Beauty

Photo by Eloise Ambursley on Unsplash

 

You are beautiful

when you are most

yourself.

There is nothing more

gorgeous

than this.

3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight 2019: Returning 2018 Champion Jahkazia Richardson

Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia which translates to Goddess of the land) is not just a returning poet but she’s our 2018 Champion! She shocked us all by submitting her poem minutes before the deadline and winning it all with “What if I Knew My Worth,” which you can read by clicking here and picking up a copy of the 1st Edition 2018 Lit Mag Magazine.

Richardson is an actor and poet. She is currently studying Social Work at North Carolina Central University. She appreciates going to live shows in the area as well as trying different recipes from all over the world. Currently, she is a preschool teacher where she teaches them how to play unapologically. Her poem “Aya,” is a powerful piece about wrongful convictions which we know is at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement to date in the Black community.

“Police sirens rang in the distance like freedom,
The smell of privilege and oppression filled the air,
I – somehow confused the chain-linked fences
With chains and handcuffs.

They say “I am under arrest,”
I say, “I am innocent!”
But somehow I still fit the description”

Excerpt from “Aya”

Jahkazia, your work is beautiful. Please tell us, what inspired your poem?

“I was wrongfully arrested for a crime I did not commit. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, so I wanted to shed light on this experience.”

We asked Jahkazia to dig deeper into the experience behind her poem.

Considering the police brutality plaguing the Black community, why do you think it is important for Black writers specifically to talk about their experiences in poetry?

Black writers have to talk about their experience first hand in order to make it real. Black death has been dramatized over and over. To make it more digestible society disconnects themselves from the soul attached to the victim/survivor. Writing about our experiences makes it impossible to disconnect. This is my story. These are my words. You can not, you will not erase me.

How has writing about your own experience with a wrongful arrest helped you to heal from the experience?

Believe it or not, this was the first time I have written about it since it happened (almost 3 years ago). I would speak about it briefly, and I even did an interview with a collective of Black Femmes who wanted to know about the experience of our dealings with the police. This wound being reopened has been hard, but rewarding in the sense that it has given me an increased momentum. Since I am now a social worker, my duty is to educate, protect, and inspire – that is healing in itself.

 

It is indeed. I love how poetry can heal by bringing out our most deep self. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!

 

IG: @chamelaninaire 

Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson


Our first and second place winners are up on 12/2 and 12/4! They have a FULL interview coming and trust, you DON’T want to miss it.

Hit the subscription button!

Peace and hair grease!

3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight 2019: Kiyana Blount Returns

Kiyana Blount is not new to the spotlight. She’s a returning winner, placing fourth in Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018.

Blount is a hard working, dedicated and strong single mother who is on a journey of living through self love, self awareness and true divinity. She is seeking her true purpose and living it to make an impact on the world.

“Keep watching me I’m coming like the Lioness of the jungle
Hunting the wanting of my universal platform
Perspiring strength while I join the revolution for my evolution
Fighting my way through the shed layers of my old self”

-Excerpt from “Lioness Strength”

Kiyana! Good to have you back.

Lioness Strength is such a powerful title and we are excited to read the whole piece in next years Literary Magazine. For now, please tell us, what inspired your poem?

The major life changes that I had to endure this year led me to a path of realizing I needed to love myself more. Even though much had happened, I used those down moments to build myself back up and be the Goddess I am. Now I am working towards building my empire and legacy to leave my mark and leave for my SonShine to carry.

Right now I have my own business of promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing whole food natural products to help aid in weight loss and a healthy, natural you from the inner to the outer.

Eating healthy is big right now. How does this relate to or help you with your writing?

Working on my inner has really helped me to express externally. Taking the healthy approach along with strengthening myself spiritually and emotionally has made it easier for me to tap into my art and connect with my poetry on another level! I read my poetry and see the growth from being an unhealthy me to working towards and being closer to a better version of me inside and out.

Beautiful. Any books in the works Kiyana?

I am not a published author YET but I am working on some pieces. Peace, love and light Kings and Queens! You’ll see me soon!

You heard it here first people! Look for her. She’s coming.

 

Be sure you are following Kiyana online!

Web. kiyanablount.itworks.com

IG: @kueen7

Facebook: Kiyana Blount


Jahkazia Richardson is up Friday! Hit the subscription button so you don’t miss it!

Peace and hair grease!

3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight 2019: Introducing Dondi Springer

Dondi A Springer is a happily married man and has been writing for a lifetime. At 43-years-young he never took writing seriously until his wife told him he should do something with it. “I was mostly inspired by the strength of my mother,” he says, “and also my own life experiences. As a champion of the underdogs, I strive to constantly grow, and show that through personal growth anything is possible.”

We are certainly glad you kept writing Dondi!

“Faith has already brought you farther than you can see
You crawled before you walked, bumped your head, and scraped those knees
Tears burning, blurring your vision, and yet wiped from your cheeks..”

-Excerpt from “Look Within”

Springer’s submission, Look Within is a short inspiring piece about looking within to find the strength that we need.

Dondi, please tell us what inspired your poem.

“My personal mantra is Ignorance Does Not Open Doors (I.D.N.O.D.), and ignorance did not overcome me. You can find plenty of positive energy, and motivation on my social media pages, and stay tapped in for what’s coming next for me.”

Copyright©Dondi A Springer

Springer has had poems published by the National Library of Poetry and is working hard on several projects.

Keep in touch with Dondi by following him online at the Social Media handles below!

Instagram: @napalmjax

Facebook: @DSpringer76

Twitter: @MrSpringer76


Kiyana Blount is up on Wednesday! Hit the subscription button so you don’t miss it!

Peace and hair grease!

Hard Truth: Self-Love is Not a Social Media Movement of Posting Pictures of Yourself on the Internet


Hard Truth: Self-Love is not a social media movement of posting lots of pictures of ourselves on the internet.

And don’t twist my words. There is nothing wrong with posting pictures (I do it all the time).

You are allowed to post what you want.

But we also live in a time where it has become cool to post nothing but pictures of ourselves. To talk about ourselves and to make everything about us.

How many of us constantly posting pictures of ourselves actually have low self-esteem?

How many of us are seeking validation?

I don’t know when this became a trend, but it’s important to remember that a selfie is not necessarily a reflection of self-love.

Self-Care is an inside job. Most of the work is done in private and if done genuinely, has the power to show up naturally and authentically on the outside.

Self-love and self-care are also about balance. Thinking less of yourself is not humility. Low self-esteem is not humility. Constantly doubting yourself and being afraid to shine because of what other people will think of you is not humility. You are allowed to be both humble in confidence and courageous in character.

Everything in our lives, from our relationships to how we run our businesses reflects how we feel about ourselves.

Do the inside work.


When it’s cold outside, I sit in the house, drink coffee, sign and ship books. Does one of these have your name on it?? There is still time to grab your tickets to the Texas “Keep Yourself Full” signing on Nov. 30th!! Link below.

>>>Get Tickets Here<<<

Black History Fun Fact Friday: What Hollywood Left out the Harriet Movie

I did not intend on writing about this today but then…

I saw the Harriet movie.

Yep. I went to see it.

I know many are protesting the film, but I don’t jump on bandwagons. I wanted to see it for myself to develop my own opinion. I also knew I wanted to write about it.

There are some truths (such as her being referred to as Moses). Unfortunately, there are more inaccuracies than truth. The movie is Hollywoodish and leaves a lot out. This is a problem because there’s so much information out in 2019 that if Hollywood wanted to, it could tell this story with 100% fact. (I heard in an interview; the script was written 20 years ago). If you are planning to see it, here are some things you may want to know:

  • Harriet Tubman never had a friend named Marie Buchanon.
  • There was never a Black Bounty Hunter named Bigger Long after Harriet Tubman. The same is true of the Brodesses son. They did have a son (Jonathan) but little is known about him. His role in the movie is made up.

While “Bigger Long,” is a fictional character, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Black trackers existed and were active during slavery. I think it is important that as we are striving for Historical Accuracy we don’t miss that. We cannot be so “Pro-Black” that we forget that a lot of our own people sold us out (and continue to sell us out).

While Bigger Long may not have been a real person in Harriet’s life, there were black slave catchers. Sometimes your biggest enemy is your own brother. It is just that in Harriet’s case, this wasn’t the case.

There is no historical record for a Black Bounty Hunter after Harriet Tubman. The movie, it seemed to me, had a lot of ‘women vs. men’ undertones to it. Not only was Bigger Long the sole antagonist against Harriet (even more so than the Brodesses son), he was also the one responsible for the death of one of the Black women in the film in the most diabolical, sinister, and brutal way.

The William Still character (based on a real historical figure he was a Black abolitionist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, businessman, writer, and conductor on the Underground Railroad) was over-the-top with his reactions to Harriet’s return from the missions. Holding his hand to his chest, spinning Harriet around, and at one point he even falls out of a chair. Some people laughed but I didn’t find it funny. It looks like bufoonery.

The imaginative Marie, however, shows Harriet how to shoot a gun and helps her in her cause. Harriet was a warrior but I am certain the surrounding men weren’t that simple-minded and faithless.

The Black men in this movie seemed weak to me. I worry this was intentional.

  • Tubman didn’t change her name when she reached freedom. She changed it before then, around the time of her marriage, possibly to honor her mother.
  • Three of Tubman’s sisters were sold, not just one.

 

  • Two of Tubman’s brothers, Ben and Harry, accompanied her (1) they went with her initially, at the onset of her escape not later as depicted in the film (2) after a notice was published in the Cambridge Democrat offering a reward for her return Harry and Ben had second thoughts and returned to the plantation so she made the voyage alone.

 

  • Tubman had spells, dream-states, and visions (I believe she was deeply spiritual, her spells were my inspiration for Nora’s spells in Renaissance), but she also endured seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life from the hit to the head.

This next point wasn’t in the movie but since we are talking about Harriet Tubman I think it’s important to mention.

The Fake Quote:

Yea, you know the one. I have said it. You have said it. We have all repeated it. It’s a good quote. Powerful one too and I wish I could say it belonged to Harriet but with every source I checked there’s no documented, historical proof that Harriet Tubman ever said:

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

According to Africacheck.org, there are a few possible origins of the quote’s attribution to Harriet:

  • The confusion began when feminist writer Robin Morgan updated her 1970 essay “Goodbye to All That” during the 2008 US Democratic Party’s primary presidential candidate race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Morgan supported Clinton, and in the essay challenged other women who did not. She wrote: “Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, ‘I could have saved thousands – if only I’d been able to convince them they were slaves.’” The implication was that women who didn’t support Clinton were similarly enslaved, and didn’t know it.

 

  • One expert was Milton Sernett, professor emeritus of history and African American studies at Maxwell School“My impression is that this is a late 20th century quote from a fictionalised account of Tubman’s life,” Sernett told history blogger Ralph Luker, who first queried the quote.

 

  • More than this, at meetings in 1858 and 1859 Tubman repeatedly said she had personally rescued 50 to 60 people from slavery. So she would never have said she “freed a thousand slaves”.

A quote that has historical proof, and that has been proven to come from her that you can use:

“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” 

– Harriet Tubman at a suffrage convention, NY, 1896.

A few more things not addressed in the movie:

Tubman’s time as a Union spy (touched on a little at the end of the film), nurse, and cook, her 1869 marriage to Nelson Davis—a soldier, some 20 years her junior—and the couple’s 1874 adoption of a baby girl named Gertie, her work as a suffragist, neurosurgery undertaken to address her decades-old brain injury, financial hardship later in life, and the opening of the Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly in 1908.

The movie wasn’t a total fail for me because there are some things I liked that are worth mentioning.

I loved the show of Harriet’s spirituality, which I do not equate to anything Christian. Her reliance on her faith, praying and praising during difficult times and raising her palms to the sky to pray (this is how we did it…our hands weren’t clapped together they were open and raised into the air) was a beautiful show of faith and her belief that the Almighty was central in guiding her in her journey’s.

As I’ve said, I don’t jump on bandwagons. I have my own opinion.

So, should you see the film? That is up to you. I will caution that if you plan to bring your children, print this post out (or another fact sheet you’ve vetted) and use it as a reference so they can properly discern the facts in the movie from the fiction.


Check out more Black History Fun Facts here.

Remind Yourself that You Exist

Photo by Chris Arock on Unsplash

When your hands are shaking so badly,
your body is an Earthquake.
When your mind is a war-zone of worry.
When uncertainty is an uninvited guest
snaking its way inside your mind
and poisoning it with doubt.
When you are weighed down by
what is not yours to carry.
When depression feels like a friend
and sadness a sister

Remind yourself that you exist.

Don’t you know purpose entered your lungs armed and ready for battle?
The universe waits for you with unparalleled patience.
Accepting delay
Tolerating suffering
A vase for your tears
An embrace for your misunderstanding.

Remember how your bones were formed and stitched together
inside someone else’s body.
Remember that you are a miracle
a divine welcome
Your mother and father’s prophecy
a spiritual alliance of their passion
their history in one body.
You are history
soil and earth
a timeless treasure.

Purpose waits for you to find the courage
to see yourself
because you exist.
You take up space
you send energy out into the world
you vibrate a frequency that someone else feels
you speak a language that someone else understands
You are the manifestation of love
And the universe commands that you jump
even when your heart is in your throat
because you are here

Remind yourself
that you
exist.


Have you heard? I am Soul won the Kindle Book Award for Poetry in the 8th Annual Kindle Book Award Ceremony. Because I want you to get your hands on this book without breaking the bank, I have lowered the kindle book to 99cents for a limited time. Click here to get it now.

Note: This poem is not in the book. This poem is new.