The seconds that have passed since you started reading this are gone forever. That’s how time works. Once a moment passes, it is gone forever, and life is a series of never-ending moments, some good, some bad, but each defines who you are. Embrace the present, take advantage of the opportunities it presents and learn from the lessons it teaches. Because if you don’t, once the moment has passed, it is gone forever, and if you squander it, you will be left to wonder what if.
Don’t overthink it
Don’t look for reasons it can’t be done?
Don’t worry about failing?
Don’t ask yourself, is this the right thing to do?
Follow your heart
Believe in yourself
If you fall, dust yourself off and go back to work
It’s your life, your destiny; grab hold of it and let your passion be your roadmap to success.
Captain James T. Kirk famously said I don’t believe in the no-win scenario. Kirk liked to think there always are…possibilities.
How many times in our life have we given up on or not even tried to accomplish something because our minds have been conditioned to believe it was not possible no matter what we do? That it was a no-win scenario. How different would our lives be if we allowed ourselves to accept the simple concept that there are always possibilities?
Many in society don’t want us to believe that. Be it because they have achieved a level of success they don’t want us to reach, or they are afraid of reaching for the stars. But we deserve success as much as anyone else, and we should not fear reaching for the stars because we may not capture them. We should fear letting the opportunity for greatness elude us because we settled for mediocrity. After all, we’ll never get to captain the Starship Enterprise if we believe in no-win scenarios.
Drug dealers, gang bangers, fatherless, welfare-dependent prisoners are some of the images that the media bombard us with. When faced with these images daily, many of us begin to accept them and have lower life expectations of ourselves. In essence, we are letting the stereotypes of others define who we are rather than defining ourselves. The positive images of African Americans is often that of athletes and hip hop stars, implying that there are limited roads to success within the African-American community. Protest against social injustice by African Americans stars is spun as unpatriotic and done by individuals who are fortunate that society has given them so much. Notice I said given, not earned, because, for many, the thought of the African American working hard and earning their position in society is a foreign concept. As Carter G. Woodson said, “to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.”
1984 brought us the Cosby Show centered on the lives of the fictional Huxtables obstetrician Cliff his lawyer wife Claire, and their children Sondra, Denise, Vanessa and Rudy, and son Theo. The show was unique in that not only did it depict an upper-middle-class African American family, we had seen that before on shows such as The Jeffersons, but one that not one but two professionals headed the family. They were portrayed as merely a family residing in Brooklyn, not an African American family, merely a family. They were not the exception to the rule; instead, they were just another successful family. The Huxtables showed us that African Americans could be successful and be mothers and fathers who have children who attend college because it isn’t that what all kids do when they graduate high school. They were the embodiment of what all American families, white and black, strive to be.
2008 brought us Barack Obama, who, against all odds, became America’s first African American President. Something many of us believed we would never live to see. He was a highly educated man of color and a dedicated husband and father. While in office, some media outlets looked to marginalize his accomplishments, question his citizenship and disintegrate his character. Still, thanks to his magnetic personality and superior oratory skills, President Obama overcame media attempts to downplay or mischaracterize him. He represented himself with a class and dignity rarely seen by a politician and won respect and admiration not only from Americans but worldwide. His wife Michelle, a strong, educated, beautiful woman of color, so much so that the thought of her running for President today does not seem out of the realm of possibility, was also at times a victim of certain media outlets attempt to paint the Obama’s in a poor light. But like her husband, she too possessed a magnetic personality and superior oratory skills, which easily allowed her to deflect any negativity aimed at her. The Obama’s represented what is possible for all African Americans. No longer was it a fantasy to tell your child they could grow up to be President because it has been accomplished and accomplished with dignity and class.
2018 brought us the hugely success Marvel movie Black Panther. Movie theaters were packed with people of color, young and old, men and women, some who hadn’t been to a movie in years. They left the theater not only entertained by the film itself but with a pride of their culture. Wakanda, after all, was undeniably African. Its citizens are highly educated, and its women are depicted as strong and beautiful, its men strong and dedicated to family. Wakanda forever became a calling card of many because the imaged world of Wakanda represented a look at what African Americans could be. That we could fly above the clouds and achieve greatness.
One cannot quantify the impact the positive images of these fictional and non-fictional African Americans have had on the African American community. Still, it has no doubt allowed some of us to dream of possibilities to consider what we can accomplish regardless of our skin color. This begs the question of the responsibility of successful African Americans in giving back to their community. For many successful African Americans, success is often measured by moving out of their community into a predominantly white neighborhood. Leaving behind many of those they used to associate with in exchange for new friends who are predominantly white, rejecting much of the culture they were raised in to fit their new surroundings better. They reject African American businesses citing their supposed inferiority to that of businesses run by others. It as Carter G Woodson said, “Negro banks, as a rule, have failed because the people, taught that their own pioneers in business cannot function in this sphere,
Ironically, Harlem, one of the bastions of African American culture, has in recent years seen a renaissance not as the result of successful African Americans returning but to an influx of white people. Unfortunately, as this great community strengthens, African Americans are pushed out.
So is it truly the responsibility of the thriving African American too, as Lebron James said in his 2017 ESPY awards speech, “go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them.” In this writer’s opinion, the answer is an unequivocal yes. As each successive generation serves as positive role models and mentors, invests in the building of a prosperous and robust infrastructure that employs those in the community and affords the children of those adults the opportunity to attain a quality education, the foundation is put in place where success is not seen as the exception but the norm. The perception of the African American image within ourselves changes from one that is not worthy to one who is exceptional and has unlimited opportunities before them. As Fredrick Douglas said, “The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”
The building of this thought process will not come easy as Carole Mosley-Braun so pointedly put it “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face” and as Malcolm X once said, “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.” The African American can not wait for others to “save” us, build up our communities, employ our men and women, educate our children, and, most importantly, pass down the history of our many accomplishments. The African American must act from within to achieve these goals. We must set the groundwork so that. Each succeeding generation grows up with the belief as the 1970’s slogan said Black is Beautiful. That they shout from the mountain tops what James Brown once sang, I’m black, and I’m proud. That they define themselves and not let others define them.
We gather here today to say goodbye, but we do not grieve their departure; we look back fondly and remember that were it not for them, we would not possess the strength and the courage to tackle all the adversity we have encountered and to overcome the many obstacles that have been placed in our way, to move forward with determination and a belief that we will get it done. So while fear and self-doubt are no longer with us, we can now appreciate while we may have been afraid of failure and didn’t believe we could achieve something, we tried, and when we failed and didn’t succeed, we didn’t wither away. We simply tried again, and with each attempt, our fear and self-doubt faded until it had birthed within each of us a belief that we are fearless, and we have no doubt in who we are and what we can achieve.
There is only darkness in hate but in love there is light.
Today, someone asks me, after reading one of my social media posts about Tucker Carlson, why am I so angry? We get it; there are still people who do things that speak to either blatant or implied racism. Ignore them, let it go, don’t let them consume you, they said. That may be easy for you, I said, but I cannot mute my voice in the face of any racism. I will never allow my voice to become a whisper to their screams so that others feel comfortable when it comes to race. As my Jewish brother and sister say, never forget, and I will always remember that we were forcibly taken from our home, stripped of our culture, and told us we were not people but property. I will never forget that sheets were donned, crosses burned, and men rode through the night to strike terror into our hearts. I will never forget our voices were silenced at the voting booths with violence and intimidation. I will always remember we were turned away at the lunch counter, the doors to the school were locked, the dogs were set free, and the hoses were turned on us. I will never forget that one leader after another was assassinated for daring to ask, we be treated as equals. I will not go quietly into the night because of the patriotism I have for a country that I love, and my people helped create as much as anyone else is questioned if I dare protest its continued racial inequality. I will not go quietly into the night as they attempt even to this day to hold us down, strip away our dignity, our pride, and our self-worth. So, I told him no, I am not mad. I am one of many races, colors, religions, creeds, genders, and ethnicities who refuse to be silenced. A group that is rising now together as one. A group determined to ensure America marches forward and not back even if some believe that was when America was great.
Good Morning all we wake to another day thanks to the Lord our God and that day is Thursday. Thursday! Yeah I know Thursday just that day you’ve got to grind through to get to Friday. But let’s make this Thursday one to remember. Go out be bold today. Do something you’ve been wanting to do but were to afraid too, as long as it’s legal 😄. Treat yourself to a gift, as long as it doesn’t break the bank. Take that special someone to lunch or dinner. Buy that special someone roses for no reason other than to say I you love, yes that means you too ladies. Do whatever it takes because Thursday isn’t just that day you have to grind through to get to Friday Thursday can be whatever you want it to be. So make it great!
Sometimes we have to do what we don’t want to do so that we may do the things we want to do. As Spock would say it is not logical but it is often true.