Somehow the noise turns down as when the violence against black women keeps turning up. Be it domestic, misogynistic, or racially systemic. The ball gets dropped and often times never picked up again. And that just isn’t a thing that should be happening.
So let’s talk about Breonna Taylor, a young aspiring nurse murdered by local police in her own home. At just 26 years old She was already a hero. Working in the Covid unit at her Louisville hospital. The police bust into her door in the middle of the night with an alleged search warrant. Only to find out that they were at the wrong apartment. But not before they took her life. Members of The Louisville Police Department Shot at Taylor more than eight times. You heard it right. The wrong address with extremely excessive force. Did Taylor intimidate them? Of course not. And if she did they should have never been on the force if they couldn’t access a situation properly.
While her family and legal team have filed a wrongful death lawsuit so much more accountability must follow. The lawsuit details in addition to all the details above that they barged in unannounced while the alleged culprit they were looking for was reportedly already in custody.
There are no loopholes and there is no smoke to blow. The consequences should’ve came blunt, bold, firm, fast, and easy. And yet some people still don’t see the problem.
While there are many situations going on in our nation today we cannot forget to stand up for her story. We must give her story as much attention as we can. Because far too often black women in horrific situations fall victims to lost interest, outrage, and support. Many times they must have a male counterpart involved to even gain friction. It’s hurtful to see that misogyny peeks its head out even in situations of tragedy. Say her name and don’t lose the volume.
Just 24 hours ago another womxn became the victim of misguided anger, fear of self-reflection, and deeply embedded ignorance. Iyanna Dior is her name. A beautiful young lady of trans experience. Many of us watched with disgust and anguish as more than 15 people viciously attacked her. They attacked her with words. And they attacked her with fist.
As many of us search to find the details. The who, the what, the where, and the why? It could not have been more of a surprise and pain to find out it was in St.Paul/Minneapolis Area. With Minnesota as the heart of protest we would think it would include the life and the value of trans woman of color. And yet this makes it clear that we aren’t there yet. As we investigated the situation and found out more details they only became more hurtful. Did those things warrant this behavior? Or was it simply an opportunity to do what you wanted to do anyway? They said she hit a car? Is your car totaled? Is there more than 10 names on the cars title? She ran up and hit a young lady for no reason? Allegedly the young lady was 17 years old? Does that justify the beating? A Transwoman clearly smaller than 90 percent of both the men and women involved? It wasn’t because she’s trans we see transfolk all the time? Do you call those trans folks men and faggots all the time? He deserved it ? How about at the least you not misgender her? You know for us that grew up in tough neighborhoods I never knew it to be necessary for 15 people to do anything like that… you know what we called that some ***** ****.
Needless to say must be hurtful to be a trans person in these tough moments in history. What does it feel like to wake up every day not knowing if it will be your last ? What does it feel like to be standing between two guns . Your blackness. Your gender. Both of which the target of aggression. What must it feel like to stand up and fight for the very folks that are nearly exterminating your sisters and brothers.
Iyanna’s story is not an isolated incident. Every year dozens of trans women are murdered. They are beaten and it’s never discussed. They are judged for their survival. They are shamed for doing whatever it takes to stay alive. They are the objects of obsession. They are the fantasies that men are afraid of. They are sisters. They are mothers. They are friends. They are nurturers. They are survivors. They are fighters. They are human.
In a time where the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter Floats around social media the question must be asked… Do you mean it? Do black lives matter when they are of trans experience? Do black lives matter when they are queer folk? Do they even matter when they are women?
*** I must include that the BLM movement has contacted and said that the denounce the attack. ***
While those questions open so many doors and deserve their own conversations in this moment we say we see you Iyanna.
We see all trans women who live an everyday experience of war games. Where every moment they walk out the house could be their last day. We see you. But we are not enough. We must grow. And we must be louder. We cannot avoid these conversations. They cannot be brushed aside any longer. We cannot let people tell us when is the right time because it will never be the right time to have a conversation people never want to have. The assault on the lives of trans women can no longer be ignored.
You can DONATE To Transfolk of color who are victims of violence, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse via Venmo to @TRANS-Action
*** For context we have provided a brief piece of the video. Because we don’t support this behavior we have made it as brief as possible
“Please, I can’t breathe…” these words spoken by yet another Black man killed by police in America. I do not have the strength to watch another Black man be treated like a savage, like his cries of pain and lack of breath somehow tickled the racist ego of a white cop cracking the whip of his “power”. I have only seen a picture of a white cop with his knee on the neck of a Black man and that was enough! Images of strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees flood my mind. I am gripped by anxiety, anger, sadness, and fear. As a Black man, I am sick and tired of seeing Black men and women murdered at the hands of cops! I would love to say that the American policing system needs to be restructured, but the reality is, America needs restructuring. When do we stop marching to prove the humanity of a people? When do cops truly start to serve and protect the people! When will black skin not be a target on our chest? America, we cannot breathe!
As I scroll through my social media, I see my Black peers express the grave sadness and anger that grips their souls. I am overcome with heaviness and again I must figure out what to do. How do we respond? We watched as white people protested shutting down the nation for the sake of the health of the people, pulling up to government buildings with their guns in hand! Yet, they all made it home… Black people protest, and you pull out your war gear! You gas us and present us as angry Black people rioting on the media! You elected a president who not only spews racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and pretty much HATE from his mouth and twitter, he also rallied the racist masses. When does it stop? America, we cannot breathe!
The statue of liberty clearly has its foot on the necks of the masses she summons. We were not summoned; our ancestors were brought here like cargo and you still do not see us as human. SO, we learned to survive, fight, band together, and united against your systematic dehumanization and hate for the Black body. We lost great warriors during the fight. They were lynched, beat to death, raped, tossed into the Atlantic, shot, suffocated, and yet we still fight! Fighting to prove our humanity gifted to us by God! America, we cannot breathe!
Over the last two years I wanted to truly recognize the value and power within the pages of a written piece of art. So, I challenged myself to start reading more. I have always enjoyed books, but often I would start one and not even finish. So, I started with some well known Black Writers like Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Alex Haley, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and many more! These writers set the stage for my journey into understanding my world, my blackness, oppressive systems, my queerness, and the intersections I exist in. They gave insight, direction, and even tips on how to move about this society. Recently, I have gotten into some more current reads that I must share!
No Ashes In The Fire
Darnell Moore lays his life out before us in such a meticulous manner. His powerful use of words and imagery pulled me in close to the story. This book not only shares his personal journey but expresses how we as a society deal with those who exist along the margins. It challenged me to examine how I show up in spaces, how I impact society, and how an individual story can often be a shared story. As a Black Queer man this book is deeply personal.
How To Be An Antiracist
This piece by Ibram X. Kendi nourished my whole being. I feel this should be a must-read for every human on the earth. He is very strategic in how he dissects what it means to be racist and how we must work to dismantle it at its very core. He sheds light on the ways racist ideologies are leaked into the very ways of those who are oppressed. This book gave me an understanding of what it means to be an antiracist and how to apply antiracist practices into our daily lives. Again, I recommend this work for ALL HUMANS.
The Counter Culture Devotional
Often times faith is a battle for those who are LGBTQ. Our faith struggles aren’t always directly related to God but rather who man has taught us God is. We are taught how God thinks about us which lays a foundation for how many measure their worth and value. This devotional by Corey L. Scott is a critical tool to help you explain who God created you to be. Each devotion is easy to read and relatable. This work is equipped with daily reflections that take you even deeper into the journey toward discovering. This book has been beneficial in reaffirming my faith and the love God has for my black gay self!
All Boys Aren’t Blue
George M. Johnson gifted us with their story on April 28, 2020. I am currently still unwrapping this gift with the anticipation of a child of Christmas day. I can feel the passion that went into this piece as I read it. George shares their story in a very familiar way. At times it’s like we lived the same life, had the same grandmother, or recess time. I feel this book is critical for our young LGBTQIA community!
Take a moment and add these books to your shopping cart ASAP! I look forward to sharing more essential reads with you!
She’s jazzy, she’s funny, and she’s beautifully human. She wowed the world with her riffs, runs, and soulful sound. She changed the way we heard a City Called Heaven… and none of us will ever complain about it. But it wasn’t just a voice that told her story it was the extraordinary journey that she took to get there. We had a chance to talk and of course we asked when will we hear more…. and to my delight she said soon! She has one of the most technically sound soulful voices in the game and we can’t wait to see her show us just who she is…. Of course we’re gonna talk a little about her New album more in the future but until then check out this quick Q&A and tell me you don’t get a laugh or two!
Who is AMBER in 3 words? Amber: STRONG, MUSICAL, HILARIOUS
How did it feel to win Sunday Best? Amber: Phenomenal. Like the start of great things.
If you could do a project in any other genre what would it be? Amber: An R&B/Soul project for sure!
Are we getting new music and if so what can we expect? Amber: R&B …..SOUL ☺️
If you could redo the “Boy is Mine” who would you want to feature with? Amber: Jazmine Sullivan
How can we show you love? Amber: By following me on all your social sites , liking and sharing my post, and streaming my music! PERIOD
If you could share a message with the entire world right now what would it be? Amber: STAY IN THE HOUSE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Sheesh. We gotta get through this and that’s the only way!
RAPID ROUND: Rules are Answer as fast as you can with 1 pass in your pocket. LETS GO
MICHAEL OR PRINCE? Michael FISH OR CHICKEN? Chicken DREAM DUET: Definitely BRANDY HIDDEN TALENT? I can pop my gum on every chew lol FAVE MOVIE? Sister Act 2 FAVE CITY TO TRAVEL TO? Dallas PETTIEST PET PEEVE? Spitting while you talk FAVE GOSPEL SONG? Anything by Karen Clark Sheard’s “Finally Karen” album
Music hasn’t hit the same since TRL … maybe even the real 106 and Park for those of us that flipped on to see Free. The tunes flourishing on the airways just don’t invoke the fun like they use to. You see the timeless days of R&B seem long gone… Right? Sure every now and then an Icon like MISSY turns up to show us what its all about but still… is that enough?
You see for me the creativity is missing. Where are the young Busta’s at lol ! Sure folks have more money but is that really what made the video? Or was it the artist? I’d argue that the creativity , the brilliance was in the artist. They did anything with nothing. Something was different about the way they brought our emotions out. So I wondered are their artist out their with that spirit? There has to be folks in the digital era that have it. That new generation swag with the take me back vibe. And then something happen and someone said HELLO…. HELLO JIZOO
Hello Jizoo is the antidote. This creativity hip hop genius is the balance between “lets chill” and “turn up”. As I tuned in to the Verzuz battle with Luda and hometown lunatic Nelly… I thought man.. aside from scratching that band-aid on my eye we need a new revolution. And that revolution starts with artist that can really change the world. Artist like Jizoo. The ones that can cultivate music that doesn’t need to divide us. So I logged of IG and you know what I did? I binged watched the musical roller-coaster he can take you on. So my treat to you is 3 VIDEOS … plus a one I just couldn’t leave out that gave me hope that GOOD MUSIC ain’t DEAD! MANIFEST it!
I love the reality that anyone can create art and their vision will be appreciated by at least one person in the world. The ability to have full control over what you produce, decide how it will be viewed by your peers, and to know that it can have positive effect in someone’s life. Yes art is a form of self-expression that we all love, but to me it is so much more. It’s a gift that can be taken beyond the superficial to the depths of the spiritual.
Describe you work:
As a commission artist, a lot of my work is catered to what my clients want. Ranging from family portraits to artistic bodypaintings. However, my original pieces draw inspiration from both African and Biblical references, accented with subtle iconography placed throughout the painting that deepen the meaning of the painting. It’s never “in-your-face”, but it demands an attention to detail.
What I love about art is no one can tell you what your work should look like, i love how art is an expression and is subjective. Art can create controversy and conversation. I love how artist can create a masterpiece with their own styles and put a little piece of them into each of their art. I love that art cultivate emotion and leave footprints on its viewers.
Tell me about your work?
….. my work remains faceless so the viewers can incorporate themselves into the paintings. I create art based on visions or dreams. People is my inspiration. My main focus for my art is to create for the purpose of bringing beauty to canvas.
I love art and being an artist because of the infinite potential. You can create anything because art is all about your creativity.
Describe your work?
My work is a description of me. So Dail Chambers is a visual artist and creative consultant. My visual art practice is a multimedia exploration in genealogy, women’s narratives and social art. As a homeschooling, teaching artist I’ve traveled internationally, implementing lesson plans to enhance and motivate inter-generational learning environments.
I love the self motivation, the drive, the resilience it gives me. The overall ability to create such immaculate art work motivates me.
Describe your work?
In my spectrum of art I focus on the “surreal” matters that connect and captivate ones eye (visually), ones thoughts (mentally), and ones feelings (emotionally). Surrealism is the releasing of the unconscious, meaning that I use images in ways that are juxtaposed in many ways. My creative style is a mix of dramatic scenery and also relaxed elements having an equal balance within every piece. In addition, I also use landscapes to give my pieces a sense of identity and tranquility.
Contact info: Marcell Mr. AceOfSpades IG: Marcell.da.martian__ Email: email@example.com
5. LEAH YARMUS
What INSPIRES your art?
I love painting, and I like doing it on 3D surfaces. This series of dolls is the first thing I’ve ever made with the intention of selling. I like good horror movies because they are social commentary. Unless it’s a commission I stick with movies that really resonated with me or spark nostalgia. I’ve love people’s responses to these intense or memorable scenes on an art form that is usually traditional. Other art that I make is more selfish and personal and usually not for sale
Describe your dolls?
These matryoshka dolls are in homage to horror and cult classic films. Custom orders available!
Nelly has 4 singles to reach #1 on the HOT 100 chart to date and his songs and collaborations have appeared on the Number #1 spot 58+ times across various Billboard Charts.
2. 4th Best Selling Hip Hop Album of All Time
The Midwest legend’s debut album remains the 4th best selling Hip Hop/Rap album in History. Selling well over 8 million copies worldwide. Lets just be clear, his 1st album is more than most folks musical career.
3. Chart Making Collaborations
Aside from Nelly’s solo songs and projects with The St. Lunatics he has an impressive list of collaborations. The ability to cross genres most have been a gift of his. Nelly would flow between Hip Hop, Country, R&B, Pop and Rock to create some of the most timeless collabs of all time. Some of those collaborations include:
Some CHART TOPPING Collabs:
Dilemna with Kelly Rowland
Call on Me with Janet Jackson
Over and Over with Tim McGraw
Girlfriend Remix with N’Sync
Shake Ya Tailfeather with Pi Diddy , Murphy Lee
Cruise Remix with Florida Georgia Line
Where The Party At with Jagged Edge
My Place with Jahiem
OTHER ARTIST he’s collaborated with include:
Simple Plan, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Jeremih, Daley, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Keri Hilson, Christina Aguilara, Ashanti, Ciara, Funkmaster Flex, Chris Brown, Akon, Fergie, and TI
Nelly runs the non-profit organization 4Sho4Kids Foundation.
Before she passed away Nelly and sister Jackie started the The Jes Us 4 Jackie campaign after she herself was diagnosed with leukemia. The campaign educates folks about the need for bone marrow transplants. In addition they connect folks with donors and help register new ones.
Nelly’s White and Black Ball is a St.Louis fundraiser for graduates that aims to generate funds for various scholarships.
One of the scholarships was named after slain young man Michael Brown. This scholarship was created to bring awareness and also promote change in the Ferguson area.
The Black and White Ball has been instrumental in sending 2 students to collage every year for the last decade.
5. 7 Albums, 3 Extended Plays, and 2 Mix Tapes
In total Nelly has sold Over 21 million albums worldwide and that’s before the digital era. His debut album set historic numbers and remains an all time great. Nelly also was one of the only artist in history to successfully release a 2 albums at the same time “Sweat” and “Suit.” In addition to his studio albums he has 1 remix and 2 compilation albums.
6. Co-Founder of Extreme Institute College
In collaboration with Vatterott Colleges built and brought to life a quality music production college to downtown St.Louis. They would go on to expand its programs and dozens of students would go on to become music professionals until all Vatterott Colleges were sold.
7. St.Louis & Midwest Hip Hop Pioneer
While St. Louis has many rappers that came to fame in the 2000’s Nelly by far was the most successful. Along with the St. Lunatics they brought the attention and noise to the Midwest and definitely St. Louis. Withing a few years St. Louis was one of the most recognized cities in hip hop with a slew of artist climbing the charts.
8. 60 Million Net Worth
Well having such as successful music career and selling millions of albums of course comes with a nice pay check. Nelly however didn’t stop with his music fortune. As you’ll read later all of his endeavors in and outside of music have given him a nice bank account to sustain him for the rest of his life.
Mr. Haynes would expand his reach inside the music business by starting his on label Derrty Entertainment with fellow St.Lunatics. But he didn’t stop there.
Nelly started his own clothing lines. One for women titled Apple Bottoms and one for men Vokal. Apple Bottoms would become a 2000’s trend.
He would also go on to start a very successful non carbonated energy drink brand called Pimp Juice. Nelly became 1 of the first celebrities to produce energy drinks on the market, as many would follow.
Nelly was also a part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team until sole ownership was bought by Michael Jordan.
Listen can we PLEASE…. STOP commenting on people’s post who are telling you that they are battling depression with comments like. “It’s going to be okay” “pray about it” or any of these other generic responses that some of you all love to offer. You all do know that depression ends in suicide for some people right? If praying about it worked I don’t believe a person would make a post on social media for that to be the response they commonly get.
Have you ever asked the person about the situation? Do you take time to listen to? Did you send them an inbox? Did you comment because you meant it or simply because you felt it’s the trend? Do you really care? What makes you sure that everything will be okay? And how can you offer this with no information. And yes I know some of you feel guided by the spirit but everyone doesn’t have the capacity to immediately see things through your own personal lenses…. especially if they just told you they are battling depression.
Time does heal, but some things leave scars either offer your self ,or DON’T.
Sometimes taking time to think about our responses shows people that we care.
I’m not at all saying don’t support. I’m not saying don’t offer encouragement. But sometimes those kinds of responses are as ineffective as not responding at all.
Access is a privilege not a right. When your peace is on the line you have the authority to protect it.
– Maven Logik Lee
Sometimes our entire life revolves around supporting others. There are others who live life at the mercy of other peoples opinions. At times you might be that person who feels obligated to always respond. Some of us are those people who feel like our life requires that we are always available. And then there are those who believe their life can only get better if someone else helps them. We are at times conditioned to believe dependency will always be there to rescue us. I understand all those people. Hell I was one of those people. Until I had no other choice but to be someone different. You see this wisdom was staring me in the face. Time and time again there were people in my life who is showing me what it meant to choose them.
Admittedly it was hard to see it sometimes. Choosing you sometimes will make you the villain in someone else’s story. That narrative made it hard for me to see that what they were doing was for them and less about hurting me. Now I know that might be hard for some people to understand. Yes some people in my life that choose them may never gain my love again or even my respect but they do get my understanding.
They keep my understanding because when I reached a crossroads in my life I understood that it was not only necessary but life or death that I CHOOSE ME!
You see I was going around in cycles. I was riding a bike in a never ending circle. And while I thought I knew who I was I really didn’t have time to see who I was becoming. I found myself feeling alone. And feeling alone wasn’t a new feeling, knowing was.
One day I woke up and realized people that fell in love with moved on. Some of the folks I thought that did me wrong will never assume or even share accountability. And sometimes I was more toxic to myself then anybody else. It became clear to me that the world is moving without me. It was evident personality like mine nothing will change unless I make change intentional.
Days went by and I started to do things like turn off my phone. I went through my apps and decided which ones I really didn’t need. I’d let some folks reach out to me first. And you know those times where you always feel the need to respond… I didn’t.
These small changes left me with more time. And with that more time I was able to see things about myself that I loved, that I missed knowing exist, and that I needed to change or grow in.
Suddenly more life situations started to happen. In addition to the choices I made for myself life made choices for me too. As I reflect on at all I realize that choosing me saved my life.
There were some people who said things like you don’t call me anymore. And that made me realize they never called me. You don’t check on me. And then I realized they never checked on me. I noticed the amount of people that I neglected that actually showed up for me. The reality I imagined where I showed up for everyone was shattered. No I didn’t. Sometimes I didn’t show up for the people in my life that I acted so strong to mask their struggles or pain.
What’s understood is that some people understand your growth and some may not. And relationships have many purposes and many different timelines. We don’t always have to define how a relationship works around the way other people feel it should look like. Some relationships simply have expiration dates. Others have off days and vacations. Sometimes they get substitutes.
The people I share bonds with now have a much different tone than before. It’s one filled with compassion, understanding, and space. The freedom to be your whole self. The people I have in my space understand that we must be able to live our best personal lives to live beautiful lives with one another.
The more I chose me the more transparent and honest I became. This version of me has made it much easier to navigate relationships. This change has made my discernment of greater value. I feel in charge of my life because I Chose me.