Black is King. A simple three-word phrase that is synonymous with Beyoncé telling us fellow Black humans that we are glorious. In fact, she says “let Black be synonymous with glory.” If we focus on just glorifying blackness at the root, then she did that. But if we think about blackness as a big oak tree rather than a root, then she only scratched the surface. And she scratched that surface beautifully, might I add. With her beautiful rhythm of dance, color in super HD quality, regal hairstyles, and the celebration of black bodies, she did that exceedingly beautifully. However, what missed the mark for me was that the Black is King story focused on Africa. Yes, the Lion King is African and blackness as well as humanity originates in Africa but the Africa she chose to focus on was historical Africa instead of showcasing present-day Africa as well.
This is evident in the focus on historic Egyptian headpieces and traditional hairstyles such as those seen below.
It is also evident in the landscapes chosen as the backdrops chosen for the Black is King film which present Africa as just beautiful Natural Geographic worthy scenes without showcasing the developed cityscapes of Africa. Again, I do think that her point was to show historic Africa rather than present-day Africa so I can understand that vision. However, I am sure Beyoncé does not in the bushes when she visits African countries so why not the 5-star African hotels that she probably frequents. Why not show the Africa that exists today? Why not show landscapes different from what National Geographic shows already? Sure, adding her body and several dancers couples with great costumes does show a different perspective but this vision could have been bigger. Even the movie Black Panther tried to connect Africa with African Americans in the end with the scene shot in Compton. On the same note, I think Beyoncé could have tried to connect more dots in the film Black is King. Black is not just King when it relates to Africa. Black is King in the NBA, in the NFL, in music, in educational excellence, and the list goes on. People might say I am missing the point of the film but please think about the fact that Beyoncé’s last three tours did not include any African countries. So with that record, I can see how people can interpret that Beyoncé doesn’t truly care about Africa and is just using African culture for capitalistic gain. However, I do have to applaud her for her effort in glorifying Blackness. I did feel proud to be black while watching Black is King so if that was her mission then she achieved it. However, if she was trying to make a statement on Africa then she definitely missed that mark. Let me remind you that Africa is a continent made up of 54 countries. Fifty-Four. So maybe we are asking too much from Beyoncé in representing Africa cohesively. Maybe we should not expect that a film that is one hour and 25 minutes long can do so much for us. With that said, maybe we should just appreciate Black is King for what it is: a film with impeccable costumes, storytelling, and rhythm in dance as well as music.
The music is actually my favorite part about Black is King with “Find your way back” as my top song pick. I also appreciate that Beyoncé made an effort to collaborate with African musicians such as Yemi Alade, Shatta Wale, and Wizkid. While the representation of Africa was not cohesive, I found the music to be well organized. I think great music is what we can truly expect from the multi-Grammy award-winning artists that Beyoncé is and she did that beautifully. So Beyoncé, please don’t go chasing waterfalls the next time you’re in Africa. We’ve seen enough African waterfalls. Show us something different. Please and Thank you.
So it seems that every one this quarantine year is either focusing on upgrading their cooking skills or working out so they can look better naked walking around their house. I am on team cooking because my motivation to work out is currently on Empty. But I think one thing we can agree on is that watching the news incessantly is not the correct move for 2020. I think it is kind of ironic that the number that represents perfect vision is the one to define this year. People say hindsight is 2020; well, we’re going to have to tell our kids something a bit different about 2020. Maybe things like “Son, let me tell you what 2020 was about!” and then your son says looks at you with uninterested eyes as you shout “2020 was about not knowing what was gonna happen next including your conception hahaha”.
Well, I really hope the year goes better because this year will probably make or break us as a human race. I don’t mean to scare anyone but already, this year has shown us the people who have integrity and those who do not. Not to bring up this old quote by Martin Luther King Jr but he spoke wisely when he said that people should not be judged by the color of their skin but the “content of their character”. Ladies and gentlemen, 2020 is a group project and we should all have enough integrity, honesty, and respect for one another. Hoarding 100s of hand sanitizers is not integrity. Lying about feeling unwell is not honest. Being too close to someone in a supermarket is not respectful. The people who are lacking in character are the ones who will drag us down with an F for failure in this 2020 group project from hell. So let’s all try to do our best in keeping each other safe. And of course, as the air hostesses say on the airplanes that we all miss so much: “please put your mask on before helping others”.
Also, let us not forget the Black Lives Matter Movement. Again, let us judge people by their character and not their skin. Cops and vigilantes who are killing people and at disproportionately higher murders of black people should be arrested. Let us call a spade, a spade, and murder, murder. And let us look at all institutions that have targeted black people in a harmful way. Let us look at prisons, department stores, and even schools as they serve as a pipeline to prisons. As a medical professional, it scares me to know that maternal mortality rates are higher for black women in the U.S. than for other races. It also scares me to know that Native Americans, Black Americans, and Latinos have higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations (see linked CDC source). My medical career is less than 5 years but I hope that throughout my career, I can be of use in reducing health disparities. I am sure we can all find a way in our professional and personal capacities to be better humans so that we can leave a better future for our children; a future where 2020 is a distant memory rather than a cloud of darkness that follows us for the rest of our lives.
July marks the half-way point for the rest of the year and I am trusting in the powers above that things are going to get better. I am proud of the protests that have happened thus far and the small successes of institutions committing themselves to address racial inequities. This is a demonstration of the power of the human spirit and I believe that is what will allow us to overcome the challenges of 2020. Let us not call 2020, “the year of doom” but rather “the year of character definition”. Let us work on ourselves. Let us keep on going. Let us overcome. And I truly believe that “we shall overcome!” Peace and ❤ to you all in the rest of 2020.
I personally composed the song and arranged the chords. Emotions were inspired by a long-distance relationship. The song style was inspired by Lianne La Havas, Etta James and Nina Simone. My singing lessons provided by my schoolmate and friend Rasaanh Matra definitely helped. Check out his youtube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFPFJ070IZvEaGYFpkTeiOw
Music has definitely made this quarantine time easier to endure. I’ve played guitar with my neighbor while maintaining six feet and wearing a mask in his luscious backyard. Singing in the car on the way to and from work is always refreshing. We also did karaoke for mother’s day and that was very entertaining. I hope you all find music that speaks to your soul and whatever situation you are facing 🙂 ❤
Alright, let me first acknowledge that I am not married but I can tell you this advice is tried and true. When I was on an internship, a pharmacist that I worked with was celebrating an anniversary. I can’t remember how many years she’d been married but it was a long time (definitely more than 15 years). So I asked her what advice she could give me for the future. To my surprise, her answer was really simple. She said, “marry someone nice”. She didn’t say someone with a nice job or a nice car. She said to marry a nice, kind-hearted person. Because at the end of the day, that person will be considerate and not act harshly towards you.
I was like 21 at this point and to be honest, I did not really apply this advice to that period of my dating life because I was just having fun. However, this advice has always been in the back of my mind. Fortunately, I consider the person that I am dating now to be one of the kindest people I have ever met. However, I have overlooked this quality in the past for looks and other less important things. But I think deep down, I have always known what I wanted. I always use to say that I wanted to marry someone like my younger brother because he literally has no enemies. He makes friends as easily as counting to 10 and forgives as easily as a three-year-old.
I’ll admit that sometimes people can be nice to a fault. There are some people who are so busy trying to make everyone happy that they forget about their family. So in being nice, make sure that prioritization is also key. But if the drawback is being nice to a fault, I would rather take that than someone who is rude to a definite fault. At the end of the day, it will be the simple things that matter. Simple actions like buying your favorite snack or drink at the gas station. And always being honest with each other. I think love is just that simple too and in that case, then marriage reflects love. I hope we all find the “ying” to our “yang”. The Michelle to our Barack. And with that, I am hopping back to Netflix to finish this “Becoming” documentary.
Hello old friends. I am sorry to have kept you waiting on this post about how our childhood impacts our romantic relationships. I have been working full time and the motivation to do anything productive is low during a time where our cities have turned into sleepy towns. This week I watched an interview of a Kenyan female songstress, Tanasha Donna, talking about her rocky romance with Tanzanian male musician, Diamond Platnumz. One of the things she talked about is realizing that her man was in love with the idea of her but not with who she really is. Long story short, they had a baby together last year and recently broke up due to him cheating on her. Her ex-boyfriend is well known for being a mama’s boy by the way and it seems he did not have a strong father figure in his life. So before we break this down further, let me reintroduce the theory that Oprah Winfrey shared on her podcast about how we try to recreate our childhood with the people we love romantically (see previous blog post for further detail on this theory and a link to the podcast).
If we apply this theory to Diamond Platnumz, it is possible that he is looking for a woman like his mother and he does not think he has found that woman yet. But let me tell you why men can get lost with this idolization of their mothers. Number #1, no one is perfect not even your mother. That is a tough pill to swallow for most men so they choose to have this idea in their head of who their mother is and then project that on the women they date. Number #2 no woman or man will ever be as patient with you as your mother so stop looking for that. But men who have not emotionally matured expect unrealistic levels of patience from their partner. It gets even worse when they do stupid things like, cheat to test this patience. In essence, they want you to accept their cheating to prove that you are a ride-of-die. Only a mother can love a cheat, a thief, and a liar so men please stop with this foolishness.
Now, women, I have not forgotten about us. In her interview, Tanasha talks about how she was doing everything to try to make things work and was not thinking logically about the relationship. She said that she lost herself in the relationship. In examining Tanasha’s background, she grew up with a step-dad instead of her real father. Therefore, she may be unconsciously attracted to men that are either similar to her father or step-dad. Or she may have been looking for a man to fill that void in her life. Either way, she admits that she listened to her heart a lot of times when she should have been listening to her brain. If a man shows you he does not respect you repeatedly then it is time to be brave enough to leave. I am glad that she seems really strong about the entire experience. She says that she does not regret any of her romances as she always chooses to learn from them.
I feel like I have to end with the disclaimer that this theory does not apply to all men or women especially if you have thought critically about your childhood and your romantic life. To be a little bit personal, my worst heartbreak occurred because I felt like I had fallen in love with this idea of who I thought the guy I was dating was and he had done the same in idolizing me. So I feel like getting to know someone very well in the courting phase can really prevent a lot of heartbreak because you do not want to wake up 10 years from now lying next to someone you don’t know that well. But before I let you go; men, please stop trying to find the equivalent of your mom in the dating world. And women please stop trying to raise a grown man. Send him back to his mama. 🙂 ❤
The past few weeks amid this coronavirus crisis have reminded me one thing: how to not overcomplicate life. We all have so many desires, expectations, and goals that we sometimes forget to live for today, for now. I am writing this after learning that one of my family friends has passed away in a tragic manner. At this time, we are so focused on not being infected with coronavirus that we forget that people are still dying in other ways. Someone probably died from a heart attack today, another probably from drowning, and others from several freak accidents that happen every day. However, we forget this and continue to live life in our bubble. We take our life for granted and focus on myriad issues like petty work drama.
I hope that this coronavirus downtime teaches us to focus on what really matters: our heart, mind, and spirit. Do more of what makes you happy. Since some of us may be stuck indoors during this time, try a new hobby like meditation, drawing, or writing music. I would suggest cooking but I wouldn’t want you to end up eating all of your quarantine groceries. I have started listening to podcasts on the way home from work since we healthcare workers still have to report to duty. The last podcast I listened to was Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, specifically the one where she interviews a self-help author Harville Hendrix about how we look for partners based on our childhood relationships with our parents. I will like to dive deeper into this topic in a future post but in the meantime, please listen to the podcast when you get a chance. I’ll post the link to the website where you can listen to it for free below. I wish you peace, love, and happiness during this time as always 🙂 ❤
As the wise Bob Marley once said — ‘The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.” Bob Marley has numerous great quotes from his interviews and even more from his music. This one is somewhat of a paradox though especially considering that he had 9 children from 7 different women. So if Bob really believed and lived by his quote, that would mean he actually loved all those seven women. And maybe, it is possible that some people are able to love more than one woman equally. However, it seems that his wife Rita Marley also had a child from another man during an affair. So from my basic analytic skills, either Bob and Rita were hippies who freed each other of possession by loving others or they just had the same marital problems that most people have. Either way, I am sure they had love for one another. And Bob Marley will never be seen as a coward because he took care of all his children. He clearly set a good example for them as they all followed his footsteps in music. Also, quite a number of his children are happily married with children so the value of family was not lost on them.
But besides Bob Marley, let us dig into that quote a bit further. There are some men out there who get satisfaction from getting a woman’s number and keeping her wanting him for the sole purpose of an ego trip. Some men just want to be wanted. And once they feel wanted, they leave because the woman has been “conquered”. I have been fortunate enough not to deal with too many of these types but recently, it clicked in my head that one of the guys I’ve dated in the past might have this problem. And just for disclaimer purposes, people are complicated. Sometimes, someone is acting elusive after you gain interest in them because they are afraid of deep connection. You never know what that person has been through. But I will say this, please search within yourself if this behavior describes so that you can figure out why you do this. If you frequently end up on the short end of the stick with someone dropping you as soon as you gain interest, then learn to identify the signs of these emotionally unavailable people.
I will admit that I have been emotionally unavailable before and still ventured out in the dating world. However, I would disclose my emotional state to the other person if somebody gained interest in me. So, I think love is really about honesty and trying to do right by someone. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Be true to yourself and the other person. If your emotional states don’t mesh well, then move on. If Bob Marley was able to find 7 different women to have kids with, I am sure that there is somebody out there for you (if not multiple people, haha). 🙂 ❤
From the moment you become responsible for your life choices (let’s say adulthood), you become married despite your relationship status. Why? Because self-love is marriage. Self-love is a life-long commitment to one-self to make decisions that serve to protect and flourish oneself. Therefore, I believe that we enter a polygamous relationship when we get married to another person. How? Because your love for one-self should not dissolve once you say “I do” to another person. Love has to be divided between love for yourself and for the other person. Or if you and your partner are truly in sync, then theoretically loving the other person is like loving yourself. Either way, self-love should not be compromised in order to love another person: that would be the definition of a toxic relationship.
I am not a married person myself so my perspective may be a bit extreme but from what I have heard from people like Will and Jada Smith is that a relationship cannot complete you. You complete yourself through self-love. This is why understanding yourself and dating yourself first, before and during marriage is so important. Another person can only complement who you are. So I guess the “he/she is my other half” statement is a bit misleading. We are all our own people. A better statement that is now becoming popular is “I choose to love my husband/wife each and every day.” I agree with this statement more as it highlights that love is a choice. It’s not a feeling; lust is a feeling. Love is a choice and you have to mentally decide to love your partner through sickness and in health till do death you part.
Some people wonder about unconditional love. However, I think it is rare to find unconditional love between romantic love. I think unconditional love is usually for parents and children. Most people have a mental list of actions that would make them walk away from their partner: infidelity, dishonesty, addiction, and the list goes on. But I do recognize that most people continue to love the people who they walked away from or who walked away from them. However, that love decreases in intensity and is not as compelling for them to want to be with that other person. Therefore, I am of the theory that love does have conditions.
To tie the concept of unconditional love and self-love, I believe that we learn our requirements or conditions of love by loving ourselves. When you don’t tolerate negative self-talk, you will not accept someone talking to you in any kind of way. When you follow through on your goals and commitments to yourself, you won’t allow someone to tell you that you are too high maintenance or that your conditions are unreasonable. Therefore, how you love yourself provides the blueprint of how someone else is to love you. I wish you all success in love to yourself and to or from others. 🙂 ❤
Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard that the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry will be leaving the United Kingdom and will not be active members of the British Royal Family. If someone made me a pseudo-princess and told me to just look pretty, I might love the job of being a Duchess. But let us not forget that Meghan has been subject to unfair invasion of privacy and scrutiny by the British tabloids. Let us also not forget that she was a working woman before Prince Harry and had already made millions on her own- while looking very pretty, I might add. Now let’s talk about Prince Harry.
Prince Harry was, of course, brought up in the British Royal Family since birth but has always been a rebel. For example, he joined the British army in 2006 and rose up the ranks to captain. He served a total of 10 years which included some time in Afghanistan. The man, excuse- Prince, clearly loves his country enough to put his life at risk for it. So why does such a man decide to opt-out of the cozy life in the Royal Family? Maybe because he knows what happened to his mother. Princess Diana was constantly attacked by the media especially when she divorced Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles. Divorce in the Royal Family was virtually unheard of unless you count the annulments of King Henry VIII from his multiple wives. However, Princess Diana had every right to do so as Prince Charles was cheating on her and in love with his mistress Camilla, who is now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall. Unfortunately, her decision to divorce led her to be critiqued for every little thing such as her clothing to who she dated after the divorce. The only time the criticism from the media stopped is when she died in a fatal car crash in 1997. Side note: I think I would consider naming my child Diana because my mom was obsessed with her as a young lady.
So when you mix the independent woman Meghan and the rebel Harry, what do you get? Class, the answer is a revolution. If Meghan and Harry do in-fact become financially independent of the crown, then this could be a major precedent for all royal families. That’s right, they should put that silver spoon down and go learn how to make their own money. And if all royal families can be independent of taxes and royalties, then I think that money can go to better things like the war on poverty. Also, can the royal family please give back Africa its jewels and artifacts.
In other words, I am impressed by what Meghan and Harry have done. Their child is truly blessed to have parents who are humble and independent thinkers. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Meghan and Harry who I will now call the Markle-David family because Harry’s full name is actually Henry Charles Albert David. I think he wins the record for having the most number of first names. I guess Prince Charles could not decide whether to honor himself or his father in Harry’s middle names. On the other hand, I am glad that Harry has decided to honor his wife, himself, and his child in deciding to leave the United Kingdom for life in North America. Who doesn’t love a man who stands up for his wife? I am sure this is going to be a movie one day and I hope to God, it will be an Oscar-worthy film and not a cheesy lifetime movie like the last one. May God bless Meghan and Harry 🙂 ❤
The picture to the left was taken at my best friend’s Vietnamese wedding/tea ceremony. It was a beautiful display of love and tradition. It was an honor being there for her big day. According to my dad, love is taking care. As her maid of honor, I have observed how both she and her now-husband care for each other ❤
Flowers were a major theme of both her Vietnamese and American weddings. Today, I found this poem I had started writing a while back and it reminded me of how understanding how to love a person can be as difficult as learning how to keep a flower or any plant alive. The poem is kind of somber but I hope you enjoy it ❤
You want to possess me
but you don’t nourish me.
You forget that even a rose withers
when it’s not watered.
You tend to my petals
but you forget my thorns.
You seek to explore my beauty
but don't seek to understand my flaws.
You look at me with lust in your eyes
yet you do not see me.
You touch my skin
but you don’t feel what’s inside.
I am more than this shell.
I am more than how my name is spelled.
I am more than the cards life has dealt.
I am more complex than the ocean’s depth.