Walking out for Peace: "Instead of focusing on my education I worry about my life" - theGrio

Y'all. Y'ALL. My baby, Totally Lila, penned this powerful essay about why she's one of the key organizers of her high school walkout today to protest gun violence. I. AM. SO. PROUD. OF. THIS. GIRL. Her words: "I call BS to all of the inaction on gun laws. I call BS to all of the adults in charge saying that they care about the safety of students, but are not doing anything about it. I call BS to the crazy idea that giving my teacher a gun can somehow put a stop to rampages. I call BS to everyone who has ever doubted the mind of a teenager. We have voices, we know right from wrong, and we are now going to apply those two principles and work ten times harder to get our ideas to the people in charge who, at the moment, are working for themselves, rather than those of us who are affected by gun violence." Read her essay today on TheGrio​, which put together an incredible line-up of teens lifting their voices and demanding they be heard on this important issue. GO LILA!

Walking out for Safety: After being shot at for refusing a man's advances this teen is fighting for change - theGrio

Walking Out for Safety: "I don’t believe that arming our teachers will solve the issue; it will only escalate them. Not everyone is to be trusted with a gun. If all it took for that guy to fire his gun [at my sister and me] was a rejection, how long do you think it will take a teacher to get mad enough to fire their gun? Teenagers can get under your skin; it only takes one bad day to turn a testy situation into terrible one." Totally Lila interviewed her BFF about being shot at for refusing a grown man's advances; to this day, this little flower is shook walking on her own street. Read Lila and Esete's words today on TheGrio, which put together a terrific package of Black teen voices that are passionately expressing why they're walking out of their high school today to protest gun violence. I'm so proud of these kids!

My Obsession: Addye Addie Studios and Women Artists of Color

I love Addye Nieves​ for many reasons: she dope. She writes. She hella funny. She’s a beautiful person. And she makes art. Gorgeous, spirit-led, energetic abstract and expressionist art that transcends space and time and pulsates with light. Her work literally vibrates on a different frequency; my heart beats fast, my hands and fingers tingle when I experience her work. It is divine. Addye deemed this so. And now, she is working hard to honor other black and brown women artists traditionally marginalized in the art world by opening a studio where women of color can make and exhibit their work (!!!!!!). Read my story on MBB to get more info on Addye's dope new venture, or just go straight to Addye's Indiegogo campaign to donate to this AMAZING cause... https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/addie-addye-studios-community#/

My Obsession: Addye Addie Studios and Women Artists of Color

This is a love letter to Addye Nieves and her new venture, AddieAddye Studios, a new shared Philadelphia artspace that will provide work, gallery, & retail space exclusively for women artists of color to create & present their work to the public. I need you to support the creation of this inclusive art space HERE. This is my reason why... [ 791 more words ]


Opinion | 'A Wrinkle in Time' is a love letter to black girls, not critics

"In the end, it doesn’t really matter if “A Wrinkle In Time” is a full-on box office success. By positioning a brilliant black girl at the center of a stunning adventure where she must learn to trust herself and her abilities, DuVernay has immortalized #BlackGirlMagic and shined a spotlight on those who've often been shoved in the corners of Hollywood. And that, more than some lukewarm reviews, is what makes “Wrinkle” a film that will help define a generation." FOR REAL. I took Totally Lila to see AWIT on opening night and we were mesmerized. We liked it. A lot. And I identified with it BIG TIME; never read the book, but I understood instinctively the pain that comes from people wishing the worst for you and doing everything within their power to make you do the same to yourself. I looked at it through the lens of a young Black girl. Because I was that kid. My daughters are that kid. I also subscribe to spirituality as the universe and light and believe in our ability to communicate with ancestors—via different dimensions. So all of it made sense and was beautiful to me. Like someone was actually speaking directly to me. That said: it’s a movie for kids. I remember loving stories like this as a kid; I wish folk would let kids tell us how they liked it, rather than a bunch of white male critics who, at the base of it, can’t relate because they’re not centered and it ain’t about Jesus, so...

Don't Miss These Fantastic YA Books By Black Authors That Release This Year

Absolutely thrilled by this incredible line-up of books coming to a bookstore near you. I can't wait to stock up for my daughters—and for me!

Opinion | Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time

Here’s a little something something I put together for y’all—for our babies—in the Sunday Review of the New York Times. I said what I said. And this is precisely why Denene Millner Books exists.

The Retroactive Healing Power of A Wrinkle in Time

“Yes, black children need to see this film so they can know that they, too, can be heroes. Yes, all children need to see this film—especially boys—so they can know how to follow the lead of a black girl. But I needed to see this film, too.” Yes. I’m taking Totally Lila to see Ava DuVernay’s love letter to Black girls tonight—got our seats front and center. My heart needs this.

White Women Make Work-Life Balance Possible by Relying on Women of Color

“Add to that the complexity of women of color’s own relationship to work. Historically, we have always worked and mothered. Many have even grown up seeing their mother and grandmother work more than one job. This is all we know. So the notion of having time to mother feels unfamiliar. There is still the social stigma of taking time off to mother—something black and brown women have never felt free to do. Ever since our bodies and our babies lost economic value, we have struggled to reassert our value as mothers and our importance in raising our own children. As I often say, black women in this country are viewed as perfectly acceptable and desirable for taking care of other’s people children but somehow stereotyped as not being able to take care of their own.” Boy do I love it when that Kimberly Seals Allers gets a hold of those mighty words and spills that beautiful brain on the page. Yes. Just YES to acknowledging the differences and seeking new perspectives on what work-life balance REALLY means for Black mothers.

Ava DuVernay’s Fiercely Feminine Vision for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

“And none of these glitter-tinged fantasies subtract from Ms. DuVernay’s own mission, that cultivation of new perspectives and realities. To her, “Selma” and “A Wrinkle in Time” share a foundational message: ‘Civil rights work and social justice work take imagination, to imagine a world that isn’t there, and you imagine that it can be there. And that’s the same thing that you do whenever you imagine and insert yourself in a future space, or in a space where you’ve been absent.’” *sigh* I just love Ava’s freaking brain and vision. #Inspired

Opinion | Stop Beating Black Children

“We need to stop teaching children that obedience is their greatest virtue. Especially as we brace for the possibility of more systemic racial devastation, we need young people who push boundaries and become the kinds of adults who will not let themselves be victimized.

The violence that black children experience from trigger-happy cops, in the streets of cities like Baltimore and Chicago, in schools and at home is all interconnected. It is all strange and bitter fruit from the same tree. I am asking that black parents stop assisting in the devaluation of our children.” An oldie but goodie from my friend, Stacey Patton, who believes deeply in the humanity and magic of Black children.

Problems We’d Like to Have: Where Do I Fit All My Medals? — @fuseeight A Fuse #8 Production

Indeed. This is a GREAT problem to have. "Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut," written by Derrick Barnes​ and illustrated by Gordon C. James​, has won a whopping SEVEN awards and Agate Publishing​'s art director had quite a time figuring out where to put all those medals. Click the link to get a sneak peak at how she attacked the "problem." It's BEAUTIFUL! *squeeeeeee*

Safaree And Social Media Engagement Shows Us We Can All Get Along

Oh stop it. I may be the mother of two girlpies, but dammit, I'm not blind. I SAW IT TOO. Just like every other woman with eyes and the innanets. But the, um, vision, Safaree put out yesterday wasn't the only good thing to come out of his leaked nude video. Something magical happened between us women, as documented by the homie, Ida Harris in her "Word to Muva" column.

Safaree And Social Media Engagement Shows Us We Can All Get Along

Like Black history, social media has roots. It serves several purposes for its users and it is effectual. Initially, people used it to stay connected with family and friends, sharing photos and goings-on. News media quickly jumped into the fold once the industry realized millions of people could be reached. At some point, that smooth ride shifted into fifth gear, and social sites became premier platforms to push anything and everything from apparel and music to presence and personality. [ 490 more words ]


On Protests, Arming Teachers and What Students Really Need

"Here’s the tough part: Black families know that the results of these protests (which won’t be described as “riots” like in Baltimore or Ferguson or a number of other places) will likely not be in policies that protect them or their children." Kelly Hurst, CEO of Being Black at School, says it loud and makes in plain: arming teachers puts Black students at severe risk in schools already dangerous for our babies.

On Protests, Arming Teachers and What Students Really Need

By KELLY WICKHAM HURST I have a sneaking suspicion that politicians and everyday citizens in this country have very little idea of what happens daily inside the walls of a school. That suspicion has been confirmed over the 23 years I spent as both a classroom teacher and then, later, as an administrator. That’s not necessarily a slam but the ways in which we collectively talk about what schools “should do” don’t often line up with the jobs we’re tasked with on a daily basis. [ 1,430 more word ]


Black Teens Have Been Calling for Gun Reform for Years

THIS👏🏾RIGHT👏🏾HERE: “Young black activists have been in the streets advocating for gun reform for decades without much attention or mass appeal, but that doesn't mean they don't exist, or that they work without leadership, or that their demands are unclear. While we celebrate the success of the Stoneman Douglas teens, it's crucial to examine which progressive movements are embraced and legitimized — considered worthy of a passionate public response and united steely resolve — and which are received with skepticism, restraint, and apprehension. And why that might be.”

My Birth Mother, My Hero

No one ever hat tips the birth mother—the one who made the Herculean decision, against all odds, to have the baby and give it away. This takes courage. And the might of angels. Today, I honor my birth mother in a Black History Month piece meant to celebrate a hero. She is mine, because without her, I would have neither life or the arms of Bettye and Jimmy, my parents, the ones who raised me, encouraged me. Loved me beyond measure. This is a story about true love.

Black Panter & Dora Milaje: How Fiction Helped a Nigerian American Embrace Reality

There are so many reasons I love "Black Panther"—far too many to count—but my favorite of all is how the images and story touched hearts. Made people feel like... home. This piece, by my friend Ekene Onu​, on the intense, tenuous marriage of two soils and the belonging that long eluded her, is a beautiful meditation on what Wakanda can mean for someone who is both African and American.

My Birth Mother, My Hero

I don’t know what made her do it. Perhaps she was scared and overwhelmed about the prospect of motherhood. Maybe she was a teenager and her parents, afraid of how society looked down on young, unwed mothers in the late '60s, forced her hand. Or maybe it was a boyfriend, unready to wield the responsibility that came with caring for a family, who convinced her this was the right thing to do. [ 643 more words ]


Black Panter & Dora Milaje: How Fiction Helped a Nigerian American Embrace Reality

By EKENO ONU I was born in America and I have some memories of my early life here. Peanut Butter. Montessori school. Snow. My parents have different memories of their life here. Some wonderful. Some curious. Some sad. But everything they saw was through the lens of being Nigerian and so when they finished their studies, they took us to this place that we had never seen but that they called home. [ 670 more words ]


Black Soul Food: Paying Homage to the Struggle Meals that Have Long Sustained Us

"I know many of y’all nilgrims consider yourselves evolved—aka on “some new negro shit.” Y’all out here eating right, eating clean, eating trees and grass. I respect that (lies), yet I imagine your palate has descended to the sunken place. Not only has Black soul food blessed our lives, but it also has historical and sentimental value..." Ida Harris​ breaking down, quite brilliantly, why we need to respect, rather than turn away from, the food created by the hand of our ancestors. Get you a plate, today on MyBrownBaby​.

Black Soul Food: Paying Homage to the Struggle Meals that Have Long Sustained Us

Now that Black History Month is officially open for business, we can get to the heart of a different matter. If y'all are anything like me, you're probably Black as hell on a daily basis. If you're not like me then chances are you ain't Black’n right. Now, you can atone. The next 18 days is your opportunity to get right with… [ 1,103 more word ]



Some observations on the Tyler the Creator concert I attended last night:

1. I love this kid. Let me start there. "Find Your Wings," "Keep Da O's," "Smuckers," Glitter," "Boredom," "See You Again," and "Pothole"—hell, all of his latest offering, "Flower Boy"—are my jam.

2. I LOVE that he charged only $39 per ticket and there was no formal seating arrangements. You fit in where you got in. Totally Lila and her two girlfriends finagled seats four rows from the floor—about 20 rows ahead of where I had us sitting. Note: never underestimate the cunningness of 15-year-old girls. They will get you to the front. With a smile. No sweat.

3. Despite the ticket price, the majority of Tyler's audience was white. Like, there were SOME Black people there, looking like pepper in milky chowder, but his audience is white kids from the 'burbs. Like 45 minutes outside Atlanta proper, wearing trucker hats and tight camo and way too much eyeliner and absolutely zero rhythm. They know all the words though. And do this really awkward performance of rapper moves while they're singing them... lots of hand movements and chopping the air and hard knee bending and scrunched up angry faces and bouncing on the 1's and the 3's. It's a sight to behold.

4. I don't know how I feel about this. Like, I know Black kids dig Tyler's music, right? I do. My kids do. Their (Black) friends do. Is $40 too steep a price for them to come? Is it not cool to hit up a Tyler concert? Do they prefer Future or Migos? Where do Black teens go to be entertained? Are they, like me, looking for a more, say, "authentic" experience with Tyler that they know they won't get a venue that herds fans? Does Tyler notice? Does he care?

5. Continuing on this line of observation, I know the words to Tyler's songs, too. And I was praying he wouldn't perform "I Ain't Got Time." Not because I don't love it: I bump that shit in my car because it's a massive "fuck you" to those who work your nerves. The chorus, in part, goes, "I ain't got tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime for these niggas." Typical Black people shit talking. But in the mouths of white folk, those lyrics take on a different meaning, don't they? "I ain't got tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime, for these NIGGERS." They damn sure do for me. And when Tyler silenced the music and told the crowd he wanted them to get hype AF on the next song, and then I heard the beat drop, I evil-eyed every white child within a 30-foot vicinity of me. Because dammit, what I was not fittintado was stand there and watch white kids awkward rapper dance while saying "I ain't got tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime for these NIGGERS" at the top of their goddamn lungs....

Read the rest at http://mybrownbaby.com/2018/02/tyler-the-creator/

Tyler the Creator: Black Mom Observations from the 4th Row of the "Flower Boy" Concert | MyBrownBaby

Some observations on the Tyler the Creator concert I attended last night: 1. I love this kid. Let me start there. "Find Your Wings," "Keep Da O's," "Smuckers," Glitter," "Boredom," "See You Again," and "Pothole"—hell, all of his latest offering, "Flower Boy"—are my jam. 2. I LOVE that he charged only $39 per ticket and there was no formal seating arrangements. [ 583 more words ]


28 MORE Black Picture Books That Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball (2018)

Sending up Hosannas to Scott Woods, a dope librarian doing dope things, like creating lists of children’s books featuring Black characters who are not slaves, bouncing basketballs, marching for the movement or singing and dancing for a living. Included on this list: “Crown An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” (http://bit.ly/CrownDMB) and my first solo picture book, “Early Sunday Morning.” (http://bit.ly/ESMDMB) Thank you, Scott, for shining the light and celebrating these beautiful books!

Texas Teacher Wears Same Hairstyle As Student Who Didn’t Believe She Really Liked Her Hair

And this right here is why black teachers matter. *heart melt*

Disrupt Aging: Here's How to Own—and Value—Growing Older

Look here: I'll be 50 this year. To some, that's old. To me, hitting that age means I'm just getting started. All this experience? All this wisdom? All this mouth? All this fine? All this "I really don't give a damn what you think about me"? Shoot--buckle up. My friend Lucrecer Braxton​, who also is out here lying about her age (looking 22 years younger than she say she is), agrees, and writes about the benefits of aging, particularly from a woman's perspective, as part of this incredible AARP​ campaign designed to #DisruptAging, in partnership with WomenOnline​. #ad

Ms. Meltingpot’s 5 Favorite Parenting Blogs That Aren’t Written by White Women

"...there are still a lot of great mommy bloggers out there creating the same realistic, timely, funny, sweet, useful and inspirational content that they’ve been creating for years. They just happen to be not White. So, if you are looking for some great mommy blogs because you’re sick of “fake motherhood,” [as written about in last week's Washington Post article about mommy blogs] check out Ms. Meltingpot’s five favorite Parenting Blogs that aren’t Written by White Women. And FYI, you can be White and still enjoy these blogs. You’re welcome.

Celebrating Black History Month with Children: Here's What To Do and See

Loving this list of great places to take the babies to learn about Black history—both the old history and that new history in the making. Read on for info and links on museums, galleries, libraries and the like that celebrate the beauty and authenticity of us, from New York to Chicago to Atlanta to LA and stops all up and between, today on MyBrownBaby.

Disrupt Aging: Here's How to Own—and Value—Growing Older

This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own. By LUCRECER BRAXTON I’ve never looked my age. When I graduated from high school and started college, I looked older than my 17 years. That made me feel good and I appreciated the good genes I was blessed with from both sides of my family. [ 676 more words ]


Celebrating Black History Month with Children: Here's What To Do and See

By KJ EDWARDS Carter G. Woodson, is the “Father of Black History,” and we owe the Harvard-educated historian the honor of sowing the seeds for Black History Month. What began as Negro History week is now nationally recognized, with February 1 marking the first day of the month that centers African Americans exclusively. Parents and teachers will likely break out Dr. [ 980 more words ]


Blue Ivy Is Literally the Only Person Who Can Tell Bey to Chill

😂😂😂 The reverence for Blue Ivy just tickles me. (I don’t know about hushing up her Mama, though.)

Lupita Nyong’o to Publish a Children’s Book

“Sulwe, which means ‘star’ in Ms. Nyong’o’s native language, Luo, is the story of a 5-year-old girl growing up in Kenya. In the book, Sulwe has the darkest skin color in her family, a fact that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to lighten her skin. As the story unfolds Sulwe embarks on a whimsical adventure in the night sky that, coupled with advice from her mother, helps her see beauty differently.”

Click here to support Ida B. Wells-Barnett Textbook Fund

As the mother of a college student, I FEEL this. Kudos to Stacey Patton​ for putting in the work, collecting funds to go exclusively to college students struggling to get that book money together for class. ONE book can cost as much as $400 (yes, I've had to pay that or Mari), and if you come from a family that doesn't have it like that, where just paying the tuition is a struggle, passing classes becomes that much more difficult. Please, help these kids. We need them to succeed, and they need us to do it. Even $10 goes a long way toward helping a student in need.

Opinion | Guess Who’s Coming to ‘Peanuts’

"Dr. King’s assassination, on April 4, 1968, played a direct role in Franklin’s creation. Eleven days later, a Southern Californian named Harriet Glickman wrote to Mr. Schulz, introducing herself as 'the mother of three children and a deeply concerned and active citizen.' In her grief, Ms. Glickman explained, she had been pondering 'the areas of the mass media which are of tremendous importance in shaping the unconscious attitudes of our kids.' She then proposed an idea: 'the introduction of Negro children into the group of Schulz characters.'"

Beyond MLK Day: Teaching Kids Why Martin Matters | MyBrownBaby

What our kids know is this: Dr. King had a dream, and then he was shot by a bad guy and now black people can do the same things as white people without anyone getting mad about it or in trouble for it. We have a holiday in his honor and fete his work with sales at the mall. For these kids and most of their parents, the days of hoses and snapping dogs and burning crosses might as well have happened 150 years ago, rather than just 50. This is a disservice to children — and not just because they’re missing out on the significance of a crucial piece of American history. Relegating it to dusty history books makes them miss out on how far our country has come; how much further it has to go; and, most importantly, how the passion, righteousness, ideals, and actions of even one person can change our entire world for the better. Here, how to celebrate Dr. King with children.

Black Folks Go Ape Sh!t Over Racist H&M Monkey Ad | MyBrownBaby

H&M messed up. And now the Swedish clothing and retail company is apologizing for marketing a hoodie. Well, not just any hoodie. A hoodie that reads: COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE. The problem? It is worn by a Black boy. And to make matters a bit more messy, a contrasting hoodie, worn by a white boy, had a starkly different epithet: MANGROVE JUNGLE OFFICIAL SURVIVAL EXPERT. [ 551 more words ]


Finally, someone steps up to publish more diverse kids' books

So honored to have my work—indeed, my dedication to celebrating and documenting the lives of our babies—recognized on USA Today's parenting site.

Reclaim Your Time: Quick Tips for Managing Time and Stress in the New Year | MyBrownBaby

Proactive coping—“anticipating potential stressors and acting in advance”—helps prevent and mute the effects of stress. Here, a few ways to shave time and lower anxiety levels—tips that give you one less thing to deal with. I'm here for these—and implementing stat.

Reclaim Your Time: Quick Tips for Managing Time and Stress in the New Year | MyBrownBaby

By KJ Edwards Along with the new year comes the attempts to be our better selves, aka resolutions. And while MyBrownBaby colleague, Ida Harris, dropped a list of things we should all leave behind in 2017, some of us are carrying self-sabotage forward. I’m looking at you, SIS. 2017 was real—real depressing, real taxing, real hectic, especially for Black women. [ 553 more words ]


Word To Muva: Bon Voyage B!tches To These Things From 2017 | MyBrownBaby

I'm here for this list. All of it. Ida Harris breaking down the foolery of 2017 so it'll forever be broke. Get some.

Word To Muva: Bon Voyage B!tches To These Things From 2017 | MyBrownBaby

I wish 2017 a swift death—as in fuck dropping the New Year's ball, but rather drop a gotdamn guillotine on that shit. Like throw the whole year away and all its fuckery, too. I mean, I could spit a fully cited listicle of trash shit that needs to be funeralized, eulogized, and buried, but it would read like a dissertation and there are collards to cook, chitlins to clean, and black-eyed peas to soak. [ 641 more words ]


Megyn Kelly, Black Santa and Other Colored Things That'll Make Her Fox Head Explode | MyBrownBaby

Also, that time when new NBC darling Megyn Kelly got her panties in a wad over Santa AND Jesus being colored? I’m never gonna forget that. Ever.

Seeing Santa in Black and White

Super sweet story about Santa, whom, in our house, we all know is Godiva chocolate brown. 😏

Birthing While Black: This African American Mom's Experience Was Anything But VIP | MyBrownBaby

I’m still upset about that NPR story detailing why Black mothers are dying at alarming rates during childbirth and postpartum. Here is a piece I wrote years ago about my #birthingwhileblack experience. But don’t just read my piece; look at the comments section. Story after story about poor treatment of Black women before, during and after childbirth. Believe. Black. Women. We are not making this shit up and it is not simply in our minds. Our babies and we are in danger.

Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why

My God. This story. The statistics. The reality for Black women and our maternal and postpartum care. The racism and stress and lack of care we face for just... being. The peek into Shalon’s life and death. I am absolutely devastated. If you do nothing else today, read this. It is important. It is necessary. We need to do better by Black women—Black mothers. Full. Stop.

Teacher Knowledge vs. Mommy Knowledge: A Child Chooses | MyBrownBaby

BY K.J. EDWARDS The adults our children grow into is predicated on many factors. These factors are labeled the “Agents of Socialization.” They include family, school, peers, and media. With family children learn their first lessons. They develop basic life skills: how to feed, bathe and clothe themselves. They also learn emotional intelligence: how to empathize with others and show kindness and compassion. [ 778 more words ]


Retweeted Agate Publishing (@AgatePublishing):

"A celebration of self-confidence & self-worth, a beautiful window into a snippet of a boy’s transformation that enables him to feel recognized & powerful. The voice, the word choice, the rhythm—it is all astonishingly perfect." https://t.co/f4k9DvNauO @mommyshorts @KidLitLauren https://t.co/IUF36VgmJZ

Retweeted The Conscious Kid (@consciouskidlib):

Don’t miss the Facebook Live reading of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Author Derrick Barnes’ son! Sunday at 7 pm EST on the @mobbunited FB page: https://t.co/lL8PjxARec @MyBrownBaby @AgatePublishing #weneeddiversebools #ownvoices #blackbooksmatter #blackboyjoy https://t.co/cArMutyvQ3