Thursday, February 28, 2013

Latest MUSED Article - Nielsen Study Highlights Shopping Habits, Buying Power of LGBT Community

Image courtesy of MUSED Magazine Online

Nielsen released some interesting findings from their latest consumer study about the shopping habits and buying power of the LGBT community.  According to Nielsen's "State of the LGBT Consumer," same-sex partnered households make 16 percent more shopping trips in a calendar year than the average U.S. household.  Same-sex partnered households also shop more frequently at warehouse club retailers, pet stores, electronic stores, online retailers, and health food retailers.  To learn more, check out my article "Nielsen Study Highlights Shopping Habits, Buying Power of LGBT Community" on MUSED.

MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering "digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about" (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 

Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

Follow BuddahDesmond on Facebook | Twitter

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Related Posts:
Latest MUSED Article - Just Been Tested, Social Network Promotes STI/HIV Testing & Awareness
'Dress Code' at The Grammys? Check Out My Article on MUSED Magazine 

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 10

It's been a little while, but a new set of weekly musings is finally here! Check them out:
  1. Just when we're thinking of or are at the point of giving up, something miraculous happens...A thought, idea, experience, action, or person inspires us to press on. And just like that, we resume our course--fighting harder than ever before.

  2. It amazes me how quickly misunderstandings arise.  Some of us are so quick to jump to conclusions long before we've allowed others to express themselves.  We disrespect others when we cut them off.  We can also make them feel as if we're discrediting them and that their point of view holds no value or weight with us.  Active listening and thinking carefully before responding are so crucial when we communicate with each other.  It lessens the chances for misunderstandings and potential conflict.

  3. No one is beyond reproach. We tend to pump people up, especially leaders, public figures, celebrities, and even ourselves.  But no matter how good we are or whether we've been called the best at what we do, we aren't too good to be critiqued.  If this was the case, we wouldn't have performance appraisals or reviews at work.  We also know that as long as we as a race of beings exist, we will talk about and criticize others no matter what.  But there's a time and a place for it.  And if we're going to criticize others our criticism should be tactful, relevant, and helpful. (And as the saying goes--if you can dish it then you can take it.) 

  4. Sometimes it's best to take a step back and let others shine.  Can't always be in control.  Never should we allow our egos to hold us or others captive.  Under no circumstances should we try to dim others' light.  Everyone deserves a shot.  How else would we have made it thus far?

  5. Personal decisions are just that.  We should never feel like we have to explain ourselves to anyone.  If those who expect or feel as if we owe them an explanation are in no way impacted by our decisions, then they deserve absolutely NO explanation.

Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

80's Albums That Changed My Life (Part 1)

There's something about the music of my childhood that continues to influence, shape, and inspire me.  As a child who grew up during the 80s and 90s, I have to admit that the music touched me in ways much deeper than a lot today's music.  Artists seemed to be more motivated by making music that moved them and that meant something.  They weren't so much moved by formulas and record sales.  The motivation was their love of music and using their art in innovative ways to share their universal experiences with the world.

For the next few months, I'd like to share some of the albums that changed my life.  The first series of posts will focus on albums from the 80s.  Maybe some of these albums will be favorites of yours too.

Cherrelle - High Priority (1985)
Cherrelle teamed up again with the legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on High Priority, the follow-up to her successful debut album Fragile (1984).  Their undeniable chemistry, just like with the SOS Band, Janet Jackson, New Edition, Mariah Carey, and Yolanda Adams (to name a few), would generate another bona fide smash in High Priority.  Cherrelle gets down on funky tunes like "You Look Good To Me" (#26 R&B) and "Oh No It's U Again" (#5 Dance), the sexy mid-tempo groove "Will You Satisfy?," and the infectious, pulsating "Artificial Heart" (#18 R&B/#5 Dance).  Other notable tunes include the old-school ballad "Where Do I Run To?" (which Cherrelle co-wrote) and the mega-hit, classic duet with Alexander O'Neal "Saturday Love" (#2 R&B/#26 Pop/#13 Dance).  High Priority is memorable not only for its catchy tunes, top-notch production, and Minneapolis-inspired sound, but also because of Cherrelle's spirited, distinctive performance.  Her sassy yet sweet musical persona is one that fans simply couldn't resist.  High Priority is easily one of the best R&B albums of the 80s.

Vesta Williams - Vesta 4 U (1988)
If you didn't know it when you heard her debut album Vesta (1986), then you knew with Vesta 4 U that Vesta could SANG! Vesta 4 U showcased a powerhouse singer-songwriter who could tackle anything, bluesy numbers like "Best I Ever Had," funky uptempo tracks like "Here Say" and "How You Feel," sensual slow jams like "Hunger," and power ballads like "Running Into Memories" and "Make It With You." She had the type of voice that made you feel everything she was singing.  That's one of many reasons why she resonated so well with fans, especially on her classic, signature ballads like "Congratulations" and "Sweet Sweet Love."  With its endearing vignettes and interludes, Vesta 4 U also highlighted Vesta's commendable dramatic and comedic acting chops.  She was an all-around entertainer.  Vesta 4 U would prove to be one of her most successful albums, with 4 R&B hits "Sweet Sweet Love" (#4 R&B), "Congratulations" (#5 R&B/#55 Pop), "4U" (#9 R&B), and "How You Feel" (#70 R&B).  Vesta 4 U is arguably one of the best R&B albums of the 80s and one the best albums of Vesta's career.

Janet Jackson - Control (1986)
Singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and producer Janet Jackson stepped completely out of her family's shadow and became one of the most influential (and successful) entertainers in music history with her third studio album Control.  A breakthrough personally, musically, and artistically, Control served as a testament of Ms. Jackson's independence, perseverance amidst personal struggles, pride, and self-actualization. With its ingenious mix of R&B/Soul, funk, hip-hop, pop, and dance music and its innovative use of digital instrumentation, Jackson, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis ushered in "the sound" of contemporary R&B music in the 80s and laid the groundwork for what would become New Jack Swing (and later Hip Hop Soul).  A major crossover success, Control went on to sell over five million copies in the States and over 14 million copies worldwide.  The album produced several enduring hits, "What Have You Done For Me Lately" (#1 R&B/#4 Pop/#2 Dance), "Nasty" (#1 R&B/#3 Pop/#2 Dance), "When I Think Of You" (#3 R&B/#1 Pop/#1 Dance), "Control" (#1 R&B/#5 Pop/#1 Dance),  "Let's Wait Awhile" (#1 R&B/#2 Pop) and "The Pleasure Principle" (#1 R&B/#14 Pop), and made Jackson the first female artist to chart six top 40 hits from one album on the Billboard 100.  Control has been regarded as one of the best albums of all-time. 

Michael Jackson - Bad (1987)
Fans and critics alike were waiting anxiously to see how Michael Jackson would follow-up such a monster, game-changing, mega-selling album like Thriller (1982). Well, Jackson didn't disappoint with Bad, his seventh studio album.  Coming with a harder edge in sound, style, and image, Bad was another artistic triumph.  Teaming again with the iconic Quincy Jones, Jackson delivered an innovative set of tunes which, like Thriller, effortlessly blended R&B/Soul, rock, funk, and pop.  Jackson took even more creative control over the direction of his music, writing nine of the album's 11 tunes and serving as the album's co-producer.  Sonically and visually, Jackson solidified himself as one of the most extraordinary, creative, and visionary forces in the entertainment industry.  Bad produced several hit singles, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" w/ Siedah Garrett (#1 R&B/#1 Pop) "Bad"(#1 R&B/ #1 Pop/#1 Dance), "The Way You Make Me Feel" (#1 R&B/#1 Pop/#1 Dance), "Dirty Diana" (#8 R&B/#1 Pop), "Man In The Mirror" (#1 Pop), "Another Part Of Me" (#1 R&B/#11 Pop), and "Smooth Criminal" (#2 R&B/#7 Pop/#10 Dance).  Jackson became the first artist to garner five No. 1 singles from one album on the Billboard 100.  Going on to sell over eight million copies in the States and over 30 millions copies worldwide, Bad has been cast on numerous lists as one of the best albums ever released.  

Phyllis Hyman - Living All Alone (1986)
It would be three years between the release of Goddess of Love (1983), Phyllis Hyman's sixth studio album (and final album for Arista Records), and her seventh studio album Living All Alone (her first release on Philadelphia International Records--PIR).  Hyman joined forces with legendary Philly Soul producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff for what many consider one of her finest albums.  Full of soulful contemporary R&B and jazz-oriented torch songs, Hyman provides a passionate soundtrack to love, loss, hope, faith, and resilience.  While somewhat melancholy and somber in tone, Living All Alone--like much of her music--paints a realistic, relatable picture of life, love, and relationships.  You couldn't turn on urban adult contemporary radio between 1986-1987 without hearing "You Just Don't Know," "Ain't You Had Enough Love" (#29 R&B), and her signature tunes "Old Friend" (#14 R&B), and "Living All Alone" (#12 R&B).  Hyman's vocal performances are stellar and serve as further proof of her status as one of the most revered vocalists and performers of all-time.  After 27 years, Living All Alone remains a contemporary R&B/soul mainstay.

Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston (1985)
Whitney Houston's self-titled debut album was a monumental, global crossover success.  It was a success I'm sure, even in 1985-1986, that was uncommon for a black female artist--especially in the early stages of her career.  Houston broke barriers and paved the way for many singers, like Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Deborah Cox, Brandy, Monica, and Melanie Fiona.  Whitney Houston was the world's introduction to "The Voice." Houston's voice was rich, sensual, angelic, soulful, melismatic, and powerful.  An instrument of such effortless control, wonder, and emotive, interpretive skills, her voice put her in a class all her own.  She delighted on uptempo dance tracks like "How Will I Know (#1 R&B/#1 Pop/#3 Dance)" and "Thinking About You" (#10 R&B) sexy, soulful grooves like "You Give Good Love" (#1 R&B/#3 Pop), inspirational tunes like "Greatest Love Of All" (#2 R&B/#1 Pop) and spine-tingling ballads like "All At Once," and "Saving All My Love For You" (#1 R&B/#1 Pop).  Whitney Houston went on to become one of the most successful debut albums by a female artist in history.  Spending 14 weeks at No. 1 (Billboard 200) and spawning three consecutive No. 1 singles (Billboard Hot 100) -- "Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," and "Greatest Love Of All," Whitney Houston was the first debut album and first album by a female artist to accomplish such a feat.  Selling over 13 million copies in the States and over 25 million copies worldwide, Whitney Houston is regarded as one of the best albums of all-time.

Jody Watley - Larger Than Life (1989)
Jody Watley has always been a trendsetter, whether it be in fashion, dance, music, or videos.  Never one to rest on her laurels, Watley continuously challenges herself and strives to take her artistic vision and expression to new heights.  Larger Than Life, the follow-up to her solo debut album Jody Watley (1987), proved to be no exception.  Reuniting with producer Andre Cymone, Watley co-wrote and produced 11 of the album's 12 tunes.  Larger Than Life incorporates a hypnotic blend of R&B/Soul, dance, funk, Latin, pop, and hip-hop music.  Watley serves up her A-game with sassy, funky, aggressive  (almost industrial-sounding) tracks like "Once You Leave," "What 'Cha Gonna Do For Me," "L.O.V.E.R." and "Real Love" (#1 R&B/#2 Pop/#1 Dance), New Jack Swing tracks like "Friends" Featuring Eric B. & Rakim (#3 R&B/#9 Pop/#7 Dance), and passionate, sparse ballads like "Everything" (#3 R&B/#4 Pop/#11 AC), "Only You," and the beautiful, Latin-tinged "Precious Love" (#51 R&B/#87 Pop).  Watley's influential single "Friends" is most notable for being the "first multi-format crossover hit to introduce and pair the custom and specialized 16 bar verse with a rapper and singer in Pop music in 1989" (Jody Watley's Bio)And Watley's video for "Real Love," directed by David Fincher, received seven MTV Music Video Award nominations, making it then one of the most nominated videos in history.  Larger Than Life went gold in the States and sold over four million copies worldwide.  Larger Than Life is one of Watley's top albums and is one of the best albums from the late 80s.

Related Posts:
Running Into Memories: A Tribute to Vesta Williams (1957-2011)
Vesta Williams' Final Album, Seven, Set for March 2013 Release
All 4 Janet.
Day 91: Happy Birthday Michael Joseph Jackson
The P/H Factor - Phyllis Hyman: Tribute to a Sophisticated Lady
Day 66 - Happy Birthday Phyllis Hyman!
Day 71: Nothin' But Love For Whitney Houston
Jody Watley is Still a Thrill

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Latest MUSED Article - Just Been Tested, Social Network Promotes STI/HIV Testing & Awareness

Just Been Tested Launch Event, image courtesy of MUSED

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV.  One of five people don't know that they are infected.  The African American community continues to be the hardest hit by this pandemic, accounting for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents.  With the so many stigmas surrounding HIV (and STIs/STDs in general), there's still much work we all need do regarding awareness, testing and treatment services, prevention, and support.  Just Been Tested (JBT), an organization recently founded by Alonzo M. Davis, aims to remove stigmas and lower the statistics "by providing a secure and positive environment where members can freely discuss and seek information that allows them to take responsibility for their sexual health" (see JBT's Mission Statement).  To learn more about JBT, please check out my article "'Just Been Tested,' Social Network Promotes STI/HIV Testing & Awareness"on MUSED Magazine Online and go to the JBT website:  Feel free to comment and share.

MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering "digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about" (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 

Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Influences: Sonia Sanchez - Catch The Fire

Image courtesy of the Black Bird Press News & Review blog.
Where is your fire?  I say where is your fire?

Can’t you smell it coming out of our past?

The fire of living. . . . . . Not dying

The fire of loving. . . . . Not killing

The fire of Blackness. . . Not gangster shadows. 

~ Sonia Sanchez, "Catch The Fire" (1997)
Sonia Sanchez is a phenomenal writer, poet, playwright, storyteller, educator and activist.  Sanchez, one of the most influential poets of the Black Arts Movement, has written nearly 20 books of poetry and prose.  Her poetry is rich with imagery, history, culture, and emotion.  Her words have the ability to incite the mind, warm your heart, and touch your soul.  And she makes it look so easy.   

Sanchez doesn't take the past struggles or the current plight of our people lightly.  In her poem "Catch The Fire" (written for Bill Cosby), she honors our ancestors and encourages our youth to find themselves, love themselves, go after their dreams, and live up to the promise and passion of their "fire."

Sonia Sanchez originally published "Catch The Fire" in Wounded in the House of a Friend (1997).  "Catch The Fire" was also featured in (and inspired the title of) Derrick I. M. Gilbert's Catch The Fire: A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (1998).

For more information about Sonia Sanchez, please go to:

The Love I Never Had

The love I never had was a love I searched for,
Longed for,
But could never seem to find.

The love I never had was a love that I tried to find in
     so many others
But time and time again,
No one could hold or fulfill this need.

The love I never had proved to be the love I thought
     I never had
Because it couldn't be found anywhere else or inside of
     another being.
This love could only be found inside of me.

For the love I thought I never had was a love
    I always had within me.

© BuddahDesmond

Related Posts:
101 Days Project: Poetry & Prose

101 Days Project: Anecdotes & Inspirational Writing
The Love Inside

Friday, February 15, 2013

From V-Day to My B-Day (A Birthday Reflection)

After yesterday's major lovefest, I celebrate the anniversary of my birth today.  The greatest gift for me on this day will always be the gift of life.  And what a precious gift it is!  So many of us complain about getting older.  I don't complain.  It's a blessing to see these numbers each year.  Let them keep coming!

The older I get the less I value the superficial and material offerings that often accompany birthdays.  That's not what it's about for me.  What's most important for me is being able to spend time with those that I love and being able to express how grateful I am to have them in my life.  What's most important is taking time to reflect on all that's happened in the last year, thinking about what I want in the year ahead, and putting a plan in place to make it happen.  What's also important is doing all that I can to be happier, healthier, and better than I was last year.

On our birthday it's important that we do exactly what we want to do.  This is one day where we shouldn't feel guilty about being selfish.  We've earned it.  We deserve it.  And whether we want the celebration to last for a few days or for an entire month, it's okay.  I'm a shameless advocate for the month-long birthday celebration.  (I recommend it to everybody!)

On this day, I am happy to be one year older, wiser, and better than I was last year.  I am thankful for this life.  I am grateful for my family, friends, mentors, supporters, and all the many blessings The Creator has brought my way.  Let there be many more blessings to come!

~ BuddahDesmond

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Celebrate Love Every Day (A Valentine's Day Post)

Love is everlasting.  Love endures.  It doesn't come with conditions.  Has no qualms.  Love is free.  Love is freeing.  Love is freedom.

Love is welcoming.  It doesn't discriminate.  Bears no hatred.  With it, everyone has a chance because equality is love's best friend.

Love is beautiful.  Comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes.  Its range is limitless.  Its impact is eternal.  Love is boundless.

Love is confidence.  Love is faith.  Love is the feeling that everything will be okay even when things go wrong.  Love is harmonious.

Love is universal.  No one needs qualifications or requirements.  There's no battery of tests, obstacle or endurance courses necessary.  With love, everyone makes the grade. 

Love is not a fad, trend, or seasonal occurrence.  It's not something that should be celebrated only one day out of the year.  When it's real it's an everyday thing.  Love is a yearlong, lifelong celebration.  If we love ourselvescelebrate it every day.  If we love otherscelebrate it every day.  If we have people in our lives that love uscelebrate it every day.  If we give love—celebrate it every day.  If we receive love—celebrate it every day.  If we make love—celebrate it every day.

Love.  Every day.  Love every day.  Celebrate love every day!

Audre Lorde on Poetry

Image courtesy of John Glines photos at PBase.
"Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before." ~ Audre Lorde

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

'Dress Code' at The Grammys? Check Out My Article on MUSED Magazine

Image courtesy of MUSED Magazine.

Grammy night has come and gone.  But discussions about the performances and the outfits are still atwitter.  Speaking of Grammy outfits, check out my article, "Why Enforcing A 'Dress Code' Was A Good Move For The Grammys" on MUSED Magazine Online (in the "News & Entertainment" section).  Feel free to comment and share!

MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering "digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about" (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 

Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Monday, February 11, 2013

Black Bloggers Connect: BHM Entry | Kevin Powell - How To Make History (Event Review)

Image courtesy of Vibe Magazine.

Last week, my partner and I had the chance to attend AT&T's 28 Days Speaker Series here in DC at the Lincoln Theatre.  Hosted by the ever funny comedian Rickey Smiley, the event featured renowned political activist, public speaker, writer, poet, and entrepreneur Kevin Powell.  AT&T's 28 Days serves as a celebration of Black History Month and a community service initiative.  The program encourages us to recognize our history, find ourselves, and discover ways in which we can make history.

In Kevin Powell's inspiring and motivational speech, he talked about the importance of knowing our history.  He said "not knowing your history is like a tree without roots."  Our history helps us gain a better understanding of who we are and where we're going.  Powell noted three imperatives to history:  faith (having a belief in something greater than yourself), vision (realizing anything is possible and that you can't make history without a plan), and love (history must be rooted in love; you hate yourself when you don't know who you are and when you don't know your history).

Knowing our history is one of the building blocks to both personal and collective success.  Powell said, "Individual success means nothing if the community isn't doing well."  With a failing educational system, inherent generations of poverty, dire levels of incarceration and unemployment, there's still much that we need to do to move our community forward.  Like Powell, I agree that we need to have spaces to engage in dialogue so that we can address the issues in our community and work to resolve them.  Programs like AT&T 28 Days are just one of the ways to fulfill this mission.

Powell closed out his speech by providing a list of six elements that are essential to making history.  These elements are as follows:
  1. A Spiritual Foundation
  2. Political Awareness
  3. Fiscal (or Financial) Responsibility
  4. Manifesting Our Cultural Swag
  5. (Optimal) Physical Health
  6. Mental Wellness 
I firmly believe that our community will be better when we all work to better ourselves both individually and collectively.  We must be selfless.  We must remember our ancestors and our families, for we're standing on their shoulders.  If it weren't for their sacrifices and achievements, we wouldn't be where we are today.  For the the sake of those coming after us, we must pay it forward.  We have to give our people hope.  And as Powell said,"[We can] give hope to people by example."  So let's be the example!

For more information about the AT&T 28 Days Speaker Series, go to the AT&T 28 Days site. 

Black Bloggers Connect 2nd Annual Black History Month Blogging Contest -

Thursday, February 07, 2013

BuddahDesmond Featured in MOOV Magazine

I'm happy to announce that I'm featured in the Winter 2013 issue of MOOV Magazine.  MOOV Magazine, based out of Toronto, Canada, is not just a magazine but a movement geared to helping creative entrepreneurs in Canada and abroad market, network, and inspire.  MOOV provides "a platform on which entrepreneurs can further market themselves and network with each other. The fields we cover allow entrepreneurs from different fields to meet and benefit from one another. At the same time providing inspiration for youth who may be interested in the fields we cover" (learn more About MOOV).

For direct links to my features, go to:  Words MOOV - BuddahDesmond Interview | Words MOOV - Poetry: Prevail.  Check it out and feel free to comment!

Mad props and thanks to Mercedes Olivos and the entire MOOV Family!  Glad to be part of the MOOV Movement!

Follow MOOV on: Facebook | Twitter 

Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Related Posts:
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BuddahDesmond to Appear on Black Authors Network Radio Show on 12/10/12 at 8:30PM EST 
BuddahDesmond Full Poetry Reading from OutWrite 2012 [VIDEO]
101 Days Project: Prevail

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Happy Birthday Trayvon Martin

Image courtesy of the Answer Coalition site.

Today would've been Trayvon Martin's 18th birthday.  He's another young brother who was gone too soon.  Tragic.  Having just turned 17 weeks before he was killed, his was a life of so much promise.  Promise that will remain unseen and unfulfilled. 

The loss of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 changed everything.  The lives of his family, friends, and other loved ones will never be the same.  All we can do is hope, pray, and demand that justice will one day be served.  Good news today is that Judge Debra S. Nelson denied George Zimmerman's request for a five-month delay in Martin's case (New York Times).  The trial will move forward as scheduled on June 10, 2013.  While we cannot bring him back, justice for Travyon Martin's killing will bring some closure for all of us. 

Trayvon Martin, we're fighting for you.  We will never forget you.

Monday, February 04, 2013

In Honor Of Our Mother (For Rosa Parks)

Image courtesy of the AlterNet site.
Today is Rosa Parks birthday.  Often dubbed the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, she would've turned 100 today.  We owe much to Rosa Parks, and it's important that we honor her legacy.  In agreement with Rachel Griffin's article on the Ms. Magazine Blog, we need to praise Rosa Parks for doing more than refusing to give up her seat on a bus.  In continued praise, I'd like to share the following poem from my book Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics:

In Honor Of Our Mother
For Rosa Parks


Mother of a Movement:
Those are just some of the terms often used to describe Rosa Parks.
As Nikki Giovanni described her, she was a woman "who did an extraordinary thing."
She exemplified strength, dignity, humility, and great character.
She was a leader who devoted her life to fight against injustice.

And on December 1, 1955
After living in a time of segregation,
After living in a time of inequality,
After living in a time when we were considered less than human
Rosa said enough is enough.
She was tired of being treated as "less than"
Because she knew were so much more.
It was time for the tables to turn,
And to reclaim our freedom.
In that moment, when she refused to give up her seat to a white man,
When she refused to go to the back of the bus,  
Her life, the brothers and sisters of the Movement, and our lives changed forever.
Her act of defiance caused us to rally together to fight for our civil rights,
So that we could free ourselves and this nation. 

Rosa's actions should serve as an inspiration
To stand up against any act of hatred, intolerance, prejudice, or discrimination.
So when you feel any form of injustice taking place, be it racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and
     the like,
When you feel that your or someone else's rights are being trampled over,
If one person's or a group of people's rights are being neglected, disregarded, or deemed null and
We are all affected.

Don't be afraid to go out on that limb
And do what's right.
Don't be afraid to be like Rosa
And do the extraordinary thing.
Because change will only happen when we allow it to
When we're ready to accept it into our lives—
When we're ready to take on the position and follow through with our actions.
Only then will we see the outcome;
And we all will feel it.

It speaks volumes when a nation mourns the loss of an individual.
And when our nation mourned the passing of Rosa Parks, it was a defining moment,
For she become the first woman to lie in the Rotunda of the US Capital.
Because many of the rights we take for granted were fought for by people 
Like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, Thurgood Marshall, Medgar Evers,
     Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height, Paul Robeson and Mary McLeod Bethune.
It begs to question, when our foremothers and forefathers see us carrying on the way we do each day,
     are they proud?
Do they feel that we are honoring their legacies?
Do they think we've turned our backs on the fight, our rights, our people, and personally, ourselves?

All the more reason why we should continue to honor, celebrate and commemorate Rosa Parks,
Because we've come a long way,
And we still have a mighty long road to follow.
And if Rosa had not refused to give up her seat,
Our fight along this road would've been a great deal longer.
History would be quite different, and so would we.

So bask in the glory of Rosa Parks and that moment.
Be grateful for the work and the many achievements of 
Rosa and the other brothers and sisters of the Movement.
And please don't forget your ties,
And your obligation to honor, and when called upon,
To strengthen the legacy.

May the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks, rest in peace! 

© 2012 BuddahDesmond 

Happy Black History Month!

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.

Related Post:
101 Days Project: Prevail

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Nikki Giovanni - Quilting The Black Eyed Pea

Image courtesy of the Jackson State University News Room site.
The trip to Mars can only be understood through the history of black Americans. Because Mars is Middle Passage. And we're going to have to study Middle Passage if we want a future on Earth.  If we want to move forward we have to study it. ~ Nikki Giovanni, "Meet The Poet," Learn Out Loud
Nikki Giovanni has been a favorite writer of mine since I was a teenager.  I've always found her writing to be honest, witty, and soulful.  It exudes the feelings and elements of soul, blues, jazz, gospel, and folk music.  Giovanni's social and political commentary is searing, at times jolting, but usually on point. 

 Her eloquent poetry reflects not only the African American experience, but the human experience.  And even if you don't agree with her perspectives, your eyes, ears, heart, and mind will be open in ways that they might not have been before.  I believe Giovanni's poem "Quilting the Black Eyed Pea (We're Going to Mars)" is a great example of this. 

Happy Black History Month!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 9

Greetings all!  It's February (already).  Hope 2013 is going well for you so far.  If not, do all that you can to make it better.  On that note, let's move right in to the latest weekly musings.
  1. There's so much pride in knowing, recognizing, and celebrating where you come from.

  2. Knowing (and continuing to learn) your history can revitalize or reinvigorate your spirit, inspire you, motivate you, and influence your life's path.

  3. Having a strong support system that builds you up and truly believes in you, especially when growing up, can have an overwhelming impact on your self-esteem, confidence, and drive to go after your dreams.

  4. You're greater than your circumstances.  Don't let your circumstances define you.  There is life, a better life, beyond your circumstances.  Once you realize this you can overcome anything.

  5. Never let the light inside of you die.  Let it shine.  Let it shine!

  6. We're reflections of each other.  If we could love ourselves more we could love each other a lot more.  There's no telling what the outlook of our lives and this world would be if we had more (real) love.
Until next time...peace, love, and many blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Friday, February 01, 2013

Happy Black History Month

Image of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History, courtesy of the ASALH site.

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month!  When celebrating Black History Month, we owe much credit to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History.  Dr. Woodson committed his life to uncovering the oft untold history, contributions, and achievements of people of African descent.  Black History Month is an extension of his legacy.  
In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated Negro History Week during the second week of February (which coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln).  Negro History Week was later extended to a month-long celebration, becoming Black History Month in 1976.  
Other important facts:
  • Dr. Woodson was the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard.
  • He was a member of Sigma Pi Phi (the first Black fraternity) and Omega Psi Phi.
  • Dr. Woodson was an educator, he served as a public school teacher, a professor and Dean of Colleges of Arts and Sciences at Howard University and Dean of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute (known as West Virginia State University today).
  • In 1915, Dr. Woodson and Alexander L. Jackson published The Education of The Negro Prior to 1861. 
  • Also in 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). 
  • Notable ASALH publications included the Journal of Negro History (1916) and Negro History Bulletin (1937)
  • One of Dr. Woodson's most famous works is The Mis-Education of The Negro (1833). 
While February is designated as Black History Month, we don't have to wait for the calendar to change to the respective month to celebrate Black History.  Black History has and will continue to be made every day.  So why not celebrate it year-round?