Monthly Archives: February 2013

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I Look to You

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W.E.H. (In Memoriam)

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It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since your beautiful voice was silenced. February 11, 2012. My beautiful, fallen, tragic angel who soared to the stratosphere but crashed and burned.  What did they expect? You were only human.  Did someone clip your beautiful wings or was the world just too much for such a gentle spirit? It’s hard to be perfect in an imperfect world. Just ask Michael or Marilyn.

You were my girl, my sister-friend, who I never met but felt like I knew. You were every woman and we shared in your struggles  We are all trying to live, love, and accept ourselves.  And don’t we all want to be loved and accepted for who we are? You weren’t afraid to share your strengths or your vulnerabilities. You fell many times, but you got back up and put your best foot forward. And isn’t that all any of us can really do?

We were rooting for you Nippy, hoping for another comeback not just in the music world, but in life.  We hoped the Voice would once again soar to the heavens without cracking, but even if it did, we just hoped you wouldn’t. We hoped that you would start your second act like Lena, Liza, Tina, or Josephine did.

You didn’t know it then,  but you helped me through some tough times, when I was waiting to exhale, or didn’t know my own strength.  Through song, you told me it’s not right but it’s okay, and I was going to make it anyway, and that the greatest love of all lived inside of me.  How I wish you would have taken that to heart yourself, and believed in the power of you.

I’ve been playing your songs today and it feels like you’ve never left.  When I need strength or inspiration,  I listen to I Look to You.  When you sang that song, I know you must have looked to the heavens and saw the beauty and felt the strength that is the Creator, because it comes through in that song like a beacon. Your voice  sounds  so powerful and flawless, and it exclaims, “I’m back!” You didn’t know your own strength, but we did and through your music  you will continue to help others find theirs.  Your life was not  a cautionary tale, it was a lesson that taught just how human we really are.

Rest in peace, Whitney Elizabeth Houston,  I will always love you.

Black History and Herstory is Important

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From the time I was knee-high to a junebug, there has always been a black history month to celebrate.  Today someone told me that people want it abolished, especially the younger generation.  To them it’s no longer relevent. I wholeheartedly disagree!  They say, “Everyone knows about Martin Luther King Jr. Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X!”  Yes, people know about them but there are so many other heroes and sheroes who are lesser known, but their contributions are just as important or even more so in some cases. If they had not blazed the trails, then Martin, Rosa, and Malcolm could not have done the great things they did.

Crispus Attacks was an early freedom fighter who fought  for freedom and independence in the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Banneker was a scientist, astronomer, and mathematician at a time when most blacks were considered subhuman. Dred Scott, a slave, argued in court for his freedom.  Harriet Tubman, the Conductor of the Underground Railroad led many slaves to freedom using the North Star. Nat Turner, considered a revolutionary,  led a slave rebellion to overcome oppression by slave masters.  Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver used education to teach their race self-sufficiency.  Ida B. Wells, a journalist and early civil rights activist, revealed the horrors of  lynching that occurred throughout the South after Reconstruction. WEB Du Bois, an intellectual and political thinker, eloquently spoke about the ills  of racism and lack of equality that existed in America. Marcus Garvey instilled a sense of pride in being black. Asa Phillip Randolph,  labor and civil rights activist and organizer, fought for the rights of  the Pullman Porters and others.  Marian Anderson, one of the greatest singers of all time, was denied the right to sing inside Constitution Hall, instead she sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and her  beautiful contralto voice was heard around the world. Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice,  successfully argued the Brown vs. Board of Education Topeka case  and won, effectively ending legal segregation in the United States. The Deacons for Defense,  a group of Louisiana deacons formed their own militia to defend the black residents of their town against the Klu Klux Klan.  Medgar Evers,  NAACP Field Secretary and activist led many successful boycotts and worked to integrate schools in Mississippi. Ella Baker was a civil rights activist and one of the founding members of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) and was  also a power player in the freedom movement. Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi native and housewife, like many in her state had been denied the right to vote, but she fought back and  became a voting and civil rights activist. She  encouraged  others to register to vote, became a member of the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party, and later ran for Congress. Shirley Chisholm  was the first black congresswoman and the first black woman to run for president in 1972.

There are so many others to write about, but you get the picture. Black history month is relevant.  Everyone needs to know that blacks have made major contributions to society and continue to do so.  As long as there is someone around to tell the story, these heroes and sheroes will never be forgotten.  Read about them and tell others, and have a Happy Black History Month!