Black Love

So, its is the day when we celebrate the ones we love or the ones we would want to love. Though this holiday isn't one that I'll be celebrating I can't help but smile at the cover of the new Essence magazine. On it, is the most beautiful couple I have seen, one that represents what I hope to attain one of these days. I am talking about BLACK LOVE. On the March 2010 cover of Essence is a picture of the president and his beautiful wife Michelle, to me they are the epitome of what many black women and men aspire to have, a good, solid, loving relationship that may have its ups and downs but you still make it work.(God willing)
Love is a word that is easy to say but harder to express, most of you may not agree, but the majority of you are most likely shaking your head at this (insert head shake riigghhhttt HERE) and when I say express I mean other than just buying things for the person you call bf or gf.  I know many women who brag about what their s/o buys them and they attribute this to love, but in actuality its not cause just cause he bought you that Gucci bag that you were wanted doesn’t automatically mean that he LOVES you, or it might if that’s what you chalk up love to.. Anywho, I admire President Obama and the first ladies relationship. They express how open and honest they are with each other. 
I know that relationships aren’t easy, it something that needs to be worked on daily, its just like learning to ride a bike or learning to drive, you have to keep trying until you're comfortable with it.  From the outside looking in you might assume that their marriage is perfect. but, they revealed that their marriage has been tough yet they have made it work for them and they work on it all the time. 
I think that this is what goes wrong with my relationships. I will admit that I am not one who makes it work most of the time. I am hard on the other person that I am with. I would say that its because I’ve been hurt but I think that, that would be a cop out so I’ll save that story for another time. I realize that the time it takes to work on it (a relationship) and have it work in my benefit takes time and though the person I am involved with and I have an argument or two I need to be understanding.. I’ll remember this for next time. 
I remember watching the special during the Christmas season with them (Obama’s) and Oprah. Michelle talked openly about why her marriage works. She says that when it is "all said and done" she still likes her husband. At first I wasn't understanding what she meant, I thought she was going to say something poignant and philosophical and all she said was that she still liked her husband.. (my light bulb took a couple of minutes to finally light ) I just had to sit and wonder what she meant by that... after some thought I understood. Love goes far beyond just the words, and the gifts and the fights. Its goes beyond expressions, it extends to where you like the person despite their faults and arguments that you may have with. You have to like the person that you're with, in addition to loving them.
Ladies, how many of us LIKE our s/o’s ? I mean you liked them in the beginning when you first started dating them, but how many of you still LIKE your boyfriend?  How many of you have instant attitudes when you and your bf have a simple fight? We black women sometimes have attitudes... well we have full bitchtudes but that’s besides the point. Yes, we do the neck roll and eye roll with the "You don' know me," " You ain't shyt" talk so quickly that we hardly have time to reflect on what happened to have the guy get upset, or why you're fighting with you. I must admit that we do things like this all the time and its hard to make a relationship work. Many other things contribute to the relationships demise but, Mrs. Obama says that there are certain things that we must remember  and the main thing to remember is that you "LIKE" the person. Michelle says that  she likes her husband even though they argue and if she hadn't liked him, then things would be much worse. 
So this is the reason why  THEIR marriage work..  well well well.. I guess this is what I learned today! I know that some of my married friends do not like the person they are with despite saying that they love their spouses.. 
If that isn't some philosophical shyt I don't know what is! Mrs. Obama made so much sense that I had to ask myself how many of my ex’s did I actually like?  ............. (me thinking) what I found was that I really didn’t LIKE them especially since I couldn’t find reasons or ways to make the relationships work. Yes, I know the relationship is a two way commitment, and my ex’s did contribute to the demise of our “LOVE” but I will take blame for what I did, and I will say that I really didn’t like the man that I was with. 
So my takeaway message  is to make things work, in addition to being patient and kind and LOVING, i have to “LIKE" them, and talk it out and you'll be ok."
So as you celebrate you vday with the one you love plz remember you like who you're with in addition to loving them.. If it can work for the Obama's it can work for us too...

Happy Valentines Day

L'union fait la FORCE!

As I get ready for my friends baby shower I can't help but think about how fortunate this child will be to grow up in this new era where Haitian people are better off than they were 15 -30 years ago.

I know hatred towards Haitians is still alive and it rears its ugly head now more than when it did years ago but I still feel a sense of pride knowing that this child will not have to endure the pains and struggles that many in my generation had to.

What struggles you may ask.. well when I came to this country midsummer 1986 being Haitian was as bad as having a dog bite you in the ass. I remember all the names that they used to call me just because I was haitian, and all the times I had to stick up for myself and tell people how great my country was.

As an immigrant in this country it is often hard to overcome the obstacles of being different from the rest when the rest who are different (like you are)make fun of you. When I came here there were so many derogatory comments made about my people that I often had to lie about where I was from. (I'll fess up to it, I was one of those Haitians who claimed that they were Jamaican, then became Canadian when they questioned me about my name.)Trying to hide my Haitianness (add that to your urban dictionary) was harder than I had expected. My name screamed HAITIAN but I tried to say that I wasn't. In hindsight I wish that I never denied this because my country held a history that is revered world wide. Trust me it never worked cause with a name like mine HAITIAN is all that they could think of.

When I attended catholic school it was easy to let my haitianness run free because everyone at the school was haitian like me. There was nothing to fear and nothing to feel embarrassed about because everyone spoke creole, everyones parents said their name with an "ou" at the end, and everyone had embarrassing haitian moments to share. I loved being there, I was no longer different, I was never made fun of (well not for being haitian anyway). I shared something with the others and we weren't outcasts.

When I entered High School I had a fear that the torment and torture of being Haitian would return, but I vowed that if I was asked if I was Haitian I would NOT deny it. Lucky enough for me that when I entered H.S. in 1995 it was the around the same time that the "Fugees" came out. In the group there were 3 people of caribbean heritage and two of them were Haitian and one Jamaican. Instantly I thought, No, this could not be. Never has there been a haitian in Hip-Hop.. (well none that openly admitted it), that is until Mr. Jean did it. I remember walking through the Halls of John Dewey H.S. and thinking shyt it feels great to be Haitian. Were is your Haitian Booty Scratcher scratcher now??

That summer when "Ready or Not" hit the streets of Brooklyn it was like a Haitian invasion came through. Everywhere you went you heard people speaking creole (the official haitian language) all the Haitians who had denied being Haitian came out of the wood works to celebrate their culture. On Eastern Parkway that summer every Haitians from all parts of the United States, Canada, Haiti, etc. came to show their love for their country. It was as if we needed a small doorway to finally being accepted and when Clef gave that to us, that is all we needed to make our presence felt. Every where you went you heard people screaming out "Sak Pase." (Whats up?) to anyone and everyone who was Haitian.

SO, on this Saturday in Black History month I want to give a shout for the one Haitian that I know that never turned his back on his people. He stood with the flag strong for years when many said that we had HBO!

The son of a Haitian preacher Wyclef was born in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince. When he was 13 Wyclef's parents moved to Brooklyn, NY then after sometime his family left and moved to New Jersey. As a member of the hit group Fu-gees Wyclef changed music to introduce the cultural styles of the caribbean and brought light to his motherland of Haiti.

Wyclef has made music with legendary singers Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige and many others. He has recorded remakes of legendary songs "Guantanamera" by Celia Cruz and "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley. His joy for making music resonates in multi-platinum selling albums.

Every time you see Wyclef you see the Haitan Flag. He holds it up with pride and honor. He isn't afraid to tell you of his love for his homeland. When the earthquake hit this past January Wyclef was the first to fly down and see if everyone back home was ok. (My cousin was on the same flight with him and King Kino that dreadful Wednesday morning)

I love and admire this man for his undying love for his country. I love that there hasn't been a moment when he didn't shout our his home. Wyclef I want to thank you for always being true to your country. Though many of us have denied our home you have NEVER been one to do so. While some people are still hiding the fact that their Haitian you have stood strong in your love for our home. Thank you for being a pioneer in this "HAITIAN REVOLUTION"

In our language I say, Wyclef mesi pou tout sa'w fe pou pep Ayisien yo. San ou nou pa kon kikote nou tap ye! Nou mande Bon Dieu pou'l toujou kenbe'w nan pla men'l paske ou fe ke nou kontan!! * (Wyclef, thank you for all you have done for the ppl of Haiti. Without you, we don't know where we'd be. We ask God to keep you in the palm of his hand, because you fill our hearts with joy!)

Always Reppin Haiti!!

Black History Month

Its that time of year again, yes the time when all schools in the U.S. take the time out to give the African Americans some sort of recognition! As an educator I am not happy that African American history isn't part of plain old American history. I never quite understood why when we were learning about Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington they never threw in George Washington Carver, or Fredrick Douglas? Now that I am not sitting behind a desk learning, but instead standing in front of the ones in the desks trying to learn I insist on trying to change this one month of African American history by telling my students of the great African American entrepreneurs, doctors, educators, writers, poets, leaders that have paved the way for them. all year round. But, since it is the month of Februry, the one month designated to us I will take part in the celebration. I have told my students about those who were held captive and beaten because of the color of their skin. I have spoken to them about the trailblazers that were persecuted because of their differences or because they spoke up about the inequality. I try to instill in students morals and pride in who they are and what they are to become because they are able to obtain their education not only because its free but because it was fought for.

As the month is highlighted as "Black History Month" I want to take the time to acknowledge my leaders, my mentors, those who I look up to, plainly I want to take the time out to say acknowledge those who have made me who I am today.

Let us join in with the rest of these here United States and take a moment during this month to say THANK YOU to all those who have done something for us, and who are doing something for us!

I will start today with:

Dr. Maya Angelou!

Dr. Angelou is one of my favorite poets, and writers. As an english major and a lover of literature her works are some of my favorite. From her book " I know why the caged bird Sings" to her poems " Phenomenal Woman," and "Still I Rise" Dr Angelou has contributed immensly to the upliftment of the Black people. She has done so much for the African American woman that I cannot NOT give her my first spotlight.. Dr. Angelou spoke and organized with Malcolm X, started and organization with Dr. King, danced with Alvin Alley, her friend was James Baldwin. She spoke on Alex Haley's "The Roots." She read her poem in one my favorite movies " Poetic Justice." Dr. Angelou is definitely one of my favorite trailblazers!

As we celebrate Black History Month let us take pride in knowing that it is with the strength and diligence of ppl like her that we are able to be free!

by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing of my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.