After Sunday: 10/23/16

Sometimes I listen back to the podcast and I cringe. There were so many moments, in this episode, where I felt as if I had no clue how to articulate just exactly what was on my mind. And, I do believe, that’s the beauty of this After Sunday series.

We started this weeks episode with an announcement, that low-key, went seemingly unnoticed. Perhaps it was just that natural, but LUHRAY is the official co-host of The Sunday Afternoon podcast. I’m thrilled for many reasons. Not just because we have known each other for the most of our lives, or because when I first had the idea to go in and start a podcast I wanted to do it with her, but more than anything, because we gel so well together! I believe ours is a relationship that will grow both of us, the show, and our brands, collectively and independently. There is so much work to do, but I truly am excited to move forward into all that is to come.

Also, I wanted to flush out a bit more of the conversation we had about my father and his birthday. You can check out the backstory on our relationship, here. I think that Laure’s advice was deeply insightful, to just be, and invite the man to do things that we can both appreciate, together. I won’t lie, it won’t be the easiest thing in the world, for me. However, it really changes my perspective and takes the pressure off of trying to repair a relationship and just foster a space to build with the man.

In many ways, thats the exact same sentiment we have to take with relationships in general. Getting rid of all the pressure and just learning to be with people and communicating with them. More openly and more honestly. That’s the challenge of adulting. At least as I know it to be.

The idea of support is pertinent to me. When you think about you dreams and your goals there is no way you can consider them coming to fruition without some semblance of support. The topic was liking and lurking. Which one are you? I’ve spent a lot of time considering my vantage point and changing my mindset when it comes to an assessment of social media. It’s hard y’all, because we spend so much time in our own heads consistently evaluating the way in which other people perceive us. I can save you some trouble, it leads to nowhere. Chin up and check out this episode.

We’ll definitely see you Sunday. Oh, and I have a few tricks up my sleeves!


a friendly reminder .

Somewhere along the way I quit writing for myself.  I even journal a whole lot less than what I was holding myself to just a few months ago. Why? Who knows. I’m sure if I took the time to think about it there would be a million and one reasons persistent, but I don’t see the value in that. Life happens, we all have shit going on but the most difficult aspect, for me, is remembering to put my own vision first, because it’s mine, and it was gifted to me. Honestly, I’ve been wanting to post for weeks now, but what truly prompted me tonight was coming across a FB live post by @joresab this evening. I spend a lot of my time in fear of doing things alone. Which parallels right into the podcast I’m doing this week, I spent labor day weekend in Atlanta. I went alone. I drove alone. I stayed alone. This trip was a reawakening, or maybe a reimagining of my own independence. The power that we each inaptly possess, unknowingly. I look forward to talking about it on tomorrows episode. But there is this fear that I seem to equate with being alone that is low-key holding my whole life hostage and yielding me to be stagnant. That crosses all lines; professionally and personally, that fear tends to keep me suppressing most of what I need out of life. It is something to think about, indeed.

I am not sure, but I get it. The lesson is major for me because a lot of the times I can be the complete opposite of housing that ownership which is completely required for growth.

This is my vision, my platform, no matter how small or minuscule it can feel, and my purpose. I think we need to realize that we have to pour into our own projects, and our platforms with the same intensity and fervor that we do to those around us. Even when you think about getting a new position at a new job, or an internship, or an opportunity to participate in someone else’s dreams effectively, nothings wrong with that, but don’t forget not to sell yourself short. That is what I have always done so easily. So I am super grateful for this reminder.

This is Why I Rock

Since its inception really, Black Girls Rock has been a pretty big deal. In 2006, Beverly Bond launched an organization for empowerment with a mission to uplift and actually mentor young Black women, by celebrating great Black women. What she has accomplished is so much bigger, and ceiling shattering, than just that.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Black women is the fact that there is this shared sisterhood of likeness. Black women have found increased ways to bond over communal experiences, similar trials and tribulation, and overall and unwavering will to overcome and succumb to greatness. It is beautiful to see how one Black woman can link herself, her voice to another, especially in media and that camaraderie has served as a platform to usher more Black women into the room, seated at the table.

Conversely, there is not a similar sentiment for Black men in media. Interestingly enough, I don’t think its a conversation thats been had, but there is no voice to celebrate Black men, particularly, and there absolutely is no bond of brotherhood.  I think its unfortunate. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are so many great Black men that I follow and consider myself a student to; Toure, Jesse Williams, Michael Arceneaux, Barack Obama, Will Smith, Marc Lamont Hill, Stephen Curry, John Legend and the list goes on and on, and on.

There appears to be a common disconnect when it comes to black men relating to one another, openly, and I think it all is rooted in the idea, facade, and/or appearance of masculinity. So much of our culture is rooted in defining a sense of hyper masculinity. Think about it, the images projected in media and reality alike all come down to a black man being a “no good” or gay. That’s the spectrum and it is those same ideas that not only limit the ways in which others view us, but the ways in which we view ourselves. Ultimately we lack in challenging those beliefs.

Prime example. Two black men go into a restroom. There are three urinals and one is occupied. Instead of standing next to another man, one of the gentlemen will elect to wait or use the toilet facility, but why? It’s all about masculinity. It is as if there is something so deep inside of us that makes us follow a stringent guideline. One that gives a head nod in passing each other in public, or deepening our voice to speak to another black man we don’t know, or even averting our eyes to one another, so as to not have to speak at all. This happens more often than not for me because in most encounters I am the polar opposite, the complete antithesis to what “manhood” looks like.

prince-lianne-la-havas-clouds-mp3-mainLately I’ve taken more notice to the whole idea of finding a formula that allows Black men to come together and celebrate each other. The untimely passing of Prince reveals much. Here is a man who broke every standard and narrative of Black manhood. He did so diligently, he owned every ounce of who he was as an artist and a Black man. From what appeared to be the fluidity of his sexuality to his religion, he was most conscious of his presentation of himself,  and he managed to do so with the respect of Black men. Moreover, the African American community.

Yet, Prince remained an anomaly of sorts. A rare occurrence of acceptance that so many people will never willingly acknowledge. Still, examine the relationship of Prince and Michael Jackson, one would expect that these two “otherlings” (when it comes to what is perceived to be Black manhood in America), to be the very best of friends. However, there is no record of friendship between the two, even with all that they seemingly appeared to have in common.

Black men have difficulty accepting each other. I deeply believe that there is a craving, and a space available for us to shape the thoughts and experiences of Black boys in this country through the lens of media and entertainment. Black men are brilliant, intelligent, solution oriented, problem solving, handsome, compassionate, resilient, protective,  genuine, and unique. I am a Black man. This is why I rock. Because I stand on the backs of my ancestors, because I believe in the oneness of the human experience, and because I readily accept the challenge to reshape the standard of our Black identity, as well as the plight of community instead of angst in each other.

I don’t know how to live my dream .

True Life. I’ve finally said it. And,

I can’t believe I have spent so much of my time focusing on all of the wrong things. I think that there is little to no preparation, in realizing that you do not know how to live out your dreams. That, ultimately there is an increased effort required to make provisions to live in your dream. For so many reasons our dreams become fragmented thoughts that have the ability to lead themselves, and us, to nothingness. I have taken a lot of time (too much) to stop and assess the situation. As I look at a lot of my friends and peers alike, I can confidently say that many of us lack the ability or know how to live our dreams. And, that goes for the majority of young, twenty something year olds, everywhere. But, there will be more on this later.

Noted. There is no road map or direct path to achieve ones own success, that, in itself is not a new idea, no breakthrough or progressive way of thinking, but it holds a hell of a lot of weight. It’s toxic. It is a hostage holding situation that diverts and detracts from finding the answers to how. Noted, again. I can honestly say that I have spent the past few years simply noting and expressing this notion over and over again. Day in and out, and I sure as hell have noticed that it changes nothing.

The past few weeks have been catalysts and confirmations of my own thinking changing. A couple of Sundays ago I was watching Sheryl Brady at The Potters House North and she was preaching! The most physical part of my experience, that Sunday, was when she said, “people in this generation are not dying from a lack of a dream, they are dying from lack of strategy.” All  I could think is wow, she gets it. I found that to be a whole word and I found her to be speaking, directly, to me.

For one reason or another in that moment, after so many years, so many visions of myself, my purpose, and my will to be greater, things clicked, again. No, it wasn’t the first time, but it was an on time reminder and it sort of birthed in me another; rather, a clearer vision of myself. In my “real” life.

You see, the balls have been in our court all along. We’re just too fixated on all thats going on around to notice it. I am interested in finding ways to unpact living our real life dreams, here. But for starters, here are some suggestions via Pastor Brady:

  1. You need a strategy.
  2. Make some changes.
  3. Get rid of some people in your life.

I don’t recall anyone saying it would be easy, because it aint! Especially when you’re as lazy as me. But, I’m here. See you on Sunday.


Mahogany Wednesday featuring CourtneyB

Believe it or not, the first dream I ever had was to sing. I think that may be the reason I experience music the way I do. Good music is a spiritual practice all its own. All parts of it unite in an effort to give an experience that heightens our senses, broadens our ability to dream, and completely exalts the oneness of our human experience. Last week I had the opportunity to participate in that spiritual practice in its most sublime telling.

Mahogany Wednesday is an event that happens every Wednesday night at Rays nightclub in Newport News, Virginia. It’s a performance space for up and coming creatives, and artists alike to actively participate in their own storytelling. I had heard about the event for a while. One of the hosts, Ashely Felder, is a friend of mine and I swear, I had been meaning to come out and see her for weeks; however, y’all know how early 6AM comes, every morning. Needless to say I never made it out. As fate would allow, NSU‘s #NYTHC would change all of that. I got to link up with so many of my good friends at State and my dear Courtney Bailey let it be know that she would be performing that coming Wednesday. That’s all I needed to hear. No convincing; conversation or negotiation, I would absolutely be in the building.

In no way (shape or form) was I ready for all that I was to encompass. So, after a quick nap after work I met one of my best friends, Keyanda, at Rays. Its literally just down the street from my house, so I was excited about that. We were prompt. I had planned to make my exit no later than 11PM, thinking the event ended around that time. We lowkey gagged at the door. People were still sound checking and admittance was $10. Say what you will, but I wasn’t excited to hand over ten coins to make entry. I know its a smaller establishment and expected maybe a five dollar cover, but I digress. We had a seat, and sat for about 15 minutes waiting for things to begin. They weren’t starting on time and this made me frown because y’all know, 6AM comes early, every morning. Ultimately, I knew we would have a good night.  We got long Islands and released our yield to the nights events.

I see Tereno, Megan, and Symone, all close friends who sing their asses (and faces) off, over at the door coming in, and I go over to greet them. I was utterly excited to see them! I knew they would give me my whole life, and it was also an indication that they would be singing soon, and I would be closer to my bed. Look, I don’t know if this just happened in my head or how much of it connects to the reality of the situation, but I swear I saw Courtney saunter into the room. She was beat, her eyes were mysterious and alluring, and my spirit was inclined to believe. (more on this later) Her dress was black and hit the floor and she had on this short fur coat they got me slam. I kindly reach for her ear and asked, “Where the f do you think you’re going?” or, “who the f do you think you are?” I can’t recall. But it was all in good fun. She new I was ecstatic to see her, we laugher and we all made our way upstairs to comfy sofa seats that overlook the stage.

Wait! So, clearly the show begins. Ashley Felder and Jonathan are on stage going off! Their voices blend so well. So distinct, vibrant, and they lend themselves to each other, in harmony. It felt amazing to hear her voice again, live. She is a beast, not unlike any of “the crew.” CourtneyB is announced as the nights featured artist and she takes the stage. I kindly encourage her to,”put on the mink! Walk on stage with it.” She hesitates but concedes. I love her. I saw so much light in her eyes. They gleamed with passion, gentile; genuine and honest. Her set was awe-inspiring and beyond amazing. I won’t continue to try and find words to express the exactness of what I felt, but she gave me my life. Her voice was so resonant, completely open and pure. She was amazing. Then, Symone who I know to be an opera powerhouse, got up and sang me happy, again. I was flabbergasted by the way that lady plays her voice. Oh, and Brittany Hayden, another monster, was in the house as well, sang down. At 12:45ish, it was well past 11pm. I was in the middle of the dance floor. Yelling, miming, waving my hands. I wanted each of my friends to feel my presence. I wanted them to feel every bit of passion that now resided in me. My spirit had yielded this experience and their performances were transformative, transferring to me an ability to dream, again.

The reality of the situation is that I don’t know how to live my dreams. I have been wrestling with this premise for a few weeks, and its one so many can relate to. Mahogany Wednesday provides the perfect preface to this topic. I’ll be talking about it this week. This is already a lot of words and I’m racing the clock because y’all know, 6AM comes early, every morning.

Easy like a Sunday Morning, I’ll see you Sunday Afternoon.

DAY 23 .

Your opinion of Lady Gaga.

Not the most interesting of subjects, yet, I wrote something about Lady Gaga years ago:



“I can’t dishonor my vision or it will begin to dishonor me…” –Lady Gaga

For the longest time I have been debating whether I accept or believe the antics of Lady Gaga as authentic or genuine. Not unlike many others, I was taken aback by her [need] to be overwhelmingly different; loud or excessive. Simply put, I assumed she was a gimmick; seeking attention, success, and fame. But then I decided to examine who she was and read and watched interviews with her. She was [is] completely invested in her career, her craft, and takes it as seriously as she should. Gaga has studied the greats, transcended audiences, and even became a political activist, seeking equality for all. That reason alone deserves praise and unequivocally make her real, [despite her unique attributes] Moreover, I find this quote to be an intriguing truth. I believe, [whole heartedly] that you absolutely must show yourself faithful to the gift [vision] that has been entrusted in you. Failure to do so, results in; failure. Your gift may be removed from you. That being said, disregard the naysayers, conformists, and experienced. Be true to you; against all odds, and in spite of…

Well. Enough said. Gaga has changed since 2011 but her truer sentiment remains intact. I’m glad I got the chance to revisit this, I definitely needed this word. Sometimes I have the hardest time believing I wrote all these things, and so many years ago. I look forward to seeing Gaga on American Horror Story: Hotel.
P.S. this video definitely goes along with the Gaga piece. I hope you watch. Tell me what you receive. I am encouraged.
Don’t ever be afraid to share your dream.

“The proper resource to your dream is in your mind.” -Brandy.


I don’t want to write, but I have to. I feel frustrated and annoyed, hurt; alone or lonely? At this point, they all feel the same. Anyway–

“Never assume that anyone is smarter than you..”

I read this quote in an article and was completely struck by its significance. In any endeavor, there will be an opposing force and those who firmly believe that your goal is unattainable, and for a variety of reason. To think, sometimes the opinions of others can be the determinant factor in what you do… fuck that. [excuse my language] but don’t let anyone else’s presumed “intelligence,” how much they know about a given subject; business, or no matter how great their disdain for you may be, determine your existence. I won’t.

In other news; Im convinced, Im a writer. As a result, I told myself that I will write something every day. Im going to put myself on a schedule.

see you soon,

Wow. I wrote that December 17, 2011. Literally years ago. I love looking back at things I’ve written in the past online or not, shared and private. But, you ever just feel like pigeon-held to your dream? idk. We see so much amazing work from our peers all over everywhere, and we get inspired. I love it. And I don’t feel stagnant or dismayed, I know I’m headed in the direction of my dreams, I can see that, clairvoyantly even, but still. It’s like there is this huge desire in me for more, for greater, and sooner. We see so many people live in their dreams, I’m watching Chrisette Michele and Kierra Sheard, and Brandy, and its just a lot!  It doesn’t make me feel smaller; nor contrived or inferior, but there is a pang in having to suffer in the moments when your dreams are unfulfilled. Like it or not, we’re all human and every moment of our lives our dreams may not always be active, or present even. Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Isoul Harris, Charles Blow, Niki McGloster, Michael Arceneaux, This list goes on and on.. The short list of some of the people who have granted my greatest aspirations. What I desire is their fellowship. I know there are times when you have to feel as I do, if I just could get there.

I will. I’m on my way, and so are you. I was on Brandy’s blog the other night and I heard her say, “The proper resource to your dream is in your mind.” Undoubtedly true. I’ve been thinking about the expression of this very dream since at least 12/17/11. I have human moments, like today. I feel unaccomplished, or pouty because I’m not writing all over the internet, or published in millions of magazines, or due to the fact that I’ve been writing publicly for years and I have yet to monetize for my contribution. I want to feel resentful to some of the relationships I have tried to foster in professionally that left me penniless filled with false hope or support. But I can’t hold on to any of that. Its nugatory and it services no one. So, Ill work towards focusing on the multitude of inspiration and insight I can’t get from these individuals. Besides, I need to be using the little bit of space I have in my mind, somewhere between thoughts of marriage and children, to dream bigger.