Claim To Fame: Why I Breathe Fire

Reflection:

The same thing I am praised for, is the same thing people try to snatch me for—this thing I do with these 26 letters.

In the face of abject crazy which is the current world, I would be remiss in my duties as a writer not to speak or record it. When I decided to lean into writing, being a writer as a career, I knew what I was getting into—what it would cost, and what I aimed to do in it.

This is the thing I love, communication and the art of word play. It’s what I do. It’s legit what I do. And for the love of it, I happen to write down my imagination to sell to people. I keep pens on hand, my desk is covered in papers and my laptops are always running out of space.

This, indeed, is my sweet spot.

Love and blessings,

JBHarris

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Confidence Is A Superpower

Confidence is an intangible, invaluable tool for navigating this life as a woman. With all the uproar over Gabourey Sidibe and a dress she wore to the Golden Globes on Sunday night, there have been mean comments via Twitter, Facebook and countless comments riddled with venom, or what the glamorous refer to as “shade”. I sat, thought and wondered this…is this why we as women can’t unify? Is this why? We are still caught up on how someone LOOKS in something? Nevermind the fact of a woman being talented, driven and visible, operating in all facets of her talents regardless of station in life or situation she may find herself in.

We as women have to learn how to get OVER ourselves. We really do, and learn to celebrate each other, and be an ENCOURAGEMENT. Granted, it can be a struggle to shift focus from the exterior to the interior of a person, seeing that the exterior is the thing that is most of us are taught to dress up, doll up and play up with the latest fashion, or mascara. Whether it be Christian Louboutin’s she wears, Nine West slingbacks, Nikes or Payless flats she wears, why should it matter? If a woman is famous, infamous or anonymous there are some things that are synonymous to the human experience. As women, I believe with have this vision about our ideal selves, and what we wish to be or change. We confront insecurities, issues, and pains only the Lord knows of daily. Why make a day in the life of another woman harder than it must be? Each of us as a past written, present we live, and a future we are creating. Let us decide to do better. Not just for ourselves, but for those whose lives we effect. Let us teach our daughter to be better women, sisters and friends. So at the time when purpose and destiny intersect, the sons of the Most High may have better wives to assist with the changing of the world.

*-All of us, the writer included have been guilty of “sizing a woman up”, as if her worth is attached to what she wears to bare to the world. We have no idea what each of us has been divinely assigned to bare and conquer for the sake of our destiny. By design of the Creator, choice is the most incredible source of determination, compounded by the choice of words. Endurance in a choice. Confidence is a choice. Quitting is a choice. Running from what you have decided to do is a choice. To have your destiny stopped by what someone has told you is a choice. Being distracted is a choice. I am choosing to use my words to bless and edify. Let the weeding begin.

THINGS I PONDER:
(c) JPHarris, 2014

An Elegy For 88 Keys

My adopted brother, LeArthur Antonio Lee, died January 6. He was a brainstorming partner, my trusted friend, music, producer, confidant and all-around good dude.

I miss him. -JBHarris

Rest easy, Big Brother

God gave me a brother-

I forgot He was gonna need him back.

Someone to talk shop with

laugh with—

cry to, and be

reminded that everything

in me is neither fraud,

nor to be afraid of.

For all that burned in him,

finding peace between

Ebony and Ivory,

he gave pieces back

to the world which

had not given all

he demanded.

And now…

those fingers are still.

The keyboards dusty.

The songs unsung.

Melodies change into memories.

And we all don’t know what to do.

God gave me a brother—

I forgot He was gonna need him back.

-JBHarris, January 2023

The Expectation Of Life

I’m in mourning. Pray for me. -JBH

I believe once you become conscious of your own mortality, you fight for immortality.

You change diet, illuminate stress, sleep more… doing anything to stop the clock or wind it back in a few years.

The great sadness of it all is that we know and ultimately this is futile. Will know there will be one day where the Reaper will come for us… Yet, we hope that the day is a long time off.

That day, where the world will miss us, and we will no longer be in the world, yet prepare for the Great Getting-Up Morning.

We expect those in our world to be a part of our lives as much as they can as long as they can.

We speak to their hopes: so their heart don’t fail.

We sow into the talents: so they may not be discouraged.

We ask them to stay. We plead with him to stay!

We believe God with them, for them, to stay.

And yet they slip through our fingers in early mornings. Or late nights. When we leave the room unattended.

They leave because they’re tired. Or uncertain. And we are forced into mourning clothes. And pray they don’t fit too tight.

Life is steady, linear… And unfair. Yet for the great unfairness of it all, perhaps it is best that we not walk the clock too closely.

Which makes us forget the Reaper is there…holding it.

-JBHarris, January 2023

Written after the death of my adopted brother LeArthur Antonio Lee at age 40.

Goodbye, 2022…

This year made it evident that ink is definitely what I should always do…

This year has been incredible for me and for the other indie writers in my circle.

This year, I have been able to reconnect with other writer friends; building other networking opportunities, collaborations and (as always) my TBR increased! Here are some of my favorite books I read this year:

1.) Black Women Will Save The World by April Ryan

2.) Finding Me by Viola Davis

3.) A Peculiar People by Steven Willis

4.) The Weight Of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

5.) Home. Girl. Hood. by Ebony Stewart

6.) The Last Days Of Ptolemy Gray by Walter Mosley

This year has been one which has forced me to re-examine my writing career, the time I give to it, and even future plans for the new year. If I am honest, this year has allowed me to refocus on what I love about writing, my writing community, and why both are so important to me.

I even wrote a book in a week after discovering my childhood sweetheart was still in the world (Title: SWEETHEARTS & LOVENOTES)! As this year ends, it feels that a significant part of my writer life ended…and has started again! I have discovered my love for this art, this craft again. Newt year, I am excited about what is coming!

I am excited for the new work, new opportunities , and just where this creativity will take me.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING (Part 4): “You Can’t Rid Of Me, B!T@#!”

Abbreviations: CC (content creators)

As of this posting, I have 169,300+ followers on my main account.

And about 2000 between 3 backup accounts. I am on this app out of spite at this point.

Pure. Spite.

As I spoke about before, Black CC’s whom speak out about social justice, or any type of -ism (especially racism or sexism!) you will find out how racist the algorithm is! And once you have discovered that red pill-powered reality, had an account mass-reported, you realize how crucial a backup page is.

For that cause, I decided to stay right where I am. It’s a protest of sorts, I suppose! James Baldwin said that Black people need witnesses in the world that thinks everything (and everyone) is White.

I’m an AUNTIE in these streets now!

I can’t leave the nieces and nephews just out here! Nall! Only Jesus has followers–I have family (adopted brothers, sisters, LOADS of cousins, nephews & nieces) and Jayebirds.

Leave?

Get put out?

Nall. Y’all leave first,

Being A Granddaughter

Thinking:

My grandmother was the indomitable presence, she could restore familial order with a look or a sound. She had the strength, and wit I envied. I aspired to master, not emulate. I wanted this essence she had. I figured if I had it, that wit would allow me to maneuver with ease through this life. Now, that same woman, granted mortality to teach us her descendants how to run, I learn was only mortal, perhaps more mortal than me. I now learn only a fraction more her after her passing. The regality of aging is not lost on me. I want to be able to retain a measure of grace and charm that will not make me stone, but won’t make a fool or trifled with either.

Good thing sanctification is a process.

-JBHarris, December 2013

Hell Is For Racist White People

Morrison said race is a distraction; looks crazy, feels crazy—stops you from doing your work. In a nation concerned with the color of Christ, than His character or cause, use history as eraser and bludgeon, powered by a theology by which will always see us as other as less outside of the God of the universe and His love—binding Him to White men whom need to hobble or brainwash anyone who does not find them to be the Almighty.

In pursuit of bravery and freedom, I leave the lazy descendents of slaveholders; grandsons of murderers; daughters of rape accusers and their defenders; daughters of all Confederates, to the god of their making, for the Hell they made for me and those who look like me.

This place devoid of privilege and power, where only suffering answers them. Gnashing on tongues they cut out or silenced out of Black people: remembering just how at that our of their death the plot twist most unimaginable! They see Mother Mary, her Son, and His Father are all Black.

-JBHarris, December 2022

The Immovable Trinity

Day-jobbing and listening to MasterClass:

Never think that this gift I have is not demanding. I have leaned into this gift, succumbed to the demand of it.

It is the best restlessness.

It is the most intimate of imagining.

Yet, I am keenly aware, what I do—

Black woman writer
Writer, Black and woman
Woman whom is Black and writer. —

Is an immovable, immutable trinity.

For such designations, I write.

I persevere and preserve.
I remember and reckon.

I reimagine.

-JBHarris, December 2022

SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING (Part 3): “Can You See Me?”

The TikTok app is known to be racist. It is proven to be that, and what the app cannot erase, suppress, or block–it will ban. The cool kids call this shadowbanning.

Social Media Lynching includes suppression of content, shadow-banning (where you cannot interact with content and yours may not be visible), to frequent bans (being unable to post on your account).

Shadowbanning includes content suppression and often runs ahead of frequent bans! There are videos that are made which will ask those that are watching to interact–literally asking, “Can you see me?”

Erasure is not uncommon to Black people, it’s a step-parent of racism! Yet, it is still obnoxious. The function of racism is to hinder, control, stifle and kill. With this being the lifesblood of racism, and people whom alert to it must be identified…enter shadowbanning.

This is practice of erasing Black people is not new. This is just the most visible (and vicious) form of erasure! The superpower of TikTok is how immediate interactions are! How quickly networks are built, and experiences validated.

As a Black person, as a Black woman, visibility, validation and empathy are crucial! Having my experience believed, strengthens me to continue to share experiences in a way which will fight racism.

Rather than the algorithm cosigning truth from non-White people, it shuns us! Bad Negroes must be dealt with accordingly.

But we’re making this all up, right?

SisterKeeper

Image from Lensa in December 2022

Tell me where my sister is

because the days are long

and the night is dark.

Tell me where my sister is

because I know she is

somewhere

wounded, weary and sad.

Tell me where my sister is

because I know

somewhere she is trying

to breathe underwater

and concrete

and tree roots

and she is trying

to get back to me

tell me where my sister is

so that I may be comfort to her

tell me where my sister is

because I cannot seem to find her.

someone please let my sister

know that I am on the lookout for her

that I am looking for her

in grass and water

and trees

and mirror.

let my sister know that she is not by herself.

Let my sister know

I see her face

as my face

As I seek after my own self

and bring healing with me.

Tell my sister that I am on my way.

Tell my sister I bring

ancestral help with me

because God has equipped

me to find her for just such a time is this

to remind her that she will not die here!

strengthen me again oh God,

So I might find my sister,

remind her of the divinity

which rests on the inside

of her

let my sister know

she doesn’t have to hold her breath

For much longer because

Who were coming

are coming

and are now here

that she would be rescued.

All she need do is to exist.

tell me where my sister is

because the days are long and night is coming.

JBHarris, December 2022

(written in response to the backlash of Megan Jovon Ruth Pete AKA Meg Thee Stallion during the and the trial of Tory Lanez when he was accused of shooting her.