Daily Prayer: For Healing

As I navigate this plight across the Afrikan Diaspora, I am in constant need of inspiration.  You will find here a passage from Paul Laurence Dunbar – a reminder that once you have honored the struggle with action, then take the time to heal.  Dunbar was a courageous and brilliant poet.  His works are truly inspirational.  Salaam.

O Lord, the hard-won miles

Have worn my stumbling feet:

Oh, soothe me with thy smiles,

And make my life complete.

The thorns were thick and keen

Where’er I trembling trod;

The way was long between

My wounded feet and God.

Where healing waters flow

Do thou my footsteps lead.

My heart  is aching so;

Thy gracious balm I need.

– Paul Laurence Dunbar


Quote from We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile…

Verses: Knocking off the Nerves

Whenever I feel the heavy burdens of life I reach out to a hip-hop verse that I know pretty well.  It gives me a familiar feeling and I feel powerful because I know the verse so well.

Quick tip:  As I sat in the car waiting to interview for my current librarian position, I listened to this song and it totally put me at ease.  Worked like a charm.  It’s a great way to knock off the nerves.

One of my favorite verses from one of my favorite groups  –

What’s Yours?

Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice

Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice…

Mos DEF:  Yo, I’m sure that everybody out listenin’ agree
That everything you see ain’t really how it be
A lot of jokers out runnin’ in place, chasin the style
Be a lot goin’ on beneath the empty smile
Most cats in my area be lovin’ the hysteria
Synthesized surface conceals the interior
America, land of opportunity, mirages and camouflages
More than usually — speakin’ loudly, sayin’ nothin’
You confusin’ me, you losin’ me
Your game is twisted, want me enlisted — in your usary
Foolishly, most men join the ranks cluelessly
Buffoonishly accept the deception, believe the perception
Reflection rarely seen across the surface of the lookin’ glass
Walkin’ the street, wonderin’ who they be lookin’ past
Lookin’ gassed with them imported designer shades on
Stars shine bright, but the light — rarely stays on
Same song, just remixed, different arrangement
Put you on a yacht but they won’t call it a slave ship
Strangeness, you don’t control this, you barely hold this
Screamin’ brand new, when they just sanitized the old shit
Suppose it’s, just another clever Jedi mind trick
That they been runnin’ across stars through all the time with
I find it’s distressin’, there’s never no in-between
We either niggaz or Kings
We either bitches or Queens
The deadly ritual seems immersed, in the perverse
Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts
Long barrel automatics released in short bursts
The length of black life is treated with short worth
Get yours first, them other niggaz secondary
That type of illin’ that be fillin’ up the cemetery
This life is temporary but the soul is eternal
Separate the real from the lie, let me learn you
Not strong, only aggressive, cause the power ain’t directed
That’s why, we are subjected to the will of the oppressive
Not free, we only licensed
Not live, we just excitin’
Cause the captors.. own the masters.. to what we writin’
Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained
Our sincerity’s rehearsed in stage, it’s just a game
Not good, but well behaved cause the ca-me-ra survey
most of the things that we think, do, or say
We chasin’ after death just to call ourselves brave
But everyday, next man meet with the grave
I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy
I’m tryin’ to live life in the sight of God’s memory
Like that y’all

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Check out the song…

Hip Hop, Is that YOU?!?

You all already know why I’m asking that question, right?  

For the past decade or more, rap music has become outright terrifying.  I was just about to hang it up!  Talib went Tweet, twat mad, Busta Bus falling off stages (with the Luvs my CoCo dude – No!!!) Yasin Bey b.k.a. Mos Def fled the country (that’s all good), but then announced his retirement?  Afrika Bambatta accused of molestation?!?  Damn.  I even saw new claims of Tupac being alive.  We got desperate, ya’ll.

But then I saw Team Backpack and 16yo Astro on Sway and I felt blood going back into my toes.  Then I saw Gza in concert, then Grand Master Flash…  Then Netflix stepped in with the documentaries like Sample This, Art of Organized Noise, and then Luke Cage emerged with the genius of Ali Shaheed Muhammad, then The Get Down, and I was like, Okay!  My fingers started tingling.

And then there was… Continue reading

“Pessimism is a Self-Fulfilling Malady”

Doubt – Death – Disillusion?  

I have grown tired of living in a world full of hate and hurt.  Whenever I begin to break out of such limited thinking and living, I found that so many negative energies seemingly exist just to put me back.  I’m often reminded that…

“Pessimism is a Self-Fulfilling Malady” 

orlando-patterson

That was the profound quote that stuck with me from the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.  The quote came from professor Orlando Patterson, co-author and editor of The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth.  His speech was powerful and best of all, unapologetic.  Dr. Patterson is 76 years of age, and even though I may not agree with every word that he says or writes, it is refreshing and empowering to hear an elder speak with such courage.   Check out this article on Patterson and The Cultural Matrix. Continue reading

Front Row at Alvin Ailey’s!

(So, this happened a year ago – but the experience is long-lasting)  

Yep, I splurged a little, made a quick road trip to downtown Toledo, OH and was escorted by ushers to the FIRST ROW of the Valentine Theatre.  After a short wait, popcorn and a whiskey sour, the lights went out, and the performance began.  Grant it, this was Ailey II, the younger crew of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, but they are amazing just the same. Continue reading

Daily Prayer: For Our Children

Defend Lord,

these Thy children

in all their work

and all their prayer.

Spread among them the desire to know

and learn and do.

Let them grow in the capacity

for worthy work and in all their working and thinking let them not forget the host of witnesses about them –

those that love and those that inspire –

and may they in the end prove worthy of their great heritage.

Amen.  (Ashe’)

– W.E.B. DuBois

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From Prayers For Dark People

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