Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank You First Lady Michelle Obama

Thank you First Lady for staying true to yourself and remaining focused on your goals of health and fitness for both children and adults.  You are a shining example of courage and the beauty that illuminates from you is a positive role model not only for black women, but for women around the world.

Far too often, black women are attacked for their natural physical features which oddly are imitated by every race of women.  Besides our exquisite features, we are intelligent, talented, creative and spiritual women who have remained strong throughout history to preserve a culture of greatness.

We should not allow the ignorance of others to capture our minds in an attempt to unravel all the good we have contributed to the past and future of the world.  Yes, some of us to have “large posteriors” but our bodies do not define who we are.  Black women should refuse to embrace media images that suggest to us that the three percent of women we see on TV, movies, and magazines should determine what ninety-seven percent of women should look like, wear and even how we feel.

I applaud First Lady Michelle Obama who refuses to allow negative media to distract her from her goals of encouraging healthy lifestyles.  I support her efforts against childhood obesity, improved education and setting a prime example of family values.  You are Divine in Your Skin! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Are You a Difference Maker?

During this season of reflection, many people ponder the question, “Where am I today?” Some review the year past and think, “Wow! What a great year,” while others eagerly look forward to the next year, with anticipation of better times.

Some years ago, during my period of reflection, I read an editor’s magazine note which asked the question, “Where are you today?” The author went on to describe how many people are in exactly the same place they were one, five, ten and even fifteen years prior?  Each year, we make resolutions to change among other things; finances, weight, diets, careers and situations.  Some succeed, and others retreat back into the routines that have stalled their progress for many years.

The editor called for readers to make a commitment to move out of situations that keep them in bondage.  Truthfully, the article resonated with me because it was during a period in my life when I was stuck. I felt my business was not growing.  I was losing my creativity and I lived in a city where opportunities came in the form of being accepted by the right cliché.  I was the person the editor was speaking to, but I knew I could not remain in the situation another year.  At that defining moment, I made a resolution to resolve the issues that had not changed in a few years, so that I could move from bondage to freedom.

Resolutions are important to people and most are sincere about making a commitment to change.  I conclude the reason many do not succeed beyond the first few months is the difficulty in leaving your comfort zone.  Transitioning to live outside your comfort zone requires that you submit to making a difference in your life.   A difference maker can meet a need in spite of the condition. A difference maker does not give in to the situation, whether it is losing weight, reducing debt or leaving a negative situation. A difference maker develops a plan, takes actions to improve, increase and progress.  A difference maker realizes the goal may not be reached in one month, six months or even a year, but remains focused on achieving divine order in their life.

Reflection is a great way to begin a renewal process.  If you are honest with yourself during reflection times, you can envision the direction and path needed to elevate your growth.  The good news is opportunity awaits you and the door only closes if you don’t act.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Was Tyler Perry on the Drug, “All About Me?”

Tyler Perry must have been on a drug called “All About Me” when he wrote his open letter to defend the choice of Kim Kardashian for his upcoming movie, “The Marriage Counselor. “ I truly believe Tyler should have the right to cast as he pleases for his movie and from a business perspective; I support him for wanting to expand his reach.  There are, however, precautions for every business decision.

The fact that fans were outraged and disappointed at his selection of Kim for the “small role” should have prompted him to be more compassionate and perhaps listen to his fans more before deciding to be heard in a “comedic” rebuttal, which I failed to see the humor.    To complicate matters more, he defends his choice by stating “millions of youth look up to Kim.”  Most parents should be concerned about that statement. It has long been established that Kim’s background and open life is certainly not one the average parent would want their daughters to emulate.

In actuality, agree or not, Kim does have a black fan base that have watched and supported the Kardashian Family reality series since its inception.  Far too often, the movie and TV industry take the African American audience for granted because research shows our families watch “far too much” TV.  The problem is Kim’s fan base (or not) got so caught up in her reality show being real, they feel disappointed, used and outraged by her marriage “fiasco.”  It was not just black women who were angry, women all around the nation voiced outrage and disgust at the 72 day marriage that was so carefully played out on TV.  The whole engagement and planning was staged as a fantasy wedding, which the average young woman dreams of having someday.  To witness the marriage end abruptly was like crushing a dream. The speculation that Kim and Kris profited from the wedding only added fuel to the fire.

To his majority fan base “Black women”, Tyler Perry’s movies are just as real as life.  I completely understand Tyler casted the role of marriage counselor prior to Kim’s decision to dissolve her marriage, but certainly he should have reconsidered casting someone who had just made a public mockery out of marriage (whether intentional or not)?  Unfortunately, this was poor timing and since the part is supposedly a “small role,” Tyler could have very easily cast Kim in another movie down the road.  Besides, don’t we know from her reality show that Kim is so busy; she did not even have time for her new husband?  I wander if Tyler even talked to Madea about his decision.

Personally, I am more disappointed that the lead role in the movie played by Jurnee Smolet is being overshadowed because of this unnecessary distraction.  Jurnee is a young woman who I have followed since she was a little girl and feel she is a superb “real” actress that Hollywood has underused.  I pray that this movie will allow Jurnee to move to a level of super stardom which is deserving of her skills and talent.

As for Tyler Perry, he will survive.  His letter made very clear that he was not going to change his selection for the role he cast Kim for.  This is not a moral issue for Tyler.  He is determined to expand his reach to a more diverse audience by any means necessary.  In doing so, I hope he does not lose sight of the audience that has provided him the luxury of being in a position to expand.  A quick detox from the “All About Me” drug may be a good remedy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to Attract a Date

Date yourself! Yes, the first step to attracting a date is to realistically look in the mirror and consider if you were on the other side, would you date that person.

The second step is to identity five things that make you fun, interesting and appealing and write them down. If you have problems writing down five action words, you should already know you need help. The next step is to turn the paper over and write down five things you believe may hinder you from potentially attracting dates. The items on the back side of the paper are what we want to work on.

While I have no idea what you wrote on your paper, I am going to assume that I will cover at least some of the items in the content that follows. At this point, I am implementing a disclaimer to inform you that I do not have all the answers. The knowledge that I am going to share is based on my experiences and research. I also want to make clear that this writing is about dating only. We need to practice getting past first tier before we move to the next level.

Dating is a necessity in building relationships. Some married couples believe their return to dating helps to keep their romance alive. Dating is a time to communicate interest through discussions that lead to discovery. This should determine if there is a mutual interest. Dating helps you build a relationship before expectations creep in. For this reason, I believe sex too early in the relationship leads to unrealistic assessments and expectations.

Let's talk about how we get to the point where we are attracting dates with a system I call "Sheila's Rules."Rule one; we need to focus on the right thing. Generally, women focus on meeting someone to love and men focus on having sex. If we pay closer attention to what is said and done during the initial meetings instead of focusing on finding a "soul mate" or "sex mate", we increase our chances of developing more meaningful relationships centered on quality.

Rule two, get out and do something besides your daily routine. Unless you are waiting on the mailman/lady, you will never be seen if you are in the house. Change your everyday routine and incorporate something you have not done before.
  Rule three; always look your very best. Whether you are running an errand, going to the mall or taking a jog around the corner, make sure your hair is combed, clothes neat and breath is fresh. Feeling good about you is an external reflector. Rule four, change that Attitude. A good attitude at the very least makes you approachable. If your attitude says "don't even think about it," most people will not. My best advice is to check the attitude at the door.  Rule five, lift the Restrictions. Whether man or woman, too many restrictions are a turn off and also limits the pool of potential date candidates. Truthfully, too many restrictions are like roadblocks, difficult to get around. Rule six; concentrate on meeting people and not one person. You want to focus on people who enhance and enrich your life. There are so many life-enriching activities that are fun and fulfilling with or without a date.

The very first thing I suggested was to look in the mirror. The mirror is best known for helping you make an assessment of yourself. We should be realistic about what we see. Am I conscious of my physical appearance? Do I need to update or refresh my wardrobe? Do I need to visit a professional hairstylist or barber? Is my conversation diverse, uplifting and positive? Is my external beauty a reflection of my positive inner self?

Sheila's last rule is to give yourself a boost of confidence. Set a goal and own it. Some confidence builders are staying in touch with your spirituality, keep reaching higher and always look for opportunities that bless your life. "Building confidence requires the ability to believe in yourself or whatever the goal is you want to achieve.  Possessing vision and passion encourages you to enrich your life." Have a great date! 

(Some portions of this article include excerpts from my book, All About the Vets, A Sharing of Life Experiences for Women of Honor.) Reprint with permission only.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is Hair Weave the new Diamond?

I’m not kidding and this is no joke.  There is a new and often violent crime wave sweeping the country where thieves are robbing beauty supplies and stylist salons for human hair weave and extensions.  At least one man has been murdered in Michigan when thieves stole packages of hair valued at $10,000 from his shop. Earlier this week and last month in Atlanta, thieves pulled off smash and grab robberies, each valued at approximately $30,000.  The thieves boldly smashed cars into windows of the establishments similar to big diamond heist in movies. Most of the victimized businesses have video recordings, which helped police find the murderers of Jay Shen in Dearborn, Michigan.  Two young people will spend the rest of their lives in prison for that crime.

The popularity of hair weaves and extensions have made the product more desirable by women of all races and walks of life. While hair weave is very often associated with black women, Hollywood’s new elite reality stars have made weave more popular with Caucasian women. The red carpet awards and ceremonies have just as much added hair on the runway as diamonds and pearls.  This celebrity status and overall demand has caused the price to raise as much as $200 a package for some quality of hair. As Chris Rock pointed out in his movie, Good Hair, some black women are paying as much as $1000 to get weaves and stylists have adapted layaway plan to accommodate the demand.

I’m really not so concerned about whom wears weave, what nationality wears it the most or even how much they pay for it. I truly don’t know that much about weave and extensions as I have never worn any.  I am more concerned about who is buying the stolen goods and the fact that people’s lives are at risk both physically and financially.  I would not support a stylist who purchases these stolen goods because that would be assisting a criminal and no one deserves to be victimized because they are selling a product that is in demand.  The more weave crimes that take place, the higher the retail prices will go up to cover the loss.  Please keep this in mind if the weave dealer comes knocking at your door, “Got that Hair.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Destructive Behaviors

Although I did not know much about Amy Winehouse's music, I was saddened to hear of her death. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge of Amy is the very public battle she had with drug and alcohol abuse. Without an official autopsy as of this writing, my assumption is Amy's destructive behavior was most likely the cause of her untimely death.

Amy's struggles were not uncommon, as drug and alcohol abuse has been the demise of far too many young people who choose to live destructive lifestyles. Amy's celebrity status gave her addiction national attention, but what about our youth whose abusive behaviors threaten our communities. In my hometown of Chicago, the big news story on Monday mornings is how many innocent youth were killed over the weekend as a result of someone's poor choices. The future of many promising young men and women are forever lost due to destructive behavior brought about by savage mentalities, ignorance and lack of respect for each other.

Destructive lifestyles are not reserved for youth. We need only look within to discover things we are doing without even recognizing that we are creating a pattern of self-destruction in our own lives and the lives of others. We are plagued with health issues and diseases that often can be combatted with proper diets and exercise, yet we continue to abuse our bodies to the point of no return. Our children are far too often victims of physical and sexual abuse by authority figures ranging from parents to ministers, causing them to live in fear and mental anguish. Our leaders would rather destroy our countries for a piece of the action, rather than seek peaceful solutions for the betterment of all.

Destruction is all around us, yet we are only moved when the media brings attention to the lifestyles of people who really add little value to our everyday existence. Yes, I am sad for Amy Winehouse, her family and fans, but I can only pray that this type of international attention will help so many of us recognize our own destructive behaviors and inspire us create a better life and environment for our future existence.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Land of the Midnight Sun

Check out my new post on about my adventure to Anchorage, Alaska, "The Land of the Midnight Sun"​/storydetail/1151/24

Monday, July 11, 2011

Can We Wait On Love?

While reading an inspirational story one morning, the writer made a point about the need to love and be in a relationship. He reminded readers that having a deeper relationship with God help to nurture loving relationships and told a story about a man who decided to trust that God had someone in mind for him to be his life’s partner. Although he didn’t know who that person was, on those days when he felt most lonely, he wrote love letters to his future spouse. On New Year’s Eve when he had no one to kiss, on Valentine’s Day when he had no one to send him a card, he wrote love letters to “his heart’s desire,” and trusted that God would open his heart and his eyes to the right person. On his wedding day, his gift to his bride was a box of love letters written to her when he didn’t even know who she was. What a beautiful story of preparing for love while trusting in God!

Over the years, I have witnessed people spending countless hours and money trying to decide how to tell someone they loved him or her. Admittedly, I assisted many of those people in my former balloon decorating business by helping turn some of those thoughts into reality. I’ve tied hundreds of balloons to bottles of Cristal champagne, made a three-foot gift basket filled with over $1000 worth of designer perfumes and colognes and camouflaged $5000 cash in a four-foot hot air balloon basket for a client who was surprising his wife with spending money on a trip to meet Nelson Mandela. Most times this was fun and I enjoyed building relationships by helping people with their love adventures.

On the other hand, I’ve witnessed many others spend countless hours looking for someone to love and most important someone to love them. There were even those who spent money sending elaborate arrangements to themselves at the office so others would think they were loved and in a great relationship. Thinking back, I only wish my Christian walk was as it is today, so I could have told them about “real love.” If only they had loved themselves like they wanted someone to love them.

Nearly fifteen years later, some of the relationships I developed in that business are still in my life. Some are friends who have gone on to find love and others are still trusting in God. As we grow older, some of the things that were important in those days don’t seem to matter anymore. We’ve learned to love ourselves by enriching our lives and filling our time with activities that bring value and personal fulfillment. More important, we recognize we do not need other people to define who we are. Those days when we are lonely, we pamper ourselves at a spa, become a mentor, write a book, start a business or hobby, take a weekend trip with friends, but most of all, we keep on trusting in God!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life Lessons from the NBA

Although I am in no way classified as an avid sports enthusiast, I found myself unusually drawn to the 2010-2011 NBA season, in particular the playoffs and finals. Typically, I do not watch with any consistency except during the playoffs. This year was different. For the first time since the Bulls reign with Michael Jordan, I was really interested in what happened with the NBA games. Initially, that interest was activated by Derrick Rose and the great year the Chicago Bulls were having after a long hiatus. Certainly LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch of the Miami Heat made me curious to see what game they would bring to the table. The elimination of Boston and LA really elevated my desire to watch young teams like Memphis, Chicago, North Carolina and Kentucky play with precision and skill against more seasoned winning teams. I confess, prior to the finals, I had paid very little attention Dallas and knew for sure Miami would clinch the prestigious NBA title, even writing in a blog about their perseverance and determination. Watching Dallas in the second game of the finals and subsequently winning the NBA title, I realized there are life lessons to be learned from the NBA.

- Don’t judge the book by looking at the cover.

- Great players are created, but you have to build the team.

- There are many great runners in the race, but only one winner.

- Losing can be a humbling experience.

- Good things come to those who wait.

- Age ain’t nothing but a number.

- When you lose, you can always pick up the pieces and get back on track.

Looking forward to the 2011-12 NBA Season.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Scottie Pippin Controversy

Someone on my Facebook page just suggested when I responded to his post that I said Scottie Pippin dogged Michael Jordan and I replied, "Never said he dogged MJ. Just said, "Who asked him and why was it even necessary? I respect him for his opinion, but some things can be left alone. For the record, there are many things Scottie could say about both MJ and KJ to encourage young people, like how hard they worked at their craft to be better than average, they both will go down in history as two of the best players ever in the NBA, and what I used to remind students when I taught who wanted to emulate KJ, that he graduated with honors. Scottie should make comments that bring young people together rather than separate because as KJ says on a commercial, they are role models and they can't forget they had role models when they grew up."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Power of Perseverance and Determination

I predict the Miami Heat to win the 2011 NBA Championship. It’s not because they are my favorite team. It is the demonstration of perseverance and determination I have witnessed in LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and their trusted helpmate, Chris Bosh. Together with their teammates, they have achieved in one season what many (including the writer) said they would not do or should not have done. In spite of the bad press and slow start, the Miami Heat are on the brink of giving LeBron what he left the Cavaliers to achieve, “a championship team.”

Winning an NBA championship is a massive undertaking and players really have to be committed to their vision with a team effort. There is value in staying focused on your goals, but perseverance is the difference between the winner and the winning team. There were several personal set-backs for LeBron and Dwayne during the year. Many would have cracked under the pressures, but the dual stayed true to the vision and are on the brink of making their “mission possible.”

I am a Chicago Bulls fan and excited about the great job Derrick Rose, Coach Thibodeau and the team were able to accomplish with the MVP accolades. However, we all can benefit from the lesson we are receiving by watching the Miami Heat’s tremendous execution in setting and achieving their goal with perseverance and determination.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Black Women Should Fight Back!

Black Women Should Fight Back!

I went back in history and pulled out a quote from my sister Fannie Lou Hamer to write this article, "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired." After tossing my thoughts around for a few days in order to suppress my anger about the latest negative comments from a black man, Albert Haynesworth of the Washington Redskins, regarding black women when defending the allegations that he assaulted a black waitress, "I didn't touch her. I don't even like black girls. I know what this is about; she is just upset I have a white girlfriend. I couldn't tell you the last time I dated a black girl. She was trying to get with me", I succumbed to the pen. Actually Albert, the word is black women, not girls, and we are not upset because you have a white girlfriend or even that white women are your preference. We are upset because you and others like you make dumb statements that degrade black women to support your preference.

I took the liberty to research Albert Haynesworth specifically to find out if he had a black mom that worked her butt off to make sure her family had food, clothes, education and a home regardless of their economic status. As I suspected, the Washington Post printed an article in May, 2009 with the headline, "Redskins' Albert Haynesworth's mother knew best" ( There it was, in living color, a big picture of Albert "don't like black girls" Haynesworth and his beautiful black mom. Albert's mom worked as a seamstress in a factory, machinist and truck driver to support the family and provide a good home for them after her divorce from his dad, which is not an unfamiliar story among single mothers of many black athletes. Most interesting in the article is when a teacher suggested six year old Albert may need medication to suppress his behavior in class, his mom developed her own remarkable routine of getting him up every morning at 6:00 am and running him around the house to reduce his excitement, which she reported to be successful in calming Albert in class. I consider this an honorable action as surely his mom must have been tired from working long hours, but placed her son first, which quite possible was the impetus for him developing his talent for the NFL. The fact that Albert would make such a blatant statement about black women is a direct insult to the person who not only paved the way for his success, but gave birth to him. Unfortunately, he and other black men like him don't understand that negative actions and statements about black women does not separate his mom. It makes her inclusive in the race of women he does not like.

When researching Albert, the information I found did not get better, it got worse. Chad Ochocinco (the football player formerly known as Chad Johnson), reportedly requested that no black women be a part of his 2010 reality show, the "Ultimate Catch." I watched possibly two episodes and realized up front that Chad was not into dating black women judging from the selection. The producers were even a bit blown away by his actions and protested when he suggested the pre-selected black women be replaced with Caucasian and Hispanic women. They managed to talk him into placing two obviously token black women who were later booted. To his credit, unlike Albert (to date), Chad did make a public statement, "As a kid growing up, I developed a strong sense of self-worth from the incredible women in my life, all of whom were black. I am the man who I am today because of black women, and I am forever grateful for the values and strength they instilled in me....... Bottom line is that I love black women. I got four beautiful children and their mother is black." While this does not excuse his behavior, at least he made an attempt to correct his actions. Again, the anger was not about his preference, it was about a black man refusing to want beautiful black women included in his reality show. Are we not worthy of an "Ultimate Catch" or is this an option strictly reserved for non-black women?

Apparently an Asian psychologist by the name of Satoshi Kanazawa thinks he has come up with the answer. In his May, 2011 article in the "well-regarded" publication, Psychology Today, entitled Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, Kanazawa supposedly conducted a study which suggested among women, black women are less attractive. published a reprint because Psychology Today pulled the article due to the huge public outrage from all races and genders causing the site to crash. I am appalled a publication of this distinction would even allow an unfounded article which lacks competent proof to support the findings and makes a generalization about groups of women based on what appears as a personal opinion to be published.

Kanazawa's conclusions quite honestly were more disgusting and more damaging than the statements and actions we as black women receive from some black men.

"There are many biological and genetic differences between the races. However, such race differences usually exist in equal measure for both men and women. For example, because they have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races. And the mutation loads significantly decrease physical attractiveness. But since both black women and black men have higher mutation loads, it cannot explain why only black women are less physically attractive, while black men are, if anything, more attractive."

This comment suggests that black women are damaged from genetics. To be more specific, Kanazawa is saying it's in our DNA to be less attractive. In researching mutation loads, I found no evidence to suggest his statement has any validity from a physical prospective, but medically lower levels of mutation may produce diseases such as Sickle Cell Anemia which is prevalent in African Americans and more recently a growing number of Hispanics.

"The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently. Men with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race differences in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races."

Kanazawa is suggesting with this statement that black women look manly and masculine. I almost had to laugh to keep from crying. Is this man a psychologist or psychotic? This is taking me back to black people have tails and the Mandingo myth about the size of a black man's penis. Where are the facts to support his statements? While there is some evidence to support that African Americans, particularly younger black men have higher testosterone levels, Kanazawa provides no scientific evidence to support that black women are less attractive than non-black women because of testosterone. Also important to note, he makes a suggestion that black men are less intelligent, though more attractive than men of other races. In his research, black men get all the props (par intelligence) and sisters are the lowest form of human beauty.

The danger in this and other "research" by people who are non-black and have no idea about black women, their life or experiences is damaging and adds to the difficulties that continues to plague black women who have fought for so long to erase the negative images around the world. Additionally, this type of labeling lowers the self-esteem of young black girls who often struggle with their image due to constant reminders from media that the perception of true beauty is the 3% of white women and girls they see on TV, movies, print, and online.

I suggest that black women begin to fight back with a vengeance. I don't mean with finger pointing and head swirling. I mean we need to speak out loudly against all the negative media, research and opinions about who we are and how we look. We should use our voices to sing positive songs of praise about our sisters and their struggle. Instead of imitating black women on shows like Basketball Wives and Housewives of Atlanta, we should contact the producers and ask them to present more positive images of black women and relationships with black men or we will boycott watching these shows which rank tops among black TV viewing audiences. A black male told me the reason he does not like Housewives of Atlanta is all the other Housewives shows portray white women in positive relationships with husbands that have successful careers and businesses and the Atlanta program only show black women in successful relationships with gay black men. Black women should demand organizations like the NFL and NBA publicly denounce the derogatory statements these athletics make against black women. In fact, women in general should not be degraded by their players. These organizations should provide life skill classes to help reduce the often public disregard of women by a growing number athletics for their verbal and domestic abuse.

If we support each other and present our positive voices and accomplishments to America and the world, we can reduce negative and encourage positive images. We should not argue with someone about their preference, but we can denounce and boycott anyone who degrades black women because of their own ignorance.

Read the article Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women @

reprint with permission only May 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Boycott Aruba Dr. Phil?

I just read yesterday that Dr. Phil called for a Boycott of Aruba, an island I happen to love.  While I can't even imagine the pain and loss of Natalie Hollway's family, the island did not murder her. One deranged individual did.  Also, I always felt there was a side to this story that has not been told, like why we never heard publically from her classmates or the supposed chaperons that were on the trip? Why no one is warning teen girls about the behavior of these kids that led to this horrendous act?  

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Fab Five" Another case of exploiting young black athletes

While passing my husband's man room last night, the Fab Five documentary caught my attention to the point that I eased in and took an uninvited seat on the ab press.  As it became more interesting, I moved to the floor and eventually to the couch.  For years, these young black athletes have been exploited financially, mentally and physically.  I was appalled to learn that Michigan had taken down their banners and severed tides with the young athletes who had contributed so much to their institution.  The thought that they would consider such an action and not return any of the money they earned off of the Fab Five left an empty feeling in my stomach.  I wonder what the action would have been if these were five young white athletes.  After all, there was a lot of hate and racial ignorance surrounding the Fab Five's reign.  I say Chris Webber in the grocery store last week.  He looked very involved in selecting his fruit and vegetables.  He appeared to be a very quiet person and you can tell he would rather be left alone, than receive all the publicity.  I pray all the Fab Five get what they rightfully earned from Michigan with all the trimmings.  

Monday, February 28, 2011

Black Women and Marriage

In this era where marriage as it was once established in biblical and cultural terms is constantly being challenged, black women have emerged as the underdog in the hopes and dreams of ever getting married. Though divorce statistics are extremely high and marriage is plummeting in general, the challenge for black women is critical in comparison.

According to The State of our Unions, a yearly study produced by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, marriage is at a high risk particularly among the middle and lower classes, mostly attributed to an "overriding shift in values." The study further concluded that highly educated and more affluent marriages are on the rise enjoying more strong and stable households. The report may be reversed for highly educated and affluent black women who are often plagued with the issue of finding viable mates. This may be associated with the lack of black men accelerating at the same level and the unwillingness of black women in higher wage groups to accept men with a lesser income or profession.

My difficulty in emotionally digesting the thought that society has come to a point where marriage is being constantly attacked and frequently labeled as obsolete and the fact that black women are challenged more severely than any other segment of the population is the compelling reason for this writing. I highly respect the institute of marriage and believe like many cultures and societies around the world that marriage is a sacred gift from God and should not be taken for granted.

Considering the statistics in most studies and reports are overwhelming, I am prompted to research further how this phenomenon came about and if we can find solutions to shift the pattern and break the chains that continue to enslave us and our way of thinking. This thirst for answers took me back to slavery, where African Americans can often find the roots of many problems we still face in America today.

The prolific writer and scholar, W.E. DuBois believed "the pattern of separation and rape by white slave owners during slavery produced single and unwed black mothers." Noted scholar and sociologist, E. Franklin Frazier, described "black women emerging as a more controlling force in the slave household--self-reliant, self-sufficient, and lacking a spirit of subordination to masculine authority." I believe these early experiences with the break-up and separation of the black family is significant to why so many black women remain unmarried today.

My reason for connecting our past history with the limited marriage opportunities for black women today is the direct ties to modern day enslavement of black men. Sociologist William Julius Wilson has argued that increasing levels of non marriage and female-headed households is a "manifestation of the high levels of economic dislocation experienced by lower-class black men in recent decades. He asserts that when joblessness is combined with high rates of incarceration and premature mortality among black men, it becomes clearer that there are fewer marriageable black men relative to black women who are able to provide the economic support needed to sustain a family." Today's society breeds other prevailing factors that support the limited availability of black men including homosexuality and marrying women outside the black race.

As painful as this situation appears, we have to openly discuss and work on solutions to counteract the doom portrayed in statistical reports and main stream media. I am hopeful if we begin even as individuals to implement change we can reduce and reverse negative ratios. Some thoughts and suggestions are.

• Encourage black men to advance their education. With innovation and technology at the forefront of our future, black men must be in a position to compete in the global workforce. Women will reinvent themselves at forty, fifty, sixty and beyond, whereas men are less likely to be motivated to return to school or embark on another trade or profession. We can begin early by instilling the importance of education in our boys and continue to encourage our black men whether they are husbands, partners, sons, brothers, friends or colleagues.

• Focus on communicating openly and effectively with our mates. Instead of concentrating on being right, listen to what the other person is saying. We may agree or disagree. No matter how strong the disagreement, ineffective communication leads to separation. Separation breeds distance and increases the gap.

• Drop the "angry black woman" image. No matter how strong men are, they don't want to be overpowered by their women. For some black women, this may mean humbling yourself to submission. Humility is an honor and submission is a deep level of devotion and commitment that should be exercised by both men and women to create a deeper love for each other. We often confuse submission with control and manipulation when we simply need to cooperate with the divine flow of working together.

• Stop settling for less in relationships. Less is defined as physical and mental abuse, relationships with married men we are not married to and living together unmarried. A good question to ask yourself is, "Would you do to the other person what you are allowing them to do to you?"

• Move up, move down, and move out. Try dating and marrying men who are younger or older. As long as the gap makes sense (let's be realistic) and you bring joy to each other, age is insignificant. Moving out is to consider dating men of other races. Black women are among the most loyal women staying within their own race in dating and marriage. Be more open to expanding your horizons.

• Pray and seek spiritual guidance and stay focused on things that enrich your life with or without a mate.

These suggestions may not resolve many of the deep issues that have created the tremendous marriage gap black women experience, but we should make a commitment to start focusing on self-improvement and become role models for our young daughters. One final comment, media, statistics and other people do not define us and rarely portray black women for the phenomenal women we really are. We still stand as beautiful queens regardless of our marriage status. "Facts do not hinder our faith."

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Sarah Palin and other public figures should learn from the Arizona Shootings?

After reading and listening to mass media, Internet and FB comments, I conclude the same thing I have said for many years; public figures and celebrities have a responsibility to act and speak in a manner that represents a positive image in the public. I have heard countless people in these positions downplay being role models, particularly when their conduct is despicable. Unfortunately, being a role model comes with their career choices whether they like it or not.

In the case of Sarah Palin, the map that she choose to use as advertisement which depicts guns pointing to Democratic congressional representatives is a image of violence to a great deal of the American public. While the map and other rhetoric of hate by some members of the Tea Party and other organizations may or may not be responsible for the actions of Jared Loughner, one can conclude Giffords was the intended target as indicated on the infamous “electoral” map.

No one in Sarah Palin’s camp, including Sarah Palin tried to defend the use of the guns on the map prior to the mass shootings, even when it was challenged by her constituents. Few members of the Republican Party stood up and denounced the advertisement or any other of the bigoted actions surrounding Tea Party events leading up to the November elections of last year.

If someone points a gun at me regardless of whether it is on a map or in the person, I conceive that as a violent act. There simply is no excuse or reasoning. While I do not think Sarah Palin is directly responsible for the actions of a deranged young man, I hope the lesson learned is “what you put out is what you get back.” The consequences of negative actions are negative results.

Releasing Anger to Move Forward

Author Terry McMillan shared on Oprah this morning some open and poignant statements on her three year journey of anger, embarrassment and frustration with the very public announcement by her ex-husband admitting he was gay after being married over ten years.  She admitted the anger consumed her life and she was not able to move forward until she released the hurt and journeyed back to happiness.  It's a disheartening story and many share her pain.  We often hold ourselves hostage over our past hurts and disappointments without realizing the person we are hurting most are ourselves.  Move on to move forward and declare your freedom today.  Someone told me many years ago "Anger is a temporary state."  What anger will you release today?

About Me

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Chicago, IL, United States
“Mo Better” Inspiration is an arena for a sharing of informative, education, and discussions on issues pertaining to our world, lifestyles, communities, personal growth, inspiration, and cultural awareness. “Mo Better” Inspiration is a global blog where people with similarities and differences can exchange information, ideas and viewpoints designed for a positive blog experience. I encourage people from around the world to participate in engaging discussions that stimulate the mind.