“And Still I Rise” with Dr. Maya Angelou…

As a young girl growing up I was always intrigued and inspired by the power of words and their meanings when I would read books by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor and Maya Angelou. My mother who instilled in us very young how reading was not only very important, but necessary. When I read “I know Why A Caged Bird Sings” by Dr. Maya Angelou, I was hooked ever since. It was as if I was sitting right there in the room listening to her read the book to me. In my mind, she was one of my Aunts reading to me. I hung onto every word, every meaning, every sentence. From that point on, I would read as much of her literary work as I could.

The first time I heard her speak out loud was when I along with millions of other viewers watched the television network premier of ROOTS. She was Kunta Kinte’s grandmother, Yaisa, and when she spoke, although she was acting, she still spoke and sounded just like her books. She owned that role with so much depth, strength and conviction in her voice. You felt as if she was your grandmother too. Anything Maya Angelou did from that point on, inspired me like no other.

As a mother, it’s important for me to teach my children about our history as my mother did with me and my siblings. Our past is such an important key to our culture, to our identity as who we are, our future and our children’s future. There was a time in my life when I was going through something personal and I watched a segment of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Maya Angelou, and she said something that sent chills through my spine. It was an interview about her book, “Mom and Me” when she said, “God loves me.” She repeated it several times because she was remembering how her mentor the late Frederick Wilkerson, he made her repeat that line from a book several times to herself. It was the way she said it when she spoke to Oprah that she gave  magic to those words. She made them come to life. That’s who she was, and its what she always represented.

In the summer of 2016, I went back home to NY to celebrate my son’s 16th Birthday. Something inside me said I should head to Harlem. I don’t know why, I just did. At this time I was at the beginning stages of studying photography and on Saturday, August 27th I found myself in Harlem sitting on the stoop of Dr. Maya Angelou’s brownstone. It was as if I found a long lost family member. I sat there for what seemed to be eternity. I can’t explain the feeling, I just know what I felt that day and it was profound. I lived in Westchester County all my life and to think that all this history was within reach was unbelievable to me. Tho late, Im glad I got a glimpse of it.

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Recently, while browsing my newsfeed on Instagram, I noticed that the documentary of Maya Angelou, “And Still I Rise” screening was being shown in several states. I went online to the website (www.mayaangeloufilm.com) and saw that the closest screening to me was at the Barn Hill Rose Arts Center in Berryville, Virginia which was still about an hour and a half away from me but the distance didn’t matter to me, I was going! Not only was I going, but I planned for my mother to come from New York and attend with me and my daughter. I am so glad we did!

First let me say that the arts center, Barn Hill Rose, was a perfect setting to showcase the documentary. As we got to our seats, I saw the look on my daughter’s face as the excitement started to set in. I am very proud to say, she stayed awake for the whole screening and asked a few questions but she loved it! Here is my favorite Author and Poet that inspired me as a child now inspiring my daughter. It was such a humbling experience to witness not only my daughter, but to have witnessed it with my mom as well. Three generations viewing “And Still I Rise.” How powerful is that! Maya Angelou documentary, “And Still I Rise” was everything. It was moving, uplifting, unsettling, educational and motivational at the same time. She was a force to be reckoned with and her voice in which the manner and tone she spoke, will always be like no other of our lifetime.

The best part, to me, was the influence it had on my daughter. That to me was worth the trip. So in the words of Dr. Maya Angelou herself… “When you learn, you teach. When you get you give.”

Thank You Dr. Maya Angelou for your courage to tell your story and for still inspiring generations after generations.

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Please make sure you tune in on February 21st for the broadcast of this phenomenal story of our beloved, Dr. Maya Angelou! To learn more about the documentary, click the picture.

 

 

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My War Room Inspired Corner 

I remember writing my review for “The War Room” and was left feeling in awe and inspired to create my own war corner. I know, I know, the closet. Women from around the world cleaned out their closets to create their war room. But I had a different take on it.
To me, your War Room or corner should be wherever you can find some inner peace. A place where you and God can just have a talk. It should be surrounded by inspiration and positive things as well. These are the things you are fighting for, working towards, praying to pass and praying to fruition.   

For me it was important to have some of my books about writing to your spiritual growth to my history to my urban lit, a picture on the wall that inspired me (you cant see it much but Potus and Flotus are on a horse surrounded by famous African American civil rights leaders and poets), a dry erase board so I can write a different motivational message each day, a plain side to add post-its, my macbook pro, my camera on the tripod, a mat to meditate or workout with my girlie weights lol, a picture of me and my children and the top shelf has my three books that I wrote and published and the chair I got two years ago for $20 bucks at the thrift store in perfect condition! Yes I bargain shop!

Finally a peaceful place to think, create, pray, and just evolve. Next time, my vision board

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Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC takes a stand!

Every Saturday and Sunday morning I grab my hazel nut coffee, my cinnamon raisin toast, wake my husband and tease him to say, “your girl is on.” he loves her, but in all honesty so do I. I live for her show every Saturday and Sunday Morning. Today I was missing her. She is the face that speaks to many of us. She spoke to me. From the latest news to the latest book to the latest injustice done to us. She was speaking to me. I’m talking about Melissa Harris-Perry. I wasn’t always an avid news watcher, but when she came on it was different. It was as though she was sitting right next to me having her own cup of coffee in those tiffany colored mixed with brown mugs that says MHP on them along with me. Whether it was the latest news, a new book or recognizing women equality, Melissa Harris-Perry covered it.NUP_148540_0022.JPG

She is my favorite nerd! Melissa Harris Perry recently took a stand on her show and said farewell. I’m going to miss her, but I’m so proud to be a nerd and stand with her on her decision to no longer be used as a tool. She brought to light so many topics that most African Americans are unaware of. But then I wonder, why is this happening now? Is it because Obama is at the end of his Presidency? Or is it because Melissa’s voice is making a difference? But that’s what we need right? At least I thought the executives believed in the fact that Melissa plays an intricate part in today’s society. Especially amongst women. All women. She mattered. She mattered to thousands of woman who may have felt that they didn’t have a voice in today’s world or in the corporate world for that matter. She tackled the toughest of issues and addressed them with class. She brought us into her world when she had her daughter. She brought us into her thoughts when she would do her “Dear so and so It’s Melissa” letters. She introduced us to new Authors and also some past ones with new materials. She is my Shero.

So why now? Why the controversy now? For me it seems as though this may have started Photo Jul 26, 10 32 08 AM (1)weeks ago when she addressed the formation video by Beyonce. Now if you are truly a MHP fan, then you already know that she is a true Beyonce fan and a fan of all her fierceness. So did MSNBC not like her voicing her opinion? We don’t know. What I do know is that it wouldn’t be Melissa if she didn’t. I loved her quirkiness. Her directness. Her love of women empowerment. Her openness  to discuss the topics that no other station was addressing in a way that we all related to. Not just women, but men too. I cringed when I read her tweet to nerd land…


 

Photo Feb 28, 9 51 48 PMDearest Nerds,

As you know by now, my name appears on the weekend schedule for MSNBC programming from South Carolina this Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate that many of you responded to this development with relief and enthusiasm. To know that you have missed working with me even a fraction of how much I’ve missed working with all of you is deeply moving. However, as of this morning, I do not have any intention of hosting this weekend. Because this is a decision that affects all of you, I wanted to take a moment to explain my reasoning.

Some unknown decision-maker, presumably Andy Lack or Phil Griffin, has added my name to this spreadsheet, but nothing has changed in the posture of the MSNBC leadership team toward me or toward our show. Putting me on air seems to be a decision being made solely to save face because there is a growing chorus of questions from our viewers about my notable absence from MSNBC coverage. Social media has noted the dramatic change in editorial tone and racial composition of MSNBC’s on-air coverage. In addition, Dylan Byers of CNN has made repeated inquiries with MSNBC’s leadership and with me about the show and what appears to be its cancellation. I have not responded to reporters or social media inquiries. However, I am not willing to appear on air in order to quell concerns about the disappearance of our show and our voice.

Here is the reality: our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.

The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.

Undoubtedly, television nurtures the egos of those of us who find ourselves in front of bright lights and big cameras. I am sure ego is informing my own pain in this moment, but there is a level of professional decency, respect, and communication that has been denied this show for years. And the utter insulting absurdity of the past few weeks exceeds anything I can countenance.

I have stayed in the same hotels where MSNBC has been broadcasting in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina, yet I have been shut out from coverage. I have a PhD in political science and have taught American voting and elections at some of the nation’s top universities for nearly two decades, yet I have been deemed less worthy to weigh in than relative novices and certified liars. I have hosted a weekly program on this network for four years and contributed to election coverage on this network for nearly eight years, but no one on the third floor has even returned an email, called me, or initiated or responded to any communication of any kind from me for nearly a month. It is profoundly hurtful to realize that I work for people who find my considerable expertise and editorial judgment valueless to the coverage they are creating.

While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.

Yours always,

Melissa


 

Photo Feb 28, 10 16 26 PMMiss Melissa…

I am going to miss you but I stand with you. You were my voice every Saturday and Sunday morning and I believe wherever you go, you will do great. Thank you for being our voice and saying what some of us may want to say but just don’t know how to articulate it. I pray you do something online like a podcast or maybe we may see you on OWN as the official news anchor there… hmm sound like we may need to push Oprah to make this happen. Or maybe headline with Roland Martin. But whatever you do know that I as a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend but more importantly as a woman…

I STAND WITH YOU AND WHERE YOUR VOICE GOES, I’LL BE THERE!

Thank You Melissa Harris-Perry.

Can’t wait to see your next chess move.

#nerdlandforlife

Photo Feb 28, 10 15 56 PM

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