Black History Fun Fact Friday Guest Writers

On January 17, 2015, I started a Blog Series in honor of Black History Month called Black History Fun Fact Friday. The series was supposed to run from January 2015 through the end of February 2015, but two badges and 66 weeks of posts later we are still going strong. 2017 and 2018 have been our best years to date with the most posts and the most interesting topics.

But I don’t have that kind of time anymore and no man is an Island.

Black History Fun Fact Friday is not just a Black History Month segment anymore. It has carved out its own space in the internet’s land.

I want to get back to publishing Black History articles to this blog every Friday, and would love to have some help.

As we prepare for 2020, I am reaching out to Black writers interested in helping to contribute to this series.

Requirements:

 

  • Because of the nature of this series interested writers must be Black/African American (this includes so-called Black African, Afro Cuban, Jamaican, Hatian, Cuban, Afro Brazilian, Dominican etc.).
  • Must be original work. Do not copy and paste the article from other blogs unless that blog is your own.  If you have a Black History article to share that you published to your own site you are welcomed to submit it for Black History Fun Facts. I have no problem with that as long as it is your own work.

 

  • Topics must be relatable to the history of Blacks/African Americans, African diaspora, e.g.

 

  • Articles must be emailed to me for approval at least one week before publishing. If you email your article on 1/31 for example, I will publish it on 2/7 if there are no needed changes. (If you want your articles published in time for February, please have them submitted no later than Monday, January 6, 2020.)

 

  • Please send articles in a Word Document, 12p Font, Times New Roman text.

 

  • Please do your best to self-edit your work for basic typos/spelling/grammatical errors before submission. Grammarly and ProWritingAid are good free self-edit software programs to use.

 

  • The BHFFF badge will be included in every post but you are welcomed to create your own image to add as well. Canva is a good program to use to make your own images. Unsplash is good for free images.

 

  • This is Black History Fun Fact Friday not Black History Opinions so do your best to submit articles covering accurate historical information. I will vet the submissions to make sure they do. If you have links to sources, please include them.

 

  • Please include a photo of yourself, social media handles, website, or links to books you’ve written on the topic. This will be added to the end of the post as your call to action. This is where you give readers the chance to follow/learn more about you.

Benefits of Guest Blogging:

 

  • Increase traffic to your own website/blog
  • Build Relationships/Online Influence
  • Build Domain and Search Engine Authority
  • Capture Wider Audience
  • Develop Your Authority on a topic
  • Improve Your Writing
  • Opens the doors for paid business opportunities

More Information:

The series is Black Historical so submissions should be articles detailing the history of Blacks in some way (the diaspora, Black Inventions, enslavement, Civil Rights, Police Brutality, Medical/Educational discrimination, Black Power Movement, Black Biblical, Ancient, e.g.)

It can be an article telling us about a little Known Black Historical Fact or introducing us to a little-known Black Historical person or place. (For example, I once published a post on Sundown Towns, all-white communities where Blacks were restricted from after Sundown).

Topics can vary as long as they cover Black History (this includes Jamaican, Haitian, Black Puerto Rican, Black Cuban, Caribbean, Dominican, so-called African e.g.) Specifically, I am looking to feature Black History articles that inform and educate on some part of Black History and is at least 300+ words or more.

Over the next few weeks I will publish video to my socials answering questions and giving information on this so please do not hesitate to email me your questions or comment below.

A copy of this post is archived to its own page here.

Email articles to yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com. 

I hope to hear from you!

Your Testimony is a Bridge

Copyright©2019. Photo by Ciao Bella Photography.

The Houston Signing was excellent. It was different from my other signings. We had a small crowd but it felt more intimate and personal. What’s better than talking about self-love to a group of Black women? It reminded me of teaching and you know what they say “when you teach you learn twice.” One of the most important lessons I learned is the importance of telling our stories. I wish I had gone deeper into my background during the introduction. I think it would have added a bit more depth.

I was raised on the south side of Chicago in the Robert Taylor Projects, the largest housing project in the world and one of the poorest urban communities in the United States (second only to Cabrini Green). I’ve seen things most people only read about or watch in hood movies. I know what it’s like to grow up around drug addicts and gangs. I got my own war wounds. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been hungry. I know what it’s like to be depressed and sad. Keep Yourself Full is not a regurgitation of the latest Social Media Self-love Guru. Keep Yourself Full exist because I know what it’s like to feel empty.

This kind of vulnerability helps us to be more relatable with others and capable of helping people who are where we were to see living proof that overcoming is not just a word: it actually is possible. If we consider ourselves healed and whole, how did we get that way? What lessons have we learned? We didn’t always know what we know today and preaching and browbeating rarely works…

…but stories do.

Tell your story. Let people know how you got here. Stories help us to connect more with others. It humanizes us and makes people open to hearing our perspective.

Your testimony is a bridge.


More photos of the signing will be uploaded to my website soon. yecheilyahysrayl.com/photos

3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight 2019: Buddah Desmond

 

Welcome to the blog Buddah and congratulations! Your poem, “Claiming Victory” was so uplifting it won you the #2 spot. Please tell us, what inspired this piece?

This poem was inspired by the challenges many of us face in believing in ourselves and doing what’s necessary to fulfill our purpose and achieve our dreams. Too often we think we’re not good enough. Too often we think we don’t have what it takes to make it. Too often we allow the noise, conditioning, and all the junk we’ve been fed by external forces to negatively impact our outlook and our ability to act. When we’re able to change our mindset, own all of who we are, and shed all of which hasn’t served us, we’re unstoppable. That’s when we can embrace abundance. And claim our victory!

“People get caught up on the highs, peaks,
and successes
They don’t see what went down in the valleys
What it took to get up, get out, and rise again
It’s what we’ve been through—
the periods between life’s highs and lows—
that make us so resilient
We can’t concede
We have to keep on”

-Excerpt from “Claiming Victory.”

As one of the top winners you get a full interview so go ahead and get comfortable. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Water…wine?

Thank you. May I have water please?

Copyright©2019. Buddah Desmond

Certainly!

Now, let’s start from the top. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us your name and where you’re from.

My name is Buddah Desmond (aka BDez). I was born in Washington, DC. Was raised in P.G. County MD (primarily in Forestville, MD and Greenbelt, MD). I currently reside in Alexandria, VA.

That’s very specific Buddah lol.

LOL, yes. I know. I can’t help it. Just call me Mr. Specificity. LOL

Soo Mr. Specificity, are you employed outside of writing?

Yes, I am a User Experience (UX) professional with over 13 years of experience crafting timely, intuitive, and forward-thinking solutions to improve the overall usability / UX of websites, apps, and services for non-profit, commercial, and government clients. My specialties include user research and analysis, user-centered design, user experience design, usability testing, content strategy, and information architecture. I’m also a health and wellness coach. Finished my masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health earlier this year. I’m in the process of completing my hours and studying to become a certified Nutritionist, and in the very early stages of starting my health and wellness coaching practice.

Wow. Congratulations on all your endeavors! With all this, what was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream (and still my dream today) was to be a Renaissance man… To be able to pull from my many talents, do work that matters, and to make a difference. I’m striving to achieve this mission still to this day.

What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

A number of favorites here, but one show that continues to be at the top of my list is Queen Sugar. The writing, acting, cinematography, the landscape, and the issues that are addressed with each episode—it’s phenomenal. I love everything that Ava DuVernay has done. She’s a gem. A national treasure. The epitome of Black Girl Magic! In terms of film, Black Panther has been sitting at the top of my movie list since it’s opening weekend. What an inspiring, impactful, and empowering film. A classic. Ryan Coogler did that!

He did indeed. We love music on The PBS Blog. What kind of music do you like?

Music is my first love. I come from a family that deeply loves, appreciates, and respects music. A number of us, myself included, are musically inclined. I have an eclectic taste in music. I love Jazz, R&B/Soul, Hip-Hop, Gospel, Classical, Reggae, Dancehall, Afrobeat, Latin, Country, and Rock… Music is an undeniably powerful and universal art form. Life wouldn’t be the same without it.

We agree there. Speaking of the Universe, with a name like Buddah I have to ask, religious or nah?

No, I’m not religious. I’m more of a spiritual being. I believe in the Most High… The Divine Creator of our universe that ties us all together. I’ve always been fascinated by religion though, and learning about how people worship, where they worship, their sacred texts, and the similarities / differences between the guiding principles we abide by.

Let’s talk about writing a bit. Favorite writer. Go.

These questions are always tough because it’s a rarity that I can ever narrow down to just one favorite of anything. LOL!

I knew I’d get you eventually.

Okay. I’m done. Carry on.

I have so many favorite writers. Maya Angelou. Langston Hughes. Nikki Giovanni. Sonia Sanchez. Saul Williams. James Baldwin. Toni Morrison. Alice Walker. Terry McMillan. Yrsa Daley-Ward. Nayyirah Waheed. Lucille Clifton. June Jordan. Janet Mock. Ntozake Shange. Devon Franklin. Octavia Butler. Amiri Baraka. Haki Madhubuti. Zora Neale Hurston. I could keep going, but I’ll stop there.

What genre do you write in, why?

My primary genre is poetry. I also write prose, essays, short stories, song lyrics, and blogposts. There’s a universality and musicality to the language of poetry. I couldn’t deny it when I first started reading it. And definitely couldn’t deny it when I started writing it. I think Amiri Baraka said it best, “Poetry is music, and nothing but music. Words with musical emphasis.”

I absolutely agree. It’s like poetry has this ability to bring out the depth in us in ways nothing else can.

YES! Poetry gives us the freedom to get soul-deep to tell our stories in such extraordinary ways.

Soul-deep. I like that. Yess.

The beauty is that we can each write a poem in any form about the same topic, emotion, or experience, and it can be embraced and interpreted quite differently by readers. What we as writers get out of it may be worlds away from what our readers get out of it. And that’s amazing. Truly amazing. Poetry has the power to change minds, and change lives.

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I self-published my first volume of poetry, Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics, in June 2012 through iUniverse. The experience was exhilarating, rewarding, frustrating, so many things. When I made the decision to publish my manuscript, I had a “no turning back” attitude. I was at a point in my life where it was imperative to go all in for the things I wanted. I couldn’t be mad at anyone but myself if I didn’t put in the effort or work to make my dreams come true. And I’m grateful I did. Publishing Prevail afforded many opportunities for growth and development, reading and speaking at a number of events, and connecting with other writers, creatives, and readers alike. Not to mention, many learning lessons about building a platform, social media, and book marketing and promotion.

Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics is available now on Amazon.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

That’s a great question. Hmmm… The most difficult thing would be pushing through writer’s block. Or periods when you really want to write, but the muse, inspiration, or motivation is sorely lacking. The most exciting thing is the freedom of expression. Being able to create you own world or worlds. New possibilities. And the blessings of your work opening minds, speaking for those whose voices aren’t being heard, and making deep, meaningful connections with a larger audience.

Nice. Buddah, what is humility?

Humility is quiet confidence. It’s being comfortable in who you are, your abilities, and what you bring to the table without being rude, brash, egotistical, or narcissistic. It’s also about being open to change and possibilities. And knowing that your way, whatever it may be, is not the only way.

What is love?

Love is one of the greatest emotions. It’s more than just deep feelings for something or someone. It’s in the actions. It’s all in what you do (or don’t do). Love can be life changing. Life-saving even. It’s unconditional. As I wrote in a recent piece, “I am nothing without love. I am everything with love.”

Beautiful. Thank you Buddah for spending this time with us. We certainly enjoyed you.

Be Sure to Follow Buddah Desmond below and look out for his piece, “Claiming Victory” in the 2nd Edition Lit Mag Literary Magazine, 2020.

Copyright© 2019 BuddahDesmond

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buddahdesmond/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuddahDesmond/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/buddahdesmond

Website: http://buddahdesmond.com/

Get the Book: Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics


Stay glued guys! Our first place winner is coming up!

Hit subscribe so you don’t miss it!

 

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<<<

The Inspiration of Alex Haley’s Roots

My one and only classic 1976 original version of Roots: The Saga of an American Family
 
It took Alex Haley 12 years to finish Roots: The Saga of an American Family, known widely as simply, Roots. The book shot straight to the top of the bestseller charts, and the twelve-hour mini-series (Jan. 1977) was watched by 130 million people. They translated the book into 37 languages; it won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and sales soared to over 5.5 million.
 
This was not without controversy. No success story is. Haley had to settle a plagiarism suit out of court—that part of his story was copied from a 1967 novel, The African (The Guardian). It was also said there was no documented evidence that the alleged elder he spoke to in the Gambia had been accurate in his account of Kinte. Critics said that if Haley had written Roots as a fiction novel, there would not have been a cause for alarm. “Most of us feel it’s highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village whence his ancestors sprang”, Henry Louis Gates Jr said in 1998, calling Roots “a work of the imagination.” (But if you listen to Haley here, his story is very detailed. It is also consistent with many of his other interviews and speeches about the story of how Roots came about. This is hard to do if you are lying). 
 
Roots is now part of history and the original 1977 TV series awakened a new generation of young Blacks to the horrors of enslavement when movies and television shows about slavery were few and far in-between (both in books and film). While it may seem an over-saturated topic now, in 1977 this was groundbreaking.
 

Enslaved persons had little knowledge of what Haley referred to as “family continuity.” They were sold so much that as adults they came to know little about their family lineage, where they came from and who they were. Roots was therefore something special because Blacks had come out of the Black Power movement of the 60s, had just seen the deaths of Medgar Evers, Martin King, and Malcolm X. Roots was not just the story of one man’s family but the family of all Black people who had been taken captive and robbed of their family tree and any connection to it. It would become a history lesson, a recommended educational film that Black parents will watch with their children with just as much seriousness as their parents forced them to watch The Ten Commandments. Some would even name their children Kunta Kinte.

After Roots, Octavia Butler used time travel to explore slavery in Kindred (1979), Alice Walker used an African subplot (Nettie’s life in Africa) in The Color Purple (1982) which also went on to win a Pulitzer and National Book Award, and Toni Morrison made a fugitive slave her protagonist in Beloved (1987). Beloved was voted the most influential African-American novel of the 20th century in a poll of PBS viewers. But as Frances Smith Foster has pointed out, “in terms of actual audience and effect on politics and policies, Roots has been the most influential such story in the modern era.”

As I listened to the entire 2hours of the clip linked above, I wondered why I was doing this when I had (seemingly) much more important stuff to do. That is until I came to the final hour and fifty something minutes. Here, Haley speaks about how the father’s name the babies at eight days old. In the villages, the people would not see much of the father for seven days because he was spending time with the baby to come up with a good meaningful and significant name. On the eighth day the people would gather at the family’s home. The mother would come out once hearing the signal and sit on the stool and hold the eight-day-old baby. The father would walk over, lift the infant, and whisper the name into the infant’s ear three times.

He would do this so that the infant would be the first one to know who he/she was. This resembles, to me, the ancient practice of circumcision of the male child, and naming of the child, in ancient Israelite culture (Gen 17:12) which I believe is also Black culture. For example, the Ashanti Empire was a powerful Akan empire and kingdom in what is now modern-day Ghana. Ashan was the name of a city in southern Israel. The word Ashan in Hebrew means “smoke” “smoke city” or “burning city” so that Ashanti means “the people of Ashan or the people of the smoke city”. This was a reference to the city of Ashan after the Israelites took it over during the conquest of Canaan (1 Ch 4:32, 1 Ch 6:59). The Ashanti people had many Hebrew customs and traditions as part of their way of life. For eight days after the birth of a child, it is only on the eighth day that the child receives his/her personal name.

It was here that I had discovered the purpose of my listening to this piece in its entirety. I believe this to be such a powerfully subtle telling of who we, so-called Blacks in America, truly are. For the customs of the Hebrews is something that can still be found among many African cultures such as the Ashan. 

Roots is a powerful example of why we shouldn’t give up on whatever we are striving toward. It inspires me as a writer and as a person of the fruits of patience and of perseverance. While Roots has had (and continues to have) much success, remember that it took Haley 12 years to complete (one whole year from Kunta’s birth to capture… which could be a book by itself). 

Think about that the next time you worry about that book taking too long to finish.

Twelve. Whole. Years.

7 Free and Easy Ways to Support Me (and the rest of your Indie Author Friends)

As I tell people in person, support is not just financial. Here are 7 Easy and Free Ways to Support Me (and the rest of your Indie Author Friends):

  1. Follow this blog

  2. Post a review to any of my books you have read but not reviewed yet (See them all here)

  3. Add my books (or me) on Goodreads. My page is here. (Add a book by marking it as Want to Read)

  4. Join my email list here for first-notice updates on new books, Indie Author news articles and other information.

  5. Follow me on Instagram here

  6. Like my Facebook page here. Already liked the page? Leave a Recommendation/Review

  7. Follow me on Twitter at @ahouseofpoetry

 

You can substitute my information for any of your favorite Indie Authors!


Don’t forget my short story, “Even Salt Looks Like Sugar,” is available now in audio!

Click Here to start listening.

The Weight of Writing

Photo by Pulkit Jain on Unsplash

The weight of what we write. The ability to influence the direction of a decision. To direct the path of someone’s life for better or for worse. The responsibility of altering a person’s state of mind. Isn’t it blood on our hands if we do it wrong? People watch and people mimic. Can we be counted on to be saviors and not devils? Heavy is the pen. This is the weight of writing.