Your (Fake) Sensitivity

Listen… real quick… one of these kids IS NOT unlike the others! And just because the one little Black girl’s hair in it’s natural state is not long or straight, that doesn’t make this racist or mean that she was being mistreated. They ALL look disheveled about the head.

So two weeks ago or more, school started around the country and people were making posts about how neat their kids are before school and how they look like they’ve been through a tsunami after school…

So when I saw this H&M ad that originally singled out the Black child, I first thought of these before-after pictures. All the children in the H&M ad look like the after. ALL THE CHILDREN! So once I started reading I was appalled at the idea that her hair looked uncombed and unkempt and was “wrong”. But when I looked at the entire ad campaign, my suspicions that this pic was a play on the before-after were validated. But y’all kept going off.

“And that’s when my sensitivity gets in the way”-Luther Vandross

And this time my people, y’all are WRONG!

No matter how great thou, thou arguments, and thou commentary art, all of the children in that ad are fine just the way they are styled. ALL THE CHILDREN. Understand when we are talking about children it is imperative that they be treated equitably and equally and made to feel like their difference is okay. It is adults who are complicated and need all this complex shit because we complicate it in the first place. The most basic idea of discrimination and racism is how we are treated because of our difference.

So when these kids were being styled, all of their hair was in a state of disarray. To brush and comb and make neat the Black girls tight coils… or to smooth down and lengthen her texture, cuz that’s what all the appalled people really want… when that was not done to the other children, teaches her that her hair is not good enough to even be photographed as is. That after a long day of playing she should be ashamed of her natural state. Nope. Nope. Nope.

They are all just fine. They are children, they are in an ad campaign “Picture Day Style” and “Recess Fresh” …none of their hair is perfect. I had long ponytails and smooth hair by nature but recess turned into a different wild situation all together, and we don’t discuss picture day. Wanting her hair beat into submission is ridiculous and wrong. We speak of colorism often as this internal bias, and our hair being a source of external bias. But clearly we are just as internally biased about hair texture. She should know that how she is hair smooth and ponytails puffed out into perfect rounds is the same beautiful she is with her thick tight coils gathered. And you should check your foolishness. I love y’all but you’re dead wrong on this one. Say no to hairism.

We gotta stop trying to FIND racism. It doesn’t hide yo! Cultural insensitivity is not necessarily racist, but it should be minimized by company’s marketing team by hiring more people of color to inform them. But this, is neither. Check that fake outrage and sensitivity and call it what it really is… an internal bias. Y’all wanted to see her hair styled, and for Black people, women especially, that’s all hair laid down smooth and gathered into a lengthened puff or braid or braided down neatly. That wasn’t the point of the photo. So get over it, and again, check yourself.

All children deserve to be celebrated before and after. ALL THE CHILDREN!

Baby girl is a beautiful Black princess!

“Black pearl, precious little girl
Let me put you up where you belong
Black pearl, pretty little girl
You’ve been in the background much too long” -Sonny Charles and the Checkmates

Dichotomous Reality

Do you acknowledge your privilege!?

Do you realize and own the set of variables that makes you a HAVE versus a HAVE NOT?

Everything is not just black and white. Those charcoals, smokes, pewters, and ashes represent everything and everyone in between. It benefits the ultimate systems of wealth in this country to include some of the typical outliers into it’s horn of plenty. What groups do you belong to that separate you and give you an upper hand based on no real work on your part. That’s privilege.

Chances are, if you are successful and stable, some unearned privilege was bestowed upon you by birthright that helped put you on a journey to more. If you have fared better than your ancestors, if you share characteristics with the HAVES, chances are you are a HAVE in some dichotomous reality.

Both a HAVE and a HAVE NOT, but handing down more HAVEs than nots. We are products of our privilege, as will be our children.

I give you the story of my child.

Yesterday was his first day of high school at my alma mater, if you read my blogs you know it well, Renaissance High School, Home of the Phoenix. We Soar. A Detroit Public High School of Excellence… ask about us.

Anyway, his uniform is khaki pants and a white or maroon collared shirt. He can wear the shoes of his choice, so this summer we stocked up on J’s… Jordan Sneakers. I work everyday, I own stock, it’s my money, so yes I buy my son Jordan’s. Anyway… he has blue and white, beige and white, all beige, gray and red, and several pairs of other shoes he can wear. It’s a collection to be proud of when you are only 14 and wear a 13 shoe. So when he donned his maroon shirt and beige and white boys, he looked down and had a full blown MELT DOWN! “I can’t wear these shoes, these only go with THE WHITE SHIRTS…”

Jesus be a color wheel.

My child hasn’t yet learned the fine art of neutrals and color matching with different hues of the same color. So he lost it. He demanded we go get some maroon shoes. Sir… no. And then he said it…

“But you HAVE MONEY!”

Hahaaaaaaa! Yes, young padawan, I have money. You have no job, beer money, and Ace of Spades dreams. Especially if you think I’m buying another pair of sneakers because you don’t know your colors. My dude…

So, we had a gentle but firm discussion about privilege in the car, and my desires to give him every single thing he needs, but his responsibility, in light of that privilege, to participate in having his wants met. You had all summer to mow lawns and make some money… all the opportunity and access is available to you. I had to work hard to ensure you have things easier than me… but it still won’t be easy.

That’s the dichotomy

Race. White people generally have access to and come from privilege versus people of color. We outrank them in lack… of education, poverty, wages, and overall absence of wealth. In 2019 we still have firsts, because we’ve been left out of the system for 400 years, and treated as a tertiary class, treated worse than most people, a lot of things, and some animals. While that is our American history, it’s not fully our present.

Color. If you are come from a lot of any combination of educated, lighter skinned, middle class or higher, professional network of individuals, chances are you are a HAVE. And while people with lighter skin are STILL looked at as less threatening and/or “less Black” by those in power, so we tend to get access that our darker skinned brothas and sistas don’t always get. A sad but true reality that has its basis in slavery. But as we embrace our own melanin, and don’t make excuses for it or degrade it, we can rise up in our collective power.

Class. Within many communities of color, particularly the African American community, people who come from educated people tend to go to better schools, go on to college, and have a network of people to rely on professionally whether through familial channels or their own organizations, groups, and friends. Financial stability and professionalism just keep pushing you further up the totem. The system of capitalism that creates this spectrum is based on keeping you a Have by keeping others a Have not. That’s the way. But no matter your lane, unless you create your own, rarely do we reach that top head of the totem. It’s not impossible, but it often calls for us to be sacrificial.

So after school, my child, his father, and I sat down to have a conversation. He said he had to get a gym uniform. I took the money out and handed it to him. He said his shoe hurt his foot and he needed insoles, and his father said they’d go get them tomorrow. We discussed lunch and a variety of topics, all that cost, of course. The minute we asked him about something he needed to do, he had an excuse and all this unnecessary commentary about why it didn’t get done.

We let off a lot of rah rah that basically ended with this lesson:

Recognize your privilege. It didn’t come easy for us, came much harder for our parents, was damn near impossible but it happened for our grandparents, and was denied to our great-grandparents. Just four generations away from the very denial of your intellectual humanity and financial success. This is basically handed to you. But you have to EARN that next stage. Period. You can be better than us by birthright only or better than us by birth and by hustle. That birthright is for your first name, that hustle, as Dame Dash would say, is for your last name. It allows you to pass the torch.

My great grandparents planted the sycamore tree. My grandparents got shade under it once in awhile on their walk. Our parents got to have picnics under that tree, shielded at important times from the elements. We sat under the sycamore. Planted flowers around it, climbed it, found our way around it. Hustled from the tree to behind a wood desk with our names on plaques decorating the walls. Our children get to be leaders, creators, visionaries because of the paper we made by the shade of that tree. That makes them more sicker … Masters of their Class.

Teach your children about privilege. Acknowledge your own, but make it clear that the trees that shade us, the privileges we bestowed upon them, have blood on the root and blood on the leaves. Shit didn’t come easy. Just 400 years in, we have gone from property to buying the property we built for free. Racism still exists. Colorist still exists, but we have more power over our class than ever before. We have come so far, yet have so far to go. They find themselves in the best position yet. Yet their privilege yields a sense of entitlement, to entitlements they simply were not born with. For them to get to that next level, they are going to have to sacrifice as well… in blood and sweat!

-Thank you to Anika McEvans for the topic! She’s an awesome mom and motivator. Ask her about #teamnotuition in the comments.

Beware of … Heartbreak while Mothering

“No need to run from heartache….”

If you are over 18, you have had your heart broken. By the time you get to 40, it’s not even heart break in it’s same form. Things will break your heart that aren’t just about unrequited love… your capability being questioned, your worth being doubted, your intellect being taken advantage of… based on the many characters you play in your life. I had been thinking about my last real heartbreak, and how I got past it. And one thing was for sure, that having to sit in the middle of that while still being needed was hard as hell.

There is a real need to give your all to your own healing. Yet the reality of being unable because someone else you have committed yourself to, your child, never stops needing you! And while both parents can surely understand, the nurturing that mother’s do, that we are often struggling to give ourselves, especially in a moment of heartbreak… becomes like pulling a knife out of a wound. You risk bleeding out or internal damage that can’t be reversed.


There is NOTHING harder than coming together in partnership with another human… fulfilling and worth it perhaps, but difficult! So when we find time to make ourselves available to a man, it is with intention and purpose… that most of us make clear from jump! Whether long term commitment to marriage, no ones mother is trying to date any man’s ass forever and a day. So they put in work, to woo us, but eventually their representative goes back into hiding and their true self emerges. Undependable, unavailable (emotionally or otherwise), untrustworthy, and just plain ole unnecessary! True to form it’s only once we have expended hours worth of time and invested a heart full of emotion… and we find our hearts being chipped away at like delicate fine china.

“Spreading fast and there’s no cure.”


Being black, female and intelligent is to be constantly questioned by idiots afraid you might outshine them. Your valedictorian and honor cords, plaques on the wall, the As and Bs in classes that they could only hope to pass, and your brain full of knowledge of everything from Socrates and the Pythagorean theory, to the Bantu expansion and the effect in colonialism on African kingdoms… minimized in the presence of privilege. Having to fight for opportunity, promotion, equal pay, diversity, and inclusion. Being accused, ignored, spoken down to, and talked over. Even being mistreated by your own… crabs in a bucket. Having your intellectual success sabotaged and your mental acuity demeaned is the ultimate sign of disrespect, but when paired with systematic racism and sexism, it’s a knife to the temple.

“It’s gonna get ya…”


Who you calling a bitch…

I tried to dance it away…

I need freedom too…

Why am I alive anyway?

I am not your expectations…

I just want a chance to fly…

We gave you birth…

U-N-I-T-Y …

The plight of a sista in today’s world is to be both celebrated and denigrated. We see ourselves at the top, yet know the very real pain that being at the top reveals. This country still harbors hate towards us, because we are both female and Black. We want to celebrate ourselves but not so loudly that we’ll have to hear that hate. What a troubled spot to be placed in… yet, we continue to be dope as absolute fuck! It’s amazing actually… to be this fine, this smart, this amazing, this successful… in this body. Once, and still by many, only considered a portion of the privileged. Yet we rise from the ashes, but not without burns and scars. Both upon our flesh and upon our hearts. It’s both heartbreaking and fantastic to be a Black woman in the United States in 2018.

“Gonna get ya for sure!”

We need space and room to heal, to talk, to scream, to cry, to celebrate, to rejoice… to be open and to feel … but when LJ has a fever, Megan cannot get her Barbie’s head back on, Travis just got suspended, and Kennedy needs a new dress for homecoming… or someone just needs your time… mothers often don’t get that space and time. All mothers. I only speak from my experience as a Black woman, but I’m well aware that any woman living in this day and this political age is living in a scary time warp. Many of us are fighting Patriarchal Satan in the flesh, and when you add the other roles we play, including mother as the star of the show, self-care can be a daunting task. A broken heart doesn’t heal with crazy glue… only time heals that type of wound. When a broken hearted mother falls… all the Kings horses and all the King’s men can’t put her back together. Only Time and Forgiveness…

And that often feels like you are neglecting the very people who need you most… taking the time you need to heal your pain and closing off just enough to do the introspection you need to forgive yourself for allowing the pain and to forgive the source of your pain for the disappointment. But rest assured, no one can drink from an empty cup, and if you don’t first fill your cup, with self-love, forgiveness, space, time, solitude, and patience… there is nothing left to give! Be gentle with yourself, and soon you’ll start to see yourself as the Wonder(ful) Woman your children know you to be.

“She got it goin on!”

Lyrics by New Edition, N.E. Heartbreak

The Children are Our Future

There are many programs available to help adults navigate their health and change their eating and living habits to promote wellness. The Black Health Academy, the brainchild of founder, Lisa A. Smith, is one of the most comprehensive of these programs, offering masterclasses in exercise, plant based eating, mental health, and community education to assist African-Americans to eradicate chronic health concerns and live healthy lives. For the many of us who use coaches, trainers, nutritionists, and sites like The Black Health Academy. (1)

Dr. Latisha N. Carter-Blanks, MD, MPH is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics The University of Michigan Medical School and a Pediatric Clinician at Michigan Medicine Northville Health Center. Dr, Carter-Blanks is a Black Woman who was educated in Detroit Public Schools and received her medical degree at Wayne State University, so she is well versed in the urban experience and the importance of promoting health to children in our community. I spoke with Dr. Carter-Blanks about promoting health and wellness, and her medical opinion was right on par with the research.

What made you want to be a doctor?

LNCB: I always knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was around age 3 years old.

What called you to pediatrics?

LNCB: I had an awesome pediatrician growing up, Dr. William C. Heath. I think he played a role in me wanting to become a pediatrician.. I almost did Med/Peds which is the practice of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, but I fast realized that I didn’t like non-compliant adults. I am also a big advocate of preventive care/medicine and that is 99% of what we do in pediatrics.

When you see a child patient, what is your ultimate goal for them?

LNCB: My goal is to grow up healthy children who will in turn become healthy adults.

Is there a formula for promoting healthy children that parents can follow or seek to improve in their child’s life?

LNCB: To have a healthy child, you must first nurture them. I think being active in your child’s life and showing them through actions that you care about them makes a world of difference in terms of healthy development. Without this a child cannot grow physically or emotionally. Secondly a healthy child is one that is active. We have to encourage our children to become more active. Whether it’s having a dance party in your living room or playing on a sports team, active bodies help sustain active minds. Finally healthy children must be safe. Children can’t be healthy if they don’t feel safe. If you can’t go out and play because they are shooting on your block you can’t get active. If you don’t feel safe your mental and physical health will suffer.

If you had to define a healthy child, what characteristics would that child have?

LNCB: A healthy child is one who is physically and mentally sound. One that has someone to nurture them, a safe environment to grow in and a healthy amount of activity.

So there you have it, the tools to ensuring our future doctors, lawyers, wellness professionals, and writers live a happy and healthy life! Nurturing your children by being an active parent who shows them the power of making positive decisions and the joys of life through your actions, protecting them from harm, and encouraging physical activity to keep their minds and bodies strong and healthy are the keys of health to opening a fruitful life! Additionally, being adults who promote health, much like founder Lisa A. Smith and Dr. Carter-Blanks, we provide our children with models of Black professionals who are dedicated to the improvement of our community health! The Black Health Academy “loves the kids”, and Dr. Carter-Blacks is “for the children”!!!!

“Teach them well, and let them lead the way”
(excerpt from the Greatest Love of All written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed)

1. BMC Public Health, 2015,


First Publushed at The Black Health Academy site.