Remain in Peace

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Dealing with death is weird because someone you’ve known all of your life is suddenly gone and you’re left to deal with the fact that they’re never coming back. 

You get lots of prayers and condolences and you expect sudden emotional outbursts when the death first happens. But no one really knows how to prepare to live normally after that. 

There’s really no blueprint to deal with moments like walking into work for a meeting and you hear “Disco Lady”. At that point, you have no choice but to acknowledge that it’s July 23, 2017 and your aunt, Johnnie Taylor’s number 1 fan, has been gone for 5 years today. 

No one really tells you about the times you have to walk yourself off the emotional ledge every time you see an older Black woman with a cane or walker and it makes your mourn your paternal and maternal grandmothers like they’ve just died. Like it hasn’t been almost 8 or 1.5 years, respectively.  

No one tells you that 11 months after watching your granny slowly pass away while in hospice care, that you’ll have to hear those words again. So you pre-mourn your uncle’s death for a few days then he silently goes. And after owning the same car for 5 years, it suddenly does things that you have to pay someone to fix when you know he could’ve fixed it over the phone. There’s no instructions to tell you how to keep fully functioning while you can smell him and you’re trying to ask and answer questions about the car’s situation. 

There are lots of things I don’t understand as I go through this grieving process. But I do know that peace is a place and He has a name. Since I’m left here to remain as they rest, I will remain in peace. 

Thanks, Tom

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Cognitive dissonance… it’s that uncomfortable state we experience when something we’ve been trained to believe in gets proven wrong, but we still can’t let go. 

Like when you first discovered the truth about Santa or the tooth fairy. Or the first time you admit that college isn’t necessarily the best choice for post high school. Or when you tell people that Jesus was Black. Or when a Black man is a cop assigned to keep white people safe at an anti-Black rally. 

Since the murder of Mike Brown, I have consistently wondered about what it feels like to be a Black cop in Amerikkka because in my mind “Black cop” is an oxymoron. 

When Black people are the most common targets of racial profiling and police brutality, how does someone grapple with being Black in blue? 

That’s one of the first questions I had when this guy took coffee out to the National Guard as they were stationed on the streets of riot filled 1967 Detroit. 

There was a moving scene where he uses his uniform privilege to rescue a Black teen who was caught outside after curfew. The teen was anything but grateful because he had clearly decided he was ready to go toe to toe with the officers. 

After the Black US Marshall walked him into safety, the teen looked at him with contempt and said “Thanks, Tom.” Alluding to “Uncle Tom” the catchall term used for Black people who are knowingly pandering to white people. 

This Black Marshall needed a job. The 1960s were hard for Black people. No one blames him for trying to provide for his family. But when and where do we draw the line? When do we decide to put our Blackness back in front and say no to participating in the demise of our people?

The guy in the film watched these white officers torture, brutalize, torment and murder young Black men and still was on their side. It wasn’t until he became their victim that he rethought his stance. This is him being interrogated as a suspect for the crimes he watched. I felt everything but sorry for him. 

How many stories of Black officers being shot at or treated harshly when they were out of uniform do we need before we acknowledge that a seat at the table doesn’t help if it isn’t your own table?

Sitting at the table with your oppressor doesn’t mean you’re welcome there. See how dumb that logic is? More Black police officers doesn’t mean more opportunities for justice. It means more Black people positioned against their people. 

#OhCAE, I’m done for now. 

It Was Never Just About You

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I had a conversation recently and while we were talking, I immediately felt more peace. Because in that moment, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me “It was never just about you.”

That was an insanely profound moment for me. One of my repeated prayers has been to just understand the purpose for some of the things I have dealt with. I’ve let the scripture replay in my mind that “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” But I lived in a constant place of wondering “Where is the good?”

Then suddenly, after a decade of asking, I received and experienced the purpose. In that moment, a life of pain and 10 years of prayers made sense for me. It all made sense when I understood that the situations were never about me.

I can’t get my time back and I actually don’t want it. I have my peace and I have made a difference.

Free People, Free People

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The other morning, I woke up with some special people on my mind. Those people are people like me who never fit into gender stereotypes and have felt less womanly or manly because of it. So, like most millennials I took to Facebook to express.

It was a stream of thoughts. I’m gonna post them here the same way I posted them on my profile.

If your kid cries a lot, try saying “use your words” instead of “stop crying.”
1. It’s ok to express emotions.
2. Tell them what you want instead of what you don’t want.

Your son has tear ducts. He’s supposed to cry sometimes. That doesn’t make him like a girl because he does it.

Let’s agree to stop using “like a girl” as an insult to little boys who we want to grow up and respect girls and women.

Playing with dolls and enjoying hanging with girls doesn’t make a boy gay. Stop listening to your emotionally inept family members.

If doll play is so damaging, girls shouldn’t play with them either. A four year old girl doesn’t “need” to practice mothering either.

Let’s raise children who don’t have to heal from their childhoods.

Respect =/= fear.
Take that out of your parenting tool belt.

The things that damaged you as a kid will probably be harmful to your children. Break the cycle.

Learn your child’s love language and love them how they need to be loved.

You can prepare your son for the harsh realities of the world without crushing his spirit. In fact, you should.

Let that boy play with dolls. You might have a playwright in your womb if you don’t extinguish the gift.

Let your daughter play basketball if she wants. I know it sucks, but odds are she wouldn’t grow up to be a princess anyway.

This morning’s messages come to you from a woman who hates dresses and who hated dolls and who has spent literal decades (20 of my 28 years) trying to figure out how to perform “girl.” Ever since a girl told me that girls don’t play the drums when I taught myself. Her words coupled with the stares I received until I started again at 25 (thank God for my time spent at Shekinah) crippled me.

Your words have power and they shape your children’s lives.
Your silence is also meaningful.

I woke up feeling liberated this morning so I thought I’d pass that on.
Free people free people.

“This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share with y’all.” India.Arie

Our Mother Who Art In HeavenΒ 

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So the verdict is in, Octavia Spencer is my favorite actor. 

And yes, I used “actor” on purpose even though she’s a woman. (I’m a proud gramma nazi with an English degree. I know how to use words good. πŸ™ƒ)

Any who, I used a gendered term because it serves my purpose when examining her role, as Papa, in her most recent big screen feature The Shack based on the New York Times Best Seller by the same name. 


I first came in contact with the novel in 2011. I was going through [what my 22 year old self thought was] a very rough season of transition. 

I was unloading to my friend, who’s one of my spiritual mentors, (a lot of people’s salvation can be traced back to sacrifices she made as a Michigan State University undergraduate). My dear sister in Christ, Elon, listened to my concerns. She heard my desperation, confusion and hopelessness.  

At the time, I thought I needed a car and a boo to make my life better. Elon knew I needed a shift in my understanding of God and who He is. She suggested I read The Shack and I did. 

Ever since, I’ve had a recurring picture in my mind of a big Black woman facing the sink singing and dancing to rock music whenever I think of God’s love for me. So when I saw that familiar image on the movie screen, I was again reminded of how God meets us where we are. He meets us where we are to take us where we need to be. 

The Shack is a great depiction of that. The shortened storyline is this. A white man, Mack, has a traumatic childhood. He grows up, marries, has children and has a life altering experience as an adult that made him feel distant from God. One day he goes to the shack and has a supernatural encounter with God, the trinity. 

He meets God the Father, played by Octavia Spencer, who’s affectionately referred to as Papa. He meets Jesus, played by a man who looks to be of Middle Eastern descent. He also meets the Holy Spirit who’s personified as an Asian woman. 


So like the main character, Mack, and probably every other reader I was stunned that God the Father was not just a woman, but a Black woman. 

But then again… why is that shocking? Many of the Black women I know and have heard of collectively consistently embody the characteristics of God. 

This is a powerful image of humility and strength. The woman pictured was not the only descendent of captured Africans who breastfed their masters’ children. It’s a commonly known fact that after slavery Black women could only find jobs that forced them to serve their oppressors. Black women have shown the character of Christ by doing something that is extremely difficult for the proud, serve someone who may never understand who you really are. Jesus died for people who will never acknowledge Him as Lord.
More than likely, even the most ignorant person recognizes the person in this photo. Here’s Rosa Parks. A woman who, like Christ, KNOWINGLY went into a situation that cost her life as she knew it. She, like Christ, was arrested and abused.  Because of her sacrifice and her willingness to be crucified, the course of history was changed forever.  If you haven’t already, meet Ella Baker. Ella was a leader who built leaders who built leaders. Like Christ had disciples who made disciples who make disciples. She is known for leaving a legacy that ensured the generation after her would be equipped to do more work than she did. Like, the Lord did.  

My granny… widowed mother of 8 who raised each of them and their children to understand how love overshadows every hurtful word and every offense and that it is what enables us to press through the hardest times in life. She taught us that life happens and sometimes it hurts, but the happenings and hurts cannot break the bonds of love when it’s pure. Just like Christ’s love for us fueled His ability to be cursed, whipped, spat on and nailed to a cross. 

These Black women in this picture remind me that life should be enjoyed and shared with a core group of people who understand your plight. 
These Black women who have mentored and discipled me. Some of these women’s shoulders have been soaked with my tears. All of their phones have had texts with my questions. All of them have shown me the importance and impact of laying down your own life for the purpose of seeing other people be freed. Like Jesus. 
My fellow Black women, for your resilience, for your healing hands, for your supernatural ability to forgive, for your humility, for your ability to love without expecting, for your ability to give without the expectation of reciprocity, for lying down your life for others, thank you for being a shining tangible example of our Father who art in Heaven. 

You Can Actually Do It All

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Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Answer those. 

What’d you say for “What do you do?” More than likely you answered with your job. Our culture teaches us to place our value and find our identity in our occupation. 

Think about it. As a kid you probably answered this question innumerable times. “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Then you had to do a project to research that thing. Then you were told to go to college so you could be that thing. And perhaps you’ve become that thing. 

I’m sincerely proud of you! But I have a question. What else do you wanna be? What other titles do you wish you carried? What are some hobbies you wish you could invest more time and energy into? 

Why haven’t you done those things? Is it because you believe you have to choose?

Well… you don’t. 

Take this guy. Clearly he’s a speaker of some kind. And clearly a musician. He plays jazz and has a single on the charts that rivals pop artists like Bruno Mars and Rihanna. Listen Here!

He’s clearly a family man. 
And he’s lettered and has dope friends who are doing great things. πŸ’πŸΏβ€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸŽ“He travels and mentors. 

And through 14 years of sermons and teachings he has pastored me and numerous others. 

My pastor has been the embodiment of exercising EVERY gift God has given you. His leadership and example inspire me to tap into all of my talents and not alllow anyone to pigeonhole me into one arena. But people seriously struggle with the idea that anybody, especially a pastor, can truly be multi-faceted. It’s so bad that he had to release this statement on Facebook in February because his music has been gaining more attention. 

“Hey FB Family! I have been fighting a vicious rumor for about 8 months and it has now hit a new level. It has been reported that I am leaving Lansing and resigning as the Sr. Pastor of the Epicenter of Worship. This rumor is an absolute LIE!! I am not leaving Lansing and last Sunday WAS NOT my last Sunday. In fact, Epicenter is expanding its footprint in the region. We currently have 3 churches in Lansing (two sister churches and HQ). With the help of about 50 people in Detroit we have opened Epicenter of Worship Detroit and it is doing well. IN 2017 ALONE, WE HAVE ORDAINED OVER 12 MINISTERS FOR GOSPEL MINISTRY IN THE REGION.   

Yes, I am a jazz SAXOPHONIST- musician but that doesn’t take away from my pastorate. Why can’t I do multiple things and still LEAD HEALTHY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES? I am asking EVERY EOW MEMBER TO MEET ME ON SUNDAY AT 10AM!! HELP ME PUT THIS LIE TO REST!!!! NOW YOU HEARD IT STRAIGHT FROM ME!!! THE LION IS OFFICIALLY AWAKENED! LANSING GET READY FOR EXPANSION.”

What I’ve learned is this… My job is what I do. It’s not who I am. Who I am is a child of a supreme being who created the universe with His words, who split apart a sea, who set a water soaked altar ablaze, who showed prophets visions of things thousands of years before they happened, who impregnated a virgin, who became a human, who died, who came back and who gives His Spirit to those who receive Him. If that’s my Father why would I relegate myself to one way of expressing myself? 

Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Who’s stopping you from doing and being more?

Thank you, Dr. Sean Holland for living your life as an example for others. 

You can purchase your copy of Steps of a Good Man hereπŸ‘‡πŸΎ

Could You Be Any Blacker?

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So before you ask, no this is not a sequel to You’re Already Black Enough. Thank Goodness!

This is about being comfortable enough in my Blackness that I wear it, literally. 


So I posted this picture and one of my dearest friends texted me with a screenshot of my IG post and jokingly asked “Could you be any Blacker πŸ˜‚πŸ˜” 

The evidence of the abundant presence of melanin, that fro, those earrings and my sweatshirt reppin my and my ancestors’ home determines that I can’t. 

Tenor: Sigh GIF

I probably can as I’m learning to unabashedly express my identity through my attire even though it’s uncomfortable even around Black people because white supremacy messes with all of us, but anyway…

I’m grateful that I came across Chocolate Ancestor, LLC on Instagram because their selection of witty quote, look dope, stay woke apparel has this Black Millennial in online shopping heaven!

Soooooo many selections to choose from and they have baby stuff too! 

After I made my selection,I chose my size and it came in the mail a few days later. 

To my pleasant plus sized surprise, the sweatshirt is true to advertised size and it feels so good! They start at $28.50 and if you use this link, Money Off, you’ll get a discount off your first purchase! 

Here’s another little sneak peek at some of their products.

Go check them out, #OhCAE?!

P.S. The “I Rock Dope Hair” Earrings can be bought here at Naturally Flyy Detroit