adorable” kind of way).  They teach them and teach them again and again.  They “clock in” but they never fully “clock out”.  Thank you.  We are grateful for you.  
There are those who live close by and share their yard and their kitchen and their couch.  They run faster than us when one of ours topples over on their bikes darts out in the road, after a runaway ball.  Their children’s grandparents know our little ones by name and remember them coming home.  On Halloween someone gives out candy, and someone pours the wine and someone hangs with the kids.  We never talk about who is doing what or when we’ll change jobs but we all know it’s all taken care of.  Our little ones sing goodnight to them and ask for one more snuggle from them before coming home.  They drop off a bottle of wine or a case of coke and they know exactly which liquid we need and when.   Thank you.  We are grateful for you.  

There are those villagers who are part of our family of origin. Bubby and Zaide, who call on the phone and send cherished postcards and come for special weekend visits to be showered with enough kisses and cuddles to make up for lost time.  There is Nanny who is nearly part of our every day but still gets the run-down-the-hall greeting every time she arrives and the confused look when there’s only time for a short visit.  There are aunties and uncles who are like royalty and somehow are the ones who can always do the things we cannot.  There are aunties and uncles  and cousins who show up every week, even when they’re tired, and love our brood enough to spoil and scold.  Thank you.  We are grateful for you.
Our village includes chosen family – old friends and new friends, who love up our kids but love us up too.  We can be honest with them.  We can call our kids assholes and they know that we need a break not to be judged for saying horrible things about our kids.  They know what we sound like when we’re on the other end of the phone but are crying too hard to form words (okay that may be the beauty of call display, but you know what I mean).  They let us brag about our kiddos without feeling guilty.  There are those villagers who when we’re talking about one of our kids and their struggles say, “We’re going to do what we have to do to support her.  She’s our little one.”  With those friends we are never alone.  They hold us up.   Thank you.  We are grateful for you.  

It’s been a lousy couple of weeks for the Silverman-Akandes but it’s totally okay.  Our boat is being steadied.  As I write this I hope that we are good villagers and that I am wrong about thinking that we have nothing to offer the village.  I hope we give you and your littles as much Yoruba style, village love as we receive.  
To our people, to our villagers, I hope you know who you are and I hope you know that we are so, so grateful for you.  
XO Ajike

Friday, March 28

Petition Urges Record Labels To ‘Stop Degradation Of Black People’

by: April D. Byrd

A petition has been circulating that has become very popular. The document created by Kenneth Paulk is making big headlines around the web. The creator is serving notice to Artists and big record companies to end the disrespect of black culture, mostly through black artists. The petition is detail oriented and lists all the "dirty" companies clearly by name.

Time will tell if the petition will make a difference in the music and entertainment industry, but the writer is very direct on his intentions. He claims that companies and artists can stop valuing money over quality of content. Digital Media has definitely been given a new platform to Social Justice. The request may be a big leap of faith, but it might not be such a hard bargain. The mission holds good reason and merit, but will merit be enough? check out the details (below):

"This petition is for our future children and grandchildren. This petition is for our ancestors that sacrificed and died to make things better for us.

We have to let our ancestors know that we will not allow our legacy to be destroyed by corporate America, and we will not allow our legacy to be destroyed by a few greedy music artist that value money more than they value their own people.

When you see bad things happening and don't say anything it will continue forever. Bad things will only stop when good people take a stand against it.

Record companies the rappers are your EMPLOYEES and you would never allow your EMPLOYEES to make songs that disrespect or degrade the Jewish people, and you would never allow your employees to make songs that disrespect Gays, but you allow your employees to make songs that disrespect and degrade black people.

Record companies you make a profit by allowing rappers to call black people n!gger and n!gga in their songs. Record companies you would never allow rappers to make songs that glorify the killing of Jews or Gays, but you allow rappers to make songs that glorify the killing of blacks, and you profit from it.

The negative rappers value money and material things more than they value the betterment of their own people, they don't even care about the damage that their music is doing to us as a people. We would never allow whites or any other groups to make songs against us, and we shouldn't allow blacks to do it either.

People will only do what you allow them to do, and as black people we are at fault to a large degree because for the last 20 years we have allowed record companies and rappers to degrade us as a people and get a way with it.

Just like other groups of people would never allowed themselves to be disrespected it's time for black people to show the world that we love ourselves as well.

We must send a clear message to those that have exploited us and harmed us as a people. The best way is through legal action or class action lawsuit against any record company, record distributor or music artist that continues to put out those kind of songs.

Stevie Wonder has sold over 100 million records and he never called us n!ggers in his songs. He always called us brothers and sisters in his songs.

Black people we gave the world great music, we gave the world Soul music, Jazz and other forms of music. I refused to stand by and watch our great music legacy be trashed and destroyed before the whole world.

99% of rappers are signed to these record companies and distributors below, this petition is against these companies and their rap artist. These are the names of the executives that run these record companies that degrade blacks.":

Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Charles Grainge

Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris

Warner Music Group CEO Stephen F Cooper

Island Def Jam CEO Barry Weiss

Island Def Jam President Steve Bartels

Interscope Geffen A&M Records President John Janick

RCA Records CEO Peter Edge

Virgin EMI Records President Ted Cockle

Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman

Young Money President, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr

Cash Money Records CEO'S,  Bryan and Ronald Williams

Capitol Music Group CEO Steve Barnett

The FCC is going to be asked to play a major role in this.
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) president, Tom Wheeler

Will you be signing the petition? Do you think it will make a difference? Leave a comment in the section below and continue the convo on  Trey Anthony's Facebook Fan Page.

Wednesday, March 26

We're Going Away!

Folks, I’m going to Vegas!  I’m going reluctantly, but I’m going.  Wife is currently planning our kid-free three-day trip for August.  Why Vegas?  To see Celine Dion, of course.  Now wait a New York minute, before you stop reading out of disappointment that I am an out Celine Dion fan, she is a really good performer and if Wife, a die-hard Springsteen fan will lovingly travel to Vegas to fulfill my dream of seeing her, you can continue to support this blog and keep reading!  
In all honesty, I was willing to toss the Celine in Vegas dream out the window because of the money and the basketball team a.k.a the kids, but Wife has insisted that we get away.  We need something to look forward to; so we’re heading to Vegas this summer.   I’m glad she’s pushing me to do this because I have been using our small people as an excuse to toss aside many of my big and not-so-big dreams for the past seven years.    
Leaving our brood is not easy.  Not because we love them and all that stuff, but because they’re impossible much of the time and there are so many of them.  There’s no sending them to the grandparents for a few days.  We need a team of people to step in.  We’ve got the grandmothers, aunts, cousins and a paid caregiver on deck to make this trip possible.  Apparently all of these people agree that we need some time away.  So the money is taken care of (Lines of Credit – funding vacations everywhere); the children are taken care of, so we’re good to go, right?  Wrong!  

I can conjure up worry about any situation.  It’s one of my superpowers.  Things will be going along swimmingly and I think, “Wait a minute, something is missing.  It must be a random worry!”  When I decided to share my concern about our trip with Wife,  she rudely rolled her eyes at me and said, “Seriously?”  Okay, nothing bugs a worrier more than someone who refuses to hop on board the worry train!  I don’t know how many times I have told Wife that if she just worried more, I could worry less!  
Anyway, I’m worried that something will happen to us – both of us, on the trip and we don’t currently have a will.  I suggested that we follow the rules of the US president and vice president and never travel together in case something happens.  This was comment was met with another eye roll and “Ajike!”  Sometimes Wife is unsupportive and rude!  
So now we need a will or I am not getting on the plane.  Worried readers, please don’t write to me about the importance of a will and having things in place.  I know these things, but we just haven’t taken care of it yet.  I am a worrier, not a responsible worrier.  Truth be told, we keep getting stuck on who will care for our kids should something happen to us.  It may come as a surprise to you, but it’s not easy to ask someone to take all five of your children and raise them together should something horrible happen.  And that is why I’ve decided to use this public platform to do it.  I’m joking.  Could you imagine?  We are, however, going to get this sorted out in the next few months though so if you are a close friend or family member I would be suspicious of any invitations to dinner on us!  
Worries aside, I truly am excited about our trip.  We need the sleep and the quiet (which of course is easy to find in Vegas).  And we need the time, that “date-nights” do not allow, to lower our shoulders, un-furrow our brows and stop talking about the kids.  Only five months away.  
Until then, I leave you with a little Celine.  Below is my favourite Celine Dion song, Love Can Move Mountains.  The video seriously highlights the cheesy, ridiculousness of Celine.  By the way I’ve been dreaming of doing a montage of family photos set to this song.  Perfect, right?  It’s coming.  Stay tuned!  

XO Ajike

Friday, March 21

Looking For an Executive Assistant to Join the Trey Anthony Studios Team

Trey Anthony Studios is looking for an Executive Personal/ Arts Administrative Assistant.

Want to join the team of an award winning Production Company? Then Apply for our E.A. position.

This position is a unique one as the person hired will be responsible for providing 
both personal and executive support to the executive. 
Must live in the GTA area and/or willing to travel to Toronto twice per week. 
Must have a valid drivers license and access to own fax/scanner/ and computer. 

Executive Support: 
• Managing the executive’s calendar, scheduling meetings and appointments.
• Preparing agendas and material for meetings.
• Booking workshop/rehearsal space.
• Sending out packages and following up on speaking requests.
• Supporting the planning and budgeting process, tracking, reporting and
managing updates.
• Invoicing and setting up bills online.
• Recording accurate files and receipts for bookkeeper.
• Updating website and numerous social media platforms in conjunction with
existing blogging team.
• Gathering press material and archiving all relative press.
• Researching grants/funding for television, film and theatre.
• Booking talent, writers, actors, camera crew etc.
• Reviewing television treatments, scripts etc.
• Arranging for lunch services, refreshments etc.
• Heavy coordination of travel arrangements (including international) and
itinerary preparation.
• Acting as the direct liaison between the executive and various business partners, clients and contractual staff including bloggers, lawyer,
accountant, bookkeeper, etc. 
• Administering and handling correspondence and follow up as required, with 
consideration to priorities and timelines. 
• Anticipating needs of the executive and being proactive. 
• Keeping immaculate and confidential files. 

Personal Support: 
• Scheduling personal appointments. 
• Running personal and household errands. 
• Liaising with executive’s personal home tenants and housekeeper. 
• Ensuring all rents are collected and paid. 
• Paying personal bills on line. 
• Maintaining strict confidentiality. 

Qualifications and Experience***Please do not apply if you do not meet the 
specific qualifications outlined in A, B, or C. 
A) At least 3 years+ of related professional administrative experience as an 
executive assistant along with experience in small office environment. 
B) A 2-year post-secondary diploma or equivalent education in Office or Business 
Administration, or graduate of an arts administrative, stage managing or business 
affairs program and you have worked 2 years or more in a position related to your 
C) 3 years+ experience as a stage manager, production assistant or line producer in 
the entertainment industry. 

This role is perfect for you, if you are…
Super organized. Detail oriented. Independent, confident and professional. Committed to your career path and dedicated to continuous growth and improvement. Excited about working behind the scenes. Eager to learn and be challenged. Enthusiastic about ‘wearing many hats’ and becoming the ‘rightarm’ of the company. Looking to join a very small, boutique, one womyn entrepreneurialteam with direct mentorship from the CEO. Comfortable taking a leadership role and making suggestions to improve business processes. Calm under fire and able to navigate throughsituations with diplomacy and tact. Honest, trustworthy, reliable and able to maintain discretion at all times. Anal about spread sheets and filing.  Able to work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision. Not a clock-watcher and believes the job is done when the job is done!
Did we mention SUPER organized?

Schedule: 12-15 hours per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 
Compensation range: $13-16/hour, depending on experience. 

Candidate must be available to do most of their hours virtually during regular 
business hours and do one to two in-person meetings per week. Some flexibility 
with hours allowed. Occasional support after hours (evenings and weekends) may 
be required while in production. 
Trey Anthony Studios (TAS) is committed to diversity and encourages applications from all qualified 
candidates, especially Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minority groups, 
LGBTQ, persons with disabilities, visible minorities and womyn. Please feel free to 
self identify in cover letter. Must be able to start immediately. 
Strong possibility that this position may evolve into a full time position in 
February 2015 or sooner. 

Only qualified applicants will be called. Please do not call, facebook or email. Please 
send cover letter and resume highlighting all your qualifications and the reasons 
you are ideal for this job to Please put in subject 
matter Personal Arts Administrative Assistant. 

Deadline: THURSDAY MARCH 27, 2014 – 5pm

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Discusses Blackness, Feminism, and Sexuality with Zadie Smith

by: April D. Byrd

The Conversation between  Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie has almost turned into a viral phenomenon. The two Authors sat down for a chat at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, NY. Adichie's latest work Americanah recently won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for Fiction, She also caused a big stir when an excerpt of her TED talk about Feminism was featured on Beyonce's latest album. The excerpt which was featured on the track "Flawless" caused some to speculate whether or not Beyonce was up with the feminist cause, or should even be considered a feminist icon. The question may be valid as Beyonce is making headlines for teaming up with Lean In Author Sheryl Sandberg's  'Ban Bossy' campaign. However, Adichie admitted that she wasn't interested in "policing" anyone's feminism.

Smith and Adichie discussed various issues ranging from the Representation of Black Women in Media and Magazines, The Importance of Barack Obama's marriage to Michelle Obama, Race, Feminism, Sexuality, etc. Of course they included they're latest works and the works of other women Authors. Adichie also defended Beyonce's use of her TED talk this week on NPR's Tell Me More, but the talk between the two women alone is most buzz worthy. The discussion coverage from the live event may be a minute, but it's totally worth it!

Check out the ladies hot discussion in the video (below)

What is your input on the ladies discussion? What great points did they hit...or miss? Leave a comment below and chime in on the conversation on Trey Anthony's Fanpage. Let's Hear it!

Wednesday, March 19

Taking Care Of My Sickies

As a parent of many, there is no shortage of opportunities for me to pretend I have the skills of a medical practitioner.  The small Silverman-Akandes are very good at getting harsher than necessary, benign health problems.  Miss O and Mr. Lee have, since birth, been especially good at giving us scares.  There have been frequent trips to the emergency room – once by ambulance; there have been IVs – usually for hydration but sometimes medicine;  there have been hospital stays and regular trips to specialists and therapists.  
In the end, the best we can come up with is that these two really love to hang out at the hospital, enjoy all the attention that comes with it and still haven’t gotten over the fact that they came out of me sooner than they wanted and are a little more prone to getting sick because of it.    
Like any parent, I will do anything for my kids and want to ensure that they are healthy beings but there’s only so much excitement and panic I can muster up every time one of them gets sick.  I’ve suggested a frequent visitor points card for the hospital we frequent, where on the 5th visit you get free parking for the duration of your ER stay, but they have not jumped on this idea.   Until they give my frequent visitor card, where possible I want to deal with my kids’ illnesses on my own.
Because I refuse to visit the doctor or get stressed every time my people get sick, I have learned a few tricks.  My friends have been known to call me when their kid has weird symptoms of some kind or another because I’ve seen a lot in my 7 years as a parent, and “oh I was the ER last night” is not an exceptional thing to hear me say.  Sharing is caring so I have compiled a list of 7 things I do when my kids get sick.  

This goes without saying, but this does not replace medical (or valuable) advice. 

1. Start with Vaseline.  When my children tell me they are sore or itchy or rashy or there’s a red spot, or whatever other problem they think they are having on their skin or in their crevices, I put vaseline on it.  (Don’t worry, natural medicine supporters, I use the non-petroleum jelly.)  The way I see it, if vaseline doesn’t make the “problem” go away, then I’ll treat it like an actual problem.  My mother thinks this is irresponsible, but I think it’s genius and she doesn’t live with my people so she doesn’t have a realistic sense of just how much I use this vaseline trick!

2. Trust your instincts about yourself and your children.  Do not always trust your child’s instincts (except when they are bang on, which can happen).  Children make things up and aren’t patient by nature so they don’t give time a chance to heal their wounds.  

3. Always have band-aids.  Do not get into any sort of debate about whether or not a band-aid is required.  If you are willing to have this debate with a child asking for a band-aid, you are not busy enough.  Just give them the damn band-aid and a kiss.

4. If they complain about a tummy ache, first, take them to the bathroom.  I think you know why.  Second, offer them water.   Third, if it is convenient, offer them a hot water bottle, a bucket for potential vomit and space on the couch to lie down.  When I go through these three simple steps, I sometimes solve the tummy ache problem but usually I just make my kid feel like I am taking them seriously.  This is not patronizing.  It is effective.  When I dismiss their complaints, which I am wont to do, they just keep complaining.  They can complain forever.  Besides, what if their tummy ache is a direct result of them thinking that I don’t take them seriously?

Skip the oral temperature taking!

5. If you’re going to take a child’s temperature because you really want an accurate number, do it rectally - even if they are no longer babies.  If they are really, really sick, they won’t have the energy to complain about the rectal temp. taking and then you’ll know for sure that you’re dealing with an actual sick child.

6. Invest in an ear scope thingy.  My kiddos get ear infections all the time but they complain of ear pain even more.  Different things can cause ear pain, not all pain is an infection and some infections do not need to be seen by a doctor.  An ear scope is a good way to save me unnecessary trips to the doctor.  Also checking your children’s ears totally makes you feel like a doctor.  It’s so fun!  

7. Do not over-react when a child falls or crashes into something.  Despite my relaxed attitude about most health related things, I am terrible at this one.  I am the queen of the gasp or embarrassingly loud scream when a kid hits the ground.  I get in trouble from friends for this, but let’s just imagine that an adult fell off their chair or crashed head first into another adult, wouldn’t you ask if they are okay? Ahem; I rest my case.  

Those are my tips.  I probably have a few more, but Miss F who has a tummy ache is currently calling me.  I’m not even making this up in the name of writing!  Luckily she knows the rules; she’s off to the bathroom.  
XO Ajike