Movement and Music: We Are at War with Ourselves

Last night the BET Awards aired live from the Microsoft Theater. As usual they held no punches when it came to star factor (although the the hosting and some of the scripting between awards was a little meh) all of the big names past and present were there from Bey to Future. There were several Prince tributes mingled in, but the highlight of the night was the stunningly beautiful speech delivered by Jesse Williams of Grey’s Anatomy. 

Everybody’s MCM. Photo courtesy of Instagram @ijessewilliams

His acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award for his efforts and contribution to the Black Lives Matter Movement was more than a speech. 

It was a war cry. It was a lament.

It was a slap in face to the justice system of America and a blow to the gut to White corporate America for making money off of us. 

He even decimated the his colleagues in the entertainment field for the proliferation of the white captiolist ideology that continues to keep us shackled, “Now dedicating our lives to get money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body, when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.” 

The audience rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation, but the party continued. 

That’s when I thought about the inherent connection between the music and the movement. We are not just at war with white America. We are at war with ourselves if we can celebrate trappin’ and Jesse Williams at the same time.  The conflict is within our own community. 

Don’t worry I’m not throwing stones. I was dabbing with Desiigner like I got broads in Atlanta and know credit scammers and I was All the Way Up with Remy Ma like I just got released from prison and own a Birkin. Seriously though, what will it take to sustain the evolution and Revolution that Williams spoke about?

 It’s going to take us.

 Musicians and artists who will use not only their platform to speak like they have sense, but actually pen music and write stories that match the resistance like the artists of the Civil Rights did. We need new versions of “Strange Fruit”and images of ourselves that we will not allow to be appropriated or fetishized even by our own people (Trap Soul, really?). 

If Black Lives Matter they must matter to us first. You are what eat and music is food for the soul. I hope that Williams’ speech combined with Beyoncé (I’m cringing while typing this I am not in the BeyHive and I want her to please tell someone about Fuerza Bruta she is not the inventor of dancing in water, but digress this about unity) and Kendrick Lamar’s Freedom performance will stir something inside of every black artist to reclaim the freedom that seems to be slipping away through their art.

Or maybe I’m asking for too much? What do you think the role of the artist black or white is in America? 

Click here to read the speech. Click here to view the speech. 

Born at Dawn Soundtrack: Cynthia’s Anthem “Pause” by Lisa McClendon

While tuning in to my Christian Fiction shero, Michelle Stimpson conduct an interview tonight I heard the song “Pause” by Lisa McClendon and it was like a double scoop of blessings. After having Michelle not only minister to my personal life and minister to my professional career as an author I then heard a song that not only captures the frustration that many women feel, but gives Cynthia, the protagonist of Born at Dawn a voice. I shared this song with a friend on Facebook and she said “Pause” will be on the Born at Dawn soundtrack “when it is optioned for a movie” or the stage play should I chose to do that. Music is one of the minor characters in the novel and I can’t wait to share other songs with you, but for now please enjoy Cynthia’s anthem, “Pause” by Lisa McClendon and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Born at Dawn 


Moms on the Run: Why do Moms take off?

Photo Credit, Deviant Art
Photo Credit, Deviant Art

Blame it on choice. Blame it on chance. Blame it on circumstance. Blame it on their finances.  Regardless of the cause  moms are on the run and they’re running away from their families. In a recent interview on the Sharvette Mitchell Radio Show this week I was asked about Cynthia Barclay, the protagonist of Born at Dawn, decision to abandon her responsibilities not only to her husband, but to her children as well and run away. While Cynthia’s decision seems unfathomable in many of our eyes it is a reality presented in Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?…” and it is becoming an increasing reality in our country. The number of children being raised solely by their fathers was up to two million in 2011 based on statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

One of the most recent and publicized cases of a mother running away was Brenda Heist who dropped her children off at school one day and did not return. According to an article by Erik Ortiz, Heist ran away due to the distress brought on by an impending divorce and the stark reality that she would soon become the sole provider for her family. When she returned home after eleven years Heist was not greeted by a marching band. Her daughter lashed out publicly and basically said you should have stayed where you were at because we’re dong fine without you.

Barbara Heist Photo Courtesy of Fox Tampa Bay
Barbara Heist Photo Courtesy of Fox Tampa Bay

Did she deserve to be welcomed home or chastised for abandoning her responsibility to her then eleven year old son and eight year old daughter?

Regardless of what we think of these women’s decision there is a great promise connected to their absenteeism from God. The rest of verse fifteen of Isaiah forty-nine gores on to say “yea, they [mothers] may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

Sound-off: What do you think is the leading cause behind mother’s abandoning their families? Is their any justification for a woman abandoning their family? What do you think should be done to help them? Be sure to pre-order Born at Dawn to find out how the Barclay’s handle Cynthia’s disappearance.