Tell the Untold Stories

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” – Zora Neale Hurston

During the 75th Golden Globes Awards this year, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. de Mille award for outstanding achievement in entertainment, the first black woman to receive the award. Her riveting and powerful speech about the #metoo movement created by activist Tarana Burke, a black woman, went viral, in part because of what many called its “presidential” timbre. But, there was another reason Ms. Winfrey’s speech caught wind – she told the story of Recy Taylor. Continue reading

No Country for Weaves: A Pastor’s Right?

[I’m writing so quickly; here’s the short of it:]

Today, the site AmericanPreachers.com posted a story about a pastor in Waco, Texas who wants to ban weaves from his church. He notes that weaves “presents a false image of themselves and are associated with women who have low self-esteem.” Additionally, he says, “I lead a church where our members are struggling financially. I mean really struggling. Yet, a 26 year old mother in my church has a $300 weave on her head. NO. I will not be quiet about this,” according to the site.

Sir.

Can I say a brief word about this?

Lissen.

If you’re banning weaves because you feel like women who wear them have low self esteem and need to accept their “natural selves” should men stop getting hair cuts, too?

I mean, if we’re going to take the focus on the “inward man” approach, men need to embrace their natural self and stop getting haircuts, no?

Furthermore, if you would just focus on PASTORING instead of trying to tell women what to staple to their scalp, then you wouldn’t have to be concerned about not having the financials necessary to care for those in your congregation who don’t have enough to live.

See, when a pastor is effective at doing his/her job, then the people freely give. The church then has the means to reach the people in and outside of the congregation and do the work of Christ.

Period.

Someone’s Remy weave ain’t hindering you from doing YOUR JOB.

And this is why folks don’t take Christians seriously. How divisive, busy, and distracting this is to the work the Body of Christ as to do.

Jesus wasn’t worrying about the headdresses women had on their heads, man.

He just taught solid principles about how to live this life and get to the next. That’s it.

What if I’m rocking a weave because I suffer from Alopecia or growing my hair out from chemotherapy?

Great way to make me feel welcomed to the body of Christ. (sarcasm)

Because when we offend people over stuff like this, it’s not the church or pastor that gets the bad rap. It’s Jesus.

It is difficult to separate between the works of man (read: people who are “working” in the name of Jesus) from the redemptive works of Jesus because for so many, those entities are one in the same.

So, if you offend me, pastor, for wearing my weave — I’m mad at more than just YOU, I’m mad at Jesus/the Christian faith.

And you will have to answer for that person leaving the faith or never coming to Jesus over a 22″ Remy.

You see how petty that is?

I don’t wanna have to answer for turning someone away from an opportunity to receive or live for Christ because I’m nitpicking the mundane. Nah.

But, I’m natural so I’m good with that pastuh. Hmph.

What do you think about this pastor’s demands? Is there any truth to his claims or is this another way to further divide the body of Christ? Post your thoughts below!

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

“He that Finds a Wife” Recap

Tonight I attended the “He that Finds a Wife” Relationship Symposium hosted by Praise 102.5 and Jack A. Daniels, the author of I Need a Wife: Where Are the Real Women? The panel consisted of men who were “marriage minded”, and, according to radio host KD Bowe, were “single, successful, ready to commit and emotionally stable.”

I took three pages of notes, jotting down the ideas and concepts expressed by the male panelists and audience members (which consisted of 100+ women and about 20 or so men) and here are the things I heard:

  • Most important thing in a relationship? Self awareness.
  • You don’t have to understand all men or women — just the one you’re with.
  • Men have a hard time making decisions. We live in a time where there’s such an influx of information and decisions, that it makes it harder to decide. This idea was compared to a study conducted where consumers had to choose one type of jelly in a store. The more choices there were, the consumer only bought one.  The fewer choices there were, the consumer not only chose faster, but bought more jars of jelly.
  • 1,000 men were interviewed for Daniels’ book and one of the number one things the men said they wanted was for a woman to “celebrate them and not tolerate them.” (at this point, women in the audience were saying, “WE DO TOO!”)
  • Build relationships one step at a time, don’t give everything up at once.
  • Men don’t like to approach women because when women are in big groups, it’s hard to have a conversation because of the pressure to impress the woman he’s interested in and her friends.
  • Women should smile more. It makes us more approachable.
  • Women should NOT approach men. Men want to hunt and catch.

Um. I think that was it. I’ll let y’all decipher through that on your own. >.<

Now, let me address some things:

The absence of men at this discussion was disheartening BECAUSE this initiative was created by, promoted by, and purposed to be a forum for men to share their views. As I mentioned on Facebook, the absence of men here was very indicative of their absence in other places, but that’s a conversation for another time.

In addition, when the men tried to share their perspectives, some women in the audience  groaned and moaned about their dislikes, and tit-for-tat “y’all do that too!” complaints. This is why our discussions on relationships go nowhere; someone is always trying to one-up their counterpart to prove a point. Let the men have their space to share their views. Listen.

Finally, and probably most importantly, this was a room of “believers”, an event hosted by a Christian radio station and there was not one iota about God’s purpose and design for dating — the only man who hit on this was J. White, the motivational speaker/tap dancer/author whose words were poignant, spirit filled, and reflective of what we really should have discussed at length: knowing who you are in God.

I addressed the idea of purpose and relationships on my blog already, so I wont go into that. But what believers need to know and remember is that you can’t expect to get God like results (“He who findeth a wife finds a good thing…”) with worldly standards and expectations (“let’s play reindeer games until someone just gives in and I settle for you…”). You’ll never get God results that way.

Yes, there should be natural application to our day-to-day experiences, but when you’re talking about finding the ONE for you, that’s a result of divine intervention. It’s not wrapped up in the games, the theories, or the in the pages of Essence or KING Magazine.

I wanted to hear something different. I wanted to really delve in to how believers were applying their knowledge to seek God about their own lives and the process they’re using to filter through who’s worth your time and who isn’t. We just threw the darts of accusation back and forth until time ran out.

We did have a chance to mix and mingle (but you could image how that went with a 15-1 women to men ratio)  and I met some really cool people. I also met a young lady who is coming to visit my church this Friday. I think I sealed the deal when I sang impromptu style in the middle of the hallway at Paschal’s. Ha!

I’d like to hear from you guys — as a Christian, how does dating work for you? Do you find yourself stuck in the rut of doing things the world’s way or do you try to really seek God about who you date and what kinds of interactions you have with men/women? Do you think we over think the dating process?

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Brandy, Monica, and the Repossessors: An In-depth Look

Let me begin this post by stating this is much more than a critique of music. It is, like much of my work, and exploration of a different perspective.

Let us begin.

Women have been repossessing their stuff from men for a long time now.

“The clothes on his back, I buy them. The car he drives, I pay the note every month.” — Shirley Brown, 1974

“You may have had him once but I got him all the time.” — MoKenStef, 1995

“Every time we go somewhere
I gotta reach down in my purse
To pay your way and your homeboys way
And sometimes your cousin’s way!” — Erykah Badu, 1997

“To the left, to the left
Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet that’s my stuff, yes
If I bought it, please don’t touch.” — Beyoncé Knowles, 2006

“Those clothes, those cars, those rings That MacBook, that sh-t belongs to me.” Brandy and Monica, 2012

With Brandy and Monica’s new song “It All Belongs to Me” blaring on my airwaves, I couldn’t help but think about this long lineage of women singing about a love lost and the process of repossession that occurs at the end of the break up.

While this type of “women’s liberation” (I use that phrase very loosely) has been going on for a while, it irked me that after all this time, we were still singing about reclaiming stuff from men who we can assume brought nothing to the table anyway.

And to boot, Brandy and Monica’s video featured them reclaiming items from one man; is it safe to say that this is the same man they were arguing over 12 years ago in “The Boy is Mine”? (I know it’s not Mekhi Phifer, but you understand the continual video concept.)

So what does this say to women (as I was one of the teenage girls rolling my neck, singing along to that 1998 cut) that 12 years later, you are still vying for the same man, and you’ve “upped the ante” by using your wealth to give him a life that he’s not willing to provide for himself?

It’s simple. We have no idea who we are, why we were put here, and what God’s intent for our lives are.

See, God made it very clear that there’s an order to everything when He introduced us to Adam and Eve.

When Eve came on the scene, she came to a place that was already prepared for her.

She wasn’t toiling in the garden, grinding it out, trying to make things happen. She wasn’t “holding it down for her man” while he “gets on his feet.”

Eve was aware that she was there to help Adam, use the skills God gave her to make Eden an even better place for them, and live without the pressures of doing the hard work Adam was called to do.

She came into a place that was whole, complete, and fully ready to receive her. Adam did his part. He provided a “home”, food to eat, and gave her the space to do what God called her to do, too.

This, my friends, is God’s divine order. This is an expression of God’s love and His absolute best for his daughters.

I’m sure Eve added her own “touches” and additions to the garden, much like we do in our own relationships. We work. We pursue our goals. We live our lives. We aren’t, however, to get out of God’s will and become a sole provider to men. Not then, not now, not ever.

It’s not how we were built. It’s not God’s best for us. And if we used this model as an example of what to look for when choosing our mate, we’d never have to worry about becoming a repossessor of any sort.

This isn’t to say that women shouldn’t buy things for their significant others; let’s not miss the point. This is about knowing God’s ideal purpose for us through the biggest and most sensitive part of ourselves: our heart. We know we never give a gift without giving a sliver of souls with it. God wants to protect our “investments” by ensuring the gardens we pour back into are prepared by men who understand the importance of preparing for us first.

When we know God and understand His character, we realize that He created us to enter into our own versions of Eden prepared by a man who has a sense of purpose, works towards that purpose, and understands his role as a provider. Knowing these nuances about the One who created you makes it easier to know your role, play it well, and let Him do the “dirty work.” If Eve’s first introduction to their life together was Eden, why should our introductions be any less?

How do you view women who pour too much into men who haven’t properly prepared for them? Is it socially acceptable or a destructive trend to follow?

Brain Dead

Tonight I was talking to a good friend who finally got an answer to a prayer she’d been praying for a long time: a new car.

There were a few hiccups at the dealership, but, as of tomorrow she’ll have a new car.

However, she couldn’t help but think, analyze, and mull over what she’ll do in a few months when some financial situations change. She rhetorically asked “how” she would do it…

Turn off your brain, ma’am.  Continue reading

Fear Factor, Follow After.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk to a good guy friend of mine about how often he sees women asking God for a “God-fearing man.”

We’re all guilty of that, I know a “God-fearing man (GFM) is on my list of wants in a future husband. My friend, let’s call him Richie, said that women should be on the lookout for a “God following man.”

Of course, I wanted to know the difference. Here’s what he said:  Continue reading