Wednesday, May 29

The Case of Trayvon Martin: Why is the Victim Continually Put on Trial?

It's been just over a year since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by a man named George Zimmerman for looking "suspicious" in his neighborhood.  The news rocked the nation and many like me have not forgotten the impact of how incredibly unfair this fate is to Trayvon and many of our young black men around the world.

A year later, Trayvon's trial has finally gone to court. While to many it seems like an obvious open close type of case, we have heard countless stories and read many a headline that has tried to paint Trayvon has a troubled teen, a "thug". Has tried to make his killing appear as if it were his own fault; what he had somehow asked for. I have to say that every time I read these things my heart breaks over and over again for his soul that isn't able to defend himself and for his family that are missing their blood so deeply. This week, Zimmerman's defense team released and teased the media with supposed evidence about conflicting text messages and Trayvon's violent past. It just adds insult to injury. Why is Trayvon countlessly being put on trial? He is dead. No voice but his grieving parents' to defend him and his character. Why hasn't the man who committed the crime been questioned as much in the media? Instead we hear excuses and justifications for why taking an unarmed young man's life is not only okay, but justified. 

I'm thankful for the judge who this week ruled that all of the evidence that Zimmerman's defense team has tried to use will not be considered in the trial. I am thankful that with this initial ruling, a young man who was robbed of all the things that he deserved to experience: graduation, prom, first love, getting a real job, and so many of life's simple experiences, will get the chance for a fair trial.

The trial begins in a few weeks. I'll be watching how this unfolds and praying for Trayvon and his family's peace every step of the way.

What are your thoughts on how Trayvon has been continually depicted throughout this process?

Monday, May 27

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Jay Leno Gas Pump Couple Show Us How to Have Fun With Your Partner

Recognize this couple? I have to tell you that their video cracked me up, made me smile from ear to ear and completely started off one of my Saturday morning in such good spirits. The couple became an Internet sensation recently when a video of them happily singing for a free tank of gas as they were surprised at a Costco gas pump by the Jay Leno show became a favorite and spread over social media. If you haven't seen this video, trust me it's a must see!

Well, that video surfaced a few weeks ago and since then the couple has been doing many interviews as people have been interested in finding out not only who this couple is but also, are they really that happy? I just read a great interview with them over at and they say absolutely yes! They are high school sweethearts who will be celebrating their 12th year anniversary and say they are happy because they make having fun a priority.

I think people often start off having fun together in relationships during the dating phase or honeymoon period but once that bliss starts to fade, many people aren't as proactive about remaining in sync and making time to simply enjoy each other, to laugh. As a comedian, I truly feel that laughter can heal all things. What I found interesting in what they had to say, is that their pastor told them when they were newlyweds that the best thing they can do for their relationship is going on vacation regularly. So, they made a commitment to sticking to that advice and make sure to take vacations together or even just a night at a hotel locally.

Not everyone can afford to go away often and the difficulties of planning who will take car of the kids often leads people to abandon plans, but it's so important for couples to spend that "we" time together to experience new things and continue to connect in different ways.

It's always nice to know that you are in a relationship with someone who is genuinely your best/ great friend, who you just have such a fun time with you couldn't imagine spending it with anyone else in that moment.

So this week, if you are single start thinking about all the things that you love doing individually, start doing them regularly (if you don't already) and be open, keep your eye out for a cutie that you can share this interest with. If you are a couple or married, start planning a full vacation, one night getaway or even just a fun date night that is different from the usual.

Check out the full interview here and video below.

Have a happy & loving Monday!

Friday, May 24

Black Women Top Forbes' Power List

I just love when these annual Power lists are released by magazines such as Forbes and Time. It's always interesting to see not only who is successful but in what industries they are doing well in. When we think rich and powerful, we often think celebrities, athletes, politicians, etc. but what I love about these lists is that it showcases the power elite from various fields and throughout the world.

I don't know about you all but, I always skim the list before I give it a full read through, to see some faces of colour (especially womyn of colour). It's nice to see more diversity in top positions and people around the world who are calling shots and making noise in their country and globally.
This year, 11 womyn of colour made the lists. As suspected, the usual suspects such as Michelle O, Beyonce and my girl Oprah made the list but a few others not so commonly publicized are: Dr. Helene Gayle, President & CEO of CARE, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberan President, Nigerian Minister of Finance, Ngozin Okonjo-Iweala and many more!

Check out Forbes for the full list here.

Let's keep reaching ladies so that we can keep representing on this list!

Tell me, what do you think about these "most powerful"lists and those who topped this one?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 22

For the Dreamers...

I saw this on Tyler Perry's page and wanted to share it with you all for some mid-week motivation. This is for all of you who are feeling that frustration with where you are at in life and are at the point of giving up to accept mediocrity because you don't see how you can make the dream placed in your heart possible. I've been there before. I think that anyone who has been successful has wanted to give up at least once but more realistically many many times. Don't give up. This is your time to strengthen your faith in yourself and in the plan for your life.

Check out what Tyler had to say about this here: 


I was driving in to work this morning and I started thinking about all the days I dreaded going to work. I was so sick of it… the job, my boss, the people I worked with, the traffic… I would wake up angry every morning. I didn’t want to deal with the crap of the job, but I was forced to go. I had been homeless, I was broke, living paycheck to hopefully the next paycheck. I couldn’t take a day off for fear I would get fired. I was just frustrated. I thought I hated my life and the job.

It was so aggravating because God had placed all these dreams and hopes in my soul and mind and I had no idea how they were going to come to pass. To have a dream of being something better and living better than the way I was at that moment and to not see a way of getting there felt like death to me. I thought, “Dear God, why would you give me so much hope and not make a way?” But what I learned through prayer was, with no path in front of you and no road map… this is where true faith begins. With faith I realized that I wasn’t frustrated with my life or the job, I was frustrated because I was a person who had dreams for myself, a person who had visions for my life and I wasn’t living it. Have you ever been there, where you felt so strongly that there was more to this life than what you see in front of you?

One of the most difficult things about being a dreamer is the fear that the dream will never happen. I’m here as a living witness to tell you your dreams can come true. You can’t give up. And I am here to let you know that everything can work together for your good. The time that you are spending on that job that you think is a dead end is not. You’re being prepared just like I was. I was a shoeshine boy, I worked as a bill collector, a used car salesman, in housekeeping in a hotel, and they all were preparation for where I am now.

What do these things have to do with where I am now? I’m glad you asked. I am able to use skills that I learned. I shined shoes, so I know how to shine my shoes if I need them to look nice. Selling used cars was a great way to learn how to close a deal. Bill collecting taught me great negotiation skills. Working at that 5-star hotel taught me a lot about travel. Every experience in your life is here to teach you something.

Today, while you’re at work, don’t be frustrated. Look around you and ask God what are you there to learn and how will it be a part of your future dream. Honor that job, do the best you can at it, because God will bless you for honoring something that belongs to another.

I hope this inspires you today. If you need a little more inspiration then watch my first sit-down interview in years with Oprah on Oprah's Next Chapter. It airs this Sunday on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network at 9/8c. I talk a little about not giving up. I know it will move you.

Here’s a prayer for today: “God help me hold on, help me to get to what I dream of, help me to honor where I am today so that I can appreciate where I will be tomorrow. In Jesus' name.”

Monday, May 20

The Hurt, Confusion & Disappointment of My Adoption Process

For all my readers, fans, and folks who come here for our usual Monday Motivation, today let me warn you there is no motivation. I pride myself on being honest, maybe sometimes too honest with my audience so here it goes! 

This adoption process has emotionally wiped me out. There I said it.  It has been an emotional roller coaster. The paper work exhausting, the meetings, the doctor's appointments, the fingerprinting, the waiting to "pick me" routine can drive anyone crazy.

I have had two false starts. Recently, selected by a birth mother who was having twins. I was ecstatic and as much as I told myself to not get emotionally drawn in or attached i did. I saw these children they were mine! My friends and family rallied around, everyone was excited and so supportive.  We all wanted these children!
I wanted them. Needed them.  And just as I was getting use to the idea that in a few short weeks I would be a mother, that wish was snatched away from me. (* For reasons too personal to talk about ) But the unfortunate and final outcome was that the twins did not happen. I "allowed" myself 24 hours to grief and told myself I couldn't afford the luxury of becoming an emotional wreck there was too many things to do. So i pulled up my big girl panties and soldiered through!

I then found a sibling group and got very excited about them and knew in my heart that these were my children. Yet again fate intervened and they were not. Again I was faced with the harsh reality that motherhood had eluded me once again. Yet I tried to march on and be brave. Cried in private.  I recited my affirmations, prayed about it through my tears. Trying to not let this defeat me, or shake me. I tried to not let all these bottled up emotions overwhelm me ....

However, yesterday I got a call from my homestudy worker that my file was accidentally shredded! Nearly five months of time consuming paperwork gone!  I needed to resubmit all my paperwork and the homestudy had to be rewritten which again would take up more precious time that I don't have.  I would not be considered for birth mothers until my homestudy was "completed." More precious time. More waiting! I just broke down in tears ate a bar of chocolate, a bag of chips and headed to bed! Yes I'm an emotional eater! 

So today I'm giving myself permission to sit with disappointment, hurt and anger and know that it's ok. As womyn sometimes we don't allow ourselves the full moment to acknowledge our true feelings. Sometimes we need to just unapologetically cry. Yet instead of crying we march through and keep going!  We put the super womyn cape on and start flying. But today I decided to take my cape off and just say I'm hurt, disappointed, angry, EXHAUSTED and I'm taking a time out!

Friday, May 17

Beyonce, It's Okay to Take a Break!

We can say that it’s official; the year of Beyonce is here because as soon as 2013 started she has been everywhere – Pepsi ads, H&M campaigns, singing the National Anthem for the president, her SuperBowl concert, magazines, etc. Fan or not of Beyonce, I think the one thing that you can respect and appreciate about her is her seemingly great work ethic. She seems to be able to push herself as an artist so that she can live and breathe the music that she loves. Between balancing being an international star, new mother and simply living her life as a young womyn, she has to be extremely driven and disciplined.

But, what I realized this week is less about Beyonce and more about the idea of womyn pushing themselves too hard (to the detriment of their health) on their path to achieving great things. This week, Beyonce cancelled one of her performances in Belgium citing exhaustion and dehydration. But, the next night she was back on stage doing the “Single Ladies” dance! She said, she was performing against doctor’s orders but she wanted to be there, she had never missed a performance before last night. Who can relate to that – feeling exhausted, sick or simply pushed to your limit but you continue to press on because you have people depending on you to show up every day? I’m not saying that she needs to take an extended break or you need to put aside your responsibilities, but sometimes you need to give your mind, body and soul the ability to relax and recharge so that you can fully be present to take on whatever you have on your to-do list. I’ve been there, because I’ve always had all these big dreams that I’ve been determined to actualize so I work hard from the crack of dawn to night trying to make things happen. I’ve definitely pushed my body to the max many times. But, I’m also not afraid to take a day to be alone with myself, lie in my bed and read a good book or catch up on movies on Netflix.

Sometimes life can’t be completely balanced but the best advice that I’ve heard is to simply listen to your body, don’t push it too hard. Don’t be afraid to say that you need a few minutes, hours or days to recharge. Beyonce, needs to listen to her body (and her doctors) - take a break! And to you, please take this weekend or even just a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday to just be alone with yourself (read, take a long bath, garden, sleep! etc) and not attack your to-do list.

Meet me in the comments, tell me what your rest time or “nothing” will look like this weekend?

Wednesday, May 15

Monique's Inspiring Journey to Weight Loss

Monique is looking great these days, right?! She has always been a beautiful womyn but her weight loss journey has been great to see. I think that those of us who are currently or have been overweight before all have our own reasons why we got there, why we chose to keep the weight on for so long but it's great to see when a womyn regardless of age, etc. decides to say "enough!" and get focused on getting the body that she has always wanted. Not looking for any quick fix options but recognizes that shedding the pounds is a slow grind. It's something that you need to take day by day - each day making better food decisions, and a daily push to get yourself moving and to the gym.

I hated going to the gym when I first started on my journey because I would always compare myself to those around me. It always seemed as if I ended up on the treadmill beside that skinny girl, who looks about a size zero and seems as if she can run for days looking all happy and perky. And there I was walking, gasping for air running. Frankly, it's embarrassing. But, the strength comes from pushing yourself to keep going anyway. Or if the gym isn't your thing, then try something else that you think you would enjoy doing. I've recently gotten into Zumba and am taking hip hop classes. I can't say that I'm killing every one with my moves in the class but I'm trying and I LOVE it. So now, working out doesn't seem like this awful and embarrassing chore but a fun meetup with friends.

As for eating healthy, that's another slow progression. I've never been a big fan of salads but I've played around in the kitchen and discovered a few recipes that I like! The point is that you have to recognize that the body that you want isn't going to happen right away, you're not going to eat a salad and wake up looking like Halle Berry tomorrow. 

This is why I love Monique's commitment and that she is documenting and sharing her journey with her followers. Check out what she had to say about it:

"I tweet every morning my workouts because I wanted women to see–especially us big women–you don’t have to let them cut and suck it out. You don’t have to  let them staple you up, you don’t have to let them give you a pill,” Mo’Nique  told Hot 97. ” If you just put the work in baby, I promise you, it comes off. Now, I’m three years in."

Monday, May 13

MONDAY MOTIVATION: What Will You Give Yourself Permission to do Today?

It seems like a strange thing to say, "permission" - we're all adults here so we should be able to do whatever we please, whenever! But, when you really think about it, think about the list of goals and dreams that you have on your list to do or tucked way in the back of your mind that you have been holding on that it might happen some time. If you haven't accomplished it yet, in a lot of cases this often has to do with the excuses or reasons why not too that you have allowed to stop you from being open to getting what you want. Maybe, you are recently divorced and because you believe that your marriage failed, you are now not allowing yourself to be open to meeting new people and dating again. Or maybe, you've tried every exercise, every diet plan, told yourself that you will get started on living healthy every other Monday so now your body and spirit doesn't even believe you. Maybe, giving yourself permission in this case is telling yourself that, "yes I have tried a hundred times before, but I give myself permission to try for 101 so that I can feel good and healthy".

Giving yourself permission is, I feel, about being kind to your mind, body and spirit by being honest about the things that you have perhaps failed at in the past or have not allowed yourself to be open to and just telling yourself that it's ok. You may not have done it before, but it's okay to give it one more try. It's okay an that you trust yourself enough to place all cards, place that high stakes bet on you. Because that is the thing that we lose when we don't pursue or live what we want, we start to stop believing in ourselves. While we would be willing to put money on someone else's drive, talent, etc. we wouldn't even be willing to bet a penny on our own.

Over at, life coach Lisa Nichols is currently doing a 4 week series called, "Own Your Power" where each week she outlines steps for you to take control of every area of your life - finance, love, health, etc. When I read the article and watched the short video, that's the question that stick with me and made me wonder for areas where I have been holding back, why have I not given myself permission to go for it full force if that's what's in my heart and it is what I desire?

So, this is a fresh week a new opportunity to start something and do differently, what are YOU going to give yourself permission to reach for? Sometimes it doesn't have to be the biggest dream or goal, but a small step that will make all the difference in changing your view on life and yourself. Overall, just give yourself permission to live, to create the life each day that was once only in your mind.

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 10

To All Mothers: You Are Appreciated

Lady...Don't cha know we love ya? Sweet lady/Dear mama, place no one above ya, sweet lady/ You are appreciated - Tupac
I just wanted to send lots of love to all of the mothers out there that are doing the best damn job they can to raise their kid(s). People often critique Mother's Day, saying that mothers get all of the shine while fathers go unforgotten. While both parents should definitely be celebrated, there is always a special place for the womyn who carried you for 9months then fed, clothed and took care of you all while in many cases was juggling her career and/ or school. 
As I prepare myself to become a mother, I often look at the mothers around me and silently think to myself "wow, how does she do it?" It's almost unbelievable to see how these womyn are able to successfully juggle different aspects of their lives with being great mothers! And sometimes for a second I wonder if I can, but I think what's beautiful about womyn is that we naturally have such a strength and nurturing spirit that I know that whatever arises I will figure it out along the way and do the absolute best for my child along the way. Like many of the mothers around me and the mothers before them.
To all the mothers, your love and strength in raising your family is recognized and more than appreciated.  You deserve to be honored and celebrated not just this Sunday but every single day. 
What are your plans for Mother's Day this weekend?

Wednesday, May 8

Reading to Our Daughters

I've always been an avid reader. I just love the journey that you take which book and the feeling of wisdom that you walk away with when you close the final chapter. I remember spending hours at the library as a little girl, trying to find an exciting book to read. As I am going through the adopting process right now to be a mom soon, I've started thinking about what kind of toys I want my child(ren) to play with and what books that I will read to them. I want my little one(s) to be readers!

I came across a great article on a little while ago that lists 10 books to read to our brown daughters. It’s so important to expose our children to books that can not only teach or entertain them but to also empower and inspire them. There are so many more books on the market now that help provide our young readers a self-esteem boost with faces that reflect their own, telling positive stories. The list is one that I will definitely keep in mind as it includes many great titles such as No Mirrors in My Nana’s House, I love my hair!, Happy to Be Nappy, and so many more. Check out the full list here.

What books do you read to your little readers? I would love some suggestions!

Monday, May 6

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Oprah Dedicated Lifeclass to the Fatherless Sons

Last night I was watching a really fantastic episode of Oprah's Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant. The topic of discussion was one that they call a crisis that needs to addressed, Fatherless Sons. The audience was all men who were neglected by their fathers as children and are now wounded men who either inflict the same hurt to their own families and/or walk around believing that they are not worthy enough for...
I have to be honest, I was completely struck by how open and emotional these men were in the audience, many  of them late into their adulthood but still carrying around open wounds. In society, we often have a running dialogue about "no-good" fathers who left their families or the result of children who grow up without a father figure (more likely to drop out of school, higher crime rate, etc) but do not take the time to zone in on how it has affected our little boys or the men in our lives who are carrying around the wounds of the little boy in them. It was great to see Oprah and Iyanla create a space for these men to just feel safe enough to let their heart finally bleed out, to speak their truth and be honest about their hurt. As Iyanla said, how many times do ask a fatherless son "how is the experience impacting your life?".  I'm glad that yesterday's Lifeclass provided that opportunity and hopefully started a dialogue that goes deeper than just a discussion of the problem or running off statistics but allows men the vulnerability to speak about their wounds so that they can heal it to become better men and better fathers to the next generation of little boys who just want to be loved by their daddy.
Did you watch this episode of Lifeclass? Was your reaction similar?

Wednesday, May 1

We Need New Images: Magic Johnson's Releases New Programming on Aspire

I'm really excited for Magic Johnson's “Aspire” network to launch more programming as it goes into its 1st year anniversary. We need an alternative to not only the negative images that we see of ourselves through reality television where the angry black womyn is the norm. We also need to see a fresh perspective from the one that BET has created and monopolized for decades. While BET has changed their program and is slowly trying to introduce new content, it is nice to see our faces of colour and have different stories told on another network. It is also another opportunity to continue to employ writers, producers, actors, makeup artists, etc. of colour (because Tyler Perry can only do so much!).

As the network is building and expanding, information about new programs have been released. Most recently will be “The View” like segment called “Exhale” featuring 5 successful black womyn in the entertainment industry including: former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine Angela Burt-Murray, “Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl Creator” Issa Rae, Actress Malinda Williams, Comedian Erin Jackson, and TV anchor Rene Syler. The show is setup to be a candid conversation amongst the womyn discussing things like life, career, parenting, relationships, faith and other topics that we can all relate to.

I’m looking forward to seeing what other original content Aspire will have to offer. Will you be watching and supporting?