The death of Mike Brown…What are you telling your children??

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I believe the world stood still on Sat, August 9, 2014 when we learned about the death of 18 year old Michael Brown. This young man was gun down holding his hands up after having an altercation with a cop. Although a lot of detail about the incident is still unknown, the way that this young man died was heartless and the force used by law enforcement, to me, was excessive. Autopsy reports show that he was shot six times with two of the bullets being in his head. In an outrage, a multitude of citizens in the city of Ferguson, Missouri have been protesting his death for over a week now with multiple arrest and still questions of why this cop killed this child. As I continue to listen for details about this case every day I can’t help but wonder the conversations that are starting to come out of this. The conversations that we need to have with our children because…

Our children are watching..

So… It’s all over the news..and people are talking about it and offering up their opinion about how justice needs to be served. Your child is waiting to hear from you. I’m sure it is a difficult conversation to initiate but how many more of our youth will experience death before you speak up? The response that has already been displayed, with the exception of protesting, has been unacceptable. Riots broke out and people begin looting local businesses. I don’t want to excuse this behavior as an acceptable way to express your anger nor is this going to bring awareness to the issue.
Expressing anger comes with options and responsibility. Unfortunately, we don’t want to hear that when we decide to express our anger through actions that are not conducive to the cause. Yes, I believe in protesting this young man’s life and yes, words are powerful and can bring change but abusing or “ab-using” our voice and actions does not help an already difficult situation.

Our children are watching…

But this could have easily been your child and if it was, let’s rewind to the years, days and moments that you have right now to influence the thoughts your child may have in response to authority outside the home.

Do you create scenarios of what ifs with your children?

You know what that does? It allows you to hear your child’s thought process and give you the opportunity, as a parent, to make corrections where you see necessary.

So, currently, I don’t have children but I’m not excused from the responsibility. I have a niece that is a teenager and even though this was not an incident with a girl, it very well could have been.
Your child need more than the opinion of television or strangers. I think this is a great time to revisit history on some of the protest demonstrations of the 60’s and 70’s. This is also a great time to talk about both sides of this story (as far as what we know right now) and try to understand why this cop, officer Darren Wilson, felt the need to gun this child down. We don’t want our children to begin putting every cop in a category of “all cops are bad” nor do we want our children to be naive about the cops that exercise their authority improperly. So my request to the parents…since you know your child is ‘watching’, let’s Speak UP..

XOXO God Bless!

Chiccy

Share your thoughts, your testimony, your heart with me below in the comments section! And most importantly let’s stay connected!
Twitter: @chiccybaritone
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The Fallacy of Flaws…

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I recently purchase a skirt and it had this note on the tag (see above):

“The weaving irregularities and shade variations are characteristic of the fabric
And in no way to be taken as defects.”

So in other words, the ‘flaws’ or imperfections of the garment are not to be taken as a bad thing but it actually enhances the beauty of the product.

Think about that for a moment….

In fact, like the disclaimer on my tag, the flaws are “variations of the characteristic of the fabric”…

Characteristic(n.): 1. a feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place or thing and serving to identify it.

Some synonyms for Characteristic: attribute, feature, quality, property, trait, aspect, element and facet

So, this is just my “two cents”. If God created you and after he created you thought that you were very good (Genesis 1:31) then why is it that you believe another person and their standards for beauty? I believe a flaw has to be ‘taught’ just like racism, which is a totally different issue, but do you feel me? Remember when someone pointed out to you that you had a ‘Gap between your teeth’ but you saw other kids with ‘gaps’ and as far as you can tell, it was normal! Or, you never had a problem with your ‘dark skin’ until someone said that light skin blacks are better than dark skin blacks because their complexion was more appealing? I can go on and on but my point is, a flaw to me is a ‘unique identifier.” God created you with what “you” call a flaw. To God, it’s a part of your beauty and the very quality that makes you incomparable. What you call a flaw could be the very blessing to open many doors of opportunity in your life!! For example, this young lady story truly blessed me and drives my point home! I absolutely LOVE this article about a model who has Vitiligo.

Please click on the link below and read about how she views this flaw as beauty:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/08/top-model-vitiligo_n_5288165.html

This young lady is SO inspirational! She used her rare skin disorder which causes patches of depigmentation of the skin to her advantage and caught the attention of Tyra Banks and her seasonal tv show, ”America’s Next Top Model.” From this opportunity, she was invited to come back to her High School giving a motivational talk to the students, focusing on the discrimination she faced. To those struggling with accepting who they are, she said, “I loved myself. And with that, opportunities start to fall into my lap. And I thank God for all of them.Try loving yourself.”
What an amazing young lady and she is only 19 years old! So I say, how do you look at your “flaws” now?

Being Mary Jane…An Ode to My Young Ladies…

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For informational purposes, “Being Mary Jane” is an American drama television series created by Mara Brock Akil and starring Gabrielle Union, that debuted January 7, 2014, on BET. The story is about a young, black, professional woman with a career as a tv anchor, a lavish lifestyle, single and has a ‘worldwind’ affair with a married man. The series takes you through her emotional rollercoaster ride with her personal life, her family and her job showing the extent that a woman would go without considering the consequences of her very careless decisions and desperate heart to have the fairytale ‘every after’.

I watched the series from the time they aired it to the season finale…

For me, it was ‘entertainment’ and not to be taken literally. I personally can not say that I have dated or even had an affair with a married man but it happens and tv has made this “acceptable” clouding the perception of what it does to a woman’s well-being and moral.

Some will easily say,”Well, why do you watch it if appears as if it portrays this young, professional black woman so degrading?”

For some Christians, like myself, watching a show that does not reflect my Christian beliefs does not persuade me to feel as if what she is doing is OKAY but it does help me to address it with young girls. Some of them don’t see it as ‘entertainment’ because it has been there reality through the lives of other adults in and out of their homes. As an artist, whose desire is to “SpeakLIFE” through poetry, real life situations are my breeding grounds for creating a piece of work that will offer other options that honor who God created you to be as a woman. God desires for us to carry ourselves with respect for our bodies. And mentally, its important to THINK about the choices you make before your hormones respond!

The negative influence of t.v in reference to music videos and reality shows on our young ladies has increased to an all time high in the 20th Century. There are no filters to the nonsense and the disrespect that women have allowed in their lives. I still believe in the values of our young ladies beginning in the HOME and then the parents making sure that their children, girls and boys, have positive influences that reflect their morals and values. Nice suggestion, but I do understand that this is not the case with every young lady. Some come from broken homes where there is not a mother there or a female that can be that role model.

So what do you do?

This is a matter of OUTREACH for every Woman to grab a couple of young girls and start the conversations. SHOW them the options of life that they may not have been exposed to them through a parent or love one. Not because they didn’t desire to show them, but because they probably didn’t KNOW…and its true…it takes a VILLAGE to raise children…always have and always will…

So as I close, I wanted to share not what I would necessarily consider a “poem” but more so some words of encouragement to our young ladies..a verse of some thoughts…Poetically…

Be YOU….
not Mary Jane
Living life with no roadblocks and letting your
biological clock tell time is
Disastrous
and
Deceptive
Not even contraceptives can prevent
the dis-EASE
of your insecurities
Young girl
God gave you the WORLD
but you won’t take it
because someone told you
with all of the evil and hate
you wouldn’t make it
but you are HERE
so open your ear to HEAR
the direction of your spiritual connection
because you are a QUEEN
belonging to the most high GOD
He is KING
young girl…
I ODE to you…As a your fellow QUEEN,
I am assigned to do
everything I can to pour back into you
We have work to do
ending these words but never my love for you

xoxo Chiccy Baritone
Share your thoughts, your testimony, your heart with me below in the comments section! And most importantly let’s stay connected!
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What SEASON are you in?

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I was reflecting on my life…and thinking about what SEASON I am in…yes, its currently SUMMER but am I having a WINTER moment? God am I where you would have me to be? So I ask you, think about it for a moment and if you are “out of season” as to where you know God would desire you to be, its time to make some changes…Check out my Poem “Tis the Season!” I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and personal testimony…please feel free to share!

‘Tis the Season
I felt it
Never looked at the calendar
Internal alarm
No snooze
Wake UP
Been sleep for too long
My life was in hibernation
So before Winter could make a grand entrance
I moved….
My mind into motion
Stacking my internal food
Voluntary starvation was no longer on the menu
Just seeds
Holding my destiny
I got my pep in my step back
And decided to Spring FORWARD before the clock
Getting a head start and watering those seeds of destiny inside of me
I see buds—small, tight and waiting to bloom
Rain you are welcome!
Descend on me, cleanse me, and purify me while I wait for the SON
Temperature Rising
Challenging everything I thought I knew and needed
Breaking ground as the heat of Summer prepared me for my harvest
With arms extended beyond my comfort I told God I am ready
Fall
And land on everything that needs to LEAVE my life
Blown away
By your Grace and your Mercy
How do you do it? They both still have that “new” smell daily?
No matter how rough my night has been
And with my sinful nature you continue to love me
Regardless of what season I am in

© Copyright Charlene Evans October 2013

 

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Keep Treading!

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Definition of Treading water:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Water treading is an aspect of swimming that involves a swimmer staying in a vertical position in the water while keeping his or her head above the surface of the water. Treading water provides the swimmer an opportunity to keep the head from becoming submerged while not providing sufficient directional thrust to overcome inertia and propel the swimmer in any specific direction.

I started off with the definition of “Treading” water for a reason. I didn’t know how to at first and was a little scared of the possibility of not being able to come back up if I found myself going under water. I practiced this exercise with my boyfriend who is an experienced swimmer and while listening to him give me instructions on what to do, I was holding on to the edge of the pool. When it was time to tread water, I only did it close to the edge because if I found myself going under and not able to pull myself up, I could always reach for the edge to help me.

He took notice and said, ”Charlene, you need to get away from the edge and tread because if there is no edge around, you need to have faith in knowing you have the technique down in order to keep yourself up.” So I inched away from the edge and said out loud,”Charlene you can do this! Don’t be afraid.” My boyfriend, watching and listening as I spoke out loud my faith said,” I got you…I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Here goes nothing….I moved towards the center of the pool….breathe in slowly to relax myself and most importantly “think” about what I needed to do…

So…I was treading and as my boyfriend watched intensely, I felt my faith build and build! Wow! I am treading water!!!!!!! WHOOHOO!!

This was a HUGE accomplishment for me because I am not “best friends” with swimming let along treading water but I felt great and excited. Then, God spoke to my spirit:

“You are holding on to what’s familiar. I have called you OUT but you only come out far enough so that you can be able to go back to the edge if you need to; afraid to drown in a land that is unknown to you. But, I told you before; I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will not let you drown in this next season of your life.”

I immediate begin to tear up with joy because I trust the voice of God and His instructions. This process that God is not only taking me through but taking you through (yes the one reading this!) will feel like you are about to drown or go under because you have not experienced this place in your life before. You don’t have a voice in your life that has done it quite the way that God is giving it to you to do so you don’t feel like you will live through it but you will…

Just “Keep Treading”

Don’t stop moving…I know you feel tired…you don’t feel like you have support…everyone you have shared your vision with has made you feel like it is not possible but it is! God has a PLAN for your life! Jeremiah 29:11 says,”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Your instructor (God) is holding you up Just “Keep Treading”……YES!

XOXO God Bless!

Chiccy

Share your thoughts, your testimony, your heart with me below in the comments section! And most importantly let’s stay connected!
Twitter: @chiccybaritone
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All Terrain Jeep

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Good Morning or Good Afternoon or Good Evening…
(depending on where you are in the world)*smile*

I have been enjoying my stay in S.Africa for the past 2 1/2 weeks. My travels have taken me to Johannesburg, Capetown and Pretoria. While I have been enjoying each city I have also been carrying a book with me that I started reading before I left the U.S called,”Instincts,” by Bishop T.D Jakes. Between tours, shopping, eating,etc., I have been blown away by the points expressed in each chapter making it hard to put down. I will read…then re-read a sentence over and over again because of how hard it hit home…”My home”…meaning My own personal life! I love to be challenged and the feeling of settling has always been a problem for me because my desire to be better means more to me than my comfort!

So…I am in Chapter 6 and there is a subtitle called,”Driving the Jeep.”

What is so ironic is Bishop is talking about a visit he made to S.Africa and his first Safari experience! So, I am in S.Africa, in a restaurant reading this chapter…and thinking about my first Safari experience here in S.Africa in July 2013. Here is what he said:

“As you venture into new jungles of opportunity the people riding with you make a huge difference in your ability to move forward over rough terrain. While on my Safari in South Africa, I appreciated the rugged power and sturdy frame of our carrier vehicle, a jeep clearly designed for off-road excursions.It adapted to the muddy roads and rocky hills without slowing down. Clearly, it was built for survival under stress.

In order to survive, we must be as rugged and determined as this Jeep navigating through the jungle. We must be willing to make hard choices and accept temporary solutions. And we must also be willing to mobilize those around us to head in the same direction as our destiny. No matter how resourceful, creative,or industrious we may be, without others on our team,we will only Idle on our ideas instead of gaining traction towards interaction!”

One of my favorite sayings is,”God did not create us to be Islands!” And the fact of the matter is no one that is considered to be “great, successful, etc,” did not get where they are with no support. It truly takes a team to make a vision come to pass. Anyone who is currently pursuing a vision also knows that this is a process. This process is parallel to the stress of the vision and moving it along.

I have been performing spoken word poetry for 13 years and counting. I have seen the face of my team change over the years for various reasons. What this process has taught me is even though it becomes difficult at times, I can’t do everything I desire to do with poetry ALONE. I love the input of my team and I work hard at trying to always have a teachable spirit! I view it the same way as going to church to worship with others verses watching service online at home or somewhere that is not with other people. There is something that happens in that atmosphere with other believers that nurtures your spirit differently than being alone. It is not the same.

Another point I ponder as well. Life truly is filled with relationships on all levels and because you can not escape that, it is important to learn how to manage them. Why? Because you can’t do LIFE without them. And for the people you work closely with? Assess if they are the “tires” on your jeep helping to navigate the vision through the smooth and rough terrains of life or are they added weight in your jeep causing it to slow down or even breakdown? Think about it…

I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment and don’t forget to Stay in touch! Connect with me on Twitter @chiccybaritone and Facebook at Chiccy Baritone ~ Poet

Greetings from S. Africa!

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Hello!

So…I must begin this post with an apology for missing my deadline to post Friday, May 30th. My travels began on Wednesday, May 28th from the U.S and I landed in Johannesburg, S.Africa 5pm local time. Thursday and Friday were a ‘blur’ as I tried to navigate through the city while fighting “jet lag.” The biggest mistake you can make traveling internationally is going to bed when “jet lag” tries to take over! Your sleep pattern will be a rough adjustment! *smile* So keep moving until bed time!

As of today, Thursday, June 5th, I have been in country for a week and a lot has happened. I visited Nelson Mandela Square because it never gets old to me, as I have visited it last year on my trip here. I also did a half day tour of Soweto, toured Liliesleaf, The old fort and Constitution Hill. Sunday service was at Rivers Church in Sandton then Monday, June 2nd I flew to Capetown for four days. Due to weather, my tour to Robben Island and Table Mountain were cancelled so I was pretty “bummed” about that but it is the beginning of Winter and not the greatest time to be in Capetown. However, we did get a tour on the red bus tour which was very informative! I saw all of the major attractions like the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point, multiple museums, hotels, the botanical garden, the high court civil annex, multiple African markets, coffee shops and ate at some pretty amazing restaurants!

Whew!

Today is Friday, June 6th and I spent most of my day at the Apartheid Museum…3 1/2 hours later and I could have easily stayed all day! Wow…is an understatement..what a wonderful depiction of all the events leading to the beginning, the in between and the end of Apartheid. Truly one of the highlights of my trip!

As I settle in for the evening, I am looking forward to tomorrow because I will have the distinct honor of performing alongside other local S.African Artist on the campus of the University of Pretoria, Saturday, June 7th! The event is called,”UnMasked”. Words can not describe how grateful I feel to not only visit this beautiful country again but to also come back to do something I Love…Spoken Word Poetry!

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