Lupita Reminds Us Who Could’ve Played Nina

People are sitting around here wondering why they couldn’t find anyone to play Nina Simone, and Lupita Nyong’o was up at the Met Gala, like… I got this Nina.

13167317_278353395839869_262918732_n(1)

Advertisements

A Word of Silence: For the Continued Violence on Black Lives

With this being a blog about race, one may think that I’m late on responding to the perpetual violence that has been projected onto Black people most recently. I’ve been silent to the many lives that have been lost/ assaulted since Michael Brown. My silence isn’t due to lack of care, but the absolute opposite. While I can deal with anger or frustration through scathing phrases, sadness is a private emotion I can articulate only once I’ve processed it. Currently, it’s difficult to discuss whats been going on with loved ones, let alone a blog. We’re all hurting, but, again, words aren’t medicinal enough to carry our pain. My best mode for healing, so far, has been to read other people’s words. To read the words of people who experienced/ fought against/ survived more difficult, yet similar, situations.

“To be a Negro in this country is really– Ralph Ellison has said it very well– never to be looked at. What white people see when they look at you is not visible. What they do see when they do look at you is what they have invested you with. What they have invested you with is all the agony, and pain, and the danger, and the passion, and the torment– you know sin, death, and hell– of which everyone in this country is terrified.” — James Baldwin, from an interview by Stud Terkel in 1961

Baldwin’s words are heavy, but boldly relevant. His usage of “white people” simply equates to American society, for me. And the death that he says gets projected onto Black people… onto people of color… is sadly, too relevant 54 years later. We are only visible when we are seen as a threat. And then, there are deathly repercussions for our visibility.

I’ve attempted to provide words for the pain I’m feeling for young adults in Ferguson, for the suburban kids in Texas, for praying churchgoers in Charlotte, for the communities that are mourning… but sometimes we simply need silence…silence from the noise of recounting the violence, silence from nonsensical opinions of why things aren’t as bad as they seem, silence so that we can hear the voice within each of us that will tell us how to pick up the pieces.

Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez!

On my Instagram page, I’m counting down to Sunday’s premiere of Mad Men by posting images reflecting 1969 (the first part of the series finale ended in the summer of ’69). What an appropriate treat it was to discover that Cesar Chavez graced the cover of Time Magazine that same year! Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez!

#1969- July, 1969, Cesar Chavez was on the cover of Time Magazine, brining more attention to the work of Farm Workers, and their leaders. They should have shown someone reading this issue on Mad Men (#myfantasy) … Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez!!! Your inspiration continues to touch lives today. It was your biography that got some of my students to finally pick up a book, it is your story that inspired some of my students to say "I'm Latino/Chicano/Mexican and Proud!", it is your story that allowed some of my Black students to see the similarities between themselves and their Latino classmates, and it is your story that inspires me to show my students their own power. Thank you! #countdowntoMadMen #CesarChavez #americanheroes #LatinoHeroes #CaliforniaHistory #americanHistory #TimeMagazine

A post shared by Billie2Nina (@billie2nina) on

Happy Birthday Langston Hughes

Langston Swag

Happy Birthday Langston!

My students and I will read some of your words tomorrow. They love you and can relate to you.They memorize you without me instructing them to do so.  Maybe, it’s because you affirm their voices and their beauty.

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

This is why I love you and your words, your legacy and your spirit.

MLK Day: Honoring all of Our S/HEroes

For me, MLK Day is about so many people… It's about MLK Jr, of course, but it's also about the men and women who guided him, the people who gave him strength, and the people who have continued his work since his death. It's about the women and men who have and have not been pictured…the names that have not been documented for fighting for the rights of people of color. It's about the work that has been done and the work that still needs to be done. We were so lucky to have had Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Gloria Anzaldua, Yuri Kochiyama, Cesar Chavez, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, the list is endless. We are lucky to still have Dolores Huerta, Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, Alice Walker, Joan Baez, Muhammed Ali, Grace Lee Boggs, RuPaul, and the heroes and Sheroes that will be… #thefightcontinues #MLKJR #unsungheroes #unsungsheroes #blackhistory IS #americanhistory ✊(#IwishthisEMOJIwasBROWN)

A post shared by Billie2Nina (@billie2nina) on

Losing Our Elders: Rest in Power and in Peace, Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou

Losing Our Elders: Rest in Power and in Peace Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou

I feel my process of aging most when someone I love and admire passes. On January 9th of this year, we lost ethnomusicologist/poet/activist, Amiri Baraka. Earlier this week, on May 28, 2014, we lost poet/activist/spiritual mother-of-many, Maya Angelou.

There are people whose power is so great, we think they will conquer death. That is, until they die, reminding us of the mortality of everything and everyone around us. Fortunately for us, both Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou left us their words to hold and to pass down to generations who will only know them as thinkers from before. While their bodies are no longer here, their words remind of us of their power. For that, we are so lucky.