Can't make it to my reading on Saturday? No worries--I got you! Come see me in BING on Sunday! Story time starts at 10 am; I'll be reading "Early Sunday Morning" and other favorites! Bring the babies!
Party people in Chicago: BRING THE BABIES to see me reading "Early Sunday Morning," the debut picture book on Denene Millner Books. This Saturday at 57th Street Books. 10:30 a.m. CDT. Treat yo'self!
Bring the babies to hear me read "Early Sunday Morning" and some of my other favorites at Charis Books' free story hour!
ATL: I'll be reading to the babies at Charis Books and More/Charis Circle tomorrow at 10:30 am! Bring the children to hear "Early Sunday Morning" and some of my other favorites! Meanwhile, listen to this NPR interview I did on the magnificent show, "City of Lights," talking about the joy and fear of singing solos, the beauty of Black families and my mission to bring more beautiful stories featuring Black characters to all babies.
By KIRSTEN WEST SAVALI My father, Theodore Joseph “Bubber” West, died on October 18, 2011. In retrospect, that brisk Tuesday morning was cruel in its normalcy, despite the sense of dread that crawled along my spine as soon as I opened my eyes. But no one or nothing could have prepared me for the day ahead. Barely a month had passed since we’d moved to Apple Valley, California, so I initially chalked up the uneasy feeling to being surrounded by the unfamiliar. [ 2,836 more words ]
OHMIGOD, y'all: I have a TV show, and it debuts this Sunday—a dream I've had since age 14, when I decided I wanted to be Sue Simmons so that I could meet Ralph Tresvant. (Long story.) This is really happening! What's more: it's a show on which Christine White, Monica Pearson and I are talking about subjects that matter to Black women, from an unapologetically Black perspective. It's nothing like you've ever seen before—and I'm a part of it, proudly! Join us tonight at 8 p.m. on Twitter to hear more about the show (follow #asatt to join the convo).
Y'all! I'm a co-host on A Seat At the Table, a revolutionary new weekly talk show on which my co-hosts Christine White, a prominent Atlanta attorney, and Monica Pearson, the legendary Atlanta news anchor, and I are raising our unapologetic, outspoken, intelligent voices on issues specific to Black women, shining a light on the diverse experiences, perspectives and challenges we face in our unique space—the things that matter to us. [ 901 more words ]
You Did It Your Way: He Never Came Home
Party people in Chicago: BRING THE BABIES to see me reading "Early Sunday Morning," the debut picture book on Denene Millner Books. June 24, 2017, at 57th Street Books.
This essay is one of several running on MyBrownBaby over the next few weeks in celebration of the release of He Never Came Home: Interviews, Stories, and Essays from Daughters on Life Without Their Fathers, edited by Regina R. Robertson (Agate Bolden, 2017). By CORI MURRAY I wouldn’t say that I hated my father, but there was definitely a time when I couldn’t have cared less if he was in my life. [ 4,296 more words ]
Absolutely delighted that "Early Sunday Morning" is including on this lovely list. Don't have your copy yet? Get it here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/early-sunday-morning-denene-millner/1124463865
By IDA HARRIS I often question white intelligence 'cause it's questionable, especially in the age of Black Emancipationists, The Remix. It seems to me that whiteness, in all its whiteness, would refrain from doing silly white shit in the name of whiteness exalting Blackness. But that would be too much like right. In the latest white fetish faux pas, celebrity makeup artist Spencer, popularly known by his Instagram handle… [ 436 more words ]
A company that thinks like this surely would have come in handy when my Girlpies were younger and the curves started pushing them into adult-sized clothing--at age 10!
And so it begins—my first born, my Mari, graduates from high school today, taking the first step into the new. It’s a beautiful day. And serendipitous. Universe is funny that way. And awesome. Rock with me on this: it is not without the least bit of irony that today—the day Girlpie walks across the stage to receive her high school diploma (with honors!)—also happens to be exactly a year from the day that Mari, Lila and I stood watch in my bedroom door, watching the maiden flight of five little birds that hatched in a nest their parents built for them on my porch. [ 713 more words ]
Typical. This is exactly how law enforcement and media paint the narrative of Black mothers: as irresponsible, shiftless, uncaring monsters who couldn't care less about our children. Here this woman is in mourning over the murder of her baby, and the cops help spread a narrative that suggests she was complicit in her own child's abduction and murder, rather than acknowledge that the reporting officer did not take this mother and her pleas for help finding her son seriously. She was invisible and mute--just like every other Black mother is in American society's eyes. Fly with the angels, Kingston; may justice for you and your mother be swift and merciless--for the monsters who took your life and the jerks coming for your mama in this, the worst hour of her life.
It's official! Pray for my baby—that she soars high, flies far and uses all those beautiful powers for the greatest good.
I pumped in the front seat of my car, on the corner of 10th and 33rd, because gathering food for my baby in the nasty bathroom where people pooped, peed, threw up and whatever else people do in a bathroom wasn't an option for me. Like, at all. Because ewa. It wasn't lost on me that, for the privilege of pumping in my ride while the local bums looked on, I had to lug all that breastfeeding equipment past what we called "The Butt Hutt," the dedicated smoking room filled mostly by male news reporters. Because that's how the Daily News rolled back in those days. I wonder if anything's changed? Join MomsRising.org to advocate for better options for breastfeeding moms; click the link to see how. #iPumpedHere
I'm so proud of this piece, my debut essay in The New York Times, about Mari, her locs and the bonds Black mothers create with their daughters when they tend their hair. It is the first of the many love songs I'm writing for her while we all prepare for her to head off to college. ❤️
So hyped to have my work included amongst this incredible list of writing uplifting and honoring what I love most to write about: black families. Notes writer Danielle Jackson: "I admire these six writers because they grapple with this history, with all of that fear, and take the plunge anyway, daring to love their families, daring to attempt an intergenerational dialogue that is ripe for healing. They give me hope that maybe, despite my own brokenness, despite the brokenness of our society, perhaps I, too, can stitch together a life that supports a healthy and happy black child."
I hung out with Lovebabz Lovetalk and had an incredible time talking about old school journalism, my time as a political reporter, writing on deadline, that time I interviewed one of Malcolm X's killers, and the art of words—plus, of course, the birth of my new imprint and children's book, "Early Sunday Morning." This is for the ones obsessed with that writing life. Check it!
"For women and girls who have experienced threats of expulsions from school, criticism & legal discrimination in the workplace, and more, this ad made no damn sense. Hair hate? How do you even write that out and don’t include our darker 4a/b/c sisters in the mix?" SAY WORD. Sili M. Recio making it plain.
Oh man: I just watched my reading of "Early Sunday Morning" and got a little teary all over again. If you missed it, the video is in this post; watch it with the babies! And get ready for tonight's "Good Night MyBrownBaby," featuring Adiba Segal's "Meet Clarabelle Blue," a gorgeous story about a chocolate girlpie and all the things she can do from her wheelchair. Pure sweetness! See you tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST!
Certain hair styles don't get certain jobs. True or False? Tune in tonight at 6:30 p.m. to hear what my co-hosts Monica Pearson, Christine White and I have to say on our new talk show, A Seat At The Table. It's fun, funny, introspective, high-five/that's right, say that! dopalicious. Watch on Georgia Public Broadcasting or, if you're not local, online at http://www.gpb.org/seat-at-the-table. Don't miss it!
#blackhairatwork #blackwomenatwork #kinkyandcurly #growitsewitfroit #aSeatAtTheTable
A TREE IS ME
By Mari Chiles
Tall, Fierce, Invincible,
I am the creation that holds this world together. I am a tree.
Some old and ancient, some healthy and new,
I hold life of many kinds, and I am life of my own.
Even though I do not prefer, I help all of human race in the best of ways.
A tough storm comes around and I am ready, with my strong wood and protruding branches.
I was first a small seed with my strength produced
by water and sun.
Now I am a beautiful tree
Tall, Fierce, Invincible.
Happy Earth Day!
Happy Day, Beauties--as long as we keep our heads to the sky! 😘😘😘
Wooo--this is a tough concept to wrap my mind around. I absolutely LOVE babies--all ages, almost obsessively--and couldn't imagine life without my Girlpies. Still, I do remember how it felt to submit to motherhood at the expense of every other part of who I am: woman, writer, activist, passionate, sexual, thoughtful... complicated. It was a tight box to be stuffed in--some days, it suffocated. But it was the love of my children--certainly my dedication to raising and providing for these incredible human beings--that made me rise to the occasion. I grew them up, but they grew me up, too, in a way I can't imagine would have occurred if I were childless. My life (and who I've become) is because Mari and Lila are. I wouldn't change that for anything.
I mean, this pretty much makes her a superhero, no?
A most delicious selection of picture books featuring Black children doing what Black children do: laughing, loving, getting into mischief, dreaming... being. Vanessa Newton's "Don't Let Aunt Mabel Bless the Table" is on here. Get into it. (And add "Early Sunday Morning" to the list!)
"Downplaying the importance of breastfeeding is doing infants and mothers a grave disservice, particularly when breastfeeding can help reduce the unacceptably high rate of infant mortality in our country. That’s why all of us can play an important role in calling out the manipulative and misleading marketing of infant formula as well as disinformation campaigns designed to stoke fears, undermine women’s confidence to breastfeed, play into a mother's guilt, and blame-and-shame groups that work to promote breastfeeding."
Looking at the photo, Ewell sees a manifestation of vulnerability, freedom, evolution and love. “My body housed the safest space on Earth for two beings. I nourished and birthed them from the confines of this body,” she said. “My body grew and stretched to make sure they were adequately protected. How miraculous! I am honored to have been able to bring such wonderful gifts into this world.” <<--YES.
Che Calix was Mari's science teacher in 7th grade. The girl walked into his class with the idea that maybe she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, but after Che's class, she knew for sure: being a doctor was her calling. She was sure because her science teacher said she could be one. Had her cutting on lamb hearts and cow brains and octopus bodies in science club, and getting hyped about biology. A good teacher is a good teacher. But boy, when a Black man tells a Black child she can fly, she spreads her wings. Mari is at the tail end of choosing a univesity to attend: whether Yale, Washington U, George Washington or Spelman, she will enter a pre-med major. To Che, Kemi, Oman Frame and Mr. Hardy, I simply say, "THANK YOU."
Yes! Check out this dope interview from the hypest Black feminist site, Crunk Feminist Collective. What an honor to be featured there!
My heart is absolutely broken. Patricia McKissack, a renowned children's book author who made a point of honoring the beautiful lives of black folk, is gone from here. For years, I've read her "Precious and the Boo Hag" picture book to elementary school classrooms, and even did it recently as a "Good Night, MyBrownBaby" feature, because the story and words are absolutely delicious, and also because the writing inspires. Truly, she was a gem. Lucky for us, she lives on in a legacy of books that kiss the hearts of children the world over. Fly with the angels, Ms. McKissack. Tell a few of your incredible stories while you're there.
I pitched Early Sunday Morning to a few children’s book editors back in 2003, while working as an editor for Parenting magazine. None of them seemed to understand the concept—the idea that black families have a getting-ready-for-church ritual that starts on Saturday, or that Black Baptist church communities devote themselves to nurturing children in the ways of not only the Bible, but also the socialization, culture and fierceness that comes from being raised within that tightly connected group. Makes no never mind, though: Here we are 14 years later, and Early Sunday Morning is no longer sitting on my computer; it’s come to life in the most astounding way possible: by my own hand, on my own imprint, in partnership with a scrappy independent publisher, Agate Publishing. It was meant to go down this way.
Join me in celebrating the release of this, my new children's book (my 27th book), officially published tomorrow! I'll be featuring it on Facebook Live in the latest installment of "Good Night, MyBrownBaby." Tuesday, April 11, at 7:30 pm. Be here! http://mybrownbaby.com/2017/04/14123/
You guys. I just... my heart is so full right now as I prepare to celebrate the release of my children’s picture book Early Sunday Morning, the first picture book on my new imprint, Denene Millner Books! Early Sunday Morning is out tomorrow, just in time for the latest “Good Night Baby,” going down tomorrow night at 7:30 sharp on the… [ 712 more words ]
Stacey Patton, breaking it down so it'll forever be broke in my latest for NPR: "Parents need to spend less time posting digi-punishment videos and more time actually learning how to parent their children. "What they're beating their kids over — bad report cards, cutting class, sexual behavior — is all developmental stuff. Sit down and have a conversation with them about healthy sexual choices. All that time they spent charging their phones, setting up the cameras, explaining why they're about to beat the mess out of their kids, filming the abuse, uploading it on YouTube, captioning it and tagging their friends, they could have Googled 'How to talk to my daughter about sex.'"
"Before her mother could respond, Sophia was already explaining the similarities between herself and the doll. 'She's a doctor like I'm a doctor,' she said. 'And I'm a pretty girl and she's a pretty girl. See her pretty hair? And see her stethoscope?'"
By PHILLIS H. RAMBSY Over its three seasons, the ABC sitcom “Black-ish” has been rightly celebrated for its nuanced takes on everything from police brutality to homophobia. In a recent episode, the show took on another type of discrimination: the stereotypes and unfair workplace treatment of pregnant women and their partners. In a brisk 22 minutes, the episode neatly showcased the underpinnings of… [ 723 more words ]
Just one week until the release of "Early Sunday Morning," a gorgeous children's picture book about a little girl's first church choir solo and the family and friends who surround her with the love and helpful advice she needs to help her lift her mighty voice. The story is beautiful, the illustrations, by the extraordinary Vanessa Brantley-Newton, are divine and, together, we celebrate the joy, community and love that families the world over instill in their beautiful babies. This one will make your heart sing! In stores April 11, but you can order today. Let's make a beautiful story featuring a loving Black family be the standard--and a hit! http://s.ripl.com/myedcl #DeneneMillnerBooks #EarlySundayMorning #WeNeedDiverseBooks #BlackBooks
I'm so proud of my friend, Kelly Hurst, founder and executive director of Being Black at School—she stays putting on for our babies. Join her tomorrow at the 2017 Doing The Work Awards for Being Black at School as we all celebrate parents, educators, and activists working for safer and more equitable schools for Black students.
Tickets available at: https://donate.beingblackatschool.org/…/doingthewor…/e118444
Can't make it to Chicago? They'll be streaming the event on Facebook Live! Or, make a donation in honor of Black students who need and deserve the work Kelly is doing. Let's go!
If I'm ever said it once, I've said it a thousand times.
"Point is, for those of you considering children but ain’t sure you’re ready, you better keep making sure that condom is still on and those pills are on time because you will love your kids and those kids are deserving of parties and fun. And it’s gon’ ya." FACTS.
Tonight's the night: an all-new 'Good Night MyBrownBaby' Facebook Live reading, featuring me reading “Jazzy Miz Mozetta,” by Brenda C. Roberts and illustrated by the incredible fine artist and illustrator, Frank Morrison. Live from the MyBrownBaby Facebook Fans page, tonight at 7:30 p.m. sharp!
Here’s the thing: little girls are not fraidy cats and they love their beauty rest and when it’s dark, they want to sleep, not mess around with loud, rude monsters. But poor little Winifred Schnitzel has to suffer the insufferable, until she puts her clever mind to work in the sweet book, “Monster Trouble.” Here’s what I love about Winifred’s story in “ [ 519 more words ]
And now, thug tears. Because this reminds me of my babies. One of which will be gone from here in just a few months, off to start her own journey of questioning, of questing, of growing, of learning, of living, on her own. Without her mom. I trust that I've done right by Girlpie--that she's going to be just fine. Of that, I'm most proud. I'm sending out into the world and child who is whole, who is not broken. But our relationship will change. I miss moments like these. Long for them. Hold your little ones tight. Let them ask the questions. Answer them best you can. With thought and intention and a smile. And the recognition that time is short. So very short.
Okay, but how adorable is Nia Mya Reese, the super dopalicious big sister who's schooling kids on how to care for an annoying little brother? Answer: VERY. Ida Harris introduces us to this bestselling author, who's killing the game while the rest of us writers sleep, today on MyBrownBaby.
Have y'all peeped How To Deal With And Care For Your Annoying Little Brother? It's the #1 bestseller in School-age Children Parenting on Amazon. Who knew such a category existed? The book's author, eight year-old, Nia Mya Reese, came up with this brilliant concept while doing a classroom assignment that called for a creative narrative on the one thing she has learned to do well. [ 238 more words ]
When you are a creative person, particularly a storyteller, it's way too easy to build narratives about yourself outside of the page. The problem with that is sometimes these stories--those voices that amplify your insecurities-- can hinder the work you are trying to do. They feed your fears and too often, aren't even indicative of what or WHO is really at work in your life. As Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts closes in on the final days of her crowdfunding campaign for her first short film, THE REUNION, she's been thinking about her own proclivity for making up stuff about herself, and she's writing about it over at MyBrownBaby. Take a look, and support her work by contributing to her indiegogo campaign—because she's nice like that!
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