Celebrating Black Poetry During National Poetry Month

“The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” James Baldwin

As educators, our jobs are to do exactly what Baldwin mentions above, shift the way our students view the reality around them. In order to do so I believe it’s necessary to not just use the poets mentioned above or some from their era but also elevate poets like those featured on Def Poetry Jam within the classroom. There are obviously dozens of Slam Poets featured on the now historical HBO series but some of my favorites to use in class are the following:

Espiritu y Alma: Gratitude for the Spirit and Soul of Africa that Gives us all Life

The more I thought about it, the more I have realized how right Khalilah is. Anger can be useful as a spark that spurs us on toward the work, but it is a terrible life partner, and useless from a sustainability perspective. Anger, especially over the mistreatment of others is absolutely legitimate, but joy and love and gratitude are the only thing that can sustain us over the long haul, and we must cultivate love and gratitude in every corner of our soul.

Thus, in celebration of our Black history in what is currently called America, let me call your attention to one of my favorite sources of joy and healing for me and for so many of us: Black music.

Listening to Pro-Black Music Made Me a Better White Person

Vermont is a hyper-liberal state that actually has a pretty robust movement to secede from the U.S. altogether.  Bernie Sanders represents Vermont.  And much like how Bernie left something to be desired in his racial politics, so did many of the hippie Vermonters I was spending my time with.  But, those Vermonters loved Bob Marley… like, LOVED Bob Marley, and by 15, he was pretty much all I listened to.  

I get it how I live it: Bad girl Rih Rih

So, I’m jacking their style during our #IssaCelebration month and I’m awarding my, “I get it how I live it Award” to the one and only Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

That’s right. Bad Girl Rih Rih is life!

Artist
Entrepreneur
Philanthropist
Shade Thrower
Professional Black Girl
Beauty, Fashion and Style Icon
And the baddest girl on the block.

January 1st, 1804: That’s our New Year!

So, I swallowed those tears before returning to the sun shine. But what I could never swallow was my new nickname that followed me for the rest of my time living on that block, every time we walked to the train and every time I got on the cheese bus I heard the kids singing, African or  Haitian Booty Scratcher.

Which had me fucked up.
Because, again, I was Antiguan.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for: Principles to teach by in 2018

But don’t worry, you won’t have to be patient for too long especially because we will both be on break for the next not quite 2 weeks.

Just like you, we are closing up shop and taking time to be with family and friends over this holiday season. That means:

No daily blogs…But in this last one of 2018 we got a treat!
No Podcasts…did you peep we dropped one today?
No updates on social media….well our social media manager says she’s still gonna be dropping stuff. Thank Goodness for her.

We will be back on January 2nd, refreshed, renewed and ready to take on all that comes our way.

But, we are leaving you with an early Kwanzaa present.

Collective Work and Responsibility

Lots of times when I bring up Kwanzaa to my family and friends, they react in one of a few ways:

The sigh: You know the sigh, it’s the: “not this shit again,” sigh. The: “here you go on that Black shit again.” sigh. Or the: “why you trying to take away Christmas from me?” sigh
The awkward silence: You know the blank stare and “why you have to bring this up again” silence. Or the maybe if I just don’t respond you will stop talking silence.
This shit is made up defense: This is my favorite, people will argue to me that this holiday is made up and therefore we don’t need to celebrate it. Ummmmm, aren’t all holidays made the f up. So, because this was made up in our lifetime means that it isn’t valid?