Thursday, December 25, 2014

BYE #2014 PAIN

The year of 2014 was one of the worst years of my 46 years of living on this earth.  

I had to process the passing of family members and  a friend while dealing with health and financial challenges, grieving the death of my paternal grandmother and betrayal of family and friends at a time when I really needed them the most.

My Beautiful Mom
I had to close the coffin of the WOMAN, who carried me for nine months and loved my brother and me more than life itself until the very day she took her last breath on August 29th at the age of 65 as a result of complications from breast cancer.  She was not just my Mom but also my sister (since I have no biological sisters) and best friend.  She was the last person that I trusted and knew had my back no matter what.

Monique Drew-Woodley on far right

Almost three weeks after my Mom's passing, I learned that one of my best friends from college, Monique Drew-Woodley had transitioned after a long battle with breast cancer too.  She leaves behind a husband and four children.


During this same time, I also had to bury several relationships with extended family members and childhood friends that were no longer healthy to maintain.

Yes, I had my Biblical Job moment.

Consequently, the pain and stress that I feel right now in my soul is so devastating that, if I did not KNOW that G-d has a purpose for me to fulfill, would take my mind and eventually my life.

Therefore, I welcome #2015 with open arms.  The brakes and dams of life have been both released and broken, and the flow of good health, peace, and prosperity has begun to flow.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

SUICIDE: THE FACES OF IGNORED EMOTIONAL PAIN AND DEPRESSION

The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? 
~ Proverbs 18:14 ~
National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255


This year was the year l learned of the accomplishments of two talented, inspiring and beautiful ladies.  Unfortunately, it was after their deaths by suicide.  


Karyn Washington, 22, who founded the blog For Brown Girls, committed suicide on April 8th. The young polular blogger suffered from depression and mental illness brought on by the death of her mother in 2013. 

According to Hellobeautiful.com:  "In the midst of Karyn’s mother’s failing health, she reached out to our Style & Beauty Editor, Ty Alexander, who had actually just gone through the same tragic ordeal–losing her mother through cancer. Ty and Karyn shared several email exchanges, often Ty offered Karyn advice on how to deal with losing her mother and things she could do that will keep her sane. The exchange between the two was haunting, as Ty admitted, '[Karyn] said she had found a meet up in Baltimore that dealt with coping during the holidays and she was also going to church. Looking back, I should have asked if she found someone to talk to…Evidently, Karyn did not find someone to talk to; which is often what happens to a lot of people who decide their only option is death. The importance of having a support system is something that should never be underestimated. We are not islands. We need one another."
Karyn founded her blog For Brown Girls when she was just 19 to inspire darker tones women to love their complexions and gave them a social platform to share their experiences with what she called "colorism" - discrimination based on the degree of darkness of one's skin.

According to Cosmopolitan.com, the blog quickly grew into a social movement for similarly complexioned women to come together and talk about and address the things that made them feel marginalized. "Her Dark Skin, Red Lip project, which encouraged black women to rock whatever shade of red lipstick [that] made them feel gorgeous, became a social phenomenon of empowerment through beauty."

Despite helping millions of darker skinned women to embrace their beauty, Karyn could not find the help she needed to deal with the ultimate pain of watching your beloved Mom battle cancer for five years and then ultimately succumbing to the disease.   


On December 4th, Titi Cree Branch, 45, who co-founded along with her sister Miko Miss Jessie’s natural hair care products, also decided to end her life.

There have been unconfirmed reports on social media that Miss Titi was depressed over her weight.  However, the Branch family has yet to reveal the factors that may have contributed to Titi's death by suicide.

"[Titi Branch, a] Queens-native[,] was a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in economics. She worked as a field producer for WABC-TV in New York City prior to Miss Jessie's. Her entrepreneurial career started prior to delving into the hair care industry. Titi and her sister were taught by their father to be independent and their first business together was a Kool-Aid stand as kids. They also ran a a cleaning business after graduating college. Later Titi launched a booking agency for hair and celebrity photographers called Icon Creative Artists. This led to her reconnecting with her sister, a hairstylist, in business. After adding her to the firm's client roster and the success that followed the next step was the creation of the salon, which opened originally in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and the launch of Miss Jessie's -- the products are now on the shelves of Target, CVS, Ricky's, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Walmart and various other national retailers. 


She is survived by her parents, sister, nephew and many loving relatives. She also leaves behind Anthony Spadafora, her boyfriend and business partner in her last venture Maestro's Classic, a line of beard care products."

Despite all the accolades, contributions and successes, Karyn and Titi decided to sadly end their own lives. 

VIDEO TRIBUTE FOR KARYN WASHINGTON

VIDEO TRIBUTE FOR TITI BRANCH

Friday, December 19, 2014

#BOYCOTTSORORITYSISTERS ON VH1



There has been a national outcry from members and non-members of Black Greek Sororities and Fraternities against a new VH1 reality show called Sorority Sisters that premiered earlier this week.

Sidebar: Being the conscious and active social media butterfly that I am, I am surprised this show slipped past my radar. I digressed. 

While satisfying my daily Twitter addiction, I unwittingly came across the hashtag #BoycottSororitySisters.  I immediately started rt'ing the hashtag when I saw that Mona Scott-Young and VH1 were somehow connected to the boycotted subject matter. 

I then proceeded to VH1.com to see what the uproar was over.

According to VH1.com:
Sorority Sisters follows the lives of "sorors" from four different Atlanta sororities. Unlike most white sororities, African-American sorors pledge for life and are expected to continue with community work long after graduation.  With this fierce loyalty comes intense rivalry among the sisters of the different organizations. From long-awaited reunions and high teas, to managing the men in their lives, it's homecoming all across the ATL!  Our ladies have a lot at stake, from maintaining their image in the community to holding down the bonds and legacies of their sororities.

I pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Pi Xi Omega Chapter (Paterson, NJ) in December 1991 during my second year of law school.   In my 23 years as a member of this distinguished Sorority, I have NEVER experienced such pettiness and disrespect from any Soror or member of any of the other Divine Nine Sororities that each Sorority Sisters cast member exhibited on that show. 

It was difficult to watch a group of "educated" women, who claim to be members of one of the Divine 9 Sororities, misrepresent a sacred legacy founded and built by women of high moral character and distinction and whose main goal was the uplifting of a race of people who had been abused, traumatized and oppressed by racism (white supremacy) through education, networking and community service.

To see such rich and profound legacies of sisterhood relegated to level of Love and Hip Hop is a cultural and social abomination. Accordingly, I join and support the boycott of VH1, Mona Scott-Young, Monami Entertainment, Eastern TV, Eastern Art, Viacom and any corporate sponsor who advertises during this dreadful show.

So far the following companies have responded to the #BoycottSisterhood and have withdrawn their advertisement: 











Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oprah's Once in a Lifetime Surprise for Iyanla Vanzant | Oprah Prime | O...

THE GREAT HEALING LESSON FROM OPRAH AND IYANLA VANZANT

DISCLAIMER:  Oprah, please do not sue me for copyright infringement or take down my YouTube page. It is imperative that the world see the conversation of healing that took place between you and Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant.  There were so many lessons in communication, humility, and forgiveness contained in your conversation with Rev. Iyanla that need to be shared with the world.