Underground: If Not for the Women…

Last week, the groundbreaking television show Underground premiered its second season and I couldn’t be more excited! Besides being a fan of the show, I was hired to write the Underground Season 2 Faith Study Guide, a 28-page resource that churches around the country will use to engage in the theological and social implications in the show. I consider this project one of the most important things I’ve ever written and I wanted to share the resource with you!

Click Underground Faith Study Guide | Season 2 to access and download the PDF and join me for some real-time engagement on Facebook and Twitter tomorrow when episode two airs on WGN America at 10 PM EST!



Racks on Racks on Racks

Racks on Racks on Racks. 

All I do is win, win, win.

Who run the world? Girls. Bey.

Can’t wear skinny jeans because my knots don’t fit.

Money in the bank, shawty what chu drank?

There are millions of songs that talk about having wealth, riches, the “good life”, and how singers/rappers live this life everyday (when they’re not frontin’, of course). They speak the “good life” over themselves in every song, every lyric, and many times, this is truly the life they live.

So why not for the believer?  Continue reading

For Colored Girls Who Are Okay With Being Colored.

This weekend was the opening of Tyler Perry’s film adaptation of the critically acclaimed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. There was much buzz around Perry, a Black male, taking on such a resounding chorus for Black women all over the world. We wondered, “is he capable?” “is he going to feature Madea as one of the ‘colors?'” “who the hell told him that he could tell our story?”

Even I was on the you-are-not-the-right-one-to-tell-this-story bandwagon early on. Guilty as charged. I always thought that Tyler Perry left his viewers hanging with unresolved plot lines  and rushed character development and, for someone who has gone from slap-stick comedy in his stage plays to million dollar movies, I just didn’t correlate the Tyler Perry I see in my head (who looks and talks like Madea) to such a important piece of text like For Colored Girls.

Many of my friends and college classmates  gave varying degrees of opinion. From the “my-feminism-will-not-allow-me-to-agree-with-anything-a-man-does-even-if-it-is-good-makes-sense-and-I-can-relate-to-it” to a resounding cyber-applause for Tyler Perry, the movie, and the realness of the characters.

I took all of these thoughts, feelings, and opinions into the theater tonight and realized that this movie isn’t about Tyler Perry and his previous cinematic efforts. It’s much, much more.

It’s about the bravery of the women who portrayed a differenct facet of Black womaness, many times, a side of our Black womaness that we want to keep hidden in the shadows and foggy mist of our imaginations.

We don’t want people to know that we are broken, abused, hurt, forced on our knees to serve as the trodden path of those who “rule” over us.

We don’t want people to know that we mistakenly love the wrong ones and let go of the right ones.

We don’t want people to know that the facade we put on as Super Black Woman (fly your cape!) is many times just that: a fake.

We don’t want people to know that beyond our academia and righteousness that we genuinely just want to love as hard as we can, without letting go, with out apologies.

We don’t want people to know that sometimes we make mistakes and our most valuable selves, including our children, suffer at the hands of our refusal to let go of love.

We don’t want people to know that the men we love sometimes do not love us back. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.

We don’t want people to know that those same men who do not love us are worthy of forgiveness and we spend every waking hour trying to help them receive that same forgiveness.

We don’t want people to know that despite the front we put on, we want to be fucked. Yes, fucked. Without rhyme or reason.

We don’t want people to know that we have the desire to be fucked because our daddy’s fucked us first.

We don’t want people to know that there are tons of pieces that have been left behind, scattered across the Diaspora and without them we’re a mess.

But with them, we are resilient, brilliant, and worthy of every thing we secretly desire when no one is watching.

We are everything Shange and Perry expressed in that film. No matter how far you try to remove yourself from it, that’s you. That’s me.

Dirty bitch. Glorious woman. His whore. His wife. Their mother. Their aborter. A thief. A giver. Afraid. Brave. Killers. Life givers. Jealous. Selfless.

We are. And that’s okay.

Who are we to shy away and be afraid of our pain? Our joy? Our failures? Our triumphs?

Who are we to not reach the end of our rainbow?

On the Chase,


Alisha L.

Redemption Son(g) :: T.I. vs. Clifford

Everyone is aware of T.I.’s troubles; his recent release from jail for felony gun charges was a redemption song of some sorts. We saw him rise, fall, only to rise again through a tenacious spirit, commitment to do better, and, if given another chance, the ability to redeem himself and the people he represented.

Currently, his film Takers is number one in the box office. He recently married his long time love, and all that was taken from him, was returned.

This morning I woke up to the news that our redemption son, T.I., was arrested for drug possession in West Hollywood. I don’t call him “redemption son” to glorify him, make him more than a human, but he was on the path of second chances, a path that many men do not get.

I won’t take the stance that many bloggers or writers will take over the next few days about this matter. This is bigger than a drug charge. Bigger than what may happen if he’s convicted. Bigger than the social buzz that will soon die out after a couple of weeks of talk.

This is about a change in mindset.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (NIV)

God allows for us to have second chances, not for us, but for the race we run for others. Everyone is bearing witness to his life (the cost of being a celebrity), but until we begin stripping off the things that easily beset us, or slows us down, we’ll be eternally weighted with habits that trip us up while running our race.

The race set for T.I. and for all of us is one that comes with its own set of obstacles. Life is hard enough without adding to its troubles. It’s when we refuse to lose those dead weights (people, habits, lifestyles, mindsets, etc) that we weigh ourselves down, slow our progress.

When we’re free of these things, we can be eternally rewarded with having the endurance it takes to finish out the race God has set for us to run. Ephesians 4:22 challenges us to do this very thing: Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion (Amplified)

The natural talent that Clifford, yes Clifford, has is God-given. His charisma, his charm, is natural ability to tell a story over hard 808 beats is one that many rappers try to emulate but can never master because those skills were given to him exclusively.

In some way, shape, or form, there will be a price to pay for this mishap. Whether that comes through Clifford’s family, career, or life, there will a price to pay. But, just like God always does, there will be another opportunity for redemption. It’s the essence of who He is. Clifford will be crucified a million times over, but because our big brother Jesus took to the cross first, Clifford will have the opportunity to rise again.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

We must run this race ya’ll. We have to stop being our biggest enemy. We must consider every thing that we bring on ourselves that keeps us from moving perpetually forward. #todayschallenge

On the Chase,

Alisha L.


Kanye West’s “Power”: An Introspective

I like the Kanye West “Power” video…er, painting. But some people, many people in fact “don’t get it…”.

Let me see if I can break this down:
\”Power\” Video (In Case You Haven\’t Seen it)

“One man shouldn’t have all that power…”

Hes surrounded by…

…sword wielding men, trying to cut off his head, sexy women engaging in lesbian acts, spilling water (water = life), food, bowing at his feet…

…while ONE woman sits gingerly at his left, not moving. Eventually, she sprouts angel wings.

There are two women with devilish horns who hold a staff, a sign of power and leadership standing before him…

…before the video cuts, the consuming images of the women disappear and ALL that is left are the two men trying to cut his head off.

To me, that is a POWERful video. Pun intended.

Cut off the head, kill the body. The creativity. The man. The purpose. The destiny. It wasn’t the pussy that “killed” him…

It was two men, with swords…

But can I go even further? Follow me.

The two women with the staffs, serve as Kanye’s mother. She was his leader, protector, guided him when she was alive… She stood guard, and while all the women, and distractions flew in around him, she was there, standing guard.

When ALL those things disappeared..

Kanye’s head, his most important asset, was taken off…

Kanye is no dumb dude. Not in the least…

Power personified.

NOTE: I’ve received so much positive feedback about this post as well as come across some equally thought provoking insight regarding the video. This is one of them: http://shadetheground.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/kanyes-power/

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

PS: check out my book, Pieces on www.findthepieces.com

Free (moral) Agent.

Free (moral) AgentLeBron James has created such a buzz about his free agency moves that all of the world has paused, set up their Tivo’s, and have “Decision Day 2010” parties for this Thursday’s much anticipated announcement about where he’ll decide to play. As a free agent, he can pick and choose where he wants to go as a NBA player…and he can take his sweet time doing that.

With all of this coverage and free agency talk, it got me to thinking: aren’t we all free agents?

I mean, when God created us, He made us in His image (Gen 1:27) and gave us the ability to choose (re: Adam and Eve vs. the Tree of Life/Death).

In that one moment, Adam and Eve exercised their right to choose, or be a free (moral) agent.

God gave us the ability to choose.

Choose life or death.

Choose right or wrong.

Choose obedience or disobedience.

He never forces us into anything. We can always choose.

Even with destiny and purpose, things that we are inclined to do simply because we were created to do it, we still have to choose.

There was something that God called me to do about 6 weeks ago and I drug my feet, hesitated, wasted time on it. Finally, after getting a pep talk from a friend of mine, I chose to wake up this morning, be obedient, and simply say “yes.”

A few hours later, I had an entire program put together for the girls I teach at my high school. I can’t divulge details, but what I did in a few hours was just a result of exercising my free agency and making a choice.

Much like LeBron will in a few days.

You have the ability to choose. Every day. Every hour. Even God’s sovereignty doesn’t override your ability to choose.

Doesn’t mean there aren’t any consequences (or rewards) to choosing one way or the other, but hey, the right is solely yours. I think it’s pretty cool that God gave us that right, even if it’s to our demise.

And for the record, I hope LeBron chooses wisely. *cough* Cleveland* cough*

On the chase,

Alisha L.