Tag: self love

A Poet Is A Prophet Is A Poet

It is our job to take rage and give hope.

The job a prophet is tell the truth in love. There is a prophet in every poet and a poet, in every prophet.

Truth must be revealed no matter what is going on.

Hope must be given, despite the grief and circumstances!

I believe more poets are like Jeremiah: knowing the truth and no one‘s going to believe until all of law be fulfilled.

For the prophet, poetry is the vehicle we deliver truth, love, and fire.

There must be something we leave, we retain, that we reckon to remember—poets are the guardians of conscience, culture and circumstances. At the fall of the human will, when the soul is in despair—there we will be amongst the wreckage and rubble of suffering.

You must leave hope and do your work. Trust and believe it is worth it! To leave hope in the—world is to pick are the lock on Pandora’s box through the intention of all things.

At all times and all in all places and spaces.

We still must be able to leave hope.

-JBHarris, October 2022

God & Lil Nas X-Part 2: Takeaways

For my overview, click here for Part 1.

I write this part as a cis-het, Christian, woman whom is a mother, and hope hustler (minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ).

With that established, let’s get it!

1.) You cannot tell me that this young man is not hurt and isn’t lashing out. I have heard the hellfire sermons as it relates to homosexuality. They have never sat well with me. This is the only ‘sin’ there is no grace given to or for. The gospel of Christ is a hammer, yes—but it was never meant to massacre! Imagine being told as you live your life, the source of all things will turn His back on you. That is a nightmare! People forget that love draws, hate divides! Guess which was the last thing Christ told us to do? I’ll wait.

2.) This video was meant to be divisive. The vibe I got watching this video was to make people mad. He fully embraced this identity as a pariah. Completely and utterly outcast from society as Black, gay man—the video celebrates everything in his reality that will ostracize him elsewhere! He is celebrating the fact that “all gay people go to Hell” and pole dancing the whole way there! That is a boldness without equal. Then to simulate sex with Satan, only to murder him(!) and take He’ll over?! Like Crowley on SUPERNATURAL?! Fam!

I don’t think y’all get that: He. Just. Trolled. God. That is a different kind of hubris, I don’t have—or could ever want. His arms are too short for that smoke.

3.) There is an artistry to this video that is undeniable. It’s a pretty video! Very avant-garde! And the creativity that went into it is amazing.

4.) The ownership of your complete self is a process—and when done well? It is incredible!Since Lil Nas X came out, he has made it his mission to accept himself—regardless of who said what! With the state of the nation being what it is, he fact he has been able to do this, done this work to ricochet out into the world? You gotta admire that.

5.) It is a middle finger to heteronormativity. As the transactivist Diamond Stylz says, “It’s gay as fuck.” This video was a treat for the eye, with no video vixen in sight! His self-love, acceptance, with no need to compromise. Bruh.

6.) The video is a demonstrative of the cost to of living the life you want! This young man is a successful, openly, gay Black rapper. I cannot imagine the smoke that came from just that! And peep the double entendre: call me by your name! Basically, call me what you want—it doesn’t matter! Whew!

7.) The game is afoot, Watson. Understand (again) that this young man is playing a role. Understand this is about money, clout and marketing! The more pressed you are, the angrier you are, the more he cashes checks! I refused to be pressed about this because I know the agenda! The world said/says he is a demon destined to go to Hell? Bet! And made a sneaker line to boot? Chile! You better understand what the real issue is and how to handle it! Not sure what the issue is? Re-read Part 1, and all these pieces again.

I’ll be here when you get back.

Deep, Still Waters

There’s magic in the water

I’ll make you hunger and thirst for righteousness you have never sampled

for a goddess is who is brown as earth

and loud as thunder once you master crescendos who hides orchestras inside of her belly as you begin to be key in her lock

I will show you the world

with your eyes closed

and just how marvelous your world

can be once you find the right tempo

I can give you

what you’ve only dreamed of…

what you thought you could never have…

I can give you all you see…

I am night

I am power,

I am rhythm and blues,

I am hives of honey,

With all lips made from sugar.

There is no need

To give the unworthy

Or lazy such access to

Attention for my blessings…

Thick and rich as sunsets and moonlight.

No need to give samples

When ownership is what

Is called for…

because such power cannot be left unchecked

I am desire

I am more, and

I am comfort

I am storm.

I am all the ocean it washes away the cares of the day and yet I have chosen you…

-JBHarris, 1.3.3021

In Defense Of ‘WAP’

Note: This is review is for grown women only. I knew what WAP was when I saw this image. Why? Cause I’m grown. Check the notes at the end. You’re welcome. -JBHarris

I am not a virgin.

I know how babies are made, and where they come from.

I like sex.

Now, with that out the way, I thank you that your misogyny hasn’t overruled your common sense! I also thank you for continuing to engage in this discourse. At this again (I am a year from 40), I know what I like and who I like it from. Also, the concept of dancing to sexy music is not a new thing. I mean, I listened to Lil Kim and Trina when my mom wasn’t home during my last two years of high school. So, when I heard WAP at work two nights ago? I vibed to it, and was mad I couldn’t be anyone’s Meg Thee Stallion! But let me not ahead of myself…

My mother and father taught me to not and never be ashamed to be Black. My mother never told me to be ashamed of my body, even though my mother is of the generation that still call Black girls fast–and I, too, was warned about the ‘danger’ of being *’fast’ or being ‘a fast-tailed girl’**. It was work to begin to love my body, and all it could do. It was a whole other struggle to remind myself that sex, and liking sex doesn’t make me anything but a sexual being.

In growing up as Black and girl, whom will become Black and woman, there can be this almost oppressive chastity imposed on you! To own your body as a Black woman is a revolutionary act! It a declaration of your personhood and ownership–complete ownership!–of your body. There are still people (read: men and ‘conservative’ women) that think to own you body, and to take pleasure with it, automatically makes you a whore! Slut-shaming is trash LD/DAP energy. I said it.

The video is a declaration of the ownership of the female form! I still have no idea why Kylie Jenner was in it! WHY?! Other than for the reputation her sister has and it being a declaration that she is DTF. But, I digress.

I have no idea why sexually confident women scare people! In the two days this song and video has been up, the complete backlash is almost comical! Too $hort can talk about pimpin an Cocktales, video vixens have been the ornaments to all hip-hop videos, NWA has a song called ‘My Penis’, but let a woman declare just how bomb her body is! Let her declare how well she can use these hips Lucille Clifton talked about! Let a woman declare that as Meg said in Captain Hook ‘I like to drin and I like to have sex’, now she is undesirable?

Yet, there is a large swath of these so-called outraged men that still watch porn, by the ‘services’ of women and have ‘known’ more than a few hoes in their ‘player days’. But, you want the woman you want to be pristine, low body count and just do ‘hoe shit’ for you? Do you hear yourselves?

In literature, there is this idea called primo genture. This ideology comes up alot in Shakespearean plays. The idea is to police and control female sexuality, you can then assure legitmate heirs to a line. Notice the legitmacy of an heir falls to a woman–even though she can neither determine when she gets pregnant, or the sex of the baby. We need only look to recent history to men–married men!–whom had whole families outside of their ‘legitmate’ families! What does that mean for them?

Oh, I forgot. Men are supposed to ‘sow their wild oats’, right? Get all that hell-raising and bed hopping done with before getting married. I cackle laughing at this every time someone mentions how chaste a woman is supposed to be. Yet, this wisdom is never expected from men.

The fact that WAP exists, and I’m SURE is on many a playlist the kids can’t listen to, and been ‘tried out’ by now, I need ya’ll to grow up. If you don’t want to listen to it, don’t. If you think Cardi and Meg are too much–don’t listen! But don’t come for those of us whom have done the work of loving ourselves, including those of us who know we have WAPs, and like using them from time to time. Use that energy to take down the president who likes to ‘grab women by the pussy.’

Women are allowed to own their bodies, their sexuality and express that however they see fit. Societal approval is not needed for a woman to be seen. A woman need only a mirror for that–and the right to not be judged because she looked, with the audacity to like what she saw. And twerk in celebration.

Note to help you not be a prude:

Shameless Plug #1: Read Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women A Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall.

Shameless Plug #2: Read by miniseries from last year FOR A FAST GIRL. Click here to start that.

Shameless Plug #3: Listen to my podcast, The Writers’ Block (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play). For the month of May, I did a miniseries called For The Love of Hip-Hop and I talk about sex, women and hip-hop on the third and fourth show.

Shameless Plug #4: Listen to the Sexpectations podcast hosted by Nicole Powell.

Thinking I’m Grown: Chest (My Body & How I Accept It)

Terry Lee Laney, Junior, the cousin of this girl with the longest name I knew as a 10-year-old, Sandranita Carson, was the first boy to tell me I was flat-chested. There are dynamics that come in with fifth grade I believe that set the stage for how you will handle transitions anywhere else in this life: differences will always get you seen. It was in Ms. Grant’s fifth grade classroom in Lowell Elementary School that I knew one thing–boys like breasts. Some boy would always be looking at my chest. Why? I was yet to find out. But his cousin, the girl with the longest name that I will ever know at age 10? She was about a C-D cup then! When I was a 10-year-old girl, it wasn’t odd; I knew what breasts were. And I also knew those were things I didn’t have.

I didn’t develop any sort of ‘thickness’ as the kids call it now until I was in my late teens-early twenties. And when I had my first child? That’s when everything began to fill in and round out! I mean I could were the dresses I wanted and there be something there to put in it. I mean, I had no idea how to embrace my body before–so to add childbirth to it?! I was not this vixen I wanted to be.

My favorite aunt, Linda, told me “All you had all your life was legs and ass.” Well, these are facts. Big facts, really. But I had always wanted the hour-glass Mae West figure. I wanted that visible sex appeal–I wanted to be what I told one suitor ‘the waking wet dream.’ But to get there? To get to the point I could own I was sexy–not just beautiful, but sexy–that took for real time. This took embracing ever part of my form and realizing if I never got another thing added to me, I was sexy. I was able to call myself beautiful. I was desirable–and nothing was wrong with me! I was worthy of a healthy relationship. I was worthy of being intimate with a man and get pleasure for those experiences.

I had to determine how I accepted my own body could not be dependent on how the world saw my body. I had to start to love me. I had to love me beyond being funny, or smart or being compassionate. All these things are good, yes. I am glad all these qualities are present inside me to be given to the world. But that self-love–that embracing my own thighs, legs, lips and eyes with everything in the middle? That hit different, fam. Besides, from my personal list? I’ve never had any complaints…

*GET OUT, We Out, Peace Out: Who Did Y’all Think Rachel Meghan Markle Was?

Image result for meghan markle

I don’t know how long this process was in the works, but I in my Katt Williams voice, this is check and checkmate. Prince Harry of Windsor, the Duke of Sussex–with his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, have ‘stepped back’ from their royal duties. Allow me to translate:  “I am leaving as soon as possible.”

Well, played y’all. Well played.

But the thing that I find most amazing is how it was done. Am I mad about this? No, not at all. But I wrote last year, how I was praying for Meghan and Prince Harry.  How I hoped, how I prayed that as formal, as unrelenting as a platform as being a British royal would be, that Prince Harry protect her.

The thing that most Black women are not afforded full privilege of! I remember how I got up and watched the wedding, and how gorgeous she looked, how happy Prince Harry looked–and yet, all of me that is Black and mother, remained coiled. All I could think is, “Don’t let them get her, Harry. Don’t let them get her.”

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'RESPECT Rogue Poledancer @LeratoMannya Prince Harry understands the importance of removing his wife from a toxic situation even when that situation is his family.'

From the press imagining this feud between her and the Duchess of Windsor (Kate Middleton), like they are Fergie and Diana reincarnated, to Prince Harry having to rise up on people that were coming for her, and the coup de gras? Some idiot on Twitter calling Baby Archie a ‘monkey’.

What I need y’all to know is, as woman, as a mother, as a person who occupies that intersection as one whom is Black? It is a miracle that Meghan didn’t burn something down! It is a testament of her grace, and the morality instilled in her that she didn’t become the stereotype of what the world thinks Black women can only be. The glorious thing:  my prayer was answered. Prince Harry protected his wife–with all power he could muster.

It was glorious!

But what I think is so amazing is how shook the world seems to be by their decision! Some men won’t defend their wives and girlfriends to the people at their jobs or crazy family members! So, the world is shook that he didn’t want his wife–HIS WIFE–to be exposed to the same toxicity which contributed to his own mother’s unhappiness? Be for real, y’all. Be for real.

Meghan couldn’t do anything right. She shouldn’t have had a wedding ‘so Black’. She should have worn more make up. She shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. Meghan shouldn’t have looked like she did right after having a baby! From what she wore, her baby bump, even what they named their baby! Dear Lord! How much was she supposed to take?

Herein lies the problem:  the world expects Black women to just take that type of abuse because that’s just what we do. Black women are seen as tragically loving mammies whom desire only to serve others. To die in pain with smiles on our faces–like Georgina in GET OUT. But the brilliant Zora Neale Hurston said this, “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” As I continue to live and learn, this quote manifests its truth on a daily basis.

In inhabiting this Black woman body, in encountering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune while inhabiting it,  I have come to three conclusions.

1.) White supremacy tells those that follow it that Black people, Black women, are props. We are to be confronted, controlled, and herded to the pasture of a master narrative.

2.) It scares some white folk when Black women don’t just smile and nod.

3.) In asserting any power over self as a Black woman, you have to be willing to go against what folk want  you to do.

The world wanted Meghan to take her Blackness, or half-Blackness with her–and leave Prince Harry; restore him pristine to be made lily white again. The world that hated Meghan–and perhaps hates her more now–wanted her gone, to reclaim Prince Harry. How dare they–how dare she–become, remain sentient, poised and leave where she was not respected?

How dare she refute all tricks and traps to be controlled by and in a world which only wanted to curse her to her face; devour her behind her back?

How dare Prince Harry do what was mentioned in the movie Belle:  ‘wed the exotic’?

And how dare they plot to leave a platform which is quickly becoming archaic? Add to the fact they see mixed in with the people whom disliked his mother on the best days, and served her avarice as ice on the the worst ones!

I am proud of Meghan.

I am proud of Harry.

I am relieved for Archie.

The joke around the internet is on their tour of North America and Canada, they visited her mother. In being in that space, where there was love being served they couldn’t go back to where there was none. I like to believe that is so. I like to believe that in speaking to her mother, as all Black girls do when life is heavy and dark, she was able to just be Rachel again. Not the world famous/infamous Meghan Markle.

Maybe she was able to emote. She could cry. She could be listened to–and she could plan. I mean the Windsors have a sorted history anyway! Exhibit A:  King Edward whom abdicated for Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American; not to mention he was anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer! Never forget, Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles, married the woman he cheated on Harry’s mother for!

Meghan decided to leave a place where they both were unhappy, to make their way in the world together. Isn’t that what any parent wants for their children? The thing is, no one expected Harry to follow her. No one thought this Black girl from California–with the Black Mama with the nose ring and locks–would be able to pull a Prince from the gilded cage of money and privilege! But, she did. They did. And why not?

Image result for meghan markle prince harry

It is glorious to see her still retain all of who she is. I think Princess Diana would have liked Meghan. And I think, she would have told her to leave as well. Remember my dear ones, love is action and power. When harnessed together, it is a force of tremendous good. Besides, the world needs to see Black women own their own space, being intolerant of mistreatment. And if need be an necessary, get all your stuff, and leave towards something greater. The age of the Happy Mammie is over.

 

*Special thanks to Hannah Drake of Write Some Shit who reminded me to weigh in. Love you, Ma’am. 

[Images from top:  instyle.com; author’s Facebook timeline; PageSix.com]

 

 

 

 

 

The Pick Me’s, Wife Schools, Standards & Criteria

Image result for pick mes

I am not a ‘Pick-Me.’ None of the women I know are ‘pick-me’s. I do not have the strength, time, ability or patience to be a ‘Pick-Me’. When I was actively dating, I wasn’t a Pick-Me! My mother, and father, always wanted me to have some sort of class, decorum and criteria about the men I decided to date. My father, the Urban Prophet Richard Bush, told me two pieces of advice which have guided my dating life:

“Every man you meet, you don’t need to have a baby by.”

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazing what he’ll do for you!”

These two pieces of advice have saved me time, effort and money in certain cases! So, imagine my horror–yes, horror!–at these gorgeous, sentient women doing all they can to conform to what a man wants! I mean I thought the idea of a Wife School was a whole, insane joke–until I saw these presenting ceremonies! Until I saw a Black woman kneeling at the feet of her husband while he ate–and she looked at the floor!

Lookahere, Sis. Do you. I ain’t able. Not at all. But what I need you to understand is, not every woman is built for this. I will never tell my daughters, my nieces, grandchildren, spiritual daughters, they need to be the one to conform, to change to suit the needs of a man. My faith tells me that a man who wants a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

A man who wants a wife, should know what that means! Women are not property–no matter how much sex you pay for, trade for or take. There is no way in all of creation I will tell my daughters to be less than whom they are–or will become–so someone can pick them.

Image result for pick mes

I get it, Sis. I do! We all want someone to go out with, to make us feel gorgeous, to break out backs on a regular basis. I get it. I do. But at what cost, ma’am?! There are men out here who get off on treating women like this and throwing (errant) Bible at this. Submission, and all that. There are men who are happy to make sport of your devotion–I don’t know how being a side chick/mistress/side-chicking became a whole freelancing career, but that’s toxic patriarchy and internalized misogyny for you.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married, get married, or being with someone. Nothing at all! My issue with Pick-Me culture is it’s the bastard cousin of rape culture. How you ask? Rape culture doesn’t value women. Pick-Me culture tells women that they are only valuable if they have a man/spouse/partner.

Rape culture doesn’t think women need to be valued; their value is only attributed to what they can give–or what can be taken from them. Women are to be owned, possessed, prized only by what can given from them. Pick-Me culture tells women they have no value other/outside of what is ascribed to them.

I cannot. I will not. You cannot make me.

Image result for loving me first

The woman I am becoming is confident, happy and has a criteria for the men she lets in her world. I am not an easy lay, I don’t need to pay for peen, and I am the first one to say that ‘this wife thing’ is hard. But, I’ll be black damned if I kneel next to my husband why he eats! I will be the biggest fool to dim my light because he can’t stand the heat of it! I would be bigger ass than a herd of mules to allow a man’s opinion to supplant what I think of myself! What part of the game is this? How did I miss this? What was I doing that I missed this whole ho-side chick-wife school movement?

Oh, I know! I was raising children, building a career, being a sister, building a brand, and finishing a degree and dismantling white supremacy with the alphabet and my own superhero Blackness. I ain’t gotta be picked; my life doesn’t depend on being chose. For the women that depend on that? I guess I think I’m doing this woman/wife/Mama thing wrong.

I am in favor of you giving your all to a man you love–whom is willing to give you all of that back! That type of devotion has to be reciprocated. I still believe in love, great sex (built on intimacy!), and the idea that monogamy is still excellent. I believe being a wife is a call, is amazing and is insanely difficult. Building a life with someone is hard. It is constant, and on the best days–amazing. But it does not make me less of a woman to have criteria for suitors, standards for who I share my body with! It does not make me ‘difficult’ for wanting a career, something for ME, outside of my relationship.

I wasn’t raised to be a Pick-Me, bruh.  I chose me first.

 

From The Crates: Intimate Partner Violence

There is something heinous dwelling in a person when they can take the life of someone they were once in a romantic relationship with.

The fact these men, these recent murderous human beings, could take the lives of women they say they love is monstrous. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be glazed over or explained away.

It is deeper than a character flaw.

It it broader than being labeled abusive.

Women have the right to autonomy and self-preservation. We as women have the right to say, “This situation is toxic, harmful and detrimental to my well being and safety. I will not allow it to continue.”

It is beyond wanting a ring back. It is more than vouching for an evil person’s character when they know how to act in public. Every time this happens to a woman, there is a power that leaves the world. There is an essence, purely and beautifully female, that leaves the world. And for what? Only because a man could not trap, trick or own her? For that cause she must perish? And by his hand?

When will we as women matter?

When will our safety matter?

When will our cries, bruises and worries matter?

WHEN WILL THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERPETRATED AGAINST BLACK AND BROWN WOMEN MATTER?

It is beyond wanting a ring back and cannot be cheapened to that! The fact there are men and women that adhere to this logic have no respect or acknowledgement of their own power, autonomy or self-determination!

We must value women, Black women especially, when they say abuse is happening to them. We must not continue the lie that is toxic and hyper masculinity. It is killing us. They are killing us!

How long will blood be the demand for those whom cannot fathom they are not the chosen? Yet, in not being chosen, their maleness doesn’t die. Perhaps these perpetrators, these man-cloaked animals, will remember a “No,” will not kill you, nor define your worth as a man.

Only you as your own man will. The power of that determination solely marked and forged by your character. Perhaps it is a show of the fallen world where the one whom is to protect, love and shelter, in his twisted form, only kills steals and destroys.

-(c)JBHarris, 2018

For My Daughters-Lesson 5: Struggle Love Is Not Love

 

Babygirls-

I want to you to know one crucial thing:

You cannot make someone love you. 

Here’s another one for free:

You should not have to make someone love you. 

 

If I can have you understand just how precious you are, and how amazing you will become–I think I will have done half of my job as your mother. Knowing these two irrefutable things about yourself as women–as Black women–this will allow you to be dynamic. Also, rendering you immune to the thirst to be chose!

There is this concept a friend of mine came up with. Honestly, she may not have invented the term, but for the case, I’ll say she did. She called it: struggle love.

What is this, you  ask?

This is the type of love that is toxic, dear ones. It is this promoting of the idea if you ‘just hang in there’ it’ll be better–when there is no reasonable hope of such! Now, don’t get me wrong:  every relationship has bad patches! Every relationship has moments (moments!) where you don’t like or can’t stand each other. In those temporal moments, you may have the choice to ride out the bad, knowing, seeing where the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not dark all the time! But dark times should not be ongoing! Those moments should be few and far between.

There were men that I chased, hoping they would see how beautiful and capable I was. There were relationships that I stayed in far too long, hoping it would get better. But better never came. See, what people don’t tell you is that ‘struggle love’ takes from you. It saps your youth, strength and focus. It takes or sabotages opportunities! This is what I heard from a man that  tried to keep, that it took over three years to leave:

“I don’t want you to go out of town for school, because I would miss you so much.”

And I listened. The thing behind that? He didn’t want me to be far from him, because he was insecure. And sometimes insecurity in the wrong man leads to controlling behaviors. Or to be clingy and manipulative.

Another man I tried to date wanted to change who I was. Hated how smart I was, that I kept myself up, and that I was ambitious. It was odd:  the same thing that drew him to me, was the very thing that made him hate me.

Struggle love props up this idea of the happily ever after at all cost! It promotes this idea that everything that makes you valuable as a woman is wrapped in being with man! While doing whatever it takes to keep him! It involves ignoring or tolerating outrageous, abusive behavior because ‘he’s my man, and you just don’t understand.’ No!

If you have any inkling; any type of ‘something told me’, any funny feeling? Believe it. This is the Almighty protecting you, warning you, from something that can hurt or trap you. The thing is, my loves, a hurt is something you can be be mended or healed from. A trap? That takes a while to get out of, and may leave scars or residue. With that residue, along with the hurt? This may make you susceptible to evil, manipulative people.

My dearest ones, my heartbeat in two places, I want better for this for you! I want you to remember you are a Queen. You are entitled to be both beautiful and ambitious. You are allowed to manifest your own destiny! You have the right to tell a man ‘no’! And that is a complete sentence! You are allowed to possess all pieces that make you formidable and feminine. Change for no one. Change for no man. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t fix something, or everything! You are entitled to leave any relationship when you believe that you had done all you can. It does not make you less than a woman to be single or walk away from what no longer suits you! Own your power and person, my loves.

You have the right to have healthy, lasting love. You do not, will not, have to give your body to boy, a man (or another woman) not be valid, valued or loved. Love is not a struggle. It is given. That which can be given, and given freely, is never a struggle.

I love you beyond the stars, to the moon and back.

Always,

Mommy